Those who stand firm during testing are blessed. They are tried and true. They will receive the life God has promised to those who love him as their reward. No one who is tested should say, “God is tempting me!” This is because God is not tempted by any form of evil, nor does he tempt anyone. Everyone is tempted by their own cravings; they are lured away and enticed by them. Once those cravings conceive, they give birth to sin; and when sin grows up, it gives birth to death.
Don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. ~James 1:12-16 (CEB)
The twelve all had a good beginning with Jesus. Their signs of loyalty, fidelity, and faithfulness came often in their brief time with Jesus. And yet in many of the crucial times for Jesus and for them, the truth is that they drifted astray. They lost sight of Jesus and his way and focused on themselves and their way.
A good beginning is wonderful to experience and to observe. Even more wonderful is to see a woman or a man full of years and still full of goodness and faith. To observe a marriage that is marked by fidelity and unqualified love after a half century of living brings hope and encouragement to all who desire strong families and strong communities. Faithfulness is a wonderful thing to experience and to observe.
Some congregations have remarkable and almost miraculous beginnings. Beginnings that are marked by rapid growth and transformation of nearly every life that enters their sphere of ministry. These congregations’ transforming ministry touches every part of their community, and that community is forever changed. Faithfulness is a wonderful thing to experience and to observe.
There are denominations that carry a precious part of the gospel’s treasure in such faithful ways that the world is a better place because God has given them life. Their faithfulness in good times and bad, in wealth and poverty, provides direction and encouragement for all who choose to live a life of goodness and holiness. Faithfulness is a wonderful thing to experience and to observe.
The bad news is that individuals, congregations and denominations can drift astray. It happens so easily. It happens the moment we lose our center we begin to lose our way. We know it does not have to be that way because every day we can keep our eyes upon Jesus Christ and ask for guidance and grace to remain faithful. The good news Christians share is that Jesus Christ is able and willing to guide and enable us on our journey toward our true home with God. ~From A Guide to all Who Pray, Rueben P. Job
Thank You heavenly Father for sending Jesus into the world to guide me on my journey towards You. Help me to stay centered in Your will this day. Guide my steps and give me enough grace to remain faithful. Amen.