Article based on a Bible Study 15 February 2003

James - Chapter 1

by Jon Bowles

(PLAY FROM START)

The book of James has a lot to say about the Spirit of God. It was written by the brother of Christ, who was the Overseer, or the Bishop in Jerusalem. It was written just two years before his death, and there is a great deal of wisdom within this book.

If you go to the commentaries, you will find that they tend to tell you that it is very disjointed, it hasn't got a particular theme within it, and it just goes from one subject to another. But if you look at the entire book as a whole, you find that there is a theme, and it works towards the latter part of chapter five. If you go to chapter 5 and verse 13, it is almost a focal point. It says:

"Is any among you afflicted? [it has been talking about trials, and it starts to give specific instructions] let him pray [prayer really is the key to a large degree, if we have difficulty in trials, then that is the way forward]. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." (James 5:13)

You notice it talks in the beginning of that chapter:

"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl..." (James 5:1)

It also talks about how the rich man is made low in James 1:10. If you go and read the Psalms, you will find that they tend to be sobering. A lot of people read that and think; Oh, if you're merry, you just have to go out and become even more merry. If you go back and read the Psalms, they are very sobering, and I think in fact, the reverse is the case. If you are afflicted you pray, and you in fact receive encouragement that way.

"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church..." (James 5:14)

Then it goes into the specific trial that people go through with sickness, and it talks about how the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much. How Elijah was subject to the same passions as we are and yet when he prayed, things actually happened, and then the book basically closes. There is no Amen at the end, so it indicates that it is not complete. It may well be that it will become complete later on after Christ's return, but we have enough of this particular book for us, and for our use today.

So if you look at the preceding chapters of James, leading to that specific conclusion, it lays brick upon brick as it goes through the various chapters. Chapter one gives this overview of trials, and of handling them in the right way. Chapter two goes into a key ingredient regarding faith. Chapter three talks specifically to the ministry, to a large degree, and anybody really that prays the prayer of faith, what we need to be remembering. Chapter four gives certain keys to answered prayer. Chapter five gives more aspects in somewhat of an overview before ending with James 5:13 on.

What I will deal with today is chapter one, which really contains an enormous amount of information for us. It is something that we do need to understand. Even chapter one is broken down into sections. There are five sections within it that I have broken it down into:

The Purpose of Different Trials (PLAY FROM 05:44)

So, let's go through chapter one, it starts:

"James, a servant [slave] of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting." (James 1:1)

So it is talking to the twelve tribes. It is interesting that in James 2:2, it says:

"For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring..." (James 2:2)

The word assembly there is actually synagogue. So it is talking to the Israelites, the Israelite nations, including the ten lost tribes, but it also includes Judah, and includes Benjamin and Levi, which were around Jerusalem, and then beyond in all the different areas which are scattered abroad. Because there were the synagogues, the meeting places. So he is talking to the twelve tribes, the Israelites, and it is very clear he is also talking to spiritual Israel. It says in James 2:1:

"My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons." (James 2:1)

So it is clear that it is talking to the Israel of God primarily, who are within these twelve tribes scattered abroad. It is to the Church. Certainly it has been recorded and preserved all the way down to our time at this particular time, that we might understand the things that he has for us as well. He then says:

"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [or different trials];" (James 1:2)

Now the stress on that particular aspect, is that they are different types of trial. It is not just the case of trials. You don't necessarily just count it all joy when you fall into a trial. But it is the fact that you are going through a range, and a spread of trials, because that range and spread will allow us to become perfect and entire, lacking nothing, as it says in verse 4. God tests us and works with us through different aspects of our lives in order to develop the character that He sees that He needs for that Kingdom.

So as we go through this different spread of trials, it is what we really need to keep in mind, and counting it all joy as we do that, as we realise that God is actually working with us going through these different types, this spread, whatever we happen to be going through at that particular time. In Philippians 3:7 it says:

"But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:" (Philippians 3:7-9)

Now as we go through trials we need to realise this - that what we need is not our righteousness, which is by the law. It is not our righteousness that we keep the law by. It is the righteousness which is by faith. It is the righteousness of Christ. As Mr Armstrong brings out, he was talking about the Holy Spirit, and how it has to flow through us like water. It flows through us, and then it manifests itself in the way in which we handle trials. And James is very much into bringing this out. He deals with this aspect of the way in which we must live.

Paul, at one time had certain aims and certain goals and yet he realised that those human aims and goals were absolutely worthless. He counted those as absolutely nothing. He set a new range of goals and priorities after conversion, as we must do also. The different types of trial will actually help us to achieve those goals and priorities, because it is actually the goals and priorities that God has for us, which we need to be developing. If we go over to I Peter 4:12 it says:

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (I Peter 4:12-13)

These range of trials - and our needs within them - are part of our development of the character that Christ had, so that we can be there with Him, ruling with Him, with the same mindset.

"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf [the word 'Christian' was actually a derogatory term at that time]. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God [notice, suffer according to the will of God, because God works with us through these things] commit the keeping of their [beings] to him in well doing, as [notice:] unto a faithful Creator." (I Peter 4:14-19)

God is in the process of creating His ultimate creation - the reason for these trials and difficulties. But we must handle them properly, and recognise that God is there with us in our trial as a faithful Creator. These different trials are allowed so that we are able to have the different aspects of our character moulded and fashioned.

That is the way in which it is done. For us, it is very difficult because of our perspective, and that really is the heart and core of it. Our perspective has got to change. Our perspective has got to become God-centered instead of self-centered. When our perspective changes, then we can start to handle the trial, whatever it might be, in the right way. Continue in James 1:3.

"Knowing this, that the [testing] of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:3)

Now that again is something that we don't particularly like, but the testing of your faith works patience. It is what you really believe. What you really count as your belief. That faith has got to be tested. Turn over to I Peter 1:4 and notice it says:

"To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice [so the rejoicing is looking forward to the ultimate time when the testing of the moment will in fact receive its reward], though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold [trials]:" (I Peter 1:4-6)

Go back to James 1:3 again where it says:

"Knowing this, that the [testing] of your faith worketh patience." (James 1:3)

When we handle our trial correctly, then it will cause us to study, to pray, and to fast more. It will cause us to develop a relationship with God and that relationship with God will then develop the character that we need. Then it goes on to James 1:4

"But [allow that] patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, [lacking] nothing." (James 1:4)

There's the character that God, as the faithful Creator, is in the process of creating. So that patience must have its perfect work , that you may be perfect, mature, ripe as a fruit that is ready to be harvested, and entire, lacking nothing. Now in Romans 5:1 it says:

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ [we have access to God, we can go on our knees before God and we have peace between the two of us, we have a relationship]: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in [trials] also: knowing that [trying] worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:" (Romans 5:1-4)

Remember, the tests or the trials work patience. Each time we are tested in different areas then the patience becomes experience, because the experience is being tested in different areas. That's why it says in James, rejoice as you fall into different types of trial. When we have had all those experiences, and we've got the range of trials, we have had the experience of that life, then we have hope. Whenever other trial come along we have hope and we can work through them that much easier.

"And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us." (Romans 5:5)

That is the way in which we overcome, the way in which we get through the difficulties of life. As Mr Armstrong again brings out in his messages, we are going to school every day we live. You and I are being trained, and the testing of our faith is part of the training. It says in Romans 5:9:

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son [we have access to God by His death], much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:9-10)

That life is coming through us - the love of God that is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit that is given to us. That allows us then to cope with the trials of this life. Mr Armstrong explains that "the Holy Spirit comes in, but it also flows like water, and part of it must go back to God, and part of it must go back to the neighbour," so that we can successfully handle the trial.

Let's put it into practicalities, if we have got children, and the children are playing up, how do we actually handle that? Do we allow that Spirit that's in us to flow out of us, or do we bottle up the Spirit that's in us and handle it in a carnal and fleshly way? If we have a problem between husband and wife, how do we handle it? Do we bottle up the Spirit and just handle it the way we've always handled it in the past, or do we allow that Spirit to flow through us?

The Holy Spirit comes in, but it has to flow like water. It is that Spirit through which we are able to handle trials. It is handling them through a different range. It is the range that we therefore joy in, because it works patience and that patience must have a perfect work that we then are entire, lacking nothing.

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12)

It then skips over, and as it says in Romans 5:19:

"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

Now that's not just the sacrifice of Christ. As we just read "...being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (Romans 5:10) It is that life through the Spirit of God that flows through us in the same way as it did within the Christ, who is the Anointed One, who had the Spirit without measure. Also, as it says "...shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)

"Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound [we have that grace from God, that Spirit of God to overcome and to grow - through the different trials]: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:20-21)

So Christ is actually living through us. It is the living Word that is in us.

"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [There is the death of His Son being reconciled to God] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." (Romans 6:1-4)

What that means is that when we have all these different range of trials, we handle them in an entirely different way from our natural and normal way. If we do handle them correctly, as it says in James 1:3:

"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, [lacking] nothing." (James 1:3-4)

Remember that Christ said; "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) That wording is the same, it means to be ripe or mature. Just before that section at the end of Matthew 5, Christ is dealing with the changed mindset, and how our righteousness has got to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Wisdom Needed from God to see the Value in a Trial (PLAY FROM 24:07)

Continuing in James:

"If any of you lack wisdom..." (James 1:5)

Why would we lack wisdom? Because here we are, within a trial and we cannot see any joy within it whatsoever! The chances are that all of us do that. What we need is the wisdom to be able to look at whatever we happen to be going through, in the right way.

"If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not [scold or reproach]; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)

Now in this same chapter it says; "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:17) So, if we are going to God and asking Him for wisdom, we will receive the understanding that we need. Christ said; "If a son shall ask bread [are you going to] give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, [are you going] to give him a [scorpion]?" (Luke 11:11) We don't do that to our children.

What we have to recognise, is that through our life, this faithful Creator is creating us. It is His Word that lives in us. It is His fashioning, like a potter, that is actually fashioning us to His image so that we can be like Him. It is the very Spirit of God that is doing that.

Notice what it says in James 3:15, talking about wisdom:

"This wisdom [talking about strife] descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work [we have got to recognise where the wisdom is coming from]. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure [so first of all it has to be according to God's Word], then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 1:15-18)

So back in James 1:5, where it says:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." (James 1:5)

So in a trial - if we don't see God's hand in it - we have to do what James tells us, and ask God for the wisdom to understand His purpose in it. Remember, this chapter is really an introduction to the entire subject. It gives certain points to almost kick us off. And then it goes into in chapter four, "you ask and receive not, because you ask amiss" So he elaborates a good deal more about it, as he goes through the rest of the book.

It is clear that we must keep in mind during any trial, that God is the faithful Creator, working with us. And if we lack this understanding, we must go in faith and ask, and that wisdom will be given to us.

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering..." (James 1:6)

The word wavering is diakrino (Strong's 1252). You also find it over in I Corinthians 11:29, where it talks about not discerning the Lord's body. It means not separating fully in that particular section. Not making two distinct separations. Dichotomy might be a good English word.

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering [not having two minds, not separating, not having a different view of things]. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded [the word is dipsuchos (Strong's 1347) two breaths, or two spirited] man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:6-8)

Now this is the problem. We are asking for wisdom, but when we ask, many times we will ask "Show me why I am going through this particular trial?" But we will ask to try and see from our perspective. And we won't. As it says over in James 4:3:

"Ye ask and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon [what you want]." (James 4:3)

You see the entire subject of the Book of James is about faith. It's almost like a Catch 22. He mentions here that we must ask in faith, but hasn't yet defined the type of faith. He doesn't do that until chapter two. The type of faith that we need has got to be the type of faith in the way in which we walk. If you look in Hebrews 11 and you go through the examples that are given there, you see that it says:

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

Mr Armstrong brings out that faith is what you have before you receive what you hope for, what you don't see. But you do have something and that is the faith. But that faith has got to be a certain type.

If all Noah did, when he was warned by God of the things not seen, was sit on his backside and do nothing he would not be in Hebrews 11. The reason Noah is mentioned in the Faith chapter is because he got out there and he built his boat. That is what he did. There was the evidence of what you can't see - not only the flood, but you can't see the faith that he had. You can see what he did, and that is the evidence of what was inside him.

The same with Abraham. He got off his backside and went off and left Ur to a place he didn't know anything about. You can go through all of these examples and you will find that each one got up and did something. They did it because of what they believed. So what it says in James 1:5:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God...it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:5-8)

If we are going in two different ways at once - the world's way, and trying to go God's Way as well - when we ask for wisdom, we are asking from a purely selfish point of view. It is saying don't let that man think that he will receive something from the Lord, because he is not walking in God's Way. He is not going in God's Way.

Luke 18:24, notice:

"And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How [difficult or how] hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:24-27)

Now when we are looking at what it's saying over here in James- "ask in faith, nothing wavering" - we need to understand that God is able to do anything at all. The problem that we have with faith, as Mr Armstrong brings out continually, is that we are tied into this physical, material world. Remember, the reason we are going through the Book of James, is because I see the Church today not being healed, and not having the kind of faith and the power that it had in days gone by. I would like to read from what Mr Armstrong says in a minute, because he also brings out the reason for this.

When we are looking at the subject of faith, we need to understand that God in fact has made all things. He is a faithful Creator. His Word, His Spirit, upholds everything that is physical. The only reason why we lack faith while we are having a trial is because we are physical. It may be certain mental difficulties that we have, and our perception of things, but anything and all things physical rest on the very Word of God. So when we look here in Luke 18, and they say it's impossible, and Christ says: "...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God." (Luke 18:27) With God all things are possible. There is absolutely nothing that God cannot change.

When we come to God for healing, what we are asking God to do is to change reality. When we look in the future and we see, a thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, we are going to have to have a change of reality. We have got to understand that God, His Word, His Spirit, upholds the reality that we have now. So as Christ said: "...The things which are impossible with men are possible with God" (Luke 18:27). If it is God who is doing it, it doesn't matter what it is, it is going to actually be done.

Back in Luke 17 notice the context of that particular verse. If you go to Like 17:35 it says:

"Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together." (Luke 17:35-37)

It is talking about the place of safety. It's talking about the time in which we find ourself coming up to now. We don't know how on earth we are going to be taken out of the mess that this world will descend into. And yet we got to have the faith that God is quite capable of taking care of this. As it says here what is impossible with men is possible with God. "...with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26) It goes straight in, after the end of Luke 17 into this trial that we are almost certainly going to go through, unless we die beforehand. This trial of having to flee for our lives:

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me." (Luke 18:1-5)

Now we have to put that together with what it says in James 1:5:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God [and keep asking], that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith..." (James 1:5-6)

Ask, recognizing who it is that we are talking to. We are talking to the One whose Word and whose Breath or Spirit upholds the physical reality. So when we go to Him, we can ask, and anything is possible, absolutely anything. It is prophesied that we're to go through some trials where it is utterly impossible for us to survive at all without God's direct, miraculous intervention. Luke 18:6:

"And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? [this is speaking to us at our time, the context is the end time, it's led into by the preceding chapter!] I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:6-8)

Will that faith be there? So that when we ask and we come before God and we say "Look, I need wisdom. How do I handle this particular trial that we are about to go through as a Church in the future?" we have got to have the faith and ask in faith. It is a case of asking and be utterly determined to trust God and to leave things in God's hands.

It's like Abraham. He had the faith, but he had it manifested in how he acted. He left Ur of the Chaldees and he walked. Noah had the faith, yes, but he got out into the hills around him and he chopped down trees and he dragged them back and used his money in order to build a huge ark. Moses, he didn't go ahead and stay within Pharaoh's household. He did something. This is the same with us. We have to go ahead and ask in faith, nothing wavering. We are not going to have one foot in the world and one foot in the Church:

"...For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and tossed." (James 1:6)

It is interesting that Mr Armstrong has an article that I want to read here from the February 1983 'Good News', the article is entitled: ‘Christians Have Lost Their Power!’ He says:

"This very WORK OF GOD for our day is foretold in the prophecy in Revelation 3:7-13. But there it is revealed that we, today, are a people of but little strength- little power (verse 8)!-within ourselves-though we have faithfully KEPT GOD'S WORD! The impact of this WORK OF GOD today is going out only through the power of God! Are you having your part in this very WORK OF GOD?

But-let's face it!-WE DO NOT HAVE WITHIN OURSELVES, AS GOD'S INSTRUMENTS FOR HIS WORK TODAY, ANYWHERE NEAR THE POWER OF GOD THAT ACTIVATED THE ORIGINAL FIRST-CENTURY CHURCH!"

We don't, as I mentioned, we have a problem today. People are not being healed the way they used to, and they certainly are not being healed the way they used to be in the first century Church. And this is the answer, he says:

"For that very reason, the Living Christ (verse 8), He has opened to us a gigantic door of MASS COMMUNICATION! The magnified power of the microphone and the printing press. Yet that is only physical, mechanical power! The REAL POWER that makes God's Work vital and alive is the Holy Spirit of God!"

That is why I say James is talking largely about the Spirit of God. That's the power that we need. That is the Way in which we are able to go through the trials that are prophesied for this era of the Church. The difficulties and trials that are coming on this era of the Church just before we flee are going to be substantial. If we are going to pass the test, we are going to need to be close to God.

The end of part 1 of the booklet 'What Is Faith?' It says: "In Revelation 14:12 is a description of the true Church of THIS DAY. Those in the Church have the FAITH OF JESUS. Notice, the FAITH OF JESUS! It is not just our faith in Him, but His faith - the very faith with which He performed His miracles - placed in us and acting in us."

Now that is the way we handle trials. That is the way we have the understanding and the wisdom through a trial.

"How can you get it? Draw closer to God. Get to know God. Surrender all the way to HIM, and do His will. And then PRAY. You get to know Him in PRAYER. We are too close to the material things. Through PRAYER, much more prayer, you can come closer to GOD and the spiritual things. And then what a happy, joyous experience it is, once you have really done it!"

That's the ending of the booklet, 'What Is Faith?' That is answer to faith. When it's talking about 'Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering' - it is not our faith. It's Christ's faith. It is that we must get to know God.

People in the world look at the book of James and say it's disjointed, it doesn't hang together. But it does, because what it's doing is giving individual aspects that allow us to get in contact with God to be able to have the very Spirit of God, giving us the faith of God so that when we ask we receive the grace of God that puts right whatever we ask for. It allows us to get through that trial. It allows us to actually have miraculous intervention if necessary in healing. The prayer of faith is what heals the sick. So, we have got to have that. Each of these individual aspects is showing a facet of the entire subject. If we notice in Revelation 3:8:

"I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:8)

There is a problem. Christ says when He comes will He find the faith on the earth? Is that going to be there? We don't have the miracles today. We do not have the power of God working in the Church today as it did in the first century because we are too attuned to the material things.

The broacasting of this sermon even - we are talking over the internet. It's going through things that we understand. There's an awful lot that we don't understand but we have confidence, we have faith in that because we can see, we can touch. We know when we send it down a wire it comes out the other end. There is an awful lot in there that we don't understand, that we don't really comprehend. In fact in the calculations of sending electrical current down the wire, sending an electron down a wire, you have to actually remove time. I don't know if you realise that. Time has got to be removed from the equation just to have it work out that it comes out right at the other end.

There are things we do not understand about this physical world. Incredible things that we just do not understand at all. We know a computer, we hit some keys on a keyboard and we see it come up on the screen. We know how the voice vibrates in the microphone here, and how it is transmitted down through the wires. We have the science that is there. But, there is a problem at this particular time.

If you go back to Malachi there does seem to be at this time - the end time - that there is going to be a real problem with faith. There are going to be real problems within the Church. The Philadelphian era really has closed although there are few who still have those qualities. The actual era itself seems to have come to an end. In Malachi 3:16 it says:

"Then they that feared the [Eternal] spake often one to another: and the [Eternal] hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the [Eternal], and that thought upon his name [I have given an entire sermon on that subject, on thinking on His name, because through that name, of the One that speaks, and it is, the I AM, the YWHW, the Eternal]. And they shall be mine, saith the [Eternal] of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:16-17)

It ties up with what we have just been reading over in Luke. It is to do with thinking on His name. It's to do with the understanding that with God all things are possible. With God, whatever He says, is. If He says, "Look, I will protect you. They will be my jewels when I spare them, as a man spares his own son." That will be done. It will be in the future. Go back to Luke 18:9 and carrying on from 'when He comes will He find faith on earth?'

"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself..."

As Mr Armstrong brings out in this booklet, we need to pray to God. We need to get to know Him through prayer. It is the prayer that actually builds the faith. It is the faith of Christ because we are in contact with God. The Spirit of God then gives us the very faith of God.

What it's saying here is that we can pray, and if we're not careful, be simply praying within ourselves. When we pray, do we talk to God, or do we philosophise? Do we kind of rehearse things in our mind? Do we actually talk to God? How intensive is our prayer? Is it a fervent prayer of a righteous man that avails much? See, that is all coming out of the Book of James. These are all aspects of the subject.

If we are wanting answers, if we are wanting healing to take place, if we are wanting miracles to be done on our behalf, and we are going to need miracles as we go through the days ahead - we are going to need intervention in a way that is totally impossible humanly. If we are going to actually obtain that, then we are going to have to learn to pray properly. To pray to God specifically and to pray sufficiently.

Mr Armstrong was asked "How often do you pray? Once a day, twice a day, three times a day, how often?" He said, "Hundred of times a day." It is an attitude of prayer. We need that wisdom from God. Let's go back to James 1:6 again:

"But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:6-8)

We cannot be going in two different directions at once. Where is our focus? What are we focused on? If you think about Christ and how He prayed, you see how He fed the five thousand and then He went off into the wilderness and prayed. When He came back from having prayed, the disciples had already got in the boat and left, so He walked on the water across to them. Now He knew that He had to keep in contact with the Father. The works that He was doing were coming from the Father, from that Spirit within Him, as the Anointed One. The miracles that were being done were coming out of that source.

If you notice what He did, He went off into a desert place. He went off by Himself in a place where He could meditate. It's not just the Word of God - yes, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God but it's not just an academic reading of the Word of God. It's taking that Word and making it part of us. That's actually what it says in John 6:53:

"...Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." (John 6:53)

That Word has got to be a living Word within us. A living Word within every single one of us. You get that through meditation. I'm not talking about guru type meditation. I'm talking about thinking and appreciating. It's part prayer, part study, and part meditation - part thinking. You sit and you read something and you think deeply about it. You roll it over in your mind. They didn't have Bibles as we do. They carried the scriptures in their heads and they rehearsed it in their head. So when He went up into the mountain to pray, or when He went up to meditate - or He went up to study really - He was rehearsing it in His head and applying it through the process of meditation.

This is a problem today. In our modern world we are so busy, we have so many gadgets and so much interference with our time that there is no time for meditation. This is part of our problem. This is why the miracles are not happening, why healing is not happening, because we are not close to God. We do not pray to God the way we should and we are not studying the way we should either, because we are not meditating and having the time to think. We are so busy, and yet that is essential. So James 1:8:

"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." (James 1:8)

Different People Need Different Things (PLAY FROM 56:07)

The human position that we have effects what we are going to need. So if we are lacking in wisdom and we don't understand the trial that we are going through, as it says in James 1:5, ask God and He will give us understanding. But you have to understand that each individual person has different types of trial. It says in James 1:9:

"Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted [so he may be tested in the fact that he is exalted]: But the rich, in that he is made low [in our Western world, we are filthy rich, disgustingly rich compared to the rest of the world]: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways [notice, it says in his ways,but it says;]. Blessed is the man that endureth [trial]: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:9-12)

So a wealthy individual, and we in the West are wealthy, if we do go through a trial, and it is difficult, and we are brought down by it perhaps it's sickness, perhaps it's financial loss - whatever that trial might be, be aware that it might be just what we need. That doesn't mean to say that we become masochists - the Bible does say 'I wish above all things that you may be in health and prosper.' (III John 1,2) If it is necessary for us to be brought down, to recognise our own human frailty, then be aware that it is something we do need. We need to pray to God and ask for the wisdom to be able to see it. Notice what Christ is saying again, to this rich man in Luke 18:15:

"And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein [if you elevate yourself and become high and mighty, you are not going to be there]. And a certain ruler asked him [here was somebody who was elevated], saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him,[and here is the answer:] Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God." (Luke 18:15-19)

That is the answer. With God all things are possible. The answer is not 'just keep the commandments'. It is: why are you calling me good? Because I am a human. If you want to have Eternal life, it is God, and allowing that faithful Creator to mould us. Luke 18:20:

"Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me." (Luke 18:20-22)

In other words, he hadn't even obeyed the first commandment, 'You shall have no other gods before me', because his god was his money. He is showing really, that as it says over in James 1:10:

"But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth..."(James 1:10-11)

As it says in I Peter 5:5:

"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble." (I Peter 5:5)

It is grace that we are going to need. It is unmerited favour of perhaps miraculous intervention that we will need in the future. If we are going to be able to approach God and ask for that, we have got to understand that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. So if we are going through trials and it is bringing us down, then we need to recognise that, that is good. That is actually good, or it could be.

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (I Peter 5:6-7)

It is the mighty hand of God, because we are God's creation. As it says I Peter 4:19:

"Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their [beings] to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." (I Peter 4:19)

God is creating His ultimate creation. So often when we see something going on, God actually working in our lives in a way that we don't particularly like and we don't particularly want, we will try and handle it humanly. Turn over to Matthew 16:21:

"From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: [enemy!] thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men." (Matthew 16:21-23)

Now Peter was doing what was perfectly natural. If somebody says, "I'm going to go down to London and get beaten up and put to death." The obvious answer is "Don't go down to London!" Peter says, "No, you're not going down there. That's not going to happen to you." He says, "Look, this is an offence to me because you are not savouring what God is saying, what God's Word is saying." Because God's Word was that He was going to have to die and be raised the third day. In other words, His Holy One would not suffer corruption. It says it in the Psalms. He had to fulfill that. He also had to die as a sacrifice, as our Passover in order for the very Plan of God to begin. To react humanly was an offence.

So, when we come back to James and it talks here about how the rich man is made low, because the flower of the grass is going to pass away. Then in James 1:12:

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)

Those that are not trying to go their own way, but are in fact submitting to that mighty hand of God as a faithful Creator who is creating something within us.

God Never Tempts Us With Evil (PLAY FROM 1:04:20)

"Let no man say when he is [tried], I am [tried] of God: for God cannot be [tried] with evil, neither [tries] he any man:" (James 1:13)

Now that's a real difficult verse in some ways. Why? Because you can turn to places like Genesis 22:1, where it says God tried, or tested Abraham. You can turn to Deuteronomy 8 where it talks about manna, and it talks about how God humbled the people of Israel and tested them to see if they would keep His commandments or not. Yet he says here:

"Let no man say when he is [tested], I am [tested] of God: for God cannot be [tested] with evil, neither [tests] he any man:" (James 1:13)

It's a figure of speech in that particular verse. If you turn back with me to Romans 7:24, we will see the same figure of speech being used, or something similar. Paul uses it here:

"O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord..." (Romans 7:24-25)

That's all he says, but the inference is "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord, that He will deliver me from the body of this death." It is the inference from the preceding phrase that then is tacked onto the end of the subsequent phrase. That's the figure of speech. So if we go back and do that over in James 1:13 where it says:

"...for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man - with evil." (James 1:13)

So when God puts us through a trial, it is not with evil. God is not going to be tried with evil - He has nothing to do with evil! So He is not going to go ahead and try anyone in an evil way. He is not an evil God. It is a figure of speech within that verse. Therefore, if we say to ourselves or to others that, I'm tried of God, I'm being tested of God, God is testing me in an evil way, then we are wrong.

"But every man is tempted [in an evil way], when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren." (James 1:14-16)

So don't point the finger at God. Don't err. If something is truly evil in our life and that is the only thing it is, then that is coming from us, or coming from human beings generally. When God is dealing with us, it is not going to be a purely evil trial. We are going to have to pray to God and ask for wisdom, for God to show us what He is trying to do. We should make absolutely sure that we understand in whatever trial we have gone through, or are going through, that God is not an evil God. God will not allow us to go through something purely for evil means. He will use it always for good.

Where is our Centre? (PLAY FROM 1:08:03)

If we just have a look at this subject of what is the centre. So often our centre is off - we are off track. What we need to do is get back on track. Part of the handling of trials, of counting it all joy when we fall into a different range of trials is so that we do get back on track.

Turn over to Psalm 91 - I want to show you something. You see, the track is so often, for us is, what I touch, what I smell, what I see, what I hear. The things that I am going through. And that centre is wrong, our centre is off base. If we are going to get back on track, it is not my life, my car, my wife, my child. It is not my money or my house that has just blown down or whatever. When we read Psalm 91:5, we tend to read:

"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." (Psalm 91:5-7)

That is all centered on us. If we really want to understand what it says in Psalm 91 we have got to read verse 1:

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High - [he] shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psalm 91:1)

As Mr Armstrong said in answer to; "How many times do you pray a day?" It's not once, it's not twice, it's not three times, and then we forget about God the rest of the time, but hundreds of times. It is a walking with God. That does not give us leeway to just pray over the kitchen sink and nothing else. With young children sometimes that's about all you can get in. I'm not in any way deriding that. I am saying that he that dwells in the secret place of the Most High. The secret place of the Most High, is on high, it's in heaven. Our mind and our focus and everything else is in that direction. When we go through trials, we recognise where our strength lies. Notice Psalm 91:14:

"Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name." (Psalm 91:14)

Now again - "those that thought on His name" (Malachi 3:16) That is all part of it. It's meditation. We in our modern, materialistic world are off key, we are off track, our centre is wrong. That is why we have the problems we have today. That is why we within the Church have got to get back on track again. If we don't we will not have the strength to go through the trials that are coming on the Church before it has to flee. It really is that serious.

Note these scriptures: Luke 18:1, where we were taught always to pray and not faint. I Thessalonians 5:17 where it talks about prayer without ceasing. Ephesians 6:18 praying always. I Peter 4:7 watch unto prayer. Luke 21:36 pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape. Praying always, constant. It is he that dwells in the secret place of the Most High. He is the one that will be under the shadow. Romans 12:12 continuing instant in prayer.

Listen When God Talks (PLAY FROM 1:12:15)

Back in James 1:16: "Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." (James 1:16-17)

If we turn over to I John 1:5: "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." (I John 1:5)

There is not a shadow of turning. There is no darkness whatsoever. He is perfectly and totally Holy. If you go back to the gospel of John, John 1:4:

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness [could not grasp it]. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe." (John 1:4-7)

But notice, it was the life in verse 4, and the life was the light of men. It was the life, the the living Holy Spirit within Christ, living within Him. The Father was in Him. Turn over to John 3:34:

"For he whom God hath sent [apostlised] speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." (John 3:34)

It is coming from the Spirit of God, working within the Christ. He was referring to Christ as the One who had been sent. If we look back in James 1:17:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

It is the Father of lights. Turn to II Corinthians 3:14:

"But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it [that heart] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [it is through the very Spirit of God in us that allows that to be taken away] But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." (II Corinthians 3:14-18)

So we are being changed into the image of God. We are becoming God's children. That is what is actually going on. That is what is happening. He is the faithful Creator, and through the trial this is happening. So when we go back to James 1:17 it says:

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear..." (James 1:17-19)

Do you see what he is saying there? We are begotten through the Word of truth and that Word of truth is what we've read within scripture, yes. But within the trial we are being taught by God, who is speaking to us through the trial. It says: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear..." (James 1:19) It is not just hearing the Word of God that we read in some dry, dusty way. It is this faithful Creator that is working with us through the trial, developing a perfect work that we might be perfect and entire, lacking nothing. So be swift to hear and listen to what He is saying to us. We must allow Him - the faithful Creator -to mould us.

"...slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20)

If we are angry about it, if we become a double-minded man, angry that we happen to be going through a difficulty, and we do not recognise this, then it says the wrath of man is not going to work the righteousness of God. It is the righteousness of God that He is interested in. He is the faithful Creator, creating in us His master Creation, and we have got to listen as we go through whatever we happen to be going through, asking for wisdom in faith, trusting in God, and keeping in contact with God, praying continually, so that we can understand why certain things are happening. So that we have that spread, that character of God. James 1:21:

"Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and [overflowing of evil], and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your [beings]. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:21-22)

We read that and we think, oh well, it's only talking about reading what it says in scripture and doing what it says in scripture. It does mean that, yes, but that Word is actually speaking to us also through the trial. It is God working with us in that trial, so that we take the words of scripture and make those words live. We put the very Holy Spirit with them and the faith that comes from that Spirit and we walk the way we need to walk, faithfully. If that is the case, we are in contact with God, we have a relationship with God. James 1:23:

"For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:23-25)

Now it's interesting that word 'blessed' is makarios. Remember, Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus years ago? His name in Greek means blessed. The interesting thing the part of the word 'chara' (Strong's 5479) means 'joy'. What does it say? You count it all 'chara' when you fall into different trials. This man shall be blessed, be happy, be joyous in what he is doing. That is how it's done. You walk in faith through the trial. You count it all joy when you fall into different types of trial. You have this range of trials because by praying for wisdom, by having that relationship with God, we are able to walk in a certain way. In Hebrews 12:1 it says:

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God [He's made it]. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, [resisted as He had!] striving against sin. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children [the faithful Creator, the faithful Father is dealing with us], My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons [you don't have a father]. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure [it was for the father's benefit, so often, we as parents are doing it for our own benefit, for our own peace and quiet, in carnal households that is the generally the main reason chastisement is given]; but he for our profit [this is the Father we have, this is the faithful Creator that we have, that He is actually creating in us], that we might be partakers of his holiness." (Hebrews 12:1-10)

Now that's the purpose of trials. That's the purpose of correction through trials. If we go on in James 1:26 it says:

"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain [it literally means chewing, this man's religion just chews on him, it is as if he is chewing and there is nothing there]. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:26-27)

Now I would like to just read a little bit more from this article on ‘Christians Have lost Their Power!’ It brings out what Mr Armstrong says so often; the Holy Spirit comes in, but it has got to flow like water. Part of it then has to go back to God. We have got to pray to God in faith, nothing wavering, asking for wisdom. Part of it has got to go back to neighbour. We have got to make sure we visit the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, and keep ourself unspotted from the world. As Mr Armstrong says here in this article:

"Yes, His [Christ's] was a life of DOING - but doing what? Doing GOOD! Serving, helping OTHER PEOPLE! There was divine power - with it He performed MIRACLES - He HEALED all the sick - He cast out demons and had discernment to know when a person was demon-possessed.

"His was the POWER of the Creator God! The very same POWER that produced all creation when "He spoke"! GOD is a miracle-working God! With that POWER, which came from the Father and within Jesus, He stilled the storm, He turned water to wine, He fed 5,000 with only five loaves and two fishes!"

That is how it is done. If we are going to go through the type of things that are prophesied, we have got to have that same power working within us. And we have got to make sure that when we go through trials we handle them properly and allow that Spirit not to just get bottled up, but to actually work. Mr Armstrong goes on in this and he says:

"And the important point is this: WE DO NOT RECEIVE ENOUGH OF THIS DIVINE POWER ALL AT ONCE TO LAST FOREVER."

It doesn't work that way. This is why you pray hundreds of times a day. It is a constant walk with God.

"Remember, Jesus said this power from God SHALL FLOW OUT from our innermost being (John 7:38) This POWER of God is active - dynamic! It is not static. You cannot get a supply of God's Spirit and then bottle it up within you. This power comes into you from God daily! It circulates from God into YOU and then out from you in love, in faith, in joy, in patience, - even in performing miracles.

"You might have been imbued with this power yesterday, and then depleted of it today!"

It comes and goes. So when we read this in James, we realise that every good and perfect gift comes down from God, and He is going to work with us in our trials. The way that is done is through the very Spirit of God. That Spirit we are going to have to have, and to have in a miraculous way in the future.

As it says in Psalm 91 "He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High."" If we are doing that, we are continually in contact with God. We are continually talking with Him. If we are praying and fasting when necessary to draw close to Him, if we are doing whatever we can, then we'll will abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

We are learning, and He as a faithful Creator will work with His master creation that He is currently engaged in.