Posted by: Pauline | July 10, 2016

Scriptures for Sunday July 17

Psalm 91

This promise of protection in this psalm has comforted many people, and some who routinely face danger carry a copy of it. There are those who see it as a talisman, and tell stories of how it has averted danger. These people seem to put their faith as much in the presence of the talisman as in the presence of God.

Other people find its promise empty, as people of faith are clearly not spared disease or death. In our society, where technology and medicine keep so many dangers from us, people often take health and safety for granted, and have trouble seeing why a good and powerful God would allow any suffering.

However the psalm may be misread or misused by some, it is a powerful reminder of God’s sovereignty in our lives. He does not keep us from all dangers or fears, but He is present with us in them all, and often shields us from harm we had not even known was there.

James 1:12-18

Our natural human impulse is to shrink from tests and trials, but to be drawn to that which tempts us. Both show what kind of people we are by how we respond to them. James reminds us that faithfulness under testing will bring rewards. Giving in to temptation, however – especially if we try to blame God for it – leads to a downward spiral, further and further from God and His blessing.

Romans 5:1-5

When we read in James about being blessed when we endure through trials, the image in our mind may be of stoic endurance, knowing we will be blessed someday but not feeling particularly blessed right now. Paul, however, goes further and makes it clear that we are to actually rejoice in the midst of sufferings. Not because there is anything pleasant about the suffering, but because of the character and hope it develops in us, as we grow in the knowledge of God’s great love for us.

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