Blessed Are the Steadfast

Jane Olson

READ : James 1:5-18 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. (v. 12) James tells us that the steadfast endurance of suffering leads to a crown of glory. But when we actually have to go through it, we tend to forget this. Instead, we often doubt God's goodness. We find ourselves asking, “If God loves me, then why am I experiencing this?” This question is illuminating because it can expose the true nature of our relationship with God. …

Joy in Suffering

Jane Olson

READ : James 1:2-4 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. (v. 2) North Americans like to avoid suffering. As a culture, we spend a great deal of time and energy inoculating ourselves against discomfort, which is why even minor inconveniences, like waiting in line at the grocery store, can feel like agony. The opening verses of James' letter should bother us. James makes two claims that are antithetical to our way of life: …

The Communion of Saints

Jane Olson

READ : Philippians 4:21-23 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household. (v. 22) On Thanksgiving Day, Christians gather in churches to thank God for their freedoms, including the freedom to worship. It’s something we often take for granted. But even as we celebrate this American holiday, it’s important to remember that we belong to a greater community: the global church. Paul sends greetings to the Philippians from the saints in Caesar’s household. Being a Christian in Caesar’s …

Generous Giving

Jane Olson

READ : Philippians 4:14-19 A fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. (v. 18) Sometimes we need a special reminder, a day of Thanksgiving, to prompt us to be generous. Thanksgiving is a time when many churches hold special collections for ministries or missions, and it’s also the time when food pantries collect a majority of their donations for the year. But Paul encourages us to be generous no matter what our circumstances or the time of year. …

Developing Endurance

Jane Olson

READ : Philippians 4:10-13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (v. 13) My friend Clarke is a member of the Canadian triathlon team and is currently training for the 2012 Olympics. Every day, he wakes up at 5 a.m. to swim a mile. In the afternoon, he bikes 100 kilometers. I once asked him if he ever takes a day off. No, he said, because taking a day off wouldn’t just set him back one day; …