What to Do WHen the Heat’s Turned Up 1/25/2016

What to Do When the Heat’s Turned Up 

James 1:1-12New International Version (NIV)

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,

To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations:


Trials and Temptations

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

Believers in humble circumstances ought to take pride in their high position. 10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun rises with scorching heat and withers the plant; its blossom falls and its beauty is destroyed. In the same way, the rich will fade away even while they go about their business.

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

The following reflection was taken from bestselling author David Jeremiah’s book What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do.

They came up to the ensign and poured a glass of ice water down his back and threw another in his face. The ensign, who had fallen asleep in the chow hall after five sleepless nights, opened his eyes for a second, just long enough to utter a dull “Thank you, sir.” A moment later his eyes rolled upward and then closed. His head went down again. He didn’t touch his meal.

It’s called Hell Week and is part of the navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition School where sailors are turned into SEALs—Sea-Air-Land commandos. By undergoing a grueling regimen of sleepless days and nights, sensory overload, and physical testing, these men are transformed into some of the toughest human beings in the world.

This final period of torturous physical and psychological training begins on Sunday night with exercising and lying wet on cold steel plates, installed on a nearby pier.

On Monday the six-man teams are ordered to run races with 250-pound Zodiac rubber assault boats balanced on their heads. On Tuesday, with less than an hour of sleep the night before, they have to row those Zodiac boats to Mexican waters and back. On Wednesday the men continue the races with boats bouncing on their heads.

The chance to disenroll awaits each student. All he has to do is ring a certain bell three times and say, “I quit.”

By Thursday everyone is hallucinating. By Friday afternoon the week is over, and the new SEALs are lined up to be checked by a doctor.

Only in terms of the ugliness of war can punishment like this make any sense. By pushing these men to the very brink of insanity during times of peace, the navy is giving them the best chance to be ready to face the cruelty of real war if it comes.

With his first words in this letter, James reminds his suffering brothers and sisters that they should not be surprised when they experience intense periods of testing. He knows that they face a spiritual conflict that will require a toughness learned only through proper instruction and monitored experience. James calls God’s training regimen “various [kinds of] trials” (1:2). As he prepares his friends for the inevitable test, he outlines for them and for us the following five strategies to employ when times of testing invade.


Pastor’s thoughts:

For some, snow is WONDERFUL!!! It can mean a day off from school… unless it falls on a Saturday!! For others, snow is scary. It means being unable to go to the store when necessary, or take a walk around the neighborhood to see friends or seek medical care. For others, it means work. We can be thankful in these days for those who are in snow plows and sitting at emergency response desks as they aid  those who may find themselves in trouble and needing help.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to have a “snow day”, much to my mother’s horror.  As a parent, I began to understand how my mother felt, being shut inside all day with 3 kids! Of course, after 45 minutes of getting them dressed to go outside, after about 5 minutes, I would spend another 45 minutes undressing them because they are COLD! Duh… what did they think snow was like anyway? As a parent, there were times I thought they called a snow day too early. They could have/should have been in school! Then as a teacher, I couldn’t wait for snow days. Stay in bed, under warm blankets and read. Or wear my PJ’s all day and bake. There were those days I knew they should have called a snow day but didn’t… much to my disappointment! Finally, as a pastor, I found myself in the “decision seat.” Will we open church or not? I now have an entirely different view of snow days and the responsibility for calling them. 

Beginning on Friday, the Face Book page for the Baltimore Washington Order of Elders has been busy with “the right thing to do” as far as cancelling services or not! I have to admit, a few of the comments were less than thoughtful or nice! YIKES!!

As you may know, I emailed the church email list to let them know we would make a decision by noon on Saturday. Sure, I was pretty sure we would cancel service. However, I have seen the most secure and trusted weather forecast turn out 180 degrees opposite from what was predicted, so I chose to wait until Saturday.

In the scripture from James, he writes:

12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

Making any decision is not easy. And no matter what decision is made, there is always someone (sometimes many someones!) who find fault that with that decision!  When it is you making that decision, no matter how difficult it may be, it can be hurtful when others become critical.  Yet James encourages us to “persevere under trial, because having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life!”

After consulting with the Leadership Circle, we decided to cancel church on Sunday. I want to thank you for being patient and understanding as we made this decision. We pray you will remain safe and smart in any decision you need to make as far as traveling in this weather. We also pray you will stay close to God, reading God’s word throughout this week until we can meet again next Sunday. (weather permitting!!)


Pastor Denise