Life Happens

August 6, 2021

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

Written by Donna Soliz from the Brentwood Campus

I’m grateful for poop. Well, I’ll bet you didn’t expect to read that in your devotional today, did you? Life happens.

In the New Testament, James is the practical brother and writer. He’s the one who will remind you to save a percentage of your paycheck, but he’s also the one who will tell you that your stomach wouldn’t be hurting if you had not chosen to eat five chili dogs for dinner! He will give it to you straight. Although he understands that life is hard, James is quick to remind us that we must choose to react differently than those around us. Time and time again, James points out that, as Christians, we must walk the walk and not simply “talk the talk.” In his big brother way, he points out that we are led into sin by our own desires.

In verse 13, he emphasizes this fact, and then quickly reminds us that God will never tempt us. But test us? Oh yes—God will allow that. For our own good. In the midst of trials and tribulation, we should ask the Lord for wisdom, and then listen for His answer. We will find that when we do, our faith and perseverance grow stronger during these times, and eventually these same trials will produce wonderful fruit in our lives.

In verse 17, James stresses the truth that God never changes. We change—our friends change—the earth changes—but God never does! Since day one, He has only given perfect and good gifts, from the Garden of Eden to the crucifixion and resurrection. Yesterday’s verse reminded us that we should receive everything with thanksgiving. Today’s verse reminds us we have a lot to be grateful for! Everything in fact. Even the hard stuff.

So, was I thrilled the other night, when on my way to the bathroom at 3:00 am, I stepped in a huge pile of doggy poop? No, I was not! But as James, the practical brother would point out, it was my fault that I had chosen to close the bedroom door that night, even knowing that my middle-age dogs are used to having access to their doggy door 24/7.

And as I was cleaning off my foot, I started smiling, thinking how my two young nephews would react when I told them this happened. They would laugh hysterically and ask me to retell it a hundred times—just because they are at that stage where the word poop alone makes them giggle. And for someone to step in poop in the middle of the night? Oh, that’s definitely laughter material! And just thinking about their laughter made me smile and be grateful to God that I have these precious boys in my life. Which led me to laugh and thank God for…you guessed it…POOP!

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. We have a few months before Thanksgiving. Start a gratitude journal now. By the time the family gathers around the table, and it’s your turn to tell what you are thankful for, maybe you too can have an unexpected answer that starts a round of laughter or discussion.
  2. Read the entire book of James in one sitting. Which piece of brotherly advice is the Holy Spirit highlighting for you currently?
  3. Say aloud, “God is Good all the time, and All the Time God is good.” Say it until you believe it!