Monday, January 14, 2013

If you're struggling to "Consider it pure joy..."


Humbled and thankful to share that a revised version of my script, Brave Girl, has made the list of semi-finalists for the 2013 Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays. I appreciate all the folks at the Kairos Prize, Movie Guide, and the John Templeton Foundation who work so hard to promote Christian Filmmaking.
 
As some of you know, my script for Give My Love to the Chestntut Trees, which was a Kairos Prize finalist in 2009 has been under consideration for some time for a film. In the past month, I've had communication from a producer who's hard at work to make this happen. I don't have anything definite to share, but we're closer than we've ever been to a decision which could provide necessary resources for production to move forward. Oh, how I'd appreciate your prayer support. Many thanks.

One of the options in the Beth Moore Bible study I’m participating in, Mercy Triumphs, is to memorize the book of James. I thought I might give it a shot and see how far I can go. I’ve been repeating the first few verses over and over, but my thoughts seemed to have kept hanging on verse 2, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2).
 
As I mentioned above, a few days ago, I learned my script, Brave Girl, made the semi-finalists for the Kairos Prize again this year. I’d worked hard to revise this script, which made the list the year before, but sometimes revisions don’t always go the way you hope, so I was glad to receive the news. As far as my work goes, it’s an accomplishment for which I am especially thankful.

Less than two hours later, I received a piece of news in another important arena—and it wasn’t good. In fact, the report seared through me like a hot knife in butter. Instead, of shifting my focus to gratitude for what happened earlier, I let the joy drain out of me.  For almost a whole day, I just tried to keep breathing.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds…” (James 1:2) began rolling in my mind, again.

My thoughts seemed to lock on the word, “Consider.”

I turned to the Greek Lexicon in the Strong’s Concordance and the accompanying notes.

The Greek word for consider  in James 1:2 according to this source  denotes “ a belief resting not on one's inner feeling or sentiment, but on the due consideration of external grounds, and the weighing and comparing of facts.”

Consider here is the same word used twice in Philippians 3:8, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ.”

I must confess that my “inner feeling or sentiment” controlled my response to the bad news I received. I didn’t consider it joy, because I let my feelings rule me. My feelings said consider it heartache, consider it disappointment, and consider it discouragement. God says, “Consider it pure joy…”

None of this is news to me. I know not to let my feelings rule me. However, sadly, sometimes, I do. As I memorize God's word through James, I want these words to go deep inside of me, so that all God wants to do in me might become a reality.

When I face “trials of many kinds,” I pray my first response might be that of joy in God’s presence, because I know He holds all things in His hands, and He can use every circumstance in the lives of those who love Him for good. When I consider the truth of God's faithfulness and the power of His word and allow these things to govern me, how can I help but have joy? When I choose to offer up a heart of gratitude for the blessings of even this one day, I can only dance in His presence.

So, here I am facing 2013 with something else to add to my focus of living this moment, now, instead of a future one, which I wrote about earlier in the month. As James states later in Chapter 1, I want to be “mature and complete, not lacking anything,” so I ask God’s help no matter the circumstance to “Consider it pure joy…”

I imagine I am not alone in this struggle. Let me know how, you, too, friends, are allowing this word in James to become part of you.

 

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