““All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. . .  The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”  (Isaiah 40:6b, 8, NIV)

In the spring of each year, we are reminded of the splendor of nature as lawns and fields green-up; and flowers add color to every scene.  It is wonderful to behold, but we know it lasts only for a season — even if it is repeated next spring.

Isaiah reminds us that we, too, are like the grass and the flowers: Magnificent in many ways, but also fleeting.  In the context of more than 6,000 years of recorded history, our singular 70 or 80 years of life is less than a dim flash.

Isaiah also reminds us that though we are less than a vapor, God’s word endures for all of time and eternity.  If we desire any permanence in what we do or say, it must be enveloped in and consistent with God’s word.  Such consistency comes only through the reading and the heeding of scripture.  – Luther

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“Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.”  (James 5:13b, NIV)

James reminds us that the rhythm of a disciple’s life is not all labor and toil.  There are many periods of happiness and joy.

As we ought to run to God when trouble arrives, we ought also to give thanks to God when our path is smooth, the weather is fair, and our neighbors are at peace with us.

The natural person attributes the presence of these things to many sources other than to God: Luck, one’s knowledge or skill, or the favor of others.  The disciple sees only God (even when God is acting through others) as the source of all blessings.

James recommends this response: Praise God in song.  Indeed, “praise God from Whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below. . . ”  – Luther

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“Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray. ”  (James 5:13a, NIV)
Prayer is not the first resource for many of us when we encounter trouble — although we keep it in reserve as a “last resort.”  We want first to get free of trouble with our own resources (e. g. intelligence, cunning, friends, wealth. . .).
For the disciple of Jesus, our heavenly Father is not just our first resource, He is our only resource!
Trouble haunts all of humanity.  Don’t be surprised when it comes.  However, when we run to God, we will be amazed at how quickly the storm passes, and at our composure during the ordeal.  – Luther
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