For those of you who may not know, I have recently started a study of the Book of James. Until last week, I was caught up in Amos and Ephesians, but this past week – the Book of James. The start of this study has been rather interesting in terms of connections and discussions for so many reasons. With that in mind, I will name just a few:
- My Tuesday morning men’s group announced last Tuesday that we are starting a study on the Book of James – first meeting this Tuesday
- There is a newly formed blog life group that announced last Wednesday that they are starting a study on the Book of James (http://vagabondrunn.wordpress.com/) – first posting this Tuesday
- Another blog that I look at from time to time posted last Tuesday a verse from the Book of James – “Pure and undefiled religion before our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world. James 1:27”
- A new friend of mine that I met recently said that his men’s group decided last Tuesday to do a short study on the Book of James – first meeting this Tuesday
- A good friend of mine told me that at his LifeGroup meeting Sunday night a couple, who are leading the Foster/Adoption ministry at COR, came to their home to talk to his group about their ministry’s beginnings and upcoming launch. COR’s ministry flows from James 1:27, and is actually based on Project 1:27 that a church in Colorado started — our Christian calling to care (and not necessarily having to adopt only) for the orphans.
Hmmm… the Book of James and Tuesdays are all over the place
With that being said, following is my personal comments regarding the Book of James. Why I chose to post this way – well this is the format set up by the Blog LifeGroup. Plus it gives me a new way of working through James in a little more detail. In the past, I haven’t look at each verse, one at a time, in this thought provoking way. I have been reading to read, rather than reading to listen…more on that later.
So, with that being said, this is James 1 (from New International Version)
1James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. = As I understand it, from a friend of mine, the word “Greetings” should be read with a big, booming, loud voice… yell it at the top of your lungs… now we are ready to begin.
Trials and Temptations
2 – 3 = As I start out reading James – the word “joy” is not the first word that comes to my mind when I hear the word trial. But then again, I am taking that from today’s point of view. In addition, I learned from a friend of mine in today’s early morning men’s group that trials can have so many means. We tend to think of trials as negative, but they are positive trials as well. Also, I learned today (and I believe it to be true) that in Greek the word trial is actually “genuine.” I mean who thinks about the word joy and trial in the same breath – but looking at it from the point of view of genuine – it really can be joyful. Then again, looking at it from the stand point of trials, we should still look at it as joyful.
4 = I understand the need, but this is not an easy way through life. I understand the thought that I need this to grow closer to God. To mature in my relationship with Him. Anything worth having is a work in progress…and taking from the previous section – not all trials are negative. Some are fabulous – just look for them.
5 = something I need to work on. Funny – I wrote a song that included the words “Pushing me and pulling me being my personal guide.” I can write this, now can I live this.
6 = How many times have I asked for help, received it, yet wished it was a different way. I have a quote that I love that says, “We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking only to learn that it is God shaking them. –Charles West.” I feel that I am moving away from being a wave moving around hopeless by the wind, and I am trying to be more focused and purposeful in my daily life.
7 – 8 = the need to trust… trust… trust; the need to grow…grow… grow…
9 -11 – This verse catches me in that when I have a lot those are the times that I feel I don’t “need” God as much. When I am hurting, tired, scared, I am begging for Him. When I have a lot – how easy it is to fall into the trap of boasting and being proud… feeling superior to my fellow brother. On the other hand, how easy it is to blame God for our problems, to loose faith when we have nothing…to feel abandoned by God in our darkest hour. Yike, I really need to careful on both sides of the line.
12 = What it is all about…
13 = I have never said this, but I have said “God is testing me…” Is he testing me through my daily trials, I know that he is always there when I stumble and look for help. Trusting and growing are part of my life.
14 – 15 = Like so many other things in life, it all starts out so little and continues to grow exponentially. When the little things grows, we loose our life and we start to die… basically they become a cancer of our soul. One little white lie, one little deception. This is not the life I want, nor is it the life I choose to live…but I know it is out there and just waiting to pounce.
16 = It is hard not to be deceived… Who to listen to? What version of the bible should I read? What advisory do I seek out? What makes this person right and that person wrong? I know that God is talking to us daily, but I also know that the devil is doing the same. I struggle with this verse every day.
17 – 18 = – Thank you… time to say thanks in light of our trials, and for our trials. God is there and our blessings flow from Him…
Listening and Doing
19 – 20 = Stop, look and listen… Anger pushes “my” will onto others…not God’s will… this is my interest, not His interest.
21 = Push out “my” thoughts and open myself up to “His” thoughts
22 – 25 = Reading is probably one of the easiest things we can do once we master our language. Comprehending is another matter. There are people who can read tons of pages in a day, but retain very little, while others can read tons and retain tons. In addition, “understanding” is hard, “acting” on what we have heard is hard. We cannot just read to read, we cannot read while looking to see how many pages are left, we need to study and understand. We need to act on what we have heard. We need to live what we have heard. That is doubly hard in a world that is so fast paced. It is easy to not stop and understand what God wants us to hear and see.
25 = Stop, look and listen again. Live in the word don’t just read it. If you do, you will be blessed in so many ways.
26 = Repeating, this is not about me, rather this is about God. Seeing a pattern here… ugh…
27 = Look beyond the four walls of my room, my office, my house, my city, my county, my state, my nation…rather look everywhere and help all of God’s children…not just mine….young children tend to think of me…me… me, as we mature, it is time to think of them, them, them.