I don’t know about you all but the more I learn about this James guy, the natural blood brother of Jesus, the more I like him.

Maybe it’s his shoot-from-the-hip style that attracts me because well, I’d rather not beat around the bush anyway.  Let’s speak some truth and not try to belabor the point, no?

The deeper into this study I go, the more I’m convinced that there’s a strong message for us all – as Melissa stated in “The Genre of James” from Week Two, James is the Proverbs of the New Testament.

There was so much that spoke to me this past week from the video to the homework to writing out the book of James…Here are a few things that made me think from the Week Two video in list style because I’m not sure how to make it all flow together and I have a preschool Valentine’s Day party to attend in 30 minutes. :)

*  Beth calls herself a “freedom nut” – she hates to see people in bondage and just wants everyone to break free from the chains that bind them.  LOVE THIS because I think the higher up, deeper in we walk with God, the more aware of this we are.  It breaks my heart to see people living in cages and oftentimes they don’t even know it.

*  I really enjoyed the part about the 12 tribes of Israel “scattering” throughout the land.  They were scattered because they were being persecuted but it ended up furthering the kingdom because those scattered tribes throughout the land shared the gospel with others and they GREW!  Beth points out that we will often grow as a result of persecution to which I wanted to jump up and down on my bed (where I watch my videos under my electric blanket) and shout “AMEN” but I didn’t because my kids were asleep.

*  Amazing to me that James is thought to be the first book ever written after a 400 year silence from the Old Testament.  Call me dim, but I guess I had never thought much about the order of the New Testament and I thought the books were chronological.  Thinking of last week’s lesson, we know that James didn’t believe that his own brother was actually the Savior until after the resurrection.  There was a private conversation between Jesus and James (of which Beth says is “none of our business” – HA) which sealed the deal for James and paved the way for the rest of the story.  I love how Beth said Jesus might have said “You’re gonna be the first to pick up your pen!”…

*  Our faith is NEVER more than our works.  Live out our faith or it’s not real faith!  (Umm…conviction, anyone?)

The homework was equally as powerful to me…Here are a few snippets that stood out to me as I was working on the lessons:

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives to all generously and without criticizing , and it will be given to him. – James 1:5 

“Planning to go one direction, seeking leadership from God, heading another, and realizing soon that the latter way was the only wise way. Divine intervention is never routine.” (Week Two, Day Two, page 48)

The reiteration of simply asking God for wisdom really hit home to me and I thought looking at verses four and five in tandem was profound.  Four states that “Perseverance must finish it’s work so that you may be mature and complete not lacking anything” – compare this to verse five (above) and we see that if we are lacking wisdom, we are not yet mature and complete.

Which led me to wonder…I mess up all of the time – I lack wisdom in many areas.  Will I EVER be mature and complete?  The answer is yes – but we must SEEK Him as the source for our wisdom and, as verse six tells us, “…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.”  So we not only need to SEEK but we also must BELIEVE AND NOT DOUBT.

Good stuff here, sisters.

I also really loved looking at all of the verses in the Bible that have to do with giving to the poor.  I knew this is extremely important to our God but I guess I didn’t realize HOW important it was until I completed Week Three.

There is so much I would love to still discuss but then this post might be 2,000 words long and you all have lives to live…so lastly, verse 12 states that “Blessed is the one that 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.”

One who perseveres under trial.  I don’t know about you all, but the comfort this gives me is astounding.

And wow…that part of Lesson Five on our gifts?  Love how Beth asked us to analyze the gifts we received in each quarter of our lives – what a blessing to look at how truly “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” (verse 17)

This study is hard-core, sisters.  So thankful to be on this journey with you.  So…what spoke to you this week?  Share the love – help us grow from YOU!!!!

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