I almost did not write anything, I have been juggling studying and traveling to gun shows for Wicked Jester. The journal insights did not really have anything in depth short of me ‘thinking on paper’ about my Bible studies, then I thought how could I make it personal, applicable. First, my study methods:

  • Reading a chapter in my NIV translation study Bible, highlighting what sticks out at me.
  • Then the many days afterward, I pick apart the meaning of the verses or the group if they build into context.

I do this while reading the more literal NASB translation, checking cross-references, and occasionally checking the study notes if I am still stuck. Then I do an overview where I paraphrase what I got out of the chapter.

Since the third chapter of James rocked my world, I decided to study the entire book and it is very convicting. The first chapter teaches to take joy in life’s tests; they show the strengths and weaknesses in someone’s character and faith. Will we compromise? The root of many of people’s issues is a lack of self-control.

Then I read advice that I had seen in ConCom, listening actively, in fact the book was looking at the monkey problems of status, hierarchy and the way things are done. It dealt with anger a lot, thinking before you speak (advice my dad preached), controlling your temper since most of the time it is self-righteous as opposed to righteous. James was also adamant against being a ‘Sunday Morning Christian’, writing about studying, dwelling in and applying the Word.

He then wrote that a person’s words and behavior betrays their religious depth. I liked that, I do not want to be an intentional hypocrite. I will make mistakes, I am human, and they have to be unintentional and as rare as possible. I am saved, not perfect, no matter what my ego tells me. Which is where the second chapter of James starts, on not letting it go to your head.

It warns about not looking down on those who have not done anything to us, judging their status and worth. This really spoke to me since in a moment where I was overwhelmed I did just that. I did not know where to put a volunteer in my ministry and brushed them off. When I see them, again I will apologize. The number one rule is to love others as you love yourself. Something to think about in proportion to one’s ego.

James warns not to judge, that I will be judged by the same measure that I judge with. Scary since I am very critical at times. He hammered at me again about not just paying lip service, do it, and live it; working in faith according to the Will of God, actually walking the walk. I am enjoying the book; it speaks to me a lot.

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