What God Taught Us

What God Taught Us

 

JAMES 1

     “There are so many great reminders in James 1...but the one that stood out to me was to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. We live in a busy world, and so many times we hardly listen before we are quickly spouting off words and then becoming frustrated by the outcome. Such a great reminder to start off the week with listening ears, a slow tongue, and a soft heart.”

 

 

     "This year has been by far the most challenging year of my life. As parents we have seen the ugliness of anxiety and depression try to take over one of our boys. In our darkest moment in late March when we were scared beyond belief, I read the passage in James 1:2 and held on tight......God intervened in our hearts and the heart of our son. He brought good out of what I pray will be our darkest days. I know God will use this in our son and one day this will be something he can share to impact or help others. This is also a passage I have used to explain my beliefs to non Christians. Non believers I know have a false sense that Christians should have a perfect life if they believe in a God who can perform miracles. God never promised us a trial free life but He does promise us light after darkness. I'm not sure what I would do without His promise in times of darkness. I can't change the world from non belief but I can rest knowing He loves us more than we could ever know."

 

 

     "I am currently going through my own personal trials and the beginning of this chapter really hit me as I find it hard to find joy in this storm. But then, I think of the song "I'll praise you in this storm," a song that brings out raw emotion when heard and sung. At the end of each storm there is light and beauty. I know that my trials are for a reason. 'The testing of your faith produces perseverance.' So I will do my best to look at my trials with joy in wondering what beauty lies ahead of my perseverance."

 

 

     "James 1 is a reminder of a common phrase I often have to remind myself of which is that grace is opposed to earning not effort. I think it's really easy for me to continue sinning because I can say that well God looks at me and sees that I'm covered in the blood of Jesus and keeps no record of wrong which is true but it's not the end. This chapter is a reminder that there is more to Christianity than grace. When I first read this chapter it was a little crushing. Like here's James coming in kicking me while I'm down. Like I know I'm a sinner James why are you reminding me how much of a sinner I am? But then after reading John's thoughts it really struck me that this chapter has so much encouragement in it. Christianity doesn't end with Jesus' resurrection, He planned for us to be a part of this beautiful story. We are part of transforming the world and that's pretty awesome. But man James really had to throw that verse in about how human anger is not righteous after I've used Jesus flipping tables probably too many times to justify my anger."

 

 

     "As a mother of 8, I am often too quick to become angry at my children's behavior, but I need to understand that my human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Praying I will be slow to speak and slow to become angry, but quick to listen, especially to my heavenly father as I seek to raise up followers of Christ."


JAMES 2

     "James words are so direct and easy to comprehend. Unfortunately his charge is not easily carried out. He clearly outlined our role as Christians to take care of the vulnerable (widows/orphans) and again here in chapter 2 in treating everyone like they matter, because they do! What stark contrast between my worldly view and tendency to form relationships with people that could potentially benefit me. Great reminder today!"

 

 

     "I'm currently at a work conference with a group of team members. The experience has not gone the way I expected and instead of keeping with my routine of praying and reading scripture, my focus has been fixated on the negative. I find myself reflecting on my own actions and regret the missed opportunities I had on speaking and acting on my truth to enhance the overall experience."

 

 

     "I have been wrestling with how to handle a hurt of being mistreated all night and morning. Through the scripture, I can clearly see why I am upset, but through Trey's thoughts, I am now able to shift my perspective to God’s. I will spend the day in prayer over what He wants me to do."

 

 

     "When I read James 2:22 about Abraham's faith and actions working together, and his faith being made complete by what he did, a little light bulb went off in my head. The times I am most in tune with the holy spirit is when I'm most motivated to do out of love. Unfortunately, I let busyness get to me and become so self focused and let the focus entirely become about my to do lists and needs. I really would like to get back into reading the Bible daily and studying James together as a church has really motivated to do that."

 

 

     "In a corporate environment, especially in a setting where I am an individual contributor as opposed to a leader with direct reports, it is easy to get caught playing corporate politics where positioning yourself with the 'right' people, strengthening relationships with people of power, high position or influence is advantageous to one's career development. However, as James (and Trey) point out, this is sinful and not how God would envision my interaction with others. Whereas, I may spend time with a director or leader to help my position, I want to make a conscience effort to turn the attention off of myself and toward God and how he would use me in the workplace. Instead I want to focus on interacting and enriching the lives of those in the office who may be overlooked, neglected or are struggling."

 


JAMES 3

     "As someone who is much more comfortable communicating via the written word rather than the spoken one, I've always felt that James wasn't really addressing me about the 'poison' of my tongue. After pondering this again today, it came to me (or rather was revealed to me by the Holy Ghost) that the physical 'tongue' can't do a thing until the brain gives it what to say. Revealed even further was the fact that our brain can only reflect what is in our hearts. The bottom line for me is that we don't need a tongue transplant or brain surgery; what we need is deep soul-searching and heart cleansing. David said it best when he asked God, 'Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Ps.51:10 KJV"

 

 

     "I needed to read this today. I'm currently in the midst of a battle between many people in one of my workplaces and insults, harsh words and accusations are being slung around freely. I feel and have felt the urge to throw my own words in there. However, I have chosen to keep my words positive and try to remind them that we all have a story. As time goes on with this battle, it becomes more difficult and I'm so thankful to have read these words this morning. It has given me that extra boost to keep going and realize that there are other ways to use my words."

 

 

     "In my experience, the same evil fire that flows from our tongues also can flow from our fingertips. We (I) can be quite vicious when ranting via text message or email, although I don't often let the same harshness surface in a face-to-face conversation. These electronic media somehow remove my inhibitions, and I've learned the hard way that hiding behind the keypad while releasing my anger or frustration can be comparable to firing a cruise missile with a nuclear warhead from hundreds of miles away. For me, it's more difficult to be mean, hateful or sarcastic when I'm looking my 'target' straight in the eye."

 

 

     "'Two kinds of Wisdom' and 'Taming the tongue does not mean silencing my voice' POWERFUL!!!
I come from a very strong personality, women dominated, Hispanic background. I learned early on that my voice was the key to my empowerment; an inheritance passed down from mother to daughter. The problem, it wasn't positive empowerment I was gaining. I learned this later on in life, but now my reflections have caused me to lose my voice. James 3 is my 'aha moment'....finding the balance of when and how to use my voice is the question, the goal. How to use my voice for true empowerment: keep in mind what matters the most, and keep God on the tip of my tongue."


JAMES 4

     "I can so relate to this and every word was something I need a daily reminder of. So often I try to control every piece of my life. I will spend countless hours researching any topic you can think of from foods, kids, etc when I should just spend more time releasing my strong hold to Jesus, which will in essence grow my reliance and relationship with Him. Research provides information but my Savior provides wisdom that can't be replicated."

 

 

     "I need to be reminded as it says in James to curtail my mouth and be a better Listener to others, I do not like gossip but hear this alot, the Bible teaches me not to participate. I read these verses a couple of times this week and something new pops up. I love that."

 

 

     "Wow. This was a straightforward, cut to the chase passage. Katie's experience and what she wrote really spoke to me too. Self-sufficiency was my new year's resolution this year. I felt the slow death of my neediness, codependency and unhealthy relationships. So the cure? Self sufficiency. A performance driven, I'll change my ways and prove to you I can be strong and different life. Then I can be loved and given another chance. Maybe that would change everyone's mind about me. Self sufficiency, all for the wrong reasons of course. Pretty sure still highly co-dependent. I started attending the Connect group Starting Point at Summit a couple weeks ago. (And reGROUP in December) It's really stirring things within me. I don't think my self sufficiency is working out as planned. I'm beginning to see my patterns, my double-minded ways of being, my sin, my need for God instead of my attempts of self correcting. I can't do it. I'll admit I'm relieved but I'm also still very resistant to rely and lean and let go. Thanks for letting me share."

 


JAMES 5

     "As I read through this particular, thought-provoking part, I thought how hard it's been for me to be vulnerable. Coming from an extremely dysfunctional family, vulnerability was a target for emotional abuse, criticism and judgment. You learn very quickly not to be a target so I learned to be quiet and not easily seen. This meant safety and protection from the arrows. But it also imprisoned me in my own world of fear, isolation and loneliness. But I was safe! Not really. In relation to God as Father, this has been a huge struggle to be myself and ask for help, without believing it would bring shame, criticism and a sense of not being good enough. But as I've grown older, God has been showing me how much He truly loves me just as I am, warts and all. It's a struggle every day because those voices and experiences built a very high wall in my mind and my actions as well as my heart. Part of my process is realizing I need that vulnerability in relationships but in saying that I know I risk judgment and rejection. Healing is a two-edged sword though. I’m not there yet, but God is faithful and patient with me and my hope/healing is coming."

 

 

     "The beautiful community that James is leading us to: praying, singing, confessing and supporting with patience and perseverance."

 

 

     "This chapter makes me realize how important it is to keep my eyes and heart on Jesus, not to let the petty parts of the day take my joy. No matter how big or small rich or poor we are all equal to God. The idea of confessing our sins is to not only to ask for forgiveness, but to grow and learn from them, just as a child. The truth is God loves us and he gave us Jesus, so that through our journey we can grow with his love for us, and for us to grow in his words of love."

 

Unbroken Fellowship

Unbroken Fellowship

The Apostle John says that if we confess, then the Father will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. And then James, in the fifth chapter of his epistle, gives us an additional but equally profound encouragement: we are to confess our sins to our fellow believers. This, I believe, takes confession to a whole new level, and is probably one of the more neglected commands of the New Testament.

Delivered

Delivered

“You do not have because you do not ask God.” —James 4:2

I am a very big fan of self-sufficiency. If I can do something for myself, I will do it with gusto, and if I can’t do something for myself, that something will likely just go undone. Truly, I would rather neglect something of importance than express any sort of reliance on someone else.

Ignite The Refining Fires

Ignite The Refining Fires

The third chapter of James is a difficult one for me to read and absorb. Anyone who knows me knows that I struggle with taming my own tongue. I tend to say what I think, express what I believe, and do so with the volume turned up to 11 and with little regard for consequences.

Partial To

Partial To

Don’t show partiality. James says that in chapter two. This is something I struggle with because I think it’s in our nature to gravitate toward things that we like, things that are comfortable, things that make us feel valuable or important. I’m partial to things like blueberry pie, bacon cheeseburgers, and cereal that turns regular milk into chocolate milk.

Transformed

Transformed

I have to admit, I love the contrast between how Paul wrote his letters and James’ own letter. Paul gives thoughtful greetings and prayers that are often predictive of what he will address in the body of his letter. It is beautiful and brilliant. James simply gets to it.