Wednesday, May 23, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs – Week Four – “Living the Faith”

Chairein! (Ky Rain)

Homework: This week’s homework tackled many tough subjects such as works and belief, teaching and its responsibilities, the tongue and true wisdom. These lessons made me examine my own life and ministry. I am always blown away when the Lord gives me a practical exam right before He teaches me a lesson. And that’s what He did this week. He allowed me to trip over my own bubble-headed pride and then dusted me off and poured healing into my wounds. Hallelujah!

Melissa’s Articles: This week’s articles are thought-provoking, as usual.

“The Unity & Diversity Dance” discusses the cohesiveness of the Scriptures and introduces Martin Luther’s disdain for the book of James. In contrast to Luther’s view, the divine inspiration of the Bible is eloquently embraced by Professor Frank Thielman. The diversity of the four Gospel accounts and the unity of their message is beautifully showcased and offers food for thought on the subject matter as it pertains to Scripture.

In the article, “Luther, Law & Gospel”, I learned a new word: excursus, which means “detailed discussion of some point in a book”. To clarify Martin Luther’s clash with James, Melissa presents intriguing insight into Martin Luther’s ideology that the Bible is made up of two kinds of speech: law and gospel. Bothe work together throughout the Old and New Testaments. Luther equated these kinds of speech with works and faith, respectively, and he struggled with the mingling of the two. How might that belief affect how one would read, interpret and apply James?
“Gentleness & Wisdom” delves into the relationship between wisdom and gentleness that would not be prized as compatible with the ancient Greek culture. Peacemaking and righteousness are also discussed as what Christians should actively practice, not just discuss as many intellectuals may be tempted to do.

Writing James: This week, we wrote James 2:14-3:18.

Memorizing James: This week, I took Beth’s advice and laminated my James memorization pages. I bought some lamination sleeves and sealed them using an iron. I sandwiched the sleeve between two dishtowels and ironed them closed. The sleeves were flimsy to begin with, but hardened nicely after the heat was applied and they cooled. I’ve used this technique to make name badges for Bible study with excellent results! And I’m glad I did this. Now the pages won’t get any dirtier and they will be easy to grab while I’m waiting at a traffic light. They won’t add much weight or bulk to what I’m carrying, so they’re portable. But I must admit that I’ve almost lost my first sheet a couple of times already.

As of the class meeting for week four of study, I have memorized James 1:1-2:3.
Class Project: This week, before class began, our facilitator passed out index cards and asked us to write down how we’ve begun to live our faith since the beginning of this study. We turned them in and she read every one of those encouraging cards during our discussion time.

Video Segment: This week I learned the true meaning of “the good life”. I always knew it was more than the name of a jazz ensemble I used to watch in Virginia Beach. I knew it was more than money and stuff, too. Now I know that it is replete with forgiveness and yielding and action and good fruit. I am refreshed and inspired and encouraged and motivated by this teaching. Thank you, Miss Beth! I love you, sister.

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