Wednesday, May 02, 2012

James: Mercy Triumphs – Week One – A Man Called James

Homework: The homework assignments are quintessential
Beth Moore, flipping back and forth in the Bible to flesh out the background of
Christ’s younger brother. I praise God
for the fact that she teaches this way because it was how I got really familiar
with scripture. These five days laid the
foundation for the rest of our study and I can’t wait until this week’s

Melissa’s Articles: There are three articles sprinkled among this
week’s homework. There is one titled “James
and the Nazirite Vow” and two articles on the Jerusalem Council. I know that I will go back and re-read these
articles again and again. I think this
is a wonderful addition to Beth’s format that will add a deeper dimension to
her already in-depth study.

In “James and the Nazirite Vow”, Melissa brings to light an
unverifiable report by the historiographer, Hegesippus that James neither drank
wine nor cut his hair, which is a large part of the Nazirite vow. I can’t wait to chat with James about this in
heaven! Such information appeals to my
imagination, which immediately wondered how long James’ hair grew. I pictured a face that resembled Jesus’ image
from the Heinrich Hoffman painting with Crystal Gayle-like locks! Once that image began to take shape, I
started thinking about Absalom, who lost his life in part due to his heavy
hair. But I digress… James was also linked with the vow when he
suggested that Paul pay for four men to have their heads shaved after
completing the vow. So, Old Testament
customs were still in practice in the early church. Neat!

“Jerusalem Council, Part One” offers a taste of what we will
be studying later in the week. Melissa
calls Acts 15 one of the most fascinating chapters in the New Testament. At that time, God orchestrated the acceptance
of Gentile believers without them having to convert to Judaism first. When I read this, my initial reaction was,
“So what?” Then I became excited at the
idea that God can set precedent at any time!
And I was truly moved by God’s acceptance of both Jew and Gentile. Now I am asking the Lord what He would like
to do in me that I’ve never seen done before.

“Jerusalem Council, Part Two” piqued my curiosity about
where James came up with the four rules in the apostolic decree. This is another conversation I would like to
have with James when we are together in the kingdom. The significance of Gentile acceptance is
what really blows my mind! Galatians 5:1
(“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free…”) came alive right here with
the Jerusalem Council. And I wonder if
we aren’t letting ourselves be burdened with a yoke of slavery by not obeying
God today. Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to
fight for the freedom You died to give me.

Writing James: There was no direction in week one to write
any of the book James. But I’m thinking
that this will help immensely with the memorization challenge. Now I must decide whether to use pencil and
write from memory or get a calligraphy pen and pretty ink… And there’s nothing saying that I can only do
this once!

Memorizing James: What a wonderful challenge! I signed up for this study at church and went
looking for the viewer guide online for the answers to the video segments in
case I miss a blank. When I flipped
through the guide, I noticed Beth’s request to let her know if we decide to
memorize James. I got so psyched over this!

My memory has had better days, and the Lord has been leading
me to memorize scripture, lately. So
this challenge was an answer to prayer!
Now I am praying for the supernatural ability to soak scripture into my
mind and heart and the very core of my being.
Jesus has been so faithful to remind me that the Holy Spirit already knows
scripture, and He lives in me, so memorizing the book of James will be a
reality in my life! Hallelujah!

As of the class meeting for week one of study, I have
memorized James 1:1-8.

Video Segment: What a terrific teaching on ONLY THE FIRST
VERSE of James! So many things came out
of this session. I don’t want to spoil
it for you, though. I will say that our
greeting for the next several weeks will be chairein! It’s pronounced “ky rain” and means “joy to
you”. This session was technical in
nature, but I now imagine James bearing a resemblance physically to
Christ. I now see James as placing his
big half-brother on a heavenly throne right next to the God he worships. I envision James alone in prayer and weeping because
he understands why Jesus was the way He was when they were children and as they
grew up.

This session gave James skin and feelings and a brain!

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