January in James

James is a family name, on both my side of the family, and my husband’s side. My dad’s first name is James, my brother is Aaron James, and my husband's grandfather was James Douglas. And now, James, the brother of Jesus has become a dear and beloved family member to me as well.

This year, my hope is to select 12 books of the Bible and spend a month in each book, soaking myself in the Word, getting to know 12 of the 66 books very well. This month, I began in James, believed to be written by the half-brother of Jesus. And God had such treasures waiting for me there. Truth is, I’m still mining them out! I’m going to have a really hard time stopping James here in about a week to move onto book #2 (still deciding what that will be).

Let me encourage you, Brother or Sister, to get your hands on a copy of James (or multiple copies—even better!), and READ THE BOOK. Read it out loud. Read it in short sessions while cooking or folding clothes. Read it in the bathroom. READ IT!

ARE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING TRUE ABOUT YOUR LIFE?
If you have reached a spiritual plateau and are hungry for growth,
If you are struggling through a crisis or trial,
If you need wisdom for your situation,
If you find that you read Scripture, but struggle to apply it,
If you find that you prefer rich people over the poor,
If you have difficulty showing compassion and mercy,

If your actions don’t fully reveal the faith in your heart,
If you can’t seem to control the words that spill out of your mouth,
If you feel the struggle within yourself between holiness and evil, but feel helpless within that struggle,
If you need to know how to draw near to God,
If you have found God’s plans to be different from your own,
If you tend to judge people quickly,
If you struggle with a love for money,
If you are in the low times of life, the valleys, the difficulties,
If you are sick and need healing,
If you need faith- faith in action, faith in prayers, faith in your daily walk,
If you just aren’t sure God is trustworthy or faith-worthy, particularly in the hard times,
IF ANY OF THESE APPLY TO YOU, READ JAMES.

{Now, I should add one disclaimer: this book is addressed to the church. James writes in a very direct manner- intended for believers, so if you aren’t a follower of Jesus, or you aren’t sure, that is something you need to take to God and discuss with Him first. Settle your struggle of faith. Of course, non-Christians are still welcome to read the book of James, but it won’t make as much sense as it would to someone with faith in Jesus.}

“Few things would do more to revitalize present-day Christians than a determined effort on the part of believers to take James seriously and put his teachings into practice,” wrote Curtis Vaughan. In his commentary, he noted that the book of James “exhibits greater likeness to the teachings of Jesus than any other book in the New Testament.”

Take a few minutes and dig in. If your Bible has headers, flip through and see which part of James might apply to your situation and read that section. Or just start at the beginning and read it straight through. James is a short book. I read the entire thing out loud last night in less than 15 minutes.

The NavPress study guide says this: “By faith we are reborn into the family of God… but God wants more than justified infants; He wants mature daughters and sons… James’s exhortation is a challenge to Christians of every age to keep growing up.” I believe you’ll find something God intends just for you today in the book of James. This book will challenge and encourage you- strengthen you and increase your faith. It has certainly done that for me, and I pray that it will be so for you.

2 comments:

Paula said...

What a GREAT idea to go through a book a month!!! I will be doing this with you (if you don't mind). Not sure if you saw my commentary on what I discovered Reading through James.
http://heartyworks.blogspot.com/2007/01/would-you-be-allowed-to-live.html

I will continue reading through James this month and look forward to knowing what book you choose next and your insights from it as well!!!

Vondra said...

Well said.