Friday, January 31, 2014

James. .Week 4. .Discussion


WOW!! It seems like just yesterday that the kids were headed back to school and we were all fired up to begin a new adventure in God’s word beginning in 1 John. .
I wasn’t sure what the study would bring. .
or how my life would change!
What a ride!! The things that we have read and learned. .
I have loved this method of study. .
Though the typing gets tedious. .
because I always have so many words to say. .
Other than that. .it’s been OK. .
The discussion this week is in answering the questions. .
     Read the book of James in a version that you haven’t read it in be prepared to share what version you used for the last 4 months of your study. .
and which version you chose this week to look at
I used the English Standard Version this week, along with my New Living Translation. .
sometimes the meanings to me are better stated in one version over another. .
or easier for me to conceptualize. .
I hope that you have become familiar with biblehub.com over the last 4 months. .
any time that you question the verse or one translation to another. .
I encourage you to look it up on that site to see all the translations paralleling that particular verse. .
How will book of James CHANGE who you are??
Not just. .what SHOULD I change. .
what WILL I do. .to be in accordance with the will of God. .
The book of James. .
will always impact me forever more. .
about the message of being someone who hears a message. .
and then internalizes it to see how I can change my life to be in tune with the desires of Christ. .
so that I can become an effectual doer. .
Do I see the value in becoming a Doer of God’s word rather than just a hearer??
For sure. .that being said. .
I think it is IMPERATIVE. .
that we remember that GOD is the one who does the changing in our hearts. .
because if we rely on ourselves to make the changes. .
we will always fall. I also think it will be important for us to SEE ourselves in the mirror of the truth of God’s word. .
and identify WHAT needs to change. .
and then keep God in the solution of the changing by way of reading, praying, and keeping ourself abiding in Him! And sometimes, in my own life anyway. .
I can acknowledge what needs to change. .
but God chooses to attack/work on another area of my life first. .
by situations or studies or sermons etc. .
Always listen to God with your heart. .
in addition to with your ears. .there IS a difference!

Am I ACTIVELY making steps to changing my behavior (this is different than just ACKNOWLEDGING what I need to change) 
I think that I am actively trying to make changes. .
There are also still times when I KNOW in my heart how I should act or behave. .
and in my human stubbornness. .
flat refuse God. .and handle it in my flesh!
I’m guessing that THAT will be an issue for life. .
but not an excuse!!
Continuing to be a part of women’s groups and be in the word regularly. .
will be steps that I must take to continue to propel myself forward. .
and to not be as likely to stagnate!! 
FINALLY. .The new year is a time for resolutions. .
and BREAKING resolutions. .
What do I resolve to do in my personal time to grow in Christ in 2014 (stay in an active study, join a different study, subscribe to a podcast teacher, read so many chapters or time per week, etc)?? And what steps will I take to be sure that I don’t BREAK that resolution (stay in an active study, solicit a friend in Christ to be accountable to WEEKLY in church or a study or via email etc)
This is the most faithful studying that I have ever undergone. .
and it was a study, not guided so much by some author. .
as it was guided by my soul and my heart. .
And that was the biggest difference of all. That was an incredible experience to me!!
I not only learned a ton about the things within the books studied. .
I learned so much about the Old Testament and how closely it correlates. .
which was a good step for me!! 
My goals for 2014 include. .
a new audio study that I started last month in the gospel of John. .
the continued Sunday School women’s group learning our way through Genesis (which has been an incredible journey too. .if ever anyone wants the name and information as an idea I’ll gladly give that over!!) 
 I intend on taking a 1-2 month break from the intensive book by book studying. .
that will give me time to read through some other books that I have ordered. .
as well as to read some others areas of the bible that I have neglected the last 4 months. .
and give me a little time away from the intense research and typing habit that I have developed. .
Our youth group is on the verge of some really cool things coming up. .
We did a mission trip a few weeks ago to OKC. .
which I thought was AWESOME!!
And we will be continuing on kind of a mission oriented theme for the next couple months. .
I have been using this extra time to help them plan a 30 Hour Famine taking place in February. .
We have learned that 9500 CHILDREN die. .
Every. Single. Day.
From HUNGER related causes. .
WOW!!
The kids. .
And ME. .
are each trying to raise money in a partnership with the great thinkers of World Vision. .
And our end of the deal. .
includes taking 30 hours out of our own lives to abstain from FOOD!!
We are hoping to do some service projects around our own little community to take the edge off of our hunger. .
And use the time to pray and worship our Lord in song and fellowship!
I'm not really sure who has really been reading and following these posts. .
especially in this last month (it's always the hardest!)
But. .
if you feel led to help our team out with a donation. .
please click on this link below. .
it will take you to our team page. .and you can either click on a team member's name to donate to their personal goal. .
Or just click donate at the bottom of the team page. .
which will go toward our total team goal!
http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR?fr_id=2540&pg=team&team_id=65588&captid=1452974
100% of the money goes to fight hunger across the world in some very awesome ways!!

I think it will be a great way to understand in a very small way. .
how it feels to go to bed hungry. .
and the stomach pangs that people in underserved areas across the world experience very regularly!! Stay tuned for that!!
In the event that God has gifted you with the gift of prayer for others. .
Mark your calendars for February 22. .
That will be when our famine will go underway! We'd take ALL the prayer we can get. .
We'd also take lots of prayers in the fund raising process. .
Fundraising is always hard. .because our goals. .
aren't always that important to others. .
EVEN when it means making the world a better place!!
 Finally. .
one of the girls from our email study and I are headed to an Extraordinary Women conference in Tulsa at the end of February. .
I always LOVE that type of experience. .
it is sooooo good to be in an auditorium of thousands or hundreds or even TENS of women. .
all praising God. .singing from their hearts. .
and listening to God’s word and the experiences and teachings of Godly and scholarly women!!
 If you might be interested in meeting us there. .let me know. .
You’ll not regret it, I know THAT!  
 
I think by the first full week of March, we will be ready to start in on the book of Ephesians. .
I am thinking maybe a 3 month study at that time. God is really leading my heart to a study in the gospels. .
Initially I figured it would take me a good 3 months to study each gospel. .
times 4 gospels. .that will take me a year. .
A written plan is pretty essential to the way that I operate. .
when I am left to fly by the seat of my pants (which I CAN do by the way if I HAVE to)
I tend to go in circles.
So THOSE goals. .
take me into the year 2015 J
God willing as we have learned from James, right?
 
Please comment or message me if you might be interested in going from blog study. .
to email study. .
There will likely be only a few of us that will start into the new study in March. .
It has actually been a month now since the email study has ended. .
and I am missing the extensive study TERRIBLY!!
I have gotten some other books read. .
and continue to be in the Word many times in the week. .
But it just hasn't been the same!!
 
I DO hope. .
that if you have benefitted from this online study. .
That you prayerfully consider jumping into the next one as well. .
I haven't decided about posting the next study to my blog. .
But certainly will if someone lets me know that they would prefer to study via that link in technology!!
Looking forward to hearing the rest of your responses this week. .
And I thank you ALL. .
for being a part of this study!!
Have a great weekend!!
Love Melanie

3 comments:

Robin said...

How can I say THANK you enough for being BRAVE enough to do this on your blog...and for TAKING all the time to study and do research for those of us that are way too lazy...but, boy do I love reading what you post for us to think over, read -- dig a little deeper, ponder...I still fall back to my good ole NIV...'my' Bible that is familiar to me, full of stuff, and underlines and ( I am old and set in my ways and don't want to 'LEARN' a a new Bible)...several years ago after reading an article on extroverts and introverts... I self-diagnosed myself as a CLASSIC introvert...so this type of study is GREAT for me...I don't have to leave home, people don't have to watch me if I speak or notice if I stutter...and I can't see them roll their eyes..
Did I learn from this??? HOW could a person NOT learn from this...do I practice what I learned...NOT so much... I am banking on God's grace for forgiveness for not following through...I fall in the trap of excuses...eek...I am human...I am guilty of acting just like the people that ANNOY me so...all of the faults and shortcomings and sins I point out (to myself) in them...eek I TOO am guilty...therefore I pray and study....I am cautious about WHO I let know WHAT..and a couple of times I pushed publish then remembered THIS is a public blog...eeks someone might KNOW some dirt on me...YIKES...well, maybe something I experienced will help someone else deal with whatever life brings their way...
To You..I say..You have the gift of teaching...but alas... I love to see and hear about your family as well..and your encouragement in the garden is like blossoms to my less than green thumb...follow your heart and count me in for an email study....I will be a student again...I love it when I can participate as much or as little as I want...but still read and enjoy the discussions of others....Teach ON....and keep us posted on the youth group... I may try the doing without food with you...What a great example....Blessed by you..

Connie Westrup said...

Digging into the Word is our lifeline. Altho I haven't posted much, nor have I read as much as was recommended, I ALWAYS found God alive and speaking to me. Instead of seeing others through the scriptures (you know that urge to change others first) I began to see myself in the words on the pages... it was not pretty. God has been wrestling with me.. or is it I have been wrestling with God... to change in certain areas... I'm a work in progress... Praise HIM for that!
Robin, I'm also an introvert.. my cozy home is my safe place, my husband is my safe person, my dogs are my friends, my kids/grandkids are my joy. If I could forever live in seclusion with that picture, I would be a happy woman! BUT I do love to study face to face because if forces me to open up and holds me accountable. There is something wonderful about sitting around a table talking about scripture. Thanks Mel for EVERYTHING!

Melanie said...

Ladies, thank YOU. .for giving me encouragement to keep going forward. .for your blatant and unashamed honesty in the posts that you felt led to write. .I love that. .Robin made it the whole four months when she was concerned that she wouldn't be able to commit to that length of time. .and I love. .that Connie came along with the study, among other studies that she is involved in. .as a SUPPORT and ENCOURAGER for me!! You ladies have blessed MY heart, more than you know. .and I too, hope that someone, somewhere, behind their computer screen without spiritual support or a loving church family like we all enjoy. .will find special blessings from God as they use this tool to draw closer to their Lord!! To GOD be the glory of all!!

Ps. .Robin. .we would LOVE for you to do the famine in the privacy of your home. .and pray for us while you do it!! Thanks!!