Baby Girl and #2 Son gave me the audio cds for Beth Moore’s latest Bible Study: James-Mercy Triumphs for Christmas. When the package arrived in the mailbox from LifeWay, I was thrilled. Following the directions I was given, I placed the package under the Christmas tree, but ran to the local LifeWay store to pick up the workbook and threw it under the tree, too.

It’s difficult for me to take 8 actual weeks of Bible Study, so it suits me best to dive into the deep end of the pool of an 8 week study for about 10-14 days.  I take a deep breath, hold my nose, and dive in all the way.  I’ve had to come up for air several times to catch my breath from wrestling sessions, crying sessions, and the frequent sessions that just take my breath away.

James, an unbeliever until Jesus appears to him post resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:4-7), rushes to the front of the influence line among the Christian Jews in Jerusalem.  Knowing my own brothers, I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when Jesus shows up to his unbelieving brother.  Jesus being human as well as God, I wonder if he would have taken the shot of “I tried to tell ya?”  Makes me laugh, just thinking about it.

So far I have washed myself in the words through week 5 and continue to ask myself, “Am I living the faith I believe?”  “Is my world any better because I am a follower of Jesus?”  James’ words are pointed directly to the believers, so I can’t count myself out.  He must have been a practical guy, and one who was unafraid to hit the big struggles.  No ‘namby-pamby’ to do list, but accountability wrapped in barbed-wire.

Being the beginning of a new year, the Sunday paper is filled with ads for workout equipment and apparel.  I think I’ll save us some money and try to wear the words of James as 2012 begins:

Consider it pure joy when I face trials “of many kinds.”

If I lack wisdom, I should ask God (and not Google, or my friends, or the latest newscast, or an app on my IPhone).

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.”  (I am my own worst enemy in more ways than one.)

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.  (Oh, for goodness sakes!)

And that’s just the first chapter of James.