BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 5: James 5

Summary of passage:  James addresses the rich saying their misery is coming in the form or rotted wealth and clothes and corroded silver and gold because they have cheated workmen out of wages, lived in luxury and self-indulgence, fattened themselves while others starved, and condemned and murdered innocent men.

Be patient like the farmer is for his crops for the Lord’s coming and stand firm.  Don’t grumble against each other or you will be judged.  Have patience when suffering like the prophets did and persevere.  Wait for what the Lord will bring about. Do not swear oaths. Your word is enough.

Pray when in trouble or happy.  Have others pray for you when you are sick.  A prayer offered in faith will make you well and you will be forgiven.  Confess your sins and pray for each other.  Prayer is powerful and effective like Elijah’s prayer.  Those who turn sinners who have wandered from the truth back will be blessed.

Questions:

14a)  The wages they failed to pay the workmen, lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence, fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter, condemned and murdered innocent men.

b)  Yes because James is speaking to them and writing to them in this letter.  In Chapter 1, he opens with, “to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” so they are at the very least Jews (God’s chosen people) and I would say they are new Christians.

c)  Human nature has not changed since Adam and man is inherently selfish and greedy. This includes Christians.  Men cheat others who work for them and pay them sub-par wages for the work they do.  People live in luxury and self-indulgence and extravagance. We over-indulge (look at the obesity rates in this country).  Christians condemn and murder innocent men (or in some form such as slander that we talked about yesterday–severely hobbling people to the point they cannot support themselves, etc).

Despite our best intentions, the devil can still cause us to choose him instead of God.  I do not see this ever changing in the future for we are human.

15)  Stand firm, don’t grumble against each other, persevere, and do not swear

16a)  We should pray when we are in trouble, happy, or sick.  Prayer in faith will result in healing, forgiveness for sin, and be powerful and effective.  If you pray earnestly, your prayer will be answered.  Have others pray for us especially when sick. Confess our sins to others and pray for each other so we may be healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Probably every facet of my life.  I’m trying to pray more and more and I think if I do, I will see more prayers answered.

c)  We are saved from death and our sins if we turn towards the truth (i.e. God).

Conclusions:  I like how James tells us not to be grumblers or complainers, a habit we all battle at points in our lives.  I like how James tells us not to swear oaths.  Our word should be enough.

I love the prayer part.  As you know, prayer has been a theme for me throughout the second half of Acts and this is just another great passage on the power of prayer.

I believe we can’t pray enough.  I think of the monks who devoted their lives to Christ and spent most of the day in prayer.  Obviously, most of us are not called to such a life but we do need to follow their example and pray in everything as much as possible.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 4: James 4:11-17

Summary of passage:  James says not to slander one another for this is in essence slandering the law and judging it.  There is only one Lawgiver (God) and Judge (God and Christ).  Who are we to judge?

James blasts those who make plans without God.  For our life is a mist that vanishes after a while and we do not know what tomorrow will bring.  We must ask first if it is the Lord’s will, then we will do this or that.  Otherwise, you are boasting, which is evil. Anyone who knows the good and doesn’t do it sins.

Questions:

11)  Everyone is open for criticism especially if you are in the public eye.  When I wrote my column, it somehow became okay to attack me personally (and my family).  And anonymously.  I love the Internet.  But not everything about it is positive.  We all need constructive criticism so we can become better people.  But when it turns personal and is given without a loving heart, I think this is when this Scripture applies.  Then we have crossed the line into judgment and Christ’s realm.

As Paul keeps repeating, we are not to speak unless it is encouraging and uplifting, not to tear down and hurt.  We must tame our tongue as James says in James 3.  I think this coincides with these warnings.

I tell my kids, “If  you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all.”  Exactly what this scripture says.

12)  Leviticus 19:16:  “Do not go about spreading slander among your people.  Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.  I am the Lord.”

13a)  Boasting, bragging, pride, not relying on the Lord but relying on yourself

b)  If it is and aligns with God’s will.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We must rely on God for everything.  We do nothing on our own.  Before making plans, I need to pray first and make sure it is in accordance with God’s will for my life and not my will.

Conclusions:  Another good lesson that aligns with a common theme in this study:  If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say it at all, especially slander or speech with malicious intent.  We are too free sometimes in this society to say what we want without thinking of the consequences to others.  Guard our tongue as James say and speak only uplifting words.

I liked James question, “What is your life?” (verse 14)  I think sometimes we do get prideful when in reality we are an ant compared to God.  God can snuff us out with one step of His foot.  Good thing to keep in mind when we are tending towards arrogance and need to turn back towards humility.

I loved the last verse.  I apply this to our purpose (which is always good since it’s from God).  If you are not doing it, you are sinning.  Also, this verse speaks to doing what is right versus ignoring the situation.  I think of how many videos or exposes we see recently where people walk by someone in need (apparently this is human nature since it happened to the Good Samaritan as well millenia ago).  We must do the right thing no matter the cost to ourselves.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 27, Day 3: James 4:1-10

Summary of passage:  James says fights and quarrels are caused by our desires.  You want something but don’t get it.  And you do not ask God for it.  If you ask with wrong motives, you will not receive.

If you are a friend of the world then you are an enemy of God.  God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.  Submit yourselves to God and resist the devil.  Come near to God and purify your hearts.  Humble yourselves before the Lord and He will lift you up.

Questions:

7a)  Your desires that battle within you (point being they are not God’s desires yet you strive for them anyways).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  There are many things I am praying about right now but the paramount one is this:  my novel published.  I believe with all my heart and soul it is God’s and I am praying He gets it out there to have the impact on others I believe it will.  I am praying that this is His will and that it aligns with mine.  I believe it is His will but I pray this over and over again throughout the process so I know it all aligns.  I am praying to finish the editing process quickly.

8 )  The world hates us (Christians) because we do not belong to it.  The world is foolish and God hates things of the world.  We do not wage war as the world does.  Do not love anything of the world for then the Father is not in him.

9a)  Submit to God, resist the devil, come near to God, purify your heart, humble yourself before the Lord.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  It’s okay to make decisions on your own.  It’s not. You must consult God and your husband.  Wait for an answer.  Then respond.  I am also fighting rising resentment towards my mother-in-law again.  So I am trying to respond out of love and how Jesus would.

10)  Try to always be humble in every facet in my life and if I can model this, then I will be able to teach it more effectively to my kids and others.  Remember I am nothing and God is everything.  Everything I do and accomplish is from God and for God.  I am merely the vessel.  He is the rudder.

Conclusions:  I liked the last question.  It was neat to see how many times “humble yourself” is repeated in the Bible and when I looked up these verses, I had underlined it every time!  Now that was cool!

Great reminder that prayer is for His will to be done, not our will which can be worldly.

It is sobering to think that the world hates us (John 15:18-19).  Hate is such a strong word and I’d never thought of it before like this.  It reminds us that this world is merely a temporary existence.  We are not of this world but we must live in this world until our time is up.  Great reminder of our motives and our thinking compared to God’s.