March Bible Reading Challenge Week 3 Summary

Welcome to the March Bible reading challenge week 3 summary! I pray that you are continuing to read along as we travel from Hebrews through I John. Beginning with last Friday’s reading, let’s take a look at the summaries for the week.

Hebrews 13

Such wisdom is contained in chapter 13 of this book; many of the verses remind me of the Twitter effect- short sentences packed with powerful meaning. New Testament passages that refer to Old Testament passages are always special. We can see an example of this in verse 6:” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6)

James 1

I find James to be the most interesting character. Without pulling any punches, he immediately digs in and says “Be happy in trials because this means you’re going to come out stronger on the other side.”

James speaks quite a bit to holding the tongue; don’t you find that intriguing since this particular James is thought to be the cousin of Jesus? Makes me wonder what kind of family these men had! The last verse of this chapter is a verse I’m very familiar with:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Amen and amen. But wow, I had to step back a bit and process the verse before this one, because it is not often included with the last one.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.

I can’t even unpack that in a summary, but it’s definite food for thought.

One more verse!

james17

Did you have any thoughts about these two verses specifically?

James 2

James spends the majority of this chapter explaining that while faith is wonderful and good, if we do not act on our faith, it’s not worth anything. The last verse of this chapter sums it up well:

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 3

James has been named “The Proverbs of the New Testament.” This chapter seems to be the foundation of that title as the power of the tongue and the topic of wisdom is explained throughout the chapter. The word pictures painted by the author create great visuals. As a girl who grew up in the hills, I chuckled a bit when good and bad are coming from the same mouth were compared to “Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.” Nope, doesn’t work.

How would you word this comparison in today’s lingo?

James 4

James certainly names sins throughout his short book of 5 chapters. In this chapter, he warns against quarreling, fighting, murder, and pride, to name a few. But I think the most convicting point from James, at least for me, is the last one in the chapter.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

You may have heard the terms “sins of commission” – meaning those things we actually commit or do. And “sins of omission” meaning exactly what James names above.

Have you ever thought about sins of omission before?

From this chapter, I chose a favorite portion of a verse that I love to hold close to my heart:

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8a

james48

 

James 5

Chapter 5 is an admonition on prayer and I love that! James encourages persistence in praying and in this beautiful chapter full of teaching on prayer, we find a verse familiar to many of us:

james516

 

As Max Lucado says:
“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

Amen.

I Peter 1

Peter begins his letter much the same as James, speaking about trials and how their purpose is to bring glory to God. He strongly encourages the believers and his desire is for the readers to focus on Christ’s sacrifice for us, the purity of the believer as a result of Christ, and the love that should result in our lives.

What did you learn this week from the reading? I can’t wait to hear about it!

Rachel

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7 Comments

  1. Rachel, I am so blessed to have found your website!! March was the first bible challenge I have completed with you and I love it!

    This week’s readings helped me so much!! I have been struggling with sin lately. I was involved with a man that I was allowing to lead me down the wrong path. I thought I was helping him because I was trying to help him find God. I finally had the courage to break it off 2 days ago. He then told me that he didn’t believe in God and probably never will. That really hurt my heart. Even if him and I aren’t together I still want him to know the love of God.

    Anyways, that was sort of off topic. During the time I was with him I felt myself drifting from God. Not feeling as close anymore. It wasn’t too long ago that I felt God tell me what my purpose is. To help people! And he called me to go on a mission trip to Kenya. Since then I haven’t heard anything else from God except to get away from the man I was with. Now that I have finally done so I already feel the presence of God back in my life!!

    A verse I love is: 1 Peter 4:11 Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others. Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then Everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever, Amen!

    Also: Hebrews 13:3 Remember those in prison , as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

    These verses stick out to me so much. I feel like I should start a prison ministry someday. I have been praying to God to give me more guidance on what to do and what steps to take.

    I know God has big plans for me. I just can’t wait for him to reveal the plans to me!!

    1. oh my word- how exciting Girl!! Thank you for sharing with us! I can’t wait to see what he does in and through you. And how I heart Kenya!!

  2. I love Hebrews 13:2…”Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” This reminds me we never know how God is working in our lives and in the lives of others.

    Reading chapters 1-4 in James is very timely for me. I am in a women’s Bible study here and we are reading the book, “not a fan” by Kyle Idleman. It talks about how being a fan of Jesus is not like being a follower…..that to be a follower, we have to completely commit to Jesus. He says, “Here’s what fans tend to do: they confuse their feelings for faith. But your feelings aren’t faith until they are expressed.” He also quotes James 2:17…”Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

    He says it all comes down to a “personal relationship with Jesus where you know him and are known by him. Jesus identifies his true followers based upon an intimate relationship. What we say and what we do overflows out of the relationship we have with him” (pg 107).

    For me, in order to have that personal relationship with Christ, I need to live more like James tells us in 1:19….”be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” James also says we can’t have faith but no deeds (2:14). He tells us to look after orphans and widows in their distress (1:27). This is an area I need to work on and have to broaden my definition of widows and orphans to include women who have never married or are divorced and are alone. While in today’s world, women can generally support themselves financially, anyone living alone could use an extra pair of hands around the house sometimes. And, while orphans are not as common in this country as in times passed, there are many children who are left alone while parents work or parents are doing drugs, or whatever. I need to look for ways to be the hands and feet of Jesus for these groups of people….to be a true follower. It seems to me that the book of James is pivotal to being a follower of Jesus—and not just a fan.

    One more quote from my pastor, Jeff Manion of Ada Bible Church, as he preached on chapter 1 in James. I noted these words in the margins of my Bible, that when you’re going thru a time of hardship, that the “testing is a refining process….and that something is broken but something else gets strengthened.” Pastor Manion also said, “You can be at your best when things are at your worst. You don’t have to act badly. Don’t be a pain when you are in pain.” Good advice!!

    I’m sorry if my notes are kind of all over the place, but chapter 13 in Hebrews and these chapters in James are so full of good advice and lessons to take in and do something with. Please pray for me that the Holy Spirit will prompt me and I will act on it to help people in need….to put the needs of others before my own. Thank you.

    1. Tonya Gatlin says:

      Elaine, wow! Your notes are great-thank you so much for sharing all that…I will definitely be praying with you and ask that you all pray with our family that we, too, will be open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, specifically, in how to reach out to our pastor in the recent loss of his wife of 65 yrs. And, Rachel, oh my goodness, yes, I do think about sins of omission but not nearly as often as I should! I have 2 great aunts in their nineties whom I love and are both widows, yet I often find myself pushing time with them to the end of my to do list. And,yet, I am always amazed how a visit to try to cheer them up inevitably ends with my being encouraged! 1 Peter 1:22b: love one another deeply and 4:8, And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves for charity shall cover the multitude of sins, seem to speak to this as well. You Ladies are awesome! Thanks so much for sharing…praying you all have a blessed week! Happy Spring!

  3. Good morning Rachel, I am thankful I found your site …t really boost my faith. I’m so much grateful this is happening. Truly an inspiration for others. Just continue posting bible challenges! I am voluntarily joining. Open hearts,open mind. I love you with the love of the Lord. @jenjendelacruz (subscriber if yours)

  4. I love the Max Lucado quote!

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