at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Just James - Scripture Memorization Challenge

My first attempt at writing out James 1:1-11
from memory. Writing aids with memory!
This past week, I discovered that a couple of friends had committed themselves to trying to memorize the book of James over the course of a year.  This piqued my interest for a couple of reasons.  Through my women's bible study at church, I've been challenged this year to recommit myself to memorizing scripture.  God commands his people in the book of Deuteronomy in this way:

"Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up." -- Deuteronomy 11:18-19

The book of Proverbs says it this way:

"Keep my commands and you will live;
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.
Bind them on your fingers;
    write them on the tablet of your heart."
-- Proverbs 7:2-3

Memorizing God's words keeps his commands and promises close at hand as a constant reminder of God's faithfulness and of where our focus should lie.  I set out a couple of years ago to memorize the book of Ephesians.  I got a good way through it, but never finished.  However, I was doing it alone with no set schedule or timeline.  Knowing that others are memorizing James with me (and the fact that it's only 4 chapters 5 chapters!) will hopefully help me to follow through with the endeavor this time.

I caught up last week with memorizing James 1:1-11 -- with verses 9-11 being the focus of the week.

I searched for a picture of a withered plant, but lo and behold, the pictures I take tend to be of flowers in full bloom.  The word picture there reminded me of my garden this past summer, though.  With scorching heat on top of a drought, my plants withered and the beautiful flowers I had purchased dried up into nothing -- in short order.

I won't post it here, but these verses also reminded me of a poem I wrote for a creative writing class in college.  It was titled "Lust for Fading Beauty" -- and used the imagery of fireworks to portray the idea that the things we are chasing after are fleeting.  These verses in James are saying the same thing.  As the fireworks fade and the flowers die, so worldy accomplishments will not last. The things of this world that society would tell you matters, don't.  The "successes" of wealth and worldly achievements will count for nothing in the long run.  We should instead set our focus on the things of God, and the difference we can make for eternity.  
These verses from James also tie in perfectly with a passage from my bible study last week:

"Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." - 1 John 2:15-17 (New Living Translation)

I just loved the way this version put it -- it's so blunt and straightforward.  All of these verses serve as a reminder to me to not take pride in myself and my work, but to continually seek God's will and to place my joy and confidence in the grace of God, not in worldly possessions.

For this reason let him that is rich rejoice, not so much in the providence of God, that makes him rich, as in the grace of God, that makes and keeps him humble; and in those trials and exercises that teach him to seek his felicity in and from God, and not from these perishing enjoyments. -- Matthew Henry (commentary on James 1:11)

Thanks to Eric for encouraging me to join in on this Scripture memorization!  I'd encourage anyone else to join in, as well -- we're still at the beginning and you can get caught up pretty quickly!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!