Monday, December 26, 2011

Studying the Book of James

by Annmarie Worthington

Currently in my scripture time I am studying the books of James and Numbers. I’m further along in my study of James. I thought I’d pass along some ideas I’ve had in my study. I’ve read through the book a few times now and it has a pattern to it.  First, James will introduce a topic by giving a command or instruction of sorts. Then he’ll give more information on the topic by either further explanation or an illustration. I think this is a good way to approach the book of James, looking at it as great information on certain topics.

Here is the first one to give you an idea of what I mean. Then you can do the others on your own, whenever you are studying this great book.

Trials*: James 1:1-12

* I say trials instead of temptations in this section because the actual translation is various afflictions. Later on in the chapter he is talking about actual temptations. I ‘ll use that word there.

  • Count it all joy (vs. 2)

-the trying of our faith produces patience (literally: endurance/ steadfastness)

  • Let patience have her perfect work (vs. 4)

-that we may be perfect, lacking nothing.

  • Ask God for wisdom (vs. 5)

-because He gives to all men liberally and upbraideth not.

  • Ask in faith, nothing waivering (vs. 6)

-doubters are live waves tossed by the wind.

-doubters don’t receive anything from the Lord.

-doubters are doubleminded and unstable.

  • Let the brother of low degree rejoice (vs. 9)

-because he is exalted (see Matthew 23:12)

-the rich is made low because as the flower and grass wither, so shall their ways.

Some of my thoughts on trials:

*It appears that when we know that God is allowing the trial in order to perfect us, getting us to where we lack nothing, then the trial is a blessing and really is a cause for rejoicing.  I think I will list out some recent trials and how I was able to grow and learn as a result.

*I like the fact that God gives wisdom liberally and does not get on to His children for asking for it.  It gives me confidence in prayer.

*The picture of doubters is one that troubles me. I think it will give me more confidence in faith. I can see how it can be tempting to be driven by the waves of current circumstances to allow us to doubt. But, I would rather be more stable, riding above the waves like a world class surfer, who never wipes out.

Well, this gives you a glimpse of my scripture journal. I’m sure your thoughts on each topic will be different from mine, because everyone’s circumstances are so different.

Whenever your scripture study brings you to the book of James, you can list out the rest of the topics and share with me what you’ve learned.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When We Think We Know Better

by Annmarie Worthington


I heard something today that got my dander up. It was a comment someone made about another person. I know neither the commenter nor the commentee, I simply overhead them in the grocery store. I was struck by their complete arrogance that they knew what was best for this other mom to do, in a situation I suspect they had very little actual information. So, in today’s post you will get to hear from the snarky, sarcastic Annmarie. (You lucky duck). Then, I will once again step down from my soap box.

We’ve all been guilty of judging the way other families do things.  Some people are offended that they let their children watch PG-13 Harry Potter episodes. Other people think it’s wrong to let your children play outside on the Sabbath. Or maybe we feel they don’t discipline their children correctly. “Well, if my child did that I would….[fill in the blank]” Why do we do that to each other? Is it not possible that God put those children in just the family He wanted them in knowing the personality of the mom and dad?

My family experiences this too. I’ve chosen a different path than many people. Being a single mom who homeschools is no easy feat. However, I am CONVINCED it is the right path for my family. I’ve prayed and fasted about it often.  Anything else doesn’t feel right to me. Does that make life challenging? You betcha! But, my children are worth it. I do, however, get a lot of people who seem to think I’ve made the wrong choice. They don’t say it outright (except for one or two). It’s more subtle hints. Many people seem to think that all my problems would be solved if I put my children in public school.

There is a joke in my house, because of the amount of people that have negatively commented about my decision to keep homeschooling. Anytime something goes wrong, we say, “Well, you know if I put you in public school this wouldn’t have happened.”

Are the biscuits burned? Well, darn it, I should have put you in public school. Is my paycheck late? Guess that wouldn’t have happened if you were in public school. Maybe it is snarky of us to laugh at it, but it sure lightens the load sometimes to have fun.

This post isn’t actually about my homeschooling choice, so if you happen to be one of the people that has said something to me about it, there really are no hard feelings. Besides, I’m sure I’ve judged you too at some point. It’s what we humans seem to do best.

My actual point is, we don’t know what Heavenly Father has told other families. My bishop and I had a quick talk about this once after a comment someone said to me about homeschooling my children. The bishop told me that God wouldn’t even tell him how I was supposed to educate my children. I am the leader of my home and I am who God will tell.

I have to remember that as well when I am tempted to judge another family’s choices. I am as guilty as the next person of inwardly scolding someone’s choices.  We all have strong opinions when it comes to child rearing. It would do us good to remember that most parents truly have their children’s best interest at heart, and know their children better than anyone else. We need to have the benevolence to not feel we always know what is best for others. We need to let God lead them.  If they unintentionally actually make the wrong decision (as we ALL do sometimes), let’s come up beside them and help.

Sometimes families do make poor choices. Even evil ones. What do we do then? Let’s say a family is falling apart because of drug use, or some other equally foolish behavior. We could all gossip about them and talk about what horrible parents they are. Because, you know, that will really help them heal their family. Why is it religious people so often shoot their wounded? Instead, why don’t  we come alongside them and love them.  Let them spend time with you and see the fruit of parenting according to scripture. Not in a preachy, “see how much better my family is” way, but just live your lives around them.

I think if we spent more time loving and serving one another, instead of judging each other’s decisions, we would be a much healthier nation. There would be less burdens weighing people down, and happier families. Where there still are burdens, sometimes because of bad choices and sometimes because life isn’t fair, let’s lift up the hands that hang down. That’s a lot more helpful than wagging our tongues and shaking our heads.

There….I’ve said it and now I am officially off my soapbox.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Dillon’s performance

I will blog more this weekend, but just wanted to quickly share with you guys a video of Dillon’s latest performance. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, Dillon is my 15 year old son. To see his video, click here.