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Good Ol' James.

James has to be about the hardest book of the Bible to read, don't you think? It stomps the toes like no other. Still, it is probably my favorite. I think that's because I really love a good challenge. James certainly challenges me on so many levels.

Challenging and Real. Relevant to my common, everyday life.

For instance, my sons have been bickering lately. And by lately, I mean forever. They are best friends and worst enemies and it's a miracle I don't have grey hair yet. It's been especially difficult lately, which made the timing of last week's study in James just perfect.

I started the morning with my general grumbling prayers of exasperation for my sons and then hit James chapter 3. My thoughts were still clouded with the stress of their relationship but verse 13 penetrated its way into my brain:

My house definitely wasn't feeling peace and my boys certainly weren't sowing peace. And a big part of their strife was that each felt quite justified in their wisdom. Meekness was not the word to describe their "wisdom" though. A brief discussion and a reading of this verse was eye opening for all of us. Hearing that kind of wisdom described as "demonic" was eye opening as well.

But that discussion came later. First, I had to read on to chapter 4. 

What indeed? Talk about God hearing my heart cry! 

They weren't murdering, but they were having their moments of hate, though neither would admit things were quite that bad on their part. The other still felt hated and our Saviour was pretty clear about His feelings on hating a brother. Still, where did those strong feelings come from? Desiring and not having? What did that mean?

I honestly wasn't sure what it meant, but I sat down and talked with the boys and had them think about it and get back to me. They each came back later to discuss and it was incredible.

One felt that his deep, unmet desire was a need to be in control. He greatly feared a lack of control of situations. He viewed life as a chess board and considered his interactions as strategies.
(It's life! I'm winning!)

We've been chatting about how this revealed a lack of Lordship in his life. It revealed his need to control things and an unwillingness to let God control things. It was a total paradigm shift for him to STOP seeing life as a chess game. He has spent the last week (a fabulous week of revival in our church and hearts) learning to give his life more fully to Christ.

The arguments were certainly not one-sided, but both boys benefited from the discussions and not being challenged to play chess on a regular basis might be just the change we're needing.

We're not all patched up just yet, but it has been exciting to see God's hand at work. As always. 

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"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo