Lifting hearts to God in thanks and praise.

James Challenge

Our homeschool curriculum challenged us to memorize the book of James this year.

It was huge.

We looked at the Bible study materials, a book called Boy Have I Got Problems, by Kay Arthur, and the weekly chart with options for memorizing the whole book or just key portions. We picked the whole. After all, there’s just the two of us, and Ravinia’s special ability to memorize should get exercised. Affrim talents, don’t just work on strengthening weak areas!

We would study a portion in the book. My reluctant writer didn’t want to fill in the answers. Some she did, some I did. Then, after studying the book for a week we set it aside and memorized.

On 3×5 cards we wrote out a verse a day, Monday through Thursday. I put each word on a small scrap of paper which she brought to her 3×5 card so she wouldn’t get mixed up. Then when she had finished writing, we played a game of taking away every other word. We reviewed at lunch sometimes, and at night before bed.

By the second week, on verse 6, I was a little bored. I also wrote more than one word per small sticky paper. I started to sing it, silly-like, aria style: “but when he asks” (repeat until she had that written) “he must believe” (same tune, then both phrases together). You get the picture. She sang along.

She started to review her verses both before bed and when she awoke in the morning and exercised. I didn’t, I trusted myself! But then, at the homeschool Thanksgiving party on November 19, when we were to recite all of chapter 1, I made mistakes or didn’t know what came next. Fortunately Ravinia did!

I am working a bit more on reviewing. After all, “faith without works is dead, Mom!”

We were at a church in San Francisco, hearing a sermon which was the last of a series and the brilliant thought was given to me, “I wonder if there’s a sermon series somewhere on James that I could listen to while we memorize each portion?” Because the long stretches of memory work between using the Bible study book were…well, long. Listening to others, joining a larger group, this would be good.

Then I read a post, written a month earlier, that told of Beth Moore’s new Bible study on James. Isn’t God good?


Is it that he shows me my need and wakens in me a desire for the thing he plans to give me so that I will ask him and then know that it is from him? Is even the desire for good from him as well? (Augustine, Paul, David in Psalms are cheering in the heavenly wings)

So I look at the Beth Moore materials. Expensive.

I don’t really understand so I call or chat (whatever), and get the confirmation that I can buy each video session as an MP4 to download to my computer. Okay, that’s reasonably priced, and we can buy them one at a time, when we’re ready for encouragement on that passage.

The first session introduces Beth’s plan of 5 levels of involvement:
1. Watch the videos only
2. Add doing the homework
3. Add reading the scholarly notes
4. Add writing out the whole book
5. Add memorizing the whole book

Well! We’re a mixed up order. We started with 4 and 5 and now come to 1. Then we got a gift card from Amazon so I bought the homework book. Back to chapter one while I work on memorizing chapter 3! But it is fine. I am under grace. God’s good timing. I praise him.

We went on a trip for President’s day weekend and flew all day Sunday. Knowing that we were going to miss church, Ravinia and I thought about how we could do church in the plane.

I bought the session on James 3, and we were ready to go.

Here’s Ravinia eating a cashew, listening to Beth Moore:

And I just had to show you this picture:

This session was where Beth is talking about what is the good life, James 1:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

It was good flight church.

The message was good timing for our weekend.

All thanks and praise to God!

Joining with the Wednesday community at


Comments on: "James Challenge" (2)

  1. Beth, I’ve actually translated the entire book of James, I’ve written about that – but my writing is a little bit of a different level now than it was – so I’ll be starting my study of James again – a deep deep study, at Deep into Scriptures soon. And that is NOT a veiled attempt to get you to read me 🙂 it’s just interesting that you brought up James – and that you’re memorizing it – and that you brought up Beth Moore – and I am NO Beth Moore – and every time I read your daughter’s name I think of the Roman name Lavinia – that’s just a random thought – anyway I heart how you’re teaching her – I heart how you’re sharing YOUR heart for God with your baby. God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours.

  2. Thank you Craig! I look forward to reading your depth in James.
    Ravinia is like Lavinia, and we were students in Chicago where the CSO plays summer concerts at Ravinia festival, so with the last name Lee we thought an uncommon first name good. Ravi is sanskrit for sun, we’ve found out.
    I just keep praising God for the timing of his provision for me.
    God bless you Craig, grace and peace.

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