James Online Bible Study Week 5

By December 18, 2011James

Welcome back to online bible study as we discuss week five of James, Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore. On Day one we completed “The Interview” in our workbooks and walked through a 9-step process. While the interview wasn’t pleasant for many of us, it was based on the book of James and important to our study. We learned You do not have because you do not ask God. James 4:2 NIV So if you do not have the fruits of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control- then ask God for it. If you do not feel like the Proverbs 31 women, then ask God for it. If you are in conflict over a situation or relationship, then ask God to repair and heal it. Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matt 7:7-8 NIV

This week in our study we also examined if we are living by the Spirit or by the flesh. Did you enjoy the session on friendship? Beth brought social media into our study of James, showing us how Facebook, Twitter, email and blogging are aligned with the human spirit. “Friendship means closeness,” she writes, and “friendship also means neighbor.” She points out that intimacy with Christ comes intentionally and through closeness, or face-to-face. This is an excellent argument for attending church, volunteering or joining small groups in your local community. To be a neighbor and love one another as Jesus loves, we need physical closeness. There is much pride and narcissism in social media as we are empowered by the “delete” or “unfriend” button, or can simply “lurk upon others” and not engage our hearts with them. If you don’t think the devil is prowling social media setting traps and destroying others, you’re not seeing it with spiritual eyes. Know the difference between friends of the Spirit and friends of the flesh. As Beth says in the audio session, you may need to let a few friends go and seek spiritual friends. “Friendship with God makes a person humble and friendship with the world makes a person proud,” writes Beth. I chose humble friends and hope to be one myself.

Prayer Requests

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Beth Moore Quotes

  • If we can’t ask God for it, He’s not in it.
  • Authentic faith cannot help but act.
  • Face-to-face or presence-to-presence intimacy with Christ only comes intentionally.
  • Friendship with God makes a person humble and friendship with the world makes a person proud.
  • Be deliberate in what you resist and what you draw near.
  • Scripture by no means presents God and Satan as equal opponents. One is Creator, one is created.
  • When we resist God, we draw near to Satan. If we’re in Christ, the Devil cannot have our souls.
  • If it’s under God, it’s in order.
  • Mercy triumphs over judgment.

For Next TWO Weeks (There is no lesson Dec. 26)

Christmas Schedule

There will be no lesson on Dec. 26. For those of you who started late or are falling behind, use the time to catch up on your reading. We’ll be discussing week 6 on January 2.

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?
  2. Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )
  3. Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 )
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She's an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

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Join the discussion 25 Comments

  • Neli says:

    2.Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )

    Simply put, because we are not God. We are not all powerful. We do not control everything (or many things for that matter). It is a sound way of living to remember that God DOES, and that He is a GOOD God. As Christians, we are called to live by faith and trust God completely. Unfortunately, many of us dont live this way, because it is hard for us to let everything go and entrust Him with it. This is what it means to live by faith. It is harder for some of us than for others, but the great news is that God provides us what we need for our walk with Him if we just ask. That is the blessing of being in Christ, all we need to do is ask in His will, and he promises He will do it! So we are not alone in this. We have Him on our side! Always!

    • Christine says:

      I think we are raised as children to “control our destiny” and then we focus on self-will instead of God’s will for our lives. With certainty, this is why I took a prodigal run in my 20’s and 30’s and neglected the One who created me in His image, not mine.

      • Neli says:

        That is so funny that you just said that. It was going to be a part of my answer, but I thought it was already too long! Yes, I agree with you completely. If we can learn as children to depend on God our lives will be that much better for it.

        • Christine says:

          There’s no such thing as an answer too long…speak from your heart because we all learn from each other. Encourage each other, reply to the comments and let’s enjoy being part of God’s family…we’re all His daughters.

  • Julie says:

    1.Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?
    He knows when your motive was right but your mouth messed up. AND He knows exactly how to work terrible into good. The first statement makes the hairs stand on the back of my neck but the 2nd statement brings me comfort.

    2.Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 ) Because God is in charge and he decides our future only he knows.

    3.Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 ) My fear of what is to come subsides as God has planned my future knowing what has happened and what will be.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    I am “wowed” over and over as we go through this study about Joy; our journey through James. I have to admit that last week I was really having a tough time pushing through, staying focused and this week I decided thatI wasn’t going to anything distract me from my time with the Lord and honestly what beautiful days of study they have been. It brought it all home for me why this week is better than last week… for me it is because I made a choice to follow God, to put God first, to not focus on the things of this world but God. Identifying what truly is pulling me away from God (the fight within me) and what a friendship with God should look like — it has been such an awesome week.

  • Carin says:

    Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?
    “God knows everything about you & every matter concerning you. Nothing is hidden from his sight”

    He knows our heart & whatever happens in this world he knows the truth. I struggle with feeling like I have to prove things that are wrong & not right. God knows and this is a reminder that it should be good enough!! That whatever the situation is it will all come out at the end (the truth).

    Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )
    Because we have no idea what God has planned for us. A great example is the cruise ship in Italy that just had that disaster. I am sure everyone on that ship PLANNED to have a great trip. Did they expect it to tip over? NO! If I survived that I would have given the glory to God.
    We need to be ready everyday for what God has planned for us whether it be a good day or a day that you didn’t expect. I loved this part in this book to date.

    I have had deep discussion with my husband as sometimes he wants to argue and debate about next week or a year from now. I gave him this part of the lesson to read!

    2.Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 )
    That God loves us and has a wonderful plan for us. Whatever that plan is we know at the end it will all makes sense. I read somewhere recently that if God allows something to happen to us that is not great and we stuck in there. He will reward us double for our trouble! I love that…

    3.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    This week had so much to it. I have to say that day 5 was my favorite. I am trying to get into the habit of say “God willing” to anything that has plans or even saying goodbye to someone. Maybe changing it to God willing I will see you soon!!

  • Krystle says:

    1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?
    “He knows when your motive was right but your mouth messed up” — Yes, I can talk a lot and maybe even hurt feelings if I’m not careful. Sometimes I’m trying to site an example in my own life and I can come off sounding better than you type. It’s totally not my intention but I can be comforted in knowing that God knows that (and I apologize to the person(s) I’m talking to so that they know as well).

    “He knows exactly how to work terrible into good” — I remember when Chris (my fiancé) called and asked me about moving to TN (for work). I told him it was a great opportunity for him, however, I honestly hated the idea! The first months were terrible and filled with loneliness and lots of tears, then I found a job, and with that came friends, we bought a house, and a lot of good came and is coming from this move! I’m so grateful that I didn’t resist. What I thought was terrible was actually a good thing. It brought me to a place of peace with myself and a place that inspired me to reconnect with God again.

    2. Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150)
    Because we really don’t have any control in our destinies. We can plan and hope and pray that God’s will will let it come to fruition but we don’t really know what’s to come tomorrow.

    3. Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153)
    Knowing that God does this makes me feel like He will see me through all the struggles that are currently on-going in my life. I know that these struggles are temporary and will strengthen my faith in God and in my faith. I just hope that temporary isn’t decades away from resolution.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    My favorite moment was Day 5’s readings of verses and then our reactions. When I read the second verse (Acts 17:26-28) my reaction was a light bulb going off in my head. My eyes opened and I realized why I am where I am! It was enlightening to feel such an eye opener!

  • Victoria says:

    Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?
    He knows when you motive was right but your mouth messed up! <—it is so true for me!
    He is holy and worthy! Incapable of abusing His divine authority over you! <— gives me goosebumps just thinking about His Holiness and Worthiness!

    Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )
    We are not in control (no matter how much we think we are, or how bad we want to be), and we don't have a clue what the future will hold, no matter how good our plans are. I mean, look at how a perfectly planned vacation can become a nightmare, with an allergic reaction or a sickness! Or how running late to work can keep you from being in the 4 car pile up on the freeway. Only He could have seen those things, planned those things to happen! Only He has control over every single tiny molecule involved in every situation!

    Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 )
    He has it all planned out and knows what is ahead—I should trust Him, seek His will, and love His sovereignty.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    I LOVED THIS WEEK! FLAT OUT LOVED IT! It stepped on my toes, yes, but in such a way that was eye-opening and heart-penetrating!
    PRESENCE-TO-PRESENCE with Christ! I love that! Make the choice to be a friend of God!
    I love the paragraph on pg 137 about close friends, deep friendships, telling secrets; not things shared on status updates! I want to be a humble friend of God!
    Pg 140 Where she repeats HE IS ENOUGH!
    "He is enough. Let me say that again: He is enough. When you need more, you will have more. When your woes are great, His grace is greater. When our sins are vast, His mercy is deep. We cannot exceed Him. We cannot outrun Him."
    "Learn to be deliberate in what we resist and what we draw near."
    The lesson that even though God may seem resistant to us, it is an act of love…tough love…but love none the less! I think of times when He has been silent…He hasn't left me, but He is teaching me tough love.

    And I think this was one of my favorite parts!
    "Knees to the floor. Eyes to the skies. Hands open wide. Death to your pride. Here we run aground on the reason the Devil flees. He doesn't flee from us, Beloved. He runs from God who is standing right there over us every time we submit. Take off your shoes. That's holy ground."
    Oh sisters, I have chills!!! God spoke to me this week! I am in awe and I am begging Him for more!!!!

  • Emily M says:

    1.  Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?  “He knows exactly how to work terrible into good. Submit to God.”. When I’m in a mess, a sticky situation, enduring trials… I can find confidence & hope knowing He works all things together for the good for those who love him, I must just submit my whole self to Him. 
    2.  Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 ). It’s absurd because we are taught to do Gods will, not our own or follow the world’s. 
    3.  Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 ). God knows what I’m going through. He saw it coming, and He is right here with me. The best part is He knows where I’m going & where I’ll end up, IF only I’ll let him lead!  
    4.  Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    Asking God to sort out my motives when praying to Him for requests & asking for answers. Ask Him to look at my heart, reveal it, so I can die to self-gratification & live for greater glory. Watch the attic door to the throne room of God fall open & answered prayers tumble out like boxed up treasures!  Pg 133

  • Crystal says:

    1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?

    I hope I’m not alone on this one, but number 5 (He knows when your motive was right but your mouth messed up.) really spoke to me. I talk… a lot. Many times my intentions are good, but the result of my attempts to comfort or offer insight just turn out sounding muddled or rude. I’m glad He knows where my heart is, and I’ll just have to keep praying He’ll give me the words and the timing I need.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    I agree with Amy (see previous post) that the Session 6 video for this week was really powerful. However, it was part 1 that jarred me–particularly bullet 2 (When we don’t take God seriously) regarding the question, “When is it appropriate to turn our joy into gloom?” Oh boy! When Beth put it into the context of us thinking God doesn’t mean what he says about ……, I filled in the blank several times over! Talk about conviction. I realized I need to keep a tighter reign on the media I subject myself to (books, music, magazines, etc.) and the chatty, catty, women I keep company with. I guess I need to find some new friends too.

  • Amy S. says:

    I’m so compelled by Session 6. I just finished viewing it, and I’m just completely convicted over the cynicism that she speaks about in Part Two. I guess I’ll now call this my favorite part of this week’s lesson, because it’s the part that I know is going to change my thinking the most.

    I’ve been so blessed throughout my life to be in music ministry. I’ve done it in church and at bible college and also professionally, travelling the nation. I’ve also had experience in secular settings as a singer. I really hate to say this, but it was always so much easier to work in worldly environments (theme parks, groups, etc.) than in ministry. The reason is that the devil works overtime in places of worship, ministries, ie, the body of Christ, to drive wedges in relationships and cause chaos among believers behind the scenes. I am sure this is because he can’t really touch the impact that the ministry has on the “audience” (for lack of a better word). So, he strategizes internally.

    Most recently, I’ve tried to find my place back in music ministry, because I miss it so much. Yet, I’ve been hesistant to do so, mainly because of cynicism from disappointments that I’ve carried with me from the past. I’ve known this was my problem for awhile now, but I feel so compelled by all Beth said about what God is doing all around the world in the body of Christ.

    I’m sure I need new friends, and I definitely need to be more connected to my local church. I don’t want to just be one who comes in for Sunday service and then leave without really speaking with anyone there (other than a quick meet and greet).

    Whatever God has planned for me–whether it’s music ministry or not, I know that I’ve got to get plugged back in. Because He’s doing amazing things out there in the real world. I don’t want to be left out, because I’m stuck in the past. He wants more from me, and so do I.

    • Christine says:

      Love your testimony Amy! The devil does work overtime on those in ministry, because he wants to shut our voices so others cannot hear. At the same time God is near and we can call on Him for protection. Pray for conviction over your decision in either direction- an open door in music ministry or a closed door. It may take a month or so, and he’ll answer so clearly you can’t miss it. God is faithful.

  • Marietta says:

    1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?

    He knows the well-deliberated plan for your life and how all things must fall into place for you to fulfill your destiny. So, all I need to do is trust him and how foolish it is to oppose him.

    2. Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )

    God is in charge even though we think we can make things happen. God is the power in our lives. It is only through his mercy that we are able to accomplish anything at all. I love thinking about how I woke up this morning and He is pleased that I did. It makes me think about creation and how he looked at it and said “It is good.” He feels like that about ME. How amazing!

    3. Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 )

    God sees the whole picture and knows the effect He has in mind. God works all things together for good and if I will trust Him to lead me only good can come.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    My favorite realization this week came on Day Two when Beth talked about friendship being a “practice.” It’s true but I never thought of it that way. This gives me a fuller outlook on my current relationships. The old saying “practice makes perfect” means something to me here. I think it’s okay that I don’t know how to be a good friend/wife/mother because God is teaching me and all it takes is practice.

  • Mindy says:

    1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?

    I loved FIVE of them equally and will re- read them often; the one I’ll share is the first one, “God knows everything about you and every matter concerning you. Nothing is hidden from his sight.” I used to feel that if people “really” knew me, they wouldn’t like me. I tried to hide my flaws, and to present myself to please them. With some years of maturity under my belt I’m now happiest when I’m transparent with people – being myself with flaws and all is how God created me, and it’s freedom to be okay with who you are. It’s comforting and feels intimate to know that God knows every single thing about me, good (in my mind) or bad (in my mind) and adores me.

    2. Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 )

    Because we don’t really even know if we’ll still be around come tomorrow… so we truly aren’t the ones calling the shots. We can certainly plan, ask for guidance, pray for certain favors, but what plays out really is Gods will… yay.

    3. Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 )

    It reminds me of the big picture. My issues seem petty and insignificant. It puts spiritual perspective and takes my mind off of focusing on “the small stuff.”

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    I enjoyed the interview on Day 1, and many of the times throughout the lesson when she asks for our reactions or personal thoughts. It was fun to put our personal stuff out there – it fit perfectly with the themes of intimacy and friendship because it seemed like stuff we’d share with a close girlfriend in a private conversation.

  • Amanda says:

    1. The first one – God knows everything about you and every matter concerning you. Nothing is hidden – for two reasons. One, it’s comforting to know that he knows what I need when I don’t even really know how to ask or how to pray….two, it’s sobering because if there is something in my life that I don’t want to address or “go there” with, it’s pointless to try to push it to the back of my mind or “hide it” from God because he knows anyway.
    2. I haven’t thoroughly read the others’ responses, so sorry if it’s redundant….because God holds our future and our destinies down to the hour and minute that things will happen….and how bad off I would be if I COULD control everything!!!!

  • Susan says:

    1.Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why? He knows the well-deliberated plan for your life and how all things must fall into place for you to fulfill your destiny. I’m a list maker and it’s comforting and reassuring to know that God has my destiny planned and is truely in control. I can plan for the immediate or the near future but His plan will be mine.
    2.Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150 ) God is all knowing and sees and knows when I do and will wander off the path in an effort to control my destiny. His plan is the best and only plan for me and through his loving presence he will guide me back to His path and plan.
    3.Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153 ) Trying to live by my plan brings frustration, aggravation and sorrow. My struggles are part of His plan. The paths of all of the people I’ve come in contact with and all of the experiences I have had have brought me to this point.

  • Jessica says:

    2) This statement is absurd because God is in control of our lives. He has our lives in the palms of His hands and what we want for our lives may not be what He wants. His plans may not always match ours. As God changes our hearts, our desires change and we will begin to want what He wants for our lives.

  • Rhonda says:

    For some reason I have found James to be the most challenging online Bible sudy I have been involved with, but it is certainly been worth it. I like the way he has tied so much of his teaching back to the Old Testament. It helps to emphasize what is really important by tying both parts of the Bible together. I really needed to hear that God looks at a situation from the perspective of what is, what was, and what is to be this week. In my job search I have had many disappointments recently, but recognizing that God is able to see my situation from all vantage points while I can only see what I THINK I want, is a comfort. It is funny indeed that you can know something in your mind but it does not sink in until someone else puts it in writing. God knows the plans He has for me, and one of them is making me more dependent on Him for my needs. In this Christmas season, I am thankful for His birth, my salvation, and the lessons that even someone my age continues to learn. May you all have a blessed Christmas and peaceful New Year.

  • Cindy H says:

    ‎1) I like the statement “He is Holy and worthy and incapable of abusing His divine authority over you.” There is something sweet and good when I think of the incredible power of God, and how He uses it as a gentleman.
    2I learned a long time ago that I had no control whatsoever over my true destiny. Yesterday in church, the minister talked about “losing our life, so that we might gain it.” Only after giving up control, can we have the kind of life that God had planned for us.
    3) After going through a very difficult situation last year and not understanding the outcome, my son reminded me that God has a way of weaving our lives in and about other people’s lives. We will probably never know how this works out until we are in heaven.
    4) I enjoyed what Beth wrote on day One. She said, ” One way I can know from the get-go that my longing isn’t godly is a reluctance to forthrightly ask Him for it. If I can’t ask God for it, He’s not in it.” How true that is. 🙂
    Merry Christmas!

  • Renee says:

    I loved page 143 and the points she made. I put a circle around the whole thing to read over, but I starred the 2nd and 4th points!! The 4th point: Sometimes I say something and the other person kind of runs with it and then it turns into gossip in our conversation. So then I have to say … Well, that’s not what I meant!!! I feel horrible and wonder if I should ever talk at all.

  • Angie says:

    1. Which “submit to God” statement on page 143 spoke most you and why?

    “He knows exactly how to work terrible into good.” – I have made so, so many mistakes in my life and really made a mess of things. It is comforting to know that even though I have been so selfish, stubborn, stupid and slow to learn that God can take what I am, what I have, and where I’m at and work it into good. Thank you Father.

    2. Why is the attitude that we control our destinies and can enforce the fulfillment of all our plans a little absurd? (page 150)

    You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are a bit of smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes. James 4:14 HCSB

    3. Beth says “God looks upon a situation in context of what is, what was, and what is to come.” When you think of your present struggle from The Interview on Day one, how does this make a difference? (page 153)

    This makes me feel less urgent and anxious about my current struggle. God knows. He knows it all and is working His perfect plan out. I can relax and just enjoy!

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    I liked doing the interview on Day One. Even though I talk to God about my struggle often it felt good to put it down on paper in an organized manner. Doing so actually seemed to bring some relief and different perspective to my situation.

  • Annesta says:

    I am still working on catching up. Ive made good progress. Going slow and soaking it in!

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