James Online Bible Study Week 2

By November 27, 2011James

Welcome back to online bible study as we continue our group discussion of James, Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore. We’ve just finished reading week two in our workbooks. As we decorate our homes and prepare for the Christmas season, it was interesting to begin our week with a lesson on Joy. Many of us associate the word “joy” with the holidays yet we often neglect it during the remainder of year. Beth brings a powerful testimony about joy in audio session three as she shares how joy and anguish coexist in the same experience. The Holman Bible Dictionary defines joy as “the happy state that results from knowing and serving God. ” You can read the full definition of joy if you click here.

In this week’s bible study we are reminded  by Jesus’ own brother to consider it pure joy to face trials and a testing of your faith. (James 1:2-3 ) As I read this verse over and over during the week, I went through a tidal wave of emotion. How can it be joy to see a two-year-old girl battle leukemia? Where is the joy is knowing your daughter was raped and lost her innocence? What joy is there in getting fired and and struggling to pay the bills? How dare James suggest there is joy in anguish! As I continued to read I learned the testing of your faith brings God into your situation. In the midst of the anguish and  unbearable pain stands a man with nail-scared hands. In the midst of anger, fear, doubt, worry and depression is the light of a Savior. Jesus stands in the center of all this…and in Him…we know joy.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

Through perseverance and endurance, our faith is matured. Non-believers sometimes ask  “If your God is so great, why does He allow His people to suffer?’ We know that in suffering God’s children are refined like gold and shaped by the potter’s own hand. Believers come out of trials with a story to share and they witnesses to others. They don’t sit in the darkness of worry and have a pity party; they cry out to a God they love and ask for help, comfort and protection.  They call upon the Holy Spirit to intercede on their behalf. They trust God with the outcome and they stand by faith, not shaken. He is my rock and my salvation;  he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:6 NIV

Being Christian does not guarantee we will no longer face temptation, sin or trials. There are numerous examples in scripture of those who faced hardship. What matters is how you react to your trials- with unbelief or with faith.

“Even if the mountains walk away
and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so. Isaiah 54:10Message

 Maybe its time we rethink our understanding of the word “joy” and reflect on the joy of carrying our cross, just as Jesus did. Perseverance matures us into joy.

At the end of our study Beth challenged us to look back at the last four quarters of our life and acknowledge the gifts. If you enjoyed this exercise, I highly recommend the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp or get to know Marie Wikle who’s life mission is Spreading Joy.

 

Update: After posting this on Monday, my family was delivered another fiery trial on Tuesday. God brought me to my knees in prayer and in tears, as I pleaded and begged him not to inflict another trial in my family. Through prayer He answered me and I was convicted of the reason for the trial. I was not offered comfort, rather I was reminded “Jesus did not want to be a carpenter. He did it for me.” Jesus went through fiery trials and he showed us how to act (pray and trust God’s will). Page after page in the bible we see Jesus demonstrate perseverance. To be Christ-like is to keep your faith… even in the heat of the fire. When we come out of the fire we are refined of impurities.

Prayer Requests

There are some special prayer needs from members participating in this bible study. Please take some time this week and pray for them. If you have a prayer request for our prayer wall, please click here.

Beth Moore Quotes

  • Faith receives more than it asks. Doubt loses more than it disbelieved.
  • It is virtually impossible to remember God and forget the poor.
  • Jesus alone can change us from the core.
  • Loving God with everything in us is the key to a healthy heart.
  • Never be duped into believing that the flesh gives and heaven takes away.
  • Pride takes credit. Glory gives credit.

For Next Week

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

  1. Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.
  2. List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49 )
  3. Give an example of a divided heart.
  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 at LifeVerse Books.com Follow on Facebook

More posts by Christine Abraham

Join the discussion 56 Comments

  • Lexi says:

    One of the ramifications that I listed was missing out on the blessings and being plagued with worry. I tend to be a worrier when I can’t see the big picture. By focusing on those worries, I miss out on all the daily joys and the little moments. I also miss out on many blessings because I’m so consumed with myself. I miss out on the blessing of being able to serve and minister to others because of my inward focus.

    Wisdom…..I always need it! I need wisdom in parenting and in caring for my daughter with life-threatening food allergies. I need wisdom with regard to my hubby’s job and some changes that might be coming soon in his job and possibly moving us to a new area.

    I thought about how often I ask for wisdom. It’s a lot. But so many times I don’t like the answer I receive and then I don’t apply it! I just want to continue on with the plan that I think is best. Sometimes God’s wisdom doesn’t seem wise to me at the time when I’m in the middle of a trial.

    I was so convicted by Day 3 when it talks about blame. I’m so quick to look for all the outside things that “made me do it.” No, the problem is with me-my sinful self. I have a choice.

    It was so comforting to read day 5 and know that God’s gifts and plan for me are perfect and He has a specific goal in mind for me. We are in a waiting period as we wait to see what will happen with my hubby’s job. The waiting is miserable. But I can know that God has a plan for it. And that given time, I will see how God uses things that seemed so difficult as a tremendous blessing.

  • Jennifer D says:

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    1. Learning the different Greek and Hebrews words
    2. Level 4 learning the about James name History

    I amost caught, had everything written down but forgot to post it.

  • carin says:

    As we know if we are in God’s word he is right there to consult us. I am a week behind because on Thanksgiving night my father in-law passed out on the HWY & hit a tree and ended up in the ditch. He was able to get out of the car, not only did he walk on the freeway but got off the off ramp & walked nearly a mile for help. Nobody would stop to help him. He ended up at the fire station where they took him to the hospital. He had broken ribs & fractured sternum. He passed out because he needed a pacemaker.
    The scripture James 1:2-3 was just what I needed. I had faith that all would work out & that God has a plan for this. I was bothered the most that nobody stopped to help him! What has become of society?

    List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God.
    The areas that are not black & white. I think that I am so good about “doing the right thing” but are always thrown curve balls that throw me off.

    Give an example of a divided heart.
    This spoke to me BIG!! Asking God for something & believing he is going to intervene and take care of it. I ask & still think inside myself that something bad is going to happen. I am trying to retrain myself to say “I believe”…..

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    Day three….That scriptures refers to the poor hundreds of times from Exodus to Revelation. I am guilty of not being a giver to the poor. I need to change this & have been highly convicted.

    • Christine says:

      Thankful Jesus was walking with him and delivered him to safety. WOW…thankful he’s in good hands and mending. Focus your heart on the good and not the evil or anger will fester inside you. Create a pure heart and pray for God to open the eyes of others who are not acting in kindness. Can you write an editorial to your local newspaper about this…might open some eyes there. Let the Holy Spirit guide your words.

      Even when you have little, you can still give to the poor. Give your time and serve them. Give them your old winter coats, a pair of gloves or buy a Christmas gift for a needy child. When we have little money through a bad economy or job loss, we keep a clenched fist on what little we think we have. This demonstrates not trusting God. Open the fist…let go of what you place value on…and let God lead. He is faithful and blesses His children, rich and poor, as they demonstrate love to one another. This Christmas, live in His love and give, give, give.

      • Carin says:

        The editorial is a great idea! Thank you!! I will pray that I say the right words.

        Thank you for the tips on giving to the poor/and or needy. I think if I focus on just a little that it will grow as I go along. I always think of giving in big amounts not little by little.

        Great tips Christine!! Thank you….

  • Victoria says:

    1) Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.
    I would like to share all 3: STAY: Possibly see great things begin to happen, Keep current friendships/relationships. LEAVE: More stable environment, Lose & Gain friends. STOP ALTOGETHER: Nothing, Hinder my relationship with God

    2) List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49 )
    I would like to share all 4: Marriage, Parenting, Friendships, Finances

    3) Give an example of a divided heart.
    Like being two-faced, Saying one thing but doing another.

    4) Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    I found my first December verse for Siesta Scripture Memory Team: Isaiah 33:6a “He is your constant source of stability.”
    I liked the quote from page 54 “Without frequent humblings, I am a cushy, lightweight Christian who doesn’t know the first thing about denying myself and carrying my cross.” And page 56, the last couple of paragraphs of Day 3! I drew a big star and wrote a giant PTL!
    The breakdown of my life into quarters was interesting too…AND FINALLY: WAIT ON THE LORD!!!

    Sorry to ramble! I really enjoyed this week though!

  • Sheree says:

    I apologize for the late posting, but wanted to get this posted before Week Three’s posting is due on Monday, and I will be back on track. This has been an amazing study thus far. Week Two was simply incredible!! Melissa even brought out some phenomenal points in her “Epistle of Jacob” writing. Her research showed us that “James” is named after our famous patriarch in the Old Testament, Jacob. Her last paragraph on page 47 compared James 1:1 addressing the twelve tribes in the Diaspora (the Jews who were scattered after the Babylonian captivity) and James is named after the father of the twelve tribes…was that an awesome eye opener or what? I would have never thought it. Ok moving on…

    1. Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.
    One thing we know for sure is that we will all undoubtedly face trials and tribulations…it’s just part of life and something we cannot avoid. My first response is to shed tears over a trial, but that’s just me, I’m an emotional human being, but my tears are always private, because I don’t like to cry in front of people for whatever reason I don’t know…a sign of weakness perhaps? I just don’t know…just don’t like to do it. My tears are for God and God alone in the privacy of my bathroom with the water running so my children cannot hear me. I will usually cry out to Him in a heap on the bathroom floor. I like what Beth wrote on page 44…that we do not have to “feel” pure joy but to “consider” it pure joy. Because let’s face it, you cannot FEEL joy during a trial!!! However, I will consider “considering it joy”…LOL. I have a choice to make here on how I will respond to my trials. I can flee but it will still be there when I get back so that won’t work. Throw in the towel? That won’t work either because I will still have to handle it because it won’t go away by itself. Or I can seek God’s wisdom (as stated in Day Two) and guidance which will build character and strength and that’s far less exhausting than falling apart at the seams. God will give wisdom when we ask for it. Like I stated, it’s ok to cry to God, He is there to catch us when we fall, and He will give us the strength to carry on. On to Week Three… Loving it 🙂

  • Krystle says:

    This one is a little late and I so apologize! I’m still catching up to Week 3’s lessons!! Ah!
    1. Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.
    One of the ways I listed for dealing with this current hardship was ignoring the situations. The five year ramification for that would a continuance of hurt feelings and an expansion of little things becoming bigger issues. I’m not good with confrontation and I especially don’t like feeling “unliked” (I think I just came up with that) so if there’s a possibility that confronting certain people will make things worse or make them not like me I’ll tend to ignore it and have an internal battle with myself. Which brings us to number 2!

    2. List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49 )
    One of the areas that I desperately need wisdom from God is dealing with these familial hardships. Currently I’ve endured ugliness from my family and my hubs’ family. The situations are so ridiculously petty and yet neither parties see the pettiness of it all. I want to fix things but I’m not sure how.

    3. Give an example of a divided heart.
    An example of a divided heart is one who wants to believe in the faith but doubts it at the same time.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    A favorite moment from this week’s lesson was doing our life reflected in quarters. I was a little confused about how to do it but once I got the hang of it, I filled out the quarters of my life and realized that in all those years I went had some good but had some real bads too, but amidst all the bad came lessons and God-given good gifts right now. It made me realize that even though bad things may be happening right now it doesn’t rain forever and this too shall pass.

  • Debby says:

    I loved day two-Just Ask-not giving up, but keeping that relationship with him and open communication. I know that when I ask Him for wisdom for circumstances I am in, He hears me and will give it. I have seen that happen today.

  • Luana says:

    Each week in James gets better and better. Studying “Joy” and “Anguish” together was enlightening. I liked what Beth said about our pain becoming our passion.

  • Jovana says:

    Christine I pray for you and your family. your words were refreshment to my heart this morning. God Bless you! Jovana

  • Christine says:

    After posting this on Monday, my family was delivered another fiery trial on Tuesday. God brought me to my knees in prayer and in tears, as I pleaded and begged him not to inflict another trial in my family. Through prayer He answered me and I was convicted of the reason for the trial. I was not offered comfort, rather I was reminded “Jesus did not want to be a carpenter. He did it for me.” Jesus went through fiery trials and he showed us how to act (pray and trust God’s will). Page after page in the bible we see Jesus demonstrate perseverance. To be Christ-like is to keep your faith… even in the heat of the fire. When we come out of the fire we are refined of impurities.

  • Jeanie Ryan says:

    I need wisdom in giving financially. When and who. There are so many in need right now. A divided heart is like cheating on your man. I don’t like it when I hear others complain about their man. I try not to do that but some time when things don’t go my way I catch myself sometimes complaining. I see my relationship with my husband is suppose to look like Christ and his relationship with His church. I know I am not glorifying God when I complain so I will choose to be grateful and thankful for His sacrfice. We cancount it all joy when we go through various trials knowing that Jesus isdoing something good and needed in our life. He always does what is good and best for His children.

  • Jovana says:

    I ask God for guidance, peace in my heart. I need wisdom to continue to have a great mariage, to guide my children and to understand and follow God’s word. I love verse “He is my constant source of stability” that verse spoke to my heart and another fav. moment is on page 65 that we should wait on the Lord he has so many presents for us that will take us years to unwrapped them we just need to be strong when we go through tribulations, tempations in life. After listing every gift that God has given to me, I do feel like I have been selfish. Looking at everything good in my life, they overcome all bad. I feel very blessed.

  • Allison says:

    Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.

    I understand that we don’t need to list the hardship, so suffice it to say that we are praying for God to cover our family in a most shocking trial regarding our 3rd son. We were blindsided on the eve of his planned trip to our home for Thanksgiving when in a text we learned that he was not coming as he detailed what has been going on with him for the past several years. Three different things I can do: Yes, Beth’s suggestion to follow James 1:2-3 would most certainly be number one…praying for endurance. Secondly, I pray for God to give me the tools (Bible verses, encouraging words, patience, etc.) necessary to help my son through this difficult time. And third, Lord-willing, others will see God’s handy work in a positive outcome of this situation and others’ faith will be impacted. 5 Ramifications: 1. My faith is made stronger, 2. My understanding of the Bible is expanded, 3. My relationship with God and my family’s faith are made stronger, 4. My son will be able to turn this situation around and begin to live a Godly life, and most importantly, 5. My son’s experience will be used to help others after he can get his life back on track. Asking all to pray for a positive outcome to this most troubling time in our son’s life.

    List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49 )

    Obviously, I am most certainly in need of wisdom regarding the aforementioned issue that I mentioned in my response to question #1. Aside from that; however, I will honestly say I need wisdom in the issues of self-control that I struggle with…either controlling my spending, remembering to think before I speak, continuing to know the difference between healthy exercise and over-exercise, knowing the difference between watching what I eat and not eating enough, managing my time better so that I don’t stay up so late, watching television programming that is not enhancing my life in a positive way, etc., etc. etc….

    Give an example of a divided heart.

    Participating in activities that do not meet God’s standards such as gossiping about others, being unnecessarily impatient with people who don’t deserve to be mistreated, looking down on the down-on-their-luck people, speaking harshly towards our spouses or children are all examples of a divided heart. A Divided heart is torn between the cares of this world and the things of God. The Spirit filled heart is the undivided heart. “Teach me your way, O LORD, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.” (Psalm 86:11).

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    How can I possibly find a “favorite moment” after being tested with this latest trial regarding our son? We have been through such a tough time this week, but are so hopeful that we will keep our faith and use our faith to encourage him as well. That said, I will have to say the 4 quarters exercise is just what Beth said it would be: an eye-opening, goal driven activity that I will definitely reflect on as I consider myself extremely blessed in life despite some extremely difficult trials. God was with me through the 1st two difficult quarters, the smoother 2nd two quarters and He will most certainly be with our family on this most recent roller-coaster ride we now find ourselves on.

  • Emily M says:

    Ramifications: #1 Quit. Give up. Not forgive. Divorce. OR #2 Stay. Pray. Trust God to heal the hurt. I’m trying REAL hard to choose the latter, look for blessings among the trials. “Joyful in tribulation.”. I need wisdom from God in saving rocky marriages, finances, and how to love the unlovable. A favorite moment : I liked the breath prayer “He is my constant source if stability” (Isa 33:6). I can use this when I feel like I am falling apart. I thought the part about remembering the poor is great for this time of year! I too connected Day 5 with One Thousand Gifts. A quote from Ann Voskamp is “Is there a greater way to love the Giver than to delight wildly in his gifts?”. I loved the activity LOOKING for the good gifts God has sent my way during tough times. Like Manna!! Enjoying this study so much.

  • Cindy H says:

    ‎1. Our family has just gone through a very difficult year, but God has given me the gift of forgiveness. That takes away a barrier that could have effected my relationship with Him in the next five years.
    2. I am constantly asking God for wisdom in dealing with my adult children.
    3. A divided heart………I’m thinking on that one.
    4. I loved the scriptures about the Father of Lights. Interestingly, that’s the scripture I put on my Christmas card this year!

  • Jessica says:

    2) I need wisdom from God to help me deal with one of my brothers. He is homosexual and at least one of my family members thinks he was born this way. God calls this lifestyle a sin, not an alternative lifestyle. I understand that I am supposed to love sinners but not their sin. I find it hard to trust him and be around him because he is dishonest most of the time.

  • Michelle M. says:

    Thanks everyone for all your comments. It really helps me to feel connected to others in this study.

    Christine, thank you for “Bible Cafe” it is a sanctuary, and to know that there are so many other women here doing this!

    I would like to comment on question 2: I need more wisdom on the area of obedience to God. As Beth says, “to let Jesus get down into my business, and my needs, to let him transform me.” I am so excited to be a part of this!

    Blessings to you all,
    Michelle

    • Christine says:

      Thanks for participating and posting a comment Michelle. 🙂

      • Allison says:

        Christine, your opening comments this week were exactly what I needed to hear. I read what you wrote to my husband and we had a nice conversation: “Being Christian does not guarantee we will no longer face temptation, sin or trials. There are numerous examples in scripture of those who faced hardship. What matters is how you react to your trials- with unbelief or with faith”
        This brought tears to my eyes:
        “Even if the mountains walk away
        and the hills fall to pieces,
        My love won’t walk away from you,
        my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
        The God who has compassion on you says so. Isaiah 54:10
        Thank you…I know I say it all the time, but I genuinely appreciate your gift.

        • Christine says:

          Thank you Allison. After posting this on Monday, I was given another fiery trial on Tuesday. I’m living proof of perseverance and God uses this for others to see his work in me.

  • Sue Alice says:

    This will be short and to the point. Satan was really been messing with me the past weeks. So the lesson on temptation is want I needed, with the wisdom thrown in. Lets me KNOW I am the ONE making the wrong decisions…not God…but Satan pushing me into them….as Jayme says ” life is gray”…..I see nothing some times but gray turning to black. Sad right? I know God will stir me in the right path, and help clean out all the dark some day soon. Glory to God.

  • Susan says:

    1.Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46. I will continue to pray about my hardship and ask God to provide guidance. God has already brought me closer to my husband and extended family. I know the hardship will continue to lead me into a deeper relationship with God.
    2.List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49 ) My husband’s progress in recovering from surgery has not been as successful as we had hoped and we’ve been told it may be a full year before we see improvement. Very tough.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. Pg 60 – If, when we are tested, we decide to be faithful and endure, endurance will bring about its perfect effect. Something we’ve been missing all our lives will be completed in us and we will mature.

  • Amanda says:

    2. I need wisdom from God in dealing with a particular family member who is involved in an unhealthy, ungodly lifestyle. My kids are getting older and I would like Him to show me how to handle this with them if they ever ask questions, without alienating this family member. I want to know how to show God’s love and mercy without seeming to condone the lifestyle. Sticky, sticky situation.

  • Mindy says:

    I really loved that Beth pointed out Isaiah 33:6a about God being our constant source of stability. That verse sings to my heart. I spent many years giving into my deformed desires and feeling double-minded, or two-hearted. The one thing I’ve felt lacked in my lifetime has been stability. However, through my testing and with God’s strength and guidance to persevere, my maturity has increased and God has gifted me with His stability, something that had been missing all my life (p 60).

    This was my favorite part of this week’s lesson. :o)

  • Carrie says:

    1: I would be a better stewardess of Christ and a better friend to all.
    2: I need wisdom in the area of health. I am an emotional eater, when I am stressed I deal with it by eating, when I am sad I turn to food to make me happy. I need to look to God to help deal with my emotions and ask him for the strength to stop looking in the fridge for answers and to give me the strength of stamina for exercise.
    3: Last year I found out that two of my friends were having an affair with each other. One of them was my best friends and very dear to my heart, and her husband was very good friends with my husband. My heart was divided as she kept telling me it was going to end, and I knew it was so wrong and it wouldn’t end. I didn’t want to lose such a close friend. After a few weeks of praying to God to give me an answer, she did something to further the crack in our friendship and I understood that was his answer to me. So I have not spoken to either of them since then. I lost two friends and my husband as well. I see all three of them every Friday and there are times I want to go give her a hug and tell her I miss her. But I know that God revealed to me what kind of friends they truly were and that a relationship with them could fracture my relationship with him. My relationship with God is more valuable than any dysfunctional friendship any day.
    4: “Rejoice in all good things the Lord has given you and your household” Deuteronomy 26:11
    It was just a reminder that I need to prioritize my time to recognize all the gifts given to me instead of worrying about getting somewhere on time, or something I have forgotten.

  • Shukeria says:

    Question #2: I need wisdom from God on how to continue to love those who I know are not for me. I am experiencing in my life that the people that I feel should be totally happy for me are not. It hurts but I know that I need to continue to love them inspite of how they make me feel. This for me is so hard to do. However, I am praying and asking God to work on me in this area of my life.

    Question #4: My favorite parts of this week’s lesson was being reminded that God wants us to ask him for things so that we communicate with him. It makes sense – growing up I had to ask my earthly parents for the things so why was it so difficult for me to do the same with my spiritual Father. Today, I will begin asking my Father and waiting on answer.

  • Carolyn says:

    Where I need wisdom? On relationships. Who I can or can’t
    trust or wisdom to open my eyed if they are not treating me so
    kindly then the wisdom not to take it and walk.
    I really agre with the finance aituation for the next 5 years, but
    if I do that I tend to panic and worry so practice giving it to Jesus
    and not think about it.. Well there also I can use wisdom. lol.
    A divided heart : my heart torn in 2 of paths 2 paths which one
    is right. Divided in my feelings for others.as well whete you have
    to do a pro and con list.
    Have a good week everyone.

  • Angie says:

    1. Without listing the hardship, share one of the 5-year ramifications you wrote on page 46.

    I chose Beth’s suggestion of obeying James 1:2 as one of the three things I could do with what I’m going through and I noted the 5-year ramifications of doing so will be that my relationship with God will be much stronger, I will be a more thankful person, and my faith and trust in God will have grown greatly.

    2. List one of the four areas where you need wisdom from God. (page 49)

    I need wisdom from God in living as His ambassador in my immediate family relationships so that they will want to know Jesus personally.

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

    I really enjoyed reflecting through the quarters of my life on the good and perfect gifts that God has given me. This exercise really felt good and was enlightening for me also. I enjoyed it so much that I am going to purchase a pretty journal and begin recording a few things I am thankful for each evening before I go to bed. I truly want to focus on being more thankful for what God does for me each and every day.

  • Renee says:

    4. I am just REALLY liking it all!!!

  • Caroll says:

    First I wrote out answers to all of these questions but that just didnt’ feel right for today, for me. Here is my 2nd go….
    The bible study truly opens my eyes to new ways of thinking and I have learned so much from it’s teachings and I absolutely love that reading and active participation fully helps. It is you my sisters, reading your thoughts that expand on this as well and have really made me think and see changes for the better I want to make in my life. In times of trial such as Rhonda sharing her unemployment, I feel her pains and want nothing but GREAT for her and all of you. Question 1 asks about the possible ramifications: first thing that comes to mind is financial hardships within the next 5yrs.

    Wisdom is needed in all parts but most importantly for me is to how to live and work through God. I belong to God and this is my ultimate priority no matter what follows. Having lived in dark seasons I truly have fear that I could be overcome again as I slipped into such without realizing and felt very off balance. I have such hightened fear this will happen again and I now feel clingy and holding on with the tightest of grips. I need wisdom to know to ask for the right things and wisdom to use Gods gifts as he would have me to so.

    Divided heart: this is me when I feel torn between human desires and Godly desires. something I want wisdom to never live divided heart season ever again.

    I could write volumes on my favorite parts. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Days 1,2,5.
    This week thunder stuck hugely in the opening of day 1 and 2. Testing faith produces endurance?!? YES this REALLY turned things backwards and upside down and then to learn that I am to find Joy in such what I considered misery trials of life?…that gave me whiplash having to reread! Many favorite parts to chapter one (my workbook is painted in with Shapie higlhights and colored gel pens b/c I felt overwhelmed by these chapters)…new ways to think and I couldnt stop thinking and rethinking! p. 45 paragraph 2: “Trials don’t get to steal from followers of Christ unless we hand over th goods”. Really?!? Why do ppl work so hard to steal from us and why is it that there are times I wake up thinking “what just happened?” as I felt my “goods” were stolen…so this really made me re-evaluate situations and my reactions and energy to them. What part do I play in the hardships and what part do I have control of re: myself and what part do I not? Giving up control has been so hard. I have to work to turn my worries and troubles up to God fully. What is just AWESOME is to know we can ask God for help in all matters (Day 2). I have a choice if I give up my goods and by goods I think of my happiness and my joy.
    I currently am home, not working and my neighbor tells me that were on the “austerity” plan. I’ve never had a better time than the last few weeks, cutting coupons, eating on fresh very affordable foods, making pots of beans and cornbread, going for all the things that are free such as walks and spending time outdoors, playing board games and card games with my husband and it seems that creativity and motivation just flow more than ever in all the moment I let go of the grasp and give things to God 🙂 I pray all day long, I feel such peace within. I have trials before me that scare the skin off of me if I allow it but all of that somehow became smaller this week. God has ALWAYS given me everything I needed and I feel blessed through and through. I cannot tell you when finding this calm mindset and gaining knowledge of the weeks work with the bible study, things changed…blessings are still coming and my troubles / worries less and my work ahead, doable even if one baby step at a time is all I concentrate on.
    Perserverence…the fire is lit. Monetary gifts may not be as large this year but my love and my Joy is overflowing. I am God’s. I am God’s. I am God’s. There is nothing greater. I’m finding my way home to God.
    Day 5: Gratitude for all lives blessings in all quarters and WoW, the exercise really made me know God has never left my side.

    Trials: I’ve lived a dark season and now have the opportunity to face my offenders and deal with my one of my greatest challenges personally. All of this takes me outside the USA for a week and possibly two. Not a vacation, work only. My studies and prayers will perservere though not sure of internet availability I will be back to the study asap. Blessings to ALL!

    • Christine says:

      Praying safe travels for you. I enjoyed reading your comments Caroll and seeing your relationship with God blossom as you continue to study. God is good…trust Him when you don’t trust yourself. Depend on Him when you can’t depend on yourself. Imagine Jesus beside you all the time….not just when you need him. He is near.

    • Susan says:

      Such a moving post! Thank you so much for sharing your journey.

  • Rebbie says:

    My focus and struggles involving this study are probably the exact opposite of what many consider ‘pride’, but in reality, it is definitely pride. I had a horrific childhood, in which I was repeatedly told that I had no value and I wasn’t wanted, on top of the physical/seual abuse. When I heard the gospel clearly and accepted Christ at 18, my life definitely changed, but the voices of the past had made its impact. In the 38 years of being a Christian, I have never gone before the throne and made a request for myself outside of asking for forgiveness of sins. I taught my children to bring everything before God, but couldn’t do it myself. Praying on behalf of others is a blessing to me in which I keep my promise when I say I will pray… no matter what the situation. In the last few weeks, God has shown me in James how my ‘pride’, via feeling so undeserving of praying on my own behalf, is related to not recognizing myself as a Daughter of the King. There are many issues going on in my life right now in which I should be constantly before the throne, but it took until 10 days ago for me to break and cry out (literally) to our Heavenly Father to intercede. I have been broken so that HE may build me up and let me see myself as HE sees me. This is a very difficult journey but one in which Jesus may be glorified!

  • Jayme says:

    2. I need wisdom for knowing the difference between right and wrong. Life is so gray sometimes and it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. I like to see thing clear and in black and white. However, many many things are in gray thoughout life. I see this as a way to lean on God for the right answers.

    • Monica, NY. says:

      Jayme, so true…I remember Beth Moore tweeting once….”So much of life it gray, I like some black & white Always & Nevers from God & this is one of them. NEVER EVER!…”For you, LORD, have Never forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10b

  • Amy S. says:

    Wow–did I ever need a lesson on asking for wisdom this week! I could totally relate to Beth’s statement on page 49 saying, “Our neighborhoods are getting dangerous.” This is one reason that my house is up for sale right now, and boy do I need wisdom on when and where to find a new one. I keep getting various opinions from family and friends. They love me and they mean well, but I only need the wisdom and discernment that comes from God about this. Only He knows the right timing for my husband and me to put an offer on a home (and exactly where that home’s location should be).

    As I am house hunting, I am believing and asking, and am convicted to the doubting. I know that God can lead us to the right place, and I am trusting Him for the timing–and that He will keep me safe where I am in the meantime. 🙂

    • Christine says:

      I love your story of house hunting Amy! I’ve sold real estate in California for 15 years and had some amazing experiences. In one case, I helped a young widow buy a home after her husband passed away. The day after her offer was accepted she said to me “the address of my new home is the date of the last day I saw my husband alive.” It was a moment when I got chills across my spine. A few months later, after helping this woman and waiving all my commission in order to help her, my husband and I found a dream home to buy. We bid against other offers, the home had been on the market for a year and it was now in foreclosure. Our offer was accepted, we lived in this fabulous home for two years and decided to sell and downsize it…making a $500k profit in two years. I quit my job to stay home with the kids, and a few months later the entire real estate market fell and if I had stayed in real estate, I would have lost my home like so many others. So my story is…let God select your next home. You will know when it’s the right one, you will have no doubts and be certain that it was meant to be. I’ve experienced this personally many times. Confirmation may come years later….so listen to your heart and if it says “this is your home” then buy it and God will make it possible and open the door for you.

  • Julie says:

    Recently I changed my home, changed marital status and now spend a fraction of time with my kids. No husband, no family dinners, no family home. I am alone, am I? Maybe I’m not? And maybe I need to rethink what I am! The exercise in creating options really hit home from me that the ramifications of not doing these 3 could impact my relationship with my kids and my family and friends. Here are the 3 options:
    1. Redefine family time.
    2. Enjoy, create memories & have meaningful conversations with my children (who are 19 & 17)
    3. Try a new hobby – get out and meet new friends, learn something new and have scheduled activities and projects when the kids are not with me.

    What struck me in this exercise is that I need to do these things. That I need to ask God for the strength and commitment. To keep me focused and not allow me to wallow in self-pity. Through this perseverance — staying on my feet, holding tight to Jesus, while storm winds try to toss me around. What a great lesson and awaking for me! James words are so powerful and stopping, writing them — has really brought them to life for me.

    • Christine says:

      God’s perfect timing, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season when we’re surrounded by family memories. Self-pity does not belong on the cross. Embrace yourself as a Daughter of the King and let Him lead your life.

  • Rhonda says:

    1. I know you said we did not have to list the hardship, but what I am facing now is being without a job. For the first time in my adult life I am dealing with unemployment. For many years I worked for a very large insurance company but due to a downward trend in the economy I was forced to look for a new career. I went back to school and got my masters in counseling, and have worked in this field for the past ten years. I let a good position to move to South Carolina to be near my sister when our mother passed away this fall. I did not realize how much of my identity was tied up in my work. I am no longer helping people which is a true loss in my life. I find that in helping others I was helping myself. This exercise helped me to find other ways to fill this void in my life. I am looking into being a volunteer, am making contacts with local therapists to find out what the community needs for counseling services, and leaning more on God to care for me than myself.
    2 and 3. I have been divorced from my children’s father for many years and am thankful that my daughter has a good relationship with both her father and me. Unfortunately, my daughter has never accepted my current husband and they have a very strained relationship. My husband is wonderful with my son who has autism and my son loves him, but my daughter refuses to try to have a relationship with him. Her two children are fond of my husband as well, but my daughter has hardened her heart towards him and the situation is heartbreaking for me. This has caused me to have a divided heart, not quite in the way you probably intended for this example but a divided heart nonetheless.
    4. Having worked in social services for the past ten years, I have spent most of my career working with society’s poor and often forgotten people, the mentally ill. I have felt that this was God’s plan for me and a way to repay the many blessings I have received. James just reinforced these feelings for me by saying I could not remember God and forget the poor.

    • Christine says:

      Wow….you are a witness to others by your faith. Have you thought about writing a book about your experiences? Many new writers begin with blogging, then move into publishing ebooks and if successful, they publish a printed book. Pray over this and see if it’s a path God wills for you. You have a voice with passion…hope you’ll find an opportunity to share it with those who are spiritually poor and in need.

  • Ann says:

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    On page 61 of the workbook, we are asked to summarize James 1:13-18. After prayer and thought over the course of the week, I came up with this, “Don’t be sidetracked from your goal by focusing on all the bad things that Satan entices you with in your life, but give thanks for and appreciate all the good gifts from God instead.”

  • Jennifer says:

    what really spoke to me this week was temptation. We talk, think, and pray about it all of the time but I guess God needed me to hear Him and to address something specific in my life that is unhealthy, not a good example to my children and keeps me from more deeply turning to Him in my stressed out crazy life. I am fasting for two weeks from this and I know that my faith will GROW!

  • Susan Lawrence says:

    I love the following from page 86: “God is practical. He doesn’t ask us to do what doesn’t matter. What seems a drop inthe bucket to you is a sip from the wellspring of life to someone about to thirst to death. Let’s muster the courage to ask Him to show us who to help and how. True religion is all hands on deck and all heads out of the sand.” So many times, we try to assess the situation in our limited ways and overestimate or underestimate a need – or completely miss it all together! We overestimate or underestimate our ability to serve or the impact we can have. But we’re not the ones who know the intimacies of the details, situations, and people, even ourselves! We’re called into obedience. It’s not for us to decide the hows, whens, and whats. We obey, and God uses it all.

    • Christine says:

      We’re called into obedience. <<< Like hearing this Susan. When life does not go the way we planned, or according to our will….we must stand in obedience with His.

Leave a Reply