Mercy Triumphs Week 2 Review


Welcome to Week Two of James: Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore!

 I am amazed by how God works. He arranged for this bible study to come into my life at a time when I needed it most and then he orchestrated it all in such a way that I would have the opportunity to share on the very verses that are challenging me to the core and have the power to change my life.

I've always loved the book of James, the raw honesty, the no-nonsense approach to life and trials. It's real, it's relevant, but it's rarely easy to digest. In fact, if I'm completely honest, the opening verses of this chapter have always been kind of mind-boggling to me.

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance" James 1:2-3

I'm supposed to what? Consider it joy when we face joblessness, hurricanes, heartache, and loneliness? Long before we started this bible study, God would remind me of this verse and I have to admit I've misinterpreted it. I've tried to make myself feel joy for the trials I've been walking through and I've only ended up frustrated and disappointed in my inability to do so. But what a revelation God has brought to me through this in depth study of the book of James!

Considering it joy does not mean I have to feel joyful, paste a phony smile on my face and pretend everything's fine. It simply means I must thoughtfully consider that what I'm going through is an opportunity for God to develop in me a faith that endures, that presses on despite all odds, that clings to Jesus even when the ground caves under my feet.

And then here is the joy of it all: God ASSURES me that if I allow him to use my trials to accomplish endurance and steadfastness within me, then I will lack nothing and will be fully developed in my full potential as a follower of Christ. (James 1:4). And there's nothing I want more in my life than to bring him glory.

But endurance and perseverance aren't developed overnight.

It's more often refined over years of trials. And the temptation to escape, to relieve the pressure for ourselves, to force our own way, ahead of God and ahead of his timing, is a very real one. James talks about this in verse 14, how we are led astray by our own selfish desires.

There have been times in this past year when I've felt like God was purposefully holding out on me. I felt he had dangled a carrot in front of us, allowed us one glorious year of our dream of serving him in ministry and then yanked the rug out from under our feet and abruptly forgot us. I felt like God must have found me lacking and decided I wasn't perfect enough to serve him. And the temptation was there to go out and make my dream happen, to prove myself to God.

Beth Moore talks about this in her study and it cut me to the quick. The origin of sin in the garden was that very belief: that God was withholding something good from them. And James goes on to remind me that God "gives liberally to everyone without reproach or fault finding" (James 1:5). In fact, "every good and perfect gift" is from the "Father of the heavenly lights". (James 1:17)

God's not holding out on me. He isn't up there shaking his head in disappointment, thinking "What has she gotten herself into now? When will she ever get her act together?"

He wants to bless me-- to lavish me with gifts only a daddy can give. And we're not talking about gifts that line my pocket. James readily establishes the fact that riches aren't eternal and should not be boasted in. (James 1:9-11). We're talking about the gifts that will bring us everlasting joy--the gifts of love and faith that endures, that weathers every storm and produces the most bountiful harvest, the sweetest fruit.

And who knows what gift of surprise God has waiting for us at the top of that mountain, if we will only stay the course and not give up or turn and forge our own way around the mountain instead of over it?

What has ministered the most to your heart this week in our study of the first verses in James? Has God given you gifts born out of trials that you need to remember?

Please feel free to share in the comments or write a post on your own blog and link it up here. It's so encouraging to hear your hearts!


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Join us next Sunday, when we discuss Week Three.



17 comments:

  1. I'm not one who is usually all that comfortable talking about my faith but this is a great chance for me to jump into something that's not easy for me.
    Here's my first post:

    http://pippasmum.blogspot.ca/2012/09/james-mercy-triumphs.html

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I just visited your blog and really enjoyed reading your post and hearing it all from another's perspective. It's encouraging that you are stepping out of your comfort zone, that takes so much faith and courage!

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  2. what a great perspective and reflection!
    i love this "I must thoughtfully consider that what I'm going through is an opportunity for God to develop in me a faith that endures, that presses on despite all odds, that clings to Jesus even when the ground caves under my feet." what a perfect restatement of that! so easy to relate to!

    thank you for sharing! xo!

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    1. it's so much easier to "consider" the joy than to "feel" it during tough times and to recognize the difference between the two, isn't it? and the greatest news of all is that God promises that although "weeping endures for the night, joy comes in the morning". joy is coming!

      thank you for your sweet words :)

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  3. It is always so hard for me to see God's blessings during trials, but these verses are a beautiful reminder that God is in control and will bless our trials to strengthen and draw us closer to him. With Jesus by our side there is nothing we can't do or overcome! Thanks for sharing! xo Heather

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    1. I agree, I don't always recognize the blessings when I'm going through the trials. You're right, though, that's where trust comes in--the belief that God loves us and really will work all things together for our good :)

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  4. I loved the reminder this week that my struggles have brought about a birth, and I was amazed over God's great grace and redemption in the very middle of my struggles in life. And of course that seems like just the tip of it this week! I'll have my post up tomorrow :)

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    1. He is so rich in grace toward us, even if we fail the test and barely make it through the trial--now that is something to rejoice in :)

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  5. so great, joye. praise jesus for his truth and your beautiful heart! xo

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    1. thank YOU, dear Hannah, for everything ;) I'm off to read your post!

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  6. There have been times in this past year when I've felt like God was purposefully holding out on me for sure.
    Oh, how I wish refinement did not take years! Many times I am put in similar circumstances to re-learn that which I didn't. May we crucify our selfish desires and seek only Him...Thank you for sharing Joye and keeping it real! blessings and love!

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    1. i SO hear you on the refinement! the Lord has definitely been working the same thing in me over the past through similar circumstances... i'm letting Him control is this time :)

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  7. Beacause I am in the midst of a trying season of life - and learning what it means, yet again, (or growing in greater understanding) - to count it all JOY; I ended up falling behind in my study :( So then I've been procrastinating even more but reading your thoughts has encouraged me to keep going. Goodness I give up easily sometimes!

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    1. Oh Krista keep going! I too was behind but I promise you'll be so blessed by the homework in week 2. From what I can tell by reading the other ladies' posts, this week has been major. XOXO

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    2. DON'T give up girl! God has something for you in the study :) He wouldn't have given it to you if He didn't! :) You can totally do it... give God your everything through this trial, by studying His word and finding His Holy Spirit's guidance within you to help you persevere and make it through! i pray you get an extra ounce of encouragement tomorrow! :)

      xo!

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    3. Krista, I completely understand! I'm in a very difficult season as well and there never feels like there's enough time in the day to get what I really want (and need) to get done. I've fallen behind a few days, but that's the beauty of this study--you can catch up at any time and there is SO MUCH encouragement in studying the Word and letting it DWELL in us :) Praying grace to you, sister!

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  8. This is was a great lesson this week to realize the trials are the beginning of a blessing. I needed that reminder this week. I was behind too but have caught up
    Stay with it as i have previously said anytime you are in the word the devil will do all he can to get you too busy. Stay in the word you can do it!

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