Monday, January 20, 2020

How Important Is Understanding?




Our son who lives in Northern Indiana attends a weekly men's Bible Study and frequently leads the study.

When we were up there over the Christmas and New Year holidays, it happened to be his turn.  Dick always goes with John to these meetings and especially enjoys being there when his son is the leader.

Although the study was focused directly for men, I also found it to be meaningful to me and knew it might also be timely for many of you.

John began with this introduction:

"Men, my One Word for last year was, "Understanding".  We will walk through why things happen and how it affects our faith through the reading and discernment of God's word."

Last year did indeed bring some trials for John and it was critical for him to find some degree of understanding from it all.  In the end, he came to realize that God had chosen to use certain events and decisions by others not only to protect John, but to also show Him grace and purpose.  It brought him and his family closer together and to the things of God and the importance of waiting for His perfect timing.  In the process, God also granted him a degree of understanding.
Following are some of the points from his notes and discussion:
Scripture Reference (James 1: 2-5)
Key Verses: ² Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, ³ because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance".
Many times men (and women - my addition) believe they are “in charge” but when faced with major obstacles or failures in their lives, don’t know what to do or where to turn. This can be true even for Christian men.
One of the reasons men act this way is that God created men to “be strong.”  We are to make a living, support our wives, lead our families in Faith and help others.  Men are strong or act strong so much of the time that sometimes it is hard to let go and fully trust God.  Many times, it is not until we face trials and failures that we are fully open to realizing God’s Love is perfect and can handle “anything” we face.
As it says in James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." 
  1. Have you ever experienced times in your life when you thought you knew something and then found out you were mistaken? Or, after the fact you realized you should have known better or anticipated a major problem.  
Prayer should always be the starting point when facing obstacles, trials, or failure in our lives. The ultimate source of all wisdom is God, who in James 1:6 says, "But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind."
Studying James helps us realize God wants to support us. James is overflowing with Truth that is relevant to “all of life’s circumstances.” The benefits from reading James begin when we truly pray and trust Him completely.
REFLECT:
James 1:12 says, "blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." 
Two questions to help us consider how the passage applies to our life.
1. If we fail any given test in life does that mean we forfeit all that God has promised? Where does temptation from our trials originate?

In James 1:122 it says, "do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." 
2. The message here is quite clear. How will you put this into practice tomorrow? The Next week? The rest of your life?

DISCIPLESHIP STUDY QUESTIONS:
  1. Isaiah 43:2 "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." 
       What does this Scripture say to you personally? When faced with                   major troubles do you think you can let go and trust God? Remember             the last time you faced an overwhelming problem or obstacle. Do                   think praying would have helped you get though the issue? Will you                 pray next time you face similar problems? Why?

2. 2 Peter 2:9 it says: "if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the Day of Judgment."
How does God know about our trials? How do you know God will always be there for you when you are enduring a major problem in your life?  
    3. 1 Peter 1:6-7. "In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
This Scripture talks about “for you to be sad for a while” and “to prove your faith is genuine.” Do you think we can become closer to God without the trials and tribulations we face on earth? Why? Do you believe the sole purpose of our trials and problems is to “test us and our faith?”

Right now, we know specifically of several families going through horrific tragedies and loss.  A dear friend who has fought MS and numerous other health issues, died last week; a friend who founded and has pastored one of the largest churches in Northern Indiana has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has had resign; a friend who was once over the European JAG Corp and made brilliant military decisions, is in a daily decline due to Alzheimers; a young family we have known for many years, found their daughter and granddaughter dead this past weekend.

There are national tragedies that cause us to question God's plan.  There are big and small things that affect us daily that beg for understanding. When this happens, God is the only answer.  Turn to His Word and seek Him.

Being the son of a Minister of Music, this hymn came to mind and John found it a very appropriate closing to his study.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,

Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;


Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,


Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"

Morning by morning new mercies I see;


All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—


"Great is Thy faithfulness, " Lord, unto me!
"Great is Thy Faithfulness"
William M. Runyan

Study based on:  WWW.MENSGROUP.ORG – “ORIGINAL STUDY”


2 comments:

  1. Such a wonderful post with such truth!!!

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  2. Well that first paragraph certainly speaks to us in our circumstances here. Thanks for sharing this!

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