Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Consider It All Joy

I'm am currently working my way through Beth Moore's study of James (which is AMAZING by the way). Something she wrote this week really struck a chord with me and with where I'm at right now. It was concerning verse 2 of chapter 1. "Consider it all joy my brothers when you encounter trials of many kinds..." Beth began by asking us to write down whatever trial it is that we are currently forging through. Then below that, she said to write down 3 different ways that we could respond to that trial (one of the three ways had to be what James instructed..."to consider it all joy"). Once we had those listed, next we were to list the five year implications of those choices (as best we could tell). After spending much time thinking through and writing down my options/implications, I was AMAZED! When you see it there staring you down on paper, what seems like the hardest and most difficult choice really does have the greatest joy and blessings down the road. What I was missing when I would quote James 1:2 to myself, was the word "consider". I was replacing it (in my mind) with the word feel or experience. When I wasn't feeling the joy, I was wondering what was wrong. God is not calling us to "feel" joy, but to consider (think) it all joy. Especially as a woman, it's hard to get past our emotions (or hormones)! When I took a moment to weigh my options, I saw that considering my current trial (all the waiting and constant hurdles) as a joy was easier because I realized that it brought the most glory to God, in the end. Shouldn't that be our goal in all things? If what we are going through ultimately brings glory to God, how can we not "consider it all joy"? That doesn't mean as we walk through the tough times that we're going to be all smiles. What is does mean is that we recognize that we serve an Almighty God who is "working all things together for the good of those that love Him and are called according to His purpose". It also means we consider it joy because we know that He "knows the plans that I have for you....plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." That my friends, brings joy!

On a side note, I witnessed (first hand) God answer a specific prayer that I prayed for a dear friend just this morning. It blows my socks off each time I see God not only answer my prayer, but answer it exactly how I asked. It's enough to knock you right back to your knees in awe! It's really easy and natural for us to lift our own burdens and requests before God. Let me encourage you though, you will receive NO GREATER blessing than to see God work in a friend or family member's life when you've been on your knees, on their behalf. There is POWER in prayer. Never underestimate what it could mean in someone else's life because you took the time to lift them up before your heavenly father! God showed that to me in a mighty way today!

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