James Online Bible Study Week 1

By November 20, 2011James

Welcome to our first group discussion of the new bible study James, Mercy Triumphs by Beth Moore. If you’ve been reading along with us, then you have finished reading week one and listened to audio or video session one. Beth starts this study with a “BAM” as she walked us through the natural family, spiritual family and resurrected family in the audio session. She introduces us to to the concept of a growing family through Christ.

We are reminded that James, the brother of Jesus, was an unbeliever and even mocked his brother for embarrassing the family with his teaching. Imagine the grief and shame James felt when his own flesh was crucified after James instructed him “go out and show yourself to the world.” We learn from Beth that “Jesus appeared to those who needed to see him most.”

Knowing this….look back in your life and think about the times Jesus appeared to you or a family member. Pause and think of the times you felt his presence, leaned on him and knew without a doubt- Jesus was there.

During this week Beth Moore set the background for the story of James.  We learned about his relationship with his family, with Jesus and with the disciples.  On day three she calls him “The Lord’ Brother” and it’s a powerful image. We filled out a timeline on page 24 of the workbook, detailing the events leading up to James story. My mind wants so badly to ask “what’s it like living day to day with Jesus as your brother?” I wondered why these fabulous details were excluded from scripture…then realized….WE are living day to day with Jesus as our brother. We are his living family. If scripture had detailed the boyhood of these two brothers we might have missed out on seeing the better things. It’s the story of a mature man and not the immature youth. The story begins with Jesus.

Prayer Requests

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Beth Moore Quotes

  • Jesus appeared to those who needed to see him. Beth Moore
  • Jesus radically restructured the idea of family. Beth Moore
  • Entitlement caves to the earthquake of grace. Beth Moore
  • Many would ultimately live because the One humanity sought would die. Beth Moore
  • The people of God often turn on one another rather than rally in unity against the enemy. Beth Moore
  • The power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.  Beth Moore
  • The power of the resurrection trumps the power of the past if we’re willing to let it.

For Next Week

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

  1. When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?
  2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
  3. How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?
  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 83 Comments

  • Beverly says:

    As someone who was also abused sexually, physically and emotionally at a very early age (I spent the first 6 weeks of my life in casts because my dad tried to kill me right before I was born by kicking my mom in the stomach), someone abandoned by the very family that should have loved me, and someone who has constantly felt an ever gaping whole in my life where my family should have been – it was a profound revelation and blessing to have Beth speak those words. Sometimes, when emptiness is all we know, we tend to hold onto that emptiness and forget to allow God to fill it with HIS love, to let HIM be our Father, our Family, our Brother. I am so thankful to have been able to hear those words because I have a new prayer – not to forget, or to heal but to be filled – to not be empty anymore…to let Him bring HIS love and Grace into that empty void and fill it up – never to be empty again!

  • Jennifer D says:

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    On page 30 at the top of the page the saying: God’s way of reaching the big, needy world is to enlist every one of us to do our parts in love and humility, variety and diversity.

  • Julianne says:

    I am a little behind but finally catching up to week 1! Hopefully, I’ll catch up to week 2 very soon. I am immensely enjoying the study! James: Mercy Triumphs is really well written and well thoughout study. I am really grateful to be part of this online study. Thank you!

  • Michelle McLellan says:

    Thanks everybody for your comments. What has been most applicable for me?? “The power of the resurrection trumps the power of the past if we’re willing to let it.” I struggle daily with hurts from the past and how they affect my daily relationships at home. “Lord please help me to press in to your love and guidance”. Satan, you have no place in my life, or reinforcing what I might think might be wrong with a situation!! Lord give me peace, and confidence in who I am in you. Let me show your love and grace to those around me.”

  • Sue says:

    Share a favorite moment from this weeks lesson.
    I really enjoyed digging in day five on the early church solving the problems of demands on the Gentiles. It gave me joy to have the example in the Word on how leaders are supposed to work together.

  • Adele-Alys says:

    1)When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?

    This has been a dilemma through the years. Although my husband (born Jewish) was fascinated by Christ and open to his message, “churchy people”, uninformed about the Jewish heritage of the Christian faith, repeatedly ruined their witness. Once a Sunday School classmate “helpfully” suggested I might turn out like Saint Monica who “was married to an infidel.”

    With God’s help, I have found more enlightened congregations, including my current church home, which ironically is Lutheran. I knew I was in the right place when I saw the Judas stained glass window in the parlor (a J with the top part formed from rope) and the sculpted 3-dimensional Wailing Wall replica in the prayer corner of the parlor.

  • 2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    I think it means that we should constantly be filling our lives with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus isn’t in the tomb anymore because he is supposed to be in our lives and living through us. If we are empty and not filled with Christ’s love, then we cannot feel the power of the resurrection. If we are empty and cannot show the power of the resurrection, we cannot “let our light shine before men” as we are told to do on Matthew’s gospel. We should always be full of Christ’s love.

  • carin says:

    says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    That the tomb was a place to put a dead body. Because of Jesus we are alive in Christ not dead all of our tombs should be empty.

    How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?
    I grew up with only one sister. We are only two years apart and fought like crazy. I highlighted on page 20 that most likely the brothers might have been so defensive over Jesus’ independence that their hearts were hardened. They had to have been jealous, confused upset or angry. Knowing what my sister & I fought about was nothing compared to this.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    That I like how Beth starts with who James is and where he came from. I really want to learn more about specific people in the bible. Even down to how they must have felt and in this case a blood relative of Jesus.

  • Lauren says:

    I really enjoyed this first week. I love Melissa’s extra take on things… digging deeper is great. I can’t imagine being Jesus’s brother or sister during the time of His gospel. I have a sister who seems perfect… but He really was! Talk about having to “man up”… but somehow I don’t think Jesus held it over their head. I’ve read James before, even did a short Mark Hall devotion on it last year, but never realized it was written by Jesus’s brother… that puts it into a new light.
    I love that saying that nothing but the tomb has to stay empty. That means me… I don’t have to be empty; I don’t have to feel worthless or like I don’t matter. I can live fully with the expectation that I am full through Christ Jesus. And I am chosen… I am part of a royal priesthood. Really liked looking at the Jews/Gentiles and how we were “grafted” together… just now having a Wow moment when I think of all that the men who established the early church went through… Thank God for His marvelous plan!

    • Christine says:

      I also did a study on James and never connected the familiar relationship he had with Jesus as his natural brother. I think Beth has done a good job introducing this study and setting the foundation for us.

  • Aisha says:

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

    My favorite moment was actually seeing James in a new light. It’s amazing how when someone presents something to you in a different way a light bulb goes off and you have an “aha” moment. I had a few of those for week 1. I am definitely enjoying this so far! It’s definitely blessing me!

  • Mindy says:

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    That God means to fill us up. If we let him, he will fill us with his spirit and love and be with us always.

    3.How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?
    Sometimes annoyed and jealous of “perfect little Jesus” during the growing up years… probably in awe and respect during the time of ministry we are studying. Probably some regret at my earlier disbelief and unknowing.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    Realizing the impact of Gentiles being chosen and included during this time – wow!

  • Jessica says:

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    These words mean to me that sin has no power over me because Christ has overcome sin and death. Satan likes to bring up our past sins to make us feel like we have never been completely forgiven. Not only is God’s grace enough to completely forgive all of our sins, but His grace is enough to forgive us of past, present, and future sin! Nothing can ever take away our salvation in Christ.

  • Victoria says:

    1) When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?
    My dad. He has been going through a huge pit the past 2 years after the death of my step-mom. Over the past 8 months, he became addicted to drugs and a much younger woman whom he met through her prostitution. He sold his house and all of the contents for $3,000. He has literally lost everything, and recently came close to suicide as well. A couple months ago I picked him up (He lives in TX, I live in AR), and brought him to my home to stay and try to begin rebuilding his life. We are very involved in church and he came with me to a Wed night service. He enjoyed it and said he was moved by it and wanted to speak to my pastor; so they went to his office. Afterwards, my dad said he was asking for help, to get an apartment to try to move his girlfriend up here to evade police. He was very upset by my pastor’s response, (that they would do all they could to help HIM, but could not help HER to break the law and also to be living with my dad outside of marriage). I tried to mix my natural family with my spiritual family, and it ended up in an uncomfortable situation…but I would like to believe that a lot of that might have come from the fact that my dad was at that time, freshly sobering up, emotional, lost, afraid…and that under different circumstances, the result would have been way different!

    2) Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    That the things that we cut away, the things that are taken away, the things that we lose, aren’t meant to make us feel empty; but like she said, it is making space for HIS grace. So that HE can fill me up with HIMSELF, so that I can reflect and glorify HIM!

    3) How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?
    Whoa, that is a tough question. I want to say that I would feel quite honored to be their sister, but at the same time, I know what it is like to be a sibling, a younger sibling. And so I know all of the other emotions that come with that territory. 🙂
    I think it would have been an awesome experience!

    4) Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    Day 4! God really spoke to me through it, especially page 29:
    “God only knows how many effective ministries have disintegrated into irrelevance over addiction to comparison. We talk as those who believe God is omnipotent and omnipresent, but we often act as if He can only work through one person, one method, or one kind of ministry at a time. If we don’t refuse ourselves the indulgence, we can lapse into the mentality of a spoiled child who thinks that, if God shows you favor, He must hate me.”
    OMG! Ladies…I don’t know how many times a similar thought has crossed my mind, ESPECIALLY in the past 4-5 months with our church crumbling, people going elsewhere, and trying to remain friends with them while I stay at the exact place they have left! WOW GOD!
    “God’s way of reaching the big, needy world is to enlist every one of us to do our parts in love and humility, variety and diversity.” AMEN!

  • Sheree says:

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    The “power of the resurrection” is a wild trump card that I can throw at Satan when he tries to bring up something in my past that I know is over, forgiven and buried and should never rear its ugly head again. But the Accuser will try to find a way to bring it back to mind and get my thoughts all out of sort. I have learned to let those thoughts pass through and not stop to dwell on them. If I linger on a thought, I get caught in a web of accusations, bad memories, unforgiveness, and tears, and the whole cycle will start over again. The power of the resurrection is my trump card…like Beth Moore states on page 21, “The power of the resurrection trumps the power of the past if we’re willing to let it.”

    • Christine says:

      I’m going to add that Beth quote to our list, thanks Sheree.

    • Allison Mayes says:

      Thank you, Sheree, for your comment about the Accuser trying to find a way to use our past mistakes to make us feel guilt or shame. I will begin to pray that I can let those thoughts pass through and not stop to dwell on them, as well.

      • Sheree says:

        You’re welcome, Allison. I have found that staying in the Word keeps the Accuser at bay and he will not enter my thoughts. But if my guard is ever down, and a thought appears, I say out loud (if no one is around that is) “you are not welcome here, and I refuse to let you ruin my day,” and I will replace that thought with a Scripture and the thought leaves and does not hang around. I like the idea of memorizing the book of James, and that is something I will have to work on beyond this Bible study once we’re done. Memorizing Scripture is sooo important….it’s our trump cards 🙂

  • Barbara says:

    Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    These words mean hope. They mean to practice living by faith. They mean that no matter what I come up against in this world, I will never be alone, I will never be forsaken. The tomb is empty, but by being so I have hope everlasting if only I walk by faith.

  • Bienve says:

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson—Day Five page 33 regarding the Jerusalem Council. I wish I would have been a “fly on the wall”. I love to hear people express their thoughts and ideas. James spoke with such authority and passion. It is encouraging to know that when God does a “work in you” you can accomplish much. I love the whole concept of James Peter and Paul. How God used them so differently but yet for the same purpose which was to “spread the gospel to all” ..Love It !!!!!

  • Bienve says:

    When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ?–interesting, that is one word I can use. I felt a little odd. I kept thinking that my believing family may not accept my unbelieving friends.

    Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? That everyone is filled with “something”, good bad or indifferent. Something fills your heart. My desire is to be filled by God’s grace and love.

    How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? That is a scary question. I pray I would be a believer and not be so blind that I would miss “Jesus the Messiah” who was right before my eyes. I think in general we are very hard on our own family members.

  • Shukeria Anderson says:

    Question #2: “The power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty” – this to me means that I should not feel empty because the Lord is all I need to be filled and made whole. He wants us to come to him to fulfill the void or emptiness in our lives.

  • Ann says:

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    I was struck by the idea of competitiveness that Beth talks about on Day 4. Churches and teachers try to outdo each other in sermons or music or membership numbers. To me this takes the focus off of Christ and onto worldly things. I doubt that anyone will get into heaven and Jesus will say, “Well done! That was a great sermon you preached on November 21!” Instead, it will be “How many starving children did you feed?”

  • Michele says:

    Hello! Blessed to be studying God’s Word with y’all.

    Our small group still has not heard from a few people. MaryAnn, Rosa & Yvette, if you are out there and want to connect to chat about this study, please check your email for a link to the group. Maybe the junk folder? We’d love to have you join us. 🙂

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • Amanda says:

    Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? — That He wants me to be completely filled with Him, that He made me to be completely filled with Him, and that we are supposed to go out and be an example and show the world that He wants them be completely filled with Him.

    How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? Probably a mix of emotions. Maybe a little jealous? Maybe a little annoyed with His perfectness and attention. I’m sure they loved Him dearly. Maybe they felt like they had to try to do things to “measure up” in their parents’ eyes?

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. — Page 25 where it discusses Acts 11:19-21 how the people who had been scattered about preached God’s word and many people turned to God. Just reminded me that no matter how bleak the situation is, God can use it for His glory and for good and to remember that we can only see a small part of the situation, but God has a bird’s eye view and knows the whole picture. I have many instances where I wonder why a certain bad thing happened, someone I love died, etc. I’m trying to learn to trust that God has something bigger going on that I don’t know about.

    Have a great day, ladies!

    • Christine says:

      I asked this question “How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?” because it places us into James’ natural family. We know that we are all members of Jesus’ spiritual family, we are Daughters of the King and have an inheritance through Jesus. So the question is making us think of Jesus as living flesh….interesting, isn’t it! I’m enjoying all the answers, including yours.

  • Jovana says:

    I can say that it was an uncomfortable moment to have both family and non-believers together but my natural family is very welcoming and loving they make everyone part of the family which I love about my natural family.

    It is completely fulfillment. It is the benefit of salvation into my life

    I would have been proud in a positive way to have my brother as the Messiah the protector, the redeemer; just knowing that I am in the lineage of the Messiah it is pricesless

    Page 21”When the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go wherever He leads whether or not you fell like you fit” I am a shy person so when I read this I imagined myself going through a multitude with my eyes close but knowing that Christ is guiding me giving me the security and the strength to fulfill his call.

  • Krystle says:

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    To me these words mean that your soul and your heart aren’t supposed to be empty. They should be filled with love, warmth, compassion, strength, and God. I don’t think that it’s the physical body literally that is emptying the tomb, but the fullness of your soul and heart that resurrects and joins Jesus, God, & the Holy Spirit.

    • Christine says:

      A good point you just presented is that our souls are not to be filled with the modern concept of “soul mates.” Only Jesus can fill our empty souls- with the Holy Spirit. We’re often encouraged to fill the emptiness with a man or our children, and that’s an unfair position for them to fill. Plus it turns them into idols and we do everything we can to keep them on a pedestal or throne.

  • Sandra A says:

    Two “aha” moments this week–First, the promience that James held in the foundation of the early church. Other than Peter, sometimes John, and later Paul, I have just sort of “read over” the other names of the apostles. I saw them in terms of a group rather than individuals. Comparing the “pillars” of the early church–James. Peter and John–to the “pillars” of the Jewish nation–Abraham, Isaac and Jacob– on pages 30-31, all of sudden set James apart as an intriguing individual. I can’t wait to learn more about him and from him. Second, the first question regarding mixing natural family with sojourners of Christ has me reflecting on how I really do behave in this type of situation. I don’t know that I have ever intentionally mixed these two groups, but I realized that I have been a part of those situations and that what usual results is an atmosphere of uncertainness and even ackwardness. This question and the comments from the study are giving me pause to consider how I need to act/react in these types of situations.

  • Amy says:

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    Thus is a beautiful reminder that Jesus fills all empty spaces in my life. No food, entertainment, activity, or even person can fill me like God can. Jesus is life to me.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    My favorite part of this week was getting back into God’s Word in a more structured setting. I appreciate the accountability this group provides. I am really excited about this study and learning more about James.

  • Emily M says:

    I think if I were Jesus & James’ sister I would feel an enormous amount of pressure. I think I would definitely see myself get stuck in a comparison trap. I would most likely feel I had a lot to live up to! I think insecurities & jealousy would be a battle. I can’t even imagine how his natural brothers must have felt! “Brother to the Lord”, no pressure guys!

    “When the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go where ever He leads whether or not you feel like you fit.” pg 21. I struggle with this. I hesitate or avoid “calls” because of a lack of confidence and fear of failing or not measuring up. If He says go, I gotta just go!
    I also liked the pullout quotes in the margin on ph 30 & 36

  • Michelle says:

    1.When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?
    Growing up, my mother was very involved with the church and raised me in church. Somewhere around my middle school years we stopped going to church. Later when I ws teenager I came to Christ, and now as an adult I am very active in my church and have a very special “spiritual” family. I can totally relate to the switch from the natural family to the spiritual family. My husband recently passed away and my spiritual family has been there for me, and more comforting than my natural family. In the past I have tried to merge the two to some degree. I’ve invited both families over for social affairs such as cook-outs or birthday parties. My natural family tends to keep to themselves, they want nothing to do with those “church people”, and cannot understand why I insist on inviting them. My mother and I have had many disagreements about this I try to explain to her that my church family is as important to me as my natural family. When my husband passed away, my church family showed so much love and compassion to all of the memebers of my natural family, that I think they are finally starting to come around and understand my point of view.

  • Carol Carroll says:

    I really thought about the relationships within natural families – so complex and difficult sometimes. Sibling rivalry- can you imagine competing with perfection? Has no one else ever been in a family that has the “perfect child” – the one who always minded, was praised, got the best grades? someone who was especially charismatic? It can make a child feel resentful and inferior. I wonder if James felt that? I wonder just how much Mary and Joseph told the siblings about the circumstances of the birth of Christ? I wonder if James felt drawn to Him and yet embarassed by Him at the same time? When Jesus’ parents and siblings went to the temple and tried to play the “we are His family” card to get in to see Him, I wonder how they felt about His comments that alluded to the fact that they were no more important than the strangers they saw gathered around Him? Would you not have felt hurt, rebuked, replaced? Jesus was making an illustration about the bigger picture of the family of God but I’m not sure they were looking at the bigger picture. Isnt it interesting that Jesus chose to appear to James? That after all James said and did Jesus loved Him so and knew that it was important for James to see the risen Lord? Wow! Jesus knew that James would play a vital role in the movement of Christian Jews – in his very direct no nonsense way.

  • Lexi says:

    the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty
    This really spoke to me this week. We moved to a new state almost 2 years ago and each and every day I have hated living here. I realized that my life here didn’t have to be empty-I had a choice and I could choose to live a full life exactly where God has planted me for this season. After reading the first day’s lesson about Mary and Joseph and the unplanned events in their life, I realized how this situation is working toward a goal God has for me and that I need to choose to be obedient during my time living here.
    In Day 2, Beth talks about Jesus being wholly owned by His Heavenly Father and that timing was so critical in the unfolding of the Gospel. I should allow myself to be open to God’s will and timing.
    On page 21, “When, like a laser, the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go wherever He leads whether or not you feel like you fit.”
    Ouch! That one hurt. I have often felt like I do not fit in this new town where we live. I’m going to have to humble myself, and put myself out there to meet others and make the best of my time here. God wants me here. I’m here. And I’m going to use my time wisely.
    This week really showed me some areas of sin in my life that needed confession. It’s made me feel like I could begin anew and really dig into the Bible study now that I was aware of the sins.
    And I cannot imagine being Jesus’ sibling. What an example to look to. How confusing to see how different He would have been. How could you even begin to describe Him or measure up?

  • Susan says:

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? My journey continues to lead me to greater understanding and knowledge of God’s love and mercy.
    3.How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? I would probably be confused about his actions and attention. James’ reaction to and opinion of Jesus would confuse me too. I have two older brothers and I looked up to both of them when I was young.

  • Carrie says:

    1. When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened? I have a lot of friends who grew up in Christ but have let go of their relationship with him. I often invite them to different Church activities and all although they turn me down, it’s not a harsh no. So I take that as a positive sign that if I keep asking they will one day say yes. I have had a few friends come with me on Christmas, and that also gives me hope that maybe they will reach out for a relationship with him on a daily basis. My biggest gratification was after years of prayer and prayer from others my husband announced he would start accompanying me to service.
    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? That he is beside at all times and he fulfills me.
    3. How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? I think I would probably question his actions, but I think as we would grow older I would become aware of the path he was given.
    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. Not sure yet, I haven’t finished.

  • Allison Mayes says:

    When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?

    I really don’t know if I understand the question, but here is my answer. One Easter a few years ago, I decided to host a family gathering. I invited my brother and his family, my cousin and his family, my Dad and my sister. We had a nice dinner on Saturday evening and the next morning we all headed out to church…but my dad and sister decided not to attend, citing church makes them uncomfortable. The service was amazing and all who attended were blessed. I continue to pray for my dad and sister…that they can get past their discomfort and know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

    Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    If we feel a massive void or empty space in our lives, we cannot fill the void with people, things, etc. A hole in our lives can be filled, by believing in the resurrection, with the Holy Spirit. Christ wants to fill our empty places with His love and new life, beyond the empty tomb. Personally, I have struggled a bit with filling empty places with acquiring stuff, spending money that should be appropriately saved on unnecessary things.

    How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?

    Sibling relationships can go from close to distant over the most seemingly trivial reasons to what seem to be irreconcilable differences. How the parents treat the children has a lot to do with how siblings feel about one another as well. I can only go by my own experiences. I have seen a bit of perceived favoritism amongst siblings and can see how it affected the relationships, so growing up with a perfect brother would have put a unique spin on the common – why can’t you be more like your brother?

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.

    Page 29 – Being reminded that we can do our best not to compare ourselves with those of similar calling, because others may try to turn our gifts into a competition. It reminded me of the days when my then young son was in Awanas and had a knack for memorizing scriptures easily and quickly. It ended up fracturing a friendship because of the intense competition for awards that resulted. I have also seen the competitive side of vocal or instrumental soloists vying for the lead part. It was good to be reminded not to turn our gifts into a competition. Being a musician I also like the reference to the symphony on page 36: “We will one day worship in the presence of the One that orchestrated the perfect symphony”. Now that’s music to my ears! (pun intended 🙂

    • Carol says:

      Oh I can SO identify with that mention of the empty feeling inside. I too have had that empty space and struggle with it from time to time. I call it the Christ shaped hole in the heart. No matter what you have or buy, or look loke, or acquire that hollow feeling remains. I too have tried to fill it with “stuff”. I recognize it now for what it is the need to step up study, prayer and worship. To take my eyes off myself and the world, and to fix my eyes on Him. It is the devils tool that he uses against me. The resurrection means that nothing is to be empty but the tomb was my favorite passage of this week.

    • Nancy says:

      I loved the symphony metaphor also. I love the idea of all believers blending in together with Christ as our conductor. Beautiful.

  • Renee says:

    I find myself surrounded by many many nonbelievers. It’s strange. Sometimes I will mention something in my faith and they look at me like, “say what?” The stronger my faith becomes, the bigger difference. I’ve taken a few “seekers” to church with me. I always sit next to them wondering how they are perceiving the message.

  • Caroll says:

    1.When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened? At times there can be awkwardness but mostly overcome. My natural family is very welcoming and loving to all I bring before them which is one thing I love about my natural family so much.
    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? This means to me, total fullfillment, through and through.
    3.How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? I think I can see both sides when there are differences and love them both completely.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    p. 21 “When the call of Christ seas a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go wherever He Leads whether or not you feel like you fit.”
    p.22 last paragraph “The steaks are up. the fire is lit. It’s time to live like those who canot die. Welcome to the life of those called Christians.”
    p. 26 “Do we believe we always have to see it the same to do ministry together?”…this really made me stop and think… absolutely not but what is important is working together.

    Each study day really leaves me thinking further/deeper than I did before. I love this push and growth.

  • Nancy says:

    My first thought when reading question 3 (how I’d feel if I were Jesus’ sister) was that I most likely would have been oblivious to the fact that he was the Messiah!! Kids tend to be very me-centered, and I think I would have just thought he was “one of us”. Sadly, sometimes I still forget who He really is and what He’s done for me!!!

  • Rhonda B. says:

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    To me, it means that our life is meant to be full of joy, peace, love… etc…. and that we all have a hole in our hearts meant for only God to fill.

  • Jeanie Ryan says:

    I go to church alone although I have taken all my family with me before and told them all the good news of salvation. I continue to pray for them and believe that Jesus will and wants to appear to them. I don’t want to give up and must continue on so that they can see Jesus in me.
    The tomb is empty but I am not. He fills me with His love and power and has transformed my life. Imust continue on with Him.
    If I had been Jesus sister I would have been so jealous of Him. I had an older sister that was almost perfect and I was so mean to her and was bad because I did not want to be like her. It was nothing but jealousy and envy on my part. God was able to open my eyes to this and I do love her now. When my Brother died a few years ago He was like my Savior because it had the power turn be back to my true Savior, Jesus Christ.
    This study has opened my eyes to things I never understood before. Thank You! Bless You!

  • Stephanie says:

    Day Two spoke to me personally. Specifically Beth’s last paragraph on Page 21: “When, like a laser, the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go wherever He leads you whether or not you feel like you fit. How will we ever press on through the hot winds from hell if we can’t even get past the awkward?”.
    For me this applies to so many areas of my walk. From being insecure and feeling inadequate in ministry to sharing Jesus with non-believers. I need to remind myself more often to remain obedient to His calling regardless of how I feel about a given situation. And to remember that it is through His power that we will accomplish His wil.

    • Christine says:

      It might help to write those words onto a piece of paper and carry it in your handbag until you have internalized it. Another great reminder is to wear a bracelet engraved with the word HIS. 🙂

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks Christine. Love the bracelet idea. I am trying to keep an ongoing journal of the truths He is leading me to in this study.

        • Christine says:

          Are you blogging about your journey? It might motivate and inspire others to read your truths. If you have a blog link, be sure to share it here with us. 🙂 If you need help starting a blog, ask me!

  • Sue Alice says:

    1. It has not gone very well for me. My husband helps when I need help, or watches something on the DVD. My sister on the others start out fine and than something comes up, and she can not come over to watch the DVD’s with me, so I am better off on my own.

    2. These words mean to me that Jesus died a horrible death for my sins. He died so I could live with Him in the Holy Spirit. I am grateful to know and love my Savior.

    3. If I was Jesus’ or James’ sister, I would totally feel left out of things. But in the end I hope I would be better able to understand the why of it.

    4. Knowing that James finally realize who Jesus was, and was with Peter, Paul, and knew them.

  • Debby says:

    1. I come from a family of faith going back several generations. Mixing natural and sojourners in Christ has not been an issue.
    2. Jesus is alive in me. He is right beside me all the time. I just need to remember that and not go through my days empty of Him.
    3. I think it would have been awesome to live as Jesus sister and come to the realization that He was the Messiah.
    4. The videos are great. They really seal the learning for me. That Jesus appeared to those who needed to see Him most really made me realize that when I really need Him, He will appear to me.

  • Tiffani says:

    1. When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?
    Growing up most of my family members went to church every Sunday. However, my mom really did not take my brother and I to church. We went to church with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. I felt that I missing out on something. However, now that I am an adult I am thankful that I was raised going here and there because Jesus planted seeds in my heart of love for him not religion. When I am together with my cousins they go through the motions but do not seem to have a deep relationship with Jesus. The last time we got together was for a birthday party and one of my cousins said to me,”Tiffani, everyone is positive and full of joy. It is so different then when our family gets together.”

    2. “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    These words mean that Jesus’ resurrection has given me life. I have a life that has purpose and power to overcome hardships and difficulties in my journey. Life with Jesus is never empty but full. Even when I feel disappointed about circumstances I am never without his love.
    3. How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? I agree with Rhonda. I think being Jesus’ sister would cause feelings of inferior because I would have been blind to the truth. I would have only picture him as my brother not my savior.
    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    My favorite part was just reading the bible. I enjoyed being in the word on a regular bases. My schedule has been crazy. It was nice to have a direction in reading the bible by learning about James.

  • Glynis says:

    1. I almost had to laugh when I read this as a principal question for the week, because I watched this video with my husband and my parents! I come from a long legacy of faith–in face my father just told us that we can trace our family’s faith history back to the 1700’s! That is amazing to me. I’ve done Bible studies with my sister, my aunts, my parents…I am very very blessed that this not at all awkward for me.

    2. This is a powerful statement and it should be. I often feel like I do the Christian “thing” without remembering why. I’ve been a church girl for so long that I have to struggle sometimes to remember that I have been delivered FROM something and redeemed TO Someone! I live an empty Christian life sometimes without even realizing it. And that is really much sadder in the scheme of things than living an empty unChristian life, if you ask me.

    4. It was fun for me to sort of speculate on what the moment might have been like when the Resurrected Jesus appeared to Peter and when He appeared to James. Wow! Maybe someday we’ll get to hear the story from James’ and Peter’s own lips, but for now it’s fun to just imagine!

  • Bridgit says:

    My favorite moment from the week has to be just listening to the audio segments. Beth Moore speaks with such passion that it is infectious. She speaks into your heart because she speaks from her own heart.

  • Lakecia says:

    1.When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened.

    Because of different denominational beliefs, it is difficult to mingle my natural family with my spiritual family because we aren’t in the same environments together. This often flows into social settings as well. I’m learning how to live out my faith more with my natural family and be a light to them and show love and respect at all times.

  • Rhonda says:

    1. Coming from a family of strong believers this has never been a big issue for me. However, even with my two sisters and me there is significant differences on certain issues. I am more of the tell people the story, let them see you live the best way you can, and then it is up to them to make a decision. One of my sisters in particular is very strong minded and thinks if you don’t see things her way, you must not be a Christian. We tend to avoid certin topics needless to say.
    2. This particular issue is one I sometimes struggle with. I have had SAD for most of my adult life and depression often leaves you feeling empty. I have to work hard during the fall and winter to remember I am not empty, and not alone. Jesus is in me always, and therefore I am loved. It almost becomes a mantra or me during these seasons.
    3. Quite honestly, I don’t think I would have wanted to be Jesus’ sister. I think I would have felt inferior and never quite good enough because I could not understand why there were differences. As an adult it would have been hard tro see Him suffer and die. I think I greatly prefer knowing His as I do know, Savior and Father.
    4. I cannot choose a favorite moment from this past week as I find the subject matter to be really eye opening. I knew Jesus had brothers and sisters but honestly I had never thought of them as “family members”. I am enjoying the glimpse into His life on earth and to know that even his brother was not a believer at first. I think this opens up an incredible opportunity for those who cannot believe what they can not see. If James SAW and didn’t beleive until after the resurrection, he leads the way for an entire group of “show me” people to come to Christ.

    LOVING THIS STUDY!

    • Jayme says:

      #4 – What spoke to me the most was a comment from Beth that went something like this: “Sometimes God must take us over here to change us into the person we need to be in order to go back over there.” This is a common theme through out my life. I’ve lived a in many place and it usually takes me years to figure out why I was there. But in the end I have always seen God’s plan. Currently this really hit home as I am trying to stay in a city with my company. However, I was only supposed to be here for 1 year and go back to my old city. So I’m hoping this was God’s message to me, that I will get to come back to the place I love and have now made home.

  • Angie says:

    1. When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?

    A couple of years ago I invited one of my sisters to participate with me in a bible study with a group of ladies from my church. It was very awkward and uncomfortable for both of us.

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    Christ died on the cross and was raised to life again so that my life could be full. His grace is there to fill all of the empty places in my life.

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

    It’s been a little while since I’ve done a Beth Moore study and just getting back into her way of study was a favorite for me this week. I love how she pulls the story together from so many different areas of scripture.

  • Neli says:

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?

    To me, the knowldege that Christ’s resurection power is within me gives me hope that I can change. Be transformed from glory to glory. It means that I CAN be filled with the Spirit and am enabled to live the life I was called to live. I can live in freedom from all bondage. Sometimes just this hope is enough. I *need* hope that although I am not there yet, I have all I need in Jesus to overcome.

  • Nancy says:

    “nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty” At the very birth of our life with Christ, the empty tomb represents our old life. We are born again to a life filled with Christ. I still experience feelings of emptiness and at these times I know I have drifted away from the Word of God and have not focused on Jesus in my daily life. I loved the part in the video where Beth says “No bondage, no season of defeat needs to sit there empty” and the the” the things we hate about our life- have made a space for grace” I responded to these words with tears of joy and relief. Our life is meant to be filled and I am taking this to heart!

  • Anne Farnum says:

    Q#2- I have been thinking a lot lately about the idea of abundant living vs empty living. Wondering exactly what true abundant living looks like. A lot of Christians can walk through the Christian life as if their life is empty. That the Christian life is kind of boring or unfulfilling. I think many people know their bibles and attend church functions but never really know their Lord. For me I want a life that is full to the brim with knowing my Lord, daily interaction, filled with his Spirit and spilling over on those around me. It was a good reminder to me that only the tomb is meant to be empty!

    • Barbara says:

      I’m encouraged by your thoughts of only the tomb is meant to be empty. I find myself feeling bored with my life and “wanting more” fulfillment. I continue to seek fulfillment in the Lord’s companionship and not have to have an activity or a project or a person to keep me stimulated. I know accountability and fellowship are good and important — but as I get older with less activity in my life, I find myself alone more. It is at those times I want to feel fulfillment.

    • Tiffani says:

      I believe that our lives are suppose to be filled with excitement with Jesus not empty. Over the years, I have come to realize that the day in day out routines offer many treasure of learning to be content and filled with joy. For example, when my children were going up I often did not have a car to get around. I would get frustrated because I could not go anywhere except by a bus or a friend. One day the Lord spoke to my heart and showed me how full my life was. I learned that joy comes from seeing things His way not mine. Life in Jesus is not empty it is full of taking risks and moving forward even when things seem upside down for a while. I have never want to be a Christian that walks through life going through the motions. I am very thankful that Jesus has never let me stay put and become empty.

  • Susan Lawrence says:

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    I grew up in a strong family, where independence and self-reliance were fostered and seen as essential survival strengths of life. I didn’t yield well. In other words, I was stubborn. God has used that piece of my childhood, because the perseverance and boldness I fostered is now used for his glory (most of the time!). However, I have to be very cautious in playing tug-of-war with who has what responsibility in my life. I must also yield to God. Instead of deciding when I am to speak or move, I yield to the Holy Spirit, who guides me when to stand up, sit down, speak up and shut up. I must continually empty myself of my self in order to fully access the Holy Spirit. God has given me a gift and wants to fill be to the brim, but he will only fill the spaces I’ve emptied. So, I take all the “self” words we use regularly and replace them with with a God-directed focus. Self-discipline becomes God-discipline. Self-esteem is God-esteem. Self-reliance is God-reliance.

  • Amy S. says:

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

    In Session One when Beth talked about Jesus’ concept of family, I was floored by her statement, “Just when we thought Jesus had replaced the family, He goes back to fetch them.” I am amazed by this, having studied Jesus’ ministry previously and yet not putting the pieces together with what Beth calls the resurrected family. I just loved the chart that we made of the progression of Jesus’ concept of family.

    Additionally, I loved the statement on Day Two that says, “When, like a laser, the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go wherever He leads whether or not you feel like you fit.” This was eye opening to me as well, because I am introverted naturally and many times feel awkward in group settings. However, I know that when I’m seeking after Jesus, the cost of fitting in is worth it.

  • Tiffany says:

    1.When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened?
    This doesn’t happen much in my family since they are Jewish. But I find most of the time I am the one who is the most uncomfortable because I worry about what might happen. I think I am blessed that for the most part the interactions that have taken place have gone pretty smoothly. The last was when my son graduated from high school. We are homeschoolers – “odd balls” in our family and church. But our family and church both participated in the ceremony and it was wonderful. Our youth pastor, who spoke, actually washed my son’s feet in front of everyone. So cool.

    2.Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally?
    We are so blessed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We have such a power that lives within us and we are full in that alone. Our lives should be filled with the blessing that that Spirit pours into us.

    3.How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry?
    I think I might have initially had the same reaction as James – “what is up with Jesus?”. I think it would be hard to see your big brother as more, and SO much more, than who He was in the natural. I think after His death and resurrection I would be so sad that I had not spent more time at His feet, listening to Him and loving Him.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson.
    I loved on Day 2 where Beth says, “when the call of Christ sears a hole through your self-protectiveness, you go whereever He leads whether or not you feel like you fit”. This spoke volumes to me as one who has struggled to how I fit into the Christian life/walk. Then later on Day 4 where she talks about comparisons in our ministry/walk and Gal 5:25-26 was quoted. Both drew out some interesting feelings and thoughts.

  • Cindy H says:

    1. Thankfully, my family is Christian. My 3 kids and their families all go to different denominations. There is some disagreement about that, but nothing that is as earth-shattering as between Jesus and his family.
    2. The Christian faith is all about the cross and resurrection. . . living the full life knowing that this life in Christ with my family and brothers and sisters in Christ will go on forever and ever…..never ending!
    3. Imagine being the Lord’s sister or brother and growing up with him as your big brother! I have to believe that he was the best big brother ever, but they couldn’t understand why he would leave them and their small world to go preach! Jesus chose to appear to James. Wouldn’t you love to have been there when that happened? 🙂
    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. I enjoyed the historical background that Beth laid out this week. I like to understand the way people lived during the time of Christ. That seems to help me understand the scriptures better.

  • Linda says:

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. My husband and I have a person close to us who has been led astray by false teachings. This person is convinced that we and others are the ones who are being deceived and is unreachable to us right now. She has become a “Pharisee” trying to burden us with rules rather than rely on our relationship with Christ. Last week we received another message in the form on a You-tube video imploring us to ask God to show us the truth. That same day, I read my husband portions of my study for that day. It was from Acts 15:1-21 where in verse 11 Peter said, “No We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” and where James told the leaders….”we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God…” (v19). God showed us the truth. Our dear family member isn’t ready to hear it, but when that times come we have it ready.

    • Jayme says:

      I have had similar discussions with some people I know. It is very hard when we have different convictions about our belief systems. However, I love your attitude that “when the time comes we have it ready”.

  • Carolyn says:

    I always thought and hoped if I was Jesus’s sister living with Him in that
    time that I would of stood up for him and not been in the crowd
    yelling “crucify Him”. I have thought of that often in my life. I
    would if been horrified to of done that and can’t imagine what
    my behavior would of been like.
    the power of the resurrection means what is says. Jesus did
    rise again and the tomb remained empty. Amen.

  • Christine says:

    1. When was the last time you tried to mix your natural families with your sojourners in Christ? What happened? When I tried to mix the two I was very uncomfortable and saw theological debates building in the room. It wasn’t the time or place for the conversation.

    2. Beth says “the power of the resurrection means that nothing but the tomb is meant to be empty.” What do these words mean to you personally? As a person, I am not meant to be empty. I am filled with the Holy Spirit and a heart for Jesus. I can’t be empty of love.

    3. How would you feel if you were Jesus’ and James’ sister, living during this time of his ministry? Wow, it would be a difficult situation. As a natural sister, I’d know the childhood boy and see him as human. Then when He is revealed and makes His promises I might worry like James did. Upon his death and resurrection I would regret not knowing him as God on earth.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s lesson. I enjoyed writing out my own childhood, and also the timeline, because it humanized the story of James and Jesus as brothers as I chronicled my own story.

    • Cindy H says:

      Won’t it be great when we all sit down around the table at the “heavenly feast” and share Jesus with our families, Christine? In fact, He will be sitting down with us to explain everything! Now, that will be some Thanksgiving. 🙂

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