June 20, 2010

All Things Wise and Wonderful: Discovering the Riches of Christ (Week One Lesson)

What an amazing week this has been! Do you girls know that we now have over 1,800 women from across the globe studying God’s Word together? That simply astounds me. Every day as I sit at the computer and read your comments, I am touched and moved by what God is doing. All He asks is that we seek Him, and look what happens when we do!!!

Thank you, thank you for faithfully doing your homework and for openly and honestly sharing your answers. It blesses me beyond measure to see God working in you through the questions He laid on my heart for this study.

Before you jump into the lesson, please visit my friend, LeAnn Rice’s, wonderful new blog, http://www.shecooks.org/. It launches Friday, June 25th, and she has a great giveaway opportunity if you leave a comment. So jump over and help her celebrate her new blog!

Below please find your introductory lesson and the homework and reading assignment for next week. Don’t forget you can subscribe by e-mail and receive this post in your in-box each week by clicking on the link in my sidebar. However, you will not be able to see the videos or comments unless you visit my blog directly at http://www.wendyblight.com/.

Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Two

Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work. Sometimes I include additional Scripture references. If you are in a time crunch, do not feel the need to look them all up. I provide them to take you a bit deeper on the topic of the question.

Prayer:

Father God, open the eyes of my heart to hear the wonderful Truths in Your Law. You tell me that Your Word is nourishment to my body and my soul. Feed me this week. Speak into my heart, into the places I need You to reach… places I have been hiding. Make my heart tender to receive Your Word, even when it is hard. You have a wonderful plan for my life, and You created me to do good things for Your Kingdom. Help me to discover that plan and to walk in those good works. I am ready, Lord, waiting to hear from You. Help me to take my eyes off of myself and put them onto You and You alone. Give me divine Wisdom, Knowledge, and Revelation, the kind that will change my life. Make me different for the time I spend with You this week.

1. In Ephesians Chapter One, Paul laid out God’s eternal plan for choosing us to be in relationship with Him and the blessings that our ours when we choose to live in that relationship. Chapter Two presents a wonderful overview of the Gospel message. Paul reviews for believers in Ephesus why they were saved, how they were saved, and for what purpose they were saved.

a. As you read Ephesians 2:1-3, what does Paul mean when he says his readers were “dead?” (for more on this read Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:9-12, Romans 6:23, Colossians 1:21, and Colossians 2:13)

b. Read Psalm 51:1-6, especially focusing on verse 5. King David wrote this Psalm after the prophet Nathan confronted him about committing adultery with Bathsheba. The King James translation says, “Behold, I was shapen in inequity.”

Read Genesis 8:21. According to God’s Word, sin infects a person’s life from conception. When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, they infected the human race with sin. Every person born on the is earth is born into sin. This corrupt nature is called “original sin.” It is a bent to rebel against God, to value self above all else.

Read Romans 3:23. How do you respond to the Truth that basically all people even those who seem decent and moral, are disobedient and influenced by the devil?

Do you believe this? If you do not, how do you reconcile what you believe with these verses?

c. In Romans 3:9-18, what does Paul say about sin?

d. How many people, on their own, seek after God?

2. Living in original sin means walking and following the ways of the world.

a. Who leads the ways of the world? (hint: 1 John 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 4:4)

b. Define “ways of the world?

c. How does walking in the ways of the world differ from walking in the ways of the Lord?

3. Reread Ephesians 2:2-3. Verse 2:3 talks about gratifying the “cravings” of our sinful nature or flesh.

a. What are those cravings, desires, and thoughts?

b. In your own life, what are the temptations with which you struggle?

c. How has reading these verses impacted your understanding of your own sin nature?

4. Are you ready for the good news? Read Ephesians 2:4-5 again.

a. What does verse 4 tell us occurred to change our state of original sin?

b. Why did God do this? (Ephesians 1:7)

5. Romans 5:12-21 discusses what God did for us in depth.

a. How did sin enter the world? (Romans 5:12)

b. What did Adam’s sin bring to the human race? (Romans 5:16)

c. What did God’s grace bring to the human race? (Romans 5:17)

d. What do you learn from Romans 5:18-19?

e. According to Romans 5:21, what do we receive through God’s gift of grace?

6. Read Ephesians 2:5-6. List the three things God’s love did for us? (Hint: look at the action verbs)

7. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. These verses tell us it is by _____________ we are saved, through _______________, it is the __________ of God. What truths do you take away from these words for your own life?

8. Ephesians 2:10a (NLT) says, “For we are God’s masterpiece….”

a. Read Psalm 139:13-16. What do these verses tell you?

b. God specially knit you together, designed very part of you to be exactly who you are today…your eye color, your hair color and texture (I am talking to myself here…a girl with naturally curly hair who spends insane amounts of time and money to straighten it!), your height, your shape, your heart, your mind, your gifts, your talents, and your personality. He handpicked your family of origin, and if you are married with a family, your husband and your children. Share what you like and dislike about His plan. Be honest with your feelings, your doubts, and your questions.

9. Ephesians 2:10 continues, “…He has created us anew in Christ Jesus.” Do you sometimes doubt you can accomplish God’s plan? Maybe because of your family history or bad choices you have made. Maybe because of your present circumstances, which seem dim or hopeless. Maybe because you don’t like who you are. Maybe because you don’t feel accomplished enough, smart enough, worthy enough, talented enough, pretty enough, outgoing enough. Will you reread Ephesians 2:10? My friend, listen to Paul’s words and insert your name… “YOU, _________, ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!”.

a. No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what is going on in the present, you have a guaranteed promise. If you have invited Christ into your life by asking forgiveness for your sin and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation. At that moment, God’s perfect plan for your life was put into play. And the only person who can interfere with that plan is you. Read Philippians 2:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:28, and Jeremiah 29:11-13. What do these verses speak to you?

b. Is there something in your past holding you hostage, keeping you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life? If there is, will you give that to Him right now? Will you believe with me that He is big enough to forgive, heal, rebuild, restore, and renew? Pray with me now…

Heavenly Father, I believe You have a plan for my life, plans for a hope and a future, plans to prosper and not to harm me. But, Lord, it is hard to see them right now. There is so much pain and anguish. I am struggling every day to find hope for tomorrow. Lord I do believe; help me with my unbelief. Take my doubts, my fears, my anxieties, and my dashed dreams and replace them with Your peace, Your hope, Your love, Your assurance, and Your provision. Father, take Your Word and sear it into my heart. Give me everything I need to trust in You for this place in my life. Father, open my eyes to see hope, to see the great plans You have for me! Keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. I ask all this in the Name Above All Names, Jesus Christ, My Lord. Amen.

10. Ephesians 2:10 ends with “…so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” The NIV says we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works “which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Understand this clearly, we are not saved by good works but for good works. A saving faith results in a changed life that desires to serve and please God. God planned before the beginning of time for you to do Kingdom work for Him on this earth. We have God-given gifts and talents that when exercised in the power of His Holy Spirit will not be “work,” but will bring joy and pleasure to our lives. There is no greater joy than to experience God working in and through you to touch another person’s life.

a. Take a look at your design. Prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal your gifts and talents. Are you currently using those gifts and talents? If not, why not?

b. I want to encourage you if you are in a dry time, if you feel unequipped to be part of any plan, let alone God’s grand plan for your life, you are not alone. There are times when God must do a work in us before He can do a work through us. God spent forty years working in Moses before He could work through Him. Joseph suffered thirteen years, many of those in prison, before the Lord placed him on a throne, second only to Pharaoh. David spent years hiding in a cave, running for his life, before God raised him up to be the greatest King Israel has ever had. Paul spent three years in solace before God sent him forth as one of the greatest evangelists that has ever lived.

If you have struggled with Ephesians 2:10, ask the Lord to reveal what is keeping you from living out His plan. Ask Him if there is a work He must do in you before He can work through you. Perhaps it is related to what you prayed above. He is faithful. He will show you.

11. Let’s end our time together this week with Psalm 103:1-12. Soak in these verses for a few minutes. Share the portions that touch your heart and move your spirit.

There is so much more meat in this chapter regarding the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. But I hesitate to dig into an entirely new topic here and add more homework questions. I will try to do a quick summary.

Before Christ, there were basically two groups of people. The Israelites (Jews) were God’s chosen people under the covenant God made with Abraham. (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:18-20, Genesis 17:14) The Gentiles were a rag tag collection of small nation states continually warring with each other and with Israel. Historically, there has been animosity and, at times, downright hatred between these two groups. But this was NOT God’s desire, and He sent Jesus to end this strife. Paul spends the remainder of Chapter Two educating the Ephesians about this truth. If you are interested in going deeper, please read and study the verses below.

Ephesians 2:11-13
Romans 14:2, 5, 10-13, 17:22-23
Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6; 49:6; 53:11
Luke 2:25-32
Acts 10:1 – 11:18
Ephesians 2:14-22

Please know that I continue to pray for you and enjoy reading your comments. Your words are such a blessing, not only for me, but for all of us.

Sweet Blessings,

Comments

  1. I think last week's comment section must be closed or I'm just having problems with it. I just wanted to say that this bible study is such a blessing. I am still working on last week (slacker, I am) but wanted to mention a verse I came across while going through the lesson and questions. "Let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus." Galatians 6:17 It spoke to me b/c I so often let others affect how I feel whether it's b/c of something they said, did, didn't do, or didn't say. I then just lose all focus on what is true and important and am immersed in my reaction to that. I don't know about you gals but I know that often, as women, we are so into pleasing others, wanting others to like us, expecting a lot from others, and the list goes on and on. I struggle with these things and pray that I can put the focus on the Lord instead. God bless you all!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good morning. I thank God for you and for the preparation in presenting this study. It is truly a blessing to know that God loved us so much that before the foundation of the world He knew that we would need this study today! Hallelujah! His power is great — thank you God for the Power we have through Christ Jesus.

  3. ritcheyc says:

    Traci, your post couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I'm going through some things with my daughter that just threw me all out of whack last night – I reacted and seem immersed in that now, rather than continuing to put my focus on Him. I continually get sucked into her issues, often as a mediator between her and her father, wanting to make everything pleasing to all. Thank you for providing some refocus. God bless you!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    I LOVE that you put the teaching video after the lesson. It really reinforces what I studied and yet still shed some additional light on the lesson too. I couldn't wait to print my new lesson this morning! Thank you so much for this study! Peace & Blessings! Denise

  5. Carolina says:

    thank you for the time you have put into this study Wendy! I love digging deeper and finding that God's word does not change – but it changes me.

  6. Wendy thank you for a wonderful video. Can not wait to dive into this week's lesson.

    Traci you just described my weekend. On Friday I was chewed out (a bit unfairly) and it derailed my whole weekend. Tears were shed, etc. But I am back trying to get my focus on Jesus and what he says about me, not what others say.

  7. Hi Wendy, I haven't done the study yet, but found comfort simply reading the questions and verses you've mentioned. I'm realizing I've given into the temptation to doubt and worry the last few days – my mom had her hip replaced two weeks ago and it's been one set back after another. With staph infection being the most recent along with 2 more surgeries… I truly believe He will work through this and my prayer is my mom will come to know Him in a personal way so she too will know she is God's masterpiece!! Thank you for sharing – I amazed at how each week your studies speak to my heart and circumstances. Blessings, Jill

  8. Hi Wendy, my name is Gail. I started te study, but I missed chapter one.Is their any way that I could still get that. Thank you for this study.

    God bless you
    Gail

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, thanks for the video covering the work we did on our own last week. It really has helped to bring a new perspective to the work I did.

    I have been personally struggling with how to forgive my husband for something he did. I believe God is trying to teach me a pretty important lesson our first year of marriage – how to truly forgive. God forgives us our sin by redeeming us through the blood of Christ (4th Blessing) and making us Holy and blameless (2nd Blessing). The part of forgiveness I struggle with is the 'forget' part of forgive and forget. How does one forget something that is hurtful and damaging? However, I am reminded that if God can see me as Holy and blameless for the many sins I commit on a daily basis then I certainly should be able to forget the one thing (no matter how hurtful) my husband did. In fact I think that we need to forgive others in this way before we can truly and fully receive God's forgiveness and the blessings that come along with it.

    God's power and plans for us is truly amazing. Thanks be to God.

    Andrea from WI

  10. Wendy Blight says:

    Hey girls,

    If you missed last week's lesson and homework, it is still on the blog. Just scroll down BEFORE you click on the comments button. It will be the post before this one. If you have trouble, e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com.

    Andrea, your words on forgiveness are so true. It is so hard to forgive and forget. God calls us to forgive because He knows the dangers of harboring unforgiveness in our hearts. It hurts us and our relationship with Him and with others. I have written an entire chapter on forgiveness in my book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner because it was a lesson that it took me years to learn! But when I did finally forgive my attacker, it freed me in a way I could have never imagined. More importantly, it opened the door so the rest of my healing could come.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  11. Anonymous says:

    Andrea, forgetting took me a long time, but it can happen. Just keep your focus on God. He will get you there.

    I have listened to the video online and have finished half of the questions today! I will do the rest tomorrow.

    I have learned that we are all sinners! We are born sinners! We all live in this sinful world and are tempted by the devil to sin again and again. We need to stop our cravings, desires, and thoughts that are sinful. I feel 1 John 2:15-17 lists some of these, “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” and 2 Timothy 3:1-14 names a few more, “For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.” I am certain this is not a complete list, but it is a list with which I can identify.

    Reading this study helps me see that I am guilty of many sins, but the ones I have to try harder to fight are the sins of pride and of being a lover of money. I know that God sent Christ to save me from sin so that I can have eternal life, but I continue to sin. I see in Romans 5:18-19 that where sin increased, grace increased all the more- God had a better plan! I am thankful for God’s grace, but I need to be better at recognizing the devil and his meddling in my life and be able to turn to God quicker than I do. God has humbled me several times and you’d think that I would learn from those lessons, but I continue to be headstrong and want to do things MY way. Please pray for me. I want to accept God’s grace, and be a worthy child of God, but I keep slipping.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Wendy, wonderful lesson so much to take in. I completed my 2nd lesson today and reminding myself that I am a sinner but forgiven by the Lord takes so much pressure off of everyday life. The Lord gives us a new start every day so we don't have to dwell on yesterdays garbage or worry about tomorrow. We can live in the present and spend time with the Father of life. No sweeter place to be.

  13. Anonymous says:

    For through Him we both have access by one spirit ito the father Eph, 2:18… This is powerful; it is the trinity…

    For through Him (Christ) we both have access in one Spirit the Holy Spirit) unto the Father (God the Father) Jew & Gentile are all on the same footing as sinners at the foot of the cross. They both have equal access to God. All believers have access to God.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Good stuff last week and just checking out our lesson and video for this week. Anxious to view it but wanted to suggest to Andrea who has only been married one year, to pick up a copy of a life-changing book called The Love Dare by Kendrick. BOTH of you can read it. It's truly how God intended us to live and love.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, I also am very grateful for the time you are spending with us helping us learn from the Word. I don't think as long as we are in flesh bodies God will be done with us. Our first hard thing is to remember to be patient with ourselves. I expect a lot from myself and when I fall short it is easy to slip into being harsh with myself. When I read these comments it comforts me that other sisters have the same issues as I do. We are in this together and our loving Father is so very patient. He has brought me a long way and I still have a long way to go.

    God Bless You All.

  16. Wendy, I just loved this today. I had intended on spreading the questions out over a few days as I had done last week. That just didn't work. There was such a desire to continue after each question.
    This has been my first study and I am so thankful for the joy that it has brought.
    I am so excited for the next few weeks and what the Lord has instore for everyone of us.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I just want to say that I am so thankful for the words of encouragement and advice. It is amazing the way God works.

    In response to one of the anonymous comments above, I too have experienced God's power in my life many times. Yet I still fail to go to Him for all things, in all situations. Take heart, God is still working in all of us as someone else stated. As long as we are here on earth God is working on us.

    God's Blessings,
    Andrea, WI

  18. Terri Bhat says:

    Every part of this study is a blessing. I learn from everyone's comments as well as Wendy's amazingly helpful video and study…keep them coming!

  19. ritcheyc says:

    This study is like nothing I have ever participated in before and I'm learning so much. I love that the video follows our reading. Wendy, your comments and explanation of question 10 were comforting and affirming to me that I am using my gifts and talents as a teacher. I have often questioned myself as to whether I'm where God wants me and when I read that, it was as if a peace came over me. I love teaching and I don't see it as work and that was very comforting to me, Thank you!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Jill…
    My heart ached for you and your Mom's difficult journey. I could have sworn you were speaking about my story with MY Mom! I'll tell you- her 6 1/2 year gut wrenching battle with cancer was literally the ONLY thing that brought her to the point of desperation where she finally called out to God through Jesus. I had to keep asking myself, "What part of ALL am I not understanding when Jesus says, 'All things are possible…' " I am standing in a place of belief that God is lovingly romancing your Mom to Him. I will put you and your Mom on my index card of people I will pray for throughout my day. I'm so sorry for your pain through this process. With love and commitment, Noelle

    Wendy,
    I so look forward to waking up to this incredible study that you are blessing us with. The format and the number of questions have been perfect for me to really delve in and be richly blessed by the TRUE riches! Thank you :)

  21. I love the format of this Bible study. The video recap after the lesson is great. I am spreading the questions out this week due to time constraints, and think that may be a good approach to focus on each question in more detail. Traci's comment about pleasing others and our perceived expectations of others — that is so big in my life. I need to put my blinders on and stay focused. It is a daily chore for me.

  22. Runner Mom says:

    Hey, Wendy! The video teaching was great, my friend! So much to think about. Working on my homework!

    I really liked the part in the video where you encourage us to sit down with the Bible and learn to pray using His Word. So many times, I'm in a hurry and grab that devotional book and am out the door. But, this is what is truly needed to develop OUR fruit of the spirit and grasp the power that He has given us–which is just mind boggling!

    Hugs!
    Susan

  23. Joannah says:

    Wendy, I didn't post last week, but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate all the hard work you've put into this study. I really enjoyed all the scripture reading and thoughtful questions of last week's assignment. I'm looking forward to delving into this week's work today. :)

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, you have no idea the profound impact your words in this study are having in my life. Last week, question 8a really spoke to me. I do live as if I'm not free–I stress & worry over past situations, words, and actions. I was so moved after answering that question that I had to stop and really search my heart and pray.

    Now this week,question #8 again! I filled almost three pages of dislikes, doubts, questions, and yes, I did actually have a few "likes". I truly dug deep and faced some extremely ugly truths in my life. I felt raw after completing question #8 but I couldn't stop myself from continuing on to question #9. Wendy, I know this particular question must seem like a simple question and verse for others, but I honestly just sat and cried and cried when I read it and that verse (Ephesians 2:10). Even now just sharing this with you is very emotional for me. I can only assume that after opening myself up in quest. #8 (writing it all down and facing everything in my heart) … I truly needed to know that I'm God's masterpiece. I needed to hear it, be reminded of it, to see it in print, etc.

    Thank you Wendy for this Bible Study. I am a new Christian and this is my very first Bible study on-line. I am soaking in every word and still find myself craving more. Also, I absolutely love being able to read everyone's insight on our lessons…God is definitely working in each and every one of us.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Andrea –

    I facilitate a DivorceCare group at my church and one of the things we learn in that wonderful program is that we as humans do not have the capacity to forget….only our wonderful Father has the ability to forgive and forget as far as the east is from the west…..it is our responsiblity to forgive and that is a process….it is not a one time event….as we remember we forgive again ("How many times must I forgive….7 times……no 7 x 7……)but as we continue to forgive, the remembrance fades….and if, for some reason it comes back, it is only a reminder that we need to forgive….again…..

    God Bless you in your forgiveness……
    Denise

  26. Noelle, Thank you for your prayers. I am constantly being reminded to give it all to Him and He is proving Himself faithful. I'm so encouraged by the prayers and support from my family in Christ, including you…thanks, Jill

  27. This lesson is sooo wonderful. It is so marvelous to know that God has a plan for my life….that I was created for His good works and pleasure.

  28. God's timing is perfect ~ I needed this study ~ thank you for you obedience to serve and your open love for Our Lord ~ Things change in the Presence of God ~ Lisa

  29. Anonymous says:

    Denise,

    Bless you for your explanation of "forgive and forget"!

    I can forgive people, just like I've been forgiven so many times myself but very much struggle with the forgetting part. I've always beat myself up not being able to forget. Now I don't have to!

    I will continue to forgive, again and again if necessary, and be thankful that God can forget!

    Blessings,
    Sharon

  30. Cynthia says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I am loving the study – some of the questions are very deep and I sort of gloss over them but then I go back – please pray that I can enter those intermost parts of my heart and answer honestly – May God bless us all – Cindy

  31. Hi Everyone,
    As I studied the lesson and answered the questions, the part that really stood out for me was that God knew each one of us long before we were born. He knit us together in our mother's womb. He has a plan for each of us. Even though I have read these words before, I am still totally amazed that God knew all about us, everything.

    Wendy,
    I want to say thank you for such a great bible study. It has just been a blessing to me.

  32. pro356mom says:

    Wendy,

    Your comment in 9a that the only person who can interfere with God's perfect plan for me is ME really spoke to me. Logically I know that God's plan is way better than any I might have, but somehow I keep getting sidetracked from knowing what His plan is for me. I feel like I have been in the desert of waiting far too long. In 10b you remind us that there are times when God must do work in us before He can do a work through us. If it took Moses 40 years, and Joseph 13 years, I guess I can be a little (a lot!) more patient. Thank you for the perspective! While I am waiting I will continue to pray in thanksgiving and look for God's direction. Your reference to Psalm 103 and God's benefits to us are a wonderful reminder of our endless reasons to be thankful. Best of all, God's benefits are "from everlasting to everlasting". I don't need to be frustrated, but must recognize God's eternal time over my finite time, and hold on to His fruit of the Spirit and His peace. Thank you!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Wow pro356mom! You're giving me a lot to look forward to! I can tell God's going to really speak to me as I look ahead to the questions I'll hit tomorrow morning. As for me, I'm on #8. God's revelations have just started to come to me over the past few months- so this was exciting and affirming to get this question the way you posed it Wendy. I'm very athletic, with a body I've called, "a 12 year old boy body". No joke. I pad my bra to be a AAA :) I could go on and on about the area right under my belly button, but I'll spare you. Needless to say, I have a lot of amazing strengths too. I teach a Christian boot camp although my clients don't know my material is biblical unless they are a believer. I now realize that it's my body's quirks (I no longer call them imperfections) that make me approachable. When I see fitness models or trainers at the gym with magazine cover bodies, I marvel at them, but truly believe that I'm less intimidating. I am now watching my clients love their God-given shapes- and we have all kinds of shapes! This is also transforming daughters' live to see their moms/role models loving (yet still improving) our bodies/temples and appreciating them because we are ALL fearfully and wonderfully made.

    For me, my big challenge is to take what God has shown me in this part of my life to another part of my life which is being frustrated on our 2nd potential adoption which we've been waiting for for nearly 5 years. At this point, I'm at peace with whichever way God chooses- to give us another child, or to not. Where I'm struggling is with my daughter's deep desire for her sister that she's been praying for for those 5 years. I so badly desire an answer- but I see I'll be working on patience- thank you pro356mom :) And thank you Wendy! xo Noelle

  34. Cynthia says:

    Question 8-B is hard – I am really going to have to think and reflect about that one – When you see the life you have been given as a gift and then you look back and see what you have done with it, it makes you sad that you didn't appreciate every moment, every opportunity, every gray hair – I really need to think about this question –
    Blessings,
    Cindy

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    Thank you for your Bible Study it is giving me opportunity to "attend" a Study with my sis who is halfway across the world! Through various trials and suffering around me God is impressing upon me the necessity of spending much time in prayer with him. It is amazing how you can trick yourself believing you "KNOW" God when you dont spend but a couple fleeting moments in prayer with him. Paul's prayer in Ephesians 1:17 then brought to mind a similar scripture in Phillipians 3:7-11. I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. WOW what treasure we have available to us! May God bless each lady who pursues God through your study!

  36. tabrownwv says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I just came across your study the other day & am planning on joining in next week. I also wanted to mention that I don't believe it was an accident that I stumbled upon this study. God never ceases to amaze me, because we are actually going through the book of Ephesians right now at my church for Wednesday night bible study, so I believe that this will be an excellent suppliment to what I'm learning in church. Can't wait to join in. :)

  37. Anonymous says:

    blessedjill says…
    I'm loving the study! Thinking about God knowing me and having a plan for me from the beginning…is like what someone said earlier…I've known this for a long time…but it has became REAL this week!! I can't continue to feel bad about parts of my body or personality that I don't think is good enough…God made me that way and I am going to focus on accepting me as I am!
    Being in a wait period of my life now after many transitions…this is such a wonderful thing to have read…he has a plan and it may not be revealed today or next week but in HIS time! Also, I received Wendy Pope's CD What to do in the Wait and listened to it yesterday after I finsihed the study questions! What a blessing to know that I'm doing what I need to do…Seeking God and continuing to do what comes my way!

  38. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Wendy for this study! I am loving it! You do such a great job putting it all together. :)

    Michelle

  39. Anonymous says:

    Hi, Wendy, I'm mexican, I've been blessed with this study. I was needing it so hard, and our Lord is working in my life and is using you for His purposes, thank you so much for your time and your sharing this study for all of us. (Sorry for my English!) God bless you all!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Hello, all. Want to reiterate what so many others have posted – this is an incredible study. It is awesome to see God at work. Only He could bring together this many children from all parts of His creation.

    Have been mulling over and praying about something in Question 10. Wendy wrote "We have God-given gifts and talents that when exercised in the power of His Holy Spirit will not be "work," but will bring joy and pleasure to our lives." I think I recognize the gifts God has given me, and am happy to use them to honor Him. However, I don't know that I get "joy and pleasure" from nursery duty, VBS planning, etc. In fact, those jobs DO feel like work. I feel guilty even writing this….Am asking Him to change my heart. Does anyone else feel this way or have any insight?

    E in SC

  41. Hi Wendy, I'm late getting started, but will get caught up. Thank you for leaving the past weeks video on your blog. I travel in my job and don't want to miss any. Thank you again for this study. It is the first for me.

  42. I have really enjoyed this study and things God is showing me in His Word. Thank you for providing this here.

    Bethany

  43. Terri Bhat says:

    The verses from Psalm 103 that most touched me were 13-17. We are like blades of grass, and God still loves us, each blade of grass. That amazes me. I am made of dust, fade quickly as if I never was on this planet, and God loves me as his daughter, furthermore has a specific plan for me which is unfolding even now…though I am rapidly leaving my middle years.

    To E in SC — It is actually ok to say that you need a break. We teach Sunday school in teams, and there are days when I have to say to my team members — I am tapped out. Other days, I can't wait to start! Also, I usually learn more than I teach.

    What is God teaching you through your volunteer work? It may be something you are going to need later on.
    Your sister in Christ,
    Terri

  44. Anonymous says:

    Good Morning Wendy!

    Thank you sooooooo much for creating this lesson and sharing it with us! What a blessing to have such a great Bible study with other women. Life is so busy and this works so well for me. The first lesson has already impacted my life on a deeper level. I absolutely love doing this Bible lesson with you and the other wonderful women sharing on your blog! Many blessings and hugs sent your way!!!! :)

    Sonya Milu

  45. Anonymous says:

    E in SC:
    I agree with Terri. I believe sometimes God calls us to serve sacrificially, but I don't think He is happy when we are committed to a service that is not our gift….He truly does want us to be full of joy when we serve and if we are serving in our God-given gift, it is fun!!
    I also think about the fact that I could be filling a position that is not really my gift but it is someone else's gift and that person is not able to serve in what they truly enjoy because I am there…..
    I agree too with Terri about the rest…. I just recently stepped down from being in a position that I know I am gifted in, but that I have served in for over 10 years….just time for a rest….and I knew it was the right decision because I have such a peace about it….

    Peace & Blessings,
    Denise

  46. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    What touched my heart?
    Romans 3:23 helped me to release the burden of perfection "no one measures up to God's glory."

    Your question "How many people, on their own, seek God?" really tripped me up! I had to get out my shovel and dig in God's Word. Here I was seeking God and yet Psalm 14:1-3 says no one on their own seeks God. Seek Him and you will find Him came to mind. So where was the truth in Psalm 14? And then I remembered the proverbial question "What about someone on a deserted island who doesn't hear about God?" I was taught Romans 1:20 says that person will know God by His creation. But when I began to study, Romans 1:20 revealed that God would be clearly seen but it does not say they will seek Him. So, I read Psalm 14 again and begin to realize the truth in His Word that no one seeks Him on their own. How much more my eyes have been opened to the need to tell people about Jesus because on their own they will not seek Him. Thank you for waking me up!!!!!

    Psalm 103 was refreshing! Verse 3 got me! He heals all my sicknesses. My first thought was physical sickness and I just kind of read over the verse fast. But my Sweet, Sweet Lord wouldn't let skip it! He reminded me of other sicknesses in me: bitterness, anger, judgement. I really want that stuff gone! Lord, please heal me of all my sicknesses!

    Thanks again Wendy for being His servant!

    Love,
    Kelly

  47. Laura Lim says:

    Q10 is very encouraging..using our God given gifts and talents when exercised in the Holy Spirit will not be work but will bring joy and pleasure to our lives. I pray He will reveal my gifts and talents soon/or affirm what I am doing now, that I am doing right as I am in mid-life and feel that I really need to do catch up in knowing Him and serving Him. I also thank God that through my hormonal related health problems, He had reminded me of my aging & the need to seek Him more.

  48. Anonymous says:

    After answering question #5, I read the Romans passage in The Message. Wow, I'd encourage anyone to do this. It is amazing. End of v. 14 "But Adam, sho got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it." I was amazed at how sin's power, any power, really, is trumped by Christ's death and ressurection. We have that power living inside of us to face ANY issue- gossip, overeating, lying, lust, etc. This is a great thought upon which to meditate.
    Thanks again, Wendy.
    Lisa C.

  49. It is nice for me to get to participate in a Bible study that I am not facilitating. Thank you, Wendy. I am a bit behind, however, the first week was "heart opening". I appreciate the open ended questions that help me really look into my heart.

  50. Cynthia says:

    Hi Wendy, I just wanted you to know how much I love the prayers that are on this study – I am not too wordy and I don't know how to say it like you do but these are the things in my heart that haven't been voiced – again thank you so much.

    Cindy

  51. Kristin S. says:

    As I was working on question 3 (I'm typing my answers), I looked down to re-read something, and my eye went to the middle of a verse (I believe that was God's hand because I needed to read this). The middle of verse 2 says: "He (Satan) is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God." {New Living Translation} I've been slow to change areas of my life (bad attitude, quick to judgment, little patience), but reading this helps me to understand that is Satan working on my heart and mind. Instead, I must focus on God's character, ask for His help, and tell Satan to back away!

  52. Anonymous says:

    Wendy, For part of the further reading Bible verses at the end, you have in the second row Romans 14:2, 5, 10-13, 17:22-23. There is no Romans 17.

  53. Beatrice says:

    I have enjoy digging into GODS word with you. Thank you for making it possible. I AM learning so much .GOD is revealing so much to me about myself.Thank you Gods is blessings us so much with you. Blessings Wendy

  54. I am being so blessed and filled by this Bible study! Being guided through the Truth and it is genuinely speaking to my heart. It also helps to know that Wendy has went through a similar experience in life and triumphed to the point where the spirit flows from her words.

    Esp 9 a&b and your beautiful prayer Wendy! Was such a balm to my wounded heart. Thanking God for Wendy and praising God for the opporuntity to walk through His Truth with so many women! What a blessing!

  55. Please pardon my typos….just was so thrilled as I was typing…big smiles :) *opportunity*

  56. Anonymous says:

    Hello,

    I would like to say this is my first bible study in fact really the first time I'm try to read and understand the words of God. Of course I have always believed but never really chose to understand. I have the most amazing friend Noelle who has inspired me beyond my wildest dreams to seek a relationship with God. As I explained to Noelle, the 1st lesson was a bit overwhelming for me. Since I had never read the bible and don't really know where the stories are coming from or the background of who is speaking these prayers, I was focussing on that and the actual "homework" rather than feeling this study. Through the Lord's guidance, I found grace within myself and the desire to relax while I read the scripture and feel the words as they are meant and directed at me and for me. It's the most amazing feeling of calm and excitment at the same time. I can honestly say I now know what it is to feel blessed.

    thank you Wendy and all of our friends here!
    Robin

  57. Anonymous says:

    To E in SC~ My heart aches for you because I have been where you are! I suspect you are a young mom trying to do it all, making everyone happy but yourself. I would suggest that you really look at your schedule and determine if God has called you to ALL those things. Pare it down…and then before you begin a work for God, ask Him first for His strength to do it through you. For too many years I "worked for God" in many capacities in my own strength and it was exhausting and I felt unappreciated. I have learned that I must please only my audience of One and that brings me joy! Maybe this study is all you need on your plate right now…and don't feel guilty!

  58. Danielle says:

    Wendy, thank you so much for taking the time to do the video’s! You always have something that just strikes a chord in my heart. I absolutely loved this: God deposits treasures in our hearts. It made me wonder how many times I’ve actually used up those deposit on worthless things and filled up on counterfeits instead.

    ”Original sin”It is a bent to rebel against God, to value self above all else. For a while now, I’ve been examining myself with this very issue. I see what lays in my heart and my motives sometimes and I get grieved with what I see. I learned years ago that even low self-esteem is a form of pride, and boy have I been wallowing in that the last few months. And, if ever I needed to have the message about me being God’s masterpiece, His workmanship, it was now.

    I know that I’m a work in progress, but there are times I wonder if God ever gets tired of working on the same spot, the same issue over and over again. I wonder if He ever gets frustrated—but doesn’t show it—with how long it takes me to grasp something when it’s right there in front of my face.

    For you, Danielle, are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

    I was created for the purpose of fellowship with God, and to bring glory and honor to His name. As I sit here, my mind is repeating these words from one of my favorite songs.

    Empty me of the selfishness inside
    Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
    And any foolish thing my heart holds to
    Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.

    May I mean, cling to, and live by those words.

  59. I am a little late at starting chapter 2 but I think that was in God's plan BECAUSE I just finished the study questions for chapter 1 and came to Wendy's prayer at the end. I know I was supposed to write my own but hers was my own, as my husband and I have felt as if we are at war with each other these past few months. We were just discussing this last night and walah! I so needed that prayer and will continue praying it. Thanks Wendy! Now time for chapter 2! :)

  60. Lovin my Heavenly Father says:

    I am so enjoying this study! I look forward to Monday's each week!
    I love question 8a.Read Psalm 139:13-16. What do these verses tell you? God had a plan for my life even before I was born. He was working out that plan when I was still in my mother’s womb. I came across this verse when I was pregnant with my first child (he is not 15!) It is so awesome that God's masterpiece starts in the darkness of the womb.
    I love, love, love, the verse on question 9a. Philippians 2:13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. I love the fact that God is giving me the desires and the power to do what He want me to do. Sometimes I feel like I can not do what I feel God is leading me to do, but I need to remember that God will provide and work through me.
    Thanks Wendy for bringing us all together this summer! Devanee

  61. Wendy Blight says:

    Correction for further reading in homework assignment for this week…

    Thank you Anonymous who posted about the error in my further reading section. I should read Romans 14:2, 5, 10-13, 17, 22-23. All are from chapter 14. I mistakenly put a colon after 17 instead of a comma.

    Thank you for paying such close attention.

    See you in the morning!!

    Wendy

  62. ising4him says:

    Here'a my response to question 9a:

    I love what Paul says in Philippians 2:13. God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. That is so comforting, because I know I lack the discipline to do what I know I have to in order to strengthen my relationship with the Lord. Apart from God, I simply cannot do it. He knows that on my own I can never please Him or even have the desire to do so. I find this comforting because I grew up attending a legalistic church. Everything was about how a person looked and acted and about following all the rules. But there was very little love. It was more about religon than relationship. I never even knew about grace. But now I know better. God loves me for who I am. And who I am is how He created me to be. He loves me because He made me.
    And He created me for a specific purpose. I play an important part in His scheme of things. Whatever I go through in life is part of God's plan for me. In spite of all that I see before me or feel inside me, God is always with me, working out His perfect will for my life. As long as I continually seek the Lord wholeheartedly (Jer. 29:13) by reading His Word and spending time in prayer, I can trust that He will show me His will and will lead me in the way that I should go.

    Am I on the right track, Wendy?

  63. Wendy Blight says:

    You are absolutely on the right track!!! I just love to God answering our prayers and speaking to each of you personally,revealing His truths.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your Bible Study. I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it. I am reading one of Lysa TerKeurst's books right now also. Everything from this Bible Study, Lysa's book, even the sermon in church is all lining up together. God is so amazing and awesome. I was a little behind but praise God I have caught up and finished lesson 2. Looking forward to tomorrow.
    Thanks again,
    Jennifer

  65. Wendy,
    I've loved having this study to do this week. It's been a tough week, with my grandmother's funeral and other things. But I am so thankful for a God who chose me and loves me.

    I loved the questions in this week's study and could've written the prayer at the end myself. I felt like you were speaking through me. I love how God does that. Also question 2c. I think walking with the world is all about self, seeking what we desire, putting self first and pursuing the things the world says we need to be "successful". But the ways of God are simple. As our church logo says…"Love God. Love People. Period." It all boils down to those two things. Loving God first , then loving others through that outflow.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I am thinking on question 8, about how God has made us (every detail) and planned and chosen my family etc. I have 4 small children and while we planned 3 – the 3rd one came with one free!! I have twin 18mth olds! I had a friend remind me that God had chosen each of these children for me to be the mother of, and I admit to resenting this alot sometimes, there is always so much to do and its seems to be all about everyone else. I have become unhappy about the ministry God has put before me. Dont get me wrong I love my kids alot!!! This question (and other thoughts God has been bringing over the weekend), is making me rethink my attitude to the place He has put me. I will be praying on this, that I find joy in my every day and see it as His plan for my every day.

  67. Miss Anne says:

    I am running a little behind on my study due to going away for our anniversary, but better late then never, right? This morning, Psalm 103 reminded me of God's love for me in a way that I needed to hear. Our family is struggling financially this summer, and I have chronic health issues that I have been dealing with for years. I have good days and bad days, and although I am on the path to healing, it is slow going. I often become discouraged because of the amount of time, money, effort, and discipline required to get better, and it's difficult to see any results. What stood out to me in Psalm 103 was verse 2: "forget not all his benefits." Why would God have written this through David unless I needed a reminder? I'm thankful for his promises in this psalm, especially to heal all my diseases and to satisfy my desires with good things. I will be praying for these promises to be fulfilled, and for the patience to wait until His timing.

  68. Hi Wendy,
    I wanted to let you know that this study is such a blessing. I am a fairly new Christian and I have been struggling with myself, my past, worrying about my future, letting go of hurts and so many other things. This study is truly Godsend as I am finally starting to get that God’s love for me is not base on me but on him. He saved me because is generous, loving and kind and no amount of works will make him love me more. This is a fairly hard fact for me to understand, as I grew up with love being taken away unless I was “good" and I was never good enough so I always felt lost and like I did not quite measure up or belong. This week was such a blessing to me because I am in the dry period or pit period of my life. I don't know what my gifts are and I don't know where I am going or which way is up or down. All I know is that little light that Jesus put in me almost a year and the half ago keeps telling me to hold on when I want to let go. I love your prayers this week they were a blessing to me and Psalm 103 was like warm coca to my soul. I felt so reassured that God loves me, knows me, forgives me, does not count all my sins against me and is constantly helping me. I am in the mist of financial and personal struggles and I don't know what will happen next but I am not going to let go of God because I know he is my only hope and for some strange reason I think it will all end up okay even though there is no reason to think so. Thank you, thank you for this week and God bless.

  69. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to add, I have started compiling a list of the special verses God is giving to me to be a reminder of what He is teaching me. He has given me a 3 verses so far, each time I sit down He is here and leaves me with something to take away – I soooo love Isaiah 55: 11 – Oh thank God He does this, I am holding onto this promise, holding onto the fact that He will change me, His word will change me – The way I am today is not a completed work, God will make this masterpiece even better to the glory of Jesus Christ!!! Thanks Wendy for making me accountable too, I hear your encouraging words when I feel like I dont have time to sit and do the questions and I start making excuses about spending time with God.
    Walking this narrow road with you all,
    Belinda

  70. All my life I have been taught we are judged by what we "do" – right now I am not "doing" anything that I can see. I know God has a plan for us buy no matter how hard I ask – He doesn't seem to have anything for me to "do." I am greatly distressed by this – though I try really hard to seek His will . . .

  71. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    I have to say that I struggled with #8a.Read Psalm 139:13-16. What do these verses tell you? I know the focus was suppose to be how the verses spoke to ME, but when I read that passage, my mind wondered off in a completely different direction from where I think we were suppose to go.

    My mother was very abusive; not always physically (though that too), but mainly verbally, emotionally, and psychologically (she played a lot of mind games to intimidate me and I always feared her). My mother chose to be completely out of my life when I turned 17, never to be heard from again, and I had to fend for myself in the real world that she did not prepare me for (my father was never in the picture). I have two other, younger sisters, and she treated them the same way (abusive, controlling, instilling fear of her in them also) until they too were 17 and then she also chose to be completely out of their lives, never to be heard from again (she moved around to different states).

    Needless to say I have a lot of baggage that I have been pretty good about keeping locked away if for no other reason than to be able to function like a normal adult.

    So when I read, "…you knit me in my mother's womb…my days were shaped before one came to be…" I was filled with such anger and indignation! If God knew my days then that means He knew my mother's days before one came to be and if He knew her days then He knew what kind of mother she would be and how she would treat me/us; all three of her children. So why?! Why in the world would God knit me in her womb? Why would He knit ANY child in that womb? It's like we never had a chance. It was a very emotional passage for me and I had to take time to cry and grieve and let it all out.

    Now I feel so guitly and so sorry that I was so angry with God and questioned Him. Who am I to question Him? I know He had a purpose. I know He had a plan. I know that there is a reason.
    I told you my reaction was probably not what was intended for the Bible study. But I had to deal with those issues before I could put it aside, lock it awaty again and continue on, with a new mindset.
    I didn't expect that such a question would cause such a reaction in me. I surprised at the emotions that passage had triggered in me. But I forced myself to refocus and concentrate on what the question was asking insteasd of making it about blame and instead of questioning God.

  72. Anonymous says:

    I read your post last night and prayed for you dear sister. I do not know exactly how you feel – but my younger years where filled with uncertainty, neglect and pain. Anger was my best friend for a long time and I tried to remain in control, not trusting anyone. But as I walk with the Lord – studying His Word and praying- He has re parented me – healed me (though my memories remain) and has helped me to forgive those in my life – my mom and dad – as He has forgiven me so much. I am certain that He will not waste one tear, one bit of the pain from my life-(or anyones, just look at Paul) but will bring it all around to His glory – He heals the brokenhearted, He brings glory from ashes. His grace is sufficient and He himself is peace. I am at peace now with my past – bc He himself is peace and resides in me. So I am claiming these things for you and will pray for you as God brings you to mind.

  73. #11 This whole Psalm is an encouragement for the Christian. Key verse vs8 "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy"
    Praise God for his longsuffering –

    Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. God wants to live in us – indwell us with His Spirit. I have read these verses may times but this "jumped" out at me.

    To anonymous from June 29th – I will be praying for you. Please don't dwell on your past but look forward to a great future with your Heavenly Father.

  74. Kathy M says:

    Kathy M said…
    I'm still catching up with you all. BTW we had a great time this weekend. Our daughter surprised me by flying home to join us. So we had an "All in the Family" weekend. It was awesome!

    In response to the lesson, I would like to echo a previous post by: ising4him. I too love knowing that God is working in me, giving me the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. That is very comforting, because I lack the discipline to consistently do what I know to do in order to deepen my relationship with Him. Apart from God, I cannot do it. It is His Spirit working in me that nudges me to spend time in His Word, to pray for others, or simply meditate on His goodness. I know that on my own I can never please Him. But I know God loves me for who I am and where I am in my faith walk. I know He created me for a specific purpose, and whatever I go through in life, it is part of His plan for me. Regardless of what I'm feeling or thinking, God is always with me, working out His perfect will for my life.

    That being said, I had a similar experience as shared by Anonymous of June 29, 9:37 pm where I grew up in an abusive home; but in my case it was my dad who was abusing us. I would like to encourage Anonymous that our God is a great and mighty God and He is able to handle all our questions and anger. We will never know, this side of heaven, why He allowed us to be raised in abusive homes, other than the fact that it helped to shape and mold who we are today. Romans 5:3 reminds us that tribulation (sufferings) produces perseverance (patience, endurance); and perseverance produces character; and character produces hope.

    It's clear God wanted you (Anonymous) to deal with this issue as it is a root of bitterness in your heart. As Wendy stated earlier in our study, sometimes in order for God to work through us, He must work in us first. I too have baggage from my past but God helped me deal with most of it years ago. I have been able to forgive my dad, but I will never forget. There are times when things happen that force me to deal with the past – like our mom passing away, leaving us girls to care for our dad. This is a tough one and it's only by God's grace we are able to do it.

    I pray that God will help you come to a point of being able to forgive your mother. I know it's a very hard thing to do. However, I am reminded of how Matt. 6:14-15 tells us: – if we forgive others when they sin against us, then our Heavenly Father will also forgive us. But if we do not forgive others for their sins, then our Father will not forgive our sins.

    Wendy, I appreciated your prayer – it has been my prayer for the last couple of years. I often pray: Father, I know you created me to do good things and You have a plan for my life. Help me to discover that plan and to walk in those good works. Help me to take my eyes off myself and put them onto You. Make my heart tender to receive Your Word, even when it's hurts. In Jesus' name, Amen.

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