June 27, 2010

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

Wow, another incredible week of sharing! Thank you for continuing to post your comments. How you girls encourage and pray for one another though you live miles, even nations, apart blesses me.

This on-line study represents one of the most unique teaching opportunities I have ever experienced. I am so grateful God has allowed me to be a small part of what He is doing in your lives in and through His Word.

I continue to be on my knees on your behalf, thanking God for you…praying that His Word will fall powerfully upon each one of you…praying that He will give you ears to hear, eyes to see, and a mind to conceive every Word….binding in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord any attempt of the enemy to thwart what God has planned for you.

Below please find the second 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/.

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Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Three

Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, Your Word tells me that You love me with an everlasting love, an unconditional, never-changing, all encompassing love. It is hard to understand that kind of love, Lord. As I spend time in Your Word this next week open my heart wide to receive this love. Help me to know how high and wide and deep and long Your love is for me. Show me in very real ways. And if there is anything in my heart that prevents me from experiencing Your love, Lord, please reveal it to me…past hurts, a sense of unworthiness, doubt, insecurity, shame…whatever it is, Lord, reveal it and help me to overcome it by the power of Your Word. Cleanse me, wash me, free me from anything that keeps me from growing closer to You. Empty me of the things that prevent me from being filled by You. Then, Lord, fill me to capacity with Your love. Make Yourself at home in my heart. Penetrate very nook and cranny. Leave no part untouched. In fact, God, I invite You to fill me to overflowing. Make it my desire to be so full that I can then share Your great love with those around me. Lord, make my time in Your Word this week sacred and pure…touch me in new and fresh ways. Renew a right spirit in me so that You can fill me and use me for Your glory and honor and praise. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

1. Read Ephesians 1:9-10, Colossians 1:25-27, and Ephesians 3:3-6.

a. Paul speaks again in Ephesians Chapter 3 of a mystery. The mystery he refers to here is not like a Sherlock Holmes or Jessica Fletcher mystery. It is a truth hidden by God in times past now to be revealed according to His plan in His timing. One author called it a “sacred secret with a divine purpose.” What is the mystery here? (hint: Ephesians 3:6)

b. Why was this “plan” so radical?

Max Anders wrote this helpful statement to give us insight.

We have trouble understanding why Paul is making such a big deal out of this because we don’t understand the degree of separation that existed between the Jews and Gentiles. It is like saying that there will no longer be blacks and whites in South Africa…no longer Catholics and Protestants in [Norther] Ireland…no longer liberals and democrats in the United States.”

Think of the movie Invictus. Or maybe it helps you to think in terms of sports. It’s like saying there will no longer be Yankees and Red Sox fans, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans, North Carolina Tarheel and Duke Bluedevil fans. It is like saying all these people are going to be one…and like it!!

c. What was Paul’s role with regard to this mystery?

2. Read Acts 2:42-47.

a. List specifically how the early church functioned?

b. Do you think that formula could work today? Why do you think modern-day churches differ so much from the early church?

3. Read Acts 9:1-19. Then focus on Acts 9:15, Acts 22:21, and Acts 26:15-18. What do each of these verses say about God’s call on Paul’s life. To whom did Christ specifically send Paul?

4. Why do you think God chose Paul, one of the worst persecutors of His people to carry the Gospel message to the Gentiles? What characteristics did God see in Paul (characteristics once used to persecute, now used to evangelize)?

5. Read Ephesians 3:12 and Hebrews 4:16.

a. What do these verses tell you?

b. Do you approach God with confidence? If you cannot answer “yes” to this question, explain what keeps you from feeling confident?

c. Does what you have learned these past few weeks give you greater confidence? Reread Ephesians 1:19-21. This same power that was available to Paul is available to you. So as you pray for the confidence to approach God with boldness, know you walk and pray in the power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Write your prayer below.

*If you already consistently and confidently approach the throne of grace with confidence, I invite you to write a prayer for someone you know who needs to know that same power in his/her life.

6. Read Ephesians 3:14-21. This passage is the second of two prayers recorded in Ephesians. You already studied Ephesians 1:15-23. The prayer in Chapter 3 is one of the most beautiful passages in all of Scripture. It deals with the spiritual condition of the “inner man”…the spiritual part of our beings. So often our prayers focus on our physical and material needs, and we forget to pray for the deep inner needs of our hearts. And never forget as you read this prayer that Paul wrote it from inside the four walls of a prison cell!

a. As you read verse 14, what is Paul’s posture as he prays?

b. Specifically, to whom does Paul address his prayer?

7. First, Paul prays for _______________. (Ephesians 3:16)

a. Write Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:16 below.

b. Read 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Paul preached the Gospel of Christ for years, even at the risk of death. Relate this verse to Paul’s life, especially as he was writing this prayer. What motivated Paul?

c. Now take the 2 Corinthians verse and relate it to your own life. What is God speaking to you through these words? What motivates you?

8. Read Matthew 7:24-27.

a. Who does Jesus address in verse 24?

b. Who does He address in verse 26?

c. In these verses, Jesus specifically refers to “My teaching.” To what teaching is He referring?

d. What is the distinction between verses 24 and 26?

e. How is the presence of strength exhibited in verse 25?

f. How is the absence of strength exhibited in verse 27?

g. What Truth is God speaking into your life through these verses?

9. Based on how you handle adversity, which person are you most like in the Matthew 7 parable?

10. Ephesians 3:17b begins some of the most powerful words written by Paul.

So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

**I love the New Living Translation

Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

a. What do these words speak to your heart?

b. What does Paul mean when He says Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust Him? Is Christ at home in your heart? If not, why not?

c. According to these verses, what happens when Christ is at home in your heart?

d. What is your part in this process…especially in helping your roots grow deeper?

11. The verb Paul uses is “rooted” (like a plant) and “established” (like a building) in love. The participles are in the perfect tense, indicating a past action (salvation) with continuing results (sanctification or becoming more and more like Christ). Read Psalm 1:3 and Jeremiah 17:5-8. Why is it imperative for Christians to be rooted and grounded in God’s love?

a. Give examples in the world today of people who are not grounded in God’s love? How is it reflected in their lives?

b. Now give examples of people who are rooted and grounded in God’s love? How is it reflected in their lives?

c. Share ways you can reflect God’s love in your life?

12. This question will take you on a bit of a journey. Visit the concordance in the back of your Bible and find at least five verses on God’s love. (The concordance is similar to an index and is located in the back of most Bibles. You look up verses by subject matter. For example, if you want to find a verse on “sin,” locate the word sin in the concordance. Underneath it you will find a list of verses containing the word sin). If you do not have a concordance, visit http://www.biblegateway.com/ and do a “keyword” search for love and find five verses. Don’t feel you have to stop at five…go as long as God leads you. Write the verses you find below.

13. In Ephesians 3:18, Paul prays that we would have the power to experientially know the love of Christ…to grasp the immensity of it…to really lay hold of it in our hearts and minds. What are the four ways Paul desires for us to experience God?

14. In Ephesians 3:19, Paul prays for us to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. But if our lives are filled full with other things, we cannot be filled with the things of God. We must empty our hearts.

a. Do you need to empty your heart of anything? Invite the Lord to show you those things and prayerfully ask Him to empty your heart and begin His filling process.

b. Are there fruit and blessings that you desire fill your heart (mercy, patience, grace, peace, joy, hope, etc.)? Invite the Lord to give you a full and fresh filling of whatever it is you are seeking. Using the same method you used in Question 12, find verses and pray to know the fullness of those things in your life. God is eagerly waiting to fill you!!!

15. Finally, Ephesians 3:20 tells us that God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us…” Remember, Paul writes this in the context of unifying Jews and Gentiles…something that seemed utterly impossible at the time. But with God’s power of love in each believer’s life, Paul was confident and told his audience to confidently pray that the two could not only function together as one but also thrive together as one body. And when it happened, Paul said “to God be the glory in the church and in Jesus Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen!”

Today, if you have something in your life that seems beyond repair, beyond hope, beyond change, will you believe God at His Word? Remember this power available to you raised Lazarus from the dead, healed the blind, made the lame to walk and the deaf to hear, and raised Jesus from the dead. Pray in faith. Find a friend, a mentor, a teacher, or a pastor or even one of us to join you in praying this prayer over your circumstances. Your God is FAITHFUL to keep His Word.

Sweet Blessings to you,

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hello Wendy This bible study has been such a blessing for me. It came just when I needed a refreshing from God. Thank you so much for putting in the time and study to do this for all of us girls. I hope you will do another one. I can't wait to get to my computer each Mon. morning and then get started on yet another week of being in the presence of the MOST HOLY GOD. I pray God will bless you Wendy for putting in so much time for these lessons. Have a good week girls and start your study with prayer. Love and sweet blessing to you all. Kathy in Illinois

  2. I just love how you put in the reference to the wise/foolish man parable in Matthew 7. Both men heard the word, but only one was obedient to it. Walking by faith (and not by sight) is obedience to Him. It's not optional. Holding on to God's promises is the ONLY thing that will lead us to victory through the trials we all go through. The more victories we experience, the better we'll understand the width, length, height and depth of our Savior's love.

  3. Cynthia says:

    Hi Wendy, I just want to thank you for doing this study – God has been working on my heart so much in the last 2 weeks – I am very weepy and totally humbled to know that I am loved by our awesome God! This is just what I needed – I can say truthfully that God is searching my heart and I am seeking revelation from him -I have never been that kind of Christian before and I feel so sad that I'm 51 and just now finding out how to seek him earnestly – This study and your prayers have been a huge blessing to me – thank you so much!

    Blessings to all

    Cindy

  4. Runner Mom says:

    Wendy, sweet friend, this Bible study is amazing. I am hearing God speak to my heart through the scriptures that I've read before, but that are now penetrating my even deeper and stirring my soul. Thank you for being obedient and leading this study.I love it!
    Hugs!
    Susan

  5. Anonymous says:

    The LORD is so AMAZING!!! I love how His words flow from the pages and into my heart. This study has been such a blessing to me and I am so happy that I can be a part of it.

    Thank You,
    Lesle

  6. Anonymous says:

    "God wants to use your life to point people to Him."

    I love that you said that. This truth keeps coming up in my life. I'm afraid to tell my testimony to people. I still carry shame around with me. I was depressed, raped 10 years ago, had an eating disorder for 12 years, suffered with PTSD, tried to end my own life 2 and 1/2 years ago. But my Christ's redeeming love, I was saved and my life changed. Praise God. Now only if I could open up to people.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Little late here, but have a question about last week's homework. First of all this study has been wonderful and just what I needed. Learning so much and really feeling the Lord doing work both in me and through me. Thank you for all your work in this Wendy.

    OK, here is my question….I call myself a "Sunday School Drop-Out" so this may be something many people already know and understand, but it seemed a little confusing to me. Last week as I was reading Psalm 103 the word "fear" kept jumping out at me. Are we really supposed to fear God? To me that makes God seem scary or not full of love, compassion and grace. In my mind it just seems a little strong to use the word fear. I know we need to listen to God and follow His Word, but do we really need to be afraid of Him?

    Again, thank you to all who are participating in this study, what a blessing it is!

    Make it a great day!
    Kory

  8. Elizabeth says:

    My internet was down yesterday so I just had the opportunity to watch the video. Thanks for all of your work Wendy, to God be the glory for the way He is using you in this study! I may have just missed it in the video, but what is the reference for the Scripture you read about the conversation between God and Moses about God's compassion?

    I'm looking forward to this week's homework!
    Elizabeth

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is for Kory with the fear question. It doesn't mean scary fear of God, it means more of a respectful fear for who He is and how all powerful He is. To fear a life without His love and mercy, His promises and faithfulness, His provision and protection. The Proverbs say that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (proverb 1:7), to truly know Him and act accordingly.
    I hope that helps. This was a struggle for me to understand for a long time and I still am in the process. I hope you have a blessed day!
    Cindy from Wisconsin

  10. Terri Bhat says:

    Cindy's comment also spoke to me, because I am 52, and just now beginning to get a more complete picture of how God wants to work in my life. I have understood parts of God's word, but rejected other parts. Now I see that there are messages from God in every part of the Bible. Some of them are just more mysterious than others! Can't wait to see what's next in this amazing journey/study.
    Terri (on vacation in U.S. — hooray!)

  11. Misty Cross says:

    So I started this bible study two weeks ago and I got stuck in the first lesson on question 8a: Will you search your heart right now and ask your Father to show you where you are holding on to things from your past? I was stumped and couldn't think of anything but I knew something was there. I tried several times to just skip the question and move on but God wouldn't let me. Over the last couple of weeks, God has been revealing my past through my dreams. I kept asking myself why I was having dreams about all these old boyfriends, why did I always wake up in a panic, why did I always wake up feeling so empty. I realized this morning, after one of those panicked awakenings, that I had kept a place in my heart reserved for each of these men, some boys from even back in high school. I had reserved a spot for them and the pain they had caused and the subsequent feeling that I was unlovable. That 'unlovable feeling' lived in my heart because I had reserved it a spot by holding onto the pain (and what I believed to be 'lost love'). I prayed this morning for God to release me from the bondage of those reserved places of my heart, to open up those reserved spots and replace them with his love. I started to realize the repercussions of holding onto that pain, in my marriage, in my self-image, in my ability to relate to my kids and especially with my ability to let God show me his love and to really be able to fully accept Him and His Image of Me…WHEW!!! There is a lot more healing to be done, but the iceberg has been hit; now it just needs to melt down…and Hooray! I get to move on with my study, hope I can catch up!

  12. To Elizabeth with the 'downed' internet ;o)
    Wendy didn't actually mention it so you didn't miss it. It's Exodus 34:6.
    Just want to add a thank you to Misty for sharing that!

  13. pro356mom says:

    To Misty, Praise God! And thank you, Misty, for the encouragement for the rest of us to open our hearts like you have — as always, God gives us what we need when we ask.

  14. What a wonderful study … getting into the WORD!

    Delighted to meet you today. I hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you. This looks like a delightful spot to slip off my shoes and drench myself in God's goodness.

    Splashin,
    Sara

  15. Anonymous says:

    Tammy said…

    Thanks so much Wendy for this bible study! I am about to burst with the joy I feel today. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this time together with everyone here. I look forward to it each week. I normally finish all the homework in one day and let me tell you having to wait for the next set of questions a whole week is so hard (guess I need to ask for some patience).

    This week's homework taught me many things, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart Wendy for being God's instrument for us. One thing in particular I just have to share is that I NOW know what the "Concordance" section of my bible is and how to use it! I'm a brand new christian and I honestly had no idea what that section was for (it looked scary and difficult to me until now)…yes, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that, but it's true and I THANK YOU WENDY!

    Although I finished all of my homework yesterday, I've hardly shut my Concordance all day today! I've researched so much…it's a gem I didn't even realilze I had!

    I'd like to say to everyone else too. I love being your sisters in Christ. All of your comments and posts just increase my thirst to find out more and more about our Father. I can't get enough honestly. I'm so excited all the time and I feel at times I just can't contain it. Wendy, PLEASE do another study after this one!

    I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL week and that God blesses each and every one of you!

  16. Wendy Blight says:

    Hi,

    ADDRESSING QUESTION ABOUT "FEARING THE LORD" FROM KORY

    What a great question you girls have asked about "fear" of the Lord. One author defined it as "acknowledging God's power and sovereignty then offering your obedience in light of that power and sovereignty."

    To me "fear of the Lord" is revering God as all authority on heaven and on earth, believing Him to be the source of all life and the source of all Truth. Fear means to respect, revere, to honor…not be afraid of. Think of it like a parent. In a healthy parent child relationship, you love, honor, and respect your parent. You desire to obey them. Well, God is our heavenly Father, so we need to have that same love, honor, and respect for Him…just on a magnified level.

    I hope this helps your understanding.

    Blessings to you,

    Wendy

  17. Anonymous says:

    My prayer from question 4c:
    Lord, in reading and studying your Word, I see that you have given me free access to your throne, the throne of grace and mercy. I am allowed to come into Your presence and even though I am not pure and sinless in my own self, I am clothed in the righteousness of Your Son. I can come into the presence of the creator of this Universe as a daughter. I can crawl up into your lap and you will hold me and love on me like I have never been held or loved on before. You will listen to me, everything I have to say with your undivided attention.
    Give me this confidence you speak about in your word.Help me to know the rights you have given me as your child, just like you say in Your Word. Help me to know the depth of your love- to know every dimension of your love and be able to walk in that love so I can bring You glory and so others may know and experience this love as well. Amen.
    Barbara

  18. Cynthia says:

    Welcome Tammy – I've been a Christian all my life but only the kind of purposeful Christian for the last few weeks – It is so exciting to finally realize the amazing depth of God's love. I love the concordance too!

    Misty, praise God that you have finally come out of that bondage of past loves. It is so awesome to let go of those things – May God fill your heart with his love.

    Blessings everyone,

    Cindy

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to both Wendy and Cindy for your definitions of fearing the Lord-helped me picture exactly what it means and makes so much sense to me!

    Thanks again, make it a blessed day!

    Kory

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    I cannot thank you enough for doing this study. I was unable to do the first two sets of homework, but have watched your most recent video today and have started the homework. I cannot explain why the Holy Spirit has stirred my heart each time I have committed to doing this study with you and while reading the scriptures you have asked us to read & while doing the homework. I know God wants me doing this study and that excites me.

    I also feel led to pray for you, God's beloved precious child. I am so thankful for you! I pray for His guidance, wisdom, and protection for you while you lead this uniquely diverse group of students. How amazing is our God!

    I ended my lesson-time today after doing homework Q#5.c. That was a good stopping point for me & this will give me time to reflect and pray on all I have learned, read, contemplated today. I will pick up with Q#6 tomorrow evening after getting home from work.

    Again, thanks, Wendy, and thanks for everyone who is posting comments. Let us all grow together in our faith from this experience!

    God Bless!
    Anita in Virginia

  21. Wendy Blight says:

    Hi,

    My heart is very full as I read through these weeks of comments and see how many of you are praying for me. Never did I imagine as I have been praying for you…even before I ever knew your names…you would in turn be praying for me. It truly brings tears to my eyes to know that the Holy Spirit has led you to pray as I write and record our lessons and homework. Trying to do this in the summer has been a bit difficult with my kids at home. But I have been able to carve out quiet times. God has provided all that I have needed. I know now it is, in part, because of your precious, heartfelt prayers. Thank you from the depths of my heart!! I am so thankful for each of you.

    Wendy

  22. tabrownwv says:

    Hi Wendy,
    I just finished watching all the videos & now I'm looking forward to getting started on the homework assignment for this week. I've copied the questions to my computer for this week & the 1st 2 weeks, so that when I have the extra free time, I can go back & catch up.
    Tiffany

  23. Anonymous says:

    My relationships with people are very surface level…I am discovering that my relationship with God is the same way…how do you empty your heart?

  24. Anonymous says:

    I am so grateful for this study. It is the perfect summer study at the perfect time in my life. Thanks for all those praying ~ I am praying for us all ~ Lisa

  25. Wow, what great stuff! I just finished my homework from last week this morning. Wendy, I am so grateful for this study. I'm a teacher, and so the summer is the perfect time for me to devote myself to studying God's Word. I'd found the past few summers to be unproductive, wasted weeks and realized that each time I was battling depression. This summer I'm beginning to feel rejuvenated and motivated. What a difference!

    Thanks, Kory, for your question about "fearing the Lord." I've grappled with the same thing & read some wonderful answers that fit well with how I see God.

    Love and blessings to all!

  26. Tyler and Connie Boyd says:

    Kory – I just wanted to tell you that I was 'stuck' on that same thing earlier this year, and thanks to people like Wendi and the other gal that left you a comment, I was able to understand it (I was feeling the same way as you fear=scary).

    Anonymous 'how do you pour out your heart' – This too was something I didn't do. At a point (I would recommend praying about it, and I too will pray for you!) I realized that just because the Lord knows what's in our hearts and what's going on, doesn't mean we don't acknowledge it to Him. I felt silly at first, but just began to basically speak to Him whatever came to my mind. Find an environment that is conducive for thinking and turn your thoughts in to chat – for me, I found walk time as the best time. I leave the ipod at home and allow that time to be an open time with God.

    Wendy – I am splitting up the questions doing 5 a day, and in wrapping up this morning – 8e and 10 were just where I started today. Those were my prayers as I started my questions this morning, and I just love how God does that. I know I need to involve the Father in more than just my morning time, but all day long, and this really helped bring it home for me. I definitely want to be one that puts what I'm learning and studying in to practice, and not just for a day or a season, but continually. I realized, while answering the 'how do you deal with adversity' question, that when I'm strong in my time with the Lord, I do great, naturally, but when I'm not, I panic, freak out and feel defeated. That used to be how I ALWAYS dealt with things (the latter) and it took me a long time of working it out with God to even have a few 'good' times.

    I know this is a long one :) I just felt so much pouring out as I was wrapping up today that I wanted to share it. Thank you, for your words and study! I will be praying for each of you as I go on my walk in a few! Have a wonderful day.

  27. A couple of things I gained from this week's study is that;
    1. I need to pray to God about my inner being not just my outward needs.
    2. I need to fill my heart with the right things (Godly things) not just the meaningless things.
    3. I need to let my roots grow deep into God's love so that I can stand strong in all circumstances.

    I know this won't be easy for me but if I study God's word daily and talk to him everyday He can help me with these things. Also I need to remember that I am forgiven through Jesus and put my faith in him and not be so hard on myself when I fail.

  28. Anonymous says:

    To address emptying your heart…. A heart relationship with someone invloves Trust, you certainly cannot open your heart to someone you do not trust. In order to empty your heart for the Lord you must first Trust Him completely as His plan is for you to prosper, Ps 1. When you trust someone, you can love them; and when you love them your heart will naturally belong to them. Your hearts will be aligned…. Pray that you would learn to trust the Lord completely so that you can love Him deeply and your heart will be filled with Him.
    Praying for you,

    Becky

  29. Miss Anne says:

    Dear Wendy,
    This study has really, really blessed me this week. I have truly heard from God through His Word. We are having some financial difficulties, and we've been agonizing over some tough decisions. It has been such a burden to me and I have prayed daily for answers. I've been afraid that once a decision is made, it might be wrong. Matthew Chapter 7 freed me to make a decision with my husband. What I learned from this passage is that is doesn't matter which way we decide. Even if the decision is a mistake, our house is built on the rock of Jesus Christ. We have followed Him and will continue to follow him. I need not worry because my true security is in Him. I have such a peace and sense of relief now. Thank you God!

    Blessings to you!
    Anne

  30. Anonymous says:

    It comes to mind when you mentioned emptying out your heart…in the past I have been very guarded, having only surface relationships. Let someone in and they will hurt you I thought. But now after many years of knowing Jesus it is clear to me that He is so very safe to let in and He is not about to hurt me. That then carries over into other relationships and then if the people in my life hurt me which they very well may I can find comfort in my father!

  31. Anonymous says:

    When I read about a "love that surpasses knowledge", it reminds me of a "peace that passes understanding" and a God "who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine" and I think how great is our God?! He is a God of abundant provision – providing all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

    Cheri

  32. The timing of the encouragement from this passage from Ephesians has been such a blessing! Thank you!

    We had a surprise this summer when we put our house on the market and it sold in 10 days. That is not at all what we expected! We are trusting God's timing. We are looking to relocate but the things for my husband's job are not official yet, which is what we are waiting on. I have faith that God has His hand on us and the timing will be for his glory. I'd reallly like it if we could get moved and settled so our son could start in the new school on the first day.

    Would you join me in praying? I am thankful we serve a God who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. He is so good to us.

    Thank you,
    Bethany

  33. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Wendy, so much, for doing this. I am very much enjoying the study, but I also really enjoy reading everyone's comments. When I got to the part about emptying your heart so it can be filled with God, I really wasn't aware of what I needed to get rid of. Then I read Misty's comment. It hit home when she talked about holding on to the hurt. I have been married and divorced twice, but I have been single now for eight years. I feel that I have subconsciously held on to the hurt to prevent myself from making another bad decision. I couple years ago I realized that I kept everyone at an arm's length, and that I had no close friends other than my daughter. I have been working on that and now have a handful of friends that I trust to love me despite my imperfections and past mistakes. However, I know I still hold on to some of it because I truly feel like a second class christian when it comes to being active in the church. I have led discussions in my Sunday school class on occasion, but feel I'm not "good" enough to teach or mentor. I have no doubt that I am a Christian, and I am loved and forgiven by God, but I'm afraid I'll be rejected by people, and that fear keeps me from using my spiritual gifts in my church. I was aware of this on some level, but now I know that this is at least part the trash that needs to be cleaned out so God can completely fill my heart.

    Thank you Lord for showing me this!
    Also thanks to Wendy, Misty, and all you gals for your comments.

  34. Cynthia says:

    Hi Everyone, the post about being a Second class Christian really hit home with me – Before this study I did not feel that I had anything to offer either at my church. Ready Ephesians and answering those questions is really helping me to BELIEVE that I am worthy of being loved by God. I am afraid of rejection too and on some level that makes it a prideful situation where I have to ask God to fill me and take away those feelings. I am doing questions 14 & 15 tonight – they are really deep Wendy and I need to be able to find some quiet place at home to do them.

    Blessings to all.

    Cindy

  35. Anonymous says:

    Dear Bethany,
    Wow! God must have fantastic things in store to you prosper you and your family… including choosing your son's school, his teacher and his friends. You must feel like you got on a rollercoaster for the first time… the lap belt came down, and the ride is going- whether you are ready or not :) Praying that the Lord's peace that surpasses all of your knowledge and understanding floods your heart. With eager anticipation as God rolls out His plans for you and your family… believing in His amazing gifts for you…

    Jill, how are you and your Mom doing?

    Wendy, yes- you have 1800+ warriors praying protection over your heart, mind and body… women thanking God for your heart for us… women praying for your roles as a Daughter of God Himself, a Wife, a Mom, a Friend, a Teacher… women proud to be following your lead…!!

    Love, Noelle

  36. Anonymous says:

    so much in this study, I have rushed it a little to catch up, but I was made freshly aware of how I find it hard to approach God with confidence. I have been a Christian my whole life and have always struggled with feeling guilty when I fail over and over at the same things. I find it hard to approach our Father because of this 'feeling'. I know in my head that I am forgiven and made new, but the I have not let God's power dig deep inside, busyness of life fills my heart most days. I want to experience how deep, how high how long and how wide His love for me is! I know this understanding will change me. That's my verse for this week – Eph 3:18!! Thanks again Wendy – I am thoroughly enjoying the studies, the thoughts and challenges they are bringing, I know when these studies are finished that I will continue to be changed by what God is showing me here.
    And I pray that as we all come to God in these studies that He will begin, continue and complete healing that is needed in each of us (which sounds just like what He is doing – I am encouraged to read comments), to the glory of Jesus!

    God continue to bless each one of us through this time 'together'.
    Belinda

  37. Anonymous says:

    Hi Belinda:
    Thank you for mentioning feelings of "guilt" about failing repeatedely with the same things…. I feel the same way! As a working mom, my heart is also filled with the daily duties and I cannot seem to keep my eye steadfastly on Jesus. It takes a large amount of effort just to re-center my mind, and that is moment by moment. I have felt so alone in this… Thinking other saved moms seem to have it so together. But, you've reminded me, there is no temptation common to man that the Lord has not provided a means of escape. For a righteous man falls down and gets up again! Keep getting up and pushing forward with me my sister! Thank you for blessing me with the reminder we are not alone.
    Becky

  38. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for sending this out to us on a holiday! I was happy to get it this morning. Thank you also for talking to us each week with your video and helping me understand better some of what we are reading. I also am learning a lot more about my Bible with all the extra verses we look up each week. This has been a challenging time in my marriage and I keep thinking that if I just give it to God, we will figure this out, so I am trying and you are helping me. Thank you!
    Mary in Virginia

  39. Thank you so much Wendy. I have been both blessed and inspired by this study, all the way across the ocean on the beautiful island of Bermuda. Isn't God amazing? xxx

  40. Kathy M says:

    Judi, thank you for your comment about how holding onto God's promises is the ONLY thing that will lead us to victory.

    Misty, thank you for what you shared, it struck a nerve with me. I am joining you in praying for God to release us from the bondage of those reserved places and fill our hearts with His love.

    Tammy, along with a "Concordance," some Bible's have a topical index in the front. I use my topical index to find verses on a particular subject such as: marriage or baptism.

    Response to today's lesson:
    11.c. – One way I can reflect God's love in my life is by being a 'helpmate' to my husband, encouraging him with words that build up and not tear down.
    14.a. – One thing I need to empty my heart of is envy. Envy of a lot of things but particularly of those who live in a nice home closer to town, and of those whose children have left the nest but still live close to home.
    14.b. – The fruits I desire to fill my heart are: contentment/peace, patience and joy.
    I want to learn to be CONTENT with my life right where God has me now. I want to be able to exude JOY and an inner PEACE. While I would love to have the new home we dreamed of building, it's not in God's plan right now, and it may never be. Instead, I will learn to be content with living in a very old farmhouse because that is where God has me. At least I have a home and that's what really matters. Furthermore, if our children lived closer, it would make adjusting to being an empty-nester so much easier and getting together way cheaper, but that's not God's plan right now. I am thankful that they successfully graduated from college and found jobs in their field of interest; and I will be content that even though they are out-of-state, they are living out their dreams, independently and responsibly. At least they are still alive so I can still enjoy talking with them and doing things with them when we do get together.

    Sometimes my marriage seems like it's beyond hope or repair. It seems during the years of being a stay-at-home-mom and raising children, my husband and I grew apart. We both got busy in our daily tasks and by the end of the day we were tired. We didn't make enough time for 'us.' We did most everything as a family unit and had lot of fun, but the one-on-one relationship suffered. I think that's why a lot of marriages end in divorce during the empty-nester phase. We are going on 30 years of marriage and divorce is not in the cards, but it's a rough spot in the road right now as we work to restore our relationship. I believe God at His Word and pray that He will restore our marriage to one of joy. For you women who are in the early years of marriage, please learn from this and take time to "date" or have one-on-one time. It's an investment you will not regret.

  41. Just finished with questions from chapter 3 – a little behind but I'll catch up. This is a busy time of year for me.
    What jumped out from this chapter was v 1 "..Paul the prisoner of Jesus Christ.." Are we the prisoners of Christ? Are we listening to the Master and obeying Him? Wow – that really struck me.
    v20 "He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or THINK.."
    I need to trust God – He will never fail us.
    thanks for a great study

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