July 11, 2010

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

WELCOME ENCOURAGEMENT FOR TODAY READERS. I am so thankful you stopped by my blog today. Please know how much you girls encourage me each time I write a devotional. I love your comments and look forward to reading them!! They show me how God is at work in and through our lives. And don’t forget if you leave a comment today sharing your story of discipline, I will enter you in the giveaway to win a copy of Lou Giglio’s book.

I have not written a follow-up to my devotional today because I am in the middle of hosting a Bible Study on the book of Ephesians. This is our fourth lesson. Feel free to jump in and join us…past lessons are posted as you scroll down.

If something in my devotional today touches you or you would like prayer, please leave a comment. If you would like to join our Bible Study or would be interested in joining me for future Bible Studies, please leave me your first name and e-mail address so I can register you. You can also contact me via e-mail at my e-mail address listed below. Soon I will have a Bible Study on the Book of Proverbs available for purchase. If you are interested in learning more, please contact me as well.

Sweet Blessings!

Hey Bible Study Friends!

Thank you for your great comments this week! I agree with Tracy (sweltering in South Carolina). I wish I could see all your sweet faces. Even though we are far apart geographically, it is absolutely amazing how close we are in heart…praying for one another, caring for one another, encouraging one another, and even advising one another. God is accomplishing His purposes among us.

My son, Bo, helped me select the winners of Sandy’s artwork contest. He is 12 and a huge Duke basketball fan. He chose two numbers: 12 (for Kyle Singler) and 30 (for John Scheyer). So, the authors of the 12th comment and the 30th comment are the winners of Sandy’s artwork. Congratulations to…..

Barbara (Anonymous) who posted her comment on July 5th at 7:36.

Jerri Frost Bragg who posted her comment on July 7th at 10:02.

Please send your mailing address to deuteronomysix@aol.com, and Sandy will send you your cards. Sandy, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work with us. If you are ever looking for cards, prints, and other wonderful artwork to give as gifts or to treat yourself, please visit Sandy’s website.

We just have a few weeks left. I love hearing how God takes you to new places as you dig deeper in Scripture. That is what I have prayed every week. That He would be teaching you…not me!!! In fact, there are times when I learn from you, and I LOVE IT!!

You girls have been such in inspiration to me to continue writing these studies. Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. I am nearly finished with a study on the book of Proverbs. It should be done in the next few weeks. I did a sneak preview of it a few months ago on my blog. I am hoping to have it available for sale soon after we finish this study. If you would be interested in learning more for yourself, your Bible study, or your church, please e-mail me deuteronomysix@aol.com.

Time to get down to business. Below please find the fourth 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 Five

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, my heart eagerly awaits what You have to speak to me as I open Your Word again this week. Thank You that Your Word promises that when You send it out, it will never return void but accomplish what You desire and achieve the purposes for which You sent it. Will You show me what Your purposes are for Your Word in my life? Father, will You open the eyes of my heart to see what it is You have to teach me. Give me deep wisdom and understanding to discern what it is You want to change in my life. Shine the Light of Your Word even to the deepest darkest places in my heart…bring to the surface areas in my life where I need to be more like You and less like the world. Break down walls and make my heart tender to receive. Father destroy lies and replace them with Truth. Change me, Lord. May I never be the same after these next two weeks with You in Your Word. Thank You that You are faithful to complete the work you have begun in me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

1.Ephesians 5:1 begins with the words, “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do because you are His dear children.” By using “therefore,” Paul takes his audience back to the last verse of Chapter four: “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.”

Let’s focus for a moment on forgiveness. God calls us to forgive one another just as Christ forgave us.

a.Read Matthew 6:14-15, Hebrews 12:14-15, and Matthew 18:21-35, The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. What Truths do you learn from these verses and this parable?

b.What things in your life do you find it most difficult to forgive? Why?

c.What role does Satan play in unforgiveness? In your own experience, how has he played a role in your decisions to not forgive (feeds you lies, replays the offense in your mind, tells you offense too great for forgiveness, etc.)?

d.According to Ephesians 5:2 and Ephesians 4:31-32, how should we overcome unforgiveness?

e.Is there a name that has come to mind as you have studied this lesson on forgiveness? Remember, forgiveness is a choice. Read 2 Corinthians 2:5-11. God calls us to forgive because He knows that unforgiveness holds us captive to Satan. Will you commit to pray about forgiving this person and allowing God to deal with the wrong? We are never more like Christ when we forgive because we are setting aside our right to be right, our right to avenge. It is truly a place of freedom!!! I invite you to lay down your offenses today. Write a prayer below and watch what God will do!!

2.Read Ephesians 5:1-17 again. In this passage, Paul shares three ways believers can imitate their heavenly Father.

a.The first is to walk in ______________ (5:2). In addition to forgiveness discussed in Question One, what are some practical ways you can imitate God’s love?

b.The second is to walk in _______________ (5:8). How does Paul describe walking as children of the light? What are some ways we can practically do this today?

c.The third is to walk in _______________ (5:15). Practically, how can we walk/live wisely?

3.Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-7

a.Why are unbelievers in darkness?

b.Who is the “god of this age?” (Eph. 2:2, 1 John 5:19, 1 Peter 5:8)

c.How can believers in Jesus shine light on unbelievers?

d.Practically, what can you do in your life to shine God’s Light?

4.In Ephesians 5:3 Paul speaks of immoral acts. Name the three sins that have no place among God’s people. Explain the sins and why they have no place among God’s people.

5.In Ephesians 5:4 Paul moves from immoral acts to impure speech. From what kinds of speech should we refrain? Explain the types of speech and why Paul asks us to refrain from such speech.

6.Over the next two weeks listen to conversations going on around you and measure them against Paul’s standard. Share what you discover. How well did you do in your own conversations? With what did you struggle the most?

7.Read Galatians 5:16-24.

a.Paul contrasts two ways of living. What are they?

b.How can those who belong to Jesus live victoriously over sin? (Galatians 5:24-26)

8.Read Romans 7:21-24 and Romans 8:1-11.

a.Explain in your own words what Paul says here and how it relates to what we have studied.

b.Explain how you have experienced this battle in your personal life. Do these verses help you understand this struggle better?

c.Reread Romans 8:1. Write it below. What do these words mean to you personally?

9.How do we “become” holy? (Read Romans 12:2-3 and Colossians 1:9-10).

10.Let’s do a bit of calculating. Sorry for those of you who do not like math!! (Hint: there are 365 days in a year). How many days have you lived to date? Let’s estimate you will live to age of 80. How many days do you still have yet to live?

a.Looking over your life thus far, what do you feel you have accomplished for the Lord? If you are struggling to answer this question, do not feel guilty or ashamed. For many of us, we truly have no idea how we can “do” for the Lord. It’s not until He opens the eyes of our hearts that we see how to use all He has gifted us with to serve Him. Do you feel what you have learned in this study has changed your perspective on this?

b.Considering your gifts and talents, list at least one thing, if not more, that you would like to accomplish for the Lord before your 80 years are up.

c.Do you feel you live your life in a way that you are available to serve Him? If not, what is keeping your from being one hundred percent available to hear His call to serve?

11.According to Paul, the way to walk in wisdom is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. “Filled” here means “controlled by.” In Ephesians 5:18, to what does Paul compare being filled with the Spirit? Do you think it a bit odd?

a.Read Acts 2:13-15. What happened?

b.There is something in common here…people being under the influence of something that affects them. Compare and contrast being drunk on wine (if you can…remember…no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!) and being drunk in the Spirit?

c.Read Colossians 3:15-18. How does this relate to Ephesians 5:18-22?

d.We are sealed with the Holy Spirit the moment of our salvation. But being “filled” with the Spirit is not a one-time event and does not happen automatically. It is also not something we fill ourselves, but we must allow the Spirit to fill us. According to Paul, what can we do to be filled with the Spirit?

e.What do you personally do to receive fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit?

BELOW ARE SOME QUESTIONS ON MARRIAGE

1.Before we begin, it is imperative that we remember: MARRIAGE IS A DIVINE RELATIONSHIP, ESTABLISHED BY GOD HIMSELF AT THE CREATION OF THE WORLD. Consequently, for God’s perspective on marriage, let’s go back to the very beginning. Read Genesis 2:18-25.

a.What does God say about man (Adam) in Genesis 2:18a?

b.What is God’s solution in Genesis 2:18b?

c.How did God create Adam?

d.What did Adam say in response to God’s gift to him? (Genesis 2:23).

e.Read Genesis 2:24 and explain what it means for a man to “leave” his father and mother and be united to his wife. Why is this so important? Has this happened in your family?

f.Why does it not discuss a woman leaving her parents?

2.Before Paul addresses the relationship between husbands and wives, he makes this statement in Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Why do think he started with a more general statement of submission before specifically addressing wives in the very next verse: “Wives submit to your husband?”

a.Why does Paul tell women in Ephesians 5:22 to submit to their husbands?

b.To what is the husband’s headship compared?

3.Read 1 Peter 3:1-17.

a.What is Peter’s instruction to wives in 1 Peter 3:1a? Does it come with any exceptions or qualifications?

b.What are your thoughts on this? Do you struggle with what Peter asks of a wife? Explain.

c.What is the rationale for this instruction (1 Peter 3:1b)?

d.According to 1 Peter 3:2, what behavior in a wife will win her husband over to the Lord?

4.Do you believe Peter’s words and Paul’s words were culture-specific meant for that audience in that day, or are they instructions to be followed by wives in every age…even today?

5.What are Paul’s instructions to the husband? (Ephesians 5:25-30). To what does He compare a husband’s love? Explain.

6.Read 1 Peter 3: 7.

a.What does Peter say to husbands?

b.Why do you think women received six verses of instruction and men only one?

7.In summary, Scripture clearly teaches that a man must “love” his wife and a woman must “respect” her husband. Why the difference?

8.Now that you have studied marriage as defined by Scripture, how does your marriage compare? If your marriage falls short, which most of ours will, what is the reason? Where is the struggle? Will you commit that area of struggle to the Lord using the tools you have learned this semester (find verses, write a prayer, journal your progress, invite a friend to pray for you and hold you accountable)?

Comments

  1. BrandiLeigh says:

    I have the hardest time forgiving myself. My prayer today is that God will show me how to forgive myself. I prayed that I will know that God has forgiven me. I am thankful for this study. I know that God is working on me and I want to follow HIS clear direction for my life.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I just wanted to share (what I feel) is a pretty important realization I had last week. I went to a prayer devotion at my church in the morning – a very peaceful, quiet time to pray – and as I was writing out my prayers I realized all I need to focus on and pray for was God. To simply focus on Him.
    This may seem obvious, but so often I get caught up in my own head worrying about my marriage, all the things I should do to be a better person, my negative thought patterns, being anxious about having been depressed, worrying about being depressed again. This list goes on and on. Tracy from S.Carolina's post last week really spoke to me. I get so sick of Myself! I know when I think the wrong things, I know I get in my own way.
    I have come to understand that God is trying to work in my right now and He will take care of all things. If I am struggling or my marriage is struggling He will get me through it or He will make it better. I feel so much more at peace knowing that if I just focus on God, He will take care of the rest. Already things are better with my husband. Amazing what God can do in just a few days or rather just a few minutes.

    Praising God for all He has done,
    Andrea from WI

  3. Mary Tullila says:

    Even before starting this week's lesson…watched your video Wendy & the tears are flowing. Jesus knows why he brought me here today. Please pray for me..Suicide loss, sexual sins, remarriage, soo many things have hurt me. The wall around my heart is crumbling…for such a TIME as this. Off to meet with Jesus..theres some bitter bricks to throw into the Refiners fire. I'll be back to share more later..I desperately need you sisters to surround me in prayers today.

  4. Wendy Blight says:

    Oh, friends, how I pray that by the end of this study each of us would not only know more of the Word, but we would KNOW more of HIM!! May that be the cry of our hearts as we round the bend in Ephesians. That above all else, we would love Him deeper and know Him better.

    He says, "Come to me…" Let us do just that. Let us come to HIM…not to voice our prayers…not to pour out our pain…but just to KNOW HIM!!! Father in Heaven, God of Heaven's Armies, King of kings and Lord of lords, show us more of You!!

    I am praying for each of you. How wonderful it is to hear how God is moving in your hearts…in the midst of pain, trials, and everyday living…drawing you closer to Him.

    In His Love,

    Wendy

  5. Anonymous says:

    I never seem to know if I have forgiven or not. I pray I will. I think I have. Then the person that hurt me crosses my path and I suddenly feel the hurt again. It does seem less after a long while but some of the old feelings of being done wrong by someone I should have been able to trust still bothers me. I have 3 main events and all were by people that claim to be Christians. It really makes you afraid to trust and let people get close enough to you that they know how to hurt you. I want to forgive and I don't know if I have or how to if I haven't. I certainly don't trust these people. I prefer to avoid them.

  6. Wendy Blight says:

    HOMEWORK CLARIFICATION:

    IN QUESTION 1a, the last verse is from Matthew 18:21-35. I left off Matthew.

    Thanks,

    Wendy

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! My heart is absolutely bursting. I feel like I've been completely opened up (raw), lifted, encouraged, warmed…I can't begin to express the variety of emotions I'm feeling at this moment.

    I just finished this week's questions. Yes, I sat here ALL day…I couldn't stop or break away from it. Wendy, this week's lesson has truly been sent straight into my core being. The question 1.e. has given me, I believe, the way (the road) to be free again–and I didn't even realize until I began to answer this question how badly I needed the help.

    This probably isn't making much sense to anyone…I have so much running through my mind right now. But, I believe Satan plays his famous mind games with each of us. I think he keeps us distracted and focused on our own personal hurts and grievances. I can see that so clearly now. Satan has been constantly working in my mind, feeding on my inner fears, concerns, and insecurities. He works me up until I'm a mess, and at times not very rational in my thoughts. I have ended up feeling bitter, resentful, and very determined to shut-off my feelings towards some people just so I don't set myself up to get hurt anymore.

    This week's lesson has opened my heart and eyes to the fact that…if God can forgive me for my behaviors, sins, misdeeds, harsh words, etc., I should be able to forgive others too. Sounds simple, right? It hasn't been so far.

    I wrote a pray just like Wendy asked us to do, naming someone that I've been unable to forgive. This someone is my step daughter who I've raised for the past 10 years (since she was just about 8). Over the course of our 10 years together, I have allowed reoccuring problems and situations, repeated disappointments, and constant hurtful things to take over my relationship with my step-daughter. I truly didn't even realize how much resentment and pain I've been harboring until today. It's like I'm seeing it for the very first time. I want to let it go. I want to change it today. I can now see how it has shaped and molded not just my life but everyone's in our house.

    I'm sharing this prayer in the hopes that it will allow me to bring it all out into the open and into the light once and for all. This is what I wrote:

    Dear Heavenly Father, I am turning to you. I'm coming to you with my heart wide open and my lips pleading for peace. The peace that only you can give me, Lord. I have allowed Satan to feed me on a regular basis, allowing his lies, his tricks to take over my life and mind.

    I want to change that Lord, I want to let go but it's so hard, Father. I need your help, I need your strength, God. I ask you to lift my heart, chisel out the buried, deep-seeded, festering resentments, hurts, & disappointments. Remove them from me Lord so I have only your love and peace and joy left inside. Help me let go, Lord. Help me to change my ways.

    Father, please forgive me for harboring evil and allowing Satan a foothold for so long. Lord, I ask that Satan be pushed out and that You completely take over. I give it all to you. I am ready to forgive Amy for everything. I'm willing to let go of each and every hurt, betrayal, pain, everything. I see now that I can never be with you as long as I allow these things to fester.

    Cleanse me Lord. Allow me to begin again new, tenderhearted, forgiving, and loving. Mold me into the wife and mother you intended me to be. Help me become your loving, forgiving, daughter, Lord.

    I love you Father. Thank you for opening my eyes and my heart so I could hear your message to me today. You are such a wonderful, loving God! Thank you for being with me always, even when I don't deserve such devotion and love, Lord. I pray all of this in Your loving son's name, Jesus Christ. Amen

    Tammy from Pennsylvania

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear sister in christ,
    i read all the comments above and my heart is just melting away that how beautifully our LORD works in our lives and today i have learnt alot just by listening to wedy about forgiveness it definetly is hard and i believe the biggest hurdle in a believer's life i believe in forgiving strongly just like CHRIST did but then too at time i get hurt by our loved ones but as wendy said we need to let go and not choose to feel offended by our loved ones and pray for them and ourselves i would like all the sisters to also keep me in ur prayers that God give me strentgh and guide me what to do next as me and my husband want to serve the LORD by working with the kids and teenagers in our community and Thankyou JESUS for letting me spend this precious time with the people u love by reading all these comments God bless all of you in JESUS name amen .california girl

  9. Anonymous says:

    WOW! Wonderful prayer, wonderful posts by everyone. How my heart goes out and my prayers go out to all of you!! May God continue to work in your lives in every situation, in real life-changing ways!

    My… what our amazing LORD can do when we are honest/truthful, humble, receptive to HIM in every way. He understands EVERYTHING about us because He created us uniquely and purposefully. We are special in His sight! He CARES about every struggle and situation and offers us LOVE, FORGIVENESS, WISDOM, COMPASSION, FRIENDSHIP, UNDERSTANDING, HELP, NEW AWARENESS, DELIVERANCE, and the list goes on and on! WOW!

    Wendy, thanks again for this study. Thanks for sharing about such a personal trauma in your life and how God has helped you through that. Your sincerity, love, joy, & understanding of God is so refreshing and makes my heart sing. I look forward to starting the homework, especially after Tammy has shared so much of how it has helped her. I may not get a chance tonight, but I definitely will start on it tomorrow night. For now, dinner preparations are calling me, but I will be thinking on all of this and praying while I cook.

    What a blessing you all are to me and to God!

    Oh, by the way, my 23 yr old son, is calling about a job this week. Please pray that all goes well with all aspects of this and that he gets the job. He's been out of work for about 1 1/2 yrs now minus a job that lasted one month. Please pray this job will develop into, or open doors for, a full time career for him.

    Thanks, my on-line bible study friends!
    Anita in Virginia

  10. Sharon Sloan - Joy In The Truth says:

    Hi, Wendy! We were at Camp of The Woods last week, where Alistair Begg taught each morning in adult chapel. Guess where he was teaching from on the first morning — Eph. 1 and 2!! I love being "double dipped" in the same passages for God's Word.

    We were away for a few weeks, so I have some catching up to do here!

    Love to you!
    Sharon

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thank you all for your posts… I am so honored to be among such a fantastic group of women! My heart resonated with the anonymous post which said…
    "I never seem to know if I have forgiven or not. I pray I will. I think I have. Then the person that hurt me crosses my path and I suddenly feel the hurt again"
    I have a hard time distinguishing between what is a strong hold the enemy has in my heart due to unforgiveness… a "bitter root that rises up" (Hebrews 12:14-15) versus the way I'm understanding Matthew 18:21-23 where it seems inevitable that we will endure offenses, or the need to continually forgive. Does this make any sense? I've barely had a few sips of coffee, so it might not :) Anyhow, by God's grace, if it DOES make sense, I would love any wisdom you could share.

    There's one person in my life in particular where I feel like I'm stuck in a spin cycle in the washing machine. I have forgiven her in person many times- and I genuinely meant every word. I was counseled to take steps away from the friendship- and I truly do feel convicted that the season for that friendship had ended. But when I hear through the grapevine that she is grieved over many losses in her life, I know I'm one of those losses and guilt creeps in… and then the enemy replays the hurtful offenses from the past… and I get into this crazy cycle in my head. I keep reaffirming in my mind and in my prayer time that I forgive her. Can you help me stop the insanity?!

    This study is beyond a blessing! Thank EACH of you for being such a source of beauty in my life! Oh… and I can't wait to see what the marriage questions are all about… how exciting!

    With love,
    Noelle

  12. Thank you and Proverbs 31 for your dedication and hard work! I share the devotions every day with my husband. They are an inspiration and an affirmation of God's very real and constant Presence with us. re: Discipline.. Last year I came very close to losing the one person in my life on earth – the most important person in my life whom I love unconditionally – my husband.. We went through over a year of hellfire! During that time, and for the first time, I heard God speak to me. He told me to "Forgive" and to "Love". His Words came as an interruption to my own thoughts of pain and despair and with those Words came the most incredible Healing Touch! It was as if a dark veil had been torn away and I could finally see that I was truly forgiven and then – even then.. The pain and horror of the events of MY past were healed! That healing was the direct result of His discipline! I had become totally independent, self focussed and insular. The walls I built did not protect me from pain – they prevented my husband and I from building the closeness and one-ness that God wants us to have in a marriage relationship. We have emerged from that dark time and our relationship has a strength and purpose that it previously did not. We have made the choice to surrender all to Him and to dedicate our lives to Him and His Work. God has yet to reveal His Plan for our future, but I know that it will be good and that we will walk it together!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Okay, I have to admit, I'm still working on last week's questions from Chapter 4. I was working on it last night and was completely stumped by #10 b "So what about the person who claims to be a Christian yet still chooses to participate in the activities list in 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10?" What is that answer to that? I'm a Christian and I sin all the time. Obvious sins, less obvious ones, sins I know are sins, ones I'm not sure about. So what about me and others who are like me?

    Andrea from WI

  14. Bitterness – I truly did not realize how much of this I have in my life. Yes, there were painful happenings and I knew I was angry and I worked (and continue to work) on this. However, I did not realize how bitter I was – thank you for this study, Wendy. Thank you to those who have commented – your comments help bring home even more intimately the lesson Wendy is sharing. Grace and peace to each of you.

  15. Anonymous says:

    This is for Andrea about the christian sinning. Andrea we are all sinners and we live in a fallen world and ONLY by the grace of our Lord Jesus are we forgiven. If you truly love God and have the Holy Spirit in you then you will strive each day to be more like Jesus and it is easier each day not to sin and the key is to CHOOSE to walk in the light. Jesus said in John 16:33 "In the world you will have troubles but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world." If you love God with all your heart then you will draw your strength from him to be stronger and fruitful and live in this world but not of this world as the unbelievers do. Andrea our spirit is renewed daily (II Cor 4:16) and God knows our heart. He knows when we truly love him beyond measure and you won't want to sin and as you learn the word of God it becomes so much easier to live in a fallen world with HIS help and all of the promises and strength he gives us. I hope this helps.
    Now to the story of being obedient to God's voice. I was praying one day a while back and had prayed for everyone I knew family and friends and asked God who did he want me to pray for and he put a name on my heart immediately. I said Lord what does she need me to pray for her about and he immediately put "call her" on my heart. I knew she was at work but I knew that God knew best. I picked up the phone and she answered and I told her I had been talking to the Lord and he wanted me to pray for you. She started crying and said "Oh My Gosh" my sister just got diagnosed with breast cancer and you have no idea how much I need your prayers. It was totaly a God moment. Long story short we prayed and kept in touch and she grew stronger from that. Her sister ended up dying but she handled it with grace and strength that only GOD can give. God uses us every day if we will let him and be obedient to his voice. Love and prayers to all of you bible study girls. Let the holy spirit lead you today. Kathy in Illinois

  16. Anonymous says:

    what about the concept of reconciliation being separate from forgiveness and how those two can be confused? I do not think people can get a sense of the truth without the whole truth. You refer to Col 3:15-18. Why stop there? What about the remaining verses, 19: Husbands love you wives and do not be harsh with them. 20: children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. 22: Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything, and do it, not only when…..

  17. Anonymous says:

    Do you accept comments from a man?

    Why not organize the discussion by pericope/teaching unit rather than chapter, as they are not the same? The pericope is Eph 5:15-6:9.

    Don Johnson

  18. believer333 says:

    I really appreciated the video and your questions. Thank you

    Responding to some of your questions….

    Paul in verse 22 is extending the general admonition of submitting to one another and including it in marriage. It is as if he were saying, and that includes wives to husbands. The important thing is that the type of submission is explained in verse 21 to be mutuality. What it is not is obedience to a master or one who rules over you. This very tricky slight of words by Paul spoke directly to the Roman set of rules for marriage in which women were obligated to obey. In Paul’s directives, it is changed from obedience to mutuality.

    Headship is an English term and should not be imposed on the words of Paul. What Paul has in mind is not wifely submission to headship of any kind. Rather, Paul sets up a metaphor of mutual interdependence with a picture of ‘head of’ and ‘body of’. Wife is to view husband as ‘head OF’ (not over) and husband is to view wife as ‘body OF’ (not under). There is mutual ownership implied similar to 1 Cor. 7. As well, there are implications of life depending upon the support of the other. If we separate body from head, then death is shortcoming.

    In 1 Peter, there is a continuing discussion of how to deal with abusive and harsh masters. Then Paul continues in chapter 3 with husbands and wives who do not obey the word. This is most likely referring to an unbelieving spouse. Wives are to be quietly honoring, hoping to win the husband over by her holy demeanor. Husbands are to also be honoring (else their prayers will not be heard) their weaker spouse with gentleness. Then he goes back to addressing everyone to be compassionate, tenderhearted and patient.

    8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;[a] 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

    IMO this is a picture of the deepest respect and devotion to a fellow human. And it is that type of honor and love of one another in obedience to God’s admonitions given through Paul, that will draw us closer to God. As we learn to honor and love our brethren, we begin to see the power and love of God in action in others and in life in general.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I've been posting a lot, but I just feel the need to keep coming back! Wendy thanks so much for this study. God has used it to tell me exactly what He wants me to hear. It has been so helpful. So much in the video for this week spoke to me.
    I have never thought forgiving someone else was for me. I never thought about forgiveness actually until a recent situation in my relationship with my husband. I guess I thought forgiveness was to release them from feeling bad, to help them heal from the mistake they made.
    Now I see how important forgiveness is to release me from the anger and the pit the devil tries to drag me into. The devil is really good at that isn't he? The part about how anger fills us up so we can't give or receive – completely explains why I have been feeling disconnected from my husband. Whether I realized it or not I had been hanging on to me anger towards him therefore I couldn't accept or feel all the wonderful things he was doing for me. Because of that I also couldn't feel or accept the things God had and has been trying to do for me.
    It is such a blessing to finally be able to make sense of how I'd been feeling the last few weeks. I thank God for working through you, Wendy, to bring His word into perspective for me.

    May God bless all of you in all your endeavors!
    Andrea from WI

  20. proudgrits11 says:

    Hi! I am here to share my story of discipline. At the time, I looked at it as just "going through some stuff" but now, I definitely see it as "pruning" or "discipline."
    It was just over two years ago that I suffered a miscarriage and that event set off a fear in me that I'd never known before. It lasted for well over a year and, when I got pregnant again, it morphed into anxiety, which lasted for about four months, three of which were postpartum.
    During that time, I felt like God was helping me deal with things in my life that I needed to deal with…and make me stronger as a result. The anxiety in particular was difficult and had me questioning everything–even my salvation. I knew God was up to something….I just didn't understand why I was feeling the way I was feeling or how long it would last.
    God was asking me, "What is getting in the way of our relationship?" and the answer turned out to be…me. I was getting in the way because I was trying to fix myself instead of letting HIM fix me, prune me and grow me. What a revelation!
    I learned during that time that facing our fears and letting the light of His truth and Who He is to shine into our lives is better than any pop psychology or even popping a pill.
    I learned to be thankful first, to pray, to confront my feelings and doubts…and that, even going through something terrible, I would emerge stronger and more secure in my faith.
    I could write pages about this….but the bottom line is, God used a miscarriage to help me face my fears and to let more of HIM into my life–and I am grateful. Was it painful? Yes. Would I go back and change it? No. I am so thankful for the person I am now–a new creation!
    And we got a beautiful baby boy out of it, too…we call him our "redemption baby." God is so good!!!

  21. Kathy's reply to Andrea is great. The difference between a Christian and a non believer is that we (Christians) have been enabled by the Holy Spirit to choose not to continue to sin. No more continuation of lying, cheating, hating etc. We haven't overcome all these totally because we still live in our fleshly bodies, but we don't make a practice of doing these. A non believer can't help him/herself. They live a life pursuing their selfish and sinful desires (no matter how clean they appear on the outside). 2 Cor 10:5 tells us we're to 'take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ'. It's all about HIM, not us. That surely helps us to release any bitterness/judgment we hold over anyone.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Friends in Christ,
    This is such an amazing study isn't it? I am still working thorugh chapter 4 questions, but this weeks video was so moving and amazing for me. While reading chapter four, I thought of a friend, whose husband is really stuggling and thought I might submit a prayer for him so that we can all join together and pray for him and for their marriage that is struggling. My references for this prayer is Eph 4:21-24

    Oh Lord, please help Jeff turn from his old stubborn ways because he has heard about you and has learned the truth that is in Jesus. Help him to throw away his old evil nature and his former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. Make him spiritually renewed in his thoughts and attitudes. Let him display a new nature because he is a new person, created in Gods likness-righteous, holy, and tru ~ Amen

    Thank you Ladies, I know that through our powerful prayers, we will begin to see a difference.

  23. Anonymous says:

    So why did the wife get 6 verses of explanation and the husband only 1 — I'm having a hard time coming to an answer…..

  24. Anonymous says:

    In 1 Peter 3, as I see it, the reason there are six verses for the wife and only one for the husband is that the context of the passage is Peter's advice on how to live under the institutions of authority that exist in the pagan Greek cultures which the Christians he is addressing, are living in (see 1 Pet 1:1 for his audience– these are Greek Christian "pilgrims" scattered throughout the Asian world.) In Chapter 2 Peter tells Christians to be in submission to the non-Christan civil authorities. Then he tells slaves to submit to their non-Christian masters. And then he tells wives to submit to their non-Christian husbands. Unlike Ephesians 5 and 6, where Paul's focus is on being "In Christ," and thus is speaking of how Christians are supposed to relate to one another– and thus Paul gives reciprocal instructions to Christians who are slaves, Christians who are masters, etc.– here Peter is speaking of how Christians are supposed to relate to the authority structures over them in a pagan world. It is interesting that Christian husbands are even told how to relate to their wives in even one verse– because there is no word to Christian masters of slaves at all. Peter's focus througout the letter is on how Christians are to handle living under authority in a pagan world, and how suffering for doing right is blessed.

    It's important to separate the teaching from the setting in these verses; otherwise we could end up thinking that the cultural setting itself is part of God's will. This is how Christians used to justify slavery. Peter is not endorsing rule by Caesars, rule by slaveholders, or rule by husbands, as God's perfect design– he is simply telling Christians how to act in these situations.

    - KR Wordgazer

  25. Anonymous says:

    Well said, KR. Thanks for posting.
    —————-

    I've been thinking about "my story of disipline". Mmmmm, today God disiplined me for not controlling my tongue. It reminded me of "Anonymous" from July 12@ 4:38pm, except instead of unforgiveness, mine was a lesson from God on not controlling my tongue. I have been taught this lesson by God on other occasions under different circumstances, but not for some time. God had forgiven and cleansed me of those past offense, which I am very grateful. And, I thought that was all behind me, but I was wrong.

    Today, I was asked by my boss's friend/neighbor to do a non-work related task during work hours, which he does to many of us from time to time and the bosses know this and allow it. After being asked to do this task, I politely did it but then I started complaining about doing it & I complained about the fact this person had asked me to do it while the person happened to be watching me out the door without me realizing it! If he could read lips, he would know I was talking about him! Well, I felt so small & unchristian-like at that very moment! How dare I think I had conquered that sin once and for all!

    I see now that this and any sin will continue to rear it's ugly head whenever I am off guard. I must pray and submit to Christ on a daily basis. I must once again humble myself and ask for God's forgiveness. I thought I had learned from past experiences that whenever I have a complaint or conflict with someone I must FIRST take it to God and if I'm still conflicted about it, I must then talk to the person I have the conflict with & NEVER discuss it with OTHER PEOPLE, unless I am discussing my own error or bringing glory to God in what I say.

    Oh, my. I'm so thankful our LORD is a God of grace, patience, and second chances – many chances actually. Yes, God knows our hearts and it's the state of our heart that He's interested in. I must be totally completely yield to Him. There I will find His love, forgiveness, understanding, peace, etc.

    Sinner saved by Grace,
    Anita in Virginia

  26. In response to your post on Proverbs 31. Greatly enjoyed it and opening my eyes for sure.
    It is really amazing how God does discipline. For me it was through a Boss, an earthly master. I had put myself in a situation of using nonverbal communication with an employee that was leaving my office to go to the boss'. No one could see her lack of response each day to my good morning, no one saw her short retorts to emails from me. All they could see was me shrugging my shoulders and rolling my eyes. I should have discussed it with her first. The hurt in her not even saying hello. She was the type of employee you always knew won't stay long because they are overqualified. But she didn't have to act like I hated her leaving. It really was a good thing for her. How could she treat me this way. How could these other coworkers turn me in for mistreating her. God showed me it wasn't all about me and I had way too much pride. Putting myself in a position where I could not be found blameless. So many hard lessons were learned that day the Boss took me into her office. Even the wrongs I knew I had committed had been multiplied and exaggerated. I had to accept it and learn my lessons. Oh how it hurt. I was very glad I work for a God who is full of mercy, forgiveness, and is fair. He is all about plans to help me succeed. God bandaged my wounds for weeks. I deserved most of them anyway. It sure did change me quickly and a 180 degrees at that.

  27. susie921 says:

    Hi, everyone-
    I am sorry for getting back so late on my daughter. I thank everyone who read my plea for a prayer. Kelly's scans were good, she gets rechecked in 3 months—always a scare and time for prayers. She does have heart damage due to one of the chemo's she had. Now I have to find a cardiologist who can work with Kelly and understands how the chemo damaged the heart. (kelly is 17).
    I am behind on my questions. I am on chapter four in answering but reading Chapter 5 to try to keep up.
    Wendy, you really spoke to me in this vblog. I need to relisten as I too am easily getting my feelings hurt.
    In fact, I need to forgive my mother in law for her huge mis treatment of me during my oldest daughters wedding. I am not sure if I forgive her because I won't help her anymore. I will help my husband help her.
    I never had the feeling of reborn in Christ. I have always loved and tried to honor him. From my young age, rather rocky sinful at times teen years and my adult life. And, I hope He understands I am striving to discern his path for me. I strive to get closer to God.
    Currently, I am having health problems with lots of pain. It is hard to keep up, praise God, and keep focused on God when I am stressed and in pain.
    I hope to lighten my load so I can refocus and enjoy" my time with Jesus. "Come follow me and rest. The peace I give transcends all others." I need Jesus and God in my life and hope they take me by their mighty right hand and lead the way. I hope they can buffer some of the more painful parts of life.
    We just lost another loved child to the same cancer my daughter has. All the kids Kelly and I knew with this cancer are now dead. How is that when their parents are praying just as I am for Kelly.
    Only God knows, but the pain and suffering we so endure.

    Susie
    Wisconsin

  28. Anonymous says:

    OK — call me stupid, but I didn't really get a clear answer from KR Wordgazer's response…can someone put it in easier terms for me? I still don't understand why women were given 6 verses of instruction and men only 1….I'm trying to find an answer that applies to me…I'm having a hard time….

  29. Kimberly says:

    Hi, Wendy:

    Wow, forgiveness. For a long time,I had unforgiveness in my heart and that bitterness grew after my father past away about 8 years ago. I did not want to be bother with my mother, brothers, aunt, etc. Over the past two years God had been dealing with me about forgiveness, communication with family, etc.. Before, my daughter was born (year 2009), the chains of unforgiveness/bondage was broken, Praise God. I am free, happy and when Satan tries to put those negative thoughts in my mind- I tell him, dont even go there, it's not going work. All that time I was in my unforgiveness, I missed time, percious time with my family. Thank you God for opening my eyes and heart. You are Awesome.

    Kimberly

    Thank you Wendy for this wonderful study. You are a awesome teacher.

  30. Julie Church says:

    This study is awesome, but I'm also learning a lot through the participants' comments. Thank you to all of you who post! Loved this from the lesson, "We are never more like Christ when we forgive because we are setting aside our right to be right, our right to avenge. It is truly a place of freedom!!!" I'm one of those people who likes to be right! I'm learning how to truly forgive. I liked the scripture that said to "live a life of love." It is hard to have unforgivenss if we are loving people.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Romans 8:1, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
    You asked what this meant to us personally. To me it means I am set free by the Jesus dying on the cross and by the Spirit that lives within me. Now, I have to work harder to live a holy life.

  32. Anonymous says:

    You asked, "10 b.Considering your gifts and talents, list at least one thing, if not more, that you would like to accomplish for the Lord before your 80 years are up." I would like to discover my talents and use them every day in every way possible to serve the Lord.

  33. I feel that God has really been trying to speak to me this week. First, my son is heading to Slovakia in August for a year long mission trip. He needs to do a lot of fund raising for this. It seemed like the money being donated had come to a stand still. When all of a sudden within a few days of each other, people who we barely know have donated thousands of dollars for the trip. Praise God. Then on my way home yesterday from work, there was a beautiful rainbow in front of me for almost the whole way home. It was such a great reminder to me of God's promises. Then last night and tonight as I read through the bible study and questions, again I am seeing where God is pointing me where I need to change. When I got to the forgiveness question I felt like I didn't have anyone to forgive but I prayed to God and asked him to place names in my heart where I may be holding a grudge or resentment toward someone. I had at least 6 names come to mind almost right away. I had let some things go for so long, I didn't realize I was angry at these people and that I needed to forgive them and ask God to help me. Wow I was just blown away with this.
    I am so much enjoying this study and this chapter has a lot to consider. Thanks Wendy for all of your hard work.

    Blessings this week to all,

    Deb

  34. Wendy, I shared your interview with the 700 club on my blog. Hope you do not mind! It is sucha powerful story. Love you and thank you for all you do.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Again, a wonderful week of studying. I was immediately touched when I read Eph. 5:1 "Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children." I had written the word "doting" beside the verse long ago. Isn't that a great image? I think of my son who dotes on my husband. He is his shadow, copying everything my husband does. He wants to do everything he does, and be just like him. It is the ultimate way for Ike to show his daddy he loves him. That is what God wants from me – that worship and adoration a child gives his daddy. I love Him so much.
    Thank you, Wendy, for this study.
    Lisa C.

  36. pro356mom says:

    I am puzzled by the marriage questions 1e & f. My answer for ‘e’ is because they form a new family and the man is the head of the family. Is that also the answer for ‘f’? Does the text imply that a woman is still part of her childhood family? Also, as readers we know what a mother and father are, but what were they to Adam and Eve? I think I’m digging too deep and filling my head with dirt!

  37. I finally finished answering all the questions for this lesson and I can say is Wow. God is doing such a work in me and in so many others as well it seems. I am learning so much from the comments as well, especially wrt to the submission topic. Thank you for tackling this one Wendy. God has been convicting me re: areas where I have not been respecting my husband and his decisions. He loves the Lord and seeks to follow Him but there are choices he makes that I don't agree with. The Lord has been showing me that a better response would be to go to God in prayer first and then share my feelings with my husband in private rather than harboring resentment and such. Sometimes after prayer I no longer need to talk to my husband about it and can trust the outcome into God's hands. And sometimes I just want to express my needs but still need to share with no expectations. So that's my most recent discipline from God for this week.
    I am loving this study Wendy. There is so much to learn and process. Thanks for doing this.

  38. Wendy,

    This bible study is such a blessing. It is amazing how God has led me to do this study at this time. My marriage is in trouble and how fitting that your model prayer in the first week was the prayer I needed to pray. Now that you have addressed marriage questions in this week's study is just so fitting for where I am right now. We have started counseling but need God's help and healing to bring us to the point we both need to be at to heal our relationship. Please pray for us. We are hopeful, but fearful that hope and faith aren't going to be enough. I know that God can make anything happen…just praying it's in his plan.
    Thanks and God bless you all!

    Traci

  39. Anonymous says:

    Dear Wendy and sister's in Christ,

    I asked God to search my heart for any unforgiveness, resentment, or bitterness. I think I have forgiven the person that raped me years ago, but God reveled that I still carry shame and guilt from it (so much so I never told my parents or anyone in my family…even though I received treatment for ptsd a couple years ago…the event happened 10 years ago…).

    How do I let go of the shame and guilt?

    Yours in Christ,
    LB

  40. Anonymous says:

    I forgave the person that hurt me, but I still carry the shame and guilt. How do I get rid of that?

    (sorry if this is a double post..not sure if the first one went through)…

    Yours in Christ,
    LB

  41. Anonymous says:

    I love what "L" said about going to God in prayer before discussing with her husband the areas that she may not agree with him. Thank you for that insight.

  42. Julie Church says:

    I have a few questions on the marriage section, like pro356mom. Specifically 1.f, 3.b, 4., 6.b, and 7. I have no idea and would appreciate clarification. Thank you.

  43. Wendy Blight says:

    LB

    The very best way to rid your heart and mind of shame and guilt is to fill Your mind with the Truth of who you are in Christ…holy, blameless, pure, forgiven, loved, and made in His image. NOTHING anyone can ever do to you can change that…NOTHING!! Beth Moore wrote these powerful words and they go directly to your question:

    "My body may have been violated and my soul-the seat of my emotions may have been injured, but my Spirit-the innermost part of my being, where the Spirit of Christ dwells-cannot be violated. Therefore, what defines me has never been touched.”

    Soak in these words, sweet sister in Christ, believe them with all your heart. No matter what has been done to you…you are still holy and pure!!! Do not listen to the lies of the evil one.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  44. Anonymous says:

    The contrast between being drunk and being filled with the Spirit will go down in history for me as one of the most enlightening revelations! To be "under the influence" of the Spirit and do things you "normally" wouldn't ~ leaving your comfort zone ~ purposefully allowing control to leave you ~ Thank you God for wisdom and understanding! I love this study! Thanks Wendy….Lisa

  45. pro356mom says:

    Thank you, previous poster. I too had an enlightening moment. Yesterday, when reading over my lesson it suddenly occurred to me that just as God’s mercy is new each morning, so should my mercy be for others. “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-24, New King James Version) This seems so obvious, but it never occurred to me. I must start each day with a clean slate – no holding grudges or expectations. I need to be open-minded and loving. As Eph 5:2 says, I should live a life of love and sacrifice to God.

  46. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for your words, Wendy. They really spoke to my heart. God bless you and everyone in this study.

    LB

  47. Danielle says:

    Well, it's Sunday, I finished the study by Wednesday cause I just couldn't stop…but I still haven't been able to watch the video. •sigh• from the comments of everyone else, it's great! Again! I am going to try my hardest to get to the Library tomorrow and watch both videos and print out the new homework.

    I can't believe we are almost finished. This study has been so fantastic, Wendy. And the other comments from my sisters have blessed my heart beyond measure. We are all in this together! I thank God for this fellowship!

  48. Anonymous says:

    Just a quick update on my 23 yr old son that some of you may have been praying for as requested in a previous post of mine.

    ANSWERED PRAYERS!! He has a JOB and he decided on his own to move in with a friend of his who is only charging him a small fee to rent a room in his home, which he hopes is just for a few months until he saves enough to move into his own place. I am so thankful! My husband, my 19 yr old son, and myself helped him move some things yesterday. I pray all will go well with his new job today, this week, and always.

    Thanks, my on-line bible study friends!

    I look forward to beginning this weeks' lessons.

    God Bless!
    Anita in Virginia

  49. Anonymous says:

    Lately, I have a hunger for His Word and wish so much that I have more time to spend with the Lord so that i can grow in Christlikeness and know His will for my life. Thanks for reminding us to serve Him, as our days are numbered.

    Laura

  50. Anonymous says:

    Hi Wendy, I have really enjoyed this bible study and to see what God has touched in so many hearts across the world.
    Please email all of the weeks questions, i have been just printing off the blog page and would like to have them to share with my small group.
    Thank you so much for doing this study. Suzie
    msgehrig@comcast.net

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