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.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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)?