July 4, 2010

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

Can you believe we have completed half of our study? Time goes by so quickly…especially in the summer. I recorded this message early since we are spending the Fourth of July in the mountains of North Carolina with my Aunt and her husband. You never know if you will get internet connections up there! It is a wonderful place to visit in the heat of the summer.

Your words continue to amaze me as you share how God is using His Word to penetrate your hearts and minds just as we prayed so many weeks ago. Hebrews 4:12 tells us His Word is living and active, and you are living this Truth each and every time you dig into His Word and hear Him speak.

In this week’s homework, we talk about giftedness. Paul teaches us about the gifts God gives each one of us. You will learn to identify your giftedness and discover ways you can use that giftedness. There is no greater joy spiritually than operating in your area of giftedness.

I teach a Bible study here in Charlotte. At the end our study this year, one of the small groups gave me a gift basket full of the most beautiful treasures…all created by an artist named Sandy Thomson. I absolutely loved her work and contacted her personally to tell her how much I appreciated her work. As I was preparing for this study, God brought Sandy to mind again. She has found her giftedness…an extraordinary giftedness…and uses it for His glory. You can visit her web site at http://www.sandythomsondesign.com/. She has graciously agreed to allow me to give away a few of her creations. From the comments left today, we will select two winners.

Below please find the third 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 Four

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 Redeemer and Savior, the Great I Am Who is the same Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow I come before You today inviting You into my lesson. Lord, You brought me to this study to teach me, grow me, and make me more like You. Please guide me into all wisdom and understanding. Open the eyes of my heart that I may see and UNDERSTAND the wonderful Truths in Your Word. Father, take my hungry and thirsty heart and fill it full. Through the power of Your Holy Spirit enable me to discern what it is You are speaking to me personally. Take away my pride, my fear, my hurt and work in me. Father, take these lessons and help them to make me more like You. Give me a pure and holy passion, Lord, to know and follow hard after You. Convict me when You have a Word to speak to me and make my heart tender to change and obey. Father, thank You that You love me unconditionally, and want only the very best for my life. I ask this in the Name of Your Son, Jesus, trusting You will be faithful with what I have entrusted You. Amen.

1.In Ephesians Chapters 1-3, Paul shares what God has done for us. In Ephesians Chapters 4-6, Paul tells us what we can do for God. In other words, Paul teaches us how to take what we have learned and apply it in our everyday living. After praying for unity among believers, Paul now shows us how to walk together in that unity as one body. In Ephesians 4:1 Paul writes, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” What do you think Paul means by this?

2. Read Colossians 1:3-12.

a. What is the reason Paul is praying? (hint: 1:4)

b. What is Paul praying for them?

c. Why does Paul pray this for them?

3. In Ephesians 4:1-3, identify five ways Paul says we can live worthy of our calling.

4. Ephesians 4:7 says, “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.” In this verse, grace refers to a special endowment that brings responsibility for service. God created each one of us to function in the body of Christ in a special way through His enablement/giftedness.

a. Read Ephesians 3:7-8. What is Paul’s giftedness?

b. Have you ever thought about your giftedness? In what areas do you generally volunteer to serve?

c. What volunteer work brings you the most joy? Why?

5. Okay, were you totally confused by the reference in Ephesians 4:8 and verses 8-10? Me too!! Two commentators, Matthew Henry being one, write that Paul was not quoting one particular verse of Psalm 68. Rather, he wanted his audience to know the essence of Psalm 68 which is that a military victor has the right to give gifts to those who are identified with him. Thus, Christ, having captivated sinful people by redeeming them, is Victor and gives them as gifts to the church. He gives gifts to His church body to do works of service so that the whole body becomes united and mature.

a. If you are a member of a church, identify different areas of giftedness being utilized at your church. (Ephesians 4:11-12).

b. Are you equipped for service in your church? If so, what service are you doing?

c. If you answered “no” to (b) above, what equipping do you need to begin to serve in your church body? Where can you go to receive that equipping?

d. In what other areas of your life can you use your giftedness to serve the Lord?

6. If you looked at the list in Ephesians 4:11 and thought none of those fit me, don’t be discouraged. This verse speaks more of gifted believers given to the church. But there are many other gifts God gives to His children that we can use to serve the church. Read 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28 and Romans 12:6-8. The totality of the three passages in Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, and Romans identify all the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament.

Dr. David Jeremiah teaches that spiritual gifts are tied by language to the grace of God. The Greek Word for grace is “charis,” and the Greek word for spiritual gift is “charisma,” a grace-gift. Don’t you love that??? God uniquely created you and me with special gifts of His grace that only we can do to serve Him.

a. List the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28.

b. List the spiritual gifts listed in Romans 12:6-8.

c. How many total gifts did you identify from the three passages?

d. Read 1 Peter 4:10-11? What is listed here?

7. Now that you have read all the passages, and in light of what you answered in Question Number 4 (b) and (c), what spiritual gift or gifts do you believe you have?

a. How did you identify them?

b. Are you currently using your gift(s)? If yes, how?

c. What blessing have you noticed when you share your gift with others?

d. What blessing do you receive when you share your gift with others?

e. Before the end of our study, will you commit to use your spiritual gift or gifts at least once to bless another. Prayerfully invite the Lord into this exercise. For example, if you have the gift of encouragement, pray for the Lord to reveal names of one or more people in your life who need encouragement. Write a note, drop an e-mail, or make a call to that person. Journal how the Lord uses your obedience. Share what you did so we can all celebrate with you!

8. Paul has finished discussing unity in the church and beginning in Ephesians 4:17 enters into a discussion of purity and how essential it is among those who call themselves children of God. For us, we now move into the PRACTICAL part of Paul’s letter. The remainder of Chapter 4 tells us how to live as children of Light in this world of darkness. Read verses 17-24.

a. Read 1 Peter 4:1-5, focusing on verse 2. How does Peter divide two categories of desires in this culture?

b. Contrast the two categories and explain how daily living differs for them. Use examples from your own life, people you know, or celebrities.

c. Consider Ephesians 2:1-3 along with the 1 Peter passage. What specifically are the evil (pre-Christian) things that godless people enjoy? What controls their decisions? To what and where does this kind of life lead?

d. What does Peter warn his audience about in 1 Peter 4:4?

9. Read 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Who does Paul say will not inherit the Kingdom of God?

a. Don’t you think it interesting that Paul begins verse 9 with a question: “Don’t you realize?” in the New Living Translation and “Do you not know?” in the NIV. Why do you think he began with that particular question to his audience?

b. List the practices of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

10. Read 1 Corinthians 6:11. What is the key word (verb) Paul uses in the very first sentence in verse 11? There is hope! God does save and sanctify ALL people no matter their background, no matter their sin.

a. According to verse 11, what three things happen when one who lives an unholy lifestyle repents, asks forgiveness, and turns her life around?

b. So what about the person who claims to be a Christian yet still chooses to participate in the activities listed in verse 9-10?

c. In your own life, if you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, how has your life changed? Do some things remain a temptation for you? How do you deal with them?

11. Scripture teaches that as children of God we are “holy,” set apart for God. Paul writes in Ephesians 4:24 that we are created to be like God in true righteousness and “holiness.” Read the following verses and share what you learn about holiness.

a. Ephesians 1:4

b. Ephesians 2:21-22

c. Hebrews 2:10-11

d. Hebrews 10:10

e. 1 Peter 1:15-16

f. 1 Peter 2:9

12. Read Ephesians 2:25. Let’s talk a bit about truthfulness. Read the following passages and share what you learn.

a. Proverbs 12:17

b. Proverbs 14:5, 25

c. Proverbs 19:5

d. Proverbs 23:23

d. Proverbs 25:18

f. Proverbs 30:8

g. John 14:6

h. James 5:19-20

i. 1 John 1 6-7

j. 2 John 4

k. 3 John 3, 4

13. Read John 8:42-47.

a. What do Jesus’ words tell us about Satan and who he is?

b. What is the distinction between those who listen to God and those who don’t?

c. I believe Jesus’ words in John 8:44 are a wake-up call and a warning for His children. How can you take Jesus’ words and apply them in your own life?

14. Write out Ephesians 4:30. What does it mean? What does this say about the Holy Spirit Himself?

15. Let’s end this week reading Ephesians 4:32. I encourage you to write the verse below, spend the next five to ten minutes memorizing it, and find ways to live this verse out in your life this week. Journal what you experience and share what you learn.

Lets end our time together in prayer:

Heavenly Father, through the power of Your Holy Spirit enable me hold my tongue this week. I commit my heart, my tongue, my facial expressions, and my actions to you. I surrender my right to be right. Place on me a special anointing of Your kindness and compassion so that I may love others the way You love me. Father, create in me a clean heart, a pure heart that will not seek my own way. Give me eyes to see and hear what You would have me do. Father, bless my efforts and show me You are pleased with my desire to live according to Your Word. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who died for me. Amen.

Blessings to you today,

Comments

  1. kdveiten says:

    Wendy, thank you so much for this study. I am really enjoying the time that I am spending in God's word because of it. I'm actually having a hard time spacing out the study throughout the week instead of getting it all done in one or two days. I don't want to stop once I've started! May God continue to bless your ministry. I am looking forward to spending several more weeks with you.
    Kristi

  2. Runner Mom says:

    Wendy, I JUST finished Ephesians 3 a few minutes ago!! Wow! I loved digging through the concordance to find scriptures. Application is the best way to learn!! Thank you for all of your hard work and the love that you share with us.

    I found the neatest way to explain how wide, long, high and deep is the love of Christ in Eph. 3:18. If you go to David Guzik commentaries from Studylight.org and type in this verse, this is what he says: " To come to any understanding of the dimensions of God's love, we must come to the cross. The cross pointed 4 ways in every direction because…God's love is wide enough to include every person. God's love is long eenough to last through all eternity. God's love is deep enough to reach the worst sinner. God's love is high enough to take us to Heaven." I thought this was a good way to remember those dimensions!

    Looking forward to Ephesians 4!!
    Hugs!
    Susan

  3. I enjoyed the video lesson tonight, thanks for posting it. Hope you had a nice 4th weekend! I look forward to this week's chapter.

    Thanks for sharing the website with us of Sandy's work! Wow!

  4. susie921 says:

    Hi, everyone

    I am a strong believer with much faith and have a situation in which I had to give it totally to God for he can do what no man can.
    My daughter was diagnosed with rare cancer, osteosarcoma 3 years ago. At that time she has 60+ lung mets on each lung. I work in the medical field and new what this meant. I told God, there is nothing that man can do for my daughter, I place her in your hands. She responded well to the chemo-praise the Lord. Truly, God's mercy and glory were shining through Kelly.
    Kelly had 1 relapse in January 2009. She is 17 now.
    Tuesday she has scans, it is my request for everyone to say prayers for her to have no cancer found in her lungs or body. Through Jesus we can do all things. All we have to do is believe and truly have faith, Jesus will answer our prayers.

    Please, help me lift my daughter up to God. I ask that he continues to provide his mercy and let his glory shine through my daughter. I ask his son Jesus Christ to take this request to God. His love is truly as Paul indicates.

    Please, join me in saying a prayer for my daughter Kelly.

    Susie
    Wisconsin

  5. Danielle says:

    I'm a little behind this week, but finished 3!! Oh, how deep God is bringing us through this study. I'm almost hesitant to continue because I don't know if I can take anymore. My heart is almost achy with the pricks and prods it's receiving…
    But I know that it's good.

    Jeremiah 17:7-8 really spoke to me. For the last few months I feel like I've been floundering in my walk with God, with my husband, and even with my daughter. I know we are coming under attack because the Lord is calling us into ministry/missions, but even knowing that I feel myself hardening my heart. And if I have said it but a hundred times Ez. 36:26-27 is my life verse. But ya know, I'm tired of returning to old patterns of being hard… Because it's nothing but selfishness. It's about not wanting to give up control and be vulnerable. Why is that something to be afraid of? I know that God is in control anyway. He knows all that's going on in my life and sees the outcome… Has seen it from before I was even born, and yet I still struggle to surrender.

    Anyway… Wendy, I absolutly love this study! Again you are the vessel God is using to speak to so many of our hearts. I am so glad
    that I found your blog last year. And I look forward to seeing you again at She Speaks!!! I can't wait for the conference.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Wendy for this awesome study of God's Word. I knew my heart was becoming hardened due to circumstances in my life but I did not know what to do completely, but my Heavenly Father knew and put you into my path. This study is breaking up the hard ground and planting God's love there. Thank you!

    Sincerely, Sharon

  7. KELLY W says:

    Wendy, I have loved this Bible study with you. This is a first for me and I look forward to it every week. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share God's word with us.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yeah! It's Monday!! I can't believe I just said that! I used to despise Mondays…now I love them! I am so excited to start another week of digging into God's word!
    Thank you, Wendy…this has been such an amazing study! I have never been so involved and felt God's presence more in a study than I have in this one! I absolutely am so blessed by the blogging…I have never done an on-line study before, but this will definitely NOT be my last!

    God bless you, Wendy, and all of the women studying with me….

    Love,

    Denise

  9. Wendy, You make my Monday worth getting up for. This bible study has made me realize that several areas of my life were not totally committed to service. We are definitely working on that. I still am working on my story and will share when the time is appropriate. Thanks for giving me a voice….Love the videos and it makes me feel that I am sitting at your feet. God bless you real good, your friend in Kentucky. Love, Sandy.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,

    Thank you for your video lesson. I have a prayer request. I am in need of a job. I have been out of work for over 2 years now and my unemployment was exhausted this last March. I am willing to move if God shows me to do that in order to get a job. Thank you.

    Elizabeth

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am so happy to be reminded by this lesson how much God loves me. I think we tend to forget or to take it for granted in the details and circumstances of life. I loved your lesson video this morning Wendy and the story about the priest going into the temple. I did not know they put a rope around his ankle. We are soooo blessed to have the Holy Spirit right here with us at every given moment to go into the presence of the Almighty God. WOW I am tearing up. I pray for you each night Wendy. I hope you are filling the prayers. Thanks to Susan for the studylight.org explanation of God's love. It was a blessing. And to Susie in Wisconsin I will lift your daughter up to the most high God for healing in her body. Thanks to all of you for sharing. Love and prayers to you all this week. Kathy in Illinois

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wendy,
    I am finding that God brought me to this study in Ephesians at a time in my life where I am in a battle with the enemy over my marriage and trying to discover what needs to happen in me so that I can truly love like Jesus loves. I hate myself at times- the way I look, the way I think about myself, etc. This Bible study is helping me know who I am in Christ, I have felt God speaking directly to my situation and it is very humbling. There is hope and I know I have to go to the Word of God to find it. Thank you for your insight and more for being obedient to God's call on your life to minister.
    May God continue to bless your ministry and your family.
    Barbara

  13. Thank you so much for this study. I started it from the beginning and was so encouraged by what the Lord was doing through it that I shared it with my husband. We're now doing it together. This is an answer to prayer because I've been praying for quite some time that we would pray together. We faithfully prayed together every morning when we were first married but then, when our son came along, that fell by the wayside. Your study has been used by the Lord as a catalyst for us to begin praying together again. Thank You!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Help! I am getting behind and don't know how all of you find time to do the studies. It is hard to find quiet time to work on this. The TV is always going and it makes it hard to concentrate. Lord help me to find my way.
    I do love the lessons and know God wants to help me break through. Thanks everyone.

  15. ising4him says:

    I am in absolute awe of God's love. It simply boggles the mind. I realize that there is absolutely nothing I can do to earn God's love. And yet I always feel as though I disappoint Him whenever I do something that I know isn't right. I love it that Paul prays that we might have the power to understand God's love. Or as it says in The Message translation, "the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love." His love for me is so much deeper than the sins I commit. And Susan, thank you for sharing the commentary from studylight.org. It did help to make things just a little more clear. :-)

    Suzy, I'm praying for Kelly. And Elizabeth, will keep you in prayer as well. We just finished reading that God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask for or imagine and that is my prayer for you both.

    Will comment later on this week's questions.

    Blessings!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for a great lesson today! It is so amazing to think about what a change Christ brought about for us. Through Christ all things are possible!

    Prayers tonight for Kelly and Susie in Wisconsin- may God continue to give you strength and courage!

    Natalie

  17. Leebird says:

    Hey Wendy!

    After studying the first three chapters about all Christ has done for me, I'm very excited to learn how I can live in a way that shows my gratitude to Him. Much love, LeeBird

  18. Anonymous says:

    My prayers are being said for Kelly and Susie in Wisconsin. I cannot imagine your pain and will pray for healing and for strength.

    I am also finding it really hard to keep up with the study! It's so fascinating that I get through a couple questions and it puts me on a hunt through the Bible of other things. I'm still working through week 2 but have the next couple weeks printed out ready for when I get there. I work on this nearly every day and so enjoy it. I will persevere. What I've read and I know what I will ready today – will touch me every day. Thank you, Wendy.

  19. It's so nice to hear I'm not the only one "behind"! I just finished doing the search on love verses. So many good ones! I love Romans 8:38 "And I am convinced that nothing can separate us from God's love…" and 1 Thessalonians 5:8 "But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmut." I am becoming more convinced of God's faithfulness all the time, and see his blessings the more I look!

    I have wanted to journal as I read the Bible, but never got very far. Thank you, Wendy, for such great questions to get me going! Some of them stump me, but it's when I sit quietly and ponder them, then put pen to paper without really knowing what will happen, that I feel God whispering in my heart.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I have been loving this study! I did the first five questions of this weeks lesson today. It was such a great reminder about using the gifts God has given me for Him, and His church. It is so easy for me to fall into the pattern of wanting to know what I am going to get out of church. I need to be reminded that I am there to serve Him, and those around me. I'll be looking for ways to use my gifts this week.

  21. pro356mom says:

    Wendy,

    Thank you for Eph 3 lesson. Your question that most spoke to me was 10d – what is your part in how Christ will live in your heart? You made me realize that I have to trust HIM – not myself, not other people, not other things, not my circumstances – but our Father, the Lord Himself. In trusting Him I can have the peace that passes all understanding – His blessed assurance that I am His child, He knows what is best for me, and promises that I will live with Him forever.

  22. kirstenjoy13 says:

    What a great lesson! I checked out Sandy Thomson's artwork and it's beautiful. I would love to win one of her creations :) Thank you for all this time you have put into this study, I've been enjoying it!

  23. kirstenjoy13 says:

    What a great lesson! I checked out Sandy Thomson's artwork and it's beautiful. I would love to win one of her creations :) Thank you for all this time you have put into this study, I've been enjoying it!

  24. Waleska says:

    I just started today and could not stop doing the study. Love Ephesians and love Paul. Last semester I took a class at Baptist Bible College (Springfield, MO) about Paul's life. It is amazing when you get to study about this wonderful man and what he did for our church and the world….thank you for this, I need it!!!!

  25. This study is jam-packed! I love it!
    Thanks Wendy! I loved this post….it is dear to my heart.
    So many do not know what their spiritual gift is and satan keeps them tied up because of it.
    My prayer is that each of us would seek the Holy Spirit out daily…..for a clear vision of what it is we can DO to serve HIM!!

  26. I am so glad I found you on FB and have now added you to my favorites and will subscribe to get the Bible Study each week.
    I live and attend a Mexican Church here in Chapala, Mexico and my husband and I came here by faith. We love it here and are involved in a children's shelter where abused, abandoed and neglected children live. There are over 60 children in this shelter run by our pastor and his wife. We serve an awesome God and our pastor is currently teaching about spritual gifts and being a loving church and reaching out to the commmunity where we live and helping others.
    God Bless you Wendy as you continue to do what the Lord has called you to do and for reaching out and touching women's hearts and lives.

  27. Jennifer says:

    I rededicated my life 5 yrs ago and have been growing in my spiritual growth since (slowly but surely anyways). I still don't know what my spiritual gift is. Does every saved Christian get a spiritual gift? I have desperately wanted to know what mine is but I just don't know. Is this a bad thing? These are probably silly questions but I'm just a little confused.

  28. Wendy Blight says:

    Jennifer,

    Your questions are not silly!

    Yes, God gives each of His children one or more spiritual gifts to be used for the glory and honor of His Kingeom. The passages we study this week will explain this. All you need to do is PRAY for God to reveal your gift(s). Doing your homework should help direct you as your pray to discover your spiritual gifts.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  29. Wendy Blight says:

    Susie and Elizabeth and each of you,

    Susie, we are praying for Kelly, please let us know the results of the scans. Praying God's perfect healing over her and for His presence to fill and surround her as she walks this journey. May He be her comfort and her strength, her very present help in time of doubt and despair, pain and sadness.

    Elizabeth, praying that that God will direct your steps to the job to which He has waiting for you. Praying you will hear His voice saying this is the way, walk in it. Praying for favor as you interview. Praying you will trust your sovereign God in the wait and that He will provide for your every need.

    And praying for each of you for your specific requests and as you study His Word. That God, our Mighty Warrior, would be battling on your behalf as you dig into His Word…breaking up hard ground, tendering your hearts so that He can do a great and mighty work in and through His living and active Word.

    Blessings,

    Wendy

  30. Anonymous says:

    I am really enjoying this study! I'm working my way through this week's questions, and I am pondering question 10b. This is always difficult for me because we all sin, so where do you draw the line between "clean-living" Christians and those who profess to be Christians, but still live a sinful life? I know there are extremes, but is sexual sin worse to God than frequent gossip? I know in my heart that I strive to be more like Christ even though I still sin, and maybe that's the difference. Only God and you know what's really in your heart and mind.

    Also, I love Sandy Thompson's artwork! My favorite is the "faith & love".

    Thanks again for doing this study, Wendy!

  31. Jerri Frost Bragg says:

    I just started receiving your studies via email as I do not have a computer at home! BUT I am loving them. I love the Lord and these studies are helping me to realize how much of a closer walk I need with him! I printed out the most recent study yesterday and took it home and sat last night and worked on the entire thing! It spoke to me directly about how I can be better at being one of his servants. I want to be perfect for God BUT I realize that I sin and fall short of his Glory but I have to pick myself up and get right back to working on myself with God's help! But I also walked away with a sort of sadness because there are people, one in particular that I love very much who has chosen the ways of the world and it breaks my heart! When I finished reading the scriptures last night I went to bed and I prayed like I have never prayed before for this person and others that God would take the hardness from their hearts and allow them to see the LIGHT! Thanks Wendy I look so forward to each lesson, I know that they will help me grow in Christ!

  32. Terri Bhat says:

    Each person's post here is encouraging, helpful, or touching. I pray God's healing for Kelly, for her lungs and body, His continued strength and comfort for Susie, His daughter, and for Elizabeth, who has had the gift of time, but now needs to work in the world. I pray for a job for her.
    Please Lord, lead each of us in this on-line community in the use of Your gifts. We all thank you for our teacher Wendy. Renew her spirit as she visits her relatives and spends time with her family. Bless her endeavors as she leads us closer to You and Your will for us. I pray this as Your saved daughter, in Jesus name and according the the leading of Your spirit. Thank you for answering our prayers.

  33. Danielle says:

    FINALLY made it to the library to print off this weeks work. Cannot wait to get started!

    Thank you, sister, for taking the time to do the videos. Oh, how they are blessing me beyond measure!

    I am questioning myself right now and will keep thinking and praying on it… am I a living testimony for the LORD? What legacy will I leave behind? Scary thought with the way I've been feeling lately. Some change needs to happen!

  34. Elizabeth, I lifted a prayer for you . . . may God lead you to the right job for you. Suzie, I also prayed for you and your daughter . . . for grace and mercy and for strength as well as healing.

    To anonymous about sexual sin and gossip – I had a friend who committed suicide because of gossip about her. I have seen lives destroyed because of gossip – it is far more serious than people realize.

    Wendy, thank you for this study. I had an amazing realization through the first couple of lessons and this has sent me off in a way I never imagined.

  35. Anonymous says:

    If I could make a suggestion — the members of our women's ministry are encouraged to take a spiritual gifts inventory if they are unsure of their spiritual gifts. The one we use is located at http://www.buildingchurch.net (search for Spiritual Gifts Inventory)

    To anonymous who commented about difference in sins – I do not believe God sees difference in sins. A sin is a sin. But the bible does promise that God knows our heart. I find such comfort in that! Even though I may sin, God knows my heart and my heart's desire is to become more like Him every day!!

    Peace & Blessings, Denise

  36. Anonymous says:

    Wow Suzie 921, thank you for sharing about your daughter, what an amazing story you have of how God has taken your daughter into the palm of his hand and taken care of her. I pray that all tests went well this week and that she is doing fine. What a strong girl she must be.
    Jennifer, I think we all have the ability to have a gift from the Holy Spirit, but we have to be completely committed and open/ready for it. We have to ask to be filled with the spirit and then walk in His ways. I believe we all have the gift of tongues because it is such a sacred gift of communicating with God through our spirit.
    Thank you for all of your wonderful comments and for the awesome lessons Wendy. This is a truly amazing study and Paul was just an incredibly faithful man. I find him very interesting and powerful!
    I too am still making my way through the questions and love how they are guiding me throughout the entire bible. The Word is coming alive for me!
    In God's love, Sara

  37. To Susie in Wisconsin, I am praying for Kelly and your whole family, that God would provide healing and peace and comfort to you.
    To Elizabeth, I am praying that God will lead you to the job that he has planned for you and that you will have patience and peace while you are waiting.

    I especially liked studing about spiritual gifts. I found a few in the study that I hadn't considered as gifts. I don't use my spiritual gifts as often as I should. I get scared or I feel that I am not good enough, or that I don't want to take the time.

    Thanks Wendy for this study. The passages that you are providing are pointing me in the direction I need to follow. I feel so renewed after going through each weeks Bible passages and questions.

    God's blessing to all of you this week.

    Deb – Ohio

  38. I am so thankful for this study and for all you ladies who post your comments and prayer requests. It truly is a blessing to be able to share this study and a piece of our lives. I too have been praying for the requests, and will be anxious to hear how God answers our prayers. The memory verse, Eph 4:32, is the essence of how we should live in every situation of our lives. It's simple, yet would make such a huge difference if everyone would simply be kind and forgive.
    I also very much enjoyed the emphasis on truth. I loved looking up the scriptures because with each one I felt more secure in what I know to be true.

    Blessings to you all!

  39. Robin in VA says:

    I am starting Ephesians 4 today. I need prayer. I have had a really hard time getting into this study. I was so excited and ready to get started and then I have had a hard time taking the time to do it. My prayer for myself has been for God to guide me and direct me. I pray for help daily in prioritizing the task I have for the day. I know devotions and study should come first and I do find that if I don't do it first thing in the morning I don't get it done for the day. God please help me to do my study first thing in the morning!!

    Thanks Wendy for this study, I truly appreciate all you do. May God continue to bless your ministry. THANKS!!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    I too am praying for all the prayer requests, especially for those having a hard time finding time to do the studies. I am finding it difficult to have a quiet place alone unless it is late at night. I am caregiver for my 97-yr old mother and Satan is putting many distractions in my path to keep my time occupied with less important things. You are so correct; God knows our hearts and He will lead us if we trust Him.
    Several years ago one Sunday morning I over slept and did not make it to church. That morning the Lord led me to read the book of Ephesians and think about it then whispered to me, "Now watch Me work". Thank you for helping repeat that revelation and study it more deeply.
    It is wonderful to be a part of a Bible Study this way. I really miss being able to meet with the friends I used to physically attend studies with. Thank you,Wendy, for your commitment.
    God bless each and everyone involved.
    Fannie from Kansas

  41. Marsha Carsner says:

    just found this site and I am excited to start the study. the artwork is gorgeous! I hope I didn't miss the giveaway. Thanks

  42. Anonymous says:

    So many areas of this study are impacting my life! I am still pondering the knowledge I have gained that people on their own will not seek God. I've become more mission minded because of Psalm 14:1-3.

    The verse in Acts about believers sharing everything they had has impacted me as well. We are establishing a Veggie Swap at church for members and guests to bring extras from their gardens and take what is needed!

    And peace has come over my heart in an area that I have wondered for so many years! 1 Cor 6:11 was so freeing! "But your sins were washed away!" Hallelujah!!!!

    And then tonight, as I finished this week's homework, Eph 4:32 spoke so softly and how appropriately timed "Be kind and tender to one another." I so wanted to let someone know how I felt about them and God washed me with this verse! He is so good! "Forgive each other." I have some people, Christians, whom I need to forgive. Yes, the hurt done was painful to me, but God I don't want to live in Satan's ways. Clean me God. I want to be holy because you are holy. Take the brokenness away. Get the yucky out of my heart. Help me to love and forgive. I don't want to be a puppet of the devil. I want to be free of the burden of grudges and unforgiveness. I want to be holy. Love ya, God.

    Thanks Wendy for taking us there. Everybody's there seems to be different. That is So God!

    Kelly

  43. Cynthia says:

    Blessings everyone,
    I just wanted to say how much this study has filled my heart. Just wanted to say to the people having a hard time finding time for the study is that I break it up over the 6 days and do a few questions per day. After dinner I go into my bedroom with no TV or anything on and give my attention solely to this study. The book of Ephesians is so inspirational. Paul really had a heart for Jesus and his message and with this study I am learning how to also. Remember that you have to be intentional with wanting to learn God's word – I am being blessed and renewed everyday.

    Thanks Wendy – your questions keep making me search deeper than I ever have – this has been a self discovery as well -coming to God with confidence is so awesome.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

    Cindy

  44. Wendy Blight says:

    CORRECTION FOR HOMEWORK

    Please correct the Scripture reference in Question 12. It should be Ephesians 4:25 NOT Ephesians 2:25.

    Thank you, Becky, for pointing this out. Please don't hesitate to let me know when you discover errors.

    Wendy

  45. Tyler and Connie Boyd says:

    I too am praying for the prayer requests, and those struggling to find the time/quite to spend with the study.

    The question that made a 'click' for me this week was 8, and confirmation of that today with ? 13c: Bottom line that if you're not following God and his truth, you're following Satan and his lies.

    I also have been struggling with scripture memorization and have been praying about it and was just talking last night about wanting to be full of verses so they can be used to speak through me in any occasion. Thank you for the verse this week – as the first thing I realized in this study is that I had some forgiving to do and I know it's continual.

    Have a great weekend all!

  46. pro356mom says:

    What a practical chapter! So many wonderful specifics about how we can live a life pleasing to God – bearing fruit and growing in God, using the gifts He gives us, striving to live a life of holiness and living in the truth with love and forgiveness. Eph 4:29 has been a guiding verse for me for many years to help me to control my tongue. Let no evil talk come out of my mouth – speak only: 1) what is useful for building up; 2) as there is need; 3)to give grace to others. Father, help us all to live a life pleasing to you – one of humility, gentleness, holiness, and authenticity in love and unity with other believers. Through your Spirit, empower us to use the gifts You have given us to glorify You and to serve each other in your name.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Hi all! Thank you, Wendy for this study!!! It is amazing how God is speaking directly to ME through it. Have tried to post a comment a couple of times…hope this one works.

    I, too, am struggling in trying to change. My marriage, too, is trying to be destroyed by our Enemy. Not going down without the fight of my live! Tuesday, I ended up in tears by 1 in the afternoon because I am so tired of ME and the way I keep resorting to unhealthy ways of coping. Anger, depression and despair, eating, harsh words, etc. This study is timely as it is teaching me to rely on God and not me, but have found it hard this week.

    Praying for us all in this study. Now will be praying fir Danielle, Kelly and Susie, Sharon, Barbara, and Jennifer. We'll get this and be the new creations God has made us!

    I'm having a hard time with the time factor too because I get to a referenced passage and find such great things in it, it has helped me to set a timer for the time I know I have first thing in the morning, since I work part-time out of the home and a full-time wife and Mommy. Then through out the day, I can come back to something if a pocket of time comes open. I HAVE to have my time with God first thing or it will not happen.

    So honored to be with y'all! Wish I could see all your sweet faces! We WILL be changed if we keep seeking to know Him better!

    Your Sister in Christ,
    Tracy in sweltering South Carolina

  48. Anonymous says:

    As God continues to teach me with His word, I am so amazed at how gentle and loving and patient He has been with me. As a mother of two boys that I've tried to raise the best I know how, including taking them to church every Sunday morning, they now neither one, will attend church, and are not living their lives the way scripture teaches. Our lesson this week reveals this even more to me, that they are following the devil's plan & the devil's ways and not God's plan & ways. They are not open to hearing God's message and word at this time in their lives and it's heartbreaking. This teaches me that God is also heartbroken when we turn away from His ways and when we follow our own sinful nature & the devil's plan. I understand this so much more now. God is filled with love for us and it does "grieve the Holy Spirit", Jesus, and God the Father – the entire Trinity grieves when we sin. I can feel it every time my sons sin. They have free will, we all have free will, but having the people we love choose a sinful lifestyle is heartbreaking.

    Recently, after much prayer, Jesus spoke to me regarding my boys and He expressed words of patience, understanding, love towards them & wanted me to do the same. Whereas co-workers were telling me I should kick the 23 yr old out of the house & other similar advice, Jesus told my heart the complete opposite.

    Sure, it's still my job to teach and speak truth to them, but also I have to pray for them, listen to them, forgive them, & be tolerate & patient to some degree of their faults and sins and allow God to speak to their hearts.

    I have made many mistakes as a parent and the fact that their biological father hasn't wanted anything to do with them since they were 10 & 5 yrs old has also played a role in their behavior, thoughts, and feelings, but I know & believe anything is possible with God.

    It has been my belief that one day my oldest, the most rebellious one with the most scares on his heart, that he will one day accept Jesus and will lead many others to know and accept Jesus as well. It is only by faith that I can still hang on to this dream and with many persistent prayers, I believe God will fullfill this dream/request before I leave this world.

    Thanks everyone for sharing your struggles here and helping me feel comfortable enough to do the same. Thanks, Wendy, for this study. It is helping me in so many ways.

    God bless, everyone!
    Anita in Virginia

  49. Anonymous says:

    Last night I entered a lengthy comment, sharing some of my personal struggles, putting much time and thought into it, then when I posted the comment I got an error message. Bummer.

    One point I will try to post now is that I understand, to some degree, the sorrow God must experience when we choose to follow our sinful desires rather than God's plan for us. When our lesson this week talked about the Holy Spirit being grieved or sorrowful over our sins, I think of the sorrow I feel when my adult children sin and choose not to attend church and choose to follow their own desires. I love them so and Jesus loves us so.

    God's ways may seem restrctive, but actually they bring about peace, joy, contentment, fullfillment, etc. And, the love God has for us is truly AMAZING.

    God has called me to share that love with my children, even though they are lead astray, it is not for me to condemn, yell, complain, it is for me to show them love anyway, to be kind and tenderhearted and forgiving. It is not for me to preach and constantly tell them what they are doing wrong, it is for me to pray for their salvation and let God reveal truth to them and work in their hearts, then they will one day WANT to hear God's message and WANT me share what I have learned about our wonderful LORD. For now, they do not want to hear it and it saddens me – it grieves my heart.

    Thanks, Wendy, for this study, which helps to reaffirm what I need to do as a child of God as well as reaffirming His love and understanding of my daily struggles.

    Anita in Virginia

  50. Julie Church says:

    I enjoyed the digging about holiness and truthfulness. What I learned about holiness is that God chose us to be holy, He lives in us in the form of his Spirit so our bodies are His holy temples. Jesus saved us and through his sacrifice we are made holy and he is not ashamed to call us brothers (or sisters),so we are God’s chosen ones and should be holy in ALL that we do. I need to work on that one!

    Wendy, I too am enjoying the study but got a little behind because of vacation. I'm spending the day catching up and am like my fellow Bible study girlfriends, waiting on tomorrow's assignment. Thank you for your work and may God bless you because you bless us!

  51. Anonymous says:

    Ephesians 4:32 really means so much to me right now. I am in a situation where I know I am right and the other person did me wrong, but God is telling me it doesn't matter if I am right or not, I need to get past myself so that I can love and forgive. Even if I don't feel like it. I have no right to hold a grudge when I do things all the time and are forgiven for them. So, this week I will try to live out this verse, I give up my right to be right.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I am running behind again this week, having just finished this study this afternoon, then when I finished I got up and made some cookies with two of my daughters (4 and 8 yrs old – its schools hols in Sydney Australia))…and rolling around in my mind as I mixed and kneaded (and 'tried to control' the mess!) is the verse Eph 4:22 – leaving your old self and stop living the way you did before etc I feel myself receiving these words a fresh today, I have been struggling with the way I parent, it might seem obvious or even common/boring thing to struggle with, but God is moving me in this space and time in my life and this verse is speaking to me about 'doing things differently from what I do/did before' – not sure if this even makes sense. I can be quite critical and judging and impatient. Lord give me the strength and awareness to STOP and do things differently, to have more grace and to 'be kind and loving, forgiving each other, just as You forgave me in Christ' v32. This is my lesson for this week, even though I am always running late with the questions, I try to finish them all and God presses on me what He wants to press onto my heart. Thanks for listening everyone.
    Belinda

  53. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much Wendy for loving God and doing God's will for your life, so that we could be blessed by this study of His Word. Indeed, all Praise & Glory to Him. Like many who shared,I loved this study and look forward to it each week, even though it's heavy going having to plough through many cross references.

    I loved your prayers and could feel your sincerity in them and are the desires of my heart too. At times, they have also have helped me to reflect (Lesson 2 opening prayer).

    In this lesson, I learnt that believers have to live worthy of their calling and I really felt ashamed as I had failed in some ways. I was able to render help to a total foreign stranger who approached me for money to buy medication at the Pharmacy, but I was so harsh and hurtful with my tongue towards my own sister whom I do not have a good relationship with since young (sibling rivalry as I was the favoured one). In my heart, I know it's wrong and I had sinned – 1 John 1 6-7, and grieved the Holy Spirit. Moreover, it will affect my service for Him.
    I prayed that God will create in me a clean and pure heart that will not seek my own way. I truly want to live in His power to deliver me from this bondage.

    Laura

  54. Jerri Frost Bragg says:

    I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for drawing my name. I am so excited! I never win anything so this particular drawing is very special to me! Thank you for becoming a part of my life!!!!! :)

  55. Danielle says:

    And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.NLT

    I have never read that passage in the NLT version before. It really struck a cord in me that the Spirit identifies me as His own. Not just God. Not just Christ. The Holy Spirit also. In all theses years I've never thought of it that way…

  56. Anonymous says:

    Awesome! I love that, too! Thanks, Danielle!

  57. Robin in VA says:

    The one thing that stood out to me in Ephesian 4 is the unity of the church. I kept thinking about how there are no denominations in the bible. Is denominations biblical? Just a thought to ponder. Ephesians 4:4 states "one body and one spirit… one hope … One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" This is the thought that has kept coming to me. ONE. In trying to find a church that truly teaches the one truth is sometimes a difficult task. Within a church it is hard to find complete unity among the people. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I saw a church sign that said Contemporary Service at 10 AM and Regular Service at 11 AM or something similar. My first thought was division in the church. To me it is sad when a group of believers need two different services to worship. I am praying for guidance from God to help my understanding of this.

    Thanks Wendy for a great study. I am truly being blessed. :)

  58. I am so grateful for this study and for you Wendy with your working beautiful prayers because of the peace, joy, love beyond what I could ask or think that I am experiencing…heaven on earth! God's Word has brought revival to my heart…my heart has changed which has changed my husband's heart toward me which is awesome…the love & unity is amazing and I can see how God works through me to win by husband without a word from me. This fresh study of God's Word revealed those ugly hidden attitudes which needed to be replaced by God's Awesome Love!!! Thank you Heavenly Father for Wendy. Blessings, Sharon

  59. Oh Ladies,
    I have so enjoyed this study. I am a bit behind, just finished this week's lesson.

    I love the spiritual gifts question. I'm also a believer that "EVERYONE gets to play" in God's kingdom. We are all given gifts to participate. "Ministry" is not just for the pastor or priest, God has called us all to minister. It's so fun when you find your true gifts. Serving is no longer a burden when you use your gifts. There is a book that helped me narrow mine down, it's called "The Three Colors of Ministry" by Christian Schwarz. It's available on Amazon for $15. It gives you an assessment to take and then helps you graph it, explains all the gifts areas with suggestions on how to use them to serve God in whatever capacity you chose. Very helpful. Hope that's helpful to Jennifer…yes you do have gifts and one is not better or more important than another. We are all needed to be complete.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I have to say that Ephesians 4:32, when I first read it then when I tried to memorize it, made me weep and weep. It touched my heart so deeply and profoundly because I feel as though it was speaking directly to me and specifically how I fail to treat my husband. Recently he and I don't seem to be on the same sheet of music and we have had petty, back-and-forth, tit-for-tat disagreements that have been making me (and no doubt him) miserable for that last week or so. This feeling of resentment, however, lingers with me after the discussion is over and I am plagued with negative thoughts about him for the rest of the day. I allow these thoughts to escalate my negativity and exaggerate (and even fabricate)his faults. When I read Ephesians 4:32 I knew that I was not treating my husband that way. All of a sudden I felt like such an awful person and such a terrible wife. It was only then that I realized what an ogre I have been! That verse really spoke to me (more like gave me a wake up call in the way of a good slap). I saw myself as my husband might see me through his eyes and I didn't like what I saw. This passge made it perfectly clear that I need to be kind and compassionate and forgiving. We hear it all the time in church and read it all the time through the course of our Bible readings, but for some reason, reading it for #15, it was like I saw it for the first time. The verse seemed highlighted, underscored, and BOLD. I certainly had never read it like I had this time. Thank you for this Bible study and thank the Holy Spirit for allowing me to see the verse with a new perspective through fresh eyes.

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