December 3, 2012

Living So That: Lesson Four

 Loving “Difficult” People So That…

If you are visiting from my Proverbs 31 Devotion, welcome!  We are so thankful you stopped by for a visit.  For my on-line study girls, I am posting our lesson a day early since I have a Proverbs 31 Devotion running today.

I am especially excited you stopped by today because I have exciting news!

I  am praising God for His faithfulness and  overjoyed to announce our “Living So That” study will be available in published form!  I can’t quite share all the details yet as they are in the works, but I am so excited for what the future holds!!   

We are forming a new group called Wendy’s Street Team.  I would love for you to team up with me for this “Living So That” project and future Bible study projects.  To become a member, e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com and put “Wendy’s Street Team” in the subject heading and include your name, e-mail address, cell phone, city and state.  My dear friend and assistant, Lisa Sheltra, will be helping me coordinate this effort.  We will have many fun ways for the Street Team to participate and help promote new projects, including sneak peaks at new studies and special perks as the time for publication draws near.   

Also, next Tuesday we will have a fun Christmas Giveaway.  Please stop by next week for a chance to enter!  

If you would like to subscribe to my web site, visit the right side of my web site (sidebar).  At the top you will see “Subscribe to Updates.”  Submit your e-mail address and you will receive my posts in your inbox each week.  Also, if you are interested in learning about future on-line studies, visit the sidebar again and locate where it says “Sign Up for Wendy’s On-Line Bible Studies.”  Submit your e-mail address, and you will receive an e-mail invitation each time we start a new study.

God’s timing is always perfect.  Proverbs 31 Ministries schedules our devotionals months in advance, yet my devotion today coincides perfectly with our “Living So That” lesson.  Our theme this week addresses relationships, more specifically, how to love “difficult” people so that people will see and meet Jesus in us. Be sure to listen to the video to discover why “difficult” is in quotation marks!

Now let’s move on to Lesson Four of Living So That:  Our Call to Action.

God calls us to live a life of love in John 13:34-35,

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

What is at stake is the way the world sees God.  We are God’s people, His ambassadors.  When we demonstrate love in this world, we give the world a compelling picture of God…one that draw them to Him and not away.  This week’s lesson shares truths that enable us to live out this life of love to which God calls each and every one of us.

The video below goes a bit deeper into the nuggets of truth shared in my Proverbs 31 devotional and in our homework.

Let’s get started!

Video Lesson

This Week’s Memory verse

You are the light of the world…let your light shine before men, [so] that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

This Week’s Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your faithfulness to walk with me through these lessons.  You have poured Truth into my heart and mind.  You have given me a Spirit of Knowledge and Revelation to understand Your Word and apply it in my life.  You have convicted and refined me.  I am so thankful for this precious time in Your word.  Now that my study is nearing the end, lead me to my next steps with You. give me a hunger and thirst for more of You and more of Your Word.  Open doors for me to live out what I have learned.  I want to live a “so that” life.  Give me the courage to obey my “Calls to Action.” Use me, Lord, to make a difference in Your Kingdom.  Instruct me daily in the way I should go. Keep my eyes fixed on You.  Give me opportunities to share the Hope I have in You and to share the truths and promises found in Your living and active Word.  I love you, Lord, and ask all this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Homework Questions

Jesus says, “I am the Light of the World.” (John 8:12). Why does He call Himself “Light?” Remember Jesus came to earth not only to redeem us but also to reveal God to man. He often used the physical to speak of the spiritual. Just before this declaration, Jesus had exposed the sin of the scribes and Pharisees who brought the woman guilty of adultery before Him to see how she should be punished. When He pointed out their sin and showed them they were just as guilty as she, they fled. They thought their sin was hidden. But nothing is hidden from the eyes of God.

We do not have Jesus physically in our midst, so how do we experience the “Light of the World” today?

A.  Read the following passages to answer the above question and share what you find: 

1. Psalm 19:7-11

2. Psalm 119:105

3. Psalm 119:130

4. Proverbs 2:1-8

5. Proverbs 6:23

 

6. Has the Word of God been a source of light in your life?  Have you noticed a connection between times of darkness/sin and your time in the Word?

 

 

To live in the light means being real with God. It requires surrender, confession, repentance and obedience. We must continually expose our hearts and minds to His Word. While there, we must allow Him to teach us new ways to think and act.

Letting our light shine before men requires a new way of thinking and acting. It means bringing our thoughts and actions in line with God’s Word.  Romans 12:2, another “so that” verse, says,

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

The Voice Bible says it this way:

Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by the renewing
of your mind. As a result you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and
complete.

B. What is the world’s image?

 

1. List some ways the world “molds” us into its image?

 

2. What are some ways you are being molded into the world’s image?

 

Conform, as used here, means “to fashion or shape one thing like another.” Paul warns us not to conform our lives to the lifestyle of the present age in which we live. We go along with our friends so we will not miss out or be left out. We say “yes” to things when we know we should say “no.” We engage in conversations that tear others down rather than build them up. We watch television shows and movies that we know are displeasing to the Lord. Eventually, we become so accustomed to the ways of the world that we think they’re normal.

Paul states that rather than conform, we are to be “transformed” by the renewing of our minds. The Greek verb translated “transformed” (metamorphoo) is seen in the English word “metamorphosis,” a biological change whereby a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. One creature enters the cocoon and a totally different creature emerges. Metamorphosis results in a total change from the inside out, and for believers, the key to this transformation is our minds.

“Mind” here is the Greek word nous. It denotes the control center of our attitudes, thoughts, perceptions, judgments, emotions and actions. If the Holy Spirit is to have control over us, He must control our minds as well as our hearts. This is why Paul calls us to continually renew our minds.

C. List some ways we can renew our minds.  Look up the following passages and share what they speak to this issue.

1. Psalm 119:9-11

2. Philippians 2:5-7

3. Philippians 2:14-16

4. Philippians 4:6-8

5. Colossians 3:1-2

 

With the renewal of our minds comes life transformation. We trade our old patterns of selfishness and self-centeredness for the Kingdom values we studied above. We no longer consider ourselves first. We begin to put others’ needs before our own. We want to please Christ and not ourselves.

Life transformation prompts “so that” living.

D.  Is there someone to whom God is asking you to reach out and shine His Light?  If you are hesitating, ask God to help you step out in faith and begin a conversation.  This will look different for each of us, depending upon our situation.  Pray for opportunity.  Pray for that person’s heart to be prepared.  I will be praying this week for God to be faithful as you step out in obedience to shine your light.

 

God loves us unconditionally and calls us to love others in the very same way.  Of course, our fallen nature makes it impossible for us to do this on our own.  I love this quote I found while researching this topic:

“Walk in the power of the Truth that the name of the Lord God may be glorified among you, his renown may be seen in you and among you, and all the world may be astonished.”  George Fox, leader of the Quakers.

The key to loving the unlovable, difficult people in our lives…those who hurt, betray, and disappoint us…is God’s Word. Whatever our calling, wherever God has placed us, He calls us to live a life set apart…to let our lights shine so that God maybe seen and glorified.  Can you think of a more powerful way to bring God glory than to love the unlovable, difficult, frustrating people in our lives.

E.  Share what the following verses teach you about love:  Philippians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Ephesians 3:17b-19, John 13:34-35.

 

 

F.  Read Galatians 5:22.  From where does love come?

 

Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we declare our love for God; confess our sin; repent of our sin, and turn our lives over to Christ, He seals us with His Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:22) He indwells our hearts. The old is gone and the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) God begins to produce His fruit in us. God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, deposits His love in our hearts. (Galatians 5:22)

When His love comes alive in us, faith takes root. That faith expresses itself in love. And the deeper our faith, the deeper our ability to love.

How does our faith and, in turn, our love grow deeper? Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Consequently, the more we expose our hearts to His Word (the message), the more our faith grows. As faith deepens, the Holy Spirit gives us confidence and enables us to take the message we hear and live it out in love.

Friend, if we want more of God’s love, we must pray for it. We must also dig deeper in His Word, inviting Him to teach us how to love others. We must then meditate on what He reveals and tuck it in our hearts. Exercising these spiritual disciplines will enable us to love others the way God and Jesus love us.

G. Read the following passages and share what they teach about loving others:

1. Ephesians 4:29

2. Ephesians 4:31

3. Ephesians 4:32

4. Ephesians 5:1

5. Colossians 4:6

6. Hebrews 3:13

7. James 4:11-12

8. 1 Peter 2:1

But the truth is, loving people this way is just plain hard, especially when it comes to difficult people. But are they really difficult people? Beth Moore defines them a bit differently. She wrote in her book, The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus, such people are not really “difficult people;” rather they are people we find difficult. Meaning, just because we find them difficult to love does not mean they’re difficult. It could be the problem is with us and not them.

Loving others requires humility. We will spend more time on this subject next week. But for today we will examine humility as it relates to love. If we find ourselves angry with or hurt by another, before we let loose with our tongue, we should examine our own heart. It may be God is working on our heart, not theirs. God will always deal with us first. His plan is to transform us into the image of His Son, and that requires getting rid of that in us which does not reflect His image. When we submit to that refining and allow God to change our hearts, we will be able to love the unlovely.

But there will be times where the one with whom we are struggling may really be difficult. It is then that we must pull from the truths we studied above. We must love with a love beyond ourselves. We must draw from God’s love. God’s love is agapao. This kind of love is a deliberate choice. The other love is phileo. It is a preference and based more on feelings. It develops as we get to know someone.

To love the unlovable, means making a deliberate choice to love someone despite how we feel about her. This cannot be done in our own strength. It can only be done by drawing from the agapao love within us. It necessitates will over emotion. It helps to remember that we too were at one time unlovely and difficult, enemies of God. Yet He loved us and gave His only Son for us.  Romans 5:5 says,

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom he has given us.

Loving someone that is unlovable or difficult challenges us to live beyond what we can do in and through our own strength. It requires that we press into God. It requires a conscious decision to rid our hearts and minds of all toxic thoughts regarding the person and replace them with the truths of Scripture. When we empty ourselves this way, we are available to be filled with more of His Spirit and thus, able to choose words and actions that reflect love not hate.

H. The New Testament contains over 50 commands to love.  Read Romans 12:9-18.  Paul defines love for us. Identify the various facets of the kind of love to which God calls us.  Share some ways you can practically live out these directives in your own life.

 

 

My Call to Action:

Based on how God has spoken to your heart today, complete the thought below:

Love the unlovable, difficult person so that….

Commit now to take the first steps in obedience to what you have heard.

It’s hard to believe we only have one week left!  You have been faithful to share from your heart.  Your past comments reveal God is faithfully answering our prayers  and doing a mighty work in and through our time together.  Please continue to share this week.  Be vulnerable.  Share how you have struggled with loving the unlovable…loving those who frustrate you…loving those who disappoint you….loving those who swoop in and take your parking place or cut you off in traffic!  Share and let’s celebrate success stories of how God has helped you truly love people that in your own strength you know you never could.

I will be praying for you throughout the week.

Blessings,

Comments

  1. Michelle Cook says:

    Wendy, thank you so much for this. I popped over to this lesson from my P31 EFT devo. Admittedly, I didn’t feel the devo hitting right at my heart, but once I got to this study, wow, this most recent post DID!!! I am ashamed to admit that my difficult person is my daughter. I do love her, but guiding her, helping her and nurturing her is so frustrating and draining (I have a chronic illness that is progressing). I often find myself being harsh with her or drawing back in self-preservation. This entry convicted me! Please pray for me (in guiding mentoring and loving her) and for her (that her heart will readily receive God’s direction)! Thank you!!!!!

    • April Ferry says:

      Michelle,
      I will be praying for you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing your prayer request.

    • Michelle, I will pray for you. I walked through a few difficult years with my daughter, Lauren, until God taught me some powerful lessons from His Word. I share them in my on-line study, All Things Wise and Wonderful: Applying God’s Wisdom in Everyday Life. It totally changed me, my daughter, and our relationship! She is now a sophomore in college and God has restored it all and given us an AMAZING relationship. The complete study is also available on the Proverbs 31 web site for $10. It comes as a pdf. Continue to seek God through His Word in this. He will be faithful to navigate you through this time in a God-honoring way.

      I am so thankful you are here with us!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  2. Oh Wendy, I so needed your Proverbs 31 message today! I had the EXACT situation occur just last night. I had offered to donate items for an event at my son’s school. During email conversation with the event coordinator, I found out that the PTO board had made (what I thought to be)an “unmoral” decision on what to do with some donated items in the past. I was “mad”! That’s not “right”! I ended up not making my donation because I felt a need to make a stand against this “unjustice”. I then proceed to tell others about what had happened, I think now, to “justify” my response. I now know that MY behavior was unpleasing to the Lord. I thought about my conversation with friends over dinner last night as I was laying in bed. I was questioning whether I was gossipping or trying to “enlighten” the situtation. However, reading your devotion this morning I was so strongly convicted!! It was like God’s voice audibly in my ear saying “OF COURSE IT WAS GOSSIP! YOU WERE NOT SPEAKING KINDLY! YOU WERE NOT BUILDING UP!” Thank you Lord for loving me so much that you want to teach me how to love as you love! I pray that I can do that more and more each day. Please be with me and remind me and take every though captive before it exits my mouth! Thank you Lord! Thank you Wendy…

    • Wow! Our stories are very much alike!!! Thanks so much for sharing your story. I love that God took the hard and humbling lesson He taught me and used it to speak to you in your situation. Praising God for helping us CHOOSE His way rather than our way. Let’s both commit to continue to “take every thought captive” before we speak a word!!!

      W

  3. Charlotte Askew says:

    Wendy, this news is so very exciting. What a blessed opportunity.

    I will be signing up for Wendy’s Street Team and feel honored to do it.

    Love you so much for all the work you do for our Lord and for each of us that participate in your Bible Studies. You bless our socks off!

    • Char, so thankful you are joining our Street Team!!! You have been and continue to be a great source of encouragement and prayer in my life. Thank you!!!

      Love you,

      W

  4. YEAHHH!!!

    Congratulations! Great idea!!! Part of the ministry here is Street Ministry, so I can’t wait to see what you have planned. This is more evangelism with limited funds, I can only imagine what could happen with funding. I’d be happy to promote your
    “Living So That…”on my blog(s). Just let me know… I’ve seen others with books prepare an interview that they send bloggers. Of course, I’d love to interview you but because of the distance between us, this works better.

    Love and God’s best – I’ll be back soon – so excited to have our lesson a day ahead and looks like I need your P31 devo, too!
    (((hugs)))
    Peggy

  5. Wendy,
    I can’t express the joy I felt when I opened up your email and seen “Loving Difficult People So That”!
    I have been really struggling these last few weeks with dealing with a difficult family member. I have been harboring great bitterness and anger toward this person because of their actions. I could totally relate to your devotional when you stated you felt righteous anger and justified when others agreed with your comments. I too am guilty of this! The good news is I have felt God”s conviction in my life and I have been continually diving into his word to seek help with this problem. I felt like you were speaking to my soul in your video! Thank you for your encouragement and direction to God’s word. And thank you for sharing your personal story with us. I find great comfort in knowing I am not alone in my struggles! God Bless you and the work you are doing!

    • Andrea, stories like yours confirm my decision to share these stories even though it is so hard to share the ugliness that hides my heart sometimes. It means so much to know that God used it. It shows me that He answered the prayers I prayed as I wrote the devotional and recorded the video. Praying the Lord will continue to soften and tender your heart in this relationship.

      blessings,

      Wendy

  6. Well, if there was ever a Bible study lesson that convicted me, this was definitely it! I think that for most women, this is a subject that we prefer not to discuss (or even think about), because I’m sure the majority of us fall victim to this at one time or another. And, I’m sure, the majority of us have been both the “judge” and the “judged” on more than one occasion. I can remember vividly the judgments made by fellow classmates during my adolescent years, and the stinging pain that accompanied my realization that they didn’t like me for reasons that made absolutely no sense to me at the time — they were judging me without getting to know me. I would dare say the majority of us have had that happen at some point in our lives.

    And because I know first-hand the pain that judging someone causes, you would think I would refrain from ever passing judgment on another. But no . . . I have fallen prey to that many times. That righteous indignation over another person’s behavior — knowing that what that person has done or said is not pleasing to God. And I may be completely right in that, but what I have to remember (although I seem to fail at this more often than not) is that this issue is between God and that person, not between me and that person. And even if I’m positive that what they’ve done is not what God would have wanted, I can also be positive that my judgment of them is not what He wants either. And that sounds so simple, and I can sit here at my computer and completely understand that. But then somebody will do something or say something that I know is wrong, and then . . . it starts all over again. And why, oh why, do I fall into the same trap over and over again?

    My justification in this is always the same, too, that if I act like they haven’t done anything wrong, then it’s the same as me being okay with what they’ve done. Anybody else use that one? And then time after time, the Lord is so patient with me as he reminds me that there is only one judge (and it’s not me!).

    As always, Wendy, thank you for sharing with all of us. I cannot tell you how much this study has helped me, as I know it has helped many others as well.

    • Yes I use that same line. If I act like they haven’t done anything wrong its like saying I’m ok with their actions. It is my way of justifying my anger and it is wrong, but oh so hard to overcome. I struggle with this on a daily basis. Thank goodness The Lord is so patient and merciful with me! Thanks for sharing. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

      • Oh, Andrea, you have no idea how nice it is to know I’m not alone in that, either. I struggle with that on a daily basis, and I often wonder if I’m the only one that does. So thank you for sharing with me as well! I pray the Lord will continue to help both of us (and all others who do the same). Blessings!

    • Thank you for such great words of wisdom!! And thank you also for reminding us of the times we are judged. It hurts so much.

      It has felt so good reading all these comments to know that I am not alone in this making judgments and then handling them incorrectly. So thankful we have God, His Word, and each other.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  7. KAY PARRISH says:

    WENDY YOU CHALLENGED US TO FIND A TIGGER FOR OUR PRAYERS. I USE OUR BLACK LAB SONNY I AM REMINDED SEVERAL TIMES A DAY TO PRAY FOR CERTAIN THINGS. WHEN I SEE SONNY I PRAY. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUGGESTION. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS KAY

  8. Sheila Payne says:

    What great timing for a “difficult people” lesson. There are lots of extended family gatherings coming up and that can be a challenge. I wondered what happened with Joann. Is she still in your study group? same neighborhood? Thank you for sharing this story.

    • Joann is no longer in our group. In fact, she is a neo-natal icu nurse and has gone back to doing this and uses it as her place of ministry. Her story is a beautiful one and the Lord has continued to grow her and use her to share the mercy, grace, peace, and love of Jesus she found. Thank you for asking.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  9. Romans 12:2 is a verse God’s brought to me again and again this past year…I spent much time focusing on the not conforming part, but also know God is not done there…He is transforming me and renewing my mind. I saw that take place last week, but I also know God has more in store, trust He will use this week’s lesson to teach me what He needs me to learn.

    Wendy, thank you for sharing the ugly spot – your transparency is something God uses in powerful ways. I’m thankful He was persistent and kept crossing your path with Joanne’s…reminds me that we have to embrace His plans and love His people. Sometimes He blesses us in the least expected ways and thru the least expected people. And Wendy, thank you for reminding me that though I may “fail” God is still teaching and will work in and through me again just like He’s doing with you!

    Prayers,
    Jill

  10. The Memory Verse is my Verse for this year for My One Word for 2012 (which is LIGHT) along with John 8:12. Here is a new song: Light of the World

    So I have much LIGHT throughout this whole year: His Light and our Light! It’s really hard to be a light if we live in the darkness of this world. We really do need to reach out to the UN – loveable, unteachable, undesireables, unreachable, and be a bit uncomfortable as we love unconditionally like Jesus!

    Thanks Wendy for such a honest, convicting video and lesson for all of us. Loving “difficult” people can mean so many different things … not just people who differ from our ‘norm’ but also those who wrong us, or are difficult to live with … this speaks volumes of conviction to me! (oh, I saw you covered this towards the end). Set aside our pre-set notions and move out of our comfort zone as we allow the Holy Spirit to move in us and through us.

    Awesome lesson and call to action! Skimmed through it all now back to dive into Day Two (which is B, I think) … more deeply in His Word.

  11. Hi Wendy,
    I just found your bible study today and it really hit home with me. There are actually several people that I find difficult to deal with. My children and my mother. After reading and studying today, I know that it maybe something in my that need to change. I so often just want to through in the towel and just give up but I know my father didn’t and wouldn’t give up on me. He loved me when I was to stupid to love myself. I know that there is a better way and our Lord is it. I am going to go back to the beginning and try all of the lessons. I love you work and I pray that my journey will help me touch lives the way you touched mine today.
    God Bless

    • I pray that as you seek Him with all your heart in these relationships, you will find Him and He will do a mighty work in your heart to respond differently. And, then, I pray as you respond differently, their hearts will change and all the relationships and interactions in your family will be more loving and kind and accepting.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  12. My beautiful friend,
    I haven’t yet started my homework this week because last week was SO powerful at the PERFECT timing (of course it was- it’s from God through you!). So, I just now watched your video for this week. Sobbing. A moving ache in my heart. Thank you and Joanne for bringing Jesus’ grace to us. What a testimony. What a gift. Thank you. I love you.

  13. This is just a great lesson and so convicting. I have a coworker that I find difficult and for many years I allowed her to get the best of me. I have learned to say a prayer every morning for the entire office and any time she is rubbing me wrong I say a pray and turn up Klove radio. I have even left my office, went out to my car and just prayed until I could go back without a bitter heart. We very rarely even talk to each other and this morning she and I were the only 2 in the office and we had a conversation. Wow!! I was so shocked and then watching this video I know God is trying to work on me so He can work through me for a reason. He is so amazing!!!

    Thanks Wendy!!!

    • Eloisa, thanks for sharing your story and giving us practical advice by your example. Most of all, I love the idea of praying for the person and for the entire office environment. And now God is blessing your heart and your effort.

      Love,

      Wendy

  14. Wendy, thank you so much for your honesty in sharing your story both in the video and the devotional. I think it helps everyone to know that we’re not alone with the ‘ugliness’ we all have in our hearts. I love the quote from Beth Moore to give perspective on difficult people. Another one that has stuck with me is that while we all have the people in our lives that rub us the wrong way, we ourselves are those people and the irritants for others! Sometimes, we don’t appreciate the differences God put in all of us and the thought that perhaps I was a ‘difficult’ person for someone else really helped me see others from a fresh perspective.

    God bless, Lori

    • Yes, how easy it is to forget that sometimes we are the “difficult” person in someone else’s life. If we would remember that, we would probably have more grace with others. 🙂 🙂

      W

  15. I’m just beginning to get into this week’s homework but God continues to use the last few weeks work in my life…yesterday I had a call that my grandma has cancer. She’s back today for more testing and there has already been talk of radiation. I was grateful for the timing of last weeks study on trials as God brought some of those verses to mind…this not only helped me, but also helped me speak to my children. My little Jaylyn (5) has heard the C word enough to know it’s not good…she was hurting pretty bad thinking about “B” getting sick and “maybe dying.” Oh Lord, help me embrace trials and trust You with them so that I can help my children do the same.

    Through the night I woke up thinking about this and instantly John 14:27 came to mind, the last words I read before bed – Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. He didn’t just bring me the words but provided peace as well. As I thought and prayed for Grandma, this week’s verse came to mind – my Grandma is a regular church goer, wonderful person with a heart to serve, but I don’t know if she KNOWS Jesus. Would join me in praying for her physically and more importantly spiritually? And also that I would be a light in her life and in my extended family as we walk the road that lies ahead. Thank you.

    Finally I’d like to encourage those who are feeling behind in the study and wanting to just let it end without doing the work…go back and finish it, God will use it and last night as I reflected I was reminded one lesson really leads to the next. God’s timing will be perfect and He will use His word to impact your faith.

    • Abba, thank You for the rich wisdom that You’ve bestowed on us through Wendy’s teaching. You know that, like Jill, these lessons are proving to be Your love and preparation in my life as well. Only You would love us to this extent to prepare our hearts before monumental trials came up (or for others, You are using these lessons to provide healing and a path for ongoing trials).

      With sweet Jill, I lift her Grandma to You. Lord, let her feel Your arms holding her. She may be old in our sight, but to You, she’s Your sweet baby. Let her run TO you… INTO Your loving arms instead of hiding from You if that inclination ever crosses her mind. Speak tenderly to her heart and use this time to solidify the most beautiful, intimate and personal relationship with You. Show her, in case she’s ever doubted, that it’s not about being a good church-goer, but it’s the sweet, unimaginable gift You give- You died for HER and You offer her an eternity with You if she understands and accepts the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice for HER! Let this time of cancer be a time when she dies to her flesh spiritually and rises up with new life in Christ Jesus!

      Be her Jehovah Rapha. Heal her we ask in Jesus’ Name. Heal her body from the cells that are seeking to destroy her. As my dear friend Heather has prayed for people in the past… we know You have knit her in her Mom’s womb… and You can re-knit anything that is broken! And more importantly, heal her heart and bring her into the most amazing union with You.

      Shine Your light of revelation and bring Your wisdom to Jill SO THAT she can be Your hands… Your feet… Your voice… so that she can share the wisdom that You want her to speak to her Grandma, her children and anyone else who is distraught at Grandma’s diagnosis.

      Thank You for speaking Your words to Jill through it all. Thank You that through this trial, Jill is still encouraging all of us… LIVING this study! Open the floodgates of blessings for Jill for her unwavering heart for YOU! In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen!

      • Noelle,
        Thank you for your prayer…the words are beautiful and are ones God has used to remind me of His presence and power. Praying that you are able to soak up and live out all He’s teaching as well!! Thanks for encouraging me with the words, prayers and insight you share! Blessings to you, Jill

    • I stand in agreement with the prayers lifted by Noelle and Jill’s family for her grandmother. And Jill, thank you for your wonderful words of wisdom about going at our own pace. I know that sometimes it is easy to get behind and give up. That is what is so great about on-line studies. We can do them in our jammies at our own pace.

      Blessings to you and your family,

      Wendy

  16. Wendy, I was so glad that you started another online study that I could do, as I do not have one the meets in my home church at a time when I can attend. I am very convicted of sin in my life over this study and I know that it is God’s perfect timing for this in my life. I have difficult people in my life, but the most difficult for me to deal with is myself. I know that I am loved unconditionally by my heavenly father,and that He always forgives me and never gives up on me. Thank you so much for revealing and sharing yourself in this way. God is definitely good!! Love in our Lord Jesus, Cheri

    • Cheri,

      Thank you for sharing that you feel “convicted’ of your sin and not ashamed or guilty. In that conviction God will do a mighty work!!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  17. Melinda Albarado says:

    This is from the last lesson, but wanted to tell you that you can order BOBBIE’s MOM’S BIBLE from Christianbook.com. It is on sale right now for $19.99! I ordered her Bible and her husband’s DAD’S BIBLE (it’s on sale for $19.99) and it has already arrived! They are beautiful and can hardly wait to give them to my son and his girlfriend who are expecting a baby girl in February. Hurry before the sale is over! In Christ, Melinda

  18. Charlotte Askew says:

    Wendy, Thank You! I am just now getting a chance to watch the video, so I wanted to pop on and tell you how much I love you. I thank you for being so honest and sharing your heart. God never ceases to use you in such mighty ways. I too struggle with judging others based on how they look, dress, live, talk….the list goes on and on. Everyday I have to pray for forgiveness of committing that sin. Thank God that I am not as bad as I use to be, but I still struggle. He used you today to remind me of how it hurts me in my walk with Him and how I hurt others and they don’t even know it. We are the only Jesus that many people see. We know to live life as an example to others. We have to come out fully dressed everyday to fight this battle of judging.

    • Sweet Charlotte, thank you for always encouraging me in such sweet and personal ways. I love how God brought us together so long ago through these on-line studies to grow in His Word together.

      W

  19. Hi gals,

    I need some help with question 1A – numbers 4 & 5 (couldn’t find reference to the light in Psalm 2 and Psalm 6 doesn’t have verse 23.

    I think I am guilty about conforming because I like movies and novels and although I know some may not be pleasing to the Lord, I still watch and read anyway.

    Phip. 1: 9-11 (message version says)
    9-11 So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover’s life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God. This I think sums up the lesson for this week, really touched my heart.

    According to Ephesian 4: 31 – even arguing is a sin – really need to work on this because I am very argumentative, I always have a different point of view. Hope I will be able to keep myself under check to not argue all the time.

    Lastly my call to action:
    Love the unlovable, difficult person so that God can be pleased with me and the world will be amazed at what God is doing in my life.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, verses and call to action! I love hearing what God is doing in and through your time in His Word.

      And those verses should be from Proverbs and not Psalms. So sorry for the error. I corrected it on the web site.

      W

  20. What the Word taught me this mornin’… Love unifys and empowers Christians; its like a tree that becomes deeply rooted and well established, growing our hearts and minds together. Love earns respect and teaches independence. Love facilitates moral insight or discernment. As my love grows, so does my knowledge of Christ. Love opens our eyes to the kind of love Christ had for humanity and having this kind of love is far greater than any knowledge that can be taught by simply living life. God’s love fills that emptiness inside…He completes us. Love is all the proof that anyone needs. (from doing assignment E) Thank you Wendy for doing this, I feel like God is using you to help open my eyes. I want to be a part of your street team.

    • Amber, wow!! What great truths you shared with us today. Thank you!!

      “God’s love fills that emptiness inside…He completes us.” This is BEAUTIFUL!!

      And I am so excited you want to be part of the “Street Team.” Please e-mail me at Deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name, e-mail, cell phone (if you don’t mind) and city and state.

      Thanks,

      Wendy

  21. Hey girls,

    Thanks to a few of you, we have a few typos to correct. Psalm 2:1-8 and Psalm 6:23 should both be Proverbs NOT Psalms. That should help you find the answer you are looking for.

    Thanks for the grace!!

    W

  22. Thank You Lord for answered prayer & for Your perfect timing.

    I have my daughter-in-law’s mom on my heart for several weeks now. As I have been praying, the thought that I should ask her to lunch & give her a bible keeps coming to mind. Now doing this is scary for me. It is stepping out of my comfort zone for sure. I have been praying Lord show me, is it really what YOU want or is it just me thinking it. Well what is the 1st question this morning? “D. Is there someone to whom God is asking you to reach out and shine His Light? If you are hesitating, ask God to help you step out in faith and begin a conversation. This will look different for each of us, depending upon our situation. Pray for opportunity. Pray for that person’s heart to be prepared. I will be praying this week for God to be faithful as you step out in obedience to shine your light.”

    Kinda scary in a good way lol how God answers us! Please pray that God’s glory & will be done. Please pray that the opportunity will come about. Please pray that I can overcome the fear of rejection, failure & having others think I’m a crazy lady passes.P lease pray that she will receive the bible & God’s word in her life.

    Thank you Wendy & all for sharing God with me. I just love what this study is doing in my life! Even when it is scary.

    Blessings & Peace MaryG

    • MaryG, thanks for sharing this story with us. Stories like yours that show God use the words of this study to answer a specific prayer just make my heart sing! It shows me that His hand has been at work in this study since the first day I sat down to research. He knew each one of you He would bring; He knew what would be going on in your lives, and He knew exactly the Truths and teachings you would need. He truly amazes me!

      I do pray the Lord will provide an opportunity and will tender her heart beforehand to receive it!!

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  23. I just wrapped up this week’s study and boy do I have a lot of work to do. I am not loving some people that I find difficult but the one that God pointed out to me today is my older sister. I love her because she is my sister but boy do I judge her and I don’t love her unconditionally. I’ve always struggled to have a relationship with her for many reasons but now my eyes have been opened to see that regardless the reasons I still need to love her and stop judging her. My work has been cut out for me and with the Christmas season upon us, my sister and I will be spending some time together at my parent’s home so I better get to work forgiving, showing grace, and loving her so that I’m living a life pleasing to God.

    Blessings
    Have a fabulous Sunday!!!

    • Eloisa, I pray God will give you the courage and tenderness you need to love her unconditionally. I pray He will put a guard at the entrance of your mouth to help you measure each word before you speak it. I pray He will prepare and soften her heart as well. Praying for God to bless your efforts and give you precious family time!!

      Blessings,
      Wendy

  24. I can picture Jesus with a big smile on His face… of course as we studied loving the “unlovable” (who I now realize are VERY lovable… but I need to get the plank out of my eye first)… Guess who shows up in my life? The ones who I deemed “unlovable.” I feel like I’m doing spiritual push-ups. It’s not easy, but I know I’m growing and getting stronger by the resistance… and I know I’ll love the results even more.

    It has helped me to remember 1 Cor. 13 love. I don’t need to manufacture warm fuzzies, but I need to take action on being patient, kind, humble, selfless… I need to rip up my ongoing tally sheet of rights and wrongs in my mind… I need to rejoice in the truth that God has me in their lives and He has them in my life for His purposes… I need to be willing to protect their hearts… I need to trust God… I need to hope on their behalf… and I will persevere until the day I can hear Jesus whispering, “Well done my good and faithful servant!”

    Wendy, thank you yet again for your God-whispered wisdom. xoxo

    • Noelle, such wise words from you…me must “take action.” Transformation like this does not just happen!!! We must be intentional in our relationships.

      Love you,

      Wendy

  25. Love the unlovable, difficult person so that . . .they will know the love of Christ deep in their hearts and grow on to do the same with another unlovable / lost soul. And so the Kingdom of God grows. It’s not about me and my feelings, it’s about God and His plan and who He brings to me. I’m thankful for your prayers this week Wendy!

  26. I appreciated the teaching from Romans 12:1-2 about allowing God to transform our minds through His Word so that we will learn to love people because it is a struggle to do this. Sometimes I feel so guilty because of being shy and an introvert and often struggling with dealing with people, and some people are just so unkind. I am in awe of people who have suffered terrible things and shown love to their tormentors.

    • Remember, Savannah, God loves a gentle and quiet spirit. He creates us each differently and uses us differently. Never feel guilty for the sweet spirit within you. God created you as you are. When you need boldness, pray for it. God will be faithful to enable you to do what He calls you to do or say.

      Blessings,

      Wendy

  27. Is this week already over? and time for the next LIVING SO THAT… wow, this goes quickly.

    Love the unlovable, difficult person so that … the Holy Spirit will flow with AGAPE love through me unconditionally as I see that person, not a difficult or unloveable but with the EYES of GOD. That Jesus’ abundant love would reach them and teach me that sometimes I am that difficult and unloveable person for others, but I should not receive that as a spirit of rejection yet embrace the challenge and commit to choose love than ACT in love. So that… I might better understand
    the acceptance of the Father for each of us and be grateful that I am accepted, I am secure, I am forgiven, I am significant, I am free in Jesus Christ. That’s the best love and freedom there is. Free to love without limitations or preconceived ideas by seeing each individual as a hungry soul that Jesus desires to love through me. I pray that I can and I will choose love, when I sense a bit of friction or undesireable, I will recall, that sometimes I rub others the wrong way and how would I want them to treat me.

    O Lord, “Give me Your Eyes” , pour Your love through me, let the fruit of the Holy Spirit increase in me especially love, strengthen me, empty me of ‘me’ and increase my faith, understanding, and transform me into all You created me to be and do in Jesus sweet and precious name. Thank You for Wendy and this amazing study teaching us to LIVE SO THAT we humbly LOVE others as You have asked us and commanded us to do. Not just the easy people to love but the difficult and those we see as different and at times intolerable. Help us most at those time. Pour out an abundance of blessings on Wendy and all my sisters in Christ as we seek more of You in us.

  28. The past few days I’ve been walking thru a bit of a trial, which has involved some “difficult” people. Things have been done and said that were hurtful and wrong. I have found myself upset, frustrated and disappointed, but mostly I’ve been sad. And honestly that feeling has surprised me a bit, but tonight God’s given me a glimpse of Himself and offered an explanation for these feelings I didn’t expect and haven’t always experienced during a situation like this.

    I sat down to finish my homework for the week and this line from you Wendy jumped off the page, “When we submit to that refining and allow God to change our hearts, we will be able to love the unlovely.” I read those words a second time and God whispered to me, “Jill, I’m doing this…you are sad because you love these people and I do too. The hardness of their hearts hurts yours and breaks mine.”

    I share this in attempt to give God glory and support Wendy’s words – “it may be God is working on our heart.” Over the last few days I’ve found myself praying, “Lord work in this situation. Use it.” Tonight He answered that prayer…not necessarily in the way I expected, but I am thankful and I trust if He’s working in me, He’s also working in others.

    Wendy, I again thank you for your obedience in putting this study together…the timing is unbelievable and the way God is using it is so powerful. Just tonight as I finished the lesson God led me to finish reading Romans 12…verse 21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Those were words I needed and God used, so grateful He led me to them! It’s so obvious He has put this study together…praying we all take hold of what He’s teaching so that He can be glorified, we can be transformed and others can be impacted by His work in us and through us.

  29. Hi Wendy,
    My absolute favorite verse is Jermiah 29:11. All of my children have this verse on their school jackets as well as their dedication page in yearbooks. It has been my rock during a very painful separation and divorce that I did not want, and it is my constant reminder that God has a plan no matter what we have to endure during this life.

    Tricia G.

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