August 31, 2011

All Things Wise and Wonderful: Discovering the Riches of Christ

Join Wendy as she takes you through the book of Ephesians in her five week study All Things Wise and Wonderful:  Discovering the Riches of Christ.  This study beautifully unfolds the riches and resources available to you as a child of God.  Wendy will help you…

  • Discover the riches and resources available to you as grow and deepen your relationship with God
  • Obtain the tools needed to access these riches.
  • Learn to live in the fullness of these riches in a way that changes you from the inside out.
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June 5, 2010

WOW!! Update on Ephesians Study

Hi girls, Words cannot express what my heart feels at this moment. Your response to this Bible study truly amazes me. We have over 1200 women signed up to study God’s Word! That God has brought together this many women from all around the world reveals the truth of one of my favorite promises in the book of Ephesians…Ephesians 3:20…when we pray, God will do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we can ever ask or imagine!!!

Although we do not officially begin until Monday, June 14th, many of you have asked great questions that I would like to answer. So below please find a short video that I hope will answer most of your questions.

We are about to embark on a six week journey to discover the incredible riches we have in Christ. In preparation for this study, know I am praying for you and for our time together. My prayer, sweet friends, is that as we commit to give God our whole hearts, He will stretch us and grow us in such a way that not a single one of us will ever be the same again!

I can’t wait to meet you back here on June 14th!!

Blessings to each of you,

June 13, 2010

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

My heart is so full as I write and record the message for today. You have been in my prayers each and every day. Your words of encouragement, your excitement, and your commitment have blessed me beyond measure. How I wish we could all gather together in one place for our lesson so I could see each one of your precious smiling faces. But this is how God has chosen to bring us together, and I know He will be at work in and among us!!

Below please find our Introductory Lesson.


E-MAIL COMMUNICATION: If you did not receive an e-mail from me last night, first check your spam filter. If that does not clear it up, please contact me directly at Deuteronomysix@aol.com. We will work to get it fixed this week. In the meantime, everything you need is in the blog.

Reading Assignment: Read Ephesians Chapter One. If you would like some background on Paul and his role in Ephesus, read Acts Chapters 19 and 20. In our lesson, I share tips on how to approach your homework and your time in God’s Word.

Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. Your time reading and studying is when God will do His greatest work!

Prayer:

Father God, as we begin a new study of Your Word today, we come before You acknowledging You as Lord of our lives. If we have places of pride, self-pity, worthlessness, rebellion, fear, doubt, and unbelief, we surrender them to You today. Lord, we invite You into the secret places in our hearts, the places we never want anyone to see. Father, it is only in You that we will find our true value and worth. Help us take our eyes off ourselves and what the world wants and thinks of us. Fix our eyes on You and You alone. Open the eyes of our heart to understand the marvelous Truths in Your Law. We pray for divine Wisdom, Knowledge, and Revelation, the kind that will change our lives. Father, we want our lives to be different for the time we will spend with You. Change our hearts, O God, make them ever true. Change our hearts, O God, make them more like You!!!

1. Let’s have a bit of fun before we begin. If someone gave you $10,000, and you had to spend it in one day (no saving it you frugal girls), where would you go or what would you buy?

2. Read Acts 17:24-28. Share what these verses tell you about…

a. God

b. what God provides

c. why God provides it

3. Read Ephesians 1:4-5, Galatians 4:1-7, Colossians 1:21-22, and Romans 8:17.

a. What do Galatians 4:3 and Colossians 1:21 say about a believer’s status before being adopted into God’s family?

b. Share what God did in Galatians 4:4-5, Colossians 1:22, and Ephesians 1:4-5 to change a believer’s status?

c. What does Galatians 6 tell believers they receive as God’s children?

4. Let’s dig a bit deeper. Read Ephesians 1:6 and Romans 3:23-26.

a. What exactly did God do to change our status (Ephesians 1:6a)

b. Read Hebrews 9:18-27. Why was the shedding of blood necessary? What happened as a result of that action? (Ephesians 1:7)

5. In Ephesians 1:11 (New Living Translation), Paul says that because we are united with Christ, we will receive an “inheritance from God.” What is this inheritance?

6. In Ephesians 1:13, Paul explains that when the Gentiles believed in Christ, He identified them as His own. How did He identify them?

7. According to Ephesians 1:14 and 2 Corinthians 1:22, what does the Spirit guarantee?

8. Let’s go back and read Ephesians 1:7. In this verse, Paul tells us that God purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sin.

a. Do you live as if you are forgiven, or are there places in your heart where you have not forgiven yourself, and, thus, have not received your heavenly Father’s forgiveness. Will you search your heart right now and ask your Father to show you where you are holding on to things from your past? Invite God into those places and allow Him to wash the powerful blood of His Son Jesus over your heart. Accept His forgiveness and live in the freedom of that forgiveness.

b. Do you have a place of unforgiveness in your heart towards someone else? Scripture clearly teaches that God will not and cannot work in a heart that is in bondage to unforgiveness. Search your heart. Submit your spirit, your pride, and your right to be right to the Lord. As a first step, ask your heavenly Father for forgiveness for holding on so tightly to your unforgiveness. Then take a second step toward forgiving the person against whom you harbor unforgiveness. This will look different for every one of us, but take a step and watch what God will do!!

9. Read again Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians in 1:15-23. With this prayer, Paul prays for fresh and profound spiritual experiences for believers. He invites God to do something supernatural and amazing. Friends, this is the kind of praying that can truly change lives. What tugs at your heart as you read Paul’s prayer?

10. Read 2 Peter 1:19-21 and 2 Timothy 3:16.

a. According to these verses, Who was the source/author of Scripture?

b. How did the authors receive what they wrote?

c. Fill in the blanks below.

According to these truths, the revelation of God’s Word into our heart is done by the

____________ ___________.

11. Read Proverbs 2:1-8.

a. According to Solomon, how do we “get” wisdom?

b. Who does Solomon say is the source of that wisdom?

c. Read Isaiah 11:1-2. To Whom is Isaiah referring in these verses?

d. Practically, what must we do to get to know God better?

12. In Ephesians 1:18, Paul prays for the “eyes” of the Ephesian believers’ hearts to be enlightened so that they may know the hope to which He has called them. Here Paul refers to more than factual knowledge. “Eidenai” is factual knowledge, knowledge about God rather than knowledge about being in relationship with God. Here Paul desires for the believers to really understand what it means to be in relationship with God and all the benefits that flow from that relationship.

a. According to 1 Corinthians 1:18-31, can everyone understand this knowledge? What is the message of the Cross to those who don’t believe according to verse 18?

b. Explain why the Gospel message seems foolish to natural men.

c. Read 1 Corinthians 1:27-28 and describe what God has done. Why did He do this?

13. In Ephesians 1:19, Paul prays that the believers would know God’s “incomparably great power” available to those who believe. Paul wanted to be sure that we as believers know that the extraordinary divine force by which God raised Jesus from the dead is the very same power that lives and is at work in us today. Do you grasp the enormity of what that means in your life today, sweet friend?? Do you have circumstances that seem desperate and hopeless? Do you have trials and struggles in your life from which you just can’t believe God is big enough to rescue you? Reread this verse and share how KNOWING, BELIEVING, PRAYING, and APPLYING this Truth could change your personal circumstances today.

14. Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:19-22 are some of the most moving and powerful in Scripture.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else – not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church.

Paul wrote this prayer to give God’s people HOPE. No one and nothing is greater than our God! There is no circumstance too big that our God is not bigger! Whatever it is you are facing, He is able…He is enough…He is sufficient.

a. What does it look like for you personally to live as a person with hope rather than without hope?

b. Paul calls us to know the hope to which we have been called. How does knowing that hope, Paul’s prayer, and the power discussed in Questions 13 and 14 impact your current circumstances?

15. How does Paul’s prayer compare with how you typically pray?

16. Which of the things Paul prays for do you most need to pray for yourself?

17. Will you write a prayer today inviting the Lord to do a mighty work in and through the power of His Holy Spirit in the area of your life He has brought to mind? I am sharing an example below. Please write your own prayer or if you are new at writing prayers, then use this as a model and edit it to fit your circumstances.

Heavenly Father, today I bring my marriage to You and surrender it at the foot of the cross. It seems that everything my husband does irritates me. It seems I never see the good in him. My words are critical and biting. My heart is hard. I know I hurt him and even more, I hurt You everytime I speak, and even think, words of disrespect. I feel so unworthy to even come before you.

Yet you love me. Even when I am not living in a way that pleases You, You love me. You pursue me. You patiently wait for me… waiting to draw me back into perfect fellowship with You, lovingly speaking to me through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Thank You that Your Word is TRUTH and that there is Power in Your Word, power to change and transform. Thank You that I can live in the power of Your Holy Spirit and that I can do all things through You Who strengthens me. Please take what I have committed to You today, Father, and do a mighty transforming work. Change me, mold me, and shape me to be the woman You created me to be. Open the eyes of my heart. Sear Your Word into the deepest and darkest of places so that I can change and be more like You. I love You, Lord. Thank You for all You will do in my life this year.

I will be praying God’s promise from Isaiah 55:11 for you as you open the pages of Scripture.

It is the same with my Word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.

Please remember to share your thoughts by leaving comments on the blog. This is how we learn and grow from each other!!

Blessings,

June 20, 2010

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

What an amazing week this has been! Do you girls know that we now have over 1,800 women from across the globe studying God’s Word together? That simply astounds me. Every day as I sit at the computer and read your comments, I am touched and moved by what God is doing. All He asks is that we seek Him, and look what happens when we do!!!

Thank you, thank you for faithfully doing your homework and for openly and honestly sharing your answers. It blesses me beyond measure to see God working in you through the questions He laid on my heart for this study.

Before you jump into the lesson, please visit my friend, LeAnn Rice’s, wonderful new blog, http://www.shecooks.org/. It launches Friday, June 25th, and she has a great giveaway opportunity if you leave a comment. So jump over and help her celebrate her new blog!

Below please find your introductory 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 Two

Homework Questions: Please do as many questions as time allows. It is in your reading and studying that God will do His greatest work. Sometimes I include additional Scripture references. If you are in a time crunch, do not feel the need to look them all up. I provide them to take you a bit deeper on the topic of the question.

Prayer:

Father God, open the eyes of my heart to hear the wonderful Truths in Your Law. You tell me that Your Word is nourishment to my body and my soul. Feed me this week. Speak into my heart, into the places I need You to reach… places I have been hiding. Make my heart tender to receive Your Word, even when it is hard. You have a wonderful plan for my life, and You created me to do good things for Your Kingdom. Help me to discover that plan and to walk in those good works. I am ready, Lord, waiting to hear from You. Help me to take my eyes off of myself and put them onto You and You alone. Give me divine Wisdom, Knowledge, and Revelation, the kind that will change my life. Make me different for the time I spend with You this week.

1. In Ephesians Chapter One, Paul laid out God’s eternal plan for choosing us to be in relationship with Him and the blessings that our ours when we choose to live in that relationship. Chapter Two presents a wonderful overview of the Gospel message. Paul reviews for believers in Ephesus why they were saved, how they were saved, and for what purpose they were saved.

a. As you read Ephesians 2:1-3, what does Paul mean when he says his readers were “dead?” (for more on this read Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:9-12, Romans 6:23, Colossians 1:21, and Colossians 2:13)

b. Read Psalm 51:1-6, especially focusing on verse 5. King David wrote this Psalm after the prophet Nathan confronted him about committing adultery with Bathsheba. The King James translation says, “Behold, I was shapen in inequity.”

Read Genesis 8:21. According to God’s Word, sin infects a person’s life from conception. When Adam and Eve first sinned in the Garden of Eden, they infected the human race with sin. Every person born on the is earth is born into sin. This corrupt nature is called “original sin.” It is a bent to rebel against God, to value self above all else.

Read Romans 3:23. How do you respond to the Truth that basically all people even those who seem decent and moral, are disobedient and influenced by the devil?

Do you believe this? If you do not, how do you reconcile what you believe with these verses?

c. In Romans 3:9-18, what does Paul say about sin?

d. How many people, on their own, seek after God?

2. Living in original sin means walking and following the ways of the world.

a. Who leads the ways of the world? (hint: 1 John 5:19 and 2 Corinthians 4:4)

b. Define “ways of the world?

c. How does walking in the ways of the world differ from walking in the ways of the Lord?

3. Reread Ephesians 2:2-3. Verse 2:3 talks about gratifying the “cravings” of our sinful nature or flesh.

a. What are those cravings, desires, and thoughts?

b. In your own life, what are the temptations with which you struggle?

c. How has reading these verses impacted your understanding of your own sin nature?

4. Are you ready for the good news? Read Ephesians 2:4-5 again.

a. What does verse 4 tell us occurred to change our state of original sin?

b. Why did God do this? (Ephesians 1:7)

5. Romans 5:12-21 discusses what God did for us in depth.

a. How did sin enter the world? (Romans 5:12)

b. What did Adam’s sin bring to the human race? (Romans 5:16)

c. What did God’s grace bring to the human race? (Romans 5:17)

d. What do you learn from Romans 5:18-19?

e. According to Romans 5:21, what do we receive through God’s gift of grace?

6. Read Ephesians 2:5-6. List the three things God’s love did for us? (Hint: look at the action verbs)

7. Read Ephesians 2:8-9. These verses tell us it is by _____________ we are saved, through _______________, it is the __________ of God. What truths do you take away from these words for your own life?

8. Ephesians 2:10a (NLT) says, “For we are God’s masterpiece….”

a. Read Psalm 139:13-16. What do these verses tell you?

b. God specially knit you together, designed very part of you to be exactly who you are today…your eye color, your hair color and texture (I am talking to myself here…a girl with naturally curly hair who spends insane amounts of time and money to straighten it!), your height, your shape, your heart, your mind, your gifts, your talents, and your personality. He handpicked your family of origin, and if you are married with a family, your husband and your children. Share what you like and dislike about His plan. Be honest with your feelings, your doubts, and your questions.

9. Ephesians 2:10 continues, “…He has created us anew in Christ Jesus.” Do you sometimes doubt you can accomplish God’s plan? Maybe because of your family history or bad choices you have made. Maybe because of your present circumstances, which seem dim or hopeless. Maybe because you don’t like who you are. Maybe because you don’t feel accomplished enough, smart enough, worthy enough, talented enough, pretty enough, outgoing enough. Will you reread Ephesians 2:10? My friend, listen to Paul’s words and insert your name… “YOU, _________, ARE GOD’S MASTERPIECE!”.

a. No matter what has happened in the past, no matter what is going on in the present, you have a guaranteed promise. If you have invited Christ into your life by asking forgiveness for your sin and accepting Him as your Lord and Savior, you are a new creation. At that moment, God’s perfect plan for your life was put into play. And the only person who can interfere with that plan is you. Read Philippians 2:13, 2 Timothy 1:9, Romans 8:28, and Jeremiah 29:11-13. What do these verses speak to you?

b. Is there something in your past holding you hostage, keeping you from fulfilling God’s plan for your life? If there is, will you give that to Him right now? Will you believe with me that He is big enough to forgive, heal, rebuild, restore, and renew? Pray with me now…

Heavenly Father, I believe You have a plan for my life, plans for a hope and a future, plans to prosper and not to harm me. But, Lord, it is hard to see them right now. There is so much pain and anguish. I am struggling every day to find hope for tomorrow. Lord I do believe; help me with my unbelief. Take my doubts, my fears, my anxieties, and my dashed dreams and replace them with Your peace, Your hope, Your love, Your assurance, and Your provision. Father, take Your Word and sear it into my heart. Give me everything I need to trust in You for this place in my life. Father, open my eyes to see hope, to see the great plans You have for me! Keep my eyes on You and not my circumstances. I ask all this in the Name Above All Names, Jesus Christ, My Lord. Amen.

10. Ephesians 2:10 ends with “…so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” The NIV says we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works “which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Understand this clearly, we are not saved by good works but for good works. A saving faith results in a changed life that desires to serve and please God. God planned before the beginning of time for you to do Kingdom work for Him on this earth. We have God-given gifts and talents that when exercised in the power of His Holy Spirit will not be “work,” but will bring joy and pleasure to our lives. There is no greater joy than to experience God working in and through you to touch another person’s life.

a. Take a look at your design. Prayerfully ask the Lord to reveal your gifts and talents. Are you currently using those gifts and talents? If not, why not?

b. I want to encourage you if you are in a dry time, if you feel unequipped to be part of any plan, let alone God’s grand plan for your life, you are not alone. There are times when God must do a work in us before He can do a work through us. God spent forty years working in Moses before He could work through Him. Joseph suffered thirteen years, many of those in prison, before the Lord placed him on a throne, second only to Pharaoh. David spent years hiding in a cave, running for his life, before God raised him up to be the greatest King Israel has ever had. Paul spent three years in solace before God sent him forth as one of the greatest evangelists that has ever lived.

If you have struggled with Ephesians 2:10, ask the Lord to reveal what is keeping you from living out His plan. Ask Him if there is a work He must do in you before He can work through you. Perhaps it is related to what you prayed above. He is faithful. He will show you.

11. Let’s end our time together this week with Psalm 103:1-12. Soak in these verses for a few minutes. Share the portions that touch your heart and move your spirit.

There is so much more meat in this chapter regarding the relationship between Jews and Gentiles. But I hesitate to dig into an entirely new topic here and add more homework questions. I will try to do a quick summary.

Before Christ, there were basically two groups of people. The Israelites (Jews) were God’s chosen people under the covenant God made with Abraham. (Genesis 12:1-3, Genesis 15:18-20, Genesis 17:14) The Gentiles were a rag tag collection of small nation states continually warring with each other and with Israel. Historically, there has been animosity and, at times, downright hatred between these two groups. But this was NOT God’s desire, and He sent Jesus to end this strife. Paul spends the remainder of Chapter Two educating the Ephesians about this truth. If you are interested in going deeper, please read and study the verses below.

Ephesians 2:11-13
Romans 14:2, 5, 10-13, 17:22-23
Isaiah 11:10; 42:1, 6; 49:6; 53:11
Luke 2:25-32
Acts 10:1 – 11:18
Ephesians 2:14-22

Please know that I continue to pray for you and enjoy reading your comments. Your words are such a blessing, not only for me, but for all of us.

Sweet Blessings,

June 27, 2010

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

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

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

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

Below please find the second lesson and the homework and reading assignment for next week. Don’t forget you can subscribe by e-mail and receive this post in your in-box each week by clicking on the link in my sidebar. However, you will not be able to see the videos or comments unless you visit my blog directly at http://www.wendyblight.com/.

If you are having trouble reading and posting comments, here a some instructions.
To access the comments, scroll down to the end of my post. You will see that it says “58 comments” (or some number of comments). Click on that. It will take you again to my post, but this time when you scroll down you will see all the comments for that post at the end. Then at the end of the comments, you will see a box. Type your comments in the box. Then you can select “comment as,” which is how you want to comment. If you do not have a blog/Google/or some other type of account, select anonymous. Then click on “post comment,” and it should post your comment. Let me know if you have trouble.

Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Three

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

Prayer:

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

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

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

b. Why was this “plan” so radical?

Max Anders wrote this helpful statement to give us insight.

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

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

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

2. Read Acts 2:42-47.

a. List specifically how the early church functioned?

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

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

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

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

a. What do these verses tell you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Read Matthew 7:24-27.

a. Who does Jesus address in verse 24?

b. Who does He address in verse 26?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**I love the New Living Translation

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

a. What do these words speak to your heart?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sweet Blessings to you,

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,

July 11, 2010

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

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

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

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

Sweet Blessings!

Hey Bible Study Friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time to get down to business. Below please find the fourth lesson and the homework and reading assignment for next week. Don’t forget you can subscribe by e-mail and receive this post in your in-box each week by clicking on the link in my sidebar. However, you will not be able to see the videos or comments unless you visit my blog directly at http://www.wendyblight.com/.


Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Five

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

Prayer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-7

a.Why are unbelievers in darkness?

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

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

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

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

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

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

7.Read Galatians 5:16-24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BELOW ARE SOME QUESTIONS ON MARRIAGE

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

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

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

c.How did God create Adam?

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.Read 1 Peter 3:1-17.

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.Read 1 Peter 3: 7.

a.What does Peter say to husbands?

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

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

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

July 18, 2010

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

CONGRATULATIONS my sweet sisters in Christ!! You have completed or are in the process of completing five weeks of lessons and homework. You should be so very proud of yourselves. You truly inspire me. It would have been easy to blow off this study because you have no small group leader holding you accountable. But you have been faithful. You have spent many hours mining the riches you learned in the very first chapter. Your comments reflect that you have done your work, listened for God’s voice, heard what He said, and obeyed what you heard. You will now be recipients of His wonderful promise that blessings follow obedience. He is changing you. He is growing you. He is making you more like Him.

NEXT WEEK WE WILL CELEBRATE YOUR WONDERFUL ACHIEVEMENT! Tune in to check out the celebration and the giveaway.

Below you will find our last week of homework. Dig in and dig deep. This is one of my favorite chapters in Scripture because Paul teaches us about the Armor of God. Every night since my children were young, we have prayed the Armor of God. First, I prayed it over them, but when they were old enough to pray, they prayed it over themselves. Bo, my twelve year old, still ends his prayers with it every night! If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, or siblings, I encourage you to share this chapter with them. Teach them to pray God’s Armor over themselves. It is a powerful visual of God’s promised protection.

Below please find the fifth lesson and the homework and reading assignment for next week.

In addition to our celebration next week, I will post some closing thoughts, questions, and a special prayer on the Armor of God written specifically for this study.

Reading Assignment: Ephesians Chapter Six

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:

Father God, this is my last week of Bible Study. Thank You for all that You have taught me these past few months. Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to see the wonderful things in Your Law. Thank You for teaching me new Truths that have changed my life. Father, I give You my heart this week. Take Your Word, the double-edged sword, and pierce my heart. Mold me and change me to be more like You. Use me, Lord, to do great things that will bring glory and honor and praise to You. Teach me to stand strong in my faith, to be a Light in this dark world. Give me courage to live out my faith no matter the cost. I love You, Lord, lead me down paths of righteousness, fill me with everlasting joy, use me, Lord, use me for your glory!! I ask this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN

1.AUTHORITY. This word makes me think of the lyrics in the song by John Mellencamp: “I fight authority. Authority always wins.” Are you someone who finds it easy or difficult to obey someone in authority over you? Does it depend on the person? The situation? If you struggle with authority, share your reasons.

2.Before we move on, please remember what Paul said in Ephesians 5:18, “…be filled with the Spirit.” Everything we are talking about presupposes a Spirit-filled, Spirit-controlled life. Philippians 4:13 says, “ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” God has established patterns and principles by which parents are to raise their children. Obedience plays a huge part in God’s plan. Children are to obey their parents in the Lord. Read Ephesians 6:1-4.

a.Read Colossians 3:20. What does it say?

b.Read Ephesians 6:1b. What is the reason children are to obey their parents?

c.Read Exodus 20:12. What is it? What does it say?

d.According to Ephesians 6:2-3, what is unique about this Commandment? What is the specific promise?

e.What about compliant obedient children whose lives are taken in childhood? How do you reconcile this verse with their deaths? Do you think perhaps it states a more general principal? If so, what is it?

f.Read 1 Samuel 2:12-34. Relate this to our discussion. What does this speak to you about parents’ responsibility to raise their children to respect God and respect them?

3.I am sending you to a passage in Deuteronomy 21 that is very hard to read, but I want you to see how important this concept is to God. He made it one of His Ten Commandments, and He enforced it with the most severe of punishments. Read Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

a.How does Moses (the author) describe the son?

b.How does the son respond to his parents’ discipline?

c.What did the law instruct the parents to do with their son?

d.What additional information does verse 20 reveal about their son?

e.According to verse 21, why does the law require such a severe punishment?

4.Read 1 Samuel 15:10-23.

a.What does this teach about obedience?

b.What descriptive words appear in Deuteronomy 21:18 and 1 Samuel 15:23?

c.What happened to Saul in this story?

5.Why do you think God is so consistent about the sin of disobedience and rebellion?

6.Think back on your childhood and answer the following questions.

a.Were you raised in a godly home where you received godly training? If not, describe the kind of home in which you were raised?

b.Who did most of the training and discipline in your home?

7.If you have children, answer the same questions above as they pertain to how you have raised/are raising your children? Did how you were raised effect this decision?

8.Dr. David Jeremiah teaches that the primary word in the New Testament for the correction of children is not the word punishment, but paideia, (Greek word for training or discipline), which comes from paidueo – to train children, to chasten, to correct. Scripturally, punishment seeks retribution to right a wrong and is usually directed at those who stand in opposition to God. Discipline also seeks to right a wrong but it is focused on the future…to correct the wrong so it will not happen again. Discipline seeks to correct by means of instruction or discipline NOT punishment. Read Hebrews 12:3-12 and share the Biblical Truths you learn below.

9.To what must our instruction always to be tied? (See 2 Timothy 3:13-17). Why?

10.Do you think it is a coincidence that children are to obey “in the Lord,” and parents are to train and instruct “in the Lord?” Explain.

11.Today we study one of my MOST FAVORITE passages in all of Scripture and truly one of the most powerful and practical.

Read Ephesians 6:10-20. In this passage of Scripture, Paul tells us God has the power, identifies the enemy, instructs us to stand against him, and commands us to put on the full armor of God.

a.What does Paul instruct a believer to do in verse 10?

b.To what does Paul compare a Christian life in verse 12? Read Revelation 12:4, Daniel 10:13-20. How do these verses support Paul’s words?

c.What does Paul tell us to put on in verse 11? Why?

d.What are some of the Devil’s schemes and strategies? What does John 10:10 tell us the devil came to do?

e.Read Romans 8:31-39 and share how this passage relates to these verses in Ephesians.

12.Read James 4:6-10. Read Isaiah 14:12-15 (scholars believe these passages describe Satan’s fall).

a.What fleshly character trait is discussed in these passages?

b.What does God say about that trait in James 4:6?

c.According to James 4:7, when we do humble ourselves and submit to God what will the devil do?

d.According to James 4:10, when we humble ourselves what will God to?

13.Since we are fighting against enemies in the spirit world, Paul tells us that we need special equipment. In Ephesians 6:13-17 God has provided the “whole armor” for us. Paul commands us to put on the armor, take the weapons, stand strong, and pray.

a.Name each piece of armor and explain how each piece helps us in our battle against the devil.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

b.How does the final piece of armor in verse 17, the Sword of the Spirit, differ from the other pieces of armor? (Hint: Read Hebrews 4:12). Also, read Luke 4:1-13 to see how Jesus uses the Sword.

c.When my son, Bo, was just a baby, I began praying the armor of God over him each night. As soon as he was old enough to pray out loud, the very first thing he prayed was the armor of God over himself and our family…every single piece in the armor he recited. He is now 12 years old and prays it over himself every night. Practically, how can you use each piece of armor to help you and your family stand against the devil’s scheme?

14.Read the following Scriptures and share how they relate to this passage in Ephesians.

a.2 Corinthians 10:3-5

b.1 Peter 5:8-9

c1 John 3:8

d.Hebrews 2:14

e.Isaiah 54:17

f.1 John 4:4

Blessings to you,

July 25, 2010

Celebration Week for Ephesians Study with The Great Giveaway

Where do I begin? This has been an INCREDIBLE few months!!Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I am proud of you. You have worked so hard! Even if you have not yet completed every week’s homework, you set your heart on gaining wisdom and knowledge and have been faithful to do it. I pray that through this study you have grown closer to the heart of God and that you have experienced Him in new and fresh ways that have changed and transformed your hearts and lives forever.

Time and time again, your comments have brought tears to my eyes. They show how far you have come since the first day we opened His Word. For just a moment, let me pray over you,

Abba Father, thank You for instructing us and teaching us in the way we should go. Thank You for taking each one of us deeper still with You. Thank You that each of these women is a display of Your splendor. I am humbled beyond words for the privilege of walking alongside these beautiful women. As we end our time together, I ask that You continue to counsel and watch over these precious sisters in Christ. Thank You that even now You rejoice over them with singing, You celebrate their faithfulness. Father, I thank You that Your eyes will be upon them and Your ears attentive to their cry. Thank You that You will remain close to those who are brokenhearted, that You will comfort those who are crushed in Spirit. Thank You that though they will encounter troubles, You will deliver them from them all. May they continue to hunger and thirst for Your Word. Bless them as they faithfully continue their journey with you. I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Many of you have said that you do not want this study to end, and neither do I!! That God could work this way in the lives of women who have never met face to face reveals the majesty of our God and the power of His Holy Spirit. He connected hearts from Hawaii to Seattle to Canada to Texas to Panama to Florida to the United Kingdom to Austria to Africa to Malaysia and everywhere in between. Although our study is ending, please do not let it be the end of your daily time with the Lord. You have spent this year nurturing your relationship with the Lord. I encourage you to continue cultivating it by daily reading this love letter written just for you. He has fanned the flame in your heart, now continue to fuel it.

I want to celebrate your hard work with The Great Giveaway. To be eligible to win one of our fun prizes listed below, please share your thoughts to one or more of this week’s questions. I will choose five winners. If you REALLY are drawn to one of the prizes, leave that in your comment as well as your e-mail address so I can contact you.

A Starbuck’s Giftcard

A copy of my dear friend (and INCREDIBLE cook), LeAnn Rice’s cookbook, Sharing Grace

A Proverbs 31 Giftcard

A copy of my book, Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner (to read a sample chapter, click here)

A copy of my new Proverbs Study, All Things Wise and Wonderful: Applying God’s Word to Everyday Life.

My new study will be available soon. Many of you have already e-mailed me about it, and I have you on a waiting list. Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com if you would like would like to learn more.

Below you will find questions to reflect on what you have learned. Please take time this week to prayerfully answer these questions.

Questions for the Week:

1.Paul ends Ephesians chapter six calling his audience to “pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” This refers to praying out of a heart indwelt, illuminated, and filled with the Holy Spirit. Spending time in God’s Word illuminates our hearts and minds with the things of God. It is what teaches us to pray God’s will rather than our own. We learn to “pray” the Bible and plead God’s promises. If you have never done this, here are some hints on how to begin.

a.First Read Romans 8:26-27. Share what this verse speaks to you. Have you ever experienced this in your own life?

b.Invite the Lord to join you as you open the Bible to read His Word. For example pray Jeremiah 29:13 and Jeremiah 33:3: “Lord, You promise that when I seek You with all my heart, I will find You. I want to find you and hear You today. Please reveal to me great and unsearchable Truths and Promises I do not know.”

c.Search the Scriptures, asking God what direction to take in His Word. Perhaps you are struggling with a particular issue. Look for Scriptures addressing that issue in your concordance. For every hurt, burden, trial, need, and circumstance, God has a promise or Truth that speaks to it. Pray from Psalm 119:18: “Lord, open the eyes of my heart that I may see the wonderful Truths and Promises in Your Law.”

d.Write out the verses you find. I challenge you to memorize a few. Pray another verse from Psalm 119:11, “Lord, I am hiding your word in my heart so that I may not sin against you.” God delights to fulfill His Word!! Read the following verses and state the promises:

1. John 15:7

2. John 14:13-14

3. 1 John 5:14-15

4. Ephesians 3:20

2.Read 1 Peter 1:4. Share how this summarizes what we have learned this semester in Ephesians.

3.How will your life change or what will you do differently as a result of the time you have spent in this study, immersed in the book of Ephesians?


Let me close our time together in prayer:

Father, thank You for my salvation. Thank You for the great love You lavish upon me… unconditionally. Thank You that You are my Redeemer and Savior, my Deliverer and Provider, my All in All. Thank You that in You I am a new creation having the mind of Christ.

Today, I pray on Your armor.

Father, strengthen me with Your Helmet of Salvation…the Mind of Christ… so that I can stand against worldly thinking and the lies of the evil one.

Father, cover my heart with the Breastplate of Righteousness. Thank You that Jesus defeated the power of sin at the cross and forgave me of all unrighteousness. Jesus died for me sins; He covered me with His blood, and He made me righteous in Your eyes. There is no greater gift!

Father, gird me with the Belt of Truth. I believe with all my heart that Your Word is Truth and it is that Truth and that Truth alone that sets me free. I choose to believe Your Truth and reject the lies of the evil one. I stand against his temptations, his deception, and his accusations. I only want to hear Your voice.

Father, I put on the Shoes of the Gospel of Peace. Make me ready to march into any battle set before me. Fill me with Your peace and help me live in peace with everyone. I choose to be an instrument of Your peace, and I stand ready to give an account for the faith I have in You today. I choose to always forgive and not harbor anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness in my heart.

Father, I hold up the Shield of Faith. I trust and believe You at Your Word that You are the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Great I AM. You alone are the Author and Perfecter of my faith. I trust You to meet all my needs. I do not have a spirit of fear…but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Finally, Father, I take up the Sword of the Spirit. Jesus is the Word of God living in me. I am Your child. I am filled with Your Spirit. I choose to live my life according Your Word. I choose to believe TRUTH over lies. Pour out Your Truth and Your Spirit over my life. Fill me with all wisdom and understanding. I choose this day to serve You and You alone.

Thank You, Father, for Your mighty weapons. Thank You that You have already won this battle. Thank You that in You I am a VICTOR. Thank You that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Thank You that You who live in me is greater than he who lives in the world. Today I live in complete and utter dependence on You and You alone. Father, fill me with the fullness of Your Spirit. Father, use me to do Your Kingdom work. Father, show me Your Glory!!! I ask all this in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

Since we have She Speaks this weekend, I will not be able to get a post up by Monday morning. So please check back in the middle of next week to learn the winners. I am speaking Friday morning and covet your prayers!

Although our study has ended, I hope you will continue to stop by my blog. I plan to host a Proverbs study, using my new curriculum soon!

Blessings to you,