May 15, 2013

Quiet My Anxious Heart Week Two

Wow!  That’s the word that came to mind every time I checked in on my blog this past week.  You girls are AMAZING.  Thank you for the time you have taken to really dig into your homework, for being vulnerable and sharing, for asking hard questions.  And thank you for encouraging and praying for one another and me.  Many of you shared sweet God stories about how He led you here because it’s exactly what you were struggling with and praying for.  I stand amazed at what God has done in just one week knitting hearts together from all over the world through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

You have truly blessed this Bible teacher!!

This week we study the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in John Chapter 11.  So many rich truths and promises  to glean from this story, sweet friends. So, let’s begin!  Below please find my 15 minute Week Two message.

 

Prayer

Heavenly Father, continue to open my eyes and my heart to understand the lessons to be learned from this family of Mary, Martha and Lazarus and to apply them in my own life.  Help me to come to know You better God as You seek to work in my life, especially in the “wait” times.  Sometimes it’s hard to see You in the “wait.”  I want everything now; my prayers answered the way I ask when I ask.  As I open my Bible to study these stories, open my heart fully to receive Your Truth.  Help me to hear Your voice.  Reveal Your character to me.  Give me understanding beyond my years. Tender and humble my heart to see those places in my life where I am not understanding and living in Your ways. I love You, Lord, and thank You in advance for all You will do in my life as I open Your Word and study.

Reading

John 11:1-45

Homework

1. Explain how each sister reacted to the arrival of Jesus after their brother’s death.

 

 

2.. What does this say to you about each woman? What further insight does it give you into their personalities?

 

 

3.  Has Martha changed at all since we last met her in Luke?

 

 

4. How did Jesus respond to each of them? What does this tell you about Jesus?

 

 

5. Why do you think Jesus did not immediately answer the prayers of Mary and Martha?

 

 

a. Do you think Jesus waiting to come until after Lazarus had died changed their opinion of Him during that “wait” time? If yes, how?

 

b. If you had been Mary and Martha waiting on Jesus to come and heal your brother, what would have been going on in your heart as time passed, and He never came or sent word?

 

 

6. Consider times in your life when you have prayed and asked God to intervene, and He has not.

a. Like Mary and Martha, do you wonder where God is, why He has not answered, or why He seems to not be at work? Be honest and share your thoughts.

 

b. What does this story teach you about being in the “wait” with God?

 

 

7. What do the following verses promise us about this in-between time in which we sometimes find ourselves?

 

a. John 16:33

 

b. Romans 5:3-5

 

c. Romans 8:28

 

d. James 1:2-4

 

e. 1 Peter 1:6-7

 

 

8. Like Mary and Martha when they were waiting for Jesus to respond to the message they sent about Lazarus, sometimes we too find ourselves waiting to hear from God. In these times, we wonder if He even hears us; we struggle with trusting Him. We must remember that we are limited by time and space; God is not. We only see our little part of God’s big picture. A current day evangelist, Martha Tennison, said, “We only trust people we know. If you’re struggling to trust God, it may be because you don’t really know Him.”

Has God disappointed you? Have you lost someone you love and cannot understand how He could let that happen? Do you pray the same prayer repeatedly and see no change? Look up the following verses and share what they reveal about God.

a. Psalm 27:1

 

b. Psalm 34:18

 

c. Psalm 100:5

 

d. Psalm 145:8-9

 

9.  Jesus kept using the Word “believe” throughout this entire story.  What was it that Jesus wanted them to believe?  Do you think He got His message across.  If yes, why?

 

 

10. Is there something God is asking you to believe right now?  What is it?  Write a prayer below giving that over to Him. Ask a godly friend to pray with and for you to believe God at His Word in your circumstances.

 

 

If You Want to Go Deeper

11.  We see events from our perspective whereas God sees everything all at once…past, present and future because He “was, is and always will be.”  Should that make a difference to us when we don’t immediately hear from God or receive a quick answer to our prayer?  If it should make a difference, why should it?  How can this knowledge help us be more patient and trusting in the “wait.?”

 

 

 

12. Read Isaiah 55:8 and 1 Corinthians 13:12.  How do these verses speak to being in the “wait?”

 

 

Concluding Thoughts

As we come to the end of this story, at Jesus’ command, the One Who told Martha, “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” a dead man came back to life! Their brother was alive. Their prayers had been answered even more abundantly than they could have thought to ask. Martha  came to understand Jesus in a richer, deeper way through the resurrection of her brother.  She now knew the meaning of Jesus as the Resurrection and the Life in a new way!

In closing, John wrote these powerful words: Therefore, many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in Him.

If Jesus had not had not allowed Lazarus to die, the “many” might not have put their faith in Him.  Lazarus had to die; Mary and Martha had to experience deep grief so that “many” would put their faith in Jesus.

Why do we study this story? Because it reveals what being in God’s wait and what being in God’s Word, listening to His voice, does for us. When you doubt God. When you cannot understand what He is doing. When you question whether He even hears your prayers. Remember this story and God’s faithfulness.  Then, go to His Word. Sit quietly with Him. It’s in His Word that you will find the answers to your questions.

God shows us through stories like these that He never abandons His children. He has not abandoned you. He is at work. He always has a purpose. He always has a plan…a plan much bigger than our circumstances.

Without being in His Word, sweet friends, we won’t know His character. Without knowing His character, we cannot trust Him. It’s critical to sit at the feet of Jesus. It’s at His feet that He prepares our hearts for the difficult times to come and that He speaks Truth into them when they arrive.

I’ll be praying for you this week as you get to know God and Jesus through John’s story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  Please stop by throughout the week and share your thoughts, wisdom and prayers.

Blessings to you,

May 8, 2013

Quiet My Anxious Heart Week One

Welcome to Week One of our Bible Study!  I am excited this day has finally arrived.  If you are visiting from my Encouragement for Today devotion, we are so glad you stopped by.  We would love to have you join us for our newest  study. For more information on the study and  to sign up, visit my last post by clicking here.

I have been praying for our time together and have prayed over our subscription list.  Oh how I wish we could all meet! We have over 9000 women signed up for our on-line studies, women from all over the United States and the world!  What an amazing group of women God has gathered here in HIS name! My heart is so full at the thought of what God is going to do over the next few weeks.  Please know how grateful I am to have you join me. I know there are many wonderful Bible teachers and studies available on the Internet.  Thank you for choosing to spend time here with us.  I am trusting God to do a mighty work in and through our time together!!

Instructions.

This study runs for three weeks.  Each week includes a video lesson, a reading assignment, a prayer and homework questions.  Each video will be about 15 minutes.

Each week’s lesson will be up all week so that you can do it on your own time.  Please stop by throughout the week to leave a comment and read the comments left by women participating in the study with you.  Remember if you want to receive the homework in your inbox, you’ll need to subscribe to my web site.  To subscribe, visit the top right side of my blog and look for “Subscribe to Updates.”  By subscribing, you’ll receive each week’s lesson in your inbox.  If you want to see the video, you will have to visit my web site directly.  To get to the web site from your e-mail, click on the title of the post.  It will take you directly there.

Let’s begin, sweet friends!  Below find my first message from God’s heart to my heart to yours.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, as I begin this study, open my eyes and my heart not only to understand this tale of two sisters but also to bring me into a deeper understanding of the woman You created me to be. God, I know how often I fail to give You first priority. I allow the busyness in my life to push You aside. Yet, I also know how I long for peace and rest. I want to hear Your voice and feel Your Presence, but I can’t amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As I open my Bible to study these stories, please reveal the places in my heart that keep me from hearing You speak. Tender my heart to uncover the root of my busyness. Reveal the places in my heart that are entangled with the things of this world and free them so that I can grow deeper in my relationship with You. Give me a heart to serve like Martha, balanced with a heart to worship like Mary. Please help me to truly know how wide and high and deep and long is Your love. Help me to live out that love in all my relationships. Fill me so full that I am overflowing with Your love and Your presence. I love You, Lord, and thank You in advance for all You will do in my life as I open Your Word and study.

Reading

Luke 10:38-42

Homework

1.  Deuteronomy 6:5 says to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  What does it look like to love God

…with all your heart?

 

…with all your soul?

 

…with all your mind?

 

….with all your strength?

 

2.  Do you spend time with Jesus in His Word?  If so, how often?  If you don’t spend time in God’s Word each day, what keeps you from doing so?

 

 

3.  Which sister do you relate to the most and why

 

 

4.  Reread Luke 10:38-42.   Share at least two things you learn about each sister from this passage?

 

 

5.  Describe their relationship with Jesus.

 

 

6.   Martha wanted  Jesus to tell Mary to help her serve their guests.  Write Martha’s words in Luke 10:40 below.

 

a. In what ways are Martha’s feelings natural and somewhat understandable?

 

b. What do her words say about her personality and her heart?

 

 

7.  What were Jesus’words to Martha?   If you had been Martha, how would Jesus’ words have made you feel?

 

 

8.  In your life, with what are you busying yourself that keeps you from sitting at the feet of Jesus?

 

 

9.  Do you struggle with anxiety and worry on a consistent basis?

 

a. If not, what do you do to keep from struggling with anxiety?

 

b.  If yes, what causes your anxiety?  How do you deal with it?

 

c.  If you struggle with anxiety, does it  spill over into your everyday life?  If so, share ways it manifests itself (sleeplessness, moodiness, temper flares, impatience, headaches, stomach aches, etc).

 

10.  Read Proverbs 3:5-6 and Philippians 4:6-7.

a.  How do these passages speak to anxiety and worry?

 

b.  If you follow the commands in these passages, what is God’s promised result?

 

 

11. Martha opened her home to Jesus, her Messiah and a man she greatly loved and respected. She wanted everything to be just right and wanted everyone to feel welcome and at home. Standing alone, these were admirable traits. But when they became a distraction in her relationships, they were not.  Jesus loved Martha and through His response to her questions, helped Martha understand this. Please understand that Jesus was not telling Martha to be like Mary. He created Martha and loved her exactly the way He created her. Jesus words expressed concerned with her choices. She allowed her gift of hospitality to become a duty and a distraction. What happened to take Martha’s serving to a level that displeased Jesus?

 

 

12.  Jesus said, “Only one thing is needed” and “Mary has chosen what is better.”

a.  What did Jesus mean when He said only one thing is needed?

 

b.  Why is it the “better” way?

 

c. Read Psalm 46:10 and Psalm 62:1.  According to the psalmist, why do we need to spend time alone with God?

 

d. Applying the biblical truths we have learned today, what do you need to change in your life to choose this better way?  Write a prayer of commitment to give up or change at least one thing to follow Jesus’ command to Martha to choose what is better.

 

 

13.  Sweet friend, Jesus LONGS to spend time with you.  Read Zephaniah 3:17.  What does it say?  How does this make you feel?  Remember these words as you take time to sit at the feet of Jesus.

 

 

14.  Mary’s story invites us to sit at the feet of Jesus.  This week take time each day to sit quietly with Jesus.  If it is your first time to commit to quiet time, take just a few minutes, maybe five, and read from God’s Word something fresh and new. Maybe begin in the Psalms or read from the book of John.  If you are a woman who has walked for a time with the Lord, I encourage you to go deeper still in your time with God. Lengthen the time you spend in the Word or extend your prayer time.

 

If You Want to Go Deeper

15. Read Psalm 63:1 and  Psalm 42:1-2.  List the verbs used to describe the author’s feelings for God.  Do you feel this way about God?  What creates these kind of feelings within us?

 

16. Read Luke 18:18-25.  What did the rich young ruler ask Jesus?  What did Jesus answer in verse 20?

 

a.  The rich young ruler replied that he had obeyed all those commandments since he was a small child.  Jesus replied and told him there was one thing he had not done.  What did Jesus tell him?

 

b.  What was the rich man’s response?

 

c. Why did Jesus ask this of him?  How does Jesus answer speak to you personally about your treasures and what you value and how it all ties back to sitting at the feet of Jesus?

 

Concluding Thoughts

As you sit with Jesus, open your heart completely and let Him fill you with all the fullness He has to offer.  Pray this sweet prayer written by my friend Bobbie Wolgemuth, taken from her Bible Study for Moms, God’s Wisdom for a Mother’s Heart.  

Your Word, Lord, is the bread of life, it’s the light to my path, and it’s my instruction from Your Spirit.  Yet I don’t always make time to open my Bible and listen for what You want to say to me through a specific passage.  Please make me hungry for Your Word, so hungry that I don’t want to miss a day!  I ask this in Jesus’ name.  AMEN. (p. 19)

To learn more about the Study and Bobbie’s Mother’s Bible, click here..  And if you would like to meet Bobbie and hear her powerful testimony she shared during my visit to her house a few months ago, click here.

Nurture your heart this week.  I will be praying for you…for God to show up in very real and personal ways as you sit at His feet. Please stop by throughout the week and share your thoughts on your homework, your intentional quiet time, and what God is speaking to your heart.  I can’t wait to hear what God is doing!

Blessings,

May 1, 2013

An Invitation to Our Newest On-Line Study

If you are visiting from Sharon Glasgow’s Encouragement for Today Devotion, welcome!  I am so glad you stopped by.

Today I’m posting this video invitation as a reminder that our new on-line Bible study, Quiet My Anxious Heart, begins one week from today!  As I said earlier, announcing new studies is one of my favorite parts of being a Bible teacher.  So that makes today one of my favorite days!

Our new on-line study will begin May 8th and run for three weeks.  There is no cost for the study.  You need your Bible, a computer and a journal or notebook.  It is shorter than most of my studies, but it will be packed full of wonderful lessons gleaned from the lives of two of the most beloved women in the Bible…Mary and Martha.  We will follow the two sisters as they meet with Jesus on three separate occasions.  Of course, we will begin with the most well-known story of Mary and Martha where Jesus reprimands Martha for being “too busy.”

To learn more about the study, please read the description below and watch the short five minute video:

Quiet My Anxious Heart:  Learning to Sit at the Feet of Jesus

God longs for a personal intimate relationship with us. He waits patiently for us to come to Him.  But like Martha, often we are too busy. We spend our days attempting to be everything to everyone. In the busyness of life, we find it hard to hear God’s voice or even know if He is speaking at all. Join me and discover how to choose what is “better” – receiving the unspeakable joy and peace that comes from sitting at the feet of Jesus. In this three week study I will  …

  • share practical tools on how to have an effective daily quiet time with God.
  • teach you how to read God’s Word in a way that will make it applicable to your every day life.
  • impart principles that will renew your mind with God’s Truths
  • leave you with a Thirty Day challenge to apply what you have learned.

I am so looking forward to meeting here with you each week to discover what God has to teach us through the lives of these two amazing women.

I have prayed for every woman God will bring to this study.  I hope you are one of those women!  To register, simply visit the right side of my blog and click on “Sign up for Wendy’s On-Line studies.”  Place your e-mail address in the box and click “subscribe.”  Doing this registers you for this study and ensures you will receive invitations for all future studies.  If you have registered for an on-line study in the past, you do not need to re-register.

If you would like to receive the weekly posts for the on-line study in your inbox, visit the side of my blog again.  At the top of this sidebar, you will see ”Subscribe to Updates.”  Place your e-mail address in the box and click “Go.”  Each week you will receive an e-mail with the post for the week.  It is important to note that to view the video, you will need to visit the web site directly.  You may do so by clicking on the title of the post in the e-mail.

All registration information you share stays confidential.

And please share this study with your friends.  We have placed a button on the side of the blog that you can grab if you want to share this study on your blog.  Simply copy and paste the link.

Also, if you have not joined Wendy’s Street Team, we now have a link on the right side of the blog that says, “Join Wendy’s Street Team.”  This Team will be an important part in helping participate in and promote my new Bible study that will be published by Thomas Nelson in February 2014.  To learn more or to sign up, simply click where it says “Click Here.”  I will share lots more about the new Bible study in weeks and months to come!

****I also want to announce the winner of Jill Beran’s book, Letters From LeAnne:

Ashley who posted on April 23rd at 1:38 pm

Congratulations!  Please send me an e-mail with your full name and mailing address so Jill can send you your book. ****

Blessings to you,