Welcome back! And congratulations – you made it through the first week! It’s a little bit different hosting this online instead of in-person. (Forgive me if I say that same sentiment every week. Hopefully I’ll get used to it eventually!) If you were in my living room, I would make sure that you are all comfy and cozy with coffee or tea or even a glass of wine in the evening. And I would ask how the week was. I just turned around to Josh, who is laying on the couch relaxing from his day, talking about how different this is. And he asked if we were on a chat forum. Which made me think “huh, maybe I should see about doing a webinar-type format where interactive conversation is a little bit more feasible!” I might do it in one of these future weeks. But I also know how far-spread we all are (with one of us even in Wales – hi Cara!). So that might not work out well.
Anyway, you can probably tell that I’m writing this as if I were speaking. So just roll with it and forgive the ramblings!
In an ordinary environment, I would just jump into the week. Going through day by day. Talking our way through Day One. And then Day Two after the first day has been exhausted. All the way through to the end of the week. I’d like to sort of keep the open and free-to-share feel here, though it has to be a little bit more structured just due to the nature of being spread out all over the world!
So I’ll post some questions below – one from each week. Answer if you feel led. Or, simply share what really struck you this week. And then, after you share, comment on other people’s thoughts. Let’s make this an active conversation together, encouraging, supporting, and learning from one another. Feel free to post as many comments as you’d like – you can lump everything together in one comment, or separate thoughts out into multiple. Whatever you think is best!
Thanks so much for being here!
this week in review
My goodness, these verses in Ephesians are a jolt of conviction and reality when you really dig into them, right? Overall, how was it getting to know the Blue Letter Bible website? Do you have any questions about that?
Oh boy – the part about looking over your shoulder before saying something that you shouldn’t? Or regretting later something that just “slipped out”? I wrote those words and I still cringe every time I read them. Because I’m guilty of it! How did you actively and deliberately promote someone else’s holiness this week?
Conviction. It’s something that we know God uses to deal with sin in our lives. And it’s entirely up to us what we do with it. Did the phrase “grieving the Spirit” take on an entirely new meaning for you this week? Feel free to share as specifically or as vaguely as you are comfortable.
I had you read John 15:2 toward the end of the homework, and write the words in your book. I also want you to read it here, from the Amplified Bible:
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
He repeatedly prunes our branches because they repeatedly need pruning! (Aren’t you so thankful for His grace?)
Thinking of the story of the book-loving-pastor who put quite a bit of thought into buying someone a book if he was particularly frustrated with them, how can you apply that to your own special interests? What’s a unique way that you can think of that will go above and beyond to show someone kindness in order to counteract bitterness?
After spending some significant time in prayer this week, did you feel any weight falling off? Any bitterness being sweetened? Unforgiveness being released? I’d love to hear your stories!
a peek at next week
We’re abandoning the New Testament this week in favor of the Old. And you’ll find yourself in a crash-course on getting to know the Tabernacle. Feel a little intimidated? Don’t be! I had a woman who had never opened a Bible before attending a study I previously taught and she hung in like a champ! If she can do it, you can! The introduction this week provides the jungle-vine that will swing you from this week to next, connecting the bitterness-counteracted-with-kindness to the incense-prayers of the Old Testament. And it all starts with Psalm 141.
LORD, I cry out to You; make haste to me! Give ear to my voice when I cry out to You. Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below and replying to other people’s thoughts!
Please Note: In an effort to maintain the security of this website, all comments must be moderated. Because we are all in different time zones, comments might not be approved right away. However, we will get to posting them as soon as we can, as often as we can!