A Wise Woman Builds Her House…On The Rock
About This Study
Over the next 16 weeks we will be working through the workbook, A Wise Woman Builds Her House by Erin Thiele. I hold a copyright release from Erin Thiele for this book and will be printing a greater portion of it, but you don’t. Therefore copying this material in any form is illegal. I recommend buying the workbook. I have worked through it several times since I first bought it many years ago. Each time I write in new notes. As we grow or our situations change we see different things in the text and need to work through different things. And sometimes we regress and need a reminder of what is the right thing to do.
Just a note: moving this to the blog I made spelling and grammar corrections without changing any of the intended content in the book. I’m sure Erin has corrected these in the years since I first bought the book, but just be aware that there are these minor differences. I also changed the format a little to make it easier to read on the computer. This does not affect the content, just the ease of reading.
Who Should Work Through This Study?
This study is intended for women only. I respectfully ask men to not read this study. If you desire to work through a similar study aimed at men, please get the companion book for men entitled A Wise Man Builds Upon A Rock Workbook. Being a woman, I have not read it and cannot speak to the contents.
I will be printing one chapter a week, on Saturday morning. This allows those who have more time over the weekend to start working on it during the weekend. Others who want to work through a bit every day during the week can do that too. There are 16 Chapters, so we will working through this over 16 weeks.
“For My People Perish for a Lack of Knowledge”
On the Rock
Therefore everyone who hears these Words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. —Matthew 7:24
Is your life built upon the rock? Are you sure? For God’s Word says that the rains are going to come. They may be in the form of a financial crisis, the death of a loved one, unfaithfulness, betrayal, health problems, or a wayward child. Will you be able to endure a crisis? “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26–27).
Ladies, it is time for all of us to rebuild our lives firmly on the Rock of Jesus Christ—His Word.
We women love to go to Bible studies and to a multitude of seminars. Don’t we? We tirelessly saturate ourselves with more and more studying, yet our lives and our homes are chaotic and crumbling. Most of the men in our lives are so preoccupied with hobbies, sports, and their jobs that they spend little or no time studying God’s Word for themselves, nor do they desire intimacy with the Lord. “For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:6–8).
The ways of the world, which have penetrated the church and her teachings, will only guarantee the sinking of our hopes and plans for our future. Do you really know what God’s Word says to you as a woman, a daughter, a wife, or as a mother? Have you read God’s blueprint (found in the Bible) and modeled your life after them? Do you know what God says about every area of your life so you, too, can share His opinion and build your life on them?
Christians enjoy the messages from a pastor, Christian radio, or Christian television shows that fire us up for the Lord, but what about those messages that bring about real conviction? Do you run from or embrace the Truth? A lot of our preachers and speakers today feel they need to draw large crowds for financial reasons so they tell their congregation or listeners what they want to hear to bring in the largest crowds and the greatest offerings for their ministries. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
Jesus warned us of spiritual leaders who would try to deceive us. “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits . . .” (Matt. 7:15-16). We can see the financial fruits of many ministries, yet most of their followers are perishing for a lack of knowledge. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge . . .” (Hos. 4:6). When you listen to the most popular Christian speakers, are you sure their information is based on Scripture, or is it based on psychology and the ideas of man? Do you even know the difference? “‘The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My Word speak My Word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?’ declares the LORD” (Jer. 23:28). Are you able to discern grain from straw?
“My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD, or loathe His reproof; for whom the LORD loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights. How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold” (Prov. 3:11-14). If you heard a strong message entitled “The Power of Submission,” or “Are You a Contentious Woman?,” or “Winning a Husband Without a Word,” would you embrace the message enthusiastically or run away from the Truth?
Do you know the difference between condemnation and conviction? Satan brings condemnation or guilt to weigh heavily on us—thoughts that make us feel hopeless. The Lord, however, lovingly convicts us in our spirit in order to show us the things in our life that need changing.
Did you know that very often it is God, not the enemy, who brings calamity (which is defined as “a disastrous situation or even; misery or distress resulting from a disastrous event”) into our lives to strengthen our relationship with Him? It was God who brought the many trials into Jonah’s life to bring about obedience, and it was the Lord who blinded Saul in order to change him into the apostle Paul. “That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the LORD who does all these” (Isa. 45:6–8).
My ways, My thoughts
What is written in the following lessons may seem foreign to you. Many of these truths are rarely, if ever, preached from the pulpit, discussed on Christian radio, or written about in Christian books. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:9). These teachings are found easily in Scripture, but are often overlooked, watered down, or taken out of context to justify an opposing view or even to justify sin. “Every Word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His Words, lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar” (Prov. 30:5-6).
A broken and a contrite heart
Is your heart broken and contrite? It must be to receive the Truth. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:17). Your broken heart is the fertile ground that the Lord says will produce much fruit. “Hear then the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the Word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. And the one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the Word, and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the Word, immediately he falls away. And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the Word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the Word, and it becomes unfruitful. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the Word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matt. 13:18-23).
Did not hear it
“But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it; and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matt. 13:16-17). You will need an “ear to hear,” which means listening and desiring to gain the complete wisdom that the Bible has to offer.
Meditates day and night
You will need to renew your mind to line it up with what God says about everything. Most rely on what is popular according to the world’s standards or follow the so-called “experts” in a particular field. Let’s never forget that God is our Creator. Would He not know how to deal with every circumstance or relationship He created? “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1:2-3).
Thy Word is Truth
The enemy will often try to tempt you into rejecting what is written in this workbook. He may try to cause division by getting you to think or say that you do not agree with the author. First, it doesn’t matter what this author is writing or saying. All that matters is what God says, since He is the Author and Creator of life. That’s why you must read each and every Scripture so you know what God is saying.
Secondly, we must remember that the enemy will try to discourage you, and division is one of his favorite tactics. If you don’t believe what is written in these lessons, you have three choices: 1) You could talk to someone you know will agree with you. 2) You could just take what you want and pass over the rest like a food bar. Or 3) you could search the Truth. “Sanctify them in the Truth; Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17). Please choose to search for Truth. The Truth is nothing to fear; instead, it will set you free. “If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Again, if you question any of this material, I urge you to seek the Word to find the Truth.
Seek and you shall find
“But seek first His kingdom, and these things shall be added to you” (Luke 12:31). “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Use your concordance; allow the Lord to guide you into all truth. Memorize a verse and ruminate on it over and over in your mind. Then one day it will be as if the light is turned on in a dark room; you will know the Truth! Is it worth the effort? Do you have time? “So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12). If we seek Him first, He promises that everything else will be given to us—what a wonderful promise!
Hunger and thirst
If we are believers, if we are Christians, followers of Christ, then our purpose on earth is to glorify God in all that we do. Isn’t that what Jesus did with His life? And, if we call ourselves Christians, we are supposed to be followers of Christ. But are we? How do we follow Christ? Maybe you’ve tried to follow Christ many times before, but you stumbled and were unable to go on. If you can open your heart to God and continue to read the Scriptures that are found in the following lessons, His Word will cause you to hunger and thirst for Him and His Truths. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied” (Matt. 5:6). “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God” (Ps. 42:1). What a wonderful way to feel about the Lord and His Word!
God’s Holy Scriptures will be the most important Words on the following pages; please do not skip them. His Word heals. “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). His Word is the light that will illuminate the darkness. “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path” (Ps. 119:105). His Word is Truth. “The sum of Thy Word is Truth, and every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting” (Ps. 119:160).
Just do it!
Once you begin to understand and accept God’s Truths, you must then become a doer of the Word. “For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was” (James 1:23-24). You must put action behind what you have learned, or there will never be any change in your life!
Zealous for what is good?
Let this thought be prevalent in your mind: this workbook was written by a zealot (a fanatic). I got that way when I was backed into a corner in my life. I got that way when I was sinking and looking for something or Someone to save me. “But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matt. 14:30). I got that way when I saw a real void in my life that made my heart and my gut ache because I desperately needed that void filled. If this is where you are in your life, then you, too, will become a zealot. Embrace and obey His Word zealously—enthusiastically!
Zealous teachings need zealous obedience. “And who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good?” (1 Pet. 3:13). “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19). Jesus called for that kind of zealous obedience while He walked on earth. How can you get more zealous than this: “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell” (Matt. 18:8). I’d say these are very zealous instructions from our Lord.
Come, follow Me
“And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words, his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’” (Mark 10:21-23). Are we like the rich man, unwilling to follow Jesus because we are afraid of what He might ask us to give up? How many times has He called you, but you were all tied up with the things of this world so you chose not to follow Him? Don’t miss it now—He is calling your name. You have no earthly idea how much He longs for you!!
Lay aside every encumbrance
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us . . .” (Heb. 12:1). “The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand. Let us, therefore, lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12). “. . . in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit . . .” (Eph. 4:22). You must immediately make changes in your life and commit yourself to following Jesus Christ. When will be the next time He calls you? Could this be your last opportunity? Now ponder this sobering verse: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). Make every moment, every day, count.
For those of you who are convinced that you have a happy life and stable home, this workbook may be too zealous since there is nothing motivating you to change. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Rev. 3:15-16). God spits out the lukewarm Christian. Are you on fire for Him? What does He need to do in your life to move you toward Him and His Word? I know what it took for me and most of the members of our Restoration Fellowship!
Poor in spirit
Those who are poor have nothing; therefore, it is easier for them to leave everything to follow Him and His Word. “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). Are you spiritually bankrupt? “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). If you were financially bankrupt, you’d certainly be diligently praying to be able to pay your bills so that you and/or your family would be fed. But what about the spiritual food that you need to share with your children or others who don’t know the Lord who are all around you?
Built his house upon the sand
Let’s face it, many of us have built our house on the sinking sand of the world’s values. We seek after everything our Lord Jesus Christ lived and preached against! You know it’s only a matter of time before your house of cards falls. We’ve seen the signs; we’ve seen other Christians fall. What makes you think you will remain standing when adversity strikes? The women who find and read this workbook whose houses have already fallen, “and great was its fall,” really have the advantage. Since they have nowhere to live, they pick up the pieces of rubble and begin rebuilding. They have no choice to make; God made it for them. “And everyone who hears these Words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house, and it fell, and great was its fall” (Matt. 7:26-27). Begin to rebuild your house, step-by-step, board-by-board, upon the rock of Jesus Christ. Use His Word alone as your blueprints. Let this workbook motivate you and help illuminate those areas that pertain to the circumstances and situations of your life that need to be changed.
Do not be afraid of them—remember the Lord
Expect ridicule and mocking as you begin to rebuild your life. Read the entire fourth chapter of Nehemiah for motivation and preparation. “And he spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men . . . ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble, even the burned ones? . . . Even what they are building—if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!’” (Neh. 4:2).
Highlight in your Bible the passages in Nehemiah that explain what the Jews did to overcome those who tried to stop them. First, they prayed when others began to ridicule them and God gave them direction along with “a mind to work.” Next, they set up a defense, day and night. They were also aware of their weak points and set up extra defense in those positions. Sounds a bit like war, doesn’t it? For more on the spiritual warfare that you are facing daily, see lesson 5, “Won Without a Word,” for “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge . . .” (Hos. 4:6).
The leaders also had to fight against the fear of those they were leading. You will need to be spiritually strong to encourage your children or weaker Christians you are discipling when they begin to fear. “When I saw their fear, I rose and spoke to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people: ‘Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses’” (Neh. 4:14). Ultimately, the enemy saw that it was God who fought on Israel’s side. Our enemy, and those who are working for him, will also see the Lord if our “struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
Counsel you with My eye
Will you continue through the following lessons with the zealous commitment needed? We are not able to make the changes ourselves. We are sinners; our righteousness is nothing but filthy rags. However, when we allow God to work in us and through us, He will begin to make the changes from deep within us. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, otherwise they will not come near to you” (Ps. 32:8-9).
According to His purpose
The Lord comes to us at the exact time of our need. He allows us to come to the turning points in our lives (through various trials) to learn dependence upon Him. It’s during the times of distress that we seek Him, and then He lets us find Him. It’s only during brokenness that real lifelong changes are made. We can praise Him in all things because we have the assurance “that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
We can see from this passage in Romans that our goal must be according to His purpose. What then is His purpose for our lives? Most of us are familiar with Romans 8:28, but to really understand His purpose we must continue reading. “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” (Rom. 8:29-31).
Do your deeds deny Him?
Do you truly love Him enough to obey Him, even as a zealot? Are we more concerned with our purpose or His purpose in each situation in our lives? Where is your heart? Many times when a trial comes into our lives, we obey in order to comfort or protect ourselves from whatever is hurting us. Then if the trial or suffering continues, we begin to see the need for a more permanent change. We develop an insight, which reveals the reason(s) why God has allowed the trial. Possibly, it is for our salvation or the salvation of a loved-one; but, certainly, the trial is for our sanctification so our deeds will no longer denying Him as our Savior. “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16).
My heart of stone
As we look forward to the day of our glorification, God encourages us to be zealous in our prayer lives. He wants us to get to the point of truly crying out to Him, then crying out for Him. When will you come to this point? Will you cry out in a time of frustration or must you get to the point of losing someone or something you love? Maybe it is merely the threat of losing someone that will bring you to that point. We must ask ourselves, how hard is my heart? “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). Are you willing to ask God for this heart change, “whatever it takes”? The Lord said that if you will only ask, you will receive. “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).
Hardens his neck
If we are truly Christians, followers of Christ, then we will yearn to be closer to Him. Do you yearn for Him? Or do you, instead, surround yourself with things that deaden that desire? If so, you are not a Christian on fire for God, but a backslider. “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways…” (Prov. 14:14). Have you had your fill or must you be broken? “A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy” (Prov. 29:1).
Broken and contrite heart
You may tell yourself that you do so much for the Lord; you spend so much time in the church nursery or heading up various committees. You think this is real sacrifice and this proves that you are in right standing with God. “For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it . . . The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:16).
Sorrowful to the point of repentance
In order to repent and turn away from the lukewarm life we are living, we must be sorrowful. “I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, in order that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
Destroying speculations and every lofty thing
What is separating you from the knowledge of God? What keeps you from reading His Word daily? Spending time with Him alone before running off? If God is not first in your life, what or who is: you family, your job, crafts, or is it television and entertainment? What keeps you so busy each day that prevents you from even giving God a second thought or a moment of your precious time? “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (2 Cor. 10:5-6).
Lay aside every encumbrance
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12:1–3).
Confess your sins to one another
Those who have allowed themselves to become convicted while reading this chapter, I know, are now ready to allow change into their lives. If you are ready, begin by confession. “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16). If you are not broken, you will probably put this book down now or continue to read it just to prove to yourself that you are the good Christian you claim or believe yourself to be. However, what matters is what you will be missing if you refuse to open your heart and life to change. Don’t miss what God has for you! He loves you and longs to be gracious to you!!
Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal
This workbook was written by someone who was completely broken. God often uses people in our lives to break us. It may be just an annoyance at first; then, it escalates into complete frustration. Do we turn to Him at that point or do we instead harden our hearts or our necks? God is trying to change us, to mold us, to make us new in Him. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Pet. 4:12).
Usually we don’t like the situation, and we definitely do not like the person who God uses to bring the trials and frustrations into our lives because we can’t see that God is behind it. We become bitter and angry with the person or circumstances He uses. First we try to change the relationship, and when that doesn’t work, we try to break the relationship; only to find the same trails and frustrations follow us to the next relationship. Dear believer, it is the Lord who is trying to turn us, gently at first, but then a little more firmly. (See lesson 10, “Various Trials,” for “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you . . .” (Hos. 4:6).
Removed lover and friend
God very often must remove a friend or someone we love in order to place Himself first in our lives. We may be in a terrible relationship, a cold marriage, or even be separated or divorced. Our children, or our parents, or closest friends may not be speaking to us. Possibly our brothers or our sisters may not be communicating with us either. “Thou hast removed lover and friend far from me; My acquaintances are in darkness” (Ps. 88:18). “Thou hast put me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the depths. Thy wrath has rested upon me, and Thou hast afflicted me with all Thy waves. *Selah. Thou hast removed my acquaintances far from me; Thou hast made me an object of loathing to them; I am shut up and cannot go out” (Ps. 88:6-8).
*Selah is found often in the book of Psalms to ask the reader to ponder and think over what has just been read. Obey this command by pondering what the Psalmist has written. Reread it if you need to. Don’t be in such a hurry that you miss the deeper meaning.
They shall see God
How can I see the Lord? First, you must have a born-again experience; then, He will begin internal purification. If we do not understand God’s ways, we will become discouraged and many doubts will creep into our minds. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). God wants to be first in our lives. (See the next lesson, “Your First Love,” for “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge . . .” (Hosea 4:6).) He wants our lives to reflect Jesus Christ.
They were radiant
Do you want to reflect the love and radiance of the Lord? Right now, my sweet sister in Christ, is your chance; don’t miss it. Don’t turn away; do it now. Turn to Him and to Him alone. Do it right now! “They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces shall never be ashamed” (Ps. 34:5). Have you checked your countenance lately? Has it fallen? “Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and it’s desire is for you, but you must master it’” (Gen. 4:6). How are you doing? If you are not doing well then God says, “sin is crouching at the door.” Perhaps, you’ve already let sin in. Then pray this now: “Whatever it takes to soften my heart to your lessons, Lord, do it!”
Hearer of the Word and not a doer
At the end of each lesson, there will be homework, a study guide or discussion questions, a test and/or a practical application. “For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:23-24).
Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned
In order to rebuild upon the Rock, we need to acknowledge our sinfulness before God. Unless we understand that we are sinners, we cannot take another step. As you read this lesson, were you made aware of your sin or did you make excuses or blame others? My beloved, if you are imitating the world by rationalizing your sins or faults and making excuses for what you do, while at the same time quickly pointing out to others (especially your husband, parents, or children) their sin and shortcomings, you most certainly are headed for spiritual death. Instead of looking at others who have fallen in certain areas, take a hard look at yourself.
If you are under strong conviction, please stop now, get alone with God, and ask the Holy Spirit to show you and convict you of your sinfulness before God. Ask Him to reveal your offenses and whom you have offended. Begin by praying this prayer:
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.”
“Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be converted to Thee. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, Thou God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise. For Thou dost not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; Thou art not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise” (Ps. 51:1-17).
Confess your sins
Once we confess our sins before God, then we may need to admit we have fallen short and confess our faults to one another. Again, if your conscience is seared, you will minimize your sin, and you will never have victory over it in your life! “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (James 5:16).
His Word healed them
It is God’s Word that will change and heal us. “He sent His Word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). We must begin to renew our minds. Use 3×5 cards and write down the verses from this lesson that have brought about the greatest conviction in your heart. Then, do the same with each of the following lessons. Keep these cards with you, like in your purse, and bring them out regularly as the Holy Spirit prompts you. If you are not being prompted, pray that you will be.
We must not operate in the flesh. We must work “with God,” move in His direction, and use His Spirit to do what we ought. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). “Looking upon them, Jesus said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God’” (Mark 10:27). “But He said, ‘The things impossible with men are possible with God’” (Luke 18:27). Any other plan will eventually wear us out and cause us to give up. “For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:8). Operating in the flesh will only bring about a temporary external change versus a permanent internal change. “. . . for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are NOT seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). Just give God each and every area of your life that you are currently struggling with.
A righteous man falls
Be aware that stumbling and failure will come, but you must get back up. “For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again . . .” (Prov. 24:16). Everyone will fall, but what you do when you fall divides the righteous from the unrighteous! The entire tenth lesson of this book is dedicated to making us keenly aware of the trials of Christian life. But for now, let us be aware that we may be held with the cords of our sin until we hate the sin so much that we will cry out to God continually to be forever delivered from these temptations. “His own iniquities will capture the wicked, and he will be held with the cords of his sin” (Prov. 5:22). Again, we must work “with God,” knowing full well that He knows best. “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker—An earthenware vessel among the vessels of earth! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’” (Isa. 45:9).
Boast about my weaknesses
And finally, once we “through Christ” have gained the sweet victory, we must share our testimonies with all those whom God brings into our lives. Some find it easy to share what the Lord has done in their lives, others fail to share their shortcomings and God’s grace with anyone; it is their little secret with the Lord. Without a doubt, God will bring women into your life that will open a door for you to share what the Lord has done for you. “. . . but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence . . .” (1 Pet. 3:15). Will you open your mouth? “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long” (Ps. 32:1, 3). Let us retrain our lips to share God’s power over sin by humbling ourselves and boasting about our weaknesses. “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Let the Power of Christ Dwell in Me . . . Amen and Amen!
Personal commitment: to begin to build or rebuild my home on the Rock.
“Based on what I have learned from God’s Word, I commit to confess my lukewarmness toward Christ and to take the proper steps to renew my mind. I commit to allow the Lord to work through me so that I may gain the sweet victory over my sinful life. I also commit to give God the praise and honor He deserves by sharing my testimony with others.”
The material that you have just read and will be reading should not to be shown or discussed with your husband if you are married. This is not just a suggestion, but rather a requirement. Many destructive results have occurred to marriages and/or to the women who have unknowingly or willfully shared and discussed the information learned. I naively shared this information with my husband who was used by the enemy to throw all that was written in my face. The same occurred with other women who wanted to do the right thing. They had a pure heart and wanted share what they have learned in humility and their husbands inadvertently used it against them to beat them down. Make a commitment, before continuing with this material, to win your husband “without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe (our) chaste and respectful behavior” (1 Pet. 3:2).
If you are wondering how you can possibly resist the temptation to tell your husband all that you are learning, let me give you the escape. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Cor. 10:13).
Instead, share this material, each concept, and each lesson, with as many women, younger or older, as you can find until you have gotten it all out of your system. As you begin to live these lessons in your home “without a word,” your husband may quite possibly ask you what has caused you to change. At that point, you may tell him briefly, “I have been reading a workbook for women; there is also a men’s manual. If you are interested, it is available free on their site” end of conversation.
Personal commitment: To share this material only with other women.
“Based on what I have just read, I commit to sharing this material only with other women. I also commit to remaining quiet and will not leave this material around for my husband to accidentally or intentionally read. If my husband does inquire as to the positive change in me, I commit to be ready with the above statement only.”
His Word healed them.
It is God’s Word that will change and heal us. “He sent His Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20). Therefore, we must begin to renew our minds.
- 3×5 cards. On 3×5 cards, write down the verses from this lesson (and the following lessons) that have brought about the greatest conviction and passion for more of God in your heart. I wrote down several verses on each card and hold them together with a rubber band. Keep these cards in your purse and bring them out regularly as the Holy Spirit prompts you. If you are not being prompted, pray and ask God to remind you.
- If you do not notice a change in the way you’re thinking, or you are not healing in a particular area, then it is important that you pray for the Lord to reveal what is blocking your healing. Sometimes it’s wise to seek the counsel of an older woman. Often, when I have had an opportunity to confess a weakness, fear, or unconfessed sin, I finally experience a breakthrough!
Share the wisdom from this lesson with one other woman who seems to be searching for Truth. Write her name on this line.
May God bless you as you ponder and implement the Scripture quoted above.