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Lesson Two: Full-length

A Voice in the Wilderness

Laurie Aker

NOTE: FOR A PDF COPY OF THIS LESSON'S DISCUSSION GUIDE PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE -DISCUSSION GUIDE FOR GROUP OR INDIVIDUAL USE Lesson One: Jesus, I Need You LESSON SUMMARY An intimate relationship with the Lord begins when we trust in Jesus and deepens as we ‘lie down in green pastures,’ when we slow down and take time to be with the Lord in His Word and truly submit to Him. It develops when we stop and make time to listen to God and the truth of His Word and respond to it rather than to all the things in the world calling our names. John the Baptist came to the people of God. He pleaded with them to listen, to turn their hearts from their own ways toward God. Our call is the same. God is calling us to turn from self-absorption, self-sufficiency, and self-righteousness and no matter where we are, to lay everything at His feet. God wants Jesus to be not just a priority but to be THE priority in our lives. He wants Him to be our first love. Let’s ask Him to prepare the way deeper into our hearts. Let’s ask Him to make this more than just a bible study. Let’s believe God, prove His Word, and see Him move mountains before us! Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for this time you have provided for us to come together to hear from you and have fellowship in your Word and to learn and apply your Word to our hearts. We need you, Lord. We need your grace all the time. We praise you for your goodness and your love and mercy. Please open our hearts to you and to one another and lead our discussion. Help us not to fear, but to put all of our hope in Christ. Help us to remember there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. May you be glorified in all our thoughts and words and deeds. In Jesus’ name, Amen I. LECTURE- Will someone share how the Lord used the lecture to speak to your heart? Did anyone have any questions or concerns about the lecture? If you ever have a question or something is unclear, please let us know. We want to serve you in any way we can! II. QUESTIONS FROM THE HOMEWORK- Go through the homework, occasionally calling on women. Read scriptures aloud. After asking a question, remember to allow a brief period of quiet “wait-time” to give women a chance to think before answering. After pausing, if no one shares, go ahead with your answer, rephrase question, and/or move on. DAY ONE 1. Do you want to get yourself out of the way to have more of Christ? How are you going to do this? 2. What we believe directly impacts how we approach the details, decisions, and demands of life. Have you established a daily quiet time with the Lord? If not, what is getting in the way? DAY TWO 3. Please read Matthew 3:1-3. Are you listening to the Lord in His Word? Do you have ears to hear? What, if anything, are you putting above God and His Word? 4. What was John’s message to unbelievers in Matthew 3:1-12? How can this message speak to us as Christians as well? 5. What do you think you can or should do to prepare your heart to make ready the way of the Lord? DAY THREE 6. Read Luke 3:4-6. Do you think our hearts are different than those of the people in the days of John the Baptist? How are they similar? If we are in Christ, how can our hearts be hardened by unconfessed sin? 7. What would the Lord say to you if you asked Him, “If theses things are true, Lord, what shall I do?” If you are to turn toward God and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, what would you need to get rid of in order to truly “clean house” and prepare the way of the Lord? DAY FOUR 8. Read John 1:1-8. What did you learn about the light, darkness, and the Word after reading John 1:1-28? 9. What is the importance of listening intently to the Word and meditating on it in your daily life? Describe how you listen and then bear light from taking in what you hear. 10. What do the people around you see in you? What do they hear from you? What did the Lord reveal to you as you asked Him to penetrate any darkness in your heart with His light? DAY FIVE 11. What similarities do you see between God’s people in the time of Malachi and us today? How have you honored people more than God? 12. Will someone share something they learned about whose voice was being listened to in Question #2? 13. What life changing results are you experiencing from your relationship with Christ? III. PLEASE FILL OUT YOUR HOMEWORK ACCOUNTABILITY CARDS IV. PLEASE RECITE YOUR SCRIPTURE MEMORY VERSES TOGETHER V. TAKING THE TRUTH TO HEART TIME We will now focus on taking God’s truth to our hearts and bringing it to life. James 5:16a states; “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” And 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” Please turn to your Taking the Truth to Heart Review page. We will each have 3 minutes so that every woman will have a chance to share. Please record one another’s confessions on the Taking the Truth to Heart Guide on the following page so you can pray for one another throughout the week. Leaders please set the example by going first. VI. PLEASE CLOSE IN PRAYER

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PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING: Sample lessons and audio/video files (below) are accessible for each study for those who would like to preview a study. Our audio/video resources are meant to be used in conjunction with the study workbooks for a full mentoring and discipleship experience. Due to this, most of our workbooks are password protected; passwords are located in the corresponding workbooks––If you do not have a workbook containing the passwords please contact us at info@thistlebend.org If you do not have a workbook and would like to purchase one today––select the tab "Purchase This Study Today" listed on the previous page. More information about JESUS, I NEED YOU: This introductory-level discipleship study will challenge women to really know Jesus and look to Him in ways they may never have before. Throughout this study, the teachings of Jesus will be unfolded, and participants will be encouraged to put aside the demands of their present-day world and sit at Jesus’ feet so they might truly hear His message. As they learn to listen attentively, their hearts will be pierced by the voice of Jesus in God’s Word. They will come to know His heart and know that they can ask Him for the grace they need to obey Him fully. Be sure to order the companion study, Jesus, I Want to Love You, after completing this study. -Focus Scripture: Matthew 1-5 (with a focus on the Beatitudes) -Length: Eleven weeks -Introductory Level (30-45 min. daily) -Written by Laurie Aker

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Digital Copy and Hard Copy Available

This introductory-level discipleship study will challenge women to really know Jesus and look to Him in ways they may never have before. Throughout this study, the teachings of Jesus will be unfolded, and participants will be encouraged to put aside the demands of their present-day world and sit at Jesus’ feet so they might truly hear His message. As they learn to listen attentively, their hearts will be pierced by the voice of Jesus in God’s Word. They will come to know His heart and know that they can ask Him for the grace they need to obey Him fully. Be sure to order the companion study, Jesus, I Want to Love You, after completing this study.

Supplementary Study Materials

Memory Verses, Syllabus, and Commentary

MEMORY PASSAGE: Matthew 5: 3-17 ESV Lesson 1: vv. 3-4 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Lesson 2: vv. 5-6 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Lesson 3: v. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Lesson 4: vv. 8-9 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Lesson 5: v. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Lesson 6: vv. 11-12 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you Lesson 7: v. 13 You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. Lesson 8: vv. 14-15 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Lesson 9: v. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Lesson 10: Review lessons 1-9