Chapter 1


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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Welcome

   These studies guides are designed for you to print and study at your leisure.  Learning about the special truths of God's word as they apply specifically to the widow will be an encouragement to your heart.  Please feel free to share them with others and maybe they will be a tool for you to use in small groups as well.  

    If you click on the topic you want from the index below it will take you directly to that section.

     

 

Study on Identity in Christ

 

Study on Healthy and Unhealthy Guilt

 

Study on Forgiveness and Reconciliation

 

Study on Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Passion

 

Study on Role as Ambassadors for Christ can be found in Chapter 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Widow for a Season Studies

Study on Identity in Christ

 

What you believe about yourself defines who you are.

What you know and believe about God will determine who you become.

 

This definition is often complicated by where few get our sense of worth.  Our sense of worth may come from the roles we play, i.e. with spouse, children, friends, and extended family.  Since these are all variables out of our control, we are on dangerous ground if these are truly the source of our self-esteem and worth.

 

We must work to understand the identity we have as assigned by God, based on how He sees us and based on the purposes for which He has taken hold of us (Philippians 3:8-14)

 

This is what we mean by our identity in Christ.

 

Many times who we perceive that we are will center around the physical/ earthly life around us.

 

QUESTION:

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How would you identify yourself?

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What variable roles play a part in that definition?

 

Philippians 3:8 – Paul was a man of position

   The truth about Jesus caused Paul’s life in terms of his identity and mission to completely turn around (Acts 9).

 

Adam and Eve used their truth to go the opposite way – they chose to believe that they would not die if they ate the fruit (Satan’s lie), instead of the truth of God that said they would.

From these examples we can see that believing in God is very different from believing God!  (We can choose to believe in Him and at the same time not believe Him).

 

Philippians 3:9

   Another critical factor in our identity is what we believe about our own sin. 

 

QUESTION:

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Are we sinners or are we righteous?

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What is righteousness?

 

Define:

1.  Sin – James 1:14-15

    John 16:9-11

James 2:10 says that we are guilty of the whole law even if we stumble in just one part.  Only the Holy Spirit can create a healthy guilt as our hearts are convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment. 

 

GUILT -- The one we allow to accuse us of wrongdoing will be  

                the one who ultimately controls us.  Healthy guilt is 

                created by the Holy Spirit, but unhealthy guilt is 

                created when we allow others to “make us feel guilty” 

                over disappointments or expectations they have for 

                 us.  When the Holy Spirit convicts us we are directed 

                 to a godly sorrow that results in confession and 

                 repentance toward God.  When we allow others to 

                 “make us feel guilty” they and not God ultimately 

                 control us.

 

We must identify our sin, but not let our sin identify 

us!

 

2.  Righteousness – 2 Corinthians 5:21/ Righteousness is man  

                                 without sin

Now go back and look at Philippians 3:9 (our righteousness is from God through faith)

 

Abraham was righteous as an heir of the promise of God (3:7, 29)

 

             I can only feel righteousness if I believe that I am  

             righteous

·        Psalms 32:1-4

·        Psalms 51:1-13

 

Apply:

Genesis 15:1-6/ especially verse 6 – believing God=righteousness

Romans 4:20-24 – we also are reckoned with righteousness when we believe what God has promised us.

 

Do you know the promises of God for you?

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 – How can we accomplish this?

1.  Christ dwells in us/ Ephesians 2:22

2.  Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our salvation and this results in 

     our confidence to do the job/ Ephesians 1:13-14, 

     2 Corinthians 1:22

3.  We are citizens of another world and that makes us temporary 

     ambassadors

     Philippians 3:20

4.  We live a duel life/ Ephesians 1:20, 2:6, 2 Corinthians 10:3-6

 

Because of these truths and realities about who we are and where our true, unchanging worth resides, God has given us a mission:

 

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2 Corinthians 5:18-20

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Matthew 9:37-38

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John 4:35

 

God has two prime objectives and everything that happens in this life is about them:

  1. To reconcile the lost to himself in salvation or restoration

  2. To be glorified before His creation (glorified means to be revealed or illuminated/seen)

 

IMPORTANT POINT:  God accomplishes this mission through us by His power.  Our job is to believe and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God to others thru us.  It is not accomplished from our human effort to help God, but it is His work to do (John 6:28-29).  How will you let these truths change your life?  Only by the grace of God (divine influence on the heart and will of man) can this be accomplished.

 

It’s not about what you do for God, but who you are in Him!

 

Philippians 3:10-11 – Now we’re talking about a personal relationship – different than knowledge of God.

 

Philippians 3:12-16 – This is the meat of our identity in Christ and the purpose we are driven to in Him.

Perfection is in Christ – not as I see but as God and Christ see me and have equipped me for this purpose; obviously we must identify our sin, but it must not identify us.

Satan, acting as the great accuser would like to get in our head and defeat us by twisting around this powerful truth.

 

Please allow the following verses to help you see from Scripture who you are in Christ.

 

Who I am in Christ: 

 
Galatians 2:20       1 Corinthians 3:9, 16
Galatians 3:26, 29   1 Corinthians 5:22
2 Corinthians 5:17-18, 21  2 Corinthians 2:15
Colossians 1:13  Galatians 3:13
Ephesians 1:3   Romans 5:1, 17
1 John 4:4 Romans 6:18
Ephesians 4:24   Romans 8:16, 30, 37
1 Corinthians 1:30 Romans 5:1, 8-9
Philippians 3:3 Romans 8:30
Philippians 4:13  Hebrews 9:12
Colossians 2:10 Revelation 5:9
John 15:5, 7-8 1 Corinthians 6:11
John 14:17 Colossians 3:3

                            

                                  

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Widow for a Season Studies

Study on Healthy and Unhealthy Guilt

 

 

HEALTHY GUILT:

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Prompting by the Holy Spirit concerning sin in your life

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Result of recognizing that we have sinned before God

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Part of maintaining a right relationship with God

 

 

We can examine our “guilt health” by asking some important questions and looking to God’s word for answers.

 

QUESTIONS:

 

  1. How do we define sin?

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    James 1:14-15/ Scriptural anatomy of sin

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    1 John 1:14-15/ Transgression of the law

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    Romans 14:23/ Anything we don’t trust God with

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    James 4:17/ Willful disobedience

    

 

     2.  Who tells us that we have sinned?

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    John 14:26/ Holy Spirit

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    1 Corinthians 2:10-14/ Holy Spirit

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    Jeremiah 29:11 (try reading this in the King James Version for more specific meaning)/ Doing what God wants ALWAYS brings peace

    

3.  Can sin be committed against anyone other than God?

·     Isaiah 59:1-2

·     Isaiah 53:5-6

 

4.  What does healthy guilt and sorrow produce?

·     2 Corinthians 7:9-10/ Action

 

 

UNHEALTHY GUILT:

·     Guilt that is created in the absence of sin

·     Guilt that does not lead to a need for repentance

·     Guilt that may be someone else’s effort to drag us into sin

 

Unhealthy guilt may be the result of someone trying to control you for their own benefit.  These people do not respect your right to choose.  They will use different tactics to created guilt or fear in you so that they can persuade you to the action they want.  Often they do not consciously know what they are doing or that they may be hurting you.  They may act in several ways to accomplish this control of your life:

 

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Their control may take the form of physical or verbal abuse

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They may try to talk you out of decisions you want to make even if they have to use dishonest means to do it.  Example: Eve and the serpent in the Garden of Eden

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They may try to make you feel that your action is sinful

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They may try to manipulate circumstances so that they can get their way.  Example: Jacob and Esau (Philippians 2:4)

 

 

Most important in these interactions is to measure what is sin and what is not sin.  It is the manipulator that is in sin, not you.

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They are acting out of a self-centeredness

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They pretend to be your friend so they can get something back that you might not be able to give or want to give.

 

Don’t ever give someone else the permission to control you by words or circumstances because then God is not in control.

 

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Widow for a Season Studies

Study on Forgiveness and Reconciliation

 

 

SIN VS. OFFENSES:

 

  Jesus went to the cross for sin; Satan uses offenses to distract us from the purposes of God.  If you are offended because your feelings have been hurt you need to let that go and take it to God (see study on godly goals vs. ungodly goals chapter 5).  If sin that can be identified in Scripture is the issue, that is a different problem and should be dealt with according to Matthew 18:15-17.

 

 

2 Corinthians 6:3-12

Philippians 1:9-11

Philippians 2:3-8

 

Ecclesiastes 7:20-22

  Try taking every offense that you need to forgive and put it in a mental box.  Imagine in your mind that once the offense has been placed in the box it can never be gotten out again.  Every time the offense comes to mind put it immediately back in the box and refuse to entertain thoughts about it.  Satan will bring these offenses to your mind in an effort to defeat you but do not allow him to succeed.  Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

 

UNFORGIVENESS:

 

   When someone’s sin involves us and either we do not forgive them or the sin goes unaddressed, it becomes like an unpaid debt in our mind and we often find ourselves in bondage to it (Matthew 6:12).  Until we do our part in forgiveness, we cannot move away from the issue.  We can respond in the following ways:

 

  1. Make a list of unresolved issues.  Commit yourself to deal with them whether you are the offending person or someone else is.

  2. Realize that resolving the issue is a two-way process.  You only have control over your part (to forgive or ask for forgiveness).  If they choose to be unforgiving in return then you must accept, grieve if necessary, but then release it to God.

 

 

An unwillingness to forgive on my part is a decision that I make and it is totally in my control.  The size of the debt does not direct the action to forgive.  All sin separates man from God including our decision to be unforgiving.

 

An attitude of unforgiveness may drive us to particular behaviors in an attempt to manipulate other’s actions.  For example:

 

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We may try to please them in some way; maybe to guilt them into desired responses (see study on healthy and unhealthy guilt chapter 1)

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We may confront them in anger.

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We may try to get a payback with behaviors like revenge on our part.

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We may remove our friendship or affection.

 

FORGIVENESS:

  

What is forgiveness?

1.     To let someone off the hook

2.     To cancel a debt someone owes you

·        When  you refuse to forgive someone, you still want something from them

·        You will be tied to the person you refuse to forgive forever

·        Forgiveness ends your suffering and brings freedom because it ends the wish you have for repayment

·        If you do not forgive you are demanding something your offender does not choose to give you – you have chosen to get control of them but in fact they are now in control of you

·        We only have control of one person – OURSELVES!

·        Watch your expectations of others; GET WHAT YOU NEED FROM GOD

·        In order to forgive we must name the sin we are forgiving

 

 

RECONCILIATION:

  

   We always need to forgive but we don’t always achieve reconciliation with those we do forgive.  Similarly, God forgave the world but the whole world is not reconciled to Him -- thus we are as Christ-followers called as ambassadors to the work of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  It is the divine purpose of God that none should perish.

 

How is reconciliation achieved?

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To be reconciled the world would need to acknowledge their sin and confess Christ as Lord drawing near to Him in relationship

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Only one party is needed to forgive – me; it takes two to accomplish reconciliation

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Forgiveness is something we do in our hearts (will of man); it is the work of God’s grace (divine influence on the heart)

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The person who owes me a debt does not have to ask me for forgiveness

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If forgiveness deals with the past, reconciliation deals with the future

 

Matthew 18:15-17 is about reconciliation not forgiveness

 

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Widow for a Season Studies

Study on Spiritual Gifts

 

All numbers given in parenthesis are reference numbers to be used with Strong’s Concordance for defining words in the original Greek or Hebrew language.

 

Philippians 3:12-14 – Christ has taken hold of us for a specific mission and life purposes.

 

Ephesians 4:1-7 – We are given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

 

Heart – defined as the will or center of decision of a man.

 

Ephesians 4:11-13

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Verse 11 gifts are further explained in 1 Corinthians 12:28

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Verse 12-13 reveal the purpose of the gifts

 

Body of believers

   God’s purpose for the universal body of believers is:

  1. Reconciliation/ (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 and John 4:34-38

  2. Bringing glory to Himself

 

 

 

In this study we will discuss the three main passages relating to spiritual gifts/categorize them according to 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.

 

1 Corinthians 1:4-7

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It is God’s grace given y Jesus Christ that enriches us

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Verse 7 says, “so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

Grace -- defined in Strong’s Concordance (5485)

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Favor without expectation of return

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Unearned or unmerited favor

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Gift or benefit

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Divine influence upon the heart

 

God will not throw His pearls before swine.

 

Mercy -- defined in Strong’s Concordance (2617)

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Literally, kindness

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Psalms 25:7 – We often think of God’s mercy in relation to justice and judgment.

 

Faith – believing God

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Hebrews 11:1

 

Read:

Romans 12:1-8/ Note in verse 6 that our gifts differ according to the grace given us.

 

  1. Prophecy (4394) literally prediction

Peter reveals the gift of prophecy

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    According to the proportion of faith

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    Prophets also spoke God’s Word to the people

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    A prophet is a speaker of truth

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    A prophecy is something that a believer proclaims as telling forth God’s Word

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    To declare the truth through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit/ 1 John 4:1-3 tells us to test the spirits

     Other verses:

·        Luke 1:67

·        Acts 2:15-18, 19:6, 21:9

·        1 Corinthians 14:1, 14:3-5

 

 

  1. Ministry/Serving (1248) serviceable labor

Timothy reveals the gift of ministry

·        Verse 7 says, “let us wait on our ministering”

·        Familiar related word is diakonos=deacon

     Other verses:

·        Luke 10:40

·        Hebrews 1:14

·        2 Corinthians 11:8

·        2 Timothy 4:11

 

 

  1. Teaching (1319) meaning instruction

Luke reveals the gift of teaching

·        James 3:1 says teachers or masters (same Greek word) will receive a greater condemnation.

     Other verses:

·        Matthew 15:9

·        Mark 7:7

·        Colossians 2:22

·        Ephesians 4:14

·        1 Timothy 4:1

 

 

  1. Exhorter (3870) to call to one’s side

Paul reveals the gift of exhorter

·        To aid

·        Acts 9:1-20/ Consider grace, mercy, and the spiritual gifting by God on Paul

    Other verses:

·        Mark 1:40

·        1 Peter 2:11

·        2 Corinthians 8:4

·        Acts 4:36

·        Romans 12:8

 

 

  1. Giving (3330) to give over, share

Matthew reveals the spiritual gift of giving in his writings

·        Verse 8 says giving is to be done with simplicity

·        Romans 1:11-12/ The word “impart” is the same word as the spiritual gift of giving in the Romans passage

·        2 Corinthians 9:7-8/ Attitude of the giver is to give without grudge

 

 

 

  1. Ruler (4291) to stand before i.e. in rank; to preside over

Nehemiah reveals the gift of ruler as given by God in rebuilding the wall.

·        Verse 8 says the ruler is to rule with all diligence

·        This gift is also called the gift of leadership or organizing

     Read:

Nehemiah 1:1-6, 11, 2:8d, and 2:18

·        This gift of ruler was according to the grace given by God; what he needed for the task at hand, which was revealed and assigned to him by God.

 

 

 

  1. Mercy (1653) to have pity

John reveals the gift of mercy

·        To be compassionate; opposite of to be hardened

·        Only by God’s grace is this gift and attitude possible

·        Remember that grace was a divine influence upon the heart

(Romans 9:15-18, Hebrews 11:4)

     Other verses:

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Matthew 5:7

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Romans 9:15

 

 

PRE READ ROMANS 12:3-9, Ephesians 4:1-13, and 1 Corinthians 12-14

Romans 12:3-9

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Spiritual gifts given (sometimes referred to as motivational gifts):

  1. Prophecy – 12:6

  2. Service (King James Version uses the word ministry/ministering) 12:7

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    Service or ministry is accomplished by areas listed

     in 1 Corinthians 12:28

  1. Teacher – 12:7

  2. Exhortation – 12:8

  3. Giver – 12:8

  4. Leadership (King James Version uses the word rule/ with all diligence) 12:8

  5. Mercy – 12:8

 

 

Paul breaks down the gifts into three categories 

(1 Corinthians 12:4-6)

  1. Varieties of gifts or the individual gifts themselves as listed above

  2. Varieties of ministries as defined in 1 Corinthians 12:25-31 and listed specifically in 1 Corinthians 12:28 and include:

1.  Apostles – Also in Ephesians 4:11

2.  Prophets

3.  Teachers – Also in Ephesians 4:11

4.  Miracles

5.  Healing

6.  Helps

7.  Administrations – (King James Version uses the word  

                                   governments)

8.  Tongues – Also 13:8, 1 Corinthians 14, 

                      1 Corinthians 1:22-25

9.  Evangelists – Ephesians 4:11

10. Pastors – Ephesians 4:11

 

 

     3.  Varieties of effects or manifestations as worded in 

          1 Corinthians 12:7-11: 

1.  Wisdom – 12:8

2.  Knowledge – 12:8, 13:8

3.  Faith – 12:9

4.  Healing 12:9, 12:28

5.  Miracles – 12:10, 12:28

6.  Prophecy – Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:10, 12:28, 13:8,  

                       14:22, 1:22-25, 14:39, Ephesians 4:11

7.  Distinguishing of spirits –12:10, 1 John 4:1

8.  Interpretation of tongues -- 12:10 

 

 

Some gifts were given as a sign:

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1 Corinthians 14:22

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1 Corinthians 1:22-25

 

 

Purpose of the gifts was:

  1. To serve one another – 1 Peter 4:10-11

  2. Given for the common good – 1 Corinthians 12:7

  3. equipping of the saints and work of service to build up the body – Ephesians 4:11

 

Paul gives an illustration of how these gifts might work together in worship in 1 Corinthians 14:26-36 – they are to be used in an orderly way without confusion

 

What gifts should we desire?  Does this suggest we might ask for specific ones?

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1 Corinthians 12:31

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1 Corinthians 14:1, 12-13, 24-25, 39

 

To study briefly the purpose of God’s spirit and its manifestation:

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Matthew 3-4:1

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John 4:23-24

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John 6:63

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John 14:15-31

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John 15:16 (Galatians 5:22-26) – Fruit of the Spirit is a result of Christ in us, not something we determine to be lie!  If we want more power in our fruit, then we must get into a deeper relationship with Christ.

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  John 16:7 – John 17

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Acts 1:1-11

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Acts 2

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Acts 6:1-6

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Acts 8:14-24, Acts 10, Romans 8:26-27

 

Term spelling clarification

Prophecy (4395) – NOUN; refers to the truth a prophet will reveal through inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit whether by prediction or not

Prophesy (5012) – VERB; refers to the action of the prophet as he declares this inspired truth.  Example: The prophecy was revealed as John began to prophesy to the crowd.

 

Now that you have finished this study, go to www.mintools.com and you will find a short spiritual gifts test that will help you get an idea of where your strengths are in terms of spiritual gifting.  You will find that God gives you a greater strength in certain areas depending on what he has called you to do in any given season of life.  As you determine your strengths through this test it may help you discern where God may be leading you in terms of ministry.

 

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