Welcome back to womens Bible study as we discuss Experiencing God by Henry and Richard Blackaby. We’ve finished week ten in the workbook and our study will be finished in just two more weeks. Our study this week focused on how the Holy Spirit equips each person in the church to function in the body.

“A church comes to know the will of God when the whole body understands what Christ- the Head- is telling it.” Henry Blackaby

Have you ever known a great “pray-er” in your church or community? I have met and experienced the prayers of MANY women in the Bible Cafe. Leaders, prayer warriors, and students. Such amazing words … 10+ years and 100 studies together. WOAH… this is how my own prayer life expanded. I truly feel that a person who prays effectively is a person who prays for God’s will and who partners with the Holy Spirit in her prayers. I also feel a person who prays effectively cares NOT what you think of her words, her posture, or the length of her prayers. Because YOU are not her audience. The LORD is her intended audience.

People are in different places of spiritual growth. So we cannot “judge” how someone prays. What seems over-the-top for one Believer, might be ordinary for another. It’s not for us to judge.

When I am scrolling through Facebook posts, I keep a prayer journal beside me and write down what I see as prayer needs. Then, I pray through the journal in my day. This keeps me attentive and prayers are not just “passing through” a news feed.

God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members so that all the members care for each other. (1 Corinthians 12:24-25 NLT)

 What is harmony? One definition, harmony is an arrangement of the four Gospels, or of any parallel narratives, which presents a single continuous narrative text. So harmony is a blend of voices. Of eyewitness accounts. To have harmony among different denominations, perhaps we need to find a common ground where we ALL agree. In Bible college, I learned to find the “lowest common denominator” and place agreement /unity under this spot. In faith, the place we ALL agree is the Word of God, His Holy Bible.

If we the “Church” try to create unity around a politician, social politics, news media stories, famous people, or even medical choices…we will be DIVIDED. So…bring Satan into any church… and there is division over these things. Because the Church body will never agree on externals. Look at the early church and how they handled issues on what to eat, wear, and religious rituals. They did not agree, yet they found harmony through their LOVE.

Sometimes a gap or division can expand the Gospel, as we saw in the book of Acts. Paul went one way, and his coworker Barnabas went another. The Church grew. Martin Luther did something similar, in the gap the Church grew. But for unity in churches, we need to apply the entire Bible to our differences. No anger, no slander, no offense to the Lord Himself.

Today in church we have unity when we respect differences in spiritual maturity. We do not elevate our wisdom over hers. We do not point out her sin, because we conquered it. We do not judge or measure her faults. We have unity when Jesus is the head of her heart and OURS.

Blackaby writes, “God is always at work in and around a local church.” There are different ways to participate. Attendance is one way, but praying from home, giving to a specific financial need, joining a small group virtual or in a home, helping hands in a crisis, filling the food donation box or Christmas angel tree. There are MANY ways… you can see the church working even if your health, transportation, caretaking for a family member, or the governor shuts the doors. FIND. A . WAY.

As Blackaby says, “In the body of Christ, each believer has direct access to God. God can speak to any and every member of the congregation.” Knowing God speaks to YOU and my leaders, pastor, and Christian friends… I am very attentive to words. I am listening to my congregation, leaders, and small groups.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, given God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

 How can you be a living sacrifice to the Church? Use the gifts the Holy Spirit gives you… for His will on earth.

How can you transform and renew your mind? Never-ending Bible study. Don’t stop because you “know it all.” Keep seeking wisdom that comes from above.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. (1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT)

 I am using my spiritual gifts to help women KNOW Jesus. Not to have a religious understanding. I disciple them to have a relationship…the Bride and her Groom. Religion says to kneel, stand, sing, pray over beads, and look at icons and angels for “help.” Relationship says READ the Word, KNOW Jesus, and ALLOW the Spirit of God inside your heart.

By His love, I am transformed and renewed by Christ.