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The Task-Filled Life Bible Study Table of Contents

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THE TASK-FILLED LIFE Bible Study
Jan Brunette – 2018

Each day's lesson will be posted online according to the date in parentheses following it.

Promote this study in your church with a bulletin byte (Word doc)

Week 1
THE GREAT I AM

Week 2
THE GOD OF ALL HOPE

Week 3
THE GOD OF DELAYS

Week 4
GOD’S FAITHFULNESS

Week 5
ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL TREASURES

Week 6
THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST

He Desires a Relationship

Week 6, Day 1

He Desires a Relationship

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down, thou weary one, lay down Thy head upon My breast.”
I came to Jesus as I was, so weary, worn, and sad;
I found in Him a resting place, And He has made me glad.
LSB 699, v. 1

Jesus desires our presence. He loves us so much that He opens the doors of heaven, welcoming us to listen to His Spirit through the Word every day. He promises to be our rest as we remain still before Him and know that He is God – no matter our stresses, our joys, or our doubts. He invites us to come to Him as our Bread of Life and to daily feed on His amazing love, grace, and mercy (John 6:35, 48). He calls to us in our crazy, hectic lives and says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:37-38).

For those who call on Him in prayer, in meditation, and in fellowship with Him in the Word, He promises to heed our coming and to be near us (Psalm 145:18 and Isaiah 55:6). Devoting ourselves to prayer is our way of communicating with God. It reflects a relationship, a relationship which He desires. It is not simply something we do; it is part of who we are. It is more than making requests; it is honoring Him with our praise, our thankful hearts, and our trust. Whether begging for the healing of a sick child, the eternal rest of a parent, or the daily mundane and boring tasks that lay before us, prayer is the bridge of communication with One whom we love. Developing a relationship with anyone takes time and effort, and that is true also of our relationship with our King of kings and Lord of lords.

I often hear people say, “I don’t believe I should bother God with the small, seemingly insignificant things in my life.” My response: “Maybe if we did so daily, the larger things would be easier to handle.” The love that Jesus has for us, the love He died for, is beyond measure. 

Jeremiah 33:3 has often been called “God’s telephone number.” Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. If it’s difficult to memorize, we can put it in our phones which are usually kept with us all the time. The most incredible thing about God and this number: it is available no matter where we are, what we are doing, or how difficult our concerns and problems are. It surpasses time and space. We are never put on hold. He listens every time and answers in His time and way.  

Prayer:

I heard the voice of Jesus say, “Behold, I freely give
The living water; thirsty one, Stoop down and drink and live.”
I came to Jesus, and I drank Of that life-giving stream;
My thirst was quenched, my soul revived, And now I live in Him.
LSB #699, v. 2

THAT’S A RELATIONSHIP!

The Fullness of Christ

Week 6, main session

The Fullness of Christ

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV).

As teenagers, life appears hopeful and filled with wonderful ideas – most of the time. As a young adult, we look forward to exciting new adventures, both in the workplace and in family life – most of the time. When middle-aged, we embrace watching our children move on into their teen and young adult years, so full of hope and challenges – most of the time. Upon retirement, excitement is generated as we think about those trips we always wanted to take and the freedoms we will enjoy serving the community, the church, and our grandchildren – most of the time. “Most of the time” is often interrupted by life – the life we didn’t anticipate. The challenges, the unexpected, and the uncontrolled often splatter our plans with colors on a canvas that were neither desired nor explained. We wonder of its purpose. We wonder why God’s plans have to be so different than ours. We may even wonder if at times God is really an ever-present help for us. 

As Christians, we want to believe that the plans, the wondering, and the unexpected things all center in the love and grace of Jesus Christ – that is, in His fullness. We desire to cling to the assurance in Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 16:33: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulations. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Yet the depth of His love, which is beyond all comprehension, may seem difficult to grasp in the midst of trials and tribulation.

Prayer: Dear sweet Jesus, You promised Your fullness through the power of the Holy Spirit and for that I am truly grateful. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation as I learn more of Your fullness in the study of Scripture, especially when tests and trials add unexpected color into my life. In Your name I ask this. Amen.

Life without Christ as its center does not make sense. In fact, it can appear hopeless. The opening reference in Ephesians 3:16-19 confirms that love – His love – is revealed in all our confusing, devastating, and even debilitating times. His victory over sin, death, and the devil is assured, and exposure to His fullness in us will expand and explode in each and every circumstance we encounter. In fact, it is beyond our imagination.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all that we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV).

May the Holy Spirit open the windows of our hearts through His Word as we discover who we are in Christ and how, as a result, we possess His fullness.

THE FULLNESS IN CHRIST – THE RECEIVING OF HIS LOVE

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee, ne’er from me depart,
With tender mercy cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share.
Yea, heav’n itself wert void and bare
If Thou, Lord, were not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee can nothing shake.
Thou art the portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has brought.
Lord Jesus Christ, my God and Lord,
My God and Lord, Forsake me not!
I trust Thy Word.
LSB 708, v 1

In the fullness of Christ, one of the blessings He bestows on us is the desire to love. His love in us overpowers the selfishness and egos, the greed and pride. His love requires commitment, determination, and hard work. His fullness of love views us as we can become. He doesn’t see us as we are in the center of our heartbreak, broken dreams, and misshaped lives. Rather the Father views us as ones who have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and who have received His amazing love. That love, Christ’s love, continues to cover our daily, heavily-burdened lives with His redeeming grace and tender mercy.

Refer to:
Galatians 3:26-27
Ephesians 2:6-9
Titus 3:4-7

The love of Christ that flows into and through us is not of our own doing. However, it is revealed in our hands- those that touch the untouchable, reach out to the homeless broken men and women on our streets, listen to the grieving heart, and serve when serving is the last thing we want to do. It is an impossible love that reaches across the chasm of prejudice and preconceived ideas of humanity. It is a love that understands we don’t love because we have it bottled up in us naturally, but rather is a love that can only come from another Source – from the fullness Jesus provides to us as His restored, baptized children.

Read 1 John 4:10-19 and take note of this incredible, undying love that is given to us through Christ. Then read Colossians 1:19-20 to see how, in Christ, this all came to pass.

THE FULLNESS IN CHRIST – MADE ALIVE IN CHRIST

We are not the same as we were ten years ago, twenty years ago, or even more. Our attitudes have changed, our desires are different, and our direction in life focuses on serving others in ways altered from when we were younger. As a result, our former sometimes-draining tasks now rest on the back burner as insignificant when viewed in the whole scheme of things.

The same is true for our spiritual lives as we continue to ask, seek, and knock for Christ’s wisdom and understanding. Because we better understand what it means to be made alive in Christ, our heart beats truer to His guidance and grace offered one day at a time, no matter who we are or what we still plan to achieve.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him (1 John 4:9).

A faith-filled life with Christ abounds in the realization of His wonders and finds joy in His presence. That doesn’t mean our circumstances will be easy or even tolerable. But it does mean that when we are on our knees weeping and sobbing in despair, He is still carrying the heaviest part of the load and we are covered by His everlasting arms. (See Matthew 11:29-30 and Deuteronomy 33:27.)

Refer to the following verses to discover the joys and wonders of being alive in Christ.
Colossians 2:6, 13
Romans 6:23
1 John 5:11-13, 20

Living in Christ, in His fullness, means that we inherit eternal life today but only because He is in us. While its full reality will not be inherited until the moment of our death, He provides eternal blessings of His kingdom now.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

Now because of being made alive in Christ, we can be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10).

THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST – A NEW CREATION

Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if a mirror is our greatest enemy. As we gaze into it, we see not the beauty God created, but the flaws and undesirable conditions that contradict the TV version of what beauty is. Our value is determined by what others see and how that translates into worthiness. Yet some of the most beautiful people I’ve seen have never won a beauty contest nor have they had their pictures mounted on the walls of cosmetic offices. Their beauty comes from within and brings about an unexplained radiance and peace. They are filled with a grace that flows from a heart received from Christ Himself, for He has clothed them with all His goodness and supplied them with His fullness. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, they have been able to make choices that reveal the resurrected life. Refer to Ephesians 4:22-24 and 2 Corinthians 5:17-21.

Upon our Baptism, we became a new creation in Christ. Supplied with the Holy Spirit, we are provided with spiritual rivers of living water (John 7:38-39). Created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, we are privileged to do the joyous work of being Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We not only have received the fullness of Christ, but have been clothed with Christ Himself. (See Galatians 3:26-27 and Colossians 2:9-14.)

With that thought in mind, review Philippians 4:8-9 and Colossians 3:12-15 and list the qualities that can be developed through living a sanctified life in and through the Holy Spirit.  

THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST – COMPELLED BY HIS LOVE TO LOVE OTHERS

As we continue to move through our lives of sanctification, sometimes we need to be reminded, it is not about us, but about Christ Jesus in us. It is about a desire to do the Father’s will in our daily task-filled lives.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God … for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children as light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8-10).

As a result of that light, that love, that fullness, we can reach out to others with unexpected results as we remember some very important truths.

Romans 12:1-3, 9-16
Romans 14:7-8
2 Corinthians 5:14-15

For now, we have come full circle: from God’s love for us → His presence in us → a new creation → His love compels us to love others → for Him. All of this is because we are in Christ through our Baptism. As a result of His redemptive sacrifice on the cross and the resurrection, we receive freedom to live our lives for Him, filled with the measure of faith He grants to us.

When we are mopping the kitchen floor, we are in Christ. As we transport our children to and from school and school activities, we are in Christ. Sitting at an office desk, overseeing an ailing or dying spouse or parent, we are in Christ. No matter the tasks, the trials, or the tests, we are in Christ and He is in us, and because He is in us, so also abide His love, His fruit, and His powerful presence – daily, hourly, in all places, and at all times. His forgiveness is secure when we fail. His power is granted in our weakness. His amazing love never leaves us, even though we may feel more unlovable than ever. His grace captures us in our task-filled lives and assures us that all is understood and redeemed. For love, Jesus died! For love, He allowed all our sins to be nailed to the cross and our punishment to be paid in full. That fullness is ours, for our sins were buried with Him when He was buried. Then united with Him in our Baptism, we live free, resurrected lives as we live to serve Him and others out of love.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for the fullness that I possess as a result of my Baptism. As I study Your Word, open my eyes daily to the incredible joy, peace, and power available because You are in me every day. In Jesus’ name and for His sake I ask this. Amen.

Revealing His Light

Week 5, Day 5

Revealing His Light

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (I John 1:7).

The darkness seemed to swallow me. Nausea crept into my very being as not even a sliver of light could be seen. Afraid that I might pass out from panic, I turned on my phone and held it against my chest. Although told not to turn on any light, I knew I had to or risk passing out. Standing in the bosom of a solitary confinement cell at the former Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City, I wondered how those who had been assigned there could remain sane. Yet some prisoners had been placed there for not only a few seconds but for months and even years.

Standing in the darkness of that cold room without even a hint of light served as a mental picture of the darkness thousands of people feel every day. Wandering aimlessly, floundering to find their spiritual identity, and wanting to believe that light can be found within themselves, they seek and search for a way to remove the light through addictions, false religions, money, fame, and achievements. Yet all leave them in darkness, a darkness that can only be removed by the true Light, Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John shared in his gospel the treasured light, Jesus Christ, who was sent as a light to remove the darkness of sin. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:4-5).

Jesus Himself stated, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12) and “I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness” (John 12:46).

But the light doesn’t end there, for the very words of Jesus reveal that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16). Because He, the true Light, resides in us, we light up the room when we enter it. It doesn’t matter if we may feel cracked and broken, worn out, or frustrated as a result of our daily jobs and schedules. The treasure of His Light shines through those cracks as we reveal the Father’s glory through Christ.

Prayer: Dear sweet Jesus, enable me by Your grace to be a vessel through which Your amazing light can shine to others. Although I may feel cracked at times, may I know that Your light shines the brightest when my cracks are the greatest. Amen.

Bearing Fruit

Week 5, Day 4

Bearing Fruit

“But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20).

The fruit on that tree enticed her. Evil thoughts were put into her head, leading her to believe amazing wisdom would be hers if she ate it. Although given permission by God to eat of every tree in the garden except that one, Eve saw the beautiful fruit and desired to taste of its juicy contents. And the bonus: she would to be wise like God. How could she refuse? Yielding to temptation, she ate of it and then offered it to Adam, her husband. He also ate of it. The bite they took changed their lives, and ours. Inherited sin now dwells within all mankind and remains as a constant struggle for everyone, even God’s chosen children. (Genesis 3:1-7)

Would our choice have been any different? Would we have refused to eat the fruit? We will never know, but it is likely that Satan would have done His best to entice each and every one of us, just as he did with Adam and Eve. Yet in spite of their sin, they received a promise that a Savior would come. We, too, live on the promise that our sins are covered for we are restored and redeemed children of the Father. As a result of the empowering Holy Spirit within us and the means of grace (Word and Sacraments), we can trust daily in the living spiritual fruit.

 Jesus once said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:4-5).

The fruit available to us today is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is nothing like the fruit that tempted Adam and Eve in the garden, but rather a fruit that feeds us in our inner being. When loving our neighbor is challenging, His love spills out as streams of living waters. When circumstances steal our happiness, joy can be discovered from the fruit that only Christ can provide in His fullness. As patience wanes away and we cry out for a way to get the answers more quickly, the Holy Spirit provides the peace that surpasses understanding as we wait. Bothered by irritable family members or fellow workers, rather than getting angry and rude, we trust the Spirit to grant us His kindness, goodness, and self-control. Worn out from the daily grind, we cry out to Him, believing that faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control will flow from within. All are available in His fruit. All are given as needed and will reveal a Source totally uncommon to those around us as they witness a life solidly grounded in Christ (Galatians 5:22).

We can rejoice that we live in His kingdom and have His Spirit available daily. Covered by His blood, we can fall on our knees and believe that our inadequacies are used and empowered by the Lord’s very special fruit – a fruit promised and provided with love. 

Prayer: Dear Father, I thank You that Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are mine. Give me the ability to trust in Your steadfast love and to rejoice in Your salvation. Amen.

Priorities in the Kingdom

Week 5, Day 3

Priorities in the Kingdom

Therefore, God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

There is a mindset by many today that all religions lead to the same god and the same eternal end. Therefore, we should acknowledge each belief as true and acceptable. While this thought may be enticing in order to appease persons following this mindset, these other paths cannot and will not take us to the path of eternal life with Christ. Jesus states in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

After Pentecost, Peter had the strength and courage to profess this fact boldly as he spoke to the rulers and elders in Jerusalem. Filled with the Holy Spirit, he said to them, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

No matter the beliefs of others, the way of the cross and resurrection through Jesus Christ is ours to proclaim and share in a loving way, whenever He opens that door. We know also that in His time, all people of the world will profess that Jesus is the Christ and will see His kingdom revealed.

So what is our personal priority in the kingdom of God, whether in the workplace, raising children, or settled in a retirement community? Where is our greatest treasure found? Are we all to be like Peter, boldly standing before ruling officials, giving testimony of our faith? Are we teachers in a classroom, or a speaker professing our beliefs among the multitudes? The likely answer from most of us is, “No. Not even close.” Yet if our greatest treasure rests in the loving hands of Jesus, our hearts will seek His will as well as the desire to speak of His kingdom, no matter where He places us. Because Christ first loved us, we will choose to love others, even the seemingly unlovable. Love will rule and love will reign.

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us (1 John 4:10-12 NIV).

The greatest treasure and priority of our lives is to know the full measure of His love. Pray that God may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Prayer: Christ, give me a faith, strengthened with power through the Spirit, rooted and grounded in You, that I may grow to know Your love that surpasses knowledge. Reveal Your priorities for me as I walk through this day, filled with Your fullness. Amen.

Transferred

Week 5, Day 2

Transferred

He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14).

When enjoying a cold winter night outside, I love to wrap myself in a soft, warm blanket and sit in front of a fire. There is an amazing sense of coziness and freedom from the cold air closing in around me. The fire itself serves as reminder that no matter the freezing temperatures, I am shielded by the glowing light near me and in the warmth of my snuggly blanket.

This picture can be brought home to us as we consider the life we live in Christ as His baptized children. When insurmountable pressures pile high around us, creating lives that seem to keep us frozen in time, we need a love that will wrap us up tightly. We want to rely on the confidence and knowledge that His power, grace, and mercy are always ours in which to snuggle.

God promises in Scripture that there is such a blanket, a covering from the outside world that provides inner peace. Because of our Baptism, we live in freedom, confirming a love beyond comprehension. Our inadequacies and insecurities become secondary as we grow in the knowledge that, in Him, we are raised to a new life – a life that is victorious and filled with His joy (Romans 6:1-5).

All this is a result of the transference God made within us – not because of anything we have done, but because of His mercy. We now live in the kingdom of God which is an eternal, spiritual possession received only through Christ Himself. It is a kingdom that the Father was pleased to give us (Luke 12:29-32).

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:11-14).

Let us wrap ourselves in that power, that might, that inheritance. We have been freed from darkness and live in the inherited joy only His Spirit provides.

How great is the love the Father lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are (1 John 3:1 NIV)!

Prayer: Dear Father, thank You for lavishing Your love on me as Your baptized child, for I am now truly Yours. Enable me to live freely in the kingdom of Your Son, Jesus Christ, honoring You in all that I do. For His sake I ask this. Amen.

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