Welcome author and Bible study teacher Cindy Bultema to the blog today…
Cindy’s newest Bible study, Live Full Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World released in December as part of the Inscribed Series at Thomas Nelson. In this journey through 1 Corinthians, Cindy equips women to live a set-apart life for Christ in our sin-soaked world.
- Can you tell us a little bit about your new study and why you chose to use Corinth?
Live Full, Walk Free: Set Apart in a Sin-Soaked World is a six-session Bible study book and DVD series based on 1 Corinthians. I love how God’s Word contains instructions on every (yes, every) situation we might face in life—even instructing us on how to live set-apart lives right in the middle of today’s confused culture. Whether women have been studying the Bible for decades, or are still trying to figure this “Jesus thing” out, I hope they’ll find relevant material that meet them right where they are on their spiritual journey.
I picked 1 Corinthians because Paul wrote this letter to church members living in the “Sin City” of their day. (So when you see 1st & 2nd Corinthians, think 1st & 2nd Las Vegas!) The church members in Corinth were surrounded by immorality, idolatry and indulgence, much like our culture today. Together we can learn from Paul’s wisdom to the Corinthians as he addressed issues such as identity, unity, purpose, purity, as well as overcoming temptations. Good stuff!
- What was one of your favorite "ah ha" moments regarding this study?
Wow! So many! I think one “ah ha” moment was the fresh realization of how much our beliefs shape our behavior. If we really desire to live full and walk free, we must have our beliefs based on the Word of God.
This is very personal to me. You see, when I was in my teens, a peer scrawled on the chipped bathroom door of the girl’s restroom at my high school—“Cindy is a fat red cow.”
Unfortunately, those words defined me for the next two decades, attached to me like a sticky name tag. “Hello, my name is Cindy. I’m a fat red cow.”
I didn’t know the Truth yet, that God calls me something very different—His daughter, the apple of His eye, a princess of great price. So I believed a bathroom stall scrawl, and gave it tremendous power over my life and behavior. I allowed those words to chisel my worth and carve up my value. Whenever I thought about my body or my looks, I flashed back on those ugly etchings.
And when we believe the “lying labels”—as we often do—we start to behave in a way that lines up with that false belief. If we think we are (fill in the blank), we will soon begin to act that way.
For example, if we believe our bodies are worthless, we will begin to conduct ourselves in that way: overeating, drinking too much, starving ourselves, or maybe even engaging in unhealthy sexual relations.
But when we believe the Truth of who God says we are, we begin to experience the fullness and freedom that is ours in Christ. Woo Hoo!
We will never live full and walk free if our beliefs are based on the messages of the world. We must know and think God’s truth-filled thoughts on every situation. Wrong thinking leads to wrong living—every single time.
- What do you hope readers glean from Live Full, Walk Free?
Freedom in every area of their life—including their sexuality. I often meet women who are weighed down by the pain and humiliation of their sexual pasts, even many years later. I’ve shed tears with countless friends who expressed feeling intense guilt for premarital sex, having an abortion, affair, or other sexual sins. I’ve walked with beautiful women who disclosed their excruciating stories of childhood sexual victimization. They know it’s not their fault, they should "move on." They've tried to live forgiven and free, yet, they can't shake the shame.
Unfortunately I think sex is one of Satan’s favorite lures. Clearly he’s using sexual sin to hook our culture: Porn is rampant, sexting among teens is commonplace, and we can’t even go to the grocery store for salad fixings without seeing sexual images on the covers of checkout magazines.
For many women, living in our sex-crazed culture has drastically impacted one’s ability to live full and walk free. Trust me: I get it. For a girl like me with a past like mine, I know what it’s like to be burdened with regret, disappointment, heavy hurts. No judgment here, only grace.
This I know based on the authority of God’s Word: no matter what you have done, or what has been done to you—Jesus Christ came so you might live full and walk free. You are not the one woman who has out sinned the grace and mercy of God. There is no one too far gone from God’s amazing grace!
- Can you offer a prayer for those of us who are struggling to live set apart in these turbulent times?
Dear God, thank You for my dear sister. Lord, how I ask that You would remind her in the deepest places of her heart and mind that she is lavishly loved by you. Please open her eyes to the purpose and plan that you have for her life. Help her to let go of anything she is holding onto that is getting in the way of the full, abundant life that You desire for her. God, I thank You that because of Jesus we can live victoriously—regardless of being surrounded by immorality, indulgence, and idolatry.
I pray that my dear friend would cling to Your Truth always—including when temptation comes, or old habits try to resurface. And for all of us seeking to live set apart lives in our sin-soaked world, may we know Truth, live Truth, and share Your powerful Truths, in love, with others everywhere we go.
We love You, Lord, and we bless Your powerful and holy Name. In the life-changing, delivering name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Live Full Walk Free Bible Study Giveaway