THOUGH STILL OUR ANCIENT FOE

WE MUST NOT FORGET

WE MUST BE SOBER-MINDED

WE WRESTLE NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD


OUR ANCIENT FOE

STILL ROAMS

STILL LOOKS FOR THE WOUNDED

STILL HUNTS EASY PREY

Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

(I PETER 5:18)

 

The great hymn of Christendom, “A Mighty Fortress,” became the theme song for our personal battle. God gave it to us right away, though we misunderstood what we were fighting. We thought we were fighting cancer.

It was the week after Steve’s diagnosis. We had come rushing home from the Indiana retreat, despondent. He told us that the Lord had told him “to fight.” We were heartened. If the Lord told him “to fight” then the Lord is going to give him this battle. Steve will not die. John and Julie and their kids had also rushed home — this picture was taken that week — all smiles — we were going to face this battle and God was going to give us victory over this terrible cancer! We would not lose our husband and father and grandfather.

READY FOR THE FIGHT -- GOD WOULD GIVE US VICTORY!

That week Steve was so tired, resting on the living room sofa. Sally sat at the piano, singing hymns to him, asking him to choose one for the solo she was going to sing in church on Sunday. When she sang “A Mighty Fortress,” he said:

“That’s it. That’s exactly it.”

I recorded this in my prayer journal, and in The God of All Comfort:

Sally sang “A  Mighty Fortress” in church this morning. Annie and Beth on one side of Steve, pressed into him, me on the other. John and family in the pew behind with John’s hand on Steve’s shoulder. Sally sang it as a fighting song — I’d never heard it sung that way — I don’t think I’d ever really understood it before. I’ve heard it sung majestically, but never with righteous anger. Yet, it seemed so right. It is a call to battle against Satan and all the spiritual workers of darkness. Sally kept shaking her fist at Satan, at “the prince of darkness grim,” at the one “armed with cruel hate,” at the one who must not “this battle win.” each verse grew stronger, and our hearts found courage for the fight ahead. But when Sally got to the phrase “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also,” she looked at Steve and faltered. It was too much for her, and she stopped, paralyzed with grief. Suddenly — and I will never in all of my life forget this — Judy [the pianist] began to sing, then the congregation rose — standing in the gap for us, finishing Sally’s song for her.

Thankful for the support of our congregation, still, it was the shadow of the cross. A foreboding. Were we to let kindred go?

No. My denial kicked in. Sally just was overcome by fear momentarily. We will win this battle.

It wasn’t until ten months later, in the same church, after a strong message on 1 Corinthians 10:12 (Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall) that Steve leaned over to me and said:

“I’m seeing the fight differently.”

I looked at him, confused.

“It isn’t a fight for my life.”

I was still. Finally, “Then, what?”

“Satan wants me to deny God.”

We both thought of the message. How a man who said he would never deny God did, to avoid martyrdom — and how the man who asked for prayer glorified God as flames burned up his body. I was silent. Then weeping. Steve put his arm around me.

The photo below is one that was in an emergency room where our own Chris S. brought her son who died — she drew strength from it and tells about it in the last post. Though the waters rage, the LORD is our MIGHTY FORTRESS. When Steve told me the fight was different, again, I was overcome with fear. This meant the waters might actually take my husband.  Overwhelming. Sense of drowning. And he, simply wanting to glorify God. But his pain was becoming overwhelming and his sadness at the thought of leaving us. Where could we go? Only to Him, our Mighty Fortress in the storm.

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Jean Guichard

Did we in our own strength confide

Our striving would be losing

Were not the right Man on our side

The Man of God’s own choosing

Doth ask who that may be?

Christ Jesus, it is He;

Lord Sabbaoth, His name,

From age to age the same

And He must win the battle

 

 

The LORD strengthened Steve to glorify Him to the end. He spent a week in the Milwaukee hospital just two weeks before he died at home. He made such a strong impression on the doctors and nurses that there were about twenty who came into his room as the helicopter was coming to get him to say good-bye. When one young doctor said to me, “I’ve never met anyone like him,” I was able to tell her it was Jesus in him. The Lord is strengthening us in our grief, and we do better know His heart, His love.

Sally sang “A Mighty Fortress” without faltering at his funeral. All the children shared how their Dad loved God — to the end. You can see a video of Anne sharing and also a memory film she played at her wedding at this link: http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/about/steve-brestin/

A few years later, Sally and I went to see a production of Screwtape Letters in Chicago, the C. S. Lewis book inspired by the story of Job, and his fight against Satan, his fight to glorify God no matter how bad it got.

Screwtape Letters

Max McClean played Satan, but he also had a helper. A gymnast costumed as an ugly little demon. She would climb a ladder up from the pit of hell to send mail in a “bank tube” like machine to  Screwtape’s helper, “Wormwood” on earth.

She would read the mail when it came back.

If the news was good — if Wormwood’s “prey” was backing away from God during sufferng, she would leap to the ground in joy, cartwheeling across the stage.

But if the news was bad, if Wormwood’s “prey” was actually pressing into God during suffering, she would fall, somehow not breaking her back, screeching and clawing the air as she fell back to the pit of hell.

When we left the theatre, I asked Sally, what have you learned in these five hard years?

She said, “If God gives me the desire of my heart, I will praise Him. But if He does not, I will press into Him, and the enemy will fall, screeching, in defeat!”

 

Screwtape's Helper Demon

And though this world with devils filled,

Should threaten to undo us,

We will not fear, For God hath willed

His truth to triump through us.

The prince of darkness grim,

We tremble not for him;

His rage we can endure,

For lo, his doom is sure.

One little world shall fell him.

 

 

This week I watched Soul Surfer with my teenage grandchildren and thought it was definitely one of the better Christian movies I’ve seen.

Because it is a true story, it showed that real suffering comes into the life of the Christian — and that the “happy ending” may not be health, wealth, or winning — but maturing of character. As Joni Eareckson Tada says: “God’s purpose is not so much to make us healthy, wealthy — or even happy, though it pleases Him to do so — but to make us holy.” There were some key moments in this film worthy of comment — and I’d love your comments — on how though Satan won the skirmish, the Lord won the battle. Satan only got enough rope to hang himself!

 

Satan comes whispering lies, but this young girl, because of her faith, was able to overcome those lies.

 

What is the lie that threatens to undo us? It’s always been, from Eden on, about God’s love.

The liar, and the father of lies

The lie that Luther battled during The Reformation was “You have to earn God’s love.”

 

The lie that we battle during suffering is

“You have lost God’s love.”

 

What is the truth, O my soul?

 

 

 

 

 

ICEBREAKER:

What stood out to you from the above and why?

Part I. Bible Study

1. Read Job 1:6-12

A. In verse 7, what was God’s question and Satan’s reply?

B. What do you know about Job from the opening of Job, and why might he be of special interest to Satan?

C. Who brings up Job’s name according to verse 8? Why, do you think?

D. Why does Satan believe that Job follows God? What is Satan’s challenge?

E. Who has the upper hand here? Support your answer scripturally.

2. Read or sing the 2nd verse of A Mighty Fortress (see above). Lord Sabboath means Lord of all the good angels and all the evil angels. What stands out to you? (My favorite rendition is Steve Green — can hear on U-tube.)

Gerald Seghers "Job"

Gerald Seghers "Job"

Michael Card said Job was trying to lament — but his “friends” keep interrupting his dialogue with God. Yet God breaks through — two very famous times — but we are going to look at the first time — a time many have missed — but a wonderful way that combats our ancient foe’s old whisper: God doesn’t love you.

It occurs in Job 14. It is important to remember Old Testament saints did not have the understanding of heaven that post-resurrection believers have. They saw it as a shadowy world. Keller says that Job is lamenting, wishing he could die, but then he isn’t sure he wants to die — because what will death be like?

3. Read Job 14:7-10

A. Why does Job think there might be more hope for a tree than a man?

B. What question do you see in verse 10?

4. Read Job 14:11-13 and describe Job’s lament, fears, and wish.

5. Suddenly the Spirit arrests Job, and a question comes to mind. Find it in the beginning of verse 14.

6. Read Job 14:14-17

A. Job has been given an assurance — how does he respond in the 2nd part of verse 14?

B. According to verse 15, what will God do after Job is laid in the grave, and why?

This thrills me. One day God will call my name, Steve’s name, your name — and we will rise, like Lazarus! He will call for us because he misses the one his hands made.

C. How does this combat Satan’s lie? How could you speak this truth to your soul? Write it here:

7. Meditate on the last verse of A Mighty Fortress (above) and share your thoughts.

 

Psalm 91 Under His Wings Joy Magee

 

 

PART II. If you can possibly do it, buy Keller’s MP3 on this passage, listen, and give us your thoughts:

Click here: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=18749&ParentCat=6

PART III. UPDATE: Here is the link to the “God of All Comfort, Part 7″ on Moody Radio: Link


8. Did anyone see “Soul Surfer” or “Luther?” (Both movies relevant to this week.) Comments?

 

9. What is your take-a-way from the week and why?


COMMENTS (217) Post a New Comment ↓

Ladies,

Had to jump on and jump off today-seems it has been that way this whole week. :-) Having a very busy week as we are getting ready to go on vacation tomorrow morning early, and at the same time making sure the boys are ready for school, AND making sure the house is organized- all before tomorrow morning! :-0

I think I can continue to do the study via my Nook while on vacation tomorrow, it will take long to type, but I don’t want to miss my morning times with the Lord and fellowshiping with you all-I am doubly blessed! :-)

OH and I wanted to say..I have read and now am biting at the bit to get into the word and explore Dee’s challenge questions with you all. I am hoping tomorrow. Love you gals!

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Thanks so much for your prayers for my visit to the Search Committee — I think it went as well as it could have and I was so thankful for the chance. The church has a dear godly pastor who is retiring at age 80 and there is a group that would like to change the way of the church dramatically. So, thank you so much for your prayers. I felt like they were receptive and not hostile. Thank you so much.

    Dee, Great!! So wonderful to hear!!

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Dee

I havent been able to listen to midday yet, i think there is something wrong with the website, it wont even let me download the podcast. So i apologize in advacne if i cant comment on my thoughts.

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    Unfortunately, I’m having the same problem :(

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I’m sorry about the Midday link. Pray they get it fixed! My manipulative control idol thought about asking you to go on Facebook to plead with them to fix it, but my Gospel Transformed heart is asking you to pray! :-)

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    I don’t have facebook–but I will pray, and I just sent an email to them! ;)

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      I did let them know through facebook they said that they were going to work on it this morning.

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I just listened to the Keller sermon, definitely more than worth it.
Main things I liked: Christians have 3 resources available to us when we suffer:
1.Comfort of His Presence
Job isn’t asking for answers anymore, he just wants to know God is with him, for him, in the suffering. Jesus did not give us a sermon—He came—He gave us His Life.
I love how many times in different sermons Keller reminds us that while we don’t know the WHY of suffering, we KNOW what it DOESN’t, cannot mean—it cannot mean He just doesn’t care. I find myself repeating this over and over, applying it to many situations—it is mind-transforming.

2.Challenge of glory-He is making us Real. I love the Velveteen Rabbit quote he gave—“when you are real, you don’t mind being hurt” I’m still pondering it…

The pruning example was so good—vitality requires suffering. I have 8 year old rose bush we actually brought with us when we moved across 1200 miles, the movers thought I was nuts…and let me say I do not have a green thumb, but…I have cut it back every Feb. for the last 8 years and every time, it comes back bigger and more beautiful—smells amazing too. It is incredible to me how nature speaks His truths—didn’t we talk about that once before? I love how God shows us His truth in all His creation.

Without suffering, our words have no weight, they won’t last. I have found this so true—the pastors, mentors, those I most admire and learn from, are the always the ones who have weathered a storm. When we first moved here, and I heard our pastor had lost his wife—I was so saddened for him, and yet I knew—God has used it—His glory will shine through this man because of his pain.

3.Joy of the Resurrection-The Spirit works in Job’s heart and he starts to get it—he knows God loves him, longs for him, will and he finds hope for restoration—Job has never forgotten His character.
Only Christianity promises not a consolation, but restoration of the life we have always wanted! Everything sad that has happened will come untrue. That’s incredible to me.
Jesus paid IT ALL. We will not sleep, but we will be changed.
We know the truth of the resurrection. We have the comfort of His suffering because of the Gospel.

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A. I do think God had a great love for Job — but I want to see if you can find scriptural support for that. Elizabeth found some — what else can you find? God protected him, blessed him abundantly but most of all the way He spoke of him-like a proud father.

B. I don’t think God’s central purpose in bringing up Job’s name was to refine him, but it did, indeed refine him. When you read Job 29:1-14, see if you find some idols of the heart.
I don’t see idols here I see lament.

C. If God’s central purpose was not to refine Job, though that happened, what do you think His central purpose was?
I really don’t know. Maybe Job was to encourage us, to be an example. There are so many thing’s to glean here. We see the protection God gives. One commentator I read said we must pray the Lord’s prayer daily to keep us from temptation but also deliver us from evil. Satan is not without power.

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I found this article by Tullian Tchividjian when I was reading commentaries on Job. I thought how much I liked this guy and no surprise he is a friend of Dr. Keller. Tullian is a grandson of Billy Graham.

I’ve discovered that being thankful for pain is such a hard concept to grasp because many of us live in a country which has convinced us that the pursuit of happiness and comfort is our “inalienable right.” Therefore, when our comforts, conveniences, and cushions are threatened, we cry “foul.”

Charles Spurgeon once said, “Health is a gift from God, but sickness is a gift greater still.” Throughout his time in this world, Spurgeon suffered with various physical ailments that eventually took his life prematurely. He longed to be well but he recognized the supreme value of being sick and he thanked God for it because it was his pain that caused him to desperately draw near to God.

Similarly, David Brainerd was a young missionary to American Indians who died in 1747 at 29 years old from tuberculosis. Toward the end of his struggle, he was on his deathbed coughing up blood and coming in and out of consciousness saying out loud, “Oh for Holiness! Oh, for more of God in my soul! Oh, this pleasing pain! It makes my soul press after God”

To be thankful for our comforts only is to make an idol of this life. “God-sent afflictions”, says Maurice Roberts, “have a health-giving effect upon the soul” because they are the medicine used to purge the soul of self-centeredness and this world’s vanities. Pain, in other words, sharpens us, matures us, and gives us clear “eye-sight.” Pain transforms us like nothing else can. It turns us into “solid” people. Roberts continues, “Those who have been in the crucible have lost more of their scum.” All of this should cause us to be deeply thankful.

The paradox of Christianity is that if you want to find your life, you must lose it (Matthew 10:39). In the world’s economy, life precedes death. In God’s economy, death precedes life-the cross always precedes the crown. The good news, however-the thing that should cause us to be supremely thankful-is that when we lose our worldly comforts, we gain heavenly ones.

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    Kim — like “God talked about Job like a proud father.”

    Love the Brainerd story. I know Spurgeon suffered too from depression. Thanks for sharing.

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not seeing my last post???

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put it under Kim’s oooops :) sorry guys have a great week!!

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B. According to verse 15, what will God do after Job is laid in the grave, and why?
My addition uses the word desire, God will desire me to bring me home. ….beautiful! Makes me tear up.
C. How does this combat Satan’s lie? How could you speak this truth to your soul? Write it here:
This combats satan’s lies that God will not remember Job. It’s hopeless. God is not good towards him.
Soul, the truth is if suffering and pain isn’t already here it is coming. It’s part of the fall. Hold fast. Keep the faith. Whatever you suffer God will bring you through and burn the dross until you are pure gold. You won’t suffer more than you can bear and God will be with you as a constant companion. Remember the cross, the suffering of Jesus. Focus on your real home-heaven where it will be worth it all.

3. Read Job 14:7-10

A. Why does Job think there might be more hope for a tree than a man?

A tree can be cut down but springs forth new life, a man-once he is cut down-dies.

B. What question do you see in verse 10?

Man dies and where is he?

4. Read Job 14:11-13 and describe Job’s lament, fears, and wish.

He wants to die, but yet he doesn’t starting in verse 13. He wants God to rescue him-to wrap His wings around him and protect him and he wants God to remember him.

5. Suddenly the Spirit arrests Job, and a question comes to mind. Find it in the beginning of verse 14.

Wow, Job questions himself. “If a man dies will he live again?” It is contrast to verse 10 “Man expires, where is he?” COULD HE BE ON THE BRINK BEING AS THE TREE? Hmmmm..

Then he follows up with the truth: “All the days of my struggle I will wait Until my change comes. “You will call, and I will answer You;You will long for the work of Your hands.“For now You number my steps, You do not observe my sin.“My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You wrap up my iniquity.

Dee’s challenge questions:

A. I do think God had a great love for Job — but I want to see if you can find scriptural support for that. Elizabeth found some — what else can you find?

I think it is weaved in and out of Job. When the Spirit intervened in verse 14 reminding Job he does indeed have hope and that God loves Him- v. 15 “You will long for the work of Your hands.” God was protective over Job when he told Satan he couldn’t take Job’s life. I think the whole picture of God intervening I think it starts in Chp. 38 ish and then God waits for Job to respond is indication of his great caring and love for Job. He is dialoging with Job in a very direct and intervening way and interacts in a soul searing, caring and in a jealous love kind of way.

B. I don’t think God’s central purpose in bringing up Job’s name was to refine him, but it did, indeed refine him. When you read Job 29:1-14, see if you find some idols of the heart.

OH MY..I see a comfort idol in verses 1-6, approval idol in verses 7-13, control idol in verses 14-20..It goes on, then again to his approval idol. WOW, WOW, WOW!! SORRY but I have never seen this before. Job loved the Lord, but he was entrenched in idolatry!! I would never hear that in church in a study on Job!! It is usually quite the opposite. I have always felt there is no way I could be like Job, but OH MY!!! I AM! Just like him in this area of idolatry yet because of Jesus I am covered in HIS righteous robes. O.K. I will stop now.. This is huge for me though, praise God!!!

C. If God’s central purpose was not to refine Job, though that happened, what do you think His central purpose was?

O.K. I could be wrong and may need to extend this truth more, but perhaps God’s central purpose was to turn Job from his Idolatry and back to God? God’s love isn’t the kind of love we think it is. It is gutteral, deep, perfect, unconditional, jealous, pursuing, passionate-God wants to be on the throne in Job’s life-as he does all of our lives. God wants us to be intimate with Him-He longs for us and He grieves and is jealous when we lie in the arms of our idols.

Also, God shows his sovereignty here big time. Perhaps Satan knew Job was struggling with Idolatry, and thought he would deny God in the end, well God knew Job was in the arms of idols as well but God knew His heart and He knew the end, Satan didn’t. This screams of God’s sovereignty and supremacy. God won the battle-Satan lost. Job didn’t give His heart to His idols and deny God in the end-He ran from them and ran to God.

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    Love your enthusiastic answer to B. Does make Job more human, for sure. Love the way you designated it.

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Good morning Ladies

I am leaving this morning for Maine, and i would appreciate prayer. I am going with my mom and stepdad and two step siblings.. and also their friends who like to drink alot! So would you please pray that i would be a good testimony to them? Thanks!

    Meg, will do! Lord, thank you that you have given Meg this time with her family away. Help Meg to have compassion and give her an overwhelming love for her family and their friends. Comfort her, strengthen her Lord and help her to keep her eyes on you. Give her courage and the timing to tell of how you are moving and working in her life. We trust you will use this time to produce in her perseverance and we ask that you would speak to her soul Lord. We love you and thank you for Meg.

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    Yes, Lord — I agree — that Meg will be Your fragrance to them. I pray for some sweet times together.
    In Jesus Name

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Am loving your answers to the challenge questions and want to hear more and then I’ll pipe in too.

Praying they get the link to Midday fixed today — if not, I’ll give you a different message to listen to.

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    When I went to midday to download the program it re-routed me to iTunes where I could download to my iPod. I appreciate that, as I use my iPod all the time while I am doing chores and trying to stay healthy by walking and running. I haven’t been able to download up to this point for my iPod. I wonder if you have iTunes on your computer you are okay but if you don’t then you run into trouble?

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      Were you able to get the latest God of All Comfort on I-Tunes or just other Midday programs? If so, tell us the steps how! Thanks, Laura.

        Well, it seems that I got last week’s “God of all Comfort,” along with the other Midday programs. Sorry if I confused you :( Can’t wait to hear this weeks’ program!

        Thanks — you are still ahead of me, because I’d love to tell people how to download it on their ipod but can only do that with other programs.

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Oh this is such a replenishing well for my soul. Last night I woke up at 3 and had one of those middle of the night thoughts, not quite a dream, where I imagined losing my children, and being late at night, the thought just overtook me. And I thought on all we have been learning and I really do not question He loves me, He knows what He is doing, I trust Him, but feeling so personal, I thought of Chris S., Silverlene, all of you, and I just struggled–I don’t like that suffering has to be part of this world,that there isn’t always a cause of our own, that it isn’t always because we’ve held something too deeply, or brought it on ourselves–and I talked to Him and just said Lord, I don’t like this way that You love sometimes.

But this morning, reading through these truths, I am reminded of our study of idols where Dee talked about a surgeon cutting out the stone of our hearts–and I was thinking–would we really say to the Doctor, sorry but I don’t like the way you operate, I now it’s for my ultimate healing, but just leave the tumor there? No, we would undergo whatever was necessary to allow new life.

Sorry if these are sleep deprived foggy thoughts–but I feel His truth refreshed in my heart this morning–thankful for all of you!

JUst had to add this note. My girls are starting to notice heart idols…Love that! Praying it goes deep into their hearts as well.

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Love Elizabeth’s surgery analogy.

Angela — that’s wonderful. Tell us more!

This morning listening to a new Keller on God of Justice it brought me to weeping — you know how Jesus reads the scroll from Isaiah 61? Keller says he reads right up to the part about proclaiming the year of the Lord’s vengeance and stops before it — because He is not bringing God’s vengeance — God’s vengeance falls on Him. So how can we not trust Him?

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    wow–just reading what you wrote hear brings tears, I think I’ll find that sermon too!

Dee can we find that one?

Oh well about idol identification we saw it through soul surfer then other tv shows we watch they see it well. Now it is applying it to our own hearts! So we are working through and seeing it. I will share stories along the way. It is neat cuz they are bringing it up. Asking do you think that is an idol?

Okay here is something that really hit me hard today. In Highschool we lost 6 students to death. Two freak accidents, two an accident with a gun – murder/suicide, and two murdered (by a fellow bully classmate) and burned to try to hide evidence. This was all in highschool in a little town where we all knew each other. That is alot of loss in highschool for anyone. Then as a kid @5 we lived in MI and a robber came into the McD in Detroit and shot a guy in the doorway. I remember this. Also lost grandparents during this time. Adolescence is really hard but all this loss on top of it…Anyway, it was not until I joined this facebook group about living in our small town that all these memories flooded back. Now, I have suffered from anxiety and depression all my life. I have never understood why. There is imbalance at times but maybe this is part of it. I kept thinking I never had death loses in my life but obviously I have. I never was given the opportunity to grieve these. No one helped us and I can see my classmates are still struggling 20 years later with this stuff. Anyway, is this perhaps a possibility for my struggles. I am going to try to process all this loss and grief now. Hoping for freedom through it.

finding that one I mean Keller sermon.

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I’ve hesitated to answer these new questions because this is really my first study of Job and feel ignorant still, so these are just my simple thoughts (no commentaries read yet–though I’m waiting on the Mason one to come!)

A. I do think God had a great love for Job —— what else can you find?

In Job 1:8 and 2:3 we hear God’s proclamation of love for Job, but I also think one way we know God loved Job is that Job knew it—how could Job experience God’s love without God initiating it—and that Job loved God in return is again evidence to me that God loved him first.
God’s love for Job is not only proven in His blessings towards Job, but in His presence during Job’s storm, and how He allowed Job to sense the truth of eternity.

B. I don’t think God’s central purpose in bringing up Job’s name was to refine him, but it did, indeed refine him. When you read Job 29:1-14, see if you find some idols of the heart.
I never would have seen this without our previous study—this is so enlightening!
Vs. 2-3-approval; Vs 4-6-comfort; Vs. 7-8-approval; Vs. 9-10-power

C. If God’s central purpose was not to refine Job, though that happened, what do you think His central purpose was?

There is so much we learn about man and God’s relationship from Job. Here are my quick thoughts of what I learn from it:
1.God is Sovereign and has dominon over all things-good and evil.
2.There is a true spiritual battle going on for our souls—all the time
3. God’s love for us doesn’t always look like blessings—we cannot understand all His ways.
4. Friends will fail us—and often not point us to truth in times of trouble. We must be on guard, immersed in the Truth.
5. God can handle our questions, our doubts, our cries, our laments—it won’t scare Him away or anger Him with us, He doesn’t leave.
6. The Lord is always with us—in the blessings, in the storms, all powerful, all knowing, all good.

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I don’t know if they are going to fix the Midday Link or not — I want to give you an alternative —

You can go to my blog, click on prison ministry, and scroll down to hear me teaching women in prison about the psalms of lament.

http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/prison-ministry/

Some of this you have heard before — so you may or may not want to hear it. It is geared toward women in shelters and prisons — but I think applicable to all of us, for suffering is a part of every life.

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Dee–I am LOVING these videos–I think this is better than the Moody broadcast–we get to see you :)
I’m going through all of them, can’t believe I never found it before!
From the Lament I, I liked this: When we want to ask Why??? God says, “look at the stars…can you trust Me? do you think I know what I’m doing?” Accept the mystery of suffering* And be honest with God–this is the beginning of intimacy with Him. This reminded me some of the Velveteen Rabbit quote of when we are real, we don’t mind getting hurt. It seems paradoxical, but when we are honest, real with God, we enter into intimacy with Him, and our hurt becomes the pruning that can bring growth.

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    I can’t seem to find the videos. I watched Annie at the funeral and when Dee and Steve adopted her, but I wanted to see her at the wedding too :)

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      Go to my home page and click on prison ministry at the top and see if you can find them.

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Just got into our hotel room here in Branson! Yay, wifi works! Went to dees videos real quickly.. Dee you are so beautiful. Look forward to hearing and watching them on my Nook reader. For now it is off to a few museums! See you my sweet sisters in the morning! ;-)

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I’m on vacation with sketchy internet. I love the new questions and responses. I can follow on my email but connection is too slow to get on here much.

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as I was not sleeping last night I was thinking about Job and something hit me. GOD TALKED TO HIM. this never really was on my radar screen before. But as he was going through all the mess (which I am just not sure i will ever be able to unpack and Im ok with that:) in the mess GOD ACTUALLY SPOKE, REAL WORDS, SPOKE OUT LOUD TO HIM. It was only in the loss that God was real world, speak in an audable voice, there.
I treasure the, in my heart, times I hear HIS voice. I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to see, feel, touch, hear him for real.
God knew that HE was enought for Job, He knew that He could make anything satan did to try to destroy Job HE could repair.
Lily is always singing blessings by laura story. She knows that some times you have to hurt before its redeemed. She has such an old soul.
We are visiting her best friend from China right now and they are having a wonderful time.

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    Love this Cyndi about God speaking out loud to Job. That’s certainly a demonstration, as with Moses, of His love for this man. Good catch!

    How wonderful you can get Lily together with her best friend from China — so sweet. We were able to do that with Beth too and her buddy from the orphanage.

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      so glas to hear that! some people think we are nuts for letting her hold on to the past. I say her past is part of her! its good to hear of another adoptive parent who has done the same thing. we also are going to get together with an orphanage friend. I think people are afraid of loosing thier childs love, that they love their past more then their now, but its really not about me and my feelings, its about waht is best for Lily! She has bonded well, Im not sure how i would be responding if that where not the case.

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ICEBREAKER:
What stood out to you from the above and why?
There were many things that stood out:
The comment that the fight was not against cancer but was against Satan’s desire to have Steve (and the rest of you) deny God. My husband, too, showed the light of God until he died, always counting his blessings, showing love and appreciation to all who cared for him. My focus through his illness and death has been that God be glorified through it all. I continue to count my blessings and praise God, yet find it more difficult to do so amidst grief, which is such a powerful, overwhelming emotion.
Satan as a prowling lion…waiting for the opportunity to strike. I began to wonder if the enemy is ever described in the Bible as more of a parasite, sucking the lifeblood, the joy of Christ from our lives.
The movie Soul Surfer was well done. I think it showed the humility and teachable spirit of the main character, but did not really show her dependence on God – you can catch bits if you are a believer, but would you be able to see that if you were unfamiliar with the Bible and the love of Christ?

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    It is harder to count blessings in grief — that powerful overwhelming emotion. I do think that is why we have the psalms of lament, though they too usually end in focusing on God’s character.

    I am thankful your husband won the battle against the enemy. A great legacy.

    Interesting thought on Soul Surfer to ponder.

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1. Read Job 1:6-12
A. In verse 7, what was God’s question and Satan’s reply?
Where did you come from? Satan replied that he had been walking back and forth on earth.
B. What do you know about Job from the opening of Job, and why might he be of special interest to Satan?
Job praised God. Satan desires to prevent this.
C. Who brings up Job’s name according to verse 8? Why, do you think?
God brings up Job’s name. I think that God is confident that Job will continue to praise Him in all circumstances.
D. Why does Satan believe that Job follows God? What is Satan’s challenge?
Satan believes that Job follows God because God has blessed his life materially.
E. Who has the upper hand here? Support your answer scripturally
God has the upper hand. Deuteronomy 33:27
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.

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We’ve several on vacation — Anne, Rebecca — probably more. Cherish these fleeting days…

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Wish i had more time to post. Was able to watch again Dee’s prison ministry videos. Have a lot of thoughts, but no time to post. It takes a while to type on a Nook. :) Oh how rich they were.

Yikes! I just got asked to give a impromptu talk on a homeschool online conference cuz the speaker scheduled did not show up and you know what?! It was so easy and so God lead. I completely had to depend on Him and He lead me to a passage, gave me words, etc. I guess maybe cuz there was no pressure or time for an idol of the heart to form. I wish it was that easy each time but it can be if I can picture it like that each time, stay prepared, and be ready for His call. Nothing like experiencing being prepared in season and out!! :) Love that! He is good and faithful and has truly fully equipped us for every good work He has for us to do for Him.

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    That’s wonderful Angela! What a sweet testimony.

    Angela, Praise God! So glad to hear this!

Listened to Keller sermon since midday does not work still. Really loved it!
I never realized that when Jesus read that Scroll of Isaiah and said today that has been fulfilled
that he stopped before the day of vengeance part because He was the one to come and bare it!! WOW!

Justice is negative but also positive by DOING something. Liked the two part of this. Processed this
along with my story of classmates being murdered by a bully. Justice is served because consequences are
done. Yet the sermon on the mount says if I hate my neighbor then I have murdered them. So it is no good
for me to hate this girl who murdered my classmates. If I do I am the same as her. WOW again. This is just
what I needed to hear as these memories came back and as I process this. It was a lack of justice done by the
authority in our life because they allowed this monsterous bully reign our halls in fear. They should have done
something serious to stop it. It was hard for all of us. Those poor targets lost their lives for it and they were the weak and vulnerable who should have had someone there to stand up. It could have been anyone of us.

Praise the God of Justice by looking at the cross.

With that said, Dee as a widow do you feel well looked after and taken care of by the body? I wish we all lived close together because I know we would all be there for each other in sickness, hard days, etc. I hope so and am praying in that way.

Love to you all! I am off to blog and tweet for the Women of Faith Conference Atlanta tomorrow and fasting technology Sunday. See you Monday Lord willing. Praying for you all!

Oh and to finish up,…Luther is one of my top fav movies. I relate so well to his character if it is played rightly in the movie. I love it! How he could rightly see the idol worship when he went to Rome and knew he had to do something. That is now how I feel and prob why we talk about it so much as a family. When God moves you you cannot be the same.

My Take away is just to continue to TRUST. God is sovereign and capable and full of love for me so I just need to trust. I am a 6 year old, I cannot concern my mind with things too big. Just trust, love others well, and help them see it too.

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One of the challenge questions I asked were to find evidences for God’s love. I will address some of these in next week’s Midday — I’m praying for the tech men to get it this week — though I know you would be able to listen live at noon central time. I talk in that about the three times God came to Job.

But there is also another significant time when he addresses the friends in Job 42:7-9.

And did you note how God doubled all of Job’s fortunes at the end but not his children. That’s because his children who had died are alive, so his children are doubled. I love that.

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    I’m going to make an effort to listen live online to Midday Monday–we don’t have a station that plays it, but I so missed hearing it this week. Although I loved the prison videos–oh the notes from sweet Annie–got my heart on many levels….I have so much to learn from you Dee!

    We’re going to watch Luther again tonight–it’s one of my all-time favorites & we own it, so we usually watch at least once a year. It helps me appreciate our faith.

    I think my take away is that He is always with us, always working, always involved in our lives. Our suffering not only refines, but it brings intimacy with our Creator, it strengthens our bond like nothing else can. We will suffer—it is guaranteed this side of Heaven. But are also guaranteed we have a Deliverer who holds us, loves us more deeply than we could ever imagine, and is good.

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    Dee, I love that too about the children. I have a tendency to be a bit too mystical sometimes but I am so sure of times that God has spoken to me. One time was in Isaiah 43 that these words apply to my children (that they would come to devotion to the Lord). I remember thinking that the fit was not perfect because it speaks of 3 children and I only have 2. It was at that moment I knew that really I have 3 because one that I lost very early in pregnancy is in heaven. I never really thought about how we would all be together in heaven. I also have 3 more siblings that I know of.

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      How interesting about the 3 children.

      Sounds like your vacation was a little disappointing — I’m sorry!

        It was not one of the best but still good in many ways. It is comforting to know that God has a plan and is in control even when things don’t go as planned. Thanks for praying.

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My friend Kina has a sister that we pray for a lot. She is a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness right now. She lives in New York with 2 sons and I just heard from Kina that her apartment building burned and she lost everything but all are safe. Praying that she may find the One true God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Also for miraculous provision through God’s people during her time of need.

Joey and I came home from the beach early. He was not having much fun because of the cast and missing our pets a lot. The water was wonderful but I was tired of swimming alone. My husband has a severely torn rotator cuff so he couldn’t swim either. We are having trouble finding a surgeon because it is an on the job injury. Apparently no one wants to deal with workman’s comp.

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    Lord, please make a way for good medical care for Anne’s husband.
    In Jesus Name I pray

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HI Ladies \

I am back.. had a great time! thanks for your prayers. and Dee i will listen to the link you gave on the prison ministry cause they havent fixed the link yet!

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    Welcome back! Glad for a time of refreshing for you.

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So glad you had fun Meg. Maine is so beautiful.

I have been thinking all day about Dee’s question. Where do we find evidence of God’s love for Job? I spent some time skimming the book. In a few weeks I will be reading through it on my daily schedule and will look more closely. I found 7:14b “For soon I will lie down in the grave. You will eagerly seek me, but I will be gone.” Then 10:12 “You gave me life and faithful love, and Your care has guarded my life.”

The thing that impresses me is that Job seems to know that God loves him because He created him. Even though he does not feel the love, he knows God’s character. God loves His creation. And when God answers him at the end of the book, He speaks of His creation which is obviously more than good. It is glorious without even mention of man, who is the crown of creation. Man is created in God’s own image. I think parental love is an image of God’s love for His creation. Anyway, I think Job knows God loves him because he knows God.

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    Good Anne.

    I’m thankful too how you exemplify staying in the Word, looking at Christ. How that feeds into the person you are.

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    Anne,
    This is so helpful to me, “Job seems to know that God loves him because He created him. Even though he does not FEEL the love, he KNOWS God’s character.”

    That right there is an answer to Satan’s lie!

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I watched most of the movie, “Luther” for the first time today. Oh my goodness, it blessed me so! I am so incredibly thankful for truth. A must see.

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Time to share your take-a-ways if you haven’t! I’m welcoming you all back from your vacations — I’ve missed each of you — but so thankful for a time to regroup and refresh.

We have three more weeks of The God of All Comfort. I then will return to The Stonecutter, first with review, and then with final lessons.

Love to each of you

I am back! Had a great time with my husband and the boys! We went through Marvel Cave. I am posting pics on f.b. soon. Isaac kept saying, “mom, God did this! Isn’t he an incredible artist?” Through the whole cave he kept saying it. Then we went to the Titanic Museum..What stuck out to me was the wall where they had a tribute to the ‘spiritual heroes’ on board. There was a man named John Harper who was on his way to speak at Moody. His story is riveting how he gave his life for a young man he witnessed to. The man accepted Christ and later told the story. My oldest Eli became teary eyed when he heard it. I think this man’s witness touched my son’s heart.

Oh and could you pray for my two oldest as we start teaching them to have quiet times. We think now is the right time and they are really receptive. We found some great quiet time books for them, and my oldest received a journal at church to start journaling-but I am going to buy him one for home.

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    So glad to have you back, Rebecca. Great story about the Titanic and the caves.

    I will pray — how good to make this an adventure that they are old enough to do!

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Dee,

Do we have to listen to Parts 1 and 2? or Just one regarding the prison ministry teaching? I just listened t part one and what i got out of it was, that even if no one cares about you Jesus does and i love the song that you did with the prisioners.. its to the tune “going on a bear hunt” I love it! so applicable!

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    Meg — I’m suggesting the Parts called The Psalms of Lament — but it does sound like the Lord met you in the first. That’s great.

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      oopps sorry Dee! I just listened to the ones on the Lament and i really love the pictures that you give in their it just makes it look “real” to me. Also what you said about putting our trust in something other than Jesus, like our friends, you said even our friends fail us. I have put alot of trust in my friends in the past and have been hurt because they do fail me. It was a good reminder for me that Jesus is the clay he is our rock, and we need to go to him.

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My take away has been, The song a mighty fortress is our God.. it has been stuck inmy head all week, especially verse 3. and this phrase “and threatens to undo us”

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3. Read Job 14:7-10.

A. Why does Job think there might be more hope for a tree than a man?

Job says that a tree can be cut down, its roots can grow old, or its stump die in the dirt, yet even when it appears dead, there’s still life – a new shoot will come forth.

B. What question do you see in verse 10?

The NASB translation phrases the question, “Man expires, and where is he?”
He wonders, what happens after death?

4. Read Job 14:11-13 and describe Job’s lament, fears, and wish.

Job laments the end of life; it is so final, so permanent. He sees no hope, “Men will not wake, or be roused from their sleep.” Perhaps he laments the idea of never being reunited with his children who have died. Perhaps he fears the end of life as “nothingness”.
He wishes that the grave would only be a temporary “hiding place” until the Lord’s anger has passed. I’m not sure what the connection is here with God’s anger unless Job sees death as judgement?
Job wishes that there would be a set time limit on death – on being separated from his God – and then God will remember him.

5. Suddenly, the Spirit arrests Job, and a question comes to mind. Find it in the beginning of verse 14.

“If a man dies, will he live again?”

6. Read Job 14:14-17.

A. Job has been given an assurance – how does he respond in the 2nd part of verse 14?

He says “I will wait for my renewal to come”. He knows he must endure.

B. According to verse 15, what will God do after Job is laid in the grave, and why?

God will call Job’s name, and Job will answer Him. God will do this because He longs for “the creature Your hands have made.” It is because of love.

C. How does this combat Satan’s lie? How could you speak this truth to your soul? Write it here:

Satan tries to convince us that our death, or the death of someone we love, means that God was asleep at the wheel, He was unable to do anything to help or worse, it was because He used death as punishment, or He didn’t care enough to stop it/didn’t want to stop it; He doesn’t love us or the one we lost. Certainly if God “caused” our death or the death of one we love due to not loving, then He wouldn’t long for us after we were gone.

I can say to my soul, “Soul, nothing can separate you from the love of God. You are the work of His hands. Your sin did separate you from Him, but the Lord Jesus died for you and your sins are forgiven. He died to end that separation. When this body you dwell in dies, you will go to be with the Lord. And one day, God will speak a word to your body and it shall rise and you shall dwell in it once more. Remember the longing God has for you, and death shall not cause that longing to cease.”

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    Oh Susan — I love love reading this from you — thinking of the truth sending the enemy fleeing — and giving peace to you concerning your nephew.

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7. Meditate on the last verse of A Mighty Fortress and share your thoughts.

“For God hath willed His truth to triumph through us…”

Ok, so we have the “prince of darkness grim” and even though this world is filled with devils; they threaten to undo us – they rage at us and use fear against us – yet God’s will stands firm like a fortress amidst all the swirling black clouds and torrents of rage Satan hurls at us. We know God has a plan for us and this world and it has already been set in motion since before time began – He is coming back one day and one day, Satan’s “reign” will end – and God’s will will triumph no matter what, because there isn’t a power in the universe that can stop His plans.

I think my takeaway from this was in one of Dee’s videos. There was a lot of good stuff there, but one thing stuck with me my whole trip and that was to accept the mystery of suffering. Don’t ask me why..It has to be of the Lord because it isn’t like I am experiencing the kind of suffering Job did. I think God wants me to hear that it is o.k. to say I don’t know why or I don’t know God’s purpose in suffering in the small daily things in my life so that perhaps when the big ones hit, and I struggle, He will bring this to mind to soothe and minister to my soul. God doesn’t want me to figure it out, he just wants me to answer yes when he says: ‘Stop wrestling about, and rest in me..will you trust me?’. God is searing into my soul that He wants me to be honest in my suffering yet to trust at the same time in His sovereignty and be o.k. with the mystery.

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8. I did watch Luther last year. I remember the portrayal of how he was in such agony, demonized almost, as he struggled to be right with God through confession and penance yet never found any peace until God opened his eyes to the gospel. I remember seeing how the Bible was chained to the lectern in the church, the common people were not to read it for themselves. I think that was one of the greatest things he did was translate the Bible into German for the people.

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9. Need to keep thinking on these things we’ve learned this week…. yet one take-away I have it it all seems to boil down to our relationship with God, and I see this in Job, too. Strip away the circumstances, the suffering, whatever, it comes back to “God and me”. I used to see it in terms of Satan always trying to lead me astray, to make me sin, to make me do something bad or wrong. But what he’s really aiming at is my relationship with God; and he attacks me at my “feeling/emotional” level. Perhaps when Satan taunted God “about Your servant Job”, and said to God, in effect, “just You wait, Job will curse You to Your face!”, maybe he thought he could change God’s feelings about Job. When I think of Satan, the accuser of the brethren, trying to bring up our sins before God and make us look bad, isn’t that what he’s trying to do – get God to hate us or be angry with us? Satan is always trying to come between. We need to stand on the truth.

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I had some trouble getting the Psalms of lament video to play but when I clicked on the actual picture it then played.

Even though we have studied all of this before my heart is refreshed with something for right now. I still struggle with my downcast soul and I love the simple words to my soul. Put your hope in God.

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Dee, was that really Carla Faye singing Amazing Grace?

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    No — it was Terri Meeuwsen from 700 Club — she’s a good friend of Linda Strom’s and a real advocate for women in prison.

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      She has a beautiful voice.

        she sure does have a beautiful voice!

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      I wondered about the “Carla Faye” reference at the end of the video also….wasn’t she in prison in Texas? I lived in Dallas for 25 years before I moved to NH (8 years ago). Why is she referenced at the end of the video?

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