LIFE IS A SEA VOYAGE

LIFE IS NOT A WALK IN THE PARK

 

LIFE IS A SEA VOYAGE

 

The Parrish Art Museum, Southampton, NY, Gift of Robert Dunnigan, Dunnigan Collection

 

TO EACH OF US THERE WILL COME A TIME

WHEN WHAT WE  THOUGHT COULD NEVER HAPPEN TO US

HAPPENS

 

WHICH IS WHY WE DON’T NEED

JUST A TEACHER

BUT WE NEED

A SAVIOR

 

ONE WHO WILL RESCUE US

WHEN THE WAVES AND BILLOWS ARE GOING OVER OUR HEADS


 

 

A. W. TOZER SAID THAT GOD DOES NOT USE A MANICURE SET

WHEN WORKING WITH STONE

NO

HAMMERS, CHISELS

TOOLS THAT HURT

BUT THAT CAN SHAPE US INTO

WOMEN AND MEN OF BEAUTY

STORMS AND SUFFERING

ARE PART OF HIS MYSTERIOUS PLAN


Last week I was privileged to be part of a team that went into the prisons of Texas to minister to the inmates. This is always such an experience for me, for there is so much more life in the church in prison than in the church outside of prison. They hang on my every word, and afterward, in the small group times, they so want to understand how to be delivered from the power of sin. Everything has been taken from them, and yet I see a radiance in their faces. These are women who certainly know that life is a sea voyage, for many of them had their childhoods stolen from them, and have gone through one storm after another. They know as well about the darkness in their own souls and want to be transformed by the only One who can help them. Some have hurt others terribly, often passing on the sins of the fathers, and long with their whole hearts to be delivered from the beast prowling about within their hearts, holding them captive.

I am also so moved by the volunteers who are committed to these women. Often they too have been through enormous storms, and have experienced the reality of the Lord of the Storm. They are loving as Christ loved.

This time I met Grove Norwood. The moment he stood up to speak I sensed the presence of our holy God. God is using him mightily, but God has also taken him through a tremendous storm, something that seems to be so common for those He uses mightily.

GROVE NORWOOD

Here is an excerpt of Grove’s story from Charisma magazine:

One day on his way home from church, he passes a church and sees a group of men standing outside. He senses that they have a problem, so he stops to see what he can do. Someone has stolen the church’s air conditioner, ripping a hole in the wall. Grover pays for the repairs.

The church Grove stopped by where Ulice Parker was a deacon

 

Grover’s stop at the church leads to his meeting a member of the church, Ulice Parker. Ulice is also a well-respected, loving and kind man. He and Grover develop a friendship, and their families become family to each other. Grover always makes sure the Parkers have what they need, helping them however he can. He is especially concerned about the condition of their home, and knows he has to make it better, safer, livable.

But then tragedy strikes. The Norwoods’ daughter is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Authorities soon discover that it was Ulice who had unknowingly killed Joy.

 

Joy Norwood in her daddy's plane














Grover’s response of love and forgiveness is overwhelming. When he finds out Ulice has caused his daughter’s death, his first response is compassion for his friend. He immediately calls the Parkers’ home. But he doesn’t stop there. He buys clothes for Ulice and his wife to wear to Joy’s funeral and makes sure they are seated on the front row—a place traditionally reserved for family.

Joy's grave

 

 

Please watch this short video reflecting on Grove Norwood’s life, illuminated by comments from A. W. Tozer about how God molds us into men and women of beauty.

In the prisons last week the video, “The Heart of Texas,” (worth purchasing!) was shown. At the end, when Grove walked out from behind the screen, one of the inmates cried, “Oh — he’s real!  I didn’t think anyone could forgive something like that.”

The only way a person can forgive like that is if he knows His Savior deeply. If it is in Christ that he lives and breathes and has his being. And how can a person go on after he has suffered such a severe loss? Only if he believes God exists — that this life is not the end — that the One who spoke to the disciples in the midst of the storm, when He came to them, walking on the water, is who He claims to be.

 

THE GREAT I AM

Literally, He said the same words that God used to idenity Himself to Moses. It is the covenant name. Literally, Jesus said four words:

 

I AM: NO FEAR

We must all breathe in the significance of those four words.

When we do, we can become the kind of believers like Deitrich Bonhoeffer, Amy Carmichael, and Grove Norwood. Grove could forgive, go on, and trust that God would bring something good out of his little girl’s death and the suffering of his family and friend. And, indeed, God has. When Grove ministers in the prison, they hang on his words — for they have so much to forgive, and need so much forgiveness.

This next clip about Grove and his ongoing ministry is optional, but demonstrates the beauty that can come from suffering, when responded to with trust.

How warmly we welcome the new women and the dear familiar friends to this seven week journey. I had the thought that the reason one usually wants to do a Lenten study is not to get something from God, but to get God. So I suspect those who have committed will be likely to stay with us. We may stumble and fall, but we will keep going.

Oh — I can hardly wait to see what God will do. Your first week was rich.

This week’s sermon by Tim Keller is amazing, and the Bible passage, though short, is as precious as gold. I do not take it lightly when I suggest a sermon that costs money. I listen to many and choose what I believe is the best. I realize some of you will have to fast a meal just to get the money, but believe me, this is the bread of life. Next week, a sermon directly addressing the name, I AM is free — but this week, you’ll need to pay.

Welcome, welcome!

Sunday/Monday Icebreakers

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Report on how you are doing so far!

3. What will you put off and put on this week?

Monday-Tuesday Bible Study

Read John 6:16-21 and watch this reenactment:

4. Look carefully at this passage:

A. Describe the time of day and the conditions at sea. (John 6:16-18)

B. How did they respond when they saw Jesus?

C. There are two miracles in this passage. See if you can find them both.

D. Every miracle that Jesus does really happened, but is also meant to teach us something. Think of this one as

representing the Gospel power to deliver us from the penalty of sin and see what you can discover.

When Jesus says “It is I,” in the Greek it is Ego Eimi, or I AM — the exact same words that God spoke to Moses at the burning bush. It is a clear declaration of Deity. Last week, one of our newcomers, “Elizabeth from Oz” said she was always hiding behind her idols, hoping God wouldn’t find her — yet also hoping He will because she so needs to see Him. The ways of the human heart.”

When we encounter Jesus in His holiness, in His Deity, we are repelled and attracted. Repelled because we are so aware of our sinfulness. Attracted because we know we need Him. The disciples were terrified by His declaration of Deity and the proof of it. Yet they needed Him, so they took in to the boat — and immediately the boat was on the shore.

What does this mean?

I’m going to have you spend more time on the Keller sermon this week — listening to it the way Susan does. She makes copious notes, stopping and starting it. I’m not going to even apologize for the 2.50 it will cost you to get it — because it so worth it. (And remember, the money all goes to ministries Jesus cares about.)

Wednesday-Friday: Keller sermon. Here’s the link

5. Before you start on the sermon, give us a mid-week report on how you are doing on your Lenten discipline.

6. First Point: God is Sovereign over our Storms

A. What notes and comments do you have?

B. What area of your life do you need to commit to God’s sovereignty?

6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM

It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”

A. What notes and comments do you have?

 

B. This week, in your “putting off and putting on” how will you surrender to Him as Lord?

7.  Third Point: Jesus is Holy

A. What notes and comments do you have?

 

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God was a consuming

fire. How might this be helpful to you also?

8. Fourth Point: I AM: NO FEAR

A. What notes and comments do you have?

 

B. If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?


Saturday:

9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.

COMMENTS (561) Post a New Comment ↓
Reply

6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM

It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”

I really didn’t understand this until I listened to Keller twice. I may have it now? The disciples were afraid of Him because they realized He was someone very special. They realized they had not and would not know anyone else like Him, EVER. It was as if someone slapped them and they were left speechless; nothing left to say. They were perplexed because nothing like that had ever happened to them.

A.6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM

It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”

It took me a while to understand this one; I had to listen to Keller twice but now I think I have it. The disciples were shell-shocked. They had never known anyone like Him. It was if someone slapped them and they were speechless. They would never know anyone like Him again ever. It wasn’t the walking on water or getting to the shore instantly, it was the realization of who He was.

Unlike God of the OT, Jesus says to not be afraid. In the OT God wanted the Israelites to be afraid so they would listen and learn. In the NT God wants them to learn to be like Jesus so He doesn’t want them fearful. He wants them to trust Him completely.

 

    Reply

    Ok I thought I lost everything do I tried to recreate it! Apparently indidnt lose it! I’m having computer troubles this week :(

    Reply

    Good, good, good. You see!

    Reply

    My 14 year old son was looking over my bible study tonight when he decided he was going to participate. On question 4(d) his response was: the ocean was the our sinful nature, but when we let God into our boat (our life), he is our salvation. He gets us right where we are supposed to be. I thought that was pretty strong:)

Elizabeth, Hosea 2:15 :-)

Reply

B. What area of your life do you need to commit to God’s sovereignty?

All of it I suppose, I am not a great worrier. I hope as the truth that He loves me really takes root in my soul that acknowledging His sovereignty will feel like a comfort rather than resignation.

I need a deeper richer prayer life. I have no trouble with Bible study, but even before our tragedy I had trouble being still before the Lord. I pray, but my prayers are short. When I sit down to try for a more focused time in prayer I seem to be unable to sustain it. If anyone can recommend an excellent book on prayer I would be grateful.

6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM
It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”
A. What notes and comments do you have?

Isaiah 6:5-8 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar.
And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

I want this sort of transformation, from feeling lost and hopeless to “here am I send me”

B. This week, in your “putting off and putting on” how will you surrender to Him as Lord?

I will fix my eyes on Him when I feel hopeless, I will be on guard to see when Satan is luring me with my comfort idol, I will notice others who are hurting and seek to be a benefit to them.
I will resist the urge to isolate myself.

Reply

7. Third Point: Jesus is Holy
A. What notes and comments do you have?

I thought of the point in the sermon that Jesus as a baby can warm my heart but won’t transform it.

Sometimes I am troubled by the use of cheesy Jesus’ images like ones on bumper stickers or some pictures that one might see in an email or on the internet. I think we have a tendency to shrink God down to where we feel comfortable with Him.

Jesus as He is in Revelation, humbles me, this God very God, who paid a great price for me. I should feel awe, gratitude, amazed at His mercy, I should worship.

Revelation 4:8-11 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever,
the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

Revelation 15:2-4 And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire–and also those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands.
And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, “Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations!
Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

We have been singing Revelation Song at church, tears streaming down the faces of so many, it touches me deeply;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuFnQqkLG5M&feature=related

    Reply

    Awesome song, Chris S., we need to contemplate the holiness of God more and more. Thank you.

    Oh Chris…I am playing this now..ONe of my absolute favorites–HE wants us to praise Him-to worship him. It’s all about Him.

    I think we are together having a taste of what lies ahead-I can’t imagine. What blows me away is that even now we are worshiping him in the midst of our waves and storms-this can only come from Him. Yes, he is coming to us like the Spring rains indeed. Thank you Lord Jesus.

      Reply

      Rebecca & Diane, I am glad to know this song reasonates with you too

    Reply

    Oh I love this song. Kari Jobe sings it nice too!

Reply

I have been thinking since I first read the comments about people not caring about prisoners and I wanted to say that if they went along with some people on a prison ministry visit they would see things differently. It is easy to not have compassion on people when you stay away from them.
It’s no different then when my unsaved relatives and friends say that they’ll never go to church because it is full of hypocrites that only want your money. Are there hypocrites in the church, yes. Are their evil people in prison, yes, but that’s not the whole picture. That’s why Christians need to go out and get involved. 1 Peter 2:12 says “…they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” The prisoners can’t come to you, you have to go to them. Nothing is going to change what they did, but the blood of Christ covers ALL sin. And I am overwhelmingly thankful that we have until our dying breath to repent, our time in this life is the tiniest micro-speck compared to the the universes of eternity. Heaven is not a reward for living a good life, it is the privilege of spending eternity with the One who made us for that purpose.

    Reply

    thanks for sharing this Dawn, I agree it is easy to assume the worst when we stay away from others and we don’t take the time to know their stories.
    The Lord is patient, not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance

      Reply

      YES!

    Reply

    I think to that God views sin as sin, it doesn’t matter what your sin, big or small they all are the same in His eyes. And yes as Dawn and others have said, there are some who just don’t care about what they did and may never be sorry and those that now realize they did wrong and can only ask for forgiveness and try to live with them selves now. It’s those that don’t care that we really need to pray for, for their hearts to soften to the ways of Jesus. We need to pray for the victims and their families also to be able to cope with whatever it was that happened and for them to pray for their attacker to be really free from the bondage the hurt has them in. We are to hate the sin and love the person, is that hard to do yes, absolutely, are we to show love and forgiveness to all, yes. Is it something that I myself will be able to do if needed, I only pray that I can. Jesus forgave me for my sins and continues to forgive and I’m so glad that He does, or I myself could be in a “prison” from my sins.

Reply

Hi Dee,
I just read Grove’s story of forgiveness…how the Holy Spirit works in God’s people is really awe-inspiring. Thank you for sharing this.
Hope to get more involved in your blog and Bible studies!
You have always been a personal inspiration to me.
Nita from Kearney, Nebraska

    Reply

    Hi Nita!

    Were you once Nita Matheny? Or a different Nita? So glad to have you!

    Dee

      Reply

      She is Nita Matheny …the one you know, Dee, that lost her husband 6 years ago. She is a good friend of mine and we first met Dee like 30 years ago at a christian lunchen, where she spoke! When Dee started Sunrise Bible studies(non-denominational) here and they are still going strong! Nita and I go to one on thursdays. Kim helps with sitting for one on tuesdays. I want to get Kim and Nita and myself together (they have never meet). We are so blessed to have known Dee for a long time and her precious husband, Steve. I worked at Steve’s clinic for 10 years. I loved him too…he was the most humble, loving man I’ve ever met. Oh, if I could only be alittle like he was so humbling and sweet. Welcome Nita!

        I would love that, Joyce.

        You always bless me remembering Steve, Joyce.

        Of course I remember Nita. She is very dear to me. Dear dear heart — like you and Kim!

    Reply

    Welcome Nita! Glad to have you.

    Reply

    Welcome, Nita.

    Welcome Nita!! So glad you are here!

    Reply

    Welcome Nita, glad to have you!

Reply

I love these stories of the Twila Paris song! Wow! Can’t wait to listen to it.

Our worship leader at church wrote a new song called “I Will Trust”. It’s my favorite song they lead with. I wish it was on youtube to share, but here are the lyrics.

I will trust you Lord
When there’s no way out
You will see me through

I will call on Your name
when I find myself surrounded by the fiery flame

Cause you long to be gracious
and set my feet in the most spacious of places

There is no one like you Jesus
No other name under heaven can free us

Mountains shake the oceans flee
You reach down and take ahold of me

When the waters rise
I will not take my eyes off of you Lord

My hope will not give way
Nothing can separate me from Your love

    Reply

    Anne Meredith,

    Love these lyrics! Cant wait to hear the song! I am on my nook right now, so i will try to listen. :-)

    Reply

    Anne Meredith–oh–wow.LOVE, LOVE this– thank you–the timing for me is incredible, this is beautiful–Rebecca, I REALLY can see you singing this one too–wow– so good!!

      Reply

      Elizabeth, i got to the link for anne meredith’s song, but my nook won’t play it. I will listen tomorrow. Always looking for good songs! :-)

      Reply

      I think Rebecca needs to put on a concert for us bible blog ladies and Dee can teach!

    Reply

    This is beautiful,annemeresmith. Thanks so much for sharing it.

    When the waters rise
    I will not take my eyes off of you Lord
    My hope will not give way
    Nothing can separate me from Your love

    Amen!

    Anne Meredith-Loved The song! Thanks for sharing it. I sent it to our W.T. pastor to see if it would be possible to work this one up-even asked for a Cellist. :-) Love the lyrics.

      Reply

      Great! Glad you all loved it. Off to Fredricksburg for the weekend. Blessings to you guys.

Reply

6. First Point: God is Sovereign over our Storms
A. What notes and comments do you have?

Wow, I have miles of notes, but others have done well summarizing so I won’t bore you. The main point is that life is not in my control, never was or will be. I need a sovereign God to rescue us. Jesus is that. Keller says, “Jesus is walking through the storm. He is strolling. He has power over all the forces of destruction and all the powers of death that the storm represents. In another storm, He says simply “Peace, be still.” In other words, “Shut up.” Here he is strolling.”

B. What area of your life do you need to commit to God’s sovereignty?

My family. For years I have hoped that God was blessing my family because my husband and I were committed Christians. I thought my family was safe. This year, God proved me wrong. My daughter’s marriage is rocky and my younger brother has basically shunned some of us for perceived wrongs. I felt God should not do this to me because I am sacrificing so much else for His sake. But I am learning that I can’t depend on my family even – only God. I can pray for them. I can serve them, but I cannot control them or depend on them to do what I think they should do. God is in control. He will manage things however He wants, whether I understand or not.

6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM
It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”
A. What notes and comments do you have?

I was fascinated how Keller explained the meaning behind Jesus’ saying his name is “I Am”. Basically, Keller says, “I AM – he means ‘I Was’ has no meaning to me because I have no beginning.’ I Will Be’ has no meaning to me because I will never change. To ‘will Be’ something means I am going to change. I am going to be something I am not now.” He is also saying I am perfect, I will not change. I AM just because I AM. Not because of anything. I AM my own cause. He is making an enormous claim – not just life force, or the power of good, spark of divine.”

Keller again: “when Jesus comes into my life, he has to be the center of my life, the preeminent thing. It doesn’t matter what other things I love. Loving him, obeying him, following him has UNCONDITIONAL, UNCONDITIONED AUTHORITY IN MY LIFE. Jesus claim pushes us into extremes. It is an ALL OR NOTHING situation in my life – intellectually or personally.”

And because of His authority, Jesus can give you a clean slate in forgiveness. Complete freedom from guilt.
B. This week, in your “putting off and putting on” how will you surrender to Him as Lord?

7. Third Point: Jesus is Holy
A. What notes and comments do you have?

Accepting God’s holiness is hard for us. Basically, we hate to submit to authority of any kind. “We are created in one layer to need God’s greatness and glory. A second layer we want to be our own lord and master. We are deeply committed to the idea that, though God may be there, we don’t absolutely need him every second. We are not utterly lost sinners. When we get close to God, we begin to realize that the way we have been living is wrong and we are traumatized by the holy.”

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God was a consuming fire. How might this be helpful to you also?

As I offer my self to Him, he consumes my sins and makes me holy. I find the concept that He is making me holy full of wonder. How can it be? Yet Ephesians 4:24 says that the new self is “created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” At this point, I don’t know what to say about this. It’s just amazing.

8. Fourth Point: I AM: NO FEAR
A. What notes and comments do you have?

Jesus is I AM that is different from God in the Old Testament. In the OT, God wants us afraid of his holiness. Here Jesus is “I AM, therefore don’t be afraid.” His holiness is not a threat because his sacrifice covers us. He took the storm of God’s wrath and satisfied God’s justice so that we can walk through any storm with Jesus by our side. The holiness of God is now our comfort – our substitute, he paid for our sins. Praise God!

B. If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?

God will NEVER let me sink.

    Reply

    I think what you said about your family is an illusion many of us have had to have shattered. Thanks for sharing so clearly. Good notes.

    Reply

    Great notes and examples, Diane. I also can relate to what you said about your family and what Dee said about it being an illusion so many of us have.

    Reply

    i just love this diane–“As I offer my self to Him, he consumes my sins and makes me holy. I find the concept that He is making me holy full of wonder. How can it be?”

Reply

5. I am very pleased with the things that are happening for me during this Lent. I am sticking with the put off things and improving with putting on more discipline with my study times. I am not exactly on the days this week but better. I don’t have the overwhelming presence of God that is what I have always sought. What I have is evidence of His Spirit in my life. I mean that I see fruit that I have never seen before. To share specifics would be too much to write.

I know that I have said this before but I really am overwhelmed with what God has done for me. He lays before me a precept that I can hardly believe and then makes it true in my life. Last fall when He showed me that I would learn joy, I believed Him but I just didn’t see how. I knew it was tied to works in the Holy Spirit but I had never been able to bear this kind of fruit. First He showed me that I must depend on Him alone. When I had that I began to see works popping up. None are earth shattering but they are fruits that I have rarely seen in my life. They bring joy and as joy grows it shines.

I watched the wave video again. The thought came to me: what if I knew I was safe in those waves? what if I knew that I would be able to get my breath? that I would always rise to the surface? It would be suffocating and exhausting but maybe I could have peace deep within.

Oh, I heard a wonderful analogy recently. A clay pot that has light within is more beautiful when it has cracks because the light shines out. Our imperfections and suffering cause cracks. If we resist and try to hide the cracks our beauty (which is the Holy Spirit) is hidden. But if we are honest about our weaknesses, imperfections and pain it seems like the opposite of hypocrisy to me.

    Reply

    This is wonderful, Anne. I am so happy for you. I love the story about the clay pot with cracks. Beautiful!

    Reply

    Anne, you inspire me so much!!

    Anne, I read this last night-I usually always read your posts. But didn’t have time to respond and wanted to think about this.

    I LOVED what you said about the clay pot here: “A clay pot that has light within is more beautiful when it has cracks because the light shines out. Our imperfections and suffering cause cracks. If we resist and try to hide the cracks our beauty (which is the Holy Spirit) is hidden…”

    Then God showed me this passage this morning in 2 Corinthians 4: 5-11:

    “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”

      Reply

      Rebecca, this passage is just what we were studying ;o)

6. Second Point: Jesus is the Ultimate — He is the GREAT I AM

It is huge to realize that Jesus keeps claiming to be the GREAT I AM. Whenever that happens his friends are in awe and his enemies want to stone him, for as R. C. Sproul says, “It is clear declaration of Deity.”

A. What notes and comments do you have?

His peace and comfort arise in me when I walk in this truth. He is God-He controls the universe-He is sovereign and has absolute authority over everything. There is nothing in my life that happens that He can’t use to bring me closer to Him. He can see past present and future all at once. He is God over my storms. He even takes Satan’s schemes and turns them around for His glory-to bring me higher up and closer in-we see this in Job. I don’t need to know why, I don’t need resolve to my storms-that really isn’t mattering to me anymore-I need Him. That is the point.

OH MY..God just gave me this verse: 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” -I used to have this memorized, but it has taken on a deeper layer of meaning for me now!

B. This week, in your “putting off and putting on” how will you surrender to Him as Lord?

God has been speaking to me this past week. (Dee, also with what Julie B. said Thursday) It is all about Him. He is the Great I AM. When I see how big He is, I realize how small I am-but it doesn’t stop there. IT ISN’T ABOUT ME! Also, it isn’t about what He can give me. I don’t want to gaze at Him because I need peace or comfort or solitude or relief from my storm-the point of gazing at him is to worship Him for who He is, and then when His peace and joy comes, and it will, I can be ever so grateful and praise Him even then! I hope that makes sense. Like in that Twila Paris song-OH, I CAN TRUST HIM-HE IS THE GREAT I AM.

This is CONTINUAL though-the process of putting off and putting on. I will give you an example-please don’t take this as tooting my own horn, I am not-I want to give God the glory. My husband walked in this morning from his route about a half hour ago and said, “I was just thinking..How long have you been doing Dee’s studies now-2 years? You know, two or so years ago you were depressed and I was concerned. Over time you have grown and turned into a beautiful flower-it is sticking. It wasn’t like a lightening bolt overnight-it took time..You have changed drastically.” I replied, “That is how God works-it is Him using Dee’s studies to chisel my stone. I think if it were up to me, I would have done a few lightening bolt changes and then gone back perhaps things would have looked worse. The only thing I did was open myself up to His knife to let him do the surgery.”- YOU SEE, it isn’t about me. Yes, I do have a responsibility to put on and put off, to pay attention to my thought life and speak truth to my soul, to turn and repent and trust Him, but He does the work in my heart via the Holy Spirit, and HE empowers me to obey-I can’t really explain it-He just does it.

    Reply

    Blessing upon blessing you are to me.

    Reply

    Rebecca, I love this and how you explained that it did not happen suddenly. This is very encouraging because we are all in the process.

    Reply

    Wow Rebecca, so cool to have read what changes you’ve made thru the studying of Gods word by Dee’s obedience she is bringing so much to the surface. So happy your husband has seen the changes.

Reply

Hi ladies! I’m back! Had a great time!

Angela- I forgot that you lived in Tennessee but was praying for everyone that the lord would keep everyone safe.

Also can u pray for our church family we lOst our intern pastor on Thursday to a skiing accident he was 70 is married but has no children . He had only been with our church a year or so.

Rebecca I will pray for your family just read a little but about what your son is going through at school.

    Meg, Thanks so much! Awesome that you had a great time!

    Reply

    Welcome back! So glad it was good!

    Reply

    Glad you had a good time Meg. I’m sure it was a well deserved trip, hope you had time to relax too.

7. Third Point: Jesus is Holy

A. What notes and comments do you have?

I am free knowing that He went under the water and drowned for me-so that I wouldn’t have to. I can take comfort in His Holiness and not be terrified-I don’t have to, he died so that I wouldn’t have to be terrified-what amazing love!

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God was a consuming fire. How might this be helpful to you also?

I was thinking more along the lines of desiring Him to be with Him-I find comfort that He is an all consuming fire.

8. Fourth Point: I AM: NO FEAR

A and B. What notes and comments do you have? If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?

I lost my notes in cyber space. :( BUT that isn’t too big for God. ;-) I don’t need to fear His Holiness like in the Old Testament. Yes my sin repels me when compared to Him, but it has been paid for. Therefore the fear I have for Him isn’t a ‘terrifying’ kind of fear. It is a comforting kind of fear-a reverence, a respect, in awe of-His Holiness and the fact that he not only saved me from the penalty of sin, he is saving me from the power of sin in my life-this leads me to repentance. I shouldn’t fear anything on this Earth, what people think, if my comfort is taken away, if things happen and chaos hits. OH how I want to grow more in this-I can be easily tempted in all these areas and I am stubborn-but praise God I am not condemned-and He has given me the Holy Spirit-my counselor.

9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.

I have reported on my week, but what sticks out to me are two things this week-I was blown over by God in how He spoke to me-as Dee said in her response to an article in a magazine about Intimacy with God-Intimacy with Him is ever flowing-He comes to me through His word, other believers, even a touch on my shoulder. He Has been sweet this week. He spoke to me Thursday via a Bible Study, through this online Bible Study, then gave me a song, and others here as well at the same time! He also gave me a verse to share with Anne based on her most recent comment, and yet His strong message to me is-I AM. Worship me-be intimate with Me. I am God-trust me. It has also been sweeter and an extra satisfaction to be worshiping Him with my sisters here on the blog. It is all Him and us together in Him. I can’t grasp it-but it blows me away how in so many ways He is intimate with me.

The second thing that stuck out to me was Ulysis and Grove-both of them warmed my heart. I can relate to Ulysis even though I haven’t gone through a storm quite like his-I am frail as he is and make many mistakes-that could have easily been me..Well, and I just love his personality in the video-what a dear, sweet brother-the fragrance of Jesus is so in Him-I think that is what bothered me, how could I not show mercy-especially to him. Grove’s response reminded me of power that only comes from GOD. How completely humble to consider Ulysis as more important than himself, forgiving him and not stopping there but overflowing in love-laying down his life for his brother, in the midst of an overwhelming storm.

Take away-Just pondering all this I am so thankful to be HIS!

Reply

I thought perhaps I would share this thought from Tullian Tchividjian. It ties in with what God is trying to teach me. Perhaps it will bless you too. As recently as this morning I was stewing about what others were thinking about me and I was hearing voices in my head condemning me. I kept going and prayed for mercy and protection from Jesus’ blood and the panic subsided. Jesus does not condemn those who are His; that is Satan trying to feed us lies. Let’s fight Satan with the truth.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/

    Reply

    Tullian really seems to be helpful to so many. Thanks Diane.

    Reply

    Thank you Diane, reading that made it so much more clear in my eyes that I AM FREE not that it will come, but I already have it.

    Reply

    Thank you, Diane, this spoke to me:
    True discipleship happens when you come to terms with the fact that you are so unconditionally loved, forgiven, pardoned, and free that you say “yes” to whatever God wants.

Reply

wanted to let you all know I am here in florida safe and sound:) it was a fun trip. I read what Rebecca said about this blog and paul told a paster at our church that he has seen this blog really help me and that our church should do something like it…..didnt even think he had noticed:) your a blessing Dee, and all of the woman who have been doing this journey with us over the last year and a half!
the whole lent thing, spending time with God in the morning has gone out the window during this trip:( trying to get back into the habit while im here, vacation is hard to stay disaplined! still reading 1000 gifts and we are talking a lot about thankfulness, trying to live every min. in thankfulness while im here!

    Reply

    Cyndi so glad you made it safely and our having. Wonderful time, enjoy the beauty God has created in another state.

    Reply

    thanks Cyndi — and your husband too —
    We are free in Christ — so enjoy your vacation continually lifting thanks!

Reply

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God was a consuming fire. How might this be helpful to you also? –
I’ve been thinking about this since I’ve read it and for me when I think of ashes, I think of something destroyed by fire, the remains of something that once was. I know God is my all in all so when I  think of the ashes I think of all the bad that He burned off of me, all my sins, all my idols, all burned and destroyed in a heap so I have room to re-build from the foundation up, with God as my foundation now, stronger now to resist the storms.

    Reply

    Great picture, Julie.

Reply

B. If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?
I have some fears about our country, prices, end times and who the next president be etc. I will stop fearing and speak the truth to my soul with this verse:

“And he changeth the times and the seasons; He removeth
kings, and setteth up kings; he giveth wisdom unto the wise,
and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth
the deep and secret things; he knoweth what is in the darkness,
and the light dwelleth with him.

9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.
I have a praise. Last evening I asked God something I have never thought to ask Him, I told Him my fear of falling away and not being on fire for Him – I tend to fall in and out of closeness when I get over busy. I asked Him if He would please enable me to stay close this time and not fall back in this habit. As soon as I prayed this I felt His presence – you know the sense when He’s near and smiling on us? All my fear left and I had a great night’s sleep. I believe this is an added blessing from practicing Lent.

    Reply

    Beautiful, Kim. His presence is here. I am so thankful.

      Reply

      Me too, Dee. I now pray specifically for you every week as you prepare the lessons. It is so evident He is leading you.

Reply

9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.

This will be as-is, no time to edit or even process ahead of time, hop I ca make so sense—here goes! This week God has become more alive and real and vivid that I can even put words to. I begin to talk about Him now and my eyes just well up, every time. My husband mentioned how much love for Jesus just brings me to tears when I think of Him—I was never like that, and at first I thought “hormones”, but it’s not. It’s that I feel Him so deep in my heart. This has been a week of testing my faith in the face of fear and for the first time ever I do not feel crippled by it. I didn’t want to mention it—but for the sake of showing His grace—my nerve pain has progressed and we are trying different things—my hope is that it may be related to a change in my blood sugar meds (manufacturer)…in any case, we’ve had a few scares, and ALL, every single minute through it—He has stood with me,, reminding me His Name: NO FEAR. I was 16 when God first showed be Isaiah 43. I remember reading it and being drawn in—like He wrote it just for me, and it has been a favorite ever since. More recently, He’s been drawing me to Psalm 27. This week, this lesson from Dee was just the huge gold star of all He has been saying to me all along—I AM NO FEAR. Oh how I love Him, overwhelmed—just so overwhlemed. Yes, He suffered the only storm that would have truly killed me—so that I never have to face another storm alone. My Abba says I am not allowed to fear, He is with me.

    Reply

    Oh Elizabeth — though we know sorrow, our joy is inextinguishable

    Wonderful to hear this presence — filling you, your heart, your eyes with tears

    Yet how I do pray for relief from nerve pain, wisdom for doctors, healing from Him — yet so glad He is holding you

    Reply

    This is beautiful, Elizabeth. I love how we learned He suffered the only storm that would have truly killed us. What an anointed lesson this week!

      Reply

      I pray a prayer of agreement with Dee for your health.

    Reply

    This is so beautiful, Elizabeth. I am praying for you! You have a beautiful, tender heart – it just drips on here with the love He has poured into it!

    Reply

    Elizabeth, I am sorry that your pain is worse. I will pray about that. But how wonderful that you are gaining a heart of flesh! That you are overcoming fear! He is so praiseworthy!

    Reply

    praying that you are better soon! Glad God is meeting you in a real way but still want you to be well!!!

Reply

Just finished the sermon and my notes – will have to come back probably late tonite.
Would appreciate prayers for my mom – she is sick and I’m going over to bring dinner and check on her. She can get pneumonia so quickly, has had it several times before. Dad is making sure she is resting. She has had laryngitis for past two days, now a cough. Has stayed in bed today.

    Reply

    Oh dear, I hope your mother does not have pneumonia, Susan. Praying for her.

    Reply

    Father, I lift up Susan’s mother and ask for Your mercy.
    In Jesus Name I pray

    Reply

    Praying, dear Susan.

Reply

9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.

I think Tozer’s quote says it all. In order to make us his precious treasures, God is using his rough tools that sometimes hurt, taking away our hearts’ worldly delights, in order to give us what matters the most – Himself. Also, I just loved the video of Jesus strolling through the storm.

“A sculptor does not use a ‘manicure set’ to reduce the crude, unshapely marble to a thing of beauty. The saw, the hammer and the chisel are cruel tools, but without them the rough stone must remain forever formless and unbeautiful.
To do His supreme work of grace within you, God will take from your heart everything you love most. Everything you trust in will go from you. Piles of ashes will lie where your most precious treasures used to be!”
— Aiden Wilson Tozer in the opening monologue of The Heart of Texas

    Reply

    I love that Tozer quote. Seems it should go in The Stonecutter!

Reply

I don’t know if this will make sense, but something just came to me I wanted to share–I’ve been thinking how my favorite line of the Twila Paris song Rebecca posted is this “And You’ve got to know I would rather die-Than to lose my faith in the One I love”–that’s the part that just breaks me. And I’ve wrestled with it some because it’s hard to sing that, yet I know the only thing worse than death would be to lose my faith (don’t worry–my health and mind are fine, this line has always struck me this way!) But just now, tonight–God brought to mind Steve–when he talked about “A Mighty Fortress” not being about a fight for his life but rather a fight against Satan and spiritual darkness. Steve is the example of the line that moves me so–he would rather die than lose his faith. And he stayed forever faithful in the face of unthinkable pain. So thankful for models like Joni E. Tada, so many others–and like Steve.

    Reply

    Thank you so for this thought.

Reply

Dawn I saw your post in my email, I couldn’t find it on here, I just wanted you to know that I saw it and will be thinking of and praying for you tomorrow.

Reply

9. I loved Elizabeth’s take away because it really made me think about my own heart. I am distracted and much too easily satisfied. This week’s study has given me an understanding of who God is to me and what Jesus has done for me. My prayer for the coming weeks is for this knowledge to fully reach my heart. May my desire be for Him alone. This is what I would like to put on during this Lenten season.

I am sad to say that today I found again in my heart hardness and irritability.

    Reply

    I think next week’s passage will minister to you, dear Anne. I love what I have seen about what Jesus really said in John 18. You will too!

Reply

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God was a consuming fire. How might this be helpful to you also?

Hebrews 12:18-29 For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest
and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them.
For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.”
Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.”
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,
and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”
This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken–that is, things that have been made–in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
FOR OUR GOD IS A CONSUMING FIRE.

How might this be helpful to you also?

Grateful for an inheritance that cannot be shaken I need to draw near to God in reverence and awe, and let Him purify my heart, I dare not refuse Him who is speaking, what else is worth turning my attention to?

8.
B. If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?

If I fear God enough I will resist my idols,

I won’t comprise for the approval of people, I will be free to serve and bless people instead of using them to meet my emotional needs.

I don’t need to be in control and will readily admit when I have
sinned, because my fear is not in admitting my flaws, but in refusing to see my sin and repent before a God from whom nothing is hidden.

I won’t have to grasp for power, I can put on humility, relax, and assess what is really important in light of eternity.

I can let go of the need to be comfortable, and be available for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Reply

Saturday:
9. Report on your week and your take-a-way.

My week began on a high and is ending on a low.

Bill’s(my husband) mom had a minor heart attack and is in the hospital, they will do dye tests and we will know more on Monday. With the school shooting and issues surrounding Brian, it has been tough to feel super positive.

In the midst of all of this memories of Daniel are coming, I am remembering him and feeling the loss, I have not been able before to untangle the hospital nightmare from good memories, I begin to now, but the memories just make me so incredibly sad.

I am listening to a sermon series in my car from Joe Stowell called Shattered, he talked about the verses
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,”
“looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,”

And he said look Jesus it the garden of Gethsemane, He wasn’t all happy, He was sweating great drops of blood, that the joy we are to count is a future thing. Holding to the trust of God is our goal in the midst of it.

I am doing that.

    Reply

    Daniel’s death will always make you sad, I know. At least until you see him face to face. And surely these events have been bringing it all back. All you say is true, and I’m so glad you are back with us.

      Reply

      Thanks ever so much for your kindness to me Dee.

      My mom loved the story of Pollyanna, she taught me to always try to see the good in things. This way of looking for silver linings has been useful to me. But nothing has ever been so awful as this.

      I am comforted that I know he is in heaven, we will meet again. I try to think of it like a vacation when one person goes on ahead of the others. But honestly it feels like a cop out, playing Pollyannas glad game doesn’t work.

Reply

Susan, I am way behind in reading the posts, but I just want to say that I have been married for 27 years and during that time we have had recurring issues that have driven us further and further apart. I had decided when my youngest turned 18 that I was going to move out. I didn’t plan on remarrying or even divorcing just leaving. I couldn’t live with a person that I couldn’t trust. I continued to pray for him and do what I knew (or thought) that I should be doing.
The one book that I read and really took to heart was The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. It is not a Christian book, but it is good. I highly recommend it to all wives. Things slowly started changing, it had to be the Holy Spirit because my husband seemed to be nicer even before I started reading the book.
I know that my biggest issue was respecting his decisions when it came to the kids.
I also learned in my bible study that as head of the household (not necessarily spiritually mature) my husband’s decisions were final and that I had to accept them period. He was not abusive, just stricter and in my eyes less loving. I realized that he was making men out of them and if I didn’t want him to give up then I needed to back off. That also meant that instead of being the go-between that I used to be, trying to explain my kids’ side to my husband and my husband’s side to the kids, I flat out told them that they had to talk to each other. I would give my opinion to my husband in private and assure him that I didn’t discuss this with my kids or even other women in my life. It took a long time before he would trust that I wasn’t bad mouthing him or giving in when he wasn’t around.
It took about three years before things really turned around. Now that all of my children are over 18 we rarely have any disagreements. They turned out to be fine young men. The oldest has turned away from Christ, but we love him, pray for him and know that he’s in God’s hands.

    Reply

    Thank you Dawn for encouragement – yes, I have read that book, too! It is filled with very practical advice.

Reply

Finally made it, really behind the eight ball but I thought it better to just touch base rather than not…I’m afraid Dee I couldn’t download the sermon as the link didn’t work tried looking in a catalogue but it I didn’t have a clue. Would still like to download & listen if someone could pass on the link. Thank you.So I haven’t obviously been able to complete the study.
I did the first part, my pride is saying don’t bother all is said & done but I would like to stick with it. First Rebecca loved your song at the begining of week Chris.s you touch my heart. Susan you’re amazing how you get around among us & thank you for your reply. Diane thank you too for your reply & I give thanks with you for Romans8 too.
All week I’ve thinking of Grove & Prison ministry & Forgiveness. I had the privilege of marking bible study & writing a letter of encouragement to an inmate’s wife here in Oz ( my first from an inmate’s wife) this week. I’m a trier one instructor with Cross Roads Bible Institute Australia( which started in the US).I’ve been involved in this ministry just about A year now. I just get the studies fortnightly to monthly to mark & send back to inmate wherever they maybe.The ministry goes to the Solomon Islands & also last year they were able to get into the main prision in New Guinea. It is a great privilege to read & mark their personal answers in the studies especially. I Can’t but give thanks for the person & count it a privilege to serve in such a simple manner.Though we have a book with all the answers in I really feel like I’m doing the study with the person & they’re taking me into the word of God reminding me of God’s promises & the foundational truths of the bible.

Grove was a Godly man before his Huge loss,& listening & obediently doing as God said & to keep doing that after his heart being shattered;allowing God to take that, turning it into an instrument to heal totally broken lives, with the living the reality of forgiveness & his friend Ulice receiving that forgiveness is powerful in the hand of the Lord. The LOrd had every tool out shaping these two men & their families. Like Anne I was struck by the gentleman who said “The invisible God became Visible in this town that’s what I saw”
Jn 6:16-18
a) The time of day? It was dark & seas were rough with a strong wind.
b) They were frigthened when they set eyes on Jesus coming toward the boat.(they calmed down seemingly immediately when Jesus spoke to them).
c) there were 2 miracles. 1st was Jesus walking on the water in rough weather & the 2nd once Jesus was in the boat it immediately was at the shore. ( I’ve never seen that before).
What does it mean?
A relief Jesus is who He says He is “I AM” He is the one in control even when we are afraid & don’t recognise Him because of our fear & when we listen to Him we remember & put our trust in Him to bring us safely home. He is sovereign regardless of what I am.
Thank you Dee for bringing this out( being repelled & Attracted by Jesus Holiness & Diety) I’ve only really been quoted by my children before,that too can be a confronting thing:)

I found this paragraph based on Titus 2:11-14 It comes from New Creation Teaching Ministries based in Adelaide. You can find them on Facebook it cames up on my page.
“Grace gives us eyes for now and for the future. We learn to live patiently now in a world which sin is always met as a confronting power. And we look to the glorious future in Christ when that power will finally be judged and all will be righteousness”.

This week I’ve felt like a”pushyou-pullyou”. My take away Forgiveness & As the Lord speaks all fear fades..He’ll get me home.He is who says He is.
Thank you Dee & all my sisters in Christ.

Reply

My comment turned into vapour….but the Lord remains. Shall try again in the new week.

    Reply

    Sorry you lost your post Elizabeth. Sometimes some of us write our posts in Word, then transfer it here. I hope that helps

      Reply

      Thank you Chris, very kind of you:) & thanks for the sound advice will try that. I was ages writing it & then blank..couldn’t come at trying to rewrite.Bless ya :)

Reply

6. First Point: God is Sovereign over our storms.

A. What notes and comments do you have?

Keller brings out the fact that Jesus isn’t just walking on water, He is walking through a storm. Storms represent uncontrollable powers, beyond our comprehension, in our lives.

I see now how storms dont “toss Jesus about”. He wasn’t fighting to walk across the waves and through the wind. He was strolling along, because His Sovereignty means Jesus has absolute power over all the forces of destruction, death, and devastation; both in that storm on the sea, and in life.

Keller said, “This text says it doesn’t matter how deep the deeps, it doesn’t matter how high the waves, it doesn’t matter how strong the wind, Jesus is a match for it, in fact, in the middle of your life, Jesus gets you through anything. He is sovereign, He’s got that kind of power.”

B. What area of your life do you need to commit to God’s Sovereignty?

Well, how about there is NO area of my life that should NOT be committed to His Sovereignty! Thinking about an example from the sermon, a big one is my own heart! Yes, in my heart, in the depths, are “dark, slimy things”. Only He can change my heart, get rid of the sin that lurks – expose it, confront it, change it.
My marriage has been a sea voyage with its ups and downs. I am feeling more hopeful about it than I have in a long time. One thing I need is patience; I like a “quick fix”, yet I know because of God’s brilliant delays and timing, I can have hope. I am asking for His help, praying more for my husband, asking Him to change me. One thing I have zeroed in on, is I need His Sovereignty over my tongue. Specifically I’ve asked Him to help me with the tone of my voice when I speak to my husband. It has been a real problem for me; the words can be neutral, but the tone says alot.
My children and their salvation, my unsaved family members’ salvation – these I commit to His Sovereignty.

6. Second Point: Jesus is The Ultimate – He is the GREAT I AM

A. What notes and comments do you have?

In the Bible passage, what Jesus says, when He says “It is I (I AM)”, is even more amazing than the fact He is walking on the water. Jesus is giving Himself the Divine Name; this is what God said to Moses in the burning bush.
When God says “I AM”, first of all, He means “I Was” has no meaning to Him because He has no beginning. “I Will Be” has no meaning to God because He will never change. He will never be other than He is now. He means “I AM just because I AM”; meaning He does not exist because; He is the cause for all existence, everything exists because of Him.

When Jesus says I AM, He is saying I am the Personal God, not just a vague aura; He is saying I created the world, I existed before the world; I sustain everything – I, flesh and blood human being, am also that. He is demanding that we not just see Him as “a power”, or having power, but as the source of all power – “I AM being and Power”. “I don’t just have existence, I AM existence”.

I like the point Keller makes between the difference of asking Jesus into your life to help you, versus bringing Him into your life as your preeminent authority.
It’s the difference between seeing Him as a source of power to help you and bowing the knee to His authority, submitting to Him and then your life will change.
To see Him as Ultimate Lord means He has to be the center of my life, He has unconditional authority.
Everything Jesus taught and did is interlaced with His claim of being God. His claim to be God is the basis for everything He says and does. Jesus forgives sins – how can you forgive someone unless the sin is against you? He can, because as God, all sin is against Him.
The example of the Cross: If Jesus is not who He says He is, then the Cross is an embarrassment and it’s meaningless; all of His teaching and offers are meaningless. It’s all or nothing.

B. This week, in your “putting off” and “putting on”, how will you surrender to Him as Lord?

I continue to look for the deep heart idol behind the near-sin, recognizing that at that moment, I’m making something else, even myself, a god. I need to surrender to Him again and again as the One True Living God.

Reply

7. Third Point: Jesus is Holy

A. What notes and comments do you have?

The disciples’ terror began after they saw Jesus – they realized they were in the presence of something wholly other. His holiness was revealed to them in the fury of the storm.
Holiness means the aspect of Jesus in which we see that He is “wholly other, above and beyond us”. When you come near the holy, you don’t just notice oh, He’s bigger than me – you feel almost like you don’t exist. Next to His purity, you don’t just say oh, He’s better than me – you feel like you’re lost, ruined.
However, this creates a deep ambivalence in people to the holy, to God. (Example of the research of Otto) We are at once attracted and repelled. Attracted because there is one layer of our soul, when God created us, that neeeds His glory and greatness and feels insignificant unless we’re in relationship with Him.
Repelled, because we have laid down a second layer to our soul because we need to be our own lord and master, we want to be in control. The sin is that we are deeply committed to the idea that God is there, but we don’t absolutely need Him every second; we are not utterly lost sinners. When we get close to God, we realize the way we’ve been living is wrong and we are traumatized by His holiness.
The greatest storm is in the heart of the disciples – greater than the one out on the sea.
The same is true for us.
Storms happen when opposites collide: We desperately need God, yet we are desperate to control our own lives. Several reactions happen:
Some are offended as they get close to God. Offended at the idea that they are lost sinners.
Some start to sink because they read about Jesus and think I’ve got to be just like Him – and you can’t ever live up to it.
Terror, anger, offense, despair, guilt – all storms going on inside the heart as we near His holiness.

B. Last week Alexandria said that as she received ashes on her forehead, she would remember that God is a consuming fire. How might this be helpful to you also?

I often experience those same storms in my heart at the holiness of God. There are times I feel like giving up in despair because I can’t seem to get the Christian life right. Its stupid, but sometimes when I’ve sinned, I will avoid God instead of going to Him right away. God is a consuming fire. He invites me to approach Him and He is holy, He is like a fire but He will not burn me. The fire of His inapproachable holiness is made harmless to me because Jesus died on the Cross for me and I can approach because Jesus covers and shields me. He knows I am frail and weak. His holiness in no way is diminished because He keeps company with sinners – with me – because His infinite justice was satisfied at the Cross. God doesn’t come down to my level, Jesus Christ has elevated me to where I can relate to God, and God’s holiness is not compromised, and I am not consumed.

Reply

Susan I thought your last paragraph was especially rich. I pray that God glorifes Himself by doing a work in your heart and in your marriage. If He is for us who can be against us!

    Reply

    Thanks, Chris.
    I’m so sorry that this has been so rough on you; the Chardon HS incident bringing up very painful memories for you, and also with what’s happening with Brian.
    You are right, being like Pollyanna doesn’t really work.
    Praying for you.

    Reply

    I agree with your comment to Susan, Chris. And your prayer!

Reply

8. Fourth Point: I AM: NO FEAR

A. What notes and comments do you have?

Keller asks, how do you get through those storms on the inside? If Jesus is only a “Lord” and nothing else, we’re all sunk.
Jesus said to the disciples, literally in the Greek, “I Am, No Fear”. This should shock us
because in the Old Testament when God shows up He doesn’t say not to fear; He makes it clear He is unapproachable. He told Moses to take of his shoes, He told the Israelites not to even touch the mountain when He descended, or they would be destroyed.

The implication of what Jesus says is “I AM – THEREFORE….don’t fear”. It means that His holiness is not a threat to you. This is possible because there was one storm that Jesus didn’t walk through and it is the only storm that can really kill you. Jesus is also a Savior and a Substitute. He allowed Himself to go under, to let the waves and billows go over Him, to submit Himself to the storm – the storm of God’s justice, the storm of punishment for sin, the storm of eternal justice.

When you grasp this truth, the holiness of God is now a comfort to you. That’s how you know you understand the gospel. If He didn’t abandon you in that storm, He will never abandon you now. You can relax in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

B. If you fear God, then you don’t need to fear anything else. How might you apply this?

Makes me think of the point made that we tend to make people big and God small. I often fear losing the love and approval of others; often fear having no control over my life and situations; often fear having my security taken away.
I think fearing God and trusting Him go hand-in-hand. I am to reverance and respect Him and be in awe of Him, yet He says He will get into my boat with me and be near me. He will never hurt me and holds my very life in His hands, and will get me safely home.
I often fear the future, and having no meaning or purpose in life. But God says He has a plan and a purpose for me, plans not to harm me but to prosper me.

Reply

9. Report on your week and your take-away.

It seems like my husband and I have gotten along better this week. I’m still trying to put everything together we’ve learned. My take-away is that life is a sea voyage. The sea is always moving; even when it’s calm and smooth as glass on the top, there are currents constantly moving underneath. All of life is like that – my marriage, the lives of my children, my daily circumstances. I’m not looking for a quick fix in my marriage. I have an unending need to pray and ask of God every day, and my heart has depths that as yet are unreached.
What I desire is even when the waters get rough and choppy and even violent, that on the inside of me, in the hidden place with Jesus, the waters are smooth and calm.
Like Keller said, all of life is repentance. I don’t feel I will ever “arrive” until I get home to heaven. These things are daily, every day of my life. I ever I could “arrive” at a perfect point here, then I wouldn’t really need Him, would I? And that is the great deception. The truth is that I need Him every moment of every day, because there is always darkness upon the surface of the deep.
I also want to take-away that there is comfort and assurance in His holiness – this is a new idea for me. Jesus did not abandon me in the worst storm that could ever happen to me; He “went under” for me. He will never abandon me now.

Keller reminded me that if I feel like I’d better do a better job (like, at being a wife), or read my Bible more, or I haven’t been living well and I’d better clean up my act so maybe He will really be with me and listen to me – then I am not trusting in the gospel.

That’s the danger I want to avoid. I want to change and be obedient to Him as a wife to my husband, but I must not fall into the trap of thinking He will love me more based on how I perform. Then I’m not doing it out of loving obedience, I’m doing it out of fear, and He tells me I AM: NO FEAR. This is very hard b/c often I feel people love me more when I do things right and I transfer that over to God. It can be very hard to relax in His love.

    Reply

    Susan — this is a HUGE take-away.

    Reply

    this is beautiful, Susan–full of wisdom and good insight. I relate to this too “I don’t feel I will ever “arrive” until I get home to heaven….The truth is that I need Him every moment of every day, because there is always darkness upon the surface of the deep”. When I read what you wrote here, I could see the blessing of the truth that you spoke, that we WILL never “arrive” here, and the blessing is that we do need Him every moment–I wouldn’t really want it any other way…

Wrapping this week a bit late.
He is Sovereign: “Life is filled with thins that can bite or devour you. Darkness threatens to swallow you…but Jesus shows absolute power over death and darkness. There is nothing out of His control.”
He is Lord: He is I AM..the personal God, the omnipotent God, the One who created everything and sustains everything.
I AM, No Fear: “I AM the Holy One, therefore you are safe – have nothing to fear.”

I’m letting these truths soak inside this clay pot and form roots.

Leave a Comment

Name (required)
Email (required)
Comment (required)