LOVE BENEATH THE WAVES

Jonah knew it was his fault.

So he did what was right.

“Pick me up and hurl me into the sea

and the sea will quiet down for you,

for I know it is because of me that

this great tempest has come upon you.”

Jonah 1:12

 

The smartest thing we can do

is to surrender to God –

even if it means being thrown into the sea

for there will be love beneath the waves.

Freydoon Rassouli: Surrender to the Flow

Sometimes tempests come that are not our fault.

But this week I want to concentrate on the tempests that are our fault. For learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and the presence of God will return, flooding us with peace and joy. These are the people who change, these are the people who have the radiance of Christ, these are the people who find love beneath the waves.

It’s always hard to admit when we are wrong — especially if we have to do it, as Jonah did, to unbelievers!

It’s painful. But we will always find love beneath the waves.

I had to go to my sister Bonnie when I was a young Christian and apologize for coming on

so strong — for being argumentative and proud and difficult.

It was humbling — but I found love beneath the waves.

 

I have had to turn around (more than once!) and go back into a store to apologize to a clerk for

being snippy. (Kim shared the same thing last week!)

A real apology where I name my sin, admit the pain I brought, and don’t make any excuses always

brings me to tears, and it’s humbling. But I also always find love beneath the waves.

 

When we resist, as is our natural tendency because we have what Martin Luther calls “curvature of

the soul,” we harden our hearts, grieve and push away the Holy Spirit, reap bitterness and

depression, and stay stunted spiritually.

 

Again and again I ask myself — who do some believers grow and the others remain mudbound?

What makes me grow — and what keeps me mudbound?

 

If our deepest desire is for God, then we will do what it takes to stay right with Him. We will be

good repenters, as humbling as it is, as hard as the consequences may be, for nothing will be more

important to us than the sense of His presence. Resist and we “forfeit the grace that could be ours.”

(Jonah 2:8) Part of that grace comes in the form of more light. He gives more light to those who

have shown they are willing to walk in the light.

 

This week you will listen to one of my favorite Keller sermons, which you may have already

purchased for it was one I listed at the beginning of this study. It is called Love Beneath the Waves.

It’s worth the price. If you haven’t already gotten it, here is the link.

 

In this message, Keller says there is a strong parallel between Jonah and Achan, whose story is

found in Joshua 7. Achan’s sin, like Jonah’s sin, brought a storm. When confronted, like Jonah,

Achan confessed his sin. But instead of being rescued, like Jonah, this is how Achan’s account

ends:

And Joshua said,


“Why did you bring this trouble upon us?

The Lord brings trouble on you today.”

And all Israel stoned him with stones.

Joshua 7:25

Gustave Dore "Stoning of Achan"

 

Yet I discovered that even for Achan, there was “love beneath the waves.” I think it’s a fascinating

study this week, and I’m so eager to join with you who have gentle hearts and seeking souls for this

week’s journey.

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

The main filming for Idol Lies is scheduled for June 23rd. Please pray! God has so surprised me even this week — he’s provided a wonderful video photographer, Martin French told me I could use his great drawings for free, God has provided some wonderful sharp women from various ethnic backgrounds for the audience, and my publisher announced she was coming! My son J. R. and I prayed about him doing the edit and agreed this was how the Lord is leading. This is a step of faith for me, but I’m encouraged to take it for I have been so encouraged at how clearly God is moving. I’m learning I really don’t have to be in control.

I am also aware of what I think is increased spiritual warfare. That’s a good sign that the enemy is nervous, but how we need His  shield of protection. How important are your prayers!

  • For the key people to be healthy and to get here
  • For the weather to be good — this area is known for storms that can cause power outages
  • For the Lord to provide the women He wants to be here and will quicken them to be responsive and quicken them when they share
  • For His quickening on me as I prepare, on the photographers, for Cynthia who will be interviewed, for Ed who may be interviewed and is going to cook, and everyone participating
  • For quickening for my son J. R. as an editor and for our relationship
  • For my make-up artist (Vanity in part, but I also still have bruises and want to feel confident!)
  • For Tim who is working on three testimonies in Kansas City
  • For a HEDGE from the enemy
  • For God to be so glorified through all this and each of us to continually remember this is what it is all about

And this — just to bring a smile to your Sunday. One of God’s sweet surprises. Almost two Sadie escaped from Sally and Phil in CVS — and they found her like this:

Classic Sadie

Sunday/Monday: Ice-breakers

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

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study

3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

One of my favorite apology stories is from Letitia Baldridge who was the personal assistant to Jacqueline Kennedy. Her friend had planned a dinner to introduce Letitia to well-known people in Washington D.C. — but Letitia had put the wrong date in her planner and didn’t show. (She was in a movie with her husband, so she failed to pick up on the ten urgent phone calls.) When Letitia realized what she had done, she went in person and told her friend how terribly sorry she was for the pain she had brought upon her, the embarrassment, and the grief. Her friend was cool and Letitia kept sending flowers or gifts or notes acknowledging again and again her sorrow at the pain she had caused. She asked for the guest list so she could write every guest and explain it was totally her fault.

I believe in a real apology we make no excuses, acknowledge the pain, and do whatever we can to make what the Bible calls restitution.

4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”

Jonah and Jesus

Jesus himself quotes Jonah 1:17 to point to himself. The irony is that Jonah fled God and a storm came, whereas Jesus submitted to God and the storm came. Jonah brought pain to the world. Jesus brought love. Yet both were rescued after three days and three nights in the depths.

Jonah and Achan

In the sermon this week Keller compares Jonah to Achan, the man who also brought a tempest because of his disobedience. Jonah was rescued whereas Achan was stoned — but even when God chooses to take the life of a disobedient believer, that is not the end of the story. There can still be love beneath the waves.

7. Read Joshua 7:1-9  Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

The “devoted things” describes all the valuable objects like gold and silver that were to be dedicated to the Lord’s treasury. This was evidently to be done as a kind of first fruits of the land, and as an evidence of the people’s trust in the Lord’s supply for the future (cf. Lev. 27:28-29).

8. Read Joshua 7:10-26

A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.

What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.

C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?

For Narnia fans, feel free to note the parallel between Achan and Eustace.

D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?

E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.

F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?


Love Beneath the Waves: Turning a Valley of Achor into A Door of Hope


God’s discipline is always meant for good — not just for our good, but for the good of God’s corporate Bride.  Achan’s death no doubt brought a holy fear of God — and Achan himself, I believe, went from his death into heaven.

9.   Read Hosea 2:14-15

A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?

B. How have you experienced this?

C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?

 

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon

Sermon Link

Keller emphasizes this verse: My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. (Joshua 7:19) Pray through this for yourself, for your life today.

10 Share your notes here.

11. CHALLENGE:  When Joshua confront Achan, he centered not on the pain and death his sin had caused, but his failure to give God glory. LIVE WITH THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU TODAY — how am I giving God glory? See what happens and tell us.

Saturday:

What is your take-a-way and why?

 

A BLOGGER PICTURE

Laura-dancer has been growing so — it’s a delight to have her here. She faces enormous challenges but with faith and courage. Here she is in a happy moment last weekend with her daughter graduating!

Laura-dancer and her daughter

COMMENTS (246) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

What stood out to me is repentance when I sin-repenting to God and to others and turning. I am learning I can’t truly grow, or go closer in and higher up with Him when I have sinned and then go on justifying it-because then it only hardens my heart and a wall grows between God and me. I feel like He is aloof when in reality it is me who is aloof toward Him worshiping my pride and my ‘rights’.

I liked the painting “surrender to the flow”. It really portrays surrender yet at the same time warmth. To me it looks like His light and comfort are coming back at her as she surrenders-totally enveloping her.

On a lighter note I LOVE the picture of Sadie-made me laugh, she is so sweet! :-)

Have been praying Dee for the 23rd and will continue-so excited to see how God is coming to you in this.

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2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

This example is pretty silly, but I will give it. I rarely have trouble in my friendships but there was a time a couple of years ago when I was steeped in politics that I posted something on f.b. about our president where I was concerned. It wasn’t meant to offend anyone, but really selfish to post it-I knew there were friends of mine who loved him. A friend and family member who isn’t a believer, who I grew up with and love came onto my f.b. and really became angry with me. He is my age and his sister is my sister in law. Immediately I emailed him and apologized. Told him I loved him and that I was wrong for posting that and that it was just politics and not worth a divide in our relationship. He apologized for getting angry. He did defriend me but not in real life-just on f.b. ;-) It didn’t offend me, I understood that it was because of my political postings/leanings-oh my… Of course I stopped posting anything political after that. It isn’t worth it-and God has done a miracle in my heart over the years in that regard anyway. Is politics really so ultimate in my life that I treat others of a different view so poorly? Others whom God went to the cross for? What a hard lesson to learn-when God opened my eyes for me to see how selfish I was.

Just a few days ago this same family member was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma stage three-an advanced cancer and he is only 47. We are hoping the chemo he starts on Monday will put it in remission. Our hearts are broken-He has two beautiful boys and a wonderful wife. I am really thankful we resolved that issue.

    Reply

    Rebecca–i just love your heart. And will be praying for his health

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      and yes–this picture if from my 5 yr old son :)

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      love the heart! i haven’t figured out how to change my avatar :)

        well dear joyce is the expert, but I’ll try–I do mine at gravatar–https://en.gravatar.com/
        log in, go to my account, manage gravatars…now if you didn’t create it in there, I am no help–I don’t have fb so that’s how I did mine ;)

    Reply

    I too have become wiser in posting political items on f/b. I have one unsaved friend and did not want to offend her and chance losing an opportunity to be a living testimony before her.

    Reply

    Believe it or not, I’m just now getting time to read comments. This one is hard for me. I don’t like fb very much so I don’t go on; maybe twice a year. However, I love politics (it’s like a good football game for me!). I sometimes email people about certain political issues. I have a “protective momma bear” character when it comes to our country. I think it’s because of my father and father-in-law. I so admire the “greatest generation” and don’t want people to forget their service to keep us free. I feel our country is threatened in so many different ways now (technology and such); we have left ourselves vulnerable. So, I try to just email facts because so many people are clueless as to what is going on in the world that it scares me. If we want to remain a free country with all the same rights and freedoms we have always had, we must be vigilant. There are horrible people in the world who want us destroyed. I don’t want my children to suffer because I was worried I would offend someone. We all won’t agree for sure; hence the football game :)

    Look at Israel now…..she has always remained fervent that the holy land is hers in which to live. I don’t agree that fighting should occur, or the Palestinians should be harmed in any way. However, God seems to always take care of that little country. I don’t know the whole story there; I know Israel was “awarded” this land back in the 50′s? Some people think that shouldn’t have happened. I bet even if it didn’t they would have found a way to get it back anyway.

    You are a better person than I, Rebecca. I would have left the post because I have an opinion that counts just like others. However maybe in the future I would have framed the comment with others opinions in mind; so it got the message across but with some funny note attached that I realize not everyone will agree. Delete if you don’t like and we can agree to disagree. Intelligent people can have intelligent discussions, right?

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Rebecca –

You have grown so radically because of your longing for God. You REALLY want to hear from Him and respond — no matter how painful it is.

And this story is such a vivid illustration of finding “love beneath the waves.” You humbled yourself, the relationship was restored, and, as you say, now as his very life may be at the end, that issue is resolved.

Thank you, Rebecca.

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I want to repeat this thought from Rebecca:

I am learning I can’t truly grow, or go closer in and higher up with Him when I have sinned and then go on justifying it-because then it only hardens my heart and a wall grows between God and me.

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Hi all, we made it through graduation! I thought you might like to see our picture :) Thanks for all the prayers!

    Reply

    Laura-dancer — If you want to send me this on comments, I can still put it on this week’s blog post so we can really see!

    Reply

    Laura-dancer–SO happy for you!! So fun to have felt a (small) part in your journey by praying for you–and now to rejoice with you!

    Reply

    Great picture!

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Sunday/Monday: Ice-breakers
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Oh, wow—a lot stood out to me. But especially this question “What makes me grow—and what keeps me mudbound?” I pondered that a bit this morning and how Dee pointed out that we grow through repentance. My kids love to grow—older, taller, stronger, smarter…But as we become adults growing loses its charm. I could do without new gray hairs every morning and thinning skin around my eyes. Growth is uncomfortable. Inner growth, can be especially painful—and yet, I long for it. We were created to grow—not just outwardly, but inwardly. Dee said “if our deepest desire is for God, we will do what it takes to stay right with Him.” That is my motivation—to press through the uncomfortable, humbling, often painful process of growth.

Oh and yes—Sadie gave me a huge smile!

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2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

If there was a contest for waiting for the other person to make the first move…I would have years of gold medals. But this is an area, God, in His graciousness, has been determined to break me. When Dee first gave us the message where Keller said “its always your move”–WOW. That was honestly, an earth-shattering break though moment in my life.

With a family member, I waited for years, for him to make that first move. Even Christian counselors affirmed me—or at least, that’s how I perceived it. “It wasn’t my fault”. But when time was up, and the move was never made—my eyes finally began to open—my protective wall had only hurt myself. It had not kept me from pain, it had kept me from deeper intimacy with my Abba Father. He still has to remind me of that, but I get it now. When there has been a rift between me and a friend, or my husband, or one of my children—I know better than to wait in my seemingly justified bunker. It’s not even as much about me and the other person—though that’s important—but it’s more about me and God. My relationship with Him is too important to have anything in its way.

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Sunday-Monday icebreaker

1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – oh wow is all I can say. This is going to be a week of conviction I think for me. I love where Dee says “learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and the presence of God will return, flooding us with peace and joy. These are the people who change, these are the people who have the radiance of Christ, these are the people who find love beneath the waves.” this is so helpful to me. It gives me the sense that God is saying to me just admit it and I will forgive your sin. Oh how I have to keep working on this.  I also like the picture Surrender To The Flow, I see a mother holding her baby like she will never let it go just like Jesus does to us He will never let us go no matter what our sin is He is just waiting for us to repent from it. Dee I’m so happy for all the Lord is doing in your life right now. What a blessing you will be to those who are around you at this time. I will be praying for all to go as God has planned.

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now? – there are so many times that my move came up in the past and even still today. Many times where I apologized even when it was really not my fault, but did it any way. In my first marriage we did not communicate very much which was my fault too, but even though my ex voided our covenant by being with someone else, I apologized for not being a good wife. In current times I  find my self trying to ignore the tug at my heart to fess up to something I messed up and sometimes grudgingly I hate to admit, I end up saying what I did and saying I’m sorry. Boy do I have a lot to learn this week.

    Reply

    Boy, do I love your spirit, Julie!

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    love this Julie “a mother holding her baby like she will never let it go just like Jesus does to us He will never let us go no matter what our sin is He is just waiting for us to repent from it.”

    How was the trip to Dallas?

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      It was good. Made it to little rock around 8pm and finished the trip to Dalas on Sunday. It is good to finally met. My step son, daughter in law and our new grandson.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why? I have had what Martin Luther calls curvature of the soul and paid a price for it but found I couldn’t stand it very long without His presence in my life.
Love Sadie’s picture.
Praying for all the prayer requests.

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

While settling my fathers estate a few years ago, a situation became intense with the man (a fellow believer) buying my dad’s home. I found myself angry and not acting very godly. God gave me awhile to come to my senses, see my sin and then gently prodded me to make the first move and ask forgiveness. I did and a new peace filled my soul. It was good to do the right thing and He was in turn very apologetic and we became friends. Two weeks ago we ran into a barrier building our new home due to our plumber being admitted into the hospital. The only man available to do the work was the man to whom I made amends! What a blessing to have nothing between he and me! It was easy to call him and hire him whereas it would have cost us time on our project and held it up for a couple weeks had I not yielded to the Holy Spirits prodding.

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    great example, Kim–and to know He knew all along and blessed your repentance–neat story.

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Love the picture of “classic Sadie”. I’m also curious about how Achan found “love beneath the waves”.

    Reply

    I’ve come to appreciate your background, your seeking mind — love that you are curious about Achan and know you will add to our richness here.

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

“For learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and the presence of God will return, flooding us with peace and joy. These are the people who change, these are the people who have the radiance of Christ, these are the people who find love beneath the waves.”

Why? Because this convicts me. I find it very difficult to do. But oh, I want my soul enlarged and to show the radiance of Chist.

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Will try to post from town coffee shop tomorrow. I gave up yesterday when I tried to post and post accidentally landed in google search bar! Love Sadie’s pic. Cell might be too slow / reception too poor for mobile hotspot.

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    Keep trying, Renee. Miss you here.

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I am going to start the study tomorrow morning, but I would like to ask for prayer for me as I have an appointment to speak to a Christian Psychologist and I so dread it!! My doctor was having me cut back on the antidepressant medicine, but with all that was and is going on at work, after 3 weeks I had to go back to the full dose and decided that maybe I should try to talk to a professional. On the up side I can see myself drawing more on the strength of the Lord and turning to him. My husband has been more supportive than I could have wished for and he and I are getting even closer :)

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    Also, just scrolling down to get to the comment box and I had to stop on the picture of Sadie. She is just so adorable!!

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    I am praying, Dawn MS. Hope your meeting with the Christian psychologist goes really well. Keep drawing on the strength of the Lord. So wonderful that your husband is supportive and drawing closer in this difficult time.

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    Father, I thank you for Dawn, and I pray this Christian psychologist will be anointed by You with wisdom. Thank You for Dawn’s husband and their increased intimacy.
    In Your Name

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    Yes, we will pray for you, dear Susan. Thank you Lord for bringing Susan and her husband closer together during this difficult time.

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    Praying, Dawn

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Would love your prayer’s for a safe trip to Omaha tomarrow. My husband, Kendra and my brother Dennis are taking me and they will all come home after leaving me at the hospitality house. Dennis will help Maurice drive. Maurice needs to be home with Kendra. Please pray for her too. She will be scard and missing mommy so much:( I will have security take me to the hospital at 5am tuesday morning. Me up that early…yes! Surgery will be around 7:30 am. Thank you all for your prayers. I will be praying for all of you, too:) I will call Kim when I know I’m okay! Love you all!

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    I will be praying Joyce – for you, for Kendra, for Maurice. Hope all goes really well. Be strong and courageous. God is with you.

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    OH Joyce this breaks my heart and makes me crazy!!!! I wish i could jump on a plane so i could sit with you, take you to the hospital, be there when you woke up….i cant stand that you will not have anyone there:-( I will be praying for you, but OH how I wish I could be there!!!!

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    Oh Father, how I pray for Joyce and her surgery — that Your hand will be on the doctor’s hand — on Joyce’s body — and on Kendra’s heart.
    In Your name I pray.

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    Will continue to pray Joyce for you, the surgeon, your husband, Kendra and all involved. Try to stay focused on you and let God take care of the rest.

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    praying for you Joyce! you are loved!

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    Will be praying for your big day tomorrow, Joyce…for the surgery and all the details and your family, too! Love you, Joyce!

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    Will be covering you with prayers sweet Joyce–and for Kendra too

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    Oh Joyce, praying for you. Love you

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    Dead Lord, this is a very hard time in Joyce’s life. She and her family are having to struggle through. Each has their own need. You are an all knowing God. You know exactly what each person needs to make it through this stressful event. Thank you for being with each of them. Thank you for giving them a calmness and peace about the events to come. You are a great Lord to us. You have provided us people who know how to help Joyce be well. Thank you for those who will operate. Bring a blessing to the operating room. Please help Kendra to feel calm and know that mommy is okay. Please help Maurice and Dennis be alert while driving and have the stamina to deal with the process of it all. Allow Joyce to know that all is well and that she is in good hands. Help her to not worry. Thank you Lord Jesus for all your loving kindness. I pray in your name, Amen.

      Reply

      Amen to Laura-dancer’s and everyone’s prayers, Lord. Let Joyce find “love beneath the waves” today and as she recovers, Lord.

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

I don’t know the story of Achan; it seems awful!

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

Well, would the friend (of Sarah) and I be a horizontal relationship? I’m not sure what that means. I think it would be. We have chosen to allow her to stay and we laid down the rules yesterday. No smoking on our property, no leaving messes, find your own way to work, pay us something when you can, etc. I told her I was having a hard time liking her; my earthly brain can’t wrap around thd idea that she is really in my home after all that has happened. I’m not sure I can really ever be nice to her. I know what we are doing is right by God’s standards, but I sure don’t like it. We are helping someone who needs help. She is not the kind of friend I want Sarah to have. I am praying that God bring good friends into sarahs life.

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    Oh, Laura-dancer, I do appreciate your honesty. “I sure don’t like it…. I’m not sure I can really ever be nice to her.” :)

    When Dee talks about a “horizontal relationship”, I think she means any relationship with another person. A “vertical relationship” would be between you and God.

    I appreciate your step of faith to allow Sarah’s friend to stay. You say, “I know what we are doing is right by God’s standards, but I sure don’t like it. We are helping someone who needs help.” I can totally understand your skepticism about whether this is a good thing for Sarah and for you. May God bless your efforts to obey Him. May God protect your family. This is a messy world and many times trust is hard and complicated.

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    Laura-dancer — thankful for Diane’s words to you — it is what I would say too.

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      Ditto to all Diane said.
      Laura, I’ve heard it said that sometimes feelings follow actions. You are demonstrating love to this girl and perhaps in time feelings will follow!

        This is true; thanks for the encouraging words. One of my issues is that I plan the future in my head….my mind goes wild with all the horrible things that might occur in the future. This is where I need to stop. It doesn’t have to play out the way I think it might. I keep reminding myself that God is in control. He is going to help Sarah find her way. It may not be the way I want, it will be what He chooses, and I need to be obedient and remember that He loves me; He loves Sarah. I need to have faith.

        All of this has taken me back to a very tough time in my own life. I too, was 20, living in a horrible one room apartment with roaches and spiders. I slept on a 2 inch piece of foam and dated a 28 year old painter who lived with his older brother and they were both alcoholics. The apartment complex was filled with drugs, but a cheap place for me to live. My mother came to see me once and left crying. I didn’t mean to hurt her. I wanted to live on my own and feel in control of me. The only difference between me and Sarah was that I was a struggling college student with great plans for the future. I didn’t have a brain that was weak. I am glad my mother raised me with proper values. Sarah has the foundation too. We have always gone to church and she sees me and my faith even more today! Thank you Jesus! You have taught me over the past few years to run to You in times of trial. Sarah has seen that. She has seen that I will never give up.

        As I write this, I am remembering why I came running back to God; my son John. He was so difficult when he was 15 that I had no where else to go. Oddly enough, John was the reason I started going to church again at the age of 26. Those college years were spiritually dry, but when I got married and had my first son, I knew i should be in church. He was 14 months old. God is so good and true to us. Thank you Lord for your guidance!

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    Laura-Dancer, I am praying for you as you step out in faith. I pray that this experience will be beneficial for this girl and for Sarah. May she see the reality of this young woman’s bankruptcy. Even better may she see it and then see God do the miraculous in her life.

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3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?

Jonah told them.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?

When i am required to do something I don’t want to do. When it means I will struggle and feel pain.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?

He knows it is his fault and is willing to accept the consequences regardless of the outcome.

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I love love love the first picture….surrender to the flow. That is the story of my life. this house is always moving, the kids are always growing, im forever hopping in the van to take someone somewhere….and if I dont surrender to it it will make me crazy.
I am wrong so often im makes me want to scream! I HATE being wrong, I HATE making mistakes with a passion….and yet my mistakes are what God uses to teach me that HE is God and not me. if I where perfect I could pretend to be God…which i do more often then i care to admit:-)
Admiting Im wrong without making excuses….really Dee, you had to go there….I like my excuses thank you very much!
the thing is that when i quantify our appology it isn’t really an appology is it, its more of an excuse. letting go of my need to be right had to start with me believing that God loved my ugly, that all HE wanted was ALL my heart, not perfect Jesus girl. the problem is i really like being perfect Jesus girl, it makes me feel loveable, strong,powerful and “better”! If I could put my stinkin pride in a box and throw it into the deepest ocean….I would become a scuba diver!! *sigh*

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    Classic Cyndi.
    Good stuff.

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    Cyndi, you always make me smile.

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    Cyndi that is so good, I was smiling as I read it. Thanks for posting and being so honest!

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    Love reading your honest and humorous posts.

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    Amen :) glad you said it for me cuz it would take half the night for me to express similar thoughts when typing on cell phone!

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2. I think you need to be very careful with this one….its very important to look at ourselves and honesty see what WE have done wrong….BUT I do not think that is is healthy to take the blame when there is none to take. I think we do others a dis-service when we are always saying we are sorry when we are not and we want them to be.
often we do have some fault and our stubborn proud hearts just cant see it so its good to make the first move and say what WE have done wrong, but to say “fine, im sorry, lets just get on with things” is not healthy and leads bitterness and anger. it also enables the other person to think they are right when they are not and the bad behaviour continues.
We need to make sure we honestly represent ourselves to others and to our own hearts.
when there are 2 people usually both have some blame, we need to make sure we dont own others sin, but do own our own.
I found that in my marraige it was not until I stoped letting Paul off the hook and shared with him what he was doing that was hurtful did things start to heal. but it was so very hard,I had to forgiven him before we talked,…..I had to risk his anger, I had to risk putting my most vulnerable self out there by admiting what I had done wrong and then risk his rejection by telling him what his behavour was doing ot me. But it was not until I did that the anger and bitterness in my heart started to leave. I had to trust God enough to eccept whatever his response was. sometimes it was a good one, sometimes i was met with anger and accusations, but I was being honest with him and myself, not expecting or needing a certain response from him in order to be ok.
lots of words…sorry, its hard to explain the process.

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    No quarrel with this Cyndi — I think we have a tendency to two errors: not to honestly own our wrong, and not to speak the truth in love to the person who has genuiniely hurt you

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    Thanks for your response Cyndi, it is good.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
That I really can’t hide from my sin and just wait for it to fade away and be forgotten about.

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?
I have so many examples of when I did make the first move and when I didn’t. One that stands out in my mind mostly because I rarely talk to strangers and I never initiate conversation was after an Acquire the Fire (a Christian Teen conference)event I took my boys to Taco Bell which needless to say was overcrowded. We spotted an empty table and I sent one of my kids over to claim it. When I was leaving the counter with our food, the “table guard” got up and walked toward me. Before we could get to the table another family sat down at “our” table. I was so mad that I could hardly contain myself (is it a myth that redheads have a hot temper?) I didn’t say anything to them but I gave them a lot of dirty looks and commented loudly to my son about how he lost our table, hoping that they would get up, but they didn’t. We found a smaller table and crowded around it. The Holy Spirit kept nagging me about my attitude and reaction and even though I assured him that it was justified and that lady doesn’t know me anyway so why does it matter, I’ll just be a (justifiably) rude person that she encountered that day. I finally got up and went over to the other table and apologized for my rudeness, said that it wasn’t a very good Christian example to treat them that way. The mom smiled and thanked me. Not a very big thing to some, but to me it was a very big deal!

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    Wow Dawn, this is very good! How difficult it must have been (it would be for me) but how pleasing to the Lord. I can also see myself ‘needing’ a better response from the woman. That would have been an approval idol at work in me. I almost said my approval idol but I have decided to change my wording because it is no longer ‘mine’. I battle it but I don’t claim it.

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      Funny you should say that, because I caught myself saying my depression the other day and decided to drop the “my” for the same reason. I don’t want to own it, it isn’t mine :)

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Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study

3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned? – he acknowledged and confessed to them that it was his fault.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God? – for me when I run from God is when there are issues or problems that come up and instead of turning to Him to ask Him to take control, I think I can do it all by my self so I worry, and take control of the situation., my pride gets in the way when I don’t think I should listen to His call.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response? – Jonah knew he did wrong and was willing to take the consequence involved from his fleeing from God to save the lives of the other men.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one? – a good apology is when I have a heavy “cloud” hanging over my heart for something I did or maybe didn’t do that the tug to apologize is so strong that you do it and even feel a little afraid to approach the person. A bad apology to me is when you say your sorry or someone says it to you but only because they were told to apologize, this kind does not mean a thing to me. When I was having problems with Kyle my mom and dad would come over to step between and my mom would always tell him to apologize to me, and I would say back to him that it hurt me even more because it was a forced apology

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3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned? He had told them.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God? Yes, when He is asking me to do something I think is too hard or scary.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?
He takes responsibility and tells them to throw him over.
I wonder why he didn’t just jump since he was to blame why make them take responsibility for his life? He must have been too chicken. I know I would have been.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

What constitutes a good apology is one basked in prayer, one that waits for proper timing, not replaying what the other persons wrong but simply stating I am truly sorry for my part. Usually I say something like, “I see I haven’t loved you well” or “I want to apologize because our friendship means a lot and I don’t want anything to come between us”.
A bad apology is one that demands something in return, or points out the other party’s failure. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts not me – though this is very hard. Sometimes the other party rejects the apology but my part is done. Sometimes they apologize too which is sweet. I agree with Cyndi that we have to be careful when apologizing when we have done nothing wrong. As a rule of thumb God will convict me that I need to do it and that is my standard by which I make the decision.

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    Kim,
    I’ve wondered the same thing – Jonah told the sailors to throw him into the sea; I wondered too why he didn’t throw HIMSELF overboard and let them off the hook!

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      Maybe they (the sailors) would have still been involved because they were responsible for all the people on their ship. We don’t know the laws of that time. Perhaps “man-overboard” meant they lost their fishing license forever? If they purposely threw him over (all of them) then maybe no one would tell and all would be well? I don’t know, just grasping here.

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oh it’s good to be here! I don’t have my answers typed yet but wanted to quickly thank God for this study (again!). I woke today with fear–actually went to bed with it. That awful, dark, lonely fear like I haven’t felt in a really long time. Some of the nerve pain is better, but then a few new symptoms have started and with the doctors all reminding me of my auto-immune tendency, I fight to fear the worst.
When I woke up today, I knew I needed HIM. No more internet searches and scares. I dropped the kids at VBS and spent 3 hours alone with Him (in the car!) and this study blessed me so much. I wasn’t big on the Achor story when I read it (will ponder more!)–but OH, getting to Hosea 2 ad having it have that meaning, I cried. I also “stumbled” on to Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And sure enough when I picked up the kids at VBS, the song they were singing was about trusting in God at all times…
This study is such a gift from Him–so thankful

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    That verse from Joshua 1:9 means so much to me. So glad the Lord included it!

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    Elizabeth — so glad Hosea ministered to you — my heart leapt when I saw that — it’s always been a favorite passage.

    Life is hard — how we need these promises.

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Love the picture of Sadie! Something she will love to see of herself when she’s a teen, I’m sure! I think the story of Achan stood out the most to me, am interested in learning more. And interested to hear the sermon.

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

Just today I was on an on-line chat with our local cable/internet provider who is known for treating customers badly. They have a monopoly on the market here in Kyle. They overcharged us by 20 dollars…a small amount but it’s the principle of it that bothers me. I was getting angry during the chat as the person I was talking to gave me credit at one point and then took it back. But I felt the Lord giving me compassion for him and I thought how awful it would be to work for a company that is full of bad business…he apologized for not being able to give me credit that was rightfully ours and I told him he didn’t need to apologize, it was the company I was upset with not him. I was very polite but let him know I wasn’t pleased. At the end of our conversation he thanked me for remaining calm and understanding. I’m still not happy with the outcome but I knew I wasn’t going to take it out on him – that was definitely the Holy Spirit in me!

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    Great example — one we all face all the time, Anne!

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    Oh Anne not sure I would have been able to stay so calm. I admire you for being able to.

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    Wow Anne Meredith–I was reading along feeling all that frustration with you–and then your response, just melted me. great example.

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      Thanks guys…it was definitely the Lord.

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Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study
3. Read Jonah 1:10-12
A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?
Jonah had admitted to them he had run away from God.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?
When I’m afraid—which makes no logical sense as He’s the only One who can help…guess that’s always true though! When what He’s asking me to do feels too hard. When I’m stubborn and don’t want to admit my wrong. When I’ve been hurt.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?
He took all the responsibility on himself, he made no excuses, didn’t try to blame, he was humble.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?
A good one—is usually few words. Admitting my wrong, sincerely. A bad one is when I go into it with an alterior motive because my heart isn’t right. If I apologize so that I’ll be the holier one, or so that the offender will then apologize in return. UGH! Done that a few times—and it’s so revealing because you can feel pretty sorry and then when they just say “I forgive you” and you’re thinking “OK, your turn” and they say nothing—if it gets to me, that’s the litmus test that my heart was not really right. So a good apology is when I really am sorry I hurt someone—but the primary motive is that I want to be right with God again. When I’m at that place, it doesn’t matter what the other person does or doesn’t do.

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I believe in a real apology we make no excuses, acknowledge the pain, and do whatever we can to make what the Bible calls restitution.

4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why? – I know Jonah probably thought it was the right thing to do and say but when I first read it seemed a little over the top. I know sin is going against God, but I’m not sure what he did was true to the heart. It seemed like saying throw me into the sea was a way for him to escape the wrath of God.

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?
I’d give it maybe a 5? I mostly hear guilt in Jonah’s words. There is a difference to me between guilt and repentance. Guilt is more like when you’re mad at yourself for messing up, and it’s more about YOU. I think Jonah felt guilty but not true remorse—he wanted the nightmare to end but didn’t feel sadness for his sin—that’s my gut at least.

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”
Rather than let Jonah drown, God provided the “safety net” of the whale. Instead of death, He gave Jonah a big time-out to think and to be brought to repentance.

6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”
Most often would be with my husband or even the kids. When I sincerely apologize for words that hurt my children’s feelings, or for losing my patience and I just say I’m sorry without adding “but you shouldn’t have…” –both of my children respond with a grace that comes so sincerely, so quickly—I have much to learn from them on that.

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    love your 6:-)

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    Elizabeth, I so identify with the ‘I’m sorry but you shouldn’t have’ ;-) I have even gone as far to say, “you guys push me over the edge-I wouldn’t be upset if you would just stop doing this.” ;-)

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    So maybe I’m a little too harsh on Jonah in #4. That probably just reveals my sin that I still have too high demands for a “right apology”. I guess I thought he didn’t have true repentance until he was in the whale 3 days–and then he not only acknowledged his sin but his desire to turn from it…too harsh? thankfully, I don’t have to play judge ;)

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      Elizabeth, you are sweet. I don’t think you were too harsh at all! :-)

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    I smiled at Jonah’s time in the whale being a “big time-out to think”! Beats the chair in the corner!

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I know this is silly to all those with older kids but I am letting my 2 oldest girls drive to cedar point tomorrow (almost 17 and 14) and Im a wreck. please pray for their safe travels to and from….its an hour and a half drive. so very hard for this control freek, fear driven mom!!!!

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    Lord, I pray your protection over Cyndi’s girls as they drive today. I pray they would drive wisely, for safety, for no car troubles, for protection from other drivers and the weather. Lord, thank You that You remind us You are with us wherever we go. Amen

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    Oh Cyndi not silly at all. My youngest Justin now has his drivers license, and I worry to when he drives even a short distance. I will be praying for peace for you and safe travels to girls.

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    Not silly at all! I still get nervous when my 20 and 21 year olds drive somewhere even close :)

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    thanks guys…home safe after getting lost twice:-)

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praying for you tonight Joyce!!!!

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D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

I good apology is a heartfelt one; one that is sincere and well thought out. A bad one is one that is thrown together quickly and is self centered. It is more about the person apologizing than about the one who was hurt in the first place. It is one that makes the apologizer feel good about him/herself.

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    Laura Dancer-LOVE your picture up above where it is bigger and I can see it! Congratulations! :-)

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      Thanks for pointing out that there is a picture above of Laura – dancer and her Sarah graduating, Rebecca. Nice picture, Laura-dancer, and congratulations Sarah AND Laura-dancer. You deserve a medal for all your hard work, Laura.

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    You nailed it — a bad apology is self-centered!

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3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?

He told them he ran away from the Lord.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?

When God asks me to go out of my comfort zone.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?

He admits it is his fault the storm has come on them and offers himself as a sacrifice for them.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

A Good one: To admit what you did-name it- and why it was wrong, identify with the other person how you have hurt them, and if there is any way to restore any damage done- then do so. Sincerely ask for forgiveness and if the person struggles at first give them time and don’t hold it against them. This is sacrificing yourself for another-putting aside your pride, willing to take on the consequences. I was thinking that this isn’t running from God, but an example of trusting Him.

A Bad one: To say you are sorry, but try to justify why you did it. Most times it morphs into blame shifting and doesn’t require a sacrifice of self. Kind of reminds me of after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and God asked them what they have done-Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent-they were running from God.

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    I really like your answer to D, Rebecca. As I try to figure out how to approach again my brother who isn’t accepting my apology, I am trying to figure out how to apologize in a way so that he knows I mean it. This is helpful – “To admit what you did-name it- and why it was wrong, identify with the other person how you have hurt them, and if there is any way to restore any damage done- then do so.” I think to explain that I am willing to make restitution for damage may help him know my sincerity. I am praying the Lord will give me the right words.

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      Diane, Yes, this has got to be so difficult on you all. Life can be so hard! I will pray. Not sure of the details of the situation and how you apologized-you may need to go back and be more specific if you weren’t before. I do know sometimes even when we do apologize fully the other person refuses to forgive-then we can’t do anything about it but just love them and entrust God with it. Let us know before you go and talk with him, and keep us updated on how it goes.

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?

I would give him a 10 because he REALLY had to sacrifice to give restitution-He was willing to die.

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”

I could be wrong, but in the first verse the men showed mercy on Jonah by trying to get back to shore without throwing him over. In V.14-they called Jonah an innocent man. hmmm…This was after he admitted his sin. They must have forgiven him, so there was already restoration and they didn’t want to throw him over. But when the seas got worse they acknowledged God’s sovereignty and asked God to forgive them before they threw Jonah over. Wow, I haven’t seen this before, but not only was their restoration in the relationship Jonah had with them-but because of Jonah’s sincere apology he brought glory to God. Most men would have retreated and not admitted it was their fault for fear of consequences.

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    Just being with you and your boys makes me admire you so much. They are precious — but also A LOT. God is moving in your heart and it’s wonderful to see.

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6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”

For me it is daily with my children and sometimes with my husband. It requires a lot of patience to raise my boys, and with men- they were born with some chemical that washes over their brain as opposed to women-I have heard it kind of makes them ‘miss it’. ;-) Really, it is so easy for a woman my age to lose patience when her home quickly turns into “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” :~0 Even then, each time there is genuine repentance there is love beneath the waves-I see the change in my boys’ faces and we hug-there is restoration and God is glorified, but when I stumble and justify a sin I have noticed a lack of softness in my boys response and they don’t want to hug-there is a bad seed that can grow in their heart.

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?

Is the actual apology in verse 12? If so. Then on a scale of 1-10, I would probably give Jonah an 8. He admitted wrongdoing, he accepted the consequences, but he never said he was sorry.

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I run from God when I fail Him. I want to represent Him well on this earth and when I gosip or lie or lose me temper or make excuses for myself I tend to run.

I also tend to run from those who make me feel bad about myself…If paul is in a bad mood i take that on as my fault and run from him and God and make matters worse. I close off my heart and replace real relationship with works….if im a “better” housekeeper, mom, cook, then that makes up for not loving him with my feelings. its much easier for me to serve someone then it is for me to make myself vonerable enough to actually give my heart to them…..its easier with God, people are scary, they are not perfect and they hurt….
But I have found God to be very faithful! He promised me that if I would give my heart back to paul that HE would put it back together again everytime he broke it, and HE has, every time!!!
tears come to my eyes when I think of how many times HE has held me and comforted me, even when I have made the mess myself!!!!

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    Cyndi, this post speaks straight to my heart. Thank you so much! I struggle with this and in fact, it may be part of the problem in my relationship with my sister.

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1. It is a very good post but what came to me in the night last night is that there is love beneath the waves. No matter where we go or how bad we, or our children, mess up we are surrounded by His love. We are as loveable to God as little Sadie is to us in this picture, even when caught in our quirkiness.

The painting of surrender to the flow is magnificent to me. The rays of God’s love wrap around the woman and her child cradling both, yet there are some that pierce them both. I love the fact that it is not just the woman but also her child. That is very comforting to me.

    I’ always eager for your critique of art — and you don’t disappoint!

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      Dee, thank you. I do so enjoy the art.

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2. I really need to think about this. My most troubled relationship right now is with my sister. The more I try to fix it the worse it becomes. Honestly, I have sort of thought for some time that the Lord is calling me to give her space and not try so hard. This question is very helpful to me. I need to prayerfully think about what could be wrong in my vertical relationship that is affecting this one and just what my move should be.

You may have missed it because I put it in yesterday — but at the bottom of the post there is a larger picture of Laura-dancer and her daughter at graduation.

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    Yes! It is a beautiful picture. Laura looks so happy and blessed, it really shows in her expression. Sarah has made a great accomplishment. I’m not sure she realizes how great it is just yet.

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3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned? He had told them.

B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God? When life gets too hard, in areas I want comfort.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response? He is not being self-centered.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one? A good one is sincere, full of repentance and the wanting to make it right not only with another person, but with God. A bad one is done without repentance, with a heart wanting what’s best for ourselves.

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    I love how the same Spirit is telling several of you that a bad apology is about ourselves! And yes, here Jonah certainly wasn’t being self-centered. How vivid!

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4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why? It’s what the Lord required; it’s from the heart and owning up to his sin.

5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”
“The Lord prepared for a great fish to swallow Jonah.” Jonah had no idea what would happen as he was being thrown overboard; his life as he knew it would be over, and possibly death was meeting him. But the Lord was gracious and merciful, was moved by His love for Jonah and saved him.

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1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
Love beneath the Waves- waves signifying things that feel overwhelming & beyond our control, surrendering to those waves is easier in theory than it is in real life.
Believing that God is working “all things together for good” in those times under the waves truly become a matter of faith

I love the Sadie picture! It brought to mind the tradition at our high school graduations of doing a slide show of all the graduates showing a baby picture and then a senior picture, this photo of Sadie would be a perfect slideshow picture. They grow up so fast.
I loved your testimony Dee “I’m learning I really don’t have to be in control.”
That made me smile, and I loved that you are working with your son! : )
What will the video you be filming on the 23rd be used for? Is it a sort of promo video?

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    Thanks, Chris — now you need to pray for me as I work with my son! This is a step of faith! I think he’s excited, feeling I have often not trusted him.

    The video will be a curriculum to go with the release of Idol Lies — about ten minutes before each of the ten lessons of my teaching and of testimonies (I have four from women who did it with me in Kansas City — one is Rebecca!) and some nature shots in which we make parallels with Scriptural truths. How I’d love your prayers!

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      Thanks for this further information about the videos, Dee. This is great! So exciting! I am praying.

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      praying!

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Sorry to have been away, I have read most of the posts & am especially lifting up our dear Joyce today.
I had a rollercoaster sort of emotional time since I last posted.
I am so busy with work right now, today is an unexpected day off, I think I may finally get to plant some flowers!
Love you girls

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Oh oh oh — thanks for the reminder of Joyce, Chris.

May we all pray! She’s probably under the knife now!

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2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?

I have a sister who with her husband has said and done some exceedingly hurtful things to Bill and me over the years. When our Dad died, she said she was done with all of us and cut ties with the family, no longer speaking to any of us, she refused to come inside my house, which was so weird, after all the hurt I had absorbed to try & preserve relationship.
I tried to persuade her at first, but began to think maybe it was better that way, I certainly didn’t miss the drama.

Fast forward about 4 years, when Daniel was in the hospital, the days were long and hectic, sometimes as many as 50 visitors were there at once, plus all the procedures & doctors etc, Bill and I felt a measure of relief at the end of visiting hours when it was quieter, and he & I could collapse a little, we were drained completely. One evening at about 10 pm the phone in the hospital room rang for the first time, all of our calls had been coming on our cell phones. I thought it may have been someone from the hospital so I answered it, and it was my sister! Ugh, so much unresolved hurt was there, she was the last person I wanted to speak to. She went on and on, even saying she knew how I felt about what we were enduring. The call was about her and what she needed. I was stunned and sick.

Her husband passed away last fall at the age of 52. She is seeking to renew family ties. I need to be honest with her about how deeply she has wounded me, I have tried a little, she doesn’t even remember! I have hesitated to have the conversations that need to take place in part because her grief is so new, but there is also a part of me that wants to leave that wall up.

So I am not sure what the next move here will look like, but I have prayed about it. I know the time will come. I am not looking to force something.

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    I’ll be praying right along side of you, Chris.

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    Chris S., so sorry you have had such a hard relationship with your sister. This is so hard! I can identify since my brother is also not speaking to us right now. I will be praying for you for wisdom and forgiveness and patience. Life is so complicated isn’t it.

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    oh Chris, I read this and it just made my heart sink. It’s hard to not just join you in the hurt because everything in me says you don’t deserve more pain, and because oh how I understand the perceived protection of walls…but I’m thankful your for your heart that you shared this here–that you do want prayer for the next step–I will pray–for both of you.

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    Chris –

    Though I certainly am not a psychiatrist, I do see possible red flags of mental illness in your sister.
    The drama, everything being about her, and then not remembering any of it. I could be completely wrong. Do you see any of that?

    If that is so, perhaps you could tell her how sorry you are for the loss of her husband. That you think the best hope of you reconciling would be to meet together with a third party — a Christian — and approach it carefully so that your relationship can have some healing instead of more pain.

    I don’t know — but I will pray.

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      She most certainly has mental illness issues. The idea of a therapist being involved is interesting.
      Her husband was incredibly controlling. I once read a profile of a cult leader & it fit him to a T. They were emeshed & now she feels lost without him.
      I just don’t want to put up boundaries that are really excuses for me not to get involved…or be inconvenienced. She has two still in high school that have missed out on family connection because of their parents isolating them.
      Thank you all for your prayers!

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    Praying for you Chris. May God heal quickly and give you wisdom in your next steps.

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I can’t remember if we’ve shared this here before–but it’s one I’ve been leaning on today–Nicole Nordeman, (though I’d love to here our Rebecca singing it!)
Gratitude http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waYUzxK8TYA

Gratitude
Send some rain, would You send some rain?
‘Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You’ll provide in other ways
And if that’s the case . . .
We’ll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain
Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger’s view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You’ll provide in other ways
And if that’s the case . . .
We’ll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread
Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need
So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that’s the case . . .
We’ll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace
But Jesus, would You please . . .

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    Thank you, elizabeth. I love this. It so touches me. There is so often such a difference between what we think we really need and what we really need. I had never heard this before.

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      oh i thought of you and hoped you’d like it–you are always so open to listening to the songs–i’m glad it spoke to you. and yes, diane–that’s exactly it-isn’t it? it’s so hard for me to accept–and yet i know, i KNOW, i want what He has to give me instead of getting just what I think I need. I like how you put that–and that gap between what we think and what we really need–that is covered only by trusting in Who He is…

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7. Read Joshua 7:1-9 Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.

There were only a few men at Ai so Joshua sent only 3,000 men to attack Ai, which logically would have been enough. But because God was not with Israel, they were defeated terribly. God was angry at Israel because Achan broke his covenant with God. He took some of the treasure of Jericho that should have been devoted to God. Reminded me some of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts. 36 men died in Ai, and Joshua cried out to the Lord, devastated.

8. Read Joshua 7:10-26
A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15
God tells him to get up and stop grumbling. He tells him that Israel has sinned against Him and someone has stolen what was to be devoted to Him. God tells Joshua to call all the tribes and find out who has sinned against Him.

B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.
I loved this. He endearingly calls him his son, and says “tell me everything”. There is such an example of godly confrontation here. I could leanr a lot in parenting from this!

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    Loved your answer to B.

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3A. The men know that Jonah had sinned because he had told them that he was fleeing from the presence of God.
B. My greatest temptation right now is in wasting time. I allow myself to be distracted from study and from prayer. The result is that I feel fractured. Also, I am still not intentional about sharing the gospel or speaking truth.
C. Jonah’s response is admirable because he does not make any excuse for what he has done. He apologizes and is concerned for those he has harmed because of what he has done. He also offers restitution.
D. A good apology is concerned about the harm caused to another. It expresses true sorrow and offers restitution. I notice that in Dee’s story below it does not give up either.
A bad apology is insincere. It does not show true concern for the one trespassed against but is more concerned about self. It makes excuses for what was done.

4. Jonah’s apology was well done. He cared about the men. He gave his life to save the men because he must have though he would die in the sea. He did not make excuses for what he had done.

5. Oh, I do think that the beginning of “love beneath the waves” was Jonah giving his life for the sailors. Then God loved Jonah not only by saving his life in the fish but by holding him so that he could run no more.

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

The repeating over and over of “love beneath the waves”. That we will find love beneath the waves when we:
– surrender to God even if it means being thrown into the sea
– acknowledge and confess our sin and accept the consequences
– admit when we are wrong, humble ourselves, and apologize

This is the key to spiritual growth, and the reason why some believers grow and others remain mudbound (those who resist)

I need to have these truths hammered into me over and over and over again. I know them intellectually, but I need it reinforced to get those pennies to drop down to my heart. It’s a slow trickle for me, but I hope and pray I’m getting it.

Love the picture of Sadie – it’s a hoot! And, it’s so nice to see Laura and her daughter Sarah at the graduation – congratulations!

2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life – or how does it now?

Well, I find it easier to make the first move when the trouble is between me and one of my children. Sometimes I have to wait until there’s a cooling-off period, especially with my older sons. They often need to be left alone for awhile if they’re mad. But this made a big impression on me – I had a young gal tell me once that in her relationship with her mom, her mom rarely apologized for what she did wrong. I’ve alway felt strongly that my kids need to see and hear me apologize to them and admit my wrongdoing or weaknesses, as I think it teaches them to do the same by example.
I wish I could say that with my husband, I am always the one to make the first move, but I’m not. My default mode is to say to myself, “here we go again…” and retreat and withdraw. I guess I need to be willing to dive into those waves and be supported by the love God has for me.

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    Love your example of going to your sons when you are wrong. So true.

    I was so impressed when my Dad, a powerful man in the world, did this with me.

    I want to comment on this:
    I wish I could say that with my husband, I am always the one to make the first move, but I’m not. My default mode is to say to myself, “here we go again…” and retreat and withdraw. I guess I need to be willing to dive into those waves and be supported by the love God has for me.

    I have mixed feelings — I know you say that often you have part of the blame — but he also says such hurtful things to you. I would go if you have done something wrong and own your part. I would also speak the truth in love and say, “I cannot have you speak disrespectfully to me.” But yes, absolutely, when you are wrong, dive in, and find love beneath the waves.

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3. Read Jonah 1:10-12

A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?

It says that Jonah had already told them that he was running away from the Lord.
This makes me think; when did he tell them? Was it when he paid his fare and boarded the ship, and they might have asked, so, why do you want to go to Tarshish? Did he say, well, I’m running away from God! They must not have really had any idea just who Jonah’s God was, or maybe they wouldn’t have let him on the boat – they would’ve known they were in for trouble!

B. One definition of sin is “running from God”. Where are you tempted to run from God?

I re-listened to Keller’s sermon on Running from God. I was thinking of examples, but after listening, Keller said that Jonah’s running from God was not an isolated incident of disobedience. He was handing in his resignation and going off to forge is own identity apart from God. He was running from relationship, intimacy, with God.

A big area for me is self-sufficiency, or so I think. I will let my time with God slide because of being too busy. Because I am not spending time with the Lord and getting my identity from Him, it slides in – in all kinds of ways, building my identity apart from God. It may be in my role of being a mom. Or trying to have a super clean house. Or getting the approval and love of others and becoming very dependent on what they think of me.

Keller said that we have to see that there is a “death struggle” going on in our hearts, between Jesus and something else, for supremacy. Here’s an example. The other day, I was working on this study and listening to a sermon, taking notes. I asked my son a question of how I’d do something on the computer related to this study. He said to me, “You know, if you spent as much time on something else as you do on this stuff, you’d be a very successful woman.” Now he was speaking about something say, like a career. But the thought turned over and over in my mind all day. I began to think things like maybe he’s right. I should just “chuck” all this Bible study stuff – maybe I am spending too much time on it. Maybe that’s why I’m behind in the laundry and cleaning. I’m wasting time when I could be so much more productive….I could be going back to school, taking classes…doing something really worthwhile….maybe I need a new identity!

The temptation to give in to what the world says makes you “somebody” are always there.

C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?

He is simple and direct. He admits he is to blame for their trouble, and he’s willing to be thrown overboard to save their lives. He’s thinking of them rather than himself.

D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?

A good apology is accepting responsibility for your actions and for hurting the other person. It’s not bringing up what they did to “make” you behave badly, or the old “I’m sorry IF I made you upset…” It’s offering to take whatever action you can to make things right.

A bad apology. Well, I’ve done a few of those…it’s bad when I apologize (and I may be sorry) but I have this self-centered motive of wanting to manipulate circumstances to put myself in a better light, to get off the hook, to gain approval/affirmation; when those things are the main motives. Then I’m focused on me and not the other person and how I’ve hurt them.

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    Hold to the truth, Susan. Psalm 1. Love to you.

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    Susan, what the world thinks and what we know to be true are definitely two different things. I listened to Nancy Leigh Demoss this last week and boy did she have an amazing story with a mother and son team who were both prodigals and were actually turned to Christ! Their story of redemption is wonderful and I highly encourage listening to it if you can. I listen while I run, but you could also fit it in while cleaning :) I think it fits in here because the mother only asked for one thing for her son; to be a follower of Jesus Christ. In the very long road (7+ years), he did become a follower! She said he was not free until that happened. It emends me of what your son said, something like if you gave up the Bible you could become something great. I agree with Angela Yuan who prayed for her son. Her belief is that you are nothing or free without Christ. We need Him first and then we CAN become something.

    In one of the segments Christopher speaks of idols! I thought of our study on idols; it helps to be reminded and to understand others’ struggles with the things in our lives that we put above the Lord.

    You are a wise woman; your son has a lot to learn yet.

    The series is called “Out of a Far Country” and you can find it at reviveourhearts.com. The mother is Angela Yuan and her son is Christopher Yuan. If you have younger children I wouldn’t play it where they can hear though. It is mature content. I couldnt stop listening and cried through a lot of the story :( it was worth it though.

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5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”

It was the end of Jonah’s rebellion. He was beginning the consequences phase of his apology. God had to catch his attention to make him understand that he couldn’t run anymore. He would have a few days in the big fish to think about this. It was kind of his “time out.”

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    :-)

    Love the time-out example. Sally has started time-out with Sadie. She has a fit when bath time ends but Sally is giving her a choice of no fit or time-out. She climbed out of the tub yesterday saying, “Sadie — no fit.”

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      They are so adorable at that age :)

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Thanks for sharing the part about the “death struggle” going on in our hearts in B., Susan. I have the same struggle going on in my own head this morning. “Maybe that’s why I’m behind in the laundry and cleaning. I’m wasting time when I could be so much more productive”. There is a fine balance between doing this study just because it is fun,instead of doing other more productive stuff, and doing this study because God is using it to teach me THE most important stuff. Today I feel pulled away from here, like I am spending too much time studying (not just here but I am involved in other Bible study and prayer commitments too) and not enough on the stuff that other people see and feel is important. Lord, help me find the balance.

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