TRUTH AND MERCY HAVE KISSED

JESUS IS THE RADIANCE OF THE GLORY OF GOD

HE IS HOLY, HOLY, HOLY

AND CANNOT TOLERATE SIN

HE IS THE TRUTH THAT MADE THE WHIP

TO CLEANSE THE TEMPLE

 

BUT HE IS ALSO THE MERCIFUL GOD

WHO MADE PURIFICATION FOR OUR SINS

WHO COVERS OUR SHAME AND BROKENNESS

WITH COMPASSION AND FORGIVENESS

 

EACH DAY YOU MUST BE OPEN TO BOTH

HIS WORD OF TRUTH SO YOU ARE QUICK TO REPENT

AND HIS WORD OF LOVE SO YOU ARE RESTORED

ONLY IN CHRISTIANITY DO MERCY AND TRUTH MEET TOGETHER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eunice Arant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I called my dear friend Eunice Arant who first involved me in prison ministry. She is one of the most beautiful radiant believers I know. She is also the one who reads the audio version of Idol Lies — and I had to call her to tell her what a wonderful job she did — that she made the book live. Then she proceeded to tell me how the book had impacted her.

First, she told me that the piercing sword of the Word had cut her about her own idols. “When I would get unhappy about circumstances or people in my life, I would eat. Never before did I see that as a comfort idol. But now the truth was right in front of me. Rebecca’s story so moved me. I had the same fear: ‘Would God just let me sit in my pain?’”

Rebecca’s testimony encouraged me that He would lovingly meet me. And He did. Slowly, He came to me and brought me comfort that food could not. Not only have I lost seventeen pounds, but I am experiencing that intimacy and joy again.

Truth and mercy come together in our Wonderful Counselor. He convicts and He forgives. He pierces and He heals. There is no one like Him.

This week’s study is rich — and Keller is at his best. He even makes Melchizedeck easy! (I have studied Melchizedeck at Seminary, listed to D. A. Carson carefully, and felt my brain twist. One simple sentence from Keller — and I got it.) This is going to be a great week!

I am also going to be on Midday Connection on Moody Radio on Thursday live for an hour at noon central time. We are doing chapter 2 of Idol Lies. (Spiritual Blindness) You can call in or text or go to their Facebook page and make a comment! But most of all, please pray! You can also listen after the fact:

http://www.moodyradio.org/middayconnection/

Sunday/Monday  Icebreakers

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

2. Share a time this month when you were you responded to truth and experienced mercy.

Monday-Wednesday  Bible Study

It almost feels like whiplash. After the warning that the Israelites, through disobedience, had their bodies scattered in the wilderness, and after telling us that we must not be like them and harden our hearts — suddenly, everything becomes tender. For we are told that Jesus sympathizes with our weaknesses, and therefore we can come boldly to Him in our time of need.

I’ve been doing an Idol Lies study at my cabin this fall with women in leadership from this area — pastors, pastors wives, and leaders of ministries. It has been a joy to me. One of the young women said this week, “I am really seeing how I need to run to Jesus first before anyone else.This week, a really busy time in our lives, I got the news that our rental house sold out from under us. I was so worried and upset. I had  my hand on the phone to call my sister, and then I thought, No! I’m going to give Jesus the firstfruits of my lament. She went boldly to His throne to receive mercy and find grace to help her in her time of need. And He calmed her anxious soul.

3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16 (This is the second Hebrews passage we are memorizing — so practice!)

A. Why is Jesus able to sympathize with our weaknesses, even though he did not sin?

B. What exhortation are we given in verse 16? How often do you do this throughout the day?

Only in Christianity can we come boldly — because we are forgiven. But it is not that God does not look with anger upon sin. Our sin was so bad it took Him to the cross. The cross is where truth and mercy meet together. We see both this terrible and wonderful truth repeatedly in Hebrews. This is the chiasm of the cross.

4. This is hard to do electronically, but trace with your finger the word in the first line of Psalm 85:10 that parallels the word in the second line. Then make another line to find the second word in line 1 that parallels the word in line 2. These two truths make a cross.

Lovingkindness and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Psalm 85:10


5. Read Hebrews 5:1-4

A. Why could the priests of the Old Testament deal gently with the sins of their people?

B. Share a time when you were not particularly sympathetic toward someone who failed or was hurting — but then you failed or you hurt in the same way — and it changed your attitude.

 

Read Hebrews 5:5-6 (Melchizedek!) Then read Genesis 14:17-20.

Since this is a brain twister, let me give you the Keller insight. A King is associated with rule and authority and truth. A Priest is associated with mercy. In the Old Testament, you could not be both King and Priest. But there was one very mysterious exception, and you find him briefly and only in the Genesis passage above. He was king of Salem, yet he was a priest of God Most High.

6. What, therefore, do you think the author of Hebrews means when he says Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek? What two qualities are combined together?

7. Write out what you have memorized of Hebrews 4:15-16.

THURSDAY- FRIDAY  GREAT KELLER SERMON

SERMON LINK

8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.

9. What notes do you have?

Saturday

10. What is your take-a-way and why?

COMMENTS (238) Post a New Comment ↓
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YEAH DEE!! It was an awesome program! I loved the clips of the women’s testimonies they played – very powerful and clear examples. I had heard Rachael’s before, the two ladies who spoke about guarding their friendship from idolatry were really, really good.
Loved this from you, Dee “If you make a gift an idol, you can lose it”.

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    I just downloaded the Midday Connection podcast…so eager to listen.

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5. Read Hebrews 5:1-4

A. Why could the priests of the Old Testament deal gently with the sins of their people? – Because the high priests were subject to weaknesses themselves and had to offer up sacrifices for his own sins and the sins of the people under him.

B. Share a time when you were not particularly sympathetic toward someone who failed or was hurting — but then you failed or you hurt in the same way — and it changed your attitude. – Oh man there are so many times that I’ve jumped to conclusions about someone or some incident and then that judgement turns around and bites me in the you know what. I continue to try to stay out of things or mind my own business but when I hear someone accuse someone else for something that was their fault it irritates me to no end and I then get mad. I need to learn (still) to walk away and cry out to God to handle the justification so I don’t get bitten any more.

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    Julie — thanks so much for coming on the MIdday Facebook with a comment that Anita could read. I really appreciated that!

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      Oh your welcome Dee. I love listening to your interviews. You are a great encourager to all who want to hear.

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Dee, I just heard your voice in my office! I started to listen on Moody Radio at noon, but the phone kept shutting itself off (I obviously need to fix some setting if I’m going to listen to radio apps!). After turning it back on about 5 times, I finally gave up and decided to listen later — when I could hear at least a few sentences at a time!

Sitting at work now, and all of a sudden I heard Dee’s voice coming from my purse and finishing a sentence! Not enough words to understand what she was saying, but just enough words and enough context to know who was talking :)

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Oh Dee!! listening now to Midday–oh makes me wish I could just see you face to face! God so blessed this–your words are so clear and gentle at the same time. And many new things…this is really, really spirit-filled…so thankful!

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    I agree Elizabeth, to sit face to face and get the teaching.

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6. What, therefore, do you think the author of Hebrews means when he says Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek? What two qualities are combined together?

The King is the one to bring the law, the rules, the truth. The Priest is the caretaker, the heart. Truth and mercy come together.

7. Write out what you have memorized of Hebrews 4:15-16.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.

Mary and Martha were dealing with the death of their brother. Jesus responds to each of them, about the same situation, but in completely different ways. With Martha, He reminds her of the Truth. With Mary, He weeps. He is both King and Priest, both truth and tears.

9. What notes do you have?
Oh I just really, really loved this sermon. I didn’t write out my notes as I listened, so this is a little rough. I was moved in the beginning when Keller said our life is a wilderness. Family, friends, money…all good things, but will never satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts. And if I try to get filled by those things, I will die of thirst.
Oh, when he said that more often than not, MOST of the time, God will not do things the way I want Him to. More often than not, God will seem like He isn’t there, like He doesn’t care, like He’s asleep. That was hard to hear—it was unexpected. And then I realized again—I am expecting a certain kind of life, a certain level of “ease”. He does not promise that. He warns of trials. But He promises to be there.

It is almost inevitable that I will become hardened, cynical, bitter. The only way to avoid that is through daily counseling, from the Wonderful Counselor. He brings a counseling that combines both truth and tears. Jesus is equally committed to both, truth and tears.
I identify with being mostly a “fixer”, a lover of truth, and analyzer! But Christ is both the truth giver and the feeler. When the Word tells us He was tempted in every way—we know that there is NOTHING He doesn’t understand. But we also know He is perfect, without sin. And it is because of His perfection, that He loves perfectly, and is not prohibited as we are by sin. He isn’t selfish or self centered in any way, His absence of sin means that He is able to fully love, to fully go into our pain with us. He lets Himself be drained by us.

Jesus is a Priest King. The King represented God to the people; the priests represented the people to God. Jesus is both. He is equally committed to the Holy Truth and loving acceptance. The Cross shows us He is both—both truth and tears

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    wonderful notes, Elizabeth. The sermon sounds so goood! I hope to listen to the sermon today and hopefully Krista will have a chance too.

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6. What, therefore, do you think the author of Hebrews means when he says Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek? What two qualities are combined together?

He means that Jesus has the qualities of the priest Melchizedek. The quality of mercy, like a priest, and the quality of the truth, or authority, like a king. Keller explains it in the contex of Mary and Martha when their brother Lazarus dies. With Mary he just grieves with her. With Martha he asks if she realizes just who He is. He wants to know if she really believes that He could change the situation if He wanted to. She must have faith in Him. He is the authority.

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8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.

The Woman taken into adultery. This was truth and tears at the same time. He first said he wasn’t going to condemn her-tears, yet then said-but sin no more-truth. THE CROSS!

This sermon is one of my favorites-but then again that is hard..This one was SO encouraging and really the core of the cross-the heart of God. Oh my..

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9. What notes do you have?

I love how he brought out that Jesus who had never experienced sin-was living in delight with God and the Holy Spirit; He is Holy, and had vast spiritual wealth-He is God, perfect, He is majestic, creator, infinite..Yet He came into our finite world He WILLINGLY thrust Himself into the complete opposite world! He was surrounded by a fallen world and fallen people-the opposite of his being. How horrible this was for him and to go deeper He suffered everything we do in this fallen world but it was WORSE for him because of who he is. This is what I was trying to say the other day when I mentioned that He is Holy yet had all this sin thrown at him constantly-how much worse he had then we would ever have it because we are sinners and are conditioned to sinning and living in a fallen world.

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9. continued..

I love how he pointed to the truth about spiritually speaking this life on earth is a wilderness-IT IS! Nothing truly satisifes-children, husband, family. Every day it can seem like God is distant, that he is aloof and it can be so easy to harden our hearts and if we try to satisfy our hearts with the things of this Earth-our jobs, our family etc..we will die-they don’t satisfy..They are good things but they won’t bring that deep satisfaction only God can meet. The only way to avoid getting hard hearts is that we need counseling-both Truth and Tears. :)LOVE THIS.

I also liked how he brought out Martha and Mary as an example of this counseling. They both said the exact same thing to him about lazarus but he approached them both differently. He knew what they each needed..

I Love what Keller said here so I will quote: “With Martha he pulls her heart out of it’s flow and into the flow of his heart. With mary he allows himself to be sucked into the grief and the sorrow of her heart and he just weeps.” —–yes, this is wonderful.

I also loved Kellers point about communal sanctification. How we so need one another to be both truth and tears in our life. This is one way the Holy Spirit counsels us..

I loved the ‘duration’ too..Jesus asked in Gethsemane that if there was a way that he wouldn’t have to die. It seemed God didn’t answer, but he did- God did deliver him from death through the resurrection. It didn’t happen the way Jesus wanted it to when he prayed, but it did happen. God answered. In the same way with us when we don’t see an answer God will use this in a redemptive way in our lives-why not trust this wonderful counselor.

This helped me because HE HEARS and He will use it in a redemptive way! Maybe that is why he hasn’t answered some of the ways I have prayed for relief. That is encouraging-this life is a blip in light of eternity…I have never thought God doesn’t care and empathize with my circumstances or with suffering-HE DOES..yet I have always thought that with God the things of this Earth aren’t as big to Him in light of eternity in light of reality, yet in my humanness and finite state I tend to make them bigger. What is big to God is the redemptive aspect of our suffering-that is big to Him because it matters for eternity, and HE LOVES US DEEPER AND PURER THAN WE COULD EVER KNOW-HE IS LOVE-SO HE WEEPS WITH US WHEN WE WEEP AND GRIEVES WITH US WHEN WE GRIEVE YET HAS HIS EYES ON THE FUTURE AT THE SAME TIME. God sees time in a stream..I don’t know..I have all these thoughts swimming around. It is so easy to focus on the here and now-the suffering, the blessings, the things this world tells us will satisfy us-will comfort us-but the reality is Him and joining in the dance with Him and Jesus and the Holy Spirit-being one with Him-Loving Him back..that is what life is all about, yet He will give me daily counseling with truth and tears to take me off the ledge and bring me back to this reality-I just want to be careful to hear His nudge-His red flags-to be willing to lay down that idol, that pride! OH HOW I WANT TO BE OUT OF THIS BODY OF DEATH AND EXPERIENCE HIM IN FULL.

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    Beautiful notes, Rebecca. It is obvious that the sermon really touched you where you are at.

    “this life on earth is a wilderness-IT IS! Nothing truly satisfies-children, husband, family. Every day it can seem like God is distant, that he is aloof and it can be so easy to harden our hearts and if we try to satisfy our hearts with the things of this Earth-our jobs, our family etc…They are good things but they won’t bring that deep satisfaction only God can meet. The only way to avoid getting hard hearts is that we need counseling-both Truth and Tears. … “when we don’t see an answer God will use this in a redemptive way in our lives-why not trust this wonderful counselor.” So true, yet so hard!

    “OH HOW I WANT TO BE OUT OF THIS BODY OF DEATH AND EXPERIENCE HIM IN FULL.” Amen to that!

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      Suffering can certainly make that desire to be out of this body of death stronger.
      May the reality of eternity sustain you, dear Diane.

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Dee, just wondering if you could always give the sermon title with the link for those of us who may have already downloaded the sermon, but need the title to check.

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Wonderful sermon. It is so encouraging that God understand us, knows exactly what we are going through and how to help us and will used our wilderness in a redemptive way.

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    Diane, I’m so glad you got a chance to listen–I thought of you while listening myself. Praying for you all

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I have a fantastic praise report. I my friend at work is married to a man who has been disabled since birth. He has worked up until two years ago. He never wanted to collect SS disability, but his physical condition is deteriorating and as they are nearing bankruptcy he finally agreed to apply. They were denied and told that it could take up to 3 years to get their case heard. I had been praying for them (they are not Christians), but hadn’t told my friend just in case things didn’t go well. After a couple of weeks I really felt pressed to tell her that I was praying for her and to let God deal with the results of the answer. He got his court date in the mail that day!!
Their hearing was a few weeks ago and she didn’t think that it went well, she thought the judge was abrupt and harsh plus they were told that most people without lawyers are denied. They were to expect an answer in 4 to 6 weeks. Yesterday, I was praying for God to give them a positive answer soon since she just started getting her pay garnisheed and they were falling even further behind.
She just messaged me that they were approved and thanked me for praying for them. God is good and I know he has his hand on them and I hope they will answer his call :)

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    Great praise report, Dawn.

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    Dawn, Thanks for sharing this. Rejoicing with you. It’s so encouraging to see God at work through your willingness to share that you were praying for them. You motivate me to listen to Him more carefully :)

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    Thank you for sharing your praise with us, Dawn! (and for being faithful to pray for your friends)

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    Dawn–that is such an encouraging report of how He works-thanks for sharing it!

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    Dawn that was wonderful!

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    Oh wow very cool praise report. The seeds are being watered.

I am just in awe how perfectly God lines up these things! I am listening today to the CCEF conference on guilt and shame. Then Kellers sermon is on Wonderful Counselor. All so good and so fit. So perfect. I do not know what the Lord has for me in all of this for others yet but I am waiting! :)

1-You need to be saved. Because you see how He was broken and fallen for you you see you are completely lost without Him.

Love how He is the priest and the Judge. Love how both meet. Love how He can relate to anything we go through. Love He sympathizes with us and uses it for good. LOVE HIM so!

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    Do you have a link for the CCEF conference on guilt and shame, Angela?

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Hi Everyone:)

How is everyone doing? I think of you all often!!

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    Hi Meg, Good to hear from you! How are YOU?

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      Renee

      I am doing ok.. I have been very depressed… they just upped my lexapro today to 20mg. please pray that i find a steady job!! Thanks

        oh :( Will pray, for depression to lift and for job. Keep stopping by!

    Hey Meg! How are you? Good to hear from ya!

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    meg,always good to hear from you. praying now for relief from your depression and for a job. thanks for letting us know so we can be praying for you.

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      Praying also, Meg…good to hear frm you

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    Good to see you on Meg. I was just thinking about you. Will pray for you.

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      Thanks everyone.. I also just got diagnosed with Aspbergers so if you could pray for me in that area too i would appreciate it.

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I need to pray about how much to share about this here first–but I just have to say right now, God has used this sermon to turn a major struggling relationship in my life, upside down–in a beautiful way! A significant breakthrough– possible only because He led me to share not just my usual “truth”, but my own tears for her pain, too. What started as my truth to her, and then her painful truth back at me…I let myself enter her pain, and I cried. She just looked at me and said “You understand”, and hugged me tight. I know I am not able to give details–it’s too raw and fresh and personal too, but please just pray for me to stay soft towards her…and for healing…He knows it all. thank you for prayers, this is all good, I am so thankful to Him.

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    Oh, Elizabeth, praying for your relationship. So encouraging. Thanks for sharing.

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    Praying, Elizabeth!

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    Wow, Elizabeth — this is so exciting! What a sweet moving of His Spirit between the two of you.

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    Elizabeth,
    This is beautiful, what you were able to share here. I feel as if I can see the two of you in my mind, hugging each other! I will be praying, too.

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    Will pray for you and the relationship.

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8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.

I absolutely loved Tim Keller’s example of the woman caught in adultery…Jesus’ hatred of sin but love of the sinner; His total commitment to holiness and truth, and love and acceptance, all at the same time.

9. What notes do you have?
This is an excellent sermon filled with MUCH valuable information…I jotted down another six pages of composition journal notes! Things that especially stood out:
*Keller’s explanation of what made Jesus the ultimate counselor…we/humanity are filled with self-absorption, self-pity, and self-focus which makes it difficult to put our selves in an others shoes. Jesus is perfect love…He has no barriers; He loves us better than we love our self and much more wisely. Jesus was tempted as we in every way (greater empathy is possessed through similar or same experiences).
*I loved Keller’s translation of Jesus saying to Jairus’ daughter, “honey, get up”…so gentle and comforting.
*The gentle compassion with which Jesus treated the woman caught in adultery.

My heart has really been touched by Jesus in this “Wonderful Counselor” sermon. The sermon put front and center the cost to Jesus in separating the sinner from the sin; the cost to Jesus in taking my rightful condemnation.

Praying for you Elizabeth…

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    Nanci–so thankful for what you pointed out from the sermon–it helps it “stick” for me more to read this. I loved too “we/humanity are filled with self-absorption, self-pity, and self-focus which makes it difficult to put our selves in an others shoes. Jesus is perfect love…He has no barriers;”

    I listened again today this part you mentioned really stood out to me–”separating the sinner from the sin;”. I kept thinking about how the Cross makes that possible–for us to be separated frm our sin, to not face our deserved death…

    oh, and thank you SO much for the prayers–I feel like He’s brought me to a really good place with a long-strained relationship :)

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      So good to hear that, Elizabeth:)

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    Nanci J — it is so exciting to me to see you listening so carefully. I am really seeing growth among those who are listening to Keller so carefully and with such teachable hearts.

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3. Read Hebrews 4:15-16

B. What exhortation are we given in verse 16? How often do you do this throughout the day?

Not often enough! I often mumble prayers ‘on the go’. But to really, really stop what I am doing, get on my knees, and talk to my Father in heaven. But, this question had me thinking this week. On Wednesday, a person in my family was lamenting to me over the phone about how she was feeling; things like feeling left-out, wishing she was capable of doing more, feeling unworthy…and I tried to reassure her. But after I hung-up, I felt so badly for her and my mind was going round and round – how can I fix this? What can I do? And, like the young woman at Dee’s cabin, I so wanted to call my sister and lament to her, because now I was upset. That phrase, “I’m going to give Jesus the firstfruits of my lament” came to me.
So, I went upstairs, and prayed for her. I told God that I cannot fix her wounded emotions and feelings. Because she doesn’t know Him personally, she is doing life on her own strength, and it doesn’t work. So I gave her over to Him, and prayed for Him to touch her heart. He is the only One who can truly heal her.

As an aside, two days later, I did tell my sister about our conversation, and how I had been worried and upset. But guess what? She had things to do, so she said, “I’m not trying to cut you off, but I have to get back to…..and I just don’t have the time or energy right now to talk about this”. So there you have it. (Or I “got it”) If I had run to her first instead of to God, I would’ve been really let down and disappointed by her response.

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    So good, Susan. You went to the right One!

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5. Read Hebrews 5:1-4

A. Why could the priests of the Old Testament deal gently with the sins of their people?

Because the priests himself was a mere man, subject to the same weaknesses and sins as the people he represents. The priest had to offer sacrifices for his own sins as well as for the people’s sins.

I want to add also that I believe the priests understood it was not their job to judge the sinner, but God’s. I thought of the example of King Saul and Samuel. During a battle with the Philistines that he was losing, Saul didn’t wait for Samuel to arrive to offer the sacrifice. He did it himself. When Samuel came, he told Saul that he had acted foolishly, and then he told Saul the consequences that God would bring about. Saul would lose his right to be king.

B. Share a time when you were not particularly sympathetic toward someone who failed or was hurting – but then you failed or you hurt in the same way – and it changed your attitude.

I’m thinking of answering this in light of what Keller said in his sermon about we are so filled with self-absorption…that we find it hard to put ourselves in another’s shoes.I had to stop by my doctor’s office to get some paperwork filled out, and as I was in the waiting room, I was so focused on how I hoped they would hurry up because I had so much to get done and so little time. There were two elderly ladies sitting right behind me, so I was listening to their conversation. The one had a cane and was telling the other who was on portable oxygen and had a walker that she lived with her 56 year old son, and had visiting nurses coming every morning to help her with him, but she cared for him as best she could. She didn’t say what was wrong with him, but she talked about how she was delaying surgery on her knee because she couldn’t be laid up for 6 weeks – how could she take care of her son? She was unable to leave him alone for more than an hour or two.

The other lady asked her for her son’s name, saying “I’ll pray for him”, and then asked the lady for her name. I heard her voice break as she said her name. Then the lady with the oxygen said, “I’ll be praying for you, too”.

Later that day, I was thinking about it and how I had really dropped the ball. As a Christian, I also could have turned around and spoken some comfort to this woman and who knows – maybe we could’ve prayed for her right then and there. But I was too focused on my self, my busyness, my being in a hurry, to get involved. Yet I know when I am hurting how badly I want someone to take their time to listen to me, and pray for me.

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Read Hebrews 5:5-6 (Melchizedek) Then read Genesis 14:17-20.

6. What, therefore, do you think the author of Hebrews means when he says Jesus is a priest in the order of Melchizedek? What two qualities are combined together?

The writer states that no one takes the honor of being a priest upon himself; he must be ordained, or called, by God to be a priest. It is God Himself who says of His Son, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek”.
Jesus as King is Ruler of all, is The Authority and the Truth. He is also the embodiment of mercy.
“We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of GRACE AND TRUTH” (John 1:14)
I am intrigued that in the Genesis passage, we see Melchizedek bringing out the “bread and wine”…..makes me think of the Last Supper, of taking Holy Communion. Wow – could Abraham have comprehended what was happening there; not at the time, but this is amazing.

7. Write out what you have memorized of Hebrews 4:15-16.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are yet without sin. Therefore,let us approach the throne of grace with confidence to receive mercy and grace in our time of need.

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10. What is your take-a-way and why?

Again God has encouraged me to focus on the truth-what really matters in life and to be careful and aware daily when I hold up things as more ultimate than Him, but when I do to listen to the truth and turn trusting Him- my Counselor who is more than worthy of trust-He is the Word and He is Truth-and He will pour His mercy on me as His truth convicts and cuts to my core.

Also, yesterday something hit me..Jesus handled Mary and Martha differently so too should we when we counsel the truth and tears to others. I need to talk with God as it is happening and ask for wisdom. As I was talking to a co-worker yesterday who claims to know Him, but is legalistic and very harsh toward others both to their face and behind their back, she said something that I couldn’t help but smile. She said, well I know people don’t like me and I don’t care..My first thought was admiration-wow she doesn’t have a problem with an approval idol like I do..Then I thought, but control-oh my! She is SO BOUND by a control idol..Then I thought of myself and my issue with approval and how strongly bound I was and if I forget, how easily bound I could become again, so I couldn’t judge her one iota. I thought, well we are in the same boat but praise God that He is our redeemer not just to be saved from the penalty of sin but from the power. I couldn’t be free on my own and neither can she. My heart went out to her because she is so bound. I am considering giving her Idol Lies. :)

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10. What is your take-a-way and why?

Psalm 85:10: “Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.”

The sermon had a strong impact on me this week. I have long been a lover of ‘telling the truth’. I was hurt in the past by much denial, and as a result I have a preference for even the harshest truth over any kind of façade. I can definitely be a feeler too—I can sometimes empathize so greatly that it can overwhelm me. But what I am convicted of, is the many, many times I don’t want to be overwhelmed by another’s pain—I don’t want to enter in. On all the occasions I can think of, the times I am unwilling to offer my tears, when I am stuck in my self absorbed state, is often when I feel hurt. Or I do not feel like the person deserves my tears, my empathy. SO humbling to admit that. I could never deserve the Lord’s tears and yet He poured out not just tears, but His blood.

I know through the Holy Spirit, I am capable of both truth telling and tenderness, and yet, I so often refuse to offer the tenderness, the tears. In my self-righteousness, I want them to earn my tears. Other times I just am so self-focused I don’t want to give my time and energy. It is so mind boggling when I remind myself of all He did for me. All He forgave. He let Himself be fully broken by my sin, and at the same time, fully broken by my pain. My prayer then, is to by His grace, model the combination of truth and tears—to my family, neighbors, friends. Not to hold Dee up on a pedestal, but I am thankful for her model of this for me. Listening to her this week on Midday, I was reminded of how tender and gentle her demeanor is, and yet filled with Truth. That is how I long to reflect Him, in my words and relationships—tenderness and truth, mixed together.

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    …looking back at this–it’s a bit foggy, sorry. I meant to say I prefer hearing even the harshest truth to me (not necessarily giving it harshly!), rather than someone keeping something from me. I think my “fixer” vs “feeler” mode often has so much to do with my relationship with the other person. I see myself in both–but the struggle, and the model Christ gives, is to be both combined. I often want to “fix” the wrong doer and in that case not offer tears or understanding…or with a loved one, I “feel” the pain but may be too hesitant to offer necessary truth.
    When I think again of the example of the woman caught in adultery–I see what He offered her was more than empathy–it was His mercy. And by definition, mercy includes acknowledging the truth. So maybe what I am to learn–is not between truth and tears, fixing and feeling, it is to offer mercy, as Christ has to me. To be willing to look honestly at the situation, and pardon the sinner, offering grace just as I have received from Him.

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My take away is what stood out to me most from Keller’s sermon. Referring to the woman caught in adultery he didn’t say: 1. I don’t condemn you because whose to say what’s a sin. 2. Go and sin no more you wretched worthless person.
3. (the key one for me) If you don’t sin anymore THEN I won’t condemn you.
No, he said “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”

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I listened to the sermon both at the beginning of the week when I felt awful and again today. It was good for me to listen twice — It had sunk in the first time, and the second time reinforced what I learned the first time.

8. Tim Keller gives several illustrations of Jesus being a “terrible/wonderful” counselor. He talked about Mary and Martha and also the woman taken in adultery. Did either stand out to you? If so, comment.

Parts of both stood out to me. 1) Mary and Martha – Their words to Jesus were “word for word” the same, but Jesus responded very differently. Truth to Martha, mercy to Mary. As I was thinking about this lesson, I was troubled by my lack of fairness — that I respond differently to different people. (That I don’t exhibit mercy the same toward everyone or truth the same toward everyone). Need to consider this further, but maybe it’s not so bad.

2) Woman in adultery: Keller’s description of Jesus’ words and behavior was powerful. Jesus looks at her and says “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more.” This was “not just balance of truth and mercy, but intermingling of it.” This still is soaking in, too. It must be a work of the Holy Spirit, the intermingling that is more than balance. Aslo, Jesus “doesn’t say I base my love on your behavior, [he says] I want you to base your behavior on my love.” Basing my behavior on his love allows the truth and mercy to intermingle.

9. What notes do you have?

A lot :) He had 3 point sermons within a three point sermon!
Will summarize highlights I didn’t put in previous responses.

I LOVED that he normalized the wilderness experience of life on earth. (makes me wonder if the “unalienable right” of pursuit of happiness is Biblical)
- Family, professional success, etc won’t be able to meet deepest needs of your heart. If you try to get the deepest needs of your heart fulfilled by them, you will die of thirst.
- In the wilderness, miracles are few and far between. More often than not, God doesn’t seem to be around. THAT’S THE WAY MOST OF THE TIMES IN YOUR LIFE ARE GOING TO BE.
- It is inevitable that you will become hard; you need counseling (as described in rest of sermon) or you will stop trusting & hoping, will become cynical. The only way to avoid losing humanity is through daily counseling.

Melchizedek: both priest and king. Priest was caregiver/person of tears; king was person of truth. Impossible to put the two together, but we need the two together. Melchizedek was a foretaste of Jesus. On the cross, Jesus took the cup of eternal justice; infinite love was honoring infinite justice; infinite love was honoring infinite truth.

Newton’s quote (had to look it up, so here’s a little more at the beginning):
“Our pleasure and our duty, though opposite before,
Since we have seen His beauty, are joined apart no more.
To see the Law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pardoning voice,
Transforms a Slave into a Child, and Duty into Choice.”

How do we get it? (get what? gap in my notes!)
1. Salvation
2. Communal santification
3. Duration (took notes on the other 2 as well, but duration is where I live): Jesus was abandoned by the father. He did it for you. In the end, his suffering was redemptive. You have to realize God is hearing you now even though you don’t think he is. He went through the wilderness for you; you can surely endure the wilderness for Him.

10. Take-aways
1. Intermingling of truth and mercy. I was trying to figure out whether I’m a fixer or feeler by nature; it’s not so obvious. I am a fixer by nature; that made life hard because I couldn’t DO anything to fix the most difficult parts of my life (dr. even told me to quit trying so hard to get better!). But I am a feeler by experience, and much (most?) of the time, feeling is more natural. Regarding truth and mercy: Mercy usually comes more easily because I’m chicken; but if you asked people in some meetings at work, they would think I err toward truth. Sometimes I have been feeling so strongly and for so long that the truth busts out!

2. Life stinks; THIS is the WILDERNESS (and I like indoor plumbing). Life on this earth IS and WILL BE the wilderness — and we need Counseling not to become hard or cynical. (Something else helpful from a counselor and from a clinical psychologist years ago was the affirmation that LIFE STINKS; it is HARD. I expected to be too happy as a Christian; seeing now how all truth is God’s truth, and He works in many ways to point out that truth. Feeling pain really is not “unChristian.”).

Hmmm, people who are homeless could help me better understand the distinction between now and the future. THIS is homelessness, yet I am expecting a house with heat, AC, and electronic gadgets. Keller was right on when He talked about how poverty seems worse for those who have had EVERYTHING. I was kinda broke when I went to graduate school; it was better than unemployment and hospitalizations; I was in no rush to finish because I had a job, tuition remission, and some additional funding (stayed as long as those would last). But people who had an adequate income and took leaves from their jobs sacrificed to be there. Our actual income levels were comparable, but our expectations were so different. Jesus gave up EVERYTHING for us. We can’t comprehend the extent of his sacrifice or his suffering because we have not yet fully seen His Glory, and He suffered for the world. Therefore, looking to Him increases endurance.
because I was what Jesus had before He

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    Renee–such good notes! The wilderness part was HUGE to me too. I like what you said that Keller “normalized the wilderness experience of life”. I am so prone to think I deserve something better.
    I found it interesting too, the way he responded differently to Mary and Martha–is it that sometimes just truth is appropriate, and other times, only mercy? I guess to give that Truth to Martha was in itself an act of mercy, in a way. And Mary knew the Truth, she only required His tears. Still pondering with you….:)

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      Elizabeth, I think you’re right — that giving the truth to Martha was an act of mercy. Maybe the hard stuff we experience in this life is an act of mercy, too; we just can’t see the whole picture?

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    Sorry, looks as if I cut and pasted something and left excess words at the end of my post.

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    Interesting…I was pondering the fixer/feeler question as well. I decided that in some circumstances my tendency is fixer, but in other circumstances (and probably more so) feeler. I think because of different roles (mother, wife, daughter, employee, friend) we perhaps can be both but at different times.
    I think that Jesus handled Martha and Mary in a manner that was suitable for each; He knows what is in the heart and what is needed.

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      Nanci, Good point about different roles. Sometimes different personalities (Of others!!) seem to bring out either feeler or fixer, too, depending on the person.

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One more thing: Memorized Hebrews 4: 14-16 many years ago. This study adds life to the verses. Vs. 16 (KJV) is still firmly planted in my brain. Still need to refresh to rattle off the verses all at once, though.

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Here’s the whole hymn. I’ve only found it one place on the Internet so far (no music yet; anyone heard it? So that Rebecca can sing it for us?? ;) ); mostly, I just saw the same quote Keller used appearing on various sites. i.e., someone wrote down the selected lines and others used them!

Love constraining to obedience.

No strength of nature can suffice
To serve the LORD aright;
And what she has, she misapplies,
For want of clearer light.

How long beneath the law I lay
In bondage and distress!
I toiled the precept to obey,
But toiled without success.

Then to abstain from outward sin
Was more than I could do;
Now, if I feel its pow’r within,
I feel I hate it too.

Then all my servile works were done
A righteousness to raise;
Now, freely chosen in the Son,
I freely choose his ways.

What shall I do was then the word,
That I may worthier grow?
What shall I render to the LORD?
Is my enquiry now.

To see the Law by CHRIST fulfilled,
And hear his pard’ning voice;
Changes a slave into a child,
And duty into choice.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/newton/olneyhymns.txt

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    hymn might have been by Wm Cowper

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    Yep, it was by Cowper, whose life was “interesting.” It doesn’t seem “copy and paste-able” (http://www.poemhunter.com/i/ebooks/pdf/william_cowper_2004_9.pdf) Heavily paraphrased version: Cowper suffered from depression throughout his life; he was mega-stressed at the thought of applying for a job and attempted suicide. He stayed with a couple while his health was getting better; when the guy died, he fell in love with the wife. But he couldn’t marry her due to his mental health. They did remain friends.

    Cowper and Newton published “Olney Hymns” (where I found the quote Keller used). Associating with Newton made his life more miserable because Newton was a “gloomy Calvinist,” and Cowper became convinced that he was destined to eternal damnation. His mental health improved when Newton went to London.

    SO, it looks like the possibility of feeling even crazier due to misapplication of Scripture is not only a contemporary issue.

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    So great to have Cowper’s whole hymn. Thank you, our internet gal!

The paintings by Maurice French are stunning, explicit in meaning that facilitate meditation. I was particularly impressed by “O Come, Emmanuel.” In what year did the artist paint this spiritually gripping painting? Please let me know. Also, I prepare a Scriptural Exegesis each week for our parishioners at no monetary cost to them and would like to use your paintings to explain the Sunday Gospel message. Please let me know if I have your permission to use a painting. At the moment I would love to use “O Come, Emmanuel” for the First Sunday of Lent. Please let me hear from you.

Deacon John Michel
St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church
San Antonio, Texas
210-824-2616

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    Martin French has a website and a contact on it (MartinFrench.com but I have heard people have had trouble getting a response. He is a very gracious man and I do not think he would mind, but I don’t have the authority to grant permission. He lives in Portland, Oregon and you could try to reach him by phone.

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