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WHAT TURNS OUR HEARTS TO STONE?

inside-narnia-edmundDo you remember how in Narnia the white witch turned the living creatures into stone? It wasn’t until Aslan came and breathed on them that life was restored.

Some of you have written me privately telling me that your heart became cold and withdrawn during a period of enormous loss. When loss comes into our lives, Satan also comes prowling in with his lies, hissing: YOU SEE? GOD DOESN’T LOVE YOU.

One of the most moving scenes in all of Scripture is the one we will study this week when Jesus comes to Mary, in the midst of her tremendous suffering.  I pray through this you will see Him coming to you in your suffering you will feel His warm breath, and be willing to relax in His arms, letting Him be your Comfort, your Control, your Approval.

FREE SERMON RESOURCE FROM REDEEMER.COM (FREE SERMONS) TIM KELLER: TRUTH, TEARS, ANGER, AND GRACE 9/16/01  JOHN 11:20-53

What Satan wants to do is cause “attachment disorder” between you and your heavenly Father.

“Attachment disorder” occurs when the person who should have protected you hurts you. One of our adopted daughters suffered with this, having experienced abuse in her childhood — so she had a wall up and a stony heart, trying to protect herself. But I see Aslan coming to her in so many ways, breathing on her! In this short but powerful passage, “Aslan” comes and breathes on Mary. If you are suffering, how I pray this will minister to you.

Each of us need Aslan’s warm breath, for this is the power of expulsive love. Unless we truly believe Jesus loves us, we will fear giving up our idols.

1. Read John 11:28-32

A. Describe Mary in this scene. What do you think she was feeling, thinking, and why?
B.  Have the actions of Jesus ever confused you? Has your confusion made you withdraw? Please share.

C.  Why does withdrawing work with Satan’s scheme?

2. Read John 11:33

A. Tim Keller says the words that describe the emotion of Jesus are underplayed by the translators.

He is deeply grieved, He is angry — He is groaning in His Spirit. Why, do you think? Write down

everything you can think of.

jesus-comforting-mary-of-bethany1-276x300B. Put yourself in Mary’s place now — for indeed, He loves you as He did her. He sees your

suffering. He sees your tears. He knows your pain. Write down everything you feel.

C. Now write down your fear in giving up an idol and also write down the truth you can speak

to your soul.

3. When you come to this blog on a daily basis, I’d like for you to give an account of how you did that day

with trusting God with your idol. Some days there won’t be a good report and Satan will tell you to give

up. Let’s not let him win. Keep coming back, keep coming to Jesus, keep coming to your sisters. SHARE

ALSO, FOR OUR ENCOURAGEMENT, WAYS “ASLAN” IS BREATHING ON YOU.

PRAYING FOR EACH OF YOU.

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171 comments

  1. A. Describe Mary in this scene. What do you think she was feeling, thinking, and why?
    Confused and hurt. She knew His power and was struggling over losing her brother, knowing He could have stopped it, but didn’t.

    B. Have the actions of Jesus ever confused you? Has your confusion made you withdraw? Please share.
    I relate so much to Mary here. There are so many times we see just the small picture of what is happening to us and we know He has the power to change it, but doesn’t. When my Dad died, which emotionally happened to me years before his physical death, his physical death just slammed the door on the hope I had clung to that he would ever change…that he would ever give up alcohol and choose me instead. The pain and questions that spun through my mind kept me bound in fear and distrust, and there are reminders still of that ache.

    But what comforted me, as strange as it may sound, is that He can handle my anger. I got mad, and I knew my relationship with Him (Jesus) would not waiver. He not only could handle my cries, my hurt, my pain, He wanted to hear it– and just hold me as He held Mary.

    There is that struggle before the trust.

    C. Why does withdrawing work with Satan’s scheme?
    When I am tempted to withdraw, I want a wall around me. I am not trusting Him to be my Comforter, I decide I must build my own protection—a wall around me and keep everyone else out.
    When I hear myself say “they just don’t get me” or that my husband just doesn’t understand…I am laying the bricks, the wall of protection…the lie of Satan that says let no one in, especially not Him.
    And that is exactly where Satan wants us–alone, distrusting, out of fellowship, out of the body of Christ…because that is the only chance Satan has of power over us– when we are apart from Him! There is such danger in even the first brick laid of that wall of isolation…

    1. Elizabeth, I love how you handled your anger. You took it to the Lord and expressed to Him your feelings. I think that is one of the proper ways to handle anger.

      This morning as I was getting ready for church I listened to the sermon. I will have to go back and listen again because I need to focus on it better. I think though that it will be very encouraging to you in the loss you feel in relation to your father.

    2. Elizabeth I especially love what you said here, “And that is exactly where Satan wants us–alone, distrusting, out of fellowship, out of the body of Christ…because that is the only chance Satan has of power over us– when we are apart from Him! There is such danger in even the first brick laid of that wall of isolation…”

      This is good to keep on guard for. I struggle with this. Those withdrawal cues need to paid attn too.

  2. 1a. Martha goes out to meet Jesus outside of the town but Mary does not. She is very broken. Even the people sitting with her can see that. I think Martha goes out because she has hope but Mary does not. Perhaps Mary had a little of the control idol going on also and it had not yet been dealt with as it had for Martha. Mary knew that Jesus loved Lazarus and that He had the power to heal him but He did not and she thought that He should have. She did not exhibit the same kinds of controlling behavior that Martha did but now she seems to be withdrawn because Jesus did not do what she thought He should.

    1. Love this insight Anne. She knew He had the power to heal but did not. Those are hard words to swallow. Trusting in the midst is difficult and the fact Mary did not go to Jesus though she was the one clinging to His feet hanging on His every word before does speak volumes. Interesting.

      1. Anne and Angela you made great points. There are control issues there and the fact that Mary did not go to Jesus speaks volumes. When I read about Mary in this passage I can see myself. I have been upset when He did not do something I thought He should. When I look at my own life I realize that it is in those most difficult and trying moments that I learn the most about my heart.

      2. Kina, it is wonderful to hear from you. I pray that the Lord is multiplying your time for school. I also find what you say to be true difficulty does reveal my heart. In the previous scene with Mary she seemed so content to be in Jesus presence that her idol did not show. In this scene she is stressed and looks different. I’m sure that I have all four of these idols going on. It is by God’s grace that I can’t see it all at once. I would implode.

  3. Dee first I must say thanks so much for the description of attachment disorder. I am tearing up as I type this…I think I have been in this state with God and the need for approval comes from this too. I don’t know if you remember me or not (I am sure you meet so many people) But in Chattanooga TN on our second meeting we had lunch together with women who hosted an event, covenant Pres. Well I was sitting by you and talking about rejection by people at the church (for speaking the Word with no compromise) and you told me about going to a reformed church and it opened my eyes. I sought your counsel a few times in the search. I was working through deep pain of rejection and hurt by people who I thought were safe (in the church). Somewhere in this I started sinning in bitterness, etc…I think I stop trusting God to protect me because the abuse I suffered was so great. Anyway, it numbed me…I know this stone is all centered and rooted in this…God is extracting it and showing me He was here all along…processing this..kind of hard. This is a deep rooted stone that He has been chipping away at for quite some time. This attachment disorder description just hit it on the nose. Lord, forgive me for thinking you rejected me. You never did. You were always with me and never left or forsaked me. I know your great love.

    Dee you were the first person God used to really open my eyes to His great love for me from studying “Falling in Love with Jesus” and now He is using you again to bring it back full circle. My heart is bursting now. I need to return fully unafraid to my first love not holding anything back even the deep hurts.

    1A-If Mary was like me she was probably hurt because she thought her best friend did not come through for her. It was probably a shock. Maybe rejection. But pain and confusion.
    2B-explained above…

    2A-To think Jesus is groaning in Spirit deeply grieved and angry is so touching. Jesus came just for this. He came to beat sin and death because of His great love for us. It must anger Him to see death and sin anywhere. He had loved us enough to come to defeat it. He knew all yet He couldn’t stand to see our great pain because of His great love. Eventhough all we deserve is pain He sees us differently.

    2B-loved fully and completely. Sometimes I so wish I could just see and touch Him but I know he gave me better of Himself because He lives in me. This is the preaching the gospel to myself daily I need to remember. We are privileged to share in His sufferings and He never leaves us alone. He is right there and relates and feels it deeply. He is the perfect example of mourning with those who mourn.

    2C-The deep fear is experiencing deep rejection again. Going back into that darkness and fear that God will not save me from it. Yet He spoke to me…The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8

    3-Today has been a good day…Taught my Sunday School class and felt approved by the Lord. It was good to feel that and not need anything else. Spoke those words, “Lord You are enough and all I need. You are my God nothing else.”

    1. Angela, I was moved by your testimony of God’s great love and how He has worked in your life..You have a very teachable spirit and I can see you have a great love for Jesus..You are bringing Him glory with your life sister..Keep persevering!! 🙂

    2. Thank you for sharing; your testimony means a great deal to me.

  4. Dee, Thanks for posting Tim Keller’s sermon from after 9/11. When I first started listening, I realized that I had listened to it before. This time, God used it in a new way in my life. I appreciated how he explained the different responses Jesus gave to Martha and Mary. He may have spoken “truth-telling” to Martha and wept with Mary due to their personality differences, but His timing was good, too. I suspect there are times when all of us could use truth-telling and times when all of us would benefit from having someone weep with us.

    1.A. I think Mary did feel confused and hurt. But so soon after her brother’s death, she most likely was exhausted and numb, too. Because she would have been tired, numb, and confused, she may have had a hard time verbally expressing how she felt or even clarifying in her own mind what she was thinking. She may have felt alone & abandoned (which sometimes is worsened by choosing to be alone). Plus, sickness and death involves a lot of work — “stuff to do.” If she was involved in taking care of Lazarus (and desperately trying to keep him alive), she may have felt lost, not knowing what to do next. It could have taken a lot of energy to go out — and talking to people would seem even more draining.

    B. For some situations in the past, I was more likely to withdraw from other people and turn to Jesus. I was going to leave my answer at that, but then I had this “plank in my own eye” experience. I realized that I am in withdrawal mode right now. Listening to Tim Keller’s sermon made a little dent in bringing me out — and I’m pretty tempted to go back in my hole. It started with exhaustion, commitments despite the exhaustion, and withdrawing because it takes too much energy to be around other people. In contrast, others seem to pull me out of withdrawal just by being there. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a situation when I’m in the middle of it!

    C. Satan can work through withdrawal because I’m subject to not having my thoughts anchored by Scripture and by reality. He can plant thoughts that aren’t true — and if my own little version of reality doesn’t have the Word of God at the center, my thoughts can get pretty distorted. I’m thankful Jesus “asked for me” before that.

  5. 1b. I have felt very hurt and confused by my older son’s turning from the Lord. I tried so hard to bring him up in the Lord and it felt like a slap in the face when he turned away. While I think that I have pressed in harder to the Lord, still sometimes I just have to vent my anger and pain to Him. It may be though that what I am venting is fear, fear of what his future may hold and what it will take to bring him back and fear that the younger one will take the same path. The thought just buckles my knees.
    OK it is time to speak some truth to my soul.
    Romans 8:28 All things work together for good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.
    Fear not, for I am with you.
    Also Tim Keller’s sermon that I listened to this morning. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
    The Lord has shown me so many times that He is sovereign over this. I choose to remember His faithfulness.

    1. Oh Anne, I’m praying right now for you and your boys….your whole family. You are so precious in God’s sight.

      1. Dee, I could not find the sermon Heman’s Cry of Darkness. Is it The Man the King Delights to Honor?

    2. Anne, Oh my..I just read this..I haven’t had time to read everyone’s comments lately..My heart is with you Anne..

      I can totally relate to that fear even though it hasn’t happened yet because my boys are so young..Yes..DO speak truth to your soul. So glad you are doing that..Satan wants you to wallow in fear..He wants you to think you have control over your boys’ hearts and He wants you to feel like you have to control or rescue them.

      Keep praying for your boys as you are doing..We will too..God can do mighty things with hearts as we are learning here..It looks to me as if Aslan is breathing on your heart and Satan is throwing his arrows..Satan didn’t like you speaking truth to your soul, Anne, so keep doing it sister, and we will pray..

      “Lord, thank you that you are always present with Anne and with all of us here on this blog..Lord you care, you are here..You know Joey’s heart and his brothers’..Lord you know Anne’s heart is scared…Hold her Lord and be her balm to soothe the pain she has in her heart for her son..What a testimony of you that she cares so much for her son’s heart before you! What a woman after your own heart Lord….When she is tempted to run to an idol, stop her with your breath..whether it be your word, or you speaking through someone to her..fight back Satan’s weezley, evil whispers with your mighty hand.. Free Anne from this fear Lord, in your timing, with your word, your people and in your loving ways..We love you Lord Jesus and praise your holy name..

      1. Thank you all so much for your prayers. Of all of the Christian communities and Bible studies I have ever been part of I think this has been the most healing and productive. I have been able to apply what I have learned more. There were many times that I considered going in a different direction. I thought I was spending to much time on the computer. I thought I was saying the wrong things. I thought what I said was stupid or unimportant. I thought I was too dependent on approval from others here. All of those things have been true at times but it is a good thing that I am here and I would say the same to each of you. Please don’t entertain any of those thoughts and stay with us.

        Rebecca, I don’t want to scare you with my fears. The truth is God has walked with us in all of this. He has been there at every turn that could have gone wrong. There is a verse in Jeremiah that I can’t locate right now that asks the question: when have the things you fear ever come upon you? When I think about it I have to say never. Al’s turning came as a complete surprise to me and I often think I should have been watching and praying more for him. When he was little I prayed for him every day then when he was 11 Joey was born and I was not faithful or watchful as I had been. Nevertheless I know that God is able. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. That may sound trite but I believe it means way more than I know and I need to speak it.

        1. Too late Anne for I entertained those thoughts, fought the tough spiritual battle and have made my mind up not to quit. It’s comforting to know there are others facing the same battles. At least we are fighting side by side and not alone.

        2. Tammy, I am so glad you are back!

        3. Oh dear Anne — feels as if you are a mindreader. I am spending way too much time on the computer (also on the computer for work) — and have been wondering if I should be here, or if it’s time for me to connect more here in town. Bible Study is so GOOD, whether alone or with a group. I’ve recently started praying about what direction(s) I should go. I’m feeling pretty lost (can sorta empathize with Mary right now)

        4. Renee, I remember you mentioning that because I felt the same way. I wondered if I should be spending my time some other way. While I think moderation is always important, I’m glad I didn’t quit for that reason. Local study is good too, because you can make new friends but I hope you have time for both.

        5. Anne, Amen!!

  6. Oh Anne, I hurt for you. To imagine your pain over your son just truly breaks my heart.
    This is my “life verse” I am praying it for you now–
    “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”
    Hebrews 10:23

    Also–Psalm 91: 1-2
    Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

    1. Thank you for praying Elizabeth. Those are wonderful verses.

  7. 1. A. * Mary was mourning..Perhaps she might have felt like Jesus abandoned her by not showing up earlier before Lazarus died..Perhaps she felt alone in her grief. I am thinking this whole idea that they were frustrated with Jesus’ timing is wrong. Perhaps she felt abandoned instead? When Mary told her Jesus wanted to see her that may have been a balm to her heart reminding her that He is still here..He cares..As question B seems to indicate maybe she was going through a possible withdrawing until she heard Jesus wanted to see her..

    B. * Yes..In this never ending trial that created these stones. I was like Naaham wanting Jesus to wave his wand and make my life totally comfortable and instantly fix things not wanting to go through the pains of change so that God could rip the idol off my throne and put Himself back on it. I felt alone and abandoned and I withdrew. Food, t.v. and other things became my comforter..I acted as if I could be away from His presence, but the truth is that I couldn’t. I have learned I don’t need to ‘come into his presence’..He is here, I am in his presence 24/7: “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

    I think of Aslan and how he was there knowing their every move even though they didn’t ‘see’ Him, He spoke to them giving them wisdom and comfort, and came to their rescue when they were tempted to run to an idol but his timing was always perfect when He revealed Himself. I see this parallel with Mary and Martha too.

    C. * Withdrawal brings me to my idols so that I can get a temporary, deceptively false ease of my pain..If I continue to withdraw my heart will become stone and the pain will actually grow inside. Satan seeks around like a snake trying to devour us..He wants to destroy us. Jesus wants to free us..Yes there will be pain in change- letting go of our idols, but it is temporary and He will redeem the time that has been lost..You won’t even remember the pain once He frees you..If you cling to your idol you will remain in pain for a very long time..That is what I am learning.

    1. I love your C! this really spoke to me. when we withdrawl we have nothing to cling to but our idols! great insight!!

    2. Oh my goodness, your post really spoke to me. I am going to re-read it again later after I get done with work, to let your words bathe healing into my hardened heart, my heart of stone.

  8. when we came home with our 5th child at the end of this summer I found myself in sooe of the most wonderful, aweful days of my life. I was physically spent after 16 days in 110 weather, the time change and different foods. I was emotionally spent dealing with a little girl who was not happy and another little girl who was having a really hard time having to give up the center of attention, and older kids who just wanted life to get back to normal
    I went to a very dark place….I just could not bring myself to the place I wanted to be with Jesus, I could see him working in so many ways but I could not FEEL Him.
    I was on the floor of our bedroom crying and my husband walked in, he put his arms around me and began to pray (he has never done this before) I was touched but nothing seemed to happen to the stone that my heart had become.
    I posted on my blog for people to pray for me and called my best friend and just cried. this control freek had lost all control!
    slowly the fog began to lift and I was able to see His eyes again as I prayed……but it was so slow! I felt like I must be doing something wrong, if I was a “good” Christian I would be able to snap out of it.
    the idol of control was so strong during this time. and fear had taken over.
    My pride is also a stone. Its the one I hate the most. and I feel like in order to get rid of that stone that I need to be honest about where I was and where I am
    I am much better now. I am in a good place. I am happy….but this scares me because its in these times that I can let pride take over.
    please pray for me that as I live this out that I will be able to see that its all HIM and not me and those super ugly stone of pride and control will be cast away.

      1. 🙂 I love you Dee! thanks so much for being someone who has “been there, done that, bought the T-shirt” in my life!!!! *hugs*

  9. 1. Read John 11:28-32

    A. Describe Mary in this scene. What do you think she was feeling, thinking, and why?
    I think Mary was grieving the loss of her brother. I think she was thinking that the Lord had disappointed her, he didn’t come when he was needed, she proably thought. Perhaps, he didn’t care, she may have wondered, because he hadn’t come earlier to prevent the death of her brother, he could have but he chose not to!

    B. Have the actions of Jesus ever confused you? Has your confusion made you withdraw? Please share.

    Yes, right now I am going through something like this. There is a direction I was heading in and felt the Lord was in it but the door has shut and I don’t feel very loved or cared for, I even feel a bit unwanted and am having a hard time knowing which way to go, and believing the Lord loves me and has a good plan for me through this, this does make me want to withdraw.

  10. A. Describe Mary in this scene. What do you think she was feeling, thinking, and why?

    I imagine she was feeling not only grief over her brother dying but let down by Jesus, maybe even to the point of feeling betrayed, because she had believed He was the Christ. They had sent word to him while Lazarus was still alive, knowing that Jesus could make him well again, yet He took His time in arriving. Yet, I don’t think she was chiding Jesus when she said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” because unlike Martha who was more pointed and direct, standing face to face with Jesus when she spoke, Mary instead humbly spoke her anguished words at his feet, mixed with her tears, and I can’t help but feel there was still hope in her heart as she spoke those words that perhaps there was still something He could do. She must have felt a special closeness to Jesus to have fallen to his feet right away; a person would not do that with just anyone. Ultimately, she trusted Him to make things right in His own way, whatever that meant, and she was content with that.

    As far as my idol, for some reason I still cannot see the stone for the quarry. I have a feeling the answer is bthere right in front of me and I just cannot see it. I pray to the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of my heart because in the book of James it says “You do not have because you do not ask,” so I ask for my “stone” to be revealed to me and then a few times just when my mind was going to be able to focus in on it and it would be revealed, it was like the door was snapped shut again. I have been considering what Dee had written to me previously that it is Satan who is doing this to prevent me from moving forward. My mind lately has been swirling with doubts, ridiculous doubts that I know are not true and yet these thoughts will bubble up in my mind, “But what if you are only imagining to yourself that this Jesus is real? You are in reality just talking to yourself” or “You claim Jesus to be your Husband as per Isaiah 54:5-6, yet you are only imagining. You need a real flesh-and-bones husband who will be a companion for you in your old age, who will provide you with added income.” Yes, I know that these are lies, ridiculous lies, and I hate that I am tormented with them. I hate their insidious constant swirling in my mind. I DO know that the scripture Isaiah 54:5-6 was a gift to me by the Almighty because of the timing that I had received this gift of scripture I had never heard of before which corresponded perfectly to my need. I want so much to be content. I want to stop looking back at my past troubled and failed marriage with longing as if it were totally golden. I want to be restored; yes, to be resurrected. Could it be that Jesus weeps with me too, like He did with Mary? I hadn’t considered that before.

    1. Lord, I pray You will lift Deb into Your arms right now. Thank You that You are her true Husband. How wonderful You are Lord. How able to provide for her every need and so much more. Delight her heart today Lord. Show her how real You are.

      Deb, I would say to you that none of those thoughts are yours unless you entertain them. When they come is the perfect time to practice talking to your soul. You can do just what the enemy recommends and talk to yourself! Tell yourself the truth. Ask the Lord to show you how real He is. Do you have some things that He has done for you in the past that you can write down and remember when these thoughts come?

      As for what stone, He will show you in His time. For now I would just do the questions and continue to share your heart with us so we can pray for you.

      Love you sister!

  11. 1.A. Mary is home grieving the loss of her brother and her unmet expectation. Martha comes and tells Mary Jesus wants to see her. Mary rushes to him full of pent-up emotions. When she sees him, Mary doesn’t give him a chance to express his emotions. This time it is Mary who launches a full frontal attack of guilt.

  12. Okay so about stone removal and chipping. Here is a big issue God revealed to me today. Need for approval and this attachment disorder thing with Him has kept me from really praying. So I have been disobedient in prayer. I have believed the lies of the enemy speaking to me that my prayers don’t matter and the God won’t answer because of the hurt I went through before. So eye opening. Confessed this sin and seeking to be obedient fully in this area. So thankful for Jesus and the gospel!!!

  13. 2.A
    I believe Jesus was like a burning fire inside. He was both angry at the fall that led to physical death and also in deep pain over the loss his friends had to experience. On a MUCH smaller scale, I think of when I see my child in tears struggling over something that in my view, I know it will all eventually be OK, but she doesn’t. To her—her world as she knew it is over when a toy got left behind at the beach. And although I know she’ll eventually forget about it, her tears are real, and I hurt for her.
    Jesus knew the Truth that Lazarus would be brought back to life, but I think He felt such an uncontainable anger at what Satan had stolen from these dear people, from all of us. I think the tears were a mixture of deep sorrow and anger.

    B. To put myself in Mary’s place…
    Wow. I sit to answer and the tears flow. He knows my pain. And He doesn’t sit aloof and above it all, He aches over it. This is NOT what God had intended before the Fall. He hates the sin that has entangled me, but He loves me, dearly holds me and lets me cry.
    He wipes my tears. He doesn’t brush it off and try to tell me “it’s OK” but yet in His presence, when I really let myself feel Him, I know it is, finally, OK.

    Today–my stone of control has been actively fighting for a voice! I’m irritated by the constant change in school schedules due to the weather– I felt my body get angry inside as I sat in carpool line for early dismissal…annoyed that it messed with “my plan”…I forced myself to BELIEVE He knows what He’s doing!

    There are many ways lately I am seeing Him trying to loosen my grip on my schedule. And this is what I meant the first week—I don’t WANT to give up my schedule! I love to plan, be efficient…ugh! But I so see how sin thrives in me when I don’t get my way. It’s as if Satan has a field day watching me get tense, manipulating…Can I trust Him enough with my plans? If I believe what I say I believe–how can I not?!

    I’m also feeling the approval stone strong this past week. I want so badly to believe I have value, and that I have something of value to share.
    I was always quiet growing up because I never believed I had anything worthwhile to say.
    The lie I heard growing up was that I was forgettable. I was often physically forgotten (to be picked up, etc…) and that lie has stuck. The old song “Unforgettable” makes me cry, still, just the thought of being unforgettable…to believe I am to Him. He knows every hair on my head.

    Our sermon this week was on the Holy Spirit. I was really struck by the truth that the SAME Spirit that raised Lazarus, that raised Christ, LIVES IN ME. My goal this week is to remind myself of that truth every day. Jesus says it was for our benefit that He go, so our Comforter may come. I want to let my Comforter hold me.

    1. Elizabeth, you are never forgettable with Jesus!

  14. I just read through all the blog and my heart is heavy for all who are suffering here. I love Rebecca’s “Satan wants you to wallow in fear” and Deb, Yes, Jesus does weep for us as he did with Mary. And Anne says “Just share your heart with us so we can pray for you”, (to Deb), and Angela said “I believed the lies of the enemy speaking to me, that my prayers don’t matter”. I have been feeling these same feeling. My prayers are with you all.

  15. 1A. I think Mary was grieving for her brother, who had died and was feeling that Jesus had let her down by not being there to save Lazarus. I think she was doubting God’s love for her.

    B. Yes, the actions of Jesus confuse me daily. I have withdrawn and am working through it now, trying so hard to put my complete trust in God. The enemy would have me believe that God doesn’t love me.

    C. Withdrawing works with Satan’s scheme because, as we go through pain and sorrow we are weak and vulnerable and that’s when Satan attacks us.

    This week’s study was just exactly what I needed to pull me out of the pit I’ve been in. Thank you, Lord and thank you, Dee

    1. Praying for you right now Joyce–that He will continue to lift you out of the pit into His arms–funny, I started to type that you would have the strength to crawl out…but I deleted because we know it is He who rescues us!

    2. Joyce you are such a sweet encouragement. Praying for you too. I can relate to your feelings. A wonderful book that opened my eyes to God’s love for me was Falling in Love with Jesus by Dee. Praying for you and that we both will be renewed in mind so that satan cannot plant those strongholds of lies in our lives.

  16. 2. A. * Could it be as simple as Jesus is God! He is the author of love and He loves Lazarus, Mary and Martha deeper than they love one another..He knows their frame, their every thought..He made them..I think this grieving is revealing God’s depth of love for everyone involved..Jesus’ grieving went into the depths of His soul..God deeply grieving..Such depths of love He lavished on them..

    If I am close here on this question it is going to totally change how I see that passage..and in how I see God..AND in how He loves me..

    Wow, I just realized that all these years I pictured Jesus as a ‘responder’ in this passage and that his grief wasn’t as deep as Mary and Martha’s, but OH was it deep, deeper than Mary and Martha’s..Into the depths of God’s soul..His love poured out…

    B. * I am without words..Aslan just breathed on me again..I am tearing up as for the first time I see the depths of Jesus’ love for me..Even then I can’t behold it, but God has just revealed Himself to me again this morning and I want to hold onto it..

    C. Now write down your fear in giving up an idol and also write down the truth you can speak to your soul.

    * Fear: ‘What if’ my uncomfortable situation gets worse? Truth: I don’t have to be afraid of not having my idol there to pick me up when I am in need..Jesus is HERE..He is present and He is the one who will pick me up and carry me..I can trust Him with this pain, this change, this stone..He feels this pain too, but even deeper than I feel it..He groans with grief over it and wants me to rest in His arms and trust Him..He wants to take it away from me…

  17. Just finished reading through all of your comments. Wow, such deep and honest, unmasked sharing by all of you. That’s what makes this such a special place to come.

    I watched The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe yesterday for the 2nd time, with my daughter. I know it’s only a movie, and the lion a symbol of Jesus, but I felt my heart just swelling inside of me with a longing for the real Jesus!

    As for one of my stones, my thought-life; as I was cleaning my bathroom in the morning yesterday, I caught myself slipping into daydreaming….. I began to speak out loud Scripture and to talk to Jesus. If I was running to my idol of comfort to escape the boredom of cleaning, I told the Lord that I was making the bathroom clean and nice for my husband, and also in a way, for Him, by working at it with all my heart and doing my best. I even began to enjoy the work!

    1. Praying your requests for you Dee, and thanking God for your model of unmasked transparency–so beautiful, convicting, inspiring to me!

    2. Dee, I can so identify with your stones, as mine are almost identical to yours! Thank you for sharing your heart here, we love you and will all be praying for you.

    3. I am the same way with food at night Dee..You are giving me ideas as to how to battle this part of my comfort idol..will be praying for you sister..

      1. Lord, Be Dee’s comfort tonight when she is tempted with food..Help her to look at the notes she has put up and speak truth to her soul..Lord as she is tempted remind her of your deep, groaning love for her and that you are in the midst of this struggle with her..That you are the great healer and giver of freedom and her comfort idol is the one who desires destruction. Give her the strength to fall into your arms and find her comfort with you tonight.

    4. Lord, thank You that You are able to reach hearts, that You know the heart of this loved one of Dee’s. Help her Lord. Please help her in the times when faith grows thin and she begins to worry. Show her how You are able. Please speak to his heart and change him, making into fully the man You created him to be. Help her to continually surrender him to You. Amen.

    5. Praying for you, Dee.

    6. Praying for you, Friend Dee 🙂

    7. lifting these.

  18. 1.B. I’ve been praying for the answer to this one and the words came during my private time with our Lord this morning. I had the thoughts running through my mind but I needed to collect them and put them in order. So here goes….

    The days following the annulment of my marriage were filled with confusion and alot of second-guessing. But, I slowly came to realize I could not keep what, in the eyes of God and the law, was never legally mine to have. When God’s Spirit began telling me to do good to the one who hurt me I was like ‘Are you SERIOUS?! You really expect me to do good to the one who hurt me like that?’ Yes. He was serious because he could back up the command with scripture and he fully understood what its like to be betrayed. I would do good and then tell God I don’t really like or want to do this. But he would gently tell me ‘I know but you need to keep doing what’s right even when you don’t want to.’ And then after I had the nerve to tell God ‘You owe me for this’, he lovingly told me, (and this is my favorite) “STOP WHINING. IT’S NOT GOING TO CHANGE MY TIMING. REST BESIDE THE STILL WATERS.” And the still waters are this blog.

    It hit me this morning that the reason I would withdraw from Jesus during those early days and sometimes in these current days is because I did not trust or know him for who he is. I knew what he had done. Rescued me from the land of torment. I think deep in my soul I wondered if I could really trust Jesus. And I have found (2.5 years later) yes I really can.

    1.C. I think withdrawal works well in Satan’s schemes because self-isolation seems to be where he does his most insidious work. If he can keep someone occupied with self and how life is not going their way blah, blah, blah…then he can fill their minds with destructive thoughts and utter chaos usually follows.

    1. Wow Tammy! Occupied with self. That is what withdrawal is isn’t it? Food for thought there.

  19. Forgot to talk about my deep idol and my stone.

    Last night after a long day of care-giving I turned to a cup of coffee and a magazine for comfort and put off taking a shower and preparing for bed. After my shower I returned a phone call and talked for a solid hour. Hey it was my mother, but I could have waited until morning. Needless to say I did not sleep well. That was defeat. Well, I scored a victory this morning because when my alarm went off after 5am I got up and stayed up. Before I would have made a trip to the bathroom and gone back to bed using Christian radio as subsitute for meeting with God. Then I would have beat myself up later for not staying up and beginning my day earlier.

    I’ve got something I need to share. Sometimes all this frankness and openness has scared me because I’m not used to being loved so well. A Southern writer, now living in California, noted in an article I read in Southern Living last night, that southern women are taught to suppress their emotions. I guess we (southern women) are suppose to act as if everything is just fine all the time. I’m glad I now know that’s a dangerous way to live and think.

    In The Friendship of Women Dee states that a left brain woman usually is so wounded she gives up on relationships. Well, this left brainer is not giving up on relationships. My wounds are healing and my right brain is kicking in (Thanks Dee for jump starting it).

    1. I sure like you southern women!

    2. Way to go Tammy!

  20. I’m ready to report in. I realize that my approval idol operates at home quite a bit. Especially with my children. I have stood firm with Joey several times and I am pleased with the results but I need more consistency. Not working so well with my husband. It is complicated and I don’t think we can fix it here so I won’t go into it. I am wondering if it would be beneficial for us to go back to counseling. If we do I am really going to have to stand strong against my need for approval and no confrontation. I am quite overwhelmed right now with the whole thing. When I started to read Boundaries I quickly put it down because it was so scary to me. Yikes! Here I am again. Just back from my circle.

    1. Anne, I am praying for you to have wisdom, and peace. Counseling was a tremendous help for us, but of course I don’t know your situation…so I pray He leads you.

      1. Praying for you anne!

    2. Praying for you too, Anne.

    3. Thank you all so much for praying!

  21. Checking in on my stones….Approval-still very difficult. I feel it a lot with my daughter, wanting her approval as her Mom. It’s hard, she’s a perfectionist type by nature. But the last 3 days it feels like Gos is opening my eyes to ways she is showing her love for me that I had been missing. Today I found a note in her back pack with I love Mommy all over it (she’s 7). To many, that would be normal–for me, to know she had done this without even expecting me to see it, was like a kiss on the cheek from Him.

    Control–not so good. I still control our home schedule 100%. I pray I can learn to live freer. I did have a phone call today that normally would have brought out the worst in my controlling nature, but I held my tongue.

    A verse that has been helping me in these moments (I tend to be a truth-teller in that I say exactly what I think, no candy-coating!) to guard my words:
    Zephaniah 3:17–The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save,He will take great delight in you, He will QUIET you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

    1. Oh Elizabeth, Thanks for sharing the verse from Zephaniah — good to know that God’s love and His delight can quiet both my mouth and my spirit.

    2. Love the note you found…how sweet! Love the verse that is helping you, also.

    3. this is my life verse:) i run to it when im feeling stressed or feeling like he is mad at me. He takes great delight in all of us! WOW
      i love to personlise this

      the Lord Elizabeth’s God is with her He is mighty and will save her, He takes great delight in Elizabeth and he will quiet her with his love. He will rejoice over Elizabeth with singing! 🙂

  22. 2.A and B. It says in verse John 11:33 that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” when he saw mary weeping. Jesus loves us just as much as Mary, yes he does!
    Also, John 11:35, the shorest verse in the bible, says, “Jesus wept” when the Jews said to Jesus, “Lord, come and see” (where they laid Lazarus). Jesus actually “wept” and was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled”. I am just in awe of how much Jesus feels our pain and suffering, and see’s our tears. I feel so blessed to know Jesus loves me that much, that he would feel my pain like that!

    C. My Idols are many, but Control and Comfort, like Dee’s, are what I contend with the most. I want to control my husband by telling him to be our spiritual leader in our family and we need to be in Church, for instance, but I never mention it, for fear of pushing him too much. Then there is a controll issue over taking care of our special needs daughter. I feel like I have to be the one in control all the time for her care, but God is showing me I can’t be with my bad back. It force’s me to ask for help.

    For my idol of comfort, I give into emotional eating for comfort. Someone said to ask yourself, “Do I want that cookie more than I want to be slim”? That helps some when I speak to my soul, but what helps me more is verse 1st Corinthians 6:19-20…”Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body”.
    I do not want to defile my body. This is the truth I speak to my soul when I am tempted. But my fear is my emotions won’t be soothed without eating what’s not good for me. Does that make sence? These are just two of my idols! I could write all night about all of them!

    1. Night’s are the quietest time for me, when they are sleeping. Mornings are so hectic with my husband being home and retired, and Kendra to care for. I don’t require much sleep! (It say’s 2:12, but it is actually only 1:12am ,here in NE!)

  23. 3. This battle is exactly what Scripture tells us..a battle..Every day Satan is tempting me back into running back to my idol..Yesterday, a lot of things happened with the boys that wore me out as a mom and Satan attacked..

    So, I decided to eat three helpings of dinner instead of one, and was tempted to eat a huge piece of pie a 1/2 hour later..Thank God I didn’t eat the pie.. I remembered what Dee said, and said to myself..Is that pie going to help or hurt me..The answer was hurt me both inside and out..

    Having pie is o.k. having dinner is o.k. it is when I do it in excess to make me feel better that it becomes a red flag that I am running to my idol..Something is wrong and I am not running to Jesus with it.

  24. 3. Approval idol update..Comfort seems to be the worse, but yesterday afternoon/evening was a huge battle day for me..I was working on a song to sing at church and had both idols battling inside..I am noticing it is more of a struggle to belt out the higher part of my range as I get older and when I practice as I am trying to get that back, it ends up straining my voice and I have pain in my throat..Below is basically what happened:

    Approval idol: “If you change songs the worship team leader at your new church will think you are too wishy washy because you did it last time you sang. Comfort idol: Then just don’t sing at all, it’s too stressful, avoid it. Satan: You stink anyway, you are getting to old to sing and are losing your higher end and there are no songs out there for you..Just stop and move on..

    Jesus: Trust me Rebecca..I will help you find the right song. I have some hearts I want to speak to through you and I want them to come to me in worship..

  25. O.k. Ladies I need to get busy memorizing some verses in this battle..Perhaps you all can hold me accountable?

    I am going to review my older ones and be asking God for new ones as I go through this battle..I want to have my first one memorized by tomorrow morning..

    Thanks my sweet sisters!

  26. My stone has been unearthed. I was expecting to find a pebble; instead I uncovered a boulder. Comfort. Who would have ever thought that something so good, sweet, and even necessary could become an idol? But it becomes an idol when it is that which you run to first in times of great loss. When my husband first left me, I turned to food, and especially the comfort food of ice cream, consoling myself that “I deserved” a treat. But that god let me down after one day I bought a full-length mirror and a scale and the ugly truth was revealed. When my husband was no longer there to fix my car or to advise me on any number of daily life household or teen-raising issues, I ran to his family for comfort to the extreme of dependency. Now, my husband has divorced me and shortly after that my dear mother-in-law passed away–the one I could always count on to talk to my husband and “bring him to his senses” so he would come back home. It is a jagged, sharp pebble in my shoe to daily face that idol, it hurts so badly and I step on it every day. Who wouldn’t feel they “deserve” comfort from that? My kids next were who I ran to, and even they are letting me down so to speak, but rightly so, in that they have new-found love and spend less and less time with their dear old mom, and slowly my fingers are being pried away from them, and in my heart of hearts I recongize that I have to let them go. Now I see that the root of that was the idol Comfort, a many-faceted stone making it appear attractive with Overindulgence and Dependence on Family/Friends and Entitlement (I deserve…a vacation that I can’t afford, a new outfit when I have plenty, etc.)instead of seeking comfort from the One Who can provide beyond what we can imagine. Why should that be so tough to do? Why can’t I get it through my thick skull and into my innermost heart to believe that? I know in my core, my coeur, my innermost heart, that it is true and yet it is like I don’t totally and completely trust the God Whom I want so desperately to trust and Whom I need. I must discover how to chip away at this stone so that I am not living in misery and so that perhaps even I might be of some value and service to the Lord. For today, I am relieved to have exposed the stone, and I thank you who have been praying it would be so. Thank you.

    1. Wow, Deb, I am so proud of you! And I can so relate to much of what you struggle with, too. I, too, tend to be dependent on other people, my mom and dad, and yes, my three children, to meet my need for comfort (and approval). I know what it is like to have your children grow and expand their horizons that make you feel like you’re being left behind – having your fingers pried loose! I have one son in college, and a junior in high school who is considering a college in Texas (we live in Ohio) and it hurts to think of him leaving home!

      And what you said about Entitlement, part of that idol of comfort. That made me think real hard about myself, too. How I feel entitled to things instead of having an attitude of gratitude for them. Ouch.

      But….I am excited to tell you that YOU don’t have to ‘discover how to chip away at this stone…’ it appears that God is already working – first by revealing this to you and loving you not one little bit less than he already does – He will show you by His power how to make progress – it is He who is sanctifying you and conforming you to the image of His Son. This first step He has taken you through is awesome!

      And I might add that what you said about “perhaps I might be of some value and service to the Lord” is a lie from the pit and it smells like smoke! Speak this truth to your soul; “For I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that I should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

  27. Aslan’s breath this morning: God has just shown me via a sermon I just read that I have a skewed understanding of His throne..God’s throne is a place I can come BOLDLY to..It isn’t a throne of wrath toward me but of mercy and grace..He says to come boldly before the throne…I will find grace and mercy there in time of need.. When I RUN TO JESUS..I WON’T find wrath!! I tend to think He is growing tired of dealing with my stubbornness, my daily battles and my ‘sheep-like’ behavior all the time and if I run to him he will scold me..NO..He isn’t like that! He pours his mercy and grace all over me when I run to Him and IT IS ENDLESS..

    This is my new verse I am going to memorize that will help me remember this when I am weak and being lied too and tempted to run to my idol..I am hoping you gals will be my accountability sisters:

    “Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. Hebrews 4:16

  28. 1. Read John 11:28-32.

    A. Describe Mary in this scene. What do you think she was feeling,
    thinking, and why?

    Mary was in the house, she was actively grieving, perhaps openly weeping or wailing, as verse 31 tells us there were other Jews in the house with her, consoling her. When Jesus arrived in the village, Martha went out to Him, but Mary stayed in the house. I think there may be a battle going on in her heart; she loves Jesus, yet she can’t bring herself to go to Him at first. She loved Him, yet perhaps she feels a sense of betrayal, of disappointment, in Him.

    I think it’s interesting that Martha and Mary greeted the Lord with the same words, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.” Martha then moves right into saying that “even now, I know whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” She still believes something can be done. But Mary says these words and is just weeping at His feet. I think she’s lost some of her hope she had placed in Jesus. She came quickly when Martha told her He was calling for her, yet had she taken a step backward from Him in her heart?

    B. Have the actions of Jesus ever confused you? Has your confusion
    made you withdraw?

    My brother-in-law, whom my sister divorced, was an alcoholic and addicted to cocaine. He hit bottom, yet, I do believe he was a Christian before that. He began coming to church again with his sister, the same church I attend. One glorious Sunday, there was a baptism, and it was Jeff, my brother-in-law, and he told the entire congregation he was an alcoholic and a drug addict, but he loved Christ, and had hope in Him. I was able to talk to him afterwards. I had such hope that he was beginning to climb out of the pit he had been in, and would be able to repair his relationship with my nephew, his son, who was heading down the same path with drugs and was very fragile emotionally; he so needed his dad.
    Less than two weeks later, Jeff died by slipping on ice and hitting his head. I felt like God had just cut him off from the living. I could not understand why He would take Jeff especially when his son, Thomas, needed him so badly. To see Thomas kneeling in front of his dad’s casket, broken, was awful. Then 17 months later, Thomas was dead of a drug overdose.
    I still don’t understand why, and I know God could have intervened. I was even angry with God, accusing Him of not loving Thomas to have allowed this to happen. How many times had I heard testimonies of those who were alcoholics or addicts for years, to then turn their lives around and give their lives to Jesus and be transformed.
    Why not Thomas, and if his dad’s death was the devastation he couldn’t get over, why did God take his dad away from him?
    For a long time it was like a step forward toward God and two steps back away from Him. On one hand, I knew there was no One else to really go to with this, yet it shook my trust in Him that He was loving and good. I wondered if prayer really mattered at all, if things just happened due to “fate”.

    I think this was the confusion in Mary’s heart – she was there, at Jesus’ feet, yet in her heart was a question mark.

    I learned that withdrawal doesn’t help to answer the question mark in my heart. I have to take the questions and even the anger and doubt and disappointment to God and work it out at His feet.

    1. Susan, what a testimony..I loved the way you described this:

      “I think this was the confusion in Mary’s heart – she was there, at Jesus’ feet, yet in her heart was a question mark.

      I learned that withdrawal doesn’t help to answer the question mark in my heart. I have to take the questions and even the anger and doubt and disappointment to God and work it out at His feet.

  29. C. Why does withdrawing work with Satan’s scheme?

    Satan’s purposes are to draw us away from God and thwart His purpose and plan in our lives. And to ultimately destroy us. When we withdraw from God, we are very weakened and an easy mark for the enemy.

    Satan leads us to distrust the One who loves us and is desperately trying to help us, but we shut Him out. Thankfully, I believe God never gives up pursuing us.

    1. Thanks to your post, I can see how procrastination is another facet of the Comfort stone. I had rather prided myself on not withdrawing–running away from Jesus; yet, by my very act of running to my recliner and pulling up the blankets and “vegging out” there so that I wouldn’t have to deal with the rest of life (procrastinating), I was actually falling into a trap of Satan which would prevent the Lord from His purpose with me. Sitting there in my chair for long periods of time causes me to feel all the more blue, lonely, and unmotivated. Yes, it is withdrawing and I am guilty of it. Thank you again for your inspiration.

      1. I have to laugh a little, Deb….. my favorite thing to do in the evening is lie on the couch and cover up with my afghan….my family teases me that they will bury me with the couch and my blanket. My 10 year old daughter even got me a “Snuggie” for Christmas!

        Also, I reread my reply to your post above and thought my last comment might be misread – I said that your statement “perhaps I might be of some value and service to the Lord” was a lie from the pit…. what I meant was that the “perhaps” and “might be” was a lie from Satan! And then the verse from Ephesians that God has already prepared good works for you to do was to encourage you that you ARE of value and service to Him!

    1. Dee, Wow, I didn’t see that at first but you are right. Praise God! ♥

  30. I’m so glad to see other’s, like you Rebecca and Dee and Deb has a comfort idol with eating also.
    Thank you Deb and Susan for sharing your hearts with us. You both have been through so much pain and sorrow.
    I’ve been through divorce with three little kids, 20 years ago and went through something like you mentioned…”ran to my kids” and “kids to meet my need for comfort”. My oldest daughter was 8 yrs. old and for the next 5 years I used her for my comfort and she was my best friend that I could talk to. That ended up being the worst thing I could of ever done to her. She was too young to hear all the pain I felt. And she needed a mother, not a friend. Thank goddness she rebelled and we went to get counceling. It hurt her terribly. I treated her more like a friend than a daughter. The councelor straightened me out right away. It’s easy to go to your kids because you love them so much and they feel the hurt too, but you can’t lean on them for comfort. I’m not saying you do that, I’m just saying I did and I had to learn the hard way to just be a mother, not a friend…they have lots of friends but only one mother….and they need a mother much more than another friend. We had to have counceling alot because of that divorce, especially my oldest daughter and I, because my son was only 5 and Kendra was a baby. My oldest daughter is a probation office with the federal in San Diego now, helping troubled kids, because it devastated her when her daddy left her and their relationship is still strained after all these years. Sorry I went on so much about this!

    1. Joyce,
      It sounds like you received really wise counsel when you needed it, and you had a teachable heart and were willing to change; I commend you for that! I can understand why you turned to your daughter for comfort; you were not intentionally trying to burden her with your problems; I see a huge difference between you and parents who deliberately do things to hurt their children. It sounds like all of you were hurting from the divorce.

  31. stone checkup
    I am so frustrated with how my idol of control and pride creep up on me. I will think im doing really well (mistake #1) and then i will look at the view stats on my blogs (mistake #2) and get hurt that the views were not as many today as yesterday……..really?????? UGGGG this is the thought of an ego maniac. I use the excuse that Im trying to help other homeschooling moms or trying to encourage people to adopt older children, and “wanting to give all the glory to HIM” and I am, but whats under it is I want people to be impressed!
    puke, gag, hit my head against the floor!
    now, what i need to figure out is…..is this Satan discouraging me to continue in something that God wants me to be doing ooooorrrrrr is it God telling me to stop doing it??????
    there are so many miricals happening in our lives, things i have NO control over and did nothing to deserve and i really want to share them and give God the credit. do I allow news crews to film it??? or is that adding fuel to the fire????
    praying for wisdom and for my pride to get back into the pit of hell where it belongs.
    yet as i write this im wondering if it sounds prideful. I don’t know how to share how im feeling without going into it and yet i read this and it sounds like im trying to impress you guys……please know that I am sooooooooo impressed with all of you, your strength and honesty astound me! I am honered to be walking this walk with all of you!!!

    on the upside i am feeling much less need to control things:)

    1. Cyndi, just admitting your stones is very hard to do and we all struggle with them, especially me. I admire your strength. Praying for you!

      1. Im glad my depravity is so entertaining:)
        thank you for your comment about mixed motives, that really helped me take a step back and evaluate my heart without being quite so hard on myself.
        my dear friend told me today that everyone has a desire to feel special…this was a newsflash to me!! you meen its OK to want to feel special??? yes cyndi, as long as your going to Jesus to make you feel that way and not others!!!
        ohhhh, that makes so much sense! its a normal need, it needs to be met, its WHO I go to to meet it that’s the issue!
        I don’t need to supress the feeling or desire that is so strong, I just need to learn to go to God to have that desire met!
        yippppeeeee this makes me so happy:)
        just one problem….he doesn’t leave comments on my blog or facebook page:(

        1. Cindi, I wish he would!

  32. 2A. If Jesus was angry I don’t think it was at Mary or the Jews who were with her. Who else could He have been angry with but Satan. That is assuming His anger was directed at someone. But He may have been angry about the course of events. I can see His being grieved at the events and the grief of those who loved Lazarus. The word anger does not seem to fit here. I do wonder if something could be lost and/or added in the translation. I looked this passage up in several different versions and it seems that the most common description is the groan in His spirit. The Message says that a deep anger welled up in Him. I can see it but it is hard to describe. Have you ever seen a man in a movie who becomes enraged begin to growl and slowly move into a rage? You can imagine a reaction like this but then put Jesus, Holy God in his place. What would His action be? He would not yell and start swinging. Maybe He would fix it which is just what He did. I think this is the reaction of a Holy God to injustice. The thing is, He allowed it to happen. I think of you Susan and your questions about Jeff’s death just when Thomas needed him so much. How can we ever possibly understand? I think questioning is quite in order.

  33. 2b. This is truly His reaction to my pain, to the injustice that I experience. I feel loved. I love. If He cares that much for me, I think I can persevere through many trials. I feel lifted up and energized.

    2c. I am afraid to confront people. I am slow of speech and many times witless. I am afraid of being unable to defend my position and looking foolish because this has happened to me before. I think this makes the Lord very sad because many times the injustice is in me not speaking up or not standing my ground. If I am acting in a righteous manner and not selfishly I think He will help me by giving me words and favor with those I must confront.

    One of my favorite verses is James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

    I have found this to be wholly true. Many times it has been the result of one conscious decision to resist and I have been free from that temptation since. This is a verse I can speak to my soul.

    1. Thanks for sharing that verse, Anne. I can sure use it!

      1. Thanks for sharing this Dee. I tried for years to keep all of this on my own. It took me so long to ‘get’ this. Dr. Doriani is right we can’t. My joy is that He can.

  34. I’m not sure if this qualifies as Aslan breathing on me but I want to share what happened today. This morning I prayed “Lord show me the great work you want me to do today for you.” Later in the morning at work my client’s husband shared with me that he wanted to buy his wife a box of candy for their wedding anniversary tomorrow. (50+ yrs) He’s unable to drive and she was gone to a doctor’s appt. so she didn’t know about his request. I suggested he asked one of the men from church to help him and after I made the suggestion this thought came to my mind ‘You go buy the candy for him.’ So I told him I would take care of it for him. He gave me the money and also, agreed to let me pick out a card. After I completed my days work I went to WalMart and picked up the candy and had a delightful time choosing an anniversary card. I had some Happy Anniversary wrapping paper here at home and wrapped up the box of candy and delivered it to him so he would be able to give his bride her gift tomorrow. She was home when I dropped it off but had no clue as to what her gift could be. You know I could not have done that act of kindness a year ago. I was still in alot of emotional pain. But today it didn’t hurt me when I read the various anniversary cards. I didn’t think of my loss. Life is precious and this particular couple have faced alot of serious illnesses these past couple of years. Their days together are getting shorter and I sure don’t want to miss any opportunity to be the Lord’s hands and feet for them.

    2.A. Jesus wept so passionately because his crowns of creation had been tarnished by the foul breath of the enemy. The stone covering the tomb of Lazarus was a reminder-a post-it note from death-that life comes to an end. As God Jesus knew he would triumph over death. As a member of humanity he experienced the crushing blows of the physical separation from a beloved friend. It was a foretaste of what he would experience on the cross when he was separated from his father as he bore our sins. Can we not say that Jesus was angry because ‘the wages of sin are death’? Do you think his anger here could have been directed at Satan?

    1. Tammy, what a nice gesture, helping that gentleman! You might of been serving Jesus and didn’t know it.

    2. Tammy,
      What a beautiful story about this elderly couple to whom you were the sweeet fragrance of Christ. You looked past your own loss and pain and instead focused on God and then others.
      I also like your answer to the study question about the two natures of Jesus, his divinity knowing He would triumph over death, yet in his humanness experiencing the death of a loved one just like we do.

    3. Tammy, Thanks for sharing that story! God is breathing on your heart..He is changing your heart of stone!! How encouraging!

  35. Wow, Tammy! That is SO COOL. Sounds as if it not only qualifies as Aslan breathing on you, but also is evidence that He has been breathing on you for some time.

    Thanks, everyone, for your postings. So encouraging and as you have been speaking truth to your own souls, you also have been speaking truth to mine.

  36. Ladies, Here is a song I am thinking of singing at church, not totally sure it is this one yet..I have been asking Aslan to show me a song to share where He can begin breathing on the hearts of those listening..This relates to our study..As I reflect on truth in this song it is hard to make it through without crying….I want to put a video to it while I am singing so those listening can really reflect on the message..

    Here is the you tube version of the song.. “I Am” by Nicole Nordeman:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXCXEb1Qupg

      1. Dee, Thanks for the encouragement! The verse I am memorizing goes so well with it: “Let us therefore come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”. Hebrews 4:16 ♥

        1. Dee, Beautiful! It is encouraging to hear how the great I AM provided Kathy to help you see this..I wonder if we would be blessed now had you not been open to His moving.

          I often marvel at how God strategically places certain sisters/brothers in our path at different seasons in life..

    1. This is a beautiful song Rebecca. I am praying that if you choose to sing it your voice will not break once.

    2. So many words to remember…how do you do it? Beautiful!

  37. Just finished listening to the sermon by Tim Keller. Many good points to ponder. One is that Jesus offers not a consolation (someday I’ll take you away from all this if you believe in Me), but a resurrection; bringing the power of heaven down to where you are; everything sad will become untrue. That takes alot of thought to digest this.

  38. Dee, I did not find a Keller sermon by that name but I did find one about Heman under a tab for approval. I don’t know if I should share now or wait until I calm down. I think I will go ahead now because if I wait I will forget some of my thoughts, but I must say, I have a full head of steam! Pride is the root of my problem and oh how sneaky and insidious it has been! When I started to listen to the sermon my idol threat radar went into overdrive and I was squirming. When he got to the point for the cure the audio messed up and it went back to the beginning. I thought I would lose it. I stayed with it and the remainder of the sermon was there. The cure was right there in question #2 a b and c. I was trying to get my approval from the wrong king. Jesus loves me and approves of me just the way I am so I don’t need to keep striving. Ever since we started on this idol search I have been getting whiffs of something rotten. There were comments and things happening at work. The full circle I came from the identification of my need for boundaries to my understanding of my need for approval. Tonight the lid is off and I feel such a peace. I’m ready Lord. I’m ready to start cleaning this mess up.

    I know that you have been praying for us Dee and I so appreciate it. Please continue. I think Aslan’s breath is definitely on me.

  39. Wow, Anne, I can’t wait to get my CD’s from Keller I ordered! I’m ready for some of Aslan’s breath.

    1. Praying for you Joyce. I think you will find the sermons very encouraging.

  40. Comfort stone update: I have been working on a few songs to ready them to sing in the next few months..One of them is the one mentioned above and is very easy to sing so it is about ready..Another is one that has been a challenge but Aslan is over-ruling the white witch in this area of my life right now..Victory! Praise God!!

    Stumbling block..PIE..I had a big piece last night before bed. I could have made it a lot smaller. I should quit making them. 🙁

    Stumbling block: Every night for the past few months one of my boys climbs in bed with me..Waking me up with some issue..nightmare-which is understandable, but lately it has been for frivolous reasons and I have grown impatient..My oldest has aspergers so he gets sensitive about the weirdest things and can be up at night. Last night was not fun with my oldest..Comfort Idol wanted me to sleep..Jesus wanted me to help him..

    The next big comfort hurdle? Giving a testimony about the song before I sing it..I am shy/melancholy and not well spoken and I talk too fast sometimes..Dee, you probably don’t remember but I didn’t talk much when I led worship with my worship band at your first conference at GPC in Missouri..Your daughter in law actually said, “tell them to stand up before you start your first song the next set”.. haha! I thought they probably just would know to stand up.. 🙂

    Sorry this is so long..wanted to edit it but I have to get off now and make sure my eldest is ready to go to school. Will try to make it back today to read the new testimonies for today!!

      1. Dee, Thanks for this encouragement! 🙂

      2. Thanks so much! That is wisdom. And thanks for helping me by your prayer.

  41. 2. Read John 11:33.

    A. Tim Keller says the words that describe the emotion of Jesus
    are underplayed by the translators. He is deeply grieved, He is
    angry – He is groaning in His Spirit. Why, do you think?

    Isaiah 53:4 says that “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows (pains) He carried.”

    It was not enough for Jesus to feel sympathy, to feel sorry, for Mary’s grief. He entered into her deep, dark pit of grief and sorrow with her, feeling in Himself and experiencing Himself the depth of her pain. Chuck Swindoll said in a sermon on this that it was deep, visceral, in His gut feelings.
    He may be angry at the reasons she is so deeply wounded; death, the human condition brought about by sin and a marred creation but I don’t think He was thinking theologically here. He is feeling, taking in Himself how we feel when death comes.

    I find it meaningful that He does this. Keller points out in his sermon that Jesus knew in 10 minutes He would have Lazarus back to life; so He could’ve just blown past this grief thing as in c’mon, Mary, wait ’til you see what I’m about to do – I’m going to fix this!
    But He doesn’t do this.

    1. I wonder if the Holy Spirit reacts in the same way to our feelings.

  42. 2B. Put yourself in Mary’s place now, for indeed, He loves you as He
    did her. He sees your suffering. He sees your tears. He knows
    your pain. Write down everything you feel.

    Was one reason Jesus was troubled in His Spirit because of Mary’s question, a question that seemed to ask did He really care? “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” I questioned the same things when Thomas died; “Lord, You could have done something; Lord, where were You; Lord, why didn’t you… Lord, didn’t You love Thomas?”
    Jesus didn’t try to explain or answer Mary’s question, nor did He mine.
    But I feel His arms around me, groaning in His Spirit, His sorrow over this loss unfathomably deeper and more painful than what I even feel. Because He loved Thomas infinitely more and absolutely perfectly, more than I ever could. The wrath that God feels over drugs and heroin and needles and the senseless death was poured out onto Jesus on the Cross. Thomas died in the shadow of that Cross, because he had believed on Jesus before the drugs, before the addictions.
    This means more to me, that Jesus doesn’t feel “sorry” about my loss, but that He hurts and feels what I feel; He grieves and cries along with me. Before He headed off to the tomb to raise Lazarus, He took the time to stop, and weep.

    1. I keep thinking about this – how God is able to enter into our suffering and hurt along with us. I would like to have more of a heart like that for others who are hurting; I can feel sorry for someone’s pain and loss, but it’s another thing entirely to enter into their pain.
      I worked in oncology when I first started nursing, and after a couple of years, I was burned out. Our human hearts aren’t strong enough to bear an endless number of burdens. I can’t fathom the strength and enormity of the heart of God to suffer along with His creation. Just what I read about in the newspaper everyday is overwhelming; and that’s not even a slice of what suffering, pain and loss are happening all over the world.

  43. 2 C. Now write down your fear in giving up an idol and also write
    down the truth you can speak to your soul.

    I think I tend to make idols out of certain people in my life in that I turn to them to meet my needs for approval, companionship, intimacy, a sense of connectedness, a sense of worth, even safety; putting them first before the Lord. I have a fear of being alone; not physically being alone, because I do enjoy time to be by myself at home and get my work done, etc… but of having no one to connect with, no one to love or to love me, no one who needs me; I fear what my future will be like when the last of my children leaves home, when my family is smaller due to death of parents. So I cling a little too tightly to people, my parents, my children.

    The truth to my soul is to think about Mary in this situation; she was surrounded by friends and family who were consoling her, yet no one was able to be to her what Jesus was when she came to Him. No person could offer her the hope that Jesus could. No one could really understand her experience except the One who took it upon Himself.
    Jesus tells me He will be with me to the end of the age; He will never, no never leave me nor forsake me.

  44. Anne, I found Heman’s Cry of Darkness on the Redeemer site; in the sermon store and the date was Nov. 4, 2007; sermon by Tim Keller.

    1. Thanks Susan I will go back and look again.

  45. The Lord was with me today at work. I found much blessing, but there was more. Usually I am very uncomfortable with how to comfort a hurting person. I just don’t know how and I think it may be because I can’t enter in to their pain. Today I had a patient with a crying wife. My heart was different, ever so slightly but I felt the difference. The truth is I can not learn how, it is the gift of the gospel as you said Dee. It can’t be taught or learned. It is not a discipline I can reach down into my heart and bring up. The stone has to be chipped off.

    1. Anne, I haven’t had a chance to read all the posts but I am really being encouraged by the ones I have read..

      I wanted to say before I forgot that witnessing God chipping at your stone and breathing on you Anne has been very exciting to see..I was wondering how you were doing with this for a while thinking God is at work in your heart..He most definitely is..You could have jumped in there right away and tried to figure it out yourself but you waited on God to show you and He did!!! Had you not waited I wonder if you would have been led to Tim Keller..Isn’t God awesome..

      1. God is so amazing. He has lead me step by step. My first analogy was stone on stone but I don’t like that visual. Each event and revelation has built on the last. Things have happened to upset me way out of proportion. Words spoken casually by others have penetrated my walls. Then yesterday I went out to look for the sermon Dee mentioned and nothing came up but when I looked on the left side of the page there was the word approval with a link and there was a sermon about Heman from Job. I thought ‘perhaps this is it’ so I listened and God pinned my ears back. I felt like I was skewered but when I got over the pain, I was so relieved. I still need a lot of prayer. I don’t want any rabbit trails. I want to be free of this.

        Now I am listening to Heman’s cry of Darkness and find that it was a different Heman. I repeat, God is amazing!

        1. Anne, that gave me goosebumps!! Yes.. To God be the glory, Holy and Mighty is He!

        2. Sorry, I misspoke that was Heman from Esther in the first sermon. It was quite a different subject.