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BE STILL MY SOUL (Part 1.)

Rembrandt: Christ in the Storm on the Lake of Galilee

It was the perfect storm.

Jesus was asleep.

They were terrified for their lives.

Yet He was surprised that they were.

Oh! He is speaking to each of us in this account.

Our current study on The God of All Comfort has a very similar theme to our last study on overcoming the idols of our heart.

  • We trust in our idols instead of God because we think He’s asleep. We think He doesn’t care. We think He won’t help us.
  • We go to the depths of despair when we face trouble because we think He’s asleep. We think He doesn’t care. We think He won’t help us. That day in the boat the disciples said: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)

OUR REAL PROBLEM:

We believe the enemy’s lie that we are not loved or secure.

Our souls become like madwomen. In fact, I sometimes think that The God of All Comfort would have been better titled

The Diary of a Madwoman

Eugene Delacroix's Madwoman

When I read my prayer journal entries during the time Steve was fighting cancer and then, after he died, they often border on hysteria. I’m riding the waves of the storm crying Help! Help! Where are you, Lord? I can’t do this! I’m going down!

In a famous sermon on spiritual depression, Martin Lloyd-Jones said:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

I was treading water as long as I just listened to my feelings. It wasn’t until I started speaking to my soul that I began to move through the river of grief. I began to memorize and sing the  hymn Be Still My Soul. I sang it, literally, every night for two years. All five verses. We are going to spend two weeks on this. On Midday this week you will hear a recording where I interviewed a friend who’s firstborn was born with Down’s Syndrome — I think this may minister to many of you who have special needs children. And you’ll hear the one song Steve requested for his funeral. Always makes me cry.

I do want to say here that depression is complicated, for God made us to be physical, emotional, and spiritual beings. At the end of the last post Dawn M.S. has a striking testimony concerning this and how God brought her out and used physicians and medicine as part of her healing. I believe it is vital we be open to this. Even Jesus said, “The sick need a physician.”

Yet in this post we are looking primarily at spiritual depression and anxiety — when our souls are overcome with grief because of storms in our lives. Be still my soul is a hymn to sing to our souls at times like this.

Be Still My Soul is put to the music of Finlandia, which having no great leaps, soothes the soul of God’s frightened child. Moody’s Rosie, who some of you know from their book club program had lunch with me and we looked at the poetry of the hymns. (I love feisty little Rosie — such depth. I always remember her speaking at Founder’s Week, fighting for the hymns, and saying, “I Love You, Lord” will never be A Mighty Fortress is our God!) Rosie often sees why music is powerful. With Be Still My Soul she said, “Notice, Dee, how the words in Be Still My Soul are monosyllabic — that has a firmness, the way you would calm a fretful baby [or a madwoman] with monosyllabic sounds like:

Now, now… There, there…Hush, Hush…

Do you see it? Every word a monosyllable: Be   still   my   soul

How we need to speak the truth to our souls.

Reflect on the opening two verses:

1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly, Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

2. Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

HOW I SANG SANG SANG THIS TO MY SOUL IN HIGH-TIDE GRIEF. THE MUSIC SO SUPPORTED THE WORDS. I WOULD SING, “Thy hope, thy confidence, let nothing shake” and my soul would begin to quiet.When I would remind my soul of how Jesus stilled the storm, of how “the winds and waves still know His voice who ruled them” by soul would  calm.

This hymn became associated with Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner and missionary to China whose life was featured in the movie Chariots of Fire. After the Olympics, Eric became a missionary in China and was captured and died of a brain tumor in a prison camp. Shortly before he died, he taught Be Still My Soul to other prisoners, and they found scraps of paper with the lyrics on his cot after he died. They sang it at his funeral and the congregation rose in honor of the man who so lived its lyrics. I certainly recommend seeing Chariots of Fire if you haven’t — and watching it with your children. Last night I watched an inspiring documentary of his life:

Eric Liddell: Champion of Conviction (available from Netflix)

I recommend it to you. I went to bed thinking about his life — and how he truly had an intimate relationship with God. Something I see in some of you. Some of you so contemplate His Word so that He does speak to you. You are still before Him, He does come to you, and then you share and bless us.

In this documentary there were so many wonderful things. His intimate relationship with the Lord brought forth beautiful fruit == running to glorify Him, not to win — sensing God’s pleasure — dedicating himself to the children in the prison camp — loving his family. One sad yet poignant story was how his young wife sensed his presence the moment he died, though she didn’t know he died. (He died in that prison camp.) She was shocked when the letter came two weeks later — but then realized that was the moment she sensed his presence.

In the Oscar winning movie, Chariots of Fire, Liddell’s life is contrasted with his friend Harold Abraham’s. If it has been a while since you’ve seen the movie, you might be blessed to rent it from the library or elsewhere. They certainly show the difference between making a good thing an idol and simply seeing it as a gift. There is a scene where Harold Abrahams is agonizing about the upcoming race and says:

“I have ten seconds to justify my existence — but will I?”

Then, in contrast, Abrahams watched Liddell run, and is amazed by his joy and his lack of angst.

When I run, I feel His pleasure.

Liddell famously said to his sister, “When I run I feel His pleasure.” Running was a gift, not a god, not a way to justify His existence. It was God which gave him pleasure. His daughter, in the documentary, said he never prayed he would win, only that he would please God.

I’ve thought how many things this applies to — if motherhood is everything, if it “justifies our existence” our kids better be amazing. But if we mother to please God, we can “feel His pleasure” and leave the results to Him. I can apply it to writing — I’m sure there are areas you can apply it to as well.

ICEBREAKER

A. What stands out to you from the above blog? Why?

B. Take one of the scriptural truths from the above two verses of Be Still My Soul and speak it to your soul right now to help you with either an idol of your heart or pain you are facing.

BIBLE STUDY

1. Read Psalm 107:23-32

A. What happened to the fishermen who went into the ships?

B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness.”

C.  Describe the emotions of the men in Psalm 107:26-27.

Derek Kidner says the word which may be translated “wits” could also be “seamanship.” Sometimes all our skills and talents are useless in the face of a great storm. But then, and you see this phrase in 24 and 31, we can see “the wondrous works” of God.  Wondrous works (like the storm) humble men, and wondrous works (like calming the storm) save them. This is the Gospel — we are so needy, yet so loved.

God still does do miracles. Sometimes, as one song says, “He calms the sea,” and sometimes, “He calms His child.” I think of the story Joyce told in the last post of being strangled by her first husband, thinking she was dying, but then enveloped by God’s peace.

D. In this case, what did the Lord do, according to verses 29-30?

E. What are we to do when God comes to us and rescues us in some way, according to verses 31-32?

F. Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting above. What is the focal point of the ship? Symbolism? How does this painting speak to you?

PART II. APPLICATION

READ AGAIN THIS QUOTE FROM MARTIN LLOYD-JONES:

Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?

Whether you are facing a  small storm or an enormous one,  it is vital you speak the truth to your soul. I began to change when I began speaking to my soul. Amazingly, I not only began to cross the river of grief, but I see how I am changing in other areas where I have been stuck my whole Christian life. There is power in speaking the truth to our souls.

I asked permission from one faithful and articulate woman on our blog if I could repeat a story she told when she faced a minor storm and spoke the truth to her soul. She is married to an unbeliever and often doesn’t feel truly loved by him. Here is her story.

My daughter and I watched “Pride and Prejudice”.

Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice

In the closing scene, after they are married, Keira Knightly (who plays Elizabeth) asks him what he shall call her, say, when he is just indescribably happy; and he says:

“I shall call you Mrs. Darcy”.

He keeps repeating this, “Mrs. Darcy, Mrs. Darcy…” and each time he says it, he kisses her tenderly on her forehead, her cheeks….

As I was watching this I began feeling very sad that the way this was being portrayed, this tenderness, cherishing… is missing from my marriage. I thought, “Perhaps I shall never know this kind of tender love from a man.” The thought came to me that Jesus can give me this kind of love. In the past, I would usually turn to daydreaming about having that kind of man. But that doesn’t  really satisfy because it’s not real. Jesus is real and he really has that tender, cherishing kind of love for me.

Terri [another terrific woman on the blog] said “If we shut God out, all we’re left with is our own thoughts and despair. It is by being honest with Him, and inviting Him into the situation, that He speaks the truth to us.”

2. Let’s speak to our souls:

A. What is either a heart idol or a situation of pain you are facing right now? Ask God to show you what to choose. What is it?

B. Speak the truth to your soul, using either Scripture or the lyrics based on Scripture from Be Still My Soul.

PART III. Sermon Resource: Choose one or both and report. If you are in pain and have never heard the first, it will help you. Keller spoke this message at a special service for families of victims in 9/11.

FREE SERMON: The Furious Love of Jesus by Tim Keller

      http://download.redeemer.com/rpcsermons/tragedy/The_Furious_Love_of_Jesus.mp3

http://www.mlj.org.uk/pg/free%20audio?opendocument

Another excellent sermon in Keller’s Job series is his 2nd one, available for 2.50

IN THIS SERMON WE SEE FRIENDS WHO SPOKE LIES TO JOB, HENCE THEY ARE KNOWN AS “MISERABLE COMFORTERS”

http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=18747&ParentCat=6

PART IV. LISTEN TO MIDDAY CONNECTION THIS WEEK AND REPORT ON IT

UPDATE: Here is the link to the “God of All Comfort, Part 5” on Moody Radio: Link


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285 comments

  1. I also loved the part with your friend that has a down syndrome, five year old. I can so identify with her. I felt like it was all my fault Kendra was born with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, too..for years! The verse she gave about the blind man in John 9: 2 and 3 is one that I’ve went to before to try to understand why he made her like she is. But it says “that the works of God might be made manifest in him.” Or in other words, his works might be displayed in her life. I have faith that he has a purpose for Kendra in this life. And she will be made perfect in heaven!

    1. Those words also bring comfort to my soul Joyce. I think it is a special mom who has the opportunity of raising a special needs child. In our weakness the power of Christ rests on us (2 Cor 12:9). Now if I can really believe that in my heart for myself. 🙂

      1. Me too! Thanks

  2. 1. Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side;
    Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
    Leave to thy God to order and provide;
    In every change He faithful will remain.

    These are the words that speak to my soul, in this song, Be still my soul.

    Today, I panicked and become like the fishermen in the boat. I prayed “Help me, Help me Lord, Help, Help”. It was over two different older ladies in real pain and needing help, in the nursing home and both needing me to pray and help them, for different reasons. I tried to think of ways to help them (the wave’s were crashing in on me) Then I stopped and thought of the fisherman’s boat, in this beautiful picture on here and I spoke to my soul, to just Trust him and God calmed me and I gave everything over to him. (I woke him, like in the boat), and he gave me peace and said to just have faith in him. Later, I got a call from one of the ladies and things are better for her, but the other one is still in alot of phyical pain. I am praying and trusting God in these situations. He knows best. I always want to fix things myself somehow, first, then I have to speak to my soul and give it over to him! You would think I would learn!

    1. “I always want to fix things myself somehow, first…”
      Oh Joyce, I can relate!

    2. I love this Joyce! Sometimes I do the same thing! I stop right in the middle of what’s going on and talk to God. I remember a time a year or so ago when a senior decided she was really mad at me on the last day of school. In front of my entire class she began to scream insults and curse words at me. I went into this sort of “mantra” to calm myself. I managed through and she finally left. I love that you thought of the painting! What great imagery for us to remember who is in control!

    1. Love that! All their mouths are shaped like O’s!

  3. C. Describe the emotions of the men in Psalm 107:26-27.

    Loss of control, anxious, overwhelmed, panicked, desperate, thinking they are going to die.

    D. In this case, what did the Lord do, according to verses 29-30?

    He stilled the storm and hushed the waves.

    E. What are we to do when God comes to us and rescues us in some way, according to verses 31-32?

    Give thanks to the Lord for His love and for His deeds, and then bring glory to His name-exalt Him high among others and tell of what he has done.

    F. Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting above. What is the focal point of the ship? Symbolism? How does this painting speak to you?

    I already kind of got ahead of myself and answered above, but I also like how the picture captures the verses that say they went high to the heavens and down into the depths. That wasn’t just an ordinary storm. It was a high tide one. One that is completely out of their control. One that could very possibly bring on death-yet they are powerless to save themselves. Just like me. I am totally powerless to save myself. I was when He saved me from God’s wrath-when I entered in, and I am learning as I walk with Him that I am still powerless.

    This is really how I felt when my son was diagnosed with Autism. It was a high tide storm for us, and lately as I see the things we can’t change in regard to his Autism and how it will effect him later on as far as independent living it concerns me. I do know there will be other high tide storms in the future, death of my parents-they aren’t getting younger, and other challenges, I just want to be prepared in such a way that I walk in faith through the grief and don’t fall into despair or bitterness. I am truly thankful for this study. I think God is preparing me, I really do.

    I don’t know what lies ahead and that is o.k. but I am thankful that He came when Isaac was diagnosed and yet he is coming to me now even stronger before the next one hits.

    1. Amen to that Rebecca. I too am tempted to worry at time about my daughter. There are times I forget she even has autism. Then there are times it is very apparent. But I too just have to trust for the future. I too am glad I am better prepared for future storms. Hugs to you and saying a prayer. I know this is a hard walk.

        1. And don’t forget Cyndi. It is so nice that we can help one another, if nothing else but to just pray.

    2. B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness.”

      I certainly feel small a lot in my life….the worst case is a situation similar to the ones’ mentioned here. I am not sure that my daughter is autistic or has Aspergers. We have been to many doctors and through many tests, but no real diagnosis. I can explain the characteristics she has, but it’s like she has several afflictions. The doctors say she has a “non-verbal learning disability,” but she does LOTS of quirky things on a daily basis that have nothing to do with learning. She has an 82 IQ; aren’t autistic kids usually pretty smart? So that doesn’t fit….Water comforts her; she struggles making friends, mostly because she misses social cues and doesn’t understand basic relationships. The only people who will accept her are the “dregs” of society, so she ends up in many bad situations (arrested 5 times last year). I’m pretty sure she fits in the Aspergers category. It is frustrating for me and I have even had a doctor tell me her case was “hopeless.” How disappointing. It’s like she is between several worlds and I don’t know how to help her.

      As I have said before, I pray a lot. I ask God to help me, help her. I do what Dee mentions in the midday program; run to God first (mainly because I don’t have any real friends locally, and my husband shuts down when it comes to my daughter). I explain to God that he needs to be more assertive in getting my attention; I am also “slow” to learn sometimes also! In other words, He needs to hit me over the head and bypass the gentle hints!

      I know God created her for some reason, I just can’t imagine what that is. I think that is the worst thing. She doesn’t seem to excel at anything except being very atune to animals. And, of course, she can’t imagine working with animals in “real life.” My husband and I argue about her often; she gets herself into horrible situations that we have to “fix.” Counselors tell us not to, but I can’t imagine not helping her in dangerous situations; she doesn’t have good judgement at all. I just wish we could enjoy her, but she is very difficult. Sometimes it is so hard that I wish I were dead instead of having to “deal” with her troubles….it’s that bad. I am a committed Christian and know that is not the answer, I just wish I knew what was wrong with her really so I could learn how to handle the situation better.

      Rebecca (or anyone), is there a online support group for parents of older Aspergers children?

      1. I don’t know, Laura, but I forgot about your daughter having special needs also. But when you mentioned she loves animals….Kendra does also and she can volunteer at the local Human Society. They are good to let special kids help…just to pet or play with the animals or walk them, or brush them, or just love them. It’s just a thought, for your daughter.

        Please don’t feel like you would be better off dead, rather than dealing with her problems. I use to think, if only Kendra could go when I go, she wouldn’t have to live without her mom or dad or deal with the pain of losing us. But it’s not up to us. God made our daughters for a reason, just like they are and gave them to us to raise, for a reason too. All we can do is trust God.

        Have you tried christian counceling for your daughter or you? I hope the other gals can help as far as a support group for you. I’m praying for you.

        1. I just watched Temple Grandin and cried a lot. Many of the textile characteristics are the same as my daughter, but she lacks the brain power, poor girl. Unfortunately the only Christian counselor doesn’t take insurance. It is expensive when you consider it will take more than one hour to fix me! I do think the humane society is a great idea. We have done this when she was younger but she could actually do a job like this.

      2. Laura are you on Facebook. I am involved in two support groups for kids with special needs. They are very helpful to me. The kids have different kinds of special needs but several have aspergers.
        How old is your daughter? I understand how difficult this road is. My girl is only 7 now. But she has lots of the same struggles. I wonder have you ever heard of sensory processing disorders? And even though her IQ is not high, is she on grade level? If you are on facebook I will add you to those groups. They are private as well so no one outside the group can see what you are posting.

        In the gospel we can learn to enjoy these children with their quirks. Today my daughter slapped me. She does this sometimes when she gets frustrated and does not understand. I used to get really angry and take it personal but now God has given me eyes to see in her heart. I gently grabbed her hands and said you know this is not okay. It is never right to hit someone. Looking in her eyes I could tell she was so sorry and sad she did it. But I cover her with grace and we work through it. It is continual struggle and teaching and disciplining. NOt sure how old your girl is but hang in there, pour your heart out to God, ask Him to help you love her. I had to do that for a time and my love is there. Process the grief of it. Hugs to you and lifting up a prayer. Sorry this is so long. Hope it helps some Laura.

        1. Hi Angela,

          Sarah is 19 and stuck between two worlds. She is 19 in years but only about 15 emotionally. It seems to get worse as she gets older….we notice her struggles more. I am on Facebook occasionally. I don’t really have a lot of extra time, but if the group doesn’t mind me joining I would make the time. If you can email me I will give you my info to invite me. My email is lleep05@yahoo.com. Thanks.

        2. Laura I could not find you…I am not super great getting around FB. So Let’s try this. Here are links to the two groups and just click on request to join. They will be okay with that. They are nice to just have a place to vent. There are a few with older kids like yours. I think it would just be nice to have someone to talk too.

          https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/180010098690511/ (variety of people in different backgrounds.)Special Needs Homeschool
          https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/156220441107872/ (Christian group)Christian Special Needs Homeschool.

          You don’t have to homeschool to be a part. I have found it very helpful like I said, In all my research another thing I have found is that it is harder to dx a girl with aspergers. We still don’t have the official dx. Our doc is watching and waiting though she has all the symptoms. He is watching to see if she grows out of the very concrete thinking. She is delayed emotionally and socially too. Prob 2 years below her age. Know I am really just praying for you and your family. May God give you wisdom as to how to handle this. Hugs to you!!

      3. As I was reading your description of your daughter, I was also thinking that there might be a sensory processing disorder there. You might want to check into that with an Occupational Therapist – at least have her evaluated. My son is currently being treated by an OT for that. It’s such a hard thing – because there is really nothing wrong with him – he is awkward, and clumsy and has a huge need for touch. He has a really hard time focusing and paying attention. But sensory processing disorder affects different kids differently, depending on the area of senses he/she is dealing with. And when they struggle with it, it affects their social skills and how they learn (or don’t learn) at school. I hope you are able to figure out what is going on with your daughter!

  4. B. Take one of the scriptural truths from the above two verses of Be Still My Soul and speak it to your soul right now with either an idol of your heart or pain you are facing.

    Idols I am dealing with right now are control and approval. I feel I should be able to ‘control’ every situation and I think it comes in the disguise of feeling I should be able to help, or be there, for everyone. My dad is having significant problems with his back and hip (pain, difficulty walking, had to give-up golfing which he loved to do; I often feel pulled in all directions with my 3 kids, and alot of it is the age difference with the oldest being 20 and in college, and the youngest just turned 11. Yesterday my 20 yr old son had to go back to the house he was living in during the summer to finish up some cleaning and yard work and packing up as he is back home now and my daughter wanted to go swimming with her best friend from school. I took them swimming for the day, and later found out my in-laws had gone with my son back to the house to help him pack up and clean up, and then I felt guilty because I should have helped him. Then I feel I should be making more efforts to reach out to my sister (the one who lost her son), and now my best friend is having tests and has been in the hospital recently for her health problems. I often don’t have alot of time nor energy left to devote to my relationship with my husband. I often feel guilty at not being a better mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend……and underneath I think is the old approval idol in that I want people to think well of me.

    BE STILL MY SOUL
    I need to go to God about all these things and quiet myself before Him and remind myself I’m not the savior of the world!
    THE LORD IS ON THY SIDE
    God wants to help me and those I love, too. He’s working in the lives of my family and my friend who is sick.
    LEAVE TO THY GOD TO ORDER AND PROVIDE
    I often ask God to take the ‘tangled ball of string’ that is the mess I’ve made, or someone else has made; my mistakes, my failings, a tragedy, a loss, a desperate situation, and untangle it and He will.
    THY BEST, THY HEAVENLY FRIEND…
    I need to speak that truth to my soul that Jesus is my best Friend and He loves me.

    On that topic, there was an awesome program I caught on the radio yesterday on Family Talk with Dr. James Dobson. The guest was Ken Davis, and he was telling the story of his granddaughter being lost in the wilderness for 3 hours, and how they were searching for her. He ended with an application of how much we are loved by God. He was asked to say something to the listener who didn’t get a ‘happy ending’ to their story – their loved one died – and he responded to that. They mentioned Horatio Spafford writing his hymn It Is Well With My Soul, after losing his children. Their website is http://www.familytalk.org and I think you can listen to it as a past program. It just tied in beautifully to things we’ve been learing here.

  5. 1.A. What happened to the fishermen who went into the ships?
    They were in the midst of panic in a storm on the sea, and cried out to God AND HE BROUGHT THEM OUT OF THEIR DISTRESS.
    B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness.”
    My husband’s death from cancer. The only thing that I had control of in throughout his illness and now, after his death, is my attitude and whether I chose to seek God’s comfort through the situation. Finding that more difficult now, as I had to be strong when he needed me to care for him, but now I feel like I’m falling apart. When I turn to God I am strengthened and comforted.

    C Describe the emotions of the men in Psalm 107:26-27
    Their courage melted away, they were at their wits end. They were frantic “madmen”.
    D. In this case, what did the Lord do, according to verses 29-30?
    He stilled the storm to a whisper. I don’t expect God to calm the storm I am in yet, I believe it is a storm I need to experience, but I do look to him to calm my soul, to teach me to seek my comfort in Him.
    Dee – I like what you have taught us about speaking truth to our soul. I look upon my soul and know it needs great care right now.

    E. What are we to do when God comes to us and rescues us in some way, according to verses 31-32?
    We are to give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his deeds. We are to exalt him and praise him.

    F. Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting above. What is the focal point of the ship? Symbolism? How does this painting speak to you?
    Jesus looks calm. There are some men who are focused on him, and some who are focused on tasks they need to do to get through the storm. There are streams of light coming through the break in the clouds.

  6. Speaking truth to my soul: My God is my comfort, a husband to the widow. He is my everything, my all in all.
    Isaiah 49:13
    Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
    For the LORD comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones

  7. A. What is either a heart idol or a situation of pain you are facing right now? Ask God to show you what to choose. What is it? You know, I am still struggling with this approval idol. When I teach or am in an in depth Biblical conversation, after wards I am attacked fiercely in my mind by the accuser. It is horrible. It happens too sometimes while I am speaking and listening to Keller’s sermon where he said this was happening to him surprised me. I have struggled with this off and on for years. He said Mental, Physical and Spiritual things are all connected and need to be in balance. I am in the process of trying to keep them balanced.

    B. Speak the truth to your soul, using either Scripture or the lyrics based on Scripture from Be Still My Soul.
    I want to quote Liddell again for me, I teach and write because I feel His pleasure. That is all that matters. He blesses obedience and is pleased.

    I have heard and appreciated both Keller sermons. But I will comment on miserable comforters. That one was really healing because when I was so sick. People said those same things to me…What sin is in your life causing this? If I had enough faith God would heal me. WOW! It did send me deep into His word. However, he did send someone to listen. Someone I could just talk too which Keller said was important. Someone to listen and point me to Christ. Now with my daughters autism. I still see these miserable comforters. They do not want to talk about it or listen. Really they are in denial more than I ever was. Especially my Mom. It is hurtful but this time I am better prepared. It is okay, I need to extend grace to those people who do not understand. It is hard to understand until you have been there too.

    1. I really need to think about that Dee. I am assuming she does not mean the literal cross of the mast and what ever that crosspiece at the top (jib?) is because it is in shadow.

      Ok, suppose the mast is the cross riding at the top of the wave. The activity of the working men does seem to focus on the mast and rigging of the sails. Jesus is facing the mast with a look of pulling back, almost revulsion on His face. The working men are trying to defeat the enemy (storm) themselves. Other men are pleading with Jesus for deliverance. So the storm is ours and Jesus calmed it by going to the cross? Amazing if this is truly what Rembrandt was depicting.

  8. I found this on the 13 men besides Jesus in the portrait.
    Rembrandt may hold the record for painting the most self portraits (90+). In his only seascape painting, “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (1633), Rembrandt is seen in the foreground looking directly at the viewer.

    1. That is really neat!

    2. First I find it hilarious he paints himself into pictures! Cracking me up. When I look at the cross of the boat which I did not see initially I am struck by the guy on the left who is pulling the line to the sail but looks like he is desperate to grip the cross if you view it that way with the cross as the central point. Interesting.

    3. Thanks for clearing that up for me! It is very interesting!

  9. Yes, it is neat. It strikes me that the guy looks to have a ball type cap on or maybe a painter’s cap and way too modern for the rest, even his hair. The other guy leaning out looks to me to be sickly. I would be him!
    I also love the cross. The cross is everything, isn’t it?!

    1. My mom told me the painting was stolen from the Isabella Gardner museum in Boston 20 or so years ago. Here’s an article: http://www.wickedlocal.com/easton/fun/entertainment/arts/x673426080/20-years-later-the-Gardner-Museum-heist-remains-a-mystery#axzz1TK8SvhXK

      1. Laura this site has a self sketch of Rembrandt under the empty frame. Looks like the painter’s cap I saw earlier. Wow, I wonder if Mr R. had an large ego or maybe and idol…

        1. Dee, I join you in that prayer. May it be recovered.

  10. Why is the one man holding the bag? Is it a bag of money?

    1. Which man? I don’t see a bag…I wonder about the older man behind Rembrandt. He seems very calm to me. Maybe he is wiser than the rest due to his age?

      1. The man looking sheepish, kinda hunched, up and to Jesus’ right.

  11. had to come back. This is heavy on my heart maybe a potential approval idol it is something i grieve often. My family (parents and brother) do not acknowledge the ministry I do as something important. They are not even interested in reading my books or blog. I find that hurtful. Also my brother often tells me of this guy at a church he sometimes goes to who is amazing, he prays about everything and goes on mission trips, etc. but what he does I do too. I really am happy he has found a mentor but he acts like he has never seen this in a person before. Anyway, it hurts and I am processing it with God. Not sure why it is the way it is but it is. I trust Him anyway and serve only for His glory and pleasure. I can reach many around the world via the internet but not my own family. 🙁

    1. I can see this would be very hurtful. You are doing just what we are learning-looking for the Lord’s approval. Good for you, still painful though. Hugs.

      1. Thanks Kim and Dee. It is painful. I have never read the blessing, it may be a good read outloud for me and my hubbie. He has similar issues. Yes it is better to turn to God. I have learned to do that but it is still so painful and it comes up often. So it is still a sore heart spot…Wish it did not matter.

        And thanks for this, “don’t assume it has to do with the value of your writing.” It is so strange though because now I want to read or be involved in EVERYTHING my kids are in. Maybe there is a shift as they grow older and leave the home.

        1. Just got it on kindle…I am so glad. It is finally time to work on this with God. Thanks for praying.

        2. Dee,
          I’m thinking on this that you wrote, “Accepting brokenness in our families is hard but can bring healing to the wounds they inflict.” Wow. You’re right, it is hard. I often don’t want to accept what I have and wish for something else.

    2. Take heart, Angela….this is a painful thing in your life. Jesus understands it perfectly, as His own family thought He was crazy during His ministry (it’s in one of the gospels when His mother and brothers came to find Him; He had been so busy ministering that He hadn’t taken time to eat).

      1. Susan.
        I needed this reminder too. Thanks! I just do hope I am more supportive of my own children going forward. My husband and I talk about this all the time.

  12. ICEBREAKER
    A.What stands out to you from the above blog? Why?

    Speaking truth to my soul stands out to me the most. Taking hold of the truth God has given us and forcing ourselves to be honest and rise up against the lies of the devil. I feel that is why this bible study is such a blessing because I am able to speak such wonderful truth to my soul and work through much pain and hurt that I had pushed far down inside. It amazed me, the parallel between the hymn “Be Still My Soul” and the way one would soothe a child with “Now, now… There, there…Hush, Hush…” each so calming. I suppose the truth that the Living God speaks to us is meant to calm our often frightened, confused, angry…etc. souls. What also stood out to me were the comments about feelings. I loved what Dee wrote, “I was treading water as long as I was just listening to my feelings.” And as Elizabeth fittingly pointed out, when we rely on our feelings “our feelings [then] dictate our belief” and that is a scary thought. It’s a battle that we will wage forever until we become perfect beings in our heavenly bodies; the battle between how we “feel” things are and what really is.

    B.Take one of the scriptural truths from the above two verses of Be Still My Soul and speak it to your soul right now to help you with either an idol of your heart or pain you are facing.

    “Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake to guide the future as He has the past.” I struggle with letting go and giving over authority of my live to God as He so rightly has. My idol is control.

    1. Good stuff Melody.

  13. I love how the light is shining into the waves. When I look at this painting I don’t see the people on the boat as much as i see the light on the waves. When I am in the storm I tend to let my eyes stick on the dark places, but when I look where the light is coming from eyes are drawn back to my God. I think Jesus was a little frustrated that these men did not call out to the father, He told them over and over that they had power, that THEY could ask and receive and yet they just could not wrap their minds around that.
    I also love how the artist puts himself in the painting…thus the 13 instead of 12:)

    1. Good thoughts Cyndi.

  14. So the new storm that is bigger than me, way bigger than me, is my young friend Shelly and her situation. She spent the weekend in Detox. On Monday, at the urging of the her counselor at detox, I petitioned for court ordered outpatient therapy, since Shelly refused to go to inpatient. Yesterday I picked her up from Detox and dropped her off at a friend’s house–this guy is a good guy. The three of us sat and talked through a plan, for a while, and then I left. Shelly left to -close out her electric and water accounts, and neither of us has seen or heard from Shelly since. This is a young woman I met 19 months ago and who has been clean from drugs up until a few weeks ago. she comes from a horrible background, and has lived through years of extremely violent domestic assault, had all her teeth kicked out, lived on the street for 6 years prostituting and on crack. She is only 25 years old. I am so worried about her, and yet I know that God loves her more than I do. God put her in my life and I know that he is pursuing her. I am continually having to entrust her to the Lord, and speak truth to my soul.
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
    Romans 5:8
    I believe that Jesus is weeping for her, and wants her to know the truth. I loved the illustration in Keller’s message about truth and tears, and I have been able to cry with her and speak the truth into her life. the truth I speak to myself for her is:
    “So is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
    but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11
    And I love this verse from Isaiah 65:1
    I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me, I was found by those who did not seek me. This is my prayer for Shelly. Okay, one more thing…. a song that has become a prayer for Shelly and some of the other girls I met from the street. My prayer for them is that they can believe that God can make them into something they have never been before, like Peter. I used to believe that I couldn’t change, that I would always struggle with the same things. I heard this song a few years ago, and it has become my prayer for Shelly and some of the other young women God has put in my life. Sorry for going on and on, I think I am just so worried, and working through this is helping me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqhZKMRGdKM
    This is part of a musical called “The Rock and the Rabbi”. It plays in the Orlando area a couple times a year and it really ministered to me.

    1. I will pray for your friend Shelly.

      1. i will be praying for shelly as well.

  15. Okay, so now to answer the question about the focal point. I use a laptop and so I can’t see the picture all at once, maybe seeing the real painting would have a different effect. I didn’t answer the question before, because I figured the “Sunday School answer” was the cross was the focal point, but I actually didn’t even notice the cross initially. For me, I was drawn to the light that was shining across the wave into the boat, since I was drawn to that it seemed to be the focal point for me, but what is the message there? I don’t have an artistic mind, so honestly these questions are probably beyond me. 🙂 But I do love to hear what you all have to say, I can learn so much from you.

      1. Love these thoughts Dee. I am so thankful to be in a church that promotes a gospel transformed life. So thankful. I have grown so much being there. Love how you viewed the painting this way.

  16. Part 3. Listened to Tim Keller.

    Again, MANY great things to ponder on. I wrote a lot down but to narrow it down for me would be this:

    “If God was only Holy-all He had to do was snap his fingers and get rid of all evil and suffering he would have to get rid of all of us, but if he has to get rid of evil and suffering without getting rid of us, then He has to come into the world and he has to suffer himself.”

    “He’s not mad at us or himself, he is mad at suffering and death.”

    I also liked this: We shouldn’t be stoic or in despair. We should be mad at poverty, child traficking, etc..but we should minister in tears AND truth.

    I loved the contrast of conservative and liberal and the way both think and how they both would counsel others, and how he encouraged us to have both tears and truth. This stuck out to me for some reason.

    I have ‘fix it’ friends, and ‘tears only’ friends. Yet, I have been on both sides. 🙂 The fix it’s want to help so bad and they want the pain to end so we can move on and quicker, the tears only ones are sometimes overly careful of giving truth because they don’t want to make it worse for us out of love, or they are afraid of rejection. Yet, I get frustrated with both too. One can be so heartless and therefore their timing of truth is way off and the one receiving it doesn’t hear it, and the other can be so heartful that if it doesn’t move into truth at some point down the road, the words eventually lose their power to comfort and the one who needs comforting might start thinking that person really doesn’t care enough to put themselves aside.

    I think what God is teaching me and especially with how he approached Mary and Martha so differently is that I need to be wise with timing, and really listen to where they are at before giving truth and tears. Perhaps they just need tears at that moment and eventually it will move into truth, or perhaps they are ready for truth and need it in a very loving way. I really believe the Holy Spirit helps us to discern as we listen to them and He opens and closes doors.

    I thought the conservative/liberal thing was funny and true. 🙂

      1. haha! Yes, I do remember that comment, and I laughed. 😉

  17. 1. Read Psalm 107:23-32

    A. What happened to the fishermen who went into the ships?

    They were in a terrible storm at sea, yet these fishermen “have seen the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”

    I love the imagery of this storm; how the boat, in the waves, made them rise up to the heavens, and then they went down into the depths; they “reeled and staggered like a drunken man”. Seeing they could do nothing, they cried out to the Lord.

    B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness”.

    Some of you have mentioned death of a loved one being like a storm as we are helpless to prevent it. Certainly, the storm that was in my nephew’s life, his drug addiction, and then his death from it, was beyond my control, though I felt great guilt and shame after his death, and still struggle with those feelings at times, that I failed, somehow, to say the right words, or do the right thing, or did not intervene in a way that could have stopped it from happening. I look back now and think I would have done things differently.
    Some have mentioned sickness. I’ve had a couple of health crises in the past, and it does show my “littleness” that when things are going wrong in my body, I can’t just wish myself better; I need the doctors, I’ve needed surgery – but most of all, I needed God to help me through it.
    Having two sons age 17 and 20 often shows my “littleness”. When they were little, we used to sing a song I made up, “Yes maa’m, yes maa’m, they’re my favorite two words in the land…” They almost always listened to what I had to say! But as they grow into men, I have to often just keep silent and pray, as there is no talking them into anything.

    C. Describe the emotions of the men in Psalm 107:26-27.

    The text says “their soul melted away in their misery”. I think any last shred of bravery or courage left them; their case was hopeless. Verse 27 says “they were at their wits end”, and the sidebar note says literally, “all their wisdom was swallowed up”.
    They may have been experienced sailors, but this storm had them at the end of themselves.

    D. In this case, what did the Lord do according to verses 29-30?

    He stilled the violent storm, so that “the waves of the sea were hushed”. He guided the men to their destination.
    BE STILL MY SOUL, THE WAVES AND WIND STILL KNOW HIS VOICE WHO RULED THEM WHILE HE DWELT BELOW

    E. What are we to do when God comes to us and rescues us in some way, according to verses 31-32?

    Give Him thanks for His lovingkindness. Praise Him and praise Him to others.

    F. Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting above. What is the focal point of the ship? Symbolism? How does this painting speak to you?

    I’ve read all the good comments on the painting, and how Dee mentioned the Cross being in it. When I look at it, it does seem that the mast (I don’t know boat terms!), the part of the boat that is shaped like a cross, is what catches my eye. It towers above the boat, and all seem to be in its shadow. It also draws my eye upward, and I see the black clouds on one side, and on the left side the partial clearing of the sky and the light.
    I can see how this could symbolize the Gospel, the blackness of our sin and death, the Cross in the midst, and the light symbolizing forgiveness and hope.
    Also, some of the men are very busy in the boat. Could symbolize trying to save themselves. A shadowy figure appears to be kneeling in front of Jesus. One man dressed in a white cloak with his back to us seems to have given up, he’s just sitting there.
    I’d like to know what Rembrandt had in mind as he painted each man.

  18. Part III.

    Just listened to the first Keller sermon, The Furious Love of Jesus. Took me back to when we studies this passage in John several weeks ago (chapter 11) and continues to minister to me in the loss of my nephew.
    So much meat in this sermon:
    Jesus confronts the flow of Martha’s heart vs. Jesus enters into the flow of Mary’s heart
    *a ministry of truth and tears – we need both

    The inadequacy of truth without tears
    *do you see yourself in this category – are you a “fixer” when people come to you with
    their problems (oh I’m afraid that can be me), quick to give Bible verses, answers
    without entering into the suffering.

    The inadequacy of tears without truth
    *are you a “feeler” but have no answers to give, no hope to give

    How if we are being conformed into the image of Jesus, we will begin to see that merging of truth and tears in us and have the wisdom to know how to comfort people with what they need at the moment (Mary needed tears at the moment, truth later)

    The rage of Jesus at death, how he was weeping and raging not just for Mary, Martha and Lazarus, but He saw us, too; He saw all the funerals where there would be no miracle
    *this really comforted me
    Jesus approached the tomb to “take on death” and had the power to do it; yet death said to Him “if you touch me I’ll bury You” – that’s why He came.

    This message comforts me so much and so timely that it came this week. Thomas died July 31st, so it comes again, two years now. So timely (God’s perfect timing) to hear this today.
    Yet it makes me examine myself, too, in how I comfort those around me who grieve. I have tears, yet often I feel I must give some kind of an answer, a Scripture, perhaps when people aren’t ready for that, they just need the tears, weeping with them. Why do I feel like I must have something to say?! I haven’t listened yet to Miserable Comforters, the next sermon, but I sure don’t want to be one of them. Yet I suppose I have, at times, been a miserable comforter. Also, I took the C.S. Lewis quote to heart, about how we can try to protect our hearts from pain by not loving, because when you love deeply, you will suffer deeply. I see after Thomas’ death I’ve put some insulation around my heart. I can get angry with people, but not the good kind of anger that love produces. I can push away and back away.
    I learned that stoicism is not the answer either.

    1. Susan, I know how you feel. My nephew Keith died 2 year ago tomorrow, after a night of drinking and using prescription pain killers. It was 5 1/2 weeks after his wedding. He was my brother-in-law’s only child. It is such a senseless tragedy! His parents were young and not married so it was hard to get to spend any time with him since he lived with his mom and his dad wasn’t very involved. For the few years preceding his death, he started coming to all our family holidays and get-togethers. We really got to know and love him, enjoy his humor and all around lovingness even though we could see that he was troubled and drank too much sometimes. There is such guilt thinking how we should have tried harder to be involved in his life when he was growing up and how as a family we let him down. My brother-in-law still hasn’t fully recovered and I don’t know if he will so we keep praying for him and encouraging him.

      1. Thank you, Dawn. I didn’t know you had lost BOTH a niece and a nephew. I will remember to pray for you on this day that you lost Keith two years ago. I’m so sorry, and yes, the alcohol and drugs add up to a senseless tragedy.

    2. The question you asked about being a fixer of others without entering into their suffering, this is me. I am going into my last semester of nursing and this summer I had an internship in the surgery department at the hospital. I surprised myself at how cold I was to patients. I love surgery because you get in, fix the problem, and get out. However, I least enjoyed meeting the patients and getting them ready because it was then that they may either cry, shake with fear, or worst of all to me, talk. I don’t want to make myself sound so terrible because I was very warm to patients and I do truly care about their recovery, but on the inside I was saying, “oh please don’t talk to me”. I think its easier as a person to separate yourself so if something goes wrong, and they die, you aren’t hurting. I don’t want to be a cold nurse and I want to enter into others suffering. I want to share their pain as Jesus would. Thank you for your post. I have been avoiding listening to the sermons for some reason, maybe because I would find an ugly truth about myself such as this, but I think I will. I know that God put me in this career for a reason and I want to be as best I can in order to please and glorify Him.

      1. Melody, it is so wonderful that you can see this. I am praying for you and I suggest that you make it a part of your preparation for work to pray for yourself. Pray each day as you prepare for work that you would be full of the Holy Spirit. And that you would refrain from putting up the wall. Pain will come because you are in the path with those who suffer. Try to embrace it because as you do you lighten their pain. You are such a blessing to those you minister to in your work.

      2. Melody,
        I do encourage you to listen to the sermon, The Furious Love of Jesus, in which Tim Keller does a wonderful job of describing the two kinds of comforting during suffering: “truth without tears” and “tears without truth”. It does make you ask yourself into which category you fit, yet Keller shows Jesus to be the utimate Comforter in that He embodies both!

        And I encourage you along with Ann in your nursing career. Looking back, it was when I first started working in oncology with cancer patients that was the most enriching for me. Those are the patients I have never forgotten! The ones who were dying taught me so much about living.

    1. Susan, I am on my phone typing this. I had to encourage you, and wanted to do so before the day got away. You sweet sister do encouraged with truth and tears. I see it every time you minister to the women here who are grieving. Sorry about the tyos…wanted to encourage you with what I have seen. I also agree with Dee. When u cry with the grieving and grieve with them, that is huge for them.

    2. Thank you, Dee. What does comfort me is the thought of Thomas being with his dad (my brother-in-law died 17 months before his son). I saw his dad get baptized in church just 2 weeks before he died. I know he was a Christian, yet his dad also suffered with addictions. I like to think of the two of them together, free from the drugs and alcohol, their relationship healed.

  19. I know I often miss older comments on things so im reposting this in case any of you wanted to name of the biography on Eric.
    Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold (Christian Heroes: Then & Now)
    I also love Hero tales. there are 4 books and each has many short biographies in it. then they tell 3 short stories about the missionary that show a charecter trait and end with 3 questions. Dave and Neta jackson write these and a ton of historical fiction books for kids called trailblazers. I Love these so much that I have written study guides for my kids to go with 12 of them:)

  20. A. What is either a heart idol or a situation of pain you are facing right now? Ask God to show you what to choose. What is it? I know that my heart idol is my friend. I have not had a real friend for more than 25 years. I had what I thought were real friends but if there were any changes (job, end of bible study, end of homeschool group or church situations) these friendships just tapered off. I’d call, try to get together or make plans and it always seemed to be a “yeah that would be nice sometime” that never happened. Every one seemed to have other friends that they called when they wanted to do stuff. I am not a good pursuer of friends, I really would rather be alone anyway, than to feel like I was pestering someone into doing things with me. Besides I have sisters and a mother to talk to when I want. So I was pretty content.
    I have been working in the same dept for 25 years and have come to realize that work friends are just that, work friends not real friends. Until my niece died. There was one person at work that I had become close to and she was the one that I REALLY wanted to talk to, but I didn’t want to seem like a whiner just looking for sympathy so I didn’t call her. Well, she not only came but when I saw her I ran right up and hugged her (I avoid hugging people, it’s very awkward and uncomfortable for me) I missed her so much and realized how important she was to me. She has spent hours talking with me and comforting me, she texts me on our days off and we shop, eat out, take our dogs to the park all of the things that friends are supposed to do (she’s also the one who got me to go to the dr for my depression and panic disorder). And in the last few weeks I have come to realize that she is right up there on my idol pedestal. I keep thinking if I don’t do something about it God’s going to push her off and that scares me! I am looking to God to help me make her a gift, a good thing but not the most important thing.

    1. Dawn,
      Something you said really spoke to me. You said, “I have come to realize that she is right up there on my idol pedestal. I keep thinking if I don’t do something about it God’s going to push her off and that scares me…” This reminds me of when I first got married. I wasn’t on the best terms with my family and I still had anger in my heart towards God about it. My husband had brought me such love and comfort that I needed from my deprived childhood, but I remember being so afraid that God would take my husband away from me because I knew that I had all my love and focus on him at that time. I still think sometimes, that if I do something wrong or if I get lazy in my walk, God is going to take everything away. I was so afraid that something was going to happen to my husband. This June, I went to hear Beth Moore speak in Lincoln and she said something on this note that reasurred me. She said that God made us to love like him. Thinking that if we absolutely love someone so incredibly much that God will punish us for it is a lie from the evil one. He wants us to love like He does. I don’t know about your idols but if it is just that you have a great love for your friend, I think God would tell you that He loves that you love her. We still are to put God first in our life but don’t let that devil make you think you love your friend too much.

      1. Your right, Melody

    2. It sounds like God sent you a good, faithful, loving friend to help you through your grief! I think if you remember to thank Him, you’ll keep the right perspective on your friendship! She sounds like a blessing in your life!

        1. Thank you all so much for your comments and encouragement. It helps replace my fears with hope and gives me alot to think about and talk to God about. Believe me I thank God every day for my friend and have been honest with Him about how I see the whole situation (why bother trying to be dishonest with God, right?) I guess I have never loved a non-family member deeply and you are all helping me to see it as a good thing.
          I think that you nailed it Dee with security being my root sin. I know that my need for security sometimes causes me to fear God rather than trust Him. I didn’t start the idolatry study from the beginning so I will go back and do some more studying.
          God has brought me great comfort and I usually (ok always) want a quick fix, but I have come to realize that if I don’t truly suffer and get through it, I will not be much help or comfort to anyone when they are suffering. If it’s easy it’s not suffering.

  21. B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness.”
    Being choked almost to death by a very strong man, makes you feel little, but also flying in a airplane and looking down does also. But what my brother said alittle while ago as we had dinner, “You work all your life to have something and to have a good life, then something like this happens and you have no controll. If you don’t have your health, you have nothing.” (His wife is dying at 65 years old) He is right, we don’t have any control of what happens to us. We are all at the Mercy of God. We are all “little” in comparison to God and his power and timing of our lives. There is no one or nothing else that can save us, but God. And our lifetime is like a wisp of air, in God’s timing. Instead of saying, “If you don’t have your health, you have nothing”, you should say, “If you don’t have Jesus, you have nothing.”

  22. I’ve been thinking about idols and the comments you made Dawn about your friend. I think that what Melody said is right on. so what is the difference between loving someone a lot and having that person be an idol. Isn’t an idol someone that we elevate higher than Christ, desire more than Him and put in Christ’s place? We would value that person more than God, and that person’s opinion more than God’s. We would want to please that person rather than please God. Though I think we all have to examine ourselves and things in our lives that can become idols in our lives, we have to remember that God is the one who gives us the ability to love and Jesus himself had very close love relationships with people in his life. Not to mention how much he loves us!! I don’t think we often come close to loving anyone that much.

  23. A. What happened to the fishermen who went into the ships?

    The fishermen went to sea and saw the power of God and His greatness through the storm. It says…their courage melted, they reeled and staggered, they were at their wits end and then they cried out. The Lord delivered them and made the sea be still and brought them home safely.

    B. A storm at sea represents things that are simply beyond our control. Give one example of a storm beyond your control, a storm that shows your “littleness.”

    What come to my mind are not the big issues of the future, although I do worry about such things, but the control that I falsely believe I have over the little things in my daily life.

    I also love this quote from Oswald Chambers about how meaningless our own plans and agendas are.
    “I want to tell you a growing conviction with me, and that is that as we obey the leading of the Spirit of God, we enable God to answer the prayers of other people. I mean that our life, my life, is the answer to someone’s prayer, prayed perhaps centuries ago.
    It is more and more impossible to me to have programs and plans because God alone has the plan, and our plans are only apt to hinder Him, and make it necessary for Him to break them up. I have the unspeakable knowledge that my life is the answer to prayers, and that God is blessing me and making me a blessing entirely of His sovereign grace and nothing to do with my merits, saving as I am bold enough to trust His leading and not the dictates of my own wisdom and common sense. ” -O.Chambers

    C. Describe the emotions of the men in Psalm 107:26-27.

    v. 26 …their soul melts because of trouble.
    Can’t you just feel what that feels like? That sick fear in the pit of your stomach. They are losing control and they can feel it. It’s like when you know no matter what you do you can’t have power over something. You feel helpless, small, like a child, vulnerable and weak.

    v. 27 describe them being at their wits end…
    I can imagine one man when he cries out saying, “LORD, please! Please, I can’t take it!”

    1. D. In this case, what did the Lord do, according to verses 29-30?

      He calmed the sea and guided them to their desired haven.

      E. What are we to do when God comes to us and rescues us in some way, according to verses 31-32?

      We are to give thanks to God for His goodness and wonderful works. We are to extol Him, to praise His name; to lift Him up and not merely in private but in public. We are not to be afraid to speak of His great wonder even before the greatest of men.

      F. Reflect on Rembrandt’s painting above. What is the focal point of the ship? Symbolism? How does this painting speak to you?

      My eyes are instantly drawn to the use of light and dark in the portrait and the mast representing a cross. I see Jesus looking toward the cross and He seems unmoved, while all the others are rushing working to keep hold of their boat. I see such chaos and disorder and I can feel their panic, yet I can also feel an air of stillness and peace.

  24. Part IV. Listen to Midday Connection and report.

    Wonderful program with so many nuggets!

    One was that it’s not about us loving our friends or family less, but learning to love God more. Where do you run first when you are happy, or sad… is it to a friend, or God? We need to run to HIm so God will feel more like a friend than a far away God.
    The interview with the young mom with a child who has Down’s Syndrome really showed how to live out dependence upon God.

    Our family is leaving for vacation (Anne we are headed your way to NC) and I will ask for prayers for safety! We do have internet access where we are staying so I hope to be able to follow along next week!

  25. Got up early, went to have a blood test that I have kept putting off, and now I am almost done listening to Mid Day Connection. Great so far.

  26. The thing I love about Dee is that she is so gracious. She is honest and real and deals with the real issues of life, yet she doesn’t stop there, she always, always points to Christ.

    I loved that she admits it takes time for spiritual healing. That sometimes it takes more than just one shaking. This brings great comfort to me.

    I also like how she brought out that when our world is shaken often our default setting comes out first and most times it is not running to Jesus. Also, I liked that she said when our world is shaken it is normal to grieve, to be upset, to cry, it is when it starts to devastate us that we need to Lament and we need to go to the Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs and speak the truth to our soul.

    I REALLY loved Steve’s choice of that song to be played at his funeral. Oh my, he was even thinking of Dee and how to encourage her at his funeral and to remind her that he will see her again and jump for joy and walk across the river and take her hand..What a beautiful picture of truth to leave Dee. How Jesus is glorified in his life!

    I loved Elisa’s story. Loved how she connected Eden’s brokenness on the outside as equal to all of us who are broken, it is just that her daughter shows it more on the outside. Also, how open her daughter is about Jesus to others. I have seen this in my son with Autism-When he prays it is obvious he knows God is with Him listening. He never turns down a request to pray. Elisa is speaking truth to her soul. Everything she said is true.

    I LOVE, LOVE the Getty’s music-partly because it is Irish infused-I love celtic music, and also because of their talent-but mostly because of the songs..I admit I may be a “Getty snob” 😉 I do prefer music that is well done, moving and with deeper, meaningful lyrics. Love “In Christ Alone”.

  27. I just listened to the mid-day connection. It was so good! Like Susan, I found the part about not loving our family and friends less but loving God more to be the part that stuck out most to me. It is so relieving to know that I don’t have to love others less, but seek to love God more. With texting, it is so easy for me to whip out my phone and tell my husband or friend the instant something is happening in my life. I am committing to talking to God first and foremost. He will probably convince me not to send some of those text 🙂

    1. I finally got to listen to the Midday connection (everyone in our house came down with an intestinal bug last night and today….including the grandkids who went home Wednesday) 🙁 I so agree about the program, I love how sweet Steve was towards Dee in choosing the song he did.

      I also loved the comment about not loving others less, but loving our Lord more. And talking to my Lord before unloading to a friend or spouse is something the God would nudge me about 30 years ago and continues to when I get it wrong. I love the way He does it though, never harsh, but a gentle whisper to remind me how he longs to have me share things with him first.

  28. Uh oh, my comment disappeared…

  29. Wow, my comment disappeared again…

    1. Try again, Kim, I’d love to hear your comment.

  30. I listened to Tim keller’s “The Furious Love of jesus” two times today and it is so much to take in! The man God is something I’ve never heard, before. I diffinetly am the Feeler and not the Fixer. Most men are Fixer’s and most women are Feeler’s I would say!

    I thought it very interesting that God the man, was angry at death and suffering, that he didn’t create it, and he not only seen lazaras death, but he seen all of us weeping at funerals, that he wouldn’t be able to make them all come alive like Lazaras. And making Lazaras come alive, brought Jesus death on the cross.

    It is so much to ponder and chew, as I head off to bed:) Good Morning!

  31. There are several things woven together to make one thing as my takeaway. Even last week bled into this week. TRULY Lamenting, being honest before God-going to him first. Those are with me. Also, feeling the pleasure of God or doing what I do to bring Him glory regardless of what it is, mothering etc…

    I have finally worked out a lot of things with singing and I know I will have to keep working them out with His help.

    I like the way Dee often says how things helped her become unstuck as she was ‘stuck’ in areas for so long in her walk. That is true with me in several areas and I know there will be more I don’t see yet, but lately it is with singing. I almost feel like I can fly now.

    God has straightened out my thinking and reminded me this is His gift meant to bring Him pleasure and as a result to minister to others which is what He does. I no longer struggle thinking, ‘how can they like my voice? I don’t think it is that great.” I am asking God to help me not to be ‘me centered’ with it much anymore and remember when He anoints it, it will minister regardless of whether I like my voice or not.

    I have taken this seriously and I don’t want to grieve God so I am not going to quit. I am going to use it and I am also going to strengthen my voice and work on my upper range as well as spend time working on songs every day instead of forgetting to do it, or being lazy in it. This gift is from Him made to glorify Him and meant as a ministry of co-laboring to minister to the body with other musicians/artists.

    I wonder if God will have me sing to Him constantly in heaven-I know we all will be- unrestrained by sin, in perfect harmony. I know there will be a lot of singing and the most glorious music ever-the master musician playing and singing us His songs! Heaven is real, the spiritual realm around us is real and eternity with Him started when I came to know Him, although I only experience him in part for a short time here on Earth, but I have A LOT LONGER to experience Him IN FULL when I die and am with him face to face.

  32. Yes Dee! Thanks be to God my fortress, and my deliverer! He has opened me like a lake and I am not curled in that cocoon anymore. I am vulnerable right now but that is part of the process. I am going to sing and step out in faith regardless if fear comes back. Glory be to God that I get to sing to Him and see His face someday-I will see and totally feel his pleasure not in part but in full..Not sure if I will even be able to speak when I see Him though-fully yielded. Perhaps I won’t, perhaps my song will be His. 🙂

  33. Praise the Lord, Rebecca.
    The thing I am focusing on is growth, trying not to be too hard on myself when I am not where I want to be with my idol. I am talking truth to my soul, focusing on the gospel. As I listened to the sermon from Martin Lloyd Jones yesterday I was so blessed. I wasn’t sure which one to listen to so I downloaded all and he is a wonderful preacher! He said something like this: The true christian knows why he is what he is, a doctrine of sound teaching has come to him and having seen the truth, he loves it. It moves his heart. He sees the life he was living and he hates it. He sees the glorious truth, this holiness and his heart is engaged.
    The Midday program was inspirational, again I loved the music. The Keller sermon was one of my favorites. I will remember the Now, now… There, there…Hush, Hush… Every word a monosyllable. Mostly I will take away that I need to speak truth to my soul…every day, a way of life.
    I will copy and paste this time. 🙂

  34. My take away is: love God more, not people less; bring all things to God first; speak truth to my soul instead of listening to myself. The God of all comfort is always with me, with both tears and truth.

    1. Dawn, that is my take away also, thank you!

  35. Sisters, could you please pray for Joey. He was on the floor helping me pick some things up and when he got up I heard a pop and he was writhing on the floor. I thought for sure one of the tendons snapped. I put ice on it and prayed right away. He stopped writhing and started worrying about more surgery and no beach trip next week. He is not in much pain now and I don’t feel any lumps that would indicate a rolled up tendon. We are trying to get the surgeon now but so far unsuccessful. I am trying not to beat myself up while encouraging him not to do the same. I know that even in this God is sovereign and loving.

    1. praying, Anne….I’m so sorry for Joey

      1. Oh Anne, am praying for Joey and you. So thankful you are a nurse! Love you.

  36. My take away…..be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Also, the wonderful Rembrandt painting and info on it!

  37. Praying for both of you….

  38. Thank you so much for praying for Joey. God is in this and I can see Him in that Joey is looking to us and I think to God because of his need. He is not in a lot of pain, but near tears every time I talk to him. This morning the Lord gave me Psalm 23 and I memorized it in my newer version (finally). How good it was to have it before our world sort of unraveled.

    I am listening to Midday right now. The June Carter Cash song is so special to me and I have to tell you that Joey listens to Johnny Cash (along with Rap and only the Lord knows what else).

    While I listen I am looking at the painting and praying to see more which is exactly when I saw the tiny dot of the sun to the right of the mast. I don’t know what it means beyond God’s light remaining even in the darkest storm. But if that is the sun, where is the light coming from? Maybe it is just an imperfection since the painting is so old.

    As I finish the program I think it was well summed up in that we must listen to our souls and find where we have misplaced our hope and then put our hope in God. This was a wonderful program and I pray that many will hear it and grow.

  39. The painting is truly a masterpiece. I think God can use anyone or anything to convey His thoughts. Whether or not Rembrandt was a believer may not be that relevant to what is conveyed in the painting. Last night I listened to an interview with Akiane Kramaik and I got the impression that she just paints what she sees. She said that she believes in God but I did not get the impression that she considers herself a Christian. Yet her painting The Prince of Peace was confirmed to be the likeness of Jesus by Colton Burpo. While none of this is the solid ground of scripture we can contemplate it. So if the cross and the storm are the focal point of the painting, they would represent our death (storm) and deliverance through the cross (mast). The men working so feverishly may be trying to save themselves, which reminds me of how Martin Luther destroyed his health by trying to save himself through penance. The men asking Jesus for deliverance think it is only the storm that they need deliverance from. I like thinking that the light is God’s eye, looking at our need (represented in the storm) and our coming deliverance (the cross), especially with the possibility of the sun shining so small and dim through the clouds.

    I absolutely loved the sermon. The contrast in Jesus’ response to Martha and then to Mary is a parable straight to our culture I think. We are divided into 2 camps spiritually and politically. We either have love or we have truth. My prayer is that we can converge the 2 and be united. Lord may love and truth converge in my own heart. Oh how I need this.

  40. My reaction to Midday Connection:

    Again, it’s speaking to our soul. When my world is shaken, where do I go for comfort? Do I find something other than Jesus to lean on? It seems that it takes me so long to learn this, so many times of being shaken to the core and turning to something else. Sure I was shaken when Bob was alive and he was fighting cancer, but I still had him to turn to, as well as my “performance” as a caregiver. I was doing a good job, seeking approval of others. I like how you said to “let go of the rope that can’t hold you and reach out to the one that can.” I need to learn to love God more, I need him to be my vision, I need to learn to turn to him first. The whole week I have been taking baby steps, bringing things before the Lord first.

    My take away this week: to learn to love God more. To realize that if my soul is downcast, it’s because I have placed my hope in something other than God.

  41. I just listened to the Miserable Comforters. It was great too. There was so much that was good. The thing that really grabbed me was when he said that our comfort in times of suffering is knowing that God loves us. This is my theme for the season it seems. God loves me. Amazing! I also see the value of lamenting to God which is very different from complaining as that is directed to others. I just love that we can talk to God.

    There is another take away for me this week. God never punishes me. Jesus took my punishment. When I suffer it is not for my mistakes or sins. Suffering is for purposes that are great and that I may not ever understand.

    1. Loved that, Anne. I always look forward to your remarks about everything. You are truly blessed with God’s love.

      1. Oh that is wonderful Dee. God has healing and wonderful plans for Meg. So exciting!

  42. my take away for the week has been that i need to Be still and know the Lord is all my side. I think of this even as i am going through my sexual sin struggles