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TO GOD AND TO THE LAMB, I WILL SING

 

“Each new morn

New widows howl,

new orphans cry…”

 

Suffering, Shakespeare knew, is a given in life.

Yet God has not hidden His face.

 

Earthquakes come to places they have rarely come.

Hurricanes increase in frequency and ferocity.

Yet God has not hidden His face.


Our own sins reap us sorrow

cut us to pieces

Yet God has not hidden His face.

 

When the storm is raging

When the terror and rumble of

the world, the flesh, and the devil

come to us

He asks us to come to Him

To find shelter under His wings

 

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, would that I could gather you under my wings

 

When we suffer

God is not punishing us

For He took that punishment

He is the Lamb of God

Who takes away the sins of the world.

Francisco de Zurbarán, The Bound Lamb

 

And when the mighty waters come

I will find refuge in Him

and to God and to the Lamb,

I will sing

I will sing

 

We are at the final week of The God of All Comfort, and it has been a privilege to journey with you. This week will be a review, and I have found that reviews are a way to truly etch truths in our hearts. I want to use pictures, for pictures penetrate the heart, and I will share from just a few of you who have journeyed long and faithfully with us. (Don’t feel slighted if I don’t share from you, for I may another time.)

Next week will be an individual study for the Labor Day weekend, and then we will return to The Stonecutter, which is about how God can remove our hearts of stone and replace them with hearts of flesh. I will begin with a review, so if you haven’t been with us, please consider joining us, beginning on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Many of you have been so good at looking carefully at the artwork and photographs that illustrate a phrase from the psalms — and I am expecting that from you again. Take, for example, the beautiful photo Joyce sent me above of the mother bird shielding her babies. When Elizabeth looked at it, she wrote: I want to be the little bird on the right of the picture–eyes shut! trusting and only listening to His voice.

Seeing the Psalms by William Brown

One resource that I recommend to you in praying the Psalms is William Brown’s commentary: Seeing the Psalms.

Brown tells us to read the psalms “as a lover reads, lingering over the images.”  I truly believe this is the best approach to the psalms.

I have been in classes where the psalms are categorized and dissected, and left dead on the operating table.

This approach to the psalms reminds me of a comment Luci Shaw’s daughter Kristen made when she had to dissect a grasshopper in her high school biology class.

Knowing a grasshopper

AS IF THAT’S ANY WAY TO KNOW A GRASSHOPPER!

 

Likewise, we must let the psalms live.

We must let them come leaping into our hearts.

Let us linger over the images and  allow Him to penetrate our hearts.


ICE-BREAKER

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

B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from the artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.

PART I. BIBLE STUDY REVIEW


1. Repeatedly in the psalms of lament, the image of drowning is used. That is how we feel. Silverlene, a new widow, expressed it so poignantly:

In many ways my head knows my husband is gone, but I am still in denial. One month ago, at the six-month mark I had a major meltdown sitting at my desk at work. It seemed that all of a sudden I was hit with the knowledge that everything had just happened. I felt a sharp pain in my chest and then it seemed to move all through my body. All I could do was put my head on my desk and sob. It seems that I am struck with this feeling often at night, which keeps me up or causes me to wake up. I often find myself curled up in a fetal position on one side of the bed; it is the only way I can cope. I am feeling quite overwhelmed and anguished today. To date my response to all of this has been to withdraw from everyone; as a result I have few friends or family I am able to talk to. It seems that everyone wants me to move on, but it is hard to move on from something that my heart screams daily is not so. I dream of waking up and finding out I have been dreaming. My anguished spirit does not feel God’s presence.

A.  Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm?

B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.

Our own Anne, in contemplating the above painting and Psalm 46, which is also filled with water images, said:

It makes me think of the unraveling of creation. The first thing I noticed about the painting is how the waves seem to have claws and the ability to grasp and pull in. Fear seems that way to me.

It was so interesting to me that Anne talked about “the unraveling of creation.” That’s what hurricanes, earthquakes, and death all are — yet God is also the One who can stop the storm, give a new earth, and give us a new raised body.

2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see?

3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you?

4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.

A.  A Mighty Fortress

B. Be Still My Soul

Another famous “water hymn” is “It is Well with My Soul,” which Horatio Spafford wrote after his four daughters drowned. Our own Susan wrote:  Jesus takes note we are drowning and comes to shed His own blood to save us; the final day when the clouds are rolled back and He will descend; our sin being nailed to the cross and its awful burden is taken away!

Likewise, Joyce wrote: God is always there, even if he doesn’t answer your prayer like you think he should. And he rescues us, and even in the worst suffering, we grow closer to him and we become more intimate with him. He saves us from that awful drowning or frozen feelings and gives us “HOPE”.


Our own Chris, who lost her teenage son just a year ago, has, even in her fresh grief, been ministering to us. One thing she said that I hope we all have learned is:

I have realized that to be grieving tremendously is not sin.

She also told a story of seeing a painting like the above in the hospital emergency room when they were there with their son. She talked about how it comforted her.

5. Contemplate on the above painting and how it portrays Psalm 46. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer — whether it was a hurricane force or a lesser storm. (Terri confessed she felt guilty her storms were smaller — yet if we put these principles to work in the “smaller storms,” we will be better prepared for the hurricanes.)

6. There are four water pictures in Psalm 42.

A. Do you remember what they are? What do you learn from them?

B. The last was a waterfall with the famous phrase “deep calls to deep.”

What do you think this means and why?

7. In addition to the psalms, we considered the three appearances God made to Job, where “Deep called to Deep.” Most of us are familiar with the closing of Job, where God does not really answer Job, but points to the sunrise, the stars, and the seasons as evidence that He knows what He is doing. Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us.

8. In a relatively unknown passage in Job 14 we see the value of the lament, for God actually speaks to Job in his spirit. Do you remember what He tells him and how this shows God’s love for us?

7. The most famous passage, perhaps, becauses of Handel’s Messiah is Job 19 where Job has a vision of the day he will see His Redeemer on the earth. What did you learn about heaven that was a comfort to you?

When Tim Keller gets to the part in his sermon where it points to Christ, my heart always stills. I loved how Keller said that Job demanded to see God’s face and did. But “a greater Job,” when He hung on the cross, and longed to sense God, sensed instead abandonment, for God turned His face away as Jesus was bearing our sins. Then Keller said, and I cherish this and sing of this: “Because He was abandoned, we never will be.” So unto God and to the Lamb, I will sing. I will sing.

8. Many of you listened to Keller’s sermons on Job. Is there anything you would like to share with the group?

 

We studied “sitting shiva,” and Kim tells of how her friends and father lived this out:

The catastrophic loss I will comment on is not a death it was when our youngest son walked out of our home to live in a drug house. My best friends came around me and let me cry. They had no verses or words just love. One day my dad drove out to our place and simply said, “I don’t know what to say.” and sat and cried with us. That divided our pain.

 



9. What will you remember about “sitting shiva?”

 

 

When there is no one to “sit shiva” with you, Jesus, the Man of Sorrows does. Perhaps the hardest thing to trust in the midst of high-tide grief is God’s love for you. The lie that threatens to undo us is that we have lost His love. We think about how sinful we are, and we think, “It makes sense.”  That’s why I loved what so many of you wrote (how you encouraged my heart) after listening to Midday Program 9 on Jesus Lover of My Soul. Elizabeth, for example, wrote this:

“…in our romance with Christ, I am not worthy of His love, I have, by God’s standards, fallen way short- un-loveable on my own. Without Christ, I am dirty, smelly, and even if I clean myself up on the outside, my mind has unclean thoughts. BUT, because of Christ, I am the sought-after, chased-for, fought-for Bride! Through Him, because of Him, I am beautiful, clean, new, and my prayers a fragrant offering. He never, ever gives up on me, He pursues me like the Ultimate Leading Man, and no matter how many times I turn away, I doubt, I use my words for pain…He not only forgives, but He pursues. And His arms never cross or push me out of His embrace.”

Kim said that this truth about Jesus being our “Lover” is something Satan does not want us to know, because it is such a powerful weapon again his lies.

 

10. When the storm hits, what arrows of truth will you have ready to fire at the enemy?

Suffering is a given in life. Death is certain. The enemy will prowl. But we have One who will never leave us or forsake us, and one day, He will make all things right. As He told Job, He will call for us, because He will miss us, He will raise us out of the grave with new restored bodies, and we will be with Him and our loved ones who have gone before forever.

 


11. Psalm 90, which was the psalm I happened to be praying through on my birthday, prays “Teach us to number our days, that we might apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Suffering is a definite in life, but if we do not let go of our only lifeline, He will enlarge our souls and make us great hearts. I am seeing that in you.  I would love for you to share something you have learned here, and how you will apply this wisdom to your life.

PART II. Listen to Midday.

Because we do not know if the tech people at Moody Radio will get the link working, I encourage you to try to listen live on Monday central time. I realize that might not be possible, but if you can do. They have also now fixed the links to programs 7 (A Mighty Fortress) and 9 (Jesus, Lover of My Soul)  if you missed either, you could choose one of those. Here is the link: Link

12. What stood out to you?

PART III.

Heaven is our real hope. You can hear our own Rebecca’s voice singing Sara’s Grove’s song: Going Home. Listen — read these lyrics — and respond. Here is the link: http://youtu.be/EjOgZ2pr9NE

Here are the lyrics to read as you listen to Rebecca sing:

I’ve been feeling kind of restless
I’ve been feeling out of place
I can hear a distant singing
A song that I can’t write
And it echoes of what I’m always trying to say

There’s a feeling I can’t capture
It’s always just a prayer away
I want to know the ending
Things hoped for but not seen
But I guess that’s the point of hoping anyway

Of going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be home

I’m confined by my senses
To really know what you are like
You are more than I can fathom
And more than I can guess
And more than I can see with you in sight

But I have felt you with my spirit
I have felt you fill this room
And this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

Going home, I’ll meet you at the table
Going home, I’ll meet you in the air
And you are never too young to think about it
Oh, I cannot wait to be going, to be going home

Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be
Face to face, how can it be

Cuz this is just an invitation
Just a sample of the whole
And I cannot wait to be going home

13. What are your thoughts?

PART IV. EXTRA CREDIT! Listen to this free sermon from Keller called “A Spirit Hath Not Flesh and Bones” Link

I PROMISE THIS IS WONDERFUL — PASSIONATE — WILL GIVE YOU HOPE!!!!

Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas

14. What did you learn from this message?

Angela tells of how God can enlarge our souls through suffering:

When I was very sick with Lyme disease. I could barely function. I wondered where God was but looking back He was there all along showing me Himself as Jehovah – Jireh my provider, Jehovah rappa my Healer, The God who sanctifies, and many other aspects of His character. Many forsook me but He never did even in His silence. I have a much more amazing relationship with Him because of it. It is more special now.

15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?

16. What is your take-a-way from this series?

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297 comments

  1. 2. The water is roaring and foaming so much that even the mountains quake. That is some wild water! In fact that may be what causes the mountains to fall into the depths of the sea in the 2nd verse. But before the tempest is described we are told that God is our refuge and strength and that He is always with us in trouble. And therefore, we will not be afraid-it says so right there in verse 2.

    3. Oh yes! There is an image of heaven right out of Revelation in 46:4. It is the river of Life flowing out of the city of God, His dwelling place. A Mighty Fortress as Luther sang. The image of nations raging is fearful to me but when He lifts His voice the earth melts. These verses contain a lot of war images and then verse 10 says stop fighting and know that I am God. It makes me think of when God told Jehosaphat that the battle was His and that he should stand and see the salvation He brings.

  2. 5. Contemplate on the above painting and how it portrays Psalm 46. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer — whether it was a hurricane force or a lesser storm. (Terri confessed she felt guilty her storms were smaller — yet if we put these principles to work in the “smaller storms,” we will be better prepared for the hurricanes.)
    God has brought me back to the truths of his word, through the community and encouragement of this study. I have learned to speak truth to my soul– a practice that has transformed me.
    In a mighty fortress, it says, A mighty fortress is our God a bulwark never failing. that phrase– a bulwark never failing, replays in my mind, as the key for me. He is not capable of failing. If I think he isn’t there or is failing, that is not true– It is my sight that is faulty.

    6. There are four water pictures in Psalm 42.A. Do you remember what they are? What do you learn from them?
    1. deer panting for the water.–so my soul longs for thee oh Lord.
    2. Tears
    3. Deep calls unto deep at the sound of the waterfalls
    4. Breakers and waves have rolled over me.

    here it is where we learned to speak to our soul and try to find out what is going on within us. Then we can speak truth to ourselves. There is such power in this.

  3. Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us.

    I love to garden,and in my garden among my plants I see God and his wisdom and majesty. Gardening brings me to a place of worship and praise for how he created such things–things that bring beauty as well as plants that are for food. What a God who thinks not only of what is physically necessary for us (food) but also what feeds our spirits and souls (flowers and trees that are beautiful to look at).

  4. This is so strange, this morning, my posts are not being posted at the bottom but are being interspersed in last nights posts.

    1. mine too….

  5. 4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.

    B. Be Still My Soul

    Be Still My Soul speaks to me with every word. I love old hymns and Dee reminds me of this one (it’s been a long time). Since we studied it I decided to choreograph it so my dance group can dance it soon. I think the first line…”…Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side…” says it all. I forget that He is here. With me. All the time. No matter what. He loves me, no matter what (just like I used to tell my kids years ago when they were small).

    It is well with my soul is also another hymn that touches me. I can’t believe Spafford could write it after losing so much. I used to cry a bit when I heard it, but now I cry every time I do! The story behind the song is so meaningful.

    Thanks Dee for helping us truly understand!

  6. 4. Psalm 46 inspired two great hymns — if either has spoken to you during this journey, please comment on how they have helped you and anything you remember learning about them.

    Be Still My Soul: The wild waves and turmoil that come in life seem to easily ignite the same in my heart- I can very easily react in like, whereas God is calling my heart to remember to, “Be still, my soul the waves and winds still know the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.” God is faithful in every change in life and His mercies are new every morning.

  7. 5. Contemplate on the above painting and how it portrays Psalm 46. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer — whether it was a hurricane force or a lesser storm. (Terri confessed she felt guilty her storms were smaller — yet if we put these principles to work in the “smaller storms,” we will be better prepared for the hurricanes.)

    If the man in the doorway didn’t have the tower for His refuge, he would be swept away-his body language would be totally different. He is resting in the doorway because he is totally safe. It seems the tower is there to stay and so is the man, and he trusts it’s stability and strength-as we should trust that God is our Mighty fortress and can protect us from the destruction of our storms. We can be like this man and let God handle our storms and become still and drink in the streams of peace God gives in the midst.

  8. 5b. Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer?

    With life here at home there are little storms every day, and I know this summer is completely different than last before I came here on this blog, which was the best decision I have made in a long time by the way.

    I would have to say what is different compared to last summer is that God has pressed me closer into Him. He came like a shy lover in the Stonecutter study and drew me in over the summer, fall and winter. He has been my tower in the midst of the wild waves in my life. There in Him I have found His protection, his passionate love, and I am confident of who I am in Him-how He sees me, approves of me and loves. There is a huge difference between now and last Summer. The things or passions I began to drown myself in were the ropes that wrapped around my ankle keeping me under water. Things like my family, my food, politics, you name it. Anything I put my hope in above Jesus usually faltered. Another thing I have noticed that has changed is that God’s fragrance is flowing out of me into my family and especially my boys. My two oldest are having quiet times and the Holy Spirit is giving my one with Autism application in his life now. 🙂 Right now I am in His strong tower and it is there I want to stay.

    I am doing other Bible Studies at church along with Dee’s, and am having awesome face to face fellowship, but unless we lose internet service or power or something I plan on staying here and drinking from this Well for however long the Lord desires. Dee’s sweet blog is a gift. I have been blessed with a kindred spirit among all of us here with our passion and pursuit of God. I love watching Him moving in our lives here.

    1. I am staying here too Rebecca! I have gotten alot out of this blog even though i did go kinda fast and i love the fellowship here too!

  9. B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.

    This may be the hardest question – it was all so rich! I went back to the beginning post and looked through each one. I came to the Rembrandt painting of Jesus and the disciples on the boat in the violent, stormy sea. I looked again at that tall mast, exactly like the Cross; the blackness on one side of it and the light breaking through on the other. Jesus, calmly in the boat and the others anxious, working, trying to save themselves, or pleading with Him to help them. I thought, if they only realized truly Who was in the boat with them, they would have been calm. If I can remember Who is “in the boat with me” throughout my lifetime, in fact, every minute of every day, good or bad, calm or storm, I can have hope.
    The Martin French painting of Hosea and Gomer also speaks to me. I am the woman in the painting, a sinner, deeply ashamed, not able to look Him in the eyes. I love how the Redeemer is pictured here; moving in close, spreading his garment of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness over her. I would love to see a painting of how she looks when she realizes the greatness of what he has done for her, that she is forgiven, when she returns his love!
    I think of Keller’s sermon, The Furious Love of Jesus, and the truths I can cling to in that message. Jesus meets us in our pain, weeps with us. How it tore Him up inside when He thought of death and sin and all the funerals where they would be no miracle. How He was willing to take on death when He knew it would mean His own death.

    I will always remember Dee’s telling us of Sally singing A Mighty Fortress in church, and being unable to go on when she looked at her dad, and how the congregation rose and finished the song. And how Steve began to realize that the fight was not for his life, but to glorify God.
    To sing the Psalms, hymns, and praise songs, because there is power in doing that (“Come Philip, let us sing the 46th”)
    And the lesson on Job, and the Mike Mason quote that Job recoiled from the fear and dread because he sensed behind those feelings the presence of the enemy of his soul, trying to grip him. I see how the enemy tries to grip me with feelings of fear and hopelessness.
    The answer is to lament honestly to God – also from Keller – God wants us to know He is safe and we can express our feelings honestly with Him – pray our tears and plant and sow them, and they wont be wasted.
    Sorry this is way more than “just one thing”, but it is all so good!

  10. PART I. BIBLE STUDY AND REVIEW

    1. Repeatedly in the psalms of lament, the image of drowning is used. That is how we feel.

    A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this Psalm?

    “the torrents of destruction terrified me” – the psalmist uses the words “encompassed, surrounded, confronted” by cords and snares of death. It gives me the image of being surrounded, hemmed in on all sides, no means of escape and to helplessly watch a torrent, a huge wave of water come crashing down on you. It gives the feeling of being literally bound and not being able to move; I picture wicked men binding a man and throwing him off a ship into the sea where he will surely drown.

    I hear this in Silverlene’s account as she uses the words “being hit with the knowledge that everything had just happened”, feeling pain in her body, sobbing, feeling overwhelmed and anguished, her heart screaming that this is not so, and her anguished spirit unable to feel God’s presence.

    B. This psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.

    verse 6 I picture screaming “Help me Lord!”, and He hears my voice, His child, crying out for help. It comfort me to know He is really not far away and He hears, He knows.
    verse 16 I picture Him reaching for my hand, grasping ahold of me and pulling me to safety; “He drew me out of many waters”.
    verse 19, He rescues me because He delights in me, He loves me. This truth can fight the feeling that God is punishing me or my grief is somehow a punishment, what I deserve, that He has abandoned me and doesn’t love me.

    1. Praise God, susan!

  11. Ladies,

    Please pray..I am resting in God’s strong tower. I just found out my nephew Sam is in the Hospital. He has the worst kind of diabetes, juvenile onset type. I am assuming that is why but not sure of the details yet. He is 17 years old. Anyway, please pray. I will keep you posted. I am not as wild as the waves yet, and hope this isn’t going to turn into a hurricane. Hope Sam will be o.k. I will find out more later.

    1. Just found out it could be he is having keytone level issues, still not sure yet. My mom told me he has had to go to the hospital on and off lately. He is a gifted athlete and plays sports a lot. He was playing Soccer last night so maybe that is why. Thankfully, it doesn’t sound like a serious thing, but I am sure I will find out more later.

    2. Will Pray Rebecca!

    3. my husband is also type 1, 17 is such a hard age and they just do not do a very good job at taking care of themselves. if you have any nuts nad bolds questions please let me know, Paul is always willing to talk to young people who are struggling. I will pray that his sugar gets under control. sounds like his blood surgar levels got to high.

      1. Cyndi, Yes, you are so right. It is hard for teens to be disciplined in this area. His brother has it too and they both struggle. I remember babysitting Sam when he was little and needing to give him insulin shots. They both have pumps now, but not sure if they are any better or not. All of this said, I still haven’t heard from my sister in law as to why he is in the hospital so I am just guessing it is his keytone levels because they have had to take him in a lot lately. Hopefully it isn’t at a serious level. I imagine the hospital can get them back to normal pretty fast.

        1. Yes, it is his keytones, he was throwing up most of the night and they couldn’t get it to stop, usually they can. So they are watching him close at the hospital and my brother thinks he could come home today, so good news! 🙂

        2. you spill keytones when your sugar is really high. I will be praying for them both, paul had some really bad years. he loves to encourage younger guys so if they have facebook let me know and he would be willing to friend them and help if he can.

    4. Oh Rebecca–praying right now for Sam–keep us posted.

      1. Praying now, Rebecca.

        1. Rebecaa, I’m praying now for Sam, too

  12. Oh how I have missed you all! I have been reading your entries and have been so very blessed by all of you. I too, long to be the little bird with its eyes closed resting under the protective wing of my God.
    It was a wonderful vacation. the waves reminded me of all your water pictures. I rode the waves and found that if you let them take you they were fun but if you were fighting them they beat you to death. so it is with our trials and sorrows. there are some days that I just can not help be pulled under. I am so glad our heavenly father reaches down and keeps me from drowning.
    I have felt very out of place this study, I have never had a HUGE loss, and all of you have suffered so much, I feel very unquilified to say much. Thank you for letting me learn from you, I pray that when the HUGE losses do come in my life I will handle them with as much grace and you all are. I am humbled by your honesty and trust during your times of great loss.
    I have not been on because both my older kids stared college last monday, Lily has another operation on her arm tomorrow and there have been lots of apt. to get ready for that, I have had the flu for the past 5 days…..you know, life:)
    I am waiting for Abby to get out of class this morning and should be writing lesson plans for the younger 3 but am so glad that instead I got on here. thank you all for your beautiful hearts and insights, they have given me much needed strength for the weeks to come.
    I miss you all,

    1. Hi Cyndi, glad you checked in. Praying for Lily’s surgery and wellness for you. Hugs.

    2. Always fun to see your little 1″ family photo pop up on here 😉 You are always missed! I will pray for Lily’s operation tomorrow–Dear Lord, we lift up sweet Lily to You. I pray she would have peace tonight and not be worried about tomorrow. I ask that You work through the doctors–be their hands, Lord. Protect dear Lily, and please bless her with Your healing Hands, in Your Name I pray.

      1. thanks guys! we really are not ants:) it just looks that way!

      2. Cyndi, I’ve missed you too, but enjoyed your family vacation pictures on your blog, through facebook. I will be praying for sweet little Lily also…please let us know how she does.

    3. Cyndi–let us know how Lily’s surgery went today when you can–still praying for your sweet girl!

    4. Cyndi

      Prayed for your Lily this morning. I asked God to give her courage as she faces the pain in recovery. Miss you!

  13. Hi Ladies, just wanted to let you know that the comments situation has been fixed. I’m so sorry for taking so long to get things back in order. :/

    -David

    1. Thanks David, we are truly blessed by your willingness to keep this blog running. It is a life line for some of us 🙂

    2. Thank you for all your work, David. We bless you today.

    3. Thank you so much, David…How is little Mia Belle ?

    1. Thank you David and Dee–you are too gracious–I take full responsibility for the chaos 😉 I do apologize for causing you more work David–we so appreciate you–your gifted techie skills baffle me, but we are so blessed by the work you have done with this blog!

  14. B. Choose one image from this study, from Scripture or from artwork, that penetrated your heart and explain why.
    The picture of the little girl with the dog. It is the perfect depiction of sitting shiva. I had never heard of shiva before and I realized that this is exactly what my friend at work would do with me. She would bring her work over to my work area and just be there. Sometimes we would talk, but mostly she was just there maybe pat me on the back as she walked by. I wrote on my facebook about having the greatest best friend and my sister’s reply was “What did Michelle do now?” I answered “Nothing in particular she’s just there.”
    I dreaded work days when I knew that she wasn’t going to be there, until I learned that Jesus sits shiva with us. Now I speak the truth to myself that His love is perfect love and He is always there. So instead of spending the whole day downcast because my friend isn’t there, I talk to Jesus and am reassured that I have someone better with me who loves me completely!

  15. WOW lots going on when I am out!! 🙂 Love you all so!!

    A. Find the image of drowning in Psalm 18:4-5. Linger over the image and let it speak to you of the pain that can come to us in life. Does any of it sound like Silverlene’s account? What do you “see” in the description of this psalm? Oh yes it describes the pain well. So often in deep pain we feel like we are suffocating and dying.

    B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does. v.6 God hears and v. 7 God angers about it. I like that! He hates pain just as much even more so. However ,a day is coming when it will all disappear.

    2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see? A Powerful Almighty God who is our Rescuer.

    3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you? God’s city is ultimate! All will be destroyed. Be still and wait..

  16. I have prayer request. I dropped a cast iron meat grinder on my toe a month ago and have been wearing a ortho shoe but still in pain. I am going to the doctor this afternoon. Pray for answers please. Vacation begins Friday so hoping we can solve this pain issue beforehand. I am also over my head in finishing up a project at church so that I can spend time packing tomorrow. I feel anxious and overloaded like I might start crying at any moment. Love to you all.

    1. oh Kim, so sorry!!
      Lord, I pray You will bless Kim’s appointment and bring speedy healing to the pain she is having. Please give the doctors wisdom to know how to help her. I pray too that You would provide the help she needs to finish this project for her church, Lord. we give You these burdens she is carrying–please take it all Lord and bless it for Your glory. I pray she will be able to go on vacation and have a wonderful time–and be pain free! In Your Name I ask, Lord Jesus.

      1. Lord

        We bring Kim before you and ask you to help her get the project done that she has to do for church and i also that she would be able to finish packing and not be overwhlemed by it all.. Give her your peace and Comfort

        In Jesus name
        Amen

    2. praying for you Kim! its so hard to focus when you are in pain!!!

  17. Hi Ladies

    I have another prayer request.. remember that i told you that my best friends mom died well , her birthday was tommorrow so i am having a hard time already and the day hasnt even come yet. I miss her so much, could you also pray for my friend Jenny that she would experience the God of all comfort.

    Thanks!

    1. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for Kim’s need and for Meg’s friend, Jenny. You know them and their special needs..please help them in according to your will, Lord. I pray for little Lily’s surgery also, and for Sam’s good recovery. In Jesus name, Amen

  18. Update: Thanks for praying! My sister in law just called and said it was serious. If God hadn’t woke up my brother at 4 a.m. Sam could have died. Long story but he was dehydrated from playing Soccer the night before and that is how it started and he was throwing up all night and couldn’t keep water down. His kidneys were starting to shut down. Another thing that happened was the docs almost gave him too much insulin but my sister in law stopped them and told them to give a little to him every hour-they listened which is unusual. If they hadn’t listened he could have gone into insulin shock and died at the hospital. This must not have been Sam’s time to be with the Lord, so we are so thankful.

    1. Praise God!!!

    2. Rebecca,
      Thankful to hear how Sam’s life was spared by God’s intervening! Diabetes is a hard thing to live with, and especially for a young man of 17. Yes, strenuous exercise and illness and dehydration can cause blood sugar to spiral out of control and be life-threatening. Praying for his complete recovery, and it would be great if SAm would be open to connecting with Cyndi’s husband for encouragement and support!

      1. Susan, THANKS SO MUCH! God has really moved in Sam’s life and that day was huge for him. Usually you can recover drinking water but when you get into the cycle of throwing it up, it actually gets worse. He was used to recovering over time and so that is why he didn’t wake my brother up to take him to the hospital. Had God not woke him up Sam could have died. Also, the Doctors almost accidentally caused him to die in the hospital by giving him too much insulin. Had they refused to listen to my sister in law and Sam, he would have gone into insulin shock and died. LONG STORY, but thanks so much for praying!

  19. Praying for Meg and Jenny special comfort tomorrow. Praying for Sam too.
    Ladies I could feel your prayers holding me up. God is so good. The doctor and x-ray tech. got me in quickly. One bone broke maybe two-he isn’t sure about the second one. Due to the placement of the first break every step causes pain. They can’t do anything other than the ortho shoe which is as I expected. If the pain persists longer than 4 more weeks I will have to go back.
    The great thing is that I felt your prayers when I couldn’t even pray for myself. The answer came so easily from the Hold Spirit in the form of an idea and was so simple- reschedule your day to take the pressure off. When I called to reschedule the gal was so full of grace I wondered why I got so worked up in the first place! I think I had begun to panic and imagine all kinds of things like maybe I need surgery. Now I know I am okay and can go on vacation in peace. Thank you so much.

    1. Try to have a great vacation, Kim:)

      1. Thank you, Joyce.

    2. Have a wonderful vacation, Kim – I hope you can rest that foot and praying for healing!

      1. Thank you, Susan.

  20. B. This Psalm is also filled with images of the Lord’s heart for the suffering and His response. Find one that speaks to you and tell why it does.
    Psalm 18:6 He heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. KJV
    This verse comforts me to know every cry is heard. What other religion can offer a savior and response every time a prayer is uttered?
    2. Read Psalm 46:1-3 and linger over the images. What do you see? The KJV has the first two words capitalized, GOD IS our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
    3. Read the rest of Psalm 46 and find an image of hope in the midst of the tumult. What is it and why does it speak to you? I like vs 10b I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Sometimes I get fretful about the world and what is happening in the world. It seems like ungodliness is everywhere but a verse like this reminds me that I’m on the winning team and eventually we’re all going to bow and exalt Him as King and Lord.
    4B. The words be still my soul the Lord is on thy side have become a great comfort to me b/c I feel loved and understood. I have a wonderful husband who is the most kind compassionate man I know but even he doesn’t fully understand all the girl stuff. 🙂
    5 Can you share how God has been A Mighty Fortress to you in the midst of a storm this summer — whether it was a hurricane force or a lesser storm. (Terri confessed she felt guilty her storms were smaller — yet if we put these principles to work in the “smaller storms,” we will be better prepared for the hurricanes.
    I agree so much with this last statement. I haven’t had one particular storm but a few small ones this summer. I am learning to rest in God more and not be so rushed. Your advice to Meg to slow down was for me too, Dee. I needed to hear that. I am wired to get the job done-do it fast and do it right so I tend to think I’ll smell the roses tomorrow if time allows.
    7 Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us. When we talked about water images. I love Niagara falls-been there three times. The majesty is in the loudness and greatness of the falls. The wisdom is that it is not only beautiful to behold but gives power and electricity for daily living.

      1. Thank you, Dee. I am especially praying for this vacation to be a time of ministry for me. It sounds kinda funny but I want to help or love or encourage every person I meet. There are so many hurting people I want to shine God’s love on. I don’t know why I feel so strongly about this-maybe it’s the study, I don’t know. Maybe it’s the work I feel God doing within me, enlarging me. Whatever it is, I have asked God to order my steps, where I sit on the plane, who I come into contact with, all of it, use me. I seems strange typing this but it is what God is putting in my heart.

  21. I love the picture of the little girls sitting with her best friend, her dog…sitting shiva with her:) I copied it and framed it! I wish people could be like a dog, so loving and forgiving and excited to see us, and sitting quietly with us, when we need to be loved!

  22. I am really in need of prayer tonight. My job is very stressful and there are some things going on at work that are creating lots of stress. So much that I told my husband and daughter that I need to go work for the grocery store bagging groceries. There is a situation with a birthmother who is in the hospital having her baby, the adoptive parents are here, and the girl is now saying she can’t do the adoption. It is always the young woman’s decision, but in this case, this girl herself has fetal alcohol syndrom, and she is not equipped mentally or emotionally to parent. She was on the street living in the woods when I met her.
    Also some of you have prayed for the situation with my young friend Shelly. I have not seen her for over a month and today a mutual friend told me that She is using crack again and prostituting herself. My heart is broken, i know that God loves her more than I do, and am praying that she will get to the end of herself and turn to him.
    there are more things around my work, that I won’t go into, but I would be so grateful for prayers. Thanks sisters!

    1. oh Terri, this struck a very personal cord for me–too many tears to write, but my husband and i are praying right now–please keep us posted

    2. Terri, I’m so sorry. I haven’t prayed for Shelly in a while but will do so and for this new baby and mother also. And for you too. Caring makes it very hard when things like this happen.

      1. praying for you Terri!

    3. Terri, a friend of mine is a counselor and I often pray for God to lift her up. Working with broken people can zap us of energy so I pray for you and those you are pouring your life into.
      Father, help us to pray. Please undertake for this new mother, this couple and Shelly. Your will be done. I ask you to surround them with your presence and peace. Help the women to see truth and come to a saving knowledge of you. Give this woman courage to give her child a better life. Send someone to reach Shelly and keep her safe. Strengthen Terri and enable her by your mighty power to the work you have set before her. Amen.

    4. Terri,
      I agree with Anne that when you care so deeply, as you do, you hurt deeply, too. Praying for you and for these two women.

    5. Any update on the adoption Terry? That’s been so heavy on my heart…praying for you all.

    6. Terri, I was just wondering how Shelley was and then your post came up. I am sorry. Lord, thank you for people like Terri who have such a gift to share with others. Please help shelley meet someone on the street who knows you well and reminds her of your goodness. Help her see that her choices are not what you want for her life. Help this person help Shelley, Lord. In your loving name. Amen.

  23. oh my…just had to jump on and say the Keller sermon is SO good–hope filled as Dee said! I will have to post my notes tomorrow, but just wanted to encourage all, it is well worth the time to listen. And it starts over midway (at least the link from his site did)–but it does finish. And hearing parts replayed is always a treat for me with Keller!

  24. 4A.
    A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
    Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
    For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
    His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
    On earth is not his equal.

    This hymn is just what I need right now. I have felt so much under attack from the enemy today and when I came onto the blog I saw that many of us suffer the same today. So right now I want to focus on A Mighty Fortress coupled with the lighthouse picture. The force of the sea in that picture is enormous and the man in the doorway is so small in comparison. Our God stands firm as that lighthouse against the great power of our foe. We stand safely inside as the man and, like he we can’t even see the full force the enemy unleashes on us. In the moving film that this picture is a still from the man turns and goes inside. Just today I caught myself standing and looking at the waves when I should have turned inside to the Lord. As soon as I turned my fear into prayer, He calmed the storm.

  25. Speaking truth to my soul right now….Why so downcast oh my soul, Put your hope in God……

    1. amen Terri

    2. Terri, praying for you and these girls and the baby involved…May the Lord have his will and help you in your work.

  26. 15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?

    Can someone tell me what it means by “enlarging your soul”? so i can answer the question better please?

    1. I will try Meg.
      When pain and suffering come, if I love and trust God enough to open myself up and embrace it instead of fight it, knowing He knows what is best, I invite God into the pain or sorrow to make me more like Him. He then expands my soul or makes more room for more of Him in my life and my suffering can then help others when they suffer and I am transformed into His image.

    2. Meg,
      I think this means that when you go through suffering yourself, and you receive help and comfort from the Lord, your soul is “enlarged” – your heart grows bigger and your compassion for others who are suffering increases; you are better able to understand their pain, enter into their pain, listen, and comfort them. You have “new eyes” to see the pain in people around you and you are more sensitive to the pain of others.

      I am also praying for you and your friend, Jenny, as today would be her mom’s birthday. It will be a hard day emotionally, but I pray that both of you will find comfort and strength in knowing that God weeps with you.

  27. I love it when I find singers I have never heard of. This mom and daughters have beauty from the Lord and great harmony. Enjoy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuBZLJ31Xc4&feature=related

    1. Kim, I’ve never heard of them before…they are so good!! Thanks

  28. 7. Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God — and share it here with us.

    I think it is just about every day almost!

    There is a song I posted on f.b. by Sara Groves called “Maybe there’s a God” and it talks about this. I was made to stare at the stars, at sunsets in the morning. God made them for me-and made me for Him. God’s wisdom and majesty do show through creation and I can very easily fall into worshiping Him. It doesn’t matter what I am looking at-ants, grasshoppers, leaves, sunsets, sunrises, stormy clouds rolling in.

    This may sound cheesy, and hard to explain, but I will try. There was a time I won’t forget. Sometimes the Sun comes peering through the window in my kitchen and I was reading Dee’s book “The God of All Comfort”, the Sun peeked out of the clouds and came through my window shining on my face so warm-I felt loved by God in that instant as if He were telling me He was pleased with me and delighted in me. All of a sudden my history flashed through my mind as to where I was a year ago unknowingly steeped in idolatry, then God’s rescue, and the beauty of tasting His jealous, passionate love, yet the glory that lie ahead when He comes to meet me face to face and my hope is no longer hope anymore. These things flashed through my mind it seemed in an instant, brought on merely by the Sun shining on my face.

  29. PART IV. EXTRA CREDIT! Listen to this free sermon from Keller called “A Spirit Hath Not Flesh and Bones” Link
    I PROMISE THIS IS WONDERFUL — PASSIONATE — WILL GIVE YOU HOPE!!!!

    14. What did you learn from this message?

    I LOVED THIS ONE!! If we believe in the PHYSICAL resurrection of Christ, we can live this life we NO regrets. If we unite with Jesus, we will miss out on NOTHING. We can relax, we can be generous, stop striving so hard This struck a chord with me. I have struggled some with regret. I think last week I said they feel like whispers of Satan—tempting us to think “if only had…” or “why didn’t I….” and we let ourselves think we are powerful enough that if we had done something different we might have changed the course of life.

    But we can live with no regrets, no fears, and no problem with sacrifice because this world is not all there is! I loved when he said—next vacation—forget about taking pictures! I’m not sure I can go that far, but I love how it puts it all in perspective!

    The other big point is that while this life isn’t all there is and Heaven is our real home, this life IS incredibly important and worth fighting for—because Jesus is fighting for it. He is restoring it.

    And if Jesus is flesh and bones, then we can have Him–NOW, the way Mary did. When Keller talked about how we hold on to things from loved ones after they die….I thought of when my grandmother died. Everyone was taking all her nice furniture, etc…I didn’t want any of it. But I took her ice cream scoop and her muffin tin—and still have them after 15 years. But Keller says, with Jesus, we don’t need the tomb—we have HIM. And the way to have Him, as Mary did—is to recognize I am a sinner saved by grace.

    1. Amen Elizabeth!

      I love this:

      And if Jesus is flesh and bones, then we can have Him–NOW, the way Mary did. When Keller talked about how we hold on to things from loved ones after they die….I thought of when my grandmother died. Everyone was taking all her nice furniture, etc…I didn’t want any of it. But I took her ice cream scoop and her muffin tin—and still have them after 15 years. But Keller says, with Jesus, we don’t need the tomb—we have HIM. And the way to have Him, as Mary did—is to recognize I am a sinner saved by grace.

  30. 15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?

    Thanks Kim and Anne!

    I think for me.. My soul has been enlarged by going through the series of Grief Share and also going through this study.. I have always had compassion on others but knowing what to do/ say was something different. Also i never though that something like losing my best friends mom could happen to me so soon. I knew that it would happen at some point but didnt know it would happen this quickly and boy i thought that my world had fallen apart. But just sitting shiva with someone, or knowing that righrous people will suffer has helped me.

    I hope that i answered the question?

    1. This was so good Meg–I related with this “I have always had compassion on others but knowing what to do/ say was something different” and what a help this study has been to understand what “sitting shiva” looks like.

  31. I’m not going to attempt to answer all the questions as I hoped I could. Instead I have selected a few to answer. I did get a chance to listen to all the sermon the other day and I agree with Elizabeth. I loved this one also. It seemed to be a puzzle piece along with Keller’s sermons I listened to during the Stonecutter study.

    6.B. I know that the psalmist used a water image to depict deep unto deep but I have been mulling another imaage over in my mind. I believe that for the first 18 months after my catastrophic pain God tilled the garden of my soul with His Word paricularly Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount, “Do good to those who hurt you”. He had to break up the hard fallow ground and remove those large stones that were in His way. I think currently he is using a hand plow to dig the rows for planting. Or maybe he has already begun some planting. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Maybe he’s still weeding.

    14. From Keller’s message I learned that I truly have Jesus when I humble myself and admit I am a sinner. I loved the line ‘The Marys have Jesus.’ And, I appreciated Lewis’ quote about how the pleasures of this world are but a taste of what is to come. We could not handle what God has in store for now in these mortal bodies. I have also been keeping in mind what Keller stated about letting others impose on us. This world isn’t it. There is more to come. His sermons are the coals that stoke my furnace.

    15. My soul has been enlarged through my suffering in that I am able to be compassionate and less annoyed with those who do not know Jesus personally. I find myself getting more bold with proclaiming truth in everyday conversation. And I find that I am enjoying life again but I’m not holding on to this world as I once did. I stand ready to let go at the moment I am taken away from here. I know sorrow and suffering will come again. I’m already facing the reality of living with arithitic hands. It’s not so bad right now but I can now tell a difference in my hands and they get stiff more often. No matter what is in my future the Lord has promised to take care of me and is always with me. One more thing….without my suffering I would not know you my sisters. You all are a joy from my suffering!

  32. 15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?
    I think He has used my suffering to teach me what compassion looks like with flesh on it. I’ve experienced the importance of being present, learning to be other-centered. Suffering has definitely changed my perspective—this isn’t all there is. SO much more awaits us.

    16. What is your take-a-way from this series?
    Way too many things for one take-away 😉

    Suffering/pain/loss/struggle—it is inescapable in this world. Satan wants it to cause attachment disorder, he uses it to whisper lies to our soul about God. God dismissed Satan’s lies about us in Job, but we so easily listen to Satan’s lies about God. Keller and Dee both taught to embrace the mystery of suffering. We will not get the answer to why—but we do know what it is not—it is not that He just doesn’t care. So stop asking for answers, and ask for His presence. I loved this from Keller—that if we build our life on God then suffering drives you deeper into the source of your joy. Michael Card says “worship Him with your wounds for He’s wounded too”. There is a redemptive part to suffering—so don’t waste our sorrow—tell God about how we feel by lamenting, and recall, remember…see how He has proven to be historically faithful. He is not absent in our sorrow, He is working.

    This study has helped me to see the necessity of grace in suffering. When I am the one grieving, I need grace to be wherever I’m at with it—there is no right or wrong way to grieve. But as the grieving one, I must also GIVE grace. Some people really do not know what to say/do. I experienced something similar when I went through infertility. I used to want to write a book of what NOT to say –like when someone would say “just adopt” in a n effort to push me out of my grief, or when we finally did, and a neighbor actually said “oh, you did it the easy way—aren’t you smart!”, as if adoption doesn’t carry it’s own “emotional labor”. But these words are not meant to be the daggers they become—it is simply not knowing how to respond. And it’s not my job to teach them—my job is to offer the grace and forgiveness I am so utterly dependent on.

    OH, I have so much more to write, but I will stop. OK—one more thing! I love how this study got me to slow down and linger over psalms, songs, artwork…to see Him in creation like I never have before. Thank you Dee, thank you all so much—what a gift this spot is.

  33. Terri, I am listening to Keller’s sermon right now. It is SO encouraging. Just now I thought of your pain in the women you are working with. What is happening with them right now is momentary light affliction if it results in an eternity with our Lord. With that said, I am still burdened with this adoption situation. I pray that the mother will find the strength to let go of this child but no matter the outcome, may each person involved come to salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ.

    This message is resonating with me. It is like my spirit is set free to set her sights on eternity and let go of all the ‘what ifs’ ‘and should haves’. My heart is saying: so what, if…

  34. What is your take-a-way from this series? I have learned that rightous people will suffer.. and also that prayer is a dialougue to God,and even though sometime we cant feel him.. he is right there with us. It was really hard for me to cry to someone and get comfort from someone who wasnt flesh and blood but i am getting so much better at it. Praise God!

    Thank you to everyone who prayed for me today i felt your prayers even though i miss my best friends mom who was like a second mom to me.. i know she is in heaven and i will see her again one day!

  35. I loved this sermon. There were so many points that resonated with me. It seems like every time I listen to one of his sermons my notes dwindle as his points become so strong that I can’t fully absorb them if I am trying to put them into words and write. The understanding that He IS flesh and bone, that I will be also in eternity and that my feet will be real and touch the real earth of heaven inspires me. I understand that the past is nothing to pine over and the future is unknown but here and now I can grasp. It is important and my opportunity to take something with me to heaven. Lord, I beseech You with all of my heart. Please help me to live in this moment reaping every bit of the harvest and to HAVE You as Mary and the disciples did. I know the promise is sure that the cares of this world will pale in eternity and I would like to experience some of that now. Help me please to leave my cares in Your capable hands. Amen

  36. The extra credit sermon is wonderful! Listen and be blessed. I have never heard that Jesus and God frolicked when they created the earth. Proverbs 8. I also read C.S. Lewis’ sermon which he referred to. Here’s a little of it:

    The faint, far-off results of those energies which God’s creative rapture implanted in matter when He made the worlds are what we now call physical pleasures; and even thus filtered, they are too much for our present management. What would it be to taste at the fountain-head that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so
    intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body.

    I will never forget the tear filled eyes of a dear old fashioned preacher who told me that he was living in the glory. He had served his entire life as an evangelist and the last year of life was the best. He beamed as he said, “Sister Taylor, I have found the Lord so near I barely can take His presence it is so wonderful!” His joy was contagious and set my feet on a path to live in the glory too.

  37. 9. What will you remember about “sitting shiva?”

    This study has been a great tool for me to know how to minister to someone who is grieving, who is in the midst of a catastrophic loss. I was able to empathize with a gal at work is going through a divorce right now. Since I don’t know her that well, I don’t really think I have the permission to go deeper with her yet, but God prompted me to come to her when she told me he filed for divorce, put my hand on her shoulder and tell her I have been there and it is real painful, I am praying for her and if she needs anything to let me know. I think that may have opened a door for her to open up to me. I asked how she was doing yesterday and she said it had been a rough week.

    1. Rebecca
      If you get the opportunity let your friend know about DivoreCare.

  38. PART II-Listening to Midday..I couldn’t get the link up. 🙁 I searched for the link for lesson 9 and it wasn’t there. I so wish I could hear it. I will check back though throughout the week.

    Part IV

    14. Dr. Keller’s message. What did you learn from this message?

    Just finished listening to Keller. What resonated with me is what you all posted already, but what really stuck out to me was when he said, relax, your future is a physical future just like this one but better. So, if you miss taking pictures on your vacation, it is o.k. the beauty of that place you went on vacation in the future is going to be even better, so relax.

    I look forward to that time. I loved when he said we will dance, sing, hug, rejoice together, even the trees will dance. I look forward to dancing since I can’t now! 🙂 I have never heard our future with Him on this Earth taught this way, but I look forward to it. I look forward to experiencing and soaking in the redeemed Earth.

    Also, I think because of my future I can enjoy the Earth and enjoy food and everything he has given me here even more. Perhaps when I taste good food, or see beautiful scenery it will be even more meaningful now. Also, to fret over anything here on earth is really pointless. Look what lies ahead!! We are here on this Fallen Earth and gone in an instant, but what lies ahead when Jesus redeems heaven and the Earth we will experience forever.

  39. I listened to sarahs song (beautiful) and thought about what it would be like to be with Jesus. I can’t deny that I would miss people on earth who I’m not so sure will make it to Heaven. I know it will be wonderful to meet Him and be in His presence but I have this other nagging feeling about my family members whom I love but have strayed. I’m thankful He is waiting for the right time to come and prepare those He will take with Him.

    A couple of weeks ago our pastor preached on judgement day. I was reminded that those who were judged and names weres not in the book of life would be thrown into the lake of fire. That will be a horrible event and I fear for the prodigals in my family who need time. Please pray for my daughter Sarah and my son John who are young adults trying to find their way. Pray they learn to make good choices in their lives. Pray they come back to Jesus as they knew Him as children. Pray they meet God through people or a person who touches their lives even in the midst of their sin. Thank you God for prayer warriors; moms, grandmas, aunts, and friends.

    1. Laura, I am praying for your children and all our children on this blog.

  40. 15. How has God enlarged your soul through suffering?

    I am thinking my dad leaving when I was young and then my ex-husband leaving are good examples of loss for me. I think God has enabled me to reflect back on His faithfulness to me and how without this suffering I may not really know how to really love and be understanding and extend God’s grace and mercy to others who are going through the same kind of suffering. Unfortunately, there is a stigma on divorce in our Christian circles, even those who come from divorced backgrounds. Yes God hates it and so do I, but to pound on a brother or sister or treat them like they are ‘less spiritual’ because they are going through a divorce is a bitter taste in God’s mouth, and had become one in mine.

    I remember a few singles in our group had reservations about me because I had been divorced. I didn’t see it then because I didn’t care, I was so immersed and in love with Jesus. I had a few out of the blue, engage in a debate over whether or not it was o.k. for me to remarry. Even though my situation technically followed biblical guidelines, still some were against it and let me know. I don’t remember caring or getting hurt back then. I was pretty objective and just thought, well they don’t get it and that is o.k. God will help them to be more compassionate some day just like he is doing with me as he is growing me.

    I also learned over time a lot about God’s grace and my conclusion is that regardless of how it happened, God’s grace is sufficient for divorcee’s too, can God not restore the ones who were in the wrong who have repented? I may be off here and if I am please tell me, but that is my conclusion.

    Anyway, all that to say I think God has enlarged my soul with compassion toward others. He has given me a son who has a disability, God has allowed me to go through a divorce right after I came to know Him, God allowed my dad to leave my mom and us when I was young.

    God has given me the opportunity to be familiar with the pain and the damage sin brings into our lives, first so that I would come to Him. Also, so that I can have empathy on others, yet at the same time, in God’s timing, I can encourage them with the truth- GOD REDEEMS THOSE BROKEN PLACES AND I CAN TELL OF OUR HOPE IN THE FUTURE!! There is a redeemer! One who IS THE RESURRECTION!! HALLELUJAH! ♥

    1. Rebecca Amen to this:

      GOD REDEEMS THOSE BROKEN PLACES AND I CAN TELL OF OUR HOPE IN THE FUTURE!! There is a redeemer! One who IS THE RESURRECTION!! HALLELUJAH! ♥

      I can also relate to you in that my parents divorced when i wasnt even 2 yet but he has healed me and i am so thankful!

    1. Dee, Thanks so much for the link. I plan on listening today or tomorrow a.m. Can’t Wait!!!

      1. Just started listening to program 9 and realized I have listened to all the programs up to 10. I look forward to when that link to comes up. 🙂

  41. Dear Dee, thank you so much for your awesome ministries, thank you for taking the time to do all these great Bible Studies with all these great ladies! Thank you! More than once, I have gleaned much treasure from these studies.

    I have been away, much has been going on in my life, as I think I mentioned before, last year, I had lung cancer, this year, they discovered a brain tumor, removed that, and then when I was going to find out what treatment to take after that, another tumor was discovered on my brain, which was somewhat of a blessing I think, it was realitivly small, and they were able to remove it with gamma knife radiation at the same time they were doing gamma knife radiation on the area of the tumor which was already removed. I know this is alot of information, but it does go along with “The God of all Comfort.” God has proven over and over to me, that He is the God of all comfort!

    Sometimes, recently, I have gotten a little discouraged, especially when they found the second tumor on my brain, but I liked a comment I read here somewhere just today, perhaps God misses me! What a comfort to know that He even would, because I have been the “thief,” the prodical, the wayward son, but now because of Him, I am beloved, dearly loved, pursued, missed! I can’t thank Him enough for all His goodness to me.!

    I heard a woman say here once, that she taught her children how to live well, and at this time she was dying, and she said, now, I am teaching my children, how to die well! I don’t know that we know exactly where we are, living or dying or in the shadow of death, but her comment was a great one, let us live well, or die well, and please the one who loves and “misses” us…thanks for your words of encouragement always!
    Fellowsojourner.

    1. Fellowsojourner

      Thank you for sharing your journey with us. When I ask God to bless all my blog sisters that includes you also. You are an example of courage under fire. Your wind blows my sails.

    2. Dear Fellowsojourner, you have been through so much. I’ve missed you, too. I’m going to pray each day, for you. Love to you, sweet sister in Christ

  42. Fellowsojourner, We miss you so! You are one with an enlarged soul. You have tasted catastrophic news often, and God has been glorified in your postings, and I have been encouraged by you in the midst. So good to hear from you again! Hope you can come back and study with us!

  43. I have a praise! I found the money that i had lost! and didnt think i would ever find!

    1. Meg, I am so glad that you found the money. What a relief!!

  44. Dee

    Do i have to do anything for sunday like sign up or anything or will it be right on your website like this one?

  45. I want to thank you for praying for me and the situation with the young mother and the adoptive family. Sad to say, the mother did choose to parent her child, which makes me so concerned for this little baby. The family of course is grieving, but they responded well to the devastating news, thinking about the mother and what she must be going through.
    Nothing new on Shelly–I am in it for the long haul with her. I really appreciate all the words of encouragement and prayers.

    1. Thanks for sharing that news….I will remember to pray for the baby and mother and the brokenhearted couple that thought they were going to have the baby:) Also for Shelly

  46. Since reading Rebecca’s comments on ‘sitting shiva’ I realized that my current caregiving assignment is a form of ‘sitting shiva’ for my client is married to a man who is an older version of my ex-husband. In fact as I was leaving this morning he verbally attacked me and as I walked to my car I reminded myself I wrestle not with flesh and blood. It hurts to provide care for someone in an atmosphere of resentment but I was reminded in my devotion this morning that I am chosen to suffer for Jesus’ sake. Abuse is such an insidious tool of the enemy and I get so frustrated when people don’t want to admit such things occur. Anyway, after I walked my dog I poured out my heart and I prayed for each one of you. Focusing on all of you reminded me I am part of a special community. Pray for me as I face the spiritual wickedness everyday and as I minister to my client with physical care. Most importantly I want to shine our Savior’s light in that dark place.
    I think true ‘sitting shiva’ is only possible when you have tasted the same kind of pain of the one you are ‘sitting shiva’ with.

    Think about an image from creation that spoke to you this summer, that spoke to you of the majesty and wisdom of God-share it here.

    As y’all know I live just 50 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and get to see it monthly. I also have a pet who brings me much joy. However, it was a tiny flower that spoke to me one morning recently as I walking my dog Meatball. I was meandering along and spotted something white in the greenery at the wall of the property I was walking behind. As I got closer to take a look I saw one lone white flower shaped as a cross or a X depending on how I held it between my fingers. I instantly thought of Jesus’ death on the cross and how he loves us so. That one lone flower is now joined by a chorus of many proclaiming the majesty/wisdom of our creator. Such intricate detail for a flower that is here but such a short season. As Jesus asked, “Why do you worry?….See the lilies of the field. Solomon didn’t look as good they do.” (My paraphrase)

    1. Tammy, I forget what the Lord said sometimes and worry anyway…thanks for the reminder! Bless you!