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CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED AT HIS COMING

THERE ARE RICH PARALLELS BETWEEN WEDDINGS IN BIBLICAL DAYS

AND THAT GREAT DAY WHEN CHRIST COMES FOR US

 

THE FATHERS WOULD BARGAIN OVER THE BRIDE PRICE


FROM "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" COURTESY OF FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

 

THEN A BETROTHAL TOOK PLACE, A PERMANENT COMMITMENT

BEFORE THE SON WOULD GO AWAY TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR HIS BRIDE

 

FROM "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" COURTESY OF FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

 

 

ADDING A ROOM TO HIS FATHER’S HOUSE

WHEN THE FATHER SAID ALL WAS READY

 

FROM "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" COURTESY OF FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

 

 

THE SON WOULD COME IN A GLAD PROCESSIONAL

AND A SHOFAR HORN WOULD BLOW

AND HIS BRIDE WOULD KNOW

MY BRIDEGROOM IS RETURNING FOR ME

 

FROM "THAT THE WORLD MAY KNOW" COURTESY OF FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

 

 

EVERY BRIDE WANTS TO BE BEAUTIFUL

FOR HER BRIDEGROOM

TO DELIGHT HIM

TO BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED ON THAT GREAT DAY

 

Dee’s Mother

 


IT IS HARD FOR US TO IMAGINE

HOW WE COULD EVER BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED

WHEN OUR HEAVENLY BRIDEGROOM RETURNS

YET 1 JOHN 2:26 HOLDS OUT EXACTLY THAT HOPE

 

THE WEDDING GARMENT IS SYMBOLIC

OF THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WE ARE GIVEN

WHEN CHRIST BETROTHS US

IN A PARABLE JESUS TOLD, THE GUEST

WHO TRIED TO COME TO THE BANQUET

WITHOUT A WEDDING GARMENT

WAS CAST INTO OUTER DARKNESS

 

WE CAN BE SO THANKFUL CHRIST PAID OUR BRIDE PRICE

AND COVERED US WITH HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS

FINE LINEN WHITE AND CLEAN

 

FOR THOUGH OUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET

THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW

AND WHEN WE  CONFESS OUR SINS

HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US

AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS

 

WE KNOW HE IS PREPARING A PLACE

WE KNOW HE WILL RETURN

HE SAID, “IF IT WERE NOT TRUE, I WOULD HAVE TOLD YOU.”

ONE DAY A TRUMPET WILL SOUND…



JOHN TELLS US HOW TO BE READY

HOW TO BE CONFIDENT AND UNASHAMED

AT HIS COMING

 

In my studyguide on 1 John, “A Woman of Beauty,” I show how this amazing letter is like a great orchestral symphony, tying together three related themes of truth, light, and love. These themes, as in a musical piece, ebb and flow into one another, strengthening one another, building, creating a masterpiece. You also cannot separate them. If you truly believe Christ is who He says He is, if you truly know Him, then you will walk in the light, then you will love your brother — because His seed is in you, and that is how He is.  Reflecting on these three themes will also help you grow into a beautiful bride who is confident and unashamed at His coming.

Yet our tendency is to forget the wonder of our Bridegroom, as Jeremiah said:

Does a maiden forget her jewelry,

a bride her wedding ornaments?

Yet my people have forgotten me,

days without number.

Jeremiah 2:32

 

John urges us to “continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.” (1 John 2:28) How do we “continue in him?”

We continue in His truth by staying in the Word, allowing it to penetrate our hearts. This last week you gave me good input and I long to be helpful to you. Lord willing, I will post weekly, and I think you would be wise to do a little each day. (I’ll give suggested days, but you must determine what is best for you.) David has shaded my comments, but at this time, he cannot shade all of the latest comments so I suggest if you want everyone to see your comment, to put it at the end. I’ve shortened the lessons as many of you are in other studies.

We continue in His light by turning from the darkness as soon as we see it and, in faith, turn to the light. Elizabeth provided a wonderful model for us last week and I will review that in this lesson and ask you to incorporate it into your own life.

We continue in His love by practicing His presence, not forgetting Him, but allowing Him to guide us in each interaction and to open our eyes to our brothers in need. Truth and light culminate in love and the “new commandment” which Jesus pronounced at the last supper when time was running out. Important things are said when time is running out. I know that. I was at the death beds of my father, husband, and mother — and important things were said. Time is running out for John — and he is also remembering what Jesus said when time was running out for Him. This lesson is important. Go slowly, breathe it in, and put it into practice.


SUNDAY/MONDAY (Read the opening, do the ice-breaker, the review, and get the sermon or sermons downloaded on your Ipod or computer so you are ready to listen when a time is good. This week the best fit is:

Loving and Growing Part I by Tim Keller: Link

A free sermon that is related more to our last week’s study, but is excellent is: Link

ICEBREAKER:

As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?


What comments do you have on the opening and why?


Review

1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?

 

2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

3. DON’T FORGET:

A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4

B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.

C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.

 

BIBLE STUDY AND APPLICATION (TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY)


4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.

It should give you confidence that if Christ is in you, that you will continue to grow. When a child is born, he or she is an eternal life. Nothing can change that. Likewise, a seed that has been planted will grow. You may not be able to see it when it is beginning, but it is growing.  He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. Your responsibility is what Larry Crabb calls  “dependent responsibility.” Turn from the darkness and to the light. Read carefully what Elizabeth wrote last week in her take-a-way:

I love what Dee said-“We do have a responsibility to hear well — and that means repentance and faith — I see the repentance as turning from the darkness and the faith as turning toward the light.”

I asked myself what does that look like in my life right now? Repent of the criticism, bitterness, un-forgiveness I feel towards others. And the faith part—trust my newly exposed heart in His care. When I let down my guard, I’m more vulnerable—trust Him in faith—seek Him, rest in Him.

I’ve been thinking about what a heart of flesh looks like—the soft, tender, play-dough-ness of it.
In his sermon on Ezekial 36, Spurgeon says hearts of flesh “repent even at the very thought of sin” , he also says, “The heart of flesh says—‘Thou know’st I love thee, dearest Lord, But oh! I long to soar Far from this world of sin and woe, And learn to love thee more’

I think, a fleshy heart is teachable, tender to God’s leading, sits shiva with those who hurt. A fleshy heart repents, and a fleshy heart gives grace because it is so aware of the immense grace it has received. A fleshy heart sees God’s gifts poured out around us and is thankful.

I think on these things and I’m reminded of the parts of my heart that are still stone. I am still quick to hold a grudge with certain people, to want to make them pay for an offense, instead of taking it on myself. I am still quick to anger and criticism. And so back to repentance. Letting Him chisel hurts at first—I so often cling to my self-righteousness. But, Schaeffer said, we are called to love even when it costs us something, for me, it is usually my pride. But He is FAITHFUL. I’ve seen Him work patiently in me–my heart towards my mom has changed so much, I have even found myself missing my her since she went back home!

I remind myself this Truth: “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

5. Now — and this is the most important part of this study, I want you to be still before God and ask Him what turning from the darkness in repentance and toward the light in faith looks like in your life. You may want to think about this in terms of an idol or a particular relationship. But make a plan and ask God to help you live into it all week. What is it?

 

6. There are three things that John urges believers to remember, to “not forget!” Keller gives us the alliteration of  POSITION, POWER, AND PERSON.

A. Find the Position in 1 John 2:12 and comment on how this can strengthen you.

 

B. Find the Power in 1 John 2:13b (b means the second part of the verse) and comment on how you have experienced this power.

 

C. Find the Person in 1 John 2:13a and comment on any way you have experienced intimacy with this Person in the last week.

 

7. Important things are always repeated, which John does in 1 John 2:13c through 14. Find the Position, Power, and Person again.

 

THE SERMON (Thursday, Friday)

8. in Keller’s message Loving and Growing Part I, what did you learn about:

A. How we can know our sins are forgiven?

B. How children are, and how Jesus responded to the disciples when they were like children in the storm:

C. Keller gives insight on what John means when he tells young men that “the word of God” lives in them so they have the power to overcome sin. What does Keller say “the Word of God” means and on what basis does he say that?

D. What else stood out to you from this sermon and why?

E. How might you remember these things, value these things, so that you can become a beautiful bride?

 

9. If you listened to the free sermon, what stood out to you from that and why?

 

TAKE-AWAY (SATURDAY)

10. Look back at your answer to question 5. How are you doing?

 

11. WHAT DID GOD IMPRESS UPON YOUR HEART THIS WEEK AND WHY?

 

COMING UP!

NEXT WEEK WE WILL GET TO KNOW OUR BLOGGER TERRI!

IN NOVEMBER, WE’LL BE DISCUSSING A MOVIE! WISH WE COULD ALL GATHER AND WATCH TOGETHER, BUT WE CAN WATCH SEPARATELY AND DISCUSS TOGETHER!

My daughter and I watched what I think may be the best movie I’ve seen in years!

The Tree of Life

 

It so relates to the study we did on The God of All Comfort and to our current study of The Stonecutter. I want to assign it to you and have us discuss it mid-November. It will be out on Redbox and Netflix by November 8th inexpensively. When I speak on the close of Job, I do visuals — but oh! I have never seen the end of Job done so well. And the whole story is captivating and will lead to such rich discussion. The father in the story has a deep idol of power, and there is so much of value  to ponder and discuss. Sally and I had a rich discussion, and I know we will too — because you are wonderful women who bring so much to the table.

So plan to rent it come November — and watch it sooner if you like!

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312 comments

  1. What comments do you have on the opening and why? This really encourages me to press on! Also i have see the 1 John 1:9 lived out in the last month.. especially clease us from all unrightousness

    FOR THOUGH OUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET

    THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW

    AND WHEN WE CONFESS OUR SINS

    HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US

    AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS

  2. Review

    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John? Truth, Love and light

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

    Vs 7 Love : Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard.

    V8 Truth: Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. I see the light in this one too.

    Vs 9-10: Light: Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister[a] is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister[b] lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.

  3. Can’t wait to get started! I SO wanted to see that movie, and am really looking forward to it now!

  4. I’m coming in from behind, but I just finished reading Schaeffer’s Mark of a Christian this morning!

    What does Schaeffer say the mark of a Christian is – and why?

    The mark that distinguishes a Christian is love; love for other true Christians, and love for unbelievers, too. This is not a symbol, like wearing a cross or the fish sign on your car. This is the kind of love that has something behind it, something the world can see. And the standard is the love that Jesus exemplified when He was on the earth and still exemplifies today.

    When we disagree with one another, what does Schaeffer say will be remembered in ten or twenty years from now?

    The lack of love and the bitter things that are said in the midst of differences. “These stick in the mind like glue”. “It is these unloving attitudes and words that cause the stench that the world can smell in the church.” That was hard – how often have I been “a stench” to those in my own family?

    What stood out to you?

    I always though that apologetics meant to be able to debate and explain issues of doctrine (and I’m not real good at that). But Schaeffer said that Jesus gave the “final apologetic” and that it is the observable oneness among true Christians, and how well we love. So through prayer and appealing to the Spirit for help, we should all be great apologists for the faith! This hits me because I surely have those in my family who do not want to listen to a Bible verse quoted to them, or an explanation of some doctrinal issue; I have to turn off the Christian radio station when they are around because it annoys them. I wish I could say I’ve done a great job at loving and forgiving and always being first to say I’m sorry but I have not. This is very convicting for me, especially with my husband. It’s much easier for me to approach my children humbly and say I am sorry and ask for forgiveness than it is for me to do this with him.

    When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we are asking the Lord to open to us the experiential realities of fellowship with Himself as we forgive others. “Many Christians rarely or never seem to connect their own lack of reality of fellowship with God with their lack of forgiveness to men.” Again, what a convicting statement for self-examination.

    What else struck me was that John 13:33-35 is a command but since it is a command, it can be violated. It is possible to be a Christian without showing the mark. But how much we lose when we choose not to obey this command! And that Jesus gave the world the right to judge whether we are Christians based on what they see us doing.

    Love without holiness is compromise. Holiness without love is harshness.

    Schaeffer stressed that we must write about and talk about these things. It was a difficult read but definitely ties in with what we are learning here.

    1. Susan, I agree..this is so rich-you have such a beautiful teachable heart. I have seen this: ‘Holiness without love is harshness.’ I have seen some of this harshness in the body at our new church in certain areas-yet I also see this harshness in myself-mostly with my oldest son, and that breaks my heart that I am that way! I am perceiving from the Lord that perhaps He is bringing this to the surface this week for me.

    2. Love your honesty Susan, as always. I related too about it being harder to ask forgiveness with some than others–especially when we feel we have been hurt so much.

  5. I just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful, encouraging, and loving comments about me..and thank you for your prayers. Elizabeth and Rebecca, thank you for the scrpiture! I feel like all of you truley meant what you said from your heart. I have a really hard time excepting nice comments from people becasue i think theyy are just saying it to be nice to me. But i really felt your ladies were telling the truth from your hearts. Thank you!

    Love you All~!

    1. Meg, Love you too, sister!

    2. oh sweet Meg, I relate to your struggle to accept compliments. But I value honesty so highly, that I try to never say something nice that I don’t sincerely mean–that said, I meant every word I said to you. You are a gift to us, and your courage and perseverance has ministered to me so much.

      1. Thank you sweet Elizabeth!!

  6. Just looked at Time Warner Cable’s movies on demand and The Tree of Life is listed as new-so we can watch it today! We might watch it today, but I will hold off on commenting if we do. I will have to write down my thoughts afterward most likely! So excited!! 🙂

  7. I also wanted to share a little bit of our sermon from this morning.

    A heart blinded by the corruption of sin will not respond to the light of the Gospel. I believe this was me up until a month ago.. I was so much in sin that i was havign a hard time respondng to the light of the Gospel.

    If there is darkness in spiritual life it is not the fault of light but the Unbelief that blinds the heart.

    Then he shared this verse JOohn 8:12

    When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

    I thought this went so well with what we are studying and just wanted to share!

      1. yay, Meg!! Isn’t it exciting to hear God affirming what He has illuminated in the word to you?? He is really showing Himself to you. Love it! 🙂

        1. Rebecca!!! It is soooooo exciting!

  8. Meg, isn’t it so cool how God does that! I had the same experience only from a different part of the study. Ours was about growth and how you plant bulbs and wait the long cold winter for them to come up. I think I have found my new church home. God spoke so lovingly to me in all of the songs and in the message, for I went with a very heavy heart for Joseph. The biggest thing was that he went willingly to that church. That was an answer to prayer for direction.

    Dee, I love the pictures. Especially the one of your mother. It is big enough that we can see her face and she is indeed beautiful. How blessed you are to have that picture!

  9. ICEBREAKER: As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?
    The picture of Dee’s mom is breathtaking. I am amazed at how much you look like her, Dee—the smile, eyes…stunning.
    Parallels:
    The payment—this part has always made me uncomfortable. I think it devalues the woman that she is bargained over. Then I thought of Christ’s payment for us, and how it is the reverse—we are given a value we do not deserve, beyond measure, bought by the blood of Christ.

    The preparation-He prepares a room for us in His Father’s home. I have always loved that picture in my mind.

    The garment. I never fully got that parable until Dee’s studies. We do not have the proper attire without Christ. We are not welcome, not allowed, without Him. But His blood shed for me, coats me in righteousness, and my dress gleams white. I am not only accepted but wanted, welcomed, a guest of honor…because of Christ.

    The trumpet—loved this part! I did not know about the trumpet played before the wedding, and of course the glorious trumpet we will hear on the day He returns!

    What comments do you have on the opening and why?
    This stood out to me: “Does a maiden forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. Jeremiah 2:32”
    I thought about the nightmares I have truly had of walking out the door without clothes, or similar things! I thought about my wedding day, and how nothing would have allowed me to go down the aisle without every detail of make up, my family heirloom veil in the correct place…even if guests had to wait, the wedding would never start until I was ready. Oh yes, I would have been embarrassed to have been exposed before I was ready.
    But what am I forgetting now? For the most important day of my life?
    The “jewelry”, the “makeup”, the “heirloom veil” is my heart. Am I soaking in His Word? Am I repenting of my smallest sin, seeking forgiveness, granting forgiveness? Am I truly loving, even when it hurts?

  10. what really striked me as I read this was the total lack of control the woman had on ANYTHING in the wedding/betrothel process. the only only thing she did have control over was herself and how she was prepared for the groom. She could not help build the room, she did not know when he would come, it was all out of her control…this really speaks to my control freek heart. It is such a wonderful picture and it makes me WANT to give up control and just prepare my heart for my bridegroom:)

  11. ICEBREAKER:

    As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?

    Wow, I love Elizabeth’s insight into the reverse of the bride price. So good! To think Jesus paid the highest price for me-the price he paid is unfathomable, I am a worm-yet He valued me so that He gave His life for me to adorn me in His wedding garment! Undeserved Mercy and Grace poured out on me. It blows me away, and I am so thankful.

    Not only did he buy me with His blood, he is preparing a room for me in God’s home. I can’t imagine! I think it will be home-I can’t imagine perfect-to be perfect in worshiping Him, to be perfectly content, sin free, and finally really home, One with Him as I am now, yet perfect. I can’t imagine not needing my Bible anymore. 🙂

    I can see Him coming for me in celebration as the picture shows with pomp and circumstance blowing on the trumpet. I won’t be coming to Him, as we do in our weddings today, rather he will be coming to me! I long for that day.

    What comments do you have on the opening and why?

    I too have always loved that picture of Dee’s mother. She is glowing and beautiful. Yes, Dee you do look like her!
    The garment she is wearing almost looks perfect. She has the flowing veil and the headpiece is like a princess’ crown. She looks ready.

    That is how I want to be when He comes, like that picture of Dee’s mom, radiant and ready. Hebrews 12:1-3 comes to mind: ” Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

  12. Icebreaker: As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?

    I see a processional of some sorts, where people are following Jesus as He comes to gather us. There is loud music to announce His approach. I can’t seem to see parallels between the bartering between the dad and the bridegroom though; maybe between Jesus and us? Not necessarily bartering though, but answering Jesus’ questions of us. We typically don’t live with our parents nowadays, but who knows, in this economy things may change back to that way for our kids. Not sure I like that!

    I LOVE the picture of Dee’s mom!!!!! How beautiful she is. My mom has some pictures like that as well. It’s a matter of finding them though. She lives with my brother now and most of her stuff is in storage. It makes me sad. I try to go and offer my help to clean it out but no one else is interested and I need help. One day, right?

  13. 1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?

    Dee, can you remind my menopausal brain where I can find the information to answer this question? I don’t seem to remember an “orchestral” theme from last week.

    And yes, Elizabeth’s parallels are great. I sometimes feel so inadequate in this study. I feel like the Bible has these “read between the lines” passages and I don’t seem to be able to understand. I am a “plain” woman; I need things spelled out for me. I think that must be why I don’t like poetry!

      1. Thanks Dee! I appreciate your patience with me 🙂

    1. Laura-dancer,
      Just wanted to encourage you–I can feel inadequate in this study too, but it helped me to just remind myself this time is really between me and the Lord–that’s what I’m here for, to grow in Him–and He sees me perfect in Him. I truly believe Satan tries to attack with the lie that we are somehow too inadequate, or less than…and that hinders our fellowship if we listen to it.
      I always enjoy your questions and honesty, so thankful you are here.

      1. Thanks for your encouragement Elizabeth 🙂

        I have had a very hard two weeks at work plus my older son came back home to live. The family dynamics have changed and I am a bit overwhelmed with my life right now. When I come to Bible study I feel like I don’t have “good” answers and that I’m not understanding the point of things, so then I get frustrated. I am glad I have made a routine time to do my study even if I can’t do it well. I think just being with God is important. I have read the Bible more this year than I ever have in my life, so that’s good too. Please pray for peace in my life (Sarah seems happy and focused for the time being – this is good)

  14. Review

    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?

    Truth-must know Jesus, walking in the light, and Loving others.

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

    When you know Jesus, His life is in you and therefore we won’t desire to walk in darkness, because His seed is in us. We should be turning from walking in darkness to walking in light regularly, and growing more and more into the likeness of Jesus. As we do this we will love others as Jesus loves. When we do walk in darkness, we won’t like it.

    3. DON’T FORGET:

    A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4

    Jesus is God, He was from the beginning, Jesus is the word-He is touchable, knowable, He is the life of God and He came to give eternal life to those who believe. He came to die for us so that we could be one with Him and He could live in and through us.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.

    God is light-there is no darkness in God at all so if we claim we are in fellowship with Him yet we practice sin or walk in darkness we lie and are not in fellowship with Him, but if we walk in the light then we have fellowship with him and one another. Yet we can’t say we do not sin-if we do then we lie and that is dangerous because then we won’t see a need to turn and we will continue walking in darkness. So, we must confess our sins-turn from darkness to light and continue walking in the light.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.

    We know we know Jesus when we obey Him-when we obey Him we become more like Him and God is love-the more we become like Him the more we love others-the more we love others the more radiant we become like Him-His radiance shines through us onto others and His fragrance spills all around us. Others will see Him-our lives will be walking Gospels-His light will pierce the darkness in and through us.

    This may be a tangent again, a real one, 😉 But I was on the other side before I came to know Jesus and saw a walking talking Gospel through my brother Jim. I saw Jesus’ love in Him. That was really what impacted me the most. He used to be harsh toward me and sarcastic all my life-instead he loved me-his responses were different toward me when I was being foolish-that had to have been so hard for him to love me-believe me if you looked up ‘fool’ in a dictionary my picture would be there! He even held my hand and apologized for something he said that was thoughtless-I knew this love wasn’t of Him and I found out it was of God when I saw Him reading his Bible.

      1. Love that quote-so true. I was reading my brother. I couldn’t even understand the Bible-I recall it was a huge mystery when I tried to read it.

  15. As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?

    The Payment- this part has always made me feel uncomfortable as well.

    Preparing a place- He is going to prepare a place for us in his fathers house.

    The Garment

    The trumpet- the sound of a trumpet will sound when he is coming back.

  16. 3. DON’T FORGET:

    A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4 : Jesus is God, he is from the beginning he is knowing,touchable, He came to give us eternal life, OUr fellowship is with GOd and his son Jesus Christ

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2. God is light, there is no darkness in him at all. If we say we know him, yet sin we are liars and the truth is not in us. We are to turn from the darkness into the light by confessing and repenting and continue to walk in the light.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11. We know we know Jesus when we keep his commands and come to know him better, the more we love him the more we will love others, and the more we love others the more radient we will become.

  17. ICEBREAKER

    As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus’ day and that great day when He returns?

    Each picture in the above opening is sort of like a pictorial timeline of how we are waiting for Jesus to come! The first picture I can imagine representing the Father and the Son discussing their plan to “purchase the bride” – for Jesus to come from heaven and die on the Cross to purchase salvation for all. The next two pictures can parallel what Jesus told His disciples, that He is preparing a place for us (“In My Father’s house are many rooms…I am going there to prepare a place for you.”) Then comes the picture of the Bridegroom’s return for his bride; a trumpet shall sound.

    The picture of Dee’s mother is almost ethereal – stunning, beautiful. Dee, you’ve posted pictures of yourself like when you and Steve were dating, and you look like your mom!
    We are not, of course, sitting around all dressed up waiting for Jesus to come back, but to think that we will be having an ordinary day, wearing our ordinary clothes, yet when He comes and sees us, to Him we will look like the glorious bride in the picture! It will be His righteousness and the love we have in our heart for Him and the things we are doing out of love for Him that will weave together to be our bridal garment.

    I just read Elizabeth’s post above on the bride price. It is helping me to see this in a deeper way. The father’s in those days hashed-out a price, what the daughter was worth. Money? Flocks, herds, servants, some precious perfume? They determined the worth.
    Elizabeth said, “We are given a value we do not deserve”. God said we are of such value that the price must be the life of His only Son. I can only ponder this; it’s hard to even understand, to grasp it.

  18. Review
    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?
    Truth-who Christ is;
    Light-our calling to be in fellowship with Him;
    Love-walking as He did

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

    This is a new command to love one another in that we now have the Truth of Jesus, the power of the Gospel, to truly be able to love. The truth of Christ in us (v.8), allows us to walk in the light of fellowship with Him, equips us to love one another out of His power.

    3. DON’T FORGET:
    A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4
    He is from the beginning, before the creation of the world. He is the Word. He is God’s Son. He is Eternal Life.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.
    God is light, there is no darkness in Him at all. Our responsibility is to confess sin, to trust in Jesus for our atonement.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.

    The mark that we know Him is that we obey and we walk like Jesus.
    It is an old command, to love one another. But also new, because here we are given the power to do it: the Gospel.
    We cannot claim to be walking in fellowship with Christ while at the same time not loving our brother. If we love one another, forgive, give grace—we are living like Christ. But if we harbor bitterness, un-forgiveness, anger towards another, we are in sin. And we are blinded from the Truth, we don’t know where we are going, but it is a downward spiral, “he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him” (v 11)

  19. What comments do you have on the opening and why?

    Thinking about what Jesus talked about with His friends when “time was running out”. What John chose to write down when time was running out.
    “Important things are said when time is running out”. How easily I am fooled into thinking that time will never run out; caught-up in the busyness and activities and all the things that vie for my attention every day. The weeks fly by and the things that really matter get sidetracked because of the “tyranny of the urgent”. I waste my time pursuing my idols. Conversations can be all too often centered on the here and now, staying on the surface level.
    Many mornings, when it is still dark, I wake up and feel afraid. I think of my 84 year old mom, who does not know Jesus. The soil of her heart is hard. I’ve tried to talk to her about the Lord. It seems an impossible situation. I fear time is running out.
    If I could only live every day with that in mind, that time is short; winter is coming. I think of Paul’s letters to Timothy and what he talked about because Paul knew his time was running out.

    This also stood out to me: We can be so thankful that Christ paid our bride price, and covered us with His righteousness. For though our sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow.
    No matter why I think my life is difficult or the little daily things that go wrong, I should give thanks every day for this one fact. This reminds me of Psalm 30:11-12, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.”

  20. REVIEW

    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?

    They are truth, light, and love.

    I’m thinking on this “orchestral” theme. We need to play the music. The Lord is the One who wrote the music, the Composer. Jesus played the music perfectly to give us an example. The Spirit teaches us and helps us to play. He convicts us when we are out of tune, playing in discord. I think of Paul writing about love, and saying that if we do all things but have not love, we are like a noisy gong, making an awful noise! So love is the theme running through the score.

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION
    See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see all of them related?

    John says, of the “new command” he is writing; that the truth of this new command is seen in Jesus and in you. It is seen because the darkness is passing and the true light (Jesus) is already shining. John goes on to say that loving your brother is living in the light.
    I see this being related in this way. We look at the truth of the gospel, the truth about Jesus Christ. In Him is truth, He is truth. We believe the truth about Jesus. We cross over out of darkness and into the light. Now we have the true light living on the inside of us so we can be lights shining in the darkness of our world. We remain in the light with Him when we love one another. Francis Schaeffer said that we can choose to violate the command to love, however. When we do that, we lose the light, we can’t see clearly anymore, we are blinded. We exchange the truth for a lie, we are no longer a light to the world, and the world has the right to judge us accordingly.

    1. wow Susan–love your “orchestral” tie ins–and this of Paul–“but have not love, we are like a noisy gong”. So good!

  21. I appreciate Dee’s appointed days, and I apologize for going ahead to 4& 5, I just felt, for myself, I needed to get my 5 “out there’ before I chicken out 😉

    4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.
    Children; fathers; young men

    5. Now — and this is the most important part of this study, I want you to be still before God and ask Him what turning from the darkness in repentance and toward the light in faith looks like in your life. You may want to think about this in terms of an idol or a particular relationship. But make a plan and ask God to help you live into it all week. What is it?

    I wanted to answer this today, so I am held accountable all week. Even if no one reads this, I know what I have committed to and it’s “out there” on paper!
    I was afraid of this question this week because there is a glaring area in my heart that still turns to darkness. I admit right now this is hard to share, even with you all. I judge myself very harshly already in this, so I do ask for grace—though undeserved. My relationship with one of my children is still filled with feelings of rejection (my side) and frustration…way too hard to explain all the details. On the surface, things look rosy, it’s just in me, inside, that I feel the heaviness and resentment.
    But I am hopeful, after seeing what He has done in my heart towards mom, that He will redeem this too. So, even harder than admitting that grossness to all of you, is the “plan”. This week, I will set aside one on one time every day—read at night like we use to, snuggle in bed…something like that. It’s been a drought lately and I’ve let it get weedy in that area of my heart. I know this may sound pathetic, un-mom-like, to many of you, but this is VERY hard for me. At the end of a long day, this one is really hard to “want” to hang out with—it is very draining, completely unlike my child who I so identify with—that one refuels me, this one drains. I feel myself glad the day is over and it’s bedtime. It’s that very moment I feel choosing not to walk in love. Not to give out of the overflow of my heart, to love—even when it hurts.

    1. Oh my, Elizabeth, did we write this at the same time?!? 😉 I am going through a similar struggle although a bit different-it may be because yours is a girl and mine is a boy? He doesn’t reject me, but I am feeling resentment toward him because he is irresponsible after we have labored to teach him responsibility, and on top of that he blames everything and everyone around him for it. It is a huge weed in his heart yet my weed is that I am not handling it in love and there is building resentment toward him-the worse is that I am trying to pull the weed out of his heart and that is God’s job. I am not trusting God with him. When I think of having resentment toward my own child it breaks my heart for several reasons, but most important because he may think Christianity isn’t real-that Jesus isn’t God’s son, if I don’t show Him love and Grace.

      1. so interesting Rebecca–our stories are very similar. The rejection is hard to describe here, not a blatant thing–but this is a very independent, strong willed child, a TON of subtle defiance, wanting to be in charge–so I feel rejection of who I am, if that makes sense…I just fear a weed of favoritism and resentment growing in me some day…I know that is of Satan, and Christ has come to pull this weed from my heart!
        praying for you and with you dear sister!

        1. Amen sister-indeed Jesus has come to pull this weed out of our hearts!

          Lord, Thank you that you have indeed come to pull our weeds out. Lord we ask that you would continue to convict us this week every time we are tempted to let Satan twist things, and to take personally our children’s strong willed temperaments. Drive us to our knees this week and Lord help us to keep ourselves open to you like a Lake this week and our hearts moldable and help us not to curl up around it and to run to anything else for comfort. Hold back Satan who will condemn this week and Lord remind us of the Gospel, of your atoning blood-remind us of your righteous white wedding garment you draped on us-you bought us with your life, and you are faithful-you will work this out in us, we just need to turn and walk in your light. Lord you are the gardener and cultivator of our souls, and we give this to you and trust you to work this out in us. In your precious and Holy name..

        2. I am “eaves-dropping” on your conversations, Elizabeth and Rebecca. Elizabeth, you are not being “un-momly” here; and you are truly seeking light in this area of your relationship with this child. It shows your play-dough heart to let God put His finger on this area!
          Thank you for being courageous to share this struggle with us, for honoring us with this.
          You too, Rebecca…I can’t think of any other area in my own life that produces more guilt than how I have mothered my children. I too have felt rejected by a child, have felt resentful toward one of them at times, have backed away emotionally from them. Definitely an area strewn with idols of wanting to control, wanting approval, wanting security from knowing they love me.

          I “amen” your prayer, Rebecca, and also Dee’s beautiful prayer, too.

        3. thank you Susan–your words mean so much. i still remember once you said one child was easier to connect with for you, or more like you–and that eased so much guilt for me. i know wallowing in shame is not where He wants me–but instead to be mold-able, teachable…I will never look at a can of playdough the same after this study 😉

      1. oh sweet Dee–how do you bring me to tears and a smile in one prayer? Thank you for these words–I am printing this prayer, with Rebecca’s. Aslan is working!
        loved this “You made her Meyers-Briggness” 😉

    2. WOW is God working in our hearts in the same way! and it does not sound un mom like at all. by night I am done! today I was done at 9am!!!! had to regroup, give myself a timeout and start all over again..*sigh*
      I really want to get back to reading the bible with the whole crew this week. but mostly i want to smile more and give more eye contact to my “hard” one. she talks all the time and I have started to just tune her out.
      but my time has to be mid-day or morning because I am just not capable of it after a really long day…perhaps some day I will grow enough to be able to snuggle in bed with them but for now snuggling and reading a book before they go to bed is all I have left, i give the bedtime to daddy.
      I love homeschooling but it is hard when you have a child that tries to demands all your attention when there are 4 others in the house…they have all had their “hard” times, its just Emmas turn. just one more way God is molding me into His image.
      I love your words at the end Elizabeth, they really challenge me!

  22. I am taking Elizabeth’s encouragement in regard to the heart analogy along with Dee’s encouragement to turn from Darkness in regard to my harshness toward my older son and walk in the light this week. Sisters I would like accountability.

    I have wonderful stones of remembrance though and God has encouraged me with those reminders! I repented this morning before God-well I lamented first, kind of wrestled with God, and then He reminded me that He is light and this attitude is dark and He can change that within me with His power-He reminded me of His blood, HE reminded me also I am not condemned-Jesus paid my price and His value is on me! God calmed me and gave me peace-I know it will be a process this week-but I am humbled He is going to change this in me. Normally, I apologize to my boys when I am harsh, but these past two weeks I have not. Rather I have said and thought recently, “The reason you all are not in control of yourselves is because I have shown you too much grace! I have been too kind! So, I am going to be a mean mom and then maybe you will control yourselves and obey the first time I ask you to do something!” YIKES! CONTROL IDOL! 🙁

    On a side note-God’s sovereignty-I was taking prednisone for my pneumonia which added to my harshness-not an excuse by any means, but it was good because God used it to get my attention. I have been VERY moody and my husband noticed it. It is VERY unusual for me to be so blunt or black and white without regard for how it effects others in my family-my husband noticed it yesterday and asked what was wrong-that it is out of character for me. But it has been a week and I think it is exiting out of my system. Yet God has turned on the light to the control idol lurking within, and my son’s communication with me has also turned on the light-how he feels about what I said or how hard I am on him in regard to responsibility. Praise God I am hearing Him! The first step! And now repentance and I want to walk in the light this week.

      1. Amen, Dee! They are challenging indeed! When you told the story of John sneaking out the window when he was going through that rebellious phase, oh my! If my oldest did that, I would have a heart attack! Yet, I remember when your sweet friend told you to love Him..That was powerful for me. I can’t help but think God knew that I would struggle with control and gave me four boys to help me learn to love, as well as to rest in Him. 🙂

    1. it grieves my heart when i think of how harsh i was with my oldest, he had ADD and nearly pushed me over the edge! but God has been so faithful and he is an amazing man of God now….pray pray pray:) and change but dont beat yourself up either!
      and by the way…prednazone does the same thing to me! your not crazy!!

      1. Cyndi, I think my oldest HAS pushed me over the edge! 🙂 J.k.- not yet, but you really encouraged me. I admit, I did think I was crazy for a while. I couldn’t figure out why I felt like atilla the hun all of a sudden. 🙂

    2. Rebecca, you have such a great point here. It is like walking a tight rope trying to balance grace and truth. We can be too ‘nice’ in that we deliver our children from the consequences of their behavior and harsh when we try to control behavior from without.

      1. Anne, I wanted to respond but couldn’t find it! 🙂 You are right and I admire you as a mom by the way. Yours are older and I am learning a lot from you sister.

        1. Oh Rebecca, there is so much that I wish I had done differently. I hope that I have learned from those mistakes. I think you and Elizabeth would be blessed if you visit Ann’s blog today.

  23. As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns? I absolutely love that picture of your mom on her wedding day. It is so elegant. I loved the picture of the fine linen so white. Also, Loved those pics from Focus. I love how Jewish weddings parallel the wedding we will have with the Lamb! Our King. Love it so much!

    What comments do you have on the opening and why? I just cannot wait for that day. We will all be so glorious because of HIM! I have always dreamed of my prince on a white horse coming to rescue me. I tried to make that my husband but it is not his place. It is Christ’s place and He will come for me (us) on that day with the trumpet blast. Amazing God put that in my heart before I realized who that rightful one was.

  24. As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?

    There’s a price that has to be paid by the groom for the bride.
    The groom prepares a place in his father’s house for his bride.
    There is a joyous celebration as the groom triumphantly enters to wed his bride.
    The bride is waiting, beautiful and pure.

  25. 1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John? Light, Truth, Love

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?
    light-v.8-11
    truth-v.7-8
    love-v.9-11
    3. DON’T FORGET:
    A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4 He was real. He was here. He is all!

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2. Walk in light.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11. We show we know Him. He is light. We must abide in Him.

  26. 1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John? Truth Light and Love

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?
    Verse 10 shows how all 3 work together: He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
    The Truth that if you Love your brother you will abide in the Light. All 3 blend, one into the other.

  27. A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4
    He is the Word of Life, the infinite Life of God, He was here as a living breathing person who could be seen, heard, and felt. He was one of us and He is God.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.
    In God’s light there is no darkness. We are called to be in His light but we have a sin problem (darkness). We have to admit to and turn away from our sin. Jesus who is our high priest will plead our case for us as He has already paid the penalty. God will forgive us and we will remain in His light.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.
    To love God and one another has always been the first and foremost commandment. If we don’t love we are stumbling around in the dark. A true believer loves and doesn’t block God’s love from others.

  28. I am fuzzy this morning after taking lots of pain medicine for headaches over the weekend and my answers were deleted after I forgot to fill in the required fields. Since I don’t have time to redo it all I will say that I see the parallels in the bride price, preparation and procession and appreciate the reminders to continue in Him. ~Sorry!

    1. oh Kim, so sorry for your pain–sounds miserable, are you better now? glad you came here so we can pray~

    2. Oh Kim, Will pray for you, and I am sure it wasn’t fun doing the answers and then accidentally deleting them, especially coming off a bad weekend with your health. Glad you were able to do them though-and you have the rest of the week! 🙂

    3. Praying Kim I hate bad headaches. So sorry.

      1. Praying Kim!

  29. Ladies I just wanted to share something.. I didn’t get a chance to don’t quiet time this morning somehong ce up and I had to go and take care of it and I wasn’t feeling right and wanting to spend time with the lord. I made myself spend about 30 minutes before my client came! This is exciting to me because a few months ago I could have skipped quiet times and not been bothered at all!! Praise be to God!!

    1. this is precious Meg–love His Spirit moving in you, calling you to Himself.

    2. Meg, That is so encouraging to hear He is quickening your heart. 🙂

    3. Good progress, Meg. PTL!

    4. Meg, you are so precious. Your comments always make me smile. I pray for you often.

    5. I am the same way Meg! In fact i need to get ready for work right now and I can’t seem to stop reading the posts to learn more!!!

  30. Had time so I went ahead with the sermon section! As usual great stuff.

    8. in Keller’s message Loving and Growing Part I, what did you learn about:

    A. How we can know our sins are forgiven? Something from outside has come into you and messes with you. Not just your power or planning. Something has come in from the outside and starts remaking and changing you and you can tell.

    B. How children are, and how Jesus responded to the disciples when they were like children in the storm: Deals with their childishness. Responds to their little faith. Loves and works with what they got. Responds to the faith. He will never ignore our little tap tap tap at His door. He will lead us to full maturity. He knows it takes time. He works with us.

    C. Keller gives insight on what John means when he tells young men that “the word of God” lives in them so they have the power to overcome sin. What does Keller say “the Word of God” means and on what basis does he say that? The Holy Spirit comes and lives in you. All that power gives us power to overcome. Word of God and Spirit of God is interchangeable. Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth therefore it comes into your life makes truth vitality.

    D. What else stood out to you from this sermon and why? We devalue Him and what He has done when we say we cannot change. That Christianity has stages/children

    E. How might you remember these things, value these things, so that you can become a beautiful bride? Try to remember. Pray and ask God to help us remember. Keep a God perspective. Stay in reading the word. Keep cultivating personal communion with God.

  31. I feel the same way Meg, if I don’t get time to spend with the Lord, Praise God he is convicting you!

    Kim, I will pray for your headaches to leave you, for good!

    All you wonderful mother’s of challenging children, I identify with you so much. Over the week-end we got to see my 9 mo. old step grand son, they are from another city (Lincoln), kinda far away, but the whole time I was holding, loving him up, Kendra was jealous and even hit me in the back pretty hard. We where all pretty shocked with her attitude and bad looks at me and slamming her door and just being naughty. I don’t know what to do, but just ignore it, but then got up to go spend alittle time with her, while they were still here and tell her how much mommy loves her, but just don’t like the way she acts sometimes. She acts so sick of me at times and then acts this way. Hard to figure, but I just give it to the Lord. She is mentally challenged about 5 yrs and CP, so maybe I excuse it when I shouldn’t, but I don’t know what else to do.

    It’s so hard, and for about 3 months my husband hasn’t been able to watch her as he is busy with the rental house. So she goes everywhere with me, Thank the Lord, she has beed good at my bible study and Dr. visits fo me. It sure is the hardest job ever and I pray for all of you being challenged each day, with more than just one child! I love this study and keep reading and praying for everyone.

    Dee, I’ve seen the picture before of your mother in her wedding gown and kept it to remind me of how beautiful I will be when Jesus comes for me:) I love it and it reminds me of you, Dee..

    1. Joyce, that is SO HARD to decipher as to how to handle certain behaviors. Sometimes their sin nature comes out and sometimes it is their disability. yuk! But I love your dependency on the Lord and he definitely knows how hard it is to discern for you and to know what to do. So thankful we have hope! When a day goes bad, there is hope for tomorrow as God’s mercies and Grace are ever new. You are precious Joyce.

      1. Thanks Rebecca and Dee. It is kinda funny now. Jealousy is a sin, but she doesn’t understand that!

  32. I was looking up something I recalled keller said that was applicable, but instead found several great quotes on a website-I picked two that were so encouraging to me and applicable! I love the second one on selfless love.

    First quote: “The more you see your own flaws and sins, the more precious, electrifying, and amazing God’s grace appears to you. But on the other hand, the more aware you are of God’s grace and acecptance in Christ, the more able you are to drop your denials and self-defenses and admit the true dimensions and character of your sin. This also creates a new dynamic for discipline and obedience. First, the knowledge of our acceptance in Christ makes it easier to admit we are flawed because we know we won’t be cast off if we confess the true depths of our sinfulness. Second, it makes the law of God a thing of beauty instead of burden. We can use it to delight and imitate the one who has saved us rather than to get his attention or procure his favor. We now run the race ‘for the joy that is set before us’ rather than ‘for fear that comes behind us.” -Tim Keller introduction to Galatians.

    And lastly, this in regard to loving: “Jesus Christ, who had all the power in the world, saw us enslaved by the very things we thought would free us. So he emptied himself of his glory and became a servant. He laid aside the infinities and immensities of his being and, at the cost of his life, paid the debt for our sins, purchasing us the only place our hearts can rest, in his Father’s house… Knowing this will transform us from the inside out… Why wouldn’t you want to offer yourself to someone like this?”

    1. I think God is reminding me that HE gave up His glory to save me from my enslavement to things I thought would free me or satisfy me-How can I not offer myself sacrifically to my son like this-in other words give up my rights so to speak-or control..I mean, He is God and look what He gave up to save me from myself!! There is something there He wants me to hear in regard to directly applying this to my heart–it starts there and will spill out to my son perhaps but I don’t think I need to start out in regard to sacrificially ‘loving my son’-or necessarily focus on that. I think that is a symptom or layer of something deeper God is trying to reveal to me…Pray I listen..

    2. Rebecca–thank you for this–so good. the first one reminds me of one of the Prodigal Son sermons when he talks about following God becomes about “beauty instead of duty”…and oh, so thankful that He does indeed transform us, from the inside out!

  33. ICE-BREAKER

    Parallels between weddings in Jesus’ day and that great day when he returns?

    The bride’s father had to accept the proposal of the bridegroom before he agreed to give his daughter to him.
    Before the foundation of the world was laid God my Creator chose me to be betrothed to his son Jesus Christ.

    You did not choose me, but I chose you… John 15:16

    Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. I see this verse as a parallel to the bridegroom getting his bride as the shofar is being blown.

    Wedding Attire
    Isaiah 62:4 tells me that…”He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered with the robe of righteousness…as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

    1. wow Tammy–love the reference to John 15:16!

  34. I just want to thank you, Susan, for your summary of “Mark of a Christian”. Your words “Love without holiness is compromise. Holiness without love is harshness.” really touch me. They have very potent meaning for issues in my life and the lives of those I love.
    I was not able to get last week’s study, Dee. I had a very stressful and busy week. I am facilitating another study by Beth Moore on Esther as well so that takes time. I do so appreciate doing your study myself and reading the comments here as much as I have time. Thanks for letting me participate. I’ll try not to feel do guilty if I don’t get everything done.:)

      1. Thanks. I didn’t realize you had a guide on Esther. And I’ll try to check out Keller’s sermons as well, as I have time. The book of Esther is challenging and I could use all the help I can get. Do you know of any readable sermons or commentaries online (especially if they are free) that would be helpful?

    1. Thanks, Diane – those ideas that love without holiness is compromise and holiness without love is harshness are from Francis Schaeffer – I guess I should have put quotation marks around them! Perhaps you’ll have time later to go back and read it online; how are things going with your brother and sister-in-law?

      1. Thanks, Susan and Dee, for your input. I appreciate your asking about my brother and his wife. Without getting into too much, I have left a phone message and then emailed asking him to call. It has been more than two weeks and no response. In my email, I basically apologized for any way I had hurt him and asked him to call so we could talk. I have spent a lot of time speculating and worrying myself sick. This week I feel a bit better, realizing that I am not an awful person even if they think I am. I am beloved in Christ and, my conscience is clear that I have never intentionally or with malicious intent hurt him. I will continue to pray for them, that God will work in their hearts. They were very hurt at one church years ago and have stopped going anywhere. At this point, I plan to try to call again this weekend, but feel I cannot do much more if they do not want to forgive. I appreciate your ongoing concern and prayers.

        1. oh Diane, I will pray for there to be healing–family relationships hurt so deep when there is discord, I am so sorry–thankful you are reminding yourself of the Truth, will pray

        2. Diane–wanted to add too–there is a Keller sermon that has especially helped me with forgiveness–in addition to the Prodigal ones, called Forgiveness and Reconciliation. I believe it is free, he also has an article on it on the website.

        3. Thanks, Elizabeth. I appreciate your words, and prayers. I will try to listen to Keller’s sermon when I get a chance.

  35. Hope this isn’t off-topic, but we talk a lot of prayer, and Rebecca’s good quotes reminded of something I read from Keller last week called “Prayer and the Gospel”. It is a great article, but here was one thing I wanted to share:

    “we should always remember that the first thing we need is a new perspective on our needs and problems…On the one hand, we must “pray into” ourselves that the thing we are asking for is not our Savior or God or glory! But, (on the other hand) after we repent and refine our desire, we should “pray into” ourselves that God is our Father and wants to give us good things, so we can ask in confidence. Also, intertwined with our petitions should be praise and marveling that we are able to approach God, and be welcomed in Christ.
    This is gospel-centered prayer, rather than anxious petitioning. Our desires are always idolatrous to some degree, and when we pray without dealing with that first, we find our prayers only make us more anxious. Instead, we should always say, in effect, “Lord, let me see your glory as I haven’t before, let me be so ravished with your grace that worry and self-pity and anger and indifference melt away!”

  36. Thank you sisters for the kind words and prayers. I am finally headache free tonight. My mother suffered w/ headaches during menopause and I do as well.
    My hubby was kind and took special care of me-he always does. I was able to listen to the free sermon from Dr. Keller while taking it easy today. The sermon really helped and blessed me. Encouraged me that it takes time to become as spiritual as we want to become. I tend to want it all now but know God will complete the work He began in me.

  37. I was wondering why I didn’t get any emails today from the blog. I have been doing my lesson, but haven’t posted yet. hopefully by Wed morning i can do so. Worked a 13 hour day today, only posting now so I can get the emails.

  38. The three great themes of 1 John are truth, light, and love. We must know Him to be true; we must walk with Him in the light; we must love others as He loved.

  39. 2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

    1john 7: you have known the truth and you are shining the light.

    1 John 10: you are loving your brother and living in the light.

  40. A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4

    We have experienced Him with our senses.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.

    It is our job to walk as Jesus walked. We try to not sin; to walk in the light. But if we do sin, we have an advocate; Jesus.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.

    When we walk in the light we are “of” God.

  41. 4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.

    Children, Young men, and Fathers.

    5. Now — and this is the most important part of this study, I want you to be still before God and ask Him what turning from the darkness in repentance and toward the light in faith looks like in your life. You may want to think about this in terms of an idol or a particular relationship. But make a plan and ask God to help you live into it all week. What is it?

    I have an idol of control with my boys and God has brought that to light this week as I mentioned above.

    Yesterday, I also saw that I needed to repent to my oldest son and I did yesterday after school. I also spent some time listening to him and rubbing his feet because they were sore. It was awesome, but I do know this takes time and there are going to be times of challenge this week and so I want to be alert, and in prayer and I want to hear well in our study this week and in my time in the word.

    My plan is to spend more time listening to my oldest son and finding ways I can show him I love him. I can encourage him for the wonderful Christ like qualities I see in him and in his wonderful abilities as an artist-so detailed and creative he is, and encourage him in other ways. I have found most of the time in the past I walked in frustration with him for one flaw-his lack of responsibility and blameshifting, and that colored most everything and started bleeding into me even showing him love and grace. Yikes! I can continue to set boundaries and keep them and he can have consequences for his behavior, but I can do this in love.

    .

  42. A memory came to mind. My oldest has mild aspergers and Adhd and when he was on a t-ball team, he ran from first base to third and when the referee made him go back to second, he proceeded to engage in an argument with the referee as to why it makes more sense to run from first to third and why running through second doesn’t. I wonder if the ref was almost convinced by the time my son went back to second. 😉 He is still that way-he comes in from every angle and even upside down. That is part of what drives me crazy, but there is grace. My son has a heart for the downtrodden, those who are rejected by society, and for justice. I have seen God’s mercy toward others in and through him. It is beautiful. 🙂

      1. Oh Dee, thanks so much! I so covet this prayer! This morning was interesting as he didn’t do what I asked in getting ready on time for school, but I enacted natural consequences without getting frustrated. Oh my, this week will be interesting! 🙂

  43. Yesterday was busy but I did get to read comments. I don’t like to comment when I am rushed but sometimes if I wait I lose my train of thought.

    I do rejoice with Elizabeth and Rebecca. What glorious deep healing is happening here! You are both so beautiful.

    I have not had a chance to begin the lesson this week but sisters I need warfare prayer. My oldest son is going through much difficulty right now. I know that there is in him a desire for God but also a spirit of antichrist. It sounds weird but it is the warfare that is raging in him right now. Please pray for the defeat of the enemy within his heart.

    Oh and I had a chance to sit shiva with him last night. I didn’t say anything but just prayed. I don’t know if it helped him but my heart was calmed.

      1. I Jesus name I pray too, Anne

    1. Oh Anne, I am praying too!

    2. oh Anne–just saw this and I am joining in the prayers! Is this Joey? I’ve still been praying for him–will cover you all in my prayers. LOVE the example you are to me–sitting shiva with him–wow, that humbles me and blessed me–how powerful for him to have you pray over him, whether you could see it working or not, we know there is power in our our prayers.

      1. Exactly what I was thinking, Elizabeth. Prayer always helps!

    3. Anne, am praying for you sister.

      Oh God, our hearts are heavy for Anne and her oldest son-Lord we agree with Dee and ask that you would penetrate the dark places in her son’s heart-and yes that he would hear and not close up, but respond to you. Help him to see you Lord-open his eyes…

    4. Thank you all so much for praying. I knew your prayers would be more than I know to ask for. This is not Joey. It is my oldest who is 26. He had such a tender heart for the Lord and I know it has not changed, only hardened. I surely know how that happens.

    5. I have had to sit shiva with a couple of friends lately. It is difficult to bear the pain but rewarding to feel useful in their plight. I am sad for him (and my own young adult children as well) as they are far from God now too. I will pray for your son and other young people to stand up to the evil one even though they may not know they should.

  44. 4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.

    Children

    Fathers

    Men

    5. Now — and this is the most important part of this study, I want you to be still before God and ask Him what turning from the darkness in repentance and toward the light in faith looks like in your life. You may want to think about this in terms of an idol or a particular relationship. But make a plan and ask God to help you live into it all week. What is it?

    This might be a little much for some.. but it seems like i can go easlily three weeks and not be tempted or even think about masturbating and then after the three weeks its seems to pop up all the time.. one of the things is when i have pressure on my blatter seems to be when i do it the most. Please pray that i would get up and do something else if this temptation rises or CRY out to the Lord for help i want to remember what my pastor said on Sunday: “A heart blinded by the corruption of sin will not respond to the light of the Gospel.”

    It has been a really hard week already in this area and Praise the Lord i havent given in.. But please pray that this contunues and that i would turn from this and into the Light!

    1. Meg, this comment made me think of a song. I believe it is about sexual temptation. I think it will encourage you. It is catchy and I think you will remember it so that it can encourage you in times of temptation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m96MtNlMz8

      1. Meg, I posted too soon. This one is much better. Water pictures at the beginning and the rest is about the race you are running.

  45. 1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John? Truth, love and light.

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?
    Truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.
    Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble.

    Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4
    The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.
    God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
    If anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.
    As I obey his word, my love for God is truly made complete. This is how I know I am in Him. The darkness is passing and the true light is already shining as a child of God. I must love everyone and by this keep in the light.

  46. ICEBREAKER:
    As you reflect on the opening pictures on this post, what parallels can you see between weddings in Jesus day and that great day when He returns?

    We were bought with a great price. “You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

    What comments do you have on the opening and why?

    This bride price reminds me of its opposite, the dowry, where the bride brought money or possessions to the marriage. We cannot afford to pay the dowry to earn our forgiveness, so instead God pays the bride price of sacrificing His only Son to buy our redemption, buying us back from our slavery to sin.

    Review
    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?
    Life, love and truth

    2. CHALLENGE QUESTION: See if you can find all three of them in 1 John 2:7-11. How do you see them related?

    The new command given by Jesus is “love one another”. John 13:34, 35 says, 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Here in 1 John 2, John is further explaining; “its truth is seen in him,” (verse 8) and needs to be evident in us by our love for our brother or sister. This love shines like a light in the world to display Jesus.

    3. DON’T FORGET:
    A. The truth of Who Jesus is. Find truths about Him in 1 John 1:1-4

    He was a real person seen, and touched by John.

    He is God, the Word of life, who gives us eternal life. The Father and the Son are intimately related as one; and through faith we are also intimately in fellowship with the Father and the Son.

    B. The light we are called to and why. Describe God and our responsibility in 1 John 1:5 through 1 John 2:2.

    •It’s our responsibility to walk in the light. When we do we have fellowship with one another and Jesus’ blood purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
    •When we do sin, Jesus is our advocate with the Father. Jesus is the Righteous One, the atoning sacrifice for our sins.(1 John 2:1, 2)

    C. The love we must walk in and why. Summarize 1 John 2:3-11.

    If we know Him, we will keep His commands. If we don’t, we don’t really have the truth in us (vs. 4)
    “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.”(1 John 2: 6)

    This truth is a sign that the “darkness is passing and the true light is already shining.” Isn’t that an encouraging verse? It helps me see beyond the struggle against the darkness that I feel I am often losing, to the deeper cosmic battle that Jesus is winning. If we walk in Jesus’ light and love as he does, we won’t stumble in the darkness. (vs. 10)

  47. 4. Read 1 John 2:12-14 and find the three groups of people John addresses that show three stages of growth in the Christian life. List them.

    Dear children, fathers, young men
    Could someone explain Larry Crabb’s “dependent responsibility” more fully for me? I presume Dee has explained it before and that I missed it.

      1. Yes, that helps. I just wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss an important point by not understanding it. It’s like Elizabeth said, I need to “repent of the criticism, bitterness, un-forgiveness I feel towards others” and then in faith “trust my newly exposed heart in His care. When I let down my guard, I’m more vulnerable—trust Him in faith—seek Him, rest in Him.” This is what I need to do with my brother and his wife – be tender and repentant wherever necessary, but also assured that I can trust God and rest in Him for myself that I am forgiven and cleansed, and also for God to work in their lives as well. I cannot make things better, only God. I need to take responsibility for my part in the strained relationship but I must not let them off the hook for their part of the responsibility.

  48. 6. There are three things that John urges believers to remember, to “not forget!” Keller gives us the alliteration of POSITION, POWER, AND PERSON.
    A. Find the Position in 1 John 2:12 and comment on how this can strengthen you.
    Position-My sins are forgiven on the account of Christ—love the word account used here– for some reason, my financial brain likes it! There was a debt, He paid it, It’s clear–we are forgiven. And no earning it, no losing it, it is all based on His name, not mine.

    B. Find the Power in 1 John 2:13b (b means the second part of the verse) and comment on how you have experienced this power.
    Power-overcome the evil one. OK, not most profound, but most recent example—15 minutes ago—my very strong willed (8 yr old), after reading verses on obeying your parents, said, in all sincerity—If I show love by obeying YOU, shouldn’t you have to obey ME? Ugh! I was speechless, walked out and came to read here. Then I saw Anne’s post–sitting shiva with her son, I remembered I am empowered by the Holy Spirit—went back upstairs, held her and actually listened to her heart. Can’t tell you how rare that is, sadly, that I just listen and don’t talk so much! And it was a sweet moment–I felt like I saw her for more than her words and actions…still taking it in, but thankful.

    C. Find the Person in 1 John 2:13a and comment on any way you have experienced intimacy with this Person in the last week.
    Person-Christ, Who is from the beginning. Over the time in this study, music has touched me more deeply than ever. My 4 yr’s old’s current favorite is “Jesus I Come”. As he and I talked about it in the car today, I felt tears streaming down my face—I just feel more able to experience the intimacy that has always been available to me—but maybe am beginning to slow down enough to feel it more.

    1. Elizabeth, I saw a friend today who has been having problems with her 9th grade daughter. Her church ‘just happened’ to be having a study that really helped her with communication. She is learning that her daughter is polar opposite her in temperament and after the first lesson she had a very open and meaningful conversation with her. She said the man opened the session by speaking to them in Creole, making the point that sometimes we are so different that what we say sounds unintelligible. Too bad I can’t remember the name of it…I will find out.

      1. oh Anne–this is almost unbelievable except i know this is just how the Spirit works, and He so often uses you in my life here. I have been saying to my husband for years that she & I literally speak a different language–I could give loads of examples, but even if it’s telling me about an assignment, I’m a reader’s digest person and she speaks in poetry–even writes beautiful stories! You’re mentioning this is the 3rd time in the last week that I have come across something similar–I do believe I need to hear this and take it to heart. Thank you dear friend, so much

        And I read Ann’s earlier today and actually printed it out! It was such a timely read about remembering His faithfulness–I need to continually remind myself in these seasons.

        Praying for your oldest too.

        1. oh, I love this Dee–every time you share a glimpse of your childhood, it touches my soul so deep. This is helpful. What hit me yesterday as I prayed on this, is how much I have analyzed our differences, read multiple personality type books, I’ve taken the myers briggs officially twice myself and even done a child version “as her” online! But then I just stopped there and said ‘she’s different’ and basically, in my heart and attitude have said “she needs to change, to be like me”. Honestly, THAT is what I have done. Without the exact words, I have told her something is wrong with her. God convicted me last night He made her exactly as she is ON purpose, FOR His glory. My prayer is that I embrace it and guide her to use her strengths for Him. I feel a weight lifted, even a hope. Thank you so much for your prayers.

        2. This is the problem I have….WHY God made my daughter??? I dont understand her at all and I have lived with her for 19 years! I can’t explain her. I have had teachers say, “I wouldn’t want to be you!” and “I have no idea what she will do with her life.” the second one was just yesterday. It is sad to think she is a waste. I try to remind myself that she has some good qualities but I can only find one or two. She has a good sense of humor and she is wonderful with animals. Of course she spends most of her time with a frown on her face, and the rest of the time saying she doesn’t want anything to do with animals! How frustrating.

          I like what Dee said about her father. I am going to steal that one for Sarah! Thanks again Dee!

      2. Elizabeth, I think it is actually something you can do on line. My friend sent me this website when I emailed her about it. Have not had time to check it out. Have not even had time for my studies :/

        Go to northpoint.tv and that will pull it up. Click on archives and the series is called Guardrails. The lesson we watched was week 2 – “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

        1. oh dear Anne-bless you! I am going to check it out right now–THANK YOU for taking time to look this up & ask your friend, and tell me about it–especially with all you have on your plate. I cannot tell you how much that means to me–and to know you were thinking of me when you first heard it from your friend–thank you for your kind thoughtfulness towards me.
          Continuing to pray for God’s chiseling work in your son’s heart.

  49. What comments do you have on the opening and why?

    I really enjoyed the drawings of the groom preparing for his bride. It’s a concept we do not have in this country-all the emphasis is always on the bride getting ready for the wedding and having everything go her way. The drawings remind me that one day my Bridegroom will be coming for me and I must be ready for Him!

    1. What are the three great orchestral themes of 1 John?

    TRUTH-What God says about a situation.

    LIGHT-Knowledge and understanding of God’s Truth.

    LOVE-Sacrificing my selfish interests so I can be used by God as an instrument of His mercy.