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HOW THIS ADVENT CAN MELT YOUR IDOLS

MAY THIS BE AN ADVENT LIKE NO OTHER

WHAT LOOSENS THE GRIP OF THE ICY FINGERS

OF OUR IDOLS?

IMPACTLAB.NET

 


COMING INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD

EXPERIENCING

HIS HOLINESS

AND TRULY WORSHIPING

 

JESUS OF NAZARETH

 

This Advent I will lead you through passages in Isaiah and the gospels that will help you behold His holiness, His beauty, and may we all pray that we will experience Him — as Isaiah did, as Mary did, as the shepherds did, as the wisemen did. For when you encounter God in His holiness, you are humbled, and if you start worshiping Him, you will stop worshiping your idol.

We saw it happen to our own dear Elizabeth last week — a breach with a friend, a posture of humility, a plea to God, a step of faith, an experience with a holy God, and the melting of an idol. And she found, as we all do, that idols reform, but that humility brings back the heat that melts them again.

We are seeing it with Diane, our newer sister from Canada — the impact of Tim Keller’s worship sermon has brought her into the presence of God, and she is excited to worship God this Advent and is already seeing the icy fingers of her idol melt.

Anne wrote me asking if we could incorporate more prayer this Advent, and I will. I will put it right within the Bible study and you can respond with a prayer request and others can pray for you as they feel moved to do so — either on the blog or silently. Though the purpose of this blog is primarily Bible study, one of the very most effective ways to pray is to pray Scripture — so we will do that, and in so doing, slam the window down on the icy fingers of our idols! If you have another emergency prayer request, we are glad to pray — but I’d love for you to give priority to the prayer request that comes from each week’s lesson. One author said we tend to pray to “feed our idols,” and by praying Scripture, we will not be so prone to do that. We also know, when we pray the Word, that there is power because we are within the will of God.

The sermon this week on our passage, Isaiah 6, is free, and is a stellar Keller.

Sunday/Monday  Icebreaker and Download Sermon: The Gospel and Yourself (Isaiah 6)

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/gospel-and-your-self

1. What comment do you have on the above?

2. Contemplate how beholding God in His holiness has melted one of your idols. What connection do you see?


Bible Study (Monday-Wednesday)

Read Isaiah 6 and the following from My Utmost for His Highest. I will be quoting from this during Advent, for I think it is still one of the very best devotionals available, and bears reading and rereading.

When I come into the very presence of God, I do not realize that I am a sinner in an indefinite sense, but I suddenly realize and the focus of my attention is directed on the concentration of a sin in a particular area of my life. …The effect of Isaiah’s vision of the holiness of the Lord was directing his attention to the fact that he was a man “of unclean lips.” …The cleansing fire had to be applied where the sin had been concentrated.

Oswald Chambers (July 3)

Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves.

Oswald Chambers (Jan 16)

Begin praying now that you will encounter God’s holiness this week and that He will show you specifically what needs to be cleansed. May we each be attuned to His call for us for each day.


3. Describe, in verses 1-4 what Isaiah:

A. Saw

B. Heard

C. Felt

4. Take each phrase of Isaiah’s response, meditate on it, and allow it to heat your heart. Write any comments:

A. Woe is me

B. For I am lost

C. for I am a man of unclean lips

D. and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips,

E. for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

5. In verses 6-7, what did the seraphim do and what does this represent?

We are so focused on ourselves, it takes discipline and faith to focus on God and experience Him.

It is so hard to be still. So hard to give the sacrifice of worship. But it is the secret to experiencing God.  Sing along with Hillsong, asking God to help you contemplate His holiness:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iK0Miq2xNo

If you have a favorite Christmas carol emphasizing God’s holiness, sing it — and share it with us.

6. What did Isaiah overhear God saying and how does he respond? (Isaiah 6:8)

7. When you are still before Him, what are His primary callings on your life just for today?

8. PRAYER REQUESTS GOING WITH THIS LESSON

A. What idol, what area of your life does God’s searing sharply focused light shine upon? Tell us, and we will pray for you that the seraphim might fly to you with his holy coal of fire and cleanse you. (Please be sure to tell us if and when God moves in your heart.)

B. Name one loved one for whom you would like us to pray that he or she might experience the wonder of God, as Isaiah did. (Tell us if and when you see God moving in his or her heart.)

C. Anne shared that in one group each week they put one sister on the mat and prayed for her, referring to the story where four friends let a paralyzed friend down on a mat, through the roof, to Jesus.

Healing of paralyzed man

This week let us “put Diane on the mat” and let her down to Jesus. Here is her testimony and request from last week:

As we approach the Christmas season, when I review my notes on Keller’s sermon on Worship, I realize I need to apply this to Christmas. For many years I have dreaded Christmas. I have felt an inordinate pressure to measure up to others. My husband’s family has a lot more money than we do and for years I have felt that they looked down  on our simple gifts. I was jealous of the amount of money they spent at Christmas. After my husband’s mother died 11 years ago, his sister stopped  speaking to us. …Bitterness because of this even has caused me to struggle with everything about Christmas (a terrible thing for a pastor’s wife)! I even resented how other churches had better Christmas programs than we had, because they were bigger and richer than we. These thoughts have taken away much of my joy at Christmas. As a result of this study, I realize God can change me in this matter. I do not want my hurt, and bitterness to be my lord any more. Comparison is a monster!

As I see my idol this year and realize that God’s love is all I need to be satisfied, to feel valued and is more powerful than my negative emotions, I am approaching the Christmas season with more hope and happiness than I have not had in many years. Please pray for me.

Let us pray that Diane so senses God’s love for her, and is so filled with His wonder, that she is willing to pay the cost of forgiveness, truly letting hurts go, and to know how pleased God is with this offering to Him and with all offerings of love. May He truly come to her, transforming her heart, giving her His joy and peace this Advent.

 

LISTEN TO THE FREE KELLER SERMON (THURSDAY-FRIDAY)

Keller quoted a friend who said Isaiah was going into worship and was shocked to meet God. May we meet God in our worship services this Advent!

9. Keller said Isaiah had a “God quake,” where concept became reality. What did he mean?

10. Share about a recent God quake in your life if you have had one.

11. First, Keller said, we must see the BEAUTY of the Lord. What do you remember about this?

Don’t answer this question on the blog, but in your own heart. Keller said most people give to feel good about themselves. Ask yourself — how am I giving in time or money secretly, simply because I love God?

12. Then we must be humbled. The man with the golden tongue had to be humbled. What do you remember about this?

One of the best definitions of the Gospel is illustrated by Isaiah 6.

Isaiah was deconstructed — he had to see how wicked he was, how needy he was of salvation.

Isaiah was rescontructed — he had to see how loved he was that God would rescue Him.

13. How does Keller relate this passage to Jesus and to the quake that came to Him?

14. What else stood out to you from the sermon and why?

Take-A-Way (Saturday)

15. What is your take-a-way for the week?

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343 comments

  1. 6. What did Isaiah overhear God saying and how does he respond? (Isaiah 6:8)

    He overhears Him saying He needs someone to deliver the message to the Israelites. Who shall it be? Isaiah offers himself to be the messenger.

    7. When you are still before Him, what are His primary callings on your life just for today?

    Well, His primary callings are different than mine…..He expects me worship him and to take care of my family.

    My callings are work, cleaning, masters program, worship, friends, exercise, etc.

  2. B. Name one loved one for whom you would like us to pray that he or she might experience the wonder of God, as Isaiah did. (Tell us if and when you see God moving in his or her heart.)

    Please pray for Sarah, my daughter. Pray to help her to know Jesus again. Help her to want to go to church and participate in some aspect of church during the week. Help to soften her heart toward her family, especially her mom and dad.

  3. 11. First, Keller said, we must see the BEAUTY of the Lord. What do you remember about this?

    Don’t answer this question on the blog, but in your own heart. Keller said most people give to feel good about themselves. Ask yourself — how am I giving in time or money secretly, simply because I love God?

    12. Then we must be humbled. The man with the golden tongue had to be humbled. What do you remember about this?

    He was in the presence of divine superlativeness-it put in place how he thought of himself-he was able to have communication and power among the people-he was a brilliant man of his generation and couldn’t wait to set things straight when he gets into power-but then he comes into the presence of a Holy God and sees he is the problem and his people are unclean and he is just part of it. Keller said that every single place in the Bible where people encounter God, they start hating themselves.

    One of the best definitions of the Gospel is illustrated by Isaiah 6.

    Isaiah was deconstructed — he had to see how wicked he was, how needy he was of salvation.

    Isaiah was rescontructed — he had to see how loved he was that God would rescue Him.

    13. How does Keller relate this passage to Jesus and to the quake that came to Him?

    Keller said this: “Before Jesus died on the cross in the garden he said my soul is sorrowful even unto death-woe is me, I am undone, I am ruined, I feel like I am coming apart-but no angel came and said your sin is atoned for because he was the sacrifice on the altar. He was shaken by the judgment of God-he came not to bring judgment but to bear judgment. He came so you could get the new self image from the self quake of the Glory of God coming down into our life.”

    14. What else stood out to you from the sermon and why?

    This stuck out to me: “In the Grace of God you are both bold and humble at the same time because you are more wicked than you ever believed and more loved than you ever hoped. This gives you a new balance and stability. Nothing can move or shake you. When you fail, you remember the affirmation of God which is there by Grace not by performance, when you succeed you aren’t puffed up because you are a sinner saved by Grace.”

    Also when Keller suggested taking jobs around the church that get no applause, that aren’t fulfilling to you. I loved that.

    1. I enjoy reading each one’s sermon notes. I always learn something new. I hadn’t caught that Isaiah was deconstructed and then reconstructed…this is what we are experiencing!

  4. I waited on 8b. so I am going back to it. Please pray for my 12 year old son Elijah that he would experience the wonder of God. So glad I waited. Eli and I had a LONG, LONG talk last night. He doesn’t sense God’s presence-good thing for me to hear, but he is discouraged and is doubting His faith-He is an artist-very sensitive and when he gets teased at school it really goes deep. A lot was said and God just had me listen last night-yet my mommy heart wanted to rescue him. Anyway, if you would pray I would So love that!

    1. Lord how you love this dear boy. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of that love and of his sweet heart. Protect him Lord, protect his heart from anything that would draw him away from You. Teach him of Your love for him that will give him resilience when he is teased at school. Convict these kids who do this and work deeply in their hearts. Show them what pain they cause and help them to be merciful. Help Eli to show mercy to them. Most of all help him to forgive them. Teach him what forgiveness is and what it is not. I pray for Your wisdom in this situation. Thank You for showing Rebecca how to minister to him. She asks that he may experience the wonder of Your glory and I echo that prayer. Amen

    2. Amen to Anne’s prayer for Elijah.

    3. Rebecca, I am praying for Elijah. My heart feels for him.

    1. Thanks Dee. I would love to tell him how his work has changed my life!

      I am going to conclude today b/c I have family coming in from KCMO for our annual family Christmas weekend. My take-away:
      I realized how skewed my grasp of Jesus’ sacrifice was prior to coming to this study. I categorized it with any martyrs death. I now see it with such different eyes and that is where true change has happened. Now that I see it fully I am broken-hearted by it.

    1. Lord, I pray that You would begin to work in Bonnie’s heart right now. May she experience the wonder of You now and in the coming days of Advent. May a desire for You be born in her heart so that she will listen to the music and sermons that Dee has prepared for her. I pray that these songs and words will shine with truths about You that she will never forget. We ask for a God-quake in her heart this Christmas. Amen

    2. I’m praying for Bonnie that God will soften her heart and for you as you reach out to her.

    3. Dee, I am with you on A. Totally with you-He has shown me that and funny thing is, I wrote about it yesterday and then erased the post. I wondered how much of it is chaff, not sure, but as you stated so beautifully-“May I, with the days I have left, only minister for Him. Change my heart, O God.”

  5. 9. Keller said Isaiah had a “God quake,” where concept became reality. What did he mean?

    The difference between a “concept” of God and the “reality” of God is the matter of recognition of God’s “glory”. God as “reality” is heavier than me in every way. Instead of God fitting into my agenda, God becomes my agenda, my priority. Things will give way to God’s glory, like a water quake when a heavy stone is dropped into the water, it affects the whole water. God says “Sacrifice your individual needs because I am more real. I have glory.”

    11. First, Keller said, we must see the BEAUTY of the Lord. What do you remember about this?

    Holiness in Hebrew expresses the superlative uniqueness of God; that He is infinite beyond all others in beauty and brilliance. Only in the book of Isaiah is the magnitude of God’s holiness expressed in trebles – Holy, Holy, Holy. The seraphims are fascinated and adoring, constantly singing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” They are worshipping God in the beauty of His holiness. God’s Holiness is not useful to us. It’s worship must be satisfying in itself.

  6. 12. Then we must be humbled. The man with the golden tongue had to be humbled. What do you remember about this?

    Our self-image must be crushed because of God’s superlative holiness. Isaiah is thought to have been from the royal family of the time. He was artistic and an intellectual genius with a golden tongue. He thought he could fix the political problems of the time, but when he met the reality of God he realized that he’s the problem – flawed, wrong, selfish and twisted. He needed to start thinking of something bigger than himself. The minute he confesses his sin, God comes to him.

    13. How does Keller relate this passage to Jesus and to the quake that came to Him?

    When Jesus was ready to be crucified, he cried “my soul is sorrowful even to death”, which basically is similar to saying “Woe is me. I am lost.” But no angel came to rescue Jesus. He was to be the sacrifice on the altar, the sinful lamb. And as he was crucified, the temple shook, the curtain (veil) was split from top to bottom, and there was an earthquake. Jesus was shaken by the judgement of God. Jesus was shaken so that we could become unshakeable in our confidence in the reality of God.

    14. What else stood out to you from the sermon and why?

    Our service to God should never be “to get things”. We already have everything. We serve God because of the beauty of what He has done, we want to know Him, to resemble Him, to delight Him; even if there is no individual fulfillment here on earth. Keller suggests that we should take a job that gets no applause. He asks, “Why not get taken out of yourself?”

  7. Dawn, Kim’s advice sounds very wise to me. Her point about his attitude changing with strangers is a good one. I have seen that happen a lot. I have heard family members get blessed out for doing what I got away with, no complaint. Decreased oxygen does cloud thinking as she said. In someone his age it is not good to wait. It can begin a cascade of problems that just gets worse and worse. He and your mother do not seem to understand the seriousness of the situation.

    Lord, I pray that You will give Dawn wisdom as to how to proceed and favor with both of her parents. May all health care providers involved also possess Your wisdom. Help them to connect with this man so that he will cooperate in his treatment. Help him to understand the gravity of his situation and his responsibility before You to care for the vessel that You have entrusted him with.

  8. 7. My primary calling today is just what we are doing here, seeking Him. After that come my 2)relationships with my husband and then 3)with my children, 4)doing the best that I can in everything that I do and about that I have to say that it is more important to be the best I can be IN HIM than to be the best 5)caring for widows and orphans. And in there I should give my testimony for what He has done for me as often as I can and I have to say that I still fall way short here.

    8A. God has focused His light upon the words of my mouth. I have been going along pretty well until this week. I don’t know if it is worse or if I am just seeing the connection but I have caught myself causing deep damage and hurt with words. It erupts sometimes when I least expect it. I know that it is the overflow of my heart, the hardness of it. Perhaps I am still enslaved or maybe just peeling off another layer. I don’t have a clear understanding right now.

    B. I would love for my husband to experience the wonder of God right now and into Advent if you could please pray for that.

    C. Lord, I pray that Diane would encounter afresh the reality of Your holiness this Advent season. May her heart focus on You with no distractions. Show her Your love for her. May there be forgiveness and healing in her family. I pray for simplicity this Christmas and the shine of Your glory in all of our families. Amen

    1. That is such a beautiful prayer, Anne, I’m in tears. Thanks so much. That is my prayer too.

      1. Diane, it is a privilege to be able to pray for you. Thanks for sharing your burdens with us.

    2. Praying for your husband, Anne.

      1. Joyce, thank you so much and I will pray for Dennis. The main thing that I have on my heart is that he will be able express his anger to God. His anger is so understandable and I am convinced that the right thing to do with that is express it to God. Dennis needs a God-quake I think.

        Lord we lift Dennis up to You. His pain is palpable to us, so deep and so raw. Oh help him to bring it to You that You may heal him as You did Isaiah. We ask for this now so that he may capture precious moments with Mary Kay before she comes home to You. Amen

        1. Thank you so much, Anne

  9. Keller quoted a friend who said Isaiah was going in to worship and was shocked to meet God. I missed this in the sermon. How priceless! And how easy to do.

    9,10. A God quake is when we encounter the holiness of God. We quake because His weight is so much greater than our own. The encounter shakes us to the core. I don’t know that I have had one but I am going to pray for one. It sounds scary but is just what I need.

    12. Isaiah wanted to die when he saw himself in the light of God’s holiness. He repented and God cleansed him immediately, commissioning him for service. It seems like this man who had been successful his whole life until that point spent the rest of his life speaking to a people who did not listen. That stands out to me. Never again could he gauge his success by worldly standards.

    13. I think he means that Jesus bore the crushing weight of God’s holiness in the garden and at Calvary. It took His life because He bore our sin. Now the holiness of God is beautiful and no longer a threat. It will not kill us.

    1. Praise God!

  10. 10. Share about a recent God quake in your life if you have had one.

    This has been a very difficult fall. The major stresses began in August when my daughter threatened to leave her husband of 8 years, taking her three preschool children. My husband and I had to intervene convincing her not to leave, to visit a doctor to consider medication for depression, and to begin counselling, while I provided emergency childcare relief. Then in October, just as my daughter was beginning to get better, my aunt died, and then my brother maliciously confronted my Dad and I cutting off contact from he and his children. I don’t think I have ever felt so stressed or cried so hard in my whole life. It has even affected my health.

    I thank God that I had just begun to follow Dee’s blog at that time. Reading this blog was a great comfort and encouragement to me. While I was staying at my daughter’s, I joined the Stonecutter study, and really appreciated the support from studying God’s Word with supportive Christians.

    This fall has been a God quake for me. That, together with supportive Christian husband and good friends, has made this difficult time in my life become a time of growth and wonderful closeness to God. The verse that God has given me this week is Isaiah 64:4 “Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.” I am so glad that God acts on our behalf. He is always at work. He does not forsake his children. I can truly testify that this is true.

    1. Praying for you and your family to reconcile, Diane. So glad your here:)

  11. http://youtu.be/8DALomrGkHg This is off the subject, but so worthwhile to listen to. It was on facebook and it is so true. So many women are being abused and don’t even know it.

    1. Joyce, this subject is exactly what came to my mind when Diane shared about her daughter’s marriage. Thanks for sharing it. I could only watch half right now but it was right on target.

    2. Thanks for sharing this, Joyce. It is worthwhile to consider. Life is so complicated isn’t it.

      1. Yes it is.

  12. Here is the way Dennis use to be (altho younger and with a silver tooth!) in happier days:) Please pray he would experience the wonder of God.

  13. Dawn,
    I’m catching up with comments and read about your dad – how is he? I think Kim’s advice was also so good, to call his family doctor and report the situation to him. I also might ask you, what is your dad’s health history? Has he been a smoker? Does he have a history of emphysema or does he have heart disease? His shortness of breath could be so many things – it could be related to his heart, as in congestive heart failure, it could be a pneumonia; I’ll be praying for him, too.

    1. Praying also, Dawn

  14. 8. A. What idol, what area of your life does God’s searing sharply focused light shine upon?

    There are so many, it’s hard to name just one. One is living so much for my own comfort and self-interest; I think I would call it “self-love”. The “world and everyone revolves around me” way of living. I can see why God does not accept even our good works, because so often when I look at mine, the times when I’m doing something for someone else, there’s still something in it for me; my motives are not pure; there might be the hope of approval or affirmation in there, or trying to control a situation or the other person by helping them, or even making myself feel secure in that I’m needed and wanted. Sometimes I wish I could “peel my self off” like a layer, and toss it out, get rid of it! But self and all those idols seem to stick like super glue.

    C. I love this picture of “putting Diane on the mat” and lowering her down to Jesus!

    Diane,
    I have been praying for you this week, and will pray now:

    Lord,
    Thank you so much for doing a work in Diane’s heart, that You are opening her eyes to see the idols of her heart, yet at the same time, loosening their grip as she sees more and more of You, and Your great love for her. I pray that this Advent season will be a special time of intimacy with You, as You continue to remove the roots of bitterness, hurt, and resentment and replace them with a growing hope and joy and forgiveness. May You, Jesus, say to Diane on the mat, “your sins are forgiven”, and may she get up and walk with a hope and anticipation and new found joy, because You are also walking right beside her!
    Amen

    Diane, it took a lot of courage to honestly admit your feelings to us but I’m so glad you did – we all have a secret closet that we need to open the door to so the light can get in, and people can pray for us, and we can get healed.

    1. So true, Susan…Thank you for that beautiful prayer. I’m praying for you also, Diane

  15. Diane, years ago my husband and I decided we were sick of the commercialism that our beloved Christmas had become. Our children were very young; it was about 20 years ago now that I think of it. Anyway, we decided about every few years we would go on a family vacation at Christmas instead of buying gifts. We bought a small “pop up” christmas tree and everyone got one small gift. We took Christmas music with us and shared the quiet time together. Many times we went snow skiing and enjoyed the Lords natural beauty.

    We never had family around so it worked for us. I refuse to get caught in the madness. I really don’t go too heavy on decorations anymore although I used to do a lot more for my kids. I’ve even used the pop up tree at my house! It reminds us of those days of traveling together.

    I pray you have a blessed, quiet, loving Christmas this year.

  16. I wanted to make sure I have down everyone’s (so far) “8 B”, please let me know if I left anyone off:

    Angela-daughter Kaitlyn
    Meg-mom Karen
    Susan-mom Virginia
    Dee-sister Bonnie
    Kim- husband
    Diane- brother Philip
    Rebecca- son Elijah
    Anne-husband
    Laura-daughter Sarah

        1. Dee, there may be 2 from me as I have changed my mind since we began. I would like to pray for my husband this time~a God quake please.

        2. Thank you Dee-I have been torn on this one for some reason–but from the moment I read the question, I sensed it should be my daughter–just going to hold off on her name, if that’s OK–thank you.

  17. What is my take away for the week? My take away is.. I really liked praying scripture it really helped me i know so many verses yet i never “pray” them. It was a good exercise for me.

  18. My take away is the desire to experience God and be changed. I said that I don’t think I have experienced God in such a profound way and I haven’t but I do see changes that are subtle. The one that came to me this morning is that there is so much pain among the women I work with. Some of it I stumble on by accident and some share in need of friendship. I sense a door opening and opportunity from God to open my heart and carry burdens with others.

    Susan, you nailed my problem too when you talked about self focus. I was trying to pinpoint an idol when thinking out the hardness of my heart I was seeing. It is just self-on the throne-maybe a conglomeration of all of them embedded deep.

    I just thought of a wonderful Thanksgiving in my life. Up until I was out of work with a major surgery and faced the specter of maybe not being able to go back, I resented having to work. I did not like my job. It was hard and I did not feel that I was good at it. God lead in my going back. I had a lot of fears but I followed His leading and now I can see the blessing. If I did not work I would not know any of these people or see them on a daily basis. I would not have this opportunity to enter into their lives in a way that will help them with their burdens. I think I sense a call to relationship evangelism and mentoring. I have never been good at relationships but maybe…

    1. No maybe’s about it, Anne, you are a wonderful mentor!

      1. Joyce, you are so sweet to say that but I really can’t do it unless the Lord cleanses me so that I operate more in the Spirit than I have ever been. I tend to do so much careless damage.

        1. Anne, it is so touching to see God calling you into something that you know you cannot do apart from Him. Lean, Anne, lean hard on Him. It’s the only way. If you were capable then you wouldn’t need Him. We all need to learn this, don’t we.

        2. Yes Diane! That is it exactly.

    2. Anne, you are already doing that here so I agree with you and I can see you continuing in it!

  19. 15. What is your take-a-way for the week?

    Dee said above, “We are so focused on ourselves, it takes discipline and faith to focus on God and experience Him.
    It is so hard to be still. So hard to give the sacrifice of worship. But it is the secret to experiencing God.”

    And Susan said when she turns to her idols she is “refusing to come to Him for what I need because it would require humility”—and that struck a chord with me.

    I want to no longer rush to try to fill my needs on my own, I want to be still, to experience Him, to welcome the crumbling idol upon which I try to base security and self worth on, let Him break me, mess with my heart, and refine me…it is ALL about Him, really…not my comfort…not seeking to have a stress-free, chaos-free day…but to let Him come in and use me, for His glory. To like Isaiah, say ““send me!”. Choose me, Lord…whatever the call, whatever it is…choose me!

  20. Working on listening to the sermon – about 1/3 of it so far… will have to come back to it this evening. It is so good I’ve already got about 2 pages of notes. Thinking about the Hebrew meaning of the word for glory – that it is “weight, the permanent versus the ephemeral, the substantial and important versus the unimportant, the real as opposed to the illusory or unreal”. So this is talking about God’s “weightiness”. Never thought of it like that before. How that causes a “quake” when His glory comes down, like on Mt. Sinai, the whole mountain shook violently.

    Dee and Elizabeth, thanks for the list of everyone’s prayer requests! I’ve been trying to be mindful to pray for these requests this week, and want to continue to do so.

  21. Also a quick note about praying for my mom – I sense that some of the hardness in her heart stems from unforgiveness, bitterness. She will talk about things people did to her in the past as if they happened just today. For example, just this morning, when I talked to her, she told me my dad wasn’t feeling well; he is dizzy this morning and she had to help him get back to bed. She said to me, “maybe I should say to him what he always said to me when I was sick.” I said what was that, and she said “Sorry, I have to go to work now”. I said to her, “Mom, I don’t think dad would say that to you now.” She very much holds on to past offenses against her and when she talks about them, I can hear the emotion in her voice that tells me it has not been forgiven. It’s like a cancer that eats you from the inside. I pray for God to open her eyes and set her free from that, and of course, to save her.

    1. I’m praying now, Susan. Unforgiveness is such a bitter pill. It does eat you inside.

      1. Praying also, Susan. I use to be that way too. But it is so freeing to give everything to God and not hold grudges or bitterness anymore.

    2. praying for her Susan. My mom can do the same with bitterness, as have I in the past–when I read what your mom said, I sense such pain in her words–a true brokenness only He can heal. I will pray He comes into her heart and does surgery!

  22. My take away is that God is breaking me through worshiping Him-I may struggle to articulate this because it is a mystery, so I will stumble, 🙂 but all I know is that me matched up against His Holiness brings me to my knees and at the same time His love is compelling me to repent and turn, but it is a progression-the kingdom is like farming.

    God has really come in and shaken my world although it is more hidden-quiet, and it is effecting how I view others, which for me is a huge change.

    God showed me this last night. I went to a ‘getting to know you’ gathering of the ladies in our Bible Study at church. HARD to explain, but as I have been seeing the truth of me compared to His Holiness, and how God loved me so much despite it-I am realizing I am just as needy and poor as everyone else-like Keller said, I am just as desperately wicked as I ever believed, yet passionately loved more than I ever hoped. I saw the ladies through new eyes and I am seeing my husband through new eyes as well. How could i EVER, EVER think of myself as more important-but I have-and I have been so selfish, yet HE is redeeming that! I hope this makes sense. 🙂

    I may be totally off, but I think of Isaiah-how he saw God’s holiness, justice, wrath, fierceness AND His holy and perfect Love all at once-it brought Him to His knees-and he realized the truth of His helpless estate before God and it brought him to repentance and then a bubbling over response of love came out-Here am I-send me! He surrendered himself to God totally. For me, I am not sure what God’s calling is for me in ‘sending me out’-I know for now it is to keep me on my knees and allow His sacrificial love to flow through me to those around me even if there is no fruit-even despite circumstances yet I have a very selfish bend-so I know I can’t but God can. .

  23. Has anyone ever heard of Andrew Peterson?

    1. Not me

  24. 15. What is your take-a-way for the week?

    My take-away this week is thankfulness for all the prayers, verses and suggestions given by all the women on this blog to me. I am humbled by your encouragement and concern and appreciate your suggestions. Already, because of sharing my struggles with Christmas, I have felt a new freedom and gladness bubbling up from inside. I enjoyed listening to the Christmas music you ladies shared online and have dug out my own Christmas music to listen to again. I just spent a lovely morning at the local Christmas Farmers’ Market chatting with community friends and sharing Christmas plans. I am relaxed and enjoying Advent this year.

    1. oh Diane, this really does make me smile–you inspire me–He just SHINES in you–even your avatar picture looks like a bigger smile now 😉

  25. Rebecca

    SOOOOOOOO how did you do on the scripture?!

    1. Meg, Done! How are you coming along?

      1. Psalm 86:11-13

        Teach me your way Lord that i may fear your name give me and undivided heart that i may fear your name.. I will praise your Lord, My God with all my heart I will glorify your name forever, for Great is your love toward me you have delivered me from the depths, from the realm of the dead

        1. whoops its supposed to say Teach me your way Lord that i may rely on your faithfulness give me an undividedd heart that i may fear your name. sorry!

        2. GREAT JOB MEG!! 🙂

  26. hey friends…I don’t use face book so if anyone hears of an update on her dad from Dawn MS via fb — will you let me know on here? thanks~

  27. Not sure if there is time to edit my prayer person for “8 B”, but I’d like to add my M-I-L, Edith. It’s a long stretch, no one in my husband’s family or extended family is a Christian,all either professed agnostic or atheist. BUT, my husband never gives up. Yesterday he sent his mom the chapter of Phillip Yancy’s Jesus I Never Knew, on the Virgin birth…she just emailed back and said “very interesting read…I’m looking into getting the book”.
    I’ll add too, although my husband and I dated since we were teens, I have no relationship with her, and they are in another state, but God seems to be prompting us to pray…

  28. PLEASE add to #8 my Brad-my youngest. I can’t share here yet. Thank you.

  29. I am praying for all your loved one’s, like on: 8B “Name one loved one for whom you would like us to pray that he or she might experience the wonder of God, as Isaiah did. (Tell us if and when you see God moving in his or her heart”.

    1. And also praying we will see God moving in his or her heart:)

  30. 8b is my brother in law. he does not see his depravity or his need for a savior.