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NO LONGER AT EASE IN THE OLD DISPENSATION

LIKE THE MAGI WE HAVE JOURNEYED THIS YEAR

AND WE, LIKE THEM, ARE NOT THE SAME

 

THIS 2ND WEEK OF ADVENT WE WILL CONSIDER

TWO PIECES OF ART

 

FIRST, T.S. ELIOT’S THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI

SECOND, TIM KELLER’S FREE SERMON: THE COSMIC KING

At the close of each year, I consider what books impacted me the most. One of my top four this year was Surprised By Oxford. This is Carolyn Weber’s memoir of her first year at Oxford as a young agnostic who was thunderstruck by both the intellectual Christians she met and their enormous joy. In the world of C. S. Lewis, J. R. Tolkein, and Dorothy Sayers, the stimulating conversations seized her. It’s a love story as well, for one believer she met, whom she calls TDH (tall, dark, and handsome) is particularly persuasive. One of the many things I loved about the book was all the great poetry she referenced. Her opening chapter had me laughing so hard for she completely misinterpreted one of my favorite poems, Batter My Heart Three Personed God (John Donne) thinking it was about male domination and rape. Her professor straightened her out, the beginning of her surprise. She reminded me of my freshman year at Northwestern University, when I completely mis-interpreted Yeats poem, “The Second Coming,” having not a clue that it was about Jesus. Just as blind, just as foolish. Carolyn Weber also quotes T. S. Eliot’s The Journey of the Magi, and I was so struck by the closing lines. I’ve heard them before, but this time, because this has been such a year of growth for all of us, they were fresh and new.

Here is The Journey of the Magi, which I’d like you to contemplate all week. You can listen to T. S. Eliot reading this poem by clicking here:

 

 

THE JOURNEY OF THE MAGI

T. S. ELIOT

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The was deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.”
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires gong out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty, and charging high prices.:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we lead all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I have seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

SUNDAY/MONDAY

ICE-BREAKER

1. Comment on the above

2. Listen to Eliot read The Journey of the Magi and record your initial thoughts. (It’s a deep poem, but catch what you can.)

MONDAY-TUESDAY

3. Continue to reflect on The Journey of the Magi, recording more thoughts.

4. Read Revelation 1:1-8 and then zero in on verse 5 where you will find momentous truths about Jesus. Contemplate each and write down, first, what it means, and second, how it impacts you.

A. the faithful witness (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)

B. the firstborn of the dead (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)

C. the ruler of the kings on earth (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)

D. has freed us from our sins by his blood (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)

5. What else do you learn about Jesus from Revelation 1:6-8?

WEDNESDAY-THURSDAY

LISTEN TO FREE KELLER SERMON ON THE ABOVE PASSAGE. I recommend downloading it or it might stop in the middle:

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/cosmic-king

6. Write your comments on the sermon

7. What did Keller say “the Alpha” meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Alpha” in your life?

8. What did Keller say “the Omega) meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Omega” in your life?”

9. Contemplate The Journey of the Magi again and write down any new thoughts.

Friday — Praying for our Loved Ones during Advent – just intercede today

I want you to put the following people “on the mat” and pray that God will open their eyes that:

Each might journey this year, as the Magi did, and behold the wonder of Christ. That they might realize who he is — the One who is the firstborn from the dead, the ruler of kings, the one who can free them by His blood. Pray that they will realize He is their Alpha, the reason they are living, and that they will make Him their Omega, their goal in life. There are eleven people here, and I’m hoping you can give a minute or two to each. Pray the above and however else you feel led for each of the following loved ones. The fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much (and we are righteous, clothed in His white garment)

Anne’s husband for a God quake

Dawn M. S.’s father, who may be dying

Dee’s sister Bonnie, who will receive the Ipod shuffle with Keller sermons Thursday of this week – that she will listen and be open — a God quake please

Meg’s mother Karen

Susan’s mother Virginia (angry at God since death of grandson)

 

Kim’s husband — especially that he might understand God’s grace & son Brad

Diane’s brother Philip chained in bitterness

Joyce’s brother Dennis, losing wife, perhaps becoming bitter

Laura-dancer’s daughter Sarah

Rebecca’s son Elijah that he might experience the wonder of God

Angela’s oldest daughter Kaitlyn who is at a point of struggle and crisis — she thinks intellectually, which is sometimes a hindrance

Elizabeth’s daughter and mother-in-law Edith (see end of last blog)

Cyndi’s brother-in-law

I hope I didn’t miss anyone who participated in the blog last week, but if I did, e-mail me and I will include you for sure this Advent.

Saturday

10. What’s your take-a-way and why?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.

304 comments

  1. Sorry I want to add that If Alpha and Omega is meaningless then life is meaningless, If Alpha and Omega is meaningful then life is meaningful. We are not accidents! God created us!

  2. I found this song online the other day after listening to the group “Gungor”. I love their songs-great lyrics! Anyway, I found this old one written in 2006 by Lisa Gungor. After listening to Keller, this song kind of goes with what He was teaching and what we are learning about wanting God for Him not what he can give us. Here is the link: http://youtu.be/ejokTUzb16k

    Here are the lyrics:

    Paradox of Faith

    She prayed for Your healing
    She prayed that Youd be revealing who shes gonna be
    She prayed for Your peace
    She prayed that Youd heal the pieces of her family
    She quoted the word
    Said, whatever we ask in Your name we shall receive
    And You opened the door
    And You gave her what she asked for

    He got on his knees
    And said Father, would You please hear me tonight
    She doesnt have long
    Her lifes almost gone
    Would You please heal my wife
    He quoted the word
    Said, whatever we ask in Your name we shall receive
    But his wife passed away
    And hes left everyday with the questions why

    Why do some prayers seem to be unanswered
    In return they cause our hope to falter
    May hope be found
    Not in what I pray for
    My hope is in Your name
    I will trust Your name

    David was pleading
    He was believing for God to save his son
    But his faith wasnt shaken
    When it didnt happen
    And he chose to worship God
    So much faith and so bold of Mary its told
    When she reached to touch Your robe
    It was counted as faith
    As she went away to worship

    Why do we formulate our faith
    Provide our answers
    For your unexplainable ways
    May faith be found
    Not in what I pray for
    My faith is in Your name
    And I will trust Your name

    Lord I choose right now to trust You
    Not for what You do
    But for who You are
    And though I dont have all the answers
    I know that I will trust Your name
    I will trust Your name
    My hope is in Your name

    1. Beautiful song!

    2. Thanks for sharing this, Rebecca. I have never heard this group before. Thanks for the words. They helped me understand it more quickly. Sooo good!

  3. 4. Read Revelation 1:1-8 and then zero in on verse 5 where you will find momentous truths about Jesus. Contemplate each and write down, first, what it means, and second, how it impacts you.

    A. the faithful witness? Faithful indicates that we can trust Him and witness indicates something is being seen and reported. Jesus was beholding and confirming glorious truth’s.

    B. the firstborn of the dead? Jesus was our example when He rose we too can rise and we will whether we rise in the rapture or after our body has died. PTL!

    C. the ruler of the kings on earth? He is over them all. As great as earthly rulers are He is incomparable. He allows rulers who are in position and this gives me peace that He is involved in elections.

    D. has freed us from our sins by his blood? I can enter heaven when I die b/c He paid the price with His precious blood. It set’s me free from the law of sin and death.

    5. What else do you learn about Jesus from Revelation 1:6-8? We be a kingdom and priests to serve.We must watch, He is coming with the clouds and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

  4. Prayer request for a friend from grade school who’s been battling a brain tumor for over a year and has been put on Hospice. She has a loving husband, young son, two daughters and one grandson. Her name is Ginger and she knows the Lord, I believe. So heart wrenching.

    1. Oh Kim, how awful, I am so sorry. I am praying already

    2. praying now Kim, this is so sad, i am so sorry

      1. Kim, is she near-can you go see her, or does she live too far away? I feel so bad for her and for her family.

        1. She lives in Georgia, Rebecca. I can post prayers and words of concern on her page and have but that is all. She is a Facebook friend but isn’t one to get on it. She has a smile that lights up a room and her daughters are as beautiful as she is. Her husband is the only man she ever dated-small town love story. So very heart wrenching.

  5. I got to listen to the sermon—it just kept getting better and better. It was hard to edit my notes, but here they are:

    John gave the early Christians a new view—an exalted and Cosmic Jesus. Jesus is the beginning and the end, and if we can get this, we can face anything.
    Jesus is the Alpha—the beginning—He is God. There was nothing before Him, He is Creator, the Origin, the One out of which everyone has come.
    *This was such a good point–We MUST start with Him, not ourselves! When we face problems, we tend to start with ourselves. We must get out of ourselves, and start with HIM! To see/understand yourself, get out of yourself. I liked that part—there is an Amy Carmichael quote I’ve posted a while back I think, but she says “remove my self from the inner throne”.

    Christianity is not escapism. We are not an accident. We are created by a Creator—our Alpha point is our personal Creator.
    Jesus is the Omega—the last. The universe is all oriented toward Him. Jesus built the universe for Himself. I was built for Him, and I “fit” in this world when I am serving Him. It is all for Him, for His glory.

    He is the end, and everything else is the means. The Omega points of life are the non-negotiables—they are what give life meaning.
    Loved the Elisabeth Elliot quote “if God were my accomplice…” Are we using Him to get things, to get at other gods in our life? Or are we serving Him for HIM—this is freedom!

    Jesus is not a battery for our old life—He IS our New Life. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. If He is my first and my last, He is also my “middle”. Those who say we’re accidents, their beginning and end have no meaning, and while they try to insist their life is meaningful—it cannot be.

    **Here’s the big take-away for me: If my Alpha and Omega are meaningful—they are Christ, then ALL of my “middle” is meaningful—even the things I don’t understand, the hard things, the pain, the loss—all have meaning in Christ. My story can’t be bad if it starts and ends with Jesus. If I let that sink in, really hit deep, my fear, which I can tend towards, vanishes. He is the Author of my story—and He is the first and last chapter—I can rest in knowing that He will end it, and therefore fill it, with what glorifies Him—which is, truly, my heart’s desire—to glorify Him.

    1. Elizabeth, lol! I too felt the same way-it got better and better and it was so hard to edit it-too much good stuff in it. I found I kept stopping it to type what he said-so I spent and extra 20-30 minutes on it. I think I typed out the whole sermon! 😉 LOVED what he said about the middle too.

      1. I really spieled above–sorry! guess that was my answers to 6,7, & 8 all at once 😉
        It was so very good though, somehow he can saw the same truths but they hit fresh every time–and always seem to be just what I need to hear at the given time. Part of that too, is how I see God using Dee–leading her to what He wants to be teaching me–using Dee and Keller–this year has been SO rich for me from all this amazing wisdom here (including yours)!

        1. Oh no you didn’t spiel-it was perfect, and you paused and made some great comments about what He said and how that applied to you! I loved your takeaway about the middle!

  6. OK Dee, now that I’m feeling better…I have to say more about this picture! Since you posted it the other day, I honestly kept thinking you were going to say it was from your teen years–you look SO young in it! It really is beautiful–reflects your heart perfectly 😉

  7. Ladies i need prayer tonight.. I have a really really bad migrane headache! Please pray thanks!

    1. I’m praying, Meg. I hope it has eased by now. Do you get migraines often? Do you think it has anything to do with the bad storm system that is passing up the coast? They are calling it a “weather bomb” here – heavy rains or snow, very strong winds, etc. We are supposed to get the worst of it here this morning and to mid afternoon.

      1. Not sure Diane.. I am going to call my doctor tommorrow i have been having some other health issues… as well.

    2. Praying your headache will go away, Meg.

  8. 9. Contemplate The Journey of the Magi again and write down any new thoughts.

    Perhaps their journey wasn’t literal, but internal? The breaking down of their idol as ultimate? They set out with Jesus as the means to an end, for they still clutched their gods and had ulterior motives in finding him, but glory be, they encountered Jesus and He became the end to their means. He turned their world upside down. He became their Alpha and Omega. When they went back to their kingdoms He was their ultimate, He was the satisfaction of their souls, and they were changed. They could no longer identify with those who hadn’t encountered Jesus and were still clutching their idols as their ultimate. They wanted nothing to do with their gods after Jesus became their beginning and end and were willing to go through that harsh winter again if they ever do embrace their gods again.

      1. Do you think this reflects our journey as well as believers who clutched onto our gods? I am asking you this because I can relate to this poem and I think I am at a place now where I need this ‘dying to self’ daily. The gods are always beckoning at my door-but I have a choice.

    1. Oh yes, In Jesus name I pray, with you Dee

    2. Dee could you please help me understand what you mean when you prayed, “I don’t know if You have chosen her…”

        1. haven’t even read posts today–but saw this one first & you know how I love to find things! Is this it?

          Your post said: “The best messages I have heard on this are Keller’s, but you have to purchase them for 2.50 each. They are “Love Before The World I” and “Love Before the World II” and they are on Ephesians.” Here’s the link: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=17573&ParentCat=6

        2. This is where I found it:
          http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/2011/05/a-royal-wedding-points-to-a-deeper-love-story/

          In May, The Royal Wedding post

        3. I found it with google…but just fyi for others, I have found the search box on Dee’s home page–top right corner– VERY helpful for pulling up posts “tagged” a certain way. Thanks to David’s hard work I’m sure! 😉

        4. Thank you Elizabeth.

    3. Yes Lord, I agree with these prayers for Bonnie. I pray Lord You would prepare her heart to receive the ipod–to receive it with love and grace–that You would open her ears to listen, to hear TRUTH! Lord, I pray too that Sara might hear, and Bonnie’s husband. I ask for a God quake in this family Lord, “unless You have a better idea,”!

      And for Meg’s dear Mom, Karen. I pray she would see Your Light in Meg, and be drawn to it. That You would provide conversations, truth to be spoken that Karen would herar You and her heart would come to You.

  9. Just got back from taking the boys to school and would like to join in prayer with Joyce’s brother Dennis and Dee’s sister Bonnie.

    Lord God I agree with Dee and Lord we praise you-you are above all, your majesty beyond compare and yet you are God with us. Sear Bonnie’s heart with the desire for you, help her see the wisdom from man she has been getting is empty, folly, compared to the reality of who you are-that you are the ultimate-the one to behold and that you are glorious and these things she has been beholden to are worthless sticks bent on her destruction, but you are the only one who can truly satisfy her soul.

    Lord, I bring Dennis to the mat-have mercy on Him Lord. We trust this season of loss, of immense pain isn’t without a reason. We don’t know why, but trust that you do Lord. We ask you to move in this to bring Him to His knees and that he will find you to be His true satisfaction. OH God bring him to the end of himself so that he can look no where but to you and we ask this in your timing and in your way-Lord thank you for your longsuffering. Lord we also ask for you to be Dennis’ comfort and that you would surround Him with your love-that your love would lead Him to you.

    Lord, in Jesus name.

    1. Thank you so much, Rebecca…I’m praying right along with you for Bonnie and your son and everyone else, too. Love you all:)

        1. Thank YOU, Dee:)

  10. After receiving 8 units of blood, plus plasma and iron, they are sending my dad home. His tests showed some small bleed in his stomach, intestines and colon, none that are dangerous. He had reached the point of no return and his was too weak and didn’t have enough blood to recover on his own. I’m not sure if there will be any follow up tests. Thanks for all of your prayers. He looks really good and he is in good spirits!!

    1. Amazing!! so good to hear this Dawn!

    2. So good to hear Dawn! 🙂

    3. Praise God!

  11. 6. Write your comments on the sermon

    Others have mentioned lots of good points, but I am especially pondering Keller’s mention of the novel by Elisabeth Elliot called “No Graven Images”. I read it years ago and it really struck me. Elisabeth Elliot was a missionary herself and then a writer, who spoke at Urbana, an Urbana InterVarsity mission conference that I attended a long time ago. This woman translator goes to South America to reach an unreached people group and hopefully translate the Bible into their language. She tries to befriend one native after another and seems to make headway but in the end is totally unsuccessful, or so it seemed. The book totally challenges our views of success in mission and ministry. Are we successful only if we win some to the Lord? Have we failed if our prayers are not answered as we hope? I think I will have to go back and reread that book. Does God still love us if we don’t meet our own criteria of success? If everything fails, then is God still God? Yes, he is, of course. Does God fail or do we fail? And are our own views of failure the same as God’s? I wonder if the book is still in print? Probably not. But I have the book myself.

    7. What did Keller say “the Alpha” meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Alpha” in your life?

    Keller means that Jesus is the starting point. He is the beginning, the Creator, the source of life, “in the beginning God”. Keller says, “All of your thinking must start with him. Unless you start with something outside of you, you will never find you. Unless you start with Him, you will never find yourself.” We often use the term “Alpha” to mean top dog. I think that means “the” boss. If he is the Alpha, then whenever we do anything, we have to think how it affects Him. He gives us our orders. He matters more than we.

    Is Jesus the Alpha in your life? He is beginning to get that way, but I know I have a long way to go. Every day, I see new ways that I have not given him control and have not considered him in my life or thinking.

    1. I thought more about the sermon and wanted to rephrase my answer in regard to Jesus being my Alpha. 🙂 I was thinking that for me that means He is my purpose and I view life through the lens of Scripture. He created me, and then re-created me when I was born again, and is still in the process of re-creating me.

      1. I can totally believe that the publishers would initially reject “No Graven Images” because of the lack of happy ending. It’s like there was no closure. Our experience in Kenya had difficult closure as well, so I can identify with the fact that sometimes on earth there are not “happy endings”, not yet. I’m so glad that in Christ there will be a happy ending in the future. Otherwise, there would be no hope. Right now, I cling to that hope.

        I appreciate your offer for me to give my testimony on here. I will think about it. Right now, things are extremely busy and I would not have time to do it. My story is complex and difficult to shorten.

  12. Oh and I was listening to Keller’s sermon on his website earlier today-it is free. It is called “God With Us”-OH MAN is it GOOD. 🙂

    I have never heard this perspective about Moses. So good-Here are my notes on that segment, but again all of it was good. there is some great insight other than this, but this stuck with me:

    When Moses asked to see the presence of the face of God-God said no but I will show you my hind parts. You can’t see my face it will kill you but you can see my hind parts. When Moses saw his hind parts he had to put a veil over his face until the glory went away, his face was so bright. The people of God could not look at Moses because of the radiance of his face-the radiance was because he looked merely at the outskirts, the heels of God.

    If Moses heard this: John 1-The word became flesh and dwelt among us-Moses would be jumping up saying, “Do you realize what this means? This was the very thing that I was denied!” This means through Jesus Christ you can meet God, you can know God personally without terror-ALL THAT MAJESTIC GLORY CAN EMBRACE YOU! Do you realize what is going on? WHY IS THIS NOT THE DRIVING FORCE IN YOUR LIFE?”

    How could it be that through Jesus, God is with us? Because Jesus took away the sin, the terror, the fear, the barrier of guilt between us and God. -YES! This was sooooo good.

    1. Rebecca, I can’t find the free sermon from Keller on “God with us”. What website do you mean..Redeemer Sermon Store? Thanks

      1. Joyce, Yes, it is on the front page of the Redeemer Sermon Store. Here is the link: http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/ It is free and only 30 minutes long. Hope this helps! 🙂

        1. Thank you:)

      1. Dee, I know. Me too! Can’t wait! 🙂

        1. You Lucky Ducks:)))

  13. I wanted to share this.. Hope you are all blessed by it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sghwe4TYY18

    1. That’s very neat, Meg!

  14. My dear Dee, I know you are not avoiding my question and I am not at all upset. I thought this was possibly what you meant when you prayed. I understand it can’t be explained easily and when I have time I will listen to the sermons. Love you too. I welcome new light on any subject.

      1. I listened to the first sermon last evening-three times! 😀 I want to understand this and wonder if the Lord has brought me to it. The first sermon seemed like more of an introduction so I need more and will listen soon. Here is what I took away…if this is truth it is going to be life changing for me. It is bigger than I can wrap my mind around at present. I am opening my heart to it and asking Him to quicken me. It’s pretty exciting.

        1. The best way that I can think of it is how I stated it in an above comment.
          If you imagine yourself in a fish tank in which you could only swim one direction. Behind you is the past. Before you is the future. Where you are at is the present. When you die you’ll be pulled from the fish tank and see everything in the tank at the same time. The blood from Christ’s sacrificial death has permeated the entire fish tank cleansing all sin. God sees the entire fish tank and knows the beginning and the end, who will believe the truth and who will not, so there is no reason to call those who will not accept Him. Therefore He only chooses those who are going to respond.

        2. That is quite a visual. I will chew on that awhile.

  15. This is not a song, but consider it my Christmas card to all of you 😉
    http://www.seekfirstmedia.com/Videos/family-talk

    1. ELIZABETH, OH MY! WHAT A FIND!! Love it! I am going to share it-hope you don’t mind. 🙂

    2. Thank you. Beautiful.

    3. Thank you. That is beautiful. I too sent it on to friends.

    4. Elizabeth, that was so awesome!!! I want to share to also!!

  16. Lord, thank you for this morning-a new day! Lord thank you for all on our prayer list and most important Lord thank you that because of what you have done for us we can come boldly before your throne and we can converse with you. Thank you for the content of the prayer requests Lord and how it reflects how you are changing us.

    Lord I think of Diane’s brother and the bitterness he feels. Lord we are thankful you know his heart and that you are the God who cares for him and who wants him to find his satisfaction in you. Lord we know you want him freed from this bondage more than any of us ever could want, and you know what it will take and we thank you that you are moving already in his life just by Diane being here and having us pray-so we thank you and trust you will move. Lord help him to see you this Christmas-to realize you are Immanuel God with us.

    Lord, quicken Meg to have a conversation with her mom-in your timing and if it be your will at this time in Karen’s life. Give Meg wisdom as to timing and the words to speak in love. Help her to exclaim your goodness and your salvation in her life.

    Lord, I also lift up Elizabeth’s mother in law. You know what is going on, all the details there and we thank you for the healing and the glory you embraced Elizabeth with as you took her through the process of healing with her mom. Lord, I am still awe struck about the white horse-your timing, your love shown to Elizabeth to melt her heart and to give her a stone of remembrance. Lord thank you that you are the lover of her soul and thank you that you have given Elizabeth this beautiful stone of remembrance to encourage her with her mother in law. Lord I ask that you would soften her mother in law’s heart toward you, and if it is your will and timing that you would open up a door for Elizabeth and her mother in law to have a conversation-and that you would be in the middle of it.

    In Jesus precious name, amen.

      1. Amen!

  17. Ladies I need some prayer this morning… I am having a bad attitude about my christmas tips from paper route.. .I havent gotten any yet.. and i am getting frustereated each year i usually get around 300 dollars… I need to keep reminding myself that there is stil 2 weeks left.. Even if i dont get money at least a card would be nice.. I have to go through alot.. they HAVE to be delivered by 7.. I have to do it in rain, snow , sleet, freezing rain, even when we had the hurricane.. I am actually getting rid of it after Christmas becuase its just not worth it anymore.. I get 100 dollars every 2 weeks.. and i use that money for gas to drive my route and the money that i would be saving if i wasnt driving for a hour everyday! Anyway i am rambling but please pray thanks!

      1. Yes, Lord, Amen
        Thanks Meg for reminding me to give to our mail lady and paper man…praying your hard work will be rewarded:)

    1. Father I thank you for your touch on Rebecca’s son and Elizabeth’s health. I continue to pray for Anne’s husband and Dawn’s dad whom you spared so beautifully.
      Now Father we agree in prayer for Virginia. Draw her to yourself and comfort her and heal her as only you can. Reveal yourself and your great love to her today. One encounter with your love can change everything.
      We agree in prayer for Warren that he would have his eyes opened to the truth so that he can walk in freedom and rest instead of labor for his salvation. Illuminate truth Jesus. I trust you fully who began a good work to complete it.
      Jesus touch Brad’s heart and draw him to yourself. Give him a friend who loves you supremely. Remind him of the pain and cost of his old life and do not let him fall back into satan’s trap. Thank you for him and the blessing that he is.
      Jesus we ask your healing touch on Phillip’s life. Rescue him from the bonds of bitterness. Send someone into his life that will be Jesus to him. Thank you for Diane how we love her. Bless her and continue the work you are doing in her life.
      I pray for Meg that she would bless her mother and her life change would cause her mother to want you in her life.
      I pray again for Dennis that the pastor who he likes would come to visit and would sit shiva with him and out of it fruit would come to help heal his broken heart. Give Dennis the will and desire to live on.
      Thank you for the power of prayer.

    2. Praying these prayers for all of you and Thank you, Dee and Kim

    1. Yes, Dee, I will definitely pray for you about your meeting with the publisher. Wonderful that you and Rebecca can get together today. Have a blessed time.

      And thanks, everyone, for your prayers for me and my family. There is ongoing concerns with my Dad and the way he relates to his children with seeming coolness, which can be interpreted as uncaring. Would appreciate ongoing prayer.

      1. Praying for your dad, Diane:)

    2. Dee, it will be good to pray with you!

    3. Father bless Rebecca and Dee’s time together today, we know it will be a sweet time.
      Give Dee traveling mercies to Nashville next week and as she meets with them would your presence and help be known to all. May every decision be your perfect will. Quicken Dee in all of it. Thank you for all that you are going to do through this powerful book the lives that will be changed and the glory that will come to you through it. Amen.

      1. Yes Jesus!

    4. Dee, It was wonderful meeting with you today! Such sweet, sweet fellowship, and you are just as beautiful face to face, and a great cook! 🙂

    5. Praying for you, Dee. Hope you and Rebecca had a wonderful time and Thank you so much for praying for all of us.

  18. I am hopelessly behind this week – my husband worked from home yesterday and where the computer is is “his office”, so I had to stay out, plus, he has bronchitis and has a horrible cough, so he worked from home 2 days this week, he is on an antibiotic and hopefully will turn the corner soon!
    Skimming through all the comments, I really want to get back to reflecting on the poem, though – I saw a comment on the poem and I think, too, that the author was expressing his own internal journey to Jesus through the journey of the Magi.

    Elizabeth, hope you are feeling better!

  19. Susan, you are a nurse right? Can I ask a few things?

    1. You may ask, Meg, and I’ll do my best to answer!

      1. Ok..I have been having some really bad migraines at least one a week or so.. I have been trying to drink lots of water.. but as a child I NEVER drank water and i dont rememeber having problems like this. Also i have been having some really bad pressure on my blatter.. and its why i give into temptation cause going to the bathroom doesnt help. Its really annoying! I hate going to the doctor so i was kinda putting it off.. but if there is something that can be done.. I will go..

  20. Angela, is your oldest daughter, Kaitlyn, the one with Aspergers?

  21. I want to give a little more detail to my prayer request for Brad without betraying his confidence. When I added his request it was because I saw a red flag and panicked. I am well aware that the devil is seeking a way to draw him back into that old life. I was distraught at the thought of facing that old pain again but cried out to the Lord and He comforted me. Thank you for praying, it means so much. I am no longer panicked which is a praise to God’s touch on my heart.

  22. Oh Father, I praise You that You are the Alpha and the Omega. You are the beginning and the end, we are hemmed in by You. Thank You that You hear us—right now, You listen to our every prayer, You are Sovereign, All Powerful, and Perfect. Thank You Lord for Your unending mercy and love towards us.

    I again pray for Virginia, Lord. You know the depths of her pain, and You care deeply for her. Oh Lord, I ask that You would come in and melt her heart. The part of her that wants to push back, to avoid more pain…would You come in to that place in her heart—pull her into Your arms, and allow her to break—that she would find rest in You.

    And Lord for Kim’s husband & son Brad—I pray that You would bind them from the lies of the enemy, strengthen their faith in You, open their ears to Your Truth.

    Lord, I lift up Philip, his bitterness, and the wake of unforgiveness that has been so destructive in Diane’s family. Also Lord, for Diane’s dad—Lord, would You lead him to show his love more tenderly, and allow others to see his love with grace-filled eyes. Father, I pray for healing and restoration in this family—for PEACE.

    And dear Joyce, and her brother Dennis—Lord, thank You for the gift of Joyce, I pray You would continue to give her strength as she ministers to her family so well, and grieves her own pain of caring for her sister in law. We do pray You would draw Dennis to Yourself Lord, and that Your glory would shine through this painful time.

    For Laura-dancer’s daughter Sarah. Lord, we have grown to love her and desire You to come into her heart, open her eyes that she may know You and follow You. Thank You for the new friend You have brought this year, for the ways we have seen You at work in her life.

    Thank You for the ways You are moving in Eli, in Joey. I pray again Lord for Bonnie, I pray she would listen to the sermons on the ipod, that You would open her ears to hear You Lord, that she would fall into Your arms, broken, trusting only in You, Jesus.

    Finally, I pray for Dee’s trip to Nashville—Lord I ask for Your blessing upon this meeting regarding The Stonecutter, that You would go before Dee, that You would speak through her, bring like-mindedness in the discussion, Lord that You would be glorified through this study.

    1. Praying right along with you, Elizabeth…Thank you.

    2. Elizabeth,
      That was a really beautiful prayer you prayed for my mom, thank you, it really touched me. That God would pull her into His arms and allow her to break…

    1. AMEN

  23. Amen to all these beautiful prayers, Lord.

  24. This is kind of neat….the ladies’ group I attend on Sunday mornings had its Christmas party this evening and I went. Last Sunday, the woman who leads the group asked me to share the story about C.S. Lewis that I heard from Keller’s sermon, the one where his friend Charles died, and Lewis thought that he would now “have more of Ronald because he wouldn’t have to share him anymore, but he found that he now had less of Ronald, because only Charles brought out certain aspects of Ronald’s personality”. I had shared this with Kathy, the group leader, when she told the class how important she thought our fellowship with one another in the group was, and she asked me to share it with the class.
    Then she told her dad the C.S. Lewis story, and her dad is not a believer. She said he was really interested in this, that no one individual can bring out all aspects of your personality. Kathy said her dad is very intellectual, and not a believer, and so I suggested the book that Dee read, Surprised by Oxford, that perhaps it would be a stimulating read for him. I’m glad I got to pass this on and it may be helpful!

    1. Dee,

      Didn’t know if you saw above or not, but I too had a wonderfully sweet time spent with you as well! Loved our prayer time!

    2. It is wonderful that you were both able to pray together but even more than that, I think it is POWERFUL. It is how strongholds are torn down. Thank you both for your faithfulness.

  25. Lord, Thank you so much for Dee, and how you have so richly gifted her to teach and communicate your words and your heart to us. Lord we are SO excited for Dee’s Stonecutter study because we know it is your heart! Lord thank you for how you have shaped and molded Dee to desire what you desire and that is an undivided heart-and that we would have undivided hearts and come back to you. Thank you that through her you have shown us your disdain for idolatry-your jealous heart for us, and yet your faithfulness to us- your incomprehensible love melting our hearts and helping us to flee from our idols. Lord, I ask for your quickening in Dee’s heart as she pitches her ideas for the Stonecutter today, and that you would prompt the hearts of those she is presenting to, to listen and consider the options and then come together with hearts aflame for you, and that they might even consider a path in their own ministry centered on studies that start with You rather than ones that are me centered.

  26. This stuck out to me:

    “Elizabeth Eliott wrote a Book about a woman who was a missionary and everything failed. If God was a means to an end he failed me, but if God is the end he freed me….If I served him and got only him, what more could I want? Am I adopted in his family? Am I going to rule and reign with him forever? Has he died for me? Then how could I add anything to that? The freedom of knowing you don’t serve him to get things, you serve him to get him and everything else Is gravy. Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all things will be added to you.”

    This really stuck with me this week. I feel this way about my singing ministry-well and also my ministry here with my family.

    I would love to some day do studio work again and perhaps do another CD. Creating and working in the Studio is one of my favorite things to do. So I have asked him, what is it you will have me do with my voice? Or are you moving me onto another path and my season is over. Regardless, the above reminds me of the freedom He has given me in serving Him for Him-I am His, adopted in His family-I will rule and reign with Him forever-yes what more could I want? 🙂

  27. 7. What did Keller say “the Alpha” meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Alpha” in your life?

    Jesus is the first, the beginning. We must start with Him because we have to get outside ourselves to get the whole picture. That is the way we will find ourselves. You must get a different perspective. Reading the Bible is how you learn who God is and what He wants for us. We have to discover what God wants for us. Christianity isn’t escapism; you have to figure out who the alpha really is so you can solve your own problems.

    I need to read more of the Bible. I need to understand Him by learning about Him. I am beginning to make Jesus my alpha. Although I have been a Christian my whole life, I have not taken the time to really know Jesus. I am doing more of this in my life today. I am trying to let the earthly world go and focus on the spiritual world.

    8. What did Keller say “the Omega) meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Omega” in your life?”

    Everything is created for God and is “rushing” toward Him. He is the final ending; all your needs point to Him, all your problems are going to Him. It’s important that we operate everyday within these truths. We need to make Him the end for us not the means to the end. It is a non-negotiable. If I don’t have Him everything else is pointless. We can’t use Him. Examples Keller uses are Moses and Jonah. In both cases the men had an idea of how they wanted to live, however God had another plan. When they became aware that God is the end, not the means to the end, they became what they wanted to be. Serve Jesus to serve Him. He is our Omega point.

    I can’t say I have always made Jesus my all. My life today is more devoted to Him than it has ever been. I know God is taking care of me and my family because He oversees everything I do. I am excited to be in His presence! This has not happened before in my life. For the first time I am quieter as a person. I am thinking more about God and turning to Him for solutions to my problems. I ask for His guidance first. I am still a babe.

  28. 2,3. The overall picture in the poem is very much like our journey in relinquishing our idols. It seems this journey is beyond the initial salvation experience. The way was hard and they thought they might have arrived in the temperate valley but the white horse led them on. I think the whole point of the poem sort of comes to a climax when before the last verses he pauses then repeats ‘this’ several times. The death that he is talking about that seems also like birth, hard and bitter agony is very like what we experienced in death to our idols (self). We died to self and were reborn in Christ. The old ways and life just won’t do anymore. We are new creations suited more for heaven than earth.

    1. Oh, and the last line when he says that he longs for another death, because at that time he will be truly home in heaven. I have felt that way often.

        1. Yes I do think his own reading of it adds so much that might not stand out otherwise.

  29. My take away is.. That Jesus is the Alpha and Omega beginning and the end who was and is and is to come.. I am still basking over the Reveltaion Song that I shared!

  30. 4. Jesus is the faithful witness (v.1) of the revelation given to Him by God the Father to show us. He is the firstborn from the dead and ruler over the kings of the earth. He conquered death by His blood and sat down at the right hand of the Father (sitting indicates a finished work) and now rules over all, even the kings of the earth which seem so powerful to us. Because He is raised victorious over death we will also be raised like Him.

    5. We will live in His kingdom as priests to His God and Father. I would like to learn what it means to be a priest in God’s kingdom. He is above all. He rules a kingdom that He bought with His blood for without His victory there would be no kingdom, at least not including us, because we would each have to die for our own sins. The families of the earth will mourn when they see Him because the earth is His not theirs like they thought.

  31. LISTEN TO FREE KELLER SERMON ON THE ABOVE PASSAGE

    6. Write your comments on the sermon.

    This is fresh in my mind, having just finished listening. AWESOME sermon.

    Historical fact gives “oomph” to the truth of this passage in Revelation, that it is truth to live by; the early Christians faced their persecution with courage, peace, even joy, and it made some of the Romans want to find out why. It should give me reason to think that I can live by it, too, that the truth found here is sufficient for me, too.
    Surely, I don’t have to face what they had to face (being torn apart, burned on a stake).

    What a tremendous claim this is that Jesus made, “I am the beginning” means “I am uncreated”. He is my Creator, my Origin. I must start with Him in all of my thinking. This answers #7., What did Keller say the Alpha meant and how should it apply to you?
    Alpha means the beginning, nothing precedes Jesus.
    Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God…”, not, “In the beginning self…”
    This applies to me because, yes, I have problems, I have struggles, I need to know who I am and where I came from and what meaning my life has, but I will never find myself, know myself, understand myself, if I start with myself. I must see myself through God’s eyes, and therefore I must start with Him.

    If I was created by a Creator, then I must discover His truth, the meaning that was put there before. I have to get to know Him; who is He, what’s He like, how do I have a relationship with Him, how can I “get my arms around Him”, what does He think and feel about me, what does He want from me? Does he “have my back”? (or doesn’t He?)

    Christianity is NOT escapism, it is not laugh these questions off and drink another beer. It wont let you escape.

    8. What did Keller say the Omega meant and how should it apply to you?

    Jesus is the Omega, it means the Last. He built the universe for Himself, and, I love this comment, “All of history is rushing headlong into His lap”. He is going to be the Judge at the end of history. He is the final end of everything.
    He said that this applies to life in that there are two ways to approach God; He is either the means and something else is the end, or, He is the end and everything else is the means.
    Keller didn’t use the words “idols or idolatry”, but this ties in when he said that “the omega points of your life are the non-negotiables, the things you say I’ve got to have that or my life has no POINT; if I don’t have this or that, it’s all pointless”.

    Profound truth that ALL of us initially come to Jesus and try to turn Him into a means to reach the omega points we’re not getting to.
    We say, my life is falling apart and I need help, so maybe Jesus will help.
    THANK GOD he takes us when we first come to Him on that basis, when we see our need and place our faith in Him; He doesn’t turn us away and say come on back when you figure out I AM THE POINT and you don’t need anything else but Me. I’m still figuring it out.
    I’m encouraged that Keller said “it takes years of blood, sweat, and tears” to finally reach that point, that freedom that comes from having “to glorify God and enjoy Him” as our real omega point. And that during the “reconstruction”, it makes a mess.

    This impacted me, that God is “negotiable”, but our omega points are not. When Keller put it like this, “Jesus is standing there, HE DIED FOR YOU, and He says, ‘What am I, chopped liver? OH, I’M SORRY, ALL YOU’VE GOT IS ME'”.
    How many times, the way I think, believe, and behave, could He say the same thing to me.
    What if my marriage is always difficult? What if I spend most of my life kind of lonely and not a lot of close friends? What if things just don’t seem to be going right, and I’m dissatisfied, bored, restless, searching, always searching, for…something to fulfill me; what is it I really want? Is it really Jesus, and Him alone?

    Again, when we first approach God, we come hoping that He will be the means to the end of our omega points: security, a happy marriage and family, forgiveness, something.
    I liked the picture of making Frankenstein: when we take our old omega points, and try to patch them together, these old, dead things, and then we go to God for a jolt; we’re just creating a Frankenstein monster. But Jesus is not a battery for our old life, He is a new life.

    Loved Keller’s apologetic argument to those who insist that there is no God, therefore our alpha and omega points are meaningless; we’re just an accident, and we die and rot; yet they insist that our “middle”, our life, has meaning. But if the alpha and omega are meaningless, then the middle is too. HAVE THE GUTS TO ADMIT YOUR LIFE IS MEANINGLESS!

    I saved this for last: Is Jesus your Alpha and your Omega?
    Honestly, He is intellectually. I know He is supposed to be. But I can’t say I actually live like He is. With the second child going away to college looming on the horizon, and only my daughter left at home, my life feels like it’s getting ‘smaller’ and less significant. There are days when I feel my life has no meaning, not much purpose. Does cleaning toilets and tubs and ironing and washing dishes have significance? Making a meal for my parents, driving my dad to his doctor’s appt.? I had felt when my nephew was alive that trying to reach out to him and spend time with him had significance, but then he died, and that was taken away from me. It left an empty spot. When the people I want to love and care for die or move away, it will leave more empty spots in my heart.
    I must honestly ask myself, does my search for significance have as its beginning myself, and does it end with myself? If I believe that and live that way, then I truly have nothing. Or, after listening to this sermon and pondering these new truths, I have to confront the ugly truth that once again, my eyes have been on SELF, and not on Him, and that to know Him and to love Him and to serve Him, as Keller said, “Only things that are done for Me and through Me and with Me will really last, nothing else will. All of reality is swirling around Me because I matter more than anything else and if you obey Me, you, too, will last”.
    I can take great comfort in the description of John falling down before Jesus as though dead, and Jesus comes and puts His right hand on John, (and us), (and me), and says “I was dead, I died for you, don’t be afraid”.

    I wrote down Keller’s prayer at the end:

    “Father, help me to see that as I start with Your Son, and aim at Your Son, and live by Your Son, knowing that this glorious Being died for me, I can have a life that matters, a life that faces suffering and difficulties, a life with design and purpose. TEACH ME WHAT IT MEANS THAT YOU ARE THE FIRST AND THE LAST, that You are the One Who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.”

    I think this is a great prayer to pray for our unsaved loved ones; my mom, Dee’s sister Bonnie, Meg’s mom Karen, Elizabeth’s mother-in-law Edith, Laura’s daughter Sarah, Diane’s brother Philip, Cyndi’s brother-in-law…I hope I didn’t miss anyone, but that He would show them He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Glorious One Who died for them, Who longs to touch them and tell them they don’t have to be afraid.

    1. Your comments are so powerful. I especially loved “Profound truth that ALL of us initially come to Jesus and try to turn Him into a means to reach the omega points we’re not getting to.
      We say, my life is falling apart and I need help, so maybe Jesus will help.
      THANK GOD he takes us when we first come to Him on that basis, when we see our need and place our faith in Him; He doesn’t turn us away and say come on back when you figure out I AM THE POINT and you don’t need anything else but Me. I’m still figuring it out.”
      Lots to think about. Thanks.

    2. So many good points on the sermon, Susan. I especially appreciate the prayer at the end for our loved ones. Amen and amen.

    3. Yes, Susan!!!

    4. Yes Susan, this is so good-so honest-and your whole essence, or tender heart for the Lord, exudes Jesus’ humility and your vulnerability convicts me. Just who you are makes me wish you lived closer!

    5. Susan, you so often have one line that convicts me deep, and I grow from–“I must honestly ask myself, does my search for significance have as its beginning myself, and does it end with myself? If I believe that and live that way, then I truly have nothing.”

  32. Meg,
    In answer to your questions, I think you should make an appt. with your doctor to be checked for a urinary tract infection; you will have to give a sample of urine when you go to the office. You said you feel a feeling of pressure on your bladder and that may be a sign of an infection, I would get it checked out.
    Are these migraine headaches something new or have you had them in the past? You might google migraine headaches and also cluster headaches, they are similar. Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what causes them.

  33. 7. Alpha is the beginning of all that is. It is Jesus. He has always been there and created all things. I am not the beginning but I am created by Him for His purposes and as I look at Him I will find His purpose for my life (my middle).

    8. He is the Omega, the only point. Nothing else matters. I think I heard Keller say that our Omega is my life lived completely in Him.

    9. The journey of the Magi is about the journey from life with me as the alpha and omega to life with Him as the Alpha and Omega. It is a long journey, hard and lonely with little encouragement sometimes. There are also times of oasis and encouragement and an arrival that is satisfactory but not glory, not yet. Real physical death is the only way to that glory.

    10. I think my take away is that freedom that Keller mentioned is the result of making Christ the Alpha and Omega. My middle has been a source of dissatisfaction for me. I don’t see fruit in my life like I think I should and feel guilty or maybe it is that I can’t derive pride from works in my life. That would be because He is not yet the Alpha and Omega in my life. So I see that the way is long and hard, the death bitter yet tasting of new life in Christ.

    There is for me a calling to something small yet a thing that I am unable to do apart from His power. I have said yes to Him and if He opens that door I will walk through.

      1. Dee, thank you. You won’t get in the way because I have already made the decision. I am seeing service a little different lately. When God calls me to do something I realize now that it is an honor, not just something added to an already busy life. Up until now I have felt stressed, guilty that I was not doing enough and very sure that I could not do a good job. I know that is works righteousness and it can be very insidious.

  34. 9. Contemplate The Journey of the Magi again and write down any new thoughts.

    “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms”
    I read over the poem one last time, pondering all the insightful musings of you all, and the word “Kingdoms” jumped out at me. We have been learning a bit about theocracy in church recently; how when the children of Israel wanted a king, God told them they were sinning but allowed them to have one, but pointed out that the king was answerable to the priest/prophet of God. Theocracy means a system of government in which priests rule in the name of God or a god. And that is what Israel was supposed to be. Then, the pastor pointed out the connection between theocracy and Jesus use of the word “kingdom” of God or of heaven.

    It is like an explosion went off in my head. When Jesus is talking about the kingdom, he is talking about Himself literally reigning NOW. We are part of the kingdom. “The KINGDOM OF GOD IS “WITHIN YOU”. (Luke 17:20-21)(NIV) “Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” or as King James Version says, “behold, the kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU”. We can’t see it but we are living in the kingdom of God. Our attitude in everything we think and do is to be pointed in this direction.

    Back to the poem, the “Magi”, or kings, went back to their Kingdoms. “We returned to our places, these Kingdoms, But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation, With an alien people clutching their gods. I should be glad of another death.” And we, too, had our Kingdoms as well. We thought we were queens of our own little worlds. (I remember laughing at my 4-year-old grandson bossing me around one day and saying to him, ‘You think you are the boss of the world, don’t you?’ ‘Yes,’ he replied, quite seriously.)

    Now Jesus’ birth has killed our kingdom. Jesus’ reign or kingdom has begun its reign within us. It is in the beginning stages right now. Yet, we are restless, beginning to realize that Jesus reigns, yet we so often do not see the evidence of His reign either within us or within those who claim that they are His, but we know that we cannot go back to the old way of doing things (of ruling our own kingdom) so we long for the final fulfillment and completion of Jesus’ reign, that it might become visible.

    I’m so glad, Dee, that you asked us to ponder this poem over many days, to keep going back to it. Every time I do I see new things.

  35. Coming back for one more thought on the poem–there is one line that keeps coming back in my mind, I can’t get a very deep thought, but here goes–when he says “At the end we preferred to travel all night”–I just keep asking, what does that look like for us?
    I’m not very wise with poems, but I’ve read the poem all along as a metaphor of our spiritual journey–so I am wondering, what does it look like, to travel all night towards Him…they wanted to be free of the distractions of the townspeople, the camel men, the voices telling them lies, and the lure of their idols.

    “In the end”, maybe as they/we mature in our walk with Christ, in our journey Home, we prefer to just keep going all night, no longer wanting a quick relief from the difficult journey, no longer wanting to entertain the pleasure of idols, growing always in our desire to have our eyes so focused on the Prize, on Christ…as Paul said in Philippians, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

    1. ELizabeth, Bingo! This is spot on. You don’t have to be wise with poems, even though I think you are. Wow! loved this:

      “In the end”, maybe as they/we mature in our walk with Christ, in our journey Home, we prefer to just keep going all night, no longer wanting a quick relief from the difficult journey, no longer wanting to entertain the pleasure of idols, growing always in our desire to have our eyes so focused on the Prize, on Christ…as Paul said in Philippians, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

      I love it when you sum up your posts with something profound at the end-I always look for it. Well, sometimes there is something great in the middle too..well, scratch that-I just look for it wherever it is and sometimes copy it. 🙂

    2. Elizabeth, this is good. It might look like we have blinders on. We are so focused on the prize that we only want to get there. No sightseeing on the way.

    1. oh WOW–on my knees right now! Lord, please open dear Bonnie’s ears that she and Sara, may be melted by Your Truth…thank You Lord!

    2. Dee, Wow!!! So glad her heart was soft toward it and she wasn’t angry! Will pray now and tonight!

        1. This is tremendous, Dee – she was pleased with her gift! I will keep praying for Bonnie.

  36. I came across a quote that I think is appropriate for us right now.

    Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and that there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing. Teresa of Avila

  37. Dee, I am also praying for Bonnie, Sara and you. Praise to the Lord for how He has worked in her heart so far.

    Fred has not been able to tolerate working. He had to stop and is in a lot of pain.

  38. I know this is late.. but can someone explain the poem to me? I am so confused! I thought i could just read what everyone wrote and get it from there but i am still confused! Help!

  39. life gets so busy this time of year:) I miss you all. the prayer request for my brother in law Doug is that he would know Jesus so your prayer was perfect Dee!
    my Christmas card is on my blog if you would like to see it. if you would like a hard copy please let me know and I will send you one. you can send me your address at theferrells@bex.net

    ferrellchinajourney.blogspot.com

  40. 9.

    Diane, I really liked your ponderings about the poem and about kingdoms, “Jesus’ birth has killed our kingdoms”. And how you said that we often don’t see any evidence of Him reigning in us, yet we can’t go back to our old ways of doing things.

    Elizabeth, I also liked your ponderings on “what does it look like to travel all night towards Him?” I love how each one of us has unfolded this poem a little more and a little more and we are all gleaning then rich insights. This particular line of the poem didn’t stand out to me but it did to you, and now I get the benefit of your insight! The kings wanted to be free of distractions, of lies, of idols, so they traveled at night, and I loved how you compared that to our spiritual journey as well.

    One last thing I think I gleaned from the poem was when they entered the town, they saw, at one doorway, “six hands dicing for pieces of silver” and “feet kicking the empty wineskins”. And they found no information there. The picture of the silver made me think of Judas betraying Jesus for silver, agreeing on a price for which to betray Him, and the wineskins made me think of Jesus saying that you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins because they will burst and ruin everything. This somehow pictured for me those who reject Jesus and don’t want the new life He offers. They didn’t want to change, didn’t want to leave their way of life.

    10. My take-aways for this week are first, the poem. I want to keep a copy of it; I think it is one that the more you read and reflect on it, the more you will see.
    Secondly, the Keller sermon has given me so much to think about. I think Anne touched on it above, this resonated with me what she said, “my middle has been a source of dissatisfaction for me”. and “maybe it is that I can’t derive pride from works in my life”.
    In the context of Jesus being my Alpha point and Omega point, how I am viewing and living out my middle shows if I really am making Him those two points, and I don’t think I’ve got that into my heart yet.