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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. Cant wait to get started!

    Dee-There is no sound on the video that you posted.. and have you heard anything from Tammy or Terri? I miss them both!

  2. Dee, I just love the poem! It does trace our journey. I, like Meg, am excited about diving in.

    I had a good chuckle when you said we would study works of art and there was that camel’s sandy muzzle big as life. I thought, not you buddy. He looks sweet, but the smell…

    I ordered the book just 2 days ago with the Chambers and Yancy books but may not get to read it until the week between Christmas and New Years (my favorite week). Wow, do you think Oxford is still like that? I wish we had universities like that. Alfred so wanted to go there but I discouraged him because of the cost and the distance. I had no idea that it might still be steeped in the influences of men like Lewis and Tolkien and those who shaped them. Perhaps he will also read the book.

  3. 1. Comment on the above

    I am going to download “Surprised by Oxford”. It looks really good. Made me smile about how you too were like her in how you understood poems-;-) Knowing you now, i can’t imagine that! I recall when I tried to understand proverbs and the Psalms before I knew Jesus-Oh my. I think I just went-“Huh?” and didn’t try to figure it out. Scripture was like a huge mystery book to me-couldn’t understand a word of it.

      1. so beautiful, Dee! Oh my, isn’t God amazing?!?

      2. Whoa! That’s so cool!

  4. I’m still listening through last week’s Keller sermon – taking notes furiously! Was struck by his example of being married for your money, and how many say of God, how when He let them down, it is like saying “He had this incredible blessing bank account somewhere and I know it’s there but He would never let me get my hands on it”; so I’m out of there. You married God for His money.
    This is tying in with one of my take-aways from last week, that we are so self-focused, it takes much discipline to get our eyes off ourselves and onto Him. I am seeing just how much of the Christian life – sermons, Bible studies, even worship, is focused on accessing something that God has to give – His power, wisdom, etc…
    Even this that Keller said, “The seraphim are adoring and serving God, not because God pays-off in terms of power, comfort, approval, control, significance, or security, but just because it is His due, just because of who He is, the beauty of who He is”.

    There was the list of “our idols”, that’s why I took note.

  5. 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.)

    My initial thought in the first half was it reminded me of the Israelites Exodus from Egypt. How they were stripped of the ‘good life of comfort of food’ and longed to go back on their journey and how we too, when the chiseling is happening, can long for the comforts and ease of our idols, but that all changes when we encounter deeper intimacy with Jesus, or when we encounter him after not ever encountering Him.

    There is a shift when the Magi encounter Jesus-they are being changed by this Holy encounter-their eyes are opened to their depravity, to the worthless gods they held onto, They no longer desire the comforts their idols offered. I think His birth represents their death and after their encounter with Him they found satisfaction in Him and when they go back to their kingdoms they find they aren’t the same-Jesus is satisfying them now-they are changed and aren’t comfortable in their Kingdoms like they used to be-they see everyone clutching their gods and they realize this isn’t their home and their true home is with Jesus-They find they are aliens now among people who clutch their idols and they long for their true home to come.

    1. Rebecca–I had missed this, wasn’t subscribed yet, but it is so good. It reminded me too of the Israelites when he says “There were times we regretted The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces…”

      It’s interesting to me that this is our thought process on the journey TO Him–before the scales are fully removed, maybe?, but once we experience Him we see the emptiness, the folly in it, and we are by grace, changed!

      1. Elizabeth, Hallelujah! Yes, by His Grace we are changed! I think the journey to our first encounter with Him when we are born again is beautiful, but OH, I am finding the Journey gets richer and richer as we grow in intimacy with Him-and we keep dying to self-and we become smaller and He enlarges.

  6. I just saw that Cyndi posted 8B is her brother in law

  7. 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.)

    I already listened to the Eliot poem as soon as I saw it and want to record my initial thoughts before they aren`t my first impressions. The poem so stunningly portrays the difficult journey that the magi had in travelling to find Jesus, wondering if it was a futile journey. It was no fun. Yet there were moments of relief, like the oasis. And when they did find Jesus, they still weren`t sure what they had found. Who was this baby? Why did he have the smell of death about him? But they were changed. They were never satisfied again with their idols. They wanted something more. That`s just like us. We want something more. Like the old saying goes, “Our hearts are restless ‘til they find their rest in Thee.”

  8. Yes, I too am anxious to get started as my comment above shows, but I forgot to check the followup comment box below so I will do that now.

  9. I’m taking it that the poem is not supposed to be taken literally….but when i hear it that’s where my brain goes:) If I had to guess it is supposed to parallel that our journey to finding Jesus is never easy but worth it and that our death will really be our life…but I just see camels and sand and snow and tired men when I hear it:):) I am hopeless! I hate poetry:):) LOL

    1. ha ha Cyndi. I am with you being hopeless with poetry…I am excited to learn though.

  10. I am soooo excited! Someone donated Yancy’s book Prayer to the church library and of course i am the church librarian so i got first dibs i am so excited!

    1. Meg, You will love it! I am glad I am unable to rip through books fast, because this one is a good one to meditate on and contemplate as you read.

      1. when Dee first mentioned it, I ordered it for my husband for Christmas (he loves Yancy)…but I’m getting tempted to sneak into it myself first 😉

        1. Elizabeth, you must! You will love it!

        2. Oh, and just don’t eat anything and get it on your fingers when you are reading it-he’ll never know. ;~)

        3. lol you all are hilarious! I am reading slowly through it too and am loving it so yes read read read! 🙂

        4. I do that all the time. I love to read while I eat. Messy it is.

  11. 1. Comment on the above. I love the picture of the camel he looks like he is smiling 🙂 he looks happy and content

    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.) so confused about this poem i am going to read what other people post to see if i can catch something 🙂

    1. I love the camel too Meg! We live near a Christian drama production company, and year-round, they have on their land the animals for the nativity…I often do a “free field trip’ with the kids and I could just stare at the camel all day! I love animals, and how they show God’s amazing Craftsmanship–so unique, so beautiful…and animals have the advantage of not marring their beauty with speech like we can do!

  12. Oh how I love advent! Just came back from church…love the lighting of the candles, the songs, the prayers. Anne–you asked last week about Andrew Peterson, we sang one of his this morning.

    My initial thoughts on the poem, very “raw” here and I’m not “good” with poems…but I noticed how they had regrets, WHILE on the journey. Like the Israelites, they remembered their “better life”…but this only the feeling on the way…in the trial period.

    I noticed the signs of Christ along the way–the 3 trees, reminded me of that Children’s book (one representing the boat where Jesus calmed the storm, the next the creche, and the last the cross).
    And of course when I saw the white horse, my eyes filled.

    When they experience God, Christ…they are changed. They no longer want their previous life, no longer comfortable there.

    Not sure if this will make sense–but what comes to mind is this–there is a trial before joy; a death to their desires, before their is new life; a burial before resurrection.

    1. Elizabeth, I thought of you when I saw the white horse in the video! 😉

    2. He will be in concert at an area church and I wondered if I should go. I have never heard of him. Is he good?

  13. 1-I just got done reading Surprised by Oxford. I really loved this book. I loved the journey and seeing God all over her life. How He does indeed woos us to Himself. How He just loves us so and does not force us. I loved the gentleness of TDH and how wonderful her friends were all so different but they were free to talk about Christianity and her journey no matter where they were on that journey if at all. I loved the Master Story Teller weaving things in and out. Such a good read. Thanks for sharing it with us. It blessed me so. Now, the poetry is good but I feel so lost in it all. OH I wish I could understand poetry better. It is like my mind is broken when it comes to it. Not sure why it is. I was left desiring something in me that could understand the code of poetry. 🙂 However the over all story of God weaving the His story in her life. So encouraging. I was even aching for it to end the way I hoped

    2-So now I confessed my fear of poetry I will try this week to study this poem above. I have read it. I think I get it but I again, poetry is hard for me. So I am going to try to study it all weak and listen to it and pray and see what happens. Who knows maybe it is never too late for someone like me!

    Sorry I was out most of the week last week. It has been rough! I am slowly getting better but it is a long road. Slow and steady. I had a set back after such hard work of detoxing system I got a tooth infection and am now on another antibiotic for that now. Another step back. But encouraged. I know God is at work. I can trust. I just have to be okay with His timing and that is hard especially while trying to be a mom and wife among other things. 🙂

    1. Your in my prayer’s, Angela:)

    2. Angela–just saw this, will continue prayers for you sweet one, so sorry

    3. Angela, you are on such a hard journey, sis! I am so sorry-will continue to pray.

  14. I’m praying for all of your 8A special loved one’s needs. I truly believe we can make a difference in their lives if we all keep praying:)

  15. I’ve been sitting with the word journey…I don’t know why, but I really liked this, from the 1828 dictionary:
    “The word journey suggests the idea of a somewhat prolonged traveling for a specific object, leading a person to pass directly from one point to another.”

  16. DEE!!! LOVE LOVE THE PIC! oh that makes me miss you, not that I’ve ever seen you in real life, I just so wish I could…you make me smile! Much love to you~

      1. Dee, I agree with Elizabeth, Love the picture!

      2. Dee, tell us about your picture. Love it.

        1. You are beautiful inside and out:)

  17. 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.

    -This passage to me is the Gospel. I am thinking of the images-new life with vegetation-a running stream and a water mill beating the darkness. The three trees stick out, but I can’t figure it out-perhaps God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit-or it could represent the three crosses-Jesus and the two thieves-one was humble and the other thief was arrogant-Jesus represents redemption. Oh and then the white horse!! Hmmmm…I may be going off the deep end here and may be dissecting it-but am looking forward to hearing everyone elses reflections..

    1. That is good Rebecca. The white horse from Revelation perhaps but why is it old. The melting snow and vegetation remind me of Narnia in which the end of winter and coming of Christmas represents the gospel. The stream-the river of life-powering the mill but if people don’t believe it beats the darkness and is not used. To me the horse is the part that does not fit.

        1. oooooohh..that is good-I remember you mentioning the timelessness of God but I didn’t connect it here-“The Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world.” wow..

        2. Tidbit from study tonight. The fact that Jesus was fully man made Him the perfect sacrifice because a man can die for the sin of man. The fact that He is fully God made His sacrifice sufficient for all sin, past present and future. His sacrifice is outside of time because He is eternal.

      1. Good ponderings Anne! I am thinking you are right on in describing the stream and the river of life powering the mill-it brought to mind Jesus beat the darkness on the cross-and He beat Satan, and as believers we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to beat the darkness-the Holy Spirit quickens us and we can choose to listen to His red flags, turn, repent, apply truth to it and walk in faith. When we bend toward idols, Jesus has given us His counselor-the Holy Spirit to help us to turn.

        I think the horse fits in with the future? I don’t know why it is old, but I am thinking like our passage in Revelation-redemption isn’t for just now in the future-it is for eternity with Him.

  18. Today was very wonderful for me. I heard a new song at church. http://youtu.be/trhxP6VAOuc I love Irish music but but so often it is about drinking and partying. This one so touched my heart. It is called The Canticle of the Turning.

    I saw a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Duke Chapel. It was amazing. All scripture repeated over and over for meditation. The music and vocals all contrast to illuminate the glory of God’s magnificent work.

    Sometimes when I begin a study God brings a question to my mind. The last few weeks I have been learning about Jesus as my High Priest. What does that really mean? I did not know. I shouldn’t go into all that I have learned now. I think it will come out as we go along in the study. Things that are important always do. But today in church He showed me more. It was very nearly a God Quake for me.

    Then I picked Joey up from youth group and he was opened up like a flower. He talked about heart things to me. It was a balm to my soul. I was able to tell him how much I love him and how much of my tenseness and concern is because of that.

    Lord, this has been a red letter day for me. Thank you with all of my heart.

    1. So thankful, Anne!

    2. That is great Anne! Also love that song my youngest is doing Irish dance this year. She loves it and we have grown to love Irish music.

    3. Love this song!! I love Irish music.

    4. sorry I haven’t been good at keeping up with the comments, and just read this–I am THRILLED to hear of God working in sweet Joey’s heart! Praise!!

      1. Me too Elizabeth! I am so excited about God and everything He is to me. My heartfelt and deepest thanks to you and all who pray for Joey. I love him so much. What treasure both of our boys are!

  19. Strange, how Anne had such a good day and Dennis had such a bad day. I think the Devil is working over time on him, as he was very angry today. Not at anyone, just at everything. It’s not like him. Really, I think the evil one doesn’t want to lose his stronghold on him and all the prayer’s are weakening the Devil:) Praise God!!!

    1. Joyce, I am so sorry. Praying for Dennis that he will be able to let Mary Kay go. This is so hard.

      1. I think Dennis is a believer but relatively new. Such a burden for one so tender.

    2. Sorry too Joyce. Lifting Dennis up. So very hard. Your faithfulness in prayer encourages me so.

    3. praying dear Joyce–wishing I could be there to offer you some help, but know I am praying

  20. 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?)

    Jesus is the faithful witness-He was with God and the Holy Spirit before He came down in the flesh, so He knew God’s plan to redeem us. He also saw the future too. He was faithful to carry it out and will be faithful to carry it out in the future, so I can trust Him and look forward to the future!

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

    Jesus is “The firstborn from the dead” -Jesus was the first to be able to raise Himself from the dead-what power! and He also raised me from the dead and gave me new life, not only new life here on Earth, but for eternity. His power impacts me! I mean, when I think of the resurrection I think of His power to raise Himself and He is going to raise me from the dead too in the future-from my grave. This makes me both tremble yet also have joy. Hard to describe.

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

    Jesus is sovereign both now and in the future He will rule over the Earth-Kings, presidents will bow to Him-even the unregenerate. I can’t help but think of my hope in the future-that I will some day experience this with Him! The lover of my soul will no longer be spat upon, but He will be honored.

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

    He died for me while I didn’t love Him, yet He loved me and desired to wash my sin stains as white as snow-Unmerited favor lavished on me so I would become His righteousness and so that I will be with Him eternally, starting while I am here on this Earth and in the new heaven and new earth to come. What blows me away is that I will be honored before God in the future because of what He has done! I can’t imagine!!

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

    He was and is and is to come-This passage speaks that of God prior to verse 5, but I think since Jesus is also God it speaks of Jesus too. WAIT, wait..O.K. I may be totally off again, but this just came to me: “the one who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the Kings of the Earth”-to me this is the Alpha and Omega-the one who was, who is-resurrection, and who is to come-The beginning and end-He is king of kings and lord of lords and when he comes back to rule he will rule over the new heaven and new Earth and solely because of His blood shed for me I will most humbly rule/serve with Him!

  21. Oh so the first part of the poem. I am getting that this journey is hard going to the Christ like the wise men. Often times it is in the “cold” and most others around us will mock us and make it harder to continue or lure us their way instead of the narrow path that leads to Him.

    Close???

  22. A. the faithful witness (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?) He is faithful
    and we can look forward to the future becuase we know he is going to carry out what he has promised.. I have seen this in my own life.. He has been so faithful.. Thank you Lord for being so faithful to me Help me to be faithful to to others.

    B. the firstborn of the dead (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?) He was the first born from the dead he rose! and he raised me from the dead by giving me new life and eternal life. Such Power!

    C. the ruler of the kings on earth (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?) He was/and is still soveirgn and he will continue to rule over the kings of the earth.. I think of even the President of the United states he is even king and ruler over him! Wow!

  23. Wanted to share this song this morning.. It came to mind as I read the passage in Revelation who was and is and is to come.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FObjd5wrgZ8

    1. Thanks, Meg. This is an awesome song. I couldn’t link to your link (the site told me I couldn’t connect because I wasn’t in the US) but I found the same song, Revelation Song by Kari Jobe on the GodVine site. Here is the link if anyone else has a problem with Meg’s link.

      http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=7LDKYPNX

    2. Love that song, Meg, thanks!

    3. Thanks Meg. I absolutely love this song!

  24. Sorry, my internet has been down. For all who have asked, my dad is doing the same. My sisters and I decorated my parents house on Saturday and my parents “celebrated” their 51st anniversary yesterday. We can’t call his primary care doctor because he is in name only, my dad has never seen him so I don’t think that they would be of any help. I’m going to call an ambulance today, if he refuses then at least I did what I could. Thank you for praying and continuing to pray it is hard dealing with a very stubborn man and even though he is weakened, he’s still my dad and I’m still kind of scared of his anger.

    1. Dawn, you and your situation is being taken up in prayer to the Father. Thank you for the update. Love and hugs to you.

      1. Ditto what Kim said. I am praying for you Dawn. I think you are doing the right thing.

      2. Dee, My three older brother’s and I were brought up in a non- christian home were good moral’s were all that was expected. Dennis worked hard and lived a good moral life and is as honest as the day is long. My other brother’s and I gave our hearts to the Lord years ago, but Dennis didn’t and Mary Kay always took the kids to church alone and she is a believer.

        Since we found out that Mary Kay has Picks’s disease over a year ago, Dennis has had lots of opportunity to pray and give his heart to God. I wasn’t there, and only God knows, but I’m pretty sure he did at one time.

        He thought Hospice was free and they all write their time down, after they leave, in the car, even to just visit with him and the pastor with Hospice even writes his time down and Dennis doesn’t like that and doesn’t care for that Pastor, and he comes once a week. He said even if he doesn’t have to pay , he still doesn’t like that Medicare has to pay them. And no one ever comes on a week end or a holiday. So you don’t dare die on one of those days he said.

        The only pastor he likes is my pastor because he doesn’t get anything for coming and they never went to his church, but he comes and sits with him and just wants to be his friend, and he prays with Dennis and Mary Kay before he leaves. So he looks forward to his visit’s.

        He is just angry and bitter about everything. He is paying $6,500.00 for 24 hour care and he is stressed about that. Plus, Mary Kay is stiff now, in a fetal position and can only drink, not eat and is mute. He was always a outdoors person before and now is always indoors helping with her. He even sleeps with her in the hospital bed. They are both very thin and can do that. When she could talk, she wanted him to sleep by her. They were hardly ever apart in the 47 years of their marriage.

        1. I meant to say, he pays that for one month. I don’t meant to make it sound like he resents paying that for her care…he doesn’t, because he would do anything for her, but soon all their land and savings will be gone. And then she will be gone and he doesn’t want to live after that, he says.

        2. Joyce, thanks for sharing this. I continue to pray for Dennis and for you. I read with interest about the Hospice people writing “their time down” each time they visit. Perhaps they “have to” keep a record so that the organization knows how much time they spend with each patient, so that they can see where help is most needed. I’m quite sure they don’t mean to make Dennis feel insulted in any way. I know this is such a hard time for Dennis.

        3. Diane, Thanks…I’m sure they don’t mean to either.

        4. Joyce, my heart goes out to all of you. I am praying each time I think of it. I wish Dennis could know what we learned earlier in the study that when Jesus wept at Lazarus’ death He was actually looking down through time and weeping for all of us, including Dennis, who would face the death of a loved one. He wept for us, He loves us so! Oh dear Jesus please reveal your great love to Dennis today. Give him hope for tomorrow. Give Joyce strength. Amen.

        5. Thank you so much, Kim

    2. Praying for you, Dawn

  25. ICE-BREAKER
    1. Comment on the above. Dee, I have never enjoyed poetry largely due to lack of exposure. You will be happy to know that I find I really like it and this poem I love. I love the word pictures and symbolism.

    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.)
    The first thing I note is this line “With the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.” No doubt satan didn’t want them to find the baby lying in a manger so he could declare scripture untrue. For me, one very high price I paid my comfort idol was the voice of food calling my name. It would bother me so that I remember crying out loud, “shut up, satan!” Food was such a stronghold and I paid dearly. I haven’t heard these voices for a very long time now, thank you, Savior!

    I will share more later, hubby is home early!

    1. I too have had “the voices singing in our ears, saying That this was all folly.” Satan loves to discourage, to tell us that it is not worth it, might as well just give up and _____________ (fill in the blank with whatever is your idol). But the magi kept on going – day after day, week after week with the weather “sharp”, the camels and camel men stubborn and complaining, and the people along the way “hostile”, “unfriendly”, “dirty”. This so frequently portrays our life journey. “A hard time we had of it.” Why did they go on? What convinced them it was worth it? Was it just stubbornness or did they have hope? It reminds me of the Jews in captivity in Babylon. Life always involves affliction and wandering, doesn’t it!

      Lamentations 3:19-23 (ESV)
      19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings,
      the wormwood and the gall!
      20My soul continually remembers it
      and is bowed down within me.
      21But this I call to mind,
      and therefore I have hope:

      22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
      his mercies never come to an end;
      23they are new every morning;
      great is your faithfulness.

      1. Diane, your ponderings are good. How dry and dirty our path can seem sometimes.

      2. Diane, I read this earlier and didn’t have time to comment. What you said about our journey reminds me of Tozer’s “The Pursuit of God”, and some of what I am reading in Yancy’s book recently. So good, and I am also seeing in this some release in your heart.

  26. My prayers go out to you and your dad, Dawn M. S. Sometimes doing the right thing is very scarey. I pray your dad isn’t angry at you, but if he is remember it is probably just because he is really scared deep down.

  27. OK, giving the poem another try…I watched the video this time and that helped a lot. I’m thinking the trees are the 3 crosses at Calvary, and the white horse, is it possible it is the passing of the old dispensation, like the Law…because now this is the coming of Christ, of the new covenant?

    I think I’m over thinking, and I have a fever today, so I better not try this, I’ll just soak up your wisdom 😉

    1. Hope you feel better soon, Elizabeth…praying:)

    2. Elizabeth, Oh no! 🙁 Hope you get to feeling better today! Keep us posted.

  28. 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.)

    Wow! He has a great voice! Makes me kinda want to like poetry 🙂

    Actually I enjoyed the poem (don’t tell anyone :)) I could feel like I was really on the journey with them. However, birth AND death? Not sure why the wiseman would feel like they died, unless it is a foreshadowing of us “dying to God?”

  29. I came to know many of you at the start of summer– In so many ways, I wish I had found this blog 5 years ago, when I was struggling so much with loss and loneliness. But God’s timing is the best, even when I don’t understand. I have been so blessed and challenged by the word and the fellowship in a time when face to face fellowship was still lacking in my life. In the past several months, my husband and I have gotten plugged in at a great church and now we are teaching a Sunday school class, involved in a small group and I am on the women’s ministry team. For the past couple weeks, I have been praying for God’s direction and am feeling led by Him to leave the online blog, at least for this time in my life. I want to thank each of you for welcoming me, and for the inspiration, fellowship and challenges that God used each of you to bring to my life. Thank you. I will miss you– Since God is giving me friends with flesh on, and young women to minster to, I no longer have enough time to invest in this. Thank you Dee and all my sisters in the Lord. I love you! I will still pray for you by name as God brings you to mind–and he does bring many of you to mind.

    1. I will miss you Terri.. But completely understand. I love you!

    2. Please visit us when you can, I will continue to pray for you and your family. Miss you:(

    3. Thanks for all your time and prayers up to this point Terri. I so understand your position! I hope to be a good role model in several ways to different sets of people and this blog has helped me learn how to do that. It would be nice to know every so often how you are and how your ministry is going 🙂 if you can pop on and give us an update! Thanks for thinking of us and good luck in your new capacity.

    4. Blessings to you and yours, Terri. We have been blessed by you.

    5. Terri you will be missed but I completely understand. I am so thankful for you seeing the need for women to be ministered too. I so wish I had that here. Praying for some older women to see this. God will bless your obedience.

  30. 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?)

    Well, Jesus was willing to do do whatever God asked of Him even when it was hard. I should be willing to be kind to others, to love those who aren’t loveable, to forgive when they don’t deserve my forgiveness, because that Is what is required of me.

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

    Not sure I get this one….. People died before Him…. So it didn’t “count” before Him? I know how it impacts me though. He has made a place just for me. So I DO count in God’s eyes! Before Christ, average citizens didn’t have the same thoughts of heaven; they had a list to accomplish; rules to follow so they could enter and be saved. After Jesus, not only could ANYONE who believed enter (not just Jews), but even people who didn’t follow the prescribed rules (you and me). We only had to love and obey Jesus by accepting Him as our Lord and Savior. No more rules! Grace is good, but hard to understand sometimes.

      1. Yes, I agree with Dee. At first, I thought about how Lazarus was resurrected first, but it is important to remember, Lazarus died again. Jesus is the only One who resurrected and CONQUERED death. He abolished death. 2 Timothy 1:10 “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” Isn’t that an amazing thought. Sometimes I long so much for death to be conquered in its finality. It is so hard to live in the “not yet” time when Jesus Christ’s reign is not fully seen. But it is so good to know that we have begun to live with “life and immortality” NOW.

    1. Laura-dancer, don’t forget Jesus is the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the earth, He died for all sin from Adam to the second coming, before the earth was created. We live within the confines of time which limits us to thinking in terms of past present future and we find it nearly impossible to think differently, but just as an octopus doesn’t realize that he is in a medium called water and that there is something outside of that, the water is his reality it’s all he knows. We live in a medium called time and we were given the intelligence to know that there is something outside of that, but it not our reality and we really can’t wrap our brains around the idea of it.
      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.

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

    Jesus is THE only ruler who matters here on earth. He is the only one I should follow and look to when living my life.

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

    Well, I guess this past Sunday when we sang “majesty” says it all…..”…covered in His blood…” he gave His life just for ME. I am FREE. I can picture the image of ME covered in HIS blood. Oh my! it brings tears to my eyes. It’s like a blanket that protects me.

    1. I love your phrase “silent sisters”. And Amen to your prayer for them. I know I was a silent sister before I took the plunge to join the blog and actually write down my responses. So glad I did, even though sometimes I get nervous about putting my thoughts out there for all the world to see.

      1. Diane, Selifishly, I am so glad you chose not to remain silent! You are depthy and I am learning a lot from your insight. 🙂

        1. Amen!! I 100% agree–Diane, you are a blessing. I was reading through earlier comments and over and over I kept seeing what a gift of empathy you have. There is a way you respond that is just so real, and I appreciate that about you.

        2. Thanks, Rebecca and Elizabeth and all who have encouraged me here. You are so gracious. With Dee, I am feeling like this is “a warm place, feeling as if I’m sitting around a glowing fire with dear and thoughtful friends who care, who contemplate great truths, and talk about matters of the heart. Thank you.” I so appreciate that we contemplate “great truths here.” I find my longing to go deeper with Christ encouraged and stimulated here. This has been a safe place for me where I can speak my heart and know that it will be held gently before the Lord. A blessed rarity!

  32. 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.

    This is not really as much thought as I’d like to give these, such great verses—My thoughts are very fuzzy, I’m just not feeling too good lately…so I may add more as I am able to ponder—just not sure I’ll get more time soon.

    A. the faithful witness (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)
    In John 1:18 he says “No one has ever seen God; the only God, Who is at the Father’s side, He has made him known.”
    Jesus has been with the Father since the beginning, He has been a witness to all His Father’s ways, and a faithful one—trustworthy and truthful in His bearing witness—no deceit, no lies. We can fully know God through Jesus.

    B. the firstborn of the dead (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)
    Not that He is the first to be resurrected, but no resurrection is possible without Him. Jesus is the ultimate resurrected One, the author of the Resurrection—the One raised from death to life by His Power, and the One Who will raise us by that same power.

    C. the ruler of the kings on earth (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)
    He has authority over all—nothing can thwart His plan, and He is my ultimate authority.

    D. has freed us from our sins by his blood (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)
    I have been set free! I am no longer bound by sin. My freedom is dependent upon Him, my faith in Him, by grace.

    5. What else do you learn about Jesus from Revelation 1:6-8?
    The HOPE of what is to come! He is the beginning and the end; creator of all things , the Almighty; Eternal, unchangeable One. I don’t know why this thought came—but I find such peace in knowing that we do KNOW Him, as much as possible in our sin nature, and He doesn’t change—so there is no fear of what is to come, we know He is trustworthy, faithful. I keep thinking of the old song “the now and the not yet”—there is hope for us in what is to come, it is certain. And in these verses we have hope for now—He is over all now, He is and was and is to come—we are hemmed in, surrounded by His Lordship over us.

    1. Thanks for all your good thoughts, Elizabeth. Hope you feel better soon! I love this, “I find such peace in knowing that we do KNOW Him, as much as possible in our sin nature, and He doesn’t change—so there is no fear of what is to come, we know He is trustworthy, faithful.” So encouraging!

  33. Elizabeth, And God speaks through you even when you are with fever! Loved all of your insight, but was drawn to this: “And in these verses we have hope for now—He is over all now, He is and was and is to come—we are hemmed in, surrounded by His Lordship over us.”- This really encouraged me this morning.

  34. D. has freed us from our sins by his blood (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?) I AM FREE! He died on the cross for my sins so that i could be free and live in eternity with him!

    5. What else do you learn about Jesus from Revelation 1:6-8? He is the ALpha, Omega beginning and end.. Who was and is and is to come! AMEN!

  35. Happy Birthday Angela! I love you!

    1. Happy Birthday, Angela! (seen it on facebook)

    2. Aww thank you all!!!!!!!! It has been a good day!

      1. oh, so sorry I just now saw this! Much love to you sweet Angela, I pray this is a very special year ahead!

  36. Thank you all for the prayers. Kim, the time of your comment is the exact time that I was calling for an ambulance. My dad did agree to go (after the EMT told him that I’d have to pay the bill for the ambulance run). He doesn’t have a blood clot, he has internal bleeding somewhere. His hemoglobin was 2.2 and they immediately did 2 PICC lines so that he could get 2 units of blood at a time. Right now he is in ICU and the Dr. said that he was shocked that my dad was still conscience and speaking and that he probably would have died within the next day or 2. I’m glad that God gave me the courage to call 🙂

    1. Wow, so glad you called….praying for him!

    2. Oh my goodness, Dawn. This makes me so thankful.
      Father in heaven, you knew what was needed and quickened us to pray and we are so thankful. Praise you for giving Dawn the courage to call. Thank you for sparing Dawn’s dad and now we ask you to cause his body to heal. We see your loving care of us and our loved ones and we bow our hearts in grateful thanksgiving.

    3. Thank you Jesus; thank you.

    4. Wow Dawn! Thank You Lord! I don’t know what else to say. What a glorious display of His ability to completely hem us in. He was there, at every turn. I am so thankful and will continue to pray.

      1. Dawn, SO SO Glad to hear this!! Praise God! How is your dad doing? Will he recover o.k.?

    5. I can’t imagine what you must have felt going through all of this Dawn, and with already having had such a rough year. What a gift that you were brave and courageous for your Dad–praying for quick healing!

  37. Oh, Dawn M. S. I’m so glad you called and that your dad agreed to go to the hospital. This is so hard. I’m praying for you all. Thanks for keeping us updated.

  38. A. the faithful witness
    Jesus is before the Father telling him of our righteousness because of our faith in what Jesus has done for us. Even though Satan is my accuser, Jesus will always speak the truth on my behalf.

    B. the firstborn of the dead
    He broke the curse of death so that I could have eternal life.

    C. the ruler of the kings on earth
    Nothing happens to this country or any other that isn’t by His divine will.

    D. has freed us from our sins by his blood
    The best of all!! His blood on the cross was the permanent payment for all of my sins and because of this I know that I will live forever.

  39. 3. Continue to reflect on The Journey of the Magi, recording more thoughts. Continued from yesterday…

    This poem seems more like a heart journey than a journey to a place.

    There were times we regretted
    The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
    And the silken girls bringing sherbet. (Is he saying that they regretted living selfishly? I certainly can relate to this.)

    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. (This reminds me of a line in a Christmas song, “no room, only a manger of hay”. The earth had no room for them and as I journey to freedom from idols I have less and less in common in this place. It also reminds me of the high price my idols charged me).

    Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley, (This seems like a respite from the hard journey.)
    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, (Reminds me of Jesus on the cross and the two others.)
    And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow..(This is surely for Elizabeth 🙂 and makes me think of Revelation).

    Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
    Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver, (This reminds me of Judas’ 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. (the world has little to offer)

    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. (Death to oneself is bitter agony at times)
    We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
    But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,(He might be saying after seeing the Christ child all is changed. I too have changed in seeing Him and will never be able to go back).
    With an alien people clutching their gods. (This is a perfect description of our world).
    I should be glad of another death. (Longing for heaven perhaps)

    1. I agree with you on everything about the poem, Kim, but haven’t had time to post much this week. I wondered about the tavern. It looked inviting initially (vines) but then the men playing dice with silver reminded me of Judas too. The empty wine skins and no information certainly seems to mean that the world doesn’t have much to offer in spite of their good “front”. Thanks for your analysis.

      1. Haaha, Diane, I kept thinking why am I writing all this as I know practically nothing about poetry. I figured this is a safe place to take a stab at it.

  40. So the end of the poem is the discovery of the Savior yet with it comes death. Death to self. Though it is painful once you taste it you can have no other way. Nothing else matters. All else trivial…Close?

    Now this is a real stretch but the silver and hands and there being an old white horse did any of that relate to Jesus and his death/Him being betrayed?? Interesting indeed. Still pondering it.

    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?) He is the great I AM. Always was. It impacts me because before the foundation of the world He chose me to be His. That is overwhelming love.

    B. the firstborn of the dead (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)He is the first to rise from the dead other believers will follow. To me it means I don’t have to be afraid no matter what this body does I will be resurrected with Him and will be perfect then. He was first and I follow.

    C. the ruler of the kings on earth (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)He rules all nothing is out of His control. It means I do not have to fear. God has everything under control. Nothing is hidden from Him. No rulers or powers or authorities of the seen or unseen. He is over all.

    D. has freed us from our sins by his blood (What does this mean and then how does it impact you?)Because He loved us so much He provided the perfect sacrifice once for all for us. He sent His own Son. To me it means I am fully forgiven and don’t have to fall into sin. I am free. Amazing!

    5. What else do you learn about Jesus from Revelation 1:6-8? He has made us a kingdom of priests. He is over all every one will give an account. He is the beginning and the end. All things are under His feet. Nothing ever hidden all things perfect in plan. He is everything!

  41. Prayer update for Elijah: God answered prayer, but in an unexpected way! Today, a boy at Eli’s school had a breakdown in class. He was crying uncontrollably. He was afraid to ride the bus home because he is getting bullied. Elijah was the first one to go to him and comfort him and even offered to ride the bus home with him-(Elijah has the gift of mercy.) The Vice Principle called me to tell me what an extraordinary boy Elijah is, and how it floored him that Elijah came in, came along side this boy and was so kind to him.

    We had just gotten on to Eli about his grades last night and then this happened-Wow! God spoke to my heart and melted it-his grades are a priority, but definitely this is a mother’s crown-godly character-fruit of the spirit in my son from the hand of God. I am so grateful!

    1. Rebecca, this is so precious and touching. Anne is absolutely correct-God is hemming us in. I am as happy for you as if He had answered my request. There is no doubt God is weaving a beautiful tapestry.

      1. Kim, Yes God is! I was asking God what He was showing me through this-I was really proud of Eli-yet my heart melted for God in thankfulness, it was a shift from being frustrated and concerned the night before about his grades and losing his paperwork, to melting my heart. Go figure! I can’t figure it out-I just know God did this and I am grateful for how He is faithful to my son-none of our doing-all His. We were able to encourage Eli how he obeyed God in following through showing this boy His love and how God empowered him to do so-how God loves this boy. Great sharing, and God opening our eyes to how He is moving in our son’s heart really in the midst of his brokenness as he has been bullied and struggles with feeling like everything he tries he fails at and he told me even the kids at school call him slow and stupid. It is all about God’s plans for him, not ours.

        1. This is all so wonderful! Praise God! This really touched my heart.

    2. Praise God, Rebecca!

    3. YEAH! Love that victory in HIM!

    4. Absolutely precious, Rebecca. I read this and just thanked God for giving Eli you as his mamma–what a gift!

    5. Rebecca, I can’t tell you how this warms my heart. Eli has a heart as big as all outdoors! I just love him!

      1. Anne, Yes he does! God has made him very sensitive. Thanks SO much for praying for him!

  42. Just read through everyone’s posts….

    Happy Belated Birthday, Angela! Hopefully once you are finished with this antibiotic for the tooth infection, you can have another fresh start on the road to a full recovery. Will keep praying for you.

    Dawn,
    I am thankful you called the ambulance for your dad. I’m a nurse, and I’ve had patients come in with a low hemoglobin, but in over 25 years of nursing, I’ve not seen one at 2.2. No wonder he was unable to get out of bed and so short of breath. Wow. Will pray they find the source of the bleeding and again, so thankful you intervened on his behalf.

    Rebecca,
    You must be so proud of Elijah and the way he demonstrated compassion to his fellow student at school. Shows his tender heart!

    Dee,
    I would not have known that your new picture is 10 years after the first one – you still look great in the new picture and I love it!

    Terri, maybe you will see this – I will miss you, too….but am excited at all the new ministry opportunities for you – you will be a wonderful mentor!

    Joyce,
    Let’s pray that this pastor that comes and sits with Dennis, and that he likes, can be Jesus to Dennis during this time. I am so sorry, this slow, lingering death must be awful for all of you to watch.

  43. ICE-BREAKER

    1. Comment on the above.

    I loved being “greeted” by the face of the camel! He looks like he has been frolicking in the snow and having a great time of it – if a camel can look happy and playful, this one is! When I read “we will consider two pieces of art”, I thought at first the camel was the first!
    I liked the summary of the Oxford book. I can see how the Donne poem could be misinterpreted; I think when we studied it, it even seemed strange at first to think it was written by a man.

    2. Listen to Eliot read the Journey of the Magi and record your initial thoughts.

    Initially, on the “surface” it is about the journey of these men and the hardships they encountered, the cold weather, no shelter, people telling them they were foolish. Arriving in a valley, searching for the place, seeing the sights of the town. An old man recalling his journey many years ago, and reflecting.
    Then, the symbols begin to stand out. If the journey represents the journey from unbelief to belief, perhaps the coldness, the dead of winter represents our hearts before the soil of them is plowed up and made ready to receive the first seed of belief – I see a change when they enter the temperate valley and there is a smell of vegetation; the warm soil of the heart and the growing new life of faith.

    How they looked back often with longing on the place they left behind, the warm summer, the palaces, the comfort of the women and food. Reminded me of Sara Grove’s song – can’t think of the title but it’s about longing for Egypt, to return.

    Some of the men with them did turn back, wanting their women and liquor. The hostile villages, the scoffers telling them to turn back – this part reminded me some of Pilgrim’s Progress and the journey to the Celestial City.

    The three trees symbolized, for me, that Jesus came to die; even above the manger hovers the Cross. I like how the poem ends, that they returned to their own land changed, feeling now like aliens, that this world was no longer their home and they were no longer at home in this world.

    1. Susan, you have a way with words, “…even above the manger hovers the Cross” I couldn’t articulate this but it is what I saw too. “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.” I keep thinking He came to die and this brings agony. Wouldn’t it be agony to know when you were going to die and how terrible your death was going to be? I keep seeing His sacrifice more and more clearly and I am so glad for I took it too lightly and this troubles me that Christendom takes it too lightly-it’s just another story we’ve heard a million times!

      1. Kim this is a great point about taking His death lightly. I did it too. I agree with you that Susan has a wonderful gift of expression.

    1. Thank you so much for your prayers Dee, and I join in these prayers for my sisters. I have really missed the fellowship & discussion–I really hate resting but have needed it. Still weak but ready to press on–I had thought my blood sugar or thyroid meds were off, but I rarely run a fever,and had nausea, etc…so I may have had a mild bug…in any case, I’ve missed you all and am ready to press on!

      1. miss you so ELizabeth. Praying!!! Rest! Heal!

      2. Elizabeth, I was concerned about you with that fever, but so thankful to hear you are feeling better! Yes, I agree with Dee, you need to rest and to drink plenty of water! I missed you, so glad you are back!

      3. When you are well enough I look forward to reading your comments. Get well in Jesus’ power, thank you Jesus.

        1. Elizabeth, I join the other’s in our concern for you and your health…praying!

        2. Thank you all–with all the many other things on your own “plate”–to have your prayers is a humbling gift. I really love you all–so much. I pray someday we can figure out a way to meet together!

        3. God has already figured out a way 🙂

    2. Dee, I never thought to be careful about praying for a God quake. Thank you for reading between the lines and praying carefully. Just this past Monday he saw the doctor who did his shoulder surgery and he cleared him to go back to work on limited duty. He works for the Postal Service and they have given no one limited duty in years but they gave it to Fred. So he went back to work yesterday. I have not had a chance to talk to him because our shifts are completely opposite. He was completely surprised and not ready but I think it is a good thing because he was getting in a deep rut and even a little depressed I thought. I am praying for protection for his shoulder.

      1. Praying too, Anne. My dad carried mail for years and years and walked 20 miles a day and always had one shoulder higher than the other one, from carrying that heavy bag for all those years, so I know the agony they go through. Will be praying for Fred.

  44. 6. Write your comments on the sermon
    Oh my..this is excellent-I think I took notes on all of it-I had to keep rewinding it and writing but it was worth it.

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

    He said Alpha means Jesus is the beginning, uncreated, he is before everything. All my thinking must start with Him. Not start with myself. We can’t approach him as a means to get the answers to our problems. We won’t understand what we look like unless we see ourselves through his eyes-we can’t know ourselves unless we know Him first. Start with Him and other things make sense.

    Yes, He is, although my natural bend can sometimes take over and desire resolve to problems. Yet God has me in a forever trial and is breaking me and through that I think I have come to a resolve where I am saying I don’t know-I am not here for me to be comfortable with no problems-I am here for Him, so instead of desiring to see an end to them or fix them, I am desiring to pursue Him and grow closer to Him-He is where my real peace, and satisfaction lies. I firmly believe brokenness is crucial in growing more intimate with God, and I know some day it will wratchet up-it might and most likely will get worse-some other problem, whatever life brings I shouldn’t be afraid.

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

    This is hard because there is a lot to explain, but I will get to the jist: He is the Omega-the last. Jesus must be my Omega point. If he is the means to an end-He isn’t the ultimate-I am just using him to get to my omega point-which is a happy family, financial security, etc..or is he the end and everything else the means? Is He my Omega point? 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 I don’t serve him to get things, I serve him to get him and everything else Is gravy. This means even in ministry-serving him for results. He gave great examples with Jonah and Moses.

    What is my ultimate? A happy marriage, happy kids, financial stability, or anything else? Or is my Ultimate Him? Do I love Him for what He can give me or for Him?

    Oh yes he is-but I am also aware of my idols and how I can be tempted to want Him for what He can give-I know this by how I respond when he doesn’t answer or when he says no. I would say that this can be a battle! Like Keller said, it is a reconstruction process: “What is the chief end of man? To glorify God and enjoy Him forever and none of us in this room know the freedom that comes from having that as our real Omega point. It takes years of reconstruction-blood sweat and tears-reconstruction- makes a mess. Unanswered prayers is a good way of God showing you what your real omega points are.”

  46. 6. Write your comments on the sermon. Here are my comments: Jesus is the one who was and is and is to come, W

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

  47. 6. Write your comments on the sermon. Here are my comments: Jesus is the one who was and is and is to come, We must start thinking of him first not ourselves. We need to serve to get him. He built the universe for him.. for his glory for his knowledge!! Lastly you can face anything if Jesus is your Alpha and Omega!

    7. What did Keller say “the Alpha” meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Alpha” in your life? Alpha means beginning, He is your Orgin.. We need to look to him first for our means.. not the last thing we look to.

  48. 8. What did Keller say “the Omega) meant and how should it apply to you? Is Jesus the “Omega” in your life?” Omega means last.. if he isnt my means to the end he isnt my ultimate he needs to be! He needs to come before all things in my life, money, family, activities etc..

    Jesus needs to be the Omega in my life and its not always so.. Lord Jesus I want you to be the Alpha and Omega in my life.. would you please help me with that.. woo me to yourself help me to come first to you! Amen