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HIGHER GROUND IN 2012

ONLY CHRISTIANITY GIVES US THE POWER TO TRULY CHANGE

SO IN 2012, WE ARE HEADED TO HIGHER GROUND!

Many of us have made New Year’s Resolutions in the past: to lose weight, to read through the Bible, to read good books and watch less television, to be the kind of woman who is never unkind or sharp, but has a gentle spirit that is precious in the sight of God. Many of you reading this may think: Yes, I have made resolutions — but I’ve always failed to keep them, so what’s the point?

Those of you who have traveled here on this Bible study blog are likely to have more hope — for you have seen change happen right before your eyes — in the lives of your sisters and perhaps in your own life. To name a few, we’ve seen women:

  • Lifted from the pit of depression
  • Rescued from gluttony
  • Delivered from the icy shawl of bitterness, truly released to forgive
  • Freed from a habit that we destroying them and their relationships (in my case, manipulation)
  • Transformed from discontentment to contentment
  • And so much more…

It isn’t a quick fix, it is a long obedience in the same direction, but it really is happening. This week is a prelude, as many are still returning from the Christmas break. We will officially begin next week — so please pray for God to bring those who are ready to move to higher ground and who will be faithful to the journey. Please pray for yourself and for those you feel led to invite.

We’re going to be looking at some key passages that show us how to change, passages that godly people who have changed point to as pivotal.  Every other religion tells you to rely on yourself — but that is like struggling with all your might when you are in quicksand — you will only sink deeper. We need a hand from outside of ourselves to pull us out and take us to higher ground.

We have a God who is as near as our very breath, but because He is Spirit, we may forget He is right there. We will also be studying the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. There has been so much false teaching about Him that sometimes we are hesitant to study Him — yet then we are missing so much power. He is right here with us, even though we cannot see Him. The psalmist says, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.”(Psalm 125:2) Sensing His presence will help you have peace and confidence — you really are not alone.

I often thought of Psalm 125:2 when we lived in Seattle, where mountains practically surround the city. The Olympic mountains line the Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier, in all her glory, looms over the city from the south. Most of the time, however, you can’t see any of them! Whenever my parents visited my dad teased me that there were no mountains, that it was just a grand publicity stunt to lure tourists, for this is how the Seattle skyline often looks, and did every time my parents visited!


But oh, hidden behind those clouds was beauty. Sometimes the sky would be the bluest blue, and you’d look out, and there she was — a mountain so big she looked unreal — taking your breath away. She was there all the time, just hidden from sight.

Mount Rainier

Our God is like that, only so much more so. We may move about our day oblivious to His presence when suddenly we are aware of Him, of His GLORY.

Glory. Tim Keller says that whenever you see the word “glory” in Scripture, think “beautiful and important.” He also says the Holy Spirit’s job is to make Jesus real in our eyes, to make Him “beautiful and important.” As you see how real God is, you will be changed. Instead of focusing on ourselves, if we focus on Him, we will be lifted up.

But before you climb a mountain you should count the cost. Are you committed? Are you willing to persevere, realizing that there will be some hard times to push through? Jesus always told people to count the cost, and so I do too, realizing many of you will turn back.

But oh, how I encourage you to seek the things that are above, to press on toward the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. It’s the only life worth living.

This week we’ll have a short study, and I’d also like you to pray for some specific things, using Scripture to help you pray. You who have been with me are such a gift, you have been strong mentors to others, and I’m counting on you to help us start right, by praying, as God tells us to, for Him to guide and uphold us before we begin officially next week.

For those of you with an I-Phone, and I-Pod Touch, or an I-Pad, (must be able to connect to the internet) I have exciting news. Redeemer Presbyterian Church has a much improved and free ap you can get through I-Tunes. There are so many free Keller sermons on it as well as testimonies. Many if not all of those sermons are also available for free on the internet for those of you who don’t have any of those devices, but this is a very easy way to get them and there are also some additional great testimonies.If you have such a device, go to I-tunes and type in Redeemer Presbyterian Church and then download it, for I’ll be referring to resources found on it in future weeks as optional material.

Sunday-Monday   Icebreaker and Reflections

1. Find two things that stand out to you from the above and share why they do. (Don’t go too fast.)

2.  Meditate on this verse and share your reflections:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

A. Tim Keller says that when you see the word glory, think “beautiful and important.” How does that put new light on this verse?

B. Though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, for most of you, there was a time when He changed from being in the backdrop of your life to emerging as One who was glorious, beautiful, and huge. Share at least one, and preferably two, times when that happened.

Tuesday

3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory!

4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us. If you are on my e-mail list you will be getting an e-mail invitation you could forward. Pray here.

Wednesday – Friday: Scripture and Prayer

Psalm 125: A Psalm of Ascent

There were fifteen steps to ascend to the temple in Jerusalem, and there are fifteen psalms of ascent (Psalms 120-134) that were prayer songs that the pilgrims sang both as they traveled up the mountains to Jerusalem and then as they ascended each step. Their literal ascent paralleled the ascent we are going to make spiritually. They sang as they went, and so will we, for we have learned the power of praise to rescue us.

Psalm 125 is one of these fifteen Psalms of Ascent. Here is a sample from one song-writer of Psalm 125. Listen by clicking

      here
.  If you have another version you like of this psalm song, please share it.

5. Contemplate

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

which cannot be moved but abides forever.

Psalm 125:1

A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

B. What is the word picture meant to communicate?

C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

6. Contemplate:

As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.

Psalm 125:2

A. Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it?

Charles Spurgeon comments that the “mountains around the holy city, though they do not make a circular wall, are, nevertheless, set like sentinels to guard her gates. God doth not enclose his people within ramparts and bulwarks, making their city to be a prison; but yet he so orders the arrangements of his providence that his saints are as safe as if they dwelt behind the strongest fortifications.”

B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?

C. Take this verse and pray it for our study, paraphrasing it in your own words. Pray it as well for yourself and your family, perhaps with another paraphrase. Memorize it.

If paraphrasing the prayers of the Bible is new to you — click here to see how one brother did Psalm 125 beautifully: Link

Saturday:

7. What’s your take-a-way for the week?

 

See you tomorrow, January 7th, for the official start of our journey to Higher Ground!

 

 


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  1. 5. Contemplate

    Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,

    which cannot be moved but abides forever.

    Psalm 125:1

    A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

    The one who trusts is like a mountain.

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate?

    Strength, a large size, beauty, stability.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

    Dear Lord, thank you for giving us scripture to learn from and to know you are near to me. Help me to be strong in times of weakness. Help me to be steadfast and persistent in learning. Guide me when I go off course and don’t understand what you are telling me. I love you Lord. Amen.

  2. 1. Find two things that stand out to you from the above and share why they do. (Don’t go too fast.)
    1-That mountain pic and the clouds such a great visual example of not always seeing God with us but He is.
    2-Going on higher ground-I like that sound. I am reading the crime of living cautiously and some other various things are showing me to take risks not stay stuck in fear. So I am jumping and doing some things in obedience to that.

    2. Meditate on this verse and share your reflections:

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

    A. Tim Keller says that when you see the word glory, think “beautiful and important.” How does that put new light on this verse? I also remember him saying it means weight. What we put weight in is where we give glory what is important to us. In this context I love how we see HIS beauty as we see HIS glory. And how He is full of grace and truth.

    B. Though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, for most of you, there was a time when He changed from being in the backdrop of your life to emerging as One who was glorious, beautiful, and huge. Share at least one, and preferably two, times when that happened.
    Well, I have said this before but when I did the study of Dee’s, Falling in Love with Jesus. Something just clicked somewhere. I loved God and was a Christian but He was still distant to me. When something clicked I could just fall into His arms freely and know His great real love for me. His presence! I was taken in and changed forever.

    Going through this great suffering whether it is depression, pain from others, physical pain, special needs issues, etc. In these sufferings I am sensing a deeper sharing in His sufferings. A deeper fellowship knowing He will truly never leave or forsake me and He is right there through all of it. That strange picture of Job has been something so real to me. It really visually helped me see that when the evil one is allowed to keep you down God is right there never letting the evil one go too far. God is still in control. This set some deep peace in my heart and got freedom rolling in to just embrace it. I can see the change taking place through it. I trust. He is in control.

    1. “showing me to take risks not stay stuck in fear. So I am jumping and doing some things in obedience to that.” Love that Angela–here you go again challenging and inspiring me!

  3. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory!

    Oh yes I am committed to this journey! O Lord I pray that you would become more real to me and more important to me.. Help me to feel you and sense your presence.. You know that i have a hard time sensing your presence and going to people before I go to you. Help me Lord to go to you and want to go to you first and not my friends or other things. I love you Jesus. Take me to higher ground I pray.

    Amen

    1. Beautiful prayer, Meg….praying along with you!

  4. I am so excited to begin this Bible Study. I want so much to be in the Word every day and get to know my Savior in a more intimate way. Looking forward to seeing what God will do this year in my life.

    1. We are excited to have you, Alma.

  5. 1. Find two things that stand out to you from the above and share why they do (don’t go too fast).

    First, the opening statements about New Year Resolutions. I’ve made them in the past, been to broad and general, and failed! I’ve actually given up making them. However, I should’ve made one this year: to drive the speed limit. The first time I drove in this New Year, I got pulled over for speeding – fortunately, I received a warning! I’ve heard a few tips on Christian radio about making resolutions: be specific, set goals that you can measure your progress. But I agree with this statement: “It isn’t a quick fix, it is a long obedience in the same direction”. New Year resolutions aren’t just for the beginning of a new year, it really is aiming at walking in obedience, persevering, making progress, even if slowly, day after day, week after week, month after month.
    One specific example is I shared how last week my husband was irritated with me because I didn’t have what he liked to drink in the house. I have been praying, not asking God to “help me be a better wife”, because that’s too general. I’ve started small – asking God to help me do something small, practical – making sure I have what my husband likes to drink in the fridge, as a way of showing him that he is important to me and I am caring about his needs and wants. It’s very small, but I hope to slowly build on it with other things, step by step.

    Secondly, the two pictures of the Seattle skyline. It really is a good picture of how I can only see the clouds in my life, becoming self-focused and only thinking about my trials, my problems, all the while missing the One who is with me all the time. Just like that mountain is really there all the time, so I, too, can go about my day oblivious to His presence. “As you see how real God is, you will be changed”. I want to experience the reality of God.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on New year’s resolutions, Susan. I always wonder if I should make them or not. Usually I don’t. The idea of being very specific is a good one.

    2. Susan I love this- start making small changes and build as opposed to just asking to be a better wife. It is practical advise that I can apply to my own journey as I desire to walk obediently eating less. Father, I pray for Susan as she walks in obedience to your call to small changes for they can have big results. I ask you to give her a vision for the blessed marriage you can give her. May she sense your pleasure in every kind act towards her husband. Help her to run to you, her Strong Tower, when she doesn’t see immediate results. Open her husband’s eyes and heart to her loving ways. Bless her indeed! And Father help each of us to apply this to our areas of weakness and may we build a strong foundation through daily diligence to small changes. AMEN!

      1. Thank you so much for praying for me Kim! God is beginning to open my eyes to the really selfish wife I have been; focusing more on his faults instead of my own.

  6. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory! Yes of course Lord willing I am in! 🙂 Love this group and look forward to getting to know new friends too. Praying Dee God will quicken you greatly to write and that we will be quickened to learn and share and grow through that. That we may see His glory like Moses said, LET ME SEE YOUR GLORY! May He do the same with us like in Ex 33.

    4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us. If you are on my e-mail list you will be getting an e-mail invitation you could forward. Pray here. Lord, please help me know if there is anyone who needs a personal invitation to this. I know friends who get this in their email, please guard their hearts in this to know if they shall participate here or silently still. I love the fellowship this brings participating. Let them also share in that fellowship if you will it. Help them take a risk to jump in! It is life changing and I thank you for that. Help us be hospitable and welcoming and kind to one another. Thank you Lord.

  7. 2B. Though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, for most of you, there was a time when He changed from being in the backdrop of your life to emerging as One who was glorious, beautiful, and huge. Share at least one, and preferably two, times when that happened.

    The first time was when when I was a little girl he was in the backdrop of my life. I loved him, I knew ‘about’ him, I even revered him-would never say anything bad about him or mock him, yet I didn’t ‘know’ him. I welcomed Him into my life at 23 years of age and I clearly recall after I gave my life to Him I went home and could understand my Bible for the first time- specifically in Proverbs. The Holy Spirit opened my eyes and gave me understanding-I couldn’t get enough of scripture as the Holy Spirit quickened me I saw His beauty, His importance- and He was huge in my life. It still amazes me that in an instant He swept in-covered me with His blood, made me his and gave me the Holy Spirit to live inside me and I didn’t do anything to deserve Him, nor did I do anything to attain a relationship with Him-and again I see His hugeness and beauty!

    The second time was when I came here. Even after walking with the Lord 23 years, I was stuck-I unknowingly had an idol problem and Jesus was in the background- our intimacy was blocked. I treated him like chopped liver and beheld another as my ultimate. I grew more depressed to the point where I couldn’t function around the house and I also struggled with emotional eating-wow what a cycle that was. I ran to food and other things for comfort from the stress and pain in my life, yet it was just making it worse. I also had a huge issue with overly worrying about what others think about me. “Just saying no and telling God yes” wasn’t bringing me back into fellowship with Him.

    God’s heart was broken because I turned to something worthless over Him, and although I was still His, he turned his face from me-our intimacy was hindered.

    God brought me to Dee’s website and this is where he began His rescue and in particular when she started her Stonecutter study. It was painful, and a long process, but He is ever faithful, ever true. He had to reiterate to me His approval, His comfort and His passionate love for me. In our weekly studies He opened my eyes to His love-His pursuit of me and over time I couldn’t resist. I turned from my idols-the first was comfort, then approval and approval was much deeper than I thought-worse than comfort! He wooed me into a cycle of repentance and faith and as I ran from my idols into His arms I began to see His beauty, His Glory, His Huge-ness once again-I saw His glory in the word, I saw His glory in creation. Our intimacy was back. It is like a bubbling brook most of the time, but sometimes it goes deep. He freed me from the hold these idols had on me and he was Huge again. 🙂

    My idols will never be removed until I am with Him face to face, but they can be replaced. I learned to pay attention to my body signals and am now able to tell when my idols are beckoning; Clinched teeth, tight shoulders, twisting feeling in my stomach, these are all signs for me. I learned to go into them and then listen to what is going on, then it is up to me to turn. I learned in our studies here to apply the Gospel to my thoughts and that really helps me to turn. I have seen how foolish I was to put a worthless piece of dirt above my God, yet I rest in His acceptance and approval of me. I know I am frail and naturally bend away from Him daily so I can easily fall to temptation, but He is my strength-I need Him so.

    1. “It still amazes me that in an instant He swept in-covered me with His blood, made me his and gave me the Holy Spirit to live inside me and I didn’t do anything to deserve Him, nor did I do anything to attain a relationship with Him-and again I see His hugeness and beauty!”
      SO BEAUTIFUL REBECCA–this says “you” to me–His beauty shines through you~

    2. So good, Rebecca. You have so much meat in the midst of your testimony. I have so much to learn from you.

      1. Diane, Likewise my sister. 🙂

  8. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory!

    Yes, I am committed-I so need Him, I too want to be still more often before Him and also want to be more consistently in communion with him in the midst of whatever is going on in my day.

    4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us. If you are on my e-mail list you will be getting an e-mail invitation you could forward. Pray here.

    Lord, thank you for this study, for this well and thank you that you are here. Lord, I can’t fathom the depths of your love and your desire for us to turn and come back to you but we know this is your desire-Lord, if there is anyone you have put in my circle who you want me to invite, anyone you are pursuing Lord help me to listen to your leading.

  9. wow, just spent over an hour reading these comments, they were interesting as well as encouraging! glad there are new people joining, there is strength in numbers!

    Find two things that stand out to you from above and share.
    I’m from Chicago and have lived in this area all my life, so to see mountains you have to travel outside Illinois.
    The first time I seen a mountain was going to my cousins wedding in Richmond VA. I was a teenager, church girl who knew Jesus. I think we were going through Tennessee / maybe Kentucky and the terrain was starting to get very “hilly”. I looked out in the distance from the backseat of the Ford stationwagon and yelled ” look at those mountains!” My mom laughed and said” those aren’t mountains, they are foothills. Wait until we get to Virginia, now those are mountains!”
    I was so impressed by the sight, they seemed so big. It was overwhelming.I understood then what a man from my church expresed when he took his family to Arizonia and they looked at that great canyon and he said, “how anyone could not believe there is a God is astounding.”
    My favorite drive is through Chattanooga TN. I love that area. My parents had a place in Tampa FL, and on the drive down we would stop overnight in Chattanooga. I love sitting on the porch in the rocking chair of the Cracker Barrel and just look out across the highway at the mountains in the morning. I imagined being older and having a place where I can see mountains evey morning.

    Meditate on this verse and share your reflections ( John 1:14):

    God is beautiful and important. I read this verse and read my notes below. This is what stood out for me, meaning of the word “Dwelt” in Greek skenoo, sharing its root with skene, lit “tent” refers to the fact that God dwelt temporarily among His people as the perfect God-Man, Jesus Christ, just as God manifested His presence to His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness.
    What an overwhelming thought of the lengths God took on and became just to “dwell” among us!

    Am I committed to this study?
    Yes. I need it. I need to be committed to something that will matter beyond this life.
    I struggle with the same issues as the women in this blog shared. My weight.
    But there is hope! (lol) My Pastor called a fast like he does every January for the New Year. Fasting is tough, because it is self denial. I probably will be on a Daniel Fast (rough), but this is good because a Daniel Fast helps those with health issues ( like myself). I don’t know how everyone feels about fasting, but for me its a hard thing, but in the end a great reward! I don’t fast as much as I should, and have broken them ( I say this to my shame).
    Committment is a tough thing for me. Its the reason why marriage never appealed to me, among other reasons.

    One thing I am requesting for prayer is this, I have been trying to write a book for almost ten years. Its Historic Fiction, but it seems I am never satisfied with what I write, yet I cannot get the story out of my head. I know its a great story and I can’t let go of the dream.
    I have started it differently each time, I know the Lord is giving me knowledge in this area because everytime I do a research on a subject pertaining to a character or an event for this book, I come across something amazing.
    I don’t know if I lack confidence in my ability, or I need to perservere (sp?). I need insight and direction on this. I know can’t this happen unless God is in it!
    My dream was always travel and write for the Lord.
    I use to go to an area in the early morning hours by the hospital where I work. There is did devotion and shared these dreams with the Lord. I know it will happen, can feel it in my spirit.

    1. sorry for the poor grammer (lol), I couldn’t go back and edit.
      As for going to that certain spot in the morning, I work from home now and pretty much make my own hours…which is why I am sitting at the coffee shop for the last two hours!
      When I start the Daniel Fast tomorrow, I can’t have coffee 🙁 yet another thing to overcome!
      My desire is no different than anyone else, to do something great for His Kingdom!
      Be Blessed!

      1. Laura, The Lord wants you to write that book…go for it! What is a Daniel Fast? May the Lord help you!

        1. Hi Joyce.
          A Daniel Fast is a vegan fast where you omitt all meat, caffeine , and dairy for an amount of time. It usually last between 7 – 40 days and is based on the story of Daniel refusing to eat the rich foods of King Nebuchadnezzar who offered these foods to a pagan god. The things about this type of fast usually is to restrain from certain foods and to eat more healthy. But you should consult your doctor as well as seek guidance from the Lord. When my Pastor called a fast for 40 days I thought that was the type of fast he meant ..lol …I’m glad I went to church because that wasn’t what he was asking for. He just wants us ( congregation) to committ to one day a week for the next 40 days. That way there will always being someone fasting. My daughter is nursing so she gave up cakes and pastries.
          My problem is I delve into things to quickly without thinking and seeking the Lord. This is something I need to stop. I’m not doing a Daniel Fast because that isn’t what God was asking for, but He has been asking for my complete attention and focus, so I gave up FaceBook for a month.
          As for the book, I know God gave me the story. It will have a God centered Christian theme, and I will be bringing out points in pre-civil war history, where Chirstianity had it’s place in concerning the freedom of slaves. The Abolishon movement came out of the Northern churches, as well as churches of Free Colored people who helped the fugitive slaves make it to Canada. The Underground Railroad had a lot of believers working in it. Their stories tend to get missed in American history.

    2. I appreciate your thoughts on fasting, Laura Marie. We don’t emphasis fasting in our church and any fasts I have done have been on my own and very private. It’s kind of awkward to talk about because I don’t want to appear spiritually proud. But yesterday I felt the need to begin a fast again. I am just skipping lunch and only drinking water between breakfast and supper. It’s hard to explain why — partly because of emotional struggles and issues that I need to give to the Lord, I need a new freedom and joy. I also feel the need to seek God’s guidance regarding ministries with which I am involved, if He wants me to head in a different direction.

      I would be interested in any advice anyone has with regard to fasting and how to get the most benefit from it spiritually, not that I want to demand anything from the Lord, but that I want to be truly open to His leading, not self-focused.

      1. Laura and Diane, I too am going to fast, you’re comments on it have made certain the Lord is directing me. There are many ways to fast and so I like to wait for Him to direct me if I don’t know which one to do. I have found that it is necessary to spend the time/hour in prayer or quiet or both instead of simply not eating. If you want to do a corporate fast there are many online esp. the beginning of the year. I like your Him-focused heart, Diane. I pray we have breakthrough from strongholds and draw near to Him who will enable us to do what He has called us to do. Amen.

        1. thank you Diane and Kim!
          fasting is a tough thing and guess I tend to jump into it to quick without seeking the path to go down.
          I mentioned the Daniel Fast because that is the one I am most familiar with, but I know there are many other types.
          Diane, I like your example.
          I don’t mean to sound self-righteous, my Pastor didn’t require a certain type of fast, just what we feel directed to.
          it’s an area I struggle with as well.

  10. Yes, I am committed.

  11. 2.  Meditate on this verse and share your reflections:

    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)

    From the msg bible.. The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish. (John 1:14 MSG).

    This is so uplifting to me to know that he walked among us, just waiting and wanting to give us the most precious gift he could give, eternal life. Not saying he doesn’t have time or I can’t deal with these people, but just openly and lovingly wanting us to experience the true gift.

    I’ve been reading the comments as they come in and I’m excited to walk this journey with everyone and to be able to have a closer and most amazing relationship ever. As said many times it will take time and to not get discouraged will be a challenge but we must just continue and fight the fight knowing God will be with us at all times.

  12. happy new year! God bless you,
    ladies! love, Polly

    1. Hi Pollyanna, Great to see you!!

    2. So nice to see you, Polly!

  13. 1. Find two things that stand out to you from the above and share why they do.

    First: “Many of you reading this may think: Yes, I have made resolutions — but I’ve always failed to keep them, so what’s the point?” That would be me 🙂 But, in addition, I don’t want to “use” HIM to meet MY resolutions. The sermon about the Alpha and Omega sticks with me. I want Him to be my “outcome.”

    Second: Glad we will be studying the Holy Spirit. During the past year, I have become more open, read more widely about the work of the Holy Spirit, and am ready to learn!

    2. Meditate on John 1:14…
    Interesting that John wrote that he had seen his glory, because the Word became flesh. I haven’t associated “glory” with humanness. I’ve thought of glory as something bigger, more transcendent. Grace and truth were part of that glory.

    A. Tim Keller says that when you see the word glory, think “beautiful and important.” How does that put new light on this verse?

    I think I’ve “always” thought of glory as something similar to “beautiful and important.” But I hadn’t always thought of glory as “the Word became flesh” and having the characteristics of grace and truth. Isaiah 53:2 (NIV) says,

    “He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
    and like a root out of dry ground.
    He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”

    If this verse refers to Jesus, the “beautiful and important” doesn’t refer to physical attractiveness. And we know that as King, He and His Kingdom aren’t like countries on earth. The words “beautiful and important” refer to the beauty and importance of His grace, truth, and other characteristics I may not automatically associate with “glory.” What seems huge or important to people may not be the same as what is huge or important in God’s eyes.

    B. Though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, for most of you, there was a time when He changed from being in the backdrop of your life to emerging as One who was glorious, beautiful, and huge. Share at least one, and preferably two, times when that happened.

    One was many years ago when I was very depressed (and approaching the zillionth hospitalization for depression). His faithfulness was so evident. I knew He was there — as “mountains surround Jerusalem” even though the fog remained thick for years. I knew there was a possibility of never getting better, but that He would be with me during the episodes of depression.

    During the past several years, the process of Him becoming more beautiful and glorious has been a more continuous (up-mountain!) journey. One time during the spring or summer, He woke me up early in the morning (I’m usually in a fog then) and made it very clear that His plans are GOOD; He is GOOD, and following Him is GOOD. Although I may not know the details, He is faithful.

    3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey?

    I’m sorta nervous about responding to this question because 1) I “dropped out” before, and 2) I’m not exactly sure what I’m answering. I am committed to the journey of seeing His Glory and knowing Him. But I’m not sure I always will be able to keep up with reading all the postings or providing in-depth responses to all questions. Plus, I may not have read something closely enough… but if the commitment is to participating in this Bible Study blog, I’m not sure what kind of a commitment I’d be making. I didn’t see how long it will last (i.e., it’s one thing to commit for a couple of months, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable committing to a couple of years because I’d be afraid of making a promise I couldn’t keep). Plus, I already messed up because I didn’t get back to town until last night so didn’t have time to think through the Sun/Mon questions until today. Oh boy, I think I rambled on TOO MUCH.

      1. I think it’s fine that you asked! I tend to be “all or nothing” in my approach to a lot of life. And, for me, the word “commitment” implies ALL 🙂 I know that God prepared my heart through The God of All Comfort study — and it made a huge difference during the past year. I really want to be part of this study, too. I got sorta “self-evaluative”(and tired) when I read the word “commitment.” I may have been thinking about commitment through a perfectionist lens.

        My thoughts about resolutions might be or related to my reaction to the word “commitment.” Not only have I thought “What’s the point?” when I failed to meet resolutions, I have often thought “what’s the point?” when I HAVE met them. So what if I [lost weight, exercised, finished school, fill in the blank]?? I asked “What’s the point?” the most when I was accomplishing the most. I am SO motivated to seek God, and I like the Bible Study and all of you in it. For those reasons, I might describe myself as committed. But if I agree to do something just to meet another goal (even if I agree that it’s good goal!), I can drive myself crazy — and may need to BE committed. (Ok, probably not likely, been there, done that, and learned from it 🙂 but it might help explain why I can get so philosophical over a word)

        1. 🙂

  14. I have to keep going back to the description of glory being beauty and importance. I don’t want to get off the scripture that we have here but when Moses said to God, “Show me thy glory I’m wondering if because he was not a real confident person and he needed more reassurance from God that he was doing what he was supposed to be doing and if he could get a true view of this importance and beauty he would be uplifted to lead the people? God did shine his beauty on him as he had to be veiled after his time with Him.Not sure why I took this side bar–forgive me. Moses has always been by hero. What I love about the Word walking among us was that John was speaking from experience and the only way we can identify with this is because when Jesus said he had to leave so the Holy Spirit could come that is what enables us to grasp that He is walking with us. I just love the book of John and the Holy Spirit.

    I am making a commitment.

      1. I agree. I’ve struggled with that myself through the years such as I don’t want to bother God with that or not trusting that He was in it. How we love to compartmentalize.

  15. I have no gadgets. I work at a church with a computer at my access, so I am not sure how this will work. I hope I will get an email for each weeks study.

    I am taking the weight loss challenge our staff is planning. I read and did the Women’s of Moderation and it helped for over 8 mos. But I gained all but 5 lbs back. I don’t see how I can change my eating habits. I long to get my mindset to be God’s mindset. Taking higher ground sounds great! My “stand outs on this week” is 1) The picture of the mountain, has reminded me that I see the city and all its “perks” and struggle with looking past the perks to see the glory of the mountain. 2) Is the understanding that you gave me about the word “glory”.I really want to be beautiful & important, in the eyes my Lord gives me. But what I NEED is to not be moved like Mt. Zion, as I learn to trust Him more and myself last.

    1. Welcome, Susan Anderson. Hope you are able to participate in the climb to the heights with us. Might I suggest that you get each week’s Bible study and copy it to a Word document. Then if you want to print it you can. Or, if you can answer the questions in a Word document and then copy and paste them back onto the site here, we will all benefit from your participation.

    2. Welcome Susan!

  16. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory!

    YES! I’m ready to put on my hiking boots and join you all! In the last year that I have been doing Dee’s study, God has become more real to me than I can explain. I had been a Christian nearly 40 years, have participated in many studies, etc…but there was a layer—more like a dimension of God, I had not experienced before being under Dee. I know this journey requires faith, obedience…I know I will stumble and fall plenty, but I know He will also pull me up, carry me when I am weak, and graciously lead me to deeper intimacy with Him. And I am so thankful my dear friends here will point me back to Him, holding me accountable for the faith I profess. There are a few issues I am specifically trusting in Him for as we start this new trek. My mind is prone to doubt, and/or rationalize…but I lay it at the altar now, and ask that He may come in, mess with my heart even more, give me strength to believe His promises when I am scared, strength to persevere in the decisions He has called me to make, even when it is hard and my old path of escape calls to me, making it look like the easier way…I will trust You Lord, when I don’t understand, when I am weak, tired, and want to go my own path, I will trust You to give me strength to obey—because I do love You Lord, and want to have You glorified, not my self, in my life.

    1. Elizabeth, that was a beautiful commited document you wrote…could I sign it too! Love that:)

    2. I’m with you Elizabeth!

  17. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory!

    I really want God to become my All. I want to drop my idolatrous baggage so that I can climb more effectively. So far Dee and the women on this blog have helped me tremendously in seeing God more clearly. I am looking forward to climbing onward with you. I’ve got my hiking boots on.

    4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us. If you are on my e-mail list you will be getting an e-mail invitation you could forward. Pray here.

    I have passed Dee’s email invitation on to some others.

    Lord, bring the women here who you want to be here. Thank you for this place of Bible study. Give Dee the wisdom and strength as she guides us toward You. May You be honoured and glorified by this Bible study blog, Lord.

    1. Oh Yes, Lord! Thank you, Diane

  18. A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord? Mount Zion I am thinking of a mountain here and that our faith should be as big as a mountain

  19. C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

    Lord help my faith to be as big as mount Zion help me to have faith to trust and u and believe what your word says take me to higher ground.

    Whoever trusts in the Lord Meg is like Mount Zion
    It cannot be shaken but endures forever Meg

    1. Yes, Meg! Praise God!

  20. Trying to post to see if my pic comes up.

  21. test

    1. Great picture, Susan.

    2. so fun to see beautiful you, Susan!

      1. Susan, Yes you are beautiful! Love the picture-so glad you decided to post it! 🙂

        1. I had my daughter take my picture with the digital camera, and b/c my son is home from college on break, I asked him and my husband to help me with that gravatar-thing to get my picture on here – they know I could never figure it out on my own (I am technologically-impaired)!

    3. It works, and you are very pretty, Susan.

  22. as i sat at His feet this morning, waiting for his light to fall on me, I prayed for my kids, journaled…waited…nothing… I asked God what was I missing and my eyes fell on a book at the bottom of a stack, its called the pursuit of God by AW Tozer and I have tried to read it before and just could not get into it. well I opened up to the middle of the book and this is what I read…
    removing the veil…it is not a beautiful thing and it is not a thing about which we commonly care to talk..but I am adressing thirsty souls who will not turn back even if the way leads temporarily through the blackeded hills….it is woven of the fine theads of the self-life…the self sins of self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self- sufficiency, self-admiration……
    and there they were, the clouds that cover the mountain. one more layer of the dragons skin that my dear savior needs to tear away, I can not remove these, God must do everything for me, my job is to yeild and trust.
    I was so discouraged and then, as I picked up a book I should not have even seen He spoke so loudly that I could not mistake His voice!
    had to share this with you wonderful woman! I love you all and hope to have some time to jump on and share, Im sorry that I cant read all your posts:(

    1. What you shared from Tozer’s book is so marvelous, so close to what we are thinking about here. Thanks for sharing it, cyndi.

    2. LOVE this from Tozer Cyndi,–his words never fail to convict me, no matter how often I pick up his books, they strike anew. I am well-acquainted with those self-sins! And love getting to see you pop up again–that always brings me a lift of joy 😉

    3. Cyndi,
      I love how Tozer describes the veil that hides God from us – it is woven of…threads of the self-life, self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration. Self, self, and more self….keeps us from God.
      Thanks for sharing this.

    4. Cyndi, Thank you for sharing that; I’m sure God had you pick up that book and read that part…amazing!

  23. Dee, I would like to join your bible study. I have not participated in an on-line bible study before, but feel like God is nudging my heart to do so. I have made a commitment to myself to find peace in this new year. I have a very blessed life with a husband and children. But, the paths my life have taken aren’t exactly as I planned and I find myself not content at times. This year I am praying that I will find peace with the life before me instead of longing for different circumstances.

    1. Welcome Denise, I’m so glad you are here with us:)

  24. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you — that you will see His glory! This is hands down the only study I have ever done that has been life altering and I have done many. Lord willing I’m here for the study.
    Yes Lord, you must become real to me each day. Let me see your glory and dwell in your presence. Enable me to continue the journey you started to victory.

    4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us. If you are on my e-mail list you will be getting an e-mail invitation you could forward. Pray here. Lord show me all who you would have me invite, I pray.

  25. I am so glad to be able to be a part of this blog and the part that stood out to me so very much was Psalm 125: 1 and 2. When I put them in my words they really came alive to me. Psalm 125:1 If we just learn to trust in the Lord, He will never forsake us and I will endure forever. Wow that speaks volume.

    Psalm 125:2 — Like the mountians that surround Jerusalem, The Lord will encircle me both now and forever.

    1. Welcome, Joyce Webb! Any chance you’re the Joyce Webb from Kansas who was in coaching triad with me in ILCT class?

    2. Welcome Joyce! That felt strange to type my own name! Glad you are here, these women here are awesome and I can’t say enough for Dee…it would take the whole night! We are so blessed to have this on line study…it’s like a lifeline for me.

  26. 6. Contemplate:
    As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.
    Psalm 125:2

    A. Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it?

    Well, we get caught up in the day to day activities and forget that we aren’t “charles in charge” for everything in our lives. We are busy people! We need to slow down and remember who is ultimately the one in control.

    I am trying to find a Bible verse to help me through difficult situations with my children. The other day I was having trouble figuring out one that would help me help one child learn. I was very angry with this child for their actions. I realized that the “golden rule” applied to the situation exactly! I told my child that they were being manipulative, and trying to “use me” and they wouldn’t like being treated that way so they shouldn’t treat others like that either. God gave me the words to help my child understand and learn. Praise God!

    I have always known the Bible, but never knew how to actually apply it in my life.

    I now have a prayer request for my son, John. He is very angry and sad all the time. He drinks took much and doesn’t seem to understand how he is treating his body won’t allow him to live long. He can’t seem to carry on a conversation without getting into an argument. I have been avoiding trying to help him because I don’t know how to help. I keep going back to the Bible verse idea; what can I use in the Bible to help him understand?

    For the anger issue, isn’t there something about being “slow to anger?” I think it must be in Proverbs. I’m not sure about the destruction of his body though. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I also am not sure about how I can talk to him without sounding preachy. I don’t want to turn him off. I want to get his attention and help him understand gently.

    1. I will pray for your son, John, and his despair and anger.

      I am not a counsellor and I do not know your son’s situation but I thought of I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I do not know if he is a believer, but God did create him and has a purpose for him. Perhaps he is unconsciously hurting his body because he sees no real purpose in his life. His anger seems to come from a deep place within him. When I am struggling and afraid, it often comes out as anger if anyone pushes me. Again, I don’t know your situation. This is just some thoughts to ponder.

    2. Laura, I have been praying for John and your daughter here, alone at my computor. I would never preach to John, just pray. After all..”All things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23. I will keep praying:)

      1. Thanks, Joyce. I appreciate yur prayers. John is a “tough” one. He kind of scares me. I could see him being so depressed he would do anything to ease the pain; drugs, alcohol, death. It’s so weird because I raised them all the same way. It saddens me to see him in this state. I have focused so much on Sarah because of school that I put John on the back burner. Sometimes I struggle with multi-tasking. However, it is time to focus on him and let her fly 🙂

        1. Praying too for John Laura-dancer, so sorry.

      1. I needed to hear this just now Dee “my thought is not to give him a verse, but to love him”–thank you, such wisdom!

  27. B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?

    I have definitely had trouble over the past year(s). I have never been stronger in the word of God. Before, when I struggled through my problems (without the word) I muddled through feeling hopeless and not knowing if what I was doing was actually having any effect. Now, I don’t have to worry. God is in control and my problems are ultimately His to help me through. I love having that feeling! I don’t always remember that though; i have to go back to singing “Trust and Obey” often!!!

    My daughter Sarah has been a handful for the last few years. Her low IQ and learning disability has made it very difficult to help her come through school and relationships with others unscathed. God is good though and has helped us through and we are on the upside now! Praise the Lord! Praise the people who have helped us including all of the prayer warriors on this website! She has 12 days to graduate and she has been learning more life lessons about friendships and handling her own problems without just walking away.

    Recently I asked for prayers to help her and her new friend get through a rough patch and I think we are succeeding. They had a falling out and Sarah has had to humble herself and was willing to do that. She is learning that some friendships are worth keeping and you don’t always have to agree but you can still be good friends. This sounds simple but for her it is HUGE! Long story, but she has had a hard time finding a good friend since we moved to NH 9 years ago; especially when you are in high school. I found the words to help her and she has been willing to talk with me to work through the situation! Yea!

    Because I have fully relied on Him, He has helped me through and since I see the results, it is easier the next time when I struggle to remember that He has given me the strength to make it. I realize our prayers are not always answered in a time frame that we would like. I just need to always remember He GAVE His son for me..whoa, that is huge!

    1. I am so glad that Sarah is growing in her relationships. And it’s really great that she is graduating soon. Congratulations to her and to you for guiding her along to this big step! As you say, this is Huge!

      1. Thanks Diane, you are so right. God is good!

    2. This is so good Laura-dancer “Because I have fully relied on Him, He has helped me through and since I see the results, it is easier the next time when I struggle to remember that He has given me the strength to make it.” It reminds me of what Dee has talked about–recalling His faithfulness to us in the past, and allowing that to strengthen us in our present and future.

      1. Yes, indeed, Elizabeth!

  28. Psalm 125:1

    A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

    Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate?

    That verse in Isaiah just came to mind-had to look it up, Isaiah 26:3 “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You.”

    A mountain stands strong through any diversity-it is solid and grounded and can’t be moved. When we put our trust in Him rather than ourselves or our idols we will be like this mountain. With our minds staid on Him, we will persevere, press on through the hard things of life and nothing the enemy tries to do to bring us to ruin will work because we know God will use it to change us. He will take the ugly trial and make us beautiful-As we place our trust in God-His Character, His attributes-Who He is, He changes us.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

    Lord God I pray that as we move closer to you and the enemy tries to shake us by putting snares in our path, we wouldn’t yield to him rather we would yield to you and trust you-remind us of who you are, your beautiful, trustworthy attributes that we can throw ourselves upon as we yield to you on this journey. Help us to press on through the yuk and remain steadfast and unshakeable in our pursuit of you.

    1. Love this prayer for us all Rebecca, thank you, especially this “rather we would yield to you and trust you-remind us of who you are, your beautiful, trustworthy attributes that we can throw ourselves upon as we yield to you on this journey”

  29. A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

    The one who trusts in the Lord is like Mount Zion—inmoveable, abiding forever

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate?

    When we put our trust in Christ, no outside force can affect us. We are steadied, we are firm, our standing is secure. We are able to endure any circumstance against us. And we remain, we remain safe in Him. Our basis of Truth never changes.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

    Lord, I pray that as we embark on this journey, eager to grow in our intimacy with You, we would keep our minds focused on that desire. I pray we would ground ourselves in Your Truth and let no outside influences interfere with what we hear from You. I praise You that by Your Holy Spirit within us, You have given us all that we need for this journey. I pray we will remember that Lord as we seek to keep our eyes on You.

    1. Yes Father, I pray this with Elizabeth.

    2. Amen.

  30. A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord? First want to say I really like that song sample a great way to memorize this. A mountain. So powerful. I like that image. Also though the pic you posted is not mount zion it helps me visualize it.

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate? We are strong and secure if we trust in the Lord no matter what.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here. Lord please let us be the same, strong like Mt. Zion and trusting in you as you surround us. You are our protector. You are our strength. Thank you Jesus!

  31. 2. Meditate on this verse and share your reflections:

    “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)

    This makes me think of Keller’s sermons – John is “bubbling over” here – I am trying to think of what John was thinking and feeling as he wrote this, inspired by the Spirit, but what was John’s and the other disciples’ awe, amazement, wonder, when they first realized WHO THIS IS WITH US – God in the flesh! Also, Moses, if here today, would be jumping up and down with excitement, shouting “this is what I was denied from seeing!”
    Just the words, “We have seen” – oh my, to be able to say, “I have seen God, in the flesh”.

    A. Tim Keller says that when you see the word glory, think “beautiful and important”. How does that put new light on this verse?

    We have seen His beauty, His importance; also, the word glory means “weight”. When Jesus came to earth, it was like a giant boulder dropping into the pond of our existence; the weight of God’s omnipotence and majesty and sovereignty, and also the weight of His mercy, love, and grace, displacing the water of our existence; He should displace the things in our lives that seem so important to us, but really have no significance, they are weightless like water.

    B. Though we have not seen Jesus in the flesh, for most of you, there was a time when He changed from being in the backdrop of your life to emerging as One who was glorious, beautiful, and huge. Share at least one, and preferably two, times when that happened.

    When I first “met”, or encountered, Jesus, at a spiritual retreat – I had always believed in a God, but was not saved until in my twenties; I knew about Him, or what or who I thought He was, but I encountered the living Jesus in April of 1991; I still didn’t know anything about being a Christian, or the Bible, but He stepped into my life as a real Person, Someone I could have a relationship with.

    Another time was when we were doing the God of All Comfort study, just a few months after my nephew died. We were studying Psalm 30, and Dee encouraged us to “read as a lover reads, savor the word pictures”. I tried, day after day, to get something out of this Psalm, but could not get past the “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning”. I could not get to how can I ever “rejoice”. How can God ever turn “my wailing into dancing”, because I kept seeing myself all alone. How, after all, can you dance by yourself? One night, though, as Dee had taught us, I tried beginning with praising God, even though I didn’t feel like praising Him at all. As I read through the Psalm again it was like God showing me Jesus, as my Bridegroom, coming to me, taking me in His arms, removing the sackcloth and clothing me in His garments, and that I was not dancing alone, He was dancing with me. Where before I had been wailing all alone, feeling desolate, He danced with me. In my journey through grief, I was seeing that He was with me.

    1. That is an absolutely beautiful story, Susan, about Jesus as your Bridegroom dancing with you, turning your weeping and grief into dancing. Thanks so much for sharing that.

    2. Oh Praise God, Susan! Loved you sharing this with us.

  32. Hi! i’d like to do this; maybe the 3rd time i try the tech will work?
    Two things that stand out:
    He is as close as breath, yet we forget He’s with us because He is spirit.
    The Holy Spirit’s job is to make Him real and important to us.
    Looking at your phtos i was reminded of a book i read recently about naming the places of our country. i can’t find it today, but the author thought when Captain Vancouver first saw Mt Rainier, he was unaware of the magnificence of the mountain despite the fine weather.
    Your meditations reminded me that it doesn’t always take clouds (bad things in our life) to obscure His magnificence.
    When i realized i wasn’t going tofind my book to consult, i thought i’d take a few minutes to look online for Vancouver’s account. The original account http://www.archive.org/stream/mountrainierreco00meanuoft/mountrainierreco00meanuoft_djvu.txt
    actually reads more like a guy who is very much aware of the wonder of what he sees, but has work to do and can’t take the time to rhapsodize.
    We can be misread like this too. Recently i had a hard time not being negative when a coworker described a negative, hateful person as a “strong Christian.” My actual thought was, “Wow. She’s sure grown since i saw her last.” i don’t think she’d say that about me, though she knows i’m a believer. i just don’t pepper my conversation with churchy stuff.
    Grace and truth – well, God knows the order He wants the words, but in a way that seems backwards. i need to know the truth about myself before i really know His grace. When He became huge? i generally feel more comfortable alone, but it’s been when i’ve been in Bible studies, working closely with Godly women, learning from His word. We have ongoing deep relationships. i’ve done online studies before, but the relationships, human and with Him, don’t hit me the same.

    1. Welcome Valerie! I had a childhood girlfriend named Valerie and her family moved from NE to SD in the 60’s and I never heard from her again. I always loved that name! So glad your here!

  33. A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

    I love that the object of our faith is not ourselves, but God. All around us counselors and psychologists encourage us to find the hope of change in ourselves whether it be meditation, self-discipline or whatever. But we ourselves cannot bring Real change, only God. I am not the mountain. God is the mountain that cannot be moved. And we will not be moved as we TOTALLY rely on Him.

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate?

    All this thinking about mountains and climbing and hiking reminds me of the classic “Hind’s Feet in High Places”. I love in that book how “Much Afraid” has to put her hands into the hands of God’s servants, Suffering and Sorrow, in order to climb the heights to God’s kingdom. That is what we are learning to do.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.

    I say Amen to Rebecca’s prayer that we would yield to God and not the enemy. “Remind us of who you are, your beautiful, trustworthy attributes that we can throw ourselves upon as we yield to you on this journey. Help us to press on through the yuck and remain steadfast and unshakeable in our pursuit of you.”

    1. I like this, Diane – “I am not the mountain. God is the mountain that cannot be moved. And we will not be moved as we TOTALLY rely on Him”.

  34. I couldn’t find a musical version of Psalm 125 that I liked better. Will download the song (and maybe the CD) because the version Dee posted will go round and round in my head 🙂

    5.(& 6). At first, I thought I couldn’t add anything because the verses seemed straightforward (and I believe the messages are straightforward… remembering and applying is the hard part). But I did get curious about Mt Zion, partly because I know that mountains vary so much. When I was in grade school or high school, I had a pretty postcard of a mountain that had Isaiah 26:3 printed on it “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” This verse answers part of 6A: “how would our lives be different if we remembered it?”

    I don’t remember or keep most postcards, but I kept that one … and remembered it because the postcard was of Mount St Helens, and the volcano erupted not long after I put the postcard on a bulletin board. I was living in Eastern North Dakota when Mt St Helens erupted… and the ash even covered school desks that far away. There was power in that mountain. The weirdness of that mental picture, pretty mountain, erupting volcano, and Is 26:3, has always stuck with me. And that’s why I wondered if there are any particular characteristics of Mount Zion.

    I did learn that modern day Mt Zion is not the Biblical one. The “Biblical identity” section of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Zion seemed most relevant to me. Some specific quotations that were helpful:

    “2 Samuel 5:7 also reads, ‘David took the strong hold of Zion: the same is the city of David,’ which identifies Mount Tzion as part of the City of David, and not an area outside today’s Old City of Jerusalem.”

    “This further identifies Har Tzion as a spiritual height of the Land of Israel that offered elevation of the soul to the People of Israel. The location of the City of David in a valley is symbolic of the Egyptian Exile told in parsha Shemot, with a homiletic reference in the 23 Psalm’s “in the valley overshadowed by death” that characterizes exile from Light, another allusion to the Temple.”

    SO, what I’m getting from this:
    -Mt Zion was located in Jerusalem. This helps me make sense of what I thought was an interesting contrast between verses 1 and 2. In verse 1, those who trust in the Lord are LIKE Mount Zion, and in verse 2, the Lord surrounds his people like the mountains that surround Jerusalem.

    -However, Mt Zion, because it was located in the City of David (Ancient Jerusalem) was actually located in a valley.

    -The location of Mt Zion and Ancient Jerusalem provide deeper meaning to Ps 23.

    -Verses in John 4 about Jesus talking to the Samaritan woman came to mind when I read the Wikipedia article:

    Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

    Although I’m still mulling over the links between these verses, the connections make me even more excited to study the Holy Spirit.

  35. Oh my, that last post was long, and I only scratched the surface. I wanted a prayer that I could remember enough to continue praying for all of us on the journey to higher ground. It’s not even a paraphrase; I just swiped it and substituted a few words (music sticks in my brain — will be praying this prayer)

    We’re pressing on the upward way,
    New heights we’re gaining every day;
    Still praying as we’re onward bound,
    “Lord, plant our feet on higher ground.”

    Lord, lift us up, and let us stand
    By faith on Canaan’s tableland;
    A higher plane than we have found,
    Lord, plant our feet on higher ground.

    Our hearts have no desire to stay
    Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
    Though some may dwell where these abound,
    Our prayer, our aim, is higher ground.

    We want to live above the world,
    Though Satan’s darts at us are hurled;
    For faith has caught the joyful sound,
    The song of saints on higher ground.

    We want to scale the utmost height
    And catch a gleam of glory bright;
    But still we’ll pray till rest we’ve found,
    “Lord, lead us on to higher ground.”

    My prayer for each of us, adapted from lyrics by Johnson Oatman Jr.
    More about the hymn and some related Bible verses: http://www.hymnalaccompanist.com/Story/story625.html

    1. That’s a beautiful old hymn, Renee, and so appropriate to our journey. “For faith has caught the joyful sound,
      The song of saints on higher ground,” and “We want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright”. I never noticed those words before. I want to catch the “joyful sound”, and the “gleam of glory bright” on higher ground. I need to print that off and post it.

      1. I like those phrases, too. I also like the very end: But still we’ll pray till rest we’ve found,
        “Lord, lead us on to higher ground.” But I only remembered the first verse and chorus, so had to google the rest. I’ll work on that memory part 🙂

        I listened to one version sung by an African American church youth group in the 1960s. Given the historical context of the early civil rights movement, that seemed very powerful.

    2. Thank you for that, Renee!

    3. This is beautiful Renee, I also liked this verse “Our hearts have no desire to stay
      Where doubts arise and fears dismay;”. I so agree with it, and yet, why do I often stay there?!

  36. A.Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it?

    I love the Spurgeon quote. It made me think of Psalm 16:6 “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance”

    If I could really live out my faith in this truth, I would not be so fearful when something starts to go wrong, or against “my plan”. I would stop and remember He is around me, He is around “this” that I am facing—He is bigger, He sees it, He has it. And just as the mountains are permanent, so is He. He does not go away in anger, He does not retreat. I cannot hide from Him. He is constant. Never changing.

    B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?

    This past year we have had a lot of struggles with my precious, very strong willed daughter. This has gone on for years, but the pain we experienced this past year still surprised me. The blessing was the prayer support I found here, and Dee’s teaching which kept me looking to the Word daily. While the struggle continues, I have been amazed at the fruit God has given along the way, and how He is shaping me, and my marriage through this trial.

    I want to add though that the most significant change God allowed in me this last year, was forgiveness of my mom and (deceased) dad. That was something I’ve spent so many years of counseling with, I had resolved to “live with” the level of pain that remained. But He didn’t want that. He chose to have me face it head on through Dee’s questions and His Word, until the ice began to melt. I saw the depth of my un-forgiveness—something I am still prone to—and He ripped it out at the roots. The He healed. I can talk freely with my mom now like I never have, ok, we still have our “moments”, but I have no expectations, and am able to give her grace, as I desperately cling to it. And my Father, I want to hold him in Heaven a long time—and that is something I’ve never felt before.

    1. Elizabeth, I’m so thrilled to hear of the changes that have happened in your life…Praise God! I will pray for your daughter.

    2. Elizabeth,
      This touches me – “And my Father, I want to hold him in Heaven a long time…”
      I am so encouraged to hear your victory over unforgiveness, through Christ!

    3. Love the testimony about God working this out bringing full healing with your mom! Very encouraging!!

  37. 5. Contemplate – Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,which cannot be moved but abides forever. Psalm 125:1

    A. Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord?

    I sometimes don’t even have faith in myself that I I’m doing the right thing, which is a good thing as it makes me depend on the Lord, that he believes in me and the plan he set before me is so rewarding to me. To know that I can turn to him at any time and he will be there and never let me down. He is my strong tower, my all in all!

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate? God created everything with greatness and to be compared to Mount Zion gives me the picture that He thinks I’m just as awesome and strong that no trial or temptation can move me if I trust in Him with my all

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here. Lord your word says that if I trust in you, I will be great and mighty as Mount Zion, that we cannot be tempted beyond our strength and we will live forever in you. I thank you Lord for believing in us. AMEN.

    1. Praise God, Amen!

  38. 1 Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.

    . Christianity offers the hope of change because the object of our faith is not ourselves. To what does the psalmist compare the one who trusts instead in the Lord? He compares us to a mountain of the Lord.

    B. What is the word picture meant to communicate? Greatness, strength, majesty, security, unmovable.

    C. Take verse 1 and pray it for yourself and for those who will travel with us in this journey. Paraphrase it and write it here.
    Father, I pray for myself and for everyone on this blog. Make yourself known-we want to see Jesus. Give us soft hearts of flesh ready to be molded into your image. We look up to you, we trust you to do a great work among us.

    Sisters, I have been bed-ridden going on 7 days. I have a nasty virus antibiotics don’t seem to touch. Please pray for me.

    1. Kim, I will be praying that Gods healing touch will come over you and by reading his word will overcome your spirit to be well in His sight. Hope you feel better soon!

    2. Kim, I am so sorry. My husband, Kendra and I have all been sick the last couple weeks too, but finally starting to feel human again. The Dr. said it was a virus too. I know lots of people that have had it in Kearney, where we both live. I will be praying for you to get better and for it to leave your family alone!

    3. Praying, Kim – I hope you feel better soon.

    4. Praying, too, Kim that you will recover soon.

    5. Oh Kim, I am praying you are doing better–so sorry. I loved your prayer for us “Give us soft hearts of flesh ready to be molded into your image. We look up to you, we trust you to do a great work among us.” I long for that soft, mold-able, play-doughy heart–mine seems to dry out and harden as easily as real play-dough!

    6. Kim lifting you up to our Healing Father. May you receive restored health soon!

  39. 6. Contemplate:

    As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.

    Psalm 125:2

    C. Take this verse and pray it for our study, paraphrasing it in your own words. Pray it as well for yourself and your family, perhaps with another paraphrase. Memorize it.

    Dear Lord, please surround us with your love. Thank you for making us strong when we are weak. Thank you for bringing us together to help one another and lean on each other for strength. You create a bond between us that is like glue. Help to make us fortified with each other. I pray in your name, Amen.

  40. 6. Contemplate:

    As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.

    Psalm 125:2

    A. Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it?

    I forget this truth because I am prone by nature to bend away from God and it is easy to forget. My life would be different in that I would not let my circumstances control my emotions or thought life even in the midst of something that is happening.

    I want to, in the midst of any circumstance, more consistently remember this truth-and it isn’t impossible because of the Holy Spirit living inside me! The Lord is round about me! 🙂

  41. A. Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it? Because we cannot see God. We would live so much more securely if we could always know and live this. More power. More bravery.

    B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?Yes, my chronic Lyme has driven me to Him in a deeper way. He has given me more strength than I thought I even had. But that is it it is not my strength but His. More intimacy developed.

    Also this past year really learning how to work with autism. I did not think I had what it took. So confused. Yet God continually gives me insight into it. Supernaturally so I know how to diffuse a possible meltdown or situation that is going to get out of hand. I am able to observe and tell. That is a God gift for sure. Giving me insight into my daughter. Drawing me closer to Him because I need Him.

    C. Take this verse and pray it for our study, paraphrasing it in your own words. Pray it as well for yourself and your family, perhaps with another paraphrase. Memorize it. Oh Lord help us to remember you do surround us like a shield like the great mountains that are unmovable. You keep us surrounded even greater than that. Lord, you amaze me keep me forever remembering you are always there. Help my family remember this too and these precious ladies.

  42. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.

    Psalm 125:2

    A. Why is it that we tend to forget this truth, and how would our lives be different if we remembered it?

    I agree with what Rebecca said : I forget this truth because I am prone by nature to bend away from God and it is easy to forget.

    Our lives would be different casue we wouldnt be worrying, getting anxious, going to food instead of God etc…

  43. B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?

    For me it has been my best friends mom going to be with the Lord last February.. I defiently have become stronger i think.. Also my finances are a daily battle living paycheck to paycheck.. yet the Lord keeps proviiding and it has deifinetly caused me to trust him more… I am not 100 percent there but it is getting better 🙂

  44. How cool that you mentioned Pslams 120-134 as ” songs of ascents”. My Women’s Study Bible points this out and has chart that illustrates this. Read 120 this morning. I shared the poem ” My Psalm 125″ by Bob Hostelet (sp?). I loved it!

  45. 3. Will you join us and be committed to the journey? If so, tell us, and pray that God will become more real and more important to you – that you will see His glory!

    Well, I haven’t left yet! Yes, I am excited to begin a new spiritual journey in 2012. I’d really like to look back a year from now and see growth.

    Lord,
    Help me to keep that picture of the mountain, revealed in all its glory, but sometimes it is hidden behind the clouds, to remind me that I need to seek You, to cultivate my spiritual eyes and to be sensitive to Your presence – You are always with me, and I thank You for that. I pray for You to become more and more real to me, to step down into my life as You are, larger than life itself; a real, living God Who I can know.
    In Jesus’ Name, Amen

    4. Ask the Lord if there is someone you should invite to join us.

    I’d love to invite my best friend, but she doesn’t have a home computer. I’ve got someone in mind, but I need to pray about it first.

    1. “to remind me that I need to seek You, to cultivate my spiritual eyes and to be sensitive to Your presence”

      Susan, I have copied down so many over your quotes over the year, I sincerely think you ought to consider writing a book!

  46. B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?

    One example I can give is that after God showed me He is my adequacy,and I yielded to Him letting Him be my comfort, He strengthened me to be able to yield to Him being my approval and really I found those roots ran deeper-a monster! It shocked me as time went on and I saw how deep this was.

    Last year God began the process of ripping out those deep roots of anxiety over worrying about what others think of what I say, what I do, how I sing, etc.. My turning point was when I made a mistake while singing last year-oh my! I laugh about it now, but my reaction was, oh, a bit extreme. 😉 Even though I have sang on stage half my life, and struggled with fear, the fear was becoming crippling, but God opened my eyes via Dee’s study. God started pulling and ripping and chipping away and over time, over much yielding to Him replacing the lies in my head with His truth, and with my sisters here praying, He helped me to grow more confident in His approval of me and in His attributes and soon I was able to freely worship Him singing. This bled over into worrying about what others think of me-I am being freed from that as well. How silly of me to place man in a higher place than God. We are but dust-yet God is mighty, infinite, all wise and all knowing and He is full of Grace and truth! He is my confidence, not man-this is how he is changing me, yet I also know there is so much more he will show me on this journey up the mountain! 🙂

    1. I love this example in you Rebecca! I can’t imagine singing out loud to anyone minus my kids, so I always assumed most “professionals”, like you, didn’t struggle with the fear. When you have shared so openly about this struggle, it has been such an example to me…not that I plan to sing(!), but in pressing through other areas of fear, trusting only in His strength, eyes focused only on His glory and not others’ approval..so good!

      1. Elizabeth, you should see me singing to my kids-lol..i do a great Ethel Merman-they love it. 😉

  47. B. Trouble will come to the believer, as the rest of this psalm testifies, yet God will either remove the trouble or give us the strength to face it and become stronger. How has this happened for you in the last year?
    Has trouble come? Yes. Has it been removed? No. Am I stronger? Not really. I am weaker than I have ever been. What I do know is that in 2nd Corinthians 12:9 the word says that His grace is sufficient for me that His power is perfected in weakness, and most gladly I would rather boast about my weaknesses that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

    1. Oh Dawn, this is so good, so key-we must become poor-see we are indeed inadequate before we can let him come in and be our adequacy-our strength.

    2. Dawn, I so appreciate your honesty–and how it draws you to such a deeper trust in Him than you would have otherwise.

  48. I just listened to Keller’s “God With Us” for the third time while cleaning my kitchen. 🙂

    There are two things that stuck out. The first is applicable to our study in regard to God changing us-and this doesn’t get old with me, sometimes I too easily forget:

    “If he is God with us I have to take off limitations. Jesus is God and if he is God who created the universe with the snap of his fingers do I think my bad habits are any match for him? We have to take off the limits of what he can do in and through us.”

    This is the second thing that stuck out to me and may encourage those of us who are busy and really struggle having time with God. I know the struggle SO WELL! This is also a great example of applying the Gospel to a struggle:

    “What is keeping you from being near him? Is it a habit you don’t want to give up? A lack of discipline? Pressed down by other things? When you say I wish I had more time for prayer, for bible study, more time for these things, more courage. What you mean is it will cost you, but what will it cost you? Another hour a day, another day of the week, another evening of the week? Whatever it cost you it is nothing compared to what it cost him to get with you. Look at what he has done to get with you. What are you doing to get with him? Claw your way through anything that is keeping you from him. That is the meaning of Christmas. He clawed his way from heaven to Earth to get to you, why in the world can’t you get up 30 minutes earlier? What does it cost you? It is nothing compared to what it cost him to get to you. Get with him.”

  49. I LOVED the clip Dee gave of Psalm 125.
    I found this one–it’s different than my usual (couldn’t find an Indelible Grace version!), but this is new to me–it’s different–give it a minute past the rock start–and the lyrics are great. Here’s the link:
    http://zachicks.bandcamp.com/track/firm-and-unmoved-are-they-psalm-125-feat-hollis-moore
    I can hear Rebecca singing it 😉
    Here are the lyrics:
    “Firm and Unmoved Are They (Psalm 125)” by Zac Hicks

    Firm and unmoved are they
    That rest their souls on God;
    Firm as the mount where David dwelt,
    Or where the ark abode.

    What though the Father’s rod
    Give out a chast’ning stroke?
    Yet, lest it wound their souls too deep,
    Its fury shall be broke.

    As mountains stood to guard the city’s sacred ground,
    So God and His almighty love embrace His saints around.

    Deal gently, Lord, with those
    Whose faith is pious fear,
    Whose hope and love and every grace,
    Proclaim their hearts sincere.

    Nor shall the tyrant’s rage too long oppress the saint.
    The LORD, He will support His children lest they faint.
    But if our slavish fear will choose the road to hell,
    Our portion will be there where bolder sinners dwell.

    Deal gently, Lord.
    Deal gently, Lord.
    Deal gently, Lord.
    Deal gently, Lord.

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth. This one is great, too. And I also can hear Rebecca singing it. Sing, Rebecca, sing 🙂

      1. Renee, haha! 😉 Well, Elizabeth has already given me some good ideas for songs to sing, this one is another good one!

  50. C. Take this verse and pray it for our study, paraphrasing it in your own words. Pray it as well for yourself and your family, perhaps with another paraphrase. Memorize it.

    I praise You that You are all around me. You encircle Your people, protecting us from harm, from the Enemy. You are around whatever “it” is that I am facing, whatever circumstance—You are bigger, You have it in Your realm, in Your hands. We are never hidden from You, Lord, and You never leave. You never retreat in anger, You remain. Constant. Immovable. Unshakable.

    (I think I went a little long in my paraphrase–I’ll work on that 😉