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HOW TO TALK TO YOUR SOUL WITH WORD PICTURES

A WORD PICTURE CAN SLIP PAST

THE NATURAL DEFENSES AND CHANGE THE HEART

WHEN DAVID’S HEART COULD NOT SEE,

COULD NOT CHANGE

NATHAN USED A WORD PICTURE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A POOR MAN HAD BUT ONE LITTLE EWE LAMB AND LOVED THAT LAMB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He told David a story of a rich man who took a poor man’s little ewe lamb. David was incensed at the selfishness, the lack of compassion. And then Nathan told him, “Thou art the man.” And David repented. Word pictures have power.

 

THE LANGUAGE OF LOVE IS A BOOK THAT HELPED ME

BECOME A MORE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATOR

THE AUTHORS GAVE MANY CONVINCING CASE STUDIES OF HOW

PEOPLE HAD FAILED TO CONVINCE A LOVED ONE TO CHANGE HIS WAYS

BUT THEN,  USED A WORD PICTURE —

AND THEIR HEARTS WERE CHANGED

The authors open with a true story of a man who was being unfaithful to his family, who had decided to leave them to be with another woman. No pleading, no arguments, and no tears could stop him. He had made up his mind.

But one day his daughter told him about a dream she had had. She, her mother, and her siblings had been hit broadside by a careless driver, and their injuries were catastrophic. She was lying on the road, bleeding, when she saw the man who hit them. She said, “It was you, Dad.”

Her word picture penetrated his heart. He repented, came home. He changed.

I have been using word pictures ever since I read that book. I used one with my husband Steve when we were flying home from Thailand after adopting Beth, our fifth child. I was already anxious if I could handle this. Steve wasn’t anxious at all. At one point he leaned over to me and said, “Some of the little boys in the orphanage were so cute.”

I thought, He doesn’t understand. I cannot adopt any more children. Immediately I thought. I need a word picture.

I felt the Lord gave me one. I said, “Honey, look out at that airplane wing and imagine I am out there. I’m trying to keep up with you in your Christian walk, but I think I might slip and plummet to my death.”

He looked astonished. He really hadn’t heard me before — but now he did.

The power of a word picture.

PICTURES HAVE POWER. IT’S WHY JESUS USED THEM ALL THE TIME.

This week you’ll listen to a free Keller sermon on this passage (How to Change 1). Next week we’ll listen to one that costs 2.50, but worth every penny. (How to Change 2.) During these two weeks, memorize the passage Keller is on:

To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires

and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds

and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 4:22-24

What does “the spirit of your mind” mean? Keller says it is our imagination. This is where we come up with word pictures. He give an example of a man being faced with the temptation of eating steak, though his doctor has told him he must not, for his heart is at risk. He could begin to imagine how good the steak would smell, how wonderful it would taste…


Or, he could imagine himself having a heart attack after eating that steak:

This week I want you to find some word pictures to help you face temptation, grief, unforgiveness, and despair in a constructive rather than a destructive way. I want you to be renewed in the spirit of your mind. Where will you find them? Here are three possible sources:

1) In great Christian music — for example, last week we looked at “O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go” — one of you commented on the line “I dare not close my heart to Thee.” There is a picture here that can change you and cause you to move toward Jesus instead of away. Print off the lyrics to this song or another that moves your heart and tape it up in your shower and start singing.

2) In the psalms – they are filled with word pictures to help us use our imagination — seeking God as the deer seeks water; the Lord riding the wind to come to our help… These help you visualize your relationship to the Lord. In your prayer time, pray the psalms, and linger over the pictures.

3) In pictures I’ve used in the past on this blog to help you visualize danger, or His presence, or His love. If one really spoke to you, print it off and put it on your refrigerator this week to remind you. Here is a possible one — how you break His heart when you run to an idol instead of Him:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday/Monday: Icebreaker and Download the Free Sermon:

Sermon Link

(It will look like you have to buy it, but when you click on the format, you will see it is free. You can also get it on the free sermon page, but I think it is easier to download this way.)

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Read the word picture that Nathan gave to David in 2 Samuel 12:1-6. Why do you think it got to David’s heart?


3. Do one of the three exercises (song, psalm, picture) above for word pictures and tell us here what you did.

Bible Study: Monday-Wednesday


Begin memorizing Ephesians 4:22 and say it every day.

As an overview (we will spend more than one week on this) read Ephesians 4:17-32

4. Read Ephesians 4:17-19

A. Note the command in verse 17. What relationship do you see between the mind and the walk?

B. How does verse 18 begin, and what does that do to their relationship with God?

C. Imagine another temptation such as gossip, unforgiveness, or over-eating

1) If you were to engage in one of the above,  what lie would you first have to believe — how would you need to be “darkened in your understanding?”

2) Come up with a word picture that would show your alienation from God should you choose to do one of these things

D. What happens to our hearts, according to verse 19, when we walk in our former way of life?

5. Read Ephesians 4:20-24

A. Keller makes a big point about the phrase “the truth is in Jesus.” Make note of this verse.

B. Verse 22 is your memory verse this week. Meditate on it and come up with at least five observations on this verse.

C. Be alert to put verse 23 into practice today. Write down at the end of the day what you did, how you used your imagination to resist temptation.

D. Use your imagination to help you with the “old self” and the “new self,” or the old garment and the new garment.

What is the worst garment you’ve had on — imagine wanting to be rid of it!

And the best?

Cyndi said, “I lift up my arms to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to dress me.”

There are those in Reformed circles that are opposed to using any pictures of Jesus, feeling it breaks the 1st commandment. J. I. Packer’s fourth chapter in Knowing God is an example of this thinking. I do think there are many terrible pictures of Jesus and realize the goal of capturing Him to be unreachable. And yet — I know how much I needed pictures to train my children, and how I am so moved, for example, by Martin French’s drawings (like the one above of The Broken-Hearted Bridegroom). This subject deserves a blog post of its own, and I’ll do it sometime, but I think that if you are worshipping a picture, you are sinning, but if the picture leads you to worship God, it is an icon rather than an idol — and that is a good thing. But feel free to pipe in here with your prayerful and loving thoughts.

6. How do you feel about pictures of Jesus and why?

7. Listen to the Sermon you downloaded above. (Thursday – Friday) and share your notes with us or what stood out to you.

Saturday

8. What’s your take-a-way and why?

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293 comments

  1. As an overview (we will spend more than one week on this) read Ephesians 4:17-32

    4. Read Ephesians 4:17-19

    A. Note the command in verse 17. What relationship do you see between the mind and the walk? Live no longer as the gentiles do…They are hopelessly confused. So I guess them being confused is causing them to walk out life in a way we are admonished not to live.

    B. How does verse 18 begin, and what does that do to their relationship with God? Minds full of darkness/wandered far from life God gives and hearts hardened.

    C. Imagine another temptation such as gossip, unforgiveness, or over-eating

    1) If you were to engage in one of the above, what lie would you first have to believe — how would you need to be “darkened in your understanding?” Gossip, well it will help that person to know more…so I share though really I just want to talk mindlessly. Unforgiveness well I deserved this so I have the right not to forgive. Over eating…well it is just one more bite or cake or pie no big deal…

    2) Come up with a word picture that would show your alienation from God should you choose to do one of these things Like Gossip. I picture the words out of my mouth flying in the air. Along with the Scripture that says we will give an account for every idle word. I see them flying at the cross. Picturing Jesus and His broken body for those idle words. It breaks my heart and makes me not want to do it. I see His love enduring the cross know the joy of salvation it would bring to me and others. I must live like I am thankful and appreciate that love and sacrifice.

    D. What happens to our hearts, according to verse 19, when we walk in our former way of life? The are no longer guarded they live for however they like.

    B. Verse 22 is your memory verse this week. Meditate on it and come up with at least five observations on this verse. I like the image of throwing it off. Like needing to really hurl it like a baseball pitch not just set it nicely aside but get rid of that thing!

    C. Be alert to put verse 23 into practice today. Write down at the end of the day what you did, how you used your imagination to resist temptation. Oh this one is HUGE now! I keep going back to His word to meet my fears about all this drama we are in with custody of this little boy. I NEED to practice this often! I have lots of anger and fear regarding the situation. Lots of temptation to respond sinfully. I am kind of in a fog and my family is feeling it. My poor girls. I am praying God to lift me out. I also am in heavy intercession. Yet I seem not able to focus but when I feel any of those signs in my body I bring my thoughts and actions back to agreement with His word.

    D. Use your imagination to help you with the “old self” and the “new self,” or the old garment and the new garment.

    What is the worst garment you’ve had on — imagine wanting to be rid of it!

    And the best? This is interesting because I do not think much about fashion or clothes. I suppose the worst would be something that did not feel good on. Maybe scratchy to the skin. Something good would be comfortable like silk maybe?? As we become believers that old self should feel scratchy and bad. The new self should feel comfortable and like a natural part in the Spirit.

  2. I am ok with pictures of Jesus like the ones you posted. I forget the authors name. I would love for you to look at my facebook wall and see this amazing Sculpture of Jesus I took a picture with. It was so good. I really liked it. I think any reminders of Christ and keeping focused on Him are fine yet not the image or thing itself. Take a look at it if you can it is just really well done.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1605072367782.2082453.1265317838&type=3#!/angela.parsley

    1. Angela, “like”.. yes you are so pretty both inside and out.

  3. I liked the Keller message listened earlier this week but am foggy now. I prob should listen again. Please keep praying for us. This little boy is in our full custody but the court ordered visits with the parents once a week supervised which is hard on our family and on the kids. Praying it all through. Kind of frustrated right now about many things in the situation. Things I am finding out about it. So heart breaking. Sorry I have not really kept up with comments but want to be in the word with you all.

    Take away, keep renewing my mind. It is the only way I am surviving and experiencing His peace in this crazy situation I am finding my family in.

      1. Thank you!! I feel like my stomach may fall out right now because hubs is with him at a supervised visitation but still there is that deep rooted peace. So strange.

    1. Wow Angela, that all sounds so emotionally exhausting. I have been praying for you and will continue to–I know He must be lifting you every step of the way, what you are doing is super-natural, it’s not in our human nature, He has equipped you so beautifully. How are you feeling physically? Praying you are able to get good rest amidst all this.

      1. Physically ok so far. Head has been hurting. Tired cuz he screams in the night some. I need sleep and rest for recovery from lyme but I am thankfully real well. I just pray I don’t crash…God is providing though. High stress and lack of sleep are not good for me now. God is even bigger than that.

        1. So thankful, but will pray for rest, and peace for this sweet boy. Praying too that you have a good support, I know you do in your husband, but if you ever need to just share the struggles, or ask for more prayer, I hope you’ll let us know!

        2. Praying for you, Angela

  4. Meg, we are so, so happy for you sister but will also miss you!

  5. Elizabeth, I read your comment to me about a video of me singing again. 😉 You are so sweet. I don’t know when that will happen again-haven’t thought about it. I am singing another special in a couple of weeks, but not sure if I will video it.

  6. 7. Listen to the Sermon you downloaded above. (Thursday – Friday) and share your notes with us or what stood out to you.

    “..to obey is so hard, but to disobey is impossible to endure because in the end disobedience destroys you, you are built for him.” -love this truth!

    I was built to worship him not what He has made. When I worship creation rather than God I am giving myself over to a beast rather than giving myself to the Lover, Protector and Provider of my soul-the One who breathed His breath of life into my nostrils, who wooed me and is now the well spring of my life.

  7. 8. What’s your take-a-way and why?

    My take away is still a bit in progress in my mind, but for time I will try to make sense!

    A word picture draws us into a multi-sensory experience. When I look over pictures we have shared this week, so many of them I could see, I could taste, I could feel as if I were the one who had experienced it.
    In the same way, the taking off of our old self, the putting on of the new–is a multi-dimensional activity. There are some things we may need to stop doing, other things we may need to start doing—so it is physically active. But I can’t stop with just the physical action. My mind, my thoughts, my feelings are to be transformed, renewed.

    One thing that stuck with me from the sermon was that the thing we are taking off has been serving a purpose for us. It has been meeting a need. That need must be replaced. When my husband wanted to stop biting his nails, he got some silly putty…he squishes that stuff all day, but his nails look great! If I am to stop being jealous of others, even in the privacy of my mind, then I must replace that coveting thought with something new—a prayer for them—a prayer of blessing for them. Something beneficial, something glorifying to Him, something of my new self in Christ—must replace what the old self was in the habit of doing.

    1. Elizabeth, This was so good about replacing what the old self was in the habit of doing. I think that is so key.

    2. Love your thoughts, Elizabeth. I had missed this in the sermon, that the thing we are taking off has been serving a purpose for us, meeting a need.

  8. My take away is too lengthy to share. I’ve had a lot to be thinking about. I have been here daily and have been practicing putting off my old self renewing my mind with the truths found in scripture, although I haven’t been doing a very good job of it. My old self seems comfortable and safe sometimes. It’s easier to keep to myself and shut people out than to put myself out there to be hurt or rejected. I know that God hasn’t left me or rejected me and I talk to Him about it continually.

    1. Dawn, I so appreciate your transparency-you are a gem, remember that. 🙂 We are with you sister-literally holding you up in prayer-I am sure all of us can identify with what you said.

      1. Thank you, Rebecca.

  9. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     I love pictures of lambs. I have several saved on my computer that I like to look at a lot.
    One of my favorite books is “A Shepherd Looks at the 23rd Psalm”. The imagery of how much we are like the sheep and He is our shepherd to run to.
    2. Read the word picture that Nathan gave to David in 2 Samuel 12:1-6. Why do you think it got to David’s heart? Being a shepherd he could identify with the situation. I often wonder if Nathan would have not told him, “Thou art the man” –would it have registered with him or did he really have to have someone point it out to him because he was so enmeshed in this tragedy and puffed up. Guess that would be a Paul Harvey “rest of the story”

    3. Do one of the three exercises (song, psalm, picture) above for word pictures and tell us here what you did.
    I am a worship music lover as well as Contemporary Christian. The song below was put out by Brian Duncan (one of my old favorites who has quite a tropubled life himself). I think it conveys the best in music of Abraham and Sarah’s faith walk and how they must have felt but also how they “trusted” God. Something I must tell myself all the time. I love the imagery of the words.
    “I’ll Not Forget You”

    Sarah’s waiting in a crown of silver hair 
    Maternal heart still aching 
    A promised ray of hope, a child to bear 
    No child is here, is this not fair? 
    Her labor of love has no device 
    Faithful in silent sacrifice 
    Has Heaven forgotten? 
    Is God still there? 
    He says, “Learn to trust me” 

    “I’ll not forget you, 
    I’ll not forget you, 
    I’ll not forget you, 
    I’ll not forget you” 

    Abraham is marking time as years go by 
    Hiding his pain in laughter 
    And every night he’s counting stars that fill the sky 
    So sure his dream has passed him by 
    Doubting, his vision’s not so clear 
    What did God say, what did I hear? 
    Has heaven forgotten? 
    Is God still there? 
    He says, “Learn to trust me” 

    (I got the flu on Monday and been in bed all week—would appreciate prayers as well as my Mother is in the hospital in Pennsylvania with aspiration pneumonia and very frail. She doesn’t want to stay here anymore but it scares me to think about her eternity. My sister said she has been very mean to everyone and said she saw a demon walk through her room the other night (she is 83) …I believe she was close to death that night but she is doing a little better today. I’m hoping to get one more opportunity to speak with her about eternity. Will try to finish some of the lesson maybe later—I don’t want to get behind. I always experience spiritual warfare when I attempt to do something new.)

    1. That’s a beautiful song, Charmaine. It really touched my heart. “I’ll not forget you.” I need to listen to this again and again.

  10. Just want you to know that I am praying for you and for your mother, Charmaine. Hope you feel better soon. Don’t let the devil win.

    1. Thanks Diane. I really appreciate it.