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I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO LAYS DOWN HIS LIFE…

IT IS HOLY WEEK


A WEEK TO TRY TO COMPREHEND THE LOVE HE HAS FOR US

 

HE IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD

WHO WILLINGLY LAID DOWN HIS LIFE FOR HIS LAMBS

 

IN ONE OF THE MOST MYSTERIOUS VERSES OF SCRIPTURE

WE ARE TOLD:


HE IS THE LAMB OF GOD SLAIN

BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

(Revelation 13:8)

 

THE INNOCENT LAMB OF GOD

 


 

THE HOURS JESUS SUFFERED ON THE CROSS (9 to 3)

 

WERE THE SAME HOURS THAT THE PASSOVER LAMBS WERE

 

SLAIN

 

 

IT ALL COMES TOGETHER

 

Because this is holy week, we will do the lesson slightly differently. I want you to abide each day, and I’ll give you small pieces so you can. Good Friday will have more, and I encourage you to give Him good time that time. You may want to fast the hours He was on the cross. I’d really like you to listen the sermon twice — once early in the week — and just listen — and then more carefully on Good Friday.

Here’s the link — my son J. R. found this for me — and I knew it was the one for us this week. It’s free:

http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=17365&ParentCat=6

All week, try to comprehend the love He has for you. As Cyndi said last week, if we get that, “everything else pales in comparison.” It’s the last week of Lent, before our Celebratory Easter week, so let us finish well.

SUNDAY:

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

 

2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

 

3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

 

Monday: FOR A GOOD MAN, ONE MIGHT DIE…

It so happens I’m going to be on Moody Radio today from noon to one central time. (I’d love your prayers!)  If you have a Moody station in your area, you can listen live — or online — or tomorrow they will have the podcast up. Click here:

http://www.moodyradio.org/brd_programarchive.aspx?id=78882

 

 

Today I want you to contemplate Romans 5:7

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person,

though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die.

This is a theme in many stories that have stirred our hearts, pointing to the truer story.

Last Sunday my grand-daughter Jessa rode to church with me.  She’s a reader, a writer, a contemplative, a kindred spirit with her grandmother. This is a picture of her with her mother Julie as a storm rolled into our cabin at the lake.

Jessamyn Eve and Julie Brestin in 2009

 


She had her copy of the first in the series of The Hunger Games with her. “Would you like to read this, Grandma?”

I paused, not feeling too enthusiastic.

She had her debate ready. “Grandma — you know J. R. Tolkein says that the very best story theme, because it points to the gospel, shows someone who is in safety coming forward and risking their life for someone who is not in safety. That’s the story of The Hunger Games.”

I smiled. Her little sister Analise piped up from the back seat: “Jessa! You said you had a bunch of friends waiting for that — so I had to buy my own. Grandma doesn’t even want to read it.”

“Actually, Ana,” I winked at Jessa, “your sister has persuaded me. I’m going to read it. And sometimes Grandmothers get special ranking.”

Silence from the back seat. Big smile from Jessa.

So, I have read the first book and, indeed, found it compelling, even if it isn’t great literature. And yes, it is the noble theme and helps me understand why it is stirring  the hearts of young and adults alike. (I also appreciated hearing the author interviewed, saying part of her purpose was to help teens not romanticize war.) In The Hunger Games, Katniss sacrifices herself for her little sister, Prim.

It’s is true — both the true stories, like Bonhoeffer and Jim Elliot, and the fictional stories, like Tale of Two Cities and Life is Beautiful tap into the beauty of the Gospel love. Of love so great the one lays down his life for his friend.

Each of us wants to be loved like this — enough that one would sacrifice himself for us. We have one, The Good Shepherd, who loved us so much he both suffered and died for us.

4. Read Romans 5:6-8.

A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

B. For whom would you give your life?

C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?

D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

Does anyone know the source of this painting -- I'll put it in if you do!

 

5. What does Jesus say in John 10:11-12 about Himself? Do some research on how true shepherds risked their

lives for their sheep.

 


Tuesday: THREE CRIES IN THE DARK

This holy week we are going to contemplate “three cries in the dark.” Even though Jesus was on the cross from 9:00 A. M. until 3:00 A. M. when it is usually light, it became DARK by the sixth hour. Have you ever wondered how the prophecy Jesus made was fulfilled, that like Jonah, he would be three days and three nights in the belly of the whale? I could find pieces of three days — but three nights? Yes — one was a supernatural night when God darkened the sky as His only Son hung on the cross. Then there were the natural Friday and Saturday nights.

5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?


Beginning tonight, and each night this week, when it gets dark, I want you to go outside and cry out these three cries. As Keller said, it was dark — hard to see — but you could hear. Jesus spoke three times between nine and noon, and three times just before he died. Keller doesn’t deal with the cry, “I thirst,” but deals with two others, and the cry of the centurion after Jesus died. These are the three cries we will consider.

My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

It is finished.

Truly this was the Son of God.

CRY THESE OUT — SEAL THEM IN YOUR MIND TO TRY TO COMPREHEND WHAT HIS DEATH MEANS. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO LISTEN TO THE KELLER MESSAGE TWICE — FIRST — JUST LISTEN — THEN, ON GOOD FRIDAY, TAKE NOTES.

HERE’S THE LINK AGAIN:

http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=17365&ParentCat=6

WEDNESDAY: WHY JESUS SCREAMED

Keller said if the Gospel writers were making this up, as some have claimed, they would not have had the founder of their religion scream as he was dying. Why did Jesus scream? There’s so much here.

Think about the people you are the closest to in all the world. My hunch is it is someone you’ve been with a long time — a mother, a husband, a child…  time to be knit, time to build memories, time to weep and time to rejoice…someone, if you lost, would cause you to scream from the depths of your soul…

Now — here’s a mysterious truth that sets Christianity apart from all the other religions. The early church fathers had a name for it: Perichoresis — The Father, The Son, and The Spirit in community, in a dance, from all of eternity. C. S. Lewis and J. R. Tolkein have described this…such a mystery.

 

How can you portray the Spirit and the Father? I don't know -- but this pictures the perichoresis to me -- the dance of the Trinity.

Other religions either have warring gods or a monolithic god. If there is love at all, it came later. Christianity has a fellowshiping community.  Love from the beginning.

6. Find the community of Jesus with the Father and the Spirit — love from the beginning:

A. Genesis 1:26

B. Proverbs 8:27-31

C. John 1:1-2

D. John 5:19-21

E. John 10:30

7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13?

 

8. He didn’t have to do it — He could have called upon 10,000 angels. Why does Peter tell us He did?

A. 1 Peter 1:18-19

B. 1 Peter 3:18

9. Why did Jesus scream in the dark? Give Him praise here.

 

THURSDAY: WHEN THEY CUT JESUS, HE BLED SCRIPTURE

This is one of the most mysterious psalms in Scripture — for in every other psalm of lament, it is a picture of something the psalmist actually suffered, but then, behind, you can see a reflect of The Man of Sorrows. But this psalm depicts an execution — a crucifixion — and we know David did not endure that. So what is the answer? Tim Keller says Acts 2:30 explains that David was also a prophet — so he foresaw and spoke about the death and resurrection of Christ.

You may want to listen to Keller’s sermon on this — which is called The Doctrine of Salvation. It is not a free sermon, but it is excellent. Remember how we have said that beholding the gospel transforms us? This sermon certainly does that, and I think is a particular comfort to those who are suffering.

10 Read Psalm 22

A.  The way psalms were identified in biblical times was not by number, but by first lines. Keller says Jesus most important moment was when he was dying — and spoke these words — so this, therefore, may be the most important psalm. What are these words in verse 1, and what do they mean to you?

 

B. Name the verses that are clearly prophetic of the actual crucifixion.

 

C. Keller said this psalm has been a source of debate in Judaism. The explanation given is that this must be Israel

who suffered. But Keller said, in our free sermon, this has a flaw — do you remember what it is?

 

D. How did Christ fulfill verse 24?


Good Friday

Listen to the Keller sermon and share your notes. Share what particularly quickened you and why?

Here’s the link again:

http://sermons.redeemer.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=17365&ParentCat=6

 

Saturday

10. What is your take-a-way and why?

 




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448 comments

  1. Hebrews 7:26 & 27 KJV – For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

    I remember, about 20 years ago, I was watching National Geographic on TV. There was a beautiful animal standing near a tree, with several men standing around him. Perhaps it was an impala, or a small llama, I can’t remember for certain.

    Suddenly one of the men took out a giant knife and slit the precious animal’s throat, and the unsuspecting victim fell to the ground.

    I was shocked and horrified. I couldn’t understand why those horrible men would have done such a thing to such a beautiful and harmless creature.

    Then it suddenly hit me. This is how it was with Jesus. He did nothing to deserve the cruel mockings, scourgings, and hideous death that he had to endure.

    I now had a new picture of my Saviour. No longer did I see him as an angry God who was ready to hit me over the head if I made a wrong move. On the contrary, he was a gentle, loving Jesus, who is harmless. The word harmless in the Scripture above is one of my favorite descriptions of The Lamb.

    1. Your story is beautiful and touches my heart, James. Thank you for sharing with us. P.S. We love your mom!

      1. Thanks Kim…

        God Bless!

    2. WOW. What a powerful example you mention–I can picture the scene and the connection to Christ–wow. Thank you for sharing that. And welcome! We love your mom 😉

  2. LOVE this week! Good Morning all! Love the picture of Julie and Jessa–such love and wonder captured. I am attached already to the lamb picture. I wanted to read the verse on it in the Message–it’s silencing:

    Isaiah 53:7-9 “He was beaten, he was tortured, but He didn’t say a word.Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, He took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and He was led off— and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people.
    They buried Him with the wicked,threw Him in a grave with a rich man, Even though He’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.”

    1. Elizabeth,

      That is an awesome rendition of that passage!

      Have a blessed Palm Sunday!

  3. Good morning! Really looking forward to this week. I got so behind last week I gave up. But want to dig in this week as we approach Easter. Excited to see what the Lord has for us.

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

    The fact that the lambs were slain during the hours Jesus was on the cross. The beauty of the Word, how God tells a story that is full of mystery and symbolism. Love the picture of the gentle lamb, so pure and spotless.

    2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    I needed help on this one. I have a Concordia Commentary on Revelations by Lewis Brighton (my pastor when I was three in Kentucky!) Here are his notes on this passage, which helped me to understand. “Because the Lamb of God, the Messiah, was chosen and ordained to be the slain and risen Savior of God’s people before the foundation of the world, God’s chosen people were written in the book of life “from the foundation of the world.”

    He alson goes on to say that His was a one-time sacrifice, not like the annual Passover sacrifices, so it was all-sufficient for the world.

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

    I’m planning on keeping pace this week with the bible study and also to eat less sugar. I got away from that and want to turn to Jesus instead of sugary foods for comfort.

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    A. Rev. 13: 8 “the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world” jumped out at me right away — because it is so BIG. I thought about “I AM,” the Alpha and Omega.

    B. I also liked the suggestion to listen to the sermon twice, the first time listening and the second time taking notes. I used to do that in class, i.e., have students stop taking notes and LISTEN so that content could penetrate. Then we could go back to what was important to write.

    C. The phrase “abide each day” — had a discussion about abiding this past week.

    2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    Not sure that I can say what this means, but here are some of my thoughts:
    -This helps explain how the faithful from OT times are “saved.”
    -Not only has Jesus always existed, but His sacrifice for us is part of the very nature of His being.
    -God’s omniscience shows through: He created and loves us even though He has always known we would need a Savior.

    Maybe I’ll look it up 🙂

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

    During the past few days, I have been troubled (especially because this is Holy Week) because I will be on the road/sitting in meetings most of the week. I had intended to do the study today and then indicate that I wouldn’t be able to post for the rest of the week. I’m not sure about my schedule/access this week, but I do know that “the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world” compels me and will make it possible for me to abide daily.

    Also, I’ll be back on Friday. Glad that more of the study is then 🙂 Even though I’ll be sitting in front of a computer during the (working) meetings, I think that I may be able to take more breaks from typing (good for numb arm and hand). I’m encouraged that God’s hand in this week is so clear to me at the beginning of the week.

    1. Report of looking up meaning of Rev 13:8 : Here is one site (but I read the same info on several):

      http://www.talk-grace.com/showthread.php?1930-Was-Christ-slain-before-the-foundation-of-the-world

      “As you can see, this same verse from these other versions says something completely different. It was the names of the elect that were written down from the foundation of the world, not Christ being slain.”

      Even if this interpretation is accurate, I’m glad I thought about the other translations (i.e., KJV, NIV) first. I do believe that the death and resurrection of Christ occurred at a specific point in linear, human time. But I like my answer to the question better 🙂 Although I can’t begin to understand God’s greatness and His “time,” I do know that He can see all time. His character allows that Christ was “slain before the foundation of the world” because “before the foundation of the world” is outside of time as we know it.

      So much for looking it up! Regardless of the correct translation, I can’t cram God into my understanding.

      1. Renee, thanks for that…I read it all and can’t believe that transations are so different! I’m more confussed than ever about the “foundation of the world”.

        1. Oh yes, it is confusing!

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? The sweet lamb slain, innocent. Someone brought a day old lamb to our coop homeschool classes and I was so endeared by it. I cannot imagine raising up a spotless lamb then having to slay it at the appointed time…They said 3 years old is when it was considered big. I wonder if this correlates with Jesus and His 3 years of ministry then His death. I love Jesus example all because of love. So much to think about and ponder this week. I am struck my the cries as well and the hours on the cross. (BTW I think the 3AM is suppose to be PM)

    2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means? I only wonder if it means that before anything was created in the happy land of the Trinity they had this all planned out about Jesus like it already happened though it did not. It was ordained like all the days of our lives, the end of the world, etc. Only God knows this and the great mystery of time frames. But if it is on the kingdom calendar maybe it is like it already happened especially since the prophets of old and Abraham even Job could look forward to this moment they had not clue about but believed it in faith. Again alot to ponder.

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do? I will keep up Lord willing. We are probably hotel living still til maybe Friday. I will try to continue to make it a sacrifice of praise.

    1. Angela said – “I only wonder if it means that before anything was created in the happy land of the Trinity they had this all planned out about Jesus like it already happened though it did not. It was ordained like all the days of our lives, the end of the world, etc. Only God knows this and the great mystery of time frames. But if it is on the kingdom calendar maybe it is like it already happened especially since the prophets of old and Abraham even Job could look forward to this moment they had not clue about but believed it in faith. Again alot to ponder.”

      Its like the passage in Ephesians 2:4-6 in which we are noted to be already seated with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Wow! Even while on earth, we are seated. I think eternity must be able to look at past, present and future simultaneously, since there is no time in eternity – so God sees us as already in heavenly places in Christ.

  6. 2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    I was going to read some commentaries first but I think I’ll be lazy and go with my gut. Actually, I picked my husband’s brain a bit too. My thoughts–just as we were pre-destined to be heirs, before the creation of the world, God pre-destined Jesus to be the means to reconcile us back to the Father.

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?
    Keeping with the lesson will be good for me—and patience. In some ways, my forced-slowed-down-pace has made me have to be more laid-back, and has honestly broken some idols—that I have to be the one to do all the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc…oh how I see how I was really letting that “add” to my own worth. Not that I thought it redeemed me, more like it was a sparkle, some glitter on top—well, that’s gone!, but in a weird way, it feels good. I have honestly been humbled. Haven’t picked up a broom in a month—it aggravates my nerves the worst for some reason! But even my 5 year old is eager to help. The old me said “no, I can do it (better)”, this me just says “thank you, so much.” So anyway, patience—learning that through all this, and it is good.

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

    “THE HOURS JESUS SUFFERED ON THE CROSS (9 to 3)WERE THE SAME HOURS THAT THE PASSOVER LAMBS WERE SLAIN.” I can hear the lambs bleating in my ears already as I imagine the preparation for the Passover sacrifice. I am so looking forward to this Holy Week with you all. Good Friday is busy with church services from 12 to 3 (the hours of darkness we are publicly reading the gospel of John and then having a worship service including Communion). I was already considering fasting so your suggestion urges me forward. I will also try to listen again to the sermon on Friday as you suggest.

  8. Dee, is your Moody Radio broadcast in Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time? It says CST so I just wondered. We are on Daylight Saving Time now here but I know not everyone goes to DST. I am trying to figure out the number of hours the broadcast is behind me here in “Atlantic Daylight Saving Time” in the Far east of Canada. (Two I think if you are on Daylight Saving Time.)

  9. The painting is The Lost Sheep by Soord

  10. The way that Jesus was the final passover lamb and how he used that festival to make it even more clear who He was amazes me.
    I have a friend who is a Messianic Jew and we have a passover sadder every year this week. when Jesus died was no coincidence, this was ONE day out of the entire year. it was THE day that the pass-over lambs were killed for atonement for peoples sins, the “last supper” was the pass-over supper HE knew what He was doing, when He was doing it and why. the Jewish people understood that when he died he was the last sacrifice that was ever going to be needed for our sins, He is our last lamb, He is the blood on the door that saves us.

    THis story by Mark Hamby is the best picture of a shepard I have ever come across.
    He took care of 100s of sheep but they would not obey him, he was sick and tired and could not get them to follow him back to the barn one night and he gave up and went to bed. the next morning over 40 lambs had been born and they all died because of the cold night. He talks about how angry he was because no matter what he did they would not listen and now here he was burying all these lambs in a mass grave…his daughter walks out and sees him and screams “your a bad Shepard” His heart breaks, he does not know what else to do to get these stupid lambs to follow him. the next lambing he stays in the barn with them, he helps them with the births, he cares for them all night. from that night on the lambs would do anything he said, they listend to his voice, they knew he loved them…..
    Jesus never FORCES us to follow Him, he knows it wouldnt work anyway. He showed us that he loved us! Love should be our greatest modivator because really, in the end, its the only one that works.

    1. Love that picture of the shepherd.

    2. stupid spell check:) shepherd i actually used it this time and I still get it wrong!! *sigh* its part of my charm….right????

      1. hehe… I’ve written some bizarre things because of spell check

      2. Cyndi,
        We think you are so very charming – misspelled words and all!

    3. Love this story – so fitting! Thank you.

    4. Loved that Cyndi

  11. Interesting that Jesus is both the Shepherd and the Lamb. Have to think about this more…

    1. Renee,

      The Lord reminded me of The Palm Sunday passage in Revelation 7…which also speaks of The Lamb/Shepherd roles of Jesus.

      Rev 7:9 NIV – After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of THE LAMB. They were wearing white robes and were holding PALM BRANCHES in their hands.
      Rev 7:10 NIV – And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to THE LAMB.”
      Rev 7:17 NIV – For THE LAMB at the center of the throne WILL BE THEIR SHEPHERD; HE WILL LEAD THEM TO SPRINGS OF LIVING WATER. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

  12. 1. I am touched by the innocent beauty of that lamb. He’s pure white and so soft. His muzzle is pink and he is asleep. What beauty contrasting with the bloody mess that sin creates. I hate blood and the only part of nursing that I truly dislike is what involves excessive blood (like obstetrics). I remember thinking what a bloody mess the sacrifices must have been. Lamb after lamb, slain for days at a time. Sorry to be so gory but it really must have been awful. That poor lamb. I dread to take the next step to thoughts of the crucifixion of my Lord.

  13. 3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?
    Well, I’m off to a good start. I did Sunday’s and read all of the responses and it’s still Sunday. I will spend the week consciously doing good to those who don’t deserve it and may not even notice it.

  14. 2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    I think this means that the earthy world is what we know. The foundation of this world would have been the people here on earth at that time. It would include all that God made. The land, ocean, heavens, animals, plants, and people. The foundation God made.

  15. SUNDAY:

    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? – For me I hear in the sermon the love Jesus has for us in His final hours. I also see the pain that He suffered as he cried out to God even though he knew it was part of the plan for our salvation. Seeing and hearing that from Keller, gives me a hope that I too can cry out to my heavenly Father when I am struggling and hurting and don’t understand what is happening. To hear that so many in today’s society reject Jesus and blame him for that is wrong in this world saddens me. They just don’t get it, that it is by our actions and choices that we live in a fallen world.

     2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means? – I read this in a few different translations and I think that because they use the word foundation, it means from the beginning of time when God created everything and from that time we were chosen. Since we were His chosen we have the right to eternal life because we follow Him, but those that don’t will continue to live in a sinful world and not have rights to His kingdom to come.

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do? – I will just be able to try and keep up with this study with working and taking care of my family and also my oldest who is in the service will be coming home on Thursday for a few days, so may not find any extra time to add anymore in.

  16. 1. What stands out to you from the above.
    I was deeply affected by the story Dee’s son shared. I think for the first time I am truly seeing Christ as a slain lamb. I thought about it all day.

    2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?
    I love looking at the Greek when I don’t understand a passage and here is what I found:
    Foundation is καταβολῆς [katabolēs] , a compound word meaning “a throwing or laying down.”2 Christ’s sacrifice was not an afterthought in the mind of God.
    He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. (1Pe.
    Even before the perfect creation of Adam and Eve, God knew the end of history. This is evidenced in His provision for their first sin, spilling the innocent blood of animals to cover their nakedness (Gen. Gen. 3:21). An enormous number of types throughout the OT predicted the coming of Christ and His sacrifice for the sins of men

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do? I will finish memorizing the first chapter of James as well as participating in this study.

    1. Thank you, Kim…that helps me alot to understand it.

    2. I love hearing the Greek meanings. So good.

  17. I want to add that I had never seen the correlation between God spilling of the blood of animals in order to make garments to cover Adam and Eve’s sin and Jesus’ spilling His blood to cover our sins. Isn’t the Word of God beautifully concatenated?! (new word I learned from Dr. Keller last week). 🙂

    And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. Gen 3:21

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

    I wrote a song about this quite a while ago. I can’t find it at the moment, but it had several verses. Here is what I remember at the moment:

    Jesus is my Passover Lamb; His blood was spilt for me.
    He gave Himself, despite what I am, from death to set me free.

    He pardoned my transgressions, set me at liberty.
    How great are Your compassions. All glory and praise to Thee.

    Refrain:
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, The Lamb for sinners slain.
    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Most Holy Lord is Your Name.

    At one point in my life, it dawned on me so clearly that Christ Jesus is that sacrificial Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Christ Jesus paid that price that I, and all others who have been called by His grace, might live with Him eternally. As the angel of death passed over those homes with the blood of the lamb on the doorposts, prior to the flight out of Egypt by the children of Israel, so the angel of death will pass over those souls who are covered by the blood of Jesus Christ our Redeemer. The angel of death will see the blood upon us and know we belong to Christ.

    2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    The Omnipotent, All-knowing God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, knew in advance of the fall of His creation, man, and before He even created man, God planned for the salvation of all who believe.

    3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

    Definitely attend services on Maundi Thursday, Good Friday and Easter to fellowship with other believers. I hope to do this study as well.

      1. Yes, I try to sing. Am currently taking voice lessons so I can continue to sing for as long as possible with the Bel Canto Chorus in Milwaukee, WI. Also help out with a senior singers chorus associated with Bel Canto that meets at a local nursing home and in a church choir as well. I go in with fear and trembling every two years to audition for Bel Canto.

        1. Would love to hear it! 🙂

    1. I like the song you wrote, Chris G. – thank you for sharing it with us!

    2. Yes, would love to hear your song.

    3. Love that part of the song Chris and I’m sure the rest is just as nice. When you have it recorded, please post the link so we can listen.

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

    First of all I thought Dee reading her grand daughters book was such a loving thing to do!

    Secondly, I liked what Cindy said that when we get it, comprehending the love that Jesus has for us, then everything else pales in comparison. It’s true!

    Thirdly, the three cries in the dark-what has stuck with me since Sunday morning when I read this is how His cry when He was separated from God on the cross was akin to the scream from the depths of our soul when we have lost someone we love. For some reason that is sticking with me and I can’t get it out of my mind.

  20. 2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    I think it means that God sees the stream of time all at once and that just as God has chosen us from before the foundation of the world, He had our redemption planned through Jesus before the foundation of the world. Jesus was in the beginning with God-He is the Son of God and God…I can’t wrap my mind around it all.

    1. Praying for your interview today, Dee…. Dear Lord, I ask for you to be with Dee today as she speaks live on radio. Lord, please quicken Dee as the questions come and give her the answers You would speak and may her words inspire, encourage, and even convict, yes, Lord, when needed, and proclaim Your truth to a world that needs to hear it. I pray for those who are listening today, for open and receptive hearts. Lord, You have filled Dee with so much of Your wisdom and knowledge, may it flow out of her today as she speaks and responds. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

      1. Amen to Susan’s prayer.

    2. Lord open up the hearts and minds of those listening. Draw them to you. I ask that everyone you want listening, would listen. Bless this time so that You may get all the glory! Amen.

  21. 3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

    Repent and turn quicker-I do see this happening, and really just meditating on His love-the Gospel, He is freeing me from the things that can easily bind me-He is showing me the futility of yielding to the Fox in my Vineyard as compared to the beauty of yielding to Him.

    He slayed a Fox in my Vineyard yesterday! Long story, but Saturday a dear sister in the Lord and I had a misunderstanding and she said some unkind words via email. I apologized and asked for forgiveness on my end because I wasn’t being thoughtful of her. Yet, inside I was hurt and struggled to forgive. Saturday and Saturday night God came to me reminding me how much weight I was putting on this. I blew this up and I forgot the weight of Him, His love and the sacrifice He paid to forgive me-a most wretched sinner, a woman with feet of clay just like my friend.

    Then Sunday morning I came on here read Dee’s post and saw James and Elizabeth’s comments..My heart melted as again God reminded me once again His sacrificial love and the depths-oh! I think that is why the scream from the depths of his soul when he separated from God arrested me-I can’t imagine! I can’t fathom He would do that for me, but I am grateful in the depths of my soul-He loves me so!

    I also reflected on James story about the show he watched and saw I was the one who slit His throat, yet He died for me! How could I even go one night resisting forgiving my friend for this little sin??? How wrong I was. I repented and turned Sunday morning-and the love Jesus has given me toward her just flowed. It is Him, Hallelujah!

    1. Rebecca,
      This is wonderful how you applied the gospel to the situation with your friend. You always demonstrate “real living it out” to us!

    2. Rebecca–such a model for me, and timely for me with a family member. Your response turns me to Him–thank you

    3. Thank you for the reminder of His weightiness! It puts things in a right perspective.

    4. It’s amazing how when we commit to forgive, He meets us there and supplies the love we need to carry on. Thanks for sharing Rebecca.

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

    I must begin with this quote shared last week by Elizabeth, from John Owen.

    “The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness
    you can do to Him, is not to believe that He loves you.”

    I have struggled for so long to really get it from my head to my heart, this love of God for me. When I read the above, where Jesus said, “I am the Good Shepherd who lays down His life…”; when I contemplate Jesus as the Innocent Lamb of God. I look at that painting of the lamb and I can not imagine harming a hair on its head; it’s so precious, so innocent-looking, so harmless – I’d like to crawl into that painting and just cuddle up to that lamb, and feel its softness.
    What strikes me is, Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd, yet He is also the Lamb of God who was slain – yet at the same time the lamb pictures us – Jesus sees us as the “one lost sheep” that the Shepherd leaves the other 99 and goes out and looks until He finds the lost one and carries him back. The sheep and lambs are so dependent upon their shepherd; they can’t fend for themselves, or protect themselves. Their very lives depend upon their shepherd. Jesus knew we are like “sheep gone astray”, and He wants to be our Shepherd.

    To look at that painting of the lamb and how beautiful and soft it is; yet the beauty and spotless innocence of Jesus is simply indescribable with words; that He was silent before His accusers and gave Himself into their hands to be killed, slain. As I ponder all of this, and continue to do so this week, then how it would grieve the Lord to continue to doubt His love.

    1. Susan–i needed this today “Their very lives depend upon their shepherd.” i am going to hold to that this week.

  23. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8.

    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

    Aslan giving his life in Narnia. The way Lucy grieves over him after he dies, then his powerful resurrection after they walk away. I want to have that kind of heart towards Jesus. I’ve been singing the Lutheran hymn, Stricken, Smitten and Afflicted, and love the words that help me to abide and meditate on how much He suffered for us in his death.

    B. For whom would you give your life?

    Most definitely my children.

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?

    To be honest, I probably would not. But then again, maybe I would if it were my children.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    This is what is mind blowing about the death of Jesus; that He died for those who rejected him, betrayed him. To love them. Hard to comprehend in the flesh. That He would die for our sins, to completely wipe them out so that now we are the spotless lambs following the one and only Shepherd of our hearts. I owe my life to Him and marvel at His mercies for me which are new every morning. To know I can go to him with a repentant heart and He will always meet me with forgiveness. Where else can we know that kind of love? Where else can we find our hope, our encouragement, our strength to go on? I need Him so much.

  24. Something ugly is going on inside of me, it started yesterday and is persisting. I feel sullen, I could not seem to focus on the Keller sermon, though I have listened 3 times. I don’t feel like doing this study today.

    I am going to resist the devil and believe that he will flee from me.

    I think I feel angry.

    1. Praying for you Chris. You have suffered so much. May the Lord fight hard for you today and I pray you can rest in Him. That when the tears need to flow, that they will and He will meet you and comfort you.

    2. I am going on my knees for you now dear Chris, we will cover you in prayer today-love to you~

      1. Thank you Elizabeth & AnneMeridith thank you

    3. Hope you are feeling better and the devil has left your mind. Will be praying that your strength in the Lord continues to see you thru.

  25. I took a picture of the sweetest baby lamb and set it as my desktop to remind me of James’ story. I keep thinking of Anne’s words, “I dread to take the next step to thoughts of the crucifixion of my Lord” and yet we must if our hearts truly are longing to prepare for Easter Sunday and it will surely help us trade worldly affections for higher ground. Last evening as I went outside in the dark alone to say the words of Christ, it was such a sacred time before Him.

  26. A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.
    I thought of The Green Mile, of misunderstood John Coffey seeing and feeling everyone’s pain and tried how he tried to take it upon himself. In the end dying unjustly, with his friends being the ones to carry out his death sentence. I remember reading a review that drew parallels between his character and Christ.

    B. For whom would you give your life?
    For my children, for my husband, for some of my friends, I don’t think I fear death at the level that some do.

    I think of Jim Elliot, willing to risk his earthly life because he knew his real life, his real treasure was in heaven.

    I also thought of this from a Michael Easley sermon, which I have shared here before I think, he said something like this;
    ‘I would gladly take the place of my wife or my children in death. There are some who belong to this congregation for whom I could be persuaded to give my life. But I would NEVER give my SON for any of you.’

    I have never forgotten this, it speaks of the sacrifice of God the Father in a powerful way to me.

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?

    Certainly not willingly, or in my own strength.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    He suffered in a way I can’t imagine, things I can’t even comprehend for me who so often puts Him off because I am hard hearted and willful and I don’t understand. Ugh

    1. Chris,
      Praying for you today, too. So thankful we have a Savior who understands our “ugh” days, our anger, or even understands what’s going on inside of us when we don’t even know.

  27. dee. my girls loved that you read the hunger games….
    when we talked about giving up our lives we all agreed that we cant know till the time comes. I think that he asks most of us not to DIE for anyone but to DIE TO OURSELVES for the ones in our lives he has given us to love and serve. in a way its harder to LIVE for others then it would be to DIE for them….
    the charecter in a book that we most see this in is Sam from the lord of the rings, how he gives up everything to help his friend, even when his friend has been overtaken by evil…Sam is by far our favorite charecter other then Aslan in any book.
    we also talked about how amazing it was that Jesus chose WHEN to die for a purpose and how its sad that most christians dont even know about the passover and its relation to Christs death.
    having fun doing this with my kids! hearing Lily pray and thank Jesus for dieing for her….when a year ago she did not know him is such a gift:) God is so very good to us.
    I have been sick for a while so I gave in and went to the doctor…..fever, sinus infection and broncitis, no wonder i have not felt good:-) so resting and getting on an antibiotic today:)

      1. yes! i am now sitting on the couch doing nothing…..which is what i did all day after church yesterday:) in fact I watched 7 mary tyler more shows:) thanks to the hallmark chanel.
        when the headache gets better so that i can read i plan to start the hunger games!!! cant have you showing my up in front of my girls 😉

        1. oh i can’t get enough of MTM. you inspire me–if cyndi can rest, maybe i can too 😉

        2. yes you can! you better get busy resting:)

        3. Dee, I agree with you here about recent wars. I have seen so much devastation in the lives of men because of PTSD.

        4. the thing is that the war in hunger games is for entertainment. its not the good people protecting innocent people from evil.
          I have friends from iraq and iran who lived under the governments there, and many who lost fathers and brothers because of the evil leaders in those countries. I also have FBI friends who have dedicated their lives to protecting us from the terrorist who this evil has breaded.
          I hate war too, but the hunger games is a game for entertainment and our wars in the middle east are to protect a lot of innocent woman and children from a very evil leader.
          evil provails when good men do nothing
          I wish we did not have to fight but hundereds of thousands of people were exterminated in Iraq before we went in. there is an untold story, I have heard them. all of the women I have talked to are SOOOOO grateful that we came in and liberated them and thier country.
          now if we could just save them from Islam!!!

    1. I listened in the car with my daughter – you did a great job! It’s sooooo good to actually hear your voice. You handled the subject of the book title very graciously, too! Loved hearing you use Rebecca as an example, and overall, the discussion on friendship was good – I also wish I could connect more with other women who want to go deep. It’s so hard to find a really good friend in today’s busy world.

    1. Praying!!

    2. This sounds good–more time to focus in prayer–when you have a time, let us know.

  28. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8.

    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another. .
    Well the latest is the Hunger Games. Though poorly written in grammar I really love the story line and the dedication the characters have for one another. This happens several times. First Katniss steps up for her sister taking her place to almost certain death. Then another character spares katniss because of her care for the partner from his district. At the end Katniss and Peeta are willing to give their lives for one another. Really loved seeing all the sacrifice though in dark times of the world. I think that is why people like the story and I think it is good too to see an underdog win. Essentially in the games everyone had to die but one. Any kindness was sacrifice. Such an intriguing story.

    B. For whom would you give your life? My family, husband and kids. Some friends. It all depends really. I am not really even sure how to answer this.

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you? Honestly probably not. Depends on the situation. Interesting too in the Hunger Games how they said no one usually volunteer to take the place of a tribute.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise. Oh How He took my place and did not let me have the punishment I deserve. He loved me while I was unlovable and ungrateful. Chose me. Died in my place. He has done EVERYTHING for us!

    5. What does Jesus say in John 10:11-12 about Himself? Do some research on how true shepherds risked their

    lives for their sheep. He is the Good Sheppard. He sacrifices His life for His sheep. I read the Sheppards book on Psalm 23. It was good to get insight into all the things that Sheppards must do. But like David killing a bear or lion or wolf would not be uncommon for the sake of protecting your sheep. It is putting your life in danger for theirs.

  29. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8.
    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.
    The movie Life is Beautiful;also Bonhoeffer. I am always without words when we receive the Voice of the Martyrs magazine.
    I also thought especially of my kids birth-mothers—while they did not give their “life”, both had been pressured to terminate and both chose life—knowing the labor, the judgments, the pain that lie ahead—both chose to give that up for what was best for the life within them.

    B. For whom would you give your life?
    My husband, kids, family, my friends—and perhaps a stranger that is a child—don’t know why that came to mind

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?
    So hard. I like what Chris said here-not in my own strength.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.
    My Lord Jesus, You did not wait for me to be faithful, You did not wait for me to be obedient. While I was still a lost sinner, You gave all—You gave Your Power, Your Majesty, Your Name, Your Body—ALL FOR ME. Your Love for me is incomprehensible. So amazing. Thank You, Lover of my soul.

    5. What does Jesus say in John 10:11-12 about Himself? Do some research on how true shepherds risked their lives for their sheep.
    I have some thoughts but will come back to this when I can hopefully type easier-all for today

  30. Do some research on how true shepherds risked their

    lives for their sheep.

    I found this on Wikipedia…not the best source but interesting anyway.

    “They would live in small cabins, often shared with their sheep and would buy food from local communities.

    …Typically sheep were watched by shepherds during the day, and by a hut-keeper during the night. Shepherds took the sheep out to graze before sunrise and returned them to brush-timber yards at sunset. The hut-keeper usually slept in a movable shepherd’s watch box placed near the yard in order to deter attacks on the sheep. Dogs were also often chained close by to warn of any impending danger to the sheep or shepherd by dingoes or natives.”

    They had a picture of the watch box – very interesting to see what sort of life a shepherd would lead, at least according to Wikipedia. 🙂

  31. We have a book by Phillip Keller—A Shepherd looks at Psalm 23. Thankfully I found some of it online and could copy & paste!Sorry if this is too long–but I thought it fitting:
    “I recall quite clearly how in my first venture with sheep, the question of paying a price for my ewes was so terribly important. They belonged to me only by virtue of the fact that I paid hard cash for them. It was money earned by the blood and sweat and tears drawn from my own body during the desperate grinding years of the depression. And when I bought that first small flock I was buying them literally with my own body which had been laid down with this day in mind.
    Because of this I felt in a special way that they were in very truth a part of me and I a part of them. There was an intimate identity involved which though not apparent on the
    surface to the casual observer, nonetheless made those thirty ewes exceedingly precious to me.
    But the day I bought them I also realized that this was but the first stage in a long, lasting endeavor in which from then on, I would, as their owner, have to continually lay down my life for them, if they were to flourish and prosper. Sheep do not “just take care of themselves” as some might suppose. They require, more than any other class of livestock, endless attention and meticulous care.
    It is no accident that God has chosen to call us sheep. The behavior of sheep and human beings is similar in many ways as will be seen in further chapters. Our mass mind (or mob
    instincts), our fears and timidity, our stubbornness and stupidity, our perverse habits are all parallels of profound importance.
    Yet despite these adverse characteristics Christ chooses us, buys us, calls us by name, makes us His own and delights in caring for us.

  32. 2. God knew before creation that Adam and Eve would fall in the garden. It is incredible to me the love that created all of this and gave free will knowing what would happen and what would be required. I really can’t wrap my mind around it. But something I do understand is that when we are perfected and with Him in eternity, it will be worth it all, all that He went through and all that we will have gone through.

  33. I have not had a chance to catch up on comments but Chris I did see yours about sensing attack. I have prayed for you also and have to say that I also have been under attack this evening. Actually for some days but most acutely tonight. It is almost like in the first week of Stonecutter. I will consider this trial joy for I have found that this resistance of evil, whether from within or without, produces a breakthrough to joy. Before I go to bed I will pray for all of us.

    1. Anne will be praying for peace in your life.

      1. Julie, thank you for praying. This morning I am truly experiencing the joy of the Lord. I hope to share later today. I have much to do and today is our anniversary, 30 years. Our oldest son who worried so much that we would divorce when he was in middle school is here too. It is just a sweet time.

        1. Happy 30th anniversary! Be blessed.

        2. oh Anne, praying for this day to be blessed!

        3. Happy Anniversary and congratulations!

        4. Happy Anniversary, Anne!

    2. Anne I wanted to share with you, the sermon at church on Sunday was from John 16 16-24 titled The Roots of Joy, bringing out the connection between grief, trust & joy.
      It was an affirmation of the truth you were bringing here last week.

      I am praying for you too.

  34. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8.

    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another. – I just watched again the movie Blind Side and I’m sure that the movie was embellished to make it more interesting for viewers but for the family to reach out to Michael Ore and open their home up to a complete stranger not really knowing who he was and to not care what their friends thought and put them in their place, they became an outcast to that group, but like Jesus they stood up for what they believed even though that meant not being popular among others. 
    Closer to home at my church we had a woman who needed a kidney, her family was not a match at all, but while in her prayer group, she asked for prayer on it and one of the other ladies who did not even know her except for the group, had herself tested and was a perfect match. Knowing all the risks she went ahead anyway and had the surgery right along with the woman in need, and it was successful. That was a WOW story for me when the Pastor introduced both women before the surgery. What a sacrifice for the one to give up part of your own body for someone who was in need.

    B. For whom would you give your life? – A quick easy answer would be my family, husband, kids, mom, sisters, etc, my friends. And on the other side, I am working on giving up my life for Jesus, to get rid of “me” so there is room for Him to enter and take over.

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you? – Oh wow, tough question and I’m not so sure I can honestly say that I would. Looking back on some of the issues in my life, I know I have learned to forgive, but if there was a split second where I had to make a decision back than, I don’t really know what I would have done at that time of my life. I don’t know if I would have been able to see thru the hurt, the pain, the lack of trust, that I had in my life than.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise. – Christ created me knowing at the moment He did that I would be His. He sacrificed His son, for me, gave Him up so I could be free from sin, as you said the unblemished lamb was so wrongly abused and sacrificed for me a sinner who at the time was not even worthy of that kind of love that He showed. 
    Lord I’m so so thankful for the sacrifice that you gave up for me, to give your only Son so that I could live a life free from sin, to know you loved me that much from the onset of creation, amazes me Lord. The patience you have for me as I mess up and learn the same thing over and over, and yet you don’t give up on me is a trait shown from a true and loving Father. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord for all you went thru for me and I am truly sorry for the pain you endured. 

    1. I love your beautiful prayer, Julie

  35. A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

    Titanic – jack for rose

    B. For whom would you give your life?

    My children

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?

    Probably not

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    Christ gave his life for all of us; even those who were less desireable. Thank you Jesus!

  36. 5. What does Jesus say in John 10:11-12 about Himself? Do some research on how true shepherds risked their

    Because He is the shepard He lays His life down for the sheep. A hired hand would not do this. It’s like the owner of a business versus the worker. The owner takes pride in his business and works day and night to make it a better place. The worker just comes in for the shift to work.

  37. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8.

    You know, not all but a lot of books we read and movies we see in regard to someone giving their life for someone-that person is usually someone who is good, but Jesus gave His life for wretched sinners. The theme all throughout Scripture, and I have been seeing it in Paul’s life-who pursued his enemy to tell them about Jesus willing to give his life in the midst of it-is loving our enemies and giving our life up for them.

    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

    Off the top of my head, I can think of The movie Titanic at the end where he gives his life up for her letting her have the floating device while he stays with her but in the icy water. Also, the story of John Harper, who had a life vest on in the icy waters and went around swimming, telling others about Jesus, gave his life vest to someone who told him he didn’t know Jesus, and then drowned in the icy waters.

    B. For whom would you give your life?

    It is easier to be willing to give my life for my family-those I love, and to my friends who I love.

    C. Would you give life for someone who hurt you?

    I trembled before God before answering this-I have two huge flopping feet of clay. I am not sure-By His power in me, yes!

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    I think I described this above-I am only worthy in the first place because He made me and had me in his thoughts before the beginning of time-everything I am is because of Him. Yet I murdered Him, yet He covers me with His righteous robe and took on my separation from God-he felt that hell of eternal separation from God in those moments on the cross. What I would have felt for eternity had He not taken that for me. When I reflect on the mocking, humility, slander, belittling of my Holy God on His way to the cross-how he was willing to expose himself-even be shamed for me-and he is perfect and gentle and He is the very definition of true and real love-sacrificial love. He was powerful enough to stop it, but didn’t. This stops me in my tracks and brings me to worship.

    Here is a song we sang in worship Sunday and it is becoming one of my favorites-but recall when I had repented and turned in regard to the hurt I experienced over the weekend-this song was my love song to him: http://youtu.be/Z8WrMd62QVs

    I wanna be close, close to Your side
    So heaven is real and death is a lie
    I wanna hear voices of angels above
    Singing as one

    Hallelujah, holy, holy
    God Almighty, great I am
    Who is worthy, none beside Thee
    God Almighty, great I am

    I wanna be near, near to Your heart
    Loving the world, hating the dark
    I wanna see dry bones living again
    Singing as one

    The mountains shake before Him
    There demons run and flee
    At the mention of the name, King of majesty
    There is no power in hell or any who can stand
    Before the power and the presence of the great I am
    The great I am, the great I am

    The great I am
    The great I am
    The great I am

    1. Rebecca I thought about your forgiveness of your friend as a mini picture of laying down your life for a friend.
      Somehow the weight of seeing how much we have been forgiven, allows us to be willing to die to self dont’t you think?

    2. Wow, Rebecca. “a lot of books we read and movies we see in regard to someone giving their life for someone-that person is usually someone who is good, but Jesus gave His life for wretched sinners.” This helps me see anew how much Jesus loves us. And thanks for your vulnerable flopping feet of clay. I loved the song “Great I Am”. It is new to me. Beautiful!

  38. Oh and also I have to add that in our Gospel Group Sunday night, we were in John 17 where Jesus prays, so much there but what I saw Sunday night was Jesus’ intimacy with God-what a model for us! My heart melted reading how Jesus yields to God, prays for us-what love! Also how he adores and praises God as He prays-so much back and forth intimacy there-and because of Him we can have that intimacy-what love that God would want such deep intimacy with us, He would died for us.

  39. 2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world”. What do you think this means?

    God – eternal, timeless; unable to wrap my mind around whenever or whatever “in the beginning God…” means. Before the foundations of the created world were laid, “He was with God, and He was God”….and a plan was made.

    I also looked up info about choosing the right foundation for your home. It has to protect your home from any shifting or shaking of the surrounding ground. So “underneath” the foundation of the world is Jesus Christ. He alone is able to hold it all together, and whenever the end times come, when things get so bad people will want to hide under rocks, and this earth comes to an end, those who trust in Him are safe. Even though the crucifixion happened on a date and time in history, somehow, it “happened” in God’s eternal perspective of time – His Sacrifice stands for all eternity. Who can possibly understand this?!

    3. My Lenten discipline is to abide, to remain, close to the Vine, through this study and spending time with Him all week. I want to be up early because my daughter is on spring break this week, so I know if I don’t get up early, I’ll miss my time with Him!

  40. 4. Read Romans 5:6-8

    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

    B. For whom would you give your life?

    C. Would you give your life for someone who hurt you?

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    I’ve got to answer all these questions together. Here goes – I hope I can explain the fruit of my abiding with Jesus this morning. I got up this morning and turned to this passage in Romans:

    For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
    For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone
    would dare even to die.
    But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    I had a grievance against someone in my heart, kind of like what happened to Rebecca. I was struggling to forgive “another offense”. I read this passage and felt kind of cold and unfeeling toward it. I thought, okay, since Genesis and the Fall, we are told that man is sinful and ungodly. No surprise there. So it’s not “surprising” that Jesus died for the ungodly, for sinners. Right? That’s just a fact. I began to ponder the verse as to why would you even maybe consider dying for a good man? Can I think of a story that exemplifies any of this?
    Then it hit me. Several years ago in church, they showed the film, “Most”. (You can google Most the movie online and watch a trailer). It shows a father and a son, and their loving, close relationship. The father has a job to man a train bridge. One day he brings his young son with him and the bridge is raised up, kind of like they raise a bridge up to let a ship in the water pass underneath. The little boy goes out on the bridge and crawls down into this space, and then the train is coming. The father realizes his son is in there and if he lowers the bridge, his son will die. If he doesn’t, all the people on the train will die. The father is in agony.
    Then, you see the people on the train. One young woman is in the bathroom, doing drugs. The people are laughing and ungodly – this is what hit me and how it relates to the passage – they are INDIFFERENT to what is going on; they have no idea of the sacrifice that the father is in agony trying to decide, of the life of an innocent little boy that will be lost for them.
    The father pulls the lever and saves all the people on the train. His son dies.

    So why the astonishment that Christ died for the ungodly, for the sinner, for His enemies? Why would anyone perhaps die for a good man? Well, if I gave my life for someone in my family, or a “good” person, I’d at least get a thankyou, an expression of gratefulness. I could hold onto that; it would give me some comfort. But would I die for someone who had hurt me? Probably not. If they really hated me, they wouldn’t even care or appreciate what I did for them.

    I’d like to think that if I could go back in time, I’d be at the foot of the Cross, crying. But thinking of myself the way I used to be, “ungodly, a sinner, God’s enemy”, I’d most likely be going about my day without maybe even knowing that some guy named Jesus was being executed that day. Or, maybe I would pass by and give a curious glance His way. But I would have been indifferent as to what He was doing for me. I WAS INDIFFERENT for most of my life as to what He did for me. I didn’t care, I didn’t acknowledge it. I didn’t even know I needed it.

    This is so amazing to me. Though He had a few loyal ones there, and others who openly mocked Him, how totally selfless of Him, without any thought to Himself, that He died for the ungodly, for sinners. Because most people probably didn’t even care. Isn’t that a demonstration of God’s love? Not just to die for the ones who spit in your face, but to die for the ones who don’t even care that you are dying for them.

    The father in the movie so portrays the agony of the Father in sacrificing His Son for the ungodly, the sinners, the indifferent. You watch the people in the train and you’re thinking “Don’t sacrifice your son for THEM! They don’t deserve it!” But then you realize, that is me. I am just like them.

    Then I had to hash it out with the Lord about forgiving this person. I listened to Dee say on the radio how she made “sideways comments” to her administrative assistants. I sent a “sideways email” to someone yesterday, just “trying to make a point”. I see the idols of power/control and also approval operating. One of my biggest complaints to God, today (and always) – “It’s not fair!” I thought of Keller’s example in his sermon last week about the 2 women. The one who forgave – I prayed to be like her – she drew on the friendship, the love, the life of Jesus. If I refuse to forgive, I lose all of that. I hold onto my rights, but I lose that “table set for two” and my intimacy with Him. I see so much of my “old self”, my flesh, operating here. I am praying and asking God to help me lay it all down. His Word tells me that I have been crucified with Christ. C.S. Lewis would tell me that Jesus is not trying to torment my ordinary self, but He came to kill it.

    My praise to Jesus Christ is Thank you Jesus for, at the right time, dying for me, the ungodly, the sinner, Your enemy. It astounds me that You would die for me who was indifferent to You. What kind of love is this that the Father demonstrates to me? It is unfathomable, it is a well with no bottom, there are no words to describe it. That You, Jesus, hung on that Cross without even a “thank you” for comfort. That You, Heavenly Father, gave Your precious Son to an indifferent world. I could never repay you or give you enough in return. Help me to lay down my life at Your feet, yet even that seems small and insignificant compared to what You have done for me. You have done everything for me. I love you, Lord Jesus.

    1. This is an amazing post Susan, so very rich, you are digging deep & it shows.

    2. Susan–your thoughts convict me and cause me to go deeper. I have felt justified in unforgiveness once again–not calling it that, but your comment about sending a “sideways email” nailed my actions yesterday with this person–actually 2 family members, if I’m honest–a few more too. UGH. How easy it is to love when I am showed love, as I define it.
      Christ died for me in all my filthy dirt. He died and made me clean and white, His Bride. How can I hold others at arms length simply because they don’t meet my standards of love?!

    3. Love your post, Susan, especially your prayer and the story about the boy and the train.

  41. Praying for you, Anne and Chris.
    And Meg – concerned we haven’t heard from you this week – praying for you! Please let us
    know you are alright.

    1. Thank you Susan, Anne, Julie, Elizabeth, Diane, AnneMeridith & Dee
      I am better today, I took a long hard walk yesterday, starting out I was going as fast as I could, praying my doubts & fears and asking God to allow my emotions & thoughts to be guided by Him. as I tired I slowed my pace and saw all the little wildflowers beginning to bloom, as I was leaving the park I saw a pair of pileated woodpecters flying together overhead, I always feel blessed when I spot one, I have never seen two at once. I felt that was a gift to me.
      I cried a lot yesterday, I used to think I could figure myself out (and most everyone else for that matter), I feel more of a mess now, I can’t even figure out what is wrong, but somehow it matters less that I do, God knows & for today I leave it to Him.
      I listened Dee to the sermon you suggested, thank you for your kind attention to me, it was a blessing.

      1. Chris, I have times like that too, where you just know the evil one is attacking you and I just keep praying and singing songs of faith…he will soon leave you alone. I’m praying for you.

    2. Susan

      Thank you for your concern yes I am fine!

      1. Glad to hear from you Meg, I was praying for you this morning!

        1. Thank you susan!!

        2. Susan

          Can i personally e-mail you?

        3. Sorry Meg, I just saw this – yes, you can email me at
          Kingsdaughter91@aol.com.

  42. I am so thankful for this thought of the supernatural night. I always struggled with this. Always til now! THanks!

    Why did it become dark? Maybe because of the great evil that was taking place. It was great darkness. All that would fall on Christ. There is no light in that darkness but Him. Also when things look there darkest perhaps it is only a supernatural night which precedes a miracle! The miracle of resurrection.

    I am amazed too at so little that was said my Jesus at this time. Such a good example to remember in our darkest of nights. Contemplate yes but words maybe are not so good in times like this.

  43. 5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?

    In my bible it has the Greek word for darkness, “skotos”, whose root “ska” means to cover.
    I wonder if it became dark as to symbolize the Lord covering our sins.

    1. Oh I like that annemeredith!

      1. me too!

  44. 5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?
    The Father turned His face away from the song How Deep the Fathers Love for Us came first to my mind, also that Jesus is the light of the world, He had been plunged into darkness

    6. Find the community of Jesus with the Father and the Spirit — love from the beginning:
    A. Genesis 1:26 ESV
    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31 I liked the Message here;

    Proverbs 8:27-31 And set Sky firmly in place, I was there. When he mapped and gave borders to wild Ocean,
    built the vast vault of Heaven, and installed the fountains that fed Ocean,
    When he drew a boundary for Sea, posted a sign that said, NO TRESPASSING, And then staked out Earth’s foundations,
    I was right there with him, making sure everything fit. Day after day I was there, with my joyful applause, always enjoying his company,
    Delighted with the world of things and creatures, happily celebrating the human family..

    C. John 1:1-2 ESV

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    He was in the beginning with God.
    D. John 5:19-21 ESV

    So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.
    For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
    For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

    E. John 10:30 The Message
    I and the Father are one heart and mind.”

    7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now?
    Habbakuk 1:13 ESV
    You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?

    8. He didn’t have to do it — He could have called upon 10,000 angels. Why does Peter tell us He did?

    A. 1 Peter 1:18-19 The Message, I included verses 20 & 21

    It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.
    He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.
    And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately–at the end of the ages–become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you.
    It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18 ESV

    For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,

    9. Why did Jesus scream in the dark? Give Him praise here.

    Because of the agony, the tearing away of relationship to the Father He loved and who loved Him, I have been thinking about the point in the sermon that the separation from the Father would not have been perceived by Christ as something that only needed to be endured for a length of time, that He only needed to endure it for a set time frame, but that it would have seemed an eternal separation.

    Being a sinful person my insecurities and selfishness keep me at the deepest level from experiencing anything remotely close to what is promised in heaven, yet the loss of the relationships I have known has been/is excruciating.

    To contemplate the perfect union, the oneness, the perfect agreement of the Godhead, and that relationship being severed is beyond my little mind. To then think of the reason Christ endured this was ;
    Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
    And as Keller points out, we are that joy, the relationship & joy we are promised must be going to be magnificent.
    I praise God the Father for placing His wrath caused by my sin on His beloved Son, I praise the Son for the love He showed in taking the punishment I deserved, I praise the Spirit for revealing truth to me & guiding me in hope.

    1. I love the Scripture you bring here, Chris S. These tie to our lesson so well.

    2. Thanks Chris this helps me to better understand these pieces of scripture!
      I’m trying to catch up on the lesson and this breaks it down for me!

  45. 2. Try to wrap your mind around this: Revelation 13:8 tells us the Jesus is the Lamb who was slain “before the foundation of the world.” What? What do you think this means?

    I think this means that God knew ahead of time (or more correctly beyond time) that Jesus would be sacrificed to redeem us. I studied the meanings behind the Tabernacle and the instruction on Jewish worship ceremonies and it all point to the sacrifice for sin that only the sinless Lamb could perfectly make to bring us to back to the relationship with God as it was meant to be in the Garden of Eden.

  46. 3. I’m going to suggest you keep pace with us this holy week for your Lenten discipline — but feel free to add another. What will you do?

    I already am behind in keeping up with the lesson. But I have listened to the sermon. Besides doing the lesson, I will be attending Good Friday services, privately doing the Stations of the Cross, fasting on Friday from 9-3 and doing lots of extra Lenten readings. Hope I can get everything done, but I don’t want to do this in a legalistic way but as a sacrifice of praise to focus fully on Christ. I feel like I am carrying a heavy burden of sadness this week. Perhaps this is just personal struggle, perhaps it is empathy with how “heavy” this week was for Jesus.

  47. OK here is the question that came from todays Bible study,not sure how this came up but we tend to go off in tangents….
    john 9:39-41… for judgement i have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind….pharasees asked “what? are we blind too? Jesus said if you were blind you would not be guilty of sin but now that you claim to see your guilt remains….
    sooooo here is the quesion dear Abby had
    “so if someone does not know about Jesus wont they go to heaven? they dont know, so they are blind so they are not guilty of sin, right? God is fair and just so sending someone to Hell what they dont know isnt something he would do”

    our final thought was that God is bigger then us and some things we will just not understand… buyt then this conversation insued..
    if there were people in the middle of the jungle who have never heard why would we go and tell them and then make them be judged, so that cant be true….why are we modivated to go tell those who dont know if they are going to go to heaven anyway.

    *sigh* tangent I know but this is where we went this morning:)

    1. You really have deep discussions, cyndi. Yes this is one of the mysteries we have about God. Romans 1:19,20 says “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” So I have been taught that even in the deepest jungles, without any access to the outside world, people are without excuse but that any who seek God, even there, he will reveal Himself to them. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13) “The Lord … is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

      1. I don’t believe I have ever heard the Romans verse this way, Diane. Great answer!

      2. yes diane, great answer