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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. 4. Romans 5:6-8(ESV)
    6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

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

    I too like the story of Aslan giving his life for Edmund in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis.

    B. For whom would you give your life?

    I am sure that in my own flesh I would not give my life for anyone, but when my daughter was 13, I had dropped her off for a meeting and, as she was crossing the road, she was struck by a pickup truck. I did not see the accident because I was turning around the car but I saw my daughter laying crumpled on the road. I left my car and ran into the road to my daughter calling for someone to get a doctor and call 911. I never thought of the traffic or of my danger, but only for my daughter. My daughter was only slightly hurt, by the way, but it was only by the grace of God I am sure.

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

    I agree with Rebecca. I have feet of clay. I am not sure I could do this.

    D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.

    Somehow, I have this picture of Jesus on the Cross and vicious dogs snapping at his heels. There were a few who loved him and stayed with him at his death, even at risk of their own, but, for the most part, it was a jeering mob mentality. The priests were mocking and even the crowd who days before had praised Jesus as he entered the city on a donkey, were too afraid to take Jesus side and so either turned their backs, or mocked Jesus with the priests. “Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.”

    Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. Praise You that “while we were still weak”, You died for us. Praise You that, though it was my sin that hung You there, You hung there on that Cross, when even God turned his back on You, and You did it for me. Help me to understand just how valuable I am to You, and to respond in total love and complete obedience to You.

  2. 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.

    John 10:11-12 (ESV)
    11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.

    Jesus says: I Am the good shepherd. He says that he lays down his life for us sheep. Jesus sees the wolf coming and defends us to the death. Satan and his cohorts are the wolves snapping at the body of Jesus on the Cross. I appreciate others research about shepherds so won’t add more at this time, except that sheep are very dumb and therefore wander off and get themselves in trouble a lot. Sound like anyone you know? Wolves just love those stupid sheep. Easy prey!

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

    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?”

    If God cannot look at wrong, and Jesus was carrying the sins of the world, and God was having to let him do that, then God would have to turn his back on Jesus, to separate himself from him. The darkness symbolizes the separation of God the Father from God the Son.

    I like Dee’s comment about the third night of darkness as “a supernatural night when God darkened the sky as His only Son hung on the cross”. Where did you gleam this idea, Dee? Is it in one of Keller’s sermons? I am interested in more detail. I too have wondered about this third night.

      1. Jump in any time J.R.! I would love to hear your comments. Actually, maybe you could help me. My nephew’s son, Jason (14 yrs) is a new christian and he is on fire for the Lord! He wants to learn so bad and I wondered about a youth online bible study blog for him, like this one. He has a special computor to help him see better. He is legally blind, but he can read his large print bible holding it close to his eye’s. My niece got him the bible (not his mom, but another niece), as his parents don’t help him much. He is going to a youth group in his town and wants to go to a church so bad, too. He said he was so anxious to go to his youth group last wed night, but someone forgot to pick him up. I felt so sorry for him. Does anyone have a place on line that their child likes to go to, like this, that he could get involed in? He is being bullied at school also. Kids make fun of his special reddish/orange glasses he has to wear) and has gone to the principle with a teacher, as I advised him to. But it hasn’t helped much..only making matter’s worse for him.
        He can’t ride bikes or skateboard’s or anything like that, so he is pretty much a loner, and his parents don’t take an interest in him much. His dad is a hunter and Jason can’t see to hunt, so he never takes him places. Please pray for this young man. He loves the Lord so much and say’s he can’t wait to get to heaven. I’m worried for him, when his classmates start driving and he is alone more than ever. Thanks

  4. 5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?
    I think this is my favorite question this week—even though I can’t answer it, at least not with intellectual knowledge. I didn’t research anything—it just stirs my heart on its own. The Light of the World was gone. I wish I could find words for the weight of this—the impact of Christ leaving the earth—the absence of His presence-the fear, the lost-ness, the utter despair, could only be portrayed in complete darkness. For a time, Hope was gone. To imagine it brings me tears right now—to imagine life without Him. Oh, my Lord, how can we be so blessed to have YOU? To know without a doubt that You will NEVER leave us nor forsake us? That we will NEVER experience that darkness. Thank You Jesus. I won’t to go and sit with this longer.

  5. Such good comments ladies!
    A. Name a story that stirs your heart because it portrays one giving his or her life for another.

    I love movies from other eras or periods. I chose one of my favorite movies called “The Patriot” The father doesn’t wish to get involved in yet another war because he has seven children and his wife is deceased, but, when his son joins he joins and asks that his son be under his leadership so that he can protect him.

    B. For whom would you give your life? I hope that IF God enabled me I would give my life for anyone. But we need not wait for physical death to die for people. We should be loving the unlovable every day. We should give up our motives, our rights and our agenda to show others how great a God indwells us everywhere we go. Why wait when we can get into the habit of dying to self now? If we have to be first in line or demand our rights or get in our two cents how can we ever think we would die for others? This is what has been in my heart since I read this question, Sunday. I had an opportunity to be His sweetness last weekend and instead I chose selfishness and was appalled later when I realized how unloving I can be.

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

    1. Kim, Your answer to C. really made me think. You are so right.

  6. Doing some reading this afternoon and found some thoughts I’d like to share from Ann Voskamp, “One Thousand Gifts”. All week what we are doing is remembering, remembering Christ’s sacrifice, His love.

    “Remembering is an act of thanksgiving…gratitude is a memory of God’s heart and to thank is to remember God. … In memory, the shape of God’s yesterday-heart emerges and assures of God’s now-heart and reassures of His sure beat tomorrow. … Do this in remembrance of Me. Remember and give thanks. … Why is remembering and giving thanks the core of the Christ-faith? Because remembering with thanks is what causes us to trust — to really believe. … gratitude is what births trust … the true belief.”

    1. Oh, her daily e-mails are so good and helpful in preparation for this weekend.

  7. D. Describe what Christ did and give Him praise.
    Christ gave all. He held nothing back – our selfless example. He saw before time what He was going to have to pay to redeem us and yet He still chose to do it. Amazing love, how can it be that thou my God wouldst die for me? Jesus, I don’t understand fully why you did it but I am so thankful. Help me lay down myself, my life and my agenda for you. Have your perfect way in my life. The thought of you, the gentle lamb, taking my pain, my sin and my penalty on a rugged cross could plunge me to the pit of despair but gratefulness lifts me up to the sky.

    1. Amen

  8. Chris, it is such a blessing when He teaches us all together.

  9. It is providential that we have been talking about the military and young me because today Joey brought me a card from a Marine recruiter he talked to at school. He wants to do this (at least right now) and he wants my approval. We about ptsd and other related things. Later it occurred to me that I could tell him that the only way I could feel comfortable about a decision like this is if he would begin to seek a deep relationship with the Lord. I truly think that is the only way he could do such a thing. This may seem like bribery. He gets my approval if he does what I want, that really isn’t my heart about this. What do you all think?

    1. I hope your spiritual encouragement to Joey will have a positive effect Anne.

      A few years ago when my Zach decided to join the military I had a conversation with a friend whose son also wanted to join.
      She was incredibly upset which seemed to fuel her sons desire to go.

      She wanted to know how I handled the potential danger. I told her that I believe that my boys are in Gods hands, here or there He knows how many days on earth belong to them. I had no idea what lay ahead for us.

      I have had a chance to demonstrate my faith to her under the hardest test. She is seeking & I know I still puzzle her.

      Michael, who is Bills 1/2 brother who we took guardianship of 12 years ago is now in Afghanistan convoy security is his assignment.

      In reality as a mother of adults I have no control over my children’s safety, the control I think I have is an illusion. God is in control, trusting Him, advising and praying for them is my role.

      1. Chris you are so right their safety is in God’s control, can’t say that I didn’t worry though or freak out when the military called me to say Kyle was hurt, but trusting in God got me thru those times.

    2. Anne my son who just turned 22 at the end of February went into the army right out of high school and did a tour in Afghanistan from November 2009 until the following November, right before he got out he was injured and today is still in the army and having back issues. The army in my opinion has been dragging their feet with this, he is now undeployable but has said many times joining the army was the biggest mistake of his life. He did it because he saw the $ signs put in front of him but has done nothing that he signed up for. I am not writing this to scare you in any way, but to hopefully give you something to go back to your son with so he will really think about one of the most biggest decisions of his life. I support our troops 100% but have no respect for the military and how they treat all the men and women that serve this country for our freedom. I will be praying that he follows Gods leading in this. And I don’t think that it is a bad thing that you make him have a relationship with God if he does decide to go. My son’s life was spared twice and I know it was God watching over him.

      1. Julie, thanks. This does give me something to bring back to him. I am sure we will have many more discussions. It is comforting to know how God has been with Kyle and with you through the whole thing. In fact I am looking for the thread about Jason and bullying right now because it reminds me of how God has been faithful to Joey.

      2. Julie, do you think that Kyle’s experience in the army developed his character and dependence on God? Or was it just an all around bad experience?

    3. How are Joey’s feet? I was thinking maybe the Marines might not take him if his feet were not good.I don’t know, but just a thought. How is Joey doing?

      1. Unfortunately he can get a special approval from the podiatrist if it comes down to it.

  10. Anne, what is ptsd?
    We faced this a few years back and they offer so much money wise and that is the allure. We prayed hard and gave it to God. He didn’t end up going in and I was very thankful. I don’t have any advice but I will pray for you all.

    1. Kim, it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is a real psychiatric disorder. It can happen as a result of any deep trauma and is very common after combat. Thanks for praying.

    2. PTSD is post traumatic stress disorder. My son is in the military here in Canada. I was terrified about this but it is something he has wanted to do for a long time and his wife is the daughter of military parents. He is 32 with a wife expecting their second child. Canada is not fighting a war anywhere and he is in the Air Force as a ground crew officer, and not likely to go overseas, at this point. Still there is always the risk that he will be deployed. I believe that almost always war is wrong, but we live in a fallen world and it is a reality. God has given me peace at this point about it. My son is in God’s hands. It is out of my control. My sympathies, Anne. I too will pray for you and your son.

  11. 4. The only movie I can think of right now is End of the Spear. The part when the father told the son something like he did not want to take a gun for protection because he was ready to die but the unreached men were not. The father did give his life, up front as Jesus did, and reaped a great harvest in the years following.

    I have to be honest and say that my children are probably the only ones I would give my life for. At present I do not have the heart to give my life for someone who hurt me.

    I read Susan’s post about the movie ‘Most’. It was a stirring picture of God’s sacrifice of His son for us. The most upsetting thing about it is that Jesus death in place of someone would be wasted. His heart is to redeem and He gave it upfront. For someone to turn away and reject life for death is even more upsetting than His death alone.

    Oh Lord, Your love amazes me. You love every person that You ever created and while they betrayed You as we did You gave Your blood, completely poured out and Your body, broken completely for each one of us. You bore the sin in Your own body until it was broken completely and Your Father turned His face away from You. Lord God, thank You for giving Your son for me. Help me to walk with You in holiness that honors your sacrifice for me. I want more than anything to live a life that receives fully all that Your sacrifice affords me. Because of You I can be innocent as that little lamb in the picture. I confess that sometimes, in my heart, I don’t want to be shepherded but You gather me in nevertheless. I rest in You Lord Jesus.

  12. 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. – Jesus says that He is the Good Shepherd and will lay down his life for his sheep, complete opposite of what one would do as a hired hand that will run at the first onset of trouble.

    Origins
    Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. The duty of shepherds was to keep their flock intact and protect it from wolves and other predators. The shepherd was also to supervise the migration of the flock and ensured they made it to market areas in time for shearing. In ancient times shepherds also commonly milked their sheep, and made cheese from this milk. Shepherds also lived apart from society, being largely nomadic. 

    Religion
    The Good Shepherd is one of the thrusts of Biblical scripture. This illustration encompasses many ideas, including God’s care for his people and his discipline to correct the wandering sheep. The tendency of humans to put themselves into danger’s way and their inability to guide and take care of themselves apart from the direct power and leading of God is also reinforced with the metaphor of sheep in need of a shepherd.

    Here is the link if you want to read the whole thing
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shepherd

  13. Diane, We plan to go to Saint John and ferry over to Digby. I would love to see you if possible. Maybe Saint John would not be too far. Can you email me at afalzone@gmailcom?

  14. 5. The darkness must have been a result of God turning His face away from Jesus. God is light and there is no darkness in Him.

    Previously I thought that the darkness was God’s covering for Jesus in His agony on the cross but now that I think about it, I don’t think that’s right.

  15. This was the first thing that came to mind when I read the verse in Matthew….

    5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark? – the Light Of The World was was going to be put to death, no more would we have Jesus walking around on Earth.

  16. I had an interesting experience today with Dakotas 8 year old brother. He is so worried about his little brother and the care we give him, etc. Today I told him that if i had a choice between me and Dakota when in the fire situation I would save Dakota before myself. He had this look that was amazement and about to cry. Perfect time to share Jesus but then we got interrupted but my friend said that later they did have a deeper conversation about Christ giving His life in this way. Really cool!

    I am outside again in the darkness on the balcony in then humidity of Tennessee and I bet it was like that in Israel so not only heavy darkness but hot humid…I cannot imagine.

  17. I love reading all your comments. I learn so much for everyone. I love the movie “Message in a bottle”. At the end he sacrified his life to save a women’s life, in the ocean. He didn’t even know her, but her son was screaming to save his mommy. It always leave tears in my eye’s. I’m with everyone else here…I would give my life for my three kids. I can’t see me giving my life for someone who hated me. That’s all the more reason why I love Jesus, for giving his life for me. I thank him everyday. I don’t deserve even one tear from him, but he gave it all for me. It makes me feel so humble. Everyone had such wonderful prayers here, I could never do better. I prayed along with your prayers:) Thank you

  18. 5. Read Matthew 27:45 — why do you think it became dark?
    Amos 8:9&10
    9 “And on that day,” says the Lord God,
    “I will make the sun go down at noon,
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.
    10.I will turn your feasts into mourning,
    and all your songs into lamentation;
    I will bring sackcloth upon all loins,
    and baldness on every head;
    I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
    and the end of it like a bitter day.”

    Wow, does that say it all or what? God mourning his only son. I feel the pain in my heart, imagining my only son there on the cross suffering, as God must of felt, as his only son was taking on the pain of the whole world. It leaves my heart so heavy.

    1. Joyce that is good, thanks so much.

    2. This is wonderful, Joyce! God darkening the earth as He mourns His only Son. I can see you feeling pain in your heart – that’s you, Joyce.
      How is Shanon doing?

      1. Thanks for asking, Susan. Shanon is going through chemo for 6 months and she is very tired, plus losing her pretty long hair. Her boyfriend and father of their two little girls shaved his head for her. They are planning a simple little wedding. It is breast cancer with some in her spine. She is taking it all pretty well for someone only 22 yrs. old. It’s very sad. Kendra loves her so much. She is coming by to see us when she can. Jeremy is working and trying very hard to support his special “girls’ he says. They are such a sweet family. Please keep her in your prayers.

        1. I’m praying, Joyce. Thanks for the update.

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

    When my mom was a little girl growing up in Pittsburg, they used to close all the shops and go church in the afternoon. I think she said they closed around 12 pm. It must have been a very somber place to be on Good Friday.

    I guess God was sad, His only son dead because of clueless people.

    My dance group is dancing “Were you There” on Friday. One of the verses is “were to there when the sun refused to shine?” we whirl around and then fall face down on our stomachs. It is a powerful scene. The sun was dark that day. Gods creations were not available. God was making a statement. It must have been scary. I know how I feel when a huge dark, nasty black sky turns up during a thunderstorm. I am scared. I can imagine it being just that way.

    1. Oh I love that song, and wish I could see the dance put to it. Will someone be taping it for us to see?

    2. Laura, I would just love to see you and your group dancing to that!
      When I was a kid (I’m 61) all the stores closed on sunday’s in respect of being the Lord’s day.. I miss that so much, because now days, there is no respect anywhere:(

  20. http://youtu.be/oYoZY9AEras
    my favorite easter song….my dad used to rattle our windows with the Don fransisco version:)
    http://youtu.be/GzfPHnoT0-0
    the song the girls are singing for my mom and dad this easter (we REALLY can not sing so its all about the words:)) this song is my best answer for #9
    6. from the begining God was WE!
    7. the WE was torn apart and part of it went into hell to break down its walls but in so doing He had to leave the rest of the WE because God could not be with sin.
    8. Jesus knew He was the ONLY exceptable sacrifice for us. He was the only perfect one.

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

    Jesus says he lays down his life for His sheep-when the wolf comes he protects and takes the wolf’s attacks.

    I did some research and the shepherd needs to have a gentle demeanor for the sheep to be comfortable and receptive to his care. Also the shepherd needs to rescue sheep who are caught between boulders and have fallen down embankments, keep them from predators, and needs to know which pastures are most bountiful in which seasons so he can lead them there. When the Lamb has a broken leg he carries it on his back.

    A true shepherd lays down his life-These sheep are totally and utter dependent on their Shepherd.

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

    I have never thought about how many hours it was dark, and never contemplated totally why, other than He was taking on God’s wrath and judgment that we deserved-but for three hours and in complete darkness, and then being separated from God!! This may seem outlandish, but here is what I was thinking..Jesus was completely and utterly alone soaking in our sin taking on our judgment and God’s wrath and fighting principalities and darkness all in those three hours. This is hard to put into words, but I think it was completely dark because I think in those three hours Jesus was turned inside out and upside down for us, and I think creation was too but in response to Jesus’ taking on sin. This was THE intervention by God for the whole Universe. Because of Jesus death and resurrection-all things in the future will be made new and creation even now cries out for that day..O.K. I will stop….

    1. REbecca, this is sort of what I thought in that I the darkness hid His agony for I think it was great. I think His Father covered Him.

  23. o.k. so now I am thinking of what that meant when he was alone in complete darkness and the cry out to God that He had forsaken him..Oh what a price for Jesus to pay for my wickedness!!! Jesus in John 17 shows how intimate He was with God-he was with him before time! He calls God Holy Father and Righteous God in John 17..There is so much humility and intimacy going on in that prayer-and now to see how He not only was separated from God on the cross, but to see that He also suffered God’s judgment and wrath..Amazing Love how can it be??

    This puts everything into perspective-how in the world, HOW in the WORLD can any event in my life usurp what He gave up for me?? It sure does make the issues and concerns in life pale in comparison to the greatness of the Great I AM. Wow. If only I could live in this every minute of the day! Yet, I am confident He can grow me in this-after all He did this for me, it wasn’t meant to go to waste-it was meant so He could take me closer in and higher up.

    1. “This puts everything into perspective – how in the world, HOW in the WORLD can any event in my life usurp what He gave up for me? It sure does make the issues and concerns in life pal in comparisonto the greatness of the Great I AM”.
      This is so good, Rebecca. I talked to God again this morning about my big “issue” I had Tuesday morning trying to forgive – now it ALL seems so trivial and stupid. I see I was making something out of nothing, really. It was a “short conversation” – there wasn’t anything left to say about it!

      1. Oh Susan, Isn’t it wonderful though that you are His regardless of your circumstances and He IS yours-your friend, husband, your everything-you can be intimate with Him. This is helping me enjoy those around me more and enabling me to give them freedom-putting into better perspective that we ALL have feet of clay, especially compared to Him. I say this knowing I need to be reminded of it every minute though!! He is helping me to love people-a huge part of love is loving others, flaws and all-and so He takes us up the mountain but I am only at the bottom part moving up slowly it seems!! I feel like such a 6 year old still! 🙂

    1. I am praying that your work will continue to be powerfully used by God.

    2. I listened to your radio talk this afternoon, Dee. You explained idols so well. It convicts me. I started out not taking notes but I had to when you started giving references to that sermon that started you thinking about idolatry and then the essay by Chalmers. It find it hard to listen to a good talk that I want to remember without taking notes. It was all good. Thanks for sharing it.

      1. I think I like Idol Lies. I didn’t get it, though, when I just saw the words. When I heard you say it, I went AH! Idol-lies (Idolize)! I wonder will readers “get it”?

      2. Diane–In case you wanted it (I think we looked at this before you were here with us), here is a link to the Chalmers’ sermon: http://www.vorthosforum.com/export/Articles/The%20Expulsive%20Power%20of%20a%20New%20Affection.pdf

        It’s a slow read (for me!) but FULL of gold.

        1. Thanks, Elizabeth. I definitely do want to read it. You must have done it before I was here.

    3. Praying too, Dee

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

    Jesus says “I am the good shepherd; I know My sheep…”

    I am borrowing my insights from Elizabeth’s post about the book she read by Phillip Keller on Psalm 23 and the role of a shepherd. I think here Jesus is not only saying, “I know My sheep”, as in, He knows those who belong to Him, but also, “I know My sheep”, in that He knows what it requires to care for them. I did not know that more than any other class of livestock, sheep require the most care; it’s an endless task to care for them. They have a mob mentality, they can be stubborn and stupid, and are timid. Dee said that they even resist being rescued which is why they have to be carried back. No wonder we are likened to sheep.

  25. it says my comment is awaiting moderation???

        1. thanks:)

  26. Tuesday: THREE CRIES IN THE DARK

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

    “From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.”

    wow. I had never contemplated before the timing of the darkness. Jesus was still alive when the darkness came at the sixth hour. I think of when a storm is gathering, the dark clouds move in, a sunny day suddenly becomes dark with the thick, dark and threatening clouds. It was at the ninth hour that He cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken Me?”

    I am wondering if the darkness was the symbol of sin, evil, and death. If it was the visual picture of God’s wrath being poured out on sin. I was reading Psalm 4 this morning where David asks God for the light of His countenance to shine on us. But on this day, the countenance of God was dark, His wrath and justice being poured out. I don’t think on this day, anyone would have wanted to see God’s face.

    WEDNESDAY: WHY JESUS SCREAMED

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

    A. Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness…”

    I see here the mystery of the Trinity “co-creating”, like-mindedness; man and woman being patterned after the Father, Son, and Spirit and their relationship.

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31 – wisdom is personified; clues to the Trinity here are “I was there
    when He set the heavens in place….then I was the craftsman at His side…I was filled
    with delight day after day, rejoicing always in His presence…”

    Again, the mystery of the Trinity at creation.

    C. John 1:1-2 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word
    was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

    Can hardly grasp this, that Jesus “was” in the beginning, that He was “with” God and He “was” God. This does speak to distinctions in the three Persons of God. How can you be “with” yourself?

    D. John 5:19-21 – “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself; He can do only
    what He sees His Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. The
    Father loves the Son and shows HIm all He does…”

    Even when Jesus was in the flesh on earth, He “sees” what His Father is doing, and mirrors Him perfectly. Jesus plainly says His Father loves Him.

    E. John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”

    One in Being, one heart and mind, one will, one purpose.

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

    “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; You cannot tolerate wrong.”

    Even though Jesus had never sinned, all of our sin fell upon Him; 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us…” Max Lucado put it something like this, that when Jesus was on the Cross, echoing in the corridors of heaven was the verdict “GUILTY!” as Jesus BECAME GUILTY for every sin ever committed by every person who ever lived. It’s hard to imagine – every lie, every murder, every theft, every immoral act… He became the guilty one, the One who had known no sin.

    God the Father had to turn away and separate Himself from Jesus when all that fell upon Him and He bore the sin of the world. The Bible says that sin is what separates us from a holy God. Jesus was taking our place.

    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

    He did it to redeem us from our empty way of life; from emptiness, hopelessness. This could not have been accomplished with gold or silver; that was not God’s “asking price”. It required the “precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

    B. 1 Peter 3:18

    He did it to bring us to God. “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” A chasm of sin separates us from God and there’s no way for us to cross it by ourselves.

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

    A. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings[a] in our image, to be like us. (Plural)

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31 – Jesus was there at Creation

    C. John 1:1-2 – The Word, Jesus was with God in the beginning

    D. John 5:19-21 – The Father and Son are like One here. Don’t work separate from one another

    E. John 10:30 – The Father and I are One

    7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13? God cannot look on evil. So amazing the love that Jesus would take our sin making it so His fellowship with the Father would be broken but yet again that the Father would even let Him to let this fellowship be broken. That is great amazing, mind bending kind of love for us who do not deserve it one bit. What can we give that is sweeter than that fellowship? How God is mindful and loving of us His creation is astounding yet I am so grateful!

    8. He didn’t have to do it — He could have called upon 10,000 angels. Why does Peter tell us He did? So we can see He needed nothing, He already had everything. All things are under His feet yet He chose this for us. WOW!

    A. 1 Peter 1:18-19 – Paid ransom for us with His precious blood voluntarily and with the joy set before Him.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18 – He did this for us Him who was no sin became sin.

    9. Why did Jesus scream in the dark? Give Him praise here. Oh Jesus how tough those moments would have been! How precious is it that you love us so and wish none shall perish. Thank you for drawing me to you! I love you so! Help me to see this everyday! Praise you! Praise you! Praise you!

    1. the song is Oh how he loves us, i will try it again here:)
      http://youtu.be/2FxaUYjRtkc

  28. Just listened to Midday Connection, was great to hear your voice Aunt Dee and to hear what you had to say on idols. Asking God to show me my idols even more clearly. I know comfort is one and one I see passed down to my children. Lord have mercy as I repent and ask Him to replace it.

    And liked your point about preparing the conversation for dinner as much as the dinner itself. Something I’d like to do! Ben was sick yesterday and stayed home, but made a recovery enough by afternoon to take a walk with me along Town Lake. It’s hard to draw him out, it’s work, but just loving on him for no other reason than him being Ben is something God has shown me to do. Not always affirming him because he’s doing well in school, or piano or something else – but just because he is God’s special creation.

    Praying for the book title! I felt led to pray that if neither one is to be, there will be a new option. But trusting God for the best decision.

    1. I loved this!

      “Not always affirming him because he’s doing well in school, or piano or something else – but just because he is God’s special creation.”

      What a gift to give to your son!

      1. Thanks Chris! I’m trying. Hope you are feeling better. You’ve often been in my thoughts and prayers this week.

        I read this quote a few days ago, and it’s ministered to me: “No wind that can blow but shall speed you Home” Annie Johnson Flint.

      2. Love that too Annemeresmith! Thinking of our special Kendra

        1. I meant about “God’s special creation”

  29. 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 shepherd who gives His life for the sheep.

    I wanted to look at sheep so we could see what shepherds go through taking care of them. Jesus compares us to sheep. Need I say more?
    I found this from a 4-H er on raising sheep:
    Sheep do not necessarily seek shelter from rain.
    Sheep are stupid.
    Their instinct is to flee, not fight.
    Be careful about turning sheep into a lush pasture or freefeeding them more hay than they usually eat. Sheep should be vaccinated for enterotoxemia or “overeating” disease.

    Ways sheep die:
    *Getting stuck on their backs and dying of suffocation.
    *Being frightened into a heart attack by imagining the dog is going to attack, even though it is not.
    Drowning (Are we surprised sheep cannot swim?)
    Suffocating in snow.
    Almost exploding with grass because they have eaten too much and are unable to pass wind.
    If they get too hot If they get too cold.

    1. Are we sheep or what? LOL!

    2. Oh Kim, LOL! I died laughing toward the end of this. 🙂 Cyndi, did you read this?? 🙂 I mean, we really are like sheep!

      1. Yep, we are helpless and totally dependent on our shepherd.

        My favorite: If sheep fall over they won’t necessarily bother to get up and will die of suffocation!!!

      2. yes I did, just now…..soooooo funny!

    3. This is great Kim! what a hoot.
      I wish I could get a vaccine for overeating disease!

      1. i agree about the overeating disease. 🙂 this is awesome, i’m going to share with my kids and husband tonight during devotions.

        1. That was great, Kim!

    4. I think the thing that make this so funny is that Jesus likened us to sheep, and it is all SO TRUE! Good digging Kim. I was thinking about skipping this question because I thought it had all been found. Exploding with grass…no wind! I am laughing so hard I’m crying.

    5. Can I get one of those overeating desease vaccines?!

  30. Dee, I just listened to Midday. Wow, as long as I have been under your teaching I still learned much. I am certain God has exposed my control idol and now as you said I can be a soldier in the battle. Sooooo much good stuff. Love your personal vulnerability. I felt the quickening too as I listened.

    About the title what about both titles? Could it be Idol Lies with the Stonecutter God somehow underneath as an explanation or in reverse?

    1. I like that title, Kim

  31. I loved hearing you on Midday too Dee.
    I felt silly when I realized that I had done the Wednesday study on Tuesday, oh well.
    After I listened to Midday I was thinking about the way we are deceived into looking to our idols, sometimes in the shape of relationships with others, for what only God can truly provide. I remembered these verses from Jeremiah

    Jeremiah 2:12-13 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.

    Same verses from The Message
    “Stand in shock, heavens, at what you see! Throw up your hands in disbelief–this can’t be!” GOD’s Decree.
    “My people have committed a compound sin: they’ve walked out on me, the fountain Of fresh flowing waters, and then dug cisterns– cisterns that leak, cisterns that are no better than sieves.

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

    A. Genesis 1:26
    “let Us make man in Our image”

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31
    “When He created the heavens, I was there…”

    C. John 1:1-2
    The Word was with God…He was in the beginning with God.

    D. John 5:19-21
    the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do

    E. John 10:30
    I and My Father are one.

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

    I think that God’s nature can’t behold evil without punishing it.

  33. 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
    we could only be redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18

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

    He was forsaken by His father. I praise Him for never leaving or forsaking me, in my darkest hours, He’s been there like a steady candle flame, giving me peace in the midst of trial, closeness in the midst of grief. Warm, overflowing love is ours always. What comfort we can take in that.

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

    A. Genesis 1:26

    26 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.”

    Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” The adjectives are plural. This is not coincidence or as Queen Victoria said, “We are not amused,” when she meant she was not amused and assumed all in her court should agree with her, but because God was three persons and he was proposing a plan to the other persons of the Trinity.

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31
    29b when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
    30 then I was beside him, like a master workman,
    and I was daily his delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
    31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the children of man.

    Jesus and the Father designed and created all things together. They delighted in each other and in the world they had created, even in humans. This is a beautiful picture of happiness. I am puzzled a bit how they could delight in something that they knew would be ruined by the Fall.

    C. John 1:1-2
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
    Jesus is the Word. He was there at the beginning, with God, and also God Himself.

    D. John 5:19-21
    John 5:19-21 (ESV)
    19 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. 20 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. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will.

    The Son Jesus is in full agreement with the Father, doing everything the Father wants. The Father shows the Son all he is doing, even to raising the dead.

    E. John 10:30
    30 I and the Father are one.”

    Even after all these years of hearing this, I still do not truly fully understand this statement, though I believe it. It has, of course, been a bone of contention to Jews and Muslims that Jesus is here declaring He is equal in every way to the Father.

    7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habakkuk 1:13?
    You who are of purer eyes than to see evil
    and cannot look at wrong,

    This statement is very heavy. God’s eyes are too pure than to see evil and look at wrong, so he averted His eyes from His only beloved Son, Jesus, as he was bearing our sins on the Cross.

  35. 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
    ESV)
    18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

    Jesus did this to ransom us from the “futile ways” of our ancestors. Ransom means “the release of a prisoner in return for the payment of money” or “the act of saving somebody from an oppressed condition or dangerous situation through self-sacrifice”. We were prisoners of our wasteful, useless way of life. Jesus paid the price to save us.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18
    (ESV)
    18 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,

    Jesus suffered to bring us to God, to make us alive in the spirit.We are alive as we believe in Christ and Living in Jesus is the process of being made ALIVE!

    Romans 8:11 (ESV)
    11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

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

    He was in terrible physical pain, but that is not why he screamed. He screamed because of the enormity of his separation from communion with His Father as Jesus bore our sins on the Cross. The horror of the sins, the terror of the Aloneness, the mocking glee of Satan.

    Holy Father, Precious Jesus, I cannot fully comprehend the enormity of the sacrifice you made to ransom us. Your Word says while we were still sinners you died for us. As I ponder the depths of my own personal depravity and glimpse the sinfulness of others, I am in wondering awe at why you would do this. We do not deserve, could never deserve this kind of love! How great your love is. How amazing! Praise you, Father. Praise you, Jesus.

  36. 6. Find the community of Jesus with the Father and the Spirit — love from the beginning:
    I love what Dee said above: “. Christianity has a fellowshiping community. Love from the beginning.”

    A. Genesis 1:26: He created us to reflect Himself—what Love! No greater worth could be bestowed upon us than to be made in His image. He gave us dominion over all the animals, all the earth. He gave us a place of honor, we did not earn.
    B. Proverbs 8:27-31: When God made the heavens, the sea, the earth…Jesus was there. He is Eternal.
    C. John 1:1-2: Jesus has been with God since the beginning—He is God’s Word, Incarnate.
    D. John 5:19-21: Jesus is God’s Son and fully obedient to God; God has given Jesus authority and power.
    E. John 10:30: “I and the Father are One.” There is no division, no separation of power or authority.

    7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13?
    The Holiness of God. In His absolute purity God cannot look upon sin. Jesus had taken the sin of all the world upon Himself. He prayed in Gethsemane, for another way, because He did not want t be separated from God. He knew a fellowship we cannot know fully until Heaven, and He did not want to lose it. Jesus had never been disconnected from His Father—He knew taking the sin of the world on Himself would require Him to be, and it grieved Him.

    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 weight of the Price paid for our sin, Christ Himself, opens my eyes to the depths of the debt. A perishable sacrifice would not suffice. The Price was so great, because the debt, my sin, was so great.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18– He did it for ME, out of Love, Passion. He did it because God wanted me, wanted to be reconciled to me, to be restored. I have thought before much of the need for Christ to pay our sin—the “equation” side of it—the logical need. But to dwell on the Love behind it, the desire of God to draw me to Him-that is the beauty.

  37. I just got to the sermon — won’t be able to take good notes as I’d like, and hope to listen again—but I liked toward the end, he talked about obeying out of love, because it is finished. When I feel myself working too hard, trying too hard, always sinking—remind myself it is finished. Stop trying to finish what He has already finished.

    Spurgeon’s morning devotional today said “…Look to thy perfect Lord, and remember, thou art complete in Him; thou art in God’s sight as perfect as if thou hadst never sinned; nay, more than that, the Lord our Righteousness hath put a divine garment upon thee, so that thou hast more than the righteousness of man–thou hast the righteousness of God. O Thou who art mourning by reason of inbred sin and depravity, remember, none of thy sins can condemn thee….” I think I carry so much heaviness I am not intended to carry. He has paid it all, I have Christ’s robe on. I am the King’s daughter. I imagine her. She is robed in beauty, but it is her heart—that shines. She has so much wealth, it is easy to freely give—give forgiveness-to family who disappoints patience in Spring Break at home, a kind tone when I’m in pain. When I REALLY bask in the riches I have, I realize that to give, does not leave me with less—it allows me to feel more joy, more thankfulness, for all I have been given.

    1. Precious thoughts, Elizabeth. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Love this, Elizabeth…. “When I REALLY bask in the riches I have, I realize that to give, does not leave me with less—it allows me to feel more joy, more thankfulness, for all I have been given.”

  38. 5. Why did it become dark?
    I took these thoughts from “Abide in Christ” site:

    The darkness at noonday at Calvary smothered the sun at high noon. Nature was in sympathy with the crucifixion of the Son of God.

    The wrath of God was exhausting itself out on the Divine Suffering Substitute.
    The spiritual suffering of Jesus was so intense and terrible that God hid it from profane eyes of depraved sinners.

    The only way to try to explain this darkness over the land when Christ died is to accept the fact that it was supernatural. There was a visible suspension of the order of nature. The Creator stepped into His creation and caused darkness to suddenly cover the land. It was a supernatural manifestation in nature. The timing was perfect as it lead up to the moment when the Son of God breathed His last breath and gave up His spirit.

    It takes far more faith to say it didn’t happen than to accept the historical evidence that it did. Nothing in creation could have produced the darkness of these dimensions. The Creator intervened and caused a hush over the land of Palestine.

    It was a silent, sudden somber darkness like a thick heavy curtain. The LORD God got everyone’s attention that afternoon. This was penetrating, thick frightening darkness. It was a cosmic event.

    1. Awesome, Kim

  39. Jump in any time J.R.!(taken from above where J.R. was mentioned from Dee) I would love to hear your comments. Actually, maybe you could help me. My nephew’s son, Jason (14 yrs) is a new christian and he is on fire for the Lord! He wants to learn so bad and I wondered about a youth online bible study blog for him, like this one. He has a special computor to help him see better. He is legally blind, but he can read his large print bible holding it close to his eye’s. My niece got him the bible (not his mom, but another niece), as his parents don’t help him much. He is going to a youth group in his town and wants to go to a church so bad, too. He said he was so anxious to go to his youth group last wed night, but someone forgot to pick him up. I felt so sorry for him. Does anyone have a place on line that their child likes to go to, like this, that he could get involed in? He is being bullied at school also. Kids make fun of his special reddish/orange glasses he has to wear) and has gone to the principle with a teacher, as I advised him to. But it hasn’t helped much..only making matter’s worse for him.
    He can’t ride bikes or skateboard’s or anything like that, so he is pretty much a loner, and his parents don’t take an interest in him much. His dad is a hunter and Jason can’t see to hunt, so he never takes him places. Please pray for this young man. He loves the Lord so much and say’s he can’t wait to get to heaven. I’m worried for him, when his classmates start driving and he is alone more than ever. Thanks

    1. Oh Joyce! I will pray. How wonderful that he has such a heart for the Lord and a hunger for Him. Lord thank You for the heart You have given this young man and for calling him to Yourself. Be near to him Lord and feed him with Your word. I pray that this fire in him would never be quenched and that he would never be satisfied with anything but You. Help him to get to youth group. May he be loved there. I pray that You would bring at least one godly friend into his life who will build him up in You. Protect him at school. Help him learn how to navigate these waters and to love as You love. I pray that he will never believe the lies of the enemy and that he will learn more and more how much You love him. Amen

      1. Thank you Anne. I think of your Joey alot…about the same age as Jason, right?

      2. Amen to Anne’s prayer. I am praying too. Joyce, I love your heart for others.

    2. this is a proof picture of Jason

      1. It was a proof, but I found the same picture of Jay, without all the words across his face.

    3. sweet joyce, i join in prayers!

    4. Joey said something today that caused me to stop and think. In the midst of great turmoil in our family, he went from a private Christian school to public middle school. I had leading from the Lord that this school was where He wanted him to go. Public school is REALLY different. He was appalled at the evil going on there and spoke up about it. As a result he was bullied. I learned that I could not protect him and all I did was make it worse. He had to learn to navigate it. I am not saying that this is good or right for every child but as I said it was my leading for him. We had a very small Moms In Touch prayer group at that school and it finally got down to just 2. At high school there are 6 of us and we are very connected with each other and with God’s heart for that school. So today there was a commercial on TV about bullying. A boy was getting his books out of the locker when another deliberately knocked them all over the floor. A good looking boy in a lettered jacket left his entourage of girls to help the boy pick up his books. Joey said ‘That would never happen at Riverside.’ I thought he meant the boy helping the bullied boy but he meant the bullying! He said that people don’t like that sort of thing there. I am rejoicing in answered prayer for we often pray for the spirit of the entire school. I am sorry to say that the other North Durham high school just a few miles over has no MIT group and had a riot a few weeks ago. I pray that they will get some moms coming together.

      1. me too, Anne

  40. Lily just ran off saying she wanted to kill herself, Im not sure what is the issue, paul is trying to talk to her because she is very angry with me…not sure why??? please pray for us to have wisdom. she found out today from her China foster mom that she is actually 12 and that our papers where faulsified to make us think she was younger. I have wondered because she started her period 4 months ago and needs to wear a bra @ 11.
    also Abby’s friend broke up with her unsaved boyfriend because she feels that that is what God wants her to do, her mom is not saved and is VERY angry with her because she likes her boyfriend and they have been together for 3 years and she thinks that we are brainwashing her with “cult” ideas. she has been at our house for 6 days which is making her mom even angryer. I can hear her scream at her on the phone and have encouraged her to go home because she needs to respect her mom but its so hard for her to be screamed at for following her faith….its been a long day and I would covet your prayers

    1. Cyndi, we will run to Jesus with all these needs. So hard. Bless you, sister.

    2. cyndi–saw this last night and prayed–so sorry–will continue to lift you all up. Praying hard for protection over Lily–her mind, her heart–so thankful she has you. You must feel attacked–wish I could be there with you–but know we are praying for you here–keep us posted!

    3. Dear Lord,

      Your children on earth suffer and need you so much. It is sometimes hard to know how to handle situations; whether to get involved, step aside, or be somewhere in between. Cyndi is in such a position now. She needs you to guide her through the difficult trials regard her children and friends of children. You know what is best, and she needs to remain calm and look for your hand upon her and the others. Lord, she is a faithful follower. We ask these things in your name. Amen.

  41. Oh, cyndi. This is hard! Praying for you and Lily, Paul, Abby and her friend.

    1. Me too, Cyndi…and I thought I had problems! Praying for all.

      1. Oh Joyce we ALL have problems! how is your pain? and your husbands hips? sometimes I have the vs. in this world you will have trouble…..I know I know….but take heart I have overcome the world:) but sometimes I just wish this world was a little MORE overcome…..if you know what I mean:)
        love you, take care of yourself!!!

        1. We are getting along okay. Thanks

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

    A. Genesis 1:26

    He wanted the people to take care of the animals. He wanted them in his image.

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31

    He wants us to be His image. When we are together, as one, we are joyful, we are content

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

    C. John 1:1-2

    Jesus was with God in the beginning. He represents the word.

    D. John 5:19-21

    The Father and Son are one; they are joined and can’t be broken.

    E. John 10:30

    The sheep listen and follow. Jesus and God are one.

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

    A. Genesis 1:26 – “Then God said, “Let us make humankind  in our image, after our likeness..” – here God seems to be talking as if someone was there, he’s referencing the trinity I think.

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31

    C. John 1:1-2 – ….and the Word was fully God…..

    D. John 5:19-21 – in these verses Jesus is saying that the Son cannot do anything that the Father does not do, whatever the Father does he can also do.

    E. John 10:30 – “The Father and I are one”

    7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13? – You are too just  to tolerate  evil; you are unable to condone  wrongdoing. So why do you put up with such treacherous people? Why do you say nothing when the wicked devour  those more righteous than they are? – because God was just, he could not look at all the wrong doing  and evil being done to His son so he turned away from it so the Word could be fulfilled.

     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 – Because from the very beginning from his ancestors he was ransomed, he was given up as an exchange like a spotless lamb. 

    B. 1 Peter 3:18 – He had to fulfill the Word and be put to death so we would come to know His Father.

  45. I’m so sorry to keep asking for prayer’s but tonight this boy, Jason, my nephew, said he want’s to go to heaven, that he is tired of this life. He is being bullied and say’s he has no friends. I’m worried, because his dad is a hunter and has guns everywhere. Pray for him and Anna’s Ben. These are God’s precious sheep.

    1. I’m talking to his parents in the morning

    2. Will be praying Joyce. Wow so sad, thanks Joyce for caring enough to speak to his parents.

    3. I am praying for Jason!!!! Lily was just mad and only 11 and has no access to guns, it was an idol threat….so sad for Jason, will be praying for just ONE good friend. i know that when i was bullied having ONE little girl stand up and be my friend made all the difference!

      1. You right Cyndi…just one buddy

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

    A. Genesis 1:26 Their discussion of man.

    B. Proverbs 8:27-31 They were together during creation and it was rejoicing. Love this verse! “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. ”

    C. John 1:1-2 Again talking about their togetherness in the beginning. The Word Became Flesh.

    D. John 5:19-21 The Father loves the son and the son does what the father teaches him to do by example.

    E. John 10:30 The oneness of the Father and Son.

  47. 7. Jesus had never been separated from fellowship with the Father until now. Why was He now, according Habbakuk 1:13?
    His eyes are too pure to look on evil, to tolerate wrongdoing.

    8. He didn’t have to do it — He could have called upon 10,000 angels. Why does Peter tell us He did?
    For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

    B. 1 Peter 3:18 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.