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IDOL LIES (New Title, New Cover!)

So many of you have joined the journey we have been traveling these last two years. We have come to think of Jesus as “The Stonecutter” who reveals, removes, and replaces the hidden idols of our hearts. Many of us felt that had to be the title of the book that is scheduled for release in October.

When I met with my publisher I was asked if I would be open to another title, and I said I would be if they could find a better one, but I felt an anointing on The Stonecutter. Yet if there is one thing I have learned in this journey on seeing our heart idols, it is that my predominant heart idol is control, and it has caused me, the Lord, and others grief. I really respect this publishing team, know they too are seeking God, and have expertise that I do not have. I didn’t want to be working at cross-purposes with God’s best, so I told them I would be open.

Along with a long and very dear letter of explanation, came this cover. I want you to see it — and then I’ll share some of their thinking.


I don’t know how you feel upon seeing it, but God did a work in my heart, for I loved it. I found it arresting.

Their fears about the title “The Stonecutter” is that people wouldn’t know what it is about, and many people never get to the sub-title. Also, it doesn’t address what publishers call “a felt need.” People want a book that will meet a need in some way — and this does, for people don’t want to be deceived, and want to be set free of those lies.

The Stonecutter imagery is still throughout the book, and the first of the three sections is called The Stonecutter. I have a peace about it, and hope you do too, for you are so a part of this book! I like the play on words (idolize) and we do need to see how we are being lied to, how these soul idols are destroying our lives.

Next January I want to do a study on this book, Idol Lies, and ask people to get the actual book.

Next week we are beginning a new study, which though it will also be on idolatry, will be on it through the lens of the fascinating book of Jonah.  Jonah’s real problem was — guess what! A heart idol.

I also want to share with you another provision God has made for “Idol Lies” and the curriculum. There is a camera man at “our” Rebecca’s church who has a heart for ministry, and was willing to put together a video of her testimony. His name is Tim Mahony, and we’re pretty impressed with what he did. This is a rough video — he’s going to edit it more, re-take her interview in the shade, but I can’t wait for you to see what we are working on!

How God Set Rebecca Free From The Power of Sin

 

I am going to make the homework lighter for the next two months, for I know April and May can be as busy as Christmas time for women. Next week we’ll do a review of idolatry for those who are new (and I’m counting on the older members to mentor them!) and then we’ll dive into Jonah. I’ll list all the sermons at once, which include some free ones and 10 dollars worth of paid ones — but it will last us into mid June. If you think Jonah is boring, it isn’t with Keller!

This week I want us to look at Rebecca’s “idol lie” and how she found victory over it.

Then I want to practice some soul talk.

It’s going to be a great week!

Sunday/Monday

1. What are your comments on the cover — the title?

2. We’re going to look at Rebecca’s testimony in more detail, but for now, what stood out to you and why?

Monday-Wednesday:  Rebecca’s testimony and Bible Study

3.  Watch the video and answer:

A. Why did Rebecca initially come on the blog? (I think this is key to her success!)

B. Why are you here?

C. When she saw it was on idolatry — what was her initial reaction and why?

D. Where are you in understanding idols of the heart? What do you think they are?

E. Heart idols are an attempt to solve a problem, but, what does Jonah 2:8 say they really do?

F. What was Rebecca’s heart idol and how did it boomerang on her?

G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?

Thursday – Friday: Soul Talk and Sermon

I’m going to give you two scenarios where an idol can lie to you — and I want you to do two things:

A. Find the idol lie so you can run away from the idol that really will destroy you.

B. Combat the lie with the truth so you can move forward in faith toward the real God.

4. Let’s start with the lies Rebecca’s comfort idol was telling her:

Your life is so stressful (that’s the true part 🙂  ) you need this time at night to watch the news and eat so you will be less stressed.

A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)

B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:

* Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

* 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)

5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

A. What is the lie?  Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.

B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

C. Also, take this same lie, and reflect on The Great I AM’s we studied during Lent and

speak again to your soul, refuting the lie that Jesus won’t be enough, can’t really

rescue you from this, with something that quickened you during Lent.

SERMON: This is actually a lighter sermon on The Great I AM from R. C. Sproul (amazing it is light considering the preacher!) — one you can listen to while you work. He’s got one main point, but it is a good one, and one that has stayed with me from his humorous illustration. Listen and articulate it.

http://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/attributes_of_god/ice-cream-cones-and-the-study-of-god/

 

6. What thoughts to you have on the above message from R. C. Sproul?

Saturday:

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

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373 comments

  1. 3. Watch the video and answer: (I was wondering how I was going to answer these. :-))

    A. Why did Rebecca initially come on the blog? (I think this is key to her success!)

    I was missing intimacy with God-(I think that is from HIM!!!) My idol had me totally in the dark-yet as Elizabeth so wonderfully stated-the water was pushing through the rocks-he was pursuing me!

    B. Why are you here?

    I am still here for the reason I was in the beginning-I want to go closer in and higher up-God’s hand is in Dee’s studies. I love the phrase I found on Dee’s f.b.-a friend wrote this to her a long time ago and it stuck with me: “God is on the move and Dee is on His arm.”

    C. When she saw it was on idolatry — what was her initial reaction and why?

    Glad I can laugh now, but man was that prideful or what?? My idol really had me deceived.

    D. Where are you in understanding idols of the heart? What do you think they are?

    Idols can’t be removed, only replaced. God has freed me from the stronghold of my comfort and approval idol-YES, HE DOES FREE US, AMEN! Part of Him freeing me was also giving me tools so that I can spot them when they beckon-body language and also applying the Gospel-really when I meditate on Him and His love-The Cross, He just melts me. Also, I have learned of the gravity of how deeply he grieves when I go to my idols-and I don’t want to grieve Him-I want to love Him back.

    E. Heart idols are an attempt to solve a problem, but, what does Jonah 2:8 say they really do?

    They make us turn away from God’s love.

    F. What was Rebecca’s heart idol and how did it boomerang on her?

    My heart idol brought a quick fix-brought gratification-short term satisfaction, but it turned on me-It cost me a lot-my weight ballooned, my house grew to be a mess, and my depression grew as well. Soon nothing that satisfied me was satisfying me anymore.

    G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

    I have noticed Control is rearing it’s ugly head right now with my kids-I am so grateful I can see it quicker than 2 years ago when I was totally blind to it. Over the years, it has hurt my relationship with my oldest two to a certain degree. I try to control Isaac’s weight, Elijah and Andrew’s work ethic at school, I have tried to ‘fix’ my husband’s work situation and it is out of my control-I have given it to God. Let me tell you the stream of intimacy with God has changed everything in my life. Not the circumstances, but the joy in knowing HE is in control, not me. God is also full of Mercy! He knows I couldn’t handle dealing with all the yuk inside at once, so He took me gently out of the cleft-one idol at a time.

    I am also letting go of controlling the boys at school. While we enact consequences for their behavior-we can’t control the outcome.

    H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?

    Tim, you are a jewel and so is Donna! We love you both and I am so glad God is giving you more opportunities to use your wonderful, creative talent!

    1. Well said! Rebecca.

  2. G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you? Comfort and just last week, when i was looking to someone for comfort and attention and I didnt get it I got severely depressed and was going to overdose on my medicine! Yikes!

    H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain. No, I have not yet.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?
    He did a really good job, but I agree with other people in that when they redo it in the shade there will be less squinting!

  3. G. What is your heart idol (if you know – and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

    Yikes – I see all 3 operating in me at different times: power/control – when a problem arises or I don’t agree with what my husband or one of my kids is doing, I want to fix it or manipulate them or circumstances to get the outcome I want; comfort/security – I so often seek comfort in things other than God like last week, I felt really down for two days and while I was home alone during the day, I laid on the couch and slept, so unlike me to want to sleep during the day, but I sought comfort and escape from the pain by sleeping; and approval/affirmation – being so dependent on others for love and approval and when I don’t get it, at least not in the way I want it, I am in pain.

    These idols, especially comfort and approval, seem to hurt me mostly by isolating me. Rebecca has talked about “curling up around the pain”, instead of turning to God. When I do this and don’t go to Him, I feel so alone and isolated, from God and from other people. These idols lead me down the path of depression and self-pity and being self-focused, to believing Satan’s lies.

    This may be a stretch, but this game I used to play with my kids just came to mind. It’s called “Harley”, and Harley is a dog and his doghouse is in the middle of the board, and there are paths that take him to the meadow, or woods, or rocks, or stream. He retrieves things and takes them home, but if you pick a card that has a dangerous animal (bear, porcupine) or one that has a thorny bush, you have to place that on one of the paths, so sometimes all the paths get blocked and he can’t go anywhere and he can’t get home. That’s what I’m thinking now – these idols and their near-sins cut me off from God and others, they block my path to get “home”, intimacy with God. They stand in the path to block intimacy with people.
    We can worship the true God corporately, but I’m beginning to see more and more how idols consume the person who worships them, how it becomes “me and the idol”, how isolating it is.

    1. LOVE the Harley metaphor! Wow–I want to look for that game too–what a great teaching opportunity–for them and me!

        1. That’s a good spin on this, too – I didn’t think of that, how God will block us from our idols or take them away so we have nowhere else to turn but Him!

    2. Susan you continue to amaze me! With all this wonderful advice on idols from you and Rebecca and Elizabeth and especially Dee, I am being helped so much! That game helps me visulize how the idols get in our way. That may be the real “key” to this, is to have an imaginary visual that comes to mind when we see ourselves going towards Idols instead of God! The stream and rocks and this game are good visuals. But with them I can see that I have all the Idols 🙁

      Dee, what other Idols are there, beside’s: Power/controll
      Comfort/security
      Approval/affirmation

      I mean, that’s enough! But I lost my list

      The other thing that really helps me is Rebecca’s suggestion about visualising how we grieve Jesus so much, when we run to our Idols instead of him.!

  4. having a very hard time with control today, or the lack there of. the ortho says lily does not have a broken arm and that the radiology dept. said the same thing. so the question is why did the pediatrician tell me that it was broken and that she wanted me to take her to the ER. does she think I am hurting Lily? I was not even home when it happened.
    im taking her to her specialist because she is in a lot of pain still…..im just really stressed….emma is sitting next to me screaming that she cant sound out ELECT, the big girls all made food and left the kitchen a mess, i cant get Abby’s transcript to print out, i have to get all Abby’s special food made for the weekend before we leave tomorrow, and i have lost my temper 3 times today…could go on but i will not. I know you all have days like this to, im sorry to unload. i am just at the end of my rope……
    please pray

    1. Oh Cyndi, I will pray..YES WE CAN TOTALLY RELATE!!! But I know relating isn’t enough-praying is the best thing we can do for you! Love to you!

    2. Dear Cyndi, I am praying as I type this…my heart grieve’s for you. I know what it’s like to lose your temper and feel so discouraged about all you have to do and clean and get ready…Oh my! With 15 years of Daycare, just 3-4 yrs ago, I felt that way so many times! There was a time in there that I must admit…that my bible actually got dusty. Honestly I never picked it up for a few months. Now, it’s open right in front of me at the computor all the time. I was so depressed all I could do is weep and get angry and sleep and just go through the motions of all I had to do each day. God got me to the Dr. and got anti-depressants and got me out of that work, before I lost it! I know you don’t want to get yourself out of your family, but it sounds like you do need to give yourself a break and deligate thing’s for everyone to do, because you are NOT super women! I know they may think you are, but your NOT. What would happen if you went on strike? It’s been done before! Everyone depends on mom for everything! We had 5 blended kids at home with my clinging mother and I worked full time. I told everyone what that was like for me on the last blog or so, but you begin to lose sight of everything and need to re-group and talk it over with everyone in the household and tell them, you can’t do it ALL. Everyone has to participate! Even dad when he is home. Don’t take everything on yourself, or you will be crushed under all the pressure. Praying for you, so much Cyndi!!

    3. Praying for you, Cyndi! We’ve all been there, with different circumstances. I’m sorry you’ve had such an exasperating day.

    4. Cyndi, praying for Lily and for you. I’m sorry things are so difficult right now.

    5. Praying dear Cyndi. Love and hugs.

  5. 3a. Rebecca came on the blog because she recognized her need for intimacy with God. I think this reson was key to her success because intimacy with Him is exactly what is delivering her from her comfort idol. In Him she experienced more comfort than her idol provided her.
    B. Why am I here? That question sends me on some deep soul searching. I want God and that has always been my main reason but I have to confess I have been guilty of wanting more than Him. I have found it very easy to feed my approval idol here. I find myself wanting to have the right answers and to be anything but humble. I find this idol so extremely insidious. It is always popping up and that makes it hard to fight. I am encouraged though just in the times that I am able to see it. The war is still on but I have won some skirmishes, praise the Lord!
    It is funny because last night I stayed up too late looking back at the old posts trying to answer this question. Then tonight I looked at it and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Part of the reason I have been here is to feed my idol. I think that is why I have, on at least 2 occasions thought I should not come here. I still pray about it often and always I realize that what I am getting is intimacy with the Lord.

    1. Your comments strike a chord in my heart…thanks for your honesty!

    2. Anne, so good..you sound just like me!

      1. “Universal struggle” – YES.

      2. It is a universal struggle ‘for now’. I remember my dearest friend commenting on humility. She said that she (humility) disappears as soon as you notice her. She’s very shy…

  6. A. Why did Rebecca initially come on the blog? (I think this is key to her success!)Missing a really intimate connection with God

    B. Why are you here? I am here in part for the same reason. I cam to the God of All Comfort because of several deaths in my family in the past 18 months. My life has been so overwhelmingly busy during this time that I haven’t had time to grieve all at once but have had to unpack it a little at the time. I work full time and still have 1 son at home and I am working on my Masters in Nursing because of a job change. During this season it has been so very hard to have a time of intimacy with Christ. I know He has called me to this new job and to school but then so many things have happened with family that there have been many times I have wanted to give up.

    C. When she saw it was on idolatry — what was her initial reaction and why? Who me? Idols?? No way:-)

    D. Where are you in understanding idols of the heart? What do you think they are? I have been aware of them for many years and have also come to know that “the heart is deceitful above all things” and works hard to keep those idols hidden!

    E. Heart idols are an attempt to solve a problem, but, what does Jonah 2:8 say they really do? Vain idols cause us to forsake our faithfulness.

    F. What was Rebecca’s heart idol and how did it boomerang on her? Comfort- turned itself on her in the form of overeating, weight gain, and depression.

    G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you? “People pleasing” is one and that tends to set you up to work and work- harder and harder and yet it is never enough to please everyone on the list. Trying to please someone often ends up putting them or your efforts on the throne of your heart above GOD.

    H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain. Water images often come to mind when I think of being with the Lord. But also hiking the mountains- sometimes hard, sometimes easy, uphill and down, sometimes walking side by side and sometimes hard to feel His presence.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?
    The video was very special. I loved the outdoor setting and having Rebecca alone some and with her boys some. Very peaceful effect!

  7. G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

    -Control is the biggest one. How has it hurt me? Well, this is the INTERNET — not gonna put it all out there, but years ago, it hurt me badly. Think of the psychiatric illnesses that are said to result when someone doesn’t feel as if they have any control and starts controlling what they can (e.g., food/exercise). And when that was under “control” — mega-depression. It was expensive 🙂 In more recent years, the hurt took the form of increased stress. However, God blessed me with situations that were SO out of my control that I learned to relax somewhat (you don’t control dementia!). But even then, I experienced more stress than I needed to.

    H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

    Yes… now and recently. I know I can trust Him, and He is in control. For example, this week, I learned that I’m not eligible to apply for a grant. Someone was surprised that my response was happiness because I had one less deadline! I’m thankful to God that I have a realistic amount of work to do instead of the craziness that I create when I’m in control.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?
    Great video. Very professional. I like the grass/reeds when the video is “just sitting there” before it starts. The shot of Rebecca and her boys was very powerful; that’s how I connected that it wasn’t her situation that had changed, but she had changed. Tim, you need a website advertising videography (or whatever it’s called!).

  8. Just thinking of the water images… and how it is possible to experience intimacy with God as a stream at the same time as experiencing tumultuous waves.

    1. Renee, I read this yesterday and I loved it too! Yes, that is the best way to describe it-the stream with Him in intimacy even when the waves are over powering us-even in the midst of the worst of circumstances we can be intimate with him-even crying out to him-OH NO! OH GOD! like Dee wrote about in the God of All Comfort. So good, Renee.

      1. Yup….

        When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
        when sorrows like sea billows roll;
        whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
        It is well, it is well with my soul.

        To a certain extent, the deep down peace like river and the excruciating pain of sea billows happen at the same time when “it is well with my soul.”

        When the idols reigned during sea billows, I was a MESS.

  9. thanks for your prayers everyone!!! I am doing much better, having a talk with the big girls and their need to help more, they are trying to get done with school so they are working hard on school work. but I am not super mom so asking for help:-) thanks for the reminder dear Joyce

  10. E. Heart idols are an attempt to solve a problem, but, what does Jonah 2:8 say they really do?

    They turn us away from Gods love.

    F. What was Rebecca’s heart idol and how did it boomerang on her?

    Her heart idol was comfort/ food.

    G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

    Well, choosing is hard! I guess if I had to pick the worst one, it would be control (of others – my children, my situation, etc.)

    H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

    Freely flowing…..probably not. I know God is near me. However, I don’t know the Bible that well; where I can quote it no matter what book. However, I know it better today than I ever have.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?

    I love the setting; the cattails at the beginning and the part where Rebecca and her children are walking over the bridge.

  11. 4.A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)

    Genesis 4:7-such great encouragement to be merciless and specific with the lies-the beast crouches at my door-IT DESIRES TO HAVE ME..It is waiting to pounce-so I must rule over it. It’s good to start by being merciless with the lies-looking outside myself and being objective-looking in-even that can be painful because I have to put aside my pride. I am free to do that because the truth is that I am loved and 100% accepted by God-and this ‘realization of a lie’ doesn’t change that. I don’t need to hide anything from Him. That is another form of freedom I have found. 🙂

    O.K. so here we go-OH I HAVE LAYERS OF LIES, let me tell you.

    Two lies I am aware of now: If my boys don’t get their act together and get more organized and care more about school work then they are going to grow up living in a shelter some day, and it will be all my fault even though I have diligently trained them (control). If they keep being careless losing their papers the teachers are going to think I am a horrible parent (approval).

    1. Love this Rebecca:”I don’t need to hide anything from Him. That is another form of freedom I have found.”

      About the boys, I had the same sort of fears with my older. He went off to college and flunked out in his 2nd semester. When he came home he found within him a passion for history that carried him through undergrad. When their sails go up, they will catch the wind. Don’t worry, just pray.

      1. Anne, you are always SO encouraging..always!! I read this yesterday but didn’t have time to respond. I will never forget that book you recommended about parenting-totally changed my thinking..Totally Christ centered instead of ‘control freak parenting’ centered. I’ve done many “Control freak” parenting method books-some good ideas, but blah! The results are up to God, not us! 🙂

    2. Rebecca, you made me smile. I use to think my kids would end up on skid row but they didn’t. Oh, and teachers know how kids are and they were kids once too. Your going to be okay, I promise! 🙂

      1. Kim, thanks so much, this was so encouraging too! NOW, if I can just get my one with Autism to brush his teeth without me dragging him to the bathroom.. 😉

  12. B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:

    * Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    Lord you will not fail me-you will not abandon me-you will strengthen me in the midst of pain-your presence my strength-You are a healing salve to my pain-my hope is in you. I will not grow weary because you will renew me and take me up the mountain-I will fly! This pain is temporary Lord, but necessary because it is turning me toward you-I can trust you, such sweet communion now, and in the future what bliss! Our reality, together face to face. You will renew my strength even now-you are my life-your presence my strength. This is the truth-this is my hope.

    * 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)

    Lord thank you for this pain-this suffering for it is good and Lord if it takes more pain then so be it-I don’t want it-but I want you-more of you. I don’t want to live for the evil desires of this Earth-I want to live for you-so take me and mold me-I am in your hands-you are the potter I am the clay.

  13. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:

    * Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    The Lord will strengthen Meg he will give power to Meg and she will soar on wings lieks eagles She will run and not grow weary she will walk and not be faint.

    * 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk

    1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God

    Lord Help me to arm myslef with the same attitude as Christ; thank you that because I am your daughter i can choose not to live for evil desires please help me to choose the better Lord and not follow evil desires, help me to live for the will of God.

    Amen

  14. Your life is so stressful (that’s the true part 🙂  ) you need this time at night to watch the news and eat so you will be less stressed.

    I feel this so much this morning! I feel it because I am getting so weighed down with the “everydayness” of life.
    When I just read Isaiah 40: 29-30, it talked to my heart.
    I always read the foot notes in my Study Bible and this blessed me:
    “Neither soaring with wings as eagles nor running is pictured as the climax; rather the sought -after prize of walking is presented as the mainstay of Christian experiance. Serving God in the mountain-top experiance of life when His people can soar with Him is not so difficult. The most difficult times of service can be the monotonous, everyday grind of life when Godpeople feel like they spinning their wheels and going nowhere. The Lords children can exchange their weakness for God’s strength in the daily walk of life.”

    A. What is the lie?  Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share
    The biggest lie I buy is “there is always tomorrow.”
    I tell myself when I procrastinate on issues I need to address today!
    Wheither it’s fasting; eating right; prayer; writing….and that promise of “tomorrow” never comes!

    I haven’t watched the Rebecca video yet because I can’t download it from my iPhone app, but I intend to see it today
    Sounds like she struggles with the same idol lie I struggle with!

    Have a great day everyone!

    1. Just wanted to say, the link to your granddaughter did not work for me. 🙁 Wish I could send a link of my youngest grandson, Caleb, finally walking at 22 months.:)

  15. Tim, here are some things I really liked about the video of Rebecca. You really know how to put a video together, with the background and the sound of the birds singing and the water rushing (all things that catch our eye’s as we watch)…it made me want to go there and have a long talk with Rebecca. I loved seeing her with her boys, as I have a better understanding of how her life must be. Beautiful job!

    A. Find the idol lie so you can run away from the idol that really will destroy you.
    I find that I lie to myself with this lie, the most… ” It’s okay, go ahead and have this, I deserve it.” It could be for food or anything shopping or even to not try walking more and just rest. It’s a LIE! I say it in my head and it’s not from God. I recognize it now when I tell myself that, but I use to lisen to it and allow myself to endulge. It’s breaking Jesus’s heart when I go to that for comfort and not to him.

    B. Combat the lie with the truth so you can move forward in faith toward the real God.
    I do that now, as I can detect when it’s happening, but before I would let it happen and would say to myself …it was okay.

    4. Let’s start with the lies Rebecca’s comfort idol was telling her:
    It was telling her it’s okay to watch your favorite show and eat to relieve stress.
    Oh, I’ve done that many, many times! But since I started this bible study, I tell myself to turn off the TV and read a christian book or my bible. It fills me up and makes me feel so good that I am learning things of God and not just watching TV just to be passing time.

    1. Joyce,
      I love your thoughtful answers, and that we have “seen” more of you the past couple of weeks – you’ve been on here more often!

      1. My other bible study ended today…that’s why. Plus, you girls are addictive!…I can’t stay away!!

  16. Joyce, This is huge: “…It’s breaking Jesus’s heart when I go to that for comfort and not to him.”- I don’t think I have heard you say that before-also it is sweet to see how you are replacing TV time with spending time with Him! 🙂

    1. Yes, Joyce. I so agree.

      1. Thank you, Sister’s 🙂

  17. I have a prayer request – today is my son Adam’s 21st birthday! Being in college, and knowing that the customary thing to do on 21st birthdays involves lots of drinking, I’m praying for him to make wise decisions and to surround himself with true friends who really have his best interests at heart. I am praying for God’s protection over him, not just for today, but this weekend, too.
    I’ve shared my heart with him about this, verbally and in a letter, so now I pray. He’s matured a lot the last 3 years, and works pretty hard in school and wants to get into med school. Overall, he’s a fine young man who makes good choices most of the time. I just want him to be safe and to celebrate LIFE on his birthday!

    1. Oh, Susan, I am praying for Adam and for you.

      Lord God,
      Thank you that you are sovereign. You know better than we do of the alcohol-related dangers on college campuses. I pray that you will protect Adam and help him and his friends to make wise choices. Give him a FUN birthday, and show him YOUR truth about fun and joy. Please shelter him from deceit about alcohol, and remind him of the dangers of drinking too much, for his health, relationships, and future career. Thanks for the good choices he has made in the past and for the maturity he has shown. Lord, surround him with your protection throughout the coming days and weeks and give him the strength to overcome temptation. Most of all, draw him to Yourself. I pray that you will give Susan your peace “which passeth all understanding.” In Jesus’ name.

      1. What a beautiful prayer, Renee. I prayed it for Adam and also my son, Trevor…who is a good son too, but goes out once in awhile with his drinking buddies to drink, but he always calls me for a ride to his house, anytime in the night. I’m so thankful he does that. He is 30 and single. I’m praying for a Godly lady for him, so he will settle down. He does love the Lord, but doesn’t practice his faith, anywhere.

    2. Amen to Renee’s prayer for Adam. Hope he has a great day!

    3. Praying for Adam. Medical school is awesome. Lord, please help Adam to keep his eyes on this goal. Help him to see that excessive drinking could be harmful to his desire. Even if he does not seek you right now we know that you are seeking him. Protect him Lord and surround him with good friends, even those who love You. Bring into his life people that he respects who will boldly proclaim the truth to him. I pray that You will bless him on his birthday in such a way that he will know his blessing is from You. Bless his socks off on his birthday please Lord. Amen

      1. Anne,
        I emailed Adam and shared that part of your prayer for him, that God would “bless his socks off on his birthday please Lord.”!

        1. I can’t wait to hear what God does.

    4. Susan, I’m kinda late for praying for last night, but I can pray for this week-end…and am doing that now. He sounds like such a sweet son. I’m not surprised, because he is your son!

    5. Susan, I am learning so much from you, Anne and Kim-your boys are grown up. 🙂

  18. Dee question about how my idols have hurt us is percolating. I’m battle scarred from fighting “control” this afternoon, and it’s become obvious that even as I was crying out to God, I was hanging on fighting my own battle.

    I was back in a group in which everyone’s control idols seem to come out to play. I’m glad that the group was virtual and most of my battle was within myself (not sure it looks that way virtually though; sometimes posting a professional disagreement feels like war).

    Please pray that I have wisdom in the discussion and that I will learn for the future. I have some expertise in a couple areas related to work, but I definitely don’t have expertise in all areas that cross my path. For me, the issue of control is much more difficult in areas where I have solid background/experience and amazing training. This isn’t an issue with students because my role is to teach and God has taught me patience. However, when I am working on group projects with other professionals, I sometimes experience major stress because 1) they are supposed to “know this stuff” and I don’t want cause conflict (an approval idol there?) or 2) I don’t want to waste time/money doing shoddy work when excellent work is actually easier.

    The two obvious solutions are either *to push/proclaim my self-righteousness 🙂 (that’s how I feel when I “state my case,” with reasons and editing my response) or *to hide, go along, and do less effective work. Today, it feels as if I have done both. I can see God protecting me even in this; my computer froze right in the middle of an online posting 🙂 It was good to be reminded to review what I had written, although I didn’t change much. Frequently, this is more of an internal than external battle, but it’s so stressful. It’s easy to release the stress by venting. But I want to wait on Him and respond in His timing. When I look back at how I have responded in similar situations in the past, I probably wouldn’t change anything externally — most of the time (I didn’t behave as badly as I felt!). I’m seeing that I want God to manage my conflicts rather than my control idol to manage them. I don’t think a conflict management class would even be helpful. KNOWING what to do doesn’t lead me to rest in Him.

    Not sure that this is even making sense. The problem is that I really want to have control when I know I’m right 🙂 The challenge is being right in relationships, as well as in the the knowledge.

    1. Renee, I’m not sure I understand, but that doesn’t matter, because I love you and will pray that God will work it out according to his will, because he knows what is best.

      1. oh, thank you Joyce. Supervisor thinks it is a good discussion 🙂 but it feels like battle with no armor to me. I really appreciate your love and prayers.

        I’ve been wondering if it would be better to be self-employed and just debating with myself. But for now, I’m very thankful for a paycheck.

  19. A. What is the lie? Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share

    The Lie is that friends will fulfill me in one way or another. Yes i have experienced the pain.. Just these past few week i have been very dependant on my therapist we talke alot about this issue alot today.. But i am still having a hard time not being dependent on her becasue she cares so much about me! I am having suicidal thoughts again so please pray! My friend is really scared right now and doesnt know what to do!

  20. B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering? That every friend and even my therapist will let me down at one point or another we are all human and we fail But God will never fail us.Yes it will involve suffering! It will be painful for me not to look to other women for comfrot and security and longing for that.

    1. Meg, I’m praying for you. I would like to take you under my wings and protect you from ever getting hurt, but I know that is not what God wants. You will have to go through some pain and some hard question’s, because God is probly testing you, to see if you will run to friends or run to him. Love you and praying for you, Meg.

    2. Meg, I am praying for you too. I know what it is like to want others to comfort me and to look to them for my security. I agree with Joyce. There will be pain, probably deep pain, but you must learn to run to Jesus and not your friends. Love you. He will bring you through this and make you a strong woman of God.

    3. Meg,
      Joyce and Diane have shared a lot of wisdom with you, I agree with them and am praying also for you. I know you are hurting and in a hard place. Even if you don’t “feel” like God is with you, speak the truth from His Word to your soul that He is with you, and will never leave nor forsake you. Jesus is a Friend who sticks closer than a brother. Throw your whole self on the foundation of that truth.

  21. C. Rebecca did not think idolatry was a problem for her. She had a better understanding than stone idols and the golden calf of Exodus for she mentioned a job and something else.

    D. Right now I have a better understanding of idols than I have ever had. Until the pastor at church began to make them real, I never gave idolatry a second thought, at least not in relation to my life. I thought it was pagan and because I was saved it did not deserve consideration. How blind I was.

    E. According to Jonah 2:8 idols separate us from faithful love.

    F. Rebecca’s heart idol was comfort. It promised her peace and love but delivered pain and separation from the Lord.

    G. My idol of approval caused me to be unfaithful to my Lord. I sacrificed devotion to Him for the approval of others. What I wanted was love and they would never give me that. The approval of others is very fickle. But He LOVES! When I think about this contrast I am amazed. People may approve but they don’t love, at least not when an idol is operating. Jesus loves no matter what and that makes me want to devote my life to Him, every ounce of my being.

    H. The stream metaphor reminds me of canoeing. In a canoe you go only where the current leads. You navigate it but you don’t paddle upstream. Successful navigation of the current and around the rocks is challenging and brings great satisfaction. The bottom line though is that He carries us. Love this metaphor and pray to experience it with the Lord.

    I. Tim, thank you so much for doing this video. I almost said ‘for us’ but I know that its purpose will go far beyond we on this blog. Her message is powerful for the tearing down of strongholds. It is very well done and I agree with all of the comments that have been shared.

    1. Anne,
      In your answer to G., you make a powerful point about the difference between the approval of others and the love of God. “People may approve but they don’t love…Jesus loves no matter what”.

    2. I agree with Susan about your answer to G. Powerful thoughts.

      Also, I love your canoeing imagery. I too love to canoe (but only downstream). Never thought about how canoeing with the current is like following God’s will. He carries us, but there is so much freedom and satisfaction seeing what he brings into view as we round the corner of the stream.

      1. Dee, are you referring to the Henry Blackaby study? I did that one but don’t remember that part.

  22. A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)

    Unless the news she watched is “happier” than most news, watching news may not decrease stress. Weight gain from regular ice cream eating also may increase stress. This seems similar to part of Gen 4:7 “But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door.”

    I’m confused by the first and last parts of the verse: “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?” and “it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” How does this relate to “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” in Is 64 or the fact that our righteousness is because of Jesus? “You must rule over it” sounds like a command to do something out of sheer determination rather than in His strength.

    HELP 🙂 I’ve always had some trouble with the surface of this passage. The problem must’ve been Cain’s heart, but it reads as if he was set up. What does it mean to “do what is right?” (Obviously, killing your brother isn’t right)

    B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:

    * Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    This is wonderful. Very refreshing after my struggling with the last verse. He gives strength & power. Better yet, it’s not a one shot deal: “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” RENEWAL… after events of this afternoon, I NEED that. I do hope in the Lord!! He will give strength over the news/ice cream night after night.

    * 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)

    To dear Rebecca, God’s elect, one of the exiles scattered in North America; you have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

    Grace and peace be yours IN ABUNDANCE.

    5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

    I was so distraught that I tried jumping into #5 before I did #4 (and before I looked up the passages from Isaiah and I Peter). I was so frustrated that I ended up in tears. I definitely didn’t have to go on an idol hunt on my own strength today. I’m seeing now that God allowed me become very unhappy so that I could begin to deal with some persistent idols.

    A. What is the lie? Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.

    I don’t know how well I can pick this apart, but here goes: The idols were approval and control. First, control: I have to do what is right (provide accurate information and advocate for someone who is being dumped upon and doesn’t know it yet), and I have to “win” (be effective). The second part, winning, was the lie. I needed to leave the situation in God’s hands. Second, approval: Causing conflict isn’t good; I have to stick up for what is right, but people won’t like me (this is likely true). Lie: I NEED people to like me (even if I don’t like them 🙂 ) (Approval seems like a strange idol for me because when I know people well I certainly don’t mind annoying them)

    Another lie: I can’t take this any more. I’m just going to give up.

    B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

    I do have to stand up for what is right. God will give me the strength to do what is right (he cares more about it than I do). Plus, He is in control. I don’t have to police a situation to make sure I “win” because I can trust that His control is WAAAY better than mine. AND His approval is most important. I may feel like an alien, an exile in this world, but I have His grace and peace IN ABUNDANCE.

    C. Also, take this same lie, and reflect on The Great I AM’s we studied during Lent and speak again to your soul, refuting the lie that Jesus won’t be enough, can’t really rescue you from this, with something that quickened you during Lent.

    I want to reflect more, but for now… “I AM” stirs up awe in me; I AM takes the focus off me and my temporary problems. I’m laughing because when I think of WHO HE IS, concern about approval from other people seems silly. Quite an exercise, started with tears of frustration and ended with tears of relief.

    God obviously orchestrated an event of today for my participation in this study. I’ve been “Miss Happiness” for the last several days; but unhappiness is what reveals the idols. WHAM — they have been revealed. This has shown me that obedience sometimes requires leaning into the hard stuff. And now I need a deep breath and a glass of water.

    1. Praying for you, Renee

      1. Thanks Joyce.

        I think idols keep me awake, working, and posting from a smartphone in the middle of the night.

    2. Renee,
      I will pray for you – sounds like you had a really rough time at work! It’s hard for me to fully understand as I am not in the world of business, but in any situation, working with people is difficult, and of course, you cannot control THEIR idols!

      I think your question about the Genesis verse, where God tells Cain to do what is right and you will be accepted, refers to their sacrifices to God. Abel was giving God from the first of his flock, and Cain decided to approach God his own way, and then he was jealous of Abel because God had regard for Abel’s sacrifice but not for Cain’s. I think God was trying to tell Cain, in effect, it’s really not so hard – just do what I told you to do, offer Me a right sacrifice, and I will accept you.
      I think God knew what was brewing in Cain’s heart – murder – hatred of his brother – and that is the sin crouching at the door, and it was waiting to overtake Cain completely. For Cain to rule over it, he needed to obey God, not his evil desires.
      Hope this helps!

      1. Yes, that “fits” 🙂

  23. Oh sisters, what an enormous week. We have a two day event at church in which I am in charge of decor, my lady is needing lots of extra help and two people wanted to look at our house and wouldn’t be put off (we were going to try and sell it May 1 but the word got out) and of course the funeral. I am praying and pondering. Hope to get on after the event, Saturday.

    1. Glad you could pop on now. Have a good rest of the week— Saturday isn’t that far away 🙂

    2. I know the program your talking about (through our bible study) and wish I could attend, but can’t. But I pray that everything will go well for you, Kim as you have such a full plate. You are such a dear to volunteer for so many christian things. Praying for you!

    3. Thank you, sisters!

  24. 4. Let’s start with the lies Rebecca’s comfort idol was telling her:

    Your life is so stressful (that’s the true part 🙂  ) you need this time at night to watch the news and eat so you will be less stressed.

    A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)

    Rebecca thought food and tv were the answers to her troubles. She needed some “down” time because she had/has a very stressful life raising the boys and having her husband at work all the time.

    B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:

    * Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    29 He gives strength to the weary
       and increases the power of the weak.
    30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
       and young men stumble and fall;
    31 but those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,

    So Rebecca could read this scripture and feel strength in the Lord, instead of finding renewal in eating and tv. This passage says anyone who hopes in the Lord will never feel weary.

    * 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)

     1 Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin. 2 As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

    So living with our hard, stressful lives is like Jesus dying on the cross. He suffered so, and we must remember that. He gave up everything for us, even His life. We can’t be just “bought” or “bribed” by human desires, not when His pain was too great for us to be so flippant about it. Would a piece of pie really be an equivalent to His life? It’s kind of an insult really. Would a tv program replace the cross? When we are low and stressed we should run to the Bible to find the encouragement and strength we need to move on.

    1. Two things come to mind here….I am one to talk! I am genuinely stressed right now; I laid my head down and cried a few days ago. I told some of my students how much I had to do (especially taking the test that covers 8 classes – 226 page study guide) and they said they thought I was being very calm. One kid also said, “and she has a family!” I think this is new for me. In the past I would have be “panicked.” I now have sense of peace that follows me. When my student said this to me I thought yay! God has really helped me work on this! He is shining through me! Yay again! Now I just have to believe that I can make it through the the next few weeks with Him and reading my Bible. Thes verses are awesome for giving strength. Does anyone have some others to share with me? I just need to know God is near, He will help me know what to study and He will give mr the questions on the test that I know best so I will do well. This is my prayer.

      1. Laura,
        I dont know how you manage your full plate – family and work and school! I am thankful that God is showing Himself strong for you, and I’ll be praying for you.

      2. Laura, I think your doing great already!

  25. H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

    Yes, many years ago, my intimacy with the Lord was like that. I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning to spend time with Him. I saw Him answering prayer and working in my life. I can’t seem to get back to that place. I have closeness with my children, and my parents, but I don’t seem to have deep intimacy with anyone in my life right now, not my husband, not a close friend. I feel kind of “shut down” inside. There must be some large rocks in my spiritual stream, and I’m not sure what they are – sin, depression, lack of trust, or have I given up?

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?

    You did a great job, Tim! I like the still reeds in the beginning, the parts where Rebecca is walking with her boys – someone else commented on this, too, but when she says God did not change her circumstances – then it returns to her and the boys, it makes the point that God changed her. I like the different shots of Rebecca, especially seeing her close-up and we can see her expressive face, and how it ends with her reflecting by the water stream.

    1. Susan, I wonder if now is just a dry time for you. If it is any of the things you mentioned I think the Lord would reveal it to you. I would specifically pray and ask. If He does not reveal anything I would hang on for an end to a dry spell.

  26. 6. What thoughts to you have on the above message from R. C. Sproul?

    Funny, when I closed my eyes nothing came. I pictured God not as anyone or anything because he is too beautiful to glorious for me to imagine-so it was hard to picture Him-I thought, oops maybe something is wrong with me? My imagination must still be asleep! Eventually I did see wings spread out, coming close, like a warm blanket around me, but nothing with color-just shadows. 🙂

    I agreed with Sproul that we can’t comprehend or grasp His essence. I liked how he used the word GOD and brought out that that isn’t literally God-it is a word that describes Him-Doctrines are important and tell us about God-even our true statements about God are not God.

    I loved this: “What we want to do is ultimately not to know about God, but to know God-to know Him, the person, the being-that is the goal of our study. But on the other hand we can’t know anything about him except through these ideas, concepts and images.”

    All of the images people gave him as they pictured God are forms taken from our anatomy to describe God-when they talked of Him as God as a rainbow, light-we are taking those images from human experience-they are rich in meaning and even the Bible does that and it is because we are humans, and we can’t blow it off and say it isn’t important because it is.

  27. C. Also, take this same lie, and reflect on The Great I AM’s we studied during Lent and

    speak again to your soul, refuting the lie that Jesus won’t be enough, can’t really

    rescue you from this, with something that quickened you during Lent.

    Jesus Is the Great I Am! there is none besides him! He is Soveirgn over my circumstances!

    Thank you Lord that you are the Great I am and that you are soveirgn over my circumstances.. You are the source of Joy and I just pray that you would fill me with Joy right now.. I am not feeling joyful at all..

    Thank you Jesus!

  28. 3A. Why did Rebecca initially come on the blog? (I think this is key to her success!)
    She was missing intimacy with God.

    B. Why are you here?
    I have long seen the worth of women’s Bible study groups and have started groups in the small churches we are in now. I know how much they help me to go deeper in my faith. Also, I was introduced to Dee several years ago when I read and loved her book, Friendship of Women. My daughter had mentioned that Dee had a blog about two years ago and I had checked it out but did not join. At that point I was not looking for a Bible study group. Late last summer my daughter was in crisis and I stayed with her for several weeks (she lives too far away for me to travel back and forth each day). I was missing my women’s Bible study group and needed the push to get into Scripture plus the prayer support, so I joined Dee’s blog when Dee extended the invitation to join. Now my daughter is struggling again and I am having a hard time keeping up as I spend part of each week at her place with her three little boys, but know the value of being here to follow as best I can. I have gained a new appreciation for the importance of following hard after Jesus, and a deeper awareness that sin isn’t just lying, stealing – but my accepting of the lies that Satan feeds me and attitudes of the heart. Indulging in self-pity or in food or in trying to please others instead of God is every bit as much sin that hurts God as murder.

    C. When she saw it was on idolatry — what was her initial reaction and why?
    She thought idols were only those little statues that people pray to in places like India, the same as most people do.

    D. Where are you in understanding idols of the heart? What do you think they are?
    For a long time I have been aware that idols were not just those little statues in India, but didn’t know how to articulate what idols really were. Now, based on Dee and Keller, I realize that idols are anything or anyone that we depend on when we should be depending on God. If we depend on a particular comfort to keep us happy or secure, it is an idol. If we depend on someone’s approval and feel devastated without it, it is an idol. If we depend upon our ability to control the situation, control is an idol. Even good things become idols, if they become the ultimate thing. Some examples could be husband, family, friends, money, nice home, entertainment, food, career but the list could be endless. We tend to obsess over how much we need our idols.

  29. E. Heart idols are an attempt to solve a problem, but, what does Jonah 2:8 say they really do?
    “Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

    When we depend on other things to make us happy, we are forsaking our hope in the steadfast love of God. Forsaking means “To give up (something formerly held dear),” like a lover. In this case the lover is Jesus. We usually don’t look on our indulgences as seriously as we should; we look at them as minor weaknesses. We say, “I can’t help it,” or “That’s just the way I am,” or “I deserve this.” When we look for our fulfilment in anything else, we are telling God, “I don’t need you or want you to meet my needs. I can do this on my own.” Or sometimes we are essentially saying to God, “You cannot meet my needs, so I will do this myself.”

    F. What was Rebecca’s heart idol and how did it boomerang on her?
    Her food and TV did not meet her heart needs, plus she gained a lot of weight as well. She ended up dissatisfied and empty.

    G. What is your heart idol (if you know — and you may not yet!) and how has it hurt you?

    People have been one of my major heart idols. When I met and married my wonderful Christian husband, I thought he would meet all my needs. When I discovered he could not, I turned to my children. When they could not either, I turned to a friend. At times I secretly considered leaving my husband because I was so unhappy and he was not meeting what I considered my legitimate needs. We are still working our way back to deeper, more meaningful communication. It is a lifelong process. My friend has stuck with me through pretty rough waters when I was mad at her and at God for not “being there for me”. I put way too many expectations on both my husband and on my friend and we have many scars to bear painful witness. I need to focus on God to meet my deepest relational needs, not even the best, and most loving people.

    1. Diane,
      Thank you for such frank honesty as you answered about what is your heart idol. I can so relate to all you said. When my husband did not meet my needs, I turned to my children. I still do turn to my youngest, my daughter, to meet my needs for love and affection and companionship. I know what it’s like to be mad at my friend when she’s “not there for me”. You are right, not even the best, most loving family and friends can meet our deepest needs, only God can.

    2. Diane, I love the way you have learned through hardships, what your heart really needs.

  30. H. Rebecca compared intimacy with God to a stream. Have you experienced this with the Lord? If so, explain.

    “Intimacy with God is like a stream and I really hate it when the rocks get in the way.”
    I wish Rebecca had elaborated a bit about how intimacy with God is like a stream and what the rocks are that get in the way. A stream is ever moving, soothing and fresh. It is a source of moisture and nutrition to the plants that are fed by their roots, and to the water organisms that are fed by it.

    Yes, the Lord has sustained me deep in my roots through storms, and lulls, sunshine and rain. He is always there, asking me to come to Him and drink deeply of his Living Water to quench my deepest needs and to nourish me as I walk in obedience. It is like, no matter where I walk, Jesus, the stream, stays right within reach to strengthen and comfort me.

    I. Can you encourage our new friend Tim Mahoney with comments on this video?

    Good job, Tim.

    I love the water imagery – the cattails at the beginning, the pond in the background as Rebecca talks, the bridge backdrop to the boys with Rebecca, and the final shot of Rebecca looking over the falls. I wish there could have been a natural stream in the video.

    What a great job you did, Rebecca. You explained things so well. I especially appreciated how you explained that your circumstances have not changed, but you have. I also liked that you emphasized how much God loves us and how it hurts him so much when we turn to our idols instead of him.

    One suggestion: This may seem trite, but I was distracted by the strand of hair that was out of place on the top of Rebecca’s head. The first time I watched it, I found myself looking at the hair instead of focussing on what she was saying. I found myself thinking that Rebecca might have been embarrassed when she saw the video with that hair out of place.

    1. Diane, just read your suggestion-very good! All of the suggestions from everyone have been helpful. If anyone knows me well, they know I appreciate honesty and constructive criticism-it is hard to hurt my feelings unless someone comes at me and calls me names or something. 😉 SO, just wanted to assure everyone of that.

      I hated the hair part too-also I didn’t like the squinting either. We are re-doing the testimony part but are going to try to leave in the voice over at the beginning and the end with my boys on the bridge and the stream with me contemplating. I think we are going to try to redo it tomorrow morning depending on the weather, so pray! 🙂

  31. 4. Let’s start with the lies Rebecca’s comfort idol was telling her:
    Your life is so stressful (that’s the true part 🙂 you need this time at night to watch the news and eat so you will be less stressed.

    A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)
    Genesis 4:7 (ESV)
    7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”
    1 Peter 5:8 (ESV)
    Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

    The lies: “I need this.” News and food were promising to relieve her stress, but ultimately they did not. If this form of relief was a lie, then this was Satan trying to devour her, crouching at the door. The Enemy was trying to keep her from something better, or perhaps to have her curl around her loneliness and feed her bitterness.

  32. B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages:
    * Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    Isaiah 40:29-31 (ESV)
    29 He gives power to the faint,
    and to him who has no might he increases strength.
    30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
    and young men shall fall exhausted;
    31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
    they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

    Truth: We are human, we become weary and even exhausted. But God gives power and strength to those who have none of their own. As we wait on the Lord he will renew us, our strength give us power to fly, to run without tiring, and to walk without fainting.

    * 1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)
    4 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.

    Truth: God’s purpose for us is that we live “for the rest of our lives … no longer for human passions, but for the will of God.” Wow! Suffering is God’s way to free us from sin so that we live for His best, in His will.

    1. Diane, your words really helped me as you speak from experience.

    2. So good, Diane!

  33. Miss You, Chris S….hope you are okay!

  34. A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help) She tought TV and pie would satisfy her cravings and stress, but that is the lie…only God can do satify us.

    B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time — but find the truth in the following passages: Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul.)

    29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
    30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
    31 but those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary

    Oh My! How this verse comforts and speaks the truth to me! I am copying these verses and putting them where I can read them each day! I grow weary everyday as I’m sure Rebecca and Angela, Cyndi (miss you, Angela!) and all of us…not just the one’s with special needs children…all of us. Look what Kim does, volunteering to help other’s…she is such an example to me. Kim you remind me of Janet Yost,(that Dee come back to her funeral for). She kept busy helping other’s all the time. What a gift! God promises to renew our strength in these verses…we need to claim that each day we grow weary!

    1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk.)

    1 Peter 4:1-2 “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin”.
    2 “As a result, they do not live the rest of their earthly lives for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.”

    Rebecca, and all of us, the hardships of life we go through are like the suffering Jesus went throught for us. We need to rejoice for our suffering here on earth, and we are blessed because we do endure the pain and hardships. Beg for God’s will in our life and not our own will.

  35. 5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

    This question is very simular to the one I answered above, so I brought it down here.

    I find that I lie to myself with this lie, the most… ” It’s okay, go ahead and have this, I deserve it.” It could be for food or anything shopping or even to not try walking more and just rest. It’s a LIE! I say it in my head and it’s not from God. I recognize it now when I tell myself that, but I use to listen to it and allow myself to endulge in the things I thought I deserved instead of spending time with God.

    A. What is the lie? Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.

    Yes, I have experienced the pain of this idol lie and can now feel how it is breaking Jesus’s heart when I go to that lie for comfort and not to Jesus. The lie is telling myself “I deserve this.”, when Jesus is the only one that deserves anything, for the sacrifices he made for me.

  36. 4 A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)
    Comfort idol was telling Rebecca she deserved to have more that what she had. She shouldn’t have to suffer and that TV and food would provide a much earned escape. She could lose herself in the moment and take care of herself because no one else would.

    5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

    A. What is the lie? Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.
    The lie is that I should be able to control my life and the lives of those around me, and that I know what is best. Further, the lie is that if I really trust Him, He might “make me” do something I don’t like—He might let my life be too hard, too much struggle, something really awful could come.

    B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

    Oh I need this today—thank you Dee for always letting the Spirit guide you in the lesson, that blesses us.
    Isaiah 40:29-31, in my own words–He gives me power when I am faint, increases my strength to fight the temptation to doubt Him. If I am willing to wait, while it is hard, while I am struggle so, to wait, waiting is hard for me and I don’t like it. My mind just wants to know the outcome—prepare somehow. I guess it’s the trust part that is so hard. Yes, I know He is good, but He just isn’t safe—and sometimes, sometimes I really just want safe. But if I will sit in it, wait with Him, He sits shiva with me, and as I learn to TRUST, He will renew my strength.
    And 1 Peter 4:1-2–Since Jesus suffered far more than I will ever go through, think like Him—and see my sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get my own way. Then I will experience the freedom of living truly for Him and not my self.

    I can’t type more today—but I wanted to say, if Diane reads this—I loved what you shared about going to husband, then kids…it is still something He is teaching me, and I loved hearing your honest heart. Love you all–love our group so much

    1. Love you too, Elizabeth…praying for your nerve pain to leave you.

  37. B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

    Yes, it may involve suffering, but if it does it causes me to cling closer to him. I need to be thankful for my trials.

  38. Dee, Just read your newsletter. Love it! So glad to hear you have Rebecca on board 🙂

    I do have to say that seeing the pic of the cow on the computer screen between the pics of Rebecca and Sadie CRACKS ME UP!

    1. Me too!! Of course cows in NE are common place, but that one seems to be saying…”Are you serious?!”

    2. OH yes, I loved the cow picture too and the girls are growing up-so, so precious!

  39. Great newsletter, Dee. Beautiful picture of you, Rebecca. Of course, the babies are ADORABLE! And who can resist the big-lashed brown eyes of the cow. 🙂 Love your sense of humour, Dee.

    1. Did I miss Dee’s picture, Diane? The grand daughter’s are just too precious!!

      1. No, Joyce. I saw no picture of Dee – just Rebecca, Cow, and grandbabies.

  40. 4a the lies. 1) I need something other than God. 2)Food will help me to feel less stressed. 3) TV will help me to deal with stress in life. 4) this may seem far fetched but I have been looking in James at the difference between worldly wisdom and heavenly wisdom. The news is worldly wisdom and I just don’t think it helps us at all. I can’t think of a time when it has been useful to me unless it was a storm warning.

    Cain’s sin was deep. He hated his brother before the murder and would not go to him for a lamb to sacrifice. Cain was the farmer and Abel the shepherd. He had to obtain a lamb from Abel but refused. Then he sinned again in offering to God a sacrifice like the pagans offered to their gods. The greater sin was crouching at the door. He could have forgiven whatever the offense was between he and his brother and obtained a lamb but he refused and murder resulted. God was calling to him in Genesis 4:7 but he did not listen.

    B. I can tell myself the truth that God will strengthen meand lift me up above the stresses of life as i rely on Him for strength and fill my life with Him.
    Wow! I think that Peter is saying that suffering can give us victory over sin, giving us the ability to live free of fleshly desires and for God’s will.

    1. Good perceptive thoughts on Cain, Anne. And aren’t 1 Peter 4:1-2 amazing verses; “suffering can give us victory over sin, giving us the ability to live free of fleshly desires and for God’s will”.

    2. “I can’t think of a time when it has been useful to me unless it was a storm warning.” Good point, Ann 🙂

    3. Anne, I don’t want to rabbit trail, but so true about the news. I think it is becoming more Tabloidish than anything else.

      I loved how you brought out that God was calling to Cain but he didn’t listen. Again, it reminds me of Elizabeth’s analogy of the stream and the rocks-the water pushing through the rocks-God pursuing us. His amazing Grace. If we listen, and lay down before Him, He will remove the rocks that get in the way. God pursued Cain. I am not sure but I wonder what God’s emotions were when he said that to Cain. I wonder if he was pleading with him? Not sure about that-would be interesting to know.

  41. The Sermon questions:
    I listened to most of the sermon, but received a phone call during the last part of it. Forgot about it until now. (That’s a disclaimer in case I’m a little off 🙂 ). Sproul was making the point that we can’t accurately imagine/picture/comprehend God. He asked people what pictures they had in their minds when they imagined God and described how old man, bright light, rainbow or other pictures that might even contain hints of the truth don’t represent Him.

    Other comments: When the people in Sproul’s audience were asked to picture God, I imagined the big dark flashing letters “I AM.” But I cannot begin to comprehend God’s awesomeness, power, love and more.

    It’s nice to have a “light” sermon with an easy to remember main point, but I really do like sermons in which I carefully think through, wrestle with, and apply Scripture or think about a passage in a new way.

    God’s timing with this study in my life this week was amazing. I grabbing my soul by the neck and yelling truth to it. I am more sane now than yesterday. But what concerns me is that I talked to someone who seemed nice/normal and then became more relaxed. The conversation was work-related but a friendly telemarketer may have had the same effect. GOd’s truth helped me during a difficult situation, but having a work-related conversation also helped. I’m not sure what to make of this; I would like to think that I relaxed and calmed down from Scripture, but that wasn’t the whole story. Thanks for your prayers 🙂

  42. Joyce, How is Kendra doing now? And how are you with the responsibility and pain? Praying for you.

    1. Thank you Renee, actually Kendra got her walking boot off and back into her special shoes made for her, just today! We help her walk as she is very scard after being in a cast/walking boot for almost 3 months. We have an appointment to have orthotics or AFO’s made for her ankle’s and feet as her arches are broken down, plus they go off towards to outside’s like this / on the right, and opposite way on the left. So she is walking on the outsides of her feet and she has gained some weight in the last 5 yrs. (no exercise), and her ankle’s are week, so her feet can’t support her weight. She wore them alot when she was growing up, and a little walker, but the braces never helped. Please pray for her, as she is mentally delayed, so she’s like a 5 yr. old, in a 25 yr.old body, with arthritis already showing up in her x-rays. It’s going to be very hard for her to adjust to the braces, but she must have them, or she will continue to fall and hurt herself. She has fallen and broken each foot in the last 2 yrs.

      Our caregiver we had….Shanon, only 22 yrs old, with a husband and 2 little girls has breast cancer and some into her spine. She is very depressed and tired and ill all the time , and has lost her pretty long hair. She is in my prayer’s all the time. She wants to come back when she feels better, and we love her, but she won’t be able to lift anything, so I don’t know how much she could help Kendra take a bath or shower. That’s what I need help with the most, as I need a new knee and more back surgery. So we are in limbo as to what to do. I don’t want to just replace Shanon.

      I need to use a walker, but don’t want to resort to that. I’m in pain if I stand too long or I sit too long and can not stand up straight. My vertebrae’s are crumbling…it is called degenerative Spondyolisthesis. I need more fusing on up my back. (will be my 4th surgery). My husband needs a new hip and has feet problems because of diabeties. But we are getting along okay for now. I kinda got carried away, going on and on about our problem’s…sorry! Please lift things the proper way everyone, as I didn’t for years and am paying for it now. Thanks

      1. Thanks for the update, Joyce. I hope Kendra is able to gain some strength in her legs again, and adjusts to braces. I also hope Shanon recovers from breast cancer. Such a tough thing! As for you, wow! You need help. It may be hard to replace Shanon, but I’m thinking you should, even if it is temporary while Shanon hopefully recovers.

        And I can’t imagine what it is like to have such chronic pain. I was just pleading with God for relief and hope for a good friend in chronic pain as well as stress, and I will pray the same for you. I know God doesn’t waste a pain, but most of the time, it is a mystery to me, especially long-term pain and difficulties.

        Please don’t think that we are thinking you are complaining as you explain the situation with you and Kendra. It helps us to pray for you.

      2. Joyce, I will pray for you-I can’t wait until the day when all of this will be undone, and it will. I hate that you are going through such hardships, but I see His beauty in you, sister.

      3. Joyce, I am very glad that Renee asked. I agree with Diane and Rebecca. I am thinking of our verses in 1 Peter 4:1&2. Lord I pray for Your strength to rise up in Joyce, Maurice and Kendra too. May Your presence and love be visible to them at every turn as they walk this difficult road. With them I also look forward to the day when this will all become untrue.

      4. Dear Lord, you know the needs of this family best. You made each and every one and know every hair on their head. Thank you for the way they work together to help each other. Thank you for their loving hearts. Help them to deal with the pain of their earthly bodies and to know just what to do to make it better. If it is not possible to relieve the pain, please help them feel your presence near them always. Help them remember your pain on the cross and know that you will hold them up. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

      5. These are hard things, Joyce. I agree with everyone’s prayers for you and will keep praying. I like Diane’s suggestion that you try to get another health aide to help with Kendra, even if only temporarily. I think Shanon would understand. With your back and Maurice’s hip, you do need help with Kendra.

      6. Oh Joyce, Thank you for the update — to help pray for you more specifically. Praying that you will know His strength, love, and wisdom. So glad you shared this.

      7. oh dear sweet Joyce, I am just keeping you on my heart today–praying for His healing, peace, comfort. You are so brave and humble me so–much love and prayers to you~

        1. Thank you all so much..I love all of you

      8. Oh Joyce, so much…I am praying for all of it.

  43. Cyndi how is Lily doing? How are you doing?

    I miss you…Anne Meridith, Laura Marie, Dawn, Chris S., Chris G., JoAnne, Lucy and Julie!!!!!

  44. I can’t seem to get back to sleep–just mind is full I guess, so here I am . I answered earlier about my idol of control–it’s an easy one for me to talk of–I appear to be organized, and “in control”, I think I’m expected to have that idol and I do….but what’s been pulling on my heart all evening is the deep, painful feelings inside me right now–that point to the idol of approval still at work in me.
    Today I felt rejected by a child, some old friends, and new…and the old lies crept in–I’m not quite good enough. Loved, but not as much…a B+, never going to be the A. It’s an old set of lies I listened to my whole life–I was good but forgettable, unnoticeable-not like my older siblings.

    Now I must go to the Truth to combat these lies. He alone makes me worthy. It is He who says I am worth the price, I am of value because I am His. I believe it when I type this now, I know this is truth. It is amazing how quickly I fell today to the old lies, I haven’t heard them in my mind in a while. I think I’ve just gotten weary the past few days–and quickly the lies came rushing in to take over.

    Now I will choose to replace those thoughts with the truth:1 Peter 1:18-20 “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you”

    1. Elizabeth, So glad you came on to ask for prayer and gave us a sampling of what it looks like to replace lying thoughts! Yes, you are of value-Psalm 45:13 “All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.” He loves you so, and so do we! 🙂

      1. Love this verse Rebecca! Elizabeth, His beauty does shine through you as you expose the lies with truth. This is great victory!

    2. Eleizabeth, I cried when I read this verse from Peter…it doesn’t matter what happens here on earth; He loves us and shed blood for us. It touches deeply for me. Thank you for posting this; I needed the comfort.

    3. thank you all–i didn’t expect replies, but thank you for reading. I sure don’t feel a victory yet–but I know intellectually, the way out is to speak the Truth over my lies.

      Laura dancer–YOU encouraged me, thank you–that this vs spoke to you made me see it really was His voice leading me to it–so thank you.

      I finally fell back asleep a bit after posting and woke with the song “Pass me not, O gentle Savior,Hear my humble cry;While on others Thou art calling,Do not pass me by”–and then I saw your words, and I am comforted by Him–He will never pass me by–He’s proven that already.

    4. Elizabeth,
      Praying for you….rejection is a very painful emotion, yes it is. It hurts, and makes us feel “not quite good enough”. It may comfort you also that Jesus Himself experienced rejection and He understands how you feel. Yes, YOU were worthy of the price He paid to redeem you!

      1. thank you Susan–I prayed for you this morning because as “Pass Me Not” came to mind–I was thinking (may be wrong here) that you had mentioned that song once before too. I’ve also been continuing to pray for Adam this weekend–he is so blessed to have you

    5. Lord

      I lift Elizabeth to you Lord she is your child and I pray that she will counter those lies with truth thank you that she was able to get back to sleep but be her strength today Lord as I am sure she is tired . In Jesus name amen

      Love you Elizabeth!

    6. Bless you, Elizabeth! I have trouble speeping too. But the Lord really opened his heart up to you when you couldn’t sleep. Praying for you as you battle the lie.

  45. 5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

    My control idol.

    A. What is the lie?  Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.

    I can control my circumstances. Oh yes! Many times I am way out of control! For example, I thought I could teach my children that smoking, drinking, getting tattoos, and piercings was wrong. I thought they would listen and know better just because I said it; they would respect me. Ha! That’s a joke 🙁 my son chose to put tattoes all over his body; I can barely look at him now. Everytime I do it is painful and sad. I remember that I took such great care of him when he was a baby, then a toddler, and then an adolescent. I can’t believe my hard work was all for naught. My daughter has facial piercings. It is gross. These were my beautiful children and now they are freaks. I hate our society and especially the entertainment industry. That’s why I rarely watch movies. I won’t support actors and actresses who are so out there; talking about how we should do this and that politically and then they make millions and billions of dollars and ruin my kids. Oh yes, it is painful.

    B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

    I suppose the truth is that God still loves my children even though they are flawed. The kids have very sweet hearts; people often tell me this. They are nice people; they help others when in need. Yes, I still suffer when I look at them..
    Their outside is not the whole story. I can’t control them. They are free thinkers and I will have to accept their choices even when I think they are bad. It could be painful for a very long time.

    C. Also, take this same lie, and reflect on The Great I AM’s we studied during Lent and speak again to your soul, refuting the lie that Jesus won’t be enough, can’t really rescue you from this, with something that quickened you during Lent.

    I guess the thing that keeps coming back to me is that Jesus can do anything. He can be within my children’s hearts and they can eventually be able to see how their actions were wrong. I suppose my son could eventually get the tattoos removed and my daughter can remove the piercings. More importantly, they can have God in their lives again.

    1. Oh Laura you have expressed your pain so vividly. As a mother I can relate. We care so much for our children and as they grow so much of that care is expressed in their physical bodies. I am so glad that you are able to see beyond to their hearts. This battle is spiritual. “For this reason I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. [I pray] that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. [I pray] that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth [of God’s love], (Ephesians 3:14-18 HCSB)” Lord I pray also that Laura’s children would see the lies that they have believed and hate them. Draw them to the truth which is Christ Jesus. May her daughter hate this ‘jewelry’ and remove it. Amen

      I was looking for this in Ephesians as I thought and prayed about what you have shared. We see see the flesh and blood, tattoos, piercings and wicked people in places of influence, but the battle belongs to the Lord! Amen? We are preparing to take our stand as we study and draw near to Him.
      Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13 HCSB)

    2. Laura,
      I am sorry for your hard family situation. I think all of us moms can relate to trying to control our children. It was so easy when they were young – we were “big” in their eyes and they mostly listened to our instruction and advice. But, when they grow into adults, suddenly mom doesn’t know everything! They make their own choices.
      Try to remember that God loves them even more than you, because He is the perfect parent. He is looking past the tattoos and body piercings and looking at their hearts.

    3. Praying for you, Laura dancer. It is so hard watching our adult children make choices we feel are wrong. Yep, I understand that old control idol wanting to jump in and “fix” things. It’s so hard when we have to restrain ourselves and not try to fix, but pray and continue to love them.

  46. I don’t have anything to comment on right now,but want to start to participate in the Bible study and am trying to figure out how to do that. Per the instructions it looks like this is how?

  47. 4. Let’s start with the lies Rebecca’s comfort idol was telling her:

    A. Find the lies. (Be merciless and specific! Genesis 4:7 might help)

    The lies were: you need to be comforted due to all the stress from your family life, you need to eat sweets until you are full to bursting and that will ease your pain, you need to tune out your stress and tune into the news to get your mind off your problems. These things will satisfy your need to have time for yourself.
    In regards to the verse, our idols are always crouching and desire to have us, but we must learn to master (replace) them.

    B. Rebecca told us she was afraid if she didn’t do this, that God would let her sit in her pain. She would have to suffer for a time – but find the truth in the following passages:

    Isaiah 40:29-31 (Imagine you are in Rebecca’s place and use this to speak truth to your soul)
    I feel faint and weary and I have no power on my own to replace this idol, to turn away from it and turn instead to God. But if I ask God and wait on Him, He will give me strength to do it. He will help me to walk in His Spirit and not in my flesh.

    1 Peter 4:1-2 (Again, imagine you are Rebecca, and soul talk)
    Remember my soul, how Jesus suffered in His body to defeat sin once and for all. It feels like suffering to say no to my idols, to comforting myself with food and television, but after awhile, the desire to sin in this way will be less and less. Then I wont have to live the rest of my life wasting my time living for myself, but I will be free to live for God.

    5. Think of one of your deep idols and name a lie he tells you.

    A. What is the lie? Have you experienced the pain of this idol lie? If so, share.

    One of my deepest idols is to make idols out of people, putting them in the place God should occupy in my life. The lie is that this person, be it one of my children, or my best friend, or my mom or dad or someone else, will somehow fill me up on the inside, will take away the pain, worry, anxiety, fear, emptiness, or loneliness that I am feeling, or that they will somehow solve a problem I am having. That this person will meet my deepest need and longing for love and intimacy, for connection.
    I have experienced over and over the pain of being disappointed, let-down, unfulfilled, even hurt or rejected.

    B. What is the truth that could help you move toward God? Will this involve suffering?

    I am thinking back to that time about 12 years ago when I enjoyed such intimacy with God, and it was because I went through a frightening experience due to a health problem and I was so overwhelmed with fear and anxiety and I tried to rely on people for a sense of safety and security, but found I could not. For example, my husband just is not a very empathetic person and he could not understand what I was going through. He’s not a “hand-holder” or a comforter. I would try to call a friend or family member on the phone when I was home alone, and they either wouldn’t answer or the line was busy. My best friend was recovering from pancreatitis and a hospital stay herself, so she was unavailable to physically be with me. I was suffering, because I am a very laid-back, calm person and this was so unlike me to be fearful and anxious all the time. The health problem involved my heart, and I would sit outside if weather permitted, thinking that if I keeled-over, at least maybe a neighbor would find me; this was during the day when my boys were at school and I was alone. I was pregnant with my daughter, and after she was born, the fear/anxiety only intensified.
    Little by little, I began to turn to God. It started with when I was still pregnant, and trying to call someone to no avail, that I opened my Bible and talked to God, thanking Him that His “line is never busy”. I read in Hebrews 4:15 that “I do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with my weaknesses, but I have one who has been tempted in every way-yet was without sin.” It comforted me to know that Jesus, in His humanity, was made like me in every way except sin, so He understood how I was feeling.

    I was reading Treasures in the Snow to my boys, and from that book I read the verse, “Perfect love casts out fear”. After my daughter was born, a dear friend mailed me a letter with this verse, torn-out from her devotional book, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13) I felt like God Himself had sent me that letter!

    It was a process, but I began to get up in the morning and my newborn daughter was there in her little carrier while I prayed, and I told God that my physical heart was literally in His hands and I gave it over to Him to keep it beating like it should be. When I went for a walk, I imagined God was walking with me, holding my right hand.

    I’m doing some “soul talk” to myself right now. I think this is why I’ve been in a dry place for so long. I have forgotten how to do this. I haven’t been doing this. This is where I want to get back to.

    C. Also, take this same lie, and reflect on The Great I AM’s we studied during Lent and speak again to your soul, refuting the lie that Jesus wont be enough, can’t really rescue you from this, with something that quickened you during Lent.

    Soul, it is okay to love your family, your children, but you must not believe the lie that they can be like God, giving you meaning and significance and meeting your every need. Jesus said I AM the Vine, the true Vine. Remember the woman in Keller’s sermon who could not forgive her husband, because her son was her vine. The other woman could, because Jesus was her vine, and she began to draw on Him, on His love, joy, and friendship.
    Jesus is the “Before Abraham was, I AM”. This is the God who loves you – the same God who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, the eternal God who has no beginning and no end. He is the Creator of everything, he is HUGE – and He allows you to know Him and He died for you. This God, the true, living God, I AM WHO I AM, I AM the Bread of Life, I AM the Good Shepherd, I AM the Vine – He is more than enough for you.

    1. Beautiful Susan! You and the Vine, together! Beautiful

    2. So good soul talk, Susan. And you encourage me to keep striving to focus on Christ, to abide in the true Vine.

    3. Love that, Susan!

  48. 7. What’s your take-a-way for the week and why?
    My take away is that I need to remember to replace the lies with truthwhich I had a very hard time doing this week I have been very depressed and wanting to kill myself. I had to go to human services to get some professional help cause my therapist could do any more for me than what she has been doing.

    I am feeling much better today!

    When Rc sprout asked us to close our eyes and try to picture what Jesus was like I got a picture of him holding his arms wide open waiting for me to come to him! I get these pictures a lot!

    Lord thank you that I am doing much better today please help me to counter lies with the truth and to run to you!

    Amen!

    1. Amen Meg. Praying for you as you expose the lies with truth.

    2. Meg, I am sorry you have been struggling with these horrible thoughts. I know that life can be tough and it is frustrating when we don’t understand. I always try to remember a couple if things if I should ever have thoughts as you have had (proactive, not reactive :)).

      1- if I kill myself I will never get to meet my Lord or see my father who died when I was 13. I would also not be able to meet my grandparents whom I never knew, or the people in my family I never knew.

      2- how I would effect all the people here on earth by taking myself away from them in such a selfish act. People who commit suicide (in my opinion) never stop to think about how they hurt those of us who are left. How sad it is for us to know we couldn’t do anything to help our friend or family member get through the hard times.

      Meg, I am praying for you. Please take deep breaths and try to remember that Jesus loves you more than anything on this earth ever could. We, on this Bible study love you too. Blessings.