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AWAKENINGS (Two Week Study May 29th through June 9th )
















It’s all around us — so it is a matter of being alert and giving thanks.

This last week I returned to my cabin. As I ride down through the woods toward the water, the knots in my neck disappear. This place always lifts my soul beyond my self-preoccupation to think about our magnificent God. My son J. R. and his fiance Dianne came, and he helped me get some footage for the curriculum on Idol Lies. I often think of Ann Voskamp’s quote “my camera is a hammer” — how hammering one nail (seeing and thanking) can drive out another (not seeing or thanking.) J. R. ‘s camera was a hammer.

The second night there was a gorgeous sunset, but we didn’t realize until later that it was an extremely rare solar eclipse. We could see that better on the film. Do you see how the moon has eclipsed the sun? How can you see this and not have your heart quickened? He is Lord of all!


Solar Eclipse May 21, 2012 photographed by J. R. Brestin


When I see His glory in nature, I say, with the psalmist:

When I look at your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him?

(Psalm 8:3-4)



J. R. suggested I go down to the beach before the sun disappeared so he could get me walking in front of what we still thought was simply a magnificent sunset. In my rush, my sandal caught on the steps between the deck and the beach, and I somersaulted onto the rocks. I knew I was in trouble. J. R. cried out and came running. Even in the midst of blood and pain, it was a comfort to see how deeply he cared — his tears, his prayers, his scooping me up to get me to the house. His fiance Dianne grabbed a package of frozen blueberries to hold on my goose-egg, and off we drove to the Sturgeon Bay hospital for me to be stitched up. They prayed all the way. Though I was in distress, I also, through these two, sensed God’s care. I deserve nothing, but I sensed His calming presence. We suffer every day in small or big ways — but we must let that suffering draw us to Him, help us sense His presence. (And at least my fall was romantic — tumbling into the sunset…)

I have also sensed His presence in the kindness of strangers…they see my battered face and go the extra mile — even the security agent who patted me down yesterday at the airport was especially gentle and soothing! Every time I hurt it awakens me to how hard it is to be hurt, to be “poor,” to be vulnerable — and how much I need to sense Jesus through others — and I have!


J. R. is my firstborn. I was twenty when he was born: a lost, spoiled, and foolish mother. Despite all that, God’s grace rescued us, and J. R. has grown into a godly man. However, before God awakened to me to my idol of control, I was continually trying to fix my adult children instead of simply praying and trusting God. J. R. and I often disagree, and sometimes the view from my Presbyterian perch seemed so very different from the view from his Pentecostal perch, even though we were looking at the same Lord and the same Gospel. Continually I wanted to show J. R. that my view was the right one and his was the wrong one! I did it openly and side-ways, for my control idol was very creative. This only led to hurt and withdrawal. But in the last five years, as “The Stonecutter,”  has been chipping away at my control idol, I have been awakened to a new appreciation of this son and his perspective. We still often see things differently, but there is a new sweetness in our relationship. This is the power of God which can only be released when idols are replaced by Him.

How thankful I am for this restoration. Intimacy with my family and with my God. I think of what Rebecca said, “Intimacy with God is like a stream — and I don’t like the rocks that get in the way.”


This week I have been convicted by His Word, but it is a good and beautiful piercing, awakening me from my default mode of self-preoccupation.  I was freshly reminded of how often I confine my Christianity to those who are closest to me — to those who affect me! But oh — that is not God’s heart for me. He wants me to bring His love not just to those who are close to me, but to those for whom His heart breaks. He cares for the oppressed, the lost — for those who like the Ninevites “do not know their right hand from their left.” (Jonah 4:11) How deeply that has been re-emphasized to me again this week as I’ve been reading Keller’s: Generous Justice.

The first point that particularly awakened me is that so often we think of giving to the poor, the prisoner, the oppressed, and the lost as charity, which we might think as optional — but the Bible calls it JUSTICE. It is unjust to withhold, it is unjust to disobey God, it is unjust to shut up our compassions — all these are forms of sin. A fresh definition of sin, which Jonah so vividly illustrates, is running from God.


Jonah ran from God when he refused to forgive, refused to have compassion, and refused to obey.

And we do too.

And a fresh definition of grace, is God pursuing us, rescuing us from our self-destructive behavior.

Grace is God pursuing us, rescuing us from our self-destructive behavior


Are we really destroying ourselves when we refuse to forgive? When we refuse to give justice to those whom God has called us to give justice?

Yes. That is what Jesus says. Perhaps the two most famous chapters are Matthew 25 (sheep and goats) and Isaiah 58, the passage we will look at this week.

I remember the first time I heard a sermon on Isaiah 58. It was from Greg Scharf (a pastor Renee and I were both blessed to have) who became John Stott’s back up preacher and is also the main preaching professor at Trinity. I was pierced by his exposition of Isaiah 58. When God speaks to your heart, there is a quickening, an awaking from the dead. It’s been thirty years, but I still remember Pastor Scharf’s words:

As evangelicals we often define Christianity in terms of private morality —when it is so much more. It is, among so many things, “to pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted…”  He said that it was hard for his wife and him to continually do this unless they had people move right in with them — that was the best way they knew to continually show hospitality to those in need.

That was the beginning of a journey of ongoing hospitality for Steve and me, to adoptions, to a different lifestyle. God in His grace rescued us through His Word from our self-destructive behavior. Yet I need continual rescuing, because I have what Martin Luther termed: “curvature of the soul.” I need to continually gaze on His beauty by being in the Word. Day in. Day out.

Here’s a quote from Generous Justice:

If you are a Christian, and you refrain from committing adultery or using profanity or missing church, but you don’t do the hard work of thinking through how to do justice in every area of life — you are failing o live justly and righteously.

This week you will hear a free sermon from Keller on Isaiah 58. But as Keller says at the close of this sermon, and this is SO IMPORTANT, these passages can make you feel guilty — but guilt is not an effective motivator. We may respond for a few days — but most likely, we just get immunized. We would rather live with the dull ache than to truly and completely love — to forgive, to give, to love as He does.

So what do we do?

We must gaze on His beauty.


When I lost Steve, what helped me the most was to know that Christ loved us so much that He went all the way to the cross. I knew He understood the pain of being separated from the One He loved the most. I knew that, as the Man of Sorrows, He “sat shiva” with me.

Even this week, though this trial of feeling and looking like I’ve been in a prize fight, is a much smaller trial, the cross comforts me. I look in the mirror and see a face that looks like it has been beaten, and I think, “You looked much worse. You were beaten for me. You understand my pain and shame.” I know He understands and cares. That’s the beauty of my Savior. That’s what changes my heart and lifts me beyond my self-preoccupation to being His love in the world.

This is another two week study — you need the time because of Memorial Day Weekend, and I need the time because of my accident! But this is such important material, I think it is God’s plan to slow down. Go at your own pace or follow this time line.

Most of all — keep setting your mind on His beauty — and these five ways may help show you how.

Week 1:

Sunday/Memorial Day/Tuesday

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

2. Do you have a praise for something that happened over the Memorial Day weekend?

3.  you saw His beauty? (See my five ways above)


Wed/Friday Bible Study

Isaiah 58

It is so easy to appear to be walking with the Lord, when in reality we are pointing our fingers at other people, shutting up our compassions to those in need, and “hiding” from our own flesh and blood. This is a passage that can change your life. Study it — then listen to Keller — and its beauty can awaken you!

4. Read Isaiah 58:1-2 and describe how they had an appearance of holiness.

5. But, according to Isaiah 58:3-5, what revealed their true hearts?

6. According to Isaiah 58:6-7, describe a “true fast.” Don’t be afraid to let Him speak to you hear — He loves you and wants to bless you.

7. We hurt ourselves when we disobey God, when we run from God. What blessings do we forfeit according to Isaiah 58:8-14?


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

Week 2: June 3, 2012

Sunday/Monday: Icebreaker

Jonah gives us a fresh definition of “sin” and “grace.” (Look at above pictures)

9. Share a time when you “ran from God,” but He pursued you, rescuing you from your own self-destructive behavior.

Tuesday-Friday  Keller Sermon

This is a free sermon entitled “Justice” available on the Redeemer Ap under MP3’s and then under

Renewing the City (Look for Justice)

or go to this link — it looks like you will have to purchase it, but it will be free

10. Explain the importance of justice

11. How does the Bible define justice?

12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!

13. What stands out to you and why?


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




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  1. So, this morning before I left for work, Sarah and the girl show up at the house. Let me say first that God is SO good…..I initially didn’t want them there, but it was cold and rainy, and there was that nagging feeling that I should give her a second chance (thanks Pastor Bill for your sermon yesterday…and how Isaiah 58 says we should accept all…..). I told her I didn’t trust her, but God requires me to give her a second chance. I told her she could come to the party Sat night because Sarah needs to graduate and we need to celebrate. I told her she was welcome in my house so they would quit this running around. She was receptive to all and repeated that she really has changed. Praise God! He gave me the words and courage!!! Satan MAY NOT have my daughter HA! Thanks for all the prayers :)I have seen God pursue me in this instance and give me everything I need to get through. Thank you Jesus, thank you SO MUCH!!!

    1. Great, Laura. We will keep praying.

    2. Great, Laura-dancer. Hope this works out well for you and your daughter as well. I’ll keep praying.

    3. Wonderful!

    4. So thankful, Laura-dancer. Have been reading on my cell phone and praying for you/her!

    5. Laura-dancer so glad to see your post, have been praying and thinking about you.

  2. Laura, YEAH! Praise God! The way He loved her through you-How He has come to you-He is amazing! 🙂

    1. Yeah Laura-Dancer Praise God!

  3. 7. We hurt ourselves when we disobey God, when we run from God. What blessings do we forfeit according to Isaiah 58:8-14?

    The Lord had me focus on verse 12; that “you shalled be called Repairer of the Breach , the Restorer of Streets to Dwell in.” That as we turn to Him, surrender to Him, our healing comes forth and we are able by His power to reach out to others, to bring restoration that we ourselves have experienced.

    My take-away:
    I have been convicted of being self-focused, I know it goes along with depression. This week I really want to surrender to Him. I’m giving up Facebook which has become a distraction and committing to spending more time with the Lord. I need restoration in my soul, healing from the hurts. I think it was Kim who talked about how we are afraid to just live in silence…I want to be in a place this week where the silence is welcome and I can just listen to Him above all the other voices in my life. When I am hurting, it’s easy to push it down and just get busy, as it’s too painful to deal with the hurt. But I need to, so I can help others in turn with their hurts.

    I’m starting Beth Moore’s James study with a group of women from the neighborhood, I think around 60 have signed up! I tried doing it on my own but laid it down. We are also going through James at our church this summer. Not my favorite book :), but I know God always has something fresh to say through His word. Praying to know His love for me more.

    1. Anne-Merideth

      I can so relate to you!! especially what you said above “when I am hurting its easy to push it down and just get busy as its to painful to deal with the hurt… I also do that as well as sometimes getting too focused on the pain where all i focus on is the pain and it ruins my days! Praying for you Sister!

      1. Thanks Meg. Will pray for you too.

    2. I love your open heart on your struggle with depression, annemeredith. As one who also fights this, I can so identify with you. Praying for you.

      1. Thanks Diane. Praying for you and your daughter. I know it was really hard on my parents when I was at my worst, I depended on them quite a bit.

      1. Wow, Dee..just read this. Makes me want to study James now! The Keller sermon this week has opened my eyes.

      2. In session 1 on the video, Beth referenced Isaiah 58. 🙂 She is taking the approach in the beginning of James the person and his relationship with Jesus. How he went from not believing as one of his brothers to the person who was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write the book of James. Pretty interesting.

      3. I realized last night they were not all from my neighborhood…it’s a church in my neighborhood that’s hosting it and leading it…but it’s still a great turn-out. A handful of the women had never been in a bible study before.

        1. This is why is miss Texas. I can’t even find 60 believers here in the northeast. I never knew how “spoiled” I was living in the Bible belt. You are so lucky!

        2. Laura-dancer, sorry you feel so isolated from believers. Wish I lived closer to you. I live northeast of the US Northeast, in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. We have a sparse population by most standards but have quite a few believers and churches. I pray you can find some like-minded believers close to you.

      4. Thanks for James in a nutshell 🙂 I might have been one of those NT Proverbs people, or worse yet, didn’t think about much of it very often.

  4. 9. Share a time when you “ran from God,” but He pursued you, rescuing you from your own self-destructive behavior.

    I’ve been married almost 23 years, got married when I was 21. About mid-way through our marriage I found myself feeling alone as my husband was working for Dell Computers and worked around the clock for them. I was home with our two little boys and looking for companionship, and got emotionally attached to a man who wasn’t my husband. God convicted me but I didn’t stop my attachment. He then physically removed this person from my life, as he moved to another state. It was definitely a rescue from my own self-destructive behavior. My husband and I got some help, he found a job that paid less but let him be with the family more, and have gone to counseling several times throughout our marriage together. It’s not been easy. I think the turning point for me was to realize I had to go to Jesus first for all my needs, not my husband, not anyone else. When I turn away from that, the Lord is always faithful to get me back on the right path.

    1. This is something women can relate to. Glad you shared His great rescue.

      1. Thanks Kim. 🙂

    2. Praying for you and your marriage, Anne. It’s hard work…(marriage). I appreciate you opening up so vulnerably here. we love you!

      1. Thanks Joyce! I have an amazing husband. Last night I was telling him I was glad to be married to someone so sane. He said, “Not all that sane!” He’s funny. 🙂

    3. Precious story, annemeredith. Thank you for being so real and testifying to God’s faithfulness in never letting you go. It is so true that “I had to go to Jesus first for all my needs, not my husband, not anyone else.” I had to learn this lesson too in my marriage and with other relationships as well. May God bless your marriage.

      1. Thanks Diane. 🙂

  5. 9. Share a time when you “ran from God,” but He pursued you, rescuing you from your own self-destructive behavior.

    I would have to say that these past few months… spending all my time with my freind and not as much time with the lord as i should be.. and focusing on myself.. and trying to fix things and control things on my own.. Although it really hurt the way my friend and I relationship ended.. she is still a “baby” in the Lord and acting very immature and told myself that I have doen the rigth things and that when she is ready to talk I will talk to her. But she is also going to have to make some serious life changes in order for me to be friends with her she has broken my trust for her.

  6. And i think that the “rescuing” was when he got me out of this friendship..

    1. This is so hard Meg. I’m sorry it had to end, but God does know the best for us. He sees the whole picture when we can’t.

  7. 10. Explain the importance of justice – Serious clue to your personal relationship with the Lord. Jesus takes it personally if we help them as if we were doing it to Him.

    11. How does the Bible define justice? Shalom. Like a big fabric made with many threads. Where it is weak we must go and help and mend it. We are connected and responsible for helping one another to keep the fabric strong.

    1. i like how you put this angela–“Where it is weak we must go and help and mend it”

  8. Please remember me in your prayers as I have witnessed for the first time about my past as a lesbian. I was never able to speak to anyone regarding this for I would seen as some type of religious fanatic
    But I have several friends and family members who think homosexuality is something a person is born with and they have no choice to change. This and the President approving same sex marriage is more and more being indoctrinated into the psyche of society has showed me that remainig silent and in fear gives the wrong impression.
    I always share devotionals and some kind of positive thought on my FaceBook page. I use it as a tool to witness.
    So far, just person posted a question mark along with “idk”
    Otherwise, all quite.

    1. I will pray for you Laura Marie. When I get back on Facebook in July I would love to be friends there and encourage you, if you like.

      1. would love the encouragement Kim! talked to my sister last night and she said don’t worry what others think.
        my last name is Macdonald ( although I spell it MacDonald).
        thanks! 🙂

        1. I would love to be friends with you too! Prayers for you!

        2. Me too! I’m off FB for a while, but will look you up when I get back on. 🙂

        3. I will look you up to Laura, if that is ok?

    2. This is such a brave move. Bravo! Praying that the Lord will use your courage to help others see the truth.

    3. Laura Marie, I read this yesterday and the first thing that came to mind was that I am blown over by the courage and strength God has given you. I love it when you post because I can see how God has changed you. God is doing such a beautiful work in your heart.

      1. Dee, I remember hearing of him and will pick up the book.
        On my FB I shared a link to a powerful testimony of a born again Christian named Charlene Cothrane and so far she is the most articulate I have heard on this subject as far as YouTube interviews I can share.
        I found it disturbing that all you hear are the ones who tried and failed and say it’s impossible. when we know with Christ all things are possible! I have been out of that lifestyle for over ten years and have no desire to return! What am I returning too? Fleeting relationships that don’t last? Condemnation and no peace?
        Please pray also that the Lord move and I gain a better income. I need to be only own. I live with my mom and sister, they don’t share my same view ( although they both were in the church at one point).
        My mother thinks I was born this way because I was a tomboy.
        I thought I was too, but I chose that lifestyle and then when I came to the Lord, I chose to leave.
        I tried to explain it is more about making choices and you as an individual have that right to choose!
        Joshua said..” Chose whom this day you will serve, but for me and my house we will serve the Lord”
        My father had that scripture over our door when he and my mother were in the church. My mother took it down awhile ago. She is a very bitter person.

    4. Praying for you, Laurie Marie. So thankful you were willing to share about your past on FB. Some recent anti-gay rhetoric has been so violent that it’s good to know you’ve posted your testimony pointing to Him.

  9. 9. Share a time when you “ran from God,” but He pursued you, rescuing you from your own self-destructive behavior.
    There are so many of them. This one was very big to me because it was a situation in which I was guilty of causing a problem yet no one knew that it was me, nor did they even suspect it. I was happy to just wait it out and let everything eventually die down and go back to normal, but God wouldn’t have it. He kept continually bringing it into my thoughts even though I tried to rationalize my behavior and had asked forgiveness of Him. I wanted it to be water under the bridge. I knew very clearly that God wanted me to make it right. I ended up admitting that it was me who caused the problem and apologizing. Everyone didn’t forgive me and it has caused my name to come up when there is a problem, but I was obedient and even though there is a consequence I have never regretted admitting my mistake.

    1. Great testimony, Dawn. It is hard to make things right, but like you, I have never regretted it either.

    2. That must have taken a lot of courage! A wonderful witness!

    3. Wow, I bet that was hard to do too…but you did obey God, Praise God!

    4. Dawn, This was a big step of faith with you trusting God with whatever the outcome may be-It is comforting to know the truth that you are approved and forgiven by God regardless of whether or not anyone else approves of you or forgives you. 🙂

    5. Wow Dawn, I will be praying that those who have not forgiven you will realize they are now wrong and accept your apology.

  10. Well, I thought I submitted another post yesterday, but apparently it never made it. Sarah and her friend showed up yesterday morning in the cold rain. I immediately went into my nasty attitude for the friend and told Sarah the girl was not welcome at our home. I then took a deep breath and remembered how she is part of the “fabric” Keller spoke of in his sermon and how pastor bill spoke of giving people second chances at my church on Sunday. God was pursuing me!!!! Right there in front of my very eyes! It was a hard, conscientious shift in my brain; it was weird.

    I told the girl how I felt…..how I didn’t trust her, how Sarah needed to graduate, how God requires us to give people second chances and that she could come to the party. I told them they could hang out at our house so they would quit running around the world making us crazy every night. She was contrite and said she had really changed. I don’t know where the words come from, but I spoke with no hesitation. Praise Jesus! Thank you Lord for helping me through! I hope they behave, and I’m not being “played.” we will see……

      1. Love this “…gentle as a dove and wise as a serpent.” 🙂

  11. 12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!

    In a nutshell; guilt only takes us so far. We won’t continue to do good things out of guilt; it’s not sustainable. It is only when we do because we want to do – it’s what Keller calls “beauty.” We want to be like Jesus just because. With no gain, no “reward,” no benefit, just because. That’s when we experience life the way God wants us to. When we delight in God for no other reason than that is when we are changed. Thank you Lord!

    1. great nutshell Laura!–“When we delight in God for no other reason than that is when we are changed.”

  12. Listened to Kellers Sermon-want to listen again-so, so good.

    10. Explain the importance of justice

    It is at the heart of biblical faith-If we love the poor, the oppressed, clothe the naked, plead the widow’s cause, defend the cause of the fatherless, provide for the alien, or wanderer from another country or tribe, in our midst etc.. it is a sign that we have a relationship with God-that we are connected to Him.

    Wow..loved how he explained what flesh and blood meant-but want to percolate some more before i go on.

  13. I hope to listen again to the sermon-it has stirred me up–but will answer while I can:

    10. Explain the importance of justice
    A deep social conscience, and a life poured out in service to others, especially the poor, is the inevitable sign of real faith, and justice is the grand symptom of a real relationship with God.
    If we don’t love the poor, we don’t really love Jesus. How we treat the poor shows our true heart.

    11. How does the Bible define justice?
    It says you need to share your food, to provide shelter, to clothe the naked, and not turn away from your own flesh and blood. Biblical justice means inter-wovenness, interdependence, bringing individuals to see that our stuff isn’t just ours. We do justice when we go where the fabric is breaking down, where the weaker members of society are falling through, where the interpenetration and the interdependence isn’t happening. Justice = Generosity

    1. I like this “justice = generosity.”

      1. This is good!

  14. And sorry this is a bit long–I did it in chunks yesterday–it’s always hard for me to edit him because I love everything he says–

    12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!

    God created the world to be a fabric–woven together, interdependent. Shalom: Throwing 1000 threads on the table is not fabric, just threads laying on top of each other. Threads become a fabric when each one has been woven over, under, around, and through every other one–the more interdependent, the more beautiful, stronger and warmer. God made the world with billions of entities, but not to be an aggregation. He made them to be in a beautiful, harmonious, knitted, webbed, interdependent relationship with each other.

    3 examples of Shalom: Physically: when your body’s working properly, every part works with all the others. If you have cancer, it means a part of your body is at odds with the others–the unraveling of physical shalom.

    Psychologically: your inner psyche has conscience, feelings, and reason. When they’re working together = peace. When your feelings crave something that troubles your conscience= guilt.

    Financially: when people have money, resources, and advantages, when they plunge them into the human community—you have a strong social fabric,social shalom. When the wealthy ignore those with less, and hold onto everything, the social fabric unravels.

    When we think of justice, we think of individual rights–freeing individuals from the constrictions of the group, freeing them to do whatever they want regardless of what the group says. Biblical justice means inter-wovenness, interdependence, bringing individuals to see that our stuff isn’t just ours.

    We do justice when we go where the fabric is breaking down, where the weaker members of society are falling through, where the interpenetration and the interdependence isn’t happening.
    Bruce Waltke says: Righteous people deprive themselves for the sake of the community; Wicked people see their resources as belonging to them.

    Justice is sharing food, serving the poor. It is taking the threads of your life—your emotions, your time, your body, your physical presence, your money—-into the lives of other people.

    You have to experience the beauty of it. When Jesus says if you love the poor you love Me…God identifies with the poor. It’s not just empathizes with the poor—He IS the poor…born in the feed trough;homeless; borrowed a donkey… and a victim of injustice–His arrest, interrogation, abuse—everything about His arrest and trial, was a miscarriage of justice.

    Jesus became one of the oppressed; went under the yoke. And now, He says, “I who deserved vindication got condemnation, so you—…who deserve condemnation—can get justice and pardon.” Jesus took all the threads of His glory, at infinite cost, and threaded Himself into our lives, saving us from falling through.

    If only I can grasp what He did for me, it dissolves my fear, my pride–allowing me to see the beauty of what He’s done—and to love Him for His beauty–beauty that will change my heart, my self-absorption, forever.

      1. well, that took me a day to compile:)–i should be off the computer but i still have some work and it’s just too hard for me to stay away from the study–wish I could respond more to others, but I really do read and pray. I do think some areas–chest and arms-are getting better–but wrist/shoulder still bad–but I am not without hope–and am sleeping better! thank you dee–update on you?

        1. Elizabeth, I was pondering my suffering the other day and He seemed to sweetly remind me of what we are studying about compassion. I sensed Him saying to me that while He doesn’t want me to shut up my compassion’s, neither will He shut up His compassion for me. And, I thought of you and all here who suffer and it helped me, as I walk the road of suffering, to remember that He will not shut up His compassion towards us. I thought this might encourage you.

        2. oh kim–thank you–i got a bad wave after this morning and your timng is perfect-this is beautiful.
          how is your sinus pain? so sorry you are still suffering–praying for you too

        3. I am glad for the timing. I have been making some diet changes – staying away from sugar, no sweetener of any kind etc. I am trying to keep off the headache medication b/c studies found it begins to work against you causing more headaches. My teeth are not hurting now for a few days and I am so thankful for that.
          We will keep praying for one another.

        4. I will keep praying for you, sweet Kim!

        5. Thank you!

        6. Elizabeth, I’m glad to hear your getting some better. Still Praying for you! Loved your post!!

        7. So glad your much better, Dee.

        8. I will continue to pray.

    1. Wonderful notes, elizabeth. I haven’t listened to the sermon yet, but I look forward to it. It sounds like something I really need to hear deep in my spirit. Thanks for taking the effort to do all this typing, but take care of yourself and don’t overdo it. Glad to hear there is some little relief in your painful symptoms.

      1. thank you dear diane. it’s “funny” what seems to aggravate things–i was determined last night to make my daughter’s favorite granola bars–and all the stirring, packing, cleaning… then i kept working n the notes–i think just made my nerves mad! but i also get so tired of the pain “stealing” from me–i’m a terrible patient, and terribly impatient! at least being here with you all is worth the pain–it encourages me so.
        praying for you too and your daughter and the kids.

    2. Elizabeth,
      Thanks for the amazing notes!! They make me antsy to listen to the sermon or reread “Generous Justice” (which I just noticed on my shelf next to Radical and Social Justice Handbook).

      I LOVED working on a daily basis with “the least of these.” For awhile, the greatest resistance was from believers. I am so refreshed by Biblical messages about justice. Such opportunities to see God’s power and His beauty!.

  15. Guilt does not last!! You get used to it and just live with it…What will make you want to do justice because you cannot do it out of selfishness. that does not help a thing. Ex. Of kids, forms of selfcenteredness. Fear or pride…Oh how convicting. people lie due to fear and pride. it nurtures evil and never will produce people who do justice biblically. What will??? Beauty! So true! when joy is in the LORD! how get there for God’s sake. need to see the overwhelming beauty of Christ.

    I loved what the African American woman said about seeing Jesus suffering with us. It changed things. She saw how He was lynched too. He experienced any and everything we ever could and died for it. Nothing to fear or be prideful about only HIS complete beauty!

    1. I heard a young female black Canadian poet do a recitation at a Mission Conference a couple of weeks ago. She was very good, but I sensed a deep, deep undercurrent of rage that deeply concerned me. Hearing Keller’s story helps me understand how Jesus loved the oppressed and how to pray for those whose background was oppression. O, how Jesus loves us all! So beautiful he is!

  16. 10. Explain the importance of justice

    If we dont love the Poor than we dont really love God.. we need to be pouring our life in sevice to others especailly the poor and that can even mean your next door neighbor!

  17. 10. Explain the importance of justice.

    From the sermon, what stood out to me was that it for us it’s a life poured out. I think I got this quote right from Keller who said it’s “the inevitable sign of a real connection with God.”

    11. How does the Bible define justice?

    I found it very interesting in the sermon when he said behind justice is peace, shalom. I’m assuming he’s taking that from the Bible. How it’s more than just the peace we think of, it’s the interdependence, the inter wovenness of using our gifts for the community. That all this stuff is not yours solely, but the webbing together of it in the community that brings about universal flourishing. And then there is the definition of how to live justly from Matthew 25.


    10. Explain the importance of justice
    Justice is at the heart of Biblical faith. Taking care of the least of these is the great symptom of a real relationship w/ God. If you don’t love “them” then no matter what you say, you don’t really have a relationship w/ Him – no real faith and real connection w/God. Is. 1 says without justice God will hide His eyes from us.
    It is important to see who the poor wanderer is. He’s any stranger, he’s naked, he’s an alien of another race or nationality.

    11. How does the Bible define justice?
    Sharing what we have, meaning to serve and wait on the hungry. Provide them shelter, clothing the naked, and don’t turn away from your own flesh and blood – blood relatives. If I understand Keller, he is saying Biblically, it is not just our blood relatives but all men are our blood. He holds us responsible for others in need. Shalom – God created the world to be interwoven, interconnected, interdependent and then it is beautiful, harmonious and strong. When those that have, ignore those that have not, the social fabric unravels.
    The righteous person disadvantages himself for the community, he sees what he has as belonging to all. The unrighteous says no, it’s all mine.

    12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!

    Keller asks if we are feeling guilty yet, and I answer YES! but guilt will blow over, it’s not a great motivator. Then he shares what will make us just. Self centeredness (fear and pride) will not be eradicated by moralism but by seeing His overwhelming beauty! Out of delight and joy of the Lord will we find satisfaction and really love justly. The gospel will take us away from the preoccupation of self.
    Only Christianity truly identified with the poor when Jesus was born a manger, never had a place to lay His head, rode on a borrowed donkey and was buried in a borrowed tomb. God became poor and oppressed, Jesus was the ultimate victim of injustice! Jesus didn’t just suffer FOR us, He suffered WITH us. Jesus plunged Himself into my life and that is the beauty that will get rid of my selfishness!

    13. What stands out to you and why? I am going to answer this later because I want to digest this message, I want it to sink down deep in my soul and change me. I will probably listen a few more times and then give my answer.

  19. 11. How does the Bible define justice?

    Behind the Biblical idea of justice is the rich concept of Shalom. This is God’s desire as from the beginning and He doesn’t change-is that we would be a family, woven together, interdependent. I loved Keller’s example using a fabric how it is woven together-how the threads are interdependent on one another-they bend and move together to make one beautiful piece. That is how God intended it.

    To do Biblical justice means you go to the places where the fabric is breaking down, where the weaker members of society are falling through. Share your food with the hungry. Serve and wait on the hungry. Literally, you should be serving the poor-getting involved. You take your emotions, time, stuff, money and plunge it into the lives of other people.

    12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!

    What will make you a person who does justice? Why would Jesus say if you really have a love relationship with me, you will care for the poor. If you think that you just add ‘charity’ onto your list to the other moral things you have done in order to get something from God-answer to prayers, bless you or take you to heaven, then you don’t love Him. If you do all these things you aren’t doing it for God’s sake, or the poor, you are doing it for you-out of being self centered.

    Think about how we get kids to get honest? We do it out of forms of self centered-ness. two ways are to use fear and pride. Be good, tell the truth or God will punish you, or you will go to jail. Or, you don’t want to be like people who lie-you don’t want to be like them. Why is it that people do lie? Fear and pride. So they grow up and they get into an embezzlement and go to jail and wonder why-when you get people to do that out of fear or pride you produce evil in the heart.It will never produce people who do justice, who relieve the fabric, but what will? Beauty.

    How can we get to a place to do good for God’s sake, not for our sake? We have to experience the beauty-overwhelming beauty gets you out of yourself and puts your attention on others.

    When Jesus says if you love the poor, you love me, if you trample on them, you trample on me. If you lend to the poor, you lend to me. God identifies with the poor.

    When God came to Earth in the form of Jesus Christ, he was born in a feeding trough. When his parents took him for a circumcision their offering was two pigeons-the poorest of the poor. He rode into town on a borrowed donkey, He died and was buried in a borrowed tomb, he ate his last meal in a borrowed room. God became poor, He became oppressed.

    Everything that happened to Jesus, his arrest, interrogation, his trial, was a miscarriage of justice.

    Joan Terrel-she grew up bitter due to the injustice she experienced as a black person in this country. While she was in a class where they were teaching about Jesus on the cross-she realized Jesus suffered not just for us, but with us-Jesus Christ had been lynched by a corrupt justice system.

    John Stott said, I could never believe in God without a cross because in a world of injustice how could I believe in a God who is immune from it. Only Christianity says God wasn’t immune from it.

    Only Christianity says on the last day when the Lord stands before you, if you say Lord when did we see you naked, thirsty, in prison? Jesus will say, are you kidding? They cast lots for my garment when I was naked, I cried out I thirst, I was beaten, flogged, under the lash. God literally became one of the oppressed-he went under the yoke. Why? Jesus says, I who deserved the vindication of justice got condemnation so you who have deserved condemnation could get a vindication and pardon. Jesus Christ plunged himself into our lives. He took all the threads of his glory at infinite cost to himself and threaded himself into our lives and saved us from falling through and that is the beauty that will get you out of yourself.

    When you see what he did for you, that gets rid of your fear he died for you, so what is there to fear, it gets rid of your pride, he had to die for you so what makes you think you are anything but a sinner. When the fear and pride go away and all you see what he has done. I can love him just because he is beautiful. Because of all he has given me. I don’t do anything to get anything from Him, I just love Him. That is the beauty that will get you out of yourself.

    The most profound experience of Grace is what leads to Justice. The Grace that comes into your life instead of justice leads you to get out there and do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.

    1. Great notes! I copied them to keep as well. Wasn’t Keller’s sermon amazing!

      1. Diane, YES! It was amazing. So rich.

    2. Thanks for these notes. Helped me to remember everything I heard but didn’t put down.

  20. 13. What stands out to you and why?

    Everything! Well, I have to say Keller’s fabric metaphor that was weaved throughout really hit me hard. Also, how he tied it into Jesus plunging Himself into me to keep my fabric from unraveling-to keep me from falling through-Grace leads to Justice! That is the beauty I need to focus on which will pull me out of myself and where I will see the poor, the oppressed in a whole new light-when I love and serve them, I am loving Jesus. When I focus on that beauty-the whole, and I see God’s heart for me, for the world-how can I refrain. It should bubble up inside of me-propel me to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with my God.

  21. 11. How does the Bible define justice?

    Shalom- Peace

    Like a fabric woven together…

    Like with health everthing works well together but Cancer part of the body isnt working (fabric isnt woven together)

    We are not to turn away from flesh and blood not only our family but neighbors and strangers.

    Not sharing things you have with others is not only stingy but unjust

  22. 8. What is your take-away and why?

    My take-away from last week is still the opening of the study, “I am characteristically absorbed in myself, in my own anxieties and concerns…”
    I often wonder if I, too, have some degree of depression. It’s often a persistent feeling of sadness in the background of daily life. Then I start dwelling on all the reasons why I have to feel sadness. And that feeds the self-absorption.
    I want to write down those five ways to shift my thoughts to God and keep them where I can see them.

    I have caught-up with everyone’s comments. School is out now, and I’m learning I will have to be ever more disciplined to get up early to have time for Bible study!

    I read all of Laura-dancer’s posts about what has been ongoing in her family – Laura is so real and honest with her feelings. I can relate to what she writes (the post before she had the wonderful breakthrough with Sarah and her friend). My oldest son is working on campus during the week but comes home on the weekends. On Sat., he and my husband had a huge verbal fight; I was outside and heard the voices and came in. All kinds of cursing and horrible swearing back and forth, and my other son and 11 yr. old daughter heard it, too. My husband was angry b/c he found our son watching TV in his room instead of studying for his MCAT. He’s 21; I don’t know how much he had been studying and was he just taking a break? When I said that, my husband got mad at me for “being Joe-excuse”. He told my son to get back to campus and so he left. I was not directly involved in the fight, but it affected me. I tried to pray the next day and all I could do was cry, and say to God that I feel like I have a ruined family, that we are a dysfunctional family. I know that people get mad at each other, but no father and son should say those things to each other.

    My son called me on Mon. but it was like I just could hardly talk to him. This is my son, and I just had nothing to say. I am considering writing him a letter. I want him to do well on his test, but I am more concerned about him – where is he at with God, than that test. My husband’s opinion is that our son’s whole life will be decided in 3 weeks when he takes that test. I don’t feel that way – he will get his degree in chemistry and be able to get a job; he doesn’t want to work in a lab but he has worked as a research asst. the past 2 summers so he can do it, and if it means so much to him, it will be on him to try the test again in a year if he doesn’t do well on this one. All my husband says is negative; that I don’t understand that 50% of college grads can’t get jobs, that it’s a hard world out there, I just live in a “bubble” and I don’t get it.

      1. Lord, I join Dee in this prayer for our dear Susan who we love so much. Lord, I ask that even today You would bring Your comfort, Your light would break through her emotions–that she would feel Your love–oh Lord, I pray for a breakthrough in her family. Please Lord, I ask that You bless her today with Your presence

        1. Lord, I join Elizabeth and Dee-God be Susan’s comfort today, come to her in your word, bring her sweet fellowship with you through a godly sister. Surprise her with your presence Lord, she just needs a kiss from you, I am so humbled how you know her so well and you know her pain-her loneliness, and you became lonely so that she wouldn’t have to be-so we trust you will come to her Lord-thank you that she is yours.

      2. I agree with these prayers for Susan and just plead mercy over her Lord. Do give her a friend like Aunt Dee said who is a strong Christian woman married to an unbeliever. Only you could do this Lord so we ask for your intervention. Soften the hearts of her family, give her favor in their eyes. Thank you for Susan and that she has a heart like yours Lord.

    1. I am so glad you can share here, Susan, and we can call upon the Lord in your behalf and we will! You are cared for deeply here and I pray this encourages you in your very difficult home life. Take heart, my friend, for Jesus is there with you in every room, in every circumstance, He is present – run to His arms.

    2. Oh Susan, I feel the hurt and confusion in your message and will be praying that God gives you peace and guide you thru these kinds of times.

  23. 9. Share a time when you “ran from God”, but He pursued you, rescuing you from your own self-destructive behavior.

    I’ve shared this before, how before my daughter was born, I, kind of like Annemeredith, had an emotional attachment to another man other than my husband; I felt like I was in love with him. If he had felt the same way, I probably would’ve done something really stupid, but God chastened me with health problems and anxiety/depression until one night I prayed oh why cant I be happy like I was a year ago – and God said, in my mind, what were you so happy about – and I realized not because of Him, but it was all this other man, and I saw my sin. I confessed, not physical adultery, but spiritual adultery against God. Then God removed this person from my life, too.

    I also run from God in this way. I have shared that I have very few friends; really, only one very close friend. I long for intimate friendships, yet I have come to see how deeply afraid I am of intimacy, at the same time. As I am meeting new women through my Sunday school class of all women, I find when someone is unexpectedly kind or shows interest in me as a friend, I am uncomfortable. When I mess up, I tend at first to back away from God, and become unsure of my relationship with Him. It’s like I can’t handle unconditional love; I want it, but at the same time it scares me. I am deep down afraid to be deeply known. I wonder why I can share so deeply here, but it’s more “safe” because we are not face-to-face!
    The leader of Sunday school class has broken us down into smaller groups of about 12, so we can get to know each other better. Our group had a dessert get-together a few weeks ago, and our teacher is in my group. As I was listening to the conversations of women talking about all the people they know and all the things they do, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by what a small life I have. That’s what I feel – that I have a small life that doesn’t extend much beyond the walls of my home and my own family. I’ve been asked to consider leading a summer Bible study and also to be a liason to some missionaries that our class has “adopted”. So this would be a step toward that abundant life but at the same time I feel like running in the other direction, to say I can’t do it. I know to live an isolated kind of life is self-destructive, and is not what Jesus died for me to do.

    1. Susan, God bless you for being so honest. I understand the urge to run in the other direction when asked to step out of my small world. God loves you so much. He will go with you every step of the way as you step out in faith. Have you listened to Keller’s sermon on Justice? Perhaps his words will help you do this. Praying for you, my sister.

    2. Susan, I’ll keep praying for you. I understand feeling like you can’t handle unconditional love. I will pray for courage and bravery for yourself, to know it’s a gift from the Lord you can accept. It’s something I pray for myself. As far as living a small life, I believe that is a lie of the enemy! He wants us to compare ourselves to others and come up short. Don’t accept it. Like Diane said, the Lord loves you very much. I’m sorry you are going through this, I really am.

    3. Susan–I fully agree about leading the group! I know if I lived there I’d beg to be in yours;) Honestly, you have such a deep, wise heart–and eyes that see beyond the surface. Praying for you~

    4. Susan, I REALLY think you can lead this group. You have the right kind of heart. God will take care of the rest. I had such a confirmation in my soul when I read this.

      I agree with Dee about checking into the possibility of treatment for depression even if it is only counseling. The turmoil around you is enough to depress anyone and you have such a tender heart. Please don’t believe the lie that you are responsible for what is going on in your family. God placed responsibility squarely on the man’s shoulders and He will deal with him. He is, very patiently, dealing with him. Often it is the times of greatest turmoil that He is working the deepest.

      I am praying for you dear sister.

      1. Susan, I agree with the encouragement everyone here has given you to lead this study. You would be wonderful and I also agree that God has equipped you to lead it. Keep us posted!! 🙂

        1. Yes Susan I think that you totally could teach 🙂 I have no hesitation and as Elizabeth said I would beg to be in your class as well 🙂

  24. Now I am listening to Ministries of Mercy by Keller. Such good stuff. I got Generous Justice audio for our drive to Orlando this weekend. Thought would be a good one for hubs to hear too. 🙂

    1. Angela, you taking in that precious little man is such an example of justice-your life truly is His fragrance.

      1. I wish I could see it that way. It is like when you are in the middle of it it is just what you do because God put it in your path and your love for God. I know the love I have for him is the overflow of Christ in me who loved me first. There is just so much more I want to do for the family but balanced. So hard. I do hope we are His fragrance! 🙂

        Though I cannot comment a lot right now I pray for you often as well Rebecca! With what all God has given you your faith in the midst blesses me so. I find myself Praying for you and your boys. hugs

        1. Angela, Thanks so much for praying for me! That really does mean so much. Yes you are in the thick of it-but your life has been a testimony of what His love and sacrifice look like.

          I think often we can get a false sense of what this looks like in our culture, and in our Christian circles and we forget the cross. For some reason a picture in John keeps sticking in my head since our study in John two weeks ago in our Gospel group. Jesus’ crucifixion was really the most torturous-the worst and most painful kind of slow death imaginable, yet while he was hanging in pain he was concerned for his mom and asked a disciple-I think John-to take care of her. This is a small window within a HUGE tapestry of the many depths of God’s love for us, but since being here, I find myself more and more reflecting on the cross and that picture of love has stuck with me for a while.

  25. 13. What stands out to you and why?
    Justice = Generosity. I was also thinking that true Biblical justice, attacks all 3 of the main idols we’ve learned about from Keller. To live out Biblical justice, we must let go of these idols.
    Control idol—doesn’t want to treat others, the poor, equally, wants to hold it all as “mine”
    Comfort idol—doesn’t want to give up material possessions or be made “uncomfortable” for the sake of others
    Approval idol-only wants to give, serve when others will see and give their nod of affirmation for a good deed. I remember when I did the financials for a large church in TX–our most generous member set up a fund, called Matthew 6:4–I was the only one who knew he was behind it, for statementa purposes I had to know. But he wrote all his checks out of this fund so he could be annon. That left an impression and has impacted the ways we give.

    I’m also just shaken up by this topic. For as long as I can remember, even as a child watching the infomercials on TV that Sally Struthers would do…I am heart broken for the poor, especially children. It’s hard for me to find peace as to why I (we) are so blessed—our country so wealthy. I struggle. One of the ministries we support sends monthly magazines with pictures of children needing sponsors, or adoption—I try to save the pictures for us to pray over at dinner. But some months, honestly, I just can’t look at it. I break down. I do believe we are called to be generous—but I get frustrated by the insatiable need, and my own idols that maybe keep me from giving even more—from living uncomfortably.

    Sorry my thoughts are a bit jumbled–all I can do for now!

    1. Elizabeth, so good. I like how you referred to letting go of idols in order to live out Justice.

    2. Maybe the Lord has burdened you to pray, to intercede for those children. Lots of times we break down in tears because the Holy Spirit is grieved, and we cry out on the behalf of those we are hurting for. Just wondering if that is what is going on with you and if the enemy wants you to feel guilty, like you can’t do enough. But you can pray! 🙂

    3. Good comments, elizabeth. That is a wonderful insight about the connection behind biblical justice and our idols. Also, I love your heart breaking for the poor. I know his heart breaks as well.

  26. 12. Beauty vs. guilt.

    Beauty changes us, guilt does not. We sometimes think God will bless us if we give to charity, and it comes out of a self-centeredness. Jesus says “if you love the poor, you love me.” Grace leads to justice. The beauty of what He’s done changes your heart. God identifies with the poor, Jesus went through oppression, rejection, living in poverty. As we love Jesus, we love the poor.

  27. My eyes are just opening to Biblical justice. It occurs to me this morning one way to practice justice in my little corner of the world, is to see the cranky woman at the post office with new eyes. She is the poor wanderer Keller spoke of! With her attitude she can’t possibly have joy – she is mad at everyone who steps up to her desk. Maybe she’s without God in her life. What is my response? I must see her as my blood relative and disadvantages myself for her. Wow, this message has changed my viewpoint. Thank you, God.

    1. Kim, This is excellent and helps me to extend Keller’s teaching further.

  28. Praise for my sinusitis improvement but new prayer request – I seem to have re-injured an old neck injury while moving. I need a miracle before we move in to our home next week but really need a miracle before the fireworks season June 25 as we have 600 crates of fireworks coming. I am reminding myself of truth and not panicking. Thank you, Jesus for your healing power. I ask for you to heal this neck injury. Amen.

    1. Yes, Dear Heavenly Father, Please heal Kim’s neck. The fireworks stand is very hard work. I’ve seen Kim and her family there and it is so hot and long days and nights. It’s a family tradition Kim’s dad started and they are keeping it alive for him. Please give Kim the very best health and bless all of her family too.

  29. I am researching potential Women’s Bible studies for the Fall and noticed Dee’s “The God of All Comfort Bible Study Guide: Finding Your Way into His Arms through Scripture and Song”. Is this study guide a stand alone or is it meant to be studied with her “God of All Comfort” book? According to the information I can find, it looks like it stands alone. I guess this question is directed to Dee, but if any of you know the answer I would appreciate it since I need to know before tonight’s meeting.

    1. Diane, I hope I am not too late! The Bible Study Guide can be done by itself, or with Dee’s Book-either way it is rich. The Bible Study Guide comes with an awesome CD by Amy Shreve. Hope this helps!

    2. Thanks so much, Dee and Rebecca. I appreciate the information although I already had my group closings last night and this morning. They want to do another Beth Moore study. They like Beth and enjoy her videos. It is great to have women willing to study God’s Word in depth.

      I think I will consider getting the “God of All Comfort” book myself and study it, then I will have firsthand knowledge before I recommend it again. Since my groups have no experience with Dee, they are hesitant to try something new. The harp CD with the accompanying theological explanation of the hymns sounds great, though. We just finished Priscilla Shirer’s Jonah and that’s probably enough “new” for now.

      I’m curious if you have any single DVDs of you teaching, Dee. I am thinking of some way to use to introduce you to the women. We do not have internet access at our church so I cannot play anything from online for them.

  30. More thoughts…I think I have been afraid to see people in need b/c one of my gifts is mercy and it pains me deeply and frustrates me to not be able to save the world BUT this could be my comfort idol at work. It is uncomfortable to look pain in the eye but I must. This lesson/sermon has affected me like no other.

    I had to go to the doctor b/c the pain in my neck got so bad I couldn’t drive. My oldest son was so dear and gentle to drive me and care for me. 5 meds later and a shot and I can stop crying. What a deal. MRI in ten days since the headaches have been bad for 3 weeks. Praising Him for medication relief but most of all for His presence which is better than anything.

    1. Oh, Kim. You make me weep. First, because of your heart for people in need and willingness to look pain of others in the eye. Secondly, to think that you are physically suffering so much. Your last sentence is achingly beautiful. “Praising him … most of all for His presence which is better than anything.” You make me ache for a heart like yours, which is like His.

      1. Thank you for your encouraging words, dear Diane.

    2. Your faith is beautiful. Praying for healing.

      1. Thank you, dear Angela. I think of your treatment for Lyme disease as I am on the fourth antibiotic for sinusitis. It really tears up the stomach – I feel for you more having experienced it. Are you still doing that or are you in remission?

    3. Kim, I am praying for you, since you told me this yesterday on the phone. I was hoping you would ask these sister’s to pray also. I am praying for these headache’s to be gone and for the MRI to be good and for God’s presence in your life. Bless you Kim

      1. Thank you, Joyce. You bless me. The timing of words is sweet for I was just talking with God about many things and He seemed to say I was being healed. He was stirring up my faith for wellness – of what I do not know – maybe spiritual healing. Whatever healing He is whispering, I receive with gladness. Last Sunday during communion the pastor invited us to hear from God in any area and God was firm and quick to say that I am to drink only water (adding fresh lemon and ice if I desire flavor) or milk and so I have done this for five days. I was surprised at His giving me such an unusual directive but at the same time I was excited to see what my obedience would bring. I responded to Him immediately that I would never add sweetener to any drink again for the rest of my life. What a strange thing to commit to, I thought. Life with Him is so exciting – He makes everything interesting.

  31. I’ve been praying for all of us today and our various sufferings. I started reading my old notes from a year ago when Dee was on Midday with God Of All Comfort. I hesitate to say how that study prepared me for my current trial–only because Dee’s sufferings was so much greater than I can imagine–and I never want to relate my physical pain that I pray will pass–with her deep loss of Steve. Yet, for me, in my less mature faith, I know for certain God used that book, the study to prepare me.Today as I looked at my notes from then–tears came, as I saw the way He did that for me–how the very things she taught, I didn’t “need” then as I do now–and the sweet gift He is giving me of His presence, as Kim stated, in the suffering.

    A few notes I wanted to share–
    Dee said our natural response to pain is to back up, to back away as we do when we touch a hot stove—I think of that a lot, and how Sally said that Satan wants to create attachment disorder between us and God!
    But He welcomes us to worship Him with our wounds. The Psalms prove that—and show us that God is not angry when we are honest with Him–He hates deceit because He wants intimacy with us and dishonesty is a barrier to intimacy.
    Dee also said there are so many things we think we can’t live without. But our weaning is realizing our solid rock, our only need, is God Himself. Our cries are a gift—it is part of the conversation—towards deeper intimacy.
    And oh—that the most frequent negative command is “do not fear”, while the most frequent positive command is to praise, to sing…WOW.

    Praying for each of you, and missing you Chris~

    1. Love your notes on God of all Comfort, elizabeth. It’s wonderful how much that study helped prepare you for what is happening to you now. I would really like to do that study.

    2. These notes are good! I remember so clearly the attachment disorder thing!

      I pray for you often Elizabeth. May God sustain you in the pain and bring full recovery and restoration in due time!

      1. Yes, I pray this also for Elizabeth. Thank you, Angela (hoping your without pain too, Angela).

        Love this Elizabeth… “the sweet gift He is giving me of His presence, as Kim stated, in the suffering”.

  32. Elizabeth I do appreciate your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit and your response in prayer.

    My acoustic neuroma (a benign tumor of the ear that is more in the brain than the ear) has come back. I am not sure to what degree but will be having an MRI at 6:30 in the morning then see the doctor Friday afternoon.

    I took Joey to our podiatrist yesterday because he is having a lot of foot pain. The doctor raised a concern of neuromuscular disease because of the changes in Joey’s feet. He changed his orthotics (opposite of where they were) and will see him again in a month. I just can’t get my mind off of it though.

    It has been a very difficult week for me but God has been sweetly near too. Satan may do his worst but God will prevail.

    1. i will pray–pls keep us posted

    2. Praying for you and Joey, Anne. So glad God is sweetly near.

    3. Anne,
      I’m sorry to hear this news about you and Joey. I will pray for you for your MRI in the morning and for Joey.

    4. Oh so sorry to see all of this! Praying for wisdom and good test results. May God comfort and sustain you both in these trials.

    5. Anne, So sorry to hear all of this is going on in your life right now! Am praying..

      1. Praying along with Dee, for you, Anne and Joey. Kendra just got her new braces and shoes today and God answered my prayer’s…Kendra likes them and feels secure in them! (was worried she would hate them and scream to get them off!)
        Anne, as mother’s we worry so and want to take the pain away from our children, so badly. God is there with us and holding our hand and we can chose to practice God’s presence or to practice the presence of problems (worry).
        Everyone…let’s practice God’s presence together.

        Praying for your MRI to be good this am, Anne.

        1. Thank you, Jesus, for the blessing of Kendra’s braces and shoes and for her reaction to them. Amen!

        2. Thank you, Lord. Lord, look after Kendra when Joyce goes for surgery next week and set Joyce’s heart at ease, knowing you love Kendra and Joyce so fully. You will look after things.

        3. 🙂

  33. Listening to the sermon now. Susan, verse 12 makes me think of you. You will repair the broken walls and restore the foundations of your family. God will do it through you. Perhaps through your daughter too as she will most likely emulate you.

  34. Ladies

    I would like some prayer please … In the past week I have had 2 dreams of my best friends mom who died 14 months ago the dreams were do real and I know one of the times I woke up crying, but I has made the tears flow again I miss her Soo much!! Thank you for your prayers!

    1. Praying His comfort over you Meg!

    2. My prayer for you, dear Meg is that He will give you songs in the night.

    3. Praying Meg…so sorry

  35. Many of you are bringing up the God of All Comfort study….that is the study my Sunday school leader suggested that I lead this summer.

      1. Yes we will, Susan!

  36. Just wanted to say thank you so much – Diane, Rebecca, Dee, Elizabeth, Anne, Annemeredith, Kim – for your prayers and encouragement. I can truly feel your love coming to me through your words here! I am also praying for all of us here, and especially for Anne this morning getting her MRI, and for Kim’s neck injury. Then there’s Dee’s fall – praying for healing; Dawn’s continual trial with her co-workers, Elizabeth’s nerve pain, Joyce’s back pain…..and so many more trials with family, children, friends…..I think our sufferings and trials have also woven us together, as well as our victories and joys. The best thing is, no one has “checked-out”; we are all hanging on to God!

  37. Joyce called me last evening and will be preparing to go to Omaha. Surgery is Tuesday. Praying for all the preparation w/ Kendra etc.

    1. Thanks for the update on Joyce, Kim. I was wondering how she was since she has not been here much lately. I am sure she is suffering. Will continue to pray for her and her surgery next Wednesday that it will give her relief from her pain. She is such a faithful soldier for Jesus.

      1. I just reread your message, Kim, and realized you said her surgery was Tuesday. Got it. I will pray.

      2. Thank you all for your prayer’s. I have been feeling so close to God lately and Praise him for that.
        I’m going into this 4th back surgery praying this will heal me, so I can have quality of life here on earth, to be able to help Kendra untill God has other plans for her and I. Thank you so much, Dear Sister’s:)

        1. Praying a prayer of agreement for your healing, Joyce. I am also praying concerning all of Kendra’s needs while you are having surgery and recovering.

        2. Oh Joyce….I see the time of your post and I don’t know how you stay up into the early hours of the morning after a full day, but you do, and then you use that time to be here and to pray. YOu are so amazing.
          I pray your prayer too, that this surgery will be successful for healing and to give you quality of life here to be able to help Kendra.
          You are so loved and so dear to all of us here, Joyce!

        3. Thank you so much, Susan and Kim, I don’t require alot of sleep but am able to sleep untill about 10am, as Kendra does. (she requires alot of sleep)
          We don’t have any help, as Shanon was helping and got breast cancer (she’s 22 yrs) and she is still doing chemo…then we hired another girl and she quit and started a full time job! So I think the Lord was telling me, not to worry about it. Maurice is great with her anyway. He helps her do everything…getting dressed, braces and shoes on, helping her eat. (he is a great cook). He just washes her hair in the sink and helps her use the bathroom, and uses deoderant and brushes her teeth. She can wait for me to shower her, when I get better. He takes her for a ride to get a nap and will lie down with her at night untill she is asleep. He is truly an amazing dad. He is her step dad, when she was 3yrs…we married (22 yrs ago), and out of all our kids (my 3 kids and his 2), he was worried about taking on a special needs a child the most. But as it turned out, Kendra and Maurice became so very close…that was her “daddy”…and the other, older kids were fighting all the time and jealousy and it was awful! Kendra was daddy little girl and still is only she is bigger now! They go shopping together and watch trains and takes her out to have her favorite foods…lots of things! I feel sorry for the person that looks at her like she is weird or something, because he may says something to them! 🙁 So they will be fine!

          I’m going to call Kim when I can, soon after surgery and she will let everyone know that I am doing fine! Last time I tried to explain how to turn on the computor to Maurice and get on this blog to tell you all I was fine and he could hardly do it!! I didn’t have Kim’s number then (last year. He is computor illeterate (sp). I’m alittle better..not much!

  38. 3. What stands out to you and why?

    I am thankful for this message as it so beautifully shows how justice should be lived out. Grace-centeredness over self-centeredness. I happened to listen to Louie Giglio this morning, I listen to his in the order he preaches them, I’m about 3 weeks behind. His message was about serving, how we are a consumer based church in many ways…self-centered in not doing anything beyond bible study, listening to podcasts, attending conferences, etc. How we really need to be the church outside it’s walls. I was convicted as I haven’t been doing much serving other than my family. We are starting an hour of pre-service prayer at our church every Sunday, so I signed up to do that. It’s a start.

    On another note, Steve and I have been going to a small group in our neighborhood that is out of the Austin Stone. One of the pastors last week preached on sin and suffering and God’s sovereignity. They say they believe in Reformed theology, which I agree with. But they went over the line and said God causes sin, He ordains it. My heart was very grieved. Steve and I voiced our disagreement, saying we knew God allows sin and can use it for His glory, but He does not cause it. We were just met with silence. Later we decided we should no longer go to this small group because we will cause disunity if we stay. Sad because we love the people, but I know God will use it to get us more involved in our own church. Since we live in Kyle, there are no small groups from our South Austin church out here. But today my heart is grieved and I pray for the Stone church that I have loved so much, we were there for the beginning of it and stayed 7 years, until we sensed a shift in theology, about the time Chris Tomlin left. At least now they are coming out in the open with what they really believe. There are thousands of college students who attend, that is what grieves my heart the most.

    Anyway, thanks for letting me share. Rough day.

    1. oh anne meredith–i am praying. i cannot post it all here, but i truly relate very much with what you’re experiencing with the church situation–maybe we can meet in person some day! but i do understand how hard that is on so many levels–i will pray for you and Steve to have the strength you need for how the Holy Spirit has personally convicted you–and for protection over those relationships–so hard…

      1. Sorry about your rough day praying for you Anne Merideth!

      1. No – they said God ordains sin…He causes cancer, unborn babies to die, murders, tsunamis…they had more examples but those are a few. They said because He is sovereign He not only allows sin and suffering, He ordains it.

        Yes, it is hard…I still have good friends who go there, friends I’m sure I will have for life. They say they don’t agree with everything preached…I know I don’t agree with everything our church preaches, but they are on smaller points than this.

        1. This is so very hard, Anne. Praying God awakens many to this wrong teaching and help you and your husband have peace through this storm.

  39. Angela Praying you trip to Orlando goes well!! and that it will be a great family time!

  40. Praying for Joyce, hope you are doing well!

    1. Thank you Anne Meredith. I am so sorry about your little church and friends you love, but you will be blessed by standing up for what is right. Praying for you and Steve.

      1. Thanks Joyce, praying for you, so sorry you have to go through this.

        This church has over 10,000 partners. Our church is relatively small compared! I know God is using this to help us become more involved in our own church.


    10. Explain the importance of justice.

    To kind of summarize from the sermon, I think Keller points out that God thinks that justice is extremely important; in fact, it is more important than our going to church, praying, reading the Bible, all of our “religious activities”. In the first couple of verses in Isaiah 58, the people are described as diligently seeking God through temple worship, prayer, tithing; they are passionate to know God’s laws and ways; they are moral and religious. Yet God is not listening to them. We can be doing all these things, yet not loving God.

    If we don’t love the poor, the hungry, the homeless…we do not love God. The way we treat them is the way we treat God. Keller said, “Justice is the grand symptom of real faith”, it is at the heart of real Biblical faith.

    I find this convicting because I can get caught up in going to church, going to a Bible study; I used to teach Sunday school to kids, reading the Bible to my daughter and trying to pass what I know on to her…I can interact and serve among Christians, but I am not out there serving and loving the poor, the homeless, etc… My time is all spent in serving my own family mainly – husband, children, parents, and there never seems to be enough time for even that. I’ve been reading the book “Kisses From Katie”, about Katie Davis, the young lady who, at age 18, moved to Uganda, and is still there, having adopted several orphaned children and ministering to anyone she can who is in need. I think she is remarkable, and doing what Jesus said to do.

    1. Susan, I think you are doing what Jesus said to do right there at home, taking care of your family.
      I wondered also how I could help someone in need and God helped me see a need for food, for a family, in my own extended family! I think sometimes our neighbor’s, family or friends have real needs and we look right over them, looking for the poor and homeless! But I didn’t see any poor or homeless people, so I think God turned my eye’s to my own family. Their dad is working out of town, living in their van (their only vehicle), so the family has no way to get around and had no money for food. I’m so glad God opened my eye’s to them.

      1. You make a good point here, Joyce. I know the Isaiah passage also says not to turn away from your own flesh and blood! I guess I can get kind of “envious” of people who are single because it seems they can do all these amazing things for God and be totally devoted to His work (like Katie, or Mother Theresa) and they have lots of time to do it. Although, the single person would have to be loving God, b/c of course you can be single and just into your career and making money and being self-centered.

        1. Your so right!

      2. Wow, Joyce what an opportunity to love Jesus right there in your neighborhood!

    2. Susan, as I listened to the sermon God did a wonderful reverse on me that drove away the guilt over what I have not done and accentuated what I have done. Just your presence accompanied by your spiritual growth changes the world around you. Your neighborhood and your children’s schools are changed by your presence. You carry with you the Spirit of God.
      I don’t know if you have heard of Compassion International or World Vision but they both offer wonderful ways to reach out to poor children. Not only do you support them financially, but you can write to them and encourage them. I have really sensed that I am making a difference for my children. There is a great need for sponsors for older children as they really need to know that someone cares about them as they reach preteen and teen years.

  42. I am really having difficulties with this fabric that we need to weave together to live in harmony. I know I said I liked the idea of it in Keller’s sermon, however playing it out in life is difficult. Sarah has the girl at my house. I am trying to be kind, but it’s so hard for me. She is more respectful, but there are cigarette butts on my front porch, they are eating all the food, her clothes get washed and mine go on top of my kitchen counter (!) from the dryer. “little” things, but they are annoying to me. We are trying to get through this weekend and then I don’t know what my husband will do……they might both get kicked out. They are gone most nights and return very late.

    How do we get beyond ourselves to help others who annoy us? I know this is a very basic question, but I can’t help the feelings I have. One time we rode thd subway in Boston. There was a homeless man sitting and one seat next to him where no one would sit because he was, well, gross. He smelled and had weird things growing on his skin. My children were with me so I took the seat. That was hard but in someways my situation now is harder. Will we be stuck with her living here? How is she going to get to work? Sarahs car is not functioning and we need to get it inspected. This girl thinks we are going to provide a ride to work for her. She starts a job on Monday at mcdonalds and will need transportation. We can’t possibly be everything to her. Or maybe we can help, but my hardened heart only wants to help my own family. I can’t take care of another families problems too. Time to pray I suppose, but then I kind of feel betrayed by God. That may nit be the right word though. I just want a “normal” life for my daughter and for some reason I continue to suffer with her. I’m exhausted and don’t have anything left for her. I guess this is the point where God takes over? I need for Him to, Lord please hear my prayer.

    1. Laura, I just read this and am praying now for you. His yoke is easy and His burden is light, comes to mind. Tell Him your feelings, He understands and wants you to lay it all at His feet and enjoy His rest. I also think of Martha, Jesus told her she was concerned with many things but Mary chose what was better – to sit as His feet. Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Laura, look full in His wonderful face…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace. This truly is a difficult situation you are facing with hard choices. I lift you to the Lord and trust Him to guide you through all the unanswered questions ahead.

      1. Dear Laura, I am praying now for you and Sarah and this girl and all yours and her families, that God will have an answer for all things, in his own timing. Like Kim says, keep focused on Jesus and trust him instead of worrying, because worry is a form of unbelief. (I know easier said than done, but try!

    2. Laura,
      This is a hard situation. Maybe I’m not being Christ-like, but my thoughts are that God calls us to do justice, yes, but not to be a doormat. If this girl is going to stay at your home long-term (I was wondering – where is her family?) I don’t think it is “unjust” to sit down and say we have to have some house rules. If you smoke outside, pick up your cigarette butts. If you are doing laundry and find someone’s clothes in the dryer, either wait til they’re removed, or please fold them yourself and put them in a basket. At some point after she is earning money from her job, she can contribute toward gas and food expenses. And what about setting a time that they must be home at night?
      I can’t remember clearly, but there was a sermon we listened to by Keller where he talked about helping the poor and he said something like we just don’t go in and do everything for them but the goal is to help them to eventually become self-sufficient. I’m thinking of a homeless shelter in our area. They take in these men who are often addicted to alcohol or drugs. They have strict rules there. They share the gospel with them with the goal of them turning to Christ. They are discipled, given job training, with the eventual goal that they can stand on their own two feet. They can’t stay dependent upon the shelter for the rest of their lives. It sounds cruel, but if they’re not in by 6pm, they are out on their own for the night. Yet, they do remarkable things there – often stories of men whose lives are completely turned around appear in our newspaper.

      I’m sorry you’re in this situation; I hope I’m not coming across the wrong way here – I know there is no easy solution. I’m just thinking that instead of stuffing the things that are bothering you inside and trying to be kind, it’s okay to have some expectations of them and to be able to say them. I’ll be praying, too, Laura.

      1. So good Susan!

    3. I agree with Susan’s practical advice for you, Laura-dancer. You will be doing Sarah and her friend a favor if you establish boundaries. They may not like it but they need it. When we had a young adult female friend of my daughter’s living with us, we had to do that as well. Showing respect and common courtesy is not common any more, but it is important.

      I also pray with Kim that you will trust in the Lord with all your heart and not lean on your own understanding. This is so hard. I am praying for you. God can use this trial to help you grow as you lean into Him asking the tough questions, being honest with Him but listening to His voice leading. He is right there with you.

        1. Done, Dee. Did you get it?

  43. 13. What stands out to you and why?
    It seems God is gently shaking me to awaken to the world around me this week. I was driving through Sonic yesterday when I saw a thirtyish man, with little hair and a pitiful gait walk by. Normally I would not have given him a second thought but God seemed to be saying, “Look at him, see Kim, see his suffering and open your compassion. Don’t look away! See what I see”. I began praying blessings on the man and realized I have been missing much opportunity to be His compassion. At one time seeing this ugliness in myself would just have brought guilt that would dissipate over time, but as I repent of self absorption and see God’s love flow through me to the man I am spurred on to change my behavior. One thing that stands out to me this week is that guilt wont bring change, it fades, but seeing and feasting on His beauty and desiring Him brings lasting change. I don’t want God to hide His eyes from me like in Isaiah 1.

    God help us love every man and woman we come into contact with justly, like you love. Help us see everyone as our own blood kin – the way you see. Most of all God, help me to not be afraid. I hear my flesh screaming that you will make me step out of my comfort zone and do things I don’t want to do, so I choose to tune in to your voice instead. Richly bless Dee and Anita’s time together and bring healing to all who are weary and suffering. Amen.

    1. kim–this is such an excellent example of guilt not being of the Lord, of love being the motivator, not guilt: “At one time seeing this ugliness in myself would just have brought guilt” “but as I repent of self absorption and see God’s love flow through me to the man I am spurred on to change my behavior”

      1. I love your heart here, Elizabeth, did your little girl color it for you?

  44. Kim,
    I love your prayer here, and I think you got right to the heart of everything – “God help us love every man and woman we come into contact with justly, like you love. Help us see everyone as our own blood kin – the way you see.”
    Not everyone can go on missions trips, but the way we treat our family, neighbors, the store clerks, gas station attendants, waiters/waitresses – just think of all the people we come into contact with every day, the list is endless. You have a beautiful heart, Kim.

    1. Thank you, Susan. It’s all Him and because of Him in me. I love what you say here b/c I felt called as a girl to missions and often feel like I let God down somehow.

      1. Susan, I agree with you-Kim does have a beautiful heart. I love seeing How God is growing her here on the blog. 🙂

  45. 10. Explain the importance of justice.

    I listened to the sermon but am behind on answering questions.

    Here is Keller’s summary of the importance of justice: God is saying, “If you don’t love the poor, then no matter what you say, you don’t love me. You don’t really have a relationship with me. You may a formal relationship full of compliance and ordinances, but you don’t really have a relationship with me. The way you treat the poor tells me the reality of how you regard me.” A deep social conscience and a life poured out in deeds of service to others and especially the poor is the inevitable sign of real faith and a real connection for God. This is the real index of the condition of your heart.

    Isaiah 1 says, Stop bringing your meaningless sacrifices. I am weary of them. Seek justice, encourage the oppressed … plead the case of the widow.

    11. How does the Bible define justice?

    The Bible definition of Justice presumes an implicit knowledge in the background of shalom. Behind every place where the Bible talks about justice is the rich concept of shalom.
    Here in Isaiah 58 God is saying a stranger who is hungry and poor in your neighborhood is your own flesh and blood. God says I hold you responsible for them.

    Shalom means peace, but more than that. God built the world to be a fabric, woven together, interdependent. Thousands of threads are not a fabric. What makes the threads into a fabric is for each thread to be woven over, under, through with every other thread. The more interwoven the more beautiful, strong and warm the fabric is. All the entities of the world are not aggregation and made to be interdependent web with each other.

    This is different from the western idea of justice. We almost always think of Individual rights. An individual is free to do whatever he likes. Biblical justice has a different trajectory. It means interwovenness, interdependence. Your stuff isn’t just yours. In Bruce Waltke’s commentary on Proverbs he explains that a righteous person is a person who disadvantages himself for the sake of the community. The wicked says see his or her resources as belonging just to them. It is all mine.

    To do justice means you run to the places where the fabric is breaking down, where the weaker members of society are falling through, where the interdependence of things isn’t happening. Notice where it says share your food with the hungry, it means wait on the hungry. It means getting involved. It means that you take all the threads of your life. Take your emotions, time, your stuff, your money and you plunge it into the lives of other people through thousands of involvements. That is how you do justice.

  46. 12. Keller closes with talking about how beauty can change us, but guilt will not. Take copious notes!
    How do we get to the place where we obey God and love the poor and do good for God’s sake, for the poor’s sake and not for our sake? You have to have an experience of beauty.

    In the book, “On Beauty And Being Just” Elaine Scarry’s thesis is that overwhelming beauty gets you out of yourself and makes you distribute your attention to those around you. “Beauty stops us. It transfixes us. It takes the individual away from the center of his preoccupation with himself and prompts a distribution of attention toward others.” Keller says that this does not work in a lot of situations. But, there is one situation in which it does work.

    Only Christianity tells you how far God went to identify with the poor.

    When Jesus Christ came to earth, he was born in a feed trough. When his parents took him to the temple, their offerings were two pigeons. They were at the lowest rung on the economic ladder. Jesus was essentially homeless – “foxes have holes … but the son of man has no place to lay his head.” He rode into town on a borrowed donkey, ate his last meal in a borrowed room, he was buried in a borrowed cave. He didn’t just become poor, he became oppressed. He became a victim of injustice. Look at the illegalities of Christ’s trial – it was huge miscarriage of justice.

    Keller tells an interesting story about an African American writer, as a black person in this country, who had heard a lot about Jesus growing up but was still filled with bitterness about the injustice in the treatment of blacks. One day she realized that Jesus had been lynched by a corrupt justice system. Her realization of how Jesus had identified with her people, those suffering injustice changed her life.

    Jesus says, “I got condemnation, who didn’t deserve it , so that you, who deserve condemnation, could get vindication and pardon.” Jesus plunged himself into our lives and took himself and his glory at infinite cost to himself threaded himself into our lives. He saved us from falling through.

    That is the beauty that will get you out of yourself. Now I can love him just because he is beautiful. Because of all he has given me. I can love the poor for the poor’s sake.

    1. LOVE Elaine Scarry’s thesis. Good post.

  47. 13. What stands out to you and why?

    A lot stands out to me, but here are a couple of things. First, it is wonderful how far God went in identifying with the poor, oppressed, and every temptation. I have often thought of the verse that says, He was tempted in every way like we are, yet without sin. Keller’s explanation of how Jesus became poor and oppressed opens up new perspective on this truth.

    Hebrews 4:15
    “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

    Also, I love the fabric illustration Keller uses. God built the world to be a fabric; woven together, interdependent. What makes the threads into a fabric is for each thread to be woven over, under, through with every other thread. If I stretch the analogy a bit further. I am picturing a blanket that is worn and thread bare in certain spots. If we go in our own strength to help, it is just adding a patch that may help for a while but will come apart and cause more damage. When we go to help with Christ’s strength, God repairs the fabric; not just a patch but a seamless and more beautiful healing of the threadbare patch, making the blanket new again.

    Thirdly, I find very interesting the definitions of “righteous” being those who disadvantage themselves on the behalf of the community versus the “wicked” who grab and cling to everything for themselves. For some reason, I have pictured “righteous” as someone standing aloof from people, guarded and cautious in their good deeds, almost like the elder brother in the story of the Prodigal Sons. This gives a completely different picture of someone giving up their self-conscious correctness and getting down in the dirt trying to help someone in need.

    1. Yes, I agree so much with your last paragraph. I see the righteous differently too. What a change I will have to make to disadvantage myself for others, it’s almost too much to fully digest right now but I know He will lead me in how to go about pleasing Him in this area. Scary but exciting all at once. 🙂

    2. Diane–I love your word picture–“When we go to help with Christ’s strength, God repairs the fabric; not just a patch but a seamless and more beautiful healing of the threadbare patch, making the blanket new again”–I’m imagining my old tattered quilt, and the ways I feel thread-bare myself…but oh how only He can make all things new…so good.

  48. Appreciate your posts and praying for you. I don’t always have regular Internet access at this time of year (and am not much of a cell phone typist). Considering turning cell into Internet hotspot, but… ?

  49. 13. What stands out to you and why?

    Jesus Christ plunged himself into our lives and saved us from falling through..

    Grace Leads to Justice..

    He also mentioned Micah 6:8 which is actually a song.. Its been in my head all week.

    When people have money, resources, and plunge them into the human community and ignore people who dont have anything… that really broke my heart… I know at times I have been like this.. but My eyes are really opening to the poor.. This is growth and I praise God for that!