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Over the next two weeks let us consider three kinds of storms:

  • Daily storms we experience when we cling to idols
  • Monster storms we experience when we cling to idols
  • Storms we do not understand




Last week “Laura-dancer” honestly answered the question: “When do you flee from God?” with:

“Wow — probably daily.”

Rebecca vulnerably shared the jealousy she felt when a new young worship leader was so talented — but quickly, she realized her idol temptation, repented, and was able to enter into worship with this leader.

As we are seeing more clearly into the murky waters of our souls, we are seeing how we are daily tempted by idols, and when we succumb, “forfeit the grace that could be ours.”

For the last two weeks I’ve been helping my grand-daughter Emily prepare her high school senior thesis speech. She is graduating as valedictorian of her Christian classical senior class. She has become passionate about how America has changed its perspective toward immigrants from an open “Golden Door” that proclaimed “Give me your tired, your poor…” to a very closed and cold attitude toward immigrants. Emily’s content was so strong, but not her delivery. Why? She  is naturally reserved, uncomfortable with the spotlight.  (As a toddler, she turned to us before she went to her new potty chair and said, “I’m going to potty — but I don’t want you to cheer and clap.)

But I knew there was something else holding her back. The idol of approval — the fear of man. I told her how Keller used to look at his congregation before he preached and say (silently) “You are not my life — Christ is my life.” Emily nodded, and yet, I still saw her retreat, and fail to connect with me when she spoke, quenching the Spirit. She was forfeiting the power that could be hers. She was also daily, in great angst about her speech. She wanted to do well, but worried she would not.

My quiet grand-daughter Emily

The day before she spoke we practiced again — and I said, “Emily — I know you care about what you are saying. I know you want them to care about this. THINK ABOUT EVERY WORD YOU ARE SAYING WHILE YOU ARE SAYING IT. Not only will that help you feel what God feels, it will help you forget about yourself. DO IT AGAIN — AND THINK THINK THINK ABOUT THE WORDS.”

Suddenly she locked eyes with me and passion rose in her. She began with the words on The Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor…” but it was different. A burst of light breaking through the dark clouds. What happened? Instead of thinking about herself and what others were thinking of her, by thinking about the words, she was setting her affections on God, on what He cared about, and she was transformed. I saw it before my very eyes. And that can happen to each of us moment by moment throughout the day. As we allow ourselves to be passionate about what He is passionate about, our fears and gloomy doubts are expelled.

I wanted to weep.  I was flying to Virginia when she gave the actual speech, but her dad texted me: SHE WAS SO PASSIONATE. IT WAS TREMENDOUS!

And then she e-mailed me afterwards: “Grandma — I want to go into missions this year before college. I know it.” I wept again. Passion rising… the power of God breaking the fears that hold us back…

Many of you shared how letting go of an idol brought the sun out. Chris S. shared a story of her drawer being short on St. Patrick’s Day — fearing suspicion — but then reminded herself her identity was in Christ. She wrote: “My identity is hidden with Christ in God, no matter what misunderstanding or failure might befall me, no power of hell or scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. What relief there is in that!” Getting our identity from Christ — not from man — and not even from ourselves is huge. Both Renee and Susan had an epiphany of understanding about this last week and articulated it beautifully.

Daily, whenever we are aware of an idol temptation, we must turn and surrender to Him, and we will experience grace. It may be a quick fix, as with Emily and Chris, or it may take time, but it will come.

He is Lord of every storm.



Monster storms threaten to wreck our whole lives. They are especially grievous when we know, as Jonah did, that they are a direct result of our clinging to a worthless idol: that they have, indeed, been sent by God to bring his erring child to his senses.

Four years ago on Mother’s Day I got the surprising news that my nephew, who has always been a favorite of mine, was going to prison in Texas for four years for doing something  “stupid and wrong” (his words). This week marked the end of those four long years and he was released and reunited with his wife and three young children. He knew that it was a storm sent by God and responded immediately in deep repentance. Though we felt his sentence severe, he did not. Though we were deeply grieved by the treatment in Texas prisons, concerned he might be a victim of violence or succumb, as many do, to the 130 degree summer temperatures. But he took it without complaint. When I visited him in prison, I thought, What a godly and humble young man.

This week he was released to his wife and three young children. He wondered if he would ever see them again, if he would survive, if he would ever see his home again, and is tearful and so grateful. Though there are many challenges ahead, he is a transformed man, and is experiencing the power of God, no longer forfeiting the grace that God longs to daily give him.

And as so often happens, a storm sent by God to His child will impact all who love that child. But our amazing God can use that for good. My nephew’s storm hit his whole family and others as well. But  those who have run to God have been changed for the good. I know that before my nephew went to prison, my prison ministry was lacking in passion — and now I am seeing inmates more and more as God does and I have PASSION.

He is Lord of every storm.



Before we plunge into our study, I will share my personal news, which also explains why I must do a two week study right now. (The first week has more homework than the second, so if you want to slow down more this first week, go ahead.)

Last week my daughter Sally called me with some concerns the doctors had concerning her pregnancy. They said the baby was very small — at the 11th percentile. The baby was also breech, so they planned to try to turn her. But then Sally’s water broke.

Had we lived a century ago it would have been a fatal scenario. I wept to think of that and thanked God so for modern medicine and the C-section that rescued them. How thankful we are for His mercies. Sadie was a gift after years of infertility. Claire’s life was rescued by modern medicine. Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. I am here with them now and filled with gratitude. Thank you for your prayers and love.

I also have a renewed appreciation for mothers — this brings back so many memories — dealing with sensitive children’s feelings, with the constant clamoring for needs to be met — with the mess and the multitude of tasks — all to be done calmly and with gratitude! I used to get bent out of shape on Mother’s Day because I expected GREAT ACCOLADES and didn’t always get them. The children were too little, and for the first several years Steve didn’t relate because “I wasn’t his mother!” (But he soon realized it was a day he needed to fuss over me!) But whether you are recognized or not, I THINK WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS AMAZING, and God sees and is pleased with even a cup of water given to a little child.

We are also so blessed if we have physical or spiritual children. This is a special day. Happy Mother’s Day to every mother reading this blog. And for those of you who are not mothers, but long to be, I pray God will give you the desires of your heart or change the desires of your heart. I know this is a hard day for you.

Claire and Sally: Thanks be to God.


Sadie and Claire: Loving baby sister
GRANDMA, SADIE, CLAIRE: Delight turning to concern over being displaced...a little storm brewing



1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study


Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?

3. Read 1 Peter 3:14-15 in this Good News, or in your own translation:

Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?

But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry.

A. What reassurance is there in the first part of this verse?

B. But if we do suffer, what reassurance should still help us overcome the fear of man?

C. Is this fear of man, this need for approval, an idol in your life that daily tempts you? Explain, and then speak the truth to your soul.

4. A second idol that tempts us to forfeit grace is control or power. I myself often want to “fix” people, instead of trusting God. I often think of the example of Christ — who faced so much more. Read 1 Peter 2:21-23 and explain how Christ was able to do this.

5. How could this help you overcome your control/power idol? Be specific.

6. A third idol that daily tempts us is comfort/security. Rebecca’s testimony in regard to food was that she had to stop running to food and start running to God. She read books that helped her grow in intimacy with God. She also had to endure pain, but then experienced peace and freedom. How does Hebrews 12:1-2 speak to this?

Monster Storms When We Cling To Idols

7. Read Jonah 2:1-4 again. Who sent the storm and why, do you think?

8. This week I’ve been reading to Sadie and she has a book about Jonah. I find so many children’s books distort the real story, wanting to make all the Bible characters simplistic heroes. Sadie’s book said, “Jonah loved God but he was afraid of the Ninevites so he ran way.” This makes Jonah sound nobler than he really was. According to Jonah 4:1-2, what was his real reason for fleeing?

9. In the same way, though I love this little girl and her telling of Jonah, in the beginning of the story I see the author of this children’s version made the same error — but the rest is great. Watch and comment.


Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon

Listen to this in the series: They Greatly Feared. If you are purchasing this individually instead of in the set, then go to this link

10. The stormy sea (What do storms reveal about every human heart?)

11.The religious sailors (Why doesn’t their religion help them?)

12. The willing substitute (How do you deal with fear?)


13. What is your take-away for week 1?


I do not understand why Joyce’s husband left her when her child with so many physical needs was born. I do not understand why Chris’s son was assaulted and died. I do not understand why Elizabeth is plagued with physical pain that feels like fire ants all over her body. Each of you, I know, has experienced a storm you do not understand. Jesus makes it very clear that not every storm is a result of personal sin, but that it can be used to reveal the glory of God.

And so part of trusting God is to accept the mystery of suffering, and to know that in the end, He will do all things well. That even perhaps, as Tolkein says, “Everything sad will be untrue.” These mysterious storms we will consider in this 2nd week of this study. But we know: He is Lord of every storm.


Perhaps the worst storm our country has endured in the last twenty-five years is 9/11.

In God’s providence, Keller began preaching on Jonah two weeks before 9/11. A story that talked about what happens to us when we are overcome by hatred and fear. During that week Redeemer had a special service — and that is part of the Jonah package. It is also a free sermon.

This is the whole service following 9/11: LINK

Also for those who are interested in another message, this is one that ministered to me deeply in the midst of my worst storm — my husband’s death. It is called “Heman’s Cry of Darkness.” We will look at Psalm 88 this week. Here is the link — it is 2.50 so it is optional:

(A funny story with this sermon. One time our own dear Anne, our nurse from Carolina (I think South) was going through a terrible time and I recommended this sermon to her, but she had it in her mind that I wrote Haman instead of Heman. So she listened to a stern sermon about Haman and the sin of pride. (It was as opposite as you can imagine to the soothing message I wanted her to hear.) But vulnerably, and I will always remember this about her, wrote: “I needed to hear that so badly.” Her humble heart is one of the reasons she is so mature.)


1. Find one or two comments that stood out to you from your sisters’ comments last week and explain why.

2. Each of you has no doubt experienced a storm you did not understand. Yet if you look back, you may also be able to see ways God prepared you for that storm. If so, share something about that.

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

Last week the sermon showed us how religion fails us in the midst of fear, but the “greater Jonah” never does. I want you to begin to contrast the first and second Jonah. Read again, Jonah 1:1-6 and also Matthew 8:23-26.

Rembrandt: The disciples and Jesus on The Sea of Galilee

3. Find all the similarities in the two stories that you can.

4. Find all the differences — and why “the greater Jonah” is One we can trust in the fiercest storm.

5. Psalm 88 is one of the two psalms of lament that do not close with trust in God. Derek Kidner explains that even God understands that there are going to be times when our pain is too great to end our prayer with a resolve of trust. This ministered deeply to me, that God should so understand and forgive our weakness. Read Psalm 88. Find the lament, the despair — and see the graciousness of God to us when we rail at Him, the giver of every good gift. In miniature I’ve seen that a bit in 23 month old Sadie this week — as she is upset with Sally for having another little girl. She doesn’t understand and she cries — and Sally simply holds her and reassures her of her love. If anything quickens you in Psalm 88, share it here.

Thursday/Friday: Listen to one of Keller’s sermons listed above and share your thoughts.

Rebecca found the link to Heman’s Cry of Darkness as a free sermon!


Saturday: What is your take-a-way and why?




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    1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    I find it very interesting you are talking about storms! To explain….I am taking a comprehensive final exam on Tuesday of my last 2 years of study, which has been on geoscience. I love learning about our beautiful earth, storms and all. The classes have been varied; geology, meteorology, planetary, climatology, environmental, and ocean science. I am very nervous and would appreciate any prayers for Tuesday at 10 am est. 🙂 the class I have most trouble with is meteorology because it is really atmospheric physics!!!!! I have felt God’s presence with me as I have studied, and wouldn’t you know that Dee has storms as our topic of late!

    This all fits in to idols also. I don’t think I am a very “smart” person, just disciplined and determined mostly. I am an overachiever. I have been able to see this about myself through the last few months and would really like to change that. I began the degree to get back to earth science in some way besides teaching. Teaching is very hard these days for me; I am getting old. 500 papers to grade every weekend, kids that are disrespectful, etc. Regarding the idol part, I don’t know why I have to have a 4.0, or be the best student. I suspect it is because I feel inadequate in my intelligence. I need to remember God made me who I am and that is that.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    My mother is always there when i need to talk to someone. She listens and loves me no matter what.

    1. My prayers are with you, Laura-dancer.

    2. Laura, I have your test time wrote down to be sure and pray for you!

    3. Praying for your test, Laura.

    4. Will be praying Laura Dancer for your mind to be like a sponge and for everything you need to know come to the forefront of your brain!

  2. LOVED this..I am so excited for Emily, Sally and Phil, how faithful God is!

    1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    Well, I can’t help but relate with Emily’s fear. As I was reading my heart was with her-then to hear how God sent Dee to help her-wow-He is so good-reminds me of that video of the interpretive dance to that lighthouse song where God holds back the idols and rescues her..Is there a way we can read Emily’s thesis, or even better yet see it on video?

    It is true how when we run to our Approval idol we can quench the spirit and be trapped in gloom and doubt, but when we don’t and we run to Him and become passionate with what He is passionate about-His power breaks through and spills out onto others.

    There is so much more I could comment on, but I will stop here..I also loved Dee’s encouragement to moms-both with and without children.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    It is hard to share just one. 🙂 Her sacrifice for relationship with me. Her sacrifice of herself being a single mom with three kids in a two bedroom apartment. She was a teacher and worked two extra jobs. Her bed was the couch-she gave me her bedroom. Yet she was always there for me-went to all my activities in school, cried with me when I was hurt, taught me to love others regardless of their outward appearance-what is in the heart matters. Rough circumstances, but I never felt so loved.

    1. Wow. What a great mom.

  3. 1. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    Oh how I miss my Mom :/
    She was a wonderful parent, always teaching us and showing us things. We were rather poor, there were 7 of us in a 900 square foot home with one bathroom, but we always had books & art supplies. She taught us to notice and appreciate nature. When I was a teen she used to take such care with my clothes, removing spots and ironing them for me. She indulged my passion for horses, paying for riding lessons and making sure I could get a ride to the farm (she never drove). She allowed me to cook, I began making our family dinners when I was in late elementary school, she let me experiment with recipes and bought me cooking tools. She sang hymns all the time. She poured herself into being a grandmother.

    One of my memories of mom was how she encouraged me when Bill had his affair to stick it out with him. She said “I don’t care what he has done, he still loves you”. Her advice carried a lot of weight with me & I am so glad now that I listened to her.

    If I could Dee I would like to honor you, as a spiritual mother. I woke up this morning remembering the picture early in your marriage of you and Steve by the lake. You explained that you looked unhappy because Steve did not show any interest or inclination towards water skiing and you had set your hopes on that being something you the two of you would share. That story, the whole story that you shared with us that day of the pressure you put on Steve to fill you up emotionally, of what a wonderful man he was and how you had so recently had to let him go, it had such an impact on me.

    Over and over again God has used you, in my life, like the sunshine, to warm me and open me up to receive a truth from Him. I am so grateful for the way He has gifted you, the word pictures you craft to help us see the message He has for us, I am so grateful for you opening up your life, for being vulnerable and willing to share such personal things.

    So a very Happy Mother’s Day to you Dee, thank you for being my spiritual Mom! I feel so blessed! Thank you!

    1. Beautifully written, Chris.

  4. My mom was abused terribly when she was a child, but she never done anything to us four kids, but love us and sacrificed for us. She was the best cook and she sewed us clothes and and done everything for us. By rights she should of abused us too, but instead she spoiled us rotten 🙂 She wasn’t raised a christian, but she did give her heart to the Lord before she died. She was a wonderful, loving mom and I miss her so bad

    I Love, Love , Love the picture’s of Sadie and Chaire and you, Dee!!.

    1. I love that picture, too! I enjoyed seeing how Sadie has grown since the pic of the 3 babies 🙂

  5. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    I felt anxiety well up in me when I read, storms you don’t understand. The thought of poking about again in the whys of it all unsettles me.
    The murky waters of my soul- we attended our high-schools prom last night. Bill is on the school board so we are invited every year. We went over to the house of a friend afterwards where a large group of parents were gathered. During conversation I was dismayed a couple of times with things I let come out of my mouth. I don’t think anyone else thought much about what I had said, but oh how I wish I was more transformed into the image of Christ than I am. I feel grieved my words revealed to me about the abundance of my heart. Ugh

    I love the Emily story, “I am going to potty, but I don’t want you to cheer and clap”, I love this and it does speak volumes about her personality. How blessed she is to have you as a grandparent, I pray God will help her to hold on to the lesson you brought her and that she will bring great glory to Him. How wonderful to see your grandchild setting her affections on Christ at so young an age.

    That you nephew accepted his sentence, humbling himself & learning what he could from it is a powerful picture. That seems a pretty huge storm, I pray that all involved will run to God and experience His grace.

    My son Joseph is a miracle of modern medicine too. At 11 months old he had surgery for intussusception, which is when a portion of the intestine collapses into another portion. I have often thought about if we had lived but 100 years earlier he would have almost certainly died.

    The pictures of Sally kissing Claire (it looks like Claire is smiling!) & you holding Claire & reluctant Sadie are priceless!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of you my friends!

    1. Chris–sorry to read you have lost your Mom–and sorry if you’ve mentioned it before and I missed it–but how old were you then? And can you tell me your kids names? I keep trying to piece your whole story in my head–but my brain gets foggy these days! And Happy Mother’s Day to you too dear friend! 😉

      1. I do hope you Mothers Day was blessed Elizabeth, I was called into work as a co-workers son was in a car accident. His car was totalled, he was bruised and banged up but will be alright.

        When people ask how many children we have I sometimes ask how much information they really want!
        Here goes:
        I had Josh (who is now almost 30, married to Leigh,and the father of Bryar our grandaughter) at 17 before I met Bill.
        We have Joseph(age27) the chef, who recently returned to our area : ), he is engaged to Joann. Zach in the Air Force stationed in North Dakota (almost 22), & Daniel would have been 19 now. These boys are mine & Bills together.
        Brian is Bills and not mine, he is 19. He came to live with us full time when he was in sixth grade.
        Mike and Maggie are Bills 1/2 siblings, we took guardianship of them when they were 13 & 11 years old. Mike is now 24, in the Navy stationed in Afganistan. He is engaged to Haruka, she is Japanese, they met while he was stationed in Okinowa. they will be married this fall. Maggie will be 21 this year, she moved out last fall and recently announced to us that she is expecting a baby.
        As you might imagine there are long stories here, but that is it in a nutshell.

        1. LOVE hearing more of your story Chris–and I look forward to getting time tonight to catch all these good posts of yours–I just saw these last 2 quickly and wanted you to know I will be praying for tonight’s meeting. OH you are brave, courageous, so thankful you and Bill have each other. Much love to you Chris

      1. I am so grateful for Joseph, he and I share the same sense of humor, we often say the same thing at the same time! I never thought he would live here in Ohio again.

        I feel humbled that you thought of me while preparing, I think I am starting to feel less paralyzed by the prospect of pain. I do keep trying to imagine sliding my hand trustingly into the Fathers and moving down the path.

        We are going early to the group session tonight for a private session. There is a Post Traumatic Stress therapy that our facilitator believes I might benefit from. Another opportunity to step forward in faith I suppose.

        1. I’m praying for you, Chris S. Hope it is a helpful time.

  6. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    Emily — You go, girl! I share her concern about how attitudes toward new immigrants. This was a good reminder to me (and, once again, God’s timing is so perfect): “Instead of thinking about herself and what others were thinking of her, by thinking about the words, she was setting her affections on God, on what He cared about, and she was transformed. I saw it before my very eyes. And that can happen to each of us moment by moment throughout the day. As we allow ourselves to be passionate about what He is passionate about, our fears and gloomy doubts are expelled.”

    I’ve been wondering how I can remain hidden, but still do “something” kinda big: “Instead of thinking about herself…” Even by THINKING ABOUT setting my affections on God, my perspective is transformed. I am very passionate about much of what He is passionate about, but when I give attention to staying out of the spotlight, my attention is on myself rather than Him. Like Emily, I often develop good content, but by the time of delivery (even in conversation), I can barely think about the words — frequently because I’ve moved on to something else. Recently, I’ve experienced times when I had difficulty carrying on coherent (phone) conversations, once because I was trying to integrate a zillion ideas into one thought and another time because I was reading something related on the Internet at the same time I was talking! Although I didn’t experience fear or gloom related to the phone conversation, setting my affections on God, being passionate about what He is passionate about may help eliminate some distractions. As I was typing this, I was thinking “but He is passionate about many things.” 🙂 How do I stay focused if I am passionate about 25 things at once (which is exactly my problem!). I pray that He will direct the experience/expression of His (and my) passions when my attention is on Him.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    ONE reason, huh? I am thankful that as a young widow, she cried out to God — and continued to seek God — in her pain and, as God was faithful to her, she remained faithful. She got up REALLY early to pray/read her Bible every morning, before we got up to get ready for school. If I got up early, I could expect to find her in “her chair.”

      1. Yes, It does matter!

  7. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    It is great that you are helping with the multitude of tasks and caring with your grandbabies. God is good. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Dee. I noticed with a smile your note under the picture of you and the two girls about the storm brewing. Yes, even toddlers have storms.

  8. Dee, from last week: “Explain what you mean about teaching the good without usurping the best.” During my yard work ponderings, I was thinking that there are good “Christian living” things that often are taught in churches. Although I suspect that much of what is taught is cultural rather than Biblical, there still are Biblical guidelines (commands) about sexuality, marriage, money, work, etc.

    I think it’s okay, even good to teach some “Christian living” stuff, as long as it is evident that godly behaviors are fruits of knowing Him and that He gives the strength to obey. But there are dangers of legalism/ moralism and of equating cultural/political ideas with Biblical instruction.

    What I meant by “the best” is knowing Him, intimacy with Him, and having my identity in Him — realizing that I am His because of His grace, because Jesus really did pay it all, and because of His grace, He will keep me. AND THEN, wise behaviors can follow, obeying because I love Him.

    There are a whole bunch of principles related to wisdom and obedience in Scripture. So, I’m wondering how to present them without having someone hear that “this will save you” or “make you holier.” I’m also thinking about the purpose of THE Law and laws. Frequently, following the law protects us (even saves us from physical death); e.g., legalism may have damaged my psyche, but it also kept me out of trouble 🙂 I’m NOT recommending legalism (!), but some Biblical teachings re: behavior do lead to better families and societies. When wisdom from the Bible overlaps with basic public health, then what (in terms of teaching)?

    More questions than answers here, as usual 🙂 At the moment, I see my questions in a couple of broad categories: 1) discipleship — how to teach what the Bible says regarding behavior; and given that both believers and unbelievers will hear the message, how to “prevent” unbelievers from hearing a message of legalism?; and 2) is there a place for teaching “Christian living” principles either for evangelism or for promotion of healthier lifestyles/families/society?

    1. another question from lawn mowing pondering: Jesus said “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26) Was He saying “Don’t have your identity in your family or even try to create it yourself?” Or I am taking “identity” way too far?

      1. Yes, I have wondered about this too. I agree with Dee’s answer. We have had to sometimes choose God’s work over family and it has been resented, not so much by parents as by siblings. In any case, it is hard sometimes to find the right balance between honoring parents and family and honoring God. I know I don’t do it perfectly.

    2. I am not sure that there is a way that good sound right morals can be presented without people wanting to use them as a self salvation strategy. I think that it is the work of the Spirit that reveals to us that we have no righteousness of our own.
      I have made many mistakes, having sex before marriage is an example. I am completely forgiven however there have been earthly prices to pay for my sin, by me, by my sons, by my husband, by my parents. There is no condemnation for me in eternity, but doing things my way has carried a pretty heavy earthly price tag.
      Reminded me of this;
      : “Sin always takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you are willing to pay.”

      I do find that when I pray in my mind when I am speaking to someone, they sometimes do seem to reap something from the conversation.

      1. I love that quote, Chris. “Sin always takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you are willing to pay.” Where did it come from?

        1. I am not sure who said it originally Diane. I have heard it more than once.

  9. Oh Dee….I love, love, love the pictures of baby Claire, and the one with you holding Sadie and Claire! In each one, baby Claire is just resting peacefully in someone’s arms, swaddled in her blanket, not a care in the world (even with the storm brewing!)

      1. Hopefully, by the time baby Claire is aware of things, Sadie will be way past her storm. I hope they are great friends.

        1. I’m sure they will be. They are so blessed to have a sister so close in age!

      2. That made me laugh out loud. Such sweet little girls.

    1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?
    God’s mercy over Sally and the sweet blessings of Sadie and Claire; PRECIOUS Emily! Oh I would love to have her for a day—she is too cute in that pic!
    But most of all, I am struck by your nephew, Dee. Oh I am drawn to him in his humble response, his submission and letting God use this storm for His purpose and glory. Like Chris, he did not lose faith in the worst of storms, and I can only imagine the wealth of wisdom he has to share. I would love to hear more from him.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.
    2 things quickly come to mind. One, she is the most resourceful woman I know, and on family camping trips that was a real blessing! I’m thankful to have inherited that gene. And 2, the love she has for my husband. Since we were 16, she has had such a love for him as if he were her own. I know that is a gift and I am thankful.

    NOW,—I have to divert and THANK SUSAN!!
    OK, real quick—yesterday morning I was bending over in the bathroom to dry my hair (upside down), and didn’t see the open drawer—oh I hit my head so hard I thought I would pass out (I didn’t!) But in my vanity, all I could think of was the purple goose egg I was going to have for Mother’s Day—maybe even a black eye to match. So as I held an ice pack on it, I googled how to prevent a bruise…nothing…and THEN—I see “arnica”. And I remember, Susan had suggested this instead of my Ben Gay and I have this! I smeared globs of it on all through the day and last night—and today—no bruise! So thank you nurse Susan 😉

    1. Arnica? When did I miss this great information? I don’t even know what that stuff is! Susan, can you remind us, who might have missed this?!
      Elizabeth, I hope you are okay. Oh I bet that hurt!

    2. Oh Elizabeth, I winced when I read this – that must have HURT! I’m so glad you didn’t break anything or end up with a black eye!

    3. Oh Elizabeth, that sounded awful. Glad to hear you are doing ok.

  11. Just wanted to wish everyone a happy mothers day!

    1. have been thinking of you dear Meg!Hope you are doing well;)


    1. thank you Joyce! I’m a day late, but happy mother’s day to you. 🙂

  13. I am thankful for my mother, because through her the Lord has taught me perseverence.

    1. Welcome Zette26 🙂

    2. Yes, welcome!

    3. Welcome Zette! You sound like someone I’d love to get to know!

    4. Welcome to the blog Zette.

      1. Julie how are the newlyweds? Did you get home safely?

        1. Thanks Joyce we made it home safely around 7:30pm on Saturday as i had every one coming iver for mothers day Sunday. Ceremony was nice, but I have to say Kansas is not a very friendly state. We were in the park maybe 30 minutes top and getting ready to leave and the park ranger gave each car a $20 ticket. But it was very nice.

        2. I seen picture’s of them on fb of their outdoor wedding! Cute Couple!

  14. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    I can really identify with Emily too. I have a tendency to get really nervous when speaking in public when I am focussing on myself. It is so important to focus on God and the message. I am so glad she did well and has a passion for missions. She is blessed to have such a model in you, Dee.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    My mother was a wonderful Christian woman who willingly went to India with two little children in tow (one of them me) and then bore two more while we lived there for six years. She spent most of her years living in rural Canadian Maritime provinces, however. She was an avid seamstress, sewing most of my clothes as I grew up, and took up quilting in her 40s – making quilts for each child and grandchild to mark special occasions. Those quilts are beloved keepsakes. She was a true partner with my father in pastoral ministry in small rural churches most of her life, participating in Christian activities yet keeping our home a safe haven. She led girls’ groups and even led a Junior Choir for a while, trying her hand at various Christian ministries. But her forte was leading Women’s Bible study groups. My mom has been gone for four years now, dying of leukemia. I had the privilege of caring for her at home in her last months. She was a humble woman of God and as close to a Proverbs 31 woman as I can think of.

    1. Wow, Diane! What a story. Moving to India with two small children would be challenging for most of us now, but it would have been even more challenging in the past. Do you remember much about living in India? (where in India?)

    2. Diane, no wonder you are such a blessing to all…your mother was a wonderful example and blessing to you.

  15. I’ve been thinking about your nephew, Dee. God has been with him in this storm. This is an amazing story. I will be praying for him as he reintegrates into life on the outside, especially as he gets to know his family again. God is able to heal the wounds and scars, but this too will probably be a bit of a storm for them. God is good and knows all about this, too.

  16. 2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.
    I thankful for my mom and how she has always encouraged me in my interest in history & writing. She is not the easiest person to get along with (lol) and can be critical. But when she sees a potential in any of her six children, she is their ardent supporter! And for that I am grateful!

    Happy Mothers Day everyone!

    1. Hope you had a great day too, Laura!

      1. Thanks Joyce! I appreciate that 🙂

  17. Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?

    Emily focused her attention on God and what He was passionate about (which includes the topic of her speech).
    Chris spoke truth to her soul by reminding herself that her identity is in Christ and that “no power of hell or scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand.”

    I (somewhat) addressed what Emily did above. The words Chris used “no power of hell or scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand” from In Christ Alone (Townsend) jumped out to me. I’ve listened to the song a bunch of times today.

    Something else that spoke to me was Dee’s description of the approval idol as the “fear of man.” “Fear of man” is more clear to me than “approval idol;” I don’t directly seek approval as much as I seek to avoid some people.

    In the following proverbs, find three things for each proverb:

    Not sure if I’m understanding this right? Are vs 14-15 the proverbs?

    3. Read 1 Peter 3:14-15 in this Good News, or in your own translation:

    Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?

    But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry.

    A. What reassurance is there in the first part of this verse?

    I guess v. 14 implies either that people aren’t as likely to hurt us if we want to do what is right (that they are more likely to want to harm someone who doesn’t want to do right) OR it is reinforcing what Jesus said in John 10:28-29 “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” I’m leaning toward the second because it seems there are plenty of mean people out there; but I suppose most people think more kindly of those who want to do what is good. On Friday, I read a historical fiction book about Christians and Jews in Denmark during WWII — seems there are many people who want to harm others who do want to do what is right.

    B. But if we do suffer, what reassurance should still help us overcome the fear of man?

    Mt 10:28 (and surrounding verses) is comforting and is saying something similar “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” Jesus is my life; my life is “hidden with Christ in God.”

    C. Is this fear of man, this need for approval, an idol in your life that daily tempts you? Explain, and then speak the truth to your soul.

    I hear some more change dropping in that Coke machine. Until a couple weeks ago, I was thinking so literally of “approval” that I hadn’t thought about fear of disapproval — and general fear of people/some reactions. I don’t even know if the words “daily tempts” fit me. I don’t experience this fear as discrete temptations; it seems worse than that because much of my life is structured around “fear of man.” Here’s an example: Last week, I attended a training on social media and had dinner with the trainer afterwards. My social media “strategy” is to remain as hidden as possible 🙂 It seems that every time I turn around, I hear that “this is what you’re supposed to do to get your name out there.” From a marketing perspective, I’m supposed to “get my name out there” — but my questions frequently are related to privacy and how to keep people away from me!

    That strategy worked “ok” for awhile, but recently I’ve been sensing God’s call to prepare for a change, to “go to Ninevah.” Speaking truth to my soul: Keller (from last week’s study),”He did it, he did it for us; only when you know He did it for you, will you bring your heart out.” AND the first verse, and last several verses of “In Christ Alone” (I’ll be listening to it a lot this week; I capitalized the parts speaking most loudly to me right now):

    In Christ alone my hope is found
    He is my light, my strength, my song
    This Cornerstone, this solid ground
    Firm through the fiercest drought and storm….

    ***And as He stands in victory
    For I am His and He is mine
    Bought with the precious blood of Christ***

    NO GUILT IN LIFE, no fear in death
    This is the POWER OF CHRIST in me
    From a life’s first cry to final breath
    Jesus commands my destiny

    No power of hell, no scheme of man
    Could ever pluck me from His hand
    ‘Til He returns or calls me home

    1. Thank you, Renee, I will keep these words from that song where I can be reminded of them…so good.

    2. This was so good! I am praying for you Renee, that you be rooted and grounded in His love for you, that you will ‘bring your heart out’ and answer the call when He gives you an assignment!

  18. I won’t be starting the study until tomorrow, but I had to see the pictures of the newest grandchild. So beautiful and precious 🙂

  19. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    I loved everything, but I especially loved the part about Emily. She is such a beautiful child of God and I understand her approval Idol, as I have that also and am working on it. When you, Dee keep telling her to think about the words and not what people were thinging about her! I wish I would of had that wonderful advice so many times. Emily finally seen what Grandma was talking about and she set her affections on God and she was transformed!

    I also liked that you could see alittle storm brewing in little Sadie, of concern about mommy having another little girl. Sadie isn’t even old enough to know why she is feeling so sad. That tells me that we learn to run to Idols so young that we don’t even know what we are doing, but that is the human nature in all of us. Even as tiny little babe’s we learn if we cry, we will get attention.(Comfort Idol) Or become jealous and don’t even know what those feelings are. (Approval) Thats why it is so hard to break an Idol, after having it maybe all our life! Actually we can’t break it at all…only God can replace the Idol, in our hearts. That is so comforting to know, just like Emily, we can be transformed!

    1. Yes, so true, Joyce.

      1. Luke would dance on the kitchen table everytime I would sit to nurse abby:-) almost killed him! im sure it helps to have grandma there!!! extra grandma love with be a HUGE help:-)

      2. Will keep praying for them. My heart goes out to Sally.

      3. yes, praying for them..very hard time:(

  20. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why? When I came here it was almost painful to read a generous response to one of my posts. I am anti-attention so I felt deeply for your Emily, Dee! I have come to understand it is idol related but am willing to let Him work in this area of fear. At a luncheon recently I was asked to share a testimony of God’s faithfulness and I found myself saying over and over in my head, “He is the only one who’s approval is needed…” I focused on how much glory it would bring him to share and He gave me the courage needed.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.
    My mom was an entrepreneur but she mostly taught me how important homemaking and family life is. While raising 4 kids, she had a portrait studio and beauty salon in our basement (at different times), sold ceramics out of my dad’s business and drove a school bus when they needed extra cash. There were few things she couldn’t do including cooking, gardening and sewing clothes. Later she even won a case, pro se in the Supreme court of Nebraska! I was just thinking she must have had the energy of Cyndi! 😉

    Happy mothers day, I so enjoyed reading the comments about our moms.

    1. Kim, was your mother a christian woman? I just wondered, because I admire you so much in your walk with the Lord.

      1. Joyce, she was after she married my dad and had my brother and I. She was the one who made God a priority. A few years later my dad was saved and his life changed dramatically.

        1. How wonderful your dad changed so much for the good, before he died. I know you have mentioned how close you were to your dad. I’m so sorry.

        2. I was about 9 when a preacher came to my dads business and asked him to pray and receive Jesus as Lord and my daddy knelt right there and gave his life to Jesus. He came home and was SO changed we all saw it. The drinking, smoking and slamming doors stopped.

  21. I ask that to Kim, because sometimes I feel so inadequate, because I wasn’t raised a christian and feel like I got a late start! I did have a wonderful christian grandmother and a step-grandmother who prayed for us kids, I’m sure. But how wonderful it must of been to have a christian mom or dad, read bible stories and pray with us and talk about Jesus. Mom and Dad did send us 4 kids to sunday school when we were young, so they must of wanted us to know something about God, by doing that, but I always wondered why my parents didn’t come to church, after sunday school with us, like all the other parents did. They just picked us up and went home, before church started. God or Jesus was never mentioned at home. I didn’t even know about salvation untill I was in my mid 20’s and heard about it through my brother’s wife, that was raised a christian. I gave my heart to the Lord and was so eager to learn everything I could then. Sorry for getting off the subject! But honestly, I’ve learnt more right here than anywhere else!

    1. Joyce,
      I can relate to your feelings of having a “late start”. I know my parents attended church before I was born, and they had me baptized, but they had stopped attending church by the time I came along, and so I never went to church, except a few times with my grandma when I spent the night. We prayed only at family dinner at Christmas and Easter. For me as a child, Easter was really only about the Easter bunny and candy, and Christmas the tree and ornaments and presents. Of course, the main priority was the family being together. My grandma bought me a child’s Bible story book, and I learned alot from watching the Ten Commandments every year on TV!
      I know what you mean. I find it a miracle that I would be found by God, since I knew nothing about Him. I certainly didn’t go looking for Him…He came looking for me.

      1. Oh Susan, You could of taken the words out of my mouth! It was the same for Easter and Christmas…I didn’t even know Christ was the center of those times! I don’t think anyone even prayed at, our get together’s then…isn’t that sad? I was sprinkled as a baby in the Methodist Church, but when I was old enough to go to church alone there, they never had a calling to come forward or ever spoke of Salvation! So I didn’t know! After I gave my heart to the Lord, in my 20’s, I was baptized (emersed) in a farm pond. But even as a child, I knew their must be a God. I’m so thankful God came looking for us!!

  22. Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?

    Well, Emily was worried about her speech and it really wasn’t coming out the way she wanted it to; so people would feel what she was feeling inside. She worried about what people were thinking. Dee, when you told Emily to “think,” it resonated with me. Each word needed to be from Emily’s heart, not just words on the paper.

    In Chris’ situation, she worried how she would be received if the drawer was short. I am impressed that she fought those thoughts off with the idea that she was God’s child and He knew the truth.

    I love “in Christ Alone.” it is difficult however to remember daily that I am His and He is all I need. He is all I need to impress. I suppose I need to remember this if I don’t pass the test tomorrow….I will be disappointed, but He knows. I guess I haven’t allowed myself to think too much about the failing part. It will be embarrassing. I won’t like that feeling. I will feel like the last two years will have been wasted. It is hard to remember that God has the plan.

    3. Read 1 Peter 3:14-15 in this Good News, or in your own translation:

    14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

    A. What reassurance is there in the first part of this verse?

    I am blessed.

    B. But if we do suffer, what reassurance should still help us overcome the fear of man?

    I’m not sure here. Is it that God will give us the answer when we need it? It’s not clear to me.

    C. Is this fear of man, this need for approval, an idol in your life that daily tempts you? Explain, and then speak the truth to your soul.

    I am afraid that I will fail in things I do. Whether it is lecturing in my classes (you are up in front of everyone and it draws all the attention on you), or that the choices I make with my kids will ruin them for life, or whatever the situation, yes, I believe daily I seek approval from others when I should really just be concerned with what God thinks. I need to only ask God to approve of my “works.” It is not something I should be concerned with; others’
    perspectives, just what God’s perspective is on my life.

      1. Yes Laura, I agree with Dee! Also, I will be praying for your test to go well!

  23. What stood out is Emily and the fear of man. It spoke to me deeply. I think this is my problem and I continually quench the Spirit when it comes to my calling of speaking truth. I see the same thing happen in me, when I do not think about myself. So precious she sounds! How great she is learning this now.

    Still trying to get a handle on own continual storms. Reading through mike masons book the gospel according to job. Has been so good and helpful.

    I am appreciating my mom more and more as my children grow. I am thankful for her. Our relationship was often strained because I was extra sensitive and she is more like my asperger daughter so she did not understand. Now I can see and forgive and love. I am thankful for her and all she did and does. How God is restoring things.

    Even Dakotas mom I am thankful for…she did have him. We have him because she chose life as selfish as she is. He made a little card for her and gave her pictures. Because of her continual choices of selfishness it seems he will be a full fledged parsley by the end of the year.

    1. Angela, I so happy that your little guy will be a “Parsley” by the end of the year!! Some may not know that is your last name!!

  24. I have to admit i got on just to see pictures of the baby:-) I have been remodeling my kitchen and painting the pool this last week and have missed you all.
    Dee told a story of when Steve talked about adopting again on the way home from adopting their 2nd child and she told the story of how she told him she felt like she was standing on the wing of the airplane hardly holding on….I think I do this to my mom. She loves me so very much but thinks Im crazy:-) the busyness of our home is overwhelming for her, and all I have to do in a day makes her worry like crazy. for years I felt like she did not approve of me, and that made my approval idol go off and it made me distance myself from her 🙁
    she sent me a mothers day card that said “Im glad you got to do mothering the way you do everything…your way” at first I felt hurt but then I realized she was not judging, just expressing how different we are! We had a WONDERFUL time yesterday planting flowers at my house, filling planter after planter with beautiful, but different, flowers! I was able to let go of needing to be in control of every aspect and let the kids fill the planters in whatever way they wanted, it was so much fun!
    my oldest daughter was able to surprise me with a spa gift certificate from all my kids! but even better they all helped with good atitudes and we had a fun day.
    congratulations once again Dee! I had 3 pregnacy’s that would have led to death if not for modern med….(mom almost killed me when I got pregnant for the 4th time 3 months after a late miscarage) I suppose I was VERY neive and she was an OB nurse, poor mommy, I keep her on her knees!!!!!

    1. I KEEP her on her knees!!!

      1. Indeed! You are such a bright lively presence Cyndi. I love the part about your letting go of control and letting the kids plant whatever they wanted to!
        Being father down the road, I can imagine a day when your children may bless you with flower beds when all you can do is watch from the porch, you are in the process of ‘training them up’!

      2. Yes we do “love the package”, Cyndi!!

  25. 1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why?

    Thanks for all you shared. The story about Emily made me weep too. What a precious gift she is to her parents. I can relate to her fear of man and need for approval, I struggle with the same thing. Just always wanting to be accepted and loved are the roots of my need for approval. Like the words in the song by Laura Story (I think she’s the one) “Who will love me for me?” I am so thankful for a husband who loves me unconditionally. More than I can say. But I want my acceptance by Jesus to rule over and bring to death any idol of approval I have.

    I appreciated you sharing about my brother. It’s been a hard road, but he is changed man, as is his family. I’m grateful for him. He’s been there to pray for me as I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. I think of all my immediate family, he was the one who understood.

    Thank you for your last paragraph on mothers. This too made me weep. I am so thankful for my two sons and my husband, who love me so well. We all need to be appreciated and honored as we walk out the walk of being moms. I’m so thankful for this group of loving, honest and encouraging women. I really am.

    Loved loved the pictures of you and your grandchildren! They are so sweet.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother.

    She is a prayer warrior and really has faith that all will turn out for the best. She has been faithful to pray for all of her family, even when she has been hurt by them. That strength only comes from knowing the love Jesus has for her, for us, and walking daily with Him I believe.

    And I’m thankful for you as my aunt and count you as one of my spiritual mama’s. You are a big blessing to me! Love you.

      1. What a beautiful family you all have! Prayer’s for your brother too, Anne.

        1. Yes, I agree with Joyce. Praying for him too.

    1. Annemeredith, just read this-your mom is an incredible woman who pursues God, and truly loves- I have heard such wonderful things about her.

  26. 3 says “Read 1 Peter 3:14-15” but what is written from the Good News is I believe 1 Peter 3:13-14

    A. What reassurance is there in the first part of this verse?
    That usually if our heart is set on doing good, no one will harm us.

    B. But if we do suffer, what reassurance should still help us overcome the fear of man?

    ESV 3:14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled

    If we suffer for righteousness sake there will be a blessing, we will be happy…maybe it will be deferred, but it is promised

  27. A. Is this fear of man, this need for approval, an idol in your life that daily tempts you?
    Explain, and then speak the truth to your soul.

    Yuck, I wanted to answer no, not a daily idol problem for me, but I look deeper and see this need to be liked, thought well of, even my concern about my physical appearance rooted here. I see that I forfeit a deeper level of intimacy in relationships because I wouldn’t want people to know how aggravated I get sometimes. I can’t be honest and tell them that listening to them cracking their gum is driving me nuts. So I tuck it away and smile, cause I need them to like me. Why do things like ice crunching, pen clicking, fingernail clipping etc drive me up the wall anyways?

    Speak the truth to my soul, hmm okay. People like me because they really do like me, I am worthwhile, I am uniquely created in the image of God, and have good works to do that he has prepared for me.

    When I focus on me, when I worry I am too fat, that I am going to sound stupid, or that I am not as good as these other people, I am caving in on myself. I can’t look at my sister in Christ and see her needs and be an encouragement to her if my focus is on me and my need to be liked and accepted.

    MY identity is secure, my destination is heaven. I can trust God even with my mistakes and flaws. People enjoy being with people who are real & honest, not people who appear perfect.
    This way a very freeing to think about!

      1. Lol…right back at you Dee!

    1. I love and agree with this entire post.

  28. Just wanted to share with you women of God, who I know are sisters in Christ to me. Yesterday was so good to see my brother, only out of prison since Monday, to hug him, to see him in regular clothes, to see him be able to hold his children and to see them run to him for hugs all day long. How he wept often and is so grateful to God for what he has. Yesterday was also very hard for me, my sister-in-law makes it clear she doesn’t like me and only spends time with me when she absolutely has to. And my family accepts that because of what she has been through with my brother, they excuse her hurting others because she has been so hurt. As if my feelings aren’t valid. I want my husband to stand up for me, but he is a gentle spirit, a peacemaker. In this storm I can turn to the One and Only Jesus, knowing He sees every tear I cry, knows my heart better than anyone does. He knows the heartbreak I feel in having my brother back, but also knowing my family’s time with him will be limited. So if you feel led, please pray for me, for my family. My boys are being affected by this and that really breaks my heart.

    1. Anne–I just saw this too and want you to know I am praying–family estrangement can be so unbelievably painful–I am so sorry you have to struggle through this, and now your sweet boys. Praying for miraculous healing in relationships–I cannot begin to imagine the layers of pain–but His love can soften–His love lies beneath those waves–I will pray

      1. I will pray too. I am sorry she is hurting you.
        I wonder if you might try praying for a divine imagination of what it might look like to see her turn, repent and open up to Christ whatever is causing her to behave as she does?
        I cant imagine her rejecting so sweet a sister as you, but we can not see into one anothers hearts, Jesus knows, He knows your pain here and He know what is stuck in her heart. She must be so miserable inside.

    2. Annemeredith, this is so sad. I will pray for you, your brother, and your sister-in-law. I am struggling with my own family estrangement right now and know how painful it is.

    3. I will pray too, Anne…I think Chris’ answer too was very wise. Your sister-in-law cannot be in right relationship with Jesus either, and inside she must not feel very good. There is something in her heart that most likely has nothing to do with you.

    4. Oh…praying for you and your family. So hard, yet so thankful you got to be with your brother

    5. Anne, I’m finally putting all this together, about your brother, being in prison and about your sister-in-law’s anger. How painful this must be. I wonder if alittle of her anger may be from jealousy of you, because you have such a loving family and love the Lord? Regardless of why, I will be praying for the whole situation…love you.

      1. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement. I feel very loved here. I do think Chris is right for me to pray that way. I realized I am like the older brother of the prodigal son…maybe I already shared that…having a hard time celebrating with everyone else. My husband and I tried to be there for her when my brother went to prison, but she shut us out. A lot of anger got directed at me. She let my parents in and now they are all joyous having made the journey together. It’s been a hard situation. We are all supposed to go to the beach this summer as a family and I don’t want to go. But I don’t want to rob my children of time with their cousins, they get so little time with them.
        Anyway, thanks for letting me share…I didn’t mean to take up so much space in the study today, but I have really been hurting.

        1. AnneMeredith,
          I am so sorry and can fully sympathize with you as I have a brother in law who did not like me either. I have long stopped trying to figure out why. In the first ten or so years I cried and tried to get my husband to take my side but finally gave up for he too is a peacemaker. I have made some headway though and I want to share. I started asking God to help me love him regardless of whether or not it was returned. As I began to trust Him and look to him to salvage the situation the b.i.l. stopped saying unkind things. As the years went by things continued to get better and better and I continued to grow in my unconditional love. Now it almost completely healed and I believe it was love that broke through. I am going to pray for opportunities to arise for you to love this woman unconditionally. I can honestly say God and I have a special bond b/c of this situation and b/c I learned to lean into Him in obedience. I commented last week that when we give up something, in this case my right to be mad, God will give us something far better in return. He’s just cool that way. Love and hugs to you.

        2. What wonderful advice, Kim.

        3. Yes she definitely needs unconditional love. Thank you Kim for sharing your own story. She and my mother are very close, they are both very charismatic and share that bond, and I know my mom is able to love her that way. On Mother’s day we went around and encouraged one another in a circle, and although she skipped saying anything about me I was able to tell her she loves her family unconditionally, which I believe is true. I definitely have boundaries with her, to protect my heart, but I will pray for God’s heart for her. Maybe in the years to come things will be different. Honestly I have little hope. Thanks to everyone for your words of counsel and prayer. They mean so much to me, more than I can say.

        4. You make a valid point about boundaries and I appreciate that. This is a must with some people too.

        5. My thoughts were similar, Dee, when I prayed about this. I thought about how Annemeredith’s brother is different now, so humble, and that his wife will notice the change in him, and it may affect her, too.

    6. I will pray for you Anne and your family, but will also be praying for your sister-in-law to see the hurt that she is giving is unjustified. The hurt she went thru is no fault of yours, I don’t think anyway, so to give the hurt back to someone else is just not right. I will pray that her heart softens and her eyes are opened to what she is doing.

      1. Thank you Julie! I appreciate all the prayers I can get!

  29. I put pictures and a little bit about my journey out of perfectionism on my blog if you would like to see it…

    1. I loved it Cyndi, so good to see all those smiling faces and all those colors!
      I confess to having ridgid color schemes for my flower beds
      Perhaps I need to loosen up a bit 🙂

    2. So beautiful, Cyndi!!

  30. I am still not getting email notifications 🙁

  31. “Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?”
    Emily kept her eye’s focused on her words and how God loved her and how passionate God and her felt about the subject and did not let doubt and fear sneek in and need approval by men! She conquered her fear by putting God there instead!

    Chris gets her identity from God, not man, Praise God she does, because that comes from the heart, when you can think like she did then, when her cash register drawer was short.

  32. Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?
    I LOVED both of these examples. Chris, I completely relate to. My part time job is handling church finances. I go (obnoxiously at times) out of my way to have all the proper checks and balances in place…I do truly want the church to be above reproach, but even more is my desire to never be able to be accused of wrong doing. Chris’ example reminded me to keep my focus on having good practices to honor Christ and not protect self.

    Now that Emily! I know you all have said how you relate to her—but oh I SO do too! But sadly, I can’t really see myself pulling through and giving the speech—I’d have called in sick that morning!…but maybe with a grandmother like Dee speaking the Truth to my soul… I was really impacted by the power of this—“she was setting her affections on God, on what He cared about, and she was transformed.” I want to hold that so tightly to daily remind me.

    I was talking with a friend today and to something I said, she responded “that sounds like a bit of insecurity”. I said “well, yeah—I am about this issue!”, and she reminded me “your Security rests in Him alone” I thought of this post and what Dee had said, and yes, Christ alone is to have my mind, my worries, my thoughts, and He gives me the rest of assurance that my security, my identity, lies in Him.Why do I so easily, easily forget?!

    1. Elizabeth, Loved (and laughed with you!) your answer. If you figure out the forgetting part, let me know; maybe that same dilemma could be solved for me 🙂

    2. You sound just like me, Elizabeth! Why do I have to keep reminding myself of these things! I’m glad to hear someone younger is having the same problem!!

  33. First off Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, hope you had a wonderful day. AlsomDee the pictures are precious. Your new little bundle is adorable, and so are the other family members too.



    1. What thoughts do you have about the opening and why? – it was all so good. All the “light bulbs” turning on as I read all of it. How so many little things of our daily lives can turn into an idol without us even knowing it. The picture with the storm coming and the caption “Every time we cling to idols, clouds block His presence”. WOW! Oh how God wants to help us, but we as worldly beings hinder that help by putting our clouds of idols between us. I can so relate to Emily. I do not like getting in front of people to talk and so as a freshman in high school (a long long time ago) I took my speech class in summer school so there wouldn’t be as many people and it wouldn’t be as long as the regular class. This I see now may not have been such a good idea, it did not help me get rid of my approval idol and fear of speaking in public. But I have been put into situations where I am breaking out of that box.

    2. Share one reason you are thankful for your mother. – To give only one is hard, but I would have to say that at the top of my list my thankfulness to my Mom would  be how thoughtful of others she is. She is so caring and always thinks and puts others before her self. There were many times she would come over (my dad would have to bring her, she doesn’t drive) without question and no matter what time it was because of how mad and upset I was at Kyle, so much so that, unfortunately I would have to get away from him for fear of putting my self in a bad spot with him. I truly am thankful to her for those times and many other thoughtful, caring things she does for me now and in the past.

    1. Happy belated Mothers Day to you as well.

    2. Sound like you are very blessed with a wonderful mother! How was the wedding? I’m assuming you got home safely too! Happy Belated Mother’s Day to you, too!

  34. Sisters, I have a prayer request to share. Today my siblings and I took my mom to lunch and my sister confided in us that her daughter, Payten, is being bullied at school. She is only in 6th grade and a group of girls in her class pretended to invite her to a slumber party, when she came with clothes for the party, they laughed and said there was no party, the joke was on her. They call her the b word and make her sit alone at lunch. It has been reported to the principal three times and he continues to tell her to let him know if it happens again. Please pray she gets through the last week of school safely and God would show us all what to do over the summer and next year. I am just sick about this.

      1. Yes, going into 7th grade could be a big change, there is also a Christian school to be considered. Thank you for praying. Beauty for ashes, Lord.

        1. Kim, I have read this and I can relate with your sister! Praying for you all.

    1. Oh Kim, I will pray for Payten. I know, on the one hand, that these girls must be lost and are only acting out of their depravity, but on the other hand, it makes me angry at their cruelty, to want to destroy Payten as a person, to hurt her like that. And Dee is right, bullying is serious, and it does serious damage, and she needs to be protected. It doesn’t sound like the principal is taking any action.

      1. Thank you, Susan and Anne Meredith. It is such a different world, I can’t imagine girls this young using this language and being this angry. So much pain in this world. Yes, they need Him – so true.

    2. So heartbreaking. I will pray.

    3. Kim will be praying. That is so sad that kids think it’s ok to hurt others

    4. Kim we have also been thru bullying. Going to the principle made it worse. God came thru glorious in answer to prayer. Pray for the whole school. Get other moms to join you

  35. I also want to minister to Payten in what I am learning about the love of God and how He cries with her and holds her. Pray for the opportunity and for the words.

    1. I will pray for her, Kim. Remember my nephew’s son, Jason (14, legally blind and bullied and no friends) He does love the Lord and that has kept him on level grown, but the bullying has not stopped, even tho he has been to the principal. I feel so sorry for these kids that are humiliated like this. I will be praying for the opportunity and words for you to talk to Payten about God.
      Also, since we are in the same town and I know where you go to church, I know you must know the young man in a wheelchair (paralized) and his girlfriend, Elaine? She was in my Bible study this spring and when I ask for prayer for Jason, she volunteered her boyfriend, as he loves to work with these young kids, as kind of a big,christian brother. Well, both of them have taken Jason to church and fishing! He loves them and they talk about the Lord. I don’t know if your niece lives close by, but if she does, you should talk to Elaine. They definatly have a calling for the youth. They were an answer to prayer for Jason

      I’m still praying for Ben also, Anne:)

      1. Thank you, Joyce. Payten loves church and the kids there, praise God for that. I do not know Elaine but maybe you could email me her last name? Since there are two church services I don’t see people who attend the other service.

        1. ok!

      2. Thank you Joyce.

  36. 3. Read 1 Peter 3:14-15 in this Good News, or in your own translation:

    Who will harm you if you are eager to do what is good?

    But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry.

    If I had Jason and Peyton and Ben sitted before me, I would read to them these verse’s. If they bully you, be glad you are suffering for Christ and you will be blessed because of it. Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. But I know how hard that would be for a child…it’s hard enought for a grown up.
    I was made fun of by my previous ex-husband when he left me and my three kids. I said I would pray for him and being the “pretend christian” he was, he said some awful things to me about, how sick he was of my religion and what I could do with my “God”. After he left I cried to the Lord and he reminded me of these verses. Then I felt relieved because I was being persecuted for God and my beliefs! As my bible says, (verses 13-15) “Now, who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? But even if you do suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord.” The verses clear to 18 are awesome about this.
    I still pray for him and his third wife. From what my son says about him, he hasn’t changed. If he knew I was still praying for him after 25 years, he would really laugh, but I don’t care, I will continue to pray, as I would not want my worst enemy to go to hell, besides it makes me happy to be made fun of for the Lord! I am not afraid of anyone brow beating me about the Lord and I do not worry!

    1. Love that verse, Joyce. So sorry for all you have suffered but you have stayed sweet which is a testament to the Lord.

    2. Joyce, I grinned when I read this “besides it makes me happy to be made fun of for the Lord!” What a good example you are 🙂

    3. What a wonderful testimony this is, Joyce. Wonderful that the Lord reminded you of these verses after your ex-husband had been so cruel, and that the Lord comforted you with these words. Isn’t God great! And it is so caring of you to still be praying for him after all these years. You make these verses come alive for us!

  37. 4. A second idol that tempts us to forfeit grace is control or power. I myself often want to “fix” people, instead of trusting God. I often think of the example of Christ — who faced so much more. Read 1 Peter 2:21-23 and explain how Christ was able to do this.

    Jesus trusted God to help Him through the pain.

    5. How could this help you overcome your control/power idol? Be specific.

    Well, by trusting that God is with you, you give up the control of the situation at hand. It is on someone else and you don’t have that burden any more. What a relief! I mean you are still responsible for the earthly part, like Jesus was; He had to endure being beaten and hung on nails, but God was in charge. Thank you God!

    6. A third idol that daily tempts us is comfort/security. Rebecca’s testimony in regard to food was that she had to stop running to food and start running to God. She read books that helped her grow in intimacy with God. She also had to endure pain, but then experienced peace and freedom. How does Hebrews 12:1-2 speak to this?

    Jesus was blessed by God; He is seated at the right hand. We too will be blessed if we choose to spend time knowing Him. The only way to know Him is to read His word; this is key. Jesus knew that God had the master plan. That was the comfort He needed to get through the trial he endured. The cloud of witnesses are all those who kept their eye on the prize. Rahab, Moses, Noah; they are all there. We must be there with them. When I think of how important this is, how can I compare my silly indulgence, be it wine, food, exercise, or whatever? It doesn’t seem to fit. These people wanted LIFE.

    1. Laura, it is evident in your posts that you are desiring life too. Love seeing your growth!

  38. -Both Emily and Chris had to overcome the approval idol, the “fear of man.” How did each do it and how does either speak to you?

    Emily focused on God through choosing to take her mind off of what other people think and her self, and dove into the words and thought about them and by doing that turned her affections onto God-she cared about what He cared about.

    This speaks to me because I can relate! This also speaks to me because I learned from Dee by reading this..I am going to remember this-not because I am going to speak, but really just even when I share what God is showing me about Him to others-really thinking about the words I am saying and not focusing on me, or what they think, but thinking about what I am saying-setting my affections on Him because I know the words I am saying are His heart.

    It is so freeing and beautiful that Emily let go and turned her affections onto Him-His passion arose in her when fear was conquered and she could hear Him calling her into Missions!

    This is really small compared to Emily, but it reminds me of a time when I was passionately giving one of my ‘sermons’ to my husband-most of the time I am not trying to control him with my sermons but often I do-My control idol has been known to come into play when I have given him sermons on idolatry these past two years. 😉 Yet, this was way after I let go of that. I was in the Kitchen with no other motive than to express something God layed on my heart- For the first time ever he looked at me with tears and said, “You just gave me chills, the passion-this spoke to me and I started wondering what my idols could be, you need to develop this and teach-it is there.” -;) I wanted to say, no this isn’t a gift-just His passion-but I didn’t want to correct him.

    Chris’ story really spoke to me in a huge way-her story was powerful. If it were me-my body signals would have flown off the radar! Yet I love how Chris spoke truth to her soul-THE TRUTH-to combat the lie of “this is your life and if you make a mistake, and they think ill of you even if it wasn’t your mistake then your life will crumble.” The truth was-“My identity is hidden with Christ in God, no matter what misunderstanding or failure might befall me, no power of hell or scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. What relief there is in that!”

    She turned from heading toward her approval idol and going into an inner tailspin to resting in His warm and comforting hands.

    This spoke to me how this needs to be every day-turning and resting in Him-to remind myself when something similar happens-which really my approval idol can tempt me every day-whenever I make a mistake or have an oversight or something that it is okay-this isn’t my life-man isn’t my life-God is and I can rest in His arms.

      1. Dee, yes-He amazes me!! 🙂

    1. Great example of passion taking the upper hand to fear. You displayed this when your passion to sing for Him overcame fear last year, remember?

      1. Kim, Oh yes, I do remember last year! 🙂

  39. 4. A second idol that tempts us to forfeit grace is control or power. I myself often want to “fix” people, instead of trusting God. I often think of the example of Christ — who faced so much more. Read 1 Peter 2:21-23 and explain how Christ was able to do this.

    He suffered for me, to leave an example that I can follow. He trusted the Father to set things right, to be in control, to judge.

    5. How could this help you overcome your control/power idol? Be specific.

    My issues with control are sort of backward. I have this way of trying to make everything my fault, if it is my fault, then there is something I can do about it. God revealed to me that this is rooted in a desire for control. The truth is that not everything is my fault, sometimes the choices and behaviors of others affect me and there isn’t really anything in it that I can control.
    I can ask the Spirit to reveal to me when I am wrong, when it is my fault, and ask him to do the same for others, and leave it to God to judge justly. I can try to see past my own hurt, and see that the person who wounded me may need to allow Christ to touch their life as he has mine, I can share in his suffering, He suffered to redeem all of us whose sins were crucifying Him, I can attempt to follow that example, made me think of Phillipians 2:

    If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
    5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!
    9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
    10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
    11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
    12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
    14Do everything without complaining or arguing, 15so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe 16as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 17But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18So you too should be glad and rejoice with me.

  40. I had a really, really rough time last night during and following the therapy and group session last night. I don’t like being unable to figure out what is going on inside of me, that is a huge understatment.
    Ugh I am struggling pretty hard, and I can’t even see why,
    I know God knows why

    1. I was thinking about you and Bill yesterday and praying for you; I’m sorry it was so hard for you, but I thought it would be. I pray you can just rest against Jesus now and leave the “why” to Him.

    2. I will pray the Lord “untangles” your heart and heals each wound as it comes…that is what I’m hearing and could be wrong, so if this is not from Lord, let my words fall away. Sometimes with pain so deep we are not able to understand/comprehend what is going on inside, but the Lord knows. I agree with Susan’s prayer to rest against Jesus and leave the “why” to Him.

    3. Aaahhh Chris, SO hard; I can’t even imagine. I’m praying for you, praying that God’s love will poke through the struggle.

    4. Oh Chris, I get angry and then just so sad at what you have to endure. And yet somehow you still “hold unswervingly to the hope (you) profess”. Oh I pray you will feel Him hold you today–and may He bring some light to you

    5. Praying for you with my other sisters here. Deep, complex emotions and pain are often hard to release and heal.

      Proverbs 3:5-6
      English Standard Version (ESV)
      5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      and do not lean on your own understanding.
      6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
      and he will make straight your paths.

      1. Praying for you, Chris…I can’t possible understand what your going through, but you inspire me so much to see you grieving and pushing through to Jesus.

  41. Laura-dancer.
    I am praying for you right now for you to do well on your exams!

    Father, I pray for Laura, that you will envelope her with your peace, assurance, and love. Please keep worry and anxiety from her, and keep her mind free from distractions. Help her to stay focused and to remember all that she has labored so hard to learn, and to do her very best on her exams. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    1. Amen. Thank you, Jesus.

    2. Laura-dancer, My calendar has been “dinging” periodically all morning to remind me to pray for you during your exam. Not sure how long many hours the exam lasts. Praying that you will bask in His love for you during and after the exam.

    3. Just wanted you to know that I have been praying for you too, Laura. Hope it went well.

    4. I’ve been praying for Laura also. I think I said I was praying for Chris’s test earlier, but I knew who I meant! Hope it went well!

  42. 4. Jesus knew that even if he suffered NOW that in the end the Father had it all under control. My worry is evidence that I dont trust and that my faith needs strengthening. I get so mad at myself some days, I have seen HIM take care of me over and over again, and yet I still get all worked up about things….this last month has been hard with Luke breaking up with Sophia and her dad being very angry at all of us and Adam breaking up with Abby and her heart hurting so bad….and now looking back I see Gods hand in all of it. Having teens is the ultimate control idol buster, either you pretend you have control to make yourself feel better or you get on your knees, admit you have no control, and give it back to God who had it all along.
    What I can control is ME, MY thoughts, MY words, MY actions. I pray that every day I learn to place ALL of me into HIS hands and TRUST HIM more every day.

    6. for the JOY set before me I will endor the hard, not seeking comfort from the things of this world but from my heavenly father who cares for me. I find that it is easier to turn on the TV or get on FB then it is to study and read the Bible and pray…that self-control and giving up the “easy” is needed if I am going to choose what is best. some days I want to send my kids to school so bad:-) but for now this is where God has me, it is not comfortable but it is growing me in charecter and that is where God wants me.

  43. Find the similarities in Jonah 1:1-6 and Matt 8:23-27
    1) both stories depict a great storm at sea a crew of frightened individuals , but the is all I see in the similarity.

    2) Find the differences and why the “greater Jonah” is the One we can trust in the fiercest storm.

    The one thing that stood out in the differences is the type of storm.
    By that I mean this; Jonah 1:4 .” But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken up.”

    Matthew 8:24..”Suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves.”
    The storm in Jonah happened because God through it at the ship in order to get Jonah’s attention because Jonah was purposely not obeying God’s voice.
    In Matthew 8:23-27 this was a naturally made storm that was weather related.
    The crew in Jonah knew there was an angry god, and tried to appease their god with no results.
    The disciples on the boat were frightened as well, but knew Jesus could do something about the storm!!

    The “Jonah” crew had Jonah
    The “Matthew 8” crew had Jesus on the boat.
    Both were sleeping, but what I learned from the Keller sermon was the sleep Jonah was in was a type of “tranquil” sleep. Not sure of the word he used, but it seemed like a deep sleep brought on by his mood?
    Jesus was sleeping, but I think He was aware of the storm.
    Anyhow, from what I am understanding is there are 2 types of storms. One God sends us to get our attention, the other just because it’s just a part of life.

    What stood out in Psalm 88 was verse 14..” Why do You hide Your Face from me?”
    Sometimes I feel like God is hiding His face from me, but I know He really isn’t.

    I am seeing my own heart idol, self centeredness. I battle depression on and off, some of it caused by hormones, some because I think this a part of who I am. But I’m not meant to be a depressed person, it not how God created me. I say “self-centeredness” because that really what my depression is all about…self.

    I don’t like how I feel right now.

    1. Bless you laura Marie…praying for you.

  44. I have a small praise. I prayed for my husband this morning, and had more of a heartfelt prayer for him than I’ve had in a long, long time (maybe ever).
    My daughter and I have been going to a monthly mom-daughter thing at church, which uses Secret Keeper Girl as its model. We have a special dinner to attend in a couple weeks to finish it off. The leaders got the idea to ask the girls’ dads if they would be willing to be videotaped and each speak about 2 min. My husband agreed to do it – I didn’t even think he would. So they assigned each dad a specific topic, and his is to speak about how the girls are God’s masterpiece, and true beauty. He’s kind of anxious now and wants my help to prepare something. He said to me that he doesn’t even understand what he’s supposed to talk about. So please pray for him that God will help him (and I will, too) He’s thinking things like are all the other dads going to be quoting Bible verses?
    But what struck me as I prayed today that not only does he now know about what God feels about his daughter, he doesn’t even know how God feels about him.

    1. I love your praise, Susan.
      Jesus, you are interested in making Susan’s marriage beautiful and I believe this is shown here. Thank you that Susan’s husband is willing to be videotaped which shows his love for his daughter. I ask that in preparing he will come to face some important questions and grow in this area as he considers what he does believe. Grace Susan to be his helper and open up opportunities for her to share passionately what she believes. We trust you for the outcome. May your kingdom be advanced in this man’s heart and life. Praise you Lord for being at work in this marriage whether or not it is seen! Amen.

    2. I am so behind this week but just saw this and Susan–oh! I got to your second sentence and already my eyes got watery. That alone, to pray for him, and then to f heartfelt in it, is no small praise–that’s HUGE to me! And I LOVE that your daughter and you are doing Secret Keeper! It’s been on my radar a few years–I am waiting until maybe 10–but that just made me smile for you–you truly are an amazing woman to love so well, especially with the emotional, relational pain you endure every day. Will continue prayers for Jeff–this all feels very hopeful to me.

    3. This is great, Susan. “Aslan is on the move”, to quote C.S. Lewis.

    4. Oh yes! A chink in the armor. We will pray Susan!
      Lord we see how this man loves his daughter. So much that he is willing to step into unfamiliar territory to bless her. Be with him in this Lord. Give him so much to say that he will amaze himself and give glory to You. Use every bit of it to draw him to Yourself.

    5. I will pray, Cyndi. Record it for us!

    6. Oh, oh my!! Susan, this is wonderful-looks like God is on the move! Even though this may seem insignificant because your husband is clueless- nothing is insignificant with God-it is all part of the big tapestry He is weaving! How exciting!

  45. I’m skipping to number 5 about Psalm 88, will go back to the other passages tomorrow. Verse 10-13 speak to me, where the psalmist speaks from the point of view of being so distraught he feels dead. “Shall your lovingkindness be declared in the grave? Or your faithfulness in the place of destruction?” verse 10. I can relate to feeling hopeless yet knowing these things to be true about God…clinging to Him in the pit.

    In verse 13 he goes on to say “But to You I have cried out, O LORD, And in the morning my prayer comes before You.” Even in despondency, the psalmist remains persistent in prayer. That gives me hope…like you wrote in the study, “the graciousness of God even when we rail against him”, just that He hears both the cry of the heart, and the despondency. My bible references Luke 18:7 for God’s response to such persistence in prayer: “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?” That gives me hope. It’s in His hands.

  46. 4. A second idol that tempts us to forfeit grace is control or power. I myself often want to “fix” people, instead of trusting God. I often think of the example of Christ — who faced so much more. Read 1 Peter 2:21-23 and explain how Christ was able to do this.

    What He didn’t do: sin, deceive, retaliate, threaten
    What He did do: “he entrusted himself to him who judges justly”

  47. 5. How could this help you overcome your control/power idol? Be specific.

    I had to take a little time between questions. If I’m not careful, trying to “fix” myself by looking for a control idol can become an idol in itself (i.e., “I have to fix myself by identifying and controlling this idol”). I can easily fall into a trap of succumbing to religious control idols.

    I am so thankful that we are turning to Scripture/ looking to Jesus in this process. He entrusted Himself to His Father. I can entrust myself to a loving, trustworthy Father who in his time and when I am in fellowship with Him, reveals what comes between us. And it is in trusting in Him and knowing His love that His love has more “pull” than idols have.

    I was struck by vs 24 “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.'” I don’t completely understand the verse, but it is saying that because He bore my sin, I can live for righteous. I know He paid the penalty for my sins, and I also know that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available so that I might live for Him. But I think there may be more in the verse that I’m not seeing right now. What does the “SO THAT” in the verse imply? It’s huge that He paid the penalty for my sin. Maybe He killed the power of the sin identity so that I can live for righteousness?

  48. A. What reassurance is there in the first part of this verse? Who will harm you?

    B. But if we do suffer, what reassurance should still help us overcome the fear of man? God is with us. We can be happy in that. He is the only one we are to fear.

    C. Is this fear of man, this need for approval, an idol in your life that daily tempts you? Explain, and then speak the truth to your soul. Not daily but in speaking a message God gives me. Often. I have no need to fear because He fully approves me. It is He who I serve because of His amazing love for me.

    4. A second idol that tempts us to forfeit grace is control or power. I myself often want to “fix” people, instead of trusting God. I often think of the example of Christ — who faced so much more. Read 1 Peter 2:21-23 and explain how Christ was able to do this. He entrusted Himself to God.

  49. 5. How could this help you overcome your control/power idol? Be specific. Honestly continually give that need to fix them to God trusting He is at work in them. He does not need our help but at times invites us too. Otherwise trust God and stay out of it.

    6. A third idol that daily tempts us is comfort/security. Rebecca’s testimony in regard to food was that she had to stop running to food and start running to God. She read books that helped her grow in intimacy with God. She also had to endure pain, but then experienced peace and freedom. How does Hebrews 12:1-2 speak to this? I think of Christ and what He did. Enduring all things and I can lean into Him and get through anything.

  50. 1. I love the story of Emily’s victory. How wonderful for one so young! And Sadie! How very precious! My heart goes out to her as she is overwhelmed by emotions that she does not understand. Lord I pray that You will guide her young heart as she walks this road. I pray that love for her little sister will crowd out all negative emotions.

    I know that I have some ‘splainin to do. Many times I do not understand my own heart and this is one of those times. As we study storms God has taught me some things about blessing. As wonderful as blessing is, it has made it very difficult for me to maintain spiritual momentum. As I read this post I realize just how desperately I need it. I am sorry for being absent and not at least checking in.

    2. I love my mother. That really goes without saying but I have to say it because of my history. She was a very strong woman but not outwardly loving, yet she gave her whole life to us. I appreciate her so much and can’t wait to see her in heaven!

    1. Glad you’re here now, Anne 🙂

    2. Missed you, Anne!

      1. Dee, I will continue to pray. I do think patience and encouragement are the thing for Sadie. One of the most valuable things I learned when Alfred was little was not to ever force him to share because the result is selfishness. That helped me so much and I can’t help but think that the same principle applies here. While bad behavior is not ok, patience with her heart response of love might give her a chance to heal. Then perhaps love will flow naturally.

        Thank you all for your understanding and welcome. I may still be a little sporadic but it sure rests my soul to be back. Even just the few questions I did last night were like a balm. I still struggle with the decision about which studies I should be doing. BSF is out for the summer so that helps but I pretty much have the point that I should be here.