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For many years, I have been in a secular summer book club my sister Bonnie started. Last month I had lunch with a woman who seems to be seeking, because she often asks me questions, and has mentioned getting together. And so I invited her to lunch to listen, to see what was keeping her from a personal relationship with Christ.

Early in our conversation she told me, “I don’t like religion. It causes wars and division.”

“Yes, I said, it does.”

She looked surprised. So I went on to say (with a lot of help from this week’s sermon from Keller), “Jesus didn’t like religion either. He came to end it.”


“Yes — religion has to do with rituals and rules to get yourself right with God — but in Christianity, Christ paid the price for our sin to make us right with God. Every other religion has people going through steps or pillars to make themselves clean. But Jesus, when He paid the price on the cross, makes us clean — if we receive it.”

“And that’s not religion?”

“When the Bible uses the word religion, God speaks against it. He said he was weary of religious feasts and sacrifices where peoples’ hearts were not right with Him. The only time the word religion is used in the New Testament is in speaking of other religions, or sarcastically, as when James thundered at the people who were “religious” but showed by their lives that they didn’t love God. Jesus came to end religion. He wants a relationship with us.”

“So you aren’t religious?”

“I know, that the women in the book club see me like that. They may think I feel “holier” than them. But I don’t. I sin every day. My hope though is not in religion but in Jesus. I come to Him regularly for forgiveness, for trying to be my own god. In my deepest of hearts, I want Him to be my God — but I honestly fail every day. I’m not better than anyone — I’m a sinner, but I’m also forgiven and loved.”

“I don’t like all this talk about sin. I don’t like churches that beat you over the head about sin.”

“Could I tell you my story?”

She nodded, though I knew she was wary. I remembered how I felt cornered by my sister so long ago, yet how also, her words broke through. So I shared my testimony with her and then told her: “Though I would not have thought of myself as a ‘sinner,’ and had justified my behavior intellectually, deep within my heart I felt guilty. I had a silent cancer the way Steve did — and it was slowly killing me. It wasn’t until I acknowledged my need and put my trust in Christ that He took that guilt away and I felt SO MUCH LIGHTER. Then I knew, that though I had denied it, sin was weighing me down and ruining my life.”

“And now your life is good?”

“Life is hard. But now I know I am forgiven and loved and I do have an intimate relationship with Jesus — and I sense His presence every day. It’s not a religion — it’s a relationship. When I hurt Jesus by sinning, it hurts our relationship in the same way as when I hurt a friend. But He is ready to forgive me and He is always faithful to do that. I need Him so much. Life is really hard. It’s been that way for you — your divorce, your cancer, your daughter’s heartache…Jesus said this world was full of trouble. But He is longing for you to know Him personally — to have, not a new religion, but an intimate relationship with Him.”

She was silent. She took some books I brought and said we could get together again to talk about them. And so, I pray!

This week Hebrews shows us that Christ came to offer a better way than religion.


Priest interceding at the ark of the covenant


We have something better.

Jesus is the final priest who intercedes

who was without sin

and will never die.

We can go right to Him.


We can go right to Jesus -- anytime, anyplace.


























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

2. What will you tell your soul the next time the enemy comes to accuse you?


Monday-Wednesday  Bible Study

3. Read Hebrews 7:18-25 and see if you can explain why Jesus was better than:

A. The law in making us right with God

B. The priests who interceded for us but who sinned and died

Read Hebrews 8:8-13

4. How is the New Covenant (Christ rescuing us and putting a new law in our hearts) better than the Old Covenant (our keeping the law)?

5. Read slowly and out loud Hebrews 8:10-12. This is a direct quote from Jeremiah 31, so I want you to turn there now. This is a beautiful chapter where Jeremiah is prophesying about the New Covenant that the Messiah will bring. I want these words to seep deep into your soul and bring health to you. Read the following passages and choose one that quickens you. Stop. Meditate. Pray it back putting your name into it. Let me show you with the first — but then you find one and make it yours. This passage has promise after promise about what the New Covenant will bring.

Their life will be like a well-watered garden. Jeremiah 31:12


A. Jeremiah 31:3    You have loved me, Dee, with an everlasting love, therefore you have continued your faithfulness to me.

I am so unfaithful, but You are faithful. You love me — and not just for a time, but always and forever. I rest in that.

B. Jeremiah 31:12-13

C. Jeremiah 31:25

D. Jeremiah 31:31-34

6. Why is the new covenant so much better? Because it relies on Christ instead of ourselves! Idols cannot be removed — only replaced. If you haven’t seen it yet, I think you’ll be inspired by the testimonies in Video 7 of Idol Lies on my website. If you have time, watch and comment. http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/idol-lies/

7. Hebrews 8:9-10 is the core of Hebrews — you may notice that Hebrews 8:1 tells us the author is getting to the main point. This promise of a new law in our hearts is the now and the not yet. We do now have His Spirit within us if we are His. Yet we still fail Him. Turn back to Hosea 2:16-23 and describe the glorious day that is coming and express what this means to you.

Thursday-Friday   Keller Sermons (2nd is optional but so good!)

This is in the series you bought and it is called The Advocate or you can purchase it individually here:


The second, which is optional (but so good) is called The God You Can Know and is the next in the series or can be purchased




There is also a free sermon which covers many of the same points as the optional sermon above (The God We Can Know) and you can find it here: Link

8. What are your notes?


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

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. Woo hoo! Downloaded the Android app from Google Play. Thanks, Dee. That little app is packed full of value. Will be so convenient to watch videos.

    Praying for your travel and speaking, Dee!

    1. Renee, Thanks to you, I just did too! I didn’t know there were two apps available-one with her bible studies you can buy and the one for Idol Lies. The one for Idol Lies is listed as: “Dee Brestin, Subsplash Consultants.” That is what mine said via my Android. It is free! This will be great to be able to show the women I know what the book is about. 🙂

      1. Oh, wow… I didn’t know about the Bible Studies one. I searched for her name and the Idol Lies one was on the top — didn’t look beyond that. The Bible Studies one will be VERY convenient. Thanks, Rebecca!

    2. Gals, could I download this onto my Ipad? I am so not techie!

      1. yes Kim–go to dee’s home page, and on the lower right side you’ll see it–in green. 🙂

        And I have to credit Renee with my finally getting an ipad….a long while back she gave a great description of them, really helped me “get it”–thanks renee!

        1. I am just now seeing this. Thanks!

  2. 8. What are your notes?

    Can I just say “WOW”?? 🙂 I will shorten my notes and highlight what stood out to me:

    We have such freedom from the chains of ourself, from the chains of our idols, from the chains of guilt. He is my advocate and He lives right now to advocate for me-it is finished-he doesn’t plead for mercy before God, but for justice because He died for my sins once and for all. They can’t be paid for twice. Real justice demands a verdict, and the verdict is in-Jesus is the payment for my sins period-I am forgiven and justified before God..He can’t go back and pay again-paying two times would be unjust. When God sees me He sees absolute beauty.

    So, where do I stand before God regardless of when I sin here on Earth? As beautiful, righteous, worthy because Jesus paid the price. He is my advocate, my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification. I am totally accepted and loved beyond measure so I don’t need the love and acceptance of others to feel justified or proven in this life.

    Abolition of Guilt-I loved how Keller said it is easy to walk around internally saying-wow I messed up but then say well I had a good month-but that is me being my advocate-won’t work..rather when those thoughts come I pull out a verse and say-I know my sins-God knows none. It gives you a new identity-abolishes guilt.

    If I suffered a loss-it only undermines it-doesn’t remove it, so I can say-“IF Jesus is my worthiness, my glory; my righteousness changes that so I can handle the loss.”-Loved this.

    I really liked the playfulness part: “Playfulness: if you are a moral person if someone criticizes you you are devastated or furious when someone critics you. If you are a real Christian when someone criticizes you you say, you don’t know the half of it-I am a whole lot worse than you think. If you ask a moral person if they are a Christian they get offended, but if you ask a real Christian they will say-what a joke, me a Christian I don’t understand why It is true, but it is true-God’s great joke.
    Superior pride or inferiority and shyness or self conscience. Christianity gets rid of both. You are such a horrible sinner how can you be prideful, you are so loved how can you be shy-it should infuse your life with humor, why should you take yourself so seriously. It makes you think of yourself less.”

    Finally, Jesus lives to intercede to do this-this is his life to do this with us.

    1. Great notes too, Rebecca. I like this especially: “Playfulness: if you are a moral person if someone criticizes you you are devastated or furious when someone critics you. If you are a real Christian when someone criticizes you you say, you don’t know the half of it-I am a whole lot worse than you think.” This is exactly how I felt when I had to earn my salvation every day. I was in a constant state of guilt never living up! This was modeled by Dee when she went to lunch with the lady. She wasn’t afraid to say she sins daily.

      1. Yes Kim, and I was able to share this with my dad today about me sinning daily,etc… God totally used all of this!! (look at my post below to get the update on my dad!) 🙂 🙂 Love you..

        1. Okay great

  3. Praying Dee – for you, Karen, and Sally all making your way to the retreat.
    Oh Lord, please oversee all the details of each woman’s travels to the retreat, and please provide them with Your protection. I also pray that the hearts of many will be ministered to at this retreat, especially in the wake of the disaster of this recent storm. Please give Dee wisdom, and quicken her in her spirit, and give her peace instead of butterflies and unease. I also pray for her physical health and strength, having had recent surgery – please give her Your supernatural strength and energy, yet give her some time for rest this weekend, too. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

  4. 3. Read Hebrews 7:18-25 and see if you can explain why Jesus was better than:

    A. The law in making us right with God

    This says that the law or the former regulation was weak and useless because the law made nothing perfect. Because I cannot keep the law, it offers me no hope of getting closer to a holy God. The law cannot change my sinful nature, either. But Jesus is a better hope. Through Him, I can be brought near to God, and I have the hope that I can change, from the inside out. It’s not behavior modification, it’s transformation.

    B. The priests who interceded for us but who sinned and died

    The human priests were flawed and they couldn’t live to make intercession for us forever because they eventually died. But God swore on oath that Jesus would be a priest forever. Jesus lives forever, and His priesthood is permanent. He intercedes for us without end.

    Read Hebrews 8:8-13

    4. How is the New Covenant (Christ rescuing us and putting a new law in our hearts)better than the Old Covenant (our keeping the law)?

    The Old Covenant was given when the Israelites came out of Egypt. It was the Law, and they were to obey and keep it. But they couldn’t. The same is true of us today. We can’t keep the Law. But when Jesus comes to live on the inside of us when we receive Him at salvation, it’s like our cells are infused with new DNA – reprogrammed. The law that used to be external to us now becomes internalized – it is in our hearts. It’s no longer a force exterior to us exerting pressure on us to obey, but now it’s a a supernatural power on the inside of us that changes our nature and gives us the desire to obey.

  5. 7. Hebrews 8:9-10 is the core of Hebrews — you may notice that Hebrews 8:1 tells us the author is getting to the main point. This promise of a new law in our hearts is the now and the not yet. We do now have His Spirit within us if we are His. Yet we still fail Him. Turn back to Hosea 2:16-23 and describe the glorious day that is coming and express what this means to you.
    I like this from The Message Bible, “At that time this is God’s Message still— you’ll address me, ‘Dear husband!’
    It means that we will meet face to face, embrace and we will never be apart and idols will never again separate me from His presence.
    This lesson has meant so much to me as I am trying to get eternal security down deep in my heart so that I can share from my heart why I believe it and the joy that flows from it. Jesus truly came to end religion and He is ripping religiosity from the very core of my being and for that I am a new person.

  6. SUSAN, and everyone else who is praying..I was able to share the Gospel with my dad on the phone on the way home from the store after work today. I can’t stay online long as I need to go pick up the boys from school, but wanted to ask you to pray..What is so COOL is that God opened up the door to explain that Jesus came to end religion. 🙂 🙂 My dad said, “I don’t think God is going to send anyone to hell who is decent and has been good at least 80% of their life time.” I listened to two keller sermons at work-listened to each one two or three times..One was on “arguing with Jesus”.. and it fit in well with this weeks study..and God used it as I shared the Gospel with my dad More later..I have to go..Pray sisters! Love you and thanks so much!

    1. Rebecca,
      Praying now for you and your dad! I see how God is enlarging your heart and growing you in your knowledge and faith, and you preparing yourself by listening to Keller’s sermons so you can share with your dad. You will share with him out of the overflow of your own heart. I am praying that God will keep this door of communication open between you and your dad, that God will prepare his heart to listen and accept the truth that you share!

      1. Oh Susan, thanks so much for being so faithful to pray..One of the things that I clearly remember and am forever thankful for is that my brother had a circle of friends praying for me before I came to know Jesus.

        I sure am humbled and thankful God uses stumbling bumbling people like me-what a privilege! It is the moving of His spirit to open my dad’s heart. 🙂 I was reminded (ENCOURAGED BEFORE SATAN COULD HISS LIES) while listening to Keller at work that God gives us the desire for Him first, then we believe. How He woos us and draws us to him and gives us that panting thirst to know Him. Then God assured me while listening to my dad that my dad doesn’t want Him quite yet, he wants what God can give him-heaven or hell, and he is hung up on works righteousness. So I focused on relationship not heaven and hell, and focused on Jesus coming to end Religion-works righteousness. I didn’t need to ask my dad many questions for he was telling me where he was coming from-and God was whispering to me. I can’t really explain it-but I have never felt so free sharing the Gospel and have never felt so much love for my dad at the same time-for I too have been in his shoes and really am still nothing without Christ, yet beautiful because I am clothed in His righteousness..And so too my dad is nothing without Christ but can be His and be beautiful.

        Okay, so now I will say again..God’s hand is strongly on Dee Brestin for without this blog, without the past two or three years of studying His word, fellowshipping with my sisters here-all of us being mentored by Dee and the Lord-I might not have been able to say I am free. I was so bound before I came here by my idols, by not pounding the Gospel in, by forgetting my real identity, yet now because of Dee’s mentoring and you ladies and all these Keller Sermons-God is profoundly moving in my life-and there is so much more to learn. I want like Karla Faye Tucker to say daily that God is pulling those roots up from the inside. I look forward to saying when I am in the word, ‘wow I didn’t see that before!’ truly less and less of me and more of Him.

        1. Thank you for your witness, Rebecca.

    2. Praying Rebecca!

    1. Praying, Dee, that you will have an especially great God-anointed retreat.

    2. Thankful you and Karen arrived safely – praying for Sally’s safety and for her singing!

    3. Wonderful that Sally is singing a solo..is there any way it will be taped? Would love to hear it!

    4. Thanks for the update. God’s continued blessings to you all.

    5. Praying for everyone’s safe return, Dee

  7. I just finished listening to the sermon “The Advocate”. It is wonderful that Jesus stands as my advocate and His payment for my sins makes me seen by the Father only through Him. Jesus is an absolutely dazzlingly beautiful high priest and so I am a beauty in the Father’s eyes. I can be fully confident because I stand completely worthy in Him.

    1. Diane,

      So good..I took this away too and it helped me battle this approval idol at work-it is so easy to worry as you hear ladies talking bad about one another, that they will talk bad about me too-I know they will but honestly God has me in a place where I am confident of my standing before Him so I don’t care now-I really don’t. He also helps me at the same time have compassion for them for I too am sinful and no better than they are-I am justified before God and that is the only difference-I am His and He did that -I didn’t. SO..when I see them I see me and how frail I am too..I even chuckle inside sometimes at how we can be thinking we are superior and know it alls compared to almighty God-oh I stumble in this area too. 😉 So really the drama that happens in the kitchen doesn’t steal my joy in Him-Isn’t He good?! Oh and especially that I can listen to Keller sermons as I work before and after the lunch lines. So sweet! 🙂

      1. Rebecca, you inspire me!… “So really the drama that happens in the kitchen doesn’t steal my joy in Him-Isn’t He good?! Oh and especially that I can listen to Keller sermons as I work before and after the lunch lines. So sweet!” What a blessing you can listen at work!

  8. Sorry–I’ve been praying-Dee for you and the retreat, so thankful you are there safe. Rebecca–I pray too for your Dad and am so encouraged by all He is doing.
    My youngest got the stomach bug Wednesday night, and is now at the urgent care–they said strep and an ear infection! So thankful for doctors and that we are blessed to live in a country with care, and medicine, and open on Saturdays!

    Julie, Chris–still thinking of you and hope you are well

    1. Elizabeth…praying for your little one!

  9. 6. If you have time, watch and comment. http://deebrestin.wpengine.com/idol-lies/
    There was a peace that was evident in Karla…here she is on death row, awaiting the carrying out of her sentence, yet she is clearly at peace–a peace that defies human comprehension; a peace given by God.

    I am always struck by the ways and means God uses to draw His people closer. In Karla’s mind, she was only going to the worship service for the benefit of socializing with no intention of true worship. Yet the Lord had other plans…He blessed Karla with a sense/awareness of His presence upon her entry to the worship area and continued to draw her ever closer to Himself through the prison ministry folks and His word.

    Karla gives witness to the transforming power of God and His incomprehensible grace.

    7. Turn back to Hosea 2:16-23 and describe the glorious day that is coming and express what this means to you.
    The glorious day coming is when our relationship with God is truly one of mutual love, commitment, and respect symbolized by the marital union (“mutual” meaning that WE will finally love,are committed to, and respect God as we should). The world will be one of peace and love, free of fear.

    8. What are your notes?
    (I get SO much out of these Keller sermons; I again have pages of notes… I haven’t gotten to listen to the second sermon yet; these are notes from “The Advocate”)

    ~The image in our mind of what we look like (spiritually, character-wise) is what we HOPE we look like to other people, yet we are fearful that we don’t. It is impossible not to care about this…we can’t live satisfied with our own verdicts of self; we need pronouncements/verdicts from outside.

    ~No one can avoid turning their life into one big trial. Life is unavoidable a trial…efforts to get verdicts from others is actually a desire to get a word (verdict) from God. Whether one admists with their mind or not that there is a God, their heart knows.

    ~There will be an ultimate court where we will appear; we CAN’T argue for our self, if we do we will be bound to lose. Jesus is the advocate I will need at my ultimate trial.

    ~In court, I look like my advocate; my advocate appears in court on my behalf. An advocate’s success (or failure) is imputed to the client.

    ~To be a christian means…to be “in” Christ; union with Christ; Christ is my substitute/advocate/intercessor. Jesus is the ultimate advocate in the only court where it counts.

    ~Jesus doesn’t beg for my mercy from the Father…there is no manipulation or spin in Jesus’ advocacy for me. Jesus demands justice; Jesus sacrificed Himself for my sin debt and to get two payments for the same debt would be unjust. Therefore because of Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf, God’s divine justice and righteousness demands my acceptance throughout eternity.

    ~The Father worked things out within the Godhead so my sin has been dealt with. Jesus’ sacrifice goes beyond forgiveness and pardon; when the Father looks at me, He sees an absolute beauty (i.e., Jesus in me; I in Jesus).

    ~The difference in my life because Jesus is my advocate:
    An entirely new identity; a deeply secure identity in Christ.
    Complete abolition of my guilt.
    Discouragement and disappointment are undermined.
    Playfulness and humor in knowing that I alone am completely unworthy, yet in Jesus completely worthy.

    1. Dee, that was me who thought you had an app for bible studies-turns out I was mistaken. In “Google play” on my Android when I search your name it does list your books under ‘books’ but under ‘Apps’ it only lists the app for Idol lies. 🙂 The great thing is that I can buy your books via my Android on “Googly Play”. 🙂 I didn’t know that.

      1. Rebecca,
        I thought you may have been referring to the books when I couldn’t find the app either. But it was good to see the study guides in google play 🙂

  10. 5. This is the passage in Jeremiah 31 that really stood out to me: verses 18-20:

    Restore me, and I will return, because You are the Lord my God.
    After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast.
    I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.
    Is not Ephraim My dear son, the child in whom I delight?
    Though I often speak against him, I still remember him.
    Therefore My heart yearns for him, I have great compassion for him,
    declares the Lord.

    This speaks assurance to me when I feel like I’ve gone and messed up yet again. I can pray these words, “Oh Lord, restore me and I will return to You, because You are the Lord my God.” I know God is talking about Ephraim (Israel) here, yet how I long to hear these words of reassurance, too, “Susan, you are my dear daughter, the child in whom I delight. My heart yearns for you, I have great compassion for you, Susan.”

  11. I would appreciate it if all of you would pray for my husband and I later today as we talk with Krista about her future. A lot is at stake – marriage, children. We need the Lord’s direction and we need the Lord to help Krista to think clearly about what she should do. Help us to we “wise as serpents and harmless as doves”. And “if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask of God …” Jesus, be our Advocate.

    1. Oh Diane,
      I can feel the weight of this through your words. I will be praying for you and Krista and your husband today. Yes, Lord Jesus, please be their Advocate today.

    2. Father, we come before you and ask for blessing over Diane, and her husband as they talk with Krista today. Lord, please give them discernment for their words, the timing, and the direction You are leading them. Please prepare Krista’s heart for the discussion, that she would only see the love her parents have for her and that she would trust their wisdom. Lord I pray this would be a turning point for healing in her life and lead them to a “door of Hope”–that You would bring about beauty from brokenness in all of this. Strengthen Diane, please Lord, and comfort her with Your wings. In Your Name~

    3. Oh Diane, I am and will be praying that He will be your Advocate and Wonderful Counselor and that each of you will be hearing Him. Love to you.

  12. 6. Comments on Idol Lies Video 7

    The whole video is just amazing. From the first woman’s testimony, she said she has changed to keeping short accounts with God. Dee’s teaching that empty souls can’t keep evil out – we need to fill-up that space with God. Also this, “my sin demands from me a sacrifice”. The ending is very powerful when Dee says that when we cling to our idols, wwe experience the lesser life.
    Karla and Linda’s testimonies are so powerful, you feel so drawn to them both. It is so hard to imagine Karla any different than what she was at the end of her life. Her words are so encouraging, she was so amazed and impacted by the fact that no matter what she had done, God loved her. It changed her.

    7. Hebrews 8:9-10 is the core of Hebrews – you may notice that Hebrews 8:1 tells us the author is getting to the main point. This promise of a new law in our hearts is the now and the not yet. We do now have His Spirit in us if we are His. Yet we still fail Him. Turn back to Hosea 2:16-23 and describe the glorious day that is coming and express what this means to you.

    This is a glorious promise of a glorious wedding, the day when I will say to the Lord, “You are my Husband”. He Himself will remove the names of my ‘other lovers’ from my lips. I will love Him with a heart that is undivided. Verses 19-20 to me are like the Lord speaking His wedding vows, that He will betroth me to Himself in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion, in faithfulness, and it is all forever. His vows really cover it all. I can hardly imagine what it will feel like to be so completely known, yet loved and cherished.

  13. Sorry, was out of town and got behind (again) 🙁