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I’ve been listening to a free sermon from Keller called BENEDICTION which you will hear  this week. As I listened and heard of God’s desire to shine His face upon us and give us peace, I thought, This is why He came. This is the promise of Christmas.

Last Sunday I was back in Kansas City and was so thankful to be able to go to The Messiah with my family and dear friends (such as our own Rebecca and Rachael from the Idol Lies video). Kansas City has a new symphony hall and we waited in anticipation as the orchestra readied to play Handel’s inspired work of art. Every lyric is Scripture — from Isaiah, Job, Lamentations… all the promises of Emmanuel.

And then, it began. The opening strains of Comfort, Comfort Ye My People…

The Kansas City symphony last Sunday

Comfort Ye, My People


Whether or not you can get to a production of The Messiah this Advent, you can listen in so many ways. This week I’ll give you a link to  a You-Tube video of the opening of the Messiah with accompanying lyrics that will help you comprehend that His desire for you is good, and that one day as Isaiah 40 promised:














This has been His plan from the beginning:

to make His face to shine upon us,

to be gracious unto us,

and to give us peace.


This 2nd week of Advent

Come and do a little each day

and let His face shine upon you.


Sunday/Monday Icebreaker

Last week many of you shared wonderful stories of God “ambushing” you, based on the Walter Wangerin quote. We want to hear more stories here! I will share one here. I’ve been missing Steve more acutely lately, but determined to turn to the Lord — and one of the ways I’m doing that is by re-reading some classics that strengthened me so as a young Christian. I went to the basement and pulled out a yellowed copy of Andrew Murray’s Like Christ. When I opened the front cover I was AMBUSHED by Steve’s familiar scrawl with notes to me:

  • Dee: read the 4th day twice. Define surety before reading.
  • Dee 10th day very good
  • Dee Look at page 212 carefully and see how embodiment is the end of the ways of God…

So now, as I read, I am sensing God’s face upon me, and in mystic sweet communion, the face of Steve.


1. Was there a way you sensed the presence of the Lord last week? If so, when or how?

2. What stood out to you from anything in the above and why?

Tuesday: Read Isaiah 40:1-5 and watch the following video. Watch and worship — as a child of God these promises are for you.


4. What from Isaiah 40:1-5 speaks to you and why? Do you know anything about how this magnificent piece of music came to Handel?

Isaiah 40:4 reminds me of a part from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings when Sam Gangee wakes to find his friends all around him and says:

“Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”

Yes! Every valley will be exalted, every mountain made low, every crooked thing straight, and every rough thing smooth.

5. What valley in your life will be exalted about which you are so excited?

Wednesday: Bible Study: Read, Listen, and Watch God’s Desire for you as expressed in Numbers 6:22-26

Watch this short video with this passage put to music and scenes from creation:


6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?

7. In the free sermon you will hear tomorrow, Keller says Moses, who was forbidden from seeing God’s face for it would destroy him, must have been astonished by this promise.  Moses did not know what we know according to Hebrews 10:11-14.  What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with His child?

Thursday-Friday   Listen and Respond to this Free Keller Sermon

Click on the link and download it — it will play more smoothly than if you do not download it: Link

8. What are some things that you learned about the word and the concept “blessing?”

9. Keller turns to the story of Jacob to illustrate the blessing. What stood out to you from this and why?

10. I love how Keller is able to see the Gospel hidden in every story. Find it in Rebecca’s hasty words in Genesis 27:13.

11. What else stood out to you from this message?



  • On a Christmas card or other note, write a specific blessing that will delight someone, mentioning their character, their sacrifice,or the fruit in their life.
  • On a piece of stationery write a blessing and frame it, wrap it and put it under the tree. This is what my 18-year-old grand-daughter Emily (who is spending this year as a missionary in Japan) did for me before she left and I LOVE IT.



If you think a word of blessing this week (as simple as I love her spirit, I like her warmth, even, I like her hair) say it to her or say it on the blog.

Surprise someone with an act of kindness.  When I came home after my long trip, expecting to lug my suitcases into a dark house, my daughter-in-law and grand-daughter had decorated my little house for me for Christmas.

Surprise someone with an act of kindness that reminds them of God's love.


13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.

14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.

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  1. I’ve always found this Benediction to be comforting– in any church; the “bookends” of the benediction seem to explain why.
    v. 23 “Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,”
    v 27 “So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”

    Aaron and his sons were told to speak the Lord’s blessings to the people, and He answered that prayer and blessed them.

    6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?
    Truth: God WANTS to bless me, and He initiates the blessing
    Lie: I am blessed if or because I do the “right” thing (and if I don’t feel blessed, I must’ve done something wrong)

    Truth: Peace is from Him (one version used the word “prosper” instead of peace).
    Lie: Peace and prosperity are orchestrated by people in positions of power, by individuals working hard, or by manipulating situations to obtain “peace.”

    Truth: His grace
    Lie: earning blessings

    Something else I’m (indirectly) getting from this passage: His blessings are with/on me even when I don’t see or sense them. I can’t comprehend how bad life would be if His blessings were removed (hell?).

  2. 5. What valley in your life will be exalted about which you are so excited?
    I am so excited to be face to face with the Lord and those who I love who have gone on – I have a some very special people and a child I have yet to meet. I also think the cessation of the cares of life will be grand.

  3. 6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?

    The Lord’s love, compassion, help, (whatever good quality of God you can think of) has limits…have you reached the Lord’s limit, Nanci?…You are on your own, Nanci, fend for yourself…You are not enough, Nanci; this is unacceptable to God and soon you will be on the outside looking in.

    7. In the free sermon you will hear tomorrow, Keller says Moses, who was forbidden from seeing God’s face for it would destroy him, must have been astonished by this promise. Moses did not know what we know according to Hebrews 10:11-14. What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with His child?

    Jesus took the burden of my sinfulness…the Father sees me in Jesus’ righteousness; I am seen with the love of the Father for His child; I am an adopted child of God because of Jesus.

    8. What are some things that you learned about the word and the concept “blessing?”

    We ALL want to be accepted, to receive blessing from our fellow man. Thank you, God, for Your blessing.

    9. Keller turns to the story of Jacob to illustrate the blessing. What stood out to you from this and why?

    A change in perspective…previous to this I viewed Jacob as a schmuck, deceiving his father, and Rebekah as a wily accomplice (no judgement there, right?) Jacob was STARVING for his father’s acceptance and affection…my heart is sad for Jacob, thinking that in his mind even a deceptive blessing was better than to never hear a blessing from his father (how very sad). It opened my eyes even more so to peoples’ need for sincere encouragement, acceptance, and blessing.

    10. I love how Keller is able to see the Gospel hidden in every story. Find it in Rebecca’s hasty words in Genesis 27:13.

    Rebekah was willing to take upon herself the consequence of Jacob’s sin (“may the curse be upon me”)…Jesus DID take the burden of our sin upon Himself; He, without sin, took our sin upon Himself so we could be free, pure, righteous…made acceptable to God.

    1. Nanci,
      I haven’t listened to the sermon yet and now I’m REALLY motivated. I LIKE your description of Jacob being a schmuck and Rebekah as a wiley assistant (or maybe vice versa). Great choice of words 🙂 (I have used the term a few times!). SO, if they aren’t a schmuck and wiley assistant, I guess I’d listen and correct my errors.

      1. Hi Renee…the sermon definitely adjusted my perception of Jacob…I can’t imagine what it would be like to yearn so for a word of acceptance from a parent that even a word of blessing received in a deceptive manner would fit the bill… It makes me all the more grateful for the blessing of my parents who provided me a wonderful foundation of faith, love, support and grace. If I can be half the parents they have been to me to my daughters, I will be satisfied.

  4. 6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?

    The enemy is always using words to say that the Lord has turned away, His face can’t see me, I am a failure, I will never make it, the Lord won’t do this or the Lord won’t do that but this says just the opposite that The Lord will bless me, The Lord will be gracious to me and The Lord lift up his face to me and will grant me peace. Today this I really need to be reminded of…and God always has something, sometimes small, sometimes big that reinforces His love for me, that He will always be there. Thank you Lord for the reminder today.

  5. 7. Hebrews 10:11-14. What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with His child?

    v 14 “For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” It’s possible for God’s face to shine upon us because Jesus has made us perfect through His sacrifice. Such a thought-provoking contrast between the tenses in that sentence. We have been made perfect through Jesus, but we STILL are being made holy. The perfection certainly isn’t in my thoughts or behaviors; yet He sees me as perfect while He graciously changes me.

    I read ahead and am excited about blessing others. This is motivating as I continue to grade final papers. When I can tell that a student has put his/her heart into an assignment (and I require a couple that involve “heart” to completely grasp the material) but maybe didn’t follow the instructions or write very well, I do try to comment on the positive (and when appropriate/fair, allow them to resubmit missing parts). This semester, the class is twice as big and I am struggling to get through the papers. Last week, I received a note from a former student indicating that she appreciated the encouragement I gave when grading papers. She told me that she could tell I spend more time grading than most (surprising because I try to be efficient).

    This “assignment” to be a blessing combined with the note from a former student make me excited again about encouraging students. And the Numbers and Hebrews passages remind me to be gracious even to those whose attitudes don’t make them seem very deserving. I was getting burned out (and checking my email about 500X/day) when grading. Seeing the extent to which God has blessed me has given me new energy, and now I WANT to honor Him by blessing students. (grades may not be any higher though!) I have the privilege to reflect His glory.

    1. Renee–to have a teacher whose desire is to bestow blessing on her students–WOW. What a gift you are!

    2. Thank you, Renee, for being a teacher that inspires students and is inspired by your students. It is wonderful to read the extra care and understanding you provide to students…you may never fully realize this side of heaven all the seeds of encouragement you are planting and/or nurturing for future growth…bless you for doing it anyway.

  6. Okay, so this is weird but I need to share 🙂

    Today i was sitting at my desk and had this strange thought….there have been times in my life when I have been physically struggling and needed relief. One that comes to mind is a time I was choking on something. I relaxed instead of tensing up and the food went right down. Another time was when I was giving birth. If I tried to relax the pain was eased. It dawned on me that there are times when life is so hard I don’t know what to do. If I focus on Jesus and relax, he will be that easement to my struggle just as when the food goes down and the pain of birth subsides with relaxing. Weird but very meaningful to me today!

    1. I think this is a wonderful insight for you Laura, again & again we are commanded not to fear. That tension you describe goes along with fear, turning your thoughts to Christ and relaxing, knowing He is in control and He loves you so defeats the enemy!

    2. Laura, this is rich. I read and many verses came to mind ‘cast your anxieties on Him because He cares for you…’ and my mind kept going back to “my grace is sufficient”–and that’s what struck me. So often when I am worried and anxious, it’s this sense that I have to so SOMETHING in the the situation–but no, I don’t I am called to give it to Him, to rest in Him, and believe His grace IS sufficient. Thank you for sharing your wise thoughts.

    3. Laura,
      I can identify with what you’re saying.

      When my girls were small, and afraid of something like going to the dentist or getting vaccinations, I would tell them that if they were not afraid it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable. I told them to picture Jesus with them and to just relax. They never had much apprehension about those things then. Also, whatever my attitude was usually transferred to them.

      Fear intensifies our anguish and pain. In fact, I’ve found that physical pain isn’t nearly as tormenting as fear and apprehension…so draining. Resting in Him gives us strength and confidence and peace….The hard part is remembering and doing that in difficult situations.

      1. Yes…if only we could remember to rest in His strength for His confidence and peace to envelope us. I recall an explanation of “FEAR” as an acronym I heard at one time…false evidence appearing real.

        1. Absolutely LOVE that acronym, Nanci J., got to remember that one.

    4. Laura, this is God’s word for me right now. I just read this. We have sick kids in the house and just got more discouraging news. Both Krista and I are exhausted and feel we are being pushed past our strength. Feel like God is saying “Rest. I am in control.”

    5. Laura,
      Great description. Thanks for the clear reminder. Sometimes working hard to fix people/circumstances makes the situation worse — or at a minimum, wears us out. A long time ago, my dr told me to relax and not work so hard to fight depression.

      Focusing on Jesus and relaxing — so good. Reminds of the song “Trust and Obey.” I think I used to focus on the “obey” and was scared that I couldn’t obey. But when I trust Jesus, I do relax.

      In light of this week’s study, I especially like this verse:

      “Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
      But our toil He doth richly repay;
      Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
      But is blessed if we trust and obey.”

  7. 7. In the free sermon you will hear tomorrow, Keller says Moses, who was forbidden from seeing God’s face for it would destroy him, must have been astonished by this promise. Moses did not know what we know according to Hebrews 10:11-14. What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with His child?

    I am with Elizabeth on this-I can so easily default to guilt when I am not meeting everyone’s needs perfectly-when I fail-and OH I fail! My earthly father loves me-I have never doubted it and he has always had a soft heart toward me but he comes from a generation where you don’t let your emotions show. I haven’t had an Earthly father figure hold my face and tell me I am beautiful in that tender way so sometimes it is hard to imagine with God-but He does see me as beautiful, flawless and when I soak the Gospel in deeper oh I can more and more see this.

    It blows me away when I think He died to make me, a wretch, flawless..That He can turn my inadequacies into beauty as He is making me Holy-That He only gives Satan enough rope to hang himself. He died to make it possible for His face to shine on me and talk to me like a father talks face to face with His child. I am never alone-ever-even if I feel like I am sometimes.

  8. I have two prayer requests today:

    1) my nieces boyfriends cousin is missing, he is seventeen. He left his cell phone behind and it has been discovered that he took a gun with him. There is a huge search taking place, his name is Gino. I dont know this family but my niece is involved in the search efforts, my heart goes out to this family.

    2)I will be taping a 5 minute video testimony speaking on the topic of humility to be played in church this Sunday. This is so hard for me, I need to articulate things I can barely bring myself to speak, things I haven’t been able to say. I want to be humble, to set aside my comfort and speak, I feel like asking for prayer for me seems lame given my first prayer request, but I am weak and I need help!

    1. WOW–these are both big!
      Lord, we ask that You would cover Gino, draw him to Yourself in the midst of his pain, protect him and we ask that you would restore his mind to right thinking, that he would be found and safe.

      And we lift up our dear dear Chris to You Lord. Oh this is big. Thank You for how You are using her to SHINE Your beauty. Oh how I wish we could all be there, but I know You will use this to touch many hearts, to show them Your power, Your love, and healing that can only come from You. Please give Chris peace as she speaks, I pray she would be Your vessel and You would pour Your words through her. In Your Name~

      ps–can you tape it? give us a link??

      1. Oh Chris, I am praying Elizabeth’s prayer for you and for Gino.

    2. Dear Chris,

      I think you are very brave and courageous to share your testimony.
      Dear Lord,
      Please help Chris today as she tapes her testimony. Draw from her heart what You would have her say; You know the deep things of her heart, the painful things, yet You are the Friend who can help to draw them out and help Chris articulate them.
      I pray that as the taping happens, You will be right beside Chris with Your arm around her. Yes, Lord, You are there with her. And please help Gino’s family and friends to find him quickly, and protect Gino from the enemy’s lies and plans for his ruin. Please speak into his mind and heart that he may hear Your voice and come home.
      In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

      1. Amen

    3. Amen to the prayers of others, dear Chris.

      1. and Amen. Praying, Chris…keep us posted.

    4. I am just reading this Chris. I hope all went well today with the taping. You are a great writer on the blog so I can’t imagine you wouldn’t be able to convey your thoughts clearly. I learn so much from your heart.

      So sorry to hear of the lost boy. It seems our young “adult” males are struggling so in our society. So many have no idea how to solve their problems without taking extreme measures. Dear Lord, thank you for good friends and caring hearts. Gino needs your loving care right now. Please bring someone across his path who can remind him of who you are. Help Gino Lord, please. In your name, Amen.

  9. I’ve listened to the sermon once and loved it, but I want to listen again before answering above, but I wanted to go ahead to #13.
    When I first read the lesson for this week on Sunday morning, I thought that honestly SOME people are really easy for me to give a blessing to—and others REALLY are not. And I thought how God more than likely really is calling me to give it to those more difficult ones in my life, but ugh.
    The day before, on Saturday, I had a very painful phone call with a very close family member…followed by worse emails. I won’t give details, but it was the kind of emails you just delete so you don’t have to keep seeing even the title. It hurt really bad. I thought—I really have no response, just sort of numb. It hung on me all day Saturday—just ickiness. Then Sunday morning I read this post, and thought-“yeah, but…” and the cloud stayed.
    But Sunday night, I just hit reply—I gave the Numbers 6 verse, and my love. I couldn’t say anything else. And I will be honest—I didn’t FEEL like saying it, or doing it, but it also wasn’t just a guilt-reaction, or a “should”—I just did it. Without my usual analyzing. And no fireworks went off, I actually never received a reply. But the next day, I realized it wasn’t hanging over me anymore. I gave a blessing instead of retaliation, or tears, and I received HIS blessing of freedom from it. Now I feel like I can pray—for this loved one, for their heart. I cannot put words all to it, I just feel less immersed in the tangle of it all. Like by just giving a blessing somehow gave me the ability to distance myself enough from it, from the pain, to be able to love. I need to hold on to what He showed me here, I know I will have this come up again and again…and need to be reminded of the freedom, the blessing…of giving a blessing.

    1. elizabeth, Thanks so much for sharing this. What a wonderful description of you blessing someone and then receiving His blessing.

      1. ditto to Renee’s comment for me, Elizabeth…

    2. This is a wonderful example of your faith in action, Elizabeth. The power of a blessing to free YOU!

      1. Thank you all for your prayers
        No real news on Gino, the news had the story wrong, it is his father he has been caring for not his stepfather. He had been an excellent student but had left school to help care for his father who has extreme back problems. Everyone says he was a really good, quiet kid.
        I asked my niece if the parents are Christ followers. She said she thinks so but has never known them to go to church.
        They just want to know where he is and what happened. I hope this information helps those who are praying.

        We did tape the testimony last night, we were headed to the church just before sunset and the sky was stunning, I felt a peace as I looked at it, I so wanted this whole thing to be about God & not me. But ugh, the self obsession runs deep. I worry so about how I look and sound, what people will think of me. Grief makes chubby persons chubbier, and at this stage of life I am not sure the weight will come off.
        The secretary at church who was with me while I taped & I believe will become a friend, gave me a little booklet by TK called the Freedom of Self Forgetfulness. Lord willing I will grow in this area.
        The sky amazed me again when we got home. Bill and I watched for just a few minutes (it was cold!) We saw 5 shooting stars.
        Elizabeth I think I will be able to share a video when Bill finishes editing it.

        As I thought about what I shared I know I owe so much to the way God has used this blog to bring me where I am, I so appreciate your ministry Dee, your personal care for each of us, and all of you my sisters in Christ, your so important to me.

        I am remembering now how low I was when I came back on the blog 11 months ago.

        1. oh Chris. I am just overwhelmed–His beauty SHINES through your humble, honest, REAL-ness. Oh how loved and love-able it makes you! The shooting stars-wow. He did that for you. Can’t wait to see the video.

        2. I’m so glad to hear the taping went well, Chris…the secretary with the Keller booklet (do you know I just ordered it from Amazon 🙂 I need help to forget myself, too!) The beautiful sky, the stars – He was with you!

        3. You are very important to us too, Chris

    3. You are a blessing, Elizabeth!

  10. Sermon notes/thoughts (#’8-11):
    Benediction is a blessing. Blessing is to delight in. He bestows His wealth on us, and is committed to achieving my good. He is “expensively present” with me. He will do whatever it costs for my good.

    The story of Jacob and Esau reminds us of how we so desperately want someone outside of ourselves, someone of significance, to bless us. We cannot bless ourselves.

    To show our face, means relationship. We lost His face, relationship, when we turned away from Him and to ourselves. Our sin separates us because holiness cannot dwell with sin.
    But NOW God is saying we CAN have His face—He is gracious to us, and through grace we have the gift of His face, of relationship. The blessing of God brings an inner peace, confidence, we are not needy of anyone else to bless us.

    What Rebecca says in a rash moment to Jacob, never believing it would come true ‘upon me be your curse’—Jesus says to us, fully knowing it had to come true. This is the Gospel!

    As I heard this, and thought about how confident, secure, fulfilled I should feel because I have received His blessing. And I thought-why can’t I get that into every cell of my body so that it changes me? I’ve been reading a lot of medical stuff lately (not intelligently—so bear with my analogy here!)…and I was thinking about how certain cells in our bodies have receptors for certain nutrients and hormones…but that other things can get to the cells first and block their entrance, leaving the cells lacking what they were created for. It’s like my idols, my fear of losing control, my fear of giving up my comfortable life…my idols get to my hearts cell’s and block me from absorbing the Truth. By because He knew we would need to be cleansed, renewed, reminded, He gave His Word. And His Word reminds me that I HAVE His blessing. I want to let it fill me up, through intimacy with Him, before anything else tries to get in the way. Sorry for the rabbit trail!

    What also really impacted me was this—we don’t just receive a blessing from God, we receive Jesus’ blessing, the one meant for Him, the one He deserved, He bestows on us.

    And because we have no life without the blessing, we are to GIVE the blessing. I thought of my children here—ways I have missed the opportunity to bestow blessing, but also some who are harder to bless, at least on my own strength. I find it easy to critique others around me. I appreciated the practical application. Look for fruit—some area of growth in the person; look for a gift or ability they have; look for ways they make sacrifices…catch them doing these things and praise them for it.

    Seek more of the blessing. Spurgeon: “Some of us know what it’s like to be too happy to live. The love of God has been so overpoweringly experienced by us on some occasions that we almost had to ask God to stop the delight, for we were afraid that we could endure no more. I believe one night that if God had not veiled his love and glory a bit we would have died for joy.”

    1. Elizabeth,
      I think your example of receptors on cells and how if something else attaches to them first, it can block other things from getting in and how you related that to our spiritual life was really, really insightful!

      1. coming from Nurse Susan, that means a lot 😉 you can tell where my brain has been…but it’s amazing how He can use whatever I’m “obsessing” on to still draw me to His truth!

  11. Dee, Prophecy is the gift I don’t want (I’m not referring to the spooky, predictive kind — although I wouldn’t want that either). I was told that I see stuff that other people don’t see. I’d just attributed that to having a ton of research training that led to observational skills. It still hasn’t soaked in that others don’t necessarily see what might seem obvious to me.

    Unfortunately, I remembered a couple examples that predate grad school. In my teens/20s, I attributed some observations to decent Bible background as a child/young adult. More recently, I assumed that if people hadn’t picked up on some of the things I’d seen that they weren’t paying attention (I don’t see anything out of the ordinary– similar to what I notice as a researcher). Way back when, I used to be encouraged when others told me I had the gift of encouragement or even teaching, but prophecy doesn’t seem very “nice.” Plus, the implications are huge.

    I wasn’t going to post this (hard to even type the word), but acknowledging that this MIGHT be a possibility is my first mini-step in obedience. The first time someone told me that I might have that gift, I didn’t pay much attention because I didn’t understand. The person who told me this time explained more, and I was too stunned to argue. I do want to be open to God’s leading, and I know He will open doors in His time. But this seems really weird, and my approval idol tells me that it’s not a good way to “win friends and influence people.” And my control idol tells me to protect myself.

      1. Oh Dee, Thanks for your prayers. I do realize that it’s a gift that God can use mightily. That’s why I am so sobered. The good news is that my weakness is so evident and only He can provide the strength and power, as well as straighten the path, for it to be used for the good of the body. A couple reasons this is challenging is that I grew up in denomination that, in the era anyway, said prophecy had ceased to exist as a spiritual gift. Although in recent years (decades), I haven’t agreed, it hasn’t been on my radar — at all. Plus, I’m female 😉 Sure would like to sit down with you over a cup of coffee right now!

        1. My understanding (now) is the forth-telling/discernment (I understand it the same way you do, I think). My hunch is that those who said that prophecy doesn’t exist meant foretelling, but I’m not so sure they defined it. So, I just crossed it off my mental list 🙂

  12. 8. What are some things that you learned about the word and the concept “blessing?”

    Blessing means to delight in something. When God says it to me it means He is saying He delights in me, He wishes me well, and He is committed with all His power to achieve a good life and He is going to be expensively present with me all of my life. He is willing to pay the price whatever it takes for my good.

    9. Keller turns to the story of Jacob to illustrate the blessing. What stood out to you from this and why?

    Jacob was desperate to receive his Father’s blessing-like all of us we want to be delighted in, to be fawned over and to be important to others-we are desperate inside for this-God has made us this way but He made us to have this longing filled by HIM.

    10. I love how Keller is able to see the Gospel hidden in every story. Find it in Rebecca’s hasty words in Genesis 27:13.

    When Jacob was scared of being under the curse, Rebekah told him -upon me be your curse. She had no clue what she was saying was going to come true in Jesus. The curse which you and I earn every day for our sinfulness was laid upon Jesus so that the blessing that was rightfully Jesus’ might be given to us. “Jesus wore the shroud of death that we deserved so that we might be lawfully clothed in our true elder brother’s garments-the spotless robes of Christ’s righteousness.”

    11. What else stood out to you from this message?

    All of it, really. I love that God has put His name on me. I love how Keller exposed another layer with Jacob-I hadn’t thought about the heart issues with Jacob and how we relate in detail like this, and then seeing the Gospel in Rebekah’s hasty words-so good.

  13. Ladies,
    On the Christian radio news this morning, they mentioned that this 17 year old young man, Gino, is still missing (since Tuesday). Let’s keep praying for him.

    1. thanks for the update Susan–continuing prayers–for his family too..

  14. 4. What from Isaiah 40:1-5 speaks to you and why?

    I’m going to try this again, because the first time I just wasn’t getting it.
    The first 2 verses kind of remind me of how in Song of Solomon, she needed to be coaxed to come out of the cleft in the rock. I hear coaxing in these verses: “Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and call out to her, that her warfare (hard service) has ended, that her iniquity has been removed (penalty of iniquity accepted as paid off).” NASB

    This speaks to me because my tendency when I sin is to hide from the Lord. So I picture in these verses a people (or person) who is unsure of how God feels about her and she may have even given up hope of ever being restored in her relationship with the Lord. So God comes with soft, kind and gentle words of assurance and calls her out – the calling out means to me that she is a ways off, keeping her distance, not knowing if it is safe to come out. God seeks to reassure her that she is not facing more punishment if she comes near because her sin has been paid for.

    Verses 3-5 make me think of rolling out the red carpet for the arrival of royalty. A voice calls out to make or clear the way for the Lord…valleys being lifted up, mountains being made low, rough places smoothed out…”Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together.”

    It’s interesting that after God comforts His people, the next thing He does is reveal His glory to them. It might have frightened them if He had not spoken His comfort and pardon first. He is coming in all His glory, but His intentions towards them are good.

    5. What valley in your life will be exalted about which you are so excited?

    Well, I’ve heard it said many times that we can’t expect to live on the mountain-top here in this life; sure, we get those spiritual mountain experiences but they’re not lasting, and too quickly we return to the valley of everyday life with its disappointments, pain, trials, etc… I think of the valley of my own emotions – up one day, down the next, besetting insecurities about how God feels about me and does He really love me and how can I really be a Christian if I had this thought or did this…. Oh, the contentment and peace to just be on an even level one day!
    And, I can’t wait to put my arms around my nephew Thomas and his dad Jeff, my brother-in-law, and to see them free from their addictions.

    1. And you will, Susan

  15. 6. When you read God’s desire for you in Numbers 6:22-26, what lies of the enemy does it help disperse?

    The lie – you are outside the fold, Susan. God could never forgive you for the things you have done. You are eternally cursed.
    The truth of God’s desire for me – God’s intentions toward me are good. His desire is to bless me, not curse me. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die the death of a cursed man, to become a curse for me. God keeps me and will not let go of me. Not even death can separate me from Him.

    The lie – if you could see God’s face as He looks upon you, He is not smiling. He is not pleased with you.God doesn’t even like you. When bad things happen in your life it is because you deserve them.
    The truth – The Lord makes His face to shine on me and His character is one of graciousness towards me. A gracious person is not a petty, vengeful person.

    God gives me His peace – not a spirit of uneasiness or unrest.

  16. 7. In the free sermon you will hear tomorrow, Keller says Moses, who was forbidden from seeing God’s face for it would destroy him, must have been astonished by this promise. Moses did not know what we know according to Hebrews 10:11-14. What does this say and how does this make it possible for God’s face to shine upon us, for Him to talk to us like a Father talks face to face with his child?

    Moses watched as Aaron did the sacrifices day after day after day. That barrier of sin was always present. The work of the priest was never done. But Jesus made one sacrifice for all time and then sat down at the right hand of the Father. It doesn’t say that this one sacrifice covered over our sins really, really well…but that “by one offering He HAS PERFECTED FOR ALL TIME those(me!)who are being sanctified.”
    I’m still “in process”, being sanctified, yet at the same time God sees me as already perfect because of Jesus dying for me.

    This just made me think of the parenting advice that we have to be careful what we say to our kids because often they will live up to our expectations of them. So we can say we disapprove of their lying, but that’s different than pronouncing “You are a liar.”
    I’d really like to live up to this more – that God says He sees me as His perfect child. It’s not an unattainable expectation, nor is it an excuse therefore to abuse His grace. It should be seen with thankfulness and appreciation, driving me deeper into the gospel.

  17. I’m skipping ahead here because Dee said that if we think a word of blessing, to say it here –

    I’ve had Elizabeth on my mind this week, and when I think of her, I think of this from Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

    I see in Elizabeth a heart that’s always willing to let God burn away the dross and a heart that is always seeking His face in everything.

    1. oh my. I was just logging off and He showed me this. Sweet Susan, so other-centered, how you bless me, THANK YOU. Reading this here just now, feels like the biggest hug I’ve had from Him in a long time. Thank you dear friend. I am so humbled and honored to call you friend!!

    2. Oh, Amen, Susan! I see that in Elizabeth, too!

      1. Amen, I see it in Elizabeth too!

  18. Oh I just sat back at the computer and saw the terrible news of the shooting in Connecticut. Praying with you all for these poor families.

    1. I just saw it too, Elizabeth – I checked the news after I heard the topic on Chris Fabry Live. Surely God is weeping…am praying for the families,too.

  19. I asked the Lord to give me a word for each of you—how I see Him in you, I just listed who has participated online this week. I pray I’m not missing someone!

    Rebecca-her undying, inspiring, passion for Jesus
    Sarahsal-reminded me how often I shrug off a blessing because I don’t “hear” what is said
    Joyce- faithful prayer warrior—such a comfort to me to know she prays
    Diane- gentle and wise; steadfast
    Mary-her honesty this week about “distractions” from prayer time convicted me
    Laura Marie-God used her today to ambush me when I finally played the food ct youtube just now!
    Nanci-humble, honest, she just “radiates” to me—Christ shines
    Julie-gentle and teachable
    Chris-compassionate huge heart; tender towards all who are hurting
    Laura dancer-boldy, fearlessly seeks Truth
    Kim-selfless, giving heart
    Dawn MS-bold, honest, gracious, “real”, (not make-believe 😉
    Kansas-brave and honest
    Susan-other-centered, slow to speak but quick to listen, wise counselor
    Becca-joy-pressing in to Him to see the hope amidst trial
    Renee-discerning, humble, inspiring!
    Cathy-wisdom, reminding me we receive “double honor and joy”!
    And Dee—no one in my life has taught me more about the kind of intimacy with Jesus that He longs to give. You make such sacrifices to be not just our teacher, but our mentor, our encourager on our journeys. You are faithful, gracious, and reflect Christ to me.

    I am thanking Him now for EACH of you and the BLESSING you are to me!

    1. Elizabeth, you are such a gem. You absolutely amaze me. I so appreciate the encouragement. Hugs!

    2. Elizabeth, What a special, thoughtful post! You are wonderful.

    3. Elizabeth, you are all of these things above. You are our blessing everyday:)

    4. Elizabeth, Love love love you..You are a blessing sister!!! 🙂 The desire of my heart is that you lived close-but God has already granted my desire-I will some day get to be with you before Him-we will see Him and worship him with completely pure hearts..Oh my..what a day!

    5. you are such a dear Elizabeth, blessing us all, God uses you to bless us all the time the way you read and remember and care for us. Bless your heart!

    6. Elizabeth,
      I agree with everyone – you are so thoughtful and care for each of us and thank you for your words of blessing for each one of us. You have such a tender heart and have indeed blessed us all!

    7. Thank you for the blessing, Elizabeth…back at you…I am thanking Him now for you and the blessing you are to me! 🙂

    8. Elizabeth, just back on after a few days of “distractions”. Actually one of those distractions is my daughter is home for a few weeks over Christmas, and I was trying to keep up with the study this past week, but I was also trying to spend time with her as well, doesn’t work so well.

      I thank the Lord for the blessing that came through you this week. When I first read your post (in my email) my eyes started to leak, it was such a wonderful blessing for me at that time. I thank you and the Lord for your wisdom and kindness in your words and how they impact others to hear what we each need to hear at a specific time, even though you may not be aware of that impact. Thank you.

  20. Prayer request: I pushed myself too far this week (no exercise, skipping meals, or eating easy ones, and short nights). I was so excited and relieved because I just finished grading more papers than I’ve had for years, made a to-do list for Monday (so that I don’t have to work this weekend), checked my email, then ran into a pic on Facebook and started sobbing. Then I came here, started reading and sobbing again. As I was typing this, the regrets of my life and events of the week started to hit; I recited the benediction a couple times. What is helping to calm me now is going back to an earlier post and reminding myself that He wants to bless me, He will protect me, and give me peace. Please pray that I will remember the importance of healthy behaviors (and follow through) when the work piles up.

    A couple days ago we had a suicide on campus. This impacted the whole campus; please pray for the student’s family and friends.

    As I review the benediction, I see the extent to which Jesus went to give me life in Him, to protect me through despair and desperation, and to give me peace. I do desire to reflect His glory, but this mirror keeps getting so grungy, both through deliberate sin and downright stupidity.

    Before, when God has worked in my heart and brought about big changes in my life, there didn’t seem to be any external change in my life (sometimes for a long period of time). I couldn’t describe what was happening because I didn’t always see much internal change either. Someone who knew me well pointed out that I can look stuck for a very long time, and then suddenly my most recent “sads” become untrue. Suddenly everything clicks, and I’m on to something else — and at that point I have a hard time describing what got me stuck before. I’m wondering if I’m kinda in this process now??

    VERY timely Bible Study. Thanks, Dee 🙂

    1. Renee, I always sense your honesty in every blog entry and especially here. And I can so identify. Thanks for being so real and honest before God and us. You have an amazing depth and wisdom. I so appreciate you here.

      I had Krista and her two youngest boys here for three days and I am just wiped. The almost 4 year old was quite sick for two days and we didn’t get much sleep. I am just sitting here feeling like bawling, even though there is no particular crisis and other than sickness the week went fairly well. The overall stress is so emotionally draining.

      1. oh dear Diane, I think you deserve a long hot bubble bath! I’d be wiped out too! Can you give us a Krista update? I know you may be too drained, just know we care and pray for them all

        1. Elizabeth, I appreciate you asking about Krista. Things aren’t much better for her concerning her marriage or children, but God is doing an amazing work in her heart. She has turned to God in a way like she never has before in her life. She and my son Joel are moving into a bigger apartment soon so that she can see the boys more often, we hope. Keep praying for her and her husband that God will do what He needs to do in their hearts. Sorry I can’t give more details, I just don’t feel it would be a good idea.

        2. Oh Diane, I do hope you can get some rest now. Thanks for the update on your week and on Krista. Will keep praying for all of you.

          While I was grabbing my computer and coming to the website, I was thinking how good it would be if we could all get together face to face. Then I thought that if we did, I’d probably sit there bawling. We could all be bawling together.

          I did go grocery shopping — even stuff on the shelves triggered tears (seems kinda funny now). But now I’m aware of every kind of tea available in a supermarket.

        3. The Lord continues to bring you all to my heart Diane, daily–so I will keep praying. So thankful to hear she is turning to Him

        4. You are all in my heart and prayer’s, Diane and Krista

    2. loving your play-doughy squishy heart here renee–and to your question ” I’m wondering if I’m kinda in this process now??”–I would guess yes, He is definitely working in you and through you–a blessing to watch

    3. Renee, Praying for you, to let the stress go and to take better care of yourself. You have so much on your plate..my goodness it makes me tired thinking about all you have to do. Give it all over to God and he will give you peace about everything. Praying for the suicide person’s family and friends…so sad.

  21. This has been a hard day. Gino was found today, an apparent suicide. I was at work when I heard, just a little before the news of the shooting.
    People at the winery wanted the news on the television. My emotions were so near the surface, I marveled at how they moved so easily from the horror of the news to talking about their Christmas preparations and which wine they preferred. I know my experience has heightened my empathy but it just really bothered me. I remember a long time ago hearing an interview of someone who was not an American citizen, they were observing that it was unique to American culture to treat murder as a topic of entertainment, I don’t know if that is true or not, but I have never forgotten it.

    I posted on here recently a stanza from This is My Fathers World, I have been holding on to the words today

    This is my Father’s world.
    O let me ne’er forget
    that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
    God is the ruler yet.

    1. oh Chris, I have thought especially of you all day with this terrible tragedy. SO so sorry too to hear about Gino–have been praying, oh his family. I have not been able to hold back the tears since hearing of the shootings today. I went to get my kids from school shortly after hearing, and I cried all the way through carpool line. I held it together in front of them, but once Jon got home I just couldn’t stop. To have sent their children off to kindergarten. It just tears my soul. Praying for those families…and yes, it deepened further my great empathy for you, Chris. So sorry.

    2. So sorry, Chris, that you have had such sad news today. And my sympathies to all of you about the school shootings, especially those with elementary age children and grandchildren. This is so sad.

    3. Chris, I do think you’re right about any kind of violent death being a topic of entertainment. When I was walking through the grocery store, I started thinking about the student who died here this week. I realized that everyone is sad right away, but only those close to the one who died go through a long hard grief that never completely goes away. When I don’t know family members, I don’t remember to pray for them as the weeks and months pass. Makes me think I should put them on my calendar so that I do remember to pray.

    4. Chris, so much bad news in one day for you, being so tender-hearted, as you are. I am so sorry for Gino’s family and friends and pray for them.
      Today’s shooting has really been heart wrenching for me today also. I get so tired of the news showing those poor people grieving and suffering, over and over…like they do treat murder as entertainment. I just want the fact’s and to leave those poor people alone. I had to shut the TV off today and just pray for all of them grieving so badly. The parent’s were all at the fire hall and when they had gotten all the children with their parents, the parent’s with no children, knew it was their children that were not coming home. And the thought of all the children and teacher’s still in the school all night just as they fell, so they can investigate, is just breaking my heart, for those parents and families, tonight. Then I turned TV on again and all they talk about is gun control. Everyone needs Jesus in their hearts and there would be no more killing.

      Renee and Chris tell about the suicide’s and someone mentioned about so many troubled men taking their lives…is so true and it’s heartbreaking. We really need to be in prayer for our country and our troubled people. There needs to be an old fashioned tent revival in every town to get out God’s word. Please Jesus help us all..we need you so desperately, moment to moment.

      1. Elizabeth,Diane, Renee, & Joyce, thank you for your empathy, I agree Joyce, revival is what we need.
        I watched the Fellowship of the Ring last night, and cried and cried. The spiritual truths weaved into the story were so evident and moving to me.

    5. Chris, I am sorry to hear about this young man. Unfortunately it is all too common a story these days. I agree that murder is a topic of entertainment. There are a huge number of tv shows that start with a dead body these days. I will have to admit to watching some of them, some I have stopped watching as they have transitioned from having the body in the background to showing all the gruesomeness involved. It is all over the news, they too have transitioned from reporting the sadness to showing it and exploiting the issue to be the “first to get the details”. It is sad to see this happening.

      I also wish to thank you for the stanza from This is My Father’s World, I have been singing it for the past few days and it encourages and refreshes me while I am singing it in my head.

  22. Laura-dancer–are you in Connecticut? I am terrible with geography, but was thinking you and Meg are in that area-?

    1. I’m in NH and Meg is in Vermont. We travel through this lovely area though going to NJ. very sad. As i have said before our young adult males are suffering. God help us. Chris, I’m so sorry about Gino. Please Lord be with our children and those family members who are suffering the loss tonight.

      1. Yes Laura, you were the one that said that and it’s so sad but true:(

  23. 13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.

    Hugging my oldest son and telling him I love him regardless of the changes he is going through with attitude-being a teen and having mild Aspergers-it is a HUGE challenge.

  24. 14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.

    Sometimes it takes a while for the study to ruminate in me and I hesitate to jump, but what is meaningful to me is when every week God draws out something inside of me out of the study-something He reveals so He can ‘ravish’ me and change me. Dee’s studies are blessed with His presence always..and He does that every week, well when I listen!

    God’s layer of truth: A pretty big rock inside was revealed-another hairy root of my approval idol..still processing..I struggle with my oldest because he is a little harder-recently he has had to pull up three ‘F’s in his core classes due to not doing the work and turing it in-when he does it he gets A’s! That is why it is so hard for me. No one in my family or my husbands has ever had that bad of grades-and it braks my heart to see such potential thrown out the window-it was all due to him making bad choices not to do his homework-even after we have laid consistent consequences. My son is smarter than I ever was-his IQ is exceedingly high! He has only brought them up to D’s. He is also having attitude issues-being sharp with his brothers and with me.

    Two days ago I realized I have communicated to him all these years that performance = approval. Satan brought a hiss of guilt-Then God quickly comforted me- I have this as I have had all the past weed roots of idolatry I have revealed to you. I have you, I delight in you, you are mine and I will change you as I said I would.

    It started when Dee told Elizabeth that God is holding her face in His hands calling her his dove and beautiful and flawless. Then later with Keller’s sermon.

    I know in my flesh I am not flawless and I don’t feel beautiful when I know my heart is deceitful and wicked-but the truth is that Jesus wore the shroud of death I should have worn and clothed me in the spotless robes of His righteousness-and God passionately delights in me-He is well pleased with me regardless of how I ‘perform’.

    And so, I have been awakened to this issue in my heart-I actually thought if he knew I was frustrated and concerned for his future that he would start being more responsible! oh my.. SO now looking at and clinging to the cross-how I want my son to see the Gospel in a deeper way-but only by God’s Grace and His Grace alone. I often hold my boys faces in my hands and tell them how beautiful they are and how much I love them-how pleased I am with them regardless of what they do. I have told this to my older son-yet my actions have proved different when hard times come.

    Pray for me sisters that I would turn from this ‘habit’ daily and trust Him to change me and help me love my son better. Change won’t happen overnight. Pray for my son-not that he would become more responsible but he has told me he has sought intimacy with God-but doesn’t sense God is there-pray God would move in his heart to woo him closer in intimacy.

    Sorry this is scattered-I have to get offline to finish baking-yuk! I am not into baking or cooking really but my extended family Christmas is tomorrow and it is a tradition to have my cookies there. Part of me wishes I wouldn’t have started that a long time ago-but the other part of me is glad to hear my niece say-“Aunt Becky are you going to bring your peanut butter balls?? See, another selfish thing in me..oh my, God has so much work to do in my heart-so glad I am His. 😉

    1. OH this needs to be edited! Bottom line-God has shown me this week that He wants me to love my oldest son-flaws and all-like God loves me. Obedience = approval isn’t the Gospel!!

    2. Rebecca, this is such a tender, soft-hearted post. Thank you for being so open to the Lord’s leading and sharing it with us. I understand the approval idol here. I have to fight against wanting people’s approval of me and of my children more than I want to bless them with God’s unconditional love.

      1. Diane, I so love your honesty-how this warmed my heart to know you can relate and to think of how mature in the faith you are-how that has been fashioned by His hands through suffering. I would think it would be harder because you are a pastor’s wife as well-I wonder how hard it is if there is pressure from the congregation for Pastor’s families to look ‘perfect’…I wonder how that must put temptation on the kids as well..

        1. Absolutely, Rebecca. There is a lot of pressure on pastor’s kids to be perfect, the approval idol is alive and well. I know whereof I speak on this as I am also a “pastor’s kid” and have struggled with this since childhood.

    3. I love this Rebecca. You have had a rough week.

      At the end of his days, in the grand scheme of things, what grades he had in school and how much of the worlds success he had won’t matter at all.

      PS I don’t think keeping a tradition that delights a child is a selfish thing, especially when you would rather stop!

      Love to you!

      1. Chris,
        I am so sorry about Gino; I’d been praying for him and now will continue to pray for his family. And you, too – you certainly have empathy for the parents who have lost children so tragically, yet I know it tears at your heart and it is hard for you.

      2. Chris, you are such a sweet friend-such a sweet aroma in my life-you have encouraged me and you are always on target when you do-I remember before I fled the kitchen-you gave me scripture in regard to them rejecting me because they reject Him..I remembered that afterward and He encouraged me so..

        OH..I wore the bracelet yesterday evening to our family gathering and was able to tell about it-what it meant, and tell Daniel’s story-how sweet and wonderful he is. love you sister.

    4. Hey Rebecca, love this post and your compassion toward your son. Something jumped out at me (in addition to wanting a peanut butter ball!), and I was curious: “Pray for my son-not that he would become more responsible but he has told me he has sought intimacy with God-but doesn’t sense God is there-pray God would move in his heart to woo him closer in intimacy.”

      I am NOT an expert on Asperger’s (I don’t think knowing a definition counts), but I am wondering about the word “intimacy.” So often, I want intimacy with God — sometimes I might feel or sense it. Sometimes I don’t. I don’t think my relationship with Him is dependent on that sensation, even if, at the time, I interpret it that way.

      I suspect that with Asperger’s, what’s true for me, might be even more “true,” although I know it would very from person to person. If he has any social or emotional difficult, e.g., identifying and expressing emotion, relating socially, that also would be likely to impact his feelings about His relationship with God.

      Does anyone know if the term “intimacy” is used in Scripture? I use it regularly, but now I’m starting to wonder if it’s a term more based in time and culture that impacts how we interpret our relationship with God. Maybe our idea(s) of “intimacy” isn’t as primary as we think? I know (consequence of the job) that interpersonal relationships (US, anyway) have changed over time/history to focus more on intimacy.

      I’m getting really curious how my understanding of my relationship with God is informed by my time and culture, maybe even more than by Scripture. Also I’m wondering if that same perspective is more wide-spread in society or the church, how it does impact people whose brains process social/emotional cues differently. Anyhow, long way of saying, just wondering if the term “intimacy” could add an additional challenge for him (since the whole feeling thing sometimes is hard for many of us).

      And maybe I’ll make peanut butter balls later this week. If I lived closer, I’d ask you to save me one!

      (Please ignore if this is completely off base)

      1. thinking a little more after I posted this: There are all sorts of references to what I would consider “intimacy” with God in Scripture, but I’m still wondering how our cultural ideas of intimacy get mixed in and how that impacts people with differences in social/emotional processing.

        Seems as if God wants to “relate” with all, but how it’s perceived may differ and terms may differ depending on a person’s makeup.

      2. Renee, Your words and pondering on intimacy made my thoughts drift to how lovely it would be to go on a “honeymoon” with my Savior. To have a week of nothing but time to spend in His presence, worshiping Him and showering Him with my love. In response to the question about culture and sociatal practices, I imagine that just as different cultures and even family upbringing can effect a definition of marriage and/or intimacy with humans, it has an impact on our intimacy with God. I may be far off from where you were headed and I apologize if so. Although i was raised in a christian home, I was unable to witness what the Biblical relationship between a husband and wife is supposed to look like until now. I am just now (at 43)grasping the unconditional love Christ has for me and I thank my husband in part for this as he strives to lead our household as God has directed and love me as Christ loves the church. I consider intimacy a most amazing gift to be given and recieved. By exposing myself, all my thoughts and fears- laid at Christ’s feet, allowing my heart to be open for his response provides unbelievable intimacy. If I hold back and allow shame to block any part of me – I lose out on Christ’s hand in that area. Past pain causes me to hesitate in developing the intimacy I so desire with God and with others. Thank God that I am learning how my pride and fear steals so much from my joy. Thank You Renee for your thoughts.

      3. Oh Renee..I LOVED your insight here-no, no no, you are not off base at all-you are right! 🙂 Oh and I have lots of peanut butter balls left-wish you lived closer-well I wish you lived closer anyway!! 🙂

        Because I didn’t write all of my conversation down that I had with my son I think my prayer request sounded a bit too narrow. I am trying to work on my wordiness. 😉

        You are right-with his Aspergers he is ‘black and white’ ‘concrete thinker’. So I explained to him ways we have intimacy with God.

        I told him often we have intimacy with Him through others-with a hug, with an encouraging word-yet we can miss it; When we read His word-this is where I often find the deeper intimacy; In suffering when we are crying out-like Dee did with The God of all comfort and God led her to a Psalm and He stilled her soul in the middle of such pain. I told him we can adore God through looking at creation-sometimes when I am quiet and outside He brings scripture to mind and whispers truth-like Elizabeth’s insight into the bulbs she is seeding for her neighbors-I believe that insight comes from God. When the Holy Spirit convicts me-I know it is Him; Most often I sense him like a small, still quiet stream-although lately He is prying my fingers off of the rocks that keep the water shallow. Usually intimacy does not come in a huge overwhelming wave-I am not sure if I have ever had that! It won’t be until I am face to face that I am 100%-yet I know while here on this Earth I can grow deeper in intimacy with Him-the waters can get deeper, yet there are days-there are seasons I have been in the wilderness-He seems distant-aloof..but one thing that moves me inside so is how He faithfully draws me out in His time with His word and His people and how the Holy Spirit whispers to my soul.

        I think of how on this weeks study how God came with Chris’ video-I mean what timing..with that horrible event at the school yet at the same time Christmas is here-good will to men, peace on Earth..I think God is going to work mightily this week in our study.

        1. Like 🙂

        2. Renee, did I tell you that if you lived close I know I would enjoy conversations with you-it would be fun to get together with you! 🙂

          I was thinking all day today about your question of how the culture and the Church views what intimacy with God looks like..It is a great question and YOU made me think-Oh no!! 😉

          Hmmm…Don’t think I am weird but just thinking out loud and honestly..I don’t have the answers-that is for sure! I am thinking of what I have learned from Dee and Keller over the years-but I have so much more to learn.

          I don’t know if the word ‘intimacy’ is used in scripture-but I was thinking perhaps Scripture is the very essence of intimacy-Jesus is the Word and He dwelt among us..from Genesis to Revelation it is all about intimacy with God-How he made us to join in the dance of delighting in Him-as Jesus, the Holy Spirit and God all delight in one another-in the garden there was no sin so they experienced this perfect delightful out of this world intimacy that we can experience in part here, and in full when we are face to face-because of the Gospel. He doesn’t need us-He made us because He wants us..I also think of sex as a metaphor that God designed for ultimate one-ness..a metaphoric taste of intimacy and being one with Him.

          I so agree with you-I wonder..I do think as a whole maybe the church has lost sight of this and I don’t know why-I wonder if it is because of the fall as well as our culture denigrating what intimacy really looks like, so Pastors can tend to not delve into the intimacy in scripture-or God’s intense love for us and how He wants us to love Him back..Or maybe it is that we can easily be unbalanced-either we go overboard intellectually in scripture and emotions aren’t valid, and we miss His beauty and His presence-or we can be too emotional and go the opposite and claim we have had all kinds of experiences with God that aren’t real experiences-just emotions.

    5. I will pray for you, Rebecca:)

      1. Love you Joyce. 🙂

    6. “Aunt Becky” you are BEAUTIFUL! Oh how I love your heart, and love the model you are for me–loving your kids so unconditionally, so honest with your own struggles. So thankful for you Rebecca!

      1. Elizabeth-oh my..but YOU are my model. 😉 He radiates so in you..Your thoughtful and careful listening and caring for others is truly His mark. I am not just saying this-but I can be selfish-I hate my selfishness it is so not of Him. :/

        OH OH ..I wanted to share this with you but my husband is reading a book about Rich Mullins life called “An Arrow Pointing to Heaven” and it has his personal devotions in it..My husband read something to me yesterday and I want to share it with you all..it echo’s a lot what Dee and Keller have taught-what we are learning about intimacy and it is SO good. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Mullins-Devotional-Biography-Pointing/dp/0805426353

        1. just ordered that for my husband–he LOVES Rich Mullins, we used to love to go to his concerts…oh thank you for this!

        2. That is it-I am praying you both to move up here!!!! Your husband and mine would get along great! My husband totally loves Rich-His humility-His insight into scripture-and how he isn’t ‘conventional’-he shocks a lot with truth. My husband loves that Rich lived on a reservation and ministered to the Indians there-but Rich would tell you they ministered to him..

    1. Dee, thanks for your kind words. Praying for you as you ponder and possibly change tomorrow’s post. May the timeless message of God’s gospel and Advent be time-sensitive to each of us.

    2. Praying for God’s leading and a discerning heart.


    13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.

    This is a hard thing for me to answer because I have something ingrained in me that to say it out loud is to brag. I hope I blessed my daughter this week by having her and the boys with us for 3 days. I hope I blessed her husband by being gracious to him when he was thoughtless in his actions. I hope I blessed a friend this week as I listened to her voice her worries this week about her sick mom and rude siblings, and as I prayed for her. I hope I blessed others as I prayed for them.

    14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.

    So many of you on this blog are such encouragers as you pray for me and my family. I was especially blessed by Elizabeth’s personal kind words to each of us. Keller’s sermon was also a blessing as he explained the Aaronic Benediction as well as how we should bless others. I feel surrounded by warm hugs, even as the cold wintry winds blow physically (it is winter here in Canada) and emotionally (in our difficult circumstances).

  26. The Gospel Coalition had this article from Jen Wilkin yesterday. I couldn’t get through it until this morning: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/12/14/a-day-for-hatred/?comments#comments

    1. thanks for this, Elizabeth. Did you see the Keller quote? http://kellerquotes.com/god-identifies-with-your-suffering/

      1. SO good Diane. I finally figured out how I can subscribe to those now!

      2. Thanks for the link…awesome thoughts

      3. Thank you Diane, for posting Keller writing on suffering. I love this… “Everything sad is going TO COME UNTRUE.” The cross proved it.

    2. Yes thank you for that Elizabeth, and Diane the My Utmost for His Highest you shared on your Facebook the other day ministered to me in a timely way.

      Dee just to clarify, Gino was not my nephew, I did not know him, he was the cousin of my nieces boyfriend.

      I keep thinking too Diane about what you posted earlier this week about Satan’s knowing that his time is short, and doing his worst

    3. Elizabeth thank you for sharing that…so good. I too hate my sin more deeply than before.

  27. Oh how the moments spent in prayer and seeking God in the heart ache that surrounds this earth brings healing and comfort. I log in as a thirsty soul and find refreshment in the words posted here. Elizabeth you have been a great blessing to me this week and I thank you and Praise God for the creation of you and your heart. I thank God for his mercy and love. My daughter is struggling with overwhelming emotions and I honestly have been scared for her safety. I had just given her my “light” machine which helps with the darkness of the season and coping with seasonal depression. I shared that I use the light when I read the Bible and pray because it is a rare still/quiet time in my day. In one of the 6-8 daily check-ins yesterday she told me she started using the light therapy and began praying while she used it and was feeding the baby- her voice is sounding better and I hear hope where last week there was none. Multi tasking for sure! She is praying and seeking God in this moment of cloudiness! God is so good. I cried in thanksgiving. Oh how the Lord is abundant in his gifts… Another example of his greatness is a long ago friend was able to advise us on prescription usage after conflicting directives from my daughters physician and pharmacist. A man who was in my youth group 25+ years ago is now a pharmacist in the military who consults at the pentagon. He read and responded to my email within hours and gave us help we were in need of.

    I was able to bless through God’s abundance-providing support to my daughter and sister this week and give God glory for those opportunities.

    I have been so blessed this week that although my time with study is limited I am able to gather moments and snipets to lift me up to endure. Oh how God is reminding me to not worry but to pray-To give all things to Him who loves each of us enough to suffer the loss of a child, His son, for our salvation.

    1. Becca, I can see why you are such a treasure to Chris–you have such depth, and the way you are clinging to Him, seeing Him in every detail, is beautiful. Love hearing that your daughter was helped by your “light” box and praying.And what an answer to prayer to have counsel on medication–such hope.
      I do hope you’ll be able to stay with us and join in when you can!

    2. Becca, I am praying for your daughter’s safety and overwhelming emotions and that the light helps her so much. So glad your here.

  28. OK, so I know the spiritual metaphors for gardening are endless… but I have to share this. I am “forcing” paper-white bulbs for gifts to my neighbors, so I have 7 bowls filled with bulbs lined up on my kitchen counter. I wish I could post a picture, but it’s just amazing to see these. Potted only with pebbles and water, they’ve already grown their roots and stems. I love watching how the stems start out all curved but will lean always toward the window, the light. I turn the bowl each day so that eventually the stems grow straight—and then, they bloom.
    It looks hard. The stems get so bent over one direction, it looks far easier to continue that direction. Yet I turn their bowls and after a few hours, struggle or not, they are pulling up again towards the light. So as I see them every day, I’ve been thinking about the need to “prepare the way”. Water my soul, give it the daily food of the Son. But also to not choose what looks SO much easier. To struggle with my faith, fight for it—and fight against my selfish nature, my fears, my doubts—look always back to Him.

    1. Great gardening analogy about fighting to go toward the light, Elizabeth. Wish you could post a picture. I love paper whites.

      1. I wish you were one of my neighbors, and I’d be giving you a bowl-full 😉

        1. Thank you, sweet Elizabeth.

    2. What a wonderful idea for Christmas gifts. Will try to store this away in muddled brain for another year (or Easter?)

    3. Elizabeth. I love your thoughts on this also…and are so true how bulbs and us follow the light. But what are paper-white bulbs? I’m not much of a gardner!

  29. My busy lifestyle has left little time to sit at the computer and type…altho my brain and heart stay busy praying and thinking. 🙂 When I did the study on benediction and listened to Keller’s sermon it reminded me of the book by Henry Nouwen “Life of the Beloved.” We are reminded that we are his beloved. What a beautiful thought and blessing…I often share it with others. Remember you are God’s Beloved child….I also have to remind myself of that regularly.

    Secondly, I am in the process of making scrapbooks of photos of 2012 for each of my five grandchildren. After the reminder about blessing. I will include a special page that will tell each of them how much they are loved and what wonderful gifts each of them possess.

    Also, I love the song by Andrew Peterson, REST EASY, the song says” You are not alone, I will always be with you even to the end. So you don’t have to work so hard, you can rest easy. You don’t have to hide you heart, I already love you, I hold it in mine. So you can rest easy. Do not be afraid, nothing in the world, can come between us now.” Having had two sons die, dealt with teen rebellion, addictions this song speaks so clearly to me. I pray for all that have been so terribly devastated by the tragedies in CT, as well as the struggles we all have. So to each of you I say, “You are God’s Beloved Child and rest in his unfailing love and faithfulness.”

    1. Bless you Sarahsal, you have gone through so much pain and suffering. What a blessing you are to your children and grandchildren. So I say to YOU also… “You are God’s Beloved Child and rest in his unfailing love and faithfulness.”
      Thank you so much for sharing…I’m so glad you are here:)

      1. Sarahsal-I agree with Dee about you-this post has blessed me so..

  30. 13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.

    I wrote a special note to a friend in her Christmas card. My friend has been battling lymphoma the past few years; she had a stem cell transplant this past September…I am happy to say her progress is very encouraging. Anyway…throughout this, she has been an incredible witness…her attitude has been positive and faithful to God’s will…even if her progress had not been encouraging, I know that she would still maintain a solid faith and trust in God’s will. As I said, she is and has been truly an INCREDIBLE witness…my note told her so in very specific terms.

    14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.

    How about two…:)

    Elizabeth’s blessing was really touching…to think that she sees me as “humble, honest, … “radiates” to me—Christ shines”…Wow, I could just weep…

    This bible study blog is a blessing to me; it has opened my eyes, mind, and heart to new ideas, interpretations, perceptions, and relationships. I am feeling closer to Jesus than I ever have in my entire life… Many thanks to all you fellow bible study bloggers and Dee for providing the forum.

    1. Oh Nancy, you have it wrong…YOU are such a blessing to us!

  31. 13. 14. Hmmm, my answers seem to best fit a couple questions smooshed together. I’ve had so many blessings, including ones already mentioned here. I’d like to share an example from today when giving a blessing and receiving blessings were connected.

    Today, I FINALLY listened to Keller’s benediction sermon. My brain was fried; I don’t even know if I heard the first half of sermon. SUDDENLY, I became engaged and was saying “yes, yes, yes!”

    I had a very clear impression that I should give a decent sized gift to a specific ministry. Both the amount and ministry were clear, and it was large enough to make me raise my eyebrows. I was wondering if I was imagining things, and I tried to bring the amount down to about 20% and then up to 50% of my initial impression. That didn’t work 🙂 I had the money in my checking account because I was thinking I “should” contact a financial adviser and add to a retirement account or start a funeral trust. But I couldn’t think of any reason God wouldn’t be leading me to give, so I went to the website and made the donation.

    And the blessings came. Posting them will be a good reminder that they were real (otherwise I’ll either forget or convince myself I was imagining them):

    1) I’ve wanted to start a small business. Yet I’ve made NO progress since September, partially due to time, mostly due to lack of motivation. I don’t need the income now because I have a job, and I’m not motivated by saving for the future. Reasons for the business include having more flexibility, an income/job in “retirement,” and the fun of learning new skills. But none of those reasons are sufficient motivators. Having a business to be able to give to the ministry motivates me to work on the business. Blessing #1 = motivation and excitement (and more concrete ideas).

    2) Last week, I posted that I had spent time in a high poverty, racially divided area and indicated that I wondered if/how God may be leading me NOT to move to one of those areas (now anyway). Blessing #2 = God responded to my questions from a week ago. Donating generously to this (or possibly one other similar) ministry is a way I indirectly can bless people that have been on my heart for much of my adult life (and I get the fun of developing/implementing business skills and connecting with a different group through business).

    3) Blessing #3 = Realizing that God has the future and my future in His hands. I didn’t expect to live this long and am not very future oriented. Trying to MAKE myself future-oriented hasn’t work well. Now (at this moment, maybe not tomorrow!), I can see so clearly that He does lead me step by step and as I follow Him one small step at a time, He is preparing my future and the future of those He has called me to serve (too many examples to list).

    4) A friend of my mom’s recently sent me a magazine article about how my mom had prayed for a means of additional income to support a ministry. Although she didn’t use the phrase “small business,” that’s what she had for many years. Yesterday, I experienced an attack of guilt — and used Scripture to talk to my soul. Blessing #4 = seeing that God is graciously and lovingly intervening in my life to carry on a godly heritage, another way to honor Him through business and quite a contrast to yesterday’s attacks.

    Earlier this week, I wrote that naming the spiritual gift I don’t want to have is a mini-step in obedience. I still don’t know what this means, but I am encouraged by seeing how God is leading me by mini steps in another (probably very related) area. Maybe I’ll never have that grand future vision (except for Heaven) that many seem to have. If I don’t, I do know God is faithful. Or maybe He is working in me to prepare me for that grand vision (which is almost scarier). This leads to a reminder of a constant blessing (#5?): deep down certainty of God’s faithfulness. My doubts are HUGE, but His faithfulness is greater.

    Just listened to “Count your blessings on YouTube 🙂 Not working to share…

    1. Sorry for length 🙁 Tried to get on to whack more out of it, and I couldn’t connect to Internet for a little while.

      1. Renee, I’m glad you couldn’t get on to “whack out” some of your comments! I enjoyed very much, reading them:)

      2. No way…no sorry…this is wonderful…thanks so much for sharing! I was told once [you all are going to think I’m a acronym nut…:)]…”TGIF”…toes go in first…little steps = big steps, like the kind when you look back and say, how did I get here from there [only God knows :)] Please keep me/us updated on the little steps, and by the way, kudos on your obedience in your donation! [Love your word “smooshed”…seems like one I might use :)…any chance you are from the midwest…WI?]

        1. SD now, I mostly roam Eastern ND & SD and MN (so not so far from WI). Roam a little farther west for work. Like the TGIF, Nanci!! Will try to file that one in brain 🙂

  32. Being home so much with Kendra, I don’t think I bless anyone! But I did make 2 pecan pies for 2 special people in our lives that love that kind of pie and I love doing it for them every year.

    My blessings are you all here on this wonderful blog and for you, Dee for making it possible. Most the time I just have enough time to read everyone’s comments and pray for you, but I get to know all of you and I’m the one recieving the blessings. You are my sister’s in Christ and I love you all.

    1. Joyce,
      I think that you bless Kendra every day with all you do for her, caring for her, physically and emotionally. You bless each one of us here, too, with your presence and your words and your prayers. You have not had an easy life, Joyce. Many who have suffered like you become hard and bitter. But I see in you that you always cling to your hope in Him, you always express gratitude and thankfulness and are always thinking of others, especially to pray for others needs. I love you too, Joyce.

    2. Joyce, I so agree with Susan…don’t sell yourself short…the blessings you give to Kendra and fellow bible study bloggers are meaningful and valued; they come from a sincere love. You are blessing others without even being consciously aware of the blessing you bestow.

    3. Joyce, Joyce, Joyce 🙂
      Love you!

    4. Joyce, every time I think of you, I am humbled by the way you so selflessly have sacrificed your life to be there for Kendra. If that is not giving the ultimate BLESSING, then I’ve missed this whole lesson 😉
      not to mention the ways you bless each of here every time you post telling us you are praying!

  33. 8. What are some things that you learned about the word and the concept “blessing”?

    A blessing is a “good word”. I learned that when God made the world and everything in it as we read in Genesis, He looked at all He had made and said “It is good”; and it’s not that it turned out good, but that He was delighting in what He had made. A blessing is a bestowing upon, like when Jacob gathered his children to bless them before he died, and it is also a committment to provide what you long for for that child. The parent of biblical times would give his wealth and estate to his son.
    So I learned that God doesn’t just bless me, having good intentions toward me, but He also is committed to keeping me by being present with me, and that through Christ, everything He has is also for me.

    9. Keller turns to the story of Jacob to illustrate the blessing. What stood out to you from this and why?

    I always wondered why Jacob went along with his mother’s crazy plan to trick his father. I never saw Jacob as so desperate to receive a word from his father. Thinking about the story now, I see how Isaac had his favorite, and it was Esau. Esau was the apple of Isaac’s eye. Jacob liked to stay at home in the tent, and his father didn’t accept or perhaps even approve of him for who he was.

    10. I love how Keller is able to see the Gospel hidden in every story. Find it in Rebecca’s hasty words in Genesis 27:13.

    Jacob is afraid that if he is found out by his father, he will receive a curse instead of a blessing. His mother quickly says, “Your curse be on me, my son.” Keller said that in effect, that is what Jesus says to each of us. He took upon HImself our curse that we deserved. And we receive the rightful blessing that belongs to Jesus.
    It just struck me how as sinful people, we don’t want to give up what is “rightfully ours”. Esau was ready to kill his brother when he found out what Jacob had done. I can be protective over something that I see as “mine”. Yet here is Jesus selflessly giving what is rightfully His to an undeserving wretch like me.

    11. What else stood out to you from this message?

    We can try to fool ourselves into thinking that we can create or generate our own identity from ourselves; Keller used the Bridget Jones example again to demonstrate this. But even her resolutions prove, when you examine them, that she needs a word from the outside.
    We are all desperately looking to hear from someone that we are loved and accepted.

    That God not only blesses me, but He puts His name on me. Before God, I was like an orphan without an identity, without security. But now I belong to Him.
    I think of Elizabeth’s post above about how difficult it is to get this into every cell of my body. God gives me His blessing, but I often live like I don’t really believe it. I don’t know why it is so HARD to accept and to rest in it.

  34. 12. Action Assignment –

    I’ve been thinking for a few weeks now about wanting to bless my children in a special way. It started with my oldest on an emotional weekend when he played his very last college soccer game; it was emotional for us and for him. I thought of the example of Eric Liddell, that when he ran, he felt God’s pleasure. I wanted to tell my son that his years of being strong and healthy and playing a game that he loves is not to prove to anyone that he is worth something, but that it was a gift given to him and I want him to reflect on the fact that God shares in our joy when we are doing something we love to do.
    I’ve been wanting to write him a letter.
    Now I’ve decided to write a Christmas letter, one for each of my children, to bless them in a way unique to each one.

    1. This is such an awesome idea. It will be something that they will hang onto and remember their entire lives.

      It is such a good idea that I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. I may not do it for Christmas, but a letter that my children can hang onto, to be reminded throughout their lives, even after I am gone that will remind them of how much of a blessing they were to me.

    2. this made me teary, Susan–I can only imagine the tender, thoughtful words you’ll say–what a treasure for them to have–forever

  35. 13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week.

    My daughter had her Christmas play at school this week, and she was a dancer in it. The girls all planned to curl their hair and put it up. She has not been blessed with a mom who can do hair….so I surprised her when I picked her up from school and had made an appt. at a beauty shop down the road from her school and she had her hair done-up into a beautiful up-do. She’d been worried about what we’d do with her hair (I think she knew she was “doomed”) and she was so delighted to be treated to this.

    14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week.

    I was blessed when I went back to the Isaiah passage a second time for a closer look to reflect on it. It identified something in me as I saw how God related to His people.
    Elizabeth’s blessing each one of us….and how I am blessed by the fellowship here with all of you.

    1. “how I am blessed by the fellowship here with all of you”…and I with you, Susan.

      What a treat for your daughter…I’m sure the look on her face was unforgettable.

    2. Such a cool blessing for your daughter, Susan; I just keep grinning when I think of it.

    3. LOVE what you did for your daughter–wow. That was so thoughtful and what a way to get into her world and bless her!

  36. Chris, I just watched your video on Dee’s Facebook page. It was so powerful and so appropriate at this time.

  37. 13. Name one way you gave the blessing this week. I do not know if I honestly gave a blessing this week. I am trying to think of something that was a conscious blessing and can’t think of one. I do know that I have breakfast with my parents every Saturday morning. I know they have told me in the past how much they appreciate it, so I suspect they view it as a blessing, even though I view it as just visiting with my parents.

    14. Name one way you received it as you did the study or listened to resources this week. This week I have not spent much time on the blog, however the email’s come to my cell phone. There was a number of times this week when I would see an email that would be in response to someone’s post or a post on its own. There were a few where I really didn’t see the context of the reply to the original post (cause it was the email), but there were times where those replies spoke to me entirely on their own and sometimes “whapped me upside the head” others caused leaky eyes and others smile, each one in their own way a total blessing that the writer had no idea about when they were posting their words.

    Thank you to each and everyone of you who post words that impact my day/life without you even being aware of the blessing you have been a part of. I wish I could pass along a hug to each one of you, although I trust that God will find a way to pass that hug along for me.

  38. This morning I finished up week two. A week ago I received word that my sister had fallen during the night. Her husband helped her back to bed thinking she was okay. When he went to wake her for church she was unresponsive. She had bleeding that caused pressure on her brain. My daughter and I left for St. Louis the next morning. It was hard to see her with her complete head bandaged. The neurosurgeon was quite surprised when he saw her the next day as she was much more responsive than he would have expected. Just yesterday she was moved from the icu. I returned home Thursday and I still feel drained but the words comfort and tenderly from Isaiah and peace from Numbers stand out. The peace God gives has no comparison. And after listening to Keller’s message I hope I was a blessing to the nurses as well as my brother in law and nephews.

      1. Thanks.

  39. I just “stumbled” on Dee’s Ministry and the Lental Season transformation bible study. I am excited to see where God will lead me on “this highway”. I am always amazed how He answers my prayers. Quiet time with Him is what I seek, but, I am too lazy or greatly distracted by events that seem “critical to life” to truly commit the time that He wants from me. Through this avenue, He gives me an incredible opportunity to develop a close relationship with Him. My husband and I are both retired and or “on the road” quite a lot, so belonging to a small group in our church body was a hard thing to continue doing. Bible study is something I was missing and searching for. I now get to do it in a new format and only God knows this is something I was searching for. The irony at this time is that I am voice texting on my smartphone when I would much rather be typing my heart out on my home PC. Anyway, I sincerely look forward to developing my spirituality through this Bible study and I hope to make many new friends in Christ. My most sincere pray is that I can encourage my prodigal daughter and my grandaughter who are eagerly searching for answers to join me during this lental season.

    1. Gayle, welcome. You stumbled onto a wonderful site but you need to find this week’s study called “Lent begins” Gospel Transformation” to see the Lenten study. Hope you find it. Try: