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GOSPEL TRANSFORMATION (MOVING TOWARD THE CROSS)

            THE SAME POWER THAT BROUGHT JESUS BACK FROM THE DEAD

CAN EMPOWER US TO LOVE

WHEN LOVE IS LACKING.

THE GOSPEL HAS POWER FROM GOD.

Last week I was with my daughter Sally and her two daughters. Sadie, the two-and-a-half year old, has had intense feelings of sibling rivalry toward her new little sister, Claire. She kept asking her parents to take Claire back after she was born. If Claire gets into Sadie’s toys, Sadie gets very angry. When I was there, Sadie had to be disciplined for hitting Claire. I sat in the dining room praying while Sally was in the living room with Sadie, talking to her afterwards. Sadie was weeping and telling Sally she was sorry.

Sally said, “Honey — you can’t help yourself. You feel angry with Claire. The only way that you will stop hitting her is if Jesus changes your heart and gives you love for her. I know — because I always have to ask Jesus to change my heart when I feel angry. Ask Him to help you.”

SadiehelpmeGod!

Suddenly Sadie lifted her arms toward heaven and cried out:
*
Jesus, help me!

My heart melted at her poignant plea. I thought, That’s exactly what I need to do all day long. The gospel shows me how bad I am, because He was crucified for me, yet it also shows me how loved I am, for He was willing to die for me. He is just waiting for me to cry out to Him for help, and I need to keep my eyes on Him all day long.

 

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Sally, Sadie, Dee, and Claire in Alexandria

I wish I had better understood the power of the gospel in parenting when I was a young mother.  (I love seeing  young mothers here avail themselves of its power. Just last week Angela gave a testimony of how her daughter was becoming a “moralist” and she had to talk to her about her heart. Rebecca is diligently praying for the gospel to permeate her sons’ hearts. Cyndi is continually repenting in front of her children. Elizabeth has had so many gospel-centered discussions with her young daughter. And more!) I realize so many of the things I did as a young mom restrained their outward behavior, but didn’t touch their hearts. I had sticker charts everywhere — they got stickers for being nice and for obeying — and so many stickers led to prizes! I think there is a place for rewarding good behavior, but we must always keep their hearts in mind. How are hearts changed?

Only by God. It is a miracle. You may actually do very well as a parent, and a heart may remain hard. Judas had the best teacher, but his heart remained hard. But, what God does call us to do is to walk in humility before our children, so they see us continually repenting. We must also PRAY and lift up Jesus in all of His splendor. Beware of training your child to be a “good Christian.” The last thing we want to do is be or to raise up “older brothers,” self-righteous moralists, who behave outwardly but who don’t really love God or anyone. Instead, keep lifting up Jesus — there are so many stories and ways you can help your children behold Him.  (I plan to do a post after Easter sometime just about gospel-centered parenting.) But for now, I want to concentrate on our hearts.

ROMANS1-16For here we are two weeks from Easter. We are on this journey toward the cross, this journey to replace our idols with “a new affection,” with the love of God in our hearts. Every single one of us has failed, and every single one of us needs to cry out:

Help me, Jesus!

There is power here. As I traveled back to Kansas City I prayed for Sadie, knowing she is too young to fully understand the gospel, yet the seeds are there. And God can work in mysterious ways. I thought about how when Sally was eleven, we had adopted her sister Annie — a five-year-old orphan from Korea. Sally’s sibling rivalry was so intense it astonished me for I had been so overjoyed God had given Sally to us and we had adored her all of her eleven years. Probably too much!  I thought, Doesn’t Sally know how loved she is? But then, helpless, we watched Sally slide into a severe depression: losing joy, losing sleep, losing weight. My husband was wise enough to recognize a clinical depression and we got her medical help — but still, that couldn’t touch her heart. Her anger was real. The Christian child psychiatrist tried to reason with her. He said: “Don’t you think your new little sister needs your parents’ love?”

Sally said, “WELL, SHE’S CERTAINLY GETTING IT!”

I did everything wrong. I was angry at Sally for being angry at Annie! I needed gospel powered grace just as much as she did. One night the girls were rough-housing and I heard Annie cry out in pain. I came running in, my anger bubbling up, and said to Sally, “What did you do now?”

Sally said, “Not only have I been rudely displaced, but now I am being unjustly accused.” (She has always been our “Anne of Green Gables.”)

It was my husband who was full of grace. He sat by Sally’s bed by the hour stroking her hair, praying for her. He listened to her –she told him she felt big, ugly, and had a mouth full of braces. Steve, full of the love of Christ, held her, loved her, wept over her, was Jesus to her.

In Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Tedd Tripp says the main problem for children is their heart idols. Heart idols lie to us and hurt us.  Sally felt like she had lost our love, and that was a lie. My anger didn’t help. But even our reassurances didn’t seem to be breaking the chains of those idols. We could restrain her outward behavior, we could get her medicine that would help her clinical depression, we could reassure her — but we needed the POWER of God to break those idols and change her heart.

One night our family went to a Christian concert. At the end, the worship leader said, “If you have a yuck in your heart that you can’t get rid of, Jesus can help you. Come forward and ask Him”

Sally practically ran up. Her testimony is that God came in His mighty power and took the hate in her heart and replaced it with His love. The gospel has power. He puts this love in our hearts.

Annie at 6 and Sally at 12

 As I was writing this blog, this song by Keith Green, “You Put This Love in My Heart,” kept coming to me — so I place it here, realizing it is music that may not be your style. But Keith Green stood out because of his gospel-transformed heart. He died young along with some of his children. The book about him by his widow, Melody Green, is one I’d recommend for teenagers — maybe tucking into an Easter basket. It impacted my sons.

NOCOMPROMISE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCHgBjLShj4

Sunday/Monday

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

2. Keith Green sang, “You put this love in my heart.” If possible, share a way the gospel has melted you and is changing you — can you see a change in how you are loving others?

The closer we get to the cross, the more we behold Christ, the more power you will sense. 

Monday-Wednesday: IF YOU ARE NOT CHANGING, YOU MAY NOT KNOW HIM AT ALL

I want to prepare you for Keller’s message, for it is powerful, convicting, and life-changing. He looks at John 13, the last supper, but as Keller is so gifted at doing, he sees the forest, whereas so often we miss it for the trees.

When time is running out, and we know it is running out, we say and do the most important things. I know this was true for Steve and me, for Steve and our children. Keller says it was true for Jesus. These men have been with him for three years — they have a lot of knowledge — but has it gone to their heart — are they changed? Or are they like older brothers — like Judas — seeming to love Him, but in it for themselves?

We are mistaken if our confidence is in our Bible knowledge, or even in how many people have been impacted by our lives. We are mistaken if our confidence has been in being in a wonderful small group with a great leader. Judas had all these things. Keller makes the piercing point: “If you don’t have all of the fruit of the spirit — you don’t have any of them.” What does this mean? The fruit of the Spirit is a singular noun, and this fruit is organic, springing from the love of Christ in your heart. If you seem self-controlled, but are not kind, you may simply be unwilling for anyone to see you lose control. If you seem gentle, but are not joyful, you may simply be fearful and give the appearance of gentleness.

Does this mean that if the fruit is not in full bloom you are not saved? No. We are in process. But you should see at least the buds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The shameful things you have hidden should be fading. People should be noticing that you are becoming gentler, kinder, more other-centered. Otherwise — His love may not be in your heart at all. You may be doing the things you do — going to church, doing good deeds — not out of love, but to feed your idols. One of our bloggers (I wish I could remember who!) talked about “fruit-stapling.” We don’t want to staple fruit on — we want it to spring from the love God put in our heart. If it is stapled, you are simply a moralist — an older brother — but you do not know or love God at all.

Jesus is going to show them what the fruit of the spirit looks like. This is both a literal and a symbolic act. Jesus literally humbled himself and loved these men — but He was also showing His whole intent for their lives was to cleanse them and to turn them into servants who carry out His love to others. When we minister to those who are not lovely, are unafraid of the unlovely and dirty parts of them, when our motive is to bless them with the love of Christ, when we forget about ourselves because we are full of His love, we are evidencing a changed heart.

Close up of statue at Dallas Theological Seminary
Close up of statue at Dallas Theological Seminary

 

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Ford Madox Brown Christ Washing Peters’ Feet

 

 

Read John 13:1-21

The Passover is approaching. Jesus knew. In fact, He would be on the cross (9 to 3) exactly during the hours the Passover lambs were being sacrificed. Time is running out, so He is going to say and do the most important thing.

zurbaran-agnus-dei-lamb-of-god-madrid-1339x800
Zubaran: Lamb of God

3. What did Jesus know, according to verse 1, and what thoughts therefore were on His mind?

In Jesus high priestly prayer in John 17:20, just before the cross, He reveals He is not only thinking of his disciples, but also for “those who  will believe  because of them. He was looking down through time. He had you and me in mind as well. Saturate yourself in this love.

4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see? 

5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?

6. The key to “self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”

     A. Behold and share what you see of  God’s love for you in John 13:1

     B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.

     C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.

7. Keller will quote Psalm 40:6. What does it say?

At first this passage seems confusing, because God did require burnt offerings and sin offerings. That is what the Passover Lambs were all about. Matt Chandler illuminated this for me in his book, Explicit Gospel. He likened it to an abusive husband bringing flowers to his wife after beating her. What she wants, instead, is a changed life.

And that is the point of the whole passage, of the foot-washing, of the things Jesus said when time is running out.

Are we changed?

9. Another mystery that this same gospel writer expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet?”

Thursday-Friday:

Listen to The Love of Jesus and share your notes here.

(It looks like you will have to pay, but the MP-3 is free): Link

8. Notes:

Saturday:

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

 

 

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369 comments

  1. 3. What did Jesus know, according to verse 1,
    This His time was near where He would be leaving this world.

    and what thoughts therefore were on His mind?
    To make sure that the disciples understood and were equipped with what was absolutely needed in the short time remaining.

    4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see?
    Betrayal

    5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?
    Yes…I am beginning, although not always successful, to take captive those thoughts that lean toward my heart idols; I work to re-direct my thoughts using scripture or prayer.

    6. A. Behold and share what you see of God’s love for you in John 13:1
    I am included as one that Jesus loves to the very end…”disciple” is defined as student or follower of some doctrine or teacher…I am a disciple of Jesus and He will love ME to the VERY end.

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.
    God envelopes me with undeserved, graceful love.

    C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.
    Even when my perception deems that all appears lost, the Lord’s love remains…His plan remains where good conquers evil and suffering and pain are no more. What solace is given in knowing that in the midst of suffering, I am driven deeper to the source of my joy…the Lord!

    7. Keller will quote Psalm 40:6. What does it say?
    “You take no delight in sacrifices or offerings. Now that You have made me listen, I finally understand–You don’t require burnt offerings or sin offerings.”
    God is not looking for “offerings,” He is looking for sincere, authentic, genuine love and obedience.

    9. Another mystery that this same gospel writer expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet?”
    I am being VERY conscious of my heart motivations…I don’t want to do anything for the wrong reasons, e.g., out of obligation, for appearance sake, because I NEED to do SOMETHING. I still have thoughts of volunteering at the local family law center…I think my heart is in the right place in that regard, it is just the adding one more thing to a plate that sometimes seems awfully full already… I enjoy sewing dresses for little girls around the world and will surely continue that…
    Maybe I have the whole “washing feet” thing wrong…maybe I am washing feet…
    My youngest daughter’s feet in my support of her and her child arriving soon.
    Maybe my friends’ when I’m a listening ear in sadness over the loss of a parent, sickness of a grandchild, and infidelity of a spouse.

    1. Yes Nanci, you are washing feet! Can you give me the place you sew dresses for little girls? I love to sew and could do that at least.

      1. Joyce, here is the URL to the main site: http://www.dressagirlaroundtheworld.com/
        You will find patterns there if you like, otherwise I use Simplicity 2391. I have made dresses out of pretty pillowcases, sheets, and have also used regular fabric; it all depends what I can find. I “jazz them up” with ribbons, accenting fabrics, and buttons. It really is loads of fun…I envision the little girls wearing them and it brings great joy to my heart.

    2. Nanci–I was so drawn to you on your first post months ago, and the more I read, the more I see Him in you. So thankful you are here. And I love that you sew dresses for girls around the world–incredible! I’m not much of a seamstress (no patience) but I love that you do that!

      1. I can’t tell you what your comment means to me…I have looked up to you ever since joining this blog; you are such a wise, graceful woman of integrity; your love flows through every word. You are an incredible witness. Thank you for your blessing, Elizabeth.

        1. oh Nanci–this was like a hug from Him this morning–thank you for your grace–honestly, I thought it was a typo and meant for someone else! It is you who ministers so to me, I am so thankful for your wise insight.
          OK, and these dresses! I have been pouring over the website you posted for Joyce–I am inspired! Oh and so humbled–these precious little girls–what an AMAZING ministry you are doing–to imagine these little girls running around in a dress made by Nanci, filled with His love–that just makes me cry!

    1. Yes, they are forming the Buckeye Bunch and they are up to something!! (Praying for us, I hope!!)

  2. Hi ladies, just wanted to update you all that Mom (Diane) was able to get a change of flight because of the travel advisory. She is flying out tonight. So please pray for safe travels for her. Thanks. 🙂 Also Joel’s interview earlier today seemed to go well. He will likely hear back from them either way next week. Truly hoping for good news back! I think he would be quite well in this job. But of course God knows best.

    1. Krista–THANK YOU for these updates! I am so thankful to hear your mom was able to change the flight–will continue to pray for safety and a good word on the interview 🙂

      1. Yes, Krista, praying for both!

    2. So glad things worked out 🙂

  3. 3. What did Jesus know, according to verse 1, and what thoughts therefore were on His mind?
    He knew the time had come for Him to die. He was thinking about His own, the ones He loves, He was thinking about ME.

    4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see?

    Jesus already knew that Judas would betray Him—He knew what Satan had schemed. **What strikes me–nothing Satan had planned was unknown to Him.

    5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?

    The example of Judas is really troubling. Both the thought of being able to deceive, and be deceived—disturbing. My mom was telling me the other day I was born (at times to a fault), a truth-teller. But I’m thankful, it is hard for me to “pretend”. Still this question—the ways I behave in secret. I see Him changing my thought life. I see Him changing the desire to honestly control ever choice possible. Last night my husband asked me about a particular plan and I honestly felt freed of the need to control. I think really, I have seen that even when I do “get” to control an area—that doesn’t actually solve the deeper pain in me, so I see more and more the futility. Sorry if that was clear as mud—I have it in my head ! I just came back to add though–really, I TRUST HIM. That’s it. I don’t trust my own ways, but He is worthy, He is good. He loves me.
    An area I still need to submit is my tongue. I tend to think every feeling needs to be expressed verbally—and no, it doesn’t Sometimes I do imagine Jesus standing in my kitchen hearing my responses to my kids, because He IS really—and I do shudder at times.

  4. 6. The key to “self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”
    A. Behold and share what you see of God’s love for you in John 13:1

    What strikes me most in the verse is the implied ‘timing’ I guess—hard to explain. I mean “having loved His own”, His own, I am His own—He claims me! And He loved me (past) tense—as in He has ALWAYS loved me, since before time. He has never NOT loved me—there is no timing really, He has loved me eternally! And then this “He loved them to the end” He WILL always love me. There is no period of time I have not been, nor will not be, loved by Jesus. WOW.

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.

    He is ever there. He never leaves Home, He remains faithful and true to who He is. I have run, and I run every time I think I can do things better my own way. Ever time I let a thought linger of ‘deserving better’. Every time I doubt His love for me. But He remains. Ready to embrace me, welcome me, hold me, forgive me. And remind me I am His own.

    1. Elizabeth, I thought you might like this (Joni Eareckson Tada) on suffering. It sure made me cry. http://youtu.be/jrO5fGSIyM8

      1. When you click on this video, back it up as far as possible as it tends to start after the beginning, for some reason.

  5. 4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see?
    The common thread that I see is that Jesus knew everything. In verse 1 He knew His time to leave the world was here, in verse 2 satan had entered Judas and Jesus knew this was going to happen. In verse 21, Jesus told the disciples that one of them would betray Him. He knew who that was. There was nothing in there that surprised Him, and yet I noticed that in verse 21, Jesus was troubled in His spirit. I could be wrong, but I wonder that even though Jesus knew everything and how it would turn out, having one of the people closest to him turn and betray Him, really bothered Him. He knew He was about to lose someone close and even though that was apparently Judas purpose, it still disturbed Jesus when the time came.

    5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?

    Well I am either making progress or seriously delusional (some days it seems like both). I find myself thinking of and talking to God more and more. Sometimes I feel like I am having a conversation with the Lord in my head, sometimes there is just peace. These days I just want Him close by. The biggest thing I think as evidence to myself is the current issue with my family. Yes I am heart broken and it really does bother me, but the big difference is that a few years ago I would have stressed about it. I would have been extraordinarily angry and resentful at the decision itself. I would have ripped a strip off of someone probably. This year, although hurt and grieving, I am okay with it. I am not angry, I am not all tensed up in knots holding it in. I have more compassion towards one of my sisters than I thought possible under the circumstances. I feel strongly that God is in control and I somehow wonder if this situation is by design for a reason that I do not yet understand. I think I mentioned earlier that verse 7 jumped out at me where Jesus said to His disciples that they did not realize what He was doing at that moment, but later on they would understand. I feel the same way about this situation. I do not know the outcome and I do hope it is a good outcome, but even if it is not, it is God’s outcome and I am content with that.

    I am pondering again (and after this past couple of weeks that’s good). I admit my first thought on the question, what do I do at home vs how I act to the world, how is my behaviour different and has it changed? I was thinking that I saw some big change, then one of elizabeth’s comments about her thought life stood out and made me wonder if I was not looking close enough. Perhaps I can even create a pretense in private that is not the real truth. I began to wonder if how I am in secret has nothing to do with how I am in public verses private, but has more to do with what I think whether public or private. I know that I personally can be really nice and pleasant to someone to their face and yet my thoughts could be critical and they would never know that. I am paraphrasing something I recall from Jesus where He said it wasn’t what was on the outside that was important, it’s what was on the inside, our thoughts are the windows into our hearts. Therefore,if our first thought is negative or condemning, isn’t that what is in our hearts? I wonder about that especially with the reference to Judas. All 12 had been with Jesus constantly for 3 years, one would think that Judas had a public and private persona as well, but given the closeness to the disciples, the private face of Judas would have been apparent to the rest of the guys at some point. If that is true, then Judas hid the truth of his heart/mind even in private in front of those closest to him, except for Jesus who knows everything.

    Then I had to re-analyze myself to see if there really has been transformation when I look at the depth. I will have to admit that I am much prettier on the outside (public and private) than the inside, but yes there is progress but I think there I perhaps am further back on the path than I thought that I was. But there is change, I do see it so I will hold onto that and trust that the Lord will continue His work in my heart to replace the darkness of my heart with the light of His.

    1. Good prayer Mary…I’m praying that for you too. How is Glenn doing? Did he find a job? Still praying for him.

      1. Joyce, thank you for continuing to pray for Glenn, he still is without a job and now because spring break is the next two weeks, he doesn’t even have the school bus driver income, so he is feeling pretty low right now. He has had a couple of interviews and hasn’t heard anything yet. I am a bit worried about his discouragement so I really do appreciate your continued prayers for him. Thanks for asking.

        1. Your welcome, Mary

    2. Good wisdom here, Mary “Jesus said to His disciples that they did not realize what He was doing at that moment, but later on they would understand.” I relate to that. I’m sorry for the difficulty in your family.

  6. Found this beautiful song….. http://youtu.be/BS1tZ-1acYs

    1. What a beautiful song, Joyce. Thanks for sharing it.

    2. Joyce–this is beautiful!

  7. 6. The key to “self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”

    A. Behold and share what you see of God’s love for you in John 13:1
    “He loved them to the end.”-Jesus died and rose again-not just to save me from the penalty of sin-but He died and rose again because He wants me in His presence now and forever-I have entered into His presence-His glory-and I am one with Him because of Him. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 🙂 Amazing love, how can it be? But He has lavished His love on me and made me His own-forever!

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.

    Whether I am the older or the younger-I am HIS and He loves me-He ran to the younger-that sticks with me-his robe flying showing his legs-he doesn’t care for He loves the One who forsook Him-He is overcome with joy that His son has turned and is back with him.
    He pleads with the older son, says all I have is yours and invites him in- EVEN WHILE THE OLDER SON WAS YET IN HIS SIN-ANGRY AT THE FATHER. Both the sons are me and I am His too and He loves me that much!

    1. Love this…Whether I am the older or the younger-I am HIS and He loves me-

      and so true.

  8. 6. C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.
    Jesus suffered being completely abandoned by God-He suffered hell and got nothing for it-He did it for me because He loves me. He didn’t do it for me to get something out of me-it is because He wanted me for me not for what I could give Him. This is who God is-This is what He means when He says He is Love. When He tells us to love one another-it isn’t the hollywood love-but a deep sacrificial love where we love others for who they are not for what they can give us. This is SO FREEING. THIS melts my heart and makes me want to abide deeper in Him and serve Him for I know He loves me not because of what I do for Him-and this compels me to want to love others and serve Him.

    This blog study is transforming my life-God is here, he is present and so desires for me/us to see this! I have been here oh around three years after knowing him for over 20 years and the penny is JUST starting to drop. He is taking this shulamite girl into a deeper level of wonder and awe over Him.

    1. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine…yep, a wonder of wonders indeed! 🙂

  9. I just had this thought-When I sin-it offends, Insults Him/grieves Him-oh yes! Yet He puts His hands on me in the midst and rips it out-and He does because I am covered in His blood-He is preparing me for the future when I am face to face with Him. This is who He is. Amazing love-and what really blows me away is He paid the cost for me, pursued me so I would be brought into this glorious love relationship with Him to experience Him-to delight in Him and be brought into intimacy with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I am part of the dance forever-wow. What on Earth can compare?

  10. Happy Anniversary Dee 🙂

      1. I truly hope your anniversary IS happy! Am I prodding too much to ask, how do you handle the anniversary? I think I would struggle if it was me.. bittersweet at least. I hope God holds you very close today.

      2. Happy Anniversary too, Dee

      3. Well, (some) dates really stick in my numbers-loving mind…but I do celebrate with you the joy of what God gave you and Steve–it’s a a very powerful example that God continues to use in my life…and you know God of All Comfort is a top favorite 🙂

    1. I am a bit late-but How beautiful- your anniversary! I agree with Elizabeth-one of the things that stuck out to me in the God of All Comfort was the intimacy you and Steve had with Jesus and how that flowed out into your relationship to one another-such a sweet example of how your marriage truly reflected Him-the true intent of His design of Marriage. 🙂

      1. I am also a bit late…Happy Anniversary too 🙂

  11. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see? 

    I see the humility of Jesus. His modeling for the disciples how to serve one another, dealing gently with fellow believers caring for each other, listening to each others confessions, praying for each other. We are in Christ, we have ‘had a bath’ but our feet get dirty as we walk through life. We need each other to wash feet. All of this in the context of knowing that He would be betrayed, that Judas would betray Him in an ultimate way but that all of the disciples would turn away. He loved them and us anyways, loved them in an ultimate, serving, redeeming way.

  12. When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?

    Yes…but
    I see my heart more clearly for how fickle it is. I am more quick to confess, I see more trust in the thought that Christ wants me to run to Him.
    We talked in class last night about repentance. The heart change of seeing it as a privilege rather than a duty, rejoicing that we “get’ to repent.
    
I feel less hopeless, less in a rush, more trusting that God will supply the power and love. Apart from Him I can do nothing.

  13. 3. What did Jesus know, according to verse 1, and what thoughts were therefore on His mind?

    Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world. Thoughts of His impending death made Him want to show His friends how much He loved them through one final way.

    4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see?

    This passage of Scripture if bracketed by references to Judas, who would betray Jesus.
    This tells me that there was an uninvited guest, so to speak, at this last supper. Satan was attempting to get Jesus distracted and sidetracked and he was using Judas to do it. The enemy was dogging Jesus right up to the end of His life.

    5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?

    I see that heart transformation is a fierce battle. It is so easy to be focused on the Lord when I’m at church, or doing my Bible study, or reading the Bible or a Christian book. But how prone I am to be like a sheep going astray, leaving His side. I’m not necessarily talking about committing a sin or falling into a temptation, but it is in my thought life that I see the battle of who will dominate my thought-life and heart: will it be me or Him. But I am more quickly turning back to Him. I am thinking that having a struggle can be a good thing – better to be in the middle of a tug-of-war than to be left alone.

    1. “I see that heart transformation is a fierce battle”. Love that, Susan

  14. 6. The “key to self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”

    A. Behold and share what you see of God’s love for you in John 13:1.

    Jesus has been loving “His own who were in the world” – that’s me, too. But this phrase stands out to me: “He now showed them the FULL EXTENT OF HIS LOVE” as if Jesus is saying, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

    I have the mental picture of Jesus grasping my hand, excited to show me, take me someplace – to the threshold of some place where I am going to see something so magnificent it will be blinding to my eyes – the place where I will behold His magnificent love-blinding, yes, (but as I open my eyes) but as simple as seeing my Lord kneeling before me, holding my dirty feet in His hands, tenderly bathing them. OH – that HE would kneel at my feet??? What kind of love is this??

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.

    I see myself on the platform in Rembrandt’s painting, held in that still, unmoving, eternal embrace of the father. It is finally coming home, having no strength left, exhausted from trying to handle life on my own, making a mess of everything. But because my True Older Brother came to get me, I can be held by my Father. Those hands-mother, father, tenderness, strength…hold me, support me, will not let me go. The son’s face appears unformed, like an unborn baby…utter dependence upon Him for life itself. In His embrace, everything else melts away and I am home.

    1. Oh, Susan. Your picture of Jesus “excited to show me, take me someplace– to the threshold of some place where I am going to see something so magnificent it will be blinding to my eyes” is so beautiful. To think that God loves us that way is true glory!

      1. I assume you got there fine, Diane…so thankful!!

        1. Oh, yes, Joyce (and everyone) I arrived safely at my destination. Just a few days away with a friend. I may not be online much. My hubby tells me that they have about 10 inches of snow fall today.

          Thanks for your prayer about the flight. God helped me overcome the worry and go about getting things done before leaving and then I checked the airline website again and there was a travel advisory and I was able to get an earlier flight with no extra cost. The flight went smoothly with only a half hour delay. I am so grateful. God provided this opportunity knowing that I need a break!

          Things continue to be tough for Krista. Please keep praying.

        2. Diane,
          I’m so glad you made your flight and praying for you to have a time of renewal and refreshment with your friend…will keep praying for Krista.

        3. Always praying for her! Enjoy your time away!

    2. Oh Susan I love it all!!

    3. “I am going to see something so magnificent it will be blinding to my eyes”…makes me think of Isaiah’s experience in Isaiah 6, “my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

    4. oh Susan “What kind of love is this??”–this post is beautiful

  15. A. Behold and share what you see of  God’s love for you in John 13:1

    It says he loved us until the end.

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.

    Well, from what I remember of the portrait, the younger son was kneeling and the older son was annoyed in the shadows. The father was “anointing” the younger son. Not sure I got that right, but I suppose it shows how we are forgiven even though we don’t seemingly deserve it.

    C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.

    This is the portrait we saw last week? I guess Job, who is destitute in the picture, is raising his hands to heaven begging for help. We know from the story he is eventually “helped,” but from the picture? Not sure about that. I suppose at least he has people around him that try to share the pain? They really aren’t too helpful however. Maybe the portrait reminds us that God is our only hope. Job begging to heaven and we know he will receive Gods blessing. This reminds us we will too with “faith like Job.”

    1. “Maybe the portrait reminds us that God is our only hope. Job begging to heaven and we know he will receive Gods blessing. This reminds us we will too with “faith like Job.”

      I love this, Laura

  16. 6. The key to “self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”
         A. Behold and share what you see of  God’s love for you in John 13:1
         B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.
    Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.

    He loves me forever, to the end.

    He loves me when I am running lost, when I turn, he can’t wait to lavish love and affection on me, when I am proud, imagining self sufficiency, and arrogant he still desires and woos me, he wants relationship, He wants me to come home, to accept his lordship and be at peace with his love.
    He suffered out of love for me, knowing it was me that caused his pain, he bore my penalty, covers my shame.

    It is hard to take in.

    1. Love this last pharagragh, Chris

  17. you ask if we see growth in our lives, I see how much growth I need to make…. but that in itself is growth….I am no longer hiding under the guise of perfectionism so I am willing to see how much I need to grow.
    I am more humbled and broken by my sin and I see it more clearly.
    the more you know the more you know how much you dont know 🙂

    1. Cyndi, your so right!!!!

      “the more you know the more you know how much you dont know :-)”

    2. “I am no longer hiding under the guise of perfectionism so I am willing to see how much I need to grow. I am more humbled and broken by my sin and I see it more clearly. the more you know the more you know how much you don’t know”

      I sure can relate to what you are saying, Cyndi.

  18. Did the sermon end prematurely for everyone?
    I tried both links to it and they both ended abruptly.

    1. Yes, Chris, it sounded like the sermon ended abruptly. However, judging by the content, I think it was finished. It wasn’t just you!

      1. I like your picture, Deanna! Yes it ended abruptly for me too

  19. 6. The key to “self-forgetfulness” is knowing how loved we are by God. “Beholding,” John Piper says, “is becoming.”

    A. Behold and share what you see of God’s love for you in John 13:1
    Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. At first I was a bit perplexed, but I think that I get from this, is that Jesus knew exactly who He was suffering for and He loved his own, the ones that were in the world at that time and the ones (like me) who would come after. He loves us right to the very end.

    B. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the father of the prodigal sons.
    I am trying to see God’s love in this picture, but I must confess is that what I see is the father looking at his sons, with his hands clasped. I tried a bit harder and perhaps the fathers face has a softness that I didn’t see before hand, but I will admit to still not seeing love in this picture.

    C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.
    I am not sure how to answer this one either, I see the correlation between Job in the picture and Christ on the cross, they are actually very similar, expect Job looks like an old man and Jesus wasn’t. God’s love to me would be more representative in the fact that the others in the picture are condemning, but God didn’t wipe them off the face of the earth. He had compassion and grace towards the other judgmental people in the picture. This is a good thing, because on the times when I don’t have my grace switch turned to on, I can be as judgmental as Job’s friends, telling him what he should or should not do in any given situation. I may think of it as advice, but perhaps it is more judgement than grace as grace would listen and comfort him…man do I really have a long way to go.

    God’s love for me is evident in the sunrise I see every morning, in being able to wake up, have mobility, being able to do things and not be brushed aside as if I don’t matter. I may not matter to a number of people, but I do know that I matter to God. I feel His presence, I smile and feel joy when I think of Him and His love for me. I really liked what Susan said about the picture of Jesus grabbing her hand with excitement saying come on…I smile when I think about His love for me, that thought brings warm fuzzies inside, kinda like cuddling a teddy bear brings contentment to a child.

    1. “God’s love for me is evident in the sunrise I see every morning, in being able to wake up, have mobility, being able to do things”

      Many mornings when I am driving to work I ponder what an “over the top”, generous God we have…to not only put the lovely colors of a morning sky in the sky for all to see, but then to allow our eyes to see the subtle variations of colors…wow!

      Mary, was it you who was reading Margaret Feinberg’s “Wonder Struck”? I’ve got it waiting “in the wings” to be read. I recently finished “The Organic God”.

      1. Sorry Nanci, was not me that was reading Wonder Struck. In all honesty, I am not sure that I have heard about that book. I may have and just forgotten, but it does not ring any bells right now.

  20. 7. Keller will quote Psalm 40:6. What does it say?

    “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have opened, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require.”

    At first this passage seems confusing, because God did require burnt offerings and sin offerings. That is what the Passover Lambs were all about. Matt Chandler illuminated this for me in his book, Explicit Gospel. He likened it to an abusive husband bringing flowers to his wife after beating her. What she wants, instead, is a changed life.

    And that is the point of the whole passage, of the foot-washing, of the things Jesus said when time is running out.

    Are we changed?

    9. Another mystery that this same gospel writer expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet?”

    I could think of a million ways! I would have to say the change in me through the years is that I am ever more aware of my sin and my poverty and need Him every day to deliver me and change me. We had a wonderful encounter with our middle son that I shared on the blog yesterday morning, but then yesterday I failed with my oldest due to meaningless things-just frustrations. So the way I could wash feet is to admit my sin to God-cry out for help in this area which I did-I so need Him! And then to my son to admit my sin and ask for forgiveness and spend time with him today.

  21. 9. Another mystery that this same gospel writer expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet?”

    Really not sure this will make sense, or is even what Dee means by this question, but this morning as I read this, the feet He has asked me to wash came flooding to my mind—my sweet 9 year old daughter’s. Her feet are dirty, she has run so far from us in many ways. And I admit I am so hesitant, so “cautiously optimistic” here, but I do know without a doubt the Lord is at work. For the past 4 days I have not raised my voice at her. I have listened to her (hard for me often), hugged her, I have finally seen tears in her (this is good). She admits to knowing “every catechism by heart” but not knowing Him, in her heart. I had been without hope for so long—and now something is different in me. My husband said last night “you’ve been amazing with her (lately!)”—and I looked at Him with that look, and he even said ‘you’re right, it’s just God’. I cannot, CANNOT love her on my own. Sounds awful, but I know it is true. But He is doing something in me, I don’t want to put words to yet. I am not afraid of her failure.More, I am not afraid of my “failure”. I have asked Him to do whatever it takes to cause her heart to fall in love with Him. I know now no amount of Bible videos, perfectly laid stories…can do what only the Spirit can do. But my job, what He has called me to do—is wash her feet. Humble myself, take her dirty little feet and all the places they’ve been, wash them in His blood. As my 6 yr old son says, it’s like Jesus takes our heart through a car wash-and he adds ‘He has to take my heart a hundred- million times a day!’ Me too.

    1. Rejoicing in this so much right now Elizabeth! What a breakthrough and an answer to prayer! Hallelujah!

      1. Thank you so much dear friend. I cannot think of another time in my life when I have more clearly felt His power over me–you know what I mean? When you just KNOW you’d normally be totally falling apart, but instead you feel this almost strange feeling of being strengthened-? I’ve felt His strong presence before–but in this, it’s like I have a joy I “shouldn’t” have by the world’s standards–oh this is not clear, but thank you for rejoicing with me! You are ever the other-centered encourager 🙂

        1. I do know!
          The year Mike, Maggie & Brian came to live here full time was so overwhelming for me, that prayer I prayed in the shower confessing that while I knew they needed me to love them I tried hard, I was failing utterly, I prayed if this is going to change God you must do it, I KNOW I can’t.
          I felt such peace flood through me, my attitude changed, I began to think of my serving them as serving Christ. I stopped expecting their attitudes to improve and slowly they did!

          His strength made perfect in our weakness!

          I am so excited for you!

    2. That’s awesome Elizabeth! When I get angry inside at Kendra sometimes, I ask the Lord to trade my angry heart for a loving heart and instantly it’s run through the car wash of God too!!! Praying for you.

    3. Elizabeth-so good! I LOVED to hear this update!!! He is so good!

  22. I found some great youtubes of the Story Book (Sally Lloyd Jones) Bible Easter Story–thought some others might like them with kids/grand kids:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHE6vBHBSUc&list=PLAA96E0764E118EF6

    1. I finally ordered “Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing”…:) Should be arriving any day.

      1. Oh Nanci–I think you will REALLY enjoy it–such simple yet profound thoughts.
        Any more update on little Jay? And your soon-to-be-grand baby?

        1. I am really looking forward to getting it…:) I’m thinking that the stories will be good mediation/contemplation for me. I also ordered two of T. Keller’s books…”Galatians for You: For Reading, for Feeding, for Leading” and “Jesus the King: Understanding the Life and Death of the Son of God”, and the Les Mis DVD.

          News on soon-to-be-grand-baby…3 cm. dilated on Wednesday.

          Just received this update on Jay this morning…
          Jay has had a few good days in a row so we are so happy to report that his smiles have returned once more! We have made it past some of our big hurdles…his blood pressure is under better control with three different medications…his breathing is less labored and he is only on oxygen at night…and his pain is well controlled with the morphine pump. We are far from done, but Jay is doing really well right now. Jay’s labs have shown the first tentative signs of engraftment by his donor cells (meaning the new bone marrow is hopefully starting to grow in his bones). It is very early but this is a good sign!

        2. Nanci,

          So good to hear about Jay. This breaks my heart-will keep praying. Also great to hear the baby is coming soon! Keep us updated!!

        3. Praying for Jay and your daughter and baby!

        4. Praying for Jay and family, thank you for giving this bit of good news.

        5. oh Nanci, it so breaks my heart that such a young child has to go through so much. Thank you for this update–continuing prayers for them and your grand baby too!

  23. Loved the sermon! We have experienced this getting dirty in love this year so much with little man and his family! So thankful for how God has used and is using it in our hearts. I am seeing pruning, breaking, etc in all of us. Even them. God is doing amazing things. Seeing my deep need for Him yet seeing He is in me! Such a great sermon on love and what it really looks like.

    Liked the quote he talked about about the lady who saw the angrier she got the more she loved…That is me! HA HA HA. I hate to see those I love make bad choices! Yet it extends to so many,rarely do I not become angered when I see this. I just want people to see, know, and trust God’s love!

    Loved the picture above too. Just the looks on the men’s faces! Priceless. I experienced a foot washing before and it was so intimate, insecure…Hard to accept.

    PRAYER-HUBS IS MEETING WITH BIO DAD FOR LUNCH. REALLY WANTING TO HAVE UNITY WITH HIM ON ADOPTION. BIO MOM IS IN AGREEMENT BUT AFRAID TO DISCUSS WITH BIO DAD. HUBS WILL ENCOURAGE HIM TO TALK TO HIS WIFE AND HOPEFULLY UNITY WILL OCCUR. WE DONT NEED IT BUT DESIRE IT.

    1. Praying Angela, your desire for unity is beautiful.

    2. Praying it went good, Angela

  24. Notes concerning Keller’s sermon, The Love of Jesus:
    The gospel of John calls attention to the fact that Judas was there. Judas was not unusually wicked. He had the best preacher, the best small group experience, the best example-training anyone has ever had. He had even “served,” as he went out when Jesus sent all of the other disciples out to spread the Word. Judas had incredible input and output, but the Holy Spirit never lived in him. I recognize that this heightens our peril, as we Christians have had many opportunities to know the Bible and to do service — we can still be on the wrong track!! We need to be concerned as to whether the fruit of the spirit is growing in our lives. I was particularly taken back to hear Keller say that the real fruit of the spirit come together. “If they are not all there, they are not there at all.” To be sure we get it “all together,” we need to look for change in our weaknesses, and once again our motives in what we do are all important!

    If I understood correctly, Keller says that love does not necessarily produce tolerance.
    In fact, the more I love someone, the less tolerant I may be (toward their spiritual weaknesses). He said “Anger is not the opposite of love — hate is!” That says to me, that when we care so much for those close to us, we may find ourselves becoming angry when they do wrong. Did I get that right? I would like to add that we are sometimes less tolerant when we recognize our own weaknesses in others. I don’t want to see my daughters making the same mistakes I have made!! Some of my greatest expressions of anger have been at those times.

    Keller lifted up John 13:34 — “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” He says, just get started: put yourself in others’ spot. Jesus has said, “I have lived the life you should have lived, and I have died the death you should have died.” Jesus loves us just for who we are, so we are able to love others for who they are.

    Did you notice the photo by this response? Hallelujah!!

  25. So good to ‘see’ you Deanna!

  26. 3. What did Jesus know, according to verse 1, and what thoughts therefore were on His mind?
    He knew He would die. That He would go to the Father. He had loved all that the Father had given Him. He was going to show them the full extent of His love for them. He was going to die for them, for me,for our sins.

    In Jesus high priestly prayer in John 17:20, just before the cross, He reveals He is not only thinking of his disciples, but also for “those who will believe because of them. He was looking down through time. He had you and me in mind as well. Saturate yourself in this love.

    4. Keller says this passage is bracketed by verses 2 and 21. This helps us see “the forest.” What common thread do you see?
    Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him. It is about betrayal. Even though Jesus had walked with Judas and loved Him. Judas did not love Jesus.

    5. Many would have thought Judas was a true disciple. As Keller says, “you can jury-rig your behavior without a heart transformation.” When you look at how you behave in secret, at changes in your life, do you see evidence of heart transformation?
    Sometimes yes and sometimes no. This whole question is sobering for me. I am not afraid but I am sober. When I think of how I have treated my husband, or my dtrs. or even my students that have stayed with us or the people in my suite, or our little hounds, or even strangers, even people in church I am dumbfounded at how arrogant I have been, how unfeeling or unloving at times. I am quietly asking God to change me. To give me the ability to love like He does. To change me and not other people. To let go of my control idol.
    This is so sobering for me b/c we are not in a game here. This is life and so many people need to know the love of Christ. Sometimes I try so hard to convey that but I am always lecturing instead of loving. I try to share but there seems to be no words that come out. I am stumped at times so then I just cry out to God b/c sometimes I just suck at loving others and Him. I am way too selfish and way too judgemental.
    Sometimes I feel like I am waking up from a bad dream. A dream filled with self pity and not much else.
    I am ashamed and before I would run and hide or blame or hate myself for how bad I have been. Now I am going to stand boldly before the throneroom of grace, soberly, not arrogantly and accept my breastplate of righteousness. I cannot do nothing to earn my salvation, nothing to impress Jesus with except, accept the breastplate of righteousness for my shame and work out my salvation with fear and trembling. Always aware of what Jesus did for me.
    Then how can I judge, how can I not love, how can I not serve within the body of Christ, how can I not trust again or believe again or hope again or dream again. B/c Christ Jesus has given me a breastplate or righteousness and I have no more shame.
    Of course I am crying typing this but I am so resolved to serve Him and to love others. With His direction, help and equipping I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. Even love myself (b/c He does), love others b/c He does, love my enemies b/c He does.
    This is my confession that I am weak so very weak
    But you are strong!
    And though I have nothing to lay at your feet I come to your feet and
    Say help me along.
    Not by might nor by power but by my spirit saith the Lord.
    I believe like Thomas said but Lord help my unbelieve.

    Blessings and Kisses in the Lord
    To all my eternal sisters
    May God’s power and love drip into your lives.
    May you all feel the annointing of His love
    Thank you all for loving me when I was filled with such shame and pain and enduring my rants.
    God bless you all
    Mellany

    1. And Mellany, “May God’s power and love drip into your life and
      may you feel the annointing of His love”.

    2. Your confession resonates with me Mellany. I too am sober, and counting on Him to change the defective places in me.

  27. Thanks for the warm welcome! I am really being challenged with this study. I haven’t been in a Bible study like this for quite awhile and it is making my head spin. I loved the sermon. Had never heard Tim Keller before. I was challenged with the thoughts about Judas. How he had the “best” of everything before him and he still didn’t let Jesus enter his heart. I was amazed at the idea of the fruit of the Spirit being simgular, not plural. That if we didn’t have one, we really didn’t have any. Also challenged by the idea to look at our weaknesses rather than our strengths. (I said my head was spinning!!).
    I was especially struck with the notion that we get angrier at those we love when they sin. This was true of me. As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve had a rocky road with my parents. I don’t want to go into now but we’ll say it has been a l-o-n-g road and we’ve all played our part in it. I would get angry with their behavior and then become angry at myself for not being more patient, loving, etc. What a crazy road of anger and then guilt. When I finally was able to confess and repent of my part in this drama (that I really wanted them to live their lives in the way that I felt was right) and give them over to God and let him be their savior rather than myself, the anger has lessened alot. They still struggle and do things that are not wise but now I can stay out of the mess and not be hurt or become angry. I ask God to watch over them and open their eyes to what they are doing. I also ask God to help me mind my own business and be open to when he really does want me to help. He is so good!

    1. That’s wonderful Jill…God is so good!

  28. PRAISE….WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT! SO THRILLED! A TRUE MIRACLE! SETTING COURT DATE!

    1. Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!! Oh Angela! What an Easter story of new life! OH, so happy for you all!!

    2. Sooo happy for you Angela! Praise God!!!

    3. Yay! Praise the Lord!

    4. Praise God, Angela!!!

      1. Yes it was incredible! The dad went home and spoke with his wife and they both were in agreement at 5 on Tony’s drive home he got a text stating this (only a few hours after they met!) And did I mention this was my husbands bday! Great bday present! 🙂

        1. This is so wonderful, I am so joyful that you are breaking the cycle for this little boy.
          I will pray for him to feel secure in your love, for his biological parents to have peace about their decision, and for wisdom and love to flow through you, your daughters, and your husband.

        2. Angela, So what are the next steps in this? So excited for you! 🙂

    5. Praise and thanksgiving to the Lord!…so happy for you all!

    6. Rejoicing in this good news with you!

    7. I am so thrilled for you all!! Praise GOD!!! 🙂 🙂

    8. YEAH!!!! and ditto to what everyone else posted:)

  29. Such a sad, hard week for me. Can’t explain really, but Satan is definitely lurking here. Keller sermon was awesome (as usual). Really down in the dumps today.

    The whole “washing feet” concept is so real for me. It made me think of when I visited my mom last summer. For some reason I had this real need to wash her feet. She probably thought I was out of my mind. I kind of thought I was too. I had never washed anyone’s feet before except my own! Since I am a dancer, I am very particular about my feet. I’m not really keen on anyone touching mine, so I don’t know why I thought it would be ok to touch my moms! It seemed like the right thing to do at the time though. She really liked it.

    1. Laura, I pray your feeling better soon and out of the dumps. I remember when you said you washed her feet…wonderful thing to do for your mom.

    2. Laura,

      This song has been on my heart for 3 days! Seems so appropriate at this moment…Father, come close and let Laura experience Your sweetness today!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WE-NpxmGP0

    3. Laura,
      Praying for you right now – for some encouragement, some word of comfort, a “kiss from the King” for you today…may He come to you unexpectedly, like a soft hand on your shoulder.

    4. Praying that there is something encouraging for you and that you feel the Lord’s presence in a real and tangible way…and hugs.

  30. 6.C. Behold God’s love for you in the portrait of the “greater” Job.

    When I am lonely, afflicted, sad, hurting for someone I love, I behold Jesus, loving me through His great suffering and death on a Cross. He says I am with you, you are not being punished, this doesn’t mean you are not loved.
    In Segher’s painting I see Job’s friends on one side, trying to figure out what Job did wrong to deserve this; I see his wife on the other side, yelling at him what good is your God now-just curse Him and be done with it. I see the “true Job”-Jesus being treated the same way by people who were there when He was arrested, tried, and killed…blaming Him, taunting Him with where is your God now when You need Him-He isn’t here…I hear those voices when one of my children isn’t doing something right and someone says to me it’s my fault because I didn’t teach them right or they aren’t hard working because I’ve always been a “fence-sitter” or I hear those voices yelling at me saying what’s God got to do with anything, why do you always have to bring God into it and I feel like shriveling up inside-feel like a failure, feel like giving up.
    Behold – God loves me…Jesus faced the ultimate suffering, the only thing that could really kill me, He faced for me, in my place. He says I can know Him deeply, intimately, and that will get me through whatever suffering comes in this life-He is preparing a place for me, an inheritance that will never perish.

  31. 7. Keller will quote Psalm 40:6. What does it say?

    God does not desire/want sacrifice and offering and it also says He does not require it.
    I think the passage that parallels this is in Psalm 51:16, where David says “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.”

    What God really wants is for our hearts to be broken, repentant, and soft towards Him.

    9. Another mystery that this same gospel writer expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet”?

    I don’t think this is so easily answered, because I could be doing helpful, nice things for my family or friends but not be doing it out of love – I could even be feeding my own idols for approval/affirmation or control by doing things for others. I have to think more about this…I’m thinking that a true “foot washing” may be putting love into action for someone who is unloving toward me, where I’m getting nothing out of it, nothing in return.
    Looking at this like a metaphor, as I’m doing the washing for someone else, we’re both “getting wet” – I’m having my heart, attitude, and thoughts washed from being dirty-bitter, resentful, unforgiving, cold and stony.

  32. I spent all morning listening to the sermon with many interruptions-but that is good because I was able to listen slowly and carefully ‘hear’ what God is showing me about Himself.

    SO here are my initial thoughts: I really asked myself about the fruit in my life and went to my husband this morning and asked him if he saw any changes in me since we were married. I am still amazed that I am His.

    I think one of the changes in me lately is that I more easily confess my sin to those I have sinned against without guilt or beating myself up. I even more easily admit when I have messed up and am letting go of worrying about making mistakes because I am more and more secure in His Love and acceptance of me. But as Keller said, it is because I am meditating more and more on Jesus and the accounts of Him in Scripture and as a result growing more and more content in His love for me.

    An area I need change in is patience with my boys and my husband when they are constantly pushing my limits-He has given me patience with them but as of late in situations where there is almost unbearable stress and intense pressure all around me all at once-when the bottom feels like it is dropping out- on those days I fail in being patient but I am confident of His love for me so I am more and more going to Him crying out ‘help’ and confessing and then ask for forgiveness from whomever I sinned against. (That is why I love Psalm 40!) I sense the fruit in me but my flesh is always crying out. I have been bathed yet need Him to wash my feet every day! And I desire to love others and care enough that I am willing to wash their feet too, but only as I contemplate Jesus doing this for me will I be able to do this for other people.

    I want to meditate on this for a while and might come back tomorrow to write my notes-unless this is all God wanted me to write. 😉 There are other things that stood out like the gal who wrote that she was angry at the sin in others because of what it will do to them-she wasn’t angry at them for how their sin impacted her. She loved them that much.

    1. Your heart is beautiful Rebecca.

  33. expounds in his letters is that as we love as Christ loved, His love grows in our hearts. How could you be “washing feet?”

    I am hoping that the course I am a part of at church is going to lead to foot washing opportunities. The curriculum is from CCEF and is instructive in setting up a ministry in the church of counseling one another. I am hopeful that it will lead to opportunities to help walk with others during difficult times, helping to bear their burdens and point them to Christ and hope. I think part of washing each others feet is to speak the truth in love to others. To do this well I will need to release the approval and comfort I prize too much. But I do want to be a useful and willing tool for the kingdom not just a consumer but a distributor of grace.

    1. Chris, I so see this in you-a distributor of Grace. This goes without saying-I know you know it is Him. I so agree that part of washing other’s feet is to speak the truth in love. I know I long to hear it from others who love me in my life for they can see things I can’t and that is one of the ways God speaks to me.

    2. oh Chris your desire to be “a useful and willing tool for the kingdom” is SO evident. You continually put aside the aching desire I assume must be there at times, to curl up and hide in your pain–and instead you are a vessel poured out, sharing His grace, acceptance, love.

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

    What love really looks like. Keller said, “Real love is looking at someone and look at where they should go-what they should be-if you got all the dirt and infection off. Feet in those days were cut, infected. Love is washing and it means you get involved. Love is washing, being involved. Involved enough to say please help me help you become everything you were designed to be.” Love isn’t being a Pharisee-having a critical or judgmental spirit toward someone elses weaknesses or sin and then giving up on them or backing away from them.

    I may be stretching here a bit-but Isaac and I were doing our Bible Study-and we gazed on Jesus in the passage we came across. It was in John 21 where Jesus asks Peter do you love me three times and then said to feed His Lambs, then Shepherd His sheep. It stuck out to me..this may be a bad application but I can’t jury-rig truly loving others-truly washing their feet. The only way I can truly love others in helping them become everything they were designed to be is if I love Jesus more than them, than anything or anyone and my love deepens for Him as I gaze on Him daily in Scripture seeing His great love for me. I need to daily be willing to let Him wash my feet before I can wash others.

    1. Oh Rebecca, that same passage John 21 has been on my heart!
      I keep thinking that if the love of Christ has really changed me, I will be ready, and willing to love others in a sacrificial way. To move towards them and stay near them even if they are unlovely, angry, stubborn…etc.
      We talked in class about if you are counseling a person with trust issues eventually they will mistrust you, someone with anger issues will at some point turn that anger towards you, that we will need to guard our hearts that our response in those times will not be as sinful as the person we are counseling. As in Galatians 6:1:
      “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.”

      How I see my need to be rooted and grounded in the love Christ has for me as my identity and the love He has for others as my mission, that hope might overflow from me onto others.

      1. Wow Chris, I haven’t thought about that but so true about when counseling/washing a person’s feet. loved the Galatians application. You are growing by leaps and bounds Chris-God is moving so in you.

        I think as you are grounded in Christ He will make you sensitive and give you wisdom as to when to speak and the timing. I can’t tell you how many times my motive has been to ‘fix’, or I carelessly lament not thinking about where the other person is at and I have said something or asked something not relying on Him-so the timing is bad-yet HE is in control even of that thankfully!

        I recall Keller saying in this sermon-to truly put ourselves in other’s shoes-how would we want to be treated when we are angry, or blind to a sin issue in our life. I can’t help but go back to the fact that I am a blurb without Him so how can I be impatient or critical of others- I so need to hear from Him through my brothers and sisters too.

    2. Love your take-away, Rebecca…all of it.

      1. Susan You really are His fragrance here. Your pursuit of Him and willingness to lay down over and over in the middle of an ongoing-seemingly endless storm encourages me. His presence in you.

  35. Just finished listening to the sermon…I think I will have to listen again, there was so much to take-in. At one point, I paused it and had to pray. Often when I hear sermons like this, I come away with doubt and questioning my own salvation. Keller was very blunt in saying that if you don’t have all of the fruit, you don’t have any. One fruit I really struggle with is having joy. Maybe I struggle with depression?…I’ve never been to a counselor, I don’t know. Is my personality the more melancholy-type? I seem to struggle with being able to rise above my daily circumstances in the home, in particular my relationship with my husband, and living in joy anyway.
    I think people would say I am gentle/quiet, but I do have trouble confronting people, so am I just afraid of speaking up because I’m afraid I will lose their love or approval?
    Am I really loving my children and family, or am I just trying to fill-up my own neediness/emptiness?
    Keller’s example of the fruit tree was powerful – when you’re not hungry, you appreciate the fruit tree for itself – it’s beauty; you want to help make it look even more beautiful. But if you’re hungry, you’ll strip it, devour it – you are only looking at what it can do for you.

    Also powerful was Keller’s explanation of the “golden rule”. When I am being bad, do I want someone to love me anyway? If I was chasing somebody and I slipped off the cliff and was hanging there, would I hope they’d come rescue me in spite of my behavior? He said we must put ourselves in the other person’s place and do what we would want done to us.

    Also amazing that Jesus, in washing feet, was doing what even no Jewish servant, according to the rabbis of that day, would do. That job was for the Gentile servants; it was considered too low for a Jewish servant. John makes such a point that Judas, the betrayer, was present. That Jesus washed his feet, too – this was not tolerance, it was love.

    That I need daily Jesus to wash my feet. That is the only way I can wash the feet of others. Okay – this keeps coming to my mind. A few nights ago at work, one of my patients, an elderly gentleman, said something to me a little impatiently-it stung my feelings. As I helped him stand at the bedside to use his urinal, he missed… I had to go get washcloths and towels…I was thinking about what he said to me and feeling hurt/irritated…a quick prayer…came back in the room and said I’m sorry I didn’t understand what you were asking me to do, and I had to kneel down and wash-off his legs and feet.
    It’s so easy to love when everything’s sunshiny and warm and gooey – so hard when I get my feelings hurt, when it’s dirty, unappealing, takes physical work. I can’t do it on my own without His help.

    1. Susan, What a sweet spirit you have. and again-I love how you often yield to God’s prompting. Have always loved your heart sister. Thankful for you.

    2. Susan I so relate “It’s so easy to love when everything’s sunshiny and warm and gooey – so hard when I get
      my feelings hurt, when it’s dirty, unappealing, takes physical work. I can’t do it on my
      own without His help.” And I love your answer “That I need daily Jesus to wash my feet. That is the only way I can wash the feet of others.”

    3. Susan,

      I too appreciate the story you shared. It is nice to know who you are…nursing is a beautiful God given profession. I have friends who are nurses and I hear their stories with regularity and with each, I thank God for creating people with this particular bent, a heart to love in such a personal way! Thank you for sharing…

    4. Susan, You are a treasure.

  36. My take-aways this week:

    All of the stories that told of the sweetness of little children — “out of the mouths of babes,” and “a little child shall lead them.” Sadies’ “Jesus, Help me” will ring in my ears for a long time. It also comes out of my own mouth frequently!

    Another take-away is Keller’s statement in his sermon, The Love of Jesus, that we must have all of the fruits of the spirit in unity. “If they are not all there, then they are not there at all.” It has challenged me and impacted me deeply!

    I had a birthday this week, and my daughters asked me to give them a wish-list. Among other things, they gave me two books. One was Dee’s Idol Lies, and the other was Keller’s Prodigal God. As you may recall, I wasn’t able to find Prodigal God earlier, but my daughters found it now! So I anticipate a lot of good reading, and hopefully a lot of spiritual growth as well!!

    1. Deanna, YEAH!!! So glad to hear how God is moving in you! Excited about the books you will be reading. 🙂

    2. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Deanna. Not sure which day this week was your birthday, but I hope it was a beautiful day for you.

    3. Yes, happy belated birthday Deanna! Your take-away from the sermon is what impacted me too–very challenging, humbling.

    4. Happy “late” birthday, Deanna!!!

  37. Oh there is SO much in this sermon. I started notes–but I need to listen again–it is really humbling for me. I lost my ipod this week-no idea if the mechanic stole it (it only has Keller sermons so maybe that’s a good thing…), or if in my overwhelmed state I actually threw it away…it’s driving me batty because I am one of those who usually lose things…ANYWAY, I’m having to learn to sit still long enough at the computer for a whole sermon ;0

  38. Listen to The Love of Jesus and share your notes here.

    I think that I need to listen to this sermon more than a few more times for all the “gold” to sink in, as this message is so full of gold. The end really resonated, I already have the bath, but I need to have my feet washed daily to heal the pain, wounds, scratches, dust, dirt etc off.

    I also picked up his comment on the opposite of love is hate, but then one step further away is indifference. A number of years ago I had decided that the opposite of love was really apathy. Hate is an emotion but the other end of the spectrum of having an emotion was apathy. If I really didn’t care one way or the other, then that was the opposite of any kind of emotion (love or hate). Keller put the indifference in a new perspective that I will have to contemplate. I think that perhaps I have a tendency to go to the place of indifference when someone hurts me.

    Listening to the sermon I think is making me re-assess where I really am. I think that the Holy Spirit has His work cut out for Him in my heart. I do see stuff that I would not have before, thoughts, feelings that I would have just brushed aside (or buried) that I actually look at now and ask to healing for. I can see that the thoughts of detachment from a situation is not what He really wants, so I think I will have to spend a lot more time with the Lord for a power wash of the inside. I will do my take away later as there are some things that I need to process in order to really grasp what I am thinking/feeling.

  39. My sermon notes: The point of the law is to bring about a change in our heart. Jesus is not just Teacher, but Lord. Change should not just be outward behavior, it needs to happen in my heart.

    1.The Importance of the Fruit of the Spirit: evidence of character change. Judas had power, knowledge, he changed lives…but no Spirit of God in him. I have to look at my fruit. Am I a better listener? Less controlling? More gentle, sympathetic, patient? Humble? Am I quicker to repent?
    I do see change here, and it is much, much more “unsettling” to me when I hold on to something until I confess my sin. Earlier today I apologized to my husband for my critical spirit towards a mutual friend. I had not said anything horrible, but inwardly I felt jealous, and it felt just grow in me until I confessed it out loud to him, and Him.

    2.The Unity of the Fruit. Jesus’ example is all the characteristics of the fruit. If the characteristics of the Fruit of the Spirit are not all there, they are not there at all. This is hard to digest fully. I see that it is true, it’s just very convicting—a change to my mindset. Is my gentleness due to the lack of courage, self esteem—or is it true humility? Am I self-control or pride-controlled? Patient without kindness? I cannot have one fruit and not the others. I need to look at my weak spots–is there growth?

    3.The Nature of the Fruit. Jesus defined love as washing feet. Washing feet is not just tolerance, it is engaging people, getting involved, having a vision for who someone can be cleansed, in Christ. This is very applicable for me in parenting.

    What we often call love is really hunger—it’s wanting, craving, needing, how the person makes you feel. Real love is serving people out of my fullness—wanting to fill them up, help them grow. Jesus commands me to love one another as He has loved me.

    I am hungry—I do need people to feel good about myself. I cannot love the hard to love. UNLESS Jesus washes me. First I need a bath. When I become a Christian, I am bathed—I don’t need a bath over and over. I’ve had a bath, EVERY DAY I need Him to wash my feet.

  40. 9. What is your take-a-way and why?
    That love is engaging with people not withdrawing.
    That love is not tolerance.
    That love is serving others and washing their feet.
    That love is not loving people b/c of how they make u feel but rather loving one another b/c Christ demonstrated His love for us by dying on the cross.
    John 16 vs 27
    For the Father Himself(tenderly)loves you b/c you have loved Me and have believed that I came out from the Father.
    This scripture came to me as I was reading John; the word tenderly lept off of the page.
    I am a daughter of the King and He tenderly loves me and loves others and so must I
    That the last act of Jesus was to wash feet is so powerful. I am reading the chapters of John leading up to Christ’s cruxification.

    In the front of my amplified bible is the page that says who this bible is presented to and by whom
    This bible was presented to me when I was in the transition house for the 3rd and final time.(my first marriage) It was July 6th 1988 and it states
    our precious sister, and mighty intercessor of God -Mellany-
    by
    Your loving, eternal sisters
    on
    July 6th 1988
    That marriage ended b/c of violence.

    Now I am married again and my current husband came out of great sin (so have I)
    But he took my bible and had it recovered in blue leather. It has a sun and wheat on it in the corner.
    He said to me when I asked him if he has seen change.
    He said u are doing more bible studies.
    I laughed and laughed and he joined in
    I am seeking God again.
    This is what I have learned.

    I am not being punished by God and I am loved.
    My marriage is not a punishment from God.
    God is able to make a way in the desert when there is no way.
    For a long time I had to intercede for Chuck but when he saw me doing daily devotions he joined in. He saw a difference and believed that God could love him.
    When he saw that my heart was bitter he gave me time.
    When I was bold enough to tell him what I liked and did not like he listened and respected me.
    He has come out of a lifestyle that was very immoral.(so have I)
    So now we pray together (but not all the time). He prays for me.
    Sometimes it is very difficult but now we go to God.
    God is the difference in our marriage.
    God is always the difference.

    I thought it was all about changing my husband but it was not.
    It was about Changing me.
    Taking my clothes of shame and washing me with the word. Allowing God to see the ‘yuckiness’ of my sin. To expose and repent. To be vulnerable, naked and not ashamed.
    To let the precious Holy Spirit wash me of all the shame and condemantion that I was clothed in. It is that simple

    As I surrenedered all the pain, junk, etc. and repented and believed that God loved me and that He had given me a “breastplate of righteousness” to cover the holes in my heart and soul, then and only then, was I able to engage.
    When I believed that God loved me and had never stopped loving me.
    That was the difference.

    I am allowing people to love me. Of course my precious Holy Spirit I trusted. I would pour out my heart, worship, dance but always in my room in my house. Now I am engaging and trusting again. I am allowing or believing that my husband loves me. That God loves me. That God has a plan for me and for my husband.

    Sometimes I fail but now I literally run to God, to the word,

    I guess what I take away from Pastor Keller’s sermons are hope. Hope for me, for my husband, for my children, for my siblings for everyone that I know.
    I am pondering Jesus’s word and I am soaking in the truth of God’s word and applying it to my life. Believing that God’s word is stronger than any two edged sword. Penetrating to the marrow of any problem that I encounter.

    I have always trusted God but I now I am reaching out to others, to engage.

    My neice is pregnant. She has not contact with the father of the child. She knows it is a boy. She has nothing for the child and no money. So I went to Mommy and Me store (consignment store) in my town. I purchased everything she will need. I purchased an outfit for her dtr. as well. She lives 8 hours away so I am driving with all the belongings to a town that is 2 hours away. I am going to pray for her. I am way more bold with actually praying for people now. I actually want to pray for people. Not just in private but with them when I am with them. Just to bring God into the moment b/c in a moment God can change lives.

    I believe the enemy will always attack me in my thoughts or try to lay blame and condemantion but I know that I can claim scripture. That there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus and that includes me. I am more than a conquerer through Him who strenghtens me. That God has a plan for me and for my life. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me.

    I cannot thank u enough Dee for this biblestudy, for the prayers of every lady. I pray for u also. So thank u Susan, Joyce, Chris, Dianne, Krista, Elizabeth, Dee, Nancy, Mary, and so many others that I cannot remember their names. I know there are two Lauras, two Diannes and Deeanna so thank u all.

    I plead the blood and I pray that one day we will all be heaven and be able to speak to one another. I pray that this is a beginning of a move of God that will circumvent the globe. That as we confess our faults, hold each others tears in our hands, stand in the gap for the undesirables like Jesus did then God will come and heal our land.

    In late 2009 and beginning of 2010 God gave me Gen Chapter 2 vs 2
    In the amplified bible it states:
    and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the water.

    I believe that and claim in the spirit that God is hovering, moving, brooding, over our lives, over our countries, over individual hearts and God will accomplish what He has said in His word.

    In Christ’s Service and for His glory.
    Thank u so much for your prayers:)

    Blessings
    Mellany

    1. Mellany–love this story of your husband having your Bible recovered–that’s dear. And this “I am seeking God again”. So thankful for the joy you bring here

    2. Mellany, How much joy it must bring to your Heavenly Father to see that now you “run to God, to the word!” It brings brightness and light to our souls just to learn of your spiritual progress! This blog has been so wonderful for so many of us. You have enriched our lives by your sharing.

    3. Mellany,
      I can hardly believe the transformation we are all witnessing here of your heart and life, how He has and is taking your pain and redeeming it, bringing such beauty from the ashes…I agree with everyone how much you have blessed us with your being here!

    4. Mellany, your testimony here is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it. This really stood out to me. “Just to bring God into the moment b/c in a moment God can change lives.” These words glorify Him and encourage me.

  41. I’ve listened to the sermon three times already and I know I will listen more. So much to take in and apply. I was convicted by the issue of the fruit of the Spirit – that if you didn’t have one, you really didn’t have any. I am looking at the areas I’m weak in, with love probably topping the list. For so many years, I was a Pharisee. I was raised in the church and even though I was involved in every way, my heart could be so cold. I’m a worker bee by nature so it is not hard for me to serve. But I didn’t have to love the people I was serving. Several years ago, I realized what I was and asked God, “Please help me to love”. And He is. It has not been an overnight change. When I’m afraid, I can flip back to Pharisee mode to protect my heart. But now I can usually see myself doing it and need God to “wash my feet” and remind me of how much He loves me. He tells me not to worry – He loves me just the way I am. He will protect me.
    I was amazed that the way Jesus showed His love to His disciples (and us) was by washing feet. I’m a former nurse and have washed ALOT of feet in my work.I remember I was even taught in nursing school how to properly wash feet! And I think about how intimate an act it is. Many folks are ashamed of their feet and do not want to have them touched. This reminds me to be careful as I reach out to “wash” feet. To be sensitive to how vulnerable the person might be. To not just reach out and grab their feet, so to speak. To allow God to lead me in ways I can serve others. But I need Him to fill me with His love all the time.

  42. My husband said that we will have degrees in theology by the time this study is over. Of course, head knowledge isn’t the point; he was teasing. We’ve listened together to the Tim Keller sermon on Job and I emailed the link to my daughter and her husband, and also this week’s lesson. But I knew when I read the opening that this week’s would be the hardest one for me. I went to the link that one dear person posted (thank you dear person 🙂 titled “Grace for Regretful Parents, Too” and found Elyse Fitzpatrick had writen my own story of child-rearing. Preached the gospel at them until they “got it” and then piled on the law to control their behavior. So I understood so well the many posts from those who felt guilt about failing in that area. In the past few years, and especially in these Bible studies, I’ve been seeing the difference between legalistic and gospel living, although I would have said I knew the difference before.
    The other convicting part of this lesson was on fruit bearing, most especially in the area of love. Tim Keller’s contrast between unnatural and organic fruit is the difference between legalism and gospel living. There’s a big star in my notes next to the statement, “Don’t look at your strengths, but your weaknesses – that’s how you’ll know the level at which the Holy Spirit is working in you.” – HIS strength perfected in weakness – then there can be no doubt that the fruit is from Him.
    My take away on how love is cultivated – Just Begin. Jesus came and put Himself in my place. He got nothing out of it. He loves me just for who I am, which frees me to love others in the same way.

  43. I am still not sure on my take away, I listened to the sermon and I will be listening to it a few more times. My daughter came home on Thursday for a rest for about 2 1/2 weeks, so I am grateful for her to be here. We went to the ballet on Friday night (Mozart’s Requiem) and the stage setting was really cool. The story is about life and death, light and darkness and I found myself looking for the gospel in the performance, sometimes I saw it, other times…well it was a secular ballet. The light character spent most of the time on a stand like a statue in white head to toe and the darkness character would dance all around moving the base of the statue around the stage. The thing that I noticed was that the light character was not still, he was very active, even on the statue base conducting…the choir, the dancers, even the dark characters. While he was “conducting” he wasn’t just using his arms in directing the activity, he was using his whole body (except the feet which were secured to the base). Since I was looking to see if the gospel was anywhere in there, what occurred to me was that I had always pictured God sitting on His throne “conducting” and what occurred to me was, that thought was perhaps a mis-characterization of God. God isn’t just sitting on His throne, He is actively engaged, sometimes just with His arms, but other times with His whole body. In His anguish He isn’t just shrugging His shoulders, He is actively grieving, bent over, hands over His face type of grief. In His joy, He is not just smiling and nodding His head, He is jumping and leaping around saying, yeah and halleluiah type of joy. His “conducting” is not passive, it is engaged and His whole being is engaged.

    Yesterday we went to see where my parents have decided to move into and while I spent time crying as I still feel like they were bullied into the decision. While I was there, parts of the sermon were coming to me, looking to see whether I was truly looking at this situation through Jesus eyes or my own. Am I living guided by the spirit or my own. My daughter told me something I still need to process. She is angry with her aunt and sees her aunts response in this whole thing as wrong. I told her just to let it go as confronting her aunt will only make the whole situation worse. My sister holds a huge amount of anger, resentment and bitterness towards the rest of the family, especially me (don’t know why) but she always needs to be right and it’s not worth arguing with her as she will keep going until she is “right”. As it is so draining, I just let it go quickly, she smiles smugly like she won (and it’s never a contest to me) and we move on. My daughter points out that she needs to confronted and I have no desire to do anything. If anyone says anything, it will of course be my fault and I really don’t want that. My daughter is right that my sister is wrong, but in my eyes it’s just not worth the increased animosity that will be the result. But what I have been thinking about is Keller’s comments on the fruit of the spirit about if you think you have grace but won’t confront a wrong, then it’s not grace, it’s just being a wimp. It is making me try to see if I am really having grace or just a wimp. I really do need to look a bit more closely to see if there really is fruit of the spirit…I think so and I am trusting the Lord to help me to see the things that He wants me to see.

  44. This sermon is one that I have listened to a couple times…and will listen to again; much to take in. I was especially struck with the fruit of the spirit; the impossibility of having one but not another…”fruit” being plural rather than the possibility of singular fruits. It was also very thought provoking to think of Judas. It is so easy to type-cast him as “the betrayer” and not think of him as one of the disciples that was sent out or his interaction with Jesus. Much to ponder…

    My take-away is somewhat fear-based…where am I on the “fruit of the spirit” spectrum? Could I be like Judas?…thinking I am a true disciple while not actually being one? Yes, this is “fear” that I must turn from. My dependence is on Jesus…only Jesus can transform me into the “Nanci” I should be. My trust must remain in the Lord; in His plan and power to transform…praise God that He is willing and able!