Type and press Enter.

New here? See how to Get Started








It was thirty years ago when I was studying to write a book about friendship when I saw the pattern. Important things are said when time is running out. When Ruth thought Naomi was going to leave her and she would never see her again, she poured out her heart with her famous “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee, for whither thou goest…(Ruth 1:16)

When Jonathan thought he might never see David again, for he had to send David away from his murderous father, David fell to the ground and wept, but Jonathan told him: “Go in peace, because we have sworn, both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord shall be between me and you, and between your offspring and your offspring, forever.”(1 Samuel 21:42)

And then, beginning ten years ago, I experienced it personally. I was blessed with a wonderful father who loved his three daughters well. I actually will talk about him this Thursday on Midday Connection as I share how he called me “Deedle” and asked me not to ride my bike down Ridge Hill. (A commandment I broke as soon as he and Mother left for Mexico.) Here he is, before I was born, with my sisters, Sally and Bonnie.

J. R. Brown with his daughters Sally and Bonnie
J. R. Brown with his daughters Sally and Bonnie

My dad was a man of the highest integrity, but struggled with many things about Christianity. I do believe Christ came to him at his deathbed and rescued him. My sister Sally has said, “There is a presence of God at the deathbed of those for whom so many prayers have been offered.” There was.  I will never forget that holy place and the presence of God. Dad was in a coma by the time I arrived, and I sat by his bed day after day and pleaded with God to have him awaken so I could share one more time. When I walked in, that last night, the nurses came running: “Your dad’s eyes are open!” I rushed in, took his hands, and words and emotions and tears tumbled out as I shared with him again the most important thing, how Jesus had died for his sins.He could not speak, but his eyes were fastened on me, piercing, really, and then filled with tears. My heart was bursting with love and I thanked him for many things, but the last was always faithfully meeting me at the gate (for this was before 9/11 and he could) whenever I was getting off the airplane to visit — his eyes searching for me, lighting up when he saw me, and I’d hear his great shout, “THERE SHE IS!”  My very last words before he slipped away were:

“Daddy — please meet me at the gate.”

And then Steve…he spoke to each child and to me — some things I have shared, some too holy to ever share. I understand the anger of the mother whose son’s last words on 9/11 from a voice-mail were played without permission in the opening of the movie: Zero/Dark/Thirty. That was holy ground that was trespassed.

I realize how blessed I was to have two men who loved me dearly. Many of you have not had either  a father or a husband who loved you deeply or who was able to express it. But you have One who loves you so. Last week Mary from Canada said “I may not matter to a number of people, but I matter to God.” Oh! That is what you will see this week as you meditate on what Jesus said when time was running out.

Last words are holy.  During holy week of 2012, we considered three screams of Jesus in the dark. We’ll review those in the beginning of the holy week. 

And then, as the week marches toward Good Friday, we are going to look at the very two last things that Jesus said on the cross that shows us two vital aspects of the gospel and will also show you how deeply you are loved.




Take off your shoes, we are on holy ground.

Easter is a time for testimonies, and Easter is next Sunday. Many of you have already given such good testimonies (If you missed the last three comments last week from Mellany, Jill from Ohio, and Diane2 — please go back and read them!) But next week I need help from each of you, and I’m looking for brevity, so I thought “cardboard” testimonies would be perfect! Would you send me a picture of you holding a cardboard testimony? Or just the cardboard if you really don’t want to be in the picture (though we would love to see you!). Send it to me at comments@deebrestin.com as soon as possible.  We know that you will not have “arrived” in the area you post, but you should see some change for which you can give glory to God. For example, I  still want to control people, but I know I am changing. This week Sally texted me a picture of Sadie while she was in the salon chair getting her hair cut. I wanted to text back, “Don’t cut off her beautiful curls!” But I saw my depravity of wanting to control, and knew, because of the gospel, that I could let go of this. (I know — I’m so bad!) So, instead I texted,”She looks so excited! Send me a picture of the finished cut!” God helped me not to rain on their parade. (And Sadie looks darling.) SO HERE IS ONE PIECE OF HOW JESUS IS CHANGING ME:

Dee's "cardboard" testimony
Dee’s “cardboard” testimony


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

2. How might you approach this week so that you can be still and know He is God? On Good Friday He hung on the cross from 9 to 3. Might you have any way to take time during that period?

Tuesday: He was forsaken so we will never be.

The sermon we listened to last year was from Matthew. It is free but I suggest downloading for smoother playing.  (Link)

4. If you have time to listen, share your notes.

5. If you don’t have time to listen, it is still important that you see what Jesus said right before he said, “I thirst.” Find it in Matthew 27:46. Stay there and try to see what it means.

ithirstWednesday: He thirsted so we would not have to thirst.

The worst physical pain I ever experienced, more than childbirth, was a burn. I was in a fire as a child and I literally longed to die. They say that death by crucifixion dehydrates you so you are burning inside. Yet Keller says that Jesus did not say “I Thirst” because of physical pain, for that would be the only time Jesus “complained.” Instead, He thirsted for God, for He was cut off from God when He was bearing our sins. Keller takes us to two important passages to help us understand “I thirst,” so we will go there too.

6. Have you ever been burned? Describe the pain. How does the physical pain that Jesus endured for you impact your heart?

7. Read John 4:7-15. What is happening here, and how do you think this might be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

8. Read Psalm 42:1 — how might this be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

There is another reason Jesus said “I thirst,” and it is profound. See if you can find it in the text.

9. Read John 19:28. What reasons can you find for Jesus saying, “I thirst?”


Maundy Thursday and Good Friday:


He said, “It is finished,” so let it be!

10. What are the very last words Jesus spoke (John 19:30) and what do you see in these words for your life?

Listen to this message — it is not free — but it is gold. (Link) You do have to give them info and your credit card, but then you will be registered and not have to fill things out all the time.

11. What are your sermon notes? What stood out to you and why?


12. What’s your take-a-way this holy week? Have you “sensed” Jesus? If so, when?

Leave a Comment

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


  1. 8. Read Psalm 42:1 — how might this be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

    He needed to be with God. He wanted to feel His presence. He knew what was occurring would be relieved by God.

    9. Read John 19:28. What reasons can you find for Jesus saying, “I thirst?”

    I’m jot sure I am getting all these “thirsty” references. Is this one just a physical need at the end? Or is it something more? He takes the sip right before he says “It is finished.” I don’t see a connection.

  2. I sent my cardboard picture and words. I don’t think I done it right, but it’s done now.

    Glad your back Diane…missed you!

  3. 10. What are the very last words Jesus spoke (John 19:30) and what do you see in these words for your life?

    He was the sacrifice for us. We have to do nothing. This is difficult for me to understand. He wants ME.

  4. 6. Have you ever been burned? Describe the pain. How does the physical pain that Jesus endured for you impact your heart?

    Yes, many times while cooking-kind of a clutz. 🙂 Although recently when I almost cut the tip of my finger off while cooking and I thought of Jesus. This was nothing compared to what he went through but I thought of how He was shred for me. It really hurt when they stuck the needle in the cut before they gave me stitches. Even now after it is healed there is a tender spot, if I press on it it is sore. But Jesus took this on all over his whole body-there was no refuge-no doctor-no stitches-no comfort-nothing but sheer pain.

    This impacts my heart that He was willing to endure this pain-willing to walk into a physical hell for me.

  5. 7. Read John 4:7-15. What is happening here, and how do you think this might be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

    Jesus is our living water-He will satisfy our souls completely-wholly-eternally unlike the things of this world which can never satisfy our souls and once we come to know Him we WILL thirst for Him eternally and He will satisfy us. I haven’t seen this before our study this week but when Jesus said “I Thirst” on the cross he was thirsting for God-WOW! I like what Keller said in The Final Hour that the presence of God is something we need like the flowers need the Sun-so true!

  6. 8. Read Psalm 42:1 — how might this be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

    I just thought of something but could be way off-Jesus never had to ‘long’ for God before the Cross-He enjoyed being in His presence-He was One with Him. On the cross He was separated from God taking on our Hell and He became thirsty for God. So much to ponder here! So good.

    1. I agree…this week, the separation (in that regard) has been in the forefront of my mind, (at first glance) it is so easy to miss it!

  7. 4. If you have time to listen, share your notes.

    From listening to The Final Hour, these things stood out to me:

    First, the real, true meaning of the word “PASSION”. The Passion of Christ does not make sense thinking of the word as it is used today – our world has totally trivialized and stripped the word “passion” of it’s depth, reducing it to what we see in the movies or on TV or read in the tabloids-romance, moving from one relationship to another out of passion, heavy-breathing, lust. Even in Christian books, there’s always the chapter on how to put the “spark-passion” back in your marriage.
    But Keller said that the original Latin word means deep suffering, as in the more you love, the more you suffer. Jesus cried out – literally screamed – “My God…why have You forsaken Me?” He was plunged into utter spiritual darkness, forsakenness, plunged into the heart of hell, experiencing what eternal outer darkness would feel like, because “we were His passion”. I can hardly wrap my mind around this, that I am His passion.

    Jesus’ last cry from the Cross-“It is finished”. Do I believe this? Intellectually I do, yet when I find I lack the joy of my salvation, could it be because I am trying to finish in some way what Jesus has already finished? When I rest in “It is finished”, I will have joy. I would say one of my biggest obstacles is truly resting in and believing that God loves me – how can I ever find joy and rest when I’m trying to “finish” it myself…make myself more ‘loveable’ in some way, or worse, feel despair because I know I can’t. Trying to prove myself to Jesus is such a trap…I want to take this with me as I walk with Him throughout my day – through both victories and failures – that “It is finished”. When the ugliness of my past and the person I was is thrown at me by the enemy, I want to see that despite that, I was His passion.

    5. If you don’t have time to listen, it is still important that you see what Jesus said right before He said, “I thirst”. Find it in Matthew 27:46. Stay there and try to see what it means.

    Jesus said, “My God…why have You forsaken Me?” He was experiencing hell, being utterly cast-out from God’s presence, cut-off, severed. I don’t believe it was a gentle releasing, but an abrupt horror. So when Jesus next said, “I thirst”, I believe He was dying of a thirst to be reunited with the Father, for the Father’s love, companionship, presence, anything of His Father to cling to. To be separated from the Father – words like terror, dread, engulfing despair come to mind.

  8. One more thing from the sermon, The Final Hour. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to see Life of Pi. When Pi was shipwrecked, he had a survival manual that he read. It gave all kinds of advice on how to survive at sea…Keller said that in our world of suffering, God isn’t just sitting up there; He didn’t write a book to tell us how to deal with it. Instead, the Cross shows us that He got involved. Pi was alone with a book of advice; our God came down personally, got involved, suffered with us and for us, and still promises to be with us, never leaving nor forsaking us.

    1. Thanks for sharing this. I would like to see the Life of Pi. Great analogy about the difference between having a book of advice and having Jesus who came and suffered with us and rescues us. “our God came down personally, got involved, suffered with us and for us, and still promises to be with us, never leaving nor forsaking us.” Great, great analogy.

    2. Reminds me of the sermon we listened to highlighting the difference between the gospels Good News and other religions good advice.
      Advice is about something you can do it.
      News is about something that has happened, you can’t do anything about it, it has been done for you and all you need to do is respond to it.

  9. Wow, just finished listening to the sermon….good stuff….

    A lot stood out….but this was most interesting to me….

    “He emptied Himself – didn’t use His divine resources”

    I think there is this underlying idealism that says, Jesus was different and thus His “otherness” makes it hard for us to relate to His experience on the earth. The perspective given by Keller in this sermon, just blows that whole thing out of the water. To know that when He took on flesh…He submitted Himself to the same relational interactions with the Father as we currently know and experience in this life. He relied on the Spirit and He conversed with God through prayer! Oh what amazing things are offered to us (in relationship with God); yet, somehow because we “see” ourselves as so “different” than Jesus that we do not believe that we have the same access to the Father. I really think that Jesus wants us to “get” this association! I think God is offering us LIFE ABUNDANTLY, but because our thinking is skewed in this regard we fail to believe that we have access to the “same power that raised Jesus from the dead”. Just awakening to this fact alone is incredible! We should never live powerless lives…we have the Spirit and we have a constant line of communication with God the Father! What an example Jesus gave us in coming to earth (in humanity) and showing us how to bring the Kingdom from up there….down here! This is such a wonderful thought! He “handicapped” Himself, to teach us how to connect and live powerfully in a fallen world! Amazing!

  10. 10. What are the very last words Jesus spoke (John 19:30) and what do you see in these words for your life?

    The last words of Jesus on the cross were “It is finished!” With his death, the complex sacrificial system ended because Jesus took all sin upon himself. Now I can approach God freely because of what Jesus did. The torn veil in the temple was evidence that all barriers had been removed. I cannot save myself, and do not need to try — because Jesus has done it all! The words “It is finished!” are extremely important words for my life!! However, as Keller says in Kings Cross, “…the ‘happy ending’ of the historical resurrection is so enormous that is swallows up even the sorrow of the Cross.”

    So Jesus has saved me, has removed all barriers between me and God. Keller says, “To accomplish that, he had to come and die for it. Three days later, he rose again; and one day will come back again to usher in a renewed creation.” It can’t get better than that!

  11. 6. Have you ever been burned? Describe the pain. How does the physical pain that Jesus endured for you impact your heart?

    The worst burn that I have had was sun burn. I can recall barely able to walk my skin was so tight and sore. It wasn’t the muscles or anything like that, it was that the movement of the skin is what caused the pain. I do not know how to answer the second question as I wonder if His emotional & spiritual pain was far greater than His physical pain. That said, I think that His physical pain would have been excruciating. If I understand the method of the time, the reason for crucifixion was to cause maximum pain and torture and the Romans excelled at that. To hang there for 6 hours willingly being tortured to protect me from eternal punishment is something that I do find hard to truly understand. I know He did it, I know He loved me enough to go through that for me, I know that He went through far worse than I can ever imagine, for me. His love for me is deeper than anything that I could possibly comprehend on earth. The totality of the pain and suffering He had to endure is something beyond what I can put into words.

    7. Read John 4:7-15. What is happening here, and how do you think this might be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?

    I feel like I am missing something important that you wish me to see, as this question I am having a hard time with as well. I can grasp that Keller pointed to the “I Thirst” as a relationship to the living water that Jesus is referring to here. I am however not sure that I see that Christ words on the cross where He thirsted was really a cry to the Father for living water. I always thought that His words of “I thirst” was to fulfill scripture. I am aware that scripture regularly use the analogy of water as cleansing, healing etc. But I guess I have not seen the relationship of water to Christ’s final words on the Cross. I think I will have to ponder some more, before it filters down deep.

    I was just looking at my answer for being burnt and it occurred to me that if I am burnt, water especially cool water soothes the skin and helps reduce the pain even before applying any lotion to sooth the skin. I think I will have to ponder the thirst and water more carefully.

  12. 9. Read John 19:28. What reasons can you find for Jesus saying, “I thirst?”

    Jesus said I thirst in order to fulfill scripture. The comment between question 8 and 9 “There is another reason Jesus said “I thirst,” and it is profound. See if you can find it in the text.” confused me as I was not sure whether you were making the comment with respect to either question. Since you said there was something profound I went back to see if I could see it. Not sure that I was seeing anything profound, I went to bible gateway and looked for the word thirsty and found that “thirsty” appears 33 times in the NIV version. Although thirsty does not appear in Psalm 42:1, the implication is that as the deer pants for water, the soul is thirsty for God. If the thirst is not quenched by God, the soul will remain thirsty. In the old testament most of the time that thirst is referred to it appears to be physical thirst. Then in Isaiah that appears to start to change from physical thirst to spiritual analogies of thirst. In John there are 5 uses of the word thirsty and 4 obviously refer to spiritual thirst. Since the last one is Christ on the cross, I began to wonder if Christ was not referring to physical thirst or “just” fulfilling scripture, but perhaps what He was really talking about was spiritual (which is also fulfilling scripture). He wasn’t here to save our physical anything, He came to save our eternal souls.

    The final references in the bible on thirst are in Revelation. In Revelation 22:17 “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life”. It occurred to me that perhaps that when Christ was speaking the words on the cross that He is really talking about being thirsty for the “water of life”?

    I could be wrong, but this was something that I was wondering about.

    1. Mary, thank you for you’re searching about thirst. I think your last thought is right…being thirsty for the water of life.

      I’m sorry, I haven’t posted much. I love the part about when your dad died, Dee how you had to opportunity to tell him, you’d met him at the gate…Wow, that is awesome! My mom had dementia pretty bad and the last thing she said, was when she tried to get out of bed…she said, “I have to get ready for the ryde bus” She took the bus to the senior center everyday. Seems kinda funny now..thinking that was her last words. And I said “No its not coming today”. I like your last words much better Dee! I never got to be with my dad when he died…I was at work at the clinic, but I got to be there the night before when an old classmate of his came in to pray with him. I was so thankful for her.

    1. It was Psalm 69:21 “They gave me also gall [poisonous and bitter] for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar (a soured wine) to drink.”
      Jesus came to fulfill all prophesy. If any had been left undone then our salvation would not have been complete. When the last one was fulfilled then He could say “It is finished.” because it truly was.

    1. oh Father, this day is filled with such emotion, and I am reminded most of Your Sovereign Power. And we lift up dear Annie and baby to You now–thank You that You are more powerful than due dates and You do know what is best. We ask for Your peace and protection over all the situation–wisdom for doctors, peace for Annie and David, a safe delivery and healthy child.

      And for Dee’s techie’s M-I-L–please grant Your healing hand over her, and please provide as You so graciously have before, for the needs at the retreat. We trust You, we rest in Your finished work, in Your promises, Lord. Amen

    2. Father,

      Today, I come to You with these requests. I pray for Annie, I ask that You would meet her in this season of “fullness”! I cannot help but think about how often You spoke of this particular time in a woman’s life. You have made us and You understand every nuance, emotional, physical, mental, spiritual. I pray that You will comfort Annie today, especially as she awaits this new life! What a beautiful representation of “resurrection” (especially at Holy Week)! I pray that You will allow her to have a safe delivery and that You will use this time of waiting to speak metaphorical treasures to Annie’s heart! Allow her to rest in the waiting!

      I also pray for Dee’s tech. I ask that You would bring her comfort as she is dealing with her mom’s illness. I pray that Your presence would be felt in that situation and that You will bring about healing. In her absence, we ask that You would provide for this retreat. Oh Lord, there is nothing that slips past You. You knew of this long before the situation came to be…so, we ask You to use this limitation to Your greatest advantage and to Your most profound glory! I pray that You will once again, allow Dee to know (with certainty) that You are her strength and her support and that nothing will keep Your voice from ringing out! Please let the Spirit move with great freedom and power! I pray that lives and hearts will be changed and renewed!

      1. I’m also praying for Annie and David and little Mia Belle and for this new life you are giving them. What a wonderful gift…may the baby be perfect in your image! Praying also for Dee this week-end to give her quite time with you as she prepares to travel…please give her traveling mercies also.

        Please provide everything necessary for the next retreat and give Dee peace of mind about it. May we all trust you for all things and release all worries to you, our precious, glorious saviour. Bless all our sister’s here (and the one’s that started the lent with us)this day and all week-end, for this is the day and hours Christ was put to death as a human, but made alive by the Spirit, and will be a great and glorious day to be thankful and praise our Lord and saviour…for he will rise!!

        http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/I-Thirst_1 Here is the serman free!

    3. Will be praying for Annie and the baby, Dee…and for the upcoming retreat – so glad you’ll be there for Easter to support Annie!

    4. Yes indeed, Dee, you can count on my prayer support for both Annie and her precious baby, your tech person’s mother-in-law and alternate plans for tech support for your Massachusetts retreat.

    5. Where are you speaking in Massachusetts, Dee?

      1. Here Laura: Apr 6th, 2013 Westfield, MA

        Dee Brestin

        Name of Event:
        2013 WEFC Bloom Women’s Conference


        Westfield Evangelical Free Church
        568 Southwick Road
        Westfield, MA. 01085

        More information:
        Phone: (413) 572-4661

        Contact information:
        Sylvia Wallis | Email: robinsblueegg@gmail.com

  13. Just finished listening to I Thirst…so much to take in, so much. Sun is shining here – there was a beautiful full moon still visible in sky this morning. Hoping to take my daughter and head-out to ponder those Stations of the Cross. I’ll be thinking of this sermon, too…

  14. This goes with my cardboard and picture. Dee said to go ahead and post this written part:

    My son gets a new puppy and I go crazy over her! Having a puppy is like my favorite food to me. So I thought I need a puppy and a hot fudge sundae … with nuts…and whipped cream!

    I searched my heart and ask God to show me why I love dog’s so much??? He showed me…I crave unconditional love, attention, affection and adoration. I yearn for excitement when I come home and sadness when I leave. And he said…”Only I can fill all your needs”. I said…”But I want to hug you”. Then he sent this picture of Jesus hugging me (when I was young!) on facebook. And then I knew he was right here beside me and always will be. I felt like I got the biggest lick from a puppy and my favorite treat …but much, much more than anything or anyone could ever give me….himself. He died an agonizing death just for me, because he loves me that much…and he’s right here beside me, all the time!!

    I will changed my avatar to the picture I found on facebook

    1. Also, I cleared this with Dee to put it on here. It’s kinda graffic but the point it get across is very good.


      1. Really powerful video, Joyce. Thanks so much. So appropriate for Good Friday.

    2. oh Joyce, how incredibly fitting your name is for you–JOYce. Thank you for sharing your joy with us, so blessed by you.

    3. He does love you that much Joyce! He is THAT personal! His unexpected hugs are unforgettable! Thank you for sharing that sweet story…

  15. This may be a bit random, but I have been pondering today how God ordained there would be Barabbas–it was part of His Plan. And He knew “we”, the people, would let the sinful, guilty Barabbas GO FREE. I asked myself why-? And I thought what a portrayal it is of us–we are guilty sinners and yet with all our self-righteousness and twisting of truth..we try to say we don’t deserve punishment. We let Barabbas go because we want to be able to say we aren’t ‘that bad’. And Christ was killed instead–because we couldn’t face His holiness.Heavy heart.
    We had an incredible service at church today–though I wept the WHOLE time. They ended with “Give Me Jesus”-and I was a mess! So good though. Tomorrow we are going to the Passages Exhibit of the Bible manuscripts that have been found–really excited.
    I was thinking how Easter feels like a Christian’s New Year or Birthday–rejoicing in our NEW LIFE and HOPE!

    1. I was thinking on my way to work this morning how God knew all that would happen prior to creation, yet He still created…despite knowing we would fall to sin, that Jesus would have to endure torment, brutality, suffering for our redemption, He still created…how incredible.

      Enjoy the exhibit tomorrow!

      1. Yes Nanci–and that all of us, guilty like Barabbas, yet FREED–not on our own merit, but by Christ’s substitution. Just amazing how much richer Easter becomes to me every year.
        Little Jay or grandbaby-to-be update?

  16. Its Friday…..BUT SUNDAY IS COMING!


  17. 6. Have you ever been burned? Describe the pain.
    Intense pain that continues.

    How does the physical pain that Jesus endured for you impact your heart?
    My heart aches to think of the torment and brutality suffered by Jesus for my sin…what He endured for my redemption…I am completely humbled by His incredible sacrifice.

    7. Read John 4:7-15. What is happening here, and how do you think this might be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?
    Jesus is rejecting Satan’s ploy to distract Him from God’s plan…Jesus, with power and fortitude, moves forward with the plan of salvation.

    8. Read Psalm 42:1 — how might this be related to Jesus’ words on the cross?
    Jesus longed for the relationship with His Father that He had always known up until the cross…it expresses Jesus’ depth of longing for relationship with the Father.

    9. Read John 19:28. What reasons can you find for Jesus saying, “I thirst?”
    To fulfill scripture…Jesus had nearly completed the task of salvation…He was SO ready to be reunited in communion with the Father.

    10. What are the very last words Jesus spoke (John 19:30) and what do you see in these words for your life?
    “It is finished”
    Jesus completed the task of my salvation…His righteousness is what God sees when He looks upon me. There is NOTHING I can or could do to save myself, it is ALL Jesus’ doing. It is a gift…a gift of grace that the Lord gave to me for my accepting.

    11. What stood out to you and why?
    “It is finished”…Jesus did it all…He finished the task of securing humanity’s salvation…there is NOTHING I can or should do to try to add to what Jesus has already done, to do so will only serve to diminish Jesus’ gift. The analogy Keller gave of his refinishing the chest and giving it as a gift helped me to really understand how wrong it is to try to do ANYTHING but to accept the Lord’s gift of grace and be obedient to His will with the correct heart motivation (love).

    *Jay update: (thanks for continued prayers)

    3/29/13 – Happy Easter everyone!
    We wanted to give you an update on Jay. Not much has changed. He has had a rough week; fevers, vomiting, rashes, and pain. However, the fever is down today and we are thankful for that! Also, he was up playing a bit this morning and we couldn’t have been happier to see it!

    Jay’s donor cells are not coming in as quickly as they should, meaning his new immune system is not growing in his body. The doctors think this is because of the viral infection and the medications needed to treat the viral infection (both suppress the immune system). This means we will probably be here longer than the average transplant patient. Hopefully, we can get the viral infection under control so his donor cells can take over and save his life.

    We are also told that Jay is tolerating the transplant very well…he is so strong! It is difficult because Jay seems so sick to us (even compared to everything else he has been through up until this point) but the nurses comment on how well he is handling everything. We are so proud of him. As difficult as it is for us to see him feel so miserable, it must be a million times worse for him to live in such misery for so long.

    Thank you everyone for keeping Jay on your minds and in your hearts. We are at day 32 of transplant and we are tired and worn. We cherish the communication from you all, especially at a time when our world feels so small. Thank you for your love. It means so much to us!

    With love and hope,
    Travis, Bridget and Jay

    1. Nancy, thank you for the update on Jay. I’m praying and praying!

  18. Nanci thank you for the update on Jay, what an difficult season for them. My heart breaks to think of how hard it is to see their child suffering so.

    Praying too for Annie, for the new little one, I hope you are there for the birth day Dee!
    And for your tech person, her mom in law & for the retreat.

    Our Good Friday service was so powerful, we contemplated why the death of our Lord doesn’t break our hearts more than it does. He suggested that we don’t really think we are ‘that bad’ that our sin deserves a death sentence.
    Oh it was convicting, so good to prepare our hearts for the victory thats been won for us, to attempt to try to properly esteem just whats been accomplished and to celebrate the Resurrection on Sunday.

  19. 11. What are your sermon notes? What stood out to you and why?

    OH my..this message IS GOLD. (I started at 5 a.m. listening to the sermon, then was interrupted by needs here at home-was frustrated but confident God is in control-a huge change for me-praise Him.)

    Jesus was saturated by Scripture-it oozed out of Him-it is Who He is. Loved how Keller approached those who say they believe in Jesus but don’t believe in the authority of Scripture.

    So I have NEVER seen this before until this morning and have been taught this passage over and over-so this is HUGE HUGE for me: The Woman at the Well-oh my..when Keller was opening my eyes..It hit me right before he said it-that the reason God referred to her having 5 husbands all of a sudden was because he was showing her that she was thirsting for hope, comfort, love and she placed it in men and she will always thirst for it-she will never be satisfied. She believes in God but He isn’t the living reality of her center-anyone can believe in God. So Jesus was saying He is the only One Who can satisfy her soul with her longings for love, for comfort, for control FOREVER-ETERNALLY-She won’t thirst again. If she puts the bucket of her heart down into anything than the Glory of God, the beauty and comfort of God, she will thirst eternally.

    I also loved the two types of people Keller pointed out-the self beater and the self prover. My nature bends toward self beating but God is changing that in me!! 🙂 🙂 Jesus was scourged, had his skin ripped down to the bone for me and by me beating myself up I am saying that that wasn’t good enough. I am still trying to pay for my sins! By adding anything to what Jesus did is subtracting from what He did. I didn’t realize I was doing that-but let’s be truthful. I HAVE been doing that! I am even free to admit this and not beat myself up for it-Why? Because it breaks my heart to know that I am telling Jesus what He went through for me wasn’t enough. IT IS FINISHED.

  20. I finished this Lent Study with Keller’s sermon, “I Thirst.” Nuggets of gold this week for me are:
    -we are His passion, we are what He suffered for
    -His last words were saturated by Scripture, and if He needed Scripture how much more we need it. He faced every crisis with Scripture.
    -Thirst is the metaphor for the spiritual emptiness that comes when God is not the center of your life. This is what He experienced during his separation from God on the cross.
    -“It is finished.” Rest in His healing, His hope, and in the eternal life with Him.

    I’m still reading Grace-Based Parenting. Lots to chew on there. Working hard on my new parenting role – seeing the hope of His glory in this little guy He’s blessed and given us to love.

    Blessings to each of you.

  21. What are your sermon notes and what stood out? These sermons have been such a blessing. They are making me think! I loved that Jesus didn’t use any resources that aren’t available to us. He was so strong because he relied on the Father, just like we can. Rhonda made a comment that we should never live powerless lives- we have the Spirit and a constant line of communication with God the Father. AMEN to that. Also, from the sermon, it struck me how much Jesus relied on scripture and so must I. “It’s one thing to believe in God, it’s another to have him be the central reality of life. If you put the bucket of your heart down into anything more than the love of God, more than the glory of God, more than the beauty & comfort of God, you will thirst again. You will thirst eternally.” This hit me straight between the eyes. I’ve spent so much of my life believing in God but not making him be the central reality in my life. Putting the bucket of my heart down into alot of “things” that will not satisfy. Somehow not quite believing that God is big enough or strong enough or willing enough to care. And the enemy of my soul loves to accuse me of this. But I’m giving my past and all my mistakes to the Lover of my Soul.
    Yesterday on Good Friday, I was able to get to the MetroParks after work and spend about an hour walking on the trails and sitting reading my Bible and listening to one of my favorite CDs (Fernando Ortega’s, Hymns and Meditations). It always calms me. Anyway, up here in Cleveland, winter does not want to let go. But the sun was out and it wasn’t too cold. And as I walked around the lake and saw all the “dead” grasses and trees, it reminded me that even though they seem dead today, there is life waiting to be renew. Just like Jesus was dead but was coming back to life. I sat and read Isaish 53 (New Living Translation): “But it was God’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendents. He will enjoy long life, and the Lords’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous for he will bear all their sins”. Such a special time with Jesus yesterday. One of the hymns I listened to was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. I love that hymn. The last verse so is me: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it. Seal it for Thy courts above”. My heart is so prone to wander from the God I love. But “It is finished” and I don’t have to work to keep myself in his love. THANKS BE TO GOD!

  22. Having to combine three weeks into one post since I did not have access to the net while I was away. The following stood out to me over the past three weeks…
    “Keep lifting up Jesus to your children.”….This made me realize I focus way too much on “don’t do this, and don’t do that” with my nanny kids. This brought to my attention I have to focus on lifting up Jesus so they can fall in love with Him.
    Testimony – “He is not just up there managing things as they happen. He already knows what is going to happen before they happen“…I have thoughts like wow that must have really surprised the Lord.. But just because I’ve been blindsided, He is not. He is in control, He is in control, He is in control.
    “Daddy — please meet me at the gate.” – really moved my heart and gives me hope for those I love in my life. Thanks for sharing that intimate story with us Dee.
    Tim’s message taught me so much. What the word passion means, Why he screamed out for the Father, Why Jesus was so calm during his torture, How he never complained, He is the only God that came to experience the evil and justice of this world etc. Tim really opened my eyes when he said having your spouse leave you is the most traumatic thing you can experience. I’ve seen the deep pain my mother went through when my Dad left her. I can’t empathize with her, but from watching it, I grasp what an awful trial it is. Knowing that, Tim reminds me Christ went though something infinitely greater during the final hours. Absolute spiritual darkness! Infinity of suffering for me! Why? Because I am His passion! I don’t want to forget this. It was either Francis Chan or Ann Voskamp who talked about spiritual amnesia in one of their books. If you think about it… the worst disease, right? Lord take away any of my spiritual amnesia, I want to be mindful that I am your passion and always make you mine.

    My Take-A-Way – “Obey because it is finished. Don’t obey in order to finish it.”

  23. I made multiple attempts to use the link to the free sermon I Thirst, but it would just freeze up on me each time. So I will go ahead and do my take-aways without the sermon:

    I have always understood that Jesus’ crucifixion was the ultimate in agonizing pain and torture, but I have never given thought to Jesus being separated from God on the cross. We have never experienced anything like that, even though we have probably all had times when we felt God was not as close as we would like. In each of thoses cases, it wasn’t God that had moved, it was us!! It is difficult to imagine the torture of Jesus’ soul when he took all of our sins upon himself and was separated from God. The tearing of the veil in the temple has added meaning for me, coupled with the fact that Jesus removed all the barriers between us and God.

    I finished Dee’s book, Idol Lies, this week. That book just threw all of my sins in my face!! A few weeks ago, I would have said that I have no idols, but now I am convinced that I have at least three!! When I made my cardboard testimony to send to Dee, I just had to pick the worst one!! I have said all along that I am a work in progress, and surely I am.

    Finally, I experienced a take-away of a different nature this week. Some of you may have noticed a couple of weeks ago when Cyndi from this blog and I discovered that we live in the same metropolitan area. We began planning to meet for coffee, and on Thursday we accomplished that. It was a delight to meet her sweet spirit face-to-face! What a unique way to make a new friend — on a Bible study blog!!

    I pray for all of you to have a blessed and joyous Easter! Thanks, Dee, for guiding us on this journey so well.

  24. Praying that all of you will have a blessed Easter.

    Dee, I really appreciated the sermon this week (may listen again) and reading the books about the prodigal son (especially the cultural one — some overlap with Keller because Keller credited the author for his understanding of the Middle East)

    1. Have a Blessed Easter, Renee! Have missed you being on here!

  25. Because I have long felt that my “performance” validated my value in God’s Kingdom, I was at times
    devastated by my own failures, and especially when my two sons walked away from God and His
    people. I found it hard to really comprehend God’s love for me personally. If I couldn’t love myself
    because I kept disappointing me, how could God love such as I am??

    BUT NOW, through several painful years of trials, by His faithfulness to meet me over and over right
    where I was, just as I was, and through His tender forbearance and kindness, He has renewed my
    mind in some very important ways. This study has been a huge factor in bringing it all into focus!!
    Though I have not been able to do every part of it (I missed 2 weeks and decided to go to this last
    week and catch up the two missing weeks after this one).

    It is difficult to explain the change I feel, but it could be partly called finding freedom–freedom from
    being hounded regularly by condemnation. Freedom to accept who I am because I am in Christ and
    because I have comprehended that His love is NOT based on how I measure up to any standard.
    And best of all, freedom to receive and delight in Jesus’ love. In this past month I have wept as I
    have felt that I was looking into His eyes of love.

    The other change I feel is an acceptance and love for others that is growing stronger. I am so aware
    of thoughts and attitudes that are judgmental. And I find that as I recognize them, I can immediately
    let go of them and receive the heart of the Father for that person. I am far from perfect in this, but it
    it is definitely a pattern that I see growing in me. Not because I have willed it, but because He is
    working that transformation in my heart. It is His kindness and grace being poured out.

    Third, is the peace that is just growing in my soul. Peace and ceasing from striving! Hey! That must
    be rest–His promised rest. After all these years.

    Last (for now) I feel a growing confidence in His love and grace. I feel a new and fresh release to
    move in the gifts He has given to me for the building up of the body. There is a fresh heart to
    encourage and teach/disciple other women.

    As I write this I just want to worship my Father, praise my Lord Jesus, wait on the Holy Spirit. So I

    My Cardboard Testimony (after writing out the thoughts above, I suddenly knew what to write :):
    ” I was bound up, but He has given me freedom and His sweet rest.”

    1. Thanks for sharing all your changes, Judy. I can identify with your feelings when you wrote, “If I couldn’t love myself because I kept disappointing me, how could God love me such as I am”? I’ve never put it into words before but that is exactly how I have felt for much of my life. But then I remember that if I believe that, then I really don’t believe God is God. It is a daily releasing of my unrealistic expectations and receiving God’s love for me.

    2. Thanks for sharing this wonderful testimony, Judy…love your heart and what He has done with your heart! Love this…”freedom from being hounded regularly by condemnation”

  26. My take aways are many but the most profound is bound up in the idea of “I thirst”. Seeing the separation from God (and remembering), a physical representation of my inner soul without Him…a reminder of just how far I have come on this journey with my Savior. I am so grateful to finally have my thirst quenched! This living water truly satisfies (that conversation at the well was really true)….it refreshes like nothing else (and lasts)!!! I can say I have sensed the voice of Jesus in the sweet reminders of where I was then and where I am now…(not perfect by any means) but there is a drastic difference! With this remembrance, a song keeps coming to my mind…lift your hands and worship with me! Thank You Lord for giving to me this water from the well that never runs dry!!!


  27. http://thegospelcoalition.org/resources/a/I-Thirst_1

    I’m sorry Deanna that the link isn’t working for you. Maybe someone else can help, if this doesn’t work again.

    1. It isn’t working, but I run onto several free sermon’s by Timothy Keller here: http://ohmytracks.com/music/Timothy%20J.%20Keller