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 When Steve died, one book I was given was a well-written secular book called Comfort by Ann Hood, who had lost a child. I was drawn to the cover, but the advice she gave all had to do with technique rather than getting to the root of the problem. I knew that knitting and drinking herbal tea was not going to get me through my raging river of grief.


We can be SO THANKFUL for His Word which helps us deal with the big questions, with the root of our anxiety and fears.

It is possible for us to have a peace that passes understanding. Jesus said that He would give us a peace, a peace not like the world gives. 

I have that peace, though it took me time to understand how to overcome my many anxious thoughts. Whatever your anxious thoughts are, in these next two weeks we are going to go deeper, for you can have this peace as well. As a believer you already have peace with God, but you also need the peace of God. We have the resources to overcome anxiety.

It starts, as we will see this week, by seeing the big picture.

We have fallen into a story, a great story filled with romance and beauty, but also with heartbreak and tragedy and a villain. How do we cope with both the joy and the sorrows of life?

In part, by realizing we are citizens of heaven.


Ann, me, and Sylvia: July 2013

So when life is sweet, as it has been for me this week as two of my lifelong  friends have come to the cottage, as they have faithfully every summer for the eight years since Steve died, to cheer me and to love me. They engage me in great conversation, prayer, and songs of praise.  I can be thankful for this time, but also realize it is fleeting. Summer, health, and our mortal bodies will end. I must remember when life on earth is so sweet that I want to cling to it forever, that my real home is in heaven, therefore the wise person sets her affections on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. I must live thankfully, but in holy moderation, for this life is only a sliver of the real story.


citizen-of-heaven-l-sotkaAnd when this life is unbearably hard, as it has been for some of you this week, filled with evil so dark you think you cannot go on, remember this is not the end of the story. We  are citizens of heaven and we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly bodies into bodies like His magnificent body. In fact, He will transform everything. There will, indeed, be a happily ever after. Eden restored. This is no fairy tale. This is real life.



One of my top ten books of all time is John Eldredge’s The Sacred Romance. So last week I read his newest book, Epic. I loved it so much I ordered the DVD for Ann and Sylvia’s visit. Oh — we  all loved it. I want you to see this trailer to set up our lesson from Philippians.
(You can get the book in paperback or kindle for under $3.) I recommend it and will give you a chance, next week, to share a highlight if you read it.




Peninsula-State-Park-Map.mediumthumbAnn and Sylvia and I hiked in the park this week, and were thankful for the maps posted on trees along the trail telling us: YOU ARE HERE. For though I have been on these trails many times, I can still get lost. One time I ignored the map (thinking I know this) and we got lost for three hours. 

I need a sign that reminds me where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going. Eldredge says we need the same in this life, and God has given it to us in His story.

This story is so big it is an EPIC, so we cannot possibly do it in one week. This week we will consider the EPIC, and next week, how Philippians 3:20 through 4:7 fits into it. Keller’s sermon will be next week, and he thinks the same way Eldredge does, for the same Spirit says the same thing.





1. Other than the movie clip, name one thing that stood out to you from the above and explain why.

2. Name one thing that stood out to you from the movie clip trailer on Epic.



Eldredge says that “Before ‘Once upon a time,’ before Genesis 1, ‘In the beginning,” there was love, relationship — and a dance of three persons. The early church fathers had a word for the joyful dance of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: “perichoresis.”


Do you see the root for “choreography” in this? It was a dance between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. And it is a dance into which we are invited. That is why the Son left paradise — to ask us to join the dance.



3. What evidences of perichorises do you find in:

A. John 1:1-3?

B. John 17:24?

C. Genesis 1:26

Our God is relational, and our God is love. The atheist Herman Melville confessed: “The reason the mass of men fear God, and at the bottom dislike him, is because they rather distrust his heart, and fancy him all brain, like a watch.”

But God is love. This side of the cross we should surely know it, but can you not hear echoes of His love, echoes of Eden in His creation? And, because we are made in His image, we are relational.

Think about your joys and your heartaches — are they not nearly always connected to relationship? Mine surely are. My greatest sorrow is the loss of my husband, but close behind are the betrayals I have felt from loved ones. And my greatest joys are in relationship: you, friends, children, and grandchildren.

4. When you think about your greatest joys and heartaches — are they connected to relationship? Explain. And what does this tell you?

Wednesday: Act II. The Entrance of Evil

Every story has an enemy. The hooded wraiths on black horses chasing the hobbits in Lord of the Rings.



The White Witch in Narnia seducing Edmond to betray his brother and sisters.


And the real story, of which all good stories simply echo, has a real enemy. I don’t even want to picture him, but we must be aware of the entrance of evil, the reality of evil, the understanding that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and rulers of darkness. The wise person knows she has an enemy. So though it is tempting, do not skip today.

5. Read Isaiah 14:12-19

A. What was Satan once, and what caused his fall? (12-14)

B. What will one day be his end? (15-19)

6. Read 1 Peter 5:6-11

A. Find four exhortations to live by in the face of evil. Find one in each of verses 6, 7, 8, and 9.

B. What promise can give you hope in verses 10-11, though the enemy brings sorrow?

Thursday: Act III. The Battle for The Heart

Eldredge says, “If you learned about Eden in Sunday School with flannel graphs, you missed something.” How can I show you? Watch this and allow it to bring you into worship of our amazing God who created this world for us, to show us His love, to fight for our hearts.


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

This is the setting for a romance, for God is the Romancer of our souls.

8. How did creation affect the Psalmist in Psalm 8?

And then paradise is lost, for the man and woman are seduced by the betrayer, fall, and are cast out of Eden. But even as they leave, there is a promise from the God of love.

9. Find the promise in Genesis 3:15.

Watch this:


10. Why did Jesus choose to die, and how should this help your heart to go on?

You are part of this Epic, and at this part of the Epic Map, you are here.




10. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find everything you can about our Rescuer.

11. Read Revelation 21:1-5 and find everything you can about the new heaven and earth.




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

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  1. 10. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find everything you can about our Rescuer.

    He is faithful and true. He is just and will judge us. He is mighty and mysterious with His blazing eyes and many crowns. His clothing is reminiscent of his sacrifice. I’m not too sure about the sword coming out of His mouth. I’m thinking these are words in which He separates the chosen and unchosen with the “iron scepter.” Psalm 2:9 talks about an iron rod that will break the nations like pottery. He will rule over everything. I’m also not sure how to
    interpret “…treading the winepress of fury of the wrath of God.” He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

    11. Read Revelation 21:1-5 and find everything you can about the new heaven and earth.

    The new heaven and earth are completely different from the old. There is no sea. Holy Jerusalem will be there and will appear new and clean. Heaven meets earth and God is with us! Once again He will take our pain as His and we will be fresh and new. No death, tears, or agony. He assures us because we can believe in Him.

    “Jesus has overcome, and the grave is overwhelmed.
    The victory is won, He has risen from the grave.”
    “I will rise when he calls my name,
    No more sorrow, no more pain.”

    Chris Tomlin

  2. My take away: this is the perfect study for me this week. Even though I am only about two thirds through the comments, Laura’s from July 10 echo my thoughts.
    I often feel that there’s something wrong with me because I sometimes find my relationships with people more satisfying than my relationship with God. I wonder if we have this never ending, all encompassing, deep deep love from the Father greater than any other love then why don’t I feel it when it is what I want to feel more than anything.
    If I don’t have love, joy and peace in my life then who would believe that I’m a Christian? Am I really a Christian? Nothing in my life right now would make anyone feel drawn to knowing more about Christ.

    1. I am finding my idols very hard to eradicate! Like Pat in the book Silver Linings Playbook, I keep thinking if I do certain things right and look like I’m getting better, then my former friends at work would see this and want to be friends with me again. This is just trying to use God, therapy and drugs to try to keep my idol on the pedestal. I need prayer!

      1. Dawn–well, this is a God-moment for me. We are in the middle of packing and I stopped to get online–you had come to mind, and I was just planning to log on to the blog and let you know I was praying for you. Then I see your 2 posts here. Praying He overwhelms you with His love for you today

        1. He did, Elizabeth 🙂

      2. Dawn,

        My thoughts are nearly identical to yours! When I started Dee’s book, I thought my idols would need eradicating one time and one time only. They are like leeches that keep coming back for more! How many times will I have to denounce them before they are gone for good? I keep thinking it is going to get easier but it’s still so hard. So hard.

        “I keep thinking if I do certain things right and look like I’m getting better, then my former friends at work would see this and want to be friends with me again. This is just trying to use God, therapy and drugs to try to keep my idol on the pedestal.” Oh my gosh, can I relate! I’ve tried to “manage” my idols instead of destroy them and hope that God will allow them to remain in my life.

        One thing that has really helped me is identifying my triggers (when I feel bad fruit nearing the surface) and avoiding them like the plague. What situations cause your idols to resuscitate themselves? Avoid these situations! I can only give you advice that has worked for me. In the past, I used to think I had to intentionally place myself in situations where I was triggered in order to prove to myself that I could overcome them. Now I flee at the first sight of temptation. This has meant that, at least for the moment, I have to cut certain people out of my life because they trigger me to want to exalt my idols.

        “If I don’t have love, joy and peace in my life then who would believe that I’m a Christian? Am I really a Christian? Nothing in my life right now would make anyone feel drawn to knowing more about Christ.” Again, I can relate on such a gut-wrenching level! But, I think we need to stop working backwards. Especially when we are weak, we shouldn’t try to measure our fruit. Jesus says we can’t bare fruit unless we remain in Him (John 15:4). I think it’s time for us to rest in His work. Fruit can take time to grow but trust that He will produce it in and through you. He’s faithful. Honestly, the authenticity and humility in your post makes me want to know Christ more. That’s all I really need in a community of people. Just honesty, authenticity, and humility about our struggles.

        I will pray!

        1. One more thing I forgot to mention. This idea that human relationships can feel more satisfying…

          Probably my biggest take-away from this blog so far is that, while human relationships (or an idol) can feel so good in the moment, it is ALWAYS fleeting. Always temporary. Start to ponder this as you are in the grips of your idol. Even when you are enjoying its highs, a fear will creep in that says, “This is not always going to be here.” People die. People move. They change like the shifting sands. They can never satisfy for an extended period of time. This is the exact opposite of Jesus, who is constant, never changing. We may not feel satisfaction at all times with Him, but there is no fear that what you are building your life on will one day disappear. He’s not going anywhere.

        2. Laura,
          You gave some really good answers to Dawn about our idols…and in this, you put a name on something that I always have this vague sense of: “Even when you are enjoying its highs, a fear will creep in that says, “This is not always going to be here.” People die. People move. They change like the shifting sands. They can never satisfy for an extended period of time.” That’s it – when I’m with my family, especially my parents, I do have this vague sense of fear…fear of them one day leaving me, that they will not always be here. I think Dee also put it well when she talked about her two friends visiting her and realized that as much as she enjoys their companionship, she must not cling to this life…it is fleeting.

    2. Thank you so so much Laura and Elizabeth. I covet your prayers and pray for you also. Laura, thanks for being honest with your struggles, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one (and I will be more diligent in avoiding my triggers, like you I was hoping to face them head on to beat them, but I’ve found it only leads to confusion and anxiety)

      1. Dawn,
        I’m late jumping in but have read the discussion between you and Laura. I can so relate to your first post about having a hard time feeling the love of God for me…it’s there, so why can’t I feel it? And why do I find relationships with people more satisfying? I’ve also wondered if there’s something “wrong” with me in that why can’t I seem to get the living like a Christian “right”? I find that joy and peace are so elusive for me…so who would believe I’m a Christian? Thanks for being honest, Dawn, about your struggles…I continue to pray for you, too.

        1. The enemy tries to convince us that we are the only one struggling with joy and peace. So much of the battle is won by just talking about it. What a relief we have this place!

  3. Wouldn’t you know it, Nancy Leigh Demoss is once again following me! Here is an excellent podcast from Elisabeth Elliot about our relationship with God. It was a podcast from June 28 and at the end they say the next few days are going to be on relationships!


    A disclaimer however; she does talk about losing loved ones, so listeners beware.

    So appropriate for our study this week! Enjoy 🙂

  4. All you ladies have such great insights! What a refreshment to read your answers and such.

    5. Satan was an angel who wanted to lift himself above God. His punishment was/is to be sent to the depths of Sheol. Pride was his downfall.

    6. A. 1 Peter 5:6-11 states that humility under the headship of God, casting our anxieties under Him, being sober minded -being watchful, resist the devil by standing firm in our faith.

    Something I have noticed as a trend in churches is not enough Christians being passionate about His Word and taking the time to be diligently reading His Word. If you don’t know His Word how can you stand firm against the devils schemes? The devil doesn’t attack us outright. It is always subtle. Twisting the Words of God and making the twisted logic seem viable. The only way to defend is to know His Word inside and out and the only way to do that is to diligently study His Word.

    B. 10-11 says that after we have been through sufferings for Christ He will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish us. His dominion is forever. So very comforting! He knows the very day we will be restored completely and He restores and strengthens us now and forevermore. What a great and awesome God!

  5. 10. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find everything you can about our Rescuer.
    He is riding on a white horse; His name is “Faithful and True”; He is a fair judge; He wages righteous war; His eyes are “like flames of fire”; He wears multiple crowns; the robe He wears is “dipped in blood”; His title is “the Word of God”; heaven’s army follows Him on white horses; “a sharp sword” comes from his mouth “to strike down the nations” which “He will rule with an iron rod”; He is responsible for releasing the “fierce wrath of God”; He is “King of all kings and Lord of all lords”.

    11. Read Revelation 21:1-5 and find everything you can about the new heaven and earth.
    All of the “old” heaven and earth will be displaced by the “new”; the sea will be nonexistent. The “new Jerusalem” will come down “from God out of heaven”; God will live among His people (“God Himself will be with them”); God will provide full restoration (“there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain”…”I am making everything new”).

    12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    My take-a-way is gratitude for the humility, grace and support I witness in my fellow bible study bloggers. There is support of those going through difficult life challenges, in-depth, insightful discussions, sharing of pertinent resources (i.e., youtube videos, podcasts, articles), etc. to say nothing of Dee’s time and energy in providing the leadership and forum for the bible study blog…my heart swells with gratitude.

    By the way, I received Volume 3 of “Read~Aloud Bible Stories”…it is wonderful…I’m so glad that it was suggested.

    Dee, I wanted to share with you that I am reading “The God of All Comfort”. Last evening I was reading Chapter 8, “I Know My Redeemer Lives”. In this chapter you encourage when another is hurting to practice “shiva”…”being there” for another without incessant chatter, offering “pat answers” or quick fixes, etc. This morning my daughter released her baby girl for visitation with her father. It is very difficult for a mother not to have access to her little itsy-bitsey and my daughter was so sad. This morning I practiced “shiva”…I hugged her and listened only…I didn’t give any of those “look on the brightside” speeches or anything else, I was quiet and attentive to her. I can’t communicate in words how blessed and grateful I am to have been to that part of your book last night, to be able to read that information as such a opportune time…I can only praise the Lord for your being inspired to write it and thank Him for the “kiss”.

    1. Nanci–this last paragraph–imagining how painful that was for you and your daughter–but how Dee’s book, God of All Comfort (one of my all time favorites!) ministered to you, how God used it to alter your response and how you loved your daughter–this is beautiful. Praying for your daughter today.

      1. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  6. This is from Scotty Smith today “A Prayer for Bringing Heavy-laden Hearts to Jesus”–it seemed timely and wanted to share.
    The entire piece is here: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/scottysmith/2013/07/13/a-prayer-for-bringing-heavy-laden-hearts-to-jesus/

    “The burden and confusion I’m feeling are clearly connected to old wounds with lingering pain. Sometimes fresh hurts become like a magnifying glass or a megaphone by which you remind us of unfinished business in our souls. Like a broken bone that wasn’t set properly, broken hearts that weren’t healed the first time are susceptible to reoccurring pain. I praise you that you despise neither our tears nor our tares—our brokenness nor our weakness.

    Lord Jesus, we need you. Flood our hearts with your peace. Kiss our souls with the assurance that you are enough. Confirm the promise that we can—that I can, do all things through you, as you give us strength. Give us the sufficient grace you have pledged, the new mercies and abiding presence—living water in the wilderness; blooming flowers in the dessert; your unspeakable joy in the speak-able messes.”

  7. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?

    I have plenty of take-aways (despite the fact that I had to type in my info again to make this post!)

    There is the reminder of how amazing God is and how He created all of the universe, and names all the stars, and even has a plan for ME!! The vastness of God has surprised mankind even before there was all the knowledge that we now have about how the world is made and functions as God put it into place. The Psalmist wondered that God even considered man. Considered?!! God did so much more than just “considering” us — he had a plan to redeem us from the start, and Jesus Christ carried out that plan to perfection — giving everything!! Yet, knowing all of this, we still seem to have anxiety in a myriad of ways. I am taking away the four exhortations from I Peter 5: Humble yourselves…under God’s mighty hand; cast all your anxiety upon Him; be self-controlled and alert (meaning be aware of evil’s temptations); resist the devil and remain firm in the faith. Oh my, oh my, it is so easy to say that, but it is a full-time job to do it, and so far I have not given it my full-time attention. I am resolving not to be like the photo of the girl early in the week who is “homesick” to feel like a true citizen of heaven. Instead I am going to try to cast my anxieties on Him and keep a firm grip on God’s promises, right down to those made in Revelation. The result should be freedom and joy!!

  8. 10. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find everything you can about our Rescuer.
    My Rescuer, Faithful and True, rides the White Horse. He is a righteous judge and wars against my enemy. His eyes are like a flaming fire. He is crowned with many crowns. He is clothed in the saving blood of grace. He is The Word. He leads the armies of heaven. He holds a sword in His mouth, He rules the nations with an iron rod. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords!!

    11. Read Revelation 21:1-5 and find everything you can about the new heaven and earth.
    All things will be made new, redeemed. Rescued as a Bride before her Maker. We will dwell with God, and He will wipe away every tear. Death will never come. Absence of mourning, crying, pain. All the old, all the ashes of our past, all will be washed away. Beauty. We will finally fully live as who we are—His Beauty.

  9. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    Dee said that we find the peace that calms our anxieties, by seeing the bigger picture, the bigger Story, by realizing we are citizens of heaven. I have loved this week’s post. I needed this reminder of the majesty found all around me in creation. On the one hand, I realize I am one part of a much grander story—that life is not about me, is is all about His Story. An eternal perspective shrinks my concerns of today—the relational trials I am dealing with, physical struggles—they do become smaller in light of Eternity. And at the same time, I am reminded of how significant I am to Him, as His creation. He cares intimately, uniquely, for me.

    I had never been a “bird person” but in the last few years, God has changed that in me, and I love to watch the birds surround our feeder on the front porch. This morning I was getting dressed upstairs and I saw a little one out of the corner of my eye, right outside my window. I started to move on, but then went back to the window. This post had moved my heart—I wanted to take in what He has made—I didn’t want to rush by, every time. Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

    So I watched this little thing—and then I went on. But when I went outside about an hour later, I saw a little bird, dead, on our porch. It must have crashed in our window. It wasn’t likely the same one, but I felt sad for this little bird—and then my husband reminded me of Matthew 10:29 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” I don’t know, I was just overwhelmed at these truths. He loves so deep, I can never imagine. He cares for the smallest of birds—and even they are never, ever out of His realm of “care”. If this tiny bird cannot die without His allowing—I can be reminded, that nothing in my life ever surprises Him. He is never caught off guard. He is never too busy to notice. He is never too preoccupied, or uninterested. His is Creator-God, and Lord of all—and I am HIS BELOVED. Just literally a breath-taking truth to me.

    1. Elizabeth, Hallelujah-loved this: “I realize I am one part of a much grander story—that life is not about me, is is all about His Story. An eternal perspective shrinks my concerns of today—the relational trials I am dealing with, physical struggles—they do become smaller in light of Eternity. And at the same time, I am reminded of how significant I am to Him, as His creation. He cares intimately, uniquely, for me.”

  10. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    This was a great reminder of God’s providence for us all. I get caught up in daily life and forget how important it is to remember Eternity is where I will live. The time here is so much smaller. We recently returned from a trip to Acadia National Park in Maine….what a majestic gift from God….His beauty surrounds us.
    As I age I find it easier to enjoy the moment, have been working on staying “in the moment.” Too much of the time I am thinking forward too far or backwards too far. So as I conclude, I thank God for the beautiful summer afternoon, the green trees and nature that surrounds me as I sit on my deck, my husband grilling pork chops for our dinner and the ability to enjoy it all.

  11. 12. When i think about my take-a-way I want to say: Hallelujah! The end is the beginning!
    I finished Epic yesterday. How romantic the writing of both John and Stacie Eldridge. The book helped me to see the romance of my story as I take part in God’s story. Psalm 8 helped me to see the God’s love toward me in creation. Jesus’ love and sacrifice brought me into God’s story. Then to read of my Lord coming for me in Revelation, bringing me to life with God in the new Jerusalem. It is glorious to think about!

    1. Anne, Amazing isn’t He?! I love how God is reminding us together these beautiful truths this week-I just had an amazing time with my step daughter who is here with us this weekend, walking around the Plaza-God came and oh..we talked about some of this and it ended up in sweet fellowship!

      1. Rebecca, I’m so happy about that sweet fellowship. God is so sweet in our relationships. I pray that The Lord will nurture the seeds sown into a great harvest in her life.

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

    The first time I watched this video, I had thoughts like all of creation just SHOUTS the majesty of God – how could anyone miss it? The enormity, the grandeur, the awesomeness of our God. The second time I watched it, I imagined Jesus taking my hand and showing me all these wonderful, beautiful things. I thought of how a man will pick out a beautiful piece of jewelry for the woman he loves, and as she opens the lid of the box, he enjoys seeing the delight on her face. Creation is like that beautiful, prized jewel…it is meant to romance our souls, to delight us, to make us respond to Him with love and appreciation. I imagine He loves to see the delight on our faces.

    8. How did creation affect the psalmist in Psalm 8?

    The psalmist “enters into the dance” with his Creator. I see the psalmist’s heart filled with wonder at the majesty and glory of God…he ponders the stars and imagines the fingers of God setting them into their places. Then, it dawns on him that this same God who made all this loves him and cares for him. I imagine his eyes filled with tears at the thought and that it resonated deep within his heart.

  13. 9. Find the promise in Genesis 3:15

    Jesus was “bruised” by the crucifixion but He crushed the enemy at the Cross.
    “He (the woman’s offspring) will crush your head, and you will strike his heel”.

    10. Why did Jesus choose to die, and how should this help your heart to go on?

    This week’s post is helping me see the big picture. The moment that Adam and Eve fell, God wasted no time in putting His rescue plan into action. I see a Heavenly Father determined to bring His children home. I see a Heavenly Hero, Jesus, coming to rescue His bride. Jesus died for me, to rescue me from the clutches of Satan who had me in his death grip. Jesus fought for me and He won. When my heart is sinking with cares, disappointments, and despair, I need to remember – I have a Hero who is passionate about me.

    10. Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find everything you can about our Rescuer.

    Our Rescuer is called Faithful and True. He judges justly and when He returns, it is to make war. (v.11)
    His eyes are like blazing fire and on His head are many crowns. He has a mysterious name written on Himself. (v. 12)
    He wears a robe dipped in blood and His name is the Word of God. (v.13)
    Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. (v. 15)

  14. 11. Read Revelation 21:1-5 and find everything you can about the new heaven and earth.

    There is no longer any sea. There will be a new Jerusalem-the Holy City-and it will be as beautiful as a bride dressed for her husband. God will live with us. He will wipe away every tear. There will be no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. Jesus is making everything new. It’s really hard to imagine all this but it’s wonderful!

    12. What is your take-away and why?

    Throughout this study I’ve started at the top and scrolled down, going through each “act” of the story. I am getting a “big picture” and a better understanding of my (and all of our)journey here. I like to start at the beginning and imagine the Father, Son, and Spirit enjoying and loving each other in that eternal dance, and God desiring to include me in it.
    He made this earth and people and me…but evil did enter in. The enemy doesn’t want me to live in the light. There is a continual spiritual battle going on – a battle for my heart, for my affections. I now look at Creation as an enormous way God is wooing us and then, Jesus gave the ultimate sacrifice to win our hearts. I can look forward to the final act where God’s Kingdom is restored. I like all of this because I can see where I came from, where I am and where I’m going!

  15. oops, I posted in the wrong week :/

  16. Take-a-ways:

    Thankful to realize the difference between having peace with God and having the peace of God. Also very thankful to know I have the resources to overcome anxiety. He has equipped me, I just need to use my resources!

    Loved the part of the video where we are reminded He already wrote the end of the story . Just keeping this notion in mind reduces anxiety.

    I want to be more mindful of the enemy and be more alert as 1 Peter mentions the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Continue to cast anxiety on Him, be alert, have self-control, and stand firm in my faith. In 1Peter It does not say IF we suffer, but AFTER we suffer He will restore us. We are guaranteed to have have pain and suffering but I’ve been encouraged to be strong, firm, and steadfast because we WILL be restored.

    Reading the verses in Rev makes my heart so happy!

    He is called Faithful and True
    King of Kings and Lord of Lords is written on His Robe
    He will dwell and live with us!
    No more tears death or pain for the old order of things will pass away!