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THE LORD LOOKS DOWN FROM HEAVEN TO SEE IF ANY SEEK AFTER GOD (PSALM 14: PART 2)

MEN SUPPRESS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE CREATOR,

THOUGH HIS INVISIBLE ATTRIBUTES CAN BE SEEN FROM

THE NEWBORN BABY

Ollar Photography
Ollar Photography

TO THE SWEEP OF THE GRAND CANYON

grandcanyonTim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control. It has been illuminating to me to see the reason behind disbelief. While it is true that if you have been fed lies, you need evidence to refute them, it is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe, for that will help you not only with those whom you love who resist God, but with your own heart, whose tendency is also to resist in order to be in control. Tim Conway said:

Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.

Lent is  a season of repentance, leading us to the cross and the resurrection, so we must indeed apply Psalm 14, not only to the outspoken fools of our world, but to our own hearts. When Paul quotes Psalm 14 in Romans, it is directed toward us.

May we consider how we have belittled God, how we have not wanted Him, how we have not trusted Him, and how we have not made Him the center of our lives.

repentancewatching-sunrise
May we die to self that His glorious life might rise in us.

Sunday Icebreakers

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

2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.

3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)

 

Songs: This Lent we’ve been endeavoring to follow Bonhoeffer’s advice of preparing our hearts each morning with song, then going to the Word, and then praying the Word.

In the optional sermon on Psalm 14, Tim Keller says that fools in their arrogance do not know they are fools, but a child of God realizes he is a fool without God. He is desperate therefore for Him. This brought two songs to mind:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d2sdeBWZ8bs

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

Monday/Tuesday

5. When Psalm 14 talks about the fool, it uses the Hebrew word “nabal.” Abigail was married to a man who typified the kind of fool Psalm 14 addresses, and his name actually was Nabal. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-13 and find how Nabal suppressed the truth in order to do what he wanted to do.

6. Consider — how do you tend to suppress the truth at times and why is this foolish? If God shows you, let this lead you into a prayer of repentance.

7. Read Psalm 14:2-3 and then see how it is quoted in Romans 3:9-11. Who is Paul talking about here? How does this speak to you?

Wednesday

8. Read Psalm 14:4. In the sermon you will hear from Dick Lucas, he lists those like Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini who devoured God’s people. If you listened to the atheisit’s song, Imagine, last week, how does verse 4 and these historical examples refute the lie of Imagine?

9. Read Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of verses 5-7:

Night is coming for them, and nightmares, for God takes the side of victims.
Do you think you can mess with the dreams of the poor? You can’t, for God makes their dreams come true.

Is there anyone around to save Israel? Yes. God is around; God turns life around.

Turned-around Jacob skips rope, turned-around Israel sings laughter.

10. Psalm 53 is nearly identical to Psalm 14. Read it. I have learned that God uses repetition when things are important. Why do you think these thoughts are so important to Him?

11. Praying the Psalm

A. Pray for your own heart, that you would not think like the fool. Pray for those you love.

B. Thank God that He is takes the side of victims and one day will do a great reversal.

Thursday-Friday

Sermon

I’m excited to share a sermon of Dick Lucas with you this week. If you have listened to Tim Keller for long, you know he frequently mentions Dick Lucas as a mentor. Download and listen: LINK

12. Share your notes and observations.

Optional Sermon for 2.50 from Tim Keller: LINK

13. Share notes if you listened.

Saturday

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

Leave a Comment

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338 comments

  1. Good morning!  I just finished watching Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace on YouTube (thanks Marie and Renee for the suggestion)…if you search YouTube for the movie, it should come up as an option…and it is free…:)  

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

    This:

    Tim Conway said: Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.

    This is the battle I know I have within that is why it sticks out-and strangely it is like refreshing water to hear it for it humbles me yet gives me confidence because it reminds me I am nothing without Him. I need Him and because of the cross and the resurrection I am His. How can I look down on anyone whether it be the atheist or other believers who struggle with not putting him as the center for I struggle with them and I can’t claim victory because He won for me. 
     
     
    2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.

    Oh my, just one??? 🙂 in not extending Grace to a loved one. This person is totally blind in these areas despite wise counsel from me and others and continues down this path with an entrepreneurship idea. Long story but pray for me. I need to relinquish control again and trust God with this. And I must add that I need to keep my gaze on Him..for what am I without Him???
     
    3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)
     
    Many things stood out to me, but for now this is what stood out to me in Agent of Grace: Bonhoeffer’s “Who am I”-when he quoted it in prison:
     

    Who Am I? by Deitrich Bonhoeffer

    Who am I? They often tell me. I stepped from my cell’s confinement Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, Like a Squire from his country house. Who am I? They often tell me. I used to speak to my warders Freely and friendly and clearly,As thought it were mine to command. Who am I? They also tell me. I bore the days of misfortune Equably, smilingly, proudly,like one accustomed to win. Am I then really that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself?Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,Tossing in expectations of great events,Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making, Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all. Who am I? This or the Other? Am I one person today and tomorrow another?Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?Or is something within me still like a beaten army Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine! 

    1. Rebecca, in Keller’s “Encounters with Jesus” your #1 is the premise Keller makes in Chapter 2 regarding insiders (religious elite…Nicodemus) and outsiders (morally substandard…woman at the well)…we are all in the same boat, i.e., we are all sinners in need of Jesus’ rescuing us; it is all grace.  There is a YouTube video of Keller’s talk to Oxford students that is the basis of Chapter 2… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk8z1OMUg-c 

      1. Nanci, love this and your life shows you get this..like iron sharpens iron you teach me much. Thanks for the Keller video..and I haven’t read Keller’s Encounters with Jesus yet. 🙂

      2. Nanci,  Thanks for sharing link.  Will check it out.  Any time someone uses the phrase “it is all grace,” I pay attention 🙂
         

      3. I just read Psalm 14: 1, and the commentary from the Gospel Transformation Bible.  One comment stood out to me (“An atheist is a ‘fool’ because he acts contrary to true understanding.”) because of a short video I watched last night.  Ravi Zaccharias discussed a recording in which Richard Dawkins was criticizing people who call themselves Christians but couldn’t provide the names of the Gospels, etc.  Then Dawkins was asked to provide the full title of something he said he knew (The full title of the Origin of Species).  Not only could he not remember it, but he called on/said  “God” while trying to think of it!
        I’m thinking about this in the context of what Dee wrote in the intro.   So helpful in application to my own heart — that it doesn’t wish to believe.  This also seems like the flip side of what Pascal said about evangelism, making the gospel so attractive that people wish it is true.   There’s a connection here, but I haven’t  connected all the dots yet 🙂  

      4. Thanks for sharing this Nanci.

    2. Love your insightful answers and am praying that the Lord would help you to temper truth with grace in dealing with that  individual you mentioned in answer two and help you to continue to relinquish control to Him. (I’m pretty sure He’s with us on that one!) 🙂  (oh how I need to do that as well!)

    3. Rebecca, Love this quote also. “..for what am I without Him???”  Reminds me of a Twila Paris song, “What am I without You?”  in the interlude she says, “What am I but a piece of earth, breathing Holy breath?  What am I but a wayward child, given life for certain death?”
      here’s the link to the song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdHBx34ALjU&feature=kp
       

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened.”
     
    What might start out as subtle doubts (unbelief, sin) can eventually darken the mind…this is more than a little scary.  I liken it to pain…one may experience a little discomfort and gets used to it, a little more discomfort and gets used to it, a little pain, a little more…until finally getting to a place where the pain is debilitating…one sees in hindsight all the concessions made to “deal with” the pain and realizes in the grand scheme what the pain (and tolerating it without proper address) has done to living one’s life.  I had arthritic toe joints years ago that started with a little pain which over a period of years eventually affected my mobility.  Realizing how the arthritic joints had so negatively affected my life, I found an orthopedic surgeon who agreed that the best option was to fuse the joints (I had doctored with my regular nurse practitioner and a pediotrist for years to no avail).  Similarly with sin…we may have a little doubt, disbelief, sin and think, ah well, it’s just a little, no big deal, but little, by little, the affect over time and tolerance thereof can be radically negative to one’s heart and soul.  Really, quite a sobering thought.
     
    When I think of the creativity of our Lord/Creator, it boggles my mind…from the smallest components of our universe (i.e., quarks) to immense galaxies…wow~wow~WOW!  And then to take that a step further in the mind boggling…this Lord cares about me…He knows every moment of my life, every hair on head, etc…. He became fully human, suffering brutality and unfathomable pain and suffer to provide for me…to clothe me with His righteousness…INCREDIBLE!
     
    2. Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
    My pattern is a tendency toward self-sufficiency (a mixture of control and approval?)…it isn’t necessarily a conscious thing; it just seems to be second nature for me to extinguish all possibilities prior to going (troubling?) the Lord with my seemingly piddly issues, when the Lord should be the first One I go to for help in discernment and guidance.  I was so inspired by Ernema last week, when she had the issue with one of her students, Ernema turned immediately to the Lord in prayer for guidance and support and asked her blog sisters to do the same. (Thank you, Ernema)  I would appreciate prayer support for my tendency toward self-sufficiency, to move to a tendency (practice and “second nature”) of God-sufficiency at all times and in all places. 
     
    3. Share something from the movie of his life, Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace
    (spoiler alert!!!)  At the end of the movie when the prosecutor tells Bonhoeffer that this is Bonhoeffer’s end and Bonhoeffer responds, “no”…my thoughts were of what great faith this man had…in my mind, Bonhoeffer was saying that this may appear like his end to the unbelieving prosecutor, but in reality was his beginning…WOW!~ 
     

    1. Nanci–so thankful you are feeling better and back with us–always love your rich, rich posts! Especially loved your last paragraph of #1…I felt the “wow” with you as I read. And I relate well to #2 and will pray with you~

    2. Nancy, So loved the arthritis application to what believing the lies over a period of time can do to our souls. And that struck me too at the end of the movie when he said ‘it is just the beginning’..oh.. His life so encouragingly convicts me.

    3. Praying for your #2 Nancy J.  That is an easy tendency to have. 

    4. Praying for you Nanci.   

  4. Good morning all!
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

    Wow–the first line “Men supress the Truth…” followed by such powerful images–I immediately see the foolishness!

    It was really interesting to hear the reasons behind disbelief:
    “they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened…the fool…wishes there were no God… men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control.”

    It reminded me of James 1:14-15 “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.”

    I get Alistair Begg’s blog feed and yesterday he had an article quoting from “The Enemy Within” by Kris Lundgaard: “The first degree relates to the mind—it is dragged away from its duties by the deceit of sin. The second aims at the affections—they are enticed and entangled. The third overcomes the will—the consent of the will is the conception of actual sin. The fourth degree disrupts our way of life as sin is born into it. The fifth is the flesh’s goal, a hardened life of sin, which leads to eternal death.”

    It strikes me that our hearts are created to believe–but the mind is enticed to sin by our own desires…and the slippery slop begins.

    1. Elizabeth-Great comparison with James 1! Goes so well after reading Nancy’s post too..It is truly scary to think about. 

    2. Wow — the “degrees” from The Enemy Within are really helpful.   I know that the order sometimes varies a little bit with me (e.g., second one can happen first), but the list is very good.

      1. Renee–here’s the entire (short) article, (the site is down right now), I thought it was interesting too. http://www.truthforlife.org/blog/anatomy-sins-seduction/

        1. Thanks, Elizabeth!   You could get a job teaching in a seminary — or as a librarian in one 😉    Will check out the article.

        2. Thanks Elizabeth!

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The picture of the Grand Canyon is absolutely breath-taking. It is one of the places that I want to see someday, though it probably won’t happen. Thanks for the lovely picture. And the baby is so delicately peaceful.

  6. 1.  What stands out & why?
    Pics are amazing;  they show me the extent of God’s care and work.And the following:

    Tim Conway: Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.Dee:  May we consider how we have belittled God, how we have not wanted Him, how we have not trusted Him, and how we have not made Him the center of our lives.

    The combination of these two sentences penetrate right down to the core of my rocky heart.  Timing is perfect.
     
    2. Prayer request about repetitive patternFor some time, I’ve missed church more than I have attended.  Various reasons.  I forgot to take a medication yesterday (one that  I NEVER forget because I know the consequences), and I had intended to go to church today, but I’m a mess, probably not smart to drive for several more hours.      I want to re-prioritize my time so that I have some face to face fellowship with believers.  When I miss too often, I become fearful about returning.   And I love the church I belong to.   (Not writing this from a moralist perspective!).   I do want Christ to be the center of my life, and I can tell he is shifting to that place, but it’s not showing up in some outward behaviors yet.
     
     
     
     

    1. Praying that you will so look forward to corporate worship with other Believers that almost nothing could keep you away, Renee!  That is what I miss so much when I do miss a Sunday.  I love joining my heart in praising God with others.  And thank you for your humble heart in sharing this struggle. 

  7. 3.  Bonhoeffer:  I am reading the bio by Metaxas, but also wanted to read something written by Bonhoeffer.  However, I didn’t want to order a book I already owned (and didn’t want to look for books I hadn’t used in 25+ years!).  I ordered “I Want to Live These Days with You, ” a daily devotional.  Here’s part of one that fits well with learning to pray the psalms and with the changes I am experiencing.  Title:  Meditiation

    In meditation it is not necessary for us to try to think and pray in words.  Silent thinking and praying that comes from just listening can often be more beneficial….It is quite enough for the word, as we read and understand it, to penetrate us and live within us.  As the word of the shepherd moved Mary “in her heart” (Luke 2:51), as a person’s word often stays in our minds, lives and works in us, occupies us, unsettles or delights us, without our being able to do anything about it, so in meditation God’s word wants to enter us and remain with us.  It wants to move us and work in us…. From time to time we will notice a great inner barrenness and indifference, a lack of interest and even incapability in meditation.  We must not then get stuck in such experiences.  Above all, we must not let them keep us — especially now — from holding to our meditation time with great patience and faithfulness.”

    One of the reasons this stood us to me is because Elizabeth brought up “in his heart” from Psalm 14:1.   The example of Mary in Luke is the opposite of  the fool in Psalm 14.

    Re: the word moving in hearts (and sorta related to #2 above, a repetitive pattern),  here’s a praise:   I still see many of the same situations that I am tempted to control.  Last week I told a colleague that I was going to pray for her about one of the situations because I couldn’t control it.  She may have thought I was a little nuts, but I did receive an email thanking me for being there for her.   Although the situations aren’t life or death as Bonhoeffer’s were, they are horribly unfair and discouraging.   I am praying that I will learn, through the word of God working in me, what it means to respond in a way that honors HIM and learn to listen and respond to his leading.. 

  8. Renee–out of replies, but you’re far too kind to me–must have missed my confession a few years ago that I was Cliff Notes Queen in high school 😉 I DO like to read…just not very patient..getting better though! But I was thinking the other day about your teaching…do you have any classes online? I would LOVE to hear you!

    1. Ha!  I do have classes online, one sadly in need of updating, and a brand new one that still needs some work (and others that haven’t been taught for awhile).  The next step is to record mini-lectures, but so far, I haven’t done that.  When I first started teaching online, we did know that students didn’t open powerpoint presentations!  So, everything was written or activities designed for specific purposes/assignments.  I might do some intro recordings and some mini-lectures to explain more difficult concepts, but so far, there is no actual teaching to hear!! (The learning management systems are continuously updated, and it’s getting easier to record from within the system now, too).   This semester, I don’t know the material in one of my classes all that well myself 🙁    It takes me a ton of time, because I never fully believe info in textbooks (because at one point, I had a strong enough background that I found a lot of wrong info); I dig pretty deeply, but will get to the point of posting some stuff.  Just not sure when!!

      Based on my teaching experience and the multiple sources Dee uses to prepare, I can tell that she invests a ton of time in preparation.   THANK YOU, DEE!   Plus, this is a public site.   We are required (federal law) to have student postings, discussions on a very secure site.  This means I get to hide, too 😉

  9. quick question:  What does  ‘out of replies’ mean?   I’m guessing that there are some ‘ground rules’  I don’t know about as to how many times a person posts.  And if so……does this one count?  (wink 😉 ) 

    1. Wanda, Look to the right of the date above your post.  I just clicked on “reply” to respond to this.  That keeps the discussion “threaded.”   So, test it out by looking to the right of the date on this reply to you and click reply to open a comment box.    If there were a bunch more posts below, your reply would still end up with the group in the relevant discuss if you used the reply feature.

      1. Wow.  That ‘reply’ button is a game changer 🙂  I had not even noticed it there…duh.. and have been a little frustrated with how ‘jumbled’ I felt trying to address something that was posted previously…..so thanks Renee!  I have a couple other questions about the blog…..I’ll send you a message. 

        1. Wanda–Dee’s daughter Anne did a tutorial for using the blog that is VERY helpful! Look under the “getting started” link, if you haven’t viewed it yet

    2. If we would continue to “reply” to each other, eventually one of the posts would no longer have the “reply” link showing up after the date (e.g., the one in which I told Elizabeth she could teach at a seminary or be a librarian).

      1. Thanks Elizabeth.   I’ll look for the tutorial.
         

  10. LOVING this–oh, I hope this may bless some of you. We sang this at Church this morning–the lyrics got me, straight from Hosea 6. Thought of several of you and prayed for you–
    Hosea
    S. Barnard
    Come let us return
    He has torn us into pieces
    He has injured us
    Come let us return to the Lord
    He will heal us
    He will bandage our wounds
    In just a short time He’ll restore us
    In just a short time He’ll restore His church
    So we might live
    We might live in His presence
    In His presence
    chorus
    Oh that we might know the Lord
    Oh that we might know the Lord
    Oh that we might know the Lord
    Let us press on to know Him
    Let us press hard into Him
    Then as surely as the coming of the dawn
    He will respond

    1. Thanks for sharing that Elizabeth, it’s beautiful.

  11. 2. Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another. 

    I think on repetitive pattern for me is to dwell, over-think an issue. I can’t think of the word I’m looking for—but when there is either a problem with kids or especially a health issue of my own, I can obsess over it—researching for hours…I know there is a balance between doing my part to educate myself to seek help, but also to resist the temptation to try to figure t all out (as if I can!). This Lent, I have made a specific effort to let go of a few key issues surrounding me, and practice trusting. He knows the struggles, He knows the answers! And He is good, He is GOD. I wait. I trust.

    1. Rebecca, praying for you and the kids and your pain?  Are you still having it? I hope not:(

      1. I MEANT ELIZABETH….I AM SORRY!!

  12. 3.  Wow, just watched Bonhoeffer, Agent of Grace as well.  It was so good.  I did not realize the extreme anguish they experienced over discerning right and wrong in such terribly gray circumstances.  “Better for an honest man to tell a lie, than for a liar to tell the truth.”  Reminds me of when the midwives in Egypt lied when asked why they were not putting the Hebrew babies to death (as they had been commanded to) and they said that the Jewish women were “vigorous and give birth before the midwife can get there.”  And the Scripture says that because of that God blessed them and gave them families of their own.  It is easy to see everything as black and white (morally) when never faced with such extreme life and death situations.  I saw the same issues for Corrie Ten Boom and her family (hiding Jewish people in their home.)  I’m glad that it is all clear to God, even when we feel so torn and confused over what to do.  He looks at the heart and sees the heart of the issue.  I’m afraid if our time on this earth goes on long enough we may all be faced with such anguishing moral decisions.

    1. Mary e., that quote really impressed me and your examples are so good. Like the Hebrew midwives …
      I am reading Bonhoeffer’s biography and have been considering his struggles with searching for decisions for his life and the trip to NY to only find that God was closing that door and leading him to return and to serve him in this unusual service. He struggled, but then felt the certainty of God’s call in spite of having to stand alone, and separating himself from the Confessing Church.
      To share my repetitive pattern: Well, unfortunately it is worry and obsessing. I so hate to confess my weakness, sadly.
      It took me a long while to look at some of my weaknesses. What worked for me professionally, as I was in nursing before i retired, was to teach and give advice. The problem solving approach is to gather evidence, assess the problem, and make a plan. However, as I carried it over to my personal life that was to judge and attempt to fix or control others. As the diagnosis of self became apparent, it was a codependency model.
      This is foolishness! It is that subtle way that control comes out. I am praying for God’s guidance and I need to trust Him in every area. My obsession presently is in trying to sell a home and to work out a plan with my husband for our last years…We are going into the 3rd year of waiting for a solution. Thanks for your prayers.

      1. Just prayed for you, Shirley!  For you to see God’s hand of deliverance in your situation.  That He would come to your rescue and deliver you.

  13. 1.  The beauty of God’s creation and how we all start out (as babes) believing in Him because His existence is so obvious!  

  14. 2.  (nothing like answering questions in random order!) 🙂 I have repetitive angst over daily things, like work, where I don’t trust Him but that has actually been getting better lately.  For example, tomorrow I see 6 patients and drive over 50 miles total and each visit can take anywhere from 40minutes to an hour and a half or two hours if they are very complicated.  Normally this is something I would spend my entire weekend in dread of and worrying that I will be out in some scary area of columbus until after dark getting through my visits but time and again God has proven Himself faithful to me in this and other areas of life.  He has protected me and normally the day goes better than I expected.  You would think after the first thousand times of discovering that, the issue would finally be settled in my heart once and for all but sadly I did still feel a tiny bit of angst over Monday during this weekend (I feel worries wanting to rise up in me, but I’m learning to “take it captive” faster.)  So, I still do need prayer over just trusting God, in general, with this and with my entire life.  It doesn’t take major issues (like cancer) to send me on a downward spiral.  It can simply be a car issue, doesn’t take much. 🙁

    1. oh Mary–can I admit I felt a little vicarious angst reading about your Monday?! Sorry, that doesn’t help! I will pray! Are you feeling better emotionally this week? I love having you here–and love the Twila Paris above, she’s one of my long-time favorites

      1. I am doing better this week.  Thanks Elizabeth!  I am really busy right now with teaching a study at church and then the pastor has two different things going on where he asks us to study certain Scriptures for Wednesday night AND for Sunday evenings and then on my own I try to read three chapters a day of Scripture (though sometimes it ends up being one) so I’m not sure I will be fully present here all the time but I intend to keep checking in. 🙂

        1. Mary e,-so so so so so glad you are faithful in your church-oh I am sure He is making such an impact on others through you and your gentle, kind spirit. I do hope you check in here daily if you can. :))

    2. Mary, I had no idea, I will be praying for you.

  15. Factoid of the day:   Last year, during the first week of Lent, this blog had 858 posts !!!

    Question (and the reason I know the number of posts from one week a year ago):  Last year or maybe the year before or the year before or…, Anne posted a song she heard at church (hmmm… now that I think of it, it may have been Good Friday).   I listened to it about a zillion times one spring and just tried searching the blog.  I remember snooping about it, but all the specifics I remember is that it was written by a Catholic priest.   Does anyone remember the song?   I’ll try searching for “Good Friday”…

    1. oh Renee, I love a good research project, but nothing is coming to mind and I need more to go on! I do find that if I google “deebrestin” and other key words I do better pulling up certain posts (especially if I can give google a date range) than I do using the search field on this website…but you’re WAY beyond me in this area! 😉

      1. 🙂     Maybe I’ll remember more!  I did look at a few playlists of Catholic Lent songs on YouTube.  If I am VERY motivated, I might find a back up drive from an old computer.  (and I could check with Anne!)

    2. Renee-love your factoid! :))))) 

    3. Probably eagles wings by Michael Joncas 🙂 I actually dance that one and have a bad video of my doing so. I want to post some of my dance videos on the Facebook private page, however there are elderly people in the background and I don’t know if I should somehow blur their faces. I am not having any luck finding an editing program that will allow me to do that. Do you know of any Renee?

  16. 3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer.
    I have both Cost of Discipleship and the Psalms Prayer Book. I’m taking little nuggets at a time, I do especially love the little Psalm book. In reference to the Psalms, and how they point to Jesus, he says this : “It is common to all of them that they cast every difficulty and agony on God: ‘We can no longer bear it, take it from us and bear it yourself, you alone can handle suffering.’ That is the goal of all of the lamentation Psalms. They pray concerning the one who took upon himself our diseases and bore our infirmities, Jesus Christ. They proclaim Jesus Christ to be the only help in suffering, for in him God is with us.”
     
    I love that he says the goal of the lament is to go to the Cross. A lament is not venting, its not just pouring out my soul—there is a purpose, a goal in the true lament—and that is to bring my broken heart back to the foot of the Cross and be changed, re-made.

    1. SO good!  Thanks, Elizabeth.

    2. Woe!  I love this Elizabeth!

    3. Elizabeth-this post is so important! I hope all of us see what you pulled out of the Psalms book as well as this-“I love that he says the goal of the lament is to go to the Cross. A lament is not venting, its not just pouring out my soul—there is a purpose, a goal in the true lament—and that is to bring my broken heart back to the foot of the Cross and be changed, re-made.”

    4. Thanks for sharing this…that a common theme of the psalms in how they point to Jesus is that they cast every difficulty and agony on God, as in “We can no longer bear it, take it from us and bear it yourself, you alone can handle suffering.” This truly is more than just venting.

  17. If it were not for your grace, Lord, I would have given up or could easily be discouraged in my walk with you. Never a day passes by that I don’t act or think like a fool. Belittling you, though I can rationalize it is not with intent. I go on my day like you are not there. Trusting in my own instincts and education, advice of man and what have you. Let You be my center-I know you will never disappoint. Help me not to resist your control in my life by pausing and listening to your voice before I make a step. Let me see  a lie for what it is and counter it with your truth. Help me stand for you and your truth and to speak it in love. ( student situation this week, my daughter, my sister)
    A repetitive tendency for me that I want prayers for is my tendency to think that I always have to respond to somebody’s need, whether expressed explicitly or implicitly (women can read minds, you know 🙂 LOL). I guess that is the nurse in me 🙂 to some degree. Have been so used to serving that it is almost automatic for me to think of ways to meet a need as soon as I am presented with them. I have bee realizing that 1. yes, God can use me to meet a need 2. There are others that God can use to met that need 3. I am not God therefore I can not be Him to every person who has a need 4. I can point others to God who can meet all of their needs. This can also be the people pleaser in me. I have come a long way in this area but I still am naturally inclined to be this way. Lord, you have been so patient with me, chipping the dross, pruning lovingly where necessary. Some things have been painful but I would not want it any other way. I want to be like your Son and thank you for the Cross.
    Thank you Elizabeth for the thoughts on the book “The Cost of Discipleship. After a day is over, I want to focus on the cross because that is where life’s circumstances take on a holy perspective. There is no room for foolishness or pride when we look at the Cross and see Jesus.
    “I love that he says the goal of the lament is to go to the Cross. A lament is not venting, its not just pouring out my soul—there is a purpose, a goal in the true lament—and that is to bring my broken heart back to the foot of the Cross and be changed, re-made. “

    1. You are such a sweet person Ernema…praying for you and your sister and mom.

      I have a tendency to keep asking forgiveness  for all my sins, when I know they are forgiven and forgotten (until I bring them up again!)  I guess I just can’t forgive myself and can’t understand that Jesus would die that horrible death just for me…when I’m not worth even one tear.   I feel so inadequate and undeserving of his love and grace and forgiveness.  This is my ” repetitive pattern”  🙁

      1. Oh Joyce, I will pray. I am sure all of us can relate, especially me-oh how I need to be reminded of the Gospel daily! 

        What may help is if you can memorize or open your Bible and read Psalm 103 and then speak it to your soul and pray it. This so helps me. If you do this you will see those thoughts flee after a while. :))))))) Love you. Oh and my favorite verse-well all of it is..but when I began memorizing it, “Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion” really stood out-for He knew I needed to massage that in.
        Here is Psalm 103: 1-5
         
        Praise the Lord, my soul;    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.2 Praise the Lord, my soul,    and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins    and heals all your diseases,4 who redeems your life from the pit    and crowns you with love and compassion,5 who satisfies your desires with good things    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
         
        and Psalm 103: 7-12
         
        He made known his ways to Moses,    his deeds to the people of Israel:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,    slow to anger, abounding in love.9 He will not always accuse,    nor will he harbor his anger forever;10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve    or repay us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,    so great is his love for those who fear him;12 as far as the east is from the west,    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

        1. Thank you Rebecca…I do love Psalms 103. When I forget my blessings…I read this Psalms….it does help so much.  Thank you!

          Last night I put your name where I meant Elizabeth…I’m sorry!

      2. Joyce, I’ve heard some sermons recently on Christian radio about forgiveness. One pastor said that if you look through the Bible, it never mentions forgiving yourself…only receiving His forgiveness. I will pray for you, dear Joyce…believe and stand on the sure promises that you are forgiven and wholly, dearly loved. You were so worth it to Jesus that He came, for YOU!

      3. Joyce, here is another verse for you: “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave you all your sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against you and that stood opposed to you; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

        1. Thank you  so much for that, Susan!

    2. Ernema–you have such a soft, tender heart, I am really thankful for you here. I am praying for you today–that you will have peace in releasing these needs around you to Him. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    3. Ernema, I can relate to what you wrote, “I go on my day like you are not there. Trusting in my own instincts and education, advice of man and what have you.” I’m a nurse, too…I can relate to that feeling of wanting to see the need, and get busy fixing it. And also having the motivation of being a people pleaser.

  18.  

    3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer.   I’ve spent a lot of time with The Prayer Book of the Bible this week-end.  From the chapter, ‘Lord, Teach us to Pray’…..The child learns to speak because his father speaks to him.  He learns the speech of his father.  So we learn to speak to God because God has spoken to us.  By means of the speech of the Father in heaven, his children learn to speak with him.  Repeating Go  Wd’s own words after him, we begin to pray to him.   We ought to speak to God and he wants to hear us, not in the false and confused speech of our heart, but in the clear and pure speech which God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ.  This really resonated with Psalm 12:6 from last week…..’the words of the Lord are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times.’  (NASB)  I was pondering how the words of the psalms can be the pure speech that Jesus himself spoke and in one of the following chapters, ‘Who Prays the Psalms?’,  Bonhoeffer spells it out very clearly.  With scriptures in the NT from Acts and Hebrews, he shows how Paul describes Jesus and the Holy Spirit as quoting from the Psalms and teaches that David (a messianic prototype of Christ) foresaw Jesus’ resurrection and spoke of it in the Psalms that he wrote.   Also, when Jesus appeared to his disciples in Jerusalem,  showed them his hands and feet and ate a piece of fish……he clearly said that the words written of him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’   Jesus ties himself intimately with the the Psalter.  When we pray the psalms, we are praying the words of Jesus, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  

    1. ….end of third line above should read…’repeating God’s own……(words after him)’

  19. 2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
     
    Well, since my mom died I am trying to catch up on school (and life). I feel as if I am always behind. Sadly, my bible study and church seem to suffer the most. It’s easy to put God to the side and make it the last thing I do 🙁 I planned a “fun” girls weekend a few weeks back for this past weekend; a massage, an open house at a colleagues, etc. To have the fun I sacrificed going to church and worked instead. I guess I am a little “gun shy” to go to church also. I have received many cards and I know people will be (kindly) asking about me and how I’m doing. I don’t know if I am ready to face all the attention. I have been listening to praise music most everyday, so that is different and good. I suppose if I am asking for prayer, it would be to pray I keep God focused and don’t get sidetracked with other less important activities.
     

    1. Laura, be gentle on yourself…you’re still grieving… losing your mom was and is hard. I have come to love your honesty and just ‘telling it like it is’…funny thing is, I remember I didn’t know quite what to make of you when you first came on the blog:))) I can’t imagine not having your “voice” on here now! Praying for you, Laura.

      1. Thank you for the kind words Susan. The one thing that came out of losing my mom is my brother and sister seem so much more interested in being close to each other. It’s funny, they keep calling me and I don’t know what to think of it (we were never a very close family)! It’s weird! However I do think it has brought my sister enlightenment on going to church and being closer to God which is a good thing. Long story, but she was very hurt by youth group kids as a teenager, and has never been back to church since.
        Yes, I am a “tell it like it is girl.” I’m not good at playing games and trying to figure a person out. I would much rather people just tell how they feel. Once it’s on the table that I can deal with it. Sorry if I managed to put my foot in my mouth sometimes…….

        1. Laura, that is ‘weird’ in a really great way…that they keep calling you! God taking something sad and bringing good out of it for your family! When I said that I didn’t know quite what to make of you when you first came on the blog, I thought I hope you don’t take that the wrong way…it’s hard when you only see typed words and if I were actually with you, I’d have given you a playful elbow to the ribs and then a hug and have a smile on my face:)) to show you how fond I am of you!

    2. Laura, I’ve been praying for you and your family.  Your going through a lot now, with all the people and attention gone…after the funeral….this is the hardest time.  I lost my mom 3 years ago and I was use to seeing her everyday.  After the shock of losing her and all the people went home…the real loneliness set in for her.  Be patient and good to yourself…don’t stress about anything out of the normal now.  Just let God take care of  you…put him first…and he will!

      1. Thank you Joyce. I guess I’m lucky that I’m so busy with my school work so I don’t have time to really think about it, and the numbers of cards that I’ve received is just amazing. You know you never think people really care much about you, but then you receive cards and do realize that maybe they do (or maybe even better yet, you have made some sort of impact spiritually on their life). So funny, because I’ve never been much of a card person. In fact my husband and I have a big joke about it……too much money and they just get thrown away. In this last six months I’ve received more cards from so many people for breast cancer and for my mother’s passing I just can’t imagine it! I’m much better at sending cards to others now.

  20. 3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)
    I ordered one of the books on half.com, and all seemed well. Soon after I got a response that my money was being returned because they actually didn’t have the book. Mom died and I never got back to getting a book. I think I will watch the movie now.

  21. 4. What notes to you have from the above?
     
    Men (try to) suppress what can be known about God. It is plain to them because God has shown it to them–God has made a distinct effort to reveal Himself to man. The eyeball could not work if you took any part away, but man wants to say it “evolved”—that is a fool. What has God done to show man who He is? His nature and divine power have been revealed since the creation of the world. (Rom. 1:20)Some with the highest IQ’s and intellect, become fools when they attribute creation to evolution or aliens. They will not believe God because they hate God. Romans 8:7-“For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.”Man will say the worst crime is murder—because there whole life is centered around themselves. But Paul says that when sin is defined, the heart of the matter is the glory of God. Men have exchanged the glory.
     
    Romans1: 25 “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”
     
    Romans 1:28 “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”Sin is about belittling God. Not trusting Him, not wanting Him, not having Him at the center of our lives. Creation shows us glory that makes man without excuse.

  22. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    “Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control..”
     
    “It is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe..”
     
    “Tim Conway said: Sin is about belittling God: not wanting Him, not trusting Him, and not making Him the center of our lives.”
     
    As I read these, I, too, was illuminated as to the kind of thinking behind unbelief. The issue of control, of wanting to be our own ‘god’. It made me think of the effects of the Fall…God made us, designed us, to be creative, useful, using the intellect and the gifts/talents He has given us, resourceful…I almost wanted to type “independent”…see, that it such the mindset of mankind (and me) – to be strong, independent, self-sufficient. Yet He didn’t endow us with all these capabilities so that we could get along without Him – yet since sin entered the world, that is what we have done; take God’s gifts and run with them, leaving Him behind. How many people think that “God helps those who help themselves” is a verse in the Bible? Sin brought in this independent, self-sufficient, stubborn streak in our nature. Dependency is seen as weakness. At the core is a healthy does of pride.
     
    I need to consider how I have belittled God, how I have not wanted Him, how I have not trusted Him, and how I have not made Him the center of my life.

  23. 2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
     
    I struggle the most with really trusting God in the area of my marriage and that He can and will meet my needs, the deepest longings of my heart. I get scared and discouraged when I think my circumstances may never change. I struggle with really wanting Him over turning to a cheap, temporary substitute…it can be having a romantic daydream in which I am cherished and loved. Or, I might have a “date” with a sweet dessert which I turn to for comfort. That is why the other night I was pondering the meaning of Psalm 1 about the tree and Keller’s sermon about during trials, putting your roots down even deeper into Him.
     
    3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer.
     
    I’m not reading anything from Bonhoeffer. Instead, I am reading Dee’s book Idol Lies, and re-listening to some of Keller’s sermons on idolatry, like “How Sin Makes Us Addicts”. The imagery of my soul being like dark, churning waters helps me to visualize those dangerous “stones”-idols, lurking beneath the surface. While I can’t see them, what I do see is the bad fruit that comes from them. I still struggle with the idol of approval and comfort/security.
     
     

    1. praying for you dear Susan–you remain so faithful in such a dry, weary place–I can’t begin to imagine how hard it truly is. You know you have always reminded me of the Psalm 1 tree–” his delight is in the law of the Lord,  and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree  planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,  and its leaf does not wither.” I know you see so much of your failures and brokenness–but we see faithfully turning back to Him over and over, day by day–and that is beautiful

    2. Susan, I’m praying for you and your marriage….I’m so sorry.

      Loved that Elizabeth….for Susan.

      Last night I meant you…Elizabeth…are you having that pain again? Praying for you too.

  24. From My Utmost for His Highest:  http://utmost.org/decreasing-for-his-purpose/
    Timely and freeing for a fixer

    1. ” You may often have to watch Jesus Christ wreck a life before He saves it.” Matthew 10:34

      Wow, Renee..that was so good and very true…thanks.

  25. Good morning, Everyone!      I am back — sort of.   I am on my new computer, and can do the basics, but I have some bugs to work out yet.   My older daughter, Karen, is such a God-send!     She went shopping with me last Thursday to purchase the new computer, and then she spent all of her Sunday afternoon getting it set up for me.    Last night after she had left I ran into a few problems, such as the volume is so low on my speakers, despite my having cranked them up to 100%.  Obviously there is another set of controls somewhere that I am unaware of.  When she comes back out later this week to add more software, she can address these minor issues.     I missed everyone — but I wasn’t gone too long (only from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning).   I expected far worse!    Praise God that it went as smoothly as it did!   I have read most of the comments on the blog, and I will try to get with the program very soon.  

    1. Great to have you back, Deanna!

    2. Deanna, aren’t kids wonderful ?!    I wouldn’t know anything about a computer if it weren’t for my kids!

  26. Good morning, Everyone!    I am back — sort of.   I am on my new computer, and I can do the basics, but I have a few bugs to iron out.   The volume is too low on my speakers, even though I have it cranked up to 100%.   There has to be another set of controls of which I am unaware.  My older daughter, Karen, is such a God-send.   She went shopping with me on Thursday to purchase the computer, and she spent all of her Sunday afternoon setting it up for me.     
     
    I hope I don’t have problems on this blog.  I typed this comment once and when I tried to edit it, it disappeared from the blog.    So I am retyping it by memory.  
     
    I missed everyone while I was gone, but I was not away as long as I feared it might be.    Thanks to everyone for the parting remarks and prayers! I read quite a bit of Bonhoeffer while I was off line.  I will try to get with the program here on the blog very soon (assuming I don’t have any more disappearing comments!)

    1. Nice to have you back on a Monday morning, Deanna!   Cheers to your daughter for her help!

  27. Life surely can throw us when we least expect it.  I routinely experience the Sunday blues at the end of the day.  Yesterday was really a nice exception.  I had left church in the morning, feeling fulfilled (does not often happen.  a struggle. a long story.)  I had had a wonderful afternoon visiting a museum with a friend.  I had spent a long time doing the Bible study and extra reading.  Perfect Sunday.  Then after I went to bed, some deep personal pain and loss re-surfaced and I spent the next hour crying and went back to reading.  I actually scrolled down the blog and read some previous teaching which is helping me to understand more of how to pray the psalms.  Couldn’t sleep and was up reading and writing some prayers until 2:15 am or so.  (so grateful I didn’t have to work this morning).  This morning, Michael Card’s words gave me such a solid foundation to begin another week.   ” So surrender the hunger to say you must know.  Have the courage to say, ‘I believe’.”  Thank you, Lord, for giving the Church, this amazing lyricist with such a deep heart for your truth.  
     
    Seems I’ve imagined Him all of my lifeAs the wisest of all of mankindBut if God’s Holy wisdom is foolish to menHe must have seemed out of His mindFor even His family said He was madAnd the priests said a demon’s to blameBut God in the form of this angry young manCould not have seemed perfectly saneChorusWhen we in our foolishness thought we were wiseHe played the fool and He opened our eyesWhen we in our weakness believed we were strongHe became helpless to show we were wrongAnd so we follow God’s own foolFor only the foolish can tell-Believe the unbelievableAnd come be a fool as wellSo come lose your life for a carpenter’s sonFor a madman who died for a dreamAnd you’ll have the faith His first followers hadAnd you’ll feel the weight of the beamSo surrender the hunger to say you must knowHave the courage to say I believeFor the power of paradox opens your eyesAnd blinds those who say they can seeChorusSo we follow God’s own FoolFor only the foolish can tellBelieve the unbelievable, And come be a fool as well

    1. I went back and edited with punctuation, the lyrics from God’s Own Fool by Micahel Card, in the above comment.  Not sure why it copied as it did…when I copy/pasted…..nor why my revisions didn’t stick…..But the words are very worthy of pondering.    ….So surrender the hunger to say you must know.  Have the courage to say, ‘I believe’.  For the power of paradox opens your eyes and blinds those who say they can see. ….  

    2. Oh Wanda! I, too, was touched by the Michael Card song! Thank you for finding the words. I had never heard of him before; another part of Dee’s blog I enjoy! She is always bringing new people to me 🙂 I don’t know if was the peppy tune or the carefree words, “come be a fool….,” but I have listened to it several times in the past 24 hours. 
       
      Sorry to to hear you were down.  I am actually struggling to be well this week so far. I really never get sick (usually very healthy), but now that I have fewer lymph nodes due to cancer surgery I wonder if I am more susceptible.  Bummer, as I have to lecture in one class today and my throat is raw. Never up at this time either! Not getting enough sleep and rest; no time to fit it all in these days. When I had to travel for my mom’s funeral I missed a week of school (I’m a teacher) and catching up has been a bear. Prayers for your emotional and for my physical health. Have a great day Wanda!

      1. Laura, praying right now for you to be able to get through that lecture with your sore throat, and that there will be time made for you to rest!

      2. Laura….I hope you are doing better.  Or making it through your day and can sleep well tonight.   I am so sorry to hear you are fighting cancer.  Take care of yourself and take the time you need to get through the sickness you’re fighting.   Thanks for your concern.  I will pray for your day and week.  (I don’t know if you saw on the blog in another place…..but the ‘pain and loss’ that re-surfaced for me on Sunday night, was mostly regarding a loss of self image due to some physical losses and ongoing struggles.  It is something that I need to continually give to the Lord and haven’t been doing so well, as of late.  Some of it is because I had breast cancer 9 years ago and lost a breast.  It was caught early and wasn’t invasive, so I didn’t do chemo.)  I SO hope that you are experiencing healing on every level  as you journey on.  It is not an easy road and there is so much more to it than those on the outside can see.  I am so grateful for a living God who walks with us.

      3. How do I suppress the truth?    I know that there are certain sins that I just have a hard time accepting as sin, so I guess what I really do is suppress the truth about them.   I think I ‘stretch’ the limits sometimes, because it’s easier to accept sinful behavior  (in others especially) than have to stand opposed to it…..especially when it involves people you are close to.  It’s that constant balance of truth and grace…..and I do struggle with making sure my interpretations are scripturally sound.   As regards my own life, one way I suppress truth is by neglecting things I should be doing…..like praying fervently (not just sporadically) and actually using words to share the gospel at times  (very rare for me).  There must be many more ways I suppress God’s truth, but I have probably suppressed it deeply enough that I’m not even seeing them. 
         
        Look at Psalm 14:2,3  and Romans 3:9-11     How does this speak to you?   Paul is talking to both Jews and Gentiles.  That’s everybody.  None of us is righteous.  No one is any better than another.   I’ve said it.   I’ve taught it.  I believe it.   BUT  because I am drawn toward equity and fairness and on some level, it seems hard to completely embrace.   Someone who does good is the same as someone who does evil?  Mother Teresa is the same as Jeffrey Dahmer (spelling) ? YET the real irony is that this statement shows us that there IS equity.  We ARE equal before God. 
        Equal = all unrighteous,  all ignorant and all unworthy.  

  28. How amusing — my first comment showed up again!!   Sorry, folks!  
     
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Tim Keller says everyone believes initially, but then they suppress the truth so they can live as they wish. In time, they truly believe the lie, for their minds become darkened. Matthew Henry writes: The fool cannot satisfy himself that there is no God, but wishes there were no God. Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control. It has been illuminating to me to see the reason behind disbelief. While it is true that if you have been fed lies, you need evidence to refute them, it is important to see that our hearts do not want to believe, for that will help you not only with those whom you love who resist God, but with your own heart, whose tendency is also to resist in order to be in control.
     
    I have always subscribed to the idea that our souls are restless until we find our peace in God, so this concept that we resist believing  is a revelation to me.    I don’t recall deliberately resisting believing, but I am now trying to reflect on whether I may have done things by second-nature, automatically or apathetically  that resulted in hindering deeper believing on my part.  
     
    2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
     
    As I said above, I don’t recall “not wanting Him.”    However, I have definitely been known to not put Him in the center and not trust Him, by just trying to go it on my own.    I worry  — I probably don’t have to tell you all that, you have probably noticed it.   Just as I said I worried about getting my new computer into place.  I knew I couldn’t do it by myself, but I still felt I was “responsible” for it.   I didn’t give God credit for having a plan to send my daughter to help me, and for His helping her to get it all together.   That is a repetitive process with me.   When I get on the other side of a situation, I frequently see that God was there, working it out, and I’m grateful.  But that does not guarantee that the next time I have some overwhelming issue that I am going to remember and just trust God to see it through!!   That repetitive process causes me to need your prayers.

    3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)
     
    I am reading The Cost of Discipleship.  It is so hard to decide what to share — I am highlighting as I read, and usually have 3 to 4 highlights on every page!     I will share this one:    
    ” The price we are having to pay today in the shape of the collapse of the organized Church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost.”
     

    1. so good to have you back Deanna–and love your whole #2–so relate to all of that!

    1. Prayers for safe travel and that you will be refreshed yourself as you bring refreshment to others, Dee.

    2. praying for safe travels Dee!

    3. Praying for you, dear Dee.   What a winter (snowing here today).   P.S. Hope you don’t risk driving in a blizzard or icy roads!!

    4. I pray your safely there now Dee…blessings for the retreat.

  29.  

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

     

    That baby is so sweet, what a miracle! When I see a baby it reminds me of what an amazing maker we have. I can only imagine what it would be like holding my own child, what a special gift that must be!

     

     

    2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.

     

                    For a long time I didn’t think of my worry as sin. However, when I worry, I am not trusting, and when I am not trusting, I am sinning. Worry is something I am constantly battling. Anyone recommend any good books on worry / fear?

     

     

    3. Share something from your special Lenten reading from Bonhoeffer. Or, if you have watched the movie of his life, share from that. (Bonhoeffer: Agent of Grace — available for free on you-tube or 2.99 for a week on Amazon)

     

                    So excited to watch this movie. I bought his new biography so I want to read the at first, but am excited to watch this soon after!

     

    1. Natalie, I’m so glad to see you here–I’ve been praying for you. As a recovering (?!) worrier, I so relate–and in all honesty the best “book” for me has been Scripture. Isaiah 43 is a life-long favorite. I searched all the verses I could once on not fearing and I was humbled by how often He tells us to trust Him. I will add this to my prayer for you, that you can rest in trusting Him.

    2. Natalie:   Calm my Anxious Heart   by Linda Dillow had some gems of wisdom in it for me, in regard to worry and fear.   (I’m in my later 50’s and the friend who gave it to me, because she gained  much from it, was in her later 20’s at the time, so it must be relevant to different age groups. 🙂  )

    3. Regarding the Tim Conway message:  My stomach was in knots after the first minute or so.  I really can’t resonate with the kind of preaching that ridicules people who have another belief.  I’m thinking of how, in our internet world, Mr. Conway isn’t speaking only to a room full of listeners.  His words are reaching whomever chooses to listen which can include medical researchers and university professors and scientists.  Does he want them to hear him call them fools and idiots?  I’m disturbed because this message went right down the moral narrative leaving the grace narrative far behind.  
      From Tim Keller’s teaching on the grace narrative:  
      “Which fundamental truth claims make the bearers of them see themselves beneath….as servants to people who deeply differ with them?”    “Which truth claims make you look at those who don’t have your truth claim and make you care for them, love them, consider them, learn from them and hear their narratives?” 
      “If the fundamentalism of your life is a man who died for his enemies…..
      “If the fundamental of your life is a man who died asking God’s forgiveness for people who opposed him….  the more you reflect on that, the more that will destroy the slippery slope of the human heart that turns religion into division.”   (from Keller’s sermon about Peace on Earth that we listened to last week.)
       
      I’m sorry if I’m missing the point of the Conway sermon, but I can’t get past the way he presented it.   And some of the words he used.  I also don’t know if I agree with what he stated regarding murder and crimes against man.  Yes,  the number one sin is rejecting God and making ourselves the center.  But….I don’t know why we should classify sins or  speak of destroying man who was created in the image of God as a lesser sin because it is a crime against man.  It is foremost, a crime against God the Creator of that human being.  And it is the result of having man as the center and not God. 
       
      One last thing and this is really important  to me.   Dr. Francis Collins is one of the leading scientists/doctors of our time.  He mapped the human genome.  He did it in a race against another team backed by a large pharmaceutical company who wanted to patent it.  Dr. Collins wanted it to be available for all to access.  Dr. Collins is an evangelical Christian.  Long ago, as a young man, he was featured on the cover of  the Focus on the Family Physician magazine.  I have a copy in my files.   Dr. Collins wrote a book called The Language of God…..which tells of his journey to reconciling his Christian faith with his scientific knowledge and beliefs.  The book is clear in its teaching of God’s sovereignty and creation of the universe.  Yet,  from a scientist, it does not read like the Sunday school lessons I grew up with.  I do not doubt that there are different ways to view the ‘hows’ of creation and yet sustain a belief in a Creator and intelligent design.  Perhaps I do not agree (or indeed understand) all that Dr. Collins has concluded….(How could I?  He is a brilliant scientist.  I almost flunked high school chemistry.)  But OH!  I AM GRATEFUL FOR THE WORK AND THE HEART OF DR. FRANCIS COLLINS!   And besides everything I’ve already told you….Here’s why:  I have a 28 year old daughter who was born with cystic fibrosis.   At age 10, she developed type 1 diabetes.  I cannot begin to tell you all she has been through in her life and the hurdles she jumps through every day.  (with an amazing tenacity and zest for life)   When she was about 5, Dr Francis Collins and his team discovered the gene that causes CF.  This has led to enormous breakthroughs in treatment with MUCH research still in progress.  Dr. Collins has affirmed his commitment to continuing the pursuit of knowledge and indeed did so with his tireless work mapping the human genome.  He has stood before large audiences of the medical community who work with cystic fibrosis patients and with his acoustic guitar in hand…..sang to them his original song ‘Dare to Dream’ which speaks of a hope of finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.  He is a warm and wonderful man who is also a wise scientist and a believer in Jesus Christ and who may not present Creation the same way it is presented in many pulpits.  I am very cautious to discredit the scientific community….from both a grace standpoint and a very personal one.    I was also thrilled when President Obama appointed Dr. Collins as head of the National Institute of Health.  Praise God for Christians in the medical and science/research communities!

      1. Yeah, I thought of those who believe in theistic evolution, too (saw that Keller was criticized for believing it, but that was on a site that misquoted Keller enough that I don’t know what Keller really says).   I think Conway got in over his head with the way he worded some stuff.   Because I’ve observed and experienced anti-science (and inaccurate) Christian meanness in areas in which I do have some expertise, I’ve questioned the knowledge even of those who have degrees in an area when they take on the whole scientific community in one swipe.   It’s risky to take on science even within a specific discipline because research goes so deep in sub-specialties.    (and if I write any more, I’ll start ranting about “idiots” I know!).    Generally, people give away their lack of knowledge through their pride/self-confidence in their knowledge — at all levels of education.  (too close to ranting now!)
         
        I spoke at a workshop at a pastor’s conference about working with college students — and indicated that preparing students to “take on” professors by arguing against evolution probably is not helpful.  They aren’t gonna win;  I’ve known atheist and agnostic professors who grew up in fundamentalist homes (and some in religious) homes.   Some atheists and agnostics can argue the Bible very well, too.   I wouldn’t recommend an argumentative approach unless maybe a person has an in-depth knowledge of a sub-specialty and knows the details of the original research and everything there is to know about the specific statistical methods that were used AND alternative methods that could be used.   But from a Christian perspective, much of what appear to be scientific disagreements are actually disagreements about philosophical assumptions.

        1. Thanks for that perspective, Renee.  You’ve got some good professional experience that this mom of 3 college grads and ‘one on the way’ (to graduation in a few years, that is)  appreciates hearing.   🙂 

        2. Renee, are you a college prof and if so, what do you teach?

        3. Mary, out of replies, but I think this should end up in a close enough location 🙂    Yes,  I teach Gerontology & Human Development/Family Studies.  Teaching Grief & Loss for the first time this semester.   I do some nutrition/health related stuff with children and families on grants; first degree was in Dietetics.   I’ve rotated through enough courses that my depth is becoming questionable!!  

      2. Here’s a good interview (and not too long) with Francis Collins — I didn’t realize he was talking about “The Language of God” book until the pic was put up at the end.  I appreciated his perspective of faith and science being compatible; one isn’t a threat to the other.

        1. Thanks for  both the links you posted today, Renee!  Going to read them soon.

        2.  I just watched the Charlie Rose/Francis Collins interview.  Wow!  He is even more clear in this concise format than in his book I thought….(same message, but there’s a lot of scientific stuff that I got bogged down in when I read the book).   I think it is amazing that we have such a high profile Christian scientist defending the faith as he does!   It’s too bad that we often hear more negatives about scientists rejecting God than we do about those who have such a great testimony and influence among their professional communities.

      3. Wanda, I appreciate your in-depth review of the Tim Conway clip above; I haven’t listened yet but you have made me curious. I had not heard of Francis Collins and thank you for sharing about his life and work, and I can see that with your daughter having cystic fibrosis, you have a great appreciation for him.

      4. Yes Wanda….”Praise God for Christians in the medical and science/research communities”!

  30. 4. What notes to you have from the above?  Oh my, I watched this last night and didn’t take notes.  After listening to Keller who so meticulously leads us to a conclusion, this is quite a contrast (Plus, I think some of the things he said would have been offensive in NYC or on a university campus; at least, I winced).   Yet he said some amazing things, too.  Was easier to pay attention to take notes when I wasn’t watching.
     
    I’ll post highlights from my notes:   

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    “Evolved”  —  People look at bird or eyeball, complexity of inner self and say “evolved.”  Wouldn’t say that with C-5 (whatever that is, he also mentioned a helicopter 🙂   )

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    God’s invisible attributes have been revealed in creation.  People don’t see it because they suppressed the knowledge.
    Exchanged the glory  (I wanted to know more about this, but from the following example, I think he might mean that they exchanged the glory of God for the glory of man):    Humanistic man-centered American men and women (if taking a survey) would think murder is the greatest crime because their whole life is centered around themselves.  In their estimation, man is big and God is small.  Romans 1:25 — exchanged truth for a lie
    Sin is about belittling God, not trusting him, not wanting him, not having him at the center of our lives.  Creation shows us glory; makes man without excuse.
     
    Ok, as I re-type some of this, I am connecting the dots about “exchanging the glory.”     Conway said, “Creation shows us glory.”   God revealed himself in creation; by exchanging of the truth of God for a lie, that is by exchanging the truth of creation for something else, we are exchanging his glory.   By thinking that murder is the biggest crime, that humans are most important, we are seeing man as big, God as small, exchanging the glory.
     

    1. Oh dear,  SORRY.  I ran out of time pondering as I was in deleting the copy and paste stuff.  
      Anyhow, this is what I was pondering:I KNOW God isn’t always at the center of my life & I want to think about “exchanging the glory” more.   I think what bothered me is the way Conway referred to people who disagreed with him (disrespect?).   To me, that didn’t make me want Christianity to be true.  BUT, the glory of God grabbed me, I wanted to know more, and I want HIM to be the center of my life.   I could see what we have been learning and experiencing about Pascal’s (and Keller’s and Dee’s) approach to evangelism played out — insults turned me off, but the glory of God drew me.   I need to re-evaluate my choice of words.  He said Dawkins looked like an idiot, called university and medical people fools   —  I use very similar words!  A better approach is to provide examples (of idiocy?)  and let people decide for themselves, I think???    

    2. This just popped up on FB:  “God never fits His word to suit me; He fits me to suit His word.”  Oswald Chambers

  31. 4. What notes to you have from the above?
    *Creation is designed to reveal God’s attributes (characteristics).  Creation shows God’s glory and leaves man with no excuse for not recognizing and acknowledging God as Creator, Lord, and King.
    *Those who claim to be wise can so easily become fools in their disbelief; rather than believing what is more believeable (Creator God, intelligent design), they look to other possibilities and contrive other theories (alien intervention, evolution).
    *There is proof all around of God’s existence, if only we are not spiritually blind.
    *The worst sin is being “man-centered”…exchanging God’s glory and truth for a lie…belittling God by not trusting Him, not wanting Him, and Him (God) not being the center of one’s life.
     

  32. “May we die to self that His glorious life might rise in us”. I love this and was praying this yesterday and today.  Do you know the verse it is from?

     I don’t get much time to myself because of our special needs daughter, but yesterday my husband took her to see a train (100 trains go through our town a day!) as she loves trains and to get a sweet tea (her favorite)…which he does a lot…to give me some free time….so I went out to the front porch and sat in our porch swing and spent  some precious time with our father in heaven, praying and singing.  The wind was blowing a lot, so my swing started going side to side instead of to and fro (if you know what I mean!) while I was praying and my eyes were closed.  My head tilted to the side as I imagined my head on Jesus’s shoulder, as he held me.  Swinging side to side like that, felt just like Jesus was rocking me and nurturing me as he held me.  With my eye’s closed and singing praises to him…I honestly felt like I was in his arms  as he rocked me like a  child.  It was so wonderful and I felt so close and so loved by him…as I imagined him holding me.    You must try this if you have a swing sometime, when you are alone and have time with him!

    1. Joyce-you brought such a smile to my face as I read about you singing and swinging! So thankful you were able to have that sweet time. I think that phrase may be Dee’s words–but it does remind me of Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
       
      I still think about you telling us you used to paint–I see so much of that in you Joyce, a heart that sees the beauty in all that is around you. You have had such a difficult road–but yet you still smile and sing praise to Him, and pour out your selfless love to your family. You truly inspire us all Joyce. It’s a blessing to know you.

    2. Joyce,  So glad you got that precious time alone with the Lord!  After I read the following “The wind was blowing a lot, so my swing started going side to side instead of to and fro (if you know what I mean!) while I was praying and my eyes were closed,”  I started holding my breath.  We’ve had some crazy wind here, and I was afraid you were going to write that since the swing was blowing the wrong way, it broke!  I’m glad that didn’t happen.  I’ll have to hit a playground when we have a warmer day 🙂

      I think maybe Dee wrote that quote??   At least it didn’t show up elsewhere when I searched for it.    When I saw that, I prayed, too.   It’s beautiful!!

    3.   Joyce: Thanks for sharing that sweet story of experiencing the presence of Jesus.  May He sustain you day by day and continue to give you moments of freshness and solitude with Him. 

      1. Thank you all…I think it was a “kiss from God”…the wind and the feeling that he gave me!

        Yes, Elizabeth…I don’t know how you remembered that! It is a passion of mine…to paint again! When Kendra was born with Cerebral Palsy , with seizures, 27 years ago…my life and my older kids lives, have never been the same. They sacrificed time with me and I gave up painting and many other things!

        1. But Kendra is worth every minute I give her.  God entrusted me with her life and I feel so honored that he did!  She gives us so much joy!

          I still pray that I will be able to pick up a paint brush again tho!  My mom was and my older daughter is a artist…just like Dee’s daughter, Sally!   My daughter and Sally had the same art teacher in high school!  Dee, I found  her on Facebook and told her how much I appreciated her!  Such a great Art teacher!

        2. Joyce, thankful for the gift your husband gave you to have some time to yourself…and you chose to spend that time with Him on your swing. I was thinking it must be a lot warmer where you are than here…we are still having some snow and very cold temps! You have that child-like faith, Joyce…imagining Him holding you on that swing. I have no doubt He was very present with you.

    4. 2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
      I wrote earlier today of the unexpected ‘re-surfacing of some personal pain and loss’ that hit me late last night and caused me to spend a lot of time, crying, losing sleep and thankfully….also reading and praying.  Well, this is it.  The repetitive pattern is that my self worth has been in serious peril ever since I lost a breast to cancer 9 years ago, had a ‘less than pleasant’ surgical result in having a knee replacement nearly 2 years ago and some other generally discouraging health and body image problems.  I find myself repeatedly dismissing my husband’s affirmations and acceptance of me.  I’ve belittled God by not being grateful for His provision of day to day strength and health  (I didn’t die from cancer….He allowed me to find it so early, I didn’t even need chemo) and by being angry about the knee frustrations,  and losses in energy and ability as well as appearance.  When I repeatedly say, ‘I hate my body’….I’m insulting Him, my Creator and Sustainer. 

      1. Wanda, I’m so sorry!  You have been through so much.  Plus your scaring me, as I am getting my first new, total knee in April or May!

        But I understand about how you feel about hating your body…I’ve been there and done that too. I’ve never had cancer, but  I’ve had 4 back surgeries and still in pain everyday and can’t stand up straight anymore.  I’ve learnt to Praise God for  everything I hated about me, because God has a reason and I don’t need to know “why”…I just need to trust him that he knows best and thank him for all my trials and my blessings…equally!  It truly helps!  Praying for you!

      2. Wanda, you have been so vulnerable and open here…and have been through so much. I am praying for you and I pray that you will come to hear your husband’s words of acceptance and affirmation as God speaking those words, through your husband, to you.

        1. Thank you Joyce and Susan.   I appreciate your words and care.   Joyce…..I don’t mean to scare you!  I have many friends now, who have had the Total Knee Replacement and are so happy they did.  I think one of my biggest issues was not being informed enough of what to expect.  Mine came up kinda suddenly (although I knew it was inevitable) and I wish I had taken a class and asked more questions.  Yours will most likely go very well with good results! 

  33. 2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another.
    I find myself basing my self worth on how people act toward or respond to me. I am making myself and others the center of my life.
     

    1. Dawn–good to see you again. Your honesty is always so refreshing, and convicting!

    2. Dawn, always good to see you here…have missed you. I’m making a list of everyone’s answers to #2. so I can pray…I’m adding yours. And, I can relate to what you wrote.

      1. Thanks, Susan and Elizabeth. I have been doing the study, but haven’t been able to keep up with the comments and then I feel guilty adding mine.

    3. Great to see your pretty face, Dawn!

  34. Paper by Tim Keller:  Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople    I skimmed the first half, then scrolled to the end (he mentioned Derek Kidner at the end, and sounded as if he may have talked about him earlier in the paper).  Will read more carefully later, after I am ready for tomorrow!

  35. Sometimes I want to avoid reading anything from Paul Tripp because he always seems to nail my sin and convict me. I thought this was really good:
    “Unrealistic expectations cause each of us to live more independently and self-sufficiently than we ever should. In reality, we’re all in need of daily rescuing, forgiving, and empowering grace. We need that grace because none of us is free from the presence and power of sin. This means that, moment by moment, we need to be rescued from us! We also need the grace of God so that we’ll be able to love the weak and failing people that we’re always in relationships with.”

    1. Such a good quote, Elizabeth.  Convicting, but also freeing.  “Moment by moment, we need to be rescued from us.”   Someone else just let me know that God can best work when I give him space to work.  After pushing through for a week of not feeling very well, I can barely function — i.e., just decided to give God space to work (so I’ll get off the computer pretty soon 😉 and sleep — took a “sick day” for the rest of the day)

      1. Rest well and feel better, Renee.

      2. Oh Renee, take a word of advice from one who has suffered with a horrible, lingering cold (but feeling much better these days)…rest…rest…and more rest.  Take care, friend…hope you are feeling better soon.

  36. Although the readings and links to some of the finest sermons are very helpful to me, I have gotten as much spiritual help and encouragement from the comments of you ladies here. I find this community of believers refreshing, because of your willingness to be vulnerable to others. There is something about somebody saying in more ways than one, “Me,too. I struggle with that, too”.
    We live in a world where most people may say” Pick up your self! Buck up! Put on your big girl pants!” In this blog, I find I can be myself and feel accepted and understood and that it is OK to feel down, doubtful, angry, despondent, etc. THANKS! But we never stay there! Even though we say to God, “How long….? we are not without hope.
    Lies…truth suppressed. It seems like this past week or so, more lies have been exposed including some that had seemed to be truth-about myself, about my idea of who God is. Lord, forgive. Even today you have exposed a lie that had me despondent. Thank you for answering my prayer for clarity. You answered my prayer for help. The circumstance has not change but your true nature stayed the same; and the shifting shadows that threatened my faith in you are revealed for what they are-just shadows.
    Renee, I read the Oswald Chambers devotion “decreasing for His purpose”. I was literally stunned by how the Lord opened my eyes to the awareness that I have been out of God’s will because I have fallen into the trap of thinking I can rescue my sister from her crisis. In the pretense of making me think I really care and love my sister, Satan has fed me the lie that I am the answer to her needs. No! Only God can be whatever she needs Him to be. The enemy is so subtle. After reading the article, I still wept because of my sister’s condition but am no longer obsessed with “fixing” her situation. I now can rest in the sovereignty of God because I can trust Him. And as I write this, I pray, “Lord, help my unbelief. Increase my faith. Guide my prayers for my sister, Grace to be prayers of faith and trust. “

    1. Ernema, I’m so glad you are resting in God’s sovereignty.  Praying for you and your sister.

  37. Elizabeth, Thanks for the quote from Paul Tripp. I needed that. I need to be rescued daily from myself, indeed. Abiding in Jesus is so crucial to live the Christian life. I can not do it apart from Him.

  38. I enjoyed Tim Conway’s  message a lot and his passion as he spoke.  All the while as I listened,  it brought tears…I kept thinking of how much I wish my daughter and her husband could hear it…every since they said  they believed in evaluation instead of creation.  I think it is more him, than my daughter, as she ask me to “pray” she gets the job in Denver:))

  39. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Pascal says men do not want to believe because they do not want to give up control.

    Control stands out to me…my issue has always been letting go of control, even with God. Whom I say I trust His complete,beautiful, and perfect will for my life; yet I struggle with control. Not letting God into those areas of my heart that I keep under control by suppressing the hurts. Sometimes I feel God tugging at me to release them, but I will go find other things to occupy myself…for example: social media,reading,cleaning is huge with me….especially when Im mad or feel my emotions trying to overcome me. This morning I need to pray, release some worries and anxieties I have. Yet I dont want to lose control of my emotions….so I cleaned instead. I contemplated avoiding this study this morning, knowing all to well this would touch on my control issues.

    2. Lent is a season of repentance. As you search your heart, how have you belittled God, not wanted Him, not trusted Him, not made Him the center of your life? Share just one repetitive pattern succinctly so that we might pray for one another. 

    Control…I touched on it above. Praying I can run to God with everything  and release it all to Him. There was a time I use to do just that, and I mean I ran to God so much in my younger years as a Christian. Im not sure what has changed that? Possibly fear that His answer might not be what I want to hear or admit….

  40. 4. What notes to you have from the above?
     
    Boy, he is sure a strong speaker! I guess I love this conversation because I teach astronomy and have a debate amongst the students about the origin of the universe. Someone always ends up getting it out of me that I am a Christian who believes God created it all.
     
    Haven’t seen the Ben Stein movie, but now will try; sounds like movie night this week with Bonhoeffer and Stein!
     
    I am familiar with Dawkins; not a fan because he strongly urges people to be atheists. 
     
    I like the the idea that the simplest design is the most logical (Occams razor) as this pastor states. God’s design is much easier to palate than complex chemical equations and physics of space!

    1.  Laura Dancer, I listened as well..I was looking forward to hearing what you think!
       

      1. Rebecca, I forgot to mention; since I teach in public school, I always tell students they don’t have to believe as I do. I once taught a girl who claimed she was an atheist when she took my class, but I ended up seeing her come to my church 4 years later 🙂

        1. Oh, and that we live in a unique place; although scientists have located hundreds of exoplanets, none are exactly like earth. There are stars similar to our sun but no earth like planet in the Goldilocks zone for life. I know it’s a ginormous universe, but I believe we are special! God’s creation, His design. We are His. I can just imagine Him creating the earth, it SO fits together; it’s a COOL place! Look at that Grand Canyon image and the baby 🙂 BTW, I love science AND Jesus! Did I say that before?

        2. Laura-my oldest is into Science and Astronomy-a self proclaimed nerd, but hates doing homework. :)) It would be sweet if you were his teacher!

  41. 4. What notes do you have from the above?
     
    I liked the way he explained how men suppress the truth of God’s glory, exchanging the truth for a lie. That they see, but cover their eyes, not wanting to say that this is made by God. I didn’t care for his beliefs about murder, though. That we believe it is the worst sin because we are humanistic and self-centered, all about man. I surely wouldn’t say that to someone grieving the murder of a loved one…well, you know, murder isn’t the worst sin; the worst sin is denying the glory of God. It seemed insensitive to me. Also, I wouldn’t suppose to put words into God’s mouth as to what He is going to say to Dawkins at the judgment. I believe that Dawkins was given an incredible mind and intellect…he is looking deeply into some of the most wonderful mysteries of the universe and it is unfortunate that he does not know or acknowledge that what he discovers are things put in place by God at creation. I know that he is completely paralyzed and unable to speak…he uses some sort of computer, I think, that somehow generates his thoughts into a voice…beyond my understanding. I didn’t hear much love or mercy on the part of Conway extended to Dawkins for the state of his unbelief.

    1. I appreciate your clarity, Susan.  I also disagreed with what he said about murder.  I think you saw my above comments.  I really appreciate your sensitivity in regard to how we treat those who believe differently.   “Also I wouldn’t suppose to put words into God’s mouth as to what He is going to say to Dawkins at the judgement.”  So true.  I think it’s easy to dismiss grace when we speak about public figures and don’t think of them as people to whom we are also to show the love of Christ.  I mean ‘we’ as collective Christians. 

      1. Susan and Wanda,  Good points.  Generally, his lack of grace, tone of voice, and inappropriate generalizations are examples of what has scared me off from church.  Though my fears have tamed down, my primary reaction when I am exhausted is “is it worth the effort to interact?”  I have to work so hard to hear/see the main (good) points when this sort of speaking takes place. When I hear the “attitude,”  I think it’s just a matter of time until I’m next on the list of bad guys. 

          Wanda, the concept of “collective Christians” is important for at least a couple of reasons: 1) I realize that how I represent Christ impacts the church as a whole and people’s attitudes about Christianity  — sometimes I’m even embarrassed to be associated with some Christians because of their FB postings.   If I accidentally “like” something (and I have clicked on a couple things that I disliked(!) without thinking), other friends may be repelled by Christianity.   2)  My resistance to going to church sometimes results from creating a “collective Christian” category out of the behavior of one or two people.    SO BLESSED that I didn’t run into those one or two people types at the Litchfield retreat — cuz my defenses go up when I do. 
         
          In writing this and thinking about the video, I realize that I shouldn’t sit by someone at church who has it in for higher education (duh!  Probably 2 or 3 people total that I know of that feel that way.  One happens to sit in a convenient place.  Well, THIS certainly was God answering prayer about church attendance through the last bit of rambling)

        1. I have those same kind of fears when I go to church, Renee.  I know I need to let go and allow my conversations with individual Christians to stand alone and not be tainted by my preconceptions.  Constant struggle.  And others probably feel the same way in talking to me.   I need to take people at face value….or even better… ‘grace value’.

    2. Hi Susan…..I just thought to mention that the scientist with the neurological disease who is wheel chair bound is actually Stephen Hawking.  I just watched an interview that included a clip of Richard Dawkins so I was reminded of this.  I get them mixed up too.

      1. Oh you are right, Wanda…I got the two mixed up – it is Stephen Hawking.

  42. Dee, are you in Michigan now?  And got there via plane? 😉

  43. Abigail was married to a man who typified the kind of fool Psalm 14 addresses, and his name actually was Nabal. Read 1 Samuel 25:1-13 and find how Nabal suppressed the truth in order to do what he wanted to do.      I read all 44 verses of the chapter to get the whole story.  I’d forgotten a lot of it, so it was an exciting read and I wrote down the details.  Nabal suppressed the truth by ignoring the debt he owed David and his men and by refusing to give them what was right…the epitome of an unethical, wealthy landowner who used the services of others and then treated them badly…’surly and mean’ in his dealings was he.   He twisted the truth by saying he didn’t believe they were who they said they were.  He insulted them and dismissed them.  He then threw a party and got drunk, feeding his own gluttony and ego-centric self.   (I love that Abigail is described as intelligent and beautiful.  And then as the story goes on, it is clear that she is both.  She acted quickly to right a wrong peacefully and to prevent violence and death.   She saved David from having the ‘staggering burden of needless bloodshed’ on his conscience.  Her humility and servant heart reveal her inner beauty.)    

    1. You summarized it well (so I’m not gonna try).  I read it a few times last night because it took me awhile.  Now I am officially outta here before I drop!

      Well, almost outta here anyway 🙂 Just thinking that Abigail had an ethical conundrum like Bonhoeffer did. Going against her husband was “technically” wrong and, especially then and there, could have cost her life. But she told the truth. Done!

  44. I finally got the situation with the volume on my speakers worked out so I could actually hear the sermon by Tim Conway.   🙂
     
    Notes from Tim Conway sermon:
     
    What is it that men suppress?   What can be known about God.    And God has made a distinct effort to reveal himself.
    Conway then began to discuss creation.    He said if he could have had Spurgeon riding in the car with him, when a C-5 or a helicopter had flown over, and he would have told Spurgeon “those just evolved,”Spurgeon  wouldn’t have believed it.   How can man look at an eye, or a bird, or the workings inside a cell and not just have his mind blown?   
     
    If men understood a cell to be a Cadillac in Darwin’s time, then what would the knowledge of a cell be today?  — A galaxy!!
    What has God done to show man who He is?   It is in creation that God reveals Himself.   
     
    He told of a conversation with atheist Richard Dawkins  (I didn’t quite catch the setting for this discussion).   Supposedly Dawkins had to admit that a cell was so sophisticated and complicated that it had to be created by a designer with superior knowledge.   Supposedly Dawkins concluded it must have been from another planet.    Dawkins was asked what he would do if he got to the end and found there really was a God, and Dawkins replied “I will ask him why he made himself so hard to find.”     Conway says Dawkins had suppressed the knowledge about God.  
     
    He then went on to criticize university scholars and those in the medical field — I think he was guilty of stereotyping here. I have come across some scholars and doctors, etc, who are actually very humbled by what they find in science — all pointing toward God as the creator.   
     
    He seemed to zero in on Romans 1:19-23:

     
       “…since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities– his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has bee made, so men are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.”  

     
    Man suppresses the knowledge of God’s divine attributes, and man exchanges the glory.  
     
    He said that if you ask humanistic Americans what’s the greatest crime, they will reply “murder.”   He seemed to think it was because man was self-centered and giving no thought to God. It is because it is a crime against man.   However,   I tend to disagree with him at this point.   I think the Ten Commandments tell us “Thou shall not kill.”    That is why most would say “murder.”    
     
    When Paul discusses sin, he doesn’t even talk about crimes against man.  He says “Men have exchanged the glory.”   God is the one who made heavens and the earth — we are told that over and over throughout the Bible.   Sin is about belittling God.    Creation shows us His glory, and that makes man without an excuse.    
     
     
     

    1. Thanks, Deanna… for writing out the content of what Conway spoke about.  I remember it all as I re-read your notes, but I had a hard time listening to him and didn’t write down what he said.   Good summary.  Yes, he did stereotype.   I like your comments about his stance on murder.  I think his point was that because it is a crime against humanity, it is not  as great a sin  as making oneself the center and taking God’s place.  My thoughts are that while murder is a crime against humanity…it is largely a crime/sin against individuals and those who love the person who died and it is especially  a sin against God, the Creator of the person who was murdered.  I don’t think it falls neatly into the dichotomy he set up.

    2. Deanna, I appreciate your comments on the video, and you gave me the word I was looking for: stereotyping. I do think Conway just sees it as black or white and throws a bunch of people into the same category. I was thinking of the well-publicized recent debate between Ken Hamm and Bill Nye…saw and heard some parts of it, and generally there was mutual respect between the two, even though they disagreed. I just didn’t like how Conway said Dawkins looked like an idiot and how he criticized those in the medical field (I have a son studying to become a doctor!) I thought you don’t win people over by “talking down” like that.

  45. Renee–praying now for rest & quick recovery-so sorry! Hope you are sleeping 🙂

  46. Renee, praying you get some sleep and feel better soon. Like you, I find it hard to interact with others when I am exhausted emotionally or physically. 

    1. Praying for tonight, Dee.

    2. Have prayed earlier and praying right now because I think you may be speaking in a different time zone (and I just got up from a pseudo-nap with my smart phone)!

    3. Oh my gosh…it’s 8 p.m….praying Dee!

  47. First the story of Nabal (fool), was a great reminder of his selfish, greedy ways. Though he was a wealthy man, he did not care to help David and his men, as they honored God; David was a man after God’s own heart, who had treated Nabal’s shepherds well.
    How do I tend to suppress the truth? Interestingly as I thought about this question, I realize that I , too , have a default sin of selfishness.
    My own desires seem to take precedence and I am slow to move out of my comfort zone to be God’s ambassador and do kind acts that take
    time  and effort. Oh Father, I repent of my selfish ways and desire to be a better example of your follower.  I am saddened by this weakness on my part. Cleanse my heart and draw me closer to you. Christ has given his life for me and I want to be identified with Him.
    Thirdly, the comparison of Psalm 13:2-3 to Romans 3:9-11 is written by Paul to the Romans and he refers to Jews and Gentiles, saying  both alike are all under sin… there is no one who does good, not even one.
    Thanks be to God that we can come to Him daily to confess our sins and know that He loves and will forgive us.
    My reading of Bonhoeffer’s biography has deeply touched me and I am awed by his teaching and life in a deplorable setting. Yet sometimes it seems that we live in a deplorable time when greed and evil are a way of life. Praying scripture and especially the Psalms is a great example and I am acquiring this new discipline. Blessings and thanks for prayers.
    A wonderful way to deal with worry, Natalie, is memorizing scripture. I like Elizabeth’s answer, and my favorite scripture passage when I worry is Philippians 4:4-8 and 11-13.

    1. Shirley, The phrase “greedy, selfish ways” jumped off the screen at me.   I just realized (Holy Spirit brought to mind) that much of what are the cultural, societal, or institutional ways of doing things are greedy, selfish ways.  So often, I go along with or do many things without thinking because I am told they are good (planning, jumping through hoops, etc).  I question procedures (some would say too much) that are overtly wrong, but when selfishness is ingrained in the world around me, I often am greedy and selfish without giving it a second thought.  For me (now!), it is helpful and freeing to re-evaluate my own attitudes and behaviors against Scripture rather than against what is deemed good by others, including those at work or church.   Shifting mindset here 🙂

  48. 5.
    Nabal claimed he did not know David and rudely refused his request. This is a side thought—but it was interesting to me that Abigail is called “discerning” and wise (v.3). I wondered why she would then marry a fool, but I guess he deceived even her-?

    6. Consider — how do you tend to suppress the truth at times and why is this foolish? If God shows you, let this lead you into a prayer of repentance.
     
    It is foolish of me to try to suppress truth because I can’t! Nothing is ever hidden from God. I do pray He will open my eyes to the times I do this. It is still easy for me to fall into the “formula” trap, like thinking how I parent will determine if my child comes to the Lord. This is a lie. I cannot parent close to perfect and my parenting does not guarantee salvation or a desire outcome. I don’t consciously think this way, but I’m made aware that it underlies my beliefs when I get frustrated that my child “still doesn’t get it”. As if all that we are reading and teaching should or could do what only the power of the Spirit can do. It is humbling to realize we do not have the control we want to believe we have. Yet we have a God who wants me to come to Him in prayer—sometimes I forget the awesomeness of that. He is not so aloof that He doesn’t want to hear from me—He longs for me to come to Him, and persistently! I’m not an annoying interruption—He sees that my hand is up!
    Psalm 37:39 “The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble.”

    1. Elizabeth, Great question about why she married a fool.  At first I was thinking that maybe she was a “former fool,” but then I thought that her father might have been the fool the married her off!