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HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID! Easter Sunday 2014.

OVER AND OVER THEY HAD BEEN TOLD:

IN THE BOOKS OF MOSES,

IN THE PSALMS,

IN THE PROPHETS,

IN THE WORDS OF THE WORD HIMSELF.

HE WOULD SUFFER.

HE WOULD BE CRUCIFIED.

BUT ON THE THIRD DAY, HE WOULD RISE.

He Is Risen Tomb Easter Wallpaper Background

IT IS THE THIRD DAY

AND THEY ARE OVERWHELMED WITH SORROW

WHEN A STRANGER COMES ALONG SIDE THEM.

road-to-emmaus1NO MORE GRIEF

NO MORE CONFUSION

NO MORE PAINFUL STEPS AND SLOW

THEY ARE RUNNING TO TELL:

HE IS RISEN, JUST AS HE SAID!

This week you’ll watch a WONDERFUL Keller video on Luke 24. Jesus showed the two how He was in the psalms, and we will review the psalms of this Lenten season and see Him. It will be a great week.

Easter Sunday:

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

2. There is so much confusion, disbelief, and then wonder in Luke 24. This morning, read through it, and find one verse that quickens you. What was it and why?

Monday-Tuesday

3. Share your notes on this video — he divides it into The Tomb, The Walk, The Room, and the Mount.

Wednesday-Friday: Review

Bonhoeffer said “The early morning belongs to the church of the risen Christ…”  Every early morning is a celebration of Easter.

Bonhoeffer also says: “For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and haunted by the various kinds of concerns they face during the working day. The Lord stands above the new day, for God has made it.”

 

sunrise
4. What helped you experienced His presence this Lent — and what might you want to continue?
5. In Psalm 11 we found two voices — one telling to trust in the Lord, the other giving reasons to despair and flee.

               GOD IS IN CONTROL                                                                     EVERYTHING IS OUT OF CONTROL!

 

               In the Lord I take refuge. (1a)                                                       Flee like a bird to the mountain. (1b)

 Apply this to the two on the road to Emmaus. Find a verse that shows they thought everything was out of control. Then show a verse showing how God was in control all the time.

6. If possible, share a time, in praise and thankfulness that He did the same for you during this Lenten season.

Bonhoeffer didn’t find the gospel or authenticity in New York until he went to a black church in Harlem. There was the gospel, there was passion, and there was music that stirred his soul. They sang the truth to God, they lamented, for persecution against them was rampant. They cried out to God for help, and placed their trust in Him, as the psalms have taught us to do.

Singing-The-Blues1
 

 7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13. How we the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?

8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.

9. Psalms 14, 15, and 16 show us the gospel — I can even see Jesus going through these, much like the Roman road, on the Emmaus Road.

   A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?

   B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?

   C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?

10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.

11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.

Saturday

12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.

 

 

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  1. 4. What helped you experience His presence this Lent — and what might you want to continue?
    One of the local churches offered a labyrinth throughout holy week.  I have never done this spiritual discipline, but decided that I would.  It was a precious, sacred experience…the atmosphere and time spent meandering in the labyrinth was prayerful and contemplative.  I felt His presence and communed with Him…hearing His words in my heart speaking.  I am hoping to make this a spiritual discipline I do on a regular basis.  It is really hard for me to slow-down, to be still, to be undistracted…when I was doing the labyrinth, there was quiet, no rush, my focus was on the Lord.

    1. Could you give me more information about the”labyrinth” that you did. I have never heard of it. Sounds interesting! Glad to hear that God spoke to you through that.

      1. Hi Diane,
         
        I have actually danced on a labyrinth before. The labyrinth I have used was a huge canvas and had a diagram of a circular nature  painted on it. Many people just walked it in silence. 

      2. http://www.labyrinthcompany.com/view_category.php?category_id=2

        Above is a link that will give you an idea what I am talking about.  The labyrinth I walked was what Laura described below.  The atmosphere was so good…many visual representations (e.g., cross with crown of thorns and purple fabric draped over it, silver coins and dice at the bottom), contemplative type music, low lighting with tea lights surrounding the perimeter of the labyrinth, several benchs draped with prayer shawls, etc….just me and the Lord walking and talking.  I cannot explain my experience…it was one of those moments when I felt oh so close and in sync with the Lord.  I looked into purchasing a portable labyrinth for home use…:)  Unfortunately, the cost is quite prohibitive.  There is a retreat center that has a labyrinth about 30 miles away that said I could walk it any time I would like…it is outside, mowed in their lawn.  I intend on taking a drive there in 3-4 weeks.

        1. Thanks, Nanci, for the labyrinth information. I think it sounds interesting – maybe something like Stations of the Cross but different. 

        2. Thanks for sharing this, Nanci.  It sounds so moving and meaningful.  I’m going to look at it closer. 

    2. Nanci – I would like to know more, too! I haven’t heard of a labyrinth either.

    3. Wonderful, Nanci!  Have heard about it, but haven’t done it (and I always get a labyrinth mixed up with a maze).

  2.  Share your notes on this video —
     
    I really enjoyed Tim’s video. I like knowing about the culture during that time, and I learned  that the women’s testimonies would not have been used unless they really were the eyewitnesses.
     
    The second half of the video he mentioned people who might never find “the one” but how we need to remember in heaven we will miss nothing! It will be wonderful beyond our imagination! What a great promise to keep in mind as we all have times where we wish we had or maybe didn’t have someone/something.
     
    Love his point that we live in a world of likes and dislikes. The resurrection is a historical fact, our likes and dislikes do not matter.

    1. Natalie, I liked the likes and dislikes point as well – we are so focused on serving ourselves in this culture, it saddens me, but I am also guilty of it.

  3.  7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13. How we the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?
     
     
    I think the lamenting is to 1) question, 2) reflect, and 3) believe/trust.
     
    The road to Emmaus is a little different in they are reflecting, then questioning, then comes the truth or trust when Jesus asks them if they remember the scripture passages that said it would be this way. I will say that they sound kind of whiny in my bible (NIV).
     
    8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.
     
    Lord, I don’t understand why I am so consumed with myself these days. I don’t want to be looking at myself  critically; whether it is my intelligence, looks, weight, or anything to do with me. I don’t know if it’s this medicine, or what. In the past when I focused on others, I was happier and had less troubles in my life. I don’t want to be self centered. I know you want me to think of others too. I know you are pleased when I do. Thank you for being with me and helping me though this awkward period. Would you help me remember that thinking of others means I am thinking of you? Amen.
     
     

    1. Laura–so appreciate your honesty in #8. I know I can relate to feeling too consumed with self at times. I’m praying for you

  4. 6. If possible, share a time, in praise and thankfulness that He did the same for you during this Lenten season.This was more a process than a specific time —  I had brief panic reactions that had gone on for so long that I assumed I’d just live with them.  I could pinpoint triggers after the fact, but my reactions had become “wired”  to the point that I didn’t consciously think before I reacted.  Afterwards, I’d just think “oh that again” — and usually wasn’t very troubled because I was so used to it. As my desire for the Lord increased, as I leaned into Him, sometimes in pain, sometimes not —  after awhile, I realized NO MORE panic attacks.
    Lord God, I cried out and you answered — in a way bigger way than I could have anticipated. Bless the Lord, O my Soul; you, O Lord, are greater than my needs, greater than my hurts, greater than my “ability” to detach and ignore, greater than my willingness and ability to ask for help.  When I cried out in pain, you healed in ways I didn’t even think to pray about. You removed panic that I assumed would be with me for as long as I lived on this earth.  Thank you for showing me that I can come to you honestly, without my walls and defenses.  Thank you for loving me SO MUCH.  Please forgive me for settling for less than you have for me.  Increase my desire for you, and thank you for your constant faithfulness in wooing me to you when I wander or am afraid.   In Jesus’ name.

    1. Thanks for sharing this Renee- Very encouraging to see the Lord answering your prayer! I know many who suffer from anxiety disorders and panic attacks and your testimony is a great example of hope and shows His faithfulness.

    2. Renee, thanks for sharing. My daughter has periodic panic attacks and like you, I have been thinking this might be a forever thing with her. Your testimony gives me hope for her-that time will come, Lord for my daughter to seek you wholeheartedly and cry out to you when she is overwhelmed. Instead of turning to her own defenses, she will turn to you as Renee had and continue to do so. Woo us, Lord and hold our hand to make a turn around and walk the paths of life with you instead of wandering and being afraid. Thank you for the blessing of sharing (Renee’s) our lives with others.

  5. 7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13. 
    I looked up Dee’s instructions from when we (or I, anyway!) first learned to pray a psalm of lament.
    1) The lament:
     
     How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? (Psalm 13:1-2 ESV)
     
    2)  Remembering God’s goodness in the past.  (Do these steps have to be in order ????? or do I have the verses turned around?)  The psalmist in recalling God’s character and how he had worked in the past.
     
    But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6 ESV)
     
    3. The prayer:  
    Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
     light up my eyes, lest bI sleep the sleep of death,
     lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
     lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
     

    How were the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?
     
    They described who Jesus was and what had happened to him and sounded as though they had lost hope.  Jesus pointed them to Scripture, to what the prophets said about him, that it was necessary for Jesus to suffer.

    1. Yeah, I think I might have the two sections turned around, because the psalmist sounds more confident/resolved at the end of the Psalm

  6. 5. In Psalm 11 we found two voices — one telling to trust in the Lord, the other giving reasons to despair and flee.
                   GOD IS IN CONTROL                                                                     EVERYTHING IS OUT OF CONTROL!
                    In the Lord I take refuge. (1a)                                                       Flee like a bird to the mountain. (1b)
     Apply this to the two on the road to Emmaus. Find a verse that shows they thought everything was out of control. Then show a verse showing how God was in control all the time.

    The two on the road expressed how they felt out of control when they said “We had hoped that he was the one …” A verse showing how God was in control. “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road”. They are seeing in retrospect how God was at work, even when they didn’t recognize it at the time. So many times we do not see God at work, but He is always at work.

    6. If possible, share a time, in praise and thankfulness that He did the same for you during this Lenten season.

    Lent was hard in some ways for me this year.  In many ways I am still grieving – for my daughter Krista’s situation, for her losses, my own losses. However, there have been gains. Krista is in a much better place emotionally and spiritually than before her crisis. I also personally have been forced to put my faith “where the rubber meets the road”, trusting God when it seems He is silent. And I have found Him faithful. I have clung to Him and He has held me.  
     
    Throughout Lent (with the help of Scripture, Lenten readings, studying the Psalms here and you my blogging friends), I contemplated Jesus’ sufferings  – from His struggle in prayer in the Gethsemane, through His physical torture and rejection, and then His abandonment by His Father on the Cross, I have grieved with my Lord in deep sorrow. Yet, my deepening awareness of the depths to which Jesus was willing to go due to His love for me has helped open my eyes to the deep hope for renewal that there is in Christ. His resurrection proves He is in control. He came to redeem, renew, and restore. He is Life. He gives me life. Nothing can take my Hope away. He is risen. 

    John 10:10 I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

    1. Diane–so thankful Krista is doing better, and your last paragraph is especially beautiful–the words of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” came to mind as I read: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLDGVl8D5UU

    2. Diane,   Amen!:

      Yet, my deepening awareness of the depths to which Jesus was willing to go due to His love for me has helped open my eyes to the deep hope for renewal that there is in Christ. His resurrection proves He is in control. He came to redeem, renew, and restore. He is Life. He gives me life. Nothing can take my Hope away. He is risen. 

      1. Diane and Renee,   I  so appreciated Diane’s testimony in #6.   I want to just say “Amen” as well!  I particularly liked “His resurrection proves He is in control.”     

    3. Diane, I think it is normal for you to still be grieving the losses your family has endured. I am glad to hear that Krista is doing well and I do hope that she is getting to spend more time with the boys.

  7. 8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.
    Sort of recently — and I do think a lot about God’s faithfulness in some parts of my life, because it’s been amazing.   But I haven’t practiced it in one area, so here goes:
     
    God, how long will unfairness and injustice win?  Those who lie or cheat or divide people keep getting away with it.  And just when I forget about it, it happens again.   Those who are deceitful and get away with it keep hurting more people.  Lord, I’m am sick and tired of this, and we are helpless to stop it.  And I hate it.

    My God, you are holy and just.  “You are not a God who delights in wickedness;”  you are a “stronghold for the oppressed,” and you ARE my righteousness. “You , O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” You are truth.

    Great God, protect us from the lies. Shine your light so lies and scheming are brought out in the open. Vindicate those who are the victims of bullies. Make the truth known so that you are glorified. I praise you, O Lord, that YOU are in control.
     
     

    1. Oh my — when I practiced the lament above, I didn’t know what I would be facing plagiarism a few hours later.  The cheating policy is such that it can take months to resolve even though I have the original sources. 

      1. I’m praying for you, Renee. 

      2. Oh, Renee. This is hard. Praying for you as you lament and pursue truth through this.

      3. Renee, praying for you…

      4. Renee, I’m praying that you are able to get justice quickly!      I had that problem when I was a freshman in college, taking an Ethics class of all things.   My Ethics paper and that of a senior boy were so similar — and naturally they assumed that the freshman had copied the senior’s work.   However, it later was proven that the senior had worked for the Ethics professor, and had the opportunity to slip out my paper, copy portions of it and return it to the pile on the professor’s desk.      My only saving grace was that I also worked for another professor as his secretary.   Sometimes when my boss needed to get his thoughts together before he did dictation of correspondence, he would allow me to stick a sheet of paper in the typewriter and work on some of my class homework.   He was aware that I was steadily working on my Ethics paper right there in his office, so he spoke up to the professor who was accusing me.    Once the thinking was switched to believing the “senior copied the freshman,”  it didn’t take them long to figure out how it happened.   
        Praying that your situation straightens out very soon!

    2. Renee, I am praying for you – you press in each time you are confronted with difficulties at work and through that I see growth in you (though I know that I do not know you very well I am impressed with how you bring it to Him each time desiring His work in the situation but even more in your heart). How frustrating to keep encountering injustice.

      1. Thanks for prayers everyone.  Plagiarism resolved (they took me up on the opportunity to redo).  Other issues not so good, though others are hurt much worse.

        Jill, If either the situation hadn’t changed or I hadn’t changed, someone would not be here any longer!! Thankful to God for his patience in changing me.

  8. 7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13.
    I wasn’t here when Dee taught about the 3 steps, but looked at a couple of sources that used these 4 (sometimes 5) components in the structure of a classic lament…..and they seemed to fit very well.
    Address:  ‘oh Lord’ vs. 1
     
    Lament Proper:  ‘How long will you:   forget me forever?  hide your face from me?   How long must I:  wrestle with my thoughts?  have sorrow every day in my heart?  How long will my enemies triumph over me?’  vs. 1,2
     
    Petition:  ‘Look on me.  Answer me.  Give light to my eyes.  (so I don’t sleep in death. So my enemies don’t overcome me.  So my foes don’t rejoice when I fail.)  vs. 3,4
     
    Vow of Praise:  ‘But I trust in your unfailing love to me.  I rejoice in your salvation.  I WILL sing, the Lord has been good to me.’
     
     
    How are the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?   They lamented that their hope was gone.  The prophet and powerful teacher and leader was gone.  The one who they thought would be their redeemer was gone.   The religious leaders and the rulers had gotten him and they had sentenced and crucified him.  And now, even his body was gone.    The dialogue with Jesus was first an exhortation to remember the words of the scriptures.  To remember what they had learned from the prophets.  To remember the words of their prophet, powerful teacher, potential redeemer himself.  His words quickened their hearts.  They begged him to stay with them.  And as he did, their eyes were open to the truth.  The reality.  And they immediately declared with certainty ‘It is true!  the Lord has risen!’   
     
    Jesus met them where they were.…in their despair, their doubting, their lamenting that hope was gone.  He drew them back to the scriptures, the prophecies, the Word himself.  He quickened their hearts.  They responded with a desire to be near him.  He opened their eyes.  They rejoiced in confidence.
     

    1. “Jesus met them where they were.”
      Yes! Thank God, Amen, and Hallelujah! =D

      1. Sweet Jill—just love this salient, powerful comment! Yes..Thank you Lord Jesus that you meet us where we are in our brokenness-our misunderstandings about you-when the penny just gets stuck and doesn’t drop! You come and open our eyes..You are beautiful beyond description too marvelous for words. Thank you..oh Thank you that you love us so..

  9.  

    6. If possible, share a time, in praise and thankfulness that He did the same for you during this Lenten season
     
    The weeks running up to Easter are often very hard for me.   Because I  struggle with my local church’s view of Lent, Holy Week and even their Easter services, I often find other services to attend.   This year I had many frustrations about if/how/when or where we would be able to spend Easter and especially Easter worship with any of our children.My older son  nearly always works on Easter Sunday,  my older daughter has a casual attitude toward its spiritual significance, my younger son lives 10 hours away and planned to drive up with his family to arrive Easter evening as they had a break from school,  my younger daughter couldn’t decide if she’d come home from college since she’s coming home this next weekend and there’s only 3 weeks left of the term.  I had worked extremely hard preparing our rather small home to be able to sleep 8 extra people…..a project that had left me very exhausted.   And a lot of our plans or lack thereof… did seem very out of control at times. 
    But, honestly, in large part, because of the blessing, challenge and the things the Lord has been teaching me through this blog,  my journey through Lent was so meaningful.  I was calmer and more confident than I have been prior to Easter, for many years.  As I prayed and moved forward with what I knew…..trying to relinquish what I couldn’t plan or control, things came together and we had a wonderful, meaningful Easter morning of worship….and a delightful surprise….an unexpected gift from God!   Palm Sunday, we attended our local church and the service was very good with a good time of fellowship.  Good Friday, we found a nearby church that had the kind of somber, reflective worship and quiet exit I find most meaningful to remember the day our Lord died.  Sunday morning, my daughter and her boyfriend were happy to join us at a very large cathedral setting in downtown Minneapolis.  Due to miscommunication and none of us being familiar with the building, we were all there for about 10  minutes and couldn’t find each other.  When we finally got together,  the sanctuary was filled to the max….an usher went out of his way to find some seats for us in the very last rows of the balcony.  In a circular sanctuary, with many balcony entrances…..halfway through the service, the door opened right next to where I was seated on the end of a row.  To my great surprise, there was my dear friend and neighbor from 28 years ago who lives in another city 4 hours away.  Neither of us had any idea the other was there in this sanctuary that seats a couple thousand.  It was an incredible moment!  We talked briefly and said we’d call the next day….and both agreed, the Lord was so gracious to give us that completely unexpected happy moment.  The service was beautiful.  We were thrilled to be with our daughter and her boyfriend, who don’t attend church at all, but happily joined us that morning.  Our son and his family arrived safely that night and our visit has been blessed.  We didn’t see our other two kids but had nice phone exchanges with them.  I have been thanking the Lord all week for his Providence and for delighting me with extra touches of his care and love. 
     

    1. Wanda–love how He allowed you to reunite with an old neighbor–what evidence of His hand and His “extra touches of His care and love”. Thankful you are here with us, you bring SO much

      1. Thank you, Elizabeth.  I appreciate your encouragement!

      2. Wanda-I agree with Elizabeth-SO glad you are here and you do bring much. 

  10. 8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.
     
    Oh Lord, how my heart gets overwhelmed with sorrow, with worry, with fear.  I didn’t think that I would only be in my mid 50’s when so many of my friends my age would be so very seriously sick….all at the same time.   How I dread to open another email marked ‘prayer request’ and find yet another sad story, another ‘I can’t believe it.’ moment.  Just in the past two weeks, we have heard that Diane T. who is waiting for a new kidney may not be well enough to receive it,  Kevin L. has surgery tomorrow for a tumor that is wrapped around his spine…while his brother is in critical care in a different hospital in the same city,  Mike B. was rushed to the hospital last night and had emergency surgery today for bleeding on his brain, the reason unknown…..and Randy and Steve have been suffering intolerable pain in late stages of cancer for so long….and every week there seems to be someone new on the list to pray for.   High school friends, college friends, church friends….so much pain.  So much urgency.   When does the good news come?  When does the hurting stop? When do we rejoice again?  And yet…. you are faithful.   You do not leave us alone.  You will heal my friends…sometimes on earth but always in heaven.   I will praise you for you endured the worst pain possible so that we could be redeemed….and when our earthly sorrow is over, we will live eternally with you. 

    1. Wanda, I’m sorry for so many of your friends who are seriously ill. These situations remind me of Keller’s sermon last week, where he talked about how we reach an age in life where things begin to be irretrievably lost…our youth and good health can be one of those things…and it’s hard to watch this happen to our friends.
      I wanted to let you know also that you can find that Mike Reeves’ overview link on Dee’s blog the week of 12/29/13…the very first week of the Psalm study. It’s in the section that Dee writes.

      1. Thank you Susan.  For your kind words and for the info about where to find the link.  I will open it today!

  11. Bonhoeffer said “The early morning belongs to the church of the risen Christ…”  Every early morning is a celebration of Easter.
    Bonhoeffer also says: “For Christians the beginning of the day should not be burdened and haunted by the various kinds of concerns they face during the working day. The Lord stands above the new day, for God has made it.”
    4. What helped you experienced His presence this Lent — and what might you want to continue?Staying in the psalms, listening to the choice music and varied speakers and most of all acknowledging who God is and seeing Jesus in every story in the Bible.5. In Psalm 11 we found two voices — one telling to trust in the Lord, the other giving reasons to despair and flee.
                   Apply this to the two on the road to Emmaus. Find a verse that shows they thought everything was out of control. Then show a verse showing how God was in control all the time.
    Out of control:
    v. 20 the chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death and they crucified him… v. 24 him they did not see
    God is in control:
    v.25 Did not Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? v. 31 then their eyes were opened and they recognized him 34…and saying, “It is true. The Lord has risen!”
    6. Lord, my eyes are often times not seeing of you and your truth. Thank you that through the psalms, I have seen you more clearly. You have come alongside me and have stayed and allowed my heart to burn within as you opened your Word to me. I am not the same anymore. I want to praise you with my life. Let me be a sweet offering to you. Enbolden me to share you with others.
     
     

    1. Beautiful prayer, Ernema
       

  12. PRAISE GOD HE HAS RISEN! I’m a little slow. .but trying to keep up with your comments and praying for you all.   GOOD NEWS TO SHARE!  MY DAUGHTER GOT HER DENVER JOB!!!!!  They will be moving from San Diego in 2 months!   We are all so excited!    It will be the first time since she was 18….18 years ago…that she will be closer to home than ever….only  6 hours!! I am praising God and thanking all of you for praying!    Thank you so much! They will fix my home computer then too! (He is brilliant with computers) Thank you Dear Heavenly Father!!!!

    1. Oh Joyce! praising Him with you! SO happy for you!!

    2. Woo hoo!   Praise God!  Congrats to them and to YOU !!  and to your computer 😉

    3. YAY, Joyce!!! Such good news about your daughter. Rejoicing with you!

    4. Joyce – such good news! Praise God!

    5. YAHOO!!!!  Thanks for sharing the great news, Joyce!

    6. Hallelujah!  Joyce, I know you must be immensely relieved.   I share  your joy and praise God for enabling your daughter to get that job!   

    7. Praise God Joyce! SO happy for you 🙂

    8. So very happy for you, Joyce! 

    9. YEAH JOYCE!!!!! Praising God with you-dancing on the table at your good news! :)))

    10. Rejoicing also with you, Joyce! This is great news and answer to prayer!

    11. Joyce, praise the Lord for answering our prayers. I have a daughter who goes to college about 2 hours away and I miss her often. Thank God your daughter would now be only 6 hours away. HE is good!

  13. 5. Find a verse that shows they thought everything was out of control. Then show a verse showing how God was in control all the time.
    I misread this as the disciples in general rather than the 2 on the road to Emmaus. You can definitely see the 2 voices in the disciples actions.  They were gathered “with the doors locked for fear of the Jews” (Jn 20:19) and “mourning and weeping” (Mark 16:10). Which shows the “despair and flee” voice! But then after assurance of Christ’s resurrection they “stayed continually at the temple, praising God.” Which shows them turning to God … I do wonder what this story would have looked like had the disciples gone to the temple to seek God in their despair instead of hiding. But I am grateful for their story because I see me hiding and locking my doors when I see despair, hurt, or struggles come and yet I see I need to stay continually at the temple praising God!
     
    6. If possible, share a time, in praise and thankfulness that He did the same for you during this Lenten season.
    Connected to my above answer, the Lord came to me as I waited for Jaxter in surgery a couple weeks ago. My heart desired to flee and hide, distract myself with something while I waited. Instead, God called me to ponder that which I feared and that which is true. I pressed into Him “at the temple” instead of hiding with locked doors.  He came to me.  He did not necessarily give me specific “answers” but He touched that deep place in me where He is sitting on His throne and increased my awareness of the concept of “I am.” This was all through meditation of Psalm 16 and Renee’s question of “How do we make the Lord our portion when we are not desperate.” God also took me to Psalm 112 (and though I know we are not to regard the Psalms as a “bag of sweeties” per Mike Reeves, this really did speak to my heart).  Wanda, you may find this verse encouraging, as well, in regards to what you shared above.

     
    Psalm 112: 7-8
    They will have no fear of bad news; their heart are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
    Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear, in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
     

    This was amazing to me because I was sitting there fear bad news of my son in surgery. At that moment His peace came on me and while I still do not desire bad things to happen to me I feel that I have a greater/deeper understanding that He is in control even though that may mean painful experiences. I could go on and on about this!! I think it was Keller who said it doesn’t matter how we FEEL the truth is what we believe, what we stand on. I am understanding this better and seeing fruit in my life from it.

    1. This is so good, Jill. Thanks for sharing about how God met you as you waited at the hospital. The verses in Psalm 112 are solid gold when we are standing on the Rock of faith in Christ. I often fear “bad news”, imagining the worst case scenerio for the problems I encounter, instead of looking to the Lord. Thanks for the verses.

    2. Thank you Jill.  Those are wonderful verses and I really like your #5 too.   You drew out so much from that passage….very relevant. 

    3. Thanks for sharing the verses, Jill.   SO applicable to… ALL THE TIME!

    4. Jill, thanks for the reminder of Psalm 112. I have been clinging to that as I pray and minister across the seas to my sister in the Philippines who has cancer. Every time I see an E-mail from her, I bring this to mind before I click to open her message. :(My heart is secure because my trust is the Lord!)

  14. Based on the recent questions, I’ve been contemplating life’s out-of-control-ness, that God is in control, and the lament.   From outward appearances,  my life is as chaotic and out of control as ever.  Some parts might be a little better in that it isn’t as personal; some definitely is worse.  Much that surrounds me seems the same, and that could be discouraging because of no apparent progress or continued triumph of evil.

    But I am a different person than I was a year ago.  God has opened my eyes to His Word and has firmly planted in me much of what we are studying now.   It’s as if some of what we’ve studied in the past years took root right away, but much was sitting on the surface waiting for the right soil conditions.  And as God has gently (usually, it was gently!) peeled away the mulch — or allowed it to compost:)  more seeds are taking root.   I often wonder why I am so slow to catch on at a heart level, and the compost metaphor helps me understand.  His timing is best — and I do know that permanent changes often take awhile.

    1. I love the compost analogy, Renee. As the snow has melted from my flower beds over the past couple of weeks, I am looking at the piles of leaves I put on them last Fall. They are brown and ugly; and my first inclination is to want to rake them off. Then I remind myself that I put them on there as protection for the winter but also as compost to enrich the soil and cut down the weeds. If I can have the patience to leave them there, they will decompose and feed the plants. It is a slow process, but I will try to be patient. I want my plants to be healthy in an organic natural way. It’s part of a process called Farming God’s Way, that I am trying. Back to the analogy: Anyway, God’s timing is not always our timing. We need to be faithful to give our souls and minds and bodies the proper nutrients they need and let Him work.

      1. Diane and Renee……I am enjoying (and learning from) both of your above comments.  Composting…..taking root……good soil….it all has a lot to say.  Stuff that I need to learn to apply so much more also.  Love the exhortation to be patient with the leaf mulch too, Diane!  My flower beds are in the same spot.  Snow just barely melted when we got hit by 11 inches 4 days before Easter….then it all melted again Easter weekend.  Seeing the crocus and daffodils and other Spring bulbs emerge……makes me so grateful for all of those brown, ugly leaves that have kept them safe and nurtured them.  (Even though I did take a rake and rake some of the snow away once this Spring!)

  15. What helped me to experience His Presence this Lent?
    This Lenten season was very meaningful to me as I studied the Psalms together with you.
    I kept a journal and wrote prayers and notes. My readings were helpful, from Idol Lies- to look at myself
    and my need to be set free. I prayed for glimpses of truth, for God to open my heart to his word.
    A special verse for me is Ps. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right  spirit within me.
    Music being part of this worship time is also very special to me.

  16.  
     

    11. What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.

     

    As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face;     when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.

     

    Vs. 15 Is beyond exciting! It makes me think of my grandmother who is dying of cancer. She keeps telling me every time she falls asleep she thinks she is not going to wake up and be here. As much as I don’t want her to leave me, I am so excited for her that one day she will be laying in her hospice bed and in an instant wake up  to the very face of God Himself. She has been in so much pain and suffering this past year, so I am so happy for her that her pain is short term and she will be fully satisfied. I have no idea what being fully satisfied is like or  what it really means, but  I am so grateful for what Jesus has done for us. It makes me think of Tim’s video last week. He had a great reminder that the big battle is over. All the sufferings down here are just little bug bites compared to the battle that has been won.

     
     

    1. ” one day she will be laying in her hospice bed and in an instant wake up  to the very face of God Himself”…….Oh Natalie....It is so sweet to hear this from you as you contemplate your grandmother’s home-going.   I was with my mom when she crossed over .. and to know that this was happening…..to be that near to heaven as a loved one is escorted from this life to the next, is indescribable.    Your grandmother will make that transition in God’s perfect timing…..peace to you and yours as you await the transition with her. 

  17. Natalie, you have said it so well.These sufferings will be over; happy as your grandmother has this joy after her suffering.

  18.  7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13.
     
    The three steps are the lament, the petition, and praise.  
     
     How we the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?
     
     
    They began by lamenting all that had gone on with Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.   They were sad that Jesus had been killed before he could redeem Israel.  They were upset that his body was missing.    As they were in dialogue with Jesus (although they didn’t know it was Him), He led them back through what the Scriptures had said about the Messiah and how the Messiah must suffer.   He also reminded them of all that he had taught them when He was with them.   They later stated that those words of Jesus had made their hearts burn within them.     When it appeared that Jesus was going to travel on beyond where they were stopping, they longed for more conversation with Him, and begged Him to stay with them.   Then when He broke bread, their eyes were opened (another way of saying God revealed it to them) and they recognized Him.    From then on, they were declaring confidently that He was risen!  (The best praise ever!)
     
     

    1. Deanna, You have described this lament on the road to Emmaus so well.
      I love the story of Jesus walking alongside of the followers and reminding them of all the prophecies
      that have come true from the scriptures through his death and resurrection!
      I am so like a forgetful child as I lament about my circumstances. It is so humbling as I cry out to
      God, How long must I wait to have my vision fulfilled…?(It is to sell our home and make plans that
      are easier for our retirement years.) Yet I remember that God has always been there for us in ways that
      worked better than we could have imagined. I am so thankful for all of the years he has faithfully guided
      us and helped us through some tough situations that looked hopeless. His promises are true and He is my guide!

  19. 9. Psalms 14, 15, and 16 show us the gospel — I can even see Jesus going through these, much like the Roman road, on the Emmaus Road.
       A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
     
    The height of foolishness is to believe there is no God — either by ignoring or denying the evidence that He exists or by refusing to live by God’s truths.  

      B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
     
    Those who are blameless or righteous can dwell in heaven, which of course we cannot do without Christ’s help. We are not blameless.   He is the one whose righteousness covers us.
     
       C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?
     
    Their boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places.  Those who turn to the Lord for refuge find themselves in a good, safe, free, loved condition, confident of their future.   

  20.    A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
     
    The height of foolishness are those who don’t believe in God.; those who are evil and do evil things.
     
     
       B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
     
    Those you do good may reside in heaven. I love this phrase in Psalm 15:
     
    “…who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the Lord; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind;…” (Psalm 15:4 NIV)
     
    We need Christ to be our standard; so we know how to be good to be able to get to heaven. We need to reflect his characteristics.
     
     
       C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?
     
    The boundary lines are with Jesus, in pleasant places.  Hanging in there with Jesus keeps us happy. When we drift away from those boundary lines things start to get muddled and evil. You can feel it, you’re just not on the right path. When I’m lined up with Jesus things go well and things are good in my life.
     

  21. 10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
     
    He knows what is right and he knows what is good. He keeps faithfulness to God. 
     
    I definitely see Christ in this Psalm as he was mocked and he was crucified. He asks God to keep him safe.
     
    He clings to the thought of seeing God.
    11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.
     
    Verse 15 means that I too can rise and live with Jesus. I can see the face of God.
     
    Thank you Lord for giving your son to save me.  I don’t deserve it. I am a lowly human, a sinner who doesn’t deserve your sacrifice. Thank you for giving me grace and mercy. In Your Name, Amen.
     

  22. Dee – you ok? Praying for you.

    1. Jill, I too have noticed that Dee has been sporadic here. I hope you are not sick, Dee. We don’t mean to bother you if you are just busy, but we are a bit concerned.

    2. I’m chiming-in here too…I do hope you are okay, Dee…I’ve also noticed you haven’t been “with us”!

    3. Have been praying for you, too, Dee — including that you are having a time of refreshment.   From earlier postings on here, I was wondering if you were turning into a night owl (or at least a later-time-during-the-day-owl) but then I noticed on FB that it could be a time zone difference!

  23.  7. Psalms 12 an 13 teach us the lament — find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13. How we the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus — and how did the Lord dialogue with them?
    1. v1-4: Being honest before God about my heart-what is laying heavy on it..In particular I like how David models the truth about how he feels about God-that He is far from him. Also, this petition isn’t just asking God for things..He wants God, and what is laying heavy on his heart lines up with what is heavy on God’s heart..Again..I can’t help but see Jesus here. 🙂
     
    2. v 5,6 Remembering God’s character-His faithfulness- then it moves into resolve and rest in Him and the truth about Him, and the truth that God has been good to David in the past and God is unchanging and faithful.
     
    3. v 5, 6: David goes into Praise and adoration of Who God is as well here..He begins with a crying out and ends with resting and delighting in God. Love that, and SO SO SO needed for me to go over this again. 

  24. 10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
     
    Christ was unjustly accused and cried out to his Father in the Garden to take away his cup of suffering, yet determined “not my will, but Thine be done”. Ps. 17:3 says, “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” Verse 4 “My steps have held fast to your paths;” In verses 10-13, it speaks of being attacked by evil, pitiless men; verse 12 “a lion eager to tear”. 
     
    In verse 15, God promises that we will behold His “face in righteousness”. I sit in wonder at what it will be like to behold the face of God, to commune with Him intimately. When Jesus walked on earth, He told His disciples that to see Him was to see the Father, which in Jesus God’s glory was hidden or veiled except perhaps on the Mount of Transfiguration. The disciples were sinful limited men and not ready. But one day we will be ready. We will see Him face to face. That is my deepest longing for when I get to heaven. When we awake (in heaven) we shall be fully “satisfied with your likeness.” He is our deepest longing. That longing will be satisfied in heaven.
     
    Meanwhile, while we are here on earth, we are being prepared for that. God is making us like Himself. This is a thought too wondrous for me even to understand but the tiniest glimpse of possibility. As Moses’ face shone after being in God’s presence at Sinai, in heaven, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is, full of glory. We are getting ready here for glory, being made like Him now little by little. Oh, glorious hope.
     
    2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

    And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

     

    1. So beautiful, Diane. Thanks for sharing that verse. It is an amazing concept. Being molded into His image.

  25. 7. Psalms 12 and 13 teach us the lament – find the 3 steps of a classic lament in Psalm 13. How were the two lamenting on the road to Emmaus – and how did the Lord dialogue with them?
     
    The lament – verses 1-4 are the honest laments and cries to the Lord, expressing the pain, sorrow, and fear. “How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?…how long will I have sorrow in my heart?”
     
    The “turn” – remembering how God has helped in the past – verse 5 says “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation.” This is getting our eyes off ourselves and looking again at God and remembering His character, His love, His help.
     
    Praise – verse 6 says “I will sing to the Lord, for He has been good to me.” Meditating on God’s goodness and His character will lead us into praise and worship and we get our joy back.
     
    The two were lamenting on the Emmaus road…the obvious sign was that their faces were downcast. They looked sad. They lamented that their friend, Jesus, was dead and so were all their hopes that He was the Messiah. Jesus began to talk to them about the Scriptures that showed promises of a Messiah…encouraging them, I think, to put “two and two” together and to remember how all these past prophecies had been fulfilled in Him. I’m seeing here that this was a scholarly approach to turning their lament around. He was getting them to use their intellect, to think about the truth. We need to do the same – to speak the truth that we know to our souls.

  26. 8. Have you practiced the lament recently – or could you now? If so, do.
     
    I think I practiced it the week leading up to Easter as I described in an earlier post. My lament is often that I don’t think anything will ever change; including me. Even when I do start to feel more peace and hope, I feel a little bit wary, like is this for real? It’s as if I don’t want to be disappointed again. Jill’s prison cell imagery comes to mind…the door is open and why don’t I just go back in there…ruts get comfortable and change is harder. The “turn” is that God is endearingly the same…yesterday, today, and forever…yet He is at work in me to change me more into His likeness.
     
    9. Psalms 14, 15, and 16 show us the gospel – I can even see Jesus going through these, much like the Roman road, on the Emmaus Road.
     
    A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
     
    It is the height of foolishness to say in your heart, “There is no God.” Or, to live as if He doesn’t matter-even if you believe in Him. Verse 1 says “there is no one who does good.” We are all shown to be fools as verses 2 and 3 describe how God looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who understands, anyone who seeks God. But “ALL have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” We are all included in that judgment.
     
    B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
     
    Psalm 15 describes utter perfection and sinlessness…the only person who is like this is Jesus. Blameless…righteous…truthful…never sins with his tongue…never hurts anyone…keeps all his promises…
    The good news is that if we abandon all ideas of our own righteousness, God welcomes us to come to Him in our need of a Savior, and we need the righteousness that comes through faith in Jesus. When we are in Christ, God sees us as having done all these things as described in this Psalm.
     
    C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?
     
    Our boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places. We are God’s children, members of His household, and we take this truth with us wherever we go. We can never be anywhere where He is not, and walking with Him in the light, because He is in the light, is a pleasant place to be. He takes care of us and nothing enters our lives without His permission.
     

    1. Susan,  your last paragraph is so well spoken.  What a comfort to know that ....’we take this truth with us wherever we go…we can never be anywhere He is not’....   This is something I don’t think of often enough or I just take it for granted….but what an enormous privilege it is that the Lord is right beside us.  Thanks for the good reminder.

  27. We attended a funeral service yesterday for dear friends who lost their baby. This was one of the songs we sang, love the lyrics and especially the chorus, On Jordan’s Stormy Banks – Indelible Grace:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0J2hXjflmuw

    1. Elizabeth, thanks for sharing this song. Beautiful promise of where we are bound and WHO we will be with!

  28. Thank you Elizabeth.  Beautiful song.  Imagine how many years of comfort these old hymns have brought to people.  I will pray for your friends going through this heart breaking loss.

  29. Yes, I also will pray for the family. This song is wonderful and new to me. Thank you, Elizabeth. God bless.

    1. Wanda & Shirley, thank you so much for praying for them. They are a dear young family, planning to go into overseas Missions in the Fall to a very difficult area of the world. Their baby lived only a few minutes, but their faith has inspired all our Church body.

  30. 9. Psalms 14, 15, and 16 show us the gospel — I can even see Jesus going through these, much like the Roman road, on the Emmaus Road.  
     
    Dee,  I smiled when I read this.  Jesus speaking from the scriptures to the disciples…. using these psalms as a ‘gospel tract’ to explain redemption. 
     
       A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
    Saying that ‘there is no God’.  Saying it in our hearts…..by disregarding God’s presence and providence in our daily lives.   I am foolish when I forge ahead of the Lord by not asking Him for His direction or even pausing to pray before I act or respond many times.  I am foolish when I worry and allow anxiety to control my thoughts rather than trust.   I am also foolish when I take Him for granted, not thanking Him or praising Him for His goodness.  I am foolish when I neglect His Word.
     
       B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
    Only one who is perfect: blameless and righteous.  Never missing a single requirement of holiness.  This psalm is the whole gospel.  God requires perfection to enter into His perfect presence.  We are imperfect and sinful.  Jesus is the mediator; perfect and sinless who stands between us and God and gives us access to the holy hill.  Jesus is our perfect high priest.   He has entered into the sanctuary; not just in Jerusalem, but the true sanctuary, heaven….where He is seated at the right hand of His Father God. 
     
    “Guilty, vile and helpless…..we
    Spotless Lamb of God was He
    Full Atonement.  Can it be?
    Hallelujah!  What a Savior!”
      
    C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?  
     
    Our boundary lines fall in pleasant places.  We have a secure and abundant inheritance from Him.  We can be calm, confident and content because He has made His presence sure in our lives.  He has given us our portion, the promise that He is always with us here on earth and that we will one day enter His very presence where there is everlasting joy and pleasures forever. 

  31. 10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
     
    I mostly see Jesus in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and also at his trial.    Jesus had the righteousness to pray these words in a way that David actually did not.   Jesus was holy and righteous, and had kept himself from evil and violence.   He could stand the examination before God.   He prayed for His vindication, and prayed for God’s protection.     Clearly to me, verses 10-12 sound like Jesus’ arrest, when Judas led the priest’s army to the garden.   “They have tracked me down, they now surround me.”
     
    11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.
    Verse 15 sounds as if it is referring to eternal life.   “And I — in righteousness I will see your face;  when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.”   
     
    Dear God,  I thank you that I have you as my refuge now, during tough times here on earth.  However, I praise you all the more that I have your promise that this life is not all there is.  We are created with a longing for  you, and we know that we will be far more content when we are with you face-to-face.   The cares of this world will be behind us, and the joy of your presence will be with us then.    Sometimes in our earthly journey, we become overwhelmed and feel as if you are hiding from us.   We have your promise that when we join you in glory we will see you face-to-face, and there will no longer be any barriers for us to cross to get to you.    God, your love is so awesome, and it is so mind-boggling that you had this plan for us all along.   Such an unselfish plan to sacrifice your Son to redeem us all!!     “Thank you”   is not enough!  It is not even a fraction of enough.   I cannot repay you, but I can surrender all that I am to you, and I do that now! 

    1. Deanna–I love your prayer here, beautiful!

    2. Wow Deanna, I agree with Elizabeth-your prayer was beautiful indeed. I am seeing how He is drawing you in closer to Him-yes! 🙂

  32.  7.
    Lament of Psalm 13
    The cry: “How long O Lord?…”
    The tuning: “But I have trusted in Your steadfast love…”
    The praise: “I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
     
    On the Road to Emmaus.
    The cry:  Jesus was crucified and His body is missing! (vs 19-23)
    The turn: (v. 31) “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him.” And their hearts burned!
    The praise: (v. 34) “The Lord has risen indeed,”

  33. 8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.
    Lord, I cry out to You because I feel heavy burdened. My heart has been hurt for so long and and my response lately has been to build walls. There is a growing distance I cannot seem to fix. Daily I pray but my resources are dry. My own heart has grown cold. I do not love the way You do. I have made requirements, placed conditions to be met before I will give any more. Forgive me, Lord, please. This love can only come from You. I am weak and bruised. I know what I should do, but what I want to do I do not do. And what I no longer want to do is what I find myself doing. Demands, conditions. Oh, please forgive me Lord.
    I know that You hear my cry. I know that You still love me even with all of my exposed sin. You do not put requirements on me, Lord. You have no conditions on Your love except that I lay myself at Your feet and humbly admit the sinner I am.
    Thank You Lord that Your grace is bigger than this. Thank You that You can fill even broken, dirty vessels like me with Your love. Thank You that You have all the power to break down the walls and flood with Your love. I turn to You, I trust in You alone for this, fill me with Your love so I can pour it out freely, needing nothing in return.

    1. Praying for you, Elizabeth. You are going through such a rough time. It touches my heart how steadfastly you turn to the Lord in this. Thank you. May the Lord give you rest and peace in this.
      Matthew 11:28

      Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

      1. Thank you so much dear Diane. Your prayers are worth more than gold to me. It was hard to hit “submit” after typing all that…but that is just what He is calling me to do. Hit the “submit” button and give it to Him!

        1. Elizabeth-I am glad you hit the submit button-but also what you added: that you gave that to him. Praying. 🙂

    2. Elizabeth, I feel your pain in this prayer; it is real and hard to handle.  He is always near, and giving love freely to those around you, means you are giving to Him as well. Your trusting in Him is so apparent and lifting. I am remembering you in prayer. 

    3. Praying for you, Elizabeth.   I so appreciate your openness and your heartfelt cry to the Lord — helps me pray for you better, and for all of us as we seek him together.

    4. Elizabeth, I could have written these words-applied to myself…”My heart has been hurt for so long and my response lately has been to build walls.” I began to rebuild the walls just a day ago…”My own heart has grown cold. I do not love the way You do. I have made requirements, placed conditions to be met before I will give any more.” And “what I want to do I do not do…” I think I know to what relationship in your life this applies, and I think you know the strained relationship in my life. I found myself in a really bad place again yesterday…sometimes I wonder how the Lord can forgive me yet again.

      1. oh Susan, I am so sorry. I am praying for your situation. Thank you for your understanding and empathy towards mine. When you said “sometimes I wonder how the Lord can forgive me yet again.”–I admit to having had that exact thought, a few times. But when I hear you say it, I know without a doubt He has no limits on His grace, His forgiveness…I hear myself remind you His mercies are new every morning and it helps me believe it for myself too. Love you Susan~

      2. Just want to jump in here and say, Susan, how much the Lord loves you. Yes, it grieves him when we stray, but more than anything else He longs for us to run back to His arms. You are His precious beloved lamb. My prayers are with you, Susan.

  34. 10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
     
    Certainly, Jesus was a man unfairly accused.  In verse 2, the psalm says ‘May my vindication come from you…’  We have just celebrated that vindication…when Jesus rose from the dead, He triumphed over the power of death and every untrue thing said against Him, every injustice was vindicated.   ‘Surely this man was the Son of God.’
     
    Jesus gave himself completely into the Father’s hands….as he committed his spirit and died.  He knew the work of redemption was finished and the battle was won.  Hebrews 12 tells us that it was ….’for the joy set before Him, that He endured the cross….scorning the shame…..and then was seated at the right hand of God.’   He knew the goal that awaited Him.  He knew that His Father would deliver Him and He would once again be in perfect fellowship with His Father. 
     
    11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.
     
    “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” 
     
    Oh Lord, You are holy and blameless.  You spoke not a word against the men who so violently opposed and abused You.  You endured the cross for me.  And You did it with joy…..the joy of becoming the author and perfecter of our faith.  I cannot find the words that could ever thank you enough.  I rejoice in you.  I praise you for so great a salvation.  I know that my eyes will see you and then I will fall down before you.   ‘this veil of flesh I’ll drop and rise to seize the everlasting prize’….eternity with You my Lord, my Savior and Redeemer.  Hallelujah.

  35. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.  Only 2?! =)
    1. Learning how to lament will definitely stay with me. Especially THE TURN. Oh my how important that is! As a Christian I can get stuck in the lament and it eventually turns into whining and focuses me on me, spiraling deeper in selfishness. But the turn – that is where the processing begins, even though the circumstances may not change, my heart does but only when I turn. The praise is important, as well, but even here I can get stuck as a Christian trying to deny the problem or merely running slightly to the left to avoid it and use praising as an excuse to not process, not trust if I am honest.
     
    2. Psalm 16.  “Apart from You, Lord, I have no good thing” and Renee’s question of “How do I make the Lord my portion when I am not desperate”  This changed my heart permanently (well, I pray so, it was definitely significant). In line with the above, these 2 statements are key in the turn because if I see that which I am lamenting about through the truth that apart from God I have no good thing it puts circumstances in much more right (truthful) perspective. I think this is where His burden is light, His yoke is easy? Because He is in control, He loves me, He woos me…I sit in His presence and that is what matters and will carry me through, even when I am hurting or frustrated…I could babble on about this forever.
     
    3. And…I have to do a third, sorry, but I will keep it to one word: Bonhoeffer. =)

    1. Jill-I LOVE your takeaway: ” But the turn – that is where the processing begins, even though the circumstances may not change, my heart does but only when I turn. “  and repeating Renee’s question, “How do I make the Lord my portion when I am not desperate”-yes, so so so important in this season to ponder.  OH and me too on “Bonhoeffer”… 🙂
       

  36. 8. Have you practiced the lament recently — or could you now? If so, do.
    Oh yes but I am still learning and disciplining my thoughts-this is life changing-a spurring on into deeper trust and intimacy with Him which I so need daily!
     
     
     Lord I cry out to you to help us for my heart is heavy for we/I can be like fools and in your church there are many divisions, infighting, individualism, and a lack of authenticity so that we can build one another up in you..We are clinging to worthless idols over you we are even crippling other new and budding ministries. Yet You said upon this rock you will build your church-and that the gates of hades will not overcome it. Thank you for how you are coming to our rescue from idolatry through many ministries like Dee’s, the Gospel Coalition, Keller’s ministry, and others. Thank you for how you come to my rescue daily! You have shown me truly that your mercies are indeed new every morning-great is your faithfulness! Come harder and deeper Lord Jesus to redeem us from this wilderness time-move in the hearts of your beloved, of the pastors and teachers to help ignite your fire in us to desire you above all for upon this rock you are building your church. In your name I pray, amen.
     
     
    9. Psalms 14, 15, and 16 show us the gospel — I can even see Jesus going through these, much like the Roman road, on the Emmaus Road.
     
       A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
    When we cling to our control and not rest in His-we are saying ‘there is no God’. 
     
       B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
    Only those whose walk is blameless-and we/I fall terribly awfully short..We need His covering of righteousness over us because only He is blameless without flaw-perfect and Holy. 
     
       C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?
    That we are secure in Him in the future, and in the here and now for our life can be sweet as we take refuge in Him daily and commune with Him. I also love that we can walk now in the hope of the future.
     
    10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
    I see Jesus..Only His plea can be without any deceit-perfectly pure, confident and just, and in Him only has there never ever been any evil in his heart.
     
    V15: He will be vindicated-God will vindicate Him..He rose from the dead-and oh..I love when He says, “when I awake I WILL BE SATISFIED with seeing your likeness.”  
     
     
    11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.
     
    What a great follow up because the last verse popped out at me. Keller’s explanation of Jesus and God being one-souls wrapped up as one as opposed to marriage on earth where we are one only physically..So when Jesus was separated from God on the cross that was HUGE…for He was ripped apart inwardly-much more painful than being ripped apart physically.
     
    So, when Jesus says He will be vindicated and will see God’s face…then moves on to say when he awakes he will be satisfied with seeing God’s likeness. THAT IS HUGE! The focus is on his intimacy with God-that is obviously His core-and HE died and rose to bring us into the dance with Him, God and the Holy Spirit-that one ness..and we too can experience Oneness now and in full in the future. We have that to look forward too where HE truly will be our satisfaction above anything else. HE will remove Baal from our lips-we can count on it.  
     
    Lord Jesus-I am blown away-humbled with the thought that you love us/me so much that you came and you were willing to be separated from God on the cross to bring us into the dance-the one-ness with You, God and the Holy Spirit so that I/we can say with you…I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness. You will remove Baal from our lips! You were so deeply grieved with groanings unimaginable in the garden-and I wonder now Jesus if that grief was primarily because you knew separation from God was coming-I don’t know for sure but..Thank you that You willingly went through your soul ripping apart for me so that my soul would never be ripped apart from God..Thank you that because you rose and are vindicated I am too-and I can be satisfied in you here and now and in full in the future. I praise you for Your Holiness and your Love in bringing me into Your dance-Your oneness with God-Help me to cling to you today-to see through the deceitful thoughts within and the lies around me so that YOU may be glorified in me. In your HOly and powerful name I pray, amen. 

  37. I am so sorry — now that I have glanced back through others’ comments, I realize I stated wrong on the lament.   I should have said “turn” when I said “petition.”     Well now, I guess that is why Dee was having us review.    I am going to plead to having had a “senior moment” when I did that 🙂 Sorry if I misled anyone else.  
     

    1. No worries Diane! I made my own three words up for the lament! Totally forgot we studied that before :/ I am only 50! Guess will never forget now right?!

    2. I wasn’t on the blog when the lament study was done initially, so I looked up components of a lament from a couple resources and petition was one of them, Diane.  Although, in that article, 4 or 5 components were used.  I know there are different ways to break it down….and the TURN is what makes it a healthy spiritual discipline instead of just a vent, a whine or a ‘shopping list’ of requests.  It’s great that we can learn from each other!

    3. Laura and Wanda, I think your comments regarding lament and the “turn” are meant to be directed at Deanna from Ohio, not me (Diane from Canada) 🙂

      1. Oops!  You are so right….Diane from Canada!   And I do so love that suddenly, I have all these new friends from so many places 🙂

    4. Deanna, no worries at all-you didn’t mislead anyone and your answer was wonderful as it is. :))) 

  38.  
    12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why
     
    A. Learning how to lament:
     
    1.        to be honest with God about my cry and not to color coat it or find just the right words thinking they will be more convincing to God; speaking from my heart and not being concerned about its “political correctness”.
     
    2.        To remember His goodness of long ago-opening my journal of thanks and not taking things for granted
     
    3.        Praising Him for His character and putting my faith in Him regardless of how I feel
     
     
     
    B. Psalm 16
     
    Assigned…portion…cup…lot…boundary lines…inheritance. I find the order of these words interesting as I see them popping out of the text. I have been assigned something by God-all according to His good and grand design. All of these are my “delightful inheritance”. I think of my students particularly those who I struggle with. Oh how much I wish they understand my sincere desire for them to do well not only in school but also in life-their “delightful inheritance” from me if I may say so (I say these for all those I love as well). Yet, I realize my most sincere desires can be self-serving as I am as human as they are. Not so with my God! Each strand of color (bright, dark, etc) in the tapestry of my life has been woven in “pleasant places” to bring about my “delightful inheritance”. I praise you, Lord! Hallelujah, what a Savior!
    3. Thank you all for this wonderful experience with each of you. My life has been enriched and I hope to continue participating in this blog. Dee, thank you so much for this special ministry. I hope I get to see you and maybe  some of these ladies in the near future. To God be the glory!
     
     
     

  39. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.
     
    1. The overall big picture of the Psalms has never stood out to me so much before.  Since I wasn’t with when you began the Psalm study, I went back to the Dec. 29 lesson and listened to Mike Reeves teach about the big picture and the 5 books corresponding with the 5 books of Moses etc.  This is all pretty new to me.  I have known there was a ‘rhyme and reason’ to many of the psalms and that there are many different kinds of psalms but the way they are ordered consecutively, has never been a part of my understanding.  I would say that I’ve mostly been one of the ‘pick and choose’ kind of psalm readers before.  I love seeing this amazing order and that there is not just a random placement.  This….along with so many components of the individual psalms we have read and reading Bonhoeffer’s prayerbook of the Bible has all taught me a lot in a short while!  Now to work on retaining and applying it!

    2.  I am still blown away by the way that ‘new stuff’ gets revealed to me.  Like Keller’s sermon about ‘crossing over’ and the distinct comparisons of Moses being a mediator and a type of Christ during the Exodus and how clearly that points to the Messiah and his crossing over from death to life for us……so that we could have eternal life.   The old hymn that says….’Thy word is like a deep deep mine with jewels rich and rare.  And everyone who seeks may find a lovely treasure there.”  came to mind as these rich and hidden jewels have become exposed to me during the psalms study.  It’s been a treasure!

  40. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.
    This week, I started some questions and didn’t finish — and didn’t even start others, and feel sorta “out of it.”   However, I know I gained and am remembering so much from this Lenten season.  Yet I know my memory is fallible, and because we started praying Psalms before Lent, I couldn’t remember exactly when Lent started.  The researcher part of my brain kicked in, and I copied my take-aways from the Lenten season into a Word document.  As I was reading my takeaways, I did notice some themes 🙂  I don’t consider myself a expert in qualitative analysis, but I couldn’t help it 🙂
     
    I do think that what I will remember from this Lenten season was “primed” through our studies before Lent.  In general, what I noticed was that this past Lenten season was one in which God continued to woo me, and my desire for him and for Scripture grew.   I want to know him more, and know better what it means to know him in his sufferings.   The reason I desire him is because I KNOW he loves me and though “my world” may crumble, he is my firm foundation.    It’s hard to pick out just two specific things (notice that I created a loophole for myself by writing a general overview first 🙂   ), but here goes:

    1)  The biggest change in me followed this takeaway:  “an attempt at synthesis of what Dee wrote about the tribe of priests not owning land in order to demonstrate that the Lord was their portion, the C.S. Lewis quote, wondering about how to have the Lord as my portion when I’m not (quite) desperate, and Palmer’s statement that ‘being cut off from this world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance.'”

    I recognized that in order to know the Lord is my portion during the average times and even the bad times when I haven’t yet reached complete desperation,  I would need to “allow myself to acknowledge and experience my longings for my real inheritance, for the country I have not yet visited.”     Instead of detaching, distracting myself, or emotionally “checking out,”  I have acknowledged longings and turned to Jesus during the “bad but not yet desperate” times.   He is changing me  (and I trust that he will continue to woo me so that I move toward knowing he is my portion in the “above average” times, too).

    2) He has done it!
     
    3) (Extra credit or deleted points ?? 😉  )  Grace narratives and moral narratives.

    1. AND  even though Pascal’s approach to evangelism is in my heart, I want to “get it” well enough so that I can share the Gospel that way.  How about writing a “how to do it” book or doing on study on that sometime, Dee ????   (Or, I guess I could “get it” really well by doing that myself).

      Last week, I was “trapped” in a conversation when I wanted to be working (couldn’t get a word in edgewise– with a stranger!), and about an hour in I started praying that this time could be redeemed and that I could “practice on her” — sharing the Gospel in a way to make her want to wish it was true.  Pretty soon, she started asking if I believed in angels (and she shared how her family had been protected by friends & relatives that had died), heard about her faith, etc.  About all the farther I got was asking her name.  I think I did ask “what” and “how” once each — in a two hour period.  Praying that God will give me the words to say when doors are open, but I’d like the pieces in my brain to fit together, too.  Even as I write this, I’m thinking I have the pieces — the grace narrative; he has done it!   …. But still… we could study it 😉

    2. Renee…I’m with you on #3……(and since you did an overview, a # 3 and and addendum….I think you get a lot of extra credit (or deleted credit 😉 )  But either way…. Keller’s teaching on the grace narrative/moral narrative was so good and came to me at such a good time.  I am thinking specifically of that sermon.  But wondering if you are also thinking of other times/resources which have taught it this way?  or previous discussions/assignments here?  I would love to explore/learn and hopefully understand that better too. 

      1. Wanda,
        Thanks for the extra — or deleted — credit :)Not sure that I was thinking of anything specific regarding the grace narrative & moral narrative.  The whole idea of narrative caught my attention because I use it in other contexts.   I’m in a marketing group with someone who sent out an email today — sort of a parallel, talking about growth vs improvement — and he indicated that some people unsubscribed because of it!!   I’ll try tagging you in his (open) group of FB & if you are interested, you can sign up to receive his e-newsletter.  

  41. 9.    A. What is the height of foolishness and how are we all shown to be foolish in Psalm 14?
    When I try to manipulate or control a situation, even the times I allow myself to imagine the worst or am covered with fear—I am forgetting Him. I am saying with my actions and fears that there isn’t a God who has all things in His perfect, loving , control. Those times I act the fool of psalm 14.
       B. Who, according to Psalm 15, can dwell in heaven? Why, therefore, do we need Christ?
    The blameless and pure are allowed to dwell in Heaven. ONLY through the cleansing blood of Christ can I enter in.
       C. For those who have made the Lord their refuge, where have their boundary lines fallen according to Psalm 16? What does this mean?
    For those who make the Lord their refuge, the boundary lines are pleasant and we have a beautiful inheritance!
    10. Psalm 17 shows us a man unjustly accused. How do you see Christ in this psalm? What promise did He cling to in verse 15.
    Jesus was perfectly holy and blameless, yet accused and killed. He clung to the “joy set before Him” (Hebrews 12:2).
    11. If Christ is risen, then so shall we be. He was crucified on Passover, the perfect Lamb of God, was risen on the Day of the First Fruits. All planned by God from the foundation of the world. Oh holy God! What does the promise of verse 15 mean to you? Praise Him for it.
    Sinless, Holy Christ, took upon Himself my dirty, sinful heart. He became sin for all, to put it to death, and He rose victorious! And one day, I shall be made like Him, and see Him face to face. It is so hard to imagine. To reflect His face, to overflow with His grace, to love like He loves. I do set that joy before me. Thank You Lord.

  42. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.
    I have loved the Psalms, and how they teach us a true lament. Psalm 11:5 says “The Lord tests the righteous”. We know we will have trials, and all of us have experienced them. But we have also experienced His presence, His power, His peace, amidst. I will remember the faithfulness of so many of you—the way Ernema prays for her sister, the way Laura-dancer perseveres through cancer, and her mom’s death. I will remember the lament of each of you modeled before me. We have each cried out—not venting, or complaining, but an honest cry to the One we know has the power to help. I will remember His turning of my head—to see Him in the storm, and I will remember the strengthening of faith I see in each of you, and feel Him working in me. I am so thankful for this “blog family” of fellowship. Bless you all!

  43. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.
     
    I have really enjoyed studying the Psalms, especially “praying the Psalms”. I have always identified with much of the Psalms, but now I feel like I understand them so much better. I also especially love seeing Christ in the Psalms. 
     
    Spending time preparing my heart with Christ during Lent – contemplating his sorrow, rejection and sacrifice with the help of a book called Contemplating the Cross- has been so meaningful. 

  44. Two things to remember this Lenten season- Oh there is so much and I must only summarize.
    First verse 3 of Psalm 16 is powerful, “praise the Lord for the saints, the glorious ones in whom is all my delight!”
    I think of my dear  friends and also of my new friends on this blog who share so much depth and openness. I thank God
    for you. To learn from you, to pray for you and to fellowship as I come and read. I also claim the promise of verse 1, “I take refuge in you, O God, keep me safe.” There are so many things to be safe from, but the principalities and powers of darkness seem to attack me. Or my own weaknesses also are my enemy.
    So I must humbly come and surrender all to Jesus. Someday I will have the joy of seeing him face to face. I am thankful that he walks with me and talks with me now.
    The music we have listened to is especially beautiful. The Easter song so recently is joyful.

  45. 12. Share two things you will remember from this Lenten season and why.
     
    My, it is so hard to narrow it down to just two things.  For awhile answering this question was making me a little crazy, but then I decided that I didn’t have to state that the two things I mention here are the most important two things I have taken away during this Lent.   It was the self-imposed prioritizing that was getting me down.   
     
    When we were studying Psalm 17, it was such an “aha” experience to see how well the Exodus story, Psalm 17, and crucifixion were all connected.     I have always liked it when the Old Testament and the New Testament worked together, but I had never quite figured Psalms into the equation.    This study has made me see the Psalms in an entirely different light.  I think I used to just “identify” with the songs and prayers of a “long ago psalmist,”  and feel that “children of God” had very similar experiences regardless of which years we have lived in.  
     
    My second take-away is from reading Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship.    I feel myself being challenged by his writing to accept a higher standard of Christian commitment  to discipleship — although I fall far short of Bonhoeffer’s level in his life.    He very specifically delineates the differences between “cheap grace” and “costly grace.”   I know I have been guilty of accepting “cheap grace” in the past.      At the close of the very first chapter, he says, “Happy are they who know that discipleship simply means the life which springs from grace, and that grace simply means discipleship.  Happy are they who have become Christians in this sense of the word.  For them the word of grace has proved a fount of mercy.”   
     
    Dee,  I don’t know where you have been hiding recently  — probably taking a well-deserved rest.   Thank you for shepherding us through this study.   I bet you feel as if it has been a little  like “herding cats”!!

    1. Glad to see you back, Dee. So nice that you had time with family and friends in Seattle. Glad you had a break, but too bad you had to get a cold. I hope your cold is getting better.

  46. Dee, evidently you suddenly showed up while I was writing my last post.    Sorry you have been sick — glad you are some better.   Take good care of yourself.   Praying for your improved health!