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Eucharisteo — a poetic word pregnant with meaning. It represents the gospel, the broken body of Christ — and our response of thankfulness for who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do.



I welcome letters, even those that strongly disagree with me, if they are peaceable. (James 3:17) Thoughtful questions make me think, and help me see things I may have been blind to, or show me if I am being unclear. God uses the fellowship of believers to keep us from sin and error. I try, as Dawson Trotman (founder of Navigators) did, to take criticism into my prayer closet and sift it before God, to see what is true and what is not. I recently received a gentle letter from a women’s ministry leader that decided not to have the women in her church do my book, Idol Lies, as a study because I quoted and recommended Ann VosKamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. She felt Ann taught salvation by gratitude. I thought, I pondered, and reread what Ann wrote. Poet Luci Shaw told me once that many theologians are left-brained, and they may struggle with the metaphors and manner of speaking of poets. I think that keeps happening to Ann, a poet for our time, and my heart grieves for her being misunderstood, but also, for those who are missing the beauty and the power of poetry.

I had a conversation with a godly philosophy professor about the importance of interpreting both Scripture and other writings according to their genre. He was talking about the word “literally,” and said it actually means “read according to the literature,” meaning, according to their genre. Don’t read prose like poetry or poetry like prose. When the psalmist tells us we can find refuge “under His wings,” look for the meaning and don’t press it the way you can prose.

Ann speaks of “eucharisteo,” a poetic picture pregnant with power. I want us, with the help of Psalm 33, to ponder and practice eucharisteo.

I believe my kind letter-writer was well-intentioned but misunderstand this poet. We know, and I know Ann knows, that salvation comes through faith alone, faith in the shed blood of Christ. Yet there are at least two ways thanksgiving is important in regard to salvation.


First, could we not say that a grateful heart is one evidence of a saved soul? David Martyn-Lloyd Jones, when he asked individuals if he or she was a Christian, watched their attitude when they responded. If they were miffed by the question, he knew they thought they had done something to receive it. If instead they were profoundly thankful and said something like, “Yes — isn’t it amazing?” he knew they understood it was a great gift to them. Also, Romans 1 indicates that the wrath of God comes to those who suppress the truth about him, who …did not honor him as God or give thanks to him.” It seems that a saved soul is a profoundly thankful soul for what Christ did at the cross on his behalf.



Secondly, Ann isn’t talking about salvation from the penalty of sin, but salvation from the power of sin. What she repeatedly says is that “Eucharisteo” (the act of continually remembering His acts, His love, His mercy, and His promises that are manifested in so many ways) “really might be the mystery to the fullest life.” She tracks it through the Scripture and then repeats: “Thanksgiving — giving thanks in everything prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ.” What can rescue us from grumbling? Isn’t is treasuring what He has given us? What can rescue us from the enemy who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy? Isn’t it, treasuring the power that the Sword of the Spirit and using it to back that slimy liar into a corner?  And what can rescue us from despair when we see we have failed again? Isn’t it thankfulness in realizing that He loved us so that He did die for us and that He is faithful and just to forgive us again?

One of my favorite parts in One Thousand Gifts is when Ann talks about how Satan hammers nails into us, but as Erasmus said, “One nail can drive out another.” Ann says “my camera is a hammer.” She photographs the glories of the simple life that produce thankfulness in her heart, and that hammer out the nails Satan tries to drive in, and rescues her. And she shows those photographs to us, daily, on her blog. We can do it too — and often use Facebook to share our thanks. I think we have to be careful, however, not to be glorifying ourselves, but to glorify the One who gave us these gifts. I loved how my youngest daughter, Annie, framed this idyllic picture of her husband David (and our blog manager!) and her girls that she put on Facebook. She wrote:

“First time we’ve done a family of 4 bike ride. Miabelle kept wanting to go more and more and pushed out a little over 3 miles on her bike! I know we always post bright, happy pictures on Facebook and Instagram but let’s get real here, I’m a grump, a lot.. but my black twisty heart felt sooo happy and thankful on this bike ride with my little family…”

Anne biking1513731_10154210639230174_2807726100844189742_n

Another way we can encourage our hearts to give thanks is to start singing his praises through the day. It is fitting, Psalm 33 tells us, to sing praises. It is not only an evidence of being filled with the Spirit, it completes our joy.

No, giving thanks doesn’t save us. But it is one evidence of a saved soul. And we can experience the fullness of salvation from the power of sin by continually giving thanks. Psalms 33 and next week’s Psalm 34 help us to do just that. Because of our “natural curvature of the soul,” we have a tendency to forget the greatness of God and His unfailing mercy — and when we do, we become depressed, irritable, and self-focused. Indeed, giving thanks can rescue us.


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

2. Psalm 33:1 says “Praise befits the upright.” Since we are all sinful, who are the upright? And why does praise befit them?

3. Watch this and comment:


Derek Kidner says Isaiah 40 is the best commentary on Psalm 33 — so we will look at some cross-references to help us understand this psalm better, and in so doing, pray it better. The psalm begins with the fact that it is fitting for us to give thanks. Why? Our iniquity has been pardoned. Isaiah 40 begins with “Comfort my people…her iniquity has been pardoned.”

To prepare your heart, listen to this from the Messiah, straight from Isaiah 40 — it has a wonderful little commentary at the beginning. As you listen, remember, this promise from Isaiah is for us, His children, and allow yourself to be comforted.

4. Read Psalm 33:1-3 and list some ways we are to give thanks. What specific thing might you do to help yourself to sing more praises?

5. Read Psalm 33:4-9 and share what quickens you about our Creator God. Compare this with Isaiah 40:12. Then use this passage as a springboard to praise your Creator.





This world is full of evil, and evil leaders. I’ve been reading Unbroken and learned that Hitler used the Olympics in Germany to increase his power before he began the holocaust. We said it would never happen again, but isn’t that what we are seeing with Vladimir Putin right now? Where is hope? God’s Word promises that God is in control, that one day, as Isaiah 40 says, the warfare will cease. We can pray and thankfully trust God has a plan.

6. Read Psalm 33:10-12. Compare this with Isaiah 40:14-24. What do you learn about your Lord? Then, as you look at the suffering in this world caused by leaders of nations, and terrorists, use this as a springboard for praise.




   7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.



8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.


387018_429723300397208_1858781759_nPrepare your heart for the closing section with this:


9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.



My friend Linda Strom is with me now, and she quotes Max Lucado who says waiting is not passive. We wait, but we wait prayerfully, thankfully, expectantly.

10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)


This is under five minutes.


I am so enthusiastic about One Thousand Gifts that even if you have read it, I think you will also be blessed by hearing it — because Ann is a poet, and poetry (including the psalms) is to be read aloud. So if time permits, listen to her first chapter, and comment. (And if you are left-brained and want a week off, you may take it with grace!)

11. Comment on the above.


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

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  1. 11.  Like you Elizabeth, I’ve seen this clip several times….it’s been awhile……”life is not an emergency”……I think I need to post that here there and everywhere!!  🙂       And I love the ending…….life….Holy….Ordinary…..Grace…….again and again I need to pray…..O Lord….help me to trust that Your Holy IS in my ordinary.   Thank You.

  2. 9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
    He is everlasting.
    He will not grow tired or weary.
    He has an understanding we cannot know.
    Those who hope in Him will have renewed strength; they will soar, walk, and run.
    He will deliver from death.
    He will keep us alive.
    He is our help and shield.
    Thank You Lord for these sure promises. Thank You for being my protector and shield from all that is threatening to me. Protect me from my thoughts dearest One, as they haunt me often. Help me remember I am Yours and You take that very seriously. You will not let me be harmed, as it says in Your Word. Thank You. Amen.

  3. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in? When we face life’s giants, our tendency is to trust in ourselves, in our heart idols of control, comfort, or approval. We forget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
    The Psalm 33 passage says that it is foolish to trust in the size of your army, your own strength, or your horse. The Isaiah passage talks about idols made with human hands; they are no comparison to God and you have to find a way to make them stand up so they won’t topple over. Looking at this in modern times, it is foolish for me to trust in my family, friends-in other words, human helpers, no matter how many of them I may think are standing with me. Or, to trust in my own ability to handle and solve a problem, or anything that I think can give me the strength to get by.
    Lord, sometimes I think that what I have come to fear is life itself. I can’t see what’s around the corner but I am afraid that it will be loneliness, having no purpose, and quiet despair. I have seen some elderly people whose lives are just like that; they are just waiting to die and don’t care about life anymore.  Lord, I admit to You that I definitely did make my children my idols, way back when I first became a mom and didn’t know really what idols were. They filled my life with busy days, happy days. My identity was in being a mother. I so often look back with longing for things to be the way they were. I forget that You took on flesh and blood and came here and lived a human life, and so You know what it means to face life and its giants. You tell me to fear not, that You have overcome the world. I cannot live by my own strength. Help me to look to You and to trust that You have a plan for me.

  4. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)
    Well, I’m not particularly good at this, so I don’t have many examples 🙁 still in my toddler shoes trying to be a Christian child! 
    I suppose the the best example is when my son John was causing us great distress with being a wild teenager. We had to put him on “house arrest” with the court system to get him to stay home. He would leave for days without telling anyone where he was. What an exhausting time that was! Anyway, he was on house arrest for 6 months and we were nearing the end which was almost the end of school also. I wanted the court to continue the house arrest through the end of the school year so he would be assured of finishing school that year (he wanted to quit). He was 17. The court, the probation officer, the social worker, and even my own husband disagreed with me and thought I was nuts. My problem was about ME. Here I was a teacher, whose son was most likely going to quit school without intervention, and I knew that. I wouldn’t give in even though john told me he would take the GED immediately. I was totally focused on what I would look like in the small community in which we lived. 
    A friend of mine knew I was upset and pointed me to Nancy Leigh Demoss. She said I should listen to her podcast. I went home and did and wouldn’t you know I swear she was talking straight to me! I KNOW God was using her to get to me! I don’t remember much about the podcast but I do remember her asking one question, “are you holding on to something and not wanting to let go? Maybe it’s time to let go and let God take control?” Well, that was all I needed to know I was wrong. I “let” John quit school, he took the GED and passed (top 2% in the country), and is now in his second year of culinary school and loves it. Mind you, the 5 years between then and now have not been all rosy, however the outcome is something I could never have fathomed back then. 
    I won’t share another, but I will say I am in “waiting” for God right now on 2 issues. Will let you know how they turn out.
    As I’m writing this it has dawned on me my feeling when God answers patient prayers…..it’s joyous when you KNOW it is from Him! It’s like opening a present at Christmas! It’s a gift from Him, and we just have to be in waiting to receive the gift. That is an incentive to not rush the wait so we can experience the feeling of joy when we open the gift 🙂 

    1. Yes, Laura. It is so hard to let go control in our children’s lives – especially when they are making what we think are poor decisions. I found it hard when my older son dropped out of uni… he’s back now, quite a few years later, in a different course, and doing well. I’m not finding it any easier to take my hands off the controls with the younger kids and the decisions they are currently making about life and study though. Seems I haven’t learned much! It was what he needed to do, and the younger ones may also need to travel a hard road before get on track. 

  5. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be succinct so they’ll get read!)
    1. Right now. 🙂 With a decision we are making in regard to my husband’s work vehicle and God working on my husband’s heart-giving him wisdom. I wasn’t at peace with the first plan-we are on a good road to recovery from our loss of income for the past four years-and I have a financial plan which I think honors God- so I offered to my husband what I think is a better plan-and so I prayed and asked God to intervene and help me to trust regardless of the outcome. I was fretting but plead with God asking how will we honor him if we go this route? This can’t be His desire for us. I asked him to intervene and show us how to go. He is giving me His Joy in waiting. He has intervened-not sure which way it will go now but after talking with my husband this morning I see God working in his heart giving him wisdom. Praising and thanking Him now. :))

  6. Ernema,
    Thank you for the powerful song I Look to You.
    Amen to your prayer, “protect me from my thoughts for they haunt me often.”
    Lord, forgive me again for the hurry….. hurrying through raising our five children…. often missing moments I wish I had savored.  
    Now I am 60 and the children are gone and regret can hang heavy.   Yes, we had many wonderful times together, but my heart can’t seem to rest because one of our adult sons is in such a pit.    Lord have mercy.   We are desperate for your mercy.   Thank you for your mercy.

    1. To all who struggle with the place their adult children are in…..

      My heart goes out to each of you.  I have deep and sorrowful concerns for some of my adult children as well.  It is a struggle of the heart that goes on year after year.  Keller’s sermon last week was such an encouragement to me when he said that ‘ultimately all prayers will end in praise’.  It may not come easily…..may take years…..or even a lifetime….but true prayer ends in praise.”  (paraphrase)  It has seemed like it’s taking forever and of course, this side of heaven, we will never understand it all but somehow, this gave me hope again to persevere in prayer for my children.   We are not alone, dear friends.   Many of us have this pain and yet God remains faithful.  “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy that is deeper than the sea”  (old hymn lyrics)

  7.    7. Read aloud Psalm 33:13-15. Compare this to Isaiah 40:27. Use this as a springboard for confession.
    Isaiah 40:27 sure makes a strong statement that God is involved in our lives and that he knows and cares about the details.  None of our ‘ways’ ..(.our circumstances, our events, our happenings, our struggles, hurts and fears) are hidden from God…..no causes of ours are disregarded.   That is a comfort.  But this verse also reminds me that none of our sins, our motives, our evil desires are not hidden either.  God is omniscient.   In Psalm 33:13-15, we are assured that the Lord is watching all mankind.    He sees.  He watches.  He considers everything we do.  This is not a God who sets things in motion and then sits back disinterested.   He did not just form the earth and the universe.  He forms the hearts of all.   He sees the wicked heart and He knows the intent of the heart when it is misunderstood by others.  (Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart.)  We can’t hide anything from God.  We need to confess our sin as well as our worries and fears.  It isn’t news to Him, but He wants to hear our confessions as that is when He moves and works in our hearts to mold them and make us more conformed into His image.   
    I really like this from Phillip Yancey in regard to confession:  
     “Confessing my sins before God communicates something God already knows.  Yet somehow the act of confession binds the relationship and allows a closeness that could not otherwise exist.  I make myself vulnerable and dependent bringing God and me together.  The same kind of intimacy happens when (all too rarely) I apologize to my wife for something we both know about.  I do not bring her information.  I bring her my humbled self. ” 
    In light of the truth that You already know it all, yet because humbling myself before Him brings about  intimacy and changes my heart,  I bow before You, Lord and humbly confess I am a sinner.  (praying now privately as I confess to Him).  

  8. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in?
    Foolish to trust in military strength.  And foolish to think (as I’ve previously seen in church services celebrating USA Independence Day weekend) that “might is equivalent to right” in human terms.   We are to be humbled by His very presence.   Ultimately, only God is strong and true and mighty to save.   Also foolish to trust in any idols whether they are made by human hands such as those listed in Isaiah or whether they are the idols that we keep and run to in our hearts.
    “Lord God Almighty……only You are perfect, and mighty and strong to save.  Let me recognize my idols, and replace them with trust in You alone.”  Amen

  9. 8. Psalm 33:15-17, Isaiah 40:18-21
    Both speak of the foolishness of putting our trust and faith in anything other than the Lord.
    What are some things that it is foolish to trust in?
    One’s own strength, multiple people with a common cause, human intelligence, idols, leadership (nations and otherwise), “good” family name, money.
    Ask Him for help to fight giants by trusting in Him.
    I ask as Peter did so many years ago… to whom shall I go? You have the words of eternal life.  You, Holy Father, are my everything, my all-in-all…there is no one and nothing like You.  When I face circumstances that knock me off balance, see news that makes me fearful and worried, harbor concern for those I love, or have a splendid day of peace and calm, help me to always remember in my heart, mind, and soul that it is You in whom I trust, it is You who provide, You and only You have the words of eternal life. 
    9. Psalm 33:18-22, Isaiah 40:28-31
    Both speak of the benefit of hoping in the Lord.
    What sure promises are here?
    For those who hope in the Lord, He will…
    -be steadfast in His love
    -provide salvation and freedom from death/hell
    -provide for needs
    -renew strength
    Oh Lord, thank You for providing all that I need and more.  Thank You for loving me always and forever, unconditionally.  Thank You for redeeming my sinful soul and making a way for me to be with You in heaven (Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice on my behalf.)  I can never give You the adequate thanks and praise that You are worthy and deserving of…You are an awesome, loving, merciful, incomprehensible Lord, and I am blessed to be Your daughter…thank You that is so.  Amen.

  10. Moments!  How have I given my moments to God?  Have I given willingly and obediently?  Or have I given in my haste and with contempt for His interference?  Lord, let me graciously see moments as opportunities to follow you.  Give me the courage to follow you, speak for you, and live for you.  Amen.

  11. I am interested in online Bible Study and any free material-cirriculium
    Darlene Nedley…13106 N. Boone Rd., Columbia Station, Ohio   44028   216-374-4680

    1. Hi Darlene, 
      It is wonderful to have you here! I have responded to your questions via email. Thanks so much!

  12. Life is not an emergency. Moments, savor the moments. Holy. Ordinary. Grace. A gift. I have missed so many little moments but don’t want to dwell on that so I will start today. And tomorrow. When I forget, remind me, Lord.
    I looked up (freedictionary.com) the meaning of moment and two stood out for me:  1. A brief period of time that is characterized by a quality, such as excellence, suitability, or distinction. 2.  A particular period of importance, influence, or significance in a series of events or developments. WOW!

    1. I like that distinction between the 2 meanings of moment. It reminds me of a piece I read about the meaning of time that distinguished chronos time and kairos time. The piece was about grieving, and I read it several years ago, but it’s stuck with me.
      Chronos time is calendar time, clock time. It’s measured in years, days, hours, seconds.
      Kairos time is the right time, the opportune time and it cannot be measured. All the important things in life happen in kairos time. Like grief. People ask how long does it take, but it’s the wrong question, because grief takes place in kairos time, and the question is asking about chronos time.

      1. Kerryn and Ernema…. I really like both of these comments about moments and time and their deeper meanings.  So good.

  13.  Weforget God who loves us, who laid down His life for us, and will fight for us. Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
    “Lord God Almighty….everything I have seen of You….your mighty strength….your omniscience that is evidenced sometimes in retrospect for me when I realize that you have either provided or have spared me much…..your everlasting love for me that has encompassed me all throughout life….teaches me to trust you for all that I cannot see.  And help me to remember quickly, when I am feeling despair, that you will never leave me. You will walk before me, behind me and beside me.  You will fight the battles for me.   For there is none like You.  No one compares to you, Oh Lord, my Maker and Redeemer.”  Amen 

  14. 9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
    Sure promises:   The Lord attends to those who fear Him.   His love never fails.  He delivers from death and famine.  He is our help and shield.His name is holy and trustworthy.   (Psalm)
    He is an everlasting God.  He is the Creator.   He never grows tired or weary.  His understanding is beyond all human comprehension.  He gives strength to the weary and power to the weak.  When our hope is in Him, He renews our strength.   He makes us to soar like eagles, run without weariness and walk without fainting.   (Isaiah) 
    “Lord, when I look at the list of your attributes and promises, I am stirred.  I see how great you are.  I see how deep your love is for me.  I see how much you intervene and attend to my needs.  I see how trustworthy and holy and good you are.  I am so weary today, Lord.  I am so weak.  Physically, my body is struggling with things that I have been trying to attend to for a long time.   It’s been a long battle.  Physical deterioration is a giant.  On a physical level, I am completely opposite of what I see promised here.   I truly cannot run.  I truly do not soar…my energy is so compromised.   Sometimes, I truly do feel faint, lightheaded and weak.   And yet you promise me strength and the ability to soar and never faint.    I know that these are metaphors to show me how very strong YOU are.  They are not describing the physical strength I have or lack…..but that in YOUR strength I can feel renewed and YOU will fight the giants for me.  Help me to ever trust in your unfailing love and hope in your almighty strength”  Amen

  15. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength.
    1) Employment; my present position/job. 
    2) My daughter’s unexpected pregnancy
    Give thanks for those times here.
    Oh Lord, both of these circumstances were filled with stress, worry, concerns, and much uncertainty.  I turned to You with my tears, my disappointments, my fears.  You provided strength, support, and optimism…I sensed Your presence so strongly; Your guiding hand and loving heart, Your support and provision. Thank You, Lord.   

  16. 8. Read Psalm 33:15-17 and compare it to Isaiah 40:18-21. What are some things that it is foolish to trust in?  
    It is foolish to trust in physical power and strength. It is foolish to trust in man-made objects. Trusting in things we can see and feel gives us a sense of control and security, but it is an illusion. These things do not give us control or security.
    Ask Him for help to help you fight giants by trusting in Him.
    Lord, you know that the battles we fight are not with flesh and blood. The things of this world just reflect the true reality in the spiritual realm. Help me to see the truth behind the giants I can see. Then I will know with certainty that these are not battles that I can win, that there is no choice but to allow you to do the fighting. In reality, it is not my battle, but yours. The giants are not opposing me, but you. David saw Goliath, and saw that the giant was not the real problem; help me to see that too.

    1. I’m fine …    better everyday.  I’m very and sore from them pushing Wires up my back. …thtough a needle
       They say 3  days to see if it helped.  Thank you for all your prayers.

  17. 9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
    The Lord is watching; he will rescue us from death; his love never ends, never fails; he shields us from death; he is eternal; his boundless strength is available to us in our weakness.
    Thank you Father that you want to take my weakness and frailty into yourself and give me your strength and power in exchange. My destiny is death, but instead you are leading me to life in you. Such love is too great for me to understand, so I just thank you and humbly accept.

  18. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here.
    12 years ago, I was approached about full time work. It was an opportunity that interested me (I had previously filled the position to cover holidays), but we agreed it would not be good for the kids to have both parents working full time outside the home. So I turned down the position. It was not yet God’s time so I needed to wait. Suddenly John was made redundant, and decided he’d like to start his own business. I made inquiries – the position was still available. I went to work full time, and we both had opportunities to pursue our dreams…
    My first child was very ill as a baby. We lived in the outback, so I had to fly with her to the children’s hospital. It was a very stressful time – I was alone in the city, lonely and anxious. Every day, I’d go to the chapel at the hospital and I talked with the chaplain there. We’d had quite the run around at home, in and out of hospital, inconclusive tests. It only took minutes for the paediatrician to diagnose the problem, but by then she was too sick for surgery. We had to wait, and then again after surgery doctors would not let us return home to the outback for another week.  My daughter recovered completely, and has not had a problem since.
    Father, when I’m in the midst of life the problems seem insurmountable. But you can see the path ahead, beyond the obstacles. The waiting, the not knowing seems unbearable, but that’s because I have not learned to trust in you for the future. I keep trying to work out my own future. Thank you for your guidance and presence that has taken me places I never would have chosen. You have brought me through. You will keep bringing me through.

    1. Kerryn, that must have been so stressful on you and your family! I take it for granted that the Children’s Hospital is a 20 minute drive; I can’t imagine having to be flown there. That’s wonderful how the hospital chaplain helped to support you, and that your daughter had a full recovery.

      1. We were living in a small mining town that had 2 doctors and a hospital, so we did have medical care available. It was only for specialist care that we had to fly 2 hours to the state capital. Her birth was also quite dramatic… I ended up being flown to a larger regional hospital by the Flying Doctor Service while in labour. Just got home with her, and these other problems started. When our second child was born, I decided to avoid all the drama and went to stay with my mother in law where there was a full range of medical services.
        I’m so thankful for modern medical care… and for government programs that make it accessible even when living in remote areas. Years ago, neither I nor my children would have survived.

  19. 11. Comment on the above.
    How Ann defined Grace-His favor-freely given, and how He is always leaning toward us to be near us. I love Ann. I love her honesty too, how she was grieving with her friends who lost their sons and her own background of grief in losing her sister was deep inside..then she burst in her searing pain and said she would have written a different story- and their response was beautiful. I love how Ann loved her friends and their boys so deeply-she deeply felt their grief and pain with them. She entered in-she didn’t half way enter in to preserve her comfort-she was willing to fully enter into their pain-walls all down..This is strange, out of all the wonderful truth contained in the first chapter-this spoke loudly to me this time.

  20. 9. Read Psalm 33:18-22 and compare it to Isaiah 40:28-31. What sure promises are here? Give thanks for these.
    The promises in the Psalm 33 passage are that God does see me, that His love is unfailing-I can put my hope in His love. It says that He will deliver us from death. I know that is not a promise that nothing bad will ever happen to me; I will die, but He will deliver me from death in that death is not the end. He delivered Jesus from death, and He will deliver us from death. God is our help and our shield and we can trust in His name.
    In Isaiah we are told that the Lord doesn’t get tired or weary (physically, nor tired of us!) and His understanding is unlimited. He gives us strength when we are tired and His power is at work in our weakness. Placing our hope in Him renews our strength, like soaring on eagle’s wings. There are times when we are physically tired and He can give us the energy we need to carry on.
    There isn’t any problem, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, that He isn’t able to handle. He understands me when I can’t understand myself. He knows my frame, that it is weak. His ability to understand and counsel is far above and beyond any human counselor. He truly is all that I need.

  21. I just re-read Isaiah 40:31, and I see a condition in there. Those who wait, or hope in the Lord, will renew their strength; will soar on wings like eagles; will run and not grow weary. It seems, then, that if I take matters into my own hands and try to fix my own problems or, how I sure do like to try to fix everyone else’s problems; if I put my hope in my idols of comfort or approval or even control, I will end up tired, burned-out, frustrated.

  22. Susan – love your addendum.   How often I find that when I’m wondering “where is God’s promised peace, His promised strength?”, I find that it’s been there all along….but I’ve been chasing “peace” and not resting in Jesus!  Matt11:29    🙂    

  23. oops!  meant Matt11:28, but 29 is critical too!

  24. A prayer as I leave home for a shift as a street chaplain… thank you for praying with me.
    Father, be with the chaplains tonight in the city, and protect us and those who are there to enjoy themselves. May your spirit of peace prevail in our streets. Direct our steps to those who need help, and give us words for those who need counsel. Amen.

    1. Kerryn, Praise God for your special ministry as street chaplain. Never heard of such a calling before but definitely much needed. Yes, Lord direct the steps of these caring chaplains today.

    2. Home again, safe and tired. Plenty to do tonight helping intoxicated people get home safely, but also several significant constructive conversations about Jesus. We are not likely to see what God does with the seeds he planted tonight, but he is certainly working in our streets. It’s amazing the people who approach us and ask for prayer, or ask us about God.

      1. Great report, Kerryn.  I am so impressed with this ministry.

  25. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)
    1)  Waiting on the Lord to provide us housing as our family grew.  We had 3 kids (one with special needs requiring daily therapy) in a small basement apt.  We actually moved our bed to the living room so the kids had some space.  It was discouraging.  Affording a bigger space was impossible for us at that time, but in retrospect, there were many blessings.  Our neighbors became life long friends,  God thwarted the purchase of a home in that city as later we moved and eventually were able to build a modest home on 5 lovely acres in the country.  25 years later, with a few additions and remodels, we are so happy to have lived here and have had all of our children go through this school district.  God has used our home and acreage for many kinds of ministry to others.  Right now, we have opened garden space for a Hmong family and have a greenhouse from which we donate fresh produce to many.    God truly saw the big picture while we were struggling with the timing!
    2)  Too numerous to re-count.  But in the midst of some BIG things right now, for which we are waiting.  Physical health,  the possibility of adopted grandchildren,  our future church involvement and where God is leading.  And of course, waiting for some of our children to return to the Lord. All of these are filled with some anxiety.  So we must wait.  Pray.  and Trust Him.  Again and again.   
    “Thank you Lord that you are worthy of our trust as You have proven Yourself so many, many times in the past.  Amen.”

    1. Wanda,  your #1 was so heartwarming!   It is wonderful that you can see God’s hand in all of those changes and new chapters in your lives.   Your ministries with the Hmong family garden and the greenhouse  are inspiring.   “God truly saw the big picture while we were struggling with the timing!”         Yes!

    2. love these examples Wanda–such evidence of His faithfulness–praying for your “BIG” things now

  26. 10. Remember two times in your life when you waited on the Lord and God renewed your strength. Give thanks for those times here. (Be  succinct so they’ll get read!)
    (1)  Six years ago my husband went through a colon surgery that leaked, a second surgery to clean that up along with a temporary colostomy (bag), and finally a third surgery to reconnect his colon and eliminate the colostomy.  It involved 31 days in ICU, and later 2 1/2 months in rehab.  As I sat by his bedside in the hospital and in rehab, it seemed like an interminable time of waiting for him to recover.  However, I’ve since  come across people who waited twice that time!    It wears one out!   However, when I would literally go down on my knees in prayer before God, I would arise feeling amazingly refreshed.
    (2) Four years ago my older daughter, Karen, was having a bout with cancer, and was scheduled for surgery to place special stents in her pelvic area to receive the planned radiation treatment.  That morning our pastor was unable to be with us (another church member was in crisis), so I stood by Karen’s bed and took her hand and prayed for God to guide the surgeon, anesthetist and nurses.  When I finished, I glanced across the huge holding area to the nurse’s station, and one of the nurses gave me a thumbs up.  After that,  I remember sitting peacefully in the waiting room during her surgery, confident that all would go well, and it did.  
    Dear God, these were just two times when you came to my rescue.   I give you thanks for being right there with me during both of these times and also many other times in my life — I would have never made it without you!     

    1. Deanna-powerful and encouraging examples of waiting on the Lord and the strength He brought you–thank you for that!

    2. Love these stories Deanna!

    3. Ditto to Elizabeth’s words, Deanna.  Great testimony to God’s strength and refreshment.

  27. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    He is always with me, He loves me, He watches over me.

  28. Take-away:
    I loved what Dee said in the beginning defining  eucharisteo as representing the gospel “the broken body of Christ — and our response of thankfulness for who He is, what He has done, is doing, and will do.”
    It reminded me of an article by John Piper—he quoted Jonathan Edwards (Religious Affections)  “True gratitude or thankfulness to God for his kindness to us, arises from a foundation laid before, of love to God for what he is in himself; whereas a natural gratitude has no such antecedent foundation. The gracious stirrings of grateful affection to God, for kindness received, always are from a stock of love already in the heart, established in the first place on other grounds, viz. God’s own excellency.” 
    I thought Piper’s response was profound and convicting: “In other words, gratitude that is pleasing to God is not first a delight in the benefits God gives (though that is part of it). True gratitude must be rooted in something else that comes first, namely, a delight in the beauty and excellency of God’s character… So it is with God. If we are not captured by his personality and character, then all our declarations of thanksgiving are like the gratitude of a wife to a husband for the money she gets from him to use in her affair with another man.”
    My gratitude must be rooted in something deeper, something far beyond what God gives. I cannot allow it to be so temperamental, so dependent upon His gifts. True eucharisteo is based on what cannot change—it is based on Who He is, what He has already done, and what He promises to do. I do not understand all His ways. I am struggling with why we still have to endure suffering here. I am weak and whiny and child like. But I do trust in who He is. He is good He is True. He is Beautiful. He loves us, and He is committed to healing our hearts. He holds me. Thank You Lord for Your beauty, Your character, Your complete trustworthiness. Your mercy, new every morning. Thank You for who You are.

  29. 11. Comment on One Thousand Gifts:  
    I’m so glad you posted this, Dee.  I’ve heard a lot of ‘buzz’ about Ann VosKamp’s book and I had not yet heard her or read her work.  I do love poetic expression very much.  It’s always been a big part of me.  I don’t know if anyone else remembers Ann Kimmel from the 70’s, but hearing Ann V. kinda took me back there.  Content is very different….but the poetic expression of two Anns……decades apart… poetically using their life experience and their love for Jesus  to speak to so many was striking to me.  Also, they both talk about their plain simple name, Ann. 🙂   (I still have a couple of Ann Kimmel cassettes and books.  I met her when I was in college.)    Anyway, back to One Thousand Gifts:    It was all extremely touching….heart rending and deeply meaningful.  I will listen again, but wanted to write my impressions here before I forget.   Almost at the end, she said something like…..”  I begin to wonder if that which tears open our souls and creates a hole there might actually become the open spaces that lead us to God~to see the beauty beyond~to the God who we endlessly crave.   But how do we choose to allow the hole to become a ‘seeing through to God’ place?  How do I give up resentment for gratitude?   And that must set the stage for the many lessons/inspiration to become more filled with gratitude that follow in the next chapters.    I LOVE the title….’A Dare to Live an Emptier, Fuller Life”   That phrase alone gives me so much to think about.   We have to be emptied of ourselves to live in the fullness of joy…..and just as Jesus emptied Himself to become a servant, we are to have that attitude within us.  Philippians 2.   I know that I WILL read the rest of this book and that Ann V. will be on my radar as she brings a really great balance to the kinds of search and research directed study I often do.  She brings so much from her heart and soul which she has made so vulnerable to show us Jesus’ grace and love.  I do agree, Dee, that Eucharisteo is a word that is pregnant with meaning…..because when you pair the intimacy and communion we have with the Living God with the gratitude that erupts from a heart that is molded, changed and directed by Him, the depth of meaning is infinite.

    1. Wanda, I read your post last night and when you mentioned Ann Kiemel..I remember her too! When I was single I read her book, “Yes!” 

      1. 🙂  smile….

  30. 10. I skipped #10 because its more like Wanda’s part 2, some “BIG” things I’m waiting on, and was hoping to be done with the waiting before now so I could give a “happy” report. I could share so many times He has shown His faithfulness to me in the past, and I call upon those times now as I wait and battle fear, and pray. He is faithful. It is so encouraging to read what you all have shared and continue to be reminded of Who He is. The Great I AM.

  31. Elizabeth – your Jonathon Edwards quote via the John Piper article (and your summation) was PRECISELY where my thoughts were at when I shared Piper’s quote from Future Grace in the very first question this week!  Thank you for saying it so perfectly!

    1. Jackie–I was just catching up on earlier posts and your answer to #7 struck my heart deep–also your reference of 2 Cor 4:18 –I so needed that! You have truly been a gift, so thankful He has brought you here with us. And here’s a link to the Piper article I referenced above: http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/how-not-to-commit-idolatry-in-giving-thanks

      1. Wow – thank you for posting this link, Elizabeth! I love how it clearly it explains how we must first delight in God Himself as the foundation for gratitude for His gifts. I’ve noticed lots of songs lately (worship songs – maybe even a few hymns), that seem to overlook this, and it always rubs me the wrong way. Now I can articulate why!

  32. I’ve been researching eucharisteo and came across this quote from Paul Zahl. Great definition of ‘grace’.
    Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is ‘unconditional love.’ It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing.… Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called ‘gifts’ (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…Grace is one-way love.

  33. More stuff I’ve found… this is Ann Voskamp explaining what eucharisteo means to her. That explanation starts at 3:30… this is part 2 of a longer interview, and I have watched both parts. I love the reference she makes to Jesus knowing what he is facing, and giving thanks in the midst of pain in the Lord’s Supper.
    I’m starting to get a handle on this… in Greek, you can see the link between giving thanks, grace and joy. eucharisteo is formed from eu (good, well) + charis (grace). chara (joy) is also related etymologically.
    Jesus use of eucharisteo in the Lord’s Supper makes these links concrete and practical. Is that left brain stuff?

    1. These definitions of grace are truly deep, Kerryn.  Challenges my understanding in that I think we often extend the grace that we are able to, in situations…..but being the finite, imperfect creatures that we are, we can never fully extend the true grace that only God can give.   We will never fully realize that grace but we can bask in it…..and grow in it.  

  34. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    All of Him, all of this for me? Amazing Love how can it be?!

  35. Kerryn – I too, am so touched deep within my heart as I read about the street chaplaincy…..you are taking this to a level I’ve certainly never experienced in caring for the downtrodden and despairing .  I can relate so much to what you said about the gift of “planting seeds”……I’ve been a part of  jail ministry for about nine years now….and the ladies we study the Word with each week are awaiting sentencing…….or bail….so in many cases we only get to rub shoulders with them once…..other times maybe 4 or 5 or 6 times……I long ago found that you have to come to a place of peace in that we are a part of the Body of Christ…..and our role is His design…..and even though our time with a hurting soul may be brief, others will follow along behind us…..and probably others are praying and have been a long time for this hurting one…….and that is a beautiful thing!  
    Renee – could you explain the closed Facebook thing?  I have a Faceboook account that I almost never look at!  But I would LOVE to see Laura dance!!  What a great idea and gift to us that you have set this up!

    1. Hi Jackie! To be part of the group, you just need to send a request to Renée. Search for “Dee’s Bible study friends” and then (I think) make the request there. I’ve also posted two videos of me dancing. You need to scroll down and find the videos. Happy dancing and so glad you are with us!

      1. actually, because it’s a closed facebook group, you can’t find it until you are invited by Renee I think.  She may have been away from internet over the weekend…..I’ll let her know that Nila and Jackie are interested!  

  36. oh my……the Piper article that Elizabeth referenced is SO good!  Jonathon Edwards…..timeless wisdom.  Everyone – please take a look…..only one page and a perfect compliment to all we’ve studied this week!  

    1. Oh, I agree!…excellent!  Thanks so much for posting it, Elizabeth.  I have it saved for future reference and think I may get the book it is excerpted from.

  37. 12.  My takeaway – I simply cannot say it better than Elizabeth did “True Eucharisto is based on what cannot change………God….”  If I thank Him for my health today…..it may be different tomorrow…..if I thank Him for my family today…..I may lose them tomorrow……and of COURSE I should thank Him for all of that and so much more!!!   And yet……”True Eucharisto is based on what cannot change……..”   Amen.
    O my Father…..if I boast in anything, may it be that I understand and know You……and that will be a lifetime journey.  One thing I know:  You do not change.  You are my Rock.  My Redeemer.  My everything.  Help me to live this today.  Precious Jesus…..You lifted up the cup, the bread….and gave THANKS……and one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord….to the glory of God the FAther…….in your unmatchable name I pray, Amen. 

    1. Jackie-beautiful prayer, I needed this “One thing I know:  You do not change.  You are my Rock.  My Redeemer.  My everything.  Help me to live this today”

    My take-away:
    Many times my heart is just overcome with my wretchedness I cannot see the love WHO covers it all. The pit can be so dark, the glimmer of HOPE, indistinguishable. I have stood in the precipice of deception thinking God can never love a person as wretched as I. Then there are times when a vestige of self-righteousness in my heart keeps me from fully embracing eucharisteo. Surely the good I have done outweighs the bad? But the Lord has not left me contending with lies. He is the TRUTH after all. Eucharisteo-beneficent mercy, showered by grace, encased in glory, filtered by love and therefore gratefully thankful. Yes, Lord, all of my life.

  39. 11. Comment on the above.
    I had already read that chapter from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts,  but it was so good to hear her read it!       I love her book, but it was difficult for me to read — I couldn’t read it fast like a novel.   I think it was because I would have to take the time to reflect on what she was saying.  I had to come to terms with it before I could store it.       Basically she makes me realize that I live life in a semi-stupor unless I make a deliberate effort to do otherwise.  My default mode is stupor!   Ann peels off the layers and takes me deep.   She asks the delicates questions that I think we all tend to avoid asking.  We shove them to the back of our minds where we don’t have to deal with them.   She is bold enough to ask them out loud!      Questions like “Can there be a good God?”  (when babies die and marriages implode?)  Also “How do I wake up to joy and grace and beauty and all that is the fullest life when I must stay numb to losses and crushed dreams and all that empties me out?”       Dee,  I appreciate being led back to  One Thousand Gifts,  as in just a few months I had forgotten Ann’s way of constant thankful living.      I’m going to keep the book out where I will see it and can review random passages again.   
    12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    It has been a good week, despite the fact that I began it by saying I would probably be too busy and might drop out of sight.   It didn’t happen!!   I guess the Lord decided that I would have time to do it all.      As I said in #11,  I enjoyed and benefitted from renewing my contact with Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts.  The whole concept of eucharisteo is so uplifting and inspiring.    I’m in the process of memorizing Isaiah 40:31:   “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  

  40. I am overwhelmed by this bible study….. it feels like I am sitting around a large table with sisters, talking about what really matters.
    Thank you, Ernema, for your “take-away” words.   Deeply touched.
    Renee, thank you for setting up a closed facebook account.  I too would be interested in becoming a part of that.   But, I am new to this group, and so I wonder if it would be intrusive of me to ask to be a part of it at this point.  
    Dee, thank you for this bible study.

  41. I remember Ann Kiemel.   (She went to be with the Lord this spring after a courageous battle with cancer.)   So grateful for her part in my life 38 years ago.

    1. Nila, thank you for letting us know that Ann Kimmel had gone to be with our Lord.  I had not heard and will look for more online.  I am so glad you have joined us here and your comments have blessed me also.  I’ve been here only 4 months but also feel like this is ‘home’…..just as you described.  Some day, we WILL all meet and enjoy face to face time.  Amazing to think of heaven!  And thrilling to know we can experience this kind of depth in our technological world 🙂

    2. Oh and thanks for spelling Kiemel correctly, Nila.  I had it wrong.

  42. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?
    The impact that gratitude has on a life…..so much to ponder, remember and practice.  I fall so short.  I AM grateful for this week that has challenged me to draw strength from remembering God’s faithfulness in the past and to count on it in the present and future.  Lots of great resources to help me do that, but ultimately, I need to put it into practice routinely, for it to shape and change me.  

  43. 12. What is your take-away and why?
    I was excited from the onset of this study when I saw “euchasisteo”.  I recognized this word from Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, a book that I enjoyed and found life changing.  This past week “gratitude” has taken on an even deeper meaning.  Piper’s article and a short book on prayer I read by Mike Reeves brought me back to the Song of Songs…”I am the Beloved’s and the Beloved is mine.”  In my gratitude I must always make sure that I am delighting in the Lord…as Piper said, “we should do all things–including giving thanks–to the glory of God.”
    Nila, I look forward to you joining the FB page…:)

  44. Renee, where are you? Is everything ok?