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I glimpsed the mysterious pieces of God’s Kingdom coming together last weekend at a women’s retreat near La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Eight years before, to the day, Jen, the retreat coordinator, and I

had experienced God’s power across the ocean in a way neither of us will ever forget.


Each of us, as His children, are a part of the mysterious Kingdom

to which Jesus often referred, to the Kingdom over which He reigns,

to the Kingdom that will be forever and ever. 

Every once in a while, we are privileged to catch a glimpse of the big picture

and a thrill washes over us as we realize that we are not alone,

and that we join hands with millions who have gone before,

and with those from every tribe and nation, for

there is a great grand scheme.

Let me tell you the story.

 November, 2006. Christy (a former administrative assistant and close friend) and I were flying into Germany to do a five day women’s retreat for military wives in Germany with Protestant Women of the Chapel. Flying in, I thought about all the history of Christendom in Germany. I thought of its great music like Handel’s Messiah, A Mighty Fortress, and Silent Night. The Reformation had begun here with Luther nailing his thesis to the Wittenburg Door. Hitler had reigned here for a time with all his evil. The ten Boom family and Deitrich Bonhoeffer had laid down their lives in that fight because  they looked forward to an eternal Kingdom. And now we were coming to bring hope and healing to the wives of men who were stationed, many in dangerous situations. The peaceful and picturesque scenery was a contrast to the tumult and fears so many of those families were facing.

Beautiful Germany
Picturesque Germany

Jen and her husband were stationed in Spain and were going through a hard time in their marriage. Jen’s friends tried to persuade her to fly to Germany with them for the retreat. Jen dug in her heels, for she didn’t really enjoy groups of women, and certainly didn’t want to be alone with them for five days. So she thought of excuses, delayed signing up, and thought she had escaped. On the last possible day to register, her friend called her and said, “You need this, Jen. And you have to do it today.” Again, Jen went into all her excuses. Finally her friend said, “Let’s pray — then go home and ask your husband for permission — and whatever he says we’ll do.”

Jen was irked at the idea of “asking her husband for permission,” but was sure she could paint such a terrible scenario that he would say no. She told Marty how many responsibilities he would have to handle with kids, pets, house — and reminded him how ill his mother was in the states. “What if she takes a turn for the worse and I’m in Germany — then what will you do?”

“You should go,” Marty said. “I can handle this. It will be good for you. Go.”

Jen was stuck — right in the middle of God’s plan. 

No red eyes - Dee @ PWOC


In part, I spoke on the picture of Jesus in the book of Ruth. How Boaz, as a kinsman-redeemer, had rescued Ruth out of dire circumstances and redeemed her for a price, foreshadowing our kinsman-redeemer.

God began to remind Jen that her husband Marty had done this for her. She had been married before and her first husband had left her drowning in enormous debt. Marty used all of his earthly savings to rescue Jen.

Jen’s heart began to soften toward her husband. She caught up with me tearfully one night to tell me this. She also told me her mother-in-law’s name was Ruth. The dots were connecting.

The fourth day of the retreat, Marty called Jen to tell her that his mother had taken a turn for the worse and that they thought she was at the end. He had made arrangements so he could fly to the states. “You can’t make it in time — just come home tomorrow as planned.”

That final night we had praise and worship in the hotel lobby and in all the circling balconies. Over five hundred women stood with their candles singing the great hymns of the church, their voices echoing through the halls.

Silent Night, Holy Night
Silent Night, Holy Night


Jen left the worship time, her mother-in-law heavy on her mind, and went to her room to try to call her in the hospital. She wanted to tell her how thankful she was for her son, to tell her about Jesus, and to say good-bye. She left the door open, and the women’s voices floated in. When Jen reached her mother-in-law’s hospital room, the family answered, only to tell her that Ruth had slipped into a coma. “Please put the phone next to her ear — I have things I need to say,” TearfullyJen told her how thankful she was for Ruth and for her son. Then Jen shared the gospel and told Ruth she loved her.

Suddenly she heard, “I love you, Jen.”

A family member took the phone and said, “WHAT DID YOU SAY? RUTH HEARD YOU! SHE WAS NODDING ALL THROUGH THE CALL!”

Ruth slipped back into her coma and then into the arms of Jesus. God’s purposes had been accomplished. Marty arrived the next morning, but Jen was able to give him the assurance that his mother was with the Lord. I took this picture of the sunrise that next morning, and thought of Ruth reaching another country, even more beautiful than this.

Sunrise in Germany2

This last weekend, eight years after Ruth had gone to be with the Lord, I was able to see Jen again and meet her wonderful family in Wisconsin. When I met Marty I said, “The kinsman-redeemer!” He smiled and nodded.

The Marty and Jen Koop Family

When Jen wrote a year or so ago and invited me to do a retreat at her church, First Free Church of Onalaska, Wisconsin, I hardly had to pray. I sensed God was up to more than we could even imagine, for He has a grand scheme.

Even before I came, I sensed He was on the move. One hundred of their women did Idol Lies in book clubs this summer. Several of them came to where I live in Door County, put the names of their idols on rocks, and cast them off the cliff that I filmed in the curriculum.

stones for the Stonecutter
stones for the Stonecutter


Exchange my heart of stone for a heart of flesh
Exchange my heart of stone for a heart of flesh

The worship music was wonderful, my dear friend Twila came with me to pray, run the tech, and keep me company. We sensed the mighty anointing of God and were humbled to be a part of it. Women brought their rocks to the altar at the end while a soloist sang “Song of Solomon.” One woman took me aside with her rock  and said, “Is it okay if I throw this into the Mississippi on the way to work?” I told her that was perfect!

Some women said, “I will never be the same.” Hundred of rocks labeled: revenge, approval, gluttony, fear…all on the altar. We belong we belong to a great God who reigns, who calls us to be a part of his great scheme, and who honors us with His tangible presence. How can we not sing the Hallelujah chorus?


I told Jen I had the sense that there was more ahead somehow for us and her church — and we are praying. (Would you pray too, that we would know?) I’m not sure what. I am hoping to film a curriculum on Song of Songs and found out that their pastor sees Christ at the heart of The Song — and today, that is rare. They are also an E. Free church and we are endeavoring to plant an E Free church in Door County. So I have this sense, but do not want to get ahead of God. Yet how exciting it is to be a part of His grand scheme, to step into where He is already at work, and to know that no evil can prevail against this Kingdom, for this Kingdom will never end.

Psalm 47-7-9

Sunday Ice-Breakers

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

2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.

Monday – Wednesday Bible Study on Psalm 47.

Prepare your heart with this — the sermon will refer to this actual event:

Derek Kidner says, “This is more than poetry, it is prophecy, whose climax is particularly far-reaching.

3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you.

4. Find repetitive themes. What are they?

5. Historically, the earthly picture may be when David brought the ark to the temple. Read about it in 2 Samuel 6:12-19.

A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.

B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence.

6. Read Psalm 47:1-4.

A. How far reaching is this Kingdom according to this passage?

B. Who will prevail against this Kingdom?

C. Why do you think the psalmist uses Jacob as an example of God’s people?

7. Read Psalm 47:5-7

A. What parallels do you see with the 2 Samuel passage?

B.  The root word for “gone up” in verse 5 is exalt. What parallel can you see with Christ?

8. Read Psalm 47:8-9

A. This is the climax to which Kider referred. How does the psalm now take a different tone?

B. How can you see that this is about Jesus, and about His covenant people, and His exaltation?

9. If God is sovereign over all the world, He is sovereign over you. Be still before Him and ask Him how you might submit to His plan for your life right now. Share, if you feel led.

Thursday-Friday: Sermon: Praise for the Great King: Richard Phillips

10. Listen and share your thoughts: 

      Praise for the Great King - Psalm 47


11. Share your take-a-way and why.




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  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Oh my, my, MY… Wow! and this is only the beginning of the week??? 

    Initially the puzzle stood out…I love the metaphor of a puzzle, it so speaks to me…each of us being an integral part of God’s plan; without our piece, the “whole” is not complete.

    And then…the story of Jen (incredible!)…the beautiful sunrise picture and thoughts of Ruth being with the Lord in incomprehensible beauty of which that lovely sunrise was just a snippet…the beauty of Jen and Marty’s restored relationship.

    The final thing is the Lord’s continuing work…the pastor at Jen’s church having a similar perspective of the Song of Songs, the church in Onalaska being an E-free denomination and the effort of a church plant in Door County by Dee and others being an E-free denomination.  On a personal level, I have been feeling drawn to attend worship with my daughter (she attends a local E-free)…I have been feeling drawn to attend worship with her, but have many mixed feelings…will I do it?  (Is there any significance, Lord, to E-Free being prevalent this morning?) Before getting out of bed this morning I listened to a podcast on Wisdom (http://myfaithradio.com/2014/wisdom/) that was so good, and so convicting.  The Lord works so (SO) much together in His ways and means…the whole we see is merely a single “puzzle piece” in His scheme of things.

    1. To clarify…no “mixed feelings” about worshiping with my daughter; the “mixed feelings” are related to worshiping at that particular church.

  2. Dee! I’m just so incredibly overwhelmed and emotional over this whole post–I cannot put words to it! I just kept saying “WOW” as I read. 
    Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes, Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious, Thy great name we praise!

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Wow!  I literally got goosebumps reading this (and not cause I keep the temp at 68.)  What stood out to me is God’s sovereignty!  Wow, He had a work to accomplish and was gracious enough to bring Jen into it (even amidst her protests!!) so that all could be in awe of His ways!!! I think of how that experience must have changed her life forever and I bet she is even more sensitive now to the Spirit’s leading.  And I’m thankful, Dee, that you agreed to go to Germany to do that retreat!  Clearly that was part of God’s orchestration as well.  (The pictures also stood out to me because I’ve never been to Germany and it looks like a storybook place! Hard to believe such evil could have ever taken place there.)

    1. That is a good point, there truly was beauty there in there among Believers who gave/risked their lives (and probably many untold stories of such Believers that we may not even know of this side of Heaven!)  

  4. Good Morning from cold and snowy beautiful Montana.    New morning, new mercies.
    Dee, thank you for such strong encouragement again this week.   I always look so forward to early Sunday mornings, to see what you have for us.
    What stands out?
    ~ The reminder that we do indeed have a Kinsman-Redeemer.  Loved the way Jen’s husband Marty walked that out with her.
    ~ The candlelight worship in the lobby with great hymns of the faith….. wish I could have been there.
    ~ And I loved hearing about the potential church plant.   (29 years ago my husband and I watched the Lord orchestrate a church plant and found ourselves in the middle of it.  My husband had been leading a bible study and really just naturally shepherding these folks.   I remember telling Tom that I sensed the birthing of a church.  There was “labor before delivery” and it was an amazing thing.  They asked him to be their pastor.   So many things just fell together. …. Puzzle pieces fitting in such a timely fashion.   Looking back now, my husband and I both agree that those 9 years were the most encouraging church experience we have ever had.)      

    1. Good to hear from you, this morning, Nila.   And greetings back from snowy Minnesota.  We have had over a foot already and it looks like it’s here to stay.  Another long winter, it appears.  But sparkling and beautiful today.  How I would have also loved to have been in that balcony worship service.  Someday, in the New Jerusalem…….

    2. Hi Nila, happy Sunday and (as Wanda said) greetings back from cold, snowy Wisconsin…:)  Your church plant sounds like a wonderful experience…to see the “labor before delivery” as an amazing thing and all the pieces of the puzzle coming together…what a blessing for all; no doubt blessed to be a blessing.

    3. Hi Nila, I bet Montana is beautiful even covered with snow!  We are getting a few inches here in central Ohio tomorrow (4 they say) and Cleveland has already had a foot last week…so, yes, looks like another potentially long Winter!  (especially for you extreme northerners…I bet Canada has already had a good bit as well?)

      1. Just thought I would give a weather report from eastern Canada. LOL! We had about 3 inches of snow on Friday, making it Christmasy but not too much. (Personally, I’m hoping it melts again. I am not a fan of long winters such as we had last year.)

  5. 2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.
    Most obviously, is our adoption story, but I’ve told that one 1000 times! I would also say moving here 9 years ago—ALL of both our families, multiples siblings, cousins, etc…live within 10 minutes of each other in Houston. We are now over 1000 miles away. The details God put in place, all along the way, almost don’t sound real—but that is our God. It’s a reminder to me that He knows how to uniquely, specifically speak to each of us in the way we will hear Him. And the gift for me is the assurance I have when I look back on all the details, I know He orchestrated this, and that brings great peace. People will still ask—“how can you be so far from ALL y’alls families?” and where guilt could creep in (especially this time of year!), I see His hand so clearly all over it—and that is a gift from Him. He knew we would need it. Even for my mom, me being her “baby”—and the only one ever ever to move away…she sees the peace in us, and has blessed this move from the beginning. 

    1. You adoption story is a great example for this, Elizabeth!  I loved that section of Idol Lies (how the Lord worked on your heart.)  The story here is great as well.

  6. What stood out:   Oh my…..what a beautiful, God-infused story!  Every part of it.  That Ruth heard and awakened and SPOKE to Jen over the phone brings us right into the presence of the Lord who was surely in that hotel room in Germany and in the room in the U.S. where Ruth lay dying.  I have felt that comforting presence while my own mother lay comatose and dying but to know that it transcends and is so strong even over the phone, is amazing to me.  Not surprising…but AMAZING!   And all the rest….how all the pieces of the puzzle came together and that it is all part of His Kingdom.  That gives me pause and reason to rejoice! 
    (As a side note:  Dee, I attend an E.Free church as well…and not so far from Onalaska.  When my youngest was in middle school, she went to Onalaska as part of a Bible Quizzing team.  It may have been that church where she stayed 🙂 I can’t remember.   And of course, you’ve heard the struggles I have with several things in my local congregation.  I love the people I’ve known there for 26 years and attend my fellowship group fairly often but am so ill at ease in the worship service for so many reasons….I have been trying to hear and discern His direction for a long time.) 

    1. Oh and your references to Germany being the place from where such timeless music and theological impact came and where Bonhoeffer and the ten Booms laid down their lives….all of the above has helped to shape my thinking and has led me closer to the Lord over the years. (we named our daughter after Corrie ten Boom).   I paused when I read all of that in the same paragraph. How God has always had his hand there even though it saw the deepest, darkest evil of Hitler’s reign.

      1. Thank you, Dee.  Your words mean much to me.

  7. What stood out?
    Jen’s story. How God almost had to twist her arm to get her to retreat. I love the story of Ruth and her kinsman-redeemer and how it parallels Christ as our Kinsman-Redeemer. My middle name is Ruth, so I identify with it so well. 
    Also the pictures of mountains are so beautiful and so is the sunrise. Wow to all of it really!

    1. love that your middle name is Ruth, Diane–I read that in Hebrew it means “trusted friend”–very fitting for you!

  8. What stands out: 
    What stood out to me most when I read this from bed on my cell phone was Jen’s story, the impact of the retreat in Germany, her phone talk with her mother-in-law, and the women’s response to Dee’s teaching on the Song of Songs.  Yesterday I was thinking a lot about the Song of Songs study on the blog and Dee’s teaching about it at the retreat in Litchfield BECAUSE I was driving 30 mph on a long stretch of icy highway, saw several accidents — and it brought memories of the last time I drove out of town on awful roads (to see Dee — and I am so glad I went!).  I was touched to read Jen’s mother-in-law’s response to her when she had been unresponsive — AND it reminded me of my last interactions with my mom.

    This morning, I REALLY was looking forward to going to church because I have been gone for much of the past two weeks; plus, my pastor and his family are moving soon.  During the drive to church, I was missing my mom, thinking about Song of Songs… and felt as if my emotions were pretty close to the surface by the time I got there.  I thought I was early, but when I saw the sign (and forgot that I had read or misread the same thing a couple weeks ago–and assumed the service time was changing).   According to the sign (or how I read it), I missed most of the service.  I could have gone in for SS but drove around the little town, heard ANOTHER weather advisory starting at noon and went home.  On the way home, I was crying partly because I thought if the service is an hour earlier in the winter “I’ll never be able to go there again” — and I also realized that because of the extent of my reaction, I’m probably more depressed than I realized & have gotten used to being somewhat depressed (Checked the website when I got home — and I’m not sure whether the sign is wrong, the website is wrong, or if I read something wrong).  I also started to lament rather than (completely) give up.

    SO, when I got home and read this blog post again, the floodgates opened and haven’t stopped.  My head is spinning; because of “where I am,” this post triggered both wonderful and painful emotions.  Because I am overcome with emotion, my thinking is less than optimal.  What I am picking out — and am encouraged — is God’s healing and redemptive work over a long period of time.  I also see the ripple effect of God’s work in Jen’s life, impacting her mother-in-law, her marriage, and her church.  When I first read about the woman throwing the rock in the Mississippi, I smiled because it was below zero when I was reading and I could envision rocks bouncing off!  Now I think of ripple effects;)

    As I am calming down and rambling on, I am better able to identify what stands out most right nowSome women said, “I will never be the same.”  I am reminding myself that I haven’t been the same since the SoS study on the blog — and then, the Holy Spirit worked through Dee’s teaching at the retreat “cleaning up” some painful remnants and solidifying changes taking place during the SoS study. Thanking God with you and for you for his hand on the retreat/preparation in Onalaska.

    1. oh dear Renee–taking you to Him now in my prayers–praying too you will continue to “lament rather than (completely) give up.” For the first time ever (and I do cry often in Church) today, I had to step out. The tears were over-whelming. The trigger for me,we sang “Isaiah 43”–which has been His most personal words to me since leading me to them at 15. I am so sorry for your deep pain, for the longing for your mom. I am praying for His promise of restoration, healing, redemption of your pain–hold on to that truth–He is with you in the waters, in the fires–it will not overcome you, though I know it may feel it at times. He IS your Refuge.

      1. Thanks for your prayers, Elizabeth.  I didn’t even realize I was in such deep pain — seemed like so much hit at once.  I know that being tired makes it more difficult, but I think I work so hard to keep going that I forget to lament.  He is reminding me (again) not to work so hard (not referring to the job, but to life in general).  That may be why Travis Cottrell’s lyrics for Just As I Am spoke so strongly to me.

    2. Praying for you right now, Renee.  Sometimes it’s good just to let go and have a cry.  We all need that at times.  Give yourself permission to be sad and lament, just like you are.  There is a lot to lament in this fallen world.  And then we can turn our eyes to Him and thank Him for being with us and for the fact that this life is not all there is!

      1. Thank you, Mary… Have definitely had part of that cry and turning my eyes to Him again.

    3. Oh Renee, I SO wish I could come and give you a hug! You have been through SO much. God is doing a great work in your life and if you are more depressed than you thought you were THAT IS OK! I think I am depressed too, just not sure I am depressed enough to need medication. We are both broken people, needing to be mended in a way that ONLY GOD can do. I love the Travis Cottrell version of Just As I Am. It gets me every time! Let Christ love you and wrap you in His arms!

    4. Renee, I echo my sisters’ concerns…praying for you.

      1. Me too, Renee!

    5. Oh Renee…….feeling so sad that you are having such a hard time. Also wish that I could have seen you when you were in Mnpls.  (If my surgeon hadn’t canceled my appt the week before,  and rescheduled, I would have tried to make it happen)  🙁 Praying….praying.  Please take care and do what you need to do to feel better.  Our hearts are with you….dear friend. 

    6. Renee, I am praying for you, too…you seem to me to be a person who knows yourself well, and you’re picking up on some emotional cues; I think you bravely face your feelings and am glad you are lamenting to Him and leaning into the truths you learned from Songs.

    7. Thanks everyone.  I appreciate your prayers.

      1. Renee, so sorry for your pain. Praying for you dear sister.

  9. 2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.Hmmm… it might be easier to identify times when I have not resisted God’s plan. This is so constant.  In my long post above, I had intended to write briefly (yeah, right!) what stood out and then say that I needed to take some time off from the blog because this is just too hard. Well, God excels at teaching me to persevere through hard stuff.  So, I’ll stick around for awhile.

    Yesterday, he primed me through a newer version of “Just As I Am,” which was on the radio when I was driving.  It’s habit for me to tune out during this song; it’s either too familiar or it reminds me of “becoming a Christian” too many times.  But this was different and caught my attention with new lyrics.  Not sure this is exactly what I heard (I thought it was faster, but I was driving VERY slowly — and may have only heard the last part!)  http://youtu.be/TGXDfxWM2r0
    Chorus and different lyrics for one verse — by Travis Cottrell:

    I come broken to be mended
    I come wounded to be healed
    I come desperate to be rescued
    I come empty to be filled
    I come guilty to be pardoned
    By the blood of Christ the Lamb
    And I’m welcomed with open arms
    Praise God, just as I am
    Just as I am, I would be lost
    But mercy and grace my freedom bought
    And now to glory in Your cross
    Oh Lamb of God I come, I come

    1. Renee, thanks for sharing that beautiful version of Just As I Am. Yes, we all come to be mended because we are all broken vessels.
      Will be praying for you.
      God is working and the emotions are difficult -I feel some of those depressing issues this season especially.

    2. Renee, first…don’t leave!  Second, those lyrics are BEAUTIFUL!  I love that it breathed new life into that song for you!

      1. Praying for you, Mary!

    3. Oh what a beautiful addition to Just as I am.   The original song will always tug at my heart.  Brings tears.  I know what you mean about the many times/repeat conversions, but on the other hand, I was listening to it just now and thinking,  ‘What would it take to melt my kids’ hearts?’  This song melted my heart over and over when I was young. What is it that the Lord could use to bring them to Himself?  It is far beyond my comprehension.  Of that, I am sure.  Thanks for sharing this rendition.  I don’t listen to Christian radio (tried again today and didn’t last long) and I know I miss some good things, so I’m trying to ease myself back in.  (some of the music… but a lot of ‘the talk’  is hard for me, on one local station.  Though I know I miss some really good ‘talk’ too.)  

  10. The story of the retreat and Jen’s resistance to attending and the way that she was finally convinced to attend stood out to me.
    God had something wonderful ahead and that was the phone call to Ruth who was in a coma. Jen’s sharing of her love for her and
    the story of the gospel and Ruth’s awareness of her words is so amazing. God works out his plan in beautiful and amazing ways.
    All his ways are beyond my understanding. Thanks for this beautiful story and how it is still unfolding at Jen’s church.

  11. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I loved the worship scene in the hotel lobby.  It sort of reminded me of a “flash mob” event that I saw once which was in a shopping mall and the singers were riding up and down the escalators, and were along balconies.   I would have loved to have been in the hotel lobby with you, looking up at all of those candles and faces. As high as the ceiling was,   I would imagine the voices would have sounded like it was in a cathedral.    Beautiful!      I was also intrigued with God’s special choreography going on in Jen’s life.

  12. May I just take the liberty to say that for those who are on the facebook prayer page and haven’t seen, please check the new request for tomorrow (Monday)…..I just posted one for one of our blog sisters here, who isn’t on facebook.  Thanks. 

  13. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    This whole amazing story felt like a great musical score of a great symphony as I was reading it…I could almost feel the “crescendo” and the swelling of the music…the hushed voices of the women echoing in the halls of the hotel to the candlelight as they sang…and the fact that their voices reached thousands of miles across a telephone line into Ruth’s ears, along with Jen’s voice…yes, it is thrilling to be a part of an unfolding story where you can see God connecting the dots to make a beautiful picture. God is like a Great Composer, writing the score and at the same time conducting it and directing each and every part so it all fits together. I also loved the picture from Germany. I was privileged to spend a summer in Bavaria while in college, in a small town on a lake at the foothills of the Alps.

    1. Love your symphony analogy, Susan. Wouldn’t this whole thing make a good movie!?

  14. PRAYER REQUEST….I’m sorry but I am not on Facebook, so must post it here…and to save space, no one needs to reply to this post to say they are praying! My son, Adam, has an exam tomorrow covering the heart/cardiology…he says it’s been a tough module, so please pray for his success over this exam…thank you!

    1. It won’t take up much space to say I’m praying!  (and I am.)  keep us posted, Susan.

      1. Susan,   Ditto to Mary;)   And I’m thankful I read this wrong the first time — was thinking that he was having heart problems.  Will pray for his studying and test-taking!

    2. praying dear Susan~and adding in that Adam would sense His presence from all of our prayers over him!

    3. Hope Adam’s exam went well. I’m sure the pressure to do well with difficult subjects is intense. Hope he is able to relax once in a while and keep things in perspective.

  15. Will pray, Susan…..need to go and do that now.  Many things to cover and I’m glad you shared this.

  16. Love the part of the story where Jen spoke to Ruth and Ruth heard her from her comatose state. I remember my brother calling me the day my mom died wanting me to say something on the phone to her. I was caught off guard, at school still, and really had no idea what to say. to this day I feel bad about that. I told her I loved her, I told her I was sorry I wasn’t there with her, I told her it was awful that I couldn’t be there, I told her I felt awkward talking to her on the phone….I rambled; not my finest moment. I knew she would understand though. She didn’t wake up and I have no idea if she heard anything I said.
    the other thing that stood out was my not understanding what an “E” church is……internet free? Just kidding; but that was my first thought! What is it????

    1. Laura – the church is Evangelical Free -it’s a denomination.  

    2. …..and the word,  ‘Free’ refers to the local congregation’s right to self govern rather than follow the orders of a hierarchical authority.  ‘Free’ churches were established initially in response to governments where there was a state run church (For example: in Norway, the Lutheran Free church began in response to state run churches with emphases that were no longer following scripture.  People were martyred for beginning the counter churches….but the movements grew and when immigrants came to the US, they brought with them the values they believed in.  The Evangelical Free church was founded by Swedish and Danish immigrants.   (I don’t know a lick about science, Laura…..but I thrive on studying history.)

      1.  People were martyred (or at least killed) for not “converting” to Christianity & to Protestantism, too.  It was interesting to learn that even “Christianity” was brought to countries (e.g., Norway) with “convert or get your head cut off.”  I got myself some education during the summer;)
         I learn so much about living as a Christian today by reading about other times in history when people lived out their faith in ways that impacted their communities, though I don’t see myself taking a “convert or else” approach.

        1. That whole beheading thing is a little too familiar these days.  
          Harsh reality to see that it was also being done in the name of our Lord……oh how God’s heart must break.  Time and time and time again. 
          (keep track of all your learning from your trip, Renee.  Some day, I hope to hear all the stories!)

  17. You asked about sharing a time in your life where I was resisting God and what happened. it was much earlier in my marriage and our minivan had broken down. My husband was out of work, disabled, and I was working full time. he wanted to get a pick up truck as a second vehicle and i was financially worried and trying to be practical at the same time. He went to pick out a truck while I was at work and then wanted to show me when my shift was over. I said I didn’t want a big car payment, but also frowned at his choice of a little-cab S-10. it was too small to fit us and our two teens in it. There was no way we could get a truck big enough for all 4 of us and still have a small payment. he couldn’t “win” either way. I was digging in my heals and refusing to budge, in front of the salesman, in the dealership, my face was as sour as my attitude. God was speaking to my heart, telling me to stop letting fears ruin an opportunity to show proper godly respect and honor to my husband in front of others. I argued with Him, But God…! He flat out told me to change my attitude and He would take care of my worries. With a little more smugness than I want to admit, I agreed to go for a test drive with the salesman to “try it out” and Steve couldn’t come because all three of us wouldn’t fit. I apologized to the salesman for my rotten attitude and then made excuses for myself as to why i was right to feel the way I felt. God kept at my heart. My begrudging agreement to God to change my emotional hostage-taking was not enough, I had to be an active participant. I agreed to the S-10 “whatever you want to do, it’s gonna be your truck”. but when Steve filled out the papers as I tried to talk God out of it by tearfully complaining about the monthly payments, He not only told me again that He would take care of it, but arranged the situation where I could not hold it over Steve’s head later on. Because Steve had co-signed for my sister’s car loan when she was in college (and that hadn’t gone well) his credit had been downgraded. if we were going to be able to get the truck, I had to be the one signing the papers. (Very Funny God!) He not only wanted my compliance, He wanted my heart and He was not letting me slide by without full heart-surrender. I truly apologized to both my husband and the salesman, no excuses, and signed the papers. The car payment I was so worried about? before the second payment was due, I came in to an inheritance and paid the truck off. No car payment. No, wait – it gets better! A few years later, when our son borrowed the truck to visit a friend, he hit a patch of ice on a back road and the truck became airborne before crashing on top of a stone wall. The bigger truck I was pushing for would have been too heavy to “fly” up and clear the wall, would have been too wide to fit between the trees and the telephone pole the S-10 landed between and would have undoubtedly killed him. He walked away from the truck, walked to his friend’s house and asked his friend’s dad to help him get the truck off the wall before we saw it. 🙂 God is so good!!! His provision, compassion and faithfulness NEVER fail.

    1. Welcome, Tracy!     I love your story about the truck  — isn’t it good that God gives us what we need instead of what we want?!!   Only in retrospect do we see it, of course.    

    2. Good story, Tracy. And welcome.

    3. Tracy, Great story & so encouraging.  Glad to have you here 🙂

    4. Tracy, what a great story!  (I could see myself in many of the resistance parts.  Ouch)  Wonderful how God turned that around and made it a greater blessing than you could have ever imagined.  Welcome to the blog fellowship!

    5. Great story Tracy…and welcome!

    6. Great story! Thank you for reminding me to always believe that God is in control.

  18. 3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you.
    v. 4a, “He chose our inheritance for us,”
    After I read this, I kept coming back to thoughts of the Lord knowing of our fall/sin before it occurred and planning for our redemption.  He was well aware of our initial and continuing disobedience and sinfulness, but, the ability for His people to love Him freely of their own will and desire was of greater importance than the fact of our failure…He sacrificed for the inheritance He chose for us (i.e., our being in relationship with Him, our eternity in heaven).

    1. Nanci…..your whole comment is so well said.  “He sacrificed for the inheritance He chose for us (i.e., our being in relationship with Him, our eternity in heaven).”

      This is another keeper for my file.  

  19. mary e.–praying for you now and also for Thursday, and please know it’s OK to ask requests here too since you’re not on FB–just whatever you’re comfortable with. Much love to you sweet mary!~

  20. 6. C. Why do you think the psalmist uses Jacob as an example of God’s people? This question intrigues me. My initial response was that Jacob was given a promise and we are descendants of that promise through Christ … But there must be more? Because Abraham was given the original promise and even Adam before him was given a promise. So why Jacob? Perhaps because he made so many immoral choices that we can identify with him? Did some reading and found something that really spoke to me.  http://www.pbv.thunder-bay.on.ca/NetSermons/Ps46ser.html
    Jacob was notorious for controlling his life … Instead of trusting God’s promise he ensured his inheritance through his own devices. Then he got the wife he wanted even though it took a lot of work he still made sure he got what he wanted. Then Jacob wrestled God (I see this in my life!) and God touched his hip, breaking it. He was perhaos handicapped the rest of his life? 
    Jacob lost control, he had to let go. With a broken hip he could not ensure his future with strength or battle. Esau forgave him and welcomed him, something he could not have controlled or manipulated. God had that. Then Jacob lost his wife and then his son and then the famine … but God was there. The God of Jacob is a God who comes in our brokennes, in our inability to control and make life “good.” The God of Jacob is one that stays through years and years of loss and hardship and pain. The God of Jacob is a God whose promise does not fade or become void because of the unexpected or the unwanted circumstances. The God of Jacob is one who is willing to break us in order to take control and hold us in His hand. 

      1. I can’t claim credit for the insights… it was a synopsis/take-a-way from the article I posted. It was very enlightening.

    1. I really like what you had to say Jill. Something to think about…

    1. Thank you so much for all of your prayers!  It took about 3.5 hours to get through everything but I did GREAT!  No claustraphobia issues today at all! (Praise God!)  I was able to let the bone scan plate get very close, even to my face (which gives them a more clear image) with absolutely no difficulty at all.  I am a little concerned over the results because a couple of places on my posterior ribs have begun to hurt (just a little, no big deal) again.  I should know the results this Thursday (which also happened to be my birthday, so hoping and praying for some good news!)  Anyway, your prayers for getting through the scans w/out anxiety were totally answered!  Thanks again.

      1. Oh I’m so relieved the scans went well!   My heart went out to you.  I have not had those kinds of scans, but I tried twice to have a breast MRI and hit the panic button both times.  (it’s kind of a funny story now, but oh….that produced so much anxiety in me.)  I even sensed a little fear with a sinus CT last summer….so when you say ‘claustrophobic’, I am right there with you.  But I’m SO glad you asked for prayer and felt God’s hand.  Continued prayers for good news and for peace and for your birthday to bring joy!  

      2. oh mary–praising Him for this good report and praying for Thursday’s news–and HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!!! Wish we could all be together to celebrate–one day we will 🙂

      3. Yay, Mary! so glad the scans created no claustrophobia. And Happy birthday for Thursday! 

      4. Whoo-hoo!  I share in the praise and thanksgiving…so glad all went well.  Know that my prayers will continue…may you have a blessed birthday, Mary E!  Love to you sister.

      5. I will continue to pray

  21. Sisters in Jesus ~
    Just arrived at my dad’s to celebrate his 86th birthday and to spend the day and night.   Please would you pra?.  He is so disoriented and confused.  Has left his house to walk in the bitter cold three times in the past week.   Thankfully, my sister saw him and returned him home.   Alzheimers is heart-wrenching.   Also, my daughter Annie is about to deliver her baby and I must be there (5 hours from my dad’s).  Feeling so torn.    Thank you, sweet sisters.

    1. Praying, Nila

    2. praying Nila! That’s a lot of emotions–praying for the time with your Dad, and for safe delivery for Annie! And for peace for you–torn in so many directions

    3. So sorry to hear of your Dad’s disorientation and confusion…my heart aches for you and him.  Know that prayers are being offered.  Please keep us updated.

    4. Praying, Nila.

    5. will be praying, Nila….. for peace, comfort and joy amidst the heartbreak……

    6. Praying Nila!

    7. Nila, I’m so sorry about your dad’s mental confusion; yes, Alzheimer’s is heart-wrenching. I’m glad you’re able to spend time with him for his birthday. Does your sister live with your dad? I’m thankful she saw him out walking. Also prayers for Annie and that you’ll make it to the delivery.

    8. Praying because this is hard. So sorry Nila. My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and it was so difficult watching her deteriorate.

    9. Nila I am praying. My grandmother suffered with Alzheimers for 5 years and its very hard. I will continue to pray.

  22. 2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.      I have had this question on my mind a lot.  I can think of times when I resisted my husband’s plans (out of fear or lack of trust or difference of opinion) and when we went through with what he had proposed, things worked out very well and I could see God’s Sovereignty.  I haven’t thought of a specific time, I knowingly resisted God’s leading……however, I wonder sometimes, if I am doing that now, in my ‘totally low profile’ way of attending my church.  I grew up in a family that was the first to church and the last to leave.  Always.  And that is how the first 30 years of my marriage were as well.  Having spent a decade on staff as well as volunteering for countless roles over the years, my ‘almost no involvement’ status is unsettling and strange and yet, I can’t figure out my purpose or my place there.  In a way, I have put to practice what we talked about last week.  ‘Cease striving.  Be still and know that I am God’ as I’ve stepped back and immersed myself in independent study and trying to hear His voice.  But in another way, maybe it is just all about me and I’m resisting His plan for me.  To be honest, I’m confused.  

    1. Ditto, the only time I could remember was resisting my husband. I learned a lot in that season to trust God and my husband. I was good for me..

  23. As for the video posted above, it doesn’t matter how many times I see it, I can’t watch without tears.  It hit especially hard just now, because I spent some time at a mall today (very rare for me to do) and the usual fare and flare of ‘Christmas appeal’ through the merchandising eyes,  seemed especially unappealing and empty to me. I watch the video and think, ‘I wonder how many people listening at that moment, were sincerely moved and confronted with the God of the universe, the omnipotent King of Kings and Lord of Lords at that very moment.”  And,  I hope the answer is ‘many.’.  

    1. Like!

  24. 3 & 4.  What quickens me:  “Clap your hands, all peoples!”  When I read this (aloud;) ), I immediately thought of small children when they get so excited that they are almost shaking, jumping, can’t “contain themselves”  — and can’t help but clap their hands.  To me, that’s an image of someone praising God with his or her whole body and not necessarily one of professional presentation.
    Something else that quickens me and is repeated is the theme of all peoples, nations, all the earth.  The Lord is King over all.  For having the same king, we (all nations) sure pick on and kill off people from other nations.

    Need to ponder this one more: (v5) “God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.”  This reminds me of when Jesus will return, but maybe this took place with Jesus’ ascension, too??  I would imagine heaven celebrated then.  I Thess 4:16:

    For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God…

    I’m very curious about such a close parallel.  Answers, anyone??  Also, the reason I enjoy cross-cultural interaction and perspectives SO MUCH is because they remind me the the day when we all will bow before the Lord, worshiping Him together.  Cross-cultural relationships now (including the work that it takes to understand) give me such hope for the future — and I get so excited that (at least in my head) I am clapping and can hardly contain myself.
    Side note:  a few weeks ago I read or heard a Scripture passage read aloud — and something clicked.  I was reminded that reading aloud/listening is effective.    So I didn’t groan too loudly when I read Psalm 47 aloud 😉   I even smiled when I read the instructions.

    1. I get it 🙂   I read below that “gone up” means exalt.

  25. Susan, Any updates on Adam’s exam?

  26. A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.
    I had to look up the word “ephod”. I didn’t think it sounded like a priestly garment though. Here is the dictionary.com definition:

    “a richly embroidered, apronlike vestment having two shoulder straps and ornamental attachments for securing the breastplate, worn with a waistband by the high priest. ”

    I’m thinking those German suspender dresses or pants….I’m kind of with Michal on this one; did he not have on any pants?…..I wouldn’t have despised him though, just questioned (to myself most likely) why he was doing that in front of the women. Just the dress part? Seems weird. I always like the parts of the bible where people dance, so this scripture is semi-familiar to me. however I never thought about what he was wearing as he danced. Not sure how this garment represents a priest and king though. I didn’t read about any other garment in the passages.

  27. What is an efree church please? I’m guessing it’s not e for electronic as in ebook… We have ebooks but not echurches here yet.

    1. Sorry… see this has already been answered.

    2. Funny how we take words for granted when we are familiar with them,  Kerryn.  Here’s a little humor with the name.  In my area, there are many Evangelical Free churches…..but one is in the tiny village named ‘Kost’.  So it is referred to as the ‘Kost Free’ church.  If you don’t see the spelling, and aren’t familiar with the area, you hear ‘cost free’ church.   All sorts of jokes ensue.  ‘So, is there no offering taken?” etc.

  28. Thank you for your prayers, ladies…Adam sent word last evening that he passed and did very well on exam!
    Mary I am sorry I didn’t know of your testing yesterday…I am not on Facebook…but it sounds like you were covered in prayers and I will be praying as you await your results for Thursday…also your birthday!

    1. No worries, Susan, and thank you for your prayers.  I should know something soon about the results and will post on the blog.

  29. 2. If possible, share a time when you resisted God’s plan, but He exercised His sovereignty and you were unable to resist.
    I’m trying to think of one “big” example, but what comes to mind is simple, daily choices. I know what the Word of God says, and that I am to walk in obedience; however, I am an expert loop-hole finder and am pretty good at making excuses for disobedience. A recent incidence of willfully choosing the wrong thing…afterwards, instead of scolding myself, I found myself thinking why I chose (and I was thinking of Hinds Feet in High Places) to leave the “High Places” with Him and slide down into the valley? There is so much freedom with Him on the High Places and He keeps your feet from slipping when you abide with Him there; it is disobedience that gets you slipping. And, that in the moment of choice, He was just a “heart call” away – but I didn’t call for Him. I think it is pondering His beauty, kindness, love, etc…that makes wanting to follow Him irresistible.

    1. Yes, those “simple, daily choices”…
      I really learned and was reminded of much while reading Hinds Feet in High Places.  Such a good, fruitful book…it will be one of those books that I will read again and again…so much spoke to me.  So glad that it was suggested.
      Oh Susan, you are so right…”it is disobedience that gets you slipping” there is “so much freedom with Him on the High Places”…oh that I would remember this always and obedience would be second-nature.  Our Lord is irresistible…oh to think of His gentle love, His faithfulness, patience, guidance, provision, etc. … and He being “only a ‘heart call’ away”…:)

      BTW, happy to hear that Adam was successful on his recent examination…thanks for sharing the update.

  30. 3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you.
    The high active-ness of the psalm: “Clap!…Shout!…Sing, sing, sing!” There is nothing passive or reserved about this worship being called for. He deserves our highest praise, and I should be moved by it. I have been in a few different worship services of other cultures—on missions trips, and once our Church (an EFree Church actually!) did a combined service with an African American Church and it still moves me to tears to remember it. I’m often moved to tears at Church-but still, I think I often miss the depth of worship experiences I see spoken of here. 
    This past Sunday we sang another favorite hymn—Wanda & Diane—do you know this one? Though I really prefer the way we sang it (Indelible Grace) I couldn’t find a good link for it to share—but the words are so fitting for this psalm 
    “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven; To His feet thy tribute bring. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, Who like me His praise should sing? Praise Him, praise Him, praise Him, praise Him, Praise the everlasting King. …”

    1. Yep, Elizabeth, I know the song. It has beautiful words. I am so glad you have fitted it alongside Psalm 27 – SO appropriate.

    2. Yes, I do.  And I am sure Renee does also as it’s in the hymnbook we grew up with.  (If SC wasn’t such a long commute, I’d show up at your church next week!)

      1. oh Wanda! Just the THOUGHT of you beside me at my Church made me smile! I look forward to That Day…and you can teach me all the hymns I still don’t know 😉

        1. 🙂

  31. A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.
    David danced before the Lord with all his might. He wore a priest’s robe (ephod) on this occasion. Since others have mentioned (vs. 23f) that his wife, Michal, berates him for doing this and says David has shamed himself before his female servants, I will mention what the ESV Study Bible has in its notes on verses 20-23. 

    Although David returns to the members of his household … he is greeted by his wife Michal’s sarcastic comment, “How the king of Israel honored himself today.” No doubt she felt he should have worn his royal robes as would befit a king, but David stresses that he was dressed simply before the LORD. Michal accuses David of uncovering himself, which seems to be a reflection more of Michal’s bitterness and contempt for David than a true statement of fact. The “linen ephod” worn by David (v. 14) was a simple white garment worn by priests in the fulfillment of their duties.

    My thoughts: I have heard this passage interpreted as David was partially naked (improperly so) in his dance, but I don’t think he was, really. The linen ephod was duly modest and normal for a priest to wear. Michal just thought it was improper for him to wear. Perhaps she thought he should have been all gussied up for this formal occasion in his ceremonial royal robes. It seems also that she was angry over something else; perhaps angry that God was blessing David more than God had blessed her father, King Saul, or perhaps jealous over David’s obvious joy. We do see in the last verse (v. 23) that Michal was barren from that time on; seemingly a punishment by God for her anger.

    1. Diane, thanks for adding your thoughts at the end.  I have heard the same and I think your conclusions seem right.  I’m glad for more clarity as I’ve wondered about this too.

    2. Thank you for this information Diane. This clears it up for me.

      1. I am glad this helped you understand the ephod stuff, Laura dancer.

    3. Diane–this commentary and your insights on this passage help so much! Thank you for sharing this–makes a lot more sense to me now why that was included and the nature of the scene. 

  32. HI LADIES!!! I had a super busy weekend and had to catch up on on house stuff yesterday but I’m here, yay!! Weather update from Phoenix it beautiful 75 is our high and 45 is our low. Light sweaters and sandals 🙂





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    Three things stood out to me the first “The ten Boom family and Deitrich Bonhoeffer had laid down their lives in that fight because  they looked forward to an eternal Kingdom.” A small soft cover copy of the testimony of Corrie Ten Boom was given to me as a new believer and has forever impacted me. My Husband and I have a calling to the Jewish people and belong to a missionary Church focused on the salvation of the Jews hear in Phoenix, AZ. There is a huge population of unsaved Jews hear and throughout the US. This little book showed me how much the devil hates the Jew and has and will continue to do everything he can to destroy then and keep them from their Messiah. The history of the Jewish people has branded my heart forever.  
    “In part, I spoke on the picture of Jesus in the book of Ruth. How Boaz, as a kinsman-redeemer, had rescued Ruth out of dire circumstances and redeemed her for a price, foreshadowing our kinsman-redeemer.” What a beautiful picture. Jesus is my Boaz and is my families Boaz, I love this story so much and have been blessed by it. This book has also impacted me greatly in the past. I read it at least once a year and am feeling a needed to reading right now.  
    “Yet how exciting it is to be a part of His grand scheme, to step into where He is already at work, and to know that no evil can prevail against this Kingdom, for this Kingdom will never end.” Yes and yes,
    3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you. I know I say this all the time but I really mean it. God is so good to have brought me hear; hear to study the Psalms with all you ladies. I’m so blessed! I think of Worship in heaven. His holy throne Gold and pearl a sea of glass under our feet and great men and woman from the Earth dressed beautifully representing all the Nations. What a beautiful sight!!
    5. Historically, the earthly picture may be when David brought the ark to the temple. Read about it in 2 Samuel 6:12-19. I haven’t read this in a while. But I smiled and laughed reading it today. To see David dancing down the street wearing a linen ephod, David was not one to live within the box. The ephod was the breast plate for the priest and it was made from metal but there was a prescribed garment that was to be worn underneath. I’m thinking that must be what he was wearing. Some divine inspiration?? Have to love him tho and he must have done it right because know body was struck dead like the first time he tried. For me in regard to Psalms 47 I see more Solomon bringing the ark into the temple all the ornaments of the temple, priest and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The feasting and celebrating the gifts and sacrificing the picture blows my mind. I haven’t read that in a while I guess I need to read that also.
    A. Describe what happened. David Jeremiah says that David’s priestly garments signified he was both priest and king, pointing to the ultimate Priest and King, Jesus.  What a great thought, love that and yes I think so. I’m going to have to read it again and make sure it was linen.
    B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence. The ark represents the presence of God, His Holiness, His governing power, His covenant, the testimony of the people, the law, it meant everything!! Yes, God was with them finally. I imagine woman crying and men dancing children playing what a joyful time. Poor Michel her eyes should have been on God not David; we can guess what her idols where (the throne, her father, David) one of the most significant times in Israel’s history and she missed it. I pray I can keep my eyes on God and I haven’t missed to many significant moments,. Please pray for me ladies pray my eyes can stay fixed and my heart can remain grateful.

    1. Nicole….I forgot those kind of temperatures existed in November in the U.S.   Your lows are a LOT higher than our highs 🙂  ha!   I read quickly through your other thoughts above, but just have time to comment on the weather report at the moment!

      1. Thanks Wanda! We stay inside all summer and live outside during the winter. My oldest son has seen snow only a hand full of times. 🙁

  33. sorry, I guess if I’m cutting and pasting I can’t write in the box and add text from a Word doc. wont do it again 🙁

    1. Nicole, if you are cutting and pasting from a Word document, you need to paste as “plain text”. You should see that option when you right click before pasting. It is the Word doc that messes things up. Hope this helps. 
      (And don’t worry. We have ALL done this during the learning phase (and still do it occasionally when we forget!))  🙂

    2. Nicole, Yup, we’ve all done it 😉  It doesn’t work for me to “paste as” from a Word document (on a Mac), though it sometimes helps if I save as a text file first.  But I do check after I post and if I’m not too slow about editing, I usually can delete the extra junk. I panic when I see the extra junk because I bought Word through a deal at work, and the junk includes the details about where I work.
      Some of my posts are atrocious if I don’t edit.  I’ve learned that it takes 4 line spaces to get a paragraph break in some places…  But I use different computers and I’m not sure it is the same on all of them.

      1. Maybe it’s 5 line spaces to get a paragraph break — or else I only inserted 3 lines above!

      2. All of this totally makes me too anxious to even use a Word document first.  I also have a Mac and I just try to think through my stuff and post it directly….and try to edit before I hit submit.  I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to figure out all the things I’ve been told about how to do it!  (But I do need to edit more out sometimes.)

    3. Thanks ladies I’ll keep it all in mind or at least try to 🙂

    4. no biggie, Nicole…:)  as Renee and Diane have said, we’ve all done it.

  34. The ark:  I think the ark also represents Jesus, because of blood sacrifice (but I first think of God’s presence & holiness, too).  Ok, I’m taking a shortcut & might regret that I didn’t read the passage and about the ark before I posted.

    1. I want to hear more about this, Renee because I’m sure you’re on to something here!

  35. 3. Read the whole psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you. 
    This psalm is just another reminder to me of how it really is all about God!  He is the star of the show (not me.)  In fact, He is the writer, director, AND star.  I am a just a supporting character in His whole, eternal plan…and yet THE Writer, Director, and Star happens to be madly in love with me!  How awesome is that?  And I am blessed that I even have a part in the whole big scheme of things.  I’ve thought a lot on different people’s views of disease, death, and healing (given my current situation and the fact that I’ve been confronted with different views recently) and have come to conclude that in some ways, people who are of the health, wealth, prosperity persuasion have a very small view of the “whole big scheme of things.”  Thinking that it’s all about us being healthy, wealthy, and prosperous, not seeing that God is at work in more than just my individual life, on so many levels, in the whole world, for all of time and eternity, and my part is just a piece of that and needs to be whatever He desires it to be, and for His glory, to accomplish HIS ends.  (I wish I were better with words but hopefully the meaning gets across, I’m not super articulate.)  And I can trust Him to be with me through whatever, because He loves me so much…so it works! =)

    1. Oh Mary, these words are absolutely perfect.  And written by someone who’s not in an ivory tower, but living them day by day.  You said it so well.  (I’m saving this comment too)  Now, I’m thinking of something that I heard recently along these lines, but it hasn’t quite come to the surface of my mind but it would only affirm what you have already said so clearly.  The Lord shines through you so much.  

    2. oh mary–I agree with Wanda, your words are rich with love for Him and His for you–I LOVE this ” yet THE Writer, Director, and Star happens to be madly in love with me! “–He is bringing such beauty from your brokenness–and it is a life-giving blessing to us. So thankful He has you here, you are teaching me so much…especially about true joy amidst pain and uncertainty.  

    3.  And I am blessed that I even have a part in the whole big scheme of things.  I’ve thought a lot on different people’s views of disease, death, and healing (given my current situation and the fact that I’ve been confronted with different views recently) and have come to conclude that in some ways, people who are of the health, wealth, prosperity persuasion have a very small view of the “whole big scheme of things.”  Thinking that it’s all about us being healthy, wealthy, and prosperous, not seeing that God is at work in more than just my individual life, on so many levels, in the whole world, for all of time and eternity, and my part is just a piece of that and needs to be whatever He desires it to be, and for His glory, to accomplish HIS ends.
      I loved what you said!! lets pin it!!! (pintrest)

    4. Mary, I think you did a pretty good job at being articulate here! You are taking your life and your very real pain/trial and applying the truth of this Psalm to it and coming away with “the big picture”. I think this is a good point, that the “health and wealth” people have a very small view of God and what He is up to. What you have painted here with your words is a very grand picture of God.

    5. Oh yes! Mary!
      “…wealth, prosperity persuasion have a very small view of the “whole big scheme of things.”
      i’m afraid I have to put myself in that category too unfortunately. 🙁

    6. Mary, I echo my sisters…
      these words are “absolutely perfect,” “rich with love for Him and His for you,” and very well articulated. 
      Thank you for sharing from your heart…what a gift you give us.

  36. I just looked up the passage about the ephod just to make sure my comments are correct its been a couple years since I studied the ephod; so here’s the scripture if any one interested read Exodus 28:4-25. After thinking a bit more about David wearing the linen part of the ephod. I believe he didn’t stand out he looked like the rest of the priest which make sense because only the High Priest would be wearing the full ephod. In 1 Chronicles 15:27 it says David was wearing fine linen as were all the priests. So maybe David’s humility is what bothered Michel .

    1. “maybe David’s humility is what bothered Michel”
      I’m thinking that this is probably the case…Michel was the daughter of a king, she had expectations of how a king should act, what defined “royal”…to see King David dancing like a common person was not part of her definition and in her mind his actions were most inappropriate.  Her feelings were likely founded in fear, questioning how these actions reflected on King David, herself, the kingship, etc.   She didn’t appear to have understanding of the exuberance felt and exhibited as a result of being in relationship with the Lord…AND this being an especially joyous, jubilant time, i.e., the relationship with the Lord restored.  I feel excitement in my heart just typing those words (relationship with the Lord restored). 

  37. What a beautiful blessing each of you are!!!  What a treasure to hear your thoughts and read again what God has done and is now doing through each of you- as you love and encourage one another!  We were so thrilled to have Dee with us and see God change and heal hearts and even physical bodies… Oh how He loves YOU and me!   

    1. Jen, if you are the Jen this is about…I LOVE your story!  So glad Dee shared it with us! 🙂

    2. Yes, Jen.  What Mary said!  Your story is such a picture of an Almighty God transcending and blessing above and beyond what we could ask or think.  

    3. JEN!!!   THANK YOU for letting Dee share your story and for coming on here now. Your story is SO, SO encouraging and points us to the Lord in worship.

    4. Jen, if you are the Jen of the above story, thanks so much for letting Dee share your story. It is so wonderful to see God at work – past, present and future!

  38. Challenge:  What did the ark represent?    I think that the ark represented God’s holiness and that the people of Israel were set apart as His chosen ones.  The contents of the ark represented God’s greatness (manna and Aaron’s rod….or was it Moses’ rod? and the miracles he’d performed) and the Law of God (his commandments) so it is a very visual picture of an ALMIGHTY, RIGHTEOUS God; and One to whom no others can be compared.  When Uzzah stumbled and grabbed the ark for balance, he was struck dead because of his disobedience.  David was angry about this and I have to admit that on a personal level, it seems terribly unfair for God to do that.  So why did He?  It must have to do with the symbolism of holiness and that they were still under such a cumbersome system of obedience to the Law which could not be negotiated.   The sacrifice of the Lamb of God which broke open the veil in the temple and made full atonement once and for all,  had not yet happened. So the ark was the tangible means of portraying God’s nature.   

    1. So well said!!

  39. C. Why do you think the psalmist uses Jacob as an example of God’s people?    This is an interesting question because one of the points of Hugh Jackman’s sermon last week talked about Psalm 46 referencing ‘the God of Jacob’.   I scrolled back through all of last week’s blog, thinking that someone had gotten a good quote about that, but didn’t find.  In my scribbled notes, I wrote that Jacob was the deceiver, the trickster, the supplanter and if he could be counted among the sons of God, then none of us should think that we cannot relate to this God.  He meets us all as the sinful people that we are.   But also, Israel is synonymous with Jacob ever since God changed Jacob’s name following his night of wrestling with God. (in the form of an angel).  I read that again today and decided that I would love to hear more clarity about the meaning of that wrestling. How is it that it says that Jacob won the match?  “you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”  He left limping with his leg socket out of joint (or something like that).  I think I am reading this too literally or something.  Or did God win by making Jacob victorious over his doubts?  Anyway, Jacob was also promised that he would have God’s blessing and that all of the peoples on earth would be blessed through his offspring, after he had the dream about the angels on the ladder.  God’s relationship with Jacob was very intimate.  

    1. I read that God named Jacob “Israel” and he would be leader of the Hebrew people the Israelites. God must’ve thought good about him right? He represents a faithfulness in God from the beginning. He always felt that he took the law more seriously than Esau did. He justified his behavior because he thought that Esau didn’t take the law seriously enough. He was kind of “holier than though” don’t you think? However God still in the end blessed him.

      1. Hi Laura, I think you made good points. Esau wasn’t a very thoughtful person he was impulsive. Jacob was more cautious then Esau. Esau sold his birth right for a bowl of soup, he degraded his right, then when he realized that his parents didn’t like his wives he took more to try to please them. He never faced his heart issues. Jacob on the other hand was always processing the thing around him. When his mother came to him and persuaded he to trick his father he told his mother wait my brothers going to be upset and his mother said I’ll take responsibility for it. Not that Jacobs heart was right but he was more thoughtful about his choices. The whole family was a dysfunctional mess but God hand was always on Jacob. He was chastened by God and grew past his character flaws which I believe Esau never did. Thanks for your comment Laura

    2. Wanda, I think your answer is right on…
      Jacob was a “deceiver, trickster, supplanter,” taking opportunity whenever and wherever possible with no consideration to the other…YET, God changed him; changed his manipulative, deceitful heart, his calculating, opportunist mind…I think that the fact that Jacob’s name was changed to Israel is significant.  I can’t remember where hearing (reading?) that Jacob had (my words) a control idol…the Lord’s victory with Jacob may have been Jacob’s recognizing/acknowledging Who is really in control (i.e., the Lord) and it wasn’t him (Jacob).  This whole Jacob thing is something for me to ponder further… 

  40. B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence.
    Didn’t the Ark of the covenant represent God’s law? Having the law with them, in theory meant that God was with them right? They knew they weren’t alone. That made them happy because they had seen blessings on people who had faith that God would always help them. 

    1. ya, I think so. It makes sense to me.

  41. 3. Read the whole Psalm out loud and share anything that quickens you.
    Verse 5, “God has ascended amid shouts of joy, the Lord amid the sounding of trumpets” made me think of Jesus ascending to heaven before His disciples’ eyes, and the “grand welcome” and joy and praising that must’ve been happening when the Lamb of God, the King, the Lord Jesus, returned. Really taking to heart that God is the great King of all the earth is an invitation for me to fully trust in Him. There is nothing that can happen to me that He does not allow.

    1. Beautifully said. so encouraging!!

    1. Thanks!

  42. 5 B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy? One parallel that I made is that now God “tabernacles” among us, and we should have the same joy at the sense of His presence.
    The ark represents God’s presence and His throne. I must have forgotten this before, because it’s striking me anew right now—but so interesting to me that David’s dance as he enters Jerusalem with the ark—God’s presence…and connecting that with Jesus’ triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. 

  43. 5 B. Challenge Questions: (Share your answers!) What did the ark represent — and why was there so much joy?
    The ark represents God’s presence. It was so sacred that it was kept in the Holy of Holies and only the High Priest could enter that place once a year to pray in God’s presence.  I also remember that central on the ark was the Mercy Seat, representing the throne of God where sins were forgiven by His mercy. I love Elizabeth’s connecting David’s dancing as the ark entered the city of Jerusalem with Jesus’ triumphal entry on Palm Sunday. Let me draw another parallel with heaven at the end of time when we will all fall before the throne and worship. When Jesus comes at last to reign over all, it will not be a quiet “proper” affair, but it will come with a roar; with all creation announcing the event and singing and much rejoicing. We will fall on our faces before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

    (Revelation 4:10-11) “the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

    (Revelation 11:15-19) Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and she shall reign forever and ever.” 16 And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying,
    “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. 18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”
    19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

    (Revelation 14:1-3) Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, 3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

    1. Diane, these references are really helpful to me.  I had forgotten that there was mention of the ark of the covenant in John’s vision of heaven.  I especially like your wording of the jubilant celebration when Jesus comes to reign.  ‘Not a quiet, proper affair’!  YES!  I’m seeing the connection and the comparison to so much JOY when the ark came back to Jerusalem to how it will be in the New Jerusalem!  

    2. How powerful!

  44. Mary e–praying for tomorrow–a great Dr. report and a great birthday! let us know when you can~

    1. Mary e, I also am praying. And happy birthday tomorrow! God’s got this!

      1. Thank you so much everyone, for your prayers.  I have been feeling better the past few days and I will let you all know how my tests come out (should find out tomorrow.)

  45. Hello to all I posted Sunday but it never showed up not sure why and then my Mom had surgery and I have been away for that  Anyway what struck me was an incredible story of the Lords orchestration for Jen. I loved the part of her friend suggesting they pray and then she go home and ask her husbands permission and her resistance yet going. The part talking to Ruth over the phone in the coma state and her responding really hit me. The candlelight service must have been a forever memory all worshipping together. I am excited again to see the hand of God move!
    I have read Psalm 47 multiple times this week and then tonight reading it again this song came to my mind.  “Shout Unto God” I remember singing that with our youth group and how powerful of a moment that was.   I love a mixture of quiet worship and then I love a time to shout a voice of triumph!!!!!

    1. Liz–love this! And I hope your mom’s surgery went well. Good to have you back!

  46. Mary, Renee, and Susan saw those prayer needs and lifted them up. Glad to hear the good report Susan for your son. Renee fix your eyes on Jesus. Mary you are such an inspiration. I pray you have a blessed Birthday. Jackie missing you here and praying for Jess and for YOU! Shouting up a voice of triumph!
    God reigns over the nations and God sits on His Holy Throne Psalm 47:8