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We are completing our Advent challenge this week by memorizing the final verse. Print this out.

(1) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

(2) He was in the beginning with God. 

(3) All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 

(4) In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

(5)The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

(6) There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

(7) He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light,

that all might believe through him. 

(8) He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. 

9. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 

10. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 

12. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 

13. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

14. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.



Some of you may remember George Mueller, the man who by faith established so many orphanages and was known for his inextinguishable joy. He said the first duty of a Christian was to get his soul happy in the Lord each day. He always began with the Word, and then prayed through it. He read through the Bible yearly all of his life.

So my challenge is to start reading through the Bible chronologically — not as it was written, but as it happened. It is an exciting and helpful way to read — to read, for example, the historical incident and then the psalms that were written because of that incident. I have a schedule so you can do it in a year, but I’m not so concerned if you accomplish it in one, two, or even three years, but that you keep reading through, and each day, “get your soul happy in the Lord,” by allowing Him to quicken you, speak to you, and “live” in you. I know you are involved in other Bible studies, including this one on the blog, so you know what you can handle — but everybody can find ten minutes to look at the whole puzzle in addition to the pieces. The challenge is not so much to accomplish a certain number of chapters, but to let Him tabernacle in You, to get your soul happy in the Lord. I’ll give you the chronological link on New Year’s Day. I’ll also tell you at the close of the week what is next for 2015.

Sunday: Icebreaker

1. Share your thoughts about our Advent Adventure of memorizing the prologue and how it is impacting you.

2. Share your thoughts on the New Year challenge.

Monday: Review John 1:1-13.

3. Can you write it out?

4. Do you have any fresh meditations?

Tuesday: Add John 1:14 to complete the prologue!

To open this week, please watch this video from my favorite contemporary poet, Luci Shaw. Then we will meditate on her poem: Made Flesh.


Meditate on Made Flesh and find the surprises: http://dreaminginthedeepsouth.tumblr.com/post/2180155610/made-flesh-by-luci-shaw

Wednesday: New Year’s Eve

6. Review John 1:1-14 and share your contemplations on verse 14.

Thursday: New Year’s Day

Here is the link of you want to start reading through the Bible chronologically at your own pace:


Friday: Myth Became Fact

7. This is a wonderful video from a movie about Lewis and Tolkein. You may have already seen it. Watch and comment: 


8. Here is an optional sermon (one of my top 5 favorites — so you may already have it) from Keller. 


9. What notes or comments do you have on the Keller sermon?


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


While I am still working on The Song of Songs, I am also seeing the need for a studyguide that  will help women grasp how the gospel can transform their lives. My tentative title is:

A Woman Transformed by The Gospel

How the gospel, rather than religion,can rescue us from the penalty and power of sin.

I want to try some lessons here, before Lent and possibly on into Lent, with this amazing group, and get your input. The best guide I’ve seen on this is Gospel Transformation, but its length overwhelms most groups. I’m going to try to do something more concise — I don’t know if I can do something that I’ll like better than what I’ve seen, but I have been itching to try! That desire and now a peace the time is right, has me taking the New Year Plunge! You are such a wonderful group — honestly — that I would be so thankful for your input. I want it to work for both seekers and believers. Some material and illustrations I have used before, but I will try to make it fresh. I so covet your prayers and participation, if God leads you to stay with us during this next journey. If not, blessings for whatever path He is taking you on!

I also want to alert you to a sale and new security on Gospel in Life. Go to the site and click on specials (75% on Galatians — and I will be taking sermons from that) and new security. I know Diane was hacked on their old account, and so was I, so I understand hesitancy. I think those who have been hacked are actually now safer than those who have not been — but I leave that up to you. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine you could call them and get a gift card by sending a check.

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  1. I just thought I would pass on to you a poem that I remember and find comfort in at this time of year.  The first part of it was on a plaque that hung in my parents’ home when I was growing up. The first 3 lines were quoted by King George IV in 1939 for his Christmas message. I found it on Wikipedia so hope it is accurate.
    God Knows
    by Minnie Louise Haskins

    And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
    And he replied:
    “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
    So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
    So heart be still:
    What need our little life
    Our human life to know,
    If God hath comprehension?
    In all the dizzy strife
    Of things both high and low,
    God hideth His intention.
    God knows. His will
    Is best. The stretch of years
    Which wind ahead, so dim
    To our imperfect vision,
    Are clear to God. Our fears
    Are premature; In Him,
    All time hath full provision.
    Then rest: until
    God moves to lift the veil
    From our impatient eyes,
    When, as the sweeter features
    Of Life’s stern face we hail,
    Fair beyond all surmise
    God’s thought around His creatures
    Our mind shall fill.[1]

    1. Diane, Thank you for this sweet poem.

    2. THANKS! Diane.   I’ve heard the first part before and love it.  Have never heard the whole poem.  Excellent!

    3. Diane, I loved this-and it is just the beginning: And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied:“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

    4. Diane, this is beautiful! I’m on my iPad and it’s too hard to copy, but I especially loved that part Rebecca quoted, at the beginning–and love to know it was part of your childhood, that endears me even more to it 🙂

    5. Love this poem, Diane.  Thanks!

    6. I read this on my phone the other day and loved i; this is my first time to actually sit down and reply on my computer. I love “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.” I just picture like a little girl taking hold of God’s hand and Him leading me through the dark and lonely times in life, only to soar and realize he never left me in those times, but led me the whole way. Just like the Footprints poem. 
      Thank you for this, Im going to print this out and frame it and hang it on my wall. 

    7. I am glad so many of you liked this poem. I am really touched, Staci, that you want to print it off and hang it up on your wall. This poem is an inspiration to me as well.

  2. 7. This is a wonderful video from a movie about Lewis and Tolkein. You may have already seen it. Watch and comment:     I had not seen this video before so found it very intriguing.   I watched it twice to let it sink in more.  Really like Tolkein’s words.  Wow.  This makes so much sense, that myths are not lies but are conveying essential truth; the primary reality of life itself.  The way he explains how materialism is a lie and that we have been duped into believing that the material world is all there is is very powerful.  It does make sense to compare that lie to being in a prison of 4 walls.  When he asks the question, “how could we picture things that are outside the prison walls, if they didn’t exist?’ , I thought of the verse that says ‘He has set eternity in the hearts of men’.  (didn’t look up the reference, but I think that is the correct context of the verse.)  This discussion makes that verse more clear to me.  And though in this clip, Jack does not yet believe, this truth is reinforced in Lewis’ later comment that if we find ourselves with a longing that cannot here be fulfilled, perhaps it is because we are made for another world. (paraphrase).  I also really like how he explains that creativity and imagination are God’s image in us.  I have never realized how true that is until I heard him explain it.  We create because He is our creator.  We tell stories because God is a story teller.  And the catastrophe and the eucatastrophe concept is one I’ve never heard explained like this either.  Very insightful in so many ways.  Other than Jack being cast a bit too ‘tall, dark and handsome’, (smile!)  this was a great depiction of such an important conversation.   What is the name of the movie?

  3. I can relate so much to those of us who struggle with doing yearly reading plans. :)) It is hard for me to read through the Bible without stopping and wanting to go deeper. I never did a reading through the year plan because of that.  I am learning that even if I start my morning out with over focusing on what I need to read, or if I miss a few chapters and feel bad about it-that it is okay-Just press on. I am finding His word is powerful even if I just read through it. 🙂

    1. Rebecca, since I have been doing formal Bible study it has been very difficult to keep up with a daily reading plan. It is so easy as has been said, for it to become a checklist. However, I keep my schedule in my Bible and when I feel led, I just go to that day’s reading. Many times God has spoken to me in those portions of scripture. 

  4. Diane, I love that poem! Thanks for sharing it.
    verse 14 is a beautiful jewel Summarizing our Christmas gift. God’s priceless gift to us, that brings us life, not just now but for eternity. Also, about how Jesus is full of grace and truth, I think it is important for me to empty myself so that I may be filled with Him. That is a study in itself, a practice that can take a lifetime.
    i also would like to know what the name of that movie is.

  5. that sermon was incredibly stirring! I don’t think anyone could sit through it and not be changed. It did what no fact or doctrine can ever do by speaking to the longing in every human heart. It spoke to the soul imprisoned in the material world.

  6. Only C.S. Lewis can take such profound subjects and explain it in a way that is enlightening and “romantic”. The latter word I borrowed from John Piper-I found him talking about Tolkien and Lewis on you-tube. And the romanticism part is expressed in a longing for the “other” and “outer” world just as he mentioned seeing outside the 4 walls of prison. There is another place prepared for us and its myth to the non-believer is a fact to us believers.
    My take-away: I want to get my soul happy in the Lord before I start my day by reading His Word.

  7. At the end of this post and especially after hearing the sermon I realize that there is so much of God’s glory that I just plain miss. As much as I love to contemplate the things of God and eternity, I’m still dull of senses. My take-a-way would be to regularly pray that He would show me His glory. 
    Lord thank You so much for this week’s post. I have learned so much and seen so much of You that it is almost more than I can process. I find myself distracted and losing focus. Please help me Lord to be disciplined and focused so that I might see Your glory. Thank You for Dee and her faithfulness to present posts for us each week. I pray that You would bless her and pour out Your Spirit on her as she prepares for next week’s post. Thank You for each woman who shares on this blog. I pray that You would continue binding us together in Your Spirit. Protect each from the enemy who would discourage us and block our way. And Lord I pray that You would show us Your glory. Amen

  8. Takeaway:    I didn’t get time for the sermon yet.  I’m going to mark it though because I’d like to hear anything that’s in Dee’s top five.   Luci Shaw’s poem made me think a lot more about the solitude, the ‘imprisonment’ that Jesus, as an unborn babe went through.  Have I ever really pondered this?  NO.  I’ve thought of Him coming as a helpless, tiny baby while still being GOD, which is more than I can comprehend, but I’d never thought about that period in the womb.  How the Trinity amazes and mystifies.  While Jesus was silent in the womb, God, the Father was sustaining the universe; Lord of All.    I don’t know.  I can’t find the words but I feel like the Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh, took on an even deeper meaning in my heart this week.  

  9. What struck me from John 1:14 were the words “grace and truth”.  These two words are the epitome of the Gospel and can’t be separated if healing, growth and transformation is to occur. If you are given all grace you risk living a life of folly just doing what you want, when you want and how you want without fear of consequences. If you are given all truth without the grace you risk becoming depressed, bitter, fearful and judgmental because the truth isn’t balanced by grace.  But when a friend speaks truth AND grace into your life you can accept the wounds because you know they are given in love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy…Proverbs 27:6.  I treasure this type of friend. 

  10. Just wanted to say that I first heard you speak at Spring Hill in Evart Michigan. I really enjoyed hearing you speak. I look forward to being part of this bible study 🙂

  11. Im a bit behind, as work is very busy. I will be glad when Im completely done with my job. Im still in a lot of pain with my back and now it radiates into my arm and shoulder a lot. 
    So I just watched and listened to Lewis/Tolkein video. Ironically this video summed up what God has been speaking to my heart on so many things and levels. For me I can easily get caught up in the story of ‘this life’ here on earth. When the The Story, is the One True Story in the end that really matters. I find God really saying to me “Staci, take a look around, all this busyness, hustle and bustle of life here on earth will one day stop…this is not My eternity.” I easily get caught up in life, stress, worry, create anxiety for myself and totally miss The Story that really matters, Jesus, He is that “fleeting glimpse of ‘real joy’ and to what all other joys are but a distant echo.” I hear God asking me what story do I choose to believe and follow…the story lines of the world, or His Story, the eternal truth. There are ‘idol lies’ Im still holding onto, and its baby steps for me in letting go. Oh how I wish I could just let go and run into the arms of God and not hold onto these myths of the world.  I really liked the last part of the video “The Story begins and ends in Joy, to reject This Story leads to eternal darkness.” So true, in the end God is all that matters. I pray God helps me to let go and Let God…

  12. Welcome, Jillian Stone, and Stacy Michelle Lorenz. Glad to have you join us. You will find great riches from Dee’s weekly Bible studies here and from the women who follow God’s teachings here.

  13. Welcome Jillian and Stacy! So glad to have both of you with us! :))