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A profound truth I have learned from Tim Keller in teaching others, is that we must reach their hearts. Often preachers, teachers, mothers, and mentors will go through a passage with excellence, and then tell how to apply it. But Keller says, “The problem is — they may never apply it. Instead, Keller says “their hearts need to melt for Jesus as you are speaking so the transformation begins.” Just as that is true for adults, it is true for children and for those we mentor. The question is — how can we, through the power of His Spirit, melt hearts?

Melody_of_a_Melting_Heart_by_AmorinaAshtonOne of the first and vital keys can be seen in a passage we looked at last week.

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

but now my eye sees you.

Job 42:5

Do you see?

It is one thing to have it in our head.

It is quite another to have it “break through” to the heart.

Only God can do that.

But we can pray and encourage them to watch.

As a young mom, one of my mentors encouraged me to encourage my children to go to God with their problems and trust He would act. That’s a little frightening, but I could see that could lead to a “break-through.”

I remember how it happened for Annie, who was a scared little girl when we adopted her and did not handle stern adults well. She always wanted to disappear. This is her kindergarten picture. She had been with us just a few months.


little Anne in red dress

In first grade she lost a library book and she was so frightened of her teacher. Oh how we had hunted for that book! When she went to bed that night I told her to ask God to help her somehow. She looked at me with those terrified eyes but prayed: Dear God, please help me.

That night she had a dream. In the dream she saw her library book wedged behind a shelf in her closet. When she awoke she ran to her closet, looked behind the shelf, and there it was, just as it had been in her dream. She ran down the stairs saying, “God showed me!”

I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,

but now my eye sees you.

Job 42:5


My daughter Annie, now a young mother herself, told me about this video that had a profound effect on her. It is a testimony from Joanna Gaines, the host of the show Fixer Upper.


Sunday Icebreaker

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

2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened?

Monday-Tuesday Bible Study

3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.

4. Read Psalm 46

A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.

B. What does he remember in verses 4-9?

C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10?

D. How did Joanna Gaines do this in the testimony above?

E. How could you encourage your children or mentees to do this?

Wednesday-Friday: Getting to the Heart

I think this is relevant to us wherever we are — this is Keller at the latest gospel coalition.


5. Share your notes and comments.


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


Leave a Comment

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  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “not believing the lies”…Joanna Gaines testimony is wonderful, inspiring; so thankful that Annie shared it with Dee, and Dee with us.  I am taken with Joanna’s complete obedience to the Lord’s directing despite the uncomfortableness of risk and leaving what is familiar and moving into the unknown.  I was just journaling about this morning: “we hang on to what is known for fear of the unknown…we hang on to the substandard because our eyes cannot see and minds can’t comprehend something that might initially look intimidating, challenging, or worse, ultimately being better.  God has a plan that our tiny, limited minds cannot even come close to wrapping itself around.”   I love how her hubby dropped her in the garden for an hour of contemplation with the Lord trusting that the Lord would provide direction for the coming year.
    What a sweet story of Annie finding her book…yes, God was most definitely at work in the dream (and the heart) of that sweet little girl.
    How important it is to move beyond “head” knowledge to the richness and depth of “heart” belief and love.  (a work in progress…:) )

    1. I love your journal entry too, Nanci.   Your words say a lot to me this morning.  Thanks for sharing them.

    2. Nanci, thank you for sharing from your journal entry this morning; so good about fear of the unknown.

    3. Thanks for the encouragement, gals.  I have found journaling to be a really good discipline for me.  It helps me to sort things out to write them out.  I journal two-three pages each morning.

      1. What is your prompt each morning, Nanci? What do you write about?

        1. I use “The Artist’s Way” concept of morning pages…first thing in the morning I write 2-3 pages of whatever is on my mind (2 pages when I’m pressed for time; 3 pages most days); it is really a hodge-podge.  For example, this morning my entry ran the gamut of thinking about motives related to attending an upcoming gathering, thinking about creativity as play and its relationship to time, thoughts on a wedding reception we attended yesterday afternoon, thinking about the effect of self-defeating, negative self-talk and how it can become so ingrained that it goes unnoticed or unobjected to.

  2. 1. What stood out and why.
    This verse stood out: “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.  Job 42:5″  — because I didn’t get that far last week.

    I think of the times God has melted my heart, helped me to see Him.  The intro helps me tie those times with my friendships with others, friends I want to know Jesus.  What a powerful way to think about this; leading others to Christ isn’t fixing their situations (that even could get in the way of them seeing Christ), debating Christianity, or sometimes even “telling” them about Christ.  What a powerful, compelling focus: praying that their hearts would be melted toward Him — and living in such a way that points them to Him.  Of course, this includes having my own heart melted toward Him.  Can’t quite articulate it yet, but there’s something here that provides a framework or a structure or a foundation that helps everything (stuff in my confused brain) fall into place.
    Haven’t watched the video yet (now); I think I watched it from a link in a recent email from a magazine??

    1. Beautifully articulated! Thank you, Renee.

    2. “includes having my own heart melted toward Him”
      So agree, Renee.

  3. 1. What stood out and why.     Annie’s dream:  I loved hearing of that experience!  I think, especially as she was a young child, it speaks so tenderly of God’s love for her.  It reminded me of a dream or two that God used to speak truth to me too.  (My dad used to tell about a time, when he was still living with his parents and they had  tractor on the farm that wasn’t working and in a dream, he realized what needed to be done.  He tried it the next day, and it worked.)   But I’ve also had disturbing, sad dreams about my family especially and I wake up hoping with all my heart that they didn’t mean anything.    To be honest, the video was hard for me.  I feel like several goals, hopes, plans I had for this life so often haven’t happened and when they did, God’s leading was so much harder to discern, though I had felt so close to Him and desired His guidance.    I’m a bit ‘stuck’ this morning again because of an ongoing struggle.  My husband and I need to be in complete agreement on this one, and so far, God hasn’t brought us to that place.  Feeling the ‘two steps forward…one step back’  position again.  And after a long time of that, I get weary.      I really like Renee’s comments on the verse from Job.   I needed that a lot this morning too.  

    1. Praying for Him to speak tenderly to you today, Wanda.  I know what you mean about hearing someone else’s testimony about God speaking so clearly to them and wondering why the same has not happened for me…or if He has, for some reason I can’t discern it (that bothers me even more!  Makes me question whether I am even His or not.)  Yet there have been times when I know that He has spoken clearly to me and it has been confirmed.  But then there are those wilderness times…when the forest looks so thick I can hardly discern any path out.  I feel a bit that way right now as well.  I’m glad I have sisters in Christ to walk with me on this journey.

      1. Thanks, Mary. Your prayers mean so much to me.  I so appreciate the camaraderie here also!  

    2. oh Wanda, I hear your weariness. The “dance” of two steps forward, one step back…SO hard, I know it well myself. Praying now for you and your husband to be like minded and have clear direction in this decision. 

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The opening paragraph is pretty powerful, how we can tell about a Bible passage (or listen to it ourselves), “But Keller says, The problem is – they may never apply it.” Instead, “their hearts need to melt for Jesus as you are speaking so the transformation begins.” I think this is what I like so much about Max Lucado books, because he has such a gift for telling truth with a story that it melts your heart. Last Easter, I read Lucado’s book, He Chose The Nails, to my daughter, and I know she was impacted by it and I saw how her heart melted, as well as mine.
    “It is one thing to have it in our head. It is quite another to have it “break through” to the heart. Only God can do that. But we can pray and encourage them to watch.” Annie’s story so beautifully portrays this.

    1. Susan,  good reminder about Max Lucado’s books.  I feel the same.  Oh, I remember reading some of them to my children.  A lot of days, I wish I had those years back.  That’s so great that you can still read to your daughter.  My youngest liked me reading to her even as a teen.  I miss that. 

  5. oh this ALL touched my heart deeply–I resonate so much with Keller’s words “hearts need to melt”. In the last 5 years I would say the 2 biggest lessons I have learned in parenting is that all the best teaching cannot penetrate the soil if it has not first been softened by the Spirit; and that the goal is not to teach perfect obedience but lead to true repentance–because again, it is the leading our kids back to the Cross, to Christ Himself, that is the goal. He wants the little children to come to HIM. So much more to say, but I am very short on time.
    LOVE ANNIE’s picture! That jumped out at me first and I just wanted to hold that sweet girl! (who has now become such a godly woman!) What a gift. 
    And last, I am laughing because one of the ONLY shows we watch is “Fixer Upper” and we love Joanna’s story! We even have some of their scripture wall-art, so that was fun to see 🙂

    1. Elizabeth, you said it so well…not perfect obedience but true repentance….lead them to the cross.  I want my parenting to do that, but I’m afraid in my efforts I fall so far short on extending and modeling Grace, and rather end up sending a message of condemnation:(  I would love to hear what else you have to say about this.

  6. 3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.
    “but now my eye sees you”—what grabs me is the “but now”—there is a change that takes place, within me. God has always been there, it is not Him who changes, but my eyes must be opened. And the opening of the eyes, symbolizes the opening, softening, of the heart. 

    I love this from Arthur Pink on this verse: “the eye of the body—as it symbolizes the faith of the heart… is a passive organ. The eye does not send out a light from itself, nor does it give anything unto the objects it beholds. What can the eye communicate to the sun, moon, and stars, when it gazes upon them! No, the eye merely receives the print or image of them into the mind, without adding anything to them. Just so is it with faith—it gives nothing unto God, or to what it beholds in the Word of His grace. It simply receives or takes them into the heart as they are presented to the soul’s view in the light of the Divine revelation. “ (http://www.gracegems.org/Pink/eye_of_faith.htm)

    Also what strikes me is the repentance (v.6) that follows after seeing who God is, and then himself in view of that revelation. 

  7. Oh miss coming on here. “What stood out to me was the scripture. “I have heard of you by the hearing of my ear, but now my eye sees you” I spoke in another small church today sharing a bit of my testimony and healing and I pray during the week that the Holy Spirit would open up the hearts of those that are there. Part of my testimony I share is I was raised in a church and I knew of God ( I heard about Him) but I did not KNOW Him or as it is here. I guess I could say really see Him till I was 33. This heart is so grateful my eyes were opened. I have many I am praying for, for the same thing. They have to see Him for themselves. Lord remove the scales from their eyes.

    1. lovely, Liz…many hearts are being touch through you by the Lord.

    2. Oh Liz, I also miss coming on here and I am so happy that you are sharing your story of how God has touched your heart.
      This fact of being in church and not having the heart knowledge is such a real issue. I am thankful that God touches my heart.
      I would like to be able to share that more openly and must search for the words. Also I relate to Nanci in the aspect of the fear of the unknown. I want to take risks more and have to let go of the approval idol which has kept me imprisoned. Again it resonates with the video, of just not feeling good enough.
      The Psalms are my help as I relate to David’s laments.
      I will not be able to access the study next week as I travel to be with my daughter. I covet your prayers that this will be a time of joy for my daughter, grandchildren and my husband and myself as we have lamented over their difficult trials in the past several years since the divorce.
      God’s love and presence through my husband’s spiritual growth especially has melted my heart.

      1. Shirley, it’s so good to hear from you today.  I am writing down your request to pray for your travel and time with family.  May it be a rich and revitalizing time of visiting.  Sweet words about your husband’s walk with God. 

      2. Shirley, praying for your time with your daughter and grandchildren!

    3. Liz, LOVE! 🙂 

  8. 1. What stands out to me is: “Only God can do that.” (Referring to breaking through to the heart.)  I believe it and wish I was better at trusting that he will do it in my children and others who I wish would put their trust in him.
    2. He has broken through to my heart at different times in my life. One was the night my sister died when I was 19.  As I laid in bed crying, I had a vision of Jesus holding me in his arms crying WITH me and in that moment I was comforted by the assurance that he understood how I felt better than anyone else could.  I was drawn closer to him than ever before and was strengthened because I knew he was holding me, loving me, comforting me.  And it was real, not imagined.  
    It’s hard to share a personal encounter like that with some people who’s hearts have yet to be broken through, because they may not believe it or may try to reason some other explanation for it.  I can’t make my experiences do the work of the Holy spirit in other people.  But if I share my story and God chooses to use it to melt someone’s heart, He will.  And he might choose not to.  But I have to just trust him and like Dee said above, “pray and encourage them to watch”, and then keep believing he will break through to their hearts in a way of his choosing.

    1. Oh…this is a beautiful post, Jody.  How tenderly Jesus came to you in your painful sorrow.  What a never to be forgotten experience and yet you’re so right.  Still, one’s heart has to be broken and melted to be touched by it.  It can be so hard for us to understand how someone could NOT believe when an experience like that is so very vivid and powerful to the person who knows Him truly.    And, I’m so sorry for such a loss at your young age.  There are several women here who have known great loss at early ages.  Oh how we can learn from each other and know that He loves and holds us in our sorrow.  

    2. Jody–so sorry you had to go through such a tragedy of losing your sister and you were so young. ut what a beautiful testimony, such a picture of the tender love of Christ, how He personally comes into our sorrow and meets us where we are. Love how He held you, how His love broke through. 

  9. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 
    I love the picture of Annie in kindergarten! It warms my heart for some reason…reminds me of being a child in kindergarten myself; an impressionable age. Her dress up beads and adorable hair bow! What a sweetie. I love that you told your children to ask God for help too. I wish I had been better at teaching my kids about God. We always went to church and said the dinner prayer, but I wasn’t so good at other times. I am teaching them now though; better late than never!
    I also love the story of the book. my best friend and I have an inside joke about books and our local libraries! We like to refer to the “library police” hauling us away over kid library books that are overdue 🙂 I laughed out loud when I read about the lost book (not about Annie’s being upset though). It took me back to those days.

      1. 🙂   Funny!  Laura and Dee.  

      2. Lol!! Even funnier….the name of our library was the “Zula B. Wylie” library, so we referred to  the Zula B. Police coming to get us!

  10. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    The whole concept of encouraging Annie to ask God to help her with her problem really stands out to me. I have been learning to do this myself and now it is time to pass it on. Just this morning I had thoughts of futility with my youngest son as to how to draw him near to God. I have a strong sense that this is in answer to those thoughts.
    The heart picture is beautiful. I wonder if the artist was illustrating love.
    2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened?
    There is an organization called Moms in Prayer that facilitates mothers meeting regularly to pray for their children and schools. I had been active in this organization for 12 years. At the end of my son’s senior year the mother I was praying with decided she was done. I felt that she was upset with me for I had missed a couple of meetings because of other things in my life and blamed myself. She had told me she was done but there was one more Tuesday before we would officially be done for the year. Though I knew that she would not be theire I sensed that God was calling me to be there just in case. As I sat in the parking lot where we met God spoke to me. He reminded me of all the faithful years of prayer. Faithfulness on His part and on mine. He brought closure and I was free to move on. It was such a beautiful sense of God that I was moved to tears.
    This year is her daughter’s senior year and she emailed me to ask if I was interested in joining with a group again. She had been contacted by two mothers from a local Christian school, the one my son had gone to in elementary. As it turned out I know them. The one leading is an impressive prayer warrior, in fact her prayer for my husband’s salvation was the one that tipped the scales and brought him to the Lord in 2008.
    So the thing I thought was dead and closed by God was given back to me by His power. It is His and I get to be a part.

    1. Anne,  your testimony of 12 years of faithful prayer for your children/schools refreshes me.  I also was in such a prayer group for many years.  Moms in Touch it was called but sounds the same.    There were so many times I wondered if our prayers mattered and yet, there was such a peace in continuing.  I am so grateful for those years and that bond with other moms.  It DOES matter!  

      1. Wanda it was Moms in Touch, now Moms in Prayer. We have seen so many answers and there are so many that we don’t see. You are right that prayer bonds together like nothing else. As a result I am part of a weaving together of women in my city (hard to describe). I see them from time to time, here and there, and what a reunion.

  11. 2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened?
    God continually breaks into my life; I just have to be in tune to “see” it. For example, Dee’s deciding to do this session on mothering and mentoring. When she had the week about passing on something to our children, like the parables, it prompted me to go through my grandmothers’ quilting boxes that my mom had kept all these years. The treasures I found are priceless to me and it has really brought me to tears several times. If you are on the Facebook page, I have posted pictures of the find; over ninety hand sewn flowers for a flower garden quilt, ready to be sewn together, and two tops of quilts ready to be quilted with the backing and batting. One is a flower garden from my maternal grandmother, the other is a wedding ring from my paternal grandmother. I have been overwhelmed by this find and I know he is in the midst of it all! I hope to finish the two tops and maybe quilt the flowers with Sarah’s help. I’m really not sure what I will do with them afterwards, but I am enjoying this find right now.

    1. It makes me smile to think that this is all part of God’s plan…I’m sure that He has a wonderful plan for those quilts well into the future.  A quilt made by my great paternal grandmother hangs in my living room on a quilt hanger made by my husband especially for it…I treasure it.

    2. Laura, what a joy in those priceless quilting pieces you’ve found! I can only imagine the time and handwork it took for those hand-sewn flowers…I recently had the opportunity to help make a quilt for our Sunday school teacher’s birthday. Everyone in the class got to make her own square, with a Scripture verse, an embroidered hummingbird and flowers and our name on the square. I went to the lady’s home who was making it…this amazing sewing machine did all the work! All I had to do was choose my thread colors and thread the machine and press a button:)) So I cannot even imagine doing it all by hand!

      1. Susan that is such a nice birthday present! I am looking forward to trying to learn, and yes! I have a machine 🙂

  12. 3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.
    It is true that words can fall flat compared to actions at times. I know I can hear “I love you” from my husband but him helping one of our children complete some project, or him doing a chore around the house shows me he loves me. I read a book once about “love languages.” It defined five and said we all respond to more than one. One of my children “knows” I love him when he receives gifts from us, another needs touch. I respond to service of others. I thought it was interesting, and have tried to remember it over the years.
    I absolutely LOVE “kisses from the King,” and keep my eye out for them all the time now 🙂 I feel His presence when they happen and really enjoy knowing He loves me and wants me to know He is near.

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    “preachers, teachers, mothers, and mentors will go through a passage with excellence, and then tell how to apply it. But Keller says, “The problem is — they may never apply it. Instead, Keller says “their hearts need to melt for Jesus as you are speaking so the transformation begins.”…..Only God can do that. But we can pray and encourage them to watch.
    I am learning when I teach at church and when I teach my boys at home that ONLY God can move it from their heads to their hearts-and it is in His timing. He is the soil preparer, seed planter, and waterer. I love how Dee said we can pray and encourage them to watch. We can trust Him. I find that teaching is about listening to Him as I teach..and going with how He leads instead of trying to push through with my plan..going with His..it is beautiful-He most often quickens me with questions-love that. 🙂

  14. Hello all, I introduced myself at the end of last week.
    What stood out to me was the story of Joanna, and how her peers influenced her view of herself. I just listened to last week’s Keller sermon again so I could take notes. *hand cramp*. At the end, he says we have to decide if we will believe God’s infinite love for us and who we are in Christ. If we don’t find our identity and worth there, we will let the circumstances we encounter and what people say about us  to crush us. I don’t think I’m remembering the words he used well, but that’s the idea. I crave that blazing joy that comes with being constantly mindful of the power of the gospel and what it means about how loved I am! 
    I know I’m already behind in the questions, but my students are waiting (my children)! I have a good story about a slow breaking through process in my life through mentors. I might share later.

    1. Hi Marilyn…welcome…so glad that you will be joining us.

      1. Thanks, Nanci.

    2. Marilyn:  I chuckled at your words; *hand cramp*!   One of my favorite pastors speaks so fast and has such depth that I scribble furiously to write down what he says.  I told him that the difference between him and Keller, is that when I listen to Keller,  at least I can pause it a hundred times to be able to catch and write every word!  
      And yes….my hand aches later too!

      1. I should type notes, but I like to keep them in my journal. They seem more real and I remember them better when I actually hand write them.

    3. So glad you are with us Marilyn-welcome!

    4. Welcome, Marilyn! I did read your post last week and I’m glad you’ve decided to stay!

  15. 3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.
    Job conjured up an image and definition of God, his impression of what God should be.  Job’s impression was extremely limited; Job’s mind could not comprehend fully all that God was and is.  Job came to realize his ineptness…Job’s mind, comprehension, and knowledge limitations left his image and definition of God woefully limited.  He (Job) came to realize that the variance between his defined image of God and God was vast; God was way, WAY beyond anything he could conjure up or understand.  Job felt his smallness and God’s vastness.

  16. the story of God showing Annie where the book was! So awesome how HE made himself real to her at such a young age.
    When Lily broke her arm (it exploded really, over 20 pieces because of her brittle bones), she had only been ours for 7 months and she still had very little english and she was in so much pain she thought she was going to die, they could not get an IV in her for over 2 hours for pain meds and it took 7 tries. I sat there trying desperately to comfort her and after about an hour my friend who was a nurse on duty finally got an IV in her foot…buy when she walked in I LOST it, I just sobbed and sobbed and myfriend let me hide behind the bed so Lily didnt see me. BUT Lily did see my tears and I think at that moment our bond was sealed. The weeks that followed were filled with horrible nerve pain that kept her up at night and for 2 weeks we slept in the living room together on a matress on the floor so I could give her pain meds every 4 hours and be there when she woke up crying. this all happened the month before my son graduated from high school and we had 200 people at our home. It was the hardest month of my life, but I believe it was the most fruitful for Lily. She BELIEVED that she was loved after that, it went from her head to her heart.
    I think that is why Jesus died the way HE did. HE knew that when we are suffered FOR it does something to us inside….it makes us BELIEVE with our whole heart that we are loved.
    if you would like to see pictures of this time here is a link to the blog of this time. Many of you prayed us through this time and I will be forever grateful!

    1. and here is the update on the blog, you can see the change in her.

      1. i remembered your stories with your girls. the art lesson one is the one that broke my heart. I know you “get it” like most do not. it is such a heart ache to love someone so much and not be able to get that child to FEEL loved!

  17. 4. He is so scared and yet he tells himeself GOD is in control no matter what. that no matter what happens on the outside his inside is going to be OK.
    BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD! I think the best way to encourage people in our lives to do this is to do it ourselves. BELIEVE that HE is in control and not be shaken by the chaos that is this world. I am not a calm person 🙂 so when the people see me not letting things get to me, they know that they are seeing JESUS in me, not me 🙂
    side note
    Paul is feeling better already!!! His blood sugar keeps on crashing because his dose was so high because stress makes insulin not work as well, so now that he is feeling less stress he needs less insulin, this is SO AMAZING!! not one side effect. for the first time in YEARS he does not feel beaten down, THANK YOU JESUS!

    1. So good to hear that Paul is experiencing encouraging progress with the medication…yes, thank You, Lord!

    2. Great to hear this news, Cyndi! I was reaching for a ‘like’ button.  🙂  

    3. Cyndi, great news about Paul! I will continue to keep you all in my prayers!

    4. Oh, Cyndi. SO GLAD that Paul is feeling better and that now he needs less insulin! I was wondering about him the other day!

  18. 2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened? I was hoping I’d think of a really concise, direct answer but I haven’t.  “Parenting” seems so long ago, even though it is still the role I think about the most.  I’ve also had a mentee for the past 6 years through a program in our schools called ‘Friends Make a Difference”.  She will graduate in a couple weeks and I’ve been meeting monthly with her since 6th grade.  It does feel good to know that our relationship lasted all this time.  We also have met outside of school many times.  This is a secular program and I’ve respected that and not been overt about my faith with her, though I hope and pray that because she does really know I care, and that we can continue our relationship into her young adult years.  I’ve got some mixed feelings about how her life ‘is going’ right now, actually.  But I do need to pray for her and pursue the relationship. Praying about beginning with another 6th grader in the fall.   As for my kids; too many thoughts running hither and yon to bring up anything right now.   However breakthroughs for myself are happening frequently, which segues to number 3.
    3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.   I’ve said it before, but I’m so grateful for the teaching here and for the speakers and resources that are part of my life since I began on this blog.   My ears have heard about you….(yes, my whole life) but now my eyes have seen you. (more so all the time). When I pondered and wrote about what it meant to ‘wrestle with my thoughts’ as we looked at in Psalm 13 last week, the words just began to flow and flow.  And I realized that it was because of the overflow in my heart.   The (long) piece that I wrote, I shared with my son and daughter in law as it specifically related to something that we are committed to praying with them about.  They both wrote me such nice notes about how this writing from my heart, had spoken and encouraged them.  And what dawned on me and what I answered them with was this;   “I think that I have understood the gospel more in my 56th and 57th year than I have in all the years before.  I guess I’m not too old to learn!”  And that is really true.  I realize this isn’t too specific, (be glad I’m not writing a thesis as I did last week!) but there are often instances lately, where I am seeing with my eyes.  One is how I am seeing very specific answers to a long time prayer and yearning.  I hope I can share more  soon.  It is complicated because it involves my husband too, so I can’t say more just yet.  

    1. Wanda, I appreciate how you are so honest here….

      I think I have understood the gospel more in my 56th and 57th year than I have in all the years before.


      I get this! I agree with you! It only took rolling around in the mire awhile, and realizing I was not getting anywhere and then running to Him for help because nothing I did ever worked, and then letting go…..I guess I am a 45 year-er! Is it because we don’t have the earthly experience as young people to make the leap? Why should it take us so long? Maybe we are like Thomas. Maybe others are not…..they are like the other disciples? Maybe we are stubborn or maybe we are just unaware of our “problem.” We go to church and think we are Christians but the actual “feeling” doesn’t occur until now? Whoa….what gives?

      1. Good questions, Laura.   I think, for me,  it’s because I got caught in a web of moralistic teaching that even though subtle, sent out a message that Christianity is performance based and looking good on the outside is what counts.  There are times in my life when this has been stronger than others, but with the good teaching  I’m exposed to regularly now, I am able to see the difference more clearly and readily.  The gospel just ‘clicks’ more!

      2. It is a “funny” thing…and I too can also relate.  I think you/Laura “hit the nail on the head” when you say “maybe we are just unaware of our ‘problem.'”  I think of all the years that I attended church week in and week out, took my kids to religious education, prayed the prayers, etc….all the time thinking that I “got it”…I was “jumping through the hoops” that the Lord had for us/Christians.  At the time I never realized that I hadn’t learned or had missed the most essential and critical part of being Christian.  Similar to your experiences, I too came to this realization later in my life…I first began coming to this understanding in my forties and so much more so in these past few years.  All those years prior, I looked at God as a dictator-type Lord with expectations and requirements.  indeed the Lord is in control and sovereign, He has expectations and requirements…this is all positive and for my/our good (heart swelling…), and I/we have a loving, caring Lord who calls me/us His beloved.  The paradigm switch these past years has been incredible…and I can see how far I have yet to go…  Anyway, I think you/Laura are absolutely correct…we didn’t know what we didn’t know.

  19. 4. Read Psalm 46 
    A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3. 
    The psalmist is speaking truth to himself; he is reminding himself who can help him when life is difficult, which it always is. He describes the earth falling into the sea! I picture this churning of the waters being rough and the psalmist must be feeling the wrestling inside as well. It reminds me of Wanda’s post the other day….back and forth, unsettled, indecisive.
    B. What does he remember in verses 4-9? 
    He remembers that God is near. He describes a path that leads to the Lord. He describes God as being strong and able to cease war on earth. This reminds me of what’s going on in the Middle East right now, it’s horrific. Our Christian brothers are being persecuted. Innocent citizens are being slaughtered. I need to remember that God is near and he can help. 
    Dear Lord thank You for Your Word to remind us of the past atrocities and how You took care of business “back in the day.” Thank You for stepping in, when the odds were not great for those involved. Please Dear One, our sisters and brothers need You right now as they did in those days. Help these awful people soften their hearts. Help the citizens rise up and be able, with Your strength, to push back. Help them remember that You are near, as the Psalmist says here.i pray in Your Holy Name.  Amen.

  20. 2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened?
    There have been two times in my life when God spoke to my heart. When He does that, you never forget it. I admit I get a little envious when I hear people say things like, “Yesterday, I was talking to the Lord…I said…and He told me…” What I long for now is for God to break through. I have been in a very unhappy place for a while now, realizing that I have walled myself in a prison of bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness. I have magnified feelings of rejection. What has been helping some is what we studied last week about being engraved on the palms of His hands. Not only does that prove His love, but when I feel I’ve been hurt, criticized, or rejected too much to let it go, I sense Him saying, “Look at my hands…” He suffered the ultimate wounds of these things; much more than I could ever be hurt by anyone. And He forgave.

    1. Praying for a special”hug” from Jesus for you today Susan. May your heart overflow with the knowledge that you are loved, worthy, special and HIS 🙂

    2. Just saw this Susan. I know what you mean about Jesus forgiving…it’s a beautiful thing. Sometimes, when I have been hurt (as I am right now in a situation in my job), I have to remind myself the same things you do. I remember that He paid the price and what the people here on earth do to me, ultimately doesn’t matter; only does He matter, in the end. I am also getting better at remembering that He orchestrates all of my life; even those parts that seem wrong. Things happen here on earth, and He loves us so much that He picks up the pieces…..ashes to beauty. Love to you sister!

  21. 2. Share a time when God “broke through” either to you or to a child or mentee. What happened?
    1st breakthrough: Well, my testimony is similar to Liz’s above as well as kind of like Karla Faye Tuckers. He removed the scales from my eyes and I felt His Love so strong..He entered in and opened my eyes. There was a HUGE difference-like night a day…I saw light and darkness and had a burden for others to know Him too.. I couldn’t understand my Bible before but now I could see and understand and I couldn’t get enough of Him. BUT that was just the beginning. :))) At the beginning ours was a love song..I sensed His presence daily..I wrote a love poem to Him- I was newly separated. My husband at that time left me a few weeks after. I sensed Jesus’ strong but gentle arms around me and He was (and still is) truly my husband. When I showed my pastor my poem, he said it was great but be careful it almost sounds too intimate like a boyfriend thing. I cringed because my heart was SO SO not meaning that! I look back after studying song of songs with Dee and know now that was intimacy with Him-that was Him melting my heart daily in His Word and He delighted in being close with me He delighted in me! 🙂 I am His beloved and I was basking in His Love. 
    2nd breakthrough: He broke through again when I was in the desert missing Him. The years passed and like the Shulamite Maiden I had wandered away and chased after my idols..i had no idea I was entrenched-that I could ever have a tendency to bend toward idolatry and yet still be His! I knew He could help me through other believers so I made an effort to invite older women at church over who I asked to mentor me and help me fall in Love with Him again but while I was thirsting for fellowship-the main topic would be children and shopping. :(( I felt as if God wasn’t answering my cries for help. I went online to see if there were any studies I could just do by myself. Then God reminded me of Julie and John who I knew before we moved. Julie told me of Dee and how godly she was and God so moves through her studies. So I typed in Dee’s name looking for a study of hers to buy and her blog came up. 🙂 I looked at her blog and about jumped out of my seat..as I read I saw godly women desiring intimacy with Him like me. 🙂 I saw Dee mentoring them too so I got on. Then a few weeks into it Dee started Idol Lies..She started off saying, “I am Dee and I am an idolater”..then she confessed how she was and how it blocked intimacy with God…and I thought..maybe that is my problem, maybe that is this wall I have built between God and me…but at first I was hesitant to repent and turn for my pride kicked in and I liked my comfort idol still, but He came for I was missing Him so much that I was willing to die to this idol for I knew it was offending Him and blocking intimacy with Him. It was painful but joy came..God rescued me again and broke through again.
    Third breakthrough: The Gospel is breaking through again and again and again…Through Song of Songs and Tim Keller.  I am learning intimacy with God humbles me more as I grow more confident of His Love for me despite me. I don’t bow to my approval idol as much anymore. As Keller saidBecause of the reality and joy of His love I am not as concerned about what others think. ,  “So the gospel humbles me before anyone, telling me I am a sinner saved only by grace. But it also emboldens me before anyone, telling me I am loved and honored by the only eyes in the universe that really count.”

    1. I did not know much of your faith story, Rebecca.  Thanks for sharing this!  The Lord is shaping you so beautifully….I love that old song, ‘Have Thine own way, Lord.  Have Thine own way.  Thou art the potter.  I am the clay. Mold me and make me after Thy will, while I am waiting,  yielded and still.”   I see you in these words, Rebecca.  

      1. Wanda, I don’t know how yielded I am yet! 🙁 The day after I wrote this post, a neighbor invited us over to an end of the school year camp fire. She had to invite me and my husband because our boys are best friends with her son and daughter and it would have been awkward to just invite our boys and not us.  I have no idea why she doesn’t like me. They are of a different faith and my oldest is having deep discussions with her son about his faith and over the years he truly listens to him to understand what he believes and where he is coming from.  He even sticks up for him when he is bullied for his faith at school-even though he sees how some things he believes aren’t true-like transubstantiation. Her son feels safe around my son in opening up about these things and I know her son knows my son loves him..Her son is a real sweetheart-I just love him.
        Anyway, I thought in her text that maybe there was a corner turned and she desired for us to be there this time so I responded excitedly saying, ‘yes, we will come!’..Well. I saw her that day and tried to start a conversation with her but she just answered my question hesitantly and walked off. So I wasn’t looking forward to that evening knowing she really didn’t want me there but ‘had’ to invite me out of neighborly duty- once again. I went and she ignored me the whole time. I felt like a third wheel. Instead of staying and trusting God I told God I was tired of this and after about a half hour of it, I got up and left-went upstairs to bed and started crying. Silly I know but I am so frail, and honestly I don’t think I yielded to God in that.  In that small ant-hill of a life crumbling moment I didn’t step out in faith and trust, but Lizzy’s words encouraged me this morning..that at times we think we are standing on the rock but we aren’t-there is a blanket underneath we are standing on thinking we are trusting Him and it gets pulled out from under us and even though the truth is revealed our feet still land on Him and He carries us in our repentance and faith.

        1. Oh Rebecca….I am sorry to hear of this painful relationship.  It made me sad to hear of how you are ignored by this woman even though you welcome and desire her friendship.  Very difficult and complicated.  My gut reaction is to think that she sees in you something functional that she doesn’t see in herself and that makes her ‘stand offish’ around you.  Of course, I have very little to go on as I know very little about it, but that bit of insight really helped me in a relationship with a relative.  We both have children with the same health issue and I felt hurt that she seemed to not want a relationship.  I was actually going to a counselor at the time, and this was one of several hurts in my life that I was hoping to overcome.  When my counselor pointed out that maybe it was because our family life and encouraging our child with health struggles was so positive, that she saw herself and her family dysfunction more glaringly when we were in contact.  Anyway, that’s the short of it.  Once I saw that this could be the case, I dropped my own guard and broke the ice and wrote her a personal email, which led to many others and a restoration of our relationship.  This may not fit at all, but I just wondered if there’s some kind of a reluctance on her part because of feeling some inferiority.  I surely don’t know.  But God does.  I’m sorry for your heartache over this, dear friend.  Prayers for peace of mind today, Rebecca. 

    2. Rebecca, you are a treasure and inspiring.  Thank you for sharing your breakthroughs and recent trial.  I’m sorry for your heart hurt…I am in agreement with Wanda, you have a kind and loving heart and spirit, it is so very likely that this situation has little, if anything, to do with you.  More likely it is heart issues that your neighbor may or may not even be aware of; you are an innocent casualty. 

      1. Wanda and Nanci,
        Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom! At first i was hesitant to share but now am glad i did! My oldest son said the same thing, so He is telling me it isnt me, but regardless i need to reqch out to her..okay so this is the second person in my life in the past two months. 😉

  22. Rebecca I just love your testimony. How He came to you as a husband when you were hurting so after separation. Though the pastor was uncomfortable with your experience God later brought you to Song of Songs to prove that your experience was of Him and holy.

  23. 3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.
    My translation says “I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You.” Rumors is an interesting word. When I looked it up I found this definition for the archaic use:Talk or report of a notable person or event, which fits. Also there is the sense that the talk is unproven. It could be head knowledge that has not yet been experienced. It is the place to start, as Keller said last week. But when God actually came and spoke to Job he experienced all that God is and felt His love for him. That changed Job. It changed Moses too. I can also see change in myself, especially after walking through difficulties. I have a long, long way to go but still, I can see a difference.

    1. Such good insight here, Anne.

  24. C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10?
    We need to be still and listen for his guidance. We need to remember to praise him!

    Two days ago I was thinking about what I would cover at dance class yesterday. My partner had to be gone and I was taking over the class. I went on my bike ride, and asked God to help me know what he wanted me to cover during the class. He put in my mind that I should dance to prayer. I spent the next day trying to come up with movement to the Our Father. He gave me motions and confidence that we would be able to choreograph the rest of the piece together in class. He blessed our work and we did it! That’s what happens when you are brave enough to listen to God. Be still and listen.

    1. laura–beautiful example, love to imagine you all dancing to the “Our Father”

  25. 4. A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.
    The psalmist’s world is in an uproar…things are going crazy all around him; he feels no control and the world around him out of control.
    B. What does he remember in verses 4-9?
    The Lord is present…He is right here.  The Lord has the power and authority to make all as it should be, to bring peace to the chaotic.  The Lord is in ultimate control.
    C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10?
    To “let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God.” (AMP version)  The Lord wants us to know that He is in ultimate control, that although things around us may appear out of hand, He has well in hand.
    D. How did Joanna Gaines do this in the testimony above?
    Joanna trusted God’s directing; she looked to the Lord for direction and was unwaveringly obedient despite fears that might come.  She trusted that the Lord had a plan and purpose for her life and that in following His lead the plan/purpose would be fulfilled.  Joanna was well aware that her understanding was not that of God’s; she submitted to the Lord’s leading.
    E. How could you encourage your children or mentees to do this?
    *allowing them to witness my trust and unwavering obedience to the Lord despite any fears or doubt; modeling.
    *sharing examples (scriptural and personal) of God being in control; of His rescuing His people and making all things right.

  26. A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.    Ever since the tsunami in the Indian ocean in 2004 (the first time I’d heard the word) and the Japan tsunami in 2011, I can’t read these verses without thinking literally about what happened there.  ‘mountains quaking, falling into the heart of the sea, waters roaring and foaming, earth giving way’  I can’t begin to imagine the terror of experiencing this.  I just googled and looked at some images again.  And I have a copy of a hauntingly realistic painting (from a magazine) done by a child after the 2004 disaster.  So sobering.  And I wonder what literal natural disasters the psalmist knew of or had experienced when he wrote this.  Or was he writing out of ‘divine imagination’ a pro-active piece of advice for any possible calamity that could overtake the people?  We have a sponsored Compassion child in Indonesia and when we heard of the scope of devastation in 2004, my heart sank and I really thought his area had been destroyed.  But it wasn’t!  In fact, when Hurricane Katrina hit the US later, he wrote and said he was praying for us and hoped we were okay.  (smile.  We live in Minnesota.  That melted my heart to hear.)  My other first thought is that Papa ten Boom used this passage to comfort his family as they anticipated the tsunami of hate that invaded their world at the hands of the Nazis.   Whatever the psalmist had in his own mind, these verses have been used to quell the fears of believers in any and every situation imaginable over the centuries.   The psalmist’s tumult is proportionate to his fear.  We don’t know what precisely that meant, but we know that it would have overwhelmed him, were it not for his hope in the Almighty.  
    B. What does he remember in verses 4-9?  This is where the rubber meets the road.  The psalmist remembers the All Powerful and Loving God he knows and that He is in control.  I remember studying this in our Psalms study and that there is no river in Jerusalem, but that the river refers to the working of the Holy Spirit.  While this makes perfect sense to me, I haven’t quite understood why that is the prominent interpretation.  I scrolled through many commentators on this passage and they all seemed in agreement though, so they must know something that I don’t!  I do see how it beautifully illustrates the Holy Spirit but wouldn’t have caught that just from reading it.  My mind is immediately drawn to the Holy City; the New Jerusalem and the river of life described in John’s Revelation.  And this is confirmed to me, when the psalmist goes on to describe the works of the Lord, the desolations brought on the earth, and all wars ceasing!   I LOVE that bows are broken, spears are shattered and shields are burned with fire!  That immediately brings to mind the words of Isaiah’s prophecy (2:4) of spears being pounded into plowshares and swords into pruning hooks ; one of my favorite biblical images.  (I have many pacifistic tendencies and admire the work of one group I know that literally takes handguns and re-purposes them into gardening tools!)  This kind of peace; sans weaponry, to my understanding,  will only be accomplished perfectly when God creates a new heavens and a new earth where war and hate will be no more.

    1. Wanda, these are really well-thought-out, thorough answers…they helped me to see more than I was seeing in this Psalm.

  27. 4. A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.
    He is fighting against fear. Even before reading this, a few hours ago in my journal, I wrote “I will not fear”. It is a battle, a choice, but a battle. The earth gives way—it feels really shakey. The things we have been standing on—not even aware we are using these things as our foundation, until they “give way”, and then we see it. It is when that “something” “gives way” and becomes unstable, and I feel myself tremble, that is when I realize I was standing on it, instead of only the Rock. Sometimes I think we know to stand on Christ, but it is the “alone” part that needs emphasis. I find that I have almost laid a blanket atop that Rock, and it is when it is pulled out from under me, that I realize I had it under my feet—and yet, He is there beneath, and catches my fall. OH the waters will roar, and foam and mountains will tumble. Big, dramatic, devastating—all around us. And we will feel it, we will be affected by it. We support several orphans in Haiti who have all lost their parents from the earthquake—and I think—the power, the devastation. And YET—I must always remind myself who holds the power, and that He is good. I can’t understand so many things around me, and thankfully I am not called to. I am called to trust, and to choose against fear. 

  28. Your post is really thought provoking, Elizabeth.  So good.

     I feel myself tremble, that is when I realize I was standing on it, instead of only the Rock. Sometimes I think we know to stand on Christ, but it is the “alone” part that needs emphasis
    and yet, He is there beneath, and catches my fall. 

  29. I wanted to share a bit about my experience being mentored, having a breakthrough type experience. However, I just erased it all because I just don’t know how to share without doing it in a way that is self serving, looking for sympathy or someone in a similar situation who can commiserate with me.
    It comes down to that I didn’t understand in my heart that God, in His great, perfect, sovereign plan does allow suffering, pain, disappointment etc. to draw us closer to Him. I cannot imagine what my life would look like now if God hadnt led my friends/mentors to speak truth to me. My pastor is faithfully guiding his flock to understand that God’s divine power HAS given us everything we need for life and godliness. That the gospel is applicable to the every day life of a Christian. I have so much growing to do, so much change needs to happen in my heart as I learn how idolatrous I have been. It feels almost impossible to move forward now.
    I know this study isn’t about Idol Lies. I don’t want to distract from the theme of mothering and mentoring. Yet at this point in my life, I feel so pulled between dealing with my sin issues and trying to shepherd the hearts of my children and point them to the truth. 
    I don’t know if any of that made sense! 

    1. Marilyn, something you wrote here caught my attention, “I feel so pulled between dealing with my sin issues and trying to shepherd the hearts of my children and point them to the truth.” Now I’m going to try to word my thoughts…I don’t know the ages of your children, or what you are freely able to share with them, but perhaps honestly sharing some of your struggles with them – sharing your struggles with your own sin and how you are turning to Him…when they see you running to Him for help, admitting your own weaknesses, I think that will impact their hearts and point them to Him, too.

  30. D. How did Joanna Gaines do this in the testimony above? 
    Joanna listened for God’s instructions before she acted. She waited, like Queen Esther, “…for such a time as this…”
    E. How could you encourage your children or mentees to do this?
    Tough stuff for me, much less encouraging others. I tend to leap and be reactional to situations. in fact, I nearly did it tonight! A situation arose, I didn’t like the tone of an email (from church no less!) and nearly sent a semi-nasty email back 🙁 I stopped, I asked God to guide, and I wrote a more gentle, questioning email to the person. I’m still annoyed, but I guess I need to let it go. It’s the first time I have been specifically criticized for something that happened. So tough. I’m trying to see the other side, but it involves another church member who is an adult and can make adult decisions whether others like it or not. Okay, off my soap box! I just am not used to church members assuming they know what’s going on and then judging based on shaky knowledge. 
    I suppose the the encouragement I have given in the past is for the person to pray about a situation and then wait for God to answer. I tell them the waiting is very hard sometimes, but they must. The answer may be quiet, so they need to listen intently. They need to be aware; like a lover hanging on every word of the loved. Esther fasted, then prayed, and then acted. the timing was perfect and she was rewarded from God. 

  31. 4a. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.
    We experience many tangible things on earth. The mountains and the seas may be the most powerful of them. Jesus used them both in the parable of the 2 foundations. The mountains solid and sure while the seas are treacherous. How devastating when the seas topple the mountains. Yet even then, we can trust God. He is ALWAYS found, even then.

  32. 3. Ponder Job 42:5 and comment on it.
    Job had faithfully prayed to God, offered sacrifices to God, yet had never personally experienced God until God broke through. I wonder just how Job heard the voice of God questioning him, speaking to him? Was it audible, or did Job have some kind of a vision?
    4. Read Psalm 46
    A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3.
    The psalmist is describing, it seems, a time of real disaster…the earth gives way, mountains fall into the sea, waters roaring and foaming…whatever the danger, it is life-threatening. This can also be how we feel in times of personal loss and devastation – that the very ground under our feet is giving way.
    B. What does he remember in verses 4-9?
    No matter the tumult – whether within or without, God is there, right in the midst of it, and He is in control and He is working His will. He alone has the power to end wars and to bring peace, and sometimes, He does just that. The psalmist is remembering that God is always with us and He is our fortress.
    C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10?
    To be still, and know that He is God. I think that means to cease striving, to take my eyes off my circumstances and look to Him. He hasn’t lost control of anything.
    D. How did Joanna Gaines do this in the testimony above?
    She didn’t understand at first but she listened to God and followed His timing, not hers, trusting Him that He would plan out her life.

  33. Dee, I wanted to respond to your comment about bringing the gospel in to the conversation here, but I wanted to share this so it would be seen by the group because this book is so good. We did a study in church using a little book called A Gospel Primer for Christians. Here’s a link:http://www.amazon.com/Gospel-Primer-Christians-Learning-Glories/dp/1885904673 
    I think every believer would benefit greatly from studying this book. It is a unique book, with a very personal testimony by the author, as well as a section about how the gospel applies to every area of life, and a poetic gospel narrative. Here’s a quote contained in the book that is so good, from Horatio Bonar: ” Terror accomplishes no real obedience. Suspense brings forth no fruit unto holiness. No gloomy uncertainty as to God’s favor can subdue one lust, or correct our crookedness of will. But the free pardon of the cross uproots sin, and withers all its branches. Only the certainty of love, forgiving love, can do this.”

  34. 4. Read Psalm 46 
    A. Describe the tumult the psalmist is feeling in verses 1-3. 
    Whatever the circumstance, it seems life is crumbling before him-horrible occurrences all around him threatening to undo him and his people. 
    B. What does he remember in verses 4-9? 
    God is present with them. He is in their midst and they are His. He is their peace and protection in the middle of turmoil. It doesn’t matter how big or scary the trouble is-He is in control of it and He is bigger. 
    C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10? 
    To be still and know that He is God. To be confident in Him rather than ourselves or our circumstances. to take our eyes off our trouble and onto Him-to go to Him and ask to help and trust that He will in his way and time. 
    D. How did Joanna Gaines do this in the testimony above?
    She submitted to God for direction in her life. She started off as a child hearing the hisses of the evil one about her that could shape and ruin her, but God came as a comforting stream to her telling her-no! I have a platform for you..He let her know she is His beloved-she is special, not worthless. She chose to believe God and not the lies.
    When she was in turmoil about feeling led to close her shop to raise her children when they were young He told her to trust him with her dreams for he has far greater plans..He calmed her worries right there and He was her stream of peace in that moment and she never looked back. I loved how she kept taking steps of faith trusting Him-that He is in control and I love how He was with her constantly.
    E. How could you encourage your children or mentees to do this?
    By both living out and telling them my faith stories of when He has told me to trust-that He has this, and times when He told me to step out and ‘go’. Also bringing them to Scripture to tell of others who listened to Him and stepped out in faith when it seemed like everything was against them and they didn’t have any confidence in themselves. He was their peace, their strength, and their hiding place when they took those steps of faith.

  35. B. What does he remember in verses 4-9?
    He remembers the delight of God’s dwelling place and His presence. In the darkness of adversity he remembers that dawn will come with help from the Most High. He remembers the river who’s streams delight the city of God. The Holy Spirit?
    Verses 6-9 fit so well with the Mayday prayers of Anne Graham-Lotz. God will bring judgement on the earth and it will be devastating yet even in the midst of it He will be with us. I can envision Him there in the beheadings of persecution but I really have difficulty with the sex trafficking and what is being done to young girls. Maybe because death is gain for the believer but the suffering is just too much for my mind. Teach me how to pray Lord.
    C. What does God tell us to do in verse 10?
    Know that He is exalted among the nations and in all the earth. Though I can’t envision how He will do it, He will enter in and be exalted even in this suffering. I sense that there is a connection with our entering in with their suffering. The prayers and ministry of believers are His path to them. The river! The streams…

  36. 5. Share your notes and comments.
    This was God’s timing! What stood out to me: 
    1. CENTRAL: When I teach I need to teach to the heart with passion flowing from a Gospel changing heart. So I need to be having the Gospel changing my heart. I need to teach with wonder and awe of what we have to look forward to in the future. I need to be prepared materially-know well what I am going to teach so I can be free to go with where God has me go instead of focusing so much on what is next? I need to have a deeply communal prayer life and allow the Holy Spirit to move-trusting God for the results.
    2. I need to teach in a way where the Gospel penetrates their heart that His Love becomes real and the listener says, “why am I so upset that this person doesn’t love me when God loves me like this.” 
    3. This challenged me, but that I like! I need to go after their cultural influences before I say, “well the Bible says..” So when someone comes to me-my son for example, and says he doesn’t see why it is wrong for two people who love each other to have sex-I don’t say, ‘well the Bible says’..I go for the cultural narrative that creates that belief. There are varying cultural narratives-identity, truth, etc..A lot of it is His Wisdom he gives us when addressing these issues and also common sense. 
    I have more that stuck out but I have to go-am meeting my wonderful sisters in our community group for coffee! :)) 

  37. Dee, me too!!  Now one of my top ten Keller Sermons/workshops. 😉

  38. 5. Share your notes and comments.
    This was a really interesting talk given by Keller…I listened to it twice; the first time I didn’t take notes and the second time I jotted down some. 
    I was really struck by Keller’s information on the influence of culture; the deeply embedded cultural narrative that has much to do with the shaping of our hearts.  There is great value in individualism, independent thought, etc., yet how much of that is really influenced by the world we live in; how unaware are we of the impact culture has on our reality.  I don’t want to be a slave to culture.  I must consider the impact of culture on myself and others and the strong possibility of people (including myself) not having any idea that they don’t know what they don’t know.
    Other points mentioned by Keller for impacting others are to speak:
    *affectionately…to get to the heart of another, the message must come from your heart; the message must be non-deliberately transparent.
    *imaginatively…the greatest impact is garnered when abstract doctrine is connected to a sensory experience.  This can be accomplished through illustration (e.g., word picture, metaphor, story).
    *specifically and practically…application should be specific with practical aspects provided.
    *wondrously…don’t lose the WOW!, the fairytale come true.
    Another point that struck me was the question asked of what the difference is between a good and great sermon.  Keller explained that the difference between a bad and good sermon as dependent upon human preparation (e.g., knowing the material thoroughly, being comfortable with knowledge of the information), whereas the difference between a good and great sermon has all to do with the Holy Spirit.