SHOW THE WONDER OF GRACE!

LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT A SIMPLE TESTIMONY OUR DAUGHTER BETH SHARED.

STEVE AND I ADOPTED BETH FROM THAILAND WHEN SHE WAS TWELVE

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BETH WHEN WE FIRST MET HER IN THAILAND AND TOOK HER TO THE BEACH

 

When Beth was nineteen, her college speech teacher called me and said, “Beth told her story today and it was a speech no one will ever forget.” Beth brought a tape recorder (remember tape recorders?) with a song from Point of Grace called “Who Am I?” (Today you may be more familiar with Casting Crown’s recording.) Beth would share a sentence or two and then go over and play a little of this song. She kept doing this until the end. Here is the Point of Grace song:

 

 

Beth began: “When I was a baby my parents cut off my arm and threw me away to die. But I didn’t die. Somebody heard me crying and found me. They rushed me to the hospital.”

Then Beth went over and played a little of “Who Am I?”

Beth continued: “I grew up in the orphanage where people hurt me. But my dad-to-be in America was praying and heard me crying. He wanted to adopt me.”

Then Beth went over and played a little more of “Who Am I?”

Beth then said, “Mom and Dad took me back to America where they loved me and gave me a family.”

Then Beth went over and played a little more of “Who Am I?”

Then she sat down.

The teacher said it was the shortest and best speech she had heard in her teaching career. (In Beth’s next speech she brought pictures of her friends still in the orphanage and pleaded with her classmates to find it in their hearts to adopt! The teacher called me again — and said perhaps next time Beth could lighten up. So Beth’s final speech demonstrated how to play basketball with one arm!)

Beth has seen God come running to her again and again. Today God has settled her in her own family as a happy mother of three. Here is she and Seth with their firstborn, Katherine.

 

beth-seth-and-katherine-harrington

Beth’s testimony didn’t include the gospel, but it did lift up the wonder of God’s grace. Many of you did so well last week — I want to share some of your stories as a model, and then use them as a springboard for helping each of us to think of ways we might do the same. You don’t have to have a dramatic a testimony as Beth’s to create wonder, you just need to be sure your story is so His story that it causes them to ponder Who He really is.

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Sunday Icebreaker

1. How did Beth model the grace of God in her testimony?

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

 

Monday – Wednesday: Models of Grace

GRACE IS UNDESERVED AND OVERWHELMING

In the following watch how Karla does not go deeply into her sin, her crime — but she does go deeply into God’s grace. Though she was a murderer, each of us could see glimpses of ourselves in this story. I want you to find the grace and the glimpse of yourself.

 

 

  3. In the above:

      A. How did Karla make tangible the grace of God? How did her testimony create wonder?

      B. How could you see glimpses of yourself?

4. Remember that a testimony can be both bout being delivered from the penalty of sin, but also the power of sin. You might be prompted to give one or the other or both in various circumstances. For example, think of a sin from which He is in the process of delivering you, as He delivered Karla from the fear that tempted her to lie. She was delivered because she clearly saw God existed and she both feared and loved Him.

You don’t need to go into a lot of detail about the sin — but enough so we can see the chains — and then show the power and grace of God. I’m going to give you a choice of two sentences to fill in. Also — feel free to reword the sentence — I’m just trying to be helpful!

A bad habit, or the Bible would say sin, that I have had and which has brought me pain is________________________. Though I may always battle this to a degree, God has given me some victory by:_______________________________.

Or:

I really messed up my life by ________________________but God in His grace forgave me and is bringing healing by:___________________________________.

Here is an example for me. At my annual physical my doctor noted I had lost 20 pounds and he asked me how I did it. I said:

When my husband died I really messed up my health and life by running to the pantry for comfort. It took me a long time, but Jesus is showing me that was really a false god wrecking havoc in my life. I have a real God I can run to and He is comforting me in a way that stuffing myself never could. It is a continuous battle — but I am experiencing a power outside of myself helping me. 

 

GRACE GLIMPSED IN OTHERS AND THEN EXPERIENCED OURSELVES

Read the following from our own Rebecca and note how she shows the power of God both in her brother, in His wooing of her, and then in her own life.

rebecca-picture-april-2011In a nutshell, I was a woman living for herself, getting drunk a lot, pushing the envelope-desiring to top Madonna, and breaking my mom’s heart. The Christians I came across were afraid of me and avoided me. I really do identify with Karla Faye in a lot of ways. God intervened in my heart through my brother with His Love. My brother, who was normally unkind to me was kind and that blew me away. Then when I saw his Bible i knew it was God and God was real and Jesus started melting my heart with His love. He already was wooing me through my child hood, but I saw Him through my brother for the first time. Jesus wasn’t just in the movie Jesus of Nazareth-one of the ways He wooed me-He didn’t just walk among us and die on the cross-He is alive and I see Him in my brother and how He has changed him-HIS POWER ALONE. So after my brother shared the Gospel with me, God intervened on an airplane as I was looking out over His amazing clouds. I can’t remember how I prayed but I remember my heart surrendered and I responded to Him and He gave me His Holy Spirit. I could see light and dark for the first time and I felt, as Karla Faye describes, his Love like a cocoon around me-just enveloping me..I felt like He took all that crud out of me and filled me with His love-I felt free in His love. I went and told everyone I knew that He came to me, that I know Him now, that they can know Him too-how He is alive. Whenever I get together with my friend who was my friend before and after, she says, “yeah, you wouldn’t believe it..one day, Becky was wearing ripped hose, drinking, making up cuss words, and the next day she was wearing a very modest dress holding a Bible.”  :)))   
 
So He took this Madonna, this Shulammite Maiden, wooed me and we became one and He calls me beautiful. My chains are gone, I’ve been set free,  my God my savior has ransomed me! :)

5. In the above, how did Rebecca show God’s power in various ways? How does her story create wonder?

6. Now, take one of these two sentences and finish it.

Jesus didn’t seem particularly real to me — but when I met______________________I saw that________________________________________and it caused me to wonder if there really might be a God who ________________________________________.

 

I came to believe in Jesus reluctantly, because I feared giving up control of my life. Yet I was doing a very good job because I_________________________________. Today I see that though this is a process, He  _____________________________________________________.

 

Here is my attempt:

I came to believe in Jesus reluctantly, because I feared giving up control of my life. Yet I was doing a very good job because I was ready to leave a very good man because I was so selfish. Today I see that though this is a process, He opened my eyes to my selfishness and turned my marriage into one of great beauty. I am still selfish, but God has not stopped showing me grace and helping me grow.

GRACE IN THE FACE OF TRIAL

dancingshulammiteThis is how I see our own Mary E who in a battle for her life and got bad news last week, but wrote:

As soon as I got in my car I immediately felt like crying, but then I just felt like the Lord was saying, “There is so much more at stake here, Mary, than your physical condition.  Trust ME!  There maybe a person I want you to meet in all this.  There maybe a way that I am going to use this for eternal good. There maybe treasures in heaven, that will not rust or corrode! Trust ME!”  So I was able to thank Him for this news, and feel truly comforted by THE Comforter.  I know this is due to the fact that people are lifting me up in prayer.  I truly feel so blessed when I consider all of this. 

7. In the Song of Songs, the Shulammite “dances between two armies.” Invisible spiritual forces are all around us, but God can give us grace to face them, even to dance. Finish this sentence:

A trial I face was when______________________________________but God truly helped me by ____________________________________________________.

Or:

I was devastated when____________________________________but today, because God truly has been with me He brought good out of this by_______________________________________________________.

GRACE TO HEAL ME OF MY BLINDNESS

healing_of_the_blind_manOur own shy Dawn shared a powerful testimony of God continually coming to her — and finally:

It wasn’t until I was 19 and living with my husband who was in the Army, that I met a woman (a total stranger to me that I had to live with for 2 weeks until our housing was available) who kept inviting me to church. I didn’t want to go (she went 3 times a week what a freak!!)  I finally decided to go with her just to get her to stop bugging me about it. The Lord grabbed a hold of me. Suddenly all the little bits and pieces that I had heard along the way made sense and I could see so clearly God’s hand throughout my life. (I had met my husband as a child at that Baptist church).  Everything in me changed, I quit drinking, smoking, doing drugs, swearing and I wanted to serve Him because of what He’s done for me not just get into heaven.

8. How did God heal Dawn’s blindness — and how did she give Him glory? Cause wonder?

9. Today many people do think Christians are freaks, so I think it is good if you can remember when (if you did) you felt that way. If this is you, finish this: I remember thinking this Christian (or Christians) was ____________________because______________________________. Yet, somehow I listened and this is what happened:_________________________________________________________________________________________.

 

Thursday – Friday: The New Alpha Series

I think it is amazing and would love you to watch and comment and consider if there might be a place for this in your ministry to others. Some might be surprised to see that I, who am thoroughly reformed in my theology, love Alpha. But I love that Alpha has been a bridge between evangelicals and charismatics — and I know that pleases God. God has His hand on this ministry. The newest videos are wonderful, so wanted you to take a look and share your thoughts.

10. What comments do you have on the above? How does this video create wonder?

Saturday:

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

 

 

COMMENTS (57) Post a New Comment ↓
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1. How did Beth model the grace of God in her testimony?  Well, with her strategic use of the “Who Am I?” song she was acknowledging that it was nothing in and of herself that merited God reaching out to save her.  He chose from the foundation of the earth and saved her as an infant from physical death and eternally, from spiritual and physical death!
2. What stands out to you from the above and why?   I have read Beth’s story a few times, and the thing that stands out to me the most is that God was so determined to get that little girl (not only into His family, but also into yours) that He gave Steve that vision of her!!!  That is one of those things the Lord does which you want to remind yourself of in times of doubting.  I think we all have some miracle things like that which we can look back to and remind ourselves that there was no way something like could have “just happened.”  There IS a God and He IS good! (no matter what our circumstances and the enemy may want to tell us at times.)  Also also the song stood out because I recall hearing it many years ago and had forgotten how precious it was!  
 

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    Yes, Mary — we all do — and how we need to review those “stones of remembrance” when life is tough!

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1. How did Beth model the grace of God in her testimony?
 
Beth demonstrated that God was with her throughout her very difficult situation(s) as a youth. She realized how God had saved her several times and was thankful.
 
2. What stands out to you from the above and why?
 
I struggle to read the story of Beth although you have shared it before. I can’t imagine a parent doing that to a small baby. It makes me cry, especially when I have my beautiful grandson living with me. Then, she endured 12 years of (I’m sure) sadness and pain in the orphanage. Yet, you lookat her beautiful smile in the picture at thebeach, and see how precious life is; how He made us to touch each other, to hold each other, to love each other because He couldn’t be here, on earth, physically to do these things. We are not here to hurt each other. We are here to love.
 
 
 

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    Amen. It surely does show that when we choose the darkness we spiral down into greater darkness. Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn.

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I wanted to let everyone know that my tea party was lovely ?. My neighbor, who is also attends our church ended up really helping me out with the food and some fancy dishes to spruce up the table. I realized that I actually have some beautiful tea cups that would be perfect for the event too! My parents lived in Japan prior to my being born and I inherited 4 full place settings of beautiful Japanese china. I decided to use them as well as a tea cup of my moms that she often used (she collected them). I had 10 or so guests and they all were excited to be there! They thought the idea of the tea was so fun. Most of my unbelievers were unable to come, however I did have a couple there. One is a science teacher (colleague), and I do believe I have started a friendship with her (she is 10 years my younger), even though we have worked together for 14 years! I am hopeful here….Although I posted the thought statements Dee suggested, “Name a childhood memory that you believed helped make you who you are today,” and “name an obstacle that helped you to grow,” we never got to them ?. We had LOTS of conversation though, and I realized I learned something new about almost every person there (my goal for myself)! It was a very sweet time together with my attendees. They were even planning another tea as it came to a close! One friend, at the end, mentioned that she was looking into hosting a bible study soon and a couple of us thought we would participate.  We all attend different churches or are believers who don’t attend, so that was an unexpected blessing. I asked one of the believers (but not church attender) if she would come with me to the bible study and she agreed! Good things are in the air! Thank you for your prayers and you can do it too!!!

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    WOW WOW WOW — MY STAR PUPIL — YOU INSPIRE US ALL TO NOT JUST KNOW THE TRUTH BUT TO DO IT!

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    Laura-YAY YAY YAY! So glad to hear this!!!! 

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    How exciting Laura!!

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    *see comment below Dawn MS!  I have no clue how it ended up down there, clearly I did something wrong!  It was a reply to your tea party!  Oh, and my parents lived in Japan also!!!  I was actually born when they were stationed over there, but I don’t remember any of it.  We returned to the stated when I was like 22 months, I think.

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    Laura!! You amaze me! What a praise report! :)

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    This is SO GREAT, Laura. Happy to hear the tea went so well.

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Beth’s story..and God’s grace. I am so glad He spoke to Steve and had him hear her cry in his dream! This puts me in wonder of God every time I hear it. I am also encouragingly convicted that I find it difficult to be honest about my sin to others I don’t trust yet-especially at work. I didn’t think I was this way, but I have become this way over time. I used to be more transparent but I have sensed God on the move in my heart this past month in this area-to not be afraid and hold back trusting in His wisdom with timing and people. SO this will be such good practice for me! :)) 

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    That’s our Rebecca — as Lizzy says, “play-dough heart.”

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I’ve spent my morning reading the last 2 weeks of comments that I wasn’t able to get to before (not feeling well and stayed home from church). I didn’t want to miss any testimonies since time, effort and vulnerability went into each one. I want to know my blog sisters better, too. Thank you all for sharing.

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    That’s great, Laura!  It is the beginning of relationship building with these non-Believers and I’m sure they saw something in the Believers that has intrigued them, even if the conversation did not turn in that direction at that time.

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    Thank you, Dawn.  I’m so glad that you shared your testimony!  It is truly incredible!!!  Glad to get to know you here as well.

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    Dawn–your testimony has continued to come to my mind, several times since you shared–it has truly given me hope for a lost loved one…such a great reminder of how He weaves people into our lives, using the woman you lived with…it is so encouraging!

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1.  Beth modeled grace by making it obvious that it wasn’t her that made a happy ending, it was God.
 
2.  What stood out to me was her natural grace in sharing her story and her heart.  I’ve gotten so used to protecting my heart that I’ve nearly lost the sharing of my/His story.  I was so convicted this morning at church.  We had a guest speaker that talked on evangelism (imagine that!).  He said that it won’t just happen on its own.  We have to make a personal choice for it to be an active ambition.  I want to have that personal ambition and not just float along.
 
 

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    Imagine that! :-)  Love that you want to make it an active ambition!

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All I can say this week is WOW. What an incredible collection of powerful testimonies here–Beth, Rebecca, Carla–OH the POWER of the Blood! So, I’m overwhelmed, tear-filled-eyes here, but wanted to say this. This time in reading Beth’s story–something seemed to leap off the page–she says “threw me away to die. But I didn’t die.” There is so much there to me! Those few words sum up to me our inability to thwart His plans and His uttermost, SOVEREIGN POWER over all life. Man chooses death, and He brings forth LIFE. I think she does share the Gospel here–she lived because He determined she would not die, He determined to place her with Steve and Dee, to hear the Truth, to be loved by people who seek the Source of Love for their supply. 

This just brought to mind a Sandra McCracken (Gadsby hymn) song we sing, “The Love of Christ Is Rich and Free”–a few lines:

The love of Christ is rich and free, Fixed on his own eternally; Nor earth, nor hell, can it remove; Long as he lives, his own he’ll love.

His loving heart engaged to be Their everlasting Surety; ‘Twas love that took their cause in hand, And love maintains it to the end.

Love cannot from its post withdraw; Nor death, nor hell, nor sin, nor law, Can turn the Surety’s heart away; He’ll love his own to endless day.

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    quick edit–I do realize what you mean that her testimony “didn’t include the gospel”–I just love how it points to it, to His redeeming love

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    That is a powerful observation, Lizzy!  And what a wonderful hymn.  I’ll have to see if there is a youtube of it that I can listen to!

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I have been attending Alpha for the last few weeks. I find such hope in the testimonies I am hearing both on the videos and of the some attending the Alpha group, plus the testimonies I am reading here. I have always thought I didn’t have much of a testimony – (a Timothy) but through following along here and pondering how God is using these testimonies within me, I am seeing God work through imperfect people. God uses our weaknesses for his glory if we surrender them to him. Oh the wonder of it.

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    That’s exciting about Alpha, Diane. Time and time again you have made a testimony here of God’s work in your life — and blessed us!

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I’ve been so out of sync and unable to keep up here that I don’t know when I will be back so I don’t know if it’s okay that I comment randomly like this.  But I guess that’s what I’m doing!   (there’s a possibility that after November, I might take a break from my face to face study and my hope is to come back to this one.)  
But i want  to say now,  that the testimonies lately (I’ve been following along minimally, when I can) have been encouraging and helpful to me, in thinking through my own.   
I’ve also been doing ALPHA since September.  We are coming to the end of our program.  We sped it up a bit, so we could finish before Thanksgiving, so we’ve doubled up videos a couple weeks.  It has turned out pretty differently than what I anticipated after going through the training to be part of the leadership team.   But wow….I’ve seen the value in the course is a lot of ways. This is the first time our church has done it and we were aiming high.  Sending out invites to a lot of people who are new to the church; some that our pastors knew struggled with faith.  The first week, several showed up but not all have stayed.   In our group, it turns out that only one couple were ‘young’ or ‘questioning’ in their understanding of faith and they only came one week.    But yet, even though it’s turned out that we have 4 couples and all of us are mature believers, the course is still so good and I am much more ready to invite someone now too, after going through it.  (and personally, it’s really given us a feeling of belonging being able to serve together in this ministry;  we no longer feel ‘new’ to the church. )  Also, many more people in church are now familiar with the course, so when we start a new session, more people will be confidant to invite others.  
Tonight, my husband who facilitates our group, asked how would we use the testimony,  ‘I once was blind, but now I see’ and make it personal for us.   His was ‘I once felt confused, but now I feel contented’.   Mine is ‘I once was frequently afraid but now I find I can confidently trusting God’    I’m saying that one sentence testimony with great gratitude, because this is where the Lord has been taking me in the past 2 years especially.  I’ve found myself stepping out in faith in ways that would normally make me hesitant and fearful.  I have seen a ‘new me’  even after 50 plus years of walking with the Lord.   
 
We have another great ALPHA testimony of what God is doing in the heart of a friend, but I’ll save that for another time.  All this to say,  I’ve found the ALPHA videos really, really good.  Especially the testimonies that come up in many of the episodes.  Most are very moving, yet the application is so simple and relatable.  

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    Wanda — you are always welcome — whenever. We jump up and down to see you!
    Thanks for the great encouragement on Alpha. I guess it is common for there not to be many unbelievers the first time around — but then the believers so see the value they begin to develop relationships and bring unbelievers. So YAY for your church.

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    It is always good to “see” and “hear” from you any time, Wanda. :D  I’ll have to look into this ALPHA thing you all are mentioning.  

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      A. How did Karla make tangible the grace of God? How did her testimony create wonder?
 
I love the way Karla describes the sin leaving her body. She says something like, it was if someone reached down inside my body and pulled the roots of sin out. She used a hand motion that wlent along with what she said and it made it come to life for me. 
 
I’ve seen this video before and love the way at the end that she says she had to tell the truth and not be afraid because this was eternity we were talking about, not just the here and now. That has always stuck with me. She is reminding us that the here and now is fleeting, but eternity is forever.
 
      B. How could you see glimpses of yourself? 
 
In many ways, unfortunately; to be compared to a murderer, yikes! But God doesn’t distinguish us that way (I don’t think?). He wants our hearts and our sin was washed away when His son was crucified. I have felt the freedom of which she speaks. The total abandonment of my control; giving the issue to God. It is an amazing weight lifted from your shoulders! To know that He would take charge and take care of me was the best feeling you can ever have. I have cried out to God on my knees, like she said she did in her cell. I have hurt people with my sin, and still do today ?. We aren’t so different, are we?

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    Laura — wonderful job with filling in the blanks. I too love the part where Karla says “He reached down and pulled my sin out by the roots.” I feel like He has done that with my control!

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4. A bad habit, or the Bible would say sin, that I have had and which has brought me pain is_______being selfish______.
Though I may always battle this to a degree, God has given me some victory by:____striving to put others first__.
 
5. In the above, how did Rebecca show God’s power in various ways? How does her story create wonder?
 
Rebecca listened to her brother, who normally was rude to her. Anyone used to they type of treatment would not bother to listen, or believe. She describes how she felt the sin leave her and love envelope her. She told others about her experience! That was bold! She changed her appearance and began reading her bible.
 
The wonder comes because her description of freedom makes us want to have it too. It makes us think, what do I need to do to feel that way?
 
 

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6. Now, take one of these two sentences and finish it. 

Jesus didn’t seem particularly real to me — but when I met______________my colleague, A________I saw that_________________she put church before everything else (even grading papers!)_______________________and it caused me to wonder if there really might be a God who _____was in control of everything___________________________________.
 

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7. I was devastated when____my daughter told us she was pregnant__________but today, because God truly has been with me He brought good out of this by______giving us the sweetest, best baby grandson in the entire world!________.
 
8. How did God heal Dawn’s blindness — and how did she give Him glory? Cause wonder?
 
God continued to woo Dawn. He sent her a woman who didn’t give up in her invitations to church. It all came together for he when she released her hold on herself and went to church. She gave up her wild life style to focus on Him. Others noticed her change, I’m sure.
 

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Laura — if you took any pictures of your tea — I’d love you to e-mail a few to me!

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    I have had a couple of people tell me how much they enjoyed it (yesterday). That is encouraging!

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    can we see them? :) 

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3a.  Karla made visible the grace of God and created wonder by simultaneously accepting God’s grace and yet sharing how incredulous that He extends it.  Her very face glows with it.
b.  Glimpses of self – both in her video and in church this last Sun I was convicted of my pride and self-serving attitude.  It was communion, and though I was not, and am not, worthy, still He extends His grace and forgiveness to me.  Inside my heart, I’ve broken every commandment not once, but repeatedly.  That is not OK, and yet His sacrifice on the cross covers me today just as it did the first day I surrendered to Him.

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1. How did Beth model the grace of God in her testimony?
 
She presented her story simply but powerfully. She was in desperate need to be rescued – from dying after losing her arm, and from the pain and suffering in the orphanage. The words to the song and when she said that her dad-to-be in America was praying and heard her crying shows how God was there. I love her testimony. And, I love Steve’s tender receptive heart to what God was impressing upon his heart.

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 3. In the above: 
      A. How did Karla make tangible the grace of God? How did her testimony create wonder?  When she says that she didn’t even know where in Scripture she was reading but God still reached her and wrapped her in a “coccon of love.”  And then He totally transformed her heart!
      B. How could you see glimpses of yourself?  Well, like she mentioned that God ripped her violence out by the root (from her heart)  I think God did that with my pride in rule-following.  I will say that, unlike her, I do still have some leanings in that way (rules) but it is nowhere near like it was.  He has definitely done a transforming work!

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9. I used to think Christians were geeky, because they wore strange clothes and talked about weird things. Then, I knew something was missing in my new baby’s life and I needed to fill that void as a new parent. He spoke to me and I listened for the sake of my child.

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4.  A current sin I struggle with is turning to food instead of to God.  You can’t just quit eating, so He is teaching me that His word has all the power I need to love Him more and better than food.  When I am in His word, there is a victory that is more than just not overeating, it is joy!
 
over the last couple of days, I’ve had the opportunity to have several spiritual conversations, and to pray with people.  Exciting!

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    Yay! Praying for you Mary B

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4.  A bad habit, or the Bible would say sin, that I have had and which has brought me pain is_relationship idolatry.  For years I always had some friend at the center of my affections, a place that only God should occupy.  Putting anyone else in that place only leads to heartache. Though I may always battle this to a degree, God has given me some victory by:_giving me a deeper and deeper understanding of His relentless, unconditional love for me, which makes it much easier to turn from idolatry
 

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    So good, Mary E. We are so prone to this.

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    Mary – God is also stripping me of many idols in my heart, and He keeps impressing on me that His love for me is the best antidote for idolatry. Oh, to be consumed with His love alone!  Praying for you in your cancer journey.  Must be so tough. 

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6.  I came to Jesus reluctantly because I was sure He didn’t really want me.  Knowing myself better since then, the truth is I wanted to stay in control and feared losing it.  Yet I wasn’t doing a very good job of my life, and was depressed and very dysfunctional.  Today, I know it is a process, and each day as we walk together, He both speaks peace and health and joy into my life, but He also keeps gently prying my hands off the controls.  My tendency would lead me right back into depression and dysfunction, but He is greater and I praise Him for everything.
 
7.  I was devastated to realize that my family of origin didn’t really care about me.  But today, God has truly brought good out of it.  As I share what He has done in my life, it encourages others to know that He can rescue and heal them, also.

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Mary e., I am slow responding here about the update you put on last week’s blog about your cancer. I just went back to read it because I was not following along last week but saw from Dee’s comment above that you had difficult news. 
 
Here is what God spoke to you upon getting the news of the probable new cancer growth and what you did as a response to God, in case anyone missed it:

As soon as I got in my car I immediately felt like crying, but then I just felt like the Lord was saying, “There is so much more at stake here, Mary, than your physical condition.  Trust ME!  There maybe a person I want you to meet in all this.  There maybe a way that I am going to use this for eternal good. There maybe treasures in heaven, that will not rust or corrode! Trust ME!”  So I was able to thank Him for this news, and feel truly comforted by THE Comforter.  I know this is due to the fact that people are lifting me up in prayer.  I truly feel so blessed when I consider all of this. 

 
Your faith amazes me! Our God is so powerful in comfort. A normal person, even many Christians would respond to this news with fear, bitterness and anger and more; but your response absolutely melts my heart!!! I am so blessed to know you a bit through this blog! Thank you for sharing this.
 
 

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Mary E.’s answer to #4 really helped me–helped open my eyes beyond a tangible habit to things stirring in my heart. Two sins came to mind for me (and of course I have many more, but I’ll stick to 2 for here!)
I have long struggled with the sin of un-forgiveness, really withholding my forgiveness until there is an apology, a sincere one. I have suffered much pain from the bitterness that grew from my sin. I am seeing REAL victory in this area and it is so FREEING. I feel it was a huge roadblock that hindered my spiritual growth.  The 2nd one is my sin of insecurity. The last year I’ve realized that insecurity is NOT like humility, it’s more a cousin of pride! God is opening my eyes to how easily I get my feelings hurt, my tendency to feel rejected…and it IS sin because I am not believing His truth about me, resting in His acceptance. 

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    This is so good Lizzy. I am really happy about this — you do have a play-dough heart!

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    Wow, Lizzy!  You just described me and my very struggles!  So blessed that He still stoops to teach us and love us through the process!  You said it so succinctly! 

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5. In the above, how did Rebecca show God’s power in various ways? How does her story create wonder?  His power was seen in how her brother’s life was radically changed.  Her story creates wonder in how God was wooing her, even as a child, and how she looked out at His creation (the clouds) from the airplane and surrendered her life.  

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6. Now, take one of these two sentences and finish it.
Jesus didn’t seem particularly real to me — until I saw My brother change--I saw that-He was more kind and loving and saw him reading his Bible so I knew it came from God-and it caused me to wonder if there really might be a God- who is living-real, ‘with us’-who is relational.
 
7. I was devastated when-my oldest turned from his faith-but today, because God truly has been with me He brought good out of this by-exposing my control idol over my boys faith, and coming in-freeing me- and helping me to trust Him with their hearts.

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Pray for Dee, Twila, Sally and Heidi today. Dee and Twila are traveling together for Dee’s speaking event in Green Lake WI. tonight and tomorrow. Dee’s daughter Sally and her friend Heidi are going as well. One specific request is that God would protect them in regard to tech issues. :) Thank you ladies! :)

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    praying now!

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    Oh Rebecca thank you. I’ve really changed my presentation of the Song since my edit and I so need the tech to work. If it does I can control the slides from the podium and have freedom in the Spirit.
    How I appreciate this group!

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      Praying for you, Dee.

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      Dee-Oh good! Praying for His Wind to blow. I know He will. :)

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I want to add that what really impacted me was my brother’s love and generosity toward me-giving of his time and his ‘ear’ patiently which he didn’t do before.  I hope and I think what drew my friend to Christ wasn’t just the outward change but inwardly He gave me a strong desire to help and love others-putting them above me…and even just an inkling of that was odd to people who knew me before so they knew it was Him and not me. My dad used to say, “That religion has been good for you.” Which opened the door for me to tell him about Jesus-that it is about a relationship rather than religion. :) It is those inward changes where He is making us like Him that draw others to Him. I don’t think people are impressed by how perfect our lives look. I think it is when we admit we are broken-as Dee said-and then tell them how God is helping us, and in just loving them well, and when we don’t love well to admit it and ask for forgiveness. 

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