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Becoming Fully Human

How Gepetto rejoiced when Pinocchio became a real boy!

pinocchio-becomes-a-real-boy

In the same way, our Creator rejoices to see us becoming fully human.

We were dead in our sin, when His Spirit quickened us,

and began the process of turning our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. Whatever stone is left in us when we get to heaven will be melted by Aslan’s breath, and we will become, as Lewis puts it,

aslan-breathes

“more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth.”

But here on earth there are those who become “more fully human”

than do other believers.

They have discovered that, as 1 John teaches:

EACH TIME THEY LOVE,

HIS LOVE IN THEM GROWS STRONGER

EACH TIME THEY WALK IN THE LIGHT,

HIS LIGHT IN THEM GROWS BRIGHTER,

AND EACH TIME THEY CLING TO THE TRUTH,

HIS TRUTH IN THEM BECOMES CLEARER.

INDEED, THEY ARE BECOMING TRULY HUMAN!

REAL BOYS AND REAL GIRLS!

I doubt there is any more dramatic a place to see this than in prison. This month I was privileged to minister in a hospital prison in Texas City, Texas. For so many of the women alcohol or drugs is a contributing factor to their crime. One mother failed to get her children out of burning house because she was under the influence of alcohol — they died, and she went to prison for decades. I thought the sentence so harsh. Yet today she is out, she is free of alcohol, forgiving, and living a productive life due to the ministry of Discipleship Unlimited. The tentacles of drugs and alcohol are STRONG and many despair of ever being free of them. Yet Jesus is setting them free.He is turning their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh, and they are becoming fully human. Here I am with four women who went through Discipleship Unlimited’s program on the inside, now are living VICTORIOUS lives on the outside, but came back to encourage the women still inside the prison that through Christ THEY CAN STAY FREE!!!

hospitalprisonSunday, January 29th, 2017

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

Monday-Friday Bible Study

Prepare your heart with this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaMhdzxNz_U

2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?

 

nicodemus-listens-to-jesus-largeThe part about the water in this verse used to mystify me. Was Jesus talking about baptism? I didn’t think so. Perhaps He was talking about the gush of water with the first birth? But the light came on for me through a commentary I now use a lot by D. A. Carson — he illuminates Old Testament passages with New Testament passages. John 3:5 illuminates this verse in Ezekiel:

EzekielTherefore, being born of “water and the Spirit” is all about what God does in the second birth. He cleanses us of our sin and then puts His Spirit within us. Of course! But what is relevant now for us, as believers, is that this is a continuing daily process, as we confess sin, He cleanses, and His Spirit, which we quenched, is revived within us.

4-BornofWaterandSpirit3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.

A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5

B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?

C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?

4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life.”

5. Read 1 John 1:5-10

A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?

B. Challenge question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed.”

C. How can you apply the above to your life today?

Next week you are going to listen to a powerful sermon by an associate of Tim Keller’s entitled “Becoming Fully Human.” He shares a powerful quotation from Jonathan Edwards. The following are excerpts from that quote I’d like you to ponder. Edwards is profound, and lived in the 1700’s, so this quote is challenging — but life-changing. So read slowly and then I’ll ask you to articulate it in your own words.

 

Before, and as God created him, man was exalted and noble and generous. Before his soul was under the government of that noble principle of divine love whereby it was enlarged to the comprehension of all his fellow creatures and their welfare.

…Sin, like some powerful astringent, contracted his soul to the very small dimensions of selfishness and godless forsaken and fellow creatures forsaken. …Self love became absolute master of his soul. And the more noble and spiritual principles of his being took wings and flew away.

a1420258781_10

But God in mercy entered in the work of redemption by the glorious gospel of His Son, of bringing the soul of man out of its confinement and contractedness and back again to those noble and divine principles by which it was animated and governed at first. And it is through the cross of Christ that He is doing this for our union with Christ gives us participation in His nature. And so Christianity restores an excellence enlargement to the soul and again possesses it with a divine love and charity to its fellow creatures and is again swallowed up in love for its Creator.

6. Meditate on the above.

    A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to

        incorporate it.

    B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again?

7. To prepare for next week’s message, “Becoming Fully Human,” Read Mark 1:9-15

     A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus?

     B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15?

     C. What is the Kingdom of God?

     D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?

8. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus the “second Adam.” Why, do you think?

Saturday:

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

Sunday: February 5: Becoming Fully Human by Glorifying God

QUOTE048-G-01

The sermon by Pastor Kim from Redeemer is definitely geared to New Yorkers, yet I found it so enlightening. He begins with a rhetorical question and then a question that they discussed in their small groups. The question for the small groups was to consider what field they were in, and then consider: “What qualities would a super (or uber) person in that field  possess?”The answers ranged from making money, to being beautiful and sexy to being brilliant and humble. I think each of us wants to excel in our field, whether it is mother, nurse, author, or teacher. But how we approach excelling depends on whether we are determined to glorify self or glorify God. Two examples:

Illustration 1

I am realizing (far too late in life) that I have often used my gifts to glorify self and feeding my idols of approval or security. I have cared too much about how well a book sells or how people feel about me. That must die in order for me to glorify God. If I set my heart on glorifying Him and Him alone, He will take care of my deepest needs. If I walk in repentance, letting Him continually cleanse me, and set my affections on things above, I will write to glorify Him and speak to glorify Him — not to glorify myself. And like Eric Liddell so famously said, “I will feel His pleasure.” I have felt some trepidation about my forthcoming book on the Song of Songs, for I know there will be backlash. But what is that compared to what Christ endured?

Illustration 2

Jonathan is a man in our church who is very talented as a craftsman. He built a beautiful home for his family in the woods of Door County. But carpentry doesn’t pay the bills for his family of eight. So in the winter he plows and sands driveways. But what I have seen is that he does it to the glory of God. He is an “uber plower and sander.” He is sensitive to God and his fellow man.

Twice last month he rescued me. The first time was when I was trying to make my plane for prison ministry and woke to a driveway of sheer ice. This is my driveway when it isn’t icy.

drivewayBut that morning it was an ice-skating rink. I thought, “I  have four wheel drive — let me see if I can make it.” But when I went to get my car, it was dead. I called Jonathan and told him I had double trouble. Though he had many businesses wanting him to come immediately, he came to me, sanded, and then his wife lent me their car for five days. Who does that? People who are intent on loving God and their fellow man. People in whom the Spirit is working.

Then, after I got home from prison, returned their car, and got mine working — the driveway iced up again — but not so badly. I thought I could make it to the post office and grocery store. But instead, I slid into the woods. I prayed for help — and 5 minutes later Jonathan was there for he felt led to check on me. Who does that? People in whom the Spirit is working.

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

Monday-Friday

Listen and reflect on Pastor Kim’s message: Becoming Fully Human


12 What comments and notes do you have?

13. You may have to listen more than once — but what quickened you and why?

14. Now, how would you answer 7 C from last week?

Saturday

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

 

 

 

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140 comments

  1. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    Beautiful picture Dee! It is wonderful that these ladies have been through the program and are coming back to share with others. How sweet it is.
     

  2.  
    2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?
     
    “Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
    ‭‭John‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/jhn.3.5.esv
     
    Jesus says unless you are “born of water and the spirit” you can’t enter heaven.

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Like Laura, I was struck by the beautiful picture! I don’k how these 4 ladies look like before they met Jesus, but they all look at peace. Their faces are radiant (as well as yours, Dee) with what I believe is the reflection of Christ in them.
    Oh, that I may be fully human while still here on earth and that others may see Jesus in me! I think of the song, Let others see Jesus in you-while passing through this world of sin, and others your life shall view, Be clean and pure without within, let others see Jesus in you. Keep telling the story be faithful and true, let others see Jesus in you.

    1. Love that song, Bing!  Have not heard it in years.  

    2. Bing. Love the prayerful lyrics of that song. May it be!

    3.  Bing, can you post a link to the song? I’m not sure I have ever heard it before.

  4. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?  Like the others have mentioned, the precious, peaceful faces of the woman who went through the program and are still walking with Jesus and returning to encourage other women.  Also the being made real

  5. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Long-winded for a 1st question-sorry! But I’ve been doing the study questions on my own & that’s working best for me now, so I will just read & encourage for the rest of the week : )
     
    “Whatever stone is left in us when we get to heaven will be melted by Aslan’s breath”—the promised hope in this, it’s so hard to imagine, but I know it is true, for 1 John 3:2, says  “When He appears we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him as He is”, and He is doing that work in us now. To know that my God rejoices over me in this, as I am becoming more of who He made me to be. It both excites me, and brings a daily repentance—as I am aware of my own tendency to still desire man’s approval. 
     
    The testimonies of the prison women, and again this hope-filled truth that every time I step out in love, even when none is returned, every time I choose to walk in light, when my flesh wants to retaliate with words, every time I cling to His promises though many areas of life feel very shaky and uncertain and my old “support system” has failed me!—each step of trusting in Christ alone, brings more clarity of Jesus to my eyes, and I experience the truth that “our inner self is being renewed day by day” 2 Cor. 4:16. 
     
    His grace poured out to me—not only my heavenly inheritance, but in the promises that are being fulfilled even now.  Reminded too of 2 Peter 1:3-4, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
     
    I do so deeply desire, more than I ever have, to live fully for Him, for His glory, and not my own. And in some major areas of my life I feel myself trusting Him more than I ever have—and, maybe just a little like when Mary poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet, some are really questioning my “offering”, but I know He sees my heart, He sees that this time, my whole desire is just to be mold-able, shape-able, lead-able, teachable. “Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne, It shall be Thy royal throne.”
     
     

    1. Lizzy-I am with you..I got a cold from taking care of my dad and my family the past week or so.  The past month or so has been fraught with emergent issues here at home and I do sense satan at work-but God has been turning it around for His glory..I miss everyone so, but God has so many wonderful sisters here-oh my..and He is doing His beautiful work here with or without me-He knows what he is doing!! :)) 

    2. Lizzy, I’m grateful for this entire post and the Lord has surely used your insights to shed the light of His truths on my life.

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    What jumps out to me is the part about becoming “more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth.” C.S. Lewis had such a way with words. I often wonder what I will be when I “grow up”, longing to be a “real” girl. I see so many flaws in myself, so much sadness, fear, insecurity, pride. I so want to change; to be fully human.
     
    My husband shared a children’s story in church this morning called “The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross” by Carl Laferton. It is basically the story of the gospel in a nutshell from Eden to the Resurrection. “In the garden, everything was wonderful. The world was full of laughing and playing and smiling and fun. There was nothing bad, ever. There was no one sad, ever. And best of all … God was there! … People could see God, and speak to God, and just enjoy being with God. … But then one day the people decided they didn’t want to do what God said.” Sin entered the world.
     
    Laughing, playing, smiling! No sadness or sin! God will be there! That is how it is meant to be! And, thank God, because of Jesus we can begin now to live like that again. Because Jesus paid the penalty for our sin, we can begin here to become fully human again as God always intended, although this will not be completed until Jesus’ return.
     

      1.  I can attest to Aubrey’s gentle spirit, as I have met him before.  Both he and Diane are beautiful people! 

  7. I will be gone to Yuma and Mexico next week for a missions trip, so will go faster through this two weeks than what is recommended.
    1.  What stood out is that freedom can be more than just a moment or a day.  It can last.
     
    3.  B.  When I first gave in to God, I admitted that I was a sinner and unworthy of His notice.  He forgave me, cleansing me, and sent His Holy Spirit to live in me, new life.  
    C.  For that to happen daily (or more often!) I don’t need to dredge for sin, but to agree with Him when He points it out in my life.  then ask for forgiveness, 1John1:9, and breath deeply of His Spirit to go forward in new life.  I apply it today by clinging to Him, asking Him to reveal any areas where I need to confess or trust Him.  
     
    5.  C.  Lord, I so often give You permission to shine Your holy light on me, and then when You do I turn my back and ignore You, pretending I don’t see.  Please Lord, make it unavoidable to me.  Compel me, because You are my Shepherd, to walk in paths of righteousness for Your names sake.
     
    6.  My paraphrase of Edwards.  We were created with a big enough soul to truly care about and for others and God.  Sin shrunk us down to where we are only concerned with ourselves.  Everything more nobel and devine was lost.  That shrinking had the effect of imprisoning us.  Christ came to free us from that prison, enlarging us past the point of breaking those bonds to where we can feel and care about others and truly love God as we were meant to do.  Rather like the Grinch, whose heart grew three sizes that day.

    1. Love your paraphrase of Edwards!

  8. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?      The photo, Dee.  You look so young!  But more than that….it’s so humbling to me to think of you making these long journeys (from one of the northernmost points in the USA down to a southernmost state….what a commitment)…..and ministering to these women.   My husband has spent his career in counseling, teaching, conference speaking, resource coordinating etc. in the area of drug and alcohol addiction and over the years, oh so many stories he has shared and my heart has been stirred.   Addiction is so pervasive. But those who have overcome these strong addictions, surely do impact the lives of others.  And addictions that lead to crimes and tragedies…..oh..such a strong message when one overcomes.    
     
    I’ve another week, where I think I can keep up here and I surely want to try!  So much happening lately.  I didn’t even get the blog ‘opened’ the past couple of weeks.  Much to my chagrin.  

  9. Now Dee, I think you are colluding again with my pastor! This is exactly what he preached on yesterday ?. He said it represented the physical birth process.  
     
    3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.
    A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5
     
    I always thought it meant you were born again; like being a “born again Christian.” You are a new person with a new outlook on life and how you will live your life will look different than before. The verse from Ezekiel says we will be cleansed by the water; purified within. We will no longer have a hard heart, but it will be made of flesh.
     
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?
     
    I don’t know if I recognized what was really happening when it happened. I was only 12. I think, in the back of my mind, I always knew if you were a Christian you had a different set of rules to live by. There were expectations. Maybe that is why so many don’t want to live as a Christian? They might think it’s too difficult to manage those “rules.” It’s too bad; when you love the Lord then you want to be like Him; you want to please Him. When you let go and do it the way He wants you to, then you are SO blessed in ways you can’t imagine.
     
    C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
     
    I can ask for this rebirth daily…for cleansing of myself so I can have a heart that cares for others as Jesus cared, and still cares for me. I will do this today.

  10. 1. What stands out to you from above and why?
    “Each time they love, His love grows stronger; each time they walk in the light, His light grows brighter; and each time they cling to the truth, His truth becomes clearer.”
    This struck me…when we are obedient, we help build on the Lord’s “foundation”; we are assisting the Lord in His will…we are contributing to His glory.

  11. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Becoming fully human was the first thing that stood out…I haven’t heard it put that way before so it really was beautiful reading through to understand!
     
    I absolutely LOVE hearing about Him chipping away at stones and transforming lives in prison and then they come back to encourage other women that Jesus can set them free! I was looking at each woman in the picture thinking-wow Lord praise you for what you have done! I was thinking how blessed Dee is to be with them and experience Him in them. It is a joy unexplainable to experience this with these women..Nothing this world has to offer really can usurp this. It reminds me of the season when I was single and God amazed me with His work in the women around me, one who was a stripper who became a sister in Christ and now one of her daughters who was 3 when I met her and had an abusive father and a hard up bringing is a nurse and is passionate for Jesus. This melts my heart! 

  12. EACH TIME THEY LOVE,
    HIS LOVE IN THEM GROWS STRONGER
    EACH TIME THEY WALK IN THE LIGHT,
    HIS LIGHT IN THEM GROWS BRIGHTER,
    AND EACH TIME THEY CLING TO THE TRUTH,
    HIS TRUTH IN THEM BECOMES CLEARER.
    INDEED, THEY ARE BECOMING TRULY HUMAN!
     
    This really encourages me this morning!!

    1. just reading the comments and yours is almost EXACTLY like mine 🙂

      1. Cyndi, I have always wanted to meet you! Your parenting and how you love your family and others-sooo Him in you, and you just seem like a fun person to hang out with! Anyway, yes I agree He amazes me when His spirit breathes through us here with the same thoughts! :))) 

        1. right back at you sister! I can not wait for the day we can have a “dee blog” retreat and all spend a weekend together. how fun will that be (DEE hint hint hint)  I am convinced that Parenting is the best way to become more like Jesus!  LOL

  13.  
    2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?   Jesus tells him that unless he is born of both water & the Spirit, he won’t see the kingdom of God….he won’t be born again.
     
    3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.
    A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5    The first thing I notice is that Jesus isn’t speaking of the outward manifestations of miracles (as Nicodemus has described in verse 2) as being the evidence that He has come from God.   Nicodemus stated this as proof that Jesus must be from God.   But, as Jesus always does, he teaches a truth that is far more compelling and brings salvation to be accessible to all. We must be born of His Spirit and be washed clean in HIS righteousness.   Carson’s directing us back to Ezekiel is so helpful.   Without it, I would have wondered again…..the same questions you brought up.  baptism?  natural, physical birth?   but the Ezekiel passage intertwines the elements of salvation so clearly….we are cleansed with clean water (His cleansing)…..cleansed from our idols……given a new heart…..a flesh heart replaces our heart of stone.   This speaks so clearly to our sinful nature….how calloused we are….stone cold without the cleansing and removal of our selfish ambitions and how we need to be made clean.  Forgiveness.  A clean ‘slate’.   A new creation.   All of these are the experience of the one washed in HIm….and clothed in HIS righteousness.   Again, the whole of scripture confirms it…..but how well Ezekiel speaks to this passage.     
     
    My mom had vinyl records by ‘the Hawaiians’ and I remember this song, though it had been ages since I’d heard.   “I will pour water on him who is thirsty…I will pour floods upon the dry ground’  That is the promise of this passage.  When we thirst for Him  (Psalm 42)  He meets us. Not just with a sip but with an abundance!    Thinking about my recent visit in central California at the foothills of the Sierras.  CA has been in such severe drought for so many years that there are mountainsides just covered with brown, dead ‘evergreens’ (but no longer green).   Dead trees are literally falling over, creating hazards and the fire danger has been so high for so long.  But this winter it has been raining!  And raining!  And raining!  They have even experienced floods.  The ground is saturated and the water keeps coming.  No one complains about the flooding.  The grass is lush and green.   The land looks cleansed….floods upon the dry ground.  
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?    I was cleansed from my sin as John 1:9 says,  ‘If we confess our sins, He is just and will forgive our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness’.  My sin was forgiven….but not only that….I was covered in His righteousness.  

  14. 2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?
    Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless one is spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified through re-birth in the Holy Spirit, that person will not be saved. 
     
    3.A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5?
    That if a person doesn’t accept Jesus as Lord, the One and only way to the Father, and receive His Holy Spirit and thereby be daily transformed from sinner into saint, the person will not have the needed “re-birth” (i.e., cleansing, sanctifying) provided by the Holy Spirit.
     
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?
    Re-birth is not a date in time that I can pinpoint; I recall a time when my mind was opened to the realization of what Jesus endured for my salvation, the realization of my sinfulness and unworthiness (after viewing “The Passion of the Christ”).  I was raised in a denomination whose teaching gave me a view of God more as a “judge” and “taskmaster,” He would let me out of purgatory when I was “good enough.”  It was hard for me to really allow myself to think, believe, or receive His love for me.  I knew that He paid the price for my sin, enduring excruciating agony in doing so, but He did it for all sinners and I was just one among many, not unique, one sinner among many.  His love really “soaked in” during the Song of Songs study…oh I remember when He called me His beloved and I believed and received it.  I am still so much in process…but each step forward, is forward…and my Lord is patient and persistent, providing needed grace and discipline to transform me, to make me His own through and through.
     
    Dee, I cannot articulate fully what a difference participating in the SoS study made for me…what a difference participating in this blog study makes…thank you for your obedience to your calling. 
     

    1. Nanci–this is a BEAUTIFUL testimony: “His love really “soaked in” during the Song of Songs study…oh I remember when He called me His beloved and I believed and received it.  I am still so much in process…but each step forward, is forward…and my Lord is patient and persistent, providing needed grace and discipline to transform me, to make me His own through and through.”

    2. Nanci.…..what ‘wonderful words of life’ you shared here!  Encouraging to see how the Spirit works and shines through you so much.

  15. 2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?
    No one can enter the kingdom of heaven except he be born of water and the spirit.
    3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.
    A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5.
    I have to accept the cleansing Jesus has to offer and the guaranteed deposit of the Holy Spirit in my life.
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?
    Salvation experience when I accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I am new in Christ right away and my sins are forgiven (cleansed). He puts the Spirit in me  2 Cor 1:22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
    C.  How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
     
    I have to confess my sins I John 1:9 as it is revealed to me. Believe this Word that He will cleanse me of all unrighteousness and then walk with the Spirit again.

  16. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    LOVED THIS!!!!
    EACH TIME THEY LOVE,HIS LOVE IN THEM GROWS STRONGEREACH TIME THEY WALK IN THE LIGHT,HIS LIGHT IN THEM GROWS BRIGHTER,AND EACH TIME THEY CLING TO THE TRUTH,HIS TRUTH IN THEM BECOMES CLEARER.INDEED, THEY ARE BECOMING TRULY HUMAN!
    This hit home as it is part of my own testimony!
    The tentacles of drugs and alcohol are STRONG and many despair of ever being free of them. Yet Jesus is setting them free.
    I remember a day thinking “would I ever have a day where I did not want to drink?” I praise God every day He set me free!!! And yes the tentacles were strong but God is STRONGER!
    I love seeing the picture of you Dee and seeing these woman they are beautiful testimonies of Gods amazing grace!!!  
     

  17. A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5? Our hearts need to be filled with His Spirit to be fully alive born again.
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again? When I experienced his rebirth in me the void I had in my heart which was going after so many wrong things to fill it was then filled with his spirit. I actually was able to stop drinking very easily as I had his filling, the void was gone and I had the desire for Him. That was one of my first idols to go. The Holy Spirit is still working in me, changing me, growing me to become fully human. Only by the power of His Holy Spirit.

    1.  Liz, you are an amazing woman! Thank you for this uplifting series of posts today. They have made an impact on me this morning. 

    2. Your testimony brings me misty eyes this morning.  Thank you so much for your transparency, Liz.

    3. Liz, I see your humility here-he has spoken tenderly to you and turned your valley of Achor into a valley of hope..I absolutely love your testimony.

  18. C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
    I want the short account of my sins on a daily basis and a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit and a desire that grows stronger as the more we come to know Him the more we want to walk in His ways and to please Him.

  19. 4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life.”
     
    He was there from the beginning (the Word); they saw and touched Him. They heard Him.
     
    5. Read 1 John 1:5-10
     
    A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?
     
    That God is light and there is no darkness in Him. Those walking in darkness are not in fellowship with Him although they may think they are. They are lying to themselves and others. 
     
    B. Challenge question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed.”
     
    It says that if you confess your sins you will be cleansed from it, both recognized and unrecognized, if it is done in humility (It says we might think we have no sin, but we are lying to ourselves). I think the passage eludes to us being humble in our thinking and actions.
     
    C. How can you apply the above to your life today?
     
    Well, I can humbly ask forgiveness for my sins today and expect that I am forgiven. I can start with the blatant sins and then ask Him to forgive those I am not seeing in myself. I will ask Him to show me my transgressions so I can try to do better. 

  20. C. How can this happen on a daily basis? How will you apply this today?
    Keeping in mind who we are, and Whose we are…speaking the Lord’s truth to my heart and soul.
    “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim You, who walk in the light of Your presence, O Lord. They rejoice in Your name all day long; they exult in Your righteous.” Psalm 89:15-16

  21. C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
    Born of the water…..being cleansed every morning….and being born anew by the Spirit.     One thing that has definitely been impressed on me through these studies is how I NEED to take the time to really look inside me and confess my sin.  I feel I have an active conscience …with the Holy Spirit’s leading…to ‘feel’ pretty immediately when I have wronged someone overtly. And I try to confess and make those right quickly.  But the covert things.…the things I think and mull over and the ways I neglect the truth or fail to do what is right….those things are so much harder for me to immediately address.   I remember being very struck by Deanna’s words one week, when she shared how she closed out every evening, asking God to forgive her for where she had sinned that day.  I have not had that as a regular practice.   But I am becoming more and more convinced that a regular ‘liturgy’…..which just means ‘that which you do with regularity and commonality’ (my paraphrase of a definition)……to use to keep me disciplined an on track is SO beneficial.  Since the beginning of 2016, I’ve tried to be regular in reading from either Shane Claiborne’s ‘Common Prayer’ book or Phyliss Tickle’s ‘the Divine Hours’ prayer book.  It helps me begin my day, not just with scripture but with confession too. And it helps me to know that other Christians around the world are praying the same words and worshipping at the same time. That is what has been lacking for me.   I can easily dig into a passage and ponder it.  But applying, confessing and worship/adoration is the greater challenge.   

  22. EACH TIME THEY LOVE,
    HIS LOVE IN THEM GROWS STRONGER
    EACH TIME THEY WALK IN THE LIGHT,
    HIS LIGHT IN THEM GROWS BRIGHTER,
    AND EACH TIME THEY CLING TO THE TRUTH,
    HIS TRUTH IN THEM BECOMES CLEARER.
    how I love love love this! as we practice living in the ways HE wants us to HE fills us up with the stuff we need to keep living that way.

  23. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I also love the photo of you, Dee, and the other four women! I love that these women, though their pasts were so hard, spending time in prison; now that they are out, they are going back to encourage the women still there. Reminded me of Chuck Colson after he was released from prison, how he gave back the rest of his life and went back into the prisons to minister.
    Also, the opening is a new and different way to describe the gospel and our transformation: becoming more fully human, more real. It strikes me, then, that as an unbeliever, I was really living in a state of UN-reality. Blind to the reality of God and His ways, as unbelievers we create our own reality of the way things are.

  24. 6. Meditate on the above. 
        A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to incorporate it. 
     
    God made us perfect in the beginning. Sin entered us (ugh). It overwhelmed us and made us love ourselves more than others. God felt mercy toward us and sent His Son to save us. We are connected to Him through Christ.  Because we are connected, we are redeemed and our original selves may be restored if we partake in knowing Him well. 
     
        B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again?
     
    We must choose to live as Christ did; love above all. I love the image that someone mentioned above; of the Grinches heart being so small and then expanding at the end of the story.

  25. 2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?
     
    Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
     
    3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.
     
    A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5?
     
    “Unless one is born of water…” in light of the passage from Ezekiel….there is a cross reference in Ezekiel back to Numbers, where water was mixed with the ashes of the sin offering and then sprinkled on a person who was unclean as part of the purification process. Here, God says that He Himself will do the sprinkling, the cleansing. This cleansing is for the stain of sin that we can never wash away by ourselves, no matter how hard we try or how many good things we do. This is the cleansing that we need – to be cleansed from all our sin.
     
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?
     
    When my eyes were opened to the truth about myself, the truth about God, and when He became real to me, and when I confessed my sins to Him and understood that I had sinned against God, and asked Him to forgive me, He did. He took every sin of mine and “wrote” PAID IN FULL (by the blood of Jesus). Jesus came to live on the inside of me by His Spirit.
     
    C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
     
    Even though I am “clean”, by living in this world, I get dirty. I am exposed to things on TV, in the media, from other people, and from my own sinful nature which naturally bends towards what is not right. It’s not a bar of soap that I need, but to be continually cleansed by the blood of Jesus. as in 1 John 1:9, which says that if I confess my sins, He will cleanse me….I know that Jesus’ sacrifice was once and for all, but I continue to need cleansing because I still sin. I can apply this today by confessing sin the moment it pops up. I tend to want to deal with it later, and then later never happens. In so doing, I am allowing sin to build up and quenching His Spirit.
     
     

  26. 4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life”.
     
    John explains that Jesus was “from the beginning” and was “the Word of Life” – no ordinary man. But He was also real flesh and blood, a person. John says that they heard Him (with their ears), they saw Him (with their eyes) and they touched Him (with their hands).
     
    5. Read 1 John 1:5-10
     
    A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?
     
    That God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. Then, in v.6, John says it makes no sense to say we have fellowship with a God who is light as we are walking in darkness. John says if that is the case, we are lying to ourselves, and maybe to others, too, and we are not practicing the truth.
     
    B. Challenge Question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed”.
     
    We can be cleansed if we walk in the light and have fellowship with one another. The fellowship with other believers is important because they can help us by speaking truth to us, in love, when we don’t see the sin in ourselves. As we walk in light and fellowship, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin. This is a “constant cleansing”.
    Then, if we confess known sin to Him, He is faithful to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
     
    C. How can you apply the above to your life today?
     
    One way, and I just heard it again in a message I was listening to yesterday, is by receiving criticism with humility (instead of defensiveness) and seeing if there is a kernel of truth in the criticism. There just might be. I can confess known sin as I become convicted of it. I can ask God to help me stay close to Him, in the light, and (this is something I must’ve written a while ago in the margin of my Bible next to verse 6) “A child of God can start to walk in darkness – loss of joy – to deny the power of sin”. So if I am losing my joy, that is a red flag I need to pay attention to. I also must not lie to myself and deny that sin can be a powerful foe, that I am somehow immune to it. I will never be.

  27. 2. Read John 3:1-5. What does Jesus tell Nicodemus in verse 5?
    No one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of the water and the spirit.
    3. Now, read John 3:1-5 again.
    A. What does Jesus mean by verse 5
    I can’t help but think about the blood and water that spilled out of Jesus side!
    This is the second birth- His blood covers our sins and he won’t condemn us ever yet we still have our sin natures and we will sin daily but He promises He will cleanse us. I LOVE Ezekiel 26..HE WILL DO IT. He gave us His Spirit inside Who is faithful to give us red flags and when we don’t yield and continue in sin we quench the Holy Spirit but when we confess and turn His Spirit is revived in us-as Dee said-and He turns our ashes into beauty.  
    B. How did this happen initially when you were born again?
    I can’t say enough about His Spirit indwelling at that moment we surrender to His wooing. For me it was on an airplane..I opened my eyes after he rescued me and I was different for I saw light and dark..His love filled me for other people and I wanted them to know Him too. Also, my awareness of my sin was present for the first time. Before I didn’t see it for I was blind. As I got into His Word, the first time I was dead inside and couldn’t understand it, the second time as HIS-oh my..He illumined it-BOY DID HE. Talk about consistent quickening and heart flipping! :)) The more and the more I communed with Him in His Word-and as I walked along the way-I was becoming convicted of my sin like crazy. I saw how selfish I am in general and was toward my then husband and started loving  him..but he left anyway..BUT that was the mark of His Spirit in me. He made me see not only my sin for I had a choice to sin or not to sin for the first time but He also pressed His love down into my heart so I could trust Him with knowing my sin and helping me to turn. I knew he wouldn’t leave me so I could open up to Him.
    C. How can this happen on a daily basis for you? How will you apply this today?
    And so..HERE is the sticky part..Yes at conversion my eyes are opened and yes, as a new believer I turned pretty fast-maybe from easy to turn from sins? Yet I was unaware of idolatry-of the darkest, deepest corners of my heart that took 20+ years for Him to reveal to me..and yet there is still more! The great part about this is He is humbling me more and causing me to trust Him more than myself for my heart is SO deceptive. BUT this is a DAILY process.
     
    I don’t have time to edit! 
     

    1. You don’t need to edit!  Out comes your joy and passion in Christ, and your longing to be more in Him.  It lifts my heart!!

    2. Rebecca, Your clear description of your coming to Christ so dramatically and the work He did in your heart so rapidly is such a beautiful picture.
      Thank you for the inspiration you give as you write so beautifully!
      Yes, those idols stay hidden for a long time, mine much more than 20 years to identify and then to allow the Spirit to mold me, and I am still being melted as the trials soften me.

  28. 4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life.”
    We respond to the world around us by our senses-that which we have seen, heard and touched. Interestingly enough, I have been working on dementia related presentations and visual is the most acute in terms of how we interpret the world, then hearing and touch last.
    5. Read 1 John 1:5-10
    A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?
    Since God is light, there is no darkness in Him and if we are in Him we should exemplify Him in being light and truth as well.
    B. Challenge question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed.”
    If we are living in the light, the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sins (unrecognized)
    If we confess our sins (recognized) we are cleansed from all unrighteousness.
    C. How can you apply the above to your life today?
    This is sooo humbling as I may not be aware of my sin as I go along my day, I therefore cannot confess it but Jesus has covered it all for me! If I live in union with Him then I should not be paranoid or too introspective and fine tooth combed my life. But I can pray for heightened sensitivity to sin in my life and be ready to confess it AND be ready to accept forgiveness and cleansing.
     
     

  29. Working through the questions on 1 John and then the Edwards quote was really powerful for me. Then as I can and read these great comments from Susan & Rebecca, one thought kept coming back to my mind–psalm 51, especially v. 12 “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
    As I remember the JOY of my own salvation, meditate on it until it moves my spirit–I feel the overflow and I want to share that grace, that same mercy I have received–in my words, and in my responses. The prior verses of Psalm 51 seek the cleansing of my sin, and as I am cleansed again, I remember the joy–the gracious, immeasurable gift I have been given–and it strengthens me to live out of it. Verse 15 “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” As Edwards said, through repentance and faith, by His mercy, we are redeemed by Jesus Christ, and He has brought us out of the trap of sin and back into freedom–free to be noble and godly. Through Christ’s death on the Cross, we can participate in Christ’s nature. We are restored to be able to have our souls enlarged, filled with a divine love for God and His creation.

  30. 12.  Comments and notes on the sermon.  Overall, WOW!  He talked about how people try to get around their phones being able to know where they are all the time, and that they do things to them that corrupt the operating system, and it never quite works right after that.  Immediately I could see that in our effort to not be under God’s control in the garden, our operating system became corrupted.  From then on, no matter how hard or long we work, we can never be the fully human we were designed to be.  Not just our heart shrunk, but our mind also.  What were those things from back in the day that you would shrink in the oven?  Shrinky dinks?  He shared that Gollum was a contracted Hobbit, orcs contracted elves, and humanoids contracted humans.  What did it mean that the kingdom of God was at hand in the beginning chapters of John?  The divine is always near, but then The Son of Man was near, able to take up the reign God intended for humans to have, at His right hand.
    Our ideas of greatness are usually without Christ, but we can’t be great without Him.  He is the fully human being, who lived obeying God, committing Himself daily to do truly human things (the expanded version, not the contracted one).  In the OT, we can see Christ as prophit, priest, and King.  That is what fully humans beings were designed to be.  Then Jesus’ call to us to repent and believe make sense.  Quit walking toward our own vision of perfection, which we can never reach, and move toward Christ and His vision of restoration, which requires all that we have and are.
     
    13.  What quickened me was the illustration of the cell phone.  It made so much sense, and explains why I cannot do it on my own.  Once He told me that the reason I couldn’t do better was that in a sense, I am spiritually retarded.  That was good enough for then.  Now I can hold on to the shrunken version of myself with the corrupted operating system.  That, and that we were designed to be at God’s right hand, ruling with Him.  It makes me understand better my longings to “fix” things.
     
    14.  Looking again at 7C.  what is the kingdom of God?  It is fully human beings, following their Head, Christ, and living fully expanded lives of following God daily and seeking His will for each moment.
     
    thank you for these lessons, Dee!  They have been really helpful to me as we leave for our mission trip in three days.

  31. 3. I have this picture in my head of a HUGE park (think rocky mountain national forest) it has hundreds of paths and lets just for this illistration say that they all end up in the same place but some MUCH harder than others. some have high mountains and dangerous clifts and wild animals and rushing waters. We have a choice of paths to take. Every time we choose to walk in love, in grace, in joy, in patience we are choosing the more direct path. it is not easy but along the way there are rest stops and beautiful views, and a walking partner (Jesus) that keep us going. We can choose to stay on the path of wrong choices and still be on our way to Jesus because we have been born of HIS blood, but the way will be filled with dangers and pain we need not have suffered if we had chosen the way of repentance, LOVE, LIGHT AND TRUTH.
    wish I could draw a picture of this, it is so vivid in my mind this morning.

    1. Your imagery has spoken to me this evening!

    2. Cyndi, you drew the picture with your words…great illustration.

    3. I love this illustration!  🙂

    4. Thank you all! I’m so glad you were able to “pick up what I was putting down :-)”

    5. Cindi, I totally get what you are saying and your imagery is a wonderful picture of it! I agree…Sometimes it can be hard to put into words what you want to say and then get it across right and you did! 

  32. 7. To prepare for next week’s message, “Becoming Fully Human,” Read Mark 1:9-15 
     
         A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus? 
     
    Jesus was baptized by John and then He was sent into the wilderness where He was tempted for many days by the devil.
     
         B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15? 
     
    Jesus told people to repent and know God by accepting the Gospel.
     
         C. What is the Kingdom of God?
     
    The kingdom of God is heaven.

  33.      D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?
     
    Hmmm…I’m not sure about this one. Are you saying something was “going on” historically that I probably don’t know about since I am not well versed in the history of the time? The order of events was in play, as John declared one to come after him that would save the people, then Jesus’ baptism, and then His temptation. The people knew something was “up.” I’m sure what as spoken was also frightening. I can’t imagine watching someone like John and not being a bit disturbed; what with his crazy hair and strange clothing! After his travels, Jesus came, as John said he would, and the work began. I do wonder though, there was no written Gospel at that point, right? To what gospel did Jesus refer then? I looked up the word gospel and one of the meanings was “truth.” Maybe the people had never had someone evangelize like this before? It was different than in the past? It was easier to believe because the events were playing out as John said they would? The scripture says all of Judea and Jerusalem came to see him (If you read the first few verses prior to 9-15).

      1. So was it just that Jesus was finally on earth? He was near?

    1. Yes…..dear Mary.  We do love you.  We continue to lift you up to our Father and our hearts ache for the pain you are carrying.  I am praying that you will be comforted and rest in the Shadow of the Almighty,  overshadowed by the Most High and in Song of Songs we also learned of resting in the Shadow of our Beloved.  One in the same.  I know you don’t see the facebook page, so wanted to send my love directly to you here.   You are such a blessing to me.   

      1. Yes Mary….I echo Wanda. Continued prayers for you and love sent your way.

      2. Love to you Mary. He is with you always and loves you dearly. He will not let you down ever.
         
        “For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
        ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭41:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
        http://bible.com/111/isa.41.13.niv
         

    2. Mary, my heart aches for what you are going through physically and what you must be going through emotionally. Words are inadequate to express, but may you find deep comfort from the Only One who is our true Comforter, who I know is abiding in you right now.

      1. Oh dear Mary, yes we lift you up to Jesus, who loves u & will lead u all the way! He will never leave u alone.

    3. Oh, Mary, you are indeed a part of “us” and we love you so.  This news is numbing…I am so, so sorry.  God bless you, dear sister. 

      1. Praying for sweet Mary that she will rest in the everlasting arms and be comforted by the nail pierced hands.  
         https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=936BapRFHaQ

    4. Mary, we love you so and our hearts break with yours and we are crying out for you. I am with Wanda-you are sooo blessing our lives.

    5. Thank you all!  I have not kept up with getting on here well at all in the past week or so.  I appreciate all of your prayers so much.  I truly have felt so well loved by this community.  

  34. 6. Meditate on the above.
     
    A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to incorporate it.
     
    God created man and man was free….his soul capable of being as large, immense, and free as the sky, the heavens, the ocean…it knew no limits, no boundaries, and man’s soul swelled to bursting with love for his Creator, and love for others.
    The phrase that grabs me is, “Sin, like some powerful astringent (and I think of acid) contracted his soul….”
    When sin entered in, it was as if man’s soul was doused in an flesh-destroying acid, and his soul convulsed, and shriveled, and was plunged into blackness. The lie of sin was that selfishness and self-love was freedom and living large, but in truth, man became small; the vastness of an ocean reduced to a mere drop of water. (I have seen limbs contracted due to stroke or paralysis. They are shriveled, wasted, and useless.)
    Only God could remedy this situation, as when Jesus told the man with the shriveled hand to stretch it out and it became whole again. Sin had locked us in, and in darkness, we couldn’t find the way out. When God breathes His life into us and makes us new, we are once again free, our souls enlarged to love Him and others.
     
    B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again?
     
    Through union with Christ.

    1. Susan, what a wonderful summary of Edward’s passage! You have a wonderful way with words and pictures. I find your medical experience gives you such insight here. I love the imagery of the vastness of the sky, flesh-destroying acid, the shriveled limbs due to paralysis, and the miracle of Jesus healing the man with the shriveled hand SO appropriate! 

  35. Yes Susan, I love your illustrations too! Being a nurse I can identify.  I thought Edward’s quote was powerful. The Lord God created us to walk with Him & eachother in freedom & Love the knew no bounds. The picture of the snake choking the like out of a person is such a vivid & shocking pic of how sin & godlessness chokes us of life & all the good things that God intended for us. I thought of when food is vacuum sealed & all the air sucked out, & the when we open the package the contents expand! I know when I am dry & needing Living water, I feel like I am enclosed, When the Lord touches me & when I receive the Truth that I am one with Him & He lives in me, my soul expands, & my borders are enlarged…my soul is free to love, & laugh & dance & sing for joy. Then I can be “fully human ” the way H ewants me to be. I am praying that I can see His vision for my life & join Him in living that out. I’m so fickle day by day, but He is so patient & gracious with me. I want to be “swallowed up in love for my Creator”   🙂

  36. 4. Read 1 John 1:1 and explain the different ways John tries to persuade you that they know Jesus is real and was no ordinary man, but “the eternal word of life.”
    John tells us that he/the disciples experienced Jesus in the physical sense, Jesus was heard, seen, and touched, and yet John also tells us that Jesus existed before the beginning of the world.
     
    5.A. What statement is in verse 5, and what is the corollary in verse 6?
    v. 5 tells us that God is light and in Him is no darkness.
    The corollary in v. 6 talks about our walk; if we walk in darkness (sin) yet claim to follow Jesus (believer, Christian), than we are lying, but if we walk in the light (obedient to the Lord) than we are truly connected to the Lord and cleansed by His righteousness.
      
    B. Challenge question! There is both unrecognized sin in our lives, and recognized sin. This passage shows how we can be cleansed of each. Find them, looking for the word “cleansed.”
    We need to acknowledge that we are sinners, that even on our best and brightest days we still fall woefully short; when we might think we’re “clean” and think ourselves self-reliant, we need to recognize our continuous need for Jesus to cleanse us, to make us whole.  For recognized sin, we must confess and repent of our sin.

  37. 8. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus the “second Adam.” Why, do you think?
     
    Well, if we are re-born (He gives us new life, new hope) in Him, then He would be like the first man (again)? 

      1. yes; Jesus was there in the beginning wasn’t He? So Adam would have been like Him.

  38. 5.C. How can you apply the above to your life today?
    Liz mentioned in a different question the need in keeping “short accounts” with the Lord…this is fitting as part of my answer.  When I recognize sin, I need to confront it right away, confess of it and repent, no justifications or rationalizing the why’s, but acknowledging my sin for what it is, sin.  That being said, I can trust that Jesus paid my sin debt in full; I give Him thanks, praise, and glory as my Lord and Savior.

  39. 6.A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to incorporate it. 

    1. When God created man and woman, they enjoyed boundless love, truth, joy, generosity, care for neighbor, environment, etc., consistent with being created in the image of our Lord.  They were in perfect relationship with God.  When man and woman fell to sin, their focus was no longer God-focused, outward, righteous, or consistent with that of the Lord; their focus was centered on self…self-love, self-sufficiency, self-reliance. What was best for “self” became priority and everything else, including God, took a back seat.  It is in God plan of Jesus redeeming us that we were released from the prison of sin and provided the opportunity to return to the boundless love, truth, joy, generosity, care for neighbor, environment, etc. and the wondrous relationship shared with the Lord that man/woman once enjoyed…a gift of incredible, incomprehensible grace.    

    2. 6.B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again? 
      Through Jesus redeeming us we were given the amazing gift of living in relationship/union with Him.

  40. 6. Meditate on the above.
        A. Summarize the main points in your own words, though if a phrase quickened you, feel free to
            incorporate it.
    Before the fall man was sinless. He was self-less, loved God and loved his fellow man but this Love was pure-without selfishness. That stuck with me for that is what being “fully human” looks like. 
     
    B. How would Edwards say we become fully human again?
    Through His redemptive work on the cross and resurrection..by becoming one with Christ we participate in His nature and He restores an excellence enlargement to the soul and again possesses it with a divine love and charity to its fellow creatures and is again swallowed up in love for its Creator.

  41. 7. To prepare for next week’s message, “Becoming Fully Human,” Read Mark 1:9-15
         A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus?
    His baptism and the proclamation of His sonship and His time in the wilderness
         B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15?
    The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and Believe the good news!
         C. What is the Kingdom of God?
    The kingdom of God is the kingdom of ALL people who have repented of their sins and have believed the good news
         D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?
    The time for salvation is ALWAYS now upon hearing the good news. When Jesus came, He made the kingdom possible by his subsequent death on the cross. Although His very presence could mean the kingdom is near because the King (meaning He) is physically near.
    8. 1 Corinthians 15:45 calls Jesus the “second Adam.” Why, do you think?
     
    In some sense, Both Adams were the beginning of something. But the first Adam was a living being (earthly) and the second Adam is a living Spirit.(heavenly). The first Adam brought death, the second Adam brought life. 

  42. 9. What is your take-a-way and why?
     
    I John 1:9 just reminded me again about taking short accounts with the Lord. Yesterday was a long day-I felt the Lord enabling me to be “fully human” in Him but the stress of keeping up on my own took a toll towards the evening-I started feeling resentful of people who are unloving and only watching out for themselves and before I knew it I was spewing words (thoughts and shared with a friend) of unkindness towards them. The message that Lizzy posted on FB about loving our enemies struck my heart and I had to come before the Lord asking for forgiveness. And I love Him for that as one of my prayers was Philippians 4:8 to infuse my thought life. He is working in me and I am still a work in progress!

  43. 7.A. What are the first two events Mark records in the life of Jesus?
    1) Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist
    2) Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness 
     
    B. What is the first message of Jesus according to verse 15?
    Jesus was telling the people that the appointed time had come, the kingdom of God was at hand; He urged them to confess their sin, to repent, to believe and be genuinely obedient and honoring to the Lord.
     
    C. What is the Kingdom of God?
    The Kingdom of God is the establishment of the new covenant…the Messiah Jesus redeeming us from our sins, conquering sin and death, putting us back into right relationship with God, allowing for our eternal life with the Lord.
     
    D. What was different that this proclamation could be made — that the Kingdom of God is near?
    Jesus had come; His work of redemption was underway. 

    1. Dee, it is interesting that the two week postings are not necessarily less work for you. I wondered. I will pray that the Lord will guide you to find a way that you can handle. God bless you in your work here. 

  44. That I will feel His pleasure. Lord, not to us, not to us but to your name be the glory! 
    Our times are in your hands and we pray for Mary. Whether in life or in death that you may be glorified, Lord. Oh, that we so desire that she remains with us. What a gift she has been to many here. We open our hands to lift them up to you, Lord in praise not clenched, not holding on to what could be a great gift of release to your sovereign will.
    That you are glorified today as Dee speaks on grief. May Jesus shines-the man of sorrows acquainted with grief (and “left” alone) so that we may not be alone in our earthyl walk.

  45. 11. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Love Jonathan (and his wife)’s heart—and just the fact that it is so attractive to us, that we see such beauty in them, is evidence of the Spirit, and really a motivator to want to be so other-focused, and sensitive to His leading. 
     
    But Dee’s honesty always awakens me to my own sin and I am so thankful for her humility and how it teaches me. Dee said “If I set my heart on glorifying Him and Him alone, He will take care of my deepest needs.” That really struck a chord and maybe I will share this, hope this makes sense here–one area where lately I think He has shaken me (in a good way)  more is in parenting, which used to be a strong area of idolatry for me.  But as I listened to my child the other day, and had learned of more hateful words and lies said about me, I felt this strange peace I’d never had in those moments. Before, all of these things and her disobedience were always so personal—they were evidence of my failure. It all had to be about me! But lately, He is graciously changing me so that my desire is fully set on pleasing Him and the reality that immense anger, even hatred, is aimed at me, doesn’t hurt like it used to. It is as if He is in between us, He is taking the slander and pain, and He has turned my eyes to just keep my gaze on Him, stay faithful in what I am called to, and on HIS response to me, which is love, rather than her reaction—which I know truly is not about me. I think to, He is reminding me of the joy of my own salvation, the more I call to mind, even specific sin I have been forgiven, the more my joy of my own salvation overflows and allows compassion to flow forth from me, despite the situation. 
     

    1. Lizzy, I just love your tender heart in this difficult time with your daughter and the peace you have been given as you keep your gaze on Him. But, Oh, how my heart aches for your daughter and the lies and hateful words she is believing. Continuing prayers for you both.

  46. 11. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    I had a hard question in my bible study last week. We are studying the Sermon on the Mount and the issue arose about why are there people who are very good people (kind, considerate) but they do not believe in God. We pointed out that the image of God is on everyone so there is good in everyone. Still, this bothers me as if the answer is inadequate. This, I believe, is why so many are satisfied in not turning to God. They think they are good enough. Our snow plow driver is kind as well, going the extra mile for us; even brought up in the church, but he does not go to church now. There are so many in our communities for whom this is true. How do we reach them? Why do good people still refuse to believe in God? 
     

    1. Diane–that IS a hard one, and yet the older I get, the more I see my own sin, the harder it is to imagine thinking of myself as “good”! In my RTS class last year with Dr. Krueger, he made an analogy of trying to be good enough to be saved is like trying to jump across the Grand Canyon–even if we trained and were as good as the greatest Olympic jumpers, we would only be able to jump about 25 feet of the more than 50,000 feet of the canyon–we’d be just as dead as those who could only jump four or five feet. Still, for that analogy to work, you have to believe what the Bible says about God’s holy standards, and therefore the need for Jesus. 

    2. Thanks for your input on my question.  If you listen to the news, you often hear neighbours react to a horrendous crime. They often say something like “But he seemed like such a good person!” So many people can SEEM to so GOOD. But only God knows the heart! It is true what you say that people don’t want to give up control. And that a person has to believe that God is holy and we need Jesus. As long as we think we don’t need Jesus, his message isn’t important enough to be real good news!

    3. Diane, I know people like this too. I have had a friend who told me that she believed she would go to heaven because she is a good person. She actually didn’t think she had to do anything else; like read the bible or attend church, or accept Jesus. I think my sister is this was as well. I think people know how difficult it is to be a Christian; the persecution. The world is a place that drags us WAY down also. Think about it….we are Christians and (some of us) struggle still…with idols and such. Maybe they don’t believe they will be forgiven for their sins?