Type and press Enter.

New here? See how to Get Started

REVIVE US O LORD! LENT 2017

PAST LENTEN SEASONS WITH YOU ON THIS BLOG

CAUSE ME TO SO LOOK FORWARD TO WHAT GOD WILL DO IN 2017!

 Lent

MY FRIEND TWILA RECENTLY SAID, “JESUS IS AS REAL TO ME AS YOU ARE.”

I PRAY WE CAN ALL SAY THAT BY EASTER SUNDAY!

I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT WHERE HE IS LEADING FOR THIS LENT.

ISAIAH CONTAINS “SERVANT SONGS” DESCRIBING THE COMING MESSIAH.

EACH SONG UNVEILS MORE OF HIS BEAUTY,

MORE OF HIS LOVE FOR YOU.

servant_songs

FOR EXAMPLE,

THIS WEEK WE WILL LEARN THAT HE IS SO GENTLE

THAT HE WOULD BE CAREFUL NOT TO BREAK A BRUISED REED

breaking-the-bruised-reedANOTHER WEEK WE WILL SEE THAT HE IS EVEN BETTER THAN

A MOTHER WHO WOULD NOT FORGET THE BABY AT HER BREAST

can a mother forgetal-year-a-4-728

WHEN WE GET CLOSE TO HOLY WEEK WE

WILL BEGIN TO GAZE ON A LOVE THAT WAS WILLING TO BE CRUSHED FOR OUR INIQUITIES

Isaiah 53-10 He Was Crushed-landscape

EACH WEEK I WILL POST A STUDY ON A NEW SONG

AND YOU CAN FOLLOW ALONG SILENTLY,

OR PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY WITH A WONDERFUL GROUP.

JUST CLICK ON THE BIBLE STUDY BLOG AT THE TOP OF THE HOME PAGE

AND THEN IT WILL TAKE YOU TO THIS PICTURE:

getstarted-248-82CLICK ON THAT AND FOLLOW THE EASY DIRECTIONS.

I give a suggested timeline to help you pace yourself, but go ahead if you like.

If you get behind, don’t drop out, but just do what you can.

It is important to get in a regular habit of a time and place to meet with Him.

You may need to cut something from your life to carve out a time daily for Him

if meeting with Him is not already a habit.

SUNDAY: FEB 26TH

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

2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?

3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!

When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?

 

MONDAY: GETTING READY

Lent actually begins this Wednesday, traditionally called Ash Wednesday to remind us that from ashes we came and to ashes we will go. And yet, if the Spirit of Christ is in us, He will raise our mortal bodies just as He raised Christ from the dead. One day, as Job said, we will meet our Redeemer face to face on the earth. But He can be as real to you now as your spouse, your best friend, or your neighbor. From Ash Wednesday to Easter, not counting Sundays, there are 40 days, paralleling Jesus 40 days spent in the desert preparing for His ministry. The opening chapters of Isaiah prophesy much judgment, much “bruising” coming to God’s disobedient people. But by Isaiah 40 there is a promise of comfort, of a servant to come that would be nothing like they could imagine.

Prepare your heart with this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=8dDjva1ecYo

James tells us we have not because we ask not, and when we ask, we often do not ask according to His will. But we know His will is for us to know Him better, to love Him better, and so now, today, please write out your request to Him to help you be intimate with Him this Lent, and to experience His presence. We have many who begin and drop out — pray you will stay the course. We will get weary, but if we wait upon Him, we will rise up, as Isaiah 40 promises, like eagles!

eagles3f3d7ab1c1701230a59046009e2818a5

4. Write your request here to Him:

Material to enhance your study:

We will be listening to many sermons from Tim Keller from his series, the Servant Songs. We won’t listen to all, so you may want to purchase one by one — but they are all great. Here is the link if you want to get them all: http://www.gospelinlife.com/the-songs-of-the-servant-from-isaiah

TUESDAY, FEB 28TH: THE SERVANT IS COMING

The first servant song is found in Isaiah 42:1-4. It is so laden with meaning that we will study it this week and next week, taking the first part “a bruised reed he will not break” this week, and “a faintly burning wick he will not quench” next week. There is so much here that will be a balm to your soul.

4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2

A. Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming.

B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected?

5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)

ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, 2017 THROUGH FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017

Ash_WednesdayA BRUISED REED HE WILL NOT BREAK

I remember pacing and crying out to the Lord at my 93 year old mother’s deathbed. I had taken the baton from my sister Sally at midnight, pacing, praying. In dying, the internal organs disintegrate, and Mother was suffering so. I cried to God: “You promised you would not break a bruised reed. Mother is just a baby Christian. Please take her, and don’t break her.” And Oh! Right after I prayed a Christian nurse came in, telling me God had told her to come in early. (It was 3:00 A. M.) She knelt down and talked to my little mother, telling her she didn’t need to be afraid to die, for she was completely forgiven. Mother calmed, opened her eyes, smiled — and was gone. It was the Word God knew she needed to let go. He didn’t break her, He spoke tenderly to her, comforting her, just as He told Isaiah to comfort His people!

Richard Sibbes, that great Puritan, wrote a devotional on this first servant song called The Bruised Reed. (Some of you may want to get it, for it is only 99 cents on Kindle.) My questions this week and next owe a debt to Sibbes.

the bruised reed6. In the following instances, how did either the pre-Incarnate or the Incarnate Jesus care for “bruised reeds?”

      A. Genesis 21:8-21 

    B. 1 Kings 19:1-9

      C. Luke 7:11-15

7. Share a time (if possible, recently) when you were this kind of a bruised reed and the Lord brought you comfort.

We often think of “bruising” as being a lighter affliction, but as Keller explains in next week’s sermon, the word bruise is used prophetically in Genesis 3, when we are told that the serpent will bruise Jesus heel and Jesus will bruise his head. Neither bruising is light.

He will bruise your heel
He will bruise your heel

CRUSHHEAD

But he will crush (or some translations say bruise) your head.

 

The Lord bruised Israel, but only to bring them to their senses. Likewise, He does so with individuals. When they come to their senses, Oh, how He comforts them rather than breaking them.rembrandt8. How did God bruise but not break the following individuals?

    A. Luke 15:11-23 

    B. John 8:1-11

    C. John 21:15-179.

9. The story of Joseph at the end of Genesis is illuminated by Spurgeon who says that Joseph foreshadows Christ in that he “bruised” his brothers in order to bring them to repentance, but he did not break them. Read Genesis 44-45 and describe the bruising and then the mercy.

josephbr

10. Share a time when God bruised you to bring you to your senses concerning your sin, but He did not break you.

Contemplate this from Richard Sibbes:

Christ’s way is first to wound, then to heal. …When he humbles us, let us humble ourselves, and not stand out against him, for then he will redouble his strokes. …Do not pull off the plaster before the cure be wrought, but keep ourselves under this work till sin be the sourest, and Christ the sweetest, of all things.

11. Be still before Him. Let Him search you. Confess and repent, not “pulling of the plaster of conviction until sin is the sourest and Christ the sweetest.”

Saturday:

12. Has the presence of Christ become more real to you in this opening week of Lent? What do you think you will remember?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.

178 comments

  1. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? 
     
    Wow! Lent already?? Interested in the songs you will choose for us.
     
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course? 
     
    Well, I try to do bits at a time instead of tackling the whole study. I usually try to work at my own pace and ignore the timeline it helps me be more calm.
     
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN! 
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
     
    I lay in bed at 5 am and leisurely work through the days questions. It helps me wake up (since I’m not a morning person) and gives me food for thought for the day.

      1. I agree with Dee-couldn’t have said it better Laura! You are a GEM.

    1. Laura, Your encouragement is so true. We can take bits and pieces instead of doing a whole bunch at once. It takes a lot of pressure off to get done and instead helps us to focus more on Him in those bits and pieces. 🙂

  2. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    When Twila said Jesus is as real to me as you are and Dee’s desire that by the end of lent we too can say this! Well, He is calling us to go deeper with Him here on this blog during Lent and that is thrilling to me!!
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course? 
    Yes! Well overall I have been here for over 5 years and God has moved through Dee’s studies to gather me under His wings, to bend me to come to my senses in my sin while comforting me at the same time.
    During the Lent seasons, which I never observed before coming here so it is still kind of new to me, He has come in new ways revealing sin and then softening my heart in the hard places with His presence. What is so beautiful is that it isn’t consumerism or duty..where things go back to the way they were after the 40 days..He changed me and drew me near and in tasting His presence I didn’t think about desiring what I desired more than Him before because He is better. Yet I know there is more sin He wants to help me with- that is what is so scary yet beautiful and hopeful about taking part in Lent! I hope that makes sense and I didn’t rabbit trail too much!  
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
    As usual, in the morning early. That is the time everyone is asleep and I can hear Him best.

      1. Dee your faithfulness and mentoring here has been a life changing blessing to all of us. Thank you, thank you for taking the time to do these online studies for and with us! We have been given so much! 

        1. Amen!

  3. SUNDAY: FEB 26TH
    1.   What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I pray I could say as Twila said to you, “JESUS IS AS REAL TO ME AS YOU ARE.”
    2.   If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?
    This will be my first on the this blog for Lent. (I think)
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
     
    I find it helpful to have time with Jesus in the morning (a shorter time) and at the end of the day, reflect on the day and meet with Him again to give thanks. The short drive to school has been a blessing to me to as I talk to Him about my concerns and give myself time to remember who HE is.

      1. Dee, 🙂 that is so funny! No I am not one bit offended with the librarian look. I often surprised people when we would finally meet-one person told me when I was just 18 that I was too serious for my age. I guess I sound too serious (am an introvert to start with) in print but really I am as goofy as one can get. Ask my husband. And my students! Am really a child at heart but my upbringing has really reigned in my precociousness. LOL 

        1. Bing –  I love this description of you.  🙂  I agree…..miss seeing your face here!  (but I also understand the need to be anonymous sometimes)

  4. Oh what  beautiful post! So looking forward to this Lenten study with you all. Twila’s words resonate with me. I do feel Jesus that real to me–and yet, what grieves me is how often I ignore, I forget Him. How quickly I run and fill my days with concerns without acknowledging His very near presence in my life and truly communing with Him. I so look forward to the intentional time of drawing near, and pray I will learn to stay there. And yet, as I type, I am so thankful for His grace and mercy to pursue me though I am so prone to wander.
     
    I quickly looked back and amazingly this will be my 7th lent study here, going back to 2011 (Rebecca I’m thinking yours must be longer!). I’m just so thankful for this fellowship, what a steady source of truth and iron sharpening it has been for me. 
     
    I am off to Church–but wanted to quickly give this in case anyone wants the free pdf version of The Bruised Reed: http://www.onthewing.org/user/Sibbes%20-%20Bruised%20Reed%20-%20Updated.pdf

      1. Yep..I think it is longer- I’ve been saying 5 years for several years now! That is good because it feels like a new beginning here every week!! :)))) 

    1. Thanks for The Bruised Reed link, Lizzy!

  5. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?      Oh how I love Isaiah.  And, though I have not been able to participate here much in the past 6 months or so, I do so hope I can keep up with these studies.  Your description of the servant songs made my heart leap!    Our church is reading through the New Testament during Lent and it’s a pretty challenging reading plan, (though we are taking an extra couple weeks) so it will be wonderful to go back and forth from OT to NT this season.  
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?  I first came to the blog for Lent 2015.   It was a life changing experience for me.  I had grown up with somber Lenten services and I have missed them, for over 30 years of being in a church that did not acknowledge Lent or the church calendar.  So coming here was like coming home.  But even better, because the studies brought me into such sweet fellowship with the suffering servant.   I have always believed that when we think on and meditate on the passion and suffering of our Lord before Easter, the celebration of His resurrection is so richly enhanced.   WELCOME to any new pilgrims who journey with us!  
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?     In the morning, on days that I am home, in my ‘study chair’.   On days, when I ‘sit’ at a friend’s house, with her 6th grader, before the bus…..I will do some of my reading there.    Yes, I need to reduce my other computer time during Lent.  Read less news and information online.  I will mostly get what I need to know on public radio and not run to read more online, as is usually my habit.  

  6. Dee, I am sitting holding my dying father’s hand now. When I read the verse about God not breaking the bruised reed,  I immediately thought of my dad. Then I read your story of you and your mother. I finally spoke to my dad about his salvation a couple of months ago when he was in ICU. We prayed together, but I’m so afraid he didn’t really know what he was saying or praying.  I am grateful that you shared that story about your mother. It’s so hard sitting here not knowing whether he is saved or not. It is so hard hearing him breath with difficulty. It’s hard hearing these alarms. I prayed the same prayer that you prayed for your mother for my dad that God wouldn’t break him. That He would whisper words of comfort to him. 

    1. Kristy–agreeing in prayer with you and Dee for your Dad’s heart. Lord, come and claim Kristy’s dad as Your own, we praise You for Your unending, unfathomable mercy and grace. 

    2. Amen…peace to you, Kristy.

    3. Lord, you have the final say. It is your will that people be saved. Hear our prayers for Kristy’s Dad-that he really knows Jesus as Savior and Lord. Give Kristy your peace. We know you long t=o show compassion and a bruised reed you will not break.

    4. Amen to the above prayers for Kristy’s dad.  Oh such poignant moments you are living right now.  
      As our friend, Nila often prays…..”Lord, in your tender mercies……”   
      And He will fill in the dots.   His work according to His mercy and His ways which are so much higher than ours.    Peace and comfort to you, Kristy.  

    5. Praying, Kristy.

    6. Kristy, this time of life is so difficult. I am sitting “shiva” as Dee has taught us, with you. No words. Lord, thank you for life, that we are able to experience You through others. Help Kristy and her father feel Your presence now; it is a time for them to know You are near to them. Thank You Lord for Your love for us. Amen.

    7. Kristy it is a sweet thing to honor your father in the way that you are now, it occurred to me that not many of us ‘really understand’ when we make that first step of faith in prayer. I think Tim Keller said something like ‘it is the object of our faith rather than the strength of our faith that actually saves us’. We are glad you’ve come to the blog. 

    8. Kristy,
      Calling out for mercy with you.

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    “I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT WHERE HE IS LEADING FOR THIS LENT.”…if you’re excited, Dee, I am super excited to see where the Lord has directed us.  I reiterate Rebecca’s thanks…THANK YOU, Dee for doing this online study, for facilitating this lovely fellowship, for being cognizant of the Lord’s leading.
     
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?
    I mentioned at the end of last week the richness of the study and the richness of learning from each other.  The study we are undertaking is in Dee’s obedience to the Lord’s leading; there is a reason that the Lord has chosen this particular study for this moment in time.  I await in great anticipation and expectancy for what is in store for us…the Lord is good and we are loved! I was curious to see how long I have been a “blog sister”…since September 23, 2012 (remember the “string of pearls” in the night sky?…lovely!).  My five year anniversary will be this year…time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!
     
    3. When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? 
    I relish my morning time with the Lord…at 5 a.m. I sit in front of the fireplace with a candle burning, my bible, devotionals, prayer list, and tablet close by.  It is “our” time.  Sometimes when I run out of time in the morning to complete our study or read comments, I spend my lunch time (30 minutes) doing this.  Typically I read before going to sleep in the evening…about 30 minutes.  I like to read things that are soul edifying.

  8. How amazing that our text at church today was Isaiah 42: 1-9…..so again I heard ‘a bruised reed he will not break’.     I did not see this text coming, but some of what was shared today hearkened back to the servant songs just as you have laid out in our week ahead, Dee.   I stand amazed at the orchestration of this truth revealed to my heart today.  

  9. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Isaiah fascinates me! I am looking forward to learning together about the Servant Songs. There is so much in Isaiah about the Christ.
     
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?
     
     
    I LOVE Lent! (Is it right for a Christian to say they love watching Jesus suffer?? But it is because I see God’s love so clearly in Christ’s sacrifice!) Before I joined you all here on this blog I had heard of Lent but never really observed it, coming from a Baptist tradition that usually does not. Now I so look forward to our special times here, and my quiet times with the Lord watching and praying with Him as He walks steadfastly toward the Cross.
     
    I looked back in my notes and I see that I joined you in 2011, though I was not here for Lent that year. Where has the time gone?
     
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
     
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
     
    I meet the Lord in the mornings first thing – though the amount of time varies with my other daily commitments. I rise, get myself a cup of herbal tea and sit in my favorite chair surrounded by my Bible and books. On weekends when my grandchildren are here, they have learned not to rush upstairs to disturb us until after a certain hour. 🙂 Truly nothing is more important to me than spending precious time with my Lord before I pick up the burdens of the day.

  10. Excited to join u as u take us thru Isaiah!

    1. Welcome Bonnie!  Glad you’re here with us.

  11. 1. I’m excited to learn about the Servant Songs and promises you talk about. I have not studied Isaiah, but am very interested to see what I can learn.
    2. I have not been part of a lent study before. Or really done anything special for this time, so I’m excited to do this.
    3. My time with God is in the afternoons. I’m not a morning person, and find it very hard to get up even early for work and concentrate on my time with God, so I found afternoons work the best. 

      1. I’m really excited to be a part of this. Dee’s love and passion for the Lord is so inspiring and exciting! 

    1. Roxanne-welcome! So great to have you with us!

    2. A warm welcome, Roxanne! 

    3. Sweet Roxanne, Welcome!!! 🙂 

    4. Welcome to this encouraging place, Roxanne. 

  12. 2.  My encouragement to others to come and stick with it- each study day and series helps you go further and deeper, yet just one step at a time.  There is no shame in not “keeping up”, but always an open door and open arms to jumping back in again.  I think of the disciplines of the Christian life, of which Bible study is one, as like getting under God’s faucet.  Only He is in control of turning on the faucet, and that is where I “get” something from the study or a particular verse.  But it is my responsibility to stay under the faucet so that I am in the place to receive when He gives.  The family of women here make it richer in content and also more fun.
     
    3.  I read a chapter of the Bible from each of ten lists in the morning, and work on memory verses both morning and evening.  The blog I do as it fits into my schedule.  That is usually Sundays, Tuesdays, and sometimes a Thursday or Friday.
     
    4.  My prayer.  Lord, I don’t want to just review Your word.  I want You to turn on the faucet for me.  Just a little each time is enough for me to be sustained and even flourish in You.  I want to come to Easter refreshed, joyful and full of Your praise.

      1. Amen!  For all of us!

  13. Thank you to everyone for your prayers. I just kept going back and reading about Jesus being so gentle that a bruised reed He will not break. It so comforted my heart!

    1. ?

    2. Kristy, my heart goes out to you. Praying for you and your dad.

  14. I have been following the Bible study blog for sometime silently but would like to comment occasionally. I joined your email list a couple of years ago at an Idol Lies seminar at my Mom’s church in Kearney. That time spoke some very real truth into my life as well as the teaching from the Song of Songs. I look forward to the book. 
    Bev from Broken Bow 

    1. Welcome Bev! I look forward to your commenting and getting to know you.

    2. Bev–so great to have you join in! Look forward to all you have to share with us!

  15. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    I loved the photo of the mother with her baby — such a tender, loving,  intimate image.   Dee, you mentioned the possibility of having a relationship with Christ that is as real as that with your spouse or neighbor.  I’m thinking I want to develop a level of intimacy with Christ that is like that of a mother and her baby.
      
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?
     
    It is exciting to see the number of participants increasing for Lent.   Welcome to all the new ones!  You will be so glad that you joined this blog.   I joined back in February of 2013.  I told myself I would do this “just for Lent.”   However,  I became addicted to this loving community,  and I’m still here!   We are truly sisters.   I pray that you will find that also!  There are times when I get behind, and sometimes I have to “surge it through” and do three days worth at one time.   Fortunately, that’s allowed here!  So I encourage others to “do the best you can” and don’t suffer guilt over what you cannot do.  

    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
     
    I know that morning is a very fertile time for devotions, prayer, and the blog.  However,   it seldom works out for me to get to it in the early morning.   I have responsibilities — my husband is turning 91 at the end of this week, and I need to help him get through his early morning rituals.   He does very well for his age, but there are things he can’t do for himself (like put on his abdominal binder — I have to wrap him up in it when he gets out of his shower).     So I just have to watch for a good time to get on the blog.  I think the Lord understands my circumstances.     However, I will still try to have an early morning session whenever I can.
    Dee,  I know you have things going on in your life in the background, and I think it is absolutely amazing that you can post such a good lesson despite it all!   Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you’re back here, Deanna.  I always look forward to your good posts.  And I so agree with you about Dee being amazing to keep up with the blog!  

  16. Dee, I have followed your studies for years and learn much from the study and the comments…I am by my husband’s bedside, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last July and is now very weak and on hospice,Jim has not been a Christ follower and he so desperately need’s Christ now.  Reading today’s words, I want so much to say the right words to God, and plead with Him to draw Jim close to His heart, so he can feel the love of God filling his heart and soul.  The words I have read today have filled my heart with hope.
    Thank you Dee. Remember we knew each other in Kearney.

    1. Dear Lord, You are kind. Through all the hardships of earth, we keep our eyes on You, as our guide post. Help Gerry find the right words for her husband; to guide him to You. When in this state, it becomes the person and You who have to work together to go through the process. I think of when I had babies. It was You and me Lord, right? No one else. Help Jim know You are there Dear One; help him believe. I plead, Lord. Amen.

      1. Gerry-so so sorry to hear about Jim. Agreeing with Dee and Lizzy in prayer for Jim’s rescue. So sorry! 

    2. Gerry–praying with you, and Laura and Dee for your husband Jim. Thankful you are here with us Gerry. Lord we beg You to come quick, rescue Jim and draw him to Your arms. 

    3. Dear Gerry,
      Thank you for sharing your heart with us.  I am praying for a friend’s husband, named Jim who also has pancreatic cancer.  And now, I will pray for your Jim too. We have had three in my family (dad, uncle and just had a cousin…all with pancreatic cancer.    My uncle prayed to receive forgiveness and became God’s child in his last week, many years ago now.  I was a teenager at the time, but that so impressed me…. how merciful our Lord is.  I will stop and pray now,  for your husband, Jim.  And that you will feel the love of Jesus holding you.  

    4. Joining in prayer for your Jim, Gerry.

    5. This blog can be such a harbor in times of deep trial, I add my voice to those pleading for God’s mercy for Jim and his peace for you Gerry.

      1. oh CHRIS!!! What a GIFT to see you pop up here with us! Love you!! 

    6. Gerry,
      Asking for His tender mercies just now for you and your Jim.

  17. 4. Write your request here to Him:
     
    Father, I want to know You. I want to know You more. I want to Abide. I want to love and serve You. Help me, Lord. I am so weak. Draw near to me in Your mercy. Nearer still nearer close to Your heart. Teach me. Love me. Use me to honor You. In Jesus’ name.
     

  18. Hi Dee, posting for first time for this Lenten study. I already sense The Lord calling me closer. I was reading a book today about living prayerfully and I desire to put more structured prayer time in my life. Lord, help me stay focused on the desires you give me to pursue this time in Isaiah and more intimacy with you through devoted prayer. 

    1. Julie R-welcome! Look forward to having you with us!

    2. So wonderful to have you with us Julie!! 

  19. As with Diane and so many others of you, my heart is strangely drawn to this Man of Sorrows Who was so acquainted with grief.  I want to fellowship with Him in His sufferings, though my flesh recoils at the thought.  I recall a poem from Hudson Taylor, I believe:
    Lord Jesus, make Thyself to me a living, bright reality, More present to faith’s vision keen, than any outward object seen.  More dear, more intimately nigh, than e’en the sweetest earthly tie.
    I remember hearing that Hudson Taylor had an empty chair in his prayer closet, as Christ’s presence was so real to him that he felt he needed to give Christ a chair to commune with him at his side.  I was just pouring out my heart, begging Christ to so draw me to Him as I’m so prone to wander and to get so involved in good and needful things…but one thing is needful…intimate time with Him.  I can see Him holding out His nail-scarred hands to me, and saying passionately, “Come unto me, you who are working so hard and heavily burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of ME!  For I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest to your soul.  For MY yoke is easy, and MY burden is light.”  More beautiful words could not be spoken. 
     
     
     

    1. Miriam~
      This post is just bursting with profound truth and meaning.  I love the poem and the anecdote about Hudson Taylor.  Thank you for those visual pictures of intimacy with Jesus.

    2. Miriam,
      Thank you for this beautiful, life-giving post.  I had never heard this story of Hudson Taylor.  

  20. 4. Write your request here to Him…
    Lord, You know my heart better than I do, You know what is needed…thank You for loving me beyond what my finite brain could ever comprehend. You are worthy of my all; may this season of lent bring me ever closer to you, may my love be focused and genuine, may Your light shine in me and illuminate the darkness, may my eyes be opened and heart expanded. Thank You, Lord, for Your continued work in me…for your patience, perseverance, provision, and love.

  21. 4. Write your request here to Him:
     
    Lord, You know exactly what we need right as we need it; thank You. I have felt apart from You in the past several months, and hope that we can turn that around that so I feel near You each moment of each day. I want to feel again; for some reason I am numb to things of this world of late. I would like to love others better, especially my husband and family members. If I feel Your love then maybe I can love them better also. In Your Holy Name, Amen.

  22. 4. Write your request here to Him:
     
    Dear Heavenly Father,   Thank you for calling all of us here to this blog, and thank you for calling Dee to provide guidance for us.   I come with great excitement and hope for this approaching Lenten season.   Please draw me closer to you.  May I gain all that you want me to learn from this experience.   Thank you for continuing to love me so much, even when I miss the bar by so far.   Please help me when I try to serve you, that I may have the right words and the right actions to serve you well.  I  put my hand in yours, and ask that you will lead me where I should go.   In Jesus name, I pray.    Amen. 

  23. 4. Write your request here to Him:
    Holy Father, Merciful Redeemer, Comforting Holy Spirit,    I ask you to fill me.  You, the Triune God, know every fiber of my being and know how empty, weary and battle worn I have felt in the past few months.  You know the losses.  You know the burdens.  And it is precisely now, that you call me to lay down the weariness, to take off the yoke and to soar. (Isaiah 40:31)  Keep my mind focused on you. (Isaiah 26:3).  It is only then, that I can let go of the worry over the things happening around me.  And more importantly….it is only then that I see myself for who I really am and realize anew that you are a God of deep and wide mercy and grace.  Help me to see exactly what your passion means for my life in the coming weeks.  In the name of the Triune God, I pray.  Amen.

  24. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    I have always loved the passage in Isaiah that says, “A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out.” This so reveals His heart towards us, especially when we feel discouraged, downtrodden, and as low as the dust. There is never a hint of a curl of a smile on His lips, a ‘you got what you deserve’ look (speaking metaphorically here, of course!) I envision His hands gently straightening the reed, and His hands cupped gently around the smoldering flame, blowing ever so gently so as to start the fire again.
     
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course?
     
    I have been here (for a long time)….if you are new, welcome! As Dee says above, if you get behind, don’t get discouraged and feel you must quit….you are not judged here by how many questions you answer! And you will find Dee’s studies have depth….they are not fill-in-the-missing word from the Bible verse questions….they will make you think and search for answers. Sometimes, I don’t know the “answer” – and that’s okay! We all voice our honest questions, our “I don’t really get this” and even differing  opinions. This is a safe place to be yourself and for honest sharing.

    1. Susan…..Your first paragraph is so thought provoking.  ‘Never a hint of a a curl of a mile on His lips, a ‘you got what you deserve look’….    That says SO  MUCH.  
      Why do people embrace ‘karma’……(you get what you deserve)…..when the suffering servant holds out forgiveness and new life when we fail?  

  25. 4. Write your request here to Him:
    Dear Father, I come to You as a needy child, fully dependent on You for my every breath, for my eternal life. I depend on You to feed me Your Word, to strengthen me by Your Spirit, to use me as a tool, as an Ambassador for You. I empty out myself-my own desires, my own plans, my complaints and fears and worries. I am broken and poured out before You. Take my ashes and make beauty that is not for my name Lord, but Yours. Not for my glory God, but Yours. I praise You for Your gracious love towards me, I praise You for my adoption as Your own. I am Yours Lord, my life is Yours. My words are Yours. May You fill me and use me according to Your plans. I surrender all to You. 
     

  26. 4.A. Find at least 6 things true of the Messiah to come.
    1. God’s special servant
    2. Brings justice to the nations… justifies sinners
    3. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him
    4. Meek, modest, and mild
    5. Gentle
     

    1. B. How does this differ from what kind of Messiah God’s people expected?
      God’s people expected that the Messiah would be a force to be reckoned with. The gentleness, meekness, and mild did not fit the bill…their Messiah was tough and aggressive, a mighty warrior that would take care of all their adversaries.

  27. 4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2
    A. Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming. 
     
    1) He is loved by God.
    2) He is upheld by God.
    3) He is the chosen One.
    4) God’s spirit is upon Him.
    5) He will restore justice.
    6) He will not cry aloud, lift His voice, or make it heard in the streets (toot His own horn).
     
    B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected? 
     
    The people probably expected another king of sorts; the kind they had known in the past.
     
    5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
     
    He will take care of the weak.
     
    “a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭42:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/isa.42.3.esv

  28. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? Two things, I love Isaiah, we recently finished a sermon series at my church, I hope to mine deeper in.
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course? I have in the past, participated in this blog, it was used by God to mold me during a tremendously difficult time. I had a particularly fruitful season participating here during Lent. I know it is worth the effort, but I  also have an enemy who whispers to me about the good things I could be accomplishing with the time I spend here, the voice is persuasive…I need resolve!
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time?
    I will begin in the morning and get up earlier than usual.
    My jobs absorb much of my time, energy and brain power. I want very much to participate, so I am planning to set aside my perfectionistic tendencies, to do what I can (not quitting if I fall behind or cant keep up with the comments) I will plan to focus more intently on my days off.
    4. Write your request here to Him: My God and Father, I know that apart from you I can do nothing. I come longing to be nearer, to feel you telling me this is the way, walk in it and giving me the strength to obey. I am grieved when I pursue my agenda and my comfort, realizing how often I prefer empty things to You. Help me see how to love you more completely. I lack wisdom, you have promised to supply it.
    For your namesake and because of your steadfast love, show yourself strong and tender to me and to all the participants here in this study. Bless Dee and her work, may it bear much fruit. In Jesus name and with hope, Amen
     
     
    4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2

    Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming.  The Father upholds him, We should behold him, He is the servant of the father, He is chosen, He is delighted in by the father, The Father’s spirit has been put upon him, He will bring forth justice for the nations, He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice (not draw attention to himself?)

    B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected? They wanted justice, a self focused justice, against their enemies was the first thing that came to mind. They were banking on a leader who would crush their enemies, it occurred to me that we, as short sighted humans, don’t often enough think about who the real enemy is. 
    .
    5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
     
    He is gentle with us in our weakness, not breaking us or snuffing us out when life bruises our trust in him, I am so grateful for this promise. Our faith can be in him, he won’t grow faint or be discouraged, he is steadfast in spite of the fact that we so often are not.

  29. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? Two things, I love Isaiah, we recently finished a sermon series at my church, I hope to mine deeper in.
    2. If you have participated during Lent on this blog, can you give some encouragement to new people to come and stay the course? I had a particularly fruitful season participating here during Lent in the past. I know it is worth the effort, but I  also have an enemy who whispers to me about the things I could be accomplishing with the time I spend here, the voice is persuasive…I need resolve!
    3. IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A PLAN!
    When and where will you meet with Him on a daily basis? Do you need to carve something out to make time? I will begin in the morning and get up earlier than usual.
    My jobs absorb much of my time, energy and brain power. I want very much to participate, so I am planning to set aside my perfectionistic tendencies, to do what I can (not quitting if I fall behind or cant keep up with the comments) I will plan to focus more intently on my days off. 4. Write your request here to Him: My God and Father, I know that apart from you I can do nothing. I come longing to be nearer, to feel you telling me this is the way, walk in it and giving me the strength to obey. 
    I am grieved when I pursue my agenda, my comfort, realizing how often I prefer empty things to You. Help me see how to love you more completely. I lack wisdom, you have promised to supply it. For your namesake and because of your steadfast love, show yourself strong and tender to me and to all the participants here in this study. Bless Dee and her work, may it bear much fruit. In Jesus name, Amen
     
     
     
    4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming.The Father upholds him, We should behold him, He is the servant of the father, He is chosen, He is delighted in by the father, The Father’s spirit has been put upon him, He will bring forth justice for the nations,  He will not cry aloud or lift up his voice (not draw attention to himself?)
    B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected? They wanted justice for themselves against their enemies was the first thing that came to mind. They were banking on a leader who would crush their enemies, it occurred to me that we, as short sighted humans, don’t often enough think about who the real enemy is. 
    .
    5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
     
     
    He is gentle with us in our weakness, not breaking us or snuffing us out when life bruises our trust in him, I am so grateful for this promise. Our faith can be in him, he won’t grow faint or be discouraged, he is steadfast even though we so often are not.

    1. Hi Chris! So glad you are back ?. Missed you!

    2. My dear dear friend Chris is here!! Yay!! :)))) 

    3. I am so happy to see Chris here again!!!

    4. Thank you my dear sweet lady friends!

  30. Hi dear sisters…I just wrote on the blog for the Forgiveness study. Incase u didn’t see it, I wanted to say that I appreciate all of you & your honesty & encouragement. Dee, I love your studies even if I can’t always keep up! Thank you so much!! 🙂    I have been that bruised reed before, & the Lord has been soooo gentle & tender with me & has restored my soul. I pray that he comforts & meets these dear dying souls who have been mentioned. Also, I am on my way to Aussie tomorrow to have 3 weeks with my dear parents & siblings. Will try & keep up when I can, even if silently. The Lord bless u all  🙂
    I pray dear Lord Jesus that YOU draw me closer to You in this time of Lent. Help me to lay all my weakness at Your feet & see You more clearly & love You most of all!

    1. Safe travels Jenny! It is nice to know we can participate wherever we are in the world, right? Glad you are with us ?.

    2. Enjoy time with your family, Jenny! God’s blessings on you and yours.

  31. Thankyou Susan for your welcome and encouraging words.
     I really questioned joining this study at this time because starting this Sunday my husband and I will be babysitting 4 of our grandchildren (ages 3 to 11) for two weeks while our son and his wife are on a trip to Israel. But I will find time probably early morning or whenever (-:  
    As I have read this weeks blog and considered the scriptures my request from the Lord is for a renewal of strength.  At 68 years old I find I don’t have the physical stamina of youth but I am much more concerned about my spiritual stamina. Reading from Isaiah 40 again serves to encourage my heart. “The LORD is the everlasting God….He does not faint or  grow weary….He gives power ro the faint and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary and young men shall fall exhausted but they who wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…” The passge is full of promise and God is in the business of renewal. It comes at the expense of being humbled to recognize our need and letting Him “work till sin be the sourest, and Christ the sweetest”. I am grateful for God’s Word and the wonderful resources provided here to help me draw nearer to my God and experience the sweetness of Christ. 

  32. I used the link shared earlier to download Sibbes for free to my computer.  Have made it about half way through.  It is so rich!  I resonate so much with the Puritan writers, and joy wells up in me.  The cultural picture of them is of stern, unyielding and sour people.  But I find in them a raw honesty before the Lord that enables them to find the honey from the rock, and it is so full of light and energy and delight.  I convinced my husband to print out the 59 pages for me so I can highlight and make notes on it.  Thank you, Dee, for bringing it to our attention!
    praying for the sisters who who are sitting at bedsides or in other ways giving hard care….
     

  33. 4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2
    A. Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming.
     
    (1) Will be God’s servant
    (2) God’s chosen one
    (3) God delights in Him
    (4) God’s Spirit on Him
    (5) Will bring justice to the nations
    (6) Will not shout/cry out/raise voice 
     
    B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected?
     
    God’s people mistakenly expected a powerful military leader who would become king of Israel.

    5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
     
    A bruised reed he will not break.
    A smoldering wick he will not snuff out.
    When we feel broken, bruised, and burned out, God will not toss us aside, but will pick us up instead.
     
     

  34. 6. In the following instances, how did either the pre-Incarnate or the Incarnate Jesus care for “bruised reeds?”
          A. Genesis 21:8-21 
     
    When Sarah became concerned that Hagar’s son Ishmael was going to out-shine Isaac, she convinced Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out into the desert.  When the child was in danger of dying of thirst,  God sent an angel to Hagar to encourage her and showed her a well so she could get water for her son.

        B. 1 Kings 19:1-9
     
    Elijah had to flee for his life when Queen Jezebel was seeking to kill him.  He went out in the desert and lay down under a broom bush, where he fell asleep.  Twice an angel came to him, urging him to eat and drink food that was provided (bread and water) so he would be strengthened for a journey. He was then able to travel 40 days and 40 nights until he came to Mt. Horeb. 
     
     
          C. Luke 7:11-15
     
    The widow’s son had died  — this left her in a precarious situation with no means of financial support. Jesus took pity on her and brought the son back to life.  
     
     

  35. 7. Share a time (if possible, recently) when you were this kind of a bruised reed and the Lord brought you comfort.
     
    About six weeks ago I was in a small meeting of about 9 people, when one woman chewed me out in front of everyone.   I really felt it was undeserved, and I had a hard time sleeping that night because I kept going over that scene mentally again and again.  I felt emotionally bruised.    Finally I asked the Lord if the criticism was deserved or not, and if it wasn’t, I asked Him to prompt that person to apologize to me.   The next morning at 9:30 a.m. I got a phone call from the woman, saying she was sorry and (she used the exact words) that I didn’t deserve to be spoken to in that way.   I accepted her apology, and we both felt better after that call, and I gave thanks to the Lord!

    1. What a relevant and current story, Deanna.  Beautiful to see how God prompted your prayer and tenderly answered it.  Wow! 

    2. Thanks for sharing this Deanna. I love your desire to know from the Lord how to think about what was said. I often pray God will grant me to ‘think rightly’ 🙂

  36. 6. In the following instances, how did either the pre-Incarnate or the Incarnate Jesus care for “bruised reeds?”
     
          A. Genesis 21:8-21  
    As Hagar and her son wandered the wilderness, they became weak as the water was all gone. Hagar decided to put the boy under a bush and wait for him to die. It was in this time that God spoke to her and told her he heard the boys cries. He told her to not worry, and a well with water appeared for her to use. He gave her what she needed in her time of need. He was with them as her son grew up and became an adult.
     
        B. 1 Kings 19:1-9
     
    Ahab killed the prophets and felt horrible; as if he was just as his fathers before him, no different. He ran into the wilderness and asked God to let him die. Instead, an angel was sent to lift him up  by giving him food and water. The angel visited a second time with more sustenance for his long journey that lasted 40 days through the wilderness where he ended up in a cave talking to God himself.
     
          C. Luke 7:11-15
     
    Jesus feels sorrow when he sees a mother crying that her son had died. He brings this widows only son back to life.

  37. 4. Write your request here to Him:
     
    Lord I don’t want to forget you today! I want to sense your presence and be aware of opportunities you have given to Love those you have put around me. As I review my verses help me to hear you. I am broken and there are broken places yet for you to redeem-help me to be aware of anything inside keeping me from you today and then help me turn from it. Help me to cave into you more than caving into temptations to sin today. I love you-you are lovely. Amen.

  38. 7. Share a time (if possible, recently) when you were this kind of a bruised reed and the Lord brought you comfort.
     
    Most of my “bruisings” have been the relationship kind. I cannot share a recent one because of confidentiality concerns but being a pastor’s wife and a pastor’s daughter has meant many bruisings from the people of God who are intended to be spiritual “family” and our “safe places”. When I was in grade 11, my pastor Dad was “ambushed” by unhappy church members at an annual business meeting and a vote of confidence was taken which led to his resignation from the church. I was devastated, not only by the unkind treatment of those we thought we trusted, but also that my family should be forced to leave my friends of many years just before my final year of high school. It was a very difficult move and final year of high school. However, moving to another province led to getting to know a new group of strong Christian youth who were beneficial to my spiritual growth. It also led to my decision to change the university I had planned to attend, instead I went a Christian college where, not only did my spiritual growth mature greatly, but I met my husband and embarked on a path that ultimately led to our going into lifelong Christian ministry. It was a hard bruising, but God’s hand was clearly in it for my good and his glory.

      1. Thank you, Dee. I am realizing as I hear others stories that many, many have been hurt by the church, especially those who are in leadership positions. I recently read “Wounded by God’s People” by Anne Graham Lotz. She talks about some of her woundings by Christians in ministry. Yes, the church of God needs to become a loving family, but also, those of us who are wounded like this, as Jesus was also wounded (even betrayed), we need to realize that we are all sinners and we need to look to Jesus, not to others, as our “safe place”. We are ultimately serving God, not people. All God’s people are wounded and we need to give grace! There are so many stories – hurts from those who are themselves hurting. We are, indeed, bruised reeds.

      2. I agree about the family, I have become aquatinted through a friend who is a pastor’s wife, with some of the deep wounds these families have to deal with. It grieves me, the prevalence of such things in the church. Those of you who who love your pastors, don’t forget to encourage them, they are often bearing burdens you have no idea of. Thank you Diane for this testimony of seeing the good after a time of darkness.

    1. Diane…….your personal experience so grabs my heart.  (I just wrote a personal epiphany I had this morning over Is. 42:3 before I had read any comments, so I hadn’t seen yours here).    What strikes me with your story, is that you continued your walk with the Lord……as hard as it had to have been, after being so wounded by His people.   As I have shared several times here,  some in my family have been wounded by the Church and some have walked away…..for a decade or more.  And after years and years of prayer and tears,  I see that flickering ember again.   
      Thank you for sharing your story.  

    2. Diane–I so love your heart–how you are able to take what man meant for evil, but see how God used it for good. We are so blessed by the faith He has grown in you–the beauty from ashes He has brought in your life.

  39. I am just wondering if any here whose churches do not have special Ash Wednesday events, do anything special on a personal level to observe or mark the beginning of Lent. In the past I have done special Lenten readings but this year I am feeling the urge to do something more. So far I have decided to listen to Handel’s Messiah closely during Lent. I understand that it was initially intended as an Easter composition. I’m looking for other ideas.

    1. I love that you’re listening to Handel this Lent.    I had wanted to order this book awhile ago, and really I still could as it only takes 2 days with Amazon Prime.  Here’s one person’s description of it.
       
      http://www.bobcornwall.com/2017/01/a-way-other-than-our-own-devotions-for.html
       I had decided not to get it, because I want to stay with this study and I committed to read the NT during Lent, with my church.  I do like Walter Bruggemann though and I still am intrigued by it!  I think if you google Ash Wednesday or Lent, you’re likely to find lots and lots of resources.  Though, I know you spoke of ‘doing something more’…. so you may be looking for more than reading.  

      1. Wanda, the Bruggemann book review is enticing, but maybe for next year. I was thinking of something other than readings. But I do think I will do the Scripture readings Laura suggested. I am also doing D. Bonhoeffer readings for Lent already.

        1. DIANE: OH…..which work of Bonhoeffer’s is that?  Or is it a compilation that someone did?   Yeah, I know what you mean about ‘doing something other than reading’.  My daughter asked me yesterday if I was giving up something for Lent.  I said….I don’t really know but  I hope to  ‘add something’.  (which I am in terms of reading……but I also want to do more practical things.)

  40. Diane, you could meditate on John 1 1-14 and Proverbs 8 22-31. They have spoken to me over the years. The other thing is that Youversion online bible has excellent free devotions on a myriad of topics. Here is one on Lent:
    I could do it with you if you want?
     
    Join me in reading 40 Days of Lent:
    http://bible.com/r/1N

     

    1. Thanks, Laura. This is helpful. I think I will do this. You may do it too if you want, but it is not necessary for my sake. It’s good to have a schedule to keep me on track.

      1. I wonder if you could meditate on paintings? Dee always has such good artwork in our studies. I see you didn’t want readings per se? There must be some lovely renaissance time period paintings don’t you think? I might like that also.

  41. 5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
    Writing with misty eyes as I feel like the Lord just gave me such a comforting assurance reading this.   How many times have I read it before?  More than I know….and yet, he spoke so clearly today.  
     
    “He won’t break a bruised reed”……He treats with mercy and tenderness those who are wounded and hurting. 
     
    “He won’t snuff out a smoldering wick”…..
     
    He doesn’t give up on those who are struggling.….those who are so badly hurt and nearly burned out by the world (and sometimes by the church) but who still hold out a flicker of trust and a quest for truth and light.  
     
     That teeny, tiny ember.  He doesn’t stomp it out.  He accepts even that shred of an evidence of faith and fans it and grows it.    
     
    This is precisely what I am seeing in two of my own.    
     
    And the word picture overwhelmed me today.  

    1. Wanda, I am so glad that God is working on two of your own flickering embers. It was hard to write about my own experience of woundedness by God’s people but I realize that many have likewise suffered and I want to encourage them to focus on Jesus, not his flawed people, and to journey on toward Christ. “Fan the flame!”

  42. 7. Share a time (if possible, recently) when you were this kind of a bruised reed and the Lord brought you comfort. The Lord has walked me through a time of depression and anxiety.
    I was one of those people who believed that a true believer in Christ should not be depressed. I had even written and shared with my bible study group about 7 years ago that depression was a sin of not trusting God. Boy oh boy did those words come back to bite me!
    I had to be on antidepressants for 5 years while I was working through depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. The Lord has never left my side or condemned me, but He did cause me to see the error of what I had previously believed. And because of it I have compassion on those who are going through times of mental or emotional distress.
      I have been off of all medication since August and have felt better mentally than I have in a long time!

    1. Dawn–LOVE this powerful testimony! So glad you are back and that you are feeling so well. 

    2. Dawn this is so hard. Our state is working on a campaign to end the stigma of mental illness and to provide the signs of depression in 5 recognizable steps. We are struggling with a horrific heroin problem and this might be the crux of the issue. I am hopeful. I am sorry you suffered this way And glad you received the help you needed.

    3. Thank you for sharing Dawn, I too have struggled with depression, it is helpful to know that many believers who were faithful struggled similarly.I praise God that you and I are feeling more sturdy now!

    4. Oh DAWN……So powerful.  THANK YOU for sharing.   My husband, who is a counselor, has ‘fought’ those attitudes in the church, surrounding addictions, depression, pain of all sorts.   In some circles, it can be prevalent to believe that ‘all we need is Jesus’.   TRUE in one sense…..but when someone is in crisis, they have to stay alive to even hear about Jesus!  So, we have to utilize all that is available to keep them alive and awake and ready to hear.  And so many who remain faithful and grounded in Scripture also suffer as you have. You are an inspiration to me and I know He can use your story to help others.

  43. I’ve been a silent follower for many years and God has often encouraged my heart by the comments of many of the ladies here.  The Lenten studies have been powerful and God has ministered to my heart in a deep way before, so I’m looking forward with anticipation to this year’s study!  I’m not sure how much I’ll comment but wanted to say thank you for these studies.
     
     

  44. 4. Read Isaiah 42:1-2
    A. Find at least six things that will be true of the Messiah that Isaiah says is coming.
    He will be a servant 
    God will uphold Him
    He is God’s chosen
    He has the Holy Spirit on Him
    He will bring forth justice to Nations
    He won’t lift up his voice or cry aloud
     
    B. How might this be different from the kind of Messiah God’s people expected?
    He is a servant-not a warrior type, and won’t come as a King conquering Israel’s enemies
    He will come for all people not only for the Israelites

  45. 5. Read Isaiah 42:3-4 and find two metaphors that show what He will be like.(verse 3a)
     A bruised reed He will not break and a faintly burning wick He will not quench. 

    He is certainly not cruel but rather full of compassion and is long suffering. And I can’t help-just by my own experiencing Him not crushing me, He comforts me as I am suffering for my sin-in the repenting and turning, and even more-which is a mystery-He melts us to repentance-oh.  He is Holy and so He has every right to crush us when we wander but He doesn’t! He pursues us passionately, not half-heartedly, to redeem us gathering us under His wings. WOW. I think I will just sit with this this morning.

  46. I just wrote an entire dialog to go with this link and then deleted the story by mistake! I will rewrite, but please read the explanation first ?.

    https://youtu.be/YNqo4Un2uZI

    1. So my father was a musician, and I was often around the arts as a young person. I remember, when he was the choir director at our church, pieces like Handel’s Messiah and City of the King being performed. I have sung in church choirs where we attended church before, but never have I sung a solo, or even a duet! Recently, I was drawn to a particular song and decided that I needed to sing it in church as a solo! Where did that come from?? I asked a young woman to play piano for me and we did this piece last Sunday. It turned out pretty well even though we had only practiced a few times.
       
      I think God provided this as a salve to me, the bruised reed. Who would have thought I would have 2 grandchildren in less than two years, no father and then a different father in jail for another month? My sweet (although irresponsible, I know) daughter with no one but us to help? I have not given up; He leads us in the dance of life.

  47. 6. In the following instances, how did either the pre-Incarnate or the Incarnate Jesus care for “bruised reeds?”
          A. Genesis 21:8-21 
    This part of verse 19 stood out to me, “19Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water.”
So often in our deep distress, we can’t even see the provision the Lord has made for us.

        B. 1 Kings 19:1-9
    This is one of my favorite passages. I love the picture it paints of the Lord’s care for Elijah’s physical and emotional needs. He had just come from the climactic experience on Mount Carmel where the Lord showed up mightily against the prophets of Baal, he was exhausted physically and emotionally, undone by the vow of Jezebel to take his life. 
He isn’t chastised for being of little faith, he is cared for, told to eat and sleep and in the next passage given words of encouragement.

    It reminds me of this from Psalm 103:

    “Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. “
     
          C. Luke 7:11-15
    This woman had suffered the loss of her husband, her provider and protecter. She would have been completely dependent on her son a “young man”. I imagine her raising him up as a single mother in that culture was very difficult. His death would have cast her down to the bottom of the social rungs of society, she would be alone and helpless in her old age. 
Jesus saw her, he had compassion on her, it is a sweet picture of his care for us.
     
     
     
    7. Share a time (if possible, recently) when you were this kind of a bruised reed and the Lord brought you comfort.

    My brother passed away in November after being diagnosed with liver cancer in April. Losing him brought grief, new and old. I then became ill with a respiratory thing that lasted more than 6 weeks. I was very low throughout  the Christmas season this year. I withdrew from community. I shut down, made myself unavailable to the ladies I was counseling, I felt like I had nothing to offer anyone.
    
I am feeling better now, physically, mentally and emotionally. I am grateful that the Lord doesn’t give up on me in disgust when I fall down. His mercies are new every morning.

  48.  
    8. How did God bruise but not break the following individuals?
     
        A. Luke 15:11-23 
    The son who ran away was bruised by his sin and shame, (love, love ,love that image of the father picking up his robe and running to show him compassion!) the son who stayed was bruised by his pride and ego. Both are entreated to enter into the joy of their father. 
     
        B. John 8:1-11 This is such a picture of our state within without Jesus. She is guilty, sentenced to die, bearing the full weight of her sin and shame. But God! Jesus stands between her and her accusers. He defends her, he says “Neither do I condemn thee” The only one there who had the right to judge her declares her free! Unmerited favor is ours…Hallelujah!
     
        C. John 21:15-23
     
     
    I love this tender rebuke, guidance and restoration of Peter. He is reinstated. His failure isn’t glossed over, it is redeemed. This is such a rich passage I don’t want to write a book here. I will just say how very much it has encouraged me. Peter’s self reliance being dismantled. Peter himself being remade, his learning to lean not on himself and his own understanding, Christ’s tender way of admonishing and encouraging…it makes me weepy every time.

    1. Oh, Chris, I have missed you here. Sorry you have gone through a tough time of grieving. I too went through a tough summer and fall after my Dad passed away this past July – I was not able to lead a Bible Study and sometimes could barely force myself to leave the house. I didn’t start to feel better until about November. Grief has never hit me this  hard before, but it was like I grieved both my mom and dad at the same time. (She passed away 10 years ago.)
       
      I find your explanations of the Scriptures here on God’s tender mercy on the bruised individuals here so helpful, especially the one on Peter. I can so identify. “Christ’s tender way of admonishing and encouraging”.

  49. 9. The story of Joseph at the end of Genesis is illuminated by Spurgeon who says that Joseph foreshadows Christ in that he “bruised” his brothers in order to bring them to repentance, but he did not break them. Read Genesis 44-45 and describe the bruising and then the mercy.
    I recently listened (and re-listened!) to a Keller sermon on these books. I have been working it over in my mind ever since. He talked about the alternate freezing and thawing that the brothers experienced from Joseph. He brought out that the kindness Joseph showed them, the gifts and the feasting were genuine and an indication that he was not bitter.
    He drew an analogy to how God works in our lives in the same sorts of ways, showing us favor and blessing and allowing times of difficulty and discipline. That the freezing and thawing breaks our hearts open to him.
    I love that Judah’s character had done such a 180-from being the one who came up with the idea to sell Joseph and fake his death, to now being willing to take Benjamin’s place as a slave to spare his father and that that display of repentance was what made Joseph loose it. How astounding it must have been to those brothers who had carried that guilt all those years to be given such grace!
    Unmerited favor!