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A SMOLDERING WICK

ALL OF US HAVE HAD TIMES WHEN

WE FELT LIKE A SMOLDERING WICK

a smoldering wick

WHERE IS THE FIRE,

THE PASSION,

THE FAITH WE HAD TO BELIEVE?

LIKE PETER, WE ALL HAVE FAILED.

peters-denial

AND THE ENEMY IS CLEVER,

KNOWING THAT FAILURE CAN LEAD TO RETREAT,

AND THEN EVEN TO DOUBT.

BUT IF WE ARE HIS,

THERE IS ALWAYS A FLICKER OF LIFE,

A SMOLDERING FLAME THAT HE WILL NEVER PUT OUT.

ISAIAH PROMISES THAT THE MESSIAH

WILL NOT PUT OUT

A SMOLDERING WICK.

versesmolderingwickred1

INSTEAD, HIS SPIRIT WILL FAN IT INTO FLAME.

holy_spirit_flame2HE MAY BRUISE US TO DO IT

AS HE DID PETER

doyouloveme

OUR RESPONSE TO THE BRUISING

IS IMPORTANT.

IF WE RESPOND WITH TRUST,

HE CAN MAKE US A GREAT HEART,

AS HE MADE PETER A GREAT HEART.

peters-sermonHERE IS THE PROMISE FROM ISAIAH:

high_and_holy_placeHere is something else:

The Lord is revealing to me new truths and reminding me of old truths as I am memorizing 1st John. In the morning when I wake up,

before I get out of bed i reach for my kindle with the ESV Bible on it. In the dark, still under the warm covers, I memorize. One thing I am being reminded of is that God changes us as we behold His goodness.

It is easy to think that the way to change is to try harder, but simply beholding Him changes us. One day we will be completely changed — how will that happen? I have made bold what I have seen.

Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared,

but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.

i John 3:2

Do you see? Beholding Jesus makes us like Him! So as you behold Him in these Servant songs, you will become more like Him! You will be kinder, gentler, not breaking a bruised reed or putting out a faintly burning wick. I don’t know how it happens, but His Word promises us it does, and I am experiencing that! There are people in my life that are truly bruised reeds, and it is easy to quarrel with them because of the storm in their own souls. But God is giving me grace for them, showing me when to speak and when to be silent so that there might be healing instead of breaking. In the same way, I have my own brokenness, but I can run to Him, and trust Him, for He is a gentle Shepherd, who longs to heal my wounds rather than break me or quench my spirit.

As you see changes happening in your character this Lent, go ahead and share — for you are not bragging about yourself, but about the power of His Spirit, and that encourages us all.

Sunday

1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study:

Prepare your heart with this:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-vSGoJtB0M

2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.

Mike Reeves, whom many of you listened to when we studied the Song of Songs, says that it is extremely important that we notice the continued emphasis that our God is a Triune God. It means that He is love, and unlike, for example, Allah, He has been in fellowship from eternity, and understands love. Allah, in contrast, Reeves explains, has been alone, and thus is “curved in on himself.”

3. Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.

4. Now read Matthew 12:9-21, where this passage from Isaiah is quoted.

A. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.

B. Read Matthew 12:15-16 and describe Jesus response to those who were suffering.

C. Verse 17 now says the preceding was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and quotes Isaiah. What light does seeing

this passage in Matthew’s gospel give you for understanding this servant song?

D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?

Richard Sibbes speaks of the gentleness that Christ has toward new believers: God’s children, especially in their first conversion, there is but a little measure of grace, and that little mixed with much corruption, which, as smoke, is offensive; but Christ will not quench this smoking flax. Then Sibbes gives examples of how the Lord gave grace to His servants: Moses, Abraham, David and made them great hearts.

5. Think back to when you were an immature believer, and of how you were indeed like a smoldering wick with much offensive smoke. How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?

6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?

7. Do not be unaware of the enemy’s devices. When you sin, you may want the darkness for cover — so you retreat from the light. Then you may begin to doubt the Light is even true. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smouldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?

8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.

I-am-the-Lord-I-have-called-youa-in-righteousness-I-will-take-you-by-the-hand-and-keep-you

9. In the message by Keller, if you listen, he does talk about the way of Christ being nonviolent and how that inspired Martin Luther King.  Does this have any application to your life, since we are told to walk in the same way He walked? In America, for example, we have a divided and angry country. How are you approaching this in a way that would be peace-loving?

10. What hope does this picture of Christ, as not breaking a bruised reed or putting out a smoldering wick give you in your life right now?

 

Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon or Readings from Sibbes

I am suggesting you buy the Servant Songs Series from Keller — you could skip the one by his associate. You don’t get a break by buying them together, and we may not listen to every one but we will listen to most, and all are so good. This week’s sermon is http://www.gospelinlife.com/a-bruised-reed-he-will-not-break-6050 

An alternative option this week would be to read some from Sibbes book, A Bruised Reed. Lizzy found it free on the internet. Here is that link: http://www.onthewing.org/user/Sibbes%20-%20Bruised%20Reed%20-%20Updated.pdf

11. Share your notes or comments from either the sermon or the book by Sibbes.

Saturday:

12. What is your take-a-way this week and why?

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133 comments

  1. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why. AND THE ENEMY IS CLEVER, KNOWING THAT FAILURE CAN LEAD TO RETREAT, AND THEN EVEN TO DOUBT. BUT IF WE ARE HIS THERE IS ALWAYS A FLICKER OF LIFE,
    A SMOLDERING FLAME THAT HE WILL NEVER PUT OUT.”
    Oh He is faithful!!  Firstly, this is our hope for our oldest-We know that if he truly is his, and he claims he truly “was” His, that there is a flicker of life inside and God will fan my son’s smoldering candle into a flame in His timing and this whole rebellion is in God’s plan for him.
     
    Secondly, this is true for me too for I experience both and He has never let go of me. He is always faithful to convict and encourage me via His Holy Spirit-even in my rebellion and this longing inside for intimacy in my desert times is Him in me. And He brings me to repentance-there is NO WAY I could do that on my own for prior to knowing Him I justified my sin for I was blind to it. Even though I can be like Peter-and have days and have had seasons that I am in full Peter mode. 🙁 He woos and convicts and spurs me onto repentance. Amazing Love how can it be? He will NEVER put out my flame when it is smoldering. This brings such comfort and at the same time a melting inside to let go of anything I am leaning on for security other than Him and then letting go and pressing into Him. 

    1. Rebecca, I heart your heart’s cry for your oldest. That would be the same for us for our daughter, Ruth Ann.

  2. 1.   Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    I was struck by the picture of Peter after he denied the Lord three times. The rooster behind was a reminder. I wonder how he’d feIt later whenever a rooster crows!  I think of reminders of my past sins and I praise God that “though my sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow…I will remember your sins no more.” I no longer have to live in the bondage of past sins.
    I want a great heart like Peter and because he has beheld Jesus, he was a changed man. I want to behold Jesus and be changed from the inside out.

    Let it be Jesus  The first name that I call  Let it be Jesus  My song inside the storm  I’ll never need another… For me to live is Christ  For me to live is Christ  God, I breathe Your name  Above everything  Let it be, let it be Jesus  Let it be, let it be Jesus  Let it be Jesus  From the rising of the sun  And let it be Jesus  When all is said and done  I’ll never need another  Jesus, there’s no other… Should I ever be abandoned  Should I ever be acclaimed  Should I ever be surrounded  By the fire and the flame  There’s name I will remember  There’s a name I will proclaim  Let it be, let it be Jesus  Let it be, let it be Jesus  Let it be, let it be…
     
     

    1. Bing, I liked that picture of Peter as well….it made me feel a little teary looking at it. Just imaging how Peter must’ve felt….like an utter failure, all alone, and so deeply grieved that he had betrayed his best friend.

  3. SUNDAY 
    1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    What stood out to me was the comment “The Lord is revealing to me new truths and reminding me of old truths as I am memorizing 1 John….. one thing I am reminded of is that God changes us as we behold his goodness.”  
    It is the Written Word that becomes the Living Word in our lives to transform us in our hearts as we see Him. Looking to Jesus I am always lifted up in my Spirit. He never leaves me down and out. As I read last week in the comments of some who have been deeply hurt by others in the church I am in that number as well. I have “war” stories and could be very cynical and even bitter but for God. There was a  time I didn’t want to bother stepping foot back into the organized church. But God did not not put out the smoldering wick in my life but rather let the brusing do it’s work in my life and fanned the flame and reignited his love. Today my husband are deeply involved in a local church that my son is now the lead pastor of.  That is a whole testimony in itself. I can only say God is still at work in my heart and life but I know it is directly tied to being in the Scriptures daily where I meet Him and see Him and my hope is in the reality “….when he appears we shall be like him, beause we shall see him as he is.”
     

    1. Bev–what a great testimony of not allowing your pain to lead to a hardened heart, but letting Him use it –and as you said “let the brusing do it’s work in my life and fanned the flame and reignited his love”

    2. Love your post, Bev. “Looking to Jesus I am always lifted up in my Spirit.” And, how wonderful for you to be in your son’s church!

    3. What a beautiful encouraging testimony, Bev. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    4. Bev, thanks for sharing. It gives me hope for our daughter who has been hurt by the organized church. I long for her former vibrant faith to be reignited.

    5. Beautiful testimony.  Resonates with me right now.  Thank you. 

  4. Sunday 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    SO much stands out to me this morning! The more I read, the more my heart was stirred, convicted and encouraged. I love the mercy, the gracious, generous love of God that promises we will be changed, as we behold Him! “God changes us as we behold His goodness. It is easy to think that the way to change is to try harder, but simply beholding Him changes us “
    And this inspires me: “But God is giving me grace for them, showing me when to speak and when to be silent so that there might be healing instead of breaking”
    And OH–I do run to Him in my own brokenness, and am met not with harshness or a judging eye, but tender, merciful, healing grace. 

  5. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
     
    Oh Dee….I just finished posting on last week’s lesson, and then I come here, and read your ending paragraph and I feel like you read my mind! OH! This is what I was trying to say, but you said it so much more eloquently. I DID SEE last week how Jesus/God treats bruised reeds, and thought, “He’s left us/me an example”.  “It is easy to think that the way to change is to try harder, but simply beholding Him changes us.” “Beholding Jesus makes us like Him!”
    And then Dee, when you talk about the bruised reeds in your own life, and how you are tempted to quarrel with them but how He is showing you how to give grace instead….I had to confess to Him that I want to break them. I’m not sure how to word my thoughts, but I believe there is something in my sinful nature that wants to “go in for the kill” at the hint of another’s weakness. But oh how this makes me more like an animal and less like a human. And we touched on this earlier in past weeks, about becoming more fully human. It is not like Him to show disgust, or contempt, for another’s weaknesses. Or to want to turn away because it’s just too “messy” to get involved. I love how even our past lessons are all tying and weaving together. I did see so much beauty in Jesus in learning about how He does not break a bruised reed!

    1. Susan, “go in for the kill”- that is so graphic but true as my natural man inclination. Like you, I want to give grace and not what I think they deserve. Beholding Jesus makes us stop and think and respond like Him.

  6. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    In the same way, I have my own brokenness, but I can run to Him, and trust Him, for He is a gentle Shepherd, who longs to heal my wounds rather than break me or quench my spirit.

    In my brokenness, I want run to Jesus, but that is not always what I do. Instead, I tend to dig in my heals and try to control the situation when I know He is the one who is truly in control. I know in my heart He is the only one who can heal me, and He is the only one who can quench my spirit, but it is difficult for me to let go. When I humble myself and turn my brokenness over to Him, my spirit is lifted, and I can go on because He doesn’t judge me. He just loves me. It gives me great comfort to know that Jesus longs to heal my wounds. All I have to do is let Him.

  7. Dee, there is much in your intro that is so profound. I am learning though too slowly that I change by Beholding Him and responding with trust to the bruising He brings. Daily, hourly I need to turn my face to His, for I am prone to wander toward my own ways and desires. I too want to be a “great heart”.
     
    And this verse quickened me.
    Isaiah 57:15  (ESV)
    15 For thus says the One who is high and lifted up,
        who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
    “I dwell in the high and holy place,
        and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit,
    to revive the spirit of the lowly,
        and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
     
    God is high and His name is Holy, yet He chooses to live with the humble. This is truly amazing! He lives with the broken ones. That means he chooses to live with me. I also have a bruised reed in my life right now who is causing pain in the life of our church, yet that reed is hurting and needy. We pray that we will not react in pain, but reach out in love. 

    1. I will pray for you as you seek to do this Diane. Your post is lovely.

    2. Diane, what a ministry you have with “bruised reeds”. Praying you will be the aroma of Christ to this hurting one.

  8. 1.  What stands out?  First of all, I just absolutely LOVE 1John 3:2!!!  That has been one of my favorite verses for many, many years, and specifically the part you highlighted!  When I see Him I’ll be made like him.  There’s a song by Hillsong called “Soon” and it has that part of the verse in it:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7EBSvFlBoIs  
    secondly I like what you said here:  “It is easy to think that the way to change is to try harder, but simply beholding Him changes us. One day we will be completely changed — how will that happen? I have made bold what I have seen.”  so very true!  I’m changed far less by working hard…far more by coming to Him, beholding Him in all of His glory and goodness.  

    1. Mary e., I love the song you shared – so longing to be made like Him. I have been wondering about how you are – in your body and in your spirit. Love seeing you comment here.

      1. Hi Diane, tumor marker rose a little again, testosterone doesn’t seem to really work…but I’m okay.  Have felt a bit like a “smoldering wick” at times, though, both physically and spiritually. 

        1. I have been thinking of you this week. So glad to see you here for Lent!

        2. Thank you, Mary,  both for sharing the song which is so meaningful, but also for the update on you.  I’ve wanted to know, but  I’ve been almost afraid to ask.   It is so good to see you here! 

        3. I hadn’t heard “Soon” before…lovely…thanks much for sharing, Mary.  I too have been thinking of you, offering prayers…love to you, dear sister in Christ.

    2. Love the song too, Mary and it is good to see you here.

    3. What a lovely song, Mary.    It is peaceful and stirring all at the same time.  So much.  Tears.  

  9. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    That we are changed as we behold him. The thought that we feel like it should be something more that that resonated with me, but it really is that simple, will I look to Christ, keeping my eyes on him or will I keep looking towards other, lesser things.It made me think of a Paul Tripp message. He talked about the Israelites in the desert and how when they were bitten by a serpent that they had to look at the bronze serpent and that they would live. He brought out that they were a great multitude, the camp was large, they were likely not feeling too well after being bitten. Looking at the bronze serpent may have required something of them. But that was where hope was to be found.

  10. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
     
    As I viewed the images of smoke and flame I was reminded of a recent lab I had my classes conduct. The lab was to observe a candle prior to burning and then during burning. Students were to write down anything they could think of that came from using their senses. They were prompted by questions at times as well. One direction said to blow out the candle and then put a lighted match in the smoke. The smoke relights the candle wick. It’s pretty cool. Just made me think of Him relighting our souls. made me think of this song by Third Day:
     
    https://youtu.be/i7lv9oMjv_0
     
     

    1. Laura–I love third day! Such a good song. 

  11. 2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
    “Behold my servant (Christ), whom I (God) uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him”
    Such a beautiful dance, how the Trinity works together to bring about our redemption. The Father, in His authority over Him, sends His Son, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Son, in His submission as servant, “but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (phil. 2:7), responds in perfect obedience through the power of the Spirit in Him “ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God” (Hebrews 9:14).
     

  12. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.

     
    There are people in my life that are truly bruised reeds, and it is easy to quarrel with them because of the storm in their own souls. But God is giving me grace for them, showing me when to speak and when to be silent so that there might be healing instead of breaking.

     
    This is right where I have been today.  Last week, I wrote about the epiphany I had while reading about the smoldering wick and seeing more clearly that the teeny, tiny flicker in the life of one I love, has begun to be fanned.  And what comfort I found there.  
     
    Today, I had a conversation with another one I love and I can see just what Dee wrote of above. This person has been truly hurt and by believers at times,  and I do get impatient…..because the storm in this loved one’s soul causes a storm in my own.   But when I stay quiet and reflective instead of pursuing answers and ‘words’….we both end the conversation with a better relationship.  And I pray for continued healing.  It overwhelms me…..how far there is to go, but it does not overwhelm God.

    1. Wanda, I can SO understand this: “this loved one’s soul causes a storm in my own.” I myself am going through storms, but also trying to to pursue God carefully before responding to the storm in them.

  13. What stands out to me is how Dee talks about not breaking a bruised Reed knowing when to say something and when to allow healing.
    I feel like the more that I trust that God is truly in control the more freedom I have to be patient and kind with others. I don’t have the pressure of feeling like it imy job to change them or save them. I’m free to just LOVE people and trust that HE can use that love to show HIMSELF.

    1. Excellent, Cyndi, and freeing indeed! 

    2. So Cyndi, your comment-so simple yet so deep-caused me to think and revealed some underlying things I need to see for I tend to try to control my boys so that they don’t make unwise decisions-it is hard to let go as they get older. I find that balance hard. I don’t have the pressure of feeling like it imy job to change them or save them. I’m free to just LOVE people and trust that HE can use that love to show HIMSELF.”  This made me think that to live this, we need to live this first:  Twila said, Jesus is as real to me as you standing here.  It is that depth of intimacy that helps us trust and sets us free from controlling people. Instead He empowers us to Love and I believe if He does want to speak into their lives through us we will be more sensitive to His voice. This accompanied with Dee memorizing has spurred me on this morning to memorize a book instead of a few verses. Not sure which one yet. 

  14. “One thing I am being reminded of is that God changes us as we behold His goodness.”  So, so encouraged by this reminder…as we behold His Goodness! The Word is living and active!  I tend to be very introspective and it really only gets my eyes more on myself and less on my Saviour.  But how freeing to realize I can relax and trust the Lord to do the changing in my heart as look to him.   I can’t wait to did deeper this week and am hopefull that the Lord will also fan the flame in the hearts of those I love where there is still even just a flicker of faith!
     

  15. 1.  The verse from Isaiah really caught me.  I didn’t finish last week’s lesson til right now, and discovered that I have some unfinished business.  I need to confess to the doctor I work for, something that happened months ago.  I am smoldering from that time.  There may be other times as well that He will bring to mind, but I need to confess and be obedient about this one to start with.  Brings me back to Pogo.  We have met the enemy, and he is us.

      1. Thank you for praying.  She didn’t remember the incident, and freely forgave me.  I had suspected she wouldn’t remember, and had buried it for that very reason.  But now that I confessed, I know that at least there I have no baggage.

  16. 2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
     
    Here are both Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and isn’t it God speaking? It’s harder to “see” the Holy Spirit.
    “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭42:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/isa.42.1.esv
     
    “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it:”
    ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭42:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬
    http://bible.com/59/isa.42.5.esv
     
     
     

  17. 3. Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.
     
    The Father is overseeing all; He wants all things to be right, so He is making sure we have a guide to make all things good here on earth. He puts our guide here on earth to quietly direct and provide justice for the weak. The guide (Jesus) is touching us and helping us know good. He will lift us even when we are broken so that we are given a chance to survive this earthly life.

  18. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.
    The religious leaders were concerned about keeping rules, the degree of rule keeping they adhered to gave them a moral leg up on everyone else. Their concern was more about pride, having a righteousness of their own than it was about God or concern for the needs of people.
    Jesus didn’t disregard the law, but knew what was the intent of the law was, that we should love God above all else and love our neighbors. The Pharisees loved themselves and their rule keeping above God and people. Gosh I don’t want to be that sort of person!

     
     
    B. Read Matthew 12:15-16 and describe Jesus response to those who were suffering.
    He healed them all, imagine what those scenes must have been like. He has compassion on us, He is moved by our trials. I feel such gratitude this morning that he remembers my frame and know I am dust.
     

  19. 2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
    Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him;he will bring forth justice to the nations.
    Jesus is “my servant”, God is “I uphold”, and “My Spirit” is the Holy Spirit. 
     
    3. Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.
    It starts in verse 1 where God expresses his delight in Jesus..there is this delighting in one another in the Trinity and that same delight-that same love is lavished on us for He grafts us into the dance of the Trinity. It is shown to us in verse  2 I see Him as a powerful mighty King yet gentle and tender-not loud and arrogant as human Kings with power can be. I see Jesus here as tenderly handling us when we are bruised and have doubts and question His love for us. His desire is not to see us wither away in our idolatry, our sin, our running away from Him. His desire is to speak tenderly to us in this and to woo us back to Him. I can’t help but go back to the Trinity and how God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit delight in one another and how He grafted us into their delight delighting  in us via the blood of Christ.   I “know” this..yes and it melts my heart but honestly when I struggle with my thoughts-how easily irritated I can get with my husband and kids in my thought life on a day to day basis-It is easy for me to envision Jesus getting frustrated with me-but I have cried out, “Help me! I am the Chief of all Sinners!” Yet at the same time my heart is overwhelmed that He doesn’t hold it against me.   
     
    And so so true, the more I behold Him the more I become like Him! The more He melts me to turn and upholds me-empowers me to Love. 

  20. THANK YOU,  Lizzy,  for finding the Sibbes book online.  🙂

  21. 1. Reflect on the above and then share what stands out to you and why.
    Peter!    Peter was bruised first by his horrible failure when he denied even knowing Jesus — three times. But then later, after the resurrection, and following the breakfast on the beach with the disciples, Jesus asks Peter that same question over and over –  three times.  “Do you love me?  Do you love me?  Do you love me?”   I remember from my college days, translating the Gospel of John from Greek, and hearing Professor Sheldon Shirts explaining that each time Jesus asked that question of Peter he was trying to bring Peter into greater commitment.  There were several shades of the word “love,”  and Peter started out by answering that he loved the Lord, but he was using one of the weaker words.   Jesus kept with it until Peter came up to the mark.    I immediately loved that story, and could so relate with Peter.  I can still to this day occasionally find myself trying to answer the Lord’s call in some minimalist way — one that doesn’t demand my all.     We know that Peter was truly changed by beholding Jesus, and as we are seeking His presence, we too will be changed.  
     

    1. Deanna, I have heard teaching on the progressive form of the word LOVE used by Christ in the past, it impacted me too. I also relate to Peter 🙂 thanks for bringing that out.

  22. 4. Now read Matthew 12:9-21, where this passage from Isaiah is quoted. 
    A. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.
     
    Jesus had common sense here, the Pharisees did not. They were solely trying to follow rigid rules. Reminds me of the attitude of people in our country right now. Especially when it comes to caring for immediate family members with medical needs. The doctors and nurses want to follow laws and don’t seem to care about the wellfare of the patients anymore. It is sad.
     
    B. Read Matthew 12:15-16 and describe Jesus response to those who were suffering.
     
    He continued to heal, even against the law. He knew what was to come anyway, so it didn’t matter to Him.
     
    C. Verse 17 now says the preceding was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and quotes Isaiah. What light does seeing this passage in Matthew’s gospel give you for understanding this servant song?
     
    I’m not quite sure what you mean here, “servant song,” but I suppose this shows the connection between the old and new testaments regarding Jesus.
     
    D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?
     
    He will provide justice to all and not cry out about it. He will quietly perform the background work necessary to keep everyone in line.

  23. 1. What stands out?
    Beholding… The Lord’s kingdom is an up side down one; we want to achieve greater spirituality, we want to work for it, earn it…isn’t that how it is here in the world?, but the Lord provides, beholding Him is our true gain.

    1. The Mary Martha contrast came to mind as I read your comment Nanci, our bent is to be Martha, but Mary just sat at his feet, she had chosen the better way.

  24. As I have read the Monday-Wednesday lesson and the accompanying scriptures I am impressed by the loving compasssion of God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit).  From the song of the Servant (Jesus) who will not break the bruised reed or quench the smoldering wick but promises to bring about justice in the Isaiah passage to the same Jesus in the flesh in Matthew 12 living out the truth of Isaiah in touching and healing the man with the withered hand and all who came to him.  We see the love of God by the power of the Holy Spirit being manifested in Jesus. We had a guest speaker at church this last Sunday who preached on the feeding of the 5,000. The thing that stood out to me from the sermon was where in the passge from Matthew 14 it says Jesus saw the crowd had compassion for them and He healed their sick. That overriding love and compassion that Jesus has for us in our neediness is never failing. Like the song by Audry Assad says He is good to me.  
    On a personal note I appreciate prayer for my husband Terry and I for the next 10 days as we care for 3 grandsons Asher 11, Caedmon 9 & Bennet 7 as well as their little sister Aerilyn 3 while my son & daughter-in-law are in Israel. Aerilyn has some special physical needs due to spina bifida.  We are grateful for the opportunity to minister in this way but we aren’t Spring chickens anymore (-: Prayer for my dauhter-in-law Bethany  as well with an 8 month old nursing baby (sweet Calla Jane) sleeping patterns are a challenge with an 8 hour time difference. 
    Really appreciate reading the insightful comments and getting a feel for the needs of this group. 

    1. Bev, praying for you all now. What a sweet gift to your son and his wife and what a blessing to your grand children that they get to spend time with you and your husband. 🙂

  25. 3.  Interesting that in both v1 and 3, He talks about justice.
     
    4.  A.  Attitudes.  Jesus saw the man as bruised and smoking.  The Pharisee saw only the need to observe the law.  Sometimes I feel sorry for the Pharisees.  At one time they last both their temple and their nation because they didn’t keep the law and they followed other gods.  They didn’t want to make that mistake again.  I feel that it is impossible to balance love for people with justice without the Holy Spirit.  We get either legalistic or give license.  Only God gets it right.
     
    5.  As a new believer in Christ, He was incredibly patient with me.  When I would complain about not growing faster, He told me that I didn’t understand where He had taken me from, and how much rebuilding He needed to do In me.  He kept bringing me back to the Bible and to His presence in prayer, encouraging me.  Even now, He allows things into my life that challenge me or stretch me, helping me to grow.  
     
    6.  By the world’s standards, I am common place and even less than average, but He still loves me.  I value this blog and the opportunities to grow here.  Also, my daughter got me into an app, ScriptureTyper, for Bible memorization, and I really enjoy working on verses there.  There remain the circumstances of life, each one a lesson in Christ’s classroom.

  26. 2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
     
    “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight;  I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”       Servant refers to Jesus.   The “I” in whom I uphold is God.  My Spirit refers to the Holy Spirit.  
     
     
    Mike Reeves, whom many of you listened to when we studied the Song of Songs, says that it is extremely important that we notice the continued emphasis that our God is a Triune God. It means that He is love, and unlike, for example, Allah, He has been in fellowship from eternity, and understands love. Allah, in contrast, Reeves explains, has been alone, and thus is “curved in on himself.”
     
    Forgive me, because I have problems with statements like Reeve’s distinction between God and Allah.     You see, to me, it is a language discussion.    People who believe in Allah tend to  speak Arabic.   Allah is the word for “God”  in Arabic.    Feel free to tell me if I am looking at this incorrectly. This doesn’t affect my belief in the Triune God (I do believe), and I know God to be a God of love.     I think it can be said that there is no Trinity in either Judaism or Islam, as there is only God, no Jesus or Holy Spirit.  However, I don’t follow Reeve’s statement in this instance.  
     
    3. Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.
     
    God is a God of love, and Jesus came to reveal and fulfill this love to mankind.   It is the mercy, kindness, gentleness, encouragement, etc. that is shown toward persons that is so special.   Even when we are broken, bruised, or burned out,  God/Jesus does not give up on us,  but instead tends us with gentle care, nudging us in the direction we should go.   We do not get stepped on or snuffed out, but we get “picked up” and tended like a wounded puppy.   
     
     

  27. 4. Now read Matthew 12:9-21, where this passage from Isaiah is quoted.
    A. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.
     
    I totally agree with what Laura posted about Jesus showing common sense while the Pharisees did not.    The Pharisees placed their laws above human need.   They also missed the point about the Sabbath.   The sermon by Timothy Keller that we recently listened to concerning anger used this story as an illustration.  Jesus was angered that the Pharisees had so distorted the purpose of the Sabbath (which was for man to have a period of rest).  Now they are implying that the man’s shriveled hand should not be healed because of a rigid law.    The Pharisees were also hoping that Jesus would heal the man, so they would have something specific with which to accuse Jesus.  They were hoping he would fail their test.    
     
     
    B. Read Matthew 12:15-16 and describe Jesus response to those who were suffering.
     
    Even though Jesus was probably tired, and He knew the Pharisees had gone off to plot His death,  He still had compassion on any ill person brought to Him.

    C. Verse 17 now says the preceding was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and quotes Isaiah. What light does seeing
    this passage in Matthew’s gospel give you for understanding this servant song?
     
    We know that Isaiah’s writing was a foretelling of Jesus the Servant.    Of course, this was so different from what the people of Israel actually expected.   They envisioned a mighty king, a ruler — not a servant.   Because this passage from Isaiah is quoted in the Gospel of Matthew, it shows that, in retrospect at least, people began to see that this servant was the Messiah for which they had looked.    Matthew was written approximately 60-65 AD.    By then, Matthew and others had come to the realization that Jesus was the fulfillment of the scripture in Isaiah.  
     
     
    D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?
     
    He will proclaim justice to the nations (vs. 18), but He will do it quietly (vs. 19).  He will demonstrate mercy with his own life.

  28. I have always felt that the verse early in the gospel of John (Chap.1, v. 5), “The light still shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out” calls for interpretation. Can it be that the light shines inside each of us, dormant and smoldering in some but never being completely extinguished?  That there is always a way back to the Lord’s love no matter how far we have strayed, nor how many times we have denied his love by choosing the darkness?  That all those of us who are lost have to do is turn toward the light and take a few steps?  Surely then the Lord will provide strength and wisdom (usually by sending another person) that will encourage the wanderer at this point, and make is possible for him to return.
    What do you think, Dee?  Am I on the right track?
     
     

    1.  Welcome Joseph! I think you’re on the right track although I’m no authority on the subject… I love the first chapter of John!  Isn’t that a comfort?… that we could find him no matter what, and he is always there.  Wow!  

    2. Welcome, David. I am sure Dee will get back to you about what she thinks about John 1:5, but I believe in context  of all of John 1 that the “light” is referring to Jesus. Jesus is the light that brings to this dark world true knowledge, moral purity and brings the presence of God among us. He is the light that overcomes the darkness (sin/evil) that is in the world.

      1. Yes Diane,! I agree, however by truly  knowing Jesus, don’t you think we can “hold” the light inside of us too for others to see?

        1. Definitely, Laura, we have the light inside us as believers, His Light. Sorry if I was not clear that I believe that. I just think this particular verse (John 1:5) refers to Jesus. However, in Matthew 5:14-16 (in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ longest sermon in the gospels), Jesus says “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let you light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”” Those verses is clearly about us, his disciples. We are to live as a living example to those in the world who do not yet have the light (Jesus).  There are many verses that tell us that Jesus (through his Holy Spirit) is in us and to shine our light for others to see. (I am studying the Sermon on the Mount right now with a small group of women and am finding it so rich!)

        2. I understand now! Thank you ?. I think I might memorize the verses from Matthew you quoted. I need to remember those! 

  29. What stood out: God changes us as we behold his goodness. And I have found that the more we immerse ourselves in Scripture and allow it to soak into us, convict us, it changes us. In looking at Matthew 12, the contrast of Jesus  and the Pharisees, I see how Jesus loved people, showed compassion, gave grace. If I treat others that way perhaps they will see a glimpse of God’s goodness, and be drawn to him.

    1. Beth–good description of “beholding” Christ: “immerse ourselves in Scripture and allow it to soak into us”

  30. C. Verse 17 now says the preceding was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, and quotes Isaiah. What light does seeing this passage in Matthew’s gospel give you for understanding this servant song?
    It helps me understand the Father’s heart. He sees us. He has compassion on those who struggle and suffer. 
     
     
    D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?
    He will proclaim justice by bringing justice to victory, he is our reason for hope.

  31. 5.  How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?

    I think I am seeing that it has been though difficulties that he has grown me. It has been in the times of deep distress when my idols have proved themselves worthless that he has caused me to look to him for real, and begin to believe that he loves me. 
     
     
    6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?

    I am aware of attitudes in my heart that I wish were not there, subtle pride and superiority especially where a particular couple of people are concerned. This darkness is real, I know it has destructive potential. It is by his grace that I see it and hate it.  I need to continue to run to him in repentance.
    A sermon at church recently brought out that we continue to struggle with some sins because we deep down do love them. I do not want this to be true of me.
    The weariness of the battle is maybe a piece of the hungering and thirsting after righteousness?
    I long for heaven where we will be good, through and through, and that our goodness will be because we are beholding and glorifying him.

    1. Chris, Oh your #5 answer..those aren’t just words for you-for you have lived this and He has made your heart so tender and your face lovely. 

    2. Amen sister!

  32. 2. Isaiah 42:1–identify each person of the Trinity.
    Behold my servant (Jesus) whom I (Father) uphold; … I have put My Spirit (Holy Spirit) upon Him …
     
    3. Isaiah 42:1-3 — explain how you see love on the part of the Father and the Son for us.
    The Father puts the Son in charge of bringing justice to the world… His Son will be gentle with those who are weak and suffering.  Justice is right and good, it is the truth we need to reveal our sin and need of repentance…Jesus works this in the weak and suffering in a manner that is gentle, not breaking or extinguishing the spirit.

  33. 2. Read Isaiah 42:1 and see if you can identify each person of the Trinity.
     
    “Here is my servant, whom I uphold,     my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him,     and he will bring justice to the nations.
    Servant, chosen one-Jesus
    My Spirit
    God the Father is the one speaking.
    Hebrews 1  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
    1.   Read Isaiah 42:1-3 and explain how you see love on the part of the Father and love on the part of the Son for us.
    He will not shout or cry out,     or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break,     and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
    Since God the Father has put in the Son the Holy Spirit, the Father’s character is reflected in the Son:  gentle (not cry out or raise his voice, he will not break, he will not snuff out); just in all their dealings with us.
     
    Wow-I need to work on not raising my voice-usually for me when I raise it, I am upset/angry with something. Jesus is a great example of anger in control.

  34. Dee shared this week: “There are people in my life that are truly bruised reeds, and it is easy to quarrel with them because of the storm in their own souls. But God is giving me grace for them, showing me when to speak and when to be silent so that there might be healing instead of breaking. In the same way, I have my own brokenness, but I can run to Him, and trust Him, for He is a gentle Shepherd, who longs to heal my wounds rather than break me or quench my spirit.”
     
    I already shared that there has been a bruised reed causing pain in our church; but since Sunday I have had two more bruised reeds requiring my immediate attention among my loved ones. Please pray as I try to respond with gentleness to listen well to aid healing, with wisdom to know how to advise these loved ones in the way they should go, for they have important decisions to make.

    1. I will pray for these situations Diane.

    2. Diane–praying too for you–I know you are such a comfort there, praying for Him to give you needed strength

  35. 5. Think back to when you were an immature believer, and of how you were indeed like a smoldering wick with much offensive smoke. How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?
    I’m not sure what was wrong with me back then (when I was an immature believer), but because I was just getting started, I must have thought I was supposed to hold rigidly to some “laws.”   This led me to have narrow views that did not leave room for much compassion, kindness, or forgiveness for others.  As I look back on it,  I think I lost out with one boyfriend because I expressed the view that was tantamount to saying he needed to come to my view that immersion was required for baptism or he was going to go to hell.   I was also critical of others’ spiritual weaknesses, while being totally unaware of my own.   I think Christ has helped me work through these problems and grow, mostly by the witness and demonstrative lives of others (not by their telling me that I was “wrong.”)    
     
    6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?
     
    Eee gads, I’m far from perfect yet!    I am a work in process!    Christ is helping me grow by all of the myriad of sources of inspiration and encouragement that come my way — this blog being a big one!  I’m thinking I could write my own addendum to the 23rd Psalm.  Not only does He lead me in green pastures….and restores my soul.  I could say He leads me into places where my experiences will be rich with inspiration and challenge.    He puts the right people in my path.  He calls my attention to the right magazine articles.   My Bible falls open with a lesson before me.    
      
    7. Do not be unaware of the enemy’s devices. When you sin, you may want the darkness for cover — so you retreat from the light. Then you may begin to doubt the Light is even true. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smouldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?
     
    I am “friends” on Facebook with some of the younger people in our church.   It is pretty obvious how the world is clutching at them.   Sometimes they are aware of it and sometimes not.   Frequently they are obsessed with how many “likes” they get, and their pride is getting the best of them.   Sometimes I think they try to say shocking things in their posts, so as to trigger responses from others — they are so needy.  In addition to praying for them,  I also try to “like” what my conscience allows and encourage them in good ways, making sure I tell them I am proud of them (when I AM proud).  
     
    8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.
     
    1.  Gives life and breath to all people. 
    2.  Takes hold of your hand.
    3.  Keeps you. 
    4. Opens the eyes that are blind
    5.  Frees those who are imprisoned. 
     
     
     

  36. My answers for questions 5 through 8 were somehow “marked as spam.”   I have sent an email to David. 

    1. Thank you, David, for releasing my comments!   

  37. 4.A. Read Matthew 12:9-14 for context, contrasting the attitude of Jesus toward the man with a withered hand and the contrast of the Pharisees.
    The Pharisees were all into rules, not in a way that made sense, but in a legalistic way; the Pharisees were under the misconception that “following the rules” completely without exception would earn them righteousness…their rule following was ludicrous.  Jesus saw the need of the man and healed him.  Jesus understood the significance of the Sabbath and the Pharisees’ misuse of its significance; Jesus had regard for God and also the man’s need.

  38. I just have to thank you again Dee for encouraging us to read Sibbes. I have been SO moved by reading The Bruised Reed. I am finding myself underling every few sentences…truths we know, but the way Sibbes puts it, it takes deeper root in me. Today this struck me-“When he prepares the heart to seek, he causes his ear to hear”. His words are simple enough for me to grasp, yet full with depth. Just pondering the truth that when I sense the slightest spark in my heart, that longing to be near Him–not only did He initiate it, but He promises to meet it…I will never seek Him and not be met by Him. 

    1. I also just bought Mike Reeves Rejoicing In Christ which had been on my list to buy for a LONG time, and I highly recommend it!! So much in line with what Dee is teaching us here!

  39. 5. Think back to when you were an immature believer, and of how you were indeed like a smoldering wick with much offensive smoke. How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?
     
    I have always been a believer since I was a young girl, however I am sad to say that I was an immature Christian up until about 10 years ago. I have thought about this question all day to come up with a reasonable answer. Here goes…
     
    Ten years ago I had a younger colleague (nearly 20 years my junior) who was an amazing believer in Christ. I was curious how she and her husband (a theology student at the time) found time to relax on the weekends and even go to several church events each weekend. I didn’t understand because she and I were high school teachers who both had many papers to grade and ususlly that occurred after school hours and on the weekends. She and I were chatting one day and I realized that she literally made Sundays her day of rest, just like God says we should! I couldn’t understand it at all, knowing how much she had to do to keep up at the high school. Slowly but surely over the course of the last ten years I have given up working on Sundays and actually rest and enjoy my family on the Sabbath! I am able to keep up somewhat at work, and  I enjoy my family in a way that I’ve not in the past. God has not let me down; He wooed me for  many years  and finally I gave in. I have not been disappointed. 
     

  40. 7.  It is a passion in me to pray for passion in others; my children, grandchildren, children of my church, teens, anyone God brings to my mind.  Doing that stirs up my fire as well.
     
    9.  Christ was non violent. Apply that to your life.  I am not sure I agree totally that Christ was non violent.  He drove out the money changers, not organized a boycott.  And when He comes again, there will be plenty of violent judgement.  But He has a right to such judgement and actions.  I do not.  For now, He has called me to pray and practice love for others who hold vastly different viewpoints.  Some of them are extended family.
     
    10.  From the start of my life with Christ, I’ve been aware of my own inability and inadequacy, coupled with His mercy and grace.  My need for Him never lessens.  I love that He loves me.  This continues to give me hope, joy, peace and strength.
     
     

  41.  
    7. Do not be unaware of the enemy’s devices. When you sin, you may want the darkness for cover — so you retreat from the light. Then you may begin to doubt the Light is even true. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smouldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?

    For a long time my habit was to spend too much time in morbid introspection, focused on my sin, picking my self apart and feeling hopeless. The Lord has grown me. I see that when I do that I am focused on me and not him.
    I have shared here in the past about our Pastor Jeff telling us that repentance seen in a right light changes from a solemn thing we must do into a joy…we get to repent, we can run with our mess to the one who loves us and receive grace, forgiveness, and power to be changed! The focus then is worship.

    Alistair Groves from CCEF said something like, God does not call us to endless perfect introspection, he calls us to Christ.  That stuck with me.

    This quote which I became aware of via a Keller sermon also has helped me: Thomas Brooks
     
    REPENT OF YOUR DISCOURAGEMENT OVER YOUR SIN
    “That believers must repent for their being discouraged by their sins.  Their being discouraged by their sins will cost them many a prayer, many a tear, and many a groan; and that because their discouragements under sin flow from ignorance and unbelief.  It springs from their ignorance of the richness, freeness, fullness, and everlastingness of God’s love; and from their ignorance of the power, glory, sufficiency, and efficacy of the death and sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ; and from their ignorance of the worth, glory, fullness, largeness, completeness of the righteousness of Jesus Christ; and from their ignorance of that real, close, spiritual, glorious, and inseperable union that is between Christ and their precious souls.  Ah!  Did precious souls know and believer the truth of these things as they should, they would not sit down dejected and overwhelmed under the sense and operation of sin.
    God never gave a believer a new heart that it should always lie a-bleeding, and that it should always be rent and torn in pieces with discouragements. “

    1. Chris–so wise, so helpful–I too know “morbid introspection” and how it just keeps me focused inward. We must remember the “I am lovely” part after acknowledging the darkness!

    2. Chris, I love the richness and thrust of your thoughts here. This sums it up so well. “God does not call us to endless perfect introspection, he calls us to Christ.” The quote by Brooks is great!

  42. 8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.
    He created the beauty of the heavens and earth-and don’t they point our souls to him!
    He created the good things that come from the earth- sometimes when I like about the abundance of food the earth yields and all the variety, I well up with gratitude!
    He gives us breath and his Spirit He takes us by the hand, he keeps us- what a tender image
     
    He sets his people apart, to be lights for the multitudes |
    He releases prisoners from dungeons and darkness- made me think of 1Peter 2:9

    “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

  43. 6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?
     
    All the years I thought I was a Christian when in reality I was going through the motions and not fully participating. I am better now though. I actually speak about my faith to others; even non-believers… even a Muslim man who I taught last semester! I should say I have come a long way ?.
     
    I am definitely still dark at times. I am struggling with a bout of depression these days. My life is fairly out of control in all respects. I have a coffee mug that reminds me to “keep calm and carry on.” I also realize this time of year is difficult in that we are lacking sufficient light in the north and I really think I need vitamin D. I will get some soon and even try a few sessions of tanning to give myself a warm boost. 
     
    I am a sinner. Just yesterday I tried to manipulate a situation to fit my needs. Ugh. Yep, that’s who I am.

    1. Laura–praying now for you in your bout of depression. So thankful for you and the wisdom He brings through you!

      1. Thank you Lizzy. I sure could use a prayer or two…

        1. Dear Laura…praying… be gentle with yourself, you have A LOT going and I agree that this time of year makes it all the more difficult with the gray days lacking sunshine.

  44. 5. Think back to when you were an immature believer, and of how you were indeed like a smoldering wick with much offensive smoke. How did Christ show grace to you, encourage you, and help your flame to grow?
    One of the graces I see in my life is the fellowship of other believers and especially more mature ones along my path who encouraged me. I remember being in 8th grade and having a strong desire to grow in the Lord, one of my older sisters took me with her on her college Campus Crusades (Cru, now) retreat, I was so encouraged by the more mature believers and their fire for the Lord. Throughout my life, and especially in the last few years though Dee’s teachings, He has been gracious to provide godly teachers, mentors, friends, to encourage, hold me accountable, and mold me. 
     
    6. Sibbes quotes the Song, “I slept, but my heart was awake.” I am “dark but lovely.” How do you see both of these conditions in you, and how is He helping you to grow now?
    I see my tendency towards sin, to wander from His protection and try to create my own, to forget His righteousness and crave approval for myself. Sometimes it’s so subtle, but it is there—how I am prone to want to steal His glory. And yet, I know He has put His Spirit in me, He has promised to continue His work in me, and that as I behold Him, He WILL transform me into His likeness. 
    love what Sibbes says here, “We must not always judge ourselves according to our present feelings, for in temptations we see nothing but the smoke of untrustworthy thoughts…We must beware of false reasoning, such as thinking that, because our fire does not blaze as brightly as others do, we therefore have no fire at all.”
     
    7. Do not be unaware of the enemy’s devices. When you sin, you may want the darkness for cover — so you retreat from the light. Then you may begin to doubt the Light is even true. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smoldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?
    This made me think of the importance of the Church body’s role in encouraging one another—to be honest with our sin, to be transparent and vulnerable, holding one another accountable and offering encouragement—–and most importantly, silencing the hiss of shame.
     
    8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.
    He created the heavens, the earth
    He gives us breath
    He gives us His Spirit
    He calls us in righteousness
    He takes us by the hand
    He keeps us
    He covenants with us
    He opens eyes that are blind
    He sets prisoners free
    He is doing something NEW!
     

    1. Lizzy, the Sibbes quote is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this wise insight… I’m inspired to read the book (despite older theologians often being difficult reads).

  45. Wow!    Dr. Timothy Keller’s sermon on The Bruised Reed is absolutely terrific!    I just loved it!    I’ve listened and taken notes, but it will be Friday PM before I can get around to transcribing my notes.    I just want to encourage everyone to purchase the sermon and listen to it yourself.  

  46. 7. Have you seen this in your life or in the life of a younger believer who is like “smouldering flax?” If so, how might You speak to your soul? How might you pray for a younger believer?
     
    There have been times in my life when I was so distraught over a situation, that I couldn’t think clearly. In those times (in the past)I have turned away from God.  I turned to darkness. I have learned to run toward God first in those sinful situations. That would be my advice to others.  I would try to remember the times before when God had helped me through a bad time, and I would remind myself that He really does love me.  Patience is  paramount here. 

  47. 8. Read Isaiah 42:5-9 and find examples of the kindness and gentleness of the Lord. Find at least five.
    I found The Message most useful to answer this question.
    1-  breathes life into us 
     
    2-  taking responsibility for us, kept us
     
    3-  made us a lighthouse for others 
     
    4-  bring us out of darkness  
     
    5-  gave us a new salvation in Jesus Christ

  48. D. What will Jesus do according to verse 18, and how will he do it according to verse 19?
     
    Jesus will proclaim justice to the Gentiles (vs. 18) by not quarrelling or crying aloud. Someone pointed out that Jesus is not always non-violent. This does not mean that Jesus will never be a conquering warrior; just that his first coming was marked with gentleness and that overall God desires compassion, not harshness, but his patience will not last forever. Jesus will come again as the Just Judge and conqueror.
     

  49. Comments on the week:      I’ve done the study privately this week.  Here’s something that really spoke to my heart.  I guess it’s my take-away…..though I hope to maybe still catch the sermon?   
    I REALLY loved seeing the connections between the original prophecy in Isaiah and the way Matthew quotes it after Jesus heals several.   I remember that Matthew is known for quoting the OT, but this one was especially stunning to me.   
    Again, I thought of all the bruised reeds and smoldering wicks I know and love.  I think of those who struggle because of injustice; whether they struggle physically, emotionally or spiritually.   Yet, when they hang on to that little bit of hope or reach for that little bit of truth that erupts from a tiny ember into a bigger flame…..that is Jesus meeting them where they are.  
     
    I loved looking at Matthew 12:18,19.  When you merge the Isaiah 42 passage and the Matthew 12 context, you get a bigger picture.  Jesus came to bring justice to the nations.  He is the one who makes all the wrongs right again.    BUT he doesn’t come ‘raising his voice’,  ‘crying out’ or ‘shouting in the streets’.     OH!  What a contrast to some politicians who have a ‘Messiah complex’ saying they can fix all of our problems.  And that they are the only ones who can.  (yes….these very words were used in the past months in the USA)  
    But Jesus DID fix all our problems.  And HE IS the only one who can.  But he wants us to be the messengers of that deliverance.   In Matthew when he heals the sick, he warns the people not to say who he was.   Just as Isaiah said,  they didn’t hear his voice ‘shouting in the street’  (as the false prophets seem to have done often)  But individually, gently, they all found healing;  whether that sickness was physical, emotional or spiritual.  Did he tell them not to say who he was for fear of the Pharisees?    I don’t know.  I don’t think Jesus feared them.   I think he wanted his message to be ‘hand delivered’ by each person one by one.  Our very voices.  Our very lives pointing to His justice and deliverance.