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The Gospel According to Noah

When Joni Eareckson Tada and Ken Estes wrote When God Weeps, 

they made the controversial statement that it isn’t just that God allows sorrow,

He appoints it.

How I remember talking to our grief-struck daughter, Sally, after her dad’s death.

We were swimming to our neighbor’s raft when Sally flipped on her back, looked up at the rose-colored clouds, and asked the really hard question.

The raft: Photo taken by Dee’s neighbor Lucy Reeve

“Mom, I’ve been reading Ann VosKamp’s One Thousand Gifts and she says that even the hard things are planned by God. She quotes Amos, who said, ‘Does disaster come upon a city unless the Lord has done it?’

Did God plan for Dad to die?”

I told her I knew God would bring good out of it, and she said,

“That’s not what i’m asking. Did God plan Dad’s death?”

Though it seems harsh to say, “Yes,” to me, that is the only answer

the truly comforts.

Why?

If I thought my husband died because Satan won,

or because we chose the wrong chemo,

or because God was punishing us and turned His face from us

when we needed Him most,

I would be in despair.  

As we will see this, and as illustrated by story after story in Genesis,

God is in control, and indeed, for the believer,

there is always a promise of an ultimate rescue.

This is the confidence I see in our own Mary E who is in a fierce and painful battle with cancer. She has moved us all with her trust. And it is so sweet that she and are own Lizzy have bonded so — communicating daily. God made a way for Mary and Lizzy to visit her face to face recently. What joy! Here they are together — and Mary was able to meet Philip too! Lizzy credits Mary’s model in facing huge medical challenges with strength to her growing confidence that she could handle a child with huge medical challenges.

 

 

Sunday:

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

Monday: Dismantling The Lies

 

1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        

A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”

B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?

(See Genesis 3:15c)

2.  How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin?

3.  What do we know according to Psalm 139:16?

God does not punish believers, but He does appoint sorrow: for unbelievers, which is both judgment, but it could also be mercy, for it may bring them to their senses. He appoints sorrow for believers, for many and often mysterious reasons. With Job, it was not for judgment, but for testing, refining, and strengthening the body of believers for ages to come. So often, we simply do not know why, but we trust because God is wise and good.

 

Tuesday: A Foreshadowing of the Gospel in Noah

Let us consider the gospel foreshadowed in Noah. As with Adam and throughout Genesis, there is a pattern, a pattern that Peter tells us will happen again, so we need to be ready. It is also a “Gospel” pattern of bad news and good news. 

4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.

 

Derek Kidner makes an interesting note that despite Lamech’s polygamy, the sons of Noah were monogamous.

5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption.

 

Wednesday: The Kindness and Severity of God

6. Noah is described as one “who walked with God” according to Genesis 6:9.

A. Consider others who are described as having this kind of intimacy with God: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses… What do you think this means?

B. Why might this be a good description of a true believer?

C. Is this true of you? How or how not?

7. How do you see both judgment and redemption in Genesis 6:17 and 7:1? 

8. What did God do in Genesis 7:16? Compare this to Philippians 1:6.

    A. Do you see a parallel — if so, what?

    B. How does this give you comfort in regard to your salvation?

 

“And the Lord shut him in.” This expression beautifully shows God’s fatherly touch, at the very brink of judgment. The same care that saw this matter through carries our salvation to its conclusion.

Derek Kidner


Thursday: A Foreshadowing of Christ in Noah

 

9. According to Hebrews 11:6, how did one man rescue his family? Do you see a parallel with Christ?

10. How has Christ’s death given you confidence and hope in your darkest hours?

 

Once, at a Moody Bible Institute Conference, I was speaking on The God of All Comfort. I closed with a prayer for the women to trust His heart when they didn’t understand what He was doing. I always remember Babbie Mason coming up quickly and singing this song:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWk8DRwDYDc

Friday: The Promise of the Rainbow and The Warning of The Judgment to Come

Whenever I see a rainbow, as I did this morning and snapped this picture, I think of what Charles Spurgeon said about the rainbow. In the Hebrew, the word is actually bow, like a bow and arrow. And Spurgeon said that the reason we as believers have no fear of judgment is because the bow is pointed up, the arrow will pierce God’s heart.

When Noah and his family came out of the ark, they also brought sin with them. But one day, indeed, “as in the days of Noah” Jesus warned, a final judgment will come to wipe out all sin forever.

11. How does Jesus describe this in Matthew 24:36-44?

 

Saturday:

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

 

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149 comments

  1.  

    “God is in control, and indeed, for the believer, there is always a promise of an ultimate rescue. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal. ”

    Dee, your conversation with Sally brought tears to my eyes. When I lost my Dad 2 months before I got married, I felt grief like no other. As the years go by, I continue to miss my Dad but I know I will see him again, whole and happy in the Lord.

    The picture of Mary E and Lizzy and Phillip brought tears, too, of joy of seeing answers to prayer. “Our times are in God’s hands” and He makes everything beautiful in His time. He has brought all of us here for such a time as this so in the unfolding of what is we see His faithfulness and sovereignty.

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

    Well, I love seeing Mary here and that sweet gift God gave me of finally meeting her, and her parents.

    But this, from Dee, really struck me this morning: “If I thought my husband died because Satan won, or because we chose the wrong chemo, or because God was punishing us and turned His face from when we needed Him most, I would be in despair.”

    I apply that sentence to my own circumstances, though nothing as unimaginably painful as losing my husband, but there are trials–and I thought: “If I thought ___ meant that Satan had won, or that I had the power to cause such pain because of my own ignorance, or that God was punishing me–I would be in despair.”

    But the truth–in the darkest of times, God is still on the Throne, He is still the One holding all the power and is noever out of control, and I my pain cannot be punishment because my sins have already be paid for and He is fair and just and cannot require “double payment” for what Christ has already atoned for. As Keller says, it cannot mean God doesn’t care, for He has proven that on the Cross.

    Also, I just have to add this note about our Mary. I’ve shared a bit how God has used her in my life, and I know He has all of our lives in different ways, but it has really struck me recently how she has allowed herself to be used amidst her fires, because of her selflessness, her heart. Some of you know this adoption brought a deeper rift between me and my family, and in many ways it’s been a lonely walk. But, in our 6 month wait before the Lord led us to Philip–we looked at countless files of children. There was only one person other than my husband who looked at each file with me–Mary. She watched videos, reviewed medical, looked at pictures, and most of all prayed. My husband was blown away by her. He kept saying ‘how does she have the ability to care about us with all she has going on?!” And sometimes I felt bad about that, so I wouldn’t mention anything about our progress–but without fail she’d aske every time if there was any news & how she could pray. She even prayed for the children we had to “pass” on, for them to be chosen by the right family. It’s that other-centered-ness about her that maybe has taught me the most.

     

    1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        

    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”

    Satan wanted Eve to believe that God wasn’t really on her side. That He was keeping her from what was best, from joy, happiness.

    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?

    The serpent, Satan, would have power to cause harm to humanity–but ultimately man would hate the snake and have dominion over it.

    2.  How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin?

    Oh, one of my favorite old hymns comes to mind–

    “It is finished!” Sinners hear it; Tis the dying Victor’s cry; “It is finished!” Angels bear it, A Bear the joyful truth on high: “It is finished!” Tell it through the earth and sky!  “It is finished!” Tell it through the earth and sky! Justice, from her awful station, Bars the sinner’s peace no more; Justice views with approbation What the Savior did and bore; Grace and mercy now display their boundless store. “It is finished!” All is over; Yes, the cup of wrath is drained; Such the truth these words discover; Thus the victory was obtained; ‘Tis a victory none but Jesus could have gained. Crown the mighty Conqueror, crown him, Who his people’s foes o’ercame! In the highest heaven enthrone him! Men and angels sound his fame! Great his glory! Jesus bears a matchless name

    1. Lizzy, what a sweet post of your friendship with Mary. And how I love you both more. It always amazes me how burdens shared with a friend cements a bond like no other.

    2. Lizzy, what you shared about Mary, how in the midst of “all she has going on” (chemo, doctor appointments, tests….days when she felt so fatigued) she looked at files, prayed….it reminded me of a book I read where a missionary was mentioned; he had a sister, Polly, who was bedridden and he would write letters to her and she would pray over all of his needs and requests. Polly was a huge part of her brother’s success in the mission field because of her faithful prayers. I also agree with your point about God isn’t punishing us because there is no “double payment” for our sins.

  3. 1. If I thought my husband died because Satan won,
    or because we chose the wrong chemo,
    or because God was punishing us and turned His face from us
    when we needed Him most,
    I would be in despair.  

    Your conversation with Sally stood out. Her willingness to ask tough questions-so so important..and then your response. I could just picture the moment as you so beautifully describe it, but what became radioactive are the only other choices we have if we don’t believe God ordains even the hardest valleys. This reminds me of something I read from Keller via Twitter, Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”

     
    I am thrilled at how God has bonded Lizzy and Mary and how God made a way for them to see each other face to face!! 🙂 🙂  How He has come to comfort them through one another. So sweet to see!!

     

      1. Me too..and I love his extension!

    1. oh Rebecca–so thankful for how you minister to us here. I had forgotten the second part of that quote and how good it’s truth is! “it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.”  the word “somehow” jumps out to me this morning–hinting at His mysterious, but always good, ways, the things that we can’t begin to imagine…yet it is TRUE.

    2. Love that quote, Rebecca!

    3. Rebecca, “everything sad …somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.” How like our God in His mysterious ways to make broken greater. Thanks for sharing! It has been a long time since I have read the Lord of the rings.

  4. 1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        
    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”
    That God was lying.
    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
    (See Genesis 3:15c)
    Jesus crushed His head-satan won’t win, and like in Job-God will make what HE allows satan to break more beautiful than if satan hadn’t broken it. satan can only bite at our heels so whenever he tempts us and we listen and stumble God comes in to redeem and draw us even closer in to him which may not have happened before satan’s temptation. Through these valleys God helps us grow more mature in discerning satan’s temptation and lies.

    I believe God was sovereign over the Fall too..and referring to the Keller quote..what was sad, The Fall, will somehow be better for being broken and lost. God only gave satan enough rope to hang himself with Eve, Job, and he will hang himself with us.

  5. Earth has no sorrow that heaven can’t heal.

    This has been my hope for a wonderful, sweet young lady who took her own life on Friday. She was my niece’s best friend and took the place of big sister to my younger niece when the older one died in a car accident. She was being treated for depression for the past few years and she had tons of support, but sadly it wasn’t enough.

    My hope is that God has mercy on those who lose this battle against themselves (truly with Satan) and that she has joy everlasting. She’s from a Christian family so that is a small bit of comfort.

    1. oh Dawn–praying now for this terrible tragedy, and for the family–so very sorry. Thankful that we do have a merciful God.

    2. Yes, agree with Lizzy, prayed right  now for their comfort in this loss.

    3. Dawn, that is so sad. Suicide is a very grievous thing. We lost 2 kids from the same district in a span of 7 months! Have mercy, O Lord.

    4. Dawn, So so sorry to hear this. Praying for her family and you and everyone who loved her.  

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? Comments? 
    This is the 3rd time I’ve gotten on here to try to answer this question this morning and I just can’t seem to come up with the right wording.  I think what stands out to me most is how very difficult it is to fully understand why God permits (or actually causes) hardships and yet what unspeakable peace and joy there is in reaching a point in your life where you don’t need to understand all that He does in order to trust Who He is… that He is love, and more than that, He loves you/me, no matter the circumstances.  And the icing on the cake is when we can see how He is glorified through situations (diseases, death) that really were the result of the fall of man (and things satan would use to try to bring about our undoing in our relationship with the Lord) which proves that truly all things, even things that only came about due to sin (the fall of man) can be redeemed by God and used for His glory and our good.

    1. Mary you could have preached my son’s sermon for him this morning (-:  or at least give powerful testimony to that truth

      Very well said.

    2. Mary…from the crucible of suffering you are coming forth as gold.

    3. Mary, I am tracking with you on this: “….how very difficult it is to fully understand why God permits (or actually causes) hardships and yet what unspeakable peace and joy there is in reaching a point in your life where you don’t need to understand all that He does in order to trust who He is…that He is love and more than that, He loves you/me, no matter the circumstances.

  7. Sunday.

    I love seeing the that are sown here. How each one loves the other and the encouragement I see through each of you.

    The thing that stands out to me were the words “He Appoints It”. I got hung up on that phrase and had to search my heart about it’s meaning. I was always taught that He Allows hardships, but the word “appoint” threw me. In the end, God reminded me that ultimately He is always in control and on the throne. He has shown me that hard things have and will continue to come my way, he is always there, and brings good from the hardships. I trust him in bringing those in my life, to show me what he wants, or to help me grow.

    We lost my brother 7 years ago to a horrible accident. It was very difficult to see him suffer before his last day, but in that God showed himself in so many ways. He gave us such peace and showed himself to be the God we loved through his faithfulness, quiet whispers and peace that we felt.

    1. A.  The Serpent was trying to convince Eve that God didn’t have her best interest at heart.

    B. He permits evil and suffering to come into your life only to the degree that it defeats the actual intention of Satan for you – Keller.

    3. All the days are written before they came to be, which tells me that He had a plan and a vision for my life.

     

    Thank you for the prayers for my sister Becky. She has given her life to the Lord and is doing a devotion series with me.  🙂

     

     

    1. Brenda, praise the Lord for this: ” Thank you for the prayers for my sister Becky. She has given her life to the Lord and is doing a devotion series with me.  :)”  YEAH!!!!!!

       

    2. Brenda, praise Him for your sister, Becky. What a gift. And to have humbly walked with God at the time of your brother’s accident, suffering and death.

  8. Well hello ladies….after being a ‘silent blogger’ for several years now, I feel ‘today’s the day’ to finally ‘show up’.  I like challenges & this is certainly one of them.

    What speaks to me here is another (one of many) hard truth about God.  “I form light & create darkness; I make well-being & create calamity; I am the Lord, who does all these things.”  (Isa. 45:7)  As a believer, it is easy for me to grasp the concept that God is love & that He loves me.  It is much more difficult to understand the concept that He not only allows–but creates/plans calamity.  Calamity suggests darkness in my human way of thinking, & from there I go to “God is light, in Him there is no darkness.”  It’s another one of those head-scratchers, right up there with Rom. 9:18.

    Mary E’s response was so spot on & so good… “what stands out to me most is how very difficult it is to fully understand why God permits (or actually causes) hardships & yet what unspeakable peace & joy there is in reaching a point in your life where you don’t need to understand all that He does in order to trust who He is…”  Wow Mary, thanx.

    That also reminds me of Isa. 55:8,9:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” saith the Lord, “For as the heavens are higher than earth, so are my ways higher than your ways & my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    Personally, all of this also causes me to wonder about struggles with family relationships.  It is often such a roller-coaster, you ‘solve’ one thing only to roll along into another, then another, & another.  Lately it’s been overwhelming to me…why is it that those we love the most in life hurt us the most as we do them?  And, after reading today’s blog, something new is messing with my mind:  it is entirely possible that God not only allows this, but is possibly causing it (along with my own sin & pride), to draw me closer to Him.

    1. Welcome Wendy,

      I was a silent blogger for quite some time as well.  But the blessing I have received in the bible study and the feedback has been great.  This is a safe group of women with deep hearts for God.

      Appreciate your thoughts today as well.

    2. Welcome, Wendy! About family relationships…your thoughts on it make me ponder…so that we might be drawn closer to him. Indeed He is the one who never disappoints.

    3. Hi Wendy! Glad to see you are joining us live!

  9. Wendy, first, I want to say, welcome!  Secondly, wow, your question has me scratching my head!  Does God CAUSE family turmoil?  Hmm… I think I would tend to say He allows it, but it is our own sin-natures that cause it, and He is certainly always at work to redeem even family turmoil for His glory and for our good, but I’ll be anxious to see how others jump in and comment.  And, for what it’s worth, even though people think what I am going through is such a big thing, I really,  really feel like women here who struggle with wayward children, broken marriages, etc… are in a more difficult situation and there are several women here who have been walking those paths for a long time….and God is most certainly being glorified through it as the observers like me witness their faithfulness to Him, despite all that is happening in their families.

  10. Sunday: 
    1. What stands out to you from the above and why? Comments?
    So many things stand out from today’s thoughts on the blog.

    The statement of whether God appoints sorrow in our lives.

    Sally’s question “Did God plan for her dad to die.”

    The promise that  “Earth has no sorrow the Heaven can’t heal” ( We sang that in church this morning).

    Dee’s statement  “….God is in control, and indeed, for the believer, there is always a promise of an ultimate rescue.”

    That promise is a crucial part of our earthly brokenness and  being able to handle the powerful heartaches we face in our lives.  We have hope because that God Who is in control and “appoints” or at least allows painful struggles and heartaches will rescue us.  Our confidence and our trust is shored up when we recognize that our God and Savior has rescued us from ultimately sin and death and He will ultimately take us to Heaven for an eternity of living in sweet fellowship with Him and in the company of His family, the body of Christ.

    Yes it is so sweet of God to bring Mary E and Lizzy together for a face to face meeting and the wonderful bond He gave them.  Their testimonies so encourage and strengthen us who follow the blog.

    This week I have been reminded by Facebook of posts that I made 4 years ago when our beautiful little Aerilyn Kate was born.  As I have reread some of what I wrote I realized again how many unknowns we faced as God had given us a handicapped grandchild.  Our daughter in law had a perfectly normal pregnancy and home birth and so we had no idea what Spina bifida really was and as we began to learn we didn’t know at first what the extent would be to Aerilyn’s limitations.  A jet flight shortly after birth to take her with her daddy to Dallas Children’s Hospital for a major surgery on her lower back to close the exposed spine was the beginning of unknowns.  But now today our normal with her is not defined by feet with no feeling in them and ankles and lower legs that need braces to stand up and walk in an unbalanced  awkward way.  We’re just thrilled she has a walker and walks some on her own.  Our normal is changing diapers because of incontinence and no bowel control.  But we have been rescued from all those fears of the early days of her birth to having our hearts absolutely stolen by a beautiful little dark haired, dark eyed beauty who loves us and delights us every bit as much as our other grandkids who run and jump and function “normally”.  She’s truly one of us.  We have been given the privilege of being part of her family and serving her however God allows us to.

     

    1. Bev–your whole last paragraph–OH TEARS!! What a beautiful story of your Aerilyn Kate! and she SO very blessed to have you, as are her parents–what a gift your love & compassion are, and I can hear in your words the blessing she is to you all!

    2. Thank you for sharing about your granddaughter. I sense a deep trust in God in you as you take care of Aerilyn(beautiful name, BTW).  Love this especially- “We have been given the privilege of being part of her family and serving her however God allows us to.”

    3. Bev, your last paragraph melted my heart this morning! His love is so evident in you and it is evident how God has enlarged your heart for others through this valley. It is amazing how God does that for we can love on those children, their parents and grandparents too. 🙂

    4. Bev, I’m just reading this now. What beauty and pain blended together in your beautiful granddaughter! Thank so much for sharing! As others have said, it melts my heart! Thanks for the photo on FB as well!

    5. Bev, thank you for sharing your story of your beautiful little granddaughter with us!

  11. Trying to post a pic of our sweet Aerilyn Kate

    1. Love your story Bev. Thanks for sharing it.

  12. So many things going through my head and heart. Primarily a deep gratitude for all of you, including Wendy, who joins us out loud today.  I was at a meeting earlier today to help leaders of small groups, and some shared how hard it has been for them. And it can be when people don’t really want to be there, and therefore don’t really participate. But that is what is so beautiful about this blog. Everyone here is here because they really want to be. Because they are interested in growing in God’s word. Because they are willing to share their questions and struggles and praises. And thank you, Dee, for giving us a template and direction to facilitate all of the above. We couldn’t do it without you!

    Does God plan bad things? Yes…No…both, I think. From our perspective, we are most limited in our ability to see and understand. But from where He is, and in His knowledge and His love He moves for the best of His kingdom and for the subjects of that kingdom. It makes me think of the Saducees saying there is no resurrection, and Christ saying that they are in error because they don’t know scripture and they don’t know the power of God. It is really hard for us to fathom God’s control and the bad things that come into our lives. James says that temptation never comes from God, so that bad things are not planned by Him. Beyond those two different scripture stances, how can we really understand? That is why Mary E’s statement is so good, that we trust Him for Who He is even when we don’t understand.  That is faith.

  13. I so love everyone’s comments for it is a mystery and a struggle in regard to God allowing vs. causing calamity..like In Job God allowing satan to attack him-it was satan who brought on his calamity but God allowed it and was in control of how far satan could go with it and then as Dee mentioned above in Psalm 45:7 and Amos 3:6-He brings prosperity and disaster..he forms light and created darkness, when disaster comes to a city does not the Lord cause it. 

    I do have to say that when a dear friend told me that God wired my son that way (Autism) in the womb it comforted me. It was like a balm to my heart in that moment. I thought yes.. It is nothing I have done, it is nothing satan was allowed to do, but it was by his beautiful hands and He has a beautiful plan for us because of it. I knew that God is good and God had a plan for his life and this was included-somehow He would make this good. But there have been HARD breakdowns before God..crying out as to the pain this caused us watching him struggle having a friend,  and others bully him saying he was weird. As hard as it was and still is-and we are entering a ROUGH season as he is in his senior year in High School, I think it has done nothing but good in our lives in pressing us into Him, and enlarging our hearts for others who are broken, whose children are broken. Heck WE are broken as parents..so imperfect!! But He is perfect-oh. He has made Isaac one of the most loving, delightful people. It is a mystery as to why He wired Him this way for it has been horribly lonely for Isaac, but somehow this is better than had it not happened.  Of course, and then our oldest’s Aspergers diagnosis, and love for God growing up yet a turn from God in his late teens which is sin which I don’t believe God caused but He is sovereign over..that too has been a deep valley, yet He is making beauty come from it.

    I can’t help but believe also that parenting is such a tool meant for God to hammer out the hard places in our hearts transforming us..for me it has been resting in His approval and love. Believe me having two kids on the spectrum and one turn away from God is an approval idol wrecker-especially among other believers.  I am sure we aren’t  the best parent models, LOL!  Talk about experiencing His Grace and Love-oh..letting that approval idol go and resting in Him! SUCH a process but He is faithful and rescues me over and over drawing me near. 🙂

      1. I am happy to read this, but I must be honest here. I can’t believe that God made my daughter (also on the “spectrum” with an 80 IQ). No one ever cared about her. She was always misunderstood and never had real friends because she was different. People are cruel – even at church. The only people who accept her are those who are usually not the kind of people you want your children around. It has brought great sorrow to me and I can’t believe that God would want me so distraught. I can’t believe he would make her the way she is, knowing that she would not be accepted in this awful world. She was an innocent baby! It can’t be Him who did this awful thing. Why? I see no beauty in this situation. I can’t believe He would create her and then let her fail. I don’t see the “good” that others have shared here. She is surely taken by the devil now. It is painful to watch your child go off the deep end and to have no control. I have hope and faith, but it is weak.

        1. Laura, I have just been reading back through the comments and had missed your post here on your very real struggle. My heart aches for you in this because your mother’s heart is crying out to make some sense of such a hard and personal trial. And I certainly don’t come with answers.  My closest friend in Christ has a mentally handicapped adult son.  His struggles and sufferings have been deep and even now at age 48 continue to be hard and difficult. Her’s have been heartwrenching as well. I can’t even begin to outline them here  but God himself has proven to be their comfort.

          As I have considered all this discussion about what God ordains or allows I gave been pondering what are my own feelings and thoughts about it.  I know I have to go to the Scripture and see what God says about suffering and it is clear He tells us it is going to be part of our lives. So in that respect I can agree that God has ordained it to be part of our experience here on earth. No one escapes it and believers are guaranteed it because there is emnity between the seed of Satan and the Son of man as we have been studying. But I don’t believe God in anyway designs the brokeness and makes someone handicapped or plans death.  But He takes  what was intended for evil and can use it for good. Satan would destroy us but for God. I so appreciate that you said “I have hope and faith but it is weak”.  My son preached to that on Sunday.  We are absolutely weak and needy.  But that is our starting point with God. He comes to us and brings his strength and grace to our neediness.  We sang in a song Sunday “Where else can I go Lord, Where else can  I go. You have the words of eyernal life.”

          I would suggest you don’t see the “good” yet in your own life that others see in their sufferings but it is there because your faith no matter how weak is in God and you hope is in Him and He will not fail you.

          I still haven’t truly reconciled in my own mind whether God   was ordaining that Aerilyn be born with Spina bifida or if He allowed her to be but I firmly believe He was there when she was knit together in the womb even as what we call defectively. But I can say He ordained that she be born into our family and it has been for our good to learn and grow and live and accept her just the way she is. And I know in some ways it has only just begun.

          Anyway thankyou for your honest heart and know you are loved and prayed for in this group. Keep asking the hard questions. (-:

        2. Laura, I too a reading back through comments. I see how much pain this question causes you and know that the Lord does too. I heard a teaching this weekend that immediately came to mind, that sometimes when nothing makes sense and you can’t understand what’s happening, the answer is that you are in the middle of the story. I hope you can press into the Lord, to be small and believe that he is up to things we cannot comprehend.

        3. Laura, your pain is watching your daughter flounder breaks my heart. There are no easy answers here. Be comforted that the Lord weeps with you and is beside you. Lean on Him, my dear friend. We are with you and praying for you and for your daughter.

        4. Ladies, your comments are precious to me. You can’t understand how they are a balm for my soul right now. Thank you.

        5. Laura-so sorry for what you are going through and if I have caused you any pain with my comment please forgive me for surely that wasn’t my intent. Just simply that it was a balm for me so forgive me for I didn’t consider anyone else’s circumstances here before I posted. This is one of the reasons I have backed off on posting a bit. 🙂 It is so hard for me to have time to edit-and to be super careful. It’s a personal testimony of how He comforted me, certainly not with intention for everyone else’s circumstances and certainly not meant to start a debate on whether God allows or wires people as they are in the womb and certainly that He doesn’t cause us to sin-that was so not what I was implying.  I still believe suffering is a mystery and certainly don’t have suffering figured out by any stretch. 🙂   My one with autism says he is agnostic and my oldest with aspergers says he is atheist and has put us through rough times as an 18 year old due to his aspergers and I am not looking forward to my one with Autism becoming an adult because he is so gullible and I am sure we will have trials ahead, and honestly I physically and mentally can’t take much more but all I can say-and I don’t understand it-is even though I feel one step away from a breakdown if anything else happens He is with me and has given me His joy inside-weird but true.  Praise HIM!  I so understand how awful it is to have your child stray, but you are in the thick of it as she is an adult. Praying for you! Much love to you!  🙂  Again, no time to edit..so I hope this is taken the right way. :))

        6. I am so happy for Rebecca and how God has used this condition in her life and that of her children and spouse.  Laura, I lean a bit in  your directions, there are verses that talk about God making the ear deaf, etc…but I go back to this…we KNOW this was not so from the beginning, garden of eden, creation.  God’s original plan for man was NOT disease, disabilities, death.  Ultimately this all came after the fall.  When sin entered the world, disease, death, etc.  also entered.  So, from that point on, is God in control of who gets affected in which way due to the fall?  I think Absolutely.  He COULD have prevented my cancer but His permissive will allowed it, and maybe even chose it (rather than other things that are the results of the fall).  And we have a choice how we respond to it…and in that response God can be glorified.  But I could be entirely wrong about some of this!

        7. Rebecca, I didn’t mean to make you feel bad for posting; I am truly happy for your family’s outlook. I wish I could feel the same way, but the pain is too great right now. If I’m honest I guess I’m jealous of others because I can’t have a “normal” family.

           

          I think our discussion has been rich here. I have heard many people ask why God would “allow” something to happen like the Las Vegas shooting. My husband and I always rationalize it as we, as humans, have “free will.” I never considerd that He would plan these things out…although He did wipe out mankind, right? He also sent armies to destroy groups of people who were adversaries of the Israelites. Then, there were people in the Bible who had adversity in their lives…Joseph comes to mind first; sold by his own brothers! That is pretty horrible. I suppose we are not any different than these folks, right? Adversity throughout the ages has been part of the story.

           

          As you mentioned, it is a mystery as to why He allows/plans challenges for His flock. Why can’t we have peace? I guess it goes back to the garden, and that free will thing. I get that. I’ve heard people say, “we all have our cross to bear.” I guess that is right? Mine is my struggles with kids, and someone else’s might be cancer. Thanks a lot Eve…

           

          Please don’t stop posting! We learn so much from you!! I do understand the time thing. Love and hugs (( )) 😘!

    1. Rebecca, I feel on some way we’ve been on your parenting journey with you as you’ve shared over the years with us the ups and downs….it’s HARD to watch your child struggle with loneliness, with being bullied. You’ve been so real and transparent with us….we’ve seen you being transformed and modeling more and more trust, grace…a willingness to lay down your idols at his feet.

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

    That there is comfort in the thought that God ordains the very worst circumstances. That he really is in control.

    I struggle with believers saying, “this isn’t how it was supposed to be”. I am not sure that I agree.

      1. That God didn’t choose the exact things that Satan did to Job, but that he was completely in control of it resonates with me.
        God didn’t tell Cain to murder Abel, but it is clear that he knew.
        My friend who was abused, my own story, I don’t believe God made the perpetrators do what they did, people choose sin. I do believe he is in control and allowed it, which is mighty hard, but the alternative seems to be to believe he manages things after the mess. I can no longer shrink him down to that. There is no comfort in that at all.

        Dee this weeks topic was timely, a Holy Spirt thing for me. I have the early part of the week off, so I have a bit more time than usual and I just returned from doing a Redemption Group Immersion which has left me feeling in awe of watching the Spirit move but pretty wobbly personally.
        I am grateful for some quiet and a chance to unpack my heart.

  15. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        

    Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”

    Can it really be that God is keeping things from you? You don’t really believe that you will die, do you? He is holding out on you.

    I am not sure if that is a ‘soundbite’ 🙂

    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
    (See Genesis 3:15c)

    The Father planned for the day when Christ would crush Satan.

    2.  How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin?

    Because Christ finished the work of paying for our sin.

     
    3.  What do we know according to Psalm 139:16?

     
    All the days of my life were written before I came to be.

  16. 1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        
    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”
     

    Satan’s lying voice to Eve was “You don’t need to believe what God says.  You won’t really die. ”

     
    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
    (See Genesis 3:15c)
     

    From that deep enmity Satan brought about a hatred toward God’s family line that culminated in killing Jesus God’s own Son.  Because Jesus was fully flesh the Devil thought if He was killed and eliminated it would ruin God’s plan for Jesus to become the reigning King of all mankind.  But Satan could never have understood that the death annd resurrection of Jesus would be the source of power to overcome sin and death.

     
    2.  How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin? 
     

    Because at the point Jesus said “It is finished!” He had taken on and received the full punishment for sinful flesh.  It was a victory cry on his part that sin and death had been defeated.  He took on our punishment and redeemed and bought us back  from sin and death.
    3.  What do we know according to Psalm 139:16
     

    We know God saw us while we were still in the womb being formed and clearly perceived us before we were born.  He took note even then of us personally and individually and the days of our lives before they even happened.

    Whatever the days of our lives bring God has a plan and it is for our good because our hope is in the Gospel and the Gospel brings life out of death.

     

  17. Dee, do you have any thoughts on my question–am I out in left field on that one?  Or, is it just one of those things that will remain a mystery until eternity?  If God can cause/plan death, can he also be in the ‘smaller stuff’ too, both a result of our sin & depravity?

  18. I glanced over this week’s lesson and some of the responses and would love to participate but I am facilitating a women’s group on Dee’s “He Calls Me Beautiful” tonight and am just overwhelmed with activity. I am excited and nervous. Dee, this study is probably the most difficult but potentially the most beneficial study I have led. May the Holy Spirit lead our small group of women.

    Love the friendship that has developed between Mary E. and Lizzy.

    1. Praying too Diane…right now 🙂

       

    2. Just want to say thank you for those praying for my little Bible study group doing Dee’s study. We are off to a shaky start. Three people were a “no show” (one was sick) but 3 others might be joining. Fortunately, some coming are one’s generally on the periphery of the congregation.  I am sensing God is at work, but this feels risky. Pray that God will move and that I will follow God’s lead bravely.

      1. Diane–Do you meet every Monday? Want to write it down & remember to keep praying! Wish I could join! : )

        1. Yes, Lizzy. We meet every Monday, except this coming Monday because this weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. I would so appreciate your continuing prayers. I am SO aware of needing God’s help.

        2. Diane-YOU BET. I am so excited for you and your group and will pray that God will stifle the evil one and arouse the hearts of those He has there. We love you so.

        1. I appreciate everyone’s prayers for our Bible Study. God is indeed mysterious. I so need wisdom in my words and love from the Lord for all these needy women. We have two women who are “living with” their boyfriends. It makes talking about marriage incredibly awkward. God is in control. He is able. Help me, Lord, be a conduit of what all these women need to hear.

  19. I haven’t had a chance yet to read all the responses–but my heart is heavy to respond to the questions about God allowing, appointing even, sorrow. My thoughts don’t offer much of a clean answer–but I think we cannot answer without remembering who our God is–His character, His attributes, and who we are–we are not capable of understanding all His ways–we literally cannot see the whole picture yet and that makes it impossible to have full understanding. But more, this is not Home. So death, as much pain and sorrow as it brings here, is not the end–and we can say that, but God KNOWS that. And when I look at it from His perspective, I see death, at least sometimes, as a mercy–certainly for my Dad it was, as painful as it was for us here, I believe my Dad is in the presence of the Lord and finally healed of his alcoholism. I’m doing a study of James (Jen Wilkin), and we are reminded again–there is pain and loss and sorrow in this world–we have been told it will be this way, and yet we don’t really expect it as much as maybe we should? The great promise though, the hope–is that God promises not to waste the pain, He will use it all for His purpose and glory, and He is gracious to often let us see glimpses of that–but even greater the promise, for me,  is that this isn’t all there is. Dee WILL see Steve again, Mary E. will dance in perfect health, and my son will no longer need transfusions to live.

    I guess rather than asking why God has allowed the various trials in my life, I humbly admit I don’t understand, and often I cry out begging Him to change it because yes, I know He has the power to do so in an instant, and yes, He could have stopped whatever calamity from happening and chose not to–an no, I don’t get that or like it a lot of times. Still, it is a FAR scarier thought for me to think He does not have ALL the power of ALL things. I want Him to be the One who holds all the power because I am certain of His goodness. We can trust Him in charge! And as certain as I am of my ignorance of the bigger picture, I am also certain we are on our way Home. Some moments are much harder than others, but the more I cling to what He tells us of Himself in His Word, and really believe it as fact–the more I can rest, and wait, with hope.

    1. Lizzy, I agree, this was beautifully articulated.
      When I believe that he is good (I have to be remember, put this back together in my heart), that he loves me, I can put my hand in his and walk in faith no matter how weak I feel, no matter the circumstances.

    2. Lizzy, all this is beautifully said. Thanks for taking the time to articulate your thoughts on this deep subject!

      “Still, it is a FAR scarier thought for me to think He does not have ALL the power of ALL things. I want Him to be the One who holds all the power because I am certain of His goodness. We can trust Him in charge!”

    3. Diane, YEAH!!  I’m so happy to read you are leading that study!  Praying it opens hearts!

    4. I love this, Lizzy, very well articulated!

    5. Great reminder to always start with God’s attributes, what we know to be true about Him.

    6. Dear Lizzy I can SO relate with crying out for Him to change it. In my home there is no where to go to be quiet and cry out so I go to my very messy closet and ask him for refrain from anyone trying to find me, and that was the day I cried out for just one day that went well. (what a baby i am…think about our brothers and sisters imprisoned for Jesus in other countries!) :)) Regardless, He meets me there. Off topic but when my aunt passed away on 9/11 I was able to go to her funeral. It is set in the Boston Mountain range in Arkansas so where they live is beautiful. She was buried in a small church in the middle of a scenic view and while my families suffering was like a knife in my heart-and a huge part of my grieving-God gave me time to be with him outside by myself and no one knew where I was. yay! The wind blew and the beauty, and He just overwhelmed me with His comfort and I was able to just open up and be vulnerable and talk with Him and even ugly cry-but I felt held close. I so need more of those alone times with Him but even if I don’t when I am face to face I can’t even imagine how wonderful that will be.

  20. 1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        
    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.”
     

    He encourages her so she will …be like God; all knowing.

     
    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
     

    He will eventually be struck by Jesus.

     
    (See Genesis 3:15c)
    2.  How do we know, according to John 19:30 that believers are not being punished for their sin? 
     

    Because Jesus took it all.

     
    3.  What do we know according to Psalm 139:16?
     

    Jesus knew us before we actually lived.

  21. A lot of really good feedback and depth to this hard concept.  Thanx everyone.  I am eating a large slice of humble pie, talking about small issues vs what many of you are dealing with in life.  And just learned the shocking news of the LV shootings, may God have mercy.  I guess, once again, I realize that we will never figure everything out this side of heaven, but need to learn to keep trusting, resting in God’s providence…God is God & we are not.

  22. In view of what we’ve been discussing here, I thought this article by Russell Moore on the LA tragedy, “Where is God in a Mass Shooting?” is fitting and helpful: http://www.russellmoore.com/2017/10/02/god-mass-shooting/

    Excerpt: “Christians sometimes suppose that our non-Christian friends and neighbors want to hear a detailed explanation, to justify God in light of such horror. The Bible doesn’t give us easy answers. The Word of God instead speaks of the “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:7). When tragedy fell upon Job, an ancient follower of God, and asked why such happened to him, God did not fully answer him. God instead spoke of his own power and his own presence. That’s exactly what we should do. We do not know why God does not intervene and stop some tragedies when he does stop others. What we do know, though, is that God stands against evil and violence. We know that God is present for those who are hurting. And we know that God will ultimately call all evil to a halt, in the ushering in of his kingdom. We know that God is, in the words of the hymn, both “merciful and mighty.””

    1. Thanks for sharing that article by Russell Moore and your “pure gold” thoughts.  Both bring an excellent perspective to the great suffering involved and a proper view of God.

    2. Thanks Lizzy, I shared this on Facebook. I woke yesterday to people asking me if my son and daughter who live in Las Vegas were okay. I knew nothing about what had happened, but the mere question and the flood of fear and emotion it brought really shook me.
      I so long to see my children walking by faith. The questions of are they “safe” brings home to me that they are not, in a much bigger sense than physical safety.

      1. Oh, Christina. I forgot you had family living in Las Vegas. What a scare that must have been for you! Praying for their physical and spiritual safety.

      2. Chris, Such a simple yet profound thought. Oh what we can learn from you: The questions of are they “safe” brings home to me that they are not, in a much bigger sense than physical safety.

  23. 4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.

    Lamech had 2 wives
    It appears from his manner of speaking that he was brutish with them
     
    He was insulted by whatever the young man had done, I remember a Keller sermon that suggested that the offense was a minor one, so he killed him. I sort of imagine him as a gorilla, beating it’s breast.

    He emulates Cain, he is pursuing evil.
    He putting off the part of him that is created in Gods image and putting on the part of him that responds to evil desires

  24. Laura, I responded to an earlier post of your’s above. Don’t know if you will see it but wanted you to know it’s there. 

  25. 5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption.

     
    God creates and blesses us with good gifts, we choose the gifts over him, we manipulate and grab for control. He is rightfully grieved by our treason. There is a weight to our sin that has to be dealt with. Yet he longs to be in relationship with us.
    He makes a way…

  26. 4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.

     

    Lamech has two wives, he kills a person, and wants revenge to the max (I’m confused about the revenge here… is it Lamech who has the revenge or is it God who will make sure no one touches Lamech, like Cain, seventy times seven? In other words Lamech would be protected by God seventy times seven). He seems to want the wives to agree that his actions were right in killing the man for touching him.

     

    5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption.

    Man was sinning, God decided to judge and wipe Earth clean, but left Noah as a sole survivor because he was a good man.

     

     

  27. Laura, I always appreciate your authenticity.  I feel for you.  My younger sister “was” your daughter growing up.  Today she is walking with the Lord & a beautiful soul in spite of all the hurt & pain from the past.  I pray that gives you a little bit of hope today.  Lizzy your earlier post & the excerpt above were so good.  “when tragedy fell upon Job…God did not fully answer him…instead spoke of his own power & presence…”

  28. 1.A.  Sound bite …. God can’t be trusted.

    satan may be crafty, but he is not creative or original. He copies, he lies, he shades things, and continues to do that today.

    2.  Jesus shows that believers are not being punished, because as He hung there taking our punishment, He said it was finished.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we won’t be disciplined or face persecution or the consequences of a sinful world. I, for one, have a very hard time differentiating those. That all feel like punishment to me. That’s where we have to rely on Bible truth rather than on what we feel, or are told by the devil.

    3.  We know that God’s eyes have been on us since we were conceived and will be throughout every day ordained for us.

  29. Always a blessing to read the comments here. Lovedwhat Chris said about taking time to unpack her heart, for the many golden insights and the tenderness of exhortation and admonition among all. Busy week in school again.

  30. 4.  Deterioration. Cain did his sin quietly, thinking he could hide it. Lamech boasts of his. Cain, though he didn’t sorrow over his sin, did sorrow over his punishment and accepted that God could protect his life by keeping others from killing him, or else avenge him seven times over. Lamech thought he could stand in God’s place and decree that anyone who did any slight against him, Lamech himself would take revenge seventy seven times. One wife wasn’t enough for Lamech. Maybe he had a sinful sexual appetite. What scares me is how much of Lamech I see in me. The tendency to boast, to be arrogant, to be controlled by my appetites, to think I know better than God, and that I can or should defend myself. All the while Jesus models for me humility, meekness, self control, submission to the Father, and the willingness to bear the cross for greater good.

    6.A.  What does it mean to walk with God? It seems like these men had a substantial part of them that wanted to be with God. They talked to Him in their spirits, and wanted to do what was right in His eyes. They trusted in Him and not in themselves. They were willing o be different than all their contemporaries and look forward to a time and place where they would be free not only of the world, but of their own evil inclinations. They looked forward to seeing God face to face.

    B.  True believers could be described in this way. On this side of the cross, we also have the advantage of more explanation plus being able to see the very sacrifice of Jesus.

    C.  Is it true of me? Because I have fallen off the wagon when it comes to food, I see more of my sin nature right now. But that doesn’t change the fact that I do see my sin as sin, and I long and yearn beyond what I can express to walk with Him consistently, constantly, and in purity. Just typing that makes me want it more.

  31. 6A. Consider others who are described as having this kind of intimacy with God: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses… What do you think this means?
     

    I think they knew Him well.

     
    B. Why might this be a good description of a true believer? 
     

    I think this would be a good description because it means you have to dig deep into His Word to really know Him.

     
    C. Is this true of you? How or how not?  
     

    I have gotten to know Him more than I ever have, so yes, I am digging deep and trying hard to understand better.

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

     

    I’m late getting started this week, but I’ve been reading everyone’s comments. This is really a hard topic. I remember years ago being in a small group with a pastor and he brought this up, too….does God allow, or is it His plan? Laura raised the question, did God “make” her daughter with an 80 IQ? I know the psalmist says that “God knit me together in my mother’s womb”….I have pondered, do we take that literally or as poetic imagery, a metaphor? I have also been thinking about the video we watched of Wesley Hill, the Christian man who has same-sex attraction, as he tried to discover what is his “story”….is he this way because of a dysfunctional relationship with his father? No. Was he born with some sort of gene that made him this way, or, as some would say, did God make him this way? Was his same-sex attraction a “good gift from God”? Again, Wesley said no. Wesley said that in the Bible, there is the story of creation in “three acts”- God’s perfect and good creation, a creation that was deformed and marred by sin and death, and then, a story of a creation that will one day be redeemed and restored. Not a creation that will be replaced by something else, but restored to what it was supposed to be. And he placed himself in that story. And so I find myself mostly holding to the belief that cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons, Alzheimer’s….genetic mutations, and the list could go on and on, are a result of a creation that was deformed and marred. Yet, I believe that God is in control and sovereign, and that He can bring good out of suffering. When my nephew died of an overdose, trying to find out the “why” brought me no comfort, nor did the “what if’s”. The only thing, in the end, that brought me any comfort was reaching the conclusion that God weeps and mourns for our losses, too. That was from a sermon we listened to by Tim Keller about Jesus raising Lazarus, and how, before He raised him, Jesus wept….but it was a bellowing….Keller said that Jesus knew about all the funerals there would be where there would be no happy ending. In the end, that was what was important to me, that God cared about Thomas and that He wept, too. I concluded that if I was handed a “box full of evidence” that explained everything about his death, it wouldn’t bring me any comfort or peace in the end, only God’s presence would.

      1. Dee, isn’t that a “coincidence” that you are also quoting Wesley Hill! I have watched that video of him speaking at the Agora Institute, that we originally watched here, several times, and have recommended it to others as well. Wesley is a very articulate man, and I appreciate how he really, really did the work of deep soul-searching and digging into God’s Word to explain the meaning of his life; I love how he chooses to place himself into God’s story. (As an aside, in his talk he mentions how he couldn’t fit into the group that was able to, I’ll paraphrase, ‘enter in as gay and come out straight’…..on a radio program a couple of years ago, I learned that the man who started Exodus ministries actually ended it.)

         

        I also can understand the argument that if things happen only because of the Fall, then doesn’t that mean that God isn’t in control? I do know that Satan is called the ruler of this world, as Paul says “the powers of this dark world….” yet Satan isn’t more powerful than God. I think it was Chris who said that God doesn’t just come in after the mess happens. I don’t understand it! I’m glad we can all openly ponder and discuss it together though. I have asked God, at times, out loud, “Really, God? Is suffering what You have to use?” I think of the stories of those who died in Texas in the hurricane, now the shootings in Las Vegas. Some are spared, others are not. I do believe that God knows the number of our days in advance….does He just know what will happen to us, or does He plan it….when we did the God of All Comfort, you referred to Psalm 131, “I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother….is my soul within me.”

    1. Susan, this is such a helpful comment. Thank you so much for taking the time to contribute. It is obvious that you have pondered this deeply as part of your grieving process with your nephew. Your nursing perspective is also very helpful here. I admire Wesley Hill and Keller and their wisdom as you have explained it here.

  33. Susan, Thankyou for your answer. You really brought it together in my own mind.   I think you have articulated well what is the problem of our fallen and broken world. The 3 acts of creation lays it out well. “In the beginning” creation was perfect and as God said it was good.  Then God’s creation was marred and deformed by sin. Sin has wreaked it’s havoc and we live in the midst of the results.  But what creation will become is a result of the Gospel. That is at the heart of what we have been studying here on the blog. God Himself stepped down in time in the person of Jesus Christ and experienced the deepest of pain physically, emotionally and spiritually in taking on sin and death. So because of that like you said our only true comfort comes from His presence.  I have said before that when there are no answers there is Jesus.

  34. Consider others who are described as having this kind of intimacy with God: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses… What do you think this means?
    I think it means a real relationship, two way communication. That the person has come to rely on God for direction and to make sense of life.

    B. Why might this be a good description of a true believer?

    I think I might like mature believer better than true because I think God often allows those he has rescued to be infants for a long time.
    A mature believer walks with God, there is a sense of partnership and accountability.

    I especially love this verse:

    Micah 6:8
    “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?”

    C. Is this true of you? How or how not?

    It is and it isn’t. I cry out to the Lord more and more, I filter less what I am thinking and feeling instead taking it all to him, but then I forget and I grumble.
     
    I am sometimes humble small and trusting, and then I forget and become fearful and self -protecting. I sometimes fear only God, knowing that what he thinks is all that matters, then I forget and want people to think well of me in ways that are idolatrous.
    But I do believe now that he reveals to me my sin and welcomes my repentance with real gladness and love. He restores my soul.

  35. 4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.
    First it says Lamech has two wives.  That was not  God’s plan and was against what He had ordained for man which was one wife.  A deviation from God’s original good plan.  
    Lamech has murdered someone and boasts about it. He demonstrates hate, pride and incredible selfishness.   I think how we see that very thing is magnified even today in the manifold  deterioriation of mankind with the mass murders.  
     
    5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption. 
     

    Sin ruins everthing. What ever it touches is damaged. To change that requires repentance which means  to turn completely away from. That has a cleansing effect.  Then grace comes and salvation from the sin.

     

  36. 7. How do you see both judgment and redemption in Genesis 6:17 and 7:1?

    The flood destroyed, wiping out the rebellion. The Ark made a way for the story, for redemption to go forward

    8. What did God do in Genesis 7:16? Compare this to Philippians 1:6

    The Lord shut Noah in, keeping him safe, The Lord will complete the word he has begun in me.

        A. Do you see a parallel — if so, what?

    God is in the business of finishing what he begins, he maintains our safety, he will see us through to the end.

        B. How does this give you comfort in regard to your salvation?

    Thinking on this this song flooded my heart:

    “When I fear my faith will fail
    Christ will hold me fast
    When the tempter would prevail
    He will hold me fast
    I could never keep my hold
    Through life’s fearful path
    For my love is often cold
    He must hold me fast

    Chorus:
    He will hold me fast
    He will hold me fast
    For my Savior loves me so
    He will hold me fast

    Those He saves are His delight
    Christ will hold me fast
    Precious in His holy sight
    He will hold me fast
    He’ll not let my soul be lost
    His promises shall last
    Bought by Him at such a cost
    He will hold me fast

    CHORUS

    For my life He bled and died
    Christ will hold me fast
    Justice has been satisfied
    He will hold me fast
    Raised with Him to endless life
    He will hold me fast
    Till our faith is turned to sight
     
    When he comes at last

      1. Here it is Dee. I think the first time I heard it was at the CCEF conference on Loss.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4tTPDyEtPE

  37. Susan, your post was stellar, wow.   Rebecca, I understand & empathize with you re prodigal sons—my knees are (literally) worn out from decades of prayer for our son as well.  and Laura, a special hug to you today…my heart was warmed up just reading other’s posts of love to you.  As hard as this topic is, at the same time it is so good to dig so deep sometimes.

  38. I’m also thinking of something else.  Last night @ church in a study group (more of an interesting, open-forum kind of study where we are presented with questions & bat answers back & forth) I decided to throw this issue out & see what the reaction was (God allowing as well as appointing calamity).  To my surprise, everyone at my table agreed with this concept, without even really giving it a whole lot of consideration.  One young mom said, “I see it from a parenting perspective also…when my kids are misbehaving & need discipline, I have to be creative & think of ways that may involve some bad along with the good.”

    1. Wendy, taking a moment here to welcome you!! Interesting what the mom said about creative discipline….and that could open up another discussion on how God disciplines. I was thinking today about how Paul wrote in Scripture how some believers were “taken home early” because of their abuses of the Lord’s supper. I believe it’s just about impossible to ever think or say that we’ve got God all figured out. He alone knows every hidden deed, motive; He alone sees the big picture. One thing we can never do is accuse Him of being unfair.

  39. I just posted this to the prayer FB group, and I’m sure Mary E. will share more here but I couldn’t hold it in any longer! (sorry friend!) Time for PRAISE! from Mary E.: “Now I actually feel like I can look towards the future with hope”…  “the MRIs (she had them done yesterday) are great…as great as can be with multiple areas of sclerotic bone, due to old cancer sites showing up.”…  “It seem that, based on all of this, the drop in tumor marker and the MRIs, I MUST be experiencing a FULL response to this chemo!”

    1. It does all seem to add up to very good news at this time!  I don’t want to give the impression that the chemo is a walk in the park or anything…but I have been able to reduce the dose a bit, to keep from damaging my liver and the skin on my hands and feet, and at that lower dose, it still seems to be working quite well.  My tumor marker has dropped more than ever in over 2 years and the scans are all showing at least “stable” and a little regression of on area of cancer.  Praising the Lord for this, for sure!

      1. We’re praising along with you, Mary!

      2. This thrilled my heart Mary!! So sweet to hear!

      3. So grateful for this good news Mary!

      4. Oh Mary! This is wonderful news!!!! Thank You Lord Jesus! Thank You!

        1. Thank you to all of you for your kindness, prayers and friendship!  It is wonderful to see this cancer finally regressing again!  You all have been and continue to be such a precious support to me through this.

  40. 1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.        
    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite.” Basically that God was holding out on her.  That there was something wonderful she was missing out on because God didn’t want her to experience it.
    B. How, according to the “first gospel” did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself?
    (See Genesis 3:15c)  I guess that he gets a little leeway to cause some problems for mankind but ultimately Christ will conquer him.
     

  41. 7. How do you see both judgment and redemption in Genesis 6:17 and 7:1? 
     

    The flood would wipe out everything but Noah and his family would survive.
    8. What did God do in Genesis 7:16? Compare this to Philippians 1:6. 
     

    He had Noah take one male and one female of each type of animal into the ark. In Philippians, He is described as “…one who brings a good work…” will “…bring it to completion.”
        A. Do you see a parallel — if so, what? 
     

    Kind of. The beginning will be finished this time also, with Christ though.
        B. How does this give you comfort in regard to your salvation?
     

    If I am righteous, as Noah, then those who are evil will fall away, and I will be saved from the “flood” by Jesus. Whew! Lots of mental gyrations here!

  42. 1. Satan’s lies are always an attempt to cause you to doubt God and back away from Him.

     

    A. Of what was the serpent trying to convince Eve in Genesis 3:1-4? Put it in a “soundbite”.

     

    God is lying to you, He really doesn’t have your best interest at heart!

     

    B. How, according to the “first gospel”, did God give Satan only enough rope to hang himself? (see Genesis 3:15c)

     

    God says here that “he” will crush your (the serpent’s) head….I just noticed that this passage goes from plural to singular (the woman’s offspring I would take as plural). Is the “he” Jesus? Satan will “strike his heel”; he will cause plenty of trouble, but a strike to the heel is not the same as a crushed head-that is a death blow.

     

    2. How do we know, according to John 19:30, that believers are not being punished for their sin?

     

    Jesus’ last words on the Cross were, “It is finished”. He took the fullness of God’s wrath and punishment, and if we are in Him, there is no more punishment for us.

     

    3. What do we know according to Psalm 139:16?

     

    That before we are even born, the number of days we will live is determined. It is God who ordains the number of our days.

    1. On the Gen 3 passage, I’ve been taught that the ‘he’ crushing Satan’s or the serpents head is Jesus, who is the seed, singular, of the woman. Because usually it is the seed, pleural, of the man. But this was part of the prophecy of the coming Messiah.

      i am not doing a very good job of explaining this. It is pretty awesome to see the promise of our Savior coming so soon after the fall. Like Dee said, the gospel is all over the Old Testament.

  43. 9. According to Hebrews 11:6, how did one man rescue his family? Do you see a parallel with Christ? 
     

    The key is faith.  Belief in God and trusting He is there and will respond to our deepest needs.  Noah put his faith in God and acted on his belief in what God said.  As a result his family was saved.  Likewise to be saved from sin and death and comimg judgement we have to put our faith in Jesus.

     

     
    10. How has Christ’s death given you confidence and hope in your darkest hours?
     

    The death of Jesus on the cross is the whole focal point and turning point of history. It was there He defeated sin and death for mankind. When He said “It is finished!” Victory was achieved.  Our hope is real.  Even if and when all else fails in this life Jesus is the one constant and we can trust his heart because He literally laid it all down for us. “my hope is built on nothing less thsn Jesus blood and righteousness.”

    In the dark times He has always been there. He somehow makes his presence known.  Through his Word or demonstrated by the love of others.  When we have been hurting we have family and friends who have been the hands and feet of Jesus to us.

  44. I’m reading along and just wanted to point out that, while it is true that Noah was counted by God as a righteous man and that Noah believed God, built the ark and followed God’s instructions to bringing the animals and his family into the ark, yet, later, after the Flood had passed and the family resettled on dry land, Noah failed God rather seriously. In Genesis 9:20-27, Noah got drunk and was found naked in his tent.  It is not clear whether any sexual perversity happened but definitely from the context something sinful happened.

    I only bring this up to point out that, while Noah was seen by God as righteous and was blessed by God, Noah was not sinless and also failed. Noah’s righteousness was by God’s mercy and grace, not by his good works.

    We need to remember that we are rescued by God’s mercy, not because we deserve it.

    1. Diane..SO GOOD!

  45. Mary E—goosebumps, PTL & glory hallelujah!  thank you Jesus!  Diane, good insight with “while Noah was seen by God as righteous & blessed by God, Noah was not sinless & also failed.  Noah’s righteousness was by God’s mercy & grace, not by his good works….we are rescued by God’s mercy, not b/c we deserve it.”

  46. I’ve been listening to Nancy DeMoss Wolglemuth’s series on the letters to the churches in Revelation. This particular one seems to go right along with our discussion of adversity in our lives.

     

    https://www.reviveourhearts.com/radio/revive-our-hearts/decent-people-dying-witness/

     

     

  47. 4. Read Genesis 4:23-24 and describe how you can see increasing deterioration in humanity through Lamech. Find everything you can.

     

    “Lamech said to his wives” – originally, God created marriage (Adam & Eve) one man-one woman. I see here that Lamech had more than one wife. Lamech makes an announcement to his wives that “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me.”  The footnote in my Bible says that it may be also translated, “I will kill a man for wounding me…” Lamech references Cain, when God said He would avenge Cain if anyone laid a hand on him. I see either an actual murder here, or the intent to murder. He seems to feel justified in his actions; he is unforgiving, unmerciful.

     

    5. Read Genesis 6:5-8 and describe how you can see the pattern of human sin, judgment, and redemption.

     

    There was widespread wickedness on the earth….every inclination of man’s thoughts was only evil, all the time. God’s judgment was to remove man from the face of the earth, and everything else too. Redemption: Noah found favor in God’s eyes and God spared him.

     

    6. Noah is described as “one who walked with God” according to Genesis 6:9.

     

    A. Consider others who are described as having this kind of intimacy with God: Adam, Enoch, Abraham, Moses…what do you think this means?

     

    I don’t think it means that they were perfect people who never sinned, but they loved God and kept turning to Him. With Adam, I would say the intimacy, at least in the beginning, was because there was no sin. I’ve always wondered, did Adam and Eve somehow actually “see” God, perhaps the preincarnate Christ? We’re not really told much of Adam’s “walk” after the fall, other than it appears he accepted God’s consequences and continued on with Eve, having more children. Abraham’s life was characterized by trust and believing in God’s promises, and Moses, well, how awesome to be that close to God….Moses always “wanted more” and God let him see his glory.

     

    B. Why might this be a good description of a true believer?

     

    A believer is “one who walks with God”, or, as my translation says, one who “finds favor in the eyes of the Lord”. But, the ONLY way we can walk with Him or have favor in His eyes is if we are in Christ. This is not a description of a person who rejects God’s way of salvation and is trying to earn His favor.

     

    C. Is this true of you? How or how not?

     

    I believe that I do desire to have intimacy with God, though I confess my own heart leads me in other directions….idols, distractions, trying to feast on the things of this world when it’s just a mere scrap because nothing in this world truly satisfies like He does, but I believe that because I have His Spirit in me, I turn back to Him (I would be powerless to do so if not for Him). I still have times when it is hard to believe down to my heart that I am fully accepted in His sight….I look at myself and not to Jesus.

  48. 7. How do you see both judgment and redemption in Genesis 6:17 and 7:1?

     

    Judgment: everything on earth will perish. Redemption: Noah and his family are spared.

     

    8. What did God do in Genesis 7:16? Compare this to Philippians 1:6.

     

    God preserved the animals by having both males and females go safely into the ark, foreshadowing that they would be able then to reproduce and repopulate the earth. The Lord Himself “shut the door” of the ark. Philippians 1:6 says that “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus”.

     

    A. Do you see a parallel – if so, what?

     

    Hmm….God shut them in, and God will finish what He started (at salvation) in me. I’m hearing the tune in my head Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing…. I always wondered if Luther was thinking about The Flood when he wrote that. I’m not going to get “flooded out” like in the days of Noah, but there are lots of “floods” in this life, and many of my own making when I make the wrong choices. But, I am safely “shut in”. Jesus said that He was “the door”….I have entered in and am kept safe!

     

    B. How does this give you comfort in regards to your salvation?

     

    It is God who started it, continues it, and keeps it. Nobody can “mess with it” and I can’t lose it. Once safely in, we’ve never “kicked off the boat”!