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Be Still and Know in 2018

Tis a season for everything under heaven,

and Advent and Christmas are lovely,

but the decorations are looking a little sad,

the sweets have made me a bit sluggish,

the money spent a little too freely,

and all the festivities may have crowded out time with Him.

So it is time to turn.

January is the season of new beginnings,

the season of quiet,

where we can renew (or establish) the habit

of drawing near to the One who makes all things new.

David Lano photograph of Dee’s home on Dec 27, 2017


They say it takes 21 days to establish a habit.

Let’s meet together, daily, and see how God indeed, will renew us.

If you are new, just click on the “blog” at the top, and then on the

“Getting Started” door and follow the easy directions.

We have a wonderful group of women here who will enrich you.

And we so heartily welcome fresh faces.

There is room at the table for you!



We have been doing a study on “The Jesus Who Surprises,”

finding Him in the Old Testament and in every corner of our lives.

For the next six weeks we will find Him in the psalms.

The psalms not only help us spend time with Him,

but also help us renew our prayer life.

And how exciting it will be to discover Jesus or His gospel in these psalms.

We have a God who is as near as our very breath, but because He is Spirit, we may forget He is here with us. But the psalmist says, “As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people.”(Psalm 125:2) I often thought of Psalm 125:2 when we lived in Seattle, where mountains practically surround the city. The Olympic mountains line the Puget Sound, and Mount Rainier, in all her glory, looms over the city from the south. Most of the time, however, you can’t see any of them! Whenever my parents visited my dad teased me that there were no mountains, that it was just a grand publicity stunt to lure tourists, for this is how the Seattle skyline often looks, and did every time my parents visited!

But oh, hidden behind those clouds was beauty. Sometimes the sky would be the bluest blue, and you’d look out, and there she was — a mountain so big she looked unreal — taking your breath away. She was there all the time, just hidden from sight.

Mount Rainier

God is like that. He is the God who surprises. Those who were with us during our study of The Song of Songs learned He is like a deer who hides, but then leaps out and takes our breath away. I caught this picture of a stag leaping onto my snowy deck. Indeed, he took my breath away.


This week we will get our bearings, thought it will be a review for old-timers. Many who have been with us for a while have become wonderful encouragers and mentors to those who are new. Come every day, to get off on the right foot for 2018. If you miss a day, don’t quit, just get right back on. The Christian walk is not a sprint, but a long obedience in the same direction. But, as we will see from Hebrews, there is value in conscientiously endeavoring to establish a habit — so let’s make a goal of getting 21 days straight without a missI  I will post a new study each Sunday. We will do this study until Lent begins in mid February. Come and stay with us for six weeks and then evaluate if you want to join us for Lent. We’ve become family here, and there is always room for another at the table!

A few hints for beginners: Give us your first name, and then another name, but not your last, to protect your identity such as  Laura Dancer and Sue Seeker have done. I suggest you do not check the box to get replies, as too many e-mails will fill your box. There are directions so you can show us a picture of yourself, which helps us to know you. We are so glad to have you! We have found it is possible to experience God in a place like this!

Sunday, New Year’s Eve

1. What stood out to you from the above?

2. To help us get to know you, what was one way you sensed the presence of God this last Advent or Christmas and why?

3. Write a prayer right here, asking God to help you get off on the right foot in 2018.  We can read it and pray it for you as well.

4. If you have been here before, how can you encourage your new sisters to not just start, but stay the course?


Monday, New Year’s Day, 2018

I love the Christmas season, but despite my best intentions, usually have too many sweets, especially at the end, and I did it again. I am taking the warning of Hebrews seriously


5. What does Hebrews 12:12-13 tells us to do? Is there an area where you are in danger of becoming “lame” if you continue to walk this path? What is it and how might you establish a better path in the next several weeks?



6. Read Luke 24:1-27 (Review for many — but the basis of this study.)

A. How did Jesus surprise the two on the road to Emmaus?

B. Why do you think He did not allow them to recognize Him at first?

C. What did He show them in their Scriptures (the Old Testament) according to verses 26-27?

The Greek phrase “zeugma,” translated “all” means from front to back. In other words, both Christ and His gospel can be found in every Old Testament books.

D. If you were with us in the fall, share one place you discovered Jesus “in the books of Moses.” Why did this stand out to you?

Tuesday, Jan 2

7, Read Luke 24:28-53 

    A. How did the two describe their time with Jesus in verses 32?

    B. Have you had a time when you felt like that? If so, share.

C. Imagine you were in the room with the eleven when Jesus appeared. Describe what you would have seen. How do you think you would have felt?

D.  What three sections of the Old Testament are mentioned in verse 44?

I (Dee) am writing a book tentatively titled “The Jesus Who Surprises.” Though I wish I could cover every OT book, for Jesus and His Gospel are hidden in every one, since I am writing just one book, I must limit myself to Genesis (representing books of Moses), the psalms (representing the poets) and one or two of the prophets (representing the prophets).

Wednesday: Jan 3

8. Read Psalm 1 and find everything you can about the man who is blessed.

9. How can you be like that man in 2018?

10. How can you see Jesus hidden in Psalm 1? 


Thursday-Friday: Jan 4 and 5.

11. Listen to Tim Keller’s Sermon on Psalm 1 and share your notes and comments. You can divide this into two days — the message is 40 minutes. If you have heard it before, it is definitely worth listening to again!


12. How is living like the man in Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit of eating right, spending right, loving right?




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


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  1. Nanci: you put it so well. My focus cannot be on my own comfort & happiness, but on Him & His glory. Keep sending my roots down into Him & live out what He teaches me daily. In doing this all my longings will be filled, as a byproduct of serving Him & others. Lord forgive my self-absorption & help me to bring joy to your heart today!


    Any word on Mary E?? Miss seeing her here  🙁

  2. 12.  How is living out Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit? When my focus is on the habit, I can’t have lasting mastery. But by digging down deeper into God and His word, seeking to do as He wills in all circumstances, the mastery may well come as a byproduct. I need to chew more on God’s word.


    13.  Take away. I think the soil of my spirit is very sandy. The Water of the Word is gone before I know it. Once a day just isn’t enough.  I want to do more meditation on God’s word and let that fill me.

  3. My takeaway (I love boiling down to digestible bites) is, “If you pursue righteousness, you get righteousness and happiness. If you pursue happiness, you get neither.” It is simply put if not simply done. And there are no mincing of words, for sure. We know what to do. Why aren’t we doing it?

    I think for me, originally, it’s just a matter of not having good examples in lives around me or in my own life. But, when God blesses you once, it is really insane to turn back. We do it, but it’s insane.

    1. I agree, Starlett Ava, “we know what to do. why aren’t we doing it?”…reminds me of Romans 7:15, “… I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. …” 

  4. 12. How is living like the man in Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit of eating right, spending right, loving right?
    Staying in the Word, meditating on it takes me away from a focus on self but on seeking first the kingdom of God. As I do so, habits and priorities change and more in pursuit of pleasing God-that includes being a good steward of my body, my resources and learning to love other as Christ would love.
    13. What is your take-a-way and why?
    Happiness is a choice and it starts by seeking God and finding Him in all the pages of the Bible. He will lead and guide and He is the only One who can prosper everything that I do.

    1. Bing–my take away is your answer to #12. “Staying in the Word, meditating on it takes me away from a focus on self but on seeking first the kingdom of God.”

      But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matt. 6:33

      1. Lizzy, let us pray for one another as we strive to become  Psalm 1 women (and our sisters here, too). You and I surely are 2 peas in a pod. (Smile) Love you, sis!

  5. 11. Listen to Tim Keller’s sermon on Psalm 1 and share your notes and comments.


    I remember this sermon from before, and it is really good and so needed in my life. Some “soundbites” that stood out to me:


    “Have you learned how to become happy and stay happy in this modern world?”

    “If I really know this, why am I so unhappy? Am I a fundamentally and consistently happy person, and if not, why not?”

    Point: “The Bible tells us happiness is possible.” But, people seek it wrongly.

    Point: “Real happiness offered by God is a fundamental happiness, not superficial.” We try to find happiness in externals and circumstances. “Happiness consists in what you are.” In times of sorrow, put your roots down deeper into Him….joy can be stimulated by tragic circumstances.

    Point: “Happiness can never be found directly; it’s only a by-product of seeking something more than happiness.” The more I am concerned about God, the happier I will be.

    Point: “Happiness is something you choose.” Ask yourself, “who do you belong to? Do other things own you? Whose lap are you sitting in?”

    The Law of the Lord is the whole message of the Bible, as a rule of life. The message is that God sent His Son to die for me, so God can be my Father. Delight in that, think about that and rehearse the beauty of the gospel in your mind.


    12. How is living like the man in Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit of eating right, spending right, loving right?


    In these areas of eating, spending, and loving (relationships), who am I going to look to for guidance and direction in these areas? The blessed man doesn’t follow the counsel of the ungodly in how to live his life; He seeks to do life God’s way. The man in Psalm 1, his focus is first on God – to know Him, to love Him, to stay near to Him, to put roots down into Him (abide in Him), so it’s not about trying to keep a set of rules, “oughts or shoulds”.

  6. 12. How is living like the man in Psalm 1 related to establishing a new habit of eating right, spending right, loving right?

    If I live like the man in Psalm 1, then my roots are planted next to the stream-the Gospel- as I meditate on the Gospel, my delighting in Him grows and grows as I absorb into my affections the reality of how He delights in me-then these things that have a hold on me, not eating right, spending right, loving right, will loosen and eventually they won’t have a hold on me. I like what Susan said about trying to keep a set of ‘rules’..that isn’t what God wants when he wants us to establish new habits. It is kind of like what Dee taught us a long time ago-our attempt to paste on fruit.

    1. Rebecca, thank you for your wonderful sermon notes! This is so good from you here: “as I meditate on the Gospel, my delighting in Him grows and grows as I absorb into my affections the reality of how He delights in me….”

      1. Susan, Thank you for your wonderful answers and your pondering-He often whispers truths to me that stick through your posts, and I miss you-seeing you face to face! You are as tender and sweet face to face as you are here. 🙂

        I tend to struggle with bad depression -a life long thing with me-my thorn I guess..so absorbing into my affections how He delights in me via being in His word and memorizing it are crucial for me. Also in not allowing myself to feast on self condemning and lying thoughts. AND this is how I firmly believe we can love others better, eat better and spend better for this is how He changes us. 😉

        So changing my thoughts to his which comes through memorization. I found a great post from one of our pastors on a way to memorize that brings in delight rather than duty. 🙂 I am going to try it via carrying a small notebook around with the verses and having it my desk at work. He gave a great example of how God helps him change his thoughts on the spot and how verse memory has increasingly put a different Word at the center of his life. The words I speak to myself are different than what they used to be. When I am discouraged, I may still say to myself, “Everything is falling apart!” But another word rises up in my heart: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, He will save the crushed in Spirit.” There is increasingly a different Word at the center of my life now. It is why I memorize Scripture now — without the guilt and without the bribe.”

        1. The words I speak to myself are different than what they used to be. When I am discouraged, I may still say to myself, “Everything is falling apart!” But another word rises up in my heart: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, He will save the crushed in Spirit.” There is increasingly a different Word at the center of my life now. It is why I memorize Scripture now — without the guilt and without the bribe.” Thank you for sharing this Rebecca. 

  7. 13. What is your take-away and why?


    I’ve got many thoughts swirling around in my brain right now….the passage from Hebrews about making a level path to walk on, strengthening your weak arms and legs….determining to do something about things in my life that can make me “lame”….how Jesus surprised the two men on the road to Emmaus and wanting to be more aware of His presence in my life, wanting Him to surprise me (I’m reading Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg and she writes that she “prayed for pixie dust”), and then Psalm 1. Psalm 1 would be enough to think about and ponder for the rest of my life! I would not say that I am a fundamentally happy person and I fall prey every time to my circumstances bringing me down. Or, they wear me down, like sandpaper. Or, the sorrow and pain of others brings me down. I so want to have that deep down joy….not a “yippy-skippy” thing, but a quiet stream that runs deep down inside of me. I love this from the Song of Songs, which Nancy Wolgemuth says is the answer to burn-out….”Tell me, oh You whom I love, where you rest….where you feed….I want to be where You are in those green pastures and beside those quiet waters.”

    1. Susan, I too love your word picture-a quiet stream that runs deep inside of me. I will need to start a little book on word pictures from the Bible gleaning from the wise women here!

    2. Susan, what do you think of Wonderstruck? Do you recommend it? Also, thanks for the recommendation of Nancy Wolgemuth on Song of Songs. We are doing Dee’s book in our Women’s study and I am looking for online recommendations for those who want to go deeper. Do you have any more suggestions?

      1. Diane, Nancy Wolgemuth’s study of The Songs is very good. There are audio CD’s and a little work booklet with questions; I ordered it about 2 years ago from her website. I am only on chapter 3 of Wonderstruck. It’s a good read so far; I wouldn’t say it’s real depth-y or overly challenging. It does make you think about  looking for God in the everyday….kind of like what Dee calls a God Hunt.

        1. Thanks, Susan. I appreciate your responding to my question about Nancy Wolgemuth’s Song series. I had forgotten that I had even asked. I am working through Dee’s study on the Song with a group of women. We are all finding it challenging. This week we are preparing Lesson 8 from Song 4 where Dee points out that the marriage has taken place. She stresses the freedom of sexual intimacy in the bonds of physical marriage and then points out the application spiritually between Christ and the church. I would appreciate your prayers as I am finding the preparation challenging and I hope it won’t be too hard for the women to relate to after a break of more than a month over Christmas.

  8. 13. What is your take-a-way and why?

    I am so glad He rescued me and made me His. I am grateful that He is patient and long suffering with me. That He doesn’t condemn me when I have failed living out Psalm 1. I can’t help but think of His whisper to “come and see” before I read Scripture in the mornings..Or better yet, like in the Song of Songs-rise up my love, my fair one and come away with me. His invitation daily for me to come away with Him via His word, as I walk along the way each day, and via my choices throughout the day. And the joy in knowing when I fail in this I can go to Him, repent and turn. Lord give me more of a heart of flesh- a play-dough heart..like Donne’s poem, would you divorce and untie again those things that keep me from you, and take me to you for unless you enthrall and ravish me, i won’t be free.

  9. A play dough heart-aahhh…Rebecca. That is what I long for, too. And Psalm 1 is a great start for another round of Scripture memory this year for me.

  10. Oh such wonderful life giving thoughts & words from u all here! Yes, like Susan, I pray for a quiet stream deep down in my soul. And this stood out to me:  “who’s lap are u sitting in?”  I want to be sitting in my Heavenly Father’s lap with His eternally loving arms wrapped around me, holding me secure & close to His heart. There I am at rest, I can be myself & breathe a deep sigh of relief, knowing He has it all in His mighty hands  🙂

  11. My take this week: Seeing Jesus in Psalm 1!

    Jesus is the stream of water! I will put down roots to let that living water give me strength to grow fruit in season. Father, I thank you for the living water.