Last week our own Sharon marveled on the fact that: “We’re always being covered…there is no aspect of our lives that isn’t covered.” Paige painted that picture so beautifully in her exhortation of Romans 8, and she reviewed it before she dove into Romans 12:1-2. We are constantly covered, constantly under the shadow of His wings.
Perhaps the most important truth we can impress on our children, and pray they experience it, is the depth of God’s love for them. If they experience that when they are young, it will be an anchor for their souls. We must teach them, not that they won’t suffer, but that they can be more than conquerors though it for God is with them and will use it mightily in their lives.
Years ago I told you this story, but seems so appropriate now – -a story of one of my former administrative assistants, and a dear friend, Jill Wolford Johnson. Her children are grown now, walking with the Lord, despite the fact of an enormous trauma when they were so young. They experienced the love and covering of God in the midst of their trauma.
This was Jill and her family when I first met them.
Russ Wolford was a farmer who was killed when he was in the field and came in contact with a live electrical wire. The children were shaken to the core, fearful in the day, and at times experienced nightmares in the night. Jill began to play this song at night for them by Andrew Culverwell called “Cover Me,” to help them sleep. (He doesn’t start singing until 1.12 — but I’d like you to listen to at least a little of it — for it is the picture of covering that Paige showed us through Romans 8.) Jill’s children listened to it every night for a long time.
Jill’s children were met by the presence of God. And then, perhaps four years later, He brought Keith Johnson into their lives, a “Boaz” in so many ways. He told Jill that this was the family he thought had passed him by. The church was overflowing at their wedding as we saw sorrow turned to joy. Keith also helped to make it possible for them to keep the farm and erected a sign that said:
The Wolford-Johnson Farm
Like Boaz, Keith kept the family name from dying out and is a wonderful husband and father. The children are all walking with the Lord today. Here is a picture of the Keith Johnson famiy about 8 years after their marriage and another from last year! Jill just sent me the last picture when I e-mailed her to fact check, and it made me so emotional. I thought about how Paige said that suffering for true believers are stepping stones to glory. These children suffered more than any parent can hardly bear, yet they are walking with the Lord and teaching their children to do the same.
“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” (Luke 1:50)
I told this story often at retreats when speaking on the book of Ruth, often with Kathy Troccoli. So when she came to Nebraska she said, “Dee, I’ve met a lot of Bozos, but never a Boaz. I gotta meet this guy.” So we went to the farm!
Indeed, just as Ruth and Naomi suffered terribly, they were “covered,” and indeed, were on stepping stones to glory. I love the scene when Ruth goes to Boaz, a Christ figure, and asks him to cover her. It’s filled with symbolism of our Kinsman-Redeemer who covers us.
Now we get to Romans 12, and “Gospel Responsiveness.”
Paige said, “This isn’t bad news following good news, but good news following good news.” Because of His mercies, our daily responsiveness will lead to fruit. This is part of God’s love. Max Lucado put it like this.
Her talk, especially on the four soils, made me think of something Tim Keller challenged his congregation with: “If you do not see growing fruit in your life, I’m not saying you aren’t saved, but that you should not be sure you are saved.”
Here is this week’s lecture:
Purple questions are for those reviewing Revelation.
Starred questions are from Paige.
#7 Romans word document
Sunday: Getting Started
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- Is there one particular thing that stood out from Paige’s talk?
Monday: Not Just Covered But Conformed
Paige used several illustrations of those who receive but don’t respond.
3. Do you think Paige thought the two middle soils were saved? Why or why not? Do you?
4. She gave an analogy to marriage: I want Him to marry me but I don’t want to marry Him. What did she mean?
5. She defined a worldview as “Where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going? Why does everyone have a worldview? (Romans 1) What is yours?
6. She said grace and gratitude are not successive but simultaneous. What did she mean?
7. Meditate on Romans 12:1-2. How do you see the above truths in this passage? Find all you can.
Tuesday: Offer Yourself as a Living Sacrifice
8. Meditate on Romans 12:1-2 again.
A. Paige contrasted Plato with Christianity. Do you remember how?
B. Name some ways the sacrifices of the Old Testament differed from our being a living sacrifice.
*C. Is there a difference between the attitude of “staying in bounds” with our bodies, and glorifying God with sacrificial living in our bodies? As long as we do not break rules of sex or substances etc, do we consider any other obligations with our bodies? “So whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). “You are not your own, you have been bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).
*D. Romans 6:6-13 is a preview of this passage in Romans 12, using many of the same imperative words. Look at the THEREFORE in v.12, and discuss what is expounded about being a living sacrifice.
E. Romans 1 taught that all of life was worship. What does that mean? Now, how do we who and how and why we are to worship?
F. Why according to Revelation 7:17 is God worthy of worship? Find as many reasons as you can.
Wednesday: Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind
When Paige urged us not to live lazy lives floating along the river, I thought she might be thinking of this from Susannah Wesley: “Do not live like the rest of mankind, who are like straws upon the river, moving whatever way the river moves them.”
9. Meditate on Romans 12:1-2 again.
A. What are some ways you need to refuse to be conformed to this world? (She quoted Screwtape Letter on how the Lord is trying to save us from “nothing.”)
B. Why is there misery in living in half-hearted sin?
C. How did she define “transform?” (Compared it to the Transformation of Christ)
*10. The only other time Paul uses the verb for “transformed” is in 2 Corinthians 3:18. What is the basis there for the transformation? Behaving or beholding? Again, the transformation is a passive verb—so who is active? See a few verses later in 2 Corinthians 4:6. Again, there is renewed knowledge. Of what? Of whom? Displayed where?
So, what is the object of the knowledge that renews our minds? Is it informational or relational?
*11. What is Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:9-10? And his expounding of it in Philippians 4:8? There is a call to thinking/discernment/approval that goes beyond reading the Bible. What are we feeding our minds apart from Bible studies and devotions? Things that renew us? That lead to the fruit of righteousness?
Thursday: So That You May Know The Perfect Will of God
In The Silver Chair, Jill gets a perspective from Aslan on the mountain of what matters. But he tells her to remember the sign. “Here on the mountain the air is clear — as you drop down to Narnia the air is not so clear. Remember the signs.”
12. Paige told a story about her son at a youth retreat, and being told to go back to his high school where the air is not so clear. What did she mean?
13. Paige said 90% of life is just living – routine — but how can we apply Romans 12:1-2 to that?
14. When Jesus spoke to the church at Thyatira what did he have against them and how can we apply this to our lives? (Revelation 2:20-23)
*15.Look again at Romans 1:18-32. Consider all the ways on THIS side of the work of Christ and our union with Him by His spirit that He is reversing who we are outside of Christour minds, our bodies, our worship.
16. Paige closed with a story of her husband’s best man and his speech. What was his point? And her point?
17. What’s your take-a-way and why?