How often have we determined on Jan 1 to lose weight, to exercise more, to be kinder, calmer, purer… but by mid-January , we are screaming:
I CAN’T DO IT!!!!!!!
Stop screaming and listen to what you’ve forgotten.
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
We can’t bear fruit on our own. We must put Him first, above our idols, and abide daily. The whole purpose of this blog is to help us, together, to do just that.
Thank you for praying for wisdom along with me. I feel led to do nine weeks with Paige on Daniel 1-7. I have an Easier Green Path, and a Harder Black Path. If you end up somewhere in the middle, that’s okay too. You’ll be abiding and you will bear fruit. Just stay with it!Watch 10 to 15 minutes each weekday and share one thing that stood out to you. You may not finish the whole lecture, but you will still learn much and be blessed.
Black, More Challenging Level.
Watch 15 minutes each weekday and answer the questions in black.
Weekends are for God Hunts and/or catching up.
But before we start Paige on January 10th, we’re going to abide by reviewing highlights from the last year. Reviewing helps cement His precious truths in our hearts.
Then, on Wednesday, Jan. 10th, start watching Paige. Everybody does green on Wednesdays! On Thursday, Jan. 11th, by 9 Central Time, you’ll get a reminder in your inbox that my black questions for the week are up.
But for the next ten days, let us ponder, as Mary, the mother of our Lord, did, what we’ve learned about our God in 2023. Together, we can help each other keep the one commandment that will help us truly bear fruit in 2024.
Sunday: New Year’s Eve, 2023
1. As you reflect just on this last week between Christmas and today, what are you particularly thankful for and why?
2. What thoughts would you like to share on my opening and the plan going forward? Do you sense God leading you to stay with us? If so, what path will you take: green or black?
Monday: New Year’s Day, 2024
Early in 2023, we did a series on “Abba’s Child.” One portrait we considered, with the help of Henry Nouwan, was the Father in the story of the prodigal sons. (Read Luke 16:11-32.)
3. What stood out to you about this Father? How might you use this information to pray for your heart in 2024?
For me, I had a lightbulb moment for I’d always wondered if God backed away or ran toward me when I sinned. I see this Father doing both — allowing both sons to experience the pain of their choices, yet running for the younger son when he returned. I realized that even in allowing pain, He is running toward me, wanting me to come to my senses and repent. I pray that I will trust Him in hard times and be a quick and sincere repenter.
4. We considered Jack Miller’s question: “Do you live like an orphan or a child of God?” An orphan does not expect love whereas a child of God does.
A. Share at least two ways you have seen God’s tender love to you this year.
B. Do you think you live daily as an orphan or as a child of God? Pray for your heart here.
Tuesday: Abba’s Child.
We spent several weeks with Brennan Manning and his book Abba’s Child. He talked about living with a mask, as the Pharisees did, for the praise of others, or transparently, as one who can because he is confident of God’s love. (Read Luke 7:36-49)
5. What was Simon’s greatest concern? What was the woman’s? What is yours?
6. Do you wear a mask? If so, what does that tell you about your trust in God? If you are confident in God’s love, how might that help you care less about what others think?
7. Manning talked about experiencing the risenness of Christ in our lives. How have you experienced the risenness of Christ this year — for example, what answers to prayer have you seen, what changes in your heart or in the hearts of those for whom you have prayed?
Wednesday: Honoring Tim Keller
Tim Keller died on May 19th and we spent the summer doing the first six chapters of John with him. Because he has had such a big impact in all of our lives, I’d like you to ponder:
8. Is there a particular teaching from Keller that has profoundly impacted your life? If so, share what it is and why it impacted you.
For me there are so many, but here are a few:
- He has changed the way I preach and teach. I’m sad it came so late in life, but I am intent on glorifying the Lord and lifting Him up whenever I am given a chance to preach or teach. Keller almost always found a way to melt your heart with the gospel. One way of preaching is to go through a passage and then suggest ways to apply it. Keller was concerned listeners might never apply it unless their hearts had begun to melt during the teaching.
- He turned the light on for me with idolatry, helping me understand the sin beneath my sins.
- He’s helped me to better understand and pray Scripture, whether is the psalms, God’s prayer book, or any passage.
9. Tim and Kathy went to listen to some young gifted preachers. When they were leaving he asked Kathy what she thought. She commented on their giftedness but said they did not yet have “the weight of glory.” That’s a phrase Lewis used to describe God and those who particularly reflect Him. I so saw that in Keller, and how He did not want to be the one in the spotlight. What did you see that you admired about him? How could you be likewise? Pray for your heart.
Thursday: Lord of the Wine and Lord of the Whips
(Review John 2:1-22)
10. Do you remember what the sign of turning the water in the ceremonial jars used for hand-washing into wine represented?
11. Do you remember how Keller connected this first miracle or sign with the clearing of the temple?
12. How well do you relate to Jesus as your Bridegroom? If this has helped you, explain how.
This Fall we went through Jonah with Paige.
13. If you were with us, what was a key lesson that stood out to you? How could you apply it in 2024?
14. If you weren’t with us, here are a few of the key lessons that stood out to me that might also impact you:
Jonah’s national identity was more important to him than his spiritual identity. (See how he put his nationality first in Jonah 1:8-9, and how he never told them his occupation!) Putting being a Hebrew first led to his hatred of the Ninevites and his disobedience. I see many Christians so obsessed with their political party that it distorts their life and attitude toward others who don’t share their view. My prayer for myself is to give grace to others and not put my hope in political leaders. What about you?
Jonah seemed to realize he had a problem with idolatry, (Jonah 2:8) and yet we don’t see him breaking free. Where have you broken free or are breaking free from an idol that was hurting you? Where do you need prayer?
Paige ended her lecture asking, “Did Jonah ever get it?” She said, as the Puritans used to do with new believers, “We’ll see.” Why should we not give new professing Christians too much responsibility?
15. How have you experienced the risenness of Christ this week?
Monday: Thanksgiving Psalms
16. During November we prayed through various psalms, specifically: 46, 72, 106, and 42. Share some highlights that impacted you and then pray them into your heart.
17. During Advent we concentrated on the wonder of the Christmas story: the begats, the Word becoming Flesh, the many faces of the Christ of Christmas in the gospels, and Mary’s wonder. What do you remember in particular and why? How might you pray it into your heart?
Wednesday: Green Path
18. Paige begins Daniel today — if you are joining us, Wednesdays are always the green path. Listen to the first 15 minutes either sitting down or multi-tasking and share. I hope this link works:
This is what stood out to me and why: