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People say, “Tapestry isn’t a complete program.” Is that right?
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This is one of those things that “people say” which illustrates very well the telephone game type of distortion that I described in the Introduction to this series. Whether or not a program is complete …

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Home » Book Club Selections

Because He Loves Me: Discussion #6

Submitted by on December 13, 2011 – 10:32 am3 Comments

This post covers chapter 6.

Pre-reading exercises for you and your journal:

  1. How is it that a believer apprehends (grasps or receives) salvation?
  2. Read these passages in preparation for reading this chapter: Numbers 21:4-9 and John 3:1-21. A “type” in the Bible is a story (with real people and events) that foreshadows greater and future realities yet to come, thus preparing the way for the latter. Write down the types of the gospel story offered in the account of the Israelites and the fiery serpents in the wilderness.

During (or after) your reading of the chapter:

  1. “Pious, scholarly Nicodemus was helpless” (96). Why was it necessary for Jesus to tear Nicodemus’ worldview to shreds? How has God helped you in your life by removing things that you counted on? What things has He put in their place? Be specific!
  2. Elyse reminds us that “There is one qualification for the reception of these [gospel] blessings; that qualification is faith” (96). “Faith, then, is simply a believing that there is a God who loves us, in spite of the poison of sin coursing through our soul” (97). Sit before the Lord for a moment or two. Ask Him to show you specific stumbling blocks that you place in front of your feet as you attempt to walk by faith. We all have unbelief; we all have thoughts or experiences that tempt us to doubt. Find at least three that you know are stumbling stones to your simply looking to Christ and believing that there is a God who loves you. Write these down, and ask God to help you to put them out of your pathway, by His grace! Now read John 6:40 and affirm to the Lord that this is the only pathway you care to walk!
  3. Similarly, Elyse quotes Hebrews 11:6 as she expands on a working definition of saving faith. Read this passage and do a similar exercise of asking God to show you where your worldview, life experiences, disappointments, or fears tempt you to disbelieve that “God is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Faith is a response: God is calling you to choose to believe, and to clear stumbling stones out of your path so that you can know Him better and enjoy the life that He has lovingly called you to more!
  4. “What will you discover when you turn your eyes in dependence upon the Lord? You’ll find him gazing back at you, eagerly waiting to bless” (100). Again, this can be foreign to our legalistic, self-reliant hearts. As homeschooling moms, we carry a significant responsibility, and often without much support. We can so easily slip into self-reliance, where the energy for, course of, and outcomes of our homeschooling efforts come to rest on us alone. We can grow into habits that tempt us to not look to God, to not rely on Him for strength and favor, and to trust in our own efforts–even as we fear the outcomes! How good it is to be reminded that God hovers over us to bless us the minute that we turn to Him in helplessness and dependence!
  5. On page 104, Elyse offers a bulleted list of Scriptures that demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is given to us by God to enlighten us and strengthen our faith. Which of these speaks most strongly to you today? (Care to share on this or any other point we’ve covered? I’d be encouraged if you did! Hit the “comment” link above, if you feel so led.)

3 Comments »

  • [...] Discussion #6 for this book. AKPC_IDS += "1503,";Popularity: 3% [?] [...]

  • Elizabeth says:

    Chapter 6
    1. A believer must have faith that Jesus died for his/her sins.
    2. How funny. We will be reading this exact story in our Family Reading Bible tonight!!! So this will be our family discussion.

    1. I’m glad to get back to Nicodemus.. This past fall I did a study of the Pharisees. I am actually a very good one as I discovered. I called it my Pharisee or Disciple series. Nicodmeus was one of the few who was a Pharisee who became a disciple. Well, at one point in my life my husband was in the depths of depression with a horrible job situation, my father was living with us, my church was in an uproar with no pastor, youth pastor or music minister. I was on the search committee with everyone looking to us to solve all the churches problems which ran much deeper than just needing a pastor…, my mom battled cancer again while my grandmother who was living with her was dying of Alzheimer’s. All of my normal places of support: my husband, my mom, my church were gone. Only God remained.
    2-5. I like this definition of faith:
    The shifting of your eyes from this page to another object doesn’t require great skill, deep understanding, or monumental strength. It simply requires a desire to do so. That’s what faith is—a looking away from yourself to Someone else.
    My biggest stumbling block is probably that I do not trust him to do what is best for me. I feel like I have struggled my entire life.. Yet he put those things there/allowed them to happen. They haven’t felt like what is best for me.. I just have to trust that it is.
    John 6:40 (NIV84)
    40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

    I just shouldn’t worry about this life, I suppose and just know that my eternal life will be better..
    John 6:37 (The Message)
    Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me. And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go.
    This is one of the verses I clung to when everyone in my life was looking to me to help them. Everyone in my life was needy. I was so incredibly tired…still am if truth be told. I just had to believe that God was there. I meditated on this verse: Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV84)
    17 The LORD your God is with you,
    he is mighty to save.
    He will take great delight in you,
    he will quiet you with his love,
    he will rejoice over you with singing.”

    I just pretended I had climbed up in his lap.. But then the rest of the day loomed with phone calls and everyone needing something..

    I wish I felt this” As we think on our sweet relationship with him, we’ll find joyful gratitude and humble confidence blossoming within our hearts. For instance, we’ll grow in our belief that he really is good and that we don’t have to fear obedience (1 Pet. 3:6), because he loves us too much to command anything that will ultimately harm us. Instead I always feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop… How can I let go??? Everyone depends on me… Can all of this truly be good… I struggle. How can I be sure he is completely good when everyone around me suffers???? Currently I struggle with my husband’s grandmother. She is a godly woman. She is in a nursing home and I am currently the one visiting her and ministering to her. Her family is far away and has sick people in their families that prevent them from doing so. God was so important to her. She is now over 100 and no longer recognizes anyone. She knows me but doesn’t know who I am.. Other people in the demensia ward are from my church…some are SO young.. ( 6o and 70′s don’t seem so old anymore to me!) They don’t know who they are… One is a lady that was the children’s choir teacher for my daughter. Another person sold us our house 25 years ago.. I sing hymns with them because they still remember those even though they cannot remember much else… It seems so cruel…. How can this be what is best..
    So Lord, please help my unbelief!!! I want to have faith.. I don’t want to doubt in your goodness.. But it is so hard…

  • Marcia says:

    Elizabeth: I am traveling today, and only have a brief time, but I wanted you to know that I continue to carry you on my heart. You are precious to your Savior!

    You wrote above: “…he loves us too much to command anything that will ultimately harm us. Instead I always feel like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop… How can I let go??? Everyone depends on me… Can all of this truly be good… I struggle. How can I be sure he is completely good when everyone around me suffers????”

    I can SO SO SO relate to you in this! I am turning 54 this year and, as you may know from my teaching tape “The Nearness of God is My Good” I struggled in my 20′s and 30′s for faith through a constant battle with an irrational fear of cancer. (You can find that here: http://www.lampstandbookshelf.com/ZC/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=100_5&products_id=154&zenid=8f22e8ebff4a01c64f30efd6038544da). The problem of “why God; why evil?” has occupied the best minds of humanity for centuries, and for all of them, it came down to mystery and faith. Why does God allow suffering? Why does He author a story filled with pain and striving if He is good and loving?

    His love for us and the fact that all things are working together for good is TRULY a faith walk thing. We cannot KNOW this with our limited, fallen, physical senses. Yet, by His Spirit, we can come to have a settled belief that, contrary to all senses and logic, it must be so. It comes to believers via different routes, in my opinion. But, in my experience of counseling others, I’ve had the most success in pointing them (and myself) to a combination of Isaiah 55:8-11 (quoted below so you won’t have to go and look it up) Ephesians 1 (too long to quote; you might get it out now).

    Isaiah 55:8-11 (ESV)
    For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

    It seems to me that when you put these two passages together, you get a hint of what it’s all for. The Isaiah passage clues us into the fact that God really DOES have higher (and better) thoughts than do we humans. It reminds me that I am the creature, not the Creator. So often (especially when I am questioning God) I seem to feel free to place myself on equal footing with Him. “Why, God? Is this really best? Can this really be just, or loving, or right?” Why do I, the creature, feel so free to question Him, Who made the universe (and me!)?

    Then, Ephesians tells me what the REAL center of it all is: Jesus Christ. I am here to serve Him. The reason I struggle is because I am in a battle. Struggle should not surprise me. There IS a war going on, and it’s not primarily about me! It’s about God and Satan, and all for the glory of Jesus. The battle truly IS the Lord’s, but I am called to labor in it, and will prevail if I grow not weary in doing well, by His grace alone. I battle in His war, and only by His sustaining grace. I exist to serve and glorify Him, and in embracing that role, I believe by faith that I will be blessed for eternity.

    Perhaps, too, when I struggled with this for the long years of my fear battle, I came to a place so well expressed in the words of Peter: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).

    In America, we have come to see ourselves as central. Our culture is all about self actualization, about the dignity of the individual, about making sure that all individuals get the fullest possible expression of their gifts and talents. It’s a strength of our culture in many ways, but there’s also a subtle sense of entitlement and self-focus that’s extremely dangerous! In days gone by, people got their sense of worth from their station of service: a soldier in the armies of Rome, a servant in a great house in Medieval Europe, a member of an esteemed diplomat’s staff, etc. There’s a burden for the individual in a meritocracy like ours today: the burden of performing admirably in one’s own eyes and in the eyes of those who watch us. Naturally, we extend this attitude to God. We shouldn’t. We were created BEFORE the Fall to be dependent, and to the amount that we deny dependence and the necessity of living a life IN CHRIST, we suffer the pains of attempting to be God without the power, wisdom, and love that He alone commands.

    Returning to suffering, I have been immeasurably comforted by two offerings of Pastor John Piper:

    First, this poem, entitled “Sustaining Grace”:

    Not grace to bar what is not bliss,
    Nor flight from all distress–but this–
    The grace that orders our trouble and pain,
    And then, in the darkness, is there to sustain.

    Second: His article upon learning that he had prostate cancer, entitled “Don’t Waste Your Cancer.” (http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/dont-waste-your-cancer) Since discovering this article, I’ve applied it to countless challenging situations with great benefit. In the spirit of Romans 8:28-29, I have sought to grow closer to God in faith, love, and trust by standing WITH God and looking for dross in my heart that the heat of adverse circumstances causes to rise to the surface where I can see it.

    Hope these quick and meandering thoughts help! God bless!

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