Stepping Up Week 3: Great Things For Us

We’re already half-way through the Psalms of Ascent, as we finished week three this week in Stepping Up Through the Psalms of Ascent by Beth Moore. This week we examined the Psalms of promise, of great things for God’s children. We are reminded of Psalm 34:7 NIV The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. As we move up the mountain and closer to God, we are protected and delivered through the crown of thorns. We heard a powerful statement from Beth Moore in this week’s lesson as she said “nothing can close in on you without closing in on Him first. God alone can be both the watchman and the wall. He has you surrounded even when you don’t want Him anywhere near you because of sin.” As you look at the image of the crown of thorns, remember that through Jesus, you are surrounded. If you are a Prodigal Daughter or have a family member who is still hiding in sin, be sure the read the 12-Day Prodigal Mission.

This week our eyes fell upon Psalm 34 NIV during the course of our study. I invite you to experience this scripture by inserting your name into it and reading the Psalm aloud. Each time you see the words “I,” “my,” or “me,” insert your first name.

Prayer Requests

Our Prayer Wall has been filling up, so please print the page, place a copy in your workbook and pray for these women who are asking for your help. The best way to print the page is to copy and past the prayers into a Word document. If you have a prayer request for our prayer wall, please click here.

Beth Moore Quotes

  • Few things in the human experience breed misery more than insecurity.
  • God is with us and for us even when His face and His favor seem hidden.
  • Nothing brings the heart, soul and mind greater satisfaction than praising one true God.
  • Nothing can close in on you without closing in on Him first.
  • God gave each of us a brain for spiritual reasons as well as intellectual reasons.
  • God never more closely surrounds us than when He lifts us to His breast and carries us home.
  • God keeps His people safe from the prowling lion by encircling us with a crown of thorns.
  • Though God may know a better way, He welcomes us to make our hearts desires known to Him.
  • You’ll never endure a season of tears that can’t turn into a harvest of joy.

This Week’s Scripture Verse

Continue memorize Psalm 121, write each verse on an index card and start memorizing it as Beth recommend on page 22 of your workbook.

For Next Week

  • Read Week Four in the workbook
  • Listen to the Session Four Audio or Session Four Video (optional)

Group Discussion- Answer one question or as many as you like

  1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
  2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
  3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
  4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

Author Christine Abraham

Founder and Ministry Director of the Womens Bible Cafe™ since 2009, Christine has led 60+ online Bible Studies for women. She completed a Graduate of Biblical Studies from Liberty University. She’s an inspired writer, Amazon Top Reviewer and Blogger Follow on Facebook

More posts by Christine Abraham

Join the discussion 70 Comments

  • Janyce O'Brien Virginia Beach, Va. 23462 says:

    Where does Beth find in the Bible that, God keeps His peple safe by encircling them with a crown of thorns. I love that. I know it is a Beth quote, but would love to know how she put it together. I love Beth and have been a facitator for her studies for nine years now. Oops, I spelled facilitator wrong.

    • On page 74 in the workbook, she has a diagram of a crown of thorns and asks her readers to insert names of the people you are praying for…POWERFUL! She is referring to Psalm 125 and prays it “for my loved ones.”

  • Jennifer D says:

    4) Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    a) I decided to get the videos. They are enjoyable to watch. It brings each lesson alive.
    b) The layout of the book, the titles of each day, I love the way each week the way they are.
    c) That he surrounds his people.

  • Christine D says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? I am amazed that He loves us that much. I have been known to hold hardness in my heart for sins of other people against me. I am slowly learning to forgive, and I mean totally forgive people right away instead of holding on to that. I know that God does that for me, so I am working on that part of myself right now.

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) When I am going through a troubled time, I always grow from it. Life would be so stagnet if we never grew. If everything was perfect, then we wouldn’t appreciate all the blessings that we do have. I do try to turn my outlook around when I begin to have complaining thoughts in my head. For example, I hate housework….who actually likes it? But, when I start to have those complaining thoughts I change my thought pattern and thank God that I have a house TO clean!

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 ) When I had twins. I couldn’t believe that God would bless me with TWO babies! For their first few years of life, I was looking for reasons why. And, my mom kept on telling me that they are blessings from God, stop questioning it, and just ENJOY them! Deep down I really thought that I didn’t deserve them. Now, I do, thanks to God. And, I am enjoying every moment of them!

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    The day that Beth talked about sowing seeds instead of eating them. This just hit home for me. There have been too many times, I hate to admit, that I go to church and get filled up. Then, a few hours after church I am right back to sinning and not having any self control. I loved how she worded it, and now I am sowing the seed of the word of God, and I will be harvesting it! 🙂

    I love this study, and I love this website! Thanks so much!

    • Christine says:

      Like you, I had to learn to forgive others. Once I did, I had much more personal freedom in my heart. In forgiving others, I freed myself from a stronghold.

      LOL, I hate housework too! I then learned the Fly Lady method (http://flylady.com) and started blessing my home rather than cleaning it. A new perspective. 😉

  • Carin says:

    How can we say God has been good when we have encountered trouble?

    He is good because he was able to show who he is in that situation. He makes it clear that he delivered us. When we are afraid, low and hurting he is the only one that can & could save us. He makes that apparent.

    Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve.

    My husband was a handyman when I met him. When we got married he got his contractor’s license. We sent post cards to his handyman clients saying he got his license and for 5 years we abundantly blessed beyond expectations. In fact we were not prepared for the success he provided. Things are different now but when I look back I realized I could not believe how crazy blessed were.

    Favorite moment this week.

    Page 80 dissecting Luke 8:11-15- This made so much sense to me and I really want to learn this to memory…Especially verse 15- Another reason why I need to be in God’s word everyday. One day away for his work and that is when verse 12 happens. Doesn’t take much for the Devil!

    11.The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

  • ariel says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by a crown of thorns? I am a new Christian and have many times felt that I have walked away from God. Now I know that He has never left me, that God has always been watching over me, even when I didn’t want Him around!
    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows to encounter trouble? Even when God has allowed me to be in the depths of despair and sorrow, I know deep in my heart that He is good and that something good will come out of this!
    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe & knew you did not deserve? We recently moved to Arkansas from Tennessee. It was a very grueling time for us – my husband had had to come to his new job ahead of me & I had to stay in our house in Tenn., trying to get it sold. As you know, the housing market had tanked & it took 7 long months before God brought us a buyer and I was able to join my husband. I prayed daily that God would get me thru that horrible time & again he did. What I could hardly believe is that when we were looking for a new home, we found our dream home in 2 days! I know I didn’t deserve to have a beautiful home which had been owned by an interior decorator and came complete with beautiful drapes and curtains throughout the house – all of which were my favorite colors so we didn’t have to change a thing! It definitely was a miracle in our lives from our beloved God & we are so thankful to Him!
    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. My favorite moment is when Beth was talking about us reading books about forgiveness knowing the teachings were true & right, yet remaining in our bitterness. I realized then that I have eaten the seeds of forgiveness but not sowed them. I carry unforgiveness in my heart for my abusive childhood but I know now that I have to let go and forgive my parents and give it all to God.

  • Becky says:

    Just to share a comment – when Beth talked about the things that frustrated her the most about her husband – years ago when my husband and I had been married a couple of years I was very frustrated. I get excited about things and I wanted him to show his excitement too. I was praying because this was becoming a large problem in our marriage. As I prayed God reminded me, in His fashion, that I had married my husband for his solid dependability. My first marriage was to an alcoholic who was totally not dependable. He was also very volatile and abusive. There are times even now that I would like a little more expression from my husband, however, I absolutely love him for his grounded self. Sometimes we may forget how blessed we are –

  • Jackie says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?

    Looking back, the only times that I wouldn’t want God anywhere near me would have been when I was sinning and walking through life independent of God. Looking back at those times in my life I also know that His crown of thorns WAS protecting me in ways that will not be revealed until all is revealed. The chances and risks that I had taken without seeking Gods wisdom and going against his Word, it is incredible that I have come through certain parts of my life unscathed and actually blessed.(Not that there weren’t consequences to bad behavior,because there always is, not as bad as could have been, if that makes sense)

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )

    At least for me, encountering trouble may have been warning signs from God that I was not following him, or I needed to look to Him and His word to get through the circumstance. God is good ALL the time.

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
    The one and only thing that God did for me that I didn’t deserve was save me. After years of feeling unworthy, I’ve matured enough to know that God does things for me all the time because I am His beloved child, there is nothing that I can do that will earn anything from Him. He loves me even when I do not measure up.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    A light went on when Beth Moore talked about eating the seed instead of planting it and allowing it to grow. A huge conflict for me has been being so blessed when I read Gods Word, and listen to Gods Word yet do not share it openly with others. I am eating and not planting. I have always been shy and like to use that as an excuse, but there was the truth right in front of me.

  • Marietta says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?

    They placed on Christ’s head a crown of thorns and mocked him as he hung on the cross of salvation for me. God has provided for my salvation through that crown and nothing can overpower it or him. I am safe.

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble?

    I love when Beth said, “That’s where we come to knkow Him, to love Him, to appreciate Him. … as I drive the freeways of Houston, I’m not nearly as prone to give God praise when I have no idea what near-miss I just experienced. Let something deadly almost happen and I am in full-throttle dialogue with my ever-present God.”

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve.

    I had a near-drowning experience — when I could no longer keep my head up God sent the biggest, strongest gentleman surfer he had to instantaneously lift me out of that water and onto his surfboard and delivered me to the shore safe and sound. It was over before it had barely begun and I was astonished at how God had placed my help right there in advance of my need.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    I learned that I have been a “thorn” where the seed was sown. My “on and off” Christian life has been sidetracked by life worries, riches and pleasures and, therefore, I have not matured as a Christian. God has so much more for me. My life is soft compared to many and that is my challenge. God wants me to be consistent in loving Him and dedicating my life to Him every moment. I am tempted (lulled) into complacency and distracted by my busyness and before I know it I have wandered away from Him. I pray for His strength to stay in the Word and seek His will continuously and consistently.

  • Anonymous says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    God protects us even when we don’t deserve protection. So many times, He’s made sure I was safe when I didn’t even think about Him.
    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    He never leaves us. Jesus went through every human experience but didn’t sin. That means He went through the death of a loved one (He wept when Lazarus was dead and He saw how His friends were hurting, even though He knew He had the power to raise HIm up). He went through temptations. He was betrayed by a friend. He drank a bitter cup and suffered physically in ways that I can’t begin to imagine. But He died anyway, choosing to suffer in that present moment so that He could rejoice with us. Nothing that I go through on Earth could compare to HIm humbling himself and taking on the sins of the World… my sins… Last night, we had an awful hail storm. Just before that, I wrote, “Sometimes you gotta go through the rain clouds to appreciate the sun.” That holds true, here. Sometimes, you gotta go through the storms to appreciate the Son. You gotta experience the dark to bask in the Light.

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
    My husband was in a car accident a few years back. He had some pretty bad injuries… but they weren’t as bad as what they had told us at first. I know God healed HIm. He came home the next day… and his recovery process wasn’t nearly what I had imagined. It’s cause God’s work is on a different time frame.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    I needed to hear Psalms 127. I need to give myself permission to rest. I also enjoyed revisiting the parable of the sower. It’s my prayer that His seed will not be choked out by the cares of this life, but will blossom and grow fruit. I’m praying God will help me bloom where I am planted…

  • Teddie says:

    What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    SECURITY…I am a person who has constantly relied on the security of another person to protect me or keep me going through life. With this question, I find that there is comfort in knowing that even alone, I have Him for protection. I definitely am one of those people who can’t be patient enough to wait for fruition of my efforts. Therefore, in my journey to reconnect with God I find that I often became impatient because I had lost confidence in my relationship with Christ.

    How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    The troubles we encounter are life lessons that He is guiding us through. In my book, that is an amazing protector and teacher!

    Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 ) When he gives me the strength and courage to move on and foster new relationships when old relationships have died (mostly at my expense). There have been many times where I feel undeserving of another chance.

  • Carrie says:

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve.
    Before I even came to this question in the study I had written in the margin “meeting Rob!” Rob is my husband, we have been married 1 year and 2 months!!! I remember the first time he called, I couldn’t believe he was actually calling me, I didn’t really know him at all either but after our first phone call I praised the Lord for sending him to me. I didn’t deserve getting from the Lord everything I wanted and yet everything I needed. I pray the Lord reminds me of this in the years to come, the gift of my husband. THANK YOU LORD!

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    My favorite moment was in making the timeline. I thought this was going to be a timeline about the pilgrims so I drew people in the middle that looked like what my head thinks these pilgrims looked like! Later, when we were to write our own “good time remembered” and so on, I would think of them as me and my husband, except the man has more hair then mine has!! It made me smile because when I should this picture to my husband that’s going to be his first comment.

    I really enjoyed the week in this study. So many things to think about I need to go over that week again!

  • Lisa says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? There have been times in my life when I sought to do things my way and did not follow God’s leading. Looking back I can see how God was faithful even though I did not deserve it. He was always present and when I turned back to Him he welcomed me with open arms.
    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) It is through trouble and sorrow that God shows us His grace, teaches us how to have a relationship with Him and how to rely completely on Him.

    • Christine says:

      You said “Looking back I can see how God was faithful even though I did not deserve it. He was always present and when I turned back to Him he welcomed me with open arms.” Sometimes we do not feel worthy of His love, as Satan condemns us to draw us away from the forgiving Father. God will never draw away from us, we pull from Him. We hide, we rebel, we sin and we litter the world with our insecurities and unconfessed past. The entire time, He loves us and waits for us to return home to His unyielding love.

  • Julie says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    That, even when we are ashamed of who we are or what we have done, God does not turn away from us. He surrounds us with his love every day. He always has grace and mercy for use, each and every day.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    He told us there would be trouble and sorrow, and no matter what we are going through, He never leaves us–we don’t face the trouble alone.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
    When God brought me back to a job that I had left previously. I wanted to get out of a job that made me miserable, and God took me right back to the old job I had because that is the field he truly wanted me to work in. He did this for me, giving me a better paying job with less stress and flexible hours, even though I left the field previously for selfish reasons, not taking into consideration that this was the population of people He had always drawn me to and wanted me to work with and help. He has a purpose for me.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    My favorite part of this week was when we were asked to draw out a time line depicting “Good time remembered, Living in between the times, and Good time hoped for.” What really moved me about this was the part where I was able to write down my fears for the future, and wrote “Jeremiah 29:11” over it. I wrote out the entire verse over my worries, and it made this verse more real for me, that God knows what his plans are for me, so I should not worry. I found myself consoling a friend with this verse this week, and I hope it helped her as much as it helps me to remember that God is in control of all things.

    • Christine says:

      Interesting thought: “even when we are ashamed of who we are or what we have done.” We hide our personal crown of thorns, covering them with pride, addictions, depression, and more. Jesus took away our sins and replaced this crown of thorns with a crown of beauty. Many of us forget to wear it and see ourselves as a Daughter of the King. For many years I wore a hidden sackcloth over my heart.

      To all who mourn in Israel,
      he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
      a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
      festive praise instead of despair.
      In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
      that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3 NIV

    • Sue Alice says:

      Julie,

      Great answer, as Christine says your thought on the crown of thorns was most interesting. Thanks for being here. See you later.

  • Sue Fisher says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? That He truly loves me no matter what. There was a time in my life that I was doing ungodly things, but I still knew He loved me an was just waiting patiently for me to embrce Him again and quit my tantrum.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) God has to allow us to grow – spirtually, personally, and emotionally. He wants us to lean on Him and need Him ALL the time – most of the time we can only learn these lessons through trouble and pain.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 ) Bringing a wonderful man into my life to love me unconditionally, for the first time in my life, after my divorce. Through him I have had a taste of what God’s love is for me – unconditional – what a gift!

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. “I need to know I’ll never endure a season of tears that can’t turn into a harvest of joy.” Love this promise! The joy of the Lord is my strength.

    • Christine says:

      Have you studied the book When Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore? I found it very helpful, it was my very first bible study. I’m going to lead it here are the Bible Cafe, after we complete Breaking Free.

      You said “God has to allow us to grow – spiritually, personally, and emotionally. He wants us to lean on Him and need Him ALL the time – most of the time we can only learn these lessons through trouble and pain.” Discipline hurts! Yet without it, we cannot see the beauty and the blessings He places before us.

  • Pam, Louisiana says:

    Describe a time when God did something that you could hardly believe and knew you didn’t deserve it.

    Like Molly J, my marriage was a rough and rocky one. I had to have surgery removing my womanly things and that left me hating the world. I couldn’t find any meds that would help me cope and I hated myself and what I was becoming. I was still a baby in Christ at that time and I was still learning everything. I was mean to my husband and son. But I kept pressing through each day trying to make myself be nice. Then one day I just couldn’t take it anymore. I called in to work and spent the whole day on my knees asking God to deliver me from myself and give me a revelation on how to be the mother that I needed to be and how to be a better wife. That day when my husband came home, he knew that something was different. So did my son when he came home from school. All of the praying that I did that day was such a blessing. And the fact that God even took the time to give me scriptures and a do over with my marriage was an undeservable thing. My son realized that mommy was different too and he just hugged me with his little hands and told me he loved me. I cried even more. Since then, my husband, son and I have grown closer. I didn’t deserve His forgiveness much less by family’s forgiveness. But thanks to a Holy wonderful Jesus Christ, my life is 10x better than it was back then.

    • Christine says:

      I love the story of forgiveness. Have you forgiven yourself? It took me many years in bible study to realize that Jesus had died for my sins, yet I was still clinging to them and not forgiving myself. I lived with a divided heart- half of me loved and accepted the presence of Jesus, and the other half was hiding in unforgiven sin. Through a season of sifting, God removed the unforgiveness and made my heart whole again.

  • Molly J says:

    Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve.

    Oh boy this is going to be a long one. Soon after I married my husband he changed. The sweet caring man became detached, cold, and passive-aggressive (mostly due to his job). That became a source of contention for most of our marriage (about 20 years). He said he loved me, but a lot of the time his actions didn’t match up. I never felt that I was #1 to him and it drove me nuts. Over the years we went to counseling and it helped me, but he never really was there to grow or learn.
    Almost two years ago he told me he wanted a divorce…he thought I was cheating on him (I wasn’t). I was so done with the whole thing I kicked him out of the house and refused to talk to him for a few weeks. For the first time I didn’t beg for us to work it out. He wanted it so I was going to give it to him even though it was killing me. I just had enough!
    The day I went down to see a lawyer I got a call from my husband saying he just had to talk with me. I reluctantly agreed to meet with him. That night he told me that he had missed me and how he felt like God had slapped him right on his behind. He said that he was sorry for all that he put me through for all those years and wanted to start all over again. He felt like I was apart of him and that he couldn’t live without me. God had touched his heart and he was so excited about it (how awesome it that).
    Mind you during our separation I wasn’t the best person I could be towards my husband. I always wanted my husband’s heart and the Lord gave it to me on a silver platter! To this day I still tear up and shake my head in amazement. My husband is the most awesome, sweet, and caring man. I know I fully have his heart. All the problems we used to have are gone, we now work together as one instead of pulling apart.
    I can’t help but praise God for giving me the ONE thing I deeply desired for 20 years…my husband’s heart. To me it is a miracle! God is so good!

    • Maureen says:

      Molly, that is a beautiful story and I’m so glad God healed your marriage. That is wonderful! Thanks for sharing that with us.

  • Sarah S. says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? Comfort. The security that “Never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you.” Yes, sometimes I don’t want to face the reality of His holiness, but I always want to know of His love for me.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? I have to think of it as a parent/ child situation: He is bound to see things that I cannot, understand and fathom things that I cannot. For instance, when my children were little, the perfect place to play ball would seem to be the middle of the street: it was smooth, unbroken, and not sloped like our driveway. But I, as a parent, knew more than they did and didn’t allow that, stopping all the fun. It’s a matter of trusting His wisdom/ sovereignty which, honestly, is FAR easier to give lip service to than it is to walk through.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. There are so many but one of the comments called to mind about a year and a half ago when I received a phone call that my husband had been in an accident. He drove such a big truck at the time I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t calling me. Slowly the gears started clicking in my brain that he had driven his motorcycle to work that day. VERY long story short — I got to take my husband home that night from the emergency room, almost completely whole. A broken ankle that required no surgery was his miracle injury from a motorcycle accident (yes, he was wearing a helmet) that should have killed him. I know so many people that the split decision went the other way for. I don’t know why I got to keep my husband. I don’t know why I’m not raising teenagers alone now. I’m simply grateful.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I’m not sure I FULLY grasp where she was going, but I honed in on the concept of the starving people who would eat the seed instead of plant it, and her admonishment not to do that with the Word. So… if I simply ruminate on the Word and go… “Wow! Great thought!” yet don’t allow it to change me and/or share it with others, is that eating the seed, not sowing? I wanted to explore that further, but I loved the idea.

    • Christine says:

      I was reading your answer in question one and thought it sounded like a child and parent relationship. When I got to answer two…there it was! Are you writing a book on this? You could tie in the Adult Children of Alcoholics with the Adult Children of God. Compare and contrast the two, and lead God’s children into the safety of His arms, and away from the safety of the unhealthy habits they learned as children.

      Many people who had unhealthy parents struggle with this. An abusive parent makes it hard for a child of God to trust the One True Father. As adults, we have to reprogram our hearts, souls and minds and undo the scars of our past. The Breaking Free bible study is very effective at this.

      What a miracle story of your husband’s accident. Praise God.

      I too found sowing the seed confusing, yet captivating at the same time. I think Beth did not explain it well, and so we need to dig further into our own hearts. I recall my pastor did a series on this, so I’m going to look in iTunes and see if I can find the segment. AS I said earlier, we can pray daily and ask the Lord if we are eating the seeds of sowing the seeds. This may also tie into the Jonah study by Priscilla Shirer. Have you found your own Nineveah?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sarah,
      Loved the parent/child concept! Thanks for the reminder that our “Daddy” is really looking out for us when we have no idea that there is danger ahead. Isn’t God’s love wonderful!

  • Monica says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?

    I think of how God has a never ending love for us even when we don’t believe that we deserve to be loved. God always wants the best for us. We can not always see it when we are going through the storm, but we need to know in our hearts that God is always there to protect us and all we need to do is turn to Him.

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )

    God allows us to encounter trouble and sorrow so that we can grow in our beliefs. If we never suffered we would not appreciate the sacrafice that God made for us. God gave His only Son for us, that was the greatest sacrafice.

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )

    The time that comes to mind is when God brought my husband back safely from Iraq and how he has strengthened our marriage inspite of our times of trials. My husband is truly God’s greatest gift to me.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    My favorite moment from this week’s study occurred on day four when Beth talked about sowing the seed. When I first read Psalms 126:5-6, I thought it sounded more like hope than a proverb, promise, prayer, or lie. I was overjoyed to continue the reading and find out that the Psalm was not one of hope, but an honest and true promise from God. Beth’s statement about how some just eat the seed and never sow it for harvest was a real eye opener for me. I realized that she was talking about me. I have gone to church all my life, but until now I have been just eating the seed. Today, I start sowing for my harvest that I know God has prepared for me. What I will remember most about this week is:

    “Dear One, sowing the seed of God’s Word in a terribly difficult situation is not easy! But God promises you — let me say that again — absoulutely promises you that if you do, you will receive a harvest — and not just a harvest of any kind but a harvest of shout hallelujah joy!”

    My God, with a promise like that how can you help but praise His Name!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you God for being so awesome, and loving me inspite of myself.

    • Christine says:

      Ever since I read Beth’s point on sowing the seed, I have been seeing “seed references.” I saw seed packets in a magazine, I saw a new bible study about seeds, I heard a person on KLOVE taking about seeds. The importance of Beth’s message cannot be stressed enough- I’m glad you brought it to our attention. We don’t EAT THE SEEDS, we SOW THE SEEDS. Maybe we can each make this a part of our daily prayer: Lord, show me today how I can sow the seeds of your word and serve you today.

      Thank you for the sacrifice you make while your husband serves in Iraq, and as he adjusts to life her at home. May God surround your family like the mountains of Jerusalem.

      As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from this time forth and forever. Psalm 125:2 Amplified

  • Judee Baysinger says:

    2.) If life was a bed of roses, we wouldn’t enjoy it. We’d just find something to complain about. When we run into trouble God is helping us grow and reach our full potential. He uses trouble as a “teachable moment” and shows us many new possibilities along the way. How would we know life was good if it has never been bad?

  • Janet says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? That I know he has be protected and I know there are times I have and will disappoint him I know he is not leaving me.

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? Because even in my bad times he is still with me….I have always believed there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that is him!!!

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. I TRULY believe that is my daughter. I know she was my gift from GOD…

    • Christine says:

      During the times the Holy Spirit convicts us that we have hurt the Father, we are to spend time in confession, thanksgiving and forgiveness.

      Praying ACTS

      1. Adoration- give praise to God
      2. Confession-confess to God
      3. Thanksgiving-give thanks to God
      4. Supplication-present your requests to God

  • Debby says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    That God is true to us. He won’t walk away like a human would when we push them. It is comforting to know that He is always there for me.
    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    It has been through the most trying times that I realize what an awesome God He is. When I go through those times, I come out of them loving Him even more and realizing just how He blesses me.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    A favorite moment for me was the visualization of Him surrounding me like the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. Knowing that nothing can get to me, before first going through God.

    • Christine says:

      Reading answer one, you said “we push them.” I see this as a Spirit of Revenge, and it could be a stronghold over you. Pray into it and see where the Spirit leads you. I’m working on this myself. When we study Breaking Free (my third time) I am going to focus on this stronghold as I study.

      I read what you said in answer 4, then later in the evening I needed to remember those words as I felt surrounded in family conflict. Thank you.

  • Sue Alice says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?

    That He is always there for me….no matter what I do or am doing at the time. I feel His presence. He is always protecting me….guiding me in the path I am to take. Even if I do not want Him around when I am having a temper tantrum, and am really angry at the world…..I know He cares…..I can almost hear Him say “now….now Sue…cool it”

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble?

    By showing us His love. Having Jesus die on the cross for our sins. God gives us troubles to make us stronger and to learn to lean on Him daily….just not in times of trouble. We serve ONE AWESOME GOD!

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve.

    By showing me His unfailing love when I was a rebellious teen….I ran away from home and no heard from me for over two years, He kept me safe and out of jail for more than a night. He was always around me holding my hand and pointing me in the way I should go.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    Just how passionate Beth is on her video’s, she can bring me to tears in a heartbeat. Oh…..what I would give for an ounce of her faith…..and her heart for God.

    • Christine says:

      I love the story of God watching over His Prodigal Daughter when you ran away as a teen. Will you write a book about this someday? At least start a blog, and journal your memories on the subject. You would encourage other parents with runaway kids.

      Also, you may want to become a Fan of the A-21 program by Christian Caine. I saw her speak at a Leadership Summit- this is one lady you want to know!

      http://www.thea21campaign.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=132&Itemid=305

      http://www.equipandempower.org/

    • Sue Alice says:

      Christine,

      Thanks. As you know, I am no writer. Someday maybe I will write one. I think the Lord is pushing me in that way. I will visit the web site. I spoke to a father at church about two weeks ago, and have not heard back from him as yet. My life was so miserable as a teen, I was so messed up. As I have said before we serve ONE AWESOME GOD. Thanks as always, my friend for being here.

  • Ann M. says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? I am remind of my sinful nature and grateful for his unconditional love.
    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) I think this is something we can only say by faith. When bad things happen to us it hurts but through faith, we know that God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good. To me there is no better explanation of faith that Hebrews 11:1 ” Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”
    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. In 2008 on the coldest day of the winter (-8) I was in a head on auto accident that I walked away from. At the time of impact there was such a peace, it could only be explained by God’s presence. My boss stopped on her way to work and aided in all the traffic details. Other people stopped too to direct traffic around the accident. I was so overwhelmed and humbled by their generosity knowing that I tend to be a selfish person and given a similar situation for another, I would have more than likely drove on past. (page 78 )
    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I appreciated the straight forward encouragement on page 86 regarding vain labor. “If you are unsure, ask Him to show you in a way you’ll readily recognize.” One of my biggest struggles is if I am doing what the Lord would have me do or just spinning my wheels. My husband and I are new to the empty nest period of our lives. At the same time my last child left home, my parents, who I cared for, past away. These events have produced many changes in my routine. I am waiting for God to show me where He wants me to put my energy in the next phase of my life.

    • Christine says:

      Condemnation is when the devil continues to remind us of our sins, while conviction is when the Holy Spirit reminds us to repent and accept forgiveness for our sins. If our sinful nature draws us away from God, then the devil is working in our lives. The Breaking Free bible study helped me realize this.

      Amazing how God can take a head-on auto accident and turn it into something of beauty. The Living God!

      Praying for the empty present to be replaced with the Presence of the Living God, as He is the CEO of the second half of your life. May you be directed into Hill will and purpose.

  • Amanda in NC says:

    #1 – Thank God he has surrounded me. Had he not, there’s no telling where I’d be. He always knows what’s best and will keep us in his will. He is unconditional.

    #2 – Because God makes us stronger and teaches us lessons through our troubles. He teaches us to trust in Him when it’s the most difficult.

    • Christine says:

      Often God will present opportunities for us to face struggles, so we can find Jesus in the storm. Spiritual maturity is recognizing His presence and knowing He draws hear to us. Too many people struggle as immature Christians, more focused on religion than on faith. When they see the world with the eyes of the Pharisees, they miss seeing the world through the eyes of Jesus.

      Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12 NIV

  • Shannon says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? It just makes me think how lucky I am that God is protecting me and is alway there for me even if I am briefly turning away from Him. Thank goodness He ultimately knows whats best for me and even if He senses I may not want Him there, He isn’t going anywhere!

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )God doesn’t leave us when we encounter trouble. He delivers us through our trouble and sorrow. He helps us through our heartaches, and on the other side our faith in Him grows and we prosper.

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )I think back to the relationship I had with my mom’s boyfriend, as I was going through my teen years and my twenties. We had a very rocky relationship. We both said many many things to each other that were very mean spirited and we treated each other disrespectfully. After I got married and started a family of my own I still held many feelings of anger and resentment toward him and would never really let down my “wall” and let him in. In 2005 he was diagnosed with cancer and although I felt bad for him and what he was going through we still really kept our distance from each other. January of 2010 was a big turning point for me spiritually. I feel like that’s when I “really let God in”. We had a church service where my wonderful pastor talked about unforgiveness and prayed for those of us who were holding unforgiveness in our hearts. That day I let go of all the hurt feelings I held toward my mom’s (by that time) husband. I couldn’t believe what a release that was. Later that year in July his cancer was back full force and his overall health was rapidly declining. Because of the Lord working in me to forgive the past, I was able to spend time with him in his final weeks. The final words that we said to each other the last time I saw him were I love you. I thank God for the role He played in helping us forgive each other before he died.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    Just the reminder everyday that God is always there for us, surrounding us. He remains through everything.

    • Christine says:

      So many people need to hear this: “God doesn’t leave us when we encounter trouble. He delivers us through our trouble and sorrow. He helps us through our heartaches, and on the other side our faith in Him grows and we prosper.”

      When more people witness to God’s presence during their misery, more people will listen and let go of fear when facing the Giant.

      The story of your step-dad is very inspiring Shannon. Do you work with teens in ministry, such as Young Life? You seem to heave a heart for their struggles.

  • Carolyn says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    I find this so comforting to read. This concept is similar to the unconditional love a parent has for a child.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    The road to salvation is troubled. God gave us brains so that we can intellectually and spiritually navigate our path.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
    When he blessed me with my husband. I felt so unworthy of a man like him, but God knew better!

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    Days at work and at home have been so much more enjoyable know that I have “worked” the concepts from this week’s lesson. Every morning, I ask God to continue to show me signs of how I can best serve Him in my actions. I am listening and enjoying the conversation.

    • Christine says:

      Wow>>> “The road to salvation is troubled. God gave us brains so that we can intellectually and spiritually navigate our path.” It always amazes me what God places on our hearts adn minds during bible study, thank you for sharing this Carolyn.

  • LaTalya says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?
    There is NEVER a time that I don’t want Him near, but I have come to appreciate His continuous favor, blessings and love when I know that I don’t deserve it and I remind my children of it too.

    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )
    It is hard at times but I have to remind myself to have the patience of Job and stand in my faith. Being a Child of God is not easy because I know that the devil works even harder on God’s children. And I have to remember to pray as well.

    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )
    Time and time again, God continues to bless me and my family through great and difficult times and I just thank Him. Also, as a very young Christian, I learned to expect the blessings of God and to receive it. But in short, I that I don’t deserve many things.

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.
    While reading this week’s study, tears just came to my eyes with the realization that God is so, so good and His mercies endureth forever. My husband has been unemployed for an entire year and God is keeping us daily in His care. This past year has been EXTREMELY difficult but He is keeping us. No sickness or major property loss and I am so thankful! Thank you, Father for your love.

    • Christine says:

      I too have to remind myself to pray, and it frustrates me because I expect this to come naturally as a daily habit such as putting on makeup or brushing my teeth. Why do we have to remind ourselves to pray! Daily bible study helps me create the routine, because I pray before I begin my reading and often pray as I am learning scripture. If I missed a day of bible study then I missed a day of intentional prayer.

  • Sandy says:

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )

    At the beginning of 2007, God allowed me to get out of the work force at a time and age that it would seem impossible to do so. I had grown to be so unhappy at work and felt that I didn’t belong there anymore. As I prayed to God, my prayers included that if He wanted me there to please change my heart and line it up with His will. Several months later He allowed me to leave.

    Also, several years ago God blessed us with a lovely home in a nice area. There were so many memories in that home: my husband and I came to the Lord, our marriage started out there, home fellowships, and just a beautiful area near the mountains… I grew very attached to the home and the surroundings. My father in law passed away a couple years ago and left us his home in an older area. God placed it on our hearts to sell our home and move into the older one. Even though I had absolutely no desire to move, as I prayed about it, I knew this was God’s will for us. I am not proud to admit that I was a big baby through the whole process! My husband had told me that if I truly didn’t want to move, that he would stop the whole process. But I couldn’t because I KNEW it was God’s will. We had so many issues in cleaning out the older home, it was one thing after another! I got to where I was afraid to say “What next?!” as I might find out. Moving out of one home while renovating another was truly the hardest work we’d ever done! But God worked it all out! We were good stewards in taking care of our first home…it sold in 6 days for an amount that our realtor told us we could not get. We have now been in our home almost a year. We are debt free, and my husband has also been able to retire at an early age. We have been so blessed with the privilege of serving more in our church and community. The market here in Las Vegas has just tanked in that year’s time. I look back and wonder where we might be had I “pulled the plug” on the whole process. God is so good and His ways are so greater than our own!!!

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study.

    It relates to my story above. On page 69, Beth refers to a time when David “mistakenly placed his security in the blessing of God rather than God Himself”. I believe I grew secure in the blessings of a nice home, a beautiful area, and the memories of our beginnings there. My beginnings with the Lord, my beginnings with my husband and our marriage, are not in a building. That home was not who we are…it didn’t define us. I realise that I made it an idol and I’m so thankful that God removed it!

    • Christine says:

      You said “I look back and wonder where we might be had I “pulled the plug” on the whole process.” Jesus knows where you would have been, and thankfully you heard His voice and followed it.

      I too grew up believing security comes from wealth. I still struggle with this image and recently the Lord has been placing it into my heart to confront the wealth of my past and the imprint it left inside my heart.

  • Maureen says:

    What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? It comforts me to know that He will never leave me and has never left me alone. No matter what I’ve gone through, even when I was a non-believer, God still knew me. That is amazing. He loves every one of us.

    How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) I think this is all about perspective. If I focus on God, believing that His is kind and merciful and will deliver me— I can tell my soul to return to rest! God takes the time and cares enough to listen to my concerns. He surrounds me. That is comforting!

    Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 ) I was not saved when I got married, and I married another non-believer. Both of us are now believers— that is something I can hardly believe and do not deserve. My marriage story could have ended so many different ways but instead it is a happy (not always easy, but happy) life with my husband.

    Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I learned that the “harvest” might not be what I imagine it to be, but no matter what the outcome looks like, God is faithful so I can trust him with it.

    • Christine says:

      Love this Maureen…”even when I was a non-believer, God still knew me. ” Your marriage story is encouraging, thank you for sharing it. My husband and I were prodigals when we married, then a life threatening illness followed be a series of a visible God in our lives brought us back to faith. Ironically, my husband was the first prodigal to come home to God and I dragged me feet. Today, I’m the one leading bible studies. 😉

  • Yvette says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? when I sinned,knowing it was a sin and did it anyway. For a minute I thought I lost God completely over it but his mercy!

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? B/c whether saved or not, in this life, trouble will come from time to time. Yet we can say God is good as he gives us the strength to endure. We can call on him and watch him deliver us, even in the midst of the trouble!

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. When he renewed my relationship with him, inspite of my mess at that particular time. I didn’t deserve it at all but God yet showed me his unconditional love and I am thankful!

    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. Psalms 126 was truly a blessing to my spirit. Reflecting on all the praise reports God has done in my life make me smile, even at times laugh. Even doing those time of weeping, I called on God and spoke word over the situation and He sure did give me peace, give me joy! So when I want a moment of reflection, I can read Psalms 126, praise God!

    • Christine says:

      Thanks for sharing this Yvette: “When he renewed my relationship with him, in spite of my mess at that particular time. I didn’t deserve it at all but God yet showed me his unconditional love and I am thankful!” I was at the same place in my life, undeserving yet very much loved as a Daughter of the King. He saw in me what I could not see.

  • Andrea says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? It just reminds me of the ‘forever-ness’ of salvation and how I have been fully adopted by Him, now and forever. It’s a comforting feeling to know that even when I screw up, He’s got me. There is nothing that happens to me that He doesn’t know about and isn’t in control over. On the other hand, it can be a little daunting because it means ultimate humility on my part because it’s not all about me, and I’m not in control. That’s scary sometimes.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? First, we have to remember that God’s definition of “goodness” may be different. We see goodness based on worldly terms- what we see as good, what makes us feel good and happy. God sees goodness as what brings honor and glory to His name—His goodness is demonstrating His love towards us—His goodness is growing us in His word—His goodness is giving us faith so that we can cling to the hope that He gives. When looking at God’s definition of ‘goodness’ there is a place for hurt and trouble, it is what allows the goodness to come about and be seen. We need to remember that God is greater and bigger than we are—He sees the whole picture whereas we only seen small parts and snippets.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. I am single, so even though I have summers off (because I am a teacher), I still need to work throughout the summer to make it financially and I also need to save of a fair bit of money throughout the school year. This year we were told that there probably wouldn’t be summer school due to funding cuts—I had been counting on summer school because it has a good schedule and pays very well. I was anxious about what I was going to do. The first thing God did was give me a lot more money back from taxes than I expected. Then He not only made summer school happen, but it turns out that I will be getting paid more than last year. If that were not enough, He planned the schedule so that I would have the time (and finances) to take a nice long vacation to Vancouver at the end of the summer. Through this experience I was just kind of ashamed at how I so often doubt God, when He never doubts or forgets about me.

    4. It was refreshing to be reminded that it’s okay to be joyful and praise God. It seems like such a tiny thing sometimes, in the grand scheme of life, but it is so necessary and He wants us to take the time to take joy in Him. I was especially blessed by Psalms 126 this week. Also, early this week I attended a Chris Tomlin concert where I received the same theme and message—all of creation praises our Savior, and we need to join with it in praising Him.

    • Christine says:

      Love your story of summer school!

      All of Creation by Mercy Me

    • Ann M. says:

      Thank you for the reminder that God does not see or define things the way we do.

    • Andrea says:

      In my #3 I shared how God just seemed to bring everything together for this summer, well, just a few minutes ago I got an e-mail saying that summer school was going to be cut back and we wouldn’t be have the extra program (to provide extra income) and the dates have been changed which interferes with my vacation…. but you know, although my first response was to yell at the e-mail, I quickly had a conversation with God and admitted that what He gave He is free to take away, and He’s incharge– He knows what I’ll be doing this summer, and that should be enough me. He’s creator of all and my Protector. I need to trust Him to do what He does.

  • Lisa H says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near?

    My spiritual walk was a yo-yo act for many years. I always believed in God, but when I accepted Christ, I ‘m not sure I was given all the information I needed. And then there was no discipleship after, so I fell right back into the old way of life. I spent 14 years in a relationship that was very toxic for me. I even searched it out and did everything I could to stay in the relationship. It took me a long while to “get over it” when it was terminated. Looking back, I see where God put me in it because it was less toxic than where I could have gone at that part of my life. But then, I tried to make it continue when He was done with it for me. I see where He has been surrounding me for most of my life. In today’s culture, my biological father would be considered extremely abusive. I don’t remember a lot of my childhood for just that reason. But what I do remember, I see where God kept us “safe”. I still wish sometimes that He wouldn’t be here, around me, because I so don’t deserve it and I don’t want to sully His perfectness.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 )

    When I lost my job, I qualified for unemployment right away. I still have my home and basic needs. And, I also have some things that I “want” to be around me, that I’m sure I don’t deserve.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 )

    Within the eight months prior to April of 2006 I had 5 bad Diverticulitis infections in my colon. I didn’t know it at the time, but that is a lot. Actually, after only 2 infections in a year’s time surgery is done to remove the diverticula in the colon. The last infection was really bad and I was probably a few days away from an eruption per my GI doctor. So I had to have surgery. 1.5 feet of my colon was removed in April of 2006. This was considered major surgery so I ended up staying in the hospital for 4 days. When I came out of anesthesia I remember the nurses showing me the pain button and pushing it for me. I sooo did not like the morphine. It was horrible and it didn’t really even take the pain away. Anyway, the next day the nurses came to see me and wanted me to push the pain button (I hadn’t been using it the way they thought I should). I told them I didn’t really need it. I was trying to not use it cause I didn’t like the morphine. That night, Jesus came to lay with me. I remember specifically feeling him holding me, His arms wrapped around me. I didn’t really know how to describe it at the time (not really being in the Word much), but it was peaceful. It was like what “light” would feel like. You know, when you picture Jesus in the wonderful white light, like on Gethsemane when He was praying and Isaiah and Moses came to talk with Him before the crucifixion. That light. And I really didn’t have any more pain. I had to “hide” the pain button from the nurses cause they didn’t believe I didn’t need it. And I didn’t really know how to explain it to them. Even though this was “major” surgery, I was working from home 4 hours a day after 2 weeks, and was back in the office (I worked in a manufacturing plant with an office 26 steps up in the plant) exactly 28 days from the operation. I surely didn’t deserve His personal appearance, but looking back. I am so very humbled by it.

    • Christine says:

      When you say “I still wish sometimes that He wouldn’t be here, around me, because I so don’t deserve it and I don’t want to sully His perfectness” you are in a stronghold of condemnation. I know, I’ve been there too until God sifted me in a painful way. The sifting released the JOY I never allowed myself. I love the story you shared about the hospital visit! I was just thinking about this earlier today, when we do not make time for ourselves or time with God, He creates opportunities for us to be still as He draws near. Are you going to join us in the Breaking Free bible study? It’s going to be my third time, and I know God has undiscovered treasures for me. Right now I am seeking to break a stronghold of revenge in my life.

      • Lisa H says:

        I’d like to join Breaking Free, but I also want to do do the No Other Gods study. Not sure I can do both. I have the Breaking Free book (not the member bible study book). It came in a set of Beth Moore books I bought. Got 7 of her books, brand new, for $10. I haven’t read them all, but I couldn’t pass it up for that price. Maybe I should read that? What are your thoughts Christine?
        Thank you … :o)

        • Christine says:

          Of course, you should pray and seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit. My opinion is for you to complete the Breaking Free study, you will benefit from it greatly and it will have a lasting impact on your life. Once we break our strongholds, then it becomes easier to see our idols. Make sure you have the new version of Breaking Free, the Journey, and the Member Workbook version. It should look the same as the one in our photo. You can do both studies, Breaking Free will require an hour each morning and then you can spend 30 minutes in the evening reading No Other Gods. That is how I complete two studies at once. I get up at 6:00AM to read the first one, and I read the second one at 9:00PM after my kids go to bed.

  • Becky says:

    1.What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? This week came at a particularly difficult time – in Church. Sometimes Church can be a deadly place for people who hurt. This was one of those weeks. I simply needed to be reminded God is my protection and my safe place.
    2.How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? (page 73 ) While true that we walk closer when we encounter trouble, I do believe that another reason is in His plan for us we are going to help someone else down the road. By encountering a particular trouble we will be more knowledgeable and stronger in our ability to help others.
    3.Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. (page 78 ) After a very difficult first marriage, to an abusive alcoholic, and divorce, God sent a wonderful man into my life. The circumstances surrounding our meeting were so out of the ordinary, for both of us, that only God could have arranged it. This past January we have been married 34 years.
    4.Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I usually do my daily study, when I am not watching the video, on our dock. This study has been a struggle for me in that almost everyday there is something that wrenches my heart. One morning this past week, I was having such a moment and God sent me several gifts – the song of a Bluebird, two Bald Eagles landed in a tree right across the water, and I saw a Loon and heard his song. It was just a beautiful moment of grace and beauty.

  • Christine says:

    1. What comes to mind when you realize that God has you surrounded by His crown of thorns, even when you don’t want Him anywhere near? Frustration for my prodigal run, when I hid in sin and thought the Lord would not see or forgive me. I spent too many years living in condemnation instead of living in JOY and close to God’s heart. It has become a passion of mine to help other women Break Free from strongholds and to see the crown of thorns.

    2. How can we say God has been good when He allows us to encounter trouble? Because in the trouble, we see Jesus.

    3. Describe a time when God did something you could hardly believe and knew you did not deserve. We found a dream home in California, it had been on the market for sale over a year and when we saw it, we wrote an offer on it and the home became ours even though we were in multiple bid with other buyers. This happened just after I helped a widow sell her home and buy a new home, waiving my commissions because her husband died without a will. I was one of many people God used as a redeemer for her financial crisis. He then blessed me with this home. Two years later we sold the home, I quit my real estate job to be a full-time mom, and made a large profit on the dream house. A few months later the entire real estate market fell.

    4. Share a favorite moment from this week’s study. I enjoyed the Psalm 34 experience and also the timeline we created on page 76. It helped me to visualize myself in the Psalms as we applied them to our past, present and future.

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