Jan 30, 2014

Redeeming Love Chapters 4-10

* Hope was a dream, and reaching for it turned her life into an unbearable nightmare.

It's as if we can bear what we know... but not what might be...because it also might turn out not to be.

Have you ever been in a place of utter hopelessness?  If so...what pulled you out?

Or have you ever ministered to a person who is in that place?   Do words suffice/  What words?

*  While in her room...begging her to leave with him...Michael asks Angel... "What's keeping you here?" 

"I like it." is the reply he gets.

Angel does not like it.  We know that she does not.

Why do we stay in situations that are bad for us?  That are hurting us?  That we hate?   Why do we not take the way out that the Lord provides?

*And the next time he prayed for God to send him a woman to share his life,  he would be a lot more specific about the kind he wanted.

Think of a time (or 100x)  you got what you needed rather than what you asked for.

I'm pretty sure we all have...but can you think of a specific time that you treated God as a genie in a bottle?  Like a Buddha...who's belly you rub to get what you want. 

Originating in China as Budai, the Laughing Buddha statue depicts a Chinese deity from pre-Buddhist folklore. This deity is referred to as Hotei in Japan, and considered one of the Seven Lucky Gods, Shichi Fukujin, with Hotei being the lucky god of happiness and abundance – thus his fat, smiling appearance. 

* She smoothed the flowing red silk of her lounging gown.  It did little to conceal the rolls of flesh gathering around her waist.  Her cheeks were puffy and she was developing a second chin.  A pink ribbon held her graying hair back.  She was obscene.

She was obscene brought images of female televangelists to my mind.  Then as I went deeper...I wondered if those in terrible situations...maybe the homeless...those in 3rd world countries...those living in slums......foster kids...those in orphanages....ever think of us as obscene.  Me as obscene?  It's not exactly the same....but is it ever somewhat the same?  

"I don't see what good will come of it, but I'll go back, Lord. I don't like it much, but I'll do what you want."   When he finally went back to bed, he slept deeply and without dreaming for the first time in days.  

Obedience brought Michael rest.  Think back to a time in your own life when obedience brought immediate relief.  Why do you think we forget this?  Doesn't it seem so foolish to think that we forget this and yet we do.  

* Angel, she never asks for nothing."  

Sometimes when we are so disappointed we stop asking for what we long for.  Have you ever been at a place with the Lord...where you stopped asking Him for what your heart longed for?  

The good news is that He knows our hearts...better than we know them.   

*  "When you're living out there in your cabin with the climbing roses all around, think about me once in a while, will you?  Remember your old friend, Lucky." 

I have a thought on this one.  It's that hope begets hope.   Hope is contagious.  

* But she had never had this silence, this quiet that rang in her ears.

In wisdom...Michael allows Angel to be by herself.  Quiet.  Still.  Alone.   

Have you ever had an extended period of silence?  No conversation.  No t.v.  No computer.  No busyness?  No distraction?  

Does it sound wonderful or frightening?  If it sounds frightening...why does it?

*Why are you tearing up your garden?"  Michael glanced up at her tone.  Her face was white and drawn.  He straightened and brushed his hands on his pants.  "I'm pulling up weeds.  They're choking everything else.  I haven't had time to work out here.  One of the things I'll ask of you is tending the garden.  When you're ready."

Michael does not know of Angel's history with gardens.  

Isn't it exactly like the Lord to bring us to the very thing we are afraid of...and walk us through it?  Has he ever made you face a very specific fear and met you there?  

*She was so tightly wrapped in herself, her own misery and dark thoughts, that she was blind to everything else.

Been there.  Done that.  You too, I bet.  

What are some ways that we can help others when they are in this very place? 


Let's have Chapters 11-17 read by next Friday...Feb 7th.


Shelley said...

* Hope was a dream, and reaching for it turned her life into an unbearable nightmare.

I was struck by this sentence, also the sentence following: “She wasn’t going to get sucked in by words and promises again.”

This took me back to when my first marriage was ending and I had a huge chip on my shoulder. “No one was ever going to hurt me again”, “I’m better off alone”…..a total victim mindset, etc. I built huge walls. I carried this for years and into my second marriage and it wasn’t until I was a Christian (I became a Christian in late 2001, 9 years into my second marriage) for a couple of years that the Lord did a mighty work in my heart. Looking back, there was a lot of fear….I was so afraid to trust and hope and be willing to risk my heart to be hurt again. But my attitude was so very hurtful to those who love me. Which leads to this sentence:

*She was so tightly wrapped in herself, her own misery and dark thoughts, that she was blind to everything else. Which leads to despair.

It’s amazing to see how it connects (ongoing loss of hope, lack of trust, self-focus, self-protection, despair) and how vital it is for the Lord to get to the root of what’s ruling in our hearts otherwise we’re just doing sin management, going through the motions, white-washed tombs.

God’s Word is so powerful and living and active. I also had to be vulnerable and open up. It really is the power of His Word and His Spirit with the help of sound biblical teaching and faithful friends, loads of prayer and a dear, patient husband that got me through my dark time(s).

Shelley said...

**I should've separated out the sentence, "Which leads to despair" or clarified that is what came to my mind when I read "She was so tightly wrapped in herself..."

familygregg said...

* I am not very good at sitting quietly while people dwell in a hopeless state. I can handle it for a brief time. Rather quickly...I remind them WHO the Lord is!

* We do not believe what the Lord has said. if we did...we would act on it.

* Oh the way I have tried to manipulate the Lord. To use Him. It's disgusting.

* I am sure I am viewed as obscene by some.

* I am never settled until I obey. The Holy Spirit keeps on me until the issue is settled.

* I might stop asking the Lord for things that I really really really would like to see come to pass. If I am supposed to pray about it...and ask again...I feel a prompting to do so. When something is lying dormant...it doesn't necessarily mean it's gone...or dead...it's just inactive for a season for a reason.

* Facing my fears! HA! yeppers.

Sometimes all we can do is pray (after we've said our piece :) especially when our loved one refuses to or is unable to hear.

<3 Dawn

familygregg said...

I am in a place of hopelessness relationally and I haven't been pulled out of it quite yet.

I have ministered to a person and words aren't enough, but I speak words of encouragement, love them by being with them and talking their problems through with them, and giving biblical advice and praying for them and with them.

I think we stay in situations that are bad for us because we are so caught up in the midst of chaos, and can't remember to reach for God and his provision. Or it may be that we like to take control, it might just be a control issue for some, thinking they can handle things on their own.

Obedience has brought me relief when I submitted. I think we forget that obedience brings us relief because we are in sin and I think it has to do with wanting a power of having control.

Yes I have had a time in my life where I stopped asking the Lord for the things I longed for and decided to wait patiently, and thank Him for I already do have, or even sometimes it's because I am in sin and I am angry with Him.

Silence makes me feel uncomfortable and awkward. I have trouble in having silence because I want to be involved in a lot of things. I'd say it frightens me because I can't control the silence.

Yes God has made me face a fear and he's met me there when I'm self conscious or when I am worrying about what other people think of me. I keep getting into this spot where I need to let it go. He meets me there most of the time through my mom who points me back to Him.


Not exactly but I had a hope that God would give me the dream family I wanted but instead he gave me what I needed which was the family I needed and I know I was wrong.

We can love them, pray for them or with them, we can give them biblical advice or give them silence till they turn or come around.

I have treated God like a genie in a bottle for my own selfish reasons, to try and get what I wanted.

Someone might think of me as obscene because of what I have, for instance, a lot of clothing, food, a home, a family and education.

familygregg said...



Anonymous said...

1. A couple months after we moved to L.A I seriously felt hopeless because I was in this city and I had no friends and my closest friends I could only reach through text message. I just felt hopeless and didn't know what to do. What really helped me was trusting in The Lord to being friends in my life and He did.

2. We stay in places that are bad for us because sometimes we only trust in ourselves. Exactly like Angel, she will only trust in herself but Michael is trying so hard for her to see that The Lord provided a way out of her misery.

3. I am a work-a-holic so last year The Lord gave me what I needed not what I wanted. My mom took away school from me which forced me to rest and that is not what I wanted but needed.

4. When I first read this question my mind went straight to the many times when I used to lose things and I would spend hours upon hours looking for the lost item. When I seriously couldn't find the item I would ask God to find the thing and I would never lose anything again. I would just treat Him like a genie. Now, I know that is not a very big issue but it is what my mind went too. I think we could find an example from everyday life where we all treat God as a genie...God give me what I want and then I will do this and this for you...God if you just give me what I want then everything will be ok.

I had to be obedient to The Lord and tell my parents the truth about a certain situation and it did bring me relief immediately. I went to bed so peacefully that night, it was crazy.

When my dad doesn't get a job I get super frustrated and disappointed. He just isn't getting a single job. A couple times, I have been just so mad that sometimes I just dillebretly don't pray for a job for my dad...I just get so mad....and lose hope.

7. What happened in question #3 applies to this question.

8. A period of silence doesn't sound frightening because maybe I need that complete silence. I am always busy, busy, busy that silence is sometimes good for me.

9. The same situation in question #5, I was so afraid to tell the truth but The Lord totally met me in that trial. He was with me and I totally felt Him.

10. People who live very poorly....no money...no food.....just absolutely nothing....might see me obscene because if you look at our pantry it is just with weeks full of food and I complain that we don't have any food.

singandrejoice said...

Hopelessness. Oh yeah - been there, visited, lived there for a while too. I can't say that anyone ever ministered to me there because I never let on that anything was wrong. I am guilty of putting up a facade - letting people think everything's fine in my world when really everything is crashing in on me. At those times, it's been the Holy Spirit himself who has ministered to me. He fills me like nothing else can. Usually at times like that, the Lord doesn't give me what I want which is more than frustrating - but He always comes through with what I need. Most of the time it's the grace to make it through and come out with a stronger faith.

I could use some silence. I think we all can. There's no way to hear His still, small voice with all the noise from the world. I am so convicted that I need to "unplug" more often and connect with my Savior. Reading this book in one way to disconnect and be drawn into a different time and place and see this theme of Redeeming Love played out right before my very eyes.

Naommm said...

No matter how many times we pack our carpet bag and do our own thing or be stubborn, God is always ther to when we turn around and come home!!
So thankful for that, and it happens Timeand time again!
And that's 56 years of his faithfulness Refeeming love