We have arrived at our sixth and final week of our online Bible study with Lysa Terkeurst. We are so proud of you for making it through our study, and pray that you have been inspired, instructed and encouraged through these six sessions. (Don't forget that next week is our "catch up week", and all six sessions will be open for that week only, in the event you missed any sessions along the way, or simply want to review any of our previous sessions.)
This week, Lysa shares three lessons we can learn from the olive; in a place where Jesus spent some of his final hours before he went to the cross on our behalf. Be blessed as you listen and learn this week...
This week, as we wrap up our study, you'll hopefully see the strong principle that Lysa closes this last session with–that God can make "good" out of our pain, our rejection, our disappointments; but only as we trust in Him to do so.
As usual, all the resources are waiting for you for this week's session; know that we are praying for you as you conclude this final week in our study...
On the eve of the day of his crucifixion, our Lord leaves the Upper Room with eleven of his twelve disciples. The feet of the missing one, having been recently washed by Jesus, carry him through the alleys of Jerusalem in search of a garrison of soldiers to accompany him on his mission of betrayal. Think about that for just a moment, having just eaten the most meaningful meal of his life; his heart has hardened and he has decided to turn his back on the One who just washed his feet.
Some time around 11:00 pm, Jesus and his remaining followers conclude their Passover meal with the singing of a hymn. The hymn they sang, dictated as part of the Passover celebration, is called the Hallel–it means "praise" in Hebrew. A portion of the lyrics are taken from Psalm 118; Jesus would have sung these words that night with his disciples:
After they sing, they head outside the city to a place called Gethsemene, known as a place for the pressing of olives. But on this night, it is not the olives that are pressed, it is the heart and soul of Jesus Himself. He wrestles with the overwhelming burden of the cost of our sin...my sin...your sin; and the terrible price that must be paid for it with his own body and blood. Three times he approaches the Father and asks if there is any other way; and three times he ends with the nine words that we are all called to say in obedience:"Yet not what I will, but what You will." -Mark 14:36(b)
Those are never easy words to pray, they were not for Jesus that night; they are not for any of us in the "nights of our souls" when we are burdened with circumstances or relationships that can weigh us down. But Jesus prayed those words for us, and then he walked to the cross for, as the writer of Hebrews so beautifully puts it:
That night in Gethsemene, the place of the pressing of olives, Jesus "pressed through" to win our salvation–at great cost to Himself. As Lysa points out in this week's teaching segment, the pressing of the olive contains three powerful principles for each of us...
If you are going through a time of pressing, know that it is part of the process–the process of producing something valuable and useful in and through you. The oil that results from the pressing of the olive can be used in a variety of ways, but one of the main uses is to produce LIGHT. This explains Lysa's "statetment to hold on to" for this week:
As you are pressed...perhaps even crushed...know that where there is hard pressing, oil is produced...and in the right conditions, that oil can produce light that is both valuable and useful. As Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians:We are hard pressed on every side,but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. -1 Corinthians 4:8-9 & 16-18 (NIV)
It is important that we embrace this truth, so that we can in turn "let go" of the pain and hurts of our past. Lysa shares a portion of her own testimony in this regard. If you are still clutching past pain, now is the time realize that its "pressing" (even if "crushing" to you) is part of the process for bringng out in you something valuable and beautiful and useful. In Isaiah 42:16, the Lord promises that He will "turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth."
We encourage you, as we conclude our study this week, to place your trust in God's Word and His authority to do just that in your life. The first step is surrendering those things that have held you back and held you down for too long–to Him. We can't think of a better way to conclude, and discover that you are NOT "uninvited", but instead that you are "eternally invited" by your loving Savior to come, and enter into the joy of His Presence!
Perhaps as much as any other single week in our series, it is vitally important this week for you to spend time with the Lord in prayer. Turn those past pains, disappointments and discouragements over to his care, and ask him to turn those things that have pressed you down, almost crushed you, into a fine oil that he can then use for his purposes.
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