HELP ME LORD, I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY (PSALMS 5 and 6)

I COME TO MY KING AND MY GOD EACH MORNING

AND LIFT UP MY VOICE

PSALM5I START WITH THE WORD, FOR I HAVE LEARNED THAT HELPS ME PRAY

BUT SOMETIMES I AM SO TROUBLED BY SITUATIONS, I AM DISTRACTED, ANXIOUS.

RECENTLY WHEN TELLING A DEAR FRIEND ABOUT DANGER A CHILD IS FACING, SHE STARTED TO PRAY

AND THEN STUTTERED AND STOPPED, SAYING:

LORD – I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY. I ONLY KNOW YOU ARE BIG AND I ASK FOR YOUR HELP.

WHEN WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO PRAY, OUR GOD HAS COMPASSION, HEARING OUR DESPERATE CRY

AND THEN HIS SPIRIT PRAYS FOR US

romans8_26-27

THAT IS THE SENSE OF PSALM 5.

DAVID IS SO TROUBLED HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE WORDS,

BUT HE CRIES OUT AND ASKS THE LORD TO CONSIDER HIS MEDITATION, HIS TUMULTUOUS THOUGHTS.

FOR THE SPIRIT SEARCHES OUR HEARTS AND PRAYS WHEN WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO.

WE CAN’T COUNSEL THE LORD, BUT WE CAN CRY OUT!

 

THIS PSALM ALSO TELLS US TO CRY OUT AND THEN, WAIT FOR HIS ANSWER.

MAY WE BE STILL AND KNOW HE IS GOD.

HE WILL COME IN A STILL SMALL VOICE

OR ASTONISH US WITH ACTION.

HE IS THE KING, I TELL YOU.

Aslan1Psalm 6 is a sister to Psalm 5 in that the psalmist continues his weeping, continues his lament against workers of iniquity. Psalm 6 is considered the first of the seven penetential psalms, though as Sinclair Ferguson said, a more accurate category would be sorrowful psalms, for some do not seem penetential. We’ll focus on Psalm 5, but also catch the heart of Psalm 6 this week, for a lament is another excellent way to pray when we don’t know how to pray.

When Steve and I were looking for psalms songs to put on the CD that goes with our psalm study, A Woman of Worship, we had to choose between Integrity Music and Maranatha. We chose Integrity, but it was a hard choice when I heard Maranatha’s version of Psalm 5, for it penetrated my heart. I am glad to post it here and encourage you to listen daily and learn the words — it will be easy with this wonderful melody.

Also, Elizabeth discovered a wonderful resource this week that we will be using –a project putting all the psalms to music. Here it is — avail yourself of it — they catch the heart of each psalm. (I picture Joyce listening as she is holding her special needs daughter in bed — and all of us, when we need these truths so badly, listening, listening.) http://thepsalmsprojectband.com/

Sunday Icebreaker

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. If possible, give an example from the Old Testament where God saw the heartache, groaning, or weeping of one of HIs and responded. What did He do? How does this comfort you with a situation you might be facing right now?

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer

Listen to Maranatha sing the opening to Psalm 5.

1. Meditate on Psalm 5:1-3

     A. What is David asking of the Lord in verses 1-2?

     B. Read verse 3 in the following translations and then share what you are being taught.

      My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. (NKJV)

      In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (NIV)

      C. What do you believe the psalmist is saying in verse 3 and why?

      D. Spurgeon says an hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. Do you agree? Why or why not?

2. Using Psalm 5:1-3 pray it for a situation in your life that troubles you.

3. Meditate on Psalm 5:4-8.

     A. What is David’s argument to the Lord for removing his enemies from him?

     B. What similarities do you see with Psalm 1?

PILGRIM'SPROGRESSWhen I was contemplating verse 8, a picture from Pilgrim’s Progress came to mind, and then Sinclair Ferguson, in the sermon you’ll hear this week, referred to the same scene. It is when Pilgrim, in Pilgrim’s Progress, has to pass between two lions to get to the Celestial City, They were chained, “but he did not see the chains.” Often our fears become anxieties, when we do not trust that the Lord will care for us, will do all things well in His time.

C. Compare Psalm 5:8 to Psalm 23:4. What do you see?

4. Now pray through an anxiety you have using Psalm 5:7-8 to guide you.

5. Read Psalm 5:9-12.

    A. Here David describes our enemies, and they are terrifying indeed. What do you learn about them?

    B. In Romans 3, Paul quotes this passage, but applies it to all mankind — to us. I often think of the phrase from The Song of Songs — we are dark, yet lovely. Both before Christ and after Christ, we must see the darkness in our own hearts, or we deceive ourselves. As you look at these descriptions, write a prayer of confession to the Lord.

6. Psalm 6, while categorized as penetential, seems to be more accurately a lament. In a lament, there is usually a turn, where the psalmist turns from focusing on himself to focusing on God. When you are so troubled you don’t know how to pray, you can lament — but then it is important, as in Psalm 5, to “wait in expectation for His answer.” Usually that answer is to remind you to trust in God, for His character and power are great. Read Psalm 6 and find the turn from focusing on himself to focusing on the Lord.

HOW LONG O LORD?

HOWLONG7. What is the question of Psalm 3:6? Have you ever felt that way?

 

This is a theme of the laments. Derek Kidner says: “All God delays are maturings, either of time, as in Psalm 37, or of man, as in Psalm 119:67.

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8, How does Psalm 6 end? What resolution do you see in this? Can you praise the Lord for the victory that will one day be ahead for you? Do so here.

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Thursday-Friday  Sermon

Sinclair Ferguson is a gifted preacher originating from Scotland. This sermon is from The Gospel Coalition website. Listen and share your notes: LINK

Saturday:

9. What is your take-a-way and why?

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1.  Meditate on Psalm 5:1-3
A. What is David asking of the Lord in verses 1-2?
 
He wants The Lord to listen, consider, and hear his plea.
 
     B. Read verse 3 in the following translations and then share what you are being taught.
      My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, And I will look up. (NKJV)
      In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. (NIV)
 
That at I should be talking to God beginning in the morning. However , I don’t believe that it has to be a long bible study. I talk to God in the morning, but mornings are hard for me (Deanna, I too end up on here late at night).  I try to get up but, alas, I fail….every morning. I end up not going to bed early enough because of work. I try not to beat myself up about it but I do anyway. I don’t like being so hectic in the morning.
      C. What do you believe the psalmist is saying in verse 3 and why?
 
Maybe that God listens for us in the morning? Then we have the day to meditate on our request and to listen for Him.
 
      D. Spurgeon says an hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. Do you agree? Why or why not?
 
I guess I don’t agree because I’m not really sure what that means. Does he mean that I’m more focused in the morning? I wish I could say that is true for me , but I feel more awake later in the day. I suppose if I tried to go to bed earlier I could then feel better getting up earlier. It just isn’t possible right now and I have actually tried it before. I’m still tired!

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    Laura-d,
    I was just thinking about you and your mom, and then I saw your post at the top of the comments.  I’ve been trying to FORCE my brain to work this morning… music, coffee, etc… still not firing on all cylinders.Then when I read your post, I started thinking that it’s always morning somewhere :)    Maybe, I’ll try morning Pacific time (or further west)

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       I started thinking that it’s always morning somewhere :)    Maybe, I’ll try morning Pacific time (or further west)

      :~)

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      Ha!

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      “still not firing on all cylinders”……that’s me in the mornings!!

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4. Now pray through an anxiety you have using Psalm 5:7-8 to guide you.
 
Lord, just yesterday morning I felt hopeful and encouraged as I prayed. But by last night, the small opening in the door-well, I was ready to shut it once more and say ‘forget it’. I can’t measure up, can’t be good enough, I have failed yet again. The anxiety comes when I think this is how it will be forever. Nothing will ever change or get better. Lord, help me to lean wholly on Jesus and His sacrifice for me. I am not good enough-but by your great mercy You have brought me into your house. You have made me your child. I have so much to learn from you. My enemy is always at my heels, making me want to give up, to throw-up my hands, to retreat behind the wall. Please lead me in Your righteousness and show me yet again how to take one step forward.

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    Amen, Susan.  Praying this for both of us.

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    Amen, Susan, this is my prayer today too, Susan.

    Lord, help me to lean wholly on Jesus and His sacrifice for me. I am not good enough-but by your great mercy You have brought me into your house. You have made me your child. I have so much to learn from you. My enemy is always at my heels, making me want to give up, to throw-up my hands, to retreat behind the wall. Please lead me in Your righteousness and show me yet again how to take one step forward.

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I do miss my brother SOOO MUCH.  He was not just my brother, he was one of my dearest friends….a unique, left-handed, right brained guy!  He died 2.5 years ago, and we would have celebrated his 40th b-day this month.  Instead, he’ll be celebrating with Jesus! :-)  (and that is why I can celebrate too!!!)  Thanks for the kind words. 

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    Your brother’s words have brought great comfort. Thank you for sharing them. 

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    Oh Mary, your brother was much too young…praying for God’s comfort as you miss him so much, and his birthday this month.

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    Oh Mary, how hard this must be…I’m so sorry.  Praying for you.

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My sisters in the Lord,
First an update on my dad…he has improved enough that they finally moved him out of intensive care.  He is now in a regular cardiac unit where they are trying to find a balance of medication for his heart to keep it on a regular heart beat and some sort of medication to keep the fluids down, his lungs have fluid and his legs are swollen.  There is more hope now than we have had for the past few weeks.  My daughter flew home for a week to visit her grandpa and before she left was at peace with the visit (just in case).  I still do not know the outcome, but the Lord has provided peace, no matter what.  I do wish to thank you all for praying for my dad.  I am positive that the reason he is still here is from being lifted up in prayer…so thank you.
Next…and this one is hard.  As most of you know, I have been sporadic on the blog for a while.  The reason is the amount of stress from a number of sources.  I have tried to keep up, but then am too exhausted to contribute anything.  This has been ongoing for a while and just before Christmas I experienced an anxiety attack, which to my knowledge is the first one in my life (and I am over 55).  I knew that my stress level was high and it was starting to show, my brother told me he noticed a few months ago and it has been building since then.  With my dad seriously ill and my mom requiring extra care while he is in the hospital has taken it’s toll on me.  One of the pastors who has been helping said to me that perhaps my expectations of myself are not God’s.  He asked me whether I am trying to do what I expect or what God expects of me.  He said that it is okay to just “be” and let God take care of things.  He also suggested a few things I have difficulty with that perhaps because of what I think I should be doing.    The pastor reminded me that God gives us the strength to do what He expects of us, not what we think and then asked me if I thought my standards and expectations of myself ought to be higher than what God expects.  God does not give us all the same abilities or strength and we should not try to go past what He has given us.  I realized this was a gentle “whap upside the head” and that I needed to step back on a number of things for a while to allow God the time He requires to heal what He wants to.  The pastor reminded me that it took a while for me to get here and that God does not always heal quickly, He is patient and heals in His time, not mine.  This week God allowed me the “gift” of the flu…as another reminder.  Today is the first day I have enough energy to do anything other than lay down.  One of the things I feel guilty when I don’t do, is this blog and I realize that I have an expectation of myself that is probably unhealthy.  For that reason, I will need to completely step back for a while, even more so than my sporadic attempts to contribute…while God heals what He needs to.   I will be trying to do (at least read) the study each week, as these past couple of weeks Dee’s words have been so helpful to me with where I am.   Right now I am unhealthy emotionally (although I feel God closer than I have felt for a while) and I know He has a purpose for this turmoil in my life.  I recall asking Him to go deep into the healing He needed to do, even though I knew it would be hard, and I suspect that this past year has been part of His process in that.    I feel like that Martin French picture of Jesus shaping the pottery jar.  His hands are all over this and I think I am supposed to just let Him sand, shape and mould what He wants to.  
I do apologize for the length, but I felt an explanation was more appropriate than just disappearing.  This blog and the ladies who contribute to it, have been so helpful, so wise I have felt that this was an awesome group for God to send me to.  The comments and posts of the ladies of this group have been such a blessing to me, words cannot express how much of a gift you have all been.  I may stop in on occasion, but I need to allow God the time and space to do His thing.  Thank you all.

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    Hello Mary,
    I jst received yr comment in my e-mail inbox.  I so admire yr honesty and yr integrity in sharing.  I agree the ladies of this blog/bible study have been so welcoming and vital for my walk with Jesus (Yeshua).  I am filled with love to overflowing but I also feel the Holy Spirit asking me to bow out as well. 
    I do not have the same issues as u do but I did have the Norwolk virus a couple of weeks ago and my husband and I are not doing a bible study together.
    I wish all the ladies well and many blessings and many thanks.  To Dee (our fearless leader) who is obedient to the call of God on her life -many blessings as well.  It is good to have community.  How blessed it is to dwell in unity with believers.  It is like oil poured out, running down Aaron’s beard and soaking the hem of his garment.  I believe the hem of my garment has been soaked with the oil of God’s word. 
    I wish all of u the very best but I am bowing out and moving on with the grace and compassion of God.
    Many blessings on all of u!
    May the Lord smile upon u all and bless u all mightily in all u say and do!
    Mellany

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      Will miss you, too, Mellany!  Hope you are feeling better now, and please “stop in” and let us know how you are

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      Mellany, I’m sorry it’s not the right time for you to continue with the blog, but it is understandable. Many ladies here appreciate your posts, but sometimes we all need a break. Don’t be too hard on yourself and we will see you occasionally when you come to visit!

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      Mellany, I will miss you here-you have been a blessing. Your joy bubbles over to us all through your posts! I will remember to pray for your sister “B”. I am so thankful for all God has done for you, in  your marriage, and thank you for letting us be a part of it!

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      I believe the hem of my garment has been soaked with the oil of God’s word. 
       

      Mellany, I love the picture of your garment being soaked with the oil of  God’s word—  and may you touch  many others as you journey on with the grace and compassion of God.

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      Bless you Mellany!   Praying for you and your sister!  

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      You will be missed, Mellany — but you are always always welcome back. Blessings!

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    Mary-Canada, so thankful you let us know how you are. I am glad to hear your Dad is improving. But I am so sorry to hear the turmoil (including the flu!) you have been facing. I will pray for Him to bring healing and for you to truly rest in His peace.

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    Oh Mary, thanks for updating us.  My heart goes out to you — so much stress.  Your pastor gave wise advice — and yet it can be difficult to heed when you see needs around you and think “SOMEone has to do this.”  Praying He will restore, strengthen and comfort you.If you are on facebook, feel free to pop in there and post prayer requests (I’ll be setting it to “secret” in a few days; it will be easiest to join now — but will add some who may need more privacy after we move it to “secret”)

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    Mary, sounds like you have a smart pastor! I have to say I feel a lot like you sometimes (like now). I forced myself to get in bed tonight at 9:30. So tired. Hopefully I can sleep now :) Take care of yourself and we will see you when you feel up to it.  Please keep us posted on your dad.

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    Mary, thank you for letting us know how you and your dad are. I will keep praying for your dad’s health – so glad he is out of ICU. It sounds like you have a wonderful, kind, and wise pastor and I’m glad he is walking this road with you, giving you encouragement and helping you to not be so hard on yourself. I will pray for you, too, that God will heal you-emotionally, physically, spiritually. That He will give you His rest. WE will all miss you, Mary…praying for you and the journey God is taking you on now!

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    Thank you for the update Mary on your Dad and what you are experiencing right now. So many stressful situations—  can let one totally drained in all ways can’t they. So glad your pastor is helping you sort everything out and—   what a gift that you feel God closer than you have felt for a while.

    I feel like that Martin French picture of Jesus shaping the pottery jar.

    He is making you into a beautiful vessel  of honor Mary.
     

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    Oh Dear Mary…please don’t feel guilty and get plenty of rest and just “Let God” take over for you…Trust him for everything you need.  I’m so glad to hear that your dad is doing better.  I’m still praying for you and your parents.  Thank you for keeping us posted…please pop in again now and then.  Bless you!

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Mary-Canada and Mellany, blessings on you both as you go through life’s turmoils. I appreciated your contributions to our Bible study. I will continue to pray for you and your families. May God continue to heal your spirits with His Holy Spirit.

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Just had to let everyone know that I have finished 17 radiation treatments and have 12 to go. Woo-hoo!!! Battle scars are present but the evil one won’t bring me down! Trying to go to sleep now to get up and commune with God in the early morn. 

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    More than half way thru, Laura – dancer. Hang tough! Praying!

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    Woo-hoo!!! Just 12 more, Laura…hang in there!

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    oh Laura! I hope you have a big count down calendar and a party planned! Continuing prayers for you, your mom, Sarah~

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    Laura…you are amazing!   How you keep your spirits up under so much turmoil.  Your in my prayers Dear Sister.

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“Good” morning!
 
2. Using Psalm 5:1-3 pray it for a situation in your life that troubles you.
 
“Listen to my words, Lord, consider my lament,” we are in a “pickle” with Sarah, Lord. We do not know what to do. She needs a safe, quiet place to live that is relatively inexpensive.  She has truly been harassed by her land lady for doing things she isn’t doing. The good in it is that it has given us an opportunity to trust her. We weren’t sure she was telling us the truth but we have checked her and it is the truth. She isn’t lying to us. This is a blessing; thank you for that blessing Lord. Our trouble now is finding a new place to live that we can afford and she will be happy with. ”Hear my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.” (Psalm 5:1, 2 NIV)

3. Meditate on Psalm 5:4-8.
     A. What is David’s argument to the Lord for removing his enemies from him?
 
The argument is that he is not like all those evil people. He isn’t wicked, nor evil, and certainly isn’t arrogant. He doesn’t tell lies and isn’t deceitful. He has love in his heart.   He tries to model the Lord and feels that he has the right to enter His house. He knows the Lord’s way is the right way and tries to follow it.
     B. What similarities do you see with Psalm 1?
 
Psalm 1 describes people who are wicked and not following the way of the Lord. It reminds us to stay away from those kinds of people. It reminds us that we will be blessed in the end, and that the wicked will not stand in the company of the Lord. Once again meditation on the word of God is stressed by talking about His righteousness.
 
 

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C. Compare Psalm 5:8 to Psalm 23:4. What do you see?
 
Both psalms are about comforting him.

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Just listened to Sinclair Ferguson on Psalm 5-LISTEN IF YOU CAN!!!! :)))) It is really good. I have run out of time to post my notes..and really it was hard to stop typing..He nails it-all of it is insightful and penetrating. 

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Notes on Sinclair Ferguson.
“Their inner self is destruction.”
What is ultimately important is where we look. To look to the distress is not helpful, there is no solution to be found in our distress. The distress can become magnetic, obsessive, addictive. 
BUT instead gaze to the one that can solve/give solution. 
The anchor to the Christian life is that God is king.  This equal peace…nothing is outside God’s control. 
Our comfort is not in “Things will work out.”  Our comfort is God working things for us to be transformed, for us to become Christ. God is working something in our distress. 
Do not ask “why” in a self-righteous entitled way – “Why me?!”  but ask why in a seeking way “Why am I enduring this? What purpose do you have for it in me Lord? What do You have to show me? How may I become like Christ through this?”
I PREPARE then I wait. 
God abhors any evil that will do His children harm.  
God is well able to take care of His own cause. 
When you taste of His abundant love, the other things begin not to matter. 
There is a progression in Psalm 5. Expression of distress, then expression of the positive, confidence. 
The psalmist is lamenting in his own evil but then citing the grace of God. God abhors evil, I am evil. BUT God has given me mercy and hears me. 
The tethered lions. Fears and threats may growl at me from the edge of the path but they will no, cannot come onto the path. 

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Sermon”Whenever your hand goes up, God see it”–I can hear Ferguson’s voice saying it–loved that part, that truth. My hand is UP.
 
When we are in “distress” we are tempted to focus on it, and the trial becomes an obsession. This is not the solution to our distress. Instead we must gaze upon the One who brings resolution to the distress.
 
When everything feels out of our control, nothing is out of His control. **His great passion in my life is not to make me comfortable—but to make me like the Lord Jesus! When we face trials—we can know He is using it to make me more like Jesus. Submissiveness and joy. We have security because our God and King is implacably (new word for me!) opposed to evil—He is our Father. We do not need to take avenge—He will take care of it. He sets Himself against any who set to do His own harm.
 
David’s confidence is in God’s steadfast, committed love. When we have tasted the abundance of His steadfast love—other things shrink. C.S. Lewis: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell chose it.”
 
If we are Christians—we are joyful people. Real joy comes from the assurance of our security in our future, with Him. Because we have peace with God—we can rejoice in the midst of suffering. By His grace, we have stability, confidence in the End of the Story.
 
 
I do have a few really hard trials going on—and this was another great reminder that He is with me in them, He is at work, He is using it—in my life, and my families’. I admit I am still so immature that feeling “joy” right this second—is HARD. But I do have trust. I have hope. And I know this is truth–I just need to daily remind myself–this is NOT the whole story–this is NOT home, and He IS victorious over all. One day, all wounds will be healed, perfectly.

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    Father, I lift Elizabeth to You. You know the hard trials she is going through. Help her to keep her eyes on You and the End of the Story.
     
    Elizabeth, I read a devotional by Joni E. Tada this morning which really touched my heart where I am needing His touch. I am hoping these word on Psalm 23:4 touch you also.

    Even though I walk through the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. The psalmist doesn’t focus his attention on the dark valley, and he’s not distracted by the shadows. He sees through the valley, past the darkness, and looks with confidence toward the other side.
    The dark valley is a place to go through, not a place to stay in.

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      oh Diane–tears. As the Lord would do it–I prayed Psalm 23 over my son just last night. Thank you for this.

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    Praying for you Elizabeth; in all your trials.

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    I’m praying for you Elizabeth.

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    “If we are Christians—we are joyful people. Real joy comes from the assurance of our security in our future, with Him. Because we have peace with God—we can rejoice in the midst of suffering. By His grace, we have stability, confidence in the End of the Story.” 

     ”I do have a few really hard trials going on—and this was another great reminder that He is with me in them, He is at work, He is using it—in my life, and my families’. I admit I am still so immature that feeling “joy” right this second—is HARD. But I do have trust. I have hope. And I know this is truth–I just need to daily remind myself–this is NOT the whole story–this is NOT home, and He IS victorious over all. One day, all wounds will be healed, perfectly.”

    Dear Elizabeth, you are covered with prayer in your trials…we all love you and praying for you.

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     Lifting you up in prayer Elizabeth. 

    I just need to daily remind myself–this is NOT the whole story–this is NOT home, and He IS victorious over all. One day, all wounds will be healed, perfectly.

    Amen, that really spoke to me, I too have to remind myself, praying you find comfort and peace through all you are going through and a knowing in your spirit that God is with you and goes before you to make your paths straight, even though we at times see nothing but a windy road ahead.
    The Road goes ever on and onDown from the door where it began.Now far ahead the Road has gone,And I must follow, if I can,Pursuing it with eager feet,Until it joins some larger wayWhere many paths and errands meet.And whither then? I cannot say” ― J.R.R. TolkienThe Fellowship of the Ring

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    My hand is up for you, Elizabeth.

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Oh, Lord, I lift up our Chris to you today. Cover her and her family with your protection. Be a shield around them. Show them your favor as with a shield.

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    Amen to your prayer, Diane.

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    Yes, Lord, I agree in prayer for Chris and Bill–cover them, Lord.

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5. Read Psalm 5:9-12
 
A. Here David describes our enemies, and they are terrifying indeed. What do you learn about them?
 
“Not a word from their mouth can be trusted” – habitual liars, cannot be trusted
“Their heart is filled with destruction” – they only think to tear down, destroy, always plotting
“Their throat is an open grave” – this is really gross…graves contain the corpses, decomposing-they are sealed for a reason. These people are full of corruption.
“With their tongue they speak deceit” – again, they are always lying and being deceitful
“Let their intrigues be their downfall” – they are always plotting to ruin someone
“For they have rebelled against You” – they live in rebellion toward God
 
B. In Romans 3, Paul quotes this passage, but applies it to all mankind – to us. I often think of the phrase from The Song of Songs – we are dark, yet lovely. Both before Christ and after Christ, we must see the darkness in our own hearts, or we deceive ourselves. As you look at these descriptions, write a prayer of confession to the Lord.
 
Lord, I am without excuse before You. These words of Paul describe me, too. I learned to lie at a young age. I can explain things in ways to try to make myself look better to others. I can play loose with the truth. Now I see that if lies and deceit had a smell, they would smell like an open grave-a rotting stench. When I don’t tell the truth, it is as if I am polluted on the inside. When I let loose with my tongue, it’s like the poisonous venom of a snake. When I say whatever I want, I am rebelling against You, saying that I will be god in this situation. Lord, I need to be washed, to be cleansed, to be forgiven. I pray that You will remove my stench and make me instead a pleasing fragrance of Christ. I am so thankful for the next words in Romans, that I can be justified freely by Your grace. But help me not to take sin lightly or Your grace for granted, for it cost You everything.
 
 

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    Sweet Susan,  I pray with you, for you just described my sins too.  We are forgiven and our sins are as white as Dee’s driveway!  Love you sister.

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Jillwithaj and Elizabeth, thanks for the notes. It sounds like this is just the sermon I need today. 
 

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I just want to note that  Psalm 37, which Dee recommended as a psalm of  ”God’s delays are the maturings” of time, is such a comfort as I pray for Chris and her family today.

vs. 5-7 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him, and he will act.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

v. 10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.

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I listend to the message link as well and thought it was great, but I don’t feel the need to add any additional comments b/c others have done such a fantastic job of summarizing and shedding light on it!  Thank you.  I’m also praying for those of you going through rough times right now.  I’m on an upswing right now, but oh how quickly life can change and I thank the Lord for these seasons of refreshing, which I KNOW are ahead for each of you as well.  Keep pressing on, dear sisters.  He never promises life will be easy but He promises to be with us through it all, to the end.  I’m praying for the Holy Spirit to infuse each of you with His power, wisdom, and discernment for each issue you are facing right now.  He will again lead you beside “still waters” and “restore your soul.”  

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    Thank you Mary, I pray the same for you.  Thank you for being here!

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IVONA Mini Reader 
Ladies–   for those who have the same problem I do with reading the comments or reading anything for a long period of time–  I found IVONA Mini Reader today.   
 

IVONA MiniReader is a Free, user-friendly text reader. Use IVONA Voices to listen to text in any application, document or web page!

The other thing is–  I’m able also to use IVONA Reader with my Kindle PC–   so I’m going to go back and listen to Dee’s books ,  “Idol Lies and The God of All Comfort” again,  using IVONA.
 

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    Thank you Cindy…I’m going to try this!

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I am so blessed to hear Sinclair Ferguson’ exposition of Psalm 5. WOW! Just what I needed since I have been preoccupied with several distresses in my life. Help me, Lord not to gaze at my distress, but to look up and gaze at you-the One who has the power to take care of all my distresses. Thank You, God for this wonderful refreshing reminder from one of your beloved. Praise you, the one who inclines His ears to my groanings and sighing. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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    Welcome, Ernema. So good to hear from you.

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      Dee, thanks for the welcome. I have been going through a valley right now and the Lord has used the psalms to speak to my heart. I can not explain the peace that I have (Philippians 4:7) but I know it is from God. His timing is always perfect and I need to be reminded of this often. I have been to a couple of conferences at the Presbyterian Church in KC where you have spoken. I am a friend of Jean Bouas and I believe one time she was one of the facilitators of the small groups at one of those conferences several years ago.

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    Ernema–welcome! So sorry you have been under such distress–thankful the sermon ministered to you–I agree, it was such a good reminder! praying this for you, with you “Praise you, the one who inclines His ears to my groanings and sighing”, hope you’ll stay with us!

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      Thanks, Elizabeth! I work full time and my husband is a pastor of a small church so we keep pretty busy. But I have committed myself to doing this psalm study with you all even though I may not contribute much. Thank you all for the blessings of Christian sisterhood.
       

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    Welcome Ernema! So glad to have you here-I think  you might live close to me if you have been to the Presbyterian church in KC.  I pray you will find encouragement here!

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 “You know, Mary, for the Christian this life is as bad as it will ever get…but for the non-Christian this life is as good as it will ever get.”  That was such a sobering thought for me…this is as bad as it will ever get for me.(I love how 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 expresses this concept, “momentary, light affliction”) but for those that don’t know Jesus, who are facing the same heartaches without Him, wow…  How I need to be willing to “…become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.”  (I Corinthians 9:22)

Mary, I can see why you miss your brother SO MUCH.

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Saturday:9. What is your take-a-way and why?
 
This  week was a rich study for me as I spent time in Psalm 5 & 6.

 ”But Christ’s power is magnified in our weakness. If we find our identity in being God’s beloved, we can stop letting our addiction to perfection consume us. If we find our identity in being God’s beloved, we will bring glory to Him in our weaknesses and point others to Him.”

 
When I read that quote in a book I am reading–  it was such a clear picture of David in Psalm 5 & 6. One of the things I had to reconcile in 1990 along with other issues is—  I was striving so hard in my own perfectionistic personally to please God and when I would fail in my self-efforts I would descend into depression. It was like being on a roller coaster–  I hated seeing weaknesses in me—  to me that made me a failure and worthless in God’s eyes, (which was another “Idol Lie” I believed)
 
David on the other hand, because of his many failures, looked to God his righteousness. I’m convinced the Holy Spirit will never give up  showing us the many ways we depend on ourselves instead of Christ our righteousness. David always pointed others to God.
 
It’s been a journey for me to be able to receive God’s love for me in my weaknesses. As I look back I see my “addiction to perfection”  had become an “Idol”.
 
The Lord said to Paul,  “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness.” So I’ll gladly spend my time bragging about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power can rest on me (II Cor. 12:9).  I can see now why the Holy Spirit had David (who was not ashamed of his weaknesses) write so much about it. 
 
Because my new identity is who I am in Christ—   I too can admit my weaknesses  and receive God’s grace like David and Paul and point others to Christ.
 
 
 
 

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    I love your observations here, Cindy.  I was at the same place in my life about 4 years ago.  For years and years I did so much (taught kids Sunday School classes, helped with AWANA, nursery, on the clean team at church, etc…) and when I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time (had breast cancer, Stage 3A when I was 36, I’m 47 now, but then had thyroid cancer when I was 43) I went into such a deep depression.  I remember saying to a Christian counselor I was seeing, “I know I SHOULD be doing this, and this, and this,…but I just come home from work exhausted and lay on the couch watching junk TV for the evening.”  Her response revolutionized my image of God (after about 18 months!!!) “Mary, if all you do is sit on your couch watching junk TV for the rest of your life, God’s love for you will not change.  It is totally independent of what you do or don’t do.”  That was so freeing.  I had put myself in a virtual prison cell of my own building.  But Jesus did not come to imprison us.  He  came to set the captives free!  It is the enemy who tries to herd us back into the tinny, little prison cell.  (and FYI, I do get off the couch occasionally.) :-)

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      Mary, I’m so thankful you got good advice and are free!  Praying for you!

      Our Laura Dancer has breast cancer now and going through treatments. I know you and Cindy can relate.

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      Mary, what a freeing truth your counselor told you-and how it changed your view of God! By the way, our numbers of “Ohio sisters” are growing!

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The “Busy Bee Idol”. I can relate :-)

 “Mary, if all you do is sit on your couch watching junk TV for the rest of your life, God’s love for you will not change.  It is totally independent of what you do or don’t do.”  That was so freeing.  I had put myself in a virtual prison cell of my own building.  But Jesus did not come to imprison us.  He  came to set the captives free!  It is the enemy who tries to herd us back into the tinny, little prison cell.  (and FYI, I do get off the couch occasionally.) :-)

Amen!
I too was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011. I will never forget His presence was so real to me during those days of treatments.Looking back  during all my weaknesses, I can say today—  they have been a gift to me and I treasure each one. I’ve been able to pour each one  out in worship to the lover of my soul.

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Sinclair Ferguson is a gifted preacher originating from Scotland. This sermon is from The Gospel Coalition website. Listen and share your notes: LINK
I really enjoyed this message. Im going to listen again. Last night we had an awards ceremony to attend, the prayer given before dinner had part of our Psalm 1, 2 and 3.  It’s funny how you catch that in a prayer and it has so much more meaning to me now that I am studying Psalm. Love it!
 
Im just going to highlight things that stood out to me in Sinclair’s message:
 
~”Whenever your hand goes up, God sees your hand”
 
~” The direction in which we look when we are in turmoil…”
     -do not look to our distress, LOOK TO GOD.
     -when we focus on our distress, we are not “hearing”
     -you will not find your solution by gazing at your distress
     -GAZE UPON GOD,not distress Psalm 5:1-3
 
~My King, My God-anchor of my Christian soul.
 
~Romans 8:28- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose. 
    -God works all things out for His Glory, it’s not always going to be positive or pleasant in our lives. Romans 8:29 …to be conformed to the likeness of His Son…
    – God’s great passion is to NOT make us comfortable; but to make us like His Son. It’s what He is doing in our distress moments.
 
~When our enemy presses towards us, we dont need to fight back. God is more than capable to take care of His reputation or cause.
   -God takes care of his own. Psalm 5:7 But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house…
 
~Many times people may seem rude or mean towards you and not even know why themselves. It’s the God who lives inside you, it’s a peace and comfort you carry within having God. Something the lost world does not have nor your enemy. Sinclair says its almost like they envy or admire you but would never tell you. It truly is God within us that the world is admiring and not realizing they need.
 
 
 
I really enjoyed this message and didnt get a chance to finish listening to the last 12 minutes. Something I will do. Just when I think the study couldnt get any better, it’s just like God to pull us in more with His Word. Truly enjoyed this message. Lots to ponder and make me realize Im not the “odd” one or “weird” one when I feel that way around others who dont know God. Something I always feel, especially in a military community where God is not always prevalent in peoples lives, conversations or actions….

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6. Read Psalm 6 and find the turn from focusing on himself to focusing on the Lord.
 
In v. 4 David says “Turn, O Lord, and deliver me, save me because of your unfailing love.” But then he goes back to lamenting in verses 5-7. I see more of a real turn starting in verse 8, where David becomes confident that “the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy, the Lord accepts my prayers.”
 
7. What is the question of Psalm 6:3? Have you ever felt that way?
 
The question is “How long, O Lord, how long?” Yes, I have felt that way. A couple of times when I’ve had serious health problems, even surgery, it seemed like a long tunnel and I wondered how long before I would ever feel well again. Sometimes it’s spiritual, as in how long is it going to take me to make any sort of progress, to grow, to change. Sometimes it’s in relationships that are difficult and strained.
 
8. How does Psalm 6 end? What resolution do you see in this? Can you praise the Lord for the victory that will one day be ahead for you? Do so here.
 
Psalm 6 ends with David’s confidence that God has heard and accepts his prayers. His enemies will be the ones who are ashamed and they will be disgraced. They will turn back and no longer be around David. The resolution is that one day, God will deal with His enemies-our enemies, especially our very great enemy-Satan.
Lord, I praise You that You are great and powerful and no one can stand against You, no one can thwart the plans You have, and no one can steal the inheritance You have given Your children. No one who looks to You will ever be put to shame. Lord, I can’t even imagine, but I look forward to the day when You will deal the death blow to my own flesh, and I will be free from sin, truly. I know that You can accomplish all these great and wonderful things! Even though I am sinful, by your great mercy, You will gather me and all your children into your house where we will be safe and with You forever.

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These are the things that stuck with me all throughout the day after I listened to Ferguson-I have found a new teacher I love! :)

-The distress isn’t as important as the direction David looks in this Psalm -verse 2 “My King and My God”-this is important-it is the anchor of the Christian soul-a recognition that our God is King and He reigns! It shows David is gazing at Him beholding Him as the One who is in control despite everything around him being out of control. Absolutely nothing is out of God’s control. I liked how he brought in Romans 8:28-our confidence isn’t in everything working together-that it will turn out the best but in God’s ability to work things together for our good and His Glory.
 
Loved this: Romans 8:28 and 29..You can’t know Romans 8:28 without knowing 29-The good is not my comfort or my success but that I should be transformed by everything I go through under His sovereign kingly control so that more and more I become like Jesus-that is the only thing that is going to last in me. Nothing that is unlike Jesus will be permitted into heaven. This is God’s great passion in my life as a Christian-it is not to make me comfortable, but to make me like Jesus……    YES!!!!!!!!!!!  Really..this is the core where His Springs flow out and our desires become His and therefore  witnessing to others, loving one another etc. is an outflow-it isn’t something we have to paste on or ‘do out of duty’..
 
 
- Another huge piece of help was when he said we can say to God-I know you are doing this to make me like Jesus but show me more and more why you are doing this to make me more like Jesus..That is hard as it requires a submissive, humble heart which I believe HE fashions as He grows us- but oh encouraged me so.
 
When Ferguson said: “For real lasting joy you need assurance in the real world and in your destiny to come.”
 
When Ferguson talked about joy he said in the middle of suffering we are able to rejoice in God because He is God-because we have peace with God we can rejoice-there is a stability and confidence.  Like when you read the end of a novel before you start it-you don’t get stressed out through the whole novel because you know how it is going to end. So we too know how the story will end and therefore we can have confidence in the middle of suffering. I don’t think this means we laugh and smile as all of us are made differently-some have permanent smiles on our faces and others find it harder to express..and I don’t think it means we don’t grieve and feel but I think this is a confidence that as we meditate on the truth of our hope we can remain calm. I do know I need to grow in this! Yet I am growing in confidence HE WILL grow me because this is His great passion for me. 
 
-When people are against me because of Him then it should run off my back like water over a duck because I can have confidence that He is opposed to evil and He is in control and He is King. He will handle his own reputation-I don’t need to fight back for him. This is SO GOOD.
 
 
-C.S. Lewis: There are only 2 kinds of people-those who say thy will be done to God and those to whom God says at the end then your will be done-all that are in hell choose it. Without that self choice it wouldn’t be hell.  - This stuck out to me too and I was thinking about it all day at work as I have a new gal I work with who can’t stand her Christian brother in law because he preaches to her all the time. She is a bit different than my boss-my boss seems somewhat tender although I am not sure yet. The new gal is pretty hard core stuck in her ways..and while it breaks my heart that she can’t embrace why God came down-and that she would reject Him..at the same time what C.S. Lewis said is so true..she is pretty much all the way around-”My will be done.” I am not saying this to criticize her-I say this with a heavy heart for her-she doesn’t want anything to do with God. 
 

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    Great notes and reflections, Rebecca!

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Great sermon! Need to reflect a while and perhaps I will comment on it later, but many have already shared good notes and reflections.

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I echo everyone’s feelings about the sermon – it was great! It kept me engaged from beginning to the very end. I won’t post detailed notes as some of you have already done that. I now have a new mental image from Sinclair Ferguson – the example of David’s crying out to God as his hand going up. This is the story of a man whose hand went up. I love this – does anyone remember grade school days when you had your hand up and the teacher never called on you:))) God always, always sees my hand raised (in distress, in supplication).
 
Also, it’s important to note, as David laments his distress, the direction in which he looks. He is looking up. The danger is when the only place I look is to my distress, when I become absorbed with it. Ferguson said we need to say, “Self! You’ll not find the solution to your distress by gazing at your distress!” Love that example of speaking to our soul!
 
I really felt a feeling/sense of encouragement washing over me as I listened to the end – just the hope, the encouragement, of the joy we have in Him. “Isn’t it good to be a Christian?” – YES!!

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    “Self! You’ll not find the solution to your distress by gazing at your distress!”

    That’s good.

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    Susan, I was really encouraged the same way too! :)

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4. Now pray through an anxiety you have using Psalm 5:7-8 to guide you.
 
Dearest Lord, You know my heart. You are my protector from those who want to harm me. My anxiety is strong in regards to my daughter and her being harassed by her land lady. It is strong because we have only a limited time to find a new place for her to live that is in our price range. I know You will guide us Lord. I know You will show us a nice place where no one will bother her and she is safe. We will follow your lead, Lord, please help us stay quiet and hear You. Protect us. We will stay near You and bow down everyday 
 
5. Read Psalm 5:9-12.
    A. Here David describes our enemies, and they are terrifying indeed. What do you learn about them?
 
They are liars who can’t be trusted. They are hateful.
 
    B. In Romans 3, Paul quotes this passage, but applies it to all mankind — to us. I often think of the phrase from The Song of Songs — we are dark, yet lovely. Both before Christ and after Christ, we must see the darkness in our own hearts, or we deceive ourselves. As you look at these descriptions, write a prayer of confession to the Lord.
 
Lord, help me. I am not pure in Your eyes. I have deceit and sin in my heart. Please forgive me. Forgive me when I forget how  You want me to behave. When I don’t spend enough time focused on what You consider important; meditating on Your breathed Word. Help me remember You in all I do Lord. Thank You for being patient with my human self. Amen.

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    Oh Laura, I’m praying for Sarah and you to find her a different place to live that you can afford.  How is your mother doing?

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9. What is your take-away and why?
 
One of my take-aways is this: I am enjoying Dee’s encouragement to memorize a verse or more from each of the psalms, so that we can pray them whenever we want. I like beginning with Psalm 1 and then proceeding up to where we are now, on Psalm 5. Quite some time back, Dee posted a picture of a string of pearls, and this is how I’m thinking of it…going through the Psalms, is like stringing the pearls together. I did this the other day when I was cleaning in the kitchen and cooking. I was feeling a little down. So out loud, I started saying my memorized verses, starting with Psalm 1, and praying through them out loud. I even sang a little from this week’s Maranatha song. I felt my spirits begin to lift!
 
Next, in the big blue box above where the ending verses of Psalm 6:8-10 are posted (the picture of the moon and the sea) – something struck me and I remembered Mike Reeves saying not to take an inordinate amount of time to “get to Jesus” as you read the Bible. I think I caught a glimpse of the gospel! “The Lord has heard my plea, the Lord accepts my prayer“.Okay, here goes…I thought of Jesus’ prayers being heard. I searched for and found the verse I was looking for in Hebrews 5:7:
 
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverent submission.
 
God the Father has accepted the prayers of Jesus on our behalf-He was heard. This is good news indeed! Jesus, our Great High Priest, intercedes for us.
 
Also have several take-aways from the sermon this week…things I definitely want to remember.

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I love this line!
 
“I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.” (Psalm 6:6 NIV)
 
6. Read Psalm 6 and find the turn from focusing on himself to focusing on the Lord.
 
I think the turn is when he says, “Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.” (Psalm 6:8-10 NIV)
 
7. What is the question of Psalm 3:6? Have you ever felt that way?
 
I will not fear though tens of thousands assail me on every side. (Psalm 3:6 NIV)
 
I don’t see a question here. Did you mean 6:3? If so….absolutely I have felt this way! 
 
“My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?” (Psalm 6:3 NIV)
 
 
 

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    Yes, I did, Laura. You are a brave soul with a wonderful attitude in your trial.

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Sinclair Ferguson is a gifted preacher originating from Scotland. This sermon is from The Gospel Coalition website. Listen and share your notes: LINK
 
Sinclair Ferguson related a story from his years of teaching in theological seminary.  One of his students had an annoying habit of “asking a question,” when in reality he was trying to make a statement.   In later years this student reminded Ferguson that once when Ferguson was trying  to switch from a Q&A session back into his lecture, this particular student evidently called out “I have a question.”   According to the former student, Ferguson kept his head down and just commented, “I didn’t see your hand was up.”    Ferguson says when your hand goes up, God sees it — no matter how burdensome your questions are to others.
 
Our hand goes up when we are in great need or help.  The first 3 verses of Psalm 5 give no details of what the psalmist’s distress is about, but only several examples of his “crying out.”    What is ultimately important is the direction in which he looks.   If the only place we look is to our distress — distress does not help distress.   We need to be able to make the step outside of our selves.   The comfort comes for the psalmist and for us when we think of God as “my king and my God.”   There is the recognition that God reigns.  While everything is out of the psalmist’s control, nothing is out of God’s control.     Ferguson quoted Romans 8:28, ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”     The ultimate good is that we should be conformed to the image of His Son.   His goal has nothing to do with my comfort or my success.  It is that more and more I become more like Jesus Christ.   Nothing that is unlike Jesus Christ will be permitted into heaven.    So we should not look to the distress, but to what God is doing with the distress in our lives.   We need to say, “Lord, show me why you are doing that so I will be more like Jesus.”     In the morning I prepare — then once I prepare in prayer, I watch. 
 
God is implacably opposed to evil (like a father-figure).   As a parent you are implacably opposed to anything or anyone who would do  your children harm.  So it is with God.  
 
We never need to take vengeance.   We are able to say “Lord this is about you.”    We don’t need to fight back.   When we do, we tend to spit out the same venom that was spit out toward us.   God is quite able to take care of His own cause.     Those who oppose your Christian witness are in most cases actually jealous.  The Christian has experienced the abundance of God’s steadfast love.   When you have had that experience, you can take anything people throw at you.   It is the confidence that we have.
 
Ferguson referred to John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  Pilgrim is walking through the valley of lions in the dark.  He can hear the lions roar.   What he doesn’t know is that the lions are tethered in such a way that they can’t get to the path.     So in your life, the lions may roar — everything may be pressing in upon you.     It is then we need to sing the song, “Lead me Lord, lead me in your righteousness….”   If we look into the lion’s mouths we will see there is “no truth in them.”   Let them fall by their own counsels.  Ferguson said it reminded him of the story in the book of Esther, and how Haman ends up hanging on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.  
 
C.S. Lewis:  “There are only 2 kinds of people–those who say ‘thy will be done’ to God and those to whom God says at the end ‘then your will be done.’  All that are in hell choose it. Without that self-choice,  there wouldn’t be a hell.”
 
So the psalmist ends by saying “do this if necessary.”   He ends with encouragement, saying, “You bless the righteous, O Lord, you cover him as with a shield.”
 
 
 
 

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There is so much to take away from this week that I am going to have to pick the thing that speaks to everything else happening in my life this week. It has been a difficult week because my 17 y/o is speaking to a Marine recruiter and even brought him here to meet with us. The pressure was high for us to sign for him to join now. My husband caved but God strengthened me. That night I wrestled with thoughts of what could be good and what could be bad in this. I wrestled with God because I could not sense a definitive answer from Him about what to do. The details are too much for the blog but the point is that the Lord met me and I knew this was His, not mine. Oh what peace and joy to have Him beside me no matter what happens. Isn’t it great to be a Christian?
 
    There is another situation, out of my control having to do with rumors about me at work. This is an enemy I can’t confront and it keeps resurfacing. I have no choice but to give it to God and because of previous experience that has become easier. As I have studied this week I ponder, just who is this enemy? As I read 5:9 idolatry came to my mind. It speaks flattery and promises much but delivers destruction. The world contains another 2 kinds of people, I think. Those without Christ who are completely enslaved to idolatry, and those in Christ who are somewhere on the continuum of dealing with it. Even before Idol Lies, when I didn’t really understand what God was doing, He was dealing with me about this and I think He is dealing with all of His children about it. So the truth is I suffer at the hands of this enemy but I am also guilty. I am stained dark with this sin and because of it I can be the enemy too. It hurts so to confess this but it is true. My turn is the beginning of so many verses of scripture: But God…has provided the sacrifice. He has made me clean, even sharing His glory with me.
Sorry for going on so. Thanks for listening.
 
Oh, and another thing: I want to be known as the girl who has come to take refuge under the wings of the Almighty!
 
  

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    Oh Anne — so much — praying with you for wisdom for son and for protection at work.

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      Dee, thank you. We have such treasure in each other’s prayers.

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    Anne, love your honesty here…I do hope and pray for God’s leading in the right decision for your son about joining the marines, and for your work situation.

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    Oh Anne…I’m so sorry you are in such torment.    First of all, would they accept Joey with his feet problems?  How hard this must be at only 17:(       How are you doing with your boot on and your new job while it heals?  I’m praying the rumors stop…  Praying!

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      Joyce, thank you so much for prayer about the rumors! They really hurt. I was pretty amazed this morning to see the post about slander.
      Joey scored well on the test they take. The recruiter seems pretty sure he will get in but then he has no understanding about his feet. Joey’s concern is about getting through boot camp without tearing his plantar fascia and that is what has put the brakes on. I made him an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in feet and ankles but it is a month until then. Thank the Lord. This has been a case where many counselors has been great. That is the reason I wouldn’t sign. I felt that he needed to talk to people. 

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My take away:
I found it so encouraging and prayerful to slowly read through Psalm 5 and 6 each day pondering my own need to the Lord to hear me. Working through the Psalms phrase by phrase has been the tonic my weary soul needs. There are so many enemies that attack the soul – sometimes people, circumstances and sometimes the lies that Satan feeds us. We desperately need these Psalms.

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9. What is your take-a-way and why?
I didn’t know at the start of this week just how much the Lord would use this study. I am continually amazed at how my sisters here encourage and challenge me—I watch Laura-dancer, another hero—how she is battling cancer with unswerving faith and what I think is true joy—a supernatural “lightness” amidst so many trials; Diane—the Lord has used her greatly this week to encourage me, and she is in her own ongoing relentless trials. Our dear Chris, standing so strong, steadied by her faith, and deep intimacy with Jesus. And Dee—having endured a loss I cannot begin to let myself imagine—yet she continues to follow Him, and as evidenced by the timeliness of this study-she hears Him, she is used of Him.
 
My trials are comparatively small, so to see so many of you struggle with such greater things, and yet keep pressing into Him—it strengthens me to be here, to be near this fellowship. I am thankful. My oldest is really struggling now with her adoption; my neuropathy pain is back and strong, and my 7 yr old is again struggling with a neurological disorder affecting his brain and bringing him great anxiety. We need wisdom for next steps.
 
But the ways the Lord has come to me—oh, tears.  Thursday night my son hit the worst yet (I tried a supplement that turned out to have an opposite effect!)  and in the midst of his cycle, and I tried to calm him–all I could do was pray Psalm 23 over him—then the next morning, Diane shared with me a devotion from the same Psalm. Later that morning, in the car, the Lord gave me a few minutes of a Sproul sermon—all I heard was him quote John 1:9– who sinned, this man or his parents…”  Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” I needed that. It’s NOT my fault, God will use this. Then hearing the Ferguson sermon—the first time he said “God sees when your hand is up—instant tears, I wasn’t expecting him to say it, and it was JUST what I needed to hear. He tells me that He sees me, and I can feel that He does, and that is a gift. “The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.” Psalm 6:9 I do know I am going to be “ok”
 
This is from Ann Voskamp, SO fitting, I thought many of you would like it too:
“there is a plan and there is a purpose and there is a God in heaven who didn’t just ink you onto the palm of His hands but etched your name right into Himself with nails and He’s hasn’t just got your number, He’s got your heart. He sees you, hidden in Him, and you aren’t ever forgotten because God can’t forget those right in Him. You’ve never missed the boat when you’re holding onto the Cross…Because God’s writing your story and He never leaves you alone in your story, and His perfect love absorbs all your fear and His perfect grace carries all your burdens, and your story is a happily ever after because Christ bought your happily ever after so you always know how this story ends: You’re going to be okay.” -Ann Voskamp

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    Oh Elizabeth…you are going through deep waters right now…the neuropathy pain, back in full-force, your son’s neurological problem, and your daughter struggling…I wonder if their trials are exacerbating your pain-the stress it must put you under. Am praying for each one of you…love how “God sees when your hand is up” spoke to you!

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    Elizabeth, I’m so sorry!  Your awful pain is back and problems with each child….I can’t believe all  your heartache.   I’m praying now and will continue.  Thank you for the  Ann Voskamp  quote.  Keep reading it, as it is encouraging…I had to copy and save it!
     

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    ELizabeth-Hate to hear your pain is back and at the same time you are struggling with your children! Such an encouragement to see how you are ‘holding onto the Cross’ and that He came to you and helped you to take in deeper that you know how this story ends..The Voskamp quote is so fitting.

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    Elizabeth, you are so loved and prayed for here. So sorry you are going through such a hard time. But your testimony of how God has met you this week is a wonder of God’s love and a real encouragement to me. I love the Ann V. quote:

    Because God’s writing your story and He never leaves you alone in your story, and His perfect love absorbs all your fear and His perfect grace carries all your burdens, and your story is a happily ever after because Christ bought your happily ever after so you always know how this story ends

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Love this quote, Elizabeth!  Thanks for sharing it:  “there is a plan and there is a purpose and there is a God in heaven who didn’t just ink you onto the palm of His hands but etched your name right into Himself with nails and He’s hasn’t just got your number, He’s got your heart. He sees you, hidden in Him, and you aren’t ever forgotten because God can’t forget those right in Him. You’ve never missed the boat when you’re holding onto the Cross…Because God’s writing your story and He never leaves you alone in your story, and His perfect love absorbs all your fear and His perfect grace carries all your burdens, and your story is a happily ever after because Christ bought your happily ever after so you always know how this story ends: You’re going to be okay.” -Ann Voskamp

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And welcome Ernema !  and Laura Dancer, I am praying for your healing…I have definitely been there!  Thank the Lord radiation seems like a very distant memory now! :-)  10 years!  

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    I want to welcome Ernema also!  I  have prayed for her on the private Dee facebook friends.  

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One of my take-aways:When I first read Ps. 6:8-10 in the blue box above, out of context as I was scrolling up the page, I took it as a command (which, in a sense, I think it is), and I wanted to tell some people off :-)
When we worked through the passage, and I saw in v. 4 that the Psalmist focused on the unfailing steadfast love of the Lord, and then cried out about his distress to the Lord, my thoughts about the rest of the chapter changed.  As I prayed the psalm, I was approaching those verses as someone resting in the Lord, weary from the fight who was stating the way things are.  It’s not that evil workers go away because I command them to; it’s because the Lover of my Soul already has won the battle and I am resting in Him.
 
Just yesterday, I was told something that I accepted at face value with a pretty decent attitude, but a few hours later when I looked more closely, I realized that I had been lied to again.  And for awhile, I wanted to fight a battle.  But then I remembered my earlier prayers related to this situation and realized that the lie was an answer to my prayer.  I learned what I had asked the Lord to show me.  Ha!  What I am NOT seeing in this passage:  The psalmist didn’t chase and try to catch “the workers of evil” after the Lord caused them to depart.  I guess I won’t go chasing them down.  Is kinda tempting though, because I have ammunition, but the passage doesn’t say that it is my job to put them to shame.   Very applicable, although I might be stretching the application!

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9. What is your take-a-way and why?
 
This week I am going to say the whole week of study is my take-a-way. I know I only answered a few questions but that is one thing I love about this study. There is no pressure to do it all. I did listen to the sermon and it reassured me that God indeed sees me in my distress. Also, the quote from Mary’s brother really gave me a shot in the arm. I treasure the times I can come and read and pray with everyone. I’ve had much on mind this week with my giving my testimony next Sunday. I just finished writing it before I logged on here. That is one load off my mind. Looking forward to next week’s study!   

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    Can you share your testimony with us, Tammy? Praying for you as you give it Sunday.

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Oh Tammy, I just prayed that the Holy Spirit will show up in all of His power and speak through your testimony tomorrow and I know that He will.  

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lOVED THE  SERMON…COULD LISTEN TO HIM ALL DAY! He has such a soothing voice.  Isn’t it great to be a Christian?!!

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    Joyce, :)

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