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WHITER THAN SNOW

whiter-than-snowThis is going to be a great week. Paul Tripp’s devotional on Psalm 51 is packed with insightful questions on this famous psalm. I’m going to use just a few to help us begin to dig into this psalm of David’s repentance. I’m so thankful for the hungry souls on this blog. I don’t want superficial Christianity. I want to be surrounded by believers who want to go deeper, who long for transformed lives, and whose excitement is contagious. That’s you!  We’ll spend a week here, and we can’t cover it all, but the last question allows you to dig, dig, dig. Set your pace. Pray for your sisters. This could be an extremely transforming week.

This is asking very personal questions — so it is only fair I jump in too, so I will be answering as well this week. This is a study that could be done over and over again in order for us to walk a life of repentance and faith.

Prepare your heart with music based on Psalm 51. I love Dennis Jernigan’s version of Mercy Me. I like the rendition on A Woman of Worship of Psalm 51. You probably have one to suggest and we’d love to hear it or watch it.

Bible Study

The background for this psalm is David’s sin with Bathsheba and Uriah and his repentance after Nathan came and painted a word picture for him. If you aren’t familiar with this, the story is in 2 Samuel 11-12. Read it. Then read all of Psalm 51 prayerfully.

1. We often think our problems are on the outside — a difficult boss, tight finances, or a lack of appreciation. Yet the whole of Scripture, including Psalm 51, shows us our problems are on the inside. If we are convinced we are righteous, that we don’t need cleansing and rescuing, that is our biggest problem. It seems amazing that David was so blind to his sin before Nathan came to him, yet we are the same way. Think about a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it actually be on the inside?

3.  What is our only hope, according to Psalm 51:1? Tim Keller says growth comes from continually walking in repentance and faith on a daily basis. Where, today, is God calling you to walk in repentance and faith? (Let’s pray for one another and share how God has helped us through the week.)

4. Paul Tripp shares about a time when he was on a panel with two Islamic colleagues and a Rabbi. When the subject of what you would say to a family whose loved one committed suicide came up, Tripp said the Gospel shone the brightest. He said, “Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. …Both the person who has committed suicide and the person who has not, yet has sinned, is dependent on God’s mercy.” Contemplate this: Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace? Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint?

5. Tim Keller says the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he is overcome with thankfulness that he is saved. When asked if he is a Christian, he says something like, “Oh — yes — isn’t it wonderful?” Whereas the person who doesn’t really get it becomes indignant, thinking somehow he has earned the right to be called a Christian. Comment.

6. What does Psalm 51:3 teach us about our hearts? Tripp says we are masters at disguise. Anger masquerades as a zeal for truth, gossip as concern, pride as a love for biblical wisdom. We are all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good. Be still before the Lord praying through Psalm 51:1-3, and Psalm 51:6. Does he give you light in your inner parts?

7. How do you explain verse 4?

8. Take a passage of Psalm 51 and pray through it for yourself. Write your prayer here.

9. There is so much in this psalm, it is hard to do it justice in a week. But contemplate it, chew it, and share your insights here, giving a verse reference, an insight, an application.

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112 comments

  1. I have some very wonderful news to share with all of you, my “online” family of Christian sisters!

    My dad, at the age of 83, prayed on Thursday, June 24, to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior! In his own words, as he just told me on the phone today, he wrote his name in his Bible, with the date, that “I asked Jesus to receive me into His house”.

    I think I shared on the last blog post how he met with my pastor last Thursday, and I had asked him if there had ever been a time in his life that he could remember asking Jesus to forgive him and praying to receive Him. He said, no, he didn’t think he ever had. I just encouraged him to start reading John and to have that talk with God, and tell Him where he was at with God.

    So, that night at home, my dad said he prayed, and he has been reading through John every day. I still can’t believe it. I am so thankful for my dad, and at the same time, as I contemplate all the circumstances that brought about this day, I know that it was the death of his grandson that led him to the Lord. I am not saying that I believe God caused Thomas’ death, but I know in His sovereignty, God knew the awful choices Thomas would make, and He saw ahead to this day where my dad would come to believe. I must say, it is very, very difficult for me to reconcile these two things; a death, and a new spiritual life for my dad. It’s like I feel both the sadness and also the joy for my dad.

    I could so relate to the story of Dee’s mother in her book, The God of All Comfort, as she received Christ in her 90’s. And I want to encourage those of you who may feel like giving up hope. I told my dad that two years ago, we would NEVER be having the conversation we were having about God and reading the Bible together and praying together. And he said no, we wouldn’t have. I even remembered the time my dad said he would NEVER be converted.

    This Bible study has helped me so much to pull from the Psalms prayers for praising God and praying for my dad and my mom, who still needs to know the Lord. I went to their home Saturday night, and as I was driving there, the evening sky was magnificent, and I just praised Him all the way there, remembering phrases from those Psalms we’ve studies, saying Yes, David up in heaven, let us exalt the Lord together! I prayed for my dad, as he would look to the Lord, that he would be radiant, and to know that he never will be ashamed for trusting in God. I prayed for God to save my dad, who has been so afflicted and crushed in spirit.

    Thank you to all for your prayers, and please continue to pray for my dad to grow and come to know this Jesus who has his grandson now, and Who my dad will also be with for all eternity. And for my mom’s heart to be softened toward the Lord.

    Some of you, like Anne, have shared distress over sons or other relatives that aren’t believers yet or are not walking with God.
    Remember, NOTHING is too hard for the Lord.

      1. It is glorious!!!

    1. WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!!

      1. Amen to that!!! Thanks, Tammy, for what you posted as reply to me in the last blog – it was an encouragement to me! I’ll have to check out that devotional, too!

    2. Praise God! I will be praying for your mom & dad

    3. Such a blessing, Susan! So encouraging. Awesome! Awesome, God! I’ll be praying for your mom today. Gloris

      1. I am so thrilled to hear this! Praise God!!!

  2. Hello all (finally!),
    I’ve been back to reading your postings again for a little more than a week. I read what you posted for this week, Dee, and Psalm 51 and listened “Mercy Me” by Dennis Jernigan (I wasn’t familiar with him before, loved the song, and downloaded the album! What a testimony to God’s grace.).

    My first thought when reading what Dee posted for this week was “Ouch” — and then the second was “I have to post this week.”

    Just got back online again now: Susan, I am rejoicing with you — and your hope is contagious! Thank you! Dee, Congratulations on your new grandbaby 🙂

    1. Think about a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

    2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it actually be on the inside?

    My responses to 1 & 2 are very similar because in some areas, I’m a slow learner. Even though circumstances might be slightly different, I have similar thoughts, and incredible “self-defense” strategies to keep me from seeing the truth about myself and that keep me from seeing others as God sees them. Last week, I actually found myself happy that someone who seemed a little too self-righteous was brought down to “my level.” Though I did see the sin in my attitude, this week I’m beginning to see the root of that sin.

    When I spend more time comparing myself to other people and seeking validation either by feeling equal to or “just a little bit better” than someone, I’m in trouble with my thoughts — and eventually, my speech. And my criteria are pretty ridiculous: I can get “all worked up” when I think someone who has about the same position as I have makes a little more than I do or is awarded in some way that I’m not . . . or when someone likes another person better than s/he likes me. My logic is inconsistent, too, because I am thrilled with the successes of colleagues and try to provide opportunities for them to succeed. I wonder if I even am obstinate in defending people, i.e., if I am doing it just to disagree with people who complain! I STRUGGLE WITH THE SAME SINS THAT DRIVE ME NUTS IN OTHERS!

    My excuses are lack of sleep, being too busy, not feeling well, someone else being unfair. My biggest temptations are self-righteousness and self-focus that result in comparing myself to others. That comparison leads to justifying or making excuses for my thoughts, just like David did. I easily become blind to the fact that I have some control over those “excuses” which become temptation to sin. Comparing myself to others should be my first clue that I’ve taken my eyes off God, His grace, and who I am in Him.

    Participating in this Bible Study helps me keep my eyes on Him 🙂

      1. Thanks for the welcome back, Dee. It was kind of hard for me to “show up” again after “disappearing” before. I am overwhelmed with God’s grace and how quickly He is working in my life since yesterday morning when I got back into this Bible Study. I had let work and not feeling well distract me from seeking Him, but am so thankful for God’s forgiveness of my unfaithfulness.

  3. Oh Lord, we praise You. Oh how wonderful are Your ways! Even the most devastating events in our lives are not beyond Your redemption. What the enemy meant for evil, You used for good. Thank You that we can trust You always and especially in the pain.

    Susan, this is just too wonderful for words. We rejoice with you and continue to pray for your father and for the softening of you mother’s heart.

    1. Thank you, Anne, for rejoicing with me!!

  4. I copied a fb post to put here because I was so intrigued by it. I have no idea of the cost but this is something I would love to do. I wish we could all do it together. I also wish I had been to that retreat. My recent time alone with the Lord was so wonderful. I can only imagine how this would be. Always wanted to go to Colorado too.

    via Steve Smith: This is a wonderful ministry. I have not been to Colorado yet, but I was able to attend a retreat in Chapel Hill and I can tell you that the Truth shared by Steve Smith and Gwen Smith has helped me to realize that I am the Beloved of God (I am a sinner, life is not always easy, etc.) and that Truth has been life changing to me. It is all about Jesus and what He has done for us – You are the Beloved of God. Enjoy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9FFH-3gesM

  5. 1. We often think our problems are on the outside…yet the whole of Scripture, including Psalm 51, shows us our problems are on the inside.
    Think of a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

    I often feel “slighted” by others; I can be overly sensitive to a remark that wasn’t really meant to hurt my feelings, but I interpret it that way. I often feel let down and disappointed by others. I honestly don’t know what I expect of them.
    I bought the devotional, Whiter Than Snow, and have been reading slowly through it. On one page I wrote, “expecting them to live their lives to meet my needs.” It is often my selfishness and self centeredness that is the cause of my anger toward someone for “hurting” me or not meeting my needs.

    I can also remember enjoying the closeness of a relationship with another person in which we shared common ground that thrived on the fact that it was “us against another person”. I realized this served to make me feel good about myself and to meet my needs and to offset my own insecurity.

    It’s scary to look on the inside, because my self-centeredness is like a bottomless pit, like how far down does it go?! I know that everytime I use others to build myself up, I take away from what Christ has done and I’m not basing my assurance on Him and Him alone.

    1. Like what you said above, “I want to be surrounded by believers who want to go deeper…”

      I picture digging in the garden. To go deeper, you have to dig out some dirt.

      Thanks for the shoveful that you tossed out here for us to see.

      Isn’t it wonderful that God uses a “sideways” person like you, Dee, to set us all straight about Him?! 🙂

      He IS exalted in our weaknesses.

      “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above Ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!”

  6. Wow, I am really enjoying reading everyone’s responses.

    In my life, in this time of being a mom with four boys eleven and under and an awesome husband who works two jobs it seems like every day God is showing me some sinful attitude or something I need to surrender to him for that day. Especially when one of my boys has Autism and the other Aspergers. It gets real interesting around here! But it is good, really good for my husband and I. God has us on our knees a lot. ;0)

    In answer to question #1. After we had our fourth son it seemed I became a bit crankier and with my husband working two jobs I felt overwhelmed and anytime my children would do stuff to annoy me I just let it loose. God brought it to my attention with a bat! I needed a bat! The bat was His word and it was in regard to anger and how destructive the tongue can be. My boys did nothing to deserve my crankiness, they were just being boys. It was my heart. I was not content in our circumstances and I took it out on them. If Paul can sing hymns in prison after being beaten and chained surely I can trust God to strengthen me through this trial. I repented and am obeying him in this area and the Holy Spirit is empowering me to follow through in obedience. It has changed my relationships with my boys! God can restore what the Locusts have eaten!!

    Question #2. I picked up reading in 2 Samuel that David’s pride led to him being blind about his sins and the deception got worse. As it gets worse I think he most likely became numb to the Holy Spirit’s red flags, but God intervened-I LOVE That part!! Even when we go down that road and all seems hopeless, God will intervene and soften our hearts to hear Him! He will never leave or forsake us!

    There is an issue in my life that God brought to my attention a while ago but I have been stubborn in refusing to allow Him to work it out in me. God is showing me what I need to do first in this area, and that is to cry out to him literally with the words in Psalm 51 like David did which I am doing. So, pray for me in regard to this. I have 20 years of testimony I can give of God’s power in my life as he is molding me into the image of Jesus, yet with this issue I have behaved as if He can’t change that in me for quite a while.

    1. Wow Rebecca, I can relate to the tendency to “let loose” with my tongue, too. I really used to do that with my oldest son, as he was the first child and I think I had alot of selfishness and self centeredness and then suddenly, I had a new baby and there were days I didn’t have the time to get dressed and brush my teeth! Suddenly, I didn’t come first anymore.
      I heard a sermon once where the pastor said we CAN control our tongues, because if we were yelling at our family but suddenly, the doorbell rang and it was the next door neighbor, we would open the door and sweetly say, “Well hello, how nice to see you!” That hits home for me.
      I also prayed for you about this issue God is bringing to your attention.
      God Bless!

      1. Lord, thank you for Rebecca chiming in. Thank you for all her years of testimony of your goodness and power. And thank you for the gift of humilty you’ve given her to see where she needs choose a better way.

        You are and You are a rewarder of them that earnestly seek You. (Hebrew 11:6)

        So, I trust in You that You will reward Rebecca as she earnestly seeks Your will with this “issue”.

        In Jesus’ name, Amen!

  7. I sighed as I read #5 —

    “Tim Keller says the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he is overcome with thankfulness that he is saved. When asked if he is a Christian, he says something like, “Oh — yes — isn’t it wonderful?” Whereas the person who doesn’t really get it becomes indignant, thinking somehow he has earned the right to be called a Christian.”

    Been there, done that. sigh. Thank you, Jesus for humbling yourself by becoming a man, for taking my beatings, my curses and insults, for hanging so shamefully in my place, so I can walk uprightly, knowing my sins are forgiven.

    It is finished, you sighed with your last breath. Finished. No more “earning”, all is earned.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jesus.

    Ironically, I was going to post about humility on Gloriadelia today.

    I posted yesterday about hope, illustrating the verse, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him.” (psalm 42:5), because the song on “A Woman of Worship” has stuck in my heart all week. “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him…Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him…”

    Here’s the link. It shows the deaf sign for “hope”. It’s called “Koala Baby Faith”

    http://gloriadelia.wordpress.com/2010/06/28/koala-baby-faith/

  8. First of all, let me say it is comforting to know I am in a community where we struggle with the same sins and am not too proud to admit it. I love each of you and am lifting all of you up in prayer.

    1. Think about time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

    There was once a time when I lived as if my family members did not exist. Divorce fractured family relationships and each member went their own way. For many years, I lived with the crazy notion that God had placed me with the wrong people and I would ask him why he put me with my family. One day the answer finally came. The thought crossed my mind that God put me with my family so I could pray for them. I’m not praying for all my family members as I should. My pride keeps me from reaching out to them. I know that my family will never love me as God intends but that should not keep me from loving them as God does. I have no reason to fear more rejection because I am accepted by Christ. And, it is that very reason I know I must not keep turning my back on my family and treating them as they do me.

    2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it be on the inside?

    Like Renee stated earlier: OUCH! This question forces me to now face the beast within–SPIRITUAL PRIDE. I shared in a previous blog my tendency to puff myself up in the area of spiritual knowledge. Well, my merciful Father has just deflated me with this question: What good is having knowledge if I don’t DAILY apply it to my life?
    I confess that I give in to discouragement instead of standing my ground. Like the ten spies, I’m looking at the giants in my life and I’m telling myself I can’t overcome. The reality is, if I don’t overcome,I will wander around in a spiritual wilderness the rest of my days. After coming this far that would be crazy!! Also,I have allowed a critical and judgmental attitude to have control and it has led me to isolationism. I’m expecting perfection in my church family and that, I know, is not what God expects. I have to let go of my unrealistic expectations. As I write these words, the truth that I am indeed my own worst enemy is finally sinking in. It’s not pleasant this looking within to face myself, but it is tremendously liberating. Knowing that God is on my side and is not condemning me for the ugliness still within, drives me forward.

  9. 2 & 3. I’m so thankful I don’t have to focus on #2 forever, without looking at question #3. I did give in to despair for a little while yesterday, but I read #3 last night before I went to bed, that brought my focus back to my hope — my ONLY hope — in God and His compassion, mercy and forgiveness.

    I was listening to Dennis Jernigan “Mercy Me” and emailing someone about how God was working in my life through this Bible Study — and shortly after Mercy Me in my iTunes list was “Where Truth and Mercy Meet.” Will post the lyrics here, but I’ll come back later (maybe!) and post the “truth” (and prayer request) because truth is hard!

    VERSE(1):
    Lord, you see me
    Through your mercy
    I am guilty, still you love me
    In your kindness
    There is justice
    Through your goodness you have brought me

    CHORUS:
    Here where truth and mercy meet
    You triumph over me
    Your love has won my heart again
    And still I am so amazed
    My guilt is washed away
    Before your cross of peace
    Where truth and mercy meet

    VERSE(2):
    King of Glory, Lord of Mercy
    Risen Savior, Perfect Wonder
    Through your kindness
    You have drawn me
    By your suffering you have saved me

    CHORUS
    CHORUS

  10. I can’t really answer the first three questions because mostly I’m dealing with betrayal and rejection to the extent that I can’t even share it just yet. I no longer question if I’m part of the problem, because I’m completely confident that I am. As most everyone else has listed in different ways here, the biggest problem always seems to end up being some form of hidden pride (for me anyway).

    Where all of this really struck me was in question #4:“Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. …Both the person who has committed suicide and the person who has not, yet has sinned, is dependent on God’s mercy.”

    I first will admit that I’ve been struggling with suicidal type thoughts kind of constantly lately. Not exactly that I quite want to die, but more that I feel there is very little if any purpose for me kind of thing. I just can’t let go even though I desperately want to. There has been so much real shame and guilt for even thinking about these things that I’ve never EVER considered the root of those thoughts actually being about how I feel about God’s grace and mercy.

    Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace?

    I guess some of my pride has been mixed with shame thinking that somehow I have yet to earn what God has given to me. However, God’s grace is something that I know is not and never EVER can be earned by me or anyone else.

    Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint?

    I’ve personally been pretending to be thankful, but actually been complaining. I have spent hours every day lately sitting on cliff side praying and pondering why God would even bother with me. I then find I’m thankful that God would even bother with me….. sure I say that I am being thankful, but the hidden part of that gratitude is that I’ve completely forgotten to really look at and embrace the gift of God’s grace and what that actually means for me.

    1. Amber, I appreciate what you posted and am praying for you. When I read what you wrote: “I’ve never EVER considered the root of those thoughts actually being about how I feel about God’s grace and mercy,” I first started about it — how I felt/ feel about God’s grace and mercy affected and affects my thoughts and emotions. And I know my comprehension of God’s grace and mercy does impact my both my thoughts and my emotions.

      BUT — then this big yellow warning light popped on in my brain — and I obviously can’t know if this is your situation. I learned the hard way when I was depressed that continuing to dig for spiritual causes of my depression did MUCH more harm than good. I think I kept looking for the cause so that I could find “the cure,” but I couldn’t fix myself. Ultimately, I got on a medication that worked (and have had more counseling than most people on this planet 🙂 ). I keep looking at what you wrote to try to decide if I should post this because I know that this may not be your situation. On the other hand, I’ve learned not to mess with depression — and just in case that’s your situation, getting it treated was more helpful than figuring out “why.” So ignore this if it doesn’t fit — and I’ll pray for you whether it fits or not!! Your posting penetrated my thick skull, so thanks for reminding me of God’s grace and His faithfulness to me.

      1. I don’t have an answer for if I might be looking for a spiritual cause for depression or not. It is possible, so I will take what you’ve said to heart and think on it.

        Most of what I was thinking about is caused by a very specific group of situations. I feel betrayed, but at the same time I can’t exactly blame anyone.

        About a year ago my spiritual mentor died of cancer, I was with her and that was really a life altering experience. Two months later another spiritual mentor of mine moved to another country, so I no longer have contact with her. Then within a few weeks after that my closest christian friend stopped speaking to me (and everyone) so that she could heal through some of her own things.

        At this point I do think most of the deep anguish is actually more about honest grieving and that process.

        Gaining perspective of how God’s grace allows me to hurt for a time without having to have the words to explain was more what I was pointing to. His mercy is where I can start the process of forgiving myself for getting so lost in the process.

        1. Makes sense. That’s a LOT of loss. Very wise: “Gaining perspective of how God’s grace allows me to hurt for a time without having to have the words to explain”

      1. Thank you for the prayers ladies!

  11. Right now, I’d rather bang my head against the wall than post this. I even thing banging my head against the wall sounds fun at the moment 🙂 And this isn’t even one of those “I thought the problem was outside but discovered it was inside” situations.

    After dealing with an “inside” problem through questions 1 & 2, I was free to see another layer that I intentionally have “walled off” to make life easier. My walled off area isn’t a secret, but there are some things I just don’t do to avoid stirring things up. Years ago (~25+), I was “off the deep end” with depression and an eating disorder (occasionally have episodes of depression but they’re not as bad — and I’m more able to process them). I’ve made decisions both personally and professionally to insulate myself from situations that might tempt me to fall back into old thought patterns— and I think that was smart for a long time. But lately, I’ve had work opportunities (which I avoided at first and then found myself in the middle of them!) and although I’m cautious, I’m not cracking up! (at least not regarding those issues 🙂 ) For years, first out of necessity and then out of habit, I just “don’t go there” — and that WAS my final answer.

    God has changed me during the past five years — and I’m starting to sense that the “don’t go there” might be an excuse, an “inside problem.” I’m not particularly afraid that I’ll fall into the depths of depression or an out of control eating disorder, but I am afraid of “losing control” of that wall. Today, I know God has brought me to the place of being ready for the next phase of transformation. For a few months, I’ve started to get excited about “what next” or where God may be leading me (not the norm for me — I settle for tolerating a lot of life). Please pray that neither my pride nor my fears get in the way of God’s work in (and maybe even through) me. Thanks 🙂

    1. Renee, I can really relate to what you are saying about fear related to stepping out from behind that wall. Praise God for the healing He has in store for us!

    2. Lord, I do pray that right now for Renee, that neither her pride nor her fears get in the way of Your work in (and maybe even through) her.

      May we actively participate with you, Lord, in stomping out the sins that blind us and offend You.

      Thank you for being so patient and kind with us. May we all shout what Sally Field shouted into the mike as she accepted her Oscar years ago, “You love me. You really love me!”

      In Jesus’ name, Amen!

      1. Oh, wait, I just googled. She shouted, “You like me. You really like me!”

        But, may we be as joyful, Father, about Your loving us!

  12. May not have Internet access later this week so will answer this one, too.
    4. Paul Tripp . . . said, “Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. …Both the person who has committed suicide and the person who has not, yet has sinned, is dependent on God’s mercy.” Contemplate this: Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace?

    YES, but sometimes I forget!

    Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint? YES 🙂 and also by obliviousness

    Ok, now my comment about what Paul Tripp said: What a wonderful response to a family who has lost a loved one to suicide! And I agree. However, I remember when I “figured that out” — although not nearly so eloquently. I think many of us fluctuate between understanding God’s grace and trying to earn God’s favor. For some believers who are suicidal, I wonder if attempting to earn God’s favor (and fearing God’s wrath) might be a thread that keeps them alive a little longer. When someone is suicidal, mentally acknowledging God’s grace (but when the real hope of His grace hasn’t soaked in) might be justification for thinking “I can’t stand the pain. God is gracious. I’m done with this life.” I love what Tripp said. I’m just wondering how to convey that message, God’s grace, to someone who is suicidal (maybe the only answer is by His Grace and with a ton of prayer). Any ideas?

  13. 1. We often think our problems are on the outside — a difficult boss, tight finances, or a lack of appreciation. Yet the whole of Scripture, including Psalm 51, shows us our problems are on the inside. If we are convinced we are righteous, that we don’t need cleansing and rescuing, that is our biggest problem. It seems amazing that David was so blind to his sin before Nathan came to him, yet we are the same way. Think about a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

    Most of the time in my early years as Christian, I focused so much on how I could “show” God I loved him and didn’t understand that I didn’t need to try to impress Him because I am saved by grace. I lived somewhat legalistically and when problems came up I was quick to find fault with others or think I hadn’t done enough “good things” to convince God to bless me.

    2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it actually be on the inside?

    Even though I’m free of the mindset I described in the previous answer, I still sometimes focus too much on my feelings of loss than God’s greater plan for me. I thinkI have the answers when I really do not at all!

    3. What is our only hope, according to Psalm 51:1? Tim Keller says growth comes from continually walking in repentance and faith on a daily basis. Where, today, is God calling you to walk in repentance and faith? (Let’s pray for one another and share how God has helped us through the week.)

    Our only hope is God’s mercy, compassion & great love. God is calling me to live in the moment, looking at Him for all I need, not relying on what I think I can do for myself.

    4. Paul Tripp shares about a time when he was on a panel with two Islamic colleagues and a Rabbi. When the subject of what you would say to a family whose loved one committed suicide came up, Tripp said the Gospel shone the brightest. He said, “Suicide doesn’t change the paradigm. …Both the person who has committed suicide and the person who has not, yet has sinned, is dependent on God’s mercy.” Contemplate this: Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace? Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint?

    I do believe that God is my only hope through His grace. I pray he will help me increase the manifestation of this through thankfulness, less complaint. As I read through Psalm 51, verse 12 stood out to me as it states that a willing spirit sustains me. I’d never thought of it that way before… if I am willing (as opposed to complaining) I will be sustained. Held up in the rough waves of life.

  14. Amber, Do you think you could express your feelings about all of these things to God in the form of a lament? I am finding lament to be a door into God’s presence.

    1. Yes Anne—

      The cry hangover and I have been pretty good friends lately.

      1. Amber, after I thought about that comment I see that I might not really understand where you are right now. Not all things are appropriate for all situations. Sorry. I did not mean to be insensitive. I will pray for you though. These are such deep waters for all of us.

        1. Anne-
          I’m intentionally being very vauge. I’d share more if I was able to, but that is just not a good idea.

          There is no reason for me to think you could understand with the limited information I’ve provided.

          I actually found your comment as saying “I care” and would love to help if I only knew how.

    1. Dee, I had a similar thought last week after that meeting with my dad and my pastor, and we had shared so much verbally with my dad.
      You remarked on how I had been sensitive not to push my dad any further. Before he left, he hugged me and told me how much he loved me, and I hugged him too, and told him I loved him, too, but on the inside I was “impatient” because I had been hoping he would receive Christ right then and there at that meeting!
      Then I thought later in the day about that verse where Paul says “If I have not love, I’m like a resounding gong” ( my paraphrase). Just blah – blah – blah – talk talk talk.
      I just need to love my dad, and I got out a photo of me and my dad together and prayed for him to God, that this is what I want for all of eternity, for us to be together.
      And how God showed me that His love for my dad is unfathomable!

      But how often I want to push my agenda instead of just loving the person.

      1. Susan,

        “I heard a sermon once where the pastor said we CAN control our tongues, because if we were yelling at our family but suddenly, the doorbell rang and it was the next door neighbor, we would open the door and sweetly say, “Well hello, how nice to see you!” That hits home for me.

        LOL!!! I laughed when I read that because it is SO TRUE. ;p The part I hate about it is I don’t want my kids to see that. What a horrible witness to them and when I have done it on let’s say a Sunday morning and then go to church and be on Worship team, how ugly is that?! Of course even more important is am I concerned about how God sees that in me.

    2. Interesting, Dee, how you summed up the problem we hide so well behind our Sunday faces — “ugly Christian”.

      I’m with you 100 percent.

      Oh, may we ALL — Dee, us commentors, Dee’s family members that know you, our family members that know you, all who read this blog but haven’t yet commented, may we ALL be “light and love” and may the “ugly Christian” be gone. Poof! In Jesus’ name, Amen!!

      p.s. just hit me — the Ugly Christian can only be gone because Jesus became the Ugly Christian for us on the cross, AND the angry mom (we’ve all struggled there if we’ve ever been a mom), AND the self-centered me-freak (that’s all of us), and the family hater/ignorer (been there, done that), etc, etc, etc…..

      Jesus, who is none of those things, became ALL of those things, so we could be none of those things.

      “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

      Thank you for Your grace and mercy, Lord. It’s all about Your grace and Your mercy. May we come running to Your throne of grace for grace and mercy to help us in our times of need. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

      “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

  15. 2. Think about a problem you are facing right now that you might have thought was on the outside. How might it actually be on the inside?

    I really, really have a hard time experiencing the “joy of my salvation”. I repeatedly struggle with doubts of my salvation, that it is genuine, real. I often complain that I have a hard time living out my faith because I don’t have those close to me, as in family members, who live it out and have demonstrated it for me. So many days, as my “balloon” gets off the ground, it gets “popped”, and I sink back down to feeling discouraged. I often would lament to God, saying things like how come some people seem to have these nice, Christian bubble families, where husband and wife and all their children and grandchildren and probably even their pets are all Christians! And they seem to just live in this happy Christian bubble!

    Than I turn my eye on my own family. My husband is not a believer, and we have a difficult marriage as far as getting along. I have a strained relationship with one sister and she has done alot of things to hurt me. I have a nephew who died of a drug overdose and I lost his dad, too, my brother in law who died from an accident. I would wish that I could connect on a spiritual level with my mom and dad, although I have been very close to them and we have a close, loving relationship. My two sons have strayed from God and “don’t want to hear it” right now. So I blamed all of my external circumstances on why I feel the way I do.

    Well, as all of you know, my dad has been saved! And I got to see how God worked to bring this about. My oldest sister was saved when she was 52. I witnessed my alcoholic brother in law’s baptism at church, two weeks before he died (and I almost didn’t stay for that service so I almost missed seeing it – this was after he and my sister were divorced). So when he died, I had peace knowing he went to heaven.
    I know my nephew placed his trust in Christ as a young boy and was baptized, and just talking about that with my dad and my pastor, my dad said, “Yes, I was there, I remember.” So, I guess if I had been born into the “Christian bubble family”, I wouldn’t have seen all this happen. My problem has been that I can’t see always how God is using all of these circumstances to show Himself, how he works, and also that He gave me the opportunity to help my dad come to know the Lord.

    I say that humbly, because it was God who is the author of salvation, but I had the privilege of praying for my dad and the meeting with the pastor and pointing my dad to Jesus.

    And yet I thought the other day, I’m kind of like Moses, who, when God gave him the “opportunity of a lifetime”, to lead His people out of Egypt, he balked and didn’t want to go!

    I need to open my eyes and see that this is my life, and stop wishing for a different kind of one. God placed me where he wanted me. I need to change how I feel about my circumstances, perhaps more like this is going to be an adventure in which God is going to do some really, really big things. (And He just did a REALLY, REALLY BIG THING)

    I’ve been having some spiritual conversations with my mom, and that didn’t happen a few years ago. My sons know that Grandpa trusted Christ, and one son may roll his eyes about it now, but it will stick with him all of his life. My dad told my mom the other day that he is now convinced that the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ, and that wouldn’t have happened two weeks ago.

    I’m thinking of a great message I heard from John Maxwell, “Your Attitude, Key to Success”. He said, “WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET”.

    But for some reason I’m always looking for reassurance that God really does love me and can use me.

  16. I just had another thought : my agenda isn’t really my agenda at all. God has the master plan, it’s His agenda, and I should be like a subordinate officer waiting for my orders, waiting for Him to give me the go-ahead. How often I see myself as the “commander”, orchestrating and planning everything?!

  17. Question #3. There is SO much wonderful stuff in Psalm 51! He is the one who cleanses us. It is easy to think it is ‘up to us’. I hear from others and have thought and said it myself that “I’m really going to work on it”. That phrase has really grown to annoy me because it most likely means we are going to rely on our flesh to deal with it.

    He wants me to abide in Him, and as I am abiding I think that is where my faith is tested. Do I trust that He will empower me today to follow through in obedience? When the Holy Spirit convicts me of a certain sin today am I going to heed the red flags in my spirit and repent and turn or continue in them and allow them to get a foothold in my life? Ouch! Please pray for me today for this.

    My current season of testing is how I respond to the unrelenting stress that seems to surround me on a daily basis. There is always some sort of battle, some trauma, or drama or something going on. That is why I am daily needing repentance and to walk in faith. Yesterday, anger reared it’s ugly head and that was after I wrote that post about it! ;p God helped me to stop before it got worse, repent and turn from it and that is HUGE compared to when it had a foothold in my heart. Praise God!

    Question #4: Wow.. THIS IS HUGE, and so encouraging! My circumstances really aren’t what is important in the big scheme of things but my faith is, and persevering in my faith is. Part of persevering is being thankful and content in every situation, but growth is a LONG process!! A lot longer than I want it to be sometimes! I hate sin, I am sick of battling with it and I long for that day when sin will be no more, but like a long distance runner, God wants me to persevere while I am here.

    God knows exactly what I need in my life and I can tell you based on the consistency of daily trials I must be one stubborn daughter! 🙂 My hope is in his grace and mercy in my life, but there are days I don’t act as if that is true though.

    I have walked with God for a little over 20 years and I am just scratching the surface!! I see this all the more when I compare myself to Him. ;0)

    1. Rebbecca, I like what Dee said about circumstances in her book, “A Woman of Worship”, p. 36:

      “The question is not our circumstances, but is God in our circumstances. Is He near? Does He hear our cry? Does He find a way to encourage us? Does He eventually, in His time, find a way to deliver us from them all? Yes. Oh, yes. Our Prince always comes through. And He is no fairy tale.”

      She quoted Psalm 10:17-18 a little later on:

      “You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
      You encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
      defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
      in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

      1. Gloriadelia,

        Thanks so much for the sweet encouragement! I haven’t read that yet. I am in a situation/season where there is no way I can ‘fix’ it and it is encouraging to be reminded of the TRUTH that he is right there with me. ♥

  18. # 4 “Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace?”

    Totally. Well, mostly. Most of the time.

    Oh, Father, change my heart to REALLY believe that my only hope is in Your grace, and change my heart to REALLY be thankful for Your grace and mercy. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

  19. 1. I have spent the last 30 years walking with the Lord and it has taken me all of that time to get just to where I am today, which does not seem very far to me. It took about the first 20 for me to realize that I am bitter of heart. In the last few years I have been able to see the selfishness in my heart but did not experience any real victory over it. When I decided a few weeks ago to take some time alone with the Lord someone mentioned a fast which I have not done in a couple of years. So I got out a book on the subject that really helped me to focus so that it could be a productive time. I realized that what I really need at this point is victory over my selfish heart. I was so full of lament over my own failures, and they are many. There was nothing I could do to ‘fix’ any of them during that week. All I could do was cry and ask the Lord to fix them and in doing that I gained peace.

    2. Shortly after I came home from Williamsburg some things came to head at church that have been brewing for a little while. When I first went to that church I loved it. My heart was engaged and beginning to heal, I thought. Now I dreaded ever walking through the door again and vowed never to give money there again. Now I realize that God had pulled down an idol in my life. At least that is how it seems to me now. Perhaps I oversimplify but I know He will bring clarity.
    So, the tension of all of this has been felt very intensely in my small group and I had not been in a few weeks. This past Sunday I had no intention of going. When I began my daily Bible reading I asked the Lord to speak to me about this situation. I can’t change churches right now without seriously uprooting Joey. In the afternoon I got a text from the leader of the group and responded that I would not be able to come. Then I picked up my Bible and this is what I read:

    One who isolates himself pursues [selfish] desires;
    he rebels against all sound judgment. Prov 18:1. Selfish…I went.

    It is such a small thing that I almost did not mention it here but I realize that it is small like a rudder compared to a ship. It changed my whole orientation and thought pattern. That is when I realized what I was asking for in the church and that I was putting it in God’s place.

    3. My only hope is in God’s mercy. I am rebellious and hopeless without his compassion and faithful love. Every day I must put on my armor and as I do this my heart begins to truly rejoice in each piece. Satan has not just been piercing me with arrows but he has used me against others. The damage I myself have done to others is a large part of my lament. I never intended to hurt the Body of Christ and yet in many instances I have.

    I hope all of this makes sense. There are so many aspects of the puzzle that seem to fit together in my mind. Instead of fixing the church, He is fixing me. Maybe He will fix them too, I pray so but first me.

  20. “Instead of fixing the church, He is fixing me. Maybe He will fix them too, I pray so but first me.”

    Love that, Anne!

  21. Hello, I’m new to this study, but someone I know is on here all the time. You know her as Gloriadelia. I know her as mom. 🙂

    God making us whiter than snow is a touchy subject for me, actually. I stopped feeling worthy of being white a long time ago. I started my freshman year of college last fall and spent the spring semester fighting a losing battle with purity. And I blamed it on everyone but me. I blamed it on an ex who broke my heart, I blamed it on the guys that hit on me. And inside of me there continued to grow a weight of bitterness until I started not to even care anymore because, apparently, this was the only way guys would ever see me. It wasn’t my fault, this was all I could get.

    Then I finally started talking to a friend about it, and she gently suggested that I was a major part of the problem. It took me a while, but I began to realize that, really, I was the one to blame, not the guys. A part of me liked the attention, and the breaking away from my traditional, Christian upbringing. So I was encouraging it in the way I acted and dressed. The guys may hit on me, but I was the one who agreed.

    The battle isn’t over, I’m still having some very serious struggles on this front. It had become a way of life for me, and it’s hard to change. I could really use some…ok, a LOT…of prayer in this area. I want to be the woman God wants me to be, but I don’t have the strength on my own.

    1. Welcome, Liz 🙂

    2. Thanks Dee,

      Liz and I have been reading through the book together a couple times a week. I encouraged her to read the blog, too, and comment. I knew she’d find support here. *grateful tears*

    3. I see a young woman here who has stopped blaming others and is beginning to take 100% responsibility for her behavior and that is a huge step: to come before the Lord, with no excuses, no rationalizations, no blaming others, but to admit the problem is within myself, it is me. It is when we get totally honest with God that He can go to work!
      Thank you for your honest sharing, Liz, and will pray for you!

  22. DITTO Gloriadelia! This is EXACTLY the most recent thing he has taken me through and what a way to say it! Perfect!

    “Instead of fixing the church, He is fixing me. Maybe He will fix them too, I pray so but first me.”

  23. 3. What is our only hope according to Psalm 51:1?

    According to Psalm 51:1 our only hope is God’s mercy, his unfailing love, and his great compassion.

    Where, today, is God calling you to walk in repentance and faith?

    God is calling me to stop living in self-determination mode. I can’t live this life without Christ I know that, but I want to ‘sit on God’s throne and call the shots’ more than I like to admit. When I lived under the oppression of abuse, I lived in self-perservation mode and built wall after wall after wall of defense. Some of those walls have been up since childhood. The walls are coming down brick by brick and it is a slow process. I was thinking earlier today that without this study encouraging me to look within, I would be headed back to walk the road of self-sufficiency. As I stated earlier, I don’t want to keep circling the wilderness.

    I need to walk in faith trusting God that he indeed does know what is best for me. He established the plan for my life and he let’s me know the plan one day at a time. Therein is the rub for me. The not knowing what’s coming or when it’s coming, etc. I know I need to stay behind my Shepherd on the path he has for me. It’s the running off the path that leads to trouble. I’ve learned that lesson.

    I’ve been pondering my quest for pefection today as I worked and have finally accepted the truth that if I don’t stop my quest I will never have a soul at rest.

  24. I’m reading The way to Love, the last meditations of by Anthony DeMello.

    In Q#5 of this blog we are challenged to find the distinguishing mark of a Christian is that he is overcome with thankfulness that he is saved.

    This meditation starts out:
    When you deal with blind people, it dawns on you that they are attuned to realities that you have no idea of. We rarely take into account the sensitivities that their other senses offer them.

    This goes on to explain that love is a sensitivity to every portion of reality within you and from without, together with a whole hearted response to that reality.

    Q#6 asks us to consider the deceptions of the heart…. We are all too skilled at looking at our own wrong and seeing good.

    I was thinking that attachment is not exactly the same thing as love, but it is often what I find myself thinking of when I refer to love. If I’m not attached to someone then I struggle with the idea of really loving them. Yet I’m beginning to think that in some sense this sense of attachment might just be a limited version of love…. rooted somewhere in spiritual pride.

    Lord God-
    I ask that you open my eyes and heart (along with everyone else reading that wants to join me in this prayer) that I might learn to really see how to love with all of the senses that you’ve blessed me with. Help me discover some of the ways I’ve become numb to receiving and sharing your love with the world around me. Cover me with the ability to love through you, because not one of us can do it on our own. I’m fully aware that I don’t really get it, and that my limitation is evidenced in may aspects of my life.

    I’m deeply grateful that you get love completely and that you created me to be an object of that love. I’m asking right now that you might grant me the grace and mercy to learn how to love with more of the love senses you created me with.

    IN Jesus Name I pray,
    Amen

    1. Amen

  25. I’ve been reading through all the comments on this blog & praying for each one of you as I read. We all have our own struggles in life & I’m no different. People say to me…comments like “God knew Kendra needed you for her mommy” or “God picks special one’s like you to be the mother of a disabled child” or other really nice things like that, but they never see the “ugly, angry, christian mother” I can be. I try to be so patient & loving all the time & then some days, I feel jealous of other retired mother’s free time or feel angry inside over all the responcibilities I have. I want to run away. My husband comes home & I lash out at him. He knows it is time for me to have alittle space for me & he will take Kendra somewhere & they will spend some time together. Then the quilt starts. I cry & beg for forgivness to God. I get in some needed quiet time for prayer & reading the word. When they come back I’m hugging them & saying I’m sorry. This happens about once a week. I know I need time for me more often. I know I am only human & can only take so much, but I keep trying my hardest to be the perfect mom. People only see the outside of me when I’m helping Kendra. They don’t see the inside….the ugly side of me. The real truth is I’m very selfish & want my own time. I pray the Lord will take away all the ugliness & sinful nature in me & give me peace & grace. I put up a front for others & want all the pride & glory. What awful self-centeredness Lord, please forgive me….you suffered & died for me that I might be forgiven when it should of been me on the cross. You deserve all the glory & praise. I often think my problems are on the outside…a difficult life…but really it’s on the inside…my attitute, my sin & my blindness is my real problem. This study has helped me to see this.

    1. Praying for you today, Joyce, and Rebecca (did you see above that you’re in similar situations somewhat).

      It’s hard enough being moms, but add the extra stress in the mix and…wow!

      You’re both in the right place here. Lots of prayer warriors.

    2. Lord, We lift Joyce up to You right now. Help her to see herself as You see her. Beloved child, precious enough to die for. Faithful in the care of the child you have given her. Thank you so much Lord. She needs time in Your presence to be revived in Your word and Your Spirit. We pray that You will provide abundantly for her is this area. I know You have a perfect plan for how she may reach the water she is planted beside. She may not be able to see right now how it can be done but we pray that You will lead her. We pray that You will provide real and tangible help for Kendra’s care on a daily basis. Thank you for her husband and his willingness to help. Revive him also spiritually, emotionally and physically. Finally, for Kendra we ask for Your peace on her soul. Bring people into her life. People who will also love her and bring her joy and Your presence.
      Thank You for what You are teaching each one of us in this study.
      Amen

      1. Thank you so much, Anne

        1. You are welcome Joyce. Thanks for share specifics so we could pray.

  26. Question #5. I am still thinking on this one. I can’t imagine not being excited if someone asks me if I am a Christian, but I am also careful not to say I would never do that! 🙂

    Question #6. YES!! :0)

    Question #7. David had a broken spirit. He was really concerned more that he sinned against God rather than anyone else and agreed with God that He is right in his judgment and condemnation of his sin. He was teachable and willing to go to the depths of his heart to weed out the root of this sin and be cleaned from it. Wow, I really want a heart like Davids.

  27. Liz,
    I read your comment and thought through it last night. First of all, thanks for your transparency!

    Second of all I can tell you I CAN relate and God will work in you to clean you in this area. I know it because you have admitted it and only the Holy Spirit can do that kind of conviction so I know He is working in your heart! Praise God!

    My story is a bit different but I used to walk heavily in that for many years before I knew Jesus. I was a singer in a band and traveled around the country playing in bars and received a lot of attention from men. To me it was normal and nothing was wrong with it. When I came to know Jesus I was so used to walking in that lifestyle with men, I continued to walked in it, but this time it was different. The Holy Spirit was convicting me every step of the way.

    I even moved in with a guy because that is what I was used to, and I just happened to be going over the Jerry Bridges study “The Pursuit of Holiness”. I could barely make it through the chapters while living with this guy.

    In God’s timing he washed me of that. I became so convicted I literally told that guy God didn’t want me to live there and do what I was doing anymore. It shocked him. This doesn’t happen all the time, but God used it in this guy’s life and he came to know Jesus and my older brother discipled him!

    After I left this guys home I realized I had to make a commitment in this area of purity before God, but He readied me in his timing. I had to literally flee it first though. God will give you the courage and the strength in this area and He will work it out in you in His timing. It sounds like the Holy Spirit is already convicting you.

    Lord, thank you for having Liz come here and thank you Lord for your Holy Spirit’s conviction in her life. Thank you for making her transparent and Lord thank you for working in Liz’s friends heart to lovingly be honest with her. Lord strengthen Liz to turn from this and we are going to trust you will continue your work in her heart.

  28. 4. Do you really believe your only hope is in God’s grace?
    Is your life characterized by thankfulness or complaint?

    First, thank you Dee for telling us about Dennis Jernigan. Before this study, I was not familiar with his music. Anne or Gloris, will one of you post a link to Dennis Jernigan’s youtube video The Point of Grace? It is absolutely beautiful and I want to share it with everyone. Thanks!!

    Yes. I really believe my only hope is in God’s grace. My life is characterized by gratitude. Especially, gratitude for a second chance to live life as God intends. Moment by moment fellowshipping with Him.

    1. Thanks Anne.

  29. Ladies, if you could pray for me when you read this.. I can tell you are because the spiritual warfare is on ever since God has brought a certain sin issue to mind via this study. My attitude toward my husband is the issue. My attitude has been wrong. He hasn’t done anything wrong, it is my attitude toward some little things that annoy me. It may seem like a small sin issue to most people, but it is huge in my heart. My husband is the most self sacrificing person I know. He loves the Lord, but I tend to be so darn critical sometimes. I hate it, but I WILL change slowly by the grace and mercy of God and He will make it beautiful!

    Satan is trying to exhaust me physically today now to the point of distraction in regard to certain health issues with my boys that are “unusually” compounding yesterday and today. I am ‘Doctored out”. We have had to make so many visits I can’t get my house work done. So I am typing fast so I can eat and get going the rest of the day. Satan is compounding it today so just pray for Gods continual strength today! Thanks ladies!!

    1. Lord, thank You for calling Rebecca to join this study, for the work You are perfecting in her heart right now and for the blessing she is to all of us. Thank You for her family and husband. May Your peace and healing be over her household today. Give Rebecca and her husband an extra measure of strength right now to meet the needs of this family. We pray that Your presence would overshadow them even now, calming the raging seas of the daily demands of family life. How precious is this family to Your heart. We thank You that You will provide for them richly.

      Lord, please help Rebecca, Joyce and all who participate here to see the radiant beauty of their hearts in Jesus Christ our Lord. We love You Lord and ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen

  30. I read the story of David in 2 Samuel and then read Psalm 51.
    Funny thing is that I missed Dee’s comment about reading the Psalm “prayerfully” 😉

    1. We often think our problems are on the outside — a difficult boss, tight finances, or a lack of appreciation. Yet the whole of Scripture, including Psalm 51, shows us our problems are on the inside. If we are convinced we are righteous, that we don’t need cleansing and rescuing, that is our biggest problem. It seems amazing that David was so blind to his sin before Nathan came to him, yet we are the same way. Think about a time when you thought the problem was on the outside, but God opened your eyes to see that your attitude, your sin, and your blindness was the real problem.

    As I read what David did, I was a little surprised, disappointed and upset at David. I thought of the many times I have seen this type of fall in men today. It really is hurtful to the “significant other” and the to rest of the family when this kind of behavior is taken. So I felt a little bit of anger towards David and when I read the Psalm, I wasn’t reading it prayerfully. But then I went back to Dee’s instructions on reading it prayerfully. This immediately changed my perspective as I began to read it as a plea for myself and therefore began to relate with David a little more. I recognize none is righteous but God.
    Although there is hurt due to others mistakes or perhaps even persecution, I must understand that they are human just like David was. Besides, I understand from the bible, that human struggle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities of darkness. Perhaps the kind that makes any many sin.

    If God forgives me – then I should pray for others, even sinners, with the same fervor and passion that I would for myself.

    Lastly, the father story by Susan really made me think of my father as he is a man that needs God (just like David 😉 He is the one whom I may be a little upset with at times but I still love him.
    Thank you for sharing that nothing is impossible for God.

  31. I must correct myself.. Spiritual warfare is always “on”.. We need to have our armor on.

  32. Gloriadelia,

    Yes! I saw that! =)

  33. Thank you ladies so much for your uplifting prayers! I’m feeling the love & comfort from you & our precious Lord. I do realize Rebecca & I have simular problems as thousands of mom’s do & I am praying for you Rebecca as we have the toughest jobs in the world….us mom’s. Even when our kids are adults & we are in constant prayer for them going through their up’s & down’s in life. We feel their pain & sorrow. I have a (older than Kendra who is 23) daughter & son grown & out of the house, but never out of my heart & mind. When I think of how much we love our children, that God loves us that much & even more & would do anything for us as we would our kids it is so awesome. Liz, you remind me of how I was when I was young. Only you are very exceptional because most girls your age could care less. You are reaching out for help & the holy spirit is convicting you. Your heart is in the right place & God will help you because he loves you so very much. Your in my prayers also, as you all are. Thank you all so much!

  34. Joyce, I read what you wrote and you and i certainly can relate! That is pretty cool! I was also thinking of how comforting to know that no temptation or trial has overtaken us except what is common to man. Even if our trials are different usually what we struggle with in those trials are the same. Worry, pride, lack of faith etc. I have to admit, in my pride I don’t usually tell others what I am struggling with because that might make me look ‘less mature’, or that I am one of those high maintenance people who ALWAYS have some kind of crisis going on. lol! After all, I should be this pillar of perfection by now. J/K 🙂

    I guess I have been humbled by this study these last two days and reminded that transparency and a teachable heart is what God wants us to have on a consistent basis. We can start out teachable and become hardened if we don’t stay alert but God will pursue us!

    1. Oh yes, you are so right Rebecca. I am so glad that God does pursue us! I love what you said about “transparency and a teachable heart is what God wants us to have on a consistant basis.”

  35. I just wrote an update in detail, but the computer went down and so did my comment. I am running out of break time here so I will just say THANKS! God is working.

    I had a great conversation with my precious husband just now. I have THE BEST husband in the world gals! I am so thankful. He told me to listen to Tommy Nelson’s “The art of Love.” He is listening to that and told me i would be affirmed and encouraged. This is after I confessed my struggle to him! He said if I am that way he sure hasn’t noticed. He said he appreciated my longsuffering toward him and how I approach conflict with him in such a kind and loving way. I am blown over because my thoughts haven’t always been that way. God is working to encourage me and give me the strength I need to change my thought life.

    Dee, sorry for taking up so much on this thread! 🙂

    Thanks gals for praying and I am thanking and praising God for today’s encouragement!! ♥

    1. PRAISE GOD!

  36. Dee, Thanks! I loved hearing your thoughts about how you picture us.. SO TRUE! Thanks for being faithful to God in this ministry, He is working in a big way in our lives this week!

  37. Thanks for all the supportive comments and prayers for my daughter, Liz. I thought you would be blessed to see her most recent blog post. It brought tears to my eyes as did reading everyones comments all along this thread as I made my way to the bottom. Not just the directed at Liz, but ALL the comments. Isn’t this a great place to be? Here’s to growth, and the miracle of the computer age that so many from so far away can encourage each other so much!

    Here’s Lizzy’s post: http://gotfood814.wordpress.com/2010/07/02/reset/#comment-9

  38. Gloriadella, I am taking a break eating lunch and WOW!! Thanks for sharing Liz’s post. I just love your daughter-how refreshing to hear such honesty about her journey and there are a lot of us who can relate! Praise God for what he is doing in her life!

  39. Gloriadella, As Dee said so eloquently “I want to be surrounded by believers who want to go deeper, who long for transformed lives, and whose excitement is contagious.” I really struggled with finding that kind of fellowship for many years. I have found that here with everyone including Liz-her honesty is encouraging.

    God has put me in another Summer bible study here where we meet face to face and I am seeing the same dynamic starting to happen there. God is answering my prayers 20 fold! 🙂

    1. Yayyy!!! that’s the kind of God we serve, a 20-fold God! Whatever little steps we take toward Him, he runs at least 20 toward us, or scoops us up and runs 20 or so ahead!

      I thought you might like Liz’ post, especially because of the song, since you’re a singer and all. Liz is a music minor sings in the choir at college. God speaks to her, she says, through songs.

  40. Hi I’m new to this blog, but I would like to comment. Dee mentioned at the beginning about not wanting to be surrounded by superficial Christianty. Up until a couple of months ago I thought I was a great christian. Then, I began battling doubt about my being a Christian. It began as a spiritual attack. Though I fought the doubt at the beginning I began loosing ground.
    I wasn’t trusting.
    I asked God to help and He did. He sent Bible verses when I needed them, other things He placed in front of me to help, but I wouldn’t allow myself to freely recognize His help. I dealt with a paralyzing fear, forcing myself to read the book of John to get belief. ( I hadn’t had a problem reading God’s Word before)
    I could barely sleep – I was terrified the rapture would happen and I would be left behind.

    Even though I am still having problems with unbelief I believe God has been showing what kind of person I really am without Him. I realized on my own I don’t have an ounce of true love. I like making excuses for my sin or seeing myself as a victim. I’m very inward motivated and prideful. I also believed that my worth was in what others thought about me or in what I have or don’t have.
    I realized I wasn’t taking God at His Word. I let fear and doubt control me.
    I have realized that I am holding onto many lies that are not from God. Which reminds me of the Bible study you all did a couple of months back on “denial.” So when you talk about the problem being inward- I can definitely relate.

    The blessing of David’s psalm 51 he knew that God loved him and would forgive him. David came to God openly and received God’s forgiveness.
    When David talks about “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.” I realize what a blessing those are as my heart feels hard right now and it seems like there isn’t anything I can do to soften it.

    That God would run to me like Gloriadelia said- If my heart would open to it. Be open to God’s love -that would be amazing.

    1. Welcome Shannon! I’m praying for you.

  41. I woke up with a thought this morning. Complacency. I believe I am complacent in this place even though it’s a weird place to be. DO any of you have any thoughts as to how not to be complacent right now?

  42. Shannon, I am sure most of us can relate! I know I can. I was thinking. Did you notice how this kind of bubbled up again after you got into Psalm 51? God is good! :0) STAY in the word. It is living and powerful! Thank him for bringing you to the place you are now and then open up fully to him about where you are at. You will most likely need to be intentional about that. I can’t emphasize that enough. I have to be intentional about it because I have so many distractions going on around me every day and even if I didn’t I would probably manufacture some! =) That is the way my flesh works.

    Find other humble women who will encourage and not criticize. These are just starting points, God will do the work in your life.

    Am praying for you now.. Keep us updated!

  43. Question #9. Hebrews 12:1 Lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us and run with endurance the race set before us. Keep pressing on sisters!

  44. Gals you HAVE To watch this testimony if you haven’t yet. God has given this man a pretty awesome ministry around the world sharing his testimony. I don’t watch the 700 Club, but he gave his testimony there and here is the video of it. Hope this encourages you today!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tl58qufXfYk

    1. Wow what a testimony this man has! You can see on his face how much he loves the Lord!

  45. 6. Oh yes!!! The Lord indeed gave me light to my inner parts. I finally saw that, although I had married a man who was still legally married to his first wife in total ignorance, I was not innocent. Yes, I was deceived, but I still sinned and came face to face with that truth this week. Like David I took what did not belong to me and I have confessed my sin and asked forgiveness. I’m beginning to understand what being clean before the Lord truly entails. I have also faced the truth that I have been insensitive to how God feels when I sin against him.
    Like Shannon stated, this has been a weird week. I have come to learn when its weird God is up to something.

    Welcome Shannon. I echo Rebecca’s words…Stay in the word…Keep talking to Jesus. Offer up a sacrifice of praise and complacency will flee.

    7. How do you explain verse 4?

    David faced the reality that he had broken God’s commandment ‘Do not commit adultery’. David went outside the boundary line and instead of heeding the warning of his servant: ‘She is the WIFE of Uriah the Hittite’, David believed the lie ‘Your the King. You answer to no one. Take her.’ After fathering a child with Bathsheba, instead of coming to his senses, David continued on a downward spiral and thought death was the solution to the problem when he couldn’t get Uriah to sleep with his wife.
    It was God who had anointed David to be king. David had sweet fellowship with God for years and threw away God’s blessings for a moment of pleasure. Yes, King David had betrayed his whole kingdom, but, it was ‘God’s back’ he plunged the ‘knife of betrayal’ into.

  46. Joyce, that is exactly what I saw.. I love what he says at the end. It is powerful.