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ARE YOU A FUNDAMENTALLY HAPPY PERSON? (Beginning our Psalm Journey)

WELCOME TO ALL OUR NEWCOMERS! WE ARE GLAD TO HAVE YOU!

PSALM 1 BEGINS AS DOES THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, PROMISING BLESSEDNESS

TO WHOM?

TO THE ONE WHO DELIGHTS IN THE LORD

FOR DELIGHTING IN THE LAW OF THE LORD,

IS DELIGHTING IN JESUS,

FOR HE IS THE LAW, HE IS THE WORD.

AS YOU DELIGHT IN HIM, YOU CAN KNOW INEXTINGUISHABLE JOY,

LIKE A TREE SOAKING UP SUNSHINE,

AND PUTTING ITS ROOTS INTO THE LIVING WATER

THE LIVING WATER THAT IS JESUS

PSALM1magesIf you have just joined us, welcome! You are not too late, for this week and next we will look carefully at the opening two psalms, which form the basis of all the other psalms. Just click on the getting started to the right.

There are so many newcomers — which is wonderful — and I don’t want to have any of you forgotten. I skim all comments but am also in process of assigning mentors (women who are grounded, have been with us a long time, and are regular) to each of you — just for a little extra care and prayer! Right now it is Elizabeth, Rebecca, Susan, and Nanci — you’ll be able to figure out who is yours fairly quickly. We have many women who could be mentors, and may be calling upon them too if we keep growing! Then we have wonderful prayer warriors like Joyce!

The days below are guidelines — but if you can get ahead, do. The sermon is golden and I so want you to get to it.

A paradigm changing book is Tim Keller’s Prodigal God where he awakens us to how much we might, without realizing it, be living a religious life instead of a gospel-centered life. He contrasts the way of the religious man (like the older son in the story of the prodigal sons) with the believer (like the repentant younger son in the same story.) Who becomes the happy son? No doubt about it, it is the son who repents and falls before the Father, and cherishes being close to the Father.

Last week Mike Reeves pointed out that you could misinterpret Psalm 1 to say “Blessed are the Bible readers.” While there is truth in that, we also know many Bible readers who are not happy, but instead are very much like the Pharisees who certainly knew their Bibles but were forever MURMURING. PHARISEES

This is is why we must find Christ in the psalms so that our hearts are melted. We must be seeking Christ and not simply knowledge so that we might impress others.

What makes a person fundamentally happy? Tim Keller will address that in the free mp-3 you will hear on Psalm 1 this week. It is golden and you must hear it.

One of Keller’s first points is that happiness is possible, but it isn’t in circumstances. Instead, our roots need to go deep into the living water so that even in a drought we will thrive. Every morning endeavor to make your soul happy in the Lord through His Word, through experiencing Christ through His kisses. In The Song of Songs she asks the King to kiss her with the kisses of his mouth. This is intimacy. As Ellen Davis points out, it is like when God spoke to Moses “mouth to mouth.” (Numbers 12:8) In part, a kiss is when the Word leaps out at you, and quickens you. Then linger, and allow yourself to be kissed.

The Shulammite said his kisses were better than wine, echoing Psalm 4:7: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” She wanted, not his gifts, but him.

Let us pray each day for His kisses, His kisses sweeter than wine. Let us pray to experience Him.

The folk song Kisses Sweeter Than Wine has origins in 19th century Ireland, but I think its inspiration might possibly go even further back, to the Song of Songs, to Psalms, where we learn that it is His kisses that are sweeter than wine. This is what put joy in our hearts.

We will consider what these kisses consist of this week — but just for fun, watch this, and see if you can see what sustained this man, despite all the trouble and strife of life. What parallel might there be for us with the Lord?

Sunday Icebreakers

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

2. Can you think of a recent time when you were “kissed” through the Word? Or a time recently when He put more joy in your heart than the world has when their grain and wine abound?

Monday – Wednesday: Bible Study and Prayer

I laughed with joy as several of you asked me, even e-mailed me, about last’s week lesson. I said that “Basil, Bonhoeffer, and Bono all prayed the psalms.” BONO? THE U-2 GUY?

"I'm not a man of the cloth unless that cloth is black leather. Are you sure about this Mr. President?
“I’m not a man of the cloth unless that cloth is black leather. Are you sure about this Mr. President?

YES! I LOVE BONO — NOT HIS MUSIC (too loud!) BUT HIS HEART, HIS WALK, HIS FUNDAMENTAL JOY BECAUSE HE IS LIVING OUT THE PSALMS HE PRAYS, THE WORD HE PRAYS. IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIS HEART, READ WHAT HE SHARED AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: LINK

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

3. Meditate on Song of Songs 1:2 and use it as a springboard for prayer, asking God to kiss you in your study today.

4. Overview question: In both Psalms 1 and 2, there is a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Psalm 1 deals more with the individual, and Psalm 2 with nations. Read them and see if you can see who is happy and who is not — and why.

5. Using your answer to question 4, turn it into a prayer — first for yourself, then for someone you care about, and then for the leaders of your country — whether that is the U. S., Canada, or another.

prodigal6. One kind of “kiss” is the gospel kiss. The son who received it in the story of the prodigal sons was the younger son. Read Luke 15:18-20 and describe:

  • The attitude of the younger son
  • The kiss of the Father

7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why.

 

                           All gospel duty is summed up in kissing the Son.

                  Matthew Henry

There is a similar theme between Psalm 1 and 2. I was quickened when Keller said in his sermon that what trumps our happiness is that we disobey because we think we know a better way to be happy. In Psalm 2, they need a King, but then they don’t want to kiss the King, to obey the King, because they think that is a “yoke” when it is really freedom.

8. The gospel kiss isn’t just for entering into Christianity, but for every day, to walk in repentance. As soon as you are aware of stepping out of the light, run to the Father in repentance. Confess here (you don’t have to write it down unless you choose) and ask Him for forgiveness and a change of heart.

9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.

    A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it?

    B. Pray about the above.

    C. In what ways does your behavior tend to be like the behavior of those who do not know God?

    D. Pray about the above.

    E. Keller says “sitting in the seat” asks the question: “To whom do you belong?” Throughout the day, this is a healthy question to ask when making choices. Pray about this for yourself and for someone the Lord leads you to pray for.

Thursday-Friday  Listen, Reflect, and Pray over Keller’s Sermon:

10. Listen to this free sermon (download it so it doesn’t skip: LINK), and share your notes (If you cannot sit and listen but must listen while driving or working, then share what you remember.)

11. Reflections and prayer:

      A. Happiness is possible – thank God for that — that He wants us to be blessed.

      B. Happiness is not based on circumstances but on delighting in the Lord. Reflect on that and then pray about it.

      C. Happiness is a by-product and we trump happiness when we seek it instead of the Lord. Reflect on that and then pray about it.

      D. Happiness is a choice, according to this psalm. Reflect on that and pray about it.

Saturday

12. Based on this lesson, if you are not a basically fundamentally happy person, why not?

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

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536 comments

  1. I think I am fundamentally happy…I really enjoyed this sermon…However, when I dip into periods of depression. I am not in despair though typically. I know I am rooted in HIM. Loved quote if life is not worth living you are sitting in someone else[s seat other than God;s lap…Great sermon.Oh that my delight will remain in the law of the Lord. Essential message of the Bible. May we all be rooted in this gospel message!
    Feel the pain of the world even more but you have a joy….Like that too. Happier and sadder at the same time…The happiness overwhelms the sadness and that is what happens when you play the gospel.

    1. Loved the quote too about God’s lap. I tend to look elsewhere when I have bouts of depression…instead of God. Im right there with you, I remain rooted in God, no matter what my circumstances look like. Greater is HE that is IN me, than he that is in the world. God Bless you Angela.

  2. Angela, I love this…..” if life is not worth living you are sitting in someone else’s seat, other than God’s lap”.

  3. 13. What is your take-a-way and why?
    Another excellent, enlightening Keller sermon….so many points to ponder and contemplate [i.e., fundamental happiness versus superficial happiness, real happiness experienced in deep joy while in deep distress, joy stimulated by suffering via the Lord’s hand upholding me, happiness is never found or gotten directly but is always a by-product of seeking something else (e.g., righteousness), only two ways to come to God (i.e., “I owe God everything, I come to God,” or “I’ll come, but then God owes me,”), difference between wanting something and putting your trust in it (i.e., what are my fundamental allegiances in life?)].
     
    The meditation of psalm 1:1 was wonderfully convicting.
     
    So many comments had immense richness…excellent “food for thought,” ponderings, realizations, etc.  (FYI, I have not commented on many comments that have impacted me because I often read comments on my mp3 android unit while my husband is on the computer.  Recently (last week or so?) I have been unable to reply from it, so if I want to reply I need to come back later to the computer to reply, which doesn’t always happen.  I need to see if some setting got switched…in the past I have switched a setting unknowingly.  I’m thinking it is very likely user error.)

  4. 12. Based on this lesson, if you are not a basically fundamentally happy person, why not?  
    I was finally able to listen to Keller todaynand I do have to go and listen to it again and again.  While Keller was talking I wondered about what is perceived as “happy” am I bubbly (not a chance), am I always smiling (nope), am I content (sometimes). I asked myself about the guy in the prison who looked out and if he saw the mud or the stars.   During December the city I live in had the distinction of being the coldest city on the planet a couple of times…and it was cold but in order not to freeze, we have to cover up everything, anything that is exposed freezes within moments.  It can’t be just a sweater, it has to be a parka, thick mitts, heavy duty boots.  But even when it was bitterly cold, I was able to see Him and that made things better, much more beautiful.   During the storms, we have to be covered by Him, not just a little, but the parka type of covering, otherwise we risk freezing…and frozen skin dies.   This past year has been very difficult, but I have turned more to the Lord than I had in the past, I go to Him faster, I rest in Him sooner and I have found times to be more at peace, not “happy” but at peace.   When I am covered more by Him, than my own actions, I am more at rest.  I was not always successful at this and was at times super stressed, but I think that if I am more at peace (even through tears) than I would have been previously, then my roots are much closer to the river than they were previously…and that makes me smile.
     

  5. Happiness depends on “happenings”, joy on decision to come to God and “SIT” with Him.
     

  6. 12. Based on this lesson, if you are not a basically fundamentally happy person, why not?
    I think I am a fundamentally happy person, or one would think I ‘should’ be…viewing my outer self, all that I have compared to some that have less…etc. IM saying this because at times I have had bouts of depression, and not knowing why, some is due to hormones. But at times I can find myself complaining about A, B and C and not rightly so? I hear my husband saying, ‘cheer up buttercup’ you have a pretty good life, yet I dont know why I would get into such funky moods, for lack of better words. I would say yes I do, God has brought me through much and blessed me, but do blessings really make one fundamentally happy? Like Keller said ‘circumstances’ DO NOT make a person happy. I was seeking to make myself happy or my circumstances. Some people do this through shopping, food, tv, sports, fitness, a hobby…placing anything above God for happiness and fulfillment.  It is staying grounded in rooted in God, even in hard times. I use to get annoyed with my husband’s statement, because deep down I was happy, I think I was just complaining to complain…and for what??? But I also knew I had not been seeking God, FIRST, like I use to. I would hear that small still voice over and over in my mind saying “seek ye first the kingdom of God….and everything else will be added…etc.” Everything else is meaningless unless God is first. I have known this, yet I dont live it on a daily basis like I should. This sermon was exactly what I needed to hear.
    13. What is your take-a-way and why? Happiness is a byproduct of seeking God first, not the other way around. I loved Kellers take on the tree planted by the waters, the roots go deep, even in droughts, the roots dig deeper for nourishment and to stay alive….(paraphrased) It may not bare fruit for a season, but its still thriving and growing being rooted so deep in the One that sustains it.
    Also I think many Christians are taught or mislead that happiness is spiritual. I know I was, if you are seeking ‘happiness’ first, its backwards, its a byproduct of seeking God First; not the other way around. Im so thankful Keller touched on when people in church  tend to think you are not spiritual enough if you are not happy. Keller says “here you are a Christian and some terrible tragedy has happened to you, well smile and praise God, dont let it get to you.”  So many times I have heard ‘just pray sister, you just need to pray more…’ when if fact happiness is not determined by your circumstances, but what you are in Christ. Nothing wrong with praying more, not my point, but sometimes we all go through seasons of pain like a tree who does not bear fruit for a season. Those times I have grown the most, learning to run to God more, and finding my peace within, even though my circumstances say otherwise.Two Men looked out through prison bars, one saw mud, one saw stars….loved this. Joy that is permanent that is stimulated even when you are going through all hell because you have God, His hand upholds me.