Type and press Enter.

New here? See how to Get Started

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?

Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.

536 comments

  1. Thankful for this study as an answer to prayer…wanting to go deeper in the Word this year! 🙂

    1. Welcome Ellen. How blessed we are to have you with us. Praying that you also will be blessed.

    2. Welcome Ellen! Glad you have joined us and looking forward to getting to know you here!

    3. Welcome Ellen! 🙂 So glad to have you here with us and I so look forward to fellowship with you! 

    4. Welcome Ellen–so glad you are here

    5. Welcome, Ellen!

      1. Renee…so great to see your picture!
         
        Renee, I wanted to mention that I have been thinking about this from last week’s blog ever since I read it…
        “It is interesting that if I go in primarily looking for myself … for instructions, etc., I get information and maybe some guilt.  When I see Christ, I respond from the depths of my being (when my response is disobedience, I struggle BIG TIME).  It is so much easier to respond in loving obedience to Him, to His love than to one more person telling me what to do.   When the Bible is used to bang me over the head (which isn’t too often because I run like crazy from those situations), I respond (at best) with distrust.  When I see Jesus, I want to worship, obey, and introduce others to Him.  So, I think that seeing Christ in the OT, as well as the NT, also impacts my relationship with other people.  Seeing the whole Bible as about Him changes my perspective and, consequently, my behavior.”
         
        How easy it is to go into bible reading or study with the idea of one’s self (e.g., self improvement) rather than Jesus…this goes along with what Reeves was saying of the cultural “me obsession”…which I confess I am guilty of at times.  I can also relate to having God’s word used almost as a weapon, and yes, distrust as a consequence.  Thanks for your transparency…I can most definitely relate.
         

        1. Yes, I like both Renee’s comments and your response, Nanci J. I too can relate.

        2. Ditto on Nanci’s comments Renee!

      2. Oh, Renee. So great to see your lovely face. Our “mystery woman”, as Joyce might put it. I am so glad to get to know you a little better visually.

        1. 😉     I’ll leave it up long enough for Joyce to see that I posted it!!

        2. Oops!

        3. Here’s Grace by Bono with more powerful images  http://youtu.be/7TvHrzQJ0NE
          Love this song and hadn’t listened to U2 for a long time.  Glad Dee mentioned Bono last week!

      3. RENEE!!! What a lovely surprise to get to see your beautiful face and yes – a huge step for our ‘mystery woman’!

    6. Greetings, Ellen.  Glad that you will be joining us…welcome aboard…:)

    7. Welcome, Ellen. So happy you want to go deeper in the Word with us.

    8. Hi Ellen!

  2. I like that impressionist painting Because it illustrates the joy of The Lord so well. It just shines in (though to me the source seems to come up from within) pushing back the darkness. Circumstances blur because none are really the source of light or darkness.
    I know a woman who does something called bullet journaling. She calls her kisses pearls and puts them in her journal. I was so impressed for she has pages of them. What a treasure! I wanted to make copies. Going to make my own.

      1. I’m so glad because I love it. You bless me greatly with the artwork.

        1. I really like the art of the tree as well how the sun and water all are part of tree. Stunningly beautiful as well! Jesus is the Tree, but we are also that tree planted by the stream. Jesus is also the Living Water and he is the SON/Sun, the source of all life.

    1. Yep Anne, Dee is right-you do not disappoint. You minister to me with how you see art. 

    2. Love the bullet journal idea, what a resource to draw from when things seem grim.
      Just the ebenezers!

  3. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    EVERYTHING…Dee, this is going to be such a powerful, and convicting, week – that I can see in just the opening. The first statement pierced me: ARE YOU A FUNDMENTALLY HAPPY PERSON? I was still finishing up last week’s lesson earlier this morning. Looking at Psalm 2, the question was asking God to help me trust Him in the midst of unfair circumstances in my life. I have had a small breakthrough in this from something I learned here…I couldn’t claim any unfairness in my life, because what I learned in one of our lessons here was that after considering the exchange made between Jesus and me – that He got all my sin and I got all His perfect righteousness – the only thing that seems unfair is that Jesus got what He did not deserve so that I could get what I do not deserve. He was treated most unfairly-yet He did it willingly for me. So as to the opening statement, the word “fundamentally” stands out to me and this, to me, is a fundamental truth that I need to speak to myself – I cannot cry “unfair”!
     
    So am I a fundamentally happy person – I cannot answer with a resounding “Yes” – not yet, anyway…I can be so like the Pharisees, a “murmuring Bible-reader”. Can you believe that at the dinner table last night, my 13 year old daughter said to me (as I was ‘murmuring’ and feeling upset) “Mom, you’ve got an approval idol…you need to read Dee’s book Idol Lies again…” (and she said something like BOOYAH-in your face with your Bible study:)) But she was right! I do agree with Mike Reeves that we can read Psalm 1’s opening and think that it’s all about spending more time reading our Bibles…Jesus told the Pharisees that they diligently searched the Scriptures yet refused to come to HIM to have life! I know I’ve misinterpreted Psalm 1 in that way.
     
    I love the painting of the tree and how the colors and forms are all blended together as if they are one-inseparable. I like that the artist painted it this way instead of making the tree, sun, and water each sharply defined and separate. Instead, they are all melded together…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. He is the Sun, He is the Water, and He makes the tree alive. I want to be like that tree! I will endeavor to pray this week that He will kiss me…”Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth…”  Actually, it’s not “fireworks” that I want…it’s a quiet, inner peace and contentment in Him.
     
    I haven’t read Keller’s book Prodigal God, but I am reading Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel to help me grasp His love for me.
     
     

    1. Susan, I so love this post…and echo what Dee said..

    2. Susan, It is wonderful that your daughter can be helpful in pointing out your idols and that you are willing to accept it. One of my sons had that ability with me and it was very much needed at times (although he occasionally crossed the line and would give parenting advise which was really just his complaining that I was spoiling the youngest).

      1. Dawn, your reply to me made me smile…all three of my kids like to offer their “advice” and yes, it’s usually a swipe at one of their siblings.

    3. Oh my gosh, Susan…I feel like we are very much on the same page…
       
      “He is the Sun, He is the Water, and He makes the tree alive.  I want to be like that tree!”
      me too!
       
      ”Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth…”  Actually, it’s not “fireworks” that I want…it’s a quiet, inner peace and contentment in Him.”
      I love the reference to SoS; that book means the world to me. I agree that I too am not looking for “fireworks” but the still and gentle voice of peace and contentment.

      ” I am reading Brennan Manning’s The Ragamuffin Gospel to help me grasp His love for me.”
      me too!  I began reading it once again in a more contemplative, lingering manner (I have a tendency to read at a faster clip not always fully digesting what is written and need to consciously slow down to ponder).  It amazes me how something I read (not only in “The Ragamuffin Gospel” but other things like the Gospel Transformation Bible into and devotionals) couldn’t be read at what seems a more optimal time…I just love that about our Lord.  My mind just can’t comprehend how with billions of people in this world, He takes special cares for me…

      1. Nanci, how cool you are reading Ragamuffin Gospel too! I am even re-reading chapters and going so slow-only up to chapter 3 now but it’s so good-too good to rush through it. I like to read it in the evening and have those thoughts from the book in my head when I go to sleep.

        1. I’ve been reading it slowly and very deliberate, to try to understand in not only my mind, but hear that which Manning is trying convey…sometimes it ends up being only 3 pages read and then pondering what was read.It is very cold in WI (bitterly cold, -44 with wind); I was encouraged to not go into the office today; I relish an unplanned day off that can be spent reading…:)

        2. I just looked at where I am at; I’m on chapter 3 as well…:) 
          (page 61) “The inclusion of sinners in the community of salvation, symbolized in table fellowship, is the most dramatic expression of the ragamuffin gospel and the merciful love of the redeeming God”
          This sentence has got me pondering…today’s communion is similarly an “expression of the ragamuffin gospel and the merciful love of the redeeming God.”  We are all sinners falling far short, yet the Lord welcomes us into His presence to share in the communion feast.

    4. “it’s a quiet, inner peace and contentment in Him.”–I’m with you Susan, fireworks are a little more than I can handle–just peace 🙂

    5. SUCH A GOOD POST, Susan!

      And Dee, this might be a sign that it’s time for an Idol Lies Sunday school series for middle school/junior high age — or SOMETHING to get people focused on the GOSPEL when they are really young. 

      Susan, your daughter’s comment is making me think that all Sunday School materials should be re-edited to make sure that the primary message isn’t “be a good kid.”

      1. Good thought, Renee, about re-editing Sunday School materials. In fact, just this morning in my Ladies ABF, a lady shared how the church she attended as a child emphasized the “be good, don’t sin” and that she was “working so hard” but got burned-out and walked away from God/church for a while.

        1. Excellent post Susan, I love that your daughter is being used to sharpen you :)I love that you and Nanci are reading Ragamuffin Gospel at the same time! I was sad when I finished it, like I was going away from a friend.

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
     
    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.
     
    -This sticks out to me because having having intimacy with God is why He created us-I think of the garden before the Fall-talk about quickening! 🙂 As Dee said, Scripture is Him-His very breath..so as Mullins said-“Breathe it in as deeply as possible!” and Oh He Kisses us. Being kissed by Him melts my heart for Him-seeing His love for me in so many ways..because really quickening me in His Word is part of How He loves and delights in me and makes my heart melt for Him-truly one of the deepest ways we delight in one another.
     
    Also-what stood out to me is this:
     
    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.  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.
     
    Oh I could go on a soap box about this-for I experienced it within myself and from other believers around me-oh my..I have to say-when I memorized scripture the first five or so years of being a new believer, OH I did experience His kisses when scripture would jump out at me and I really do think for the most part early on my motives may have been right..but somewhere along the road it became Pharisaical in my life..yuk..but what Dee said is so true. 
     
    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?
     
    Oh yes-and sometimes they linger as this has In Psalm 103: 
     
    ..4: Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving kindness and compassion.. 10. He has not dealt with us according to our sins,nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the Earth, So great is His loving kindness to those who fear Him.
     
    -Here is how He kissed me: I tend to need reassurance from Him over and over-especially when I fail Him- that despite my unworthiness He has crowned me with His loving kindness and compassion-This melts my heart. And He is helping me to grow in this confidence-which I am still in process..as Elizabeth once said..I want Him to mess with my heart- and His kisses in scripture really do-and part of messing with my heart is melting it too. 🙂

    1. Rebecca,
      Thanks for sharing Ps 103:4    I used to cling to that verse, and now it is encouraging me to see the pattern, the big picture, the constancy of God’s faithfulness

      1. So happy to finally “see” you, Renee!

      2. Renee, Such a beautiful pic..how wonderful to finally see you! :)) 

  5. Heard about this site from my loving sister.  dee seen you at springhill in mich a few years ago.  one of my new year commitments was to get my spirital life in balance. i am very excited
    about this healthy chance and this journey with  with the Lord.

    1. So glad you’re here Rose!

    2. Welcome, Rose. We have another Rose here as well. We would love to have you journey with us.

    3. Welcome Rose!

    4. Welcome Rose!

    5. Hi Rose…glad that you decided to investigate the bible study blog…welcome! 

  6. Grace  by U2  Easy to listen to  🙂

    1. Renee! What a beautiful picture! Your smile is just as big and pretty as I imagined. Thank tou for sharing. =)

  7. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    On my cell phone, the image of the Pharisees struck me, I think primarily because I was enamored with the lines, the art, B & W, etc in the photo; it sorta entertained/amused me. But it’s impossible to stare at it too long and not think about the implications:  Pharisees must’ve worked very hard to maintain their status.  Outwardly, they did the right religious stuff.  Yet, it was all folly in terms of spiritual LIFE. 

    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?A few days ago, praying Psalm 3.   Oh, it would be wonderful if people could experience the sustenance of His kisses before their worlds fall apart.  I think small hints of His kisses sustained me through some awful times, but those hints were always mixed in with pharisaical instructions both from myself and others to try harder, be different, do more, etc.  In other words, I am wondering how my life might have been different if I had known this decades ago, or if this could have made the difference for friends who didn’t survive depression.  The overview and praying of Ps 3 last week again reminded me to CEASE striving and rest in Him.

    The folk song makes me smile and helps this sink in.

    1. “Cease striving and rest in Him”-so good Renee. I liked the folk song too, had to laugh at that one–thank you Dee for the comic relief 😉

    2. Renee, this is very wise: “Oh, it would be wonderful if people could experience the sustenance of His kisses before their worlds fall apart.”

  8. Testing… just did the Gravatar thing using a site David posted in 2011.  I see this didn’t work retroactively (fine with me), so I’m testing it with a new post.

    1. Hmmm… does someone have a link to that other site.  I didn’t find it when searching Dee’s site, but I know I am missing it because I have been there before (the one I used connected my email with wordpress)

  9. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The hope that I may actually be able to face each day with joy.
    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? Yes, while I can’t think of the details, there have been times recently when what I am reading hits me anew and I feel like my heart is overflowing with love, joy and peace.
    Please pray for me sisters. Our area was hit by an ice storm just before Christmas which caused trees to fall on our house, vehicles and all over the yard. We had a power surge just before our electricity went out for 4 days, which damaged our stove, microwave, water softener and most tragically my Kuerig coffee maker lol. The insurance company will only cover a portion of the cost of damages, none of the appliances, minus $1000 deductible. I totaled my car last Sunday on my way to church and the starter died in my husband’s car the next day. None of that was really that concerning to me as we have friends and family that are more than willing to help out.
    My overpowering concern is that I did something unspeakable to someone else and while I was never directly confronted about it, it is pretty clear that I am believed to be the culprit. This is such a massive failure on my part that although I have confessed and repented to God, I am frozen in what should be my next step. Last week I confessed it to my psychologist (Christian) after months of not telling anyone. I really hate what I have done and what it shows of my lack of trust in God to handle things.
     
     

    1. Oh, Dawn…I’ll be praying.  I’m sorry for the power surge damage that has resulted in unexpected expenses as well as your vehicles.  So happy that the only thing damaged in last Sunday’s car accident was your car…I trust you are okay?  Regarding the “something unspeakable” done…God knows your heart, dear sister.  It may have been a “massive failure” on your part, but your seeing it as such, confessing and repenting is the right direction.  God will lead you; I will pray for your discernment in how best this should be handled.  Just take special care not to allow the evil one to clobber you…you are at a vulnerable time which he will likely try to take full advantage of.

    2. oh Dawn, I am SO sorry. I cannot begin to imagine all that you have been through!
      Lord, please come and rescue Dawn and her family–the financial strain of the damage from the storm, the damage to her car, and especially this choice she regrets having made. Thank You that You are more powerful Lord, You reign over all of this. Thank You for her repentance about her choice, and her honest heart. Lord, I ask that You lift her up, show her Your mercy and grace, and give her hope amidst such difficulties. Amen.

      1. lovely prayer, Elizabeth…Amen.

    3. Oh Dawn,
      I’m praying for you (YOU were part of that weather stuff? Yuck).   I am praying with and for you regarding both situations, and my heart goes out to you in the last situation (and my stomach comes up to my throat, from experience).  May God grant you His wisdom, discernment, and courage.

      1. Renee, I love how genuine (real) you are…
        “my stomach comes up to my throat, from experience”
        I think we can all relate, but you put “your money where your mouth is,” so to speak…:)
         
         

    4. Dawn, I feel your pain in that last trial you shared. I am praying for God’s rescue for you and redemption of the incident. I have gotten myself in hot water several times and He has always rescued me. He will show you what He wants you to do.

    5. Dawn, I feel badly for you that so many trials seem to be raining down upon you and your family…I am grateful that you were not injured in the car accident, though. I can sense your burden about the ‘unspeakable incident’. I think you are moving in the right direction in telling your psychologist about it – the enemy does his best work when we keep the door to the closet shut. Remind yourself of the gospel…you are no less loved because of this…I will pray for the Lord to clearly lead you as to your next step.

    6. Dawn, praying for divine appointment/opportunity for you. And agreeing with the others in prayer for you. 

    7. I am praying too Dawn, remember God only give Satan enough rope to hang himself, and His power is made perfect in your weakness, even in what you are walking through now this is true.
      love you

  10. Renee–YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL inside and out! So fun to see you!!

    1. Well, thanks! I see it showed up when I came on this time.  I’ll probably leave it up for a few days 🙂   and then replace it with something else.  I’ll eventually get over it having my pic online (am VERY slowly starting a very small business/website that will require it, but my day job takes 150% of my time, so it isn’t happening fast).  I didn’t even use a pic for a long time on facebook until someone else uploaded one and wrote “use this!”  I know I’m quirky!!!  I’m relatively outgoing, don’t mind teaching large classes in an auditorium, but I’m also introverted enough that I need some time alone and could easily get into a rut of too much hiding.

      1. You are on Facebook??!!Friend me? my name is Christina on FB

      2. I love your picture! So glad to see your face.

      3. Renee, I am on Facebook as well and would be happy if you could Friend me.

  11. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    The title instantly made my eyes water. I can tend towards seriousness, I think, and to be honest, “laughter” is something I pray for more of. But the word “fundamentally” blared out at me, so I looked it up, wanting an exact meaning—“basically, at heart, at bottom, deep down”. It reminded me of the tree, and I LOVE the painting above. “deep down, at bottom, at heart”—yes, I am fundamentally happy—though it takes a daily practice. It is very easy for me to let relationships, a long line at the store, or even the weather affect me. I also struggle with anything that feels like a “polly-anna” attitude—ignoring the hard and trying to paint a shiny happy look that is only a veneer. Sometimes because I am so adverse to that mindset, I can get too serious, too heavy on the pain—and my focus resting on circumstances. In God of All Comfort, Dee teaches to remember His faithfulness in the past, remember who He is, remember the Gospel. And then, I do feel that “deep down, at heart, at bottom” happiness. I’m not a bubbly type, sometimes I wish I were more so. But I believe that the more He increases in my life, the more I allow my circumstances to shrink…the more I will be able to freely laugh, and experience true growing joy. A tree grows. Joy grows. When planted by the stream. The fruit comes in season—when we need it—patience in suffering, faith in trials. But the roots must be deep down, receiving water from the Source, replenished at all times—not just when I’m dry, but a continual drawing of His water into my roots so that when the wind does blow, and the heat does come, I am fueled and ready. Sorry I went on a spiel there 😉
     
    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?
     
    There have been many times when a verse or passage I have read many times becomes new to me. Even recently, hearing of John the Baptist’s dis-belief that led to him being silenced, I was again struck by how often I doubt, I don’t want to get my hopes up, and I have little faith. I love 1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory”. My eyes fall on “you believe in Him”, and it is this faith that brings joy regardless of circumstances

    1. Elizabeth,
      YES YES YES“I also struggle with anything that feels like a “polly-anna” attitude—ignoring the hard and trying to paint a shiny happy look that is only a veneer.”   Me, too!!  That’s why I tend to hibernate when I am in pain — and maybe why an online Bible Study is a good fit for me; I don’t like “fake” except maybe some well-done flowers 🙂      I also have a pretty decent “fake-detector;”   it’s related to my “don’t trust” radar. 

      But I do see “funny” in many things (such as Pharisee pic above), and laughter helps a lot except when I am REALLY cynical (ok, so I still like humor that is a little cynical).  Hadn’t really thought much about this, but maybe one of the areas God is working is to make me less cynical.  Hope in Him leads to deep down happiness.  Idealism/too much hope in others or circumstances is what leads to hopes being dashed and cynicism.  I’ve become pretty realistic, but can move from hard core idealism to cynicism.  I can relate to your statement “I don’t want to get my hopes up.” 

      I also appreciated that you wrote that “fruit comes in season” —  that jumped out to me about Jesus in one of the psalms last week.

      1. oh Renee, I’m saving this for my own regular review–you’re like a free counseling session for me! Yes, there is this connection between my desire to not shove anything under the rug, try to hide or fake anything–I want it all out there, no matter how brutal. I may have shared this before, but on one of our first dates in high school I wore a new shirt and asked my (now husband of 20 yrs) if he liked it, he said “not so much…”–a “normal” person might have dumped him then, but I was so drawn to the honesty–that he wouldn’t just fake it. Anyway, sorry for the rabbit trail–but yes, my craving for “hide-nothing-honesty” makes me realistic, but too often its borderline and over-the-line cynicism.
         
        “To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being “in the know,” cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit…A praying life is just the opposite. It engaged evil. It doesn’t take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God’s face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Prayer is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope.”― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

        1. Oh my!  At least he was still in high school when he said that :-)Thanks for sharing the quote.  Methinks I need to get that book.  I subscribed to Amazon Prime right before Christmas, and it’s killing me.  Maybe I’ll read a few other books and THEN order it.  Or wait for you to post more quotations;)

    2. I really like your answer to #1, Elizabeth. The word “fundamentally” jumped out at me, too…in a ‘back-to-basics’ way…like getting back to the basics of the gospel. If I am not happy, I need to get to the root – “deep down, at bottom, at heart” reason for the lack of it. I can tend to be too serious, too – I think I have more of a melancholy nature…I like the idea of praying for more laughter!

    3. I too tend towards the serious, I am lousy at small talk!
      Deep down though, underneath it all I do have joy, I sense the same thing in many of you.
      This from CCEF helped me feel okay about my serious bent.

      http://www.ccef.org/blog/so-many-things-make-me-sad

      1. Thanks for this link, Chris. I have only read two of the five articles but I find a lot of wisdom in them. David Powlinson has been very helpful to me in the past. I have struggled for a long time with how to understand and deal with my “serious bent.” 

  12. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The title  – I think Elizabeth and I are a lot alike. I tend to be serious and somewhat negative, Eeyore-like. I see all the pain and difficulties in the world. However, “basically, at heart, at bottom, deep down”. It reminded me of the tree, and I LOVE the painting above. “deep down, at bottom, at heart”—yes, I am fundamentally happy—though it takes a daily practice.” This blog has helped me a great deal with the HOW of getting my soul happy in the Lord. It is extremely important to me to spend time daily, IN THE MORNING, with the Lord, first thing, in order to remind myself of our great God and his boundless, amazing love for me. Remember who He is and Who I am because of Him, helps me put the trials and struggles of life into proper perspective, trusting God who is in control and knows what He is doing.

    1. Diane–it is still easy for me to check email, the blog, do other things…before my time in the Word. Thank you for this reminder  “spend time daily, IN THE MORNING, with the Lord, first thing, in order to remind myself of our great God and his boundless, amazing love for me. Remember who He is and Who I a” I don’t really like “resolutions”, but this is a good one for me!

  13. 1. What stood out to you from the above?
    *The reference (“Prodigal God”) the “happy son” being the one who “repents and falls before the Father, and cherishes being close to the Father.” 
    *”our roots need to go deep into the living water so that even in a drought we will thrive.”
    *”‘You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.’  She wanted, not His gifts, but Him.”
     
    and why?
    “the happy son” is a reminder of the importance of what is motivating my heart and actions…i.e., am I motivated “to do what is right” to impress others, for approval, etc. (idolatrous motivations directed toward self) or because of love for my Lord motivated by His goodness, faithfulness, and continuous affection for me…oh that the later may be true of me.
     
    I see how my faith has deepened and matured, but yet I see how far I am away from where the Lord desires me to be (and I probably really don’t even fully comprehend how distant that “truly” is…).  I long for my roots to be in His “living water,” to “thrive” in His nourishment, to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus.
     
    I want to want Him more than blessings, gifts, etc.  There are days when I can say I want Him for Him, but unfortunately, I confess that there are days when I sense I want Him for His provision.  Song of Songs truly started a melting process of my heart and a desire for Him that I relish, and relish continuing with the study/praying of the psalms. 
     
    2. Can you think of a recent time when you were “kissed” through the Word?
    I cannot give you specific examples/occurrences, but suffice it to say that there have been numerous times of late when I have been reading either “The Ragamuffin Gospel,” “Gospel Transformation Bible” Introduction, or the “Jesus Calling” devotional when I felt like a sentence or text is meant just for me…my reading it at the time was something choreographed by the Lord…a “kiss” from Him to increase understanding, provide confirmation, or give me encouragement, etc. 
     

    1. Nanci–I’m glad you pointed out the part about the younger son–I re-read above and was struck by how his repentance led to true happiness. And I love what you said on motivation–so easy for me to get “tripped up” in that area! Oh to be motivated only ” because of love for my Lord motivated by His goodness, faithfulness, and continuous affection for me…”

  14. Hello Everyone, I am just joining today and thankful to be participating.  My study group used Idol Lies last fall and in one chapter Dee had us pray through a Psalm.  It was not something I had ever done and I just loved it.  So I was excited to see this group Bible study on the Psalms.
    What stood out to me was this:

    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

    It reinforces in me the desire to meet with God every morning to pray, to praise him and to hear from him.  To have my soul satisfied in him before the busyness of the day begins.

    1. welcome Mona! So glad you’re joining us. Love what you’ve shared “To have my soul satisfied in him before the busyness of the day begins.”

    2. Welcome, Mona. My church’s Bible study group is studying Idol Lies right now. We took a break for December and are beginning again in another week. 

    3. Hi Mona…Idol Lies also prompted my participating in the bible study blog a while back.  The study and interactions of the blog have been an incredible blessing to me; I’m sure that you will be blessed by your participation as well.  Welcome to you!

    4. Hi Mona…I’m so glad you joined in!    I miss going to your bible studies here in Kearney and  want to start in again.  Love having you here on Dee’s blog!

  15. Chris–been praying for you & Bill’s safety–the “worrier” in me wants you to check in and tell us you’re ok 🙂

    1. I was just on FB, Elizabeth. Chris is on the road today driving (with hubby I think) through a lot of snow. She said they made it safely through Indiana a half hour ago. Not sure where home is for her, but I am sure she would appreciate prayer.

      1. I believe Chris lives in Ohio but not sure how far in.

      2. Thanks for checking it out on FB and updating us, Diane…Chris and Bill have been on my heart; it is good to know that they are okay.  I will continue to pray for their safe travel home.

    2. Ahhhh you guys!!this blessed me this morning!  ‘Through many many dangers’ we came safely home last night :)It is always good to come home, but that felt especially true this time!

  16. Ugh — just posted another link to Grace/U2 with good, powerful pics but somehow I posted it as a reply way up there.  Here it is again, hopefully in a regular post   http://youtu.be/7TvHrzQJ0NE
    Sorry for mess

    1. Renee, 
       
      I have always loved U2.. Thanks for posting this-really like this song! 🙂

  17. Pray for me.. God is working on my heart.. thinking of God’s love, mercy, compassion as kisses from Him is a new thought and scary… I love how He reveals Himself to me when I am reading scripture and how some verses jump out at me and speak to me right where I need it.   To think of them as God’s kisses is…… a new thought. 
    God’s joy is just way more satisfying, lasting and deeper than the grain or wine.  We are farmers and thinking of grain. I think of selling grain and how that helps pay bills and buy things we need. What a feeling of peace, joy and security. But God’s security , joy and peace far exceeds that.

    1. I’ll be praying for you, Rosem

      1. thank you for the prayers… Sometimes I think my heart needs to melt.. too much ice on it..

    2. I will pray too, rosem–and I LOVE this “God’s joy is just way more satisfying, lasting and deeper than the grain or wine.  We are farmers and thinking of grain. I think of selling grain and how that helps pay bills and buy things we need. What a feeling of peace, joy and security. But God’s security , joy and peace far exceeds that.”

    3. Praying for you, rosem.  You’re right; it is scary!! —and kinda fun (sometimes), and the JOY — oh yes!

      1. You crack me up Renee! “…and kinda fun (sometimes)…” Not sure scary is that much fun for me; I’m a wimp!

    4. Rose, God’s joy is just way more satisfying, lasting and deeper than the grain or wine.  We are farmers and thinking of grain. I think of selling grain and how that helps pay bills and buy things we need. What a feeling of peace, joy and security. But God’s security , joy and peace far exceeds that.” -This encouraged me this morning-it is so easy with daily things that come up that can rock our world-just the truth in that He is our rock and we can rest in Him regardless of what comes our way that day.  Like in Psalm 1-the tree FIRMLY planted by streams of water. 

    5. Dear Rosem…I will be praying.  In the Song of Songs study, I learned of the Lord’s “continuous affection”…He always loves and cares for me, He always has my best interests at heart, He is never distant from me but is always by my side if only I am attentive to His presence.  His “working on your heart” is a beautiful thing, albeit scary.  Peace to you, Rosem, may you bask in the Lord’s love and goodness; may it wash over all of your fears.  Blessings!

  18. “This is is why we must find Christ in the psalms so that our hearts are melted”.
    THIS just JUMPED out of the screen at me – thank you, Dee! I’m so excited to draw nearer to Christ through the Psalms – my heart will be melted and my soul will be glad! 🙂
     
    I remember last summer during a visit to the U.S. I borrowed “One Thousand Gifts” by Anne Voskamp and that being a turning point for me on my journey through infertility and the resulting depression. I remember feeling that the scriptural truths embedded in that book (Eucharisteo, gratitude, joy, etc.) were just like kisses from the Creator! I had joy in my heart once again…

    1. Rachel–such a good reminder of how our thankfulness for His gifts are so healing for depression. I too struggled through years and years of infertility (before adopting), and know the cloud of depression–but you are right that it is turning to His Word, that melts our icy hearts, and brings hope, joy, new life…thankful you are here!

    2. Rachel-It is awesome to see He is melting your heart and has made you glad-and that you desire to be kissed more by Him! :))) 

    3. Yes, Rachel, I’m with you…finding “Christ in the psalms so that our hearts are melted”…yes!!!
       
      I found Ann Voskamp’s, “One Thousand Gifts,” an incredible encouragement in thanking the Lord always, even in “hard eucharisteo” times.  (Similar to books of Dee’s I have read,) “One Thousand Gifts” has been life changing for me as well.

  19. 1.  What stood out to you from the above and why?
    The title…are you a fundamentally happy person?  I had to think about that for a while and to be honest I am not sure of the answer, which probably means no.  I do have happy times, but is there a constant and persistent joy in my heart…honestly I don’t think so.  I am a person who doesn’t show a lot of emotion, I don’t think I am either fundamentally happy or fundamentally said…I am just here.  But I do know that the Lord has shown me where that comes from and He is working on the healing part…so perhaps I would have a different answer a year from now (I hope so).
     
    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?  
    Yes, most recently my son.  As some of you know I adopted my son as an older child, who has a developmental disability (FASD).   According to the world, he is not supposed to graduate from high school (did this past spring, with good enough grades for university), not be able to hold down a steady job (has had one for over a year now), is not supposed be able to demonstrate emotion well (for the past 6 months has given me hugs daily).  I have been praying for his heart (still not saved, but I have hope) and a few weeks ago one of his former teaches sent me an email about how wonderful a son I have, that he stopped by the school and gave all of his grade 12 teachers a Christmas present and thanked them for putting up with him over the years…he did this by himself without influence from anyone.  In the past 6 months I have witnessed more growth and grace in him than the past several years combined.  This was truly a gift to me from God that I can see that He is continuing to work on my son.  This gave me joy and I feel truly blessed (and kissed) by the Lord.

    1. Mary-Canada, I am so moved by your answer to #2. I am amzed at your compassion for your son–and the beauty in his life. I will pray for his salvation and join you in hope! That is a beautiful kiss from the Lord!

      1. elizabeth, you are always so gracious and kind. You brought tears to my eyes when I read your note.  Thank you for praying for him, he actually a wonderful young man 🙂 

    2. Mary-Canada this is such a wonderful testimony about your son! I love it! The world may say no but God is so able. I pray for his salvation too.

      1. Thank you Anne, you are right about the world.  In the case of my son, every time some “”expert” tells me what my son should or should not be able to do, God must laugh, because He does something completely different.

  20. Just listened to Tim Keller on Psalm 1.  Thank you for sharing that sermon with us.  I took some notes that I will write in my journal.  One phrase that keeps mulling in my mind is about the “sitting”.  If I’m not happy, then I’m sitting in a place other than God’s lap.  

    1. That’s great, DawnR. Thanks for whetting our appetite to listen to the Tim Keller sermon.

  21. Also including my comments on what stood out to me about the “kiss” of God.  I do have times that the Word leaps out at me, but I never thought about it as a kiss from God.   I will pray now for God’s kisses.  Such intimacy.  Just recently I said to my husband, “We need to kiss more than we have lately.”  Interesting to think of kissing in my time with the Lord too – gospel kisses.  

  22. Sunday Icebreakers 1/5/14
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why? – Oh so much of this was rich. That we can know our bibles and think we are living a Christian life but really are more like the Pharisees and complain right after reading God’s Word. Tim Keller’s point that happiness is possible but won’t be found in circumstances but in truly planting our lives in knowing God. The song Kisses Sweeter Than Wine, I’ve heard it many times but not ever so clearly like this time. How fun that was as I was tapping my foot along with it. I am looking forward to find God more in what I read and what is around me.
    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? – I’m sitting here snowed and thinking that I guess being kissed through the Word may not always be a pleasant kiss, that possibly I can be reading and come across something that is convicting and eye opening. I know there are times when I am truly sweetly kissed through the Word too, but for me recently it’s been more of eye openers. To fight the enemy and his tactics, to not fall prey to the ones who are more like Pharisees. My life lately has been a roller coaster of emotions and I know some depression too. I know the only true being I can count on is God and His Word. This brings joy to me when I come across something I read and opens my eyes to the truth. Of course my family can bring me joy and they do, but so many times lately that joy turns quickly to sorrow. I need to rely and count on God and His Word to bring the complete joy I need right now.

  23. Thank you Diane for the FB update, I just heard from Chris via email–and I was so excited to share this (I don’t think she’d mind!) She said “We got to attend Moody Church this morning. Due to low attendance because of the weather Erwin Lutzer changed his message, he spoke on Psalm one” 
    How amazing our God is!! She did say that they have been driving through a blizzard–so prayers are needed!

    1. How cool that is. So glad she was able to go there and hear about Psalms again.

    2. So cool about Chris hearing a sermon on Psalm 1 at Moody Church in Chicago.

    3. “How amazing our God is!!”
       
      Indeed…what are the chances of that happening without the Lord’s intervention…a big smooch for dear Chris.

  24. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine is SO FUN! Thanks for posting.  I hadn’t heard it before I just listened to it two more times when looking at the questions for tomorrow and am grinning.  It will help me remember Song of Songs!

  25. 1-what stood out? Really quickened byPsalm 4:7: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.”  I really feel lead to pray this for myself and people. Our ministry, refresh my soul was founded with the desire to see people this way in their walks with The Lord. Reminds me of Piper saying, “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.” Can you imagine what this would look like to the lost world around? Not obnoxious joy but a quiet contented peace. That is what I feel keeps me anchored to Him. I find myself constantly grieving over my broken body, my daughters autism struggles and our little guys delays yet I am always rejoicing too. It is a funny thing being ok in it all because I know He is in control. I trust Him and His love. 

  26. 2-recent kiss through the word? I started my bible reading this year chronologically. Each time I read about man’s heart and how it grieved God it strikes me. He made us and chose us knowing how things would go….He  loves us so deeply. It is a huge kiss. And reading of Hagar how God saw her. It is all beautiful. The ones he chose were not special in and of themselves it was just His sovereign choice and to think I am counted among them is enough to make my heart burst! I am sure it is better than wine for if that isn’t then wine is something way too amazing that I am missing out on! 😉

    1. Angela, I was listening to a podcast recently (I think it was Live the Promise, but it might have been Midday Connection…unsure) where Anne Graham Lotz was being interviewed.  She said something similar regarding Hagar…how the Lord loved Hagar and Ishmael as much as He loved Abraham, Sarah, and Issac; the only difference was the Lord’s purpose for each.  I agree…”heart bursting” to think of the Lord’s capacity to love us all without preferential treatment of any one (with the exception of the Lord Jesus)…incredible! (and humbling too)…:)

  27. Our new Cindy W. just posted this on last week’s–I directed her here, but I wanted to be sure you all saw it.
     
    Cindy WComment:1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I loved listening and watching the video. The first thing that jumped out at me was, you need to be close to someone to  be kissed or to give a kiss and you can’t kiss someone from a distance. I see the Shulammite’s inner attitude, one of wanting to be with the King. It was the matter of her will. She didn’t just want his gifts but she wanted to be with him.The other thing I see is her love for the King was becoming a mature love. Many times even in the early years of marriage, you focus more on what your spouse can give you, instead of the pleasure and joy you get from just being with them. This is not  criticism but an observation over the years, you can see this same type of attitude in a young Christian and sometimes in an older Christian only wanting his gifts. It saddens my heart. Their love for Him does not go on to maturity, and they don’t seem interested in nurturing a close intimate relationship with the giver of gifts.
     
    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?
    The time that comes to my mind was when I was visiting my daughter, husband and three boys. I was staying with them over a weekend and was baby sitting their three sons one evening so our daughter and her husband could go out on a date. Charlie woke up crying because he had a bad dream. When I went into his room I bent down and said to him, “Charlie, Grammy is here and I will be with you so you can lie back done and go back to sleep”.</em> With that, he said, “ok Grammy” through his tears. He laid back down and fell fast asleep and I didn’t give it another thought until. . .The following week, I realized the hospital had never called to give me the results of a mammogram I had done, so I decided to call my doctor. When I called the doctor’s office, the receptionist told me Dr. Sims was on her way to the hospital and would pass my message on to her.
     
    About five minutes later the telephone rang. I answered the phone to hear Dr. Sims voice. She said, “Cindy, I’m so sorry the hospital never got back to you, I’m on my way to the hospital, but I must tell you, you have a stage II fast growing breast cancer. Please make an appointment with my receptionist as soon as possible, I will see you then. Good bye.” I remember so clearly as I sat at the table feeling disoriented and confused by the news I just received. I sat there for a long time in the Lord’s presence. I don’t remember how long I was there but the thing I will never forget is when I heard these words in my mind. “Just as you were with Charlie, I am with you.” My whole inner attitude changed when I heard Him speak those words to my heart.

    1. “you need to be close to someone to be kissed or to give a kiss and you can’t kiss someone from a distance”
      Excellent point, Cindy W. …we need to draw near to God, be attentive to Him to receive and subsequently give.
       
      How considerate of you to provide babysitting so your daughter and son-in-law could spend some “couple” time…very sweet.

      I smiled at your reference to yourself as “Grammy”…that is what I am referred to as well (and can I add, I love that reference…:) )
       
      “Just as you were with Charlie, I am with you.” My whole inner attitude changed when I heard Him speak those words to my heart.
      Incredible, Cindy W….thank you so much for sharing.

    2. Cindy W I do hope you will check in, let us know if this conversation with your Dr was some time ago and your cancer has been dealt with or if that battle is a current one.Rejoicing in that provision of reassurance to your heart!

    3. Great post, Cindy W. Thanks for sharing that. It is so wonderful that God has reassured you of His love for you as you go through this difficult journey of fighting breast cancer. I will be praying for you. We have another person here on the blog who is also fighting breast cancer. Her name is Laura dancer. I am sure you can find support from her. 

  28. The following stood out to me today…”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.” I have started a new daily devotional called The Daily God Book and on Jan. 2nd it was talking about hope which I believe to be inextricably linked to joy. It said “Circumstances are never the real killer of hope. The death of hope lies in forgetting to focus on the One whose image you bear.” During difficult times it can be hard to keep our focus off of ourselves and our circumstances and firmly planted on His Face!
    A recent “kiss” I have experienced was in an Advent reading…Adven is of course a season of waiting…much like this time in my own life. Scriptures were Genesis 16 & 21:1-7. These are the stories of Sarai waiting for her promised son. That day I read The Message and it was so clear in that translation that in Chapter 16 Sarai had tried everything she could think of and “had nnot yet produced a child.” All her efforts were of no avail. In Chap. 21 “God visited Sarah exactly as He said He would: God did to Sarah what He had promised and at the very time God had set.”
    Those verses gave me great comfort and hope in my waiting!!

    1. Lucy, thank you for sharing from your devotional book which talked about hope; this is so good to remember: “Circumstances are never the real killer of hope” – but oh, how we can so easily let them do just that. And for the reminder that hope is inextricably linked to joy. I don’t know your circumstances that you describe as your season of waiting, but I am glad God spoke comfort and hope to you through the way He fulfilled His promise to Sarah.

  29. I’m on the same wavelength with Diane about the tree image–it just has me captivated! Who is it? It looks so familiar…is this something famous I should know, like a Monet or Van Gogh? I would love to find a copy!

  30. 1. Having my heart melted by seeing Christ in the Psalms stood out to me. This is my heart’s desire. That is what I wanted when we did the 1st stonecutter study. I am softer now but it has only made me desire more. The process is slow and I know that is God’s mercy on me. 
     
    Another thing that got me thinking is the question: why do I read the Bible? I admit that I have desired knowledge so that I might impress people. Those Pharisees in that painting stood out to me. They were accusing. Did they study the word so they might accuse? That is serious sin for there is only one accuser. Jesus did say that their father was Satan. Anyway it is good for me to think about this. What do I really want? Favor from God, favor from men, the power of superiority over others or fellowship with Christ? The answer is life changing when I focus on it. I want fellowship with Christ. I want kisses from His mouth. I want fellowship with His beloved people.
     
    I loved the song ’Kisses Sweeter Than Wine’ and I think the thing that sustained that man were his relationships. They made all of the hardship worthwhile.
     
    2. In psalm 2 when the power of the nations was described and then the power of God, that was a kiss to me. I have struggled with the idol of approval. This pointed out to me that my fear of man is silly. God laughs at them, but happy are those who take refuge in Him.

    1. “The process is slow and I know that is God’s mercy on me.”
      Yes and amen…me too

  31. 4-whose happy and whose not….some quotes that stood out to me from enduring word.com commentary, which I love:
    To a graceless neck the yoke of Christ is intolerable, but to the saved sinner it is easy and light . . . We may judge ourselves by this, do we love that yoke, or do we wish to cast it from us?” (Spurgeon)
     
    i. This shows the great mercy of God. He has every reason and every right to simply act against defiant man. Love and mercy compel God to speak a word of warning before He acts.
     
     
    Those who defy God are broken, but those who depend on Him areblessed. The Psalmist leaves the choice with everyone: Broken or Blessed?
    a. Blessed is the manBlessed translates the Hebrew word “esher,” which has the idea of happiness or contentment.Esher comes from the Hebrew word ashar, which in its root means “to be straight” or “to be right.” Blessed is the manspeaks of the happiness, the blessedness, the contentment in the life of the man or woman who is right or “straight” with God. The righteous man will be a blessed man, a happy man.
     
    i. “Blessed means supremely happy or fulfilled. In fact, in Hebrew the word is actually a plural, which denotes either a multiplicity or blessings or an intensification of them.” (Boice)
     
    ii. “It is not ‘Blessed is the king, blessed is the scholar, blessed is the rich,’ but, ‘Blessed is the man.’ This blessedness is as attainable by the poor, the forgotten and the obscure, as by those whose names figure in history, and are trumpeted by fame.” (SpurgeoN)
     
     

  32. I posted a post from Cindy W above last night, just wanted to make sure you all saw it. I’ve directed her here, but just alerting you all to her post so she doesn’t have to re-post it 🙂

    1. Thank you for this Elizabeth

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

    “As you delight in Him, you can know inextinguishable joy,
    like at tree soaking up sunshine, and putting roots into the living water,
    the living water that is Jesus.”

    A year ago (even less) this would have invoked fear and guilt in me – “Am I good enough? Will I make it to heaven? Do I do enough for God to like me? Accept me?” I would have squirmed quietly in my heart, uncomfortable that I knew this was true, but wanting it to be true FOR ME. 
    Today, I am a different person, praise be, by turning to Him this little stanza full of promise brings a small surge in the deep, constant river of life…joy..peace that is in my heart. I no longer read with anxiety of failed religion whispering in my ear, stirring unease in my soul.  The prosecutor may assail my ears at times but it does not reach my heart. It has finally ‘become real’ FOR ME.
     
    2. Can you think of a recent time when you were “kissed” through the Word? Sunday at church they began worship with Psalm 1. And it was like waves of living water, seeing Christ in the Psalm just as much (more?) as a fruitful obedience in life. Or a time recently when He put more joy in your heart than the world has when their grain and wine abound? Again, a year ago, I had no joy, I was a broken person, this especially grieved me in situations with my sons. God has shown me the beauty in his creation of my children and now, when they smile at me, my heart bursts with joy in the gift they are and are becoming, more joy than when grain and wine abound. 

    1. Jill–your testimony inspires me. I love this ” The prosecutor may assail my ears at times but it does not reach my heart.” I love how He changed your heart towards your sons. I hear such softness and beauty in your words–His love pours through. Was there a catalyst for such change in you last year? It really encourages me to hear of His power in changing our hearts.

      1. Elizabeth, the catalyst was reading Idol Lies. Years and years of searching in my christian faith and community, 2.5 years of very painful circumstances, wanting to know HOW to draw to Christ and feel the sincere, rooted salvation, freedom and joy that I saw in others, doing good in religion yet still feeling Christ elluded me  and then I read Hope’s story in Idol Lies and the veil was lifted and I SAW ME, and I turned. In that moment I changed….amazing. I could go on about the work Christ begun in me And the story has so many more details but I will leave it as that. =)

        1. oh Jill–you have no idea how your response touched my heart..if I can see through my tears to write this!…I hesitated to share this, but was so moved by your words. I am “Hope” in Idol Lies. I had Dee change my name, and my husband’s-mostly to protect my children, and because as the time came closer, I feared getting prideful (you see my approval idol still works!) But to hear that the Lord used my story–humbles me. What’s incredible is how much He has used YOU since the time you have been here, to encourage me to stay the course of where He’s walking me. I hope one day we can meet face-to-face, but consider this a big cyber-hug.

        2. 🙂 This is a lovely, Holy Spirit thing!
          Praise Him!

        3. Elizabeth, wow….wow. I am shaking with the realization of the connection the Holy Spirit has allowed. I return your cyber-hug with vigor and love!! Thank you for sharing your story! And thank you for your friendship, it is unusual the friendships here, but by far no less valuable or useful for vessels of the love of Christ. I long to meet each of my sisters here in person, but even more now to meet you and hug you! i look forward to more. =)

        4. And, also, you have been an inspiration and encourager to me since I have been here, pointing me to Christ through your sharing. 

        5. Wow!! How HE MOVES! Love this Jill and Elizabeth! 

        6. This is so beautiful, Jill and Elizabeth. God is so gracious in using us, weak and sinful though we be. 

  34. 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.
     
    I was intrigued by Dee’s use of Numbers 12:8 where in KJV and ESV the Lord says of Moses 

    “With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in riddles, and he beholds the form of the Lord.”

    I had previously heard that verse as saying “face to face” but “mouth to mouth” gives it a different angle, implying touch and intimacy which makes me appreciate God’s close relationship to Moses as a “kiss” similar to the Song of Songs 1:2 verse.
     
    I did a bit of research and found this. From the Reformation Study Bible:

    “No other Old Testament figure had as intimate a relation to God as Moses, and this description in turn highlights the greater privilege of the Christian—in Jesus Christ, the glory of God’s goodness and mercy that was withheld even from Moses is displayed to believers through the Spirit (Ex. 33:19, 20; John 1:14; 2 Cor. 3:18). But the believer also looks forward to a yet greater visio dei (vision of God)—seeing Christ “face to face” (1 Cor. 13:12; Rev. 22:4).”

    John 1:14 (NIV)
    14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
     
    2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)
    18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
     
    Revelation 22:4 (ESV)
    4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
     
    I find it precious and amazing to contemplate that as a believer I have a greater privilege that even Moses to see the glory of God’s goodness and mercy in Jesus Christ. What a kiss!
     

  35. I agree with the truth Tim Keller shared on Psalm 1. 
    If I make the success of my marriage my happiness, I will never be happy. 
    If I make success my number one priority,  I will never be happy. I will just be filled with anxiety. Why .. Because I am trying to control the uncontrollable. I am forcing things to be perfect, yet it is impossible as it is always about the heart. I can’t control someone’s heart. I will just end up frustrated and angry. I can control one thing and that is what I seek after or should I say it is Who I seek after! Seeking after righteousness. Seeking after the righteous One. Digging my feet deep into the sand to touch the living waters that is always there… But I have to take the step. 
    Seeking Him. Sitting on the lap of my King, my Daddy.. Sitting so He fills me with Himself and so He becomes my unspeakable joy no matter what. 

    1. Joni Jones, So good to have you with us. 🙂

    2. Joni, Great to have you with us. Welcome. I haven’t listened to Tim Keller’s sermon this week, but am looking forward to it. Yes, we need to seek single-mindedly the Righteous One. Your post reminded me of
      Psalm 27:4

      One thing have I asked of the Lord,
      that will I seek after:
      that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
      all the days of my life,
      to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
      and to inquire in his temple.
       
       

  36. Hello to all the new women and a warm welcome to each of you. 🙂

  37. Question: Are we able to use HTML to format our posts?

    1. The post above is an example of what my post looks like without going into edit box. None of the paragraph spaces I added worked.

      I think they may work in this response box??

      Maybe something mutually exclusive about the word-style formatting comments box and some html code. Cindy, the fact that you asked the question shows that you know more about HTML than I do!!

      1. Ugh, my comment above overwrote my response to you because I wrote it in the EDIT box!!!.  And it also answered one of my questions.
        I originally wrote that you probably can use SOME html code and better use spaces between paragraphs in the edit box than this original comment box.  Won’t add the additional stuff  I wrote 🙂     I don’t remember enough to use html code but I do go in and rearrange code and add spaces between paragraphs.  I suspect that in the edit box you may only be able to use the html code that is parallel to the formatting at the top of this comment box.

  38. Great insight Joni

  39. 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.
    Happy:  those who turn to, follow, and are obedient to the Lord.
    (why?…because the Lord’s directives are for our good…in following them we will have joy, we will thrive from the inside out, circumstances will not dictate joy as our joy is our Lord.)

    Unhappy:  those who turn-away from God; those who are disobedient to the Lord and are adversaries thereof with their (conscious or unconscious) allegiance to the evil one.
    (why?…without the Lord there is only evil, sin, and death.  Sinful “joys” are sinister, as they really just lead one into further darkness [i.e., how idols pretend to be our friends].  Any feeling of  “joy” is only momentary; it is purely illusion of what is the “true” context (i.e., destruction and death)
     
    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.
    Lord, I am so stupid when I turn away from You and allow the snare of the evil one to tempt…You are continuously affection toward me if only I turn to You.  You have my best interests always in mind—why do I sometimes question that with doubt, mistrust, or sinful actions? Thank You for not giving up on me and humanity at-large…thank You for providing for us.  Help us to turn to You, the one and only God, to allow Your love and affection to seep into every part of us so our only response is obedience to Your will.
    Oh Lord, I worry about the politicalness that has overtaken many of our nation’s leaders–so many are in darkness looking at themselves as saviors, providers, powerful in themselves and rule-makers for all…may they repent dear Lord…may our country move back to one that embraces “in God we trust” and lives by Your guidance and will…help us to turn from our “me obsession,” self-serving manner to a God-serving, God-worshiping one.  Help, direct, and guide us to and in Your Light.  In Jesus’ Holy name I pray, Amen.

  40. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? “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.” Oh yes, I want to be melted, I need to be melted again & again. I listened to a sermon recently about know scripture, internalizing truth so that when the enemy comes lying, the biblical truth we know is like a land mine for him to step on! Boom!

    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?

    As I shared on last weeks blog a mission team from our church headed to Ethiopia had a flight out of Cleveland to Chicago cancel on Saturday. They would have had to fly standby so Bill and I offered to drive them, we scrambled to get ready and all hopped in the 15 passenger church van and off we went. The mission team is safely in Addis Ababa now 🙂
    Bill and I spent the night in a hotel and yesterday we went to Moody Church, I had never been there before. I was overwhelmed with the goodness of God before we even entered the building. I was teary thanking him that my husband who I thought would never even come to Christ was now joyfully serving God, driving the mission team to Chicago, actually wanting to go to Moody Church with me,(we had contemplated leaving earlier due to the weather, Bill chose that we should attend church) it really was a dream come true.
     
    The worshippers were few due to the weather. (The lady who told us where to park was a gem, one of those people who you see the love they have for the Lord radiating from their faces.) It is the 150th anniversary year for Moody. They had something special planned to kick it off, they decided to hold that message until next week because of the low attendance, so on the fly Erwin Lutzer decided to preach on Psalm 1!  I cried most of the service. I was afraid someone would ask me if I was okay!
    I truly felt blown away! I felt another God see’s me moment! A full on the mouth Kiss! I listen to Redeemer podcasts on my phone all the time, sometimes I listen to the same sermon multiple times. It was another Kiss when reading through the blog this morning, the very sermon I am in the middle of listening to is the one Dee has chosen for this weeks study! It is always amazing to me that He is mindful of me, humbling, hopeful, gratitude :)I have joy! I have peace! How can I help but want to hide His words in my heart?

    1. Thank you Chris for sharing this with us. It always is an encouragement and also gives me joy to see how God ‘kisses’ my sisters and brothers.

    2. So good to see your posts…glad that you made it to Chicago and back home safe and sound…and so happy that you experienced so many kisses. 

  41. 5. Using your answer to question 4, turn it into a prayer — first for yourself, then for someone you care about
    Abba Father, please draw me to Yourself — quicken my desire to delight in You and in Your Word. Melt those edges of my heart that have become cooled and shine your Light in the dark corners and crevices of my heart. Please help me to linger at your feet, in your Word, as Mary did, and to allow myself to be kissed; for too often, I stiffen and back away, turning to my idols. I see where I can easily get caught up living a religious life instead of a gospel-centered life. THANK-YOU for showing me this and for putting the desire and longing in my heart for an intimate relationship with You.
    Oh Father, how I love my children — my son! You have given him so many gifts and so much spiritual/Scriptural knowledge. Yet he is allowing himself to be deceived in many ways. He struggles and he’s searching for fulfillment . . . in many wrong places. Thank-you that he still attends a Gospel-centered church, reads his Bible, prays, and dialogues with his family. Please give him the grace to make the choice to fully surrender to You — to delight wholly in YOU!

  42. Ps 1 and 2:  Oh my goodness!  MAJOR, major smooch this morning.  I grabbed a Bible (my mom’s) rather than Bible Gateway on my computer.  She had underlined the last verse of Psalm 2 — very similar to the beginning of Psalm 1.  And I smiled…
     
    And then…   I realized that I often have the vine and the branches mixed up.  I throw myself 150% into most things I do — and that is killing me.  I’ve been so exhausted partly because I’ve been trying to think of each branch on the vine (each class, each project) in light of how God is leading  — sort of an attempt to root each of the branches separately and missing the trunk of the tree or the vine altogether.  This is what made it stand out (Living Bible):

    But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely.
     

    One reason this stood out is because I am (almost) always thinking how to improve my classes/materials for classes (or how to best help my mom when I was caring for her ).  I don’t disconnect from work because I am surrounded by examples and information that is useful, and I meditate on some of it day and night.  I also know what it is to meditate on the Word day and night — but often it has been when I’ve been struggling to hang on, i.e.,  — grabbing my soul by the neck and speaking the truth to it.

    Today, I sensed the life/the joy related of meditating on the Word day and night.  I do realize that sometimes my soul requires some “talking to” but it’s nice to have the joy and desire added to the bigger picture.  HE IS the big picture.

  43. Question: I am so thankful for this opportunity and am new here . . . however; I get so caught up reading all of the comments — not just caught up, but overwhelmed! I’ve just spent the last several hours at my computer doing this. I don’t want to miss anything, but I simply can’t take all this time every day. Any suggestions? How do others approach this? 

    1. Hello Sharmon and welcome. I’m a newbie here too.
      “I’ve just spent the last several hours at my computer doing this. . .”
       WOW Sharmon, how I can relate to THAT. 
      The first couple of days I thought I would go cross-eyed trying to keep up with reading EVERYTHING, because I didn’t want to miss ANYTHING.
      The other night I didn’t get to bed until 5:00 in the morning and needed to pry my eyelids open after a couple of hours of sleep. Yes I can be obsession compulsive on almost everything I do. My husband says, “you get like a hound on a trail”. I can even do that with Bible studies.
      For me personally my desire is,  I want to keep pace with Him, because sometimes I can get on a trail way out ahead of Him and can easily become side-tracked and then He will gently draw me back to Himself.
      I’m so glad you joined.
      Even though a part of you feels overwhelmed at this time, I’m certain you’ll find your own pace.
       
       
       

      1. Oh my, that’s me, too.  I just realized that the reason I read as much as I do is because I get on here about 50 times a day (so even if I only read the latest posts, I catch most of them!!).  And if I’m not here, it’s probably because I actually am working.  Though I was very engaged with doing the study before Christmas, I mostly posted/read posts early in the week.  
        I guess I will consider closing the webpage rather than leaving it open all the time!!

    2. Hi Sharmon,   That happens to me, too, especially when I know I can’t keep up.  I probably shouldn’t even be on here now, and my reading of comments is pretty random.  I go in spurts, and I don’t necessarily recommend my randomness.  I know I miss stuff, but random reading will have to be sufficient for me when there are many comments to read.

      What I have done that works for me:  Look at the study itself on my smart phone (I’m not likely to read all the comments on there — and once I get on my computer, I get VERY distracted), grab a Bible (I use BIble Gateway a lot, and that access to the computer sometimes prevents me from doing the study on my own first), and examine Scripture, seek the Lord with my questions. (and post after that if I have time).

      I know some print out or download the study early in the week and then do it.  In theory, that would work better for me, but I know that additional step (right now) would hinder me.  Downloading/copying the study would be very beneficial for me if I download some kind of program or app that prevents access to email and Internet.  But it’s also good for me to be off the computer because I live online for work.
       
      I’m slowly learning that the most effective approach for me is to start with the Bible Study and then go to reading and posting as I am able.   It’s especially hard to keep up with comments at the beginning of a study, and I do feel bad that I may be missing some really good stuff.   Right now, I’m learning that honoring Him and my relationship with Him are most important, and that will fuel my participation here.

       Honestly, the reason I got on here right now is because I’d rather be on this site than doing some other things (i.e., work avoidance — I LIKE it here).  So, I will get off now, and I’m sure I’ll be back on here later!!!! 

    3.  Sharmon, I totally understand! I don’t think any of us consistently read all of them so no worries! What I do is either go to my inbox or go to the blog and skim through..Then if something pops out I usually stop and read it. Also, as time goes on you will be led to certain women whose posts you will read a lot.
      if your inbox is getting inundated with email comments from the blog and you would like to change that, let me know. Email me at rebecca@deebrestin.com and I would be happy to help you. 🙂
      I hope this helped. 

  44. The entire notion of being kissed on the lips by God, His Word, brings joy inexplicable — it is such an intimate expression of His love for me.  This is a vision I hope to hold onto lifelong, for I, like most, will need it often.  And approaching His Word daily with this image in mind will make such a difference.  We all long for full acceptance by God (even though we know we have it at the time of salvation), and this image of being kissed, full mouth, by Him is so accepting!
    A time of being kissed by the Word:  Very recently I fell out of relationship with a close relative — I have to admit that I ranted a bit and didn’t want to seek reconciliation.  That very night I picked up the biblically based book I was reading, and the chapter facing me was on the topic of forgiveness, bringing strong wisdom to the subject.  The next morning I quickly acted on God’s 2 x 4 on my head (!) prompting, and the relationship was fully restored and joy returned.  God is so good, and loved me enough to speak to me when I was out of line.
    On another subject, about Bono’s talk at the National Prayer Breakfast, I can agree with much of it, and believe he gets grace right, but must take issue with some things.  1) asking our current President and our country’s leaders to increase another full percentage of aid to Africa from folks tax dollars where there will be little accountabiity, while speaking to an administration that is assaulting charitable deductions, rather than Bono taking the opportunity to encourage individual giving to accountable charities that are effectively tackling the AIDS problem; 2) Bono saying history books will remember our age for the three things he listed which did not including the plight of the unborn (over 55 million killed since 1973 in the U.S. alone), and, again, speaking to a President whose political career is characterized by this scourge.  Bono missed such a huge opportunity to make a difference.
    In Psalms one and two, the person who is happy is one who meditates on Gods Word day and night, being firmly rooted in it, drawing sustenance from it.  The person who is not happy is the one who has no roots, and blows around (i.e. chasing empty philosophies) — they lack the consistent, reliable source of joy:  God’s Word bathing their souls.

    1.  Jean, thanks for sharing your nudge/kiss and obedience…
      “That very night I picked up the biblically based book I was reading, and the chapter facing me was on the topic of forgiveness, bringing strong wisdom to the subject.  The next morning I quickly acted on God’s 2 x 4 on my head (!) prompting, and the relationship was fully restored and joy returned.  God is so good, and loved me enough to speak to me when I was out of line.”
       
      I didn’t listen to Bono’s National Prayer Breakfast talk, but will now in regards to the items you took issue with to see what I think. 
       
      I too have a heart for the “plight of the unborn”…have you read, “Unplanned” by Abby Johnson or “Planned Bullyhood” by Karen Handel? 
       
       

      1. Nanci,  This was a speech Bono gave at a prayer breakfast during Bush’s administration (when I saw the video on YouTube, I saw someone criticizing him for aligning with Bush and saying that s/he wouldn’t pay much attention to what Bono was saying when Bush spent so much money on unwanted military assaults). (Mr) Bush was “pro-life;” no doubt, many at the prayer breakfast disagreed.
         
        I think Bono may have been right in his humor near the beginning — about separation of church and state, and people being separated from their minds by asking him to speak ( and maybe he also was out of his mind by accepting it).   There has been some amazing grace-filled Christian input associated with administrations from both US parties (historically, Bono and Billy Graham have connected with both), but it really takes people of courage to follow God’s leading on coming alongside Presidents or other national politicians because they will be criticized.  
        Much of US News is limited the US; we have to look to Canadian news sources to get Canadian news (or BBC) — not sure if celebrities in both church and politics are as prevalent in Canada as in US ??
        What I particularly appreciate about Bono is that he can see this country from the perspective of a citizen of another country.
        I don’t often take stands about political issues, especially online — even got a response on FB about when I said I wouldn’t want an oil-spill/pipeline in my back yard after reading about ND oil spills in the paper (ugh, and this past week, a train derailed, town evacuated not too far from where I grew up).  There are huge policy challenges for believers on both “sides,” and I learn so much about “perspective” from believers from outside the US, and to a certain extent, from believers from other cultures within the US.  (Os Guinness is another example; John Stott was, too).   So appreciate how Tim Keller responds to political land mines.  

        1. Thanks for the additional information, Renee.  As I mentioned, I hadn’t really looked into the talk, now see that it is from 2006, as you said, the President George W. Bush years.  I recall Billy Graham coming alongside past presidents, I didn’t realize that Bono did similarly.  Funny you mention Os Guinness…I heard him on an interview podcast and was inspired to read his recent book, “A Free People’s Suicide”…it is in my stack of books to read. 
           

  45. 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.
    In Psalm 1 the person who is blessed is the happy one.  They are the righteous and do not walk in the way of the wicked.  II think those are the ones who keep thier focus on The Lord always.  I do notice in my own life that when I am looking at The Lord I am much more content and at peace.   When I get distracted by the world around me, then I become more disheartned, things affect me more.  When I am out of sync with the Lord then everything seem out of sync….well at least for me.
     
    I am not sure that see a “happy nation” in Pslam 2, I only see the leaders (who are people).  If the leaders are the righteous ones in Pslam 1, then the nation they lead should be blessed in Pslam 2, but if the leader is the wicked in Pslam 1, then the whole nation suffers in Pslam 2.  But wouldn’t that have to apply to the entire leadership of the nation, one person wouldn’t cut it…would it?   When I read Pslam 2:2 where the kings of the earth band together, the picture in my mind went to some of those “world leader” conferences, where a group of leaders decide what is in the best interests of the world.  I wonder how many of those leaders get on their knees that morning and pray to God for wisdom and guidance in making the right decisions.  I think in ancient times the nations had one leader and the people of that nation deferred to and followed that leader, so the leader directed the righteousness of a nation, but now when you have multiple people in leadership with many differing points of view, how can a nation meet the criteria of a blessed nation that is in Pslam 2…or am I missing something important here?

    1. Mary–I relate well to this “When I am out of sync with the Lord then everything seem out of sync”…and “when I am looking at The Lord I am much more content and at peace.” So true.

      1. Ditto!

  46. A few quick tips for those overwhelmed by comments! This is what I have found helpful:

    1. I copy the entire blog into a Word doc. so I can work on the study, on my own, away from the blog/computer. Then I copy & paste my answers back in the blog when I’m ready.

    2. You don’t have to subscribe to the comments–and if you already have and want to unsubscribe, click the link that appears in your email “manage subscriptions”–that will allow you to unsubscribe to the current or any past posts.

    3. The other thing I do is use a (free) email account that is separate from my personal/work email–so it doesn’t overload my daily account. I like to read the comments–and this way I can open my other email when I have time to read.
    Last–don’t feel like you have to keep up with comments–especially mine 😉 But hopefully you read this and maybe found something helpful! The study is the most important part, though I am continually AMAZED at how the Lord works through comments on this blog.
    So thankful you all are here!
     

  47. 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.

    Lord, to have You kiss me is to have Your life breathed into my body. As the mouth is the vehicle of words, Your mouth brings Your life-giving Word to my soul. And Your love changes me, more than wine alters the state of the mind—Your love melts my heart, focuses my eyes, counsels my thoughts. Your love is all-encompassing, all powerful, life-changing. Open my eyes to see You, my ears to hear You, my heart to taste Your love. I want to be changed by You O Lord.

    4.
    Psalm 1-A big contrast just humped out at me, I’ve not seen this before. The contrast I see between the righteous (blessed) man and the ungodly—is their foundation. The righteous man is firmly planted beside water—receiving nourishment from the Lord—DEPENDENT upon the Lord, their hope is in the Eternal. The wicked are chaff easily blown by the wind—no lasting foundation, there hope is in temporal things, easily blown away.

    Psalm 2-the contrast of rulers who fight against God’s authority and those who submit to His rule. Those who take refuge in Him, who find safety, wisdom, security in the Lord, are blessed.

    5.
    Lord, I need You. As desperately as I need daily water, even more so I need You daily. Only You know what each day brings and only You have what I need to be sustained. Lord, may I grow in my dependence upon You, trusting in Your Word as my daily source of joy. Father, I pray for the leaders of my country, for softening of hearts, for eyes that seek You. Please forgive us Lord for the ways we have hurt Your Name, Your creation, Your Law. I pray that You would be merciful, and patient. I pray that You would stir their hearts to listen to Your counsel. I pray that our nation will glorify Your Name.

    1. Amen!

    2. Elizabeth…you should write a book or lead a study or something because your words really  hit home for me…they melt my heart.

  48. So overwhelmed by all the posts in such a short period! I am barely keeping up 🙁 I just listened to Mike Reeves (for the THIRD time!!!) I’m so SLOW…..
     
    Welcome to all the new sisters in Christ!!!!
     
    DEE I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU FROM LAST WEEK……..Is that you in the first picture with your Bible and praise hand lifted high? I just have to know!
     

    1. Hi Laura-d…no it isn’t, Dee…there were a few gals that asked last week and Dee said it wasn’t…sure looks like it could be though…:)
       
      How did your appointment go today; is your radiation treatment plan determined?

      1. Hi Nanci! Thanks for remembering and asking 🙂 I went today for the initial “work up” and we start treatment next Tuesday. What’s that old saying, “hurry up and wait?” That’s how I feel right now, but I did get a good time everyday, and they are willing to work with me when I need to change it up second semester due to new classes I am teaching. I am blessed with a very attentive cancer team. Thank You Lord Jesus for being with me ALWAYS.

        1. Thanks for the update, Laura dancer. Please keep us informed as you can. Will continue praying for you. Did you read that one of our new blog friends, Cindy W,  also is dealing with breast cancer?

        2. Hi Laura-d, Thanks for the update.  Glad you got a good time, that cancer team is attentive, and most of all, that you are sensing the Lord’s presence!

        3. Thanks for the update, Laura-d…yes, I know what you mean about the “hurry up and wait”…can be so very frustrating.  I’m thankful that you are “blessed with a very attentive cancer team”…so important to have confidence in your medical professionals (and to “lean in the right direction”…i.e., towards the Lord for comfort and peace…as you are doing).  What is the frequency and length of your treatment?  Will you be able to continue with your regular class load?
           
          How is your Mom doing these days…any progress in healing?
           
          Just curious…did you ever get an email from me?
           

        4. Praise God Laurie….praying for you.

  49. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    The “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” song! How it made me laugh! To answer your question Dee, what sustained the guy through all of it? Pepto-bismol????? HA! Just kidding….I suppose the “real” answer is LOVE?

    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?
    Hmmmmm……although it isn’t that recent (last summer), I got to dance for my mom and fellow residents at the rehab hospital where she resides now. It brought me GREAT joy to dance Lord of the Dance, Eagle’s Wings, and Amazing Grace. Oh the joy! I was so blessed to give these people a gift for a short while.

    I am nearly ready to share some of this with you as I finally got my hands on the original files over Christmas. I need to edit a bit, but then I will post.

    1. I also did a double take on Dee with the Bono insertion (love U2 myself). At first I thought there might be another Bono from ancient/years past, but then I thought to myself, “No, Dee is an interesting person with unique tastes. I bet she is talking about Bono!”

    2. yeah!!! can’t wait…

    3. Oh, I am so excited to see videos of you dancing, Laura dancer! Yes!

    4. Yippeee!!! Looking forward to the videos.