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

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

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

TO WHOM?

TO THE ONE WHO DELIGHTS IN THE LORD

FOR DELIGHTING IN THE LAW OF THE LORD,

IS DELIGHTING IN JESUS,

FOR HE IS THE LAW, HE IS THE WORD.

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

LIKE A TREE SOAKING UP SUNSHINE,

AND PUTTING ITS ROOTS INTO THE LIVING WATER

THE LIVING WATER THAT IS JESUS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Icebreakers

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

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

Monday – Wednesday: Bible Study and Prayer

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

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

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

Kisses Sweeter Than Wine

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

                           All gospel duty is summed up in kissing the Son.

                  Matthew Henry

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

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

9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.

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

    B. Pray about the above.

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

    D. Pray about the above.

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

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

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

11. Reflections and prayer:

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

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

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

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

Saturday

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

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

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536 comments

  1. 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.
    Dear Lord, it is awkward to ask for Your “kisses,” however when You do kiss me it is so nice! I’m not sure how I am to spring from this verse to some sort of prayer, however I know You will show me the way. Thank You for being with me in all my struggles. Amen.
    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.
     
    Those who are happy are those who “delight” in the Lord; His Word, His law, His son. Those who are NOT happy are trying to control things; their lives, others’ lives, etc. They live in sin and wickedness. They are miserable.
    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.
    Dear Lord, thank You for giving me the Word to know You, and the law to live as You want me to live. Help me to remember how I should live when life is bearing down on me and I am struggling to get through. Lately these times come often. Lord, thank You for all my families blessings; we have so much in the way of wealth, health, and life in general. My husband struggles with happiness and life’s woes. Please veil him with the faith that You are near and will help him through his worries on our finances. He is a good man who really wants to take care of his family, but when the going gets tough it is easy to let satan take over. Just as Psalm 2 warns the leaders of countries, Lord, help those in our state houses remember to make wise, moral decisions with You in mind; to not think of their political futures, but to remember the history of the past that didn’t work and refrain from making laws that beat people down instead of lifting them up from their poverty. Instead of trying to control the people, let the people do as the Constitution allows; for “We the People” to guide those in leadership as we see fit. Help us to remind the US Congress, executive branch, and judicial branches of government that You are woven within and through, whether those in leadership choose to acknowledge that our not. We love you Lord, and can’t wait to experience Your kisses in our lives. Amen.

  2. Please pray for me- have had nausea,vomiting,and body aches all day. Would really appreciate your prayers.

    1. oh Susan–SO SORRY
      Lord, please come and cover Susan–be her comforter, her Healer, Lord, we beg You. Please restore her body, please take away this awful sickness, let her feel peace, rest, and remedy from Your mighty power. Amen

    2. So sorry you are sick, Susan. Praying! Sounds like flu!

    3. Susan! Praying health returns quickly!

    4. Oh Susan, just got this-let us know how you are today! Lord I agree with Elizabeth..please come and restore Susan’s body..

    5. Praying Susan!

    6. So sorry to hear this Susan 🙁 How are you feeling now? I hope better….

    7. Susan, I pray you are doing better today…I’m so sorry:(  We have been hit with so much sickness too…it’s miserable.  I lift you up!

    8. How are you feeling Susan, any better. Will be praying.

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

    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

    I am trying to focus more on joy and trying to make my soul happy (thanks to this blog).  I really want to flourish like a tree that has put its roots into the living water.  I love that image!   I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but if I was going to make one this year,  that would be what my resolution would be about.  
     
    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 hope I will be forgiven for ignoring one word in the above question — “recently.”   For some reason my mind went back immediately to an event that happened in my college years.  Once I noticed the word “recently” in the question, I tried to switch to something more recent, but it just wouldn’t happen.  However, the fact that I still remember it decades later shows what a strong impact it had on me at the time.    I was a junior in college and too far from home to return there for Thanksgiving.  My  roommate then, Carole,  invited me to go home with her for the holiday, which I did.  When the meal was nearing completion, Carole’s mother instructed the two of us to “go get Grandma and bring her over for the meal.”   Grandma lived alone in a little  house behind their home.  Grandma, I discovered when I met her, was blind.   Upon being introduced, she grasped my hand tightly in hers and turned her face toward me, getting very close to my face.   She asked if I knew any Scripture by heart.   I told her I had part of the Sermon on the Mount memorized.  “Oh, let me hear it!” she begged.   I recited until I ran dry, upon which she patted my arm and told me “that was wonderful!”   We knew we had better get Grandma walking toward the house, or we would be holding up the meal.    She took Carole’s hand on one side and mine on the other, and as she walked, she began to quote from heart Psalm 121.   I was immediately struck by the irony, as I heard this blind woman say, “I lift up my eyes to the hills–where does my help come from?   My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”  Of course, she knew the whole Psalm and continued with it as we made our way up the path to Carole’s home.  Needless to say, Psalm 121 has been a favorite of mine ever since!      
     

    1. What a heart warming story, Deanna. 

    2. Deanna, What a sweet, memorable story.  Makes me want to go back and re-memorize that Psalm!

      1. Renee I’m so glad you got your picture on here!   You are beautiful mysterious lady!!

    3. oh Deanna–love this!

    4. Love this story!

    5. Deanna, I loved that  story and can see why it has stuck with you all these years!    What a blessing and Kiss that was for you!

  4. Hi there, my family really is going thru a crisis with our horse.  I’m praying along with u all but have been on the quite side. If u could take time we really need it! We’re gonna have to be up all night in the cold temps helping him thru. in general we have have been going thru trials so this adds to the mix. Thx u!

    1. Praying for you, your family, and your horse. 

    2. Just saw this. Praying, Donna.

    3. Donna, hate to hear that!  Lord thank you for bringing Donna into our fellowship with you. Help her to draw near to you as she and her family are going through this painful journey with their horse as well as the other trials going on in their life-you know each one. Lord please help her horse, her family-we ask for healing unless you have other plans..in Jesus name,amen.

    4. Donna,
      So sad to hear that Donna. Father I step boldly to your throne of grace where we can find mercy and grace to help when we need it most and right now this second Donna, her family, and horse need grace and mercy poured out on them. Please give practical wisdom how they can help their horse also. In the precious name of Jesus, amen. 
       

    5. Prayers promised from a fellow horse lover Donna, keep us posted.

    6. Sad to hear this….will be in prayer.

    7. Oh, Donna, Amen to the previous prayers of our bible study blog sisters…so sorry to hear of your many trials and this crisis with your horse being a recent addition.  I love animals and know how their pain aches at one’s heart. Please do keep us updated…know that you’ll be covered in prayer.

    8. Praying now Donna…keep us posted. I am a animal lover also…especially horses and dogs.

  5. Dee said, “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?”
     

     
    I went back and watched the video “Kisses Sweeter Than Wine” again. The image of the husband and wife holding hands left an impression that I didn’t see the first time I watched it.
     
    Along with the picture were the words being sung, “Worked hand-in-hand to have a good life.” The image is one of oneness, togetherness, going in the same direction, mutual participation, sharing life together. Also I saw a picture of the trinity.
     
    As the song went on– they experienced good times and trouble and strife but they shared these experiences together.  
     
    Any anybody can quit accept a person in love. Their’s was a sticking close together no matter what came into their lives. They had learned that in all seasons of life they could trust one another because of how their love for one another had matured over the years. 
     
    What a beautiful picture of Christ and HIS bride.  It’s easy to stay close to Christ when everything is going our way and nothing earth shattering is happening in our life and we feel like everything is under our control. I’m finding even in the trouble and strife of lifebad news comes, your life is falling apart all around you and you ask, “does anybody understand what I’m experiencing right now–”   He does and His love for me is stronger than death. 
     
    Song of Solomon 8:5 says, “Who is this coming up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved”? I don’t like feeling weak. I don’t know, it’s like I’m not in control or something but I’ve had to come face to face with the fact, because of trouble and strife I’ve had in my life, I not only feel weak I am weak. Lean. Lean hard I tell my soul. The weaker I am the harder I lean. So Christ and I are sharing life together these days. Mutually participating in one another. And I’m finding It’s easier for me to lean hard on Him because I desire to go in the same direction He is going. 
     

    1. That was beautiful Cindy

  6. Cindy W-I had a hard time picking just one thing that struck me in your post-it was all so wonderful, and true. I can tell you have walked through valleys with Him and are coming up from the wilderness leaning on Him. I am so glad you are here-you encourage me. 

    1. Thank you for your comments ladies.
      First, there is no doubt in my mind that God led me to join this very special group of women.
      Second, since the 1990’s, because of serious health problems, if I don’t pace myself— by managing my  time, getting  enough sleep— I crash. Usually I  sleep straight through for 24 hours without waking up.
      Third, I know His kisses are sweeter than wine and He speaking to me during the night season which, feels very different to me, than what I’m used to.
      Fourth, even though I’m getting less sleep, I’m sleeping more in less time. Does that make sense? 🙂
      Father, may your blessing rest on Dee and all the women who are mutually participating in this study of the Psalms.
      More Holy Spirit please.

  7. I was pondering the “kisses” question. As I was falling asleep last night I was transported to an experience of worship.  A concert with 6000 people all singing “Awesome God”.  I often feel “kisses” through music, esp. Scripture sung.  

    1. Sarahsal, Love your beautiful picture!! So glad you were able to post your photo.

  8. I searched for the tree image using Google images (only about 3 pages of results with this specific image).  It has been used on several sites in conjunction with Ps 1 — including blogs in few different languages.  Even after translating the languages, I couldn’t find the source of the image.
     
    From what I can tell, one of the first people to use the image was a blogger here in 2009, a psychologist in Missouri.  I may have reached the end of my curiosity streak on this, but if someone is dying to know, you may wish to contact her to see if she knows the source!  I’m surprised that it didn’t show up an any business or art sites.  (but I didn’t search too many times either)

    1. Thank you for your searching Renee!  I do love that picture of the tree and the water too!

    2. Renee,
       
      I love that picture. When I went to the site you told us about, the first thing I saw were the words “PLANTED CLOSE TO THE SOURCE”.
       
      After reading those words and looking a long time at that picture again, two Scriptures came to mind.   
       
      First, John 14:21 says, Those who truly love Me are those who obey My commandments. Whoever passionately loves Me will be passionately loved by My Father. And I will passionately love you in return, and will manifest My life within you.” Can’t can any closer than that.
       
      Secondly, John 14:23 Jesus replied, “Loving Me empowers you to obey My word . And My Father will love you so deeply that We will come to you and make you our dwelling place. Again the source is in us. Can you even begin to imagine how close that is?
       
      What I see is– We can’t get any more closer then we already are. One of the things that helps us see this, is getting rid of those things that are blocking our few. I read Idol Lies by Dee before I joined the group and I don’t know everything that happened in me, by reading her book, but I tried to stay focused and sensitive to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice concerning any idols still in my heart.  
       
      All I know is, that a type of shift took place on the inside me, it’s hard to put it into words—
       
      But reading Psalm 1 and meditating on it now for a few days I realized, “THE MAN” in Psalm one is like no other man I know– there’s no man on the face of the earth like this unique “one of a kind man.”
       
      And being a Christian since 1979 I know I’ve not even come close to living this way. Oh, I faked it for a long time. But I know one who always lived this way, Christ Jesus my Lord. I want to know Him more.
       
      Is it possible? Is it true?  Can I know “THE MAN” in Psalm 1 more?
       
      Paul seemed to think so, “For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly. . . .”
       
      This thought came to me, “Do you get to know someone by their photograph only?”  We have snapshots of our grandchildren and stick those photos on our refrigerator door but that doesn’t mean we know them by just going to the kitchen often enough to gaze at their pictures on the refrigerator door anymore than seeing the snapshots of Jesus in the Bible mean we know Him intimately.  You see snapshots of Jesus  all through the Bible.
       
      As wonderful as the snapshots of Jesus are, I desire more.  Since Jesus always did those things that pleased the Father even those things in Psalm 1 it stands to reason  then that loving and knowing “this man” in a closer more intimate way empowers you to obey His word.   
       
      We are planted close to the source and when we see and live in that reality it is possible to be truly happy no matter our outward circumstances. What a King we Have! You may even find yourself meditating on the Word more.
       
      Well I didn’t mean to ramble on like this, so thank you Renee for giving us the link to the picture, “PLANTED CLOSE TO THE SOURCE.”  I love that picture.

  9. 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. Psalm 1 speaks of “delight” and “fruit” and “does not wither” “prospers” and the Lord “watches over” those who are righteous. Conversely the wicked are referred to by terms such as “blows away”, worthless “chaff”, “not stand”, and are not included in the assembly, and “perish”. Seems obvious here.
     
    Also, the picture of a tree planted by streams of water resonates with me as peace and life! This is a picture of content – fundamentally happy, not unhappy. Why? When we relate (ie relationship) with God we are filled. Last night someone shared in our Bible study of wanting to “chase after Christ and not chase after idols”. And I wondered – Christ is not running from us, why are we chasing Him? This brings so many lessons from Song of Songs back – He is right here. What torment to keep chasing idols! And if we are “chasing Christ” perhaps it is still an idol. A tree planted by streams of water does not run to satisfy its thirst, it just drinks deeply in what is already readily given.
     
    Sorry…a bit of a rabbit trail there!
     
    Psalm 2 References for the happy include: “my”, reference of victory, kiss (intimacy), and refuge. References for wicked include: “plot in vain”, being scoffed at by God (not good!), God rebuking them *in anger*, “terrified”, “destroyed” … sounds like a life of empty pursuit and unrest, not happy.
     
    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. Father, thank you! That you would grow my roots to go deep into your waters of everlasting water, thank you that you sit and commune with me, rest with me, speak to me, nourish me. Thank you that I do not have to chase you, because you come to me, pursue me, want me, aggressive intimacy and I relish in it. Mold my heart, God that I would always remember to rest in You, and not respond in my idols but in Christ. Lord, for my children, I pray that you would kiss them, even now in their youngish age that you would draw them to you, that they would desire you and be a light for you, that the fragrance of Christ would attract them to commune and feast with the Almighty and their Savior and that You would be their delight! And for our leaders, God, oh….our leaders, God….may Your light shine upon them, as well, that they would see how to serve You and delight in You and not plot in vain, or take their own stand, but rather kiss the Son. Let it be, Lord.

    1. Amen  to your prayer, jillwithaj.

    2. oh Jill–you always share such wisdom–“Christ is not running from us, why are we chasing Him?”
      Love your prayer for your boys too–praying it for yours and my kids too!

    3. jillwithaj

      “What torment to keep chasing idols! And if we are “chasing Christ” perhaps it is still an idol. a tree planted by streams of water does not run to satisfy its thirst, it just drinks deeply in what  is already readily given.”

       I can so relate to what you said, and the last part, “It just drinks deeply in what is already readily given”. I love the word picture you painted, I see it vividly in my mind. The tree stays where it’s been planted—  stays put by abiding. O how I love that picture!
      I’m finding that idols are not worth running after. Sad to say, I don’t always stay put and abide, but I’m learning to.  No matter how strong the wind blows, I’m choosing to stay put so my roots can drink deeply of His love.

      1. Cindy, I choose what you choose!!

    4. Oh Jill, what a lovely prayer…I use it for everyone reading here and for all our countries.  By the way Jill, how are you doing?  And where are you and your family stationed now?

      1. Joyce, I am doing better! Thank you. We are currently stationed in Georgia, far, far away from any family! We will be here for another year and then off to another adventure. =)

  10. I found the tree! I know I have a lot more important things to do,-but it is 8 degrees here–nothing compared to the rest of you I know, but my TX blood is frozen–that said, haven’t made it out of my house yet, but I found the tree. So this is for Renee 🙂
    http://www.kuhnegallery.com/portfolio
    Scroll down the page to “Like a Tree Planted by Rivers of Water” by Mark Kuhne. Based on Psalm 1: 1-3
     

     

    1. Wow Elizabeth!I am not as drawn to art as many of you are but I love this artists stuff, and that it is God honoring…WOW!

      Dee did you know that the painting was derived from Psalm 1?

    2. elizabeth,
      I loved the “Tree Planted by Rivers of Water” by Mark Kuhne.
      It so vividly portrays our inner life with the LORD. So vibrant and alive with His Life. Major W. Ian Thomas says, “The indwelling LIFE of Christ, ALL of Him in All of Me.”

    3. Thanks for this link, Elizabeth. It has beautiful pictures on it, pointing us to God.

    4. ALRIGHT :-)Thanks! Will check it out.

      1. Oh, interesting.  Based on some of his other paintings, I was wondering if he lived around here.  Learned on another website that he lived in MN for 14 years.  He also has a DVD that looks as if it might include some of his paintings.   BUT NOW I HAVE TO GET BACK TO WORK 🙂 

    5. Wow, Elizabeth (and Renee)  I don’t know how you do it!!  Thanks for finding that!

  11. 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.

    Those who meditate on God, looking to Him for guidance & refuge are blessed, those who look to themselves and worldly wisdom are not.  
    Because God will deliver protect and secure those who place their hope and trust in Him, His anger will come eventually to those who will not look to Him

    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

    Oh Father thank you and praise you for being a refuge, for the promises of provision and leading for those who look to you, thank you for pulling on me, for wooing me, that Christ should want to share His glory with me is so beyond what I can comprehend and yet it is promised, let this hope bind me, let your words be written on my heart and present in my mind, let me recognize your voice and resist the voice of the enemy till he flees from me.
    I ask that my family and my friends, the people you have given me to love, that all of their names are written in your book of life, that they will be those who delight in and desire your laws, that they will bear much fruit for you….I pray to see this….may it be to your great glory.
    Thank you for your promises that those who will not look to you will be dealt with justly. That your ways are perfect, I can trust you, I can be like a trusting child with its Father, the battle belongs to you.

    It seems to much to imagine that our political leaders would look to you, but nothing is impossible with you, your arm is not too short, you are able to do exceedingly above all I can ask or imagine, so Lord I ask that our leaders would experience revival, a pouring out of your Spirit, that in all their ways they would acknowledge you and you would direct our path as a nation. 
    In Jesus name Amen

    1. Chris–your prayers so often make me cry! I guess its knowing they come from a tested and tried, deep down firmly rooted LOVE for Christ that just moves me–I’m praying this with you for myself too “let this hope bind me, let your words be written on my heart and present in my mind, let me recognize your voice and resist the voice of the enemy till he flees from me.” AMEN!!

    2. Chris, such a beautiful…from the heart…prayer.  I pray it for you too.

    3.  
      “Those who meditate on God, looking to Him for guidance & refuge are blessed, those who look to themselves and worldly wisdom are not.” 

      So true Chris. Well I tested that out even after I was Christian more than I’d like to think: looking to my self and worldly wisdom.

      What an eye opener Dee’s book, “Idols Lies”, has been to me. The Holy Spirit showed me some of the worldly wisdom I was still carry around. I needed to be under his microscope to see it though. It looked pretty wicked to me.

      But looking to Him for guidance and refuge is the only way to go. It’s so true.
        

  12. 6. 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—“I will go…” He made the first move. He repented. He humbled himself to the level of a servant, asking for labor, just to be near his father.
     

        The kiss of the Father-this always moves me “But while he was still a long way off… his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran..” If the son was a long way off—the Father was watching for him, looking for him each day, anticipating his return. He wasn’t busy doing other things and the son goes and finds him, he sees the don first—he’s on the alert, all he is concerned with is looking for his son’s return—the most important thing in his world.
     

    The Father rejoices in the son who only wants Him, not His money, His possessions, His gifts, but Him. The Father sees His heart and celebrates, owning His son, welcoming Him home, completely—no conditions to be met, no probation period, he is fully restored.
     

    This story in the Bible is one God used in my college years so profoundly to open my eyes to my sin of self-righteousness–and it continues to teach me every time I read it. I feel like the Lord shows me something new each time–about His faithful, pursuing loves towards me, no matter how many times I run somewhere else, not trusting in His provision–or thinking I can find what I really “need” “out there” instead of staying in the safe haven with my King, who has already given me all I will ever need and cannot lose. 

  13. Be blessed as you listen to this song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsD1-YsvGV0#t=151
     
    At the end of 2011 as I was going through chemo I found this video by Greg Howlett. When I saw the first image of a tree I could so identify and relate with it, because right then, I didn’t look very stately– no hair on my head, no eyebrows or eye lashes, really no hair anywhere on my body. All the leaves had been blow off my branches, I felt naked. I certainly didn’t feel very pretty but I was still here like that  tree on the hillside.
     
    Through all the howling winds, through the torrential rain, through the thunderstorms of life that tree is still there. I can tell by reading some of the comments that some of you are like that tree— your outward body and flesh isn’t very stately, isn’t very pretty, BUT through it all, you’re still here, rooted deeply in the soil of HIS love.

    1. Cindy! WOW! This is beautiful, I so love piano and have not heard this song in a long while–beautiful–and your testimony with it–” your outward body and flesh isn’t very stately, isn’t very pretty, BUT through it all, you’re still here, rooted deeply in the soil of HIS love.” oh, so emotional–in a good way 😉
      Thank you for sharing!

    2. The song, video and your testimony are so beautiful. Your words about the tree surviving through howling winds and torrential rain is such an apt word picture for many of the women on this blog. Thanks for this.

    3. LOVE THIS!  Thanks, Cindy!

    4. Thanks for sharing that Cindy…how beautiful!!   I pray your doing  much better now…you have been through alot.  I’ve seen a picture of that leaning tree at the begining somewhere before I think.

  14. Hello my name is Karen Valdez and I look forward to joining this blog.  God bless

    1. Welcome, Karen.  Glad you have joined us.

    2. Hello Karen!

    3. Really glad you’ve joined us, Karen!

    4. Welcome Karen, so glad you are with us. 🙂

    5. Welcome Karen!

  15. My notes on the sermon–I do think this is one of my top 5 favorites. I’ve heard it before, but I need it regularly. OK, I am really sorry about the length & space I will take up–tried really hard to condense, its just hard with Keller–it’s all good!
     
    Search for Happiness-Keller-Psalm 1
    In modern times we have better technology, we have better economic freedoms, vacations, health benefits—but are we happier? The Bible tells us human happiness is not addressed by technology, psychology, money—what makes you happy or unhappy are profoundly cosmic and spiritual, unchanged from millennia.

    What does the Bible tell us about the issue of happiness? Am I fundamentally happy, if not, how come?

    Psalm 1-the gatekeeper for the entire Psalms.
    4 principles:
    1. Happiness is possible—blessed is the man who does these things. This tests where we are—are we surprised by this fact that happiness is possible? Almost all of us start out thinking happiness is natural in life. As you grow up, you hear dire warnings, life is tough—but you think if I’m good enough, if I don’t screw up, I’ll be happy. But as we get older, we see happiness isn’t easy. Most of the most successful, gifted, experienced—are the most cynical about the prospect of happiness. Most of us are migrating between the 2 ideas. The Bible says—happiness is possible.
    So why do so few have it? We seek it wrongly.
     
    2. Happiness from God is fundamental, not superficial. Not a light-heartedness all the time. (I appreciate that!) A joy that is permanent, overwhelming and stimulated by suffering. Like a tree—SUBJECT TO SEASONS, not always fruitful or blossoming. Seasons is a key thing with me–I think there are seasons in relationships, in life…it helps me to remember that.

    Yet, this tree is planted on the riverbank, with access to water. Water that is present in heat and drought. The first major mistake we make is looking to externals, our circumstances for happiness. But real happiness is found inside, where our roots are, in what you are.

    A Christian is planted and rooted into something other than him or herself, rooted into God. Something has come and planted us in—that is where we draw our happiness from. The tree does experience affliction, it is hurt, and yet—its leaf never withers.
     
    1 Peter 1:6 You rejoice in Him though you are in heaviness. The tree, because it’s going through dryness, has to draw deeper down. You learn to truly rejoice in the Lord through suffering.
     
    3. Happiness can never be found directly—it is always and only a by-product of seeking something else more than happiness. I have heard Keller say this before but it is always profound to me. Whether it is wanting a “happy marriage” or better relationship with a friend–or a happier job…I will never find it by seeking happiness. Hunger and thirst for something MORE than happiness. If I seek righteousness more than happiness I will get both. If I seek happiness more than righteousness, I’ll find neither.
     
    The one who seeks happiness is never happy. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As long as you make something else your trust—you will never be happy. Why do we sometimes lie, cheat, break standards—because for most of us, the normal habit is to say we believe in principles like honesty—but we put above all else the desire to be happy. So we are willing to give up our principles if it threatens our happiness. The Bible says we will never find happiness by seeking it as our top priority. The anxiety will kill us.

    God is committed to my happiness, but if I come to Him to make me happy, I am coming to a false god. I must come to Him because He made me, He owns me. Come to Him without conditions—forget happiness and say ‘I owe You everything, You owe me nothing’. The test—what happens in the bad seasons? Do I question Him then, did I go to Him to get happiness? My first priority is to serve Him. Happiness is a by-product.
     
    4. Happiness is a choice. Find out who you belong to. See that something else besides God owns me. Difference between trusting in the gifts God’s given, and making it my trust—sitting in it, putting all our weight in it. If I am not fundamentally happy, I am still sitting in some other seat than God’s lap.*** Oh that is a big one for me! Yes, there are disappointments, suffering, pain, tears—but not despair.

    His delight is in the law of the Lord. He cannot stop thinking about the Word, day and night. Is this me? I long for it to be–and the more I do spend in the Word, the more I crave it.
    Prodigal son—the son comes home and doesn’t ask for happiness, he knows he owes the Father. And the result, is celebration. In Jesus, the King becomes our Father, and we delight in this. The tree planted in the river, in the Law of the Lord, keeping his leaf green even in the heat. Play the Gospel, rehearse its beauty until it makes your heart sing. Christianity makes us both sadder and happier at the same time. Non Christians deny how hard life is.

    1. Your notes are great, Elizabeth. I am copying them for future reference.

    2. Deanna,
      So true, some who have no physical sight have more spiritual insight. I love the way the Lord brings back memories of long ago, another one of His special kisses.

    3. elizabeth,
      I haven’t listened to Keller yet, but after reading what you wrote, it makes want to go listen to him now.
       
      I’m so glad I have a cleaning lady! 🙂

    4. Hmm… this looks very good.  I’m going to try to listen while I work (wonder if I dare use it in class)

    5. Such beautiful notes Elizabeth!

    6. Thank you Elizabeth for taking the time to share your notes with us.

  16. 1. what stands out to me is that doctrine and head knowledge are nothing without Jesus. The word is Jesus. Intimacy with Him is the deep waters that sustain me when no other life circumstances make sense.
    4. Read them and see if you can see who is happy and who is not — and why.
    The man who delights in God’s laws/words and focuses his mind on God’s law and words is happy because He does not seek advice or direction form the world, he does not do what the sinners/lost do, or blow off the wonders and sovereignty of God.
    The man who does that is fruitful for the kingdom doing good deeds in God’s timing, in adverse conditions he is sustained because the law/word of God is his energy and life source.
    The wicked/ungodly man takes direction from the world, he does what the sinners/lost do, he scoffs at the beauty, and evidence of God’s sovereignty. So he has no energy or life source and is caught up in force he can neither control nor do those forces/wind have any care or concern for him. He has no place among God’s people, and he will die.
    Nations are not happy because they take their counsel together instead of from God’s law. They desire not be planted in Christ and have Him be their power source instead they want to be free from the God who created them. They want to be the chaff flying free. They also will be unhappy because God himself will put His king in charge and He will break them and dash them to pieces.
    The happy man/nation is the one who seeks his covering, his place of solace to be God. Not like the ungodly nations who seek freedom from God and take advice/solace from each other. Perhaps part of taking refuge in the son is serving the Lord with reverence and rejoicing by kissing the son.

    1. Tammy Jo-Love how you consistently weave in your answers that He sustains us in hard life situations-HE is our sustenance, our peace, our comfort and we flourish and grow in Him- whereas the wicked can fall easily like chaff when hard winds blow. because their foundation is built on worthless twigs.
       

      1. Thank you Rebecca.  I appreciate reading what you saw when you read my words.

  17. 5.
    Oh Father God please forgive me. I see my tendency to wonder, my desire to be the chaff. Forgive me God for each time I reach for other refuge or counsel that is not yours. Oh God I want to be the tree planted in your soil, fed by your river of life the Holy Spirit. Oh Lord that you and you alone would be refuge, my source of life and power. Help me to give up my idol of comfort that I would study and meditate on your word, as my life source. That you would be more important than me. Father I lift up my daughters to you I pray Lord that they would delight themselves in you, that you would grow in them a hunger and thirst for you, that nothing else would quench. I also pray for my husband Lord, for he is the chaff and desires not to bonded to you, I pray Lord that you give him a restlessness Lord, that he find no false comfort in the refuges of the world, that he would not be content in any place until he is content in you. Lord I also ask that our nation leaders would be led by you. That you would send your Holy Spirit out to draw them to yourself that they would be saved. For those that are believers, I pray that you would give them discernment to know your will and the courage to follow you. That they would find refuge in you, and that they would delight in your word and law. In Jesus name amen.
     

    1. Tammy Jo…I’m praying along with you….

      1. Thank you Joyce.

  18. Excited to join and participate!!

    1. Welcome Erika–so glad you’re joining us!

    2. Hi Erika!  I look forward to your participating; so glad that you found your way here…welcome to the bible study blog family!

    3. Hi Erika! I am a native Floridian (not many of us around!)….I love the panhandle and grew up in Tallahassee. Welcome to the BEST blog in the world!!!

    4. Welcome Erika! 🙂

    5. Welcome Erika!  What a nice place to live!

    6. Hi Erika and welcome, glad you are here with us.

    7. Hi Erika, good to see here.

  19. 6. 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-I deserve nothing….I will be a hired servant.
    The kiss of the Father-HE RAN!!! I love this so! He threw his hands around the son and kissed him. No, what did you do? Where were you? Why this or that?

    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why. BY receiving it! Otherwise you are the king of your throne…

    1. “HE RAN!!! I love this so! He threw his hands around the son and kissed him. No, what did you do? Where were you? Why this or that?”
      I love this too…the Father expressed His genuine, heartfelt joy in His son’s return regardless of the circumstances…an embrace of grace…lovely!

      1. Angela and Nanci, I never thought of that before. The father’s compassionate grace and love, didn’t ask the questions of where, why, and what. Just open arms. Hhhmmmm

  20. 6. 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
    He had reached his breaking point and was able to be truly humble and confess his sin to his father.  He didn’t demostrate a glibness in his demeanor, this was the point he had truly reached. 

    The kiss of the Father
    Pure joy, his son was back.  He didn’t care where he had been or what he had done, all he saw was that his son was home.

    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why?
    We are blessed if we take refuge in Him.  As the prodigal son ran to his father to take refuge in him, if we take refuge in the Lord, then we are not only blessed, but we are protected as well.  The response is to, just like the prodigal son, just to fall into His arms and just be held. Well if it is me personally falling into the arms of Christ, there would also be tears of gratefulness along with the falling and the resting…because that is where I belong, where I am most content.

    1. Love that Mary!

  21. Thank you Renee, Chris and Elizabeth for welcoming me.  I am at work and did not have so much time to go over all the questions but I will look at them later on today and will try to give my feedback. 

    1. Greetings, Karen.  So happy that you will be joining the bible study…welcome!

    2. Hello and a warm welcome to you Karen. Glad you are here!

  22. 6. Read Luke 15:18-20 and describe:
    The attitude of the younger son:  repentant, humble
    The kiss of the Father:  welcoming, loving…so glad, happy, relieved, etc. that his son has returned home.

    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss 
    We should submit to Jesus and take refuge in Him.
     
    and why.
    Because our God wants what is best for us; He knows that apart from Jesus we are destined for destruction and death, while submitting to Jesus and taking refuge in Him will bring joy.

  23. Hi everyone – just checking in and thank you so much for prayers! Am feeling better today-just not 100% but such a relief from yesterday; thankful it lasted only one day and night! Have been reading everyone’s wonderful posts…everyone’s insights are so rich!

    1. Hoorah for health!! Flu is miserable. I am glad you are feeling better!

    2. Yeah Susan!!! :)))) Glad you are feeling better. I agree with Jill, the flu is miserable indeed!

    3. So glad your feeling better Susan!  Yes, that kind of flu is the worst 🙁

    4. I echo the others, Susan…glad you are feeling better.

  24. 6. 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 younger son is remorseful; he is humble. 

    The kiss of the Father

    The father is blessed that his son has returned and wants to give him blessings in return to show his love. Is’t it funny that no matter how mad our kids can make us we soon forget and want to bless them as well?
    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why.
    We should kiss the Lord and take refuge in Him. We will be blessed and make Him pleased with us.
    9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.
        A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it?
    I have always liked the Living Bible
    “1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. ”
    You hear this counsel in the most unlikely places. Places where we think we are getting good advice. I remember a saying about if you want good advice about accounting, you would ask an accountant. Law? A lawyer, etc. You wouldn’t ask someone who doesn’t have the knowledge you need. For managing our lives we should go first to God. He is the one who has the information we need to survive. Oftentimes I forget this. I think to go to a friend, my husband, my mom. Recently I have tried to remember to go to God in prayer first and then wait and listen for His command. It is hard because sometimes He doesn’t answer in the time frame I think He should. I need to be patient.
        B. Pray about the above.
    Dear Jesus, Thank You for your hand on my life. I know that sometimes I am impatient, waiting for You; in Your time. I’m sorry. I should be more in tune with You. I should be more trusting. I will try harder to be more like You. I will try harder to be around those who have You in their hearts and listen to Your advice before others. In Your loving name I pray. Amen.

    1. Amen Laura.  How is your mom and Sarah?

  25. 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.
    Jesus I love to be in your presence-quicken my heart with your Word and help me to let go of anything that tempts me to think that it could be more satisfying than you for your love is intoxicating-better than the finest wine. 
     
    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 one who delights in the Lord is happy-God has him, and the ones who don’t delight in the Lord (the wicked) are like chaff. In Psalm 2 the nations aren’t happy because they are clinging to themselves as rulers-they are trying to reign, as opposed to bowing down to the One Who reigns. 
     
    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.
     
    Oh God help me to solely delight in you for I want my roots to run deeper into you-and I think of this family member whose name you know that his roots would burrow deep into your soil and that they would drink of you. Our nation is in shambles for we have gone our own way, yes even your own Jesus- we have grown comfortable and lukewarm-we have forgotten you and bowed down to idols-yet you love us and are moving among us opening our eyes-thank you.. Help our nation’s leaders to hear the cries of the oppressed in our nation as well as around the world. Thank you for raising up ministries like LJM, Discipleship Unlimited and Samaritans Purse among many others to help the hurting, the oppressed, the forgotten. Thank you God that we see you moving and You are our Hope-our spring of water in a desert-that you are our joy in the wilderness. In Jesus name, Amen..

  26. It is late and I am getting a little foggy. 😉 I wanted so to do the study tonight-this morning was chaotic as was yesterday morning. But He always comes to me in this blog study!
    I wanted to ask for prayer-was kind of waiting until I knew more but my mom has COPD and is in the hospital with pneumonia right now. They are having a hard time keeping her oxygen levels up as of this evening. They said today her upper lobes in her lungs are clear but the lower left lobe isn’t and they think something else might be in there so they did a CT Scan-we will know the results tomorrow morning. THey think it could be a blood clot-but we aren’t sure. I am assuming it most likely is pneumonia-but that is my guess. My mom has been in the hospital since Saturday-so 4 nights. So please pray as God leads.  I was glad to hear she is reading in Isaiah. 🙂

    1. Dear Rebecca, I will be in  prayer for your mom.  That’s so hard.  Please keep us posted.

    2. Rebecca, so sorry to hear this, tough to be sure. May God grant comfort, answers, healing, patience and wisdom in this time!

    3. Rebecca, I just saw your post now while on my lunch time…please know that I too will add your Mom to my prayers as well as her medical professionals, you and the rest of the family.  Let us know how she is doing when you get a chance.   

    4. I’m sorry to hear about your mom.  Will be praying for you all.

  27. Oh, Rebecca. So sorry to hear your mom is so sick. Lord, you know all about this situation. We beg for healing for Rebecca’s mom, and for comfort, strength and wisdom for her and for the family. We pray for wisdom and hearts of compassion for the caregivers.

  28. Amen to Diane’s prayer for you, Rebecca, your mom, the family, and caregivers. I was caregiver for my mom and I know how difficult the hospital stays can be. Please keep us updated; we’ll continue to pray. 

    1. Sharmon, Joyce and Diane-thanks so much! It melts my heart that you are praying..thanks again!

  29. 6. 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:

    Like us, I can kind of see how His father wooed him in verse 17. He saw the kindness of his father as truly satisfying rather than what the cold world offered. He was compelled to go back to his father but He had to put aside his pride and choose to go and He did and had a repentive heart.
     

    The kiss of the Father:

    But OH his faither’s response!! I mean, I would think it would be ‘enough’ for his father to just accept him back, but NO he saw him from afar and had ‘compassion’ on him and ‘ran to him’..I recall in Dee’s earlier studies when she brought out the history that no father EVER did that (ran to his son and embraced him) and especially showed his legs-and especially to a son who did what the prodigal son did.  This is SUCH a picture of the Cross and SO melts me. 

    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why.
     
    His Kiss should melt us and help us turn away from whatever we are tempted to take refuge in-and we should take refuge in Him instead. I can’t help but think about His wrath being kindled too..that He took on His own wrath on my behalf so I could delight in Him-and He in me-that He could be my comfort, my joy, my peace in and out of the storms of life-this melts my heart too

    1. Rebecca, I just read your post above about your mom…I’m sorry she is so sick and in the hospital with pneumonia and they are having a hard time keeping her oxygen levels up. I will pray for her and please let us know how she is today.

      1. Yes, Rebecca, saw your post late last night on my cell — praying!

      2. Susan, my mom is doing so much better. She went home yesterday although her oxygen level was only up to 88-so they sent her home with an oxygen tank. They said once they can get her COPD under control she might be taken off of it. I hope so! 🙂

  30. The word happiness is linked to contentment. Whenever I base my being content on my circumstances or happiness I will experience the “anxiety” as Tim Keller explains. As circumstances change like like the wind I have to remember that our God is the Great I Am! He is, and always was. Ego emi.. I exist. He is my rock. He does change like shifting sand. when my joy, my peace, my happiness is found in Him… Then I am content. 
    My Circumstances + Christ = Strength
     
    The words of Philippians 4:13 ,”I can do everything through Him (Christ) who gives me strength”….so easily repeated, yet forgotten when discontentment enters. The secret of contentment, found in these words. Only in Christ. I looked up the word “contentment” and the words I found truly describe the contentment that is only found in our Lord. Look what happens when the world according to “Webster” and Christ collide…the strength produced in a believers life….Total Contentment. My satisfaction is in Christ. My happiness is in Christ. My pleasure is in Christ. My gratification is in Christ. My ease is in Christ. Thank you Jesus that I can do everything, THROUGH YOU, as you are the ONE who gives me al that I need, in all circumstances, at all times…no matter what . My contentment is knowing that I am always enough because You are enough… always!
     

     

    1. Joni–love this “the words I found truly describe the contentment that is only found in our Lord.” and the reminder of the truths in Phil 4:13–so good

    2. This is a beautiful reminder this morning, Joni. Thank you.

      The secret of contentment, found in these words. Only in Christ. 

      By the way, do you pronounce your name with a long “o” like Joanie, or a short “o” like Johnny? I want to pronounce your name correctly in my head. 🙂

      1. It is a long “a”. I hey “johnny” a lot, bit like it because usually it is from others who know Joni Erickson Tada. Thanks for asking. 

  31. Oops… Typing on a phone.. it is a long “o” and “hear” instead of “hey”!

    1. Thanks, Diane for asking and Joni for responding.  Now I have it right in my head, too 🙂  (at least THAT is right in my head — now back to some hard to understand work stuff!)

  32. 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 it says that an individual’s “delight” is in the law of the LORD. He “meditates” on it day and night. He puts his roots deep into the Word, as a tree drinks from a stream, yielding fruit and not withering even during storms and drought. He “prospers” because he is deeply rooted and fed by God. It is important to remind ourselves that this does not mean “Blessed are the Bible readers” but blessed are those who seek the Lord through His Word.
     
    This reminds me of Mary who “pondered” the things that the angel told her and the words of the magi. 
     
    Psalm 1 says the wicked “will not stand” when judgment comes. The Lord “knows” the deepest motives and secrets of both the righteous and the wicked. They will be judged fairly in the end.
     
    When life gets hectic or difficult, I tend to wake up in the morning with my mind whirling about many issues. Then, I have to firmly take my soul in hand and turn it toward the Lord. I need to make my soul happy in the Lord, remembering that He is in control and has my best interests at heart.
     
    Psalm 2 speaks of the nations raging, plotting against the Lord and his Anointed, seeking to burst their bonds and cast away their cords. These are not happy words. They are in revolt.
     
    The only words of happiness I see in Psalm 2 are at the end of verse 12. “Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” Only those who submit to the Lord, take refuge in Him will be happy, blessed.
     
    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.
     
    Oh, Lord, thank you that we have Your Word from which we can drink deeply and which is an example to us of how to pray. Help me to turn away from the cares and demands of the world toward You. Root me deeply, for I daily feel the cold winter winds in my soul. Hide my life in the depth of Your love. I submit to You and Your ways, though I do not often understand them. You see the road ahead and know what is best for me and for my family and loved ones. Help us to trust in You and follow You.
     
    I grieve so much, Lord, as I watch our nations’ leaders turn away from you in subtle ways and in deliberate ways. You are not their compass, Lord. They are not drinking from Your well but from empty and poisonous cisterns. Oh, Lord, have mercy. Help us. Save us. Turn the hearts of our nations to You. Help us to see the Darkness for what it is and forsake it.

    1. “Then, I have to firmly take my soul in hand and turn it toward the Lord.” such wisdom, Diane–I need this, thank you

  33.  
     
    6. 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- He wanted to come home, he was planning to ask to be made a servant, to work towards making reprimands for the shame and financial losses he had brought upon the family
    The kiss of the Father-

    I love the Amplified Bible here: 20 “So he got up and came to his [own] father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently] ”
    The Fathers love overwhelmed Him, the son only needed to move in his direction and He lavished grace and love on him.
     
    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why. I am think of Tim Keller sermon I listened to where he gave the ‘gospel in a nutshell’ sin = the servants trying to be the King, the gospel is the King becoming a servant.

    I think the gospel kiss is about who is going to be in charge  
    I want the heart of the Father, the beyond imagination generous love, to melt my heart and make me obedient, more than out of duty, but out of love and hope. 
    I am not my own, I have been bought with a price, redeemed because the heart of my Father is HUGE, I want to trust Him more and more, I am not the King….I want to be     Found In Him

  34. Oh…I am gonna cry….my post didn’t take and I forgot to copy before trying… so all is lost… ='(
    Bah.

    1. The same thing happened to me yesterday, jill. It was a key post about a kiss from God while studying Psalm 131. It seemed to just disappear into the ether. That was a good reminder to me to do my key answers in a Word document and then copy and paste. Actually, I copy from Word, to “Notepad” and then to the blog. I think that extra step eliminates all the reams of gibberish that we get in our email comments when someone posts directly from Word. Perhaps someone could tell me if I am correct in doing that. I know someone suggested that a while ago and I try to remember to do that but sometimes forget. 

      1. I do the same Diane–from word to notepad, then the blog, and I try to remember to put extra spaces in so it’s not all jumbled 😉

      2. Hi Diane, You’re right — Notepad would strip out all the extra formatting stuff.  You also could (should be able to) save yourself a step by just staying in Word and saving it as a text file (txt) or rich text file (rtf).  (I THINK, haven’t tried it for awhile)

  35. i know that I am most likely to counsel/act like the wicked in ps 1:1 when I am afraid , when I take me eyes off Him.
    Tim Kellers comment that the place we are “sitting in” (v. 1) reveals what owns us. If I’m not just perplexed but also in despair, then I’m “sitting in” something other than God’s lap.

    1. Holly–I too was so struck by that comment–the place I am “sitting in” reveals what owns me. Fear has had a paralyzing power in my life at times–yet when I sit on His lap, my fear dissolves–its hard to fathom why I ever get off of His lap!

    2. Yes, Holly. Me too. Fear makes me jump off the Father’s lap, unless I am very focused on Him.

    3. So true Holly, I can identify. “i know that i am most likely to counsel/act like the wicked in ps 1:1 when i am afraid, when I take me eyes off Him.”
       
       

  36. First of all, I need to do a little bit of housekeeping here:    I want Susan and Donna to know that I am praying for them.    And I want to welcome all the newcomers to the blog — it is heartwarming to know that we are increasing in numbers every day.   And Elizabeth your notes on Keller were fantastic — I also printed them out.  They will particularly be a help when I listen, as sometimes I just can’t write fast enough!!
     
    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.
     
    Dear God,  As I read Song of Songs 1:2, it makes me so much want to be kissed by you today as I endeavor to study.  I’m a little behind, Lord,  but that doesn’t bother me as long as I know you are waiting there for me — ready to bless me with direction, with an “aha” moment, with a kiss!   Thank you for the kisses I have already received and for the ones you have promised until the end of time.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.
     
    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.
     
    The individual is happy who loves the Lord, tries to obey Him, and tries to follow the righteous path while avoiding the evil around them.   Those who scorn and mock and say, “I don’t need the Lord” and those who flaunt their evil ways will be unhappy.
    The indivudal is happy who tries to dig deep for God in His word and in prayer and communication with God — that person can put their roots down deep in God and will thrive like a tree at the water’s edge, no matter if it is good weather or bad.    The wicked person, however, doesn’t have roots like that, and instead they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
    Nations can make plans to do things on their own without God, but God knows they will not get far that way.   In fact, He warns the kings (and other rulers on earth) to be wise.   They need to serve God, delight in Him, and take refuge in Him.  That is the only way that the nations will be blessed/happy.
    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.
     
    Dear God, our heavenly Father,  please bless me and all of the other women on this blog, that we may experience the happiness of the righteous, loyal, connected followers of Jesus.   We each have barriers and obstacles to overcome, but you are strong enough to guide us all through those things.  Help us to give up on trying to make ourselves happy with things, stuff, circumstances, and schemes.   Lead us beside the still waters, and guide us as we try to put down our roots in You!  You know where each of us should be and what we should be about today — help us to be wise and see your plans for us.  Thank you, dear God, for blessing my next-door-neighbor, Helen, with the news that her breast biopsy showed no cancer–that was an answer to many previous prayers!   Now, however, she needs your help with a frozen drain.   Finally, dear aGod, please bless the leaders of the United States of America.  Lead, guide, indeed kiss our president and our congress that they may learn to serve your people, forgetting politics and schemes.   In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

    1. Deanna–love your prayers for us all, and praising Him with you about your neighbor Helen’s great report!

    2. Thank you for your prayers, Deanna, for me and for all of us on the blog-your prayer was beautiful. I love your prayer at the opening, too…knowing that even if you’re behind, He is there, waiting for you, ready to “kiss” you.

    3. Deanne, Thank you for your beautiful prayer!   Your comments comes straight from your heart.  Bless Helen Lord!

  37. Hi Nancy, it’s so good to meet one with a sensitive heart for the unborn.  I’ve read Unplanned.  Aren’t you amazed to read the accounts of how God is working in the hearts of those deeply ingrained in the “choice” issue.  I really don’t know why I get amazed, though, for God’s heart is always with the helpless, in this case the unborn.  He will have ultimate victory!  
    In Psalm 1:1, ask yourself, “To whom do you belong?”  This is an effective reminder as I go about my day, and my “counsel of the wicked” is often the media — it is a trap, so accessible, so mind-numbing at times.  I must be disciplined to step away, even figuratively, and ask myself the key question.  “Jean, to whom do you belong?  Why are you wasting the precious moments of life with anything that is not divinely inspired?”  
    Happiness and contentment will only be mine as I meditate on His Words day and night.  The roots of my walk will grow deep and be my steadiness for the storms ahead, and current, as I continually find delight in Scripture, because it will have trained my mind.
    Only yesterday, providentially with this study, a friend was very low, allowing her thought life to become consumed with anxiety and fear, and God allowed me to help lift her head so that her eyes would gaze upon Jesus once more.  Thank you, Lord, for this privilege.  And thank you Dee, and all of you, for this study.  Dee, the topics for your blog are always so God-inspired and just what we fellow-sojourners need.
     
     

    1. I agree so much Jean….love Dee’s topics!   What a wonderful gift God gave you…to help your friend!

  38. 6. 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 attitude of the younger son was one of brokenness followed by repentance.  He had hit bottom which made him come to sanity.  He finally was putting things in perspective.  Life was no longer about trying to have a good time — he had tried that and found it grossly wanting.   Now all he wanted was his father — he knew he needed to go back to his source of being!   So he plans his speech and heads back home. He felt unworthy to be called a son — he would find relief in just being a hired servant. 

    The kiss of the Father

    We are told:  “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.”    All of that happened before the son even got to make his little speech.   The Father was delighted just to see that his son was headed for home — back where he had belonged all along.    It just hit me as I was reading this now that we can be a “long way off” — far from our destination — far from being in the state God had intended for rus, when God decides to move toward us — even run toward us to embrace us.  
     
    7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why.
     
    We should “kiss the Son!”   To kiss the Son means to surrender fully and to submit to Him.  
    My Life Application Study Bible commentary says: 

    “Christ is not only God’s chosen King, he is also the rightful King of our hearts and lives.   To be ready for his coming, we must submit to his leadership every day.” 

     
    For many of us, this is a matter of surrendering over and over again, day after day.  We tend to surrender and submit, and then we turn around and take our lives back into our own hands. 

  39.  
    6. The son’s attitude was one of repentance, humility, no longer claiming any of his rights. The father’s kiss is compassionate
    9.A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it? I recognize the counsel of the wicked by studying the counsel of Yahweh. I hear the wicked counsel in my husband, the tv, Dear Ann, magazines, tv, and sometimes me, my flesh and desire not to take responsibility for when I make mistakes.
    C. In what ways does your behavior tend to be like the behavior of those who do not know God?
    Ouch, when I am angry and let vulgar language leave my mouth. The way I worry. The way I downplay my sin, at times. The times I don’t die to my flesh and ignore the needs/wants of my husband. The ways I look for my relationships to fill me.
     

  40. Rebecca, any news on your mom? Still praying . . . 
     

  41. 6. 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: He was repentant. I just listened to a sermon from Tim Keller called And Kissed Him on Monday for Idol Lies study and he speculated that the younger son was trying to pay back the debt to ask for a servant position – both monetarily and to the family name (by not claiming sonship anymore he wouldn’t continue to shame the family). The kiss of the Father was assertive grace/intimacy. In that same sermon Dr. Keller said that if we had seen an arrogant, greedy son coming back down the road we would have assumed he was coming to ask for more money. But the father still ran to him and forgave him even if he had been coming to ask for more wealth or privileges. The father shamed himself (showing his legs running and all) to forgive the son’s shame, to love him. I, too, love that he RAN. Assertive grace/intimacy.

    1. LOVE this Jill “assertive grace/intimacy.” I’m going to age myself a bit here (though I had older siblings so I heard a lot of older music!) But there is a REALLY old Benny Hester song, “When God Ran”–it keeps playing through my mind!

  42. Good morning all :),
    I’ve been doing this study all this week and had posted a greeting earlier…not sure if that was put up? But just wanted to join in on the rich discussion.
    I’ve been meditating all week on “kiss the son” from Psalm 2:12, along with the other things in our homework. This phrase has just jumped off the page into my heart and have been seeking to understand more of how to grow in a loving intimacy with Christ, to experience the blessedness of taking refuge in Him. My closest friend of several years has just moved this week literally across the country, from the east coast (I’m in PA) to San Diego. It has been such a painful grief for me…the loss feels and is deep. Somehow in the midst of this I’m seeking to ask the Lord to teach me new things of Him. Your comments have been so encouraging this week…thank you!

    1. Ellen Mary–so glad you are here with us! I’m sorry about your friend moving far away–that is hard. But I love the way you are turning to Him in it–“Somehow in the midst of this I’m seeking to ask the Lord to teach me new things of Him.”  Thankful He has brought you here to journey along with us as we all seek deeper intimacy with Him.

    2. Ellen Mary, having a close friend move so far away is a deep loss and it is painful. I’m sorry and I’m glad you’ve joined-in here, seeking more intimacy with Him-I know He will meet you in that desire for more of Him!

    3. We are glad you have joined us. Sorry that you are struggling, but glad that Christ is speaking to you through Psalm 2:12. I too have suffered loss from having a very close friend move far away.
       
      Ellen Mary, are you the same person as the “Ellen” that posted earlier in the week? We have gotten many new people and sometime they post as slightly different names so we can distinguish. If you searched this page and did not see your earlier post, that is because there are so many comments that we have more than one comment page as the week goes along. This comment is on page 2 and we have already moved today to page 3. Check the page numbers at the bottom of each comment page. You can click on the page numbers to see whatever page you are interested in. Have you clicked to see the followup comments below the “Leave a Comment” box?
       
      If you are not the same Ellen, but indeed Ellen Mary, welcome. I hope my previous paragraph didn’t confuse you.

    4. Ellen Mary,
      I’m  glad you chose to join us.
       
      I appreciate you sharing about your friend moving so far away. What a sad time for you right now. May Christ draw close to you and comfort you during this time.

    5. Ellen, I’m so sorry about your friend moving so far away.  Bless you both.

  43. 9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.
     
        A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it?
     
    The counsel of the wicked tells me not to trust God. It tells me that what is most important are my own needs and wants, and my own happiness. It tells me I must earn my own righteousness, it forgets that “it is finished”. I mostly hear it in my own mind—stirring from my own sinful heart. But it gets reinforced by the world, cultural views, the media—but the more I know His Word, the more I recognize bad counsel, and the quicker I am to turn away. And when I am tempted by thoughts of trying to justify myself or feel desperate to win the approval of man–I often hear Dee’s voice say “that is SO not the Gospel!”
     
        B. Pray about the above.
     
    Lord, even yesterday I was in a situation where I was determined to be right. I look back and my stomach turns at what was going on inside of me. I felt certain I was right and there was no backing down. I went out of my way to prove myself. That feeling, that tense anxiety within—the red flag that I had left Your lap. I had thrown off the robe You have clothed me in, and was trying to earn my own righteousness. Oh how aware I became again of this idol within me—to be approved of, to be declared righteous. Forgive me dear Lord. You gave Your life to claim me Your own, to clothe me in righteousness. The fight is over, the battle won, it is finished. Forgive me for forgetting what You have done. May the Gospel become such a part of my thoughts, my life, my reactions—that is is like breathing for me—that in my daily living I would I would never forget what You have accomplished. 

    1. ” I had thrown off the robe You have clothed me in…” so convicting… and true. I, too, long to instinctively react with the gospel kiss.

    2. Oh Elizabeth, I feel the same as you so many times.  You are  so humble.

  44. OK, I had to post it–I know it’s REALLY old 70/80’s, but I love the words and it’s been in my head all week! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzUrF3AYWS8

    1. Thank you for that link. It was a blessing to me this morning.  I watched several versions as a leaned into those images and let the words wash over me. 

      1. So nice to see you Sarahsal !

    2. elizabeth,
      This is the first time I heard this song.
       
      I let it wash over my soul as I listened to the words. How refreshing and restoring to receive the Father’s embrace. 

    3. That is so beautiful Elizabeth!

  45. 7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why. It is interesting that we are allowed to kiss the Son, there is no barrier. But there is responsibility, “kiss” is a verb (an action). So we should respond to the gospel kiss by kissing in return, not working towards favor but responding with vulnerable intimacy.
     
    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. My prayer was erased yesterday, but I wanted to give testimony to His faithfulness in answering my prayer and changing my heart. I repented of a selfish attitude towards my sons and that I continually give myself a “pass”…next time I will do it right, next time I will act in love, next time…. next time….I asked God to weigh heavily on my heart to allow His grace and love to flow through my hands, words and heart to my children and He has been so good to press in and convict me ever since. I had a terrible circumstantial morning yesterday but He continually reminded me that my sons are loved by Him and me and we had great success in a usually challenging circumstance because He pressed heavy on my heart and was gracious to pour forgiveness and grace on my children through me. I won’t lie that I wasn’t a bit downtrodden/frustrated at the morning but it stayed peripheral and was eventually shaken off because God was good to keep reminding me of the right thing…THE THING! Anyway…I digress, I didn’t want to necessarily recreate a prayer already sent to heaven but I did want to give testimony to His greatness and how He answered me yesterday, He is so gracious and good. it is a slinky cycle, to be sure! (A slinky cycle is where even though you move near and far you are also more slowly moving up and closer to the ultimate thing.)

  46. 6. 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:
     
    Luke 15:18-20 (ESV)
    18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”’20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
     
    •The attitude of the younger son
    oRepentant to God and his father
    oPrepared to be disowned as a son
    oPleading to be hired as a servant
    oTook steps toward his father
     
    •The kiss of the Father
    oThe father was watching and waiting
    oHe was filled with compassion
    oHe ran – unheard of by an elder in Israel
    oHe embraced
    oHe kissed
    oHe refused the son’s pleas to be disowned and a hired servant
     
    I have been reading Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage” and was struck (“kissed”) when I saw this:
     

    “In Philippians 2, Paul tells us that the Son of God did not exploit his equality with the Father, but HIS GREATNESS WAS REVEALED IN HIS WILLINGNESS TO BECOME THE FATHER’S SERVANT.”

     

    Philippians 2  5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but EMPTIED HIMSELF, BY TAKING THE FORM OF A SERVANT being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
     

    I have seen these verses more times than I can count and heard the concept of Jesus making himself a servant, but never in the context of the Prodigal Son. Jesus willingly became a servant of His Father, so that we could be sons and not servants.
     

    John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

     
    And there is more to it than even that. Because Jesus took “the form of a servant”, we his followers should be not only willing but eagerly, in all our relationships, with God and with our fellow humans, to be a servant – humble, willing to serve with no expectation of praise or even appreciation. We are only doing what is expected of us. Oh my!
     
    I know this is not a new concept but for me this is a Wow moment!  It is like an idea that has been percolating in my heart suddenly gives birth. If I truly love Him, I will eagerly obey Him and one way of eagerly obeying Him is to serve my fellow humans as an offering of love. This is SO counter cultural in a society that worships entitlement, rights, and refuses to demean oneself to serve. The implications are HUGE!
     
    This reminds me of a song, “Brother let me be your servant”.  The first words are “Brother, let me be your servant. Let me be as Christ to you.”

    1. Diane, I certainly see in you the willingness to serve others; most recently when you took in the lady who needed care. Any word on how she and her husband are now?

      1. Susan, So sweet of you to ask about Marilyn and Bill. Marilyn stayed with us for a week and then got placement in a Special Care Home. Her husband was still in the hospital at that time, but he was able to be discharged on December 23 and was able to be moved into the same Home as Marilyn. It was such an answer to prayer that they are able to be together again. They are doing reasonably well. It is a big adjustment for them. Bill has called a few times and chatted. Bill will be having follow up test on his brain bleed surgery at some point to make sure all is healed properly. We have been unable to visit them because my husband has had a cold ever since Christmas, but we plan to visit them tomorrow. 

        1. Diane, that’s good news.  You were such an angel opening your home to her when she needed help so bad.

  47. Good morning sisters! I am “here”…I’ve just decided to keep a low profile this week. Am feeling somewhat drained-physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I’m reading comments and doing the study…have dived-in a little into Spurgeon’s Treasury on Psalms 1 and 2…really good stuff. Have been mulling over the “kiss” both in Songs and Psalm 2. In Psalms 1 and 2, as to who is happy and who is not – the man or woman who delights in Jesus and loves Him is the happy one like that painting of the tree – the sun comes so close but does not burn. Peace with the Father is made by kissing the Son. Trying to approach Holy God without the Son is like getting too close to the sun – you would be incinerated. But when you have Jesus, think of it…Holy God comes to you with a kiss…His nearness does not hurt you. The kings in Psalm 2 saw God as a threat to de-throne them-saw Him not as a God of love and freedom but one who would slip chains around them. How sad to perceive God in that way-as cruel, oppressive…leads to unhappiness.
    Love how the prodigal son responds to his father’s “gospel kiss” – he lets himself be held. I still think of Rembrandt’s painting-that eternal embrace. Sometimes I am too weak to “return the kiss”…I can only respond, I can only receive because I am so needy. The son was like this. That he would even offer to work for his father in the state he was in – weak, starving – he was incapable of hard physical work and the Father as well pushes aside our offers to work, our promises to do better, to do more, to be more, knowing we are incapable of it. Instead he grabs us and kisses us.

    1.  

      “Love how the prodigal son responds to his father’s “gospel kiss” – he lets himself be held. I still think of Rembrandt’s painting-that eternal embrace. 

      Sometimes I am too weak to “return the kiss”…I can only respond, I can only receive because I am so needy. 
      The son was like this. That he would even offer to work for his father in the state he was in – weak, starving – he was incapable of hard physical 
      work and the Father as well pushes aside our offers to work, our promises to do better, to do more, to be more, knowing we are 
      incapable of it. Instead he grabs us and kisses us.”
       

      Oh Susan, I can relate so well.

    2. Susan, many good thoughts here.  Thank you for sharing.

    3. Yes, Praise God he does Susan!

  48. 9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.
     
        A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it?
     
    I heard the counsel of the wicked this week on Facebook in a picture and what was worded in the form of a joke. It was a demeaning of men, with comments calling them very negative things, little better than dogs and they were laughing about it. It made me profoundly sad that women think it is alright to put men down, but if anyone puts women down “heaven help them”, they scream abuse. We are all made in the image of God. We are all flawed, but we should treat each other with respect, courtesy, even a servant mentality when others do not deserve our service. We do this because we love God and are serving Him.
     
        B. Pray about the above.
     
    Father, you made us all. Help us to respect each other, to look for the good, to not retaliate when we are mistreated, to speak up for the abused. Especially help us as women not to be sucked into the mold of those women who detest men and treat them poorly. Help us to see this for the sin it is.
     
        C. In what ways does your behavior tend to be like the behavior of those who do not know God?
     
    We can sin by laughing with those who make snide remarks putting down men or, at least, we can be silent and not say “This is wrong”. 

    1. Diane, I, too, am bothered by our attitude toward men! So much disrespect… especially in marriages. I have been known to tell people “You can’t talk about your husband like that.” =/ I say a hearty Amen to your prayer!

      1. Me too!