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SINGING THE BLUES (PSALMS 12-13)

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was visiting America shortly before Hitler’s reign and was troubled by not hearing the gospel in American churches. He also saw amazing racial prejudice and oppression of the blacks, and no distinction among professing Christians. He wrote:

In New York they preach about virtually everything, only one thing is not addressed, or is addressed so rarely that I have as yet been unable to hear it, namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ, the cross, sin and forgiveness, death and life.

Then he went to a black church in Harlem and found real faith. There was the gospel, there was passion, and there was music that stirred his soul. They sang the truth to God, they lamented, for persecution against them was rampant. They cried out to God for help, and placed their trust in Him, as the psalms have taught us to do. Bonhoeffer taught Sunday School there for four years — a white German who felt far more at home there than in the white churches of New York.

Singing-The-Blues1
 Singing the Blues by Frank Furlong

waitingroom

Bonhoeffer was aghast at the persecution against the blacks. writing: “It is a bit unnerving that in a country with so inordinately many slogans agout brotherhood, peace, and so on, such things still continue completely uncorrected.”

Psalm 12 is an elaboration of t Psalm 11, showing how words can crush. Flattering words, prideful words, and sheer lies repeated can convince a society. This is how the enemy works. Bonhoeffer wrote that he could see no parallel in Germany. But that was soon to change. Bonhoeffer returned to Germany after a time of enormous spiritual growth, and then he saw the same hatred growing in his homeland — only this time the Jews were the target.

Here is an eight minute interview with Eric Metaxis from CBN, where he tells part of this story. Listen carefully:

I cannot read Bonhoeffer without being stirred to the depth of my soul and ask myself: “Am I living a life influenced by lies, or am I living by the truth of God? Psalm 12 contrasts the two: the words of this ungodly world and the words of God. Living by the words of God means living radically.

And our lives, like the lives of believing African-Americans in the time of rampant racism, or the lives of believing Jews in the time of Hitler, may be hard. If we take a stand, as did Bonhoeffer, it will cost us. But we have a God who hears our laments and comes running. He comes running over the mountains, over the seas — for we are indeed His beloved, and He will, in His time, deal bountifully with us. This song, originally suggested by Staci, has become our theme song on this blog. It is based on The Song of Solomon and Joyce found this version with different photographs on you-tube.  At first I noticed they misspelled break to be brake — but I also thought, Lies both break us and brake us. We are called to the poor, to the prisoner, to the orphan, to the oppressed — but we allow lies to brake us, to keep us from running to them and to Him. So I love this spelling. Here it is:

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

I know I’ve been missing in action the last half of last week, and I felt badly as I know we have so many newcomers! I’ll be able to pay attention to you better the beginning of this week. When I’m speaking, I feel it is important for me to be present with the women at the retreat. Sometimes I even get to meet some of you, as I did Renee two weeks ago, and this week I met our own Nancy from Wisconsin and her precious daughter. For some reason I am not being allowed to post her picture here but I’ll put it on my author Facebook page. Nancy is warm, articulate, pretty and very much like the person I have gotten to know and love on the blog — and her daughter is soooo dear. I know that I can count on you to be present for each other and stand in the gap for me — thank you so much. Many of you also prayed for the retreat and the presence of the Lord was so real. I felt the Song of Songs went so well and the amazing worship team with orchestra played The Song of Solomon twice (our theme song, thanks to Staci) and it was AMAZING. HE CAME RUNNING.

This week is about singing the blues, as the psalms have taught us to do, for this life is hard. At the retreat a woman who had lost her daughter last year was being ministered to, and talked to the other speaker, Angie Smith (wonderful young speaker with a great heart) as Angie also lost a daughter. But that very night (this last Friday night) this woman’s son was killed in an auto accident along with three other teens. It seems like too much pain — and we are praying so for her and her family. So often Aslan does not feel safe, but we must sing the truth to our souls, that He is in control and that He cares — for He went all the way to the cross.

 

Sunday Icebreakers:

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

2. Bonhoeffer immersed himself in the psalms so that God’s truth could guide His life. What particularly stands out to you about this man and why?

SONG:

During Lent, we are doing as Bonhoeffer advised: Spending time allowing songs to soften our heart, time in the Word, and then time praying that Word. Here are suggestions for songs that go with the themes of Psalms 12 and 13 — and you may find others to suggest to us.

Psalm 12: The Words of the Lord are Pure Words

(This is the Psalm project — so open to the psalm as you listen)

 

Psalm 13: How Long, O Lord?

You will read from Bonhoeffer how we must first see Christ in a psalm before we “pray it aright.” Brian Doerkson helps us to do just that with this song:

(This is the Psalm project — so open the psalm as you listen)

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study: The Word and Praying the Word

Soften your heart with music each day.

3. Read Psalm 12:

A. What is the lament and plea of verse 1?

B. In verses 2-4 find:

1) At least three different ways words can deceive

2) The motive behind deceptive words in verse 4

C. Now comes a prophetic word from God through David. Find it in verses 5-7.

D. Contrast verses 2 and 6.

E. Take a lie, or a double-speak, or a boast, or a flattery from this world and contrast it with the pure Word of God. I’ll start:

     Your life is your own, so you may do with it as you wish.

You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.

prayerbookThis little book is worth its weight in gold. Bonhoeffer says the psalms are the prayer book of the Bible, and prayers are the words of men — so how can these also be the words of God? This is what he says:

We grasp this when we remember we can only learn true prayer from Jesus Christ. If we prayer his prayer with him, these prayers become again the word of God.

We must not ask first what they have to do with us, but what they have to do with Jesus Christ.

Do you see? Then Christ prays with us. We may be praying contrary to our own heart, but often that is necessary, Bonhoeffer says, if we are to pray aright.

 

5. The setting for Psalm 13 may be Absalom’s revolt against David — David is hiding, not well, and exhausted. Read the psalm and find evidence of all this. Then think of times Christ must have felt the same.

6. Psalm 13 is a classic lament, so find these three elements:

A. The lament — the sorrow expressed honestly to God. Find the four “How longs” and put them in your own words, imagining Christ praying them from the cross.

B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God

C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness

7. Now you are ready to pray this psalm,  taking a concern You have personally or for others to Him, and know that Christ is praying with you, and understands. God through the three steps of the lament.

Thursday-Friday  Sermon

Listen to the sermon on Psalm 13 for sure, and if you have time, also the sermon on Psalm 12. I am loving these men from England — not just the accent, but that they know the classics. I do believe that higher education in England and theological training is better than in America. I remember when one of my books was published in England and I met with them and they told me that in England Christians are fewer but deeper than in America.

Optional Sermon on Psalm 12 by Stuart Olyott :

      LINK

Required Sermon on Psalm 13 by Peter Baker: LINK

8. Share your sermons notes and thoughts.

9. Have you gotten an optional book by or on Bonhoeffer to read during Lent? If so, what is it?

Saturday:

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

Leave a Comment

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328 comments

  1. His Love Makes it worth it All 
    Kim Walker I surrender 
    http://youtu.be/98jtzZQ21_E

  2. 6. Psalm 13 is a classic lament, so find these three elements:
    A. The lament — the sorrow expressed honestly to God. Find the four “How longs” and put them in your own words, imagining Christ praying them from the cross.
                B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God
                C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness 
    7. Now you are ready to pray this psalm,  taking a concern You have personally or for others to Him, and know that Christ is praying with you, and understands. God through the three steps of the lament.
     
                   ~how long will You forget me O Lord, how long will I endure this back pain, I trust you are healing me, I have faith. For by your stripes I am healed.
    ~how long O Lord will I worry about my oldest, wondering if she is making the best choices. How long will I cry over her. My heart breaks with sorrow. I get emotional just at the thought of her moving to her dad’s this May. My heart is so broken over her leaving. The irony, she and I are actually getting along, why O Lord does my heart still ache with sorrow over her leaving. I feel like I am losing a part of me by letting her go. Help me to trust you completely with her life, to not worry. Help me to find joy over her graduating and to not worry about her future so much.
    ~how long will worry and fear over my daughter, as fear/worry run laps in my mind…for I know fear is not of God, I pray for Your perfect peace in this situation with my daughter,Hannah. You have Hannah, you have her in the palm of your hand. Hannah was a promise to me when I had two previous miscarriages before Hannah. I am reminded she has purpose and you have purpose in this world for her. I thank you that Jeremiah 29:11 still stands true for Hannah “For I know the plans I have for Hannah”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper Hannah and not to harm Hannah, plans to give Hannah hope and a future.” I claim this promise and rejoice in Jesus name, Amen!
     
     

    1. Staci, I will pray for Hannah. It must be so hard for you to let her go…will she be moving very far away from where you are? I’m so sorry you are going through such a tough time.

      1. Thank you for the prayers Susan. She will be moving to San Antonio, TX and we will be in Germany…a very long distance and time difference. San Antonio is so big, and I think of all the crime she has not been exposed to living in Europe since she was 10…so a huge change for her. No license, to which she needs to get, and her father does not seem like he has the time to really help her. Im really praying she will change her mind and go with us to Germany….Im more worried about her not getting help from her father , as he works a lot and leaving her to take city transportation, which is a lot different than here. Here its very safe, there, Im not so sure or trusting. A lot of fear and worries going through my mind. I cry daily pleading with God to change things, for the paperwork to cease and not go through for her to return. My husband keeps me updated where the paperwork is at in the process….to which creates more anxiety knowing its that much nearer. I think I would have more peace if I knew she was going to where I felt she would be safer, a father who was serving God and was a bit more helpful. At this point, God is my only hope in all this. 

        1. Is your daughter planning to attend school in San Antonio?

        2. Hi Susan, originally she planned to attend Liberty University, but now is switching to online instead….she has not looked at universities in San Antonio 

        3. Hi Staci 
          I read your post and felt like I should comment.  My children were all born in Dallas and I lived in the north Texas area for 25 years. I live Texas! In fact, we will be moving back as soon as we can.
           
          I visited “San Antone” many times and love the city! It is so cultural; one of my favorite places in Texas. It has several Air Force bases in and around the city, so I would think it is way more safe than any other  city in Texas! 
           
          Its funny you say what you do about Europe, being safe and all, because that’s one reason I wont go over there ! It scares me with all the violence I see in all the counties.  I feel way safer here in the “homeland.” I suppose it’s all a matter of perspective 🙂

        4. Hi Laura, thank you for your perspective, it eases my mind. My aunt and uncle live in Frisco,,just outside of Dallas. As for crime here, it’s not at all like the states. There are no guns for one allowed…and it’s just very peaceful here. Nto sure what countries you have viewed on t.v. But it’s quite safe here. We have traveled all over Europe and with anything…there is bad, but  another factor here is the driving age is 18, to which is not as easily obtained or cheap compared to the states. I think I worry most because our kids have been sheltered living in Europe and they seem a bit overwhelmed and lost when we do visit the states. 

        5. Hi Staci,
          I do understand how you feel about worrying about her; my daughter lives in New York City and I have been known to do that! It’s the whole public transportation thing for me. I’m not a big fan of the ferry, the subway, and the buses. I grew up in Florida where we drive our own cars! I would much rather have control over my own destiny then put my life in other peoples hands for transportation. One thing I learned from Dee was to let Sarah go and give it to God. She was going to go anyway and the more that I tried to control the situation the worse it would be. Idol Lies helped me see this. I can’t keep her under my wing forever.
           
          I know Frisco well! Texas is one of the last few places, in my opinion, that still values the American Constitution and freedoms. People are moving there in droves! Regarding guns, they have been almost completely banned in Chicago. However Chicago has the highest murder rate in our country. Almost one per day if not more. So sad. “Bad” people, are going to find guns (illegally) no matter what. If you take all the guns away from the “good” people then the bad people are in charge. That’s what’s happening there. Our constitution allows us to defend and protect ourselves. Thank the Lord we had such intelligent founding fathers! We need some of that intelligence about right now in Chicago.
           
          In Europe, all I see on the news is people uprising; they don’t really need guns to do so either. There’s rioting in the streets because of the economy and other political issues, and it’s really too close in proximity, for my comfort, to terrorist type groups and activities. I have never been and most likely won’t go. Too afraid 🙁 
           
          I’m so sorry that you are worrying. I will pray for your peace with the situation with your daughter.

        6. Hi Laura-dancer,
          I have to agree, lots of friends have moved back to TX and love it. The education system is one of the best we have heard as well. Wow, NYC..I would be scared too as a mom. Im with you, having grown up in upstate NY, the Adirondack mountains near Canada, we never used public transportation, just our own cars. Here in Europe public transportation or bicycles are the way and really safe.  I guess I didnt answer so well, its not so much the no guns here as there just isnt the gang violence, crimes and racial tension doesnt really exist so much here as the states. My kids attend an international school, which is very diverse with many cultures and I love how they all get along. These 3 years have taught me so much living in the Netherlands. Prior to here, we lived in Italy and we were the ones judged more for being Americans…for the most part we always felt safe. We never talked about being military in Italy….here no one seems to care. My only experience with a subway was the metro in Paris recently..it was quite different but very safe. I think we were mindful of pick pocketer s from living in Italy. I was more taken back by the dirtiness of the metro…but loved Paris in general. I love Europe, people slow down here, enjoy life, and they are not so caught up in work ,work and having bigger and more like we do in America. All our retail stores close at 5:30 everyday, with exception Fridays they stay open until 9. And one Sunday a month some towns open up their businesses. We have fresh produce, cheese and bread markets everywhere. People go on ‘holiday’ or vacation as we call it for many weeks during the Summer, and this is the norm. So I do love living here, our kids seem to appreciate other cultures and are not so quick to pass judgement on others. Speaking from myself, living here has taken judgmental views down a notch or two. I love watching all the different nationalities at our kids school interact without a care in the world of what religion, skin color, and country they come from.  Like the child like faith God speaks of. I think we were most judged here for being ‘military’ by the other kids at school. For instance our children came home stating most of their friends thought my husband carried a gun and shot people…thus the media about the war …sad.
          Thanks for the encouraging words, it is so hard to let go and let God as a mom. Especially when we feel we know best…but really, you are right, God knows best and IM probably just getting in the way of what God is trying to do in my daughter… sigh. lol.
          I hope you are doing well, continuing to pray for you and I enjoyed your post about you running…I felt joy for you as I love to run too and my back has been out for 3 weeks and finally seeing a chiropractor to which he said  no running…yet…soon. I love to run, it’s just a peaceful time for me. Many hugs to you. 
           

  3. I was meaning to comment on the Gospel church experience some of you all have shared. We did attend a Gospel church when we lived in GA and I attended one in my younger years living in Oklahoma. Loved it! There is something about their ways in their services. I believe they have learned to praise God like the Psalms, in all their storms and trials through out history. I have a lot of biracial friends, so I dont really think much of it. My step-father was black also. So I dont see any difference I guess? But I am reminded how I learned to take a bad situation, dont dwell on it, and pray/praise your way through the trials, something I learned attending a Gospel church. They literally will take scripture and praise God at His word. I get a laugh thinking about it right now…like God needs a reminder…but one thing is for sure, they speak the word of God in faith and believe God will bring victory, even if its not how we always think God will deliver us in times of trouble. 

  4.  Share your sermons notes and thoughts and take-a-ways.
     
    This sermon was a blessing to me. I have been struggling with infertility for a year, and these past few months I’m really starting to wonder How Long, O Lord…
     
    As I continue to wait, I am thankful for these reminders:
     

    Stop being a consumer

    Doubts and fears are overcome by His consistent love

    God is not hidden and far away, He is our anchor.

    Salvation is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves

    The cross of Jesus is the way we make sense of the struggles we have in this life.

    Remember something is always going on behind the scenes. Faith believes and knows God to be present even when we can’t see or feel.

    Keep focus on Him and remember we are moving toward the light, the light of glory, of heaven itself.

    1. Love your concise notes with personal application, natalie clair. Your personal struggle makes God’s promises come alive.

      1. Holding onto His promises!

    2. oh Natalie Clair, I do know the lonely and painful waiting of infertility. I am praying for you now and will continue to lift you up. I pray He will silence the lies of enemy, He will bring you peace that doesn’t make sense…praying Jeremiah 29:11-14 for you now, so sorry you are going through this.

      1. Thanks Elizabeth- I’ll have to go back and  read the story about “Hope” in Idol Lies.

    3. Natalie 
      I believe that God placed in your heart the desire to be a mother and in His time it will happen! Praying for you and your husband in this season of life and for a bundle of joy to be placed in your arms soon. I can tell you of three women off the top of my head who love The Lord Jesus and faced the same heart cry as you. Two of them have there babies already ( one has 2 little girls now) the third is due in about 2 months. Look for his rainbow in the sky. God bless you sweet sister.

      1. Thank you for the encouraging words and prayers!

      1. Thank you for your encouraging words and  prayers

    4. Praying for your heart and mind as you walk through this difficult time, Natalie Clair. 

      1. Thank you for your  prayers !

    5. Natalie, I’ve walked the infertility journey. We wrestled lots of choices and lots of emotions. I found God to be our rock and our guide. We have been blessed to adopt. To receive a young boy into our hearts. Praying for you today in the midst of your struggle. May you continue to know Him as your rock. 

  5. Read this today in Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship–SO rich I wanted to share:
     
     
    “Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves…the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance…grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man’ will gladly go and self all that he has…Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price,” and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”

    1. Love this, Elizabeth. 

    2. Elizabeth, I’m reading Cost of Discipleship too. Good note. I’ve been chewing on this As well. 

  6. From Peter Baker’s sermon:
    “Remember something is always going on behind the scenes. Faith believes and knows God to be present even when we can’t see or feel.”
    This was such a balm to my spirit as I think of the many children my praying mom-friends and I have prayed since they were small. Quite a few of them including my daughter have chosen to put their first love on a shelf. To be looked at only when the going gets tough (sometimes not even then for they seem to believe that they can live this life on their own). Though at this moment it’s as if they are headed nowhere, my friends and I cling to the truth of God’s Word and are waiting patiently for our children to turn back to their first love and acknowledge their need for their Lord and Savior. Faith believes that God is present even when we do not see or feel.
    Oh, dear Lord! Sometimes I wish I could see behind the scenes and my heart will not be so sad and worried. But you, O Lord sits at the throne. You will bring about and complete what you have started in our children (Philippians 1:6) Help me to wait patiently and for the meantime to love unconditionally.
    “God speaks to us in all of life not only in happy times or when things are going well but also when we have the blues.”
    Psalm 13 is such an expression of my laments and it is OK to express my frustrations and my longings. Yet at the end of the passage, I see a turn to praise and singing. (Sing How great thou art). Despite everything there is one thing secure “I will trust in your unfailing love”.  For where else, Lord can I turn to? Who is like you?-no one!
    …my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6 I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
    Thank you for speaking to us through your written Word and the Word Incarnate. I love you, Lord.
     

    1. Ernema–this whole post so blessed me. Your first paragraph spoke truth to my heart that I desperately needed tonight–thank you. I will pray for your daughter

      1. Elizabeth, thanks for praying with me for my daughter. She is graduating in May from college. She is waiting on some job prospects. I so long for her to trust God with all her might. She tries so hard to be self sufficient. I listened to Sara Groves “it’s going to be allright”. What a blessing! At the end of the song, she sings “Cast your cares” a few times in a fading mode. Just beautiful! So glad to have known you here and appreciate your comments. Just like what Dee said in one of her introductions-we are like logs feeding  a blazing fire. We are all in journey. Together! And with the greatest Helper alongside us!

  7. 9. Have you gotten an optional book by or on Bonhoeffer to read during Lent? If so, what is it?
    I started reading the bio by Metaxas.   AND today I hit a used bookstore and picked up Letters from Prison and Meditating on the Word.  I’ve been flipping through what Bonhoeffer wrote about Psalm 119.  I copied a quotation here and accidentally erased it.  But, OH MY, that was okay because it kept getting better the farther I read.  Apparently, Ps 119 was his favorite Psalm, but he didn’t finish writing about it (only got through vs 21) because of his travel to the U.S.    So good and it increases my desire to MEDITATE on the Psalms

      1. Wow, Dee, a whole series on Ps 119 would be GREAT!  The section on Ps 119 was at the end of the book.  I have no idea what was at the beginning 🙂   I think the book might be a compilation of some of his work.  I didn’t pay that much attention after I got hooked in the section on Ps 119!

  8.  
    Stuart Olyott’s sermon on Psalm 12
    When Times Are Bad

    When you ask unconverted people what bad times are, they will answer that times are bad when we are short of money, or when there is illness, or when they open their newspapers and read about war, murders, mugging in the street, or some awful crime. That is how unconverted people think.

    In Psalm 12, David complains about bad times, but he doesn’t complain about times like that at all. David complains that godly people are few. David loves God very much, and he looks around and sees less people like him. We see that too. Some godly people have died, and some have defected, turning their backs on the gospel, and are living like everybody else. “The faithful disappear from among the sons of men.”   Each person who knows the Lord Jesus Christ is like salt. Salt can slow the rotting process of meat. If you take away the salt, the process of rotting speeds up. David cries “Help, Lord” for ungodliness is everywhere.

    Another way you can tell that times are bad is when people talk about things of no real importance. They have flattering lips and a double heart. Listen to people talking on a bus. They talk about last night’s TV show, or what he said or she said. If they were talking about Christian concerns, then we would be encouraged. But these aren’t the things they talk about.

    In verse 4 – times are bad when propaganda seems invincible. With drugs that we have, no one should die in pain. But all over the world wicked people are contemplating euthanasia. They talk it up. If you say it often enough, loud enough, and in the right places, you will get your way. Already some countries have committed to it. He mentions abortion also (although he didn’t use the term, but that was what he was describing). People have lobbied enough that no one is shocked anymore. Young people on the street corner use all sorts of words. When asked why they talk that way, they answer “We can say what we like.” It has not crossed their minds that every word we speak God records, and the playback is in the last judgment. Our words are not our own.

    In verse 5 – Times are bad when the poor and needy are oppressed. Some people have more money, more power, more possessions, more brains. If I have more, I should use my “more” to lift them up.

    In verse 8 – Times are bad when wickedness is unashamed, when violence is exalted. People are laughing at jokes about unfaithfulness and adultery in marriage. This opens the door for people to do those very things. They have no way of holding back the wickedness because they have been exalting it. Evil men get into positions of influence and become leaders.

    Times are bad today. If you place a frog in cool water, and heat the water gently and gradually, the frogs don’t jump out. When the water is boiling, the frogs are still in the water, but they are dead. That’s the way the devil works – introduces a little evil here and a little evil there.

    “David’s prayer”

    What should you do in bad times? Cry “Help, Lord!” We have a God to go to. The believer goes to God. Are you shocked by the prevalent attitudes and the state of the nation? You can go to the Lord and say “Help!” David is praying against wickedness. We need to pray that God will intervene and bring down the wicked.

    I didn’t quite get all the details on this story, but he told a story of a king who despised Christians and would have liked to get rid of all of them. However, at one point in battle, he found his armies hemmed in on all sides without any water. So he went to all the Christians in the army and asked them to pray for rain. It rained, and his armies prevailed. The king described that the Christians “carry their god around in their chests.”

    “God’s Promise”

    It is not enough to storm God’s throne. In bad times, God has special promises, but we must listen to Him. We are in a boat crossing the ocean to heaven’s port. Sometimes it looks like our boat will break to pieces. But Christ is in this boat, and it will find a safe harbor. We should pray for ourselves and for each other. You can’t destroy the Christian Church – it will prevail!
     
    In verses 6 & 7 – Wicked people will always be here, but God’s word will always be here also.Wherever men lie, steal, and swear, they don’t have anything to do with the Bible. The Bible makes people pure. In this awful world, with so many awful influences, you have a touch of heaven available. Jesus said you are made clean by the word I have spoken to you. When everyone else forsakes us, the Word of God is there.

    What should we do in bad times? – Pray and read the scriptures. The Bible changes people. There is good news in bad times. The book will make you clean, and the God of the book will hear your prayers. Light your light again with this Psalm, and then you will see the Savior as He is.
     

    1. Deanna–such good notes!  I may not get a chance to listen but your notes are so helpful, thank you!!

    2. Deanna, thanks for the detailed notes – I haven’t listened yet and these are really giving me a good understanding of what I can expect!

  9. 9. Have you gotten an optional book by or on Bonhoeffer to read during Lent? If so, what is it?
     
    Dee, I had posted previously (while you were at your retreat) that I had bought  The Cost of Discipleship at one book store and later found Life Together at another store and purchased it also.  I am planning to return one of them and was asking if you favored one of them.   I haven’t “sprung” either book, so I could return either one yet.   I have been leaning toward reading The Cost of Discipleship,  as I thought maybe the ideas of Life Together might be included in the larger book.   I would still appreciate your advice, if you have a preference.   If  I don’t hear anything in a couple of days, I will just go with The Cost of Discipleship, as I need to get reading in order to complete it during Lent.  

  10. I’ve just returned from being gone a week.  During that time, I only had internet access once when I was able to read through and do some of the lesson on Psalm 12.  We were visiting my son and daughter-in-law who, in the last 5 months felt God’s call to leave their comfortable jobs and home, move 3 states away and have become house parents to 6 children at a Christian Ministry of restoration and reconciliation for kids who have come from abusive homes and/or suffered huge losses.  Most have parents who have died, are in prison or have permanently lost custody.  It was a completely moving and humbling experience to be there with them for a few days.  My heart is quite overwhelmed now, trying to scroll back and get a sense of the comments and the sharing on the blog.  I may not be able to do this lesson very thoroughly and will get back on track with the next one.  I did try to answer the questions and kept re-reading the psalm each day.  I did find vs 5 so timely~ “Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise”, says the Lord.  “I will protect them from those who malign them.”   This is really what is happening at this Christian ministry community.  My heart is so full when I think of the stories of each of the children who have suddenly become foster ‘grandchildren’ to me.  Every story is one that breaks your heart wide open.  But to see the transformations that are and that are in process in a community that has for decades, rescued, loved, nurtured and restored these broken lives defies words.  It is all because of the ways God has arisen in the hearts of the leaders and those who serve in His name.  I really am humbled by those who have stepped out completely in faith, and began a whole new life there.  For several years, I personally, have prayed for God to show me what purpose He has for me in these empty nest years I’ve just begun.  The ‘double speak’/lie that comes to me often is that I am no longer well enough, not energetic enough…not well equipped enough to do the things I ‘could have’ done when I was younger.  My prayer, now that I’ve returned home and returned to this study, is that He will open my heart to the answers day by day.   He does have a place for me. I have struggles to keep working out.   I need a renewed energizing from His heart and word to be able to follow Him in that place.

    1. Wanda,
      What a great thing your daughter and son-in-law are doing. We support the Big Oak Ranch, A Christian home for children of the same.  I enjoyed your testimony of this, as it was something God is doing in my heart right now and this was confirmation. Thank you for sharing this.

    2. Wanda, lovely testimony about the children. I pray that each of them continue to be transformed by Gods amazing love! And good job seeing the lie in your empty nest years. The Good Lord wouldn’t still have you here if He didn’t have a plan and purpose! I pray He reveals it to you soon. =)

  11. Here is a song God gave me years ago when going through the ‘desert’ living in Italy. It’s called ‘Believe’ by Frontline Worship, a bit of a gospel feel to it. One of my favorite songs. I hope it encourages you all that are going through so much.  The lyrics are with the song too.
    http://youtu.be/iAf01HxxXSM

  12. Good morning all you lovely ladies. I pray Friday finds you all well and you will find time to rest in The Lord and his goodness this weekend. It has Been a blessing to be with you all over this past week Going through the psalms. 
    The song I woke up with on my heart this morning. It’s an old hymn but this version is a new twist on it ( reminds me of Scottland or Ireland a little bit) 
    Come thou Fount by David Crowder band 
    http://youtu.be/qDbllO1LrvM

    1. oh Dee, sounds like fun! Praying for your time (and for their husbands with all the kiddos, too 🙂

    2. Hope you enjoy your time with your daughters, Dee!

    3. Praying you will have a WONDERFUL weekend, Dee!

    4. How wonderful enjoy every minute, I miss my mom and little sister so much, your fortunate that all of you can get away together, what a blessing. 🙂 

  13. Good Morning, I’m so new to blog life, almost feel like what my kids called a “creeper” on facebook, looking into the lives of others just to be noisey.  But I am so blessed to read the things you share and listen to the songs posted.  I pray as concerns are brought up and have been in tears many times over your lives or the jewels you share. 
    I have been going through a “dark night of the soul” in the last 12 months.  It began with the death of a very dear friend who wasn’t a believer.  And lots of things coming my way, both blessings and burdens.  Several major “life points”.  Last week at the beginning of Lent I started a 7 day daniel fast.  And starting this blog study, praying these palms over my soul.   the fast was pretty usual for me until the last night.  In my sleep the Lord let me see that I was wrestling an entity described as the Bear.  The Lord promised me that He was helping me and I would win.  I awoke on Wednesday, released from the fast and the wrestle was over!  My soul was released from the darkness I had felt for so long.
    All to say that Psalm 11, 12, & 13 are precious to me as they have been with me at this pivotal time.  They spoke to me of the LORDs victory, His loving kindness, His faithfulness.  I shall sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.  Thank you Dee for coming to Litchfield in horrible weather, (being a warrior for us!) for introducing me to this space.

    1. Rebecca Louise–I’m glad you’re here. I am so sorry about the loss of your friend.

    2. Hello Rebecca Louise! Rejoicing with you Sweet sister! 

  14. 8. Share your sermons notes and thoughts.
     
    Wish I would have listened to Baker earlier in the week! WOW what a sermon!!!
     
    I found U2 Bono’s article online about the Psalms-the one Baker referred to in his sermon. :)) and then I found his song 40 written in 1983-I had no idea!  “40-how long” on you tube-it is straight from Psalm 40. 
     
    Back to the sermon-I so LOVED his opening, and this: “David is struggling-holding onto God in the dark for a long time before the light breaks into his prison cell”. 
     
    Jesus endured the long dark night of the soul-the perfect and holy one, beloved son felt cut off from God.
     
    We often ignore the dark side of faith. We hold up a sign “welcome to the group of people where no one struggles about anything, where no doubts are expressed or no failure is ever admitted to.” 
    -I think this is what I struggled with when we were looking for a church body to connect with-just the realness of the rawness of life-the doubt- and the struggle with the disorientation of life-it was virtually absent. In small group it was usually always prayer requests for or discussion about others who don’t know Jesus or who are steeped in some kind of sin. We rarely heard of personal requests, or engaged in discussion in regard to real life issues they themselves are having. After expressing ours in a small group we were in at church we just kind of stopped because there was no reciprocal engagement-the atmosphere wasn’t ripe for it.
     
    David was battling with the sense that God had forgotten him. In our journey there will be times like that for us too. This absence is an aspect of the mystery of God. He is a God beyond us-as opposed to a God at our beckon call. 
     
    V3-something does change-there is a way out. David turns a corner and heads for home. faith struggling in the dark-then faith moving toward the light. Faith turns to God in prayer.  If prayer to God isn’t our ultimate refuge it can mean only one thing-we don’t believe in God, we believer in ourselves. Real faith will eventually recognize the limits of our own resources-the fears too great, the confusion too profound and faith will turn to God locking onto God’s strength. That is why the Psalms of darkness are statements of bold faith-not unbelief. David is a man of prayer-a man who wrestles with God. David insists in these kinds of Psalms-that the world be experienced as it really is-and not in some pretended way. We must start relating to life as it is. With it’s pain and confusion, disappointment and contradiction. Planet Earth-How long! There is nothing out of bounds-everything in our life belongs to this conversation of the heart. Not to pray to God about that issue right now that in my life is defeating me again and again-not to do that is to with hold part of my life from God’s sovereignty. If we are believers in God then God for us is the final reference for all of us.
     
    Faith trusts the victory of God-v5. My heart rejoices in your salvation-in spite of everything that remains true in David’s life. One thing will always be true, always secure. Along with the doubts and fears David confesses where his anchor is-His hope lies. He knows despair but he also knows the love of God. “…but I trust in your unfailing love.” -this is the whole mark of faith.  Lord I do believe help me overcome my unbelief. I put my trust in your unfailing love. It is no wishful thinking but based upon God’s character and actions. The God who acts in history-the reality that God is not hidden and far away but present in the world to save. The God of salvation. 
     
    God is with us even in life’s darkest hours-hidden yes, maybe obscured sometimes but faith believes and knows God to be present. Believing God is where he promised to be even in the darkness. We like David find our bearings in God’s salvation event-in God’s promise to love his people forever. I trust, says David in your unfailing Love-I rejoice in your salvation. He entrusts himself to the truth of his relationship with God. 
     
    9. Have you gotten an optional book by or on Bonhoeffer to read during Lent? If so, what is it?
    I did get both and received them yesterday! 🙂 I plan on reading both.

  15. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?
    I have some time (which feels rare these days!) so I thought I’d try my take away now. Thoughts may seem a bit jumbled, but there are things that many of you shared that are coming together in my mind.
     
    I feel convicted that with my current situations, it is time for me to “turn” as David does at the end of so many Psalms. While I have never been a Pollyanna candy-coating type, I am also convicted of some of my “crying out”. Is it fully, really, to Him? I say it is, but am I, as I cry out, recognizing His power, His perfect Sovereignty, or am I often just venting? Lately, it has become easy for me to focus on my struggles to the point that the trials have changed my attitude. But if I am crying out as David does, then I should be changed not into a bad mood, but into a reflection of Christ.
     
    God used several of you to speak to me this week. Ernema prayed “Free me from too much introspection and restore to me the joy of your salvation.” I read it and my heart was pricked—I knew that is my prayer.
     
    Then Renee said – “that when I focus on who HE is, and what he has done for me, I am safe enough not only to see that he is my righteousness, but also to be honest with him and with myself about my sin.  The pretense and the hiding appear when I focus on myself”
     
    This reminded me of the sermon from Sinclair Ferguson we heard of when we focus on our distress, we become more distressed! A few weeks back, on Psalm 7, I listened to a sermon from John Fesko. He said that when we look at Scripture, we tend to want to relate to the one being wrongly accused, instead of acknowledging that it is my rebellion, my accusing of others—that put Christ on the Cross. He stressed, first look at Christ, the false accusation He received, and see that we are the ones who put Him there. Rebecca models this so well, always pointing back to the Cross in her struggles.
     
    I listened to a great sermon from Alistair Begg on Psalm 13. David comes despairingly and cries honestly. God does allow trials in order that we might learn to trust Him despite the circumstances. He said there are those who answer “How are you?” always with “fine”; and there are those who go around complaining saying “how long, how long…” And we want to explain why we feel so depressed. David “gets a hold of himself, with God’s help” and by an act of the will, he trusts, rejoices in his Savior. I have a choice–to present a reality of faith that makes a difference in the way I live my life. It’s not a matter of answering the question ‘how are you?’ with “oh fine”. But I also can choose to move out of the ‘how long, how long’ place. Jesus makes a dramatic difference in my life and I want my reaction to my trials to reflect it, and instead of letting my trials bring me into despair and make me so “grumpy”, I want my faith in Him to allow the trials to change me for His glory.  If anyone muddled through this, please pray for me to turn from my grumbling and allow Him to use these trials for His purposes.

    1. Lovely thoughts, Elizabeth, and applicable to my trials, as well.  Will pray for you.

    2. While I have never been a Pollyanna candy-coating type, I am also convicted of some of my “crying out”. Is it fully, really, to Him? I say it is, but am I, as I cry out, recognizing His power, His perfect Sovereignty, or am I often just venting?

      I can relate to this, Elizabeth. If we were truly turning to Christ, we would stop grumbling and begin trusting and be joyful in what God was doing. I am praying for you as I need you to pray for me as a grumble and grow impatient when God does not seem to be acting the way I think He should in my circumstances. Lord, have Mercy on us.

      1. Amen, Diane–and I am praying for you as well

    3. Elizabeth, your thoughts are helping me, too. (I also listen to Alistair Begg frequently on the Christian radio station here…his preaching is so very good) I can ponder your questions about am I just venting – without recognizing His power…and too much introspection, too much self-focus and focus on the trials. (I am an expert in feeling sorry for myself)
       
      Lord, please help Elizabeth and me to turn from our grumbling and to see You at work in our lives…show us, please, what you are doing-even just a glimpse! Make us willing to let You use the trials and pain in our lives as You will.

    4. Such good thoughts, Elizabeth.  Reminds me of what I was typing here last night from Bonhoeffer — and accidentally deleted.  Too long to type from hotel room right now —  what he discussed applies to  that choice, that turning, and how that can be a self-driven “I will” (not good) or an “I will” submitted to the will of God and in HIS grace.   I could see myself in the stubborn, self-propelled “I will,” even trying to serve God.  Was helpful to see that the turn is by his grace, too.  Yet, I can see how he works through even my feeble attempts to force myself to seek him to bring me to the point of enjoying his grace.  I want to look at this more closely (just read it quickly last night) — BECAUSE of God’s grace, I’m not sure that the “either/or” is quite as stark a contrast as Bonhoeffer paints.  What he writes is so good that I can imagine myself elevating what he has written almost to the level of Scripture.  Some of what I read last night about Ps 119 makes me so hungry to get deeper into the Psalms and really LOVE reading the Word.

  16. I was relieved to see that Deanna posted notes on Stuart Olyott. So I am relieved of attempting it. =)
     
    My thoughts: This was a very encouraging sermon especially in regards to praying for big things…things bigger than us and our lives.  I often feel useless in praying for things such as the persecution of the church, prostitution of girls, slavery of other kinds, mindless killing, etc. Honestly, I often feel useless even in praying for things in my own little life. But Stuart Olyott gave testimony to what we do in bad times – we pray, we open the scriptures, and we pray.  For some reason the way he put it this morning made my soul sit up and be encouraged in my appointment here on earth.  The story he told of a commander in the Roman empire who persecuted Christians, with the goal of terminating them. Who then saw God’s hand in the rain and then ceased persecuting the church especially gave me encouragement. The commander said “They carry God around in their chest!” (what a wonderful saying).  God does BIG things!! Amen. “I will now arise,” says the Lord! =)
     
    Are you shocked by the vile things you see? Go to God, openly with all your wounds. Pray against the wickedness and those caught up with it.
     
    God’s promise: Will you take the time to listen? If you do not you will be disquieted.
     
    I loved the stories he told of attempts of eliminating God’s word from Earth, you can’t do it, you just can’t. Governments have tried and yet it is still in those countries, loved by people.
     
    Another story of a man finding Christ through the Bible’s testimony.  He said when you meet people who want nothing to do with the Bible then you find evil acts.  But when you find those that truly love the Bible then you see they do not engage in evil.
     
    The Bible makes people pure because it is pure itself, it is a touch of heaven, purity at your fingertips.
     
    “We should love it a lot more than we do!”

  17. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
     
    Lord, I need to ask You to forgive me. The other day I sinned with my mouth. I said, “I will triumph with my words…I own my lips…I will be god right now.” My lips had no master over them. They spewed out angry words, I know, from a heart that was full of anger and resentment. I have wanted to hide from You. Worse has been the voice inside my own head; condemning, accusing, saying “You have been a failure all your life…”
    I don’t have anywhere else to run to. Please protect me from the lies of the enemy who maligns me. All of Your words are flawless and true. Your Word says that I am desperately sinful and weak and needy, yet You give grace and mercy to the sinner who asks. I pray that You will set a guard over my mouth, but more importantly, deal with my heart, where the words of my mouth come from. Root out what is in there that would lie, or boast, or be deceitful, or be nasty. Have mercy on me, Lord.

    1. Susan–your honesty always humbles me. Praying for you now, and especially that condemning lies of the enemy will be silenced and you will feel His grace overwhelm you

    2. Dear Susan, praying for you.

    3. I agree with Elizabeth, Susan..Your honesty always helps me. I so love your sweet, gentle spirit too-you are truly who you are here online..I can see why God had you become a nurse,,you are compassionate and deeply care for people-so like Him. 

  18. 9. Have you gotten an optional book by or on Bonhoeffer to read during Lent? If so, what is it? My husband and I are going to read the biography by Metaxas (though we probably will not finish by Easter) and I am reading Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible on my own. 
     
    On a side note I have been pondering a concept I read in The God of All Comfort (by Dee). The concept that sometimes we have to suffer without reason – because if there was a reason then that means we would be getting something for our suffering. Instead God just wants us to love Him for Him not for what He gives us.  This last part I have thought of before but the former I had not considered.  Dee uses the example of Job to illustrate – had Job known WHY he suffered then his undying devotion to God would have been interpreted as compensated. But to just cling to God, just cuz He is, is what He desires and what is actually most beneficial and peaceful for our hearts.  If I cling to God but am still looking for the reason (though we do learn and grow) then I am not truly resting/trusting in Christ. This has been beautiful for me to ponder. He just wants me. (This concept is presented on pages 190-191 in Dee’s book.) This aligns with the Psalms, David most often doesn’t conclude a specific reason for His suffering but He does conclude that God is enough.

  19. 5. The setting for Psalm 13 may be Absalom’s revolt against David – David is hiding, not well, and exhausted. Read the psalm and find evidence of all this. Then think of times when Christ must have felt the same.
     
    David asks, “How long, O Lord…will You forget me…hide Your face from me…must I wrestle with my thoughts…have sorrow in my heart…will my enemy triumph over me?” Being on the run from his murderous son, Absalom, hiding to save his life – I’m sure David was thinking over the past and what he did wrong as a father that his son would do this…perhaps he felt guilt, remorse. It’s obvious that he felt all alone and afraid. When he asks God to give light to his eyes – perhaps he is asking for a sign of hope that God is going to deliver him from death.
     
    The Brian Doerksen song above on Psalm 13 shows Jesus on the Cross…those agonizing hours when His Father turned away, and He would have felt the abandonment…”How long…will You forget me forever…will You hide Your face from me?”
    “Every day I have sorrow in my heart” – Jesus is called “A Man of Sorrows”. He felt the pain of others deeply, like when Lazarus died, or when He lamented “O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem…”
    When He was on the Cross, it certainly seemed that the enemy had triumphed over Him. “Give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death…” Jesus put His trust in the promise that the Father would raise Him on the third day.

  20. I attended the retreat Dee spoke at last Saturday, that’s how I found this website/blog, what a blessing her message and this website is.  I am a full-time student in nursing, 24 weeks away from graduation and it has been a challenge to keep my Lord at the forefront of my days.  I was looking for a Bible study to do that would keep me connected since I cannot attend church regularly right now or adult Sunday school so when I found this site at the suggestion of Dee at the retreat, what a blessing and answer to prayer.  I bought the Psalm book by Diedrich Bonhoeffer for Lent.  Psalm 119 has always been my favorite, I love that it’s included in here.  I already owned the “Cost of Discipleship” by this author.  What a testimony his life and beliefs are of Jesus Christ and His love and sacrifice for us!

    1. Welcome Brenda–glad you’re here!

    2. Welcome, Brenda!      Yes, Dee’s Bible Study blog is a GIFT from God that is so precious during those times that are difficult to stay connected in face-to-face settings (and during the times when it is easier to stay connected, too!)

    3. Brenda, I remember well the challenge of nursing school! Praying for you now that He would meet you each day ! =) nursing is beautiful. 

  21. Inspired prayer after listening to Psalm 12 sermon
     
    Help Lord, my heart fears for the world my girls a re growing up in. How long oh Lord will you be pushed out of the public schools? How long oh Lord will people mock your creation and deny your existence. Lord will there be Godly young men for my daughters to Mary? Lord why do people waste the precious time you have given them watching the junk on TV? Lord why do people put there trust in their credit and bank account? Why oh Lord is the debit so out of control? Shut the mouths of the menwho speak  lies concerning money brining people’s life’s to ruin from taking such advice. Don’t they know Lord that you are the treasure? That only you can truly fill there life to overflowing? Oh Lord save the precious babies and save their mamas from the heartache that will never leave after allowing the life in them to be destroyed! I don’t know why Lord things are the way they are and I don’t know what hardships and struggles my daughters will face Jesus but guide them and give them Grace sufficient in there time of need. Help me Jesus to raise them to Love you and your word. To turn to your word in prayer in there times of distress and need in the times of their sorrow but also in there times of Joy. May you give them great wisdom and discernment to know truth from lies. Jesus I lift my little brother James to you in prayer once again. How long oh Lord will he defy you in arrogance ? Break His heart for you Lord. Bring him to repentance and true knowledge of you Jesus, like he once had as a young boy. Lord I cry out to you for Him, I love him Jesus and ai know you love him all the more Save him from his wickedness. I so long to see James serving you and raising his children, my nieces and nephews to know you and love you and serve you. I’m sick over it Jesus. open his eyes dear Lord the things he is chasing after will never satisfy. Give me some opportunity when I see him next to speak of your goodness and love. Give him desire to search your word to find you. I love you Jesus thank you for allowing me to pour my heart out before you. Lord whatever is in my own heart that shouldn’t be there pluck it out and help me to see my own errors in Life. Purify me wash me in your word. I ask this all in your precious sons name. Amen

  22. Looking forward to joining 

    1. Welcome Penne!

    2. Welcome, Penne!

  23. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?
     
    I am doing my take-away on Friday, because on Saturday I will be participating in the Changed Life Seminar  (non-denominational women’s retreat — probably around 800+ women).   It is at one of these seminars that I met Dee several years ago, when she was our speaker (which eventually brought me to this blog).  
     
    My take-aways are probably the  biographical video about Bonhoeffer and also the sermon by Peter Baker.   The life of Bonhoeffer encourages me to “cut to the chase,”  discern God’s will for me, and go at it full-tilt!   I am sure I spend too much time dithering around, trying to decide what to do, analyzing and re-analyzing.    Bonhoeffer seemed to be able to sense God’s call and get with it  (such as turning around after just 26 days in the U.S. and heading back to Germany).  He took it head-on. 
     
    What stood out to me in Baker’s sermon was his stataement that we should not have things we can talk to God about and things that we are too embarrassed to talk with Him about.  I think I needed to hear that, because  I have been known to stop mid-prayer and say,  “I’m sorry, Lord, I didn’t mean to be irreverent or disrespectful when I said….” 
     
    Dee, the decision to study the Psalms through Lent is turning out to be far, far better than I expected!  The Psalms are amazingly relevant and appropriate for this time.   I’m giving it a two-thumbs-up!!

  24. Just finished listening to the Psalms 13 sermon and my only reaction is: WOW!  This is just where I am.  How timely our God is that He speaks mainly though His Word, but also through the body of believers.  I’ve just finished transcribing the sermon because I will have to read/mediate on it over and over again.  Sometimes when I share my struggles with sisters in Christ, the response is that I don’t have enough faith and it’s almost like if I’m down I’ve sinned.  I do believe that it is a sin to stay there, but this sermon has put a handle on the struggle that gives me hope that I can and will pull myself up from the pity party that is only attended by me and satan!   

  25. What is your take-a-way and why? I loved both sermons. 
     
    “Am I living a life influenced by lies, or am I living by the truth of God? “
     
    And, the why of lamenting. Why did David lament? Why do I lament to God? Is there still an ulterior hope that He will give me what I want? Can I really rid my heart of those desires? Or is lamenting, as Tim Keller said, a way to process our feelings and circustances? I need to be careful that the lament doesn’t so focus my eyes on the swirling waters of my soul that I fall in. I recite the truths of God to my soul, not just to “feel better”, but so my soul learns to trust and learns to see life through the lens via Christ, not via my lament. I must not only turn my words from the lament to the truth but I must also allow my soul to turn its face to be warmed by the truth as well, otherwise the lament becomes a tantrum and scary rather than a process to draw closer to Him. 
     
    I am also enjoying  ‘recreational’ reading again….it has been too long since I have enjoyed a long satisfying conversation of a hard backed friend, partaking in the wisdom offered page after page.

  26. This morning I listened to the Peter Baker sermon, which was interesting as I noted it was given on March 15, 2009.  There have been some great notes shared so I won’t go into that, but would like to share some thoughts and how it is impacting me.  Let me say, no surprise, but what PERFECT TIMING.  Frustration and discouragement have been my recent companions.  Two leaders in our life and ministry have really failed to encourage us and they have chosen, rather to ignore important questions we have asked.   We are also in a very challenging financial situation plus a few other “life” situations.  The  “dark side of faith”, I suppose, as Baker put it.
    So I received this message with a move toward hope and joy and new insight.  I realized part of what I’ve been dealing with is a sense of abandonment.  It was good to put this label, although harsh, on it.    So often we do, as Baker said, pretend things are better than they are.  Also, the word defeat hit me hard.  I KNOW I am NOT defeated, but very weary.    The point was made that David asked the Lord questions in the Psalms – and of course, it’s ok for us to do that, also!  I realized I was acting as if God didn’t know about these situations and I needed to be real with Him and also ask Him – how long??    Baker stated if we don’t pray it means we only believe in ourselves.    It’s important to talk to God about all of it and share how we feel about it!  I realize I’ve been holding it in, trying to figure out what is happening.  Forgive me, Lord, for thinking there is something in me that will get me through this!
    The subject of Jesus’ personal encounter was so great!!  That he didn’t send a youtube or a picture, etc, but actually CAME to us was powerful.
    Also, I want to say that the music this week was inspiring!  This whole study – the music, the videos, the sermons, the comments, are all such a joy and so timely for me.

  27. My takeaway: 
    In a nutshell this week-God has uncovered something I am not comfortable with..so I need to trust him, lay down and let him rip off my scales. I am afraid to say with David, “How long?”-there is a bold humility in lamenting that I know God is molding in me but I feel so infantile still.
     
    He opened my eyes when Dee lamented as she was stuck in the snow and couldn’t get her car out-and now we have David worn out and tired crying out-“how long??” The last crisis I experienced was when my son was diagnosed with Autism at 2 but at that time I mostly treated God like a Butler. 🙁 So instead of crying out to him I bottled it up inside and asked God to fix it somehow and eventually resolved to trust him-but I missed the lament-the intimacy and therefore missed the turn in really beholding His beauty-like David!
     
    I am seeing more since I have been on the blog how God has come “over the mountains running to me”..tears..I don’t even deserve it treating him like a Butler all those years but he faithfully pursued me and is transforming me in accepting his delight in me-amazing love how can it be?! Lord help me to grow in delighting in you I want to want you like you do me..and I am so selfish yet-I need you. 
     
    He is faithful and 100% keeps his promises..I am learning to trust him with my laments-to be honest with him albeit slowly. I think maybe I thought he would be upset with me if I said, “how long?” when I doubt, lack trust, but it is the opposite- He wants me to cry out “how long”..He wants me to voice my doubts to long for His bending and hearing. How can I truly love Him if I don’t trust him with every nook and corner of me?  It is so easy for me to jump to the end of praising Him, but I often miss the lament! 
     
    I so see how we need one another-how He comes to me through you-his body. I see a bold humility in Elizabeth, Dee, Jill, Diane and many of you here..I could write a long list-oh I am grateful for all of you, your examples of being honest before him and then clinging to who He is.

  28. Sisters-I went to a rheumatology appointment for some issues with my left shoulder, knees, and hands. I have osteoarthritis in my back with some bad discs and am awaiting the results of the x-rays on my knees and shoulder-she heard a crunching sound when she moved my knees and they have been painful for years. My left shoulder has limited range- I am going to be 50 this year and am already falling apart yet I feel like I am in my late 20’s inside! ;~) Anyway, she advised I quit working in kitchens and get a job where I have time to sit and work and then walk as well.  I have been putting in resume’s for other positions in the school district-but no bites yet. Waiting on God’s perfect timing..so if you could pray as He leads that would be wonderful. I want to want what He wants so pray for my heart. I do know I love helping Dee in her ministry-He is so present and he is so blessing it -it would be so sweet to just do her ministry and not need to also work at the school-yet I also love how God moves in relationships at work too..hmmm. Pray! 

    1. REbecca, I can relate….I will be 43 this year and feel like Im in my 20s on the inside too, funny thing is I just said this yesterday. 50?? YOu dont even look like you are in your 30s according to your photo!! Wow! You look amazing! I am so sorry you are going through so much. i have issues with my back, and whole left side. Chiropractor is helping and hoping it gets resolved so I can run again. I feel very selfish telling God I will die if I cant run anymore…and I prayed God would help me not make an ‘idol’ of my running.
      I will be praying for the perfect job to open up for you. What a blessing you would be to any job that would offer you a job. My cleaning lady that is Turkish shared with me she has had shoulder surgery and has not been able to work at the hospital as a cleaning lady for over a year, and the doctor wont release her to work as a cleaning lady, but she got offered another job as a receptionist….I dont know if she realized how like God that was in her life. She is muslim and a woman of faith in her religion. I just thought that was amazing that God opened that door for her. Praying the same for you.
       

    2. Rebecca, you will be in my prayers as you approach a new chapter in life both in physical circumstances and in having scales removed. And also for physical health. 

    3. Rebecca, Praying for your body and heart 🙂  as you wait for his perfect timing and follow his leading.

    4. praying for you dear Rebecca

    5. Thanks for sharing your health issues, Rebecca. I will be praying that you can find a new job where you can sit and work, yet where you can witness too. I hope you find some relief from your rheumatism.

  29. Staci – Where are you in Europe?  You said you are military so that makes me think Germany – but you mentioned Paris?  We are in Estonia and lived in Finland before here.  I so agree about Europe!  So much we love and feel much safer here than in the U.S. – with the current exception of Russia breathing down our necks.  I feel I was born to live in Europe and so very thankful God has brought me here.

    1. Hi Beth,
      We currently live in the Netherlands, and we will be moving to Germany in June. We lived in Italy prior to here for 4 years. Im with you, I feel I was born to live in Europe as well. We have been in Europe 8 years and I feel out of place in the states…lol. It would be our dream to retire in Europe if my husband can get a civil service job when that time comes or God may use us in other ways… I have a heart for missions and will be praying for you. I can not imagine having watched the news on this whole issue with Russia…wow. Finland sounds like a dream! 🙂 Im hoping to visit some orphanages in Poland next year, we had a whole missions trip planned with our base chaplain here, but it fell through last year. So hoping for next year. I know my friend Stephanie on here has been to Romania on a missions trip as well. May God continue to use you and protect you all.  Hugs. 🙂

  30. This has been an awesome week! I have listened to both sermons. Both excellent
    My goal is to hide more of God’s word in my heart. From Psalm 12 it is verse 6 and from Psalm 13 it is verse 5. I have to be easy on myself because memorization comes slowly… In the sermon by Olyott, I will emphasize , though the words of man get worse by the hour, The words of  the Lord are pure and impurities are continually removed. His question Are you sickened by the world around you?  Oh yes, so often! When others forsake you, the word is still there. I will pray and open the scriptures.
    I want to use “my more” to lift up others. There are so many who are oppressed and are needy. I want to open my eyes and be a light where it is needed.
    From Peter Baker’s sermon, He said, “Faith responds to the grace of God! Lord, make us men and women of integrity. May we throw ourselves into your hands. We will sing forever and ever. Thank you that we are moving toward the light.”
    I am reading the biography of Bonhoeffer and am so touched by this man’s life, from youth to manhood. I have reached his time in New York City and remember when I lived there for 5 years and attended one of those liberal churches, that did service and outreach, yet failed in the true gospel message. What an amazing story that he recognized this so clearly. It took me years to come to the light! But God is faithful and teaches us
    through some unusual circumstances.
    My song this morning was the one recommended by one of you, Come Thou Fount by the David Crowder band. I am blessed by this.
    My devotional reading from Amy Carmichael was He allows me to hunger, based on Psalm 63: 1 and 5
    I wallowed around for a time… and I can share this question from her devotional, Can someone who has never thirsted know how precious is My living water?
    After struggling with life’s circumstances, I can come to my Father and be nourished. Blessings to all of you.

  31. Staci – We have some American families here with the military as part of NATO.  Great families!!  My first overseas missions trip was to Romania, specifically to orphanages.  Orphanage ministry will rip your heart out.  There is an orphanage for mentally handicapped near where we live. Also, there are some with pretty significant physical handicaps.   Some are actual orphans and some not.  We love to go there and last fall one of the boys was baptized at our church here!!  Some of the older kids speak English which is so amazing to me because we have realized what a WEIRD language it is!!  For the last several months there is a man who brings usually about 8 of the boys to church every week.  We have gotten rather attached to one in particular.  I’m not sure that he is mentally handicapped or just deaf.  Very sweet teenager.  If we weren’t in our 60’s…….:)
     

    1. Beth–what an inspiration you are! Wow. LOVE hearing your stories. My heart would be a wreck at an orphanage! I especially love that this man brings 8 of the boys from the orphanage to Church–what a beautiful picture of grace!

    2. Thanks for all you do, your stories are very inspirational and much needed for people to hear and read about.  I have read about many handicapped orphan children in need of adoption, there is an organization I follow, cant think off the top of my head what it’s called.  I have heard be prepared to be changed forever once you visit an orphanage. I have always wanted to adopt myself. I will be praying for your ministry, what a blessing you all to these many children that you touch.  God doesnt care about your age, just sees your willing heart… those boys must love you all and you all carry the joy of the Lord to them. Many hugs and blessings to you all! Look forward to hearing more about your missions work. Praying for your safety as well.

  32. My takeaways:
    Staci and Beth have convinced me to seriously consider going to Europe!  Glad to hear about safety.  The thought of going to Europe has crossed my mind lately because a colleague is going to France, Ireland, UK in a couple weeks.  I’ve been more concerned about cost than safety, partly because I’ve learned after the fact that I’ve taken some big risks traveling — so I like the idea of traveling to areas known to be safe!

    My other takeaways have been sort of a synthesis of this week with what we have studied earlier weeks:  Even when God seems hidden, he isn’t absent.   His sovereignty and grace and my complete dependence on him are soaking in more deeply.   When I was scanning the last third of “Meditating on the Word,”  I started to sense a major change that has taken/is taking place in my attitude toward the Bible: Rather than simply being interested or having a “should read and memorize” or “need to do this to survive” approach, I can tell that I am developing a LOVE for Scripture & it is not connected to legalism!

  33. Hi all, 
    I am back from burying my dear sweet mother. I am okay. I listened to both sermons which blessed me in different ways. Psalm 13 reminds me that Jesus pled with God to help him and finally conceded because he knew God had the master plan. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t need to question Jesus. He knows what will happen in my life. He will take care of me.
     
    Psalm 12 sermon reminded me of 20 years ago when I asked my friend to confirm to me that it was me against the world. This was in reference to the TV shows that were playing at the time my children were very young. I only allowed my children to watch PBS. Along came Bart Simpson and I realized something was very wrong with the world. I couldn’t understand how people could think that some of the content was appropriate for family TV. I had this same feeling about 11 years ago when I moved to the Northeast. I never realized what living in the “Bible belt” my whole life meant. I thought everywhere was like where I grew up. I was sadly mistaken, and my eyes were opens wide when I moved to New England. Needless to say, it took a long time to find a church. I finally have grown accustomed to this area, but I can’t wait to get back to the south, and one day we will.
     
    Thank you everyone for all your thoughts and prayers. I really have felt your presence this week and I appreciate that. Everything turned out beautiful and it was nice to have some older people who knew me as a child there. They said I blessed them with my dance. That’s nice. I made sure they knew I had shown my mom the dance prior and she agreed that I could dance for her funeral. We met a cousin that came, whom I had not seen since I was 13. I enjoyed meeting his wife and I believe we will have a new friendship 🙂 my husband planted gladiolus at the grave and I am going to bring daffodils from my home to plant in the summer. She would like that I’m sure. 
     
    Anyway, a new chapter in my life begins without my mom.  

    1. Glad you got back safely, Laura dancer. God is good to give you such a good week. I’ll continue to pray as you grieve and cope.

    2. oh Laura-d, thank you for the update, so good to hear and to have you back. I love that you were able to dance–what a beautiful tribute for your mom. Continuing to pray for you as you begin this new chapter. You have been through so much, saying goodbye to both your parents, so so much. It is evident He is your strength, and we are blessed by seeing Him shine through you.

    3. Laura, thank you for the update. I will continue to pray for you in this new chapter. 

    4. Laura-d,  Continuing to pray for you — it will be difficult for some time.  Thankful you got back safely and that you were able to reconnect with a cousin and meet his wife.   Wonderful that you were able to show your mom your dance and bless others with it, too.  Love and hugs to you.  Also praying that you will be able to get some rest.

    5. What a beautiful testimony and tribute to your mom. Will be praying for you as well. 
      I can relate to your shock of New England, but reverse. I was born in Oklahoma, all my family lives there. My dad remarried someone from upstate NY.So I grew up in upstate NY my whole life. I moved back to OK after college…what a culture shock it was for me. I was very hippy and carefree from upstate NY. My family in OK, was very bible belt church going people…me…not so much. But God had a plan and I gave my life to the Lord at the age of 21. Many years later I did live back in Mass. for some time and oh how I missed Oklahoma…not so much for the weather, and wind… but for my bible belt family….to me there is no place like the home I gave my life to God. I remember when my husband and I moved to GA shortly after getting married.I would cry a lot saying I miss church, I just wanted to go home to Oklahoma…my husband being from Mass. didnt know what to do do for me…lol. Now having lived all over the world…God has taught me to adapt. I still miss church back in OK, and I will be going home this Summer. I always plan my trip there around church…not my family so much, just church….I know…odd, but that’s what I look forward to most when Im home in OK.  
      Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  34. Wow, there is so much going through my mind. I had started listening to Baker a fews days ago and didnt get a chance to fully listen until this morning. But even in a few days ago God began to show me where I had it wrong….Im still soaking it all in. I truly needed to hear this message from Baker. Having been saved in a very feel good charismatic church….I can say I believe I was wrongly mislead in the area of  being happy all the time. Even back then I didnt feel life was always about being ‘happy’. Like it was wrong of me to feel sadness, depression and I struggled a lot with my past. It was almost as if I did show too much sorrow, then my faith was not big enough, or I didnt pray enough or trust God enough. IN reality….I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do…going through a time of healing and dealing with emotions I bound up my whole life from all the abuse and hurt. Im almost in tears as I type this. I can remember one time specifically being a single mom, having moved to Oklahoma City and I attended a huge metro church. I was so excited to be there. I was up at the alter weeping and crying, I was going through a really rough time and felt so alone in a new city. I was approached by an usher and asked to go sit down, because they needed to take the offering and it was if I was a hinderance to be up there weeping before the Lord. That never set right with me, to me I was killing the ‘happy’ mood I guess? But in that, I knew God was not in that….that He still heard my cries and even if man missed it, God didnt.  God never misses our cries for help, nor our times we think He isnt near. He is ALWAYS near, always….I have had many lonely times, even here. Im surrounded with a loving husband and great kids, but I do get lonely, very lonely and cry out to God.
    Something that really ministered to me was Baker’s take on ‘happy’. Baker says “God’s truth(the word” is intended to speak to us in ALL of life, not just when things are ‘happy’.” The church  ‘out there’ struggles to understand the ‘church in there’. Why do some churches make God out to be about being ‘happy’ all the time.   Church is obsessed with being ‘happy’. When this happens people within church can be in denial, easily deceived from what the real raw truth is from the bible when dealing with painful times of life.  We dont accept the truth that we will go through hard times and in those times God may seem absent, but the good news He is not. Hard times expend our faith as well. Everything belongs to God concerning our lives and our hearts. Truth is, God sees all, why do we feel we must hide our feelings from Him. So many times I was told in my walk with God from leaders in the church, just to put on my praise and get happy, claim it. I must not be praying enough, have lack of faith or at times I think I was even avoided when I would weep silently in church. This made me feel even more so that I was wrong or the odd one There is much Im still pondering, especially on the faith aspect Baker talked about. Love that. Something I want to share. I have been reading a book called   “Enough: Finding More  By Living With Less” by Will Davis Jr.. Wow..I cant put it down. One thing that I just happened to read this week along with Baker’s comments on happiness really was confirmation from God. Below is a few statements on happiness versus Joy from his book:
       ” Those who are rich toward God choose joy over happiness. Happiness is an American virtue. We so value happiness that we listed the pursuit of it as a right in our Declaration of Independence. But there’s a problem with happiness-it’s circumstantial. It’s based on certain conditions. Thus your happiness may wax and wane with the levels of stock market, the moods of your spouse, your health, the weather or the wins and losses of your favorite sports team.
       “Joy on the other hand, isnt based on circumstances. It is the fruit of knowing that your hope and future lie securely with Christ in heaven. It doestn mean you wont have bad days or that you dont suffer. But joy always prevails. Happiness can be shattered; joy cant. Joy is the garment of those who are rich toward God. They always have it on. (he refers to the farmer story in Luke 12:16-31).”
      “Joy enables believers to pray for and bless their persecutors. JOy will enable you to still rejoice, even in the most difficult of circumstances. “ This really spoke to me…
     

    1. Oh Staci, I am finishing up this week and just listened to Baker’s sermon. I was so moved while reading your post. I think I hear your heart…and it resonates with me, too. Maybe because it is my nature to be more of a deep thinker…sensitive…I lean toward being more melancholy perhaps. I often look around and sense the sadness that is pervasive. You said, “Like it was wrong of me to feel sadness, depression and I struggled a lot with my past.” Yet, “I was doing exactly what God wanted me to do.” And you spoke of going through a time of healing.
      Baker spoke of “faith, struggling in the dark”…struggling in the dark does not mean our faith isn’t big enough, or we aren’t praying enough. Love how he said that Jesus “took on” the man who had faith, yet cried “Help me with my unbelief!” I have a feeling at times that I am missing something in the Christian life when I encounter those who are always positive, upbeat, hallelujah and praise God…I wonder what is wrong with me and what am I doing wrong?! Perhaps some of us are more aware of that disorientation of life that is all around us. I’m not trying to say that those with an upbeat, emphasize the positive and can praise their way through anything are wrong in their outlook, but God made us all different, with different temperaments, so it shouldn’t be said “If you’re a sad Christian, maybe you’re not a Christian at all” (which I’ve heard said before)
       
      Thanks also for sharing from the book you are reading.

      1. Susan and Elizabeth, thanks for the encouraging words. I too feel this is not my home …maybe I do sense sorrow more,I don’t know? I do know I struggle with moods and depression at time. More so lately? Maybe pre-menopause….plus so many emotions at times dealing with my oldest.  This study and everyone sharing what they go through as women of faith has made me realize I’m not odd. We all struggle and go through a lot of the  same emotions and struggles. My downfall was for so long I was taught to praise God  through my storms…put on my joy…where was my faith?  Now I see in Psalms even David, a man after God’s own heart struggled and cried out with real, raw emotions worries and feelings. Something to be said too, a man…God chose to use a man, David….not a woman, who by nature is usually full of emotions.  

  35. 10. What is your take-a-way and why?
    I took a lot away this week. I no longer will believe the lie that happiness is the outcome of my faith, seeking God or how much Im reading my bible. A lie I have been told and believed for too long. I am very real with God, I even tell him when Im mad at Him personally. But for years I have held a lot of my sadness in during hard times, fearing I had lack of faith or not trusting God enough. Always putting on my ‘happy’ face. Now I realize it’s OK to be honest in that area of my heart with God. At times I have been honest, but not honest enough to let go completely and be vulnerable before God.  It’s even hard for me to admit on here for so long I was taught it’s a failure or lack of faith to even admit to such feelings or failures concerning God.  I really questioned God if this study was for me, now I can see, God has me right where I need to be. I love that God is faithful, even when we dont completely trust or understand what He is up to when we go through hard times. He never leaves us, never, or gives up on us, even if we feel we want to give up on ourselves.

      1. Amen Dee, amen! 🙂

  36. Susan–your response to Staci was so well said. I agree with both of you. I read a 5 part (long or I’d post it!) series from David Powlison that echoed much of what you said, Susan, about temperaments and some of us being more in tune with the brokenness. I always relate it to the “homesickness” I have known since a young child in my own bedroom–that longing for my True Home. It also comforts me to read of those like Spurgeon who suffered greatly with depression. And CS Lewis who reminds us we are cretaed for so much more than this world can give.

  37. I’m just getting back into the study after a busy weekend.  Ok, and dealing with some discouragement, yada, yada.  Not to mention having an ear tuned to BBC much of the time.  So tonight, finally listening to Olyott’s sermon – wow, so timely!!!  No surprise!
    Staci – where in OK and also where in Germany?  We are invited to a wedding in July there.  And I was in NW Arkansas for several years before moving overseas and still have a house there.  I can well imagine the culture shock of going back there after being in NY!!  It’s a culture shock for me just going across the border!  Haha.
    Hoping to be back on track this week.  I also got Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship at our church library Sunday.  Another sleepless night last night, but God really used it – even in the very first part of the book!  What a faithful God!!
     

    1. Hi Beth, 
      Well I grew up in upstate NY, near Lake Placid where the winter olympics were held in 1980. So I grew up with wildlife, lots of mountains,trees, lakes, rivers, snow….and the shock was the flatness of Oklahoma, wind, no trees…I was depressed for some time…lol. Of course the whole country western thing was a bit to take in too. LOL. I was born in Clinton, OK, just 85 miles west of OKC. Most of my family lives in Clinton, OKC, some in Tulsa as well. The nearest I have been to eastern OK is Henrietta, my grandfather lives there. He has lots of trees and Lake Eufaula is there as well. The people are very welcoming in OK for sure. 😉

  38. Staci, where will you be when you move to Germany?