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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?

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328 comments

  1. Prayer for my heart this morning as I’m off to a rough start. For God to sit on the throne of my heart, for me to trust Him and know that he does see and He does know, for myself and my husband to be forgiving and remember that God will provide a way. My step daughters mom and step dad are being difficult again and up to there selfish ways and they don’t care when they hurt our family. Prayer for my step daughter Fiona that she would be protected from anything negative that may be said about us and that she would know in her heart how very much we love and miss her. Please pray God would make a way for us to see her this summer and they would stop being unreasonable.  Thank you for your prayers. 

    1. Praying right now for you and your situation with Fiona. 

    2. Stephanie–praying with you now for Fiona and your relationship with her, so sorry.

  2. 3. Read Psalm 12:
    A. What is the lament and plea of verse 1?
    That the faithful are disappearing from the land and the godly need help!
    B. In verses 2-4 find:
    1) At least three different ways words can deceive
    1.With a “double tongue” pretending to be one way/hold one opinion but really being another way
    2.With flattery 
    3.With bragging “the tongue that speaks great things.” (NAS version)
     
    2) The motive behind deceptive words in verse 4
    To be your own boss and succeed on your own “our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?”
    C. Now comes a prophetic word from God through David. Find it in verses 5-7.
    That God will arise and set the afflicted in the safety for which they so long
    D. Contrast verses 2 and 6.
    The evil are “double hearted”  their words can’t be trusted but the words of the Lord are PURE!  
    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. 
    world (even w/in the “church”) “If you’re a Christian your life will have health, wealth and prosperity.”
    truth “…In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
    “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

  3. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
    Oh Father, every moment of everyday I am bombarded with lies; lies from the enemy and from the world and sometimes from my own heart.  I ask, in Jesus’ name, that You, Lord, would give me a PURE heart and ears to hear the truth.  Holy Spirit, keep speaking truth to my soul throughout the day and help me to speak truth to my soul throughout the day as well.  Thank You for how you do tell me the truth…the precious, pure truth which is so lacking in our world.  Thank You, Father for giving me face to face friends and blog friends who also speak truth.  Lord Jesus, thank You for sending the Comforter and Helper who reminds me of Your Words.

    1. Mary e-I read your prayer yesterday and was warmed to see that you have really meditated on  this psalm-I can tell He is sowing it in deep. I didn’t have time to tell you! Love you sister.

  4. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
    Lord make me desire justice over self interest-to be faithful and that you would be the delight of my heart over all else. Show me my deception today-the lies inside, my double heart and root them out-I can’t! I don’t even know the depths-but what a delight to entrust it to you..yes I am scared but at the same time You have shown me that I can trust you with it-even the pain of your chisel..So help me I want to grow closer to you transformed more and more into your image-and it doesn’t start with me trying to root out the lies but in yielding to you when you awaken me to them. Help me to see and yield today-for I want to grow more and more self-less- more like you.   

    1. Rebecca, amen to all you said above!  We are helpless to help ourselves!  How we need Him to come and do His whole sanctifying so work in our hearts.

      1. Mary e-funny how the older I am getting and the more He chisels…I see how frail I really am-how I need Him-how He just wants me to press into Him and yield to Him..how ‘unstrong’ of a Christian I am-and that his strength is definitely made perfect in my weakness-It is His power in me..for His Grace abounds. :)))

        1. Oh Rebecca, ME TOO!  When I was younger I thought following Jesus was all about sin avoidance.  I became so sin-focused that I really painted myself into a tiny prison cell, afraid to move an inch in any direction for fear I’d be sinning.  I stopped praying out loud in church for fear I might be prideful about my prayer.  I stopped sharing things in a group (like this) for the same fear…wondering about my motives.  I had to go to a very low point and then Jesus brought me up.  I finally came to a deeper understanding of G R A C E  and that the Christian life is not about walking a tight rope but about FREEDOM!  Once I became more grace/gospel focused (instead of sin-focused) and utterly dependent on Jesus ..then my heart could be transformed!  Took me about 20 years to figure out what the whole Old Testament demonstrated 5-6 thousand years ago:  Focusing on the law/sin avoidance has zero power to transform a life…but Jesus specializes in transformation!   Like you said, 

          “…his strength is definitely made perfect in my weakness-It is His power in me..for His Grace abounds. :)))”  
          Unfortunately I need little repeat lessons in this fairly regularly but even that is okay…He is very patient. 🙂

  5. My take on the sermon of Psalm 13 by Peter Baker is Wow- how beautifully and honestly he paints this word picture of David’s lament.
    Yes, I can identify with the description of the happy songs we sing when we are hurting and discouraged…
    Right now my heart is breaking for a small church in Vermont that is struggling with lack of growth. The liberal attitudes all
    around seem to make us feel deserted and the cost of maintaining a beautiful building has overwhelmed the small body of believers.
    Has God forgotten that we are struggling, that we want to open our doors to young families , that children are welcome here with so many grand-
    parents… We are praying for revival, yet how much dead wood may be blocking the way?
    Personally I am waiting now 3 years to sell a home and simplify my retirement years- but I know God is at work in the struggle. He is changing our hearts and building character in spite of this difficult situation of now moving between 2 states.
    The pastor is right on track in every point, sharing David’s lament, then his turning to pray and then to affirm his faith! This is so meaningful and the songs are a blessing. thanks

  6. It cuts me to the heart whenever I see  Jesus’ way to the cross. Oh how He loves you and me! Sinful me who everyday can’t do it on her own. That is why I need a Savior-thank you, Lord for dying for me and for experiencing such a death that I might be freed from sin and so that I can also see how much I need you so I can be more like you.
    Arise, O Lord and protect me from the enemy who maligns me. Search my heart and let me lean on your flawless words to carry me though the day. Not on man’s praise nor my feeble efforts.
    How long, O Lord will the enemy triumph over me? Look on me, O Lord. I need your help today. Let my eyes see your light in your words. Remind me that I can “trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. 6I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”
    You are my hiding place. Hide me, Lord in your holiness. I will see your good ness in the land of the living. Thank you, Lord.
     

    1. Ernema, this is beautiful–I am praying this with you this morning. Love your tender heart, you so reflect Him

      1. Elizabeth, I want to reply to your post here because I want to thank you for your prayers. God answered us in a very specific way. I have been feeling spiritually oppressed lately. Too many darts from the enemy. but today I prayed for a specific outcome with a situation at school and the Lord answered in the exact way! I was pumped! Thank you, Lord! You arose from your throne and defended me! You deserve all the praise! And there was a “collateral” gifting of being able to show Christlikeness to a colleague. Much praise to our God who is in His holy temple. Elizabeth, rejoice with me! 🙂
         

  7. I love the psalms because they are so emotionally honest. As I read Psalm 13 I wondered how many Christians really feel the freedom to be that honest, that broken, that raw…. I fear that we tend skip to the last vs.
    But I have trusted in your steadfast love;    my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.6 I will sing to the Lord,    because he has dealt bountifully with me.
    But the cry lasts much longer….
    How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?    How long will you hide your face from me?2 How long must I take counsel in my soul    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?…….
    my thought for the day is that we as Christ’s people need to allow ourselves to live in vs. 1-5 sometimes. to be emotionally honest with what we are feeling, only then does the trust really hold any weight, when we have FELT the pain and STILL said, I will trust you!

  8. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
     
    O Lord, I often feel like I have fallen out of your favor and that I am way too small for you to give me your attention.  Am I forgotten forever?   I wake up in the middle of the night and I pour over past conversations and past actions, and I come to the conclusion that I am not good enough!   How long must I wrestle with these thoughts, O Lord?    Sometimes I remember that these thoughts come from Satan, but sometimes I forget and I find myself submitting to them and accepting them.  Please give me light to my eyes, dear God;  please give me wisdom to overcome my enemies without and within.  For my heart rejoices in knowing that I am your child, and my salvation has been bought by Christ.   Let me sing songs daily that remind me of these truths.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

    1. This is beautiful! I was having a hard time personalizing this and you did it so wonderfully!

    2. “O Lord, I often feel like I have fallen out of your favor and that I am way too small for you to give me your attention” and “I wake up in the middle of the night and I pour over past conversations and past actions, and I come to the conclusion that I am not good enough!”
      I think you speak for all of us, Deanna. Often these are the hidden fears in my own heart.

  9. 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.
     
    (1) During his time of temptation just following his baptism.   (Luke 4: 1-13).      He was hungry and exhausted, and was barely hanging on, as evidenced by the fact that he turned to scripture to refute Satan’s words.  
     
    (2) When Jesus would try to tell his disciples about his impending death on the cross, but they did not even come close to grasping what he was talking about.
     
    (3)  At the times that Jesus would go off by himself to pray — especially the night at Gethsemane before his betrayal. 
     
    (4) When Jesus was dying on the cross and called out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”    (Mark 15:34) 

  10. Sunday Icebreakers:

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

    “If I am unwilling to protect innocent Jews, I will not be able to stand in front of a holy God.” This statement was convicting to me, and a good reminder to stop standing on the sidelines and start helping the oppressed.

     

    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? 

    He finds joy in serving the Lord until death. He is the real deal. He walks the talk. He is a great example for Christians, and I am excited to start reading his biography.
     
     
     
     

  11. 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.
    Why, dear God, do I find myself waiting for your answer –how long until I see results?
    It seems that bad situations can go on for a long, long time, and I keep hoping you will intervene pretty soon. Sometimes I don’t ever see it happen.  
     
    My mind is buzzing with worries and doubts, and struggling with it all brings my spirit down. 
     
    Will I ever get to the point where I feel victorious, or will I always have to struggle?
     
    B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God
     
    But I trust in your unfailing love  — underneath it all I still have faith in You.
     
    C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness
     
    The reason I can hold on and lift my voice in song is that I remember that you have always been good to me.   Above all, you have provided for my salvation through Christ.  That causes my spirit to soar like nothing else!!

  12. 3. Read Psalm 12:
    A. What is the lament and plea of verse 1?
    ~The godly and faithful people have vanished, they are no more. Or so David feels this way. I can relate at times. He feels he is all alone with no brothers/sisters in Christ to help sustain him.
    B. In verses 2-4 find:
    1) At least three different ways words can deceive
    ~Flattery,lies, deception, pride.
     
    2) The motive behind deceptive words in verse 4
    ~self-righteous,pride,not God fearing. As I was reading side notes, this was on the side of my bible notes.  Proverbs 15:1-2 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  The tongue of the wise commends knowledge but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
     
    C. Now comes a prophetic word from God through David. Find it in verses 5-7.
    ~again God sees all, even the wicked and all their schemes, nothing takes God by surprise. As I read further down Proverbs 15:3: The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
    D. Contrast verses 2 and 6.
    (vs2)~the enemy lies and flattery(insincere praise) and deception(trick,deceive, artificial) comes from his mouth.
    (vs6)~The Lord’s words are flawless(perfect, without blemish). Like silver refined(freed from impurities) in a furnace of clay, purified(to clear or purge,to free from guilt or evil) seven times. 
    When I read vs. 6, where it says “purified seven times”, I just keep seeing Jesus on the cross. He did it all on the cross.Jesus was flawless, the cross was HIs way of refining the impurities for our sins. Through the cross we are purified through Him as our savior. I love this verse, Im in awe of God’s goodness. The enemy would like to trick us with lies, and make us focus on the trials and heartaches when we go through them; but Jesus defeated all of this at the cross. He has our backs even when it feels like there is no godly people left around us.God is our sustainer.
    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:
    ~Give up, you’re not holy enough. God cant use you…your time has past, you are divorced. Look at your oldest child who is not serving God, you must not be a very Christian parent… Philippians: 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    1. Oh Staci,  My heart went out to you when I read your response to E.  I’ve said some of those words to myself.  And the ones that don’t fit me now — I wanted to jump in and challenge them for you.  So thankful that the truth of God’s work in us transcends our circumstances, that as diverse as our histories are, we know that he will continue the work he began in us.  Thanks for sharing that verse — one of my favorites, and good to have at the top of my mind, tip of my tongue again.  I so easily forget.

  13. Praying Psalm 12
    Father, Abba, I SINNED AGAIN.  I went to Facebook before immersing myself in your word today.  Forgive me for judging others and not seeing the log in my own eye.  Oh Lord, I am so determined to stand for truth that I become angry rather than turning to you.    Grant me the grace to believe that it is you that stops lies; you are TRUTH; you care about the poor.    I’m becoming hardened to lies; I expect some who aren’t believers to lie to me.  Please protect my heart and give me wisdom so that I don’t mistrust you and so that I wisely trust others.   I wonder with the psalmist, “Where have the godly gone?”  I wonder because I see some who claim to be believers spreading lies on Facebook.  Why can’t they check out information before posting it as fact?      I am so grieved at how this nation has treated people of color, even in the name of Christianity.  Forgive me for often being blind to the needs of those who have been and are being discriminated against or believing that wealth is a reflection of how hard people work.  Through your grace, I have been blessed beyond measure.  Give me your heart for the poor, your generosity.   Thank you for my friends who glorify you, whose posts on FB honor you.  Forgive me for basing even momentary well-being on the anger of a few.  Grant me wisdom to know when, if, and how to respond to falsehoods.  Make my words, like yours, pure, refined in a furnace.  I don’t like that refining AT ALL; thank you that you discipline me because you love me.  You, Lord, will keep those who are beaten down, those who don’t have financial resources;  you are on your throne and are in control.  Make my heart tender so that I listen when you speak, follow where you lead, and only speak for truth and justice as you lead.   You are my King, and I am your servant.   Though I am your bride, I am not the Queen, the ruler of your kingdom.  Oh God, I need your grace and your transformation to submit to you because I am SO STUBBORN.  I can’t follow you on my own.  Thanks for loving me.    In Jesus name.

    1. this is all so good Renee…count me in the stubborn club too 😉 I like this too “Please protect my heart and give me wisdom so that I don’t mistrust you and so that I wisely trust others. “your honesty humbles & convicts me, so thankful for you here

    2. Love this and Amen for me, too. 

      “Though I am your bride, I am not the Queen”

  14. “Oh God, I need your grace and your transformation to submit to you because I am SO STUBBORN.  I can’t follow you on my own. ”
    Me too, Renee!  

  15. missing you Joyce, praying for you~

  16. 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.
     
    Not sure I’m seeing the right stuff.  The exhaustion part was easiest for me to see — at least, at first.  I thought that “light up my eyes” might mean that he couldn’t keep his eyes open.  The Living Bible says “give me light in my darkness lest I die.”  That sounds like depression.  The verse: “How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?” sounds like he is alone.  Being alone can feed depression.  But also the nature of depression can lead one to go over the same thoughts over and over.  Whatever he has, he indicates that without relief it could lead to death.    The more I look at this, the more “classic” depression I see.  He is thinking the worst; i.e., the enemy might gloat for a little while, but it is likely that the enemy mostly is thinking about himself. He’s also not seeing all the times that he has won over the enemy.    — Until the last two verses when he speaks truth to his soul.Jesus experienced this many times, but especially during the week before his crucifixion and on the cross — when he was betrayed, beaten, taunted, and asked God why he had forsaken him.

  17. 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.
    How long will you forget about me?  (will it be forever?)  How long will you ignore my needs?  (or till you fix this)
    How long will I have to go over this in my mind, alone and desperate?  How long will the bad guys keep winning?
     
    From Spurgeon (encouraging!):

    “How long?” Does not the oft-repeated cry become a very HOWLING? And what if grief should find no other means of utterance? Even then, God is not far from the voice of our roaring; for he does not regard the music of our prayers, but his own Spirit’s work in them in exciting desire and inflaming the affections.
     

    B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God
    ?  Vs. 3  Seems like the tone changes.  He is asking for help, even while he is reiterating the situation.
    C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness
    Vs. 5-6  God’s steadfast love, salvation, and dealing with him bountifully.   David also is expressing his response:  I have trusted, my heart shall rejoice, I will sing.   

  18. Free today for Kindle:  
    How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way  by Derek W. H. Thomas

    1. He was the speaker at our Church family retreat last year–on the topic of his book–excellent stuff!

      1. LIKE !!!! 🙂

  19. I do believe that higher education in England and theological training is better than in America. 
     

    Agree!!!   Though I can’t speak much to theological education, I’m overly familiar with the other.  Nationwide,  between 20 to 40% of students entering universities require remedial coursework in the basics.  I think the exception where the US still leads might be in sciences, math, and engineering-related disciplines, especially at the graduate level.  It usually is not smart for me to act as if I am aware of this 😉

    1. Don’t think bad of me for responding here; I need a mental break. Thanks for understanding.
       
      Renee, since I teach at the high school level it is very frustrating that students need remedial courses when they get to college. I don’t believe the curriculum itself  (in most cases; although I do question some books being read by our ninth graders, and the lack of US history being taught) is the  issue; instead it is a matter of desire. I have taught for 19 years and I just believe a majority of students care less and less about doing well. It is an attitude of  just getting by versus having pride in being intelligent. They are then encouraged to go to college and, voila!, they are not prepared. Too many are passed on without being forced to perform well. Some should be asked to repeat when they don’t perform, in my opinion. When we were in high school, we could get kicked out for lack of academic performance. It sure was scary thinking that we might be told to leave. Usually it meant going to work! I think it gave a bit more importance to being at school.

      1. Laura-d,   Totally agree that it is not the HS curriculum …    It’s actually a little easier to teach (undergrads) now than it was 15-19 years ago before all the remedial courses were put in place.     And the passing (or grade inflation) is a big problem in colleges, too.    Huge ethical challenges at multiple levels.  That’s all I dare write!

  20. 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.
    David is wrestling with his thoughts daily, this suggests worry and distraction from “normal life” and joy. 
     
    As a nurse I have seen many with the light gone from their eyes, they are very sick and feel on the brink of death or even that death may be better than their current plight. David must have felt this because he says to God “give light to my eyes ” or I will die. he must have been horribly ill, exhausted and weary to feel that death was the next step, to know the light was gone from his eyes. 
     
    As a nurse  I have also had the privledge of seeing the light come back to many eyes, even though their circumstances haven’t changed too much it is a huge sign of hope when it happens! 
     
    The obvious time when Christ must have felt the same was the hours leading to his death. All the torture…and he knew the end, there was no hope of a surprise ending, he knew what must happen, and to be mocked by the very ones he did it for….oh, my.
     
    I also think of the time when He was so exhausted from teaching all day that he fell asleep in the boat (Dee do you relate? exhaustion from speaking all day?!) and then when the storm came the disciples woke Him “Do you not care?!” And He responded “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:35 and following.) How many times have I ‘woken my savior’ and He responds “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” This is the ending of Psalm 13 – David laments and then He responds with trust in His unfailing love – not in His unfailing ability to give me what I want – but what I need and what gives Him joy to see me grow and hold me close as I ask Him to help my unbelief.  Somedays I feel the light begin to leave my eyes but I am learning to respond – He is. I rejoice in His salvation, I will sing the Lord’s praise for He has been good to me!

  21. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
    Give light to my eyes, Lord or I will sleep in death, my enemy will say “I have overcome him” and rejoice when I fail. Lord, I see the need for your light in my eyes, as I seek to share your love. If I do not have your light in my eyes, true transformation in my heart and vision of the people you love then I will sleep in death, dead hearts and dead actions and my enemy, your enemy, will mock and laugh saying he has overcome those lives. God, I trust Your unfailing love, to work in me and my heart, to transform, to call me to a higher purpose than my selfishness. Look on me and answer, Lord, touch me that You may touch others through me. Give light to my eyes that I would see as You and others would see You in me. 

    1. Love your replies, Jill. I, too am a nurse and I know what you mean about seeing the light go out of people’s eyes at the bedside. For Christians, it is a temporary going out because on the other side, in heaven, I am sure the light must just be awesome! Imagine face to face with Christ our Savior! But for those who do not know Jesus, more darkness awaits.
      Perhaps for us who know and love the Lord, we have a “how long…?” also when we are about to leave this earth. How long , O Lord until I see you face to face? Won’t that be just so sweet of a conversation with the Lord? 
      Illumine our eyes, Lord that we may see you daily and love you more dearly each day. Make us more like your Son.

  22. I know I have been silent, but I have been keeping up and I am still here J. The Bonhoeffer book I chose is actually one that has been sitting on my coffee table for about a month (unread) “The cost of discipleship”
    1.  What stood out to me is that lovely and awesome song “Song of Solomon”. That song is so precious.
    2.  I read Eric Metaxas’s book on Bonhoeffer last year. What had me in total awe was that Bonhoeffer was able to see through the lies of his culture and had the courage and strength to stand against that evil regime and the ignorance of the people around him.  
    3. A.The lament was that no one was faithful, the plea is for help.  B. 1. Flattering lips; harbor deception in their hearts; boastful tongues; our own lips defending us.  B. 2. The motive is to be their own lord. C. That God will arise, He will protect from those who malign them, and the Lord will keep the needy safe and will protect those that are His forever from the wicked when what is vile is honored by the human race. D. Yummy very, yummy. Yes people lie and flatter and harbor deception in their hearts BUT GOD speaks flawless words like silver purified and gold refined. Oh that’s good!
    4. You are not strong enough to handle the trials and tribulations that sometimes follow obeying Christ.
     
    Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.             Psalm 119:28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

  23. Sisters! If you have a minute to read my post. 🙂 God answered a specific prayer today and as I was telling Elizabeth in my earlier post, I was pumped! It was definitely an Ephesians 3:20-21 experience and I had a chance to share the outcome with a non-Christian colleague. As I write this, I realized this dear colleague must be one of the reasons I got moved to another part of the building. so I could establish a good relationship with her and hopefully she will see Christ in me. Less of me and more of you, Lord. Shield me/us from the darts of the enemy with his lies and deceptions. Give us discernment to sense his ploys and flee from them and run to you, our refuge.
    Thank you for your prayers for me if you read my post from last night and earlier today. Word of God speak-that’s what He did for me today . I felt His promptings as I deal with a situation at school. And all I could say tonight is “I rejoice in His salvation; I will sing the Lord’s praise because He has been good to me!
    I talked to my sister in the Philippines and she started her chemo yesterday. The Lord is caring for her and prayers are being said and answered in her behalf. To God be the glory!

    1. Praising Him with you for your answer to prayer  Ernema! I love when He shows us what we were unable to see before.

    2. That is awesome…Praise God! love those God orchestrating. Onents when he places you in the right place to use you for his work to reach others. What a blessing you are.

    3. Ernema–so thankful for this great report! I will continue to pray for this relationship with your colleague, and for your sister. Thankful she is getting good care. I can only imagine how hard it must be to not be able to be there with her as she has this trial of cancer. Thankful for the power of prayer that overcomes any physical distance!

    4. Yes, I have a minute to read your post, Ernema! I love your enthusiasm…”I was pumped!” I will pray for your relationship with your colleague, for opportunities for you to share. Also for your sister going through chemo.

  24. 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.
     
    This is harder to pray for myself right now — because I tend to think “things aren’t that bad” until or unless they are so bad that everyone can see I’m a lunatic.  As long as I can pull it together sufficiently to meet minimum responsibilities, I can fool myself into thinking everything is ok.  Deep breath — it’s time to be honest before God and with myself.
    The lament:  Lord, how long will I be so “in over my head?”  When will I have energy?  When will I quit avoiding some people?  When will I quit hiding?
    The turn:  O Lord, I get so used to not having hope that I don’t even ask you to look at me.  It seems easier to pretend, to fake it than to be told again that the light has gone out of my eyes.  When I haven’t been honest with you or with myself, I don’t know how to pray.  Search my heart, Lord, and purify me.  Keep those who despise you from using me as a reason to despise you more.
    The truth:  You, Oh Lord, are my righteousness.  You are my strength, my salvation, my hope, my anchor, and my refuge.   I will praise you because you are God and because you love me more than I can ever comprehend.  I will praise you because you are trustworthy, and you are holy.
     
    I don’t quite “get it” (yet) but it seems 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 — because I cannot save myself.  Obviously, I can’t save myself spiritually, but I can’t fix myself in other ways either.  And because I don’t like living a lie, when my life is a mess, I hide.  Maybe I don’t need to do that if I let him be my strength ???  

    1. Renee–this last paragraph especially is really good–“safe enough not only to see that he is my righteousness, but also to be honest with him and with myself about my sin.” So true–focus on Him instead of Self changes everything.

  25. I really wanted the Bonhoeffer book Psalms The Prayerbook of the Bible.  Although I had to get the 1st edition, I hope it isn’t different from the 2nd.  I had to order through AmazonUK and it will take a couple of weeks to arrive, but I’m really excited to get it!  There are no Christian book stores where we live!

    1. Beth F. so sorry you have to wait so long but glad you will be getting the book! :)) I am awaiting mine-i bought both. I think the prayerbook is coming today in the mail and then by the end of the week I should get the other one. 

  26. praying Psalm 13 in my heart today through the Holy Spirit. 
    V. 6 I will sing to The Lord , for he has been good to me. 
    He prompted my heart to sing this song 
    http://youtu.be/XtwIT8JjddM
     

    1. Steph, Thanks for giving thanks with me for answered prayer. And for sharing this song by Matt Redman. It is a fitting praise for the soul to sing “Sing like never before, Worship your holy name”. 10,000 reasons and many more!
      Yes, the Lord has been good to me. v.6

    2. love, heard him sing this here when he came in concert,…it was such an amazing presents of God ..,the whole audience was singing this song..,beautiful!

  27. 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.
    Interesting because in my personal Bible reading I just finished reading about Absalom’s revolt!  He speaks of His enemy being exalted over him.  I always thought of Saul when I read this but it would fit with Absalom as well.  
    Jesus was actually forsaken by God on the cross so the first verse “How long, O Lord?  Wilt Thou forget me forever?” and God turned his back on Jesus in that moment so “How long wilt Thou hide They face from me?” would fit with what he went through.   Not to mention the part about having sorrow in His heart and the enemy being “exalted over me” would fit with satan at least THINKING he was getting the victory.  

    1. Mary, oh how Jesus loved us when He went to the cross! What sense of abandonment must he have felt when the Father hid his face because He couldn’t look at the sin that Jesus bore for us. The enemy thought he had a heyday! But praise to God victory was Jesus’! Praise Him! Just likewhat a pastor once said, “Friday is here but Sunday is a-coming!”
      Prayed Psalm 13 this morning as I thought of my prodigal daughter. Despite her resistance, vs. 6 is true of us “I will sing to the Lord because He has been good to us/her.” The Lord has not dealt with her/us according to our sins. He is merciful.
      Lord, bring light to my daughter’s eyes that she might see you in her circumstances. Show her your love, mercy, and grace. Reveal the lie of self-sufficiency and instead the truth of you as all sufficient. Thank you that “you who have started a good work in (her)will complete it till the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:6. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  28. Good morning, friends,
    Mary e., Your sharing of Psalm 12 yesterday speaks to my heart. I listened to the sermon today of Psalm 12.
    1. Times are bad! Everywhere it seems…
    2.David prayed. We need to PRAY for ourselves and for each other and for the unsaved.
    3. God’s Promise: As I turn to the scripture and believe, I know God’s presence and am uplifted, revived and strengthened.
    The focus goes from myself and my trials to the joy of pleasing my Lord and Savior, Jesus. He has forgiven me.
    Mary e., Your prayer touches my heart. I do thank the Father for sending the Comforter and Helper who reminds me of the pure words.
    This morning I read a wonderful devotional by Amy Carmichael, “Pause”, on Psalm 3:2 Selah: But Thou, O Lord, art my Helper, my glory and the lifter of my head. We need to pause from the wearying words around us. We need to pause and look up, away from self, away from the enemy.
    Then we need to fill that pause with praise to our Helper. Yes, as we turn to song we know the joy only He can give.
    May you be blessed, all lovers of His word!
     

    1. Shirley–thank you for sharing this, I love Amy Carmichael. This is so good “We need to pause and look up, away from self, away from the enemy.Then we need to fill that pause with praise to our Helper”

  29. 3. Read Psalm 12
     
    A. What is the lament and plea of verse 1?
     
    The psalmist is looking around for someone who loves God and obeys Him, for someone who will be faithful, but he laments that it seems as if that kind of person does not exist; they are nowhere to be found. He pleads “Help, Lord!”
     
    B. In verses 2-4 find:
     
    1) At least three different ways words can deceive
     
    outright lying
    insincere flattery done in order to deceive
    boastful words (bragging, creating an untrue picture of yourself is deception)
     
    2) The motive behind deceptive words in verse 4
     
    The motive: “We will triumph with our tongues”. I see here violence-not physical, yet still a determined, manipulative, aggressive way to elevate self and push others down. With our tongues we can boast and flatter to get ahead, make someone else look bad, cause division, manipulate to get our own way, or even destroy another person.
     
    C. Now comes a prophetic word from God through David. Find it in verses 5-7.
     
    God can hear, and He is going to arise and judge on behalf of those oppressed by those who lie, deceive, boast, and flatter. He is going to protect His own.
     
    D. Contrast verses 2 and 6.
     
    There is an unfathomable gap between the words of men and the words of the Lord. Even on one of my “best” days, my words are tainted. They come out of a heart that is corrupted by sin. But the words that come from a sinless, holy, and pure God are truly “flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”

  30. I am finding time. Discipline to run the race before me. The morning is rich every time I come. Isaiah 50:4 is true, it is I that need to be faithful to come.
    Praying for the hearts of men to be awakened to Him, to lead their homes, and to throw away all that distracts from coming faithfully to His word. 
    Started reading “The Cost of Discipleship” by Bonhoeffer. Deep and rich. Thank you Dee for introducing Bonhoeffer and encouraging us to read. 
     
     

  31. 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 believe a huge lie/deception/boast of this world today is the illusion that this life is going to somehow last forever. Youth and beauty are worshipped – all I need to do is look at the covers of every magazine at the grocery store; month after month, year after year, it’s all the same…”Look ten years younger…flat abs…lose your belly fat…anti-aging secrets revealed…rewind the clock…fashions that make you look younger…” The temptation is to get caught-up in the endless pursuit of youth and beauty with your time, your attention, and of course, your wallet. Our culture seems to live in a denial of the reality of aging and death.
     
    There are many truths from God’s Word. It is okay to take care of our bodies as good stewards of our health, but not to worship the created thing above our Creator. God’s Word tells us that our lives are like a vapor or a mist that quickly vanishes….that charm is deceptive, and beauty fleeting, but a woman who fears God is to be praised…that God looks not at the outward appearance, but rather what is in the heart.

    1. So true, Susan.  

    2. Susan–this is so good. It’s interesting (sad) how our culture is obsessed with trying to keep this earthly life here alive, when we can have Eternal Life in Christ alone!

  32. 6. Psalm 13 is a classic lament, so find these three elements:
    A. The lament – Find the 4 “How longs” and put them in your own words.
    1. How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    Lord, how long will you make me stand in this darkness – unprotected, cold, afraid. Will you ever return to envelope me in safety and warmth again? Will the peace You gave be gone forever leaving my heart in the painful pieces it is without You to hold it together and whisper its reason to it?! Will I never know love again?
    2. How long will you hide your face from me?
    Lord, when will my eyes behold beauty again? When will the balance of what is marching before me tip to the side of lovely instead of mobile pain and torture in the hearts of those around me. When will understanding come in order that my mind may cease? How long must I run relentless and without gain?
    3. How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and everyday have sorrow in my heart?
    God my heart is crushed with the burden of my life. This is too much! How can this turn to good?! I know Your plan is perfect but in my limited vision God I circle and circle around these circumstances trying to find the door that would lead to peace, to beauty, to completion and I only tire myself. I am weary and heavy with the weight of these things!
    4. How long will my enemy triumph over me?
    Father, my enemy mocks and thinks they have won and I am covered in their shame that they heap on me over and over, it breaks my heart and bends my head. Their evil is sorrowful but their lost souls are heart-breaking.  They find triumph in the thing that will ruin them eternally, it will turn and eat them alive and they do not know! They are ignorant, they are starving souls feeding on whatever crumbs are promised. God! Show them, open their eyes that they see their actions for what they are and they recognize Your work in weakness and “loss”.
     
    (There was unavoidable overlaps in praying these laments in my own words imagining Christ on the cross and the natural turn to my own life circumstances.)
     
    B. The turn – BUT! (v5)
     
    C. The truth –
    Your love is unfailing
    Your salvation is unfailing
    I WILL (choice) sing 
    He HAS been good to me
    And this truth trumps the lament – it does not take away the feelings but it does trump it.

  33. 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.  Go through the 3 steps of the lament.
     
    How long, O Lord , before You show Your face to me and light my path.  I am stuck, I am weary, I am lost.  While I have Your peace deep inside and You work in my heart, I do not see my next step and so much threatens to overtake me, Lord.  I fear being drown. How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will the enemy triumph over me? Constantly shoving me off the path and laughing as I try to stand confused. How long will the enemy taunts me with my fears and sling arrow after arrow at my seeking heart?  How long, O Lord till I see You face? How long till You rescue me from the depths of these waters and set my feet on Your path.
    BUT
    I do praise You! You are so good to me, I sing Your praises because You are the only one worthy! You have come to me and lifted me from the mire, touched my heart and given life, desire, love, beauty and safety.  What ever happens You are my Good Lord! And I stand on that, I seek You. You love is unfailing and I will trust it not seeing hopelessness but hope.  I will sing to You for You are good and have been good to me. You are everything.

  34. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcnfT4arZtI&feature=share&list=RDHcnfT4arZtI

    an amazing play list to start my day with. I can put this on and it will fill my entire morning with HIM.

    “How long oh Lord? will you forget me forever? How long will wonder where you are in this situation.
    How long will I wrestle with the feeling that no matter how hard I try I am never good enough, that whatever I do seems to fail in the eyes of the people who are judging me, my heart cries out to feel like a success and yet I continually feel as if I am a failure.
    pour YOUR light into my heart, let me see myself the way YOU see me, look on me with favor sweet Jesus, let me know that I am pleasing to YOU….when the voices of discouragement flow all around me please tune my ears to your voice and your voice alone.
    I know that you are in control and my heart rejoices in that fact. I will trust in you Lord, not in my feelings because I know YOU ARE GOOD AND YOU LOVE ME WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE.”
    my psalm 13 🙂
     
     

    1. Cyndi,  Thanks for sharing that link.   I liked it so much I saved it to my Favorites!

    2. Thank you for sharing this song, love it!

  35. Reading Psalm 12, it brought to mind a Poem a dear friend wrote for me. I would like to share it and hope it will Bless someone on their journey …….
    My Sweet
    As you look into my eyes
    To what do I see
    It is Gods light shining through me
          As you look into my heart
    What do I feel
    It is Gods love shining to appeal
          As you look at my body
    To what do I see
    It is Gods Grace covering me
          As you look at my Spirit
    To what do I feel
    It is Gods Power flowing through me
          As you look at my total being
    To what do I see
    It is my Lord and no longer me.
     
     

    1. Mary K,   Such a good reminder that the light in our eyes is God’s light, his love, his grace, his power.

  36. 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.
     
    O Lord sometimes we feel frustrated as we wait for Your answer to our prayers. We wonder if this is the way our lives should be, or will things change bringing  understanding and wisdom.   Right now we are very bothered by the disappearance of the Malaysian airplane.   We can’t understand it!  People aren’t supposed to vanish from earth like that. Did you need to bring all of those people to your throne at one time?   Please  hear our anguish!  May we at least learn the earthly reason that this tragedy happened. Give us light to our eyes, O Lord. But until you do, we trust in faith in You.   And we would ask that You will comfort those who are related to those who disappeared.   If their loved ones are with You, please give them that reassurance — that peace that passes all understanding.   We know that in the past You have been so good to us, and that You have compassionately provided for our salvation. So we sing that truth to our hearts, and place ourselves and all we love into your hands.  We are trusting, still waiting for your answer, and pray it all in Jesus name.  Amen.

  37. SO sorry if anyone gets these twice in their email. Diane graciously let me know I had posted them on last week’s lesson–thank you Diane!! 🙂
     
    OK, the Peter Baker sermon was excellent, but these notes are a bit long–sorry! Trying to condense! David is holding on to God in the dark for a long time before the light breaks through. Much of Christian worship ignores or forgets the dark side—we say welcome to the ‘let’s all feel good together Church’, where there are no struggles, no doubts. God’s truth is not only found in all of creation, the Word speaks to us in all of life, not just parts of it. What is the point of faith if it only speaks to me when I am happy and things are going well? One of the reasons the world out there struggles to relate to the Church in here, is because it looks to us and says ‘what planet are they on?’ The church has become obsessed with happy songs—about orientation in a world of disorientation. The Bible itself does not do this.The sense of abandonment is not only real but legitimate. Jesus, the Beloved, perfect holy one was cut off from the Father, and experienced abandonment. We do not know the cause of David’s pain, but we know David felt forgotten by God. We will experience these times too-like God is far away, when things don’t make sense. This is an aspect of the mystery of God—a God beyond us, as opposed to a God at our beck and call. But we are consumers, and we grow impatient. Depression can leave us feeling hopeless, helpless, standing in contradiction to our faith. We feel defeated and want to know WHY. It is hard to see our way out of the darkness and believe things can change and be different. The change, the way out is found in verse 3. David 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 Him, we only believe in ourselves…Real faith WILL actively turn to God locking on to God’s strength.” David wrestles with God. We must start relating to life as it is, with its pain, confusion, disappointment, contradiction. David insists with bold faith that all experiences of disorder are subjects to talk to God about—nothing is off limits. To not pray to Him right now about the problem I am struggling with is to withhold part of my life from His sovereignty. God is the final reference for all of life. We cannot divide our lives between the secular and the spiritual. Prayer is the key that unlocks the door to the prison and moves us towards the Light. The Crucifixion experience allowed it to seem God was absent; the Resurrection proved God is present in the darkness. Faith finds God where He promises to be—in the darkness. David trusts in God’s unfailing love, in His salvation. He can then sing to the Lord, have true happiness. The Psalms show us how we can and should sing about the experience of faith. Music is a response of Worship. Faith responds to the grace of God through song. For every area of our lives, the best way to experience something is by actually being there, having our senses engaged. So when God really wanted to communicate what He was like, He sent Himself in Jesus, and revealed Himself so that we might know Him personally. We are called to respond as David does, with our minds, our wills, our emotions, our hearts, and with our voices.

    1. Elizabeth, Thanks for your notes!  I listened but didn’t take notes (yet!).  Helpful to read after listening.
       

  38. Oh Father, for how long will You forget my precious friend, Susan?  She has faithfully sought Your face and yet day after day, year after year, this autoimmune liver disease that she has had since she was ten marches on in her body.  Her husband’s work is hard and he is paid so little, they struggle to get by, medical bills pile up and she feels like death is always lurking in the shadows.  She is so discouraged, Father.  If feels like the enemy is having victories in her life.  She is in despair.  
    Oh Father, please notice her!!!  Please see!  Please act on her behalf as only You can!  Don’t give the enemy ANY ground in her life!  In fact, Father, please redeem what he has taken.
    You are loving and kind, tender hearted and compassionate.  You care for Susan’s soul more than she could ever know.  Thank You, Father, for how You will act on her behalf.  Immeasurable, unimaginable blessings are in Your right hand.   Relief is just in sight for her!  Oh thank You, Father, for your lovingkindness toward us.

    1. oops, I forgot to label the above as #7! 🙂 

    2. mary e.–praying with you for your friend, Susan. Your words got me emotional! She is so blessed to have a friend like you praying for her

      1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth!  On Sunday evening we gathered around her to pray over her and she just sobbed uncontrollably.   My heart is just broken for her.  

  39. well, sorry again–i tried several times to get the spaces in my notes but for some reason the edit box kept stalling and timed out–oh, humility test for me 😉

  40. During the last couple of days, I’ve sensed that God is chipping away at my independence/self-sufficiency as I pray the psalms and am honest before him.   We had quite the conversation on the road today.  I was imagining that giving up self-sufficiency meant he would have to scrape me off the floor again, and kept saying, “But God…” (as in Moses’ excuses, not as in Eph 2 !).   And once again, he patiently asked “Do you trust me” and kept asking until the “but Gods” stopped.

    Now I am sitting in a hotel room.  I still had the playlist open that Cyndi posted earlier.  I saw Oceans (Where feet may fail) in the list and played that.  “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.”  I’m actually excited about where he might lead because I KNOW his love.  Although it may not mean being scraped off the floor or put behind a locked door, I trust him that even if that happens, he is on the throne and HE IS GOOD — not safe, but good.   I’m relatively adventurous when I set the borders; wonder where “without borders” will lead ??     “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us …”

  41. Sermon by Peter Baker on Psalm 13
    He quoted Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who had been a Russian prisoner, as saying that he later felt that prison was a blessing. The Psalmist, he says, came to that same kind of conclusion. David had held onto God in the dark for a long time before the light broke out in his life.
    So much of Christian worship ignores or forgets the darker side of life. He referred to the “feeling good church” where no doubts or struggles exist. But God’s word is intended to speak to us in all of life – not just when all is going well. The world is often confused and disoriented, but church songs reflect orientation – I am H-A-P-P-Y! This is a frightened, numbed expression of denial. The church is doing differently from what the Bible does. This is still God’s world. He reigns. Creation declares His glory. There are melodies of truth and hope in the Scripture. But faith struggles in the dark.
     
    1. David feels God is absent, has abandoned him. Israel also wrestled with God’s absence for 400 years in Egyptian slavery. In Psalm 22: “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me….” We hear Christ crying from the forsakeness of the cross. At Calvary Jesus sang the blues – felt cut off from the Father. Getting back to Psalm 13, what was it that David struggled with? It may have been his broken relationship with Saul, or his betrayal by his son, Absalom. There are times like that for us, when God seems far away. We are consumers and God fails to meet the “shopper’s” request.
     
    2. David feels the prolonged nature of the trial. David asks, “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?” David also felt his life was at stake.
     
    3. David feels deeply the reality of defeat. “How long will my enemies defeat me?” If God is with me, why am I losing? If He has chosen me for the throne, why does my crown sit so loosely on my head. At times like this, don’t we feel quite exhausted, useless, and hopeless?
     
    In verse 3, something changes. David turns a corner and begins to head for home. Vs. 6 shows he is moving toward the light. His dialogue, which had been mostly questions, becomes a direct engagement with God – a plea to act. David had nearly been talking to himself. Now he is on his knees before God, looking for an answer. If we don’t pray, we don’t believe in God – only in ourselves. Real faith eventually recognizes our limits and turns to locking onto God’s strength. David words in this psalm are statements of bold faith – he was a man of prayer!
     
    In the Psalms, the world must be encountered as it is. David feels all experiences of this order are proper subject when talking to God. Not to pray about these things is to withhold part of our life from God’s sovereignty. We should not have things we can talk to God about and things we are too embarrassed to talk about.
     
    David says, “My heart rejoices in your salvation.” One thing is always secure – where his anchor is– for he also knows the love of God. He says “but, I trust in your unfailing love.” This is like the man who came to see Jesus and said, “Lord, I do believe, help my unbelief.” Confidence like this is not just wishful thinking. David rejoices in the character of God throughout all of history.
     
    For 400 years the Hebrew salves called out to God. The apparent absence of God was unbearable. His silence was deafening. But God did act. Salvation is God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves. That is the definition of salvation.
     
    God moved in the crossing of the Red Sea. From that time, salvation meant something to these people. At the Passover meal each year, they remembered that salvation. Then a carpenter from Nazareth came along and took the bread and broke it and said, “This is my body….” In this farewell meal He was not just observing the Passover, but He was announcing what He would accomplish through His death and resurrection. The crowds at Calvary struggled to see God present there, however after four days, they learned that God had been present. The cross of Jesus is the way we make sense of the struggles of our lives. Even in dark, in suffering, in confusion, faith believes and knows God to be present. Faith is open to finding God where he has promised to be – even in the darkness.
     
    The Psalm writer entrusts himself to that relationship with God – to the enjoyment of that relationship. “I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.” So I am H-A-P-P-Y!!
     
    That’s why Christians love to sing. Not that we add to grace, but because our singing intensifies grace in our experience. We are not like computer hard disks. Are we not emotional and spiritual beings? Our experience cannot be reduced merely to the rational.
     
    Baker spoke about touring the Sistine Chapel and viewing the ceiling that Michelangelo had painted there. He said he heard the audible emotional “gasp” of about 200 people. Nothing you could see would prepare you for actually viewing it yourself (no photos or You-tube). There is no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes. When God wanted to let us know what He was like, He didn’t send a color brochure, or a drawing. He came Himself. In Jesus, God revealed Himself to us. This is the salvation that David could only dimly perceive. This is the grace to which we are to respond with our minds, wills, emotions, hearts, and also our voices.
     
    He ended by quoting the final verse of the hymn, Amazing Grace:
    “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun”

  42. 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.
    There were two things going on: David is over the top with exhaustion and sorrow-daily v.2 and is alone taking counsel in his own soul-God is hiding! He is depressed and anxious for he doesn’t like God turning his face from him and he is weary of running and hiding. He sees injustice against him winning and that deeply affects him all the more because God is hiding-where is his rescuer-his comfort?!  So he is deeply-I am thinking gutterally lamenting over God being absent not being his comfort and that his enemies are prevailing over him. 
     
    I immediately thought of Jesus being abandoned by God on the cross-“oh God, oh God why hast thou forsaken me!”-I also thought of Jesus in Gethsemane when He said let this cup pass but followed up with nevertheless let your will be done-in this Psalm David also followed up with turning from himself to focusing on God.
     
     

  43. 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.
     
    How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    Oh God how Long will you hide your face from me? It is bitterly cold, hopeless and lonely without you, oh God have you abandoned me forever?
     
    How long will you hide your face from me?
    My comforts have failed me-I am abandoned to this empty dark hole inside without you-I need you you are my comfort, my delight-I can’t live much longer without you.
     
    How long must I take counsel in my soul    and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
    Oh God I am alone I need you-I am desperate! Nothing is a salve to my soul like you are and so my anxiety and depression are swallowing me up day in and day out.
     
     How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
    How long shall the evil one beat down my brothers and sisters all over the world-killing them- martyring them? How long will injustice reign over the children in the sex trafficking trade-how long will me and my family have to endure the arrows of the evil one? 
     
    B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God
    But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
    Yet God you are faithful-you said no one can pluck me out of your hand so I know this time of hiding is only for a season or moment because of the cross. Because of your righteousness covers me I am yours forever and you delight in me and love me-you haven’t forgotten me. My heart rejoices in your salvation-in the cross and in the resurrection that I would be made new-that you take the layers of pain inside and use them to chisel at my heart-to long more and more for you-and when I feel lonely as if you aren’t here-you will come to open my eyes to see that nothing and no one compares to you-nothing this world brings-no pain, no ill, no loss compares with You. You are taking the arrows of the evil one and using them for your glory in my life-to make me like you-help me to hide in the shelter of YOU for you satisfy my soul. 
     
    C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness
    I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me. Lord God you have come in the midst of sorrow-you have provided in the midst of drought and you have come running to me over and over. I can trust in you-you keep your promises 100% and you have shown me this over and over. 
     

  44. 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.
     
    I think I messed up on the last question and kind of mixed Jesus praying with personally me praying..wow this is so encouraging for me to do-to know He identifies with me while I pray and He cares. It so helps to practice praying this way! 
     
    Lord God how long must they turn from you and prefer others? To find satisfaction in hurting others-to find temporary fulfillment in what you have made rather than finding it in you? How long will their ears be closed and their minds darkened walking in hopelessness-how long will they oppress the innocent? But you Oh Lord are faithful you rescued Israel out of captivity after years of silence, you broke open the prison doors for Paul and Silas and redeemed the jailer-you stopped Paul in his tracks on his way to kill and oppress Christians and made him yours-YOU are the great redeemer who redeems both the oppressed and the oppressor. You can change the hearts of men and move in the hard hearts of Kings. God come and rescue our sisters who are in prison in Texas-from the oppression of the conditions there. Be a salve to them as they hide in you-encourage them as they see your mighty hand move in the hearts of other women there. Thank you God that one day you will make all things new-you will restore completely what the locusts have eaten-and one day we will worship you 100% in spirit and in truth together in the new heavens and the new earth where we won’t need the sun for you will be the only light we need-I can’t imagine! I love you, in your delightful name amen..

    1. Amen and Amen!

  45. Good morning beautiful daughters of the Most High King! wow Bonhoeffers book Life together is so deep and Rich, and studying the Psalms 12-13 this week have just really come to life for me this week in the trials/ struggles I face. About to listen to the sermons for Thursday and answer questions, Injust wanted to share this message with all of you. I heard it a few weeks ago at church and it just spoke to my heart. I was reminded of it this morning when I read a very similar devotion for March 13  in David Wilkersons ( founder of Teen Challenge and author of  The CRoss and the Switchblade) God is Faithful A daily invitation  into the Father Heart of God. With reference to Matthew 10. I really sense this message is timely and goes along with our study.
     
    When Sparrows Fall
    http://youtu.be/KOiZG4Vy_x0
     
    God bless each and everyone of you may He keep you and make His face shine upon you.

    1. Stephanie- this was good and there was something specific in it I needed to hear. Thank you for sharing. 

  46. “The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what You would say.” Mercy Me, Word of God Speak. 
    I am very good at lamenting to God, “how long?! When will You make it better?! Etc.” I even remember (mostly) to give praise and speak of His greatness to my soul and my troubles. 
    But to listen after my lament…..I think I am listening for the wrong thing….for the answer? For the indescribable instant peace that I so desire to permeate not only my core but my weeping eyes as well. 
     
    Peter Baker was so good. I, too, am loving the accents! =)  Our fabulous note takers, Deanna and Elizabeth, have already given great breakdowns. A couple of things that stood out to me:
    “What is the point of faith if it only speaks to me when I am happy and things are going well?” being emotionally happy can be easily mistaken for solid foundation, intimate connection and a sense that you must be doing things right. But an emotional state of exhaustion, sadness, or darkness cannot be easily interpreted that way, so what Stuart Olyott said last week about seeing who people really are when God hides comes into play here. Darkness helps me to seek Him and see myself as unable therefore being reminded to settle into His grip rather than run ragged trying to fix things or find the H-A-P-P-Y. 
    “We must start relating to life as it is, with its pain, confusion, disappointment, contradiction.” So often we expect the opposite of this as victory. I am starting to see balance between what the Lord allows bad and what He gives good in my spiritual well being and His lessons to me to draw me closer and touch me deeper. My human sinful mind thinks so differently than He does but if I learn trust without borders I think it will be shown to me.
     
    Also, I am convicted that I still struggle with not living life as it is in front of those that do not know Him or even most that do know Him. In part because I do not Ike to bare my soul or heart in front of many, in part because my mental meanderings are oft misunderstood and also in part because I fear they will doubt my faith or sincerity if they see “real life”. Our entire culture has been taught that “if God were real there would only be ‘good’ and no bad”. Trouble is everyone’s interpretation of good and bad is different.

  47.  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.
     
    He cries out “how long” four times. The pain of a child’s betrayal must be so great, it would seem to pull life from you. He is weary and worn and yet—at least what I hear, is that David does know there is an end, he does believe God’s power, and so he is frustrated in the waiting because he knows God can stop this turmoil. He is holding on to God, but it is dark.
     
    I think of Jesus and the Cross, when Jesus, perfect and holy and beloved of the Father, one was cut off from the Father, experiencing the deepest abandonment.  I also think of the many times in His earthly life He may have felt-“How long?” before God would remove the scales from eyes, and let His Light shine upon hearts, revealing Truth to them.
     
    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.
    How long will You forget me, Lord? I feel like You don’t see me.
    How long will You hide Your face from me? I cannot see You. And I want to see You.
    How long do I have to feel this way? I’m tired of my own thoughts, trying to figure this out.
    How long will the enemy seem to throw darts at me, and seem to win?
     
    B. The turn — the psalmist turns from focusing on self to focusing on God
     
    David cries out in prayer–Lord, light up my eyes and help me to see though it is dark. I loved this from the sermon: “If prayer to God isn’t our ultimate refuge, it can mean only one thing, we don’t believe in Him, we only believe in ourselves…Real faith WILL actively turn to God locking on to God’s strength.”
     
    C. The truth — the psalmist remembers God’s character, promises, or past faithfulness
     
    I trust in Your love. I know You are faithful. Thank You for my salvation. I will choose to be thankful, joyful. I also really loved this from the sermon–the Crucifixion experience allowed it to seem God was absent; the Resurrection proved God is present in the darkness. Faith finds God where He promises to be—in the darkness.
     
    Remembering His faithfulness in the past is something I learned a few years ago from Dee and I have been teaching it to my kids. It’s our nature to fear, to not see how things can get any better. Even in the small daily things, like when my son beat up his leg bad enough to miss baseball, and was a mess—we could recall all the bruises and cuts prior and how God had brought him through. I want it to be a habit in me—like breathing. I breathe out my prayer to Him, my cry of lament, and breathe in His faithfulness.

  48. Peter Baker Psalms 13
    Davids Faith was difficult He clung to God in the darkness until the light Broke through
    What do we make of such lament? What is the point of Faith only speaking to me when I’m happy?
    looking at v1&2
    1. David feels God is absent and has abandoned him
              Jesus felt a cut off from the Father he also prayed for a way out ” take this cup from me, not my will but yours be done” 
    ” the consumer in us is bothered by the God who fails to INSATNTLY meet the shopper need” ” He is not a God of beckoning call” 
     
    2. David feels the prolonged nature of Struggle emotionally draining and mentally disturbing
    3. David feels deeply the reality of defeat 
    how then can God leave His anointed one so defenseless, so beaten up so overwhelmed. Contradiction here If God is with me why am I loosing? 
    To see our way out of the darkness we need to believe things can change and be different. V.3 David turns the corner Faith moving towards the light
    Faith turns to God in prayer A desperate plea for God to act LOOK ON ME AND ANSWER 
    In the end if we do not pray it can mean only one thing, we do not believe in God.
    In the end IF PRAYER isn’t our ultimate refuge it can mean only one thing we do not believe in God we only believe in ourselves. 
    REAL FAITH will recognize the limits of ones own resources ; the fears to great for us, the confusion to profound and faith with actively turn to God looking to Gods strength.
    A man who wrestles with God experiences the world as it is with it’s pain , confusion,  and contradiction 
    NOT TO PRAY about these things that take over your life at times is to keep part of your heart and life from GOD. All things can be spoken of with GOD.
    A MAIN point THAT needs to STICK and TAKE ROOT : PRAYER TO GOD IS THE KEY THAT UNLOCKS  THE DOOR OF THE PRISON AND MOVES US TOWARDS LIGHT
    FA ITH  trusts the victory of GOD
    David along with his doubts and fears confesses where his true hope lyes. 
    HE dedicates His life to the trust and love of God.
    Reference to Mark 9:24 is made 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
    Salvation always begins with odds stacked against us and no way out. Salvation is God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. 
    The TRUTH is that while God appears to be absent HE IS PRESENT and ACTIVE
    RIGHT here the HOLY SPIRIT gave me this verse  Matthew 28:20 Jesus speaking here ” and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
    The cross of Jesus is the way we make sense of struggles of our faith.
    Jesus is right here with us in our mess in our confusion in our darkness, faith believes and knows GOD is present.
    On that note we sing praise to GOD to the enjoyment of that relationship through singing in music and praise!
    our singing intensifies GRACE in our experience
    we are much more then computer hard drives that store information…….. We are MADE for encounter and personal connection.
    JESUS came in the flesh nothing less would suffice all our senses were engaged in Him
    we are called to respond to Him with ALL our WILL with ALL our EMOTIONS with ALL our MIND with ALL our HEARTS and with ALL our voices.
    We can through ourselves upon Jesus ALL not just Part 
     
    I want to TESTIFY here of the GOODNESS of GOD 
    my husband nor myself was raised to praise the Father or to love JESUS but we NOW know Him and do and our leading our daughters to do the same. He takes the foolish things in this world and uses them For his purpose. We both came into our marriage broken and each with a child from a previous relationship. HE  has healed and continue to HEAL our hearts and reveal HIs truth to us. With all the circumstances we faced it’s a miracle that we are coming up on our 7th wedding anniversary. He has taught us what forgiveness looks like.
    our oldest was born with a rare bone disorder called Fibular Hemimelia. She had major surgery at the age of 4 to lengthen her left leg. I was told by the orthopedic surgeon she would need two more surgeries. In a service at our church back in Texas in 2009 Her leg was healed! Much to my surprise and gladness she has not needed another surgery.
    The summer of 2012 our then 4 year old Lily playing upstairs in her room made her way out the window on to the balcony and tried to repel down a rope she feel from the 2 story and what could have killed her or made it to where she couldn’t walk, we prayed and called on the body if Christ to pray as we went in the ambulance to the ER. PRAISE Jesus not a bone was broken in her body no bruises NOTHING.
    IN 2001 I was in a major car accident, driving home from work I was at a red light when I turned green I started to proceed through the intersection in my Toyota corolla. A dodge Duley ran the stop light at around 60 miles per house and hit my door. I don’t remember it. I only remember crying out to The Lord when everything was going black for Him to spare my life so that I could raise my daughter so she wouldn’t be without parents ( she was not even a year old at the time and her father had chosen not to be apart of her life) I was airlifted to an ER about an hour from my home. I still have scars from where glass was embedded in me and had to be surgically removed. Not a single broken bone and I was realized from the ER in less then 24 hours. The CHP did an investigation they told my mother that I should have died on impact. I had to be removed from the passenger side because my car was so squished on my side. I PRAISE you father for the plans you had for my life! 
    Last September my heart was broken when I was at a friends house and I caught her 13 year old son kissing my 5 year old in room in the back of the house and he lied to his mother and she believed him over me and I saw the hurt in my daughters face and the shame she should never have felt. I was so ANGRY. But GOD held me and our family through that? HE WOULD not let go of US though our faith was weak at that point. Healing comes. Light shines in the darkness and overcomes it. Only by Jesus was I able to pray for that boys heart and mind not in my flesh. 
    HE is worthy of MY Praise HE deserves ALL HONOR and GLORY forever and ever AMEN
     
     
     
     

    1. ” the consumer in us is bothered by the God who fails to INSATNTLY meet the shopper need” ” He is not a God of beckoning call” 

      Thanks for that reminder….I too feel I become so selfish in my ‘consumer’ request of God…like I dont trust or have faith He works everything out in His perfect timing.

    2. Thanks for including your testimony along with your notes. I appreciate knowing how God has worked in your life. Praise the Lord.

    3. Stephanie–your testimony is beautiful–so rich and full of His mercy! So glad you shared with us–thank you!

  49. 4. Pray for your heart, using psalm 12.
    I feel prompted to pray for my husband. I was reminded this week as I was praying that I can become so focused on my own issues and forget to pray for the ones dearest to me, even if they do not voice complaints. I know my husband deals with a lot at work, sometimes its just plain politically wrong when people throw their rank around. So today Lord I lift my husband up to you,you O Lord see his heart. You see how he stays the path with integrity and does not waiver like the worldly men do. I pray you sustain Jon, keep him and put a hedge of grace over him when he becomes frustrated. Use my husband, and encourage him, yes even in a fallen work world. You see it all Lord. I praise you for he is fearfully and wonderfully made in You.  The wicked can strut and boast all they want to please men, but You see a mans heart for all he is. I thank you for my husband’s heart and he does not care to strut or impress others, only to do what is right in your sight. Thank you for your protection over my husband.