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LIFE TOGETHER FOREVER (PSALM 16)

Psalm 16 is richer than a seven course meal.

We will begin with the focus on “Life Together,” the GREAT GIFT we have in Christian fellowship.

This is a unique gift, and this psalm and Bonhoeffer will help us approach it wisely.

Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Life-Together-Quote

Then we will close our meal with a brief but glorious Easter sermon that focuses on the close of this psalm, and the triumphant truth of the resurrection of Christ and what that means for us. Remember what C. S. Lewis shouted across the train station to a parting friend?

REMEMBER! CHRISTIANS NEVER SAY GOOD-BYE!

Indeed, as Christ was raised, so will we be, and we will be together forever. So let us learn how to love one another well now.

emptytomb
You will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption (Ps. 16:9-10)

But let us begin with life together on earth.

Our Lord delights in us, and as we delight in one another,

keeping the Lord always before us,

the flame spreads.

We have something no other fellowship can have. We have the living Spirit of God who comes to us like a flame, igniting our fellowship. We experience that here on this blog — one is quickened by the Spirit and that flame spreads to another, until we are all warmed by the fire.

yulelog-fire_lgI want to tell you this week the story of something that happened this year, when God met the need of one of our own, and that flame warmed another, in hopes you all will be warmed by the fire. We belong to a God who is real, who delights in us, and delights in surprising us. I want to tell you two stories involving some of our own that I hope will spread the flame in your own heart giving you confidence that:

  • He exists
  • He cares about our fellowship
  • He delights in surprising us with encounters!

GodOfSurprises Both of the stories I’m going to tell you involve our own Jill. Her transformation began when Julie, who lives in the city in Nebraska where I lived for twenty-five years, sent her Idol lies. I want you to meet Julie first, through this video, which was done for Idol Lies. My daughter Anne is the first woman, and Julie is a bit later in the yellow sweater:

http://vimeo.com/71976374

Jill and JulieJulie was impacted by Idol Lies, and thought about her friend Jill (our Jill!) who lives across the country. They have maintained a friendship for many years. Julie had prayed for Jill, being concerned with the bitterness and depression she saw growing in Jill’s life. This weekend, I am back speaking in my hometown — and went over to meet Jill at Julie’s house. I asked Jill to share a testimony at the retreat which she did wonderfully!  She did a FANTASTIC job, so anointed by God. I loved meeting her, having her in my small group, and thanking God again for the depth of women on this blog. It was also so fun to have her meet our own Joyce. (I wish you all could meet Joyce — this woman who is so filled with Christ.) Kim, who used to be on the blog, was there too — having decorated for the retreat amazingly. Sweet fellowship.

How God loves to bless us through our friendships. I have Jill’s written testimony on how Idol Lies impacted her, which you will read this week. But that is not the end of this amazing story! When Jill came on the blog, so did so many others, so I asked a handful of women who have been with us a long time to welcome and mentor the newcomers so they didn’t fall through the cracks. (I don’t always do this — but sometimes I’m on the ball.) Elizabeth was randomly put with Jill. When Elizabeth asked Jill how she happened to come on the blog, Jill told her that Hope’s story in Idol Lies has changed her life. Elizabeth was stunned, for unbeknownst to Jill, Elizabeth is Hope, having used a pseudonym in Idol Lies. This so encouraged Elizabeth, for she knew God was behind bringing them together. (Indeed, He delights, this psalm tells us, in His saints who are in the land.) Then Jill and Elizabeth discovered they lived not too far from one another and shared the same birthday. So they met in person, rejoicing in our amazing gift of Christian fellowship — unlike any other bond. If we keep the Lord always before this, as is the theme of this psalm, we can rejoice when God gives us a new friend, adding to the old. We can also rejoice when He gives our friend a new friend, for He is our solid rock. A huge part of keeping life together healthy is keeping the Lord in the midst of our fellowship so that we help one another cling to Him, and not to one another. This is God’s plan, for as the old hymn says, “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus name.”

Psalms_16-8

In Life Together, Bonhoeffer writes:

doing_lifeI have community with others and I shall continue to have it only through Jesus Christ.

He who looks on his brother should know that he will be eternally united with him through Jesus Christ.

We enter into that common life not as demanders but as grateful recipients.

The more meagerly our brotherly love, the less we are living by God’s mercy and love….The more genuine and the deeper our community becomes, the more will everything between us recede, the more clearly will Jesus Christ and His Word become the only thing that is vital between us.

 

SUNDAY ICEBREAKERS:

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

2. As you are journeying in this Christian life, what is one important thing (though certainly not the only thing) you have learned about life together?

SONGS FOR THE WEEK

Our own Staci, who lives across the ocean from most of us, suggested this wonderful song for this week — it is perfect. Staci herself is welcoming a dear friend, Stephanie, for a visit, telling me she is getting fresh flowers for the guest room. Friendship is such a gift and we must treasure our friends, yet also hold them loosely — for they cannot be our rock. How can we possibly do that? By believing the Lord is the friend closer than a brother, and that He goes before us, is all around us — here is Staci’s song:

Here are some others to take you through the week:

Blest Be The Tie That Binds by Sara Groves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynpUnI5yJTM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OEqavkJGCE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URObwqHjjLU
(This is a relatively unknown Charles Wesley Hymn inspired by Psalm 16)

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study, Including Jill’s Story

3. Read Psalm 16:1-7

   A. Often the summary of the psalm is in the opening of the psalm. How would you summarize verses 1 and 2?

   B. Hear the voice of Christ first in this psalm, as Bonhoeffer as helped us do. In whom does He delight according to verse 3?

   C. Now this must be our prayer as well — do you delight in the saints of the land? Do you cherish Christian fellowship? Thank God for it and then pray

        for ways He shows you that you could better delight in the saints of the land.

   D. What do we learn happens when we run after idols according to verse 4? Often a gift is so good, we turn it into a god and then it cuts us to pieces.

        Give an example from your life.

   E. In contrast, when you make God your God, what happens according to verses 5 and 6?

Derek Kidner points out that the priests were not given a portion of land — that was so they would make the Lord their only inheritance. It is so easy to cling to His gifts — children, friends, houses, and lands. When we turn gifts into gods, our sorrows increase. But when we release them, when we make the Lord our inheritance, the boundary lines fall in pleasant places. I asked Jill to tell the back story behind why “Hope’s” story meant so much to her.  Here is Jill’s story — see how her sorrows increased as she ran after her idols, and how the God who delighted in her used Christian fellowship and those sorrows as catalysts to bring Jill back to Him, to make Him her refuge, to set Him always before her. Here is her practice video followed by her written testimony:

http://vimeo.com/91161185

I was in a bad place. My husband and I had walked through a very difficult chapter in our marriage and then God called him to join the Army as a bandsman. Of the following 23 months only 10 would be spent geographically together due to trainings and deployment. Through all this my idols demanded a severe price: my joy. I just did not have any. I was angry, especially at my kids. It grieves me to admit but eventually my 2 boys would smile at me and I would feel nothing. I yelled…a lot. I read book after book on how to be a better mom, but none of it changed my heart or made a difference. I felt helpless to change me and I was right. 1 Peter 1:7 – “These [trials] have come so that your faith … may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” In September of 2013 I started to (finally) read Idol Lies, recommended by a friend in Nebraska. The stories were helpful, the concepts solid but none of it truly permeated, until Hope’s story. I was intrigued by Hope from the get go and impressed by her willingness to give up a dream but it was the quote on p 134 articulating her fears over adoption that stopped my life cold in its tracks. I will never forget the day, as I read Hope’s fear that an adopted child would not love her God lifted my veil of ignorance. I felt the same crossroads that Oswald Chambers spoke of as Hope did. I saw that I had no joy in my children because I desired to control them, their life, their salvation, their love and every disobedience, every naughty inclination (normal for growing boys!) was literally the weight of their entire life (my investment) on my heart. My idol screamed at me “They don’t love you or they wouldn’t (fill in blank)!” “They will never become men of God if this is how they act!” “Your kids are terrible” “This isn’t what was supposed to happen!” “YOUR LIFE IS TERRIBLE!” Etc, etc. In that moment, I saw black and white – I thought my life was broken, my kids broken, but really it was me who was broken. I sat on my couch with Hope’s story in front of me, God lifted my blindness, and I wept, repented and turned towards Him. From that day forward I have been fundamentally different, from the inside out. I have that first love feeling for Christ that I never had prior to seeing my idols (even though I had accepted Christ at the ripe age of 6) and that love spills onto my boys. After a life in church, I had yet to understand true relationship with Christ. That day, I finally allowed Christ into my very core, giving up the idols that had resided there. My understanding of Christianity and Christ is completely different now. Now when my boys disobey or think of (very) creative naughty activities I do not have the entire weight of their lives on my heart, I merely have a behavior to manage and an opportunity to train/teach. I hardly yell anymore. When they smile at me, I will time to slow down to relish every moment of it and smile back with sincerity! Their lives are a gifted experience, not a threat. My love from Christ is secure. My worth in Christ is secure. I do not hear my idols screaming anymore. I know I will still struggle, we all do, but my joy runneth over. The rest of Hope’s story just drove home what the Lord was showing me. I, too, struggled with my relationship with my father. I, too, severely stonewalled those who disappointed and hurt me. I, too, struggled with grace, especially towards my children. I, too, struggled with having the perfect Christian family. Even her response to her husband being gone a lot (p 139) was something the Lord wanted to show me. It was as if God showed Hope all I needed just so she could show me. And I am (truly) forever grateful! Praise be to God and thank you, “Hope.”  

4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why?  

5. Read Psalm 16:5-11

A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?

B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them?    

C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?

D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?    

E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them,and what came through them was longing. These things—the beauty, the memory of our own past—are good images of what wereally desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself they turn into dumb idols,breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

the-scent-of-a-flower-c-s-lewis1

Thursday-Friday

Listen to this message by Hugh Palmer and share your notes: LINK

6. What are your notes from the sermon?

Saturday

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

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260 comments

  1. E. In contrast, when you make God your God, what happens according to verses 5 and 6?
     
    I think there may be some connection with verse 4 about “I will not pour out their libations of blood” – that had to be in a cup – not pouring from that cup onto the altar-not an acceptable sacrifice? Then in verse 5 there’s another cup, “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup”
    I can’t quite put it together yet…but I think maybe it is significant. These are two different altars, maybe…verse 4 is sacrificing to idols. That’s what I do when I turn to idols; I’m sacrificing at a foreign altar, so to speak. Verse 5 seems to say “this is where you belong-here at My altar with the cup I’ve given you”. (or maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there!)
    When I make God my God, I am in a good place. He gives me my portion and my cup – just what I’m supposed to have. My trouble is when I see that portion/cup as “half-empty” and go looking elsewhere. Even if I think I don’t have what I want, God says I do! My portion and cup are “assigned” to me. I don’t always want or like the assignment. I’m looking in your cup and it looks better than mine:)) God surrounds me with a loving boundary and I can learn to live in the situation I’m in and consider it pleasant – because He’s in there with me. I also have a delightful inheritance waiting for me in heaven.

    1. I think those are very insightful observations, Susan.  I think you’re right and there is a contrast/connection……Good comments.

    2. Beautifully said, Susan.
      Working on being content with my situation!

  2. 4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why?  
     
    My idol screamed at me “They don’t love you or they wouldn’t (fill in blank)!” “They will never become men of God if this is how they act!” “Your kids are terrible” “This isn’t what was supposed to happen!” “YOUR LIFE IS TERRIBLE!” Etc, etc. 
    The rant Jill was having within her heart is so typical of our thoughts when our idol is in control.  I’ve been there and done that in the past!!
     
    5. Read Psalm 16:5-11
    A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it? 
    The joys and the benefits of a life lived in companionship with God.  

    B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them?  
    God will counsel us even during some of those sleepless times at night.   
      
    C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?</strong 
    I have confidence, I am secure, and I will not be shaken. 

    D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?     
    The promise of eternal life.   The Holy One who will not see decay is (I think) predicting the resurrection of Jesus.   Because of Jesus’ resurrection, we too have the hope of eternal life.
     
    E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?
     
    The Lord will fill our lives with joy and eternal pleasures when we remain in His presence!   I have tasted this, but I cannot say that it is a constant condition.   Unfortunately I seem to fall in and out of  that state  –I do not consistently seek His companionship.   When I have neglectfully turned away and then come back, I am absolutely struck by the difference.  

  3. 3. Read Psalm 16:1-7A. Often the summary of the psalm is in the opening of the psalm. How would you summarize verses 1 and 2?
    The Lord is my provision…He provides for me what I need.
     
    B. In whom does He delight according to verse 3?
    Godly people.
     
    C. Now this must be our prayer as well — do you delight in the saints of the land? Do you cherish Christian fellowship? Thank God for it and then pray.
    I cherish this Christian fellowship…I cherish the genuiness and authenticity of my blog sisters.  Similar to Susan, I too struggle with comparison, and then add perfection, unreasonable expectation (idol fruit!).  Dear sisters, the Lord has shown me some nasty fruit emerging from me in the past week or so…  As Jill said, somehow I keep ending up back in the cell gripping the chains of those idols (By the way, Jill, thank you for your testimony).  I’ve been listening to Dee’s talk from Set Apart on my way to/from work…my idols have cut me to pieces…  I so wish, hope, pray for the relief expressed by some of you gals…the chains falling off.  I thought what is in my head was in my heart, at least partially, but now I question.  I know, silly…Dee even says that idols keep trying to come back.  Just so frustrating…

    1. Nanci, praying for you now.

      1. Thanks Jill.

    2. Nanci–I appreciate your honesty in “c”. This past week (maybe more) I have especially felt my control idol lurking at every corner. I pray and feel encouraged, and then am constantly humbled by my default mode of wanting to control even the tiniest of things. I will pray for you as I pray for me–for the chains to continue to break! “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, My God, my Savior has ransomed me, And like a flood His mercy reigns, Unending love, amazing grace”

  4. E. In contrast, when you make God your God, what happens according to verses 5 and 6?     When we focus on the Lord Himself as our greatest gift, indeed our very food and drink…..we can feel His support and strength.  We are secure in Him alone.  He is enough.  He is more than enough because he delights us and makes our life pleasant besides meeting our basic needs.    At some point, I made a note in my Bible that links this verse with I Timothy 6:6-8  ” But godliness with contentment is great gain.  For we brought nothing int0 the world, and we can take nothing out of it.  But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”   The picture of contentment goes beyond our basic needs (food and clothing) and lavishly gives us a delightful inheritance.   Truly amazing.  We inherit all that the Lord has to give…..here on earth and ultimately: eternal life.   My mind is drawn back to the verse I remembered yesterday.  Isaiah 26:3  (KJV)  “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee.”   A challenge with a phenomenal promise. 

  5. 4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why?    The visual picture of being in a cell, looking beyond the walls, gazing out at the sun, grateful for God’s promise of eternal redemption, yet staying in the cell, trying to gain warmth from the chains and the idols.    That is a very powerful picture.  As I’m sitting at my dining room table right now typing….I’m looking out the patio door at the sunny day that has finally begun to melt the snow and break up the frozen lakes and bring the promise of new life to my region.  It sends a shiver up my spine to think what life would be like if all I could do is gaze beyond the walls.  And as I’m drawn to that physical warmth of the sun out my window……how I need to desire that warmth of living under God’s control every day.  Thank you Jill, for sharing your story of God’s remarkable work in your heart. 

    1. I too was struck by the visual of the cell…I agree, a “very powerful picture.”

  6. What do we learn happens when we run after other gods?
    First, thanks, Jill, for sharing your story. I was privileged to hear Dee last year in Westfield, Ma. I read Idol Lies, and was first saddened to realize that I was running after idols. It is so easy to have blinders on one’s eyes, and not see what is happening. At different times in life I ran after other idols. However, now I am in a stage of life, which is new to me. For the past few years I have been adjusting to changes. I left a satisfying career to care for my mother, after 2 years she went to glory. Now I am adjusting to my own aging and it can be a lonely road. I connected with a woman from church and we were
    of one mind, seeking Jesus. I never thought that friendship could be an idol, but that  book actually convicted me that the friendship was meaning too much to me. I felt disappointment when we could not get together. Idols create expectations
    that are unrealistic and then loneliness results. I resonate with the verse “Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves.”
    I know that my joy is in Christ alone. You Lord, are all I have and you give me all I need. Oh, yes, my future is in your hands.
    I have been struggling with my desire to live in Vermont, since I have inherited my mother’s home. Yet our home in Ma. has not sold. My husband has worked hard to maintain this home and I need to assist him more. I am still struggling with the next step.
    I will meditate on verses 5 & 6. I will be grateful for all the gifts the Lord gives me. He will guide me and though I move  in and out from contentment to worry and back to contentment, I know that he will work all things out. I have always wanted things to be planned and follow my pattern, but that is not his way.  This psalm is what I need right now!
    Thanks, Dee, for your sharing of your idol of control. It opened my eyes to this subject that I did not understand.

    1. Shirley, it does sound like you’ve gone through many changes, ups and downs, in the last few years….leaving your career, being a caregiver, losing your mom, the uncertainty of aging…and this is very insightful and true: “Idols create expectations that are unrealistic and then loneliness results.” Praying for you now that God will help lead you with your next steps.

      1. thank you, Susan
        working on letting go… of my own plans
         

  7. Just have to say that I’ve loved seeing the women on this blog reaching out to each other, coming alongside with understanding and support, comforting someone else with the comfort they have received…how Diane ministered to Wanda and Laura-dancer to Staci…and I’ve received support myself. This is a wonderful place, doing “life together”!
     
    And Staci, I’m so sorry you’ve been crying in the middle of the night over your daughter, Hannah – it is hard to think of her moving so far away from you and you have so many concerns for her. Praying for you, Staci.
    Laura-d, you and your husband are bearing a whole lot of financial responsibility right now to help your kids. I am thankful with you that Sarah was removed from the friendship with the girl who is now in prison, and that your oldest is happy in culinary school. You’ve been through so much and we’ve seen you turn to Him in trust over and over again. Keeping you in prayer, too!

  8. 4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why?
     
    Thank you Jill for your beautiful, open, vulnerable testimony! It is going to help each one of us and many others, too. I loved seeing you and hearing your voice on the video. The image of being in a cell and choosing to remain in there, even though the doors are wide open, is a powerful one. Christ has come to set us free, yet I don’t think I really understood much more than it was freedom from eternal punishment-until I came here and began to learn the freedom He longs to give us here. Chuck Swindoll used a similar example when he spoke about many slaves in the deep South continuing to live as slaves as they were unaware of the Emancipation Proclamation and that they were free. I love how Jill said that in her heart, she got up and walked out!
    From Jill’s written testimony, I feel I could put myself into what she described as when her children would smile at her, she felt nothing; only for me it would be towards my husband. For me it would be reading book after book on how to be a better wife but unable to change. I also identified with “Hope” and stonewalling.

  9. 5. Read Psalm 16:5-11
    A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?
    Security, pleasure, delight: our inheritance in the Lord
     
    B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them?
    He counsels me:  which speaks of comfort, wisdom, guidance….in the night: which says to me:  in darkness, in loneliness, in sadness.
       
    C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?
    When the Lord is before me.  When I am focused on Him….I will not be shaken.  This brings to mind three ‘c’ words:  calm,  confidence, contentment.   It also brings to mind, a dreaded ‘c’ word:  cancer.    I had 4 cancer surgeries in 4 consecutive months 9 years ago.  Before each surgery, the Lord gave me comfort when I kept repeating in my mind Isaiah 41:13 “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear.  I will help you.’ ”   Psalm 16: 8 is so similar.  “He is at my right hand.  I will not be shaken.”
     
    D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?    
    a glad heart…  joyful words…  a restful, secure body……  Those are amazing gifts.   It reiterates the beginning when it says ‘apart from you, I have no good thing.’  All good gifts come from God.
     
    Who do you think this is talking about and why?  Verse 10: 
    This is David’s testimony but ultimately, it is about Christ.   From Bonhoeffer’s book:  Psalms; the prayerbook of the Bible:
    “According to the witness of the Bible, David is, as the anointed king of the chosen people of God, a prototype of Jesus Christ.  What happens to him happens to him for the sake of the one who is in him and who is said to proceed from him, namely Jesus Christ.  And he is not unaware of this, but ‘being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God has sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendents upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ.  (Acts 2:30,31)”  pg. 18,19
     

  10. D. What do we learn happens when we run after idols according to verse 4?
    We will suffer. 
     
    Give an example from your life.
    Rather than my identity being in Christ, I allowed my identity to be my work…how I felt about myself, my value and worth, was determined by how I was doing at my job…was I able to come through in the clutch, meet the unrealistic deadline, over deliver, etc. (yahoo!…I’m great) or an error made, a “ball” dropped, not getting this or that, etc. (I stink!…anxiety).
     
    E. In contrast, when you make God your God, what happens according to verses 5 and 6?
    We are secure in the Lord…He will provide for me.

  11. 3. A. How would you summarize verses 1 and 2?
    It jumps out to me that David will take refuge period but requests that it be safe because David realizes that apart from God there is no good – safe or not.
     
    B. In whom does He delight according to verse 3? the saints in the land.
     
    C. Now this must be our prayer as well – do you delight in the saints of the land? Do you cherish Christian fellowship? Thank God for it and then pray.
    God, thank you for the sweet gift of fellowship, for the hands and feet of Jesus here on earth. I repent of being selfish with friendships and putting myself in the center.  God, thank you that you have recentered my perspective on You, please keep my eyes on You. I will trust that You know best in friendships and I will allow Your sacred timing instead of forcing my own. Change my heart to love unconditionally those You have put in my life, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.  Do not let me become selfish in expectations but instead grateful for what You so graciously give. Amen.

  12. D. What do we learn happens when we run after idols according to verse 4? My sorrows increase.
     
    Give an example from your life.
    I often make relationships into gods, turning to people rather than God. Eventually people hurt me (sometimes legitimately and sometimes it is only perceived as hurtful behavior when it really wasn’t) and I get cut to pieces wondering “What’s wrong with me?!” I am learning to turn to Him. Now that I can see the behavior I can start to replace it with Him. God, help me. This Psalm 16 study has shown me much in this regard.

  13. I just wanted to share a moment with you that I had today. As a teacher most of my work gets done outside of the school day. When we have teacher days, we are expected to work on things that administrators want us to do. Many times it is curriculum development but not for your personal classroom.
    Recently I have  been pretty “down” but I think it is because of the medication I am taking. So, I haven’t felt like doing much lesson planning or grading papers. I haven’t been able to rally myself like I usually do. Today was a delayed opening where we were supposed to work on “curriculum.” I am not prepared for the rest of my week and I was dreading the “wasted” time with another group I was supposed to help. My boss sent me an email this morning saying I could work on my class! I was elated! It meant that I could actually do what I needed to get my job done at work and not take it home tonight. It also meant I was saved because I didn’t have anything else planned for the rest of the week. It was totally God taking care of me; I know it. I nearly wept with joy! Thank you Jesus for always being with me 🙂

    1. I am SO glad that God moved in the heart of your boss to give you time to work of your class work. I presume your boss is not a Christian, yet this certainly is a “God” thing. Rejoicing with you!

      1. Yes, Diane, I don’t suppose he is a Christian at all. In fact, I believe he is gay. He is very kind to me, and I never fail to tell him how I will pray for people 🙂 He is tolerant of me (and I him) when many others are not. BTW, Krista has been on my mind…..how is she?

        1. Laura dancer, thanks for asking about Krista. She is doing OK. The major concern right now is affordable accommodation. She needs space to have the boys and yet a safe apartment she can afford. I would appreciate prayers for that. Also, she still needs a job.

    1. God is good to me, Dee. I watch all the time for His touch on my life these days; I need His comfort. I really did tear up when I was given the gift yesterday morning. It was so special! I sure wish I could hear you speak sometime in person this year. Any plans to come near the northeast? I don’t mind driving long-ish distances either 🙂

  14. 4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why?  
     
    I loved how she described our sin-our ‘cell of sin’ how we were born in it and that when she came to know the Lord he set her free but she unknowingly was still clinging to idols-she referred to them as cold dark ‘chains’.  She knew Jesus was the answer in setting her free from her idol chains but she didn’t know how to get there-then she read Elizabeth’s story in Idol Lies and He woke her up and she let go of her idol chains and ran to him and then he to her–delighting in Him and she sensing his pleasure..At first she didn’t know how to get out of her chains closer to Him-but GOD USED A STORY-ELIZABETH’S TESTIMONY…To open her eyes. I love how He came to her and how she didn’t close up in response but opened up..I LOVE JILL’S STORY! :))) Then God gave her an extra kiss when she and Elizabeth got to spend time together. He came to Jill overflowing-like a dam that burst. This is the kind of God who loves us and as Psalm 16 says-delights deeply in us! 
    Jill’s story encourages me to press on today to trust God for He is alive and powerful and is with me..it is so easy for me to step into unbelief when hard things happen-and do and will-so Jill encouraged me.

  15. Thanks, Staci for sharing the song, “Come to me”. What a song of love and care from our Lord, Jesus Christ! Indeed, He is all we/I need!
    Appreciate Laura’s testimony and have had similar struggles as a teacher. God is good to orchestrate our circumstances-we can look at Him ALWAYS and realize He really does care about the minute details of our lives.
    I have a confession to make today. I mentioned Psalm 16 as one of my favorite psalms. And I know it is because of vs 5-8. Questions related to verses 1-4 made me realize I often skip (or not give too much attention to) the “CALL” part of the Word. I prefer relishing in the “COMFORT” hence the “pleasant places, delightful inheritance, instructs me, he is at my right hand” is what speaks to me. I need to also ask myself the hard CALL questions, am I running after other gods? Or better yet, who/what are my gods? Lately, it has been my job. Sure, I need to be a good Christian model. But that should not my ultimate goal. It is a subtle ploy of the Devil to consume me by allowing an inordinate amount of time for me to spend on job-related responsibilities. Busyness does not mean I am in the will of God. Just like what Dee said, our gods can cut us to pieces. That is what I have felt lately as several student related issues came to a head. The minute I thought I was out of their grip (gods of self, I am in control, my students have to act like what I want them to be or else I will look incapable), they return and invade my life and before I know it, I am sucked once again into its whirlpool.
    Thanks be to God who does not leave me at my own defenses. Surely, he counsels me and instructs me. …Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. I will get up and go once again with his strength and wisdom.

  16. DEE – In answer to your above question: (Also my take-a-way for this week.)
    Psalm 16:2 “I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.” and v. 8 “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is always at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
    And the Bonhoeffer quote, “We enter into that common life not as demanders but as grateful recipients.”
    I am seeing through Psalm 16 that when I hold tightly to the friendships gifted me I start to make them THE good thing when in reality ‘apart from God I have no good thing’ and I begin to set friends at my right hand and then we are both shaken but with Christ I am solid. When I start to demand of my friendships (even if it can be logically justified!) I put myself at the center instead of Christ and then, yes v.4,  “my sorrows increase.” However, if I am a recipient I trust Christ as the center and I enjoy the gift all the more.
    Hope that makes sense….its very meaningful to me, but a bit muddly! =) I am often reminded how you claim Christ as your husband and it encourages me to do the same in my lonely times.
     
    PRAYER REQUEST
    My youngest son (Jaxter, 5 yo) is having his tonsils and adenoids out tomorrow.  I would love for him and I to be covered in prayer for good outcome, no complications, and pain control. Thank you!
    PRAYER REQUEST

    1. Jill, praying for Jaxter and will pray tomorrow, too.  What time is his surgery?

    2. Praying for a smooth procedure for Jaxter, for a good outcome and for comfort afterwards. God be with you.

    3. Jill, thanks for your further thoughts on friendship and putting Christ at the center of your life. I finally got a chance to listen to the video portion of your testimony about the “cell”. I can identify with the word picture — so good. Thank you for your honest testimony and for sharing the joy that comes from standing up and leaving the cell.
       
      Also, praying for Jaxter and you. Poor dear! Hope all goes well tomorrow!

    4. Praying Jill 🙂

    5. Prayers for Jaxter.  And for his mom…..peace and confidence. 

    6. Jill, I echo the prayers for Jaxter and you…peace, healing, and comfort…take care.

    7. Jill, I’m sorry I found this post late, but am praying now for Jaxter’s smooth recovery.

  17. From Dee’s response above.  Thanks, Dee, for the insight — goes WAY beyond “interesting” 😉

    An interesting insight into verse 5 “The Lord is my chosen portion” is that the tribe of priests were not allowed a portion of land — to demonstrate that the Lord was their portion — and that when you had the Lord, the boundary lines fall in pleasant places.

    Wow!  I’ve been thinking about this for a couple hours — helps the pieces fall into place.  I was SO familiar with a couple of the verses in Psalm 16 that they didn’t completely soak in.  When I read this, I could see how losing some “things” (people, job, health, $) relatively early in life may have protected me from clinging so tightly that I completely destroyed myself and others.  I do see the Lord as my portion during the worst times.

    Yet I’m like one of those little hand-held water-filled balloon-type things (or the air-filled stress people in which a nose pops out when you squish it):  Take one thing away and something else pops out (yesterday it was ebay; hadn’t been sucked into that for almost 10 years!).  I’ve learned some “skills” at not being consumed by detaching, not caring, withdrawing.  
     
    Now the Lord is calling me to set him before me during those in-between times when I often am fiercely independent.  During the easiest times, the praise bursts out; during the times I need to be scraped off the floor, I have no choice but to depend on him.
     
    So, here’s my question:   How do I recognize that HE IS MY PORTION when I am not totally desperate?    Certainly, I am totally desperate spiritually.  And I know that I am totally vulnerable physically, emotionally, and socially.  But I don’t always feel desperate (nor do I want to!).   I want him to be before me ALWAYS, not just when I am sick, lonely, depressed, etc.    I am seeing that some of the things I do to prevent being sick, lonely, or depressed I ONLY am able to do because of his strength.   When I am around others who rely on their own strength, I move toward doing the same.  And my “act” is misleading enough that I sometimes forget that HE is my portion and my strength.   I think that if I set him before me in those in-between times, I wouldn’t withdraw so much to protect myself.   (except now, it is habit — and I’ve become much more introverted)

    I’ve been asking myself “What would be different if I completely trusted him?” Last night, the answer was grading papers instead of ebay!  It seems as if he is opening up the doors to life again for me (good news) but I want to know “how to do it” (ugh! I want control — bad news).   Oh wow, he is answering my question right now!!   And that is to “trust Him.”   I usually do know the next baby step to take, but sometimes I am too overwhelmed to see it because I am not resting in him.  I’m not future-oriented enough to worry about future steps anyway.    (Next step is to get back to work — and   I can do that because I’m not overwhelmed.  But I might have some coffee first!)
     

      1. Maybe it’s remembering to be thankful? Keeping an attitude of gratefulness in the pleasant times when we aren’t feeling desperate and thanking Him for a time of no trials or what are just minor annoyances, really.

        1. Susan, yes!  So thankfulness becomes a habit rather than ranting and raving

      2. Dee, the prison example is excellent.
        I often don’t reach desperation until I am one step short of being locked up.  By the time I acknowledge dependence, others are more concerned than I am.  I get scared when I am one step short of collapse, but often am still independent at two steps short of it!  I am so stinkin’ independent that I’ve become blind to reality.  Although, in reality, I am as dependent on him now as I was during the worst years of my life, I so easily forget that God is in control.     I have been turning to him more automatically lately, and I don’t want that to change because he deserves first place in my life.When I posted the question earlier, I was thinking of the following song:

         All I once held dear, built my life uponAll this world reveres, and wars to ownAll I once thought gain I have counted lossSpent and worthless now, compared to this
        Chorus:
        Knowing you, Jesus, knowing you, There is no greater thingYou’re my all, you’re the bestYou’re my joy, my righteousness
        And I love you, Lord

        Now my heart’s desire is to know you more
        To be found in you and known as yours
        To possess by faith what I could not earn
        All-surpassing gift of righteousness

        Oh, to know the power of your risen life
        And to know You in Your sufferings
        To become like you in your death, my Lord
        So with you to live and never die

        This song is my prayer.  I wonder if there is something in that last verse: to know the power of his risen life (and especially) to know him in his sufferings…  Through praying the psalms, I think I am starting to get a glimpse of knowing him in his sufferings.  And I know people who have “taken advantage” of their sufferings to know him in his sufferings.   In contrast, I often just try harder — until I have nothing left in me.   I’m thankful that I rarely feel THAT desperate anymore; but that often means I am on the throne rather than HIM.

        Reading The God of All Comfort  helped me see that I could lean into him in my pain, and it was “speaking truth to my soul” during that study when I started turning to him prior to complete desperation.  But even during intense pain, others around me often have to regularly remind me  to turn to him.  Though that demonstrates the importance of the body of Christ, I want to turn to him automatically, without reminders.  Even at the desperation stage, it sometimes takes a reminder from someone else for me to turn to him.  

        1. Renee……reading the song and your thoughts/questions about the last verse….’to know the power of the risen life…..to know you in your sufferings’  immediately brought to mind Gordon E. from Salem.  Remember?   Of course, you do.  Who could forget dear, sweet Gordon?  Every step he took with his metal braces and his legs so twisted with the effects of childhood polio. What I’m remembering,  is that he said, he was grateful to be able to share in Christ’s sufferings.   I don’t know if I’ve ever known someone to say that….who lived with it every minute and never complained.  He must have known some of that power of the risen life.  And now, for him, the last line is true…..”so with you to live and never die’.   Just had to share that memory when I saw the song you posted.

        2. Listen to this message by Hugh Palmer and share your notes: 
          6. What are your notes from the sermon?
          We live in a world full of fears and need confidence that can face an uncertain world: a dangerous world.  David, the outlaw:  was facing loss of birthright, loss of his religion as he was driven out of the land.  To him, the glorious ones were the ‘saints in the land’  Not the rich and powerful but the saints.   
           
          Matthew Henry in his commentary written centuries ago (?) writes ‘Multiple gods bring multiple griefs.’  
           
          David was on the run.  He was a man driven from everything.  Yet he finds an amazing contentment.  He knows that there is only ONE GOD for him.    He looks for the inheritance that can’t spoil or fade.  ‘kept in heaven for you’ as Peter later says.    Sometimes, being cut off from the world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance.  David, the outlaw, had that contentment and comfort.  The Lord was his portion and his cup.
           
          Hundreds of years later, another King prayed.  He prayed as the cup of God’s wrath was being poured out on him.  ‘take this cup from me, if it is possible….nevertheless…..not my will but thine’    “Lord, you’ve assigned me my portion and my cup.  You’ve made my lot secure”.  
           
          Peter describes …’when they hurled insults at him, he did not retaliate……….instead he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.”   Vs 8….I have set the Lord always before me.  I will not be shaken.  Confidence.  Contentment even in redundancy….political upheaval….suffering.  
           
          Vs. 9:  My heart is glad.  My tongue rejoices.  My body will also rest secure.”  We all know that the definite future for our bodies is death.    The OT isn’t as precise as the NT regarding heaven and all that it holds, but it is very clear about the different ends for the wicked and the righteous.  Ps. 49:  beginning at vs. 12:  We all perish……. yet there is ANOTHER FUTURE…..”But God will  redeem my life from the grave.  He will take me to himself.”   Psalm 16….we see the same confidence.  We are not abandoned to the grave.  He makes known to us the path of life….fullness of joy….pleasures forevermore. ”    In Acts 2….Peter preaches at Pentecost that is was ‘impossible for death to keep him.  He will not be abandoned to his grave’    He points to the patriarch, David who died…was buried.   His tomb is here.  We can see it.  BUT David spoke of Jesus.  We cannot point to his tomb and say, ‘there he is’.  He is not there.  This is the HOPE of Easter.  What was true for Jesus will be true for his people.  It is impossible for death to keep its hold on us.    The final verse of Ps. 16:11 is used in the Anglican funeral service at the very worst moment of maximum grief…..when the committal is done….ashes to ashes….when the curtain is drawn and the casket is seen no more…this verse, for the Christian is read:  ‘You have made known to me the path of life.  You will fill me with joy in your presence. 
           
          David learned how to face God as a refugee.  “Keep me safe.   For in you I take refuge…  You will fill me with joy.”
           
          At your right hand, there are pleasures forevermore.”
           

      3. Just a couple of thoughts here on Renee’s comments about recognizing the Lord is our portion – when I begin to recognize symptoms of distress emotionally – fear, anger, etc. – I know my idols are in control and start praying and searching my heart to see where I am going astray. The steady disciplines of turning daily to the Word and in worship and confession in prayer in the morning help keep me aware of how prone I am to wander, and sometimes turn me back before I wander too far or even realize I am wandering. I often use the Lord’s prayer as my model in my prayer time. 

        1. Diane, Steady disciplines of the Word, worship, and confession — that’s it.  But I need it about 100 times a day.  Muslim-type prayer however many times a day isn’t such a bad idea.  “Every day” has made me more likely to turn to him — but I get so immersed in what I am doing that confession is more likely than prevention.  You’re right, I don’t wander as far, though.  And sometimes God uses music gets through my thick skull and stubborn soul when written words don’t penetrate.  Speaking of music, your post reminded me of “Come Thou Fount” — prone to wander, Lord I feel it… (bought the supplies a long time ago to paint something with that on and hang it in my house; might have to print from computer!).    I am a wanderer:)Ugh!  Life is such a PROCESS.  You’d think I’d just get “fixed!”

      4. What a great question from Renee and Dee. 
        I have no idea because it is more difficult-our/my confidence can easily lie in the security of what we/I have-even unknowingly. I think of Bonhoeffer who lived like those in prison-I am sure he lived with confidence in His life in Jesus now and in the future so he was able to live as if he had nothing. He was willing to be stripped of everything. Since he was perhaps he held Jesus and His future with Jesus in a higher place than his worldly securities-Like David in Psalm 16. So perhaps that is where we must start? I think evidence of us not holding this world in a higher place than Him is when we sacrificially give away our time, talents and treasures for others? Just thinking..

    1. I like Susan’s thought that gratefulness during good times (or mundane times…..when we don’t have to deal with extra stress and  ‘drama’ of sorts) is helpful.  For me, it really helps to write down stuff that I am grateful for.   When I was young, I did this (when we were penniless, when our daughter was dx with CF and sick a lot etc.)….a lot of people helped us  (YOU were one of them!)  and I didn’t want to forget those times, so writing them down and putting them in a file marked ‘Blessings’  did help me get through some later times when I didn’t know how to trust Him anymore.  BUT that said……now 30 years later, there are different (and some of the same) things that rob me of contentment.  So…..as I write this, I KNOW I’m saying it to myself as well.    I love Phillip Yancey’s books and I’m reading Prayer right now.  He writes of how Jesus prayed.  And about Jesus’ relationship to the Father. 
       
      ” Jesus seemed fully at ease with the Father and at unease with the world.  For him, prayer provided a refreshing reminder of cosmic reality, the ‘view from above’ so often obscured on planet earth.  Sometimes, Jesus reminisced about that hidden realm; praying the night before his arrest he “recalled the glory I had with you before the world began.”   (like when it was ‘just the two of us’…..is what I hear him saying.)
       
      I don’t really know if that fits, Renee……but when I read that today, it really amazed me that even Jesus reminisced about times when he felt sweet peace and contentment with his Father and when he didn’t have to struggle with the tribulations of earth.  Maybe remembering  really is a good thing.  And maybe we remember best when we intentionally, mark those times with some kind of  documentation.

      1. Yes, fits, Wanda.  Love the quote.  Also the part that Jesus felt unease with the world (maybe it isn’t so awful that I am uneasy with parts of the world).  I actually have some written down stuff from way back then, too, but I threw a lot of it away.   What’s bizarre is that I don’t even have pictures from a certain era because I refused to have my picture taken for several years.  Even photos from different eras of life remind me of God’s faithfulness and friendships during those times.   Regardless of how hard I try, I can’t remember some of the bad stuff I’ve experienced.  But even vague memories (of good and bad) remind me there is a much bigger picture.  My view of that bigger picture, of God himself, is often “obscured on planet earth.”   The sad thing is that it takes me all of 10 seconds to go from that time of reminiscing or prayer to having an obscured view.Thanks for the quotation — the reminder that prayer is refreshing & was refreshing for Jesus and reminiscence is good.  

      2. Wanda, No more replies above.  Yes, knew him, first from campus  so he was “Dr” to me 🙂   He died 4 or 5 years ago.

        1. I still get confused by the ‘reply’ and ‘out of replies’ thing….(and I did go through the tutorial)…but I’ll figure it out.  Will re-read what you sent me earlier!  Renee.    (And I also forgot to refresh the page I guess….because my sermon notes didn’t end up where I intended them to go either!  🙂  )

        2. Wanda, “out of replies” only means that I don’t see the word “Reply” to the right of the date above your post.   Now, I am replying to my post instead of your post because your post is one level down and doesn’t have the word “Reply” after the date.  And I can’t click on what’s not there 🙂 Or, if I did click on nothing, nothing would happen!

  18. 4. What stood out to you from Jill’s story and why? 
    I love Jill’s honesty, her transparent, soft heart. This testimony is so rich because we see the journey from her broken heart, to God opening her eyes, pulling her close to Himself, and restoring her heart to see the beauty around her. It is a beautiful, modern-day illustration of Psalm 16. She faced the sorrow of her idols and ran to Jesus. Her eyes were changed, her perspective made new, and she sees the beauty of her lot, and her inheritance.

    5. Read Psalm 16:5-11
    A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?
     
    The Lord is my “chosen portion” and my cup. I love the wording here, this struck me deeper as I read it today. He knows exactly what I need, and He Himself fulfills it. In trials, I cling to Him and am reminded He is the One unshakeable. In my blessings, I know He is the only reason they are—all is from Him, through Him, because of Him. So truly all that I have, that I love, my “portion” IS Him. I like too the reference in Psalm 73:26 “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Everything else will pass away and everything else can fail me, but He cannot.
     
    B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them?    
     
    He gives me counsel and instruction—“in the night”. That part struck me because maybe it’s just me, but it so often seems to be that “in the night” my thoughts all swarm upon me and can easily become muddled. Things can seem huge and distorted. So I love that He adds “in the night”, in my darkest times, He counsels my heart—what a gift.
     
    C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?
     
    I shall not be shaken. That is profound to me. I grew up with a lot of chaos. I can make an idol out of “calm”. I love calm like a still lake that looks like glass, that is part of my picture of Heaven in my heart. To be promised that I will not be shaken—words that fill my soul.
     
    D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?
     
    The promise that we will not experience hell. Christ died for us, He went to hell for us, and He conquered Death for us, so that we will never experience it.
     
    E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?
    To me, this speaks of the presence of the Holy Spirit—we are blessed with knowing the path of life—our eternal home is with Christ. We are blessed to experience here, now, “fullness of joy” in His presence. So often through music, I feel a taste, of that fullness of joy—when it overwhelms and tears come, and even in my sin I am allowed the gift of sensing Him there with me. And we have the promise of eternal pleasures—what a change in my perspective it brings when I remember this is not Home, and one day every tear will be wiped away. All will be made new.

    1. Elizabeth-your answer in E-so good..reminded me of one time on the worship team when I sensed His presence during the song Agnus Dei and I couldn’t sing or speak-just tears with a strong reverence inside for Him-Holy, Holy are you Lord God almighty, worthy is the Lamb, worthy is the Lamb… It was overwhelming,  but yes just a taste..:)

      1. Rebecca and Elizabeth…..I love the way music can break down barriers and make us completely vulnerable before the Lord.  Those are great examples.  We can feel SO near to Him when that happens.  Thanks for the reminders.

  19. 4.  What stood out from Jill’s testimony and why?
    As many have commented, Jill is genuine and honest…I truly appreciate this.  What stood out is Jill coming to the end of herself and crying out to the Lord…He comes to her; He frees her from her idol chains…wow!  Jill recognizes a daily struggle to wander back into the cell to her idol chains.  I think this struck me because this is very much how I feel.  At times I feel like I have come so far…I feel and have felt the Lord’s love and freedom, but then other times I can see so clearly that it is still yet a struggle and I have run back to idols. 

  20. Everyone’s sharing this week has been so helpful.
    I needed this teaching especially this week as I have been struggling. Not to the point of desperation, however, yet I
    really need the assurance, (which I have) of God’s protection and the knowledge that my future is in his hands. This week
    I had a sweet fellowship with a new Christian friend, and I had the delight of experiencing the joy of God’s new life of spring!
    The sermon of The Abandoned Grave, gave me a fresh insight.
    My first take away was that”they that multiply gods multiply griefs to themselves. When idols are allowed, it does seem that
    the pattern continues, looking for pleasures in all the wrong places. My weakness came to light as I realized my caregiving became an idol, and was a symptom that my worth was coming from the work, the approval or recognition I received. What a deception I lived. My portion is Christ alone. He knows my need and I can rely on him, for the boundary lines are drawn in pleasant places.
    I can identify as he shared that Jesus prayed, “If it is possible, take this cup from me.” I have not desired to  be in all of the
    places I have found myself in, but I know I am following God’s perfect will. I don’t mean I have done it perfectly, but He is bringing me through.
    The conclusion of the sermon , Our Easter hope: We have  confidence to face an uncertain world. We have a definite future. God will redeem my life from the grave.”You will  fill me with joy forever!” Easter  is Confidence, Contentment, Hope!
    There is so much and my condensed version doesn’t give it credit, but it is my takeaway.

  21. 5. Read Psalm 16:5-11
    A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?
    He alone is my portion my cup-He makes my lot secure…and then: the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.  This is the verse that sticks out to me this morning..I want to look up a commentary on this but I will take a stab at it..Could it literally mean that He is my boundary line? That life in Him-clinging to Him every minute is so glorious so wonderful that it supercedes and outweighs even the temptings of sin? The opposite of when I cling to idols-His boundary lines are pleasant-beautiful, peaceful, restful. and I am secure both now and for eternity. I have a glorious inheritance in the future with Him. When I am tempted to run to my idols I think of this verse– it isn’t just saying “no”..it is a reminder of WHO is better which should melt me to say no.
    .
     
     
     

    1. Reading your post made me think of something, Rebecca. When you ask “Could it literally mean that He is my boundary line?” I thought of Song of Songs when He asks her to come out of the cleft and go higher with Him…He was moving her…even in Exodus when God went before them and moved the Israelites in the desert…so I’m thinking our “boundary lines” aren’t always “set” or “fixed” but they move as He moves and leads us…kind of fluid lines but as we follow Him and stay with Him He hems us in and all around.

      1. Susan,  Like! and boundary lines not being set or fixed are similar to what Dee said about priests not being able to OWN property because the Lord was their portion.  Likewise, I am better off not holding tightly to ownership because his boundary lines are pleasant.  As you wrote, He hems us in.

        1. Deuteronomy 10:8,9  ‘At that time the Lord set apart the tribe of Levi to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister and to pronounce blessings in his name, as they still do today.  That is why the Levites have no share or inheritance among their brothers; the Lord is their inheritance, as the Lord your God told them.”       It is a fascinating thought that the Levites/priests were the guardians of the law….the keepers of the blessing…..the gate-keeper to the holy place; the high priest being the only one to enter the holy of holies.  And therefore, their ‘inheritance’ was  the Lord Himself.  Thinking about how this translates to us, being called ‘a holy priesthood’ in the NT.  We are also the ‘keepers’ of the truth of the Lord…..in that we need to live it and pass it on to the next generation as those before us have done for us.  The concept of not owning or inheriting really reiterates the all surpassing eternal gift of salvation.  

      2. Susan, yes…this is so good-As we delight in Him he hems us in and all around. 

  22. 5 B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them? 
    Our life is secure.
      
    C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?
    We won’t be shaken! 🙂
     
    D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?
    That we will be risen in glory-we will be like him..we will have new bodies-will look the same but will have resurrected bodies. So our bodies will not decay but made new.  
       
    E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?
    He has saved me from the penalty of sin and is living in me transforming me. He is Wisdom and imparts His wisdom to me in scripture-HIs very breath. He fills me with joy in his presence when I am in the word, when trials come and I wrestle and cling..I am thinking that in trials is most often when I sense Him the most and am filled with joy knowing this isn’t a mountain-He is- and He gives me His wisdom walking through my trials with me..and yet oh what I have to look forward to when I am with him face to face.
     

  23. 5. Read Psalm 16:5-11
     
    A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?
     
    As with verses 1-2. verses 5-6 just speak “family” to me. God has built a home for me, and as my Heavenly Father, He takes care of me, protects me, and provides for me, His daughter. All the things an earthly father pictures. My Father gives to me “my portion” – my daily needs are met generously. I have safety and security in His home. Like a good father, He sets boundaries and rules for me to follow because He loves me and knows what is best for me.
     
    B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them?
     
    I can go to Him for advice, and He will give it to me. He gives me wisdom and discernment.
     
    C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?
     
    If I keep my eyes fastened on Him, always setting the Lord before me (seeing everything through the lens of His truth) I will not be shaken. I think this means I won’t be misled, deceived, easily led away into what is false. Sin will lose its temptation.
     
    D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?
     
    God doesn’t forget about me when I die. First and foremost, I believe this talks about Jesus, because He is God’s “Holy One” and His body was not left in the grave to suffer decay. I know that my body, when I die, will decay in the grave, yet at the resurrection, it will not be abandoned there. And the “real me” won’t be abandoned in the grave…still haven’t figured out what that will be like to go to be with the Lord-just my spirit-but without my body?
     
    E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?
     
    “You have made known to me the path of life” – this speaks to me of when He saved me because I didn’t know how to find the path of life and didn’t know I wasn’t on it. God made Jesus known to me – He IS the path of life…”I AM the way, the truth, and the life…”
    There have been times when I have enjoyed being in His presence, spending time in the Word and talking to Him and hearing Him speak to me through His Word. It doesn’t happen every time…some days it feels “dry”…but I don’t forget the times when I sense His presence.

  24. Jill – praying for your son getting his tonsils out today…and for you as you wait while he’s in surgery.

  25. A. The theme of this psalm is repeated in verses 5-6. What is it?
    I just reread Psalm 16 in a few versions.  This might be in other versions, too, but this time in the NASB, the words inheritance and heritage stood out to me and encouraged me — though I may not be answering the question AGAIN 😉     v. 6 “Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.”    IN SO MANY WAYS.
     
    These verses, together with v. 3, reminded me of “for all the saints.”  When I first read the verses, I thought of property — but my heritage also includes the worship of all the saints of past and present.  “Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.”  (and Wikipedia had a bunch of verses I didn’t know)

  26. B. What blessing, according to verse 7, comes to those who set the Lord first before them? 
    Love that the Lord gives me counsel, even in the night, even when I don’t think of asking for it.  One version said “heart” instructs me in the night; another said “mind.”  Both footnotes said “kidneys.”  Occasionally, when I guzzle water right before bed, my kidneys do instruct me:)  But I’m thinking that’s NOT what the verse means.  It’s deep-seated processing and not obsessive cognitive strategizing.    I’m seeing a parallel between vs 5-7 and Lamentations 3: 22-24:
     

    The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;    his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning;    great is your faithfulness.24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,    “therefore I will hope in him.”

    1. ‘For all the saints’…….wonderful hymn!  I’ll have to look at the extra verses online.
      Kidney instructions…….I needed that laugh 🙂 

  27. C. What other blessing comes, according to verse 8?
    The Lord is my stability.  I won’t be shaken; good news for me because sometimes I feel shaken.   Elvis was wrong (Ok, this time I listened to “I’m All Shook Up.”  Not posting the lyrics, though!)
    Also thinking of shaken baby syndrome and football controversies due to brain damage.  It’s very powerful that I won’t be shaken.

    1. you’re a lot more than a ‘hound dog’ too.  So Elvis WAS wrong  😉 

      1. hahahaha.  Just saw this when I was scrolling through and am cracking up 😀

  28. D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why? 
    Promise is that death won’t separate him from God.  I like the picture of “my whole being rejoices,”  and it strikes me (because of the mention of the “flesh” in the next line that this could occur in the presence of severe physical pain).   The verses here are quoted in Acts 2 — talking about Jesus.
     
    E. What other promises are in verse 11?  path of life, fullness of joy
    Have you tasted this?   Oh, YES !

  29. Notes from the sermon/ Take-a-way
    1. Great sermon, loved the part where he talked about having confidence and told us to start celebrating our definite future. 
    2. The Lord keeps me safe, He is my refuge.
    3. Thankful for Jenn Johnsons song, such a simple yet powerful reminder to just go to Him, He is all I need. – I have been repeating this over and over this week and it gives me such a sweet peace.
     

  30. What a wonderful quote from C.S. Lewis to follow up #5.   Amazing, my intense longing is for God, to be with Jesus, heaven —  not to have perfect relationships now, or live again in places that were good, or for summer to come, or even primarily to be reunited with loved ones who have died.  When I view my dissatisfactions as longings for Him, my focus and “solutions” also change.  When my body aches, I am longing to be with the Great Physician; during conflict, I long for the Prince of Peace.  When the world around me is just plain wrong, I am longing for HIM.  So, longings & desire for change aren’t inherently bad.

    1. Renee…..Wow!  I love how you phrased this.  (I had to go back and read to see if this was your quote or Lewis’!)   Those are very comforting observations to me today.

  31. Sisters, thank you for your prayers. Jaxter is out of surgery and after some difficulty with pain control we are finally home recouping. My mind and heart debated Psalm 16 while I waited. I hope to share some thoughts on that later. 
    Thank you again for your support. 
    And thank you, too for all your kind words in regards to my testimony. I was a little nervous about the video but you have all been so gracious and complimentary. Thank you. 

    1. Jill, so thankful you and Jaxter are safely home.  Appreciate your testimony — and your courage to be on video — SO MUCH.

    2. great news on Jaxter, Jill! Will continue to pray for quick healing, and sleep 🙂

  32. 6. What are your notes from the sermon?
    I wasn’t going to take notes, but I restarted the recording so that I could and listened to some parts several times :)Here are a few parts that jumped out:-  “The saints in the lands were the glorious ones, not the rich, powerful or learned. ”   This cuts right to my identity and how I view others, good timing.
    – “Being cut off from this world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance and our real security.”  Related to my question from yesterday, if I am not focused on my real inheritance, knowing he is my portion, I may be too attached to the world’s glories  — even if it means just being distracted by mental “to do” lists or deadlines.- I liked how Nigel Lee described the Keswick Convention:  “Deep unity in Christ with people who are different, the glory of the Lord Jesus being unveiled before our eyes, a fresh commitment to his service forever”   and then how he described what his doctors said was his impending death, although his doctors didn’t put it this way!: “To be in the one place where all these foreshadowings have given way to reality.”   And also “Our trials have included much glory through the kindness of the Lord, and The Best is Yet to Come.”

  33. I hope this may bless some of you, if you listen. I first heard of Christa Wells through Ann Voskamp, and she is quickly becoming a favorite. The lyrics to this one remind me of our study.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sd-s_5M3qzE
     
    You Are My Defense-Christa Wells
     
    I feel the clouds coming over like a bad dream/Same shadows I’ve known since I was 18/Weeks before winter falls/You’ll find me in the back hall, hiding/I feel the sunshine slip away//And I don’t know how to climb out of this valley/I don’t want to go back where I’ve been/But every time, you’ve laid yourself beside me/Your love my one defense/You are my defense//You carve the stone with evidence of your love/Strike a match to warm us when the cold comes/And I will sing of summer light/That feeds the soul through the dark night/Will you feed my soul through the night// And I don’t know how to climb out of this valley/I don’t want to go back where I’ve been/But every time, you’ve laid yourself beside me/Your love my one defense/You are my defense//When I’m a ship out in the sea/You are, you are the lighthouse calling me/When I feel unreachable/You get to me, you get to me// And I don’t know how to climb out of this valley/I don’t want to go back where I’ve been/But every time, you’ve laid yourself beside me/Your love my one defense/You are my defense
     

    1. Elizabeth, I read the lyrics before I listened to the song.  So accurate that I was grinning during the first couple of lines — might not have been grinning in January though!

    2. Elizabeth,   thank you for sharing this song.   I loved it!    My first encounter with Christa Wells — thanks for introducing us!    

    3. Thanks, Elizabeth…really enjoyed listening and reading the lyrics along while listening.  I’ll be looking into Christina Wells…appreciate the introduction.

    4. I ordered the CD…yeah!

  34. My takeaway is an attempt at synthesis of what Dee wrote about the tribe of priests not owning land in order to demonstrate that the Lord was their portion, the C.S. Lewis quote, wondering about how to have the Lord as my portion when I’m not (quite) desperate, and Palmer’s statement that “being cut off from this world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance.”I’m thinking that the key to knowing the Lord is my portion during those times that aren’t good, but also aren’t SO bad that I can’t ignore them is to allow myself to acknowledge and experience my longings for my real inheritance, for the country I have not yet visited.  The longings will point me to Jesus.   But it’s difficult to see the longings if I automatically detach or numb myself or if I quickly respond out of habit.  Instead of experiencing mild or sometimes even moderate symptoms of distress, I “check out” or bite the bullet and get through the situation as a way of remaining independent and/or protecting myself from getting hurt.  When I am numb/checked out, the symptoms of idolatry won’t show until the pain exceeds the level of anesthesia.Recognizing that longings for righteousness, security, fairness, relationships, wholeness all are part of longing for my Savior will keep him front and center.  But that also means giving up numbness; I’m proficient — who needs drugs, alcohol, or food when you have an internal switch (can’t control it better though)?  I’m suspecting (and not liking) that being vulnerable, taking the risk to not withdraw or detach is what will be required to know that the Lord is my portion during the “in-between” times that I’ve been ignoring.  Longings themselves aren’t bad, and I’ve sorta had the unstated (and unconscious?) philosophy that if I have low expectations or minimal longings, I’m less likely to be hurt.  Jesus was deeply hurt for me.   This feels so abstract that I don’t know if it makes sense.

    Um, I don’t have a longing to do my taxes (more accurately, I don’t feel like finding and installing the software– bought it in January; I don’t mind the calculations or even paying)– and this is the longest I’ve ever waited to do them.  Plus, have out of town company this weekend for work, so I might have to tear myself away from the blog.  No bets, though, because I’m still soaking this in:)

    1. Sorry,  so much for paragraphs…Always forget to do 3 lines btwn paragraphs.

    2. PROFOUND, RENEE ” But it’s difficult to see the longings if I automatically detach or numb myself or if I quickly respond out of habit.  Instead of experiencing mild or sometimes even moderate symptoms of distress, I “check out” or bite the bullet and get through the situation as a way of remaining independent and/or protecting myself from getting hurt.  When I am numb/checked out, the symptoms of idolatry won’t show until the pain exceeds the level of anesthesia.”
      I learned SO much from that one statement. Wow-that spoke to me, thank you.

  35. The Lewis quote has stuck with me this week, and I found the Weight of Glory online (tried to insert the link here but it didn’t want to post). I’ve always loved when he says we are “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” 

    But this at the end, was new to me, and so rich I read it several times–it hits me deep for some reason:

    “We are to shine as the sun, we are to be given the Morning Star…. We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words—to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it. “

  36. Hugh Palmer sermon notes: 
     
    I thought the sermon began a little abruptly, as if he had been speaking before the recording began.   It began with a story about a woman who went to Thailand a couple of years ago for a Christmas holiday of snorkeling.   However, she came down with a heavy cold, so that she stayed in her hotel room instead of going snorkeling as planned.  She was quite oblivious to what was happening outside until she began getting texts from her friends in the UK asking if she was okay.  Then she learned of the devastating tsunami that had occurred.   Later she went down to the place where she would have been snorkeling, and no survival would have been possible that morning, but the sea was calm in the evening.   When she played it all back in her mind…snorkeling…her cold…tsunami…now calm, she said, “I’m not in control of my life, and I’ve got to find out who is!”  Her search led her to the God spoken of in Psalm 16. 
     
    We live in world full of fears (global warming, among lots of others).  We need more than a glib Sunday School lesson.   We need confidence to face an uncertain world.  
     
    Psalm 16 is a psalm of David.   David was driven out of his job by the unjust jealousy of his king.   He lost status and security.  He lost is birthright and his religion.   He was driven from his share of the Lord’s inheritance, and told to “go serve other gods.”   He cried “Keep me safe, O Lord, for in you I take refuge.”  
     
    The saints of the land – these are “the glorious ones in whom is my delight.”  These were not the rich and the powerful.   This confuses the world, as the church is interested in the unimportant people.  
     
    Matthew Henry:   “They that multiply gods, multiply griefs to themselves.  Whoever finds one god too little, find two too many, and yet hundreds not enough.”   
     
    Hundreds of years after David another king (Jesus) is praying in a garden, in dread of the capture and torture that lie ahead.  He prayed, “If it be possible for this cup to pass from me…nevertheless not my will be yours be done.”  In Gethsemane, Jesus came to the same point of contentment.  
     
    In vs 8 – “I have set the Lord before me because he is at my right hand.  I shall not be shaken.” 
    That is confidence and contentment in an uncertain world.          Confidence to face a definite future:   we don’t all have dramatic deaths, but sooner or later we all die.    Psalm 49:12 “But man despite his riches does not endure.”   The Old Testament is not as precise about heaven, but is clear about what happens to the wicked and to the righteous.   The Old Testament psalmist can see a future that doesn’t end in the grave.   That’s exactly the confidence the psalmist in Psalm 16 has. 
     
    Times did a survey on life after death among 1500 people who had been culled from Who’s Who in 2006. They found  1 in 5 were uncertain what would happen when they die.   Some said “Ask me again in 10 years.  At the age of 73 I try to avoid thinking about it.”    Statistically in 10 years it might be too late!!
     
    Palmer told a lengthy story about Francis Nigel Lee, evangelist and Bible teacher, who was scheduled to speak to a large assembly in the summer.  However, before that time he wrote a letter to his would-be audience explaining that his doctors had advised him that he wouldn’t live that long.  The letter was quite long and I didn’t get down many notes from it.  However, it ended with the words “The best is yet to come.”   
     
    In Acts 2 we watch again as Peter spells it out for the crowd listening to him on Pentecost:  In vs. 24:   But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him”    He then quotes from Psalm 16. “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.”     David died, David was buried, and his body decayed.   He knew that God promised that Jesus would be raised from death.     Jesus’ tomb was empty.  He was the Holy One.   When we look at Easter, this is history not fantasy.  What was true for Jesus will be true for those who follow Him. 
       Psalm 16:11 is traditionally  used at the very worst moment of the funeral service, when the curtain is drawn, “earth to earth and ashes to ashes,” at the time of maximum grief and maximum insecurity.    “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”  
     
    Easter faces us with stark reality of life, and yet Easter gives us so many grounds for confidence and contentment.    

    1. Deanna–thank you for these notes! I found it hard to take notes for some reason–thank you, this helps so much!

      1. Elizabeth,  I found it much more difficult to take notes on this sermon than on any I have listened to  so far on this blog.  So it wasn’t just you!!  I listened to it twice to get what I have.   

    2. Great notes, as usual, Deanna.  I like to read and compare the things that different people caught and wrote down.  Reminds me of reading the different perspectives of the same stories in the gospels!  different things strike each of us.  The words that Nigel Lee used to describe his impending death, were powerful.  Renee captured them in a comment.  It WAS a wonderful sermon!

  37. I just now got to hear Jill’s testimony video.      For some reason, the audio was so very faint that I couldn’t hear it well enough when I tried to listen earlier.   So I went out and bought better speakers for my computer, and that made a big difference.   I still had to have the sound cranked up to 100%, but finally I could hear well!    I just want to say what a wonderful testimony that was, Jill!!     It was inspiring, and I think many of us could relate  to your experience of trying to go back into your cell and being called out by Christ again.    Thank you for sharing this — I would imagine it took courage!       

  38. The reason you haven’t seen me on here is because I’ve lost my home computor…because it was hacked and they got everything off of it they wanted.   I can never turn it on again. ..it’s filled with their virus and hacking…so all I can do is  hope  the pictures can be saved on the tower.    I’ve had to stop cards…change accounts…call creditors from on line banking….everything….it’s been a nightmare.    Don’t talk to anyone you can’t understand that says they are with Windows Technical Dept.  They  told me they were going to fix all the virus’s and hacking on my computor and took control of i and got all our perdonnal information on it.  I have my smart phone is all for a while.   I’m not so tech savey…. at all Dee….I’m too trustworthy of people.  Thank the Lord We didn’t loss any money…but people in town have lost thousands to these people.   They are everywhere….saying they can help…When actually they are destroying you.   Look on youtube….Under Windows Technical Dept. Scam.   Don’t trust anyone, just our Heavenly Father.   I won’t be on here much as it so much harder on a cell phone…but I’m trying to keep up with comments and praying for you!   Love you all!

    1. Oh, Joyce,  I am so sorry to hear that you were scammed like that!    I did receive a telephone call like that — the person who called me had a heavy Indian accent.   For some reason red flags went up for me  — for one thing I have caller ID on my phone and the identification didn’t read right.  I didn’t really believe that Windows would contact me in that fashion.   I told the fellow, “I think you are a scam,” and I hung up on him.   Then I got nervous and called my daughter — she confirmed that I had done the right thing.  She said she had received a call like that a couple of weeks earlier.   I posted my experience on Facebook, and I heard from friends across the country who had the same experience.    My daughter and I contemplated how wonderful it would be if these scammers would use their talents of scheming and acting for a positive cause instead of taking advantage of people.   

    2. OH DEAR JOYCE! This just made my stomach turn. I am SO sorry. I am praying–Lord, please cover Joyce, cover her completely with Your wings. Let her find peace and safety in You. Lord, I have such anger at these evil doers, but You promise to prtect Your own. Please protect Joyce from losing money, please keep her safe, and comfort her Lord. Her heart is gold–so completely generous with her love, I have met few people who shine so much with Your love. Thank You for her Father, thank You that You hold her in Your arms. Amen.

    3. Oh, SO sorry, Joyce.  Computer troubles are so challenging now — we use them for so much (at least I do).   Thanks for the warning about the scammers.

    4. So very sorry to hear of all these troubles, Joyce.  I will pray for you this coming week…..  You are such an encouragement to many.

    5. Joyce, I am so sorry that your computer got hacked. Major nuisance. I do pray that you didn’t get any money taken from your accounts. Sorry for the loss of your computer. Thanks for the warning and the reminder to be suspicious of phone calls from strangers, no matter how credible they might seem. I hope you get back online with us soon. You are in my prayers.

  39. Someone made a comment ….   something about  holding our adult children loosely or  letting them go…can’t remember exactly…..but I wanted to  tell you of a picture I have of a mom praying and it says….” STOP HOVERING AND START COVERING.”   That helps me to remember not to interfere but instead to just pray.   I love that. 

    1. Right on, Joyce!    I needed that so much:   “Stop hovering and start covering.”    Right now my two  daughters are having to make such major decisions, and the decisions they make will greatly impact one another.   I’ve been ready to bite my nails!!    I need to post that saying on my refrigerator  so that I keep remembering it!   Thanks!

    2. Great thoughts, Joyce.  Thanks!

    3. I love that, Joyce. I wish I had a picture to put up like it – STOP HOVERING! START COVERING!

  40. 6. What are your notes from the sermon?
    WOW what a sermon-this is my favorite one yet. 
     
     
    Below are some quotes of things that stood out to me: 
     
    “being cut off from this world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance our real security.” 
    -after thinking through this I think it might be more of a help to us to focus on our real security and inheritance when we are cut off even though it is more painful-but I loved Renee and Dee’s question above-how do we “get it” like the prisoners when we haven’t had everything stripped away-and again I think of Bonhoeffer’s life as a great example. 
     
    “Not only confidence in suffering or uncertainty, but confidence to face a certain future….The best is yet to come. “
    -I so loved this sermon! This reminds me of what Keller said when he was explaining what having a humble confidence looked like. 
     
    “We die-yes, but we will be risen in glory. He will fill us with joy and pleasures at his right hand.”
    -So this cleared up V. 6 for me. 🙂
     
    “Confidence in Him in an uncertain world and confidence in death..do we have a confidence that leads to contentment and hope?  Take confidence of what his pardon and his life offer-when you see the uncertainties of this world-keep me safe oh God for in you I take refuge. You have made known the path of life-you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures in your right hand.”
     
    I am going to copy this and put it up to remember.  
     

    1. correction: “after thinking through this I think it might be more of a help to us to focus on our real security and inheritance when we are cut off because it is more painful” 🙂

      1. oh Dee, I love that too.

  41. My takeaway-well, the sermon ended up going with what God helped me with this week. 🙂 

    I have had some uncertainties arise in my life this past week in regard to fellowship-to me a very hard thing to be stripped of again. I had moments where I saw how I placed my confidence in men-in circumstances, and forgot that my confidence in the heart of this uncertainty must lie in Him and in the future because when I see the reality of that-the truth..He brings contentment in my circumstances.  

    I am unable to mention what happened this week but the possibility arose which could have led to another stripping of fellowship for our family.  After a day of fret, grieving, and trying to control a heart I can’t control-The next morning God calmed me and while painful and scary-and after an attempt to control that heart, He helped me rest in confidence in Him in the midst of this uncertainty..and let that heart go to Him.  I read in Psalm 16 the other day about how David had confidence in his risen body with God in the future-that He wouldn’t see decay..He had such confidence in the future-it went in deeper in me than it had before. I too share in that confidence in Jesus with David and God helped me to trust Him.

    1. Rebecca, sorry you are struggling again with “fellowship”. Don’t know the details but I am praying for you and your family.

      1. Diane and Elizabeth-thanks so much for your concern and prayers! 🙂 It has to do with a minor doctrinal issue-at least to me- It is a major thing to my husband and things were a little uncertain for a short while-but God has come through those we had praying for us, through our pastor, through Dee, etc..and we are still on the road to commit to this church as our church home. 🙂 My husband is leaning on just agreeing to disagree on this issue-and honestly even though I disagree with him on this I am glad that he cares so much for Scripture and was willing to comb through it, pray and come to where he is at now. 🙂

    2. oh Rebecca–so sorry for this latest trial in fellowship–praying dear friend–Lord, please bring healing, peace, restoration that can only come from You. Oh how You have equipped Rebecca with such gifts, and her dear family with a love for You–use them Lord, surround them, please grant them the fellowship their heart longs for, for Your glory and purpose, Amen

  42. I think this is my take away. This morning, As I lay in bed praying for the day, I began to see “portion” more as “source of life”. He is my Source. And this Portion is not to be left on reserve for my salvation–but drawn upon every minute of every day. I lay there and think–‘I have no patience, like zero.’ And in truth, I have none on my own. But He is my Source and every minute–with every relational interaction, every thought and choice–I need Him to supply. He is my Portion, my unending Source. And from the overflow–I can pour out to others. I see myself as running around trying to see if I have any resources of my own to use up first, like my Portion is only for salvation and to be saved–but it is to be drawn upon for my every breath. Help me remember Lord, You have filled my cup–and You continue to fill, it will never run out. Help me to see the futility of trying to find my own reserves…all I have and all I need is You.

    1. Elizabeth, I think you “hit the nail on the head”…”He is my Source–with every relational interaction, every thought and choice–I need Him to supply”…too often I relay on self rather than relying on Him being my Source.  I pray with you, “Help me remember, Lord, You have filled my cup–and You continue to fill it, it will never run out.  Help me to see the futility of trying to find my own reserves” 

    2. Elizabeth, I read this shortly after you posted, and have been thinking for 2 hours that YOU NAILED IT.   The following crystallized it for me.  I see myself trying to see if I have/can find/use my own resources first, too (why I see the Lord is my portion when I know I have no resources).  

      He is my Portion, my unending Source. And from the overflow–I can pour out to others. I see myself as running around trying to see if I have any resources of my own to use up first,

    3. Wonderful thoughts, Elizabeth. He is my Source. I need to run to Him first.

  43. Renee, I can relate to your frustration…”Life is such a process. You’d think I’d just get “fixed”!”…sometimes it feels like one step forward and then two steps back…likely exactly what I need to learn the lesson(s) the Lord has for me to learn.  I think I could be categorized as a “strong willed child” in some respects.
     
    Susan/Wanda , I loved your thoughts on gratitude and thanksgiving being key.  I think you are right; it seems to be proven again and again the benefits of a grateful heart.  On a personal level, this was a wonderful “wake up”…I used to daily write blessings, but then got away from it thinking that it might be becoming too routine.  I’m now seeing that I have lost something in not doing it…it gave me a greater awareness, consciousness of blessings that are all around me.
     
    Rebecca/Renee/Susan, I really benefited from your pondering of boundary lines…I love the thought that the Lord hems us in…it was a rich conversation…the boundaries the Lord establishes for us moving as the Lord sees fit for us.
     
    Renee, “minimal longings…less likely to be hurt”…makes sense to me, I am sad to say.  I can see that it is really self-protection…my lack of trust, doubting that the Lord is in control and will take care and equip me.  I don’t even do this on a conscious level, but see it clearly in hindsight.
     
    Joyce, sorry to hear about your computer getting hacked…yikes!  Thankfully no financial loss, other than the likely loss of your computer.
     
    Thank you for the many good sermon notes…I will be listening to it shortly.

  44. E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?        Ironically (or providentially) Psalm 16:11 has been one of the promises that I loved as a young person when the path ahead seemed so full of joyful anticipation, but as I’ve gone through painful times, especially with some heartache related to kids who have rejected the faith,  I have wondered……’how can this be described as ‘fullness of joy’?   There’s so much pain.’   
     
    But this week, has really been a rich one for me.    It’s been so enlightening to understand much better, how the Psalms were prayed by Christ, himself and how David….writing this hundreds of years earlier…..wrote of and represented the anointed one to come.    This became much clearer to me in reading Bonhoeffer’s Prayerbook of the Bible and then with this lesson and the sermon by Hugh Palmer.  From my notes of that sermon.
     
    David was on the run.  He was a man driven from everything.  Yet he finds an amazing contentment.  He knows that there is only ONE GOD for him.    He looks for the inheritance that can’t spoil or fade.  ‘kept in heaven for you’ as Peter later says.    Sometimes, being cut off from the world’s glories can help us focus on our real inheritance.  David, the outlaw, had that contentment and comfort.  The Lord was his portion and his cup.   Hundreds of years later, another King prayed.  He prayed as the cup of God’s wrath was being poured out on him.  ‘take this cup from me, if it is possible….nevertheless…..not my will but thine’    “Lord, you’ve assigned me my portion and my cup.  You’ve made my lot secure”. 
     
    Thinking about ‘tasting’ the pleasures forevermore of verse 11,  I have been tying all these thoughts together in my mind, this morning as my takeaway for the week.     I also am remembering the inexpressible taste of heaven it was, to be with my mom as she breathed her last breath.  The peace and calm and knowing she was in another world; the very presence of the Lord, even though her body remained with us….was overwhelmingly affirming to me.  It was a taste of heaven, like none I’d ever experienced because I felt with such confidence that she was being escorted by angels, at those very moments while I had my hand on her forehead.    When I think of David and of Jesus and of the saints of the land, (including Bonhoeffer and his testimony of  going to the gallows in complete peace),  having that utter confidence that the Lord is their portion,  it really does help me understand the ‘fullness of joy’ in His presence.   The true inheritance:  ‘kept in heaven for us’.
     

  45. So…I just wanted to mention something that I read recently in Tim Keller’s book, “Encounters with Jesus” that I found striking, enlightening…  When Jesus was in garden praying that this cup might pass, sweating blood, Jesus was given a taste of the suffering He would endure to defeat sin, to save sinners from the penalty of their sin.  The taste was not only the physical torment, but the emotional and spiritual torment of separation from God.  In the book, Keller says that Jesus was given this preview so that His decision to move forward, to follow God’s will, was one that was made with full knowledge of what was to come and not oblivious to what He would endure.  This has just opened my mind to much pondering, as well as melting…  In Jesus’ humanness and divinity, He was aware of the suffering He would endure, what would be inflicted upon Him and He took it ALL upon Himself…  I lack Keller’s eloquence in explaining this, I have no doubt.  I think it is the literalness of Jesus’ decision, taking into a account His humanness.  Anyway, Tim Keller’s “Encounters with Jesus” (big surprise) is really good…thought provoking…it has been one of my lenten reads.

    1. Nanci–I’m so glad you posted this! I just bought Encounters with Jesus but haven’t opened it yet–plan to give it to my husband for Easter–this is so rich-wow!

      1. Oh, Elizabeth…you and your husband are going to really enjoy the book, I have no doubt.  FYI, the first five chapters are associated with (taken from?) talks Keller gave at Oxford…there are YouTube videos of the talks. 

    2. Nancy and Elizabeth-love you both and so love this fellowship!! :)))))))  I need to get that book too..I have the Summers off of work so I have more time to read..I am reading Bonhoeffer’s prayer book and oh I love it. I am a bit slow because I like to savor things I read..Next is his biography. 🙂

  46. D. What promise is given in verses 9-10? Who do you think this is talking about and why?    
     
    That the body will always live. Jesus is who is being spoken of here, because He gave us Jesus so we would know we too could have everlasting life.
     
     
    E. What other promises are in verse 11? Have you tasted this?
     
     
    He allows us to know joy in our lives if we let him.  He shows us the way that is good. I have absolutely been blessed by him just this week as I explained in my previous post. Thank you Jesus for being with me always!
     
     
     

  47. Thank you so much for this wonderful Bible Study…this is my first time and at present I am not able to join the commentaries but hope I can continue the Bible Study…itt is outstanding!! Great combination of scripture, music, comments and excellent teaching: Bono and Peterson’s dialogue, Hugh Palmer’s sermon, quotes from Bonhoffer and C.S. Leis….So appreciate of this. Thank you