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UNTO THEE O LORD, DO I LIFT UP MY SOUL! (PSALM 25)

 

Psalms_25-1
Psalm 25 is etched in my heart because
of singing it with our daughter Annie
when we had just adopted her. She
didn’t know a word of English, but
Psalm 25 can be sung in a round,
where the child repeats the phrase
sung by a parent. I can still hear
Steve’s deep voice singing it and
Annie’s soft voice echoing him. Her
English was distorted, but she was in
earnest to repeat what her “opa”
(daddy) sang.

Unto Thee O Lord

(Echo) Unto Thee O Lord

Do I lift up my soul

(Echo) Do I lift up my soul

O my God

(Echo) O my God

I trust in Thee

(Echo) I trust in Thee

(Together) Let me not be ashamed, Let not my enemies triumph over me.

anne and dad
Annie and Steve Brestin

 

I don’t know that she understood at all what she was singing, but the words were etched in her memory, and His Spirit wooed her, won her, and today she is a a young woman who loves the Lord deeply. I see her continually lifting up her soul to the Lord — as a wife, mother, nurse, and friend to many international students. God has used the pain she felt as a very little girl and the pain of losing Steve to make her one of the most compassionate people I know.

This is the song we sang, and which is so easy to learn. As you listen to it, see how the psalmist prays about enemies, guidance, and guilt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtmMM6w_Kww

Psalms 25 is a response to the Lord of Glory we saw in Psalms 14-24. It also contains one of my favorite verses. Many believe — but how many are truly friends? I think of Mary of Bethany, and how she was one of the first to experience intimacy and how she alone among the disciples knew He was going to die.

 

abfdcaccc62498217f98d909e127579aSunday: Ice-Breaker

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

2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)

Monday-Wednesday Bible Study

PSALM 25: Unto Thee, O Lord, Do I Lift Up My Soul

3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.

ENEMIES, GUIDANCE, GUILT

wewrestlenot

4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage.

5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?

6. What promise is given in verse 3?

7. Pray Psalm 25:1-3 in regard to a situation in your life.

 

psalm-255_5581_1024x7688. Make six observations concerning verses 4 and 5.

9. I know I tend to approach challenges in my life with anxiety or control. Waiting on the Lord for wisdom is one of the hardest things for me to do. Yet it is the secret.

    A. Share a time when you did wait on the Lord for wisdom and He gave it.

    B. Now — write down a challenge or an obstacle and ask the Lord to give you wisdom. Be still. What does He impress upon your heart?

 

 

guilt

One of the most profound evidences to me of the reality of God was the way He relieved me of a burden of guilt I didn’t realize I’d been carrying when I first came to Him. But oh, I knew it when it was gone. In the same way, when I begin to beat myself up for my daily failures, He is there again. Christ is the only effective way to remove guilt. The world gives you technique, or tries to tell you that you did the best you could so forget it — but deep in our heart, that isn’t enough. Christ paid the price and took it — and we don’t have to beat ourselves up any longer.

10. Read Psalm 25:6-18

      A. What does David ask in verses 6-7? Do this sins of your youth ever come back to haunt you? How should you talk, rather than listen to your soul?

      B. In verses 8-10, what part does recognizing our sinfulness, and responding humbly to correction play in being led? If you keep hitting a brick wall or repeating the same sin — could this be helpful to you?

      C. In verses 11-15 there are some important promises that come with conditions, including one of my favorites. What do you think verse 14 means?

      D. What repeated plea does David make in verses 16-18?

      This reminds me of one of my favorite psalms, which we have often studied on this blog: Psalm 42. The psalmist is downcast and has to keep talking to his soul. He tells his soul to hope in God, and “she” does, but then anxiety returns, and he speaks again, over and over, and into Psalm 43. So it is with us.

11. The three themes of Psalm 25 are repeated in the closing verses of 19-22. Find them.

12. Share how the Lord is helping you presently in each area of enemies, guidance, and guilt.

Thursday-Friday: Teaching from Mike Reeves

Listen:

      LINK

13. After listening, share:

     A. How does Reeves view Psalm 25?

     B. What did you learn about the name of the Lord?

    C.  When Reeves looked back at Psalm 19, he said it revealed creation was more about the kindness of the Lord than the power of the Lord. Why?

    D.  What other notes and comments do you have?

Saturday

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

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266 comments

  1. 1.  What stood out to me was that your husband was incredible!  Okay, spiritually…what stood out…that strong and lasting impressions can be made on a child’s life at a young age, both for good and bad and how God can take the truth of His word and completely undo the bad, transforming a life.  Both of your adopted daughters had rough situations at an age where it is hard to “undo” that damage but God is bigger than our histories and baggage and His word is alive and powerful to transform us and conform us to the image of Christ.
    2.  I mostly heard and learned hymns as a child and my favorite one as a kid was the song that was sung when I was baptized…Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9oW91Iv8D8
    I love that after a person is baptized at the church I am in now they put a white robe around them and say, “This is how God sees you now.”

    1. Mary – just wanted to say its lovely to see your face and “hear your voice” this morning! =)

  2. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why? The woman raising her hands and “Unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul!” This very accurately portrays how I feel every time I go outside or hear a song that touches me – that I try to literally will my soul to GO UP to Him, even though He lives in and around me somehow if I could make myself ascend into the skies I would be closer to Him? I think in those moments I just want more of Him, want to more fully experience Him – a longing for full relationship, unhindered by this world. 

  3. Susan, I just read about your mom on last weeks blog. I’m sorry I missed that; reading comments has been tough for me at this time. I’m glad she ended up better and it just doesn’t surprise me (unfortunately) about the lack of communication between the doctors and staff after what I went through with my mom in the past few years. I am very concerned about our generation and the healthcare system. I was treated like a princess with my cancer, my mom was treated with the attitude of, “you’re old anyway, so why bother?” It was awful to watch; so sad. I will continue to pray for her. My grandma had Alzheimer’s and that was very hard to live with, with her. I wish I had been more in tune with Jesus back then (I was 18). I would have treated her with more kindness. She couldn’t help what she was going through, but it was difficult for the family to handle.

    1. Laura, I relate to a lot that you say because I work in aged care. The way our society devalues elderly people concerns me greatly, and especially that they don’t value themselves. I often hear “I’m past my use by date”, or similar. Last week, a lady complained to me that staff kept directing questions at her son, rather than asking her directly. There’s nothing wrong with her mental capacity, so she found it quite demeaning. All sorts of little ways like that elderly people are told they are no longer important.
      Alzheimers Disease causes so much pain for families. I’m currently involved in setting up a support group for families caring for someone with dementia. I really think dementia care takes a whole community; it can’t be left to just their immediate family.

    2. Thank you Laura…I do remember how awful your mom’s circumstances were at times-related to the kind of care she received. I was impressed by the good care she got in the ER, and it does help that I, my sister, and a brother-in-law are all nurses so we can stay on top of things.

  4. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    I absolutely love it when Dee posts about Steve’s life-his heart, oh! I love that picture of Annie and Steve..His love and delight in her shines on his face. A true reflection of God’s delight in Annie. To see her this happy is beautiful. 
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
    I was going to list one that I have taught to my boys but then a memory came up about my child hood. Christmas songs impacted me as a child because I wasn’t brought up with believing parents. The most impactful song was “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Every Christmas as a child I would kneel before the tree and just sit quietly-in my heart I pondered the wonder of Him and silently worship Him-even though I didn’t know Him yet..and He would always bring to my mind the cross-not necessarily the manger. Perhaps He sowed the Gospel in my heart through my yearly watching of Jesus of Nazareth-that was the movie I looked forward to year after year.  
     
    Hark the Herald Angels Sing:
    hark! the herald angels sing”glory to the newborn king!”peace on earth, and mercy mildgod and sinners reconciledjoyful all ye nations risejoin the triumph of the skieswith th’angelic host proclaim”christ is born in bethlehem.”hark! the herald angels sing”glory to the newborn king!”christ, by highest heav’n adoredchrist the everlasting lordlate in time behold him comeoffspring of the favored oneveiled in flesh, the godhead seehail th’incarnate deitypleased, as man with men to dwelljesus, our immanuel!hark! the herald angels sing”glory to the newborn king!”oh, oh, ohahhail! the heav’n born prince of peace!hail! the son of righteousness!light and life to all he bringsris’n with healing in his wings(mild he lays his glory by)born that man no more may dieborn to raise the sons of earthborn to give them second birthhark! the herald angels sing”glory to the newborn king!”

    1. Oh Rebecca!  I love your memory.  ‘Hark’ is my very favorite Christmas carol (if it is even possible to pick just one) because the lyrics are so, so rich and deep.  I taught the first verse to my oldest son when he was just two.  Yes, God used those powerful words to bring the gospel into your young heart.

    2. I can so picture this Rebecca, you and your tender heart as a child–and oh how we are blessed by what He has made in you.

    3. What a memory, Rebecca…kneeling before the Christmas tree pondering the wonder of the Lord and worshiping Him when you didn’t yet know Him, seeing the cross rather than the manger.  What a lovely witness to how the Lord draws us to Himself and the good news of the gospel…lovely…thanks for sharing.

  5. The connection between Steve & Anne, and the pain of his loss stood out to me. As I’m new on this blog, that sent me to your bio pages, as there are parallels with my own story. My husband, John, died suddenly after a heart attack in 2009. We were married 24 years and have 4 children. Your memories of Steve & Anne are beautiful, Dee. I too treasure my memories of John as a very hands on and affectionate Dad.

    1. So sorry for the loss of your husband, Kerryn…welcome to the bible study blog; glad the Lord directed you to our fellowship.

    2. Kerryn, I too am so sorry for your great loss. I’m thankful the Lord brought you here–have loved what you have shared already–what a wise and tender heart.

    1. Thank you for a very warm welcome! Yes, I had 3 children at home when John died, and there are still 2 living at home while studying at uni. The youngest was 15 – they are now aged from 20 to 28.
      I have recently returned from a month long holiday – a study tour of Greece & Turkey with a side trip to Iran. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed it – especially a hot air balloon trip in Cappadocia, the highlight for me. The trip brought some healing for grief – I have struggled to go away, preferring to immerse myself in my work. But it also opened some wounds. I have used a picture of a labyrinth to describe grief… just when you think you’re through, the path takes another turn and you’re right back in the midst of labyrinth.

  6. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    Oh, such a beautiful memory of Steve and Annie.  I can just imagine a sweet child’s voice singing with her daddy.  And learning some of her first words in English from the Psalms that Jesus sang. How beautiful.  Love seeing the photo of them together too.  (That song was one we sang at Bible college and hearing it again stirs my own heart back to a time when the Word was so fresh for me too.)  
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why?     So, so many songs.  My mother was our children’s choir director, church pianist and sang and played music at home continuously.  But here’s the first one that came to mind.  When I was about 7, our young pastor’s wife died completely unexpectedly, during the night.  We never knew why.  She was in her late 20’s and they had three very small girls.  It was the biggest shock I remember as a young child.  She and my mom were good friends, they had the same first name and they sang duets together at church.  We were all devastated.  Our young pastor (maybe not eve 30 years old?), with a lot of help from his family and the church body, had to find a way to somehow carry on.  Among other things, what I vividly remember is that every Sunday for what seemed to my young mind, months and months, we sang the hymn,  I Know That My Redeemer Lives in church on Sunday mornings.  I was greatly impacted by how he was grieving and drawing strength from these words, even as a young child.   The melody in the Lutheran hymnal that we used, is not the melody on the following link, but, the lyrics are there and the melody of this artist is very beautiful. (I will post in a separate comment.)
     
     

    1. Wanda, how blessed you are to have those memories of your mom, singing and playing all that music at home continuously! And the story of your young pastor losing his wife…how tragic, and yet what you describe feels to me what church should be like – a family. The fact that you felt what you did at the age of 7 when the pastor’s wife died, and the impressions made on you as the church body helped him in his grief and the hymn you all sang each Sunday speaks of being a part of a “family”…something that is sadly missing in our “mega-churches” today.

  7. Trying the link again.  I think when using Firefox, it posts as an open link.
    “I Know That My Redeemer Lives”
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkLuZxqPPzE

    1. Is this the Lutheran tune you are familiar with Wanda? I had never heard this song before. Thanks for sharing it. Rich words, especially with your story about the young widower pastor.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tMqpruzpv0
       
       

      1. Yes it is, Diane!  I actually watched that video as well.  Kinda wanted to post the one with the melody I knew….but really enjoyed the new melody too and found the one with photos and lyrics easier to follow.   I haven’t regularly attended a Lutheran church all of my married life, but when I spent the weekend with a friend a couple weeks ago, we sang this hymn in her church.  Still love it and never forget the impact it had on me when I was little.  Thank you!

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    The picture of Steve and Annie, including he grip he has on her!
     
    Ps 25:14…The color of the image stood out to me, and I read the part right before it and the verse more carefully.  Dee asked the question, “…how many are truly friends?”  I’ve never paid attention to that verse before.
     
    Ok, I cheated and read ahead 😉     Part of what stands out to me is from the questions below.  This is SO timely.  I’ve been puzzled because I’ve been sick during the past few days.  Although I slept most of the day yesterday and sometimes kept pain and fever under control through drugs, I didn’t realize how bad I felt until now when I am experiencing that post-fever weakness and other symptoms are going away.   During this past winter, I wasn’t as sick as I often have been (put myself on an elimination diet, mostly out of curiosity, and started avoiding some foods).  Since the beginning of the year, God has changed me physically and spiritually — and both of those impact me emotionally.
     
    When I scanned some of what was below, I even see this  illness fitting in to spiritual battle, maybe some consequences as well as God’s protection in that I wasn’t well enough to attempt to take control of the world.   The whole topic of spiritual warfare kinda bugs me — and the picture of the black, cartoonish hands even spooked me (until I saw where it was from… THAT CRACKED ME UP!! — it’s from the funny cat site, I Can Has Cheezburger?).  I’m looking forward to this week — perfect timing for me.
     

    1. Ha! Renee, I just went to the pic after reading your post-lol-I didn’t notice that before. :))) 

  9. I read your intro earlier and now that song, “Unto Thee, O Lord” has been going round and round in my head all day! I love hearing stories about your family.

  10. 2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
     
    My childhood was a long time ago!  I knew most of the ones in the book we used for Sunday School.  The first ones that popped into my mind were “Blessed Assurance” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”   I liked some of the songs that actions, too, but I’m not sure how much lasting value “Deep & Wide” has.  The lasting value in a couple of them was that I questioned what they meant and dug deeper.  I think I’d add “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” to the top 3.   I grew up on “meaty stuff” in Sunday School.  My mom was Sunday School superintendent for years, and she and the person before her were so well prepared in their intro times before we broke up into classes.  What we learned stuck, at some level, for most of us who lived in the same place and attended the same SS from ages 3 to 17 or 18.  I haven’t thought too much about SS before.  Even what I thought was boring stuck with me and became interesting later 🙂

    Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.  I knew the chorus when I was young, but didn’t pay much attention to the verses until high school—and I love the verses, too.     http://youtu.be/6KmE5p2n85s

  11. Renee,  I loved that rendition of a really meaningful song for me too.  ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’ is one of those that has rescued me several times when I’ve been down and overwhelmed.  Probably one I will need a lot this week.  Thank you.  I was raised on the ‘meaty stuff’ too. 

  12.  
    1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
     
    Most definitely the touching  picture of Steve and Annie, and to know the story of how they would sing together in “echo” fashion.    I can just imagine how darling that would have sounded.

    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
     
    I am surprised that no one else has mentioned this song so far, as I think it is the “basic” song that is taught to children — in Sunday School and at home.   I am posting the link here — you will probably have to put it in your browser (although recently I have been surprised at what happens to the link after I hit the “submit” button.)    I like this you-tube version because the pictures of Jesus are not all alike (various artists), and as the video progresses there are more children and more ethnic diversity in the children.      “Jesus Loves Me!”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBALcN701NU

    1. Deanna,  That one definitely crossed my mind, along with “Jesus loves the little children” (an early introduction to diversity).  A couple that I didn’t think of earlier:  The B-I-B-L-E  and “I am so glad that Jesus loves me”

    2. Deanna! I am thinking of the same song from my childhood. Very simple in words and melody but oh, so profound in its theology.I go back to this song when I am deeply distressed.  Thanks for the link!

    3. Thanks Deanna, this is a precious reminder of that sweet and simple children’s song!  I actually had not thought of it. 

  13. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.
    When I focus on who the Lord of Glory and who he is (Psalm 14-24), I see he is the only one who can truly meet my needs. But my mind likes to trick me here. The Lord is my portion… I read:

    LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. (Psalm 16:5-6)

    Immediately, my mind goes to the things I do not have, and the things I have lost and asks questions. Is my lot really secure? Have the boundary lines really fallen for me in pleasant places? That’s the trick, the lie. (Very similar to that sneaky question in Genesis 3:1, don’t you think?) It’s true that my lot doesn’t always feel secure, but the real truth is that my lot is very secure in Christ. Widowhood doesn’t feel like a pleasant place, but the more significant reality is that I’m a child of the King. (And there are lots of other ‘pleasant places’ in my life too – Mum to 4 great kids, a fulfulling job, a supportive church family… the list goes on.) The battle in my mind is to focus on the important eternal things rather that the temporary problems. Philippians 3:8 has been very important to me recently. It puts things in their proper perspective. “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”

    1. Oh, wow, Kerryn.  I just read your post after I hit submit.  I’m amazed that out of all these chapters, such very similar things stood out to us.

  14. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.
     
    At first, this was difficult because I learned SO MUCH, and all of it impacted me 🙂     I scrolled back through the weeks, and how they all impacted me is so woven together that every time I start to select something, I also think of something else that is related.   In the comments section, on April 9, Dee posted:

    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.

    That made a huge impact on me, and I wondered how to see the Lord as my portion when I’m not quite desperate.  Because to me, desperate = in very bad shape (people are ready to lock me up and throw away the key — or I’m ready to do the same to myself),  I often have wanted to (and do) take control until I know I have no choice but to trust Him.   I haven’t found that any specific, effective ways to keep Him as my portion when I’m not desperate (but simple steps typically haven’t worked for me in many areas of life).    I started to see that acknowledging my neediness and my longings rather than bull-dozing on ahead to solve (or cause!) problems did drive me to Him, and my desire for Him has increased.   Knowing that HE IS MY PORTION is self-perpetuating.  When I acknowledge He is my Portion, I spend time with Him — I WANT to be with Him, and that increases the likelihood that I will spend time with Him.  When I am with Him, I know He is my Portion.When I also consider that He is the King of Kings, the King of Glory, the powers I face don’t seem as powerful, and the decisions I have ahead of me don’t seem as gargantuan.   As I scrolled through our study of Psalms, I realized that a lot of “life” has happened for many of us during the past months, and God is faithful.   I can trust my soul to the Lord because He is all powerful, loves me more than I can comprehend, seeks me when I stray,  desires the best for me, and is completely trustworthy.  He is my Portion; he is all I need and the One I desire.   

  15.  
    Sunday: Ice-Breaker
     
    1.  What stood out to you from the above, and why?
     
    a.    The picture of Annie and Steve. The joy I saw in Steve’s face as if saying, “I’ve got you, Annie close to me”. And Annie looking so comfortable, though shy, in his arms. J I lost my Dad 26 years ago and pictures like this often bring memories of him.
     
     
     
    b.    The song “Unto thee, O Lord” is one of the earliest songs I played on my guitar, a gift from my dad.
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
     
    Jesus Loves Me, This I know. I go to this song whenever I am in deep distress. When my feelings and thoughts are overwhelming and I do not have the gumption to open my Bible, I sing this song. Its simplicity never fails to bring comfort to my soul. There is One who loves me and no one can take that knowledge away from me.
     

    1. Ernema,  Interesting that “Unto thee, O Lord” was one of the first songs you played on your guitar.  Makes me think about when I first heard it — 70s maybe ???

      1. Yeah, I think so, Renee-the 70’s. My cousins and I loved to sing in harmony when we were growing up in the Philippines. Precious memories-we are now all scattered in different countries. I have a cousin who sings alto and sounds like Karen Carpenter. 🙂

        1. 🙂     Any recordings of you and your cousins?

      1. Listening to “O Love that Will Not Let Me Go” right now!  (The pic of Steve and Annie caused the song to cross my mind before;  Dee’s comment led to you tube action 😉   )

  16. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage.What need?  Hmmm… will take a stab at it.  This time, the Psalmist doesn’t sound as though he is afraid for his life.  He’s asking God that he wouldn’t be shamed or humiliated in front of his enemies.  He requests safety, but it is more at an emotional or spiritual level — for his soul.   This is so relevant for me right now that I might be seeing it too much through the lens of my life.

    6 observations:
     -Psalmist’s (Jesus’ &/or my) behavior/choice:  1) lift up my soul to God & 2) trust in God
    -Psalmist’s (Jesus’ &/or my) request:  3) don’t let me be ashamed & 4) don’t let my enemies gloat because they have beat me
    -The Promise of God’s answer:  5) those who wait for Him won’t be ashamed & 6) the ones who will be ashamed are those who are “wantonly treacherous”  (I had to look up “wanton” !!) 

  17. Love the song, Unto thee O Lord and loved imagining Steve and Annie singing it. I love to hear children sing. To me there is nothing so sweet as a Dad and his daughter. I lost my Dad , who died when I was 9 months old, and always idealized him in my mind.
    Annie ‘s loss was great but she has the memory of their precious relationship. I am happy to hear of her compassion.
    My very favorite song from childhood was For God So Loved the World, He gave His only son, to die on Calv’ry’s tree from sin to set me free. Some day He’s coming back, what glory that will be, Wonderful his love to me. I love songs based on Bible verses, and I probably memorized John 3:16 before any other verses. That is also why I love Unto Thee O Lord!

    1. Shirley, GOOD SONG! 

  18. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    Annie and Steve. I love the story God wrote for her, how God wove her into the family He created her for before time– it means much to me personally. I love Steve’s example—I needed that today—his undying pursuit of her—beautiful. As Renee said, his grip on her speaks volumes. Her story sings of hope—and the truly healing power of love.
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
     
    Music plays such a big role in our lives it feels impossible to choose one song—we sing together a lot! But one that we taught early on is the Doxology. It was one of the first that my kids memorized. Many nights after devotional, we sing it as our bedtime prayer. I do not have much of a singing voice, but it’s amazing how beautiful it sounds when the 4 of us stand and sing together. And even on the hardest of days or nights, when we come together and sing “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow, Praise Him all creatures here below…” it seems to put everything in perspective.
    This is Nicole Nordeman singing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KsaaZsFtkE

    1. Elizabeth-What a stilling version of the Doxology from Nicole Nordeman. 
      “Her story sings of hope-and the truly healing power of love.” -wonderful to hear your answer to #1.  🙂

    2. Elizabeth,  What a wonderful use of the doxology.  I listened just now — you’re right; it does put everything in perspective, a perspective I needed right now.  Thank you!

  19. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.

    Psalm 18:16-19:  He reached down from on high and took hold of me: he drrew me out of the deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a spacious place;he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

     
    Oh, it’s been such a hard 24 hours.  Last evening, I learned that something I was so greatly looking forward to, which I thought was a for sure thing, was not going to happen.  Not an event or something to acquire, but a life change in which I have felt the Lord’s leading and prompting for many years.  It was such an enormous let down.  I didn’t sleep until after 3 am, trying to figure out how to process what has been happening in my heart and soul.  I’m sorry that this sounds so dramatic.  I’m not at liberty to say more, so I have to be vague,  but the disappointment has been overwhelming me today.  That’s why the verses about being in deep waters speaks so intently to me.  I feel like I am drowning in disappointment.  I know these verses first refer to Jesus and how God drew him out and rescued him when his enemies had seemed to triumph.  God brought him out of the depths of the grave.  He defeated Satan, sin and death.  And He did it because He delighted in Jesus, his son.  Likewise, Jesus delights in me.  In my predicament, I haven’t quite figured out just ‘who’ or ‘what’ is the enemy.  It’s complicated and all I know is that my soul is heavy and sorrowful.  I need the comfort of knowing he will rescue me.  He will take me out of the deep waters and bring me into a spacious place where I will know his delight and feel his peace.  
     

    1. Praying for you, Wanda.Your post reminds me of Jill’s post when we studied this chapter, how God rescues us from drowning — reaching down and putting us in a spacious place where we can BREATHE because He delights in us.  Praying he will help you breathe.

    2. Wanda, while you cannot give details about the situation, thank you for sharing about it’s impact on you and how you are feeling. That is all we need to pray. None of us have been in the same situation, but we can relate to the feelings you describe so clearly and echo your prayers. You are his beloved child; he delights in you and he is there in your pain.

    3. I need the comfort of knowing he will rescue me.  He will take me out of the deep waters and bring me into a spacious place where I will know his delight and feel his peace.   

      I’m sorry you are disappointed Wanda. Life is that way sometimes and getting through can be difficult alone. I am so thankful we have Him. I will pray today for you to be pulled back up.

    4. Wanda, I am so sorry for your disappointing news…I pray for the Lord’s provision in your disappointment; may He help you to process what has occurred and bring you peace.

    5. oh Wanda, I am so so sorry. Lord, we lift up our dear sister Wanda to Your arms. Hold her, Lord, calm this storm, bring her peace. I pray Lord You would be the lifter of her head and remind her You are the Lover of her soul. In Your Name~

    6. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers.   Kerryn, welcome to the blog!  I’m enjoying reading your comments.

  20. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage.
    David brings his need for honour and victory to the Lord. I’m using ‘honour’ as the opposite of shame…  he needs to be able to stand confidently before those who oppose him. He’s not thinking self-confidence or self-glorification though. All his confidence and glory is in the Lord.
    David ‘lifts’ up his soul. In this context, I think lifting means offering or surrendering his soul to God.
    David’s request is based on a relationship of dependence on God, not on self-confidence. He trusts in God, not in his own resources.
    He is sure of the outcome, because ‘no one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame’.
    This hope is not just for this moment, but for ever. (But maybe David, like me, needs to keep reminding himself of this?)
    It’s not just him his enemies are opposing but God, so they are the ones who will suffer the outcome he initially fears.
    There’s a note that this is an alphabetic acrostic (in the original Hebrew language, not in translation of course). I’ll take a pass on trying to write a psalm with lines starting with subsequent letters of the alphabet. That takes a more skillful poet than I. Which is not meant to imply that I am a poet at all.

  21. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
     
    How music is so universal. Music crosses all languages/boundaries and touches hearts. My dad was a musician; I love music!
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? (Feel free to give a link if there is a great one!)
     
     
    Well there’s so many songs and so little time! Obviously “Jesus Loves Me” comes to mind, “This Little Light of Mine,” and others are well known childrens songs. I learned so many songs at vacation Bible school. In fact I still sometimes teach vacation Bible school because I love the music! The kids are so cute and I learn so much. so, I’m not sure how “lasting” this song is, but I found this video and had to share….it made me laugh! Laughing is good for us…..
     
    http://youtu.be/56QWeYtHW0k
     
    It is about faith, having faith that God knows what he is doing. Childlike faith.
     
     
     

    1. oh Laura–good one! This definitely made me smile–thank you! Of course now it will be stuck in my head for a few days…oh flashbacks of my days as Children’s Ministry Leader ;0

  22. 2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why? I have been thinking on this. I have learned so many songs. As a child, and as an adult, music has been a big part of my life. I cannot think of a specific song but I will say this – my mother loved hymns, she taught them to us and sang them in response to situations and at one point we went to a church that only sung hymns and I thought (as a high school student) that hymns were so irrelevant and old fashioned! But I grew in my faith and then later in life my husband and I were a part of a church that sang mostly hymns and the people there were so loving that I took pause to examine the songs they loved and I found so much life in them. Now I do not judge a song by its genre or melody, even, but by its lyrics. And I love that songs well up in my heart that my mother sang in response to situations. 

  23. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life. I think the specific theme of “God is” is from earlier psalms but it definitely repeats and permeates all of psalms.  The idea that He is unshakable, unloveable, unthreatened, He is, puts a solid foundation under my soul. When He is the foundation, the established, the owner of all then my needs, myself come into persepctive. When I am in need, it feels as though my life is falling apart, when I struggle it feels as though my feet are slipping and my head may go under. But He IS. He has established where my feet land. He has directed my paths for His name’s sake. He is a portion that is more than enough. When the foundations of the earth crumble He sits in His heavenly throne, unmoved. Problems in my life….are still there and I still feel the ebb and flow of emotions in response to situations and idols but He is. And if I stop to meditate on that it aligns my soul and draws my eyes to Him.  This unshakeable savior loves me. 

  24. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
    I was drawn as Jill, right off the bat by the woman with her arms extended to the lovely blue sky in worship to her Lord.  As many of my blog sisters have commented, the story of Annie and Steve (and picture) are very touching…oh the love…  The love of a father (Steve) for his child (Annie)…the love of a Father (the Lord) for His child (me, you, us) beautifully displayed through Steve’s actions.
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why.
    When I was a young kid, our children’s choir sang “Let there be Peace on Earth”…I was struck by it then and to this day really like the song; it speaks to me, reminds me, convicts me.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRFNg-Eyt_0&feature=kp

  25. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your should to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.
    In Christ we are overcomers…in Christ we have all that is needed.  I was especially drawn to the Lord being my shepherd, probably in large part to the extra information provided by Keller’s book and a greater understanding of the intricacies of the shepherd’s care for his sheep and how it relates to the Lord’s care for me (us).  All the things that the Good Shepherd does is for the benefit of His sheep…He provides for all that they need.  Sometimes the provision doesn’t appear as provision, but that is our lack of understanding; we do not see with the wisdom of the Good Shepherd.  Trust in our Good Shepherd is paramount, especially when it is easy to fall into doubt and questioning.  I must always remember that He is for me, providing for me, looking out for my best interests…in Christ I am secure.    When problems assail me, I can trust that my Good Shepherd is for me, providing for what is needed (anointing oil to a sheep’s head comes to mind to deter the annoying bugs and parasites); walking with me, providing comfort and guidance for me through the “storms” of this life.

  26. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.
     
    Well, when you look at the total sweep of the descriptive terms for Christ in these psalms —  “Portion, savior fortress, bridegroom,  anointed one, exalted one, crucified one, shepherd, and ascended one” —  it all says that He is the one in the best position to help me, with my best interest at heart .    Recently I have been extremely plugged into the realization of the Lord as my Shepherd, so I would tend to put Psalm 23 at the top of my list right now.   It has always been a comfort psalm, but now the comfort extends way beyond “comfort for the moment.”  Now it is comfort into eternity!!    The Lord will see to all my needs now in my earthly life, but He will also guide me and, with his crucifixion and resurrection, He has  protected my soul  to be with Him forever.  

  27. 5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness?     YES
    If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?   
    Well, at first, it turns my brain into a confused mess.   Acknowledging that the opposition might be from spiritual forces of darkness helps me realize I should take the battle seriously — and fight under the banner of the King who won the war (I have mercenary tendencies).   In some ways, it is a relief in that my perspective is bigger and God is my fortress.   When the opposition is the spiritual forces of darkness, my weapons had better be the full armor of God.  

    But I feel torn because I want to make some people change their behavior 😀   (like that will happen!?!).  I get idealistic, thinking that if we have rational conversations, existing policy will be implemented; what’s right will take place.  I’ve been around enough organizations (including workplaces, churches, even families) that it seems that once wrong behavior has been justified or rationalized, it takes more than conversation to turn things around. 

    The spiritual battle may be on two levels (for sure, on one level):  the larger situation itself and the state of my own heart.  On one hand, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY wanted control (and that desire gets more powerful the more I pray about it).  But then, I gave up — developed apathy because I felt powerless and started not to care.   When I view this as a spiritual battle, I take comfort in knowing that I don’t have to be manipulative or mean in order to win & that God controls the future.

    What’s confusing to me is that I’m not sure if it is right be looking at the opposition as the spiritual forces of darkness when the issues are incompetence or laziness (certainly incompetence or laziness can be intertwined with spiritual darkness).   When I look at the big picture over time, I do believe that at least part of the opposition is spiritual.   It kinda seems “rude” to label someone as influenced by dark spiritual forces, and I tried not to believe that — I wanted to “like” the person(s).  At the same time, maybe acknowledging the spiritual battle will help me “like” the person(s) more because I see that people are not the enemy.

    In the midst of one of these battles during the next 24 hours — what’s at stake is my behavior and my heart.  Please pray — tomorrow morning!

    1. I’ll be praying throughout this morning with special intentions for you, Renee.  Best wishes…hopes and prayers.

    2. Praying for you now Renee!

    3. Praying, Renee!

  28. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage
     
    1)  He knows to whom he is addressing his needs.  “‘To you, O Lord.”
    2)  He acknowledges that God is personal and attentive.  “O my God”
    3.)  He lifts up his soul.  He realizes that it is his soul that longs for the divine, the almighty, the lover of his soul.
    4.) He declares his trust in the Lord.
     5)  He asks for God’s favor so that he will not be put to shame and his enemies will not triumph over him.
    6) He expresses confidence in God by stating that anyone whose hope is in God will never be put to shame.   (this interests me…..I am thinking there must be more than the literal meaning here.)
    7.) He states that those who are treacherous (that is, those who defect and shift their allegiance to someone or something other than the living God) without excuse (those who understand and know that they ought remain loyal to God) will be put to shame.  Thus, he restates his loyalty to the Lord.
     
    His need is to stay true to the Lord and find victory over the enemies that threaten his soul, his hope and his confidence.  

  29.  
    5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?
     
     
    Hard question.  I don’t think it is from ‘spiritual forces of darkness’ as I understand that phrase.  But then, I’m not sure my definition is the same as that of others.  There is a spiritual component though.  I often feel I shouldn’t compartmentalize or label the opposition.  Instead, I feel more drawn to putting my focus on what is true, noble, right,  pure,  lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy  (Philippians 6: 8,9)  and look at my opposition through that lens.  I’ve always been struck by the object lesson of learning how to spot counterfeit money, not by studying the counterfeit but by becoming so familiar with the true that you immediately know when something is not real. At least I am hoping that this is how I can continue to process the struggle I find myself in which has led to the severe disappointment that troubles me so. 

  30. Wanda, your list of 6 observations is so perceptive. I cannot add anything except to say I agree  with you.
    Yes, the psalmist “longs for the divine, lover of his soul” I am thinking of you and the disappointment you are experiencing.
    I will pray for you and I am also experiencing a loss of a dream and yet I have confidence, in God, and know that my human desire may not be fulfilled, but I will trust in God. He is faithful to me and knows the future. My desire is to honor him and to be faithful and keep my focus on Him. Yes, the opposition of spiritual darkness may threaten me especially through discouragement that is my weak area. I am so thankful for the benefit of the psalms.

    1. Thank you Shirley, for the encouragement.  I remember that you have experienced a deep disappointment as well and your desire to honor God in that loss impresses me.  Perhaps as time goes by and we remain seeking His heart and will, we will both see the benefit of the loss of these particular dreams.  And I so agree.  The psalms bring such a good and needed perspective during difficult times.

  31. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?
    I’ve had to think for a while on this one (actually, sleep on it! It’s Tuesday morning over here now.) I generally see my opposition primarily as internal – the struggle with my own desires, my mind, my body – so to think about how spiritual forces may be involved in my struggles is a change in perspective. But it is a helpful change.
    There is a natural aspect to my struggles, my own weakness. But the spiritual powers use and target those weaknesses, so it is foolish to struggle in my own power. Sickness may be primarily physical, but it can have mental and spiritual components too. Actually, it is likely more accurate to regard our struggles as primarily spiritual, with the outcome of that battle impacting us emotionally, mentally and physically.

    1. Good morning, Kerryn!  Isn’t it amazing to think of the bond we can have no matter what the physical distance?   I love to visualize everyone in their respective states, provinces and countries all united as we study and share together.

      1. Wanda-kind of like that song by the Newsboys that talks about every tribe every nation-all God’s children singing Glory Glory Hallelujah he reigns.  I am grateful we get to experience a piece of the future now. Can you imagine though in the future when we are all praising Him in perfect Love-perfect unity? wow. 

        1. Yes, Rebecca!  So true.  And then multiplied by the saints of ALL the AGES besides!

  32. What promise is given in verse 3?
    Those who trust in God will never be put to shame. Like Wanda, I’m not finding it easy to get a handle on shame, and I’m wondering if that could be cultural. In some cultures, shame is a strong motivator, and people are executed for shaming their family. Not so much in my culture. Maybe related to guilt? Those who trust in God are released from guilt? Open to suggestions to better understand the significance of shame in Biblical times.

  33. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord (Psalm 25:1-3)?  Make six observations.
    To not allow him to be put to shame; to not allow his enemies to triumph over him.
     
    1.  The psalmist lifts his soul to the Lord.
    2.  The Lord is trustworthy.
    3.  The Lord has control of situations and circumstances.
    4.  Hope in the Lord equates to freedom.
    5.  The Lord is just (those who are treacherous without excuse will be put to shame).
    6.  “my” is personal…”O my God” (v. 2)
     
    5.  When you consider opposition…possible that opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness?  If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?
    Yes, I do think that there are spiritual forces of darkness at work in this world prompting fear, violence, evil, dissension, doubt, anxiety, etc.
     
    Although “the battle” involves me, in reality the battle is something so much greater and beyond me.  Forces of darkness are looking to squelch the goodness and love of our Lord.  The forces of darkness take notice of me when I become dangerous to their cause.  When they fear for their cause, they will use any means, opportunity, scheme and/or ploy to try to throw me off track.  The goal is to squelch the work of the Lord in and through me.  Keeping this all in mind, my recognition and dependence upon the weapons for spiritual warfare are critical.  Ephesians 6:12-13…”For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
     

    1. Nanci–this was good ” my recognition and dependence upon the weapons for spiritual warfare are critical.” It reminds me of something you said last week, in your response to Pink’s quote–about the enemy being behind the times we doubt, or compare ourselves to others, or are embarrassed…it struck me how often the enemy’s attacks are subtle, and as you said we get on “auto-pilot”–I have been thinking about that and how we must be aware of these smaller darts because the etch away at our foundation. We must remember our armor!

  34. 3. Going to have to come back to this! So hard to narrow it down—but a good exercise to review—I am loving reading what others have shared. I know His filing of my cup—providing the cleansing blood and my every need, impacted me greatly.
    4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage.
    He needs the Lord’s protection, His defense against his enemies. He needs One in whom to trust for guidance. He needs security of eternity, his guilt and shame removed.When I think of shame–I think of the sense of needing to measure up, to prove oneself, and the reality that we cannot. I picture Adam and Eve in the Garden, when they realized they were naked–they felt shame, a need to cover themselves. We cannot cover ourselves. We need His covering.
    The first thing that strikes me is how the psalm orients us. We, like the Psalmist, come in desperate need of the Savior. There is action required of us—to lift up our heads. I liked this, from Spurgeon on verse 1 “Very often the soul cannot rise, she has lost her wings, and is heavy and earth bound; more like a burrowing mole than a soaring eagle. At such dull seasons we must not give over prayer, but must, by God’s assistance, exert all our powers to lift up our hearts. Let faith be the lever and grace be the arm, and the dead lump will yet be stirred.”His focus is directed to the Lord alone, because only He can provide for his needs. In these 3 verses, I see all parts of a lament. In vs. 1-2 he pours out his heart’s cry and makes his prayer of petition. In verse 3, he remembers God’s faithfulness. Verse 3 reminds us of the promise that Christ has fought the battle for all who are His. We are safe and unashamed.

  35. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage. 
    He requests to not be out to shame or have his enemies triumph over him. 
    1. The psalmist lifts his soul to the Lord,  to me this indicates worship but it could also be death because of implied ascension when we pass from this world to the next. 
    2. The psalmist puts his trust in the Lord. Amplified Bible says trust, lean on, rely on, and am confident in you.  I see both this world and the next here, as well. 
    3. The psalmist requests to not to be put to shame (the request indicates desire). Amplified Bible says let not my hope in you be disappointed – again this could be for this world or the next. 
    4. The psalmist requests his enemies not triumph over him. I used to always see “enemies” in the psalms as David’s battle opposition but the more I see the psalms through Christ the more automatic it is to see enemies as spiritual foes, both in my life and in Christ’s life facing the ultimate battle. 
    5.  He who trusts in, waits on God will never be ‘put to shame’ (amplified Bible says ashamed).  I think this has to apply to the next life, because we do feel shame sometimes…though as I type that I wonder if my shame comes from a selfish deed or attitude rather than true shame. If I truly have my hope in The Lord then does it matter what situations I go through? My soul is secure therefore shame on this earth diminishes?
    6. Shame will come to those who are treacherous without cause (not having cause is impossible? So we must assume the cause is themselves, selfishness?). 

  36. 5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?
    I know many times the battle I face is from my own sin and my idol-making factory within, yet sometimes it is very obvious that the opposition is spiritual  warfare. Perhaps there is always an element of spiritual warfare? The enemy lurks and rejoices when I choose self-indulgence and try to earn my own righteousness. In a current battle I am facing, I do believe the opposition is spiritual—and it is interesting how that alters my perspective. On the one hand, it heightens the significance, the “weight” of the battle—and on the other hand, it frees me. It doesn’t seem so personal, and I don’t feel so alone in it. I can remind myself it is the Lord’s battle—and He is equiped and able. I can rest in that and though I also know my response is critical, I know He provides my armor through His Word.
     
    6. What promise is given in verse 3?
     
    The Lord’s covenant with His own—we who wait on Him, who trust in Him, will not be put to shame. I think of shame as a sense of unworthiness—ignited by guilt—and experienced when we rely on our own “covering” or righteousness. We realize we cannot measure up, and there is shame. But because of Christ, we cannot be declared “unfit” or not good enough. We are never naked again. We are covered in His righteousness.

    1. Lizzy-I so love how he is helping you process this and trust Him: ” … In a current battle I am facing, I do believe the opposition is spiritual—and it is interesting how that alters my perspective. On the one hand, it heightens the significance, the “weight” of the battle—and on the other hand, it frees me. It doesn’t seem so personal, and I don’t feel so alone in it. I can remind myself it is the Lord’s battle—and He is equiped and able. I can rest in that and though I also know my response is critical, I know He provides my armor through His Word.”

      1. Dee,  Good to know the origin of “the devil behind every bush” quote…     I may have started out with the “devil behind every bush” mentality — and then overreacted, becoming reluctant to see the devil behind any bush (still kinda reluctant).   I remember an era when a friend and I were so spooked that we were nervous about getting in our cars after Bible Study.

      2. Oops. Posted in wrong place. Will reload page and try again 😉

  37. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.
    This sounds strange but I am learning that trusting Him can sometimes increase the pain in the valley at first because not only does the trial hurt but it hurts to abandon myself to Him-to lay down and let him peel off the layers. It hurts when I have sinned against one of my boys or my husband and I feel justified inside, and I might be in a sense- yet the Holy Spirit is prompting me to lay myself down and ask for forgiveness for how I treated them even though I think they deserved it..that kind of letting go and trusting my shepherd King to help me turn may be more difficult than the trials that come that are out of my control-I don’t know, just a thought. 
     
    He comes as a salve to my soul and breaks me when I am being selfish and unkind with the truth of who He is-Jesus is the anointed and exalted one-He is King-I AM NOT KING-I CAN’T BE TRUSTED BUT HE CAN! This brings me so much comfort! Let Him peel the layers off. :))). He died on the cross and was risen and exalted and sits at the right hand of God. It is finished-my hope is sure-Let him peel the layers off. He is intensely involved in my life now as He prepares me for the future. I can trust that my Shepherd King is holding me through these valleys and peeling away each layer to make me more beautiful. 

    1. Yes, good point, Rebecca.

      trusting Him can sometimes increase the pain … it hurts to abandon myself to Him-to lay down and let him peel off the layers

      Life is full of lots of layers of sin and self-centeredness that God needs to peel off to make us like Him. Letting him “mess with our heart” is not easy.

    2. Rebecca,  I appreciate this post.  I read it this morning, and “it is finished — my hope is sure” jumped out at me and helped me look forward to the morning.  Right away, I listened to “It is Finished.”  I didn’t get to the point of finding my favorite rendition 🙂    but I’ll pick this one so far  http://youtu.be/B420qTV4S1w    (Emphasis mine.  Looking for the same lyrics in a different style!)

      There’s a line that is drawn thru the ages
      on that line stands an old rugged cross
      on that cross a battle is raging
      to gain a mans soul or it’s loss
      on one side march the forces of evil
      all the demons all the devils of hell
      on the other the angels of glory
      and they meet on Golgotha’s hill
      the earth shakes with the force of the conflict
      and the sun refuses to shine
      for there hangs God’s son in the balance
      and then thru the darkness He cries

      It is finished, the battle is over
      It is finished there’ll be no more war
      It is finished the end of the conflict
      It is finished and Jesus is Lord

      Yet in my heart the battle was still raging
      Not all prisoners of war had come home
      These were battlefields of my own making
      I didn’t know that the war had been won
      Oh but then I heard the king of the ages
      Had fought all the battles for me
      And that victory was mine for the claiming
      And now praise his name I am free

      1. Such deep lyrics, Renee.  I remember this song…..but did not ever know all the words and haven’t thought of it in decades.  Thanks for posting.  Lots to think about.

  38. oh Rebecca–this hit me so where I am, I have tears. “I am learning that trusting Him can sometimes increase the pain in the valley at first because not only does the trial hurt but it hurts to abandon myself to Him”
    When you said at the end “Let Him peel the layers off”, I imagined it, and instinctively, I want to cover myself back up! The exposure–makes us so raw and vulnerable. But I know you speak truth–we are secure, we are freed to be naked and unashamed, we have His covering. So good!

  39. 1. What stood out to you from the above, and why?
     
    I so loved reading about Steve and Annie…Steve singing and Annie echoing her “Opa”…earnestly repeating what he sang. And the picture of the two of them…and the beautiful, compassionate woman Annie has become. Little seeds that were planted in a little girl and now fully grown to maturity.
    Thinking of Psalm 25 as a response to the “Lord of Glory” revealed in Psalms 14-24 helps it to make sense…when I first read it through, I was thinking “Wow, this is a long psalm!” and how to sort through it. And this, “Many believe – but how many are truly friends?” To think that because of her being the Lord’s friend, it was confided to Mary that He was going to die-she understood. (And then she ministered to Him).
    Reading about that verse and Mary was like a gentle tug at my heart this morning.
     
    2. What spiritual song did you learn as a child or which you teach to children that you think has lasting value and why?
     
    Well, I’m feeling kind of sad about this one as I did not go to church when I was a child (my parents did not go to church) and had no exposure to growing up in Sunday school or learning/singing lots of the songs you all have mentioned. Even as an adult, it still makes me feel like I’m sort of behind (as a Christian). I do have very vague memories of going to what was then called “nursery school” (preschool, today) at a Methodist church, and I kind of remember learning “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands”. Even now, many of the songs everyone has mentioned are unfamiliar to me. When I got married, I joined the Catholic church because my husband was Catholic. One song from the hymnal that I always liked was The City of God. (This was the one priest’s favorite and he used to really sing it with gusto:))
     
    Awake from your slumber
    Arise from your sleep
    A new day is dawning, for all those who weep.
    The people in darkness
    Have seen a great light
    The Lord of our longing, has conquered the night.
     
    (Refrain)
    Let us build the city of God
    May our tears be turned into dancing
    For the Lord our light and our love
    Has turned the night into day.
     
    When I began to go to an evangelical church, most of the songs sung are modern praise songs. I got a wonderful introduction to the hymns and delving into their meaning when I participated in Dee’s God of All Comfort study on her blog.
     

    1. Susan, my heart went out to you even as I was posting for #2.  Sometimes I take so much for granted.   Thanks for the song you shared (will try to find it).    I used to listen to Catholic Mass on TV Sunday mornings when it was hard to get out for church  — and heard some wonderful music (often wondered why there wasn’t more cross-over in music).   Most of the churches I’ve attended have both praise songs and hymns — 3 different denominations, all with the same hymn book!

    2. SUSAN, YOU SOLVED MY MYSTERY!!!      I looked up City of God — and recognized the name of the person who wrote it.   A few years ago on this blog during Lent, Anne shared a song and I listened to it MANY times that year.  All I could remember is that it was written by a priest and something about “darkness.”   I found it!  Holy Darkness by Dan Schutte.    I listened again a few times now and could understand why it ministered to me so much then.  Thanks 😉

      1. COOL! Mystery solved!

      2. Had to look up the mystery song.  Profoundly  moving.  Love it.   ‘Holy Darkness’
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifXaWHBAJ74

    3. Susan….the first stanza of ‘The City of God’ has wonderful lyrics.  I will look it up to hear it also.  Like Renee, I have wondered why there isn’t more cross over in hymns from Catholic/Protestant and within denominations.  A few years ago, I was at a Catholic funeral for a young man who was killed in Afghanistan.  He was from a devoutly Christian Catholic family.  At the prayer service following the visitation, the congregation sang ‘Be Not Afraid’ from the  hymnal there.  The words were so helpful to me.  As soon as I got home, I went online and printed it out.   It seems each Christian tradition has unique songs and hymns….and then there are those from every culture and language besides.  I can’t begin to imagine heaven’s choir!   Since I began on the blog, I have always found your comments so rich revealing such a depth in your love of the Lord.   Though you maybe haven’t had the amount of years of exposure to Biblical learning…..I could never see you as ‘behind’ in your walk and understanding. 

  40. Praying for you in your spiritual battle today, Renee.

  41. 3. As we turn to the theme of lifting up our needs to the Lord, how did the the theme you saw in Psalms 14-24 prepare us for this? Take something from that theme that impacted you and explain why you can trust your soul to the Lord when you are facing problems in your life.

    Back when I was going through radiation, Joyce gave me a verse from Isaiah that I said over and over as the treatment was given, for many weeks. 

    Isaiah 41:13 (NIV)

    For I am the Lord your God    who takes hold of your right handand says to you, Do not fear;    I will help you.

    And then I noticed this:

    Psalm 16:8 (NIV)

    I keep my eyes always on the Lord.    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
     
    Psalm 17:7 (NIV)
     
    Show me the wonders of your great love,    you who save by your right hand    those who take refuge in you from their foes.
     
    Psalm 18:35 (NIV)
     
    You make your saving help my shield,    and your right hand sustains me;    your help has made me great.
     
    Psalm 21:8 (NIV)
     
    Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies;    your right hand will seize your foes.
     
    Exodus 15:12 (NIV)
     
    “You stretch out your right hand,    and the earth swallows your enemies.
     
    Revelation 5:7 (NIV)
     
    He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
     
    I also noticed there are MANY more passages and Psalms that refer to God’s “right hand” or my “right hand.” I am finding comfort with the consistency of the phrase, although I am still pondering it’s significance. For me (for now) it means He has control over what happens in my life here on earth and control of my soul as well.

    1. Laura, THANK YOU!

    2. Wow, Laura!   When I went through my 4 cancer surgeries, I repeated the very same verse …. Isaiah 41:13 NIV over and over each time I was prepping and getting my IV inserted.   That is amazing that we had the very same verse….and it was long before I knew you or Joyce!  And God knew all along, we would someday connect in this space 🙂  So sweet!

    1. Strength and honor?  (thinking of the disciples arguing about who would sit where).  In these verses, “right hand” also gives me the feel of faithfulness.

      1. yes, yes, yes!! I was just listening to a podcast with NLD on women in the Bible and Hannah Gresh (I think) spoke of James and John’s (?) mom asking Jesus to seat them at the throne with Jesus…thanks Renee.

    2. I’ve heard it said that when you’re at a conference table for a board meeting or such, that the person sitting directly to the right of the chairperson, is in the ‘power seat’…..that is, her comments are attended to most by the chair.   (I always avoided that seat in staff or board meetings at church after hearing it!)   I wonder if the origin of that idea is from Jesus being seated at God’s right hand and the cooperation of the Father and the Son in reigning as One.    We use the phrase ‘right hand man’ to mean someone who is the most essential to an operation to aide the person in charge. Personally, I loved the verse about the Lord taking hold of my right hand (Isaiah 41:13) and telling me not to fear….because when getting prepped for surgery, I always got my IV in my left arm.  That way, I could envision the Lord holding my right as the verse says.  Personal thoughts here…..probably not any actual insight.

      1. Oh wow Wanda, I’m never going to take that seat now! Going through radiation I used to add my name in….”For I am the Lord Your God, Laura…..” It made me feel so reassured. Thanks Joyce!!!!

    3. When visiting Bali, we were taught that the left hand is unclean. You never gesture or point with your left hand, definitely never eat with it. It is used for the dirty jobs (think personal hygiene). It applies in quite a few places – India, middle east and the rules at Qumran included something similar. So the right hand is honourable, the left hand dishonourable.
      Right hand is associated with images of strength and authority – eg. right hand man.
      Left hand has more sinister associations of deceit and trickery.
      In Matthew 25, when the king separates the sheep and the goats, he puts the sheep on his right and the goats (destined for darkness) on his left. 

      1. Kerryn, Right vs left hand distinction is important in working with many international students, too.  Basic cultural courtesy (necessity), though I don’t hear it discussed as much as 20-30 yrs ago.

        1. Hmmmm never thought of that Renee…..

    4. What jumped out at me when I read these verses with “right hand” in them, I immediately thought of Jesus. He was seated at the right hand of God so to me, Jesus is my “right hand”.

  42. 4. What need does the psalmist bring to the Lord in Psalm 25:1-3? Make six observations on this passage.
     
    The psalmist needs help to stand up to the opposition, and he expresses his total reliance on God for that help. 
     
    1.  God is above the psalmist — hence the need to “lift up my soul.”   The psalmist is in the submissive, worshiping position. 

    2.  The psalmist needs to be able to rely on and trust in God.  
     
    3. The psalmist does not want to be put to shame.     I think that David was not only worried for himself being put to shame, but he was also not wanting God to be put to shame.   If David was shamed, it would not speak well of God to those in the nations looking on. 
     
    4. He was afraid of his enemies and did not want them to triumph over him.  
     
    5.  He wanted his hope in the Lord to be vindicated .  David feared that many would think that living for God was futile. He knew that God would triumph. 
     
    6.  When David says, “they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse,”  I think he is asking for fairness and justice.   It wasn’t enough for David to be spared, but he wasn’t going to feel good about it until he saw the Lord demonstrate that his enemies were wrong.
      
    5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that theopposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?
     
    Yes, I do.    I can remember back in my college days, and I worked as a student assistant/secretary to the Director of Religious Life on campus.   My boss and I were hurrying across campus to assess the damage — vandals had entered the Great Hall of the college and had damaged the huge pipe organ — and all this just a few days before the Bishop of the church from southeast Asia was going to be speaking in the Great Hall.  My boss asked me directly if I believed in demons, and I answered that I did.   I still do.   There are occurrences in life for which there can be no other explanation!    
     
    I so agreed with Nanci’s post above where she said,  “The forces of darkness take notice of me when I become dangerous to their cause.  When they fear for their cause, they will use any means, opportunity, scheme and/or ploy to try to throw me off track.  The goal is to squelch the work of the Lord in and through me.”

    Jesus combatted Satan with Scripture, and He was doing that even to the point where he was dying on  the cross.   If I recognize when I am being beseiged by Satan,  then I need to pull out the weapons of spiritual warfare:  Scripture and prayer.  
     

  43. Shame.   After I read Wanda’s question/comment about shame and then Kerryn’s, I started thinking about shame (maybe too much?) and looked up Bible verses about shame.  When taking an academic approach, I think about other cultures, honor killings, friends who were disowned from their families, etc. and I don’t understand how/why such things would happen.

    But when I consider my own shame, I feel the impact at a visceral level — and will do just about anything to avoid it.  Even honor killings make sense to me when I think about my own shame.  To me, shame is that experience of feeling completely worthless to the core, believing that others also see my shame, and knowing that there is no way to hide, powerlessness in the face of accusations — the worst humiliation magnified &/or embarrassment with evil attached.   I will go to great lengths to avoid this — defend myself, leave situations, and/or distract myself.   I wonder if addictions might even serve the “purpose” of numbing the pain of shame?  In this society, the word “shame” often is used to describe feelings after abuse or abandonment because the impact often is that of blaming oneself.  When I think of countries in which one’s identity is so thoroughly bound up in family/community, I can understand (though disagree!!) why families go to such extreme measure to avoid shame.

    In the Bible, I read verses describing shame experienced as a result of someone’s (or a group’s) own behavior/sin and also from attempts by others to shame those who don’t deserve it.    Some of the words associated with shame in Scripture are dishonor, reproach, disgrace  — even the word “consumed” was used (and I think it fits well).

     Psalm 4:2 says, “how long shall my honor be turned into shame?”  It seems as if shame is one of the most painful insults possible — stabbing someone and twisting the knife.  “How long…?”   Shame doesn’t seem to leave quickly.Heb 12:1-2 show me why those who trust Him won’t be put to shame:

    …let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

    Psalm 25:2 is vivid to me. “Let me not be put to shame. Let not my enemies exult over me.” The gloating, the sneer, the loneliness when I try to defend myself and I’m not believed. Psalms and Hebrews tell me that Jesus beat shame; he experienced the worst humiliation so that I don’t have to live with shame.

    I would do shameful things to avoid being shamed. I HATE, HATE, HATE it. Hints that I might be shamed make me want to take control. Ps 25 gives better, godly instructions for not being put to shame: trusting in God and waiting for Him. I am SUCH a slow learner, but this is definitely worth learning.

  44. 5. When you consider opposition you are facing from without, do you think it is possible that the opposition is actually from spiritual forces of darkness? If so, how does that impact your perspective of this battle?  
    I actually do see “the enemy” as being mostly spiritual forces of darkness.  It kind of helps me to see it that way because it reminds me the people in my life are not the enemy…they may be used by the enemy at times but they are just as broken and in need of forgiveness, grace, and mercy as I am.
     

  45. 6. What promise is given in verse 3?
    kind of two promises:  those who wait for the Lord will not be ashamed and those who deal treacherously without cause will be ashamed.  Sadly, there have been times I have acted on an assumption that someone had wronged me or said something with ill intent and I fired  back with a comment and I WAS ashamed because I had assumed the worst about that person and my assumption was wrong.  Likewise, there have been times I have been upset by something that was said or done but I stepped back, prayed about it, took some time (waited on the Lord) before responding and was VERY glad I did!  (not ashamed)

  46. 7. Pray Psalm 25:1-3 in regard to a situation in your life.
    Lord, my soul can feel to heavy to lift—but my faith gives me reason to trust and the strength to turn to You—where else can I go? I run to You because You are all powerful and all good. Truth and Mercy. I confess I still fear blame. I can still put on the heavy, dirty cloak of guilt. Oh Lord, lift it from me. I turn to You. I trust You with the outcome, Lord. When the weight of guilt comes in, and I remember the ways I have failed—I lean into You, Your cleansing blood—it fills a fountain and overflows my cup. I cannot find rest in my own standing, but covered in Your robe, I am declared forgiven, free, worthy. It is finished.
     
     8. Make six observations concerning verses 4 and 5.
     

     “Make me”–I hear utter dependency, humility, a sense of urgency. He is pleading with the Lord—“make me”—whether I like it or not. That shows such trust. I can think of a few times I have turned to my husband about something I knew would be difficult for me and have said ‘you have to make me’. The psalmist acknowledges that he doesn’t have the strength on his own to discern.

    “Teach me”—teaching never happen overnight. It is a process of giving the material, giving it again, and testing the knowledge. Repetition is necessary until mastery. Teaching requires ongoing relationship. The psalmist recognizes there is no “quick fix”, he needs to be under the Lord’s continual guidance.

    “Lead me”—do not have me do this alone. Take my hand, Lord, and stay one step ahead of me, lead me.
    Each of these petitions show the Lord is the active one—He is the Provider of strength, the Teacher, and the Leader.

    In verse 5, I see what the Lord owns—truth is His, salvation is His.

    He is worthy of our humble waiting upon Him.

    1. Elizabeth..#7.-Love this…i hope others read it for I don’t want to mess it up commenting on why I like it so much. 😉