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HOW THE GOSPEL CAN DELIVER YOU FROM THE POWER OF SIN (Part I. Psalm 36)

THE GOSPEL HAS THE POWER TO OVERCOME

NOT JUST THE PENALTY OF SIN,

BUT ALSO THE POWER OF SIN.

REMEMBER HOW IT IS PUT IN THE HYMN ROCK OF AGES?

be-of-sin-the-double

IT’S THE DOUBLE CURE

FROM THE PENALTY BUT ALSO THE POWER OF SIN

HOW EAGER WE ARE TO UNDERSTAND THIS.

AS KELLER SAYS, “IF YOU ARE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL, YOU PROBABLY DON’T. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE JUST STARTING TO GET IT, YOU MAY BE.”

 I am starting to get it. Truly, the gospel is helping me in some areas tremendously, but in other areas I am still so prone to wander, so prone to leave the God I love.

Yet I had some exciting light-bulb moments when I was in Psalm 36 and Psalm 37 that I am so eager for us to look at together.

In preparation, let me tell you a way my youngest daughter used the gospel to overcome the power of sin recently in her life.

Annie with her firstborn, Miabelle
Annie with her firstborn, Miabelle

Annie is a nurse and recently made a mistake with a new procedure with a patient. When she was asked to do it, she hesitated, because she wasn’t sure she completely understood the procedure, but succumbed to pressure to do it right away. Then, afterwards, she realized she hadn’t done it correctly. First, the gospel gave her the power to own her sin. She should not have succumbed to pressure, but she did, she knew, because of her idol of approval. The gospel, in part, shows us the evil in our own heart, how we are unfaithful to the Lord and run to our idols. But next, Annie realized she had to go and confess her mistake to the doctor in charge, an angry young man who tends to fly off the handle at nurses.  She knew, for the sake of the patient, she must confess that she hadn’t done the procedure correctly. To do it again would cost time, convenience, and money. She expected rage, and rage he did, cursing her loudly in the hall for all to hear. But Annie took it, standing on the Rock, her “stronghold in time of trouble.”

She called me later and thanked me for teaching her how to apologize well. After his shouting ceased, she owned her wrong, didn’t point out his part, but left that to God, articulated the pain it caused both the patient and him, and promised to do what she could to make it right. The doctor softened and the procedure was done again, and all ended well. The gospel helped Annie overcome the power of sin, that darkness in her heart that can cut her and other people to pieces.

One of my favorite definitions of the gospel, often quoted by others, is this:

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In Psalm 36, we will see these two sides of the gospel. We see in the opening a portrait of the wicked, whose mouth is full of deceit, who plots trouble on his bed, and who has no fear of God. Yet before we point a finger at “evil men,” we must remember that Paul shows us in Romans that this is true of every heart, for within us an evil lurks that is so bad that Christ had to die for us. We can put on a good front, and be very nice, like Dr. Jekyl, but we must be aware of the beast within us, or we will continually deny and cover up our sinful ways. It was this realization that helped Annie own her sin rather than defend herself in her heart.

 

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Within Dr. Jekyl hid Mr. Hyde

But the gospel also shows us how loved we are, for Christ went all the way to the cross for us. If we remember how steadfast is His love, then even if the consequences for owning our sin are costly and humbling, we know God will be with us, and as the close of Psalm 36 and all of Psalm 37 shows, God’s steadfast love is like the heavens, covering us with a canopy of love. Though clouds will appear in the heavens, representing, Spurgeon believes, our trials, his steadfast love reaches to the clouds. We can surrender to Him and humbly admit our sin to ourselves, to Him, and to others. Jesus quotes Psalm 37:11 in The Sermon on the Mount: “the meek shall inherit the land.” We must take the long view of life and realize, if God be with us, indeed, who can be against us? Psalm 37 is filled with promises that are a result of God’s great gospel love. Our own Renee, who often helps us think with her good questions, was pondering, how once she interpreted verses (like she was seeing in Psalm 34, but we see again in Psalm 37) as ways we can do things to get blessings. Instead, they are quite different. These are blessings that come, not from “doing” certain acts and expecting God to reward us, but rather, these are blessings that come when we wait on the Lord and stand on the power of the Gospel. We’re going to look at some of these promises in light of the Gospel.

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 We will take two weeks on this, because it is so important, and because these are such high vacation weeks, I have made homework shorter so you can do it. This is so key to your Christian walk of power.

Sunday, July 20th Icebreaker

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

2. If you are beginning to grasp the double power of the gospel, share one way the gospel is helping you overcome the power of sin in your life. Be specific.

Monday – Tuesday of Week One: Psalm 36:1-4

3. Read Psalm 36:1-4

  A. Describe some of the characteristics of sin that has flourished.

  B.  Compare Psalm 36:1 to Romans 3:18. What similarity do you see?

 

       It is sobering to realize that the Romans passage is not just about the 

       most evil of men, but about us if we do not apply the gospel to

       the sin lurking in our hearts. A natural defense mechanism is denial or

       justification for our sin.

 C. What does Romans 2:15 tell us is the “natural” response to the conviction of our consciences?

 

I am asking the Lord to help me not be in denial for I have seen that long-term, denial is not a friend. I have often thought (though I know God is sovereign) that if my husband hadn’t been such an optimist, denying the seriousness of his symptoms, that he might be alive today. I have told myself I am going to quit denying I could be in trouble when I might be. I want to know if a tooth is really going bad, or if my tire might really be going flat, or if my “little sins,” are really abominations. “Little things,” may not be so little, or can definitely become overwhelming if not stopped, like the little foxes the ruin the vineyards. Those foxes must be stopped before they do irreparable damage.

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Wednesday: Gospel Application

Ask the Lord to give you self-revelation about areas where you are in denial. Once you have identified the truth, begin to develop a plan to overcome with the power of the Gospel. In his book, Gospel Treason, Brad Bigney writes:

GospelTreasonIdolatry is deep-seated in us, and won’t let go easily.

…Make a plan. I find that most people fail to change

because they fail to make specific plans to change.

Change doesn’t just happen in “fuzzy land.” You

specifically sinned your way into where you are, and

you’re going to have to specifically repent your way

out.

Remember how our own Rebecca did this in regard to over-eating? First, she

identified her comfort idol, and then, she said “Instead of eating this pie at

night and sitting in front of the news, I am going to stop eating pie and read

spiritually edifying books about intimacy with God. It wasn’t a quick fix, but

God came to be slowly.”

4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?

Thursday-Friday: Psalm 36:5-12

Ed Bigney quotes Ed Welch in regard to making your overcoming plan: “The path of change goes through the heart and continues on to the gospel, where God most fully reveals to us his Son Jesus Christ in the death and resurrection of Christ.”

This is where Psalm 36 now turns. Yes, we are depraved, but we are also loved, as revealed by the gospel. He will, indeed, meet us.

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5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.

A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?

B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?

C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?”

D. Do any pictures in this passage becomeradioactive to you? If so, what? How might this help you with your plan for overcoming sin?

In the shadow of your wings
In the shadow of your wings

6. Report how your plan is working in apply the Gospel to overcoming sin. How can we pray for you?

Saturday: Take-A-Way

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

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288 comments

  1. 6. Report how your plan is working in apply the Gospel to overcoming sin. How can we pray for you?
     
    I worry this could be a long process for me.    Thankfully it isn’t daily that my “being right” is challenged to bring out the worst in me.     I would certainly appreciate prayers that I can remember that I only have to be “right before God”   not the rest of the world.    I realize that my problem is akin to the idol I confessed sometime ago:   approval.   The irony is that “proving that I am right”   does not gain me more approval by others,  nonetheless, I think that is my motivation — to gain approval, for others to think “yes, Deanna is smart, she knows what she is talking about.”       I so relate to what the apostle Paul said in Romans 7:15:  ” I do not understand what I do.   For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”        That’s it in a nutshell!!    

  2. I am overwhelmed ladies with your Love this morning!  When I saw all of the responses I immediately had to put my iPad down and run to the arms of my Lord first, and now I am able to respond to you guys. You see one of the idols I love to feed is the  approval/ acceptance/ affirmation, so imagine how I felt, like a kid on Christmas! Reading each comment was like opening a new gift! Even though that is a good thing, I could have filled up on all of your goodness and have no need for Him, the one who covers me and died for me.  It is a process! But I’ve been praying that The Lord would make me allergic to my sin/ idols, so that I can be sensitive to them. My plan is to identify my idols, and it was easier when Dee gave 3 common categories which idols are produced out of and  ( 1. Approval/ affirmation, 2. Comfort/ security, 3. Power/ control) ladies to be honest, I struggle with all of these.  So, I get up in the morning  and  remind myself of these struggle categories, and ask The Lord to make me aware when I’m acting out of these, and His spirit whispers gently to me or my body reacts( shoulders tense, anxiety) and usually I am able to catch it, but if I don’t , The Gospel empowers me to make it right through the steps were learning In this weeks bible study. I also rehearse the gospel to myself daily, it reminds me that all of the things I crave are already mine through Jesus Christ gift of dying on th cross. I am approved of, He will provide for out of the abundance of His house, so I can stop tring to control or manipulate people or circumstances because He is in control of my life. I must die  to myself daily, continuely. It may sound like a lot but I’ve noticed since I’m not trying to maintain my idols my mind is much more free to communicate  with God.

    1. Roshanda–wow, you have the play dough heart!–so honest, humble, teachable. Hope you’ll continue to share with us here. Can’t wait for you to read Idol Lies–I think the Lord will really use it to bless you on this journey.

      1. Thank you Elizabeth! to God be the Glory.

    2. “to be honest, I struggle with all of these”
      Oh, Roshanda…dealing with my idols seems to be a daily struggle for me (I think most of my blog sisters would similarly agree).  I also struggle with an approval/affirmation idol…oh how good it feels to be complimented, affirmed, etc., but as you said, I only need approval/affirmation from One.  In addition to my approval idol, there are instances when I can clearly see a control idol at work that needs to be addressed.  At one time I didn’t think I had any issues with a comfort idol; I wasn’t thinking about comfort in all its complexities.  I realized that my stops at the clothing store or cosmetics counter to make a purchase or two after a hard or difficult workday was actually a “comfort fix”…yikes, I’ve got that one too…:(   Seeing and acknowledging idols is huge…you are definitely on the right path.  Make sure to check out the Idol Lies Videos if you haven’t yet, they’ll prime you for the book…:)  Glad you’re here, Roshanda!

    3. I love this Roshanda…….” I must die to myself daily, continuely.  Since I’m not trying to maintain my idols, my mind is much more free to communicate with God.”

      WELCOME!!

      1. Thank you ladies ! I am excited that I am on this blog, can’t wait to see what’s in store next for next week. I am realizing how I’ve been starving myself spiritually,I had a little taste and now I am hungry! 

  3. So good to come back here and be encouraged by the Lord through the sharing of His word and your experiences. Been gone to a conference with responsibilities I needed to focus on. In spite of my busyness during the past few days, I have experienced His “net woven of grace and mercy” as Mary here so aptly spoke of. My tendency to be a people-pleaser has translated itself to my walk with God to the point of walking the rope tight (again thanks, Mary) always keen on doing the right thing. This blog has a way of pulling me back to the truth of God’s unconditional love. And He showed that to me again this week.
    Quite a few of you here share about your walk with God amidst CANCER. I hate that word especially as now it has come to one of my loved ones, my sister. Yet ,a common thread is seen among these precious women-a spiritual depth that I know can only come from trusting God during the dark days. Deep inside I have asked over and over again, why, God? The peace that passes all understanding always comes and many testimonies here is a tribute to our awesome, wonderful, merciful God. Thanks, friends!
    Getting ready again to help at a teacher’s conference. Will keep coming here while away.
    5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
    the skies
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
    The sky is so vast and never ending. Whenever I go outside, there it is! Just because I can not see from inside my house doesn’t mean the skies are not out there. Just so the steadfast love of God. It is so vast and never-ending and even if I do not feel it, at times, it is there for me.
    C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?”
    The clouds don’t block His warmth. His warmth permeates (extends) the clouds. His warmth is never more sensed acutely than when we are going through trials.
     Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, extend to the skies, and Your faithfulness to the clouds.
    6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God, Your judgments are like the great deep. O Lord, You preserve man and beast.

    1. Ernema–glad you are back. We have prayed as a family for your sister, and praying she continues to recover. I love what you shared here “The peace that passes all understanding always comes and many testimonies here is a tribute to our awesome, wonderful, merciful God.”

      1. Elizabeth, thanks so much for your prayers. My sister is getting discouraged but hanging in there. Thank you for sharing the article on the myths of God’s silence-…friends get the inside story. This week, God proved that true. He allowed me to see the inside story or I would have lashed out to what I perceived was a blindsiding of one of my colleagues. I needed to hear also Paul Tripp’s devotional on love. “Love is actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental…humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.” I am grateful God kept a muzzle on my mouth when I could have been very unedifying. 🙂 I did need to ask for forgiveness for some quick non-loving responses as my default, natural man response.

    2. Praying for Grace everyay,  Ernema.

  4. 7. What is your take-a-way and why?
     
    This week’s lesson has ministered to me on so many different levels. When I started this week, I felt especially weak with worries and unknowns, health questions and trials…I was so comforted by verse 5—His faithfulness towards me has bo end—it reaches even to the darkest of my clouds. Today I read an article on CCEF by Ed Welch—“the myth of God’s silence”. He says “There is no divine conspiracy of silence.He speaks… Silence is how someone treats a slave, and we are not God’s slaves. We are his children. Even more, we are his friends, and friends get the inside story.” Isn’t that so good to be reminded of?!
     
    In my darkest of late night concerns, He speaks—His promises have no expiration. He has also reminded me this week that not only does His love and faithfulness extend to my darkest clouds AROUND me, but the darkness WITHIN me. This devotional I downloaded from Paul Tripp on Love, is only 10 days but it has been so incredibly convicting for me. Some things I had just let slide lately, some reactions that have become habits, excused with my self-righteous defenses…God often uses Tripp to expose my darkest “clouds” of my own heart. Here are a few of the ways he describes love :
     
    “LOVE IS… being willing to have your life complicated by the needs and struggles of others without impatience or anger. LOVE IS… actively fighting the temptation to be critical and judgmental toward another while looking for ways to encourage and praise. LOVE IS… making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.LOVE IS… being lovingly honest and humbly approachable in times of misunderstanding.LOVE IS… being more committed to unity and understanding than you are to winning, accusing, or being right.”
     
    I am overwhelmed at how poor I am at really loving well—and yet, the Power lives within me. Psalm 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life”. Rather than wallow in my discouragement at my failure to love well, I am renewed by His mercy, His grace towards me! I’m reminded of Luther, “all of life is repentance”, and humbly adding—I see more how life is also learning to love like He loves. My trials are shaping me—by His grace and mercy, He uses them to mold me. He isn’t silent, or absent—His goal is that I love like Jesus. He has given me a particularly difficult relationship that I deal with daily—but this week I have not resented it—I have been able to be thankful for the way it shows me my sin and refines me. That’s a miracle for me. So thankful for the gracious, patient way He loves us into His likeness.

    1. Oh, Elizabeth, your post on “Love IS” brings tears almost. I fall so far short. How do I get this devotional by Paul Tripp? I know you are struggling with a difficult relationship. I wish I could give you a hug and promise you that it will get better. I can’t hug you and I can’t guarantee that it will get better. Yet we know that God will make all the wrongs right some day. I continue to pray for you and I LOVE what the Lord is teaching you through this trial so that you can teach me. Love your soft heart in this:

       He has given me a particularly difficult relationship that I deal with daily—but this week I have not resented it—I have been able to be thankful for the way it shows me my sin and refines me. That’s a miracle for me. So thankful for the gracious, patient way He loves us into His likeness.

      1. Oh Diane–now you’ve made me cry! So thankful for you–your encouragement, your friendship. The devotional is “available for a donation of any amount” at  https://paultripp.sitewrench.com/the-invitation-to-love
        Continuing prayers for you too dear friend–so thankful for this “koinonia” we all share here–what a gift it is in the hardest of times, to be encouraged by one another…still amazes me how it happens across so many many many miles!

    2. Elizabeth, praying for you and your difficult relationship…remember, the whole story isn’t written yet! I also love the quotes you shared from Paul Tripp – I struggle with them all and “LOVE IS…making a daily commitment to resist the needless moments of conflict that come from pointing out and responding to minor offenses.” How I love to do this – point out minor offenses and it results in needless and useless conflict.

    3. wow Elizabeth, I really liked the love is quotes as well.  I think we all struggle to “love well.”  I know I do.  Always having to remind myself to assume the best about others (when something is said or done that could be taken two different ways, assume the best) rather than the worst…just as I appreciate receiving that same assumption from others!  It is hard.  We so enjoy being loved well and yet it is so hard to love well.

  5. Thank you deanna! I am so blessed to be able to serve God in this way!
    Elizabeth! That love thing speaks directly to my relationship with Emma! THANK YOU.

  6. 5a. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
    *vast as the heavens
    *beyond the clouds
    *like the mighty mountains
    *like the ocean depths
     
    B. In what ways is His steadfast love like the sky…what parallels do you see?
    When I look up into the sky I cannot see where it begins or ends…it is all encompassing…God’s love has no beginning or end, it completely envelops me, more than I can fathom or comprehend.
     
    C. Spurgeon says … but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds”?
    The psalmist teaches that God is “beyond the clouds”…He is beyond the trials and tribulations of this world.  The Lord will prevail over this world and bring about a new heaven and earth.
     
    D. Do any pictures in this passage become radioactive to you? If so, what? How might this help you with your plan for overcoming sin?
    “unfailing love”…David speaks of the Lord’s unfailing love in verses 5, 7, and 10.  The repetition of these words emphasizes the importance of my noting and remembering that the Lord’s love is an “unfailing love,” and allowing that truth to resonate to my core.
    The Lord’s “unfailing love” is incredible to me…
    Because the Lord loves me always and forever (unfailing), He desires my transformation into the likeness of Jesus (it’s good for me…for my benefit).
    With unfailing love, He helps and guides me in and through the process of transformation. He is patient and understanding.
    Even on my best day, I still fall so very far short, but I can trust that the Lord’s love is “unfailing”…He will not leave or forsake me.
    Because the Lord loves unfailingly, He is merciful to me in my confessed, repentant shortcomings. 
    The Lord’s “unfailing love” provides such relief, support, mercy, strength, and comfort.
     
    6. Report how your plan is working in applying the Gospel to overcoming sin.  How can we pray for you?
    Well, I searched scripture for a while yesterday and didn’t really come across another biblical verse that “hit” me as the initial text had.  On my walk with my dog this morning, I was pondering and praying.  As I got closer to home, my thoughts turned to that original scripture text; I realized that perhaps all the issues I struggle with could utilize that verse by changing the last word…e.g., if thoughts of comparison come to mind, similar to judging another, I acknowledge the sinful thought (in this case, comparison) and take it captive…I seek the Lord’s mercy in my sin and my trust that the Lord’s mercy will triumph over sin.  I may in the future be given another text in addition to this one, but presently this one really resonates with me and I believe it is from the Lord’s hand.
    How can my blog sisters pray for me?…please pray that I continue to be mindful of sinful thoughts that come into my mind, that I may meet them head on and take them captive…please pray for the Lord’s continued assistance and guidance in transforming my thought processes…pray for my evolving mindfulness.  Thanks gals!

    1. Nanci, praying for you…the mind is certainly a battlefield…I struggle, too.

      1. Thank you, Susan…I’ll be praying for you too, sister.

        1. Praying for you too Nanci

    2. Nanci–love your answer to D–on the Lord’s unfailing love-wow.

  7. 6. Report how your plan is working in apply the Gospel to overcoming sin. How can we pray for you?
     
    It’s too soon to report on my specific thing I named in the earlier question; however, we are leaving today for a family vacation and I know I will get LOTS of practice in applying the gospel during the week due to the family dynamics that will be sure to occur. The Gospel tells me that I am so bad that Jesus had to die for me, but also so loved that He did die for me. My husband and boys can use a lot of sarcastic humor, and it can make me feel worn down and even lead to hurt feelings and an unforgiving spirit building up in me. I love them but all of us being together can be hard. I need to remember that my sons are technically adults now, so I have to watch that idol of power/control. Sometimes, my daughter and I feel like the “boys” are ganging-up against us. I want to respond with grace this up-coming week and remember to Whom I belong. I also tend to bring my own expectations as to how things are going to be, and when it doesn’t match my ideal, I feel let down. I need to watch my tendency to be verbally critical. So you can pray for me to apply the Gospel to any situation that gets thrown at me this next week, especially in terms of family relationships, and for safe travel as we drive to the beach!

    1. praying for your time Susan! Praying for you to keep speaking truth to your heart, resist the lies of the enemy, rest in His love for you~

    2. Susan…may you have a week of ease…may you rest in the Lord’s love…may you retreat to the Lord’s refuge when feeling overwhelmed.  I will be praying this week for your and your family’s enjoyment, ease, rest, and renewal during your family vacation time. 

    3. Praying Susan

    4. I can sure relate to the family “dynamics!” I will pray. My mom used to tease me…..I really don’t like being teased. She used to do it and then say, “oh yeah, don’t tease Laura, she can’t take it.” I know she was kidding, but it did still hurt. I think Dee’s example of TK is PERFECT! The Lord loves us so much. Love and hugs to you Susan!

  8. 7. What is your take-away and why?
     
    I need to be constantly reminded that the gospel is the double cure for sin. Saved from sin’s penalty, and from sin’s power. It’s uncomfortable, but with the gospel I can dare to look at the darkness and evil in my own heart, knowing that instead of punishment there is a remedy for it. And He sees even more in my heart than I know is there, yet still loves. I also want to remember the Brad Bigney quote. Change requires a specific plan. It takes time to break a sinful habit and replace it with a new habit and the word I don’t like, “self discipline”. Reminds me of Keller’s sermons on How To Change.

  9. Elizabeth, thank you for your “love is..” post.  It did bring me to tears and was so convicting, but that is a good thing! I want God to continue changing my heart this side of heaven so Glory will not be such a culture shock! I so hunger for holiness like this song states:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1CpFEqxTiM

    1. mrs.heartsong–beautiful song, I’ve never heard it before–thanks for sharing it!

  10. OK, Here is the whole list of “Love is” from Paul Tripp in case anyone is interested. http://paultripp.com/articles/posts/23-things-that-love-is
    There are 23, I only gave you the first 5 because the conviction for me hit hard enough on the first one! I am trying to just pray one a day–but the devotion with it emphasizes our need for grace, our reservoir of God’s mercy, and  reinforces that this is not moral obligation, but what we are designed for. I wanted to give one more snippet–Day 5 is on 1 John 4:11 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another”
    Tripp says “Ought is a word of design. You were designed to love…Birds ought to fly. Fish ought to swim. Honey ought to be sweet.Night ought to be dark. The sun ought to be bright. Things in creation were designed for a particular purpose…In the same way, God designed humans to love. We were created to glorify God and love others.”

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth!  I love that there are printables beneath…SO helpful in the effort to love as I ought; reminders to place here and there.

  11. C. What does Romans 2:15 tell us is the “natural” response to the conviction of our consciences?
    To put our heads in the sand-to deny it or blame someone else…ouch!
    4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
    I can’t help but think of how many layers of lies inside and denial of where my eyes really are focused. I am not even aware of the layers yet-but He is and He is faithful and long suffering. 
     
    In a nutshell, I am nervous about singing on Worship Team this Sunday-I was asked last minute to sub for someone. I have had little time to prepare and my voice is out of shape. I have done this for 25+ years yet with a new church I am nervous my first time! I think this is my approval idol. My red flags are a knot in my stomach; my sin is: worry, perfectionism, and forgetting Him. SO..I am reminding myself that He delights SO when I keep my gaze on Him, am resting in His approval and not what others think of me whether I fail or not. He knows my heart and HE is with me-in me. He loves me-it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. SO I am memorizing Song of Solomon 1:15-“Behold, you are beautiful, my love; behold, you are beautiful; your eyes are doves.”
     
     
     

    1. Praying for you Rebecca…you’ll do great. ..just sing for the Lord! 

      1. Joyce and Dee-can’t tell you how taken care of I feel knowing you both always are praying for me. I am grateful!

    2. Rebecca, He adores you no matter how it turns out. Isn’t that amazing?? I do know his you feel though; I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not about me when I dance. This usually entails deep breathing and lots of prayer! I will be thinking and praying for you.

      1. Laura Dancer-such sweet words of encouragement!! Thanks so much!!

  12. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Starting to get the gospel… I work in a paid ministry role, and people often assume that means that I’ve already got it. I haven’t. Several times I’ve cried with a colleague that I shouldn’t be in this role because of my doubts and struggles. 
    If you are beginning to grasp the double power of the gospel, share one way the gospel is helping you overcome the power of sin in your life. Be specific.
    Last year, I learned how a family member had betrayed me 40 years ago. Yes, it’s a long time ago, but the harm done was immense, and the effects still continue. It hurt to learn that this person could have prevented the harm being done in the first place, but they accept no responsibility… “I didn’t know that would happen. I didn’t think he’d do anything to you.” It is still a struggle to forgive. Knowing this has changed our relationship, but nothing has changed for them.
    The gospel tells me that my sin put Christ on the cross. I cause His pain, and yet he forgives me. I’m not there yet, but I’m moving step by step towards forgiveness, overcoming the sin of unforgiveness.
     

  13. 3. Read Psalm 36:1-4
    A. Describe some of the characteristics of sin that has flourished.
    Disregard of God – no fear or respect for God
    High regard of self – self flattery, denial of sin, deceiving self and others
    B.  Compare Psalm 36:1 to Romans 3:18. What similarity do you see?
    Romans 3:18 is a direct quote of Psalm 36:1. The only difference is a change from 3rd person singular in the Psalm to 3rd person plural in Romans. “There is no fear of God before his/their eyes.”
    C. What does Romans 2:15 tell us is the “natural” response to the conviction of our consciences?
    Our consciences result in inner conflict. Sometimes our consciences accuse us of wrongdoing. At other times our conscience approves what we have done.

  14. 4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
    The little fox is unforgiveness… yes, I can deny that it’s my problem. The other person did wrong, and refuses to admit it. But I need to love them, focus on the good they have done (and there is lots of that), and with God’s help, forgive the wrong. I have been avoiding this person, and since they live interstate, that’s not hard. First step… a regular plan to phone them.

  15. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
    So many images of extravagant abundance… reaching to the heavens, to the skies, like a mighty mountain, like the great deep, feasting on abundance, drinking from rivers. The Lord’s mercy is extravagantly abundant.
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
    When I look out one window, I see storm clouds. When I look out the other, I see patches of blue sky. The storms of life sometimes hide the sky, but it is there nonetheless. The storms will pass, but the sky, like God’s love, will remain always.
    C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?”
    I first read NIV which translates ‘skies’ instead of ‘clouds’, and had to find another Bible. I like how the NLT has translated, “your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds”. Even the storm clouds in life cannot block God’s faithfulness.
    D. Do any pictures in this passage become radioactive to you? If so, what? How might this help you with your plan for overcoming sin?
    “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.” I cannot find forgiveness in my heart, but rather in the overflow from the abundance of God’s forgiveness of me. I need a change of focus from what people have done to me, to what God has done for me.

    1. Kerryn, your answer is so crucial for all of us really..great example of applying the Gospel to forgiveness.

    2. Kerryn–this is really good “I cannot find forgiveness in my heart, but rather in the overflow from the abundance of God’s forgiveness of me.”I can relate to the struggle to forgive a family member who never “owns” the wrong–praying for you this morning. Your willingness to make the first move is brave.

  16.  5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
    Extending to the heavens, the skies-His mercy is abundant and beyond what we could imagine.
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
    It is still dark this early in the morning-but as I am looking, it is quiet, the dark sky is vast like His love-it goes on forever! The stars remind me of His light piercing the darkness. The dark sky is deep as it extends to the heavens.
    C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?”
    That his faithfulness reaches to the clouds. I love what Spurgeon said. If the clouds are our trials blocking our sense of His warmth-He is faithful..It won’t block Him for he is with us in our trials.
    D. Do any pictures in this passage become radioactive to you? If so, what? How might this help you with your plan for overcoming sin?
    V. 7-9…but I will choose v. 7 “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” His kindness leads me to repentance-Romans 2:4. It is really hard for me when I look at Him on the cross-His Holiness, His willingness to be stripped from the refuge of Gods wings so that I could take refuge in His wings forever; His faithfulness to me despite me-and then go on sinning in regard to forgetting Him and not trusting Him with mostly small scale things?  His loving kindness gives me the desire to turn-and knowing that even in my foolishness and immaturity He is faithful, melts me.

  17. I am so thankful for the responses that have been made. They all resonate with me and especially the teaching from Tripp on
    “Love is”. As I work on my plan for being an overcomer of my idols, the verse from I John 4:11 is a perfect reminder, Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
    Thank you, sisters, for the prayers for one another. This fellowship of  sharing our walk with the Lord is a blessing and is
    giving me much support. The trials may be like clouds in the sky, but the warmth of God’s love is surrounding us.