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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.

your-steadfast-love_1920

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. MARY–I am SO SORRY to hear your cancer is back–lifting you up

  2. Mary, so sorry. Praying for you.

    1. Thanks so much to each of you dear sisters for your prayers.  You know, when I only just suspected it was the cancer coming back (and was in the middle of having CT scans done to find out, and a bone biopsy) I kept hearing the Lord say (in a gentle voice), “don’t be afraid, there’s no reason to fear.”  So even though I do get scared at times, I can speak to my soul “there is no reason to fear.”  So much of His Word tells us that.  “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…” first John 4:18  It is truly His supernatural peace, which surpasses understanding, which is why I am as calm as I am.  I did not really want to post it here originally because of thinking of Laura.  I remember when I was diagnosed 11 years ago I was always worried about a recurrence and I don’t want to worry Laura.  (so don’t worry, Laura, if you read this!!!  My original breast cancer had already spread to my nodes at the time of diagnosis, I had never had a mammogram (not 40 yet) and if I had it to do over again, I would have had a hysterectomy, since I was only 36 and my cancer feeds on estrogen…needless-to-say I am planning one!  That, alone, might get me into a long remission! (cutting off the food supply)  Thanks again, sisters. 

      1. ““don’t be afraid, there’s no reason to fear.” So even though I do get scared at times, I can speak to my soul “there is no reason to fear.””
        Mary, I am thankful that the Lord has given you strength and calm, and that you are drawing into Him.

      2. Dear Mary…I am in tears. I wish I could give you a big bear hug right now….I can’t believe the news. Thank you for thinking of me (and others) but I’m so glad you posted so I can pray. I know what you mean by calm; I felt like I was in a dream last fall; it all went so fast. I too, was calm at the time. I can’t explain it. You are right about the verses about fear…..”For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭41‬:‭13‬ NIV) no matter what happens to me I know He loves me, and Mary, He loves you too. We are His! He paid the price for us.
         
        When my mom was ill at the beginning of the year and deteriorating fast, I got on this “kick” to listen to classical music. My dad was a musician and they always played it in the house. I only danced to it, but rarely listened. I couldn’t stop listening to pandora…..the same station over and over again (3 months!). Looking back, I really think God was with me (closely – a kiss!) and wanted me to feel close to my mom although she was far away. After she passed I then had this desire to listen to praise and worship music……I have NEVER been a fan of the contemporary songs, other than I did appreciate the lyrics at times. Since March, I can’t stop listening to the same pandora station over and over….praise and worship! I was listening when I read your post and here is the song I heard…..I know it’s for all of us tonight.
         
        http://youtu.be/wDMhpShQLn0
         
        I am also having some weird pain under my affected breast in the rib area, but the lymph node surgery scar has always been “taunt” as well as my underarm/tricep. I have been thinking it was just the muscles not healing yet. I have an appointment with my oncologist next week, but I don’t think she would be the doctor to order the appropriate tests (?). I think I need to call my surgeon, but he said I was good to go for at least a year. That would mean August or so. Not sure if I should wait or not…..
         
        This all leads me to Dees’ question:
         
        4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
         
        I am not invincible, I need to help myself sometimes. I will pursue the doctor for my ailment and figure out what is going on, if anything. Meanwhile, I will rest in Him…..His love, His peace, His mercy, and especially, His Word. Thank You Jesus.

        1. Laura, I love your response to Mary, especially the song “Wonderful, Merciful Savior” and your response to pursue the doctor for your health concerns. I pray your health issues end up not being anything serious, but you definitely should check it out.
           
          I too need to pursue the doctor about health concerns instead of just hoping that they go away. That is how I reacted instinctively to Dee’s question 4 as well. Unfortunately, I already called the doctor and he will be away on vacation for 4 weeks and the earliest I can get an appointment is way into September. 

        2. Mary-you stayed on my heart all throughout the day yesterday, many prayers, and again with my family last night. And Laura--OH I will definitely pray for this appt. with the oncologist next week–PLEASE do keep us posted–what day is the appt.?

        3. Oh Laura, thank you so much for your words here and I LOVE that song!  I think I have it on CD but just have not listened to it in years.  You definitely should mention the pain to your oncologist (can’t hurt) and he/she can order an appropriate test.  I love your #4 answer as well.  My number 4 would be:
          #4.  I feel like sin is always just around the corner for me, in a million different ways, but I guess the one I’m dealing with most now is needing to continue to forgive and not be bitter against some friends at my church (one one not at my church) who have a different theology then me concerning disease and have said some painful things to me since this diagnosis and plan..for this, in particular, I try to avoid rehearsing what they said in my mind and when it comes to mind, immediately take it to God and pray for His blessing on their lives.  I have found that you can’t pray for God to bless someone for very long (and I try to be specific) and remain angry and unforgiving toward them.  And, for sin, in general, what I’ve been doing for the past few years, since coming into a deeper understand of God’s love….continue in the Word on a daily basis, fellowship with other believers (iron sharpens iron) and pursue Him in prayer and quietness (the quietness is the hardest thing for me…quieting my thoughts.)  I used to think the Christian life was like walking a tight rope w/out a net, always worried about sinning, trying so hard to follow all the rules and “do the right thing. ” Now I know there is a net beneath me, woven of mercy and grace, so I am free to actually DANCE on that tight rope, knowing that “…the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)  Should we “continue in sin that grace may abound?” (certainly not, Romans 6:1)) but sin avoidance no longer needs to be my focus, living in a close, love relationship with the Trinity needs to be… and there is victory!
           

        4. Mary E., my heart aches for you not only as you struggle with the diagnosis but also for your pain at the hurtful words of friends who have a ” different theology” about disease. I am quite sure they didn’t mean to hurt you, but, oh, how we can hurt each other by our insensitivity or incorrect theology. I will pray for that God will heal your emotional wounds from them and that you will be able to truly forgive and be a loving witness to them, perhaps lovingly explaining to them what you believe about God’s purposes in suffering. So hard. My heart goes out to you.

        5. Laura, your response to Mary is heartwarming…I’m glad that you are having your “weird pain” checked out; I will be praying for you…hoping and praying for the best. 

      3. Mary, I awoke early sometime this morning while still dark, and you came to mind and I prayed for you…again, I am glad that you decided to share this with us so we can pray. I appreciate your sensitivity to Laura, and also love Laura’s reply to you.

      4. Mary, you are on my heart-i just read this and will be praying. I knew you had struggled before and to see your heart clinging to him is a balm to mine.

      5. Mary, I’m praying for you too.

  3. Susan,  thank you for your honest words.  Dee’s suggestion of Leslie Vernick is one that has benefited me (she also has some teachings out on youtube).      I too can be “sitting down on the outside”,  but “standing up in rebellion in my heart.”    I am in a process away from this but only by my God’s help.   He keeps reminding me that He Loves Me and won’t ever leave me alone.   When I embrace that, my heart rests from the battle.  And He knows we need that rest.  He knows we “are but dust” (Psalm 103:14)
    Jackie,  tears as I’m reading your post.   Yes, sin is big and can be permeating.   But, He is bigger and able to deliver, cleanse out the rot, permeate by his Spirit to those deep, dark places.      
    Lord, you are the only one who knows the extent of our sin, how deep and how dark.   Thank you that You love us anyway and that you can redeem and re-make.   You are our sure, reliable, constant  hope in this storm of life.

  4. Another song I’ve been learning on my guitar;  a lament that comes full circle from disorientation to re-orientation.   
    My heart is restless in me, my wings are all worn out.   I’m walking in the wilderness, And I cannot get out.   I need You, oh I need You, Blessed Savior come.  I need You, oh I need You.  Fill the every longing of my soul……..
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxiCVQ9fzZI

  5. Dee and Rebecca,   Thank you so much  for your concern about my posting problems.    I would be the first to admit that I have my moments when I am technologically challenged!    However, I hadn’t had anything untoward happen to me after I got my new computer (about 4 1/2 months ago),  so I thought I was “home free” and I got lax and didn’t save my answers in a document on my computer.   I am resolving to go back to that practice, as I don’t mind “copying and pasting” a post again, but when I have to start all over again I feel it is an inconvenience.   

      1. Actually,   you want to know something funny?    My original posting that I complained had disappeared now shows up!!   It is a wonder no one noticed it and told me where it was.    Although I feel foolish on the one hand,  on the other I feel a little vindicated — at least I wasns’t crazy — I had seen it once before I said it disappeared!    Enough on this subject — thank you all for being sweet about it!  I’m moving on!!   

        1. Once when I got on from my dad’s laptop instead of my own I had to get re-approved but I figured out that I also had accidentally put my whole name in the name area!! :O  I’m sure it detected that change and caused it to need to be approved.

    1. Deanna, Dee is right. I would love to help you in any way I can next time! :)) 

  6. Hello Mary,  I am new to this study (gratefully stumbling on to this blog earlier this summer)….   May the Lord’s presence continue to sustain and encourage you.

  7. Mary – I somehow missed the post that you are dealing with cancer……I just wanted to share with you what some on this post know about my life….my 24 year old daughter was diagnosed at 23 with ovarian cancer.  It is a game changer.  She is not a believer.  I am so encouraged to see how you “can speak to my soul ‘there is no reason to fear'”.  Cancer is NOT the “true” game changer in this mortal life – the Lord Jesus Christ is!  You have shared so tenderly with us how He comes to you in your moments of fear…..and speaks gently to you of His Love.  He is going to use ALL of your life story in amazing ways……and I am praying for you right now.  

    1. Jackie, you just said something here that is really worth pausing and pondering, “Cancer is NOT the “true” game changer in this mortal life – the Lord Jesus Christ is!”  I have often looked at things that have happened in my life or to people I know and thought, “their lives are forever changed by ____.” But Jesus is bigger than cancer or any other thing that life throws at us.

  8. Thanks so much Jackie r!  And thank you Nila!  I started with this blog about three or four months ago I guess but have been more of a silent participant for the past couple months due to just being a bit overwhelmed right now with life, but I have read some of both of your posts and am so encouraged by you!  Jackie, I am praying right now that your daughter with the ovarian cancer will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior!  You are exactly right HE is the game changer!!!  And He will be victorious in the end. 

    1. Oh, Mary, as Elizabeth said, when I read that your cancer has returned, my heart just sank…I’m so sorry.  Thank you for sharing this news with us, now we can be your prayer warriors.   Take care, friend.

  9. Mary,  you will also be in my prayers.  I’m so very sorry to hear of your new diagnosis.  “Oh Lord, hold Mary close today and give her your peace.” 
     

    Thankfully I feel like the Lord has been preparing me for this my entire life, especially recently.  He has been building my trust so much in the little things over the past few years that I did not even realize the progress we had made until now.  Like when you drive up an incline that is so gradual you don’t even realize how high up you’ve gotten until you look back and wow, you came a long way.  Well…it is all because of Him and not me, but He has brought me to a point where, even in the midst of this, I have known incredible peace and have been able to just trust and rest in Him

     
    Mary, this is a phenomenal statement of faith.  The imagery of the progress you hadn’t seen until now, is so, so good.  And I do so understand that ‘crying every day’ is also part of your life, as is appropriate, yet I am humbled by the trust and insight you have here.  

    1. (Those diagnosed with breast cancer are dear to my heart as I am also a survivor….as is my sister, sister in law and so many friends. My sister had a recurrence after 9 years and then another later, but she is doing well overall…it’s been about 15 years now.  Mine was caught early before it had advanced, but although non-invasive, it was very extensive and required a mastectomy.   Pink sisters we are.  And you are in my heart.) 

  10. He does not care about the Lord. Selfish thinking his sin wont harm others. They speak hurtful words. Like in Romans, they do not fear the Lord. Our thoughts can make us think we are doing the right thing. Denial, a slippery slope for sure!

    1. Natalie-yes denial is a slippery slope brought on by lies in our head. You made me think of how important it is to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. 

  11. Mary- so sorry to hear your news. Praying!  On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. Psalms 138:3

  12. Laura,  
    Thank you for that song tonight.   Food for the soul.    He is so merciful.

  13. Dee, perhaps I am jumping the gun here and you have more to say about Brad Bigney and his book “Gospel Treason”, but is it a book you would highly recommend? I have never noticed you quoting him before. Also are there other books (besides your own) that you would highly recommend on the concept of idolatry? 

      1. Thanks, Dee, for the added info on Bigney. I’ll wait to purchase the book until after I listen to a sermon or two. I read a bit of the excerpt of the book online (Amazon) and what I saw is pretty good . 

  14. 5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
    The Lord’s love and faithfulness is expansive, beyond our vision. His righteousness like the majestic mountains. He is the fountain of life, He is light.
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
    The sky has no end in sight, it is uncontainable. The sky holds the light, powers our vision. The sky may be calm and serene or fierce and rumbling—but it cannot be controlled by man. The sky is unpredictable, and yet established, stable.
    C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?”
    His faithfulness extends to the clouds. He is present in the gray and gloomy, the mysterious and the unknown. Interesting too when you think about how clouds actually increase or magnify sunlight’s properties. We can only see the rainbow against the backdrop of a storm.

  15. 3. Read Psalm 36:1-4
     
    A. Describe some of the characteristics of sin that has flourished.
     
    No fear or reverence of God, flattering oneself so much that you are blind to your own sin, no hatred of sin, speaking evil and lies, having no wisdom and not doing good, mind always plotting evil, decisively committing yourself to a sinful course or way of life.
     
    B. Compare Psalm 36:1 to Romans 3:18. What similarity do you see?
     
    In the Roman’s passage, Paul has just described the sinful ways of “there is no one righteous, no not one”. In Psalm 36, the sinfulness of the wicked and the wicked described in Romans have this in common: no fear of God.

  16. C. What does Romans 2:15 tell us is the “natural” response to the conviction of our consciences?
     
    Self-defense. When the conviction comes, we can go into attorney mode, coming to our own defense with rationalizations and reasons why we do what we do. I know that I can argue so well as to make what I did sound justified as in response to what was done to me.

  17. 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?
     
    I didn’t expect it, but as I typed my answer to “C”, I think His faithfulness extending to the clouds is speaking very personal to me. He IS here, in the clouds—if anything blocks His warmth, it is my fear and doubt, my focusing on the cloud—on what I cannot see, instead of the light peering through, the Love beneath the waves.
    I’ve quoted this before because it’s a favorite from Spurgeon: “”The Lord knows that sight interferes with faith, and, therefore, He does not give us a mixture of the two. We do not walk by sight and faith, but, “we walk by faith, not by sight.” To let us occasionally see, would, in fact, remove us out of the realm of faith and bring us down from the high position of Believers to the low platform of sightseers.”
     
    I think this helps in my plan for over coming sin because it reminds me of His presence, His power to save, that He has abandoned me in my trial. Two very different trials come to mind, but with a common thread—I have no control and that usually leads me to being very irritable, frustrated, or withdrawn. I can feel very alone in either trial. As a kid, we were often reminded of God watching us, as a means to bring fear of doing wrong, getting “caught” by God. But the more I love Him, the more I see His presence is not a threat but a blessing, a gift. I need His power to help me trust, to help me love. I’ve started Paul Tripp’s devotional called “An Invitation to Love” on 1 John 4. So convicting for me—how weak I am at truly loving others. But remembering His presence, His Word—encourages me that He has equipped me, He is with me. I do not have to run that dirty old road anymore of fear that leads to wanting to control that leads to an ugly dark house of anger. He is calling my name to walk hand in hand down a different road—and though still bumpy and I don’t know exactly where it leads—how can I not rest if I know I have His companionship?
     
    I’ve been keeping hymns and spiritual songs playing around me more, and that helps—but I’m also going to go back to Scripture cards around the house. I have a beautiful ivy topiary from a dear friend—I put a card beside it: “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches.” I need the continual reminder that I am not alone, not forgotten—just because I cannot see, my faith reminds me He is with me, and when that penetrates, my hands drop the reins slipping through my fingers, and I can release, rest, entrust it to Him.

      1. Elizabeth-I agree with Dee! :)))

  18. 3C.    my version says “their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” (ESV).    my default is rarely calm confidence in Christ in moments when I have a choice to do the right thing (hard) or cover up and move along ( secrets, deceit).  I do notice that I will go into conflicting thoughts mode!  Even as I weighing the right thing to do, I’m leaning toward the thing that will make me look best!  Ugh.  Praise God, He IS changing me though……again, as Annie’s example is a great one…..the more and more we choose complete and transparent honesty – and let the chips fall where they may! – the more we do begin to lean in to Him in these moments….and thus, doing the right thing becomes more and more of a “no brainer”!  
     
     

  19.  Elizabeth, Diane, Susan and others, thank you so much for your prayers! That is one thing I have been blessed with for sure……some “one” to take on the praying for me, when my mom is now gone. I know she prayed for our family all the time. I have always thought of the more mature Christian women I know as the “prayer warriors.” My appointment is next Thursday, July 31 at 10:30. I am going to call my surgeon today and see if I can get in to see him also. 

    1. Will be praying, Laura!  

    2. Laura, you’re taking all the right steps, doing your part by making those appointments! I will be praying! (I’m sure you must be missing your mom so much…you always shared much about her on the blog…moms are irreplaceable)

      1. Thanks for praying Susan….I do miss mom this summer. I am trying to keep busy, and finding myself doing things she would do; like making a cake, ironing (!), and polishing silver. “Housey” things. Weird for me. 

    3. I’ll be praying also Laura.

  20. 4.  Secrets and deceit.  It’s certainly smack dab in our passage and has been on my mind in a huge way the past week – kicked off by my Patrick’s serious accident last week and his ongoing alcoholism.  I too, am an alcoholic.  I know that only the power of Christ has sustained me through a couple of decades now of sobriety.  I will praise him til my dying day for that gift that is impossible to describe.  A thought from Brad Bigney that you shared Dee, is one I’m ruminating on too…..”You specifically sinned your way into where you are, and you will need to specifically repent your way out.”  Hmm.  Secrets and deceit are woven into the alcoholic lifestyle in a daily, even moment by moment way.  Though I haven’t been drinking in a long time – and my thought patterns have been dramatically changed over those decades by the power of the cross and Christ’s life within me – I’m clearly seeing that He wants to take me so much farther on the path of healing and restoration.  This will involve specific repentance.  Dee, it is an arrow to my heart that you followed up the section on “Gospel Treason” with Rebecca’s pie eating story…….I’ve fallen into eating ice cream…..every single night and the tiny amount that used to “satisfy” has become a HUGE amount that is never enough…….and I want to eat it ALONE and can get VERY internally aggravated when this little comfort is denied me for any reason.  Very recently I’ve been aware that the Lord has been orchestrating “roadblocks” to my private little ritual time……so that I’ve been forced to look at my sin.  Like in Romans 2:15, I’m quick to “excuse” my sin.  Let me be clear – I don’t believe ice cream is a sin!  I know it’s a good gift from God…..but my RELATIONSHIP with ice cream?  That’s another thing entirely.  It’s become like a pacifier throughout the day – JUST LIKE ALCOHOL USED TO BE!!- as from time to time, the thought crosses my mind that “at the end of the day I”ll kick back with some ice cream”…….and woe to anyone or anything that comes in between me and my ice cream!  And so….. I am repenting of my ice cream idol.   I am turning my heart (in desperation!) back to the living God and asking HIm to give me creativity in filling the time……evening walks, praise music and, like Rebecca, good sound books are going to be, by God’s grace, part of a new pattern in my life.  
    Thanks again for this question.  It has left me a little rattled…..but very thankful.  

    1. Jackie, praying for you as you turn your heart toward God and away from ice cream with repentance. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share this with us so we can pray for you.

    2. Just coming back to the blog and so delighted in Psalm 36…
      We need to be open to our secret sins and weaknesses, to be humble before the Lord and to expose the areas of weakness…
      God knows my heart and my weakness, yet my denial for many years was so strong. I was the advice giver, the perfectionist and the examiner… Finally I was made aware that these are symptoms of my sinful nature, my codependency and my self focus. The  teaching in Romans becomes clear. Praising God for setting me free and for forgiveness. My plan is to keep my focus on Jesus, who died for my sins and offers me hope and peace. My hope is to bear fruit as I cling to him and desire to be the witness to others of the hope of life everlasting.
      I found a prayer from the writing of Amy Carmichael, which I will share and I am praying it.
      “Give me the love that leads the way, The faith that nothing can dismay, the hope no disappointments tire, the passion that will burn like fire, Let me not sink to be a clod: Make me thy fuel, Flame of God.”
      And the verse 5 is my joy “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies…”

    3. Jackie, this is so good…have you ever watched the video of Rebecca where she talks about replacing the eating with spending time with Him? It’s found by clicking on the “Idol Lies/Videos” tab at the top of the page.

    4. Jackie-we are kindred! I love your heart and yes I too can still struggle on and off with this comfort idol-it rears it’s ugly head you know. 🙂 and I need HIM in His Word, and in other ways.  SO WONDERFUL you are catching this!!! This is a huge first step..the battle is half way over and now as Dee says in Song of Songs ‘like a Dove’..gaze at Him instead of eating ice cream-and I too need to daily remind myself of that when I run to food for comfort. Idols are like tumors that can resurface-and I learned while at Dee’s this week that eating too much just because I enjoy it is also a comfort idol problem-it can turn around and bite us.  So I can say, My name is Rebecca and I am an idolater, but I am lovely. :)))
       

  21. the “beast” wanted to come out of me so bad on monday. You see, vacation is the hardest week of the summer for me. I know it is crazy but for me vacation means going, doing, seeing, running, having fun…For my kids vacation means the same thing. for my husband who works so very hard vacation means rest, relaxation, quiet, peace….you can see the problem! Well over the years I have learned that Paul NEEDS downtime, He NEEDS rest so I try really hard to give it to him, and the kids HATE it so I feel so torn all week, the ballenceing act is exhausting, Im not compalaining, just explaining why this next thing almost led to WWIII.
    After working to make sure we had a fairly quiet vacation all week Paul figured out that I am hosting the staff party for the ministry that I am working for…… on AUG 9th!!!  it is the ONLY party im having all summer and my spiritual gift is hospitality. He got very upset saying that he wanted to protect the rest of his summer weekends….I got very hurt that he does not see all the times I DonT have parties that I WANT to, you never get credit for the things you DONT do, and i was about to blow! but I knew that if we started we wouldn’t stop. SO Jesus and I had a little  scusion. I told HIM how mad i was, i told HIM how hurt I was, I let HIM comfort me. and then I went upstairs and kissed my husband.
    we may need to have the conversation later, when its not his vacation, but I had a choice…..I could add stress to the day or I could bless him with the peace he so desperatley needs….. and God helped me to make the right choice. IT WAS SO HARD! But I am SO glad :-
    years ago I would have not seen his need for rest and quiet as a real need, I would try to explain to him why he was wrong and I was right, why he was selfish because everyone else loves activity so he should just do what the rest of us want and “die to himself” like Christ does….Im great at using the Bible to make my points….BUT that is SO prideful and unloving. The Gospel is changing me because it is opening my eyes to my UGLY which makes me a lot slower in pointing out other peoples ugly and a lot faster to give the Grace that GOD has given me.

    1. Cyndi, nice to see you posting here. I see your dilemma about vacation. Isn’t it a mystery why God makes two people who are SO different into “one in Christ” in marriage? Hope things work out well for your party on August 9th.

  22. Laura, Diane and Mary……prayers continuing as you not denying the “little things” and are pursuing medical attention.  Mary, I know that a hysterectomy is no small thing – do you have that scheduled yet?  I know it sounds simplistic in a way, but even with my daughter (and her Dr’s being involved in this thinking!) we are trying to “cut off” things that may be “feeding” the cancer…..it’s an ever evolving list, for sure!  She, like you, has found the estrogen is not her friend these days.  
    O Father, Abba…..how you love us!  How you care for every little hair on our head.  Or if we lose them to chemo, you care about that too.  You are writing a story of Your Glory into the lives of Mary, Laura and Diane…..as well as all of us here who know You and follow You.  Infuse them with Your courage.  Quell their fears.  Fill them to overflowing with Your peace and joy.  We remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom……help all of us to live that out today…..fill Mary and Laura and Diane with Your wisdom.  So many of us have wayward, unbelieving young adult children…..we lift them up to you today.  You alone change hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.  Change their hearts, we pray.  We bless your mighty Name……Amen.

    1. Thank you Jackie…for praying for our sisters better than I could.  I’m not good with words…but good with pleading with God:)

  23. 4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
    Right now, the biggest revelation is that I can use my anger, fear, frustration, bitterness, etc (bad fruit) to diagnose the presence of an idol.  Although at this point I can’t name the idol for sure, I know it is there. And that is BIG.  These kinds of things grow in darkness and just knowing I have an idol is making a difference.  I know I have entered into true repentance.  I can feel the cleansing power of true Godly sorrow already working.  I have asked the Lord to reveal to me what it is that I desire more than I desire him.  My plan is to just pray for forgiveness when I notice that I have lost my peace and joy.

    1. Oh Robin, God blesses so much an honest, seeking, repentant heart. I will be praying for you as you aks God to reveal your idol and as you seek to put God first.

      1. Diane–so appreciate your prayers.

  24.  I used to think the Christian life was like walking a tight rope w/out a net, always worried about sinning, trying so hard to follow all the rules and “do the right thing. ” Now I know there is a net beneath me, woven of mercy and grace, so I am free to actually DANCE on that tight rope, knowing that “
    CORRECTION:   In rethinking that analogy, actually, I feel off that tight rope years ago, I just dance on the net now! 🙂

    1. Mary E., isn’t grace the most wonderful thing! Dancing with you on the net!

      1. 🙂  couldn’t have a better dance partner!  I really should proof my posts better…I meant I FELL off the tight rope years ago. 🙂 

    2. Love this Mary (from above):
       
      “…but sin avoidance no longer needs to be my focus, living in a close, love relationship with the Trinity needs to be… and there is victory!”
       
      thank you!

    3. Oh, Mary…I really liked the analogy before and like it even better now…so good, so true…
      “I used to think the Christian life was like walking a tight rope without a net, always worried about sinning, trying so hard to follow all the rules and do the right thing.”  But now I know that there was and is always a net beneath me that is woven of mercy and grace, and I’m not really dancing on that tight rope, but fell off long ago and am dancing on the net. 
       
      me too…:)

  25. You specifically sinned your way into where you are, and re going to have to specifically repent your way out….What a great quote!  
    4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?  Replacing worry with trust. Seems simple but is a challenge. I have to stop thinking about the situation that is making me worry and I can only do that by thinking about the Lord, reading His word, listening to worship music, etc. Another area I find that is an idol is pinterest/house projects. These make me so happy and if I am not careful I can spend more time on those than with the Lord. Making sure I only spend so much time doing this is key. I’m starting to realize just having a quiet time in the morning is not enough, I need to be communicating and worshiping my Father throughout the entire day otherwise it becomes to easy for other things to take priority.

    1. Wow, you hit the nail on the head.  It is so easy for all of the things of this life to crowd out the One and only thing that really matters…knowing Him.

  26. Jackie r–
    Thanks for your post.  I think you hit so many things right on.  The power of sin is that it seems so harmless sometimes.  We feel good about ourselves as long as we remove all of the visible parts of sin and stop short of total removal.  We hang on to a little bit. The part that doesn’t seem so bad (and no one else sees it). And then it starts to take hold. Those little foxes do some much damage.
    Jesus says “My sheep hear my voice.”  The hiss of the serpent….we cannot follow.  No matter how logical or comforting.
    John 10:4-5
    And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
    And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
    I just noticed that Bible says to flee from idols, and here Jesus is saying that his sheep will flee from the voice of strangers.  The “voice of sin” is a stranger’s voice to a believer.  We are not bound to sin any longer, but he still tries to take control.  We can drown out this stranger’s voice by speaking to our souls the truth of God’s word.  
     
    Today I will speak to my soul.  I will ask God for the words to speak.  I know that in his words there is healing  There is  a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.  Heal me balm of Gilead.  Heal my sin-sick soul.

  27. 4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?   
     
    I like to be right!   Even though I am aware that I am not always right, if I feel certain that I am right in a particular instance, I just won’t “lay down the stick.” There are times when this bad habit gets in the way of my service to God.  It is not a humble stance at all, and the Lord has pointed this out to me more than once!     
     
    The only way I know to conquer this fault within me is with prayer and with memorizing Scripture, so I can recall it in these occasions.     I already have Micah 6:8 hanging on my computer desk in full view: “And what does the Lord require of you?   To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” But I need to get the gospel added in there as well.   Because I am a far greater sinner than I ever imagined, He has provided for that by Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary.  I am assured that God loves me, and He knows whether I am right or wrong about something.  That’s all that is important – I don’t have to make my point with the rest of the world   We all know that this change in me is a process, and it just might not all get done this week!! 🙂
     
     
     
    5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
     
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
     
    There is the Lord’s love, His righteousness, His justice, His preservation and providing a refuge.  He provides a “feast on abundance” and a “drink from his river of delights.”   Lastly and most importantly is that with God is the “Fountain of Life.”     For me that is representative of Eternal Life.   
     
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
     
    His love and the sky both stretch out forever – to infinity.   There are layers of both.  In fact, I cannot look at the sky and just see the beauty of it, but I also know that “the universe is out there beyond the sky!”     From a distance the sky appears solid, but we learn that when we get closer to it (as in an air plane) that it is actually “soft”!  At a distance, we might think God is more to be feared than loved.  As we draw closer to God, we learn that He is not all harshness and demands, but He is soft and compassionate.  
     
    C. Spurgeon says the clouds are like our trials, blocking the sense of His warmth — but what does this psalm teach about the “clouds?
     
    At least in the version I am reading (NIV) I do not see “clouds” specifically mentioned.  However, I focused on “in your light we see light.”   When trials come into our lives, if we can see them from God’s perspective, we may be able to see that we can handle them with His help. 
     
    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?
     
    I think verse 9 seemed to read in neon.  Is that close enough to being radioactive?  🙂     “For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.”       A fountain is so refreshing, almost mesmerizing!    It gives us a sense of fresh, cleansing water  — giving life to those who are spiritually thirsty.    Jesus referred to himself as being living water.      Also Jesus referred to himself as being the Light of the World.    When we look at life from His perspective, we can see it for what it really is (not what our emotions and imaginations have painted).        

    1. Deanna,
      I have noticed that I seem to have a need to be right as well.  Thank you for posting.

  28. Thanks Robin, I love how you amplified what I said and made it ever more practical!

  29. 4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
     
    First, I think that quote by Brad Bigney is right on target and so helpful. How often do I pray, “Lord, please change my heart about ___” or for Him to help me be free from sinful habits, but I do not make a specific plan of action to change? Then I wonder why I’m still stuck in the same deeply ingrained pattern of behavior. I have shared before that there is a lack of intimacy in my marriage on many levels. However, a really bad habit that I have is that I stay up past when everyone else goes to bed, usually trying to read or sometimes just curling up on the couch and thinking that I’ll just rest for a few minutes, but I end up falling asleep and I wake up a few hours later, like at 2 am, and then I won’t want to wake-up my husband so I’ll either sleep the rest of the night on the couch, or go to an empty bedroom and sleep there. Or, the reason can be that I’m mad at him and I determine that I won’t sleep in my own bedroom that night. The idol might be comfort (too lazy to get up and go upstairs) or when I’m mad, it is power/control. Either way, I am contributing to the lack of intimacy in my marriage, and I need to make a plan by setting a specific routine of going upstairs, getting ready for bed, move my book to the nightstand, and get into the habit of getting into my “marriage bed” by a specific time, whether to read or go to sleep.

    1. WOW Susan-so good. I see God working in your heart! I want to email you soon-praying. I love you sister.

    2. That is a good plan, Susan, and I know God loves it that you even care.  Look at how many couple today just allow their marriages to slip away and you care enough to identify the issue and desire to fix it and plan to fix it!  I pray God adds His blessing to your heart’s desire and plan. 

  30. 5. Read Psalm 36:5-12
     
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
     
    That God’s love reaches to the heavens, His faithfulness to the skies. In other words, His love and faithfulness is limitless. His righteousness is like a mighty mountain and His justice like the great deep. I think that means that God is always right; His ways and decisions are immovable and unshakable and also unfathomable. He can’t be completely figured out. The shadow of His wings, which is a picture of refuge in Him, is open to all men regardless of their status. God’s house is pictured as a place of abundance and feasting; He provides well for His own. I like the imagery of God giving them something to drink from His river of delights; it pictures a never-ending source of water, and in verse 9 it says “For with you is the fountain of life” which made me think of Jesus, who said “Come to Me all you who are thirsty…” So I think this metaphor is talking about more than physical water to drink; it’s that well of living water that Jesus told the Samaritan woman about.
     
    B. In what ways is His steadfast love like the sky? Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
     
    Okay, I went outside…I have goosebumps now! It’s quite cool outside, more like fall than summer today! Every direction I turned, as I looked up at the sky, there it was overhead – vast, blue, with some high thin clouds. Even though the sky is above me, it’s not like a ceiling; you really can’t see where it ends. So His love is just as vast and all-encompassing, surrounding me everywhere I go. Also, very predictable, the sun is climbing higher into the sky, as it does so every morning. So His love is faithful and new each day, bringing light and warmth to 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”?
     
    Is this verse 9, which says “…in your light we see light”? Or, and I cheated and looked at Elizabeth’s post, His faithfulness reaches to the clouds because it reaches to the heavens or the skies? Even on a cloudy day, there is still light. The clouds literally block out the sun so we can’t see it, and even make us feel chilly when the sun goes behind a cloud, but the sun is still there.  If clouds are our trials and all seems dark and hopeless, we have to keep walking then by faith and not by sight. We believe in Him whom we have not seen with our eyes. Clouds do not make it untrue that His love and faithfulness are still there, or that His righteousness and justice have somehow failed.
     
     
     

  31. Susan – you are going where none of us has yet dared to go!  THANK YOU for such brutal honesty……how MUCH I can relate!  I am an introvert, a night owl and I LOVE to read late at night!  My ice cream idol is a part of that, but only a part.  I love to selfishly find time for myself …….or at least that’s how I “defend” coming to bed hours after my husband – who I know is lonely for my company.   
    I can see that you and Diane and others are really “getting down to it” in terms of rooting out those strongholds.  I’m a little bit on overload – but I thank you all for spuring me on, as Hebrews exorts us to do for one another!  This Bible study blog has become very quickly for me a “Holy Spirit saturated spur”.  

  32. My desire to be the strong one, the best, please all people at all times leads to an insidious pride that cloaks itself in self denial and pride. I need to BE meek….not just ACT meek.
    as I read psalm 37 I am so convicted! over and over again it says do not fret do not fret do not fret and yet I tend to fret all the time. I think I’m giving it to the Lord but so often i snatch it back, not really trusting not really being still before the Lord and almost never waiting patiently for Him…
    my fret level is an indication of my trust level!

    1. Cyndi-DITTO what Dee said!

    2. Miss you too Cyndi..altho I do see you on Dee’s private blog on fb now and again.  I’ve bben wondering how all the kids are doing!

  33. 5A.  So many good thoughts on pictures of God’s mercies here in this section.  One of my all time and forever favorite pictures in the Word is the picture of taking refuge in the shadow of your wings.  It just takes comfort down deep into my bones.   I couldn’t help but notice your judgements are like the great deep and think of the terrible judgement that fell upon Christ on the cross.  Oh I think of Isaiah 53:5  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.    And from Psalm 103: 10-12 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.    These beautiful illustrations from Psalm 36 that use creation are so powerful to us.  And they are echoed again and again in scripture.  Marvelous pictures of the TRUE purpose of creation – to glorify God and move us in our hearts to do the same!    ALL OF THIS is His mercy to us!  

  34. sorry for the lack of quotation marks, etc in the above post.  My post had triggered the security device – and when I simply removed all of the quotation marks it went through! ?

  35. 5B&C.   This morning in Maryland is a cloudy and sometimes drizzly morning….thus, I’m combining B&C!   The most important thing I see in verse 5 is that God’s faithfulness extends to the clouds.  How good of our God to remind us of this!  It’s not just waiting for the sunshine with white knuckled faith…..it’s experiencing His faithfulness in the clouds!  It was amazing to me as I turned my face to the sky – clouds and all! – that the brightness actually hurt my eyes.  So yes, the light is there!  Also, the textures of the clouds are quite amazing.  Nothing too predictable about them – exciting actually!  And of course….the clouds bring much needed moisture to the earth…..the green pastures, the beautiful cornfield and the radiant flowers outside my window depend upon the clouds (rain) as much as the sun!    And as someone here pointed out, the rainbow is only seen against the backdrop of the storm, the clouds.

    1. Amen, jackie r.  Clouds are essential.  For me, I am reminded of the need to see clouds in areas of the country where drought it prevalent, or where wildfires exist and grow.  They signal any number of other essential elements for survival in this world.  Another picture came to mind – think of a young child who independently goes off to play at the park, but periodically rotates back to where Mom or Dad are sitting.  The youngster needs the assurance that her parent is still where she left her.  Perhaps she has a slight injury and needs Mom to kiss the booboo and make it go away.  Just the brief touches of the parent are enough to offer comfort and security.  In the same way, the clouds remind us that God is present in all things, both the good and the not so good.  I am sitting here in Florida with the clouds coming a going today.  Both in the sunny sky and in the cloudy sky I see God and his care.  Praise Him!  I especially want that comfort when things are not going so well.

  36. Susan, Jackie and Cyndi,
    Thank you for your honest, heartfelt words.   I’m reminded of two verses here this morning:
    James 5:16   Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.  (Lord,  we need both the emotional and the physical healing….. )
     
    II Corinthians 1:3,4 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the same comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
    I love that we are “gathering together” (Hebrews 10:25), in cyber-space to encourage each other.  
     

  37. 5D.  What is “radioactive” for me goes back to my favorite little clip here….v. 7 says that the children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.    The ESV study Bible I’m reading from today has a helpful note that although this Psalm was originally written for Israel, it looks beyond Israel to the rest of mankind.  Israel’s calling was to live in their land in a way that displayed the true image of God, with a view toward bringing its blessing to the whole world.   Reminds me of the Piper sermon we listened to a couple of weeks ago reminding US that we exist to be a blessing to OUR world!  I’m seeing more clearly every day that only we I confront and tear down my idols am I able to be the blessing to my world – both my brothers and sisters in Christ and my beloved unbelievers – that He wants me to be!  Or more appropriately, that He wants to be THROUGH me!  Amen.

  38. 5D.     I love the image of verse 7, the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.     I too have troubles in my marriage.   Serious ones.  It is a tender area in my heart.  God has been patiently teaching me to focus on how I need to respond.    I have been a slow learner.    He. Remains. Faithful.   The picture of the baby birds seeking refuge reminds me to hide in Him.   So, please pray for me that when I am activated to try to take control (of my husband) that I will use that signal (fear, anxiousness, anger) to run to Him and tell it all to Him.   I have worn down our marriage with my many fears.      The Lord is able to heal and restore. 
     

  39.    
     
     
    5. So much mercy- “His loyalty is astronomic, Yet in his largeness    nothing gets lost”.

     
    Like the sky, His love is just so large it just keeps going and going. When I travel or am in crowded places with lots of people, I always have to take a step back because it is just so crazy to me how many people are in the world, and how much he loves each and every one of them. How can He love that many people, I don’t know how He does it, but like the verse says…. Nobody falls in the cracks. AMAZING!
     

    I mentioned keeping focus on Him throughout the entire day and just reading about His extreme loyalty is even more convicting. It makes me want to be even more loyal to Him with my time, energy, etc.  Also the verse says Keep on loving your friends; do your work in welcoming hearts.  This is another area that was convicting. I want to do this unconditionally. Its easy to love on those who are loving on you but to love when things are “unfair” is harder to do. I need to focus on this more. Prayers for me to love unconditionally and to keep making Him #1 all day long would be appreciated.

    1. I will pray Natalie. I try to keep Him alive all day as well. I listen to praise and worship music most of the day (I’m off this summer from work), I listen to Christian podcasts, and do bible study a couple of times a day. I wish I could do so much when I go back to school!

    2. Natalie–” Its easy to love on those who are loving on you but to love when things are “unfair” is harder to do.’–yes, I relate! Praying for you as I pray for myself with this, friend~

  40. 5. Read Psalm 36:5-12.
     
    A. What images of the Lord’s mercy does the psalmist use?
     
    Merciful imagery is of earthly nature…..high as the heavens/skies/mountains, deep as the sea, covered by wings, “river of delights,” fountain of life, and light.y
     
    B. In what ways is his steadfast love like the sky. Go out and look and see what parallels you see?
     
    Continuing forever, ever present, and blue which is calming. 
     
    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 are penetratable because His love reaches all the way to the heavens and His faithfulness reaches to the skies. He has a light about Him that shines on us so we can see. So, the trials are broken by Him.
     

  41. 4. What revelation into your heart did God give you and what is your plan for overcoming with the power of the Gospel?
    I have been pondering this since Monday and at times felt pretty overwhelmed.  This morning on my way to work, the Lord and I had a very nice conversation/prayer time…I can see that basically my issues come down to my thoughts and the paths I allow them to travel.  Earlier in the week, I mentioned my efforts regarding judgmental thoughts and how James 2:13b (“mercy triumphs over judgement”) combined with mindfulness really has been helping me to transform my mind and heart.   This morning it felt like the Lord was encouraging me to do similarly for other issues (e.g., comparison, self-doubts, authentic).  I will be on the lookout for specific scriptural texts that “hit” me like the James text did, and use them when sinful thoughts come to mind.  I want to hold those thoughts captive and not ruminate on them.  I’m hoping that similar to the James text, I will find others to assist in pulling the switch that leads me to go down a different thought path.  I have prayed for the Lord’s assistance in finding those special verses; I trust that He will help me in locating texts that will be additional help for holding my thoughts captive for those other issues I struggle with.

  42. Thank you Dee, for the apology today ( not really today, but back in 2012)on midday connection, as a black woman, with an idol of  approval/acceptance, comfort/ security, as much as I love you, I really did not like you for a brief moment, when I heard the comment. You could just imagine the voices I heard in my head. But immediately, The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart so I could hear, you. Your compassion as you wept, your transparency. Oh Dee! I love you. Thanks for allowing The Lord to expose your heart, and for being bold about it! Now for what I really wanted to write. 🙂 I have not even purchased the book yet, but I have been listening on moody, some how I missed it 2012, anyhow I have been reading the gospel primer, and asking The Lord to reveal my heart to me because the intimacy between He and I was gone, I was longing for a revival. So my husband has become of a fan of yours because I have “the friendships of women” in the bathroom and he thinks its a lovely book, and suggest someone should write one for men. Well last week he was listening and heard your name mentioned and decided to listen. What he shared with me about his idols and his replacing them intrigued me, so I listened and The Holy Spirit, who had already been working on my heart via The Gospel primer, tore down the blinders, and I saw how dirty I was, how dirty I am. I repented all I could remember. Because of The gospel and preaching it to myself daily, I am feeling a connection and a peace with God. I still didn’t quite have a grasp on how the a gospel was helping, to my surprise ( no surprise to God) I found this lovely bible study to help me understand, how. You see once I was in-tune with God, He became my light, by which I can see. I’m learning its a continual process, a daily carrying of my cross, but it is beautiful and oh so painful at the same time as He is digging up the roots from where these idols come from. This is the condensed version of  my story. I can’t wait to get the book next month.  Thank -you! 

    1. Roshanda, what a lovely post…I love how your husband is so open to Dee’s teaching on friendships and idolatry, and how he shared with you and how you responded!

    2. Good morning Roshanda! Your testimony moved me and your husband is amazing!! I so appreciate your transparency and am warmed with how His Love moved in both you and Dee and brought understanding between you. This testimony so glorifies Him-He is all powerful indeed!

    3. Roshanda-what a model of humility and grace–so glad you are here–and what a gift of a husband the Lord has given you!

    4. Roshanda, what a stirring testimony of the Lord working in your heart. Thanks for sharing it. I am curious though … specifically what did Dee apologize about in 2012 on Midday Connection? 

    5. Welcome Roshanda! 

  43. Roshanda – How beautiful are the words you have shared.  My goodness, I lovc your eager, hungry heart for intimacy with your Lord….and how exciting that your husband is the one who “discovered” Dee’s study and immediately was open before the Lord – and you! – about his idols as well.  God is clearly tearing down the walls and shepherding you into an adventurous life with Him!   Welcome to the study – I hope you will stay!

  44. Nila – I was just praying for you, your son Mark and your marraige.  Looking at 1 Peter 3:1-6, which specifically talks about Sarah as our role model…..and walking without fear!  Of course, you probably know this passage oh-so-well!  I know the Lord will be helping you as you seek to respond to your husband out of your heart of love for Christ!  Your comment “I have worn down my marraige with my many fears” really played over and over in my head yesterday…..I can so relate in so many of my relationships at times….I’ve “worn them down”.  Oh boy.  The Holy Spirit used your words to stir in my heart and cause me to see my own responses to others differently.  Thank you.

  45. 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?
     
    That there is abundance to be had if I remain close to the Lord. “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights. For with you is the fountain of life…” This is a picture of God’s household. I just heard a few snippets of a program that aired on Midday Connection this week that I want to go back and re-listen to. It was something about living like a “spiritual orphan”. God says in this passage that He gives abundantly to His children, that we may feast with Him. When I choose the path of sin and turn to idols, at first, they may seem to give me what I want, but really they do not. I am in reality hungry. I choose to live as if I am an orphan and not a daughter of God.
    “In Your light we see light”. Dee said something once about if we respond to the light, He gives us more light. God is light; in Him there is no darkness. Now here should be a healthy fear of the dark! When I am tempted to sin, I am turning away from Him, letting go of His hand, and heading into the darkness.

  46. Susan – thanks for the reminder about Rebecca’s sharing on the video.  I had seen it quite some time ago, but went back and took another look just now.  Beautiful.  
    Also…wanted to put in a plug for Brad Bigney’s book Gospel Treason, featured by Dee this week.  The book arrived at my home 2 days ago – and I read it in about 4 sittings!  Now I’m going back through it a bit more slowly.  It is rich and jam packed with solid teaching.  
     
     

    1. Wow, Jackie r…”I read it in about 4 sittings”…thanks for sharing; I’ll be adding it to my list of upcoming books to read.

  47. Roshanda,
    Thank you for your encouraging words.   The Lord surely made us in such a way that we need each other.   It is such a beautiful bond that we have in Him.   So grateful to “meet” you here.
     

  48. The verse that the Lord has kept on my heart all week,is Psalm 36:5 “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” This song keeps coming to mind–(Not my usual Indelible Grace!)…this is Third Day “Your Love O Lord”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OBRvxrzhqs

    1. Love this song, Elizabeth. Thanks.

  49. My youngest daughter is a trial to me, I just have a very hard time “liking” her and she can feel that and so she tries hard to get my attention, usually in not good ways. This is the sin I need to make a plan for…..I have dug myself a hole of resentment and I need to let Holy Spirit show me how to dig myself back out!
    My action plan…
    pray for her every morning….and not just “GOD make her stop lieing all the time and spot annoying me” But a prayer of BLESSING
    ask you all to pray for MY heart.
    make an effort to say something everytime she does something good.
    stop myself when I want to complain about her or be sarcastic in a biting way with her.
    I know that part of my issue is she is the only “kid” left in the home and Ijust dont do “kid” as well as I do teenager! My children are 21, 18, 16, 13 and 10, and she is a very immature 10. I also do ministry with college students so I’m kinda wired for that. PRAY FOR ME I do not love her well and I LONG to get better at it! I am so thankful for Paul who is WAY better at it than I am!

    1. Cyndi, that sounds like an excellent plan, and I would be happy to pray for its success!     We parents all have certain ages we are not as good with –I think my difficulty was early college years.    I love watching the things you post on Facebook about your ACT  college ministry.  I think you are doing something wonderful there!    

    2. oh cyndi–SO good to have you back! Your un-candy-coated honesty always convicts me! Praying for you as I pray the same for my own tough relationship 😉

    3. Cyndy, I’ll be praying…looks like you have a really good plan in place.   

    4. Cyndi…your kids are really growing up!  I’m just opposite…the younger the better!  I dont do teenagers well!!  I will pray