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HOW THE GOSPEL CAN DELIVER YOU FROM THE POWER OF SIN (PART II. PSALM 37)

SUMMER!

HOW WE’VE WAITED FOR IT IN WISCONSIN THIS YEAR!

AND IT HAS COME.

THE WINTER IS PAST,

FLOWERS APPEAR ON THE EARTH,

AND THE TIME OF SINGING HAS COME.

THERE WAS A TIME IN MY LIFE

WHEN MY HUSBAND DIED AND I WANTED TO DIE TOO.

NEVER WOULD I HAVE IMAGINED THAT TEN YEARS LATER

I’D BE SO FULL OF THE JOY OF THE LORD

SO THANKFUL TO STILL BE ON THIS EARTH WHERE I CAN

FEEL THE WARM SUN ON MY SHOULDERS

HEAR THE WAVES LAP ON THE SHORE

AND WATCH SALLY AND HER PRECIOUS GIRLS

PULL DAISIES FROM THE SANDBOX.

THE WINTER IS PAST.

THE TIME OF SINGING IS COME.

My daughter Sally and her four-year-old Sadie and two-year-old Claire cleaning the daisies from the sandbox at my home
Daisy Day. JULY 2014: SALLY, SADIE, AND CLAIRE

 

 AND YET I KNOW, THAT WE ARE NOT HOME YET.

THOSE VERSES FROM THE SONG OF SONGS REALLY POINT

TO THE DAY WHEN WE ARE TRULY HOME.

TO A DAY WHEN THERE IS

NO MORE SIN

NO MORE SORROW

AND NO MORE DEATH.

THIS IS OUR SECOND WEEK IN CONSIDERING HOW THE GOSPEL IS A “DOUBLE CURE,” OVERCOMING NOT ONLY THE PENALTY OF SIN, BUT THE POWER OF SIN. LAST WEEK WE CONSIDERED HOW WE MUST NOT BE IN DENIAL ABOUT OUR DEPRAVITY, FOR WE ARE SO BAD IT LED TO THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST.

THE WEEK THAT SALLY VISITED, I JOINED HER IN PRAYER FOR THE RIVALRY BETWEEN SADIE, WHO JUST TURNED FOUR, AND CLAIRE, WHO JUST TURNED TWO.

SADIE AND CLAIRE TRYING ON HATS AT A TRUCK STOP
CLAIRE AND SADIE TRYING ON HATS AT A TRUCK STOP

CLAIRE HAS BEEN BITING SADIE, LEAVING TEETH MARKS, AND A DEVASTATED SADIE.

YET SADIE IS NOT WITHOUT FAULT.

ONE NIGHT WHEN I WAS BABYSITTING, AFTER I’D TUCKED THEM IN, I HEARD CLAIRE WHIMPERING, BUT DECIDED, UNWISELY, TO WAIT IT OUT. SOON SHE WAS HOWLING AND SO I RAN TO SEE WHY, ONLY TO FIND SADIE, FRUSTRATED WITH THE CONSTANT WHIMPERING, BONKING HER LITTLE SISTER ON THE HEAD WITH HER PAT-THE-BUNNY BOOK.  I SCOLDED AND LAID BETWEEN THEM UNTIL BOTH WERE ASLEEP.

Pat_the_Bunny_image
Sadie’s weapon

I told Sally the next morning and she asked, “Was it a hard cover book?”

“Yes. Pat-The-Bunny.”

Sally cringed.

I confessed to my daughter: “I didn’t handle it well. Not only should I have gotten in there sooner, but then I immediately made Sadie say she was sorry to Claire, and she screamed ‘SORRY’ in anger. I definitely didn’t get to her heart.”

Sally responded, “It’s so challenging to get to the heart!”

That afternoon Sally and I hiked through the woods and talked about why godly people pray that their children will receive Christ early — not at all meaning they should be pressured, for we want it to be real — and we don’t want some eager beaver VBS teacher to lead them in the sinner’s prayer and for them to go on to doubt that they really meant it.

But we can pray for that hunger in their hearts, and for His Spirit to draw and illumine them early, for indeed, it to be real. We want that, not just to overcome the penalty of sin, but to overcome the power of sin. I know little children who are indeed born-again and have very tender hearts toward God. As Proverbs say, Even a child can be known by his doing.

A gospel-transformed heart leads to better behavior. We can’t make it happen, but we can pray.

And we can pray for our own hearts, hearts that are regenerate but tend to default to works-righteousness, to pressing the will instead of allowing the Gospel truths to transform our hearts.

This is why I want to take Psalm 37 and ask ourselves, “How can we apply the gospel to this? How can the gospel penetrate our hearts so that we can overcome sin?”

I chose Psalm 37 because, as Derek Kidner says, it almost seems like a chapter from Proverbs, and in fact, many verses in Proverbs parallel these verses. The mistake people make with Proverbs, and could make with Psalm 37, is to press the will to try to obey. But that method always leads to failure for our hearts are defective and deceitful, like a leaky boat, and will go down before long. I find I can sail off, determined to press the will (I will not eat those potato chips, I will not harbor vindictive thoughts toward the person who hurt me, I will not get anxious…) but within a very short time I sink. I can’t do it. Who will deliver me?nadine-dorries-boa_2394809b

 

So let us consider how to apply the Gospel to Psalm 37.

Sunday Icebreaker

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

2. If you are willing, name one behavior in you in which you keep sinking, and long to have transformed by the gospel.

Monday-Thursday Bible Study

APPLYING THE GOSPEL TO THIS WHOLE PSALM IS CONSIDERABLE HOMEWORK, SO THE SERMON IS OPTIONAL. IT’S ONE MANY OF YOU HAVE HEARD BEFORE, CLASSIC KELLER ON THE GOSPEL, BUT ALWAYS GOOD TO REVIEW. IF YOU HAVEN’T HEARD IT, TRY TO MAKE THE TIME.

Prepare your heart by singing along with this:

3. Read Psalm 37:1-9

A. Kidner says the theme is in the first verse. What is it?

B. The theme is expanded in verses one through four. Expand it.

C. Find the repetition of the theme of not fretting in 1-9.

One way to approach this psalm would be to talk about why we should not envy the wicked, why we should not fret, why we should not lose our tempers, and why we should be generous to those in need. All those admonitions are true. But because we are approaching this psalm through the lens of gospel transformation, I’d like you to take the command, “Don’t fret” and apply it to the sin you mentioned in the ice-breaker with which you frequently wrestle. I think that the reason we run to our idols instead of God is because we are worried that He won’t meet us. What I’d like you to do is to take that fear in relation to your struggle, and talk to your soul. For example, I can rush in my time with the Lord because I feel like I’ve got so much to do. So I would say:

“Don’t fret because of all that is on your plate, trust that the Lord will give you the time you need if you slow down and delight in Him.”

D. Now you do the same, taking a besetting sin and getting to the root reason you are fretting — for indeed, it is a lie. Speak the truth about God to yourself.

 

keep-calm-don-t-worry-god-is-in-control

E. A key to overcoming is in verse 4. Ponder this. How do you delight in the Lord? And how do you interpret this verse?

4. Read Psalm 37:10-16

A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”

B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.

5. Read Psalm 37:16-29

A. Contrast the wicked’s man approach to generosity with that of the righteous.

B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to generosity. First, instead of pressing the will and telling yourself to be generous, consider what idol tempts you to withhold. Then consider what you know about Christ  — even ways He became poor so you might become rich, or ways that give you confidence he will meet your need.

C. I have puzzled over verse 25 and would love thoughts on what it means, for it doesn’t seem to be true in experience. I know the founder of World Vision said, “David may not have seen this, but I have.” Eager to hear your thoughts!

6. Read Psalm 37:30-34. If we are put to death through persecution, how can the gospel help us guard our tongues?

7. What contrasts do you see between the wicked and the righteous in Psalm 37:35-40.  What gospel truths do you see that we could use on our hearts from this passage?

8. Reflect again on the sin you mentioned in the ice-breaker. Have you been able to apply the gospel truth to it this week and experience progress?

9. Reflect on Psalm 37:23-24.

A. How do you see from this passage that the Christian life is a fight?

B. What hope do you see in this passage?

 

I have found it is indeed a daily battle, and yet I am also experiencing more victory and more sense of the presence of God, of Him, “upholding my hand.” Yet I do look forward to the day when he will remove the names of the idols from my mouth — and all their power over me. That is the day, I know, when He will say to each of us:

Spring-bible-quote-with-Blossoming-Almond-Van-Gogh

Friday: Optional Sermon

This is classic Keller, free, and many of you have heard it before. But it is worth a re-listen if you have time. Listen and share your notes.

Click here: http://www.gospelinlife.com/sermons/christ-our-life.html

Saturday:

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

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333 comments

  1. 3C.  in verses 7&8 we are again warned not to fret over evildoers.  an arrow to my heart is in verse 8 – the command to refrain from anger and forsake wrath!  Again, in myself this comes from stewing over someone else getting what I secretly feel I deserve – oh this is so ugly.  

  2. Deanna – with your answer to part D …..and the potato chips…..you have hit the nail on the head!  You were so precise in getting to our “root need” to (as verses 3&4 encourage us!) to trust in and delight ourselves in the Lord!  Thanks for that.

  3. 3E.  Mary – I love your answer to this one!  I think you really went to work on something we all have wrestled with:  namely, that even when God gives us new desires, are they ALWAYS fulfilled?  I was rocked by how you pointed out that even God’s own desires that all would be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth clearly will not be what transpires.  Indeed, multitudes of human beings have died without Christ.  Again, I guess it’s just where the Lord is teaching me this week, but I think of the long view.  Of course utimately, our desires will all be fulfilled when we are with the Lord for all eternity.  Every tear wiped away.  Til then?  He DOES give us the desires of our hearts….maybe not every single desire, but yes He gives and gives and gives.  

  4. 3D.  I guess I didn’t actually answer this one, so here goes……I think one of my biggest “frets” in life is my marraige.  I wouldn’t know where to begin.  My young adult children’s lives would run a close second.  “Lord, I thank you that in you I can rest.  I thank you that in you I find Truth.  The only Truth I need to live.  I thank you for the wonderful resource that Dee somehow directed me to….”The Emotionally Destructive Marraige.”  I know I need to be still before you Lord….and wait patiently for You as I process what I have read there.  I believe that I want to “stay well” in my marraige, but I cannot do it without daily, moment by moment TRUST IN YOU.  Oh so often I have run to your Word and looked at beautiful ABigail and her wisdom and grace in a very tough marriage.  Much tougher than mine.  What courage she had!  What an incredible peacemaker she was!  How faithful you were to her.  I pray for my family to come to know you personally.  The fear of you, Lord , truly IS the beginning of wisdom.  You are faithful.  Examine my heart today Lord.  Help me to turn from sin and trust in You .  Amen.

    1. Jackie, my heart is so encouraged by reading your posts…He truly has ahold of your heart and He will not let go.  I pray your kids come to Him and that your marriage is transformed!!!  Remember, even “in our weakness, He is strong.”  He shows up strong in you Jackie.  I feel so weak at times and it is so reassuring to know that a weak vessel is the absolute perfect vessel through which He can be glorified as His power is put on display.

      1. Thanks Dee!   I was not familiar with Leslie Vernick previously, and I am pretty cautious about “Christian counseling”.  Leslie’s book kind of blew the doors off that!  I’m so glad you referenced her!

  5. E. A key to overcoming is in verse 4. Ponder this. How do you delight in the Lord? And how do you interpret this verse?

    When I delight in Him it means I delight in who He is and what He has done for me-He wants me! It means finding my fulfillment in Him and not in things or people in this world. I love to linger with Him every day and freely be with Him every second of every day, but I can EASILY get distracted and take my eyes off Him so I need to be in His word daily.

    He experienced unfulfillment being separated from God to the most hellish degree on the cross so that I will never be unfulfilled-that blows me away-maybe that is a way of delighting in Him to..just being in awe of Him?

    How do I delight in Him?

    1. To meditate on Him in His word. To be willing to lay my self preservation down and open up to Him as His Word penetrates my soul both bone and marrow-to struggle in His word. To talk with Him when I am in His word..to pay attention to his quickening and just stop right there and commune with Him.
    2. To delight in Him in other believers-HIS BODY! :))))) I also delight in seeing His desires being lived out in other believers-in serving the poor, stepping out in faith in doing so, and in giving generously of time, talent and treasures. I mean, it can also be as simple as being in a season as a mom in serving and loving your children-changing diapers, etc..
    3. When I am outside or looking out a window being in awe of his creation-the work of his hands and telling Him how marvelous He is. I think of Elizabeth and her rainbow story-how she so often delights in him despite her pain. 
     
    How do I interpret the verse? I could be mistaken but I am finding as I delight in Him in the ways I mentioned above, more and more He will be my satisfaction and His desires will become mine. My part is choosing to spend time with Him in His Word every day-yet even then He has put that desire in my heart! But I must make the time for I can suppress it by choosing to do other things instead!

    1. Rebecca, reading your post reminds me of one of Mike Reeve’s sermons where he talked about feasting with the Lord and finding Him feast-ly, or something to that effect. He was talking about feasting with the Lord, and when we find Him worthy to feast with, we will also find Him worthy to suffer for. I see in your listing of how you delight in Him that you are “feasting” at His table.

    2. Beautiful Rebecca

  6. I just have to say what a special place this is! After rushing around last week trying to get ready to leave for vacation, to 1 1/2 days driving and having no alone time; I am amazed and disheartened how quickly I can “go astray” and wander away from the Lord, like a silly sheep, and talk and act just like everyone else who do not have God in their lives. So, after coming on here last night and this morning, I find my heart and mind renewed and thoughts refocused onto Him. This place is truly a well of living water…a good place to drink!

    1. I love that Susan and I second it!  Coming here can be like a cool drink of water on a hot day…and as you pointed out “living water.” =)

  7. 2. If you are willing, name one behavior in you in which you keep sinking, and long to have transformed by the gospel.
     
    I’m with Susan. I really struggle with my thought life. I battle negative thoughts about myself and others or despair about circumstances. Sometimes I wake up in the morning in great angst and I am not even sure why. I saw a Keller quote recently in which he says that our nightmares reveal our idols. What has been uprooted during the night that causes this turmoil? Perhaps worries, anger suppressed from the day before gets processed into morning angst. I would be interested if anyone has any suggestions to battle this. I battle this by trying to have a quiet time with the Lord first thing each morning. Sometimes this means crying to the Lord and asking Him to show me what my idol is so I can release it to Him. I am reminded to

    “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    look full in His wonderful face
    and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
    in the light of his glory and grace.

    1. Diane, I try to end the day with Him….maybe reading scripture, listening to a praise song, or reading a Christian fiction book. That way, I go into the sleeping process with Him on my heart. Maybe this would help?

      1. Thanks, Laura, that is a good suggestion.

  8. Trust in the LORD, and do good;
    dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. (Ps. 37:3)

    I am pondering what the psalmist means in verse 3 when he says “befriend faithfulness” (ESV) or “feed on faithfulness” (in the footnote). NIV says “enjoy safe pasture.” NASV says “cultivate faithfulness”. Matthew Henry says in part:

    Some read it, Thou shalt be fed by faith, as the just are said to live by faith, and it is good living, good feeding, upon the promises. “Verily thou shalt be fed, as Elijah in the famine, with what is needful for thee.’ God himself is a shepherd, a feeder, to all those that trust in him, Ps. 23:1.

    Just as we daily eat food, we need to regularly daily feed on faithfulness and truth. This is how we work out our trust in the Lord – by doing good (obedience to God) and feeding on His faithfulness through His Word. This feeding is the only one that will sustain when the storms blow (and they will).

  9. Dee,   as I am now pondering the questions under #5,  I notice I do not have a verse 45 in Psalm 37.    I’m guessing you may have meant  verse 25 instead,  am I correct?     

  10. 5. Read Psalm 37:16-29
    A. Contrast the wicked’s man approach to generosity with that of the righteous.
     
    The wicked are not generous, in fact, they borrow and do not repay.  Some may steal under the guise of borrowing.   However, the righteous give generously to the needy.  .   I think you can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way they handle their money.  It is a difference in focus, as the wicked is focused on himself, while the righteous person is concerned about the welfare of others.  
     
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to generosity. First, instead of pressing the will and telling yourself to be generous, consider what idol tempts you to withhold. Then consider what you know about Christ  — even ways He became poor so you might become rich, or ways that give you confidence he will meet your need.
     
    Actually almost any idol could affect one’s generosity.   Definitely the comfort idol comes into play:    I am an older person on a fixed income, and I have no way to know how long I will live, or how much money would be “enough” to live “comfortably.”   So one idol I have to fight is my comfort idol.   I never know when i give if maybe I’m giving at a sacrifice for later years.   This is where I have to depend on God’s love and provision for me.   I don’t want to withhold, but I also don’t want to foolishly sacrifice my future.     The approval idol could come into play, if I decide to spend my money on material items of luxury to make a show (thus perhaps gaining approval by others who prize material goods).   The following is really not me at all, but some might use their money to buy power and influence  (unfortunately we see tha,t even in our democratic society, it can happen!) That would be a case of one’s control idol taking over!      
     
    I know that Christ lived his earthly life in a humble state.    He even said that “the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”   He didn’t just tell us to go “live this way,”  but he lived it himself in order to demonstrate it.    But, of course, that fact that he subjected himself to the whole process of being arrested, tried, and executed by crucifixion — that just goes way beyond any concept of generosity!!           
     
    I think the primary means by which I have confidence for the future is that God has always seen me through — all 72 years so far.   Why should the later years be different?     Most Christian persons who are older than me are still saying the same thing — they will say “I have been so blessed!”        So I have no valid reason to withhold — none whatsoever!     

    1. I think the primary means by which I have confidence for the future is that God has always seen me through — all 72 years so far.   Why should the later years be different?     Most Christian persons who are older than me are still saying the same thing — they will say “I have been so blessed!”        
      I so agree, Deanna, that God has also always seen me through, so no reason to believe H would stop now.  Thank you for that reminder!

  11. I am impacted today by verse 16: better is a little that the righteous person has than the abundance of many wicked.  So much of our fretting is based on not being satisfied with what God has bestowed.  But are the wealthy any happier with all their abundance? (Please note: I am not equating wealth with wickedness.)   No.  Only those satisfied in Christ can truly experience the abundant life.  Lord, may I continue to grow more satisfied with You and what you have provided rather than wanting what others have.
    This set of verses was particularly important to me when I was being berated by an employer.  The comfort I took from them was simple:  God is in control.  I do not need to retaliate, but rather, love with an agape love and bestow my “other cheek.”  I knew that God would deal with this unlovely boss in His time.

  12. REBECCA,  hey, I know that somewhere on Dee’s website there is information about this blog and how to make a gravatar, etc…but for some reason I can’t find that information any more.  Could you put a link in here to it? (or anyone else who knows.)  I might change mine but need to get back to that information page to figure out how to get to the website to do it! 
    Thanks!

    1. Mary–if you go to http://en.gravatar.com  you can log in to your acct and change your gravatar

  13. My name isn’t Rebecca, but this is where you make your gravatar:     
    http://en.gravatar.com
     
    To find it again someday on this web site:     Go to the top of  a page like this one, and click on Bible Study Blog.   Then go to the upper right corner of that page and click on “Get Started on the Bible Study Blog.”      Then in the middle o fthat page you will find it listed under “tips”

    1. Thanks Deanna and Elizabeth!

      1. I like the new picture, Mary!  Nice to see your face more clearly 🙂  

      2. Mary-so sorry I didn’t see this sooner but SO blessed that Elizabeth and Deanna stepped in! :)))

  14. C. I have puzzled over verse 45 and would love thoughts on what it means, for it doesn’t seem to be true in experience. I know the founder of World Vision said, “David may not have seen this, but I have.” Eager to hear your thoughts!
     
    I’m going on the assumption that we are to comment on Psalm 37:25:    “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.”
         
    I tend to agree with the founder of World Vision –I have seen it.     The August issue of  National Geographic magazine has several articles about hunger and food subsidies in the U.S.   They state that 48 million Americans rely on SNAP (Supplementar Nutrition Assistance Program), which used to be referred to as “food stamps.”   Typically SNAP recipients run through their monthly allotment in three weeks, and then they usually have to turn to food pantries.      I volunteer in one of those food pantries, and I see firsthand how seriously our clients take their “shopping” there.  The hardest part of my task as a volunteer is telling someone “You can only have two cans under this category.”    There is something in me that wants to say “Take all you want!”   However,  I am told that would not work equitably, and I can’t do that.   “First come, first served” would mean someone near the end of the line would get nothing.    Needy families quickly learn that “starches” make them feel fuller, so they trade off nutrition for comfort, and may end up with obesity.  

    My Life Application Study Bible addresses verse 25 this way:    “Because children starve today, as they did in David’s time, what did David mean by these words?   The children of the righteous need not go hungry because other believers can help out in their time of need.   In David’s day,  Israel obeyed God’s laws that ensured that the poor were treated fairly and mercifully.   As long as Israel was obedient, there was enough food for everyone.   When Israel forgot God, the rich took care of only themselves, and the poor suffered.  
     
     

    1. Really interesting, Deanna…the comment by World Vision founder.  I agree….it is hard to reconcile the verse or discern the whole meaning.  The first part…..I have never seen the righteous forsaken, that makes sense in the light of what Keller says that because Jesus was truly abandoned, we will never be (though we may be temporarily abandoned.)  But as for physical hunger  (and any other kind of physical need) it falls on the ‘just and the unjust’ alike.  I DO know the Lord provides…..and sometimes in dramatic ways (like George Mueller’s stories) but certainly, some of God’s children go to bed hungry every night too.  There must be a deeper meaning here.  

  15. E. A key to overcoming is in verse 4. Ponder this. How do you delight in the Lord? And how do you interpret this verse?
     
    I delight in the Lord by dancing to scripture and song for Him. I used to ask my dad what he wanted for Christmas. I was a little girl and he passed away when I was 13. He always had the same answer….”A happy home.” I never understood why he answered that way every time I asked. It frustrated me! Now I “get it.” Ultimately, peace, inside of me is the ultimate “desire of my heart.” Think of it; if you are at peace, then you don’t have worry, regret, envy, to name a few. One desire, many gifts!When I am in step with Him, I am at peace!!!!
     
    4. Read Psalm 37:10-16
     
    A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”
     
    The wicked disappear! They gnash their teeth (owww), and are laughed at by Him (I don’t get this one; He loves us all, right?). They fight, but they will be hurt themselves.
     
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.
     
    If I become envious of someone, it is because I would like what they have; be it a good body, good children, more money, etc. These are all earthly things that will eventually die away. I was looking at some very old photos of famous people and boy! are they beautiful while young. I know what some of them look like now (aged) and “who would’ve thought?” The point is that earthly things will die away, but we have the chance to LIVE FOREVER in peace, happiness, and joy. Why would I risk that for something earthly that will go away? If Jesus is the prize and I keep myself focused on Him, I WIN!

    1. “If Jesus is the prize and I keep myself focused on Him, I WIN!”  I love that, Laura!  I wrote my response before reading yours but similar concepts for answer B!
      I’m praying for your appointment on Thursday.  I pray you doctor will be wise in thoroughly investigating your symptoms.

      1. Thank you Mary. I am praying for you today, dear one. You are on my heart. Your confidence in our Lord is contagious and helps me to SO remember who is really in charge: NOT ME! 

  16. 4. Read Psalm 37:10-16
    A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.” – Their time is short, unless they repent, they will face a day of reckoning, and sometimes their wicked plans backfire on them and come back to bite them. Vs 15 “Their sword will enter their own heart, And their bows will be broken.”
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.:  I think the heart idol that causes envy could be more than one but maybe comfort/security?  I have never been married, always been a a single woman, supporting myself, going through cancer twice prior to this (breast, then thyroid, now the recurrence/stage 4 breast cancer) and I have worked hard and tried so hard not to get in debt, to buy most things only when I had the money to pay cash for them, and thank the Lord, I have no debt now, but I have been just renting and always wanted to buy a little house and was saving to do that and now I see that this dream may not be something the Lord will bring to pass for me in this life.  (Not sure what my place in heaven will be like, but I know it will be awesome.)  I get envious sometimes of people who have more perceived “security” in life (financially) but I think that is coming from the comfort/security idol that causes me to feel that I must scheme and lay awake in bed at night trying to figure everything out (Do I move back in with my parents? Try to find a Godly, Christian roommate?, etc…) rather than just RESTING in HIM.  None of this takes Him by surprise.  He was not shocked to learn that my cancer had returned….and the thing that means the most to me now…He loves me beyond comprehension.  I can speak that truth to my soul when I feel like I am missing out in this life on what others may have…all that stuff will burn in the end anyway, but the things that are eternal I will have to enjoy forever.
     

    1. Mary, you just melted my heart with this post.  I stopped and prayed for you and gave thanksgiving for your beautiful, transparent faith in Christ.  I had this insane desire to somehow “transplant” your words that so glorify God , by “stealth” into my sweet daughter Jes’ mind!  You truly are running with endurance the race that is set before you, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith (Heb 12:1) and we are cheering you on as we cry out to God that His mercies to you will be new every morning – and they will be!   You bring courage into my heart, sister.

    2. Mary–oh wow. What a powerful (and tear-jerking!) post. In my own struggles with idols, I resonate with this “…idol that causes me to feel that I must scheme and lay awake in bed at night trying to figure everything out… rather than just RESTING in HIM”
      But OH the power of this post when you speak truth to your soul, amidst your very present and real pain–“He loves me beyond comprehension.”. Oh tears. I do continue to pray for a miracle–but also thank Him for this Beauty He has allowed me to see–a heart so softened, molded, transformed by the Gospel. I am both convicted and inspired by you Mary. So glad you are here.

    3. God is making you so beautiful, Mary E. Such beautiful words of praise. Praying for you for healing and praising God for His sweet presence as you go through this trial.

       None of this takes Him by surprise.  He was not shocked to learn that my cancer had returned….and the thing that means the most to me now…He loves me beyond comprehension.  I can speak that truth to my soul when I feel like I am missing out in this life on what others may have…all that stuff will burn in the end anyway, but the things that are eternal I will have to enjoy forever.

    4. Oh, Mary E,  Your post on 4-B  made me just want to hunt you down and give you a big hug!     I have prayed and will be praying for you today especially.

    5. Mary E…”and the thing that means the most to me now…He loves me beyond comprehension.  I can speak that truth to my soul when I feel like I am missing out in this life on what others may have…all that stuff will burn in the end anyway, but the things that are eternal I will have to enjoy forever.” – Oh yes that is the truth! YOU inspire me.

  17. 3D. Speak the truth about God to yourself.
    Don’t worry, Nanci, the Lord has all well in hand; trust Him to care for you and those you love, trust Him to guard your thoughts and words…He is your Savior, Love, and Friend.  The Lord is in control, Nanci, you need not try to be.
     
    E. How do you delight in the Lord?
    I so delight in the Lord’s creation…flowers blooming, birds chirping, veggies growing, snow falling, sprinkles of rain, clouds in the sky, baby fawns, etc.  I take great delight in basking in the Lord’s creativity and blessing, especially with the additional thought (some one else mentioned this previously and it really hit me) that the new heaven and earth will be SO MUCH more…this is only a snippet of what is to come.
    I also delight in the Lord ruminating on scripture…taking a verse and really thinking about it and analyzing it.  I love when new things come to mind or I am really able to “unpack” it…I love “kisses from the King”. 
    I delight in the Lord when I think of moments of grace I have experienced.  My heart swells to think of the undeserved grace that was (and continues to be) bestowed on me.
     
    How do you interpret this verse?
    I interpret this text as the Lord emphasizing His control…worldly appearances can be deceiving; what looks like success and prestige, is only so in a “worldly” sense when achieved with evil or false motives.  My trust needs to lie in the Lord and not in what I see occurring in a fallen world; my trust needs to be firm and only in the Lord.

    1. Nanci–your answer to “E” made me smile–I see this way that you delight in Him and it is how His beauty so shines through you

  18. 4. A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”
    The wicked’s life is temporary, our is eternal. The meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace, abundant! The Lord laughs at the wicked. The wicked’s schemes only hurt themselves—“enough rope to hang themselves”. God remains more powerful and will avenge.

    B. To be envious of others means I have come to a place of discontent, dissatisfaction, and I stop believing that He will provide for me the way He has others. So I begin to demand, defend, fight for my “rights”. I have to be still in order to speak truth to my soul. I get in a default mode so easily and I am not living in response to truth. Truth says that I was worth dying for. Truth reminds me that He has claimed me and redeemed me, and all that I need I have, in abundance. I can stop trying to fix every behavior I come up against. I can release and trust all to Him. And that brings such peace!
    5. A. Contrast the wicked’s man approach to generosity with that of the righteous.
    The Lord upholds the righteous and protects them from shame. The righteous is generous with what he has because he knows he wil inherit God’s land. His children are preserved and are a blessing.
    B.
    I think I honestly struggle more with being generous with my time than money. I am tempted to guard my time because I wantto maintain control. I have seen how it has limitted fellowship and relationship. Still this applies well. When I consider how Christ emptied Himself so that I might live—my life, “my” time, is His. I cannot claim ownership. My heart has started to see this, to shift in releasing it to His plans.
    C. (verse 25)
    My simple thought is that this is not a “promise”, but David’s observation is his own life. We know that it IS a promise that God will never forsake us, and it is rare (maybe?) not that righteous men are poor, but that they are literally left in a position of regularly begging for food. But I think for me, it’s a good reminder of not taking a Scripture as a promise that was not intended as one. A bit muddy, but the best I can do today 😉

    1. Elizabeth – your thoughts about how hard it is for you to be generous with your time resonated within me!  Connecting this with a need for control and lack of submission to Christ, who emptied Himself, bought us back from our sin and now owns us is well worth thinking on a bit more.  Oh, how I do love and crave “my time”.  Even as I type this I’m thinking about something today that I need to change.  🙂

    2. Oh my gosh, Elizabeth…time is a whole other layer of withholding that I am guilty of in addition to financial…wasn’t even thinking of it in those terms; thanks for opening my eyes to another area where I am tempted to withhold and need to apply the gospel.

  19. 4A.  Oh, how I love the beginning of our passage here in verse 10….”In just a little while…”   Right from the get go, God is resetting our mind, our thoughts.  Again and again He is reminding us that our sojourn here is brief, as James would tell us, we’re a “mist that appears for a little time”….but oh, how precious, how eternal will be the path we choose to walk here.  Only two choices, the wicked or the righteous.    And as for the wicked, God says here that he will be no more (10), the Lord laughs at him (13), his day is coming (13)and his own weapon will pierce his heart(15).   This is the Word of God.  Truth for my thirsty soul.  

  20. 4B.   To be envious of the wicked means that I am believing that Christ is not enough.  I want to delete that sentence, because it is so stark and ugly.  I am envying that which will be destroyed.  I am craving the comfort/security I see that the wicked sometimes have in abundance (ie/Psalm 73).  I can feel ashamed when I am out mowing with our extremely old and battered lawn mower….and my husband is in the field with his extremely old and battered tractor/mower……and all along our long country road our multimillionaire neighbors are rolling along with the newest, shiniest, brightest, most comfortable  pieces of steel!  How ridiculous is that?????   On another level entirely, I can begin to wonder how we will ever be able to sustain helping our daughter financially as she is facing this acute health crisis called ovarian cancer.  One thing my neighbors DON’T worry about in a health crisis is money!  They go to the ends of the earth to seek out the best treatment options – cost is no object!   BUT…..the gospel tells me “true Truth”.  Christ is enough.  As Mary so eloquently shared, her recurrence of cancer did not take her Lord by surprise.  He already has the path laid out for her.  He’s walking before her and he’ll carry her when she is weak.  As He will for us all.  “Underneath are the everlasting arms…..”     I see the gospel in Paul’s words to the Corinthians “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers…..For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”  (2Cor 1:8)  “But that was to make us rely not on ourselves, but on God, who raises the dead.” (2Cor 1:9).  Paul despaired of life itself??  That’s what the Word says.  BUT……we rely on God – and He is glorified!!  Not just any god.  The God who raises the dead!  As 1 Cor 15 shows us – ALL resurrection from the dead (our hope!) depends squarely on the resurrection of Christ.  I must preach Truth to myself daily – Christ has died for my sins, was buried and is risen!  Such a God I CAN rely on!!  As for who drives what piece of steel?  It’s all bound for the junkyard anyway!  Our future?  Jesus has gone ahead to prepare a place for us…..and we’ll get there because HE is faithful!  

    1. Great preaching the truth to your soul, Jackie. Thanks for sharing a personal example of your situation and how to replace the envy with God’s truth. It helps me to embrace God’s truth as I look around my own “old stuff”.

  21. Praying for today’s appointment Mary–and yours tomorrow Laura

  22. Prayer request – my son Patrick is back living at his home again.  It’s been 2 weeks since his DUI accident and he had been staying with us since then.  He has an insurance-paid-for-rental-car, a large check for his wrecked, but paid for 1 yr old pickup truck on the way and he lives alone in his very nice home.  If you know alcoholism, the above is just about the perfect storm in terms of being conducive to going back to drinking.  His 2 favorite AA groups meet tonight and tomorrow night – please pray that he will see his sin and be moved toward Christ!!  I do feel that AA could be a critical support to him at any rate.  I am like the father in Mark 9…..”I do believe, help my unbelief!”   Trust and terror.  Sometimes I do think they can co-exist, but I know He longs for my TRUST.  Irregardless of Patrick’s choices!  
    Nila – praying now for Mark’s court appearance tomorrow.   

    1. Praying for your son Patrick, Jackie R. And for you that you will TRUST and not fret or be afraid. Hard things to do, I know. My default mode is to trust in myself to fix things or figure out best options, but I need to remember I am not in control, but God is. 

    2.  Trust and terror.  Sometimes I do think they can co-exist, but I know He longs for my TRUST.  

       
      Jackie….this statement is really hitting me tonight.   I think this is true.  I just have never verbalized it before.  And yes, the verse……’I believe.  Help my unbelief’.  So true.  So often.  It seems we all have some aspect of life where this applies.  
       
       
       

  23. So deeply touched by so many posts here this morning.     Mary, thank you for such honest words again.    Praying for you today.     Laura, thank you for encouragement….. praying for you tomorrow~   
    Jackie, seems like you often make me cry…. good tears.    II Cor. chapter one first hit home with me when our baby girl had open heart surgery and the Lord took her home.   I did despair of life.   I did want to die.    He held me and somehow grew hope again in me.     And now, with a prodigal son, I can choose despair or hope, death or life.   Thank you Lord for hope and life.     Tomorrow our son is to appear in court before a judge.   I will be in the courtroom.   Please would you pray for me? (my tendency is to be afraid…… and the justice system can hang heavy with shame)    Please would you pray that our son would have courage and that He would recognize God’s merciful hand in his life.
    When I looked up the Hebrew word for “rest” in verse 7, it means “to be silent”……….when I am restless, I can say things I regret.    I need the Lord’s help to really, truly rest.
    And this is what we do here together:  Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  Hebrews 10:24,25

    1. Praying for your son’s court appearance tomorrow. I agree that the justice system can hang heavy with shame. Last year as we had to deal with divorce court with our daughter, it was very intimidating. I’m praying that you and your son will have courage and God’s hand will be clear to you in this situation. I am not sure if you shared before on this blog, why your son is going to court but I probably missed it since there have been several weeks recently that I have been sporadic on this blog – vacation and an overwhelming schedule. Nonetheless, my heart goes out to you. 

    2. Continuing to pray, Nila.  May mercy, peace and justice surround you.  

      1. I echo Wanda, Nila…praying for mercy, peace and justice to envelop you and yours.
         
        Laura-d…praying special intentions throughout today for you.

  24. 6. Read Psalm 37:30-34. If we are put to death through persecution, how can the gospel help us guard our tongues?
     
    It makes me shudder just to think of such a possibility.   We would all say we are willing to face persecution for Christ’s sake,  if necessary, but I’m pretty sure none of us would look forward to it with longing.    If I were faced with that situation, I would try to speak truth to my soul by remembering how Jesus faced his trial — in silence.   However I also remember  Luke 12:11:  “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”   The strategic part of the task would be to only speak the words that I am given, being careful not to add my own editorial comments!     I’m also thinking about Matthew 5: 37: “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”    Jesus also said, in Luke 14:27:  “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”      But the bottom line really is that we know that after death we are going to be with our Lord forever — so long term we have nothing to fear!      

  25. 5A.   Well, the wicked are NOT generous!  They find ways to not only hold on to what they have earned….but also to hold on to what they have borrowed!  Clearly, their concern is only for their own well being at any cost – even if others should suffer lack because of what they have “borrowed” (and here I think about how employers can “borrow” workers wages in so many creative/sneaky ways too!).   On the other hand, v. 21 says it pretty simply “The righteous IS generous and gives;”    The righteous have been so blessed by God to see that true treasure is what awaits us in heaven!   

  26. 5B.   Here we go again with the comfort/security idol.  I’ve always been in awe of the widow Jesus’ commended in Luke 21:1-4.  “She, out of her poverty, put in all she had to live on.”  I’m just dying to know “the rest of the story”!!!  If she put in all she had to live on, how did she then live???   Who DOES this???  Well, clearly this dear widow did this…..and here she is, in the eternal Word of God….with her SAvior looking on and saying “well done”!  How beautiful.  And how about the Macedonians in 2 Cor: 8:2?  “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.”  Somehow I’m thinking that kind of generosity can only be empowered by a love relationship with a Savior who emptied himself, humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6…).  
    Recently I was sure that the Lord wanted me to give to a woman who I knew was going on a New York City mission trip.  As I put the amount of $$s in the envelope, I heard the Lord clearly nudging me to “just put the extra in your wallet in there too”!  Not verbal words, mind you, but it might as well have been, the Spirit’s voice was CLEAR.  And loving.  It really wasn’t heavy or thunderous….it was more like “come on Jackie, trust me, trust me……you can do this!”.  Because this is an area of my life that I’ve been long desiring to see grow (generosity…..even in “poverty”….) it really was FUN and not TOO challenging!  I do have to say that the thought crossed my mind that it WAS my “friday night pizza money!” among other things!  But truly, it was fun.  And one of my son’s spontaneously bought the family pizza!  But even if he hadn’t …..it was ok!  

    1. Awwww, Jackie r….such a great story about the Lord’s nudging and your obedience, and your son bought the family pizza spontaneously…all in all, too cool! 🙂 …thanks for sharing.

  27. 5C.  Great question.  From David’s perspective, it might be helpful to remember what my study Bible comments on:” the observation took place within Israel, which was under God’s special care; as the people of God have spread over the world, there is more opportunity for them to suffer under the evil of those who oppose them.”   I think that might be helpful, but again, I’m not sure it goes far enough!     I’m not familiar enough with Francis Chan to “promote” his teaching…..though I like what I’ve heard.  I have heard him speak about the way believers cared for one another in the book of Acts and how none were in need.  He does feel that the church needs to get back to at least a modern day picture of that kind of care for one another……he even has mentioned that he and others in his church have looked one another in the eye and committed to caring for one another’s families as their own, should they die prematurely, etc…….interesting food for thought.  Then again, even the apostle Paul (at the same time in history Chan is looking to!) speaks of being “in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”  2 Cor 11: 27.  It’s a tough question to tackle.  

  28. 6.  When I look at verses 32&33 especially, it’s hard for me to see anything here except the long view.  Eternity.  Foxe’s book of Martyrs alone would give us examples of those who in fact, were condemned and killed – heinously – by wicked powers.  And the scriptures show us James and Stephen…..and we know that all of Jesus’ disciples save John were martyed.  But though they lost their lives, they were NEVER abandoned!  Like Deanna, I shudder to think of such a calling.  I cannot imagine my wimpy self doing well drinking such a cup.  But this I do know:  He never fails…..He never leaves me or forsakes me…..and this reminds me that it’s SO important to lose my will daily, to take up my cross daily…..in the “little” things.  Because He is making me more and more like Him as I do so.  Where I go, He goes!  Ah, TRUE comfort!

  29. 4. Read Psalm 37:10-16
    A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”
    Any benefits they receive are temporary. They are temporary. They will be destroyed… either by their own schemes or by other men or by God.
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.
    For me underlying cause of envy is generally need for security, I think. I have been confronted again and again recently with ways in which I do not trust God. One group I meet with is studying Pursuing God’s Will Together by Ruth Haley Barton. She lays out the foundational principles of discernment, and one of them is ‘a deep belief in the goodness of God’.

    Any good Christian leader can wax eloquent about the goodness of God; it is, after all, one of God’s attributes. But many of us don’t believe in God’s goodness enough to trust God with the things that are most important to us. We may have suffered things for which we subtly blame God. Perhaps God disappointed us when we trusted him with somethinng important. God’s people have disappointed us. The process has disappointed us. Many of us are self-made people; we rely on ourselves and are proud of iit. Truth be told, we don’t really want to trust anyone but ourselves. How can we give ourselves to someone we’re not sure will be good to us?

    That really hit home to me. I can talk about God’s goodness, but I don’t act as if God is good. I need to learn and experience who God really is, and break down the false images that I have built.

    1. Very excellent words, Kerryn.   I am copying that quote into my files.  (easy to do that.  I need to copy it into my daily life).  

  30. 5. Read Psalm 37:16-29
    A. Contrast the wicked’s man approach to generosity with that of the righteous.
     
    The wicked man holds his wealth for himself and the righteous man shares easily. This is hard for me! We have such financial problems lately that I am sort of stingy just to get our bills paid. We never can seem to get ahead. It hasn’t always been this way; just in the last few years with our adult children. We didn’t want them to have tons of college debt so we are paying out of pocket. We did have insurance plans that we thought would help us, but they ended up not being what we thought they would be in the end. We spend $1450 on just Sarah’s tuition each month and tonight I just got the word she has been dismissed from school. I am sad. Not only the money issue, but for her sake too. She will have been in school a year this September and I thought we were coming down the home stretch. She can appeal the dismissal (will be doing so), and then they can decide to accept her back if she changes her behavior. She has missed too much and needs to make up work. I suppose we were generous with her paying for school (and her living expenses), but if she decides to start another program she will just be on her own. Please pray she is able to do what the school wants so she can resume classes. Pray that I know how to help her in this situation.
     
    We have not been very generous with giving to  charities because we are broke. We do give old clothing to donation bins. We usually give to our church, but not enough. So I suppose we are wicked……:(
     
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to generosity. First, instead of pressing the will and telling yourself to be generous, consider what idol tempts you to withhold. Then consider what you know about Christ  — even ways He became poor so you might become rich, or ways that give you confidence he will meet your need.
     
    I am tempted to withhold giving when I (my family) is in need. I am concerned with us; our needs before others. I should remember that Jesus owned nothing and He will always make sure I (we) are “wealthy.” He will take care of us.

    1. Laura – I read this post of yours last night.  Wanted so much to reach out to you, but the words didn’t come.  I love what you shared and how very blunt you were in the sharing!  I think MONEY is one thing that we have a very hard time speaking honestly about.  You’ve done us all good to speak this way.   And you are NOT wicked – you are covered by the blood of Christ.  He is changing you so much!  I think that’s part of the picture of your words……as you put “the facts” of your life on paper and then attempt to apply the gospel to the facts, there WILL be change!  I remember back in late 2012 and early 2013, when I dipped a toe in the water of this study blog (before the death of Abel and Jes’ diagnosis, etc…..when I took a pity party sojourn – yuck!)……I was moved by much of what you wrote…..and you have grown in the Lord SO MUCH over just that year and a half or so!  You encourage my heart greatly!

    2. Laura, I’m sorry about Sarah being dismissed from school, and how it must be so heavy on your heart for her; concerns for her and for her future. I agree with Jackie’s reply to you…you are not “wicked”. You are trying to work through your struggles and apply the gospel to them. There aren’t always easy answers.

    3. I am so sorry to hear about Sarah’s dismissal from school. Her immaturity has given you such grief. I am grieving with you and praying that the Lord will give you wisdom and that He will provide a solution to help Sarah find her way. 

    4. Laura, I am so sorry to learn of Sarah’s dismissal from school.     However,   higher education is not the answer for everyone.   I am glad that my daughters made it through; but I have nieces who did not have education beyond high school,  and they have done very well!    I am praying that Sarah finds her way soon, whether it is college or otherwise.      

      Also praying for you — please let us know how your appointment goes today!  

  31. 4. Read Psalm 37:10-16
    A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”  their influence and even their existence is temporary,  the meek…..(not the oppressive or those who plot against the righteous and who oppress and devour the poor)…will inherit the land and enjoy peace.  Their evil schemes to destroy others will backfire and destroy the wicked.  The power of the wicked will be broken…..will not be maintained.  The Lord, who is forever, omnipotent and unchanging…..will hold those who are righteous.  
     
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.   For me, I am envious, when I see other’s lives going ‘better’ than my own in terms of spiritual wellness in the family.   I rarely envy an unbeliever because I know that that person does not experience the peace and restoration of redemption.  But I do envy believers who have children who are growing in the Lord and with whom they can grow, fellowship and share in the things of the Lord.  (I have this with 2 of my children and want to have it with all 4 of them).  I also, at times, envy those who are healthy and have healthy children.  I have never known what it is like to be a parent of all healthy children.  (except for the first two years of my parenting, before my second child was born).  I never knew a ‘carefree’ first day of school, or vacation, or  new babysitter or sending kids off to camp or signing them up for sports because in each of these scenarios, much was prepped and planned for and reviewed frequently, so that my daughter with special medical needs could participate fully.  At this stage in life,  the jealously involves wishing she was married and I could know for sure that someone would always be there for her.  SO…..i guess the heart idol is telling me that I don’t trust that God will provide.  That I don’t trust that He will take care of my daughter’s health needs will always be cared for OR that my kids who don’t follow him will come back to Him and will TRULY know Him and experience His redemption.  I suppose my heart idol here is security?   I seem to lack feeling completely secure in God alone.  But Christ tells me to ‘Come to Him and He will give me rest’.  He tells me that He has “loved me with an everlasting love”  He tells me that He ‘will supply all my needs.’  and that He will give ‘the peace that passes understanding’ when life is full of tumult.  
     

    1. Wanda-I just read yours and you and I have a similar struggle. 🙂 You encourage me-so glad you are here. 

    2. Wanda, I also relate to seeing other’s lives going better than my own in terms of spiritual wellness in the family. It can be hard to see godly men being good husbands and dads, leading their families spiritually, when mine doesn’t believe, and other people’s children who are growing up to be vibrant Christians when mine lack interest in God.

    3. Wanda–so appreciate your honesty in “B”. Really spoke to me. I love too how you go back to speaking truth to your heart “He tells me that He has “loved me with an everlasting love”  He tells me that He ‘will supply all my needs.’  and that He will give ‘the peace that passes understanding’ when life is full of tumult. I agree with Rebecca, so thankful you are here, your words really minister to me

  32. Just wanted to say…Thank you all again SO MUCH for your kindness, prayers, and concern.  My appointment today went really well.  There was a list of side effects for the bone strengthening med that they had given me which included “fever, chills, bone aches, nausea, etc…” and it said they would occur on the day of the injection and for a few days after (if they were going to) and it has been 8 hours now since my injection and I have actually felt better today than I have in three days!!!  (PRAISE GOD!)  Also, after I got home my older bro called and told me that his wife works with a science teacher who’s sister went through the same thing…had breast cancer, it was gone for several years, came back in her bones, also was estrogen sensitive, and she is doing very well.  My sister-in-law said, “and how long ago was she diagnosed with her recurrence?”  The other teacher said, “TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO!”  (I’ve had people say to me “some women survive 10 or more years after a recurrence” but this is one of the very most encouraging stories I have heard yet!)  That is not to say it is easy.  She has had treatments eventually fail and had to go on other ones, etc…but seems she is doing well, though having to switch treatment modalities at times.  It encouraged my heart to hear that (felt like it was a gift from God today.) 

    1. Yay! Praise The Lord! I am so happy to hear the news; especially about you feeling so well after the injection! 

      1. Praying for you today, Laura!  Give an update when you can.

        1. Yes, Laura, I am praying for you today. 

    2. Really good to hear your report, Mary.  I hope the encouragement lingers in your heart and mind.  Peace to you.

    3. Thank you Father for the hope and encouragement you have given Mary today. We see your hand in the timing of this news, a gift showing your love and care just when she needed it. We pray you will bring this to mind again and again, encouraging Mary through any difficult times or set backs. Today, you have brought healing to her, physical healing through the effects of the injection, emotional and spiritual healing as well, and we know that whatever paths we take, your plan is to bring each one of us to complete healing in your presence. Amen, let it be so.

    4. oh Mary–just logged in to check if you had an update and wow–praising Him for this encouragement!!
      And Laura–praying for your appt at 10 today!

    5. Thanks for letting us know how your appointment went, Mary…I am so grateful that you are not experiencing side effects and are feeling better post injection.  What a lovely gift from the Lord…a “kiss” of encouragement.  He is with you, dear sister…loving on you!

    6. Mary, this is all such good news! Thanks for keeping us updated and as I posted below, I am continuing in prayer for you!

    7. Mary, so glad that you have not had side effects from the injection so far and that you got such a hopeful story to encourage you through the long journey ahead. Kisses from the Lord indeed. Hope you are still feeling fine today.

    8. Definitely an answer to prayer, Mary!    So glad for the good report and the encouragement you have received!

    9. Mary e-loved when I heard of this encouragement, how God kissed you on Wednesday. 

  33. Good news Mary.   
     

  34. Received this book in the mail today entitled:  Peace in the Storm by Ken Gire.    Spent all spare minutes between guitar lessons,  reading for my life.    Love this quote:  The wise man in the storm prays to God not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear.
    I will accompany our 26 year old son, Mark, to court tomorrow at 8:30.   It is a municipal court matter, but he has not fulfilled his obligation to the court and has let this matter go for two years.  He could face jail time.   He recently paid the large fine, but has not taken the court-ordered class.   He is scared that if she sends him to jail he will loose his job.      Mark is a sensitive, compassionate young man that doesn’t draw healthy boundaries with others and that is part of what happened that got him in trouble with the law.   I’m asking the Lord for mercy, that he can keep his job and that the judge will find an alternative way for him to fulfill his obligation to the court.     Mark compares himself with his highly successful younger and older brothers and sees himself in a poor light.   He is often depressed and has been suicidal.   I often ache for him.
    Laura and Jackie, I’m praying for Sarah and Patrick.   Lord, give us mamas the courage, strength, and hope we need with these precious kids.  Deliver us from our many and plaguing fears….. 
    One last quote from Ken Gire’s book:   There have been a lot of times when I have cried myself to sleep while praying.  Not sobbing, just gentle tears spilling from my eyes.  When the storm has raged for too long, we are weary.  We are out of thoughts. We are out of feelings.  We are out of prayers.  What then?             When we’ve reached the end, Jesus simply receives us.  No words.  A sigh.  A heaving of your heart toward heaven, however heavy it may be to lift, however hard it may be to heft.  When it is too hard, the Holy Spirit will do the heaving, lifting, groaning, to carry it for you.
     

    1. Well, Nila.  I will pray throughout this morning and past the noontime for you, for Mark, the judge and the entire situation.  (I’m on eastern time here in MD and I assume you are Mountain time in MT!).  I’m praying that your heart will be “still” according to v. 7 of this Psalm we are studying this week.  I certainly do pray that Mark can keep his job and not be sentenced to do jail time.  I believe that you have quoted Lamentations here before Nila…..I’m looking at chapter 3….v. 26 says that is good to “wait quietly”, picking up on what you parked on in Psalm 37…….v.27-39 are challenging (for us moms of wayward ones), but comforting at the same time.  The Sovereignty of God drips off these verses!  
      Over 9 years ago, I remember a day in court.  My beloved nephew Cliff was being sentenced for the murder of his young wife.  Of course I have nothing else in life to compare it to.  Cliff was a “wonderful” (though, certainly unconverted!) young man….until the age of 18, when drugs became his life…..and like his name, he seemed to fall OFF a cliff!  For the next 6 years that was his story….and the story of  he and Justine’s marraige.  As I watched Cliff that day…..the memories FLOODING my heart…..I felt as though my bones were going to rattle right out of my body!!  My precious brother and sister-in-law…….bowed to the floor in their silent grief.  Oh, the utter anguish!  My prayers from the day I heard the news through the present were that the Lord of the universe would bring LIFE out of death.  Because that is what Jesus Christ does!  And He has.  Oh the stories that have unfolded.  My own involvement in, and love for, jail ministry has been a direct result.  Cliff is a vibrant and bold believer in Christ for the past 8 years or so……..and so much more.
      Nila, about the ONLY thing that your day today has in common with mine there in the courtroom 9 years ago is that it IS a courtroom(no way did I want you to think I’m comparing the severity of the crimes – there is no comparison)…..and that means sentencing.  Waiting.  Knowing that no matter what the sentence, life goes on and Christ continually brings LIFE to our weary bones.   I have a feeling that you are being bathed in prayer by your sisters here throughout the day!!  Take courage.  Rest in Him.
       

    2. Praying for you and your son today, Nila. Great quotes from the book by Gire. I grieve silently and wait upon the Lord today with you, praying that He will work even this for the good of those who love Him.

    3. ” Love this quote:  The wise man in the storm prays to God not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear.
      me too, Nila…thanks for sharing it.  

    4. Praying this morning, Nila….for Mark and for your family.   The quote you closed with is so good.  I remember someone saying on this blog…..or maybe I read it somewhere, that they often fall asleep while praying.  And the thought was….’what parent wouldn’t want their child to fall asleep in their arms?’.    I love how Ken Gire describes the weary, weeping….praying without words and that Jesus simply receives us.  

    5. praying dear Nila

  35. Well, I feel like the ” johnny come late” person, but I am reading along. What stood out for me was first of all the relationship of the two sisters… I do not have siblings, yet I understand about sibling rivalry from my children and from my feelings. The competition and seeking approval is a feeling that creates much distress..
    Also the beautiful hymn, Rock of Ages and “the double cure” from the power and penalty of sin. How easily I am beset by my sinful nature. As I have a plan to overcome, it seems that in every way I am seeing how much I succumb to the desires for my idols.
    My plan is to surrender each day my desire for control. It seems related to my insecurity and weakness. I gave up my dream to live in Vermont and have moved back to Massachusetts one month ago. It was the right decision, but continues to hurt.
    I know I am now working on submission to God and to my husband, and it is not easy. I have wanted my own way for so long. Even in a dream I realized my strong desire for control and the anger I feel when I lose it (in the dream). Now I am willingly laying it down.
    Somehow the old hymn  Rock of Ages, just has the best words! Rock of Ages, cleft for me. Let me hide myself in Thee. Let the water and the blood from thy wounded side which flowed, be of sin the double cure, save from wrath and make me pure.
    What it took to cleanse my sin. Father, forgive.

    1. Shirley – that is precious.  He is changing you.

    2. Always good to hear from you, Shirley!  I too, have been so moved by the words to Rock of Ages this week.  Every stanza so clearly spells out the gospel!  Thinking about you as you continue to adjust to the decision to stay in MA.  Hoping that you feel a gradual peace as you move forward there….although I know it was so hard to give up your dream.

  36. 4. Read Psalm 37:10-16
    A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”
    At some point they will be no more. God laughs at the ones who plot against and hate us because He sees their day coming. What they do to others will be done to them.
     
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to the sin of envying. Instead of pressing the will and saying, “Stop it,” consider the heart idol that causes you to envy. Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.
    Ouch again.. I can easily fall into envying those who kids seem perfectly groomed, perfect in behavior and always out conquering the world involved in sports, camps etc.., and their husbands don’t have to work two jobs yet they are able to provide for every extra curricular opportunity for their children. We have our two oldest on the autism spectrum, one 15 year old with aspergers and a 14 year old with autism and a 10 year old who is borderline narcissistic-believe me it is humbling when we go to a new church, the youth pastor usually forgets we told them they are on the spectrum and just thinks they are strange. My youngest tells people he is handsome and wonderful! We are certainly NOT the family at church everyone thinks has their act together-I am sure they think we are too liberal with them and perhaps that we are cruddy parents-take that approval idol. 🙂 
     
    My heart idols here are both comfort and approval-the security of knowing my boys are going to reach their potential-the fear that they are not, and the approval of others that we have done a good job of loving and guiding our boys. 
     
    Applying the Gospel to my comfort and approval idols in this. It is more simple than I thought..the sweet part is that God’s hand is on my boys hearts and I couldn’t be more satisfied in that, and in the end God isn’t going to say, ‘well done parents-your boys were champs on their soccer teams-they grew up and made lots of money and had tons of friends and won a gold medal in the olympics.’  He will say and I agree with Manning..”Did you believe I loved you, did you believe I waited for you every day longing to hear your voice.’  Our hearts desire for our boys is that! It is healthy to keep boys active in things and God wants us to help our children reach their potential so I am not saying that is ‘bad’..but regardless of whether they ‘succeed’ in anything in life or in ministry..do they thirst after and desire GOD? That is my prayer. I see Him moving in my two oldests hearts in that way-they aren’t ‘there’ yet..but I see kisses from God in this. When I meditate on this it fills my heart and in those desperate moments where worry can creep in-I turn from my idols and cling to Him again-HE HAS THIS. 
     

    1. Dear Rebecca.  I just want to “beam you up” to Maryland!  You have no idea how wise the Lord is making you (don’t dwell on that statement – no puffing up sister!  Ha).  I have this yearning to gather in some of my dear young sisters who don’t see parenting quite through the lens that you do…..and they are chasing, chasing, chasing……the wind, sometimes I fear!  Weekend after weekend “on the road” with “gifted” swimmers and soccer players……well we all know the drill!!  I wish they could hear your heart.  You  have so much to offer the body of Christ, Rebecca.  And I know your days are long.  Years ago, we had the “perfect” therapeautic riding horse here on the farm…..and my husband and I were BLESSED to be able to host 4 young autistic boys at different times each week to ride Lyda.  Oh, what an overflowing abundance of joy we experienced!!  Your precious sons are clearly way, way on the other end of the autism scale…..our dear ones, for the most part, didn’t even speak and at least 2 of them were ONLY “still” when on Lyda!  I’m certainly going to be praying more intentionally that God grants you MANY young women in your life with open ears to what He wants to teach them through your family’s life story.   Your husband sounds pretty amazing too, Rebecca!

      1. Jackie, I read this on the 31st but couldn’t respond. Things are busy here in many ways and in getting my boys ready for school!  This post was so encouraging to me and I wanted you to know that! I don’t know if you know how much it means to those boys and their families how you and your husband served them. God blessed us so with loving ABA consultants, therapists, teachers, paras and others who helped our one with Autism use his echolalic language so that he can talk and understand incoming language. He was low functioning when diagnosed and is now high functioning. :)) It could have been a lot worse, but I think even if it was..God is helping me to hide in Him daily..like in our lesson this week, He is my life and just meditating on His beauty and really living in the reality of the future helps me take my eyes off of the ‘what if’s’ of my boys future.

  37. 4A. Find reasons we should not envy “the wicked.”
    *they will be dispensed of…they will be “no more,” “will not be found.”
    *the Lord laughs at them knowing that their “due” is coming.
    *the evil plans they plot/intent for others will boomerang back on them.
     
    B. Consider the heart idol that causes you to envy.
    approval/affirmation
     
    Then consider what you know about Christ that would help you to wait on Him instead of running to your heart idol.
    Oh, Lord…You accept me just as I am; You could love me no more or no less.  You designed me as You would have me be, and I know that Your plans are good and loving.  Help me to not look at the beauty, achievements, success, etc. of others and compare myself to them…they are Your children too, made by Your design, as I am.  We are all unique individuals…let me rejoice and give You thanks and praise for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

    1. Nanci–beautiful prayer in “B”–“let me rejoice and give You thanks and praise for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

      1. Elizabeth, thank you for your continual encouragement.

  38. Laura, Mary, Nila…keeping you in prayer today.
     
    3. Read Psalm 37:1-9
     
    A. Kidner says the theme is in the first verse. What is it?
     
    Don’t fret because of evil men, and don’t be jealous of those who do wrong.
     
    B. The theme is expanded in verses one through four. Expand it.
     
    Fretting is a waste of the precious time God has given us! The great leveler of all men and women is physical death. However, though the psalm points out that the evil will “soon die away”, we are not to happily dwell on that either. Instead, we are to focus on trusting God and doing good; and though unspoken, that would mean doing good to those who do evil, if the opportunity arises. We are to delight ourselves in the Lord.
     
    C. Find the repetition of the theme of not fretting in 1-9.
     
    Verse 7 says to not fret when men succeed in their ways, carrying out their wicked schemes, and verse 8 repeats do not fret because it only leads to evil. I like how we are given several things to do to replace fretting: trust, delight, commit, be still – all in relationship to the Lord. If I am truly doing those things, it doesn’t leave much time for fretting.

    1. Thank you so much, Susan!  There are some real prayer warriors here and wow is that ever an encouragement!

  39. 5A. Contrast the wicked man’s approach to generosity with that of the righteous man.
    The wicked person borrows but does not repay…s/he is looking out for themself and cares little of integrity and good character.  The righteous person is gracious and generous…s/he looks to help his/her fellow man with a genuine heart motivation of love.
     
    B. Consider what idol tempts you to withhold.
    security/comfort
     
    Then consider what you know about Christ… .
    dear Lord, forgive me for my closed fistedness…if I say that I trust in Your provision, then what am I fearful of?  why do I limit my generosity?  why do I live as if the money I earn is mine instead of Your gift to me?  Oh Lord, help me to repent…help me to turn from this wickedness, help me to give with a heart motivation of love.  You ARE my everything…You provide for ALL I need…Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.…  Lord, help me to hold trust in the depths of my heart; do not to allow worry or fear to assail me…help me to me obedient to You.  Thank You for Your patience, Lord.
     
    C. Psalm 37:25: Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.
    My thoughts on v. 25…
    In reading some commentary explanations, I think that this verse is saying that no matter what, the Lord will not abandon or forsake His own…He is their eternal provision.  I’m thinking that “bread” isn’t necessarily literally bread; the Lord is also there for the children…the children of the godly aren’t “out there” on their own, but in the Lord’s fold, if they choose to be.  This verse talks to me about the Lord’s faithfulness, constancy, and provision.

  40. C. I have puzzled over verse 25 and would love thoughts on what it means, for it doesn’t seem to be true in experience. I know the founder of World Vision said, “David may not have seen this, but I have.” Eager to hear your thoughts!
     
    I can see why some would think this is puzzling; we don’t necessarily see blessings in times of trial. (Again reminds me of that “blessings” song) I actually think I “get” this one….(!) 
     
    Isn’t David saying that those who are righteous are blessed by God? It happened in the Old Testament…… Abraham and Sarah, the birth of their baby at Sarah’s elderly age; Rahab the prostitute did what the spies told her to and followed God’s order in hiding her family, and was blessed in that they were saved. I could see that David would find people in his time that were blessed because of their faith in God. Am I missing something here? 
     
    It’s harder for me to see in Jesus’s time because his followers were, on the surface, beheaded, stoned, etc.; it didn’t seem like there were very many blessings that were apparent on earth. The blessings were yet to come……eternity for them. They did, however, get to witness miracles that made them more faithful, and also Jesus’ resurrection.
     
    I think we have to be observant and look for the blessings in the trials. We are in a family trial right now with our situation with Sarah, and I am trying to look for those blessings. It’s hard. However, I think my husband is being worn down on his idol of money…. A good thing! He sometimes seems to value it so much and I know he’s just trying to pay the bills and keep us out of debt. I’m still trying to figure out what the blessing is with Sarah getting kicked out of school… Maybe it’s because God has a better plan for her. I know it will be something  in the future where I say to myself “duh, I should’ve seen that coming.” We need to expect the blessing to come even when we don’t see it but we know it will come.
     

  41. 6. If we are put to death through persecution, how can the gospel help us guard our tongues?
    v. 34a pretty much sums it up…”wait for the Lord and keep His way, and He will exalt you to inherit the land”
    What happens in our time on this world is temporal and a “blink of the eye” timewise in the Lord’s scheme of things.  As a child of God, we have an eternity with Him and those we love who are also in Christ awaiting us.  We must keep our focus on eternity…on Jesus overcoming death to free us from our sinfulness and death, reconciling us with the Father…on our rightful place (via Jesus) as a child of God.
     
    8. Reflect aon the sin you mentioned in the ice-breaker. Have you been able to apply the gospel truth to it this week and experience progress?
    Honestly, I have applied the gospel truth in some instances and “pressed the will” in others.  I do think that progress is being made, prior to this week, I hadn’t applied the gospel to this tendency to give unsolicited advice or necessarily viewed it as stemming from my control idol, which both have come into my awareness and heart.  I can see that it will be a continuous battle to give it to the Lord rather than giving unwanted advice/opinion; to trust that if advice is desired it will be asked for, and if it isn’t, the Lord has well in hand…actually, the Lord has well in hand regardless 🙂

  42. 5. Read Psalm 37:16-29
    A. Contrast the wicked’s man approach to generosity with that of the righteous.
      ” The wicked borrows and does not pay back.”  I thought about that recently and how even Believers operate this way in today’s society.  We have a whole society full of people who don’t understand God’s principles for finances and we rack up debt  we can never pay back.  “But the righteous is gracious and gives.”  One reason to live conservatively (and even below your means, if possible, I know it is not always possible) is so that you have extra to give!  But God has been SOOOO good to me that I really can’t judge another.  
    B. Now, let’s apply the gospel to generosity. First, instead of pressing the will and telling yourself to be generous, consider what idol tempts you to withhold. Then consider what you know about Christ  — even ways He became poor so you might become rich, or ways that give you confidence he will meet your need.  
    This area is not a huge issue for me (thank the Lord, because it is all due to Him.)  I love to be able to give and I love to even be able to give big and oh how I have seen the Lord’s blessing as a result of trusting Him…and it has been tested.  Just this past year I gave a special love gift to someone in our church who was struggling and then my car needed over a thousand dollars in repair work done on it, and the enemy stepped right in with “see, you should have kept that money, giving that away was a mistake, you could have had more in the bank had you kept it!”  Even in my new situation now it is tempting to allow the enemy to plant regret in my heart over giving, but I refuse to do that because I know that the God who has taken care of me for 47 years will continue to.  Even if it means I can no longer live on my own, whatever, He will take care of me.
    C. I have puzzled over verse 25 and would love thoughts on what it means, for it doesn’t seem to be true in experience. I know the founder of World Vision said, “David may not have seen this, but I have.” Eager to hear your thoughts!
    Have wondered about this as well, at times and heard it quoted often.  I think one mistake people make (including my friends who think every Christian should be healed of every disease, if they are praying right and doing the right things) is applying Old covenant concepts to a NEW convenient.  Yes, the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and ALL of it is valuable to us today, but the systems in place, operating under the Old Covenant verses the NEW are NOT entirely the same.  In the Old you see a lot of “if/thens”  If you do A, B, C…the result will automatically be X, Y, Z (allow the land it’s Sabbath’s, follow all the ten commandments, etc…then you will be wealthy, no diseases, have lots of kids, etc…) And truly if we live, 100% according to all those laws even today I’m guessing life would be MUCH better! In the New Testament we see Believers persecuted, churches sharing with other churches (financially) because the need was so desperate (and some that gave, did so “…beyond their ability…” 2Corin 8:3, the poor giving to the poor, essentially!)  We see Paul being told “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corin 12:9), etc…God does not seem to operate in quite the same way under the New Covenant as under the Old, where if you do X…it’s a guarantee of Y. People who followed all the rules were GENERLALY blessed with health and financial blessings (generally, there are even exceptions in the Old Covenant, like Job for a while, David for a while, but generally)  Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying to think I  discount the Old Testament!  Absolutely NOT…and we still have lots of “if/thens” given in the New!  and, in general, I think many of the the “if/then” principles still apply today…just maybe not in the exact same way?  I’m just saying that you can’t entirely compare the system God operated under with the Old Covenant to how He operates in the New and expect them to come out looking identical.  AND  I’m a  totally fallible human being, so I could be totally WRONG on all of this!!! 🙂  These are just thought’s I have had on it over the years.  Consider how the New Testament Believers lived; persecuted, imprisoned, martyred…just doesn’t sound like the health, wealth, and prosperity promised to the Jews, if they followed all the rules, does it? (and certain groups of Christians try to make that apply to today)  We have more than we could possibly imagine awaiting us one day, but that may not be fully realized until heaven!  Meanwhile we have the riches of His love, grace, and mercy in the here and now.  Even Jesus changed something He told His disciples, near the end of this time with them, “And He said to them, ‘When I sent you out without purse and bag and sandals, you did not lack anything did you?’  And they said, ‘No, nothing.’  And he said to them, ‘But now, let him who has a purse take it along, likewise also a bag, and let him who has no sword sell his robe and buy one.”  Clearly a change in how Believers would be treated.  And maybe even under the Old system the “if/thens” did not workout as perfectly well for everyone but the bottom line is…none of us holds up the “if” portion of that proposition perfectly… for even the Old Testament tells us “there is NONE who does good, not even one…” Psalm 14:3b(emphasis mine)
     

    1. This is an interesting concept, Mary e. I think you have a good point here. It is one of the main mistakes of the “health and wealth” gospel thinkers.

       I think one mistake people make (including my friends who think every Christian should be healed of every disease, if they are praying right and doing the right things) is applying Old covenant concepts to a NEW convenient.  Yes, the entire Bible is the inspired Word of God and ALL of it is valuable to us today, but the systems in place, operating under the Old Covenant verses the NEW are NOT entirely the same.  In the Old you see a lot of “if/thens”  If you do A, B, C…the result will automatically be X, Y, Z
      God does not seem to operate in quite the same way under the New Covenant as under the Old, where if you do X…it’s a guarantee of Y.

      1. Amen,  Mary and Diane.    Great point.

  43. I’ve been missing Jill on the blog.  Anyone know if all is well?  

  44. 6. Read Psalm 37:30-34. If we are put to death through persecution, how can the gospel help us guard our tongues?
    It is hard to imagine being put to death through persecution. Just yesterday my kids & I were talking about Meshack…and how their standing up for God relates to peer pressure/public school life for them (2nd & 5th graders). As familiar as the story is, I am still humbled by that kind of obedience. I can be “mildly” vocal about my faith in the sense of telling a cashier, or my doctor who looks ragged that I’ll pray for her day…but to stand in the face of fire, and still know and trust without a doubt that He will save. I want my faith to be that strong—and in the comfort of my home I think it is, and yet—when I am faced with physical pain, health issues, relationship struggles—in such comparably tiny things, I can wonder where he is. I can doubt. Back to the question—sorry! The Gospel has the power to silence me. Silence my doubt, my fears—He has proved His saving power over me. He has promised never to leave or forsake me. I can rest in His statement already made in the Courtroom on my behalf, and I have no need to defend myself.
     
    This is semi-related (I hope–sorry if its a bit of a rabbit trail!), I read this today and thought some might be interested. We know some missionaries also affected by the Ebola virus, and it’s been heavy on my heart. Persecution in a different form, maybe? And still standing firm for Him, serving: http://thegospelcoalition.org/article/stay-or-go-when-ebola-breaks-out

    1. Wow! What a powerful article on a courageous missionary doctor, Kent Brantley! As near as I can tell from current news updates, he is still alive and fighting for his life. We need to uphold him and his family in our prayers.

  45. Sorry I missed yesterday.  So much to pray for.  Verse 25:  Could we possibly see this as attitudinal?  Perhaps those who are righteous do not sense they are forsaken when they experience difficult times.  Rather they put the difficulty in the context that God is leading them, as He always has, providing for their needs, and guiding them through the difficulties.  Perhaps they have taught their children that begging is just another way God has chosen to make provision for them.
    As for the wicked – it is so obvious that those without Christ are like ships without anchors.  They need to hold on to whatever they decide will give them stability.  Why would we want to envy them for they do not know from where their stability originates.   Remember, our salvation is our stake in the ground and provides that constant reminder of who we are tethered to.
    My goal is found in verse 33:  Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way and he will exalt you to inherit the land.  My sin: having difficulty waiting for the Lord’s direction.  Most of us today are taught to be proactive, resourceful, and quick to manage the situations we are in.  Just waiting is often seen as inappropriate action.  Maybe, more often, we need to take the “wait on the Lord” approach.  He is in charge; Help me to let you be in charge, Lord.  Amen.

    1. I like your thoughts about attitude or acknowledging God’s presence and provision in verse 25.  

  46. Here I get the picture of myself as a toddler holding the hand of God.  Even when I stumble I don’t fall because God has my hand.  We begin this care for our children and we end taking the arms of our parents as they age, just to help prevent their falls.  While the human picture seems to indicate that the years between toddlerhood and the aged are years of independence, in fact they are years of also being dependent, both on our family and friends and on God.  We should relish holding His hand and we should be quick to verbalize that we do.  We do not walk through this life alone, but always holding onto the hand of God.

    1. That is a beautiful illustration, Sherryl.  The holding of hands through life……it is so true.  How we need do that for each other.  And how, even when it seems we are in that independent stage of life, we are still so desperately in need of God’s hand.  Reminds me of the verse that got me through my cancer surgeries.   “I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says, ‘Do not fear’.  I will help you.”  Isaiah 41:13

  47. 7. What contrasts do you see between the wicked and the righteous in Psalm 37:35-40.  What gospel truths do you see that we could use on our hearts from this passage?
     
    The wicked and ruthless man has only a temporary existence — and then his future is gone.  But the blameless or upright person has a future.   Not only that, but when trouble comes to the righteous person, the Lord helps them get through the trouble and provides a refuge for them.    When we get discouraged and think a present trial is like the end of the world, we need to meditate on the fact that Jesus has provided for our salvation, and He has promised to be with us always.     

  48. Tim Keller sermon:  “Christ Our Life”       I skipped ahead to the sermon, because I felt like I was sort of fading this week and needed a boost!  I listened while I was doing some sewing so I didn’t take notes.   The teaser I’ll give is that Keller aptly describes why those who are SO heavenly minded…….(if they are truly living up to what that means)…..are the ones who are the MOST earthly good…instead of the usual phrase of being no earthly good.  One key to this, is how he described, we should live as though we had died, gone to heaven and came back.  We would then have the whole perspective of knowing a life that is so beautiful, a conqueror who is so victorious, a king who is so true and right and noble and loving and perfect that when we faced ugliness or conflict or dishonesty or lack of integrity here, we would not need to be taken in by those things.  We would know what and who is true and perfect.   The above is all a paraphrase as I’m trying to write this as soon after I heard it as I could and trying to remember without notes.  GREAT sermon!  It was the first time I’ve heard it.  I am so drawn to the teaching of the gospel and how when we look for it, we find it everywhere in scripture.  And how over and over the message is the same.  The Law crushes us. (or as Luther said, ‘kills us.’)  and we need to be killed by the Law for the gospel to free us.