Type and press Enter.

New here? See how to Get Started


It was one of my first experiences of answered prayer as a result of praying the psalms — too dramatic to ever be forgotten. The Lord saw my distress, parted the heavens, and came down to rescue me. I was a twenty-three year old mother of two baby boys, and Steve was working round the clock in his internship. I was terrified to be alone at night, and yet I was — every other night. We lived in a rental right on the Puget Sound and our bedrooms were on the first floor. I didn’t know whether “they” would come by land or by sea, but I felt quite sure one night de-ranged men would break in and murder us all.

I was foolish and childish, suffering from too many scary television shows. Yet God had mercy on me, this new child of His. He saw my distress and cared.

A godly woman in my Bible study said, “Dee, memorize the 34th psalm and pray it when you cannot sleep.”

So I did. One night I sat on the steps outside the nursery, sleepless again. I began to pray Psalm 34. But then I lamented, “But Lord, what if it is Your will that we die at the hands of crazy men?”

The Lord spoke to me — not audibly — but I knew it was Him. He got my attention my firmly calling me by my name — at least the name I have been called since I was a little girl and my sisters could not pronounce my given name, “Meredith.”


I knew it was God. He knew my name. He was talking to me.

I couldn’t breathe. The voice again — not my own — not audible — but clear.

    You are going to die one day, but not that way.

A peace came over me — and then, a curiosity!

    How am I going to die?

Silence. He had told me all I needed to know. I was free. The angels of the Lord were encamped around me. To this day, I am not afraid at night. Our merciful God knew how much I would be alone in my life, even knowing one day I would be widowed young. But I have not been fearful since that night. God delivered me from my fears because He is good! Answered prayer, if we can remember it, is an assurance to us of the reality of God and that changes us.


This psalm was written on an occasion when David was overwhelmed with fear that he would be killed by Abimelech. So he behaved like he was crazy before Abimelech in hopes Abimelech would drive him out — and he did. Another example of God’s mercy toward his flawed children. He is good!

I also have seen, and this psalm confirms it, that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted.” My dear friend Linda Strom visited me in my home last week for a few precious days, and I marveled again at how God took a child from the worst imaginable circumstances and turned her into a GREAT HEART. He has given her such an exciting life of transforming prisons in America, Africa, and Australia. He has done this because He is good!

When Linda was a little girl, her mother and she watched from the window to see how drunk her dad was when he came home. If it looked bad, to escape being beaten, they would run and hide in the woods in the back until he was asleep. God saw Linda, cared, and had a plan for her life. Her praying grandmother somehow knew and told Linda one day she was going to be a missionary to Africa. He gave Linda this hope of a meaningful life because He is good!

zlinfssnfvhilftrnLinda in Africa again this year. She’s seventy-plus and going strong!

God did deliver Linda, made her His own, and gave her a heart for the broken-hearted. He has taken her into the prisons, where so many women, like her, grew up in abusive and dangerous homes. One such woman was Karla Faye Tucker, who was on drugs from the time she was a little girl. One night, crazed on cocaine, she committed a brutal murder. Yet the Lord had mercy and brought Karla to himself. He did it because He is good!

Linda became Karla’s mentor, though she will tell you that Karla mentored her. Here is Linda worshipping in prison with the women and if you click below, you can hear Linda telling of why Karla so impacted her.



LindaStromKarla tasted the Lord’s goodness. She refused to lie in court even though it could and did mean her execution. Why? Because God was in her, and was so real to her, that that kept “her tongue from evil and her lips from speaking deceit.” She wasn’t afraid of death. If she wasn’t delivered from being executed, Karla was trusting God, for she had asked Him to do whatever would be most effective in spreading the gospel. Even as she waited execution, Karla was writing down instructions for “faith dorms” that would disciple women who came to Christ in prison. Linda has spent the years since Karla’s execution making those dorms a reality. And how — I will tell you — the women in those dorms are being changed by the power of God. God did it because He is good.

When you watch this video, (even if you have watched it before) I want you to hear how the reality of God in Karla’s life kept her from lying and led to a blessing — not the blessing of a longer earthly life, but a legacy that few will match. And He brought Karla into His arms. He did it because He is good.

Sunday Ice-breaker:

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

2. Share a fear from which God has delivered you.

Monday – Wednesday: Bible Study

3. Describe David’s mood in Psalm 34:1-4 and explain why you think he felt that way.

Radiantil_fullxfull-366467771_mb8e4. Think about shame you have felt. How has God delivered you from it?

5. Read Psalm 34:6-10 and stop if a verse or word picture quickens you. Stay there and contemplate it. When you are ready, share.

The next section is one Pater quotes, and the one on which the John Piper sermon is based. It is very important to see the order here — first, God delivers us and comes to live in our hearts. We see His reality. We taste and see that He is good. His life and His goodness and His Spirit within changes us and that transformation is a blessing and leads to greater blessing.

The “religious” (instead of gospel-centered) way to interpret this passage would be to say “If I stop lying, then God will bless me.” 

Instead, seeing the goodness and the reality of God in your life will keep you from sin, as it did Karla. And then, yes, He does heap blessing upon blessing. He blesses us with new life, and each time we respond to His life in us, the light grows stronger. Karla was RADIANT, and my friend Linda is RADIANT, for those who look to him are RADIANT and their faces shall never be covered with shame.


6. Read Psalm 34:11-14

A. What is the first step leading to a “good life?” (verse 11)

B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)

7. Read Psalm 34:15-19 and contrast whom the Lord is against and whom the Lord is near. (Be careful not to come up with a “religious” answer.)

8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?

9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?

10. On the basis of what you have learned, pray this psalm.

Thursday-Friday: Sermon

To prepare your heart for Piper’s sermon, read 1 Peter 3:9-12.

11. Then listen or read Piper’s sermon and share your notes and thoughts: LINK


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



Leave a Comment

Comment * If this is your first time here, please comment then fill out your name and email as stated at the bottom. Dee will approve you within 24 hours.


  1. My take-away:
    I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt His name together…The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and he delivers them…Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who take refuge in him.” Psalm 34:1-3, 7-8
    The Lord knew I needed this psalm as I waited to hear how my sister has been doing in the Philippines. She has cancer and has just been released from the hospital after being there 5 days. Her bills are high beyond their ability to pay BUT she is recovering well (according to a cousin who has been helping her some financially). I have chosen to extol the Lord during the waiting period because I know He has heard my prayers as well as my sister’s and many others praying in her behalf. He has sent his angel to encamp around my sister and has delivered her from the throes of death. My sister’s life and time (kairos-opportune-thank you, Deanna) is in God’s hands and I am thankful for sustaining her right now. I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord in her recovery, a cousin who has the money and the willingness to loan at this time and the peace that God has given me while being so far away.
    Thank you for your prayer support. “Glorify the Lord with me and let us exalt his name together!”

    1. Thanks for an update on your sister, Ernema. That’s wonderful that the cousin is generously helping with the medical bills…will pray for your sister’s recovery.

    2. Praying for Grace everyday Ernema.  So glad she’s out of the hospital and thankful for your cousin helping with the bills. Thank you so much Jesus!

  2. 7. Read Psalm 34:15-19 and contrast whom the Lord is against and whom the Lord is near. (Be careful not to come up with a “religious” answer.)
    I finally got to the “million dollar question”! This is tough! Okay…this passage says that the Lord is AGAINST those who do evil and will cut off the memory of them from the earth. It says the Lord is NEAR the righteous, the brokenhearted, and those who are crushed in spirit.
    First, this cutting off the memory of the evil must be something that will take place in the future…perhaps when He makes the new heaven and the new earth, because the memories of evil men are still with us – Stalin, Hitler. In fact, we are exhorted not to forget history lest we repeat it. And while there are certainly different categories of sin with some being worse than others (stealing a candy bar versus murder), still, breaking even one commandment makes you a law breaker. Jesus put people into only two categories; sheep or goats. Saved or lost. Yet I don’t think this passage is commending the person who goes around with a broken heart or crushed in spirit (as if God feels sorry for them). The only claim a person has to being righteous is if they are found to be in Christ, wearing His cloak of righteousness. These attributes in this passage describe the Lord Jesus – He was righteous, God heard His cries, God delivered Him from all His troubles (the resurrection), He was brokenhearted and crushed (for us). As the Father loves His Son and is near to Him, so He is to those who belong to Christ.
    I’m pondering verse 18b, “and saves those who are crushed in spirit”. Some could read this and suggest that a person must, then, work themselves into some kind of state to be crushed in their spirit in order for God to save him. I noted how Karla said that she felt His love first pouring into her and then, the full weight of what she did fell on her. I think we have to be so careful in that our attitude or emotional state doesn’t save us, God saves us and then we begin the transformation. I have read the testimonies of many people who, for example, were living together, doing drugs, etc…and then were saved and it took many months for them to begin to make changes in their lifestyles and habits. They would come to realize that they needed to be married and to change many things in their lives.

    1. I agree with Dee, Susan…this is such wonderful contemplation and digging. I can’t decide which to highlight! This stood out to me: “The only claim a person has to being righteous is if they are found to be in Christ, wearing His cloak of righteousness. These attributes in this passage describe the Lord Jesus – He was righteous, God heard His cries, God delivered Him from all His troubles (the resurrection), He was brokenhearted and crushed (for us). As the Father loves His Son and is near to Him, so He is to those who belong to Christ.”
      Then in your last paragraph-so true..Him transforming us is a slow process. I often feel..every day that even though there are no dramatic events that crush me in spirit-I can get down when I see the ugliness in my heart-not because I don’t think He can clean it but because it is there in the first place for I know it grieves Him. I just long for him to remove Baal from my lips..And then I hate all the pain that the fall has caused in our world, among one another in the church etc..it feels literally like a stinging sensation in my heart! Yet at the same time our Hope in the future-OH!

  3. 8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    Jesus was a righteous man, but while here He certainly had many troubles. Yet ultimately He was delivered from them all. I know that not one of His bones was broken (miraculous when thinking about the beatings He endured). I’ve heard that they often broke the legs of those being crucified to speed their death, but when they went to do this to Jesus, they didn’t because He was already dead.
    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?
    I don’t think this summary is saying that those who belong to the Lord won’t have troubles or will escape death. But He has redeemed us ultimately out of sin and death’s grip; He promises that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. Keller said in a sermon that Jesus faced the one storm that could truly drown us; He “went under” so that we never have to.

  4. 11. Piper’s sermon…So loved it..This stood out: 

    The evidence of being born again is faith in future grace. And the essence of this faith is that we embrace that promise of blessing as our treasure, and bank our hope on it, find our satisfaction in it.
    And the evidence that this is happening in your life is that your life becomes a foretaste of the promised future that you cherish. If you cherish the future of God’s promised grace above all things, then your life becomes a foretaste of future grace. You will not return evil for evil because the greatest hope of your life is that God will not return evil for evil to you. But you will bless those who insult you because the future blessing that you embrace as your treasure and bank on as your hope and find satisfaction in is precisely that kind of gracious blessing. The evidence that we are born of God and will inherit a future blessing is that our lives become a foretaste of the future we cherish.

    Well, this brought me to my knees thanking Him..For my sure hope is that He will never return my evil for evil-ever! How then can I desire to return evil for evil toward others? Yet I can bend that way. This is SO beautiful-so convicting reminding me how I need Him daily for it is so easy for me to desire to shoot back when being hurt, or to punish by backing away and usually only with those closest to me…Lord remind me daily- make my life a foretaste of Your future Grace all poured out on this evil heart you are washing clean.  Help me in regard to my relationship with my husband and with my boys..I want my life before them to be a foretaste and I so need you to continue to work that out in me..Clinging to you right now, in your name amen.

    1. Rebecca…I so need your prayer too…praying it for you and myself. ..
      Clinging to him too.

  5. 8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    The righteous man is Jesus…He experienced many troubles in His time on earth, from being misunderstood and misjudged to being brutalized and killed, yet the Lord delivered Him from them all (Acts 2:33a, “Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand.”).  In Jesus’ crucifixion, His bones were protected, “not one of them will be broken” (John 19:36, “These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, ‘Not one of his bones will be broken,'”).  “Evil will slay the wicked …” (to me) speaks of how Satan thought that he had won, that Jesus was dead, yet in God’s plan, God provided Satan with enough rope to hang himself…Jesus was the victor; He rose from the dead.
    9: How is Psalm 34 summarized in v. 22?
    When troubles assail me (which they will from my own and others’ doing), when I experience abundant joy, and everything in-between, Jesus is my refuge and my redeemer.  My hope and trust is in the Him.  The Lord invites me to “taste and see” His goodness, e.g., to trust and be obedient to the Lord for my best life possible, to find His love to be like no other love known to me, to find mercy and understanding greater than I can fathom).  V. 22 sums it up…Jesus redeems His servants who take refuge in Him…if I place my hope, faith, and trust in Jesus and no other (person, idol, etc.), Jesus is my refuge; He is my redeemer. (e.g., John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.”; 11:25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die”; 14:6, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”)
    11: Piper’s sermon…share your notes and thoughts.
    Five traits that believers should exhibit:
    1. harmonious…have a common mindset
    2. sympathetic
    3. brotherly…resilient structure (maintain relationships through thick and thin, no matter what)
    4. kind-heartedness…deeply tender; opposite of hypocrisy
    5. humbled in spirit…authentically lowly; utterly dependent upon God; cannot be arrogant
    No one exhibits these traits on their own; they are present in each of us, but only by means to trusting in the Lord with these “seeds” grow and thrive (via the Holy Spirit).  “Trust in the Lord” equates to believing always that the Lord is my “rock” in who I can always (always) trust in everything…it is living by faith in God.
    We have a calling on our life to be a blessing.  What appears conditional is conditional only in that if we are truly believers/followers of the Lord…only if we are truly “born again” can we exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.  How Piper explained this is similar to James 2…”17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. … 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? … 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.”  This text in James is often misconstrued for a works mentality, when it fact it is saying that one can say they have faith, but if there isn’t any evidence of that faith, do they really?
    Loved this sermon and will listen to it again.  I like to know/think that the Holy Spirit is working in me, that I am never on my own…so comforting and liberating.  The Holy Spirit will make the “seeds” of my being harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble flourish with my cooperating in trusting in the Lord always and in everything.  Such a cool, reassuring thought.  Thank You, Lord, that You are always with me, helping and guiding me, loving me with an unconditional, faithful love…I am incredibly blessed to be in Your family.

  6. 12. What is your take-a-way and why?    
    This week I choose  as my take-away the five aspects of Christian living that Piper mentioned in his sermon based on 1 Peter 3: 8-12.   I am telling myself to keep these in my foreground of my thoughts, because they reflect the type of person I want to be and the type of person I feel God calls me to be.   So I will be making efforts to live harmoniously, with sympathy, being brotherly, being kindhearted, and having a humble spirit.  Such a tall order!!   I want to do this as a gratitude-response for the grace I receive, knowing I cannot earn it, I inherit it.  

  7. I have missed being “here” this week but am gleaning so much from these rich comments! I did read the Psalm every day, it calmed my soul. And loved the Piper sermon. What Nancy said above really spoke to me “When troubles assail me (which they will from my own and others’ doing), when I experience abundant joy, and everything in-between, Jesus is my refuge and my redeemer.  My hope and trust is in the Him.  The Lord invites me to “taste and see” His goodness…Jesus redeems His servants who take refuge in Him…if I place my hope, faith, and trust in Jesus and no other (person, idol, etc.), Jesus is my refuge; He is my redeemer.”

  8. My take away for this week?
    That the Lord is my refuge – my protection, my asylum, my retreat, my sanctuary, my place of relief and safety.   He holds me strong (my stronghold).    
    Reading what C.H. Spurgeon says about Psalm 34:17  The righteous cry, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
    No net of trouble can so hold us that the Lord cannot free us.  Our afflictions may be numerous and complicated, but prayer can set us free from them all, for the Lord will show Himself strong on our behalf.”

  9. One of my take-aways is that I appreciate these studies, Dee’s careful preparation, and everyone’s participation — and miss all of you when I don’t get on here.  Praying the Psalms is changing me.  I was thinking about some of the questions when I was driving — comparing some of what we are learning here to stuff I heard on Christian radio.  I primarily listen to Christian radio in the car because it doesn’t always come in clearly in my house.  On a couple of programs, I heard about verses that are “conditional” — if we do x, then God will do y.   I started wondering about which verses might be promises vs what might be misinterpretations.  I’m curious now which ones really are conditional ????? (and even if they are conditional, if the promise applies to everyone).    I also listened to a “good behavior” program for children (it was entertaining!). 

  10. Renee…hope you get an answer to your question….I’m interested to know too.

  11. Just finished listening to Piper’s sermon…it was good and I need to listen again. The idea of my life being a foretaste of the promised future that I cherish is sticking with me. Piper said if what you cherish is money, or family, then everyone around you sees (tastes) that. Linking this with Psalm 34:8, to taste and see that the Lord is good. Got to think more on this…