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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?



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  1. 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.)
    Well, I can readily see what the ‘religious’ answer would be……so now I’m a bit hesitant to answer both parts of this question.    This much I know for sure.   “He is NEAR the broken hearted.  He saves those who are crushed in spirit.”   And that means those who have no merit of their own.  No self righteousness.  No pride.  But Humility.  Brokenness,  Contrition.  ‘a broken and contrite heart He will not despise’  (Ps. 51:17)  ‘a bruised reed, He will not break’  (Is. 42:3)     (and now I’ll sit back and glean insights from others 🙂 )

  2. 7. Read Psalm 34:15-19 and contrast whom the Lord is against and whom the Lord is near.
    The Lord is against those who do evil & near the righteous.  Because righteousness is from Jesus, the Lord is near those who are in Jesus (relief!).
    8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?   By becoming human, Jesus experienced severe pain and affliction. Jesus was delivered from his afflictions & his bones were not broken, even though crucifixion usually involved broken bones.
    For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” (John 19:36)

    1. Just thinking about “broken” — Jesus’ bones weren’t broken, but his heart was.  Because he became human, suffered, and died, he understands/has compassion on the brokenhearted.

      I’m also thinking about the difference between compassion and pity — and how some types of “help” aren’t helpful.  So good to know that Jesus understands what is soothing — that nearness is good.

      The end of vs 16 also is interesting in light of how bad memories due to suffering at the hands of evil impact families and ethnic groups for generations.  The Lord will “cut off the memory of [those who are evil] from the earth.”  I can’t comprehend that (sounds like sort of a selective dementia), yet it is amazing to consider how God does and will restore, without memory of those who are evil.

      1. Good insights, Renee…….all of them.

  3. Thinking about questions 7 & 8 stirred up some hymn lyrics in my heart.  I searched for a line and realized it was from “Rock of Ages.”  I know Jesus cares, that he is near to the brokenhearted.  Yet, even the brokenheartedness is not something I can “cook up.”  I know it hurts like crazy — and I also know that I can (and do) make myself miserable.  I’m having a hard time describing what I am thinking, but I am seeing a difference in that I don’t think that the misery that comes from “sulking” (or whatever) doesn’t grab God’s attention more than joyfulness does.  I guess I can see a potential danger in trying to make myself “brokenhearted.”  I used to believe that if I wasn’t really miserable (i.e., convicted) that God wasn’t working in my life.  The lyrics remind me that Jesus saves, not my tears.  Yes, I do bring my brokenheartedness to God, but that doesn’t “earn” his attention.

    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.
    Not the labor of my hands
    Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
    Could my zeal no respite know,
    Could my tears forever flow,
    All for sin could not atone;
    Thou must save, and Thou alone.
    Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to Thy cross I cling;
    Naked, come to Thee for dress;
    Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
    Foul, I to the fountain fly;
    Wash me, Savior, or I die.
    While I draw this fleeting breath,
    When my eyes shall close in death,
    When I rise to worlds unknown,
    And behold Thee on Thy throne,
    Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
    Let me hide myself in Thee.


    1. Such good lyrics.  So many times I sang this in church when I was young and barely had a clue how deep the meaning was.  The ‘double cure’…..love that.  The second verse sure reflects your comments.  Good stuff!

    2. Renee I just love to see how God is stirring up your heart and melting you with His beauty. 🙂 

  4. Renee,
    Thank you for posting the Rock of Ages lyrics.    
    For the past couple years I have been asking the Lord how to hide myself in Him as the opening lines to this beautiful hymn state.   Colossians 3:1-3  says, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.  For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”      Hiding myself so that Christ is seen.   My flesh can be quick to rise and very ugly.   He is doing His work in me and He is faithful to complete it.  He is teaching me the importance of setting my mind on things above.    But it can be discouraging when I give in to my self.   Oh, Lord have mercy on me once again.

  5. 6A. What is the first step leading to a “good life”?
    Drawing into the Lord and listening to Him.
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord?
    They will not speak evil or lies, they will turn from evil, do good, and promote peace.
    7. Psalm 34:15-19…contrast whom the Lord is against and whom the Lord is near.
    The Lord is near those who in their heart are just and righteous in character.  He is against those who are purposely deceitful and wicked.  Those who the Lord is near to will still suffer brokenness, grief, frustrations, sorrow, and failures, but the Lord “hears them” and is “close.”  He works in their hearts and minds to provide peace and comfort; He is their refuge.  For those who are wicked, the Lord will allow them (as Rebecca has said previously 🙂 ) enough rope to hang themselves; the evil they practice will come to bite them (“evil will slay the wicked”).

    1. Dee,  I’ve been at lake cabin with family and very sporadic smartphone/Internet access. Leaving for Norway in about a week and a half.

  6. Nila – I love what you shared about setting our minds on things above…..I too, have pondered that a lot over the past few years.  The challenge of looking above and yet living it out in the here and now…..in a nutshell, precisely how we are to live, right?  I love how Philippians 2:12&13  shows us that we are to “work out” what HE has “worked in us”!  
    7.  In trying to think about who the Lord is against and who the Lord is near:  again and again here in Psalm 34, God refers to “the righteous” and “the wicked” (or evil).   It’s very hard for me to even say this, but I think the whole of Scripture only shows two kinds of people:  the righteous and the wicked.  All of those who are not righteous…….then would be the wicked, evil and the ones God would be “against”.  Hmmm.  I think Romans 4 is very helpful to define “the righteous”….”Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”v.3.    I love the clarification that ends the chapter (more on what “belief” really is)….”fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.  That is why his faith was counted to him as righteousness.  But the words ‘it was counted to him’  were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also.  It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” v. 21-25.  
    In Romans chapter 5, Paul uses such terms as “ungodly”, “sinners” and even “enemies (of God)” to describe our lost condition without, or prior to, our faith in Christ.  It would seem that God would be “against” those who are (by His definition) His “enemies”….??   And yet….we were ALL His enemies once…..and He, in His mercy, came to us and stopped us in our tracks and poured out His grace upon us……giving us even the ability to believe, to follow Christ in faith.  To turn from our wicked ways…….
    sorry all…..I’ve wandered WAY past concise!  I’m extremely tired and fuzzy this morning!  Still…..sharing God’s Word together is GOOD!

    1. Jackie, thank you for reminding me of the passages in Romans. I went back and re-read both chapters and they are so fitting to our study this week. I especially liked the comparison of Adam and Christ in chapter 5. One man disobeyed (Adam) and death came to all. One man (Christ) obeyed and life came to all. Could we consider Adam the example of the “wicked” in the world and Christ the example of the “righteous” of the world? “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭19‬ NIV)
      Several passages I am having trouble with are these:
      “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (‭Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭6-8‬ NIV)
      It’s verse 7 that I am confused about. It says rarely someone would die for a “righteous” person……would that be the Pharisee righteous person or the Christ righteous one? I’m guessing in this context it is the Pharisee “moralistic” know it all person here.

      1. I probably wouldn’t try to understand v7 apart from that whole passage you quoted! I see vv7-8 as an elaboration of v6 “when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” to emphasise the point he’s making.
        And then Paul wants to emphasise how remarkable that really is. Perhaps it is conceivable that someone might give up their life for someone else, but surely they’d only die for someone who’d lived a life worth dying for. A righteous person, a good person. It doesn’t really matter who these people are. The point is that we don’t qualify to have someone die for us.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

        1. Thanks Kerryn! That helps 😉

  7. 6. Read Psalm 34:11-14
    A. What is the first step leading to a “good life?” (verse 11)
    Come and listen…
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)
    He he or she will turn away from evil; no lies or bad words. Good will come because he will seek peace.
    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.)
    The Lord is “for” those who are “righteous;” those who are good, upright, and honest. In this context he is speaking not of those who are morally concerned  and judgmental, but those who are trying to live a life that is close to God.
    The Lord is against those who are evil.
    8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    If you look at verses 19 and 20, it is clear that the psalmist is speaking of Jesus:
    “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭34‬:‭19-20‬ NIV)
    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?
    No one is “condemned” if they are “in Him.”

  8. 8.  The apostle John says in John 19:36  “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled:’Not one of his bones will be broken.’ ”  I don’t know that I would have seen this without the reference to John though!  It is so incredible how the Holy Spirit used John – and all of the N.T. authors – to weave together the whole of Scripture and not only show SPECIFIC prophesies about Christ fulfilled, but that ALL of the O.T. shows Christ and points to Christ!  As Jesus had clearly told his disciples…..that when the Spirit comes He “will bear witness of me”.  John 15:26.   

  9. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    Dee’s story of being afraid to be alone at night and hearing from God. Those times when you hear from God; His voice (not audible) speaking to your heart and you know without a doubt it is Him – you never forget about it. I am glad that God addressed Dee’s fear of being alone to prepare her for the times when He knew she would be alone later in life. “Answered prayer, if we can remember it, is an assurance to us of the reality of God and that changes us.” It is so good to take the time to remember when God answered prayer!
    Also love Linda Strom’s and Karla’s stories – they never fail to move me deeply. I love how God brought these two women together, and under difficult circumstances as Karla was on death row. Karla wanted to leave a legacy of the faith dorms and Linda followed through with those plans; I think it was God’s plan all along…
    2. Share a fear from which God has delivered you.
    I also used to be afraid to be alone at night. I had a very scary experience when I was in high school and my parents were out of town and I was at home alone. It was summer and my window was open. In the middle of the night I heard blood curdling screams from a man screaming for help. I ran to the window expecting to see all the neighbors’ lights coming on, but none did. I waited and listened for a long time at the window, wondering if I should call the police. I heard nothing more, so I finally returned to bed but I was very uneasy. The next morning my parents called and I told them what happened. They said it must’ve been the neighbor’s adult son who lived across the street having a nightmare. Apparently, he did this every once in a while and this had happened before. When I got married, my husband got called in to work one night and I imagined I heard all sorts of noises and was up all night, scared that someone was breaking in; I even called the police and they came and looked around but found nothing. As I got older, I found that listening to the Christian radio station during the night helped me to keep my focus on God and not on my fears, and the verse “I lie down in peace and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” It is true what Jesus said, that worrying does not add a single hour to your life!

  10. 9.  Wow…..v. 22 makes me think of the whole scope of Scripture (guess I’m just on that track today!)……”The Lord redeems the life of his servants”…….From Genesis 3 onward (and before even that, of course) we see that our God is a REDEEMER.  He buys back his servants – at the cost of the life of His Son.  
    Oh my Lord….what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?    How great thou art.  How small I am.  How grateful I am that you are my Redeemer , Jesus the Christ , the Son of the Living God.  Amen.  

  11. 3. Describe David’s mood in Psalm 34:1-4 and explain why you think he felt that way.
    David is very joyful and exuberant in these verses…“I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord…” I really like how in verse 2 David says, “…let the afflicted hear and rejoice.” And then he encourages with these words in verse 3, “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” He just can’t keep his joy to himself and I love how he tries to encourage those who are feeling low and afflicted as if to help them to have confidence in the Lord too. I like this because I know Scripture says that we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, but it can be hard when you are feeing discouraged and that your prayers are going unanswered and then the next person is all happy because it appears that God is answering their prayers and things are going well for them. I see David’s compassion for the afflicted because he’s been there and he doesn’t just tell them to “get with it and start praising” but he says “let’s do it together”.
    The introduction to this psalm says that David pretended to be insane before Abimelech so that he would drive him away, and he did, so David was delivered from being harmed by Abimelech. It is no wonder he is feeling so exuberant; he had asked for God’s help and God delivered him from his fears of the worst happening to him.

    1. I like how David  identifies with the afflicted also, Susan.  Thanks for bringing that out.

  12. 3. Describe David’s mood in Psalm 34:1-4 and explain why you think he felt that way.
    I too looked this up as Nanci did and read Henry’s commentary. I think as David was glorifying and praising the Lord before Abimelek he was fearful at the same time yet as He praised God and remembered God-the truth and that He is above all and that God has delivered Him in the past, God was a salve to his fear..Perhaps David’s mood seems to be more steadfastly wild and confident in Him than being phony trying to get out of being killed? 

  13. 4. Think about shame you have felt. How has God delivered you from it?
    I think when I praise and adore Him-seeing Him for who He is- that He full of majesty took on my shame on the cross-melts my shame away. That is the TRUTH. If I feel shame it isn’t from Him.  I can’t just think about the cross then intellectually agree..it has to be massaged down from my brain into my soul and like a well spring my affections poured out onto Him.  It is interesting to me how we have SO MANY psalms of David adoring God..over and over again he adores and remembers who God is and is thankful for what He has done..so it isn’t just a ‘one time’ remember the cross, you are saved now so move on to obeying scripture..it is as Keller says-to massage the Gospel in deeper-as thoughts arise to beat back the evil one with the truth-the Gospel. 

    1. I love that, Rebecca…….to adore His majesty and look on His cross repeatedly…..and not feel we can just ‘move on’ without first seeing Him in all his resurrected glory and honor.  

    2. I like your thought on “you are saved so move on to obeying scripture”.  How I want to live at the cross and live in the glory of what it means-that is the easy part.  But to experience the cross-truely the God experience-I must live the scripture to have him become alive in me and to live in what he did for me at the cross.  That is where my faith story comes from.  

  14. Oh Susan….wonderful gleaning from v. 2!  “It can be hard when you are feeling discouraged and that your prayers are going unanswered and then the next person is all happy because it appears that God is answering their prayers and things are going well for them.”……..you have been living my life!  :)!  Truly…..just this week already there have been 2 SIGNIFICANT blows in SPECIFIC areas that I had been bringing before the Lord…….”his ears hear their cry……Psalm 34:15……and yet……..it can seem like a mockery…..and yet……I LOVE that you bring out DAvid’s compassion for the hurting…..and that he says “let’s do it together”…….wow.  This particular morning you have been the one to encourage me to “trust when I cannot see….”.  THANK YOU SUSAN!!

    1. Jackie, I’m glad you’ve been encouraged but sorry about the 2 significant blows…I will pray now for you about this. I think in seeing how David handled his joy I see that even when we are “on top of the world”, we need to be sensitive to those who are hurting around us. The older I get, I am more aware that most everyone is hurting in some way and often silently.
      There was a sermon Dee had for us many weeks ago…I’ve got to go back and look but it was so helpful as it addressed the reality of pain.

    2. Jackie, the sermon I was thinking about was posted on the blog the week of March 9th…”Singing the Blues” and is by Peter Baker on Psalm 13. However, when I clicked on the link for the sermon on Dee’s website, the page is no longer there…not sure how to find it. I did go to Baker’s church website at http://www.highfieldschurch.org.uk and you can search for sermons there…perhaps it’s on that website.

  15. 4. Think about shame you have felt. How has God delivered you from it?
    Over the past couple years I have been experiencing a deep rejection and betrayal and it is like a cloak of shame.   I am believing God to completely remove this shame, but it has been debilitating at times.    Lamentations 3:21-23 reminds me:   This I call to mind, therefore I have hope.  The Lord’s lovingkindness never ceases, His mercies are new every morning.     So, I call to mind His faithfulness to me all along the way in my past and that infuses hope for the present and the future.      And I am asking the Lord to make me a person who doesn’t shame others.

    1.   And I am asking the Lord to make me a person who doesn’t shame others.

      So good, Nila.  I’m sorry you’re going through this, but clearly, the Lord is working and shining through you.

  16. 6. Read Psalm 34:11-14
    A. What is the first step leading to a “good life?” (verse 11)  To come and to listen.
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)    One of the fruit of the Spirit is self control.   The Spirit Himself will make it possible to keep my tongue from evil.   Someone explained to me a long time ago that my life is like a cup and it is full of something, whether it is good or bad.   So, when someone “bumps” my cup, something will spill out.   What spills out, indicates what is occupying my cup.   May I be occupied with You, Lord, so that what spills out doesn’t hurt those around me.

  17. 9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22? No matter our past, if we turn from our sins and run to Him, we get to be with Him forever and are saved! We should wake up every morning and be excited to have such good news!
    10. On the basis of what you have learned, pray this psalm. Lord I am beyond blessed. Each day I pray I show the world the work you have done in me. I want people to see you, and know You, know the truth. I give you my anxieties. When the creep up Lord, let me be reminded of your promises and that you are in control. Please keep the enemy away from me. Thank you for being my protector. Thank you for rescuing me. I am yours and you are my righteousness. Thank you! Amen

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

    The information at the beginning of Psalm 34 says that David wrote this psalm after pretending to be insane in order to escape from King Achish (1 Samuel 21:10-15).     So I would think David knew he had a narrow escape and was praising God for it.   After all, who gave him the creative idea to act insane?  I think he wrote this psalm as a praise-gift to God after he realized that “God had gotten him through it.”      A footnote indicates that this psalm is an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.   I think that is interesting and significant.  Why would he want to do that?   I would say to get the reader’s attention — he wanted to spread the word that God pays attention to those who call on him, whether he provides an escape or just helps in times of trouble.
    4. Think about shame you have felt. How has God delivered you from it?
    Usually it is a slow process — a journey, but rarely it can be a quick event.    I think being delivered from my shame comes to me in a variety of ways — all of them happening in close time reference.   When I am feeling shame and am remorseful before God, suddenly everything that is available to me is on “that subject.”    It may be what I read, what is in the pastor’s sermon, the lyrics of a song, something a friend says to me, etc.   Slowly the relief comes and breaks down my shame  — piece by piece.     

    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.

    Verse 6 presents a word picture of “a poor man calling.”   David wasn’t financially poor, but his circumstances at the time made him feel poor.   The picture I see is when a man “hits rock bottom” and then realizes that God is all he needs.     I think David came to that point, and he decided that “God is enough.”    

  19. 6. Read Psalm 34:11-14

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

    Listening to God and being open to His instruction. 

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

    That person will demonstrate it by their speech and by their actions.    The person will not lie, or be argumentative or contentious.  They will also try to obey God and will treat others well and try to promote peace.   “By their fruits shall you know them!”     Reverence of God entails a tad more than just sitting quietly in church — it requires changes at our core that will show we have “tasted the Lord.”   

  20. 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.)
    The Lord is against those who do evil.   He promises to be close to the brokenhearted.  Sometimes he chooses to deliver us from our problems, and sometimes he allows us to go through them, but he remains close to us while we are doing that.
    8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    The final phrases, “he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken,”   are prophetic of Christ on the cross.    None of his bones were broken, even though it was Roman custom for those crucified to have their legs broken.    

    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?

    Sorry,  I am going to be a bit of a rebel here.   I think verse 22 all by itself is a little sparse in summarizing the whole of Psalm 34.    I like what my Life Application Study Bible states:   
    God promises great blessing to his people, but many of these blessings require our active participation.   He will deliver us from fear (34:4), save us out of our troubles (34:6), guard and deliver us (34:7), show us goodness (34:8), supply our needs (34:9), listen when we talk to him (34:15) and redeem us (34:22), but we must do our part.   We can appropriate his blessings when we seek him (34:4, 10), cry out to him (34:6, 17), trust him (34:8), fear him (er:7,9), refrain from lying (34:13), turn from evil, do good and seek peace (34:14), are humble (34:18), and serve him 34:22)

  21. 8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?     Several have mentioned vs. 20 and that Christ’s bones were not broken when he died so that the scriptures would be fulfilled.   I’m now looking at vs 21…..”Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned.”   In the last part of that verse, I am thinking of how when Jesus died and rose again...he conquered ALL the foes of the righteous:  sin , death and the devil.  None of these can hold eternal sway over us when we are washed in the blood of the risen Christ and clothed in His righteousness.  Verse 22 goes on to clarify when it says…..’The Lord redeems his serants; no one will be condemned who takes refuge in Him”   “There is therefore now NO condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus”.  (Romans 12:1)
    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?    By declaring in confidence that there is NO condemnation for those who take their refuge in Him,  David is affirming that the shame we feel here, is temporary (vs. 5)  the accusers and abusers cannot touch us (vs. 15,16) in that eternal refuge the Lord provides. (vs.7)  There we are saved from all of our troubles (vs. 4, 17, 18,19) and encompassed by the Lord’s protection where we lack nothing!  (vs. 7, 9,10)   

  22. Susan – thank you for making me aware of the Peter Baker resource…..now I’m CURIOUS and have been unable to find it as well!  I only made a brief search….maybe will have more time tonight and can track it down!  It will surface eventually!  Bless you for praying for me and for making that connection.  

    1. Thank you Susan and Dee!

  23. thank you Dee!  I just submitted my prayer, per #10……it won’t go through and keeps telling me that I have triggered a security device…?  help?  

  24. great – the Peter Baker sermon link works!  many thanks to you both, Susan and Dee!

    1. Oh good…I’m so glad Dee found a link for you to listen and I’m going to listen again, too! That had to be one of my all-time favorite sermons and I had listened to it a few times before!

  25. 10.  ok i’m going to resubmit my prayer using NO quotation marks etc…..so it’s going to read a little rocky but here goes
    Oh Lord, first, foremost and always I want to bless You name as David says in the beginning of Psalm 34, at all times and continually.  I want to magnify your name in my life today and invite others to join me along the way.  You are over all, above all, and hold all of time and eternity in your hands.  You are Redeemer, Deliverer and Savior to all who are in Christ.  Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God should die for me?
    Thank you for the gift of song.  For those who poured out such worshipful beauty and invited us all to join in, as David did, in blessing your great name.
    Father, I did awaken today with fears on my mind.  Forgive me my faithlessness.  This poor woman cried and you heard me.  Help me to look continually to you today.  As I look, to bless your name and leave no room for shame!This day I long to taste and see that the Lord is good.  I long to find my refuge in you.  Help me to have eyes to see, like Elisha’s servant, the angel of the Lord encamped around me.   Oh how I need you today to keep my tongue from evil and my lips from speaking deceit.  Without you I have no idea how to seek peace and pursue it.  How I long for your shalom to descend upon my family, heart by heart.  
    Thank you for showing us Christ in this Psalm.  How on the cross not one of his bones was broken, that the scripture might be fulfilled.   As one of our sisters here pointed out, NOT the way the Romans typically ended a crucifixion.  Oh Lord, as Jesus poured out his life’s blood it was all of you.  You were the victor.  You ordained every little detail.  And so I ponder how Psalm 34 ends with you redeeming the life of your servants.  At such cost.  Amazing love, how can it be?  That thou my God should die for me.

  26. 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 contrast of the poor man and the Lion (v.6 & 10) quickened me. and then v.8 The Lord is good, blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
    Immediately I thought of idolatry-the poor man is in awe of God and takes refuge in Him and God satisfies his soul-He is good. The Lion is the opposite. He is operating in his own strength-never satisfied like the camel in heat..his bounty is never enough and when lean times come he starves whereas the poor doesn’t starve in lean times. He is satisfied in God both spiritually and materially because he takes refuge in God-the God he is in awe of. 
    SO I went to Henry’s commentary for further insight and this TOTALLY stood out: The poor man: as to this life, they shall have what is necessary to the support of it from the hand of God: as a Father, he will feed them with food convenient. What further comforts they desire they shall have, as far as Infinite Wisdom sees good, and what they want in one thing shall be made up in another. What God denies them he will give them grace to be content without and then they do not want it,Deut. 3:26. Paul had all and abounded, because he was content.
    For me-Honestly, I tend to err in asking God to provide-not because I don’t think he can or will but because I don’t want my heart to go in the direction of wanting him for his stuff rather than wanting him. Yet, this Psalm really blew me away and helped me understand His heart in this-He wants me to ask..but to be content with whatever He gives or holds back, and to continue to trust that He is good regardless because He is-and He satisfies my soul regardless. It may not be what I asked for-but He will provide what His wisdom deems is good. AND I am blown over again by how He protects me from spiritual warfare..I can hide in Him, he is safe and He is good! 

  27. Sisters-been busy this week and last week looking at vehicles..even driving to and from Salina Ks-making decisions prayerfully. So I am behind this week but plan to catch up which is hard for every question is SO good and I don’t want to miss His quickening. 

    Oh-and I read Wanda’s answer to #7 I believe-the religious answer one-and I can’t wait to get to it!

  28. 6. Read Psalm 34:11-14
    A. What is the first step leading to a “good life?” (verse 11)
    As Dee said, we have to know Him first-to be redeemed by Him-Him living inside us first changing us and us tasting His goodness.
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)
    Turn from evil and do good-to desire peace and pursue it.

  29. 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.)
    :))) Okay so this may be the wrong direction on this but here we go: We who are covered in His righteousness-who are His He is near to. Even when we fail for His Holy Spirit gently puts up red flags inside and we cry out to Him for mercy-and He makes beauty out of ashes in our life. The Holy Spirit even quickens us in His Word and gives us understanding. Those who aren’t covered in His righteousness-who want nothing to do with Him and his people-those are the wicked and are not His and therefore He isn’t near them. They don’t fear Him or cry out to Him and take refuge in Him rather like a Lion push on in their own strength and pride and sadly but rightly will end up destroyed. 
    I have a question:   I have family members and co-workers who either don’t want anything to do with Him-atheists and agnostics, or religious friends who rely on their goodness in order for him to be near to them. They think he is pleased by what they do and don’t do good-they believe in Him but it is Jesus plus good works=salvation.  Is it a stretch to contrast these friends with let’s say the terrorist group, ISIS, in Iraq..I would say my friends aren’t wicked like ISIS who cut off the heads of Christians and Jews. My old pastor used to say there are people who aren’t pure evil and there are people who just are. Can we divide that? Does God divide that? Was I wicked before I came to know Him? He wooed me from being a child but he wasn’t ‘near’ yet_He wasn’t living inside  me yet.  I believe we are all wicked until He covers us in His righteousness and comes to live inside us..I believe ISIS can be equaled to the Pharisees and the Pharisees can be equaled to me before I knew Him-it is ALL HIM covering me-covering us-nothing we have done. Am I going off the deep end with this question? :/ 

    1. I don’t know, Rebecca…..but aren’t all sins….sin?  And can we make distinctions?  I mean, I see Christians who point fingers at others as doing/being evil…..but disregard the gossip, the hatred, the lack of caring for those in need etc. that goes on in their own life.  I see this in myself.  If I grade on a scale……I think I’m pretty good.  If I just look at my own heart, I know without question that I am ‘desperately wicked’ as Jeremiah says.  I don’t think we can put people in groups as to who is most wicked……as much as that makes sense to our finite minds.  I do think we have to acknowledge that it is only God’s grace that covers us in righteousness.  So when God hears the cry of the righteous, it is the cry of the broken, contrite heart…..which is why I love the assurance of vs. 18….he is close when we are broken….when we are crushed.  Conversely, he is distant when we are proud and relying on ourselves.  The only thing that makes us righteous is His grace.  So….now I wonder if we can be righteous because we are saved by His grace….and still be distant from Him due to our own pride and rebellion.  Will his face be against us?  Well….it would seem not, when I think of Keller’s repetitive statement that He was truly abandoned by God, so that we are only apparently abandoned.

      1. Wanda,  I just re-read what I wrote and hmmm..I don’t think I articulated clearly what I was thinking..You did a great job at sifting through that! 🙂 Anyway, YOU NAILED IT. :)))) I totally agree that all sin is sin… God took my mess and worked through you to take us to the heart of the Gospel-He is good. 

      2. Wanda, I also think this is very good thinking through this on your part. This is kind of what we’ve been discussing in my Sunday school class, about judging. We talked about judging last week (judging is like putting a label on something or someone), declaring it to be unfit, for example. This Sunday we talk about being discerning. I can relate to looking at my own heart. I read a quote once and agree with it, that the evil in this world isn’t “out there”, it is also in my own heart. In Psalm 1 it talks about the blessed man/righteous man versus the wicked, which are like chaff blown away. They have no root. I’m thinking that the god-less person falls into that category of the wicked. They may not be out robbing and killing but they don’t have God and therefore are separated.

    2. All sin separates us from God and leads to death, so any sin at all is a serious matter.
      One way that some sins are greater than others is that they have greater consequences on other people. Sin that leads others into sin, for example (Matt 18:6). Perhaps causing people to reject God? Paul also seems to single out sexual immorality as particularly destructive (1 Cor 6:18)… is that perhaps because of the enslaving nature of sexual immorality?
      A couple of years ago, I was doing Bible study with an intellectually disabled fellow who had been badly beaten as a child due to his disability. At times he had been hospitalised, and then he was placed in an institution for his own protection. He lived most of his life going from one institution to another. He’d often say “He’s gone to hell for what he did to me”. As we read the Bible together, he came to understand that the gospel offered forgiveness, and he questioned whether this man could be forgiven. Last I saw him, he had rejected the gospel because he wanted to hang onto the words he’d been telling himself for so long, “He’s gone to hell for what he did to me”. He could not see justice in a gospel based on grace. He could never forgive. That’s so sad. What a horrendous thing to do to a child, and what consequences!
      But we can never forget that God’s power is greater than the power of sin. I pray that even now God will use the seed of the gospel planted in this fellow’s mind wherever he is, bring His Word back to his memory, and cause it to grow. Interestingly, his favourite song is Royal Telephone. He had seen Jimmy Little perform live… maybe God will use that favourite song. You can talk to Jesus on the Royal Telephone.

  30. One of you have shared sometime a “Valley of Vision” prayer. I found other prayers such as the one here  http://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional/a-ministers-bible/ and really was blessed by it. So I am praying this for ministers of the gospel as well as for me, for us as we study the Word of God.
    6. Read Psalm 34:11-14
    A. What is the first step leading to a “good life?” (verse 11)
    Come and listen.
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)
    Keep tongue from speaking evil; lips from speaking lies; turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. (An insight for me: As I type this, I say ouch! after each line. The Devil condemns and brings shame. Praise the Lord that He is full of mercy and grace and upon confession, wipes my slate clean. Yes, I see and taste the goodness of the Lord when these things are manifested in my life but I do taste and see also the goodness of the Lord as well when I blew it and He forgives me upon my confession )
    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.)
    He is near to: the righteous, brokenhearted, crushed in spirit
    He is against those who are: evil
    8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    v.20 He protects all of his bones, not one of them will be broken.
    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?
    Psalm 34’s theme is the redeeming love of our Savior. Whatever “bad” things happen to us, we can take refuge in God who does not condemn us but loves us and works out everything for His glory and our good.
    10. On the basis of what you have learned, pray this psalm.
    Lord, I praise you for giving me Psalm 34. A remembrance of how good you are and the promises of what that goodness is all about. I do not deserve it by any means but I will take it and appropriate it in my life. Your goodness here promises so much-answering my prayers when I call, your closeness when I am brokenhearted or crushed, my lacking of no good thing, your deliverance and protection. What more, O Lord? You who did not spare your own son but gave him up for us, how will you not also along with him, graciously /freely give us all things? Romans 8:32 All glory to you, O Lord!

  31. Rebecca,
    Your answer to #5 should be in a study guide somewhere!  Seriously, every word “quickened” my heart.  I’ll be re-reading that a few times yet…..wonderful, thank you.  
    I mentioned in one of my answers…..as for those who are the “evil”….I just don’t see in Scripture any distinction between degrees of evil…..at least what I see is “the righteous” (redeemed) and “the unrighteous” (the unredeemed).  I just don’t see shades of gray anywhere at all…….Jesus spoke of the sheep and the goats.   One or the other….sheep or goats.  I can’t even bear to think long on this…..as MOST of my family are yet to be redeemed.  This is very hard.  His ways are not our ways.  He just calls us to TRUST HIM.  

    1. Jackie r-Amen sister..so good-yes his ways are not our ways he just desires we trust Him. 

  32. Hello 🙂 How is everyone doing? I was wondering if I can join back in 🙂 

    1. Hi Meg! It’s been a long time since you’ve been back on here! How have you been? You are certainly welcome to join back in!

      1. Hello Susan!
         I am doing pretty well! I have missed this study..  I am ready to come back!  

    2. Welcome back Meg…its been a long time…hope your doing well!

  33. There is something in this psalm that stands out to me so much that it absolutely sings. It is the fear of The Lord. I think it is what keeps us from doing what is evil. When I chose to go my own way at 18, turning from The Lord, I chose the evil. I did it because I did not fear Him. I learned some very hard lessons and later in life I found that I could not choose the evil because I had a healthy fear of Him and of anything that would separate me from Him.  That is how we turn from evil and do what is good, and oh how He lavishes us with His gifts. But best of all, He is near us.
    It is defininely my take away this week.  Fear of The Lord. Pray for it. Radiate it.
    Oh Lord! Your promise in verse 11 is precious to me. Teach me to fear You. Teach my children to fear You. Teach others through me. Holy Spirit help us to know You.

    1. Anne, I agree with what you say about fearing God in a healthy way and also not wanting to be separated from Him. Before I was a Christian, my husband and I (before we were married) went to pre-marital counseling which was required by the denomination that he belonged to. I answered one question, “How do you think God sees you?” with something like “I know I’ve made mistakes but I think God understands…” I didn’t even comprehend that my sinful actions were against a holy God and that I was really His enemy.

      1. Susan, it is painful to me when I remember that stuff but it also puts me in awe of His patience and gentle molding. I wonder if that is why prayers that involve the hearts of others seem to take so long to be answered.

  34. Takeaway.….(sort of…..but not really!)   I have to sign off early this week.  Tomorrow morning, I’m heading up to my home town (6 hour drive) to participate in a benefit evening for a classmate….friend from long ago, who is struggling greatly with advanced esophageal cancer.  It will be an overwhelming show of support for someone who has mounting medical bills and has not asked for help from anyone.  I am hoping he will feel well enough to attend some of the evening.  I’ll also be spending half a day with my mentally disabled friend with whom I’ve been re-connected this year.  And then there’s family stuff besides.  Gonna be a very full weekend and I know I won’t have computer time or access.  Feeling sort of disconnected here and not sure I have a takeaway except that I hope to study this psalm a bit more on my own and I will be looking forward to next week (though I will have to begin that one late).  Blessings to you all.

    1. Wanda, Have a wonderful time in your home town with your friends and family-so sad to here of your friend with cancer-glad you are going to be there to support him. 

    2. Wanda, I hope and pray for a safe drive back to your home town, and for the success of the benefit evening for your old friend; it is wonderful of you and all the other people to reach out to help with the cost of medical bills. I do hope he can come for a while. And, for a sweet time with your friend you’ve been re-connecting with!

    3. wanda, so sorry to hear of this I will pray for you.. and pray that you will get to study Psalm 34 this weekend as well.  Blesssings to you! 

    4. Wanda…praying for you while you are gone and visiting these special people who will love having you near them.

  35. Meg – good morning and a warm welcome to you!  I look forward to you sharing and joining in this study!

    1. Thank you Jackie for the warm welcome.. I have been here before! so I am a returnee! looking forward to getting to know you! 

  36. 4. Think about shame you have felt. How has God delivered you from it?
    For me, this is both past and present…I have felt shame and there are times that I still do feel shame. Shame over something I’ve done recently. Shame that I wasn’t more patient and understanding with someone. Feelings of shame when I start to go down the road of dwelling on my past. My son’s girlfriend, at age 20, is lovely in so many ways. She is very un-selfish in the way she treats my son. I remember how self-centered and selfish I was at her age, and I feel ashamed. What I marvel at in Karla’s testimony above is how she felt the full weight of her sin, what she had done, but was fully able to embrace and accept God’s forgiveness and to forgive herself. I have a tendency toward self-hatred and to find it hard to forgive myself of certain things I have done or failed to do. I see how shame is used by people and I have been guilty of shaming my children at times. From a (secular) human perspective, when a person does wrong, you heap shame upon them and find it unbelievable that they could ever be forgiven. My nephew’s dad (my brother-in-law) was an alcoholic and abused drugs. He messed up his life pretty badly and hurt people around him. His marriage to my sister ended in divorce. He died several years ago, and most people in my family refuse to believe that he could be forgiven of things he’d done or be in heaven. But I saw him get baptized at church and heard his testimony just before he died and talked to the pastor who baptized him. I believe he was saved. But shame, or being declared guilty and unforgivable is sometimes a label that is put on you and it sticks. People will make it stick, and sometimes I make it stick. That’s the “human” way of thinking. It can be hard for me to understand that God’s way is different. I know it is intellectually; that He forgives and removes shame, but it’s hard to get it down to my heart and experience that feeling of freedom from shame. One mental image that helps me is to think that if I was in a kind of theater where the movie was about me: everything I’ve ever done and even thought, for all to see, that even my loved ones would probably walk out the door. But Jesus would stay and even draw near. He would offer to make me clean of every stain of sin. In Max Lucado’s book, “He Still Moves Stones”, he says to go back to that shame and take Jesus with you. Tell Him all about it. I think that is what is the best thing to do with feelings of shame. Take them to Jesus because He won’t turn away.

    1. Susan, I wish there was a like button 🙂 

    2. Susan, I love that what Max Lucado said about shame.  Ive done that…went to Jesus with the shame and quilt and prayed and cried  it out with him.

  37. 8. How do you see Christ in Psalm 34:19-21?
    I see Jesus on the cross 19 and 21. I see the resurrection and perhaps-this may be a jump though-the future tribulation and then when Jesus comes back to make a new heaven and new earth in v. 21 and 22. 
    9. How is Psalm 34 summarized in verse 22?
    Jesus will never condemn those who are his because He took on our condemnation.
    10. On the basis of what you have learned, pray this psalm.
    Lord Jesus thank you that you were condemned so that I would never be-that you were forsaken by God so I would never be-that you lost your radiance so that I would be. You still amaze me-the fury of your love for me that you would let go of your glory-that you would be willing to be torn in half for me..to save me from being separated from God forever -and sweeter still that you desire to transform me from the inside out to make me beautiful like you. Words can’t express how undeserved I feel right now because I am broken and wretched-I faulted to worry so easily these past two weeks, I can get cranky, run to food and people for comfort-even good things have become idols- yet your furious love on the cross-..thank you that I can stand here in my brokenness, naked before you not condemned by you-but known yet loved so deeply that you are taking my brokenness and using it to shape me into your image-beautiful- how can I chase after anyone or anything but you? I hate this wretchedness in me yet I am so grateful that in your presence I am undone, I am a mess-I can still be blind to the wickedness in my soul that needs you to weed it out. there are layers inside and one of them currently is my lack of willingness to trust you when my priorities are changed during the day for others needs that come up. Forgive me and help me-mess with my heart and make me more like you. In your holy name I pray, amen.

  38. 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 first thing that stands out is that David, the king of Israel, calls himself, “this poor man”. I see his humility of spirit here and total dependence upon the Lord. Then, verse 8 says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good”. It just gives me a picture of getting “up close and personal”. Like when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He went to Thomas and told him to see and touch; put his fingers in the wounds. It is to experience Him with our senses and it encourages me to stop and linger…long enough to taste and see. How often I treat my time with God like a “fast food meal”, anxious to get to the things I have to do for the day or my mind wanders. This is an invitation to stop and savor. Like in Ann Voskamp’s video clip, about life not being an emergency.

    1. Susan where can I view Ann voscamps video? 

      1. Meg, you can go back to last week’s post. Dee has a brief video clip from Ann and also posted about a 20 minute video that has Ann reading the first chapter of her book, One Thousand Gifts.

  39. I have a question, As of right now I am not gettting comments via email and may this is a good thing because i tend to get overwhelmed when i get them and feel like i have to read each and every comment.  Can i get a few suggestions as to what some people do?  Also since it is so late in the week I am just going to share a fear the Lord has delivered me from and listen to the sermon and share my thoughts and do my takeway and start fresh next week.  Thank you for anyone who is willing to share 🙂 

    1. Meg, I’ve never signed up to have comments sent to me via email. I just come on here (on my computer) and begin the study and scroll through comments and read them. As I go through the week, I know where I “left off” and I can find my place in reading through the comments. Or, if I replied to someone and want to see if they said anything further, I just scroll back to that comment. The gravatars make it easy to find who I’m looking for!

      1. Greetings, Meg.  I have tried reading comments via email and have also done similarly to Susan.  I find it is better for me to read through comments on the blog rather than getting them via email so I can see the full context of comments related to response comments.  Additionally, my email account doesn’t get overloaded with comment emails…my yahoo account added an email for each comment…yikes!  If you do decide to try the email, I would highly suggest using a gmail account rather than yahoo; the gmail seems to compile the comments somewhat…not sure if it has to do with when I read the email or by the day???  Anyway, significantly less email comments on gmail. 

        1. Thanks Nanci! 

      2. Thanks Susan, I also like how the website is now doing pages? before i dont think it did and all the comments were all on one page and I felt like I was scrolling forever now I know (somewhat) when i commented so i know what page to go on and look for a reply or even where I left off! Good Job Dee’s Online Goo Roo! 

  40. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? What stands out to me is the verse Psalm 34;5 numbers 1 and 2 kinda go hand in hand for me I should have been praying for the Lord to deliver me from my fear but i wasnt but one night last week we were having a thunderstorm and I was laying in bed and I said to myself I am not scared I am at peace! Thank you Jesus! 
    2. Share a fear from which God has delivered you. Thunderstorms :)))) 

  41. Susan,
    Thank you for your words on shame.    I understand and share your struggle.  
    Also, agree with your previous post about evil.  It isn’t just “out there”,  it is in our own hearts, making us desperate daily for His work in us.   Just yesterday I was listening to Ravi Zacharius and he quoted G.K. Chesterton.    Chesterton was/is a respected theologian.    The Times newspaper, which had asked a number of authors to write on the topic: “What’s wrong with the world?”.  Chesterton’s answer at the time was the shortest of those submitted – he simply wrote:  “Dear Sirs, I am.  Sincerely, G.K. Chesterton.

    1. That’s a great quote!

  42. Laura – I didn’t mean to get you far afield with the Romans reference!  I agree…..5:7 can be a bit of a puzzle.  I did do a slight bit of digging and really didn’t find anything much!  I’ll just throw out there one possibility that fits with the context:  1. this “righteous” or “good” person is like a fantasy – obviously NO ONE is righteous, in the truest sense that only Christ is and can provide FOR US. BUT Christ died for us just the way we are – in Adam and helpless! OR….maybe 2. just referring to the people we sometimes come across who are not Christians. but who just are what we would call “give you the shirt off their back” type people.  People who are driven to care for others.  Or a well known somebody…..think Ghandi (?).  You are so right that this verse is a bit confusing…..except that clearly the righteous person is NOT one who is righteous in the sense that Christ is the only righteous human to ever live – and before His righteousness is imputed to us we are, in fact, unrighteous and helpless!   

  43. Meg,
    Welcome.  I am new here (only 4 weeks).    So grateful for this study.   I too may not be here every week, but have been so blessed and encouraged in the heartfelt, honest fellowship around this table.  🙂

    1. Amen.  I also am new, and will be unable to participate much next week.  Welcome to an amazing study.

    2. Thanks Nila! 

  44. Meg – Ann’s video is from last week’s study here on the blog…..so if you just go back one week and scroll back you will find it!  There are two Ann videos – the one Susan referenced is the “short” one.

  45. Meg – that would be June 29th, Eucharisteo…..the video clip is entitled “Figuring Life Out”.

  46. I believe there is a warning in this Psalm for us:  “am I a servant of Christ?” is the key question I should be asking with everything I do.  Am I acting they way Christ wants, speaking the words He desires me to speak?  Or, am I seeking my own glory and recognition?  If I approach everything I do with vulnerability and openness to my own inability to accomplish the task on my own, then I am more likely to rely on Christ and the Holy Spirit to accomplish the work of Christ.  This attitude should also be prevalent when I hit trouble, confusion, and hard times.  I have to admit that my brain can logically figure this out, but my feelings are very often slow to grasp this, however, this is where our faith must be exercised.  I must reject my feelings and go with my will to continue in the servant attitude.  Then I can claim the promise that my life will be redeemed according to God’s plan.  I choose to rest in His arms in spite of the whirling troubles that surround me.  Lord, give me the grace to continue leaning on you, trusting you, and being obedient to you as I wait for you to heal my left eye by whatever means you choose.  Amen.

  47. 10. On the basis of what you have learned, pray this psalm.
    Thank you, Dear God, for being my refuge in times of trouble.   I cry out to you and you are there with me, and you get me through it all every time.  Thank you for maintaining me in relationship with you.   Please help me to live in a way that pleases you.  Help me to do good, to promote peace,  to feel  true humility, and to serve you in joy.   Amen.    
    11. Then listen or read Piper’s sermon and share your notes and thoughts:  
    I had some mechanical difficulties in that I wanted to print off the text for Piper’s sermon, but the format fragmented and my print results were worthless.    I hadn’t taken notes, because I thought the basic outline of his sermon was in the printed text.  His spoken sermon was much better than what was printed, I felt.  So I wished afterward that I had taken notes.  
    Piper’s sermon was based on I Peter 3 8-12.   He was also trying to create interest in some small groups being formed in his church.   Basically he was hopeful that the small groups would promote an atmosphere in which the members would encourage one another in five aspects of Christian living.   He states that of all the hundreds of things Peter might have said to us about our relationships in life together as Christians,  he calls us to be a kind of people, not just to do a list of things.  We are to be: 
    (1) harmonious
    (2) sympathetic
    (3) brotherly
     (4) kindhearted
     (5) humble in spirit
    Piper says we are called to bless others (even those who insult us), and in turn, we are promised a blessing.   However, he is careful to distinguish that the blessing we receive is not tied to meritorious works, but free grace.     Our blessing will be “inherited” not earned.   And the evidence that this is happening in our lives is that our life becomes a foretaste of the promised future we cherish.   If we cherish the future of God’s promised grace above all things, then our lives become a foretaste of future grace.   That being the case, we will be unable to return evil for evil, but will instead return good for evil.  This does not come naturally.    In order to live this way, we have to be born again.   
    I think it is marvelous that there is so much correlation between Psalm 34 and I Peter 3:8-12.    I certainly had not been aware of this before now.  

    1. Deanna, thank you for your summary. I, too thought I will read the sermon later but definitely preferred listening to John Piper. The grace of God is becoming more and more real, sweet and precious to me as I live out the Christian life. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!”

  48. 6. Read Psalm 34:11-14
    A. What is the first step leading to a “good life”? (verse 11)
    “Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” The first thing I see is a humble heart; young children have that. Coming to know the Lord as an adult, I know He had to be at work drawing me, because as adults, we think we “know it all”. I see a willingness to be as a child and listen to instruction.  This verse parallels Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” The second thing I see then is a beginning of understanding who God is and beginning to have a fear (reverence, awe, respect) of Him. If we don’t have this, we won’t have any regard for what He has to say.
    B. What manifestations will be in the life of someone who has truly tasted the goodness of the Lord? (verses 13-14)
    I am equating the phrase “tasting the goodness of the Lord” with seeing or experiencing the reality of God in my life. Maybe this is also what some call practicing the presence of God? Sometimes, God can feel like He’s so far away. I remember when Dee posted a picture of a small, intimate table set for two. If I was able to sit at that table with the Lord Jesus, I would hope that I wouldn’t speak lies or have an evil tongue. I’m thinking that an evil tongue is one that swears, gossips, and generally hurts people with words. Good example of this is recently, my daughter had a conversation with a relative. Later, she told me much of what was said by this person. A lot of it was saying not very nice things about different people, including family members. So I asked my daughter how it made her feel after having that conversation compared to the last time we saw our neighbor, Mrs. Miller, who is a Christian and a very lovely, mature in her faith woman and we chatted with her. I asked her to think about the differences in the two conversations…which one was up-lifting and made you feel good? I think she got the point.
    I often need to remind myself of the reality of having the Holy Spirit, my Helper, my Advocate, living on the inside of me. He is here to help me with my speech and to turn from doing what is wrong and to do what is good and right; to be a peacemaker instead of one who causes dissension. When I am not tasting the goodness of God and He becomes somewhat un-real and far away, I can find myself complaining, gossiping, letting out a swear word (even if it’s in the car all by myself). I can be argumentative, defensive, and proud.