In Your Presence is Fullness Of Joy (Psalm 16 – Part I.)

Our hearts are going to break —

we can count on it.

 But the surprise is that suffering can actually produce joy.

I want you to meet Stephanie, a new young friend and neighbor!

She is the youthful Mary to my aging Elizabeth and

comes to my door brimming with joy, magnifying the Lord.

She tells me: 

“I used to get antsy after five minutes of prayer, Dee,

but now I don’t want to stop, for I am sensing His presence so!

I don’t want this sweet season to end!”

How did this twenty-something woman stumble

upon the secret that eludes many believers for decades,

even their whole lives?

Through suffering.

Here is Stephanie this summer.

 

Before Stephanie moved to our green thumb that juts into Lake Michigan,

She was a missionary in a 

dry and dusty part of Africa.


She was there loving Muslim women and children.

Here is Stephanie dressed like her neighbors in Africa,

looking to me like she can’t move! :-)

 

I want to tell you Stephanie’s story, for it is such an illustration of what Psalm 16 teaches — that our suffering can actually

produce joy.

Stephanie felt called to Africa right out of college — she just had one hesitation. One day she hoped to be married and have children, but where she was going was a very unlikely place to find a godly young man. But she decided she needed to trust God with that, and so she went.

To her great surprise and delight, it was in Africa that she met the man of her dreams, another missionary who came from Australia. They developed a friendship that was wonderful, and as Stephanie said, “We were so good together!” Each separately began to seek the Lord and godly counsel to see if they should take their relationship to the next step. Receiving only green lights they moved ahead. It was such an exciting time. Eventually Stephanie went to Australia to meet his family and he went to America to meet hers. How thankful Stephanie was for this love, and for answers to her prayers!

And then, he began to have doubts, uncertainties about issues in his life, and opened up to Stephanie about them. They discussed them together, and though he was kind and so sad to be bringing her this pain, Stephanie realized his conflict was deep, and she needed to release him. He went home to Australia. Stephanie was left with shattered dreams and sobbed on her mother’s couch.

Not wanting to return to the mission field, Stephanie decided to leave her mother’s home in Green Bay and work for the tourist season at a resort in my corner of the world: Door County, Wisconsin. She hoped to rest, heal, and get some answers from God. She lamented:

How could You let this happen, God?

We tried so hard to hear from You – to do it right.

Your Word says not to awaken love before the time is right – and I did that!

I know You aren’t a God who plays tricks, but I feel like you led me on.

 

Stephanie was being honest with God. And that’s when the dialogue began to open – she heard neither a voice from heaven nor saw a vision, but He came to her in ordinary ways.

One day Stephanie came across Sara Hagerty’s book, Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. She thought, Could something sweet really come out of my pain?

 

 

She read Sara’s own story of heartbreak, of one miscarriage after another, when Sara felt so strongly she was called to motherhood. God began to bring healing to Sara, as Sara lamented and pressed into God for help. And God met Sara, speaking to her gently through His Word, His Spirit, and His family. She surrendered her dream to Him, and He gave her a different dream. She and her husband began to adopt one international orphan after another, each one an exciting “God” story of its own. And then, when their home was brimming with beautiful children, Sara found out she was pregnant again – and this baby she carried to term.

But the greatest change in Sara was not in her circumstances, but in her sense of the presence of the Lord and in discovering that in His presence is fullness of joy.

Stephanie followed Sara’s model in endeavoring to release her dream as best as she could, and in not backing away from God but pressing in.

She found herself drawn to The Song of Songs, that mysterious book of earthly love that points, as all the Old Testament books do, to Christ. He is the Bridegroom hidden in the earthly bridegroom who rejoices over His bride. Stephanie was particularly captivated by the 2nd chapter where the bridegroom proposes to the bride, saying:

           Then another confirmation came from a friend who suggested she read the 2nd chapter of The Song of Songs. So more and more, Stephanie began to come away with Jesus, allowing Him to meet her.

One day Stephanie showed Every Bitter Thing is Sweet to Whitney, a friend at church. Whitney turned the book over and saw an endorsement from me. She told Stephanie that I lived in Door County and that I had a new book out on The Song of Songs called He Calls You Beautiful. Another confirmation from God that she needed to understand the message of the Song of Songs.

One Sunday I happened to visit Stephanie’s church and sat right behind her. When we were introduced she gave me the widest grin and her eyes filled with tears, for it was yet another confirmation of God’s mindfulness of her. She was already studying my book with Whitney, but when I invited them both to my study of the same, they eagerly accepted.

Through the truths in the Song, God showed Stephanie His deep love for her, and more and more, she sensed Him rejoicing over her, as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. One day in study Stephanie shared, “When you give your heart to a man,” cupping her hands together as if holding her fragile heart, “it’s a real risk, for he may take it and break it. But when you give your heart to the Lord, you can trust Him completely, for He is altogether good and will only do what is best for you, even if it may not at first make sense. He has come to me in a way I did not even imagine was possible. He is filling my life with the joy of His presence.” Stephanie’s face is the face of one who’s heart and mind are fixed on Him.

 

We’re going to be looking at Psalm 16 for the next two weeks, for it is so packed with treasures. Let’s go!

Sunday:

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

2. This life is hard and full of trouble — was there a time when the presence of Jesus, either alone or with other believers, filled you with joy this week?

Monday: The Stonecutter

Psalm 16 deals with idols of the heart, those “stones” that keep us from experiencing God. We’re going to begin, therefore, by looking at Ezekiel and a metaphor God uses to show us how to respond so that we might experience growth and fullness of joy. There are two steps needed for spiritual growth. Something must be recognized and removed and something must, by faith, replace what has been removed.

 

3. Read Ezekiel 36:25-27

A. What makes us unclean, or to put it another way, what is “the sin beneath our sin” according to verse 25? (Use a translation rather than a paraphrase like The Message.)

 

B. “The sprinkling of clean water” is a metaphor for the cleansing of God when we repent of our idols. To recognize and repent from an idol, ask yourself, where is an area where I tend to yield to temptation? What need am I trying to fulfill for myself that God could fill?

C. Jesus quotes Ezekiel when speaking to Nicodemus in John 3:5. I often wondered what the water was, but now I understand. What do you think it represents?

 

D. The second part of the process of growth is described in verses 26-27. Idols cannot be removed but only replaced. With what do we need to allow God to replace them according to this passage?

Tuesday: Applying Ezekiel

4. Application of Ezekiel 36:25-27

A. Let’s say that a man has a habit of blowing up when things don’t go as he wishes: he’ll throw his golf club after missing a putt or curse the old man who is driving too slowly. Describe how he could cooperate with this two-step process of growth. From what “heart idol” does he need to repent, and how does he need to trust God?

 

 B. Now go through this two-step process with the sin you mentioned in 2:B.

 

Wednesday: The Sorrows of Those Who Run After Another God

 The truth is, we love our heart idols, and we are afraid to let them go. So the Psalmist helps us to see the truth so that we might be strengthened to truly repent and trust.

5. Read Psalm 16:1-5

A. Of what does David remind himself in verses 2-3? How does this inspire confidence in God?

 

B. What happens, according to verse 4a, to those who run after another god?

 

C. Share a personal example of your running after “another god,” or rebelling against God’s way and experiencing “multiplied sorrows.” (It doesn’t have be choosing something bad, but making something good like food, friendship, ministry or position your security or identity.)

 

 

D. What happens, according to verses 5-6, to the person who makes the Lord his chosen portion and cup?

 

E. The tribe of Levi, or the priests of Israel, were given no land like the others, to remind them that the Lord was their inheritance. How could this help you as you ponder financial losses or decisions? 

 

 

 

Thursday: How Sorrow Can Produce Joy in a Believer’s Heart

6. Read Psalm 16:7-11

A. What does God give David, according to verse 7?

 

 

B. In order to experience the two part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols?

 

 

C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to v. 8?

 

D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?

 

E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9?

 

F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?

 

G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11?

7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?

Friday: Optional Free Keller Sermon

9. This sermon is actually on last week’s psalm, Psalm 126, but fits perfectly with the first part of Psalm 16 as well. It is a favorite of mine so many of you have listened before. But it is so worth a repeat. Listen and share your comments.

 

 

Saturday:

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

 

COMMENTS (173) Post a New Comment ↓
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Dawn, your testimony about your son touches my heart and encourages me to continue to pray for my own daughter, Ruth. She too gave her heart to Christ when she was younger and now she is not walking with Him at 26. May the Lord grant the desires of our hearts to see our prodigals come back to Him while we are still here on earth. Hugs, sister!

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Interesting find:
I was curious to see what miktam means so I looked it up. Although most sources said the meaning of the word is uncertain here is one that I find heartwarming. All Scripture is inspired and “golden” but these miktams (used only 6 times in the Psalm) are very few so they must be the “golden” of all goldens. I love the implication to me of the importance of Scripture Memory- ” precious as stamped gold”.
 
Some translate the word “golden”, i.e., precious. It is rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning “tablet inscription” or a “stelograph.” The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation; or, as others render, “a psalm precious as stamped gold,” from the word kethem , “fine or stamped gold.” From bible study tools

    Reply

    Thanks Bing!  :)

    Reply

    Good research, Bing!

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6. Read Psalm 16:7-11

 

A. What does God give David, according to verse 7?

 

God gives David His counsel – His wisdom and instruction.

 

B. In order to experience the two-part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols?

 

A big way God has given me counsel regarding heart idols is through the teaching and wisdom of godly believers. I have always remembered a message I listened to by Luci Swindoll, who, when she was so disillusioned about her job and life, said that God said to her, “I am a God of reality; I will meet you in your reality.” That has stuck with me and applies to my form of idolatry. Also, Dee’s teaching which began several years ago about idolatry, and Tim Keller’s sermon in which he said that if you’re awake (to even know you’re in a battle) that’s a good sign. He also counsels me through His Word. And, there was ONE TIME that He spoke directly to me in my heart, asking me, “What were you so happy about?” It was then and there that my eyes were opened to what I was doing.

 

C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to verse 8?

 

This person will not be shaken. Setting the Lord always before me means that I must remember to stand on The Rock and all other ground is sinking sand. Jesus said the same thing about building the two houses; the one built on sand was destroyed. Trying to stand on my idols will result in my whole life falling apart. Building my life upon Him means that when bad things happen, I still have a firm foundation and footing.

 

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalm 46:1-3

 

D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?

 

Going back almost 17 years ago to that night when I was alone with a newborn baby and feeling so miserable – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, and asking God why can’t I just be happy like I was a year ago, and He responding, what were you so happy about? My happiness and identity was all wrapped up in an idol, and that idol was not able to help me that night, right where I was. I had no peace, I was so depressed, and physically unwell. God was there for me. The truth is, He is always there for me, in good times and in bad. There have been other “shakings” – having both my sons move hundreds of miles away from home, losing my mom. Now I see how sad it makes Him when I try to make myself happy through idols.

 

E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9?

 

David says his heart is glad and he is expressing it verbally, too.

 

F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?

 

David writes, “You will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” The first part of this verse I could see that perhaps David is expressing his hope in eternal life, that the grave is not the end of his existence, but in the second half of the verse he says your “Holy One”, and that would not be David, but the coming Messiah, Jesus.

 

G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11?

 

The Lord will “make known to me the path of life” – I think this means living life well, following Jesus (“I AM the Way”)

The Lord will “fill me with joy in Your presence” – getting to experience His presence and the joy it gives

And, having the hope of an eternity spent with God.

 

    Reply

    Susan — I think the way you are so specific with your illustrations is such a treasure for us all.

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6. Read Psalm 16:7-11
A. What does God give David, according to verse 7?
Counsel and instruction-love this combination! Counsel can be the general idea or long view. Instructions, especially when specific, is the shorter view. One step at a time, I tell my students.
 
 
B. In order to experience the two part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols?
Through using His Word:
Control   Proverbs 3:5-6; John 15:5
Relationships  Song of Songs!!! Only Jesus can fill all my needs
Comfort  Jeremiah 2:13 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
 
C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to v. 8?
I will not be shaken!
D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?
The deaths of some of my loved ones-my maternal grandfather, my Dad, my in-laws and then my sister, Grace shook my world more than any other deaths in the family. Through tears and overwhelming grief, I sought the Lord and He gave me peace and the assurance that I will see these loved ones again in Heaven.
E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9?
 Heart, tongue, body-the very essence of each person
F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?
This verse is referring to Jesus because of His resurrection (from the realm of the  dead and decay) whereas David died an earthly death.
G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11?
Knowledge of the path of life  (sometimes it will be suffering)
Joy in His presence (now and forever)
Eternal pleasures at His right hand (can be experienced in the here and now as no one can take these away)
7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?
 
God is still with us and we can find Him enough in the deepest sorrow or suffering we can ever have. Jesus was abandoned at the cross so we will never be abandon or alone in all of our earthly sufferings. Following God does not exclude us from the consequences of a sinful world but He promised to be with us always. (Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever)

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6.A.  God gives counsel and instruction, even in unexpected settings.

B.  How has the Lord given me counsel about food? He has shown me all the way through Scripture, talking of how He wants to be the One who feeds me. He wants to be the One I go to for comfort and filling. As Peter says, “He has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”

C.  The one fully dependant and secure in God will not be shaken in his faith when everything else is quaking.

D.  Personal shaking that helped me press into God and experience joy… In my husband coming 200 miles home through a snowstorm. Through sharing my ministry dream with someone and having them accept and affirm it. The best is His presence in deep times of prayer.

    Reply

    The best is His presence in deep times of prayer.

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5. David said to the Lord, “I have no good apart from you.”

This inspires confidence in God, knowing that God is his refuge. He depends on God in every circumstance. I remember his confidence when going to fight Goliath.

B.Those who run after other gods will have their troubles multiplied.

My personal example: At one time I was looking for personal fulfillment in a friendship.

When my friend did not have time to spend with me, I felt letdown and sad. These feelings made me realize the foolishness of putting this relationship in this category of being an idol.

D. What happens to the person who makes the Lord his chosen portion and his cup?

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” It is a wonderful inheritance.

E. The tribe of Levi  was not allocated land because the Lord was their inheritance.

They trusted God to provide their needs. As I ponder financial losses or decisions I will remember that all I have is a gift from God for me to practice good stewardship. One word I will ponder is Remember.

This is not always an easy lesson for me.

    Reply

    Shirley — thanks for your honesty. I think we are all in a place with various areas where we must say I believe, help my unbelief.

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Dee,

Though I am not commenting a lot (tending to my idol of approval)  and only sitting back here in the shadows , I just need to say how utterly grateful I am for what you provide here.    How often these weekly studies speak directly into my life.    Your opening line is what captured me this week.    Our hearts are going to break – we can count on it.        And it is in this very brokenness that we have authentic fellowship.   Thank you, Dee, for being willing to tell us of your own brokenness.   How that makes a way for me to be honest with myself and others about my own brokenness.       Grateful.

 

    Reply

    Thank you, dear Nila.

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This will be my fourth time to try to post this. The enemy tried to thwart me three times yesterday! Back off!

 
5. Read Psalm 16:1-5
A. Of what does David remind himself in verses 2-3? How does this inspire confidence in God?
He is no good without God. It has the Saints on the land to help remind him. He is not alone.
 
B. What happens, according to verse 4a, to those who run after another god?
 
They  are never satisfied. Their sorrows grow bigger and bigger.
 
C. Share a personal example of your running after “another god,” or rebelling against God’s way and experiencing “multiplied sorrows.” (It doesn’t have be choosing something bad, but making something good like food, friendship, ministry or position your security or identity.)

 I guess I’ll stick with food here.  I’m always considering what I’m supposed to be eating or not eating.  Therefore, I gain weight and I lose weight, and I gain weight and I lose weight. Sometimes my clothes fit  and sometimes they don’t fit. Now I’m worried about weight, clothing as well as what to eat! It also makes me want to be like others (like my sister) who have NO PROBLEM with weight or food, so now I am jealous 😩. Why doesn’t she care about food or enjoy it like I do? See how it snowballs?? I need to stop.
 
D. What happens, according to verses 5-6, to the person who makes the Lord his chosen portion and cup?

We recieve an inheritance!

 
E. The tribe of Levi, or the priests of Israel, were given no land like the others, to remind them that the Lord was their inheritance. How could this help you as you ponder financial losses or decisions? 
 

Part of the “inheritence” of the Levites was to care for the tabernacle holy items, like the ark of the covenant.  I’m reading a book by RC Sproul called “The Holiness of God,” and he talks about Uzzah and his death. Most think it represents God as a mean God, however the clan,  of which Uzzah was a part, knew their inheritence and also knew the consequences of touching or even looking at the Holy items. Sproul suggests that Uzzah had risen above his true stature (arrogance) and thought he could 1) carry the ark on an oxen cart (?) and 2) recover it when it fell. Not so! Uzzah was killed for his disobedience.

 

I guess if we don’t tithe enough, eat correctly, or treat our spouses right we won’t be killed, however it does make one think doesn’t it? I truly KNOW that God is with me. If I follow His ways my life is complete and full. If I don’t then I forfeit the beauty He wants me to have. Thank You Lord.

    Reply

    Yay Laura! it worked! Your determination is an inspiration  :)

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    I remember Sproul’s teaching on Uzzah — that is a frightening episode. I think at time He is severe for the purpose of cleansing the body of Christ – as with Annanias and Sapphira. Their earthly lives were shortened, but they then went to be with the Lord.

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Reading over the last 2 days….so many incredible stories & such hardship. But God has been so faithful to us all!

Thurs: Ps 16:7-11   A. God gives David counsel, even in the “night seasons”

B. The Lord has given me counsel by convicting me & making me feel uncomfortable (usually in the pit of my stomach!) when I’m not keeping healthy boundaries for my soul. He has spoken thro His Word, circumstances & my sisters in the Lord who I trust.

C. “because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” !

D. When I have felt rejected by my husband or daughter, it has made me press into the Lord for comfort, acceptance & love. He has given me security & peace when I truly lean on Him.

E. The psalmist’s heart is glad & his soul rejoices…he feels safe & at rest, hopeful & secure.

F. Only Jesus was the “Holy One” who did not see corruption. David & all humanity decay in death, but not Jesus.

G. The 3 joys are: the path of LIFE; Fullness of JOY; Pleasures FOREVERMORE!

7). We can’t understand or explain God’s ways…they are so much higher than ours. But…He gives us Himself, He is always with us & He will fulfill His plans for each of us as we walk with Him.

 

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Well I posted and it disappeared…will have to try later.

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    6. God gives David guidance, instruction, comfort- (He is with him), safety, shows him the way of life, joy and eternal life.

    B. Cleansing and replacing- Listen to the Lord.

    First the Lord has shown me my sins, he provided the means to forgiveness, He has become my “all in all”. He continually guides me to draw close to Him.

    C. God is going to shake our world. What will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him? He will protect that person and give everlasting life.

    D. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?

    Yes, this has happened to me- first when my marriage was undone and I had lessons to learn… Praise God he brought me into fellowship and I found the way to repentance then. Later I had a real shaking when I needed to move to my Mother’s home to assist her. I needed to let go of my comfort and trust Him to help me through the struggle. In the process I found joy in this time of suffering- watching her struggle and being a presence in her life. My whole family struggled, but a blessing came when my daughter shared how much it meant that I was willing to do that.

    E. How do you see joy in the Psalmist? “My heart is glad and my tongue rejoices.”

    F. Verse 10 is talking about Jesus- “your Holy One.”

    G. Three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge: he will know the path to life, he will be filled with joy, and will have eternal pleasures. What a future to look ahead to!

     

     

     

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6. Read Psalm 16:7-11
A. What does God give David, according to verse 7?
 Counsel.
 B. In order to experience the two part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols?
 This is a simple one but in regard to the idols I mentioned earlier, He has been reminding me that He is the one who chooses, draws and molds those to Himself and it isn’t my doing. I “know” that and believe that but is the penny really dropping? I have been doing a study in 1 Peter and God is impressing over and over in my heart He chooses us and He is in control of hearts. His counsel is all over Scripture that He chose us in him before the foundation of the world. That he draws us-that no one can come to him unless he does. I know this deeply but when I worry about what others in church will think about my oldest two and when I try to impart wisdom to my boys and they don’t accept it, and I worry and want to convince them..that is my control and approval idols at work. So lately, God has been pressing into me His control of hearts and His unmerited approval of me and so I have been letting go-repenting and turning when the worry starts to happen. I felt free yesterday and His joy or gladness is inside and oh pressing in deeper that I don’t have to labor for my oldest two’s turning other than in prayer is so freeing and it frees me to love them more.

C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to v. 8?
We will not be shaken because we have realized what the world offers-what our sinful desires thirst for doesn’t fill and it is chasing after the wind, but He is our rock who truly satisfies our souls..he makes our souls happy in Him even though the world may be falling down around us.

D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?
Oh yes..with a few on going trials..and yes I am pressing into God and experiencing joy. :)

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    Dear Rebecca…such a good reminder that the Lord does all the work in drawing & choosing those he calls. Yet He wants us to pray. None of my 3 kids are believers so I know how u feel the burden for your boys. God wants them & loves them more than we do. Yes such freedom in letting go & letting Him do the work! Will pray for your boys too!

    Heard Tim Keller yesterday & remember this sermon from before. It’s excellent & encouraging. Basically when we are walking closer with the Lord we should expect tears, as our hearts become more vulnerable. When we have tears we need to invest them & pray them to our Heavenly Father. Don’t avoid them but plant them, & see tears as an opportunity for fruitfulness & growth. God understands our tears & our hurts & struggles are safe with him. All the last Psalms are full of praise. Even if it takes a lifetime the end result of our prayers will be Praise! We will return with songs of joy!  :)

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    Rebecca — glad to hear of this joy — I think it is a continual letting go with those we love!

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Take away:

Many. But of late, after listening again to Keller: All true prayers pursued far enough will end in praise (Psalm 150) in his quote from Eugene Peterson. Expect, invest and pray your tears. One of his many golden sermons.

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Just listened to the Keller Sermon and incredibly blessed and encouraged again by his teaching.

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9.  Keller sermon… Such a good refresher for me. To pray through the tears and be consistent with it until He brings the joy. And to be so assured of the joy that I am willing to get involved with people to the point of sorrow and tears. I can see in myself that I usually hold back from that kind of empathy. Some of it is my training as a nurse. To get enmeshed in your patient’s life brings all kinds of negative things to your ability to be a good nurse to them, and to your other patients. But I’ve carried that into the rest of my life. He will have to change that in me as I don’t know how. But I want to learn.

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6. Read Psalm 16:7-11
A. What does God give David, according to verse 7?

He gives counsel.

B. In order to experience the two part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols?

He wants me to let go of my children. Let the chips fall as they may. My husband is better at that than I am so I am focusing on honoring my husband’s desires when it comes to the kids now.

C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to v. 8?

We have Him so we won’t be shaken!

 
D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?

Oh yes! All the time. It is joyful to know I no longer have to worry, plan, or contrive ideas to take care of things that are difficult. It’s all on Him. I just need to listen for His guidance.

 
E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9?

He is secure and rejoices with his entire being.

 
F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?

This person is protected. They will not go to hell and they will not be corrupted; they won’t be sinful.

 
G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11?
 

We will know the right path in life, we will be full of joy, and we will have pleasures forever at the right hand of God (I think this is definitely Jesus here).

 

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6.D. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy?
My world has been shaken numerous times, the times when I have sought the Lord, albeit difficult, were more bearable.  Experience joy?  I’m not sure I can say that I was feeling joy, I didn’t feel alone…I felt like the Lord was with me; I would say I felt comforted.

E. How do you see joy in the psalmist, v. 9?
She is at ease and feels secure by the Lord’s presence with her.

F. How does v. 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?
The only One whose body did not “rot in the grave” is Jesus.

G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge, v. 11?
1. Christian faith…the Lord showing me the way of life
2. joy in the Lord’s presence
3. life eternal with the Lord

7. In applying this psalm … what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?
Heartbreak and disappointment are hard–in the mix of it, it is often  hard to remember that God has a plan that is good, a plan far greater than our finite minds can comprehend.  Despite our hurt, we must remember that the Lord is with us always, we can trust Him whole-heartedly, He has good plans for us…He is good and we are loved.

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6 E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9?
His heart is glad and his glory rejoices for in God’s presence is fullness of joy.

F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David?
 When He says “Holy One”- God will now allow His Holy One to undergo decay, meaning Jesus.
G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11?
1. the path of life will be known, 2. our joy will be made full in His presence 3. we will taste His pleasures forever.
7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?
1. Her heart ministers to me for while she struggled He rescued her and she set Him continually before her and because He is in her I believe He fanned her flame for Him. It is clear her heart was wrecked and her world shaken but she was not shaken. She stayed in prayer and in His word. He also gave her strength through her sisters. :)

2. There have even been times when He has brought John Donne’s poem to mind and I ask Him unless you take me to you and enthrall me and ravish me I shall never be free from this twisting in my stomach-and He answers-always through His word and through sisters.

I think Stephanie let Him take her to Him and ravish her.  I think when our world is shaken we can go two ways-either we press in and let Him have us and He is our comfort or back away and try to take it all on our shoulders and bring an immediate faux comfort. When we back away we don’t lose our relationship with God by no means, but we miss out on experiencing His presence and His fullness of joy. Of course I believe He is sovereign over that and if we are His we will miss His presence and He will rescue us and compel us to turn from our sin and cling to Him. I have experienced all of this. I have backed away and went into that long desert and I don’t want to do that again. I found I missed Him though for once we taste Him-It is so hard to stay away. He makes it hard-oh.. Lord Jesus I am so grateful, so grateful SO grateful that you have never backed away from me even though I have with you and yet you just desire to keep taking me-a broken sinful woman- deeper into your fullness of joy. What Love is this? That you continue to melt me with your love-your favor. Keep me tender to your love and alert to you this morning and today.  Take me deeper into your presence.

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Cyndi and Jackie,

Thank you both for sharing your brokenness here, for it gives many of us courage and hope for today.  It truly is in brokenness that we have authentic fellowship here.

Here is the link to that beautiful song, Even Though,  that Jackie mentioned in her post this week:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5iCVeR3oGY

 

 

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7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?

 

It is the reminder that I am not alone. The Lord is the only focus I should have because life on earth is fleeting (as are the things of this world) and it won’t be long before I will be with Him in heaven.

 

It is good to know that others before me have suffered and made it through. It encourages me. I am not banished to hell, He sets my path straight, fills me with joy, and makes my life full.

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Take away….”it isn’t that your heart won’t break. It’s how you let the brokenness be made into abundance afterwards.” Remembering the picture of the grain. God will at times want to crush me and grind me into dust, just as happened to Jesus for me. It will be better if I don’t fight Him over it. Also, to ask myself if He doesn’t meet a request, is it because He doesn’t see it as a need for me? As someone else said, it must not be for the best.

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on my 3rd time through the keller sermon! thank you! can’t believe how much it lines up with what I was writing this week!

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I just read through all the comments! I’m totally inspired with the transparency of your lives. My favorite verse mentioned this week was Psalm 34:5: They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed.

With all the trials and difficulties with marriages and children and health mentioned here, the world (devil) would accuse and want us to feel ashamed, but this SAFE HAVEN is a place where we can truly RADIATE as we cast our deepest hurts on Jesus and cause others to look to Him too. So encouraged in my own suffering to gaze on God. Thank you!

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Applying this Psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s- I am amazed at the growth in this young woman who endured this heartbreak. Yet so many of us face disappointment, hurt and pain. I am reassured that God allows these circumstances in our lives and gives us the hope and joy of His love to help us through.

The sermon has ministered to me before and now again. Expect tears, invest tears and sow your tears. Yes, II Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

When I listen to Keller’s sermon I think of Deanna and miss her wonderful notes.

 

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6. Read Psalm 16:7-11
 
A. What does God give David, according to verse 7? – The Lord gives David guidance and counsels him throughout the day. 
 
B. In order to experience the two part process of cleansing and replacing, we must listen to the Lord. How has the Lord given you counsel in regard to your heart idols? – Since I released my issues and my attitude to the Lord, he is constantly checking me, and I can sense Him saying ‘stop’ step back and think before you speak. I have a peaceful feeling that is pouring over my body. I’m thankful that He is always guiding me along.
 
C. Hebrews tells us that God is going to shake our world – but what will happen to the person who sets the Lord always before him, according to v. 8? – For those of us that put the Lord first, we will not be shaken or broken. He will always be by our side and protect us and keep us from harm.
 
D. Sometimes the shaking of our world causes us to realize the futility of our idols. The only One who will never let us down, move away, or die is the Lord. Have you experienced a shaking of your world that helped you to press into God and experience joy? – I would have to say the biggest shaking of my world was when my sister Joan passed away 9 days after finding out she had cancer a few years ago. We were shocked, upset and broken. We still can’t understand at this point what happened. The good that we are seeing so far from this is that my niece (Joan’s daughter, who disowned us all) has since apologized to my mom and has been participating again in family events. It was too late for her and my sister, but I know that she would be very happy this has come to pass. I also realized from this that my family and friends need to be a priority in my life and I need to find time to be with them and enjoy their fellowship. Cleaning my house and doing things like that will always be there for me to do, but I do find time for my friends and family more now and this brings me joy.
 
E. How do you see joy in the psalmist in verse 9? – Your life will be full of pleasure and happiness. Good times will be abundant. 
 
F. How does verse 10 show you we are no longer talking about David? – Is it because it mentions ‘faithful one’ which would be any one of us that follows the Lord and his ways? 
 
G. What three joys await the one who makes the Lord his refuge according to verse 11? – We will have joy in our life, we will know the path that the Lord wants us to travel down and we will have eternal peace, rest in him when our life on earth is done.
 

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    Julie, I had forgotten this story; that must have been a very hard time when it happened. God’s ways are not our ways. I’m glad to hear your niece is back on board. You are correct, friends and family are much more important than clean homes and busy jobs. When I had cancer several years ago, I vowed to make each moment count; good or bad, I would enjoy them all.

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      Laura, I think you are doing an amazing job with all you have on your plate. I pray for you and your family all the time and know that God will guide your way.

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7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful? – To think that you were following the Lord’s guidance all to just have it fall apart can be devastating. But having promises from the Lord like what appears in Psalm 16 can be very uplifting. It brings hope to your situation that it will turn out to be ok. When we follow His way, we can guarantee he will be there with us along the way.

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My takeaway: “Some days you can hear the rise & fall of God’s chest, simply by pausing enough to rest on it”.   Lord help me, help us, to rest upon You long enough to receive Your Peace. To know that it is well with our souls & You are working out Your good plan in our lives.

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    I loved Sara’s quote too — obviously — since I shared it — but glad you did too!

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7. In applying this psalm to a heartbreak like Stephanie’s, what thoughts do you have? When we are endeavoring to follow God and yet are deeply disappointed, how could this psalm be helpful?

 

I decided to work though Stephanie’s story, paralleling it with this psalm.

 

The first part of Stephanie’s story: she felt called to go to Africa as a missionary, but worried about her dream of getting married and having children one day; how would she meet a godly man there? She decided to trust God. This parallels the first part of the psalm, “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing. Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, You have made my lot secure…” She did not run after idols, either, for that would have meant not going to Africa. She went, and delighted in the people and her work there. Then, almost as a bonus for her putting God first, she met what appeared to be the answer to her prayers – a godly young man, also a missionary. Then, her dreams were shattered. How easy it would have been for Stephanie to turn away from God in disillusionment, retreating into anger and bitterness. Instead, she honestly lamented to God, even saying that she felt like God “led her on”.

 

As she did her best to release her broken dreams as did the woman in whose book she read, I’m sure she rested in this: “You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing. Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup, You have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places…” At first, God’s boundary lines must have seemed unfair, and why would He have allowed this to happen? She could have made an idol out of this relationship, or turned to other heart idols to soothe her pain, which only would’ve led to “the sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods.” Instead, she opened her heart to God’s counsel and instruction. And coming to Door County, meeting Whitney, Dee, and others, and even the author Sara of the book she read, these are “the saints who are in the land, the glorious ones in whom is all my delight”. All these were used to bring healing, wise counsel, and refreshment to her soul.

 

The beauty of her entire story is that she met her True Bridegroom through The Songs, who made known to her the path of life, filled her with joy in His presence, and eternity with Him awaits her.

 

I think this psalm is helpful in dealing with life’s disappointments because it points out that we have two choices. We can run after other gods, our idols, if we want, but our sorrows will multiply. Or, we can choose God and to make Him our refuge and delight. We can accept our portion and our boundary lines from Him. Even if our “story” seems small and insignificant to us, we can know that we fit into His larger story, and that is what makes our little corner important.

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There is just so much here for me to take-away, and also from last week’s study about Ruth and Naomi. I want to go back to these truths again and again. It is so hard for me to release my dreams, expectations, the way I want things to be. I can’t explain it but when I hold on to them I feel like I am becoming unraveled on the inside. It is so in my nature to try to fix my problems on my own, to run down old familiar paths that in reality, are unhealthy and do not lead to growth. Stephanie’s story is so encouraging because it was her choosing God that led to freedom. I listened to the sermon, one I’ve heard before, and so many good points. Sowing my tears means praying them, honest lament. God is safe to do that with. The warning in this psalm about sorrows increasing when we run after our idols brings to mind the verse in Jonah about those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. I read a book once where the author referred to a young woman he counseled as “Tina the Talker”. Tina loved to talk to anyone who would listen about her problems, but that’s as far as she went – she was unwilling to take the necessary steps to freedom. Maybe this is a form of idolatry too, using our pain and trials as a way to get affirmation, sympathy, and approval from others – even taking comfort in it. I’m sure that I can also get stuck right where Tina was stuck.

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    INteresting — when I hold on to my dreams I feel like I am unraveling inside.

    Yours is a daily laying down, and that is hard, but also a daily becoming more like Christ — I see beauty in you, Susan.

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