Psalm 28

Overview

    Adrenaline is rushing through me in excitement for our trip which begins in a couple hours. Yikes! Please be praying for us, and if you do not already receive our prayer letter, please CLICK HERE to receive updates as we travel. I am nervous to fly, but am excited about everything we will be doing in Cyprus. This Psalm is calling out to God, as I am today. I am praying that we encounter peaceful people on our trip who are honest and helpful so our travels will be as easy as possible. God is our strength and shield. David is asking for God’s help and before the Psalm is over he has also thanked God for listening and answering.

Characters

David—the Psalmist, the Lord, those who go down to the pit, the wicked, workers of evil, neighbors, God’s people

Key Verse

Verse 8-9 “The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed. Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”

Cross References

Psalm 140:7 “O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.”

Psalm 20:6 “Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand.”

Deuteronomy 9:29 “For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.'”

Deuteronomy 32:9 “But the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”

Psalm 78:70-72 “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”

Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

Isaiah 46:3-4 “”Listen to me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”

Isaiah 63:9 “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.”

Conclusion

    In all our circumstances, and at any age, we are in God’s hands. He is caring for us, saving us, and loving us, more than we are even aware of. If there is any worry on your heart, give it over to God, as I am doing. Even if it rises again. Remember our practice to take every thought and turn it into praise to God.

Jesus in the Psalm

“As it did for David, our assurance of God’s promises to save his people settles our hearts into quiet joy, even before the difficulties of our immediate situation are resolved (Ps.28:6-7; 1 Pet. 1:8-9).”*

1 Peter 1:3-9 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

Tomorrow: Romans 6

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

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Psalm 27

Overview

    David does not have less enemies than last time we checked in with him, he still has problems. And so do we. To be honest I have procrastinated all day this devotional time because I am nervous about our trip to Cyprus, and wanted to accomplish things on the To Do list. But to read this Psalm reminds me, too, that I am thankful for God’s providence, His love, His protection, His grace. And I am convicted remembering He is the one I should seek, it is His face that lights my life. God provides the life that I need, the strength, to continue.

Characters

David—the Psalmist, the Lord, evildoers, my adversaries and foes, an army, my heart, my enemies, my father, my mother, false witnesses, the living

Key Verse

Verse 10, 13 “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in… I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!”

Cross References

Isaiah 49:15-16 “”Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

Isaiah 63:16 “For you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not acknowledge us; you, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name.”

Isaiah 40:11 “He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”

Exodus 33:19 “And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

Psalm 52:5-8 “But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, “See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!” But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.”

Psalm 116:9 “I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living.”

Psalm 142:4-5 “For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from teas, my feet from stumbling. I cry to you, O Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”

Job 28:12-13, 23-28 “”But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living…”God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then he saw it and declared it; he established it and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'””

Conclusion

    This Psalm sounds very positive, which is why I picked both verses 10—where we see that David is abandoned, lost, forsaken, and 13—where David is not feeling like he is in the land of the living, but believes God will make it possible. I also feel a little lost in taking my baby who got so sick last time we traveled on a plane again. I feel a little bit like I have no land as we will soon be traveling back to the States to fundraise more, and it will be a time of living homeless again as we are making our home here in Lebanon and will have to leave it behind.

While I think David’s positive attitude is hard for me to rustle up myself. These things are truths I believe and claim. God does not forsake or forget us. God has a plan, and He is looking out for us. Wisdom and godliness come from seeking Him out, seeking out Life that comes through Him, and remembering that Jesus’ hands are eternally marked because of my sin. My worry only adds to that sin.

God, please forgive me for my procrastination, my anxiety over this trip, and my desire to be in control. You are in control, and You are my refuge and strength. Thank You for redeeming me.

Jesus in the Psalm

2 Corinthians 10:4-6 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

“To be in the friendly presence of God is a privilege afforded only to the holy (Ps. 27:4-9)…waiting on the realization of God’s presence is always the formula for courage in Scripture (e.g., Josh. 1:5-9). God’s people waited until his presence became flesh in Jesus Christ. No one could find fault in Christ’s perfection (Matt. 26:59). So, joined to him, believers now serve through their words and work as holy priests before the presence of God (1 Pet. 2:9; Heb. 10:19-25).”*

Joshua 1:5-9 “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

How’s that for emphasis? I was feeling pretty guilty up there before I prayed that prayer. Guilty that I was failing God, but He has been with me all day, and typing up this Bible study is not the extent of my relationship with God. We have, as a family, all been talking to God throughout the day. This verse would have been more fuel for Satan’s fire of guilt, but now I believe it is encouragement to me. I still feel that paradox pull between being excited for beach/IKEA/Lazarus’ tomb/family adventure time and plane/traveling/new country/nerves. But I know that God is with me.

Matthew 26:59 “Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death,”

Just like David, false witnesses were needed to rise against him because no one had a case against him.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Hebrews 10:19-25 “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”

Tomorrow: Psalm 28

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 26

Overview

David is asking the Lord to vindicate him because of his integrity, and he recounts the ways in which he does right before God. He praises the house of God, the place His glory dwells, and asks God to redeem him and be gracious to him so that he can righteously bless the Lord.

Characters

David—the Psalmist, the Lord, men of falsehood, hypocrites, evildoers, the wicked, God’s glory, sinners, bloodthirsty men, the great assembly

Key Verse

Verses 6-7 “I wash my hands in innocence and go around your altar, O Lord, proclaiming thanksgiving loud, and telling all your wondrous deeds.”

Cross References

Psalm 73:13-18 “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.”

Exodus 30:17-21 “The Lord said to Moses, “You shall also make a basin of bronze, with its stand of bronze, for washing. You shall put it between the tent of meeting and the altar, and you shall put water in it, with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet. When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn a food offering to the Lord, they shall wash with water, so that they may not die. They shall wash their hands and their feet, so that they may not die. It shall be a statute forever to them, even to him and to his offspring throughout their generations.””

Deuteronomy 21:6 “And all the elders of that city nearest to the slain man shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley, and they shall testify, ‘Our hands did not shed blood, nor did our eyes see it shed. Accept atonement, O Lord, for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and do not set the guilt of innocent blood in the midst of your people Israel, so that their blood guilt be atoned for.’ So you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from your midst, when you do what is right in the sight of the Lord.”

Psalm 9:1 “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”

Conclusion

    There is so much to dig into in these cross references. In our Psalm, David is washing his hands to approach the altar of God to praise him. This is much how we are often taught pray, we ask for forgiveness, or thank God for his forgiveness and praise Him.

In Psalm 73, the Psalmist, Asaph, is expressing his struggle with seeing people around him getting away with sin. He begins to feel that his ceremonial washing, and his innocence are worthless, and that he is being punished for being good. Sometimes we feel this same way. Then, as he goes to God, God gives him sight to see that in reality the evil are on slippery ground. Their houses are built on sand (Matthew 7:24-27). They are walking the road to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Matthew 7:24-27 “Everyone then who hers these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mind and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Matthew 7:13-14 “”Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

The Exodus text is describing this washing, which is a symbol of the need to recognize we are sinners every time we come to God. We are not clean, and we must have God to clean us. Now that God lives inside us, we should recognize this all the time and come to God as often as possible, to obtain a right heart, to be cleaned, to see God’s work around us, and to find life.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

Washing our hands and seeking God’s redeeming love are throughout Scripture, and yet, merely washing our hands with water does not clear us of our guilt. As the Deuteronomy text shares, blood must be spilt as well. We are washed in the blood of Jesus, and so we are redeemed entirely. This also reminds me of Pilate washing his hands and saying Jesus’ blood is not on his hands. However, Pilate’s wife’s dream is clearly God speaking to him about his role in this (Matthew 27:19). We cannot merely wash our hands and be done with something, we must turn to God with repentance, not pride as Pilate does. Pilate seems to believe that the ceremony is what cleans the conscience, but it is the repentance that comes with it (Matthew 27:24-26).

Matthew 27:19, 24-26 “Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.”… So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.”

Jesus in the Psalm

    Continuing our big Christianese words is “Vindication”. My commentary describes this saying, “David pleads to be vindicated or distinguished from “hypocrites” and “evildoers” (Ps. 26:1, 4-5). Far from boasting, David’s pronouncements are implicit prayers for help in his pursuit of holiness.”*

“David knows he needs redemption and grace (v. 11b). Because of this grace, whatever happens, David stands on level ground (v. 12). The ultimate way in which God secured this redemption and grace was in the sending of his own Son, to whom God was not gracious, so that grace could be extended to sinners such as David—and us.”*

Tomorrow: Psalm 27

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 25

Monday the 28th     Psalm 26

Tuesday the 29th     Psalm 27

Wednesday the 30th     Psalm 28

Thursday the 31st     Romans 6

Friday the 1st        Psalm 29

Saturday the 2nd     Psalm 30

Please keep our language teacher in your prayers this week as she travels to visit family in Italy. And pray for us as we take our trip to Cyprus so we can renew our visas here in Lebanon. Our last experience staying in hotel apartments was not pleasant, nor was our last set of plane trips, so please pray that we do not carry anxiety into this trip, but can enjoy the time as a family.

Overview

    David comes to God again with trust and faith. I imagine lifting my own soul to God. I think my soul is fragile and in need of protection, which is why it belongs deep inside me, but to lift it to God is an act of giving God my most vulnerable part. This is the image I see at the very beginning of the Psalm. Then he continues to ask God to keep him from shame, since he has waited on God, and it is those who are “wantonly treacherous” (verse 3) who will be ashamed.

David asks God to lead him in His ways and to teach him. Then asks for mercy and for God to forget his transgressions, and to love him. With praise and declarations of Truth about God, David asks again for pardon and forgiveness. And at the end of the Psalm, David prays for his nation who are in trouble.

Characters

The Lord, David—the Psalmist, my soul, my enemies, those who wait for God, those who are wantonly treacherous, sinners, the humble, those who keep His covenant and testimonies, the man who fears the Lord, his offspring, my heart, Israel.

Key Verse

Verse 3-5 “Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”

Cross References

Isaiah 49:23 “Kings shall be your foster fathers, and their queens your nursing mothers. With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet. Then you will know that I am the Lord; those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.”

Romans 5:5 “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Philippians 1:20-21 “as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Psalm 59:3, 4 “For behold, they lie in wait for my life; fierce men stir up strife against me. For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord, for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. Awake, come to meet me, and see!”

Jeremiah 3:20 “Surely as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the Lord.””

Psalm 27:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”

Psalm 86:11 “Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.”

Psalm 143:8, 10 “Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!”

Exodus 33:13 “Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.””

Psalm 5:8 “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies; make your way straight before me.”

Psalm 119:35 “Lead me in the path of your commandments, for I delight in it.”

Psalm 26:3 “For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”

Conclusion

    I know I chose three verses and that led to a lot of cross references. It is an important arc to realize that we are sinners in need of a Savior, to ask for His help, and to walk in His ways. These verses show that very well. The Exodus verse also brings back up to pray for the nations as this Psalm did in its last verse.

It is too easy to forget to ask for God’s teaching. We forget that He has seen it all, and knows how to do it all. He is the best manager, teacher, and guide in all subjects, fields, and Everything! If you are struggling with anything, just ask Him to help you. He has the answers.

Jesus in the Psalm

“Forgiveness is not conditioned on dutiful service or sacrifices (Heb. 7:27); it is based entirely on God’s own “steadfast love” (Ps. 25:6-7). This love ultimately came to expression in Christ, who was broken because sinners broke the covenant (Matt. 26:26). The main distinction David sees between the believer and the unbeliever is instruction, another facet of salvation (Ps. 25:5; John 14:26).”

Matthew 26:26-28 “Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all thins and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Monday: Psalm 26

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 24

Overview

    This Psalm praises the Lord, placing Him up on High. It begins with the explanation that everything belongs to God: the earth, the people, all who dwell here, because He created it all. If He is so above us all, who can be near Him? Only those who have clean and pure hands and hearts; those who seek His face. He is the King of glory! And there is a lot of repetition at the end to emphasize and add exclamation points to this fact that God is the King of glory.

Characters

The earth, the Lord, those who dwell in the earth, the generation of those who seek him.

Key Verse

For my key verses I will choose 5-6.

“He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah

Cross References

Genesis 22:17, 18 “I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies, and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Isaiah 46:13 “I bring near my righteousness; it is not far off, and my salvation will not delay; I will put my salvation in Zion, for Israel my glory.”

Isaiah 56:1 “Thus says the Lord: “Keep justice, and do righteousness, for soon my salvation will come, and my righteousness be revealed.”

Psalm 27:9 “Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!”

Psalm 38:22 “Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation!”

Psalm 51:14 “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”

Psalm 88:1 “O Lord, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you.”

Psalm 14:5 “There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.”

Psalm 27:8 “You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”‘

Psalm 105:4 “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”

Conclusion

This Psalm always makes me think of the time when God invited everyone up the mountain with Moses to meet Him, and to enter into their own relationships with him, and the people don’t want to go. Instead they tell Moses, as we do with our pastors and leaders in church, “You go talk to God, and come back and tell us what He says.” I pray that all of us ae bold and fully enter into our relationships with God, He wants us to seek His face. Verses 3-6 together express that those who seek Him are the ones who are righteous, because we receive righteousness from Him. We are this generation seeking Him.

As an aside, I love reading the ESV instead of the NIV because it is easier to not get into a rut of merely skimming the Scripture because of the familiar passages in the NIV. Also, the new words I learn from the ESV are fun, like, bloodguiltiness. Amazing word! There are big words in the commentary, too, today, but they make the points I want to make so well, I will quote them. Don’t fear the dictionary.

Jesus in the Psalm

    “The greatness of God humbles the human being who lives in his presence, but the Creator’s ownership of the earth assures the believer that all its resources are gifts from a gracious sovereign (v. 1; cf. 1 Cor. 10:26). Kind welcome into the presence of God is not universal, however. The Lord demands a sincere heart and is not pleased with perfunctory, arid worship (Ps. 15:1-5; Isa. 1:11-17).”

1 Corinthians 10:26 “For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.””

CLICK HERE to review our Psalm 15 study.

Isaiah 1:11-17 “”What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? Says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. “When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Romans 1:16-17 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.””

The only way we receive this welcome is by the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.

“David may have reflected on this grace as he led the ark into the sanctuary (2 Samuel 6).” David entered the throne room of God in this way, and saw he was not worthy. But none of us are, except through Christ giving us that worth by his death and resurrection. “The one united to Christ by faith has then been brought into the throne room of God’s grace and may therefore enter boldly by prayer (Heb. 4:16).”

2 Samuel 6:2b, 9, 17 “…the ark of God, which is called by the name of the Lord of hosts who sits enthroned on the cherubim…And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?”…And they brought in the ark of the Lord and set it in its place, inside the tent that David had pitched for it. And David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.”

Hebrews 9:24 “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.”

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Tomorrow: Psalm 25

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

To receive this Bible Study in your email CLICK HERE

To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Romans 5

EDIT: I am sorry for the lateness of this post. Louis and I are doing Romans and so I had to wait until we could do the chapter together in addition to my normal study. I backdated it, so it looks like I posted it on time, and so it is in order when people are scrolling through. Sorry, and thanks again for following!

Overview

    Romans 4 began the weightiness of words for me, and this chapter has continued that. In reading it three times some of the longer sentences began to make sense, but don’t feel silly if you have to look up some of the words. It is important to know what we believe, and some of these words are meaningless even to us. Remember our discussion on Christianese?

This chapter continues from the justification through faith discussed in Chapter 4. Now that we have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ, we have peace. Before that justification we had only death. Now we rejoice, even in our sufferings because of the hope we have in God.

What makes you joyful? For Louis & me, Davy’s love of family and God makes us very joyful. This Study fills me with joy as well. Our marriage also fills us with joy: Daily coffee dates, planning for our new responsibilities here in Lebanon, etc. Louis goes to the center which fills him with joy and the stories he brings home, in turn, fill me with joy. Even in our sufferings we can b joyful. Louis was sharing the story of Davy’s near death experience with a group of high school students at the center this week. It is a joy to share the gospel with them, and this opportunity came out of intense suffering for Louis.

Verses 3-5 are excellent promise box verses. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, an character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

The chapter also make the comparison between Adam and Jesus. Adam, with one act, brought death to all of us. Christ Jesus, with one act, brought life and grace and righteousness to all of us. That which is impossible for us to gain on our own, Jesus earned for us with His death on the cross. Thank You, Jesus!

Finally, Moses receiving the law, and its place in the story of Christ’s coming to earth to die for us is discussed.

My last initial observation is that Paul is reminding the readers of this letter of stories that are the foundation of their beliefs (Abraham and Sarah, David, and now Adam and Moses), and showing how those stories point the way to Jesus. This fits so well with our purpose of studying the Psalms, to find Jesus in them. The Bible is not just a New Testament about Jesus, everything is about Jesus!

Characters

Paul, those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his saints, God, our Lord Jesus Christ, us-Christians, the Holy Spirit, the ungodly, a righteous person, a good person, sinners, Adam, Moses, and all men.

Key Verse

Verses 18-19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”

These two verses say the same thing in two different ways, and I think it is the main point of this comparison, so I included them both. Repetition in the Bible, and here in Lebanon, is a way of emphasizing a point, so this two ways of stating the same thing seems like bolding and italicizing and underlining and then adding a bunch of exclamation points. That, to me, is a key verse.

Cross References

John 12:32 “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””

2 Corinthians 10:5-6 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”

This verse I talked about last week in Romans 4 for our application challenge, here is where “take every thought captive” come from (verse 5).

Hebrews 5:8-9 “Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,”

Philippians 2:8 “And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Conclusion

    Obedience to God was shown to us by Jesus, in dying on the cross. Now we are obedient as we follow Jesus and all He tells us to do. Did you follow through with last week’s challenge? I referenced it again above. Did you pray and see what God was calling you to do?

Just like the people Paul was writing to probably didn’t think about the old stories all the time, they knew them. Sometimes we have learned lessons, but have stopped following through or have almost forgotten. This can happen with our prayers. We can forget what we prayed, so like the 10 lepers we forget to go back and thank God for what He has done for us when He answers our prayers. When He tells us to do something we may choose not to do it, and then wonder why He isn’t talking to us, while He is waiting for our response to what He asked us! Take time to search your own heart for faith, trust, and obedience to Christ in Your Life.

Verses 2-11 are all reasons we should rejoice, even in our sufferings. Rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). One of the main reasons we rejoice is that God loves us. While we were still sinners, Jesus died for us, and now we have reconciliation with Him. God’s Love is based on grace.

1 Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”

Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”


Study Notes

    I normally don’t use the study notes for Romans, but here they provide some very well worded definitions for some of those Christianese words, so I will give you those.

“Justification—God’s reckoning or accounting of Christ’s righteousness to sinners—is through faith alone (3:27-31). The only thing we contribute is our need.”*

“[Paul] takes up sanctification, the work of God’s grace to set us free from sin and make us joyful servants of God’s righteousness (see 6:17-18). Believers in Christ have peace with God (5:1), a state of grace and rejoicing (v. 2), and a way of living that is both sobering and satisfying. It is sobering that trusting in Christ brings sufferings (v.3; see also 8:17).”*

In what area of your life are you experiencing suffering? Louis is struggling with the visa difficulties we have experienced so far, and this compounds the difficulties of living in Lebanon. We feel overwhelmed with having to handle all of the details on our own. Many of the sufferings have become livable and taken care of, but it has been a difficult two months of growth. It is a paradox of suffering and rejoicing, yuck duck vs. yay duck, having to leave the country and also looking forward to a break we didn’t get yet this year (since our Rome trip became less than relaxing). While we feel frustrated with figuring all of this out on our own, we rejoice in the reality that we can now help other Americans coming to visit and stay to not have the same overwhelming stress in renewing their visas. CHALLENGE: Can you rejoice in your own area of suffering?

Tomorrow: Psalm 24

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Study Notes section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 23

Overview

    This very well-known Psalm is difficult to look at with fresh eyes, and that’s okay. Many people have this entire Psalm memorized, and that is wonderful. It is a good praise to God and is full of truths to cling to in hard times. It is short and still describes much of our walk with God.

    God is our shepherd, and with that comes a lot of imagery, thoughts, memories, etc. for us. Because he is our shepherd we are provided for and restored. We have no fear, no matter what, and he brings justice, goodness, mercy, and eternal life in Heaven with Him. It is a very beautiful Psalm.

Characters

The Lord, David—the Psalmist, me, my soul, my enemies

Key Verse

You could pick any verse from here as a key verse.

Verse 6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Cross References

Psalm 27:4 “One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.”

Psalm 21:4 “He asked life of you; you gave it to him length of days forever and ever.”

Conclusion

    I look forward to eternity with God because of my walk with Christ, and knowing that it will all be worth it. The suffering, the enemies, all of it is nothing compared to Jesus’ suffering. And the reward is so great that it will make the suffering nothing by even more. Negative infinity suffering in the end.

Jesus in the Psalm

Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

“As the compassionate character of God is revealed in this precious psalm, we are prepared to see how the steadfast love of the final sacrificial Lamb enables wayward sheep to dwell with a holy God (Isa. 53:6).”*

Isaiah 53:6-7 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.” (Keep reading this chapter for more about the coming Messiah’s suffering for us.)

John 10:10-11, 14-18 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I received from my Father.”

    Reading the Isaiah passage and John passage just show me so clearly how Jesus was not only prophesied, but that He is God. The same God described in these Psalms is Jesus, and that is amazing to read about. Jesus is not new revelation, but a fulfillment of what people had the opportunity to know. It is a comfort to know we are so cared for by this Jesus as well.

1 Peter 5:4 “And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

Revelation 22:4-5 “They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

    Let these promises of the future we have in Heaven wash over you with joy and hope. I pray that your relationship with God may be strengthened through these Psalms in a way that makes Psalm 23 leap off the pages as the walk you have with Jesus, more than just a memorized poem. I pray that the Bible breathes life into you in exponential amounts every day, so you thirst for it all the time.

Tomorrow: Romans 5

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 22

Overview

    A Psalm that as Christians we should recognize so much of in the crucifixion of Jesus. Beginning with Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (verse 1a and Matthew 27:46), to the mockery of those around the cross described in verses 6-8, to the pierced hands and feet and dividing of his clothes in 16-18 (Matthew 27:35), and through it all a praise to the Lord!

In reading this Psalm I want to say, “At least I know the end.” I want to avoid the pain and suffering, but as I shared with you about my experience with Davy, that is a way we insulate our feelings, protect ourselves, bandage ourselves. We must grieve the cross anew each time we sin, each time we read of it, hear of it. Jesus suffered, and died, for you. Linger on these words, read this Psalm over again and again and again if you need. The pain, sorrow, and disgrace that He took on for us. This is what we deserved. And it isn’t to scare us straight that we should focus on it, but to remember what He has done for us, to never think we are without sin or blame apart from Him.

Characters

God, David—the Psalmist / Jesus on the Cross, Israel (the spiritual branch which praises God), our fathers (those who have the faith in God before us, not merely those who are in the genealogy of Judah), mankind, the people, his mother, bulls of Bashan, dogs / a company of evildoers, the lion, wild oxen, my brothers, you who fear the Lord, offspring of Jacob, offspring of Israel, the afflicted, those who seek him, all the ends of the earth, all the families of the nations, all the prosperous of the earth, the one who could not keep himself alive, and a people yet unborn.

Key Verse

Verse 27 “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.”

Verse 31 “they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.”

Probably not the crux of the Psalm, since all the ones I mentioned before are indeed more about the remembering mentioned here. But these are the application, go and remember and proclaim his righteousness to all who are yet unborn. That is how we heard about his death was the memory and proclamation of others in our lives.

Cross References

Psalm 2:7-8 “I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

Psalm 67:7 “God shall bless us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!”

Psalm 96:7 “Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!”

Psalm 86:9 “All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.”

Isaiah 60:1-6 “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord.”

This is also a prophecy of Jesus, so I have emphasized certain phrases to draw you back to the story of Jesus within this prophecy.

Psalm 78:5-8 “He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.”

Psalm 102:18-20 “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die,”

Conclusion

    When I was reading the Bible through for the first time I was shocked at how quickly God was forgotten. People who had believed in God were still alive when God was forgotten many times. It is not okay to have that happen, and we must remember what Jesus did for us, and we must tell everyone about it.

Jesus in the Psalm

    I already shared about the prophetic aspects in this Psalm that point toward Jesus, so let me share some verses with you from the New Testament, since all of the cross references in my Bible were from the Psalms. Take time to linger on these passages.

Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

1 Timothy 3:16 “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.”

Revelation 7:9-10, 13-17 “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”…Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Mark 13:24-27 “”But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”

This Mark passage again reminds me of the Isaiah passage above with darkness covering the earth, and all being drawn to Jesus’ light.

Galatians 3:13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—as it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—so that in Crist Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”

CHALLENGE: A new challenge. If you have struggled with this in the past try out this new method. I found a website for memorizing Scripture that has been very helpful. CLICK HERE to try memverse. I hope to post more about memorizing Scripture later, but for now, if this is something on your heart, here is a good way to start. You can use this website as a way to memorize some of the verses we have read in this Bible Study that you want to remember.

Tomorrow: Psalm 23

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Psalm 21

Overview

    This Psalm begins with praise for what God has done for David. God answered David’s requests, preserved his life, and gave David glory as king. David claims his trust in God and that it is because of his “love of the Most High he shall not be moved”.

The second half is praise for what God is going to do to destroy His enemies, those who plan evil against God, and that God is the strongest and we will all praise God’s power.

Characters

David—the Psalmist & king, the Lord, God’s enemies, us—Christians.

Key Verse

Verse 7 “For the king trusts in the Lord, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.”

Cross References

Psalm 10:6 “He says in his heart, “I shall not be moved; throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity.”

Psalm 16:8 “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

Conclusion

    I chose verse 7 as the key verse because this is what sets apart the righteous from the unrighteous. We are all sinners in need of a Savior, the dividing line is our love of the Most High. We must accept that we need Him. Throughout the stories of kings in the Bible, those who are faithful to God enjoy peace and prosperity, while their sin drives war and terrible tragedy into their midst. We must trust in the Lord, follow through with what He tells us to do, and then we know we will not be moved.

Jesus in the Psalm

My commentary is beautifully worded for this Psalm, so it is mostly quotes from that source and verse references today.

“Psalms 20 and 21 form a pair: one a prayer and the other praise for the answer to the prayer…One mark of God’s people is that he delivers them when they call for help (20:9). Here is the record of God’s answer to the prayer of Psalm 20. However, it is not merely an answer regarding individual protection from the occasional struggles of life. God’s answer to the “request of [David’s] lips” ultimately provided eternal salvation for the nation according to the larger “plans” of the Davidic covenant (20:4; 2:8; 2 Sam. 7:14; Acts 2:33).”*

Psalm 20:4, 9 “May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans!…O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.”

Psalm 2:8 “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”

2 Samuel 7:13-14a “He shall build a houe for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son…”

Acts 2:33 “Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.”

“As the full significance of this psalm is seen in light of Christ’s ministry fulfilling David’s plans, we understand that, having saved his people from their sins by Christ’s sacrifice, God raised him and granted him eternal life (Ps. 21:4; Rom. 4:23-25). As the risen victor over death, Christ earned authority to convey all the blessings he earned to his people whom he saves (Ps. 21:5-8; Acts 13:34). His “crown of fine gold” signifies his power to defeat all the enemies of his church (Ps. 21:3, 9-12; Rev. 14:14). Because Christ submitted himself to God’s will through his sufficient sacrifice, God enforces his authority to bring all of his enemies into submission (Ps. 21:7; Heb. 10:12-13).”*

Romans 4:23-25 “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.”

Acts 13:34 “And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.'”

Revelation 14:14 “Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and seated on the cloud one like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand.”

Hebrews 10:12-13 “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.”

“David trains believers to pray for more than just everyday nuisances. We must also pray “your kingdom come, your will be done” (Matt. 6:10), and this psalm assures us that these things will happen.”*

Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Tomorrow: Psalm 22

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Psalm section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please leave a comment to share them with us.

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To see the other posts in this study CLICK HERE

Mr. Feelings: AKA The 2 Month Review of Life in Lebanon

Today we wanted to share a graphic with you that was a great visual for us in our training in April. This visual was made even more absorbing by being acted out in front of us. So, imagine Mr. Feelings: Louis in this case, but it could me, or any person, you even! Standing in the middle with a rope wrapped around his middle being pulled back and forth between the two ducks. That is how paradox can make us feel, pulled back and forth. Sometimes we lean toward Yay Duck, and sometimes we lean toward Yuck Duck times. We already shared with you about the Yay Duck vs. Yuck Duck, living in paradoxes. We continue to share about paradoxes as they come up. And we hope that it has helped you to be more empathetic, and also able to find joy in the hard times using this example.

For other Paradox blog posts CLICK HERE.

    

Next up is Reality vs. Expectations. This can be challenging. When our expectations are far from the reality, the rope is pulled very tight against us. When there is a “twang”, a snapping of the rope, it can really hurt. But as our expectations move toward reality, the slack that grows makes the “twangs” hurt a lot less. So one goal is to keep our expectations as close to the reality as possible. Here are some of the Twangs of life in Lebanon so far:

  1. Expectation = We will find language helpers and be able to work with someone on language every day.

    Reality = 1 Arabic teacher 3 times a week

    TWANG!!!    If we clung to the every day goal like we did at first, we would not be able to recognize the extreme blessing that our language teacher is. In addition, because we did not find other language helpers yet, Louis and I have been able to adjust to life here without overpacking our schedules. Our language learning is at an Intensive level with 6 hrs. per week of class, and while we still hope to find language helpers to practice more intentionally with in the future, we are pleased with our life now and have stepped our Expectations over toward Reality. The reality of our situation is that there are only three people on our team who speak English well enough to help us at this point, but they are already overworked and do not have the time. As we continue to live here we hope to find friends with good English and free time to have conversation dates. Also, we are now at a Survival Level of Arabic, and so are very pleased with our class as it is now.

  2. Expectation = We will be in Lebanon for 6 months, then we will fly back to the States to finish fundraising.

    Reality = Until Horizons is a registered organization here we are only on tourist visas which expire after three months.

    TWANG!!!    Due to the last traveling ending with David in the hospital I have been terrified of traveling with him again. I thought after 6 months maybe I would be over it, and to find that I have to take him at the end of THIS MONTH to another country was very overwhelming. But now I am excited about our mini vacation to Cyprus, an island the apostle Paul was on with Barnabus. We are going to have a beach day, an IKEA shopping day, and then come back home to Lebanon. The next three month trip should end at the time our flight goes back to America, and then we will be in Arizona until we can raise our funds.

  3. Expectation = We will get used to the noise.

    Reality = Nope!

    TWANG!!!    Our apartment is right above a very busy street, and when we first moved in the whole apartment echoed due to being completely empty and with only tile. In Phoenix we had lived next to a busy street, so I figured we would eventually tune it out, and as we got furniture the echoing went away for the most part. But as the World Cup happened there were fireworks every time someone scored, and then last night was a holiday for the Saint Elias (Elijah) which had unending fireworks for several hours….We are still adjusting our expectations on this one.

     

    I am sure many of you have experienced these same types of Twangs in your own lives. There are other examples as well, and we will continue to adjust our expectations toward reality in many areas. However, (here is a paradox for you) sometimes we must have higher expectations than the reality, and there will be many twangs as we do ministry. An example of this is that we see many needs at the center that we hope to help fill, and our continuing to have high expectations for them will eventually help us accomplish many amazing things for God here.

     

    One of our expectations is that people who are coming to visit the center from America are not having a good experience. This is ridiculous since there is so much amazing going on! There are salvations, healings, and religious freedom here. Louis really needs to write up some of these amazing stories for you guys! In any case, we are now in charge of helping these foreigners have a good experience and be better utilized at the refugee center, so our high expectations, and the Twangs that we were bringing up with Pierre brought about an excellent change! Yay God!!! There is more to this graphic, so stay tuned for a later update on Mr. Feelings and his family! We love you guys!!!