Short-term Missions: blessing or a curse? (Part 1/2)

As we prepare for our first two interns coming next week, I found this article, and really appreciated it. I will probably read our interns sections of it because it is so right on point with what we want them to understand about coming here. It can be so easy to get into our rut (or rather a singular focus) here of language learning and ministry and forget everything else around us, and we are very excited to have the renewed energy that will come with these two lovely God sends. Be praying for them and for us.

In recent years there have been a number of blog articles, books and online discussions which question the validity of short-term mission teams. It might seem that short-term missions is losing its glow as people realize the inordinate cost of sending teams and individuals overseas for two or three weeks and wonder if it wouldn’t be better to use that money to invest in long-term missionaries or supporting national workers.

Over the past fifteen years we have been privileged to host literally hundreds of people, primarily students, on short-term mission trips in Thailand. We have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. We have hosted teams who have made us laugh and one or two who have made us cry. At the end of a team visit we are always exhausted and behind with 101 mundane admin and practical tasks which have been squeezed out of the schedule by…

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Psalm 40

Well, we are almost to the end of Book 1 of Psalms. Psalm 41 is the last one, in fact. I will be focusing in on Romans, and as Louis gets better maybe we can do more than one each week, but I hope this Psalms study has helped you build a daily habit of Bible reading.

Next Week: Psalm 41 & Romans 8


This Psalm shares about the relationship between David and God. He waits patiently on the Lord and God responds to him. God gives him sturdy ground and deliverance, even teaching him the Psalms that he writes. Because of God’s salvation, many turn to God. And God grants that same relationship to all who turn to him, blessing them and hearing when they call. God does not need sacrifice from us, but to have us delight in following Him wholeheartedly. We must share the gospel of Jesus Christ without holding back, without hiding it in our own hearts. God will not keep his mercy and love from us. When we pray that others will fall who try to harm us, it is in knowing that God should be known by all who know us. If we merely pray curses on others without living lives that share the gospel, we are not fulfilling God’s will. Instead, as we share God’ salvation and love in our lives, others who may have been those who would have harmed us can turn to God. If not, then God will deal with them. We can seek God, with full trust in His speedy help in times of need, and that He is never far away, and always knows what is happening with our lives.


David—the Psalmist, the Lord, the man who puts his trust in the Lord, the proud, the great congregation, those who seek to snatch my life away, those who delight in my hurt

Key Verse

Verse 9    “I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; behold, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O Lord.”

Cross References

Psalm 22:25 “From you comes my praise in the great congregation; my vows I will perform before those who fear him.”

Psalm 119:13 “With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth.”

Acts 20:18-21, 26-27 “And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ…Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”

Joshua 22:22 “”The Mighty One, God, the Lord! The Mighty One, God, the Lord! He knows; and let Israel itself know! If it was in rebellion or in breach of faith against the Lord, do not spare us today”


    God is all knowing, and He sees the motives of our heart. Because Jesus died for us, we now have forgiveness. Before Jesus our sins would have weighed on us like David’s, never fully being erased. We are so blessed to seek and trust the Lord. We can’t help but tell everyone of His goodness as we strive to become closer to Him.

Jesus in the Psalm

“Throughout history, Christians have viewed the Psalter ultimately as a collection of Christ’s prayers. The way this psalm occurs in the New Testament reinforces that conviction. In fact, Hebrews 10:5-7 quotes Psalm 40:6-7 and attributes the words to Christ.”*

Hebrews 10:5-7 “Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.'””

“With this perspective, the psalm also provides insight into our Redeemer’s earthly experience, which melts our hearts and shapes our service for him. The opening stanza can also be used to describe Christ being delivered from the “miry bog” of death and raised to “set [his] feet” upon a “rock” of God’s provision (vv. 1-2). From that place, our risen King empowers our worship (v. 3; cf. Heb. 2:12) and enables us to work “wondrous deeds” (Ps. 40:5; cf. John 14:12). As an obedient Son, Jesus humbled himself to save the world his Father loved (Ps. 40:6-8). Jesus the Prophet taught God’s “love” and “faithfulness” (Ps. 40:9-10; cf. John 17:8, 14).”*

Hebrews 2:10-12 “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.””

John 14:12 “”Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”

John 17:8, 14 “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me…I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

“Believers should read through this psalm first with the effort to make it their own prayer. Then we should read it again with the comfort that, because Christ prayed it perfectly, he can enable his disciples where our faith is weak.”*

Monday: Last Psalm of is Book 1, Psalm 41

*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 39

Sorry again to be skipping Romans, but I thought it would be better to post a Psalm than nothing at all. Louis is too sick to do the Bible Study with me, his stomach bug turned into a chest cold from being in front of the fan so much. Please be praying for all three of us to be healthy. We have a kids’ day camp at the center this weekend that we will be helping out at.


    David continues to lament over the punishment for his sin. He tries to stay silent, waiting on the Lord, but he burned inside until he had to speak. He asks God to remind him of how fleeting he is, and then does remember. He shares about how the Lord holds our lives and it is nothing as compared with the length of God’s life. Mankind is merely a breath, we have no control over even the legacy we leave behind. He again asks the Lord to deliver him from these consequences of his sin, that he might not be scorned by fools. The punishment of God consumes, and reminds me of the fire that will burn away all our impurities. David seeks the Lord to listen and bring peace, to turn his punishment away. He is reminded that he is merely a sojourner here and that he and all before him are guests on Earth, which I think is a great visual.

    I can relate to this situation. I know that I messed up and have to handle the consequences, but it is hard to suffer, even when we deserve it. So, I cry out again asking God to save me. And God listens. In our consequences for sin we can draw near to Him. He does not stand far off watching, but is right there with us. By seeking forgiveness we are back in relationship with Him, stronger than ever.


David—the Psalmist, the Lord, all mankind, the fool, my fathers

Key Verse

Verse 12 “”Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not your peace at my tears! For I am a sojourner with you, a guest, like all my fathers.”

Cross References

Psalm 102:1 “Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you!”

Psalm 119:19 “I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!”

Leviticus 25:23 “”The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me.”

1 Chronicles 29:15 “For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding.”

Hebrews 11:13-16 “These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.”

1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

Genesis 47:9 “And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.””


    Just as Jesus, we do not have a place to lay our heads here. There is something more our hearts long for, Heaven. And that legacy we want to build up is to draw others toward God as well. How sad to only have this earth and what you do here and store up here be your legacy. We want the eternal things. This makes it even more necessary to live godly lives so that we can be a light to those around us. Many look at Christians as fools, mock them, persecute them, etc. As the 1 Peter verse says, in the end we want them to be forced to glorify God because we were living right lives before them, even though they mocked. This is much of what David talks about suffering, too, the wounds of those who wrongfully accuse.

Jesus in the Psalm

    “Psalm 39 is the cry of one who suddenly feels the futility and shortness of his own time on earth. Indeed, the fall in Genesis 3 did introduce a futility and frustration into our earthly lives. In the gospel, however, we are promised that this earthly life is not all we have. Rather, those united to Christ stand to inherit the entire world (Matt. 5:5; 25:34; 1 Cor. 3:21). Here and now, we are “sojourners,” strangers (Ps. 39:12). But it will not always be so.”*

Genesis 3:16-23 “To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.”

Matthew 5:3,5, 8-10 “”Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth…”Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Tomorrow: Psalm 40

*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 38


David wrote this Psalm for the memorial offering. David is feeling the conviction from God for his sins and asking for mercy. He expresses how devastated he is by his sins, and how others are avoiding him as well. He is seeking God in this time, longing for Him. People are still against him, but he has become numb to all of it, unresponsive, or perhaps passive is a good description as David waits on the Lord. David says he is ready for his discipline, since living with his sin is destroying him. There are still those who are against him wrongfully and despise his pursuit of righteousness. So, he continues to seek God as his salvation.


David—the Psalmist, the Lord, my foes

Key Verse

Verse 3-4 “There is no soundness in my flesh because of your indignation; there is no health in my bones because of my sin. For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.”

Cross References

Isaiah 1:5-6 “Why will you still be struck down? Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it, but bruises and sores and raw wounds; they are not pressed out or bound up or softened with oil.”

Psalm 31:10 “For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away.”

Psalm 40:12 “For evils have encompassed me beyond number; my iniquities have overtaken me, and I cannot see; they are more than the hairs of my head; my heart fails me.”

Ezra 9:6 “saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.”


Our sin is destructive to our souls, to people around us, and, of course, to our relationship with God. We are so blessed to be taken care of by God in such a way that He forgives us so quickly, that we can turn to Him with our iniquities immediately, and He will deliver and heal us. We, like David may need to have some discipline, some consequences, but those consequences are worth it to return to a right relationship with God.

Jesus in the Psalm

“This is an explicit confession of personal sin against God (vv. 1, 3, 18). The Lord had to discipline David before he could smell the stench of his sin, feel the agony of his iniquity, suffer the shame of his guilt, and realize the numbness of his spiritual senses (vv. 5-12; Luke 23:49; Rom. 6:21). God’s discipline of a believer is meant to soften the heart and ultimately restore fellowship. When we are in the midst of divine discipline, we are called to wait on the Lord (Ps. 38:15).”*

Luke 23:49 [The Death of Jesus] “And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.”

Romans 6:21 “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.”

Tomorrow: Romans 8

*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 37


    Again we are reminded not to be concerned with those who do evil, God will take care of them. He will take care of us, too. This Psalm shares in many ways that God watches over those who love Him and follow Him. Even if the wicked single you out to destroy, they can’t. Now, before you give me a, “But…”. I could give you plenty of Buts. God is in charge. Even when two of our friends were mugged and much of their stuff stolen in Africa a few months ago, God still has a plan for them, a purpose, a calling. And their souls were preserved. Their bodies were injured, their faith may have even been jarred, but both of those wonderful ladies fell back on God, clung to His deliverance. And in the end, God preserves our lives eternally. Those men who robbed my friends may not end up in Heaven with us, and that is the real justice, damnation. And we have escaped it by accepting our need for a Savior and then pursuing Him as He fills our hearts. Throughout the Psalm are also sprinkled advice on how to act in righteousness.


David—the Psalmist, evildoers, wrongdoers, the Lord, those who wait for the Lord, wicked, righteous, blameless, those blessed by the Lord, those cursed by the Lord, his saints, the upright, man of peace, transgressors

Key Verse

Verses 25-26 “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.”

Cross References

Psalm 109:10 “May his children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!” [David again praying for justice against those who plot against him]

Job 15:20, 23 “The wicked man writhes in pain all his days, through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless…He wanders abroad for bread saying, ‘Where is it?’ He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand”

Psalm 112:5-9 “It is well with the man who deals generously and lends; who conducts his affairs with justice. For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. His hear is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-11 “”If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be. Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.'”

Matthew 5:42 “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.”

Luke 6:35-36 “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”


    Guard your hearts from pride and greed that may keep us from showing how very different God desires us to be from the rest of the world. Some who claim to follow God are really out for violence and destruction. Yet, our Lord says in the face of all that, to wait on Him. Hard as it may seem, and to live out the life He called us to. Lives of service for Him, sharing about Him at all times and circumstances.

Jesus in the Psalm

“Despite the temporary success of “evildoers,” dependence on God will bring eternal reward (vv. 1-2, 7-11). Rather than “fretting,” David prescribes meekness just as Jesus did in the third beatitude (v. 22; Matt. 5:5; James 1:20; Rom. 12:21). While the New Testament speaks only occasionally of meekness (e.g., Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 3:15; James 1:21), this psalm is nearly encyclopedic. Meekness is strength from trust in a sovereign God, and David imagines the first step to be rolling his burdens onto the Lord (Ps. 37:5).”*

Matthew 5:5 “”Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

James 1:19-21 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

Romans 12:21 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Colossians 3:12-13 “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”

1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,”

Tomorrow: Psalm 38

*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 7

Monday     Psalm 36

Tuesday    Psalm 37

Wednesday    Psalm 38

Thursday    Romans 8

Friday         Psalm 39

Saturday     Psalm 40



    This chapter discusses Law. Laws of marriage, and how this is like dying to the law through Christ. The argument then is whether or not law is sin. No, but it reveals sin, and makes us aware of sins, maybe even tempting us to sin, or see how close we can skirt the law (anyone ever gone over the speed limit while driving?). Sin produces death. Christ produces life. Our life is spent in this battle between our sin nature, and our born again spirit creating a new nature for us.


Paul, all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his saints, brothers, those who know the law, married woman, husband, Christ, the Spirit, the law, sin, God, my flesh

Key Verse

Verses 6 & 21-22 “But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code…So I find it to be a law that when I do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”

Cross References

Romans 6:4 “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”

Romans 2:27-29 “Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, not is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

2 Corinthians 3:5-6 “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

Psalm 1:2 “but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Psalm 112:1 “Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!”

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

2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

Ephesians 3:14-19 “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what I the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”


In the last chapter, Paul said that Christians are not slaves to sin, but here he says he is a slave to sin. This is the difference between justification—which has been given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—and sanctification—the ongoing process of cleansing and renewal as 2 Corinthians 4:16 said above. We have been bought by Jesus, ransomed, and yet we still carry the chains that once bound us and sometimes get bound up in them again. We, like Paul can be dissatisfied with our returning to sin, we want to continue to be godlier every day. Our anguish and frustration with sin is what reminds us of our need to repent and return to God. This is a huge part of the relationship we have with Christ, as we have also seen in the Psalms.

When Paul realized that Jesus could rescue him from his wretched condition, he cried out, “Thanks be to God!” If this is your response too, spend time thanking him.

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

Pray For The Middle East

Today was supposed to be a Bible Study post on Romans, which is the Bible Study Louis and I are doing, but he is sick. Instead, I was thinking about the amazing things happening here, and wanted to make sure people knew about them. Additionally, this week the emails and Skype calls asking about The Situation over here have increased dramatically. I am not sure why this week was different, but I wanted to share with you again that has daily and weekly updates on prayer requests and praise reports happening all over the Middle East. We have had not just 1 but 2 people in ISIS come to Christ recently!

With all the exciting things God is doing, there is still desperation for prayer every day. Please be in prayer for those people coming from war-torn, traumatic situations. They are on our heart as we meet them, pray with them, and minister to them at the center.

Psalm 35

This blog has been very helpful for me in a surprising way. If you have been following our prayer requests while here in Lebanon, you know that we have struggled with giving ourselves grace. We want to be good at everything, have a place in ministry, and be helpful now. Not knowing enough Arabic to share at the center, or understand sermons or meetings, is hard. Too easily we start adding to our TO DO list with all the things we Should be doing to get better at Arabic, cleaning our house, taking care of Davy, now taking care of our marriage, and, and, and! You get the idea? We wear ourselves out with expectations that did not necessarily come from God. We have been praying to learn to give ourselves more grace. This Bible Study has helped me in that, which is not the lesson I expected to learn. I expected to learn discipline and be able to connect with people. Instead, my missing a day does not any longer cause me guilt. If we don’t have internet, it can’t send, and there’s nothing I can do about it. The first few times we lost internet for awhile we would spend hours trying to work on it, stressing about it, worried about upsetting people back home, or Davy. Now it is a common part of life, and you get to experience it with us. Yesterday was so hot, and Louis and I felt very tired and sick and just beat, that we spent the majority of the day in bed. Today when I woke up feeling rested and started to prioritize my day, I realized I had written no Bible Study, had merely read the Creation story and Davy’s devotional to Davy. I didn’t feel guilty or stressed, just thought, well, that’s the way it goes. Thank you for praying for us, and I hope you rejoice with us in this answer to prayer and learning experience.


    David is asking God for justice in his life. With no reason, people are attacking him, and trying to trap him. David asks that God would turn their evil upon their own heads, and this would be cause for celebrating God and His salvation. When these attackers were sick, David mourned for them, prayed for them, and felt deeply sad along with them. But as David stumbles these same people laugh, and mock. David is beginning to feel the length of time this has been going on, and asks God for rescue so that those who are wrongfully his foes and those who do not seek peace, would be stopped by God. Then he seeks favor for those who rejoice in David’s righteousness, who praise God.


David—the Psalmist, the Lord, my pursuers, my soul, malicious witnesses, wretches whom I did not know, profane mockers, the great congregation, my foes, those who delight in my righteousness

Key Verse

David, amidst all the wrongs done to him that he is asking God to save him from, gives us two examples of how we should act amidst our foes and our Christian community.

Verses 13 & 27 “But I, when they were sick—I wore sackcloth; I afflicted myself with fasting; I prayed with head bowed on my chest…Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!””

Cross References

Job 30:25 “Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?”

Psalm 69:10-11 “When I wept and humbled my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. When I made a sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.”

1 Kings 20:31 “And his servants said to him, “Behold now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes on our heads and go out to the king of Israel. Perhaps he will spare your life.””

Numbers 29:7 “On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work,” [Day of Atonement]

Matthew 10:13 “And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.”

Luke 10:6 “And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you.”

Psalm 40:16 “But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!””

Psalm 70:4 “May all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you! May those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!””

Psalm 34:3 “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!”

Psalm 149:4 “For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”


    I want to be the person who others feel peace near. I want to praise the Lord always for what He is doing in the lives around me. I want to pray, fast, weep, and mourn for those who may turn out to be my enemies, and even if I already know them to be foes. I want to live a life worthy of God’s favor because He already has shown me His favor.

Jesus in the Psalm

“While some dismiss “imprecatory” psalms (prayers for cursing) like this one as inappropriate, the Bible’s own testimony is that David wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Sam. 23:1-2; Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16). David’s inspired words reveal his Greater Son’s passion for his rule to come to earthly expression. That passion calls believers to submit their wills to the same ultimate goal. Christ prays for his enemies to be defeated so that his kingdom and our salvation would not be interrupted (Ps. 35:1-18; Rom. 11:9-10). As they echo David’s prayer, Christians will be diverted from personal vengeance (Rom. 12:17-21). Surrendering all vengeance to Christ means that Christians are prepared even to suffer, if that is how Christ chooses to defeat their enemies (Ps. 35:19-25; John 15:25; Rom. 12:15). Their constant prayer must be that all of Christ’s enemies would be conquered first by conversion. The goal of God’s threats is always conversion—that, rather than being “clothed with shame,” his ememies would come to be among those who proclaim, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant” (Ps. 35:26-28; Jer. 18:7-10).”*

2 Samuel 23:1-2 “Now these are the last words of David: The oracle of David, the son of Jesse, the oracle of the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel: “The Sprit of the LORD speaks by me; his word is on my tongue.”

Mark 12:36 “David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.'”

Acts 1:16 “”Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”

Romans 11:9-10 “And David says, “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a retribution for them; let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and bend their backs forever.”

Romans 12:15-21 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

John 15:25 “But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.'”

Jeremiah 18:7-10 “If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck it up and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”

“Whatever difficulties imprecatory psalms such as this one raise, the ultimate truth they teach is that the curses David pronounces really should fall on us. Our sin deserves cursing. But such curses have fallen instead on our Savior. He substituted himself in our place, so that the Father can truly say to our souls, “I am your salvation!” (Ps. 35:3).”*

Tomorrow: Romans 7

*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 34


    When David fled Saul because King Saul wanted to kill him, he fled to the Kings of Gath. The story is found in 1 Samuel chapter 21. It can be confusing with these unfamiliar names, but in chapter 21 there is the priest Ahimelech who he runs to for food and weapons, in verses 10-15 is the reference for Psalm 34’s beginning. Achish may have been the particular name of the king, while Abimelech (a B instead of the H in the name of the priest) might have been the common title of Kings of Gath (or vice versa) ( & In any case, the change of behavior was that he pretended to be insane so that the Philistines wouldn’t kill him because they had heard of all the Philistines he had killed (verses 11 & 13).


    The Psalm itself is an acrostic poem, meaning that in Hebrew each verse begins with a succeeding letter from the alphabet, like Psalm 119. In a time of great stress, when you still want to seek God, it can be nice to have a structure to pray in. David is using this structure during his stress and life threatening situation, and I have done the same thing at night when I can’t sleep. My mom told me to go through the alphabet to think of Godly things, or things I was thankful for.

    This Psalm describes David praising Him at all times, seeking the Lord, and recognizing that God hears His people’s cry. The Lord is good, and we should fear Him, for He takes care of us. God is near to those who need Him, who are broken, crushed, and while the righteous suffer a lot, God always delivers and redeems them. These same afflictions will destroy the wicked, because they have no one to save them. God will restore our lives, and none who come to him will be condemned.


David—the Psalmist, Abimelech, the Lord, my soul, us—His saints, those who look to Him/seek Him, this poor man, the angel of the Lord, those who fear him, those who take refuge in him, children, the righteous, the wicked, His servants

Key Verse

Verse 19-22 “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”

Cross References: And an explanation for how each verse is key to me.

Verse 19     I chose because it is what verse 21 is responding to. The wicked are slain by the afflictions that don’t harm us. The LORD delivers us from death.

2 Timothy 3:10-13 “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and imposters will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Psalm 34: 6, 17, 22 “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles…When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles…The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.”

Acts 12:11 “When Peter came to himself, he said, “Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.”

Verse 20     This is Jesus. Jesus was killed, but not one of His bones were broken. This verse is prophecy of Jesus Christ.

John 19:36 “For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.””

Verse 21    While we often feel our own afflictions, and feel like we are not being delivered, we believe the Bible. We know the end of the story. The wicked cannot last striving against their afflictions, they will perish. There will be judgment for their pride in thinking we were the fools to run to God.

Psalm 94:23 “He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out.”

Proverbs 24:15-16 “Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.”

Psalm 7:15-16 “He makes a pit, digging it out, and falls into the hole that he has made. His mischief returns upon his own head, and on his own skull his violence descends.”

Verse 22    We will not be condemned for running to God, he created us for His good purpose, He wants us to run to Him. He redeems our lives. Besides we only have between 0-70 years of suffering here on earth before we get to go to Heaven, so very miniscule a time.

Psalm 25:22 “Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.”

Romans 8:33-34 “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”


    We are on the right team. We are God’s people, His servants, who follow Him in trust because He takes care of us. Even though it may not seem like we are being delivered, remember the hope that you have for a future, for fruit, and seek God for that future.

Jesus in the Psalm

“The Lord undergirds his “brokenhearted” saints by readily drawing near to their cries (Ps. 34:17-19). Our Lord’s proximity to and identification with the broken is realized most fully in Christ’s earthly ministry. He entered into our suffering and pain to rescue us from their ultimate claim on our eternities.”*

“Suffering brings believers into communion with the suffering Savior and a paradoxical kind of comfort that is found only in the difficult times of life (2 Cor. 1:5; 2 Tim. 3:11).”*

2 Corinthians 1:5 “For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”

“With the Lord’s presence surrounding him, even the believer’s body is nourished and his countenance is put at ease (Ps. 34:4-10; Heb. 1:14; 1 Pet. 2:3).”*

Hebrews 1:14 “Are [angels] not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?”

1 Peter 2:3 “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.”

“Ultimate physical healing is guaranteed by the believer’s union with the crucified and resurrected Christ, whose body was preserved by the Father (Ps. 34:20; John 19:36; 1 Cor. 15:20-23).”*

1 Corinthians 15:20-23 “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.”

Tomorrow: Psalm 35

*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 33 & Next Week’s Reading Schedule

We pay for month by month internet, which also has a maximum usage, and we actually used it up, so our internet expired Saturday literally while I was typing this up. We refilled/recharged/paid for it today, so here you go.

Today        Psalm 33

Tuesday    Psalm 34

Wednesday    Psalm 35

Thursday    Romans 7

Friday        Psalm 36

Saturday    Psalm 37


Praise the Lord! God is upright and faithful, loves righteousness and justice. He fills the earth with His love. He is Creator, and has all the power. People, armies, powerful beasts are nothing as compared with Him. He is the only one who can deliver a soul from death. We are to fear him, be glad in him, trust him, and hope in him.


The Psalmist, the Lord, the earth, the heavens, the host of the heavens, all the inhabitants of the world, the counsel of the nations, the peoples, the nation whose God is the LORD, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage, all the children of man, kings, warriors, those who fear the Lord, those who hope in Him, our soul, our heart

Key Verse

Verse 4-5 “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the LORD.”

Cross References

Psalm 119:75 “I know, O LORD, that your rules are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.”

Psalm 11:7 “For the LORD is righteous; he loves righteous deeds; the upright shall behold his face.”

Psalm 36:5-6 “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.”

Psalm 45:7 “you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;”

Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice ae the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.”

Psalm 119:64 “The earth, O LORD, is full of your steadfast love; teach me your statutes!”


If we truly believe that we are full of the love of Christ, and that we have surrendered our lives to God, then we believe He knows what is happening in our lives. He is in charge. I think our sin binds us, but also, God gives us challenges that seem binding or painful. We have to grow through them to get to the place He wants us to be, to mature to be the person He wants us to be. So, the very first cross reference, that God has afflicted him is true. God put us around people that will hurt us (especially in the church), or puts us in a work place with bad ethics, or we can’t get a job, or…what is your affliction from God? How are you growing through it? Are you hoping in a human salvation, that the other person will change, or that you will figure your way out of it? Are you hoping in God’s salvation power, a salvation that you must wait on patiently, all the while praising him?

Jesus in the Psalm

“Specific commands in verses 1-3 also teach that God’s grace is worthy of our skill, freshness, and fervor. Playing “skillfully” implies mastery and excellence (v. 3). A “new song” calls experienced worshipers to renew their praise for their Savior (v. 3; cf. Eph. 5:19; Rev. 14:3). And shouting connotes fervent preparation of mind and body to engage in worship energetically. Inspiration for such vigor in worship is not peripheral tol the biblical version of Christian worship. Because of who God is, supremely in the incarnate Christ who was given for us and for our salvation, he deserves our all (cf. Rom. 12:1-2).”*

Ephesians 5:18-21 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Revelation 14:1-3 “Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

“Jesus came teaching and healing in order to convince us that it is our “Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Through the gospel, we have all we could ever want or need, and all for free.”*

Luke 12:32-34 “”Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Monday: Psalm 34

*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