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Psalms 16, Study–“Something Good”

Psalm 16

7 I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
   even at night my heart instructs me.
8 I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
   With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

 9 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
   my body also will rest secure,
10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
   nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
11 You make known to me the path of life;
   you will fill me with joy in your presence,
   with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

 

This is perhaps one of the most beautiful parts of scripture.  There are so many truths enmeshed in this text.  It’s like a chocolate chip cookie, with truth spread through each bite. (Silly analogy, I know.)  But when we examine it and bring ourselves to obey it, His riches flow directly into us.

There must be an understanding, and verses 7-8 brings Him very close to us.  We connect in a special way.  The Psalmist describes us having a direct awareness of His close presence.  But he also describes his general attitude toward the Presence of God.  He wants to be aware–24 hours a day, continuously.

Verses 9-10 are describing a victory over death.  The Psalmist has come to a definite point, he can no longer see death the way everyone else does.  He understands it to be a very silly charade, and somehow he sees through it.  Because of the Lord’s intervention, he comes to this delicious point.  The ugly obscenity of death, is completely undone.

This confidence of the Psalmist is further extended.  He thinks and feels like he  is bulletproof.  Nothing touches or degrades his faith.  He walks out into life and into the confusion.  But you must understand this.  His faith in God has made him “teflon.”  And indeed he does process a deep understanding of the source of love and joy, he knows it.  As he taps into this, he will now have the real possibility of overcoming the darkness, that could very easily absorb him.

The deep truths of this particular Psalm has the incredible potential to transform us into supernatural people.  As we focus on Psalm 16, and endeavour to make it our own, it will change us and it has the power to revolutionize us in a most profound way.  I say, let it come.

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Psalm 16, Study– “He is Always Good”

 Psalm 16

1 Protect me, God,
       because I trust in you.
 2 I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord.
       Every good thing I have comes from you.”
 3 As for the godly people in the world,
       they are the wonderful ones I enjoy.
 4 But those who turn to idols
       will have much pain.
    I will not offer blood to those idols
       or even speak their names.

 5 No, the Lord is all I need.
       He takes care of me.
 6 My share in life has been pleasant;
       my part has been beautiful.

Psalm 16:1-6,  New Century Version

This Psalm is profoundly deep, and the themes it discusses are definitely significant.  The Psalmist has a steady and direct confidence in all that swirls around him.  He knows that God is available and perched to protect him.  To a certain extent he thinks that as he gives himself over to Him, he will be protected and watched over.  He sees that God’s innate goodness is available to the needs his soul has.

We operate and function completely surrounded.  There is no way we can diminish God’s goodness.  It’s the way He functions–He will never be bad, but only and completely good.  The Psalmist goes on to proclaim the wonderfulness of God’s people.  They are outstanding, they are terrific.  He loves those who belong to Him.  The Psalmist understand these two incredible concepts:  God’s goodness and God’s people.  These two resources will help him deal with the future.

The Psalmist abhors the falseness of idolatry.  When you have truly experienced the reality of God, just being with  idols will truly bring you to despair and futility.  In the piercing light, we cannot imagine a substitute.  He knows that God rules and directs.  The Psalmist will not budge or falter.  God sits on the throne, exclusively, and He doesn’t share it with an idol.  Nothing can change that, especially no false maneuvering or manipulation here on earth.  He will still be God.  The Psalmist speaks,

No, the Lord is all I need.
       He takes care of me.
 6 My share in life has been pleasant;
       my part has been beautiful.”

He has a “razor’s edge” understanding of all that has been given him.  God Himself is his source.  God is the well he draws water out of.  God is the complete source of all his needs.  Can you say that?  Will God, your Father provide for a struggling “you?”

As we analyze this Psalm, we are brought into this sense that the believer has been led into a confidence, and an assurance of God’s exceptional goodness.  The writer clearly speaks of “pleasantness” and “being beautiful.”  Without a doubt, these key words will adjust, and assist us to savor His grace.  He has made things to be pleasant and beautiful.  We must take this confidence, and weave it into our lives.

^

ybic, Bryan

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Getting Down and Dirty

by Julie Anne Fidler, BB Weekly Contributor

I have a confession to make: I used to avoid church. It wasn’t because the overhead lighting gave me migraines (even though it did.) It wasn’t because my lazy cat had more pep than the worship team, or because I always managed to find a pew filled with screaming children throwing Goldfish crackers. In reality, I have been a member of two churches over the past ten years and both of them were great, Bible-believing churches.

It’s just that everyone in church is so darn perfect, you know? Look around you. Everyone has it all together. Sure, those kids may be throwing crackers, but they’re destined to become evangelists. The women have great hair and impeccable fashion taste and are obviously dream wives. The men never struggle with lust and have never been guilty of spending too many hours at the office.

Right.

But this has been my impression of church for as long as I can remember. The older I get, the more I realize how crazy that is, but I do battle with the concept even now. Church is supposed to be the one place where we get really honest with God, others, and ourselves.  It’s the place where you are supposed to show up with your dirt and your bruises. We are supposed to reach out and say, “Life is hard; help me.” Too often, however, we wear our best, not just on the outside, but on the inside. We want to blend in, look content, and seem overjoyed with the life we are leading.

Even if I never had a mental illness, I would struggle. The fact that I do have one makes it that much harder because I know that a couple of pills mean the difference between being OK and all my engines completely shutting down.  I know that being obedient to Christ becomes a million times harder when I’m sick. I also know that if I shared this part of my life with everyone in that sanctuary, I’d be met with suspicion and disappointment – not by everyone, but by some.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Oh, but I definitely struggle with fear. I know I shouldn’t. I know there’s no good reason to, but I do. I fear the reaction of others. I fear I cannot measure up to the standards of others. I fear looking like a fool.

I deal with these fears by facing them. Don’t get the wrong idea – I’m not trying to frame myself as a martyr.  Some people willingly jump out of airplanes. Some people get as high as the clouds, freak out, and have to be coaxed out the door. I have to be coaxed, but the more I do it, the easier it gets.  I want to be the real me when I walk through those church doors, when I go to a small group, when I sit down with a Christian friend for coffee. Jesus went to the dark places. He knelt down in the gutters. He got dirty. I don’t want to spend my life wearing a lily white uniform.

I want the Church to understand mental illness. As it stands, I think the Church is afraid of it. Of course you are going to be afraid of something you don’t understand. If I want the Church to understand mental illness and effectively reach out to “the least of these” who are suffering with it, I have to introduce them to it. I have to get dirty. I have to be honest about my own time in the gutter, my own days of wandering, if I want them to understand and respond in love.

I may run into resistance and fear, but even if I educate one person in the process, that’s one more voice speaking the truth and cracking the façade. I take a point away from the enemy, who is the creator of fear. Don’t be silent about who you are and what you battle. Trade in your spotless uniform for some dirty rags. Let’s get the Church a little dirty. Let’s love them into loving those who are lost and alone.

Julie Anne Fidler is a contributing writer for Brokenbelievers.com.  She comes with a humble and understanding heart for those with a mental illness.  Her writing gift is valued greatly.  Look for her post weekly, on this blog.   She keeps a personal ministry blog at www.mymentalhealthday.blogspot.com.  Read more there.

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Suicide– A Second Look

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 1 million people die each year from suicide. What drives so many individuals to take their own lives? To those not in the grips of suicidal depression and despair, it’s difficult to understand. But a suicidal person is in so much pain that he or she can see no other option.

Suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable. Blinded by feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation, a suicidal person can’t see any way of finding relief except through death. But despite their desire for the pain to stop, most suicidal people are deeply conflicted about ending their own lives. They wish there was an alternative to committing suicide, but they just can’t see one. 

Suicide is not chosen; it happens
when pain exceeds
resources for coping with pain.

Because of their ambivalence about dying, suicidal individuals usually give warning signs or signals of their intentions. The best way to prevent suicide is to know and watch for these warning signs and to get involved if you spot them. If you believe that a friend or family member is suicidal, you can play a role in suicide prevention by pointing out the alternatives, showing that you care, and getting a doctor or psychologist involved.

Common Misconceptions about Suicide

FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.

FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.

FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

FALSE: People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help . 
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths.

FALSE: Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true –bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

 

Source: SAVE – Suicide Awareness Voices of Education

Excellent site: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

More info: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/suicide_prevention.htm

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Five of the Greatest Sites Ever *

 
 
“The Teacher sought to find just the right words  to express truths clearly.”  Eccl. 12:10, NLT

 

I came across these and wanted very much to share them with anyone interested in some extracurricular reading.  I have hand-picked these out of hundreds of possible posts.  I know these will be a blessing.

There is somewhat of a mixture here.  Some will be links to articles on mental illness, and others on Christian discipleship.  And maybe, this might become a regular feature here on BB. (Who knows what lurks in my brain? lol)  But what you find below, may be an incredibly rich blessing for you.

 

I.  Lithium, “The Metal Marvel” 

Discover Magazine has always been a good source of fascinating insight.  Lithium for 50 years has been the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder.

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/the-brain-2/27-metal-marvel-mended-brains-50-years-lithium

II.  The Best Online Bible, Ever

An exceptional site that I use daily.  (It’s like a carpenter’s favorite hammer.) Almost 30 translations, search topics or themes.  It is fresh and modern.  I use it whenever I need to “cut & paste” a passage into a post.  I’ve tried many and yet, this remains the best.

http://www.biblegateway.com/

III.  Intelligence Linked to Bipolar Disorder

Research has indicated that bipolar disorder may be up to four times more common in young people who were straight-A students. A link between high IQ and bipolar disorder has been proposed for many years.

http://psychcentral.com/lib/2010/intelligence-linked-to-bipolar-disorder/

IV.  259,731 Bible Questions Answered!

 Got Questions?  A solid and comprehensive place for anyone to sort things out.  It’s easy to navigate.  It is a “safe” place to think out loud about hard things.  Do you have a question about God, Jesus, the Bible, or theology?   Have you ever needed help understanding a Bible verse or passage?  Are there any spiritual issues in your life for which you need advice or counsel?



V.  Alltop Bipolar Links

Alltop is essentially a news aggregator— they supply a one page site of continuously updated links, on a topical base.  They do a lot of broad subjects (I haven’t used it, except for BP news.)  I don’t consult it often, but when I do it is almost always great. ( Alltop has started showing Broken Believer posts, yeah!!)

http://bipolar.alltop.com/

 ************

* In my humble opinion, as of this moment, on this particular day, and is subject to change without warning

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Making Progress

The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.

Mark 4:28, NLT

 

This concept of physical growth is now applied by Jesus to us.  He has cultivated us, and we must insist on a maturation.  We sprout, and extend ourselves in a growth that means, ‘there is now life’ here.  Life is not  mechanically rigid.  It has nothing to do with plastic, steel girders or cement.  It is emphatically not a concrete issue.  It is life!  It has a very different definition.

Jesus takes a seed, that seed splits open.  A green leaf pushes through, and it is growing!  Put into the ground, and watered, it will have life!  It is living.  This all seems easy and obvious now.  “Of course,” we say.  “I understand that.”  But when Jesus taught this (even as simple as it is) the implications were profound.  The earth seemed to shake when He declared this truth.  Things would never be the same.  Never!

There was a rigidity to the spiritual world in Jesus’ day.  This principle of life, and growth, and greenness was not at all descriptive of pharisees.    The legalistic and cold hardness was unmoving, unrelenting and unyielding.  The spiritual life was supposed to be have more organic freshness, then this.

But a living life of spiritual growth is energizing and life-giving.  I remember seeing a mannequin in a mall (it was dressed in nicer clothes than I was.)  But although this display was in human form, it was inanimate.  Going up to it, I tried to talk with him.  I wanted to explain things of the Spirit, but he just stood there, unmoving.  It devoid of real life.

Ridiculous?  Perhaps.  But having eternal life is profound.  We are like department store mannequins that have been made to really live.  And there is a growth that now takes place.  There is a supernatural organic development, and this should really infuse us with the life of the Spirit.  Our living relation that is constantly and wonderfully changing should infuse us with a joy and elation we can hardly keep a lid on. 

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The Sin That Sticks

                     

“If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away,
         And do not let wickedness dwell in your tents.”  NASB

“And give up your sins– even those you do in secret.” CEV

Job 11:14  [in two versions]

 ***

“When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, people’s hearts are filled with schemes to do wrong.”

Eccl. 8:11, NIV

 

We know it, deep inside of us.  Our sin and iniquity, those things that stick to us, must be renounced and stripped away.  I think it’s interesting that Job is working from the assumption that each of us has sin issues.  I don’t think scripture is ever really shocked by the depth of our iniquity.  We are sinners, and we will sin, but the Holy Spirit is never surprised or caught off guard by our sin and deceit.  But we are, most certainly guilty.

This verse in Job emphasizes “renunciation”.  That means relinquishing or repudiating the evil that we love doing.  I think that in Job’s thinking it means abandoning our sinfulness.  We are to let it go, releasing it to the grace of God.  We are not to sin in secret.

We privatize our favorite sins to make ourselves acceptable.  I think that this is a truism:  “We care more for what people think of us, then what God thinks of us.”  Our sin thrives in solitude, its like a warm and humid greenhouse for our evil.  Secretiveness just causes it to grow, our hiddenness is “Miracle Grow” for our darkness and ugliness.

Job is very much concerned I think, by the contagiousness that sin has.  We transmit the sin virus to our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we have a hidden darkness, we will most certainly sicken those we touch.  Our Churches have been decimated by private and hidden sin.  I’m thing of Achan in Joshua 7.  He secretly desired nice things, and it destroyed him and his family.

What judgement will you bring on to your loved ones, and your church?  What are you hiding?  Often, I have heard questions like that, and it temporarily moves me.  But it seems the change is not permanent (I desperately wish it was.)  But I suggest that you go into your “tent” and bring your deceitfulness out into the full light of day.  And then, put it to a merciless death.