A Teachable Heart. A Teachable Soul. A Teachable Life. On Psalm 119:15-16.

Today, I am asking you to take more than a few moments to look at anything and everything around you and surrounding you. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised to know that you got to know its name or its purpose simply because someone, somewhere, somehow taught this to you at some early stage in your life. Interestingly, most of the basics we learnt as children, and then as we grew into adulthood, we may have taken it further, studied or researched further, to excitedly increase our knowledge. So also, our understanding of God, His word and prayer are contributions made by many people right from our childhood. This list of contributors includes our Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Siblings, Teachers, Sunday School Teachers, Pastors, Friends, many others.

Meditate upon these things! Meditate on the God who brought all of this into existence. Meditate on the Word of God which brings these truths unto life, who gives these truths new and sustained life, completely, unimaginable vibrancy. Such a renewed and refreshing perception of life is so desperately necessary. Ponder and Reflect upon the significance of the Psalmists word “MEDITATE!”

In this devotional effort we are prayerfully going to explore the ways in which we as children of God, through meditation can grow more in the knowledge of God. For this to happen it is vital we have a teachable heart. Hope this teaching will help us understand the various aspects of being a godly teachable person.

Psalm 119:9-16 Complete Jewish Bible

ב (Bet)

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
don’t let me stray from your mitzvot.
11 I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I won’t sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, Adonai!
Teach me your laws.
13 I proclaim with my mouth
all the rulings you have spoken.
14 I rejoice in the way of your instruction
more than in any kind of wealth.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and keep my eyes on your ways.
16 I will find my delight in your regulations.
I will not forget your word.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Christian meditation is a spiritual virtue that every believer should cultivate. The Holy Spirit through David has taught us the discipline of meditation when we read, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word” (Psalm 119:15-16).

Christian meditation is not merely Scriptural memorization, though such an exercise will certainly yield that virtue. Christian meditation is a most sublime division of private prayer. The teaching on Christian meditation is dealt with in the larger context of the most careful planning and execution of the Psalmists poetic reflection. Thus, the Prince of Preachers, the Reverend Charles Spurgeon wrote of Psalm 119, “The manner it is composed in is very elegant; full of art, rule, method theological matter in a logical manner, a spiritual alphabet framed and formed according to the Hebrew alphabet.”

Thus, the long methodical approach of the Psalmist to creating this longest contribution to the Psalter gives an example of the effect of such spiritual exercise in his own life. Ponder for a long while upon all of the time and effort and prayer and study and personal reflection and personal introspection it took for the Psalmist to bring such an empowering writing as Psalm 119 into being

To meditate is to gaze upon a divine object of incalculable worth with the spirit of humble devotion. It is to locate the precious jewels of truth in the Word. It is to mark the truths carefully and to recite those Biblical truths to your own soul. It is to listen quietly as the Holy Spirit applies His truth to your heart and mind.

It is to collect and gather those truths as an offering of thanksgiving to the Lord. Christian meditation, humbly practiced in devout prayer, will inaugurate a deep and genuinely delightful journey of intimate time, turning into a lifetime of closeness, with your Creator. It is to enter the holy of holies “praying in the Spirit” and thus rendering your sacrifice of praise as a priest of the Almighty.

“I will meditate . . .” This is the resolute soliloquy of the author, most likely an aged King David, near the end of his life, as he reflects upon, charges his own soul in response to all of the blessings and curses he walked and lived through.

Is it any different for us today as we sometimes consider all our blessings and curses, our ups and our downs, our left turns and our right turns, and all of the square pegs of our choices we have tried to hammer through round holes we drilled out to make them work, have had to contend with, as we ourselves make a deliberate effort to “carve out” some very much needed quality time with God away from the unseemly ruinous efforts of chaos as it threatens to run amok.

I encourage all you readers to try a wholly different tactic. Pick up your Bibles and invite God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to sit with you. God is the One who commands and speaks order from chaos. We cannot know God’s ways of doing this, but we can know and be inspired and empowered by the truth that He did in fact, in the beginning of all things brought chaos under his full command. We freely ponder on the ever-present trouble chaos brings to our very doorsteps. I do not know how much time we spend meditating on God bringing even more trouble to chaos’s doorstep. Meditate upon God commanding chaos to leave.

To receive change in our lives away from the sovereignty of chaos into the light of the divine order of the absolute sovereignty of God, we must make this our firm resolution and immovable conviction. From this, we will come to learn that our alone moments with God passes quite effortlessly into hours as you meditate upon God’s precepts according to Scripture. Eventually, miraculously, the incomparable spiritual experience transforms your life of prayer, you will discover what it means to “pray without ceasing.” The benefits of Christian meditation are many—peace, perspective, power, perseverance—yet none so glorious as the blessing that becomes affirmation: “I have been with God.”

A teachable person is…

• Humble – Psalm 25:9 – He leads the humble in what is right and teaches the humble his way. (ESV) Someone said, true humility is being truly teachable, regardless of how much you know.

• Wise – Proverbs 9:9 – Instruct the wise and they will be even wiser.

• Righteous – Proverbs 9:9 – Teach the righteous and they will learn even more (NLT)

I am sure there may many other qualities that mark a person who is teachable, but I would just like to highlight the above three.

The basic characteristic of a teachable person is humility. Someone said it this way, “True humility is being truly teachable, regardless of how much you know.” In other words, a person who is not humble, will not be willing to take any kind of teaching from anyone. So also Proverbs 9:9 explains that a wise and righteous person will certainly be teachable, because they understand the value of receiving instructions and gaining knowledge.

As children of God, who teaches us?

1. The Word of God – 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (NLT)

Someone said this aptly, the word of God is useful for teaching (teaches us what is right), for reproof (teaches us what is not right), for correction (teaches us how to get right) and training (teaches us how to stay right). David understood the significance of God’s word when he said in Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NLT). God’s word is of 100% paramount importance, as all of our guidance and teaching to live a holy life comes from the individual’s knowledge and deep experience with word of God.

2. The Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them, and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (NLT)

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

The Holy Spirit of God is absolutely our best teacher, counsellor and guide. You may have heard someone say that they could not understand the bible as they read it. The reason is that only the Holy Spirit of God can reveal to us the truths about God. Ergo, only a spiritual person, who has the Holy Spirit indwelling them, can receive these spiritual insights. Also, we may have experienced times when we are struggling mightily with and against sin, temptation or a badly complicated situation, that the Holy Spirit of God will bring to remembrance the Word of God and give us strength to overcome these trials and temptations.

The Holy Spirit of God is that still small voice of God inside us that is constantly prompting us to walk in the ways of God and live a life that is pleasing to God.

3. People of God – Philippians 3:17, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.” (ESV)

The church of God is the gathering place of believers, where with the Word of God for the Children of God, we are covenanted, called upon to both bless, edify and encourage one another. Paul could boldly tell his fellow-believers that they should strive to imitate him and also keep their eyes on other people who are role models whom they could follow.

Acts 2:42-47 English Standard Version

The Fellowship of the Believers

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[a] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Take the time to look around and you will notice many men and women of God who are working and praying hard at living exemplary lives, from whom we can learn. It is important that we should mentor those who are younger to us, but it is also crucial that we have in our lives those older to us who can mentor us as well, if we want to continue to grow in our faith and our knowledge of God.

4. Experiences (our own and others as well)

Romans 5:3-5, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and 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.” (ESV)

2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” (NLT)

Each of us go through our own singularly unique and various experiences, good and bad. The experiences we go through are also very great teachers, if we are willing to learn. Each experience can make us bitter or better, depending on how teachable our hearts are. Paul explains this in great detail these sufferings are what produce character, teach us patience and give us hope for the future. This hope is based on God’s love and the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Every time we come out victorious, we allow God to fulfill His purposes in our lives. These experiences are God’s way to refine us to be more like Jesus.

It is important to learn from our own experiences it is equally beneficial to learn from other’s experiences too. Someone said, ‘Smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from others’ mistakes. Someone else said it this way, ‘Learn from other people’s mistakes, and then go and make new ones.” It is also a fact that God comforts us and teaches us through all the hard times, so that we can, in return, comfort those who are going through a similar path.

What should we be taught?

The way we should go…. Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;” (ESV)

• To walk in God’s truth Psalm 86:11, “Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth;” (ESV)

• To do God’s will Psalm 143:13, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!” (ESV)

Every day we are faced with numerous challenges and have to make so many decisions. God is willing to instruct and teach us the way we should go if we are willing to let Him do so. We also need to walk in the truth.

These are days where it is so easy to compromise, when challenged with conflict between the word of God and the world.

It is only when we talk and walk in the truth, (and we know that Jesus is the Truth), can we live a life of no compromise. The other important aspect we need to be taught, is the will of God. If we choose anything other than the will of God, revealed through Scripture, we will lose out on the peace and joy that should be ours. Staying within the will of God is the safest place for us as God’s children.

Psalm 119:9-16 The Message

9-16 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

Holy God, make me a partaker of your Holy Spirit. Enlighten me, oh, God. May I taste this heavenly gift that you reserve for your righteous people. Cleanse me of any barriers in my heart and mind that may stop me from feeling your whole presence in me. Flood any dark spots in my heart with your light. Help me to walk in your light and shine your beauty and grace on everyone I meet. Amen.

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Walking Upon God’s Well-Trodden Path (Meditation on Psalm 119:15-16)

Psalm 119:9-16 The Message

9-16 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

Have you ever had to walk a distance in the deep cold of winter or in the hottest hot of the summer months? It is a discipline to keep doing either one or even both depending upon the seasons where-ever you choose to call your home. I knew that if I had to discipline on learning how to do that – day in and day out – for the sake of I familiarity, I always tried to remember to take the same path.

It is easiest to walk a path that has been heavily tread, one in which the snow has already been compacted or the dried hard ground is hard, tamped down.

The Psalmist writes that he will fix his eyes on God’s ways. The word “ways” is translated from orach, referring to a well-trodden path. This is a path walked by many and clearly visible; having been taken many times before, the outcome is predictable. Author God makes His ways clearly known to us through scripture, including the quality of outcome for those who choose His well-trodden path.

Think about the flattened snow path: you don’t have to lift your legs as high to walk, and you don’t sink down into the powder with every step. Walking upon dry and compressed, well-trodden paths worn down over time, will take you to your destination, using less energy. Such is the discipline of “meditating” upon the Word of God for the Children of God. God has already done the hard work for you – He gave us His Word, fulfilled the law. His is the path you want to be on.

The phrase “fix my eyes” comes from the root word nabatmeaning to look intently at something, regarding it with pleasure, favor, or care. The Psalmist is determined to fix his eyes on the well-trodden path that God has provided for him. Just as a horse might wear blinders to keep it focused on the path ahead with no peripheral distraction, we should be looking so intently at God’s way, regarding it with so much favor and pleasure, that the cares of the world would disappear from our peripheral. Let our hearts and our souls, let our eyes be so utterly GOD fixed that no distraction could pull us off of the well-trodden path.

How can we keep our gaze affixed on God’s ways? First, the Psalmist states that he will mediate on God’s precepts. Meditate is translated from the word siyach and means to ponder or converse with oneself. Scripture calls us to meditate on the word day and night (Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2). The Psalmist’s daily goal (as ours ought, should be) is to fill his thoughts with scripture, with things above (Colossians 3:2), and with all that is good (Philippians 4:8).

Second, the Psalmist determines to 100% delight in God’s statutes. Delight is translated from sha’a’, which means to be fond of, or pleased with. We must renew our minds (Romans 12:2) and not to think of scripture as only a list of rules that we must strictly adhere to and follow. Instead, we can delight in the freedom of God’s way – the freedom to sin no more and the freedom to do what is right. His commandments are not burdensome (John 8:1-11, 1 John 5:3).

Lastly, the Psalmist declares that he will not forget God’s word. Forget can also be translated as “mislay” (as in misplacing your car keys) or “obliviousness due to lack of attention.”

When it is time to act, when there is a decision to be made, and even as day to day routines are being lived out, we do not want to be blatantly oblivious to God’s ways because we have each neglected (given no attention to) His word.

We want the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), ready at our side at all times. When it’s go-time we do not want to be searching for God’s word like misplaced car keys. We want it at the forefront of our mind and on the tip of our tongue. How can we obey the word if we do not know it?

How can we know God’s plan, intentions and purpose if we know not His Word?

“Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”

― John Wesley

Let us be equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:17).

Today I encourage you start disciplining yourself into beginning a new daily habit. That to daily examine whether you are on God’s well-trodden path or if you are trying to forge your own path through the snow or over the sunbaked ground, whether you are expending needless energy or learning stewardship of the Word of God. Either way, you can choose to follow the Psalmist’s example:

Day and night, fix your eyes on God’s way, study, mediate and pray on and over and above, through His word, delight in His word, and do not forget His word.

Why is quality meditation so important?  Joshua 1:8 tells us why: 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 success. (NASB)

Our Christian responsibility and duty to each other? To ponder and meditate on God’s word for by it we become obedient to Him. We cannot hope to succeed without carefully doing all that is written in the Bible.  Now this does not mean that if we do not meditate on God’s word like this that we are somehow not saved, but I cannot stress enough how much fuller our lives will be if we give ourselves quality time to ponder what God is saying to us through His word.

Psalm 119:9-16 New American Standard Bible

Beth

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
10 With all my heart I have sought You;
Do not let me wander from Your commandments.
11 I have treasured Your word in my heart,
So that I may not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, Lord;
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have told of
All the ordinances of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
[a]As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts
And [b]regard Your ways.
16 I shall [c]delight in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us pray,

Jesus, Giver of peace, I so easily get distracted when I’m trying to focus and hear your Holy Spirit. Help me quiet my mind in the middle of my busy life. Help me to pause and to make space to listen to the most important voice of all. God, empower me to be a more disciplined listener to the gentle whispers of your Spirit. Help me follow the example of Jesus, who would slip away in the evening or the early morning to be alone with you. Teach me to abide in you. Amen.

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My Promise: I WILL Speak about your Written Instructions in the Presence of Kings and I will NOT feel Ashamed!

1. Take the name of Jesus with you,
child of sorrow and of woe;
it will joy and comfort give you;
take it then, where’er you go.
Refrain:
Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven.
Precious name, O how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven.

2. Take the name of Jesus ever,
as a shield from every snare;
if temptations round you gather,
breathe that holy name in prayer.
(Refrain)

3. O the precious name of Jesus!
How it thrills our souls with joy,
when his loving arms receive us,
and his songs our tongues employ!
(Refrain)

4. At the name of Jesus bowing,
falling prostrate at his feet,
King of kings in heaven we’ll crown him,
when our journey is complete.
(Refrain) Lydia Baxter, 1870

When our Lord and Savior Jesus returns, He promises to evaluate the lives of His followers to see if they have been “ashamed of Him.” In practical terms, what does it mean to be “ashamed” of Jesus? How can we be “ashamed”?

Like Peter when Jesus was on trial, this can mean our denying we are one of His followers and not being willing to acknowledge Him (Mark 14:66-72). It can mean running away when, like the disciples, we are confronted with opposition (Mark 14:50).

Since we are surrounded by an “adulterous and sinful generation,” we can be tempted to make it our first priority to please other people. Rather than being committed to serving Jesus, we can be infinitely more concerned with political correctness, media popularity and sociocultural approval. It can mean rejecting the purity of His Word. It can mean watering Him down, explaining Him away.

As we think about our lives, we need to be aware that these kinds of reactions are possible. The Bible reminds us that we need to make a firm commitment to Jesus and His Word and steadfastly refuse to compromise. Like Paul, we want to be able to teach and preach, “I am not ashamed of the gospel” (Romans 1:16).

Ask the Spirit to search your heart. Are you guilty of any compromises? Make sure you have the right priorities and are seeking first His Kingdom. Declare your firm commitment to the Gospel, regardless of what others might say or do.

Psalm 119:41-48 Names of God Bible

41 Let your blessings reach me, O Yahweh.
    Save me as you promised.
42 Then I will have an answer for the one who insults me
    since I trust your word.
43 Do not take so much as a single word of truth from my mouth.
    My hope is based on your regulations.
44 I will follow your teachings forever and ever.
45 I will walk around freely
    because I sought out your guiding principles.
46 I will speak about your written instructions in the presence of kings
    and not feel ashamed.
47 Your commandments, which I love, make me happy.
48 I lift my hands in prayer because of your commandments,
    which I love.
    I will reflect on your laws.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

You just bought a new car and you are proud of it. Then you later see your friend with their new car and you are happy for them too. You want to talk about that new car of your friends so you go home and do the research on it. You realize that your friends purchase was just a wee bit smarter than yours. You were so very set on buying yours that you completely overlooked any and all others.

So, you might start hanging your head feeling embarrassed. You know that phenomenon when you learn about a new car for the first time, and then begin to see it everywhere? Shame is a lot like that. Once we begin to recognize its presence in our lives, we start to see how much emotional space it takes up.

The difficulty with shame, however, is that it encompasses such a wide range of very powerful emotions it can be difficult to define. Perhaps the simplest way to understand shame is to think back on a moment when you just experienced it.

You may have felt embarrassment, discomfort or self-consciousness. Shame can also express itself in much weightier emotions, like when we subtly or suddenly feel, “below standards,” humiliated, inadequate, injured or abused.

So many individuals live under the weight of shame without realizing it because we’ve been conditioned by culture and life experience to accept that feeling as just a normal part of living life. Shame is simply always there; it’s that familiar yet profound feeling that in completely arbitrary way, we do not measure up.

Add to all of that, the pressure we often feel as individuals to be successful, sophisticated and in great shape, we can feel ashamed when we make even the tiniest of mistakes. At its core, an identity of shame is the belief that, in whole or in part, I am not enough. That “not-enoughness” is what drives our shame.

Think about it.

Maybe you regularly view life through the lens of other people’s expectations (whether real or imagined), and we’re beginning to buckle under the pressure. Perhaps you and I feel self-conscious about not having a boyfriend or a happy marriage when all of your friends seem “hyper” content in their relationships.

Perhaps a friend harshly betrayed you, one of your parents was emotionally or physically absent, or your loved one has a secret addiction, and you think it’s all somehow your fault. Maybe you are stressed about your children and how you handle things at home. Perhaps that hyper imposed stress is now at your work.

Yes, it happens. We get scared that we will be rejected by our family, friends and or co-workers. We get scared that people will even tease us. We get scared that we won’t know exactly what to say. We get scared the conversation will be way too awkward. It’s much more comfortable to talk about TV or sport or school.

The voice in your head says, I’m not a very good mother or father, wife or husband. Maybe you feel like the ultimate failure because life got “too” hard, and now your dreams seem out of reach, or you just don’t know who you are anymore.

Maybe you go through life with ever-present feelings of inadequacy; you worry what other people would think if they knew the real you. Shame lurks in all of these things. (I could go on, but at the risk of depressing us all, I’ll stop there.)

In spite of the overwhelming nature of shame, there is good news. The promise of Scripture is that when we turn away from shame, look to God, He transforms our shame into something beautiful — a sparkling, splendorous, vocalized joy.

Psalm 34:1-5 ESV

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.

It may well take a serious amount of time, and there will surely and certainly, always be moments in life when we experience various degrees and measures of shame, but when our identity is centered in Christ — not only knowing who we are in Christ, but knowing who He is in us — we can summarily discard the dark irrational covering of shame and, look inside Christ’s empty tomb and rise in His radiance. In other words, we have shame, but in Him, in His resurrection, shame, like that thoroughly defeated grave, no longer has any grip over us.

Whether you and I are simply having a “not enough” moment, or you and I have been hiding in shame for years, by His resurrection we have hope. You and I can overcome shame, because our Savior Jesus, our Overcomer already has.

There is nothing so healthy and beneficial to the child of God than spending time praising God our Father. Whether you and/or I are living in the valley this day, or you and I have been experiencing the mountaintops, nothing is so great an exercise for our hearts and soul as raising our arms, praising the Lord God!

You can praise Him when you feel good, you can praise Him when you’re sick. You can praise Him when you’re rich, you can praise Him when you’re broke. You can rejoice in Him when you’re happy, you can rejoice when you’re sad.

The Apostle Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4-7) The psalmist sang his song; ” Rejoice in the LORD, ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.” (Psalm 97:12)

Psalm 96:10-13 AKJV

10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth:
the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved:
he shall judge the people righteously.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:
then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice 13 before the Lord:
for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth:
he shall judge the world with righteousness,
and the people with his truth.

Oh that our hearts our souls, our knees were in such an exalted place as this;

Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV

Prayer for Spiritual Strength

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Let the Holy Spirit bring this into our remembrance: Jesus has done the most incredible thing. He has saved us from certain death. He loves us more than anyone ever could. So, unless we have somehow obtained God’s own written permission, do not be ashamed or embarrassed to tell other people about him!

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,

Dear heavenly Father, I praise You because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You created us in Your image and not in our own. Through Your great mercy and Your forgiveness You not only remove my shame, You faithfully transformed it into something beautiful and new. And while I don’t fully understand it, I know You have the power to help me overcome shame because You’ve already done so on the cross. Open my heart to experience Your love and mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Alleluia! Amen.

“Let Your Steadfast Love Come to Me, O LORD! Not By Bread Alone – Simply According to Your Biblical Promises”

Our heavenly Father, as believers it is a prime concern how we may live this life. We want so much to know. We want to know from Your Word. We want to know not out of curiosity but out of pure desperation. We want to know not in some academic and detached way but we want to know personally, out of need. There are things that come into our experience every day, some so troubling as to make us question almost everything. And in those moments, Lord, we want to know. We want to know from Your Word, ‘what about Your steadfast love coming unto me?’ ‘How does a Christian live?’ So, I pray, teach us this day from Your Word. We ask all in Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you have your Bibles, I’d invite you to turn with me to Psalm 119. We’re going to be looking at the section which runs from verses 41 to 48 as we continue our way through this great psalm on perhaps a new theme, “Not by Bread Alone.”

And yet again we meet a passage from God’s Holy Scriptures here that teaches us how to live. How ought you live the Christian life? Exactly how do you do it?

 Psalm 119:41-48 Names of God Bible

41 Let your blessings reach me, O Yahweh.
    Save me as you promised.
42 Then I will have an answer for the one who insults me
    since I trust your word.
43 Do not take so much as a single word of truth from my mouth.
    My hope is based on your regulations.
44 I will follow your teachings forever and ever.
45 I will walk around freely
    because I sought out your guiding principles.
46 I will speak about your written instructions in the presence of kings
    and not feel ashamed.
47 Your commandments, which I love, make me happy.
48 I lift my hands in prayer because of your commandments,
    which I love.
    I will reflect on your laws.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

How do you live the Christian life? The length and breadth of this Psalm 119 answers not only unambiguously, it answers helpfully. You live the Christian life by faith. You live the Christian life by faith in God, you live the Christian life by faith in His promises, and you live the Christian life by faith in His Word.

I want to look at two things in this very rich passage (verses 41-48). I won’t be able to touch on all the things that the psalmist says in this short devotional, but there are three things that I very much want each of us to concentrate on as we think about how the writings of this psalmist helps us live the Christian life.

OUR SALVATION IS ACCORDING TO PROMISE AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS LIVED BY OUR FAITH, IT IS LIVED BY OUR HOPE AND IT IS LIVED BY LOVE.

And the first one is this, and you’ll see it especially in verse 41. Our salvation is from the Lord and our salvation is according to promise. It’s important for us as believers to get both of those things in our head. Our salvation is from the Lord ALONE and our salvation is according to promise. And what that means is this.

It means two things. It means that our trust must be deliberately, self consciously, specifically focused on the Lord and His Word. And secondly, it means that we must live by faith. Now think about that for just a moment.

Our salvation is from the Lord and our salvation is according to His promise.

That means that our trust must be in Him and in His Word and that we must live by faith. Look at verse 41. “Let your steadfast love come to me, O LORD, your salvation according to your promise.”

Please notice here where the focus of the psalmist’s trust is decisively directed toward: “Let your steadfast love, let your lovingkindness, come to me, O LORD.”

The psalmist is squarely focused on the Lord here. We’ve seen him do this even with the language that he uses about God’s Law. He won’t even speak about the Law without speaking about God. It’s God’s Law, it’s God’s Word, it’s God’s rules, it’s God’s commands, it’s God’s statues. Over and over he’s reminding himself, “This isn’t just a word. It’s not just a word about God. It’s a word from God. It’s God’s Word. It belongs to Him.” He’s focusing himself on the Word as a Word from God. And here, he focuses the hope of his salvation upon the Lord.

And then he adds, “your salvation according to your promise.” Now what he’s teaching us here is that the only focus of our trust in the Christian life must be 100% deliberately on the Lord and His Word, especially His Word of promise.

And of course, the Psalmist emphasizes such a deliberate, decisive, and directed focus as being a very important aspect of the life of the generations of Israelites which he is writing to in his day and age. Such a magnitude of focused thought plants seeds of God’s inerrant truth in the immediate generation, then forward.

By extension, the Psalmist is reaching into our generations, our Christian life because the focus of our trust in the Christian life is to be deliberately on the Lord and His Word, especially His promises. This is yet another passage that authorizes you and to come to the Lord and plead for His salvation because He’s promised it to us! He’s promised, “Come to Me, ask for My lovingkindness; I’ll give you My salvation!” So we live by pleading those promises. (Matthew 11:28-30) 

The first instinct of the believer in living the Christian life is to resort to the Lord, to trust in the Lord, to seek our salvation from Him and according to His Word by His promise. So that’s the first thing that I want you and me to see. That our salvation is from the Lord and our salvation is according to promise teaches us that the Christian life must be lived by trust in Him and in His Word.

But the second thing that I want you and I to see in connection with that first point that we’re looking at in verse 41 is simply this. That means, obviously, that the way we live the Christian life is by faith. The Christian life is lived by faith. We’re not just justified by faith; we live the Christian life by faith, we live it by hope and we live it by and with our love, and the longer you and I go on the Christian life the more we realize we have to live the Christian life by faith.

There are so many things that you and I cannot make sense of in this life by sight. By sight they simply do not get around to making sense. And so you have to live by faith. And that is a constant refrain from the Word of God itself.

The passage that Paul quotes from Habakkuk when he’s explaining the doctrine of justification by faith says, Habakkuk 2:4, “The just shall live by faith.” And it is just as true that we are saved by the instrument of faith, receiving the grace of God offered to us in Jesus Christ as He is given to us in the Gospel, it is as true that we are justified by that instrument of faith or according to that instrument of faith but it is also true that we live the Christian life by faith.

The just, those who are declared just by God ALONE, live how? By faith!

Paul says the same thing in Romans chapter 1:17 — “The righteous shall live by faith.” Or think of what he says in Galatians 2:20. “The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Or in Hebrews 10:38 — “My righteous one shall live by faith.” Or in Hebrews 11, the whole point of the whole chapter of which is, “How do you live this life as a believer?” you live by faith! That’s why we are called by God to be believers!

But it’s incredibly hard sometimes, 100% hard sometimes. (Romans 7:14-25)

There are many, many people who call themselves Christians and who are in fact Christians who struggle with that and they struggle with that for a variety of reasons. They will struggle with meeting worldly morals and cultural ethics. They will, as Holy Scriptures requires of them, to align them all up with God. It is the pressure which is asserted from a socio cultural necessity or traditional, “acceptable best practices”, which meets head-on, impacting with God’s Truth. Then it becomes a grave question unto the believer: Which one do I prioritize?

And so I presented my case to Father, Son and Holy Spirit through Prayer, for the truthfulness and the authority and the inerrancy of the Word of God, which ultimately rests upon the fact that my Savior believes God’s whole Word is true.

Matthew 5:17-19 ESV

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

And if my Savior believes the whole Bible is true, it is an act of devotion on my part to believe that the Bible is true. If I’m going to put the whole of my hopes on Jesus and Jesus believes the Bible is true that pretty much does it for me.

But, as Paul wrote in Romans 7:14-25, there are thousands of questions, many absolutely legitimate, which can bother the hearts and minds of believers. You and I run across passages that run against your grain. You and I come to places in the Word of God where God asks you and me to do hard things, come across passages that seem to pose contradictions. What do we do? We walk by faith!

Our salvation is of the Lord. Our salvation is by the Word. Our salvation is according to promise. Therefore the Christian life is lived by faith in the Lord, in His Word, especially in His promise, and do not miss that the Christian life is lived by faith. That’s the first big message that I want you to see in this psalm.

WE MUST BE PREPARED TO BEAR REPROACH FOR THE SAKE OF THE TRUTH OF GOD’S WORD

The second one is this. And really there’s a sense in which this second point is one of the main themes of this whole section.

Look at verses 42 and 46. The psalmist says that he’s going to trust in the Lord in His lovingkindness, in His salvation, in His Word, and in His promise. Why?

Verse 42 — “then shall I have an answer for him who taunts me.”

Ah-ha! Now we see the context in which he’s making this declaration. He’s standing up for the Lord, he’s standing for the Word, and he’s expecting to be taunted, mocked, ridiculed, made fun of! And then we see it again.

Look at verse 46. “I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame.” By the way, over and over as I’ve read that verse over the last several days, I’ve wondered to myself, “I wonder if Paul meditated on Psalm 119 verse 46 after he made his determination to go before Caesar’s Supreme Court in Rome and testify to the Gospel. I wonder if that verse was one of the verses that he meditated on. “Lord, I will testify to You before kings.”

Clearly the context is a testimony that the Psalmist fears could bring shame and reproach upon him in the eyes of his enemies. And so what do we learn from this psalm? We learn that we must be prepared to bear reproach for the sake of God, the Gospel, and the truth of God’s Word. That is hugely important. It is hugely important for all of us who are alive in this ‘cancel culture’ day and age.

It is especially important for you my younger friends and readers. You are already living in a culture where to believe things that two thousand years of believers have believed will bring reproach on you, you might be ‘cancelled!”

But, fear not, for the ancient authors of our scriptural passages have addressed this very real concern. Read, Study, Pray and Meditate through: 1 Peter 3:8-22 and James 1:1-17, John 16:25-33, and John 17 – Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer). And please do not limit yourself to these few passages listed here. There are many such promises throughout the length and breadth of Holy Scriptures.

Romans 15:4-6 ESV

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,

Let your love, God, shape my life
    with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
    because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
    your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
    guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
    as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
    speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
    relishing every fragment of your counsel.

In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

The Spirit Knows! Our True Happiness Is in Understanding and Obedience!

I have heard the words over and over again, Happiness comes from Obedience! Yet, I also think and pray to myself Lord, so much of the Bible seems hard and way too confusing, and that has made me put it down and become discouraged.

My mind has a tendency to follow one too many rabbit trails and things that are moving me further and further away from the perfect heart of God.  My fervent desire is to submit my whole mind to the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit and then I can hopefully stay closer to the practical application of God’s truth.

Now through my further efforts to stay true to God, I ask God to forgive me for that horribly bad decision. Holy Spirit, Come! Create in me a fresh desire for remaining true to Your Word, and grace for an understanding far beyond what I knew before. Jesus, teach me and guide me as I read and study. I know now that our true happiness is found in Your instructions, and I simply want to dive into a significantly deeper relationship with God from now on. For Jesus’ sake alone!

Psalm 119:33-40 Names of God Bible

33 Teach me, O Yahweh, how to live by your laws,
    and I will obey them to the end.
34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings.
    I will guard them with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the path of your commandments,
    because I am happy with them.
36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions
    rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
    Give me a new life in your ways.
38 Keep your promise to me
    so that I can fear you.
39 Take away insults, which I dread,
    because your regulations are good.
40 I long for your guiding principles.
    Give me a new life in your righteousness.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

John Wesley traveled 250,000 miles on horseback, averaging twenty miles a day for forty years; preached 4,000 sermons; produced 400 books; he knew well ten languages.  At the age of eighty-three he was annoyed that he could not write more than fifteen hours a day without hurting his eyes, and at eighty-six he was ashamed he could not preach more than twice a day.  He complained in his diary that there was an increasing desire to lie in bed until 5:30 in the morning. (Source unknown).

What drives us to such a length of devotion? Such a deep desire to be obedient?

Answer? Understanding born of the Holy Spirit! Knowledge born of the Holy Spirit! God’s leadership through His Word is the pathway to personal revival. God’s Word is not a document to be learned but a path to be followed. He does not promise His route to be the smoothest but the direct route to His blessings, to our true place of indescribable Shalom, our genuinely abundant happiness.

Reading and re-reading, study and more study, praying and fervent praying without ceasing, our thoughts ever more focused on God in Christ Jesus above, making sense of the ever our changing morality and politically defined ethics, to seek more and more of the desires of Lord alone in the way we should go. I have this constant battle within myself to try and comprehend “God’s desires.”

God’s desire is to capturing our minds (vv. 33-34).

God’s teaching ministry is essential for obedience. “Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end” (v. 33)

God’s enlightening ministry is essential for our desiring greater obedience. “Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law…” (v. 34).

God’s desire is, through our obedience, to be channeling our hearts (vv. 35-37).

God directs our will. “Make me go in the path of thy commandments…” (v. 35a).

God, through our obedience, directs our emotions. “…for therein do I delight.” (v. 35b).

God, through our obedience, directs our heart. “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies.” (v. 36)

God, through our obedience, directs our eyes. “Turn away my eyes from beholding vanity. (v. 37).

God’s desire is, through our obedience, to be directing our focus (v. 38-40).

God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, through our obedience, focuses us to understand His Word. “Stablish thy word unto thy servant…” (v. 38a).

God, through our obedience to His Statutes, outlined through His Word, focuses us to not be fearful of men …“who is devoted to thy fear.” (v. 38b).

God, through our raised spiritual awareness, discernment and understanding, focuses us to turn from our sinful ways; “Turn away my reproach.” (v. 39).

God, through our raised spiritual awareness, discernment, and understanding, directs us, focuses and refocuses us to be obedient to His Word. “…I have longed after thy precepts.” (v. 40).

The ability to understand and minister from the Bible is something which God, through the Holy Spirit, gives to us. Awareness, Discernment, Understanding are spiritual gifts from God, not something we conjure from within ourselves.

As Christians we have the ultimate opportunity in life to have God, by the Holy Spirit to give us perfect counsel and direction. He has a perfect knowledge and an understanding of what is best. He has perfect knowledge of what works and what will have poor results. He is so far superior to everyone else combined that no one has anything, even some small discovery, for which they can teach God.

To receive these gifts of awareness, discernment and understanding we need to read, pray, recognize our position as Christ’s servant who needs understanding. In order to properly understand and draw insights from stories in the Bible, we need the ministry of the Holy Spirit working within us for God’s understanding.

We cannot arrive at the same understanding that God has through intellectual reasoning. God gives us understanding when we ask Him for it, but we can not get it on our own or buy it through a college education. Spiritual understanding requires the Holy Spirit not the intellect, in order to have it and to understand it. However, we have to first PRAY, to ask God to give us understanding and then study the Bible diligently to find the understanding that God has for us to know.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now engage the living, ever transformational word of God in a time of prayer, meditation;

God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me an appetite for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

For The Spirit Searches All Things, The Spirit Understands All Things! Much More Like Jesus, Less Like Me.

Accepting the Risk! Taking the Risk! Knowing God’s will and having fellowship with God require spiritual understanding. Oh Jehovah, give me understanding according to Your word, and I shall live. Your understanding is unsearchable!

Psalm 119:33-40 Names of God Bible

33 Teach me, O Yahweh, how to live by your laws,
    and I will obey them to the end.
34 Help me understand so that I can follow your teachings.
    I will guard them with all my heart.
35 Lead me on the path of your commandments,
    because I am happy with them.
36 Direct my heart toward your written instructions
    rather than getting rich in underhanded ways.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things.
    Give me a new life in your ways.
38 Keep your promise to me
    so that I can fear you.
39 Take away insults, which I dread,
    because your regulations are good.
40 I long for your guiding principles.
    Give me a new life in your righteousness.

The Word of God for the Children of God. In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.

THE SPIRIT OF UNDERSTANDING

The feelings of an understanding heart give us the sweet spirit of assurance of not only knowing but doing what is right, no matter what the circumstances. As we read God’s Word, it’s the Spirit of Understanding that will reveal and expose these things so that we can “deal” with them.

When we do not diligently read, study and pray over the Word, the Spirit of Understanding is not allowed to operate, then we will not be able to see or find our way. Hosea 4:14 says “…people that do not understand shall fall.”

How many times have you and I sat down for devotions and read God’s Word, gotten up and have found ourselves unable to remember a thing we had read?

Well, I believe it can be said, God’s Spirit of Understanding was not operating.

The Spirit of Understanding is God’s supernatural revelation – His secret insights to His Word. The Spirit of God illuminates our hearts and gives us understanding of His Wisdom. In other words, He “turns on the lights for us.” (Nancy Missler – https://www.khouse.org/articles/1996/138/)

It gives us discernment. When you have understanding, you’ll see the following things in your life:

— You’ll understand what’s going on behind the scenes. You’ll be able to piece together what’s really happening.

— You’ll perceive why people act the way they do.

— You’ll find it easier to see people and situations with God’s eyes and maintain His perspective.

— You’ll be able to discern the cause of things that you deal with from day to day and God’s timing more easily.

No matter how good a man or woman believes their understanding is, it is not enough for any of us to know the true and genuine will of God for any of them.

Knowing and living in God’s will for us and having fellowship with God requires spiritual understanding. Only spiritual understanding leads one to the realm of the Spirit and enables one to know and live in God’s will. Fleshly understanding enables one to know some superficial truths, but these surface truths will only briefly remain in one’s mind. Spiritual understanding can transform what it has superficially understood into abundant life because it comes from the Spirit.

God’s Holy Spirit, A spirit of revelation and spiritual understanding go side by side with each other. God has given each and everyone of us a spirit of wisdom and revelation; by His grace, He has also given us spiritual understanding. The wisdom and revelation from Him we receive in our spirit must be realized by the “ah ha” understanding before we can know the real meaning of the revelation.

Revelation is what we receive from God; understanding is comprehending the revelation we have received from God. Spiritual understanding expresses to us the meaning of all the movement within our spirit; it enables us to know some measurable degree and measure God’s will. It gives us permission to: “Risk It!”

Our connection, our fellowship with God relies on our spirit receiving God’s revelation, on the intuition of our spirit sensing this revelation, and on the gift of spiritual understanding to interpret the meaning of this revelation. Our own surface understanding can never resolve anything. When our spirit enlightens our surface understanding, the latter knows the purpose of God’s movement.

Spiritual enlightenment comes through the diligent exercise of daily prayer.

The 5th stanza of Psalm 119 continues a prayer which the psalmist began in stanza 4 and continues uninterrupted into the 6th stanza through verse 49.

As you read and re-read and pray over this 5th stanza of the psalm, notice just what the psalmist prays for. He longs to be taught how to have a heart for God.

33. Teach me, O LORD, the way of your statutes;
and I shall keep it to the end.

34. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law;
I shall observe it with my whole heart.
35. Make me to go in the path of your commandments;
for I delight in it.

36. Incline my heart unto your testimonies,
and not to covetousness.

37. Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things;
and give me life according to your way.

38. Establish your word to your servant,
as it produces reverence for Thee.

39. Turn away my reproach which I fear:
for your judgments are good.
40. Behold, I have longed after your precepts:
Revive me through your righteousness.

The psalmist knew that a humble heart before God requires prayer.

To keep his heart right before God, he had to be teachable (119:33), humble (119:34), go forward in God’s power (119:35), incline his heart to the word (119:36), focus his eyes in God’s direction (119:37), be grounded in his faith (119:38-39), and rely on God’s grace.

These are the things he prayed for, and this gives us an example of how to pray for ourselves, those we love as we live our day to day lives. This is also a guide in how to pray for the leaders of our country at this crucial time in our history.

Let’s take a look at these prayer concerns one at a time:

First, to be teachable means not only to be open to learn from God’s Word, but to actively apply what we’ve been taught. It means to be practical and not just ideological. God does not teach us so we can proudly share our learning with others and espouse grand ideas. God teaches us for the purpose of reaching out to others in practical ways to help make life better, not just for ourselves, but for others whom God calls our neighbors, and especially for those in need.

Secondly, the psalmist observed the need for humility. It should humble us that the Creator of the universe reaches down from eternity, not only to teach us through His Word, but to give us a measure of understanding through the power of His Holy Spirit. Does that inspire you to humble yourself and obey?

Thirdly, as we open our hearts and minds to learn, we need to pray for the will and the power to risk doing His work in the sphere where He has placed us. It is God who gives us to power to go to “risk”– to act in His will and in His Name.

Fourthly, as we go forward, we need to go with hearts yielded to God. And we need to go with “all our heart”. Matthew 22:37-40, Mark 12:28-34

It is God who keeps our hearts from straying into the world and the worlds’ ways. He is the one who protects our hearts from being carried away by worldly philosophies and lusts. It is God who draws our hearts to Himself and reveals the “excellence of obedience” (Charles Spurgeon). Is your heart safe, is my heart safe in the loving hands of God or any safer straying into the clutches of the world?

The mention of covetousness in verse 36 leads the psalmist to pray next (fifth request) for his eyes, asking God to keep them focused in the right direction — upon Him and His ways, turned away from worldly, fleshy, lusty temptation.

Remember that sin entered the world through the “lust of the eye”. That is a warning that we need to be aware of the dangers of the world as they press in upon us. Our eyes need to be open and not shut, but our focus is important. Our focus is to be upon God, His Word, and His ways.

It is clear the psalmist realizes his total dependence upon God, as his sixth request is for his faith to be established. Faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is established as we become firmly grounded in God’s truth and live lives that honor Him. In this way we remain steadfast and persevere in the face of temptation. As God’s children, we have no need to fear the judgments of men, but we must have deep reverence for God’s judgments which are good.

Finally, the prayer closes with a desire for God’s grace to go forward with hope and resolve to live a life of righteousness. And should not we all have that one longing as we read and study, and pray and meditate daily upon God’s Word?

This fifth stanza of Psalm 119 is the Psalmists sure prayer of hope — hope in God and in the power of His life changing Word. Do you and I cling to the effort of trying to place ourselves deep inside the Psalmist’s hope? Is his hope ours?

Beloved Scottish pastor George MacDonald, wrote: “Hope in the God who first breathed into your nostrils the breath of life; that He would at length so fill you with His breath, His mind, His Spirit, that you should think only His thoughts, and live His life, finding therein your own life, only glorified infinitely.”

For The Spirit Searches All Things, The Spirit Understands All Things! My only prayer now is that I become Much More Like Jesus, a Whole Lot Less Like Me.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray;

God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me an appetite for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

In Excelsis Deo!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

All That Matters is What God Already Knows of Us! A Living Faith, A Dying Fear. I accept that I’m Risking Failure

How willing are you and I to take a step of faith into the unknown? How willing are we to risk failure? Are we people who like to play it safe, get all our ducks lined up in a row, do our “pro vs con” sheet and then timidly step forward, or are we someone who enjoys the thrill of jumping out into uncharted territory?

Theologian and Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote: “God, our Father, has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whoever does not have faith will have nothing.”

If you and I see ourselves as someone who likes to play it safe, let me say this: God is not looking for extraordinary daredevils who foolishly take risks for the thrill of it. He is looking for ordinary people who risk praying, prepare, count the cost, and then willingly venture out into the unknown because they have heard the clarion call of God and have confidence that God will hold them up.

It only takes a mustard seed faith, a little faith in a Great God to please God. 

Any man or woman who has stood at an altar before God and their friends to take a vow of marriage knows what it means to risk everything, take a leap of faith into the unknown world of matrimony. There was no guarantee of success, and no previous experience to calm the fear, but couples take this leap because they are willing to risk it all, they are in love and they want to be married and raise a family. We will step out in faith when we really risk wanting something.

Anyone who has ever gone out on a job interview, or taken a new position has demonstrated faith despite their fear and uncertainty. You needed and wanted work and so you went through the very scary interview process. That took faith.

I could give many more examples, the point I am trying to make is this: Only those who are willing to take a risk, and take that risk, a step of faith, and move out into uncharted territory enjoy the blessings that this life have to offer. God knows the fullest measure of our heart, how much we’re willing to risk for Him.

However, we also have to be extraordinarily aware of exactly how far we have stretched the bounds of our very fragile hearts and even more fragile souls. It is a very real possibility we take ourselves beyond reasonable limits absent God. It is here where we hear the Psalmists words, become hyper aware of a great need.

Psalm 119:25-32 AKJV

ד  Daleth

25 My soul cleaveth unto the dust:
quicken thou me according to thy word.
26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me:
teach me thy statutes.
27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts:
so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.
28 My soul melteth for heaviness:
strengthen thou me according unto thy word.
29 Remove from me the way of lying:
and grant me thy law graciously.
30 I have chosen the way of truth:
thy judgments have I laid before me.
31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies:
O Lord, put me not to shame.
32 I will run the way of thy commandments,
when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

The Word of God for the Children of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

From this deeply heartfelt passage, it appears the Psalmist is experiencing too many difficult trials and troubles in his life but as a believer he is willing to risk it all for a deeper understanding and a greater insight into God’s Word. Even though his difficulties are a result of his own weaknesses he is not driven away from God but risks being drawn closer ever to Him. It seems that this passage is divided into two parts: My ways and God’s ways. It is for certain that we cannot live a committed Christian life and be satisfied living according to our own ways.

This section is structured by the powerful effects of God’s Word. It revives the soul (v. 25); it imparts inner strength (v. 28); it guides into truth (v. 30); and it enlarges the heart (v; 32). When we are down, afflicted, grieving or suffering, we need risk acknowledging, engaging the Word of God. So our psalmist reveals his condition, then risks everything, confessing that God’s Word is the answer 

  1. My ways (vv. 25-29).
    1. The confession of my ways (v. 25). “My soul cleaveth unto the dust..”
    2. The conviction of my ways (vv. 26-27).
      1. “Now teach me your principles” (v. 26). Reading the Bible for information and not for instruction.
      2. “Help me understand the meaning of your commandments,..” (v. 27) A desire to do God’s Word, not just wanting to understand it.      
    3. The contradiction of my ways (vv. 28-29). “Remove from me the way of lying:..” (v. 29).
      1. Singing and praising the Lord on Sunday and living for the devil the rest of the week.
      2. Claiming we belong to Christ and not demonstrating it the way we live.
  2. Thy ways (vv. 30-32).
    1. The choice of God’s ways (v. 30). “I have chosen the way of truth:..”
    2. The commitment to God’s ways (v. 31). “I have stuck (cleave) unto thy testimonies:..”
    3. The clarity (quickness) of God’s ways (v. 32). “I will run the way of thy commandments.” The psalmist is saying that I have made a choice to run God’s ways; I am committed and now I must respond with swiftness, without delay.

Restoration, Refreshment and Revival comes only when we reach the end of our own resources, repent, and call upon God to intervene. The psalmist is clearly in this condition. He is greatly humbled and broken. His soul is cast into the dust.

What then can he do? The answer is, “Nothing.” Thus, he prays, “Revive me according to Your Word.” This prayer for revival is based upon God’s Word, for God’s promises to give life to those who seek Him. The arousing inspiring Word of the Lord is the surest source of help in all tribulation of body, mind, or soul.

These verses from Psalm 119 testify to the undeniable ministry of God’s divine Word upon a heart filled with sorrow and mourning because of the deadening effects of the world around and the fallenness within. The psalmist prayed for reviving because he was laid low (v. 25). He then asked God for understanding, strengthening, and provision (vv. 26-29). When God gave him understanding, he would surely risk it all to comply because he treasured the Law (v. 30-32).

There are times in my life when I feel that I ought to be more in control of my Christian walk. However as my heart is enlarged with the Word of God (v. 32) my desire as the psalmist is, risk it all, run the way of God’s commandments.

It is my guess that I am not the only one with such a sentiment in my heart. It is my guess that whoever it is who comes across this short devotional is in a place very similar, if not exactly like the Psalmist, is struggling mightily for answers. Such is the nature of those struggles that they are willing to risk everything. I fervently pray that they will literally risk everything, engage the Word of God! Because I know someone quite literally risked everything to tell them of God!

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Let us now Pray,

In times and measures of weakness and hour of need,
yours, Father God is the strength by which we carry on,
Your Son Jesus, the shoulder we look to rest our head upon.
When our load, as the Psalmists is heavy and too much to bear,
yours and yours alone are the arms stretched out to help us
the grace, the only mercy, the great Shalom that we depend on.
In times and degrees of greatest weakness and hours of need,
from among the heavens and the stars above your voice is heard,
‘Come unto Me… Risk Unburdening Yourself…Risk finding rest.’
This is the indescribable, immeasurable undeniable grace divine,
the narrow path, through the eye of the needle, we tread to wholeness
of body and mind, soul and spirit, literally everything we are
the sure and certain path we risk treading which leads solely to you,
and for which we now offer our offering of thanksgiving and praise.

In Excelsis Deo!

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

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