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Showing posts from December, 2011

What limits are we living by?

If your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came.  But I'll never forget the advice you gave me; you saved my life with those wise words.  Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for your words of wisdom. The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, 
      but the horizons can't contain your commands! (Psalm 119:92-96 The Message)
As we have studied this psalm, we have seen David repeatedly turn our attention to the "keeping" power of God's Word.  It is a stalwart in hard times.  It stands the test and keeps on ticking!  He starts with the statement, "If your teachings had not delighted me..."  Here is the crux of the "keeping" power of God's Word - - it is in the "delight" we take in it.  How we treat God's Word determines how much it will impact our lives.  
Does it delight us like nothing els…

Tomorrow: God's Plan

What you say goes, God, and stays, as permanent as the heavens. 
   Your truth never goes out of fashion; it's as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.  Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what you ordered—you set the earth going.  (Psalm 119:89-91 The Message)
89 Your eternal word, O Lord, stands firm in heaven.90 Your faithfulness extends to every generation, as enduring as the earth you created.91 Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. (Psalm 119:89-91 New Living Translation)
We are about to embark on a new year - 2011 is coming to a close and 2012 is just ebbing its way into our view.  As I have grown older, time seems to pass faster.  The "ebbing" of a new day seems to be upon me before I even realize that the old one has passed me by!  There is one truth that endures through the passage of time - - God's Word is dependable!  For some, this goes without saying because they have adopted the Word of God a…

Your number please....

I'm homesick—longing for your salvation; I'm waiting for your word of hope.  My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise; how long must I wait for your comfort? There's smoke in my eyes—they burn and water, but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post.  How long do I have to put up with all this? How long till you haul my tormentors into court?  The arrogant godless try to throw me off track, ignorant as they are of God and his ways. Everything you command is a sure thing, but they harass me with lies. Help!  They've pushed and pushed—they never let up—but I haven't relaxed my grip on your counsel.  In your great love revive me so I can alertly obey your every word. (Psalm 119:81-88 The Message)
I don't think I have ever experienced homesickness like I did that first week of Basic Training when I went into the US Army.  Those first seven days away from home were torture to my psyche!  I had been to Girl Scout Camp for two weeks, but somehow…

One, two, three...poof!

Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds; they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel. 
   Let those who fear you turn to me for evidence of your wise guidance. 
   And let me live whole and holy, soul and body, so I can always walk with my head held high. (Psalm 119:78-80 The Message)
David is setting out a prayer to God in our passage this morning.  It is composed of three parts:  1) How he wants God to deal with those who stand against him; 2) How he hopes God will use him in the lives of others; and 3) How he expects to live with God's help.  


First, let's look at David's prayer about his enemies - - fast-talking tricksters who tried to sell him a bill of goods.  When we are encountered by someone "selling a bill of goods" we usually see that we have two choices: accept what they say at face-value, or reject it at face-value.  We really have a third choice: investigate it for truth rather than trusting the face-value…

Hindsight is 20/20

I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what's true and right.  Oh, love me—and right now—hold me tight, just the way you promised.  Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.  (Psalm 119:75-77 The Message)
It goes without saying that "hindsight" is often much better than "foresight".  If we could see how everything would turn out in the end, we might not take some of the steps we take.  If we had insight into the outcomes of some of our words and actions, we might speak up or volunteer more often.  The simple truth is that we don't know how things will end - - and this often keeps us from acting in the first place, or acting in "blindness".
Hindsight is the recognition of the realities, possibilities, or requirements of a situation / decision AFTER it occurs.  It is this idea of hindsight that caused us to coin the phrase, "Monday Morning Quarterbacking".  We can…

What pattern are you following?

With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.  When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, 
      those who fear you will take heart and be glad.  (Psalm 119:73-74 The Message)
The term "take heart" means to gain strength and courage in a difficult situation.  David reminds us that the example we exhibit in the times of waiting on God to act has the potential of causing others to take heart - - to gain strength and courage for their own difficult circumstances.  In the midst of difficulty, what makes you stand strong?
According to our author, it is the confidence he has in the one who has created him.  It goes without saying that the one doing the "assembling" of the pieces of our lives is the best to address the pressures that come against those "pieces".  I have sewn a few things in my days.  By the time I finished with the assembly of those pieces, I knew everything about that garment.  I had touched th…

Friend or Foe?

My troubles turned out all for the best—they forced me to learn from your textbook.  Truth from your mouth means more to me than striking it rich in a gold mine. (Psalm 119:71-72 The Message)
We've all probably heard it said that we learned a particular lesson in the "school of hard knocks".  This seems to be the way many of us learn!  We struggle, muddling through the bad stuff, until we can ultimately say that we "made it through".  We don't get a diploma to show we made it through, but we have learned a lesson or two that we probably were desperate to learn in our lives!  
Where we turn to in the "school of hard knocks" is what determines how well we learn the "lessons" of those times!  David says that the hard times forced him to learn from God's textbook - the Word.  Amazing how that works, huh?  We find ourselves in the midst of a moment of indecision and THEN we look for the answers!  I think many of us head down a path without a…

A lesson from Alice

The godless spread lies about me, but I focus my attention on what you are saying; they're bland as a bucket of lard, while I dance to the tune of your revelation.  (Psalm 119:69-70 The Message)
I read a post from one of my Facebook friends this week.  It seemed like she was facing some challenges with a fellow believer speaking unkindly about her in the circle of friends they kept together.  Here's her post:  "Remember, if they talk about someone else they are going to do the same about you...we all have quirks, sins and what have you..."  Right in the middle of the post, she states a pretty awesome truth:  "I am learning to work around those things in people."  The post ends with some simple words:  "Faced with a Christian friend that has the gift of gab when it comes to people." She could not have put it better - - we need to learn to work around the things in people that give us cause to pause!  Thanks Alice!  Your words are sound advice!
David …

Playing it God's Way!

Be good to your servant, God; be as good as your Word. Train me in good common sense; I'm thoroughly committed to living your way. Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place, but now I'm in step with your Word.    You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness.  (Psalm 119:65-68 The Message)
Have you ever known someone with all the book learning in the world, but they simply lacked good common sense?  Doesn't it amaze you sometimes how much we can amass in "knowledge" and still lack the "skill" to do some of the stuff we need to do?  Simply put, common sense is the "sound" practical judgment that is independent of any of the specialized knowledge we might amass through training.  In some fields of human psychology, they might say this is the "native" intelligence that someone possesses.
Our psalmist reminds us that getting the Word "into" us is great!  We cannot live without it.  Yet, it is …

Who's your match?

I'm a friend and companion of all who fear you, of those committed to living by your rules.  Your love, God, fills the earth!  Train me to live by your counsel. (Psalm 119:63-64 The Message)
It is good to have friends.  As we begin today, just take a moment to make a list of friends.  Now, divide that list into those who you could say were more than just your acquaintances - the list probably got a little shorter.  To further refine this list, let's divide out those who we really know have our back - they are more of a confidante to us, they are a compatriot in our mission in life.  The list probably got downright tiny with that one!  We can have lots of friends, but few will go the extra mile of walking with us through our mission in life - partnering with us in our walk with Christ.
David says he was a friend and companion of ALL who feared God.  Then he broke that down a little further - of those that were committed to living by the rules God establishes.  He made his lists, t…

Insulated and Isolated

I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile, be gracious to me just as you promised.  When I took a long, careful look at your ways, I got my feet back on the trail you blazed. I was up at once, didn't drag my feet, was quick to follow your orders.  The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.  I get up in the middle of the night to thank you; your decisions are so right, so true—I can't wait till morning!  (Psalm 119:58-62 The Message)
It is not an uncommon thing to tell God that we want ALL his blessings - each and every good thing that he has promised to us.  I wonder how many of us really know how to receive what has been given!  Most of us do a good job with the "asking" part -- but when it comes to "receiving" we stink!  We simply don't believe the provision is true, or we just don't reach out and make the blessing fully ours.  
David reminds us that it is in the times of taking those "lon…