Friday, November 30, 2012

Thy Lovingkindness, Thy Judgment

 149Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O LORD, quicken me according to thy judgment.
 150They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law.
 151Thou art near, O LORD; and all thy commandments are truth.
 152Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. 
(Psalm 119:149-152, King James Version)

Thy Lovingkindness, Thy Judgment

We do not tend to have difficulty embracing God's love, but it is not always as easy to embrace God's judgment. The writer of Psalm 119, however, understood that there is a proper balance between both. Both are necessary for us who are entrenched in a sin darkened world. God's love is our foundation; no matter how bleak things are for us, we see the utter goodness and love of God and are encouraged to continue on for Him. Yet, it is God's judgment which provides the prod we need to keep us focused on living this life for Him and not according to the pleasures of this world.

The Psalmist reminds us that the world is not driven by the fear of God, but follows after wickedness with no concern for obedience to God's commandments. Dismissing the existence of God, or redefining a god who is more of their choosing, they live their lives focused only upon themselves and what they can amass for themselves.

It is a great temptation, even for believers, to loose sight of our true purpose. Thus the Psalmist reminds himself that no matter what happens God is always right there beside us. No matter how things may seem in this life, God's commandments are true.

We must not become discouraged when we find ourselves going through times of doubt, Instead, let us pray that God will strengthen us so that we keep our eyes focused on Christ. It is Christ who has saved us, it is Christ who has given us new life, and it is through the power of Christ, alone, that we live our lives for His glory. Like the Psalmist, let us draw near to God who is always right there with us no matter where we go.

This is not a popular message in our culture today. We live in a time when most are rushing as far away from the "control" of God, while seeking to grab as many of the pleasures this life they can. At the same time, we see that people are miserable. With no meaning to life, and happiness always just out of reach, they have nowhere to turn for comfort or guidance.

The Psalmist closes this section reminding himself that he has known that God has founded His testimonies forever. There is the truth! We can embrace and cling to God's testimonies which were born even before time began and will last forever--long after time shall be no more. Let us lift up our eyes and focus them on Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Everything in this world will pass away, What then? Only what we have done to prepare for eternity will matter. Go to Christ now, for now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Can't Sleep!

 145I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes.
 146I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.
 147I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.
 148Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. 
(Psalm 119:145-148, King James Version)

Can't Sleep!

I had to smile when I read the above verses. It is not unusual for me to be up in the middle of the night because I can't sleep. Such was the case tonight (it is 3:20 AM), so I thought I would write a devotional or two. I certainly, then, understood the sentiment of the writer in verses 147 and 148. Here is how it is rendered in the New King James version:
 147  I rise before the dawning of the morning,
         And cry for help;
         I hope in Your word.
 148  My eyes are awake through the night watches,
         That I may meditate on Your word. (Psalm 119:147-148, New King James Version)
What do you do when you cannot sleep? The middle of the night is a wonderful time to meditate upon God's Word. None of the usual interruptions (the telephone, the doorbell, etc.) keep us from a quiet time of contemplation.

The writer of Psalm 119 keeps returning to the familiar theme: peace and contentment are results of living a life of obedience to God's commandments. Nothing in this life offers the hope or stability we find in the Lord. Our friends and families will fail us; we will even fail ourselves! Yet, in Christ is everlasting joy and peace.

What are some of the examples the writer has used previously in this Psalm?

Verse 9: Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Verse 18: Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Verse 24: Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counselors.

Verse 34: Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Verse 42: So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word.

Verse 48: My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Verse 50: This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

Verse 54: Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage.

Verse 72: The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

And so we could continue citing example after example of the delights the Psalmist finds in God's Word. Does God's Word delight us in the same way? Do we find ourselves returning again and again to our Bibles for truth, comfort, and help in dealing with the problems of this life that come our way?

The next time you find that you can't sleep, I encourage you to spend some time in God's Word meditating upon the glorious nuggets of truth found within its pages. A great place to start is Psalm 119.

Let us not allow the problems and difficulties of this life to rob us of the peace and joy found in the pages of God's Holy Word!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Everlasting Righteousness

 141I am small and despised: yet do not I forget thy precepts.
 142Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.
 143Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.
 144The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live. 
(Psalm 119:141-144, King James Version)

Everlasting Righteousness

Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth.

Why are we so often willing to settle for less than the best when the best is right at our fingertips? It seems as though the Psalmist was asking this very question. The two predominant themes of our lives, as believers, are found in verse 143. Trouble and anguish have taken hold on me: yet thy commandments are my delights.

What an apt description of our life! Do we not all experience the overwhelming frustrations of this life, often almost overcome by our troubles and anguish. Yet, has God changed? Is His Word of no effect? Even in the darkest of hours, God's Word shines bright and clear. We have only to look upon His Word and be reminded that nothing in this life can truly overwhelm or conquer the children of God.

Though we are in this world, we are not of this world. We know that in the time pre-ordained by God, all of this life will stop, but eternity will stretch before us forever. Should we not then be more concerned by our eternal state than with the things of this world?

We are all familiar with these truths, but seem to take so little time pondering them and applying them to our lives. The trappings of this world have a great hold upon our lives, and often the realities of life given to us in God's Word seem to be so very far away. It is good, then, for us to stop and meditate upon the plain teachings of the Bible. Psalm 119 is filled with riches and reminders of God's great goodness to us, and His great, unending love.

Let us, then, turn off the TV, put down the book, and find a quiet corner to relax and meditate upon God's Word. Truly He has not left us without the means to read and study His Word, nor has He removed Himself from us. By His grace may we turn from our sins which so easily beset us and seek His help and His face that we might live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him. Let us take time to bring all of our troubles and concerns to Him in prayer, knowing that He loves to hear and answer the prayers of His dear children.

This life is but a shadow--a small wrinkle in the fabric of time, but our dear Lord and Savior has given to us everlasting righteousness. Let us, then, boldly live our lives for the honor and glory of God, looking unto Him to bring us into His eternal courts where we will live with Him forever!

Trouble and anguish have been over for the writer of this Psalm for over 2000 years, and yet those 2000 years are but a day in the courts of heaven. Let us lift our voices in praise to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Righteous and Faithful

 137Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are thy judgments.
 138Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.
 139My zeal hath consumed me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words.
 140Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. 
(Psalm 119:137-140, King James Version)

Righteous and Faithful

What do we love? What gives us joy and happiness? What do we do with our free time? All of these questions are related, are they not? For, when we actually do have free time, we do the things we love to do--the things that bring us joy and happiness.

The Psalmist said, Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. The Psalmist loved what was righteous and upright so much so, that his zeal all but consumed him. When he looked for righteousness and purity, where did he look? He looked to the Lord.

Is life so very different for us, more than 2000 years later? When we take the time to think of what gives us the most joy, do we not turn to the Lord? Where else can we go? Do you remember Peter's words, in John 6?
 67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
 68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
 69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:67-69, King James Version)
The writer of Psalm 119 was expressing a very similar attitude. When he looked for righteousness, he turned to the Lord, for only in God did he see justice, goodness, and truth. Only in the Word of God did he see righteousness and faithfulness.

Today, in the 21st century, the truth still remains: only in Christ will we find the Words of eternal life. Only in Christ will we find true justice, holiness, goodness, and truth. Today we join with the Psalmist in proclaiming, Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Even today we join with Peter in saying, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe are are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Yes, this is the same God we serve today, and this is Christ who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Amen. Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Monday, November 26, 2012

Rivers of Waters

 133Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
 134Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts.
 135Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
 136Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. 
(Psalm 119:133-136, King James Version)

Rivers of Waters

Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

In just a few short verses, tucked away in the middle of Psalm 119, the writer succinctly and accurately describes our true state of being. We see the daily conflict we face, the oppression from outside, and the divine duty that we so often neglect. Such is our grief at our own failings that rivers of waters run down our eyes.

Our constant prayer needs to be that God would order our steps and keep us from the evil that surrounds us so that iniquity will not have dominion over us. We live in a fallen world that is hurling itself as far away from God as it can get. Satan's devices are swift and devious. The day we truly believe we can live for Christ in our own strength and power is the day we are precariously close to failure.

The writer of Psalm 119 understood that his only hope was to rest in the strength and power of God, alone. This necessitated time spent meditating upon God's Word. We have  God's Word available to us in its entirety, and yet we struggle to find time to spend with God in praise, prayer, and fellowship. Yet, how can we expect to overcome Satan's devices in our own power. We cannot!

Let us, then, join the psalmist in crying out to God: Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes. As we are in the middle of another holiday season, let us not become so busy that we forget the things that matter the most. May we resolve to: let the decorating remain undone, let the presents remain on the shelves, but do not neglect our Lord and Savior.

By the grace of God may we be a living example of Christ on this earth. May we shine forth with His promises and His praises, and may our lives reflect the true hope that lies within us. For, when all of the presents are unwrapped, when the holiday goodies are gone, the true reason we celebrate the birth of Christ will remain.

He did not stay as a babe in the manger, but He submitted Himself to His parent's rule, ministered to the people He loved, died for their sins, and rose again, and is, even now, sitting at the right hand of God, the Father, making intercession for us, His people.

It is Christ we love, for He has given us hope, not just for today, but for all eternity. So, then, when we find ourselves not keeping His law, may we, like the Psalmist cry out: Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law. Let us rise up and live for Christ--that is why we are here!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Words Give Light

 129Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them.
 130The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
 131I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments.
 132Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name. 
(Psalm 119:129-132, King James Version)

Words Give Light

The Psalmist bathes himself in the Word of God, exclaiming, "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple." Both the New International Version and the English Standard Version translate verse 130: "The unfolding of your Words gives light."

What a beautiful expression. In our walk with the Lord, we do not find that we suddenly understand all there is to know about the Lord. Rather, we find our walk with God to be a gradual unfolding of our understanding of who God is and of how He lives and moves in our innermost being. Each day brings us a little closer to the Lord.

Paul, in Ephesians 2, gives us a graphic illustration of the change that takes place in our hearts and lives when we come to Christ.

 1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
 3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
 4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
 8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10, King James Version)

Truly, before we came to Christ we were dead in our sins. Yet through Christ we have been quickened, or made alive. By the grace of God we have been saved, not by anything we have done or said, but by the great mercy and kindness of God, Himself. We are, then, the workmanship of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Like the Psalmist, we cannot read Ephesians 2 without being overcome by the realization of God's great love for us. God, who is rich in mercy and love, reached down and plucked us from the sin and degradation of this life and said, "Live!" And, so we live, not by our works, but by the works of Christ, alone!

Yes, it is true! God's Words give light, for in Him is no darkness at all. Come, today, to the Light of this  world and cast off, forever, the darkness that would so easily impale you!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 23, 2012

Above Fine Gold!

 125I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
 126It is time for thee, LORD, to work: for they have made void thy law.
 127Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.
 128Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. 
(Psalm 119:125-128, King James Version)

Above Fine Gold!

What do you love more than money? Think carefully before you answer, for the truth is: there is nothing we tend to love more than money, or at least more than the pleasures and comforts that money can buy. After all, we are creatures who love our comforts, our pleasures, and our "toys."

The writer of Psalm 119 was frustrated; seeking the salvation of God and His righteous word, he was almost overcome on all sides by his oppressors. Do the people of this world seek the goodness of God? Do the people of this world love righteousness, goodness, and truth? No!

Yet, when the Psalmist pondered the things of God, he was almost overcome with joy and peace. The more he learned and became familiar with the Word of God and His testimonies, the more he was driven to pursue God's purity. As His knowledge of truth, purity, and holiness increased, so did his discomfort with the things of this world.

Are we, as children of God, so very different from the Psalmist? No, we are not. Why, then, do we seem to rush after the things of this world and ignore the things of God? Why do we spend our lives serving our selfish pleasures while ignoring the only things that will fill our lives with joy and peace? That is the great enigma, is it not?

As believers, living in a world that is really not our home, we are continually bombarded by the lusts of our flesh. Paul explained it this way in Galatians 5:

 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. (Galatians 5:16-18, King James Version)

There is a better way. Rather than being led by the lusts of our flesh, Christ has redeemed us from our sins. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we walk according to faith as we are commanded in God's Word. What are the results? God grants us such peace, love, and joy, that we discover our love for His commandments to be above gold--yes, above fine gold!

 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23, King James Version)

Let us then so immerse ourselves in the Word of God, that we may find our hearts and lives filled with love for Christ. For it is He who loved us, saved us, and washed us in His own blood that we might shine with His righteousness, His joy, and His peace, both now and forever!

Amen! Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 16, 2012

Teach Me!

 121I have done judgment and justice: leave me not to mine oppressors.
 122Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
 123Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness.
 124Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes. 
(Psalm 119:121-124, King James Version)

Teach Me!

If the Psalmist has done what is good and just, why does he plead with God to not allow the proud to oppress him? Is it not enough, in this life, that we are good? That is an interesting question, for, truthfully, this world is not comfortable with those who are truly good.

We are fallen creatures who, apart from the grace of God, are comfortable with our sin. When in the company of those who seem to have a better or more moral character than ours, we are more prone to try to bring them down to our level rather than to attempt to rise to meet them. That is why one is more likely, when at the movies, to see a main character who is a combination of "naughty and nice," rather than truly good.

Even as believers, our sin natures are so predominant that we need to constantly be on our guard. Perhaps that is just what the Psalmist had in mind when he said, "Mine eyes fail for thy salvation, and for the word of thy righteousness. Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes."

There lies the good news. The battle is not ours to fight unassisted, but rather, God is available to guide us, shepherd us, and keep us from the sins which would so easily beset us. Not only has God provided salvation from the penalty our sins deserve, through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, but He is present 24/7.

Let us then, like the Psalmist, apply to Christ to teach us His Word and His Precepts. May we, by His grace, find ourselves continually searching out the Scriptures, applying them to our daily lives. It is no wonder that Paul, in Ephesians 6, compared our walk with the Lord to a soldier, constantly preparing to do battle with his enemies.

 13Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
 14Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
 15And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
 16Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
 17And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:13-17, King James Version)

Go, today, in the strength and power of the Lord, as a soldier, armed and ready to do battle for Christ's kingdom!

God Bless You,
Linda



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hold Me Up!

 117Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.
 118Thou hast trodden down all them that err from thy statutes: for their deceit is falsehood.
 119Thou puttest away all the wicked of the earth like dross: therefore I love thy testimonies.
 120My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments. 
(Psalm 119:117-120, King James Version)

Hold Me Up!

Does God hear? Does God pay attention when the wicked trample the Godly underfoot? Yes! Though it may seem at times that the trials of this life will drown us, yet God is always right beside us, holding us up, and keeping us faithful to Him. The wicked, in their foolishness, arrogantly go about their business unmindful of God, who at a moment's notice can obliterate them from existence. Though it seems that God looks in the other direction while they commit one atrocity after another, God is mindful of their actions. In His time, He will make all things right.

As believers, we know that, apart from the help of God, it is impossible for us to faithfully love and serve Him. Like the Psalmist, we must continually pray, "Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe." Because we read and understand God's Word, we know that He, indeed, does put away all the wicked of the earth like dross. Truly, we understand who God is, and tremble for fear of Him, being afraid of His judgments.

Fear is not a bad thing, for with the fear of God comes understanding of who He is, and of what our purpose is on this earth. We know that to fear Him is to love Him, and His response to us is that of a loving Father who reaches down and surrounds us with His protecting arms of love.

Though we live in a time when it seems as those who hate God rule the day, but we know that the time will come when God will say, "Enough!" We, after all, are on God's side, and from His perspective, the victory has already been won.

Let us then, go about our lives loving and serving Him, knowing that each day brings us closer to the day when we will go to be with Him forever!

That reminds me of a chorus we often sang when I was young:

Just a little longer and the trump of God shall sound.
Just a little longer and we'll all be glory bound.
Look away to heaven, our redemption draweth nigh.
Just a little longer and we'll meet Him in the sky.

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Law or Vanity?

 113I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.
 114Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.
 115Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God.
 116Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope. 
(Psalm 119:113-116, King James Version)

The Law or Vanity

When one grows weary of the double-minded nature of most people, how quickly one's heart gravitates toward the wholesome purity and truth of God's Word. Perhaps that is exactly what the Psalmist had in mind when he said, "I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love."

I fear we are far too cynical in the culture in which we live. We do not even really expect people to be sincere, just so they sound nice and are somewhat believable. Perhaps that is due to our open distrust of politicians, or perhaps we have been "burned" so many times that we insulate ourselves from being hurt again.

Unfortunately, the lines are drawn rather markedly. We, as believers, must really trust in God's Law or we accept the vanity of our culture in which everyone does what is pleasing to themselves without much regard for anyone else. Oh, we all seem to rally when a great cataclysmic event strikes, such as Hurricane Sandy, but it does not take long until we are all back living our normal, selfish lifestyles.

For the true believer, there is great hope and peace in Christ. The Psalmist said, "Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word." At some point in our lives, hopefully sooner rather than later, we must all come to the decision-making point where we join the Psalmist in declaring, "Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God."

It is good for us to take the time to stop and evaluate our lives before God. How do we personally measure up according to the standards of His Word? Are we truly different than those around us, or are we really no different than the people of the world?

The next question we must face, then, is: Do we love our neighbors? Do we care that those around us are lost, or are we quite happy to let them go on their way, unloved and unknowing. It seems as though the Gospel has permeated the entire world so that everyone should know the truth, but is that really true? Do the people you interact with each day understand the Gospel? Do they even understand the difference between the Law or vanity?

As we approach the holiday season, let us pray for a greater love for the lost with whom we interact each day. Let us pray that God will open their eyes to the truth of His Word, and by His grace, may even use us to share the Gospel with them.

After all, that is why we are here, is it not?

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Inclined Heart

 109My soul is continually in my hand: yet do I not forget thy law.
 110The wicked have laid a snare for me: yet I erred not from thy precepts.
 111Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.
 112I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end. 
(Psalm 119:109-112, King James Version)

Inclined Heart

It always comes back to the same thing, does it not? Ultimately our actions are a natural response to the inclination of our hearts. The Psalmist, though in seemingly endless peril, admitted, "Yet do I not forget thy law . . . yet I erred not from thy precepts." Why could he make such a bold assertion? "I have inclined mine heart to perform thy statutes alway, even unto the end."

What is the natural inclination of our hearts? Left to ourselves, the news is not good!

 5 The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.  (Genesis 6:5, New International Version)

24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.  (Jeremiah 7:24, New International Version)

Oh, we can put on a pretty good outward appearance, which may fool our fellow man, but God looks upon our heart. It is our heart attitude which will ultimately determine our actions. Jeremiah reminds us of the true state of our hearts.

 9  “ The heart is deceitful above all things,
      And desperately wicked;
      Who can know it?
       (Jeremiah 17:9, New King James Version)

But, there is hope! It is not up to us. Like the Psalmist, we can, through the strength and power of God, Himself, incline our hearts to love Him above all, and seek to live a life that is obedient to His Word.

Take some time today to remind yourself of this great and awesome God we serve. Remember the stories of God's working among His people as they are related to us in the pages of His Holy Word. This is the same God we serve today. He is not unmoved by our feelings and our circumstances, but rather He is intimately involved with all of the details of our lives.

The power exhibited by God on behalf of His children in the books of Genesis, Exodus, 1st and 2nd Samuel, Esther, and so on, is the same power available to God's children today. Could it be that we have not sensed that same power in our lives because we lack faith? Have we so bought into the wine of this age that we have lost our spiritual focus?

Let us, by the grace and power of God, lift up our heads and look unto God, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. Let us boldly move forth with an inclined heart, set to perform God's statutes, even unto the end!

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Lamp unto My Feet

 105Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
 106I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
 107I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O LORD, according unto thy word.
 108Accept, I beseech thee, the freewill offerings of my mouth, O LORD, and teach me thy judgments. 
(Psalm 119:105-108, King James Version)

Lamp unto My Feet

One of the disadvantages of city life is that one does not always understand how dark night really is, for in the city, lights shine brilliantly through the entire night. Years ago, we had the opportunity to spend a few nights in a campground in Arkansas which had no lights at night. I was amazed at how dark night really is -- and how quiet!

Unfortunately, we do not understand the darkness of sin that permeates our hearts and lives, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, even before coming to Christ, God's Word faithfully shines into hearts darkened by sin, pointing them to Christ, the Light of the Word who can end their eternal state of darkness forever.

As believers, God's Word continues to grow and mature us, lighting the way that God has ordained for us to walk, keeping us from the entanglement of sin that lurks in all of the dark corners of life. With great confidence the Psalmist declares, I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. It is not an easy path he has chosen to follow for it leads to much affliction and many sorrows; knowing his need he cried out to the LORD, quicken me . . . according to thy word.

As believers, do we have that same sense of dependency upon Christ, as well as the hungering and longing shown by the Psalmist for the Word of God? When life seems to overwhelm us, where do we turn? Could it be that the peace we so long for evades us because we so seldom find ourselves pouring over God's Word?

Our Bibles are precious gifts given to us by God; may we not take them for granted, but spend many days, hours, yes, even weeks, months, and years, immersing ourselves in its glorious pages. The Bible is a living book, pointing us to Christ, and refreshing the hunger in our souls. May we find its comfort sweet and precious until the day God calls us to Him, when Christ, the Living Word, welcomes us home.

God Bless You,
Linda


Friday, November 09, 2012

Taught by God

 101I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word.
 102I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me.
 103How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
 104Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. 
(Psalm 119:101-104, King James Version)

Taught by God

How does one know right from wrong? How does one know to choose one direction or another? Certainly, no matter what options are available, it seems as though there is no end of supporters for either choice. The writer of Psalm 119 directs us back to God, saying, "I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep thy word."

He, then, continues, "I have not departed from thy judgments: for thou hast taught me." Taught by God! How amazing is that? God does not leave us to helplessly wonder what actions are good and proper--what actions are right according to Him.

Understanding, then, the importance of God's Word in directing his life, the psalmist declared, "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" It is God's Law which directs us so that we understand what is right and just, and what is not. Should we not, then, diligently find ourselves searching, studying, and praying as directed by God Himself?

The Word of God, unlike other books, is not a book one can read once and say, "I have finished it." Rather, our Bibles should be our constant companions. Not only should we be continually reading God's Word from cover to cover, but we should also immerse ourselves in small sections, or books, digging out the gold mines of truth hidden with its pages.

We live in a rare time when most of us are not prevented by our countries or governments from reading and studying God's Word. If we do not have good resources for studying the Bible in our homes, there is certainly a plethora of material on the internet. One of my husband and my favorite sites is: archive.org. Thousands and thousands of free books are available to download and read--works from some of the greatest religious leaders and theologians our world has ever known.

Sadly, not everyone in the world has this freedom. There are many trapped in countries, forbidden to own copies of the Bible. Let us pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in the Lord, and let us immerse ourselves in God's truths while we still have the freedom to do so!

Let us work diligently to be taught by God. It is He who made us, it is He who knows and understands us, and it is He who will safely bring us home to live with Him forever.

Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God Bless You,
Linda



Thursday, November 08, 2012

Thy Commandments

 97O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
 98Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
 99I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
 100I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts. 
(Psalm 119:97-100, King James Version)

Thy Commandments

What is the difference between knowledge, learning, understanding, and wisdom? We can change our learning, our understanding and our level of knowledge, but what about wisdom? One can possess the ultimate in knowledge of the things of this earth, but apart from God, he or she cannot possess true wisdom. That is really the essence of the Psalmist's words in verses 97 through 100, of Psalm 119.

Because the Psalmist loved God's Law, meditating upon it all the day, God granted to him wisdom--so much so that he was wiser than his enemies and had more understanding than his teachers. How do we rate on God's "wisdom scale?"

How much do we love the Law of God? How much time do we spend meditating upon His precepts? How important is God's Word to us? I fear, that in this fast-paced culture in which we live, we often do not take the time to meditate and study the Word of God. In fact, we most likely do not even find a few minutes a day to read our Bibles.

If this is true, how do we, as believers, affect the culture in which we live? Is it any wonder that Christians seem to have lost touch with society as a whole? Is it any wonder that God's Word is largely ignored by most, even in what are still loosely considered to be "Christian" nations? Is it any wonder that churches are rushing away from the standards of God's Word so that they might be more in sync with the culture in which they live?

As we read of the Psalmist's delight in God's Word, let us pray that God will renew within each of us a love and a passion for His Word. As God's Word takes ahold of our hearts, may we declare with the writer, Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies.

Let us pray, too, that we will live in this world, but not be of this world, for the world and everything in it will pass away, but the Word of God will stand forever!

God Bless You,
Linda



Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Never Forget!

 93I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me.
 94I am thine, save me: for I have sought thy precepts.
 95The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I will consider thy testimonies.
 96I have seen an end of all perfection: but thy commandment is exceeding broad. 
(Psalm 119:93-96, King James Version)

Never Forget!

The Psalmist writes, I will never forget thy precepts: for with them thou hast quickened me. The New King James translations says, I will never forget your precepts, For by them you have given me life.

God's quickening to the believer is His granting us a new nature--a new life in Him. No longer are we bound by this body of sin and death, but God has granted to us an immortal soul, and has guaranteed that we will live with Him forever.

What a blessed hope that is. For those whose bodies bear the marks of years of suffering, for those who have lost dear loved ones, and for those whose future on this earth seems dark, indeed, we are called to rise above the depths of this life and look at what God has prepared for those who love Him.

The Psalmist would have been in great despair, knowing that the wicked were waiting to destroy him, but he saw beyond their evil plans. His hope was not in his own strength or ability to save himself, but rather, his hope was in the Lord. When surrounded by the wicked, the Psalmist remembered God's testimonies. For in them, he had hope; God's promises were secure in His heart and mind.

Let us never forget that it is God we serve. Our God is faithful, loving, kind, and will never forget His children. Though the days may seem dark, our God remains as our faithful God and Savior. Let us look to Him for light, for health, for love, for encouragement, and for strength.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received her frame,
from everlasting, thou art God,
to endless years the same.

God Bless You,
Linda



Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Forever, O LORD!

 89For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
 90Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
 91They continue this day according to thine ordinances: for all are thy servants.
 92Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction. 
(Psalm 119:89-92, King James Version)

Forever, O LORD!

Are there any more beautiful words that have ever been spoken? "Forever, O LORD!" When things of this life seem to look most bleak, we open God's Word to such beautiful words as this. The verse continues, "Thy word is settled in heaven." 

Who is this God we serve? He is perfect in love and power and holiness. He is all goodness, truth, joy, and blessing. In Him is no darkness, neither shadow of turning. This, dear child of God, is the God we serve, and His rule is forever! His eternal Word is settled in heaven; everything He has decreed will come to pass, and when time ceases, all will be accomplished that He has promised.

Realizing this, the Psalmist praised God whose faithfulness is unto all generations. God was faithful to the writer of this Psalm, He has been faithful to His children in all the ages past, He is faithful to His children of this generation, and He will continue to be faithful to all future generations of those who love and worship Him.

Today is election day in the United States, and what a tumultuous time it is. Will the results of this election change the course of God's appointed history for our country or for the world? No! It is important that we, as believers, take heart in God's Word. It is God we serve, and it is He who saves us and keeps us.

Yes, we have been blessed with a country that has allowed us great religious freedoms, but we must remember that if those freedoms are removed, our God will never change. We will find His grace and peace to be our sustaining strength no matter what the tides of our culture bring to us. It is not our country that saves us, it is God, alone, who is our strength and stay.

Let us join the Psalmist in praising God this day, and let us remember with the Psalmist, "Unless thy law had been my delights, I should then have perished in mine affliction."

If you are a citizen of the United States, I pray that you will use your freedom to vote, and that you will vote for the candidate who is most likely to uphold the religious freedoms we so richly enjoy. But, remember, the result of this election is in God's hands. Our allegiance is to Him, above all.

God Bless You,
Linda