He leads us through change

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
— Psalm 37:23 NLT

Life changes are rarely brought on gradually – unless, of course, they are of our own making. But unless the change is something we’ve considered and then instituted, change is typically an abrupt thing. Almost everyone can remember a time when, in the blink of an eye, everything changed. It’s usually in those moments that you realized how good you had it, and you’d give anything to return to the way things were.

Life is always changing. Nothing ever stands still. Relationships, jobs, seasons…they’re all constantly evolving.

But if we’re paying attention and following our Shepherd, we have the possibility to see things grow and flourish – changing for the better. Jesus didn’t save us from sin and then leave us to fend for ourselves; he is inviting us to journey with him.

The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
— Psalm 23 NLT

In all things, we can find hope by following not the fleeting things of this world, but the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, who is the same today as he was when he walked this Earth. He was the same then as he was when he created the World. That Jesus – that creator, savior, and redeemer – is just a breath, just a prayer away. He is always by our side, and he is always leading those who put their trust in him.

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
— Psalm 16:7-8 NLT 

 

 

Read Until You Strike Fire

My husband recently gave me some really solid advice. I was telling him how there are times when, as I start to think about praying, a stress rises up in me that I can’t explain. There are times that I leave my mornings with the Lord more on edge and tense than when I had started. The feeling is so frustrating.

What he advised me to do was to pray the Lord’s Prayer until I strike fire.

Have you ever heard of the phrase, read until you strike fire? It refers to reading the bible until something jumps out at you. Or another way to put it is to read until something strikes a chord or resonates with you. When you hit fire, stop. Think about it and why it stuck out to you. Ask the Lord what he’s telling you. Maybe you spend a half hour in prayer. Maybe you journal about it.

Luke advised me to do this with the Lord’s prayer. His theory is that you can’t go through it without striking fire somewhere.

I think he’s absolutely right.

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I needed the Lord, but I was feeling blocked in terms of prayer. So I took his advice, and I humbled myself before the Lord and acknowledged that I am weak in prayer and that I need his Spirit to guide me. I then began praying through the Lord’s Prayer, as found in Matthew 6:9-13.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.

“May your name be kept holy.” I stopped there and began reminding myself of who God is.

I then worked my way back a sentence to “Our Father in heaven” and reminded myself where God resides. How he is far above the earth and all it’s powers. How infinitely wise he is. How everything is under his watchful eye. How nothing escapes his notice.

“Our Father.” I am stuck even now on this one. I cannot comprehend this love, but I feel an invitation to dwell on this. He is my Father. Fathers love their children fiercely. Fathers keep an eye on all their children do. Fathers provide, protect, and guide. They are compassionate and understanding. Full of love. If I love my dogs, who aren’t my children and aren’t even human, so much that I am undone when one of them is hurt or sad, how much more does my Father care for me?

Look no further when you are in need. Pick up your bible and read until you strike fire.

Our Father in heaven,
    may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
    as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
    as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
    but rescue us from the evil one.

 

 

9/18/18 | Psalm 1

Oh, the joys of those who do not
    follow the advice of the wicked,
    or stand around with sinners,
    or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,
    meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
    bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
    and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.

They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.
Psalm 1 NLT

Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked. How interesting is it that the book of Psalms opens with this? It instructs us not to follow the ungodly or the world or our culture – we’re to follow the Lord. This ties into how God’s way is the best way. His designs, his purposes, his plans, his reasons and ideas. This entire psalm speaks to this! When you google wicked online it tells us that it means evil or morally wrong. So do not follow those who are evil or those who are morally wrong. Do not learn from them or mimic their ways. Learn from the Lord.

But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along a riverbank. Doesn’t this sound like what Jesus was talking about when he was telling us to abide in him? This is talking about how we are when we meditate on the law of the Lord. When we meditate on his ways, we are abiding. As we spend daily time in the Bible we are rooting ourselves in Christ. As we do this, we’ll bear fruit in each season. We’ll bear fruit in every season of life. That doesn’t just mean summer. It means fall, winter, and spring as well. Imagine a tree flourishing even in the winter, when everything is dead.

Imagine flourishing and even bearing fruit during the most difficult times of your life – that’s what the Word is saying here. This is what is promised as we abide in Christ. You won’t just experience joy and peace when all is right in your life – you’ll also experience it when all is wrong.

Their leaves will never cease to flourish*, and they will succeed* in all they do.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

What a stark difference the Bible shows us between following the world/culture/morally wrong, and following the Lord. The instruction here is to delight in Word of the Lord and to meditate on it day and night. The blessing is being like a constantly thriving tree.

Recommended reading:

  • Psalm 1
  • John 15: 1-11
  • Galatians 5

*edit mine, alternate definition of “wither” and “prosper”