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”

9/4/18 | Commit Everything to the Lord

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.
Psalm 37:5 NLT

One of the things that is so wonderful about this verse is what it says about God’s character. It says to commit everything you do to the Lord. This doesn’t just mean the biggest stress currently going on in your life. It means everything. It means conflicts at work or in your marriage, conversations you know are coming, and people in general. It means putting things like buying a house or walking through a crisis into his hands. It also means placing daily needs into his hands as well. Everything means everything. If we commit (pledge, give, dedicate) these things to the Lord, he will help us.

What does that tell you about God?

This verse shows us proof that God is personal and desires a one-on-one relationship with us. Stop on that a second and think about what that means. God wants to be down deep with us in the nitty-gritty of everyday life. He wants us to commit every single thing that we do to him so that he can help us through it.

Sin came into the world in Genesis when Adam and Eve put someone else’s word above God’s. Ever since that day, things have been much more confusing than they used to be. It’s no longer easy for us to tell what’s good and what’s bad, what’s helpful and what’s destructive, what God’s will is versus what Satan’s will is. Without seeking out the Lord, how can we know what things will keep us in step with God versus what things are playing right into the enemy’s hands? This is why it’s so good for us to commit everything we do to the Lord and to trust that he will help us.

Satan is a real enemy who wants us to believe that we either don’t need God, or that God can’t help us. And he’s clever. He’ll do whatever it takes to make us like himself – rebellious towards God and headed for death. However, if we trust the Lord, he will help us. Isn’t that a beautiful promise? The Bible is an entire narrative that shows us how God comes to the aid of the people who love and trust him.

Think about all of this as you go through your week. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.

Recommended reading for this week:

  • Psalm 37
  • Matthew 6:8
  • Matthew 6:19-34

7/31/18 | A Safe Haven

The other day I wrote the following in my journal: It’s too strong for me. I wrote this over and over again because I didn’t know what else to write. I had reached the end of myself and had to admit that some things are just beyond me. I needed help to know what the next step was.

There are many times when I find myself thinking a situation to death. I explore all the possibilities, good and bad, and come up with what-could-be results for each one. But if this brings me relief of any kind, it’s short lived. All my thinking and imagining can only get me so far and offer me so much comfort.

Before getting ready for work, I found this passage and read it aloud to myself:

Psalm 18:16-19

16 He reached down from heaven and rescued me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemies,
    from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
18 They attacked me at a moment when I was in distress,
    but the Lord supported me.
19 He led me to a place of safety;
    he rescued me because he delights in me.

What I need is for the Lord to rescue me from these powerful enemies, support me, and lead me to a place of safety.

It’s time to look to him for help. He will surely answer you. He will speak if you listen. Why? Because he delights in you. The Lord will reach down and rescue you. He will support you in your distress. He will lead you to a place of safety.