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”

8/14/18 | Mustard Seed Faith

“You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.
Matthew 17:20 NLT

This idea of having faith as small as a mustard seed has always been a bit difficult for me – it’s actually caused a little bit of stress because I know I don’t have enough faith to move a mountain. If it takes faith as small as a mustard seed to do that, then I’m in real trouble. I must have faith as small as…a molecule or something.

But Jay E. Adams has an interesting insight into this passage that got me excited. He wrote:

Don’t you see what He meant? He was saying ‘You don’t need anything more. Even the faith that you have is enough to work wonders if you will only exercise it in obedience.’

I see now that it’s not on our shoulders to move the mountains. It’s on God’s. He only asks that we trust him and put what faith we have into obedience.

What if you put your small offering of faith, even if it’s as small as a mustard seed, into obedience to Christ? What if you trusted God enough to use what little faith you have? What if you planted it in the soil of God’s care – how might you see it grow? What if, a year from now, it was no longer that tiny seed, but a growing and thriving plant that was established in God? God can move mountains, if only you have faith to watch how he’ll move.

What could God do with your faith today? What could he do in your job, your family, your finances, your marriage? Maybe today’s the day you plant that little mustard seed.