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”

9/11/18 | Leaving and Cleaving

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
Genesis 2:24 NLT

Disclaimer: I know this won’t resonate with all my readers, but I hope it might be an encouragement for those of you who are engaged, married, or hope to be someday. I also realize that not all couples are equally yoked, meaning that you may be a Christian but your spouse is not. Some of you have Christian parents and some of you don’t. I pray that you’ll seek God in your marriage and that He’ll provide in all the ways you need. This is by no means all the information out there on this topic, but I hope it can point you in the right direction.

I am going to go out on a limb here and assume you didn’t marry your spouse based on physical attraction alone, but also based on what they bring to the table. You enjoy their humor and the way they talk. You have a lot in common and get along great. But you also found their morals, opinions, thought processes, life experience, way of doing things, and reasons for doing things appealing as well. You enjoyed how they differed from you and how that made you a stronger person.

But for whatever reason, once you actually married that person, all of a sudden their strengths and the things you loved most about them when you were dating became direct opposition to your own way of doing things. Meaning, they come into conflict with the way you were raised and with the way your parents did things. All of a sudden the very things that so attracted you to them become points of disconnect between you and can even cause arguments.

Instead of leaving the family we grew up in and forming a brand new family with our spouse, we run into trouble when we begin treating marriage like an extended sleepover. We like that person, it’s fun to be around them, but when push comes to shove it’s going to be our way (or rather our parents way) or the highway.

We need to see marriage as what it’s supposed to be: the joining of two into one. Men were not meant to do life alone, so God created women to come alongside them. And the two became one, both lending their strengths to the marriage. In a very real sense, your husband or your wife is your other half. God created man and woman so that they would leave their parents home and create a brand new one.

My husband doesn’t think the way my dad does. I don’t do things the way Luke’s mom does. And that’s to be celebrated. My husband is at his best when he has my trust and support. I’m at my best when I have his.

You weren’t meant to remain in your parent’s family, just as they weren’t meant to keep you in theirs. This means that your parents no longer have the final say over what decisions you make for your family – it’s up to you two to make the call and then live with those decisions. This means that the two of you decide which house you’re going to buy. The two of you decide when you’re ready to have kids of your own – no one can make that call but you. And so on and so on – down to things like buying a lawn mower or changing your diet.

Your relationship with your parents changes dramatically when you marry. This can be a very painful and confusing time for all parties involved. But your goal is this: to put your spouse first and foremost, and then to honor your parents in the process. One of the ways we honor our parents is by continuing to hold them in high esteem, respecting them, and understanding that they have a lot of life wisdom to offer. What a blessing we have in our parents, especially if they’ve been a Godly example for us!

These are difficult waters to navigate. I am only beginning to understand what it looks like to have an adult relationship with my parents and my in-laws. I would strongly urge you to seek out biblical counseling to help walk you through it so that you honor the Lord, your spouse, and your parents and in-laws – this has been one of the best things  my husband and I have done together. No matter if you’ve been married 1 year or 60 (we’ve been married for 9 years), you both need to learn to walk through these waters as a team, and seek God for the answers. Begin praying with your spouse and ask the Lord to show you how to build and establish this new normal. He’ll help you.