Our Shepherd

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Psalm 119:169-176

TAU
169 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word.
170 Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word.
171 My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172 My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness.
173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

The last verse of this beautiful Psalm is a wonderful way to end this series on Reflections in Psalms! The Psalmist compares himself to a lost sheep. It’s not the first time this “theme” is found in the King James Bible. In fact, there six occurrences, which I find quite interesting. The Bible number six is defined as the number of man. So it excites my spirit to see man represented as a lost sheep! Man (the sheep) is eternally lost without a Saviour (the Shepherd) (Psalm 23:1)!

Sheep are one of the dumbest creatures on this earth. If led to do so, they will run off a cliff! God compares us to sheep who have gone astray and are in desperate need of a Shepherd to save them, guide them, and teach them (Psalm 23:2-5). Just as Israel was led astray by idols, so are the unsaved today led astray by today’s idols (Jeremiah 50:6). Man’s repeated attempts at “serving God,” failing, and falling away proved futile. The lost sheep needed a shepherd – but much more than just an ordinary shepherd. These sheep needed The Shepherd. This Shepherd would not only protect them, He would give His very life for them (Isaiah 53:6)! Furthermore, He would not lose even one but would seek out each and every one who was lost and die for them all (Matthew 18:12-13)!

I’ve heard that sheep know their shepherd’s voice and are calmed by it. What a beautiful analogy! Once we are saved, we are reconciled to our Shepherd through His precious blood and He is the Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25)! He cares for us in the same way as a Shepherd cares of His sheep! When a sheep goes astray, the shepherd uses is rod to “spank” it. If the sheep repeatedly goes astray, the shepherd inflicts pain in order to keep it in the fold (Proverbs 3:11 and Hebrews 12:7-11). Injured, the sheep becomes dependent on the shepherd and draws nigh to him!  Isn’t that great?

The shepherd’s staff was used to lean on or to support one’s self. Oh how beautiful a picture this paints! I am able to lean on Christ and allow Him to support me when I can’t hold myself up (Matthew 11:28-30)! There are so many things I cannot do in my own strength and wholly have to lean on Him! I have read how the shepherd would stroke (or pet) the sheep with his staff: the sheep would be comforted by it. How many times have I been comforted in this manner during an extremely difficult trial (Psalm 23:4)! I have literally felt the Lord’s presence!

How lovely is God’s word to me! How precious! There is great comfort found when one searches its blessed pages! I hope you have enjoyed this journey as we have reflected on this magnificent Book of Psalms! I know I have :-)

Uphill Battles?

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Psalms 77:8 Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?

At times, don’t you feel like you’re climbing a steep mountain and no one seems to care about your struggles? You cry and cry to the Lord but He doesn’t seem to hear? If sin is the cause of your struggles, then God is calling you back. But if your hardships are not due to sin, it seems to leave you in a dark hole, doesn’t it? We know that the Lord would never abandon us because He loves us (1 Peter 5:7). We also know that He will never give us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). He always provides a way out for those tempted to fall because of their burden.

Lamentations 3:22 It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

Friend, the Father’s compassion never fail.  God is love, amen? With love comes compassion, does it not? You can’t help but have compassion for someone you truly love! Compassion is motivated by love – plain and simple. God is perfect and, therefore, God’s compassion is perfect also. He would not push you to the end of your rope, even though it feels like it at times. Be encouraged, friend!

In fact, here’s something that will knock your socks off! God is so compassionate that Jesus prays for you! Yes, Jesus Himself prays for each born-again believer.

Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.

Doesn’t that encourage your heart? Jesus left us the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us when we don’t know how to pray for ourselves (Romans 8:26). As if that weren’t enough, Jesus prays for us that the devil doesn’t overwhelm us!!! Oh friend, I pray that today’s devotional will bless your heart and will encourage you despite the trials and tribulations you’re going through at this moment!

One of my favorite hymns is “Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr. Just reading the words are a blessing! :-)

Count Your Blessings

1
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Refrain

Count your blessings, name them one by one;
Count your blessings, see what God hath done;
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

2
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will be singing as the days go by.

3
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold.
Count your many blessings, money cannot buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your Lord on high.

4
So amid the conflict, whether great or small,
Do not be discouraged, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.

Our Righteousness

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Psalms 106:3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.

Can any one of us say that we are able to keep all of God’s commandments? Can any one of us say that we do righteousness at all times? Oh how discouraging today’s verse is for the one who is trying to keep the commandments!

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Isaiah points out that even the best good thing we do is like a filthy rag, my friend! There isn’t anything that we can do that will add even one atom-sized portion toward our salvation! Think about it!

Not one of us can say that we are even close to getting to Heaven on our own. The Bible makes that clear in the following verses:

Psalms 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Psalms 53:3 Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Romans 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

There’s a them going on in those four verses: “No, NOT ONE!” There is not one person who can get to Heaven on his/her own merit. No amount of good deeds, no amount of money, no amount of Bible reading or church attendance can tip the scales from Hell to Heaven, friend.

Jesus left His royal throne in order to pay a debt He did not owe! His love for you and I is beyond comprehension. We cannot know perfect love like this because we are not God. Only God can love to this degree and only God can pay the sin debt that we owe! We are so undeserving! Because of God’s love for us, He sent His only Son to take the punishment for our sins – through His death, His blood, we receive salvation! We receive freedom from the bondage of that sin!

Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

 

Jesus Paid It All
Elvina M. Hall

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down,
All down at Jesus’ feet.

The Devil’s Beatitudes

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Psalms 74:18 Remember this, that the enemy hath reproached, O LORD, and that the foolish people have blasphemed thy name.

A born-again believer living in America can’t help but feel that our once wonderful country is going to Hell in a hand basket.  :'(  Abortion is rampant and the conscience is seared due to apathy.  According to Operation Rescue, “of all unintended pregnancies, 4 in 10 are aborted. There are approximately 1.21 million abortions in America each year.” Are these innocent deaths any different than those spoken of in Deuteronomy?

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

We just finished supporting Life Chain yesterday and what a sad day it was for me. Not only are we talking about 1.21 million babies being killed in the name of convenience, but the sick mentality of people who support these killings! As we stood on the sidewalks with various pro-life and pro-Jesus signs, we were mocked and yelled at by 3-4 times more people than people showing support for the cause. :'( My heart was absolutely broken! There were so many more in support of this cause in years past! Where were those people yesterday? What happened to their consciences – their hearts?

Oh, Father in Heaven, please forgive this people and this land for offering up their unborn children to the god of this world! Lord, turn the hearts of your people and revive us again so we can be bold witnesses to those who get rid of their babies because it’s not convenient! Please, Lord, keep Your hand of judgment from us and give us more time to reach out to this lost and dying world.

I found this story that really applied to the heart of what is wrong with Christians today. I hope it speaks to your heart!

THE DEVIL’S BEATITUDES

Blessed are they who are too tired and busy to assemble with the Church on Sunday; for they are my best workers.
Blessed are they who are bored with the pastor’s mannerisms and mistakes; for they get nothing out of the casermon.
Blessed is the church member who expects to be invited to his own church; for he is important to me.
Blessed are they who do not meet with the church on Sunday; for they cause the world to say, “The Church is failing.”
Blessed are they who do not give to carry on God’s work and mission; for they are my helpers.
Blessed are the troublemakers; for they shall be called the children of the devil.
Blessed is he who professes to love God but hates his brother; for he will be with me forever.
Blessed is he who has no time to pray; for he shall be easy prey for me.

Life’s Storms

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Psalm 107:29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.

If the Master Creator can calm a storm and still the waves, how much more can He do with the storms of your life? Let’s stop and think about it for a moment!

Jesus thought this to be a very important topic to teach His disciples. So important, it was mentioned in three of the four Gospels.

Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Mark 4:39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
Luke 8:24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.

Each of the Gospels teaches a different aspect of the same account. Matthew shows the Master teaching His pupils – telling them of their lack of faith. Mark’s account shows just how awesome and powerful Jesus was – the God man, but fully God. Lastly, Luke describes man’s desperate need for Jesus to intercede on their behalf! Oh how wonderful to know that the Maker of the storms can also calm them.

Oh how wonderful to know that we can run to Him in the midst of our storms and cry out, “Master, master, I perish!” Oh Lord, God, how I need Thee every hour! Oh how precious are the words of this hymn to me this day! I’ve known the hymn for years but the Lord has seen fit to bless me with its true meaning!

I Need Thee Every Hour
Annie Hawks

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.

Refrain

Thirsting

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Psalms 42:1-2 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

What a convicting passage! Do I thirst after the Lord and the things of God as the deer pants after water? Ouch!

The bread and water of life are ours because of Jesus Christ. He has provided His own flesh and blood to purchase our very salvation. What love! He doesn’t stop there – He has provided us with the Scriptures that we can turn to on a daily basis to satisfy our deepest longings.

On a really hot day, isn’t it wonderful to pour yourself a nice tall glass of water or iced tea? How wonderful it feels going down our parched throat! We ought have that same urgent desire for the things of God! This is so convicting to me.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

It’s so important to stay on top of our spiritual walk. We can easily become side tracked and our sense of urgency for the things of God diminishes. Oh that we would keep our eyes focused on the One above!! Holy Spirit, please prick our hearts – dig up the hardened soil and water it with the words of life. Help us to turn around and head in the right direction once again!

Doubt

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Psalms 77:3 I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah.

This verse had such an impact to my spirit! It was exactly what I needed … just when I needed it!

Psalm 77:3 is worded perfectly for the person who has any doubts in the Lord and what He is doing. Notice that the Psalmist remembered his God and that troubled him … but why did it trouble him? The colon tells us that the thought, the point, is coming. The Psalmist complained and, because of that, he was overwhelmed. Then to top it off, he inserts a rest, Selah – as if he wants us to stop and think about it. Whew! God’s words for mankind are so applicable to life today!!

Through the struggles of my life in the past few months, I’ve often doubted the Lord. What is He doing? What purpose does He have? Why is He allowing this? My spirit was troubled within me and now I can totally understand why!  When we doubt God, that is when we become overwhelmed with the issues at hand. To rest securely in His care is the place to be.  To rest in Him brings peace and tranquility for the weary soul!

So what’s the solution to doubt? Go back to the beginning of the verse and you will see! :) The Psalmist said, “I remembered God.” Looking back on my life, I have so much for which to be thankful! There’s no doubt in my mind that these blessings were from the Father in Heaven. Doubt flies when we concentrate on what He has done for us in the past. We can rest in the knowledge that He will bless us again! :)

Evolution

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Psalms 14:1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

When all is said and done and the end of the age arrives, it won’t matter what man has taught about evolution. The truth will be made known to all mankind and all those who are not “in Christ” will be judged. The Bible says that atheists are fools – plain and simple. God doesn’t mince  words, does He?

Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “fool” as:

In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness.

I think of the countless evolutionists and scientists who have a total disregard for the things of God. In reality, their science has become their “god”! They would rather believe in anything rather than the Bible. But God still calls them fools.

The Bible is our source for all things. It has all the answers – it’s current – it’s full of wisdom – it’s the final answer! Amen?

Hope

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Psalms 22:9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.

I love the mental picture this paints! As a baby screams for its food and only gets louder when deprived, our hope in the Lord’s care for us should be as fervent, amen? Does a baby even stop to think where his next meal is coming from? Of course not! He just knows that when he cries, his needs are met. He doesn’t question whether those needs will be met or not.

So why do we doubt that God will meet our needs? Our hope should be in Him and Him alone! Just as Christ has our salvation secure in His blood, so does He have each of our needs nestled safely in the palm of His hand. He knows each care – each need – each trial!

Diligence

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Psalms 119:1-4 Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart.
They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.
Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

Along with diligence in our walk with the Lord comes blessings. Not only blessings, but strength to keep from sin. We live in a sinful world in flesh that still desires to sin, amen? The only way to fight the battle is to remain in God’s word.

Psalms 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

A Christian needs the Scriptures daily in order to keep sin from dominating his body! Are you struggling? Get back in the word of God, Christian! It is your armor against the world!

Waiting on the Lord

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Psalms 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Psalms 31:24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that gets anxious about situations in their life. I’ve written about this topic before but apparently I need to hear it again! :) I so want to trust in Him and wait for Him to handle these situations in my life that cause me unrest but I repeatedly fail to remember that His ways are not my ways.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Waiting on the Lord is not always easy, especially when you are right in the midst of the trial! I love how Psalm 31:24 ends with, “…all ye that hope in the LORD.” My hope must solidly rest in Jesus Christ – period!. As the writer said in the beautiful hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock,” “all other hope is sinking sand.” Do I “hope” in myself? Sadly, yes! I think that I can accomplish something only to find out that it creates a great burden on me. Why do I do this to myself?

So what is the solution? I’ve figured it out … it’s staying in my Bible … it’s allow God to encourage my heart and strengthen me through His words … and, yes, it’s waiting for Him for an answer to my trial and not jumping the gun. Oh how weary I am of this flesh! I can so relate to Paul’s words:

Romans 7:14-15 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

I long for the day when my faith will be made sight and I no longer will have to battle with myself! I will no longer have to wait on the Lord because I will be right there with Him! :)

Diligence

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Psalm 119:4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently.

A few years ago, when I commuted to work along the coastline of Oregon, I would see the same people over and over walking the beaches. It was part of their daily routine and they were diligent about it. As many of you know, it rains a lot in Oregon but yet these people would be out there walking rain or shine. Such diligence is commendable to be certain. However, what about diligence when it comes to God’s Word? We are commanded to be diligent in doing what the Scriptures tell us to do, amen?

Noah Webster defines diligently as:

DILIGENTLY, adv. With steady application and care; with industry or assiduity; not carelessly; not negligently.

Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God. Deu 6.

I was moved by this: “with steady application and care;” – it describes someone who doesn’t give up – someone who keeps on going no matter what. It’s not just the reading of the Word that’s important here but the “application” of the Word of God to our lives. That’s the “action” in this definition. We can read and read all we want but if we do not apply it to our hearts and allow the Holy Spirit to change us, then we’ve read for nothing, amen? We need to take what we’ve read with our eyes,heard with our ears, apply it to our hearts then put feet to what we’ve learned.

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Forgiveness

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Psalms 25:18 Look upon mine affliction and my pain; and forgive all my sins.

Praise the Lord that we do not have to worry about where we will spend eternity once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.  It is not by anything that we do, otherwise we could lose that salvation. (Ephesians 2:8-9) The Bible says it is only by the blood of Jesus that we can be saved. (Acts 4:12) Nothing else!

Psalms 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalms 85:2 Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of thy people, thou hast covered all their sin. Selah.

 

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

 

Eph. 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

 

Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, [even] the forgiveness of sins:

Rather than live a Christian life filled with guilt, rejoice that your salvation is not dependent on you but on Christ. You were given and are forgiven. But if you sin, confess it and forsake it. Remember 1 John 1:9. The devil wants you to continue feeling guilty so you can become ineffective to the cause of Christ. Tell the Lord about it and repent from that sin and do it no more.

Ps 103:8,11 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. 11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

Lighting the Way

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fogPhotograph taken by Cecelia Becker

 

Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Have you ever tried to go for a nice walk in the woods when the fog is close to the ground like today’s picture?? You can’t see the tree roots coming out of the ground all that well. In fact, sometimes you trip over them. This immediately brought to mind how God tells us that His Word is a light on our path so we don’t have to ever worry about tripping over unseen obstacles. Granted, we will have surprises, but if we are reading regularly and meditating on God’s Word, we won’t be taken off guard.

The Lord gave us the Bible to guide and direct us in all things, amen? We can turn to the Scriptures and find answers to practically any question under the sun.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We don’t have to be led astray by the Joel Osteen’s of the world who preach the “prosperity gospel.” If this type of preaching were what Jesus wanted of us, don’t you think there would be more examples of it in the Bible? Don’t you think God would have had all of His preachers decked out and popular with the world? Jesus was not popular at all. If anyone could “visualize” his success, it would have been Jesus, after all. But no where in Scriptures do we see the preachers living lavishly and having all the world’s goodies! Solomon did but he did not end well, did he? He turned from all that wisdom and adopted the ways of his wives/concubines’ gods. This is exactly what today’s Bible verse is all about.

Don’t be led astray by the world’s gospel, which is the devil’s by the way. Be wise and studious, Christian! There are so many wolves in sheep’s clothing out there. They sound Christian – their words are almost identical to ours – but they are far from God. The Bible is our handbook for life – for everthing!

Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Isn’t it wonderful that God knows our way? He is with us every step of the way! We are never alone – we never need to fear!

Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The latter part of the verse tells us that the unsaved are headed down a road of destruction! Can you even imagine what they will go through for all eternity? I’ve burned myself way too many times with a hot iron and the pain was unbelievable! I can’t even begin to comprehend that pain all over my body but yet my body is not consumed by that fire! :(

Once we’re saved, we are born into the family of God. We no longer have to worry about judgment but are made righteous by Christ alone. There’s nothing we can do to add to that righteousness whatsoever!

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

I’ve been there – I’ve thought that my good deeds would outweigh the bad but that’s not how it works according to Scripture. Amen? It’s all about Christ and what He did on the cross. It has nothing to do with us.

Thank You, Lord, for your unending mercy and grace!

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The devil has been having a field day as of late.  He has made millions believe that they are on their way to Heaven. Not only that, he has managed to fool even the believers into thinking they are OK in their Christian walk when they are not.

Psalm 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

How very sad that believers have succumbed to every wind of doctrine (as we covered in verse 4). In so doing, Christians have fallen for the oldest trick – “Yea, hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) This applies to believers as well as unbelievers. Unbelievers don’t believe the Bible and many believers listen to everyone else but God. I think of the recent controversial statement that Victoria Osteen made recently.

“I just want to encourage everyone of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God – I mean, that’s one way to look at it – we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy.

“So I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?”

 

Verse 5 tells us that the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment.  Praise the Lord the Christian will not be judged for salvation because Jesus Christ has already paid the penalty for our sin and we do not have to worry about going to Hell.  But the unsaved will have to bend the knee and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:11).  They will not be able to stand before God and justify why they did not accept Christ as their Saviour.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Again, being the visual person that I am, today’s graphic lets us see what chaff looks like when it is blown by the wind. It has no direction of its own and can only move in the direction the wind blows, correct? To go a step further, it doesn’t have the ability to alter its movement, whether it wants to go sideways or up and down. The wind drives the chaff and can lay it down in a soft place or have it smashed against a wall. The chaff has no choice in the matter and cannot predict the outcome.

Psalm 1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

What a beautiful depiction of the world’s influence on the person who does not live by the Holy Spirit’s guidance. When we give in to the flesh, we are like this chaff. We cannot predict the outcome of our sin. There is a good possibility that we would be severely chastised by God. Had Adam and Eve known exactly what was going to happen when they disobeyed God, they wouldn’t have disobeyed. They yielded to the flesh and the repercussions are recorded so that we may grow.

Oh that we should yield to the Holy Spirit’s guidance so we are not like the chaff! A Christian who is not yielded will fall for any of Satan’s tactics. If he can’t cause you to sin, he will try to distract you with the charlatans of the world.

Ephesians 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

Take Time to be Holy
by William Longstaff

Take time to be holy,
speak oft with thy Lord;
abide in him always,
and feed on his word.
Make friends of God’s children,
help those who are weak,
forgetting in nothing
his blessing to seek.

2. Take time to be holy,
the world rushes on;
spend much time in secret
with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus,
like him thou shalt be;
thy friends in thy conduct
his likeness shall see.

3. Take time to be holy,
let him be thy guide,
and run not before him,
whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow,
still follow the Lord,
and, looking to Jesus,
still trust in his word.

4. Take time to be holy,
be calm in thy soul,
each thought and each motive
beneath his control.
Thus led by his spirit
to fountains of love,
thou soon shalt be fitted
for service above.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Verse three is the topic of today’s devotional. I am a very visual person. I can’t learn by being “told” but do very well when I am shown. So as I read verse three, I think of men and women standing by a river and their feet (with roots) are secured in the soil. :-) I know, I know, I’m silly. But it adds meat to the verse.

Psalm 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

If my feet are firmly rooted in Jesus (the Water of Life) through salvation, I cannot be moved.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
John 4:11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?
John 7:38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Furthermore, once I am saved and growing, I will produce fruit. I will grow in the Lord.  I will lead other souls to Christ.  Being rooted in Christ my Saviour means that my face will reflect His. My heart will be molded into His image! Amen? With Christ on the throne of my life, everything I do will be prosperous because He is in control! :-)

I Shall Not Be Moved
by John T. Benson

Jesus is my Savior, I shall not be moved;
In His love and favor, I shall not be moved,
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
In my Christ abiding, I shall not moved;
In His love I’m hiding, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
If I trust Him ever, I shall not be moved;
He will fail me never, I shall not moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.
On His word I’m feeding, I shall not be moved;
He’s the One that’s leading, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Chorus
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

Blessed – Continued

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Today, we move on to verse two of this wonderful Psalm. So many Christians I know have memorized this Psalm as part of their Bible memorization. But how many can actually say they live by its wisdom?

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Noah Webster’s definition of the word “delight” is truly an eye opener for me:

DELIGHT, n.

1. A high degree of pleasure, or satisfaction of mind; joy.

His delight is in the law of the Lord. Psalm 1.

When reading Psalm 119, we see that the Scriptures have a few synonyms: law, testimonies, ways, precepts, statutes, commandments, etc. The Scriptures encompass all of these. We see that God’s law (His Word) is to be a delight to us.
Using Noah Webster’s definition, we should consider God’s Word with a high degree of pleasure. We should consider God’s Word with satisfaction of mind. We should consider God’s Word with joy. Whew! It’s another morning of licking my wounds, for sure! :-)
I believe this to mean that God’s Word and living by it is to be the center of our lives: not as a daily chore that needs doing but part of our lives, like breathing. We don’t make a conscious effort to breathe, do we? Neither should God’s Word have to be an arduous task. We should have to make a conscious effort to read it. We should read it because it’s a natural part of our lives and we read with pleasure and joy because they are the words of our Lord!
As if that isn’t convicting enough, the verse continues to say that the Psalmist mediates on God’s Word day and night. I don’t know about you, but I can get caught up in my job and chores at home that I don’t stop to meditate on God’s Word. I know that I should! This made me think of when I was dating my husband and how he was on my mind day and night. I would daydream about him while I was at work :-) (said with a bashful look). This was a true conviction for me. I do meditate but not even close in comparison to how I daydreamed about my husband. :-( This is an area of my life that I know needs work!
Thank you Lord for Your Holy Spirit in my life! Thank You for opening my eyes to how I can draw closer to you!!!

O Lord I Will Delight in Thee
by John Ryland

O Lord, I will delight in Thee
And on Thy care depend,
To Thee in every trouble flee,
My best, my only Friend.

When all created streams are dried,
Thy fullness is the same;
May I with this be satisfied
And glory in Thy Name.

No good in creatures can be found
But may be found in Thee;
I must have all things and abound
While God is God to me.

O Lord, I cast my care on Thee,
I triumph and adore;
Henceforth my great concern shall be
To love and please Thee more.

Blessed

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Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
1:4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

How many times have you read this Psalm? For me, probably thousands of times. However, let’s take a fresh look at it today. Forget what you’ve meditated on in the past and let’s revisit these verse 1.

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. – Imagine your Christian walk if you had never walked with the ungodly. I take this to mean walking “intimately” and not just a casual relationship – a close friendship, if you will. Imagine your Christian walk if you had never hung out with sinners by backsliding in a weak moment. As well, imagine your Christian walk if you had never made yourself comfortable with people who mock your God (i.e., watching a movie where the Lord’s name is used in vain).

What would your life be like had you obeyed verse 1 from the time you were saved until now? I know that I have fallen under deep conviction as I look back at my 34 years of salvation and judged those years according to this verse. I have failed miserably! And, as a result of that failure, I’ve paid the price. I reaped what I sowed and grieved in my heart over my bad decisions! :'(

God tells us that we are blessed, Christian, if we don’t do any of those things! The peace that comes with staying focused on our faith is beyond our understanding! God gives permanent peace through salvation, yes. But the peace of obedience to His Word brings daily peace!

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Praise the Lord for 1 John 1:9 and the forgiveness that comes when we have failed Him! Praise the Lord that God is the God of second, third, fourth, etc. chances! Amen?

We’ll cover verse 2, and the others, in the next posts to follow so stay tuned. :-)