Relying on the Character of God

Today’s favorite verses come from my friend Aifen. She has chosen Isaiah 55: 8-9. So that we get the context around those verses I have included the entire stanza. They are verses that show the power and majesty of our God.

Isaiah 55:6-9 “Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
    and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him,
    and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah first tells his listeners to seek to find God and call upon Him. He implores the listener to do it sooner than later. Don’t wait until you are lost or overcome by the ways of the world. Turn to God and seek His compassion and love. Know assuredly that He will forgive you and provided for you with care. How can we know this is true? Because, God is not like us. He is not entangled with a sin nature that seeks to rebel and serve for self gain. God is not human but Spirit and Truth. God assures us that His thoughts and ways are truly higher than any man could ever have. His are lofty, heavenly and not bound to this earth.

God’s Character

How does this encourage you? I am comforted that God is not like me. He is not bound to earthly ways, thoughts, motivations, competitions, materialism, greed, selfishness, etc. His character is pure, true, holy, kind, loving, compassionate, filled with mercy and love. Each of His character traits are perfect as He is perfect. We cannot fully understand God and His ways as He is so far above us in character and intellect. Yet, we can know is that He is just and faithful. Looking into scripture tells us about God and shows us who He is and what He can and will do. He does not sin and cannot be controlled by anyone or anything. God will pardon sinners abundantly. He is Sovereign and Almighty God.

I know my friend Aifen takes great strength from knowing that she loves and worships the Almighty Creator who is Sovereign over all things, thoughts and ways! Be encouraged as nothing will ever happen in your life that catches God unaware. He knows and can be with you. Deuteronomy 36:3  “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Be of good courage!

As you reread these verses, seek to catch a glimpse of Almighty God and His power.

Linda

Simple Directions Produce Great Results

My friend and fellow servant Wayne has chosen as his favorite verses ones from 1Thessalonians 5:16-18. These verses are placed in a paragraph in which Paul is encouraging the Thessalonians to be diligent in practicing their faith. Let’s look at the passage as whole and then Wayne’s verses in particular,

We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

Paul wanted the Thessalonian church to thrive. He wanted them to be working together in faith, encouraging and uplifting one another. He warned against putting the work of others down by asking them to esteem highly those that are working for the Lord and appreciate their efforts for the kingdom. Paul encouraged them to live in peace, working, helping those that are struggling and to be advocates of patience. He wanted them to not try and seek revenge when wronged but seek to do good. Paul does not want them to stop the flow of power from the Holy Spirit into their lives, but to be open to His leading. He also wants them to not believe everything they hear but to test it against scripture and pray for guidance. I particularly love his advice- ‘hold fast what is good’. Rather than focusing on the negative, hold fast, cling, proclaim in your life that which is good and from God. Lastly, he just says stay away from evil. Don’t even let it be in your heart and mind, keeping clear of it.

In the midst of this instructive paragraph come Wayne’s verses. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  These verses give practical actions that will lead to being able to carry out the instructions in the passage. Rejoice always speaks to the heart attitude that God desires. When working for the Lord, do you have an attitude of rejoicing? Are you doing things at church more as an obligation rather than joyfully for the Lord? You will know the difference because joyful service makes for an uplifted countenance and hope in Christ. We are not be be joyful in our service just when we feel good but always. Rejoicing in the Lord brings joy and encouragement to the saddest of hearts. Verse 17 tells us to pray without ceasing. I take that to mean proceed through your day and pray as you go. When you need to make a decision, speak to someone, tackle a hard or boring task… in all things pray! If we can do this, we will see God in all things and know His presence continually!! Verse 18 tells us to give thanks in all circumstances. This one is really hard to do at times in our lives. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit and true believe in Romans 8:28. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”. As believers we need to cling and proclaim the sovereignty of God over all things in heaven and on earth. We know that God’s will is perfect and that He will see to all the details. What might be hard or devastating can and will be used for our good and His glory. How is your faith in this area? Can you trust God for the hard things in your life and know He will bring good out of them? The last part of verse 18 tells us why we need to do these things- rejoice, pray and give thanks because for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  All of these actions are part of God’s will for our lives. He desires these things for us so that we may glorify Him with our lives. What do you consider your purpose in life? In the Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy 10:12-13 God lays His purpose for our lives:  “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good?  All these things- loving the Lord with our heart, mind and soul and seeking to follow His ways, are for our good and His glory. This is God’s will for our lives. He knows we need to rejoice, pray continually and give thanks in all things to keep ourselves in His will and our attitudes aligned with His purpose.

Thank you Wayne for pointing me to this powerful paragraph filled with encouragement and direction. As I serve with you in the cause of Christ, I see your heart attitude of joy and thanksgiving and your desire for prayer. May we all seek to live with these in mind so as to glorify God and walk in His will.

Linda

A Word, A Thought… What are you Doing and Thinking?

My friend Wendy’s favorite verses go to the heart of Christian living. She has chosen these two verses to guide her. Knowing Wendy and the opposition she has faced from unbelievers, they are perfect and have given her courage and direction as she seeks to live each day for Christ.

Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”. This verse hits to the heart of good relationships with others. If we are to reflect Christ in all we say and do, Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him”, then we need to be concerned about what we are saying. James talks about the power of the tongue, see James 3:1-12. He talks about the need to tame the tongue and not letting it lead one astray. Paul is warning us here that our talk can harm others, (we know this to be true), and that what we should be desiring is to engage in conversations that reflect Christ’s grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favor. Having conversations that are kind and not judgmental, gossipy or hurtful. With the goal of glorifying Christ with our words, we need to seek to uplift and encourage.

Wendy’s second verse is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things”. Her first verse zeroed in on what we say, this one focuses on our mind’s attitude and expression. That which happens in our minds help to drive our actions and words. Our character is important to Christ and He desires that we be sanctified in Him. Paul explains this wonderous transformation he calls sanctification in Romans 6:21-23 “But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are to glorify God with our heart, mind and soul becoming more and more like Jesus with each day. Let the truth of the character God desires sink into your heart and guide you as you ponder and meditate on Philippians 4:8.

With both of these verses before us, Ephesians 4:29 and Philippians 4:8, we must recognize that without the indwelling power of Christ’s Holy Spirit within us, we will not be able to live as He desires. It is God alone who empowers us and equips us to do His work and act worthy of His calling. The author of Hebrews prays a prayer we can claim over us too, in Hebrews 13:20-21 “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Thanks Wendy for reminding us of Christ’s goals for our speech and conduct. May we strive to keep these verses before us as we interact with others in the name of Christ.

Linda

Direction for God Needs Heart

My friend Greg is a thoughtful and dedicated believer who seeks to continually examine his walk and relationship with the Lord. It does not surprise me that one of his favorite passages in Isaiah 58:6-12. Take a close look at these verses with me and see why Greg receives insight, challenges and reassurance for his walk with Christ. I have chosen the NLT as it makes it easier to understand.

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
    lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
    and remove the chains that bind people.
Share your food with the hungry,
    and give shelter to the homeless.
Give clothes to those who need them,
    and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
God was speaking to the Israelites through the prophet Isaiah. They were fasting and proclaiming their ‘religiosity’ before men without having their hearts dedicated to the Lord. God is telling them, and us, that He desires true dedication and devotion that is evident in our lives by the things we do. Do we see to the needs of others? Seek to help the less fortunate? When was the last time you worked at a soup kitchen, gave to the homeless or sought to uplift a suffering friend? Food for thought and action.

What a wonderful promise from God!

God told them if they did these things and had a right heart for others then they would be truly rewarded. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn,
    and your wounds will quickly heal.
Your godliness will lead you forward,
    and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
Then when you call, the Lord will answer.
    ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
Seeing to the needs of others leads to blessings and a deeper walk with God. Here Isaiah mentions- salvation, godliness, protection and answered prayer as benefits of being a humble servant.

I love this is a promise from God of His continual care.

“Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
    Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
10 Feed the hungry,
    and help those in trouble.
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
    and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
    giving you water when you are dry
    and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
    like an ever-flowing spring.

12 Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
    Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
    and a restorer of homes.

In this last section, Isaiah continues with instructions for not gossiping or putting down others but challenges us to be about feeding the hungry and seeing to the needs of others. Then we will find that the Lord guides, restores and strengthens us like a well-watered garden! Verse 12 reminds us that all of us are not called to do the same thing. God has many ways for us to show ourselves to be His humble servants. It is a challenge with confirmation. Pray and seek God’s guidance of where He has for you to serve and to whom He has for you to give a helping hand.

Thanks Greg for challenging us with this wonderful passage. May we all be more open and receptive to His guidance and may we receive the benefits of His blessings with praise and thanksgiving in our hearts.

Linda

You can Trust God, can’t you?

Today’s verse is a favorite of my friend Rosa. We have shared times in God’s Word, and I know this verse is one that uplifts and sustains her as she seeks to live for Jesus. Let the words seep deep into your soul today as you meditate and pray upon them.

Psalm 27:1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

This psalm was penned by David when he was struggling with his world. He was in exile for 14 years as he fled Saul. Samuel had anointed David king at God’s direction, but Saul was still in power.(1 Samuel 16:1) David did not seek to kill Saul, even though he had opportunities, as he knew Saul was God’s appointed king and it was not his ‘job’ to remove him. (1 Samuel 24:7-8, 1 Samuel 26:7,12) David knew God would take care of the timing and the people. Knowing these things did not lessen David’s struggle and caused him to cling to God and depend upon Him even more closely. David acknowledges the Lord is his guiding light, his hope and redeemer. He knows God can and will save Him just as He promised. He realizes in his mind that whatever the world has to ‘throw’ at him can be overcome by God. He knows there is nothing, no one and no circumstances that are greater than God- hence, He has nothing to fear!

One of the translations I read used the word fortress for stronghold in the second stanza. This brings to mind a redeemer that will defend, protect and care for us. David knew that God was taking care of him, defending him against his enemies and protecting his family, possessions and his own life. God had a plan for David and was going to see that it was completed.

What part of Rosa’s verse do you need today? Do you need reassurance of God’s guidance, hope and salvation? Are you readily depending upon God for your protection, care and defense? Saying you do and actually doing so is often difficult. There are so many things/people that can get in the way and cause you to doubt God’s loving protection. If you have time, read the remained of the psalm and see where David had doubts creep mind in to his mind. (text is below) What David did though was voice his fears to the Lord in this psalm in prayer. He gave them to God and claim His promises. David ends the Psalm in verses 13-14 with these words with reassurance and hope:

I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

May you be confident of the Lord today and seek to wait patiently for Him. May you talk your fears over with God and receive His reassurance and hope. May you claim His promise to guide, uphold, defend, protect, care and redeem you.

Linda

Psalm 27: 1-14 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.

13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

Anger Issues? Beware and Alert

It is convicting that many of the verses that are near and dear to the heart of my friends are about how best to live out the Christian life. My friend, Vivian, has chosen Ephesians 4:26-27 as verses that speak to her heart and remind her how best to live for Jesus. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.” These verses are situated in a paragraph that follows Paul’s command in verses 23-24 “ to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,”. He concludes that accepting Christ’s transforming, redeeming power in ones life will cause you to live a different type of life. Ephesians 4:25 then starts with Therefore. In scripture this means everything I’ve said before about living a transformed life is true and will lead to the following actions. Paul goes on to list what a redeemed life will look like.

Paul describes the transformed person as one who speaks the truth with his neighbor, may be angry but does not let it lead to sinful actions, does honest work,  speaks good positive words, is honoring to the Holy Spirit with their hearts and actions, endeavors to avoid bitterness and evil thoughts and is kind and forgiving of one another. (See complete text below.)

Vivian has chosen verses here that focus on not allowing anger she feels about people, circumstances, etc. to lead her to sin. Harboring resentment, being bitter or letting the anger fester will lead to a break or block in her relationship with the Lord and others. The reminder to not let the sun go down on her anger is so true. If you go to bed angry, you will awaken with that unresolved anger in your heart. It will begin to turn towards bitterness if you are not carefully aware. The wisdom of scripture here is practical and life changing if applied each and every day. Letting resentment and bitterness begin and holding on to unforgiveness gives the devil an opening to tempt us to sin. Sin produces an attitude that holds on to anger and can lead to ruined relationships, resentment and bitterness. Anger is a tricky emotion that can be good if used rightly but harmful if it is used for and towards selfish desires. Thoughts like “they are always against me”, “he really meant to do me harm”, ”look at how he/she made this my fault”…. All of these are thoughts that can easily come out of anger and lead to sin. Sin affects our relationship with God and blocks our full communication with Him and also can turn and undermine any relationship in which we are involved. I think Vivian is wise to remember these verses and strive to live with her anger being both well placed and under control.

I pray these verses will cause you to seek God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit help you examine your ‘anger issues’ before Him.

Linda

Here are a couple of other verses about anger from Psalm 37:8 and Proverbs 16:32 to meditate upon.

Ephesians 4:25-32 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

A ‘How To’ Guiding Verse

Colossians 3:17 is the perfect culmination to verses 12-17. This portion of scripture is filled with admonitions of how to live a ‘good and pleasing’ Christian life. My friend Melrose has chosen verse 17 as her life favorite. Let’s see why this verse gives her such strength and guidance for living.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Paul starts this section with ‘how to’ live for Jesus. He tells us to put on character attributes which I take to mean let these things be infused into your being and part of your character. He lists putting on- compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness and LOVE. He wants us to let peace of Christ reign in our hearts so we will work together in unity. Paul wants us to stay in the word teaching and encouraging one another and be genuine in our worship of God. Paul finishes with the admonition to let Christ be present in all our conversations, thoughts, deeds and interactions. He tells us to live each and every moment with Christ in our minds and with an attitude of gratitude in all things.

My friend who chose this verse endeavors to live this way. She is prayerful about what she says and does and has a heart for the lost. She is always looking for opportunities to witness to the love, forgiveness and salvation of her Savior. She is also a major prayer warrior and will willingly spend time in prayer for your needs. Is she perfect? No. But she presents a heart and attitude of gratitude towards God. She readily thanks Jesus and gives Him praise. To what result? She has the peace of Christ in her mind and heart, she loves others, she is valued by others and she is seen as genuine in her worship and love of God. Isn’t that what we all desire? Don’t we want to please our Savior and live for Him?

How about you and me? Do I live with gratitude in my heart or am I always thinking about what I lack? Do I seek to tell others about my amazing Savior? Do I seek to serve others and speak words that are free from gossip and slander? Living the Christian life is not easy but with verses like Colossians 3:17 as your guide and goal, you can keep your perspective in the right place.

Thanks Melrose for being wonderful a reminder of how Jesus wants us to live. You are an encouragement to me and my walk with Jesus!

Linda

A Promise You Can Count On!!

My friend Mae’s favorite verse comes from Isaiah 41. God is speaking through Isaiah about how He will deal with those who are opposing Israel. Then God makes promises to encourage and assure the nation of Israel and all believers throughout all generations that seek to follow Him. Mae’s favorite verse is 41:10.

fear not, for I am with you;
    be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

One of the most comforting promises in the bible that is repeatedly given to us is the truth that God will always be with us, supporting, encouraging, guiding and strengthening His people. Here Isaiah is reminding us to not live in fear as the sovereign God of the universe promises to be with us. He specifically reminds us to not be dismayed. Being dismayed means being thoroughly disheartened by sudden danger or troubles, being disillusioned or disappointed, alarmed or perturbed. The reason we are not to be dismayed is because we know that God is God, He is our God and that He is greater than anything we can ever face in life! Isaiah then goes on to list specific ways God will manifest Himself to us- by giving us strength, help and uplifting. The uplifting comes from His righteous right hand who is Jesus himself. God will keep us and lift us up through the power of Jesus! What a beautiful promise! A few verses later in 13, God confirms again his promises. “For I, the Lord your God,
    hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
    I am the one who helps you.”

In verses 17-20, God proclaims multiple “I will’s”. When God says He will do something it will come to pass. In verse 20, He gives the reason for His promises. “that they may see and know,
    may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.”
All God does is for His glory and our good. He wants us to trust Him and see that all things are within His control. He loves and cares for us and we do not need to live fearfully. He desires that we acknowledge Him and recognize His power over all people, places and things in our lives. He is the Sovereign, Almighty, Creator God!

Are you living fearfully because you are not trusting God fully? Do you feel disappointed or dismayed at the circumstances of your life? Seek to look to and lean upon Jesus. He promises to be there for you and lift you up. He will support you in whatever circumstances have come into your life either by your own making and sin or because of our fallen world. God has your back and will keep you for all eternity. You are His and He will not let you go! Thank you Jesus!

Mae, thank you for sharing your verse with me. It is a wonderful reminder of God’s great love and support for me right where I am. May we be lifted up by Jesus today!

Linda

Happy 4th with A Promise

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I thought this promise was appropriate for the week of the Fourth of July.  Enjoy the holiday and cherish your freedoms.  Happy 4th!!

John 8:31-32, 36

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teachings, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’…’So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed,’”

Promise: God promises freedom, truth and discipleship in Christ

Where and when do you feel truly free? As Americans, we pride ourselves on our independence, self-initiative and having freedoms to claim and practice in our daily lives. As we know our freedoms are defined and limited by the society in which we live. Sometimes we agree with these limitations and sometimes we don’t. We struggle each day to survive and maintain our freedoms within our family, neighborhoods and society.

The freedom that God promises is dependent upon Christ not us. We need to believe and accept the true freedom and then live a life dependent upon God. We need to accept the truth that God provides in His Word and the truth of who Jesus is and what He did for us on the cross. We need to accept our place in His family and take up the job of living for Him as His disciple. Working for God’s truth in our world will bring greater freedom than anything we think we can obtain or receive here on Earth. So do as Jesus commands, accept His freedom in faith and be free indeed!

Live free today in Jesus,

Linda

Here is a fun fact I found on the Internet this morning about our flag.  I did not know what the colors represented.

Between 1777 and 1960, the shape and design of the American flag changed several times before arriving at the present form. The 13 alternating red and white stripes represent the 13 original colonies. Talking about colors, red stands for hardiness and valor; white symbolizes purity and innocence; and blue represents vigilance, perseverance and justice. Food for thought- does our nation still represent these colors? If not, what can I do to stand for valor, live purely and persevere for what is right? Pray, pray and pray for our nation and our leaders and lean on Jesus in our own lives.

The Blessings of Delighting in His Word

Psalm 119 is all about God’s Word- how precious it is to us, what it can do for us, how it guides and guards us…. In Part B, verses 9-16, there are several key verses that can help guide us each and every day. My friend Diana loves verse 11 in particular and holds it dear (me too!) Let’s start with verse 9 which tells us a clear reason to study and lean upon the truth of God’s Word. How can a young man keep his way pure?    By guarding it according to your word. Whether you are young or old this is absolutely true- our walk in this world can only be pure and blameless if we base our daily actions, attitudes and beliefs on God’s Word. If we are guarding ourselves with His word then it will lead to other things mentioned in this passage.

  1. 10 With my whole heart I seek you;
        let me not wander from your commandments!
    To guard my walk, my intentions must be focused on Jesus and we need to seek Him. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
  2. 11 I have stored up your word in my heart,
        that I might not sin against you.
    This verse gives us motivation and reason for memorizing God’s Word, and studying it diligently- to keep ourselves resisting the temptation to sin. John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” James 1:13-15 “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Memorize God’s Word and when you need it most the Holy Spirit will bring it into your mind. This may be when you need courage or strength or to turn you away from evil and help you make a godly choice. God promises His Word will lead us His way.
    3. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord;
        teach me your statutes!
    I must desire that God teach me from His Word as I study.
    4. 1With my lips I declare
        all the rules of your mouth.
    14 In the way of your testimonies I delight
        as much as in all riches.
    I need to let His Words be in my mouth as I speak to others, as I pray, as I seek to delight in Him.
    5. 15 I will meditate on your precepts
         and fix my eyes on your ways.
    As I study and memorize God’s Word, I need to think on it, chew on it and keep it ever before my mind. Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” Mediation on God’s Word deepens our understanding and allows God time to change and mold our thinking. Biblical thinking comes from spending time meditating on God’s Word.
    6. 16 I will delight in your statutes;
         I will not forget your word.
    The end result of seeking Him, guarding my ways, memorizing scripture, speaking His word in prayer and to others, and mediating on His Word will be DELIGHT!! As we put God’s Word in our minds and heart, we will find delight and joy in learning more about Almighty God which will deepen our love and trust in Him. Psalm 37:23 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delightin his way;”

Diana is right, verse 11 is one to memorize and mediate upon. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” It is a promise from God that planting His Word in our heart will help you resist Satan, resist your old nature and turn to Him.

Linda