Blessings, what are they?

I have had a very hard week but feel blessed by God.  That started me thinking about blessings and where scripture tells us we are blessed.  What does blessing look like to God?  First, I wanted to start with a definition of blessing.  The dictionary says: a gift of divine favor, good wishes or approval, anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.   I can see my week’s events were a blessing as God granted me divine favor and prevented severe misfortune.

Psalm 1 is a great place to start looking at blessings or being blessed.  This psalm describes the way of the believer and the blessings that way brings.

blessed is the manBlessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

The blessed man doesn’t seriously listen to the advice of unbelievers, do the things they do or make fun of godly things.  The blessed man loves God’s Word and thinks about it all the time.  He is deeply rooted by God and shows growth in both his faith and his life.  He prospers in all he does.   The psalmist contrasts this picture of one who loves God with the unbeliever.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

Unbelievers are tossed to and fro with the ideas of the world. They are not grounded in God’s Word and faith in Him so they will perish.

As you meditate today, think about your life and ask yourself, Am I like the blessed man?  Do I hunger after God’s Word and think about it a lot?  Am I deeply rooted in God’s Word, and am I standing firm in faith where ever God has me?  If your answers are yes, you are on you way towards blessingsBeing in God’s Word and walking in God’s way gives happiness and guides us away from misfortune.  Even if we go through hard times Jesus is with us. Therefore, by definition we are blessed!

willienelson1Count your blessings today as you strive to walk with Him in His way,

Linda 

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda

I AM the Glorious Sword

Lord swordTwo new names of God appear in Deuteronomy 33:29, Glorious Sword and Shield.             “Blessed are you, Israel!
    Who is like you,
    a people saved by the Lord?
He is your shield and helper
    and your glorious sword.
Your enemies will cower before you,
    and you will tread on their heights.”   Moses concludes his blessings to each tribe with this overall statement of the blessed position the children of Israel had since the Lord was with them, fighting for them and protecting them.  As believers, we belong in God’s family today and have God as our protector, defender and shield.  

The image of God having or wielding as sword is seen throughout scripture.  David refers to God’s sword in Psalm 17:13 “Rise up, Lord, confront them, bring them down;
    with your sword rescue me from the wicked.”  David knew that God would defend him and calls upon God to use His sword in action.  In Isaiah 66:16 God is shown to be the avenger and judge at the end of time. For with fire and with his sword  the Lord will execute judgment on all people,  and many will be those slain by the Lord.”    Jesus himself adds to this image as he explains his mission was one that would result in divisiveness between those that believe and those that do not.  Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.  Later, the apostles described the power of God’s Word to be like a sword.  Ephesians 6:17 “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”   We are to Holy spirit swordgo into battle with God’s sword-the Word of God as our offensive weapon.  Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   God’s sword can cut through anything physically or spiritually.  Lastly, in the book of Revelation the image of God’s glorious sword is in the mouth of Jesus combining both images of a physical sword and a sword of the Words of God. Revelation 1:16 “In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”   Revelation 19:15 describes Jesus as an avenger and judge for Holy God’s honor and hatred of sin,  “Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

How can God’s glorious sword help or comfort us today?  God promises to listen and hear our prayers.  We can call upon God to be our protector and defender just like David.  We can rest in the knowledge that God will avenge wrongs done to us and will judge all evil in the future.  We can take God’s glorious sword ourselves and use the power of His Word to conquer unbelief in those around us.  God’s Sword will divide, discern and always be victorious.  We can hope in a future where God, the glorious sword,  will reign bringing justice and peace to all who believe.  Great images to take with you today that can bring peace, hope, restoration and victory to our lives.

Linda

A Treasure Chest of provisions for you and me!

psalm119Today as I reflect on Psalm 119 for the last time, I am looking at the list I made of just a few of the things the psalmist found.   This glorious psalm is a song of praise to God and a declaration of the psalmist’s faith in God Almighty.

He found:   joy in seeking God,  2 “Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him    with all their hearts.”    a way to purity, 11 “I have hidden your word in my heart,  that I might not sin against you.”   answers for living, 32  “I will pursue your commands,  for you expand my understanding.”  answers for persecutors, 42 “Then I can answer those who taunt me,  comfort and hope49-50  “Remember your promise to me;  it is my only hope.  Your promise revives me;  it comforts me in all my troubles.  for I trust in your word.”  security, 86 “All your commands are trustworthy.  Protect me from those who hunt me down without cause.”   meditations that bring understanding, 103-4 “How sweet your words taste to me;  they are sweeter than honey.  Your commandments give me understanding;  no wonder I hate every false way of life.”    guidance, 105 “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”  a shield and refuge, 114  “You are my refuge and my shield;  your word is my source of hope”   resolve to stand with the right, 128 “Each of your commandments is right.   That is why I hate every false way.”  expectations, 131 “I pant with expectation,  longing for your commands.”  sorrow over evil, 136 “Rivers of tears gush from my eyes  because people disobey your instructions.”  God’s righteousness, 137  “Lord, you are righteous,  and your regulations are fair.”  truth, 160 The very essence of your words is truth;  all your just regulations will stand forever. “  the Sovereignty of God, 168 Yes, I obey your commandments and laws because you know everything I do.”  that God seeks the lost, 176  “I have wandered away like a lost sheep;  come and find me,  for I have not forgotten your commands.”

This is an amazing list of things the psalmist understood because he believed in God and took His Word seriously.  How precious is God’s Word to you?  Meditate on this list of things the psalmist found- how many of them can you claim to have found in God’s Word?  Seek Him in His Word and see what you find.

Blessings as you seek Him too,

Linda

Faith=treasure, truth, peace and knowledge of God

care-trustAs the psalmist nears the end of his lengthy outpouring of praises and petitions to God in Psalm 119:161-168, he lays bare before God his struggles with persecutors.  He relies upon God’s Word and character to uphold him.  Powerful people harass me without cause,  but my heart trembles only at your word.   I rejoice in your word like one who discovers a great treasure.“(161-2)  He knows that God’s Word contains power to overcome and sustain.  He considers it a treasure.  He also discovered that as he called upon God throughout the day he received peace and had strength to face the tough circumstances he encountered. ” I will praise you seven times a day because all your regulations are just.  Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble. (164-5)  The psalmist concludes with what he knows about God.  He is the one who saves.  I long for your rescue, Lordso I have obeyed your commands.” (166)   God knows him intimately and loves his obedience. Yes, I obey your commandments and laws  because you know everything I do.” (168)  

Is God’s Word a treasure for you? Do you gain power to overcome by reading and meditating upon it’s truths?  Do you pray throughout the day reminding yourself of the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit?  Do you find peace? Do you obey and trust God because you know His character?  Do you know that He knows you personally?   Can you join the psalmist in obedience to God’s Word because of who He is and what He does?  The psalmist trusted God in all things and called upon Him throughout his day in faith.  Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 and 6 “Faith shows the reality of faith tells mewhat we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”  “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.”   Making God real involves faith in who He is and what He has done for us in Jesus.  Pleasing God involves seeking Him and accepting the gift of faith in Jesus.  He promises sincere seeking will be rewarded by faith.

Walking by faith in God and His Word is the psalmists answer to life’s problems, may it be mine also.

Linda

An Absolute for Life

feed-on-the-wordIn Psalm 119:153-160 the psalmist proclaims God’s deliverance, salvation and compassion.  He has discovered these truths about God through his life’s experiences.  His conclusion in verse 160 is profound.  All your words are true;  all your righteous laws are eternal.”  He concludes that God’s Word, the Bible, is entirely true and the principles God provides within are everlasting and unchanging.   He does not have to worry about discrepancy, errors, half-truths, or changing attitudes to adapt to society.  Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  We do not need to worry that God will change His plans, change His mind about loving and forgiving us as He is unchangeable in all His ways.  That fact alone is comforting as it gives us something to hold onto when everything else in life seems to be swirling and changing.  The psalmist also understood the trans-formative power of God’s Word. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”   God’s Word is alive and working in our lives.  His Word penetrates our thoughts and minds helping us to live like 2Corinthians 10:5 “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Gods-Word-brings-peace-1How about you?  Do you know for certain that you can rely upon God and His Word?  Is it an absolute in your life?  As you meditate today on these verses, allow God to speak to you and clarify, strengthen and reveal to you the truth of His Word.  I pray that you will arrive at the same conclusion the psalmist did about God and His Word:  All your words are true;  all your righteous laws are eternal.” 

Blessings today as you meditate upon the truth of God’s Word.

Linda

The reality of my righteousness and God’s Righteousness

Psalm 119:137-144 focuses on God’s Righteousness as the psalmist says he sees God’s character in His Word.  137 Righteous are you, O Lordand right are your rules.
138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness  and in all faithfulness.   Later in verse 147 he points to the righteousness of God and His Word that is eternal.  Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true.

Why is it important to know that God and His Word are righteous?  Righteous is by definition being morally right, just, virtuous, and upright.  If we do not have  a holy and righteous God, we are lost without hope.  In our sinful state, fallen and alienated by sin, there is no way for us to be made righteous.  God, in His mercy, had a plan to redeem us and make us right with Him.  Jesus was His answer to our sinfulness and through Him He made a way for us to put on God’s righteousness.  Romans 3-22 RighteousnessRomans 3:22-23 ” 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,”   1 Corinthians 1:30 “30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  These are just a few of the many verses that speak of Jesus’ work on the cross that imputed God’s righteousness to us.  

The psalmist knew that he was not righteous.  He knew he was sinful and in verse 141 he says “Though I am lowly and despised, I do not forget your precepts.”   He knew the truth of God’s righteousness and the truth of God’s Word as he ends this portion with verse 142, “Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.”   He knew that believing that he himself was righteous would lead to wrong thinking, pride, arrogance and self-boasting.  Knowing we can rely upon the rightness of God’s Word, we can depend upon the direction and guidance we receive as we read and study His Word.

Today as you reflect on these verses, think about your own attitude towards righteousness.  Do you assume you are a good person, righteous and worthy of praise from men?  When I begin thinking like that, I am reminded in humility of Isaiah’s words in Isaiah 64:6 ” We are all infected and impure with sin.  When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags.  Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall,  and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

Praise be to Jesus, the one who saves and presents us in right standing before God!  Praise be to God that His Word is eternally true and guides us to live as He desires.

Linda

 

Standing in awe or doubt?

In Psalm 119:113-120 there are a couple of key verses I want to focus on in today’s blog.  The psalmist contrasts those that oppose God and the resource of God’s Word for those that believe.

psalm 119 120113  I hate double-minded people,
    but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!   

 He first points out the presence of double-minded people that waver in their commitment to God as being a distraction to the believer.  James 1:6,8 describes this type of individual.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”  A double-minded person is trying to be guided by and committed to the world and does not have a solid faith in God.  The effect of such thinking and actions is instability in conduct and thought.  The next group the psalmist reveals as opposing the believer are evildoers.  The Bible speaks often about evildoers or those that work against God and his followers.  1 Peter 2:12 puts it this way, “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”  Evildoers seek to bring us down with their accusations and ruin our witness in the world. 

The psalmist seeks to contrast the effects of the double-minded and evildoers with the consistency and reliability of God’s Word.  He speaks of God’s Word as a refuge that shields us and gives us hope (114).  He concludes this section with a profound statement about God’s Word.  In verse 120 he says,My flesh trembles in fear of you;   I stand in awe of your laws.”  He has such great reverence for God that he describes himself as trembling and his faith in God results in profound adoration and awe for God’s Word.  Praise God for the power of His Word!

The psalmist’s response to God’s Word challenges us today.  Do you hold to God’s Word when assaulted by evildoers and double-minded people?  Is God’s Word your hope and shield?  Do you see the power and might of God revealed in His Word?  The psalmist assures us that we will find hope, strength, love, peace and direction when we stand in awe of God’s Word and cling to it.  His Word will keep us from being double-minded, firmly rooted and grounded in faith and able to withstand the waves of doubt we encounter each day.

restoring the aweStanding in awe of the power of God’s Word,

Linda

Need a guide? Look to God’s Word.

In Psalm 119:105-112 the Psalmist speaks of the guiding power of God’s Word and it’s ability to instill a sense of well being, care and staying power when times are difficult.  I want to focus on verse 105 as I have included this verse in my book Promises for Dynamic Living.  It is a promise that we can claim each and every day and use it to bring praise to God for all eternity.   psalm 119 105Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet  and a light to my path.”   This verse is a promise to each of us that the Bible, God’s Word, will give us direction and light for living.  We can trust that God’s Word will guide, give us truth when we are so often surrounded by falsehoods, point us to the true light, Jesus, and reveals to us that God cares about the way we live and the choices we make each day.
This truth about God’s Word and it’s ability to guide us is found throughout the Bible.  Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God proves true;  he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”  His Word holds absolute truths that we can cling to and take refuge in.  Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  His Word is alive and has power to help us to see right from wrong and be able to tell truth from lies.   John referred to Jesus as the Word of God. John 1:1 “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”   Jesus was God’s fullest expression of His Word among us.  God’s Word has power today to transform and guide us just as when He created the universe by His Word.  He spoke the world into existence, Genesis 1:3 “And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”   His Word has power.  Rely upon it’s truths to guide and direct you, learn about God in it’s pages and allow His Holy Spirit to gods-guidance-is-like-a-small-lamp-good-night-768x768transform you as you step out in faith believing in His Word, Jesus.

Look for His guidance and light as you go through your day.  It will be bright enough to show you the way.

Linda

 

 

How can I forget the title? LOL Meditating brings sweetness!

meditating-on-gods-word
I was challenged by this truth to examine how much time I spend mediating on God’s Word.

Psalm 119:97-104 is a testimony by the psalmist about the benefits of meditating on God’s Word.  Here are the verses in the Amplified versions:

Oh, how I love Your law!                (His Word inspires love.)
It is my meditation all the day.

Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,      (Gives wisdom)
For Your words are always with me.
 
I have better understanding and deeper insight than all my teachers [because of Your word],
For Your testimonies are my meditation.    (Gives understanding and deep insight)

I understand more than the aged [who have not observed Your precepts],
Because I have observed and kept Your precepts.        (Gives Wisdom beyond your years)

I have restrained my feet from every evil way,    (Keeps you on the right pathway)
That I may keep Your word.

I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.                  (I am taught by God)

How sweet are Your words to my taste,
Sweeter than honey to my mouth!             (His Word brings sweetness to me)

From Your precepts I get understanding;     (I gain understanding about possible bad choices)
Therefore I hate every false way.

Had you ever considered these benefits?   God is promising us that meditating (pondering, reflecting, considering) on His Word will cause us to internalize His ways.  He will reshape our thinking so that we reflect His wisdom, understanding, more readily accept His guidance, know His will for our lives in choices we make, accept His teaching and find sustenance that is sweetness in our lives.  If you have never meditated on God’s Word, why not give it a try and see what God reveals to you.  Here are a few verses that you could start with:  Lamentations 3:21-23, James 4:7-8a, Deuteronomy 31:6,               2 Corinthians 5:17.  These are verses that will shape your thinking, give you encouragement and guidance.  Let me know the benefits you receive from mediating on God’s Word.

His Word is life changing,

Linda