Word of the Day

Radiant Joy

Psalm 19: 7 – 8                    (God’s Word)

The teachings of the Lord are perfect. They renew the soul. The testimony of the Lord is dependable. It makes gullible people wise. The instructions of the Lord are correct. They make the heart rejoice. The command of the Lord is radiant. It makes the eyes shine.

Well, who said we had to proceed to the next psalm today? This is our journey, we can go as we please and there is just too much in Psalm 19 to choose only one verse to share.

I wish for you to do me a favor, though. Re-read the verses, slowly. What do they speak to you? This is really about following our Father’s leading in your day to day life. The first thing I think of when reading that His teachings are perfect is the Bible. His Word gives us life lessons that are so good, so perfect that they restore our beaten down souls. They give us new life. His teachings are renewal to our souls. That is good news. Pick up your Bible, read your Word of the Day and you are ingesting soul reviving wisdom. Are you ever worn out or weary? Here is the boost you need.

What about “The testimony of the Lord is dependable?” The NASB says it is “sure.” God’s recitation of the facts is sure, stable, reliable and dependable. It is something you can stand on. The Passion Translation reads, “His laws lead us to truth.” You can count on His testimony for it will always lead you to absolute truth. I would define His testimony as everything He has ever said whether that is something recorded in the Bible or something He spoke personally to you.

His instructions make our hearts glad. If there was ever a better testimony, a better reason to follow His instructions, I don’t know what it is. Following the Father’s instructions, His directions, pleases our soul making our hearts light, joyful and happy. There is a way out of stress filled lives. There apparently is a way to live with a joyful heart. That way is to inquire of the Lord and follow His instructions. People sometimes think of God as bossy or as a task master, but can’t you see that it is just the opposite. His instruction exists to make your heart light, even care free for He has said to give Him all our cares.

This is the part I really wanted to get to though, “The command of the Lord is radiant. It makes the eyes shine.” Doesn’t that sound great, but what does it mean? Radiance is usually associated with light. That sounds like, God’s command is light. It shines upon us lighting our way and rescuing us from darkness. Have you ever had a challenge and said, “I am in the dark about this?” Well, no longer do you need to walk in darkness, confusion or ignorance. His way, His command is light unto your feet lighting your path. His commands lead you in the way you should go. They are radiant sonshine. They make your eyes twinkle with gladness and comfort. The Passion Translation rephrases this better than I can. About His commands it says, “they challenge us to keep close to His heart.” Wow! That is an entire sermon unto itself. Listen, though, what it says about the radiance of His instruction: “The revelation-light of his word makes my spirit shine radiant.”

There is the secret of life right there. Can you take that in? It is so massive that it is elusive. Here is Christianity and Judaism boiled down into a simply stated but intricate and complex idea. Walking in Him, with Him; living our lives intertwined within as we daily seek His wisdom, His ideas and His solutions, is the very essence of a healthy, glowing spirit. You know about health for your body. You may know something about health for you mind. This is spiritual health. His revelation, that revelation we glean by reading His word and by talking with Him is spiritual tonic. It is life and well-being. Your spirit will radiate His love, joy and glory when you intertwine your life with His. And, your light will be seen by others because this kind of radiance cannot be hidden.

Evidence

Psalm 19: 1

The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.

Have you heard this verse before? I just recently used this in a conversation about the evidence of God’s existence and His creation of earth. I think you have to convince yourself there is no God because if one just looks around or looks up into a night sky, the evidence is there.

As is the norm, I have taken this excerpt from the New American Standard Bible. It is still my favorite version but when reading the Psalms, it is enlightening to read the Passion Translation after you have read from your everyday Bible. The Passion Translation illumines the psalms like no other translation. Here is today’s passage from the Passion Translation, “God’s splendor is a tale that is told; his testament is written in the stars. Space itself speaks his story every day through the marvels of the heavens. His truth is on tour in the starry vault of the sky, showing his skill in creation’s craftsmanship.” How do you like that reading?

How can one look at a forest, the mountains, animals and nature and deny the existence of God? I think a person must be pretty good at lying to themselves if they are successful in convincing themselves there is no God when His fingerprints are everywhere we look. The Passion Translation says His workmanship, His skill is on tour. Don’t you love that? I think of museum exhibits that tour the country and musical artists as well as other performers. They go on tour demonstrating their skill and artistry throughout the land. Our Father has done the same thing. He has given us a work, greater than the Sistine Chapel, to look upon every night. During the day, His wonders fly overhead. What an amazing thing to see a bird upon the wing. Are you in awe that a fish can breathe underwater? Or have you ever contemplated a spider’s web? How is it that a small spider can spin a thread so small and yet so strong that it remains fixed to a car even at highway speeds?

Yahweh’s creative genius is all around us. He left signs for all to see. He left evidence of His touch so that all might see and come to know Him. Even if an evangelist never reaches some remote part of the world, God has already been there and left signs of His passing. We may not have all called Him by the same name, but every generation of humankind has seen the evidence of God and have called upon Him. In this age in which we live, there seems to be less faith and fewer believers. None the less, I believe that any person who is completely honest within her own heart, knows of the reality of God. We may talk ourselves out of a relationship with Him, we may balk at worshiping Him, but we know, in the depths of our being, that there is a God and that He created the earth and the heavens. He is glorious and worthy of praise. Won’t you share a moment with Him today talking about the things you like most about His creation? Spend a few minutes with Him discussing those things which fill you with awe. He created it all for you and He loves to hear your thoughts on it. Enjoy!

Praise Bombs

Psalm 18: 48 – 49                Passion

He rescues me from my enemies;
he lifts me up high and keeps me out of reach,
far from the grasp of my violent foe.

49 This is why I thank God with high praises!
I will sing my song to the highest God,
so all among the nations will hear me.

David certainly accomplished his goal. People from all nations, nations which didn’t even exist when he was living, have heard his songs of praise. His songs have spiritually fed generations of believers. That is really something.

The relationship between Yahweh and David was one of continual blessing. God blessed and delivered David. He routinely saved him from dangerous and aggressive enemies. David, in turn, famously lavished the Lord with high praise. Their relationship was one of giving and I imagine David is in heaven now with his lyre singing love songs to our Lord and God. What a beautiful picture.

The Lord has redeemed David forever and David is forever a king in the court of the Most High King. But then . . . cannot the same be said of us. We have been bought with a price, the price of an unblemished lamb who willingly shed its blood for us. We have been redeemed and our lives returned to glory status. The standing we were ordained to have in the beginning, before the fall of humanity, has been restored to us. Our enemies are but a footstool and all our needs have been met. We, then, are in a proper situation to continuously offer up thanksgiving and praise.

I do not find, however, that our culture is one of giving and praise, even to our God. Therefore, we are not being trained to be thankful and to articulate that thankfulness. We are not given to praise naturally or by cultural indoctrination, so we must admonish ourselves. We must purposefully set aside time to praise our Lord. We must intend, or purpose in our hearts, that praising the Father is a value to us. Then, we have to apply the necessary planning to our intent so that praise actually manifests. What am I saying? That we have to make a deliberate plan to praise our Father and then follow through with the appropriate action. As I have said, we are not being routinely taught and encouraged in this and it is not a natural flow from most of our cultures, so we have to make a decision that we wish to give the Father something in return for all of His great kindness and then do something about it. We cannot wait for the time to be right or even to “feel like it.” We must decide and then do it.

He, our Father, lives in our praises. He breathes them like you do air. He loves us but also longs for us to love Him in return. Wouldn’t it be great if, as a group of believers, we all started loving on Him more than we used to? How would it be if we all gave Him more praise in 2019 than we did in 2018. I know I have much more thanksgiving in my heart than I have spoken aloud. He has been good to me. I presume He has been good to you to. Let us purpose in our hearts that we are going to increase the praise in His throne room. Let’s bombard the throne room of grace with praise. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Thankful

This year I wish to express my thankfulness for you.  I appreciate you more this year than ever before.  Together we have shared 2820 Words of the Day.  That is a lot and sometimes I grow weary.

I learned much from my surprise surgery this year.  Many of you wrote to me and sent me well wishes and prayers.  Your prayers were very much appreciated as were your kind comments.  In fact, you have given me new inspiration.  After so many Words of the Day I think I had lost some of my zeal.  You assured me that you are out there reading them and drawing strength from them.  I feel like I have a new lease on life and I am excited to get back to writing the Word of the Day again.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.  Thank you for contributing your emotional, spiritual and prayer support to me and to the Word of the Day.  Thank you for reading them and sharing them with your friends and family.  This year I send praises to my Father for putting each one of you in my life.  You probably do not appreciate how significant you are to the Word of the Day and to me.  I ride on the strength of your faith, prayers and encouragement.  I rely on our Father, of course, but you really are the wind beneath my wings.  I, therefore, am rededicating myself to you and to the Word of the Day, as well as to the other components of Ivey Ministries.  Thank you for sharing life with me.  God bless you every one!

Sure Steps

Psalm 17: 4 – 5                  Passion

Following your word has kept me from wrong.
Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me
from going down the forbidden paths of the destroyer.

5 My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels,
always staying in their path,
never straying from your way.

We are Word people, are we not? If not, then we need to make a decision, today, that we will become those who follow the Word of God because the Word guides us and protects us. David told us in Psalm 12 that every word God speaks is sure and true. Here he reveals that abiding in God’s words is a refuge and a guide. Following God’s teachings kept David’s foot on the path of success and safety because His words are always sure and true.

It is reasonable to suppose, that when we follow in God’s footsteps, or in this case the tracks of His chariot wheels, then we are going to avoid the snare of the destroyer, keeping ourselves out of harm’s way and trouble. God’s Word keeps us in the Father’s ways instead of the ways of destruction.

This is not just about wickedness and sin. That is likely what many hear. The bigger picture is God’s way is sure. There is safety in His way and His way is His Word. Jesus said, “I am the way,” (John 14: 6). John 1: 1 reveals Jesus as the Word. Therefore, to follow Jesus, to follow in the way is to follow the Word. Nothing else will do.

If you want to keep yourself from trouble, let the Word mold your steps. There is one other thing you can do as well. Verse 3 reads, “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” It you want to prevent yourself from going down the forbidden paths and out of the mouth of the devourer, then you will also want to make the Words of your mouth follow God’s Word. Most of us trip over our tongues. Keeping ourselves safe, protected and prosperous is accomplished by keeping ourselves in God’s Word and His Word in our mouths. He is our shield and refuge, but it is we who must don his protection by abiding in His Words. Following in His footsteps is as easy as following His words.

Night and Day

Psalm 16: 7 – 8

I will bless the Lord who has counseled me; indeed, my mind instructs me in the night. I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

I have to dedicate today’s Word of the Day to my friend Dr. Charity Kayembe (https://www.glorywaves.org/) who has taught us to pay attention to the guidance the Lord gives us in the night. God uses dreams to communicate with us at night as Dr. Kayembe explains in her book, Hearing God Through Your Dreams.

I think this shows God’s passion for leading us. He doesn’t leave us out in the cold, on our own, trying to forge our way through life’s blizzards. He wants to make our lives less challenging by directing our footsteps. Jesus lived every day of his life walking in step with the Father. The reason this ministry’s slogan is “Intertwined with Jesus” is because I believe it epitomizes this synergy between our lives and Christ’s. In these two verses, David points to a life which exists, at all times, intermingled with the Holy Presence.

Our beloved is with us day and night. He speaks to us in our waking hours and whispers in words and images in the dreams of our sleeping hours. He is before us continually, at our right hand. We choose to put Him in the frame of every picture of our lives. David says, it is the Father’s presence in his life which makes him unshakeable. The God’s Word translation reads, “When he is by my side, I cannot be moved.” David’s level of resilience came from keeping Yahweh present at all times. It is not a skill everyone developed but you can certainly see the fingerprints of God on the lives of people who have chosen to live in stride with Christ every hour of the day, and night.

Let the Lord be your constant companion. Listen to the still small voice speaking in your ear daily and be attentive to the messages in the night. This I know and can attest to, God is speaking to you. The needful thing is to learn how to listen.

Ouch!!

Psalm 15: 1 – 5                    Passion Translation

Lord, who dares to dwell with you?
Who presumes the privilege of being close to you,
living next to you in your shining place of glory?
Who are those who daily dwell in the life of the Holy Spirit?

2 They are passionate and wholehearted,
always sincere and always speaking the truth—
for their hearts are trustworthy.

3 They refuse to slander or insult others;
they’ll never listen to gossip or rumors,
nor would they ever harm another with their words.

4 They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers
while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.
They make firm commitments and follow through,
even at great cost.

5 They never crush others with exploitation or abuse
and they would never be bought with a bribe
against the innocent.
They will never be shaken; they will stand firm forever.

The NASB version begins, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent?” Then David goes on to answer the question. I have another answer, “Not me.” Though I clearly fail this test, it inspires me. David certainly had a clear standard for what is required to live with the Holy One. I particularly dislike verse three for I found I have not yet bridled my tongue. How about you? Don’t many of us trip up over that one?

There is only one caveat I would make to David’s song. While I strongly agree with speaking out passionately against evil, I do think there is a New Testament augmentation to speaking out against evil workers. The reason I say this is because, in a sense, there is no longer a chosen class and a gentile class. All have the ability to be adopted into the family now and our task is to pray for those who persecute us. I find this to be the most challenging part of the passage because although we are idealists, we are also called to be compassionate messengers of the Good News. You might have to ponder this a bit. See where you land. Personally, I get uncomfortable pointing my finger at “evil workers” or “sinners” because I am so aware of how I trample the ideals articulated in this song.

My prayer is that we might all aspire to live this life and that we pray for each other as we reach for higher ground. Moreover, it is my desire that we learn how to lift people up to the beauty that is Jesus rather than wallow around in the mire like so many mud wrestlers. Lifting our eyes up to Jesus, may we each reach a little bit beyond yesterday.