Peace My Soul

Psalm 116: 7 – 8             TLV

Return to your rest, my soul, for Adonai has been good to you. For You delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.

This is a good psalm and I think you will find comfort in many of its verses. I chose these two verses because they shouted to me about the peace we can find in our Lord.

To be honest, it is not always easy to walk in the Lord’s peace. There is trouble in the world. We’ve got problems we’re dealing with and decisions that keep us awake at night. This psalm, though, reminds us of peace we can enjoy when we sink into our relationship with Jesus. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that he gives us immeasurable peace. We have to stop in the middle of our thoughts and remember that he left his peace with us (John 14: 27). In all our reminding, let us be reminded of this from Philippians 4: 7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” God’s peace is so big, so comprehensive that it defies understanding.

Anytime our souls get anxious, we can turn to some of these magnificent verses and remind our inner self to relax, be at peace. Today’s psalm begins with praise and thanksgiving that the Lord, Adonai, hears our prayers. He hears our cries, our petitions, our worries and concerns and He answers and comforts us. Let us, therefore, speak to our own souls the way the psalmist talks to his. “Return to your rest.” Be still and calm O my soul. The Lord has been good to you.

Our God has delivered us. He has been on the site for us in times we don’t even know about. I know this to be true and knowing it helps me to remain confident that I can greet tomorrow in the peace of the Lord for He is with me and will not fail me. He will not fail you either. Let this be your refrain and confession. Bless the Lord.

The Big, Bad Wolf

Psalm 34: 4

I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Fear is a pernicious emotion. It draws us into ever deeper dread, and it draws to us all sorts of negative experiences. Once fear gets a foothold in our spirits, it invites all its little buddies to come torment us as well. We may begin with a fear of spiders or of heights only to realize one day that fear lurks around almost every corner. That is its nature. It wants to invade every part of our lives and it will if we don’t resist it. Thank God that He is our provider in every sense.

In the context of yesterday’s verse, we looked at 1 Chronicles 28: 9, “If you seek Him, He will let you find Him.” In Father’s never-ending quest to encourage and edify us, He sends us this good news today from Psalms. We discover that not only does He let us find Him but that He answers us and our needs in that moment. Going one step further, when we seek Him, He delivers us from those insipid fears that plague our heart. There is healing in His wings, so every encounter with Him brings healing. He touches our hearts, our minds and our bodies with His soothing touch. His love roots out fear even that which has been lodged in our souls for many years. There are two keys, though which will help dissolve those fears.

When we search for God with our hearts, then it is our heart which finds Him. This may seem like semantics but there is a very real principle involved. Searching with your heart opens your heart to Him. The alternative is to search for Him with our minds. I am not suggesting that is a “bad” approach, just not the most potent. If you search with your mind you will still find Him but you will learn about Him more than engage with Him. This is the case because you are presenting your mind to Him. It is best if we present our hearts to Him. Allow your mind, will, emotions and personality to aid you but go to the Lord, seek Him with your innermost being. That is your heart or more precisely, your spirit.

Second, relinquish your fears to the Lord. Begin in a space where you accept and acknowledge that fear has no place in your heart. Expect Yahweh to vanquish those fears. This scripture reveals that if we are afraid, we have need of deliverance. I think we live in a time when we have come to accept fear as part of life. That is the exact opposite of the message the Father is communicating to you. His intention is to deliver you from fear. This means that you must let go of it. That can be harder than it sounds because you are surrounded by people who, almost proudly, confess to being fearful of at least something. Secondly, you may have lived with fear a long time. The familiarity may make it difficult to release the hold it has on you and that you have on it.

Fear is, functionally, a distrust of God. We don’t think of it that way, but it is true. To live with fear is to say to God that you don’t trust Him. The fear of heights or whatever is stronger, bigger and louder than your faith in God. Does that sound harsh? It is not my intention that it scald you. There is, however, an even more accurate way to articulate fear, if you can bear it. Fear is faith in Satan. It is the acknowledgement that he has power in your life and over your life. Deny that obscenity. Faith in God vanquishes fear because there can be no fear where the love of God prevails. Fear is like the big, bad wolf in the story of the three little pigs. He was big and frightening but, in the end, he was overcome, defeated.

Therefore, whatever that area is where fear has taken hold, infuse it with the love of God which has the power to deliver. Speak faith words over it. Do not continue to confess fear but rather replace those fear expressions with ones of faith.

Father is on site to deliver you from all your fears. He has promised you that if you will seek Him, not only will He answer you, but He will give you His deliverance. Don’t live below the God level, the level of life Jesus died to give you. Do not tolerate fear in your life. It is not of God nor meant to be a part of you. Call on the Almighty to be a keeper of His promises and present your heart to Him for healing and restoration.

O My Soul

Habakkuk 2: 4

Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.

Yesterday Habakkuk taught us that God does not want us to rely on our own strength, but rather to trust in His. We talked about partnering with the Holy Spirit, allowing him to guide our decisions and actions. We learned that He is not pleased with our looking to our own strength and skills. In fact, the scripture said we will be held guilty if that is our reliance. I don’t want to be held guilty by God but further, I don’t want to work myself to death when He has sent me His Spirit to do all the heavy lifting. Why would we do that? Why do we do that?

Pride – says the prophet Habakkuk or rather God through Habakkuk. It is vain pride, ego mania, that causes us to focus on us instead of our savior, Father and helper. It sounds ridiculous! Why are we looking to our abilities when our Father is omniscient? Habakkuk says, our soul is not right within us. In the Southern United States we would say, “Something ain’t right!” What a shock for God to tell us it is our very own soul which has gone afoul.

Before we panic let’s ask this question, “How can we get our soul right?” When you were born again, that was a rebirth from above. God breathed new life into you and renewed your spirit. What of the soul, though? Here is the bad news, you are going to have to get your hands dirty. Yep, you have work to do. Now, are you willing? Truth be told, probably only about 20% of you answered, “yes,” so it is to you twenty percenters that I will speak.

Here is the answer. Turn your Bible to Romans 12: 2. What does it say? Here is God’s instruction on how to renew your soul. It has to be retrained by renewing your mind with the Word of God. You have to do this. Before you freak out, though, remember what yesterday’s Word of the Day was about. It was all about partnership, right? There is nothing you ever have to do alone again. The other side of the coin, though, is that God is not going to do it without you. You are partners. Let that sink in. Imagine forming a partnership with Yahweh. Picture yourself shaking hands with Him as you seal your agreement.

Now, here you are. You have a reborn spirit which not only is in the likeness of God but actually is a little piece of Him. He is part of your genetics and your breath now and you are part of His. Our minds, though, are unruly and must be taken in hand. Your spirit in conjunction with Father’s is more than up to this task. You are going to have to spend time in your Bible. I hate it for you, but it is just the truth. It is going to have to be done but it is so easy. Let me help you.

Every week day I send you a Bible verse, right? Okay, just start there. Read the verses around it or read the whole chapter. Or, read it in several versions. Online databases have made this so easy for us. Now, here is the big secret. Do this with Dad’s Spirit, your helper. Start prayerfully. What does that even look like. Well, it does not look like your Pastor’s beautiful seminary prayers. It goes more like this, “Holy Spirit, I want my mind renewed and I have this verse today with which to start. Show me more about it. Speak to me what you want me to hear in this passage.” Keep it simple. The Holy Spirit didn’t go to seminary either. He just speaks plain old language like you. Although . . . he also speaks in picture language so watch the pictures that flow through your mind. Be like a child and just see in your mind what he speaks to you. Maybe that verse references other verses. If you are viewing them online, all it takes is a click and your screen will be painted with a bunch of similar verses. It is so cool!

Look, you can do this. You can get that old raggedy soul into shape and let me tell you a truth, it is fun. Once you know how to do it and know these simple little tips, it becomes such fun. You are going to be surprised at how much the Spirit speaks to your spirit. Hang on to your hat because he absolutely loves this process.

Now don’t be proud. Don’t look to yourself as the one who must heal your soul. That is not your job. It is Dad’s. And don’t be proud thinking you can do this on your own. Don’t look to your intelligence. We’re just not that smart, frankly. I mean really, compare us with God. We haven’t even had enough years to absorb the enormity of material available. Whatsmore, you don’t want to have to sort through the world’s entire database. Just yield, surrender (do you hear the song playing in your head) to the Lord and let the Holy Spirit lead you to what you need. Let God touch your soul with His love. You will be healed, and you are going to be full of His joy. This is the sweet spot. Let the Lord lead you. Let go of vain glory, foolish pride and surrender all. Be renewed in your mind and let your soul breathe fresh air.

The righteous shall live by faith, not by sight. Where there is pride, faith does not operate. Give God your belief and trust and He will be right there with you making the journey fun.

Lordly Necessity

Deuteronomy 10: 12

Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

First, you can line through the name Israel and write in your name. That is how you should read this verse. Second, please recall that you have to modernize this language. We no longer use the word “fear” the way it was used in this context. A better, more modern word would be revere. You would not go amiss by replacing the word fear with the word love either. God’s first requirement of us is that we love Him. That makes perfect sense doesn’t it. We wouldn’t be part of His family if we didn’t first love Him.

Secondly, we are to walk in all His ways. Selah. Pause and think about that for a moment. What are His ways? What does it mean for us to walk in His ways? Think about a typical day for you. What does that look like? How do you perceive that you do walk as He walks? In what ways do you think your walk and His diverge. I do not think this means walking around preaching all day. I believe it means acting like Him in all of the normal things you do. For example, grocery shopping, pumping gas or being on the job, if God was doing those things, what would it look like? How would He progress through a normal day? Walking in His ways not only means doing the things He would do but also doing every day the way He would do. How are we spending our time? How do we use our words? How do we interact with others? How do we set our priorities and carry out the necessary tasks of life? I would add, are we listening to Him on a minute by minute basis or even on a daily basis so that we can get His direction, His leading so that we can follow in His footsteps?

Love Him! That is the directive. Do we? How do we? Is this a passive verb or is it an action verb? What did the author intend to convey when he wrote that we are to love the Lord, our God?

Finally, we are to serve the Lord with all our heart and all our soul? What does that even mean? First, how do we serve Him? I would suggest that first we probably need to spend some time with Him, ask Him what He would have us do and then listen. Second, it probably has something to do with serving and ministering to His kids. Then the calling upon our lives is to do that thing, whatever it is He shows us, to do that with all our passion, with all our heart, with all our strength. It ends up being the passion of our lives, the driving force.

Our lives are never better than when we are ardently engaged with our divine Father. It is that which will fill you with the greatest joy you can know. Let us, then, endeavor to follow this scripture’s leading. Let’s meditate on it until our spirits understand the meaning of it and then let us pursue the Spirit’s leading with vigor.

Bless You

Psalm 103: 1

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.

When you think of the word “soul” what do you think of? David spoke to his soul telling it to bless the Lord. What did he have in mind? The most common definition these days for soul is your mind, will and emotions. One way to think of your soul would be that which is not your body or your spirit. It includes your personality and your memories. It is shaped by your past experiences. It is the interface through which you connect your internal self to the world. So, when I think of blessing the Lord, especially in directing my soul to bless Him, it boils down to blessing Him in all of my ways. I want every word I speak and every act to bless the Lord. Every thought and plan can be lifted up to the Lord. We always want Him to bless our plans but this verse turns it around. Let our plans bless Him. Let our thoughts bless Him.

David always calls us into deeper relationship with the Father. Here he challenged his soul, and thereby us as well, to bless the Lord with every ounce of his being. It is one thing to say, “All that I am I give to you Father,” but a different thing entirely to make each day an offering to the Lord with every thought you think, word you say or action. Not only is it an offering but David endeavored to bless God with everything within him, actively bless the Lord.

This expands my mind beyond its current boundaries. How about you? Does it challenge you to ponder how you can bless the Lord? How can your soul bless His holy name? I know you want to be a blessing the Lord, as do I. Imagine a whole body of believers who try to bless the Lord every day. I hope you will give David’s words some consideration. I would welcome your revelations. Post your thoughts on our website on the Word of the Day page and perhaps, we, as a body of believers, can help each other become greater blessings to the Lord.

A Full Life

3 John 2

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
This passage of scripture portrays the image of a victorious Christian. This is the picture of who we are all destined to be because of the life, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. First of all, our souls are to prosper. That encompasses our emotional life, social life, and our intellectual life. It is the transformation of the human soul through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is best thought of as the intangibles. It is all of the things that make a life full. It is part of what Jesus meant when he said that he came into the world to give us abundant life (John 10: 10).

As we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our spirits, setting us free from every sort of bondage, we are supposed to also evidence physical well-being and financial prosperity. You see, to God and to Jesus, it is a package deal. We are supposed to have it all, not just one little portion. You are supposed to be well in your body and well in your finances. Your soul is supposed to be healed from any emotional scars and you are to be free. Jesus said that he was anointed to set the captives free (Luke 4: 18). So, his ministry and his word do free us from our former bondage so that we might live in abundance of every sort and pass that blessing on to others. 

It starts in your spirit and manifests in every part of your life. Do not let the devil steal any part of it from you because Jesus came to set you free.