Word of the Day

Trusted One

Psalm 22: 4 – 5              God’s Word

Our ancestors trusted you. They trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were saved. They trusted you and were never disappointed.

There are a couple of things you should know about this psalm. First, it is prophetic. Read it in its entirety, read it from several versions. I particularly like the God’s Word translation for seeing the prophetic nature of this passage. David was in the Spirit and though this speaks to his own situation, you will see that it parallels Jesus’. I strongly encourage you to spend some time with this psalm. It shows how someone can be led by the Spirit in their prayers and in their words. David vocalized Jesus’ sentiments and experiences long before Jesus was born.

The other thing to know in understanding this psalm is that it begins in anguish and ends in faith. That is classical David form. We’ve discussed David’s relationship with Yahweh and how they evidence a shared trust relationship. We have witnessed David’s emotions and his relationship with the Father. We have seen the trust David evinced in God and even queried how he was brought to that place of radical trust. Once you have experience of God coming through for you, it is easier to trust again. How do you learn to trust that first time, though?

When you read this psalm in total, you will see some of the answers for yourself. The big convincer for David was that he was able to learn from the experiences of others. He had the record which we have in the Bible. He heard and knew the old stories. Most importantly, he apparently believed them. He knew that what God had done for his ancestors, He would do also for him.

David was in serious turmoil. In verse fourteen he describes himself this way, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.” Yet, within a few verses he turns to praise. Nothing changed in his circumstances. He was still empty, beaten up and weary. Yet, his voice turned to praise. How can that be?

I believe this is one of David’s greatest characteristics and ultimately a powerful weapon in his hands. He boasted in the name of God. He declared the faithfulness and greatness of the Lord. Despite all indications of disaster, he boldly proclaimed his trust in the Lord, his God. He stood on the evidence of the past and stated his belief in the faithfulness, the trustworthiness of God.

How many times and in how many ways does God have to prove Himself to us? When will I throw my heart into radical trust? Do you, like me, want to walk on the water? It might be obvious, but we’ve gotta jump out of the boat and that is not just an act of faith. It is an act of trust. I don’t know how much faith Peter had but I do know that he trusted Jesus. He wouldn’t have gotten out of that boat except that he was going to Jesus. The same is so true for us. It is more than a metaphor for a faith walk. This is “the way.” We have the same opportunity to live a “faith full” life. But faith, truly, is born of two things: trust and obedience. We need only go where Jesus is leading. He isn’t asking us to jump out of the boat and walk on the water by ourselves. He is simply saying, “Come to me. I’ve got you.” We can do that – if we believe, if we really trust our Jesus.

Can you stretch with me today? Just lean towards him a bit more than you did yesterday. Remember how he came through for David? Recall that David wasn’t even redeemed by the blood. How much more is our trust in Jesus justified? Can we learn from the many Bible stories, like Gideon’s story, that God is looking after His kids? We will not be disappointed. Trust wins the day.

If you don’t have your own success stories with God yet, borrow Moses’, use David’s. They trusted Him and were never disappointed.

Request Granted

Psalm 21: 2 – 3

You have given him his heart’s desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. For You meet him with the blessings of good things.

I hope you are enjoying this stroll through the Psalms. I very much am. The hardest part of this, for me, is choosing only one or two verses out of the psalm to send to you. There are so many verses screaming to be heard, like verse seven from today’s psalm. However, I have to choose so verses two and three are my pick because of yesterday’s selection. I can’t help but feel that Father is trying to make a point this week.

We should always consider the placement of Selah (for further reading on Selah see the Word of the Day for August 30, 2018). It should be like a flag going up when we see it. In today’s passage it is sandwiched between the two verses. The Selah connects them and puts emphasis on them.

There are two thoughts which occur to me about the authorship of this passage. First, we know that David penned it. It is interesting that he is so vehement about God giving him the desires of his heart. We have seen two psalms in a row where David proclaims this truth. And, of course, Psalm 37: 4 is hanging out there just waiting to be read. So, David is pretty insistent on this point. Also, he is not trying to convince anyone. David’s words are for the Lord. This isn’t even a statement of faith. It is a statement of fact. David experienced God going far beyond meeting his daily needs. He has Yahweh showing up with blessings for him.

The second thought about authorship is that though David penned this passage, God is the true author. It is the Lord who gave David his inspiration and his songs. Beyond that, we know that Jesus is the Word. These two ideas mean that this declaration that God fulfills the desires of our hearts and meets us with blessings of good things comes from Him. Yahweh is the one who wanted this text in the Bible. He is trying to tell us something. He is using David and his gifts to get His message out to us.

God knew when He inspired David to write this song that thousands of years later, you would be reading them. In fact, you might be the one person who more than any other inspired the Father to insert these words into His Bible. The Bible is His letter to you. It is here that He contained some of His most important ideas for you. You don’t have to depend on your ability to hear God’s voice. The words are lying on the page for you. And, as if that isn’t enough, He has now inspired and directed me to send them directly to you. They were sitting in your inbox this morning awaiting you.

So, what’s the point? The point is that God wants to fulfill all your heart’s desires. It is His idea, His desire. He wants to greet you in the morning with baskets full of blessings. Everyday is Christmas to Him so He has gifts for you. One of the key components for each of us is that we need to get this into our hearts. It is quite easy to accept these ideas in our minds, but your mind isn’t the key. Belief, real belief, happens in the heart. The mind can agree and can accept but belief is rooted in the heart.

David was fully convinced. You can hear it in His words. He believed it and he lived it. Guess which always comes first. He believed God even when he was hiding in a cave. He believed God even when facing a giant. His boast was always in the name of the Lord God and thus he lived the blessing of God. When we believe in the goodness of God the way David did, then maybe we will have something to sing about too.

Answer my Prayer

Psalm 20: 3 – 4             God’s Word

He will remember all your grain offerings and look with favor on your burnt offerings. Selah. He will give you your heart’s desire and carry out all your plans.

Do you know that there are some people to whom it is difficult to give? I had a friend that way. You couldn’t bless her. She refused kindness or just would not receive graciously. After a while, I just got tired of trying to be a blessing to her. She just made it too painful. I wonder if God has the same problem giving to us. Do we make it difficult?

Today’s psalm is a psalm of David. If you were to read the whole thing you would recognize his writing. One of the things I find most interesting in this selection is the “Selah” at the end of verse three. What is there about the content of verse three that should cause us to stop and ponder? Is it reasonable that God’s memory of all of your offerings inclines him to giving you your heart’s desire?

This would appear to be the operation of the covenant relationship between David and Yahweh. David contributed to the temple. He gave his tithes and offerings and God was aware of David’s faithfulness. David was bolstered by his gifts too because he understood the covenant. He knew that because he did his part, God would do His. There was a trust relationship between them. Of course David could boast in the name of God. He understood covenant relationships and he stood on his covenant. God proved time and again that He would do as He promised. Why then, does it seem that He isn’t fulfilling His promises to us?

If I had the answer to that I would write the book and all Christians would get all prayers answered. It is a question worth pondering though. Why would God even bother make us promises if He didn’t intend to keep them? It’s not like we had some sort of leverage to force Him to make a bargain with us. So, if He so charitably makes promises, will He not also keep them? What then marks a difference between those who receive of God and those who do not. I can’t help but think that it is this confidence that David shows in God keeping His covenant. Does that bold trust and unwavering assurance put David in a better position to receive? In verse 6 he wrote, “I know God gives me all that I ask for,” (Passion). Do you think most of us can say that with the same level of confidence? I want to be able to as I am sure you do also.

So here is what I leave you with today. What do you think distinguishes David from most of us? He was on the wrong side of the cross even, yet he had such confidence in God. Secondly, do you think the covenant relationship had something to do with David being able to receive from God? We have a better covenant than he and ours is made on better promises with a better mediator (Hebrews 8: 6, 12: 4). How is it that God gave him all he asked for when his covenant was inferior to ours and yet we do not seem to receive all we ask? I have questions for you rather than answers but often I believe the questions to be more important. Only the right question will lead you to the right answer. So, will you ponder these questions in light of today’s verse? We would love to hear from you.

Thoughts & Words

Psalm 19: 14                God’s Word

May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my defender.

This verse has been on an index card for years. Though I am better, I need to be reminded daily. This is not about holiness though one cannot be holy without clean thoughts and words. Although this verse stands alone very well, you will understand its richness when you take it in context with the rest of the nineteenth psalm. Look back at our Words of the Day for this week. Is there a theme? What was David trying to communicate?

This is definitely a good news psalm. It has been about guaranteed success, a designated path, protection, a healthy soul and spirit, a cheerful heart, radiant joy and more. We discovered yesterday from verse eleven that being in Jesus, not just believing in him, but living in him is key. David reveals another important key today, guarding our thoughts and words.

It is easy to think of this verse as an admonition to refrain from ugly thoughts and words and sure, that probably goes pretty much without saying. I think, though, that is a very limited reading and understanding of this powerful verse. Look at the phrasing David used. It is interesting what he didn’t write and that is a clue to the deeper meaning embedded here. He didn’t write, “Keep me from thinking evil thoughts and speaking derogatory words.” David’s concern was not focused on the absence of offensive speech and thought. Instead, he wanted his words and thoughts to be acceptable in God’s sight. He wanted his words to not only avoid negativity but rather to radiate positivity and faith. That is a far different thing.

We are not talking about living in a vacuum here. The goal is not to refrain from saying something bad. That is a given. The next step would be silence, i.e. “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” No, David is coaxing us on to level three. Intentionally say things, think things which are appealing to God. Speak in agreement with God words. That is the lesson of this verse.

If you undertake to speak Yahweh kind of words, then begin with His Word. That makes sense, doesn’t it? If you want to speak God words then you will need to think God thoughts for whatever is in your heart, will come out of your mouth. That is a guarantee. If we want God appropriate thoughts and words, then we must put His thoughts and words inside us. I suppose this is what folks call a “no-brainer”, but we need to actually think about this because it requires purposeful action. Life is busy and there are distractions everywhere, especially at this time of year, but will we purpose in our hearts to invest time in God’s Word? It is a challenge, I grant you. That is why we have to be so very intentional about it.

Me too! There are things vying for my time too but if I don’t spend the time in the Word and with my heavenly father, it really shows. The revelation just doesn’t pour out. So, when I get out my calendar, sometimes I just have to schedule prayer time and make it happen. So, I appreciate your challenge. None the less, find five minutes if that is all you have and read some of your Word. Here is a very easy thing to do when you don’t know where to read. Take the Word of the Day and read the chapter it is taken from. It will generally take you less than five minutes and it will actually enrich what you heard in the Word of the Day.

Put in the Word and the Word will come out. Then your thoughts and words will be pleasing to the Father and that will make your heart joyful and your life successful.

In Him

Psalm 19: 11        Passion

For they warn us, his servants, and keep us from following the wicked way, giving a lifetime guarantee: great success to every obedient soul!

We all want great success, don’t we? In this, the eleventh verse, King David points out that all that he has written in the previous ten verses comes to a head here. In verse ten we learned that nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking God’s living words. Why? Because they warn us, keep us, bring us success with a lifetime guarantee. Do you see how this flows together?

God’s living words, understandably, have life in them. That life, which actually is Jesus (John 14: 6), has success and prosperity built in. Look at Jesus’ life. Do you remember how he recruited his team? He said, “Follow me.” And they did. How is that for charisma? That is success. He didn’t strive or fret. Success was built in and guaranteed for life.

I find that sometimes we balk at language such as “the wicked way.” Can I just say that we can reframe that as we read it to prevent our stumbling? The wicked way isn’t just about sinning and no one, including Yahweh, thinks you practice sinning. His words, His living words lead us in the “right” way. Remember verse nine from yesterday which said that every command from the Lord is right? So, His commands, His words lead us in the right way. Now follow this chain one step further – they lead us in righteousness. Okay, don’t stumble here either. Righteousness is not the same as holiness. We are talking about being in the right place with God, being in your right place. When you follow God’s words, instructions and commands, you end up in the right place. That is how simple righteousness is. You have heard me quote this scripture many times, “He made the One who knew no sin to become a sin offering on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God,” (2 Corinthians 5: 21 Tree of Life Version). This means that we have become the righteousness of God, right? That is what is says. It says something else too, though. We are the righteousness of God in him. In whom? In Jesus. Our righteousness is in Christ Jesus. So, if we are not in him, are we the righteousness of God? No. It is only in Jesus that we are righteous. Going one step further in the logic today. Who is Jesus but the Word? Therefore, we are right back to this verse from King David. God’s living Word keeps us righteous. We are in the right place when we are in Jesus. We are kept from the wicked way and preserved.

All it takes is an obedient soul. We must actively involve ourselves with the Living Word who is the Christ our saving grace. It is so simple a child can do it but incredibly complex in the mechanics of the miracle God has wrought for us in Jesus. Let’s keep it simple though. Seek the Lord. Seek the living words of God’s Living Word. He is the miracle of our guaranteed success. There is no striving, no stress, no worry. There is only Christ and him crucified. In Him you have all you need, all you desire. In Him – those are words to live by. Amen.

Cheer, Treasure & Sweetness

Psalm 19: 9 – 10             Passion

Every one of the Lord’s commands is right; following them brings cheer. Nothing he says ever needs to be changed. The rarest treasures of life are found in his truth. That’s why I prize God’s word like others prize the finest gold. Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words.

Following God’s commands brings cheer. Could it be, then, that is the reason He gave them to us. If you accept the premise that Yahweh is a loving God, or to go further, that He is love, then wouldn’t it follow that the direction, instruction and commands He gives us are for our good? Do we really believe that God is emotionally damaged? Many people have not come to the conclusion that His directions are meant to keep us from harm and lead us to paths of prosperity. If they are not meant for our good then are we hypothesizing that He is tyrannical, that the only reason He commands us is to subjugate us? Is He really that emotional infantile and injured that He has to dominate and suppress us? If we do not believe that God commandments are given to us for our good, then there has to be another reason and the only conclusion I see is that He is an oppressor. So, which is it? If we conclude that God is good, then we must accept that He is good all of the time and that everything He does is motivated by love. Then the question becomes, if we accept that God is good all of the time and that all He does is motivated by love, then why do we resist His instruction? Why do some of us believe Him to be a harsh and cruel task master? Why don’t we seek Him day and night? He is seeking us day and night. His words, instructions and yes, even commandments, are meant to bless us. They are absolute truth. They do not need alteration because every word He speaks or has ever spoken is right. That is one of the reasons they always cheer our hearts. There is no error so they always lead us in right paths.

I do value His word, as I know you do. This translation says the rarest treasures of life are found in His truth. That is a full statement. His truth is the ultimate divining rod. His truth leads us to the gold mine, the diamond find. The most rare prize which exists can be found in His Word. “That is why I prize God’s word like others prize the finest gold.” Don’t get me wrong. I like gold and diamonds but they ultimately pale compared to God’s wisdom. Further, I believe the way to them is through His direction. All the good things in this life and the life we will live beyond the earth are in Him. That is why the next sentence in this passage is, “Nothing brings the soul such sweetness as seeking his living words.” This statement is a conclusion to the previous thoughts. Living in His words, seeking His living Words – two ideas, one great passion. This is a life well-lived, to seek the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength and all our passion.

I love watching your life change as you increasingly seek the Lord, His words and His ways. In them is the life, not just simple existence, but a life worth living, a life which is full. Don’t just take up space on the planet. Live to the fullest. Seek the Father zealously. Prize His words. Give the Word great value and weight in your life. Take God at His word and hold Him to it. He can handle it and you are going to see even more change. 2019 is almost upon us. Let’s begin to determine what we want for the new year. I want more blessing for you. I want you blessed in the day and in the night, coming in and going out, blessed in the city and blessed in the country. I resolve to press in with my study so that I can be used more powerfully by our Lord and God to insinuate more of His blessing into every Word of the Day and ultimately, into your life. Be blessed.

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.