“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”Proverbs 3:5-6
Began the year with a fast and taking some time to inject my word for the year and sharing it with our congregation this past Sunday. Taken from proverb 3, the word is LEAN.
Lean – to support one self; rely on; to place the whole of your weight upon.
Throughout our daily decisions we rely upon something or someone to assist us with our decision making process. Who is that for you? What do have a tendency to “lean” on throughout your day. Past experience? Friends advice? Your positional influence? Your own witt? What is it?
I have a bent towards leaning upon the emotion of the moment or another way to put it: “my own understanding”. So we can all say that this would be a habit that needs to STOP. This year, the habit of putting things on PAUSE, PRAY, and OBEY is a new habit I’m developing for the purpose of a more successful future.
PUT HIM FIRST
GIVE HIM EVERYTHING
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
It’s very easy to get distracted when it comes to planning our week, our year, or even our day. We have goals, dreams, desires, and wants. In our pursuit for all the above, let us be reminded that we are heavenly born. The Christ follower has experienced the kingdom of heaven within them and there is nothing on earth that can compare to the transformation that has taken place inside! Our citizenship is in heaven. His Spirit abides upon us and His love abounds in us. We have a responsibility from our Master to share His kindness to others but this can easily be placed in the backdrop of our lives only to be reminded on an occasional Sunday when it’s even mentioned. We are not better than others because God has shown us His favor, but we are more responsible!
I was reading our devotion and the passage above came off the page. A reminder of why I am here and I’m ok with not having stuff or pursuing my “dreams” but I’m not ok with being irresponsible and not reminding others about the good news of my Fathers love. Everywhere I go, we rub shoulders with the poor, the captive, the broken-hearted, the blind, and the oppressed. It’s a reminder to walk slowly through the crowds of my day and pause. Pause and share His love.
#LEANIN and love; Lean in and pray; Lean in and take the risk to be misunderstood or made fun of. We have one choice…a daring choice to show honor to the one who has honored us by revealing Hitself to us and counting us worthy to experience His mercy.
PRAYER: Father take my life and let it be, consecrated but for Thee. All I have and what I hold. Is to give glory and honor and Your mercy be told. Today, I will rub shoulders with many. Help me to see what You see and to respond how You would respond to others hurts and highs. I trust You.
(Psalms 119:169-176 ESV)
169 Let my cry come before you, O Lord; give me understanding according to your word!
170 Let my plea come before you; deliver me according to your word.
171 My lips will pour forth praise, for you teach me your statutes.
172 My tongue will sing of your word, for all your commandments are right.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts.
174 I long for your salvation, O Lord, and your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments
Woke up ready to take on the world today. Lot of moving parts in my life and it’s the last day of the year. Usually I’m focused and have developed a plan for the first quarter. But this time I feel a little off-centered. Ever felt that way? For some, most of their life seems that way. For others, it’s just a season when they feel a little behind the curve or off key.
Consider this: Over time, an instrument will lose tuning and one must take time to get it tuned up so that the song that is player sounds wonderful. Even cars are that way. Older cars that is. We use to have to take the time and adjust the distributor and change the plugs to get that baby prrrrring like a kitten or whatever sound you wanted it to have. Either way I think you get the point.
The psalmist has it right. I will cry out to you; I will plea before you; My lips will pour forth praise; My tongue will sing of Your word…and so forth. The instrument cries out to the Master musician, the vehicle to the Master mechanic, and the sheep to its Shepherd. I rejoice today cause I know I can’t fix myself. I need help from above. He alone knows what needs to be moved, changed, or adjusted.
Actually, I am not behind but right on time. It’s the process of the life. I want to run well. I want to be an instrument that sounds incredible and there is only one way this will ever happen. It muse be submitted to the master. Today, I ditto the Psalmist,
173 Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts; 176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments
HE SEEKS ME TODAY…HE CHASES ME TODAY…HE PICKS ME UP AND FINE TUNES ME. The C Chord was a little flat but by end day, it’s on scale; I trust my Master. He alone understands me and knows me more than anyone else.
STOP WORRYING; START TRUSTING; CONTINUE YIELDING to HIm who knows all things and establishes them according to His purpose and plan.
PRAYER: Father, thank you for 2015. It’s been a year of much beauty and heartache. I feel a little out of tune but I know and am very familiar with this season in life. You have always come in moments like this and found me. You have never been upset that I was off-key because the song has never left my heart and mouth. I rejoice in You. I pray for Natalie. Be with her in her procedure this morning. My wife since my youth is so precious to me. More than my wife she is Your daughter and I trust Dad always has the best interest at hand. Thank you that as we enter this 2016 year, we enter it expecting nothing else but to hear your instruction and obey. We will begin as we always do: The firs seconds of it will be in prayer, communion, a kiss,and an offering. We are blessed because of You.
(Psalms 119:161-168 ESV)
161 Princes persecute me without cause, but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
163 I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.
164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
166 I hope for your salvation, O Lord, and I do your commandments.
167 My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.
168 I keep your precepts and testimonies, for all my ways are before you
START DOING: 162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
- There are times when I get in a spiritual rut. I get bored with doing the same thing over and over again. Its like going to practice every day and repeating the same routine. Or the weekly grind of washing clothes, washing dishes, cutting lawns, and taking out the trash. I hear the voice of one of my instructors this morning reminding me of this idea when it comes to spiritual truth. He said, “If it gets old to you, then it’s not real to you.” In other words, if you have heard a truth in times past and you are hearing it again and again for the 20th time. If the truth is actually working in your life, it does not matter how many times you hear it, you rejoice cause it’s a truth that is alive in your heart and life.
- So to that i say what the Psalmist said above, “162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.
STOP DOING:164 Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
- What do I do seven times in one day? Do i sit down and study, pray, read scripture, meditate? No, I cant say that I do this 7X a day but what I can say is that the flesh often gets the best of me and I have complained 7x in one day. I have asked God, “Why? or What are you doing here Jesus?” several times a day! I’m laughing as I write cause I think many of us can identify with this reality. We COMPLAIN more that we PRAISE. Well, I need to STOP COMPLAINING and START PRAISING! “That’s all I got to say about that!” (in Forest Gump voice)
CONTINUE DOING:165 Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.
- Even though I admit to so many of my shortcomings willingly, I can also admit to the things that keep me alive inside. That’s sacred to me. I have a habit of looking within throughout all the day and here is the reason why. PEACE comes from within, not without. I am not moved by the things people say or do for long terms. Those are all temporary traps that sting but I don’t let them settle in my spirit. What matters to me is the PEACE THAT PASSES UNDERSTANDING…that alone GUARDS my heart and life. It keeps the poison of regret, shame, bitterness, and a mean spirit from attaching itself to you.
- What makes you stumble? What trips you up? What makes me stumble and fall is a false mindset. A lie that I have allowed to creep into my mind. The repeated dart of the enemy’s lies is for one purpose only: To get you to buy it and give away your PEACE and the PRICE OF A LIE. The LAW of God always TRUMPS and LIE of the enemy.
PRAYER: Father, today is a day of rest and peace. Today, I choose to settle my heart and mind and love You. Nothing else matters in life but You. I take authority over the lies that the enemy repeats. He is a liar and the opposite is actually true. You LOVE, You FORGIVE, and You DESIRE for Your children to walk in PEACE. By faith alone, I walk with You this day. Amen
153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.
154 Plead my cause and redeem me; give me life according to your promise!
155 Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek your statutes.
156 Great is your mercy, O Lord; give me life according to your rules.
157 Many are my persecutors and my adversaries, but I do not swerve from your testimonies.
158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.
159 Consider how I love your precepts! Give me life according to your steadfast love.
160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever
START DOING: 158 I look at the faithless with disgust, because they do not keep your commands.
- One of the things I need to get better at and begin doing this next year is to hate, despise and become disgusted with those (including myself) who willfully and rebelliously go against God’s Words and Ways. Sounds a little legalistic but I tend to think like Joseph. When Potiphars wife began enticing him to have an affair, Joseph didn’t play. He didn’t see how close or how long he would have at the least an emotional affair. HE RAN AWAY FROM THE SITUATION. Why? Its was against God’s will for his life and ours as well. Anything that Masters you other than our Master Jesus Himself will never give you peace and contentment. I need to get better at HATING EVIL. Being disgusted at the idea of opening a door in my life because I’m flirting with sin or misconduct. I remember the song LOVE GOD, HATE SIN and I have a bent to just focus on loving God. But David seem to think that a mindset that hates sin is also holy living as well. HATE SHORTCUTS; HATE FLIRTATION, HATE DISOBEDIENCE, HATE LYING, HATE ANYTHING THAT TRIES TO MASTER YOU…It’s a false affection, a camouflage of deceit.
STOP DOING:153 Look on my affliction and deliver me, for I do not forget your law.
- I will stop looking at the affliction I face with this in mind: “All things work together for the good….” Even though I believe that. There is something inside me this Christmas Day that is also pressing me to RETHINK: “Look at my situation GOD…DELIVER ME!” In other words, “God, I don’t understand why I’m in this situation, but I know it’s not your will and YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE that can do something here. DELIVER ME!” Whenever I sign certain legal papers, one of the questions they ask is, “In case of an emergency, who can we contact other than your spouse.” Immediately, the image in my mind is my DAD. I know that whatever the situation, He will always come to my deliverance. His character in the past has proven this time and time again.
- In other words, STOP GIVING IN AND ASK GOD TO GET YOU OUT
CONTINUE DOING: 159 Consider how I love your precepts!
- “Everything I Need Comes From This Book (bible)” – was the cry at age 19 and it remains the same to this day. I have to admit that I have addictive behaviors. A pastors Confession is about to be revealed…listen closely… When I am in trouble, afraid, or in the midst of a raging storm. I have a habit of looking for answers by searching His Word, asking Holy Spirit, or knees to earth in prayer. This is a habit that I will continue to hold fast to. His Word is not prejudice! What He has done for one, He will do for others. Don’t resent when you hear of a brother or sister getting blessed, promoted, or found experiencing Divine Favor. Rejoice! Your in the same line! Jesus Christ is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever! CONTINUE RELYING ON HIS WORD! He wrapped the WORD in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger or feeding trough for one reason only. SO that you and I can partake and feed upon His Promises by faith!
PRAYER: Father, this Christmas Day has definitely been one to remember. I am thankful for Your Word, My Wife, Friends, and Psalms 119. I end this year making adjustments again and again. I need to be DISGUSTED with SIN in a greater measure. Strengthen me to never back down, give up or give in. I will call upon You for deliverance more this next year, knowing that there is no request to small or great. Your ear is open to my cry always and I am understanding more each day how much You desire for me to trust in you! Deliver Me! Consider how I love Your precepts and empower me to be an asset in Your Kingdom.
(Psalms 119:145-152 ESV)
145 With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord! I will keep your statutes.
146 I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
148 My eyes are awake before the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promise.
149 Hear my voice according to your steadfast love; O Lord, according to your justice give me life.
150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
151 But you are near, O Lord, and all your commandments are true.
152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever
I hear in this section a desperation coming from the writer to his creator. A cry that identify s the gap between mans utter dependency upon a God who hears and a God who cares. He obviously is inquiring of help, healing, or a sense of inner peace in the midst of his situation. There is a daily tension he is facing of good vs. evil, hatred vs. love, dependence vs. independence and I can totally relate. I wake up this morning for a good workout and I feel good about the decision to begin my day this way but that alone does not satisfy. What really jumps out here in this passage is the daily dependency and expectation of God’s Word speaking to him. That charges me up for sure. Sitting on my desk or reading, writing, meditating is so absolutely energy to me. But so often, I find myself doing it for others rather than the joy of just doing it for reflection, personal journaling, and future hopes and dreams being put in writing.
Walk outside and see the dew rising just above the winter grass and walk into it. As you walk in, embrace, pause, and remember that moment as if He is there awaiting your cry…your request…your worship. Thank Him, Love Him, Honor Him, but never forget to Listen to Him. The few words from the master is all you need today. All that matters is today. Tomorrow has its own troubles and opportunities but today is what’s before me. Today I choose LIFE…Choose to embrace whatever distractions and turn them into opportunities.
Father, in your love I find myself. I am in a safe place and this day, your are my peace. Thank you for Your love toward me. You are kind and generous!
START DOING:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words.
Expecting Him more in the morning…
STOP DOING:150 They draw near who persecute me with evil purpose; they are far from your law.
Sideways energy is for me to occupy my time on the opinions, and criticisms of others. Today, I will not entertain anything that distracts me from my focus…HONOR HIM.
CONTINUE DOING: 152 Long have I known from your testimonies that you have founded them forever
Why look anywhere else for meditation, direction, and guidance? I remember the disciples says, “Lord, You have the words of eternal life”. Feed my Spirit Father that i my reflect Your heart on the earth.