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Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:49-56
How difficult it is to follow Jesus when your faith is a cause for derision and mockery from others.
In these verses the psalmist addresses this difficulty. The psalmist asks God not to forget him and not to forget the words He spoke to the psalmist that give the psalmist hope. These words are what sustains and comforts the psalmist in the midst of derision and mockery. He speaks of how he still loves God as much. That the mocking has not turned him away from God.
The psalmist is so full of love and hope in God that he feels angry at the actions of those who forsake God. His anguish at being derided and mocked does not stop him defending God and being angry at those who walk away from God. The psalmist is indignant, frightened and saddened by the actions of those who walk away from God. Based on how I feel when I see people walk away from God, the psalmist was indignant that someone could speak so disrespectfully of God and not respect His grace. The psalmist was frightened at the destruction these people can do to people’s faith, and the damage they do to those who are seeking God. And finally, the psalmist is sad at those who go so determinedly to their own destruction.
The psalmist notes that rather than turn away from God, he finds God’s word has become his song that accompanies him on his journey following Jesus. The psalmist seeks God with determination, not half heartedly, but with a deep passion to connect with Him. The psalmist sees the keeping of God’s word as a gift of grace from God. We need to remain true and faithful to God, but we must never forget that we are able to do this because of God’s grace.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:41-48
This psalmist is going through a really tough time. One of those ‘cling to the rock and trust’ times. He is in the midst of people who mock him. He speaks of having an answer for those who taunt him. His answer is that he leans on, relies on and trusts God and His promises. What the psalmist asks God for is to never take His word away from him. Why? Because he depends on God’s word. It is his strength and hope. He will always walk on that narrow path, trusting in Jesus, God’s living word, and in what has been written down in the Bible as a guide. He will always seek God’s truth and wisdom and not hesitate to proclaim it to other people. For the psalmist, God’s word is a source of great delight.
Reading that made we wonder how true that is of me. Yes, I trust in God’s word. When things go wrong I remind myself that God is faithful and I can trust Him. I have learned to accept what God sends my way, and not dictate terms to Him as I did when I was younger. But I wonder how deep my trust in God and my adherence to His word is. I always feel I need to spend more time with God. That is something I have been pondering for some months now. Whenever I go to pray, my words disappear, and I only want to sit in His presence. But am I doing the right thing or just being lazy?
I have searched the scriptures and sought God’s response. The message I have received is the reminder of Ecclesiastes 3 “there is a time for everything”. My time now is to sit in God’s presence and learn from Him. But do I spend enough time doing that? Am I devoting enough time seeking God’s word, searching for God’s messages and proclaiming them to others? God’s word is ‘yes’, but my own expectations say ‘I should be doing more’. This is the trap we all fall into. The trap of external expectations. We neglect our Spiritual side by allowing the expectations of self and others to intrude on what God is making perfect.
There is an underlying harmful message that says we are never enough. We should be doing more. It is so easy to get caught up in the pressure to conform to that message. But the message is wrong. Ask God for the time He wants you to spend doing things. Do not think He calls on you to spend every waking moment in prayer, or studying the Scriptures. Remember Jesus attended to the mundane as well and He is God.
Allow God’s unfailing love to come to you, let His love shape your life with His salvation. Guard the precious things God has taught you, cherish them. Resist the temptation to compare yourself to others. Their journey is different to you and God has different plans for you. Trust God and learn to seek His expectations in your life and follow them.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:33-40
I love the way The Message interprets these verses. This is a plea from the psalmist, asking God to teach him how to follow Him. The Message describes it as being taught lessons for living so he can stay the course. I wonder how many of us stop to consider that we need to ask God to teach us. My childhood memory was of being told we had to do what the Bible said but it wasn’t until well into my adulthood that I heard anyone saying we need to ask God for help because we couldn’t do it on our own. I meet so many people who think they have to do everything under their own strength. They pay lip service to seeking God but never do. Maybe it is because they never learned and have not developed the habit of stopping and reminding themselves to ask God for help. Add to that our human habit of wanting to do it all ourselves and we can find this part of following God very difficult.
But this part is important. We need to ask God for lessons for living our lives. Not just lessons on how to worship or pray, but lessons on how to live every second of our lives. Every action. Every decision. Every interaction with another person. All our lives need to be directed by God’s statutes.
This is what we should be asking God to help us with:
God, teach me how to live my life so I can continue to follow you every day of my life.
Please give me insight and understanding so I can do what you tell me with my whole heart. May my life be that of obedient response to you.
Guide me as I follow you, may my wayposts be your commandments and fill me Father with the desire to learn your words of wisdom. May I grow rich in your wisdom and may my desire be to acquire more wisdom rather than gaining earthly wealth.
When I find the going hard, please give me your strength that I may continue to follow you. May I have a vigorous life and health in Your ways. Please affirm your promises to me. The promise for those who reverently fear and devotedly worship you through your son, Jesus.
May I be able to deflect the harsh words of those who criticise me. Instead may I hear the good you say to me and may I value your words more than those of my critics.
I hunger and thirst for you Father. I desire to hear you, to hear your words of wisdom and love. May your righteousness preserve and invigorate my life. May following you be my entire way of life. I trust you Father and I wish to remain your beloved and obedient child.
Thank you Father.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:25-32
As we follow God, not everything turns out well. Psalm 23 does not mention walking through the valley of death because our walk with God is all roses and sunshine. It mentions that dark valley because there are times when bad things happen, when we feel down, when it is hard to be motivated in life. Times when we feel terrible and couldn’t feel worse (v25 The Message). There are even times when we feel death would be a better option. But even in those times we need to keep our eyes on the road.
In The Message this verse ends with the psalmist’s request for God to get him on his feet again because God promised. I love that. It is true. God has promised to be with us. He will help us on to our feet again. It may be instant, or it may be after a long road.
Suicide is an issue that is frequently avoided by our society and by religious groups within our society. I find it sad that those who profess to follow God are unable to help their fellow travellers when they are in a bad place. That is not to say that we can always prevent another person from killing themself, but Christians often fail to listen and offer genuine support when a person is in a state like that. It is not helpful to tell someone they’ll get over it, or killing yourself is a sin, or that other people are worse off than you. None of those things is helpful. Listen, pray with the person, let them know you care for them. Offer to pray with them or for them. It is okay to tell them you don’t know how to help them, but you care and are prepared to be with them. Get them help if you think it is needed. Don’t repeat the lie that Christians never feel down or overwhelmed with life. The Psalms prove that it is possible to have a deep faith in God and still be in a really bad place.
In these verses, the psalmist told God how he was feeling and he reported hearing God’s response. It is important to remember that you may not always be aware of God’s response, especially if you are expecting Him to make everything instantly better. He will respond, but He will not necessarily make things better. It may be a word of encouragement. To let you know He loves you. To let you know He is aware of what you are going through. When you are really down it can be hard to hear those words. But do not assume God has not spoken because you have not heard them.
The psalmist here announces his intention to continue to ask God for strength, understanding and to keep him from unfaithfulness. He declares his choice to follow truth and faithfulness, to follow God. He chooses to follow God and says he will follow God’s path when God shows him how. In declaring his choice he also chooses to wait patiently.
Sometimes, when things seem really bad, all you can ask God for is the strength to get through the day. Remember the lamp at our feet. All we can see is the next step, and sometimes that is the strength God gives us. The strength to get through the next step.
If you are feeling really down at the moment please don’t lose hope. God loves you. He is aware of your pain. He is holding you, even though you can’t feel it. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and to keep reaching out until someone listens. I understand what it is like to be there and to not get help, especially from fellow Christians. Remember that sometimes, God sends non-Christians to help, so do not be afraid to seek help there. Focus on taking the next step and trust God to be there lighting the way.

Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:17-24
Well. Where to start. My head is racing with the multiple messages from this section.
First the psalmist asks God to deal bountifully with him so that he may live a full life. Or to put it more simply, to live. How often do we fail to live? We do not open ourselves up to the blessings God has in mind for us. We exist. That is what people without God in their lives do. We should be living. Availing ourselves of God’s bountiful blessings. And as we LIVE. That glorious act of being present in life and all God has for us. As we live we can observe God and His word (both Jesus and the written word). We can hear, receive, love and obey. How awesome.
When the psalmist gets to verse 18 and asks God to open his eyes to behold the wondrous things of God I was reminded of one of my favourite songs. “Here with me” by Mercy Me. And when I think of that song, or better still take the time to listen to it, I am full of the wonder and delight of God. I love the line about being lost in God’s beauty and caught up in the wonder of His touch, then surrendering to His love.
The psalmist begs for directions because he is a stranger here. His soul is starved, hungry and ravenous. He seeks God’s nourishing commands. His wondrous presence. The psalmist notes that others may maliciously gossip about him, but his absorption is in God. God’s word is like a good neighbour, better than maliciousness.
Never forget. Our home is not on this earth. It is with God. We will always be strangers here on earth. Only with God will we be truly at home. Our longing will always be for our home with God. But that does not stop us from living while we wait to go home.
If you have time, spend some time listening to “Here with me” and allowing God to hold you in his loving arms. We may not yet be ready to go home, but that does not stop us from feeling home for a little while with God.



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