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.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:9-16
The section of Psalm 119 is like the resolution following the recognition of the psalmist’s imperfection in not being able to be perfect in following God. Now he wonders how he can cleanse his way and continue to conform his life to God’s word. He admits to God that he seeks God with all his heart and askes God to help him to not step away from God’s commandments either deliberately or unwittingly. He admits he has hidden God’s word in his heart so he will know not to sin, and he asks God to continue to teach him. He declares he speaks out God’s law and delights to do so. He loves to follow God and seeks to meditate on God’s laws. He chooses to respect the way of God and seek to follow the path God has laid out for him. He promises God he will not neglect to follow God’s word.
What is interesting about this section is that he spends a lot of time declaring what he will do, in his own strength. Only once, in verse 10, does he ask God for help. The trouble with doing things under our own strength is that we are bound to fail. We are also unrealistic if we can think we will be perfect in following God. We will never manage to be perfect. That is why Jesus needed to die on the cross to pay for our human imperfection. We should never beat ourselves up about not being perfect. God knows we are not perfect and never will be in this life. Yet He still loves us. What God loves, is our desire to be the best we can and our willingly to ask Him constantly and often for His help. We cannot follow God without His help to walk that path. No matter what experiences you have had in life. Despite maybe being raised to be punished for asking for help it is important to remember God is not like that. He delights in helping us. Do not hesitate to ask Him. God is a loving and generous God. He delights in helping us. Remember Matthew 7:7-8. Ask because it will be given to you. Seek and knock on the door. If you ask you will receive. If you seek you will find. And if you knock the door will be opened. Never forget God’s boundless love and generosity. Praise God for His magnificence.
 

 
Posted By Nan

Psalm 119:1-8
Psalm 119 is like a how to of following God.
Today I am going to focus on the first section, verses 1-8.
The psalmist talks of how blessed the person who follows God blamelessly is. The ones who seek to follow God’s statutes and seek him with all their hearts, who do nothing wrong. Then the psalmist wishes that his ways were steadfast in obeying God’s decrees. He wishes he would not feel shame when he thinks of all the things he does wrong. How he would be able to praise God with the knowledge he was blameless. And he asks God not to forsake him or punish him for not following God closely.
For the psalmist, he lived in a time when there was no permanent remedy for our sinfulness. We were unable to follow God perfectly, and there was no redemption for our fall. In this age, after Jesus’ death and resurrection, we know that Jesus’ blood has washed us clean. That in the light of the cross, we are blameless in God’s eyes. We have redemption.
Despite our knowledge, we are still, like the psalmist, unable to follow Jesus perfectly. We can yearn to be perfect, but we never will. Yes, we have the knowledge that Jesus has paid for our imperfection. But we are still unable to be perfect. All we can do is, like the psalmist, seek God with all our hearts. We will not always achieve that perfectly, but we can keep trying. And we can ask God to help us. We have that reassurance and we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us to assist. We will never be one whose way is blameless, but we can always seek to give our best to God and to do our best to surrender to Him.
 

 

 

 
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Nan
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