NEW THINGS?

Good morning friends! 

Whenever I end a series that I have studied and written about I always ponder just what I will write about next. I have been committed to a daily quiet time for many years now, and I have pretty much journaled for the entire time that I have had a quiet time, at some times more consistent than others, but I have only been writing this devotional consistently about what I learned since the beginning of the pandemic, for the last two years. The truth is though that sometimes the surgery that He is doing on my heart is too personal to put out publicly. So sometimes it feels like, while I am learning from Him, that I struggle a bit with what to say because some times are just for me and Him, at least for the time being. Who knows what He will do with what He is teaching me in the future.  

That being said, I may be entering a season of some hit and miss times. For one thing I am about to enter summer mode in my job which will put me having to be at work an hour earlier 4 days a week than I do during the school year. I already get up very early to have my quiet time that I find it difficult to back that up any further so it cuts my time for writing down significantly. And for another I have some things processing in me that are not ready for me to put out yet publicly. I have two options. I have enough writing that I can do some repeats here or I can just hit and miss. I would like to hear from some of you as to what you would like for me to do. And between what you feed back and what the Lord leads I will do. 

Please please continue to mention me in your prayers. Above all, I want my life as well as what I write here on this page to be about loving Jesus and honoring God. I am so very human, aren’t we all? And I know that sometimes what I live out, especially to those closest to me does not always align with this. Bless my family’s hearts. I have said many times before that I will write these devotions as long as the Lord leads me to. So I ask you to pray that I will hear Him clearly on what my next steps are. And if you want me to post repeats even if I am not in writing mode, please let me know that, either in the comments or in a private message. I would appreciate the feedback. Thank you all that read and comment and share, it humbles me so much. 

For now … 

“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19

GOD HAS BIGGER PLANS

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV)

I know I have claimed many many verses in scripture as “my favorite” but this one, this truly may be my very very favorite verse of all time!!  It blows me away every time I read it. I quoted it here in the NKJV because I so love this wording “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”. That is truly amazing isn’t it? That means better than you can even imagine yourself. 

I can honestly say to you I have had it happen. I have had situations I prayed for and I gave God a play by play in my book and it turned out way better. There are so many times that I have been so grateful to God that He didn’t answer my prayers the way I asked because what I ended up with turned out way better than I could have ever thought.  

So why is it, that I still in my hard headedness want to take things into my own hands and I want to give Him the play by play of how I think things are to work out? I am not sure why I still do that. I have seen Him work, I know His power. I know He has better thoughts than me and I know that He has better plans than me and I know that He has a better way than me. I think I am a little like the father of the child in Mark that cries out “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” But still, I say to Him “Lord, I know you can handle this, but this is how I want you to handle it.” “Lord I know you can heal, but this is how I want you to do it.” Why do I have to relearn my lessons over and over again? 

I am so glad that God is patient with me and loves me anyway. So again this morning I am going to drag my big bag of burdens that I picked up yesterday all day long as the day went on and I am going to lay them at the foot of the cross and I am going to say. 

Lord, I have this thing, that is hurting my heart, but I know that you have a better way, you have a better plan, you have better thoughts than me and I want to lay them down to You and I want You to do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond anything my mind can imagine! And I will give You all that glory right now! 

Amen! 

TAW ~ Teach me and Allow your Word to sustain my life! 

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. 

Psalm 119:169-176

This is our last passage of this Psalm, and it is a perfect way to end this study. In some ways it reiterates a lot of the high points of this Psalm. It is a cry for understanding, deliverance, help and salvation from the Lord and it is a declaration of praise and love to the Lord too. David, our Psalmist is praying for understanding and deliverance in the first couple of verses. He wants his life to be transformed according to God’s word. That is not to say he has or will ever be completely transformed until the end of his life. None of us will, but he has recognized that there is a process to the transforming and that it is to always be taking place. That’s the same with us, until we meet Jesus face to face, we will always be human and fallible. But there should always be growing and learning and transformation taking place in our lives. Or at least there will be if we keep God’s word ever in front of us. 

David also praises God for the ways He is teaching him. He pours forth praises because of what he has learned. David declares his love for God and for his word and for the deliverance and help he has received from God because he has chosen to live in God’s ways. 

But my favorite verse in this passage is verse 175. 

“Let my soul live and praise you, and let your rules help me.” v. 175 

I think David had reached a point in his life that he truly wanted others to see God in him. He was not perfect by any means but he wanted to live his life in such a way that glorified God. In some ways it is the same as the man who had brought his child to Jesus for healing and he said Lord I believe, please help my unbelief. David said I want my life and my soul to praise you Lord, but Lord help me to do it. In verse 176 he recognizes his own humanity that he has gone astray and maybe what he means is he goes astray, he fails every day but he is asking the Lord to keep seeking him because he knows where his help and his soul lies. 

May we all feel that, may I feel that! I want my life to glorify God, yet I know that I fail Him on a daily basis. I pray and believe that He will continually seek me so that I may continually return to Him. 

SIN AND SHIN ~ Awe of God’s Word 

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. 

Psalm 119:161-168

For most of our study of Psalm 119 we have just assumed that David was the Psalmist and this passage certainly points to the idea that he could be. Verse 161 says “princes persecute me without cause” and if we have studied the life of David, we certainly know that Saul persecuted and hunted and sought to kill David without cause. Saul knew that God had anointed David as the next king of Israel and he thought the only way to prevent that was to kill him. But Saul also did not take into account the protection and deliverance of God for David from Saul. David would have had to keep his heart close to God and the scriptures to have endured what he did from the hand of Saul for all those years. At least I think he would have had to. One thing I know to be true is that enduring trials and hardship whether they be persecution without cause, or even because of things we have done, trials such as financial trouble, health problems, children problems, family issues, all of these things can bring you to a place where you have to lean into God more and more. That has been true in my own life. And when these trials and tribulations bring you into a deeper relationship with God, you find yourself relying on his word more and more to just simply get you through the day. And when that happens, you will find your heart more and more in awe of His word and His ways. I love the next verse. 

“I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.” v. 162

When you enter into a study of God’s word, more and more you will find hidden treasures in His word. I know that the more I study and learn, the more I understand and the more I understand, the more His word will be revealed to me. I found a quote in my study by Spurgeon. 

“Our rejoicing will be measured by our reverencing.” Spurgeon

Do you reverence God’s word? I know there were years that my Bible sat on a shelf from Sunday to Sunday. I prayed for God to give me a love and understanding of His word. Oh believe me I have so far to go but I have come so far too and the more I study, the more I love it and the more treasure I find. 

The next couple of verses show the Psalmist’s hatred for falsehood and for lying and his love for God’s laws. I believe that to be true too, the more you find yourself falling in love with God’s word the more you will hate the falsehoods that are in the world. The Psalmist also makes a declaration that he praises God seven times a day. I wouldn’t want to get caught up in the legalism of a number but I hope I find myself praising him at least seven times a day. I praise Him when I see His creation, I praise Him when I call on Him to help me through the next 10 minutes, I praise Him under my breath all day long. 

In the next verse the Psalmist is recognizing the peace that he feels because of his love for God’s laws. Learning and studying God’s word brings you into a closer relationship with God. And that will naturally put you on more of a sure footing, “nothing causes them to stumble”. The Psalmist is recognizing this and is declaring his love one more time for the commandments of God and the salvation that they will bring to him. And he is laying it all out, his love for God, for his precepts and his testimonies and that his ways are before God. David knew that God knew his ways, and God knew what was in his heart, but this was one of the ways he praised God, by verbalizing it. God knows what is in our hearts, but I believe that God loves it when we verbalize our love for Him and for His testimonies. 

RESH ~ Revive me According to Your Word! 

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. 

Psalm 119:153-160

As my commentary put it, the Psalmist did not live in an ivory tower studying scripture all day. He was a real person, with a real life and he interacted with real people. At first glance from this entire Psalm we see him jumping all over the place from passage to passage. One day he is praising, the next he is asking for understanding so that he can obey and then the next day (today’s reading) he is asking for deliverance from his afflictions and from people who disgust him because of their own disobedience and faithlessness. At first glance we could find him fickle because of the many ways that he jumps around, but then I have to take a good look at my own life and aren’t I pretty much the same? I love God and I desire to follow His will and His way for my life. I desire to know His word. I desire to live a life that is worthy of any calling He has put on my life. But you give me just a minute and I will not be living my life worthy of the calling but will be disgusted with people surrounding me that I look on as faithless. I do like how the Psalmist keeps returning to God though and oh may it be so of me. 

The Psalmist starts this passage pointing out his own afflictions and asking for deliverance. He is saying “I do not forget your law”. He knows where his help is coming from and he is asking for deliverance because he knows the word of God and he knows that God is where his deliverance and help will come from. He goes on to plead his case to God and he asks help me because of who You are God, according to what I know to be true about Your word. The Psalmist knew the scriptures so he was in effect able to pray the scriptures back to God. I think God loves it when we ask Him to help us according to what we have learned! 

The Psalmist goes on to point out that the wicked, his adversaries were far from salvation. The reason is not because they couldn’t be saved, but it was because these people were not  seeking salvation. They did not have God in them, therefore it wasn’t that there was no hope for them at all, it was just that there was no desire in them to turn from their wicked ways. The Psalmist goes on to recognize the mercy of God, which saved him, and he prays again for revival in his own heart according to God’s law and his rules. 

The next couple of verses give us a picture of the world that the Psalmist was living in. He was living in a world with people who were persecuting him and in turn he felt they were persecuting his love for God. He was living among a faithless people and he felt disgust because he felt they were a disgrace to God and His word. It wasn’t that he expected godly behavior from the ungodly but that he felt the people around him were open about their disgrace to God. He didn’t just live among the ungodly but maybe the ungodly were trying to impart their own ways to him. I can see that it is a precarious place to be, because don’t we live in a world that is much the same way? We, as Christians are called to be tolerant of non-christians, yet it’s not just about tolerance any more is it? We are now being asked to accept the ways of the ungodly. Several years ago we were called to be silent about what goes on around us by the world. And now, the world wants us to accept the things of this world. It’s a fine line, but we need to have a disgust for the ways of the world and still remain a light in the world. 

We have to start with knowing His word and His ways. The Psalmist cries out to God one more time for this. And when we know His word and His ways, we will love His word and His ways more and more. This is why we stay in the word. The Psalmist says “give me life” or as some translations say “revive me”. We must keep coming back to the word to be revived to get our life so that we can navigate the faithless and to get deliverance from our adversaries. Oh may it be so Lord! Revive us Again! 

QOPH ~ Crying out to God with Hope! 

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. 

Psalm 119:145-152

Have you ever had trouble sleeping because something or someone was on your mind and you didn’t know what to do or how to handle the situation? I think that is what is happening here. But the important thing to note here is the Psalmist is not just praying to God for deliverance or for forgiveness. The Psalmist is praying for guidance and he is promising his own obedience as he discovers God’s direction. Notice the words “I cry” but then “I will keep”, “I call” but then “I may observe”, “I rise” and “I hope”. I think too many times, we humans, or at least me, will, or have used prayer to God, especially a prayer of deliverance as if God is a genie in a bottle who can grant our every wish or whim. But prayer is about so much more than that. I think with this passage, the Psalmist has figured that out. Yes, God will deliver us from many things but most of the time it has been my experience that He delivers me THROUGH many things, with lessons to be learned in the process and actions that must be taken on my part. But most of all, please don’t miss the hope. We have hope in His word, we have hope in the deliverance. We have promises of God all throughout His word that we can count on. And all of those promises and meditating on them is what keeps us grounded in the hope. I found this quote from Spurgeon in my studies. 

“He who is diligent in prayer will never be destitute of hope. Observe that as the early bird gets the worm, so the early prayer is soon refreshed with hope.” (Spurgeon) 

Many times I struggle with no sleep. I am a better person when I have had a full night’s sleep, aren’t we all? But I also have learned on a sleepless night, there is always something to pray for. I rise early to study and to pray because I know that I need my time in the mornings so that people can stand to be around me through the day. I have to align myself with God daily to be able to keep His hope in front of me, to know the paths I should take and to be able to keep His commandments and walk in His obedience. 

The Psalmist asks the Lord to hear him because of God’s steadfast love, but in this prayer he is praying in a way of confidence rather than the desperation we have seen in many of his prayers. He states that he knows the Lord is near and that his commandments are true and then he recognizes that he has a history with the Lord. Enough history to know that the Lords’  commandments are “founded forever”. 

I believe that this passage in this Psalm is born of years of experience of walking with the Lord. The Psalmist has a faith that has been founded on his experiences of deliverance, experiences of his forgiveness and his experiences of obedience. And the cry of his heart is to continue to obey. 

TSADHE ~ The Purity and Truth of God’s Word

137 Righteous are you, O LORD, and right are your rules. 

138 You have appointed your testimonies in righteousness and in all faithfulness. 

139 My zeal consumes me, because my foes forget your words. 

140 Your promise is well tried, and your servant loves it. 

141 I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts. 

142 Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. 

143 Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. 

144 Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. 

Psalm 119:137-144

As I read this passage of the Psalm, what I think about it is this is a declaration of the Psalmist of who he has found God to be through His word. It is praise in it’s own right and it’s own way, but mostly it is declaring the righteousness, the purity and truth of God and his Word. 

God’s written word, the Scriptures, the Bible, is our avenue to getting to know God. His character, His righteousness, His truth, is all revealed through His word. This word is not greater than who God is, but every word of it points to the greatness of God. 

As the Psalmist has fallen in love with God’s word, he has also come face to face with who he is in relation to God as well as to other people. He says “I am small and despised, yet I do not forget your precepts.” The Psalmist felt insignificant but he remembered where his significance lies. It bothered him that those around him were not living according to the scriptures but he knew that the promises of God had been tried and true in his own life. Even though he has seen trouble and he has been through anguish, he realizes that the commandments of God and his relationship with his God is what has carried him through. 

The Psalmist ends this passage reiterating the righteousness of God’s testimonies and with a prayer. He has declared God’s goodness, he has recognized his promises and how they have been tried and true in his own life, he recognizes his own significance and that his significance only truly lies with God and he has recognized his troubles and the anguish he has been through. But the only thing he prays for in this passage is understanding, not deliverance, not direction, just understanding so that he may live. Sometimes that is the point, isn’t it? One thing I have learned to pray through all the things I have been through in my life is for God to help me to learn the lessons He has for me through the trial so that I may not have to learn it again later. Lord give us understanding of Your word so that we may live in the abundance You have for us! 

PE ~ Steps Directed by God’s Word

129 Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. 

130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple

131 I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. 

132 Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. 

133 Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. 

134 Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. 

135 Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. 

136 My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law. 

Psalm 119:129-136

This passage is giving us some simple instructions for living. The Psalmist here has found that the way to keep his way pure and to stay on the right path is simply to fall in love with God’s word. That was the same back in Old Testament days as is it is now and vice versa. The Psalmist states in verse 129 “your testimonies are wonderful”. As the Psalmist has studied the scriptures, he recognizes the words as wonderful. I love, love love verse 130. 

“The unfolding of your words gives light, it imparts understanding to the simple.” v. 130

It reminds me of one of my favorite verses. 

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7

Years ago, I thought the understanding of God’s word was only for pastors, teachers, and scholars. I didn’t feel smart enough to ever grasp some of the meanings found in God’s word. Then I found Psalm 19:7 and it became my prayer. I am a very simple-minded woman. I have no desire to get too involved in things like politics or economics. I think there are smarter people than me that desire to do those things and they should be doing them. However, I do desire to know God more and the way to do that is to fall in love with His word and I discovered that early on. And it became my prayer for God to give me, this simple minded woman understanding of His word. Somehow I knew that knowing His word more would help me to love His word more. Now don’t get me wrong there is still a vast amount that I don’t understand. But that’s what else I love in the first part of this verse. When he says “the unfolding of your words gives light”! Every time I study God’s word, more and more of it unfolds to me. I love that. I pray I never stop learning God’s word as long as there is breath in my body. I believe that is the way it is supposed to be. We will never stop learning because there will always be more to learn! 

The Psalmist here is also asking for God to be gracious to him based on who God is. God loves everyone but I think He gives an extra dose of grace to those who love Him. (just my thoughts here) And that is what the Psalmist is banking on too. 

In verse 133 the Psalmist is making a request from God to help him in his everyday walk. 

“Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me.” v. 133

The Psalmist has recognized the way to stay in step ~ according to your promise. The only way to stay in step with God is to, well stay in communion with God. The second we stop communion with God, the second we stop having our time with Him, is the second our senses start to dull about the ways of this world. You must, as a Christian stay in step with God. I love too that the Psalmist says “let no iniquity get dominion over me.” You see, we will all fall short every day. That is simply because we are human. But when we habitually fall short and when we are not keeping our steps steady is when sin gets dominion over us. As Christians, I believe God will always give us a way out of sin. If you have spent time with God, then His precepts and testimonies are in your mind and ours senses are more heightened to sin first of all. And then, God will always give us a way out of sin gaining dominion over us. That’s because of who He is, not who we are. Yes, we are going to sin, we are human. But it does not have to have a hold on us. 

The Psalmist has come to recognize not only his own sin and his desire to keep the precepts of God, his heart is broken because of the sin around him too. 

“My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law.” v. 136

Is your heart broken because of the sin you see in the world? I’m not sure mine is enough. Oh don’t get me wrong, I think we do have to start with our own back door first. But, we are living in a time that it seems sin is glorified in our world. There are things happening right out in front of us daily that I never thought we would see. Does it break your heart? Does it break mine? If we are in step with God, we are not only uncomfortable in our own sin, I think we are uncomfortable with the sins of the world around us. And as Christians, I think we have been silent too long about the sins that are allowed right out in front of us. The first step is to ask Him to break our hearts for what breaks His. 

AYIN ~ The Seeking Servant 

121 I have done what is just and right; do not leave me to my oppressors. 

122 Give your servant a pledge of good; let not the insolent oppress me. 

123 My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise. 

124 Deal with your servant according to your steadfast love, and teach me your statutes. 

125 I am your servant; give me understanding, that I may know your testimonies! 

126 It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken. 

127 Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. 

128 Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate every false way. 

Psalm 119:121-128

This passage shows us the Psalmist pleading with God to act. The Psalmist starts by making bold statements about his own life and asking God to not leave him to his oppressors and the insolent. Now we are not completely sure that David wrote these passages in this Psalm but for our arguments sake we are assuming maybe he did. We know that there were times in David’s life that he was revered as King of Israel and there were times in his life that he had many oppressors. But we also know about David that he loved and served God. Not perfectly but he is known as a man after God’s heart so we know that he did serve and love God with his heart and it was his desire to do justly and rightly. Can’t that be said about many of us? It is in my heart to serve God and to do what is just and right, but I know that if not careful, I can fall quickly. I say things I wish I hadn’t, I do things I wish I didn’t but in my heart of hearts it is my desire to do what is just and right. I want to be a servant to the Lord. In this passage, the Psalmist mentions being a servant three times, he wants to be and wants to be seen as a servant of the Lord. 

The Psalmist is also pleading with God to deliver him from his oppressors. You get the feeling that maybe he has been praying for deliverance for a while now and he wants to say the right thing to turn things around. 

“My eyes long for your salvation and for the fulfillment of your righteous promise.” (v. 123)

Haven’t we all been there before? I know I have. When I felt my prayers were just hitting the ceiling so to speak and I wanted just the right formula, just the right prayer for God to act on my behalf and fulfill his righteous promise to me. In verse 126 the Psalmist states his plea another way. 

“It is time for the LORD to act, for your law has been broken.” (v126) 

Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to pray to get the Lord to act. But haven’t we all felt that way before? And you can also see in this Psalm that the Psalmist is also asking for understanding and to be dealt with according to God’s steadfast love. That shows us the faith of the Psalmist. Yes he is begging and pleading with the LORD to act but he also knows that just having an understanding of God’s word and His testimonies will sustain him through until the Lord acts. 

The last two verses testify to that. 

“Therefore I love your commandments above gold, above fine gold. Therefore I consider all your precepts to be right; I hate ever false way.” (vv 127-128)

The therefore is there to put a marker down that he will keep the faith. If David did write this Psalm, he could have written it after being anointed king, but while he was on the run from Saul. That would have been fitting. Don’t you know that in the 15 or so years that he was on the run from Saul while waiting to take the throne he had to think a time or two “it is time for the Lord to act”? I know I have had things that I prayed for years for before I saw the Lord act on my behalf. But in the end, I could look back and I could see His hand sustaining me through that time. Sometimes we just have to put a marker down in our faith. I think it’s ok to cry out to the Lord, when we are tired and we are begging Him to act. There have been many mornings that my prayer journal is tear stained when I walk away from it, because I have begged the Lord to go ahead and act. And most of the time, He didn’t act in the way or the timing I wanted. But I can honestly say that pouring my heart out to Him restored my faith to keep walking it out. I can also say that when He does act it is typically not the way I thought it would play out in my mind, But it is so much better than I could ask or think.