A Few of My Favorite Things

Years ago when I realized that the Lord had given me an ability to teach and share His word, it became my goal to share about His unconditional love, His mercy, His grace and His gift of adoption to us who believe that Jesus Christ died, was buried and is risen as our living Savior.

I saw so many Christians who were like I was; reading the Bible but not really applying it to their everyday lives. We had grown up  believing in a God that’s “going to get you for that” or in thinking “you never know what God’s going to do” relationship; fearing God and His retribution rather than living in His love.  So I accepted my calling to proclaim the “good news of the gospel” to Christians.   It was and is my desire to see Christians walk in the full power of relationship with Christ and to receive fully from His blessings so that we truly are  examples of Jesus, Christians, on the earth. Many times it is the teaching of religion that heaps condemnation on people but through God’s goodness and love people are drawn into relationship.

There is nothing I find more fulfilling than sharing God’s word either through written communication, one on one personal interaction or teaching to a gathering. It’s my heart passion!

This morning when I found these verses, I asked myself why I hadn’t seen them before because they convey all that I desire to share with others.

Lord my God, you have done many amazing things!
    You have made great plans for us—too many to list.
I could talk on and on about them, because there are too many to count.

Lord, you made me understand this:
    You don’t really want sacrifices and grain offerings. You don’t want burnt offerings and sin offerings.
So I said, “Here I am, ready to do what was written about me in the book.
My God, I am happy to do whatever you want. I never stop thinking about your teachings.”
I told the good news of victory to the people in the great assembly.
    And, Lord, you know that I will never stop telling that good news.
10 I told about the good things you did. I did not hide these things in my heart.
I spoke of how you can be trusted to save us.  I did not hide your love and loyalty from those in the great assembly.
11 Lord, do not hide your mercy from me. Let your love and loyalty always protect me.” Psalm 40:5-11 ERV

Look particularly at verses 8-10

 I told about the good things you did. I did not hide these things in my heart.
I spoke of how you can be trusted to save us. I did not hide your love and loyalty from those in the great assembly.
11 Lord, do not hide your mercy from me. Let your love and loyalty always protect me.

Let me take the opportunity to declare again today – God is faithful, He is righteousness, He is my salvation and His love endures forever!



Time to Sing It is Well

Today is our last day on Psalm 119.

“Lord, listen to my cry for help. Make me wise, as you promised. 170 Listen to my prayer. Save me, as you promised. 171 I will burst into songs of praise, because you have taught me your laws. 172 Let my voice sing about your word, because all your commands are good. 173 I have chosen to follow your instructions, so reach out and help me! 174 Lord, I want you to save me. Your teachings make me happy. 175 Let me live to praise you. Let me find the help I need in your laws. 176 I have wandered away like a lost sheep. Come and find me. I am your servant, and I have not forgotten your commands.” Psalm 119: 169-176

David finishes this Psalm by reminding the Lord what He has promised; wisdom, salvation, help, joy and restoration.  Aren’t you glad that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. No wonder David was filled with joy; God had been consistent throughout His whole life – this is reason to sing.

Jesus displayed this consistency in rescuing Peter while He was walking on the water; He showed the Father’s heart in the story of the prodigal son; He displayed the ultimate in forgiveness and salvation when He spoke to the thief on the cross and prayed for those who had persecuted Him and had Him crucified.  His own condition never superseded His love and compassion. Hanging on the cross, He spoke to John about His mother’s well being…God IS love and how better can it be displayed than in the actions of Jesus!

God’s word will be a constant reminder of His love. It will show us how passionate He is about us; how far He will go in His search to restore us and how deep is the river of compassion that flows to us. This truly is reason to sing.

The other morning I was cleaning and listening to Pandora. An old hymn came on and I had to stop what I was doing and listen to the words. This song was written in 1873 but the lyrics are so strong, It is Well with My Soul.

“When peace, like a river, attends my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

  • Refrain:
    It is well with my soul,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.
  • Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blessed assurance control,
    That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
    And has shed His own blood for my soul.
  • My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!”


This is the reason we sing; Christ’s love removes our sin and gives us peace!

In the final verse of this wonderful chapter once again David draws an analogy for us using a shepherd and his sheep and God and his love. Jesus spoke a similar parable.

All the tax-gatherers and sinners were coming to hear Jesus. The proud religious law-keepers and the teachers of the Law began to speak against Him. They said, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Then Jesus told them a picture-story, saying, “What if one of you had one hundred sheep and you lost one of them? Would you not leave the ninety-nine in the country and go back and look for the one which was lost until you find it? When you find it, you are happy as you carry it back on your shoulders. Then you would go to your house and call your friends and neighbors. You would say to them, ‘Be happy with me because I have found my sheep that was lost.’ I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven because of one sinner who is sorry for his sins and turns from them, than for ninety-nine people right with God who do not have sins to be sorry for.” Luke 15:1-7 NLV

At one point or another we have all wandered off and gotten lost. What the shepherd doesn’t do is scold, ridicule, beat or in anyway abuse the sheep who was lost. Instead, he picks it up and carries it home. He is so glad to have it back that he throws a party.  The sheep was lost and couldn’t get home by itself; sometimes we just get out too far, we become weak and vulnerable and need someone to carry us home – that’s what Jesus does for us!

Let’s end now with a thought from the Apostle Paul – may your day be filled with the overflowing blessings of our Lord and Savior.

37 But in all these troubles we have complete victory through God, who has shown his love for us. 38-39 Yes, I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not death, life, angels, or ruling spirits. I am sure that nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us or nothing below us—nothing in the whole created world—will ever be able to separate us from the love God has shown us in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39

There is so much joy in knowing that my Father loves me and that nothing can separate me from His love! It is well.




Favor and Good Success

The foundation has been laid and the walls are going up!


When we first started on our study in Psalm 119 weeks ago, we started with the premise that we were building a firm foundation. A foundation that would be secure and able to keep us safe in the storms of life. It is my hope that each day you have found a verse that supported you and strengthened you.

King David has repeatedly mentioned his enemies and those who hate him and want to see him destroyed. But he also states time and again that he relies on the Lord to deliver him and that he will continue to stand on God’s word.

May I ask, do you have enemies? Who or what are they? It may be that they are real people or perhaps they are circumstances or situations like fear, debt, illness, lack of self-esteem, pride, anger, addiction, self-righteousness, gossip. I will give you a moment to ascertain what is trying to destroy you.

“Powerful leaders attack me for no reason, but the only thing I fear is your command. 162 Your word makes me happy, like someone who has found a great treasure. 163 I hate lies; they make me sick! But I love your teachings. 164 Seven times a day I praise you because your laws are fair. 165 Those who love your teachings will find true peace. Nothing can make them fall. 166 Lord, I am waiting for you to save me. I obey your commands. 167 I follow your rules. I love them very much. 168 I obey all your instructions and rules, because you know everything I do.”  Psalm 119:161-168

Jesus didn’t speak against Caesar but he did talk about the hypocrisy of his day.  He countered  each accusation or attack brought against Him with  “It is written”.  Satan brought temptations against Him and Jesus answered with the Word. The Pharisees, the Sadducees and the rulers of the Law brought twisted questions of entrapment and He answered with the Word. His answers were so powerful that the Bible says they would stop their line of questioning.

Staying focused on God’s word, loving His word and obeying His instruction will bring ridicule and persecution BUT it will also bring “true peace and nothing will make those who love it fall.”

I’d like to tell you the story of another king who trusted in the Lord. His name was Hezekiah. He became king at the age of 25 after his father’s death. His father Ahaz was an evil king who led the people of Judah in idol worship.

Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king of Judah, and he ruled twenty-nine years from Jerusalem…Hezekiah obeyed the Lord by doing right, just as his ancestor David had done. In the first month of the first year of Hezekiah’s rule, he unlocked the doors to the Lord’s temple and had them repaired…So the temple was once again used for worshiping the Lord. 36 Hezekiah and the people of Judah celebrated, because God had helped them make this happen so quickly.” II Chronicles 29 CEV

Hezekiah was determined to honor the Lord and have made a commitment to obey God’s word.

 Everything Hezekiah did while he was king of Judah, including what he did for the temple in Jerusalem, was right and good. He was a successful king, because he obeyed the Lord God with all his heart.” II Chronicles 31:20-21 CEV

But Hezekiah had enemies who wanted to destroy him, the king of Assyria waged war against him.

After King Hezekiah had faithfully obeyed the Lord’s instructions by doing these things, King Sennacherib of Assyria invaded Judah. He attacked the fortified cities and thought he would capture every one of them... Be brave and confident! There’s no reason to be afraid of King Sennacherib and his powerful army. We are much more powerful, because the Lord our God fights on our side. The Assyrians must rely on human power alone...Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz asked the Lord for help, 21 and he sent an angel that killed every soldier and commander in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib returned to Assyria, completely disgraced.” II Chronicles 32

This isn’t just a fun little Bible story, this is the story of a man who trusted God and stood on God’s word. He was built on a firm foundation and it saved him and those in his country.

King Solomon also knew that in order for us to be truly successful we must trust and follow God’s word.

My son, do not forget my teaching. Let your heart keep my words. For they will add to you many days and years of life and peace. Do not let kindness and truth leave you. Tie them around your neck. Write them upon your heart. So you will find favor and good understanding in the eyes of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not trust in your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:1-5 NLV

If the Kings, (David, Solomon, Hezekiah) and many others plus Jesus and his disciples all depended on God’s word as their foundation should we do any less?

Let’s say with the Apostle Paul “let God be true and every man a liar”.

Favor and victory comes from the Lord!

True Love & Kindness

We only have a few days left in our study through Psalm 119.  It has been such a blessing to me and the Lord has reminded me of truths He has shown me in the past and has brought new wisdom. I have certainly enjoyed studying this chapter of God’s Word.

“Look at my suffering and rescue me. I have not forgotten your teachings. 154 Argue my case, and set me free. Let me live, as you promised. 155 The wicked have no hope of being saved, because they don’t follow your laws. 156 Lord, you are very kind. You always do what is right, so let me live. 157 I have many enemies trying to hurt me, but I have not stopped following your rules. 158 I look at those traitors and hate what I see, because they refuse to do what you say. 159 See how much I love your instructions! Lord, I know your love is true, so let me live.160 Every word you say can be trusted. Your laws are fair and will last forever.” Psalm 119:153-160

In reading through these verse I am caught by the last verse in this segment. “Every word you say can be trusted…”  Every word, EVERY word can be trusted!  “And will last forever”  FOREVER! Has forever come yet? No! Then God’s word still stands!

Remember yesterday when I mentioned that King David had only a few books of the Bible to study, let’s see what the Lord said about  enemies from studying Deuteronomy.

“The Lord will help you defeat your enemies who come to fight against you. Your enemies will come against you one way, but they will run away from you seven different ways!” Deuteronomy 28:7

Do you see why David implored the Lord for help? He had God’s word – he had a promise. David wasn’t being arrogant or demanding; he was confident that his God who had given him His Word would not lie but would do what He said He would.  David was believing God.

” God is not a man; he will not lie. God is not a human being; his decisions will not change. If he says he will do something, then he will do it. If he makes a promise, then he will do what he promised.” Numbers 23:19

You had to know that I was going to use this verse, my favorite verse. If this verse isn’t true then there’s no point in putting our faith in any of the others. Plain and simple, God doesn’t lie!

Just a few chapters later in Psalms David writes these thoughts.“I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? 2 My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. 3 He will not let you fall. Your Protector will not fall asleep.” Psalm 121:1-3

David’s eyes were searching for help, extra troops, maybe even a neighboring king who came to assist in the battle. He knew that his help wasn’t dependent on others but on the Lord. It reminds me of the time when Elisha, the prophet’s servant saw they were surrounded by enemy soldiers. He was so fearful thinking they would be destroyed. Look what Elisha said.

When Elisha’s servant got up the next morning, he saw that Syrian troops had the town surrounded. “Sir, what are we going to do?” he asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” Elisha answered. “There are more troops on our side than on theirs.” 17 Then he prayed, “Lord, please help him to see.” And the Lord let the servant see that the hill was covered with fiery horses and flaming chariots all around Elisha.” II Kings 6:15-17 CEV

Just in case you were a little uncertain about the Lord’s desire to help and deliver, read this.

“You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.
2 I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.”
3 God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases.
4 You can go to him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies.
You can trust him to surround and protect you like a shield.
5 You will have nothing to fear at night and no need to be afraid of enemy arrows during the day.
6 You will have no fear of diseases that come in the dark
or terrible suffering that comes at noon.
7 A thousand people may fall dead at your side or ten thousand right beside you, but nothing bad will happen to you!
8 All you will have to do is watch, and you will see that the wicked are punished.
9 You trust in the Lord for protection. You have made God Most High your place of safety.
10 So nothing bad will happen to you. No diseases will come near your home.
11 He will command his angels to protect you wherever you go.
12 Their hands will catch you so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.
13 You will have power to trample on lions and poisonous snakes.
14 The Lord says, “If someone trusts me, I will save them. I will protect my followers who call to me for help.
15 When my followers call to me, I will answer them. I will be with them when they are in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.
16 I will give my followers a long life and show them my power to save.” Psalm 91

I have lived this chapter, not perfectly, but lived it all the same. I’ve lived it facing reports of cancer, lived it facing broken bones, I’ve lived with my children facing childhood diseases, lived it in rattlesnake infested deserts, lived it in tornado ridden country, lived it in farmland facing drought! I’ve lived it through financial disaster, driving in blizzards and over hundreds of thousands of miles on the highway! I have lived it over the lives of my husband as a peace officer, my son as a firefighter and my son-in-law and grandson in the military!

It’s too late to tell me that God’s Word isn’t practical or applicable for today! Yes, I have lived it  and this I know…


God is faithful and He does not lie!


Building Trust – Piece by Piece

Our daughter recently completed a half marathon. She has been competing in this particular event for the last 8 years. Each year the finishers medal is shaped like the piece of a puzzle. When she completed the race this year she was able to join the pieces together and the puzzle was also complete.

That’s how I feel about the verses we have been studying in Psalm 119. Each segment is building upon the last. We are almost finished and each day, piece by piece, we are beginning to see the completed picture. A picture of trust, God’s word does not fail!

After reading through this morning’s verses, I began to imagine what it must have been like for David to “Study” the word.  All that was written of the Bible during his time was Genesis through Deuteronomy, Joshua, maybe part of Judges, Psalm 90 and Job.

Now I love Genesis, Exodus, parts of Deuteronomy and Joshua but find it a bit more difficult to get through Leviticus, Numbers and Job.  So when David says he got up early and stayed awake at night to think on God’s word, I wonder where  he spent most of his time?  I’m sure he spent time in Leviticus, the book filled with the laws God gave, because he, David, was always talking about “thy laws”.  And he probably spent time in Numbers; being a military man how many could be called to battle when needed.  As a king, ruling over a vast nation, I’m sure he spent time studying the geographic divisions in Joshua so that he would know the borders of the lands allotted to each of the tribes and also know the enemy nations that they had been commanded to drive out.

And as he studied, I’m sure his heart was stirred to praise and give glory and honor to his God. I’m sure that’s how the Psalms were written. That’s really important! When you read something in the Word that speaks to you personally, take time to pause and review it over and over, let it sink in to your heart and create a stirring in soul, let it renew your mind, giving you God’s thoughts to replace those of your own. And when the word sinks in, it will take root and begin to grow, just like a seed (hmm, I think I remember Jesus teaching about something like that), and it will bring a harvest of fruit in your life.  And when it takes hold it becomes so real, it brings a time of praise to God, that He would share something so precious, so marvelous with you and make it real to you.

“Lord, I call to you with all my heart. Answer me, and I will obey your laws. 146 I call to you. Save me, and I will obey your rules. 147 I get up early in the morning to pray to you. I trust what you say. 148 Late into the night I stay awake to think about your word. 149 I know your love is true, so listen to me. Lord, you always do what is right, so let me live. 150 Here come those who have evil plans to hurt me. They live far away from your teachings. 151 But you are near me, Lord, and all your commands can be trusted. 152 Long ago, I learned from your rules that you made them to last forever.”  Psalm 119:145-152

Recently I had opportunity to look at some physical circumstances that didn’t appear to be too pleasant. In fact, they could have been downright discouraging if I had allowed them to be but you know what God brought to my heart? Psalm 112  – the righteous man’s Psalm – and I refused to let my heart be afraid over evil tidings and had it firmly fixed on God’s word.  Then instead of fear, faith came! God’s word is sure and certain, every other thing – circumstance or report, is subject to change.  God’s word stands forever.  His promises will not fail; written thousands of years ago they contain the same God-breathed power today that they had at their penning.

“We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. 17 These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. 18 Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.”  II Corinthians 4:16-18

I am sure that David was fully acquainted with Moses writings to the children of Israel and that is why he made it his life’s goal to know God’s word and keep it close. Once again, using my imagination, I can see King David up early this morning and reading…

11 “This command that I give you today is not too hard for you. It is not a secret hidden in some far away land. 12 This command is not in heaven so that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it to us, so that we can hear and do it?’ 13 This command is not on the other side of the sea so that you should say, ‘Who will go across the sea for us and bring it to us, so that we can hear it and do it?’ 14 No, the word is very near to you. It is in your mouth and in your heart. So you can obey it.

15 “Today I have given you a choice between life and death, success and disaster. 16 I command you today to love the Lord your God. I command you to follow him and to obey his commands, laws, and rules. Then you will live, and your nation will grow larger. And the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take for your own. 17 But if you turn away from your God and refuse to listen, if you are led away to worship and serve other gods, 18 you will be destroyed. I am warning you today, if you turn away from God, you will not live long in that land across the Jordan River that you are ready to enter and take for your own.

19 “Today I am giving you a choice of two ways. And I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses of your choice. You can choose life or death. The first choice will bring a blessing. The other choice will bring a curse. So choose life! Then you and your children will live. 20 You must love the Lord your God and obey shim. Never leave him, because he is your life. And he will give you a long life in the land that he, the Lord, promised to give to your ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”  Deuteronomy 30:11-20


This day – today – let the Word of God bring you life and blessings!!!

The Hope at Sunrise

Each morning God gives us proof that He can be trusted. The sunrise reveals God’s consistent, actually eternal, promise of provision and care. Since the beginning of time God has faithfully delivered a sunrise to remind us that we have a new opportunity to walk in His love.

“Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8 NLV

The theme or focus of today’s verses seems to be righteousness. Righteousness is an old English, religious word but it  can be defined as right standing with God.  Do you see yourself as righteous? Ponder that for a moment. If you’ve answered no – then I trust that today’s teaching will open your eyes to the wonderful power of God in your life.

“You are righteous, Lord, and Your judgments are just. 138 The decrees You issue are righteous and altogether trustworthy. 139 My anger overwhelms me because my foes forget Your words. 140 Your word is completely pure, and Your servant loves it. 141 I am insignificant and despised, but I do not forget Your precepts. 142 Your righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Your instruction is true. 143 Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but Your commands are my delight. 144 Your decrees are righteous forever. Give me understanding, and I will live.”  Psalm 119:137-144

There’s that word “understand” again. As David grew in the word he grew in understanding. He experienced firsthand the faithfulness of God’s righteousness.  He knew that he was in right standing with God because he was devoted to God’s word.

Genesis 15 says that “he (Abraham) believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness”.  That’s where righteousness was birthed, in believing God. David followed the example of righteous Abraham and he believed God.  If God said it, that was good enough.  In Psalm 23, David said that the Lord leads him in paths of righteousness. And he willingly followed His shepherd.

As an old man, David penned in Psalm 37 “I have been young and now I am old; I have never seen the righteous  forsaken or his seed begging for bread.”  In Psalm 112, which I call the righteous man’s Psalm, David describes the life of the man who lives righteous. This is God’s inspired word and so I am willing to live the truth of this Psalm in my life.

“Praise the Lord! How happy is the man who honors the Lord with fear and finds joy in His Law! His children will be powerful in the land. Each family who is right will be happy. Riches and well-being are in his house. And his right-standing with God will last forever. Light rises even in darkness for the one who is right. He is kind and has loving-pity and does what is right. Good will come to the man who is ready to give much, and fair in what he does. He will never be shaken. The man who is right and good will be remembered forever. He will not be afraid of bad news. His heart is strong because he trusts in the Lord. His heart will not be shaken. He will not be afraid and will watch those lose who fight against him. He has given much to the poor. His right-standing with God lasts forever. His horn will be lifted high in honor. 10 The sinful man will see it and be troubled and angry. He will grind his teeth and waste away. The desire of the sinful will come to nothing.” Psalm 112 NLV

We can’t be “righteous” on our own. It’s just not possible, no matter how hard we try. We are influenced by our prejudice and judge situations from our limited scope of understanding. While God on the other hand sees all things through His eyes of unconditional, unprejudiced love and judges justly in every situation.

“But God has a way to make people right, and it has nothing to do with the law. He has now shown us that new way, which the law and the prophets told us about. 22 God makes people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. He does this for all who believe in Christ. Everyone is the same. 23 All have sinned and are not good enough to share God’s divine greatness. 24 They are made right with God by his grace. This is a free gift. They are made right with God by being made free from sin through Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:21-24

Some of you may ask why I am spending time on this this morning. Simply put, if you can be convinced you that you aren’t righteous, then it’s easy  to steal God’s word and His promises from you because you feel unworthy.  I know – been there, done that, hated it! But once the Lord showed me that He considered me righteous, not because of what I had done but because of who I am in Christ, my life of defeated Christianity turned around and I began to face every giant, physical, mental and spiritual, with the same confidence and conviction that David had when he faced Goliath.

Standing complete in my righteousness in Christ turned conflict into conquest, battles into blessings and struggles into success.

So I’ll ask you again – are you righteous?  Let me give you this answer.  “Christ never sinned but God put our sin on Him. Then we are made right with God because of what Christ has done for us.” II Corinthians 5:21  NLV

Yes, yes you are if you are in Christ!

“Lord, I don’t want to live a defeated life. I want to have the kind of life that is described in Psalm 112. Show me who you made me to be. I want to live to my full potential. You made a way for me to be right with you – I choose Your way. In Jesus name. Amen.”




An Extra-Ordinary Morning Routine

Dave and I were talking yesterday about our morning routine. Some would see it as too structured, no room for spontaneity, but I see it as foundational for what will come. Sitting in the morning quiet is one of my favorite places. It doesn’t matter the location – what matters is that God chooses to meet with me. I love this time before life demands my attention.

When the kids were little it was imperative that I have these quiet moments to talk with my Father. I would draw my strength from Him and pray over my little ones and those things that would try to harm and distract in their lives. I prayed for Dave, that he would be a man of wisdom and that his integrity would shine through in all he did. As the children grew and the years past my prayers were the same. And as life’s challenges seemed to grow bigger it was even more important for me to have these mornings to sit with the Lord and read His word.

Now that I’m retired and life has slowed down some but my routine has not changed. I still pray for my children, grandchildren, husband and friends. I don’t know what faces them each day but my heavenly Father does. I don’t know what phone calls I’ll receive or emails will come from a friend who’s hurting but I want to be ready to share a word of encouragement and a prayer for strength.

It’s what I do every morning but it’s far from routine. Each day there is something new; a new insight into a Scripture verse, a new circumstance to pray over, a new thought or direction that the Lord is leading. Yes my morning routine is far from being a normal, mundane, regular routine!

“Lord, your rules are wonderful. That is why I follow them. 130 As people understand your word, it brings light to their lives. Your word makes even simple people wise. 131 My desire to hear your commands is so strong that I wait with open mouth, gasping for breath. 132 Look at me, and be kind to me, just as you always are to those who love your name. 133 Guide me, as you promised. Don’t let evil rule over me. 134 Save me from those who want to hurt me, and I will obey your instructions. 135 Accept your servant, and teach me your laws. 136 I have cried a river of tears because people don’t obey your teachings.” Psalm 119:129-136

How many times has David said in this Psalm that the word makes us wise or gives us understanding? I haven’t counted but it seems to be the reoccurring theme in each segment. The Word was such a strong influence in David’s life that it also made an impact on his son Solomon. When the Lord asked him what he desired most, Solomon asked for wisdom.

“One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”

6 Solomon answered: My father David, your servant, was honest and did what you commanded. You were always loyal to him, and you gave him a son who is now king. 7 Lord God, I’m your servant, and you’ve made me king in my father’s place. But I’m very young and know so little about being a leader. 8 And now I must rule your chosen people, even though there are too many of them to count.

9 Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don’t, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours.

10-11 God said: Solomon, I’m pleased that you asked for this. You could have asked to live a long time or to be rich. Or you could have asked for your enemies to be destroyed. Instead, you asked for wisdom to make right decisions. 12 So I’ll make you wiser than anyone who has ever lived or ever will live. 13 I’ll also give you what you didn’t ask for. You’ll be rich and respected as long as you live, and you’ll be greater than any other king. 14 If you obey me and follow my commands, as your father David did, I’ll let you live a long time.” I Kings 3:5-14

Solomon saw that his father’s ability to lead and to rule successfully came from his dependence on the Lord and it was his desire to be like his father. The Lord answered Solomon’s request and more. This segment in Psalms tells us that the Word will bring light to our situation and that it makes the simple wise.

The Apostle Paul had lots to say about the Word too. He told us in Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing the Word. “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If we are to grow in faith then we need to be committed to hearing (and applying) God’s word to our lives.

Hebrews 11:6 told us that it is impossible to please God without faith. So if we don’t hear the Word we have no faith and if we have no faith then it is impossible for us to please God. If we want to please God we must make His word the foundation of our lives.

Make it your goal today to love the Word of God and to give it the priority that David and Solomon did. It will give you wisdom and as you follow it you will find that God is pleased.

The Victory

Some people have the misconception that if we love God and are serving Him then we won’t have any problems. That is so far from the truth. What we do have though is God’s promise to bring us through those problems with victory. This morning I want to put two different Scriptures side by side and let you see how God answered David’s prayer from verses 121-128.

“121 I have done what is right and good. Don’t let me fall into the hands of those who want to hurt me. 122 Promise to be good to me, your servant. Don’t let those proud people do harm to me. 123 I have worn out my eyes looking for your help, waiting for you to save me, as you promised. 124 Show your faithful love to me, your servant. Teach me your laws. 125 I am your servant. Give me wisdom to understand your rules. 126 Lord, it is time for you to do something. The people do what is against your teachings. 127 I love your commands more than gold, more than the purest gold. 128 I carefully obey all your commands. So I hate anything that leads people the wrong way.” Psalm 119: 121-128

David was accustomed to battle but he was also accustom to winning. Before he became king he was pursued by Saul for approximately 13 years, I think I have that right. Then after he became king he had the enemy nations to defeat and even had to fight his own son, Absalom. But most of the time, he was encouraged and confident in battle. David knew the Lord had promised the Israelites this land and had told them to go in and confidently take the land and that they would be victorious.

However, David had to encourage himself with God’s promises when his wife, children and the wives and children of the entire town were captured while he and his men were away at battle. That’s where we are going to read this morning. (This takes place before David became king.)

“David was desperate. His soldiers were so upset over what had happened to their sons and daughters that they were thinking about stoning David to death. But he felt the Lord God giving him strength, 7 and he said to the priest, “Abiathar, let’s ask God what to do.”

Abiathar brought everything he needed to get answers from God, and he went over to David. 8 Then David asked the Lord, “Should I go after the people who raided our town? Can I catch up with them?” “Go after them,” the Lord answered. “You will catch up with them, and you will rescue your families.”

9-10 David led his six hundred men to Besor Gorge, but two hundred of them were too tired to go across. So they stayed behind, while David and the other four hundred men crossed the gorge. 11 Some of David’s men found an Egyptian out in a field and took him to David. They gave the Egyptian some bread, and he ate it. Then they gave him a drink of water, 12 some dried figs, and two handfuls of raisins. This was the first time in three days he had tasted food or water. Now he felt much better.

13 “Who is your master?” David asked. “And where do you come from?”

“I’m from Egypt,” the young man answered. “I’m the servant of an Amalekite, but he left me here three days ago because I was sick. 14 We had attacked some towns in the desert where the Cherethites live, in the area that belongs to Judah, and in the desert where the Caleb clan lives. And we burned down Ziklag.”

15 “Will you take me to those Amalekites?” David asked.

“Yes, I will, if you promise with God as a witness that you won’t kill me or hand me over to my master.”

16 He led David to the Amalekites. They were eating and drinking everywhere, celebrating because of what they had taken from Philistia and Judah. 17 David attacked just before sunrise the next day and fought until sunset. Four hundred Amalekites rode away on camels, but they were the only ones who escaped.

18 David rescued his two wives and everyone else the Amalekites had taken from Ziklag. 19 No one was missing—young or old, sons or daughters. David brought back everything that had been stolen, 20 including their livestock.” I Samuel 30: 6-20

You can hear David’s discouragement in Psalm 119 and then you can see the result of the discouragement in I Samuel 30. David says in Psalms “Lord it’s time for you to do something.” And in I Samuel, he seeks God to see what it is that God is going to do. The Lord tells him to go out and recover ALL.

Are you facing a situation that you are saying “Lord, you have to do something”? Then seek Him…spend time asking God what you should do and then get into His Word and find your answer.

“31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won’t he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God’s right side, speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 36 It is exactly as the Scriptures say,

“For you we face death all day long. We are like sheep on their way to be butchered.”

37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!” Romans 8:21-39

God loves you – He’s on your side – Now go out and take the victory!

Stability in the Storm

Recently Dave & I were watching television and it really jumped out at us how the commercials are depicting parents as out of touch, uninformed and down-right stupid. I know this will sound old fashioned and it is but I had a great respect for my parents and whether I agreed with them or not, I was obedient because they were my authority. TV shows like Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Bonanza, and then later, when my kids were growing up, The Walton’s, Little House on the Prairie, The Brady Bunch, etc. taught kids responsibility, right from wrong and showed parents who loved their children.

Let’s look to see how this is reflected in today’s verses.

“I hate those who are double-minded, but I love Your instruction. You are my shelter and my shield; I put my hope in Your word. Depart from me, you evil ones, so that I may obey my God’s commands. Sustain me as You promised, and I will live; do not let me be ashamed of my hope. Sustain me so that I can be safe and always be concerned about Your statutes. You reject all who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is a lie. You remove all the wicked on earth as if they were dross; therefore, I love Your decrees. I tremble in awe of You; I fear Your judgments.” Psalm 119:113-120

This first verse is the one I was referring too in my opening comments. In another version it says “I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.” Vain thoughts have no real value : idle, worthless – according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. King David was drawing a line of distinction between man’s thoughts and God’s. Man’s are idle and worthless and have no eternal value if they aren’t established on God’s word. So much of what we see on television and read in the paper falls into this classification.

In the book of James, we are instructed not to be double-minded, or vain in our thinking because a double-minded man is unstable. Jesus said that a man who stands on the word is like a man who builds his house on a solid rock. In a storm when the rain and the winds come, that man will be stable, firm and his house won’t be destroyed but the man who doesn’t build on the word will have a foundation of sand and in times of storm he will come crashing down. We can’t afford to fill our thinking with vain or worthless thoughts. We need to stand firm.

“ Do any of you need wisdom? Ask God for it. He is generous and enjoys giving to everyone. So he will give you wisdom. But when you ask God, you must believe. Don’t doubt him. Whoever doubts is like a wave in the sea that is blown up and down by the wind. People like that are thinking two different things at the same time. They can never decide what to do. So they should not think they will receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:5-8 ERV

Verse 114 was the theme verse of a woman named Corrie ten Boom. She survived the German concentration camps of World War II, this is the verse that she based her survival on. In the King James version it says, “thou art my hiding place and my shield”. Her testimony is one to draw from; she lived through the hell of the German concentration camp and came out with a love for her abusers and a solid, unshakable faith in the Lord.

In a sense we need to be “brain washed” – no, I’m not talking about the kind of mind control that manipulates but I am talking about being single-minded, our thoughts washed free of anything that would go contrary to God’s word. The Apostle Paul says we are to have our minds renewed or we are to be single-minded. When we’re singled minded we are grounded and unshakable.

“We tear down every proud idea that raises itself against the knowledge of God. We also capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ.” II Corinthians 3:5 ERV

The Apostle Paul said that we were to “cast down” every vain imagination and take captive every thought that sets itself above the knowledge of God. These vain thoughts will destroy godly thinking if they are allowed to go unchecked. In turn, they will rob our hope. King David knew that his hope could only be in God and His word. Relying in anything or anyone else could bring you to shame.

There are so many in life who are hopeless. They are without God and without hope and it leaves them grasping at straws. We need to be a light and a show them that they can put their hope in God and He will not fail them! Wrong thinking is as deadly as a physical enemy with swords and arrows.

God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours. David had walked with God and had seen God’s heart – he trembled or was in awe of just how amazing God was and is. This type of relationship with the Lord isn’t just available to King David, it is available to us as well. The Apostle Paul instructs us to renew our minds so we can know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. That’s available to us as we focus and apply God’s word in our lives.

“Don’t change yourselves to be like the people of this world, but let God change you inside with a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to understand and accept what God wants for you. You will be able to know what is good and pleasing to him and what is perfect.” Romans 12:2 ERV

I desire to “tremble in awe” of the Lord as I focus on His thoughts today!

A Well Lit Path

We live in a rural area and there are only a couple of street lights up on our mesa. It makes walking at night interesting. Something we don’t do much of because there’s always an opportunity to run into javelina out foraging or a pack of coyotes on the hunt. We don’t often walk at night but when we do we carry the proper equipment to light our path so we won’t stumble or be surprised by what may be in the shadows.

“Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take. 106 Your laws are good and fair. I have promised to obey them, and I will keep my promise. 107 Lord, I have suffered for a long time. Say the word, and I will live again! 108 Lord, accept the praise I want to give you, and teach me your laws. 109 My life is always in danger, but I have not forgotten your teachings. 110 The wicked try to trap me, but I have not disobeyed your instructions. 111 The rules you have given me to follow will be mine forever. They give me great joy. 112 More than anything I want to obey your laws always, until the end of my life.” Psalm 119:105-112

At times, this road called life can be a dark path. One where the next step may seem uncertain but when we seek and follow the counsel of God’s word it becomes like a flashlight shining brightly on our path, illuminating the way we should go. We also have God’s promise that He will be our guide.

“But now you will again see the Lord, your teacher, and he will guide you. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice saying, “This is the road! Now follow it.” Isaiah 30:20-21

David was a man of his word; he had promised to obey God’s commands and he vowed that he would continue to keep that promise. People depended on him the way he depended on God. As the king of Israel, David’s actions affected the entire nation. He would lead the country to battle their enemies and he would lead them in peace. He needed to know that he was hearing God’s voice and being faithful to follow His word.

We might not rule countries and lead nations but we do have a sphere of influence and we need to be following God’s word. It is essential for us and for those who follow us; our families, co-workers, associates. David refers again to the dangers and enemies he faced. If you read about David’s life in the Old Testament you will see that each time before he faced an enemy he sought the Lord’s direction; each time he waited for the Lord’s answer before he went out and each time he returned victorious.

God’s word will provide the same direction for us. We need to determine that we will follow God’s word at all costs. Live committed to what He says – make it our primary purpose and goal. We can say with David, “The rules you have given me to follow will be mine forever. They give me great joy. 112 More than anything I want to obey your laws always, until the end of my life.”

The greatest gift we can give our children is a godly heritage, standing strong for God even when our children think we are fanatical and/or old-fashioned. God has entrusted us with our children’s lives; we are responsible to teach them to love and respect God and His word. If your children are small or grown, live within your home or are separated by miles, depend upon God’s word to guide you and them and God will be faithful to you both.

Let the Word light your path and encourage them to follow.