Understanding, Direction, and Light

Your rules are marvelous.
Therefore I observe them.
Your instructions are a doorway through which light shines.
They give insight to the untrained.
I open my mouth and pant,
because I long for Your commands.

Psalm 119:129-131

Dear Heavenly Father, Your rules, Your ways are worth longing after.  They give us understanding, direction, and light.

Turn toward me and extend mercy to me,
as you typically do to Your loyal followers.
Direct my steps by Your word!
Do not let any sin dominate me!
Deliver me from oppressive men,
so that I can keep Your precepts.

Psalm 119:132-134

I seek the mercy that You give to Your loyal followers.  Guide me with Your word.  Do not let those who oppose You stop me from obeying Your rules.

Smile on Your servant!
Teach me Your statutes!
Tears stream down from my eyes,
because people do not keep Your law.

Psalm 119:135-136

Teach me the joy of Your ways.  I cry when I see those who do not obey You. 

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Strength to be Thankful

I have spent this week talking about areas of life where I have a hard time being thankful. When I struggle, I often go to Scripture – the Bible – to find real events that happened in the lives of men and women. These people had hard times, but still shouted praise to God.  When others are able to do that, I find more strength to do the same.  I hope this helps you.

Give thanks to the Lord! Call on His name! Make known His accomplishments among the nations.

1 Chronicles 16:8 NET

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good
and His loyal love endures.

1 Chronicles 16:34 NET

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
and His courts with praise.
Give Him thanks.
Praise His name.

Psalm 100:4 NET

I will thank the Lord with all my heart!
I will tell about all Your amazing deeds.
I will be happy and rejoice in You.
I will sing praises to You, O Most High.

Psalm 9:1-2 NET

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His loyal love endures. Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His loyal love endures!

Psalm 136:1,26 NET

Praise the Lord, O my soul.
With all that is within me, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Do not forget all His kind deeds.
He is the One who forgives all your sins,
who heals all your diseases,
who delivers your life from the Pit,
who crowns you with His loyal love and compassion,

Psalm 103:1-4 NET

God is so good.

Bad Weather Anyone?

Living in Minne”snow”ta, I expect bad weather.  Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, we had a lot of heavy, wet snow.  I confess that after getting over 50” of snow last February (plus more the rest of the winter), I did not look forward to snow this winter.  So, in order to remember thankfulness this week, I had to do a lot of praying. 

I enjoy having snow on the ground in the winter.  The ground looks prettier – and let’s face it, who doesn’t like a white Christmas?  It is the difficulty of clearing the snow from my driveway that I don’t like.  It can be hard to do. 

When I encounter tasks like snow removal, that cause me difficulties, I spend time in prayer.  I have to admit, clearing my driveway at the end of a hard day can be therapeutic.  I can burn calories and negative emotions in the same shovel swing.

We know in this life there will be things that attack our attitude of gratitude.  We know from the Bible and many life blessings, that God is good.

God is so good.

When You’re Sick of Being Sick

Health issues can be so heavy they topple us.  Some health issues are a tough inconvenience, while others change the course of our lives.  Being sick challenges our desire to give thanks to God.

While health issues can make it hard to be thankful, God has shown me ways to find gratitude.  I can start with the fact the Jesus Christ died for my sins. His gift of salvation is easy to be thankful for.

2 Corinthians 12:9 gives us help in our weakness.  “But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.”

Health issues cause physical weakness.  When we lose what we are used to having, we are more likely to cry out to God for help. Then He shows us so much more to be thankful for.

God is so good.

Why Does Work Require So Much Hard Work

Work can provide us with an income, a purpose, a ministry, but let’s face it.  Work can be hard.  I am thankful that God has provided jobs for me over the years.  At times those jobs have wonderful and other times I thought they were going to be the end of me.  Our work can be rewarding or painful. 

I have a very good job, but I still have bad days.  When life is tough, I look at reminders that God has given me along the way.

“A day hemmed in prayer is less likely to unravel.”  A good reminder for this year when prayer is what I am writing about.

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  When I look at my job as something that I do for Christ, I find it easier to be thankful.

God is so good.

When it is Hard to Be Thankful

I have made a tradition of posting 5 days of being thankful the week of Thanksgiving.  I want to continue that tradition, but in a little bit different way.  This year, I am going to write about times when I struggle being thankful.  Don’t worry.  This won’t be a negative week.  I will also share what God has taught me about being thankful when it is hard.

Today I want to start with James 1:2 “My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials”.

I definitely struggle counting trials joy.  They hurt; they are uncomfortable; they are not easy to navigate.  I prefer what I know and understand.  Trials are territory that I do not know.  However, God tells us to “consider it nothing but joy”.  How do I go from the struggle to joy?  By looking at what James 1 tells us next.  Verses 3-4 say, “because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything.”  We can’t always see the benefit of the trial while we are going through it.  However, God has promised that our trials will help to perfect us. God always keeps His promises.  Read His word and talk to Him (pray).  You will see God’s faithfulness.

When I struggle with difficulties, I remember what God has said in His word and look back at how He has fulfilled that in my life.  That thinking draws me closer Christ and helps me think about how I can be thankful.

God is so good.

Insight into Following God’s Way

I do what is fair and right.
Do not abandon me to my oppressors!
Guarantee the welfare of Your servant!
Do not let the arrogant oppress me!
My eyes grow tired as I wait for Your deliverance,
for Your reliable promise to be fulfilled.

Psalm 119:121-123 NET

Dear Heavenly Father, there is such a fight between Your right way of living and those who oppose it.  Please keep me on the right path and protect me from those who would lead me astray.  I long for the fulfillment of Your promise.

Show your servant Your loyal love!
Teach me your statutes!
I am Your servant. Give me insight,
so that I can understand Your rules.
It is time for the Lord to act—
they break Your law!
For this reason I love Your commands
more than gold, even purest gold.
For this reason I carefully follow all Your precepts.
I hate all deceitful actions. 

Psalm 119:124-128 NET

Give me insight into the truth of Your word.  Teach me what I need to know.  Show me Your loyal love.  I love Your commands; they are more valuable than the purest gold.  I despise actions that go against Your way.  I will carefully obey what You command.

I pray this in Jesus’ Name.

God is so good.

Proper Loyalty

I hate people with divided loyalties,
but I love Your law.
You are my hiding place and my shield.
I find hope in Your word.
Turn away from me, you evil men,
so that I can observe the commands of my God.
Sustain me as You promised, so that I will live.
Do not disappoint me!
Support me, so that I will be delivered.
Then I will focus on Your statutes continually.
You despise all who stray from Your statutes,
for they are deceptive and unreliable.
You remove all the wicked of the earth like slag.
Therefore I love Your rules.
My body trembles because I fear You;
I am afraid of Your judgments. 

Psalm 119:113-120

Dear Heavenly Father, why do some think Your law is not good enough?  Why do they place their loyalty elsewhere?  I want my loyalty to be only for You.  Your law is wonderful.  You are my protector and hope.  I want those who practice evil to stay away from me so I can live Your commands. Give me the strength You have promised, so I can live!  Help me so that I will be free.  Then I can give my thoughts to Your word continually.  You hate those who go away from Your law.  They are not trustworthy.  You will justly remove them.  Your justice increases my love for Your way.  I fear Your judgements; I fear You.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Light

Your word is a lamp to walk by,
and a light to illumine my path.
I have vowed and solemnly sworn
to keep Your just regulations.

Psalm 119:105-106

Dear Heavenly Father, I love the light Your word provides.  I commit to following Your ways.

I am suffering terribly.
O Lord, revive me with Your word!
O Lord, please accept the freewill offerings of my praise!
Teach me your regulations!
My life is in continual danger,
but I do not forget Your law.
The wicked lay a trap for me,
but I do not wander from Your precepts.

Psalm 119:107-110

There are hardships and dangers throughout life, but You are still worthy of praise.  Please accept the praise I give to You.  Please continue to teach me Your ways.  There are problems, but I will cling to Your word.

I claim your rules as my permanent possession,
for they give me joy.
I am determined to obey Your statutes
at all times, to the very end.

Psalm 119:111-112

Your rules endure – I will own them with joy for all times.

I pray this in Jesus’ name.

God is so good.

The Ultimate Wisdom

O how I love Your law!
All day long I meditate on it. 

Psalm 119:97

Dear Heavenly Father, Your law is wonderful; I can’t get enough of it!

Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies,
for I am always aware of them.
I have more insight than all my teachers,
for I meditate on Your rules.
I am more discerning than those older than I, for I observe Your precepts. 

Psalm 119:98-100

Learning, thinking on and living Your ways gives me more wisdom than people can offer.  Thank you for giving so freely.

I stay away from the evil path,
so that I might keep Your instructions.
I do not turn aside from Your regulations,
for you teach me.
Your words are sweeter
in my mouth than honey!
Your precepts give me discernment.
Therefore I hate all deceitful actions.

Psalm 119:101-104

I want to stay away from sin and those who would pull me away from You.  I want to keep Your ways.  I will not go away from them.  Your words are a great blessing.  Your ways teach me how to live and show me what to stay away from.  Thank You for all You’ve done.

I pray this in Jesus’ Name.

God is so good.