Psalm 119:33-40 (NLT)
Teach me your decrees, O Lord; I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart. Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found. Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you. Help me abandon my shameful ways; for your regulations are good. I long to obey your commandments! Renew my life with your goodness.
True believers live in the midst of change. We are destined to live from glory to glory. So when we attempt to live in alignment with God it seems to mess up everything we have worked hard to establish. Sometimes it seems harder the more we work our way closer to Him as our life begins to dramatically change for the better the discomfort of change produces chaos in our heart. As the Lord reshapes us for His Glory, it begins to produce His Glory in our life. But if you think about it whenever Jesus showed up, crazy stuff started to happen. Unnatural events surrounded his arrival, dead people came back to life, water turned into wine, and other things that defied human understanding and worldly knowledge. Why would we expect any different knowing the Word of God and having it as a guide for our life? Do you really want me to answer that question or just let it marinate for a while? There are days when self-condemnation berates me for asking questions, looking back and when uncertainty causes me to second guess what I know God has spoken to me or has directed my to do. These are the days that we need reassurance of what we are after and that His Promises are true.
Our husband and I were on a company trip when we had the brilliant idea to go parasailing. For those of you unfamiliar with such a thing, it is being strapped into a parachute behind a boat tethered to it by a ski rope of sorts. The boat accelerates and the parachute catches the wind like a kite and you are pulled high above the earth to “sail” through the air. How fun? Sure it is until you are actually sitting in the water strapped into the darn thing. Flying through the air is great until you look down and realize how fragile the contraption you are in. But the worst part for me was the moment you land in the water and must wait for the boat to circle back for you. With a life vest keeping you buoyant you float in darkness of the deep, but you cannot see below the surface. In that moment, you feel like the smallest fish in the pond. Sometimes… okay most of the time… faith works that way. God gives us a word or promise and we are high on life. But when we begin to walk out the process by which we receive that good thing – every insufficiency and fear will rise up within us. God’s Glory and His Goodness belong to us as His Children. He is constantly trying to produce both in our life. But many times we halt the process because in the midst of the “ocean” we cry out for fear of failing, falling or even flailing cause us to panic and swim back. The thing about faith to always remember is to get more than our feet have to fail, human logic is not reality and it challenges us from the inside out. You cannot get more faith without using what we have. Confident hope is built on trying our faith and finding blessed re-assurance to get through each day.
Psalm 119:33-34 (MSG)
God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response.
When I woke up this morning, my mind was reeling. After a long night of dreaming, I was uncertain about the new career change that I know is expressly designed by God for my life. I began to question leaving the known to pursue the unknown. I hate that feeling. I am embarrassed to even think such things when I know God sees my heart and reads my mind. He has been so good to me. I cannot believe that after watching Him heal and deliver our son from cancer that I could doubt Him in the smallest detail of my life. Paul understood my dilemma. The constant battle for faith fought in our heart and mind. What I always go back to in the moments of human uncertainty is to remind myself what did the Lord say about the matter? I have to look in His Word but even beyond that I must examine my heart. Did I seek the Lord in this matter? Yes. Did I get a response? Yes. Will I walk it out? Lord, I am trying.
The first thing that a believer must to live in blessed assurance is to be sure. I looked at “The Message” translation compared to the “New Living Translation” to see if there might be a more clear and concise definition of this thing that I am after today. “Teach me to lessons for living so I can stay on course…so my whole life (is) one long, obedient response.” To have God’s Will and His Way – I have to know God’s Will and live His Way. Okay let me put it another way. If you want an apple pie you cannot substitute peaches for the apples. Now if you don’t care what kind of pie you get, then that’s fine. But if you want a certain flavor, you have to follow the recipe. You will never have God’s Best your way UNTIL you align your will with God’s Plan and decide that nothing less will do. His Word tells of the great things that He has in store for His Children. Every single promise applies to your life just as it does mine. I must want it enough to live it every day in every moment with every decision. The first is to surrender my way until my whole life is one obedient response to God.
Psalm 119:35-36 (MSG)
Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me a bent for your words of wisdom and not for piling up loot.
The Highway to Holiness is definitely the road less traveled. It is to change the way that we think about grace from an excuse to an exception. Grace releases us from our obligation even though we sin against God. But it is not enough to say, “I’m sorry!” You must repent for that grace to do more in our life. It must become our exception. Grace as an exception means that it does not conform to the general rule. It is an allowance for us to stop living in our sin, shame, guilt, regret and past to accept the Love of God that allows us to have more, do more and be more now and forever. We are exempt from the penalty of sin not because God erased it making a line item change but rather Jesus paid for every single thing we do against God’s Word in His Blood. Grace is not a doormat to come and go into the Presence of God. It is the towel handed to a runner along the way that encourages us to keep running the race of faith. God’s Word spells out His Love for us. His Unfailing Love that gave up His Own Son to have all of His Rebellious and Undeserving Children. We must embrace grace by using it as an avenue to success. Love is the difference between an agreement with God and covenant relationship. If you love God, you will love this journey with all its twists and turns along the way. Your love for Him will keep you on the right track and your eyes on Him looking for the way!
Psalm 119:37-38 (MSG)
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way. Affirm your promises to me—promises made to all who fear you.
I know the voice of God. I hear Him speaking to me each day. When I need direction, He gives it to me when I ask for it. I am His Child. He loves me. He doesn’t want to see me struggle. But when I ask and He tells me, He expects me to obey. My daughter comes to me and wants to have a friend spend the night. Okay, she is instructed to go clean her room and then her friend can come over. Simple enough, right. Well, she goes to her room with every intention of cleaning it up so her friend can come over. It’s not a hard task she just needs to do it. She gets a notification on her phone. She picks up the phone and responds to the text message. But wait she gets a Snapchat message from her sister in New Hampshire, okay time for a quick selfie. Hang on! Who is that on Instagram? What is she wearing? Where did she get it? On to the Internet, to do a little quick window shopping to hit mom up. Her diversion is broken when she is called to dinner. The table is set for four. “What about my friend?” she inquires. Did you clean your room? You get the picture. We all do the same thing to the Lord. He tells us exactly what to do – we get distracted and do something else. God’s Word does not change. He is not a man so God doesn’t lie or change His Mind. Every time God speaks to us – we decide how we will respond. Overt disobedience is no different than casual forgetfulness or succumbing to distractions. We just have to do what He says to have everything we need and want we want. He promises to do more than we can even think to ask for when we obey His Word.
God’s Promise is for you. You just need a little blessed reassurance to get that motor of faith going again. God will do exactly what He said that He would do if you will just do what He says. It really is that simple. You cannot get to California from Florida in a car going east or you will end up in the ocean. You must go west because that is the way the road leads. It makes perfect sense – it’s just not always the way that we might want to go. God’s Word for your life is always perfect. It is true. It belongs to you. Could it be so simple as knowing what He says and then just doing it? Lord, turn my eyes from worthless things today and give me life through your Word.
Psalm 119:39-40 (MSG)
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—but what you say is always so good. See how hungry I am for your counsel; preserve my life through your righteous ways!
Faith in God will always promise things in life that are too good to be true. This opens the door to worldly criticism when we decide to step out on faith. Public opinion does not wait for an invitation. We must decide what God says about our life and choose to entertain that and not the commentary of other people. The only one always out for you is the Lord. The only one truly on our side is our Father – God. If you choose to seek godly counsel, make sure it is someone who is prospering in life from the inside out. Don’t look at their blessing but their heart to determine if God is in them not just all around them. God is always good. Our family has been through a lot but I hold to this truth tightly. He will never let the righteous fall but I must be in right standing with Him to have such assurance. God’s Promise is enough to base your life upon. We must be hungry for God’s Counsel but even the starving are not satisfied until they consume their food. We must be consumed in Him. We must seek His Counsel and do what He says if we want all that the Lord has prepared for us and to do in us. There is no other way. When you do, you will find blessed assurance all over again.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight; angels descending, bring from above echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest; watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
(Blessed Assurance, by Fanny Jane Cosby 1873) Oldie but a goodie for sure!