Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Pleasing to God

Reading: Psalm 19: 7-14

Verse 11: “By keeping them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward”.

Verses 7-10 tell of God’s laws, statutes, precepts, and commands. These guide believers in how to live our lives pleasing God. In turn, our lives are better as well. To me, this is the basis of our relationship with God. In reality, all of our relationships are built upon a set of rules or guidelines or understandings. Sometimes these are not written down but are implied or simply understood.

In our earthly relationships, the value of keeping the relationship on good terms has temporal worth. In my most important earthly relationship the phrase “happy wife, happy life” applies in many ways. When my relationships with my wife, kids, boss, congregation, clients, … are good, then all are happy and life is rewarding and blessed. In our heavenly relationship, it is much the same. The psalmist writes, “By keeping them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward”. God’s laws, statutes, precepts, and commands keep us out of trouble and out of toxic situations and are also the path to a rewarding and blessed relationship with God.

In the next few verses, there is an admission that to live in a relationship that is pleasing to God is one that requires help from God. For us, the Holy Spirit augments our efforts to know God by reminding us, by directing us, by convicting us when necessary. The Holy Spirit helps us maintain a good relationship with God.

When all of this is humming along, we can pray verse 14 with confidence. It is a verse that I quote just before preaching. I guess it is more of a request and a hope. As I reflect on it this morning, it occurs to me that it should be a part of my morning prayers every day too. May it be so.

Lord God, your ways are perfect and trustworthy. They bring me joy and life. Remind me if them often so that life is both blessed and is pleasing in your sight. My rock and my redeemer, thank you for your steadfast love, your unwavering understanding, and your endless grace. I love you God! Amen.

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Choose Life

Reading: Deuteronomy 30: 15-20

The Hebrew people are on the brink of the Promised Land.  400 years in slavery in Egypt are not too far in the rear view mirror.  As God’s people began to experience life lived in freedom, God gave them the Ten Commandments.  These commandments gave guidance on how to live in a right relationship with God and with one another.  The commands are both quite simple and also encompass much.  The people have had their struggles living with these ten commandments, so as they prepare to begin a new era, a new way of life, Moses seeks to remind them one last time.  Moses urges them to “choose life” because he knows that living in the land of milk and honey with foreign cultures all around will be a great challenge to the people, to their relationship with God, and to their relationship with one another.

This choice sounds so familiar to me.  Each day when I rise, I can choose to seek God with all of my being and to “walk in His ways”.  It is the choice Moses begins his address with: “I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction”.  On my own, I am prone to temptation and sin.  On those days and in those moments when I do not intentionally choose God, I may not be doomed for immediate death and destruction, but it begins me on that path.  If I do not quickly see the consequences of my poor choices, I can soon find myself “bowing down to other gods”.  It is necessary for me to begin each day choosing to follow God’s ways, seeking to live in right relationships with God and those around me.  When my first few steps and my first few decisions begin with God, then the rest of the day tends to follow.

When we “choose life”, we are blessed by God.  The blessing is not necessarily in financial terms or in any other earthly measure.  The blessing comes in the peace and assurance of being held in God’s eternal hands.  The blessing comes with hope and contentment in this life and in the life to come.  The blessing comes in abiding in God’s love and grace.  This day, what do you choose?