pastorjohnb

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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The Joy of My Heart

Reading: Psalm 119: 105-112

Verse 105: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

The psalmist opens this section of the longest chapter in the Bible with these familiar words.  As one reads, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path”, one can’t help but have the tune come to mind.  The truth that the psalmist writes remains as true today as it was the day he wrote it.  The depth of commitment we hear in the words of our passage is still the depth of commitment that God continues to look for today in each of us who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our life.

The opening line speaks of God’s Word guiding us through life.  A popular acronym for Bible is “basic instructions before leaving earth”.  Spending time daily in the Word continues to be essential to faithful discipleship.  It is so important to spend time each day with our Bibles, meditating on God’s ways and learning more about what it means to follow Jesus.

The psalmist does not tout a blessed and perfect life once he made the choice to make his oath to follow God’s ‘righteous law’.  Instead he admits that his life continues to have suffering and the wicked continue to tempt him.  We too must acknowledge that life is not instantly a bed of roses once we choose to enter a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Life will still have it’s troubles.  There will still be times of pain and anguish and hardship.  But we do not face these alone.  Jesus walks with us through the troubles and trials, bringing us peace and comfort and strength.

Our passage today ends with “your statutes… are the joy of my heart”.  We find the same joy when we choose to allow Jesus’ ways to be our rule for life.  The Law of the Old Testament and the psalmist has been renewed and refreshed by Jesus and the new commandments.  We too must match the psalmist’s commitment to his faith – to live out each and every day as a follower of Jesus Christ – bringing honor and glory to God in all we do and say.  May it be so!


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Exalt and Worship

Reading: Psalm 99: 5-9

In today’s Psalm, we see four aspects of God, each requiring or provoking a response from the faithful.  Each of these aspects of God continue to be a part of our faith today.  Each is essential to a full relationship with God.

Verse five reminds us that God is holy.  In God, there is only good.  In God there cannot be any wrong or evil doing.  It is the spark of the divine in each of us that makes all of humanity have a natural bent towards doing good in the world.  Our response is to exalt the Lord and to worship our God.

Verse six speaks of calling on God.  Moses, Aaron, and Samuel are but a few who called on God.  There are many more who turned to the Lord our God in prayer.  Each came before God with honest and sincere hearts and prayers and “He answered them”.  Our response is to do the same.  We are called to regular communication with God, in the pattern of these great examples.

In verse seven we are prompted to remember God’s statutes and decrees.  The Bible is God’s guidance and directions for how to live as He intends us to live.  Our response remains the same: be obedient to God’s ways.

Verse eight recalls the struggle we all face: sin.  We will all experience temptation and at times we will all sin.  This verse reads, “you were to Israel a forgiving God”.  This remains one of God’s core characteristics.  God loves His children and constantly seeks to restore us to a right relationship with Him.  Because of this desire, our God is a loving, merciful, forgiving God.

Verse nine contains our response.  It is a reminder of what this passage opened with.  In light of all that God is, the psalmist again calls us to exalt and worship the Lord our God.  May our lives today be filled with our praise of God, worshipping the Lord our God in all we do and say and think this day.


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Our Rock and Redeemer

God is perfect.  Therefore we find perfection in His laws and in all of His ways.  The psalmist extols the laws’ benefits – it revives the soul, makes the simple wise, and makes the heart rejoice.  Benefits come from living under the law.  The psalmist recognizes his own imperfection and acknowledges that God does not expect perfection from us either.

The ways of God are valuable and important to life.  To the psalmist they are as valuable as pure gold and as sweet as honey.  For us as well there are benefits from following God’s statutes.  They give us both guidance and protection.  Life is smoother and within a peaceful contentment more often when we seek to follow His ways.  Yet we cannot always follow all of His laws and the psalmist admits this as well.

The psalmist goes beyond this admission as he asks God to find his hidden faults too.  The obvious sins are just that.  But we sometimes sin in ways that we do not even realize and he is asking for forgiveness for these as well.  Perhaps these are things like the missed opportunity we did not even see or the words that hurt another unbeknownst to us.  We too need what the psalmist asks for – forgiveness from sins and protection against future sins.

The psalmist closes with a popular and well-known prayer: “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Today, may this be our prayer.  May the words in our mouths and in our minds be acceptable to God.  May all of our thoughts and ideas honor God.  And may we find rest, peace, comfort, and love in the Lord, our rock and our redeemer.

Scripture reference: Psalm 19: 7-14