Day 10: The Rest

“REST in the Lord, and wait patiently for him …” Psalm 37:7

Rest is such a beautiful word! It is a word that words cannot adequately describe, can they? I believe what makes it so beautiful is the picture that is painted when it is thought or spoken. I am by far not a beach type person for swimming, playing in the water, building sand castles … getting sunburnt … or even walking along the beach at sunset. Now, do not write me off yet! I have beautiful thoughts of beaches that we free of people, shiny, smooth sand and crystal blue waters. Oh, and a nice shady spot to catch the gentle breeze where I can relax with a tall, iced glass of tea. Now that is my style of beach!

I do not believe that was exactly what David had in mind when he wrote this verse though. I believe that he was wanting us to see this rest as a musical rest. You may not be musically inclined. Personally, I know enough to get me by on one hand and not enough to cause a major disaster on the other hand. I probably should have had my sister write this devotional instead of me. But, in music, there is a thing that is known as a rest. In it’s most literal sense, it is a pause or a span of time where all is silent. There is no music. There is no noise. I believe this is what David is wanting us to see here.

Without those spans of silence in music, many adverse things happen. The music loses its beauty. It feels rushed and   over-full. It feels endless. It brings weariness and fatigue (burn out). It brings dizziness and disarray. Can you now see why David wants us to know that we must rest?

Not only are we to rest, but David said that we are to “rest [be silent to] the Lord.” You know quite well as a parent how annoying and aggravating a non-silent child is, correct? They are moving and making noise from the moment that they get up out of bed until they go to bed that night. They do not seem to weary, but it sure makes you weary and wears on your nerves and energy stores. That is when you wish that they were your grandchildren so that you can send them home so that you can have some peace and quiet, am I right?

I am learning … age is a great educator … that times of rest are a very important part of my personal life, my health and my ministry to my Lord and Savior. Matthew 11:28 so clearly reminds us of what we are to do … “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Those silent spans in music were not invented by man. They were invented by God as a reminder to us that we need to rely on His strength and His timing. They are times that are not to be rushed. No, we are to keep the same timing during those rests. For those of us who have deceived ourselves into believing that we must be in motion 24/7 in the ministry, this is a very hard … but necessary … thing.

Rest in the Lord, my friend! Wait patiently upon Him! Resting time is not wasting time.

Day 9: The Light

“And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the LIGHT, and thy judgment as the noonday.” Psalm 37:6

What is light? If I were to define it without looking up the definition, I would define it as the absence of darkness. For where there is light, there is no darkness. Am I correct? If we were to go with this definition, where can we find light … spiritual light? Well, John tells us in I John 1:5, “that God is LIGHT, and in him is no darkness at all.”

If we turned to Acts 26, we would see the story of Saul on the road to Damascus. What happened that day? A bright light shone forth, did it not? It tells us in verse 13, that it was midday, yet a light brighter than the midday sun, a light that shone from heaven shone down on Saul and those with him. God told Saul that He had a new purpose (verse 16) for him from that day forward. Saul was now to be a witness and a minister to others about that heavenly light in whom “is no darkness at all.” His witness would “open their eyes, and … turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of  Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins …” (verse 18).

Philip Bliss wrote a hymn in the mid 1800’s that we still sing today from our hymnals. It is entitled, The Light of the World is Jesus. I believe that David is referring to the true Light of the world … the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, I believe too that David is wanting us to realize that we as Christians have a responsibility also to shed forth that true Light.

Can you see David now musing about that true Light? Here are two things that I believe he realized about that Light:

· He is the Only Light that brings salvation as we see in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

· His Light is a pure light … a sinless Light … as we see in II Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Notice in the latter part of II Corinthians 5:21 the purpose why God had His Only Son … His sinless Son … to be made sin for us … “that WE might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in him.” Did you catch the word righteousness here? Now, look back to the beginning of our verse today in Psalm 37. What does it say? “And he shall bring forth THY RIGHTEOUSNESS as the LIGHT …” Whose righteousness? Ours … yours and mine!

Let me try to bring all of this together. The reason Christ’s light shines so brightly in a world of darkness and sin is because of His RIGHTEOUSNESS! He not only is righteous (morally right), but He is holy (dedicated to God)! Christ came as an example, did He not? He wanted us to follow in His footsteps. He knew that His days on earth were numbered and so He left His footprints for us to follow. He wanted His righteousness to shine through your life and my life to a lost and dying world. How is your light, my friend? Has it become dull with apathy, criticism, judgment, jealousy, unfaithful, unholy, selfishness, or pride? Does the wick need to be trimmed with the help of the Holy Spirit? Does your light plead with the darkness to “come to the light, ‘tis shining for thee?” It should, my friend! It should!

Day 8: The Commitment

“COMMIT thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.” Psalm 37:5

When a person first gets saved, what book of the Bible are they typically encouraged to start reading? Psalms, right? Why Psalms? For one thing, the book of Psalms does not contain all of those long genealogies that we cannot pronounce even half correctly and that we like to mumble through when called to read them out loud in Sunday School or church. Am I the only one who does this? For another, the chapters (for the most part) are short and the individual verses tend to contain whole thoughts so long attention spans are not required to grasp the thought or principle that is being brought forth.

This verse actually has three thoughts (parts) going on here. I am not sure how far we will get today, but let us start with the first thought … and more specifically, the first word … commit. Boy, I do not even have to define this yet and I have       already gotten my spiritual toes stepped on. Ouch! Why did David have to start this verse so bluntly?

To commit means the state of being dedicated to a cause. To be fully committed, it takes a cause. Now, I know it is going to sound like I am running a rabbit trail here, but bear with me as I bring these thoughts together for us to more clearly see what David wants us to understand.

I wonder if David was reflecting back to I Samuel 17 when he wrote this verse? (Now I am musing!) Because the very first thing that popped into my thoughts when I read the definition was I Samuel 17:29 when David replied to his brother, Eliab, saying, “What have I now done? Is there not a cause?” I hear a little exasperation there, did you hear it too? David is telling his brother, “Now what have I done?! Can I not do anything right in your eyes?” But, David did not leave it at that. He questioned his brother further, saying, “Is there not a cause?” In other words, “Is there not a good reason why I am questioning your sanity and the sanity of the entire army of Israel for fleeing and cowering from fighting this Philistine who just happens to be a giant (verse 25)? Do we not serve and fight for a living God (verse 26)?”

Do you and I not easily forget when facing our giants that we also serve and fight for a living God? We do! Therein lies our cause, does it not? Now if we only had the commitment and dedication to that cause like David did! He did not let fear enter the equation. Instead, what did he do? He “commit[ed] [his] way unto the LORD; [he] trusted also in [God]; and [God]” brought about the victory that day … over a GIANT, my friend! It was not a teeny, tiny mouse. It was something that no human had the strength to do on their own. But … there was a cause and there was a commitment! Hallelujah!

Does this make you see this verse in a completely different light? It does me. I had always understood this verse to say that I needed to “commit” aka tell God what I saw as my path … and then trust in Him to make it happen. But, how wrong I was! That is not at all what David is telling us here. You and I, my friend, need to commit ourselves anew unto the cause of Christ … trust Him to equip us, trust Him to take away our fear of the giants looming in the forefront, and trust Him to give us the victory today! He is able! My God is able!

Day 7: The Desire

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the DESIRES of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

I love word studies! Do you? I have been saved for decades … and you probably have too. We reach a point in our Christian lives where living for God becomes mundane. Going to church becomes mundane. Praying becomes mundane. Reading the Bible becomes mundane. We have been to church so many times, heard so many messages preached, and quoted scripture so much that we can now do it backward and in our sleep! Is not this exactly where the devil wants to find you and me?

This is where word studies become your best friend. It is important to read our Bibles and it is important to study our  Bibles … those are two very different things … that a word study would reveal to us. But, the most important thing is what we do to live and obey God’s Word.

I am an analytical, detailed person to begin with, so it is very disconcerting to me when someone tells me to do something, but does not clearly explain (aka draw a picture for me of) how to do it. My husband is the king of following verbal directions when driving. Me … ummm, can we skip that part? I am the queen of details … in black and white! I love black and white, what about you? We have a running joke in our house that if I were kidnapped, I would not need to be blindfolded because I would not be able to find my way back … without a map! #truestory

David finished telling us yesterday that we are to bring delight to ourselves through bringing delight to our LORD. I am so glad that you came back today because now we get to finish David’s musings on this thought! Yay! Are you excited? I am!

I am so glad that David took the hard road, aka the school of hard knocks, so that he could teach us a thing or two. Today we will look at the second “D” word in this verse and that is desire. Before we jump the gun on defining it from our mental perception, let me share what the dictionary says it means. Desire can actually be used as a verb or a noun … and both mean virtually the same thing … to strongly wish or want something.

Too often this verse is taken apart and focus and emphasis is put on the second part … about God giving us the desires of our hearts. This is all nice and fluffy feeling. But, when we do this, we totally lose the thought and intent of what David is trying to tell us … that when we are delighting ourselves in the LORD and bringing delight to Him, He is going to give us new desires (II Corinthians 5:17). These desires will match up with His Word and with His desires for us.

Have you ever prayed to God for something? You desired it so much that you fervently and frequently cried out to Him to fulfill that desire? I have. What happened? He fulfilled HIS desire of what HE wanted to accomplish in my life! Guess what? It was exactly what I desired, just not in the form that I desired (thought it would be). Is not that just like a father to know better than his child what form is best? Bring delight to Him, my friend, and watch Him fulfill His promise of fulfilling His desires in your life!

Day 6: The Delight

“DELIGHT thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give
thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4

Do you remember from several years ago when I did a 31 day mini-devotional series on “The Deadly D’s?” Well, I could not leave you in the deep doldrums of despair forever, so I ended up writing a 31 day mini-devotional series on “The    Dynamic D’s.” Ahh, such a more up-lifting series!

When you hear the word delight, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Be honest! Shall I be honest too? Chocolate DELIGHT! Can you tell that I love chocolate (the real kind … not the fake dollar store kind)? I also love baking and I love desserts. So, if I had to choose a favorite dessert, it would be this one!

What I am actually looking for here are answers that define the word delight. To delight in something is to be greatly pleased with or satisfied in. As a verb, it brings excitement and even captivates. As a noun, we see joy and happiness. Now there is a word that we need to study one day soon … happiness. Social media is over-flowing with quotes and writings on making yourself happy. YOU deserve happiness … so the world likes to tell us.

Did you notice, in our verse, the word that follows delight? It says to “delight THYSELF.” If only this verse stopped right there then we all would be happy, right? Why is self happiness such a scarcity today? Why do we see plastered all over social media encouragement to make yourself happy? Do you find it hard to make yourself happy? Personally, I find it pretty easy. Why? Because I know what pleases me and my sinful flesh LOVES to bring delight to self.

But, David did not stop there. No, David, kept going. I believe that David had already learned first hand about bringing delight to his sinful flesh, did he not? He had already been down that road and learned the hard way that bringing delight to ones flesh is very short lived … and carries many consequences. Moses also learned that the pleasures of sin only lasted for a season (Hebrews 11:25).

I believe that David clarified himself here, not only as a reminder to himself, but as a testimony and warning to others who followed behind him.  For he did not stop with only two words, but went on to say in whom we are ultimately to bring delight to … and that was to our LORD. Do you remember Him? Your Yahweh. Your mighty One.

As we close for today, I wanted to bring out one more thought that has stuck in my mind regarding this phrase. David is telling us to bring delight to ourselves … through bringing delight to our LORD (this is the key). This should not be a hard task for those of us who are saved. Why is this? Because we should already know what pleases our LORD. Am I not correct? As a Christian, we should already be spending time with our LORD in prayer, in church, in Bible reading, and in studying of His Word. How else can we know what brings delight to Him? There is no other way!

If you find yourself struggling with delight (joy and happiness) in your life, my friend, maybe it is time to take David’s advice and start delighting and bringing delight to our LORD! It is not too late! Start today!

Day 5: The Trust

“TRUST in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in
the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” Psalm 37:3

The word trust appears 188 times in the Kings James Bible. Twenty-five of those say “trust in the LORD” or “trusting in the LORD.” What is the significance of the number? I have no idea. But I do know that He must want us to trust Him if He even mentions it only one time. So, let us trust Him today, my friend!

Trust means to believe in something; have confidence in something. Trust may be easily defined, but trust is not easily practiced. Putting feet to our trust or our faith in God is not always an easy thing. What are some areas that you struggle with a full and complete trust in God in? Is it your finances? Or maybe your health? What about your marriage or your wayward or rebellious child? Could it be your time or maybe even your talents? The question is, “Can you completely trust God in all things?” The answer is, “Yes! You can!”

David goes on to tell us who we are to trust in … and it is not self and it is not man, as we are made to so readily believe! We are to “trust in the LORD.” Did you notice the capitalization of LORD? Do you remember what that means? It means Yahweh … a very sacred form of God. We are not to trust in just any lord, but THE LORD. Our Yahweh. Our mighty God.

I have lived my entire life in ministry. I grew up as a missionary and preacher’s kid. I married a preacher, who for the first 6 years of our marriage served as an assistant pastor. Then for the past 23 years, we have been missionaries. Does this make me special or a super Christian? Most definitely not! I am just as human as the next person. I have my faults and failures … I too have my trust issues … so please do not look too closely or you may find more than you wanted to find.

In ministry, there are a myriad of things that one must trust the LORD for. One of these is finances. You learn quickly in ministry that money does not grow on trees … if you find the person who started this lie, I mean rumor, please let me know! Another thing that you learn quickly is that money has dry seasons and sometimes those dry seasons run on for endless amounts of time … I believe, they must have roots in South Texas! Sadly, money is also fickle. It cannot always be trusted.

I was chatting with someone the other day and the subject came up about money and ministry. Their support was dwindling due to their age … not their activity level. I encouraged them with this very verse … “TRUST in the LORD, and [continue; do not give up on] do[ing] good; so shalt thou [continue to live and minister and] dwell in the land [where God has called you to], and verily [without a doubt] thou shalt be fed [by the very hand of your LORD, your YAHWEH].”

One thing is for certain. No matter our walk of life, we will have many opportunities to either trust the LORD completely or not to trust Him. What are you needing to trust the LORD completely in, my friend? Please take it to Him! He will never fail you. NEVER!

Day 4: The Envious

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be
thou ENVIOUS against the workers of iniquity.” Psalm 37:1

Boy, are we going to have fun today! Are you ready? Are you jumping up and down with glee? Well, maybe not. Be that as it may, let us begin by looking at the definition of envy. Envy means a feeling of discontent or resentment towards someone else’s possessions, qualities or even their apparent fortune.

Envy is both a noun and a verb. As a noun, envy is a person, a place, or a thing. Envy is quite literally a real thing. It is the real deal, my friend! It is not something that we can just sweep under the rug for our convenience or for “out of sight, out of mind.” No. It is real. Not only is it real, but it is alive and very active in your life and my life today. How do I know? Because, remember I said that it is also a verb … an action verb no less … one that is acting and active (alive and well).

Now, there are a lot of things to be envious of … your friend’s new car, her bi-weekly manicure and pedicure, her bi-monthly hair style and color or highlight, her abundant checking and savings account, her perfect, well-mannered children, and the list is so very endless, is it not?

So, if there are all of these things and more, why did David not address them in this verse? Why choose being “envious against the workers of iniquity?” Well, maybe there is more here than meets the eye.

Look at Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Envious of the foolish [lacking good sense; unwise]? Who? Moi?! Are you speaking to me, David?  Apparently so. Why would I be envious of someone who is unwise? Because my eyes have gotten off of God and have taken on the form of flesh. Why else would we be envious of someone who is foolish?

The same thing happened to Adam and Eve in the Garden, did it not? They got their eyes off of God and before you know it, they are envious of a tree!? Where did that one sin lead them, it took them to partaking of the fruit, it took them to blaming others for their sin, it took them to following the devil, it took them away from their fellowship with God, it took them farther into sin (to where they tried to hide it and cover it), and it took them to the place of chastisement from a righteous and holy God.

Let us not excuse ourselves too quickly here. I realize that the word envy is not a common word used today. I mean, who of us say, “I envy that person”? No one that I know. Do you know of anyone? No? I do know people who say that they are jealous of someone else though. Jealous is an adverb that describes envy … they are basically one and the same. They are a pair. They come together.

Solomon shared his wisdom on this topic … “Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long.” Proverbs 23:17 Let us heed this wise advice today!

Day 3: The Evildoer

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou
envious against the workers of iniquity.” Psalm 37:1

This month we will be focusing on this chapter in the book of Psalm. The entire book of Psalms is a comfort and encouragement to us as Christians, but this chapter is especially rich with many golden nuggets for us to glean from. I can picture David now sitting before his keyboard pondering what to share in this chapter. We find that his musings drew him down a long, winding path that day.

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, writers often will share their story … or at the least, their particular style will be   evident. This is the way that David wrote. He had his own style of writing and more often than not, he shared his personal experiences. Personal life experiences can be complete game changers in our lives as Christians. It has been said that we cannot live long enough to learn everything so we must also learn from the lives of others. So, let us see what we can learn from David today!

First, let us look at the word evildoer. The word is a compound word. What is a compound word? Two words put together but when separated mean a completely different thing. Well, that is good to know! So how do we apply it to this word? Well, we do not. Why? Because that rule would not apply here. The definition of evildoer is a person who commits       immoral or wrong deeds. What are the definitions of evil and doer? Evil is what is immoral or wrong. A doer is a person that acts upon something or simply does something. So an evil doer would mean the exact same thing as evildoer does! Interesting!

In this day and age, we have become very proficient with words, have we not? We can make them sound like whatever we want them to sound like with no regards to what we really mean or whether we even mean them or not. “Are we  going to see you in Sunday School on Sunday?” “Yes.” But, then you never show up. Does this sound familiar? So, even a simple three letter word can make us into an evildoer. No matter what we say, our actions will always speak louder! They will always show the truth in our hearts and minds. Beware, my friend!

What else do we see in this verse? “Fret not.” Did David have to be so blunt … especially at the very beginning? Could he not have watered it down a bit to make it easier to swallow? Evidently he could not. So, that leaves it in our ballcourt to digest and to put into practice. This is a hard one. I tend to be a worrier and over-analyze everything. When it comes to those doing evil around and to me, it does not help make it any easier either.

I tend to worry over the why. “Why are these people like this to me, God?” “Why do you not judge them, God?” “Why do they get away with acting and treating me like this, God?” “Why, why, why?!” Is this ringing a bell? Maybe you and I need to find our faces on the ground in prayer today asking God to take all the worry and fret from our thoughts and our hearts. Instead, let us find peace through our obedience … “fret not.” Let us find hope and rest in God’s promise … “for evildoers shall be cut off …” Psalm 37:9 Amen!

Day 2: The Psalm

Throughout the book of Psalms, David’s struggles become very real, do they not? David is very open and very blunt, if you will. Many of the Psalms begin with questions expressing his grief and his struggle with different things in his life. Psalm 2 begins with “Why do the heathen rage …?” Psalm 3 “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me!” Psalm 4 “Hear me when I call, O God …” and even Psalm 13 “How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever?”

Did you notice something here? David is teaching some very important lessons for you and I as Christians. Let us take a closer look at some of these:

1. David’s grievance was not public. It did not say that he was crying to his neighbors, the milk man or the world-wide web via Facebook and other social media. No, my friend. He was crying out to his Lord and his God. How often do you and I get ahead of ourselves and air our dirty laundry for (literally) the whole world to see and know? It makes us feel good, right? We have everyone jumping in to console and agree with us. Before we know it, our heads are so big that we cannot even walk through the doorway … at least that is what I have been told before! If you find me in this place, please kindly stop and say a prayer for me!

      Please do not take me wrong. But I truly believe that if I bring everything to Him first, and my pastor or a close confidante second to pray with me about, things work out for the better. I find that there is no need to publicize my grief, but instead I can publicize my rejoicing for help that I received from the Almighty. I am in no way saying that we are not to grieve and that no one can know about it. But what I am saying is, we too often get it out of order. Be   careful, my friend! If we want God to take care of our problems, let us go to Him first! Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God …”

2. David was honest with God. How many times have we tried to hide things from God? What we have done? Our    feelings? When did we forget that God sees and knows all things? “… the Lord looketh on the heart.” I Samuel 16:7

      In this honesty, we see also how we are to pray to God. Prayer is simply talking to God, is it not? Did David use fancy words? Did he plan out his sentences so that they flowed just right? No, but he did open his heart wide open and talked openly and honestly about his feelings.

3. David’s sorrows turned into rejoicing. Have you noticed in a number of the Psalms that David wrote that he started out sharing his groanings and before the chapter was finished, he was sharing his rejoicings? He started out focused on self and ended up focused on God! Wow! How great a lesson this would be for you and I to learn? There is no good found in self or man. The only good found on this earth is found in Him!

Have you found yourself in a public place? Have you forgotten that God not only sees, but He cares and He does answer prayers? Pleasures can be found in seeking man’s approval or building self up to a higher place. Those are only temporary though, my friend! God wants you to experience the permanent! Go to Him first!

Day 1: The Writer

“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known
and read of all men.” II Corinthians 3:2

I am not sure that I was born a writer and I did not start writing as soon as I could. No. When it comes to writing, I am a late bloomer. Not as late as some, but definitely later than most! Why did I become a writer? Well, I have written ladies Bible study lessons before and even girls Sunday School lessons. But it was not until a year and a half ago that I dedicated myself to writing a devotional every day.

For a writer, writing can be an easy thing. It will just flow. It will also hit you at the most inopportune times … like sitting in the church pew and your fingers are itching to get to a keyboard as the thoughts and verses flow freely from something that the pastor has said. Yes, I have found myself in this place a time or two! I have also found that “writer’s block” is a very live thing and not just a figment of my imagination. Yikes! Yes, it is for real!

When pondering and seeking God’s direction for the devotions this month, I will be honest and say, that nothing was  coming up. Oh, I have plenty of themes running through my head, and I even have them on paper. But, none were     jumping out at me. Then a friend shared Psalm 37 with me and my analytical mind kicked into gear.  My mind immediately begins to calculate … here are 40 verses in this chapter and there are 30 days in June. Can I squeeze 30 devotions out of just this one chapter? Well, I guess we shall find out because here we are!

Who is the writer of Psalm 37? David is. Out of the 150 Psalms, David is known to have written anywhere from 73-85 of them. So, we can say, with close accuracy, that David wrote half of the book of Psalms. Even though David takes the lead in the book of Psalms, he is not the most written in the Bible. Paul holds that title.

I will be speaking to a ladies group in North Texas the beginning of June and then an older ladies Sunday School class later in June in Indiana. If the Lord allows, I will also be speaking in one session at a Christian Writer’s Workshop at our church in August. Since I like to plan ahead, I have already been thinking and praying about what to speak on and God is definitely starting to “stir the waters” (this is my favorite phrase these days)!

Where do most writer’s ideas and content come from? From knowledge, am I right? I like to follow some bloggers and devotionists and I have thought to myself before, “How in the world do they come up with all that content?” Well, now that I also write, I know how. They read, they learn, and they experience. They do not just makeup things … unless maybe if they are writing fiction, but even that has an element of truth or fact to it.

Whether you realize it or not, you are a writer. Every single day of your life, you are writing a story for others to read. As I thought about David as a writer, I wondered if he ever realized that God would one day use him to write so much of the Scripture that we have today? What about you, my friend? Is your story something that God can use to reach others? How far-reaching will your story be?