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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 23:6’

Hope and Optimism

January 6th, 2017

You crown the year with Your goodness; Your paths drip with abundance.” Psalm 65:11

Optimism is the language of hope.

My thoughts and comments today are about “hope and optimism.”

God’s Word holds so much promise for this time of year. Optimism hears God’s whisper in your heart that your past need be no predictor of your future. Optimism is the language of hope. Let the New Year reflect your hope, not your tears. Tears express yesterday’s disappointment; hope affirms the promises and providence God holds for your future.

My thoughts have been drawn to the Psalmist David’s declaration of hope, “You crown the year with Your goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance . . the pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered with grain; they shout for joy, they also sing.” Read Psalm 65:9-13 NKJV. Take a moment and re-read those verses, deliberately and thoughtfully. A more contemporary translation reads, “What a rich harvest your goodness provides! Wherever you go there is plenty.” Psalm 65:11 TEV.

Pause and reflect over what King David wrote. He joins the past, present, and future and rejoices that amid all, God is generously benevolent. I love David’s poetic imagery. The year – every single day of it – is crowned, adorned with the faithfulness and goodness of God. Prophetically, David declares that his and your journey throughout the year, “overflows with abundance.” David further describes God as the One, “Bless the Lord, o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the Lord o my soul and forget not all of His benefits . . Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things.” Read Psalm 103:1-5 NKJV. Out of His goodness, God, “heals . . forgives . . redeems . . crowns . . satisfies.” There is consistency in the nature and character of God.

Deliberation at the close of a year and the fresh beginnings of a new year can be beneficial when appraising the recent past; a lovely place to visit, not a place to dwell. Whatever your previous experience, God has even better things ahead for you. Embracing and rejoicing in God’s provision is your righteous response to God’s goodness. David had no doubts; the goodness of God was assured and unchanging. “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 NLT.

A New Year can be, and should be, a freshly hopeful season for you. But a change of calendar alone is inadequate to accomplish that. Whatever your circumstances, I do know that all things didn’t always go the way you planned last year. They never do. Expectations are rarely as you hope. Relationships seldom endure as you would like. Explanations rarely come when you expect. But God will be as He has promised to be. Your past is settled in grace; the present is safely in His care; your future is secure in His providence and, “crowned with goodness.”         

Praying for a Blessed and Graced New Year for you.

Christian Communications 2016

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Being Merciful

February 12th, 2014

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NKJV.

Mercy is a grace given when you have every right and reason to not do so.

My thoughts and comments today are about “being merciful.”

Who has not needed mercy – from God and others? None is without need of mercy. In our continuing study of the Beatitudes, we have considered Jesus’ teaching of an exemplary life as “being real, compassionate, submissive, and satisfied.” Let’s go a bit further. (5) “Being Merciful.” To those who live mercifully, God’s mercy abounds. Jesus taught, “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7 NKJV.

Mercy is an attribute of God. David praises God 26 times in 26 verses, “For His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136. The Bible describes the justice of God as, “by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation,” but also a merciful God, “Who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.” Numbers 14:18/Deuteronomy 7:9 NKJV. Iniquity may endure several generations but God’s mercy extends, “for a thousand generations.” James celebrates this: “Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13 NKJV. You are most like God when you show mercy.

Mercy recognizes a generous grace from God, sovereignly and through others. Jesus firmly established the application of “sowing and reaping” in His teaching, “. . those who are merciful, they will be shown mercy.” We have all commonly received His mercy. “The Lord is abounding in mercy . . He has not dealt with us according to our sins . . For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.” Read Psalm 103:8-13 NKJV. See also Ephesians 2:4-6/1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV.

Mercy is the fitting expression of compassion and generosity of spirit.  See Micah 6:8 NKJV. Being merciful is the grace of an unexpected charity when you have every right and reason to not do so. God gives a wonderful promise, “. . they will be shown mercy.” In the matter of being merciful, Jesus applies the Biblical principle of “sowing and reaping.” First, you should give in the manner and measure you’ve received. “Give as freely as you have received.” Matthew 10:8 NLT. Secondly, you are promised to receive in the manner and measure you’ve given. “Whatever measure you use in giving, it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” Luke 6:38 NLT.

While often quoted in reference to financial giving, Jesus was speaking of far more practical exchanges: social and relational interactions, such as judging, criticizing, and forgiving. The principle of either giving or receiving may not prove true every time for you when it depends on people, but both are eternally reliable with God; so don’t keep score.

Along with David, I rejoice that, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life . . He who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him.” Psalm 23:6/ Psalm 32:10 NKJV. Being merciful today is a small price for such magnificent gifts everyday. But with God’s promise comes a sobering warning; “Judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy.” James 2:13 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you generously give others what God has given you.

 

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Invigorating People

January 28th, 2013

Joy is an emotional energy that elevates positive emotions in others.

“In Your presence is fullness of joy.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV.

People enjoy being around others whose joy is contagious, people who are invigorating. An invigorating person is optimistic, expecting good things. They enjoy the company of others and reciprocate with kindness and appreciation. They are adventurous, exploring and discovering, and joyfully sharing what they find. They are happily inclusive. My wife is one of those; a plaque given her by a friend describes her and others like her, “Be careful or she will include you in her plans.”

Invigorating people do not live in the past. They have learned that yesterdays are unchangeable and the future is unknowable, so they enjoy the moment. Invigorating people carry only the best out of yesterdays, not forecasting trouble for tomorrow, but appreciating every enjoyment today allows them. Invigorating people anticipate God’s goodness; like David their expectation is, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 NKJV.

Joy is an emotional energy that elevates positive emotions in everyone around you. Joy is not a mystical feeling of good will. Enduring joy is only found in right relationship with God. “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for ever more.” Psalm 16:11 NKJV. Some people are just not fun to be around. They don’t know how to have fun, but they sure know how to stop it. I remember my Dad saying, “Everyone has the ability to make others happy, some when they come and others when they go.” You can choose which one you wish to be. I want to be a person others are glad to see come.

A person’s attitudes and assumptions can deplete you, draining optimism and discouraging aspirations. Worse than not invigorating you, they drain energy from you. They leave you a little less, not more, after their company. Choose people whose company and conversation replenish you. Speaking with them or being around them, or just recalling fond memories with them, can boost your spirits and rekindle your joy.

The best way to find such friends is to be the kind of friend that you want to have. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,”is Godly advice. Some days, life can take so much out of a person; be someone who replenishes life in others. Lift the spirits of people around you. People who lift yours will be drawn to you. Never expect others to give more than you give; it just doesn’t happen. Expend yourself for others and you will find how much others extend themselves to you.

Jesus accompanied two disciples to Emmaus. Afterward, they realized, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us and opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32 NIV. That describes Jesus well, and the invigorating people who know Him. Be more like Jesus. Let the Word of God – its truth and your joy – invigorate you and encourage others. See 2 Corinthians 3:2-3 NIV. Leave others with burning hearts, rather than heartburn.

My prayer for you today is: be invigorated by Jesus, refreshing others around you.

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Grace So Amazing

November 18th, 2011

“We have all benefited from . . one gracious blessing after another.” John 1:16 NLT

“Grace comes to you with no strings attached, reflecting God’s character not your conduct.”

My thoughts today are about “grace so amazing.”

It is frighteningly easy to take daily blessings for granted, as though they are somehow earned and deserved. Sometimes, we are quick to note what we think we should have and don’t, slower to recognize so much we do have beyond what we deserve. Such a lapse of recognition has deadening effect on one’s sense of appreciation. Have you done a blessing inventory lately? Take a moment now.

You have more for which to be grateful than you imagine. Life and love alone would be enough, yet God has given you so much more – salvation, His presence, direction, provision, forgiveness, protection – and then consider also the kindness and goodwill of family and friends who provide you companionship, regard, counsel, assistance, availability, and more.

Yet something in human nature seems averse to feeling indebted. Indebted means obligated, and that is not comfortable for most. We seem to prefer believing that what we receive has been fairly gained by our own efforts, abilities, and hard work. But much of that would not come our way with the grace of God and the generosity of others.

In the familiar shepherd’s Psalm, David affirms “Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6 NLT. That confidence was David’s expectation, not because he could demand or earn goodness and mercy, but exactly because he received such from the benevolent hand of God. Long ago, I heard someone define goodness as “receiving what you could not have deserved,” and mercy as “not receiving what you did and do deserve!” I have experienced both in boundless measure, but the latter has been needed most. Along with King David, with both faith and flaws, I too rejoice in the blessings of goodness and mercy from God and others. More than that, I depend upon those for the well-being I enjoy!

“For out of Christ’s fullness we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another, and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing, and even favor upon favor, and gift [heaped] upon gift. For while the Law was given through Moses, grace [unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing] and truth came through Jesus Christ.” John 1:16-17 Amplified Bible. When you learn of grace so amazing does your heart expand with joy and thankfulness? It should!

God’s grace comes to you with no strings attached; what He does and gives is not at all the result of who you are. God’s response toward you of “one grace after another” is God being true to His character, not His rewarding your conduct. “The Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly before Him . . much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through . . Jesus Christ.” Psalm 84:11/Romans 5:17 NKJV. I close my comments today with the words closing the New Testament and summing up all that was written before them, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is this: experience and express the sufficiency of God’s grace.

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Forever

August 27th, 2010

“I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Ps 23:6 NLT

“There is a discomfort of disconnection when a person lives apart from God, and knows it.”

My thoughts today are about “forever.”

We are such slaves of time that we cannot really envision forever. Forever seems an exaggeration, an impossibility. Everything that we know has an end. The clock and calendar rule our daily lives, but the Bible encourages awareness of the limits of time. “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.” Psalm 90:12 Living Bible. That is the case for now; everything has a life span – “a time to be born and a time to die.” Ecclesiastes 3:2 NIV. But that will not always be your reality. God has so much more for you, and what He has will be forever!

Have you read about the American Monarch Butterfly, maybe one of the most beautiful of its kind? Because they cannot survive the cold, they migrate up to 2,500 miles each year, south or west for their warm, winter hibernation. From east of the Rocky Mountains, they migrate south to Mexico. From west of the Rockies, they migrate every year to Pacific Grove, CA. When they migrate, oddly enough they return to the same California Eucalyptus trees each and every year, even though they are the fourth generation of the previous year’s Monarchs.

God has put a “permanent, eternal address” inside you to guide you home as well. You and I were born for eternity not for time, for fellowship not separation from God. Solomon understood this when he wrote, “God has planted eternity in the human heart.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT. That is why there is a discomfort of disconnection when a person is apart from God and knows it. Can you even imagine what it would be like apart from the Source of life forever?

There is a “permanent, eternal address” that God placed in every human spirit, drawing the soul homeward, just as the Monarch Butterflies instinctively return to Pacific Grove, or geese migrate south each winter, or salmon swim upstream to spawn where they were hatched, or swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, CA, each March from Argentina, returning in October.

The Bible contrasts two kinds of people – those who know the Lord and those who do not – “All (some) think about is this life here on earth. But we are citizens of Heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for Him to return as our Savior. He will take these weak mortal bodies of ours and change them into glorious bodies like His own, using the same mighty power that He will use to conquer everything everywhere.” Philippians 3:19-21 NLT. Which do you want to describe you?

I love this quote; “The greatest calamity is not to feel far from home when you are, but to feel right at home when you’re not.” In the human spirit is a God-placed, spiritual knowledge that this world is not your final home. Stop acting like it is, settling in and making plans as though it were. Home is where you will truly experience what forever is all about!

David said, “The Lord is my Shepherd . . I will live in the house of the Lord forever!” David did not think of “the house of the Lord” so much as a specific place; he longingly spoke of that as a special presence – “In My Father’s house . . I go to prepare a place for you . . and I will receive you unto myself, that where I am there you may be also.” John 14:1-3. See Psalm 27:3-4 NIV. You will be forever with God!

My prayer for you today is that you value what is forever more than what is for now.

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