Blessed

Psalm 119:1 – “Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord.”

I don’t know about you, but when I think about those who walk with God, I think about spiritual giants. I think about Elijah, walking along the road and then being escorted into heaven by a flaming chariot. I think about Enoch, another man who tasted not death, but was brought into the very presence of God. I think about Abraham and that burning bush experience that left him changed forever, and began a new path of walking with God. I think about David, the man after God’s own heart. But, Brian? No, I don’t think about Brian. And, I wish that I did.

I want to be a man who is known for walking with the Lord. I want to be known as a man who walks according to the law of the Lord. I began my spiritual journey of mediating on a verse in Psalm 119 each day for the next 176 days, this morning.

Today’s verse is a tough one. It’s about more than just walking with God. It’s about being a person whose ways are blameless. And, how does one do that? I don’t know about you, but blameless isn’t a word that I use to describe myself.

And, maybe that’s the point. Maybe what the Psalmist is trying to tell us is that none of us are blameless. And, maybe that’s why the hope of a Messiah, and our assurance that Christ is the Messiah is so beautiful. We, who desperately needed a Savior, have one. And, through Him, and through His forgiveness we can experience the walk of the blameless. We, who are far from blameless can be viewed as blameless before a Holy God.

That’s what a relationship with Christ does. So, if we look at Psalm 119:1 backwards, we end with the word “blessed.” And that’s what I am.

I am not blameless in my eyes. I am not one who walks in the law of the Lord. I try. But, I fail so often. But, I am blessed. And, I’m blessed because of Jesus.

Psalm 1 begins with the word “blessed” too. It says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he mediates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2)

So, I’m blessed. And I’ve begun this journey of biblical mediation. And, Psalm 1 tells me that the blessed person mediates day and night on the law of the Lord.

Jesus talked about being blessed too. The most famous occurrence of this is in a passage of Scripture that we know as the Beatitudes. Matthew 5:3-12 tells us,

3″Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11″Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

In Luke 11:28 Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

Like a rebellious child, so many times I think that I know better than God. That my ways are better than His. Talk about the ultimate in arrogance. If I’d just listen to the Word of God and obey it life would be better.

Want more passages that correlate with this type of blessing that Psalm 119:1 speaks of? Check out Psalm 112:1, 128:1, John 13:17, James 1:25 and Revelation 22:14. The Bible is full of practical teaching on this subject.

In Ezekiel 11, God was calling His people back to Himself. In verse 20, God said, “Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.”

Did you ever think that when we fail to walk in God’s ways that we fail to allow God to be God? It’s time. It’s time to obey. Its time to walk in God’s ways. It’s time to recognize that blessed people, people who have had the grace of God lavishly poured upon them, need to live like blessed people.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for your blessing. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your work on the cross. Thank you for your resurrection power. Thank you for your transformative power. Thank you that you see me through the lenses of your forgiving power and not as a hostile judge. Thank you that you have the power to transform me. Help me to believe that with you working in me that the transformation can occur.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

We Are Attempting Bat Evacuation

I have a new respect for Batman. In the movie Batman Begins, we find out that Bruce Wayne became Batman after overcoming his intense fear of bats. His fear developed when he fell into a well as a child. The well was full of bats that swarmed above young Bruce as he screamed in fear.

Last week, I encountered a bat. The bat was HUGE. He must have had a wing span of 10 feet. He had long vampire like teeth and beedy black eyes. And, he wanted to kill me. At least that’s what I thought when I saw it.

It was a little before midnight when, at the rental home that we were in at Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference I saw it. He flew a few inches away from my face out of the bedroom and into the living room. At first I thought it was a bird. The lights were off. When I switched the light on, the bat came toward me again. This time, sure it was a bat, I did what any self-respecting man would do. I screamed like a little girl. My wife was in the next room and wondering what her husband was screaming about. I told her, “There is a HUGE bat in our house. It is trying to attack me.” She couldn’t stop laughing. When she told me to just get it out of the house I told her of my intense fear of bats. This is one creature that I could not get out.

We called the front desk at the resort. They called in a teenage security guard. Twenty long minutes later he arrived; tennis raquet in hand. And, I . . . well, you’ll have to watch this youtube video to see for yourself.

I’m ashamed. So, very ashamed.

176: A Spiritual Discipline

My family and I spent last week in Michigan. It was our annual vacation to Marantha Bible and Missionary Conference. You can find out more about Maranatha by following this link: Maranatha Bible and Missionary Conference. One of the things that I love about going to Maranatha is the time that I have to be spiritually fed by others. I also love the walks on the beach and the personal quiet times that I have with God. This year, I felt like God was telling me to take an in depth look at the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119. So, for the next 176 days, I’m going to try something very different. The plan is to meditate upon one verse in Psalm 119 each day. And then, I want to record whatever it is that I feel that God is teaching me from that verse on my blog.

There may be some days where I record a lot. There will be other days that there isn’t much there. I’m excited to see what God does in my life as I take this extended look at Psalm 119. I can’t imagine that there won’t be a change in my life. And, I’m excited to invite you to join me on this journey.

The journey begins tomorrow morning.

You can read Psalm 119 in it’s entirity by following this link: Psalm 119.