My 38th Birthday Wish

Psalm 119:7 – “I will praise you with and upright heart as I learn about your righteous laws.”

Today is my 38th birthday. It’s been a special day. My family has gone out of their way to show their love for their dad and husband. The students in my youth ministry have showered me with love. And, God has once again reminded me of His faithfulness.

In Psalm 119:7 we read about a man who wanted to praise God with an upright heart as he learned about God’s righteous laws. In my 38th year of life, I want to be more like this man. I want to be able to say that my heart is faithful and true. I want to say that God is my top priority and that I believe His laws to be righteous and worth following.

Aren’t you glad that this verse doesn’t say, “I will praise you with a heart that has to, because you are God and if I don’t I’m in trouble. So, I’ll go ahead and follow your laws that are unfair?”

If the above statement were true, then God wouldn’t be worthy of our allegiance. God’s laws are righteous. They are for His glory and our benefit. In fifteen years of full-time youth ministry I have talked with hundreds of students who were upset at God because they felt like God didn’t want them to have any fun. This afternoon I received a phone call from one of my former students. He was a guy that was as messed up as any that I had ever worked with. I’ll never foget the New Year’s Eve evangelistic outreach that I was at one year when one of my dear volunteer staff members sent a student to find me. He was sitting with this student (the one who phoned today) in the stall of a church bathroom. The student was vomiting violently. The volunteer staffer would need a new shirt and a shower before the night was through. The student was cursing up a storm. He had poisened himself with alcohol and he was going on and on about how life wasn’t worth living, and God was ruining his life.

How great to talk with this student years later. He’s a 25-year-old father of two now. And, he knows that he was a handful back then. He joked with me today that his father told him that God’s punnishment to him would be that one of his children would give him heartache as he grows up. I pray that doesn’t happen. And, I pray that he has learned the lesson that God’s laws are good. And, I pray that his old youth pastor will remember that lesson too.

God loves you. Where are you at in your relationship with Him? Have you given Him the opportunity to control your life, or are you still trying to run things on your own? May you pray, as I do that you will praise God with an upright heart as you learn his righteous laws.

Dear God,

Thank you that you love to prove your love for us. You do it over and over again. Help us to praise you with hearts that are upright and true. May our lives speak of our allegiance to you to everyone who comes in contact with us. May we always stand in awe at your good and righteous laws.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

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