Happy Thanksgiving

Psalm 119:95 – “The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.”

Happy Thanksgiving! I love this day. It’s a day that our family will celebrate with 18 people in our home. I can’t wait. We’ll be putting the turkey in the oven in about 30 minutes. Like millions of people around the United States, our family will be surrounded by additional family members and some close friends.

And, I think that this is one of those days that Satan hates. He hates when people come together in love. He hates when God is thanked for what He has provided and what He has done over the course of the past year. He hates fellowship.

When you read a verse like today’s verse, and you read about the wicked waiting to destroy David, it may feel like you can’t relate. But, remember, the most wicked one, the deceiver, the father of lies, the accuser of the brethren, is wanting to destroy you. And, he wants to destroy this holiday. And, he wants your life to be a failure. God has different plans.

As you go through your holiday, make God a part of it. Sometime during your day, spend time publically praising God for the ways in which he has blessed you. Consider sharing your holiday with someone that may not have anyone to share it with. If you’re reading this too late, invite someone over for a post holiday meal. Spend time with God today. Don’t let the busyness of the day rob you of your time with Him. And, like David, ponder the Word of God.

I don’t know what it is, but Thanksgiving always gets me thinking about Christmas too. Maybe it’s those day after Thanksgiving Christmas sales. At the end of the Luke 2 account of Jesus’ birth we find Mary, the mother of Jesus, pondering all that God has done in her life. “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19). Take time today to celebrate him, just like Mary did.

Dear God,

Thank You for this past year. You have blessed us with more than we deserve. You are the Provider. You are the One who deserves all glory, honor and praise. Thank You for family and friends. Help us to have eyes of compassion for those without someone to celebrate with this holiday season. Comfort those who are spending their first Thanksgiving without a special loved one. Help the next generation, our children, to see You in us. Help us to put you above all else in our Thanksgiving celebration.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

I Am Yours

Psalm 119:94 – “Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.”

The words that David writes in Psalm 119:94 are profound. He seeks God’s intervention for his salvation, and then he says, “I am Yours.” Three simple words that carry so much meaning!

David the king, belonged to God. So many kings in the Ancient Near East world rejected God. Not David, he was God’s. He viewed himself as a possession of the Almighty. Do you? Can you say, as we approach this Thanksgiving holiday that you are grateful for God’s ownership of you? For God to own you means that He is Lord of your life. Your life is in His hands.

In 1876, just one year before he died, George W. Robinson wrote the words to the hymn, “I Am His, and He is Mine.” Read the words of this 131-year-old hymn:

Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know;
Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
O this full and perfect peace! O this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.

Heav’n above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!
Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen;
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow, flowers with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as I now know, I am His, and He is mine.
Since I know, as I now know, I am His, and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms cannot now disturb my rest;
Closed in everlasting arms, pillowed on the loving breast.
O to lie forever here, doubt and care and self resign,
While He whispers in my ear, I am His, and He is mine.
While He whispers in my ear, I am His, and He is mine.

His forever, only His; Who the Lord and me shall part?
Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart!
Heav’n and earth may fade and flee, firstborn light in gloom decline;
But while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.
But while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.

I hope that you can say that You are His. If not, let this be the day. The Bible tells us that, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) Trust Him with your life.

Dear God,

I am Yours, and I thank You for saving me. Help me to live my life in such a way that I’ll draw others to You. I want to hear as many as possible say, “I am His!”

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

"You Changed My Life Today!"

Psalm 119:93 – “I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.”

One of the most special things about my job is that I get to spend time with high school students in a variety of settings. Some days I actually get to go into the public high school and teach classes. That’s what I did today. At 7:55 this morning I was teaching a combined health class at the largest high school in the state of Minnesota. I taught all day long. By the time the day was through I had a chance to speak to over 200 students.

My daughter, Breanna, attends this school. As I drove her in today, we talked about lunch time. We would be sharing the same lunch period, and I wondered if she would want me to eat with her. She wasn’t so sure if that is something that she would want. So, I agreed to eat with the teachers. When lunch time arrived, I went to the cafeteria to get my lunch. I saw a number of Wooddale students and took the time to talk with them. Then I saw my daughter. She motioned for me to come to her table. When she did, I saw a girl that had been in my last class. The girl spoke up. “You changed my life today! Thanks for coming to my class! Will you sit with us for lunch?” My daughter was thrilled. She wanted me to join the table and talk with this girl.

I’d love to say that every time I speak someone says, “You changed my life today.” But, that wouldn’t be true. I don’t know if the girl that I talked with understood what she was saying. I wonder what she feels changed about her life. She never said. But, it’s amazing to think that someone could be so touched. And, it’s humbling, because I know that if anything good happened in her life it was because of God, not me.

In Psalm 119:93 we read once again of God’s preserving love. His laws are once again attributed to saving David’s life. When I spoke at the high school today, I talked about biblical principles. I never once mentioned the Bible. I talked about loving others more than you love yourself. I talked about making wise choices with friends. I talked about being content with less. I talked about how special each student was. I talked about how each student is more valuable and more important to this world than any piece of art in any museum in all the world. The Mona Lisa, as wonderous a piece of art as was ever created, will never be able to come down from the wall and save a person who is having a heart attack, or discover a cure for cancer, or encourage someone when a person that they love has died. People do that. And, people are worth investing in.

Aren’t you glad that God has invested in you? Aren’t you glad that He loves you so much? Aren’t you glad that He has changed your life today? If so, give him praise. Thank Him for His work in you.

Dear God,

Thank you for changing us! I’m not sure that any of us have arrived, so thank You for Your patience. Thank You for sanctification, that process by which we become more like You. Help us to look a little bit more like You each and every day.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

When God’s Word Saves Lives

Psalm 119:92 – “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

By now, we know that David considered God’s law his delight. He has said it numerous times already in this chapter. But now, David reveals new information. He says very clearly that if God’s law had not have been his delight, he would have perished in his affliction. David attributes his very life to the law of God. That is a pretty spectacular statement. Could the same be said of us?

In many ways, those of you who have known Jesus Christ for a long time, may actually say these same words. Maybe you haven’t known Christ for long, but it was being introduced to Jesus that saved you from a long term pattern of sin that would have ultimately ended in your ruin. In fact, anyone of us who is a child of God can echo David’s words, because our ultimate end would have been ruin apart from God’s grace. We need God’s law and His grace.

This is Thanksgiving week in the United States. Take some time between now and Thursday to thank the Lord for His work in your life. He loves you so much. Praise Him for his love.

Dear God,

Thank You for Your love and grace. You are so good and Your love truly does endure forever. Help us to extend Your grace to the world around us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Relevant and Enduring

Psalm 119:91 – “Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.”

I really love this section of Psalm 119. It’s refreshing to read. I don’t think a week goes by where I am not having a discussion with someone about how God’s laws are not relevant for today. The truth is, we have a hard time swallowing God’s law. It doesn’t jive with our life. It doesn’t say what we think that it should. It puts a crimp in our lifestyle.

It’s time for us to admit, that God is the Lawgiver. It’s not about us. It’s about Him. We are here to serve God, not the other way around.

Some of my well meaning friends tell me that Jesus has eliminated the Old Testament law. Has He? Is all Old Testament law null and void? Not at all. Jesus came to fulfill the law. He brought about a new covenant in the law. He explained the law. He changed some law. He eliminated some law. But, He did not eliminate all. I love that way that Jesus summed up the law. When the leaders of the law sought to trick Jesus with an impossible question, Jesus blew them away. In Matthew 22:34-40 we read, “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.'”

So, we are to love God with everything we are. We are also to love our neighbor as our self. His laws endure to this day, for all things serve Him. Make it so!

Dear God,

Thank You for your enduring law. Help us to remember what You have called us to do. Help us love You with all that we are. Help us to follow You and desire You more than anything else in this world. We love You. May You be glorified in us.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Faithful – Even In the Climate Change

Psalm 119:90 – ” Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.”

God’s faithfulness is a theme that David loves to repeat throughout his writings. He was enamored by it. And, why not? He was someone who had difficulty being faithful himself, and was surrounded by people who were not faithful to him. Take a moment to think about God’s faithfulness in your life. Where have you seen it? What are some of the ways that His faithfulness has carried you through the storms of your life?

The beauty of this verse is the generational blessing of God’s faithfulness. David, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, promises us that God’s faithfulness will continue through all generations. Remember what I said about the word “all” a few days ago? All means all and that’s all all means. All generations can expect to experience teh faithfulness of God. His faithfulness isn’t dependent one iota on us. He is faithful. Are we?

At the end of this verse, David talks about God establishing the earth, and it enduring. There is a lot of fear today about our earth. Climate change is on everybody’s mind. Whether or not you agree with the science of climate change, you’re probably talking about it. Just today, another report came out from A Nobel-winning U.N. panel of scientists declaring that humanity faces a deep challenge in the years ahead. (See this:REPORT.) A warmer earth, the report says, means extiniction of more species, starvation, droughts, hurricanes, tornados, fires. And, all of that doesn’t change who God is. He will continue to remain faithful. Through all generations. Will we? As Christians, God has called us to care for the earth. And, we should. We should do everything that we can do care for His creation. But, we also need to not let the fear of things to come, shake our allegiance to He who is eternal. God is number one, not the earth. God is God, not the earth. We care for the creation, and love the Creator. May we be ever faithful to our Creator, God.

Dear God,

I don’t like hearing about climate change. I don’t like to think about what could be on the horizon for the world. I’m tired of the debate and the posturing on both sides. But, if it’s true, then we need to do something about it. We need to obey your command to care for your creation. Help us not to become so consumed with caring for creation that we forget the most important issues in life. This earth is our temporary home. We owe it to future generations to care for it. But, we also need to share You with this present generation. Help us to always keep You priority number one in our lives. Thank You for the lesson of faithfulness that David shows us throughout the Scripture. Thank You that we are to model our lives after You and if You are faithful, then we can be too. Help us to be faithful to You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Eternal

Psalm 119:89 – “Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”

I can hardly fathom it. God’s Word is eternal. It will never fade away. Just like our souls, God’s Word is eternal. That means that God’s living Word will exist forever in heaven with us. Tired of the Bible? That’s too bad, because it isn’t going anywhere.

The Bible is the best selling book of all time. It has been translated in more languages than any other book. It is described as being alive. It convicts the heart. It penetrates the soul. It is the very breath of God. Jesus Christ is the Word embodied (John 1). He’s not literally the Bible, but He is the perfect embodiment of the Word.

God’s Word is eternal. Think about that today. What does the eternity of the Word of God mean to you? What are the ramifications of God’s Word being eternal? Why would the Bible need to be eternal when we will spend eternity with God Himself?

It boggles the mind. And, it places even greater value upon God’s matchless Word.

Dear God,

It’s all too easy to let our Bibles gather dust on the shelf. Help us not to let that happen. Help us to think deeply about what Your eternal Word means to us. Help us to treasure Your Word.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.