Heaven or Hell?

Someone said to me recently that they believed that Hell was here on earth and that everyone goes to Heaven.  Even those who had committed horrific crimes would go to Heaven because they had been tormented their whole life here on earth.

I was completely and totally dumbfounded. What?!  Huh?! The only words I could utter was “Then why did Jesus have to be crucified?”

Their statement has not left my mind, it’s been bouncing round and round.

heaven-hell

There must be a Hell because without Hell there would no God.  There would be no reason for God.

There must be a Hell because without Hell there would be no Satan.  There would be no reason for Satan.

There must be a Hell because without Hell we would not exist.  God created each of us for His pleasure. Colossians 1:16 states, “All things were created by Him and for Him.” It gives God great pleasure to create, just read Genesis 1!  Why would God create you if He really didn’t care what you did?

There must be a Hell because without Hell we would not need a Heaven. Why would God create you, give you free will and then still accept you with open arms when you choose not to come to Him and to do things against His ways? Do you give a reward to a child who is disobedient?  Do you get a “reward” just for being created and living your life?

There must be a Hell because without Hell we would not need to have a personal relationship with God. It gives Him great pleasure to have a personal relationship with you.  The way to have a personal relationship with Him is to come to Him…in love, in fear, in awe! If you don’t have a personal relationship with God why would you care if you spent eternity with Him or not?

There must be a Hell because without a Hell there would be no punishment. How do you feel when others do things wrong and get away with it?  We see it everyday and our response is we want justice!  We want things made right!  So why wouldn’t God want justice?

There must be a Hell because without a Hell there would be no “place” for the evil of this world.  There would be no “place” for those who followed Satan to go.

There must be a Hell because without a Hell there would no “place” for the ones who did good, in this world, those who have a personal relationship with God and followed His ways.

You cannot have good without evil
You cannot have Heaven without Hell.

This is for eternity, people!

Eternity – 1. infinite or unending time.  2. a state to which time has no application; timelessness; endless life after death.

Suppose you were standing before God right this second and He asked you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?”

What would you say? Remember, this question is for eternity!

God tells us in His instruction manual to us exactly how we get to spend eternity with Him!  Yep, He’s that amazing! Yep, He loves us that much to give us the answer to the question!

You must understand what’s keeping you from Heaven, from God.  It’s YOU!  It’s your sinful nature that keeps you from having a personal relationship with God.  We were born sinners and remain sinners by OUR choices.  God tells us, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.  Notice the “all”?  All of us fall short.  Everyday…

We can’t save ourselves… not by good deeds, doing the right thing, or being a good person. “For by grace you are saved, through faith, and this is not of yourselves – it is the gift of God.  Not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.

God is holy, God is just, and because of this He must punish us for our sin. So if we all sin, if we all fall short of the glory of God then we all deserve death and Hell. God tells us, “For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23.

God loves us and has provided forgiveness for our sin. Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6.  See the emphasis on “no one comes to the Father except through me”?  I have heard so many people who proclaim that they “have God” and they don’t need Jesus.  Yet, Jesus is clearly telling us… Only through Him may we have a personal relationship with God, our Father.

God sent Jesus to take our sin, all our sin ~ past, present and future when He died on the cross.  “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God”  1 Peter 3:18.  How many people would go through what Jesus went through for you?  The pain, the humiliation.

Romans 4:25 says: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ!

“To all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”  Acts 16:31

Eternal life is a free gift!  “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Once you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior your life will be filled with fullness and meaning beyond what you will ever comprehend!  Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

You can spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven, for He promised: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am,” John 14:3.

If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and receive forgiveness from God, here is a prayer you can pray.  Saying this prayer will not save you.  Only by trusting Jesus can give you forgiveness of your sins can.  Praying this prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him.  Thanking Him for providing for your forgiveness through His Son, Jesus.

“God, I know I am a sinner.  I have sinned against you and I deserve punishment.  Thank you for sending Jesus to take the punishment that I so rightly deserve so that through faith in Him I can be forgiven.  I place my trust in You for salvation.  Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness!  Amen!”

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” John 17:20-22

Returning to Holiness ~ God’s Word

How did yesterday go?  Did God convict your heart?  Did it make you squirm?  Good!  Me too!  Squirming helps us to move forward on this journey!

used bible

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” Romans 15:4 KJV

It is God’s will that every believer keep God’s Words in their mind all the time.  We have to make the daily decision to learn God’s Word ~ it just doesn’t miraculously appear.  In my talks with other believers, this seems to be hardest to do… to spend the time with God in study and prayer.  Yet, it’s one of the most important!

Honestly answer all the questions.  Don’t answer with how you think you are “supposed” to answer!  We can only be filled with God if we are willing to empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us up.  Be willing, be honest, be thorough in your confession.

Questions for Reflection

Is it your habit to seriously read and study God’s Word daily?  Do you meditate on key verses?  Does God’s Word have a big or little place in your thought during your day? Have you failed to write down key verses that speak to your needs in your life?

You cannot love God and not love His Word.  When you neglect God’s Word you are, in a sense, neglecting God.   How can we know His will for us if we don’t know His Word?  How can we make decisions if we don’t know His Word?  We can’t!

Confess the sin of not spending time in God’s Word.  Now make a personal commitment to embrace time in God’s Word.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.”  James 4:3 KJV

How many times have you had a list of requests for God?  We are always giving Him our lists of wants, of needs but do we think about what we can give to Him?  We can become so selfish!

Questions for Reflection

Are you guilty of seeking God for what He can do for you than out of genuine love for Him? Do you sense that your thoughts are mixed with selfish desires rather than seeking God’s glory?  Are you aware of the desire to be noted and praised by people rather than seeking God’s pleasure? Are you unwilling to pray God’s will when it doesn’t fit your plan? Do your love and worship decrease when things don’t go according to your plan? When you are disappointed, do you “cool off” toward God?

If God convicted your heart of selfish, impure or shallow motives to spending time with Him, confess these sins.  Ask God to give you a deep purity and purpose for His kingdom.

“This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”  Matthew 15:8-9 KJV

God does not want insincere worship or empty ritual!  The whole essence of worship is to bow before God in total reverence and surrender.  We forget that the extreme holiness and majesty of our Creator.  We compromise with sin but we still want God to honor our prayers.

Questions for Reflection

In coming to worship, is your main purpose to bow before God in total repentance and obedience?  Is your mind filled with holy fear, reverence and awe? Do you mostly seek His benefits?  Do you set aside a day for God or just go to church on Sunday? Have you taken the Lord’s Supper without deep examination and personal repentance?  Do you often sing the worship hymns without deeply reflecting on the words? Do you listen to sermons without much thought of immediate to God’s instructions?

Insincere, ritualistic worship is a serious sin.  Do you need to confess a shallow reverence and worship of God?  Confess your sins and trust God to grant you the spirit of genuine reverence and worship.

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” 1 John 3:3 KJV

The pursuit of holiness should be the predominant aim of every Christian.  It is the pursuit of a holy mindset.  When we are spirit-filled there is a burning thirst to experience Christ’s holiness in every area of your being.

Questions for Reflection

Is your mind filled with thoughts of how to experience greater holiness?  Do you often say “I wish I was more like Jesus” and then do nothing or very little to pursue spiritual cleansing?  Do you make consistent time to allow God to search every area of your life?  Do you regularly read comprehensive lists of Scriptures designed to thoroughly examine your heart?

In Matthew 6:33 KJV, Jesus said we are to, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”   Confess to God and ask Him to grant you a heart that hungers for Him, for a holiness that is genuine.  God will answer this prayer every time!

Personal Reflection

What specific Scripture has God brought specific conviction?  What thoughts have God told you to change? Which do you need to address first?

How do these sins affect your relationship with God and others?

Has God given you specific Scripture promises to help you overcome each sin?  What are they?

In what specific ways are you prepared to change your thoughts?  What thoughts will be the replacements?

 

 

Returning to Holiness ~ Sins of Thought

Are we ready to begin?  To delve deep?  To walk closer with Christ?  This journey may be totally uncomfortable ~ but oh so worth it!

jumbled thoughts

According to God’s Word sin begins in the heart and mind.  Matthew 15:19 KJV “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”  Our thoughts and attitudes must be under God’s control or we will never know the fullness of life in Christ.

Let’s take a minute to think about how Satan attacks us?  Satan cannot attack us physically but he can fill our minds with inappropriate, sinful thoughts…he tries to develop strongholds in our thinking, doubts, so we can be led into sin and away from God.  How many times have you thought, “Well, it will be okay, it’s only this one time.”?  That one time leads to another and another leading you further from God and deeper in with Satan and his lies.

Proverbs 23:7 KJV tells us, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”  God is telling us the importance of fully allowing our minds to rest in Christ.  What you think is what you are is true without a doubt.

Prayerfully read the all the following scriptures.

Matthew 1:22-23 KJV “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

John 17:3 KJV “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Romans 8:16 KJV “ The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

The first sin we must overcome is any doubts about our salvation ~ we cannot be pleasing to God if we have this doubt in our minds and hearts.  We cannot make any progress in our spiritual journeys until you are completely, utterly certain of your relationship to Christ. God doesn’t want you to live another day in doubt.

Honestly answer all the questions.  Don’t answer with how you think you are “supposed” to answer!  We can only be filled with God if we are willing to empty ourselves and allow Him to fill us up.  Be willing, be honest, be thorough in your confession.

Questions for Reflection

Do you have nagging doubts about whether you have been saved? Do you sense times that God is speaking to your heart or is that a foreign idea?  Do you have a personal relationship with Christ or do you just know “facts” about who He is? Can you remember a time when you were deeply convicted of your “lostness”?  Can you remember a time when you truly turned from sin and surrendered your life to Christ?  When you made your profession of faith was there a noticeable change in your life?  Do you have complete peace that you are forgiven of your sins and are destined for Heaven? Do you have a desire for Bible study and prayer?  Do you have a longing to be in church and with God’s children?  Are you known as a person of kindness?  Are you known as a person of love?

If you answered no to many of these questions, it’s imperative that you stop and get your relationship with Christ right!  The good news is that you can get it right!  God is willing and wants to give you the assurance you need.  Please stop and read “How to Be Certain of Your Salvation”.

If you answered yes then rejoice that your eternal security is in Jesus… let’s continue….

Questions for Reflection

Honestly reflect on the type of thoughts that occupy your mind.

Is your mind focused on with thoughts of Christ or with worldly things? Do you think more about work or recreation than spiritual growth and serving God?  Are you sometimes filled with unclean thoughts? Do you have angry or fearful thoughts? Do you frequently watch programs or movies that cause improper thoughts and feelings? Are you conscious of unclean thoughts or motives? Do you have thoughts that you would be ashamed for others to know about? Do you have a wandering eye? Do your affections and priorities often revolve around people and things more than Christ? Are more passionate about worldly things or spiritual things? Do you get more excited about work, sports, etc., than God’s kingdom?  To what or whom do you devote most of your thoughts and energies to? Is Christ the center of all of your life? Of your plans?  Is it a habit to seriously read and study God’s Word daily or is it another thing to cross off your to-do list? Do you meditate on key verses? Do you write down key verses that speak to you so you can apply it your life?

If you sense God’s conviction, be specific in your confession to Him. Decide how you are going to change your thoughts to remove the pattern of sin ~ it’s vital that you replace the wrong thoughts with thoughts of Christ.  Try to memorize Scripture that will give you a powerful way to over come the wrong thoughts. Would you share your scripture choices with us?   If many of your thoughts are undisciplined, worldly, confess this to Him and ask Him to transform your mind.  By God’s grace, you can change your affections and thoughts!  Praise His Grace!  Think of specific ways you need to set your affections and thoughts on Christ.

2 Corinthians 10:5 KJV “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”

Romans 12:2 KJV  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Matthew 22:37 KJV “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”

Personal Reflection

What specific Scripture has God brought specific conviction?  What thoughts have God told you to change? Which do you need to address first?

How do these sins affect your relationship with God and others?

Has God given you specific Scripture promises to help you overcome each sin?  What are they?

In what specific ways are you prepared to change your thoughts?  What thoughts will be the replacements?

 

 

How to Be Certain of Your Salvation

Question: “How can I have assurance of my salvation?”

Answer:Many followers of Jesus Christ look for the assurance of salvation in the wrong places. We tend to seek assurance of salvation in the things God is doing in our lives, in our spiritual growth, in the good works and obedience to God’s Word that is evident in our Christian walk. While these thing can beevidence of salvation, they are not what we should base the assurance of our salvation. Rather, we should find the assurance of our salvation in the objective truth of God’s Word. We should have confident trust that we are saved based on the promises God has declared, not because of our subjective experiences.

How can you have assurance of salvation? Consider1 John 5:11–13: “And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Who is it that has the Son? It is those who have believed in Him (John 1:12). If you have Jesus, you have life. Not temporary life, but eternal.

God wants us to have assurance of our salvation. We should not live our Christian lives wondering and worrying each day whether or not we are truly saved. That is why the Bible makes the plan of salvation so clear. Believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16;Acts 16:31). “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). Do you believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins (Romans 5:8;2 Corinthians 5:21)? Do you trust Him alone for salvation? If your answer to these questions is “yes,” you are saved! Assurance means freedom from doubt. By taking God’s Word to heart, you can have no doubt about the reality of your eternal salvation.

Jesus Himself assures those who believe in Him: “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). Eternal life is just that—eternal. There is no one, not even yourself, who can take Christ’s God-given gift of salvation away from you.

We hide God’s Word in our hearts so that we do not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11), and this includes the sin of doubt. Take joy in what God’s Word is saying to you: instead of doubting, we can live with confidence! We can have the assurance from Christ’s own Word that our salvation will never be in question. Our assurance of salvation is based on the perfect and complete salvation God has provided for us through Jesus Christ.

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/assurance-salvation.html#ixzz31igG1TKx

jesus on the cross

 

Returning to Holiness – Preparing for the Journey

I’m beginning a journey…Returning to Holiness by Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell.  According to scripture, only cleansed hearts have mighty power with God…Hosea 10:12 KJV “Sow yourselves in righteousness,reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteous upon you.”

Let me begin by saying, if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are saved! Nothing can change that ~ well, except for a complete, and total reversal from Him.  Ephesians 2:8-9 KJVFor by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:”

This journey is about walking more like Christ by learning to truly repent of our sins.

confession

The world is in a moral decline.  All we have to do is take a look at the news… things that were once wrong are not acceptable, there are rumors of war, there is rampant sickness… the world is in denial of the existence of God, of Christ.  Yet, through it all,  there are still many signs that God is touching His children.  Many believers and churches are seeing the miraculous movement of God’s spirit.

The key for experiencing God’s mighty presence and power in our lives is found in Isaiah 59: 1-2 KJV “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.”

Do you see the crucial point?

God is so willing to touch us yet unconfessed sin has blocked His power to answer our prayers. Have you ever rushed through your prayer times? Have you ever failed to review your day to see where sin may have built up between you and God? I have!

1 John 1:9 KJV “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Psalm 139:23-24 KJV “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead in the way everlasting.”

We must be willing to allow God to search our hearts! Though we may say that we ask God to search our hearts, do we really?  Or do we try to hold some things back from Him, from His all seeing eyes?  We must learn to speak our darkness, our errors so He may renew in us a clean heart, so He will cleanse us. We cannot gloss over what we think He must not see.  He sees all and we are only fooling ourselves when we fail to share errors with Him.  We must spend the time to get alone with God and allow Him to help us to thoroughly examine our lives.  We can’t hide things from God, even if there are times we want to.  He knows all things yet He wants us to come to Him.

Think about how you  received Jesus?  You received Him by simple faith and trusted the Word was true.  Though our flesh fights every step of the way, we must walk in victory over sin and self.  Sounds so simple, doesn’t it?  Yet we all know how difficult this walk is!  We struggle every day and will struggle until we meet with Him in Heaven…Sinners we are. Colossians 2:6 KJV gives us tremendous help, a place to lean when we feel overcome, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

Let’s keep in mind on this journey…

Allow God to speak to your heart.  Pray through what you read, talk to God about it and He will talk to you.  If He reveals a sin to you, immediately confess it and trust Christ for victory.  Proverbs 28:13 KJV “He that coverth his sins shall not prosper: but who so confesseth and forforsaketh them shall have mercy.”  We need to allow Jesus to fill our hearts with His glorious purity and power.

Ask God for deep conviction and clear discernment.  We can not know our own hearts without God’s revelation to us.  Jeremiah 17:9 KJV says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”

Embrace this cleansing journey daily with God.  Daily confession and cleansing are the essence of walking in the Spirit. Psalms 86:3 KJV “Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily.”

Confess your sins with the assurance of God’s mercy and blessing.  Do not be afraid of what God will show you.  Whatever sin you are shown, Christ already died for it!  God already knows about it anyway!  God doesn’t convict you to condemn you, but to set you free!  John 8:36 KJV “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Be prepared for spiritual battle.  Satan will hate what you are doing in this journey as you become clean before God and fully empowered by the Holy Spirit. James 4:8 KJV “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

Ask trusted friends to pray for you in the areas that you need change.  There is great power when two or more pray in agreement together.  Don’t let pride keep you from confessing to others.  James 5:16 KJV “Confess your faults to one another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Incomplete confession leads to incomplete cleansing… Allow God to do a deep daily cleaning daily ~ you will experience life-changing discipleship!

Father, Thank You for Your glorious invitation!  May you grant us a passion for holiness ~ not just for blessings but because we love You. Let us not forget to wash our robes white.  As we enter now into Your holy presence may we hear and respond to Your desire to change our lives. By Your grace may we respond to Your urgent call.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Our Hearts

heartsWe are going to talk about our hearts.  What is really in your heart?  How do we know if what’s in our heart is a desire from Christ or a desire of our own selfishness?  The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace has a lot to say on this subject!

We are going to address our day-to-day heart’s devotion. Everyday we are worshiping something.  Is it Christ?  We worship what we “serve, speak about, sacrifice for, seek after, spend time and money on, and trust in”.

“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 26:1 ESV.

We have to be brutally honest with ourselves.  We can not hide from God what is in our hearts.  Is your devotion completely and totally on Christ?  Idols and lusts are wild in our hearts.  We set our eyes and hearts on something and want to attain it so badly!  Think about this for a minute… do you “lust” after that new Coach bag?  Do you desire to keep up with the Jones, not seeing all that God has blessed you with?  Do you put your facebook time ahead of time with God?  Do you watch your favorite television shows before spending time with God?

God wants (demands that!) our focus to be on Christ and Christ alone.  We as believers have a God-given capacity to have a pure devotion to and worship of the Lord, but we also frequently struggle with other “gods”.

Martha gives us a list of Common Idols (“False Gods”) we might be struggling with:

1. Good Health.

2. Physical Appearance.

3. Having a Christian marriage.

4. Being treated fairly.

5. Having a hurt / pain-free life.

6. Worldly pleasures (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.).

7. A child or children.

8. Another person (man or woman).

9. A material thing.

10. An ideal (“pro-life movement”, “peace movement”).

11. Money.

12. Success.

13. Others’ approval.

14. Being in control.

15. Having your “needs” met.

Do any of these look familiar?  Did any of these surprise you?  As you read the list, did anything touch your heart?

When things are going well in an area you have you heart on, you feel like everything is right in the world.  But when things don’t turn out like you hoped, or you are beginning to struggle, you begin to get frustrated.  The desire is so great!  You will do anything to get it all back on track again!  Your mind begins to struggle with “what can I do to make this right?”  I know I’ve been there!  We’ve all been there if we are being completely honest with ourselves.  We begin to think that we have all the answers, we can do this!

I wanted a relationship built on trust and love.  I was in a relationship that was anything but.  I put so much energy and thought into making it into what I thought it should be.  It consumed my thoughts.  When troubles would hit, I would make excuses and try that much harder.  I know now that the relationship I imagined was an idol.  Had I been a Christian then… things would have been so very different.  I’m sure you have examples too.

I never thought during my struggles that maybe, just maybe, God was trying to break up my relationship with my “idol”?  I know now that He was… over and over again.  (Isn’t hind-sight wonderful?)

God wants devotion, our thoughts, our energies on Him!  He is a jealous God after all.

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 ESV.

God must be our deepest longing, desire and refuge.  Our thoughts should be on glorifying Him, not on our heart’s desire.  We need to be like David, the Psalmist!  Let’s read Psalm 119 together.

Psalm 119  The Message (MSG)

119 1-8 You’re blessed when you stay on course,
    walking steadily on the road revealed by God.
You’re blessed when you follow his directions,
    doing your best to find him.
That’s right—you don’t go off on your own;
    you walk straight along the road he set.
You, God, prescribed the right way to live;
    now you expect us to live it.
Oh, that my steps might be steady,
    keeping to the course you set;
Then I’d never have any regrets
    in comparing my life with your counsel.
I thank you for speaking straight from your heart;
    I learn the pattern of your righteous ways.
I’m going to do what you tell me to do;
    don’t ever walk off and leave me.

9-16 How can a young person live a clean life?
    By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I’m single-minded in pursuit of you;
    don’t let me miss the road signs you’ve posted.
I’ve banked your promises in the vault of my heart
    so I won’t sin myself bankrupt.
Be blessed, God;
    train me in your ways of wise living.
I’ll transfer to my lips
    all the counsel that comes from your mouth;
I delight far more in what you tell me about living
    than in gathering a pile of riches.
I ponder every morsel of wisdom from you,
    I attentively watch how you’ve done it.
I relish everything you’ve told me of life,
    I won’t forget a word of it.

17-24 Be generous with me and I’ll live a full life;
    not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.
Open my eyes so I can see
    what you show me of your miracle-wonders.
I’m a stranger in these parts;
    give me clear directions.
My soul is starved and hungry, ravenous!—
    insatiable for your nourishing commands.
And those who think they know so much,
    ignoring everything you tell them—let them have it!
Don’t let them mock and humiliate me;
    I’ve been careful to do just what you said.
While bad neighbors maliciously gossip about me,
    I’m absorbed in pondering your wise counsel.
Yes, your sayings on life are what give me delight;
    I listen to them as to good neighbors!

25-32 I’m feeling terrible—I couldn’t feel worse!
    Get me on my feet again. You promised, remember?
When I told my story, you responded;
    train me well in your deep wisdom.
Help me understand these things inside and out
    so I can ponder your miracle-wonders.
My sad life’s dilapidated, a falling-down barn;
    build me up again by your Word.
Barricade the road that goes Nowhere;
    grace me with your clear revelation.
I choose the true road to Somewhere,
    I post your road signs at every curve and corner.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me;
    God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me
    if you’ll just show me how.

33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
    so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
    my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
    I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
    and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
    invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
    promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
    but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
    preserve my life through your righteous ways!

41-48 Let your love, God, shape my life
    with salvation, exactly as you promised;
Then I’ll be able to stand up to mockery
    because I trusted your Word.
Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever—
    your commandments are what I depend on.
Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me,
    guard it now, guard it ever;
And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces
    as I look for your truth and your wisdom;
Then I’ll tell the world what I find,
    speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.
I cherish your commandments—oh, how I love them!—
    relishing every fragment of your counsel.

49-56 Remember what you said to me, your servant—
    I hang on to these words for dear life!
These words hold me up in bad times;
    yes, your promises rejuvenate me.
The insolent ridicule me without mercy,
    but I don’t budge from your revelation.
I watch for your ancient landmark words,
    and know I’m on the right track.
But when I see the wicked ignore your directions,
    I’m beside myself with anger.
I set your instructions to music
    and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way.
I meditate on your name all night, God,
    treasuring your revelation, O God.
Still, I walk through a rain of derision
    because I live by your Word and counsel.

57-64 Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise
    to do everything you say.
I beg you from the bottom of my heart: smile,
    be gracious to me just as you promised.
When I took a long, careful look at your ways,
    I got my feet back on the trail you blazed.
I was up at once, didn’t drag my feet,
    was quick to follow your orders.
The wicked hemmed me in—there was no way out—
    but not for a minute did I forget your plan for me.
I get up in the middle of the night to thank you;
    your decisions are so right, so true—I can’t wait till morning!
I’m a friend and companion of all who fear you,
    of those committed to living by your rules.
Your love, God, fills the earth!
    Train me to live by your counsel.

65-72 Be good to your servant, God;
    be as good as your Word.
Train me in good common sense;
    I’m thoroughly committed to living your way.
Before I learned to answer you, I wandered all over the place,
    but now I’m in step with your Word.
You are good, and the source of good;
    train me in your goodness.
The godless spread lies about me,
    but I focus my attention on what you are saying;
They’re bland as a bucket of lard,
    while I dance to the tune of your revelation.
My troubles turned out all for the best—
    they forced me to learn from your textbook.
Truth from your mouth means more to me
    than striking it rich in a gold mine.

73-80 With your very own hands you formed me;
    now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
When they see me waiting, expecting your Word,
    those who fear you will take heart and be glad.
I can see now, God, that your decisions are right;
    your testing has taught me what’s true and right.
Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight!
    just the way you promised.
Now comfort me so I can live, really live;
    your revelation is the tune I dance to.
Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds;
    they tried to sell me a bill of goods,
    but I kept my mind fixed on your counsel.
Let those who fear you turn to me
    for evidence of your wise guidance.
And let me live whole and holy, soul and body,
    so I can always walk with my head held high.

81-88 I’m homesick—longing for your salvation;
    I’m waiting for your word of hope.
My eyes grow heavy watching for some sign of your promise;
    how long must I wait for your comfort?
There’s smoke in my eyes—they burn and water,
    but I keep a steady gaze on the instructions you post.
How long do I have to put up with all this?
    How long till you haul my tormentors into court?
The arrogant godless try to throw me off track,
    ignorant as they are of God and his ways.
Everything you command is a sure thing,
    but they harass me with lies. Help!
They’ve pushed and pushed—they never let up—
    but I haven’t relaxed my grip on your counsel.
In your great love revive me
    so I can alertly obey your every word.

89-96 What you say goes, God,
    and stays, as permanent as the heavens.
Your truth never goes out of fashion;
    it’s as up-to-date as the earth when the sun comes up.
Your Word and truth are dependable as ever;
    that’s what you ordered—you set the earth going.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so,
    I would have given up when the hard times came.
But I’ll never forget the advice you gave me;
    you saved my life with those wise words.
Save me! I’m all yours.
    I look high and low for your words of wisdom.
The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me,
    but I’m only concerned with your plans for me.
I see the limits to everything human,
    but the horizons can’t contain your commands!

97-104 Oh, how I love all you’ve revealed;
    I reverently ponder it all the day long.
Your commands give me an edge on my enemies;
    they never become obsolete.
I’ve even become smarter than my teachers
    since I’ve pondered and absorbed your counsel.
I’ve become wiser than the wise old sages
    simply by doing what you tell me.
I watch my step, avoiding the ditches and ruts of evil
    so I can spend all my time keeping your Word.
I never make detours from the route you laid out;
    you gave me such good directions.
Your words are so choice, so tasty;
    I prefer them to the best home cooking.
With your instruction, I understand life;
    that’s why I hate false propaganda.

105-112 By your words I can see where I’m going;
    they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back
    from living by your righteous order.
Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
    put me together again with your Word.
Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
    teach me your holy rules.
My life is as close as my own hands,
    but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
    but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.
I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—
    what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
    I always have and always will.

113-120 I hate the two-faced,
    but I love your clear-cut revelation.
You’re my place of quiet retreat;
    I wait for your Word to renew me.
Get out of my life, evildoers,
    so I can keep my God’s commands.
Take my side as you promised; I’ll live then for sure.
    Don’t disappoint all my grand hopes.
Stick with me and I’ll be all right;
    I’ll give total allegiance to your definitions of life.
Expose all who drift away from your sayings;
    their casual idolatry is lethal.
You reject earth’s wicked as so much rubbish;
    therefore I lovingly embrace everything you say.
I shiver in awe before you;
    your decisions leave me speechless with reverence.

121-128 I stood up for justice and the right;
    don’t leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
Take the side of your servant, good God;
    don’t let the godless take advantage of me.
I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
    to keep your promise to set everything right.
Let your love dictate how you deal with me;
    teach me from your textbook on life.
I’m your servant—help me understand what that means,
    the inner meaning of your instructions.
It’s time to act, God;
    they’ve made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
    I love it better than gold and gemstones;
Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
    I despise every deceitful detour.

129-136 Every word you give me is a miracle word—
    how could I help but obey?
Break open your words, let the light shine out,
    let ordinary people see the meaning.
Mouth open and panting,
    I wanted your commands more than anything.
Turn my way, look kindly on me,
    as you always do to those who personally love you.
Steady my steps with your Word of promise
    so nothing malign gets the better of me.
Rescue me from the grip of bad men and women
    so I can live life your way.
Smile on me, your servant;
    teach me the right way to live.
I cry rivers of tears
    because nobody’s living by your book!

137-144 You are right and you do right, God;
    your decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live
    ever faithful to you.
My rivals nearly did me in,
    they persistently ignored your commandments.
Your promise has been tested through and through,
    and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I’m too young to be important,
    but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right,
    your revelation is the only truth.
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
    your commands always gave me delight.
The way you tell me to live is always right;
    help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.

145-152 I call out at the top of my lungs,
    God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”
I called to you, “Save me
    so I can carry out all your instructions.”
I was up before sunrise,
    crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
I stayed awake all night,
    prayerfully pondering your promise.
In your love, listen to me;
    in your justice, God, keep me alive.
As those out to get me come closer and closer,
    they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
But you’re the closest of all to me, God,
    and all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words
    that you meant them to last forever.

153-160 Take a good look at my trouble, and help me—
    I haven’t forgotten your revelation.
Take my side and get me out of this;
    give me back my life, just as you promised.
“Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked
    because they’ve never looked it up in your dictionary.
Your mercies, God, run into the billions;
    following your guidelines, revive me.
My antagonists are too many to count,
    but I don’t swerve from the directions you gave.
I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing;
    they walked away from your promises so casually!
Take note of how I love what you tell me;
    out of your life of love, prolong my life.
Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth.
    Your righteous decisions are eternal.

161-168 I’ve been slandered unmercifully by the politicians,
    but my awe at your words keeps me stable.
I’m ecstatic over what you say,
    like one who strikes it rich.
I hate lies—can’t stand them!—
    but I love what you have revealed.
Seven times each day I stop and shout praises
    for the way you keep everything running right.
For those who love what you reveal, everything fits—
    no stumbling around in the dark for them.
I wait expectantly for your salvation;
    God, I do what you tell me.
My soul guards and keeps all your instructions—
    oh, how much I love them!
I follow your directions, abide by your counsel;
    my life’s an open book before you.

169-176 Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
    provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
    rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
    after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
    every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
    since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
    I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
    use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
    I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

David had a passion , a longing to know God, to follow His ways, to obey Him.  David wanted what God wanted, no matter what the cost.  We can have that same passionate desire and delight in the Lord, too!

We need to focus our thoughts and hearts on what God is like and how He is working in our lives.  All we need to do is ask and seek Him through His Word, in prayer with Him.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV.

A lot to think about…A lot to pray about….

Until we meet again… In Love