Have you tasted God’s goodness?

Vegetables

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 (ESV)

David killed the Philistine giant, Goliath, and saved the Israelites from defeat. Years later, David fled from King Saul into the land of the Philistines. Soon, the Philistines recognized him and brought him before the king. David acted insane, and the king released him. Psalm 34 is David’s response to God upon his release.

I enjoy eating. I especially enjoy the sweet, sour, salty, and bitter tastes of vegetables and fruits. I spend hours chopping red, green, orange and purple vegetables. Cooking rainbows of color is my delight as I get ready for a family gathering. We savor the meal as we focus on each other. These meals help us understand each other better.

One day, I was asked to close my eyes and open my hand as someone dropped something into my hand. I was then asked to smell it, put it in my mouth and taste it without eating it. My thoughts were focused upon what was in my mouth, and it became sweeter as it melted in my mouth. I knew this piece of chocolate candy intimately. I understood its goodness.

David tasted God’s goodness like melting chocolate lingering in his mouth.

Have you tasted God’s goodness?

Thought for the Day

When we focus upon God, we understand God’s goodness.

My prayer

O God, help us to savor Your goodness. Your goodness fills our world with pleasures that delight our senses. Your goodness wraps us in Your love and peace. In the midst of our troubles, we take refuge in You and taste Your goodness. Thank You, Lord!

Hiding in the cave of despair? Do what David did

 Deir-Dubban Entrance SM
The entrance to a cave in Deir-Dubban, six miles southwest of Bethlehem on the border of the Philistine plains and at the foot of the Judean mountains. There are a number of vaults about 15 to 20 feet deep, and perhaps David and his family lived for a time in one of the vaults.

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God, who vindicates me.
He sends from heaven and saves me,
    rebuking those who hotly pursue me—
    God sends forth his love and his faithfulness.

 

 

I am in the midst of lions;
    I am forced to dwell among ravenous beasts—
men whose teeth are spears and arrows,
    whose tongues are sharp swords.Psalm 57:2-4

This Psalm may represent David’s anguish when he found a cave in Abdullam to hide from the king of Achish in Gath.  1 Samuel 22

Desperate to get away from Saul, David fled to Gath, a key Philistine city, enemy territory. The Philistines recognized him; he pretended to be insane, and he fled to the cave. In all likelihood, Saul’s rage against David extended to his family, and they joined him in the cave.

Huddled in the cave, David talks with God and states the facts in the first verses of the Psalm.

  1. God vindicates him.
  2. God saves him.
  3. God rebukes those who pursue him.
  4. He lives among his enemies.
  5. His enemies speak fierce words against him.

David turns his thoughts from his enemies to God.

Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth. Psalm 57:5
Back to his problems. He’s in the pit, the cave. Selah may mean a pause, a crescendo, or a musical interlude. In this Psalm, it is a turning point.
They have prepared a net for my steps;
My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me;
They themselves have fallen into the midst of it.          Selah.  Psalm 57:6
David turns his thoughts from his problems to God and determines what he will do.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!
 Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
 I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples;
I will sing praises to You among the nations.
 For Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens
And Your truth to the clouds.
 Be exalted above the heavens, O God;
Let Your glory be above all the earth.
David has will-power. In the middle of problems it’s not easy to do what he chose to do.
  1. He will keep his heart steadfast.
  2. He will sing praises.
  3. He will awake the dawn.
  4. He will give thanks.
  5. He will sing praises again.

Why will David take these actions?

  1. God’s lovingkindness is great to the heavens.
  2. God’s truth is great to the clouds.

Whether it’s finances, work issues, sickness, marriage problems, a prodigal, this is a psalm to turn to. David found the formula.

  1. He cried out to God and acknowledged God’s faithfulness.
  2. He stated the problem.
  3. He turned his thoughts on God’s works.
  4. He exalted God.
  5. He stated his problem again.
  6. He decided to sing praises and give thanks to God.

He exalted God.

Deir-Dubban Inside
Fleeing the king of Gath.
Running from Saul.
Huddling in a cave with his family.
Singing praise to God.
David … a man after God’s own heart.
Whether it’s finances, marriage, sickness, family, work, or relationships, cry out to God. He is faithful. He is our great Provider and Healer. Turn your eyes to Him.

My prayer for you

Father in heaven, You are faithful, Your lovingkindness is great to the heavens. Thank You that You listen to our heart’s cry and that You provide all we need; You heal our marriages, our families, our relationships and our diseases. That’s why in the midst of our troubles we can sing praises to You. You are in control and have already worked out things in our best interests.  Be exalted above the heavens, O God. Let Your glory be above all the earth.

Meditating on God’s Word – As Important to Us as to Joshua

rocking chair“One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.” Psalm 27:4

After Moses died, God gave the Israelites time to mourn in the wilderness, then He said to Joshua,

“Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. … Only be strong and very courageous; …This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua 1:2-9

By meditating on the Law, the Word of God, and obeying all that is written in it, Joshua was promised success. If we were to read the complete story of Joshua, we would see that he had success when he obeyed God. Sometimes, he did not go to the Lord for direction, and he failed. Even with that very clear direction from God, Joshua was unable to obey completely.

That’s why we need Jesus. He was the only perfect man, the one and only man who kept the Law in its entirety. He was the only man who was qualified to take our sins upon Him and pay the price of that sin–death on the cross. Because He became sin and hung on that cross for us, we can look to the cross, and cling to Him for forgiveness of our sins, past, present, and future. God looks at us through the blood of the cross and finds us clean, calling us His sons and daughters. As sons and daughters, we are heirs to the kingdom of God and eternal life with Jesus.

This gift is free, and yet, it costs us everything. When we unwrap the gift, we unwrap our lives and bare ourselves to Jesus. He becomes Lord of our lives and gently transforms us into the people He intended us to become from the foundation of the world.

Our responsibility? To surrender our lives to Him, to learn of Him, and to abide in Him.

The Bible contains His love letter to His followers. Through His Word, we learn how much He loves us, and we gain practical insight in sojourning through this world.

What we learn is that meditating on His Word is as important today as it was in Joshua’s day.

Jesus prayed to the Father:

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17

If God’s Word is truth and we are sanctified (purified and consecrated to God) by truth, we must study this Living Word that is

“sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

Paul writes:

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”
Philippians 4:8

My prayer for you:

Abba, Father, You dwell in all the universe, for You are its Creator. In You we live and move and have our being. In You, we find truth, salvation, and all that is pure and holy. Grant us, dear Father, the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we meditate on Your Word, Your truth, Your holiness. We are so amazed at Your love. Thank You, Father.

Thanksgiving, a tradition of God’s people

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations. Psalm 100

May the Lord richly bless you and your family, and may you be filled with thanksgiving.

From suicidal thoughts to hope and exquisite Love

I’ve been stuck in the miry clay of the perpetual pit of pain and fatigue.

I’ve gnawed and scratched my way up a few feet only to drop back into the mud and cry out to the Lord in anguish.

I felt alone in that pit, not knowing if I could get out, not knowing if I would pull my family into the pit of despair with me.

Those were the times when I cried out to God to take me home–to let me die. But there I was alive and in the pit.

I took pills for the pain, pills to sleep, pills to keep me awake, pills to deal with the side effects of the other pills.

Muddled and dark thinking replaced the encouragement of my family, and I began to think they would be better off without me. Surely God did not want me to be in so much pain; surely He didn’t want me to drag others down. Me … Me … Me.

A ray of light pierced that darkness, and I told my husband, Keith, about the plan, and my doctor changed some of my medications. But it was still a process of hanging onto the lifeline, placing one muddy foot over the other up that wall as Keith and others hoisted me out of the pit of despair.

I have learned that chemicals muddled my thinking, but I have also learned that I also inadvertently chose to remain in that pit longer than I needed to. I had allowed the fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue to define me, and that definition shrouded me in hopelessness, for there is no cure for fibromyalgia at this time. I later learned to define myself as who I was (a child of God, greatly loved by my Heavenly Father and my husband and family) not what disease I happened to have.

I learned to get out of bed even when in pain and sit outside. I learned to bask in the light of the Psalms. I found that David often despaired of his situation and confronted God with his anguish. Most of the time, he ended the psalm in praise.  In one psalm, he even asked himself, “why are you cast down O my soul?” David invented self-talk!

When I turned from my pain and to God and others, I discovered that I was wrapped in love, and living with fibromyalgia pain was possible and could have some depth of meaning and significance.

If you have suicidal thoughts, realize that there is hope, and there is help for you. Take these steps immediately:

  • Tell a loved one.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, or 1-800-784-2433.
  • See your doctor immediately. Tell the nurse it is an emergency.
  • Tell God about your struggles and wait on Him as He wraps you in His blanket of love.
  • You have much to be grateful for. Count your blessings.
  • Recount these blessings throughout the day (a form of self-talk).
  • Read the Psalms and meditate on David’s anguish and then his praise.
  • Go to church and get involved.
  • Volunteer. I’ve talked with volunteers who were depressed until they started volunteering.
  • Exercise, one step at a time. It is scientific fact that exercise helps.

My prayer for you

Heavenly Father,  You loved us so much that You sent the Holy Spirit as our Comforter. Wrap these dear readers in the warmth of your love and mercy as You lift them into the light of Your truth and grace. Show them that Your mercies are new every morning. Give them grace, peace, hope, and a double portion of Your exquisite love.

The Lord satisfies YOU!

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion; Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.  Psalm 103:1-5

Five promises within five verses; these promises require nothing on my part, but everything on the part of our Great God.

I have 26 rose bushes. Most weekends, you will find me tending to my roses. Some of the bushes have long, prickly thorns, and many times, as I reach to prune a dead rose, the thorns lunge at me and scratch me, or lodge in my arm. The resulting bright red blood plops on the stones surrounding the roses. No worries. I love my roses. I cherish my roses. I feed them, I weed around them, and I adorn my house with roses. They bring me pleasure and satisfy me.

Isn’t that the way the Lord is? We sin, and He pardons that sin. He nourishes us and heals us from our diseases. Our sin had to be dealt with just as the thorn had to be plucked from my arm. Blood resulted. Not only did Jesus redeem us from the pit with His blood, but He has also crowned us with lovingkindness and compassion.

Think of what a crown of lovingkindness and compassion might look like. Would it be a gold crown encrusted with jewels? Would it be a laurel wreath? I imagine my crown as a wreath of fragrant red roses.

Walk with the crown you have imagined on your head. Won’t that satisfy you and give you a smile?