The Valley of Victory

Meditation Journey Day 45             

Hi Friend,

Our meditation through Psalm 139 has been a journey into the treasures of God’s love towards us. In the last section, verses 13-16, we came to the highest vantage point on our expedition. From this beautiful view, we can see where we have been and where we will be going. We have traveled through the foothills of our worth to God (vs. 1-6), the highlands of belonging in Him (vs. 7-12), and now we rest in the majestic mountains of our purpose (vs. 13-16).

Ahead is a tough valley. I call it the valley of Victory (PS.139:19-22). It is actually a war zone. There we must fight using the truths we have gained in verses 1-16 to have victory over the lies of the world, sin, and Satan. The battlefield on which we fight is our hearts and minds; it is a spiritual battle, not a physical one.

To prepare for this battle we need to walk carefully through the next two verses, 17-18, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.” 

David was a warrior king, and these words are actually a strategy that will equip every one of us for the coming conflict. David gives us three important points:

1) The attitude we must have towards God’s thoughts (truth),

2) The assurance of the vast wealth of His thoughts about us and

3) Our need to understand the total commitment to follow God knowing that even after death I am still with Him.

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David calls God’s thoughts precious, and he adds a personal depth of worship by saying, “O God!” This is the essential attitude we must have if we are to put to death our fleshly nature (Col.3) and out maneuver Satan’s fiery arrows (Eph.6). The Precious thoughts in this Psalm are what David has revealed about God in verses 1-16. They are God’s thoughts and ways (Isa.55). They are higher than our thoughts; full of power and strength. As we cherish God’s thoughts they become the word to us that is “the sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6). Our meditation in His word and the Holy Spirit’s presence in us breaks down the strongholds of lust, doubt, fear, and guilt in our minds.

To defeat Satan we must treasure God’s word. This is where Adam & Eve lost the battle years ago (Genesis 3). We too have lost many conflicts with sin because we did not trust God’s precious word; instead, we believed Satan’s lies. We will only win as we abide in God’s Word, the Living Christ. Our battle cry is “Greater is He (Jesus) that is within you than he (Satan) that is in the world” (1 John 4).

Therefore, we must understand David is not just saying something nice about God when he says, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!” This worship filled response is equipping David’s heart with the necessary attitude for victory and we must possess the same attitude! The Apostle Paul wrote about Spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.  We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We are equipped with divine power when we humble our hearts to God receiving His word and abiding in His precious thoughts.

I pray that God’s word has become dearer to you as we have journeyed together. His thoughts are more precious than gold and silver. He has given them to us to protect and guard our hearts and minds against the enemy.

Observation: David’s praise was an expression of his soul being filled with God’s love. He is realizing God’s thoughts about him are a precious gift.

Interpretation: In verses 17-18, David gives us three important ways to prepare for the battle against the world, sin, and Satan in our hearts. The first is that we must regard God’s thoughts, truth, and word as precious to us. This is an attitude that will guard our hearts and minds.

Application Prayer: Father God, King David says your thoughts are precious. I need your help to comprehend the magnitude of love revealed about me in Psalm 139. I want to walk in victory and to know my worth, belonging and purpose all came from you. Help me to win the spiritual battles I am fighting. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

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Have you Partaken Today?

Hi Friend,

Before we begin our descent from the Majestic Mountains of Purpose in Psalm 139 I want to visit King David’s spontaneous praise in verse fourteen.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

This outburst of praise was the result of David’s heart being washed with wave after wave of revelation of the LORD’s kindness and care. David has traveled through the understanding that God knowing him in every way and everywhere. He has found God to be faithfully gracious at every turn. Now as God describes David’s prenatal development in such intimate terms it is too much for his heart to sit still with a closed mouth.

King David, the psalmist of Israel, cries out to his God and King with the sweetest praise his mind can express. It is the last line that tells us why David exploded with joyous praise, “my soul knows it very well.”

Have the words of Psalm 139 begun to sink into your soul? Have you begun to pray it, sing it or memorize it? I ask this not to shame you but to remind you of the journey we are taking. My prayer is not for us to be amazed at David’s experience, but to engraft the love of God into our hearts.

The Apostle Peter in his second letter says it clearly. He explains why we need to intentionally process God’s word into our hearts as we had learned in Proverbs 2:1-5.

Partake“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature,” 2 Peter 1.

His promises are His truth as revealed in Psalm 139. God gave us His word to “partake” of His very being! The word, partake, means to share or for God’s nature to become part of you. If we eat the word like the Bread of Life and tend our hearts like a spiritual garden we will become more Christ–like. It happened to the shepherd boy, David, and it can happen to us too!

Reflect on this passage one more time….

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

I pray that through the word we all partake of Jesus deeply and often. Please pray for one another with me.

Observation: David’s praise was an expression of his soul being filled with God’s love.

Interpretation: God’s truth is of little value to us unless we partake of it through a meditative process. To be transformed into Christ-likeness we need His nature engrafted into our hearts.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for your word. Teach me how to eat it daily. Help me to not just be a hearer of the word but a receiver of your very nature. I yield my heart and mind to your word.  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Were You Predestined?

Meditation Journey Day 43   

Hi Friend,

In the sixteenth verse of this Psalm, David takes us up a difficult path in these majestic mountains of Purpose…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

This passage is difficult for us to understand because it implies God planned each day of our lives before we were born. The days were written down in God’s book and we did not get to choose one of them. This is the concept of being pre-designed or predestined. Paul penned a similar thought in Ephesians 1.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

What is difficult for us to understand is the balance between God’s sovereign will and God's will Man's willman’s free will. Understanding how these two opposing positions co-exist is never easy. It is comforting to know no theologian has thoroughly figured this out either. While it is reassuring to us that God is in control; we like to think we are making our own decisions. Both processes are always operating in parallel. God is always in control and working all things together for the good of His beloved. At the same time God allows each person to exercise their free will; and they are totally responsible for every choice they make. We see this in the Bible in many events. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is a glaring example. When Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders he was acting out his own desires. At the same moment God was using Judas’ sinful nature to fulfill God’s plan of sacrificing Jesus to redeem the world.

However, the Bible is clear that God does call and choose us. Rejoice that your decision for Christ began in the heart of God before you were born.

He is holding you; it is not your faith holding on to Him.

Verse sixteen is magnificent, because it tells us God has a plan for our lives. His design of our being, as revealed in verses 13-15, is perfect for the plan that He has set in process. The prophet, Jeremiah revealed the LORD’s plans for God’s people when he wrote, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, thoughts of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29. How could God say this if He did not already have ultimate control of everything as a sovereign God?

This verse also speaks powerfully about our ultimate purpose for being on earth. The picture, in verse 16, is God looking at our prenatal substance and deciding how we will best impact the world for His purposes. It implies God designed us and sends us into this world as agents of His healing grace and love. We are prescriptions on a mission to reveal the healing love of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has prepared in-advance good works for us to do. Remember what Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2

Every person has a God-given purpose and reason for being alive. Human life is sacred because we are made in His image and designed to fulfill good works for His glory. You may or may not know exactly what your purpose is at all times, but trust Him. He is working all things together to accomplish it in your life.

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Here are three things that are His will everyday of our lives: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5. As we confidently rejoice, pray and give thanks; we will enjoy His plans for our lives. He has designed each day to give us the hope we need to rest in His Sovereign authority and love.

 

Observation: Verse 13-16 reveals God has pre-designed us for purpose each day. His plans are for our welfare and to give us hope. God’s will and man’s will, may at times be opposite, but God is still working all things together for His beloved.

Interpretation: This truth gave David peace and assurance that God had a divine purpose for his life. It should encourage us too. Our minds, limited by time and space, cannot fully understand how God executes His will without violating man’s free will; yet God constantly works this way. We should rest in the knowledge that He is in control. He designed us to do good works that will glorify Him and bless us. Our focus should be on praying, rejoicing and giving thanks to Him each day.

Application Prayer: Father God, my faith is in you and your loving kindness. I do not completely understand how you ordered my life to give you glory, but I trust your design and purpose for my life. Help me to rejoice each day with prayer and thanksgiving for your Sovereignty and grace. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

You are Wonderfully Made!

Meditation Journey Day 42                         

Hi Friend,

Did you know you were intricately woven in the depths of the earth? I did not either until I read verse 15 of Psalm 139. David is writing beautiful Hebrew poetry about our prenatal development: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” In these words of wisdom the Holy Spirit is revealing another facet of our unique purpose.

Shine 3The “depths of the earth” is our mother’s womb. The term “frame” does not just describe our skeletal structure. It is metaphor for the frame in which a beautiful tapestry is woven together. Medical science tells us that each person has between twenty to thirty thousand genes that determine everything about their physical make up. Our genes are like the strands of fabric that, in the secret place of the womb, God wove our being together as an artist would weave a masterpiece. Each strand of fabric He chose is of a different color and strength. We are uniquely made and created by God for our moment on the stage of life. He intricately” wove into our makeup just the right strengths, weakness, talents and abilities to give us an exclusive way to glorify Him and serve others.

The application of this truth to our lives is immensely important. All too often we disregard our uniqueness and compare ourselves to others. The Bible says comparison thinking is unwise “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise 2 Corinthians 10.

When we compare ourselves to others it is easy to come to the conclusion we are deficient in some way.  Or just the reverse happens. We compare ourselves to others, and we assume we are in some way superior. Both are traps of Satan and lead to rejecting ourselves or rejecting others. God says, in Isaiah 45, that when we reject ourselves we reject Him. When we reject other people on this criterion we are assuming a position of arrogance that is unwise.  We must stop comparing ourselves to other people, because God has really made us all different. There is no one like us and there never will be anyone just like us!

By design, He created us to reveal His workmanship. This is exactly what Paul wrote: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2. How could we compare ourselves to anyone when we are all designed differently to glorify God in distinctive ways?

It is also unwise to compare yourself to any one because God is the only one that knows all the twists and turns your life will take. He designed us to shine for Him in the mist of darkness, trials and tribulation that we cannot imagine. We may envy someone’s strength or beauty thinking they are so healthy looking not knowing they are filled with cancer! Only He knows the health issues we will experience. Only He knows the people we will meet and places we will go. There are no circumstances we will encounter that God does not know. He prepared us in advance to face all of life with His grace.

This is the key to appreciating our individual differences. Every strength, weakness, talent Shine 2and ability God has “intricately woven” into our being was given to glorify Him through His grace and strength.  We fulfill His purpose for our lives when He is living and loving through us. We are like light bulbs of different shapes, sizes and colors that only glow when the electricity of His Spirit radiates through us. If you think you have limitations, flaws or special “birth marks”, commit all your weakness to Him and allow them to become reminders of His design. Do not be distracted from His grace by comparing yourself to others. Allow the strong points and the weak points of your humanness to turn your heart to Him in humble gratefulness. We need to remember He works all things together for our good and His glory Romans 8. Then we will sing with David the song of the redeemed, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Walk in peace today knowing your Father prepared you in advance to glorify Him in the mist of your joys, trials, and struggles. Pray for others too and share this post; we all need this encouragement.

Observation: David wrote a beautiful poetic description of our prenatal development in verse 15. We are uniquely created. We show how unwise (ignorant) we are when we compare ourselves to others.

Interpretation: This verse reveals how God wove into our lives all the special strengths and weakness that makes us unique. We are designed to glorify Him at all times and in all places. We need to allow our strong and weak points to remind us He especially created us.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for making me. I do appreciate and thank you for designing my strengths and weaknesses. Help me to turn my focus to you every time I am tempted to compare myself to others. Help me to allow the electricity of Your Spirit to flow though me so that I can shine Your light into the darkness of this world. I am grateful for the way you wove me together. I accept myself as a gift from you. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

You are a Special Creation!

Meditation Journey Day 41                             

Hi Friend,

Special UDo you ever think about why you are here? Why were you born in this time and place; to your parents and your family? Some children live with the message that they were an accident or a mistake that should never have happened. Other children were born into families that were desperate to have children; their parents planned and prayed for them daily. Regardless of our parents intention each of us are a miracle planned by God.

The Holy Spirit penned, through David’s Psalm 139:13-16, the amazing wonder of our prenatal development. It is a physical development and a spiritual one. In verses 13-16, God reveals not only the purpose for our unique physical appearance, but also the spiritual reason He created us!

For eternal change, give these verses a quick read several times today.

13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Special u 2The Expanded Bible says it this way:  “You made [created] my whole being [inward parts]; you formed [knitted] me in my mother’s body [womb].” Any way it is read the message is the same; God designed, created, and made you. He is the Author of our lives. He personally over sees the creation of every baby. Seven times the pronoun “You or Your”, referring to God, is written to underline the fact that God was personally involved in our development.

The message today is that we are not mistakes! No baby ever is an accident or an error. Our parents may or may not have planned or expected us to be, but God in His wisdom chose the moment of our conception.

Allow the thought of you being a special creation personally shaped and formed by the hands of God roll over in your mind. Stop rejecting yourself in any way. You should reject sin and negative thinking, and there maybe things you can do to improve your appearance or health, but stop beating up on yourself! God made you, all of you, for a reason. The rejection of our form is a rejection of Him and His design. Listen to what He says about rejecting ourselves.

“Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘He has no hands’? Woe to him who says to his father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to his mother, ‘What have you brought to birth?’

“This is what the LORD says– the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands?  It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts.” Isaiah 45

In the Bible, “Woe” means stop quickly; it is severe warning to avoid wrong behavior or thinking. When we reject our physical shape and do not thank God for His creation; we build a wall between us and God. We judge His work and dictate to Him what He should have done and what He should be doing now. Each of us was created just as God designed because purpose and design are interconnected. We take away from our own purpose when we do not accept His design. We must humble ourselves to His wisdom and recognize ourselves as gifts from Him.

You are not a mistake. Nor is your body, mind or spirit unable to achieve God’s designed purpose for you. Do what you can to improve yourself, but stop rejecting who God made.  Give thanks for His creation and begin to say with David, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Observation: God formed, created, and made us each unique. We are strongly warned against rejecting His design and creation.

Interpretation: Our loving Father planned our moment of conception and all that is designed into us. We need to give thanks and praise for His purpose and enjoy the particular shape, gender and genes He knitted into our being. When we reject His design of us, we reject Him and the work of His hands. This sets up our prideful judgment of His plans and purposes for our live.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for making me. I know I have limits and restrictions because of the body you designed for me. I think my genetic makeup maybe better than some and worse than others, but Father I trust you to use me to glorify you with all my strengths and weaknesses. Please give me grace to yield to your design and plans   … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Who are You???

Meditation Journey Day 40                            

Hi Friend, ready to break camp and move on? This meditative journey into Psalm 139 has been exciting to me even though I have been walking through it for many years. This is true of all God’s Word. It never becomes boring when He walks us through His beautiful Kingdom of grace.

Ahead on our journey, in verses 13-16, are the  majestic mountains

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Majestic Mountains of Purpose

of Purpose. From their heights we will see the amazing and wonderful way God made us. David, the author of this psalm, will break into spontaneous praise and thanksgiving as he marvels at God’s creative work. I pray that we too will have eyes to see God’s beautiful purpose in us. God, help us to have ears to hear the whispers of Your joy in us in the gentle breeze of the Holy Spirit.

Today, please pause and read through these four verses of Psalm 139:13-16 several times. Allow the Holy Spirit to begin to engraft them into your soul.

 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

The world says we are simply biological accidents that emerged from the slime; just smart Hex coil 1germs. God says we are His beloved children made for a holy and high purpose. We have been formed to be His instruments of grace and love.

Remember, God’s word is “living and active.” (Hebrews 4) As you humbly receive His word you allow it to work in your heart. Receiving the truth that God has a divine and unique purpose for some people is very hard to believe. Please pray with me that each of us reading this today will began to see the distinctive and very special person God created us to be.

Observation: David gives us the revelation of how and why God created us in verses 13-16. He is overwhelmed by the purpose and plans of God for his life.

Interpretation: Knowing we are created by God with purpose is a powerful understanding. The world says people are just naked apes that come and go like any other animal. God’s word shatters that lie as we receive and believe the truth through Psalm 139.

Application Prayer: Father God, Thank you for making me. I am in awe that you take such interest in me. I am sure I will never fully understand why you saved me, but please help me to glorify you each day. Please help me to fulfill the purpose you created me for in this world. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

The Wicked Weapon of Rejection

Meditation Journey Day 39    

Hi Friend, Though you might like to read a comment about last weeks Meditative Journey:

Hey Pastor Neil,

I’ve wanted to thank you for all the messages that you send, they are great to read. I appreciate the time you take to help those of us who don’t understand the word of God as easy as you do. Thank you for all you do to help me get closer to the Almighty!!!

JM

Now back to Psalm 139……..

Rejection is a wicked weapon in the hands of our Enemy. The need to know we are unconditionally accepted by God is vital to our spiritual growth. Satan will use people and circumstances to slam our hearts with the feeling we do not belong and are unloved. Knowing what God says and thinks about us becomes our shield of faith. It gives us strength to face the rejection that we experience in our world. Psalm 139 verses 7-12 express very strongly God’s truth about our place of belonging in His heart.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

The eleventh verse of this section again focuses on David’s rebellious choice of trying to run and hide from God; this time it is in darkness. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night.” Hiding in darkness is the natural bent of mankind. In John 3, Jesus had a piercing commentary on why people like the darkness, “For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.”  

When we sin, our human nature wants to hide.Adam

We become afraid. We got this bent from our first parents Adam and Eve. “They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.  And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3

They tried to conceal their nakedness with fig leaves and then when God approached them they ran into the darkness. We still act the same way.

What David finds in hiding is the consistent presence of God, even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.”

Rejection 2We know God is everywhere because He is omnipresent, but what these verses reveal is the attitude He has toward us everyplace we go. In all places, but hell, we will find the loving kindness of God. In our last meditative entry (38) we learned when we take the wings of the morning and rebelliously run away He is there dancing with us. At our deepest despair and most wicked moment, God’s attitude towards us is never condemnation and further rejection. For His children, it is unconditional love, mercy and grace. His love for us is not determined by our behavior, but by His patient enduring mercy given to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

I trust this truth about God’s grip of grace on you will help you to turn to Him continually. Satan wants us to hide in fear; God calls us to walk with Him in the light of His confident love. Christ is with you in the great times, the good times, and even the really bad times! This even includes your worse choices and decisions.

I pray that you continually allow your soul to soak in the truth of these verses. The message of God’s gracious love can be easily pushed aside when we are hit by the fiery arrows of our Enemy. Please humbly tend the garden of your heart with the confidence of God’s loving presence in your life.

Observation: David, like Adam and Eve, ran and hid from God. In verse 11 he tried darkness, but even there God was with him. As His children, there is no place in our existence where we are ever away from our loving God.

Interpretation: God’s gracious love extended in unconditional terms is astounding for all who trust in Jesus Christ. That He takes our worse choices and works them together for our good and His glory is comforting. We will always face the consequences of our choices, but never will we face them without His gracious presence. This is all because of the love poured out on us through Jesus Christ!

Application Prayer: Father God, I am so grateful you sent Jesus to die for me. I may feel alone, but I know those feelings are never true. You are always with me, always holding me. I humbly surrender to you and trust your love to guide me.  … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?