Psalm Saturday: Psalm One Devotional

Psalm One is one of the best known and most beloved psalms, summarizing the two roads of life people can choose: a) the way of the righteous and b) the way of the wicked. There is a right way and a wrong way. The right way leads us closer to God. The wrong way leads us further and further astray the longer we remain on it.

As we are often reminded viewing the nightly news, there is a Good and an Evil that exists in this world we temporarily call home. The battle between Good and Evil is certainly nothing new. It has existed since the earliest beginnings of time; perhaps even longer. We can choose to follow Good or fall prey to a lifestyle of Evil. 

Psalm One reveals the importance of how we think about God, describing godly living contrasted against the hazards of an ungodly lifestyle. For the original biblical audience, Psalm One serves as a reminder of their hope in the Mosaic Covenant. For you and me, it reflects a picture of two roads. One road produces blessings. The other road results in the bitter fruits of sorrow and destruction.

Psalm One

Living a life of obedience yields blessings, provides good spiritual health, and transforms our character and actions into something that is pleasing to the Lord. Without a healthy root system grounded in the Word, we are as sure to die spiritually as a tree is certain to rot. Following God leads to good things. 

The wicked have no concern for the things of God. They do not live to please the Lord.  Instead, they live to please themselves and satisfy their own passions. They have zero regard for living the spiritual life. A life lived simply to feed our own desires falls short of God’s plan for us. 

Psalm One ends with a warning of a future day of judgement in which the Lord will separate the godly from the ungodly, the righteous from the wicked, and the wheat from the chaff. It offers a stern warning reminding us to live our lives with the knowledge that one day we will be asked to give an account of the road we chose to travel. The road we choose is up to us. 

Psalm One makes it abundantly clear that a life lived trusting in the Lord and in full obedience to all He commands is the more profitable path to take.

Psalm Saturday_Title Slide


Are you ready to choose the right road?

I pray that you are.

God loves you. He does not wish anyone to perish. He gave His only Son so that we could be restored on a right path leading to a life lived in His presence forever.

Prayer:

Father God, I love you. I thank you for the grace and mercy you have bestowed on me and for giving me a second chance to follow You on the right path. Father, I pray that Your truth would be revealed to others and that they might come to know You as I have come to know You. Thank you for the truth of Your Word and the Wisdom it provides. Thank you for Your Son, through whom I am saved. Amen.

Sons of Korah-Psalm 1

 

Remaining Vigilant on the Road of Recovery

Recovery is a total overhaul of our mind, body, and spirit. It is a constant, ongoing process. You can graduate from a program, but you never graduate from your recovery. Even after you overcome your habits and hang-ups and find healing from your hurts, the work of recovery continues. Like the process of sanctification, the journey of recovery transforms us daily, correcting our skewed inner navigation system. We are all flawed. We are all a little damaged. No one drives life’s highway without getting dinged up. At the end of the road, none of us even get off the highway alive.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

 addiction

Recovery is about living. Addiction is about dying. As addicts, regardless of habit or hang-up, we die to self a bit every single day. The longer we remain embroiled in the turmoil brought on by our darkest demons, the more of our self we lose. We find ourselves wandering aimlessly off-course, struggling to find our way home.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

But, the good new is that recovery works if you work it. We avoid getting too far ahead of ourselves and certainly we must not get ahead of God. His desire is for us to walk with Him, just as Adam and Eve walked with Him in the Garden (Genesis 3:8). When we walk with God, it fosters closeness, intimacy and fellowship. Spiritual growth occurs. Our spiritual growth and transformation help us remain in a state of recovery. Recovery is not a stagnant but ever-developing, altering states just like water forms into ice and ice evaporates into a gas.

Vigilant

Our recovery requires our active participation, monitoring our thoughts and behaviors, continuing to learn and practice new skills, developing and growing our support system, and being alert and watchful to triggers and temptations to use or return to our addictions of choice. We must stay vigilant, guarding against relapse.

Step 1: Honesty

“Admit that you, of yourself, are powerless to overcome your addictions and that your life has become unmanageable.”

The work of recovery is hard but it is also rewarding. The work we do in the rooms and through our programs helps us rebuild broken relationships. Recovery brings new people into our life as well, providing us with friends who walk with us, mentoring us, and most of all, holding us accountable. We can experience happiness because we learn to quickly forgive wrongs and readily admit when we messed up and need to apologize and make amends. This keeps the list short and our burdens light, replacing pain with joy. Through recovery we can live the abundant life our Creator intended for us to experience this side of Heaven.

Open Door

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

John 10:10 (ESV)

My friend, continue to press on, one day at a time, and even sometimes one moment at a time.

RBantau_072017 Devo Guy

 

Life Matters

It’s been a tough year in so many ways. I’ve watched brothers and sisters suffer and battle courageously as their bodies were ravaged by unexpected disease and witnessed the lives of those they love shattered by their loss. I’ve shuddered at the sheer evil of malevolent groups like ISIS killing sweet, innocent children who did nothing to them and I’ve wept at the breadth of what divides us as a nation and as people.

In our darkest moment we see the greatest light.

Yes, I’ve seen light. The light of a young boy who a year ago lost life as he knew it when his mother and sister were killed in a tragic car accident that left him fighting for his very breath. I’ve seen God’s gracious mercies, tenderly sweet, heal this young little hero and begin restoring him to full health.

In spite of the darkness, I’ve tasted the joy of seeing people bring their love filled shoebox gifts by the thousands upon thousands so that somewhere in a land far away, a young child—whose life has been devastated by the effects of disease, disaster, war or poverty—can know and feel love and hear the Good News Jesus ushered in on a Cross at a place called Calvary, over 2000 years ago.

When I’ve been at my lowest point, I’ve been lifted up by the lost, lonely and least of our 21st century Dallas culture. Seeing men continue to press on in spite of their dire circumstances has helped me do the same, no matter how hard some days may be.  I’ve been encouraged by seeing men whose lives have value hang on to hope even though they have fallen off the last rung of our society’s ladder of success.

You have value.

All life has value. Every life matters. All life has value because all life comes from God. Scripture teaches that we were created in His image. We matter because we matter to Him. How much do we matter?  So much so that He sent His one and only Son so that all who would believe in Him might experience eternal life, living in the presence of God forever. God took the initiative to heal the divide.

As you prepare for this Christmas season, reflecting on the year past and looking forward to the year that lies ahead, what will you do? Will you reach out to that old friend or family member and make peace? Will you do something that helps restore someone else to dignity? Will you be part of the solution rather than a voice of division?

Life matters; Starting with your life.

The responsibility and accountability for my life begins with me. If I’m not happy with the results, then I have to be willing to take a hard look in the mirror. Am I stewarding the gifts, talents, and resources God gave me well? Or am I letting them go by the wayside?

When it comes to relationships, the part that I control and what I must be willing to own is my part in them. Do I treat people like I want to be treated? Do I demonstrate love, kindness and forgiveness to others or are those simply things I expect in return without being willing to first love others before they love me?

Let it go.

As Momma used to say, “Quit crying over spilled milk.” The past is done. You can do nothing to change it today. What you can do is impact TODAY. Don’t get ahead of yourself and start thinking about tomorrow. Focus on TODAY. What will I do to make someone’s day TODAY? Let go of the past. Let bygones be bye and gone. Otherwise, bitterness and resentfulness will take root.

You’ve heard that life is too short. Don’t waste it looking at the things that are wrong with it. Instead, look at what’s right and celebrate that.

Rely on God’s Word.

At the end of the day, in his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul says it best:

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.  See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-24)

May you rejoice always, pray without ceasing and give thanks in all circumstance.

Go be blessed and go be a blessing.

Merry Christmas!

RB