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

 

Living Life on Different Terms

I’ve heard it said that fear reflects the absence of faith. I don’t know if that’s true or not. I do know that I don’t want to wander around in the wilderness like the Israelites did after God delivered them from Egypt. Their doubt and fear manifested themselves in restlessness and discontent. That is what doubt and fear do to me; they sow seeds of discord and dissatisfaction, leading to destruction. Unchecked, a wake of mayhem and devastation is sure to follow.

doubt-and-fear_edit_old

Even though I have faith, I still experience fear. Doubt is not the absence of trust, is it? I trust, yet, I have doubt. Being in recovery, my primary job is staying clean and sober. That’s job #1.  My doubts and fears will drive me back to the wilderness if I empower them. Staying on the right path means I cannot engage in the business of doubt and fear because they lead down the path of destruction. Doubt and fear make me do stupid things.

My belief in my Higher Power has to be stronger than the angst doubt and fear cause me. My trust in the Lord Almighty must prevail in times of trouble brought on by the creeping demons of doubt and fear.

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
(Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr)

Most days, my fears and doubts aren’t about God anymore. When I take inventory, my doubt and fear center on people, places, and things. I am reminded my choices require wisdom.

Be Still and Know that I am God.

(Psalm 46:10)

After further examination and deep reflection, I have found doubt and fear are rooted in my inability to control everyone, every place, everything. Therein lies my trouble. To do job #1-stay clean and sober-I have to recognize that I am not God and that I am dependent on Him to provide me with courage and wisdom to see things for what they are, not as I would necessarily like them to be. The world and the life in it do not act according to the unwritten, nondisseminated script in my head. Expressing my doubt and fear through anger and resentment do not change reality. Things just don’t work that way. It’s simply not all about me. It’s about God and others. Loving Him and loving them. Jesus says there are no greater commandments than these two.

spider-web_edit

Doubt and fear are insidious, inventive and incendiary diseases devising ways to keep me from trusting the Lord, faithfully following His ways, and obediently resting in His Spirit. Abiding in Him, all things are possible. I need not fear. I need not doubt. He alone provides me the strength necessary to sustain me and help me persevere, be it on the mountain or in the valley. He is faithful to never leave me nor forsake me.

Recovery means I no longer live solely the way I want to live. Recovery means, one day at a time, I learn to live the way God wants me to live. Recovery means how I live matters.

Go in peace.

Embracing Monday

I am glad to be in front of my laptop writing and creating fresh content for this blog. It’s also with overflowing joy that I’m able to greet Monday morning focused on several opportunities to minister to people in need of a comforting word and a healing touch. Proclaiming the Gospel is something I am passionate about, as is my beloved wife, Terri.While the Lord has equipped us to go about this in different ways, employing a variety of means, the end result—reaching people for Jesus Christ—remains the same. Our heart’s desire is to see people come to know and grow in Christ. We love coming along fellow co-laborers, sharing our love for Jesus, and gratitude for the marvelous work God has done in our lives.

The past two and half weeks have been heavily focused on school. Being a 50+-year-old grad student has its challenges. On the plus-side, is meeting new people and getting to know a new generation firsthand. Millenials certainly are interesting. After having been in class with some 20-somethings, I have grown in my appreciation of them as a people group. They are value-centric, seeking to derive more from work than just putting food on the table. They desire to be valued and need to feel that their contributions matter. They aren’t all work and no play. For Millenials, work/life balance is necessary.

As a recovering addict, balance is something that has always seemed like a struggle for me. Spending all day with my head in the books, a laptop in front of me, working on a large, 13,000 + word research paper and then a huge research project mimics compulsive addictive behavior. Fortunately, studying does not lead me to be in handcuffs. But it has reminded me of who I once was and grateful for who’s I am today.

In my graduate studies, I have learned a lot about leadership and team development that I did not know, even after all these years both as a worker bee and as an employer of people. It has been an enriching experience for me. I am thankful for the Lord’s provision and for my wife’s support in this endeavor as we seek to be faithful in following God’s calling on our lives.

rb_pencil

Ministry has not been what we expected it to be. Honestly, I don’t know that either of us knew what to expect. We remain overwhelmed by God’s grace and the thought that He would use us to do His work. But He has. And we do. Through ministry initiatives like Operation Christmas Child and outreach programs like Union Gospel Mission, Terri and I have had the privilege of ministering to a mind-boggling number of people. We have had front row seats to seeing God at work. It has been an incredible journey thus far. With every passing week, this blog continues to grow and reach people that we would not have been able to reach in more traditional ways.

Tomorrow is Monday. I look forward to embracing the day and seeing what all God does through His work.

Go in peace.