Spent time tonight searching Gods word for continued work on my position regarding our response to COVID in regards to shepherding the church body. Marianne and I both ended our evening in the kitchen pouring over passages. She is such a great partner and her closeness with the Lord is an asset as I seek His will and purpose in hard to answer questions. We are taking time every night this week to sync up on what the Lord has revealed to us through prayer and supplication.
28th (Day 60) “Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.” Psalms 25:4-5
Yesterday I had the full intention of spending time with the Lord as I crawled into bed but alas, I fell asleep…so I can’t count that. 🙂 I am already starting to contemplate how I might grow in 2021. A lot has changed: COVID-19, entering into eldership at Canyon Hills, my job has evolved a bit, and my family has grown. So, how can I be praying that the Lord will grow me in the next year…well, God lays it right out here for me in Psalm 24. ‘Make me to KNOW Your ways O LORD! TEACH me Your paths and LEAD me in Your TRUTH and INSTRUCT me.’ When I think about all the challenges and trials that could be ahead this next year; this is exactly what I need. To KNOW, to be TAUGHT, and to be LED by God Almighty. When this is the case, there is no obstacle to great to overcome. There is nothing to fear and there is nothing to be worried about getting right to glorify God; when I am walking in TRUTH and KNOWING God’s ways, then every decision I need to make can rest on what I know to be true and my heart will be right because I am willingly being led by Him. How are you praying that you will grow in the next year? What is God revealing to you about that?
26th (Day 58 – Thanksgiving!) “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah” Psalms 24:3-6
I love this passage! It complements well the thing I told my family I am thankful for today. As you all have probably noticed, I have been noting something I am thankful for each day of this last week leading up to Thanksgiving (today). When my family was at the table this evening having dinner, we went around saying something we were thankful for and mine was, wait for it…COVID-19. That’s right – I am thankful for what COVID has done for my time and closeness I have gained with my family and more recognition of my frailty and God’s mightiness. I obviously am not thankful for death, the suffering of others, or the lasting side effects a lot of people who have been infected get; but I am thankful for what it has done for me in regard to love for others and the building of my faith in the only One that matters, God Himself. I do hope for a cure (effective vaccine) but I also hope for a revival caused by people being brought to looking for hope in the one place that can provide hope that lasts an eternity.
25th (Day 57) Psalm 23 – The one everyone knows — “The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want…”
When you focus on the ‘Shepherd’ aspects of this Psalm then you see that a Shepherd thinks and observes in terms of his flock. When David says ‘I shall not want..’, it is because when you have God as your Shepherd, there is nothing else you need. But then in verse 6 he talks about ‘surely, goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life’. This is where my ‘thankfulness’ comes from today. All of the goodness and mercy He has bestowed on me through my wife and children. It is for them that I am utterly thankful to Lord for. My life is busy, but it would be busy no matter my circumstance. In this case my life is busy with the right things -> my family, my church, and my ministry. The Lord has made work support these other 3 things…before, my family, church, and ministry supported my work. I am so thankful for the amazing women He has surrounded me with (Marianne, Bella, Sophie, Prim, and Brooklyn – I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!)
24th (Day 56) Psalm 22…Yes, the whole Psalm.
Today I am thankful for my Salvation because for a moment I thought I had lost it being probably the only professing Christian to not totally internalize that Psalm 22 is a depiction of the Cross. There are direct quotes from this Psalm that Jesus spoke in His Passion; and there multiple places that iterate specific accounts of things that happened during the crucifixion (like casting of lots for Jesus’ clothes). Think about this for a moment…David had a Psalm written roughly 1000 years before Jesus walked the earth that prophesies the playing out of the details of the cross. How can Jews, who know and love King David so much, not see the crazy symmetry here? Do they think that Jesus manufactured everything? Do they think that Jesus paid off the Roman soldiers to gamble over His clothes? I am so thankful that Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and then chose to give it for MY sin so that He could spend the rest of eternity with me…”for the joy set before Him” Hebrews 12:2.
23rd (Day 55) “The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the [whole] person; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure and bright, enlightening the eyes. The [reverent] fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even than much fine gold; they are sweeter also than honey and drippings from the honeycomb.” Psalms 19:7-10
This passage clearly reflects my thankfulness for God’s revealed will through His word. We are so fortunate to have the whole, inerrant, ageless word of God through the Bible! I don’t think most of us fully grasp how blessed we are to have this book in our hands to be able to meditate, consume, memorize, and consult. I love how well David captures this, yet we have to remember that there was not much written for Him at this point! It is perfect and able to restore us! Thank you Lord God and heavenly Father for having in your foresight and grace the provision of this Graphe (The Written Word), that becomes Logos (The Message), that when supernaturally revealed, the Holy Spirit makes it Rhema (The Living Word).
22nd (Day 54) “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” Psalms 18:30
Such a small but powerful verse! When I thought about what I am thankful for today; it was easy…my church. The last several days for our church and its leadership have been nothing short of challenging but as I stood in the foyer at church today with fellow elders and pastors, I was encouraged and at peace because I know that our church has clung to God’s word and have taken refuge in Him. We had a wonderful time of worship, prayer, and teaching today for all three services without disruption. Pastor Steve’s thoughts and encouragement before the message were from a heart that loves Jesus and exists to serve and glorify God. I have been so blessed to have been given the opportunity to play a small part in the leading of our church and sometimes I feel guilty for the vantage point I get of seeing God move in such powerful ways. My faith is so strong today and I am so grateful to God for giving me a church like Canyon Hills.
21st (Day 53) “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Psalms 17:15
This verse is so beautiful! This is how I read this Psalm of David -> This feels like David looking forward to Eternity when he will look upon God in his righteousness. ‘When I wake’ may mean after he wakes up heaven; seeing God’s face as it is will be more than enough. As I look toward Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for the Hope I have in eternity…especially right now as the world seem to be out of control and getting worse. I can look ahead when I will God face to face and I will that will be more than enough. Until then I can continue to live out His will as I exist under the sun. In my freedom in Christ I can walk humbly and meek, working to be more and more like Him. Thank you Lord for this Hope ahead; it gives me a peace and comfort in the here-and-now that is pulls me through.
20th (Day 52) “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalms 16:11
Today was a crazy day but a day of thankfulness and gratitude. Today was my 20th anniversary as a full-time employee at Microsoft and the Lord bestowed on me many wonderful comments from my team and co-workers. There has been so much that I have both enjoyed and endured in those 20 years…but God has made known to me the path of life and He has chosen to bless me in it. God had not only brought me a job that I love, but 4 amazing children, a Life Group of wonderful believers, and a ministry to be a small part in growing His Kingdom. Today I am thankful for that journey and I am excited about what God brings next, because I know that no matter what it is, as long as I stay at His right hand through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, it will be full of joy and pleasure.
19th (Day 51) “I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Psalms 16:7-8
As I read this Psalm today, it follows a conversation we are having as church elders. I am so thankful for God’s counsel and as David says here, I am also thankful for the nights I am kept awake while my God-filled heart (of the new man) instructs me. This happens when I set God before me, always keeping Him in my view and following His will and purpose for my life. Because I know that He is there, I can confidently walk forward into tough situations because He is right there; I can stand firm the Truth of His word. When we seek God and His answers to life’s questions, there is a peace and confidence that comes when we KNOW that what we are doing is supported by the will of God…its powerful!