Who Delights Your Heart?

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Reading:                                     Psalm 37

(Verses 23-29)

The LORD makes firm the steps     

of the one who delights in him;

though he may stumble, he will not fall,     

for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

I was young and now I am old,     

yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken     

or their children begging bread.

They are always generous and lend freely;     

their children will be a blessing.

Turn from evil and do good;     

then you will dwell in the land forever.

For the LORD loves the just     

and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;     

the offspring of the wicked will perish. 

The righteous will inherit the land 

and dwell in it forever. (NIV)

Reflection

According to Psalm 37 there is a string of blessings that is bequeathed to the righteous. We are kept safe—held secure in the palm of God’s hand. Furthermore these blessings are intergenerational. The children of the righteous are blessed, so they can be a blessing to their parents and others.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him (Psalm 127:3).

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him (Psalm 127:3).

As parents and grandparents can attest, children can be a great blessing, or if they are corrupted by rebellion and disobedience they can become a curse, making life difficult for all around them.

Much of the trouble in the world today is self-inflicted. By choosing the path of anger, selfishness and resentment, we heap sorrow on our own head. Conversely, if we choose to follow the LORD along the path of love, generosity and forgiveness, we set ourselves up to receive blessings from our heavenly Father.

Down through the ages, David’s admonition rings true: Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.

 But God’s blessings rest on a premise, and here it is: The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.

 The question we need to continually ask ourselves is “Am I delighting myself in the LORD? Is He my chief joy in life? Do I hunger for His word and His presence in my life? Do I long for times of sweet communion with Him?

Response: LORD God, help me to delight myself in you. May I love what you love. Help me to position myself to receive your blessings. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Your Turn: Are you living proof of God’s intergenerational blessing on those who delight in Him?

Givers and Takers

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Reading:                                     Psalm 37

(Verses 18-22)

The blameless spend their days under the LORD’s care,     

and their inheritance will endure forever.

In times of disaster they will not wither;     

in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

But the wicked will perish:     

Though the LORD’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,     

they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke.

The wicked borrow and do not repay,     

but the righteous give generously;

those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,     

but those he curses will be destroyed. (NIV)

Reflection

I have heard it said that there are two kinds of people in the world—givers and takers. Notice I didn’t say givers and receivers. We all are receivers from the first breath we take, as we receive love and nourishment from our mothers. But there is a subtle but important difference between receiving and taking. The receiver takes what is freely offered. The taker takes regardless if it is offered or not.

The rainbow of generosity - David Kitz

Generosity is like a rainbow – David Kitz

Takers feel the world owes them something. Givers owe a debt of love and make regular payments on that debt. The apostle Paul urges us, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8 NKJV).

Here in Psalm 37 David declares: The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously. There is something counterintuitive about generosity. Generosity breeds prosperity, whereas hoarding leads to poverty. One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty (Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV).

Why is this the case? Job gives us this nugget of wisdom, “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty (Job 6:14). The Almighty oversees our lives. He sees when we withhold kindness from a friend and He sees when we give generously. He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV).

A generous spirit reflects the Spirit of God, who freely gives us all things, including His Son. His Son generously gave his life for our redemption, and for the forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness is freely offered. It’s free for the taking from a lavishly generous God. Have you received what He offers?

Our amazing God turns takers into givers. Saul of Tarsus was a taker, but when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, he became a giver—a forgiven giver. Saul became Paul. Hate turned to love. Taking from the world turned to giving.

Response: LORD God, turn me around. Help me to be generous with those in need. You gave so much to me. Now help me be a giver—a reflection of you in the world. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Your Turn: Can we give without receiving? Which comes first?

John 15:1-2 (Dead Branches)

davidkitz:

This is simply worth listening and watching, particularly the Skit Guys video.

Originally posted on The River Walk:

pruning

I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. (John 15:1-2)

Read: Matthew 12:22 – 13:9, Mark 3:20 – 4:20, Luke 8:1-8

Relate: The autumn months seem to bring Americans together like no other time of year. As the leaves start to fall people will begin inviting their friends and neighbors over on Sunday afternoons and a couple nights a week. Those going out to eat will find themselves having random conversations will begin with neighboring tables and even more random conversations will be sparked on streets, in shopping centers, and wherever two people gather… and one of them is wearing a sports jersey. This is one way to look at it, here’s another:

React: I believe it was A W Tozer who…

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Who is upholding you?

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Reading:                                     Psalm 37

(Verses 12-17)

The wicked plot against the righteous     

and gnash their teeth at them;

but the LORD laughs at the wicked,     

for he knows their day is coming.

The wicked draw the sword     

and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy,     

to slay those whose ways are upright.

But their swords will pierce their own hearts,     

and their bows will be broken.

Better the little that the righteous have     

than the wealth of many wicked;

for the power of the wicked will be broken,     

but the LORD upholds the righteous. (NIV)

Reflection

As stated in my first post on Psalm 37, this psalm is a stark night and day comparison of the life of the evil person with the life of the individual who does right in God’s eyes. The contrast is profound.

Petrie Island -- David Kitz

Petrie Island — David Kitz

I cannot read the passage above without thinking of the evil that is loose in the world today. Here in Canada, this week marks the start of Luka Magnotta’s trial in the slaying of Jun Lin, a Chinese born university student. Magnotta posted his killing of Jun Lin with an icepick on YouTube. After dismembering his body Magnotta mailed various body parts to schools and political party headquarters.

In Iraq and Syria, ISIS militants defiantly behead journalists and international aid workers in a cowardly display of their depravity. Any who hold different religious views are executed, their women raped, their children enslaved. It appears we live in a wicked world where hatred and evil are trumpeted as worthy pursuits—pursuits that attract adoring young fanatics.

The opening line of this psalm posting is as true today as when it was written three thousand years ago. The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them… The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright.

The sin process is still at work in the hearts of men.  When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death (James 1:13-15).

But thanks be to God! We have this promise: for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous. God will uphold us as we put our trust in Him.

Response: LORD God, you are my help in evil times, in times of trouble. I put my trust in you. Hold me in the palm of your hand. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Your Turn: How do you fight evil? Where does it start? We must examine our hearts.

In The World But Not of The World

davidkitz:

Here are some excellent thoughts from Morning Meds on allowing our love of the world override our love for God.

Originally posted on Morning Meds (Take 1 each Morning with all the Prayer You Need):

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.​ 18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the anti​-christ is coming,​ ​even now many anti​​christs have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.—1 John…

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Waiting for the LORD

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Reading:                                      Psalm 37

(Verses 7-11)

Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

do not fret when people succeed in their ways,     

when they carry out their wicked schemes.

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;     

do not fret—it leads only to evil.

For those who are evil will be destroyed,     

but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

A little while, and the wicked will be no more;     

though you look for them, they will not be found.

But the meek will inherit the land     

and enjoy peace and prosperity. (NIV)

 Reflection

When I consider this passage from Psalm 37, two thoughts stand out: Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him and do not fret—it leads only to evil.

 My natural tendency is not to wait or be still. I tend to fret and worry and then charge ahead simultaneously in different directions. Trust me; it’s hard to go in different directions at the same time. The end result is usually a bad case of self-inflicted paralysis, which often results in—you guessed it—a renewed bout of fret and worry. When will we learn?

Peace Like a River

Peace Like a River

The practice of being still before the LORD requires practice. It is a learned response, not a natural reaction. When we wait for the LORD we show that we trust Him. We know that He has not forgotten us or the problems we face. In every situation He has our best interests in mind, even if we don’t understand the reasons, causes or solutions to our difficulties.

By being still and waiting before the LORD we demonstrate that we don’t have the answer within in ourselves. The answer—the solution—lies in Him. If we wait patiently, He will show us the way. And having waited patiently for Him, we can move forward with confidence when He gives us the green light.

It is quite likely that Jesus had the words of this psalm in mind when he gave these instructions in his Sermon on the Mount:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27.

We are to live in quiet confidence. In this psalm we read this promise, “But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.” We can put our trust in the God who stands behind that promise.

Response: LORD God, help me to trust you today. Give me a peaceful heart that I may wait patiently for you. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you tend to fret? Does quiet prayer still your worries?

Receiving the Desires of Your Heart

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Reading:                                     Psalm 37

Of David

(Verses 1-6)

Do not fret because of those who are evil     

or be envious of those who do wrong;

for like the grass they will soon wither,     

like green plants they will soon die away.

Trust in the LORD and do good;     

dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Take delight in the LORD,     

and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD;     

trust in him and he will do this:

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,     

your vindication like the noonday sun. (NIV)

 Reflection

What are the desires of your heart? What do you want more than anything else? Wealth? Fame? Power and influence? Is this what you want? We all have desires. Some are noble some are not. How we manage and direct our desires fundamentally determines the direction of our lives.

Lagoon 2014-08-23

Here in Psalm 37, David compares and contrasts the life of the evil person with the life of the individual who does right in God’s eyes. The differences are stark; this is a night and day comparison. But at its core, everything in life centers on the desires of our heart and how we handle them.

There is a promise embedded in this psalm: Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. It’s a promise that is well worth pondering.

Will the LORD grant us our desires if our desires are evil? Most certainly not! In Psalm 34 we read, “The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to blot out their name from the earth” (Psalm 34:16).

God’s promises are conditional. There is something required of us before the promise can take effect. In this case we are to “Take delight in the LORD.” What does that really mean?

If I take delight in someone, my wife for example, I enjoy being around her. It’s a delight to spend time with her. I take pleasure in the sound of her voice. I pay careful attention to her wishes and desires. Ah, there’s that word again, desires. If I take delight in the LORD, then my desires will align themselves with the LORD’s desires. I’ll be concerned about what He wants. My selfish desires will be tempered by my love for Him. He in turn will grant the desires of my heart because I love Him and want the best for Him and His eternal Kingdom.

It’s easy to get the desires of your heart, if your desires are His desires.

Response: LORD God, help me to delight myself in you. May I love what you love. Help me to recognize when my desires are right and wholesome, and when they are misdirected. I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Your Turn: How do you keep your desires in check and in line with God?

Wholeness

davidkitz:

In the rush of life we need quiet times to refocus. Staci shares some excellent thoughts here to settle our hearts on the one who loves us always.

Originally posted on A God Coloured Girl in a Grey World:

Wholeness

Last week I posted a poem called, “Words, Mind, Emotions“, and shared how sometimes I find it difficult to calm my mind. I read something today that just hit me: “The world is so complex and over stimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction“. Do you find this to be true? I do.

I began writing the above recently. It’s a song and a prayer. When I get flustered, confused, worried, etc, I come to my secret place and meet with my creator, and He seems to have a special way of just breathing peace and new life into my heart. As if He’s saying, “I know you don’t understand it all. I know that the world bombards you, screaming their ideas and thoughts. My child, you will never understand it all. Rest in me and know that I have everything under control.”

Now…

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Everything Old is New Again

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About a month ago, my wife and I went for a leisurely Saturday drive out to the Carp Farmer’s Market about a half hour from Ottawa. It was one of those ideal summer mornings—perfect weather. We thoroughly enjoyed the displays of fresh produce and home-baked goods, but best of all we enjoyed sampling them. Surrounded by friendly faces and some live country music, who could ask for more?

But there was more. On the fairgrounds next to the farmer’s market antique autos were rolling into position for a 100+ vintage car exhibit. I’ve always revelled in these displays, so after a locally prepared midmorning snack, we sauntered over.

1932 Chevrolet

1932 Chevrolet

Now I admit I find early twentieth century cars fascinating, but for me, pure nostalgia draws me to the mid-century beauties of the 1950’s and ’60’s—the cars of my childhood and youth. Nothing says classic styling like the fins on a ’57 Chevy or a mid ’60’s Mustang.

1965 Ford Mustang

1965 Ford Mustang

But for me the real find—the pearl among the oysters—was a green 1953 Ford. Why did this car attract me like a magnet? It was the first car I remember—my father’s family car. I remember every detail about it from the chrome jet hood ornament to the Ford name crest on the trunk.

1953 Ford

1953 Ford

A thousand half-forgotten memories flooded back when I set eyes on that car. I was a one-year-old when Dad bought that car back in Saskatchewan. I cut my teeth in that old Ford and it was a central part of so many childhood memories. And here it was—a near perfect replica—sitting before some sixty years later. Furthermore, my name was on the license plate. How cool is that!

Ford 50th Anniversary Edition

Ford 50th Anniversary Edition

Unfortunately, over time we have lost so much. My father’s old Ford went to rust bucket heaven a decade or two after he drove it home from the dealer. Cars rust, fabric frays, memories fade. That’s why I draw so much comfort from this Bible verse: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

This body of mine may be growing old and showing signs of wear, but in Christ I am being renewed every day. If there is resurrection and renewal for old cars, surely through faith in the risen Christ there is hope for this old body of mine. And if that be true there may even be hope for my Dad’s old 1951 pick-up truck stored in a shed in Saskatchewan, and my grandma’s bones stored in a grave a few miles away.  

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:42).

There’s hope and renewal for old Ford’s and Kitz’s too!

David Kitz is an award-winning author and Bible dramatist. For details on his book and drama ministry visit www.davidkitz.ca

Pride Says “I Would Never”

davidkitz:

There is a lot of wisdom in the words of James. This “Morning Meds” post is well worth a quick read and daily application.

Originally posted on Morning Meds (Take 1 each Morning with all the Prayer You Need):

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

13 And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, “God is tempting me.” God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. 14 Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. 15 These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. ​16 So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. —James 1:13-1​6​ (NLT)
​God never tempts us. So, if God isn’t tempting us, then where do those temptations originate? That’s right, they come from satan. We know that satan was allowed to tempt Jesus with promises of wealth and grandeur. Jesus, being human, yet perfect, did not give in to those temptations. Why? Because Jesus had one desire and that was to please our Father, God. We are not perfect…

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