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Acts 17:22-34 // Encountering the World

“22 Then Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus and said: ‘Men of Athens! I see that you are extremely religious in every respect. 23 For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed:

TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it — He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. 25 Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. 26 From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. 27 He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ 29 Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination.

30 Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.

32 When they heard about resurrection of the dead, some began to ridicule him. But others said, ‘We’d like to hear from you again about this.’ 33 Then Paul left their presence. 34 However, some men joined him and believed, including Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”

Acts 17:22-34

Paul very well could have walked onto Mars Hill and said something to insult the people of Athens. “Seriously? Idol Worship? You carve it and then pretend it’s higher than you? You’ve got to be kidding me! You all are so spiritually backward and infantile! Grow up and open your eyes!” But, of course, he didn’t. He didn’t attack them for their beliefs. He didn’t insult them, patronize them or speak down to them in any way. Instead, he met them in that place, where they were culturally speaking, and addressed them from that same place withthin their own cultural understanding. He built a bridge between their hearts/minds and Jesus. 

Thanks to the magic of social media, we think we can say whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want it without considering the approach. We lash out, we get abrasive and we are unkind to people, and then we want to post things about compassion, mercy and love in the next 5 minutes. Jesus said that the world would know we belonged to Him because of the love that we share, one Christian to another. I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume, then, that we should speak to people in Jesus Name with a modicum of respect for their humanity and in an effort to build that bridge like Paul did in Athens. 

It doesn’t mean that we condone their beliefs, behavior or endorse their lifestyles. What it does mean is that we consider their hearts, their humanity, and we make every effort to reach out to them in a way that may actually make a difference for the Gospel in their lives. We want to make that effort, that does not compromise the truth, but addresses them in a way that they may actually be willing to listen to what you have to say. Brash, abrasive behavior is not going to win hearts and souls, especially in these moments of initial contact like Paul is being afforded here. 

Be responsible with the occasions that God open for you. Make the effort to reach out in a way that is actually inviting, and do not attack their character, insult their intelligence or malign their upbringing. Speak to them as Jesus would, with compassion and mercy. Understand that they were likely raised within this culture and haven’t been taught any different. Realize that they haven’t had a strong example that understood the things of God well enough to direct them towards Him properly, if at all. GoLove people in Jesus Name, and do it in actual love. Build bridges, and encounter the world where they are, right in the middle of the mess of human sinfulness, and show them the light. Don’t bend. Don’t move from the truth. But present Jesus Christ crucified & resurrected for the forgiveness of our sins to them. That is the Gospel message. Trust it to be powerful enough on its own, treat the message with respect. 

It’s not by my forcefulness that someone will come to Jesus. It’s not by the sheer power of my intellect.

No. The Gospel is more than enough. 

  

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Psalm 119:73-80 // י Yod // Dependent on God 

“73 Your hands made me and formed me;

give me understanding

so that I can learn Your commands.

74 Those who fear You will see me and rejoice,

for I put my hope in Your word.

75 I know, Lord, that Your judgments are just

and that You have afflicted me fairly.

76 May Your faithful love comfort me

as You promised Your servant.

77 May Your compassion come to me

so that I may live,

for Your instruction is my delight.

78 Let the arrogant be put to shame

for slandering me with lies;

I will meditate on Your precepts.

79 Let those who fear You,

those who know Your decrees, turn to me.

80 May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes

so that I will not be put to shame.”

Psalm 119:73-80

Wisdom begins in us when we learn to fear God properly. Understanding grows in us when we gain a proper perspective as to who we are in light of just who He is, too. We cannot have a healthy perspective on life so long as we see ourselves at the top of the ladder of importance. Instead, with a dose of humility and an honest evaluation of reality, we see just how much we need God, His love, grace, mercy & His rule over our hearts, minds and lives. Pride has no place before the throne of God.

Read this portion of Psalm 119 again, a little more slowly, taking in the depth of what David is saying & admitting.

Read it a third time, acknowledging your own need for God’s guidance.

Read it a fourth and final time, and make it your prayer as you see Him out. 

  

Psalm 119:73-80 // י Yod // Dependent on God 

“73 Your hands made me and formed me;

give me understanding

so that I can learn Your commands.

74 Those who fear You will see me and rejoice,

for I put my hope in Your word.

75 I know, Lord, that Your judgments are just

and that You have afflicted me fairly.

76 May Your faithful love comfort me

as You promised Your servant.

77 May Your compassion come to me

so that I may live,

for Your instruction is my delight.

78 Let the arrogant be put to shame

for slandering me with lies;

I will meditate on Your precepts.

79 Let those who fear You,

those who know Your decrees, turn to me.

80 May my heart be blameless regarding Your statutes

so that I will not be put to shame.”

Psalm 119:73-80

Wisdom begins in us when we learn to fear God properly. Understanding grows in us when we gain a proper perspective as to who we are in light of just who He is, too. We cannot have a healthy perspective on life so long as we see ourselves at the top of the ladder of importance. Instead, with a dose of humility and an honest evaluation of reality, we see just how much we need God, His love, grace, mercy & His rule over our hearts, minds and lives. Pride has no place before the throne of God.

Read this portion of Psalm 119 again, a little more slowly, taking in the depth of what David is saying & admitting.

Read it a third time, acknowledging your own need for God’s guidance.

Read it a fourth and final time, and make it your prayer as you see Him out. 

Acts 15:22-35 // Appreciation for a Simple Faith & Freedom

“22 Then the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, decided to select men who were among them and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas: Judas, called Barsabbas, and Silas, both leading men among the brothers. 23 They wrote this letter to be delivered by them:

“From the apostles and the elders, your brothers,

To the brothers among the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

24 Because we have heard that some without our authorization went out from us and troubled you with their words and unsettled your hearts, 25 we have unanimously decided to select men and send them to you along with our dearly loved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we have sent Judas and Silas, who will personally report the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it was the Holy Spirits decision — and ours — to put no greater burden on you than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from food offered to idols, from blood, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. You will do well if you keep yourselves from these things.

Farewell.”

30 Then, being sent off, they went down to Antioch, and after gathering the assembly, they delivered the letter. 31 When they read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 Both Judas and Silas, who were also prophets themselves, encouraged the brothers and strengthened them with a long message. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent back in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas, along with many others, remained in Antioch teaching and proclaiming the message of the Lord.”

Acts 15:22-35

If you have never had the joy of packing up and moving to a new location, then you have never had the unusual perspective given by physically laying hands on everything that you ‘own’ in a short amount of time, getting to evaluate it, getting to count it, to see how much space your stuff takes up in a moving truck or a storage space. It always makes me want to just get rid of it all and start over because I see just how much baggage I have accumulated, and just how much nonsense gathers around us. Here in the West, we have so much, too much. But we also seem to want to surround ourselves with even more as time goes on. For some it even becomes an obsession, in dealing with loss or grief or change, they gather and hoard and hem themselves in with more and more trying to physically fill in the space that they are emotionally struggling with…it is a cultural disorder. 

So, When these new Christians hear about the simple joys faith, and hear about freedom that God offers in Jesus Christ, they are overjoyed and rightfully so. It is like waking up in the middle of your hoard and finding freedom to walk away and not need those extras anymore. It is like having your eyes opened up for the first time, someone taking lead boots off your feet. It is the sweet release of freedom that only can be brought to you by someone else, like a prisoner being unchained and their door being left to swing wide. 

But then they meet people who have already been ‘free’ for a while, and they are given a suitcase, and maybe a backpack loaded with all the extras that they ‘must have’ in order to enjoy their freedom. They are loaded with expectations and arguments, with to-do lists and burdens that were never meant to accompany their freedom by the One who gave it to them. And in time, they are expected to fall in line with everyone else. Let the excitement wear off, get in step with reality, and polish the edge off that joy a little and THEN you will see what it really means to be ‘free’ like me. 

These new believers were being loaded up with extra burdens, extra ‘joys’ that were not joyful from any angle of observation, and told that the freedom that had been purchased for them came with a few extra…caveats, that they needed to understand and carry along for themselves. (I hope this sounds incredibly familiar for us today.) And when they groaned under that burden, the church stood up, prayed, consulted Scripture, and stated that they were indeed allowed to enjoy their freedom to the fullest extent of the word. There were not going to be any rules that did not point their hearts toward God and God alone, or attempt to replace their new identity in Christ.

And so when they heard the good news, that ‘freedom’ really meant FREEDOM like they had hoped, then they rejoiced, as we all should. So, as you GoLove people like Jesus does, don’t bind heavy burdens on their backs, hearts and minds. Instead, show them that when we are free in Christ, we are free indeed! 

  

Acts 15:6-21 // Clarity, Unity & Grace in the Church

“6 Then the apostles and the elders assembled to consider this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them: “Brothers, you are aware that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the gospel message and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, testified to them by giving the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why are you testing God by putting a yoke on the disciples necks that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? 11 On the contrary, we believe we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.”

12 Then the whole assembly fell silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul describing all the signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they stopped speaking, James responded: “Brothers, listen to me! 14 Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for His name. 15 And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:

“16 After these things I will return

and rebuild David’s fallen tent.

I will rebuild its ruins

and set it up again,

17 so the rest of humanity

may seek the Lord —

even all the Gentiles

who are called by My name,

declares the Lord who does these things,

18 known from long ago.”

19 Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those among the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.”

Acts 15:6-21

Here we find our example of the first council taken by the church in her early days, and here we find our example for how to handle matters in question. They discussed & debated, listened to the evidence and sought God out in HIs Word. They allowed themselevs to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than by their gut or their own preferences. If it had simply been a matter of appeasing those who were upset, they would have made circumcision a requirement for faith, stepping beyond the bounds that God laid out. If they had been bullied into it by Peter, Paul & Barnabas, forcing their way on everyone, then there would have been a split internally caused by dissention. But instead, they sought council with one another and with God. 

I offended someone last Sunday. Last night we sat down and talked about it. I shared Scripture with them, we discussed what God requires and what seems to be preference, and we parted happy and reconciled. 

If we are honest with ourselves, it’s not a matter of if we have confilct with another believer, it’s simply a matter of when. And people who claim Christ who get into conflict with one another have caused some of the nastiest fights and divisions that I’ve ever seen. They aren’t interested in listening to Matthew 18, in taking the proper stpes to be reconciled. They’re just set on being ‘right’ in their mind when the dust settles, and that is not a God-honoring attitude. That is selfish and sinful, full of pride and self-righteousness. The church is never served well by people who refuse to actually dialogue, to consult the Scriptures and spend time in prayer. When someone just wants to ‘win’ the church and the kingdom loses, and I for one don’t want to have to explain to God why my preference for myself and my own opinion outweighed the grace He had for me and for the person I am having difficulty with…

The church in Jerusalem did things perfectly. The people who were upset had their moment to be heard. They weren’t stifled or shut down. Their feeling weren’t invalidated and their opinions weren’t laughed off or scoffed at publicly. After hearing them, the Apostles & leadership considered testimony, consulted the Scriptures and arrived at their decision in a calm manner.  

As we GoLove others in the Name of Christ, we need to make sure we aren’t just self-justifying decisions because that’s our preference. Instead, seeking out God’s wisdom, we should listen to those who oppose us, respecting their opinion, we should listen to examples and seek out testimony and then consult the Scriptures. We should be willing to do anything and everything that still honors God in order to maintain the unity of the church and do do it all in love with a humble heart. 

  

Acts 15:1-5 // Letting Grace Be Enough

“1 Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” 2 But after Paul and Barnabas had engaged them in serious argument and debate, the church arranged for Paul and Barnabas and some others of them to go up to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem concerning this controversy. 3 When they had been sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, explaining in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and they created great joy among all the brothers.

4 When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church, the apostles, and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. 5 But some of the believers from the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to command them to keep the law of Moses!”

Acts 15:1-5 

It’s human nature, I suppose. We are free in Christ, but we want to see what those boundaries are, how far they stretch. Others, when they find what God has done through Christ want to lay out boundaries immediately, so they can grasp what’s been given to them. “This is good, this is bad.” That sort of thing. Here in Acts 15, we find a group of well meaning, but misguided believers. They weren’t trying to divide, but they weren’t letting grace be grace either. It seemed reasonable to them, because they had to be circumcised in order to begin their covenant relationship with God, and so these newcomers should take this step, too. We still do this today. 

Maybe you grew up in church. Your parents wore suits and nice dresses, hats and gloves. Church was something you dressed up for, and if someone didn’t, they were frowned upon. So, when you go to church now as an adult, and you see someone ‘not giving it their best’ they get downgraded in your mind and their faith doesn’t measure up. It’s not always something we think about directly, but it still surfaces as an opinion or a bias within us. But jutst like Jesus Christ made no requirement for circumcision, He also made no requirement for dress code. What God desires, and has from the beginning, is our heart. 

So, we must let grace be enough and not put secondary standards out as a litmus test for faith. If it isn’t laid out in Scripture, then there’s room to breathe and move around a little. Have grace with others as it has been shown to you, and don’t get hung up on the surface rituals we all have, but be concerned for their heart and your own. Do whatever you can to maintain the unity of the body of Christ. Stand on Him as our common ground. Just because you had to wear a sport coat and slacks growing up doesn’t mean that is the gold standard for what it means to follow Jesus Christ. The position of our heart comes first and foremost. Our primary concern is walking as Jesus walked. 

Circumcision was a marker for faith in a parent, and the sign of the continued covenant relationship with God for their people. So, it did run more deeply than a suit and tie, but the basic message is the same. Let grace be grace as you GoLove others in the Name of Christ. Evaluate what your experience tells you is essential in the light of Scripture, and see if they really do mesh. Baptism? Yes. Obedience? Yes. Being active with and supporting the local church and global missions? Yes. These are all markers of a Christian, and there are others. We live repentant, humble lives. We seek to serve those who cannot pay us back. We love unconditionally. These markers in us are far more important than a ceremonial marker that could exist on the body, but not be reflected in the inner person. The heart matters most. An ichthus tattoo does not a Christian make. 

  

Acts 14:19-28 // Snatching victory from the jaws of seeming defeat

“19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

21 After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the Kingdom of God.”

23 When they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 After they spoke the message in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed back to Antioch where they had been entrusted to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 After they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported everything God had done with them and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they spent a considerable time with the disciples.”

Acts 14:19-28

It is definitely not in our nature to continue to seek out a goal when we have been beat down in previous attempts. Most of us wouldn’t go to Derbe, and then to Lystra and through the cities occupied by the people who had so viciously opposed us, desiring us dead and angry enough to see it done. And this doesn’t mean that Paul is some kind of superhuman. Instead, it shows that he was compelled by the Gospel message, and that message compelled hom to continue forward, no matter the circumstances. So when he said “It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the Kingdom of God.” he was speaking from a position of knowledge and authority. But he was also speaking from the position of a faithful servant. 

We shouldn’t be so easily discouraged. I doubt that many of us have been mobbed, beaten and left for dead for teh sake of the Gospel. I don’t mean to invalidate our feelings, but sometimes our passion is too small, our will is too weak. Rather than find our strength in God, we retreat into ourselves and are tempted to give up too easily. Rather than expecting hardship, knowing it is inevitable, we act as though we must have done something wrong, or that we are being singled out. 

We cannot look at the examples of men like Paul, Stephen, James, John and so many others who expereinced hardship and persecution and then expect to somehow get out of it ourselves. Hardship & the Gospel go hand in hand. It is a battle. Struggle is going to happen in our own hearts, it’s going to happen as we try to share the Good News. We must trust in God, lean on Him, rest in HIm and continue forward despite the opposition. Everyday, we make a practice of snatching victory out of the jaws of seeming defeat. The world will never acquiesce, it will never back down. The struggle will continue until our Lord Jesus returns and shuts the opposition down. 

So, we should all GoLove, knowing that it will be a struggle, and keep pressing forward, even in the face of those who would oppose us. We just don’t fight back the way that they would expect. We speak the truth in love, we bend to serve, we die to self, we live for Christ. And they will know we are Christians by our love for one another and by the obdience to Christ that is exhibited in our lives. Jesus didn’t back down from opposition, He is our example. Follow Him. 

   

Acts 14:8-20 // Proper Perspective

“8 In Lystra a man without strength in his feet, lame from birth, and who had never walked, sat 9 and heard Paul speaking. After observing him closely and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And he jumped up and started to walk around.

11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the form of men!” 12 And they started to call Barnabas, “Zeus,” and Paul, “Hermes,” because he was the main speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gates. He, with the crowds, intended to offer sacrifice.

14 The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In past generations He allowed all the nations to go their own way, 17 although He did not leave Himself without a witness, since He did what is good by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons and satisfying your hearts with food and happiness.” 18 Even though they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them.

19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. 20 After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.”

Acts 14:8-20

In this passage, we find four different perspectives on one event. We have Paul & company & their Christian perspective; the people of Lystra who think they’re gods, the others who are receiving the teaching about Jesus & the Jews from Antioch & Iconium. They each have a different understanding of what is going on here, but only one can be right. Paul’s preaching is prooved by the miraculous signs that God is doing through him, in addition to their desire to see God glorified and not self. They were not out looking for publicity for themselves, not seeking fame and fortune. Instead, they maintained their humility in the face of praise and adoration, misguided though it was. The native Lystrans who were still of a pagan mindset tried to explain what they were seeing through their own lenses of interpretation, and the others who were receiving the Gospel were seeing through new eyes for the first time. The angry Jews who chased down Paul had their own agenda, and would have dismissed anything they experienced as being ungodly. 

As we GoLove others, we must be mindful of where they are coming from, what angle their perspective might be coming from. Paul spoke to them from a perspective of naturalistic theology, showing how God reveals Himself through nature, so that they might have a starting point that their pagan perspective would grasp. The angry Jews were in no position to listen, and so they weren’t spoken to, but rather, barely escaped. Be mindful of the soil where you scatter your seed. Use every opportunity well, and be discerning where you spend your time. Some people want to hear, want to change, want to move…others simply want to retain their own perspective or get angry when they are challenged. Expect any and all of these responses. And know that they have not rejected you, but that they have rejected the Gospel message.

It’s difficult not to take it personally, and I’m sure Paul felt every one of those stones that beat his body. But we must remember that Jesus told us that the world was going to hate us like it hated Him. We know that we are fighting a battle, not just selling something, and that there are going to be wounds and discomfort along the way. But if we take a few hits for the Gospel, find ourselves in chains for the message of salvation through Christ, then every moment of it is worth it, because He is glorified through it all. So, hang in there, trust the Master, listen to His voice and keep on scattering seed. Do not be discouraged when the Gospel is rejected by some, but know that the responsibility for its reception is not yours. Just be a faithful servant and be mindful of the task at hand. 

  

Psalm 119:57-64 // ח Khet // Considering God’s ways over our own

“57 The Lord is my portion;

I have promised to keep Your words.

58 I have sought Your favor with all my heart;

be gracious to me according to Your promise.

59 I thought about my ways

and turned my steps back to Your decrees.

60 I hurried, not hesitating

to keep Your commands.

61 Though the ropes of the wicked

were wrapped around me,

I did not forget Your instruction.

62 I rise at midnight to thank You

for Your righteous judgments.

63 I am a friend to all who fear You,

to those who keep Your precepts.

64 Lord, the earth is filled with Your faithful love;

teach me Your statutes.”

Psalm 119:57-64

— 

Take stock in what you do. What are your priorities? How do they list out? Who or what is on top?

If we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that it is supposed to be God, but often we find ourselves struggling with that top position belonging to…ourselves. We seek a false “comfort” and “control” over submitting to God, because listening to Him means we’d have to change. Instead, we need to be willing to be used by Him to do what He desires as He grows and changes us into whomever it is He desires us to be.

Read through David’s words again, and ask God to hear what is coming from your own heart.

Read it more slowly, a third time, piece by piece, and ask God to work a change in your heart, to work willingness into your spirit. 

Read it a fourth and final time, making this desire your real prayer today. 

  

Psalms 119:49-56 // ז Zayin // The Theme of My Song

“49 Remember Your word to Your servant;
You have given me hope through it.

50 This is my comfort in my affliction:

Your promise has given me life.

51 The arrogant constantly ridicule me,

but I do not turn away from Your instruction.

52 Lord, I remember Your judgments from long ago

and find comfort.

53 Rage seizes me because of the wicked

who reject Your instruction.

54 Your statutes are the theme of my song

during my earthly life.

55 Yahweh, I remember Your name in the night,

and I obey Your instruction.

56 This is my practice:

I obey Your precepts.”

Psalm 119:49-56

It is good to be zealous, passionate, for the statutes of God, and it is natural to be frustrated with those who do not see, know and understand the heart of God in them. But we must have the understanding of David, who also sees that He needs God’s guidance and strength in order to live within His commands. It does no good to see problems and weaknesses in other people’s lives if we do no acknowledge our own need for God. 

Read through this section of Psalm 119 again. Listen to David’s heart.

Read through it a third time, and let those words and sentiments come from your own heart.

Read it a fourth time and make it your prayer. 

  

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