Friday, December 12, 2014

Psalm 37

It's so amazing to me how God gives me exactly what I need right when I need it.
Whether it's encouragement, conviction, accountability, wisdom, a heart for forgiveness, all of it.
He gives it to me.   And the timing is always perfect.
I have been very encouraged this month by a lot of things.  About 4 weeks ago my world was shaken up quite a bit.  I posted this instagram photo with the caption Psalm 37 when I felt everything crumbling and that chapter has pulled me through so much heartache.  And here I stand a month later so full of joy and hope.  Because through every part of this trial I've called on the Lord and he has not forsaken me.  I've seen changes in people that I've prayed over for 3 years now.  And now that I'm seeing it I know that God knew exactly what he was doing and I'm so thankful I didn't lose my way and lose heart while I was waiting for my prayers to be answered.  Now when I see brokenness in people I don't see it as something that can't be fixed or even as something that I need to try and fix.  I see brokenness as perfectly placed cracks and crevices through which God's light and love can flow into a damaged heart.  I've decided that I will never allow my pride or any form of selfishness hinder God from using me as a vessel for performing a work in someone's heart.  And that's where my favorite scripture comes into play.
At first glance Psalm 37 seems like somewhat of a revenge passage.  And if you don't allow yourself to deeply reflect on its meaning it can be sort of misunderstood. 
Psalm 37 (NIV)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.[b]
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[c];
    the offspring of the wicked will perish.
The righteous will inherit the land
    and dwell in it forever.
The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
    and their tongues speak what is just.
The law of their God is in their hearts;
    their feet do not slip.
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
    intent on putting them to death;
but the Lord will not leave them in the power of the wicked
    or let them be condemned when brought to trial.
Hope in the Lord
    and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
    when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it.
I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
    flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
but he soon passed away and was no more;
    though I looked for him, he could not be found.
Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
    a future awaits those who seek peace.[d]
But all sinners will be destroyed;
    there will be no future[e] for the wicked.
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;
    he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them;
    he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
    because they take refuge in him.
Wow.  What a message.  So much to be received from just a small part of the Bible that's packed with encouragement, wisdom & compassion for anyone going through a difficult time.
And I'm not sure what you took away from it, because everyone comprehends things differently based on what they are going through.  But I'll tell you what I'm feeling...
No matter what people do or how badly things hurt you we have to remember that there's so much more to this life than allowing other people's wrongdoings to take hold of us and cause us to slip up in our walk with the Lord.  We are only here for a short while and all of the problems that we face should be considered pure joy for us because they give God the opportunity to work through us if we will just let Him.  I don't know about you, but I don't want to stand in his way because I'm trying to take things into my own hands. I'm far too fragile to handle something that isn't my responsibility to handle.
God is our ultimate justice.  And there is freedom in forgiveness.  He will fight for us as long as we delight in Him and never lose sight of the glorious home that awaits us in Heaven.  And not only will He fight for us and deliver us from all of our pain and suffering, He will uphold us and guide us along the path of righteousness.  I know in my heart that as long as I give Him my hand and allow Him to lead me, I will not grow weary and I will not lose heart or hope.  And I will delight in the fact that he is working everything out for me so I don't even need to worry or fret about it.
But here's the part I struggle with...
I know in my heart that he wants me to pray for the ones who are intent on destroying me and who delight in my pain.
Why is that so hard to do?  My goodness.  It's like the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.  But I've found that even if I begin praying those prayers with gritted teeth and rolling my eyes they eventually become sincere.  I fear the Lord but I'm not scared of Him.  So when I pray for my enemies I'm very honest with God about not wanting to.  And then I begin to see that it gets easier with practice and as the days go by and I start to experience healing. 
I'm also very convicted about...
Overcoming evil with good.  If someone hurts me, I try my best to turn it into a blessing for someone else.  Why would we let the hurt train run through us and hurt someone within our reach when we could use our hurt for a greater good and stop it in its tracks.  Through blessing other people we can turn that train around and it can lead all kinds of people straight to the Lord. 
I don't know about you but I'm pretty sure that if we all constantly strive for goodness it will come with peace and it will trickle right out of our lives and into someone else's. 
That's what the world needs, y'all.  We all know this.
And you know what's even more amazing?  I woke up this morning and saw this on Joyce Meyer's broadcast page...
I hear you, Lord.  Keep on speaking to me.
And I hope all of you will be encouraged today.  No matter what you're facing in life or how bad you're hurting.  You don't have to hold on to that.  Cling to what is good and reach out for the One who has everything you need and hand him your doubts and fears.  He will take care of you, just as He has taken care of me.
Happy Friday. :) 

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