Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 29, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:65-72 – The Benefit of Affliction???

Day 2762: This is a day set aside in the U.S. to remember those who died in the service of freedom both here and around the world . . .

Scripture: You have dealt well with Your servant, Lord, according to Your word. Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. You are good and do good; teach me Your statutes. 

The arrogant have forged a lie against me; with all my heart I will observe Your precepts. Their heart is covered with fat, but I delight in Your law. It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. The law of Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces. Psalm 119:65-72

Thoughts/questions: The dictionary defines affliction as ‘pain or suffering.’ No one usually volunteers for affliction, but we understand ‘no pain, no gain’ and putting our bodies or minds through some type of suffering ONLY if the purpose is greater than the pain or suffering.

Start something in which the affliction out weighs the purpose, and I’ll show you something you will soon stop! The Psalmist knows this and affliction is followed by the two phrases, but now I keep and that I may learn. 

Undergoing affliction? God’s plan is that soon you will be saying but now or that I; however, that result takes your cooperation. The promise of Romans 8:28 hinges on loving God and wanting to fulfill His purposes.

So, affliction CAN bring about good!  An affliction too will pass – the purpose will be revealed soon or in heaven! Yes, someday we WILL know – for now, we need to trust completely!

Suggested prayer: Father God, into Your hands I commit my life . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 27, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:57-64 – My Portion!

Day 2761: A beautiful time for a beautiful weekend!

Scripture:  The Lord is my portion; I have promised to keep Your words. I sought Your favor with all my heart; be gracious to me according to Your word. I considered my ways
and turned my feet to Your testimonies. I hastened and did not delay to keep Your commandments. 

The cords of the wicked have encircled me, but I have not forgotten Your law. At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You because of Your righteous ordinances. I am a companion of all those who fear You, and of those who keep Your precepts. The earth is full of Your lovingkindness, O Lord; teach me Your statutes.  Psalm 119:57-64

Thoughts/questions: The Lord is my portion! I recently returned from a cruise and food was in abundance, sometimes in the form of an all you can eat buffet. People took various amounts of different food choices – each picked their portion! I prefer some form of dessert!

Can you imagine a buffet for life. You could pick one or many things and try to have it all. Love, fame, riches, power . . . whatever portion you wanted. Today’s Psalmist states, “The Lord is his portion.” How about you? Are you picking other portions to complete your life, or have you chosen to make the Lord your portion. When we do, He is enough!

Suggested prayer: Father God, so often I make the wrong choice and fill my life with everything but You. May I begin to choose You and You alone . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 26, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:49-56 – He Makes Us Hope!

Day 2760: Forgiven – always a WOW! On Friday, TGIF – Thank God I’m Forgiven!

Scripture: Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. The arrogant utterly deride me, yet I do not turn aside from Your law. I have remembered Your ordinances from of old, O Lord, and comfort myself.

Burning indignation has seized me because of the wicked, who forsake Your law. Your statutes are my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. Lord, I remember Your name in the night, and keep Your law. This has become mine, that I observe Your precepts.  Psalm 119:49-56

Thoughts/questions: Hope lost results in despair. They say that when people are held in a camp type confinement/prison, the suicide rate goes way up in January. Why? They had hope they would get out during that year and when the year ended, their hope turned to despair.

Probably most readers of God2me have some form of hope based on God’s promises in His word. Make sure this is not a Santa Claus at Christmas hope in which we are good, ask for what we want, and Santa/God gives us our requests.

This is not a God who is omnipotent and omnipresent and all knowing – this is a puppet and we are the puppet master! Our hope is in the Lord! Our hope rests on His eternal promises, some of which will only be fulfilled in eternity! We can always have hope, EVEN when we don’t get what we want!

Suggested prayer: Father God, may my life be one in which as the songwriter wrote – ‘my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness’ . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 25, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:41-48 – An Answer!

Day 2759: Make the most of the present!

Scripture: May Your lovingkindnesses also come to me, O LordYour salvation according to Your word; so I will have an answer for him who reproaches me, for I trust in Your word. And do not take the word of truth utterly out of my mouth, for I wait for Your ordinances. 

So I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts. I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings and shall not be ashamed. I shall delight in Your commandments, which I love. And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments, which I love; and I will meditate on Your statutes. Psalm 119:41-48

Thoughts/questions: Sometimes, there’s nothing like being right and giving the old Neener, neener, neener, I told you so. Not that any of us do this! But maybe we think it once or twice.

When defending Christianity, so much of it relies directly on faith that giving a specific, logical, and understandable right answer is difficult. However, some day our final answer will be proven to be correct. God’s salvation, expressed by our entrance into His kingdom for eternity, will truly be the ‘final’ answer.

God and the Bible must be viewed in light of eternity. It is by that measure that we can answer those who reproach us and when Jesus gives us our eternal salvation, we will have the one true answer for everyone!!!

Suggested prayer: Lord God, I trust in You now by faith, but some day You will answer all of my questions . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 24, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:33-40 – Delight in Commandments?

Day 2758: Don’t be conformed to the world!!! Transform!!!

Scripture:  Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall observe it to the end. Give me understanding, that I may observe Your law and keep it with all my heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies and not to dishonest gain.

Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, and revive me in Your ways. Establish Your word to Your servant, as that which produces reverence for You. Turn away my reproach which I dread, for Your ordinances are good. Behold, I long for Your precepts; revive me through Your righteousness.  Psalm 119:33-40

Thoughts/questions: Most of us don’t relish being told what to do, so for the Psalmist to write about delighting in God’s commandments may seem a bit foreign. However, let’s look into this a bit further.

If I want to accomplish a skill, say shooting a basketball, it would make sense for me to be coached by a skilled shooter, say Steph Curry. If he were to tell me what to do, I would delight in doing it. His statutes, law, commandments, testimonies, ways, word, ordinances, and precepts wouldn’t be ignored or held in contempt, they would be followed to the letter!

God’s commandments provide a path for us to follow so that we can be successful now and for eternity. No wonder the Psalmist longs for them. Do you?

Suggested prayer: Lord God Almighty, You’ve given me rules for my benefit. Help me to accept them and to eagerly follow them . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 23, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:25-32 – Weep Because of Grief!

Day 2757: May your heart’s desire be to have God’s heart!

Scripture:  My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word. I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders. My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your word.

Remove the false way from me, and graciously grant me Your law. I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your ordinances before me. I cling to Your testimonies; Lord, do not put me to shame! I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.     Psalm 119:25-32

Thoughts/questions: The Psalmist in these verses cleaves to the dust; meditates on His wonders; weeps because of grief; chooses the faithful way; clings to His testimonies; and runs the way of His commandments. And he culminates with knowing that through all that, God will enlarge his heart!

So many issues we face are matters of the heart. The smaller our hearts; the less we will be able to appropriately respond to family, friends, and even worldly concerns. However, when God enlarges our heart, our lives are characterized by kindness, patience, confidence, humility, no jealousy or revenge, selflessness and more! Yes, an enlarged heart produces a I Cor. 13 love/life style!

May our prayer always be for God to enlarge our hearts!

Suggested prayer: Father God, may I always choose the faithful way and may You always enlarge my heart . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 22, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:17-24 – Open My Eyes!

Day 2756: Monday, Monday – can’t trust that day . . . (Remembering that old Mamas and Papas’ hit song!

Scripture: Deal bountifully with Your servant, that I may live and keep Your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me. 

My soul is crushed with longing after Your ordinances at all times. You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, who wander from Your commandments. Take away reproach and contempt from me, for I observe Your testimonies. Even though princes sit and talk against me, Your servant meditates on Your statutes. Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors.  Psalm 119:17-24

Thoughts/questions: Jesus spoke about people having ears but not hearing and eyes but not really seeing in Matthew 13:13. The Psalmist repeats this same theme, so there must be something to it. Most of us have used some kind of device to improve or change our vision whether that be sunglasses or binoculars, so we understand the concept of seeing better!

Our physical eyes are limited with birds of prey having far better vision than ours. Our spiritual vision is not always the best either. We view God with blinders restricting our ability to capture the wonder, majesty, and depth of The Almighty. We need to see like Elisha’s servant in II Kings 6!

Seek to have God open your eyes to see Jesus clearly; people as He sees them; events through the lens of His word; and the world as part of creation, not as if we were the Creator!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, open my eyes to ALL You have for me . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 20, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:9-16 – Only a Young Man?

Day 2755: May your weekend be filled with God’s peace and joy!

Scripture:  How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.

Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word. Psalm 119:9-16

Thoughts/questions: I’m not sure why the Psalmist referenced a young man and purity, as that’s an issue that crosses the years! And the answer crosses the years as well – simple in its answer, but hard in the actual living out of that simple answer.

Probably because we usually are not treasuring God’s word. It becomes an after thought or something we engage in when we have some spare time. We can’t meditate on or treasure something that’s not part of our daily existence, and then purity is hard to live out.

Let’s all re-commit to treasuring the words of the Almighty God and then meditate on those words! We CAN do it!

Suggested prayer: Almighty God, may my ways be pure because I treasure Your word . . .

 

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 19, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 119:1-8 – How Blessed!

Day 2754: Happy Friday!!!

Scripture: How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways.

You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes! Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments. I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly! Psalm 119:1-8

Thoughts/questions: Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and is divided into 8 verse sections. We’ll take one section at a time.

Most everyone wants a life that’s blessed. This section tells how! Blessings come to those who seek after God whole heartedly and then obey Him completely! The Psalmist was aware of their previous king, Saul, who only had half a heart for God and compromised his obedience – bad things happened. Let’s all seek to sit under the showers of God’s blessings!

Suggested prayer: Dear God, my heart so often seems divided. Help me to seek You with all of my heart . . .

Posted by: Larry Hoekman | May 18, 2017

Psalms — Psalm 118:15-29 – The Right Hand of the Lord!

Day 2753: Seek truth! About yourself and about others!

Scripture:  The right hand of the Lord does valiantly. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly. 

The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. 

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord; we have blessed you from the house of the Lord. You are my God, and I give thanks to You; You are my God, I extol You. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Excerpts from Psalm 118:15-29

Thoughts/questions: Sometimes I think God gave me a left hand just for laughs. Pretty much all of my coordination and power (such that it is) comes from my right hand. God’s powerful right hand holds us close, never loses its grip on us, carries us when needed, keeps the opposition away and so much more – His strong right hand truly does valiantly!

Rejection – often considered a bad thing. However, I think most of us can think of a time we were rejected by a person or group and eventually that rejection caused us to end up in a better place! God’s Son was rejected and we know how that played out. So when we or others we know face rejection, we can be encouraged or encourage them that if God needs us out a a group, job, or relationship, sometimes we have to be forced out via the path of rejection. Rejected? You’re in good company. Now let God move you to a better place and let Him lift you up!

Suggested prayer: Father God, help me to push pride aside and allow You to accomplish Your goals for me . . .

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