We know so many partial scriptures and tend to recite them in daily conversations, but part is never the whole. Let’s dig deeper into Psalm 118.
We will begin with Verse 1, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, because His mercy endures forever.” Psalms 118:1 MEV https://bible.com Each morning we are to give thanks, why, because the Lord’s mercy endures forever. That means everyday until the end of time.
There is so much to unpack in this scripture, it would become a thesis, so let’s focus on verses 1, 24, 27, 28, and 29 today.
“This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Palm 1818:24. It is the day the Lord has made and, yes – we are to rejoice in it. But as we read further we find that Paul is encouraging Christ’s followers to thank God for this day and rejoice in it. You see it doesn’t matter what you have lived through. It doesn’t matter who you were before Christ entered into your life. It doesn’t matter the crowd you followed, all that matters is that you are now a child of God and should be thankful for all of His blessings.
Verse 27 stresses that God is Lord, and He has given us “light”. Christ is the light. His light is nestled inside us and radiates out to those around us. The light much like a beacon, is a guiding light drawing in the lost bringing them closer to our Lord. They poise the question, what is it about you that makes you different? Our acts should represent the same characteristics as Christ. Our behavior should emulate His. Our language and disposition should reflect what we are told in Galatians 6. We should walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. We should demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in our walk, and it begins with recognition of the new day as a gift from God.
Being like means that on dismal days, do we present a grey attitude or do we rejoice in the day? This day too was created by our Lord and we should rejoice. Often, I find myself complaining and have to reflect restructure my thinking to rejoice in the day, Why? It is simple, He loves me, woke me up, and gave me new mercies. I should be glad in it and rejoice. My focus should be on the things above and not on the earth which is full of sin. If I reflect on the things of this earth, it changes my inner atmosphere by giving over to the present evils.
When we look at the news, do we grumble and sink into the malaise of the day, or do we focus on the Lord? Do we get lost in the thoughts of negativity, or do we, instead, rejoice in the fact that no matter what is going on around us, our Lord is still King and remains on the throne? Do we praise Him for who He is, or cower down to the evil, consumed by what we see, experience, or feel?
Verses 28 and 29 refocuses our thoughts on our purpose. We are to continually give praise and thanks for the day, knowing that in the best of moments and the bleakest, God is still in control.
“You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You. Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” Psalms 118:28-29 MEV https://bible.com
When digging deeper we see we are blessed to awake to a new day. We are to give thanks, rejoice, and be glad (grateful). We are to recognize who God is in our life and behave in a way pleasing to Him. We are to look for God in all things and reflect on them and not what we lies before us. The Lord is the lamp that guides us through this life. We are nestled in His love and His mercy endures forever.
There are times in our lives when life is just out of our hands, and we cannot anticipate, control, or direct the path away from the madness or malaise of life. Our path is out of our hands. We find ourselves lost, focusing on self, independent of God. But it is also the time we realize our dependence upon God is more than a thought or perspective. We are in a synaptic gap, and it is time to jump. How? We knowledge our dependence on our Lord and Savior and begin to focus more on Him than the problems. The jump requires complete faith in God’s outcome, whatever it is. Our dependence causes us to cry out to our Lord, and hand Him our situation, praying for Him to take over and lead us out into the light.
It is during these times we can be confident in knowing that God hears our prayers. He knew what we would go through long before He blew breath in our lives. He knew of our challenges, the directions we would take in life, straying off the path, the influences of others, poor choices, being in the wrong place at the wrong times, and thinking we are more than who we are.
“In this, you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV. https://bible.com/bible/59/1pe.1.6-7.ESV
Given His knowledge of our existence, which He created, we should look to Him for love, peace through the storm, direction, and support. His love is greater than the things of this world, and when we begin to see the bigger picture through His lens, we can see hope even when we can barely see a glimmer of light in the distance.
Our Lord always provides directions to bring us and our family members through. These challenges may not evaporate the moment we begin praying, but they are heard, and everything occurs within God’s timing. Sometimes that feels very harsh, but in looking back through the stories in the Bible, we see desperate people in desperate situations come through storms that many cannot imagine. The distortion is so great we cannot see beyond the chaos and confusion.
The truth is, not all of our experiences are bright and cheery. There are seasons of gray, canceling out all of the colors on the color wheel of life. The reality is, that we are in a battle between good and evil, and not all things are bright and cheery. There is loss, devastation, annihilation, and setbacks, and yet we can hold fast because His people always bounce back according to His will and His ways. We survive the odds. He is the master of making ways out of no way. He brings light to darkness and quells the waves that well up in the storm.
“ The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”
Life is all a matter of perspective. Scripture reinforces God’s Word regarding perspective through the delivery of His Truth, which is all truth and more than perspective. Let’s unpack this… ~ Lisa Blair
There are two types of perspective. Perspective according to Dictionary.com is, a mental view or prospect. What are the two types? There is the carnal perspective or truth and the spiritual perspective or truth. Prior to being saved, we knew if spiritual perspectives or truths but had no relationship with it, we were looking from the outside.
As born again Christians, the perspective and truths are no longer intellectual ideas. They are engrained in our new fabric. The truth feeds our perspective on life as seen through the eyes of Christ. It governs our actions, weighing heavily on our conscious acts.
The Word instructs us to trust the process, not the expectation of our desires. You see, the expectation is carnal, the process is living by faith and not by sight. It is our choosing, we were endowed with free will. We were also endowed with a heart understanding of the Word which is ALL TRUTH. Free will nudges us toward the perspective of now and us the architecture of failure.
God not only gifted us with free will, He gifted us with Christlike virtues. If we apply His virtues in our daily living we will reap the desires of our heart if they fall within His Will. I say, reach for the sky, stay within His Will meaning apply His truths to your life and will succeed. Will you have setbacks and disappointments, yes. Tell yourself you live by faith and not by sight. You are gifted new mercies everyday.
When we stay locked into prayer. We benefit from our relationship with the Lord. We experience comfort and peace in the middle of sprinkles through the worst of storms, knowing we are covered and never alone. Seek His peace, wisdom, knowledge and purpose. Shift your perspective. Seek His truth and grow your relationship within the context, His perspective, not your own. Carnal perspective is shortsighted, it focuses on the here and now, not eternity.
Proverb’s 2:6 describes the feeling of being part of the Lord’s family and the benefits of the relationship. We no longer ascribe to the perspective of earthly wisdom and knowledge, we transcend to the truth of wisdom, and knowledge and its application in our life.
And, since the Bible is replete with truth, Paul also shares that as humans we will doubt. We will loose hope. We will suffer, but through it all, we receive the Lord’s comfort that provides hope and the will to move forward despite what may lie before us.
When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. ~ Psalm 94:19 NLT
Other Verses reflecting new life in exchange for human/carnal perspective: 1 Peter 1:3; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16
You pray and pray and pray, and God blessed you within His Will. Did He bestow a blessing that mirrored your prayer?
My husband and I lived in the Midwest for ten years. I wanted to move back to the West Coast, meaning Los Angeles. I prayed without ceasing, with self as the center point. I wanted to move back to L.A..
My pray was not one that reflected dependence upon God. I did not ask what His Will was for me, instead I told Him what I wanted, not thinking about His big picture for my life and where I was best suited to accomplish His work.
The place I would accomplish His work was not Los Angeles, as I desired. It was Oakland, a place I refused to move to earlier in life. I did not care for the Bay Area. My husband had been offered a job in the Bay 10 years earlier. He was also offered an opportunity in Kansas where we moved. I would do anything to avoid the Bay.
Looking back, God planted me in Kansas to prepare me for the position as administrator at a charter school in, of all places, Oakland, Ca. Life was not easy in Kansas. We were in a recession and our jobs did not materialize as planned and offered. The state froze government jobs, i.e., the University of Kansas. I scrambled for employment and ended up taking two part time positions and a quarter coordinator position, yes that is equal to a full time plus job. We were also raising three sons who needed our attention. The jobs kept me going, made ends meet even though I was a college graduate and felt under paid with little to do with my degrees. Crazy right? Amazingly to the untrained eye, these experiences did not mount up to the reality. It turned out to be my training time in the desert. Each position offered experience in some component needed to succeed in my next task God was preparing me to undertake.This season was actually a blessing and also served to advance my husbands career.
All to often we can not see the forest for the trees. The trees are in our line of scope. Similarly, our prayers are in our line of scope. The forest is where God chooses to plant us to acquire the skills and knowledge to accomplish His work. The next time you feel you are in the wrong place, take time to recognize God has you where He wants you for that period in time. We are His apprentices. Apprenticeships often feel demeaning, without purpose or cause. But, within the context of doing things you feel require little of your abilities are the nuggets, the diamonds, that once connected prepare you for your next step.
I like the NLT version of Isaiah 55:8-9 because the message is clear –
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” https://bible.com/bible/116/isa.55.8-9.NLT
God chooses us and prepares us to do His work, His Will. In the case of Paul, (I am not implying any of us are Paul’s in the truest sense), we are God’s ambassadors on earth, sent here to accomplish His Will.
In the article, The Preparation of Paul, the writer shares: “Paul said that when Christ called him, he did not go to Jerusalem to receive instruction from the apostles. Rather, he retired into Arabia for a time and not until three years later did he go to Jerusalem… It has often been remarked that Paul clearly implied that he spent three years being taught by Jesus Himself (1:12), either directly or (perhaps more likely) through the study of the Word. Thus, like the other apostles, Paul studied with Christ for three years before beginning his ministry (compare Acts 1:21). Ligonier.org. March 19, 1992.
Paul spent three years preparing for his mission, career if you will, before God placed him in the role.
David is also a good example of how God applies His Will.
David did not become King over night. David was the youngest, least hardy and not handsome like his brothers. His father taught him a skill because there was little hope of him becoming anything more. But it was precisely the skill, being a good sheppard, that was needed for him to become a man of God and a great king.
Did you know that God sent Samuel to tell David that he would be king when he was just 15 years old? At that time, David was just a shepherd boy who was always overlooked by his older brothers. But God had a plan for David’s life, it just took a while for it to happen. David had to be patient and trust that God would do what he promised. David had to run away from King Saul who hated David. When King Saul died, David was finally made king. In total, David had to wait 22 years to be the king of all of Israel! Have you ever had to wait for something that you really wanted? If you have, you know how hard it is to be patient. But, maybe you’ve only had to wait a few days or a week…maybe a month. David had to wait a lot longer than that. So kids, here’s the lesson. Sometimes God will make us wait. He may not answer every prayer just how we want or he might take longer to answer than we like. But, we can trust God’s timing because he’s God and he knows what he’s doing. His timing is always perfect. Be patient! (David Becomes King. Pursuegodkids.org)
When David was a teenager, he was anointed as the next king of Israel. It was then that he faced Goliath, was banished by Saul, hid in the desert, lived on the run, forced out of the nation, and fought many battles. It was nearly 15 years between the time that he was anointed king and actually became king. He was tested, just like Joseph, so that God could convert him from a shepherd into a king. (Quota.org Gert Britz)
Paul and David are great examples of how God prepares us to accomplish His Will. The Bible is our manual, our guidebook. If God trained them, placed them in desperate situations, sent them places he would not have chosen on their own, why would it be any different for us today?
God also chose women to accomplish His Will, in a time when women were second class citizens if you will. He chooses the unlikely so the world will know it is not our doing. In fact, the vast majority of the hero’s and heroines throughout history were ordinary individuals who God planted a seed in before they were born. What is the proof, read Jeremiah 1:5 where he penned God’s words, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.”
We should always dig deeper when we are in situations that feel leads no where, or in a direction not of our choosing. There are hidden gems, lessons, skills, knowledge and wisdom that is being imparted in those moments, times, seasons, and years.
Again, our time is not His time, nor our thoughts His. We are His and He has plans for our future. Jeremiah 29:11 poignantly states:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” https://jeremiah.bible/jeremiah-29-11
I wrote this post days ago and my Pastor’s Daily Devotional focuses on this topic. Amazingly, we both spiritually matured in, that’s right, Oakland, Ca.