What does it mean to be ‘like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season and who leaf does not wither, whatever they do prospers.”? Psalm 1: 3.
This sounds really good.
I want to be like a tree planted by a stream – constantly being fed, never feeling empty,
I want to yield my fruit in season – do all the good things God has planned for me to do, always feeling right on target with the purpose God has for me here.
I want to avoid having my leaves wither – how can I live this marathon of faith well all the way to the end? No burnout, no wandering for me?
And I want to prosper – only in God’s eyes. I don’t need money, fame or people’s acceptance. I’ve got an audience of One. He’s the only one who counts.
God is very clear about how to make this happen in my life. Blessed are those “whose delight is in the law of the Lord and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1: 2.
When God translates this in my brain I hear his encouragement, telling me to continue to read, study and memorize his Word. I’m in my 11 consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and he’s telling me to keep it up, I’m on the right track. I just don’t read the Bible, I blog about it so I have to think about what I read and apply it to my life. I find his truth as it applies to my life truly ‘delightful’. It’s just what my soul is looking for.
I also participate in 2 to 3 different Bible studies every week so I’m meditating on his word on my own in the morning and several times ‘day and night’ with other people during the week.
God has given me a life-long goal of memorizing scripture. It’s taken me over 6 years because I have a really terrible memory, but God and I partnered up and he has written 2 entire chapters of the book of James on my heart. He uses these words constantly to guide me and let me know he is right beside me.
No wonder I have lost that ’empty’ feeling I used to have! I’m blessed as I watch God grow his fruit in my life. I plan to be reading the entire Bible each year for the rest of my time here on earth so I can end this journey well.
And today, I can feel my Father God cheering me on.
Hear me, LORD, and answer me, I need you. I am a faithful servant who trusts you – save me.
You are my God, have mercy on me as I call out to you all day long. I trust you, God. Please give me joy.
You are so good. When I walk close with you, your love and forgiveness overwhelm me. There is no other god like you. Everything you have created joins together to worship you. You are great and marvelous. You alone are God.
I want to learn all about you, LORD, so I can build my life on your truth. Give me an undivided heart which is focused on loving and honoring you.
I will praise you, God, with all my heart forever.
Each day I feel your great love for me. Keep me safe.
I am surrounded by arrogant and confused people who don’t believe in you, God. But I know you are a compassionate and gracious God, overflowing with love and faithfulness.
Open my eyes to what you doing, God. Have mercy on me and save me just like you have done for those who have gone before me. Show me your goodness, LORD, so that others around me will see what a great God you are.
The LORD takes care of me each day. He provides everything I need.
My Father guides me on the right path – he knows what is best for me. He gives me exactly what my soul longs for as I walk closely beside him.
I can always trust my Father’s guidance.
Even when I’m going through the darkest, most painful times of my life, Father, I have no fear. You are with me. You comfort me.
You pour out blessings on my life. Even those around me who don’t want the best for me can see how well you take care of me.
You fill my mind with your truth as I continue to study your Word and grow in my knowledge of you.
I am overwhelmed by your love for me. Your goodness and grace fill all the days of my life here on earth. And I am 100% certain of what happens to me when my time here on earth is done – I will go to live with my Abba Father forever.
I love the picture I get in my mind when I read 1 Chronicles 29: 10-20. King David is standing in the middle of more than 300 tons of gold and 638 tons of silver along with 675 tons of bronze with his arms stretched out, praising God saying “It’s all yours”.
I think about this passage whenever I find myself focusing on my money and my stuff.
Do you see that ‘my’ word crop up? The truth is – it’s not mine. Everything I have has been given to me by my Father God. He owns everything. I am just taking care of what he has given me while I’m here on earth. And I give some back to him because I’m grateful for all that he has given me.
So I join with King David in praise of my Father today with my version of these verses in 1 Chronicles –
It’s all yours, dear Father. Yours is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours.
Wealth and honor come from you alone for you rule over everything.
Power and might are in your hand and you decide who is made great and given strength.
Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone soon without a trace. But you, dear God, give us significance. You call us your sons and daughters and you delight in us.
King David’s son, Absalom, had beautiful hair. It was thick and long and gorgeous. He cut it once a year, then weighed it so everyone would know awesome it was. Pretty extreme, right?
I wonder how often Absalom stopped to look in the mirror to admire his hair? (Did they have mirrors back then? Maybe shiny pieces of metal that reflected back their image? Or maybe the guys looked into their swords?)
If he made this big deal about his yearly hair cutting, I would image that he was extremely proud of his hair, don’t you? I’m sure it was a constant source of compliments for him.
And then we read in 2 Samuel 18 that Absalom was riding his donkey under a tree in the midst of battle when his hair got caught in the tree. He was pulled from his donkey and was left hanging in midair by his hair while his donkey just kept on going. While Absalom was dangling there, unable to defend himself, Joab plunged his sword into Absalom’s heart and killed him.
Only really thick hair would be able to do that, right? If Absalom had thin hair or even regular hair, this wouldn’t have happened to him.
The thing he was so very proud of became a snare that caused his death.
So the question to you and I today is – what is the thing in our lives that we are most proud of? Do we have something in our lives that is a higher priority than God? Do we need an attitude adjustment before we find ourselves in a snare?
Or are we already caught in a snare?
Dear Father, we are so blessed to have you in our lives lavishing us with your mercy and your love. We confess any personal pridefulness. Please help us be most proud of you and what you have done for us.
I ask for a pure heart, O God! I want my life to be focused on you.
Keep me close by your side and grow your spirit within me. Bring back the joy I felt when I first asked you to be Lord of my life. Give me a faithful heart so I stay near you. Then I will tell others about your saving grace and I will share the truth you have revealed to me.
Please lift the burden of my guilt about my sins and rebellion from me, O God, and I will sing of your goodness forever. When I open my mouth, Lord, let it be to praise you.
I know you don’t want me to just ‘show up’ at church because it’s the right thing to do. I know you don’t want me to give money to the church just because it’s the right thing to do. I know you don’t want me to read the Bible just so I can check it off of my reading plan for the year.
There are no ‘good witches’. This is one of the lies that permeates our culture. We all see these fictitious characters in movies and TV shows doing good things for people or cleaning their house with a twitch of their nose.
No one can be a ‘good witch’ because there are two major supernatural forces in our world – good versus evil, God versus Satan. God is very clear in his Word that witches do not get any power they have from him. God does not speak through Ouija boards or seances – he speaks through his Word. So that leaves just one place where witches or any of these things can get their supernatural power – Satan. And Satan is never good.
Satan is the great Deceiver and the Father of Lies. He can make something bad look like it’s okay. He can twist the truth just slightly to make it a very convincing lie. He can use something that looks good to bring about a bad result. Make no mistake – evil intentions lie under everything Satan does.
The story in the Bible of King Saul going to the Witch of Endor is a sad story with a interesting twist. The enormous Philistine army was approaching and Saul was terrified. He ‘inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer by dreams, or Urim or prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. Saul was regularly disobeying God at this time, so God stopped answering him. Why give Saul an answer if he’s not going to obey? Sometimes God will stop answering us, too, if we continue to ask but are not being obedient to what he has already told us.
In the past, Samuel had helped Saul listen and obey God, but Samuel had died. Saul wanted to talk with Samuel so he went to the Witch of Endor. The witch did her normal ‘consulting the spirits’ act but then screamed when she saw Samuel appear. Why did she scream? She obviously did not expect someone to actually come back from the dead – she was used to making it all up.
And Samuel wasn’t happy about being disturbed. That makes sense. He was enjoying heaven and suddenly he’s back on earth having to deal with Saul’s fear and lack of trust in God.
Samuel told Saul because he continued to be disobedient, God was going to do what he said – take away Saul’s kingdom.
And the next day Saul and his three sons were dead.
In this instance, God worked through a witch in order to achieve his purposes. But she was not a ‘good witch’.