Friday, May 31, 2013

Psalm 119: 169-176 The End

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUY-u7whGFE&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3

ת Taw Psalm 119:169-176 The Message (MSG)

Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of your promise.
Let praise cascade off my lips;
after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue;
every order you’ve given is right.
Put your hand out and steady me
since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation;
I love it when you show yourself!
Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well,
use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me!
I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.

Let my cry come right into your presence, God;
provide me with the insight that comes only from your Word.
Give my request your personal attention,
rescue me on the terms of your promise.
I went to the Healing Rooms for prayer this morning for prayer and to worship the Lord. The people there know nothing about the changes taking place in my life or what the Lord has been telling me as I have been seeking Him. So this verse here about give my request your personal attention was very clearly demonstrated by others who were also listening to the Holy Spirit, were sharing with me amazingly similar verses and words and images. Those kind of confirmations remind me that God is listening and he wil provide me with the insight that comes only from His Word. 

Let praise cascade off my lips; after all, you’ve taught me the truth about life!
And let your promises ring from my tongue; every order you’ve given is right
.
I guess the question is what is cascading off your lips. Have you allowed the Holy Spirit to teach you the truths about life? Are you standing on His promises - do they ring from your tongue trusting that the Lord has directed you rightly?

Put your hand out and steady me since I’ve chosen to live by your counsel.
I’m homesick, God, for your salvation; I love it when you show yourself!
I was watching people dance at a local festival. Some of the couples were having fun but their dancing was almost at odds with one another. Then you had the couples that seemed to glide effortlessly. They seemed to fully get the complicated Latin beats and could move to it in a mannor that seemed effortless and graceful. Me I didn't even try - I was struggling with when to tap my foot. There is plenty of music from a variety of cultures that I do understand. If I was a dancer I would have needed the Lord's hand to steady me and guide me. I would have to learn the rules of those particular dances.  When we are new at walking with the Lord or when we are in some new territory we need the Lord to steady us. I love it when you show yourself Lord.  

Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, use your decrees to put iron in my soul.
And should I wander off like a lost sheep—seek me! I’ll recognize the sound of your voice.
I particularly like this section. I don't generally mean to get off track. Sometimes I get distracted or caught up in something and all the sudden realize I am not on the path I meant to be on. Sometimes the tyranny of the urgent spins us off in a direction constantly reacting rather than purposefully moving in a direction.  Should I wander off - seek me! I can picture the shepherd calling for the sheep, and the sheep knows the sound of His voice.  Invigorate my soul so I can praise you well, make me strong like iron. This would be a good section to pray along with. Help us Lord to be fully alive, invigorate our souls so we can praise you well. With your Word and your decrees give us the courage and the backbone and iron in our souls to stand up for truth and justice. 

Congratulations - we have made our way through the longest Psalm in the Bible. You can give your self a pat on the back for having started and completed the journey. Or if you missed some of it you can go back at anytime. I did try to put psalm 119 key words on all of these posts.  On Monday you will get a post with links to posts you probably missed. I will be taking the month of June off from posting but look forward to being back to celebrate our second blog birthday in July. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Psalm 119:161-168 - Life Giving Leaders


A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtfxpmrBKDA&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3

ש Sin and Shin - Psalm 119 from The Voice

161 Princes persecute me without reason,
but my heart remains true and is awed by Your words.
162 I celebrate because of Your promise,
like someone who discovers great treasure.
163 I despise and abhor lies,
but I love Your law.
164 Seven times every day I praise You
because of Your right rulings.
165 Those who love Your law have an abundance of peace,
and nothing along their paths can cause them to stumble.
166 I wait for Your salvation, O Eternal One,
and I live out Your commands.
167 My soul is faithful to Your decrees,
and my love for them is extraordinary.
168 I live according to Your precepts and decrees
because everything I do is right before Your eyes.


Princes persecute me without reason,
but my heart remains true and is awed by Your words.
Who are the leaders in your life? We all have people that we answer to be it family relationships, work relationships, social and spiritual relationships.
Are you feeling persecuted or undervalued, miss understood or under attack?
You can't change who your parents are but could you change how you relate to one another?
Bosses: Is it possible that your values and goals no longer match up. Is it time to consider a change in jobs or positions or maybe in your attitude. What leadership relationship is out of sync at this time? Is the persecution truly with out reason or are there things that you could improve. I notice that many people that I meet in the homeless community have very little in the way of relationship skills. They also don't have good models and mentors. They need people who will do more than donate food and clothes they need people who will donate time to walk with them through the process of growing in healthy relationship skill.  I am awed by the Word because in it we can find God's right way of doing relationships. Change is a process and it is uncomfortable. It helps to have people who will encourage and hold you accountable to the changes you want to make.

I celebrate because of Your promise, like someone who discovers great treasure.
I despise and abhor lies, but I love Your law.
Do you celebrate the promises of God or do you question if God will really come through for you.
Do you stand believing that God will make things right in His perfect timing?
I turned in my keys at the church today as this was officially my last day in the office admin position. I still don't know what is next but I do know that God will show me in His perfect time.
He has good things planned for me. I can stand on His promises. I can celebrate the ending of one thing and know that before long He will show me whats next. In the mean time I can rest in Him and be secure in His love for me. I can trust that His favor does and will rest upon my life. That His Holy Spirit is actively leading and guiding me. That I am His sheep and I expect to know and hear His voice. So turning in my keys felt a little weird but any time you move out of your comfort zone and the land of familiar it feels weird. I have gone through enough changes to know it will not feel weird for long. I will start to get the hang of the new thing and I am confident that the Lord is walking with me every step of the way. You know why - because I invited Him to be with me. He is my first, not my last resort.


Seven times every day I praise You because of Your right rulings.
Those who love Your law have an abundance of peace, and nothing along their paths can cause them to stumble. I sat down this morning and tried to write this post  - and it felt flat so I went on with my day. I trusted that God would give inspiration that would likely come out of my day.  I was waiting for my oldest son, who was at a school dance and rather than spend my time driving back and forth I sat in the parking lot and read a book. One of the questions that it posed was: If an outsider were to measure your prayer life, how many minutes our hours a day would they find you solely absorbed in the activity? You were to rate your self on a scale of 1(low) to 10 (high). Prayer has become a way of life. I get up in the morning before my family to enjoy the quiet time with the Lord, I pray when I'm driving, I pray in the bathroom, I pray in the middle of the night when I wake up. I have made a conscious effort to look for ways to practice the presence of God. I believe prayer makes a difference. I have a sense of wonder to see how the Lord move in response to my prayers. I try to do the same thing with His word, I read it, I study it, I post it on stickies, I sing it, I make a point to remember it and stand upon it as the truth. I have to say that I do have an abundance of peace and I trust that nothing on my path can cause me to stumble. His word is a light unto my feet.

I wait for Your salvation, O Eternal One, and I live out Your commands.
My soul is faithful to Your decrees, and my love for them is extraordinary. I live according to Your precepts and decrees because everything I do is right before Your eyes. I was thinking about why David was called a man after God's own heart. He was as imperfect as the rest of us. So why would God say that about him. I think it is partly because he was quick to turn to God but I think there is more. I think that David was able to see what was not and move towards making it something that others could experience.  He was able to stand before a giant and see him defeated. He was able to bring the arc back. He was able to institute worship that was musical on a high high level, with hundreds serving as singers and musicians. He wanted to build the temple - he could see it in his mind. God told him no, that he had too much blood on his hand and it would be his son who would build it. David went on to gather all the many supplies and sought the favor of other rulers to acquire various supplies.  He could look at problems and see possibilities. He could see a thing that was not yet as if it already existed. I think those qualities were what made this man different and exceptional and a man after God's heart. I want to be like that a person of extraordinary vision who sees what is not yet and who by faith takes steps to make it something that others can also experience and be inspired by and be drawn closer to God. Maybe I've finally landed on a personal mission statement. 


Well tomorrow is the final day of this Psalm. I hope you enjoyed it. I know at times I felt like the kid in the back of the car on a long driving trip who kept asking "are we there yet?   I will be taking the month of June off from posting. I do have a post scheduled for Monday that has links to posts you probably missed. I've written over 500 posts at this point. I'm pretty confident that there is plenty in the cupbords here at A Devotional Mosaic, and that no one will starve if I take a break. You might have to use the links in Monday's post or you might try searching key words in the new Search This Blog box.  Theres also Blog Archive on the left side of the main blog site page.  I also just  added a contact form. Its a little more private than posting a comment that everyone can see.

I'd love to hear from you anytime about ideas or thought you have about various posts.  Plus... I do e-coaching and phone coaching. If you have something you are ready to work on I would love to assist you as a coach to achieve your goals.
 ~ Margot


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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Psalm 119:153-160 Troubles

A Devotional by Margot Ciocco

I spent the morning working on a post for Monday June 3rd filled with links to posts you may have missed. I will be taking the month of June off from posting but I don't those of you who count on and look forward to these post to be left hanging in the wind. In that post you will find links to 20 post that I wrote but some how missed getting seen.  I re-read them and thought you would enjoy them.

We are down to the last three sections of the longest Psalm in the Bible. It is an acrostic poem in which each section corresponds to a succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da9W_-Y68bA&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3


Psalm 119:153-160

New International Version (NIV)

ר Resh

Take a good look at my trouble, and help me—
    I haven’t forgotten your revelation.
Take my side and get me out of this;
    give me back my life, just as you promised.
“Salvation” is only gibberish to the wicked
    because they’ve never looked it up in your dictionary.
Your mercies, God, run into the billions;
    following your guidelines, revive me.
My antagonists are too many to count,
    but I don’t swerve from the directions you gave.
I took one look at the quitters and was filled with loathing;
    they walked away from your promises so casually!
Take note of how I love what you tell me;
    out of your life of love, prolong my life.
Your words all add up to the sum total: Truth.
    Your righteous decisions are eternal.

We look at trouble as if it is a negative thing. It is a tool that causes us to turn to God, to think beyond our comfort zone, to overcome, to grow up and be responsible. We can create our own trouble by foolish choices, or be caught up in the troubles caused by others, and some troubles are beyond our control. No one asks for floods, or earthquakes but sometimes we find ourselves having to dig our selves out of messes that we did nothing to deserve. Troubles can be big or little nagging things. The question is will you just throw up your hands in dispair and have a pity party, or will you look to Jesus to lead you through. 
I think of the words of Isaiah 43: 
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Right now what ever it is that has you in a panic - God says do not fear!
I love these lines from today's passage. "Your mercies, God, run into the billions; following your guidelines, revive me."

Stop running, stop panicing, stop worrying, stop spinning the problem through your brain in yet another way. Just Stop - and turn to Jesus. He has not forgotten you, but you have turned to every possible solution before you have turned to Him. He alone has the answers and can give you the plan you need to walk through this situation that troubles you. He desires to give you His peace. He desires to lead you like a shepherd, and to love and protect you like the apple of His eye.  

Take some time to think back of other times that God has delivered you. Think back and thank Him for those time. Doing so you build up your own faith and you please God who love a cheerful and thankful heart. 

I am not making light of your situation. You may have been dealing it for a very long time, you are probably weary and exhausted. 
Take your situation to Jesus and release it into His hands. Look around you, is there someone you can encourage or help or bless. You are not the only one struggling, and the seeds help you sow into the lives of others grow up. You reap what you sow. If you need help...so help. If you need understanding... sow understanding to others, if you need provisions...share your excess with others. 

Don't forget the revelation and things that God has spoken to you or shown you in His word. Hang on to His promises and be a doer of the word. 
Make up your mind to trust and to overcome. Believe that He will lead and guide you step by step. You just need to ask. 

Who are your antagonists? They are the people who add to the negativity and unbelief or faithlessness in your life. They are the people who would hold you back from moving forward in God's plans and purposes. Don't let them cause you to swerve from the directions that God has given you. You might need to distance yourself from some of them. Often they are the people closest to you, who will be most effected if you move beyond your comfort zone to live fully alive and to reach for the dreams or the mission that God has given you. 

Prayer:
I pray you will turn to Jesus that you will give him those parts of yourself that you are still trying to hang on to and control. I pray that you will experience Hi Holy Spirit leading you safely through the mine field of troubles and problems. I pray that you will look back on this and remember the deliverance and provision of a God who loves you and who will not forsake you. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Psalm 119:145-152 I Call Out

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

If you are just joining us, we have been looking at the longest Psalm in the bible. It is an acrostic poem that is broken into sections each one starting with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. We are down to the last 4 days and I hope you have enjoyed it. I will be taking the month of June off from writing this blog. I have been posting everyday M-F for 47 months and now have about 500 inspirational posts for you to choose from. I will be seeking the Lord for His direction and am looking at many of the things I am doing, to make sure they fit His vision and purpose for my life. We can be busy doing a lot of good things. We have a limited amount of energy and if we use it for this thing, we may not be also able to do this other thing. Of the things we are doing what of it makes us feel alive. What of it is God's best and what it is our lame attempts at surval or duty. It is important to make sure that we are living fully the mission that God has designed for each of us. So I am taking some time to reflect, pray and to fine tune.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1dkjX_2AXU&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3


ק Qoph

Psalm 119:145-152 The Message (MSG)
I call out at the top of my lungs,
    God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”
I called to you, “Save me
    so I can carry out all your instructions.”
I was up before sunrise,
    crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
I stayed awake all night,
    prayerfully pondering your promise.
In your love, listen to me;
    in your justice, God, keep me alive.
As those out to get me come closer and closer,
    they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;
But you’re the closest of all to me, God,
    and all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words
    that you meant them to last forever.
I call out at the top of my lungs, God! Answer! I’ll do whatever you say.”I called to you, “Save me so I can carry out all your instructions.”  We can get ourselves into situations that feel like we are trapped or stuck or our hands are tied. We don't know what to do. From that place of desperation we will turn to God after we have tried everything we know to do. He wants to be our first resort not our last resort. We can spend a lot of energy and effort that could be avoided by simply taking the time to make the Lord your first resort. To promise to do what he says should not be a bargaining chip that we offer in a last attempt before you drown in the sea of your problems. Doing what he says should be your way of life. Sometimes even though we have given our life to him - there are parts we are still trying to retain control of. Our attitude should be like Daniel's friends as they were being put in the extra hot furnace. Daniel 3: 17 "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up. 
Is it settled in your heart that God is fully able to deliver you but even if he does not do things your way that you will continue to trust and serve Him?

I was up before sunrise, crying for help, hoping for a word from you.
I stayed awake all night, 
prayerfully pondering your promise. I'd like to tell you that every morning I have some great revelation from the Lord. That I know that I know, that I know that God has spoken. That He has answered my every question. Many mornings I spend time reading His word, writing, thinking and praying and it is all very ordinary. No goose bumps or warm fuzzies. My relationship is not based on feelings it is based on He gave his life for me and I gave my life to Him. It is about living to know Him more. I have found that taking the time in the morning to spend with Him even if it is not filled with goose bumps and warm fuzzies, somehow sets my day. There are times at night when I will wake up and feel like I just need to pray. I don't always know why, but I try to listen and to pray for those who come to mind. Or in the case of anxiety I remind myself that God is able to protect, provide and care for me and I make a decision not to worry but to trust and pray. 

In your love, listen to me; in your justice, God, keep me alive.
As those out to get me come closer and closer,
they go farther and farther from the truth you reveal;

Just remember that it is a spiritual battle - that our enemies are not flesh and blood people. Even though they may act the part at times. Our job is to pray and follow the instructions of verses like Luke 6  27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. 

But you’re the closest of all to me, Godand all your judgments true.
I’ve known all along from the evidence of your words 
that you meant them to last forever. We serve a God who is faithful and just. There have been wonderful believer who have gone before us and left foot steps for us to follow. Great thinkers, and people who gave their lives to the the Lord and His kingdom. We have the Word available to us in many translations and languages. We don't have to share one book or scroll with a whole community. We have our own bibles. There have been and are still in some places believers who would give anything to have a single page of their own. Yet with all our bibles to many of us don't spend time pouring over its words. We might dust it off if we are in trouble. If you love the Lord, you will spend time in His Word. That in and through it you will come to see His heart and His character. That you will come to know Him more. He gives us the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us. You need more than a kindergarden knowledge of the Word - it needs to be your daily bread. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Psalm 119:137-144 Life to the fullest

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv-zS0JbQwQ&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3


Today is Memorial Day and to finish this Psalm up by the end of the month I should post today. My plan is to take off the month of June to sort of re-boot my mental, emotional, spiritual computer. I have posted 503 posts so there is no shortage of inspiration to choose from durning the month of June. I'm not sure how not writing will go - it has become such a way of life for me. Even writing this post today has been a pep talk to myself and has helped to ground and stabilize me. Anyway in my neck of the woods the sun is shining and it looks to be quite a lovely day in the making. So I will keep this short and get on to enjoying the day that the Lord has made. 

צ Tsadhe

Psalm 119:137-144

The Message (MSG)  
You are right and you do right, God;
    your decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live
    ever faithful to you.
My rivals nearly did me in,
    they persistently ignored your commandments.
Your promise has been tested through and through,
    and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I’m too young to be important,
    but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right,
    your revelation is the only truth.
Even though troubles came down on me hard,
    your commands always gave me delight.
The way you tell me to live is always right;
    help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.
You are right and you do right, Godyour decisions are right on target.
You rightly instruct us in how to live ever faithful to you.

I awoke to some negative talk going on in my brain and what ever it was it came up against a filter, or a guard that was set by the Word, I had bothered to plant. I sat up in bed to resist the feelings of doubt, shame, fear - to say to them that is not true! "There is there for now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, they are plans for your good and not your harm, plans to give you a hope and a future." "The Lord has not given you a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind"  Those words and others are firmly planted in my memory, and they stand as filters and guards over my mind and spirit.  I am not a good memorizer and I generally can't give you chapter and verse. I may not even get it all word for word but I have made an effort to plant the word in my heart and mind. For me it seems to stick best when it is set to music. I go back to an earlier verse in this study  Psalm 119:11 "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."  One of the ways we are rightly instructed is to hide the word in our hearts. You may not always have a bible handy, how much of the word would be in you if all your bibles were taken away today?  Bible memory is an important. We are to meditate on the word day and night. Is there a verse that you are keeping before you today. We have to have the Word to help us filter out the false evidence that appears to be true. 

My rivals nearly did me in, they persistently ignored your commandments. Your promise has been tested through and through, and I, your servant, love it dearly.
I try to keep in mind that our enemies are not flesh and blood but powers and principalities and rulers of dark places. There are people who join with the enemy as accusers. They join with the enemy to tear others down, rather than build them up. Well meaning people who often are followers of Jesus but have gotten off track somehow. I have to remember they are not my enemy. I need to recognize when a brother or sister is being manipulated by a crafty enemy. I should pray for them. Pray for those who persecute you and despitefully use you. We are to forgive as we have been forgiven. I'm not saying you need to be a door mat and stay in an abusive situation but you need to recognize the source of the true enemy. Stand on God's promises they have been tested through and though. 

I’m too young to be important, but I don’t forget what you tell me.
Your righteousness is eternally right, your revelation is the only truth.

I often have to push through feelings of "not ___ enough" I at least recognize it as false evidence at this point. I still have to decide to resist it and stand on "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." "The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord" and "Your Word oh Lord is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Just because I often feel inadequate does not mean I should just sit down and have a pity party and feel bad for myself. It means I need to stand on the truth of the Word, resist the devil and he will flee. Push through the oppression, the condemnation, the shame, the guilt the doubt. Have you taken those things to Jesus? Have you repented of those things that bring shame and guilt? Have you forgiven those who have hurt you? Allow the Holy Spirit to show you if there is something you've neglected to deal with. If there is not - than stand up - tell the enemy to take a hike those things have been dealt with and are under the blood. The enemy will do everything to make you feel little, stuck, inadequate. The enemy hurls condemnation, doubt and fear, we need to have our armor on. We need to have the Word to cut through those false things that appear true like a sharp sword.    

Even though troubles came down on me hard, your commands always gave me delight.The way you tell me to live is always right; help me understand it so I can live to the fullest.
So we can spend our time reacting to the troubles or we can find out what God wants us to be doing and push past the little distractions and troubles. We need to have a clear vision of Gods plan and purpose for our lives. We must become empty so he can fill us up. Most of us spend too much time just being busy and running on empty. The disciple were sent to wait until the Holy Spirit came and filled them. Some of us need to seek the Lord and actively wait for his instruction and infilling. Some of us need to follow through and do the things he already gave us to do before He will give any new instruction. Often we need to finish up one thing, rest a bit and then he will show us what is next. The Lord intends that we live fully alive lives. Some of you are just going through the motions rather than really living and following the dreams God has placed in your heart. Some of us have forgotten how to dream and need the Lord to give us new dreams. Some of us need to speak life into the valley of dry bones. We need to face those things that haunt us. We need to not allow our lacks and addictions and fears to control us. We need to decide to be controlled by the Lord and to be directed by the Holy Spirit. 

So go and live today to the fullest for God's glory. It won't do any good to sit around worrying about tomorrow - don't miss what God has for you today. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Psalm 119:129-136 - Wonder

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

http://youtu.be/2OCBltoGlDI


פ Pe - Psalm 119:129-136 The Voice (VOICE)
129 Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them.
130 When Your words are unveiled, light shines forth; they bring understanding to the simple.
131 My desire for Your commands left me waiting, open-mouthed and panting.
132 Acknowledge me and show me Your grace as is 
Your habit toward all those who love Your name.
133 Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me.
134 Rescue me from the torment of my human oppressors 
so that I may live according Your decrees.
135 Let Your face shine upon Your servant, and help me to learn what You require.
136 My eyes shed rivers of tears whenever people fail to keep Your teaching.

Your decrees inspire wonder; because of that, my soul desires to keep them.
When Your words are unveiled, light shines forth; they bring understanding to the simple.

God's word is veiled to those who do not have a relationship with Jesus. He sent us the Holy Spirit to teach and train us. 

2 Corinthians 3:14-16

New International Version (NIV)
14 But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. 15 Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. 16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2 Corinthians 4:3

New International Version (NIV)
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.

My desire for Your commands left me waiting, open-mouthed and panting.
Acknowledge me and show me Your grace as is 
Your habit toward all those who love Your name.
I think of the old song that says "As the deer pants for the water so my soul longs after thee."
Are you desperate for the Lord and His word and His ways?  I am thankful for the Lord's grace and that he does see us and know us. 

Guide my steps in the ways of Your word, and do not let any sin control me.
134 Rescue me from the torment of my human oppressors 
so that I may live according Your decrees.
What masters and controls us? It may not even be bad or sinful things. There are good things that we can control us and keep us from God's best or from perusing God's call on our lives. 

Let Your face shine upon Your servant, and help me to learn what You require.
My eyes shed rivers of tears whenever people fail to keep Your teaching.
We need the face of the Lord to shine upon us, to help us to learn and to live His way. We need to have compassion on those who were never trained in God's ways. 
 
I am off and running to pick up my kids and then I am singing at a local coffee house with one of my guitar students. Should be fun. I pray the Lord will bless you with wonder and insight into his word. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Psalm 119: 121-128 Here I am, Send me!

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3plwmslmuYI&feature=share&list=PLAE37DF69613BB3F3


ע Ayin


121-1



 I stood up for justice and the right;

    don’t leave me to the mercy of my oppressors.
Take the side of your servant, good God;
    don’t let the godless take advantage of me.
I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
    to keep your promise to set everything right.
Let your love dictate how you deal with me;
    teach me from your textbook on life.
I’m your servant—help me understand what that means,
    the inner meaning of your instructions.
It’s time to act, God;
    they’ve made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
    I love it better than gold and gemstones;
Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
    I despise every deceitful detour.

I just finished watching Braveheart about William Wallace who fought for a free Scotland. 

"This is the truth I tell you:of all things freedom’s most fine.
Never submit to live, my son,
in the bonds of slavery entwined."
William Wallace - His Uncle’s proverb,
from Bower’s Scotichronicon c.1440’s

The Nobles of the land were willing to compromise and sell out to the English king for land and favors. Wallace stood for freedom and could not be bought by those in power.




 I stood up for justice and the right;

    don’t leave me to the mercy of my oppressors

It seems a fitting story for our verse today. He stood for justice and the right. In the end he did not receive mercy from his oppressors. He was drawn and quartered. His head placed on London bridge and the quarters of his body sent to the four corners of the kingdom. There are those who pay a great price that others may one day obtain freedom. Its hard to sort out what is legend and what is truth in this story. 

Take the side of your servant, good God;
    don’t let the godless take advantage of me.
I can’t keep my eyes open any longer, waiting for you
    to keep your promise to set everything right.

It would seem that God did indeed set things to right in the story of Scottish independence and freedom. Perhaps you are standing up for compassion, mercy and justice. Wallace chose to live to compromise would have been to live as a dead man. Perhaps you are living in compromise and it is time to stand up for what is right. There are even in our day many who live in horrible oppression and in justice. We too often stick our heads in the sand and go about our lives. There is too much and we are only one person. What can we do to turn the tide of oppression an injustice? I agree with mother Teresa "Small things done with great love can change the world."  I saw another movie recently about a little boy who decided to walk 200 miles to help homeless children. Zach Bonner walked hundreds miles to raise awareness for homeless children. The following year he walked from Florida to Washington DC. The next year he walked across the entire United States. This is a little 12 year old boy, he decided to do something. Here's a link to the USA today story. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-05-17-wagon-boy_N.htm?csp=usat.me

Let your love dictate how you deal with me; teach me from your textbook on life. I’m your servant—help me understand what that means,the inner meaning of your instructions.
Is changing the world only for a special few? Might we all in someway do our part. There is another story about another young boy who for a class project started the Pay it Forward movement. He found people and did something to help them that they could not do for themselves. All he asked was that they pay it forward to three others. Its amazing how little things can spread. I'm not sure if it was based on a true story but it was certainly an inspiring movie. 
God does not always send us to do things that will bring fame and glory. Sometimes he sends us to touch one life at a time. Who's life might you touch today. Is there some kindness you can share with someone who is hurting?

  

It’s time to act, God;
    they’ve made a shambles of your revelation!
Yea-Saying God, I love what you command,
    I love it better than gold and gemstones;
Yea-Saying God, I honor everything you tell me,
    I despise every deceitful detour.


It's time to act - but perhaps it is not God who needs to act - but His people who need to rise up and make a difference. Do you think someone else will feed the poor, comfort the lonely, care for the fatherless? We have agencies for those things. We give our money to the United Way. We've done our part... 
I always go back to the sheep and the goats. What ever you have done for the least of these my brothers, you have done it unto me. I am less convinced that loving and worshiping God is about singing songs and feeling warm and fuzy. I am more and more convinced that true worship is to lift the bonds of oppression and to stand for justice and mercy. Love is not a feeling it is a commitment to the betterment of others. It requires one to stretch and to work and to move forward with courage. God so love the world that He sent his only begotten son... Jesus laid down His life in love for you and I that we might be returned to a right relationship with a Holy God. Love is not for sissies nor is following Christ. We are each called to pick up our cross and to follow Him. He calls us to make disciples not just notches on our belt for so many supposedly converted.    

We say we love His command and His word. That means we should be obeying it, doing it, living up to its truth and standards. Granted none of us is perfect - I am ever thankful for His grace. There are 176 verses that talk about the poor and how we are to treat them.  

Leviticus 23:22
“‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the Lord your God.’”

Leviticus 25:35
“‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you.

We live in a day when families are living in hotels or in their cars. There has never been so many children living in poverty in America since the great depression. You may be hearing that the economy is improving but I can tell you things have not changed much for the street people that see each week. 
Many would love to work. They don't have an address to put on the application, or a phone for the perspective employer to call them back. Some are mentally ill and get lost in the system. Just prescribe them more medications but little is done to find a true solution. We serve a meal once a week for 150 - 200 homeless and poor people. Is it enough? There is so much more we could do but there are not many who will come to work. Some will come and prepare food and ladle it out to people on the other side of the counter and we are truly appreciate that help. There are very few who will sit down and talk at tables or walk around the room greeting those people. We have people who want to come but they want special training. We had not training beyond love your neighbor as yourself. We should not need advanced training to love and care for others. We need to stop being selfish, and self absorbed and get out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Look at the excess in your life - could you do with less so that others could have something? 

Well I will get back off my soap box - but I hope you have been somehow stirred. You have in you gifts and talents that could make a difference. It is hard at first to reach out to people who seem different than us. I have found the differences quickly fade when you realize that every person has a story. 
We all have pains and disappointments. We all need encouragement and a helping hand from time to time. "There but for the grace of God go I". Some of you living pay check to pay check are not all that far from the streets. One big illness, the loss of a job, the lack of supportive family, the loss of a loved one, a mental illness and your world could spin out of control. The streets are not filled with drunks and bums like you might think. They are filled with people who came up though the foster care system, veterans, women, children, lots of the elderly. They are filled with people who lost a job, got sick, had domestic issue that resulted in being abandoned or needing to get out to get away from abuse. Some have been here so long that they have turned to drugs, alcohol or prostitution - you do what you have to, to survice and to numb the pain. No mother ever imagined that her sweet infant would grow up to be a homeless man wandering the streets, pan handling for pocket change and sleeping under the bridge. 

This is just America, our poor are rich compared to other places in the world. Thankfully there are at least in Spokane quite a few places that serve meals, and there are shelters, and there a collations and organizations working to make a difference. It all helps but there is so much that could be done and perhaps if you found yourself at the feet of Jesus you might hear him saying "Who can I send, who will go for us?" and you might respond "send me".  

Don't just close this and walk away shaking your head. Stop and pray and ask the Lord to show you something you can do today to make a difference. Then go do it. Our God is infinitely creative and if you will ask I believe He will show you something you can do. It might take courage, it might take work, it might feel bigger than you think you can manage. Take a step of faith and decide to live and be alive and not just live vicariously through the sitcoms or reality shows on your tv.