Tuesday, May 7, 2013

He - Psalm 119: Teach Me the Way of Your Decrees.

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio


For any of you joining this devotional for the first time. This month we are looking at Psalm 119. It is the longest of the Psalms. It is divided into 22 sections each one with 8 verses. Each verse in that section begins with the corresponding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The Psalmist, David in this case decided to create an acrostic poem. It is hard to see it in its translated state from our vantage point but it is remarkable in its poetic craftsmanship. If we were to write something for example if the letter in our alphabet was H we would start each line with a word that begins with the letter H.

Healing is in the hands of our mighty God.
Health comes to those who seek Him

Honor is due the King of all Kings
Honor is found for those who follow His ways.

Happy are those who choose to believe and follow Jesus
He fills their life with His presence and gives the Holy Spirit to train them in His ways.

It might continue on in such a manner. Acrostics are a great way to memorize or remember great truths about God. Perhaps some of you will add to this H acrostic that I have started. You might create such an acrostic and each day use a different alphabet letter to thank or praise the Lord. Rather than complaining and grumbling about your situation find 8 reasons to praise the Lord.

ה He
33 Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
38 Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
39 Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
40 How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.

Psalm 119:33-40 (MSG)
33-40 God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!

God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway!
All of us desire to stay on course. If we do not have a clear idea of God's mission and purpose for our life it is easy to go of course and not necessarily for evil things. We can go off course doing good things and our life can be so full of commitments to good things that we have no more energy or time to devote to God's right and perfect thing for us to be doing. I know for myself, I have felt like the little spin thing or hour glass that comes up on my computer. It tells you that the computer is trying to process a bunch of things. Sometime it becomes overloaded because we have too many windows left open and have asked it to preform too many tasks all at once. So we sit there frustrated waiting and waiting for it to do something that should be a simple task but it is stuck. Sometime we are stuck in a spin cycle and we need to stop and reboot. We need to shut everything down and re-start. Re-evaluate what is important and needs done at this time. We might need to let go of some good things to make room for God's real plan. 

"Give me a bent for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot." What is it you are bending towards. When the American Indians found water they would take a sapling tree and tie it down so it would grow in a bent shape. Later when they or future generations traveled that way again they would know that there was water near by. Are you being bent towards God and his will and his ways or are you chasing and be bent towards gaining loot. Perhaps you have become a workaholic and as a result the family that God has given you is suffering. Perhaps you have become a churchaholic and have become so focused on things inside the church that you have forgotten the world out side that needs you to be salt and light and a transforming and preserving agent. Maybe you've gotten busy being religious and shining your light at other believers. Our lives should be a reflection of God's kingdom in every place that we are not just in church. 

Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets, invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
We are a generation of people that have more gadgets and trinkets and toys than any other in the history of man kind. Yet we are often exhausted and running in circles chasing our tails. We have a device to save us time for every imaginable purpose, yet we have no time. We need to be invigorated on the pilgrim way. Invigorated by a life spent seeking first the kingdom of God. We need to abide in the vine so that we will bear much fruit. We scratch our heads and wonder why we have so little fruit growing in our lives yet we constantly choose filling up our life with games and gadgets and stuff that has no eternal value. We can be busy playing dumb games like farm town that has no eternal significance while the spiritual gardens of our life that should be growing and producing a harvest go untended. 

Affirm your promises to me—promises made to all who fear you.
When was the last time you considered God's promises. Are you really standing on any of them today. Is there a verse or a promise that has jumped out at you that you are standing on. 
Do you really believe verses like Jeremiah 29:11 That God knows the plans he has for you. That his plans for you are good and not intended to harm or damage you. 
Do you believe promises like  2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Some of you fighting mental illness need to be standing on this verse. God desire is for you to have a sound mind. Perhaps yours is broken but you just keep running from some painful experiences in your past. Perhaps you have allowed bitterness to grow up and choke the spiritual life out of you. You have to pull up  those weeds. You have to invite Jesus in to those old closets and trunks and places of shame. Yet you have allowed a spirit of fear to keep you from facing those places with God's help. God does not intend for you to be defined by some horrendous act of violence perpetrated upon you by other severely damaged people. He desires for your life to be defined by his presence and for you to become all that he has designed and desires for you to be. The word of God is full of promises. We need to be speaking them prophetically over our own lives and the lives of people around us. Are you pronouncing blessing or cursing on you own life, your family, your job, your friends, your church? Words are powerful tools that can be used to bless or to curse. It is said of the great prophet Samuel that he let none of his words fall to the ground. In other words he was careful about what came out of his mouth. He realized the power that accompanies the words we speak and how they have the power to shape our own lives and the lives of other. You probably think that prophets are those specially called few that predict the future. 
Check out these verses.

Numbers 11:29 (NKJV)
29 Then Moses said to him, “Are you zealous for my sake? Oh, that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!”

1 Corinthians 14:5
I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

Joel 2:28-29 (NKJV)
God’s Spirit Poured Out
28 “And it shall come to pass afterward
That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
Your old men shall dream dreams,
Your young men shall see visions.
29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

Acts 2:16-21 (NKJV) The apostle is basically saying this stuff you see happening is the fulfillment of Joel. "16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:"

1 John 2:20 (NKJV)
20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Romans 15:14 (NKJV)
14 Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

Hebrews 3:13 (NKJV) 13 but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!
While we are talking about words and how we should all be using our words prophetically. There are also negative words that have been spoken over you and set in motion in your life by your own mouth and by others. Here's an example of one that God just helped me to see in my own life. When I was younger my brother was the smart one and I was the beautiful one. My family would laugh and say "When they were passing out brains Margot thought they said trains and said pass me by." It was always said in fun but I realize it had an effect upon me. I have resisted the part about not having brains and proved that part to not be true. I only saw this next part and its effect upon my life yesterday. "I said pass me by". Over and over in my life I have been passed over. I have been the one doing the work only to be passed over for a promotion or pay or even in some instances relationships. I have been passed over and over looked. It has been a prophetic word that was set in motion in my life. It would seem to be a harmless joke but often the words spoken by people around us and even those spoken by us have a powerful effect upon our lives. Anyway I was seeking the Lord as to why I was so often passed over. He helped me to see these damaging words and their power in my life. So now I choose to break the effect of those words over my life. In Jesus name I am not passed over. I call back to myself those things that were lost because of those words. They may not come back to me in exactly the same circumstances or opportunities but those things that God has intended for me I call forward and I choose to allow these damaging words to no longer define or shape my life.  There are probably negative words that have been spoken over you. It is time to recognize those things for the lies they are and to cast them down in the Name, Power and Authority of Jesus. It is time to stand on his promises and the things that he has to say about each of us. It is time to stop living in the lies and the harsh words of the critics. Sometimes we are our own worst critics. Be more aware of the words you allow to be spoken over or about you as well as the words you are speaking or have spoken over others. 
God spoke and created ... we are made in his image and likeness, our words are powerful creative forces unleashed in this earth and are capable of great good or great destruction. 

Teach me the way of your decrees. As we see the things that God decrees in our lives, and in the lives of others help us to echo his decrees. Make us each prophetic voices that speak blessing and life and hope and destiny into the lives of others. 

Well that should give you enough to chomp on for today. 

Prayer: I pray that you would be blessed as you go in and go out. That you would be the head and not the tail. That people around you would rise up and call you blessed. That you would grow in wisdom and favor and stature with both God and mankind. I pray that you would uncover those damaging words that have been spoken over you and by the power and authority of Jesus render them null and void. I pray that those positive things spoken over you would begin to bear fruit in your life and that you would become people who bless and prophetically speak God's truth as you are a preserving agent and one who brings God's light in to every dark corner of this planet.  


  1. Replies
    1. Hi Cathrina,
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. It means a lot to me.

      Blessings, Margot


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