Easy to fool ourselves

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

For the waywardness of the simpletons will kill them, and the careless ease of fools will destroy them. But the one who listens to me will live in security, and will be at ease from the dread of harm. Proverbs 1.32-33

How easy it is to fool ourselves! Waywardness has the same meaning as disobedience or willfulness. Simpleton means inexperienced. What this verse is saying is that the disobedience of the inexperienced will kill them. Many people have a false sense of security thinking that all is well when nothing could be further from the truth. Wisdom, in this chapter, is referred to in the first person. The one who listens to wisdom will live in security. We do not have to be fearful or full of dread for what the future holds. In James 3.13-17, we read of two types of wisdom: that from above and that which is earthly, natural, demonic. Obviously we do not want to practice the wisdom that is earthly or demonic. James tells us that wisdom brings works done in gentleness. The wisdom from above is pure, peaceable and gentle. If the wisdom that you are practicing brings disorder and evil practices, beware. It is not from above. The neat thing is that God gives wisdom generously to those who ask for it. It is found in his word. May we practice the wisdom which God gives generously to all who ask! Have you asked for wisdom lately?

#risingjoy #Psalms #wisdom

Complaining indicates a deeper problem

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Certainly the godly will give thanks to your name; the morally upright will live in your presence. Psalm 140.13

David is the author of this psalm. He writes asking God for protection from wicked men. The majority of the verses in Psalm 140 talk about the wicked men who are attacking David setting traps for his defeat. The last verse describes, in sharp contrast, the difference in the attitude and actions of the person who has respect for God. This person is grateful and acknowledges God’s care by giving thanks to him. The moral person will live in God’s presence. Gratitude is an important attitude to cultivate. Most of the time, however, you hear people complaining about every little thing. So many times the children of Israel were punished because of their complaining. Complaining indicates a deeper problem. It shows a lack of faith in God. We doubt that God is in control of the situation. We doubt that he cares for us and will provide for our needs. David reminds us of the importance of gratitude. There is no doubt that the godly person will be one who is grateful. Gratitude is a weapon against many illnesses that threaten to overtake us. What about me? Am I grateful? Let’s cultivate this important attitude and give thanks to God for his care!

#risingjoy #Psalms #gratitude

Mind ready for action

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Deceitful people will not live in my palace. Liars will not be welcome in my presence. Psalm 101.7

God is holy. In 1 Peter 1.15-16 he calls his people to be holy. We are to be like our father. Peter writes that we have purified our souls by obeying the truth. Truth and deceit are opposites. They cannot exist side by side. Either you are truthful or you are deceitful. In 1 Peter 2.1 we are told to get rid of all evil and all deceit. We cannot continue as we were and be pleasing to God. Deceitfulness is sin. We read in Isaiah 59.1-2 that sin separates us from God. If I want to be welcome in God’s presence, I have to be holy and pure. How do I remain holy and pure? Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1.13 to get my mind ready for action. I do that by renewing it with the word of God. I have to be in the word of God, reading and meditating. That is what prepares my mind to be ready for action. It does not happen by chance. I want to be welcome in God’s presence. And you?

#risingjoy #Psalms #holiness

The most incredible thing of all

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

O Lord, you have been our protector through all generations! Even before the mountains came into existence, or you brought the world into being, you were the eternal God. Psalm 90.1-2

It is hard for me to grasp how immense and awesome God is. My mind has difficulty capturing the unlimited extent of his power. Moses, the author of this psalm, wrote that God existed before the world was created. I read in Revelation 1.4 that he (God) who is, and who was, and who is still to come. God has always existed and will always exist. He is eternal. His spoken word created the universe and everything in it from nothing, Genesis 1. His spoken word! That is power! His power has brought the dead back to life. He raised Jesus from the dead and has promised to raise me from the dead. That same power abides in me. Nothing can separate me from the love that he has for me and he gives complete victory to me through Jesus. Paul wrote in Romans 8.37-39 that nothing can separate me from his love. That is, nothing but myself. Paul wrote to the Ephesians in 3.20 that he is able to do more than I can think or imagine. Do you want to know the most incredible thing of all? He wants to have a relationship with me. Little, unimportant me. He wants me to know him. Now that brings hope and joy to the heart!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

Where is my heart’s desire?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Certainly spending just one day in your temple courts is better than spending a thousand elsewhere. I would rather stand at the entrance to the temple of my God than live in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is our sovereign protector. The Lord bestows favor and honor; he withholds no good thing from those who have integrity. Psalm 84.10-11

Where is my heart’s desire? Where do I prefer to spend my time? Do I prefer spending it with God and his people? Do I make time for God in my life daily or do I grudgingly spend time in prayer and reading his word? God is my protector. He provides for my every need. In Matthew 6.33 Jesus taught the multitude to pursue God’s kingdom and righteousness above all other things. If I pursue his kingdom first, he has promised to provide me with clothing and food. God gives favor and honor. But, these are given for a purpose. That purpose is to reflect glory back to him. He withholds no good thing. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 9.8 regarding giving back to God that he is able to make all grace overflow. This overflow provides me with enough of everything in every way at all times. Not to be selfish and keep it to myself! But to overflow in every good work, to share with others about God who bestows favor and honor. To reflect glory back to Him!

#risingjoy #Psalms #needs

Joy in God’s presence

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

How lovely is the place where you live, O Lord who rules over all! I desperately want to be in the courts of the Lord’s temple. My heart and my entire being shout for joy to the living God. Even the birds find a home there, and the swallow builds a nest where she can protect her young near your altars, O Lord who rules over all, my king and my God. Psalm 84.1-3

The Temple for the Jews was the place where God lived among the people. The Jews would travel from afar to the Temple to make their sacrifices and celebrate their feasts. The verses above express their desire and joy to be there. Today the temple of God is not a physical location. In Ephesians 2.19-22 we read that the saints in Christ are being built together into a dwelling place of God. The church is the dwelling place of God today. The church is not a physical building. It is a spiritual building where the saints abide in Christ and where God is present. I need to ask myself if I have the same desire and joy to be present in the church as the Jews had to be in the Temple. If not, why not? So often we do not show the same joy of being in the presence of God. Perhaps that is because we are focusing more on the other people who are there instead of focusing on God. The church is where God’s presence dwells today. May you and I feel the same joy today in his presence!

#risingjoy #Psalms #God

God doesn’t randomly pick

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

How blessed is the one whom you choose, and allow to live in your palace courts. May we be satisfied with the good things of your house – your holy palace. Psalm 65.4

Blessed means happy. The man that God chooses is happy. God does not look down and randomly pick those whom he wants. He has had a plan since the beginning of time. That plan was to send Jesus his son to die on the cross for man’s redemption. Jesus came to earth to make God the father known to man. He taught that if you know the son then you know the father. We have the phrase “Like father, like son.” Jesus revealed to us who God is and what he wants of us. In John 8, Jesus said that he knew the Father and that he obeyed him. The Jews did not know him because they did not obey him. In John 8.47 Jesus said that the one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. This is the man that God chooses. This is the man that is happy!

#risingjoy #Psalms #happiness

Kick insecurity and doubt out the window

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I will be a permanent guest in your home; I will find shelter in the protection of your wings. Psalm 61.4

There are a lot of insecure people in the world. Satan wants us to doubt everything. He would have us believe that there is no way that we can be secure in God’s love. How could God love me? I am a horrible person. King David wrote this Psalm. He was by no means a man without sin in his life. Yet he writes with confidence regarding his place in God’s presence. He speaks confidently of permanence and shelter. Indeed in Acts 13.22 Luke writes that David was a man after God’s heart. In the same way that David could be confident in God’s presence, I can also approach God in confidence knowing that I can rely on his help, Hebrews 4.16. Paul writes in Romans 8.35-39 that there is nothing external that can separate me from the love of Christ. John writes in 1 John 1.7 if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with God. If I am obedient to God, I can have confidence that he is present. I can kick insecurity and doubt out the window!

#risingjoy #Psalms #security

Firm with God at my right hand

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I constantly trust in the Lord; because he is at my right hand, I will not be upended. So my heart rejoices and I am happy; My life is safe. Psalm 16.8-9

In what or whom do I trust? My trust can be in many things: money, people, knowledge, health. While these things can be helpful, desirable, and, many times, necessary, they are not a safe foundation upon which to build my life. Eventually these things will fail. Money disappears and the pursuit of it can be deadly, both physically and spiritually. People will disappoint me. Knowledge can be deceiving. My health will deteriorate with aging through a natural process. However, if I constantly trust in the Lord, I will not be defeated. I can stand firm with God at my right hand. This brings a security that produces joy and brings happiness to my heart. Even when negative things happen, and they will happen, my life is safe in him.

#risingjoy #Psalms #trust

The Lord makes me safe and secure

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

I will lie down and sleep peacefully, for you, Lord, make me safe and secure. Psalm 4.8

How well do you sleep at night? Does it take you some time or does your head hit the pillow and you are out? So often our doubts and worries take control of our mind at night. Our list of things to do for tomorrow starts growing in our mind to the point that we are almost compelled to get up and start on it immediately. Often if I am unable to sleep, it is because I am holding on to a worry that I have not let God have. That is a wake-up call or better yet a sleep call! The Lord makes me safe and secure. This does not mean that bad things will not happen to me, but it does give me peace to live in the present. I have no promise of tomorrow. But I know that my safety and my security is in the Lord. That applies both to the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Are you worried about something? Give it to the Lord in prayer. Then lie down and sleep peacefully.

#risingjoy #Psalms #peace

No way of knowing

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

He is not enamored with the strength of a horse, nor is he impressed by the warrior’s strong legs. The Lord takes delight in his faithful followers and in those who wait for his loyal love. Extol the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! Psalm 147.10-12

It amazes me that humans who are the creation of God think that we know what it is that he wants without asking him directly. During the time of the kings, it was an important status symbol to have many horses, chariots, and warriors. Jeremiah 9.23-24 tells us that wisdom, power, and riches are not something to boast about. However, even today we see people running after those very things. Our time is consumed with study and work. Not that study and work are not necessary and important. They should not be all-consuming. Satan has sold us a lie. We think that because we want something then it should fit into God’s plan. He should want it, too. If we neglect the reading and study of his word, we have no way of knowing what he wants for us and of us. He takes delight in his faithful followers! Are you a faithful follower? Am I? Are we doing what the Lord God wants us to do? God’s love is loyal to those who are faithful. Now that brings joy!

#risingjoy #Psalms #faithfulness

Tomorrow is not promised

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

A person’s life is like grass. Like a flower in the field it flourishes, but when the hot wind blows by, it disappears, and one can no longer even spot the place where it once grew. But the Lord continually shows loyal love to his faithful followers, and is faithful to their descendants, to those who keep his covenant, who are careful to obey his commands. Psalm 103.15-18

Here today. Gone tomorrow. If we could come to accept this truth! Life is short and it is not promised beyond now. Now is really the only time that I have. Life is fragile. Just as a hot wind can end the life of the flower, our lives can be ended by something that might seem so menial, so simple. So many after death are remembered rarely on earth by loved ones if at all. The contrast here is to God’s loyal love. God continues to show love to his faithful followers. There is a catch. The followers must keep his covenant which today we find in the New Testament. They must also be careful to obey his commands. They cannot think that they have all the time in the world to obey the Lord’s commands and put obedience off until tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised. But, the love of the Lord for those who obey him is a steady constant in our lives that can serve as an anchor during rough times. Something that we can hold on to. Something that we can have forever.

#risingjoy #Psalms #brevity-of-life

How does God create a pure heart?

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me! Psalm 51:10

The context here is David’s sin with Bathsheba. So often after we give in to temptation and sin, our resolution to go forward wavers. We have built the wall of separation once more. But, David understands very well who it is that creates. Whether it be everything from nothing, as our universe attests, or a pure heart, through the blood of Jesus, the ability to create comes from God. He is the one who creates in me a pure heart. He is the one that renews my resolution. How is this done? Through the power that God has. And that power is infinite! There is no end to His power! I have to plug in with Him through reading His Word and prayer. There is no other way. Through reading His word, I will learn what I must accept and obey. For yes, that pure heart is created through repentance and obedience.

#risingjoy #Psalms #Word-of-God

The ropes of the wicked, Psalm 129.4

“The Lord is just; he cut the ropes of the wicked.”

Psalm 129.4

God’s justice is shown in caring for his people and thereby fulfilling his promise. He is faithful to his covenant. He frees from the oppressor.

God’s people often cry and ask how long they must suffer. They appeal for justice, v. 5. Justice is not blessing those who oppose the Lord, v. 8.

#votd #Psalms #justice

Flagrant sins, Psalm 19.13

“Moreover, keep me from committing flagrant sins; do not allow such sins to control me. Then I will be blameless, and innocent of blatant rebellion.”

Psalm 19.13

The psalmist wants to please God, v. 14. He knows that keeping the Word will guide him to do that, vv. 7-11. He will commit errors, v. 12, but he prays he will never be consciously rebellious.

Where do we cross the line from inadvertent error to blatant sin? Premeditation may well define it, Rm 13.14.

#votd #Psalms #rebellion