In the above passage from Psalm 119:9-16 it gives us some clues to staying pure in a world that tries to contaminate us and shipwreck our faith.
These clues all revolve around God’s Word – the Bible.
1. Obedience – the writer wants to obey God’s commands. This is a great place to start in staying pure – the desire for obedience.
2. Staying – next we see the writer declares they do not want to wander away. They want to stay on track with God.
3. Hidden – the next key is having God’s Word hidden in the heart. This means to hold it deeply inside or to cherish it.
4. Teach – in verse 11 the writer asks God to teach them His decrees. There is a deep desire to learn, grow and be taught.
5. Recite – verse 13 then moves on to reciting or speaking out God’s Word. This helps to hear it differently when the Bible is read out aloud.
6. Rejoice – the next key is genuinely rejoicing over God’s Word. The Bible gives us so much. Our salvation alone is worth infinitely more than riches.
7. Study – studying God’s Word is so much more than reading it. The best investment we will ever make in time spent studying the Bible.
8. Remember – lastly this passage reminds us not to forget God’s Word. Memorising Scripture is key to staying pure. Jesus quoted Scripture when tempted by the devil.
There are a number of things we can do in this life to remain pure. Much of it revolves around digging in to God’s Word – the Bible.
If we love it, commit to reading and studying it, we will be strong in our faith. This combined with prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit helps us to remain pure.
Increasingly I am finding on the internet people are more than happy to tell you what upsets them or the things they are against.
People seem to want to continually tear things down if it doesn’t line up with their views.
I made a decision years ago to be a positive voice. I would rather say what I am for, than what I am against.
So today I thought I would share some of the things I am for.
1. The Bible – I believe the Bible is God’s Word to humanity. I think we should all read it, meditate on it and put it in to practice.
2. Prayer – I believe prayer changes things and it helps us to connect to God. I pray because I need to know God and I need His help and wisdom.
3. Family – I believe God wants me to be a loving husband and father. After my relationship with Him, I need to put my family next.
4. Fitness – I believe being physically fit and eating well is important. God has given me this body to live in and serve Him. I need to look after it.
5. Evangelism – I believe it is vitally important to share our faith in Christ. Jesus wants us to make disciples who become lifelong followers of Him.
6. Serving – I believe we all need to serve God by serving others. We should use our gifts and resources to make the lives of others better.
This is my list. It is not exhaustive. But rather than run other people or other things down, I thought I would share some of the things I am for.
Psalm 36:5-9 NLT – Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD.  How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.  You feed them from the abundance of your own house, letting them drink from your river of delights.  For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.
I read this passage as a part of my devotions this morning. I had to read it over and over. I love the way it talks about God’s unfailing love. It gives us a picture of just how deep and wide and vast it is. It even says that all humanity finds shelter in the shadow of His wings and He provides for us all out of His abundance. I couldn’t imagine a world without God. I wouldn’t want to! He truly is the fountain of life and the light by which we see.
Lord God, thank You for Your unfailing love. It is so precious to me. I thank You that You provide for our needs out of the abundance and I can find shelter under Your wings. You truly are the fountain of life and the light of my life. Amen.
Zechariah 14:9 NLT – And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one LORD-his name alone will be worshiped.
This verse talks about a day when all false gods that people worship and all false religions will be no more. There will be no cults, no worldly charismatic leaders who deceive people and no doubt who the true God is. It will be a day when only He is worshipped and He will rule and reign over all the earth. As a Jesus follower I look forward to this day. How about you?
Dear God, I thank You that You are the one true God who reigns supreme. You are far above all other false gods and worldly leaders. I look forward to the day when You come in power and glory and You alone are the one who is worshipped. Amen.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT says, “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
I have found over the years it helps to have good people around you. Having family, friends, workmates who have your back makes a big difference. As today’s passage says having people around you can help you to succeed, help you up if you fall down, keep you warm in cold trying conditions, and even fight with you if needed. It reminds us of the importance of having good people around us by using the image of a triple-braided cord being stronger. Three interwoven cords are way stronger than a single thread.
Lord, I pray that I will always have good people around me. I thank You for the good people who are now in my life. I pray that You will help us to help each other and as we follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Hebrews 11:13-16 NLT – All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.  Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own.  If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back.  But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
In Hebrews 11 it lists some of the heroes of faith. It talks about people like Abraham, Sarah, Enoch, Abel, Moses, Jacob and Joseph and the amazing faith they showed.
In verses 13-16 it gives us two tips that helped them to be heroes of faith.
1. Firstly, they had a great hope. They were looking forward to all the things God had promised. They believed what God said was yes and amen.
2. Secondly, they held firm to end. Even though they felt nomads and foreigners in this world, they held firm. We know this because it says they died still believing.
All of the heroes listed in Hebrews 11 did amazing things. If you haven’t read it in a while, I would encourage you to re-read it slowly and take it all in.
Two things that helped them was their great hope and decision to hold firm until the end.
Because of their commitment, we are reading about them thousdands of years later!
Prayer is so vital in the Christian life following Jesus. It helps us to know Him and spend time with Him. It also gives us our strength and wisdom to live this life.
Over the years I have spoken to a lot of Christians who struggle to have a regular prayer time. Life just seems to get in the way and squeezes it out.
One thing I have learned over the years is to have a routine in place. I use an acrostic to help – S.T.A.R.T.
Set – set a regular time for prayer. I have to do mine first thing in the morning. Otherwise the day gets away from me. I find doing it first thing sets my day up with my heart and mind on God.
Take – take your time. Don’t rush it like another item on your to do list. Take time to stop and be with God. I read the Bible, pray through my prayer list, listen to God and just sit with Him. Some days it is 15-20 minutes, some days an hour.
Allow – allow God to speak to you. Prayer is a two way thing. God might prompt you to look at a verse, ask you to do something or ask you to pray for someone. I just ask if there is anything He wants to say and I listen.
Repeat – repeat the process every day. Get into a habit and keep aiming to spend this focused time each day. Find your time of the day and repeat, repeat, repeat! I find the people with the most vibrant faith are the ones who have this time every day.
Try – try again. If you have tried before and not got a regular pattern for prayer, try again. It is ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Like any habit, prayer takes a while to get a rhythm. Ask God to help too!
Prayer is a wonderful thing. It helps us to spend time alone with God (TAWG) and gives us our strength for daily living. It changes our lives as we spend time with God and it changes the lives of those around us as we pray for them.
If you have been struggling with prayer. S.T.A.R.T. again!
I love this simple image and what it says. It talks about the process of working out our lives and finding our place in this world.
I know for me it took longer the first time to work things out and find my place.
Then over time life throws curve balls and your cube gets mixed up a bit again. But the cool thing is it is easier to fix over time as you learn the pattern like with a real rubik’s cube.
One key for me was walking with Jesus. Once I came to know Him, I found that I could see a future where things would be clearer.
I also found I didn’t always have to work out the next moves myself. I could pray and ask for help or wisdom. And Jesus always came through.
If you are going through a time where the colours are all mixed up, I would encourage you look to Jesus and ask Him to help you sort things out.
In Matthew 11:28-30 He encourages us to come to Him. He says…
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Jesus invites us to Himself. He wants to give us rest, He wants to teach us, and He wants to help us make sense of our lives.
Dear Lord Jesus, I pray that You will help me unscramble my life. I pray that You will give me wisdom and understanding and help me know what to do next. I pray that You will take my weariness and heavy burdens and exchange them for rest and peace. Teach me Your ways so I can follow You. Amen.
Matthew 28:18-20 NLT – Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
When we look at the Great Commission we see there are five “ALLs” in this passage.
1. ALL authority is heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus
2. The great commission to go and make disciples of ALL nations
3. Baptise the new disciples in the name of ALL of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit
4. We are to teach new disciples ALL the commands Jesus gave us
5. Jesus promises to be with us ALL-ways
I like the way the Great Commision has bookends. Jesus starts by telling us He has ALL authority and He finishes with He will be with us ALL-ways.
In between that He tells us what we need to do – go to ALL nations to make disciples, baptize them and teach them ALL of what Jesus commanded.
For me seeing the five ALLs helps me to remember what I need to do as a Christian and it keeps the Great Commision in the forefront of my mind.
Here is a great video from Francis Chan.