Chapter 1: Aleph

“Blessed are they whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. They do nothing wrong; they walk in his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me” (Psalm 119:1-8).

 

Power, Constancy, Coffee

“It’s not working!” I muttered angrily. I was working with the serving team to quickly set up the snacks for Sunday morning fellowship at church and the new coffee pot was not cooperating. I tapped the switch again and nothing flickered. The clock was ticking and my frustration was growing.

“Is it plugged in?” someone asked helpfully.

“Of course it is!” I snapped. Sighing, I got down on hands and knees anyway to double check the power cord I KNEW I had plugged in.

Suddenly, I felt my face go three shades of red. I heard a couple of snickers behind me and realized I wasn’t the only one to discover my mistake. I had indeed plugged the coffee pot into a power strip…then plugged the power strip into itself!  No electrical current would EVER reach that coffee pot.

I am sometimes like that power strip, seeking voltage to accomplish great things in my own lifeless casing. I want to be the person described in these verses from Psalm 119. I desire to be blameless and steadfast in my walk with the Lord, and sometimes I feel powered up and ready to go. But, life gets in the way and I get frustrated and feel powerless when goals seem beyond my grasp. Do you ever feel this way?

Here is your encouragement for today: following God’s laws and walking in His ways to the extent that we “…do nothing wrong” is impossible. Doesn’t sound very encouraging, does it. The truth is this: as born again believers, when we rely on our own power and strength, we can never measure up to the standard of perfection set out in these verses and exemplified in the life of Jesus. How often have I tried my hardest to “do the right thing” only to have it fall to pieces?

In our human pride, we forget the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of us, which provides everything we need and is fully available to us, as followers of Jesus Christ. We want to do it on our own. We don’t want “to be a burden.” We can just handle (fill in the blank) without troubling the Lord with our need. But it’s only when we humble ourselves before the Lord and admit that we need His help that we get anywhere. Jesus loves us deeply, which is why He left His Holy Spirit on earth. He alone is able to make us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37). He alone can give us the strength to follow when our own power is dim and failing.

Even the writer of Psalm 119 longs to do the right thing: “Oh that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands.” I hear an almost wistful tone in these words. But, he doesn’t end on that “if only” note. He continues: “I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws.”

The more we learn about God, studying His Word, the more of Him we desire in our lives. The more we take in of Him through study and prayer, saturating in His presence, the stronger our relationship and the more in sync with His desires we become. The Lord is incredibly patient with us. We fail, but He will never leave us. He has given us His Holy Spirit to encourage and to empower us along our journey.

When I plugged the power strip into the wall outlet, the coffee pot bubbled to life and the fragrance of fresh coffee filled the fellowship hall. When I plug into the power of the Holy Spirit, my walk with Jesus is brought to bubbling life—and the aroma is sweet.

 

Bible Study:

What does it mean to be “steadfast”?  Look it up in the dictionary, or look it up in Strongs’ Concordance. I love the site http://www.blueletterbible.com for Bible research and looking for the original meanings of words.

 

What is to be “fully obeyed”?

 

What are precepts? Again look it up in the dictionary, or see how Strongs’ Concordance defines precepts.

 

Read Ephesians 3:16-19. Paul writes this prayer for the church at Ephesus. How does he pray that they (and us too!) will be strengthened?

 

When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, “rooted and established in love,” what will we have the power to grasp? Why is that important?

 

What does Paul pray you will be filled with (vs. 19)?

 

What connection do you see between these verses and Psalm 119:1-8?

 

Are you plugged into your own power supply? Or are you relying on the Holy Spirit?  Spend time in prayer asking for the Lord’s help in becoming more dependent on Him and less dependent on your own power supply. Ask Him to make you more aware of Him in your life. Matthew 7:7-8 says: “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find: knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives: he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be open.”

 

Aleph

 

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2 thoughts on “Chapter 1: Aleph

  1. Pingback: Eight Years Is Long Enough | Letters From Home

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