Can You Point Me in the Direction of Blessings Street?
Ever get lost on a road trip? I certainly have; in fact, if I don’t carefully follow the directions on a map, I might end up completely off course! I occasionally don’t want to read the directions and instead rely on my own logic, which leads to complete frustration and a loss of direction. I’m left wondering why I didn’t care to read the proper instructions in the first place.
The Bible gives us clear and precise instructions for living our best lives possible. Psalm 119 is a beautiful chapter to which we can compare this experience. There are 176 verses in it, and they resemble a confession or a journal entry, in my opinion. In verses 1-8, the psalmist appears to be writing a letter to God, vowing to obey, follow His direction, and keep His commands. We can get a real sense of why God is telling us to walk along the path He laid out for us, to read His Word, and listen to the proper instructions so that our lives will be blessed. I’ll paraphrase:
1. “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by God.”
2. “You’re blessed when you follow His directions, doing your best to find Him.”
3. “That’s right, you don’t go off on your own; you walk straight along the road He set.”
4. “You, God, prescribed the right way to live; now You expect us to live it.”
5. “Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set.”
6. “Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life to Your counsel.”
7. “I thank You for speaking straight from Your heart; I learn the pattern of Your righteous ways.”
8. “I’m going to do what You tell me to do; don’t ever walk off and leave me.”
Note how the writer opens verses 1-3 as if imparting God’s Word to another person; in verse 4, the psalmist then assures God that they understand His directives. In verses 5-7, the author promises to be obedient to the Lord and recognizes the blessings that will follow from doing so. Verse 8 implies that the psalmist commits to following God’s instructions and pleads with God to never leave them.
As I reflect on Psalm 119, I realize my own weaknesses in not making time each day to study and follow God’s path. Although I believe that I have let God down, I am very confident in my faith that He will always support me and forgive me. I’m so very grateful that God never leaves us nor forsakes us; He never gives up on us!
Do Not Be Anxious About Anything
SCRIPTURE READING — PHILIPPIANS 4:4-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Life gives us opportunities to enjoy calm and peacefulness. Life also gives us opportunities to be anxious.
We can grow anxious when sickness comes—especially when sickness might lead to death. We can also feel anxious when we run out of money for food or for our monthly bills. Relationships can create times of anxiety when tempers flare and anger burns. I remember a dark, cold, windy night when I had to walk along a lightless street to get home. I was frightened by all kinds of shifting shadows. I raced down the middle of that street as fast as I could till I was safely home.
What do you become anxious about? I heard a good sermon recently about a correlation between anxiety and prayer. When we are anxious, we can turn to the One who is aware of all our circumstances and who will meet us in our times of anxiety. To him we pray, thanking him for who he is and telling him our anxieties. He says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Being still gives us time to discern God and his love. I repeat the word “Father” over and over until I am at peace with God my Father. Then anxiety has its rightful place; it is in his hands, not mine. The peace of God awaits those whose hearts are set on God.
Streams in the Desert – August 25
- 202225 Aug
Shut up to faith (Gal. 3:23).
God, in olden time suffered man to be kept in ward by the law that he might learn the more excellent way of faith. For by the law he would see God’s holy standard and by the law he would see his own utter helplessness; then he would be glad to learn God’s way of faith.
God still shuts us up to faith. Our natures, our circumstances, trials, disappointments, all serve to shut us up and keep us in ward till we see that the only way out is God’s way of faith. Moses tried by self-effort, by personal influence, even by violence, to bring about the deliverance of his people. God had to shut him up forty years in the wilderness before he was prepared for God’s work.
Paul and Silas were bidden of God to preach the Gospel in Europe. They landed and proceeded to Philippi. They were flogged, they were shut up in prison, their feet were put fast in the stocks. They were shut up to faith. They trusted God. They sang praises to Him in the darkest hour, and God wrought deliverance and salvation.
John was banished to the Isle of Patmos. He was shut up to faith. Had he not been so shut up, he would never have seen such glorious visions of God.
Dear reader, are you in some great trouble? Have you had some great disappointment, have you met some sorrow, some unspeakable loss? Are you in a hard place? Cheer up! You are shut up to faith. Take your trouble the right way. Commit it to God. Praise Him that He maketh “all things work together for good,” and that “God worketh for him that waiteth for him.” There will be blessings, help and revelations of God that will come to you that never could otherwise have come; and many besides yourself will receive great light and blessing because you were shut up to faith.
–C. H. P
Great things are done when men and mountains meet,
These are not done by jostling in the street.
Praying for Change
When we pray, we can trust that our wise and loving Father will give the best answer.
Hanging above the door in our house was my mother’s favorite plaque, which read, “Prayer changes things.” From an early age, I witnessed her praying about difficulties and giving God glory for answering her petitions.
Indeed, this is our confidence: Anything we pray for that aligns with the Father’s plan will be granted. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we’ll come to understand His will and how to pray for it.
Some requests are granted immediately, simply because our Father loves to give us good gifts. Other requests may require time or certain preparations before they can be given. We, meanwhile, must patiently persevere, remembering that prayer transforms the believer’s heart.
Whatever the Lord’s response or timing, we should trust He has the best in store for His children. That means we might not receive what we’re asking for—but something even better. God alone perfectly knows each heart’s desire and how best to fulfill it.
Prayer is our most powerful tool for shaping the world around us, and it is always available. And as we give attention, time, and perseverance to conversation with our Father, we find no limit to what He can achieve in people’s hearts and circumstances.
Bible in One Year: Lamentations 1-2