Why do you Give?

Psalm 37:21 MSG

Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner life that knows it is deeply loved. 

LD

What we often call generosity nowadays is in fact  ’benefit giving’ meaning we mostly give to get something back in return. 

Whether that is a favour in the future, or public praise, or attention, we give to get. 

But real generosity is giving that which can’t be given back. 

’The righteous give and give’  says David in Psalm 37:21 

The righteous is the person that is made right with God because of the generosity of Jesus Christ. He gave his life freely for us so that we would freely give and live. 

Generosity is not necessarily evident and automatically occurring in people that call themselves Christian, for many of us, fail to see and live Christ in generous ways.

The issue remains that to give with pure motives is hard for all, even for us, that’s why understanding how much has been given to us already via our relationship with Jesus is crucial and a life changer when it comes to living a generous life. 

( See Romans 5:6-8, Luke 6:38, Deuteronomy 15:10, Matthew 6:2-4

Keep Hope Alive

Psalm 37:7-8

Fishermens’ wives would keep a candle burning in the window, to guide their husbands back from deep-sea fishing trips. 

Believers are hope carriers. 

LD

The world is in a crisis of hope constantly, even more now. 

If we look closely around us (not even observing the western world in general or the earth as a whole ) we will notice the hopelessness spreading. The newspapers and tv are littered with hopeless news and warnings telling us that the rate of suicide is spiking up, poverty is deepening and that crime and violence are constantly on the rise. This decline of ’goodness’ is directly connected with the fall of our interest in God and religion in general. People don’t believe in God, or sin and evil nowadays and what that does to us is that it turns our faith in ourselves( humanity) which sooner or later proves to be unfulfilling confidence and deeply disappointing. 

Most of us, if we really learn to look deep into our own hearts, would know what we really want this world can’t give. 

Jesus Christ came into our world in human flesh, he lived and died ( history record of this) and was raised from the death. Knowing and believing this truth is the only thing that flames our hope. 

He proved that there is ’life’ transient beyond what we see and touch and that within that lies our true satisfaction. 

We that know and have his life, keep burning that ’candle’ so to speak for us and the world to see it. We keep that living hope in front of ourselves and others to behold, so that no matter how dark and scary the sea is, the light of living hope is glowing bright

(See 1 timothy 1:1, John 3:16, 1 Peter1:3

Trust and Delight

Psalm 37:4

Delight requires effort, we must avert our energy from what drains us to what delights us. Many of us don’t delight in the Lord because we don’t know him, and because we don’t know him we don’t trust him ( for how can you trust someone you don’t know?).

Very often we draw our delights in life from sources that run dry and ignore the only source that runs over, God. 

If God is the place we delight, he gives us himself, that is more than we can ask or imagine to have. For in him there is fullness of joy. 

Seek first the kingdom of God – says Jesus ( Matthew 6:33) and all these things will be added to you. 

Our seeking determines what is important to us. Oftentimes we have experienced seeking for a certain thing in order to bring us delight and happiness and when we have attained that we have found out that it did not give us what we thought it would.  

In order to prevent us from wasting our time and eventually our lives running after things which will disappoint us, the scripture tells us to delight in the Lord. For if we focus on him, he will give us more than we desire or wish. The Lord is the source of all good things that don’t run out. 

( See Ephesians 3:20, John 15:7, Isaiah 58:14

What steals your joy?

Psalm 37:1-3

Roosevelt said that comparison is the thief of joy, I want to add to that sentence by saying that the wrong comparison is the real thief. 

When we compare ourselves to how far we have come in our journey and see ourselves with the eyes of the goodness and the faithfulness of God in our life, that comparison is good and uplifting. 

But, if we compare ourself with others and what comes from that reflection is disappointment, depression and despair we known that that thinking is going to drag us into a pit of darkness.  

We know from the scripture that what we see in other people’s lives can be deceptive and miscalculated, things are not as they appear very often. We are encouraged to focus on the promises of God and feast on his faithfulness. Because, where we look we steer into. 

The test of our lives is found in time, only time will tell the real story of us. 

( See Proverbs 24:19, Philippians 4:6-9, Hebrew 10:23)  

The fountain of Life

Psalm 36:9

Where we draw from and drink from becomes what flows into our lives.

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.”

Psalms 36:9 NIVUK

Today, you can buy a bottle of ’fountain of life’ liquid that contains high antioxidants from a plant called Lignans extracted from Norwegian Spruce tree, which promises to have extensive amounts of health benefit. These golden drops promise prolonged youth and miraculous health.  

Most of us know that there is no plant, pledges or person to carry that kind of outcome, still, we fall under their spell. Those promises seem to speak to our deeper desires and awaken our eternal longing. 

We are made for eternity and eternity we seek. 

God offers eternal life and eternal youth and sickness free bodies, but it’s not by drinking expensive drops that man offers, but by immersing ourselves at the true fountain of life. Jesus 

Jesus said that : He is the way, he is the truth and he is the life… if we want life, real life, he is the place to get it from. And not only that, he promises to be the light by which we see everything else. The knowledge of understanding him, the world and ourselves rests with him. 

The pleasure, the joy, the abundance, the meaning, the refreshing, the living, all floes from him also. 

What/who is the fountain that you draw life and light from? 

(See John 8:12, Revelation 21:6, Isaiah 12:3)


How deep is your Love

Psalm 36:5, 7

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”

Psalms 36:5, 7 NLT

We spoke yesterday how sin ( what divides us from God and the marvellous life he offers) narrows our lives. sin is controlling, manipulating, it enslaves us and makes us live puny lives. 

Today, we see the contrast of life in sin to a life in the love of God.

For the love of God is specious, meteoric, brings liberty, it’s unconditional, unfailing. His love and faithfulness are put side by side, his righteousness and justice alongside too. We people can proclaim to ’love’ but we fail to be faithful and decent or truthful. But God is very different from us. He is characterized by his love which is endless and welcoming, perfect and deep. 

How deep is your love? 

How long do we bear with someone until our interest has gone? How long do we stay in a relationship when life gets taught? How deep are we willing to love each other in order to see change and transformation? 

I can tell you that our love runs out, it’s scarce even when we think we are offering all we have, but Gods love is endless and he is the fountain of love. 

When we run to him we experience the vastness of his love, we are absolutely assured by his faithfulness and rested in his kindness. 

Jesus said the ultimate price for us to experience and live out that love, let’s start now. 

( See Isaiah 54:10, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:38-39) 

Looking Inside You

Psalm 36:1-4

We can dress the outside and make it look good, but there is not easy makeup for the inside.

Sin in the Bible is described with different words like wickedness, transgressions and other descriptions that speak of inappropriate or illegal behaviour. The truth is that God made humans for a purpose and since the garden of Eden we have deserted that purpose and walked far away from it.

We have tried hard to ’not worship or glory in God and as that result not enjoy anything that he created for our joy and contentment. (see Westminster catechism ’what is the chief end of man? )  

So, we have turned away and choose to worship the nondivine forces. 

Those forces although good ( can be good) are not made to be worshipped. And when a good thing is used as the ultimate great thing does not good to us but enslaves us.

We are created to worship you see and we must worship something, someone, and if that is not God ( the only one who can handle worship)  that very thing will consume us and leave us empty and dissatisfied every time. 

So, we might look ’well kept, all tidy up and scrubbed up’ on the outside but the inside might tell another story. The stench of guilt, death and darkness seems to linger and not go away. We definitely try ‘expensive brands of makeup to hide them or cover them” like morality, good acts, noble duties, still they only seem to work for the outside. We need an awakening, we need life flowing and bathing our inside, we need our creator to take his rightful place. We need his breath to fill our lungs and bring us to life. 

I came to give you life, says Jesus, but not just any life, but an abundant life to the full. 

(See Matthew 23:25, Romans 1:21-23, John 10:10)

Party Friends

Psalm 35:27

Friends in need are hard to find. Joy friends even harder. 

LD

What I mean by that is having friends in your life who are happy for you when you’re happy- sincerely hapy. 

These are the friends tha friends that celebrate your life, throw a party to bless your marriage, graduation, pregnancy. 

Oftentimes it’s not hard to find ’suffering’ friends. For we all suffer. 

But to have friends that are not jealous, not envious, not covetous of your success and wellbeing is a gift. 

Party friends are rare. For to celebrate other’s wellbeing is grace.

People that sincerely celebrate your health, your marriage, your children, your identity and your accomplishment are the real deal. 

I am not talking here about friends that party at your expense, but friends that expend to party for your life.  

LD

If we don’t have friends like that, let become one of them ourselves. 

Let celebrate peoples lives and wellbeing in the church and home, at work and through the phone, in sickness and health, in riches and poverty. For life is not all doom, there is miracles happening and in need of celebrating all the time. 

( See Zephaniah 3:17, Romans 12:15, 1 Corinthians 12:26)


Better or Bitter

Psalm 35:10 MSG 

We can be better or bitter in life, but we can’t be both.
In yesterday’s devotion, we explored how friendships and relationships, in general, can be hard.
We saw how David, the writer of Psalm 36 runs to God as his first response with his anger, anguish and agony and hurt by people he trusted.


The reason why we run to God with our aches is that unaddressed hurt can become a root of bitterness in us and dismantle our lives.
When we look to Him as our comforter and help, we give ourselves an opportunity to be better and not bitter.
In his presence we see the situation with fresh eyes, we trust our hearts to God and we lean on him for solution and healing.
Revenge brings to ruins, but God’s vindication is always valid.

”If we spend our time hoping someone will suffer the consequences for what they did to us and how they hurt our hearts, then we will be authorizing them to hurt us over and over again throughout our lifetime. ”

( See James 3:14, Proverbs 28:13, Ephesians 4:26)

When Friendships Hurt

Psalm 35: 1-8, 11-17, 25-26 

Friendships can be the best thing that we treasure in life or a source of drama and trouble. The thing is – we all have issues, we all have insecurities and the way we handle our problems impact our friendships. 

Hurt can push us to be and behave in a way that is regrettable but hurt must be expressed and processed. That’s what our writer in Psalm 35 is doing. He is hurt by people he thought were his friends. 

These people not only that have been unjustly accusing him of stuff he has not done but they are rejoicing in his downfall. They are preparing traps ’nets and holes’ for him to fall and mess up his life. 

He is hurt and disappointed, angry and frustrated, the only consolation he gets is by pouring his outrage to God. 

He says it as it is, and he invites God to be his defender and his name protector. 

Jesus is our best friend.  His love and mercy for us paved the way for us all to practice real friendships. When we are hurt and mistreated, when we are accused without cause, when we are tangled in something we did not intend, we run to him first for justice and strength, for understanding and directions. We hope our hearts and pour our feeling ( even when they are full of anger and outrage ) trust me he is big enough to handle honest feelings. 

Let start this week by being honest about how we feel, really! 

( See John 15:13-15, Ephesians 4:32, Ephesians 4:29-32 )