Tuesday, June 16, 2009

150 Day Challenge

I love a challenge. I am pretty non-competitive though, so I don't like a competitive, see who is better at ___ kind of challenge, I do, however, love a challenge that involves personal growth. So, when my Pastor challenged the congregation to read a Psalm a day for the next 150 days I thought - that would be a wonderfully edifying thing to do. I took the challenge. I have probably read every Psalm in the bible at one time or another, but have never read them in order and have never written about what I learned from my readings before. I decided that would be the perfect addition to his challenge. So, here I am. I read Psalm 1 today.

I read the chapter in the NIV, which is my default translation. Throughout these readings I will be looking the scriptures up in different translations to help me to better understand the words and the meaning of the scripture.

Psalm 1

I want to be a woman who delights, finds her joy and is content in the laws of her Lord. This scripture illustrates that I will be blessed when I do that, but with the distractions of life, it is hard to meditate on His word day and night. I get busy with chores and kids and life that I forget to stop and thank the Lord for life itself.

This is why in my life scripture memorization is so important. I may not always remember where the scripture is located, or yet remember all the words in the right order, but knowing a line or two from a favorite, comforting scripture can help in moments of crisis thought out the day. The trick is remembering to recall those words to mind instead of allowing the stress to overwhelm me. One of my favorites is John 16:33, I tell you these things so that you may have peaces. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I (Jesus) have overcome the world. Repeating this verse aids me in redirecting my mind to the peace I find in Jesus.

It is also essential that I not allow those who are detractors to interfere with my worship. These detractors can come from all over the place. Anyone, whether godly or not can interfere with my relationship with God. It is up to me to keep my focus no matter who is around me. As Christians, we all know that Satan is very cunning and can use seemingly good people to distract us. That is why we have to be so careful whose counsel we take. I test things with scripture and see how it adds up. If the counsel I have received doesn't gel properly with the word of God, then perhaps I should not take that advice. Admittedly this is hard to do. It takes a lot of discernment and sometimes it means going against the flow, but it has to be done.

I love the simile in this passage. How wonderful to be like a tree (me) planted by the water (God) and as the tree draws nourishment from the water it grows and becomes strong enough to hold fruit. If the tree were to try to grow fruit before it was mature, the branches would be too flimsy to hold up the fruit. The whole tree would sag and break under its own weight. The tree has to wait until just the right time, and when it is ready, it starts to blossom and then those blossoms become beautiful, rich fruit that can nourish others and perhaps the seeds can be replanted and a new tree will start from there.

Such is my life. I have to be in tuned with God, draw on his wisdom and power until the right time, then I am able to produce the fruit I am called to produce. It is my God who has already decided what kind of fruit I will produce. If I try to change that which God has already set in place, I will surely fail. I need to wait 'til the right time too, so that I am ready. That is the hard part. Often I want to barrel in and do my own thing - tell everyone I know about God and what he has done for me, and about the truth I find in him. God has different ideas, however. He know when it is time to reveal himself through me. Not only that, he always knows a better way to do it than I could ever do on my own. So, I wait.

I find comfort in knowing that my God is watching over me - that he knows my most anxious thoughts, but still he loves me, strengthens me and best of all, uses me.

© KDV 2009