Tag Archives: psalm 1

The Right Route

Whenever I’m on the road and need directions, I usually use Waze to help me get there. It finds the quickest route and gets me there at the promised time. To do that, it often takes detours through neighborhoods or back streets I’ve never been on. I’m at the mercy of this app, and have to trust that it knows what it’s doing. Sometimes it takes me through places where I wonder if I’m safe.

There are times when it tells me to exit or turn, and I think, “That’s odd. My exit is just ahead.” Early on, I just thought it was a glitch and kept driving. After trying to correct me a few times, it finally gave up and added a lot of time to my arrival time. It saw what I couldn’t up ahead and tried to help me avoid it. When I didn’t listen, I got stuck in the traffic it was trying to help me avoid. I’ve learned to trust that it knows best and can see what I can’t.

God is a lot like Waze in our lives. He knows our destination and the route He wants us to take. He plans out each detour to help us avoid hurts or pains, but often we think we know best and drive right past what He’s telling us to do. We can’t see what He sees up ahead in our lives. It takes trust to follow His instructions when we don’t understand. He even takes us on detours through places we didn’t know existed, but it’s all for our benefit.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It gives great promises to those who listen to God’s instructions rather than man’s. One of those promises says that God charts the road you take (verse 6 MSG). God has charted out a road for each of us. It’s up to us to listen to His Word, meditate on it and follow it. He knows best how to get us where He wants us. It’s up to us to follow the path He’s charted out.

Photo by Truman Adrian Lobato De Faria on Unsplash

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Are You Listening?

A while ago, I was trying to teach a group of people the importance of listening. I split the group in half and had one group wait outside the room. I told the people left in the room to do everything in their power to show they weren’t listening without speaking. I then told the group outside the room to think of a life changing event that had happened to them. I wanted them to go back in the room, find someone and share that story with them. I didn’t foresee what happened next.

The people who shared their life changing stories began getting upset. As they shared stories of a miracle baby that was born, a near death experience or something like that, they other people were taking pictures of their shoes, looking at their phones and counting ceiling tiles. The ones who were sharing their hearts began to yell, “Are you listening to me?!?” Their body language began to change. Their voices got louder. All of them were upset to the point that I had to cancel the exercise. I don’t think anyone who participated in that exercise will forget how important it is to listen.

Listening is a lot different than hearing. Listening requires active participation on your part. It involves engaging the mind. There were many in Jesus’ day who heard Him teach. They could hear what He was saying, but they weren’t listening to easy He was saying. In john 10:27, Jesus said, “The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice (AMP).” He separated the two words to make a distinction between His followers and everyone else. Only those who truly follow Him listen (engage the mind and heart). They are the ones who then engage their body to do what He says.

James 1:22, the King James Version says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only.” When we learn to truly listen to what God tells us in a His word, we can’t go on living like we were. It changes us and compels us to live differently than before. Anyone can hear it and walk away the same. It takes someone who will listen to what it says to enact it. I think that’s why David was intent on meditating on it. When we stop and think about the scriptures we read, it helps us to listen and to focus on what God was really saying.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1. It talks about the blessed person and their characteristics. In verse two, he wrote, “His delight and desire are in the law of The Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and night (AMP).” The person who actively tries to listen what God is saying through His Word is blessed. Don’t just read God’s Word to check off a box of things that Christians do. Meditate on it, think about it, listen to it and then act on it. That’s how He knows His sheep are listening.

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Finding Good Soil

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My family and I took a road trip to west Texas. If you aren’t from Texas, that’s the part of Texas that actually looks like you imagine it. It’s how Hollywood portrays us. It’s very dry, the ground is covered with small shrubs that will one day be tumble weeds, oiled pumps dot the landscape and there are mesas that are perfectly flat on top. It’s beautiful in its own way, but as my wife out it, there’s nothing out there. She said on more than one occasion, “I don’t think I could live out here.” Even if we couldn’t, people do live there even though it’s far away from “civilization”.

We drove hundreds of miles over many hours as we headed back to east Texas. The further east we went, the taller the shrubs became, the more green the landscape became and the more abundant flowers became. As I watched the transformation, I began to wonder what made the difference. I saw a small tree growing out of a crack in a rock hill that gave me the answer. Soil. In west Texas, it was very dry. There was lots of dirt, but very little soil. Their land lacked the nutrients to grow tall trees, greenery or flowers. There was life there, but it’s growth was stunted by a lack of soil.

I then began to think, that’s where so many Christians live their lives. They choose to be planted where there is very little soil. Their growth is stunted, there’s very little water and it’s tough to live there. They struggle in their relationship with God, they get very little food from Heaven and they produce even less. They wonder why they don’t see growth like so many others. They wonder why their lives are dry and they don’t produce much fruit. They look at other believers and wish their life had that kind of growth. The answer to all that wondering is the soil they are planted in.

Psalm 1:3 says we are to be like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. We each choose where we want to be planted. The soil we ground ourself in is in direct proportion to the amount of Scripture we read and time in prayer. When we spend very little time with either, we lack the nutrients necessary for growth. We began to whither away when things get tough. We dry up when things in our lives hear up. We begin to die of thirst without the water of God’s Word. We wilt away because our roots are in shallow soil.

As with anything in life, you get out of it what you put into it. If you put very little effort into your growth as a Christian,you will remain in a dry land struggling to produce and to stay alive. If you put in time and effort into the things that will benefit your walk with God, you will begin the slow process of moving towards Him. You will start to grow taller, your roots will grow deeper and your leaves will be greener. Before long, you will be like that tree planted by the riverbank producing much fruit in season. It all depends on where you choose to live. Your salvation isn’t dependent on what you do, but your growth is.

As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6, 7 AMP)

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