Thursday, July 27, 2017


TODAY'S SPECIAL: Psalm 119:129-144

TO CHEW ON: "Direct my steps by Your word;
And let no iniquity have dominion over me." Psalm 119:133

This deceptively easy request, if granted, could make life a lot simpler.
- Our struggle with resentment would be over, for we would forgive.
- Jealousy would be a thing of the past, for we would not covet.
- Rudeness, selfishness and generally living with a chip on our shoulders would be replaced with love.
- Etc.

So how many of us actually pray this and mean it?

Perhaps it's simplistic to interpret and spell out the results of this prayer so literally. It certainly is a lot easier said than done. But it does seem like the last part of our focus verse gives us a clue as to why obeying God's word is not only a good suggestion but vital to spiritual health. Because when we don't, "iniquity" will not only be present in our lives, but may rule us (Romans 6:12).

["Iniquity" is the old-fashioned word that means the bad stuff. The Message renders it malign: evil in effect, pernicious, baleful, injurious. It is bad attitudes, harmful tendencies, plain old sin.]

I'm going to challenge myself today to actually pray and mean this prayer. When negative attitudes creep in, when fear pops up, when my thoughts toward others are critical, negative, suspicious — anything but loving —I will ask: Does the Bible have a command, give advice, or tell a story about this that, if obeyed, would defeat this iniquity in me. And then I purpose to act on what I'm shown.

Will you join me?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the Bible — so clear and practical. Please show me where sin has the upper hand in my life because I haven't let Your word direct my steps. Amen.

MORE: Obey — what exactly?
In order for this prayer to make sense, the pray-er needs to have some familiarity with what God has said in the Bible — His outright commands and the stories of how He dealt with people. Eugene Peterson, in the chapter on obedience from the book A Long Obedience in the Same Direction speaks of the need for getting familiar with that history:

"The psalmist [Peterson is analyzing Psalm 132 in this chapter] is not an antiquarian reveling in the past for its own sake but a traveler using what he knows of the past to get to where he is going — to God.

For all its interest in history the Bible never refers to the past as 'the good old times.' The past is not, for the person of faith, a restored historical site that we tour when we are on vacation; it is a field that we plow and harrow and plant and fertilize and work for a harvest." p. 168.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Do your 8-12-year-olds have daily devotions? Point them to Bible Drive-Thru.

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