Monday, April 18, 2016

pleasant places

This post is a revised version of a devotion from my second book, Totally Devoted 2, published in 2011 as a paperback.  TD2 is under revision to become a Kindle edition. just sayin' :)

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in 
pleasant places..."
Psalm 16:6

Even in the midst of trouble, a child of God should freely confess: "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines for me have fallen in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance" (Psalm 16:5-6). 


According to the NIV Study Bible commentary, "Cup is a metaphor referring to what the host offers his guests to drink. To the godly the Lord offers a cup of blessing (Psalm 23:5) or salvation (Psalm 116:13); and he makes the wicked to drink a cup of wrath" (Isaiah 51:7). 

According to the ESV Bible commentary: "Portion, cup, and lot are three metaphors that describe life as a gift of God." Yes! And further states: "Not only is the life that God has given him secure (v.5), it is also "pleasant."' Yes! Yes!

So even in the face of our enemies, the Lord of Hosts will treat us as His special guest -- so to speak -- and will see to it that our "cup overflows" (Psalm 23:5).

When we know God and we know His word, we can say with confidence that our life is secure in God's hands. It's because God promises provision and protection for His people, and so our inheritance is rock solid.

I have said to our darling daughters, Grace and Mary, -- yep, I said darling cuz they are --  as they reached the driving age and are now out on their own, "No matter what you feel like doing, just be sure you are where you are supposed to be when you are supposed to be there." I would tell them that because I have learned our fleshly desires tempt us to get moody and lazy and we can make impulsive and unwise decisions. 

Uh-huh. We ignore red flags of warning from the Holy Spirit. 
Because I know this is true, every time I said it to our daughters I said it to myself, too. I know we have the Holy Spirit inside us to help keep us on the path God has for each one of His children. That place is always the wisest and safest place for a child of God to be -- in His will, obeying His instruction. "...her [wisdom} ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace" (Proverbs  3:17).

Yep, God has created all things and established order in creation as King David confessed, "It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth; you made both summer and winter" (Psalm 74:14).  However, as His children we have a free will to choose good and evil. If we are not setting boundaries such as self-control -- a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 -- for our own well-being, our place may not be so pleasant. In fact it may become a very bumpy ride until we get back on track with God. 

Throughout history God served a cup of torment to wicked nations. He served them a "cup filled with the wine of His wrath" (Jeremiah 25:15). Those who continue to fiercely reject God will eventually be served a cup of His wrath, "full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs" (Psalm 75:8).The wine of His wrath is poured out when He chooses to display His divine judgement.

When we are walking the paths of peace, we have a clear conscience. We have confessed our sins daily; we seek to love our neighbor, and faithfully seek God's face for our next step. "Great peace have they who love your law" ( Psalm 119:165). And when we have peace we also have joy!

While a group of us were studying this devotion, I had a woman tell me, "I get excited to come here to Bible study because I know this is a pleasant place! It's a pleasant place because I can sense the presence of the Lord when we gather!"  Yep! The focus is on Him!

Anytime a study is in session it becomes a pleasant place for me, too. I always look forward with excitement to get together with all the sisters, to study God's word, and to share what's on our hearts: the good and the bad. Our purpose for gathering is to get closer to God.  The Lord of Hosts serves us a cup of overflowing blessings. It's always a  very sweet, fruitful mixture made up of treasured relationships--with God and with each other!

When we are devoted to putting God first, seeking Him, obeying Him, loving Him with all our hearts, He makes our ways pleasant! Jesus came that we might have "life and have it in abundance" (John 10:10). The abundance is that we become bursting forth with all the fullness of the spiritual fruit of His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22).

Sisters, we are here on planet earth to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. And that is a very pleasant place! So let's enjoy the ride! Whooo Hoooo!

Love and blessings,
Psalm 34:3