In Pleasant Places

Psalm 16:1-2 ESV

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

Oh, how true it is that I have no good apart from God. All that I have comes from him. I am who I am by the grace of God, doing what he has called me to do, because of his love for me, and because he is my portion. He fills my mind and my heart with what is from him. All the glory goes to God for the good that is in me, and for what He produces through me for his glory.

He is my refuge and my strength. He is my joy and my song. He is my peace and my satisfaction. He fills my longings with good things from Him. He takes care of me, and he watches over my steps. He guides me in the way that I should go. He protects me from all evil. And, He encourages me daily through his word, through songs, and through other Christians.

Psalm 16:3 ESV

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

When I was younger I had what I consider really good Christian fellowship with other believers, where we shared from our hearts what the Lord was teaching us, and where we encouraged each other in our walks of faith.

But, then the church began to change. So many Christians began to adopt the ways of the world into their lives and into their church gatherings, and we did, as well. Church became more about entertaining the masses in order to build big “churches,” i.e. businesses. Humanistic teaching then began to replace biblical teaching, and marketing books began to replace the Holy Spirit as the one who guides and directs the Lord’s church.

And, then there was this void in Christian fellowship. “Fellowships” were more like parties or just social gatherings where Christians talked about everything but Jesus. And, as I began to draw closer to the Lord, I began to really hunger after true Christian fellowship, which I don’t yet have in person, but I do here on the internet on blogs and Christian discussion sites.

So, one of my prayers is that the Lord would provide some serious Christian fellowship for me with people in person. Yet, I am so grateful for the fellowship of believers in Jesus on the internet, and they truly are my delight! I learn so much from them, and we mutually encourage one another in Christ, which is how the body of Christ is to work. Amen!

Psalm 16:4 ESV

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

It is so sad to see so many people lost in their sins without the hope of God in their lives. But, it is even sadder to see so many who profess the name of Jesus living no different than the world, because they have bought into a false hope. Thus, they have the attitude that their sins are forgiven, so God is no longer concerned about their sins. They bought their “fire insurance,” they believe, and so living for the Lord, to them, is optional.

But, living for the Lord is not optional for the true believer in Jesus Christ. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might not live any longer for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. We don’t “get saved” and then live how we want and then go to heaven when we die. Why would we want to be with God for eternity, if we don’t want to surrender our lives to him on this earth?

The life of those who run after “other gods,” and who forsake Jesus Christ, is futile. Their sorrows will increase, because they are living for themselves and for their own pleasures instead of submitting to the one who can save them from hell and from their chains, and who can set them free to walk in victory over darkness and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness.

Psalm 16:5-6 ESV

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

Oh, yes! Indeed, He is! I choose him above all else. He is the air that I breathe, the sunshine which shines into my life each day. My life is His, and He is mine! He holds me close to his heart, and I hold him close to mine. He holds my future in his hands. He determines my steps. There is not a poem or a song or a devotion written that did not initiate with him. My very reason and purpose for why I get up each day and live is to live for him. He is my life! And, I live to work for and to please him. My life in him is beautiful.

Psalm 16:7-8 ESV

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

In the night my heart does instruct me, i.e. the Lord instructs me within my heart and mind even while I sleep. Sometimes he gives me dreams, which are like parables, which give practical application to today of the teachings of scripture. I most always awake with a song playing in my mind which is to go with the devotional for the day. The Lord speaks to me throughout the day, and I with him, too. And, he shows me the way he wants me to go.

Because it is the Lord who is directing my steps, I don’t ever have to be afraid of what is coming. Not everything in my life is pleasant, though. I have difficulties. I have troubles, heartaches, concerns, and sadness. But, the Lord fills my mind with his praise, with his promises, with his joy and with his peace. So, I can turn each of these situations over to him, and know that he is working them all out for good in my life.

Psalm 16:9-10 ESV

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

People will sometimes abandon us, maybe not physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. They will desert us by their actions towards us, by their words and by their attitudes. They may be nice to us to our faces, and then gossip about us, slander us and stab us in the back when we are not looking. They may pretend to like us or to be our friends, but it could be for evil purposes or because they just want to use us.

Nonetheless, our Lord will not abandon or desert us who are his by faith. Amen! He is not like human flesh. He is completely faithful in all that he does and is and says. We can totally depend on him. Although he may allow us to go through difficult times and suffering, for our good, or for the good of others who are in our lives, He will see us through them all, and through them he will make us and mold us into his likeness, and mature us in our walks of faith. So, we can rejoice that we serve a God who is with us, and in us, and who will never leave us or forsake us, but who will uphold us.

Psalm 16:11 ESV

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Amen! He does make known to us the path of life. We just have to choose to follow the path that he places before us. We have to choose what is right and reject the wrong. And, we must do this daily. For, daily we die to sin and self, and daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us. Daily we must resist Satan and flee temptation and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.

In the Lord’s presence, even if all hell is breaking loose all around us, there is fullness of joy. For, our joy is not based in our circumstances, but in our Lord, and in his goodness and mercy and grace to us. We can be going through really tough stuff and still be joyful, because our hope is in God and he never changes. Who he says he is, he is. We can count on him always. Earthly pleasures are fleeting, but the pleasure of being in the Lord’s presence is forever for those who are walking by faith in him. Amen!

As the Deer / Martin J. Nystrom
Based off Psalm 42:1

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield…

Monday, August 20, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for giving me life in You, for giving me purpose for living, and a song in my heart, and for my salvation.

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