“Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for I trust in you. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”
“The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
“Prove me, O Lord, and try me, test my heart and my mind. For your steadfast love is before my eyes, and I walk in your faithfulness.”
“But I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.”
“O my Strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.”
“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. So I will bless you as long as I live; in your name I will lift up my hands.”
“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me….”
Psalm 86:12, 13a
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night, to the music of the lute and harp, to the melody of the lyre. For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the work of your hands I sing for joy.”
“Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.”
“For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.”
“When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”
“For the Lord is good, his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”
I hope it’s no secret that I am a Christian who truly desires to live every aspect of my life in such a way that Christ is honored and glorified. When you read what I write, I genuinely hope you see the Word of God is the hub around which the wheel of my life revolves.
Most who know me personally consider me to be a mature believer, but I know there is much room for growth. If I am honest with myself, there are days when I fall very short in my goal of making the Bible central in my life. For this reason, I have accepted a challenge to become part of the Word Before World Bible study challenge – a group of believers seeking to make time in the Scriptures a first thing in the morning priority. Before all the things which will capture our attention during the rest of the day that follows. Before we pick up our cell phone or log onto our computers, or turn on our televisions. Time in the Word before we pick up that interesting novel, or check to see what’s going on in Facebook or Instagram world.
First in my heart.
Our little Word Before World group is now 12 days into the challenge. It’s a virtual group – perfect for this day when social distancing is recommended. While we may never actually meet one another on this side of heaven, it has been delightful getting to know other women who struggle just like I do, yet have the same heartfelt longing and desire. We have been praying for one another, sharing insights we have gleaned from our time in the Word, sharing verses and encouraging one another.
So, here’s how my day 12 went.
It is my custom to listen to the scripture while I’m getting ready for my day – sometimes before my feet even hit the floor. Yes, it involves picking up my cell phone, but I rather like hearing the Scripture spoken out loud (by a wonderful narrator) on my Bible app. Today I decided to listen to the suggested reading while I took a morning walk. I began with Psalm 103 and ended up listening to the entirety of Psalm 119 (176 verses!).
Along the way on my personal “psalm-walk,” I stopped to enjoy God’s magnificent creation in the gardens of a few of the neighbors along my route. There were several beautiful gardens, but I think this mailbox garden was particularly impressive.
When my route finally returned me to my own driveway, I grabbed a cup of coffee, headed to my favorite Bible study spot and opened my Bible to Colossians (which I am currently studying). It’s a little book, just four chapters, yet so very challenging to me – particularly as it relates to my responsibility to pray for other believers and encourage them in their walk with Christ. Next, I flipped back to Psalm 103 to read the passage our group was challenged to read together. As I spent time reading and contemplating this psalm, verses 17 and 18 made me stop and thank the Lord for his steadfast love – and that His love and righteousness has been extended to my own children and each one of my grandchildren too.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.
Psalm 103:17-18 (ESV)
I couldn’t help but pull out my coloring pencils. and write the names of my grandkids in the margin as I prayed for each one.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
I think most Christians have those times in their walk with Christ where they feel a bit distant in their hearts. I’ve been in that place for awhile – feeling a little sad and out of sorts – a bit discouraged. Things which once brought pleasure seem to have the joy sapped out of them.
In my ministry life, I’m feeling like my teaching ministry isn’t bearing fruit and sometimes question whether I’m making a difference at all. My devotional life and time in the Word has been slipping. I sense my heart is distant and I’m not growing. I’ve been a Christian for 50 years now, so it’s a hard thing for me to admit I’m struggling in these areas.
One thing I know for sure, while my heart feels distant, God is not. He’s as close to me in my struggle as He is when all seems well. He has not moved – his steadfast love has not changed.
Psalm 119 is very dear to my heart. I re-read it today and found comfort in knowing that the “man after God’s own heart” felt this way at times too. Here we find David often crying out before God in the midst of his struggles, acknowledging that his help would come from God’s Word. Even when he felt like a lost sheep, He knew the Shepherd was near and would deliver him, put the song back in his heart and words of praise on his tongue.
I find assurance knowing that when the heart of one of His servants strays and feels distant and cold, the Good Shepherd is there seeking, drawing her heart back through His Word.