Don't Forget Your Umbrella!

Psalm 119:9-16

9 How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word.
10 I have tried hard to find you—
don’t let me wander from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
12 I praise you, O Lord;
teach me your decrees.
13 I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
14 I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
15 I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
16 I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.

Psalm 119:9-16 may not seem like verses that challenge and encourage us to be a Psalm 119 wife and then again maybe it does. I love the Psalmist’s immediate address to a young person. We can never under estimate the power of choices no matter the age. As a counselor, I see many women that are reaping the consequences of poor and unwise choices made many years ago when they thought those choices would not matter. Our former pastor, Bill Park, would often say, “Life is full of choices. Choices have consequences. Make the right choices”. So much wisdom packed into three small sentences. The Psalmist gives the key to staying pure – obedience to God’s Word. One can never under estimate the power of the inspired Word of God. Every poor and unwise choice I have made I can directly trace back to my walking in disobedience to God’s Word.

In verse ten, the psalmist gives hope! I have never met a perfect Christian. Therefore, I know no one that does have some regrets in life due to a poor choice. When you and I are reconciled to God, we should live with such intentional faith that we never want to wander from the protection of His Word. When we pursue to live a life walking in obedience to God’s commands; there is a protection over and around our heart and soul. This does not mean that we are exempt for difficult time and tragedy. Just as an umbrella protects from rain and the bright light of the sun, so it is with God’s Word. Ladies, I believe that many times, we experience the difficulties within our spirit and soul because we have forgotten our umbrella over our soul.

Our umbrella is made up of key parts that make it function perfectly.

vs 11 – Hiding God’s Word in our Hearts: Bible memory is important. Satan desires to dominate your mind. He knows that if he can wreak havoc on your thought life he has won half the battle. Our greatest defense is the Sword that is sharper than any two-edged sword. (Heb. 4:12)

Vs 12 – Praise and a Teachable spirit will keep you focused and humble. When I am praising the Mighty God; I have to acknowledge that it is not all about me. When I choose to remain teachable I am continuously humbled by the speck in my own eye. (Mt. 7:1-5)

Vs 13-14 – Reciting and Rejoicing will keep you mostly dry when life’s storms pour down. Talking about, believing and applying God’ promises and principles steady the soul. He is your anchor! (Heb. 6:19) Rejoicing in who He is and what He is doing is the constant reminder that God is bigger than the storm. Why did I say that Reciting and Rejoicing will keep you mostly dry? I think it is important to understand that no one can stay completely dry in a storm. Life Happens. God anchors. Life is unpredictable. God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Don’t ever think that because you are reciting and rejoicing that you are magically exempt from life’s troubles. As a child of God, you are never exempt from life’s troubles but you are safe from Satan’s destruction. (Rom. 8:37-39)

Vs 15-16 – Study and not forgetting His Word is the part that holds your umbrella together. Hold to this with a grip that is firm.

The Psalm 119 wife has her umbrella ready. A storm could come at any time. The sun could be glaring and blinding her way. The Psalm 119 wife is always spiritually prepared. Her husband finds comfort in this. He knows that He can trust her to stay under the protection of God’ Word. Do you have your umbrella? Are you protected?

Confront "The Compromise"

Psalm 119:3-8 (NLT)

They do not compromise with evil,
and they walk only in his paths.
4 You have charged us
to keep your commandments carefully.
5 Oh, that my actions would consistently
reflect your decrees!
6 Then I will not be ashamed
when I compare my life with your commands.
7 As I learn your righteous regulations,
I will thank you by living as I should!
8 I will obey your decrees.
Please don’t give up on me!

If you and I chose to become a “Psalm 119 Wife” our life would be made of the following characteristics:

She will not compromise evil

She walks only in His paths

She lives a life of consistency

She walks in obedience

She is confident that He will complete what He began

That is challenging! When I read verse three, my eyes continued to be drawn to the word, “compromise”. Oh! How often am I tempted to compromise? Other words that mean the same as compromise are negotiate, concede, and give in. The opposite of compromise is, “confront”. Think for a moment what it would mean to our marriages if we chose to confront our wrong attitudes, our disrespect, our laziness, our selfishness, our conflicts and agree with God’s Word in those areas of our lives and take the steps to be set free. Yet, how often do we compromise and make excuses for why our husbands “deserve” our wrong attitude, the laziness, the disrespect and we talk ourselves into all the reasons why we should be selfish. After all, you and I cannot continue to be overlooked, un-appreciated, un-cared for, and ______________ (you fill in the blank). Our compromise with wrong attitudes and thoughts lead to a heart that becomes heavily entangled with confusion, selfishness, bitterness, resentment and anger.

Confronting” the compromise” begins and continues as the “Psalm 119 Wife” walks ONLY in God’s path. Being in God’s Word, knowing God’s Word and applying God’s Word confronts “the compromise”. This also gives direction and discernment. Having a relationship with Jesus Christ that is growing will lead to a life of consistency. When we become the steady, reliable, and constant wife; our husbands can rest knowing we are trustworthy. The wife that walks in obedience becomes extremely effective in her relationship with her husband and her children. Who knows how many generational strongholds can be broken because obedience is the action that is applied daily. It is only through obedience that we can be truly effective in our marriage and the lives of our children. If you and I choose disobedience we become efficient and nothing more. Understanding that the Lord will complete what He began in our lives brings peace that passes all understanding. Having that knowledge and filtering all of life’s happenings through the promise of Philippians 1:6 will give perspective during the easy times, the difficult times, the joys, the struggles, tragedy and heartache.

Press the Pause Button

Psalm 119:1-8 (NLT)

Joyful are people of integrity,
who follow the instructions of the Lord.
2 Joyful are those who obey his laws
and search for him with all their hearts.

I have a dear friend ( who has great enthusiasm for Psalm 119. Her enthusiasm has motivated me. When I read the above eight verses, I saw many great truths and life principles. Psalm 119 is power packed! As I unpack these verses; I am going to focus on how Psalm 119 can change our marriages. (If you are reading this and you are unmarried, don’t dismiss this. The principles we will discover can impact your closest relationships)

We live in a culture that craves happiness like I crave a cool swimming pool on a hot, southern day. Happiness is about what I get whereas joyful is about who I am and what I do. The joyful person is a person of integrity; entirely in accord with truth and fact. ( The joyful person is also a person who obeys and searches for God. Another way to explain “search” in verse 2 is “to consult”. ( I love that! You may be wondering, what this has to do with my marriage.

What would your marriage and my marriage be like if we put these two verses into action? Happy marriages are good marriages but joyful marriages are the real thing. I desire the real thing! I desire to be a joyful wife. If I am to put that into practice then I choose to be a woman of integrity and follow the instructions of the Lord. What instructions? God has clearly instructed me to unconditionally respect my husband and be his helper. I am to submit to his leadership. I am not to make his life miserable or to make it more appealing to him that he live on the corner of the roof. (Proverbs 21:9) My tongue is to speak kindness and truth in love. (Proverbs 31:26)

Psalm 119:2 is where the rubber meets the road. This is the verse that applauds the person who knows how to press the pause button. Verse one is letting me know that the side effect of my choosing to follow God’s instruction (for my role in my marriage) is a joyful heart. On the other hand, verse 2, is stating that knowing how to press the pause button guarantees a joyful heart. You and I cannot seek God in a hurry. I mentioned earlier that another way to explain “search” is “to consult”. When we go for a consultation with a medical doctor, an employer, a contractor, or whoever it may be. Those type conversations are never hurried and all options are explored. When the consultation is over usually you walk away knowing what will work, what won’t work and if you need to come back for a follow-up. Either way, consulting takes time.

As women, we are emotional. The downside of that is we can be emotionally driven. Our words can be sharp. Our attitude can be isolating. Our body language can send hurtful messages. We need to press the pause button in those moments. The guarantee of a joyful marriage is to seek God with all of our hearts. When you and I pause to seek Him, we put aside our personal agenda and choose to listen. We consult the great I AM and we discover, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Doctrine: Pressing the pause button and consulting the Lord with all of my heart will show me TRUTH through His Word.

Reproof: Pressing the pause button will prove my motives and convict my heart in those areas that are wrong.

Correction: Pressing the pause button will restore my heart and lead to restoration in the broken areas of our marriage.

Instruction in Righteousness: Pressing the pause button will reveal areas in our marriage that need discipline.

So often, as women, we are tempted to act too quickly and emotionally in our marriage relationships. How do I know? I am a wife and I know my faults. Secondly, as a counselor, I hear this struggle repeated over and over in my office. Women and men desire a joyful marriage. How do we get to that place? We choose a marriage of integrity and we learn to press the pause button. I want to encourage you to begin being the spouse that “consults” the Lord on all issues and in all circumstances before you speak or take actions that will not guarantee a joyful marriage. Once you have pressed pause, dive into His Word seeking God’s truth, humble yourself when TRUTH convicts, open yourself to His restoring your heart and relationship, and choose godly disciplines that lead to abundant fruit. The fruit that God is wanting to grow in your marriage will impact the testimony of God’ grace and power.

Session Two: Effective Obedience (Deut. 11)

This week of the Victor's Cry teaching session is the core of the entire study. I ask you to open your heart and seek Him this week. Allow the Light of His love to expose the areas of your life that are hindering you to be effective in His kingdom.

Follow the link to the video: Effective Obedience

Session Two Outline: Deuteronomy 11

1. When we obey, our eyes are opened to see God's __________, ___________, __________,

and ____________ (vs. 1-7)

2. Believing God through obedience will give ______________for the journey and ____________ in life. (vs 8-15)

3. Satan will do everything he can to ___________ us to turn away from the life we can in _________ (Vs 16-17)

4. Efficiency: doing things ____________

Effectiveness: doing the __________ __________

5. A result of ___________ obedience is a faith that is infectious.

6. "God is ready to assume full _____________ for the life wholly ___________ to Him".

The Victor's Cry Session One: Living Out God's Promises

I am excited beyond words to finally be able to give the first week's session of The Victor's Cry! This week we will be learning what it means to live out God's promises. Click on the link below and you will be taken directly to the video. Each week I will provide the notes for each session. Copy and Paste the notes and you can print them off for yourself or for your Bible study group. My prayer for you is that you will live in victory as you love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Living Out God's Promises

Romans 4:17-25

1. To experience all that God has for us, we need to live in _____ _____________.

a. In the presence of the Lord there is ____________ (Ps. 23:5)

b. In the presense of the Lord there is ____________ ( Is. 26:3)

2. Living out God's promises will bring _______ in your life

a. Hope gives __________. (Ps. 31:24)

b. Abound in _______. (Rom. 15:13)

c. Hope __________ the soul. (Heb. 6:19)

3. The promise of God's cleansing - I Jn 1:9

4. The promise of God's ___________

___________ to _____________

Desert to __________

from famine to _____________

5. The promise of His ___________ (Jer. 20:11)

6. The promise of God's ___________ (Is. 41:10)

7. The promise of His _____________ (Ps 84:11)

8. The promise of His _____________ (Ps. 119:105)

9. The promise of His wise _________ (Jer. 29:11)

What God promises He will perform

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. 9 For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.

The last time Peter is mentioned in the story of Jesus’ death, he was warming himself by a fire denying he knew Christ. Now, in this chapter, Mary Magdalene is running to Peter and the other disciples in a panic. She is on alert because she has discovered that Jesus’ body is not in the tomb. I can’t help but read between the lines. I find it comforting and encouraging and challenging that Peter was included. Just days before, Peter had committed the unthinkable, he denied Christ! His denial had to have affected his relationship with the other ten men.

I am sure that there were several tough conversations between Peter and these men. Maybe they also confessed that they were tempted to do the same thing that Peter had done because they were also afraid. On the other hand, maybe they could not believe that Peter had gone that far. Maybe they confronted Peter with many questions of “How could he deny the One who was the Son of God” and “How could you turn your back on the One who had been so good to all of us?” I’m sure there were long conversations and many emotions.

Mary’s running to the disciples and including Peter tells me that they all knew Peter had given in to weakness and had been gripped by fear on that dark night. Peter ran into the tomb. Maybe Peter was outrun because he hesitated to go or maybe he was slow. Who knows? What matters is Peter returned to his core character: he charged in. Peter, once again, displayed that part of his personality that we all love.

Something happens that I do not understand… “then the disciples went away again to their own homes.” I do understand they knew they were not safe. They could not go and report Jesus missing. Yet, I don’t understand why they went their separate ways. The death of Jesus had brought about a hopelessness that I will never be able to identify with. There hopelessness pulled them apart. They were living the story as it unfolded and “…they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead.” I only know this story already knowing the facts and the ending. I cannot imagine the overwhelming emotions they felt.

That leads me to wonder what Peter’s thoughts and feelings were as he walked home to tell his family what had been discovered or rather Who had not been discovered. Did he feel the depths of shame and despair knowing that when it counted most, he had not only let Jesus down; he denied Him. Did he find comfort in knowing that the other disciples had forgiven him? Did it make him feel good knowing that Mary Magdalene sought him out?

I am amazed that the details of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ has one main theme. He is hope. He gives hope. Without Him we have no hope. As Peter walked home that night, I wonder did he grasp that Jesus is THE hope! Because on that walk home, I have to think Peter realized that all hope was lost. Little did Peter know - Hope lived.

He Knew his Name

John 18:10-11, Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”

We are 25 days away from celebrating Easter! This is my favorite celebration of all. At this time of year as Easter approaches, I find myself reminiscing. I want to read and re-read the timeline that leads up to the most unexplained and victorious event in History. As I read the Easter story, I am fascinated with Peter. In the above verses, the focus is on Peter and his spontaneous act of defense. I noticed something I had never noticed before. “The Servant’s name was Malchus.” Malchus is there with the others to arrest Jesus, Peter cuts off Malchus’ ear and God finds it necessary for us to know who this man is.

Jesus did heal this man’s ear. Did that change Malchus’ heart and, I wonder if Malchus ever realized that God knew his name? In the beginning of Jesus’ darkest hours, He kept his priority the main priority: people. He rebuked the one that should have known better and reached out to the one that did not know who He was. How often do we coddle the follower of Christ and rebuke the lost person that really does not know any better. I am guilty of expecting the lost person to “act saved” and I defend the actions of a saved person. When in reality, to be a true follower of Christ, I should reach out with compassion to the person that does need Christ. I should make it a point to make sure that person knows I care and that I do see them as person in need.

What Peter did in that moment began to set him up for the rest of the night. He went from defending to becoming less defensive. He went from being aggressive to being passive. He went from honoring his Lord and Savior to hiding from his Lord and Savior.

I just wonder when Christ took His last breath if Malchus touched his own ear and simply wondered, “Could it be possible that this man is the Son of God?” I find it challenging to know that I should reach out to people that do not know Christ and therefore do not know any better. Do I leave them simply wondering why I would care so much? Or am I like Peter, defend my Savior without compassion and truly recognize that those without Christ really do not know any other way.

Jesus knew his name. He recognized Malchus’ need and met it. Jesus did not want Malchus to think that He approved of Peter’s actions. This man who was there to take Jesus to Pilate, at some point, had to have wondered about the experience he had with the Son of God. I wonder if that experience made him curious enough to become a believer. You and I come into contact with people every day. Do we leave them curious about the experience they have had that they want to know more?