Morning
October 7

Psalms 37:4-5, 7 (NIV) 4Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. 5Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:... 7Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.


In this psalm, David is reflecting on the fact that the evil ones who threatened his life and plotted against him were ultimately unsuccessful. He is telling us the secret of his success and usefulness to God. If there are wicked people troubling your life, listen to David's advice.

Delight yourself in the LORD. If your highest hopes and greatest joys are in the LORD, the LORD will give you your desires. There are two ways to look at that promise. One is that your desire for more of God and a closer relationship with Him will come to pass. If you are in Him, your enemies will find themselves fighting God. The other way to see this promise is that God will place His own desires in your heart so that you desire the things God desires. I think both are true.

If you dedicate your actions to God, walking in His ways, desiring what He desires, then you can count on God bringing this to pass. That spells trouble for your enemies and turns you from fear and fretting to joy and trust. The commitment of the heart is met by the enabling power of the God that transforms you.

Instead of fretting and getting all worked up, wait patiently in stillness before God. Don't act without acting in Him and at His direction and you can know you will succeed. You will have the peace that guarantees the schemes of the wicked will ultimately be for your good. The final word will be a vindication of your righteous trust in God.

Consider: What should you do about the trouble facing you today? Delight yourself in the LORD, and commit your way to Him. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.


Evening
October 7

Philippians 1:6,9-10 (NIV) 6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

9And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,


Paul certainly had a heart of love for the churches. Those believers were very precious to him. He is encouraging them with the fact that he is confident that God will carry on to completion what He started in their lives until Jesus returns. The Christians of that day had to deal with persecution. They must have wondered at times if they would stand strong. Paul reminded them that it is God's work, not just their own ability.

When I was a child, I would sometimes start something and then lose interest. My father always told me to finish the task I started, or at least clean up my effort. God doesn't leave things half done. He finishes what He starts. He has started to make you like His Son. He won't lose interest or give up. He will finish the seemingly impossible task.

In this prayer, he was asking that God work into the Philippians' lives an increasing love. He asked that their love increase in knowledge and depth of insight. As we grow in the love of God, we gain the ability to discern not just the good but the best. That discernment is part of the work God is completing in us.

Much of our battle in life is not choosing between the good and the bad. As we mature, that becomes more and more obvious. The real battle becomes how effective our lives will be for the Kingdom of God. Will we choose the best over what is good? That is the dividing line that will determine our fruitfulness. It will also determine how closely we follow the Lord. Paul says the answer lies in an increase in 'agape' love. Pray for God's love for your brothers and sisters, for the lost, and most of all, to love God with the kind of love with which He loves you. That is what will keep you from straying on the way to God's finishing the work He started in you.

Prayer: Lord, please mature me so that I can discern the best, and help me follow through with that choice.