A Taste Beyond All Others

eatingTaste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8 NLT

Loving to taste is why I’m where I am.

Though I love vegetables and meat, I’ve always had a taste for junk food. Nothing like sitting down with a bag of barbecue potato chips, a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and a glass of milk. And Little Debbie’s?  Any kind will do. Surely, God anointed the person who invented them. I’d rather eat a few of them than a homemade cookie or cake.

For many years, my taste never led to weight gain—and I wanted to gain weight. I was skinny and often made fun of. So I topped off my junk food diet with things like Weight On. Nothing worked. Around age 38, my wish to gain weight came true. The trouble was, I didn’t want to gain as much as I gained. Twenty years later, I still have to monitor my taste habits to maintain the proper weight level.

I think we’ll still enjoy eating in heaven—but with an added pleasure. I’ll be able to taste and consume anything I want without worrying about weight gain. The psalmist had another type of tasting in mind: tasting of the Lord to see how good He is.

When Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples, He gave them bread and told them to taste it. It represented His body which would soon be given for their sins and for the sins of the world.

Tasting the Lord involves accepting Him as my Savior, which is preceded by recognizing I’m a sinner in need of salvation. But doing this is only the beginning of a lifelong journey. Doing nothing more won’t let me experience how good He is.

On a regular basis, I must taste God’s Word. Like the bread, I must ingest it, let it settle into my inner soul, and then bear fruit in my actions. I’ll never know how good the Lord is without tasting His Word. Tasting is also more than just a quick read. I ingest by thinking about what the Word says and by asking God’s Spirit to lead me into full understanding so I can let it influence my thoughts, actions, and words.

I also taste when I ask God to give me a continual hunger for Him. A hunger to know Him better. A hunger to understand His ways more fully.

Don’t back away. Taste and see how good God is.

Justice Will Prevail

justice1For the Lord loves justice.
Psalms 37:28 NLT

Although it only does so sporadically now, justice will one day reign supremely.

Examples of injustices abound. Justice is infringed upon when someone steals. Perhaps they are poor or are just too lazy to work for it. Either way, they take what belongs to someone else.

Justice hollers every time a woman or girl is raped. Child abuse flourishes, and justice is hampered in each case. Little ones who can’t fend off the fiends who do to them what never should be done. Spousal abuse blooms also. Whether physical or emotional or both, the abuse damages the psyche of the one who endures it, and once again justice is impinged upon.

When someone else gets the promotion I deserve, justice is obstructed. Especially if they got the promotion because they are the boss’s favorite or because of some quota that needs to be met. And when one gender makes less for doing the same job, justice is once again impeded.

Justice also takes a beating when politicians fail to keep the promises to the constituents who elected them.

The psalmist says God loves justice, but God certainly has a comical way of showing it. While love is the most common trait heard when referring to God, just might be a more appropriate characteristic when referring to His nature.

God loves justice, but free will explains why it’s not observed more consistently. God didn’t create robots in the beginning. Just as He gave angels the free will to rebel against Him (Lucifer being a case in point), so He also gave the same to humans. Free will allows us to infringe upon the justice He loves. But just because I don’t see justice displayed consistently and universally doesn’t mean God doesn’t desire for it to be. Or that He is powerless to make it happen.

God allows injustices in His master plan now, but one day justice will prevail universally and consistently. Sin will have no place on the new earth or in heaven. Satan—and all who represent his interests, will be eternally damned.

In the meantime, it is my responsibility to help justice spread. I can do this by setting an example of it through my daily actions. I can also help spread it by supporting and electing those who will represent it in political office.

Don’t get discouraged. God is in control, and justice will reign.

Stepping in the Right Direction

babystepsThe Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the
 Lord holds them by the hand.
Psalm 37:23-24 NLT

Taking steps is a frightening experience.

I remember when my children and grandchildren first began to take steps. First, they pulled up on a piece of furniture. Then they let go and reached for the next closest thing they could grasp, taking only one step to get from point A to point B. But when there was nothing for them to hold, taking a step became a frightening experience. Many falls and stumbles followed, but the expression on their faces when they had mastered the process of stepping was priceless.

My life steps have taken me in many directions. When hiking in the mountains, my steps took me over roots, rocks, moss-covered ledges, narrow paths, and deep ruts. One misstep could have resulted in a broken bone, or even death. My steps—some intentional and some not, have taken me to places where danger lurked. They’ve taken me down roads where I’ve known a measure of success. They’ve also taken me into the company of bad company.

Though the psalmist maintains God directs the steps of His children and delights in the details of their lives, God also won’t force me to take steps in His direction. His endowment to humanity was free will so that following Him was voluntary, not forced.

Stepping in the right direction means I won’t step where I might want to step but rather where God wants me to walk. Prior to knowing Christ, my sinful nature led me to perpetually step in the wrong direction. The new nature Christ gave changed my desires, but I still do battle with stepping in the right direction.

God cares about the details of my life. He cares what steps I take and the direction they will lead me. He is not a distance deity who created me and then left me to figure out life by myself. Even with the best intentions, I’ll stumble.

Trials will confuse me and temptations will tempt me, but God will hold my hand and gently lead me through each one. And I’ll come out victorious if I’ll keep holding His hand. Like the child learning to walk who wants to hold an adult’s hand, God wants me to grasp tightly to His hand through all of my life’s experiences.

Monitor your steps. Step in God’s direction, and let Him accomplish His plan for your life.

Little Can Be Much

grandfatherIt is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.
Psalm 37:16 NLT

Both of my grandfathers were friendly and loved their family, but that’s where their similarities ended.

My maternal grandfather was a farmer who hired out most of the hard work to neighbors who were willing to work for low wages. He drank heavily and smoked the same. In his younger years, he also gambled heavily, which explained how he came by some of what he possessed. I never remember him helping me or my family; he just left us stuff when he died. I received his pocket watch and one thousand dollars. When the strokes finally ended his life, he left behind thousands of dollars in the bank, a home, and hundreds of acres of land.

My paternal grandfather was quite different. He worked hard all of his life, beginning at age twelve when his father died and left him to run the family farm. He was as honest as the day was long, never drank, never lied, never smoked, and didn’t hang around those who did. He loved his family and neighbors with a passion and demonstrated it by giving of himself and his goods. He gave money to those in need, he bought for those who needed and couldn’t, and he used his God-given talents and gifts in and outside of the church. He lived a long life, and when he died he left behind a home and mere hundreds in the bank.

According to the psalmist, my paternal grandfather lived as God intended. He gave up the potential chance to be evil and have much for being good and possessing little.

God measures differently than most people do. Just a little can be a lot when measured by God’s standards. My having possessions isn’t what He’s concerned about. Not that He’s against me having stuff. He just knows what normally happens when I do. My attention shifts from Him to the stuff. I tend to hoard rather than help. Selfishness takes over, and selflessness flies out the window. Life becomes about me rather than others.

Initiative is certainly admirable, but God measures what it leads to. When my initiative leads me to Him, forgiveness, love, service, repentance, confession, and heaven, then I’m a rich man indeed.

Don’t measure your success in life by how much stuff you have. Measure it by how much you love God and others.