Journal Entry ~ 11/16/17

1 Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! 
2 Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart, 
3 who also do no wrong, but walk in his ways!  - Psalm 119:1-3

When you look up the word blessed in the dictionary, you’ll find it means blissfully happy or content - that adds a whole new dimension to this passage, doesn’t it? We will be happy if we choose to walk in the law of the Lord, we will be happy when we keep His testimonies, and when we seek Him with our whole heart.  Many of us have experienced the deep joy that comes from being in the center of God’s will - it’s when we’re serving others, when we choose obedience over rebellion, when we’re loving sacrificially, when we lean in and listen over turning away, when we’ve done the hard work of learning from our trials, when we finally confess and repent of a sin we’ve hung on to for far too long, when we forgive a deep hurt we’ve been carrying, we experience His abundant blessings in our lives. It’s in these times we have an overwhelming sense of His presence, His comfort, and His strength. The joy and the contentment in these moments is simply unmatched. 

But the opposite is also true - when we are feeling unhappy, we can know it's because somewhere in our lives, we're not walking in the law of the Lord. Look at your heart and listen. Are you happy? Do you have a deep sadness stuck inside you?  It can be all-consuming or a little nagging unsettled-ness that just doesn’t feel right. In those times we need to capture our thoughts and ask ourselves where are we failing to keep His Word. He tells us we are to store His Word in our hearts - perhaps we’ve not spent consistent time in His Word lately. We're told to live in community with fellow believers - perhaps we’ve not made church or small group a priority.  We are told we are to have no gods before Him - perhaps there are people or things that have been taking priority in our hearts over Him. We are told we are to be humble - perhaps pride is ruling some aspect of our lives.  We are not to have a spirit of fear - perhaps our anxieties have taken over our thinking.  There are just so many places that we can step off the path in this world, but the truth here is worth pausing and reflecting on - if you find yourself generally unhappy with your life, or even if there is just a small aspect of your life that’s leaves you feeling unsettled, it’s most likely because you have failed to keep His law in some way.

When we first accept Jesus, we are cleaned - that’s what it means to be made blameless.  Jesus took the weight of every one of our sins, and hung on that cross just so that we would be blameless as we stand before our Holy God. None of us can say we are perfect in our own ways, but when we surrender our lives and are cleaned by Him, we begin to desire to be cleansed again, to be made perfect and righteous - this is sanctification.

When we are clean, we are immediately made blameless in the eyes of the Lord, but it's the living out of our faith that the Psalmist is referring to in these verses and not the point of salvation. This is what brings blessings or happiness as we live in this broken world. When we lose our temper, when we don't keep our promises, when we have lied or cheated, we go back to the one we have offended and we fix it because we have been cleaned. That's what it means to be blameless in our walk.  When we are blameless, the joy in our lives is tangible - we should all be able to call to mind a time in our lives where we felt this kind of joy. Just the same, we should also be able to call to mind the days that we do what we want to do and we don’t fix it - those are the days that we are restless. We lay in our beds at night, replaying a conversation over and over, wishing we had said things differently; we nurse a hurt by reviewing what was said or done over and over; we feel the conviction of a necessary apology, but our pride overrules our actions and we stay quiet. We lash out and justify our actions because we’re carrying a heavy burden, we justify our critical response because our child is making foolish decisions, we refuse to be the first one to make the move in a broken relationship because we were right - as Pastor James often reminds us: if we’re wrong in the way that we’re right, we’re wrong even if we’re right. Powerful words that often lead me right to where I hold the blame. 

We may feel unsettled and not be able to put our finger in the reason or we may be so overtaken by sadness from an unforeseen trial, we may be so short that we snap at everyone who steps in our paths, or we may simply want to head home and open a bottle of wine to numb our feelings. Those are all symptoms of having blame somewhere in our lives.  If you feel that way - if there is an unsettling feeling or if there is a heavy weight on you - get in your knees before Him and ask Him to reveal to you where you are not blameless. 

It would be so easy to bury my head in the sand and ignore all sense of conviction in this diagnosis. The sad part is that I know many in my life would even support my little pity party - who wants to challenge the woman with cancer?  I can even put my finger on times I’ve used cancer as an excuse to justify my behavior - generally it's only done in humor, but the truth is the thought has crossed my mind more than once when I’ve been upset. How dare they act like that when I’m dealing with this?  Ugh. The beautiful part is that I love a God who wants to continue to refine me, so He doesn’t let up.  

Press on, ladies ~ you are loved 💗

Many of you know I have been trying to raise money to replace the uncomfortable caregiver's chairs in the infusion center at Illinois Cancer Specialists.  It is important to me that our caregivers are able to sit comfortably for hours while we receive our chemo treatments ~ we need our caregivers to be at their best so they can care for us at our worst.  Please consider donating ~ every little bit helps!  Here is the link:


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