The Righteous Shall Never Be Moved

When we’re walking with God in His will, we will not stumble, slip, fall, or be shaken.-4.png

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. For me, it’s a waste of time and thought. Everyone knows most resolutions don’t make it more than a couple of months before being cast away and forgotten. However, I have enjoyed the aspect of choosing a word for the New Year around which to base my life and growth. Last year, I picked the word “breathe” to remind myself to live in the present and to not stress over things. I can’t say I mastered the practice, but that single word acted as a compass when I needed it the most.

As I prayed about what my word would be this year, the first thought that came to my mind was “love.” It seemed logical after all the time I’ve spent studying it out over the past year and trying to apply it to my life, but oddly enough, it just didn’t seem like the proper word.  A couple of others passed through my mind, but I discarded each one for various reasons. Then, yesterday while on a hike with Jason and Barnabas, I found the word I was looking for. Yes, my word for 2019 is “settled.”

The term “settled” has a lot of different meanings, but for my purposes, I want to focus on these: to be placed so as to stay; to become quiet or orderly; to be fixed or resolved conclusively; to be established or secured permanently; to come to rest; to conclude. What an awesome word, right? It encompasses the idea of security, rest, resolution, and stability. Honestly, I can’t think of a better term for this little red-headed writer who’s been called to the mission field of Wales.

Of course, God couldn’t leave it at the wonder of the word. He had to tie it into today’s devotion in our Negatives in the Bible series so I could, once again, make the connection between my life and God’s promises.  Isn't He awesome!

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
— Psalm 55:22
A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
— Proverbs 12:3
I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
— Psalm 16:8
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
— Psalm 46:5

There are at least half a dozen other verses that match those above nearly word for word, not to mention the many throughout the Bible that teach the principle of the righteous being settled and secure in the care of the Lord.

To ensure I didn't see a connection where there wasn’t one, I looked up the word “moved” in my Bible dictionary. Would you like to take a guess at what it means? The definition is this: to totter, shake, or slip; to be overthrown; to dislodge, fall, or drop; to be greatly shaken. Whoa! The term “moved” means the opposite of “settled.” So, to not be moved means to be settled, right? There’s no missing the connection.  My word for 2019 is based on one of the promises of God repeated throughout Scripture—the righteous are settled; they shall never be moved.

If you’re anything like me, your first thought was, Wait a minute! I’m saved and consider myself righteous, but I’ve fallen plenty of times. I’ve slipped and messed up and had to make my way back to God for forgiveness.  My faith has been shaken more times than I can count. So, how can this promise be true? Something doesn’t make sense here. I hear you. It seems like God’s Word and real-life experience aren’t matching up. But hear me out.

The word “righteous” doesn’t mean those who are saved; it means those who are saved and living right. When we fall, mess up, and slip, are we living right? No, that’s why we fall. When our faith is shaken, are we right with the Lord? Not according to the Scriptures: But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) We can’t be right with God (aka righteous) when we do not please Him. Does that make sense?  

God’s promise states when we’re walking with Him in His will, we will not stumble, slip, fall, or be shaken.  We will be settled, like a tree planted by the water. Secure. Unwavering. At rest. It’s only when we get outside of His plans for our lives that we run into trouble. That’s not to say the Christian walk will be easy. It won’t be. There will be plenty of trials and heartaches, but when we’re secure in God’s will, we’ll make it through to the other side.

Settled. Unmovable. Fixed. Resolved. Yes, I like that. I like it a lot. What about you? Do you have a word for the new year?  I’d love to hear which one you’ve chosen and why you’ve chosen it, so please leave a comment below.

Working Together

We must trust and obey God.png

Jason and I enjoy watching the show, Food Network Star. For those of you who are not familiar with it, a group of chefs (some professional, some not) competes for the chance to gain their own show on the Food Network Channel. The challenges vary from week to week, but all of them include a cooking portion and a presenting portion where they tell others how to make their dish. It’s entertaining to watch the chefs grow in both their culinary skills and their presence in front of a camera or a live audience. Each week, the chef who performed the worst is eliminated, leaving the others to continue vying for the spot of the next Food Network star.

One of the most difficult challenges the contestants face is near the end when they’re down to just a handful of contestants. The eliminated chefs return, and some of them are partnered with the current contestants to act as their sous-chefs (basically, an assistant). On the surface, one would think this challenge would be easier than the others because the chefs have an extra set of hands to prepare their meals in the allotted time, but it all depends on the willingness of their sous-chef to trust and follow directions.

On one of the most recent episodes we watched, a Kentucky chef named Jason was one of the final contestants and was joined up with a former contestant who was a know-it-all. While the sous-chefs of the other contestants followed orders and trusted the instructions of their chefs, she questioned every order and often did as she thought best.  

At one point, the head chef instructed her to leave the sauce boiling until the flame disappeared (his sauce included a heavy dose of bourbon). Afraid of the flame, she kept saying, “I don’t think this is right. This doesn’t look right. I’m going to turn it down.” Each time, Jason, the head chef, assured her, “No, it’s fine. Just let it keep burning. It’ll be fine.” Despite his assurances, she fretted over the flame, and as soon as the head chef turned away, she mumbled, “This doesn’t look right. I’m turning it off.” And she did.

When the judges tasted Jason’s food, everything was wonderful except for one thing. Yup, the sauce. The bourbon hadn’t cooked down enough, and the sauce was too strong. In her failure to trust the head chef and follow his orders, the sous-chef nearly cost him the prize.

I think you probably already see where I’m going with this. How many times are we, like the sous-chef, unwilling to trust the Master because we don’t understand the plan? How often do we take matters into our own hands because things don’t look right to us? So many times, our doubts and uncertainties cause us to question the Lord’s instructions, and we decide we know better and do things our own way. And the result is often a catastrophe.

Funny enough, I found myself furious with that sous-chef. She should have listened to Jason. It was his dish, his recipe. He knew what he was doing. She should have trusted his judgment and obeyed his instructions. I was shouting at her, “Just leave it alone, and do what he said!” And then, I received a heavenly thump in the back of my head, and my outward criticisms turned to inward rebuke.

I should listen to the Lord. It’s His plan, His creation, and He knows what’s He’s doing. I need to trust His judgment and obey His instructions, even when I don’t understand. Especially when I don’t understand. Lord, help me!

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
— Proverbs 3:5-6

Are We Ashamed of Christ?

I’m going to take a short break from our study on the negatives in the Bible.  We’ve covered about a dozen instances of the word, “nothing,” and when we come back to the study, we’ll be looking at the word, “never.”  In the meantime, I have a few other thoughts to share with you.

As Christians, we have the responsibilityto speak the truth in love..png

This morning, I listened to an interview with the rising Contemporary Christian singer, Lauren Daigle. Before I go any further, let me say I enjoy some Contemporary music, and until now, I appreciated many of the songs performed by Lauren. I wanted to make that clear, so no one misunderstood my intentions with this devotion. I am not condemning the music or the person, but I am very disappointed with Lauren’s response to a particular question.

The interviewer asked, “Do you think that homosexuality is a sin?” This was the perfect time to speak out for her faith and proclaim the Word of God, but instead, Daigle answered: “You know, I can’t honestly answer on that because there are too many people that I love who are homosexuals. I don’t know. I actually had a conversation with someone last night about it. I can’t say one way or the other. I’m not God. So, when people ask questions like that, that’s what my go to is. Like, I just say, ‘Read the Bible and find out for yourself. And when you find out, let me know because I’m learning too.'”

Seriously? I appreciate she recognizes that she’s not God and doesn’t have all the answers, and in a way, I respect how she pointed people to the Bible, but I have to say my respect and appreciation end there. If she can’t honestly answer whether homosexuality is a sin, she has not studied the Bible much. It’s so obvious! It’s right there in black and white. And with that single interview, my admiration for this talented singer is gone. How can I admire someone who won’t stand up for the very thing she sings about?

This topic has flooded social media, and the comments vary. Some, like me, are disappointed by how Daigle chose her fame over her faith. (She made her stand clear in the interview when discussing her recent appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. When the interviewer remarked on the possibility of saying “no” to the invitation because Ellen is an outspoken homosexual, Lauren Daigle replied, “And that would be a surefire way to end your career.” To me, she betrayed in that statement where her loyalties lie.) Anyway, others are defending her answer by justifying that if she stood up for what was right, she could ruin her career and then she wouldn’t have the opportunities she now has to reach people for Christ. Are you kidding me? How can she reach others for Christ if she’s not willing to stand for Him? And who in their right mind would honestly believe the Lord would condone such tactics?

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
— Mark 8:38

Friends, we, as Christians, need to find some balance. On the one hand, we shouldn’t shun the lost and refuse to interact with them. How will we reach them? Jesus regularly spent time with those who needed a Savior, and we should follow His lead. On the other hand, we shouldn’t water down our faith to make it more palatable for those around us. Jesus never did that. He spoke the truth, even when it hurt, and generally, those who were offended by it were the religious crowd (not saved, just religious). The Bible urges us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t belittle or be cruel and unkind to those who are lost but don’t hide the truth either. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and it’s our responsibility to say so. Not because we are God but because we know what God has to say about sin. And if the Bible clearly says something is a sin, then we need to point that out.  

I can’t say how I would have answered the question had it been posed to me unexpectedly like that, but I hope I would say something like this: “You know, it really doesn’t matter what I think. All that matters is what God says, and He has made it clear in the Bible that homosexuality is a sin. And if God says it’s a sin, then it must be because God doesn’t lie or make mistakes. I know that statement may offend some, but as a Christian, it is my responsibility to represent my Lord and Savior to the best of my ability no matter what it cost me.”

Oh, dear friends, we live in a wicked world, and it’s easy to go with the flow, but as Christians, that’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’ve been given the duty to stand up for Christ and His Word, but too many of us are falling down on the job. Let’s beware. 

I know this comes across as harsh, and I don’t mean for it to. Again, I am not condemning anyone. That’s not my place. That being said, I can be disappointed, and I am. My prayers are with Lauren Daigle. If she is saved, I hope the Lord will convict her heart and help her to see clearly what she claimed not to know. If she is not saved, I pray she will be soon. We all make mistakes, but we must guard against allowing fear of loss or rejection to make us ashamed of the One we claim to love.  Let’s allow this interview to be a reminder to us.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
— Romans 12:2