Friday, September 21, 2007

Ungodly Counsel (Psalms 1)

My latest thoughts on being blessed...

Being Blessed has less to do with a moment in time and even less to do with material things. While it can, and does, occasionally mean those things, from what I see in Psalms 1, 'blessed' is a movement in the Right(eous) direction. It is moving towards God instead of away from God. It is a path or journey that one chooses. The 'unblessed' have stopped moving towards God and begun moving away from God. Their path or journey is taking them in the wrong direction.

This Psalm opens up by explaining what a blessed person does not do:
1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

I think that it is fair to restate that verse for the purpose of meditation and learning:
The unblessed man walks in the counsel of the ungodly, stands in the path of sinners, and sits in the seat of the scornful.

The most obvious thing about an 'unblessed' person, is the natural downward spiral. First, there is walking in (listening to) ungodly counsel. Then, one stops walking, and stands. Finally, one sits.

When I think of counsel, I think of words, or communication. In fact, words/communication of any sort move us in a particular direction. I started running again this year and recently picked a book by Bill Rodgers-A Lifetime Running Plan. The more I read the words (counsel) of that book, the more I am moved in that direction. It encourages me through knowledge to become more committed to a running plan. However, if I read stuff that is negative or ungodly, I will be moved in that direction.

Ungodly counsel is communication from the enemy. Here is a short list of primary ways that we can receive counsel of the ungodly:

TV, Books, Music, Magazines, Internet, etc…These avenues are most often used to introduce us to ungodly counsel. We will more readily receive wrong thoughts and ideas through these mediums than any other way.

Friends, Parents, Spouses, Church Leaders…or other people that we trust and/or respect. The words of people impact our lives (postivley or negatively) in very powerful ways. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue…"

Direct Satanic Messages…It seems to me that Satan and his messengers can affect our thinking. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul speaks of a 'thorn in the flesh'. Most people assume this to be a physical problem of some sort and some Bible translations even use those words. But to me, Paul explains what the thorn is…"a messenger of Satan". A satanic communication…definitely ungodly counsel.

And then the worst ungodly counsel of all---'Self-talk'…Eventually, if we take in too much ungodly counsel from different avenues, we will begin to believe it ourselves and begin to speak it within our heart. It soon becomes a part of who we are; all because we chose to listen to ungodly counsel along the way.

It might include the obvious--like hatred towards someone. But it is most
often not so obvious--like:
"I don't ____________ very often; so, it's not really hurting me."
"I don't get anything out of the Bible when I read it, so I don't read it much."
"I know it might be wrong, but at least I am not as bad as 'so-and-so'."

"It doesn't really matter what I do, as long as it does not hurt someone else. As long as I know that I am saved."

"This is a good it MUST be God!"

And the list goes on and on...

Allowing ungodly counsel into our mind, soul, and spirit is the beginning of being 'unblessed' and the downward movement away from God.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Blessed...Pt 2 (Psalms 1)

Still working through a study at Psalm 1: The Fruitful Tree. I just finished the second lesson, which took me about one week! (Normally, a lesson takes me 20-30 minutes). The lesson was not really that long; just challenging. I would read part of the lesson, then answer a question; but, my response (or lack of one) would make me think a lot about where I currently am--and where I need to be.

Also, I would open up my computer Bible ( ; which to me is one of the best Bible programs out there for the money) and look up the different passages that the lesson referred to…then there was more reflection. Along with this, I decided that I would not do certain things (like look at myspace) until I completed each lesson and journal about it…

As short as this Psalm is, it is packed with power…but only if we accept and apply the Truths found here. But for most of us, the Godly counsel of this Psalm is simply too radical for our comfortable, complacent lives. If one really and truly tried to live out this Psalm, they would probably be looked at as "too heavenly minded for earthly good". And the majority of criticism would probably be 'friendly fire' from fellow Christians!

I am still contemplating the word 'blessed'. I am convinced that most of the time I hear that word, it is not as God intended. The Bible dictionary says that the word 'blessed' found here, simply means, "happy". However, it comes from a root word which means, "to go straight, walk, go on, advance, make progress".

For now, I want to simply remember that happiness, walking straight, advancing, and making progress in God, is a completely different thing than when those same terms are applied to our everyday earthly lives…
With all of that in mind…

Psalm 1
1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Blessed? (Psalms 1)

I finally enrolled in another online Bible Study at I chose Psalm 1; The Fruitful Tree.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. It's short, straight to the point, and easy to understand. And, whenever I feel like I'm kinda floundering (like I currently feel), it's good instruction that I can immediately apply to get back on track.

However, like most of the Bible, it's deep too. Over the years I have read it many, many times, even committing to memory and going over it often in my mind…

So, when I went to do my first lesson a couple of days ago, I expected sort of a 'refresher'…but it was much more than that. Many thoughts came from that first lesson--one of them being a question: What does 'blessed' really mean from God's viewpoint? Psalm 1 begins: "Blessed is the man…"

The majority of the time when I hear (or use) the word 'blessed', it is in conjunction with material things or personal comfort. This is espeically true when I watch most any tv preacher. "Send your money, and you will receive a blessing." Or, "Give, and God will bless you with your heart's desire." Or, "Attend this church, and you will be blessed."

Or something along those lines…

Often I hear, (or say) "God has blessed me with _______." The blank is usually filled in with a house, a car, a job, a child, a good marriage, good health, and the list goes on.

If one does not have children, a car, a job, a good marriage, good health, etc., does that mean that they are not blessed??

If blessed means having material things or personal comfort, then Bill Gates is very blessed by God, and Mother Theresa was not?

In 2004, I received a raise out of the blue to buy a good, dependable vechicle. I said, "God has blessed me…"

Two months later, we were 'let go' from our jobs. Our income being cut in half, we ended up in backruptcy 6 months later, losing everything.

Was I 'unblessed'? I sure thought I was. Why would God 'bless' me with something, then take it away? Or, maybe I misunderstood what it really means to be blessed by God…

So, what does it mean to be blessed by God?

Is there anywhere in the Bible that directly links God's blessing with material things or personal comfort? I am not sure…I think that there may be a few of those occasions, but far more often, being blessed means something way beyond that…

For instance, in Matthew 5—

Blessed are the poor in spirit
Blessed are those who mourn
Blessed are the meek
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Blessed are the merciful
Blessed are the pure in heart
Blessed are the peacemakers
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

I guess the bottom line is that I think the concept of being blessed by God is generally misunderstood and misused. And, I think that if I really understood it, it would change my life. While I am continuing to check this out, let me know if you have any thoughts to offer on the matter…