Joyful Living

My heart and soul explode with joy- full of glory!
Even my body will rest confident and secure.
-Psalm 16:9 (TPT)

What can I do to cultivate joy in my life?  What actions on my part bring me to a place where joy is birthed and flows out of my life?  What is the source of authentic joy from God?

Have you ever experienced joy, but part of you did not?  That part is like a Christmas light on a string that is burned out.  The electricity passed by it, but not through it.  The electricity touched it, but does not light it up, because it is broken.

Many people have broken places inside.  They experience joy or exhilaration and happiness, but there is a dead place that might be touched but not penetrated.

When we have unprocessed feelings, we can become blocked.  And our soul or our liver does not function properly.  Because of this, we can not experience the joy in life that God wants us to have.

Most of our inside parts of our bodies are hidden from our consciousness, until they cause us pain.  I have no idea if we ever feel our liver, like how we feel our stomachs or feel our intestines or feel our gall bladder.  But even though we do not see it or feel it, our liver is doing it’s job or hindered in doing it’s job, giving us benefits or problems.

The word rendered soul: “My heart and soul explode with joy” carries with it, the meaning of ‘liver’.  We are very comfortable with saying, “My heart broke”, or “My heart bursts with love”; and we are not referring to our vital organ that pumps blood, but to our emotional experience.  But, we do not say any such thing using the word liver, and yet it is also symbolic of something, to the ancient, eastern mind.

The liver is considered the “general” or “the chief of staff”, in charge of vision and strategy.  From the liver, come the drives of ambition and creativity.  The liver is the processor of our anger, which is normal and is a secondary emotion.

We get angry when we have a loss or when we are afraid or when we lose control.  When we have a backlog of life events that we need to release our anger over, then we end up with seething anger that is out of proportion with slights or offenses in our present lives or irritability.  And all of this might be happening inside us and possibly, unconscious.

Unprocessed or unreleased anger causes headaches and a life that lacks drive or ambition.  A sick liver, metaphorically speaking (like a ‘broken heart’) results in a life that can not flow in the joy that Psalm 16 describes.

All of this is important, because God wants us to be able to live in joy.  Many people want this joy, but can not keep it going, because they have brokenness, dysfunction or blockage in their souls.  And the soul and the liver are metaphorically connected.

From a life that has a clean and clear soul, comes creativity, drive and ambition.  God wants you to create things.  God wants you to have the ambition to walk into your dreams.  God wants to see you driven to live the life that you have been destined to live.

This is all about your destiny, your inheritance and the gifts that God wants to give you.  This is not about works or ‘if I do this, then God will do that’.  This is just about walking on the path of love and blessing that releases explosive joy into and out of your heart and soul, for your blessing and to the glory of God.

With that in mind, let’s look at what David says, before he says that he is exploding with joy and has become full of glory.  And I am excited to see how The Passion Translation translates David’s words.

Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance.
  You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.
  I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.
Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.
  I’m overwhelmed by the privileges
  that come from following you,
  for you have given me the best!
The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more,
  for your whispers in the night give me wisdom,
  showing me what to do next.
Because you are close to me and always available,
  my confidence will never be shaken,
  for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment.
My heart and my soul explode with joy- full of glory!
  Even my body will rest confident and secure. (Ps. 16:5-9)

  1. Inheritance
    • David chose God alone as his inheritance.  Whatever your earthly inheritance, take the stance, like David, of making God your inheritance.  Be so radical as to say, “You alone are my inheritance”.  Money is not evil, but “the love of money is the root of all evil”.  Do not love or lust for money.  Do not put love of money over love for God.  Always see God first and pattern the rest of your life after and under your love for, allegiance to and worship of God.  
    • Money or fame or power are never to be what drives the believer’s life or is the central organizing principle.  Loving God is the bedrock that we build our lives on.  Upon that, we live in contentment.  Joy is given beyond measure to those who make God their inheritance.
    • Since Adam and Eve’s fall, we have all lost the inheritance that God has had for us.  Our inheritance is restored in Christ.  We have to partner with God to receive our inheritances.  It is not automatic.  
    • We have to go after it.  We have to have passionate desire for it.  We have to pursue it to find it and receive it.  
    • God is restoring our inheritances to us.  We live in the paradox of going after our destinies but leaving the timing and the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of it with God.
  2. Walking with God
    • God’s pleasant path leads to pleasant places.   The key to a joyful life is to walk with God every day and all the time.  Loving God, being loved by God and then loving your neighbor is really what life is all about.
  3. Living in thankfulness
    • When we practice a life of walking with God, we also are thankful.  We learn that God is good and we are continually thankful.  Every day is thanksgiving and every meal is thanksgiving.  We learn that being thankful cultivates the presence of God in our lives.  
    • This is because thankfulness aligns ourselves with the truth of God.  Thanklessness is actually a sin.  And when we are not thankful, we shut out God and are making a statement that we do not believe in God.  
    • In matters about God and in matters of faith, their is no neutral, passive middle ground.  If we are passive or inactive about thanking God, it really means we are ungrateful and not thankful and do not believe.  To be continually overwhelmed with thankfulness is the normal Christian life.
    • If you are not taken aback at God’s generosity, you do not know him and you must not be walking with him and have not made him your sole source in life.  It is hard to be thankful if we have not already seen God as our inheritance and have begun to walk with him every day and in every way.
  4. Being counseled and corrected by God results in more praise
    • When we are secure in our relationship with God, then we can receive counsel and even correction from him and let it have its good and transformational effect on our lives.  When we are secure in God’s love, we learn to hear his voice at all times and are attentive to him.  When we securely walk with God, we can hear him say, “you are wrong”, or “don’t do that”, and feel no shame or badness, but only Father’s love.  
    • Having God be your father, your mentor, your guidance and your teacher of wisdom and your transformational teacher will cause you to praise him even more.  The child of God lives in a life of continual thankfulness and praise towards God.  We are already praising, worshiping and living in thankfulness when we come together with other believers.
  5. Explosive joy comes from a secure life in the Father’s love
    • Believers know God loves them and that is the bedrock of their lives.  Knowing God loves me gives me confidence in life.  All of my anger, from hurts, losses and fears is filtered by my soul that is in God’s hands; because I have given it to him and he has me.
    • I have nothing to fear, because God loves me.  I am secure in Father’s love.  I have no need to be offended or unforgiving, because I know I am loved.
    • I can take my life that I do not understand, and give it to God as an offering.  I can walk with God through the halls of my heart and soul, opening the doors to the rooms with pain inside, hurt or loss.  I can give everything that holds me back, known and unknown, to God, my redeemer.
    • I can say that God is my portion in this life.  I can say that God is my all and all.  I can say, “He loves me”.

These are some of what cultivates a life of joyful living.  This is some of what I can do to have joy.  This is part of how joy can explosively and gloriously permeate your whole life.

Happiness, Anger, and Your Liver

  • Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely. 
  • That’s why my heart celebrates and my mood is joyous; yes, my whole body will rest in safety.
  • This is a good life—my heart is glad, my soul is full of joy, and my body is at rest.
    Who could want for more?
  • So my heart rejoices and I am happy;  My life is safe.
  • Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.
  • Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.
  • Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.

-Psalm 16:9 (HCSB, CEB, MSG, NET, NIV, ESV NKJV)

A secure person has healthy emotions –  healthy happiness and sadness, joy and anger.  Our heart is the seat or inner place of our love and our liver is the seat or inner place of our anger.  Healthy, normal people experience love and anger, and because of this, they walk securely.

Having God’s protection, living a life of worship towards God, loving your neighbor, declining to live in idolatry, making the Lord your life, receiving and living in your inheritance in contentment, receiving counsel from God even while sleeping, and living in 24-7 intimacy with God.  These all lead to or produce the fruit of a secure life, from the inside out, symbolized by a healthy heart and liver.

David says that three aspects of his life are good, and I looked at seven different translations, because the second part, aspect number two, is translated differently, in different translations.  He says his heart is good, and something else is good, and that his flesh, body, or life is good.  That something else is translated:

  • my spirit
  • my mood
  • my soul
  • I
  • my tongue
  • my whole being
  • my glory
The King James has “my glory”, as does the NASB and many other older translations.  But we simply do not say, “my glory rejoices”, today; so translators had to choose other words.  It probably tells us that the Hebrew is difficult or obscure here.
I found a note, in the NET Bible notes, that makes the case that this word, and they translate it “I”, is synonymous with liver.  Again, we do not exclaim, “my liver rejoices”, so no English translation says that, but the writers of the NET Bible notes make the exegetical and anthropological case that this is what the original statement meant.
We have to remember that we are in the West, but David and the other authors of the Bible lived in the East.  Sometimes people do fear-talk and say, “watch out for those eastern religions”, and  I imagine they have in mind Hinduism and Buddhism.   But Judaism is from the middle-east, and is closer to China and India than to London, New York, or Los Angeles.
Even though Continental Europe is closer than those, it’s western, modern ideas of psychology and medicine will not help us with Hebrew as much as looking at Eastern anthropology.  And, from Chinese medicine, we find out some things, from the eastern mind, about the liver.
Some of our bodies’ organs are connected to our emotions.  It is believed that the liver is connected to our anger.  How you feel, deal with, or process anger is connected to your liver.  When we have a weakened liver, it is more difficult to deal with anger.
Overeaters or compulsive overeaters often eat because something is eating at them, which is often anger or resentment.  Alcohol and drugs, including Tylenol, are hard on the liver.  Ironically, people take drugs and alcohol to cope with anger, and actually weaken their body’s built-in anger processor. 
Anger is a secondary emotion or a reaction.  Anger is healthy and normal.  A robust life includes healthy anger.  David might have been such a person: a passionate warrior who had fiery anger that regularly was processed through his inner man or liver.  He had a bright light, we could say.  He might have been a person who changed the atmosphere in a room or place, just by his presence, which included his passionate, fiery personality.
Anger includes irritability, resentment, and frustration.  We get these, but we do not stay in these, but process them; which is the inner role the liver plays in our body’s emotional processing system.  If we do not process or allow our system to process, or if our system is blocked somehow, and we can not process the anger that comes, then we have a back-log of anger and we become angry easier at smaller annoyances in our lives.
Headaches, dizziness, high blood pressure, stomach, and spleen problems can be the result of anger backed up in your insides.  There are actually about 100 conditions that could be connected to your liver’s health.
The liver is the blood filter.  The liver stores sugar, for energy.  The liver works for the growth and repair of the body’s tissues.
The liver is in charge of your body’s peripheral nervous system.  People with dysfunctional livers have difficulty relaxing and with balance.  Dysfunction also results in lack of drive, ambition, and creativity; and feelings of anger: frustration and rage for no reason.
The liver and gallbladder work hand-in-hand.  If one is unhealthy, it affects the function of the other.  A healthy life-style for one is helpful for the functioning of the other.
Most of these things are the negatives of an unhealthy liver.  But, in Psalm 16, David says, “my liver is great!”  So what are the positives about a healthy liver, that David must have been experiencing enough to say this?
In Chinese medicine, the liver is “the general”, or “the chief of staff”.  The liver is the general in charge of strategy.  We are talking about vision, planning, and creativity.  
A person with a healthy liver is vibrant in their kindness, benevolence, compassion, and generosity.  This reminds me of the fruit of the Spirit. A healthy liver function, according to Chinese medicine, results in the feelings of ease, harmony, and peace.  
The macro functional idea of the liver’s role is to make you go somewhere, to set you free to be creative, to live going out, up, and forward.  “Carpe diem!”, with peace, is what your liver wants to say.
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Bibliography

Net Bible, Liver
The Liver Doctor: Your Emotions Can Effect The Health of Your Liver
What Are The Seven Emotions?, by Shen Nong
Liver: Wood-energy yin organ

You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”

-Psalm 16:2 (ESV)
Photo: Pixabay
This is a word of dedication.  What or who are we dedicated to?  We dedicate and re-dedicate our selves and our lives to the Lord.
Christ the Lord is alive and his presence is with us as Christians.  He dwells in and among us, and in our Christian homes.  But there is a dynamic where we must practice his presence, as Brother Lawrence, in his book writes about.
Each day, we can sacramentalize the day, by invocation and dedication.  We are already made holy and set apart by God in Christ.  The question is, will we seek to walk in that?
The presence of Christ is part of the normal Christian life.  Religions and religious activity is when you only go somewhere to seek God, appease God, or worship God.  In Christianity, Christ is in you and walks with you everywhere you go and wants to be present in your home.
To forget the Lord all week, except at church and in your devotional or prayer times or at your small group, is to completely miss out on the life he wants you to have.  The life of Christ is, “hidden in plain site”.  He is available and present at your home and with you every where you go.  We just have to be aware of him.
We deliberately say, “You are my Lord.  Apart from you, I have nothing good.”
God wants me and you to understand, believe, and agree that He is Lord.  Lord means master, king, and the one I bow to.  He is Lord over everything in my life.  I have made him Lord and I continue to make him Lord.  I dedicate and rededicate myself to that solemn belief, “You are Lord”.
Do I believe that I can do good outside of the Lord?  No.  Since he is my Lord, all I have is his and all I have is from him.  Any good I can do is through him.
The stuff that I take part in that is not in him is not good.  What he is involved in, where his presence is in my life is where good is.  I want his presence in and with me always, so that he is there in everything I have and take part in.
When I say, “Apart from you, I have nothing good”, I am reminding myself that, “if he is not in it, it is not good”.  And I don’t want to be involved in things that are apart from him and not good.
Christianity is life in Christ, and life in Christ is not legalism and sin management.  Life in Christ is walking with Christ, learning to walk in Christ.  Like newborn babies, newborn Christians can not walk, but need to be held, nursed, and changed.
But that is a period of time which transitions to ‘toddling’, when people learn to walk.  Then, children learn balance, and so forth.  We learn to walk in and with Christ.
The walk and the life is the road of the Christian life, on which we learn as disciples.  It is an intentional thing.  We must continually exercise or will to walk.
Salvation is an event and a process.  We work out what he works in.  We continually exercise faith.
There is a paradox involved in that salvation is wholly his job, but it only works if we cooperate.  Sanctification and discipleship only work or take affect, when we cooperate.  We must willingly take up our crosses and willingly die to our selves.  We must willingly give up all to follow him.
When we say, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you”, solemnly, sincerely, and truly; it sets the stage for the Lord to move in your life.  If the Lord is not doing things in your life, it may be because you are not allowing him to be Lord.
And the scariest verse in the NT is perhaps where Jesus remarks about the ones who say, “Lord, Lord”, but he never knew them.  We can vainly say, “Lord”, while not making him Lord.  We can have doctrine and believe we are saved, but not walk with him.
Dedicate your self to the Lord.  Live in and walk in the reality of his presence.  Live in his life, where he does good.  Let him into your thoughts.  Let him into your pain, loneliness, and fear.

The Inexplicable Choice of Sorrow – Psalm 16:4

Evangelists“, by Yuri Avalishvili, CC BY-SA 3.0 

The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves (The sorrows of those who choose otherwise) will multiply (shall be multiplied); I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.
-Psalm 16:4 (HCSB (New Berkeley(1)))

Choices.  People make choices.  David says, in the midst of his words about choosing to follow and come under the protection, care, and benevolence of God, that many people choose otherwise.  They take another god or gods: little gods, or idols.  David observes how they pursue idolatry and how that lifestyle reaps a multiplication of sorrow in lives.

Sorrow is defined as:

A feeling of deep distress caused by loss, disappointment, or other misfortune suffered by oneself or others.

synonyms: sadness, unhappiness, misery, despondency, regret, depression,despair, desolation, dejection, wretchedness, gloom, dolefulness,melancholy, woe, heartache, and grief.

In the midst of ten other uplifting verses, verse 4 of Psalm 16 is the one sad one.  It does not seem to be a rebuke or a call to repentance for the people of God who have gone wayward and become spiritual adulteresses, but a “just saying”, matter-of-fact, or it-is-what-it-is, truthful assessment of the human race that the people of God are surrounded by.

I have not wanted to write on this verse, because it is ugly.  It is not good news.  The fact that people “choose otherwise” and “wed themselves” to another god, is repulsive to me.  It is distasteful and mind-blowing.

But, I get it, that we all need salvation and deliverance.  I was not born saved.  I had to be saved and set free.  I was deceived and in bondage.  Jesus saved and delivered me.  The thought of not serving him is distasteful, but I understand and have compassion for those who are deceived and in bondage.

Humans were designed for relationship with God, the one and only God.  That relationship involves bowing down to and coming under the reign of God, and receiving care from God.  We worship and serve God.  We obey God and live our lives before God with one another.  God is good and God is love, by the way.

God does not force people to come into relationship with him.  He relentlessly loves people who have not chosen him and is kind to them.  Yet, many people choose to wed themselves otherwise.  We are designed to be worshipers and serve God and be cared for by God.

We are Christ’s bride, as Christians; and in the OT, the people of God were metaphorically, God’s wife.  The idea is a covenant relationship where we have fidelity to God, and we are taken care of by God.

Folks who say, “no thanks”, to God, then and now, are choosing to be vulnerable to idolatry.  By choosing not to follow God, they are open to following someone else.  And who you follow is your “god”.

David observed the pagan religions of his geographic area, who did “drink offerings of blood”, and “spoke the names”.  This was the popular pagan idolatry that surrounded Israel.  David, in line with the OT commands, says, “I will not do that”.

Remember that the first of the 10 commandments is, “No other gods”, and the second is, “No graven images (carved idol or representation of a god used in worship)”.

Something we observe, is that if a person does not choose God, that they often choose “gods”.  It is easy to see this with people in other religions, especially ones that involve prayer and/or have statues (idols).

Sometimes, people who say they have ‘no religion’ are also choosing another god or gods.  That god or those gods are things like their self, humanism, or libertine-ism, for example.  Narcissism is a very popular religion today.  Money also gets a lot of worship.  And money is not the root of all evil, but the love of money is.

What David is saying in this side-note in Psalm 16, verse 4; is that these other paths that people choose, are paths of deep sorrow, sadness, and grief.  There is no happiness outside of the God of the Bible, the One God, The Creator, and His Christ.  Those outside, who have chosen others, can only distract themselves, get “mood altered”, be in more of a delusion, and be more and more deceived, becoming deceivers. Death, destruction, and massive heartache is their inheritance.

Those who choose otherwise and wed themselves to something else, are choosing against and are not wedding themselves to what David celebrates.  Let’s look at all of Psalm 16 one more time, to get the context.

Looking at the whole of Psalm 16: what Gods people get and what those who “pass” and choose sorrow:

A Davidic Miktam (secret treasure or golden songs (Ps. 16, 56-60))

Protect me, God, for I take refuge in You.
   I said to Yahweh, “You are my Lord; I have nothing good besides You.”
-Protection & refuge, all that is good comes from God.


As for the holy people who are in the land, they are the noble ones.
   All my delight is in them.
-God gives nobility to all his followers and we delight in them.

The sorrows of those who take another god for themselves will multiply;
   I will not pour out their drink offerings of blood, and I will not speak their names with my lips.

Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing;
   You hold my future.
      The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
      Indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
-God is our source, provider, and sustain-er; of a pleasant life and beautiful future.


I will praise the Lord who counsels me—
   Even at night my conscience instructs me.
-God’s children are taught my him.

I keep the Lord in mind always.
   Because He is at my right hand,
      I will not be shaken.
-A byproduct of encountering God is how we continually think, which affects how we feel and act.

Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices;
   My body also rests securely.
-Another byproduct is that we have continual gladness and a rejoicing spirit, and we are blessed with rest.

For You will not abandon me to Sheol;
   You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.
-Children of God are never abandoned or left to rot.

You reveal the path of life to me;
   In Your presence is abundant joy;
      In Your right hand are eternal pleasures.-The life in God is joy in abundance and authentic pleasure that never ends.

These underlined words and the notes in italics, are what those who choose another god do not get.  Instead, they get multiplied sorrows.  The question becomes, “If not choosing God is that bad and they don’t get all these good things, then how do they possible stay in it or not change their minds?”

The Bible says that sin is temporarily enjoyable (Heb. 11:25).  I think that the word “choose” is important.  People choose, people make choices over and over.

Previous posts on Psalm 16:

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Footnote
1. Berkeley Version note

Secure Living (Psalm 16:9)

“Down on his luck” by Frederick Mc Cubbin (PD-US)

Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely.

-Psalm 19:9 (HCSB)
Resting securely is a gift from God to all his children.

We need peaceful, restful sleep; and we also need rest while we are awake.  There is a time to work and a time to rest.  We don’t want to be restless.

David wrote may of his psalms when we was running from an enemy who wanted to kill him.  Although he was called to become king, David lived for a period of time as an outcast, in tents and caves, in the wilderness.  David lived in the opposite of the clear prophecy over his life.

David had good reasons to feel restless.  Restlessness is when you have too much adrenaline pumping through you, and you feel like you might have to flee danger.  When we read the history of David’s life, we can understand why he would struggle  with this issue.

Yet, David was able to rest securely.  The answer, from David, lies in the word “therefore”, that points up to what he wrote in the previous verses.  In other words, he says, “In light of this (what I just said)”.  Let’s find out what the “therefore” is there for.

These are the reasons that David can rest securely:

  1. Lord, You are my portion and my cup of blessing;
  2. You hold my future.  
  3. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
  4. I will praise the Lord who counsels me— even at night my conscience instructs me.
  5. I keep the Lord in mind always.  Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  

These five actions or relational manifestations from God upon David’s life and our live’s, give us security and secure rest.  We feel safe and we rest in safety, from God.

The Lord is your portion.

Our security, safety, and secure rest is in God.    Whatever other people have does not matter.  What matters is that you have God.  You are on a journey of appropriating God.  You are learning how to lay hold of your inheritance and to live in, by, and through it.

God holds our futures.

We don’t have to worry about or try to control the future, because God holds our futures.  He is very big on futures.  I need to walk into my future with God, who is and has my inheritance.

God has a ‘lot’ for each one of us.  God has made each of us uniquely fit for a life within certain boundaries.  God knows where you fit in this world and wants to place you there.  God gives us spheres of influence and has a geographic plan for our lives.
Contentment is an important value.  Many poor people are content and many rich people are discontent.  Finding God’s assigned boundary lines for your life brings contentment.
Inheritance is a big deal in the Bible.

We are supposed to pass on an inheritance to our grandchildren.  It says “children’s children”, because your inheritance from your parents is not for you to spend, but to pass on to your children.  You can spend or enjoy it, but it is meant to be something you enjoy and then pass on.  The idea is land, houses, and farms or vineyards.  Spending it all on your pleasures is not the wise or godly thing to do.

Inheritance also is the important qualities that you pass on.  I learned in family counseling school to look at a person’s grandparents and great-grandparents, if possible, to discern the root cause of a problem cropping up in a person’s life today.  A blessing or a curse may have come down as an inheritance, from a person’s previous generations.
It is an insight to keep in mind that there are invisible negative inheritances that are active in a person’s life that need to be dealt with by appropriating the blood of Jesus and his resurrection life.
An active, ongoing, intimate relationship with God.

The next thing that leads to a life of secure living, is having an active, ongoing, intimate relationship with God.  Every believer needs to be receiving counsel from God.  Your sleep should be a time when your spirit is free to rest in God and receive counsel.  The reigns of your heart should be tugged at and shaped in the night while you sleep.  This is your inheritance.

Practice the presence of God.

Lastly, we live securely – we are not insecure, because we practice the presence of God.  This too is the inheritance of all Christians.  Remember when Jesus said to the first disciples, “I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming to you”, and he was talking about the Spirit of God, who is abiding with us and in us (John 14:17-18).  

We can not forget the third member of The Trinity.  The Christian life is impossible without having a relationship day by day, with the Spirit of God.  This is the inheritance of every believer and without him, your life will be very anemic.
Every insecure feeling is an opportunity to grow in God.

Every neurotic fear that comes up is an opportunity for growth.  A neurotic fear is when we over-react or over-control, incongruously to the challenge faced.  A fear, anxiety, or worry may be completely not neurotic, as in real and authentic.  For example, fear of not having money or fear of death.  We have our anchor of our being in God.  We want that anchor to also be a power line that connects us, with our fear or anxiety, to God.  

If I am insecure and if my rest is being robbed by anxiety; salvation, healing, or freedom may be had from Christ.  The good news is good news for my whole past and even my family line.  The man who beat his wife and children, then got saved, had to learn to apply salvation to that violence that his daddy and granddaddy taught him.
By the same token, some of us need to learn to apply the gospel and salvation, healing, and deliverance to our histories, that affect our restlessness today.  It may be hard to face the original pain, suffering, loss, or abuse.  But, we need to give him all those painful memories.
Someone coined the phrase, “If you can’t feel it, you can’t get it healed”, and that is true.  When the over-reacting happens, or the need for control due to a fear of being out of control, or when the need hits to self-medicate to stop the pain.  When the insecurity hits, we need to close our eyes (if you are not driving) and learn to bring Christ to the feeling, as in letting him into that dark room.
This is the ending stanza of Psalm 16, beginning with verse 9:

Therefore
My heart is glad
And my spirit rejoices;
My body also rests securely.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol;
You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.
You reveal the path of life to me;
In Your presence is abundant joy;
In Your right hand are eternal pleasures.

I have previously written on Psalm 16:

Psalm 16:7
Psalm 16:7 (a second, different one)
Footnote:

The NIV Study Bible notes state that, Psalm 16 is “A prayer for safekeeping”, and “A psalm of trust”, and the title, “A miktam is a term that remains unexplained, though it always stands in the superscription of Davidic  prayers occasioned by great danger (see Ps. 56-60)”

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For further study:
Two Hours to Freedom: A Simple and Effective Model for Healing and Deliverance by Charles H. Kraft
The Practice of The Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
Healing by Francis Macnutt
Healing The Wounded Spirit by John and Paula Sandford

Prayer Book – Psalm 16

Keep me safe, O mighty God, I run for dear life to you, my Safe Place.

So I say to the Lord God, You are my Maker, my Mediator, and my Master.  You don’t need my “goodness,” for I have none apart from you.

And he said to me, “My holy lovers are wonderful, my majestic ones, my glorious ones, fulfilling all my desires.”

Yet, there are those who yield to their weakness, and they will have troubles and sorrows unending.  I will never gather with such ones, nor give them honor in any way.

Lord, I have chosen you alone as my inheritance.  You are my prize, my pleasure, and my portion.  I leave my destiny and its timing in your hands.

Your pleasant path leads me to pleasant places.  I’m overwhelmed by the privileges that come from following you, for you have given me the best!

The way you counsel and correct me makes me praise you more; for your whispers in the night give me wisdom, showing me what to do next.

Because you are close to me and always available, my confidence will never be shaken, for I experience your wrap-around presence every moment.

My heart and my soul explode with joy – full of glory!  Even my body will rest confident and secure.

For you will not abandon me to the realm of death, nor will you allow your holy one to experience corruption.

For you will bring me a continuous revelation of resurrection life, the path of bliss that brings me face-to-face with you.
-Psalm 16 (The Passion Translation)

The book of Psalms is the prayer book of the church. Psalm 16 is a prayer for today.  I hope that these words, translated in current English, by Brian Simmons, will touch your hearts and give you inspiration, as you pray today.

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I believe that the artwork above is by Claude Monet.

Blessing God and Being Guided

I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me.

-Psalm 16:7 (NLT)
This verse contains a spiritual principle, that we receive counsel or guidance (leading) from God; after we first bless or praise him.  And, our innermost being, or the seat of our emotions, will get it, and fall into line.
We are blessed and are being blessed by God.  It is the state we live in.  We say, “I am so blessed”, or, “you are so blessed”.  When we give someone our blessing, we are saying, “amen”, or “may it go well with you”, or more specifically, “I say, may it go well with you”.  That is also what is meant when we say, “God bless you”, when someone sneezes.
But, what about blessing the Lord?  God does not need our encouragement.  Blessing God, is a lifestyle of being thankful and praising him always.  We do give God permission and we do welcome him and we do make a royal road for the king, with our praise, thanks, and blessings towards God.
So, to bless God or to say, “Lord, I bless you”, is right.  Notice that it says, “I will”.  It is something you will to do.  It takes an effort.  Blessing God is a gift to give him, just like when we bless people.
We bless God first, then the guidance, instruction, or counsel comes to us.  Our will blessing God, opens the way to our receiving guidance or instruction.  We will thank him for the instruction and it is a circle.  But the circle begins or is started  by God being God, glorious and a blessing in being.  We, then praise God, and the way begins to open to our deepest innermost beings getting instructed, even chastised.
A side note is that it happens at night.  It does not say in your sleep.  But the night is when we sleep, so it can happen in our sleep.  Night is when the lights are off, when the sun is down, and when we do not see as much with our physical eyes.

We can have very good times with people at night, seeing them with candles or oil lamps, and today, with electric lights.  But things slow down at night.  We are getting ready to sleep and we may be up, while others sleep, so things are quieter.

The night is also symbolic of the dormant time, when there is less activity.  Perhaps the psalmist is remarking that in addition to being counseled or guided by God, his own inner man, innermost seat of his emotions aligned his life with the plan of God.

It may be like a chastisement to one’s life that is out of alignment with God’s plan, or it might be a confirmation from the well of the depths of the heart, saying, “that’s true and right”.  And we might need it to be night, for the heart to be able to have a voice, because during the day, some of our minds chatter so much, and our eyes and ears constantly take in distractions from what God wants for us and what our hearts can bear witness to.

We follow God with our hearts.  It says, “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov. 3:5).  The only time that God speaks to the mind to explain or get us straight, is when we are in sin, and he says, “come let us reason together; though you sin be as scarlet…”(Isa. 1:18).

We follow God by faith with our heart, which informs our mind.  We don’t follow or decide with our minds (1 Cor. 2:14).  Our mind or reason might not think we should worship or praise God.  We might deduce that God does not need it or require it.  But our hearts and continually filled with exuberance towards God and want to praise him continually.

Having the Spirit of God in us, renews our minds.  Renewal of the mind, brings the mind to a place where it can hear God, and renewal of the mind happens when we thank God (Rom. 1:21), and the mind begins to be governed by God’s Spirit (Rom. 8:6).

When our minds are in the place of being renewed, we can receive counsel and guidance from God (Rom. 12:1-2).  This is like what Psalm 16:7 is touching on.

We bless God.  At the end of the day, do you take stock of whether you blessed God today?  Bless God before you go to sleep, to cap off your day and kick off your rest.

We bless God throughout our day and we are guided or counseled by God, then we bless God some more.  We bless and are guided and we bless because we are guided.  We have continual thankfulness in our hearts.  And the fruit of the Spirit helps us to be thankful.

In addition, our hearts, that have God’s blueprint in them or God’s design for each one of us, is unlocked by God, and God’s wisdom flows through our hearts to our minds, that are being renewed, and we get night classes or instruction, from the Lord.

So, it began with God.  We are now here and have the opportunity to bless God or praise him.  That’s where is starts in our lives.  Our lives are a life of praise and blessing.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

When you bless God, you have come into the place where you can learn, which happens in our hearts.

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I found the above picture here.

My Inheritance: The Lord

LORD, you alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing. You guard all that is mine.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
You hold my lot.

-Psalm 16:5 (NLT, ESV)
This verse says that my inheritance is the Lord, plus nothing.  What that means is that I may be rich or poor, have large amounts of stuff or little, and it does not matter.  What matters is that I have the Lord in my life and he has me.  This is personal and intimate.

This is what I now see here.  I would never want to discount the Lord himself being my inheritance, chosen for me.  The Lord has a destiny, a calling, and a design that is personally fitted for me (and for you too).

But, that destiny, calling, and design gift is not outside or beside the Lord.  It is in the Lord.  I can say, and I want to say, every day; “Lord, you are my portion in this life”.  Knowing him is my greatest desire.  I want to see him.  I want to hear him.  I want to watch him do.  I want to let him live through me.

The Lord is my inheritance, means that I get to spend the rest of my life gaining Christ, knowing him experiential-ly, that is intimately.  I get to explore and learn faith.  This is the land I get to live in.  The land I get to live in is Christ land.  It is also the land of mercy and grace.  His land is also called love land.  The highway to and through his land is called cross roads.

I get to experience contentment.  The world does not know contentment.  I get to walk with the one who has wisdom and power to solve any problem.  I get to be with the one who gives me peace that passes all understanding.

Jesus came, so that we could have life, his life, living in us.  My inheritance is that I get to walk with God and let him love me.  I get to spend my life knowing him (getting to know him).

Knowing God is a privilege that we get to explore, like Lewis and Clark, or Columbus, or The Pioneers.  We also get to watch over what we have and pass it on to others, specifically our children.

Knowledge of God is discovered in our personal passion for God.  We also get to share it, which is a blessing to those who hear and see.  Each person much dig their own well and explore their own territory, in the Lord.  We are blessed and encouraged by others stories, but we have to live out our own personal histories with God.

We get to spend our inheritance, writing checks on the bank in heaven.  What I mean by that is that we get to pray for God’s will to be done as it is in heaven.  We get to ask for the kingdom of heaven to come on earth and the financing for that comes from the Lord’s bank.

We also get to live by faith as a dimension of the spending we get to do.  We get to exercise faith.   That faith is in a person.  Exercising faith is a dimension of our inheritance.  It is not enough to believe, but we must act on our belief.

The life, our lives, as Christians, has always been about knowing Christ and making him known.   It is more than just knowing about him and being in the crowd.  Getting to know him is not only knowing about him, but knowing him in your life, as in, “what God has done, or is doing, in your life”.  What is God doing in your life?

Jesus said that he came that we might have life.  Christianity is not just looking forward to going to heaven some day.  Christianity is about living with and in Christ on earth, today.  Jesus came that we might live now, and forever, in him.  He did not come to just give us tickets to heaven.

Sometimes we are like children who want Santa for the gifts he gives or the toy maker for the toys he gives.  It is interesting that the father in the story of the two sons (Luke 15), does give the younger one his inheritance money early and let him spend it and leave home.

Like that young man, we can have the wrong attitude toward God and want the gifts, rather than the giver.  We can also live good lives and never enjoy our selves in it, like the older brother.  He was not experiencing an enjoyable relationship with his father.

The way it works is that we decide how close we want to be to God.  The Lord is our inheritance, but we have to explore it, share it, and spend it.  You’ve got the gift, what are you waiting for?

(I previously wrote some other thoughts about this verse (Psalm 16:5) and subject of inheritance, here, and here.)

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The artwork above is by Cathy Freeman.

Keep me Safe

Keep me safe, O God, for I have come to you for refuge.
-Psalm 16:1

The book of Psalms is the prayer book of the church.  We are in error, if we think that we can let our untransformed hearts lead the way, in prayer.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote about this:

“We confuse wishes, hopes, sighs, laments, rejoicings–all of which the heart can do by itself–with prayer. And we confuse earth and heaven, man and God. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. It means rather to find the way to God and to speak with him, whether the heart is full or empty. No man can do that by himself. For that he needs Jesus Christ.” -Bonhoeffer, Psalms

When I was at my lowest point in life, the most depressed and hopeless, I still was able to put some small hope in God.  Looking back, I realize that my spirit was alive.  Even though my life was crashing, my spirit was able to get guidance from heaven.

My spirit was able to receive prayer instructions.  I got the idea to pray, “keep me safe”, or, “please watch over me while I am driving”.  Looking back, I was very vulnerable to having a horrible car accident.  We are always vulnerable, but this was my collision course, planned by the enemy.

I was backslidden, I had not repented, although I was slowly getting the idea to.  The Holy Spirit was moving through my spirit, his kindness was operating in my life (Rom. 2:4).  The idea I got was to pray to be kept safe.

God answered my prayer.  He kept me safe, even though I drove in reckless, very foolish, danger.  Even when disciplinary action came to me, if was with great kindness.  Don’t get me wrong, I needed to be kept safe before and after that season, but there was a special unction or prodding to pray, “keep me safe”, at that time.

In Christ, Not Shaken

I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

-Psalm 16:8 (ESV)
It is a discipline for every Christian to learn to lead the way of their lives with the Lord.  Jesus is Lord, but we have to make him Lord and walk with him as Lord, every day in every situation.  
We have to set the Lord in front in our lives continually.  Jesus is the great counterbalance to all the challenges in your life.

“Come unto me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
-Matt. 11:28-30

When you reach for strength in your life, draw on Christ.  You are weak and he is strong.  He is not shaken and you in him will not be shaken.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
-John 15:5

Abiding in Jesus Christ is the Christian’s life.  To live in and by Christ, you must abide in him.  You must intentionally, continually, breathe Jesus into your self.  It becomes second nature, but you must train yourself and you only finish the training when you die.

“I have set the Lord always before me.”

There is a principal that what you gaze upon, you will become.  What have you been looking at?  Are you continually putting Jesus before your eyes and gazing upon him and becoming like him, or are you constantly looking upon something else?

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
-2 Cor. 3:18

When you set the Lord before you and draw life from him, as a rock, and you are not shaken; it is not an add-on, but a takeover.  Remember that the one who builds his life on the rock and survives the storms is the one who puts Jesus words into practice (Matt. 7:24).

Jesus is called The Lord because he is God.  Lord means all.  He is Lord, but will I continually make him Lord?  My faith requires action to be proven real.  Here comes a challenge.  Will I set Jesus Christ, my Lord, before my self as the counterbalance?  I die on my cross and the risen Christ lives my life.  If he is set before me and at my right hand, being the one I draw life from, I will not be shaken.  That is good news.

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I borrowed the photo above from here.

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