Abnormal Desires (Psalms 119:20)

Many years ago, I watched a television program that attempted to point out the absurdity of some of our inborn desires. It depicted a large auditorium filled with an audience all gathered for a special unveiling. On the stage was an elegantly draped table with a gleaming silver platter covered by a matching dome. The host, resplendent in a black tuxedo, surveyed the anxious crowd. With a deft flip of his wrist, he lifted the dome to reveal the hidden treasure. It was a sandwich! The audience gasped and shrieked in adulation!

The point of the show was to illustrate how simple desires like hunger can go awry and become distorted, even abnormal. When I saw this example over thirty years ago, I was quite certain this behavior would be considered ludicrous. Yet, the popularity of food shows that many of us, including myself, watch, is a testimony that what I once thought was an abnormal desire, is now accepted. It is an endless barrage of chefs preparing their signature dishes, often competing with one another. Every step, every ingredient, every technique, is scrutinized and then re-analyzed. Food Porn is mainstream.

Who decides which desires are good or bad, necessary or extreme? The billionaires who run the social media companies? The Food Network? Our politicians? Ourselves? Are there any noble desires?

I am always overwhelmed with a desire for your regulations. 

Psalms 119:20 (NLT)

God created us with desires. Without it, we would cease to exist. We would not care for our own needs or those of others. God also gives us the freedom to pursue and fulfill our desires by our own volition. We can allow our desire to eat to run wild to the excesses of food porn. In the verse quoted above, the Psalmist states that his overwhelming desire is to follow God’s laws and regulations. If we are given freedom to pursue our own desires, why would God want us to follow His laws and regulations? Why would we do this? 

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires. 

Psalms 37:4 (NLT)

God created us with desires and He also knows how to best fulfill them. We must recognize that our desires are not an end to itself, they were given to lead us to a deeper relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Only by delighting in a relationship with Him will all our desires be fulfilled.

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Your Servant (Psalms 119:91)

“You may be an ambassador to England or France

You may like to gamble, you might like to dance

You may be the heavyweight champion of the world

You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

It may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
Taken from “Gotta Serve Somebody” by Bob Dylan

This Grammy award winning song, penned by the great singer-songwriter, Bob Dylan, in 1979, underscores an uncomfortable truth. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we all serve somebody. One may defiantly state that they bow down to no one, but unless one lives totally off the grid, on an uncharted and deserted island, there is still someone to whom they must answer. Our Lord Jesus elevated this truth and declared that it was not only a person; we may become enslaved to any possession or desire that takes the place of God.

No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money. 

Matthew 6:24 (NLT)

Many years ago, I attended a Bible conference where the Pastor bluntly stated to the attendees, “If you are not serving God, you are serving the devil.” At that time, I was shocked, even offended, and looking around the room confirmed that others felt likewise. As harsh a statement that this was, there was an uncomfortable truth. If I am not serving God, then who am I serving? If I claim to be a Christian, shouldn’t I embrace this?

Your regulations remain true to this day, for everything serves your plans. 

Psalms 119:91 (NLT)

Regardless of whether one acknowledges this fact, God created us and everything serves His plans. You gotta serve somebody. Why not follow God who can save your soul, grant you eternal life, and allow you to share in the unimaginable glory of Heaven?

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Iomega (Matthew 24:35)

Who remembers Iomega?

Iomega was once one of the leading manufacturers of portable computer storage drives. Their most popular product, known as a Zip Drive, competed directly with the computer floppy disk, at that time, the ubiquitous but limited technology to store and transport data. Peaking in popularity at the beginning of the millennium, its technology was quickly supplanted by CDs and DVDs and by 2008, it was bought by another large computer company and has subsequently been discontinued. The other day, I found dozens of Zip Drives, once used to back up now defunct computers. I also found a cache of products like mouse pads, all emblazoned with the Iomega logo. 

In less than twenty years, a technology once considered cutting edge is obsolete. It doesn’t take much effort to think about other technologies relegated to the junk heap of obsoletism. Typewriters, tape recorders, video cassettes-what is next? 

Some cynics state that the Christian Church is destined for obsoletism. Recent surveys have documented that church attendance has steadily declined in all denominations, inclusive of both liberal and conservative churches. One could analyze the data and contend that the decline of active church going Christians is simply a reflection of attendees who were never true believers and only attending because of family, peer, or cultural pressures. Perhaps, but the data shows that the problem is far deeper and many are completely denying God or accepting non-Christian concepts such as reincarnation and the absence of hell. Fanning the flames is social media which demonizes Christians as narrow minded, exclusive, and privileged. 

The Christian Church is growing but not in North America, Western Europe, or Australia. It is growing in areas where there is active persecution of Christians. We do not hear of it in the mainstream media because these churches operate in secrecy, outlawed by their governments and subject to persecution by other religious groups, fearful of losing their own followers. 

Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear. 

Matthew 24:35 (NLT)

We are in a time of rapid change, occurring within technology and our societal and moral values. Obsolescence is the norm. The casual observer may think the same thing is happening to Christianity, but look beyond the headlines, and one will discover that the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ, is alive, active, and growing. The good news is the Church will never disappear nor become obsolete because God created it. He is eternal and omnipotent. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Harassment (Psalms 119:161)

There is an interesting phenomenon occurring in many contemporary media productions. Underrepresented minorities are increasingly being portrayed in positions of authority and importance. From women presidents to minority professionals represented as CEOs of major corporations, it is a welcome change and creates positive role models for many disenfranchised groups. However, this change is frequently accompanied with whites and Christians being portrayed as oppressive, bigoted and misogynistic. When I pointed out this trend to a colleague, he cynically sniffed, “It’s payback for all these years those two groups have oppressed others.”

Isn’t it possible to portray formerly disenfranchised groups in positive role models and not demonize other groups? In this current environment, it seems unlikely. Whether it is deserved or not, it is still harassment.

The history of the world is riddled with examples of different groups of people oppressing others and being oppressed. The current climate that targets Christians has been repeated many times since Jesus Christ walked the earth. What should the response of Christians be to this continued harassment?

Powerful people harass me without cause, but my heart trembles only at your word. 

Psalms 119:161 (NLT)

Whom do we fear? Powerful people do control much of what we see, read, and hear. Whether it is through social media or manipulating data through artificial intelligence. Do we tremble at the power and influence that they may wield in our lives? Do we surrender to these dark forces or is there a better answer?

In my distress I prayed to the LORD, and the LORD answered me and set me free. The LORD is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? 

Psalms 118:5-6 (NLT)

The verses from these two Psalms were written when the Jews returned to Jerusalem after seventy years of exile in Babylon. They were defeated and defenseless, re-entering a city with broken walls, a destroyed temple, and surrounded by former enemies who continually harassed them. Their situation was dire. Yet, they remained steadfast and turned to the only source of comfort that had sustained them since the beginning of time. They remembered the promises of God, how He led them out of captivity from the Egyptians, the Philistines, and the Babylonians. They reoriented their priorities. They only had to fear God, not man! With God on their side, who can be against them? 

The world will continue to change but harassment of Christians will always remain. Our Lord Jesus Christ warned us of this when He walked the earth. Like the Jews who clung to the promises of God, we must cling to the promises of Jesus Christ who said He would never leave nor forsake us. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Comparing Oneself (Psalms 119:5-6)

Many years ago, the pastor of the church I was attending challenged each of us to reflect upon our values and actions, especially with respect to one another. Do we ever compare ourselves to others in our spiritual lives? At first I was taken aback by the question. No, I would never do that! Why would he ask this? The Pastor candidly began the discussion and confessed that he often struggled with this issue. Sometimes he thinks that other pastors are more eloquent preachers or more knowledgeable about the Bible. Other times, he thinks that others should spend more time praying and serving. As I listened in amazement, I realized that I have not been honest with myself. I was just as judgmental and compared myself to others. 

Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, coined this amusing observation, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Comparing oneself to others is more often the norm than the exception. The Bible strikes at the heart of this issue. 

…for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? 

1 Corinthians 3:3 (NLT)

Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.

Psalms 119:5-6 (NLT)

I am a sinner, hopelessly lost in my transgressions. I battle with petty jealousies, quarrel over insignificant issues, and I can still deceive myself, thinking I am better than others. The only legitimate comparison is when I compare myself to God. When I do, the depth of my depravity is laid bare and I realize that I still allow myself to be controlled by my sinful nature. God saved me to serve Him and serve others, not to show that I am better. Whatever skills and talents God has blessed me with should be used to uplift and encourage others to seek God. 

How desperately I need Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Party Center (Psalms 119:36-37)

Whoopee cushion. Party poppers. Magic tricks.

It was all found at Party Center.

When I was growing up, the Party Center was located in our hometown’s major shopping center. Whenever we visited this shopping center, I always insisted my parents take me to this store. It was eye candy and I could spend hours perusing the various items. However, I was always drawn to one item: Morning Breeze. It was an interesting concoction that was bottled in a small elegant bottle mimicking an expensive perfume. However, upon opening it, it smelled like rotten eggs. I was strangely delighted by this and would save my allowance to purchase a bottle whenever I was able, pranking unsuspecting adults. 

I no longer have any of the items that I purchased nor do I know what happened to them. OF course, all of these items can still be found online or in similar novelty stores. Thankfully, I do not have the same eagerness to purchase these worthless things. Yet, have I replaced them with other items? I do not purchase bottles of Morning Breeze but I am a sucker to make impulse purchases when I watch an infomercial for the latest new fangled cooking utensil or a pillow that is guaranteed to induce a restful sleep. 

Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money! Turn my eyes from worthless things, and give me life through your word. 

Psalms 119:36-37 (NLT)

God intended this Bible verse to instruct me. The passage of time has not really changed me. I still am vulnerable to trivial distractions. Likewise, in my spiritual life, I still fall victim to things that take my eyes off of God and rob me of the abundant life that God intends for me. Praise God for His grace and mercy to me. He is faithful to me even when I am not. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Sleep Aid (Psalms 119:148)

For the past three years, I have had difficulty falling asleep and remaining asleep. My problem is common and it is well known that as we age, problems with sleep increase. I have tried numerous sleep aids and while they have helped a little, I believe it is a more profound problem than aging or a physiological change. Many nights, I find myself anxious about what I need to do for the next day or pondering unresolved issues from the previous week. The anxiousness is always exacerbated on Sunday evenings, anticipating the next workday after a weekend of rest.  In a way, it is related to age since the longer I live, the more the problems accumulate. 

I stay awake through the night, thinking about your promise. 

Psalms 119:148 (NLT)

An anonymous person penned these sage words. “The average person is crucifying himself between two thieves: the regrets of yesterday and the worries about tomorrow.”

Truth, indeed.

How I wish that during the nights when I cannot sleep, I would think about God and His promises that He always keeps rather than drowning in my problems and potential failures that may occur. Why stop there? Every moment of the day, I should be thinking about His promises; the ones that He has fulfilled and the ones that He will deliver. God is able to keep what I have entrusted to Him. If I give Him my anxieties, He will deal with them and give me peace. 

I don’t need a sleep aid. I need to rest in God. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Straining To See (Psalms 119:82)

“Now read the letters back to me.”

I strained to make out the letters in the fifth line.


The optometrist took some notes. We tried another line with my same hesitating results. The diagnosis was clear. I needed glasses. I could not believe it. I was only eight years old, I’m too young for glasses, I naively thought. Not too young, as I soon learned. Both of my parents wore glasses at a similar young age. I have worn glasses nearly my entire life. With rare exceptions, with each passing year, my prescription worsens. For many years, it was nearsightedness. After age forty, presbyopia reared its ugly head and I had difficulty focusing on objects and words directly in front of me. Now I wear glasses with progressive lenses, replete with four different prescriptions to accommodate my weakened near and far vision. My only comfort is a wonderful optometrist who expertly corrects my failing vision. Now, if only my spiritual vision was not as impaired!

My eyes are straining to see your promises come true. When will you comfort me? 

Psalms 119:82 (NLT)

God’s promises are always before me, so why do I act as if I am both nearsighted and presbyopic, straining to see them? My eye vision has become my spiritual vision. God blesses me with so many immediate promises, yet how often do I take them for granted? Other times, His promises take years to fulfill and I grow impatient waiting, thinking He has forgotten me. Instead of glasses, God comforts me by sharpening my spiritual vision. As I yield my life to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, He conforms me to His image so that I may view life from His lofty perspective rather than through my blurred vision.

What a glorious God we serve!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Passport2Purity (Psalms 119:9)

When my daughter entered middle school, my wife spent a weekend alone with her. They undertook a study known as “Passport2Purity”.  Created by the Christian organization, Family Life, this study encourages a father to meet with his son or a mother to meet with their daughter, ideally spending a weekend together. The objective of the study is to establish a strong relationship between the parent, child, and God as they enter the difficult years of adolescence and are faced with the very adult issues of sex, bullying, and online stalking. 

What was shared between my daughter and my wife was for their ears alone. While I reviewed the material and found it to be Biblically sound, I trusted God to bless their time together and created a solid foundation for my daughter, to navigate the challenges of adolescence and the transition to adulthood. 

How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 

Psalms 119:9 (NLT)

If we, as parents, are proactive to address issues like sexual and moral purity from God’s perspective, it will do much to combat the world’s barrage of moral and ethical relativism that innundate our children and encourage a carnal lifestyle. The world states, “If it feels good, do it.” God turns this around and states, “If you obey my Word, it is Good.”

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. 

Proverbs 22:6 (NLT)

There are no guarantees in my life. I am thankful that my wife and daughter took the time to do the study. However, this study is only the beginning. As parents, we need to continually pray for our children, directing them onto the right path to God. This is the passport to purity and it is based upon obedience to God and His Word.


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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Letter of Recommendation (Psalms 119:55)

When I am asked to write a letter of recommendation, I always include a personal story about the applicant that attempts to paint an intimate portrayal, one that accurately depicts the person.  I seek to provide a unique insight, something that cannot be gleaned from reading a transcript. Similarly, when I read a letter of recommendation, I am looking for the same thing. If I read a letter that simply regurgitates the person’s grades and their activities, it is meaningless. It tells me that either the person writing the letter did not really know the person, did not have anything good to say, or was a poor choice to write a letter. Sometimes, it is all of the above. 

A letter of recommendation is a reflection of the person. It is written for the purpose of encouraging the reader to positively act and hire the person for the position to which they are applying. When I read a good letter, it will encourage me to act. What about God? When I reflect upon Him, what is my response?

I reflect at night on who you are, O LORD; therefore, I obey your instructions. 

Psalms 119:55 (NLT)

Like a letter of recommendation, when I reflect upon God, it should motivate me to act. If it doesn’t, it should be a stark warning that I do not know God as well as I think I do. God’s nature and character are perfect. I am an abject sinner. When reflecting upon His pure holiness, it should motivate me to confess and repent of my sins and reaffirm my love for Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. 


Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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