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Rules! As a child we are confronted with rules, rules, rules. Rules about how to play, how to dress, where to sit, stand, and walk and even rules about when to sleep. Each rule can seem completely disjointed from the other and the context for why a rule exists is often clouded in “because I told you” or if you grew up in my parents’ home, “because I am your father/mother”. As you grow older, the consequences to breaking those rules are more threatening but at least the reasons for the rules become a little more clear.


Many view Christianity by the rules that are imposed on them from the Scriptures. The rules become commands or admonitions, or pick your Christian sounding term for them: they close off options that would otherwise be open. 


In Psalm 16, David describes the “rules” of Scripture completely different. Instead of being the confines that take away freedom, he declares; “You [God] make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” How can rules be life-giving? How can constraints be viewed as joyful? There is only one way. God must have my best interest at heart AND communicate His will to me on how to behave and know that through obedience I can unlock the joy He desires me to have experientially.


God doesn’t want me to obey for obedience sake, or so I could make Him look good. He desires my heart to long for Him – for His very presence so that I can experience (not just know) the path of life. Not the survival kind of “life” but the pleasures forevermore kind of life.


May you experience God’s presence today and may your 2019 be the fullest of joy and essence of pleasures evermore.




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Psalm 133 “How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.”


My wife and I have three boys and there is absolutely nothing better in this world than when they get along. Especially on a trip. Especially on a trip in a car over a great distance.


The compiler of the psalms tells us that the context of this song is on the ascent to Jerusalem to celebrate one of the special feast. Traveling a great distance with family, walking in close proximity, probably in a crowd of people, keeping up with who is where, who needs help, where we are going, what will we eat, how much further, all of these are probably the same from my family to the Jews returning to worship. Most trips have their moments of anxiety, frustrations, and disappointments. But on the special moments when family members are looking out for one another, when your interest is firmly focused on others, those are the moments of greatest joy.


This Christmas season, I pray that you will take the opportunity to step back from family gatherings and see your siblings delighting in one another and you will experience the peace of knowing the God who gives grace and life everlasting.


Merry Christmas!



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