Preparing For Life’s Chaos: A Devotional Meditation on Psalm 1 by Ken Bradford

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As I begin my day, I am faced immediately with the choice of who or what will have influence over my life. My soul almost boasts with its pride, for how well it is schooled in God’s truth, and my mind knows too, the sweet benefits of being in God’s presence. Years of training are a guarantee that my heart knows well what way I should go. But I am also weak, easily distracted with the trivial. I am overly impressed with material things. I am weighed down with many concerns. I am too wrapped up in my own plans for the day and the days to come.

These are the moments I must ignore my precious humanness, my concerns and impressions about my day, and make Psalms 1, my anti-distraction agent. In  verses 1 and 2 of Psalms 1, I am warned to avoid the influence of sinners. I am to shun the way the wicked go and avoid mockers. My whole being must be completely immersed in God, as the Psalmist writes, “Blessed is the one…whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalms 1: 1a & 2

As I remember this truth, my day takes a turn for the better. I smile at the day with a new confidence. I rejoice in finding my place of contentment. Then my bus is late. Because my bus is late, when it finally arrives, there are no seats. I stand for the thirty minute ride to work. At work, the mockers have already made their presence known, chiding me in an email, for some minor detail I left out of a project. The gossipers and maligners seem louder than usual today and I can’t remember if I paid my credit card bill yesterday. My boss is frenetic with worry, as the deadline on our project that seemed so far away last week, is now a very present beast ready to consume us.

My day is swallowed up in chaos. Psalms 1 speaks to this blaring din of faithlessness. In verses 4 – 5 and 6b the Psalmist writes: “Not so the wicked, they are like chaff, that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the way of the righteous…but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”

Thanks to the loving guidance of Christ Jesus, I can begin to rejoice, (James 1:1-4), as I am tested, tried and retrained every day on the truth embedded in Psalm 1. It isn’t that I am not learning, its just my faith grows and then requires a bigger test, to grow more. But with every test, I am reminded that there is no righteousness in me except through Jesus. Romans 3:10-12

If it wasn’t for Jesus, and His sacrifice to redeem my life from sin and death, I would be the sinner, the mocker, the gossip, the chaff blown away by the wind. It is Jesus who is the author and finisher of my faith. Romans 8:1-4

As the chaos of my work environment swirls around me, I sit down with my journal and my strategically posted scriptures in my work station, and I take a moment with eyes closed, to praise God. I feel the stream of water rise up around the tops of my shoes, and then my ankles, and finally my legs, as in verse 3 of Psalms 1, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither -whatever they do prospers.”

With this assurance from Psalms 1, and Jesus, my Lord and savior, and the Holy Spirit, I am made a force against the steps of the sinners and a challenger of those who mock. I am humbled by my Lord’s visible hand, as the chaos subsides, and Kingdom wisdom begins to exert itself over every enemy and evil plot that has been set up around me.

This is every day with my Lord, now. There were days such as these in my past that did crush me. I was often taken to the brink of madness. But through Christ Jesus and His promise to abide with me, I am able to be like the fruitful tree in Psalms 1. Jesus said, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit;..” John15:4-5

My confidence now springs from the river of life, Jesus, for it is he who is the Word, John 1:1-4, that I abide in day and night. Like a tree planted by the river of life, my roots are saturated in the streams of water that now cause me to produce nutrients for others.

(Scripture references are from the New International Version of the Bible)

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