Smoking Ruins Your Life
Lord of heaven, You are my life. Help me to find all my hope in You and You alone.
Read Psalm 119:73-96
י Yodh Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.  May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word.  I know, LORD, that your laws are righteous, and that in faithfulness you have afflicted me.  May your unfailing love be my comfort, according to your promise to your servant.  Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.  May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts.  May those who fear you turn to me, those who understand your statutes.  May I wholeheartedly follow your decrees, that I may not be put to shame. כ Kaph My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.  My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”  Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees.  How long must your servant wait? When will you punish my persecutors?  The arrogant dig pits to trap me, contrary to your law.  All your commands are trustworthy; help me, for I am being persecuted without cause.  They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts.  In your unfailing love preserve my life, that I may obey the statutes of your mouth. ל Lamedh Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.  Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.  Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.  If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.  I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.  Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts.  The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes.  To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectDo you feel free to come to God with your real questions?
God’s Word is powerful in the experience of the psalmist. It comforts him (76), brings delight (77), and offers hope (81). But there’s also a sustained note of realism. The psalmist asks a universal question: “When will you comfort me?” (82). This is a dynamic I recognize all too readily in myself–in awe of the great doctrines of the Bible, practicing (as best I can) the beautiful disciplines prescribed by the church, and yet often running on empty. Not much in the tank.And, of course, time on this earth is running out for the psalmist. Using an image of breathtaking poignancy, he describes himself as a “wineskin in the smoke” (83). Discarded, hung out to dry in smoky tents, this vessel is no longer of any use to anyone. That’s how the psalmist now feels. And, if we’re honest, many of us have walked this way ourselves. Our real longing–and need–is for the renewing work of God’s Spirit.
Bring God your deepest disappointments. He knows what is within and wants you to trust him. Ask him to speak to you.
Spirit of the living God, fill me and renew me. Let me breathe in the atmosphere of heaven and reflect Jesus on earth.
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