O Lord, You have searched me, and You know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
You are familiar with all my ways.
God knows me. This may be scary to some. It is frightening when my sin is before me, yet it comforts me more than you could ever realize. God knows me. He has searched my heart and my motives. He knows when I am wandering away. He knows when I am inactive or when I act on what He has for me to do. He knows what I am thinking. He knows my secrets, my passions, my sins, my dreams, my needs, and my vulnerabilities. He knows why I do what I do even when I don’t. He knows where I go and who I hang with. He knows me better than I know myself. Funny thing is…He loves me, despite who I am and because of whose I am. He created me. He chose me. He cares for me. When I am down, He cheers me. When I am far from Him, He chases after me. When I am wrong, He chastens me. When I am crying, He cradles me. When hope and peace seem far from reach, He comforts me. God knows me…inside and out, and I am content with the knowledge that He does.
Before a word is on my tongue,
you know it completely, O Lord.
Having said that, I know that on occasion, I have said hurtful things. I think I should take a moment here. Let me say this before I go any further — I regret my words and apologize if I have ever hurt you. I know we have all been there, wishing we could take back what has been spoken rashly. God’s Word has much to say about the tongue. Here are just a few of the verses I have found in the book of Proverbs.
“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)
“He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3)
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)
“The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (Proverbs 15:4)
“Watch your tongue, Kaci. It can destroy someone!”
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”
So terribly untrue! It takes myriads of affirmations to negate one nasty comment. I know this to be true. So many hurtful things have been said to me. I remember them all. How is it that we remember the bad things so much easier than the good? I also remember the hurtful things I have said to others. It makes me want to work on giving affirmation. And you know, saying affirming things to yourself is not a bad idea either.
“God loves me! God has a plan and purpose for my life.”
You know what our moms used to tell us, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Good advice, Mom. We need to affirm each other and say nice, encouraging things, even if we don’t feel like it. If our attitude stinks at the moment, we should just zip our lips.
Blessings given are precious few in our society. Sadly, cursing is the norm. We need more words of blessing in our lives, and so does everyone else. I’m not talking about sugar-coating the truth or telling someone a lie to make them feel better. I am talking about how to treat people — how I treat people. My words should lift people up, not push them to sorrow or rage. I should affirm, not annoy. I should show the love of Christ Jesus in my conversations. Before a word is on my tongue, I need to think about whether I should say it. Will it hurt, or will it help? Will it harm, or will it heal? Will my tongue crush the spirit? Will it turn away wrath or stir up anger? Will it guard my life or bring me to ruin? Will my tongue pierce like a sword or bring balm for the soul?
Perhaps, I could try this exercise for a while. I should say this to myself every day, “Watch your tongue! It can crush the spirit, or it can bring healing. I choose to bless.” I should write, “I choose to bless!” on a post-it note and put it on the bathroom mirror. Would you try this exercise with me? Let’s see how we feel after a week. It might be a tough assignment. It might enlighten us as to how we speak to others. It might make us a little wiser. It might just make us more like Jesus 🙂
You hem me in – behind and before;
You have laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Hem me in–encircle, enclose, surround. It congers thoughts of snuggling on my mommy’s lap, securely in her arms–loved, protected, nurtured, her soothing voice crooning in my ear. None could harm me there. Those are my feelings when reading these verses. Another synonym of hem is flank, as with an army. Scripture speaks of God’s guarding and guiding our lives with the help of angels. Would you, just for a moment, picture yourself walking about with big burly angels all around you, protecting you from the flaming darts of the evil one? I love it! They’re fighting battles for us, keeping us safe from the devil’s plans to kill, steal, and destroy. I’m so thankful! Psalm 91:11 says, “He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” I take comfort in the fact that God is hemming me in.
Then, wonder of wonders, God’s hand is laid on me. Several stories in the Old Testament tell of fathers as they place their hands upon the heads of their children and speak blessings over them. I know of a family that does this. What a beautiful practice! To lay your hand on your child speaking only blessing into his or her life! If we practiced this kind of behavior in our homes, our society would be transformed! It’s incredible to think that God has His hand on me to give me blessings. His hand of blessing rests on you, too.
We use this practice in the church. Someone needs prayer for healing or for a difficulty they are facing. Perhaps they are starting in their ministry or being led to go into the mission field; we lay hands on them and pray over them. This is such a beautiful practice. It is both humbling and rewarding. The peace that may be gained in this one act of kindness and faith is incredible. Through the laying on of hands and the power of the Holy Spirit, we speak into their lives, transferring the blessings of the Holy One upon them. Praying blessings, commitment, authority, encouragement, healing, as the Word of God instructs us to do. Somehow, the power of kindred spirits touching each other’s lives is palpable here.
Jesus laid hands on the sick and made them well. He laid his hands on the little children and blessed them. You have laid Your hand on me. It is a picture I have formed in my mind since I was five–God’s hand on me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. It really is. The incredible feeling of peace and comfort in my life overwhelms me to tears of praise. It is too wonderful and too lofty. How precious it is to know that God is protecting me from all sides and has laid His hand of blessing on my head and on my heart.
Draw Me Close and Hem me In
Kaci Rigney – 8/17/2012
Before I start my day, draw me close
While I work and while I play, draw me close
Tomorrow and today, before I lose my way,
Whatever come what may draw me close
When I’m feeling low, draw me close
As I learn and seek to know, draw me close
In gladness or woe, with friends or with my foe
Wherever I may go, draw me close
Hem me in from behind and before
Stitching Your love to my very core
Hem me in, to the left and the right
Pull the strings of my heart and knot the bow tight
Hem me in from below and above
Binding me close in the wonder of Your great love
Draw me close to you,
O, draw me near
O, lover of my soul,
My passion, my dear
In Your holy presence
My life is complete
When I worship You
At Your crucified feet
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Where can I go? Where can I flee? I can go nowhere. And why would I want to? Well, I guess, like Adam and Eve, hiding after doing exactly what God told them not to do, maybe we all would like to hide from God sometimes. But, for the most part, as His child, I want to be as close to Him as possible. Anywhere I go, everywhere I go, He is there, leading me and holding me. In the heavenly, happy, and optimistic times of my life, in the hellish, horrible, and overwhelming times in my life, He is there. When I am on cloud nine or when I am in the deepest despair, He is there. Why would I want to be far from Him? When He loves me so much and longs to spend time with me. He who gave everything for me mystery that it is, wonder that it is. He loves me and chose me. He knows what I need, and He is:
Advising me. Aiding me. Blessing me. Breaking me. Convicting me. Correcting me.
Delivering me. Delighting me. Encouraging me. Equipping me. Freeing me. Favoring me.
Gifting me. Guiding me. Hiding me. Healing me. Illuminating me. Improving me.
Justifying me. Joining me. Knowing me. Keeping me. Lifting me. Loving me.
Molding me. Making me. Nurturing me. Noticing me. Opening me. Ordering me.
Pursing me. Pardoning me. Quieting me. Quickening me. Rescuing me. Refreshing me.
Satisfying me. Sanctifying me. Teaching me. Touching me. Understanding me. Urging me.
Valuing me. Vindicating me. Watching me. Washing me. eXciting me. eXhorting me.
Yielding me. Yearning me. Zeroing in on me.
Okay, so I took some liberties. But, you get it, right?
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you, will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6.)
He is making me the best I can be. Sometimes, we wonder where God is. Although we may feel we are far from Him, He is never far from us. He is only a breath away. And here’s the kicker,
“You are as close to God as you want to be.” – Joyce Meyer
In 2003, I self-published a book of songs and poetry for my immediate family called “Like That.” This is a song from that book based on the last verses.
Where Can I Go?
Where can I go?
O where can I go from Your Spirit?
O where can I flee from Your Presence?
In the light of the day
In the dark of the night
O where can I go from Your sight
If I ascend into the heavens, You are there
If I descend into the depths, You are there
If I take the wings of the dawn
Or dwell in the depths of the sea
Even there, You are there
Where can I go?
If I say, “Surely the darkness will *hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to You.
*Some translations say, darkness will overwhelm, fall upon, cover me.
Let’s see what Webster’s Dictionary says are the definitions of dark(ness) and light.
Dark(ness): 1a. devoid of light: not receiving, reflecting, transmitting, or radiating light. 3a. arising from or showing evil traits or desires; 3b. dismal or gloomy; 3d. grim or depressing
Light: (noun) the form of energy that makes it possible to see things. 1a. something that makes vision possible; 3. a source of light; 3a. a celestial body; 4. sight; 5. spiritual illumination; 5b. inner light;5c. enlightenment; 5d. truth; 10. a set of principles, standards, or opinions; 13. a beacon (verb) 2b. to illuminate; 2c. brighten (Adj.) having light, bright
Let’s see what the Bible says about darkness and compare it with what it says about light.
He (God) reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:22)
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)
This is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him, there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all our sin. (1 John 1:5-7)
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. (John 3:19)
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the LORD. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) and find out what pleases the LORD. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-and, everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (Ephesians 5:8-14a)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
(2 Corinthians 4:6)
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)
You, Lord, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light. (2 Samuel 22:29)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)
The LORD wraps himself in light as with a garment; He stretches out the heavens like a tent. (Psalm 104:2)
The LORD is my light and my salvation- whom then shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life- of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)
For You have delivered me from death and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (Psalm 56:13)
The city (that is heaven) does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:23)
God is light. God’s Word is a lamp and a light. If we want out of darkness–a place of no light, full of evil and evil intent, gloomy, grim, and depressing; if we don’t want darkness to hide, overwhelm, fall upon, or cover us, the answer is spelled out for us in these verses. God is light, and He exposes the darkness and leads us into His marvelous light. There is no darkness in Him. The Light of the world is Jesus Christ!
For You created my inmost being,
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from You
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Your eyes saw my unformed body.
We are knit and woven. Knitting and weaving an intricate garment takes a well-thought-out design and concentration. It is not haphazard or just thrown together. Each of us is intricately woven together. We were not hidden from God. He saw it all as He created us. We are not mistakes or accidents. Praise God! We are fearfully and wonderfully made!
In the beginning, God created, and He is still creating. Our bodies are so intricately designed–bones and brains, muscles and molecules, tendons and toes, ligaments and lymph nodes, organs and occipital lobes, cells and clavicles, senses and systems, all parts working together to move, pump, think, and breathe, see, smell, hear, taste, and touch. Our wonderfully woven bodies give us a sense of a Creator. If there is a creation, there is a creator. And our Creator has put a longing for Him inside His design of us.
We have a God who has a plan and purpose for our individual lives: a purpose in His creation, a purpose in His kingdom, a purpose in the world around us; “a plan to prosper us and not harm us, a plan to give us a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) We are worth something to God because He wove us together.
Why did He weave and knit us together? He loves us and wants to have fellowship with us.
All the days ordained for me were written in Your book
before one of them came to be.
All the days ordained for me, and for you, were written in His book before we breathed our first breath. I’m sure there is more than one way to look at this. (Some may disagree, that’s okay.) One way is that God knows everything from beginning to end, so He has written down everything that will transpire in our lives. Another way to view this is that God has ordained a perfect will for us, but sin gets in the way. We get in the way. Others get in the way. Satan and his minions try to thwart God’s plan.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
God’s perfect will was written for us. Things we are to do for His kingdom, for His purposes were written. All meant for our good and ultimately, His glory. I believe His perfect will for us was written, and this is changed by our choices. Much of what befalls us is of our own making. We make choices. And all choices, good or bad, have consequences that affect us and others around us in a ripple effect. We make choices contrary to God’s perfect will and, consequently, our life choices change our course. The things that happen to us and other people’s actions affect our lives. Still, no one is in control of how we react to situations and people’s behavior toward us, but ourselves. We can rant and rave, become violent, depressed, sullen, agitated, enraged, or respond in love. We can show the fruit of the Spirit.
“But, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22)
It’s our choice to live in the God-ordained moments or live in our own selfishness.
“For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit, what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so you are not to do whatever you want.” (Galatians 5:17)
I believe that God’s plan for our lives is beyond what we could ever hope for or imagine or dream. God’s plan for us is incredible! We are the ones that muck it up. Many times we dig the pits we fall into. Whether we’re living with our own mistakes or with the results of someone else’s, we can be thankful that “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to Him that are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Notice this verse doesn’t say God causes all things to happen to us, but that He works things out for our good because He loves us and we love Him. He doesn’t make robots. God doesn’t control us. He lets us live our lives. We can choose His way, the narrow road that leads to heaven, or the world’s way, the broad road that leads to hell. He has given us free will. We live in a fallen world, a world of diseases, and evil. God did not ordain that. We disobeyed Him. I am convinced that He does not ordain bad things to happen to us. He is a loving God. But, He does allow it. He is a God that has great plans for our lives. We can choose foolishly, or we can choose wisely. Choose to follow God, listen for His voice, read His Word, and do what is right in His eyes. He has ordained beautiful things for our lives, infinitely more wonderful than anything that we could hope for on our own. Choose wisely.
How precious, concerning me, are Your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.
Wow! Just wow! Let it seep and soak into your soul. Let it steep and stir in your mind. Let it saturate and satisfy your heart. His thoughts, towards you, towards me, are precious. They are so vast they cannot be counted.
And He is ever with us. After troubled dreams or terrors in the night, wake up. He is with you. You are safe in His care. You are precious in His sight.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of You with evil intent;
Your adversaries misuse Your name.
Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord,
and abhor those who rise up against You?
I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them, mine enemies.
God is love, but He is also just. He will justify those that turn to Him for salvation. But, He will judge the unrighteous and mockers. God will judge those who are against Him. He will vindicate His name. He is holy, and His name is holy. Those that are against Him will face what they have wrought. Let us not be among them.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my thoughts.
See if there be any wicked way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
God, in the name of Jesus, I come to worship You. I honor Your holy matchless name. I thank You that You are just and true. I thank You that You are light and love. I thank You that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I thank you that you have a plan for my days and that you know me inside out. I thank you for your precious thoughts concerning me and that you protect me. I thank you for your hand of blessing on my life. I lay my heart, my ways, my thoughts, at Your feet. May they be pleasing in your sight. You know everything about me, better than I know it myself. Convict me, Lord, to refrain from wicked deeds and be wholly devoted to You. Guide me on the narrow path that leads to perfect peace with You.
I love you, Lord. Amen.