Week Three/Day Two: “Great Things for Us…A Love that Surrounds”

At the end of yesterday’s post, I added a link to this particular blogpost I wrote last year. In studying Psalm 125, I felt the need to repost it here along with some other insights received from today’s lesson. – pastor m.

A Wall of Fire Round about my Heart.

I am a worshipper by ‘heart’.

Does that make me emotional?  I guess it does, although I prefer the term “passionate”.  And quite frankly, I have to say that for too long, ‘emotions’ have gotten a ‘bad name’.  Women are judged to be inconsistent and have even been disqualified from leadership (inside and outside of the church), executive decisions and so many other forums because they are deemed to be ‘emotional creatures’.

Psalm 125 talks to us about our faith being like an immovable, unshakable mountain.

Yet, God created us with emotions.  I personally believe to live fully, you must do it passionately.
Most times that’s good. Sometimes its bad.

Let’s face it.  Healed or unhealed.  Mature. Seasoned. Christians.  We all have days when our emotions get the best of us.  Times that simply push us over the edge.  And, while it may seem simplistic and fundamental, the best way I have found to ground myself in the heat of anger and emotions is to lose myself in worship.

In those moments where I find my emotions churning like a raging sea, I turn on fiery prophetic worship and allow the Presence of God to work in my overwhelmed heart.

There is a sanctifying and purifying that occurs in our hearts as the fire of deeply anointed prophetic worship fills our very being.  God’s fire burns off the dross and the chaff of our raging emotions, and ‘settles us down’ allowing us to be still and hear His Voice in the midst of the storm.

When all else fails to calm, soften, convict, soothe and heal me…it is worship music that moves me and stirs me deep within like nothing else can.

Speaking of His beloved city Jerusalem, the Lord spoke to Zechariah and said:

“…And I myself will be a wall of fire around it (Jerusalem),
declares the LORD, ‘and I will be its Glory within.” ~ Zech. 2:5

David knew this full well.  Having penned most of the psalms, many of which were written in his most anguished times, David’s solace would come only as he released his worship to God through song.

Another king experienced the soothing of the savage beast from David himself.  The bible tells us how the tormenting spirit that harangued Saul would leave only as David played the Lyre.

He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
– Proverbs 25:28

So what does that mean exactly?  A city with broken down walls?
Walls around a city were built for protection, safety and defense.  A city’s walls were therefore a ‘sign’ of their fortitude and strength.  The greater the walls, the more fortified the city.  So then, a city whose walls were in ruins, were open game for anyone and anything.

Same scenario with our souls…anything can come in and anything can get out.

Here’s the thing though.  The same walls that serve to protect us and keep things in are also the same walls that can be used by a wounded heart to keep things out…even if those ‘things’ are good for us.  So, how can we rebuild our walls without cutting us off from what we need most? We can’t. But God can.

“Position God as the Gate-Keeper of your thoughts. Ask him to condition your brain to think positively. To capture lies. To hope. To change.” ~ Jo Ann Fore

“Every day we have a choice about how we feel. What does today hold for you? Peace and joy? Angst and strife?

We need to choose the truth of God’s word despite how we feel.
God, in His infinite wisdom and love can properly gauge what should and shouldn’t have entry/exit into our hearts and minds.  For this very reason, God not only instructs us to position Him as ‘Gate-Keeper’ of our thoughts, but He desires to be a ‘Wall of Fire’ round about our hearts through Worship and Praise.

“God alone can be both the watchman and the wall.” – Beth Moore

Maybe yours is not prophetic worship but the deeply soothing tones of a haunting medley on the piano or the soulful sounds of a violin…whatever the tune, tone or genre, one thing remains true…Music is a universal language and the right ‘sound’ can tame even the wildest of beasts.

What sound is in your heart?  Is there a song needing to be released?
Is there a melody long lost and forgotten, hidden and ‘protected’ behind walls of isolation, suspicion and self-preservation?

Allowing the sound of music and presence of God to penetrate ourthingswestuff hearts and minds helps us release those toxic emotions and stuffed hurts and makes room for the healing of God to take place.

In the river of that healing, our hearts can then flow in health, having had our need for love and acceptance satisfied in the Presence of the King and strengthened to confidently bring forth the true beauty of our emotions as God originally intended.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

 

Principal Question:
How can we say God has been good to us
when He has allowed us to encounter trouble and sorrow?

Indeed God holds us in His loving embrace and shelters us with His peace.  It’s not just a nice metaphor, it is true! However this doesn’t mean that we are exempt from suffering  and problems which at times may even lead us to doubt our Father’s care.
We are always called to entrust ourselves to His love, His wisdom and His sovereignty.

How do you maintain a confident heart?
I’d love to hear from you.
If this blog has resonated with you,
share your comments below and please share it forward!

Week Three/Day One: “Great Things for Us…He Surrounds His People”

Welcome to Week Three!
This week’s theme is: “Great Things for Us”

Israel’s Stability
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion. 
It cannot be shaken; it remains forever. – Psalm 125:1

"Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion.

What a wonderful picture. To be like Mount Zion. Unshaken. Immovable. Standing forever.

Does that describe you? Does that describe your faith and trust in the Lord?

You may be reading this and say, “I love the Lord but truth be told… I am moved. I am full of faith one day and empty with doubt the next. I wake up one morning full of vitality, rejoicing in the sun; the next day I am gray and dismal, faltering and moody. “Cannot be moved”…nothing could be less true of me. I can be moved by nearly anything: sadness, joy, success, failure. I’m a thermometer and go up and down with the weather….

You wanna know something? There is not one person of faith that I know (be it leader, pastor, prophet, layperson, or the brother/sister sitting next to me in church) that doesn’t go through doubts. They are fearful, doubters, ‘uneven performers’.
And just when we get to the place where we begin to believe…bam, along comes life and slams us with a trial.
But, its in that very trial that our faith, being tested and purged through the fire, which gives us the opportunity and ability to trust in God and obey His commands. God uses these outward trials to shape us (James 1:2-12) and more importably, to form His image within us. His deliverance and keeping power through the storm is what causes us then to become ‘like Zion’.

We are secure, not because we are sure of ourselves, but because we learn to place our trust in the One who is unmovable. The opening phrase of the psalm is “those who trust in the LORD”—not those who trust in their performance, in their feelings, in their morals, in their righteousness, in their health, in their pastor, in their doctor, in their president, in their economy, in their nation. It is “those who trust in the LORD.”

“Although the world is subject to so many and so sudden changes as almost to put on a new face every moment, and although the faithful are mingled with and placed in the same external condition as others, yet their safety continues steadfast under the invincible protection of God.” (Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. V, 90.)

Today’s Treasure:

“Jerusalem, the mountains surround her. And the Lord surrounds His people, both now and forever.” – Psalm 125:2 HCSB

jerusalem
I’ve never been to Jerusalem, but I have heard that anyone who visits inevitably feel they must return…again and again.
The beautiful city sits in the central mountain range approximately 2500 feet above sea level. During the time of the writing of this psalm, the main city of Jerusalem sat on a small ridge (approximately 10 acres in size) surrounded by three valleys. On the opposite side of the valleys, there are taller mountains on all sides of the city.

From anywhere in the city, the Israelites could look in all directions and see the mountains surrounding them. These valleys and mountains provided a level of security and comfort to the inhabitants. That is the concept that the writer is using as the foundation for his point.As Jewish pilgrims approached the city of Jerusalem and surveyed her great walls they would have easily been reminded that God blesses the faithful.

Mount Zion was God’s mountain. He set it apart for Himself. It was God’s dwelling place, the place where He met with His people. The scripture tells us that if you trust in the Lord, you are like Mount Zion. God chose you. He set you apart for Himself. God dwells in you. Wherever you go, He goes. And God meets with you. You cannot be shaken, not because of your own strength but because through God’s grace alone He imparts His strength into us. Therefore, we can stand firm forever.

The circumstances of the world around us are volatile and crazy, but God’s people live under His invincible protection. God’s promise to David about Jesus included a dwelling place of peace — no disturbance, no violence (2 Samuel 7:10-11). Our hope in an abiding, protected, eternal Jerusalem is a hope in Messiah and His reign.

But you don’t get a Jerusalem like that without a King like Jesus. 

One of Israel’s great mistakes was to regard these blessings of protection and peace in a political sense, as though Jerusalem benefited from some kind of automatic immunity from harm, no matter how wicked its ways and rebellious they lived.

I believe this particular series is hitting a deep chord in me personally because it is so prophetically timely to what is happening in Israel at this very moment. Don’t get it twisted for a minute. What’s happening in the middle east is not political, economical or even just another warfare in the country’s history of violence and war. It IS THE prophetic time clock of God. This ‘war’ is not just about the land for land’s sake. The REAL war is going on in the heavenlies and manifesting on earth. This war is about the Covenant that God made with His people, with the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.

Don’t think for a moment that if Jerusalem were to be taken from the Jews that we would be okay. Their covenant is our covenant. God has not forsaken the Jewish nation forever. His Word shall be fulfilled. Their awakening will be the fulfillment of our covenantal promises of the Coming King.

Trust in the Lord and He will delight you (Psalm 125:4-5). The psalmist concludes his song with a cry to God for blessing. The twofold blessing which he seeks is Goodness and Peace. Much like Nehemiah who said, “Remember me, O my God, for my good,” (Nehemiah 13:31) the psalmist asks God to do good toward those who are good. He even makes reference to the peace that is given to those who follow after God instead of seeking their own will and their own way.

When we trust in God He will continually delight in us and delight us personally. God blesses those who trust Him. His Goodness and Peace is extended toward all those who will patiently follow Him.How do you envision yourself right now? Do you walk in the security of the truth that you are like Mount Zion?

If not, ask the Lord to give you an awareness of His security and strength. Remind yourself today, that HE is the wall of fire round about your heart and His Glory sits in the midst of it!.

For those of you who love to worship, I invite you to read a blogpost I wrote last year.
Click here to read: Worship…My “Wall of Fire”

 

Week Two/Day Five: “Our Eyes Look to the Lord…Praise the Lord”

Today’s Scripture:
“Praise the Lord who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth.” – Psalm 124:6

In today’s portion of scripture, we read that God had delivered his people from the teeth of their enemies (v. 6). In much the same way, God has delivered us from the jaws of the death and the devil (1 Peter 5:8). If it weren’t for the Lord we would be alive physically but dead spiritually. Dead in our sin and trespasses. Our freedom and deliverance from sin then moves us to worship and give thanks to the Lord.

If it weren’t for the Lord we would be secretly apprehended (Psalm 124:7-8).
Here we have a picture of a fowler.
For those of you who attended our Fierce Woman Found ministry gathering last month, I shared with you the meaning and understanding of the fowler and the snare that we read about in Psalm 91:4.

Fowlers have many methods of taking small birds just like satan has many methods of entrapping our souls. Fowlers know their birds, and how to take them; many of their efforts involve nets. The bird, blinded in flight, doesn’t see the snare so as to avoid it, and they cannot break it in order to escape from it.

Hezekiah knew what it felt like to be a caged bird. Sennacherib recorded that he “shut up Hezekiah the Judahite within Jerusalem, his own royal city, like a caged bird.”

“In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.” – (2 Kings 18:13)

Nevertheless, God delivered the city of Jerusalem by slaying 187,000 Assyrians in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

cagedbird

The psalmist reveals that if it weren’t for the Lord, God’s people would have been captured and snared by their enemies, yet God had broken the snare and they were delivered. Whatever the situation or trap, the people couldn’t rescue themselves – it took a rescuer. The only one to save the people of the LORD is the LORD himself. So what does this Psalm teach us about the LORD? Let’s look at verse 8.

‘Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 124:8

Our deliverance from the snare of the devil comes from the God Who created heaven and earth.1248

In the Bible there are many names of God. The use of particular names is always significant.
Here, it is the name of the LORD – capital letters LORD.

So what is the significance of this? LORD in capital letters refers to the ‘God of Covenant’ (Yahweh / Jehovah), the covenant making God. The LORD who has made promises, keeps them. He is the promise-maker and the promise-keeper.
It is in the name of the LORD in which there is help. The name signifies the power, the character, the very nature of the LORD. We see this as David reminds us that the LORD has made heaven and earth. Our enemies might have power over us, but they can’t triumph over the one who made all things!.

As we continue to think about the rescuer of the people of God, we’re brought a comforting, but challenging discovery. The LORD, the rescuer of His people, is on our side. He must have been – otherwise the people would have perished
‘If it had not been the LORD who was on our side…’
So, because the people of God have been rescued, then He must be on our side.

I don’t know how that sits with you. To have God on your side. I hear this and it makes me think about the encounter of Joshua before Jericho was conquered. ‘When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And He said:

“No, but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” (Joshua 5:13-14)

So you would think the question shouldn’t be, is God on our side?…but,  who is on the Lord’s side?

Yet still, the Psalm declares that the LORD is on the side of His people…working to rescue them from their enemies.

The Lord is on your side…if you are on His side!


Personal Question:

Read Romans 8:28-39 and let God tell you what He’ll do for you.  Make this exercise personal by putting your name in the top blank and filling in the remainder with various promises God makes you in the portion from Romans. Turn each into an “I will” statement from God to you.

My child, ________________
1. I will make sure all things work together for your good.

2. I will ________________________________________

3. I will ________________________________________

4. I will ________________________________________

5. I will ________________________________________

 

Week Two/Day Four: “Our Eyes Look to the Lord…If the Lord had not”

Have you ever had one of those #whoa moments? You know the ones.  The instant when you have a flashback of where you used to be and where you would’ve been…had it not been for the Lord?

haditnotbeenforthelord1

Have you ever taken time to think “What if?…”
What if God had not saved me?
What if God had not delivered me? What if God had not found me?
Where would I be…if God had not intervened in my life?

I do. I have those moments all the time. I especially have them when I come across an old friend from ‘back in the day’, or when I go by the old neighborhood, or when I hear of yet another friend who died or is in jail or is back on drugs or dying.

Whenever I hear that, I bow my head and heart and whisper a prayer—

“Lord, there but for Your Grace go I….” *Selah

Today’s Treasure:
Psalm 124:2-3
If the Lord had not been on our side—-let Israel say—”

If the Lord had not been on my side, the devil would have destroyed me long ago. Had it not been for the Lord, I would’ve been dead, or in jail, or dying from any number of terminal diseases which come as a result of living a life of drugs and alcohol addiction.

Had it not been for the Lord, I would’ve have lost my mind when I lost my son. Had it not been for the Lord, I wouldn’t have made it through the tragedy that hit my daughter and granddaughter. Had it not been for the Lord, my marriage would psalm12423NEVER have come this far.

Had it not been for the Lord, I would’ve succeeded in my attempts to take my own life long ago.
If the Lord had not been on my side, my enemies would have had a field day with me. I would not have survived when men rose up and sought to slay me—If it had not been the Lord who was on my side….

Psalm 124: 2-3
“If the Lord had not been on our side 
when men attacked us, then they would have swallowed us alive

in their burning anger against us.

As many bruises, scars, and successful hits as the enemy may have given us…satan DID NOT get all he wanted. The fact that you’re sitting here doing this bible study is one of many proofs.

The devil had no such intention. He meant to destroy you…..

BUT GOD!!!!

What is your “What If?…”

Where would you be right now, if it had Not been for the Lord?
Take a look at Psalm 124.
The psalmist employed several metaphors or images to help us vividly picture the kind of peril that surrounds us.

Psalm 124: The Lord Is on Our Side
A Davidic song of ascents.

If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
If the Lord had not been on our side
when men attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us.
Then the waters would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us;
the raging waters would have swept over us.

Praise the Lord,
who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth.
We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net;
the net is torn, and we have escaped.
Our help is in the name of Yahweh,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

Principle Question:
List the metaphors in the left column. When you’ve finished your list, look up the scriptures in the right-hand column and draw a line matching each metaphor to the one it reflects in Psalm 124.

Personal Question
What might have happened with your life “if the Lord had not been on your side?

As we reflect on ALL that He has done, ALL that HE has brought us through…for every MOUNTAIN He’s brought us over. For every valley, He’s brought us through…let us Give Him Praise!

 

 

Week Two/Day Three: “Our Eyes Look to the Lord…Much Contempt”

Yesterday we focused on the first half of Psalm 123.
Today, we will complete the psalm by focusing on verses 3 and 4.

“Show us favor, Lord, show us favor, for we’ve had more than enough contempt. We’ve had more than enough scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.” – Psalm 123:3-4 (HCSB)

psalm1234

Several things stood out to me in this lesson:

The Hebrew term translated “contempt” means: Despise; consider worthy of nothing. “to calculate of no account,” to consider without value. It comes from a root that means “to disrespect.”
Disrespect means to treat rudely or scornfully – to treat someone as less important, less valuable or beneath you.

“Disrespect is not the same as disagreement.  We can strongly disagree and still treat people with respect.  Disrespect devalues them. Disrespect is treating someone as inferior or simply not worth the courtesy.  In a nutshell, it is the disregard of innate human value.”
– Beth Moore

The Hebrews were a bunch of disrespected people surrounded by “irresponsible tyrants who disregarded God’s law.”  Does that not give us a ‘picture’ of our world today?

Disrespect is a problem that is running rampant in our society today.  People can’t seem to disagree without the end result being a free-for-all.  Even those who claim to be “Christians” can be as blatantly disrespectful as non-Christians when it comes to mud-slinging.  Sad to say, but many times, they are better at it. The ability to sit behind a computer screen and click, post, like, block and delete, and mock and ridicule others is nothing less than virtual bullying…by adults no less!

Right before she permanently deleted her facebook account, my oldest daughter said to me, “Its so sad to see so many of God’s people using the word of God as daggers to stab each other with.” The most painful part of that statement is the reality of it. In the words of the Apostle Paul, “…these things ought not be so.”

Turning the other check does not mean we just take the attacks of others lying down, nor does it mean we fight back in the same mud-slinging manner.  Instead, we go to God with our frustrations and look to His ‘Hand of guidance’.

There are times when faced with so much contempt, that the best solution is to simply leave. Shut down the page. Close the account. Cancel the subscription and block the channel. But, we can’t always escape frustrating situations (or people) by walking away or deactivating our account.  This is true in jobs, marriages, and families. There are times when we simply need to “Be Still and Know that He is God”. Then there are times when God is going to lead you to take action. The most important thing to learn here is that we do nothing without counsel from the Lord.

“Show us favor Lord, show us favor, for we have endured more than enough contempt.  We’ve had more than enough scorn from the arrogant and contempt from the proud.”
(vs.3- 4)

Notice the repetition of the plea. This is an earnest prayer. This is not just a one time, little squabble or teasing. This is not just a spat or simple differing of views. The Israelites had just returned from 70 years of exile. Their heathen neighbors held them in contempt. In Nehemiah 2: 19 we find that the Horonites, the Ammonites and the Arabs mocked, scorned and ridiculed them when they were trying to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem after the exile.

The word contempt in both the psalm and the verse in Nehemiah includes contempt that springs from evil, from prosperity and from judgment. Verse 4 says they have had no end to the ridicule from the arrogant and the contempt of the proud. These “arrogant” are translated “those that are at ease” in some versions. The actual Hebrew word here is sha’anan which means both of the above, but it’s also the word for “oppressor”. The Babylonians, their former oppressors, lived at ease, arrogantly, contemptuously and proud.

Ridicule is a very effective tool of Satan.
Beth writes: “At first glance ridicule seems relatively innocuous. It seems the lesser of ‘contemptuous evils’ and something we ought to be able to take. But a mocking spirit is an oppressive and intimidating spirit. A steady stream of ridicule can become not only terribly oppressive, but abusive as well.

In my recent college course, “Girl-fighting: Dealing with Adolescent Conflict, Bullying and Violence”, one of the first things we learn in anti-bullying awareness is to teach the children the difference between ‘teasing’ and ‘taunting’. Just kidding is no longer a joke when someone is being disrespected. Taunting, just like ridicule/mocking, is ‘oppressive’ and both are a form of bullying.

In chapter 4 of Nehemiah, we read:
“But it so happened, when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, that he was furious and very indignant, and mocked the Jews. (verse 1)

Have you ever been mocked and ridiculed for your efforts to rebuild?
Whether it is rebuilding your life, your family, your marriage, your dream, or your ministry?

It hurts to see and hear unbelievers mock and ridicule you but when that mockery and scorn comes from those in the body of Christ, it can be devastating. And there are moments when you feel weak and weary with discouragement but then there’s a point when the pain gives way to a cry for justice:

Hear, O our God, for we are despised; turn their reproach on their own heads, and give them as plunder to a land of captivity!  Do not cover their iniquity, and do not let their sin be blotted out from before You; for they have provoked You to anger before the builders.
(prayer of Nehemiah in verse 4)

So, it seems that God himself gets angry when His children are treated badly – mocked, ridiculed, scorned.  The chapter goes on to tell us that God confounded the plans of Israel’s enemies.  I think some of the problems we face with ridicule occur because we don’t seek God’s assistance in dealing with it.

Most of us go into battle against the enemy under our own power. The temptation to defend ourselves, to fight back and righteous indignation at slander or rumor or mocking and scorn can be overwhelming…especially when it’s reached the point where you’ve had ‘more than enough’. But it is in those very moments that we are to look up to the One Enthroned, look upon His hand and receive our instruction on how to proceed.

David understood this secret to battle very well. He knew that the battle belonged to the Lord and there is no battle that would be won by his own might and/or power. Whenever David faced a trial, especially with his enemies, he always asked to know God’s will. And each time he inquired, the Lord graciously gave him a clear and definite answer.
In one such heated battle, scripture says that David “inquired of the Lord”. (2 Samuel 5:17-25)

The Philistines were the greatest enemy of Israel and were constantly at war with them.  When they heard that David was made king over Israel, they went after him.  Pause here for a moment and think about that. The Philistines were enraged when David was anointed king and immediately set out to ambush and attack him. Don’t be surprised when people do not celebrate your victories or successes. The anointing stirs up attack from the enemy’s camp. Just remember that there is no weapon forged by the devil that will prosper as long as you do what David did…’inquire of the Lord’ with every battle.

So, the Philistines set up camp in the Valley of Rephaim and prepared to ambush David and do battle. David knew what was lordofthebreakthroughhappening, so he prayed and asked God what he should do.  The Lord told him he would deliver the enemy into his hands.  Then he gave David these instructions, “Don’t attack them from the front, but circle around and attack from the rear.  When you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, act quickly, for the Lord will go before you.”
David followed the Lord’s directions and drove the Philistines out of the land.

The sound of marching in the tops of the trees was that of the angelic armies of God going ahead into battle.  This is the ‘reinforcement’ we get when we respond according to God’s instruction rather than jumping and taking matters into our own hands. This is how we see Baal Perazim, the Lord of the Breakthrough  break out before our enemies.

When going through battles, we need to be on our knees before the almighty God, crying out to him for direction, then listening for the answer.  How often we tell God, “If you will do it this way, or that way…..”.  We should be praying, “God, give me direction and I’ll do as you say!”  Perhaps then, we would hear the sound of angelic forces marching in the tops of the mulberry trees and then we would receive the prayer of Elisha for his servant when he cried, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see!” And the LORD opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire. (2 Kings 6:17)

May our landscape be filled with the vision of chariots of fire as we continue to labor on the wall!

Principal Question: Surely, we all know what it’s like to be treated disrespectfully. Meditate on the word for a moment. Offer your own general definition of disrespect: then give two examples.

Personal Question:
Have you ever seen a person harshly ridiculed? If so how?
What did you do or wish you could have done?

 

 

 

Week Two/Day Two: “Our eyes look to the Lord…The One Enthroned”

I think there are times in every believer’s life when the direction of the world appears so crazy and contrary to God’s Word and ways that we basically cry out, “Lord, take me away from all of this!”

Are we not living in those very times today?
God and Christianity have become such an ‘offense’ to this world that even in the most familiar surroundings, it seems we have become the aliens in our own land, regardless of its Christian legacy. It is in this same grieving spirit when I shared in last week’s blog that Jesus wept over his beloved Jerusalem and her choice of such things over Him.

The truth is that if the ways of the world get to you from time to time it’s probably a reminder that your heart truly is in the right place…yearning to be with Him instead of with them. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that He has placed eternity in the human heart and its that deepest part of us that longingly yearns to be ‘home’ with the Lord.

It is inevitable that we will face difficulties in this life. And when they come, difficulties have a way of overwhelming us and seeming ominous. They have a way of disorienting us and causing us much pain. If these trials and tribulations that touch our life and world are not kept in proper perspective they can certainly discourage and defeat us.

That is why we must look up when we encounter difficulties and hear of the wars and rumors of wars. We must look to God and see all that is going on in relation to Him. When we see our difficulties and trials against the backdrop of His power and majesty, they become less ominous, imposing, and intimidating and we’re able to once again know that God is on His Throne and He has a plan.

“I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sits enthroned in heaven.
Like a servant’s eyes on His master’s hand, like a servant girl’s eyes on her mistress’s hand, so our eyes are on the Lord our God until He shows us favor.” – Psalm 123:1-2

Psalms-123-1-4

In verse 1 the psalmist says he “lifts up his eyes”. The lifting up of the eye indicates that the Lord is above him–High and lifted up, seated on His Throne. The psalmist opens his heartsong acknowledging God’s sovereignty over all things.

Now, we know that what we focus on becomes our ‘god’; but have you ever considered just how significant our vision is when it comes to worship? Ever wondered why the need to close your eyes when praying?

“There is no part of the body besides the tongue that is so great an agent in prayer as the eye.” – Richard Holdsworth, Cambridge University, 1649

One of the reasons that our vision, whether spiritual or physical, is so important is because our eyes and our hearts are intricately connected! The prophet Jeremiah wrote,  “Mine eye affecteth mine heart” – Jeremiah 3:51

Leonardo da Vinci once stated that the average person “looks without seeing,listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, inhales without the awareness of odor or fragrance, talks without thinking.

theaverageperson

Our eyes are literal gates to our soul and our heart and our brain. Does it make a little more sense now that our parents would always say (and we now tell our own children) “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”
Beth shares it very well in today’s lesson:
Where I look -> What I hear -> What I feel -> What I expect

Where I look will affect what I hear.  What I hear will affect what I feel.
And what I feel will affect what I expect.

Is it any wonder then that we are told to ‘fix’ our eyes on Jesus.
Not just glance. Not just glimpse. But FIX. Keep. Focus. Stare intently.

How many times didn’t your teacher say to the class, “Now give me your ‘undivided’ attention.” When we give something our undivided attention, we are literally lining up our eyes, our ears, our mind and our heart.

For this reason, we are not just to ‘read’ the word, but we are to “READ” the word! Know what I mean? If the Word of God is going to transform us and make an impact in our lives, we can’t just look at it, skim it, glimpse it or scan it. We’ve got to “look at it” with our eyes, our, ears, our mind and our heart. We’ve got to give it our undivided attention.

And so it is in our daily journey.
We must look in the right direction as we walk along the way. The psalmist did not look in when he encountered difficulties. Had he looked in he would have seen fear. He didn’t look out when he encountered difficulties. Had he looked out he would have seen his problems. He didn’t look at others when he encountered difficulties. Had he looked at others he would have seen people with similar fears and inadequacies.

Instead, he looked up to God, who is the only reliable source of help.

Verse 2 compares our eyes on the Lord as that of a servant on the hand of their master. Nowadays, the thought of calling someone master is cause for protest. After all, we are free in the Lord, are we not? Yes. Technically. Yet the Apostle Paul described himself as a bondservant to Christ. Scripture defines Christ as a bondservant to the Father.

 “He was in the form of God, He counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God,
but emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a bondservant” – Phil.2:6,7

A dictionary definition of a bondservant is someone bound to labor without wages. A synonym of bondservant is slave.

Many simply don’t understand the role of a bondservant in relation to our LORD (Master) Jesus. As Americans, living in the land of the free and the home of the brave, we instinctively cringe at the thought of servitude or slavery. And no wonder since our country was founded on freedom, in the very act of breaking away from servitude to the King of England.

As women who have come out of abusive, enslaving relationships, we refuse to go back to something that would even indicate ‘bondage’.

The description of a Biblical bondservant, however, is one who chooses to serve his Master till death. He will forever wear the mark of this Master. He accomplishes all the Master’s will for his life because of a love called “agape”. There are no loose ends, frustrations, or indecision. Eternity for the bond-servant is marked with glorious rewards at the Mercy seat of the Master (Exo.21:1-6). – [Excerpt from ‘Reach the World for Jesus’]

“The passion of Christianity comes from deliberately signing away my own rights and becoming a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Until I do that, I will not begin to be a saint.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I am not my own. I’ve been bought with a price.
We are never more ‘free’ than we are wholehearted servants of Christ…bondservants for life.

And so, its this the psalmist writes about in verse 2.
In Bible times, masters directed their slaves by movements of their hands; hence, the slave had to keep his eyes on his master or he might miss a sign and thus fail to obey it. The women were even more thorough than the men in the training of their servants. It is said that women issued more commands, and were therefore, even more sensitive to obedience and disobedience than men were.

The psalmist’s dependence upon God was like that of a servant to his master. The servant kept his eye on the master’s hand for the slightest gesture of instruction. The ‘hand’ of the master is a symbol of guidance, sustenance, protection, correction, and reward.

And so we see the psalmist look to God with an attitude of expectation. He knew that his destiny was in God’s hand. He  continued to look to God and refused to buckle under the pressures of those who held him in contempt

How about you? How do you look at the hand of God? Do you look expecting the Father to beat you, berate you or otherwise punish you at any given moment? Do you look only expecting what you can get and forget about what you can give?
Do you see your service as a servant as one of obligation or joy? How do you look to the One who is Enthroned?
Do you lift up your eyes and acknowledge that, no matter what…HE is GOD and HE is SOVEREIGN. The Lord may give and the Lord may taketh away. But BLESSED ALL WAYS is the Name of The LORD.

To HIM who sits on the Throne and Unto the Lamb….Be all Honor, and Glory, and Power Forever!

Principal Question:
In one phrase or sentence, what do you consider to be the theme of Psalm 123?

Personal Question:
Have you discovered a strong relationship in the concept of the statement, “Where I look impacts how I feel?” If so, how? Try to get specific.

Week Two/Day One: “Our eyes look to the Lord…Our own house, our own city”

Week Two: “Our Eyes Look to the Lord”
Day One: “Our Own House, Our Own City”

Today’s Treasure: 
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord”. – Psalm 122:1psalm122

As we begin our second week, we find ourselves on the third step of our ascent.

Today, we begin with Psalm 122. The first verse speaks of the joy the Israelites felt at the mere thought of going to the house of the Lord.  Does that reflect how you feel? Do you rejoice when someone says to you, “Come on let’s go to church.”

The expected response would be ‘yes, of course.’ But for so many, the memory of church or the Lord’s house no longer generates the joy it used to. For far too many, the very thought of ‘church’ strikes a chord of hurt and anger and disbelieve that should never be acquainted with the Holy Hill of God.

Stories of hidden abuse, controlling leaders, unfaithful followers and back stabbing brethren has waned many a love cold.
“Well, we don’t go to church to seek people. We go to seek God.” True, so very true and yet, what about when the abuse, the hurt, the betrayal, the slander and shame hits you. What then?  How do we reconcile what we believe, what we know and what has happened to us?

OpenHeart-10_5_13-1024x466

The answer is to ‘fix’ (cement, keep, remain, stay steadfast) your eyes on Jesus. The author and finisher of your faith.
You may need time to heal and allow the Lord to restore your faith but remember, the devil does his best work when he can ‘isolate’ us from all avenues and atmospheres of faith and fellowship.  Scripture is clear, “…and let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” – Hebrews 10:25.

Worship is vital. Corporate Worship is vital.
It may not be in a structured building but it must be a community of believers.
Worship takes our eyes off ourselves and places them rightly on God.  Worship is something we are commanded to do.
Worship is not something I do when I “feel like it” but instead is something I ‘get to do’ as a follower of Jesus. What I have experienced is that even when I don’t “feel” like showing up, God is faithful in meeting me when I gather with fellow believers in corporate worship.

“Worship is an act that develops feelings for God, not a feeling for God that is expressed in an act of worship.” – Eugene Peterson

Sometimes we need our very fellow pilgrims to encourage us to go and worship at the house of the Lord, help keep us from sin, infuse our faith and strengthen us to continue the journey.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” – Ecclesiastes 4:2 (NLT)

And its this very truth and infusion of strength that expands the focus of our worship. It takes the focus off ourselves and reverts it back to God and the things on God’s heart…like hurting people, the lost, the cities and nations.

Praying for your neighborhood, this nation and our city can be difficult to do, especially when you feel ‘stuck’ in a bad neighborhood or when you look around and your city is so full of violence and crime and injustice. Or when you are far away from your original home and ache to be in your homeland and among the loved ones you’ve known since childhood.

Yet, in Jeremiah 29, God gave profound and timely instructions through His prophet to the people of God who were far from their home, in a hostile environment…while they were in Babylonian captivity.

"Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.  Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” - Jeremiah 29:7

“Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile.
Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” – Jeremiah 29:7

“Whatever city, borough, neighborhood you’re in, you have been assigned to it and equally, it has been assigned to you. You may feel like an exile within its city limits, but just as God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah, He wants you to prosper there. His method may not be through all your city can do to edify and serve you. It may be what you can do to build up your city…one neighbor, one teacher, one trash collector at a time.” – Beth Moore

Today, as you ‘walk’ along your way….declare the words in this song.

You’re the God of this City
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

[Verse 2]
You’re the Light in this darkness
You’re the Hope to the hopeless
You’re the Peace to the restless
You are

There is no one like our God
There is no one like our God[Chorus]
For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City
Greater thing have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this City

Today, take your place as a “Watchman on the Wall” and walk as Joshua did.
Declare that ‘everywhere your foot shall tread is territory for the Holy Spirit to come and ‘take the land’.

Greater things are yet to come. Greater things are still to be done in this city….We believe it Lord.
We declare it in Jesus’ Name!

 

Principal Question:
“What were Paul’s feelings toward the believers in Philippi (Phil. 1:3-8)?

Personal Question:
“Describe a few relationships you have at church that you wouldn’t have anywhere else.”

 

Week One/Day Five: “Where will my help come from…The Peace of Jerusalem”

Week One: Where will my help come from?
Day Five: The Peace of Jerusalem

Today’s Treasure:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May those who love you prosper.” Psalm 122:6

Let’s take a quick look at this past week’s study and see the progress of the pilgrimage so far…

We began this journey with Psalm 120, living in hostile territory…dwelling in Meshech among the tents of Kedar.
Psalm 121 shows us the mountaintops in the distance as a beacon of Hope as our soul ‘longs’  to be ‘home’ in the mountain of God. The words of assurance reminding the pilgrim that we don’t have just any god watching and keeping us, but the Maker of Heaven and Earth! Its this reminder, this knowledge, that gives us the strength to endure the ‘desert’.

 

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And so we arrive…at the end of this week, with ‘our feet standing within the gates of Jerusalem’ (vs. 2).
Can you just stop and picture that for a moment?

“Our feet are standing within your gates, Jerusalem— Jerusalem, built as a city [should be], solidly joined together, where the tribes, the tribes of the Lord go up to give thanks to the name of the LORD.” – Psalm 122:2-4

As I write this I imagine the depth of love and joy in the hearts of the Jewish people returning to their Beloved “Yer Salem” (City of Peace)– after suffering such exile and captivity. I can’t help but think about the Jews who were able to return to Jerusalem after the atrocities of the Holocaust. Have you ever been away from home and longed to return? Have you ever had to endure a desert season and finally arrived at the other side after enduring hardship and sorrow and heartache? Have you ever wandered far from the Lord, only to glimpse His Glory from a distance and then finally return to His Presence?

He is our HOPE of Glory and the shade at our right hand. He who never slumbers nor sleeps is able to keep us from falling. HE is the JOY that is set before us!

Let’s read verse 3 again and tell me what other scriptures comes to mind?
“…Jerusalem is a well-built city; its seamless walls cannot be breached.” – (NLT) 

In I Peter 2:5 and Ephesians 2:21, you find this exhortation to believers:

“…you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – I Peter 2:5 (NLT)

“…in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.” –  Eph 2:21 (NASB)

That’s us. You and I. The believers. The church. Jews and Gentiles. The Body of Christ. We are the ‘whole building’, living stones being fitted together. A spiritual house to be a holy priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ! The very rejection of the Messiah by His chosen people served as entryway for the Gentiles to be engrafted into the Vine. For ALL things work together for Good for those who love God and are the called according to His Purposes.

It is this very  is what Christ referred to in Luke 19: 41-44

“As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it 42 and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. 43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls.They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Even as I put this post together, my heart is heavy, my spirit intercedes.
For Jerusalem. For the chosen people of God who missed their hour of visitation. For us. The church– which should be ‘jointly fitted together’ as a Holy Temple. For the nations who shoot down innocent passenger planes and leave families blown to broken grieving pieces. For America, our beloved nation…who declines and descends, even as the Spirit weeps over her longing to gather her as a hen would gather her chicks.

O Father, do not leave us to ourselves. Wake us from our slumber that you may ‘visit’ our nation again.

When we consider the state of affairs in Israel even at this very moment, we cannot help but see the timeliness of today’s scripture verse.  We are commanded to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Not only because of what has happened, but also for what shall happen.  The church’s understanding of the battle that goes on over Jerusalem is absolutely vital!

Romans 11:11
“…Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. 12 But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their full inclusion bring!”

For there is a day when the Word of the Lord over this nation shall be fulfilled.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven

    and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
    giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
    it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
    and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:10-11

Principal Question:
Read Ephesians 2:11-22 carefully. What parallels apply to what we’re learning in today’s lesson? Be sure and note any talk of ‘foreigners’  or ‘aliens’

Personal Question: 
There’s a psalmist in all of us. What line or two of praise can you write to worship the Lord in your life?

Week One/Day Four: “Where does my help come from…The Lord is your Shelter”

 

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield]. The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. - Psalm 121:5-6

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield].
The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. – Psalm 121:5-6

Week One: Where Does My Help Come From?
Day Four: The Lord is Your Shelter

Today’s Treasure:
“The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand [the side not carrying a shield.]
The sun shall not smite you by day, nor the moon by night.” – Psalm 121: 5-6

You know, it’s hard walking through the desert. The sun literally beats you down out there. And you can imagine that there aren’t many shady spots either. The occasional cactus may provide a bit of sap from its spiny leaves but it does nothing to cover us from the scorching heat of the sun.

There is however a tree (well, it’s really more like a shrub) that grows in that wilderness. And that’s the broom tree.

The broom tree is one of the most common shrubs of desert plant life in the Land of Israel. And because plant life in the desert is so scarce, it’s also of the most important plants in the area. This desert shrub not only provides shade, but food and fuel as well.

I found it really interesting to learn that the broom tree only grows in the wilderness.
It was likely the “shrub” that Ishmael was sitting under when Hagar, awaiting death, cried to the Lord for help.

There was someone else in the bible who sat under a broom tree and prayed to die.
The great prophet Elijah, after the great victory at Mt Carmel against the false prophets of Baal, ran into the desert, prayed for death, and collapsed in exhaustion under the broom tree.

Broom trees seem to be the resting place for those who find themselves in the desert and expecting to die.

picture of an actual broom tree in the desert land of Israel

picture of an actual broom tree in the desert land of Israel

Even after great exploits — enemy threats and attack can cause you to want to give up along the journey.
How very human… how very encouraging… how very real.

Yet, it was there…under the broom tree, that God heard Ishmael’s cry. It was there in the desert that Hagar encountered El Roi, the God who sees. There, under the broom tree, the Lord sends an angel to feed and nourish Elijah.

“He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food; he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.” (1 Kings 19:8).

 

There under the broom tree, Elijah is replenished and prepared to go to the mountain of God to hear the voice of God as He passed by, not in a mighty wind, an earthquake, or a fire — but in a gentle whisper — the kind that can only be heard by one who has a surrendered ear to hear. Humble — not haughty.

There’s a deep and profound lesson to be learned about sitting under the broom tree.

So many times,  it takes the depletion of all of our own efforts and resources before we are willing to give up – and give in – and sit under God’s shade and receive His replenishment. But when we do….we find His provision for the path.

It’s there (in the middle of that desert, in the middle of that trial) that we learn to live under the “shade” of His broom tree.

It is in those “broom tree” moments, when I feel the least able to continue the struggle that I encounter the One who always sends His provision, and I receive the sustenance I need for the journey of life and learn the ways of living faith.

Sitting under the shade of the broom tree brings renewal and with renewal comes a restoration and replenishment of fresh strength. When Elijah arrived at the bloom tree, he was exhausted, depressed, and ready to die.  What was supposed to be a great victory for God and Elijah over Baal and his prophets turned into a flight into the desert for Elijah from Jezebel and her henchmen.  If anyone needed to be renewed, it was Elijah.

And, just as God renewed Elijah under the shade of the broom tree in the middle of the desert, God renews us and gives us ‘strength for the journey’.

Maybe you are “in that desert” today. You can’t imagine one more minute of this. You’re emotionally melting.

God is right there. He will not leave you to die in the desert. He has a “broom tree” and will provide the nourishment and sustenance you need for your pilgrimage.

He promises to be, like your shade on your right hand” (vs. 5)
Please know that God has, God does and God will continue to give you just enough shade.
For the moment. For the day. For the journey.

It may not look like much from afar, but when you recognize it and “sit under it,”
you will know…it is Him.

God allows us to be  “broom trees” in the lives of one another too.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good [more satisfying] reward for their labor;
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

We are to be the shade for one another. Don’t know what that looks like?
You might be surprised to know- it looks smaller than you think.
A text. A phone call. An email.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up,
just as in fact you are doing.” ~Thessalonians 5:11

God, Thank You for providing exactly the amount of shade we need. Thank you for sustenance and strength for the journey.

Principal Question:
Psam 121:5 says “The Lord is a shelter right by your side” Hoe does Psalm 91:4 depict the closeness of God’s shelter?

Personal Question:
What specific ways can God help you that other people simply cannot?

 

Week One/Day Three: “Where will my help come from…The Lord your Keeper”

Week One: Where will my help come from?
Day Three: The Lord your Keeper

Today’s Treasure:
”The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side.” – Psalm 121:5 HCSB

Anxiety…. It can choke us to death if we let it.
Stress…. It comes from all different directions and takes so many different forms.

Marital strife, embittered families, the death of a relative, cancer eating away at a loved one, job troubles, children in rebellion, drug and sexual addictions, financial hardships, and the list goes on and on.

By day and by night we are loaded with burdens. This is real life. Joys and sorrows all mixed together. Real life, real pain.

It’s easy to lose sleep when we are experiencing difficulties. Those are the times we lie in bed staring at the ceiling as millions of anxious thoughts race across our minds. We play out dozens of scenarios as we long for a solution to our very present troubles. As a consequence, we become increasingly weary and our perspective and patience slowly ebbs away.
We long for peaceful sleep and rest.

But, it’s been my experience that God uses the challenges in our lives to teach us things. The feeling of being overwhelmed presents an excellent opportunity for God to get our attention.

The Psalmist offers an important message to those who long for sleep in the midst of anxious times (Ps. 121:3b-4)

God never sleeps, slumbers, or naps. God is awake when we are asleep and even when we are not…

When we have sleepless nights, whether filled with diaper changing, feverish children or lonely tears and prayers. Nights when your mind is racing wondering how will you ever make ends meet this month? When the silent tears of the single mom hit her pillow at night from pure exhaustion at trying to raise her family on her own…it is a blessed assurance to remember that God is with you with all the energy and grace and peace you need to find rest in Him.

When we find ourselves in the middle of difficult circumstances, we should turn things over to God when we go to bed because He will be awake all night anyway!

“YHWH is your keeper/protector; YHWH is your shade on your right hand.” – Psalm 121:5The Lord is my "Shamar"

The Hebrew word for keeper is ‘shamar’:
“to keep, have charge of; to keep, guard, keep watch and ward, protect, save life; watch, watchman; to watch for, wait for; to watch, observe; to keep, retain, treasure up (in memory); to keep (within bounds), restrain.”

The LORD is our keeper. The LORD is our protector.

If the Lord is my keeper, then there are going to be things I need ‘keeping/protecting from’. There are things I need keeping ‘for’. And there are things that I need keeping/protection ‘in’.

Six times the verb “to keep/protect” shows up in this passage.
That He is able to keep us is sure, for He is the maker of heaven and earth.
After all, if He can ‘make’ heaven and earth, then surely, He can take care of me.

In the heat of the day, the cool of the night, from the gravest evil. In our coming, in our going, now and forevermore––YHWH is our keeper. His protection spans both present and future, and it relates to anything and everything that life brings.

We must learn to trust the Lord in the brightest day and in the darkest night. Only then will we be able to say along with David, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).

“Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these?
He who bring out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might and because He is strong in power not one is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, my way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God?

Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
YHWH is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for YHWH shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:26–31

We’re not promised the absence of pain or even failure. But we are promised that, in the very midst of the winds of adversity, we will remain upheld. We will mount up with wings like eagles.

Not because of our own doing, but because of the Omnipotent Preserving hand of God.
No one can snatch God’s sheep out of his hand (John 10:27–30), and the One who has justified will never again condemn(Romans 8:33–34). What mercy! What promise!

Principal Question:
What connection do you see between taking an uncertain journey and wanting a reminder that your covenant LORD is the uncontested Maker of heaven and earth?

Personal Question:
Do you have any current need to have those truths (Psalm 121: 7-8) hammered into your head, whether concerning your own life or another of God’s children? If so, what is it?

Remember this: The LORD is our guardian, our keeper, our protector.
Find hope and rest and peace in His Keeping Power.