Where Does My Help Come From?

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Psalm 121:1-2.   "I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and Earth."

Whenever any of us shares our testimony of how God became real in our lives, it is usually a story about when we really needed help! This is also true of me. Years ago in high school, some social difficulties I was experiencing made me desperate to escape my shame and find my identity and security . One night, alone in my room, God spoke to me and changed my life forever.

Ever since then I have grown in my prayers. I now offer prayers that include praise, thanksgiving, confession, and intercession. But underneath it all are our prayers of petition for God's help. It is either a call for help today or thanks for help yesterday.

Sometimes we think we need to outgrow the prayer that says Help Me! But actually it is nothing to be ashamed of. God doesn't mind. He is not bothered by our persistent requests. He wants us to be in perpetual dependence on him! After all, he says," Call on me and I will deliver you!"

How blessed we are to have the true and living God as our help in time of need!

Let Us Go To The House Of The Lord

Going to church for many of us is something that feels warm and natural. This is because we have had the privilege of doing so for years! This is true for me. Having been raised in a pastor's family all my life the church has been my second home. And being The minister's baby, I was often called The Church Baby! That's why one of my happy places is in any church building especially when the aroma of coffee and a covered dish dinner is in the air!

Psalm 122 seems to capture some of those emotions in David. He finds Jerusalem and the Tabernacle of God within it to be his sacred place. In this song We find parallels between the Old Testament Temple and New Testament Temple, which is actually the congregation of God's people.

*First, it is Holy Ground! Not that the boards and bricks are special in themselves. But the place has become a sacred Memorial because this is the place where so many people have encountered God. *Second, it is our home turf. It is the home of our Family as we seek to be nurtured in God's world view. Truly a Shelter From The Storm! *Third, this place, when we are in it, is the house of God. This is because here every knee bows, and every tongue confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord!

So pray for her peace, unity, and blessing. And always seek her good!

You Pray For Me!

This morning as I pray, Lord I am reminded ...

You pray for me !

You … Jesus, the Ever Living, Never Tiring, Interceding One

Here’s an amazing thought; the Lord Jesus Christ is praying for me!

 

Establishing in love

Covering in righteousness

Tempering with fire

Equipping with discernment

Fortifying in power

Giving ability, providing resources, preparing the way ...

Thank You Lord.

 

“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them”  Hebrews 7:25

"My prayer is not for them alone (the disciples).  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,  that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

    John 17: 20-21

You Are The Light Of The World

“Take no credit, take no blame, take nothing from the world

Simply stand and speak, love and serve

For you are the light of the world”

 

We yearn for your appearing; for your revealing Lord Jesus!

Though yes, you are already here

“I will never leave you”

Yes, O Lord

But still we long for consummation.

 

There is a glow on the horizon that foretells of a coming sunrise

There are also low lying clouds that obscure it from view

Yet all around, its light has been advancing;

Nighttime indigo to morning blue;

Soon golden yellow white.

 

We long for your appearing Lord Jesus!

Yes we do! 

The sun is risen, and though it hides itself for now

You are here! 

 

Behind the low lying clouds,

Your glorious, golden explosion might seem delayed … still

Even in our longing, we know you are here;

Causing our daily lives to fill the morning sky with Light,

As indigo gives way to blue.

Pilgrimage

O Lord, I set my face toward pilgrimage.

Humbly I take the first step and begin the hike. Wash me and I will be clean, cleanse me and I will be healed, for You are my Healer, my Good Shepherd.

O Lord I set my face toward pilgrimage … find me as I go, meet me along the way

O Lord, may my life be such that the path of my journey becomes a place of springs for my sisters and brothers … welling up from within me, breaching its borders, spilling out and making pools;

And may our church be alive here with people whose journeys are creating pools for one another on our way toward You.

 

“And how blessed all those in whom you live, whose lives become roads you travel; They wind through lonesome valleys, come upon brooks, discover cool springs and pools brimming with rain! God traveled, these roads curve up the mountain and at the last turn — Zion! God in full view!”

                                                                        Psalm 84:5-7 The Message

It Is Finished!

In the final moments before Jesus died on the cross, his last recorded words were, It is finished! By that, he meant that our atonement for sin was now completed. Now whoever trusts in him receives the gift of sins completely forgiven forever! We have an open door now to God for daily hope, strength and eternal life!

But these words also remind me that not only did Christ's life have a purpose, but that God has a purpose for ALL of our lives. Jesus summarized his purpose when he said, My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. John 4:34. God had a purpose and work for Jesus.

I believe God has a purpose and work for ALL of us! I wonder when I come to the final moments of my life will I have the peace and confidence to be able to also say, It is Finished?? In other words, will I know that I have done my best to do the work God had for my life? How can someone know their purpose and work? I don't think it is too hard to discern. It is right before us every day and could be summarized this way: 1. Grow in faith, love and obedience to Jesus daily. 2. Faithfully love and serve family, and church family, and everyone in my life. 3. Shine with the Holy Spirit as a faithful witness of Christ to the world.

As God helps me to stay focused on these things I will certainly be able to say on my last day, It is Finished!

The Lord Is My Chosen Portion

On these cold mornings in winter I wake up every morning and say an extra thank you to God for my warm house and warm bed! My mind begins to take in the countless blessings He has poured out in my life. I am so grateful for the beautiful relationships, experiences and possessions which I enjoy! And how can I ever thank him for health, family, faith, hope and love? I am even more blessed by knowing that death will not be the end, but only the beginning of even better and eternal inheritances!

Note that this song however says that the Lord Himself is our inheritance! This is similar to what he said to the Levites in the Old Testament. The rest of Israel inherited land. But the Lord Himself was the inheritance of the priests! The New Testament says we are a royal priesthood. Therefore truly our very best and most exceeding blessing is our relationship with the Lord Himself! The Apostle Paul said, I have thrown away everything else, and count it as rubbish, in order that I might know Christ! To know Christ is the greatest blessing. His constant presence by the Spirit, his daily illumination of his word to me, and the confidence I have to overcome every challenge, remind me that the Lord Himself is my richest and most beautiful inheritance!

Analyzing Feelings

Psalm 70:9. " Do not cast me off in time of old age." As I was driving home from a recent visit to my elderly parents I tried to analyze my feelings. I discerned both sweetness and sadness. Sweetness because they are so dear to me.. Sadness because I hate to see the decline of mind and body which usually accompanies old age. Not only do I grieve their loss, but my own. Because I understand that I am looking at my future. Yet even in this relentless march of time God brings us hope in three truths 1. God's grace is sufficient. He will never forsake us and will always provide his presence and help. 2. His power is perfected in our weakness. The more vulnerable we become, the brighter the light of the love & care of Christ shines through us! 3. Nothing done for Christ is in vain. This earthly life is not the end. Our resurrection and eternal reward as heirs of God lie before us! Therefore let us gracefully move down the path of our old age, fully confident of his care and reward!

Christ Will Meet ALL Our Needs

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"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." Psalm 23. 1. The opening statement of this most beloved psalm reminds us that Christ is completely trustworthy to meet all our needs. If we all agree with this theology, why do we tend to live our lives in a constant state of anxiety? Why is a low grade fear-fever so often in us? We must realize that God has foreordained every day of our lives. The good and the bad are all part of God's recipe to sanctify us and bring us safely to our glorious home! There is a popular phrase these days which says "It's all good." For us, that is true, according to Romans 8. 28. So in those days which seem to go crazy, let us rest in confidence that even in this chaos we are satisfied and completely nourished by our Good Shepherd!

Overtones

LORD, align me with the frequency of Your will
In tune with the fundamental tone
Make me a pleasing overtone to You as I am joined by Christ to Your perpetual glory
___ everlasting to everlasting, enduring tone, enduring glory!

Never fading, endlessly sounding, fundamental tone
With overtones like flower buds
Never ending, cascading, harmonic overtones
Unfolding Your Name forever
Your Name, the resonance of Your perpetual glory!

You are my God, my Maker
Absolute Sovereign of my being
This very being that You have entrusted into my care.
___ I worship You in peace.

"Jesus gave them this answer: 'Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does."         John 5:19

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."              John 15:7-8

Humility

1 Peter 5:5. " Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another." Humility is such a wonderful attitude to cover ourselves with. It puts us in a right frame of mind toward God and others. Toward God, because humility is a position of faith. When we trust God we are humbly putting ourselves under his will and care. But humility is also appropriate toward others. Because it is an expression of love. Jesus commanded us to love one another. Love means to look out for others interests and to consider them more important than our own. I.e. humility! So, wherever we go let us enjoy the garment of humility!

Blessed Hunger, Blessed Thirst

In your wisdom O gracious God, You have created an appetite this intense for You!  I am filled now, even as I am always hungry.

 
"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled." - Matthew 5:6
"Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." - John 6:53
 

Hear my worship Lord

I draw near you You

I hunger and thirst for You now, as always

Even as You come to meet me

And even as I am filled and satisfied, this blessed hunger persists   

  ... Longing for You, and thankful for the longing.

 

 

A Reunion

Recently I attended a reunion of my father's side of the family. Though my father is still living he is way up in years and could not travel to the reunion this year. When the gathering was over, before driving home, I headed over to spend a few quiet moments at the old homestead. No one has lived in it for several years now. But it is being well kept. I strolled around the quiet yard, looking at the old house and a few small farm buildings nearby. All this time a movie was playing in my mind as I was imagining all the stories which dad told me playing out.

It is amazing how ordinary people doing ordinary things in ordinary lives years ago come to be large, significant and sacred to the descendants! It makes one wonder: are ordinary people and events truly ordinary but the next generation inflates them to be great? Or, are all so-called ordinary things actually inherently significant and sacred, and we only recognize them later, after the hubbub of daily living is past, and time has distilled them revealing their gold?

Probably the answer to this question depends on your life-view. Is God real and therefore everything has a purpose? Or is there no God, therefore nothing is meaningful? I believe that nature and scripture gives us the answer. God is real! So we are able to see everything in life, as full of meaning and purpose, significant and sacred. . So, "Give thanks in all things!" When you have God and hope, every story in life is an adventure and a romance within God's great purpose!

I Am Crucified with Christ

Galations 2: 20. "I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God....".  I have been enjoying the truth of this passage a lot lately. I am especially interested in the part which says Christ lives IN me. 

The passage starts out by saying I am crucified with Christ. Just like a father who cosigns a debt for his son, Jesus took on the debt of my sin. Of course, I had nothing to offer in the deal. Christ paid it all by his cross. Thus I have confidence with God.

Next, we are reminded that we now live by faith in him! This means to trust him for everything from small things to life and death challenges. When I am depending on someone for daily life, his reality will obviously fill me! Thus the apostle could say," I no longer live, but it is Christ who lives in me.". I visualize a jewelry box someone recently gave me. It was dusty and old, and got passed down to me through an estate. Inside of it were all kinds of interesting but cheap tie clasps and cufflinks. Now suppose someone gave me a bar of pure gold to keep in the jewelry box. You can bet I would gladly dispose of the cheap trinkets in order to make room for that gold bar! I would open the box and gaze admiringly at that glittering bar of wealth every day! Any left over cheap jewelry in there would be nothing more than residue to me.

These days I look inside of myself whenever I face challenges, fears and shortages. Instead of the anxieties I used to experience when I looked within & saw only inadequate resources, now I see a giant gold bar of Jesus Christ inside of me! I know I can do all things through Him who strengthens me! Any remnants of the old me are simply residue.