Books, friendship, and the shared journey home

The journey home is one best shared with others.

We need the help of books and the companionship of friends to keep our heart oriented toward heaven while we walk this broken planet.

We need books to show us where we are going.

We need God’s Word first, the most important book ever written.
We need to know who God is and who we are. We need to learn that God has not left us here on our own, but sent His only Son to be Immanuel, God with us. We need to see Jesus live the life we long for as he walks this broken planet with His friends. We need to hear Him declare that the kingdom of God is here, that He is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. We need to believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection can redeem us by paying for our sins, by restoring us to the Father, and by giving us His Spirit, the power to live the abundant life today. We need to have faith that His abundant life is available to us now in this fallen world, and forever in the perfect place He is preparing for us.

And when we need contemporary examples of what the abundant life looks like or when we are tempted to think that the abundant life is impossible to live, we need books by others.

We need books by people of the past, real people who left a record of their experiences of God’s faithfulness and the spiritual practices that marked their journey.

We need books by people of the present, real people who share our struggles, who apply God’s truth to current circumstances, who show us how to practice time-tested spiritual disciplines in modern contexts, and who aren’t afraid to expose their failures in hopes that others can avoid them.

But books are not enough.

In addition to books, we need friends to share our journey.

We need friends who have read God’s Words and are determined to live them.

We need friends who see beyond the messes we’ve made to who we are becoming.

We need friends to speak to us as if we already are that person, whispering words of vision and life that give us strength.

We need friends who see God’s redemption at work in our suffering and lend us hope when we can find none on our own.

We need friends who remind us that God is with us, that His name, His presence, and His peace are near in every moment.

We need friends who have been through what we are experiencing, who double back to walk the path again with us and help us navigate the way.

And along the way, books and friends come together.

A friend searches God’s Word for truths that you need when you can’t find them for yourself.

A friend prays God’s Word on your behalf until those Words become reality in you.

And a friend gives you books she loves so that you can mark your own journey through its pages, knowing that you will compare notes and learn more together than either of you could on her own.

The journey home is one best shared with others.

I am blessed beyond measure to have friends who love God and are determined to live His Words, friends who love books and share what they discover, friends who love me and walk with me, helping me orient my heart toward home every step of the way.

I was thinking of these friends when I wrote these simple words:

friendship is a long walk –
on sidewalks,
navigating everyday life;
by the water,
seeking stillness of soul;
into the woods,
discovering beauty in unexpected places;
through the pages of shared books,
finding truth and direction,
learning to create fires that warm
and escape fires that wound.
a friend stays by your side
no matter where the journey goes.

I invite you to share your journey with others.

Read God’s Words and find the abundant life you long for.

Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read, mark your journey through its pages, and share what you discover.

Encourage a friend, lend them your hope, look beyond to find God’s redeeming work, stay by their side.

Start sharing your journey today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Friends Every Mom Needs

Today I have the privilege of writing about the Five Friends Every Mom Needs over at the Missional Motherhood blog. Every mom needs friends on the motherhood journey. We need companionship and advice, a shared life and a shared faith, and the security of knowing we are not alone.

Missional Motherhood has contributors from every age and stage of mothering who share personal stories, practical ideas, and a living faith in order to encourage and equip other moms to know God and make Him known in their homes.

If you know a mom who needs encouragement, resources for parenting and spiritual growth, or who would like printables for prayer notebooks and scripture cards, send her a link to missionalmotherhood.com!

Psalm 88: My cry of desperation

Darkness is my only friend.

This is how Psalm 88 ends.

Unlike almost every other psalm, this one ends in darkness rather than hope. Prolonged darkness leads to desperation. This psalm is a desperate cry to God in the midst of pain and isolation.

But it is a cry to God.

This Psalm reminds us that God’s people are not immune to dark times. And it gives words to express how it feels to walk in darkness and how to cry out to God in the dark.

Timothy Keller recently shared truths about Psalm 88 with a congregation in London.

With great compassion, he walks through the psalmist’s experience of the outer darkness of life’s circumstances and the inner darkness of feeling abandoned, or apart from a sense of God’s presence.

Here are a few quotes from Keller’s sermon:

“Jesus Christ experienced darkness as His only friend so in your darkness you can know that Jesus is still your friend, he’s still there. Jesus was truly abandoned so that you will only feel abandoned and you can know that God is still there. He’s not going to abandon you…because [Jesus has] taken the penalty.”

“When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane and he felt that darkness coming down on him and he knew that he had to die in order to save us, He stayed with us. He did not abandon us in His darkness, so why in the world do you think he would abandon you in yours now. He won’t do it.”

Hear those words again: You are not abandoned.

I love this quote that Keller shared from Michael Wilcock’s commentary on the Psalms:

“This darkness can happen to a believer, this Psalm says. It doesn’t mean you’re lost. This darkness can happen to someone who does not deserve it, after all it happened to Jesus. This doesn’t mean you’ve strayed. This darkness can happen at any time as long as this world lasts because only in the next world will such things be done away with. This darkness can happen without you knowing why, but there are answers, there is a purpose, and eventually you will know it.”

Darkness can happen to a believer.

If you are going through a dark time or know someone who is, I encourage you to watch or listen to Timothy Keller’s sermon on Psalm 88.

Darkness is not your only friend if you know Jesus.

On the cross, Jesus was abandoned by God so that you would never be abandoned. Jesus experienced darkness alone so that you would not.

The cross is your guarantee of God’s love, even in dark times.

Cry out to Him.

Timothy Keller, “How to Deal with Dark Times”, published October 29, 2018 by HTB Church in London

Psalm 87: My source of joy

My whole source of joy is in you!

This is the song of the citizens of Zion.

The Old Testament tells the story of how God set apart a people for Himself, how He chose to dwell among them, and how through His people He extends an invitation to all people of every nation to worship Him, the One true God.

God established the city of Zion as His special dwelling place, a city known as the City of God. Here, in the dwelling place of the Most High God, are springs of joy. God’s presence is the source of joy, the wellspring of life and renewal for His people.

Singers and dancers alike will say, “My whole source of joy is in you.”
Psalm 87:7

This joy of God’s presence is to be shared with the world.

Indeed, God is my salvation;
I will trust him and not be afraid,
for the LORD, the LORD himself,
is my strength and my song.
He has become my salvation.”
You will joyfully draw water
from the springs of salvation,
and on that day you will say:
“Give thanks to the LORD; proclaim his name!
Make his works known among the peoples.
Declare that his name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things.
Let this be known throughout the earth.
Cry out and sing, citizen of Zion,
for the Holy One of Israel is among you
in his greatness.”
Isaiah 12:2-7

Citizens of Zion make God known and proclaim His name among the peoples throughout the earth, sharing the joy of salvation, and extending the invitation to become part of God’s family.

We tell the rest of God’s story.

We tell others that Jesus, the Son of God – Immanuel, God with us – came to walk among us. We tell them Jesus walked through the streets of Jerusalem, the City of Zion, carrying a cross. We tell them Jesus was crucified outside the city, dying to pay for the sins of the world, His blood becoming the spring of salvation for all who call on His name.

At that time you were without Christ, excluded from the citizenship of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who made both groups one…
Ephesians 2:12-14

At the cross, outside the City of Zion, those who were once enemies of God receive a new identity, renouncing sin and old allegiances, choosing to submit to God’s kingdom and authority.

And one day, the City of Zion will be made new.

On that day, all will be made right and those who have been to the cross for salvation will enjoy God’s presence forever.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away. Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new.” He also said, “Write, because these words are faithful and true.” Then he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will freely give to the thirsty from the spring of the water of life.
Revelation 21:3-6

God’s presence is our source of joy, today and forever.

2019 psalm 87 .jpg

At the Table: Where Life and Truth Meet

Most of us have asked the question, “What is my purpose?”

For me, that question has often taken a paralyzing turn.  I think, “What is MY purpose? What is the one thing I’m supposed to be doing with my life to glorify God…and what if I miss it?”

Like most women, I fight feelings of inadequacy and fear.

I can scroll through social media and think, my life isn’t as interesting as hers.

I can look through Pinterest and think, my house isn’t as beautiful as hers.

I can read blogs and think, my thoughts aren’t as profound or funny as hers.

I can even watch a video Bible Study and think, I don’t know as much as she does and I don’t look as good as she does, so no one would ever want to listen to me.

How can I ever find my purpose?

I have to put down my phone and pick up the Word.

In the Word, I read Matthew 22:36-40.

“Teacher, which command in the law is the greatest?”

He [Jesus] said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command.  The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”

In the Word, I read Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

I’m learning to find my purpose in these three commands:

Love God.
Love people.
Make disciples.

These are the priorities of Jesus.

Jesus loved God by doing everything His Father commanded.
Jesus loved all people, especially the ones others rejected.
Jesus made disciples by sharing the truth while he shared His life.

Jesus spoke the truth to crowds on occasion, but He lived the truth before His disciples daily.  He demonstrated that the best way to learn to live the truth is to watch it lived in others.  At the tables of tax collectors, sinners, and friends, Jesus shared the truth and showed how to live it.

This is the ministry of Jesus.

We all need someone in our everyday lives to teach us the truth and show us the way to live it. Screens won’t do.

I am realizing that much of the truth that I know and live today, I learned first around a table with godly women who were willing to share their lives with me. My life changed, my marriage changed, and my kid’s lives changed because these women made room at their tables and invited me to join them.

I think about the women around the tables during my decade of Tuesday morning Bible Study at GFBC. I think about Mrs. Bobbie, who got up from her table of friends to walk across the room to hug me and tell me she loved me every time she saw me enter. I think about the women who let me sit and listen and ask questions only when I was ready. I think about the women who invited me to lunch, who shared stories of everyday life, of marriage and kids and struggles where truth meets reality. I was changed week by week, not because of the truth I heard from a screen, but by the truth I saw lived out by women across the table and around the room, women I saw in my daily life in the carpool line, at Walmart, and at sports events. I could trust these women with my questions and know they would pray for my deepest needs. I learned to parent by watching these women navigate through daily challenges. I can’t tell you the names of all the Bible studies we did in those years, but I can tell you name after name of the women who loved me, prayed for me, worshipped with me, and lived the truth out before me.

In the same way, older women are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not slaves to excessive drinking. They are to teach what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands and to love their children, to be self-controlled, pure, workers at home, kind, and in submission to their husbands, so that God’s word will not be slandered. Titus 2:3-5 CSB

I think about my friend Ann, who has been making room at her table for me and my family for more than twenty years. At Ann’s table, our kids did their homework together, celebrated the day’s victories, and shared disappointments. We met at Ann’s table to eat her home-cooked meals, play games, and laugh at hilarious moments only Ann could create. With neither of us having parents or other family in town, Ann’s family and mine joined forces to celebrate big occasions and holidays together. When unexpected repairs made our house unlivable, Ann took us in for three weeks and we both cried when our house was habitable again. At Ann’s table, my children gained a second mother and we all learned the healing power of laughter. And because Ann invited us to share the chaos of daily living, I learned that hospitality is not about what is on the table, but who is sitting around it.

A joyful heart is good medicine…Proverbs 17:22 CSB

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13 NIV

Don’t go to your brother’s house in your time of calamity;
better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away. Proverbs 21:10 CSB

I think about my friend Tracy, who always joked that at her table we could solve the problems of the world (and for a while, we did solve the problem of me wanting more blond in my hair). The problems of the world came to Tracy’s table when she opened her heart and home to take in foster children. Through the eyes of these precious children, I watched deprivation become plenty and despair become hope. At Tracy’s table, I watched God’s supernatural love heal physical and emotional pain. When Tracy invited me to join her at fast food tables for visits between her foster kids and their birth parents, I learned more about forgiveness and the painful process of reconciliation. And as Tracy’s table got bigger and bigger, I learned about the beauty of adoption and began to appreciate more and more my own adoption into God’s family and my place at His table.

Learn to do what is good. Pursue justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause. Isaiah 1:17 CSB

You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!”  The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:15-16 CSB

I think about my friend Pam, who is always ready to meet me at the table of our favorite Mexican restaurant. At these tables, we have studied the Bible chronologically over chips and cheese dip. In dark times, we drop everything to meet at the table for companionship and encouragement. We share our lives. Pam’s wise counsel is one of my most precious treasures. At the table with Pam, I have learned that God redeems all things.

Listen to counsel and receive instruction so that you may be wise later in life. Proverbs 19:20 CSB

This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.
1 John 3:16 CSB

Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Psalm 130:7 NIV

I think about the women I met in the Romanian cities of Timisoara, Hunedoara, and Hateg. I think about the tables in their homes where they welcomed me and shared what they had. I think about how we gathered with other women in their churches to worship, singing songs together in our own languages. And I think about the tables at their churches where we gathered afterward for a shared meal and time of fellowship. At tables in Romania, I learned a little bit more about what heaven will be like, where people from every tribe and every people gather before God’s throne to worship, and where one day we will all gather at the table for the wedding supper of the Lamb.

After this I looked, and there was a vast multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice:

Salvation belongs to our God,
who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!
Revelation 7:9-10 CSB

What do these incredible women in my life have in common?

They know their purpose.
They love God, love people, and make disciples.

They refuse to be immobilized by insecurity. They stop falling for the trap of comparison that says, “But I’m not _____(fill in the blank with the name of any popular speaker or writer).”

They share their real lives, inviting people like you and me to the table to share life and truth.

As I reflect on the most critical times of my spiritual journey, I realize I didn’t need someone famous, I needed someone real. I needed someone in my daily life whose heart belonged to God and whose life reflected a desire to live the truth. I needed someone whose love for me and desire that I become more like Christ would cause them to drop everything and meet me in my time of need. I needed someone face to face, someone who could see beyond the mess I was to who I could become. I needed someone to listen to the Spirit and catch a vision for how God could be glorified in me.

I needed to come to the table.

At the table, I learned to love God more.
At the table, I learned to love others well.
And at the table, I was discipled and learned to do the same.

At the table, I didn’t just hear truth, I watched it in action.

So, these days, I’m learning to ask myself another question.

I’m learning to ask, “Where are my people?”

If I know the purpose of my life is to love God, love people, and make disciples, then my guiding question becomes, “Where are the people God has given me to love and disciple as I grow in my love for God?”

It’s time I die to the pride that is the root of feelings of inadequacy.
It’s time I stop being afraid I will look foolish or fail.
It’s time I stop sitting on the sidelines playing it safe.

It’s time I realize that God isn’t holding my favorite Bible teacher or blogger responsible for discipling the people who are longing for a seat at my table.

It’s my turn to do the inviting.
It’s my turn to do the discipling.
It’s my turn to find my people.

What about you? What do you need?

Do you need to know your purpose?

Focus on the big three:
Love God.
Love people.
Make disciples.

Do you need to know where to find your people?

You are likely to find them gathered around a table – in your home, at your place of worship, in your workplace, or in your community.

And like me, you will discover this:

The truth you need and the ministry you were made for are waiting at a table near you.

Quotes Table Truth and Ministry

Psalm 141

Everyone is wrong sometime.

But who likes being reminded of it?

David asked for such reminders. In a time when his enemies were trying to trap him into wrongdoing, David prayed that a righteous one would rebuke him if his heart turned toward a sinful path. He viewed such a reprimand as a blessing, an act of faithful love.

LORD, set up a guard for my mouth;
keep watch at the door of my lips.
Do not let my heart turn to any evil thing
or perform wicked acts
with men who commit sin.
Do not let me feast on their delicacies.
Let the righteous one strike me—
it is an act of faithful love;
let him rebuke me—
it is oil for my head;
let me not refuse it.
Even now my prayer is against
the evil acts of the wicked. (v. 3-5 CSB)

Proverbs says it like this:

Better an open reprimand
than concealed love.

The wounds of a friend are trustworthy,
but the kisses of an enemy are excessive.
Proverbs 27:5-6 CSB

Who is a better friend? The one who lovingly confronts us with our wrongdoing, or the one who loves us but stays quiet?

Which wounds are better? The ones we inflict on ourselves by sinful choices or the ones from a friend who lovingly tells us the truth about our actions?

We can trust the wounds of a true friend.

David prayed for friends who would confront him in love if his heart turned toward sin, even if it hurt to hear their words.

Do we pray for friends like that?

I am grateful for a handful of friends who love me enough to tell me the truth, who warn me when my heart turns toward sin. When I’ve been wronged, I am grateful for friends who call me on my sinful responses and refuse to let me blame my choices on others. I am grateful for friends who “play the movie” to show me where my sinful attitude will take me and those who love me. I am grateful for the faithful love of these friends, friends who are willing to cause pain for a moment rather than see me suffer pain for a lifetime.

Am I willing to be that kind of friend? I want to be. I try to be.

I admit, it’s easier to stay quiet.

So I’m thankful for this reminder from the psalms today:
Faithful love sounds the alarm.

Father, set a guard over my lips today. Help me speak the truth in love. Keep my heart from turning to sin. Open the mouths of my friends to be free to warn me when I am on or considering a sinful path. Thank you for my friends who demonstrate Your faithful love by sounding the alarm when I need it. Protect us from the traps of the enemy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 141

The God Who Runs

Rebellion.

Selfish demands.
Surly words.
Shameful choices.

We’ve all played the rebel, rejecting the rules to get what we want, to experience something new.

Regret.

I was so stupid.

We’ve all suffered the consequences of rebellious choices, finding ourselves in a mess we can’t escape on our own.

Rejection.

I’m no longer worthy.

And sometimes, we fall into despair, feeling ashamed and blaming ourselves again and again.

What can we do when we’ve failed, when we feel cut off from the good life we knew before, separated from God and those we love?

Jesus told the Parable of the Lost Son to show rebels like us what to do.

When you’ve chosen your own way, when you’ve suffered the consequences, when you don’t even feel worthy to be called a child of God….

Get up.
Turn around.
Go back to your Father.

I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired workers.”’ So he got up and went to his father.
Luke 15:18-19 CSB

Jesus told the Parable of the Lost Son to show us how love responds.

Love sees.
Love runs.
Love forgives.
Love restores.
Love keeps searching.

But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father told his servants, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:20-24 CSB

God is not a father who writes us off.

God is the Father who sees.
He is watching for the moment our hearts turn toward home again.

God is the Father who runs.
He closes the gap to embrace us as dearly loved children, not hired workers.

God is the Father who forgives.
He is filled with compassion and shows us mercy when we repent.

God is the Father who restores.
He celebrates our return, welcomes us home, and demonstrates His love, providing more than we could ask or imagine.

God is the Father who shows us that our worth is not earned, but inherited. Our worth comes from our relationship, initiated and sustained by the Father.

We need to remember that when we’re not playing the rebel, we are easily tempted to play the judge. The rebel demands his own way. His judgmental brother demands he pay for it.

The Father loves them both.

So his father came out and pleaded with him…“‘Son,’ he said to him, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Luke 15:28, 31-32 CSB

God is the Father who keeps searching.
He invites the self-righteous to trust His judgment and join the celebration.

God is a good Father.

He sees.
He runs.
He forgives.
He restores.
He keeps searching.

We are God’s children.
We belong to Him.
When we fail or when we have it all together, we can trust His love.
And His love never fails.

See what great love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children—and we are! 1 John 3:1 CSB

Psalm 130

God hears our cries for help.

Out of the depths I call to you, LORD!
Lord, listen to my voice;
let your ears be attentive
to my cry for help. (v. 1-2 CSB)

God forgives our sins.

If you, LORD, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you. (v. 3-4 NIV)

God’s Word gives us reason to hope.

I wait for the LORD; I wait
and put my hope in his word. (v. 5 CSB)

God loves us with unfailing, faithful love.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD.
For there is faithful love with the LORD,
and with him is redemption in abundance. (v. 7 CSB)

God gives full redemption to those who belong to Him.

Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. (v. 7-8 NIV)

Forgiveness.
Hope.
Unfailing love.
Full redemption.

How great is God’s mercy toward us!

Father, thank You for hearing my cries for mercy. Thank You for forgiving my sins, for redeeming every one. I put my hope in Your Word that tells the story of Your unfailing love and redemption plan. I put my hope in You, my Redeemer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 130

Psalm 129

God is the defender of the oppressed.

The psalmist writes of God delivering Israel, His covenant people, from attacks and oppression since her earliest days.

Since my youth they have often attacked me—
let Israel say—
Since my youth they have often attacked me,
but they have not prevailed against me. (v. 1-2 CSB)

God is the giver of freedom.

This psalm celebrates God as the righteous one who cuts the ropes of oppression and sets His people free.

The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the ropes of the wicked. (v. 4 CSB)

The Israelites were slaves for 400 years in Egypt before God miraculously set them free. Later, through the prophet Isaiah, God sent the good news that He would send the Messiah to set all captives free from the power of sin.

The Spirit of the Lord God is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners. . . Isaiah 61:1 CSB

Jesus, the Messiah, broke the chains of sin on the cross when He paid the debt for all sin with His own perfect life. He has set us free!

So if the Son sets you free, you really will be free. John 8:36 CSB

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2 CSB

God invites us to use our freedom to serve others.

For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. Galatians 5:13 CSB

Our freedom is not just for us. Having been set free from the chains of sin, we are now free to love with the love of the Father. His love empowers us to serve others.

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

God cut the ropes that evil men used to enslave His people.
He set Israel free from her oppressors.

God sent His Son Jesus to the cross in our place to pay the penalty for sin .
He set us free from the chains of sin.

God set us free to serve others through love.

How will you use His freedom today?

Father, thank You for setting me free. Thank You for sending Jesus to the cross in my place to pay the penalty for my sin, setting me free from sin’s bondage. Help me use my freedom to serve and show Your love to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 129.jpg

Psalm 124

At some point on our journey home, we will find ourselves under attack, by people or by the crushing weight of circumstances we could not foresee. When this happens, we need someone by our side. We need help we can count on.

We need the LORD, Yahweh, our covenant-keeping God.

Psalm 124 gives testimony of God’s help for Israel during times of attack.

When people attacked Israel, the LORD was on their side, providing a way of escape.

If the LORD had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
then they would have swallowed us alive
in their burning anger against us. (v. 2-3 CSB)

When God’s people were pummeled by waves of attack, the LORD kept His people from going under.

If the LORD had not been on our side…
Then the water would have engulfed us;
the torrent would have swept over us;
the raging water would have swept over us. (v. 1a, 4-5 CSB)

God’s people responded by blessing the LORD and recognizing that their help came from the name of the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. (v. 8 CSB)

The LORD is our help.
When waves of attack hit, call on His name.
The Maker of heaven and earth is on your side.
He will keep you from being overwhelmed.

Bless His name!

Father, You are my help when I am under attack. Without You on my side, I would go under. Thank You that Your name is near. You are the Maker of heaven and earth. Nothing is too difficult for You. Show me the way of escape. Keep me above the waves that surround me. Yahweh, I bless Your name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

psalm 124