I Look to the Mountains…

Where do you look to for help? Where do you look to find answers? In what do you put your trust?

David wrote in Psalm 121

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LordWho made heaven and earth.

 

Perhaps when David wrote these words he was remembering when he was a shepherd boy watching his father’s sheep. He would have led them through the mountains and it would have been in those mountains where he faced the lion and the bear. It would have been in those mountains that he found himself alone and in need of help so that he could protect his father’s sheep.

Looking to the mountains might have reminded David of the days when he was on the run from King Saul. When Saul was jealous of David and set on killing him, David ran into the mountains and hid in caves.

Mountains are majestic and beautiful! Many artists capture them on canvass, and  photographers capture them in pictures.

Mountains speak and each one who beholds them hear their words in a personal and intimate way.

When David wrote Psalm 121 he declared that it is the Lord who helps him, keeps him, protects him, and guards him.

That day the mountains spoke words that reminded David of the help that God provided when he faced fears and dangers. Those times David was alone in those mountains and there was no one or nothing else that could help him.

It was in those mountains that David found God to be his help!

The God who made the mountains, the lion, the bear, King Saul…

The God who made him…

God proved Himself to David in supernatural ways. God alone gave him the strength and courage to kill a lion and a bear. Only God alone helped him to stay safe and alive from the wrath of King Saul.

This is the God who David looked to for help!

Looking up at mountains your eyes are on their way up to the heavens. When you need help don’t stop at the mountains, for there is nothing on this earth that can help as the Lord who made everything in heaven and on earth.

Everything you look to here on earth will never help in the ways God helps. His help is always available in your time of need and when you put your complete trust in Him, He will enable you to do the impossible, and will protect you from all harm.

May the mountains you look to be reminders that your help comes from God alone, for He is your keeper, He is your protector, and He guards over you night and day!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

We are told by those who study the stars that there will be a very large star visible this Monday evening, the Christmas Star 2020, as Jupiter and Saturn come together. The alignment of these two planets hasn’t happened in 800 years.

I am reminded of these verses in Psalms…

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world.” Psalm 19:1

God speaks through all that He made and it is

the wise who take the time to look, to listen, and to believe!

The wise men saw something one night they had never seen before and what they saw captivated them so much they packed up their supplies, saddled up their camels, and went on a long journey.

As astronomers the wise men were familiar with the stars and consolations in the heavens above. So the night they saw a new star it caught their attention. Its presence made them curious. And as they searched for it’s meaning they found it to be the star of “He who was born King of the Jews.”

Why would wise men from the East go on an extended leave to a far away country bearing expensive gifts to bow down in worship of the new born King of the Jews?

I can only believe that just as God spoke and all things were created…

The voice of God “heard” in creation still calls people to come, see, and believe that He is God!

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead,” Romans 1:20

The account of the wise men recorded and written down, preserved through the ages, tells of the wisdom in…

Leaving everything behind,

Earnestly seeking and following God’s leading,

Presenting precious gifts…

Gold=belief in the One who is King,

Frankincense=the One who is worthy of worship,

Myrrh=the One who died so that we may live.

Bowing down before the King!

The new star the wise men saw in the night sky spoke of the King of the Jews coming to this dark, sinful, hopeless world, and so Jesus, the Light of the world, continues to shine and reveals the glory of God to all who choose to seek Him.

May the Christmas Star of 2020 be a reminder of God’s amazing glory displayed through His creation and of His perfect timing as He calls us to seek Jesus in this dark and confusing world.

As we marvel at this great light in the sky, may we consider the true Light of the world who loves us so much He left everything, gave all He had, bowed down to His Father’s will, and died so that we may live!

 

Where’s Wilma?

Did you ever say something and then regret what you said because you realize you may actually have to do what you said?

This past summer as Mark and I were planning for our Reservoir Bible Study which would need to be pre-recorded to be used on our zoom meetings I had an idea…

In the past I would begin our Bible Study time together by encouraging the youth and young adults to share something they were thankful for, an answered prayer, or a God story from their week.

It was a stretch, but usually there would be several brave ones who would share something and I loved whatever they said because I know the power of words and it gave them a safe place to learn the power of praise!

Well, this summer I was considering how to include praise and thanksgiving via zoom. I have to believe it was God’s idea that He put in my mind because it certainly wasn’t something that I actually wanted to do.

So, I found myself saying to Mark one day, “I should dress up like Where’s Waldo’s girl friend, Wilma, and do a video clip encouraging the students to Find God in their lives and give Him thanks.”

It was just a thought, just a silly idea…

But Mark took it seriously!

He thought it was a great idea!

Next thing I knew we were ordering the “Where’s Waldo” Book, AND the “Where’s Wilma” costume.

It started to take on a life of its own. We thought of shooting the video in different places in West Milford and at the end of my talk we could pan out to something that would be a clue of where I was so the students could guess and for each correct guess their name would be put in the basket for a drawing each month.

As long as it was an idea; as long as the book was on the table, and the costume was folded on my dresser and there were some plans of where we could record the video, it was all good.

Then, there came the day I needed to pick up the book, put on the costume, go out to some place in West Milford, stand in front of the video camera, and talk.

That was a different thing!

But I found as I went out with the motive to give others the encouragement to be thankful and to share their God Stories, I became brave and courageous to do exactly that, even in my “Wilma Suit” and with the possibility of people passing by seeing me and hearing me.

And so, the very thing God stirred in my heart, the very thing I spoke out, though it was something I regretted and feared, became something that I am very thankful for and have learned that God’s will doesn’t always fit in my comfort zone, but it is for my best and intended to point others to Him!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.  I will be found by you, says the Lord…” Jeremiah 29:11-14

My Father is the KING!

“Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13

I was reminded of these verses this morning and I found them to be comforting, convicting, and encouraging all wrapped up together.

Jesus tells me to pray to God using the words, “Our Father.”

God, the One who is outside of time, who always was, always is, and forever will be!

God, the One who spoke all of heaven and earth into being!

God, the One true God who rules over all from His throne in heaven!

Yes, this God is the God who loved the world so much He sent Jesus to show us who He is and to make a way so we can call Him, Father!

Jesus was sent here to demonstrate God’s intention for life!

Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection was the first fruit of what God intends for all those He creates!

Jesus’ perfect sacrifice on the cross defeated sin and death so we no longer are slaves to sin and have relationship with God, our Father.

“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:15-17

Now that I am a child of God I have the same status as Jesus, and therefore I too can call God, my Father!

But I admit sometimes my Father in heaven seems so far away, so out of touch from the things I’m going through here on earth.

The evil one who rules the earth seems to be winning. Seems to be in control.

God reminded me that His throne in heaven doesn’t mean He is far away and out of touch. His presence is everywhere! God is all-seeing, all-knowing, moving and working in all ways and in all things!

And that I find very comforting!

But, as everyone else, I am pondering God’s perspective of what is going on here on earth.

I was reminded of the time Jesus told His disciples about the suffering, death, and resurrection He was to go through, Peter jumped in and said, No way! Peter’s perspective didn’t want those things to take place, yet they were the very things that brought life!

Could this suffering, these seemingly evil plans of man, this death and destruction, be part of a bigger picture that I don’t understand?

While God doesn’t create evil, He uses the evil schemes of Satan and works them for good. 

I am convicted of looking at the things around me, reading the reports of man, and becoming angry, fearful, and frustrated.

I don’t have the answer, but I know God has placed me here for such a time as this and I as I cry out for His perspective He keeps reminding me to keep my eyes on Him.

This world has always been dark and evil and that is the very reason He sent Jesus and it is the very reason He sent me, and all who believe in Him!

As I pray to Him, trust in Him, and keep my eyes on Him He will give me my daily bread, He will forgive me when I stumble, as I forgive those who stumble around me, and He will keep me safe from the evil one.

Because I belong to a kingdom that isn’t of this world!

It is a powerful kingdom, a glorious kingdom, and an eternal kingdom.

And my Father is the KING!

 

Saved!

This pandemic is powerful, it has shaken our entire world!

Everyone’s life has been shaken!

We will never be the same on the other side of this!

I find it interesting that in the middle of this shaking comes Holy week; the Passion of Jesus!

Talk about a powerful shaking!

A shaking that changed the world forever!

A shaking that ushered in an unshakable kingdom!

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

When God called Moses to Mount Sinai He told Moses to tell the people not to follow, not to even approach or touch the mountain, for He is a holy God, unapproachable by sinful men.

Moses approached the mountain of God with fear and trembling! It was there God gave Moses the commandments His people were to obey so He could dwell with them.

But, as I read through the Old Testament I find those commandments, while intended for their good, were neglected and rebelled against.

Those commandments actually brought out the reality of their inability to obey.

God’s people were constantly shaken by a cycle of obedience, disobedience, repentance, obedience…

God loved His people and His peace, protection, and provision were evidences of His love for them.

But, God is a holy God, and holiness requires perfection!

God’s people weren’t perfect!

God’s people needed to be perfected!

God’s people needed a Perfect Sacrifice whose blood didn’t just cover their sin, but removed it completely!

God’s people needed a Perfect Savior whose righteousness gave them access into the presence of God! 

God’s people needed a Perfect Power to overcome the shaking of rebellion and sin! 

The events in the life of Jesus shook everyone  around Him and changed their lives forever!

Shaking brings with it the need to reach for something steady. Something to hold onto that won’t give way and fall. 

As I navigate this pandemic, this shaking of everything in my life, what am I reaching out for to steady me?

What can I hold on to that won’t give way and fall?

I know it is no coincidence that holy week is right in the middle, right during the most crucial time, of this pandemic!

My answer is found in the UNSHAKABLE KINGDOM OF JESUS!

This picture was taken at Sight and Sound theater during the performance of JESUS. They are making this available and free for all this weekend…

“We are thrilled to announce that JESUS will be made available for FREE in celebration of Easter! For three days only, experience the greatest rescue story of all time as it comes to life right in your living room. Exclusively available on TBN, watch it on your favorite device by downloading the TBN app, or stream it online April 10-12 only!”