Surrounded by the Lord

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2 NIV

I love this verse. After rediscovering it several years ago, I personalized it and made it part of my early morning prayer each day. Before even getting out of bed, I gave the Lord my day and placed my times in his hands. Then along with a few basic requests, I added, “And Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection.”

Sometimes the thought of being surrounded brings up negative images, but that’s certainly not the case here. Not for me—not when it’s the Lord doing the surrounding.

I suppose if someone didn’t love the Lord or was trying to run or hide from him, it would be a frightening prospect to be surrounded by the Almighty. But for those who know and love him and look to him for help, great comfort lies in the precious knowledge of his surrounding presence and care.

The image of mountains, so strong and protective, surrounding a little town paints the perfect picture of what the Lord does for us, his people. The Lord stands guard, ever watchful, ever ready to protect and guide. He provides majesty and beauty, adventure and stability. He keeps us nestled in his peace as we look to him.

Each day let’s picture ourselves surrounded by the Lord. Let’s relax in his care. Let’s snuggle down into that place of peace he has reserved for us. Let’s fix our eyes on him. Let’s be surrounded by his peace.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
    he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
    both now and forevermore.” Psalm 121 NIV

*When have you felt supernaturally surrounded by God’s peace?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by It’s No Game, Creative Commons License

Hungry For More: Ice Cream and God’s Word

Maybe just another bite. That’s what I often think as I’m standing at my kitchen counter eating ice cream straight out of the carton. I usually limit myself to three bites (or one if I’m trying to drop a pound or two), but sometimes it tastes so darn good, I’ve gotta go in for just a little more. Just another bite to satisfy that craving.

I’ve found myself feeling that way as I close my Bible before too. As I start to put it away, I feel compelled to open it again for just another taste. I’m hungry for more. I need just another bite to satisfy my craving for God’s life-giving words.

Maybe it’s because my selected reading was kind of short for that day. Or maybe my spirit is searching for direction about something. But maybe the Word just tastes so darn good, I’ve gotta go in for a little more.

Whatever the reason, I follow the impulse to read a little more. I’m so glad I don’t have to limit myself to three bites of the Word like I do with my ice cream indulgences. In fact, the more I indulge in the Word, the better. And you know what? When I’m hungry for more, God always serves up a heaping portion of satisfaction. And I must say, it tastes awfully good!

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103 NIV

*What part of the Bible have you been reading lately?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, comes out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)  Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Mark BonicaCreative Commons License

Renewed Treasure in the Word of God

One Christmas several years ago, I made shopping easy for my husband. My Bible at that time was fifteen years old and sporting loose pages in the front and back. It was time to part with it and break in a new one before I started leaving the Word of God trailing behind me—though that’s not such a bad idea, is it?

I searched the internet, found the Bible I wanted, ordered it, and then informed Don that it would be his Christmas gift to me. We both won, right? In reality, though, I was the bigger winner. His satisfaction in getting out of Christmas shopping lasted only a short time. The satisfaction I found in the gift—the Word of God—bloomed each day.

Since I’m an underliner, you can imagine what my old Bible looked like after fifteen years. Getting a new one with no markings felt a little scary. I thought I would miss my notes and underlines and feel rather lost without them. On the contrary, something entirely different happened.

I discovered that each passage seemed fresh, almost new. I felt excited as I read. Verses well-known to me and loved dearly took on an aura of renewed treasure, as if I were reading them for the first time. These words, untouched by my handy pen, became words I considered once more as I underlined yet again.

I pray I will always continue to look at the Word of God with fresh eyes. I pray I will come to it excited about what I may discover, expectant over what the Lord might reveal to me. I pray that the satisfaction I find in the Word of God will continue to bloom within me each day.

Is it time for you to take a fresh look at some familiar passages? I guarantee you will find renewed treasure. And with it will come great satisfaction.

“When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.” Jeremiah 15:16 NIV

*Have you discovered anything new in a familiar passage of scripture recently? I’d love to hear about it!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early August. Sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Savio SebastianCreative Commons License

God Living in Us Makes Us Lovely

“How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty!” Psalm 84:1 NIV

One morning when a full, out-of-town day stretched before me, I wanted a taste of God’s Word to begin my day. I decided to open my Bible to a random Psalm and read wherever my eyes landed. And I am so glad I did.

I opened to Psalm 84 and as I read the first verse, the taste I desired exploded into a feast. They were familiar words, but in that instant, I saw them in a new light, with a deeper understanding. My drive-through, random reading suddenly felt like a full course meal.

This psalm, this verse, was written in Old Testament times, of course, and the words “dwelling place” referred to the temple of God. But in the New Testament, where does Paul tell us God’s dwelling place—his temple—is now? In us! In the hearts of believers. “Don’t you know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16 NCV)

So if you’re a believer like me, what does this truth mean for us in the context of the above Psalm 84:1 verse? Because God’s Spirit lives in us, friends, we are lovely. And not just an off-hand use of the word lovely, but lovely emphasized—how lovely. In other words, you and I are very lovely. Extremely lovely. Amazing, huh?!

I’ve got to be honest. I don’t usually think of myself as lovely—in the physical or the spiritual sense. Too often I concentrate on the imperfections in both realms. I dwell on the warts of my shortcomings.

But I need to see myself as God sees me. Redeemed and dearly loved as one of his children. As very lovely because he lives in me. Anyone else need that reminder today?

“And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, which is from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NET

*How has God’s loveliness been shining through you lately?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Amazon and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.) *Temporary problem with Life Notes sign-up. To sign up, just contact me.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Shandi-leeCreative Commons License

God Gets in the Boat With Us

“Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.” Mark 6:51 NIV

Are you familiar with the boat story that took place after Jesus fed the crowd of five thousand?

When everyone had had their fill, Jesus told his disciples to get into a boat and go on ahead of him so he could have a private time of prayer. Later on that evening when the boat was in the middle of the lake, Jesus saw the disciples straining at the oars because it was so windy. He decided to walk out on the water to them. When they saw him, they were terrified. They thought he was a ghost. So he identified himself at once, told them not to be afraid, and then climbed into the boat with them. The wind died down—and I imagine the disciples’ fears did too.

Just as the disciples had a Savior who came to them and climbed into their boatload of fear and struggle, we too have a God who gets in the boat with us. He comes to our aid when the winds of life are beating us down. He enters our lives and our pain. He gets right in the middle of our trials and struggles and brings peace. So let’s not be afraid. We have a God who gets in the boat.

“. . . do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NIV

*Our daughter Kelli was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and God has definitely gotten in the boat with all of us. When has God gotten in the boat with you?

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Richard Clark (Digimist)Creative Commons License