Psalm 11:1-4

The last line of each stanza comes from Psalm 11:1-4.

My strength has failed, my courage weak,
My resolve has faltered, the path looks bleak,
But when clouds obscure the mountain peak,
In the Lord I take refuge.

There is a fortress that stands above all,
There is a hand that will catch when I fall,
And there’s something inside me that answers the call
So how can you say to my soul,

“There is no purpose, no point to the fight.
Careful not to miss out cause you’re chasing a kite.
You haven’t the might to attain to that height,
So flee like a bird to your mountain.

“Do as you please and live as you will,
Chase after safety or run after thrills.
Your magnificent mountain is only a hill,
And behold, the wicked bend their bow.”

The weight keeps increasing, the voices begin;
As the pressures mount up, my soul’s caving in.
The fortress’s walls appear to grow thin,
And they have fitted the arrow to the string.

I cannot see clearly with pride in my eyes.
Compared to the next man, we’ve all become wise.
I try to defeat it but still fall for the lies
That shoot in the dark at the upright in heart.

For if false was the truth then all was in vain;
I’ve been setting a pace that I cannot maintain.
I’m drifting, uprooted, nothing remains
If the foundations are destroyed.

But if faith is a seed that grows into a tree,
Then its roots run much deeper than mere man can see.
If you always answer our knock when we seek,
What could the righteous do?

The foundations are steady, barren of cracks;
You’re grace for my weakness, enough where I lack,
My refuge and compass, the wind at my back.
The Lord is in his holy temple!

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The strength of my heart – Psalm 73:26

Yep, it’s another Psalm this week! Ack, I love the Psalms. I love the Psalms because they’re honest. They’re honest to God, and a lot of times, honesty isn’t pretty. The Psalms don’t hide that. The Psalms show the journey from every place on the spectrum, the web of human emotion, out of the confinement and confusion of my heart and into the light of truth, no room for shadows. They give these feelings shape with words, and bring them before the Father, the Rock, the Refuge, the Lover, the Savior, the Deliverer, the Healer, the Friend, the Comforter, the Holy One, the Creator, the Most High, the All Powerful, the All Knowing, the One who Protects, who Provides, who Understands, who Listens, who is Stronger, who is Greater, the Great I Am. And I…I am not–but I know I AM.

psalm 73-26

This verse comes from a Psalm of struggle. Of disillusionment. Of doubt. Of questioning. Of despair. Of loss of hope. But then, the Psalmist returns to the Rock. He was searching, and finally, he found. He found what he’d been looking for, all this time. He found something that would satisfy what the world never quite could.

Whom have I in heaven but you?
And the earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My heart and flesh may fail,
but God is my strength, and my portion forever.

Bre

She shall not be moved – Psalm 46:5

psalm 46-5

One of my favorite Psalms. If you’re looking for Scripture to memorize, this is a great place to start. The entire thing goes:

.  God is our refuge and strength,
.          a very present help in trouble.
,  Therefore we will not fear,
.          though the earth give way,
.          though the mountains be moved
.          into the heart of the sea
.  Though its waters roar and foam,
.          though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
.  There is a river
.          whose streams make glad the city of God,
.          the holy habitation of the Most High.
.  God is in the midst of her;
.          she shall not be moved.
.          God will help her when the morning dawns.
.  The nations rage, the kingdoms waver–
.          He utters his voice, and the earth melts.
.  The Lord of Hosts is with us;
.          the God of Jacob is our fortress.
.  Come, behold the works of the Lord,
.          how he has brought desolations on the earth.
.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
.          He breaks the bow and shatters the spear.
.          He burns the chariots with fire.
.   Be still and know that I Am God;
.          I will be exalted in the nations,
.          I will be exalted in the earth!
.  The Lord of Hosts is with us;
.          The God of Jacob is our fortress!

Antidote to Anxiety

What a wonderful summer it’s been! I’ve had the amazing opportunity to spend it in full-time ministry for nine weeks, teaching kids about God from his Word and sharing the amazing gospel of grace. I’m so grateful for everything that’s happened and the way God has been working in all of it. I’ve been tired, I’ve been worn, I’ve been weak, I’ve been stressed and sick and overwhelmed–but what life I’ve found in this. It’s such a beautiful thing, and my Rock is that God is faithful. None of this has been about me in the first place, no matter how much I may act like it in my pride. He’s shown me that more than once.

My prayer is that I can hold on to that, clinging desperately. School starts a week from now, and there’s so much I still have to do–so many demands and decisions and conflicting commitments. This summer, I’ve learned that when I’m in that place, of being totally lost amid the different demands tugging me this way and that and feeling like I’m going to drown amid all the work and all the scheduling and all the things on my list that have to get done–I’ve learned that there’s only one place to go.

In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul writes:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

He promises to safeguard your heart and mind. Safeguard. There’s something about that word. Other translations use words like keep, protect, et cetera, but there’s just something about the concept of safeguard that I love. Maybe it’s because I know I need it. When my mind is so full it feels like I’ll burst with all the things I have to juggle and all the things I have to think about and everything tugging and pulling me this way and that and my heart is a turmoil of mixed emotion and inconstancy–the idea of a safeguard, holding the good things in and keeping the bad things out, is a welcome thought.

wpid-wp-1439171517282.jpegI picture an actual wall, the kind of thing they used to have in the medieval days, where the outer wall was the first line of defense in your castle. The kind of wall that’s ten feet thick and made of stone and iron.

wpid-wp-1439171619277.jpegThis wall of mine, it has no holes, no weaknesses. But a wall, you say–things can get over a wall. You could dig a tunnel underneath or let fly an arrow over. So let’s add a nice force field as well. An impenetrable orb of energy.

Oh, and just for fun, how about some archers of my own? After all, the Weymouth New Testament translates this passage as “And the peace of God, which transcends all our powers of thought, will be like a garrison to guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” Let’s garrison this fortress of my heart and mind with an arsenal of truth.

Voila. I think God’s got me pretty covered.

If nothing else this summer, I’ve learned what a refuge prayer can be. I get so easily frustrated, so easily consumed by the little things that become so BIG in my mind.

But…He is bigger.

Despite all the doubts, anxieties, worries, voices, demands, expectations, choices, pressures, burdens, fears I face, the fear of the LORD is greater. Because when you fear the Lord, it means an awe of who he is. When you’re in awe of who he is, when you see the awesomeness of his power and his might and his glory and his strength and his wrath and his purity and his holiness and his passion, when you recognize who this God is–everything else becomes small.

The antidote to anxiety? Truth and trust. Bury yourself in His Word until you find what it is you seek. The beautiful thing is, his promise is always true. He is with me, whether I necessarily “feel” him or not.

Wash yourself in who he is. Recognize the truth of the God you serve, and realize that he won’t ever fail you when you trust in him, because he is greater than the problems you face. Love him, delight in him, until everything else seems small in light of him.

Psalm 73:26 – My heart and flesh may fail, but the Lord is my strength and my portion forever.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.

May the Lord safeguard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. May you recognize him for who he is, and take refuge in prayer and in promise. May you build your house upon the Rock and live your life in light of eternity.

–Bre