Psalm 139: God’s GPS

IMG_2478Psalm 139:7-12: Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.

Photograph of Earth from space

As I was reading and praying through Psalm 139 this morning, I began to think about a piece of modern technology: Global Positioning System (GPS). Basically, GPS tells you where you are on planet earth. This technology was first developed by the United States military but was made available for civilian use in the late 90’s. I remember using a GPS device to find the location of a church, where I was to preach a few years ago, and it put me in the middle of nowhere, many miles away from the church. I finally had to stop and ask for directions to the church. Now, I depend on the GPS built into my phone to help me navigate unfamiliar cities and towns. It is very useful and I have come to depend on it greatly.

Long before the US military designed GPS, God had his own GPS. In the first six verses of Psalm 139 we see God described as inescapable. God knows when we wake up in the morning and when we go to sleep at night. He discerns our thoughts from afar and identifies what our future actions will be. God is present everywhere and our thoughts, desires, and physical location on earth is always known to God.

In today’s text, Psalm 139:7-12, we see there is absolutely no where we can go on earth or in the heavens to escape God. He presence is with astronauts as they circle the earth or rocket into space. He is with sea captains as they sail across the depths of the ocean and to the far side of the sea. It doesn’t matter where you are on planet earth or the universe; God is with you and is available to guide you. God knows your physical location at this very moment and He wants to connect with you and draw you closer to His love, compassion, and mercy.

As I continue to read and pray Psalm 139 on a daily basis, I am so much more aware of God’s presence in my life and His hand upon my life. Whatever your location on earth or your situation in life, God’s hand will guide you and lead you into the light of His kingdom. God never gives up on us even if we give up on ourselves. God, at all times, stands ready to raise you up and give you a new and more fulfilling life through belief in Christ. You can try to run from God and hide from God, but even then, God is with you and knows your thoughts, worries, and fears. Allow God’s GPS to bring you into the light of God’s kingdom, which does not rust, spoil or fade away. God’s kingdom and His love for you is eternal. Allow God to place you where He wants you to be!cropped-Heaven.jpg

The Inescapable God

Psalm 139:1-6 (NSRV): O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.

I read recently of someone who praIMG_2474yed Psalm 139 as a daily prayer and that really got my attention. The next morning, I read through this psalm and it really spoke to me and gave me the strength I needed to make it through that particular day. It reaffirmed for me, the promise that God is with me every second of the day, and every step of my life.  In his commentary, Matthew Henry wrote: “Wherever we are, we are under the eye and hand of God.” During our day and all through the night, God is watchful and “familiar” with all our ways. That’s both very comforting to me and also somewhat disconcerting, because sometimes my thoughts and actions are not very pleasing to God.

God’s knowledge of us is perfect. He not only knows our hearts and minds at this very moment, his knowledge of us extends to what our future actions or words will be. So when I read and pray these first six verses of Psalm 139, it helps me to focus my thoughts and my actions on what God would have me to do. It makes me want to lead a better life and focus my time and energy on pleasing and glorifying God in all that I do.

Psalm 139 gives me great comfort in knowing that God is always with me and watching over me. If you feel alone in the world or separated from God, this psalm will help you to reconnect with God. If you are a believer and you are having a difficult time sensing God’s presence in your life, this psalm will help you to draw closer to God.

The world that we live in may tell you that God is not real. Psalm 139 describes the nature and presence of God, with each one of us as we journey through life on this earth. We are not alone! At times, we may try to run or hide from God, but His presence and his knowledge of us is inescapable. Read and pray the promises from Psalm 139 daily and ask for God’s presence in your life today. God knows you and loves you and He wants the very best for you.

What Do You See?

It never ceases to amaze me how God can speak to us through His word and through other people. Two weeks ago, our Senior Pastor began teaching on the book of Jeremiah during our Wednesday night service. Jeremiah is often called the “weeping prophet,” and if you read the book of Jeremiah you will soon understand why.

                Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people. Jeremiah 9:1

                My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. Jeremiah 23:9

Jeremiah endured many intense, personal struggles and had only a few friends, which is not surprising, given the message that God called him to proclaim. He is often referred to as the prophet of doom, since he prophesied that God would bring divine judgment upon Judah. Because of the impending calamity, God ordered Jeremiah not to marry and have children.

                See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant. Jeremiah 1:10

                Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the LORD.  Jeremiah 1:17, 19

Now, back to how this study of Jeremiah has spoken to me and has affected (distressed, upset, moved, touched, shook) me over the last two weeks. The following two verses from the first chapter of Jeremiah, have stirred up so many emotions within me as I have prayed and tried to look at people in the way that God wants me to see them.

                The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”  Jeremiah 1:11

                The word of the LORD came to me again: What do you see?”  Jeremiah 1:13

God asked Jeremiah, What do you see?” God wants Jeremiah to “see” and fully understand his calling. God wants to be certain that he and Jeremiah are on the same page. And I believe that God calls each of us today, to “see” what God sees, and then to react in the same way that God would. I can often “see” things in the way that God wants me to see them but I have a more difficult time reacting in the manner that God calls me to do. We often look at people and judge them based on our own preconceived notions. For me, I often struggle with seeing others in the same manner that God does.

What would happen if we asked God to help us “see” other people in the way that God sees them? (A word of caution: I did and thus my intense struggle). Could you begin to look at other people and “see” them in the same way that God “sees” them? These two, rather simple verses from Jeremiah have stirred up many deep thoughts and feelings in me:

                The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”  Jeremiah 1:11

                The word of the LORD came to me again: What do you see?”  Jeremiah 1:13

There are two people that God has placed in my path over the last two weeks that have caused me to struggle with these two passages from Jeremiah. One is a homeless woman that I encounter almost every day. She talks about other people’s lack of compassion towards her and then suddenly becomes angry and hateful. (Please realize there are mental issues at play). After my encounter with her yesterday, I felt as if I had failed to “see” her in the way that God sees her. The other is a homeless man that I have noticed over the last two weeks; about the same time I asked God to help me “see” others in the way that God sees them. I have only observed him from my car, walking or sitting on a sidewalk, on a street that I travel four to six times a day. I have not seen him holding up a sign asking for money or carrying any personal possessions. But I see him almost every day on that same street and I have been drawn to thinking about him and praying for him. Now that I see, what is God calling me to do next?

Do you dare ask God to help you “see” others around you that could use a helping hand or a kind, compassionate word? As I said, be careful! Because God just might answer your prayer and give you a burden, like He gave me, to act in some way, to not only “see” but to be compassionate and Christ-like to those that most of society simply ignores.