January 29, 2013

THE PILGRIMAGE




¨Blessed are those whose strength is in You,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.¨ 
Psalm 84:5

Do we understand that we are on a spiritual journey?  All the time?  This brings a sacredness into every day.  It looks like we have a choice to "set our hearts" on this or not.  To enter into it and fully engage with Him.  And it seems clear that if we've set our heart on "pilgrimming" with Him, there is blessing for those who intentionally choose Him as their Source for their journey.

"As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs."
Ps 84:6

Every journey has a Valley of Baca  (or various ones).  But the ones who have set their hearts on His spiritual pilgrimage for them gain rich spiritual experience in the dark valleys.  The Valley of Baca is also translated the Place of Tears.  Tears are salty.  They are the result of sorrow, hardship, loss, distress, grief, etc.  Yet as we journey with Him we gain maturity - and He gives us insight - on how to convert even those places into a "place of springs".  Springs are sweet.  They are refreshing and welcome and often spring up in places we don't expect

"the autumn rains also cover it with pools."
Ps 84:6b

God Himself brings in rain - cleansing autumn rains that water the dry, summer land, rains that refresh from the heat and usher in a welcome transition to a cooler, more colourful season. He generously gives so much water that the land of our thirsty hearts soaks it up and even overflows into pools of water around us.  I think others must notice this water pooling up around us...I hope that they will notice it around me and be drawn in...

"They go from strength to strength,
Til each appears before God in Zion."
Ps 84:7

Our spiritual pilgrimage with Him is not only meant to strengthen us but to help us discover new and unlikely places of strength.  These places can be very surprising & unexpected - even unwanted.  In much of the terrain I've traversed, I was woefully inadequate at discerning His voice in it.  I am learning how essential it is to hear Him...no matter what the terrain.  In this listening I am discovering whole new "strengths" for my heart.  When I set my heart on His pilgrimage and not my version of the trip,  I will journey between strength & strength until I see Him face to face.

Praying you'll be blessed today in your journey.




Photo by:  Outdoor Sports



January 10, 2013

SONGS OF DELIVERANCE (from sadness)


Sadness has a unique and interesting ability to deepen the human cavity of compassion.  It helps us later on to have an already existing space in which to move, to place important hooks from which to hang other experiences on and then to draw from them to give help and comfort to others.  Together these experiences build a history of deep understanding of the tough stuff of life, create multiplying potential to feel for others and drive us to articulate things that others are afraid to.  We become more valuable, sensitive and compassionate people when we experience sadness, go through the appropriate grieving process and move on.  There is no other avenue for becoming a whole person than to embrace both the highs and lows that life deals out and to work intentionally to reap their benefits.

In spite of the pain, don't rush the journey through sadness.  Neither should you prolong it unnecessarily.  There is a Healer who will guide you on this journey.  This is one of my favourite truths about Him:

"You are my hiding place;
You will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance."
Psalm 32:7

Two things really stand out to me here.  The first is that He is a safe, Hiding Place. And we all need that in difficult times - especially when it may be hard to articulate to others what you are experiencing.  With Him, you needn't say a word and He knows it all.  But if you do want to pour it all out - unrehearsed and unedited, raw & even messy - He's ok with that, too.  He is safe.  In that safe place He protects us from trouble (even innumerable things we are unaware of).

The second thing that really gets me is: He is in the business of deliverance.  Deliverance from trouble, pain, sadness, enemies and all kinds of things.  But His deliverance is different from what may be our first image....His deliverance  is of a musical sort.

Does it seem strange that deliverance should come in the form of a song rather than a sword?  Wouldn't we rather have the sadness be cut off quickly and be done with it?  I rather think God knows there is an important process to be journeyed in sadness that must be gently sung over and not quickly cut off.

His songs of deliverance surround.  They are appropriate to your situation. He will not sing prematurely.  He will not sing songs that are too jubilant for your mood.  He will sing songs that deliver.  That deliver your soul.  This is stunning to me.

Songs....of deliverance...from sadness, grief and distresses and disappointments of all sorts.  As we remain in our Hiding Place at a time of sorrow, He will softly begin to sing...and our mournful melodies are slowly but powerfully transformed. 

Today I choose to take Him up today on this amazing invitation - to hide, to be protected, to be sung to and to be delivered.  He is always available with surround sound for those who enter His Hiding Place. I hope to meet you there...




Photo by:  txdragonfly11

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