Today’s Lectio Divina: Excerpts from Psalm 43. (MsgB)
Give me your lantern and compass, give me a map,
So I can find my way to the sacred mountain, to the place of Your presence,
To enter the place of worship, meet my exuberant God,
Sing my thanks with a harp, magnificent God, my God.
Back in the day, when I was a Cub Scout, they taught us that anytime we were planning a long journey, we should always pack a lantern for light, a compass for direction, and a map of where you wanted to go.
Apparently the Psalmist who composed the song lyrics for Psalm 43 was a good Cub Scout as well.
Now-a-days, I guess we’d just rely on the GPS on our smart-phones! The problem, however, is that the last time I checked, God’s Presence was not listed as a downloadable App on my mobile device!
Sadly, God’s Holy Presence is a place few people in this world, even those in church, have listed as their favorite destination. But the Psalmist sees life differently. And, as I see it, so should we. Finding the place of God’s presence…the Sacred Mountain where the worship of our magnificent Creator/King is the highest priority…must become my all in all. Dwelling in the sweet presence of Jesus must become a destination that ranks high on my bucket list as a ‘must-see’ place I want to find before I die. Unfortunately, most long-time church goers like me can live our entire lives attending church, sitting in pews, and participating with Bible studies, but never fully realize that there is an exciting journey that God is inviting us to, if we’d only get off our duffs and follow!
It’s an exciting journey into a wilderness unknown. A trek into a jungle that will require our full attention. An over-the-road adventure where we must bring a lantern (God’s Word) for light, a compass (the Holy Spirit’s guidance) to keep our bearings, and a road map (Jesus’ words and works) to show us where we are going.
Several years back, the Lord invited me to stop being a 3-B Pastor who gauged my success (or failure) in ministry by judging the size of the (B)uilding we worshiped in, the volume of (B)ucks in the offering plates, and the number of (B)utts in the seats on any given Sunday morning. He invited me to journey with Him into a place no man has ever gone before! (Keep in mind, I just exaggerated here so I could use my favorite Star Trek phrase!) Actually, many others have gone before us into the powerful presence of God Almighty, but for me, I believe now that most of my 30-plus years in ministry was much more focused around building a ‘successful’ church for Jesus than any true pursuit of His presence as priority #1.
So over the last years or so, I’ve been relying more and more on God’s Word as a lantern to my feet. The Holy Spirit’s presence to keep showing me True North rather than relying on my own faulty perceptions of reality. And looking to the roadmap that Jesus provides me through His Words and Works rather than leaning on my own strength. Remember, He said that He was the Way, the Truth, the Life and all that follow Him will find both rest and purpose in this life and the life beyond.
So, if you’re up to it, come along. Let’s keep this expedition going. I see Jesus just ahead of us, calling us to follow. We’ve got plenty of rope here to help us stay together during the next storm. Am I dreaming, or do I really see the Holy Mountain right ahead of us?
I think I can almost hear the sweet singing of the saints who have gone before us. The future calls our name. Let’s proceed with caution, but let’s keep moving forward toward Him and with Him alone.
Who knows, maybe He’ll find us before we actually find Him!
My prayer: Lord, I’m singing a marching song. I’m pushing forward to find You. Looking around every corner, hoping the next bend will bring me more of You and Your presence. Believing that as I walk away from my own self-consumed, self-driven goals in life, You alone will become my singular purpose and calling. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where am I on my journey toward Jesus today? Have I lost my way? Taken a wrong turn? Backslidden toward my old self? Have I become stranded or stalled out because some religious idiot once told me that once I got saved, that was all I needed to find in life? What does my compass say right now? Where am I on Jesus’ map? Do I have my lantern lit?
So what is God speaking to you today as you ponder the Psalms?
Over a 50-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Psalms: God’s Songbook of Prayers. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Psalms home page for ease of use. Keep in mind that one of the best ways to explore the on-going applications of this blog series is to walk alongside a biblically-based, Christ-centered spiritual director who is familiar with how to make material like this part of your overall spiritual formation in God. Many of our directors in our Sustainable Faith-Heartland network are available to companion you in your journey with Jesus. Click here for more info.
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