“To Whom Much is Given…”

(1 Chronicles 4:10) Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.


Enlarge my territory… a phrase that implies a desire for more…

As we grow in Christ, and become increasingly more committed to His will for our lives, we begin to have the desire for more responsibility, bigger blessings, and a greater reach into the world.  In fact, if we are truly growing, it’s a natural progression to have these desires, because we want to see the kingdom of God expand and become stronger.  Furthermore, we want to be a PART of it!  So we begin to ask the Lord to give us increase.  However, we must understand the importance of being a good steward with the blessings that God bestows on us.

First:  We have to relinquish ownership.  Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”  All that we have within our grasp is but a collection of gifts, given to us for the purpose of making the kingdom of God bigger…fulfilling our great commission.  We have work to do, and every blessing is a tool…an avenue.  “But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”  (Deuteronomy 8:18)

Second:  We must take responsibility.  Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.  We are are but managers of God’s great wealth and vast domain.  He has given us dominion, but we must never forget that He reigns over us.  His will and desires are what we are called and purposed to carry out, and that is no small undertaking.  It’s important, and it matters. 

Next:  We have to be accountable.  Just as the manager of a business has to answer to the owner, we will one day have to stand before God and answer to Him for the way we managed all that He entrusted to us as stewards.  We will be held accountable for how we gave of our time, our money, our love, and our commitment.

Finally:  We must work toward our reward.  Colossians 3:23-24 tells us, “23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” 

When we ask the Lord for blessing and increase, and He grants it, we ought never to make the mistake of viewing that as reward.  A good steward will instead add it all to the inventory, using everything wisely and carefully to magnify the Creator, all with the understanding that a greater and truer reward awaits in Heaven…one that is eternal and far more glorious than anything we’ve yet to see. 

Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.  (Revelation 22:12)


Prayer:  Heavenly Father, I understand that I am living on borrowed time and resources with a purpose to do Your will.  I am Your creation, and as such I am Your servant.  Help me to continue to grow and mature as a steward, and as I prove myself faithful with few things, I ask you to please…enlarge my territory.  Amen.

“You May Not Know How, You May Not Know When”

(Psalm 126: 4-6, The Message) And now, God, do it again—bring rains to our drought-stricken lives. So those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest, So those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing.


Summer, 1988…I was 7 years old, just out of second grade.  We lived in South Carolina and we were in the midst of a typical southern summer…muggy, scorching hot, and days so long you might find yourself praying for the sun to set.  At 7 years old, I didn’t understand what drought meant.  I heard about it on Good Morning America while I munched on my PopTarts and sipped my Tang from a crazy straw, but I didn’t experience it…other than being asked not to leave the hose turned on in the yard.  At 7 years old, I saw TIME magazine in the dentist’s office, and I knew there were farmers in trouble…fires burning in California…but I didn’t experience that.  My daddy was a preacher…I didn’t depend on the rain to ensure my livelihood.  To me, rain meant mud and thunder and a cool-down from the summer heat.  I never considered it a source of LIFE.  I didn’t know, because I hadn’t lived without it.

A drought sort of creeps up on you.  It’s not like a tornado, which is sudden and quick.  It’s not like a hurricane or flood, which is expected and passes soon.  A drought starts slowly, so slowly that maybe you don’t really notice how dry it’s been until things around you start to wilt and die, and when it’s in full swing, a drought devastates every component of our domain.  It is a genuine hell on earth. 

Just like the land becomes dry and thirsty, our souls go through times that seem like a dusty hell on earth.  However, in seasons when it seems useless to even try, we cannot lie down in the dirt and give up.  Instead we must continue on, in faith, and we must proclaim, “And now, God, do it again.”  He’s done it before…and that word “again” implies our faith in Him.  So what is a drought to us?   It’s a trial.  And what does the Word tell us about trials?  “7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”  (1 Peter 1:7 NLT)

So welcome the drought, and continue to plant your crops…even in despair…because it is through being forced to go without the things we’d never just give up on our own that our faith is perfected.  No trial lasts forever…no devastation is beyond repair…and when God allows drought we must keep moving in faith with arms open wide in expectation of the harvest and blessing ahead.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  (James 1: 2-4, The Message)

The drought of 1988 lasted well into 1989 and impacted our entire nation.  It was the worst natural disaster to take place since the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s and was so until Hurricane Katrina hit in 2004.  To the people directly affected, it must have seemed like eons passed before the rains finally fell and rejuvenated the earth.  Yet in the larger scope of time, it was but an instant.  It is a part of history, from which we are able to learn and use that knowledge to face similar difficulties in the future.  Experiences give us wisdom, and they are the foundation of our faith.


Prayer:  Father God, I trust You in all things.  Thank you for teaching me what it is to be without, and for helping me to understand that YOU are my source of life.  Amen.

He Gave You More than Enough!

Matthew 15:32-38 – Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion on the crowd because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. And I am unwilling to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.” And the disciples said to him, “Where are we to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” And Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” And directing the crowd to sit on the ground, he took the seven loaves and the fish, and having given thanks he broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over. Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children.

 

Sunday mornings… My favorite time of the week. Roll out of bed, blare some worship music, keep Jesus at the forefront of my mind, enter a sanctuary designated for holiness, and spend a time of worship and Word with those who share my faith. There’s just nothing better. But, let’s be completely honest- we can’t hardly make it through a two hour service without our stomachs rumbling and our minds wandering trying to decide what we’re going to grab for lunch after church. Yet, this large crowd, sat there with Jesus for three days – three days – without a bite to eat. Mothers wrestled with cranky children; husbands comforted tired wives… or did they? Could it be that they were so enamored with the words and miracles of Jesus Christ that they couldn’t get themselves to leave His presence? Were they able to clear their minds of earthly desires to the point that hunger pangs went unnoticed?

Our lives today are filled with so much. I’m sure each one of us could find something to direct our attention to nearly every moment of every day. But, do we fall in love with the voice of Jesus when we hear Him speak? Do we make time to listen? If we did, we would see the same compassion and miracle working power he displayed in this passage. We would hear the instruction He daily gives us to go out into a world that’s hurting and hungry- and offer them the only Thing that will forever satisfy. He is concerned with our spiritual and physical well-being. He is ever mindful of us, and no discomfort we face is unseen by Him. And, He has every capability of meeting our every need.

Knowing that, puts us in the place His disciples were in this story. We witness and understand His compassion to those hungering for Him; we tell Him what we have to offer; He then blesses, provides, and asks us to share the experiences we’ve just been a part of. At that moment, it’s imperative that we turn and give back to the crowds that have been waiting to receive something from Him. We are His hands and feet. Although this quote may seem cliche, it’s entirely true- “You (or I) may be the only Jesus someone ever sees.” What are we showing them? How are we introducing Him to those around us? Even when we find ourselves in the most desolate of places, He can still bless what we have. That’s His specialty. Growing flowers in the desert, parting oceans, and using broken people. He does what people don’t expect… When you think you’re only putting limitations on yourself, you’re hindering Him from achieving something amazing through you!

He has more than enough to meet the needs of us all. In this passage, He chose to use what the disciples already had to feed the crowd. He could have rained manna from heaven or brought honey from a rock. But, I believe He wanted to show us that although what we have may seem insufficient, when He puts His blessing on it, it’ll be more than enough. (And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up seven baskets full of the broken pieces left over.)

We humans have a real problem of noticing every fault we have. We cringe at our shortcomings and are ashamed of what we consider to be our inadequacies. Thank goodness the power doesn’t depend on us. It rests in Him! (Philippians 4:13- I can do all things THROUGH Him Who strengthens me.)

Just offer Him what You have! Then, be willing to be the vehicle He uses to deliver His goodness to those around you waiting. Just like He took a few loaves and fish and fed more than 4,000 people, He can use your few words and acts of obedience to fill the voids the multitudes we encounter daily are dealing with. He blessed you… now, turn around and bless the crowd.

 

Prayer: Lord, thank You for the many blessings You bestow on my life. Please, bless and multiply what little ability I have to help someone hungering for You. Help me hear You speak and give me the determination to always obey. In Your precious name I pray, amen.

“Rainy Days & Mondays”

(Numbers 6: 24-26, NLT)

The Priestly Blessing:

24 ‘May the Lord bless you

    and protect you.

25 May the Lord smile on you

    and be gracious to you.

26 May the Lord show you his favor

    and give you his peace.’

Well…it’s Monday again, y’all.  I know that a lot of people hate and dread Mondays, because they don’t want to return to work and get back into the “race” of things, but I must admit…I usually like Mondays.  I guess because they usher in a new week full of different challenges and problems to solve,  they present various opportunities for me to start over and do better, and — as an educator — they mean I get to see my kiddos again (yes, I really do miss them over the weekends), and I do love my job.  However, the closer to the end of the school year that we get, the harder it is for me to devote myself to the routine and to get pumped up about Monday mornings!  I get summer fever.  I think of my parents and going to stay with them for two weeks after school gets out, seeing my old friends, hugging the necks of people that I miss and cherish dearly, and I seem to spend each Sunday night wishing for another day off…and another…and another…

Maybe for you it’s simply a Monday thing.  But maybe it’s more than that.  Maybe something you once loved — your spouse, your family life, your time with the Lord — has become stagnant…lifeless…something you no longer enjoy.  Many of us enter our adult lives under the false impression that things will always be as good as they are in the beginning.  We think we will always look at our spouse and get that knot in our throats.  We think our little newborns couldn’t possibly ever become sources of anxiety and exasperation.  We think that our walks of faith will always be enveloped by the glow and excitement that we feel when we first come to know Christ.  But…BUT…the truth is that all of these pieces of our lives get turned around from time to time and sometimes feel as if they don’t quite fit.

All of which to say, even when we love our lives and all of the responsibilities that come with living them, we all need some encouragement at times.  We all need to know that when things get harried and feel out of control, when we long for the next season of our lives to occur, and when we start to feel the urge to give up on something that we love, there is hope for peace and blessing.

As brothers and sisters in Christ, we have to do better with encouragement.  Instead of always jumping straight to advice, why not simply speak blessing over one another?  Instead of standing by and watching others crumble, and then wondering what in the world happened, why not speak blessing into their lives when we see the struggle?  Our words are powerful, and should be used carefully and with love. 

So, whether you simply have a case of the “Mondays” or you’re dealing with the turmoil and stress of a significant part of your life, I leave you again with this blessing that Aaron prayed over the Israelites. 

‘May the Lord bless you

    and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you

    and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor

    and give you his peace.’

Let’s make a united effort, starting today — this Monday — to lift one another up as we face life together in Christ.  We all find out, rather quickly, that life isn’t always manageable.  We all get overwhelmed and discouraged from time to time, and as the time of Christ’s return draws nearer, we simply have to love each other better.

23 We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. 24 We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25 Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.  (Hebrews 10: 23-25, CEV)

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, if I am to truly proclaim You as my Lord and Savior, then help me truly practice Your love in all that I do.  Help me encourage where I see despair and fatigue.  Help to me speak blessing over others, because I know that through my words your love can and will shine through when I am committed to Your ways.  Amen.

Put On Your Big Boy Pants

(Joshua 17:14-18 ESV) 14 Then the people of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me but one lot and one portion as an inheritance, although I am a numerous people, since all along the LORD has blessed me?” 15 And Joshua said to them, “If you are a numerous people, go up by yourselves to the forest, and there clear ground for yourselves in the land of the Perizzites and the Rephaim, since the hill country of Ephraim is too narrow for you.” 16 The people of Joseph said, “The hill country is not enough for us. Yet all the Canaanites who dwell in the plain have chariots of iron, both those in Beth-shean and its villages and those in the Valley of Jezreel.” 17 Then Joshua said to the house of Joseph, to Ephraim and Manasseh, “You are a numerous people and have great power. You shall not have one allotment only, 18 but the hill country shall be yours, for though it is a forest, you shall clear it and possess it to its farthest borders. For you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have chariots of iron, and though they are strong.”


Whiney people wear me out! How about you? In a recent devotion, I wrote about the MASSIVE list of blessings that were reserved for the house of Joseph. BIG blessings. ABUNDANT blessings. They only needed to take the necessary steps to possess them.

In Joshua 17, Joshua continues to distribute inheritances to the various tribes of Israel. The distributions varied based upon the size of the tribes and the role they played in the progress of the nation. When the people of Joseph heard the description of their inheritance, their tone seemed to imply a dissatisfaction with the details.

  • “Why have you given me one lot and one portion?”
  • “The hill country is not enough for us.”
  • “The Canaanites have chariots of iron.”

Joshua had to help them see things from a God-sized perspective. He reminded them of their potential.

  • “You are numerous.”
  • “You have great power.”
  • “Go to the forest and clear land for yourselves.”
  • “You shall possess it to its farthest borders.”
  • “You shall drive out the Canaanites.”

It appears that the people of Joseph had taken on an attitude of entitlement. Is it possible they felt they should not have to fight anymore? Could it be they felt they deserved to have their blessing super-sized and ready to enjoy without further effort? We may never know, but their words sound an awful lot like disappointment. The reward just didn’t fit their expectations.

I’m reminded of the man who looked to Peter and John for a monetary handout. Peter responded by letting him know that he did not have money to give, but he could hook him up with supernatural healing. If the beggar was disappointed, it certainly didn’t show. He got up and started enjoying his new found freedom!

That’s the point Joshua was trying to make to the household of Joseph. They were blessed! The victory was still theirs for the taking. They just needed to sow the proper effort to reap the promised result.

Today, let’s realize how blessed we are. Let’s focus on the potential we possess. Instead  of getting our bloomers in an upset, let’s put on our big boy pants and show God how grateful we are by living in the abundance He has provided.


PRAYER: Lord, I realize the blessings I’m experiencing have come directly from Your hand. Keep my mind focused on You and empower me to grasp all that You have laid up for me. Amen.

Collecting What’s Laid Up For Me

(Joshua 14:6-12 ESV) 6 Then the people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. And Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the LORD said to Moses the man of God in Kadesh-barnea concerning you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the LORD sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. 8 But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the LORD my God. 9 And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the LORD my God.’ 10 And now, behold, the LORD has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the LORD spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. 11 I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. 12 So now give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.”


This is one of my favorite Old Testament accounts. I like it because it speaks to the importance of being faithful to God, while simultaneously waiting on God to deliver on His promises. The details of the story are very clear and need no further explanation. However, there are a couple of observations that came to mind as I read and studied these verses again.

(1) Did you notice there is no competition between Caleb and Joshua? Caleb only wanted what had been promised him. If you remember, Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who returned to Moses with a positive report. 12 spies were sent; two returned with a positive, faith-filled assessment of what could be accomplished through obedience to God. Caleb had followed and supported Joshua from day one, and it would have been so easy to want the same inheritance; so easy to feel he deserved much more than what had been promised. Hadn’t they both been equally commissioned? Weren’t they both equally faithful in their reporting? Didn’t they both take the same risks? Yes. Yes. and Yes. And yet, Caleb was content to receive his apportioned inheritance without any indication of jealousy toward Joshua.

(2) Receiving God’s blessings often means taking them by force. Caleb declared, “give me this hill country of which the LORD spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the LORD said.” Caleb was not the least bit intimidated by his age, his enemy (the Anakim), or the mountain range he would have to fight for. He simply believed what God promised and was ready to act on that belief. He was motivated by faith to collect what God had laid up for him.

God has also laid up blessings for you. Go after them; collect what is yours in the name of the Lord!


PRAYER: Thank you Lord for the blessings reserved for me. Give me the strength and courage to pursue and collect them so I can be fully blessed, and You may be rightfully glorified! Amen.

Only The Best!

(Deuteronomy 33:13-16 ESV) 13 And of Joseph he said, “Blessed by the LORD be his land, with the choicest gifts of heaven above, and of the deep that crouches beneath, 14 with the choicest fruits of the sun and the rich yield of the months, 15 with the finest produce of the ancient mountains and the abundance of the everlasting hills, 16 with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness and the favor of him who dwells in the bush. May these rest on the head of Joseph, on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.


When I write a letter, I usually begin with a greeting like this, “Greetings to you in the name of the Lord. I trust that all is well and you are experiencing the best blessings of God!” On one occasion, someone asked me if all of God’s blessings were equal, to which I replied, “I believe God has some very special blessings reserved that exceed the routine provision of the day!” I was probably just trying to be positive, but when I read these verses of Scripture today, it reinforced my belief.

Chapter 33 of Deuteronomy records the blessings of Moses upon the people of Israel just before his death. While Moses handed out some very impressive blessings to the various tribes, when he gets to Joseph he uses some very descriptive terms about his blessings. Notice,

  • “The choicest gifts of heaven.”
  • “The choicest fruits of the sun.”
  • “The rich yield of the months.”
  • “The finest produce of the ancient mountains.”
  • “The abundance of the everlasting hills.”
  • “The best gifts of the earth.”
  • “Its fullness and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.”
  • “May these rest on the head of Joseph.”

God is sovereign. He can bless anyone He wants, any way He wants, at any time He wants. The truth is, that each tribe was blessed in ways that was specific to their own needs. God knew what they needed, and what would produce the most productive results for them.

Why did God bless Joseph so extravagantly? I believe we gain some insight through the phrase, “him who is prince among his brothers.” Joseph required greater resources because his assignment was broader in scope. God would require much more from Joseph than his brothers. Therefore, the choicest gifts were reserved for the one whose responsibility was greater.


PRAYER: Thank you Father for Your abundant blessings! Give me the wisdom to use them in ways that will bring glory to Your name. Amen.

I Can’t Relate!

(Psalm 71:15 NIV) 15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds, of your saving acts all day long–though I know not how to relate them all.

This is a very interesting passage of Scripture. I’ve read it many times, but something really popped off the page as I read it today. It is not uncommon to read many declarations of thanksgiving and praise in the book of Psalms. Verse 15 is no different.

He begins by using his mouth as a tool to testify about the righteous deeds of the Lord. “Righteous” in this case is a reference to everything right, appropriate, and effective. His mind is full of multiple accounts of the activity of God, and he finds expressions of praise to be the natural response.

He then acknowledges the “saving acts” and the frequency with which they come. The words “saving acts” is a reference to divine deliverance. “All day long” implies that the intervention of God is continually active, moving from one delivering act to another. Regardless of his circumstances, or the frequency of his need, the Psalmist is confident that he is in the care of a loving Father.

The statement that caught my attention however, is “though I know not how to relate to them all.” I’ll just be honest here–God has been so very good to me! He has intervened in my life in ways that I did not understand. He has caused events to line up in my favor and I wasn’t even aware of the details.

It is a common theme that runs through Scripture. God intervenes in the lives of His people in ways that make no common, or natural sense. We can spend a considerable amount of time trying to figure out the details and still come up short in understanding.

So, what should my response be when God’s blessings are more than I can comprehend? ENJOY THEM! Just receive His divine blessings with a grateful heart and spread the good news of His love. He’s a good, good Father!


PRAYER: Thank you for the special favor of Your love. Although my human mind cannot comprehend it all, be sure that my heart is full of gratitude! Amen.

If? Then.

(Leviticus 26:3-5 ESV) 3 “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, 4 then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 Your threshing shall last to the time of the grape harvest, and the grape harvest shall last to the time for sowing. And you shall eat your bread to the full and dwell in your land securely.


When I took my first job, my employer said something like this, “If you will work hard and do your job, then I will pay your wages at the end of the pay period.” Later in life, my college professor said, “If you will read the assignments and turn in the work, then I will give you a passing grade.”  Life operates on “if-then” arrangements.

In our passage of Scripture today we read about an “if-then” arrangement God made with His people. The “if” required them to walk in His statutes, observe His commandments AND DO THEM! The “then” was a list of benefits that God had promised to provide them. The arrangement was a “crazy good” deal for them! It went something like this…If you do what I say, then…

  • I will give you rain in the right season.
  • The land shall yield increase.
  • The trees shall yield fruit.
  • The production of your harvest will be long lasting and sufficient.
  • You shall eat your bread to the full.
  • You shall dwell in safety.

If you were to read the remaining verses of this chapter you would be fascinated by the additional benefits that God promised to provide them. The one caveat was simply the requirement to “walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them.” It’s a classic case of sowing and reaping!

Scripture is very clear about this principle. (James 1:22-25 ESV) 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

As a pastor, every time I preach I pray that the hearers will value the Word of God enough to align their lifestyle to it. Why? Because I know that God’s blessings appear in an atmosphere of obedience. On the other hand, rebellion and disobedience always prevents advancement. “If” I obey, “then” I am blessed. It really should be an easy choice. And yet, so many people miss their blessing because of the attachment to their self will.

What is God asking you to do? Are there blessings attached to it? If so, why not just swallow your pride, obey His commands, and position yourself for the blessing? You won’t regret do anything that God has required.


PRAYER: Father, I really don’t know why being obedient is so hard. Will You help me today by softening my heart? I appreciate Your patience with me, and Your willingness to forgive me for the time that I fail. I want to experience Your best blessings! Amen.

Walk Around Zion

(Psalm 48:12-14 ESV) “12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, go through her citadels, that you may tell the next generation 14 that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”


Sometimes, when we are going through a season of difficulty, it is hard to get an accurate assessment of damage. Our feelings can cause us to feel a sense of loss or injury that may not actually exist. At others times, we have what doctors call phantom pain; felt even in the absence of real sensation.

When I was a young man, I lost some teeth. The doctor told me to expect to have pain for several weeks even though the teeth were no longer present in my mouth. He called it sympathy pain. The bottom line is I was feeling pain that only existed in my mind.

In Psalm 48, the writer encourages the people of Jerusalem to reset their faith by purposefully looking at the structures of the city which had survived attacks. He suggests four activities that would serve to strengthen their faith.

(1) Walk about Zion – This is a call on all persons to go round the city; to take a survey of it; to see how beautiful and how strong it was – how it had escaped all danger, and was uninjured by the attempt to destroy it – how capable it was of resisting an attack. The word “walk” here means simply to go around or surround. The other word used has a more direct reference to a solemn procession.

(2) And go round about her – The word used here means, “to fasten together, to join together with others in a solemn procession moving round the city, taking a deliberate and thorough survey.” In other words, assess the situation factually rather than by feelings.

(3) Tell the towers thereof – That is, determine the number of the towers. See how numerous they are; how firm they remain; what a defense and protection they constitute. Cities, surrounded by walls, had “towers” or elevated portions as posts of observation, or as places from which missiles might be discharged against those who might attempt to scale the walls.

(4) Spread the good news. “Tell the next generation that this is God, our God forever and ever. He will guide us forever.”

The Psalmist was sure that once a thorough investigation of the facts was complete, they would break forth in exuberant praise with confidence in God’s future interaction and protection of His people.

Today, Let me encourage you to walk around your blessings. Name them. Rejoice in them. Share them with others so that, they too, may be encouraged by God’s faithfulness.


PRAYER: Father, thank you for your faithfulness. After reflecting on my current state I’m convinced that your hand has saved me and will direct my paths going forward. Amen.