Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Psalm 121:7-8

The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. 
I think life jackets are dorky. No matter how hip and trendy I dress (and let's face it, I'm a smooth dresser), when I put a life preserver on, I feel like a bloated fish. But I have been knocked out of boats, and I have quickly discovered that I don't care at all how I look when I'm gulping the lake. I'm just thankful that my life is being preserved by that orange jacket.
We've learned much about our God during Psalm 121. Today, we discover our God is the Preserver of our lives. But I need to let you in on a little secret. We've already covered this. Do you remember when we discussed how God is our Keeper? Are you ready for this? The two English words keep and preserve are actually the same word in the Hebrew language. So to be clear, the word keep shows up three times in the psalm, and the word preserve shows up three times in the psalm. We are told the same thing about God SIX TIMES in eight verses. Do you think we ought to pay attention?
God took pains to tell you something about himself. He is your Keeper and Preserver. He will protect you, save you, preserve you, and take care of you. You can bank on it! Perhaps God is repeating himself because you need to be shown again the loving arms of Jesus. Maybe you're thinking that nobody understands the things you're facing at home or work. Okay…so unload your cares on God. He is certain to be there for you. He is your Keeper. He is your Preserver.
How long will God be your life preserver? Well, according to the psalm, for all time and all eternity. God will even be preserving you from evil in heaven. If you thought there was no evil or sin in heaven, you'd be right. Why? Because God is forever your Preserver! You are special to him. He takes careful interest in you. Maybe you've been struggling with doubts of your salvation. Remember the words of Jesus. Nobody has the power to pluck you out of the Father's hand. He is your Preserver always and forever.
Because God is your Preserver…your Shade…your Keeper…and your Helper, what are you supposed to do? Lift up your eyes to him.
Final note: My teenagers tell me I'm woefully unstylish. But what do they know? They're teenagers.

Food for thought: Why do you think God tells you six times he will preserve and guard you?
- Andy Gleiser
Student Ministries Pastor | www.burgeterrace.org
Founder | www.3gministries.org

Monday, July 1, 2013

Psalm 121:5b-6

…the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
Ah summer! The hot sun. Fireworks. The beach. Sunburn. Baseball. Blistering heat. Lemonade. Mosquitoes. Did I mention the sun? I sure hope you don't experience any sun-related illness this summer. But if you or a friend face a heat emergency, the first thing you must do is find a cool place to sit quietly. Your body needs a cooler environment immediately. And stay in the shade.
Guess what? God is your shade. This is wonderful truth because life is often miserably hot. You have known the scorching heat of loneliness, discouragement, failure, temptation, fear, helplessness, and hopelessness. You have been burned by bad relationships at home. You have cried hot tears. Please hear this! You must find shade immediately.
God is the shade on your right hand. This means he is constantly near you. He is permanently near you to offer you the cool shade in the heat of your life. Have you ever tried to lose your shadow? It's impossible (unless you're Peter Pan…and sadly, you're not). It is easier for you to lose your shadow than to lose the Lord's presence. Even if you walk through the dark valley of death, God is with you. In fact, Jesus has promised he will never leave nor forsake you.
The simple truth is you cannot lose God. He is always right there. There will always be unbearable heat in your life, but why stay there when you can run to the shade of God's comfort? You see, you can't lose God because Jesus lost God on the cross. He was abandoned for your sin. He was forsaken, crushed, banished from the Father's presence and favor so by faith you will never be alone. Look to the cross to find out how much God loves you.
Jesus knows your painful heat. He was slandered, ignored, hated, forgotten, mocked, and misunderstood. He is truly the Man of Sorrows. So go to your Shade. Nobody understands like him. There will always be hurts and disappointments, but you don't have to live there. Run to your Shade when the problems arise. Cast your cares upon him. Talk to him!
Whatever could harm you in the night or in the day will not smite you while you are in the shade. My three children all cried as babies when the sun was in their eyes. But the most amazing thing happened when we pulled a shade down. They stopped crying. If you're complaining about the hardships you're facing, my friend, you are simply not in the shade. Your God loves you and he's not waiting for you to mess up. He knows life is hard, but he is your Shade. You need a cooler environment immediately.

Food for thought: Why live in the heat when you can live in the shade?

- Andy Gleiser
Student Ministries Pastor | www.burgeterrace.org
Founder | www.3gministries.org