As the mountains surround Jerusalem,

so the LORD surrounds his people,

from this time forth and forevermore.

Psalm 125: 2

 

Mountains are impressive. When viewed from below their height can be magnificent on the one hand and rather frightening on the other. They provide welcome relief from the flatness that occupies large expanses of the earth’s surface, but for a traveler who is encountering it, a mountain range presents a sort of fearful obstacle to be overcome. They bring shelter from storms in some seasons and in others the fury of that weather seems to roll down their sides with the ferocity of a hungry wild beast. People have settled in mountain valleys for thousands of years because of the resources that are often available in the valley floor and on the slopes of the hills. Their slopes, whether steep sided or soft and rounded, provide us with a vista onto our world that feels like it is close to the one that God posses; yet, when we are standing there, our feet are still planted firmly on His creation.

 

God’s presence in our world can seem like all of these impressions of mountains. He is wondrous and also fearful. He grants to us the joy and the delight of living in this world, and He also challenges people with the lofty stature of His righteousness. The Lord protects us from the evil that rages in our world, but He also leads us into its dangerous places as we submit to Christ’s will and travel the roads that He takes us along. There are times in our lives when our Lord removes the hand of protection from us and from the world where we live so that we will turn from reliance upon its enchantments and return to a loving and fully committed relationship with Him. As we enter into an existence of worship with prayer, contemplation, and God’s Word forming the lyrics of our own life-hymns, we are transported by His Spirit out of the shadows of fear and doubt that attempt to engulf our hearts and minds and we are lifted up into a fuller appreciation of God’s eternal being.

 

The magnificent presence of the Lord is also warm and accessible. He enfolds His people in an embrace that stays engaged until the need is soothed and the heart is comforted. God is both mighty and intimate at the same time. He is the creator of all that exists, and He is the one who knows the smallest details of each of our lives. In Christ, He rejoined our journey along the roads of this world, and through Christ we are taken out of sin’s death and placed into the eternity of God’s Kingdom of love, grace, mercy, and peace. People go through life searching for a place to call home where their needs can be met; yet, Christ provides the answer to that desire. He brings us to a new dwelling place in the now and forevermore Kingdom of God where each of His people have purpose within Christ’s plan and enjoy the unending love that He pours out on us.

You are members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you are also being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Ephesians 2:19-22

 

In a world where people seem to be moving farther apart every day, where separation and isolation become ideals, everyone who knows God is also a member of His household. We each have a specially designed purpose to fill in that family, and we are each designed, shaped and placed in a manner that makes it possible to fulfill that purpose. This is true because God has given to each of us everything that we need to serve those around us right now.

 

However, He also does much more than that. He also continues to grow us, to build us into so much more than we were yesterday and than we are today. We continue to gain wisdom and knowledge of our Lord, and we are made stronger in our ability to use what we know. The person that we are, in Christ, is the dwelling place of God. The Holy Spirit lives in each of us, and His Spirit actively works in our lives. It is as if the hands of God are continually on us, and with great sensitivity they are working on our form so that over the course of a lifetime of living as followers of Christ, we are reformed into persons who by virtue of our love, connection, and interaction with others looks much more like our Creator.

 

The true expression of our new selves is found in the way that we interact with others. When we choose to defend the weak, support those who are injured, and bring love into the angry chaos that evil creates, we are bringing the face of Christ into those places, and we are providing the people that we meet with a look into eternity. The Lord calls to His children to bring His Spirit into the darkness around us, and He promises to use us to reclaim these places and the lives that inhabit them for His kingdom.

 

Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation.

Psalm 68: 19

 

Your story may be something like mine, and you may be able to say that salvation is something that was secured long ago; or, you might have very recently recognized the need for Christ in you and surrendered your life to Him. Another possibility is that you haven’t made that decision, and Jesus is still someone that you know something about, but He is not your God, your Lord, and your Savior. Regardless of how your story reads, God is your salvation; for, this has proven to be true for me, and it has been true throughout the long history of human existence on this earth.

 

Christ is actively in my world, and He isn’t just existing in the background or involved in only the church oriented aspects of my life. The Lord is working in every area of this world, and He has an involved interest in how even the most routine events and situations play out. As he was writing this Psalm, David might have been thinking about the many times that God had revealed Himself to David, and he could have been recognizing the fact that he had been saved from harm and death by the hand of God on what might have seemed like a daily basis. During David’s many days of wandering and his numerous struggles he had witnessed simple and profound times when God reached into his world with His loving touch that brought a safe place to rest, a pool of fresh water to drink, a friend to offer encouragement, and His Spirit to speak truth when David’s mind was filled with the deceptive voice of evil.

 

The Lord desires to help me go through this day with a lightness to my step that comes from the support and the encouragement that He gives me. Christ provides me with the only true and clear picture of how to navigate through the numerous twists and turns that life will throw at me today. The Lord does not want to tell me exactly what to do or specifically how to respond throughout my day; instead, He wants me to draw near to Him and to be so filled with His presence that my thoughts and actions are fully influenced by His Spirit and are informed by His word. The simple truth is that there is no time in this life when I am strong enough to go it on my own, and there is no moment of my day when I am beyond my need for Christ’s salvation.