Mid-week Thoughts • May 13

What Are You Looking At?

Monday morning here. After getting up I turned on the TV and watched a news article on a childhood disease called Kawasaki that may be linked to the coronavirus. I learned that the total cases of the virus worldwide topped 4.1 million. That news was followed by a clip about a man in California who was killed in a shark attack. Went to the internet and read that a teen in Philadelphia had been shot overnight. Checked the stock report and learned that future stocks were down $234. Got the Reading Eagle and read the headline that said Berks added 114 positive cases, a significant spike when officials were deciding it was time to lift some restrictions. Headline for another article on the front page simply said, “On Mother’s Day, leaders search for optimism.” 

It really does not matter which day we check the news, there is very little encouraging in it. We live in a sin cursed society and while the current headlines focus on a virus, unemployment and an economy in chaos. When this is past there will be another round of crises that we face. Occasionally we have a short news article that is encouraging or focuses on the good things that are happening around us but for the most part, it is discouraging at best and often just plain depressing.

So, what can we do? We can do exactly what the people of God did in the Old Testament. Apart from a few years under the leadership of King David, for the most part life in Israel was difficult. One major break from the difficulties of everyday life came when they joined with other families from their community and traveled to Jerusalem to participate in the various temple worship times. A group would start out from a given town and in time would be joined by others from a different community. By the time they approached Jerusalem there were groups of several hundred traveling together and enjoying a time of fellowship with fellow children of God.

As they drew near to Jerusalem, they sang a series of Psalms known today as the Pilgrim Psalms that are grouped together as Psalms 120-134. The focal point of those psalms was awareness that as they drew closer to the temple, they were drawing closer to where God would meet with them. They knew that while God was not confined to a building, the building was a reminder of His presence with them. 

So, they would sing “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2) In particular when they sang that they would “lift up their eyes to the mountains” they were referring to Jerusalem which sat atop a mountain but more specifically to the temple that was in Jerusalem. To be even more specific they were lifting their eyes to God who met with them in the temple. No matter how tough life might be back home, they knew that ultimately their help came from the Lord.

We live in a real world where often the news is discouraging. We also live in God’s world and so, in the midst of difficulties and challenges, we must look to Him who is our help. Lift up your eyes to heaven and discover anew God’s love. Lift up your eyes to heaven and discover anew His promise to be our Good Shepherd. Lift up your eyes to heaven and hear again God’s promise to never forsake us. 

We need that encouragement daily.

Reminder: Don’t forget to send your offerings to Deb.

Prayer/Praise:

  1. Continue to pray for Bill’s sister-in-law Deb.
  2. Harold and Carol’s daughter-in-law has surgery and it went well. Pray for continued recovery
  3. Mark’s brother-in-law will have the surgery on Friday.
  4. Eden is pneumonia. Pray for full recovery
  5. Ashley as she takes exams as part of her ongoing training in the navy
  6. Saturday is food distribution. Cathy has enough help but let’s pray for them as they interact with the community and for the many families in our community that need help.