How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young - a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion. Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty; listen to me, God of Jacob. Look on our shield, O God; look with favor on your anointed one. Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. (Psalm 84)
The Lord is teaching me about pilgrimage. A vow to journey nearest Jesus - to live in Christ. A commitment to center my whole heart on Him. To be as close to Him as I am able. To wake up, eat, work, walk, speak, sleep - all for His favor. All for His honor. Oh, and what an honor!!! I just love Psalm 84. I love how it describes the Lord Almighty as home! Where I am free to call upon the One who graces me with life. His life... His holiness. There is nothing better than God!!! His presence is all I care about. I just want to be close to Him... to know Him... to love Him. All I want to do is praise and worship Jesus. For He is my sun, my shield! He gives and gives and gives as He loves.
But what about this crazy messed-up earth and the realities of today? At present, I'm still here. In fact, my great God deliberately put me here for this time, this moment. But here the enemy does all he can to make me feel unable, unworthy. Often Satan pulls the rug out from under my balance and whispers in my ear that I can't. That I am useless. That I am damaged goods. That I am unlovable and unwelcome.
This is when it is most crucial that I run back into God's Word. This is where He reminds me to look at the birds flying above or the ants below my feet. They all temporarily live here too, and God always takes care of them. God values them. God feeds and adorns them and is faithful. Yes, clearly even for them... God has a purpose.
Jesus reminds me to seek Him first. To look at Him always. To trust Him, no matter how pathetic or inadequate I may personally be feeling. For He is greater. He is stronger. Yes, I am blessed because strength and wisdom and success are not reliant upon me (phew!)... rather it is all the Lord's! (Amen!) As such, my heart is set on His pilgrimage. And I am assured that with Him I will reach His courts, His kingdom! Sure, Satan will try to weaken my spirit. He will try to pin me down and make my existence seem like a ridiculous joke. But, as the Psalmist has already confirmed...
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (Psalm 62:7)
Yes, my God has a plan, a purpose, a mission for me HERE. So here I will travel... with Him I will walk. And I will step in His grace, believing in His strength. Through every day - from "strength to strength" I will overcome the enemy's damaging whispers because I will boldly proclaim to my Savior, "Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere!"
Yes, my heart is set on this pilgrimage with you, Jesus. I know that you are able, worthy. I know that you are the solid ground where I can keep my balance. I know that you will always value me, restore me, love me, walk with me, protect me. I know that you are always my destination, my hope.
So, today as I continue moving forward... as I live out my life on this lonely, scary planet... blessed is the Lord God Almighty, my constant dwelling place today and forevermore! I trust Him. In Him is my salvation and my glory. He is the rock of my strength and my refuge. In Christ, I can press on... I can walk... I can keep going... for my heart is set on His pilgrimage. All for His favor. All for His honor. And always thankful... because in Him I am already home!
Have a lovely day walking in His glorious strength, peeps!
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