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Being in sacred spaces offers you strength everywhere

September 20, 2023
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Daily Scripture

Psalm 84:1-4, 10-12

1 How lovely is your dwelling place,
    LORD of heavenly forces!
2 My very being longs, even yearns,
    for the LORD’s courtyards.
My heart and my body
    will rejoice out loud to the living God!
3 Yes, the sparrow too has found a home there;
    the swallow has found herself a nest
    where she can lay her young beside your altars,
    LORD of heavenly forces, my king, my God!
4 Those who live in your house are truly happy;
    they praise you constantly.

10 Better is a single day in your courtyards
    than a thousand days anywhere else!
I would prefer to stand outside the entrance of my God’s house
    than live comfortably in the tents of the wicked!
11 The LORD is a sun and shield;
    God is favor and glory.
The LORD gives—doesn’t withhold!—good things
    to those who walk with integrity.
12 LORD of heavenly forces,
    those who trust in you are truly happy!

Daily Reflection & Prayer

DO YOU KNOW?
This week’s GPS focuses on the Bible reasons for Resurrection’s current “Generation to Generation” campaign. For more information about the campaign, click here.

The psalms were both the hymnal and prayer book of the Hebrew people. Psalm 84, like many others (cf. also e.g. Psalm 63:1-4), expressed delight and longing for being in a place dedicated by and to God’s presence. Life’s high points, for this psalmist, involved meeting God in the Temple. In a charming observation, he noted that even birds like the sparrow and swallow showed a desire to be “beside your altars,” building nests in the Temple’s outdoor courts (verse 3).

  • Mark Twain, with his keen eye for ironies, once wrote wryly that many Christians could barely tolerate church—”an hour and a quarter is the limit, and they draw the line at once a week,” yet say they want heaven—“‘church’ that lasts forever!” * How do you respond inwardly to being in spaces built for God’s use? What choices in actions or attitudes might increase your delight in worship, praise, prayer or other ways of focusing on God’s presence?
  • Scholar John Goldingay noted, “If the God people met [at church] is real, then that God is real in their factory or store or school as well. If God is not real in everyday life, God is not truly real at all…. [The psalm] speaks, too, of the good fortune of the people who trust in Yahweh, and there is no doubt that this description relates to the thousand days and not just to the one day.” ** How do your experiences in spaces devoted to God strengthen your trust in God wherever you are?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, you said I’m blessed when I hunger and thirst for righteousness. Nurture that wholesome hunger within me, and then feed me as I come to worship and serve you. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Lisa Wilt

Lisa Wilt

Lisa Wilt is a member and greeter at the Blue Spring's campus. She is an inspirational speaker, podcaster, and author of five books. Lisa’s 1-Minute W.O.W. Words air twice daily on Life885.com. Lisa and her husband have 2 grown children and one grandson, Elijah David. The title that most defines Lisa is CHILD OF GOD. As her family will tell you, Lisa’s singing is dreadful, but her banana bread is delightful. Visit her at LisaWilt.com.

I once heard that the Psalms are like a medicine cabinet, having something for everyone in need. As a pharmacist for over 35 years, this analogy speaks to my heart. Today’s reading from Psalms is like a medicinal cream that brings relief to dry skin and parched souls.

God is our Great Physician, and he wants us to live healthy lives thriving physically, mentally, and spiritually. He sent his Son so we could have not only life, but life abundantly (John 10:10). If you’re anything like me, you have times when you’re physically strained, mentally drained, and spiritually dangling by a thread of uncertainty. Life and work can be exhausting, and trials can feel like a bad cold that you just can’t shake.

Certainly God’s Word paired with the Holy Spirit soothes our spirits. (I love these GPS devotions for just this reason.) But if I’m honest, I need people too. (Kind people who are filled with the Holy Spirit and know God’s Word.) I’m so grateful for the people who make up this church. Church of the Resurrection is one of these welcoming communities if you are searching for this type of connection.

You might have heard that a church is like a hospital; it’s here for people who may be hurting. I agree…to a degree.  Like the staff and volunteers in a hospital, we’re here to help. No one gets all dressed up to go to the Emergency Room, and you don’t need to get your life in perfect, healthy order to come to church. Come as you are, trying not to treat the church like a hospital that you avoid until the pain is too great to bear. Come early and come often. Church helps keep us happy and healthy, thriving mentally and spiritually.

Our reading today opened with the line, “How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD of heavenly forces!” What made the Old Testament tabernacle and temple so lovely is that the Lord dwelt there powerfully. As we move through the New Testament, the Lord dwells in the sanctuary of our church(es) too. In fact, the “Good News” is that the Lord dwells within us as believers. He empowers us.

As the body of Christ, we need one another. Attending church to celebrate and worship makes you and me more whole and healthy. You bring your unique set of eyes, so we see diversity better. You bring your mind so we can better understand and minister to others who have experienced life and injuries like you. You bring your skilled hands so we can provide God’s amazing, healing touch. God made you unique. You are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). You bring what others don’t have.

As an author I bring my words. Time at my desk typing one-dimensional letters on a colorless page means nothing unless those words uplift you and nudge you toward Jesus’ healing love.  We are on this journey together. Thank you for spending these few moments with me!

May your day be drenched with JOY,
Lisa

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* From Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth: Uncensored Writings at https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/1022817
** John Goldingay, Psalms for Everyone, Part 2: Psalms 73–150. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014, p. 46.