The heavens, the skies, the mountains, the deep—checkmate!

God’s got you covered! From the summit of Mt. Everest to the Challenger Deep at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, God’s love can find you.

At least that is what the psalms say. When the book of Psalms describes God’s love and faithfulness it uses expansive language such as: farther than the east is from the west, higher than the highest heavens, etc. and that is absolutely amazing. There is nowhere that you and I can go on our planet or in life that is beyond the scope of God’s love.

According to King David in Psalm 139, God can find you in heaven or the pits or even in the dark. He can find you on this side of the ocean or on the other side of the earth. Indeed, David cried out, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” Everywhere he turned, he ran into God. He said, “You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.”

You and I need to be reminded of this. We need to know that God never gets frightened and He never loses heart. He already went to the grave for us and came out on the other side. We need to know this when times are good so that we don’t forget about God, and we need to know it when times are bad so we don’t think He has forgotten about us.

It’s a checkmate, really. There is nowhere we can go. No move is safe. God’s love is everywhere, and even if we can’t see it today, He promises us that we eventually will. Let’s trust this. Let’s rest in this. And let’s be His agents that carry this power to others who need to hear and know it too.

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You will never get snared if you do not stray

You have certainly discovered how dangerous life can be right? Surely, by this point in your story, you have faced both demons and human treachery. You have had your back against some walls, and you have found ways to break through other ones. You have won and you have been defeated. You have been both elated and filled with despair. You have made good decisions that moved you forward like the ladder square in the children’s Chutes and Ladders game, and you have made other decisions that made you slip back to square one.

You have fought for the liberation of people’s hearts, and you have been awarded both trophies and scars. There is quite a bit at stake in this faith life of ours.

Sometimes, in our dizzying journeys through life the wisest counsel is the simplest. Indeed, true wisdom is usually not profound; it is so painfully obvious that anyone could dispense it. The challenge is in following it.

Psalm 119:110 presents wisdom that is powerful enough to save your life, and yet it is simple enough for a child to understand. It says, “The wicked have laid a snare for me, but I do not stray from your precepts.” Said differently, you will never get snared if you do not stray.

It’s true isn’t it? If we stick to our commitments…if we honor our promises…if we do what is right…if we retain our integrity at all costs, we won’t get snared. The snares are set a half step outside of the right path, and if we stick to the path we will avoid nearly all of them.

Are you on your right path today, or are you straying from it? If you are straying, beware of snares. They will take you out, and you will be remembered for your failure, instead of your exploits. It may seem difficult to walk the right path, but it will cost you vastly less than your forays off the path will.

Now, if you have strayed, and if you have been snared there is still good news. There is a way back! You won’t always be colored by your failure, and you will be able to start again. Lamentations 3:40 says, “Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” Psalm 119:59-60 says, “I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands.”

Let’s stay on the path. Let’s pile up victory after victory in our life of faith. Then let’s cross the finish line together with our consciences clean and our heads held high.

A ‘storied’ people

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story.” (Psalm 107:2)

In your readings through the Old and New Testaments, do you ever marvel at the constant, even redundant, telling of Israel’s story? Doesn’t it seem like the biblical writers are always rehearsing Israel’s formation, bondage, rescue, decline, and promised renewal?

It is sort of like shampoo instructions on an endless loop: wash, rinse, repeat.

Why is that? Why is the rehearsal of a story–a history–so important? And do you think it might be equally important for us?

There is power in story, in remembering where we have been and where God has brought us. Although it might get tedious to constantly be reminded how God parted a Red Sea for Israel on their way out of Egypt, that story never loses its potency. It is a constant, real-time reminder that God can still split chaos and lead us safely through to the other side.

We are a ‘storied’ people. We have a history and a life with God. And when we remember what God did back then, it can bolster our confidence for today. Remembering yesterday’s rescues, prepares us for glorious victories in tomorrow’s looming battles.

The old hymn, Blessed Assurance, declares, “This is my story, this is my song…” and it is powerful. We have a story to tell, a song to sing. We are a storied people, and perhaps we should follow Scripture’s lead and spend more time remembering it. It will bolster our courage and vivify our souls when we do.

Let’s do it this week as we pause for our Thanksgiving celebrations; let’s let our expressions of thanks become a re-telling of stories that become predictors of better futures.