“I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber….The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.” – Psalm 121.

Many of the Psalms are a cry for help. Many other passages in Psalms point to the comfort and deliverance David received from God. King David was often in awful situations. He talks about it in several of his psalms. King Saul and others were determined to find and eliminate him. The entire 121st psalm speaks of God’s intimate care over the land of Israel and its people, but verses one and two are more personal — David’s statement of confidence in his God. This psalm is a vivid description of a God who is active on behalf of His people. The people stumble and trip; the Lord keeps them from falling. The people snooze and doze from exhaustion; the Lord does not slumber but is always wide awake. The people are oblivious to coming trouble and attack; the Lord protects and shelters them. These are immensely comforting words for people who can feel forgotten. Who wonders if God is aware? Who find themselves in constant need of help. People in David’s time and people like us.

Where does your help come from? Where do you turn to in your time of distress? So many today lift their eyes to finances, the economy, politics, health, comfort, safety, friends, family, etc. We profess to cast ourselves and our cares upon the Lord, and then persist to bear our own burdens as if we felt God is unable to sustain and carry us.

Help for our greatest need comes from God. Our greatest need may be for forgiveness. Or reconciliation, righteousness, and peace with God. It’s only when we face a mountain that we find our true help. And if we find that kind of help there, surely we will also find other kinds of help as well. Help for our daily cares and troubles. Help for our lingering anxieties. Help for our loneliness and our plaguing fears.

The truth? God is your Source—the perfect and on-time Source for everything you could ever need or want. But, you have to receive Him as your one and only Source by faith. If you allow it, God will be your Source for everything you need. Jeremiah states the result when one places their confidence in God as their source: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV)

If your source has stopped working God can turn on another source. If God closes a door in your life, He can open another door. And if another door closes, He can open a window, and you can crawl through it. God is not limited to your ability and capacity.  Bank accounts rise and fall. Economies go up and down. Stock markets can go bull or bear. It doesn’t matter.

Whether they seem to you like trouble or shelter, look away from those mountains to Calvary, to Christ crucified on your behalf. He alone is your help.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In times of trouble, how can we remember where our help comes from?
  2. How can God be your helper this week?

Support For Your Dreams

“A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another, or it collapses. I can no longer condemn or hate a brother for whom I pray, no matter how much trouble he causes me. His face, that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me, is transformed in intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died, the face of a forgiven sinner.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Christian Community.

We are not the first people to stand before a challenge and wonder if it can be done. The building of the wall is a very clear example of a daunting task after years of complacency and indifference. Now, Nehemiah could have never fulfilled his dream of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem by himself alone. It would have never happened. In fact, every phase of the dream that God gave Nehemiah would require assistance. In chapter 2 King Artaxerxes not only gave permission but provided resources and help for the project. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem, surveys the broken down walls, calls the people together, and says, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So they began the good work.” (Nehemiah 2:18)

And on it goes from there. There are lots of interesting human elements. We won’t likely remember all the names, but the description as a whole is filled with evidence that there is tremendous solidarity and unity of purpose among God’s people. God didn’t build the wall; the people did.  Imagine if the list of names was far shorter or if those involved did far less. Is Nehemiah even a book in the Bible? Probably not. Why? Likely the wall would never have been built. The opposition and the threats and the size of the project would have eventually overwhelmed them. It took all the people working with all their might for the entire wall to be done. It’s amazing what can be done when everyone is committed.

The alternative is dealing with your dreams by yourself. Just like a building needs support, your dream needs support. True success is never a one-man show. Anything significant that’s done in your life, any great dream will require help from others. Your dream requires the support of others because you can’t do it by yourself. You don’t know everything you need to know. You don’t have enough time or energy to do everything by yourself. And you don’t have every talent that you’re going to need to get your dream done. You see, God intentionally wired us to need each other so we learn how to work together.

We were not created to go about this life apart from relationships with fellow children of God. Without our brothers and sisters, we will never experience the fullness of life God intends for us. In community, we discover our place in the body of Christ. In community, we learn what it is to serve out of love, honor, and respect. And in community, we receive the healing and love that can only come from those who share in the same Spirit.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do we need support from others to fulfill our dreams? Why is it wise to prepare for opposition?
  2. What advice does Ecclesiastes 8:6 give about building your dream team? How can you apply that to your situation?

Don’t You Care?

In this week’s message we looked at Daniel chapter 10. One of the points I made in that message was that God is a caring, loving, compassionate father. He loves you more than you will ever understand. He loves you more than you can ever comprehend. He is loving toward you in everything that He does. The Bible says in Psalm 103:13, “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.

Some of the disciples were fishermen. In Mark 4: 35-37 we read about Jesus calming a storm: “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.”

As fishermen, they were used to storms. But this one must have been out of the ordinary because they were scared. The ship was rocking and rolling, and water was coming into the boat. They were distraught enough to wake up Jesus to ask him one of the most important questions in life: “Teacher, don’t you care?”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? We have asked or thought that question in any number of ways throughout our lives. “God, don’t you know I flunked that test and I may get kicked out of college. Don’t you care? My relationship with my kids is an absolute mess. Don’t you care? I should not have gone into business with him, but now I am stuck and this could blow up in my face. Don’t you care? I just can’t kick this habit. Don’t you care? My marriage is crumbling. Don’t you care?”

The answer is yes, God cares. In fact, He cares more than you care. He wants to help more than you want help. He knows what will help you more than you know what will help you. He is aware, and He has a plan for your life.

God continually calls us to come to Him with our burdens and find rest for our souls: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28 – 29) He invites us to cast our worries on Him because He cares: “…casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) He invites us to come to His throne and ask for mercy and grace to help us in our time of need: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) He offers strength when we are weak. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

If you knew and felt how much your heavenly Father cares about you, you’d have to love Him back.

Discussion Questions.
1. What are the things in your life right now that are troubling you?

2. Do you believe that God cares about your concerns? What does it mean to “cast” your anxiety on God?

3. How would life be different if you were confident that God cares about you?

4. How does it impact you to know that God cares about the little as well as the big things in life? Share one way you’ve personally experienced Him caring for a “little thing”.

5. How and where is God calling you to care? What action will you take this week?