Monday, February 29, 2016

Watch What You Say

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth;
keep watch over the door of my lips!
Psalm 141:3

Words are fast things sometimes
slipping from my mouth
without careful thought
doing damage I never had in mind.

Warned to be slow to speak
I may forget and say
something in a sinful way
causing hurt and pain, showing I'm weak.

But God can protect my speech
obeying His Word's commands
a guard is close at hand
and He can handle what I cannot reach.

Holiness, O God, in what I say
is my prayer in brokenness
heal me, cleanse with burning coal my wickedness
so my lips can honor You today.

Your Spirit must guard my impulsivity
and quiet my heart's strong will
so that in my soul I will be still
and listen to You with peace and tranquility.

Fill me with biblical wisdom rare
so what I think upon
is solid, founded on
Your truth, speaking it, my words are clear.

Set a guard, O LORD, over what I say
so that Your glory I will show...
so that Your gospel I will know...
let Your words leave the door of my lips today.

Friday, February 26, 2016

revival: Water Gate style

And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.
Nehemiah 8:3

The Word of God can affect massive change when people submit to it. This section of the book of Nehemiah documents the spiritual renewal in Jerusalem among the exiles who returned and rebuilt the walls of the city. It began with leaders who were committed to the scriptures. From that commitment came a genuine spiritual renewal that was the clear work of God.

Nehemiah and his leadership team along with Ezra the scribe assembled the Israelites in the public square at the Water Gate in Jerusalem. They built a special speaking platform from which Ezra read the "Book of the Law" (probably the entirety of Deuteronomy) to the people. This took at least 3 hours (depending on the meaning of "early morning") and all the people stood to pay attention to what was read.

It appears that after the reading a large group of men (13 are mentioned by name as well as a group of Levites unnamed) then divided up the crowd among them to exegete the entire Book of the Law so that everyone assembled clearly understood it (Nehemiah 8:7-8). That had to take some time. I'm thinking this was an all-day preaching and application assembly. In the end, deep-felt commitment sprang from hearts affected by God's holy Word (Nehemiah 8:9-12) that started with weeping over sin and ended with a joyous feast and celebration.

God's Word changes us when we understand it. We are moved to fresh obedience, to heartfelt repentance, to unspeakable joy, and to obedient worship. All these will spring up in God's people, sometimes simultaneously, when we listen to and understand God's Word. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

remembering redemption

You shall not pervert the justice due to the sojourner or to the fatherless, or take a widow's garment in pledge, but you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there; therefore I command you to do this.
Deuteronomy 24:17-18

With this firm reminder that every one of the Israelites was a former slave, God asks the nation to commit to justice and to show mercy to the neediest among them. The foreign national (read modern day immigrant --legal or illegal), the widow, and the orphan were the groups at the bottom of the societal structure. And everyone else was commanded by God (that's God commanding at the end) to treat them justly with the reminder that as former slaves they should identify with the plight of these groups.

Remembering their redemption brought a humble perspective on the rest of the world. God asked them to view people first through their own past of God's redeeming them out of misery, hardship, and slavery. This would help mold a caring and compassionate nation. It would serve as a foundational concept in the insurance of justice to all people. It would bring dignity, respect, and understanding to the poorest and neediest among them. It would create a worshipful expression of justice because they would remember that God had cared for them at their lowest.

The principle of remembering redemption to shape character is still very applicable for me. Israel had the Exodus lens through which to view all of life. I have gospel glasses. When I realize that I am the lowest, most miserable sinner who has been redeemed by Christ, it puts the brakes on judgmentalism, bigotry, and any sense of personal entitlement. As is often said, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. From there I am called in grateful worship to see all people as those for whom my Savior died. And he has called me to share the grace of the gospel with all people:  rich, poor, immigrant, countryman, widow, orphan, man, woman, or child. And that is a just and regular way to remember my redemption.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

on mission with courage

Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no obscure city. I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.”
Acts 21:39

Thus begins a section of the book of Acts in which Paul's trials and extradition to Rome are recounted. Paul has entered the temple, only to get caught up in a hostile crowd. The crowd drags him from the temple, beating him as they go. Only when God brings a Roman centurion with armed guards to investigate the situation does Paul's life get spared. The Roman centurion attempts to find out the source of the mob fury, but the unrest is so great that soldiers have to physically carry Paul up out of the frenzy.

The crowd follows the military detail carrying Paul all the way to the army barracks, where at the raised entrance, Paul makes his request to speak to the crowd. The Roman tribune grants the request, and to the most hostile audience possible, Paul preaches the gospel, starting by sharing his own testimony of salvation. What boldness drove Paul to this point? He was driven by just one message: that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, that He died for our sins, was buried, and was raised again on the third day according to the scriptures.

As I see Paul's courage, I am humbled. Actually, I am humiliated. I worry about the consequences of sharing the gospel with a neighbor. How can I be so timid in the light of Paul's courage? Why am I so weak about my faith knowing and seeing how others have been so strong before me? I find my resolve to be on mission with the gospel strengthened. May God help me not to be so sinfully self-conscious about the good news of the saving gospel of Jesus Christ!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

beyond activism

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:18

I need these words today because in matters of Christian living, especially towards people, I can be a big talker who struggles to live like I say I do. It is all too easily done. I was raised to appreciate people who "do good", leading me to adopt a personal kind of perverse hypocritical Pharisee-ism. And we Pharisees do like to brag. We like to define life by what we say we believe and particularly by what we don't do. And that makes John's admonition a warning to people like me.

If I love Jesus, I will do what I say I believe. If I love and follow Jesus, I will act toward people with His love. If I truly love my Savior, I will not just talk about a problem or some suffering, I will give myself by action to do something about it.

This is not activism. It is love in action. That's a huge difference. It isn't about being caught up in a cause. It is about loving Christ, being like Him, loving the people God made on this earth in His own image by doing and acting self-sacrificially (in deed) with gospel motives and message (in truth) toward all people. It is a love that reaches out to family in Christ, and to those who don't yet know Him and dearly need the gospel to transform them. It is a love given through both word and deed.

Monday, February 22, 2016

unchanging mercy and grace

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.
Malachi 3:6

God is constant and for that we should be thankful. He does not change. He is. He always "is". He is faithful and true even as our lives may be chaotic and our commitments fade in and out. He is a covenant keeping, faithful God even when His people are not.

These words written to Israel by the prophet Malachi were a reminder to a people whose commitment to God wavered, that God does not change in His concern for them. Specifically, Israel failed to bring tithes to the temple, a failure God was pointing out strongly to them (see Malachi 3:8-9). But God was still offering mercy to them. They would not be consumed. He wanted them to return to Him in repentance to find mercy and grace (Malachi 3:7). God's mercy made sure they were not consumed (what their sins deserved) and His grace brought them back to Him with blessings when they repented.

Lord Jesus,
You Who are the same yesterday, today, and forever, receive my own confession. Like Israel my commitment can waiver. May my heart be soft to hear Your call to return when that is the case. I fail, but You forgive, and for that I am unworthy yet grateful.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do whatever you want... but remember judgment.

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.
Ecclesiastes 11:9

These may be some of the most sobering words of wisdom Solomon penned. They could also be the most dire warning in all of scripture. Why? Solomon literally lived them to the hilt. It is apparent that he regretted doing so. In Ecclesiastes he explains his quest to know all possible pleasure, have all that life gave, squeezing every bit of earthly pleasure that came his way. And in the end it was a bitter and empty pursuit (see Ecclesiastes 11:10).

What's more, every selfish action and desire has come under God's scrutiny. Solomon found the life that had everything, ended up with nothing. and then would face the Creator at judgment. This was a bitter reality for Solomon, one that no earthly pleasure could buffer. In essence, he did everything he ever wanted, but found it all unfulfilling in the light of standing before God to account for his life.

And so the book encourages us to "remember" our Creator (Ecclesiastes 12:1) and to "fear God and keep his commandments" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). For everything will fall under the perfect judgment of God Who misses nothing and rewards justly (Ecclesiastes 12:14). That wisdom is the best framework for life of all the possible choices we could make. That conclusion is from the guy who tried them all.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Answers to prayer and same day service

On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.
Psalm 138:3

David's experience with answered prayer was that God heard him when he offered praise as he called out to the Lord with his troubles. In fact, God answered David's prayers the same day that David cried out. God was timely and true in His care.

The result of such answered prayer was personal strength and encouragement for David. God strengthened the king's heart by the immediate show of care. Prayer was a strength-building exercise. It increased David's trust in God and it gave him even more occasion to praise and worship the LORD. God's care was not lacking. God showed Himself strong and loving and David was grateful and worshipful.

Some of my prayers have now been years in the praying. I do carry burdens to You. Yet your mercies are new every morning so that I always have answered prayer and reason for praise, even as some of my prayers still reside with Your sovereign wisdom and timing. You strengthen my heart with Your care and always plentiful daily provision. I am encouraged by David's grateful praise to keep trusting You. I thank You and I worship You.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


They are your servants and your people, whom you have redeemed by your great power and by your strong hand.
Nehemiah 1:10

No personal identity could be better than this one: to be known as one of God's people. For the Jews who had made their way back to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon, this was their new hope. No more were they strangers in an alien land. Now they were home, the servants and people of God with the task of rebuilding lives as they rebuilt the city.

Their identity was all God's doing. He chose Israel. He called them to Him. He gave the nation the inheritance of the Promised Land. When they sinned repeatedly rejecting Him, He sent them to Babylon for 70 years. And God redeemed them back. By His great power He sent them back to Jerusalem to resettle. All that they were and all that they had existed because they were God's people.

What was ethnically true for these people is spiritually true for me. I am now God's servant as one of the redeemed people called and saved in Christ to be His. Jesus redeemed me from the captivity of sin and death by His great power and His strong nail-scarred hands. He has set me in the world with His gospel to see my life now rebuilt for His glory and to be used by Him to rebuild others. My identity in Christ is found as His servant, His possession, and as one of His people.

Monday, February 15, 2016

capital adultery

If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman. So you shall purge the evil from Israel.
Deuteronomy 22:22

Adultery was a serious sin in ancient Israel... much more serious than we take it in contemporary society. The standard of God's Law for Israel was death for the offenders. Both parties caught in adultery were to be put to death. Capital punishment for marital infidelity was the requirement of the law. God sees adultery in the same class of sins as rape, murder, idolatry, and willful rebellion. All of these were punishable by death.

Why does the term "capital adultery" seem ludicrous, perhaps even barbaric to our ears today? It is because we have a very cheap view of marriage and an even lower view of the holiness of God. We place personal sexual satisfaction on the throne of our hearts and have it dictate our view of human relationships. Understood, instead,  as Deuteronomy describes it, adultery is a way to kill a marriage, and that is why God listed it as an offense that carried the death penalty. He did not want His people to be casual, lust-filled, cold-blooded marriage murderers. He wanted them to purge the evil from them.

God created marriage. He blessed it, and the sexual relationship within marriage. He made it the foundational element of human society, forming from it both family and home. It is the first human relationship into which we were meant to come into this world. Christian marriage pictures the gospel, a holy and amazing thing full of grace and truth. Marriage has always been as sacred as worship. It is sacred like our very lives are sacred... to be dedicated to the holiness and glory of God. That is why degrading it with sexual sin is wrong. To do so is to shun God and all that is holy.

Now I thank God that the blood of Jesus covers even the worst sin. Even the sin of adultery. And I have had the privilege of seeing couples find forgiveness in the grace of Christ for this, proof to me of the sufficiency of Jesus' work on the cross, so that their marriage did not die, despite the near mortal wounds of an adultery. If anything, though, the fact that it took the cross of Jesus to atone for this is breathtaking in its sorrow, and cause to keep a high view of Christian marriage. Yes, there is forgiveness and grace even beyond an infidelity. I will always fight for that when a marriage is in crisis. I will give them the hope of new life in Christ and the resurrection of their home with repentance, faith, forgiveness and grace. But I'd still have to say it: adultery is a marriage killer and only Jesus can resurrect murdered marriages with His life.

Friday, February 12, 2016

a past in ashes

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Acts 19:18-20

Why did the Christians in Ephesus burn valuable books of their past pagan practices? Because Christians are a people of one book. Those past magic incantation collections had to go. Real repentance meant leaving that life and those books behind in ashes to follow Jesus and be people who are committed to saturating their lives with the Word of God. This was their new burning passion.

The context just before this account of burning pagan resources shows that demonic activity had a stronghold in Ephesus. The context after this event shows a city in riot because the gospel put a serious dent in the pagan worship industry. This was a big deal to burn these books. The pile of "magic arts" collection was worth about six million bucks. This is why serious waves of repercussions rocked the city. When that much information and value was removed from the market and reduced to worthless ash, those still controlled by pagan demonism retaliated.

Repentance is serious business. It is costly and has impacting consequences. Following Jesus is a very serious matter... not to be entered into flippantly. It involves a level of sacrifice, controversy, faith, and change. It is all worth it... Jesus is the supreme value. Just as following one book was worth burning six million dollars worth of other books, so any sacrifice we make for the kingdom is inconsequential in view of the glory that is ours in Christ.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

by way of reminder

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.
2 Peter 1:12

Needing reminders is a good thing. It is sometimes a necessary thing. Being regularly reminded is a biblical practice. It is a way to build spiritual disciplines that help us grow in Christian character and service. We need reminders.

Three times in five verses the Apostle Peter commits to reminding us of truth that we may already know. He commits to "always reminding" in verse 12, to "stir up by way of reminder" in verse 13, with the goal that his readers will "be able at any time to recall" in verse 15. He wants sanctified memories instilled in God's people. He wants God's truth in our hearts and minds available for total recall.

I conclude then that any means that keeps God's Word in front of me to stir me to reminder is a good thing. Journaling is a key practice for me, as is scripture memory, repeat reading of Bible texts, reading good, scripturally saturated blogs, and listening to live and recorded expository preaching.

Thanks for the reminder to stay reminded. Fill me with your truth so that I can recall it at any time! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

truth and peace from the heart

These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the Lord.
Zechariah 8:16-17

This message from God in prophecy contains two clear expectations from God about proper human behavior in relationship both to God and to one another. God expects people to be committed to truth and to peace. The call to truth comes first: "Speak truth to one another". This would go on to impact societal structure so that judicial pronouncements would be marked by truth. No false oaths would be tolerated. Words would be bound by the truth.

Related to truth is the expectation to make peace. Truth should be expected to make peace. No one should plot to hurt another person if they are committed to God's truth. Those responsible for rendering judgments should be people committed to peace and skilled in weeding out conflict-driven agendas of non-peacemakers. 

The root of these commitments to truth and peace is found in the heart. We cannot speak truth if we do not first love and believe it and let it change our own hearts. We cannot make peace if our hearts hold to lies and evil thoughts toward other people. Obeying God and sharing truth and peace in our lives begin at the heart.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

It only takes one sinner...

Wisdom is better than weapons of war, but one sinner destroys much good.
Ecclesiastes 9:18

Gaining wisdom from God is a life's goal of mine. It is why I want to invest the time and energy to apply my heart to understanding God's Word. It is why I want to read the Bible for practical understanding. I want wisdom. I need it. I want to know God. These things are better than any other skill or knowledge because they enable me to make sense of this life and lead to eternal life to come. They protect and defend better than any weapon of war.

But there is a sinner living in me. And like this passage warns, my sinning destroys much good. All that is wrong, painful, or complicated in my life is either the direct result of my own sin, or is tied to the collective damage of broken humanity in Adam's Fall. Sin is the bane of all good living. I must fight it... earnestly, seriously, and without any accommodation to it.

The blessings of Your wisdom are clear in my life. Your Word has kept me from so much harm. It has helped me fight sin and protects me. Yet I still know the damage of sin. I'm warped and broken in my own unique ways, needing You to sanctify me. Sin does much damage. Lead me to faithfully repent and find grace and wisdom from You. Thank You for Your Word and Holy Spirit. Both bring grace and wisdom to me, a needy sinner.

Monday, February 8, 2016

prayer to the God Who does as He pleases

Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
Psalm 135:6

You do as You please for You are God. You are sovereign over my life, over all lives, over all the universe. I will worship You for You deserve this creature's praise. You've made me and all that is around me. What I like and what I don't like... all of it is Your doing in some way. Nothing that ever happens to me is beyond Your wise care. The heavens and earth move at Your command and so must I.

Standing on the seashore I realize that no grain of sand moves by the pounding waves of surf without You controlling the process, knowing it all and willing it to be. And nowhere on this earth is far from You. No ocean trench or atmospheric peak will hide me from Your presence or Your heart's concern. You fill my life as You hold the universe. You are as infinite in expanse as You are in microscopic details. You hold all nations, all peoples, all galaxies and all subatomic particles, in Your grasp.

I know You are great and I am small. Yet You love me, care for me, and have saved me through Christ. Do as YOU please, my God, with me. I surrender to You now and desire to always see Your greatness.

Friday, February 5, 2016

the Lord of all kings

Blessed be the Lord, the God of our fathers, who put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the Lord that is in Jerusalem...
Ezra 7:27

God is behind all the movements of human organizations and governments. He sovereignly moved over many years so that kings ruling in Babylon would support, encourage, and find the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. Ezra's prayer of thanksgiving at the completion of the temple recognizes the wisdom and sovereign hand of God in so doing.

The God Who moves empires to honor His covenant with Israel is still very much on the throne today, overruling all other human pretenders to His throne. And in this presidential election year of 2016 here in America, where one administration will give way to a new one, it does Christians here good to recognize that nothing in our politics will thwart the complete sovereign hand of God. He holds all power... not political parties, lobbying blocs, fundraising gurus, or business tycoons bent on ego-stroking stump speeches. Over the ages, no empire, no communist, no fascist, no socialist, no democrat, no republican, no parliamentarian, no city council or commission, no dictator, no pope, no church council, no prime minister, no justice of the court, no "supreme leader" appointed by human means has ever succeeded in cheating death or atoning sin, or wresting from God absolute control of the human world.

By faith I will trust God above all these human authorities. He commands kings and congresses, sub-committees and county officials, judges and school districts. And His kingdom shall stand forever, opposed by some, but never is God's rule threatened. He who sits in the heavens laughs (see Psalm 2) at the limits of measly human effort. He directs the universe to the ends of His glory. Our little governments are just part of that sovereign, glorious work.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

respect landmark stones

You shall not move your neighbor's landmark, which the men of old have set, in the inheritance that you will hold in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
Deuteronomy 19:14

Respect for personal property was taught through this principle in the Law because for Israel, the land itself was a physical manifestation of the grace of God. The Lord gave Israel the land of Canaan. And each tribe received a geographical territory. The tribes then subdivided their allotments to families. Each family set boundary stone markers to show the extent of the grace that they received. The land then became the source for building their homes and achieving livelihoods.

Moving these markers was more than mere land grabbing. It was deep robbery... depriving another of both a heritage and of the grace of God to that family to make a living. Each family was to be content in their home. Respecting property was a civil form of worship, contentment with God, and trust in the good gifts of the Lord to provide for each home. Obeying this command was a way to reflect on God's goodness and to worship Him.

All of life is a gift of God's grace. I am called to celebrate that with who I am, and what I have been given by God. I have boundary lines of property, income, and resources that are God's gifts. Respecting others as they steward resources is a way in which I celebrate that, learn contentment, and trust my God. Envy and greed brutally destroy this simple worship.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.
Acts 18:27-28

I love the account of the ministry of Apollos and how God used the Ephesian church to mature him into a vibrant evangelist and Christian leader. He represents a second generation and maybe really a third generation leader who was intentionally discipled in the church. He was already a gifted speaker, eloquent and competent in handling scripture when he came to Ephesus (see Acts 18:24). He had believed in Jesus and loved to share about Him to Jews in the Ephesian synagogue. But his understanding of baptism was limited, knowing only about how John the Baptist baptized people. Priscilla and Aquila lovingly took the time to gently disciple and instruct him further and he humbly learned more accurately from them.

The Ephesian Christians undertook support of Apollos and his unique ministry to Jews in Gentile settings. They enthusiastically support his trip to Achaia where he helped strengthen the church there while simultaneously evangelizing in the Jewish community. 

Because Paul made disciples well in Ephesus, they could make a strong leader even better when they met Apollos. And in turn Apollos made disciples well in Achaia. Disciples make disciples who make disciples. That is Christian ministry in summary and it is always the call of the church.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two Types of Gifts

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
1 Peter 4:10-11

At the most basic of levels there are two ways to serve the church, the Body of Christ. Notice that these gifts are not ever for individual benefit, but rather function to "serve one another" in mutual ministry. This draws us away from our tendency toward selfish consumerism (church is about me insisting that I get what I want) and into participation and worship in a community where we love and care for each other (church is about God using me and others to build His work in us all through the gospel).

The first kind of gift that builds the church is a "speaking" kind of gift. It can be teaching, shepherding, encouraging, or admonishing others in large groups, small groups, or one-to-one. But when we speak to one another, we should speak God's Word. People who speak in the Body of Christ need to be biblically saturated and focused on ministering the truth and meaning of God's Word to one another. They focus on God through His Word. Functionally in terms of leadership, the church has elders who primarily administrate these speaking gifts and help others use speaking gifts for the glory of Christ.

There are also "serving" gifts mentioned here. These can include the work of official servants of the church, deacons, but also extend to serving through hospitality, administration of ministry, giving, and the gift of helps. Those who do these "tasks" in the church must also rely on God, serving not under compulsion or self-effort, but in the strength that God gives them. Both kinds of gifts (speaking and serving) lean fully on God and not natural human talent alone as both types of gifts are necessary to bless Christ's Church. Thank God that He chooses to bless each of us through all of us in the Body of Christ, using people around us to encourage us to be more like Jesus as we speak to and serve one another!

Monday, February 1, 2016

surrounded and centered

“Run, say to that young man, ‘Jerusalem shall be inhabited as villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and livestock in it. And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.’”
Zechariah 2:4-5

This vision was given to the prophet Zechariah for the city of Jerusalem. The prophecy was given as the city was being resettled. It was still very much a town of rubble and rebuilding, looking more war torn than majestic. But God had plans to restore the people and the city.

God Himself was to be the glory of Jerusalem. He would protect the settlers as they rebuilt the city with new lives there. He would be like a wall of fire around the city. He would surround them with His care and protection better than any city wall could keep them, even as they rebuilt the walls.

But He would also be at the center of their lives as they rebuilt His temple. A new temple would be the glory of God in their midst. This would be the reason they could dwell safely as well. Worship was the key. God would surround them as He was the center of their daily lives.

I thank You that You surround those who are centered in worship of You. Jesus, Your word says that of You and through You and to You are all things. You redeem me, transform my heart, and work in my life so that You may be all around me in everything!