This week's memory verse:
"Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage." -- Psalm 84:5
Yesterday we learned that the word pilgrim means "people who spend their lives going someplace." But WHERE are we going? And in what is our mood as we travel? Are we complaining and whining the whole trip like kids in the back seat? "Are we there yet?"
For me, my pilgrimage is to grow closer to God and move through this life to get to him in the next. I heard someone once say we shouldn't spend so much of this life worrying about getting to the next that we don't enjoy the life we have right now. To some degree, I agree.
God gave us this life on earth and we have the opportunity to get to know him better THROUGH his creation and the people and places that are right in front of us...we ARE to enjoy it! But...we are to be concerned enough with his promises of eternal life to listen to his guidance and obey his commands so we can get there. No, we can't earn our way to heaven, but Jesus taught us lessons about heaven by telling us how we should live and behave while we are here in this life.
God also promises to guide and protect us. Through King David, God gives us messages of hope and promises of protection. Read Psalm 18:32-36.
David speaks about counting on God to:
* arm him with strength
* make him swift and sure
* point him in the right direction
* train him for battle
* shield him
* provide a broad path for him
* hold him up with a firm hand
* and caress him with His gentle ways
We too can rely on God for all of those things. But, in order to believe in those promises, you have to stay in contact and communication with God. By reading his word and talking privately with God, you can be reminded that he IS there to do those things for you...preparing you to make it through this life and be rewarded in the next.
Setting your heart on this kind of a pilgrimage means keeping your heart set on moving forward. You can't be satisfied with the status quo...it is a long hard journey. But...you must know you are not alone! Not only is God there with you, but there are other pilgrims out there traveling the same path. Together, we can keep going, no matter what, shoulder to shoulder.
In my First Place 4 Health group, we are all TRYING to find the balance in our lives that we believe God wants for us. It is hard and many times we want to give up. But...we support and encourage each other in many ways and we keep each other moving forward toward the goal. We may never reach our ideal weight or reach the point where we want to be spiritually, or reach our exercise goals...but we keep each other moving forward TOWARD those goals. That makes the journey a bit easier...knowing we are not in it alone!
If you don't have a group of supportive people around you...try to find some. Open yourself up to a small group of people who are heading for the same goals...pray about finding that right group of people...God knows we were not made to go through this journey alone...he made us to live in community. There is a community of people out there for you...pray that God will bring you to that community or that they would find you. God will keep his promises and lead you right where you need to be! Be an adventurous pilgrim, knowing that your journey is long and hard, but easier with loving supportive people around you!