Journal Ps 120-121 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: “Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.  I am for peace but when I speak, they are for war! (Ps 120:6-7)

 

I lift up my eyes to the hills; from where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord (who made heaven and earth).” (Ps 121:1-2)

 

Observation: One Psalm laments over what is being experienced; the other Psalm is the psalmist exhorting himself to (broadly speaking) get his head on straight…

Analysis: Again, the psalmist is a wonderful example of expression.

Do I get down?  Yes.  Does the psalmist talk about being down?  Yes.  Do I see turmoil around me?  Yes.  Does the psalmist?  Yes.

Now I am at the point where the rubber meets the road: Does the psalmist identify where his heart should be? Yes.  Do I?  Not always.

Why is my answer “not always?”  I think…no, I know, that I can get caught up with the situation and emotion involved with a situation.  I forget to shake myself coherent and remember the Gospel.

I remember this: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?  Hope in God, for I shall again praise him…” (Ps 43:5)

Engaging in God, engaging in hope, refusing/resisting the emotion of turmoil is an effort.  That effort is supported and empowered by the Holy Spirit (re. Ro 8:5-6, v13), but it is an effort that I am expected to engage in; it is not an effortless exercise.

I think that is where a lot of folks go astray; they are not told/taught, or they neglect to put effort in their walk in Christ—that intentional walk that leads to life.  Perhaps it is a misunderstanding of the doctrine of Grace like in Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God (not a result of works) so that no one may boast…”  Maybe not: I don’t presume to understand someone else’s heart—this just seems to be a likely, scriptural reason, i.e.,  “If I have to work at it, then it is not relying on grace” —a falsehood and misunderstanding of the Gospel.

There was an exercise I engaged in way back when.  That exercise was to circle or underline every verb/adverb I came across in the Scripture that indicated an action I was to engage in.  There are a lot of “I will” and “I shall” in Psalms.

Being intentional in my personal walk in Jesus is important.  And, to be clear, it is not optional.

Prayer:  Lord, you know I struggle with keeping on with fervor.  I guess it is better to stoke the fire slowly and consistently rather than just toss lighter fluid on it occasionally.  The lighter fluid method gets a great big flame suddenly but once the fluid burns off there is still the issue of keeping the coals hot.

Help me stoke the coals of my heart, O God.

Cause revival.  AMEN.