Psalm 121:1 by Kathy Countryman
By Kathy Countryman
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”
What divine direction! We are blessed to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States. Just outside our windows are the Crazy Mountains. We try to never let a day go by without pausing to look up at such a majestic sight! While looking UP at those mountains, you begin to really “see” them: standing in their place reaching up towards heaven. You can be enthralled in a matter of moments! When your eyes are fixed on their beauty, you see little else. Sometimes you get to the point where you are really not aware of the goings on around you at ground level. Could that be the key in this verse? Where does our help come from? Certainly not “the hills.” When we remember to look up we are no longer looking down or even at our circumstances. We look up, with our eyes on Him, the direction from which the help comes from. Not distracted by what we “see” around us. With eyes directed up, we see those hills and we are reminded of the God who made those hills; the hills and heaven and earth besides. With eyes lifted up, eyes that look to Him, eyes raised up in hope, we truly “see” and know “from whence comes our help – my help comes from the LORD.” Thank You for the reminder, LORD, and the direction.
The Search by Justin Countryman
This note is a little different from my other notes in that it is purely a note of encouragement. I want to encourage all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to continue their search for their calling. For those of you who know your calling in Christ, may my words resonate within your spirit to remind you of the significance of your calling in Christ Jesus. For those of you who have not yet fully stepped into your calling or are still unsure of your calling, keep pushing. It is there.
There is a peace and assurance that comes from knowing you are working within the realm of God’s calling within your life. Even though the struggles are still there, and sometimes more often than not, there is a peace beyond all understanding that envelopes your heart, mind and soul. There is a freedom in knowing that I don’t have to rely on myself, my knowledge, or my ideas, but on the Holy Spirit. All I have to do is present myself before God as a willing vessel, and He takes care of the rest; and thank God for that, because if my calling was left to my own talents or strength, it would be a pathetic thing indeed.
I have also learned that in the search comes the preparation. Is my search over? Definitely not. The more God’s Word speaks to me and the more confirmation fellow believers speak into my life the more excited I become. One thing I have learned is that no man can stand alone. I thank God for my fellow brothers and sisters, for it is through them that my rough edges have been buffed out, my timidity has fled, and my understanding has increased. We need each other to test, strengthen, stretch, define, rebuke, build, and edify each other. If you are struggling in understanding your calling then I urge you to become an active member in a group of believers. God designed His church to be made of individuals, and individuals make up His church, but an individual cannot be a church. We need each other. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” I don’t know about you, but I see the day approaching. This is not a debate on the end times note, but if we are honest with each other we can see that if ever there was a time when Christians needed each other, it is now. Psalm 89:7: “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about Him.” Psalm 107:32: “Let them exalt Him also in the congregation of the people, and praise Him in the assembly of the elders.”
We also need an assembly for the benefits it can bring to a believer: Psalm 65:4 says, “Blessed is the one You choose and bring near, to dwell in Your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, the holiness of Your temple!” Psalm 84:10 says, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Psalm 92:12-15 says, “The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.” Psalm 96:8 says, “Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; bring an offering, and come into His courts.” There is something about the house of God that is different from every other place you can go. Chances are, if you haven’t stepped into your calling, it could be that you have neglected the Christian duty of finding a place in a local body and fulfilling service there. There is a comfort and strength that we as Christians need that comes from a unified body of believers. Find a church and dive in!!!
For a long time I wondered what my calling could possibly be. I felt ashamed because I couldn’t state exactly what my calling was. I knew I was called but just didn’t know the details. If you feel like this then please take heart! Knowing you are called should be sustenance enough. Rest in the fact that God has called you, and that if you are obedient and open, His calling will be accomplished in you and through you. Another thing is this: we are all called to do certain things. We are called to pray. We are called to fast. We are called to serve. We are called to worship. We are called to study. We are called to witness. Experiencing the salvation of Christ IS a calling! We have the chance to intercede for the lost! We have the chance to fast for spiritual breakthroughs! We have the chance to serve in love without condemnation! We have a chance to worship in spirit and truth! We have a chance to study and build our knowledge and understanding of Christ and His salvation message! We have a chance to speak the words of life into others lives! I used to think that only after I knew what my calling was could I ever be effective in ministry. The truth is that the same Holy Spirit that entered my heart upon salvation is the same Holy Spirit that is guiding, equipping, and leading me in my Christian walk, including my calling. I have the chance to be effective in the lives of the lost because of the Holy Spirit, not because of an understanding of my calling.
As Christians, we all have callings to step into. But don’t put so much emphasis on the calling that you become an ineffective Christian in the mean time. Walk in the glory and hope of your salvation, purchased by the blood of our Savior! Walk in the understanding that we are children of God and that this world is not our home! Walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, who lives inside you! Walk in prayer and in the Word, ready at all times to speak life to the dead and dying! Walk in the defining word of centuries: Christian. Better yet, let ‘Christian’ be the defining word of your walk!
Take heart brothers and sisters and let’s do something for glory of God and His kingdom!
Objects In Motion
Objects in Motion
I love how God teaches me things as I am teaching my son things. This morning before church, Logan was rolling the head of a bullet around on his desk. He could not understand how if he just set the bullet on the desk that it would move because the desk is at a slight slant. I went on to explain to him the one thing from college I remember (surprisingly) and that is that objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted on by another force. I further went on to explain to Logan how gravity was the force that was causing the bullet to roll down the desk and the force that keeps us from floating into outer space. Quite a Sunday morning topic I know, but as I was pondering whether I had relayed the information to Logan in a way that He could understand, the Lord hit me with an analogy of gravity and objects in motion using my own life. I will attempt to share it with you so bear with me if you can.
For many, many years, I did my own thing. I was like an object floating around aimlessly in space searching for some sort of truth that would attract me with its gravitational pull. Weightlifting, music, band, girls, parties, etc. attracted me for some time, but that attraction was only temporary until a new attraction would gain my attention. Since I was not grounded in anything that had the ability to keep me, I would “crash” into certain things and people. Every time I crashed into a person or object, pieces of me would be lost and scars, burn marks and “crash” marks would take the place of those pieces; both in me and in the other person. I was an object out of orbit. We all know that objects that are out of orbit are dangerous, but usually are broken into little pieces by something bigger until they become such a small threat they are not even noticed anymore, but just assume some sort of orbit around something larger than it. From the age of 18 to 25, I began to break into a million little pieces. Different objects attracted different parts of me and their gravitational pull would create friction and chaos within my “world”. So many directions began to pull at me and without any stability, the end seemed very likely to come by my own hand; just like an objects end eventually comes when it is out of orbit.
During a chance church attendance, a new “gravity” began to pull at me. Every word the preacher spoke wove tighter and tighter around my heart. It felt like a force was pulling the heart out of my chest. For the first time in my life, I felt a gravitational pull that went straight to the heart. This was the Holy Spirit pulling me into the embrace of Christ. I finally saw how “out of orbit” I was, and the One who could put me back into my created place in this universe.
What I did not realize then was all this was happening so that Christ could draw me out of the "universes" of those around me and into His spiritual universe. All the pain and heartache I went through as a young man was so my attention would land on the real center of the universe, and not on thousands of tiny distractions. I was in motion heading only one direction (Hell) until the Holy Spirit stepped in, drew me to Christ, and He set me in a new direction (Heaven). I stepped into my orbit within the universe of Christ when He saved me and washed me in His blood. Now, when I “crash” into people, it is for a purpose and that purpose is so that the light of the universe, Christ, can crash into them through me. I have finally found my place in this universe, and it is under the submission and Lordship of Jesus Christ in His kingdom.
In Hebrews 1:1-4 it says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name He has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”
Hebrews 11:3 says, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
It is such an amazing thing to understand who created us and where we fit in His plan. I thank God for His salvation plan and I thank Jesus for saving my soul! God, who is the center of the universe, became the center of my spiritual universe. It is not enough to know that He is Lord and Savior. One must know Him AS Lord and Savior. I praise God that He did not give up on me and that the “gravity” of the Holy Spirit brought me straight to Him! What an awesome God we serve. Just to think that He created this whole universe, of which we cannot even properly explore, yet cares enough for you and me that His Son would willingly die on a cross in my place and in your place humbles me to the greatest extent. The One who spoke the world into existence longs for a relationship with you and I. He feels our pain and he knows us intimately. Surely, it is about time we submit to His plan for our lives and by doing so fit into proper orbit within His universe. Give God a chance. You will never go back.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”