Let’s take a walk for today’s Monday’s Marinate.
Have you ever arrived at a destination and thought to yourself, “How many little steps did I need to take to get right here, to this very spot I’m standing in?”
Had anyone told you how far you would get, you wouldn’t have believed them. Yet, somehow here you are standing in the spotlight of God’s glory. Awestruck at what God has done—miraculous teaching of a toddler as she takes her first steps, now steady and sure.
I stand amazed at all that God has done and is doing in my life. As I told a friend recently, our God is still a God of miracles just as in Jesus’ day. When we look upon people’s lives He has touched and we see a changed life, a heart rendered to God, we see His miraculous power at work before our very eyes. The fact that the lost become found? Nothing short of a miracle, all made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ.
His sacrifice says, “I will take your sin, so you no longer have to carry it.”
Miracle. Freedom waiting in the wings when we choose to say “yes” to Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Have you ever stopped to think about how your walk can, and does, affect others?
Sometimes we take spiritual steps on behalf of others.
The other day, I took my trusty companion Little Stewart Stella for a walk. In this case, woman’s best friend connected to a leash. Who is leading whom the big debate.
We were out for a walk in the neighborhood. There’s only one way in and one way out, so we can walk in a big circle.
Not every time, but often, I pray for my neighbors as I walk the circuitous route.
Wherever God has us, He’s placed us there for a reason and a purpose. Perhaps mine is to pray for my neighborhood as I go about my normal business of walking the dog. I see brokenness. I see people in need of love. If you see someone at all, you see someone in need of love. It’s an intrinsic desire in us all. Often, I have no idea what to do to help someone. I see and I say, “Lord, what should I do? What can I do?”
I can pray. We all can pray as we put one foot in front of the other during the beautiful days of summer.
This day I prayed that darkness would flee and that hearts would be healed. I asked that Love would be found as my neighbors seek and find Jesus. I prayed it would be a safe place to raise a family. I petitioned God specifically for all the kids to be kept safe and asked that they would fall in love with Jesus at an early age. I lifted before the Lord the request that my neighborhood would be known as a bright light full of the love of Jesus that radiates to others.
Let’s just say my neighborhood is not in the midst of the Bible belt. No matter. God assigned this Jesus Girl to pray for those I share this suburban sprawl with.
God hears the prayers of the righteous. If you know Jesus as your Savior, you are deemed righteous by Him. Pray with faith filled words and take spiritual steps for your neighbors. One day maybe they’ll take up residence near you in your eternal neighborhood. Perhaps you’ll see how the spiritual steps you took on their behalf were used as seed for their salvation. I love thinking about that. And it helps me to continue to pray in the hope that one day maybe I will get to see those seeds fully harvested by God.
About 2/3 the way around the loop with little doggie on a leash, I got a sense I was supposed to pray something I’ve never prayed before. I looked at the address on the house to my right, 3 digits.
Like the power propelling a rocket forward, I lifted all addresses up in my neighborhood in one fell-swoop. I felt like I was supposed to pray a psalm for the correlating address. I asked God to apply the corresponding psalm to each household.
This prayer won’t work in all neighborhoods, but it does work in at least a portion of mine. There are a lot of smaller cul de sacs within the larger circle. Thus, there are many 3 digit addresses.
I got a chuckle wondering which neighbor got Psalm 119 (the longest chapter in the entire Bible). My first thought, “Woah! They must have a lot going on in that household.”
As I walked along I thought, “I need to look up what I just prayed for myself. What did I just ask for? Praying an unknown prayer—quite dangerous, woman! Are you nuts?”
Talk about taking a walk. I’m walking on the wild side!
I lifted up 113 for myself.
Sometimes our spiritual steps lead us to step into the pond of reflection.
The best thing about not knowing what I prayed for myself was the surprise I got to unwrap when I remembered to look up the Scripture the next day.
Psalm 113 NIVPraise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised both now and forevermore. From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. Who is like the LORD our God, the one who sits enthroned on high who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
At first glance, this might not seem like the perfect psalm to pray for myself. I am not barren. Yet, this is the perfect psalm to pray.
My husband and I are servants of God. We weren’t always, but we are now. We have much to be grateful to God for. How can I not praise Jesus and His name everywhere I go and in everything I do? He has done too much in His transformation of us for me not to thank and praise Him.
Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, anything good that comes from a believer is really God’s glory shining for all to see. The testimony God gave Sam and me—all part of God’s glory.
If God has given you a testimony (and if you know Jesus as your Savior, He has), He has given you a piece of His glory as well. Thank Him for the testimony He has given you. Thank Him for all His name affords you.
I love the imagery of God sitting on His throne, able to stoop down and peer over all He has made including you and I (verses 5 & 6). This is not to be interpreted as God looking down on us. No. His concern has Him peering through the pillar of His glory to see every child’s heart, no matter His child’s age.
Who is like the LORD our God, the one who sits enthroned on high who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
From His position, He sees not only us, but the crown of heaven and earth. From His vantage point, He sees us and He lifts us high above all that He has made. He gives us a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isa 61:3).
I consider the ash heap God lifted me from as I read verses 7 & 8 from Psalm 113.
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
This is where I see the fruit from all those first toddler steps I took. This is where awe sets in and I am left to reconsider the question we started with. “How many little steps did I need to take to get right here, to this very spot I’m standing in?”
I don’t know. But I am so very glad I took them. And keep taking them. 1,000’s – tens of 1,000’s
God lifted me out of an ash heap. He sat me, ME!, among the princes of His people. He paved the way for me to sit among God’s people, people who love Him with all their heart as evidenced by the fruit I see their lives bear.
One example of this is all of God’s royal princesses I have been privileged to serve with in women’s ministry. These ladies love Jesus.
There was a time I would have never placed myself among them. I entered through the church doors in extreme distress. Withering. Hiding tears behind my hair. Sad. Desolate. Destitute. Full of anguish and despair. I would have never counted myself worthy. I now know I am worthy, because the Lamb is worthy.
You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’S hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.—Isaiah 62:3 NIV
As God picked me up, and dusted me off, He set me in their midst. All royal heirs to His throne crowned with His beauty and splendor.
I pray our walk as Christians reveals God’s glory to those who are watching. There are always people watching. We can’t deliver perfection, but we can embody love. If we bind Love to us, He will shine through us. Let each step we take bring us closer to Christ.
If you don’t know Jesus, He has a crown waiting for you as well. Let Him pick you up out of the ash heap and dust you off. Talk a walk with Him and one day you will be as equally amazed as I am when you look back at how far He has brought you.
And now this last bit that initially seems to make no sense as it applies to my life as we read Psalm 113:9.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD.
I have children, so how does this apply?
The study note in my Bible sheds light.
In the ancient society childlessness was for a woman the greatest disgrace and deepest tragedy.*
I had undergone deep tragedy and I had led a life that led me to feel shame and disgrace. I was spiritually barren. Barren beyond belief! A womb emptied of all hope. I couldn’t birth a new dream. I couldn’t labor toward anything good.
Hope met me.
He’ll meet you too. Right where you’re at. He’ll walk with you just as He did me.
Sometimes our spiritual steps lead us to consider how grateful we are to be settled, in a happy home.
My prayer is that all eyes who see this find themselves settled in a happy home. Womb no longer empty, but laboring toward all that is good.
QUESTIONS & ACTIONS
- Ask God to lead you to a psalm to read and pray over yourself.
- Go for a walk and pray for your neighbors. Take spiritual steps on their behalf as you lift them up in prayer before the LORD.