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Looking Up

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Monday I picked up a book I bought Megs a few years back I guess called “Treasuring Christ When Your Hands are Full” by Gloria Furman. She does a phenomenal job throughout the book recognizing the unique challenges moms face. She describes motherhood as the never-ending to-do list that often makes it difficult to experience true joy in God, your children, and the Gospel. She shares a few things that is particular to her life that fills her hands. Her husband has a nerve disorder that causes constant, electric like pain in both his arms and hands. They have four children and serve as missionaries in the Middle East, specifically, the United Arab Emirates. There’s physical hard work helping with her husband. There’s emotional hard work raising 4 children. And there’s spiritual hard work ministering in a city with 100’s of different nationalities.
Like you this morning mom… Hands are full. You fulfill countless roles including: provider, random dish retriever, peace-maker, storybook reader, nose wiper, supreme cuddler, best hugger, and biggest embarasser as you pull off your old school dance moves. Your hands are full with a mixture of both blessing and difficulties but through it all know this--
There is beauty and brilliance and God-given dignity in a mother’s work.
God has ordained your role
Day and night, moment by moment… rest in Jesus, moms. He’s got great and glorious purposes in every hug and and every meltdown… in every victory and in every heart wrenching struggle.
In Furman’s book, she talks about the first time she truly experienced the “Mother Bear” instinct. Their family went to the inauguration of the world’s tallest building in Dubai where there was expected to be one of the world’s greatest fireworks displays. Several thousand people were there to enjoy the festivities… and several thousand people needed to board the train in the metro when the festivities were over. If you can imagine being in the center of a crowd so tight that you cannot move an inch while you wait for the train to take it’s next load of people off. At this point in their life they only had two children but they were two hungry, exhausted, frustrated children.
Finally the armed guard shouted for families with babies to enter the train which was great news if they could maneuver through the crowd. A man standing beside them suggested they fold up the stroller so they could lift it over the crowd’s head and pass it along to the train. That’s awesome! Her husbands nerve disease was bad that night and there was no way he could pick up the stroller, their baby or their toddler. So she unstrapped baby Norah and handed her to the sweet lady helping, folded up the stroller, sent it on and looked back to get baby Norah… but she wasn’t there.
The second it took to fold the stroller up was the only second needed to lose her child in the crowd. The next moment was filled with a blood curling scream of a mother bear that froze the crowd— “Where’s. My. Baby???!!!”
They looked ahead and saw Norah at the train doors, having surf herself all the way up front being passed person by person. She cried the entire 45 minute trip home on the train. Her and her husband wept as they thought through every conceivable what if scenario. But ultimately all they could do was pour out their anxieties to God and gratefully praise Him for intervening on their behalf.
I stopped at that line— Pouring out our anxieties to God and gratefully praising Him for His intervention.
Here’s where I believe we need to take a minute and let this just sink into our hearts. Moms, I’m not going to pretend for a moment that I know what you deal with on any given day. Church, this isn’t just applicable to moms… this is relevant to all of us.
I think many of us in this room today allow our anxieties in life to creep above and drown out God’s presence effectively crippling our praise for His constant intervention in our life. Because He is intervening…
John Piper— God is always doing 10,000 things in your life and you might be aware of 3 of them.
Listen, we live in a culture that all but demands you run yourself down to nothing by your over-involvement in activities. I don’t know if we feel like we aren’t normal if we are going full speed into something at all times or if we feel like we are depriving our children if we don’t have them committed to 17 different activities, but the inevitable result of living with no sabbath rest is crashing and burning.
Chaotic lifestyles are not caused by disordered schedules but by disordered hearts.
And this is proved by the fact that the most sacrificed thing in our crazy lives are family time where God is the center and corporate worship where He is our only focus. So what do we do? When we find ourselves with full, overflowing hands creating anxiety, panic, frustration, burn-out, strife or any other negative emotion that rises so high above our heads that we cannot see the beautiful, faithful, good and right intervention of the sovereign God on our behalf?
Psalm 121 ESV
A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
Many scholars believe this was the song sung by the Jews who lived in captivity in Babylon. All they could do was allow their imagination roam and long for the hills of Judah, their home. talks about the man who is living with no peace… his eyes at first see no peace as he looks at all that is before him, but then he looks up with hope.
So, for those of you who had a moment filled with anxiety as you looked at your mother’s day card and saw not the mother you believe you are but the mom everyone wishes you were… For those of you in here that feel like your sitting with an unimaginable weight on your shoulders and you just can’t seem to get up… For those who are drowning in life’s worries— Look up and see
The Sovereign Ruler
Psalm 121:1–2 ESV
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Don’t miss this!! Because we aren’t looking to the hills themselves…
This isn’t about relief in your circumstances. This is about the God who entered your circumstances.
This is about Jesus who came and is coming again!
Don’t you dare try and fight off the enemy with powerless cliches and pragmatic 1,2,3 step systems that will only leave you wanting. Recognize who this enemy is and what his desires for you are. This is the same being that lead mankind into rebellion against God. This is the same being who wants nothing more than to see you crumble under guilt and shame and stress. Some self-help guru who propagates the power of positive thinking will fail you!
When you come face to face with the enemy that’s wants to see you destroyed… look to those hills and see Your conquering Ruler coming down to meet you! He who took the greatest of enemies and crushed His head… this is not a glass half full scenario this is a my cup overflows truth for you Christian!
His victory’s main purpose was not to rescue you from the insanity of the next blow out diaper, or to remove you from the reality of whining ungrateful children, or to free you from the demands of your terrible boss… The Gospel rescues you from having to respond to those situations in a sinful way. You don’t have to lose your mind or control of your tongue. When the world presses against you, you are freed from the chains of sin that required you to respond in a way that is anti the glory of God and have open eyes to see each moment being used by God in a purposeful way to conform you into the image of His Son!
Our Sovereign Ruler has came out from the high places of the hills and is with you where you are right now. Weapons will be formed against you but they will not prosper because we have an all-powerful and ever present God using even the enemies greatest of tactics for His glory and your good.
Choose today to lift up your eyes. Don’t stare down in self-pity or gaze into the adverse circumstances. Look up and see your Sovereign Ruler.
The Sleepless Guardian
Psalm 121:
Psalm 121:3–4 ESV
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:3–4 ESV
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
Psalm 121:
He never fades during the night.
He is never shocked at the tragedy.
He is never caught off guard at chaos.
He is never wearied with our sorrows.
We all battle with the problem of worry. Fears about the future gradually creep in. Then they get stronger and stronger, and can eventually become overwhelming. Here’s what you need to see here— God is not just awake for the sake of being awake… He’s awake for a purpose. The purpose of your good.
John 10:22–30 ESV
At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
John 10:22-
The All-Sufficient Protector
Psalm 121:5–8 ESV
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
He is our total covering against every calamity. He is our shade against the pressing dangers of the day and the hidden perils of the night.
You have a choice this morning in all of life’s trials, toils and temptations of where to look:
Don’t look back like Lot’s wife… there’s nothing to help you there
Don’t look within like many tell you to do… there’s only weakness there
Look up--
Look up for light to guide you
— and He will direct your path.
Look up for grace to sanctify you
— and the grace of Jesus will be found sufficient for you.
Look up for strength to enable you to do God's will
— and His strength will be made perfect in your weakness.
Look up for comfort to cheer you
— and as one whom his mother comforts, so will the Lord comfort you.
Look up for courage to embolden you
— and the Lord will give courage to the faint; and to those who have no might, He will increase strength.
Look up for endurance to keep you
— and the God who preserves you will enable you quietly to bear the heaviest burden, and silently to endure the most painful affliction.
Look up for providence to supply you
— God shall supply all your needs, according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
Look up in faith — exercising confidence in the Word of a faithful God.
Look up in prayer — asking for what God has graciously promised.
Look up in hope — expecting what you ask in the name of Jesus.
Look up with adoration — and adore the sovereignty, righteousness, and wisdom of God.
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