Set your minds on things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For you have died, and your life is hidden in Christ in God. (Colossians 3:2)
We set a table.
Consider how we set a table. We don’t throw or toss a place setting haphazardly on the table. (Note the term, “place setting.”) The plate is centered, then the fork goes on the left and knife and spoon go on right. The drinking glass is placed over the knife. The napkin is folded nicely under the fork. It is with this kind of intention that we also set our minds.
We set our minds.
Without purpose, our minds will travel the path of inertia and look down at earth, not up to God. This week my mind was set each day by participating in a 24/7 week-long prayer vigil for a church and school in Thailand. My prayer slot was 6-6:30 each morning.
The worship element of the prayer schedule was built around Psalm 33. Each day participants reflected on a few verses at a time. I was captivated by this Psalm. Each day I read the verses, then I set my mind on them. There is a difference between reading and setting. First, I read:
1 Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!
Praise befits the upright.
2 Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings!
3 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
Then I set my mind. I pondered: How much praise and delight does the Lord hear from me on a regular basis? How many shouts, how much thanks, and how many songs?
4 For the word of the Lord is upright,
and all his work is done in faithfulness.
5 He loves righteousness and justice;
the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord.
The earth is full of God’s steadfast love. Though God makes me feel like I am the center of his attention, I am not. God’s focus is the earth, not just me or my country. Am I thinking about the earth today or just my little life?
6 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
7 He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap;
he puts the deeps in storehouses.
I set my mind on these words: By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; By the breath of his mouth all their host. All the grandeur we see when we look up at the sky came from his word and breath. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:2) That is the power of our God! Do I live and think like my God is that powerful?
8 Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
9 For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm.
Here we are again. God spoke, and it came to be. God spoke. And I am afraid to ask for things? And I struggle to believe He has any of my particular concerns under control? The phrase we so often hear faithful people say to others is, “Just say the word.” That is true of our God. He just says the word.
10 The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
he frustrates the plans of the peoples.
11 The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations.
12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
I thought about the world events of unrest coming through our news feeds on a regular basis, particularly as all eyes are on the Olympics, but Psalm 33 tells us the truth. God’s story supersedes the counsel of the nations — all nations — and the plans of the peoples both people far away and living in our homes. HIS counsel stands forever, no one else’s.
13 The Lord looks down from heaven;
he sees all the children of man;
14 from where he sits enthroned he looks out
on all the inhabitants of the earth,
15 he who fashions the hearts of them all
and observes all their deeds.
I paused to imagine God looking down from heaven. All we have to do is look up. When we do, He will be looking right at us.
16 The king is not saved by his great army;
a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.
17 The war horse is a false hope for salvation,
and by its great might it cannot rescue.
This was another day I lingered long to set my mind. I have been guilty of taking credit for something going well (victory) because my family bailed me out (great army) or because of my “great strength” (personal discipline). I have taken credit on days that would have been ruined if my car hadn’t started, my computer had gotten a virus, or my phone had been lost (my war horses). None of these things can rescue, not the people in my life, not myself, and not any piece of equipment I expect to carry me. Only God. I have been fooled a million times.
18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
19 that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
He keeps those who fear Him and those who hope in his steadfast love alive in famine. Hmmm, He keeps us alive in famine. The world and people in my life can “starve me” by not giving me what I want or what I think I need, but God will always keep me alive.
20 Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
21 For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
My mind set on, “Our soul waits for the Lord.” I kept saying aloud, “Our soul waits for the Lord. Our soul waits for the Lord.” As I repeated it over and over, thoughts of all the things my soul is tempted to wait on came to mind. My soul wants to wait on a circumstance to change. (No, only the Lord.) My soul wants to wait on a person to come to their senses, a check to come through, a promotion or a cure for illness. No! For you and me, our souls wait for the Lord.
We are safe. We are loved.
Picture Explanation: As I read these verses this week, I stared at this picture hanging above my computer. My friend, Dan Thompson, takes the most amazing pictures of the Milky Way. I have this photo in plain sight over my computer monitor to help me remember who is in charge (the God who spoke this into existence). He is this powerful, and He loves you and me.
Check out his website HERE.
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