Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Psalms of Ascent

Last week began my journey through the Psalms of Ascent. Our small group is doing Beth Moore's study "Stepping Up ~ A Journey through the Psalms of Ascent"

I have to admit, it was not until I started this study that I understood what the Psalms of Ascent consist of...

Psalm 120 - 134 (15 Psalms) These Psalms are associated to the Three Great Feasts (see Exodus 23:14). These feasts were also called the Pilgrimage Feasts.

I cannot tell you how excited I was to start this study... and how excited I am that with each lesson I am more excited to "step up" to the next lesson. It's going to be a journey. I am learning that I too am on a Pilgrimage... walking the desert toward the city of peace! We have three tasks as we work through the 15 Psalms. Say it, Work it, Pray it! What fun I am having (and will have) in God's Word!

Although I love many Bible teachers... Beth Moore's studies seem to really draw me in, speak to me and bring me back to a place that I need to be!

A few things that spoke to me in Beth's first introductory session:
Beth talked about "happiness" (not joy) but happiness...

"Happy has to do with circumstance. Your circumstances will feel a whole lot better if you get it in your head that you are only passing through that moment." Our joy can be with us at all times. Good and bad. But happiness... that has to do with our circumstances. And what joy can fill my heart when I know that when I am going through a tough time that it's only temporary. I am just "passing through that moment." Am I down? God has a remedy for that! He will lift me up!

Beth also pointed out "In God's economy the way up is down." How contrary is that to our present day economy. Beth has encouraged us to go face down before the LORD every day... at a time that works for us. Particularly prior to doing our study. (she does understand that some physical limitations might keep someone from physically getting face down on the ground with their nose in the carpet.)
I have been going face down before the LORD - to demonstrate reverence and surrender to the Most High. I want to grasp the greatness of God in humility. It's been a wonderful time for me to honor my extraordinary God!

I wish I could share how much more the Lord has spoken to me in this study. If I did, you would be reading for hours. I know I would put you to sleep! :) So for now I will leave you with a few more tidbits that jumped out throughout the first 5 days of study:

"If God had already taken us everywhere He intended, we'd be at His glorious feet by now." While I/we still draw breath, God has more for me/us to do and experience!

"I am reminded that God never dozes off, even when for a time the air is smooth and the way is clear. He doesn't jolt awake when the earth rumbles beneath your feet. He is in perfect attendance to your every step." Oh how I long to be that way with my God. Isn't it easy when things are going well to not necessarily pray as much, study as much etc. But oh when something big happens we are right there at His feet, calling out to Him. But He's right there... He never left. He never closed His eyes or turned His back. Always there to protect and guide.

"The Lord lets no harm befall us in the world where the truest threats lie." God always protects us. "... often from the physical threats of the world around us, but ALWAYS in the unseen realm where demons hiss and the gates of hell quake." Whew... those are frightening words. Demons, gates of hell... but God always protects us from the unseen spiritual realm that desires to destroy us! Snuggle up dear friends... under the protection of His mighty arms.

I encourage you to either take Beth's study, or read through the Psalms of Ascent for 15 days... Say It (out loud) Work It (circle every reference to to God or title given to God, underline any passages that stand out to you or speak to you) Pray It! In your own words personalize the Psalm in a journal or in a spiral notebook. If it doesn't pertain to something you are experiencing now, perhaps it can apply to a past experience.

Tonight we have our first session after the first 5 days of study. I can't wait t to meet with my beloved group to share God's Word!

I lift up my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121: 1-2


Ally said...

I enjoyed reading this as a refresher course for me, as that was the first Bible Study I ever did!
I'm so glad you're enjoying it!

Beth.. One Blessed Nana said...

Kristen - I did this study last year and am currently doing Esther. I just loved the "Stepping UP" It was so encouraging and help me to step up to that next level of hungering for God.



Paula said...

Okay, I have to admit I was really confused at first because for some reason I kept reading the title of your post as "Palms of Ascent", which clearly makes no sense. But I'm good now.

Denise said...

You are in for a wonderful journey. I have walked this similar path last year and enjoyed every moment. I always glean much from Beth's studies.


Donna's Book Nook said...

What an encouragement to know that He protects us from the unseen realm! I pray a hedge of protection around my son every day, as I feel a lot of what he went through was because of Satan's influence. He is now back with the Lord and the prince of demons will not like that!

I will have to read these Psalms! Thanks for sharing! Donna

Kim... and Her Coffee said...

Hi Kristen!! You know I am a huge Beth Moore fan, so this sounds wonderful to me. By the way, I had no idea what Psalms of Ascent meant either. :) Love your quotes from the study and from Beth. And, I love your commentary. I'm in a season of starting to truly grasp the reality of the importance of obedience to God. And, it's high time! Hugs to you today!!!

Yolanda said...

I think Beth is an excellent teacher because she has lived life and willing to share what she has learned.

Love to ya!!

Sarah said...

I did this study last fall and loved it! You will learn so much and walk away changed.

Knowing that as I put her down last night, she was in God's hands...not mine...made it a bit easier. Still hard...but more peaceful than I thought.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I was one of the original "Raleigh girls" where she introduced the concept. I've also taken the study and loved it! May God richly feed you with his Word via this study and Beth's great teaching. You know I just love her ... and YOU! Have a great day of rest and week ahead.


Anonymous said...

I am just starting the Psalms, Beth Moore study-loved the Esther study I did this Summer-Have done three days so far, and it is wonderful.