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Climbing to High Places

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Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

How Awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2)

Friend to Friend

My husband, Brad, and I celebrated 20 years of marriage last summer by taking a trip to several cities, far away. We planned our days and painstakingly plotted touring strategies in order to see the sites, view the views, eat the foods, experience the local charms and soak in the unfamiliar cultures as best we could. Each city boasted different personalities and attractions, but one thing was consistent about our approach in every location: we climbed to high places.

And we climbed.

We climbed and we climbed… thousands of steps. I kid you not! We climbed up creaky, dusty, windy staircases of old cathedrals and up small steps in tall buildings. We climbed fancy-schmancy staircases in opulent castles, up ancient stone staircases in an arena, up earthen lava trails on the sides of a dormant volcano and up steep, grassy paths on scenic hills.

Every ascent was both an adventure and a challenge. The rewards of each strenuous climb, however, were breath-taking views that gave us a bigger picture of the locations we were visiting. We saw beauty and grandeur. We gained clarity and focus. We got fresh perspectives. It was awesome.

Have you ever looked out an airplane window and seen the world from above the clouds? Have you ever taken in mountain hike views or climbed to the top of a lighthouse? High places are incredible. High places can also be humbling as they show how small we are in light of this massive earth and galaxy in which we live.

God is El Elyon, the Lord Most High. The highest of highs! The psalmist said it this way, “How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth.” (Psalm 47:2) God is all-knowing, all-powerful, glorious and full of splendor. He. Is. Awesome!

So, how can and should who He is affect our day-to-day views? Our perspectives change when we look up and climb to the sacred chambers of the Most High God. Think about how your mindset changes when you get a fresh perspective.

Maybe you have a few heart burdens or disappointments that are keeping you from high views. We all find our place discouraged at times. Psalm 123:1-2 says, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! Behold, as the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God, till he has mercy upon us.” (ESV) The Hebrew word for “lift” is nasa’ meaning, “to lift, bear up, carry, take.” So when we look up, bear up, carry up and take up our concerns to God His mercy meets with us. He meets us with mercy because He loves us.

But… we still have challenges and they weigh us down. Our burdens shouldn’t keep us from climbing to high places – from the highest place – but often they do. They keep us from experiencing the mercy and help of God and they consume our mind with low and discouraging thoughts.

How can we connect our low or average life places to God’s highest place… to the place of His grace… His power… His provision… His love… His forgiveness… His rest? We can ask God for help. We can be still before Him, confess our sins, remember that He is God and we are not. We can ask Him for the courage we need to move forward in His strength.

When Brad and I wanted to get better views we climbed. It took intentional effort. We took step after step until we reached the top and each climb met us with a beautiful reward. The distance between our low, dim-viewed living and the high places we are invited to experience in Christ will only change if we climb. When we look up, God lifts us up… and the view from the top is always incredible.

Let’s Pray

Dear Lord, Thank you for reminding me that You are the Most High God! Help me to climb beyond my discouragements and challenges toward Your provision and help.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

I’m a music girl. As you reflect on today’s devotion, click here to listen to a song that will lead you to God’s heart in responsive worship.

Read Psalm 47 and journal a prayer response.

What challenges do YOU need to climb beyond today? Leave a comment or a prayer request below.

More from the Girlfriends

Looking for a fresh way to experience God from high places? Get the new Girlfriends in God book, Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith, & Mary Southerland. This is the perfect book for individual study or for gathering a group of friends in what we call GiG Groups. With impactful devotions, study questions, journal pages, and free on-line video intros, this book is a resource you’ll refer to time-and-time again.

Gwen Smith wants to help you think big thoughts about God and to inspire you toward His grace and truth. Her website is filled with videos, posts, songs and resources that will be a deep well of encouragement to you. Click here to visit her site. (Get a FREE song download when you sign up for her newsletter!)

5 Responses

  1. Miss Gwen — I know this was not the focus of your blog today and I did climb to the High Places with you and love the perspective, but the description of the staircases you gave was the thing God used for me. All different types — dusty, opulent, plain, grand — they each served the same purpose exactly where they were. They lifted you to a place where you could see God more clearly. I sometimes struggle with not being a grand, opulent staircase. I’m much more the sturdy, winding, dusty kind. But I pray that I am serving my purpose and lifting others up when I have the opportunity so that they may see God more clearly.Don’t you love that God speaks a unique word to every one of His children? That thrills my soul! Thanks for sharing today.
    Marilyn
    @glimpsedglory

  2. Christopher Godshall says:

    Hi Sis Gwen. I’m not a fellow “girlfriend.” I’m a Bro-in-the-faith who is very intrigued that you would author this specific devotional for this day (01/10/14). On this very same day, NASA released a picture which THEY called the “Hand of God.” Jesus said, “In the last days there will be signs from heaven…in the sun, moon & stars.” I posted on my FB that this was an ominous sign and that we need to pray for God’s mercy on our nation. This is a sign that we ALL need to lift (nasa) our eyes to the heavens, where He is enthroned, & cry out for MERCY!

  3. Yaya besong says:

    Thank you Gwen.three things that weigh me daily. The constant fighting and instability within my relationship with my boyfriend justin,a man I love more than any man I’ve ever met on this earth. The constant fall financially that I feel.its like taking two steps ahead and ten steps back,how high can I climb. I have served,prayed,fasted and done all The Lord requires,where is He? Third I worry about my mother who is sick and has kidney failure. God is all knowing and my mother is everything. Please please pray for me,for strength to take a breath and climb again. To not give up on my God and His abundant grace and mercy. To hold steadfast and to begin seeing results in Jesus name.please
    I pray for you to continue to bless us more.
    Sincerely,
    Yaya

  4. Mina Carlson says:

    Reading the GIG has become a daily devotion that I can’t go without. Today’s provides me a great start for the week. I can be reminded each time I feel a bit like I’m headed backwards that I can look up and ask for guidance and strength to take the extra step needed to get back on track. My goals are much more simple this year…progress. God will lift me up and take me where he has planned and I’ll enjoy the ride, to do my part as he asks of me every step along the way! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Mina

  5. Jennifer R. says:

    I used to climb up hills and drive up to high places all of the time as a young Christian. I find that after almost 15 years of my service to the Lord, I’ve lost the adventure and the zeal of climbing to get close to God and to see how small I am and how much I need God. I miss standing in awe of God. Truly singing my God is an awesome God and believing it. My prayer is to get to a hill or mountain top this month and revel in God’s majesty. To remember how great and awesome he is. It would make my day to day problems and worries seem all the more smaller for sure.

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