God’s people need lifting up.
Our thoughts are double minded. Our souls are restless. Our pasts bear regrets. Our burdens are heavy. Our battles long. Our character weak. Our faith subjective. Our judgment fierce. Our hearts grow cold. God’s people need lifting up.
David understood this as a man and a king. In Psalm 28 he writes, “The LORD is their strength, and He is the saving strength of his anointed. Save thy people, and bless thine inheritance: feed them also, and lift them up forever.”
David taught us first we need to seek God personally – “Unto Thee, O God, do I lift up my soul.”
His Psalms taught us to pray for 5 things for ourselves:
Ps 143 – When I find myself in battle- Revive me
Cause me to remember what God has done in the past. Help me to know I can fight one more day if you wake me in the morning with the counsel of your loving, living voice. God will deliver and hide us, teach us and show us the way. Where he leads we can follow for the Lord quickens His servants.
Ps 35 – When I need assurance- Reassure me
When I am under persecution, say unto my soul, “I am your salvation.” Let me hear you say “I’ll save you.” And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in my salvation.
PS 25 – When I am uncertain- Give me Hope
I lift up my soul to your counsel, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.
PS 86 – When I am poor and needy- Give me joy
Because of who you are God, forgiving and good, abounding in love, none is like you, O Lord, For you are great and do marvelous deeds; you alone are God. Great is your love toward me; you have delivered me from the depths of the grave, a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, merciful, imparter of strength, help and comfort. You train me and teach me, put me together to be one heart and mind-undivided. What love! Knowing You I am filled with joy.
PS 141 – When I need protection-Give me faith
I lift up my hands to worship you and call on you for help. Guard my mouth and heart from wickedness. Let me be indifferent towards everything accept your will for me. Set me straight through correction. Threats come but let me fix my eyes on you, O Sovereign LORD. I take refuge that you control all things and take good care of me. Keep me safe from traps and let me pass by safely.
PS 23 – When I am dumber than a sheep- Shepherd me
Lift them up is translated in the NIV, “be their shepherd and carry them forever” To lift God’s people up is to shepherd us forever. If we are the Good Shepherd’s sheep “I shall not want” for the Shepherd feds and leads us. If we wander, he seeks us. If we’re scared, he goes first. He’s with us, even in the darkest moments and when we look back, we see it was only “goodness and mercy”. Our shepherd will never lead us where He cannot care for us.
As a King David also knew there were 3 ways God’s people need to be lifted up:
Living in this world but not of this world, God’s people need to be elevated in character.
More than 3000 times a day the world will try to convince you to follow its ways, put yourself first, gratify your lust, exchange a counterfeit for the truth and take a short cut. We need to be lifted up. Past our disciplined obedience that too often arm-wrestles with ourselves, out of the muck of our shame that never forgives ourselves and get down wind of the stink of our self-righteousness and be lifted up and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.
We need to be lifted up to love God enough to obey not because we’re afraid of the consequences but because we love God. We. Love. God. And devotion requires our faithfulness to his instructions.
Moreover, God’s people need to be prospered in conflict.
When the battle comes, and it will hit you right between the eyes in your mind, we need to be lifted up out of the deception of our senses to remember the truth. If we forget our helmet, drop our shield, put our barefoot in our big mouth and the combat boot of our enemy is upon our chicken necks, help us grasp hold of the sword of the spirit and speak Your words even if the only thing we can say is, “the Lord is my shepherd” let it be a battle cry. Lord, lift up your children’s spirits in the day of persecution when our feelings get hurt help us not to fret or worse take vengeance but lift us up on the high road our savior walked of love. When we hear bad news of cancer or chronic, suffer not the adversary to vex us to despair but lift us up in our weakness to experience Your supernatural strength. When we battle the mysteries of depression, the dark pits of failure, the heartbreak of betrayal, lift up your people’s voices to worship You who both gives and takes away. And if we are called on to die for our faith, may we rally beneath the banner of love that the martyr’s wave from Jordan’s shore and be lifted up by a measure of grace to endure any and all that is temporary for the eternal glory.
Finally, God’s people will be lifted up at last.
God will lift us up eternally. He will lift us up by taking us to a place prepared for us. A place that no eye has seen and no mind can imagine. A place of glory without sin or its nature. He will lift us up and take us home. He will lift up these worn out bodies from the grave and raise them to be imperishable. At last, He will sweep our souls at once to his bosom and embrace us up to glory.
Lift us up. Lift our eyes up to fix on you. Lift our souls up to love you. Lift our prayers up to worship you.
Lift us up be our shepherd and carry us forever.
I wrote this after talking to someone about The Fury series.
I talked with God about why I’m writing, what we’re after in this partnership of story telling and the conclusion was again, to tell the truth in love. Reviewers agree that I am sometimes intense and might not be for readers who are looking for the classic sweet Christian story where characters do everything right. Apologetically my style is to write it real—meaning closer to real life, tackling issues with universal importance in a God honoring way. My characters will never be perfect but they will proclaim to you the love, grace and mercy of a perfect God. When I’m told my writing is intense, it makes me smile- I want to be branded as a Christian writer that writes it real not sweet. Labels like “raw and compelling” also reinforce that I’m finding my audience. I’ve also been told the Fury is inspiring and that makes me lift my hands and give God the glory. I held the pen and God directed the strokes. I believe what we were both after is to communicate how much God loves us. We just can’t hear it said enough.
Here are some answers to a few questions I’ve been getting about Book One Eros.
Your new book is so intense. Why?
I like the ‘what if’ question it wakes me up – God’s people get complacent, we like our comfort zones, we need to be woken up and prepared to put into practice what we know.
But it’s horrible what happens (to Jaclyn) and the bad guy is…really evil.
Evil tends to be really bad- God’s people need to be reminded we have a savior and He came because we’re in a situation and need to be rescued.
But the spiritual battles are really raw and despite the story world, real.
I’m a teacher at heart and the spiritual armor of God (Eph 6) is subtly applied layer by layer throughout the conflict. It’s the standard tell them, show them, let them, coach them strategy I learned in Christian leadership. We wash, rinse, repeat until we remember how to fight along with the characters.
But this book sounds edgy and I’m looking for a love story
You’ve found one, I wrote the Fury Series to remember that I am loved by God so much that Christ stopped at nothing to save me. The hero in this story is outstanding, you’ll fall fast for the Fury. Promise.
But I’m not sure I can handle the evil element…I don’t like spooky/scary/suffering
Neither do I, the story isn’t about the details of abuse or the dementedness of an abuser but the battle to be free and believe in the power of God no matter where that battle might take place. This story is for the captive but it is also for those that answer the call and come to bring the good news of freedom.
My prayer is that you are lifted up by this story.
Read the reviews on The Fury Series