On the Ascent …
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in His holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who has not set his mind[a] on what is false,
and who has not sworn deceitfully.
5 He will receive blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 Such is the generation of those who seek Him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.[b]Selah”
I believe I have finally come to decide that I am a mountain girl at heart. Oh yes – I also adore a “beach and balmy breeze” setting — soaking up the sun, the ocean waves, and beautiful blue skies! And I often find myself drawn to stunning photographs of both landscapes, as they are captured in the infinite beauty of God’s creation: regardless of whether it is a majestic mountain or an endless ocean set in the golden sunrise of dawn, an azure backdrop of blue sky, draped in the colorful rays of a setting sun, or in the powerful, gray clouds of a rainstorm.
For the past 2-3 years, I have chosen a word – a declaration of sorts – to help me focus on what I felt God was leading to do in my life that year. It has been amazing to look back and see how He has been true to what He showed me. This year, I have chosen not just a word, but a phrase: ON THE ASCENT. I have pondered on why my heart seems to be drawn to the mountains. I remember as a young girl, we would often drive through the beautiful Smoky Mountains on our way to Knoxville, Tennessee to see my granny and other family who lived there. We would often see mama bears and cubs on the side of the road! I went on a youth mission trip there and have fond memories of our time there, in ministry and fun, exploring the mountain paths and streams that are so plentiful in that part of the country.
I also remember a top favorite family vacation we took with our 3 sons in the summer of 2000, to Estes Park, Colorado, which is nestled in the stunning Rocky Mountains. The photo above is one from a day hike we took with all 3 boys, one in a stroller! There is nothing like mountain beauty, and so I began to think about verses in the bible that refer to the “mountains”, and after doing a search, I found there are over 300!! My impression is confirmed: there are tons of lessons to be learned as we consider what God has taught His people with “mountain” references, and feel sure He wants to teach us some today. I look forward to exploring these as we too, seek His face over the coming year and I hope you’ll join me!