From: Rich Carlson
Date: November 12, 2019
Subject: It's November 12; Good Morning Union

“I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes… until I find a place for my God to dwell in my heart.” Psalm 132:3


Psalms 120-134 each have a subtitle “A song of ascent,” which I never understood (or maybe I did learn it in school and forgot!) until my last visit to Jerusalem. Our tour guide said that there are 15 Psalms called “songs of ascent,” and there were 15 steps up the south entrance into the Temple area in Jerusalem. We were sitting on those steps when he told us the story of how the people would recite one of these songs on each step as they were “going up to church!” I confirmed this fact with my Jewish friend when I visited the synagogue last Friday night. Though the steps have been restored or rebuilt over the centuries there are still places where you can see the original ones.

Now couple that with the geographic fact that Bethlehem is about 8 miles SOUTH of Jerusalem; then remember the story that after Jesus was born His parents brought Him to the temple to be dedicated. They probably came right from Bethlehem to the temple and went up these very stairs!! It was a “moment” for me as I sat on one of those original spots and imagined Mary and Joseph carrying little baby Jesus and maybe stepping on the very place I was sitting!

So I participated in the prescribed practice of praising God through the “psalms of ascent” and climbed and recited the appropriate “song of ascent” on each step, which is what came to mind as I was reading this psalm this morning! And the best part for me on step 13, was my verse for today, “I will not enter my house or go to my bed—I will allow no sleep to my eyes… until I find a place for my God to dwell in my heart.” I pondered the priority suggested by God through the psalmist of the importance of confirming with God, as I go to bed each night, that HE, and nothing or no one else, occupies the most important place in my life. Maybe this is where the idea of “saying your prayers before you go to bed” came from! Although in this case it appears that those prayers are not the “remember everything and generically mention it,” but about the focus of the personal “nightly” recommitment of my life to be in God’s hand and that He is reconfirmed at the Lord of all my life. I can’t let sleep come to my eyes until I have refocused and recommitted my life to God.

I can’t wait to go back and sit on those steps again; but for today (and tonight and every night before I sleep) I’ll sing this song and prioritize my life around FIRST making sure God has His rightful dwelling place in my heart before anything else, every night.

Have a great day, and a better night, by keeping priorities straight,

Pastor Rich


Quote for the day:      “Prayer is both conversation and encounter with God. . . . We must know the awe of praising his glory, the intimacy of finding his grace, and the struggle of asking his help, all of which can lead us to know the spiritual reality of his presence.”        Timothy Keller


PS        Christ on Demand tonight is a special Agape Feast. Come join us for this celebration; Rees Hall Chapel; 7:30pm.


PPS      Deadline for Operation Christmas Child boxes is fast approaching. There are a few boxes left and only a few days to fill them. Pick yours up today at Campus Ministries.


PPPS    Thanks for all the “Share the Warmth” articles of clothing you have provided. I’m police chaplain today so I’ll be delivering our gifts to the City Mission this afternoon.


PP…S    Student Mission and Task Force Christmas boxes are getting filled. Bring your gifts to the ad building lobby soon so our family members who are serving around the world will feel the love and enjoy a bit of home for Christmas.