Psalm 73:28 says, “But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Your works.”  Psalm 73 is a Psalm of struggle . . . the psalmist is having a hard time looking at all the evil and struggle in the world.  The Psalmist’s life raises more questions than provides answers.  However, the frustration of the Psalm turns to celebration when the eyes of the Psalmist turn up (not in or out).  When the Psalmist looks up to the Lord, hope is restored.  I can honestly say in my life that the nearness of God is my good, and it is a joy to celebrate His great works, even in a life that has questions.

The Psalms are songs . . . full of emotion and melody . . . and allow people to worship God in real time, in real life.  Music still has this effect for people, and God has used some great contemporary songs to point my eyes up towards Him these past few weeks.  I wanted to share those songs with you tonight to encourage you now, and to also remind you to sing to Him in the future when you are going through hard times.

So, here are a few songs that have been particularly encouraging to me the past couple of weeks, and a key lyric from those songs.  I hope they are encouraging to you as well, drawing our eyes up to Him . . .

  • Beautiful Things (Gungor) –  “All around, hope is springing up from this old ground.  Out of chaos life is being found in You.  You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things, You make beautiful things out of us.”   God calls forth life from death.  This song gives us hope by reminding us of that.
  • Forever Reign (Kristian Stanfill) – “You are more than my words will ever say.  You are Lord, all creation will proclaim.  You are here, in your presence I’m made whole.  You are God of all else I’m letting go!  And Oh, I’m running to your arms, the riches of Your love will always be enough. Nothing compares to Your embrace, light of the world forever reign.” This songs makes me choke up every time I try to sing it.  It is just so simple and sincere.
  • ‘Til I See You (Hillsong) – “With all I am I live to see your kingdom come and in my heart I pray you’d let your will be done.  Until I see you face to face and grace amazing takes me home, I will trust in You.”  This song strikes a great balance for those trusting God with things in the now that are not yet.
  • He is Lord (Hillsong) – “‘Tis at the cross of Christ, where earth and heaven meet.  Where sin is overcome.  To God the victory!  He is Lord, He is Lord!  Sings my soul, He is Lord!  And He lives, yes He lives.  I’m alive because Jesus lives.  And now let the earth resound with praise for our Savior God He reigns.  He is high and lifted up.  Arise for the King of Glory waits.  He is coming back again!”  This song summarizes the Gospel and our future hope so well.  It points my eyes to the clouds, watching for His return.
  • Rise Up (Matt Maher) – “You’ve got to rise up, when this life has got you down.  You’ve got to look up when you’ve searched and nothings found.  Mine eyes have seen the glory of a love that’s here and now, it’s coming down – so rise up now. All the lambs will roar like lions, and all the prisoners breaking their chains.  All the poor find their treasure, ’cause heaven is coming this way.”  Great rocking song about our future hope.  Matt Maher (writer of “Christ is Risen”) is one of my favorite worship leaders, hymn writers today.
  • Revelation Song (Kari Jobe) – “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God almighty . . .”  This is a song I know we will be singing in heaven.  So blessed that we got to sing this song at Wildwood last Sunday.
  • One Thing Remains (Soul Survivor) – “Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me.”  Simple, yet blessed truth.
  • 10,000 Reasons (Matt Redmond) – “The sun comes up, It’s a new day dawning, it’s time to sing Your song again.  Whatever may pass and whatever lies before me.  Let me be singing when the evening comes.”  This is my favorite worship song right now.  It ministers deeply to my soul each time I sing it.  It points me to Jesus in deep and powerful ways.  Bless the Lord, Worship His Holy Name!

The thing all these songs have in common is that they point our eyes UP, not in or out.  Let’s keep looking up together.  As for us, the nearness of God is our good.

3 thoughts on “Look Up (Not In or Out)

  1. Mark,
    Katie and I became members at Providence Church (a plant of Village Church) in Frisco and we really love it here. One of our (mostly my) favorite things about Providence is the worship ministry. On the subject of music, you might find Matt Boswell’s music uplifting. He writes hymns and his songs are full of robust doctrine.

  2. Hi Mark…I use to come on Sunday mornings in the 80’s and early 90’s before I got so sick with Systemic Lupus…so you won’t reco- gnize my name but I keep in touch on the City. I have found your blogs encouraging and I have been praying for you guys since the beginning…I thought of something you might want to get for Kim- berly especially when flu season starts…there are light blue med- ical masks you can get at Walmart or Walgreens that are pretty comfortable to wear…much more so than the paper kind for out- door work…it will help her keep from getting sick. I use them at night time cause I have bad allergies in bed (laying down). I will keep praying for you and Kimberly…your thoughts on how God is faithful even when things have been turned upside down have been helpful and inspirational…God bless you guys!

    Mary Ellen Burleson

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