A Worthy Journey, A Sabbath Finish

Along our journey, the Psalmist’s Road Maps have led us to God’s assurances of rest, restoration, regeneration, sustenance and more. Interestingly, many Psalms have also provided us caution signs. Tragically in life, we sometimes speed past “DANGER AHEAD!” on paths paved by the promises of mankind. 

God places those yellow warnings throughout the Psalms and along our way… evidence of his eternal care for our souls. As we complete this worthy journey, we will recognize the One who invites our souls to Sabbath with him. Our road map wonderfully illustrates a Sabbath of praise, peace, joy, creativity and holiness with God. And, while God’s pure desire and design for Sabbath is void of all danger, complacency, flesh and fear, we will pass by a yellow caution sign or two!

Loading up for the Trip

Psalm 92: A Psalm for the Sabbath Day. This will be our last road map for Summer 2020. Before we set out, please “load-up” and familiarize yourself with the nuance and beauty of road we’ll be traveling. Read (and reread!) Psalm 92 in one or two different versions. Maybe you’d also like to check-out these three unique musical expressions of this Psalm.

Rest Stop

For much of my born-again life I’ve regarded the Sabbath as the day I sleep later than usual, do church, watch sports, eat comfort food, and perhaps (worst-case scenario) wrap up any dangling chores from Saturday. Lately I’m recognizing a profound truth. If my soul, the ultimate expression of all I am, is not resting and rejoicing with the Creator, both HE and I miss out on the Sabbath he intended. Have my routines and the attitudes of my soul come to cost me God’s design for Sabbath? And, could Sabbath describe more than just one day each week?

In Genesis 2:1-3, God rested in and celebrated with the pinnacle of his Creation. He established that first Sabbath (btw: there is no morning or night for the seventh day), called it holy, rejoiced in his completed work, and reclined alongside Adam in the glorious Garden of Eden. A stunningly familiar pathway emerges as God’s story continues. Next (the Gospels), Jesus completed his work on the cross, and offered sonship-like rest to all who trust in him. Finally (the Revelation), we discover God has prepared the Sabbath of all Sabbaths in his Holy City. There’s even a restored Eden! His desire and designs remain the same. He’s always inviting, ”Come, rest, be with me!”

God made the Sabbath to rest with us. Ours soul are being called to find pleasure and peace in all he is and does. He is looking to celebrate with you and me. He’s anxious to smile with us. He wants to praise the spirit-led, creative works of our life. As we cry out our love for him, he wants our souls to hear, “Well done.” 

Tangible Task

Get with someone you love and ask God to show you the Sabbath he intends for your souls. Be willing to consider routines or anything else that could distract from the Sabbath he wants to spend with you. Then, gather to discuss the condition of your soul and celebrate with other sons and daughters of God. It is good to praise the LORD! 


Road Map - Psalm 23

Do you have trouble believing that God loves and cares for you? If so, you’re not alone. Many Christians struggle with this issue because they can’t quite picture God in all His glory being interested in them. Perhaps you feel unworthy of His attention or think He’s too busy to be concerned about the details of your life. Whatever the reason for your doubt, you may be missing out on the joy of an intimate relationship with the God who loves you and desires to walk with you every day.

David wrote one of the most well-known psalms describing God’s personal, loving care for us – Psalm 23. Take a moment and read through it. It offers us comfort and talks about how God protects us. You’ll need your bible while reading today’s devotional.  

Sheep Crossing

In the very first verse, David identifies the Lord as his personal shepherd. God identifies Himself as the Good Shepherd, saying, “The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He is such a good shepherd that we don’t need anything else. 

David said, “I shall not want” both as a declaration and as a decision. He’s declaring that all his needs are supplied by the Lord, his shepherd. And he’s deciding not to desire more than what the Lord gives. 

In Israel and other ancient societies, a shepherd’s work was considered lowly work. If a family needed a shepherd, it was usually the youngest son, like David, who got this unpleasant assignment. But God chose to be our shepherd.

In case you haven’t spent time around sheep… they do not lie down easily and will not unless four conditions are met: 

  1. Because they are timid, they will not lie down if they are afraid. 
  2. Because they are social, they will not lie down if there is friction among the sheep. 
  3. If flies or parasites pester them, they will not lie down. 
  4. And if sheep are anxious about food or hungry, they will not lie down. 

Rest comes for the sheep because the shepherd has dealt with fear, friction, flies, and famine. God deals with fear, friction, flies, famine, and so much more so that we can rest in Him. 

Driving through Hail

You’ll notice in Psalm 23:4, David switches from addressing God as “He” to addressing Him directly as “You.” 

God, our personal shepherd, is our protector. All the paths He chooses for our lives are for the purpose of sanctifying us or making us righteous, and sometimes this means we must go through dark valleys. There is no need to fear because our Shepherd is always with us. 

David recognized that under the shepherd’s leading, he may walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We might say that the shepherd’s presence did not eliminate the presence of evil, but certainly the fear of evil.

And the shepherd’s rod and staff are symbols of protection and comfort for the sheep, not a cause for fear. With his staff, he gently guides straying sheep, and his rod is used to protect them from wild animals. 

There is Room in the Inn

Just as an honored guest in ancient times was welcomed with anointing oil, so Christ invites us to sit down and enjoy fellowship with Him. In the midst of whatever threatens or troubles us, we find refreshment in His presence. (soul = restored)

“In the presence of my enemies” is a striking phrase. The goodness and care suggested by the prepared table is set right in the midst of the presence of my enemies. The host’s care and concern doesn’t eliminate the presence of my enemies but enables the experience of God’s goodness and bounty even in their midst.

The benefits of faithfully following our Shepherd are found in verse 6. He not only lavishes us with His grace every day of our lives, but one day He will take us home to heaven where we’ll dwell with Him forever. Jesus truly is our good Shepherd.

Tangible Task

To listen and meditate on this passage:

Write down a “dark valley” time in the past that you felt alone, afraid, or unprotected. Reflect on how God answered your prayers or brought you through that time – even if it wasn’t the way you hoped. Thank God for being your personal shepherd. 

Credit to Mark Altrogge, Charles Stanley, Blue Letter Bible, Enduring Word, Phillip Keller, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.



Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for my soul.

Psalm 66:16


Have you ever seen just how many times the word SOUL is in the Psalms? Have you ever noticed how busy the souls of the psalmists are? They are lifted up, they hunger, they thirst, they wait, they are satisfied, they cling, they consume, they melt, they long, they faint, they are commanded to bless the Lord, they rejoice, they pant, they are humbled, they long for…

Then there are the ways that God responds or so lovingly cares for the SOUL. He delivers, restores, guards, knows the distress of, ransoms, keeps our soul among the living, draws near to, gladdens, satisfies, fills the hungry soul with goodness, brings it out of trouble, receives, redeems, causes it to live, destroys the enemies of my soul…

It is easy to see the importance of daily cooperation with the Soul Tender. Like the psalmists we need to seek out His life-giving remedies for our needs, desires, and longings. 

Okay…back to telling you what He has done for my soul. 

God RANSOMED my soul from a life of sin and self. He RECEIVED me. (Psalm 49:15) For a girl who was lost and on her way to an early grave, this was a big deal. I look back at photos and I was an empty shell of a person. Lifeless with a pulse. He was relentless.

He REDEEMS my soul in safety. (Psalm 55:18) He is the Keeper of my life. I can so relate to Ruth being redeemed, (taken possession of, compensated for) by my kinsman Redeemer. Like Ruth, I didn’t know that I had one much less needed one. Ever so thankful. Trying to remember daily that my life is NOT my own.

He comes quickly to my RESCUE. (Psalm 31:2) I am in constant need of being rescued. I jump too quickly, I open my mouth too much, I have facial expressions that say way more than I intend. I chose myself over others, I am quick to judge, and I am prone to wander. He is faithful.

He RESTORES my soul. (Psalm 23:3) After too many late nights, an overextended calendar, overthinking, and overcommitting: He provides green pastures, quiet waters, a table, and an overflowing cup.  

I am not smart enough to keep the R-word thing going but I will add some more of what He has done for my soul:  

He guards my soul. (Psalm 25:20) As my eyes seem more reliable than the Word of the Lord, my heart really is deceitful, and my ways are not His ways; He has set up guardrails in my life. I call them friends. 

He gladdens the soul of His servant. (Psalm 86:4) I have never ever spent time with Jesus and not been glad that I did. Never. Ever.  

Makes me know the way that I should go. (Psalm 143:8) The best ever GPS. Gets me where I need to go every time except when I turn it off thinking I know a better way. 

Causes me to calm and quiet my soul. (Psalm 131:2) How He has time for anything else…I do not know.  

He satisfies the longing soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalm 107:9) He initiates my hunger for Him by the way He loves me. 

Humbles my soul with fasting. (Psalm 69:10) Shew…no comment.

He does this and so much more with such grace, kindness, and more love than I will ever understand. Because of that my soul yearns for, longs for, thirsts for, is lifted up to, is satisfied with, makes its boast in, clings to, and waits for the LORD. I will say with the psalmist of old:

          Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. Psalm 103:1

REST STOP: Tangible Task

Rehearse the goodness of God in your life. Instead of praying over your meals ask each person sitting at the table to share one way that God has cared for their soul. As you are going through the week tell a friend how God cares for your soul. If you have enough bravery…tell a stranger how God cares for your soul and how He wants to do the same for them.

Rehearse the goodness of God.

For your listening pleasure:



“Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

—Psalms 1:1–2

Time just seems to work differently when you're on a journey, and in different ways. For my

kids, time doesn't go fast enough: "Are we there yet?" is the constant refrain from the backseat.

For me, often time doesn't last long enough. No one says after one week of vacation: "Boy, that

sure took a long time to pass." No! We think it flew by!

God doesn't operate himself with the same constraints of time that you or I do, but he certainly

speaks to us under the limits of time. It takes time to make a journey—we were at one point

yesterday, and tomorrow we will be somewhere else. And often along the journey, we are shown

the signs to mind where we are: Yield. Stop. 55 MPH Speed Limit.

These markers of time help us to understand the journey before us, and the psalmist begins the

entire book of Psalms by asking us to look at the time that's passing. Not to stop it, or hurry it up;

but simply to take note of it and how we are using it.


“Blessed is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers

I never noticed this the first many times that I read through Psalm 1, but the author actually

provides with a progression—or better yet, a digression. Notice the actions the man takes who

follows the wicked counsel.

First, he walks. (Then time slows down and he lingers.) Then, he quits walking and just stands.

(Time slows down further, and he lingers more.) Finally, he quits exerting any energy and

rests—he sits!—in the very seat of scoffers.

The warning signs were there, urging him "Do not enter"—don’t stop!—but he didn't mind the signs. Instead, he lingers in the way, pondering the "counsel of the wicked," until he stops moving altogether. I imagine the destination of this person's journey was God himself—the journey that you and I are making even now. And he stopped. The signs warned him, but he

didn't mind them.


"but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”

For the one who seeks God's counsel, rather than the counsel of the wicked, the psalmist has

clear signs: Yield. Stop. And we see this counsel in the word meditate.

We often connect the word "meditate"  today with various traditions of meditation, even religious

meditation. But, in the ancient world, meditating on words or a text was often described by


 When one meditates, she acts like a bee, moving from flower to flower and culling pollen

to create a sweet honey. She never stops, but keeps moving from one to the next, in order

to bring home the proper materials.

 When one meditates, it's like filling a treasury, creating an inventory of jewels and

cherished items from which one can draw later on.

 In Scripture, meditation is like the cow who chews the cud, constantly returning over and

over to the nourishment of his food!

This is similar to what the psalmist means here: don't sit down in the seat of the wicked! Stop

and meditate on the law of the Lord! Delight in the law!


We've probably all heard numerous times about the need for meditating and delighting in God's

word. But that doesn't always make it easy!

So, this week, our tangible task is to choose one short passage of Scripture (no more than 5

verses), and pray each day that God would give you a delight in that passage (feel free to choose

Psalm 1:1-2). Use Psalm 119:18 as a basis for this prayer: "Open my eyes, that I may behold

wondrous things out of your law." After that prayer, then read your 1-5 verses of the same

passage each day, perhaps focusing on a different word each time. Let God lead your thoughts,

your prayers, and your mind.

In this way, let's work together to mind the signs on the journey. The God who is himself the

destination of our journey gives the power and wisdom for the journey.



I know that we are halfway through our road trip and doing a U-turn may not sound like the right thing to do but go with me if you will to revisit the first the Rest Stop for Week One of our journey. 

(Oh…don’t worry, we can pick right back up where we left off, we don’t have to start over.)

“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus - Matthew 11:28-30

This is the Rest Stop where our U-turn leads us.

Our world has gone through a lot over the last few months.  Our lives have gone through a lot over the last few months.  Our spouses, children, roommates, friends, jobs, our churches have been through a lot over the last few months.  Our country has gone and is still going through a lot.  

However, in all of this we have this invitation from Jesus - to Jesus. It is an invitation to come.  Come ALL who are weary and burdened; I will give you rest of heart, mind, and soul.  Rest, right here in the midst of being weary and burdened. The people that Jesus was talking to in this passage were under the yoke of Roman rule, making this invitation of hope good news.

He tells us His yoke is easy.  The yoke is an instrument of union, making one with.  Being a yokefellow with Jesus is better by far than being alone or even being yoked with anyone else. Then there is: “because I am lowly and humble in heart.”  Jesus’ choice of words here is so tender and loving. Jesus, the Son of God says, “I am lowly”. Not being in any way superior in status or rank. Jesus Himself being submitted to the Father. (Philippians 2:7) 

“Humble in heart.” Humility is a grateful and spontaneous awareness that life is a gift, and it is manifested as an ungrudging and unhypocritical acknowledgement of absolute dependence upon God. (From Get Out of Your Head by Jeannie Allen)

These two attributes, lowly and humble, are so welcoming in this invitation. He knows that accepting the invitation (surrender) is not likely unless we will experience some feeling of being loved and valued.

We are invited by Jesus – to Jesus.  Not only are we invited to Him, we are invited to let Him take on our heavy burden in exchange for His burden.  Then as a surprise ending to this little passage He throws in “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,” just in case we are not sure that this is a good deal.

I need rest for my soul.  There have been times over the last few weeks that I was so weary I would have traded rest for my soul for a lot less than Jesus. But I didn’t have to.  I have this invitation from Jesus – to Jesus.  I have been taking Him up on it. Anytime my shoulders are hurting from the weight of this life I know that I have stepped out of His yoke. Stress is our indicator to respond again to the invitation to Come. 

You may be driving through life right now doing just fine.  No weary anything, no burden, no yoke, no need…but if you are breathing, and all is well with your soul…you know someone who is in need of rest for their soul.  This is where you get to be the Good Samaritan: invite your family member, friend, co-worker, or stranger, along on the Road Trip and take them to Jesus. Stay with them and watch them find rest for their soul, the transformation is awesome.

Once rest for your soul is found the deal is not done.  This invitation from Jesus – to Jesus is ongoing.  It is a lifetime, moment by moment union (yoke) with Him.    

When talking to a crowd one day, Jesus was telling them about the birds of the air and how they are cared for by His Father and what their response to that care is. In the Message paraphrase of Matthew 6:26 this is what it says:

Careless in the care of God.

Let’s make that our destination.

Tangible Task  

Répondez s'il vous plait (RSVP) which simply means Please Respond. Take some time this week to respond to His invitation, respond once, respond daily, but respond.  Let Him know that you will come for the first time, again, or bringing someone with you.  No one will ever care for you like Jesus.

For your listening pleasure:




The Christian faith begins NOT with a big DO, but with a big DONE. – Watchmann Nee

Road Map

Notice the psalmist begins with praise and a vow to do so always. Next, he illustrates the result of Man’s attempt at DOING, as compared with God’s big DONE. By the end, he acknowledges God’s eternal reign, and adds one more shout of praise!

Psalm 146

1 Praise the Lord. 

Praise the Lord, my soul.

2 I will praise the Lord all my life;

I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
 3 Do not put your trust in princes,

in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;

on that very day their plans come to nothing. 

5 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord their God.

6 He is the Maker of heaven and earth,

the sea, and everything in them—

he remains faithful forever.
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed

and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8     the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,

the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner

and sustains the fatherless and the widow,

but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.

10 The Lord reigns forever,

your God, O Zion, for all generations.

Praise the Lord.

Historical Landmark Tower of Babel

Long ago, but soon after Noah’s adventures on the ark, his people decided to make a name for themselves by DOING.

Did you catch that?

The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language, they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Genesis 11:6

Do you ever wonder how far technological advances, and culture’s experts in science, politics, finance or entertainment would like to lead us to do seemingly impossible things? 

Rest Stop

The princes of this world will always to lead to make a name for themselves. However, our Road Map (Psalm 146) this week implores us to place all hope in the Lord. The psalmist shows that we must reroute our lives - always praise, always trust, and always blessed. As we follow this, we confidently affirm “our name” is not made by the DOING of man, but by the One who made and named us from before time.

Pour a cup of coffee, take a walk along a familiar trail, sit in the cool shade of a favorite tree or snuggle under a blanket on a cloudy afternoon and praise the Lord for all he has DONE. 



Psalm 51 was written by David after his affair with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah, her husband. You can read more about that in 2 Samuel 11. 

Take a few minutes and read Psalm 51.

In this psalm, David responded to his sin by turning to God, praying for cleansing, confessing the seriousness of his sin, and pleading for renewal. The passage describes what David felt and thought as he experienced God’s mercy.  


Verse 4: Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

David realized what every believer seeking forgiveness must understand, that even though he had dreadfully wronged Bathsheba and Uriah, his ultimate offense was against God and his holy law.

Our sin affects our relationship with God and we need reconciliation with Him. We need to ask for forgiveness! But also, we know that God is faithful and just to forgive us, and it is His forgiveness that matters. We are able to move past our sin and pursue holiness, even when the people we have sinned against won’t accept our apology. 


Verse 7: Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

If you lived in Israel at the time of David, you would know about hyssop. It’s a plant that is easy to find in Israel, and people used it to clean things. It was also part of the cleansing of people who had leprosy. Even if people with leprosy got better, they could not be with their families until they washed with hyssop and a priest declared that they were clean. 

So, by mentioning hyssop, David is not just saying that he sinned. He is saying that he is unclean. 


Verse 10: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

But David didn’t just ask God to forgive his sin. He asked God to change him on the inside. David used the same word for “create” in Hebrew that is used when God created the world. So, it’s like David asked God to take out his old heart and make a brand new one. This is not just a little fix– this is major heart surgery. 

David knew that his heart needed a total cleansing and that isn’t something he could do on his own. We can’t do it on our own either.


Verses 12-15: Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.

David ends this very serious psalm about his sin by asking God to give him more than a clean heart. David asks God for joy. For David, it isn’t enough that God forgives him – David wants to be in a good relationship with God again. 

David also asks God for “a willing spirit.” That means that he’s asking God to help him want to do the things that are right. In return, David says that he will tell others about how great God is and he will sing to God and declare his praise. God wants us to confess our sin to him, but he also wants us to tell others about him and praise him. 


Before David apologized for his sin, he called on God’s unconditional love. Remember, David just MURDERED someone. I can’t imagine the weight of the shame and guilt he must have been carrying. I’m so thankful that the Bible doesn’t cover up the mistakes of God’s people. Instead, we can read this and be encouraged. 

Write Psalm 51:7 on a piece of paper and tape it above the sinks in your home. For the next week, whenever you wash your hands or brush your teeth repeat the verse out loud. Remember that God can and will forgive you. 

Credit to Calvin Institute, MacArthur Study Bible, John Piper



“My heart is not proud, LORD, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the LORD both now and forevermore.”

—Psalms 131:1–3

As one travels the journey to serve the soul, this short psalm makes a good point to launch off. It forces us into an uncomfortable position of saying, "I'm not in control." It begins by reminding us that we can't decide what God is working on in my life, or how he will work on us, or even when. But the psalm ends by offering us with the one thing we can do: hope in God. Perhaps simply say, "Okay, Lord, here I am." This psalm helps us remember that on this journey, we're not the driver! 


But even as a passenger. we're always asked to help the driver out—especially when the traffic is thick. And when we read this psalm, this is the picture: the journey may start in the hustle and bustle of the booming city, but the driver is eager to drive down the open road in the hillside—where one can take in absolutely everything around them.

This psalm is particularly pointed for those of us who live in America, where the subject that it addresses, pride—"concerning ourselves with great matters or things too wonderful"—is actually something prized by the culture around us. It is difficult to recognize pride as a sin, when everywhere we look it is (a) encourage to us as a virtue, (b) considered to be a profitable trait, and (c) most often rewarded as an achievement! Everywhere around us is encouragement to a way of life that understands betterment as having more stuff, more power, or more fame. The road to serve our soul begins in the thick traffic of the city, with electronic signs everywhere shouting the benefits of pride.

But the driver asks us to sit back, relax, and trust that if we push through the chaotic beginning, we can enjoy the open road: "I have calmed and quieted myself…I am content." I love this picture from Eugene Peterson of the calm and quiet soul:

I will not try to run my own life or the lives of others; that is God's business, I will not pretend to invent the meaning of the universe; I will accept what God has shown its meaning to be; I will not strut about demanding that I be treated as the center of my family or my neighborhood or my work, but seek to discover where I fit and do what I am good at. The soul, clamoring for attention and arrogantly parading its importance is calmed and quieted so that it can be itself, truly.


And, again, those of us in the United States are simply placed in position where it is difficult to trust the driver. It's quite easy, in fact, for us—because we've been told this is the way from our earliest days—to say: "Let's rise to solve this massive challenge. Let's master this situation. Thanks, God, but I've got this one. I can take care of it myself."

But Psalm 131 tells us there is a much better way. It's hard to do because it is entirely contrary to what the culture tells us. But through Psalm 131, God—the driver—whispers to us: follow the plain but incredibly open road of quiet Christian humility. 

  • Admit that we are not immune from this cultural push toward pride and ambition
  • Believe that God calls us instead to humility and a quiet, open road with him
  • Choose each day this week to "calm and quiet your soul" before God, even just a couple of minutes.


Ouch! It's so hard to admit that we can't get away from the chaotic traffic that our culture places before us each and every day. But that's what the driver asks us to do each day, so that instead we can enjoy the ride and turn our attention to conversation with him and look out the window at all the incredible things he is showing us!

So, this week, our tangible task is to spend 2-5 minutes each day, saying "Okay God. I'm on board. And I'm calm and quiet—trusting that you have the wheel." And that's the first step on the plain, quiet road of Christian humility. 

Here are a few songs that might help you slow down for 2-5 minutes each day and reflect on the quiet road of Christian humility:

"The Chasing Song"



"Lift My Life Up




As you seek to invest in your soul this summer, we want to call your attention to one specific road by which God leads us to consider our spiritual lives: the Psalms. Just as Jesus prayed the psalms habitually, we thought they would provide a good path into a consideration of our own souls before God and with others. Listen to the desire for God that the psalmist says comes from his soul: 

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?”

—Psalm 42:1–2

But, as with any road we travel on, we have to know its name and contours to ensure we don't get lost! Which means we have to ask the question that we teased yesterday on the Hub…

What is the Soul?


And just as we occasionally need to check our GPS to make sure we haven't turned the wrong way, we should take some time to think about just what the soul is.

The biblical concept of soul is a rich metaphor to describe the living, breathing, entire person. Listen to how Genesis describes the first instance of this term for humanity in the Bible:

"And God formed man from the dirt of the ground, and he blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The man came alive as a living soul!" 

—Genesis 2:7

But we're visual people, right? Check out this short video about the soul.

As we seek to consider our souls this summer, we'll use this definition:

Soul is the word we use to describe the core of our identity as living beings—we are persons-in-relationship with God, with others, and with the world. Soul is not some immaterial part of us separate from our body. Rather, the term "soul" designates wholeness, the totality of what it means to be a human person.

In our modern society, however, the soul has given way to "self," an individualized focus on what I should or should not be or do—even good things. This sense of self has caused us to view other people as "resources"—those who can be used for something I need—or "consumers"—those who can buy, perform, or use and whom we must therefore please or attract. But this is not a biblical view of the person. In the Bible, the living person has been created by God for relationship and communion—first with God and then with others.

Isn't it true that we are often people who have a heightened sense of self, rather than a heightened sense of God? Self is therefore the soul minus God.


So, as it so often happens in a road trip, we find out that there are things we need to check on: the car, the scenery, other passengers. When we travel down the road of caring for our souls, it's no different. So, given what we've seen about the soul, what can we do for a personal tune-up to travel on this adventure these next few weeks? Try some of these things:

Recognize that we need a heightened sense of God and a diminished view of ourselves (John 3:30).

Admit to yourself that we have often viewed persons—ourselves and also others—as resources or consumers, rather than the persons-in-relationship that the Bible says we are.

Believe that God wants us to live as persons characterized by the wholeness that comes from communion with God and with others.

Rejoice that the God who began this good work in you will continue to bring it to its completion (Philippians 1:6)!


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Matthew 11:28

And each week, we'll give you a rest stop: that place where you can take a look around, regroup, focus on this week's thoughts, and remember that Jesus calls us to come and simply rest.

We'll also give you one simple task each week—something to accomplish at the rest stop to prepare your soul for the next trek on the journey. This week, since we determined that "soul" reveals our identity as persons-in-relationship, (1) reach out to one other person (spouse, friend, family member) who you can talk to about your own pilgrimage into the soul this summer. Pilgrimage is such a good word to describe this process; it's a daily journey from where we find ourselves today to the city of God where we will see him face-to-face.

After you've reached out to this fellow traveler, confess to them not only the way that you've viewed yourself and others as "resources" or "consumers," but also one way that you would like to see God extend grace in your life over the next few months (Scripture reading, prayer, a strained relationship, a financial struggle, a sharp tongue, a greater desire for worship, etc.)