always near

Psalm 139:5 is one of the great Psalms of praise, structured in four stanzas of six verses each. The author (attributed to David) lauds God for his marvelous powers. The first six verses deal with God’s omniscience – God knows us through and through. How God knows and how much God knows, we are unable to comprehend . . . but it is impossible to conceal anything from him. Verse five indicates that God knows us so well because he is ever-present. Wherever we are, we are under God’s eye, and his guiding hand. We are “hemmed in” – we cannot escape, nor would we want to, for God has “laid his hand” upon us He is always near, guiding, protecting, restoring, and (in David’s own instance) defending.

The KJV uses the word “besets”, an indication that we can’t shrug off God’s presence. We can’t move forward and leave him behind because God is before us. We can’t turn back and escape God because God is behind. God is ever-near, and holds us in the grip of God’s power, surrounding us with God’s love and care. God has known us for eternity, and it will continue to be so. Only God knows us as we really are, and touches us in all aspects of our lives. How blessed we are that God knows and guides our appointed paths.

Sherrolyn Riley, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Blessing of a Hem

You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5
Hemming requires diligence–a steady hand and sustained attention. In fact, double time is wasted when a hem is done poorly because it takes time to carefully pull out a bad hem and redo. How wonderful to have the hands of God placed upon us–the blessing of a hem completed by the hand of God should give us confidence and security. Let us, this day, be confident and secure.
Linda Mason, Beckley, West Virginia

In God’s Grip

You hem me in, behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5

A quote from Corrie ten Boom says, “When Jesus takes your hand, he keeps you tight. When Jesus Keeps you tight, he leads you through your whole life. When Jesus leads you through your life, he brings you safely home.”

Psalm 139 is one of my favorite Psalms. It paints such a beautiful picture of God and His intimate relationship with His people. God knows everything about us, our deepest thoughts, our greatest fears, our true motives, our weaknesses, our strengths. And of utmost importance, God knows what we are when no one is looking. God is the all-knowing, all-seeing, all powerful, and ever present God, who loves us unconditionally.

Verse 5 brings us reassuring and powerful words of God’s sovereign guidance and care. He knows what is best for us, He hems us in behind and before; and we can trust His steady hand to guide and direct us. No matter what challenge or trial life brings our way, God is there loving, guiding, and protecting us. What better place could there be than in God’s grip!

Eva Wood, Charlottetown, PEI, Canada

Hand in Hand

In Psalm 139:5 we read, “You are all around me on every side; you protect me with your power.” (Good News Bible) In this chapter we are told that we are protected even from the time we are in our own mother’s womb. How wonderful is that! If God is with us, what have we to fear? There is nothing too great for us to accomplish if God is there by our side. Hand in hand we go together!

Years ago I was asked to sing a solo at Carpenter’s Friends in the St. John, NB arena. There were around 700 youth attending. On the platform I got really nervous listening to all the wonderful performers and wondering why they had asked me, an untrained singer, to participate. I looked around and was about to make an escape, when I picked up my Bible and there in His Word, He spoke to me and said, “I’m in this with you, Girl. I’ve got you by the hand!” Never have I witnessed and sung like I did that day! To God be the Glory! How precious it is that God is all around us every day no matter what the circumstance.

Janet Mitton Hirtle lives in Canada and has written a book called, Reflections of a Preacher’s Wife

Every Direction

You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Psalm 139:5

To celebrate our 47th anniversary, I purchased a GPS. If you’re like me, you know what it is like when your husband is lost and won’t ask for directions. We purchased the GPS just before our holidays and it has been the best gift I have bought for a long time. Now I don’t have to tell him he’s going the wrong way. A nice, sweet voice simply says, “Turn around at the next possible intersection.” What’s amazing is that you simply plug in the address where you’re headed and it takes you there. If you make a mistake there’s a gentle voice to get you back on track.

Isn’t this like our walk with God? God knows where we are supposed to be heading and if we get off track he brings people or circumstances into our life to help keep us on the right road. Psalm 139:5 in The Message reads, “I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there too- your reassuring presence, coming and going!” As we continue to look to many more years together we are thankful that the Holy Spirit walks with us through all our circumstances.

Heather Thomson lives in beautiful White Rock, BC and is a former president of Women in Focus.

through love

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14-15

Through love we are to serve one another. There are many days when I act like this verse doesn’t exist. Maybe that is not entirely true. The more accurate statement would be that I act like this verse only exists for those that I already love. But what about the others . . . those hard for me to love? Must we serve them too? 

I do not believe that these verses should be used to justify the receiving (or giving) of any type of abuse. Serving one another in love does not mean allowing others to take advantage of us or be harmful in any way. Serving one another in love means acting justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with our God and community. Serving one another in love means being kind even when we don’t want to be.  And kindness is no weak act. 

Edith Vega lives in Missouri. She collects glass shoes and handwritten letters.
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For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14-15

Called to freedom—equally: men and women; girls and boys. This lofty reality to which we have been called leaves no room for self-indulgence. How could we indulge a self when our goal is mutual freedom? If my freedom is linked to his freedom (my father, my brother, my cousin, my friend, a stranger), this biblical directive calls me to assert my freedom while pressing for yours and his. In fact, there isn’t even time to keep writing this. I’m very busy working on my freedom, your freedom, and his freedom.

With love, Frances Ayers

Frances likes to explore beautiful old churches and collects seashells.