We focused a bit on this passage yesterday:

5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7

I asked anyone who wants to join us to consider journalling answers to the questions in this post and also, if you are new to this blog and want to participate, you can answer yesterday’s questions found here…take them to the Lord and wait on Him for the answers.

Whatever your level of participation…please don’t use this as a standard for your performance and approval by God! If you don’t come to the blog each day, that is ok. If you journal some or all of the questions or none of them…that is ok. Let your experience be driven by God and know that He loves you perfectly. You please him–right now. If you are in Christ, God has not only forgiven you, but attributed all of Christ’s righteousness to you!!! You are 100% acceptable to him whether you “do it all” or just do a “drive by” every so often.

I just want to challenge you to go with God’s intentions for you most of all. There will be no demerits for “not doing everything just so” and also no gold stars for doing it all “perfectly.” 🙂 Just be with the Lord in this. Experience his presence–he delights over you with singing! Listen for his voice! Wait for him. Don’t let this study be another way to silence the voice of your heart…we do that with bible studies as readily as we do it with food… let us allow this to be an authentic journey where we bring to him our heart cries and expect HIM to answer!

One thing that I read yesterday morning challenged me…how often to I forsake the good because I refuse to allow myself to let go and do something that isn’t *”perfect?”* For instance, if I want to write a book and get started on it…but it isn’t “perfect” enough so I shelve it…who is to say that God’s “good” isn’t being done because of my insistence for perfection? The same can happen to us as we start (or REstart) this journey. I refuse to let my performance (or what *I* think is my performance) dictate my sense of worth or success. I hope you will join me in this refusal!

On to the pre-study study… 🙂 Do if you choose. 🙂

1. Re-read verse 6 above from Psalm 84. The “Valley of Baca” may be literally translated “valley of weeping.” What does this valley of weeping become when our strength is found in the Lord? What significance do you find in the valley of weeping being transformed into a place of “springs” or “pools” (which, by the way, can also be translated “blessings!”)??

2. Read Isaiah 41:18-20 in your bible. Note the result of pools in the wasteland or springs in the desert. How might this apply to your life as you sojourn toward that which God has for you?

3. According to Isaiah 41:20, for what purpose will God accomplish this?

Back to Psalm 84 written above…

Fill in these blanks: “They go from ________________ to _______________.”

For your consideration: This word for “strength” found twice in verse 7 doesn’t mean the same thing as “strength” in verse 5. It refers to the Hebrew word, chayil, which means “strength, efficiency, wealth.” As we travel on this path, there may be a valley of weeping, but from those tears will come fertile pools and springs giving life to our parched hearts. Our Lord will take our tears and cause us to go from “wealth to wealth” or “riches to riches.” We may experience weeping, but on this pilgrimage we can also experience much abundance and joy. We will find ourselves that much closer to arriving before our God in Zion–the place of promise!

Again, I want to reiterate…don’t get hung up on whether you do this thing perfectly. That was what kept me from hanging in there for so long. I finally let go of that standard and God met me! Think of it this way…if you have been a mom or an aunt or a best friend of someone with a baby…when that baby begins to try to walk, do you turn your back if the steps are faltering? If s/he can’t take off right away? Absolutely not! You delight in seeing any efforts taken…one step, clinging to a couch…flopping down onto his/her bottom and you giggle with glee! I think God is like that as we earnestly strive to grow, change, and take babysteps forward. He knows we don’t have the ability to take off running right away…but our hearts are turned toward the TRY. He loves our try. Yoda of Star Wars infamy may have said “Do or not do, there is no TRY” but that is NOT OUR GOD. Our God rewards the try and delights in our hearts turning to Him.

Allow yourself to learn and grow. You will NEVER pass THIS way again…God WILL grow you, even if you feel like, at the end of the summer, you still aren’t running like you think you “should” be. If you ask your Master, he will smile and say, “Ah, but she is trying to walk…and her heart delights me…”

Feel free to respond here at the blog to these ideas and the questions above. I am thrilled to have you join me. Tomorrow I will likely post my own responses to the questions I have posted here the past three days…

I am SO excited! GOD IS AT WORK! Do you sense it? 😀

NOTE: Some of the material that I have used for the pre-study study entries here at the blog come from a Thin Within study that is available from the Thin Within company. It is something that I helped to write years ago and doesn’t get much use, so thought I would bring in some of the material from that…I hope you enjoy it. I may use some of that material along the way. If you want the study, it is available from Thin Within…their toll free number…just ask for the printed copy of the Thin Within book study guide. It isn’t bound, but is printed and available for $3, I believe. The toll free number is 877-729-8932.