November 21, 2017

Give Thanks — Psalms 106:1-2

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Hallelujah!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can declare theLord’s mighty acts
or proclaim all the praise due Him?

Psalms 106:1-2 HCSB

 

Praising, Teaching, and Being Observant

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Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!)
O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1-2

God is good.  God is great.  God is infinite.  God is merciful.  God is love.  God is kindness. The adjectives can go on and on.  God is many things, and it is hard to put into words just how great He is.  Yet, the writers of the Bible were able to do it and so should we. Any Christian should be able to voice the many wonderful things that make up God’s everlasting Being.

The Lord has been performing mighty deeds since the beginning, and He continues to do them today.  We only have to be observant to see them.

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Matthew 28:20

By being observant, we can see all the mighty works of God on a daily basis.  God commands us to teach each others how to observe all things.  He is with us and sees what we see. He knows what we think.  He has been this way since the beginning of time and He will be with us through the end of the world.  He never leaves us, and we can see it every day.

We should sing praises to God with every breath and in everything we do. We are the ones that can put into words the wonderful and miraculous things that God does.  We are not supposed to do it just on Sundays, but we are supposed to sing praise to God every day.  God gives us multiple blessings every breath we take.  We should give God praise every second that we can.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mighty power, love, mercy, goodness, and all the other adjectives that we can think of.  You are with us always.  Please give us the strength to get through the days and allow us to praise You with you every breath.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Mercy

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Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?
Psalms 106:1-2

According to the Random House Dictionary, the word mercy is defined as follows:

mer•cy

1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.
2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.
3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.

I know what the Biblical concept of mercy is.  But, I wanted to know the actual definition of the word—compassion, kindness, favor, blessing.  This is what God gives us despite our actions, despite or lack of actually earning these things from Him.  We’re instructed to give thanks because of the fact that we have not earned them, and not only does He bestow the blessing of mercy on us but “His mercy endures Forever!” It isn’t a one-time occurrence, but forever.

I tried to search and see how many times the word mercy was used in the bible, my search came up with anywhere between 170 and 262; so, basically, a lot.  I didn’t find the actual count, but I did find something interesting.  The word mercy is often paired with another word—whether it is love, truth, or grace—but mercy is usually not found alone.  My search showed me something else as well (similar to not being able to find the total number of times mercy is found in the Bible)—I wouldn’t ever be able to tell someone how many times I have seen God’s mercy in my life.

Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD?
Who can declare all His praise?

I couldn’t even began to try.  There are hundreds, even thousands, of times where He has bestowed His mercy on my life and on the lives of my friends and family.  Trying to think of the number overwhelms me, it shows just how much He loves me…how MUCH He loves us.  It sometimes worries me that I won’t have an answer if I’m asked what God has done for me—there is so much that I wonder if I would know where to start.   So I am going to try something, not just when someone asks, but I am going to start today…now.  I am going to thank God for what he has done today—for waking me up, for making sure there is a roof over my head, for life, mine and the lives of my family, for a sound mind, for a healthy body.

I want to make an intentional effort to thank the Lord…to acknowledge Him for the countless acts of mercy I have seen in my life.

Let’s Pray:  Dear Heavenly Father, I don’t even know where to start when it comes to saying thank You, there is no way I could address everything You have done for me, but I want to be intentional in thanking You daily for what You do for me, for my family.  Your mercy is very present in our lives, and for this I thank you.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

God’s Goodness

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Praise the LORD.
Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; His love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the LORD or fully declare His praise?
Psalms 106:1-2

I love the Lord for His love endures forever. In verse 2 of Psalm 106, the psalmist had come to a point of failing to understand the manner of love the Lord has for His people.

Why all that love? It is because He is good.

The goodness of God endureth continually
Psalm 52:1

God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.
1 John 1:5

The “goodness” of God refers to the perfection of His nature.  There is such an absolute perfection in God’s nature and being that nothing is wanting in it or defective in it; and nothing can be added to it to make it better.

He is originally good —good of Himself—which nothing else is; for all creatures are good only by participation and communication from God.  He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself.  The creature’s good is a super-added quality, but the goodness of God—it is His essence.  He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a little drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good.  He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is.

The goodness of God appeared most illustriously when He sent forth His Son “…made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might received the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4, 5). Then it was that multitude of the heavenly host praising their Maker and said, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good-will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

The goodness of God is the life of the believer’s trust. It is this excellency in God which most appeals to our hearts. Because His goodness endures forever, we ought never to be discouraged.

The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them that trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7

When others behave badly to us, it should only stir us up the more heartily to give thanks unto the Lord, because He is good.  And when we ourselves are conscious that we are far from being good, we should only the more reverently bless Him because He is good.  We must never tolerate even an instant’s unbelief as to the goodness of the Lord; whatever else may be questioned, this is absolutely certain—that Jehovah is good; His dispensations may vary, but His nature is always the same.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Father, we thank You for Your goodness.  The love that You show us is so great that we always give You honor.  May You receive all the praise and honor in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen!!

Enduring Love

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Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
His faithful love endures forever.
Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord?
Who can ever praise him enough?
Psalms 106:1-2

“Who can ever praise Him enough?”  That’s an interesting question!  Did David with his contributions to the Book of Psalms praise the Lord enough?  And what exactly does enough praise look like to Someone whose love endures forever?  Has God ever said to anyone, “Stop! You have praised Me enough.”

I can’t list every glorious miracle of the Lord and I can’t reach the point of “enough praise,” but I can give thanks to the Lord for His love that surely does endure forever.

I was raised in a home where I knew of God.  I have a few memories of going to church. I can remember being baptized more than a handful of times as a child.  I also remember in my teen years, when I was struggling with my mental health, hating a God I neither knew or understood.  I was aware there was a God, but I did not understand His role and if He was such a good God why was my life the way it was. I can remember announcing that if there was a God He didn’t want anything to do with me and I didn’t want anything to do with Him.  He was the Creator of this game we call life and I didn’t want to play anymore.  I even began to believe the lie that I was a mistake and it wasn’t fair for Him to put me here and then leave me to fend for myself.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
Psalms 139:13-14

This was one of the truths of God’s Word that took me a long time to believe. I am not a mistake and God’s Word says that He took the time to put me together.  God took His time making all His creations, nobody was an accident.  His Word says that He knows the very number of hairs on my head.  God did not stick me on Earth and leave me to figure it out.  Quite the opposite- God put me here and was simply waiting for me to stop and listen to Him.
I may not be able to list all of the Lord’s glorious miracles, but I know enough of them personally and have experienced plenty of His grace to know that my God is good and His love does endures forever. For His graciousness I am forever thankful.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *
Thank You, Lord, for loving relentlessly and patiently. I pray that I may love the same way You do. Amen.

First…Praise the Lord

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Praise the LORD!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
for His steadfast love endures forever!
Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or declare all His praise?”
Psalms 106:1-2 ESV

If when we drop to our knees and pray, what if our first words were those that showed praise to the Lord?  How would that affect the rest of our prayer?  Wouldn’t our hearts be more likely to keep our wonderful God as our focus and keep us in tune to the fact that He is more important than the problems that we bring to Him?  Israel often messed up, yet God was faithful to them.

The psalmist opens this psalm in wanting the emphasis to be on God—praising Him and reminding the people of God’s steadfast love before he went any further.  And to answer the psalmist’s question, “Who can utter the mighty deeds of the LORD or declare all His praise?” well, we can try, but we would never ever be able to list ALL of His great deeds or ever be able to finish praising Him for Who He is and what He has done, is doing, or will do.

When I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness and faithfulness, my problems seem to diminish; and I rest on the fact that God is able.  He can take care of difficulties, problems, and unknowns.  Where I cannot, He can.  “He can” so much better than all of us in all generations put together.  So, maybe our role in coming to God is to focus on Him and then, after we praise Him, lay our burdens and requests at His feet.  Be mindful to remember His faithfulness to you in the present and the past as you come to Him.  Remember how He has carried you when You have needed Him – even when you didn’t deserve it. Remember how He forgave you when you asked for forgiveness when you messed up and sinned—even when you didn’t deserve it.  And rest assured that He will continue to be faithful forever.

Our circumstances will continue to change, but God never does!  Our response is to praise Him forever!  Praise Him in prayer!  Praise Him in life!  Praise Him in heaven!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Dear Lord, we praise You!  O Lord, we thank You for loving us and giving us grace in spite of what we deserve!  We lay at Your feet the great concerns of our hearts in which the Holy Spirit is bringing to our hearts and minds at this very moment knowing You are able to take care of them, Lord!  Touch these matters in such a way that it is obvious to us and those around us that You intervened and made a difference.  We can all give You, and You alone, great glory and praise!  In Jesus’ precious Name we pray.  Amen.

Praise and Honor

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Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1-2 AMP

Praise the Lord!  What emotions or memories does this bring to your mind?  For me it is several things, such as when I found my dad who had given me up to my maternal aunt for adoption.  You see, I come from a line of misfit women.  And when I say misfit, I mean that in an endearing way.  The woman who raised me was the oldest of three girls. There was Pat, Mandy, and Linda.

Linda was the youngest and my biological mom.  Mandy, the middle sister had three boys.  Pat, the oldest, was the one who was stable, responsible.  Mandy appeared to be as well, but she had a hidden problem—she abused alcohol and drugs…mostly prescription ones.  Linda sought love in the wrong places.  You see I was the oldest child of at least five children.  She gave each of us up to families who could not have children of their own.

I was given to Pat and FA because Pat had a hard time carrying a child to full term. She had two live births and one of those died due to eating rat poison at age 2 or 3 years of age.  That’s when the idea came for Linda to abandon me and for Pat and FA to adopt me to help fill that void (plus she felt responsible for caring for me).  Then she was able to have Terry, my 1st cousin.  We were raised as brother and sister. Even though we are not that close now, we were when we were kids.  We fought like kids, loved like kids and grew in the Lord together.  Other things happened and I could see then a pattern of abuse.  Physical, mental and other abuses abounded.  I was determined, when I found out about curses, I would do everything I could to stop it from affecting my family.  I do what I can through God’s nudging to help others who seem to be stuck and trapped in an unending cycle of abuse.

Deuteronomy speaks of blessing and curse.  You do this and you receive this as a reward; you do that and you receive that as a curse (chapter 28).  I have learned that I should honor my parents.  No matter what they did, they were working out of their hurt, their pain, and their love.  God is the ONLY perfect parent.  He gave us imperfect ones to help us see that we need Him to grow and learn to love others no matter how they treat us.  Just as He loves us, we are to love them—unconditionally.

When I first married John, my second husband, I was so broken, hurt and discouraged.  I SO wanted the love that was written about in books and told in movies.  You see, I bought the lie about what love and intimacy truly is.  You cannot have these without fully seeking and know God.  I had heard a pastor speak one time about how women from broken relationships have a hard time with intimacy for whatever reason.  How we need to give ourselves to our husband as a gift, with a bow on.  While I have not done this yet, I want to.  When the time is right and I know I am doing it for ‘us’.  God gives you people to steer you in the right direction and right path.  I have found that in my 18 years of being married to John.  I have not been easy to deal with and, while he has had his moments, we have stayed commited to our vows.  We love each other in such deeper ways that I am in awe and wonder.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Father, thank You for Your love. Thank You for being patient and loving me when I hated everything and everyone. Forgive me for not knowing You more deeply than I do.  I want to know You with an intimacy that surpasses all my understanding.  Let me focus on You and be in continual prayer.  I love You, God.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

CHRISTLife — A Quiet Time (Part Three)

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Each Saturday recently we have been looking in-depth at a few of the most important aspects of having a quiet time—or as some folks call it—a devotional time.  Already we have talked about two very foundational aspects of a quiet time—Bible reading and singing praises.  This week we are remembering the importance of being thankful and expressing our gratitude to our Father.

Truly, is there anything else that you can think of that can so change your heart’s attitude more than thankfulness?  I don’t think it presumptuous to say that every one of us has had times of worry, sorrow, despair, grief, anguish, pain in which we turned our hearts to seek God and found ourselves praising and thanking Him for His goodness and kindness towards us.  True?

Before we go any further, let’s stop for just five minutes and worship our God voicing our thanks and our praise!


~  Thank You  – Hillsong / Songwriter – Reuben Morgan  ~
Thank You for Your kindness, thank You for Your mercy
Thank You for the Cross, thank You for the price You paid

Thank You for salvation, thank You for unending grace
Thank You for Your hope, thank You for this life You gave

There is no one like You…There is no one like You, God
All my hope is in You, Jesus Jesus

To Your name we give all the glory
To Your name we give all the praise
And You’re alive—Our God everlasting—let Your face shine on us

Thank You for Your promise, thank You for Your favor
Thank You for Your love…everything You’ve done for me

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

The Psalmist, writer of many, many songs of thanks and praise, had this in his heart:

Praise the Lord! (Hallelujah!) O give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Who can put into words and tell the mighty deeds of the Lord?
Or who can show forth all the praise [that is due Him]?
Psalms 106:1 and 2 AMP

Who can speak forth enough words to tell all the wonderful, mighty things that God has done?  Or who can utter all the praise that is due Him?  Clearly the simple answer is ‘No one.’  But that doesn’t mean we don’t still thrill to voice our gratitude and thankfulness to our Great God!

I checked out Webster’s definition of thankfulness:

THANK’FUL, adjective.
Grateful; impressed with a sense of kindness received, and ready to acknowledge it.

• The Lord’s supper is to be celebrated with a thankful remembrance of His sufferings and death.
• Be thankful to Him, and bless his name (Psalm 100).

I think Mr. Webster’s definition clearly shows that thankfulness is both thought and action—you ‘sense’ having received <God’s> kindness AND you ‘acknowledge’ it. Here’s a great example:

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come before His presence with singing!
Know that the Lord is God!
It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]!
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving
and a thank offering and into His courts with praise!
Be thankful and say so to Him,
bless and affectionately praise His name!
For the Lord is good;
His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting,
His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.
Psalm 100

The Psalmist was confessing—remembering—just a few things he was grateful for, AND voicing his gratitude.  We can—we should—do the same! We have oh-so-very-much to be thankful for, amen?  We definitely ‘sense’ God’s abundant goodness and kindness to us, true?  And we acknowledge it through our words of gratitude and thankfulness.

I will thank Yahweh with all my heart;
I will declare all Your wonderful works.
Psalm 9:1

I cried to You, O Lord, and to the Lord I made supplication.
Hear, O Lord, have mercy and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!
To the end that my tongue and my heart
and everything glorious within me
may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.
Psalms 30:10, 12

So in your quiet time (but not ONLY in your quiet time!) may I encourage you to tell Your Father how very grateful you are for His goodness, for His protection, for His healing, for His deliverance, for His provision, for His calling, for His admonition, for His guidance, for His love, grace and mercy!  And give Him much thanks!  (Perhaps you might share with us something you have thanked Him for just today…?  Leave your comment below; thanks!)

Keep worshipping Him and enjoying your quiet time with your Lord!  As you seek Him, He will be found…He promises!