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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 103:2’

 

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“Let all that I am praise the LORD;

with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name…

may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

–Psalm 103:1-2 NLT

 

So begins Psalm 103 (one of my favorites), written by David the Shepherd-King.

I imagine him–seated at a large table, a blank parchment spread before him, and a sharpened reed in his hand. Close by sits a small pot half-filled with a mixture of soot, gum, and water–his ink.

David’s gaze drifts to the view of Jerusalem outside the palace window. His thoughts carry him back in time to the hillsides of Bethlehem, just a few miles away. There he had tended his father’s sheep as a boy. But oh, the wonders God had performed during the years since. The humble shepherd boy became a giant killer, then a fugitive from jealous King Saul, a courageous warrior against Israel’s enemies, and finally after many years, the crowned king of Israel.

I can sense his heart filling with gratitude and praise, his eyes filling with tears as he considers all the “benefits” God has bestowed.

And David begins to write, extolling the Lord for his forgiveness, redemption, love, goodness, and more (vs. 3-6).

 

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His pen needs more ink. As he dips the reed, David’s gaze is once again drawn to the window. He begins to contemplate God’s goodness expressed to his countrymen long ago:

 

“He revealed His ways to Moses,

His deeds to the people of Israel” — v. 7, HCSB.

 

Through the laws outlining his ways, God had revealed his holy character. Through his miraculous deeds God revealed his power, faithfulness and…

…David’s mind shifts to the days when the Hebrews were brought out of slavery in Egypt and led back to the land of their father, Abraham. How compassionate God was.

David marvels at the provisions God engineered, so his people could escape: the gold, silver, and clothing Egyptians gave them as they prepared to flee (Exodus 12:35-36); the food and water necessary for survival (chapters 16 & 17).

 

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David recollects God’s patience with the Israelites—grumbly and rebellious as they were (Numbers 14:18).

And David contemplates God’s love (Deuteronomy 7:7-8)—caring and protective—in spite of the Israelites’ ingratitude and disobedience.

David picks up his reed once more and continues to write:

 

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(“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

Slow to anger and rich in faithful love — v. 8, HCSB.)

 

Those words beg the question: When have I experienced God’s benefits of compassion and grace, patience and faithful love?

A few examples follow:

 

  • The Lord is compassionate.

Time and again God has tended our family through the loving kindness of friends—friends who have prayed with us in the midst of trauma and who have provided for our needs (like a place to stay, furniture, a contribution to our children’s college funds—the list is very long!).  God has benefited us with numerous blessings—even a car one time.

 

  • The Lord is gracious.

He cares about all our concerns, big and small. 

This past winter I lost a scarf at the local bookstore. It wasn’t an expensive one, just soft and warm, the perfect size. A thorough check through the aisles and an inquiry at the information booth proved futile.

A couple of weeks later I returned to the same shop. Although I doubted the scarf would turn up (After all, my search two weeks prior had been very thorough.), I decided to ask again. Sure enough, the girl behind the counter produced my scarf.

 

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  • The Lord is slow to anger.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to know Jesus my entire life. But I still suffer from bouts of sin—sins like fretting, negativity, lack of faith, low self-esteem, pride, selfishness…must I go on?!

Yet he patiently forgives me and removes my offenses as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He even understands my frailties (v. 14). How gloriously comforting is that?

 

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  • The Lord is rich in faithful love.

Every day, with his provision, protection, and presence, guidance, goodness, and gifts, God expresses his unwavering love for us.

And with David, my heart overflows.

You, too?

 

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(“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being,

praise his holy name” — v. 1, NIV).

 

How has God demonstrated his compassion, grace, patience and love in your life?  Please share your story in the comment section below!

 

(Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest (2), http://www.lds.org; http://www.pinterest.com;  www.poshmark.com; http://www.pinterest (2).

 

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(Following is a personalized version of Psalm 103:1-5. Scripture quotes are in bold type, personal worship-thoughts* are in regular type. Perhaps you’ll pray along?)

 

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1 Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

2 Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–

Oh, Lord, my heart overflows with love and gratitude for all you are to me and all you do for me. If I recorded these benefits, the volumes produced would surely fill a library.

But just as parents and grandparents are pleased when children say, “thank you,” I want to “praise your holy Name,” to extol you for the sum of all your attributes. In my life you have expressed your:

  • Power, by supplying my needs–sometimes in miraculous ways
  • Love and Goodness, with blessings beyond measure
  • Wisdom, as you’ve guided me day by day in the ways that are best for me
  • Patience, when I’ve been slow to learn and reluctant to obey
  • Mercy, by forgiving me of my sins, especially when I knew better
  • Faithfulness, with your constant presence and attention

May I always be mindful of your benefits, and vocal about them to others.

 

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3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 

May I never take for granted the horrific price you paid at Calvary with the life of your Son. May I never tire of praising you for making me a new creation, one who can be in relationship with you, the all-powerful God of the universe.

I praise you for being the Healer of all diseases, whether of body, soul, or spirit. You heal broken hearts, broken lives, broken relationships, broken minds—either instantaneously, over time, or when we’re transported to heaven.

 

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4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion 

I praise you that not only have you saved me from the pit of hell, but from the depths of depression, discouragement, and disappointment. You are “a redeeming God who is able to bring freshness to places that seem rotten and decayed” (Carole Ladd)—places like hurt, unfair circumstances, and unfulfilled dreams.

I praise you for encircling me with your love and compassion, symbolized by a gleaming crown, and reminding me: those who know Jesus are royalty (1 Peter 2:9)! I bow in humble wonder at the incredible privilege you bestow, to be a daughter of the King of kings.

 

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5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

 I praise You, O God, for knowing exactly which good things to grant me—those things that will produce a good outcome. (I know that catering to my every pleasure would ultimately be to my detriment.)

I praise you that even into old age you will strengthen my spirit so I can remain vibrant, optimistic, and full of hope. On the wings of your wisdom I’ll be able to soar (Proverbs 24:5).

Finally, may your praise always be on my lips; may my soul always boast in you, because you are a good and gracious God—always and forever (Psalm 34:1, 145:7-8)!

 

*Prior to composing this worship-prayer, I researched some of the terminology in these verses, to expand my understanding of the passage. Sources included: Be Exultant by Warren Wiersbe; www.bible.org; Jesus Calling by Sarah Young; Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive by Carole Ladd; and The Daily Study Bible Series, Psalms, by George A. F. Knight.

 

(Photo credits:  www.suggestkeyword.com; http://www.studentdevos.com; http://www.pinterest.com; http://www.suggestkeyword.com.)

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Years ago, Mom taught me a neat trick for those times when I can’t remember the name of someone or something.

“Go through the alphabet,” she suggested. “Usually a letter will stand out, and it will jog your memory.”

No doubt many of you have discovered the same strategy.

Now that I’m getting older, it has occurred to me: Is it my imagination, or am I using the alphabet to jog my memory more than I used to?

That question brought a silly visualization to my mind. Who is the oldest Person we know? God–he has always existed, even before time itself, right?

What if he experienced memory challenges? I can see him with his elbow propped on the throne, stroking the thick, white wool of his beard, the other hand tapping absent-mindedly against the folds of his glowing robe. He’s talking out loud to himself (another habit of the elderly).

“Oh, what is her name? I can see her face…She’s one of our brown-eyed, brown-haired children. I just love deep, dark eyes…Isn’t she the one We blessed with a raise, even though she didn’t ask for it? Oh, what is her name?”

I told you it was silly. God doesn’t have memory problems! He is all-powerful and all-knowing. Actually, considering his magnificent splendor, it’s really quite amazing he cares about us at all.

David wrote, “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him” (Psalm 8:4)?

Mindful. I like that. God’s mind is full of us. He not only knows our names, he knows the number of hairs on each of our heads (Matthew 10:30). It stands to reason God knows our favorite colors, and what each of us was doing ten years ago today.

And when we consider he has planets, moons, and stars to orchestrate, it is no small wonder he concerns himself with such little specks as us.

Another psalmist wrote, “The Lord remembers us and will bless us” (Psalm 115:12a).

Not only does he remember who we are, he remembers our needs and blesses us accordingly.

Meditate on that concept for a moment. God supplies our every need.

James Janeway, a Puritan minister and author of the seventeenth century, said that such contemplations are enough to launch us forth into an ocean of goodness, where you can see no shore, nor feel the bottom. I like that, too.

Here’s another concept worthy of careful thought: God’s mindfulness did not begin when each of us was born. “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:16). Could our days have been recorded without God’s knowledge? No. That means we have been on his mind since before each of our birth dates.

And last, God’s mindfulness will never end. He will continue to be mindful of us in the future, into infinity. “I will never stop doing good to them” (Jeremiah 32:40), He said. And “I will never forget you” (Isaiah 49:15b).

Oh, Father, thank you for your constant, caring attention. Thank you for your ocean of goodness from which you bless us. In return, may I be mindful of you, remembering the wonders you have done, your miracles (Psalm 105:5a). I want to praise you continually, and forget not one of all your benefits (103:2).

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