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Posts Tagged ‘Psalm 103:8’

 

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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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One custom of our church community includes the babies and toddlers. Toward the end of the worship service, many parents collect their little ones and bring them to the sanctuary for the closing praise songs.

When our two-year old granddaughter, Elena, arrives, she starts out in Mommy’s arms, then clambers to Daddy, then over to Papa (my husband, Steve), and finally to Nana—that’s me.

Last Sunday she was particularly affectionate—arms around my neck, head nestled on my shoulder. Every now and then she’d lift her head to give me a kiss on the cheek.   I held her close and kissed her silken hair.

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(Who could resist snuggling with this?!)

 

Please understand: Elena is a typical toddler. She knows what she wants and when she wants it (usually NOW!). Her expressive cries can be quite vociferous.   But those traits of stubbornness and impatience—seen in most toddlers–don’t diminish my love for her. Not a bit.

I reveled in that moment of tenderness at church, while swaying to the music and singing of our love for God. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself as the child, held in the close embrace of my Father, who lovingly forgives my sins and casts them as far as the east is from the west.

What an astounding privilege he grants us—to participate in close, familial communion with him, the King of the Universe!

Day in and day out our glorious and powerful God draws near to us:

 

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  • Through creation. Just this morning, he draped pink cloud-ribbons across a crystalline sky, turning our minds to him and his infinite genius. Almighty God orchestrates every intricate aspect of life on our planet, yet we can know him as our gracious and compassionate Father.
  • Through his Word. Just this week I had occasion to study the word, abide, found in John 14:6. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (KJV). First I looked up the word in the dictionary, and discovered abide means much more than just being with someone. Abide also includes persevering under (!) and tolerating (!), in addition to remaining in one place, to continue or endure.   I had to smile at the tongue-in-cheek humor. And I prayed, “Oh, Lord, thank you for loving me that much!
  • Through people. A young woman at our new church has been enthusiastically friendly.   And though I’ve told her I appreciate her kindness, I doubt she can fully understand how her interest, hugs, and effervescence have ministered to me. God draws near with his joy each time we meet.
  • Through circumstances.  Hugs and kisses from a toddler are just one precious example that makes me mindful of God’s love for me.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Oh, Father, I shake my head in wonder to think

You long for us to be your familial friends.

I praise you for your abundant, gracious love,

Motivating you to reveal yourself

Through creation,

People, circumstances,

Your word, and more.

In fact, you are intimately involved

In every moment of our lives.

Thank you for blessing us

With your abiding presence,

Even though it requires of you

Great tolerance and perseverance!

We cling to you, our Source of

Strength, wisdom, and provision.

You are with us and in us,

Always drawing us closer to you.

Thank you for never giving up

And never letting go.

 

(2 Corinthians 6:16, 18; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 19:1-4;

Matthew 5:14, 16; Psalm 92:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17;

Psalm 139:1-5; Zephaniah 3:17; James 1:17;

Isaiah 41:10; 1 Corinthians 3:16; James 4:8;

Philippians 1:6; John 10:28.)

(Photo credits:  Nancy Ruegg, and http://www.wallpaperup.com.)

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(The Lord is compassionate and gracious,

Slow to anger

And rich in faithful love.

–Psalm 103:8, HCSB)

 

Oh God,

As I skim through the memories of six-plus(!) decades, I see much evidence of these attributes in my life: 

Compassion

I praise you that you’ve always looked upon me with compassion, not condemnation. Not one moment of struggle in my life has slipped by your attention unnoticed. And with that attention has come your sympathy. You’ve completely understood every situation I’ve faced, and shared in the physical pain, emotional hurts, and spiritual battles as they’ve come.

How comforting to know that you see my circumstances and sympathize. But even more precious?  Your love compels you to express that compassion with encouragement, strength, and support. Each day you bestow new mercies. You never give up on me.

 

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Grace

Oh, how thankful I am that you are a God full of loving kindness. What relief to know your gift of salvation is not based on my effort but on your grace.

Your blessings flow continuously, not based on my faith, but on your benevolent nature.

Even more wondrous, you dwell within me, bestowing peace, joy, wisdom, and more—not because I am righteous and deserving, but because you are righteous and dedicated to my highest welfare.

 

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Patience (Slow to anger)

One evidence of your grace is patience. As a parent and teacher, I’ve learned a little about the attribute of patience—mostly how difficult it is! Little ones can ask countless silly questions, frequently test the limits of acceptable conduct, and behave quite selfishly.

How shameful to admit I still demonstrate such traits. I, too, ask frivolous questions. When troubles assault, I want to know Why, God? I test the limits of your grace with my shallowness, failings, and stubborn streak.   And as for selfish behavior, that tendency hasn’t died yet either.

Some Bible translators have used the word longsuffering in place of patience. You have suffered long as you’ve trained me! Step by laborious step you gently guide me toward maturity. And one day my character will be complete, lacking in nothing because of your great forbearance with me.

 

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Love 

How can I begin to thank you, God, for the treasure of your undying love? You brought me to faith in Jesus as a child, gave me a place in your forever family, and bequeathed to me an eternal inheritance in heaven. As I wait for that reality, I revel in your faithful love that:

  • Expresses itself continually, day after day
  • Attends to what will be in my best interest
  • Willingly and patiently endures the pain of rejection and disappointment, because of my rebellion
  • Disciplines me as any loving parent trains his/her dear children
  • “Perseveres until it perfects” (Philip Yancey)

 

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*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I praise you, Holy Father, that day after day you manifest these attributes in my life.  I am encouraged by your compassion, blessed by all facets of your grace, guided by your patient Spirit, and strengthened by the richness of your faithful love.  I can never praise you enough for your magnificence!

 (Art & photo credits:  www.pinterest.com (3); http://www.dailytimewithgod.com; http://www.pinterest.com.)

 

 

 

 

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