Day 184: July 3, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

Psalm 103
1 My soul, praise Yahweh, and all that is within me, praise His holy name. 2 My soul, praise the Lord, and do not forget all His benefits. 3 He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. 4 He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion. 5 He satisfies you with goodness; your youth is renewed like the eagle. 6 The Lord executes acts of righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He revealed His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love. 9 He will not always accuse us or be angry forever. 10 He has not dealt with us as our sins deserve or repaid us according to our offenses. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. 14 For He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust. 15 As for man, his days are like grass— he blooms like a flower of the field; 16 when the wind passes over it, it vanishes, and its place is no longer known. 17 But from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is toward those who fear Him, and His righteousness toward the grandchildren 18 of those who keep His covenant, who remember to observe His precepts. 19 The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, all His angels of great strength, who do His word, obedient to His command. 21 Praise the Lord, all His armies, His servants who do His will. 22 Praise the Lord, all His works in all the places where He rules. My soul, praise Yahweh!

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Do Not Forget All His Benefits
by Roger Severino, Adult Discipleship Minister, Brentwood Campus

David begins this Psalm by talking to himself, reminding his soul to praise the Lord and to not forget all His benefits. This is a good daily discipline. By telling yourself to praise God and remember your benefits in Christ, you will be a more thankful person and live more like a blessed man or woman—which you are.

Yes, circumstances may vary and undoubtedly trials will come. Nevertheless, reflect on the Lord’s blessings to you, for they are constant:

THE LORD FORGIVES YOUR SINS. As far as the east is from the west (a straight line, not a circle), so far has He removed the transgressions of those who trust in Christ (see v. 12).

HE HEALS ALL YOUR DISEASES. Christ has healed your greatest disease of sin. He also brings healing to your physical diseases, sometimes miraculously, sometimes over time, and sometimes through the ultimate healing that brings you into the presence of Jesus.

HE REDEEMS YOUR LIFE FROM THE PIT. Surely you have a “pit” in your life somewhere in your past. “He brought me up from a desolate pit, out of the muddy clay, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure” (Psalm 40:2).

HE CROWNS YOU WITH FAITHFUL LOVE AND COMPASSION. In this Psalm, we are reminded that “the Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love” (v. 8). And again, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His faithful love to those who fear Him” (v. 11).

HE SATISFIES YOU WITH GOODNESS SO THAT YOU ARE RENEWED. What allows us to keep going and live with hope in a broken and fallen world? The Lord does this by pouring His love on us which satisfies and renews us. As a loving father has compassion on his children, “so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him” (v. 13). I love the next verse because it reminds us that the Lord is not an angry, demanding Master but a tender Father: “He knows what we are made of, remembering that we are dust.”

Perhaps you’ve been guilty of thinking God expects you to be superman or superwoman, demanding the impossible from you and then being disappointed when you fail to deliver. God knows our finitude; He recognizes our human frailty and limitations. Our lives are short and fleeting (see vv. 15-16), but “from eternity to eternity the Lord’s faithful love is towards those who fear Him” (v. 17). No wonder David calls on all the heavenly beings to join him in praising God (see vv. 20-22)!

How are you doing in “preaching the gospel to yourself” and remembering all your blessings in Christ? Though I can be an upbeat person, there is a part of me that sees the glass “half empty” and I live forgetting my blessedness. For me, I have to shake myself out of this and remember the many ways God has shown incredible favor towards me. You’ve heard it said, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” and most of it is small stuff when we get down to it. How tragic to live a life saturated with worry and stress and fail to experience the abundant life that Christ has for us.

Praxis

Here are some suggestions for overcoming a forgetful or ungrateful heart.

  1. There is an old song that says, “Your blessings outnumber your troubles every time.” This may be difficult to believe during certain seasons of life. Do you believe it? Take out a sheet of paper right now and list all of your blessings: physical, material, spiritual, relational, etc. Were you able to fill up the page?
  2. Make it a habit, a daily discipline, to not forget the Lord’s benefits. Perhaps you can use this Psalm as a help. Rehearsing vv. 3-5 is a succinct way to reflect on our many blessings. Commit these verses to memory.
  3. Read this Psalm out loud as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. It will be hard to read this without having your heart stirred to gratitude and worship.

About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.