Learning to Be Grateful: Psalm Wednesday

My seventh great-grandchild, Knola Kai, was born today! She weighed in at 6 pounds and 13 ounces. I am grateful to God for this new life that I have prayed so fervently to enter the world healthy and strong. Words fail me right now for how much I appreciate God’s goodness to us in the land of the living!

I believe that many of us enjoy the psalms because of the authors’ abilities to say just what we are feeling, to express the gratitude, thoughts, praise, and hope that we often find hard to express in our own words. Indeed, Richard Smallwood wrote in the gospel song, Thank YouIf I had 10,000 tongues, it would not be enough to say thank You, how I thank You for waking me this morning, for letting me see one more dawning!

In Psalm 103, David expressed so well the magnitude and majesty of God’s goodness, God’s character, God’s love, and God’s salvation. This psalm was written by someone who had first-hand knowledge of the goodness of the Lord God and of His unfailing love.

Psalm 103:1-5 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed as the eagle’s. 

The psalmist reminded himself to bless the Lord with his soul, spirit, and body for all that He has done. To bless the Lord with all that is within us is to give to Him humble adoration in a jubilant fashion. David acknowledged the provision of forgiveness, healing, protection and breaths of life, love and mercy, and food.  As a nearly 10-year colon cancer survivor and a domestic violence victor, I am a living witness that He is Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals. He renews our strength daily so that we can soar like eagles.

It is easy to forget what God has done in the past, what I call spiritual amnesia, and David gives us the cure: acknowledge all of your blessings. We should keep a prayer or blessing journal, daily writing of God’s blessings, such as the beauty of the birds singing as you awakened or the gift of colors. Then, periodically glance back and see just how far God has brought you and the many blessing bestowed on us. We would be surprised by all that God does and the prayers He answers.

Psalm 103:6-10 The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, his acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities.

David reminded us of the characteristics of God that we should praise: merciful, gracious, and slow to anger. In Exodus 34:6-, God described Himself to Moses, “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.'” The books of Ezra and Nehemiah are testaments that God doesn’t deal with His people as they deserve, for, after a time of exile, He brought them back to the land promised to their ancestors, forgiving them their iniquities, no longer angry with them.

He is no less gracious and loving to us. Don’t think that your sins are too great for His forgiveness. Let go of shame or guilt, repent in your heart nad confess your sins, asking for His forgiveness, for we are assured that nothing can separate us from His love. The greatest act of love ever was that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us, a gift from a loving Father.

Psalm 103: 11-16 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.

David reminded also that God knows that we are fragile beings, in need of His loving care, for, unlike God who is from everlasting to everlasting, we are temporary, mortal beings, here today and possibly gone tomorrow. Like a good father, God knows our needs and is aware of our weaknesses and vulnerabilities, for as noted in Genesis 2: 7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”  We are the sheep of the Good Shepherd, and Matthew 9:36 states, “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” God pities us and cares about every aspect of our lives.

Psalm 103:17-22 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to such as keep His covenant,and to those who remember His commandments to do them. The Lord has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word. Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, you ministers of His, who do His pleasure. Bless the Lord, all His works, in all places of His dominion.

To fear God is to reverently acknowledge His glorious power in the universe, but also to obey His commandments, exhibiting the righteousness of God. David reminds us that God rules and reigns in heaven and earth. So, he admonishes us to praise Him and give Him thanks, calling on all beings in heaven and earth to worship Doxology we state, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Today, as we delight in seeing the beautiful picture of the newest member of our family, I thank God that His love for me extends into another generation, the children of my grandchildren. This psalm teaches is to be grateful for all that El Shaddai has done in our lives. I believe that it behooves us to learn to be grateful, to move past spiritual amnesia to daily praise and worship of the Great I Am! Let’s make it part of our daily actions to acknowledge that the evidence of God’s unfailing and amazing love for us broken people is found in His wondrous deeds and loving acts. Today, testify to someone of God’s goodness to you in the land of the living, to encourage them to trust only in the Lord God.

Father in Heaven, Blessed Redeemer,

 Let all that is within me praise, worship, and adore You. I give you honor, dominion, and glory, surrendering my life to You today and forevermore. Have your way, O Lord. Thank you for the wonderful acts and gracious deeds You have performed in my life. Each day is a bonus, for I could be dead and sleeping in my grave, but that was not Your plan for my life. Thank you for Knola Kai, and may she come to love You and trust You as much as I do. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

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