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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Engage in some "soul-talk"

 1-2 O my soul, bless God. From head to toe, I'll bless his holy name! O my soul, bless God, don't forget a single blessing!   3-5 He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life!  He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.  He wraps you in goodness—beauty eternal. He renews your youth—you're always young in his presence. 
(Psalm 103:1-5)

There are times when we need to remind our soul - mind, will and emotions - to bless God with all that we have within us.  Mind wanders, will is weak, and emotions pull us a thousand different directions.  David was not above the very struggle we face daily - to keep our attention on God.  He starts by telling us "how" we do that - we engage in "soul-talk".  Look at what David does - he focuses his mind on the things God has done in his life.  He recounts the blessings of God.  He determines to bless God - he makes it a matter of his will. In so doing, he is bringing his emotions into alignment.

David focuses on several specific things:
  • God forgives our sins - not just in part, but completely; not just one or two, but all of them.  There are times when I just want to cringe in shame when I remember some of the sins over the course of my life.  When that happens, I have followed David's example and called to memory the fact that God is not "selective" in his forgiveness.  It is complete and it keeps no record.  What I seem to dredge up from my past in haunting memory of my sinfulness has already been forgiven - no longer remembered by God.
  • God not only heals our spiritual condition through forgiveness of sins, but he heals our physical condition by healing our diseases.  I've had a couple of worrisome physician's reports, biding time until surgery could be done and final pathology reports could be obtained.  In those times, I felt his presence.  He is my healer and I know that the reports were excellent because he is an excellent God!
  • God has redeemed us from hell - more than just forgiving us of our sins - he has ensured that we would never have to experience the horrific terror of hell.  If nothing else challenges us to sit up and give God our attention, that should!  If you haven't read what scripture tells us about hell, you may not understand the sheer awe that creates a desire to praise God for his deliverance from hell's torture.  
  • God has crowned us with love and mercy.  I've never been much of a "tiara" woman, but I am awed by the beauty of character that God produces in a life surrender to him.  That beauty of character is like a "crowning glory" over their life.  Love and mercy - the crown of paradise.  Love evokes the best in others.  Mercy overlooks the worst in others.  There is nothing more beautiful that can adorn a child of God than the crown of his love and mercy.
  • God has wrapped us in goodness - not greatness, but goodness.  We have a warped view of how we value individuals in our society today.  We often think that if they accomplish something "great" that adds to or gives them value.  God sees our value in the goodness of heart that he creates by the presence of his abiding Spirit within us.  Goodness is really moral excellence - the best part of God created within us by the indwelling of his Spirit.
  • If all this doesn't elicit some praise from your soul, then the final point should - he renews our youth!  We pay thousands for creams, tucks, lifts, and gym memberships - all to hold onto our youth.  What is amazing is that in the presence of God I am made young!  If you don't believe me - try it.  There is a restorative power that occurs in the presence of the Almighty God.
I want you to see one last thing before we leave this page today - David recounts that God HAS done these things.  It is not a "hope in the by-and-by" that God "might" do these things in his life.  They are an accomplished fact.  David celebrates the continual work of God in his life - continually forgiving him of his sins (past, present and future); continually healing his diseases; continually keeping us safe from Satan's evil; consistently displaying his love and mercy in us so that it might shine through us; continually indwelling us with his presence; and continually renewing us.

Feel like you have nothing to praise God for today - think again!  Then do some serious "soul-talk"!