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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Remembering....

There is so very much for which we should be grateful - most of us have no idea of the many things God actually does "behind the scenes" to keep us safe, bring us into places of blessing, and to intervene in our lives.  We just know God is there and that he is in control.  We don't "know" all the details of what that control looks like, but we trust it!  There are always moments in time when God "re-centers" my life a little so I take time to slow down and realize the many ways he protects and cares for my family.  If you have children, you "worry over" their lives even after they are gone from your home.  If you raise animals as pets or as your livelihood, you "worry over" every change in their behavior which suggests they are just not "feeling their oats".  If you care for elderly parents, you "worry over" every changing faculty and ability because you know each and every "decline" is moving them closer to the time they are less independent and on their way to the time they shall depart this earth.  We don't know the "stuff" in play behind the scenes in all of these circumstances, but we do whatever our part is to "manage" them as well as we can.  There is something to be said for just stopping once in a while to recount the many ways we "are" aware of the ways God has intervened in our lives, though.  It builds gratitude and brings us into closeness with him for a while.  This is indeed a good place to find ourselves.

My soul, praise the Lord! Every part of me, praise his holy name! My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind he is! (Psalm 103:1-2 ERV)

Never forget how kind he is.  This is something we have to tell ourselves from time to time simply because we have a tendency to get caught up in the hub-bub of everyday life and forget to simply "notice" the things God has been and is continuing to do all around us.  If we examine the entirety of this psalm of David, we might just find a few things we sometimes forget to thank God for in our lives, or perhaps have just taken for granted for a while.  Although this is not an exhaustive list, it does give us a few moments to just pause and think about who he is, how  much he loves us, and what a tremendous "protector" he is over us.

He forgives all our sins and heals all our sicknesses - most of us remember the times we were sick or just not feeling our oats, but we kind of take for granted that the cold passed, the cut healed and the scab fell off.  We remember that moment when we asked God to forgive all our sins and even the last time we asked, but we don't remember them all.  He has taken our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west. Add to this that we sinned against him, but he didn’t give us the punishment we deserved and we will be humbled anew by the greatness of his grace and the depth of his love. 

He saves us from the grave, and he gives us love and compassion - there is no greater gift he gave to us than his life for ours.  The Lord is kind and merciful. He is patient and full of love.  Two more reasons for us to honor him with our praise and delight in his presence.  Kindness extended where no one else would dare extend it.  Mercy given when the infraction demanded otherwise.  These "grace moments" should give us cause to not only pause, but shout with joy at the depth of his sacrifice and continued protection/care over our lives.

He gives us plenty of good things.  He makes us young again, like an eagle that grows new feathers.  This is indeed a vivid picture of how God intervenes in our lives, for an eagle is nothing without the feathers which carry it majestically into the air and allow it to drift high above the earth.  We are nothing without his restorative power giving us new ability to fly high above the circumstances of life which would rob us of our "cover" and threaten to be our undoing.

The Lord does what is fair.  He brings justice to all who have been hurt by others.  We carry many a scar from the wounds of others, but God is there as the one who binds those wounds and lessens the unsightliness of those scars over time.  He is the one who will bring justice - for his kids are his delight and he will not let those who bring harm or hurt to them be left alone.  We may want revenge, but God brings justice - something we have a hard time understanding, but as long as we understand God has the issue in hand, we will be fine.

He does not always criticize.  He does not stay angry with us forever.  Thank goodness for this one for I can think of a million things for which God could criticize me!  The many times I have said I'd do something, then forgotten as quickly as I "committed" stand out in my mind!  God isn't moved to anger by our failures and our mindless drifting - he is moved to compassion and to doing what it takes to bring us back to him.  The Lord is as kind to his followers as a father is to his children. The Lord has always loved his followers, and he will continue to love them forever and ever!

He will be good to all their descendants, to those who are faithful to his agreement and who remember to obey his commands.  The Lord set his throne up in heaven, and he rules over everything.  We may not be as faithful as we'd like, but God sees every inch of faithfulness as a mile in his eyes!  We cannot be discouraged by the things which seem to be insurmountable in our lives - we must remember that God measures things in a different way than we measure them!  Just sayin!