Bless the Lord

This week has been a bit busy so I haven’t really had time to do much work on a blog post. But I did want to share something I learned this week that I thought may be helpful.

I was doing my devotion this week and came upon Psalm 103:

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 iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;[a]
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The Lord has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.

Bless the Lord, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Last week I talked about David and his heart for God. After reading this Psalm you can see just how David’s heart was geared to serve, love and honor God. This Psalm has stuck with me this week and has been a challenge and encouragement. I hope that it will also challenge and encourage all of you amidst the crazy busyness of this season. That we would “remember the reason for the season”, (I know it’s cliche but still very true), and really focus on blessing the Lord with all our heart. May we all take Psalm 103 to heart and Bless our Glorious Creator!

Forgetting God in the Midst of Blessing

I, like many of you, don’t have a great memory. My excuse is that I am always looking ahead and planning that I don’t have much space left in my brain to remember the past. This is obviously a huge overstatement, but I do sometimes tend to forget some things from the past because I am so preoccupied with the things of today and tomorrow.

And this is where a very dangerous thing can occur. We can get so preoccupied on today or tomorrow that we forget where we have come from. And this can in turn cause us to forget who we worship and the purpose of our lives. In Hosea 13:6 God says concerning the Israelites “but when they had grazed, they became full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me.”

Time and time again this happens in the Old Testament. The Lord blesses Israel. They became comfortable and then complacent. They forget about God and chase after idols and other sins. God punishes them for their sin. They repent and the process starts again. That is the story of the Old Testament and of each and every one of us.

We too, like the Israelites, have a tendency to forget. But notice that we, just like the Israelites, tend to forget following the Lord’s blessing not His rebuke. I find it interesting that in the times the Lord blesses us the most we often turn His blessings into idols and stumbling blocks for ourselves but when He rebukes we often come running back to Him for His help. So today I want us to consider a few ways to remember where we have come from and how to see God’s blessings in the right light instead of stumbling over them.

The first thing we have to continually do is to remember to worship the Blesser not the blessing. It is so easy to be grateful about a blessing or an answer to prayer that we forget who provides these gifts. We then turn the amazing blessing or gift into an idol because we lose sight of where it came from. James 1:17 tells us that EVERY good gift “is from above” and is “coming down from the Father of lights.”

We must give glory to God for each blessing we receive rather than taking the credit for ourselves, some other person or the blessing itself. I love Matthew 5:16 because it teaches us that when people look at us and say “good job” we point up to heaven and say “He did it and it’s all for His name.” As we look at each blessing as “He did it and it’s all for His name” we continue to worship the Blesser rather than stumbling over the blessing.

The second thing to remember is where you have come from. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you.”

Now if you look at that list and think “well I am not any of those so I must be safe,” you are missing the point. We are all those things. Each of us are one or more of the people Paul just described. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23). Remember this. Meditate on this. You were dead, you were helpless, you were on a path to eternal hell. Until the second half of 1 Corinthians 6:11 happened. “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” This is the theme of the entire book of Hosea. We are all whores who have gone astray but the love of our Lord and King takes us back. Remember this when blessings come so you don’t get too comfortable and forget where you have come from.

This leads to the last thing I think we should consider and it is one I talk about probably more than anything else. For us to remember God in the midst of blessing we must seek humility. I truly believe humility is one of the most important things a Christian can pray and ask God for more of. Because a humble person realizes my above two points. They realize that all gifts come from above and that we are pathetic and disgusting without our Savior’s grace.

“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6). Humility helps us to see ourselves, others and blessings in the correct light. We see that we can do nothing and gain nothing apart from Jesus, (John 15:5). We see that we cannot save ourselves through our own effort, (Ephesians 2:8-9). And humility helps us to remember and more importantly glorify God when blessings come because we see that all blessings are ultimately about Him not us.

So I hope we can stop forgetting our Lord in the midst of good. May His blessings lead to praise rather than sin. May we glorify Him when He blesses rather than worship the blessing He has given. May we remember that we once were lost, naked, shameful and disgusting and that we didn’t solve our own sin problem. May we remain humble and realize that all blessings and our entire lives are for the glory, honor and praise of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.