Saturday, August 25, 2012

August 26, 2012

"The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.  Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul." Psalm 103:19-22 
You can have all of God's benefits - FOREVER - because God's assets of mercy, love and grace are UNLIMITED!
David states that premise and then supports it with proof!
So, what is God's preferred and desired response from His people?
THE PRAISE, Vv. 19-22 – “Praise God that all His benefits are guaranteed”!

A little boy came to the Washington Monument and noticed a guard standing by it. The little boy looked up at the guard and said, "I want to buy it." The guard stooped down: "How much do you have?" The boy reached into his pocket and pulled out a quarter. The guard said, "That's not enough." The boy replied, "I thought you would say that." So he pulled out nine cents more. The guard looked down at the boy: "You need to understand three things. First, thirty-four cents is not enough. In fact, $34 million is not enough to buy the Washington Monument. Second, the Washington Monument is not for sale. And third, if you are an American citizen, the Washington Monument already belongs to you."

We need to understand three things about God’s mercy. First, we cannot earn it. Second, it is not for sale. And third, if we are in Christ, we already have it.

So, how do you respond to such great compassion and mercy?

REPENT – Vv. 11, 13, 17 – “FEAR HIM”

Are there unconfessed sins in your life that keep you from praising?

RECEIVE – Vv. 18, 19

Like the Washington Monument – ALL GOD’S BENEFITS ARE YOURS!

REJOICE – Vv. 20 – 22

Christian writer and commentator Warren Wiersbe, tells about a town where a horse bolted and ran away with a wagon carrying a little boy. Seeing the child in danger, a young man risked his life to catch the horse and stop the wagon. The child who was saved grew up to become a lawless man, and one day he stood before a judge to be sentenced for a serious crime. The prisoner recognized the judge as the man who, years before had saved his life; so he pled for mercy on the basis of that experience. But the words from the bench silenced his plea: "Young man, then I was your savior; today I am your judge, and I must sentence you to be hanged." One day Jesus Christ will say to rebellious sinners, "During that long day of grace, I was the Savior, and I would have forgiven you. But today I am your Judge."

If you are enjoying His benefits and are fully aware of His mercy, why would you not be rejoicing?

You can rejoice in His mercy now – As Your Savior     


You can receive His justice later – As Your Judge

August 25, 2012

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,  5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;  10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for 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 how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children 18 with those who keep his covenant  and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding,  who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, my soul."  Psalm 103:6-22 

Any company that offers financial services or insurance benefits is required to prove that is has sufficient assets to cover the benefit claims for its clients.

In the first five verses of Psalm 103, the Psalmist lauds the benefits of those who love God and admonishes us to remember those benefits and praise Him. I the remainder of this Psalm he gives proof that God's assets are more than sufficient to deliver His benefits!
THE PROOF, VV. 8-16 – “God’s response to us is one of mercy…..”
     First: “compassionate, or tender” - The word is related to the Hebrew for womb, thus relating God’s kindness to a maternal care. Whereas grace and mercy are the common terms we use to describe what God does, this term gives us a glimpse into his heart for us.
What flows out from compassion is then grace. This term speaks of a favor or kindness that is unmerited. Rather than mechanical, cold terms to describe our Lord, the words depict God’s pleasure and favor falling over us. These words are at the heart of God’s forgiveness.
I read a story of a wealthy Englishman who was satisfied with only the best. So, naturally, he drove a Rolls-Royce. It was his pride and joy, but one day after years of perfect service, he hit a pothole and his rear axle broke. The car was towed to the dealership and soon repaired, but without a bill. Although his warranty had run out, there was no charge. The car was fixed perfectly, all for free. The owner called the company and inquired about the repair. The reply was, "We have absolutely no record of your Rolls-Royce axle ever breaking. There can be no charge." The dealer’s commitment to excellence would not permit a flaw to be made known. Therefore, they repaired the damage immediately and without if nothing had ever gone wrong.
     Second – “gracious” -  Grace is not deserved; it comes without charge to the one who  receives it, but it is very costly to the one who gives.
     Third – “he is patient, slow to anger” - Often in Hebrew terms are visual and pictorial. God's patience, "slow to anger" is literally: "long of nostrils", because anger is expressed in flaring the nostrils, or snorting. So here, God is long in the nostril; they do not flair quickly.
     Fourth – “he is committed to love” – We might use the word “DEVOTED”.-  Hebrew word, "hesed" refers to a kindness to which one is obligated on the basis of a relationship. There is love between me and my wife out of our marriage, and between me and my children, because they are my kids. My love does not make my kids my children; rather, my love comes because they are my children.
V. 9 – “forgiving” - How different God is from us. As long as your memory functions, you no doubt can recall many hurtful things said and done to you. If we forgive, we certainly struggle with bitterness later.
From Joni Eareckson-Tada: ‘Why do we feel so bad about our past sins? Because we confuse sin with its impression. Got a notebook nearby? Let me show you how it can be so. Write the word ‘sin’ on the top page. Press hard. Now tear of that sheet of paper, crumple it up and throw it across the room. That’s how God forgets your sin. Now take up your pencil and rub it across the new page at an angle, back and forth over the same location where you wrote. And guess what. The ghost of the word ‘sin’ appears. That’s what our flawed memories do. We go back over the deep impression left by transgressions in our life and we feel just as guilty. It’s as if the sin never left. But be encouraged, the impression of sin is not the same thing as sin…will you continue to work over forgiven sin as with a pencil? Or will you let the Holy Spirit work His lovingkindness?’
God is not the accuser; he doesn’t "endlessly nag or scold us". God doesn’t hold grudges, allowing resentment to boil over in bitterness.
V. 10 - is a great definition of mercy: "God doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve."
If grace is giving us good gifts we don’t deserve, then mercy is not treating the way we deserve because of the bad things we’ve done. So grace is giving us good gifts, and mercy is withholding judgment.
Christ’s death on the cross is the reason the Father is affectionate toward us. God does not sacrifice justice to show mercy; he does not deny his law to be gracious. But as Christ has died for your sins, you are free from the guilt and shame of that sin. Forgiveness is secured.
The degree of his mercy is great due to the great degree to which he went to secure us for himself. His forgiveness is great because his love is great, a love that gave his only Son. These should not be abstract concepts. They are clearly marked by a bloodstained cross.
The dimensions in these verses cover every facet: the height of his love, the breadth of his forgiveness and the depth of his compassion.
 V. 11 – HIGH – If you launched in spaceship how far up would  you go before running out of space.
V. 12 – LONG – “east from west” - Does God forgive and forget?
“Remove” = Not that God overlooks your sins or ignores them. He dealt decisively with them when He sent His Son to the cross.
Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, was reminded one day of a vicious deed that someone had done to her years before. She acted as if she had never heard of the incident. "Don't you remember it?" her friend asked. "No," Miss Barton replied. "I distinctly remember forgetting it."
V. 13 – DEPTH  - “fatherly compassion” -  When it comes to our own sin, we are indeed our own worst enemy. We beat ourselves to death with how we have failed God, how we have failed ourselves, and how we fail everybody else. But God’s compassion is like that of a father, who knows us better than we know ourselves.
Many years ago, a father and his daughter were walking through the grass on the Canadian prairie. In the distance, they saw a prairie fire, and they realized that it would soon engulf them. The father knew there was only one way of escape: They would quickly begin a fire right where they were and burn a large patch of grass. When the huge fire drew near, they then would stand on the section that had already burned. When the flames did approach them, the girl was terrified but her father assured her, "The flames can't get to us. We are standing where the fire has already been." (Erwin Lutzer, Failure, The Back Door to Success)
If you are in Christ, blood has already been spilt and sin has already been atoned for where you stand.

V. 15-16 – Longer than your life and your children and your grandchildren………
V. 17 – Everlasting to everlasting!

As you praise God for His many benefits, also praise Him for His limitless assets!