Thought for the Week - 18th June

Vanda Hopkin

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 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 like the eagle’s.
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.
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.
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.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!

There’s never a standing still in God, unless God has a purpose for us to do that. At the moment, we have to seek God and know what He wants us to do and where to go next. While we wait for God to move, what do we do? We don’t switch off or start to get bored. We stand and bless God, and praise Him with all our being!

David wrote this Psalm. Time and time again he had enemies coming against him, experienced assaults and attempts to take his crown. He had busy times, quiet times, Yet in the middle of it all, he was talking to himself to bless God! Can we say that we are in a place where we are blessing God with all that we have within us? Everything -that means the good things, the bad things, our relationships, our work, our hopes, our plans, our past, our futures, our children. Can we stand and say that all that is within me, I am blessing you Lord? Is it all being poured out in praise of God?

This is a time for us to get back into line, and stand and praise God. We must re-establish ourselves and see Him afresh again! We need to come back to that sharp edge, away from that place where the bright light has dimmed.

God is not a God of staleness. He’s the living water! He brings freshness and life. Sometimes we can get stagnant and the water gets murky. But we can see that vision of God and call of God anew and fresh. When that happens, it reinvigorates us and the tiredness and apathy goes.

The children of Israel didn’t move forward until God called them. In the Psalm above, we read of a place of refreshing for David, a place for renewing his strength and his place in God:

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits

We so often forget His benefits and what He’s done for us. We can so often forget the price that He paid for our salvation. We so often forget the price that He paid that we can be healed physically, mentally and spiritually. We so often forget what He’s done for us so that we can be free. It’s good sometimes to go back and look at what He’s done for us. He has done so much for us – we are living miracles!

Over the weekend, I had the privilege of watching the Royal Welsh Regiment brass band celebrating the Queen’s birthday. In the blazing sun and hot weather, they brought out their mascot, which as you know is a goat. Once in his place, that goat stood for an hour and never moved. I didn’t realise, but the goats used by the regiment are feral goats from the Great Orme, which are hand caught by a group of 30 soldiers from the unit. They then train that goat until he is fit for the purpose he was caught for. Seeing the goat on Saturday you’d have thought he was from a quiet farm not a wild animal. Through strong discipline and training, they had turned that feral goat into the most behaved of animals who follows his orders.

As Christians, many of us used to be like those feral goats. We are now Christ’s tender lambs; we are his sheep.

The Regiment were disciplined. They stood in their uniforms in the blazing heat – they didn’t look to remove garments because they were sweltering. They played the music they were supposed to – they didn’t play what they fancied. They moved in formation, in the way their leader had given them to do. They were in unity and of one accord.

We must be like that Regiment and that goat. We must stand in unity. Let any irritations pass, as the devil likes nothing more than to pick away sheep from the flock. Instead, praise and bless God: “bless the Lord oh my soul”. Let’s be in a place where we’re willing to be willing. Come into that place where we bless God. When we bless God, nothing else matters. When all that is within us is pouring out to God, it doesn’t matter who’s doing what or not doing whatever. All is well with our soul and God. When we’re in unity and all of our soul is pouring out to God, we’re responding in love.

God has blessed each one of us! We are where we are because of God and His blessings. It’s time for His blessings to go back to Him. Ask Him for that desire for His work and for souls. There’ll be no striving because Christ Himself will do it for us, because we are blessing Him and praising Him. Let our hearts be pouring out continually for Him.

No one can do for us what He can do. He’s healed the broken hearted, He’s loved us, He’s healed us, He’s performed miracles, let’s not forget it. He’s done wonderful things – where would we be without Him?

Let’s praise God with all that we have as we wait on Him with excitement and expectation.


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