Tag Archives: Psalm

Make a Joyful Noise

1 Dec

I marvel at the news reports of Black Friday, the biggest day of the year for retail sales. Sleeping out in the cold for the best place in line goes beyond my imagination. Since I’m not trained for combat, I don’t venture out on Black Friday. I have no desire to be embroiled in the pushing, grabbing, fights, and offensive language. (To be fair, there seems to be much less of that locally than what I see nationally.)

However, what really causes me sadness is the desperation that breeds such greed and selfishness. Apparently, we have a need to grab all we can because tomorrow may not come. Our world seems to teeter on the brink of political, economic, and/or natural disaster. At any moment, our entire lives could change. But so has it ever been—think Pearl Harbor or Twin Towers. I’m grateful our security doesn’t rely on government or circumstances. Because of God’s great love, we can not only be grateful, we can be gracious.

The fact that you’re reading this means you have an education and live in a country where freedom of speech still exits. I can also imagine you have a roof over your head, adequate food and clothing, and someone who cares about you.

God gives us such abundance so we can share. This season let’s turn our eyes on God and focus on what we have instead of what we wish we had. I encourage you to shout about the good stuff.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: Come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, And into his courts with praise: Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; And his truth endureth to all generations.”
(Psalm 100:1–5 KJV 1900—the version I memorized as a kid).

I’m so thankful for the faithful followers of this blog. May God richly bless you this season and throughout your life.

Forgiving Myself

14 Sep

“You must forgive yourself.” I’ve heard those words more than once. Maybe you have too.

I really enjoy the Patrick Bowers thrillers by Steven James. In his fifth book, The Queen, Bowers’ stepdaughter struggles with guilt. Her psychiatrist tells her, “You have to learn to forgive yourself.” Tessa threatens to break his glass coffee table, and then makes a profound statement. “Look, if I break this thing, you can forgive the debt I owe you if you want, or you can make me pay for it, but how can I forgive myself for the debt that I owe you?”

 Until I read that novel, I assumed I should/could forgive myself. However, I’ve come to understand that I have no power to cancel a debt I owe to another, nor can I pardon or excuse my wrong behavior. However, I can pursue forgiveness. I can humbly apologize, ask forgiveness, and where possible, make restitution. But there’s more.

David’s story reminds me of the heart of any offense. You remember David the teenage shepherd who slew Goliath. He grew up to be a mighty warrior king who surrendered to adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11, 12). Finally repentant and broken, David composed Psalm 51.

“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment” (Psalm 51:1–4 NRSV).

Although we hurt others, we sin against God. Yet we have God’s merciful promise, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV).

So why can’t we get past it? Perhaps it happened long ago, but the shame, guilt, and humiliation remains a festering wound of unworthiness. How can I forgive myself?

I find only one answer:  I can’t. I have no power to forgive myself. Instead, I need to accept the forgiveness that God offers in Jesus Christ. God forgave David, therefore, He can also forgive me and “restore to me the joy of [His] salvation (Psalm 51:12a).

“ Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV). If I believe it, I will joyfully live it.

I close with wisdom from Andrée Seu, who wrote the following blogMonday, October 5th, 2009 | 7:47 AM

An Insomniac’s Psalm 103: Verse 11 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him.”

The Christians I admire most—and I know precious few of them—are those whom I can see are so confident of God’s undeserved love that they are not constantly revisiting their sin or crime, but they have moved on with their lives and have peace and joy. Oh, if the matter of their past comes up, they will not deny it, and will be the first to call it evil. But you will not suck them into a morbid dwelling on it.

I pray we will live courageously “confident of God’s undeserved love.”