November 22, 2012
“… although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful…” (Romans 1:21)
In the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the believers in Rome he gives a resume of the fall of the human race. Paul does the same thing Moses did in the third chapter of the book of Genesis. They both describe the fall of man as it was and as it is. By that I mean they are not merely describing an historical event in the past but they want us to understand what is happening in our culture right now.
In Paul’s account of the fall of the human race he traces the origin of our fall to two things: we did not glorify God as God, and we were not thankful. He then continues to describe how God gave us up to what we wanted and we became guilty of every imaginable kind of sin. As he vividly describes what happened to the human race after God did not give up on us but gave us up to what we wanted, the result became what Paul described as “all unrighteousness.”
If you track with Paul as he itemizes what he means by “all unrighteousness” it’s intriguing to realize that all that horrible sin began with the hard reality that we were not thankful. There are so many exhortations and prescriptions in the Word of God for us to be thankful but here in the first chapter of Romans is a great warning about the price of not being thankful.
Like it was and like it is, appreciate the value of an attitude of gratitude. And, like it was and like it is, do not underestimate the price of an attitude of ingratitude.
September 12, 2012
“Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion…” (PSALM 103: 2 – 4 NIV)
The Old Testament people of God sang from the Psalms when they worshiped God. When they worshiped, sometimes they talked to God about God. Sometimes they talked to God about people, usually their own life. And sometimes they were not talking to God at all, they were talking to people about God: praising, praying, and preaching.
When we read the psalms we should always ask ourselves, “To whom was the author speaking and about whom was he speaking?”
The verses quoted above are from a psalm of prayer. But the strange thing is there is no petition in this prayer. The verb “to pray” literally means to ask. So we are not really looking at a prayer psalm but a psalm of praise and thanksgiving. The Psalmist’s soul is so full all he wants to do is praise the Lord in grateful worship.
What an example for us to pray with no “gimme” in our prayer. Does your soul ever get so full that all you want to do is thank the Lord for all His blessings? He begins by thanking God for his salvation. In the Gospels Jesus heals ten lepers and only one comes back to thank Him. Jesus asked the question “Where are the nine?”
Are you one of the 90% who never thank the Lord for redeeming your life from the pit of sin? Or do you want to be part of the 10% who thank the Lord for their salvation in grateful worship?
June 27, 2012
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107: 1, 2)
Redemption means to get something back that has been lost. It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.” I have quoted the first words of a marvelous hymn of redemption. A thought that is repeated at the end of each of the five stanzas in this psalm is that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so – gratefully giving thanks for the various ways in which they have been redeemed.
Levels or dimensions of redemption are profiled and each description ends with the charge that we thank the Lord for His goodness in redeeming us in this way. God redeems us from our chaos when He finds us. He then redeems us from our chains when He sets us free from our sins.
This is followed by the way He redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices. He emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.
He then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which He redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do. He agrees with Isaiah that God creates these crises (Isaiah 45:7).
Meditate on all these levels of redemption. Ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways. As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.
And say so…