All His Benefits

Monday, January 05, 2015, 5:50 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 103 (NASB).

The Good and Bad

A Psalm of David.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits…
~ vv. 1-3​

As I read this psalm this morning, particularly in relation to the song the Lord Jesus put in mind, I realized several things of primary importance. First off, sometimes in life we have questions for which we don’t have answers. Sometimes we pray and we can’t hear God speaking, i.e. he seems silent concerning our requests. And, so we cry out for him to hear us, even though we know he does, and for him to answer. Yet, he doesn’t always give us the answers we desire, nor does he explain all of his ways to us.

Sometimes he just says “Trust me;” “Believe me;” “Rest in me.” And, he reminds us that his ways are greater than our ways and his thoughts greater than our thoughts, i.e. he doesn’t think and work like we do. He has purposes for what we go through in this life far beyond our human comprehension. We may even desire the right things, but he may have planned for us to go through injustice or heartache, and so he asks us to just trust him that he knows best.

Secondly what I realized is that when we go through these difficult times of heartache, distress, trouble, hardship, unanswered questions, or seemingly unanswered prayers, it is natural to focus on the negative and on what is not happening, which we had hoped would happen by now, and/or to concentrate on all that is going wrong, and then miss out on what is good that is happening. We get our eyes off Jesus and on to our circumstances, and we can begin to drown. So, the antidote for this is to praise the Lord for ALL HIS BENEFITS.

Eight Benefits

“Who pardons all your iniquities… He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities… As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” ~ vv. 3, 10, 12​

Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the cross for our sins so that we could be free of eternal damnation, free of slavery to sin, and free to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness. When he died, he took upon himself the sins of the entire world, and when he was resurrected back to life, he conquered death, hell, Satan and sin on our behalf.

The Bible teaches us that it is by God’s grace that we are saved, through faith. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve salvation. It is a free gift, paid for by the blood of Christ. Yet, we must believe in Jesus Christ in order to receive this gift. This belief involves turning away from living for self and sin, being born of the Spirit of God, and turning to God/Christ to walk daily in his righteousness and holiness, all in the power and working of the Spirit within us who are born again. Our sins are forgiven, and we are no longer bound for hell, eternal punishment, and eternal separation from God. God’s grace set us free from all that. Amen!

“Who heals all your diseases…” ~ v. 3​

There are many ways in which God heals us. He heals our sin-sick souls, the pain of unjust suffering, and many physical diseases, too. Just like he doesn’t always remove us from difficult circumstances, though, healing doesn’t always come, perhaps, in the forms we had hoped for. Sometimes he heals people through death, for instance, by taking them home to be with him. Other times he uses people’s afflictions to humble them, and to teach them to walk in his ways.

Oftentimes he will use our illnesses to get us to slow down and to spend time with him when we are too busy going here and there and everywhere in our own strength. Frequently he will use sicknesses or handicaps in his servants in ways which will advance his kingdom, which will bring comfort to others, and which will draw people to Jesus Christ. So, although I believe strongly in divine healing, I also see that God heals in many ways, and that sometimes he allows physical suffering for his purposes and glory in our lives.

“Who redeems your life from the pit…” ~ v. 4​

I kept this one separate from the first one, with regard to him pardoning our iniquities, and him delivering us from eternal damnation. Even though they are most certainly on the same subject, and both take place when we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, I see an ongoing aspect of this, as well.

When we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives, and we are delivered from hell, and set free from slavery to sin, we are given new lives to be lived in the power of the Spirit within us. Yet, we are still in flesh bodies, and we still have a propensity to sin, which is why there is so much instruction given to us in the New Testament on continually forsaking sin and on walking daily in Christ’s holiness. So, we may still experience some pitfalls from time to time, and we will need our Lord to lift us out of the pit and to set us back on the right path again. I am so thankful for the times that he has lifted me up when I have fallen, and he has restored and renewed me and has given me new hope and healing.

“Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion… The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindnessFor as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him… Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him… To those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them.” ~ vv. 4, 8, 11, 13, 17-18​

“Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” I also know this from experience. How awesome is God’s love toward us that, not only did Jesus die for our sins and give us such a great salvation, but he sustains us, encourages us, strengthens us, counsels us, comforts us, renews us, holds us, and never lets us go. He is our very best friend! He cares about our deepest needs and longings, and he is there to meet us in whatever we are going through. You will never find anyone like him!

Yet, not everyone in this world has this relationship with God/Jesus. It is reserved for those who honor, respect, value, obey, surrender to, and bow down before God/Jesus in humility, repentance, and submission to his will for their lives, and who make it a practice of their lives to keep his commands (his word – instructions and teachings). This is not just OT teaching, either. This is NT, too. This is all part of our faith in Jesus Christ (See: Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5).

“Who satisfies your years with good things…” ~ v. 5​

Our idea of “good” is not necessarily the same as God’s idea of what is “good.” Good, in God’s eyes, has to do with what is best for us and that which meets our legitimate needs. For instance, in Romans 8:28 it says that he will cause “all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.” Yet, he tells us that we will have to go through suffering, pain, persecution, false accusations, false arrests, etc., and we may even be put to death for our testimony for his name. We may not think of this as something “good,” but God’s purposes are greater than ours. He may use what we go through to purify our hearts, to mold us into the image of Christ, and to advance his gospel of salvation, and to bring many people to Jesus Christ before Christ’s return.

“…So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” ~ v. 5; cf. Is. 40:30-31​

I just turned 65 years old a week ago, so I am no longer a youth. I don’t have the stamina that I once had. I get tired more quickly now. My brain doesn’t work as fast. I don’t multi-task like I did when I was younger. I have more aches and pains. It is called growing old. So, I get tired and weary, and sometimes I just don’t have what it takes to keep pressing on, yet God does! So, I put my hope in him, and he renews my strength. It is amazing to me the strength and endurance he gives me, at times, far beyond what I ever thought I could do. So, it is not unlike soaring like an eagle when we rest in Him, and in his strength, and we allow him to empower us. We can do amazing things in the power of the Spirit within us that our flesh cannot do. I can attest to that from personal experience.

“The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed.” ~ v. 6​

The Lord does not always deliver us from oppression, though sometimes he does. He does not always remove us from difficult circumstances. He allows us to go through troubled times and persecutions. Yet, what he does is work miracles in our hearts and lives, and in the lives of other people whose lives we touch. Sometimes he uses oppression to keep us dependent on him, and not on ourselves, and to fill our hearts with compassion towards others who are hurting, so that we will reach out and will minister God’s grace to others in various ways, according to his purposes and his divine calling for our lives. The apostle Paul was a great example of how God used suffering in his life to advance the gospel.

“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” ~ v. 19​

Our God is absolutely sovereign over all things. This means that Satan cannot touch us but what God allows it. When we truly understand the sovereignty of God over our lives, and that he will work all things out for good, and that he has a plan and a purpose in all that he allows in our lives, it helps us to get through those difficult times. We learn to rest in the Lord and not give way to fear and to worry. And, we learn to trust in his love, and that he knows what he is doing. We don’t ignore problems in our lives, and we don’t deny they exist and refuse to deal with them, but we rely upon the Lord for the wisdom and strength to make the right judgments, and we trust him when situations are truly out of our hands. We let go, and we let God, and we obey him no matter what. And, we believe him to work it all out for good in our lives and in the lives of others. He who promised is faithful! Amen!

Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013

My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
Seeking You for the answers
To my heartache and questions
I have concerning my life?
Speak, Lord, to me right now.

“Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
With your life’s circumstances?
Give your all on the altar
In submission of your will
To My purpose for you.

“Surrender your life completely
To your Lord and your Savior.
He has all things planned for you
For His glory and honor.
He’ll work all things for good.

“Believe Him. He will fulfill all
Of His promises to you
For your life and your future.
Trust Him. Rest in His love.
He’ll give you peace from above.”