Psalm 103:17-18 “But the LORD ‘s love for those who respect him continues forever and ever, and his goodness continues to their grandchildren (18) and to those who keep his agreement and who remember to obey his orders.” New Century Version
God’s love lasts forever! His goodness extends to the grandchildren! What wonderful promises! But are they for me, or only for others? Am I one who qualifies to receive them?
Do I respect (fear in other versions) the Lord? Well, I do reverence Him and worship Him alone. I’m growing in letting my life revolve around Him and trusting Him above everything and everyone. Do I keep His agreement/covenant? I’m not sure what that looks like, but I know I belong to Jesus Christ, God’s Son and seek to follow Him, and I think that might be what it means to keep God’s covenant.
Do I remember His commands to do them (obey His orders)? God’s commands are to love Him with all I am and to love other people. I’m learning to do that more and more, although I still stumble. [Thank You, Lord, that Your mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23) and that there’s no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).]
Yes, these promises would surely be for me also.
People who think they have to be perfect feel driven much of the time. I speak from experience. We, in trying to reach perfection, succeed mostly at making ourselves (and likely those around us) miserable. How did I end up in this trap? For me it probably started as a desire to feel good about myself that took root in a crevice of pride and grew into striving to avoid the emotional pain of being corrected. I didn’t understand that the ache of driving myself to be always right was worse and longer-lasting than the pain of correction. I also didn’t grasp the fact that part of that hurt was caused by “all or nothing” thinking—for example, if I’m not 100% right, I’m a total failure.
Now that I recognize the problem, I asked for God’s help to break free. And He is helping. I still sometimes find myself spending my thought time on every mistake I can remember and feeling guilty for every sin (even though I’ve confessed them and received forgiveness–1 John 1:9.) So instead of keeping my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith (Hebrews 12:2), I end up focusing on past failures.
One idea that helps me get off the treadmill of perfectionism is to capture the memories of mistakes and forgiven sins before they bump the thought speed control up to “race.” Then I tell myself to think of those things as just reminders that I’m not God—never have been and never will be. And really, what a relief! I’m way too small to handle His job. Any human being is.
Psalm 46:10–“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else, nor share my praise with carved idols.
(Verses are New Living Translation.)
How wonderful that God uses evil to bring about good! There’s the familiar story of Joseph’s being sold into slavery in Egypt and rising to power second only to Pharaoh. He told his brothers when they feared retaliation that what they meant for evil, God meant for good (to save many people alive).
In Jonah 1, God sent a violent storm on the sea where a Phoenician ship carried a disobedient prophet Jonah. In Jonah 1:16, the sailors, who before had worshiped “local” gods, made sacrifices to the living God and vowed to serve Him.
Behold the cross! God took the evil of the crucifixion of His innocent Son and used it to redeem all of humankind. He laid all of our sin on Jesus so that all who believe in Jesus the Christ (Messiah) will be forgiven of their sin and will have eternal fellowship with our triune God.
The believing in and receiving Christ begins the everlasting life with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And along the way, I see God redeeming the brokenness in my life, using what others mean for evil and even my own failures for my good and His glory.
Indeed, God causes even the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 76:10a).
When my husband and I hiked in Kings Canyon, we got off the trail on one of the hikes. We weren’t sure when or how we departed from the route shown on the map, but we got into progressively rougher terrain and ran into more obstacles. We wondered, “Is this really the trail?”
Finally we decided to turn around, ask God’s help, and try to find our way back to a place we recognized. When we found the trail again, we thanked God, went back to the trail head, and looked for a hike that was more clearly marked.
As a follower of Jesus, I sometimes get off the path where He is leading. I find the going rougher and the obstacles greater as the Holy Spirit keeps prodding me to return to the right way. I’m so glad God doesn’t leave me alone, but instead calls me back into His light!
I used to get bogged down in hopeless regret when I made a seemingly big mistake or had grievously sinned. First John 1:9 assures me that God forgives and cleanses me as soon as I confess my sin and turn back to Him. However, I can’t go back in time and live those days the way God had planned. That righteous path is blocked for me.
Recently, thoughts on Jeremiah 18:3-11 encouraged me about that. There God says He can do with the people of Judah as the potter did with the pot he was making. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped, so he returned it to a lump and made a different vessel.
“O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand (Jeremiah 18:6 New Living Translation).”
Because of God’s goodness and mercy, He plans a different route for me to go where I can honor and glorify Him again. That righteous path will be just as wonderful as “Plan A.” Not only that, “Plan C” would be just as marvelous as Plan A or B. Likewise, His plans D, E…Z, AA, AB, and on to infinity will be equally amazing. In God’s multifaceted, infinite wisdom, He makes each one of His “paths of righteousness” perfect.
I don’t want to fail or sin or in any way damage this vessel God is working on. But I do. And God, with His unlimited creativity and grace still has great plans for me to take part in as soon as I return to Him and His way. Indeed, “He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3).”
Goodbye, Hopeless Regret. Hello, Joy in the Lord!
© Tricia Opitz Nov. 20515-Nov. 2016 https://triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com/
Picture credit: –”Potter in Rabka 03″ by User:Piotrus – my photos. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG#/media/File:Potter_in_Rabka_03.JPG
“God overrules human sin for His glory and the ultimate good of mankind.” –from the devotional booklet “Our Daily Bread,” 11-19-14, note on Genesis 50:15-21.
I love it that God overrules sin for His glory and our good! I can just see a courtroom. Mr. Sin stands up with an objection to good and right. But God is the judge. The gavel comes down, and God, being far more powerful than sin or Satan, says with all authority, “Overruled.” Then God proceeds to bring good out of the evil. (Romans 8:28—“ And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” New Living Translation)
God (through Paul) tells us to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). As we do, we’re being like our Father God. So I want to pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi which says:
“Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
“O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.”
The melody of beginning light and mingled blues and pinks in the skies of sunrise.
The blend of golds and oranges and reds of the waning light of sunset.
A chorus of singing birds and wind in the trees, chattering squirrels and flowers in the breeze at noonday.
Clouds may roll in and shroud the skies in darkness with lightning and thunder and power of strong winds,
Varied voices of God’s people singing praise to Jesus, King of Kings and creator of all things.
Moon and stars and galaxies far, and birds at rest within their nests sound notes of night time.
Near and far, day and night, it’s only right that all things and all people everywhere would lift songs of praise to the God of all.
These thoughts brought to mind the hymn “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” by Isaac Watts.
The lyrics include such lines as: “I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,” “I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day,” “Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,” “…All that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care,” with “And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.” An excellent acapella version of this hymn can be found at I Sing the Mighty Power of God.
Psalm 8:1 “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens!”
Isaiah 6:3 “And one cried to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!’”
Jeremiah 10:12-13 says, “He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion. 13 When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”
(All Scripture quotes are New King James Version.)
Natalie has done a lovely post on hugs. Hugs are a gift, so give someone one today.
A hug delights and warms and charms;
that must be why God gave us arms.
A hug is the perfect gift:
one size fits all, and
nobody minds if you exchange it.
Love is a circular emotion
that surrounds you, like a hug,
One word can end a fight;
One hug can start a friendship;
One smile can being unity;
One person can change your entire life!
Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. ~Proverbs 4:8 ✝
**images via Pinterest; collages by Natalie
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