Gift #1122: Of Birthdays and Remembrances

This past Sunday my church celebrated our 10th birthday.  We’ve been celebrating this whole month, with special events that let us look back to see God’s faithfulness and how He has written the stories of hundreds of lives and woven them together to make this family.  Part of our “looking back” has meant that our Pastor is preaching key sermons from our past series and we are singing songs that we used to sing but not as much anymore.  Both these aspects have delighted me greatly.  Firstly, the two sermons we’ve had so far have been from my favorite series – one in Exodus and one from Joshua and it’s been wonderful to hear from these books of the Bible again. Secondly, I love the singing at my church and it’s been glorious to hear the songs I first associated with my church home sung again.  I’ve pretty much just cried from joy at both services during all the singing.   Thirdly, it emphasizes again the relevancy of God’s truth.  The sermons and songs we’ve heard are just as applicable and needful to my heart as the day I first heard them.   In fact, now that more life has been lived, the message is even more precious.

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Since late fall my family has gone through a very difficult time.  There are several situations that feel overwhelming and many is the morning that I wake up feeling like we’re drowning under the weight of it.  I’m scared of the future and anxiety-ridden about the news that each day will bring.  It’s been very difficult to trust God in this because my eyes are limited by a temporal view.  And He promises victory and grace, but I know that these promises may not be fulfilled in this lifetime or at least in the way I expect them to come.  I’m wrestling with the paradoxical truths that God promises life and triumph, but in this world we don’t always get happy, miraculous answers to our problems.  Hence I’m in the midst of a struggle to re-orient my perspective to an eternal one.

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To close out our service last Sunday (our actual anniversary day), the choir sang a song from the early days, one of my very favorites.  It’s called “Praise the Lord O my Soul”  and it’s a beautiful musical rendition of Psalm 103, which also happens to be one of my favorite psalms.  Hearing that song was like receiving a kiss from God, like He was whispering to my heart, remember Who I Am and what I have promised for you.  I’ve been meditating and re-reading this psalm all week and wanted to share it with you.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
  Praise the Lord, 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,
  who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

  The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

  He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
   The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
 He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbor his anger forever;
 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for 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 has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
  for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
   The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
  the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children—
 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

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May it be as much of an encouragement to you wherever you are on life’s journey as it has been to me.

PS:  I’ve included some pictures of spring emerging because there’s not much else that speaks to the promises of God being fulfilled as a flower opening.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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