Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Sunday, 17 February 19:
Psalm 20:9; Psalm 21:13 — O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call…. Be exalted, O Lord, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
Trust and Praise. Psalm 20 and 21 remind to trust the Lord and Praise Him both in “the day of trouble” (Psalm 20:1) and when He gives us our “heart’s desire.” (Psalm 21:2) Romans 8:28, 29 says, “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” In perfect, unfailing love, God uses both good times and bad times to reveal Himself to us more and more, to draw us increasingly closer to Him, to reveal Himself to others through our lives, to conform us to the image of His Son, and to ready us for good works which He has prepared for us in advance, that we would be instruments and messengers of His grace to others.
“Now I know that the Lord saves…. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright.” (Psalm 20:7, 8) Through trials, God teaches us to rely on His strength rather than our own, and He further reveals His sovereignty, love, and faithfulness. “You… have not withheld the request of his lips.” (Psalm 21:2) When God blesses us, we are further reminded on His love and grace but also refreshed in spirit, renewed in joy, and strengthened in faith.
The key, whether facing bad times or good times, is to continually draw closer to God, not further away. In Proverbs, Agur prays, “Two things I ask of you… give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.” We must guard our hearts against pride and presumption, which can cause us to become complacent (crass and smug) during good times and callous in bad times, hindering our relationship with God.
Certainly Christians can rest upon the assurance of God’s saving grace and trust the benevolence and beneficence of his common grace (what He provides or withholds), but we must be cautious not to become so accustomed to grace we are no longer amazed by grace and then start demanding grace as if it were our entitlement, losing sight of the holiness and sovereignty of God. As the old Scottish prayer goes, “May God grant us grace to feel our need of grace, then… grace to be grateful.” Perhaps our gratitude for grace is best revealed by how we show grace and proclaim grace to others.
In all circumstances trust and praise God.
– Psalm 34:1-4 — I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 — Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
– Philippians 4:4-9 — Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
– 2 Peter 3:18 — But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
– 2 Corinthians 9:8 — And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 Feb 19: Reflect upon God’s grace today, be amazed, sing His praises, and show grace to all in His Name!