Bless the Lord, O my soul

“Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Bless-the-Lord

As I ponder upon Psalm 103, indeed, this is the response that David wants us to do – “Bless the Lord, O my soul!”

Why?

He can forgive all your sins. He can heal all your disease. He can redeem your life from a bottomless pit. He showers you with love and compassion. He satisfies.

3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. If we really understand that we are all sinners, we know the gravity of our situation. But the truth is this; he doesn’t repay us according to our sins. His love is great. It is compared to how far the east is from the west, which means there is no limit in his love for us.

8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;

The Lord knows we are nothing. We are but a breath. We are mere mortals. But the Lord looks upon us with love. From everlasting to everlasting the Lord is with those who Fear him, with those who understand that they are but dust.

14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

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

Praise the Lord for this goodness! Praise the Lord for his love. Let us respond and bless the Lord!

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

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Ponder upon this, how much do you know the Lord to be able to respond, “Bless the Lord, O my soul?” Do you have 10,000 reasons or even more to praise His name?

 

Not only During Christmas

It’s easy to neglect a lot of things. We’re so limited in our thinking that our focus can immediately just shift on the here and now. This is the month where everyone celebrates, some maybe out of wrong reasons and some out of the right ones. I am reminded of what I neglect a lot of times.

Christmas FiguresYes, it’s Christmas and we get to remember what the Lord has done for us. He gave His son to this world to die for our sins. That has always been the reason to celebrate Christmas for me. But why do we sometimes neglect this great truth and just really remember and internalize it during Christmas season. Isn’t it suppose to be a daily and regular reminder for us to be grateful of our salvation? Not only during Christmas.

As I read Hebrews 2, I really begun to internalize why Jesus came to be a man. He was 100% God and 100% man. How that is possible will always leave me dumbfounded. But that it what the Bible says. Hebrews 2:14 explains why:

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil

Only through being a human being can Jesus die to pay for our sins. Shedding of blood (life) was needed for the forgiveness of our sins. Imagine that. The God who created everything, walked in realm of his creation. He walked the dirt that he created. He breathe the air that he spoke forth with, through His word alone. All to die for the sins of humanity.

Christmas should always be celebrated because of the gift. That gift, is the gift of God through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Living in light of Jesus’ Return

A lot will say time flies. I agree. I am in my late twenties and this is a season in my life where I see people getting engaged, married and starting a family. Some of my friends being new moms and new dads. That made me think, how would it feel actually to be a dad?

Baby Waiting for DaddyWhile thinking about this, I tried searching and saw a cute picture of what it would be like for your son or daughter actually to wait for you to come home.

 

It such a wonderful picture to ponder upon. If you would relate yourselves to this picture. How do you feel about Christ’s return? Do you have same Joy and Excitement? Do you anticipate the return of Jesus Christ? Are you living in light of Jesus’ Return?

When we look at 1 John 2:28 – 3:3 we would see that this should be our hope. His return is what we should joyfully hope for that we prepare for it.

 

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. 29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

When we look at these set of verses, we will see the return of Christ commonly being talked about. The word “appear,” appears in Chapter 2 verse 28 and Chapter 3, verse 2

When verse 3 said, “And everyone who has this hope” John was referring therefore to Christ appearing again or His return – the hope that should we anchor ourselves into, which produces Christ-likeness.

And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

Perhaps you’re thinking, why it is important for us to understand that this is the hope that we need to have to be able to go through the process of becoming more like him.

To become more like Him means to be unlike the world. To become more like him means to bear His image and not the image of the world.

When John wrote this letter one of his focus was to help believers understand how they would know if they are in the faith (in Him) and not the world. We would see this in the previous chapters of the book: Living in the Light (Chapter 1), not loving the world (Chapter 2) and the evidences:

  • Obedience (2:3-6)
  • Love for Fellow Believers (2:7-11)
  • Moral Likeness (1:5-7)
  • Not loving the word for “the world is passing away, and also its lusts” (2:17)

This is what separates you from the world. This is what bearing His image means. This is what a Child of God looks forward to – not the things of this world which passes away, but what is ahead for us upon his return.

That’s why if you would ponder upon that picture again do we bear the same hope and desire? Are we excited and expectant of his return?

We may not have that attitude and joy because we have been exposed too much in the world. We might have invested too much of our time, effort and love for things that have no eternal value?

The child of God will look forward to His return – His Abba or Papa. That’s why verse 28 start this way.

28 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

 

Take note how verse 28 started. It mentioned “little children.” There is a relationship being mentioned here.

John is saying. You as a child of God should abide in Him because one thing is certain there will come a time where you will see your creator face to face and the last thing that you want to happen, in that glorious moment, is to be ashamed of the things that you have done.

We will all face the Lord someday upon His return, so be careful – abide. Abide that you will not give in to the temptation, lose your eternal focus and be drawn in by the world. Abide that you may not lose sight of what is ahead of you

What does Abiding mean? John has constantly been using the word abide.

  1. But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. - 1 John 2:5-6
  2. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. - 1 john 2:10
  3. As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. - 1 john 2:24

Abiding means remaining. It is remaining in fellowship. Remaining in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ and remaining in fellowship with God according to the truth. That’s why it says in Galatians 5:16.

  • Galatians 5:16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
  • John 15:5 – I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

You need to abide. You need continuously to be connected. I see the connection as a cross – remaining connected vertically (God) and remain connected horizontally (believers).

In verse 29, John was again answering the concern how would you know if you are in the faith (in Him) and not the world;

29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

 

That’s why is important to understand why you are address as “little children” because as a child everything that you will be doing will reflect the Father that you have.

Since you are a child of God, you are, therefore, responsible for bearing his image, his righteousness in this fallen world. And the key to help you desire to stand in confidence when you face him and not be ashamed is to know that He is righteous.

What a joy it would be to be able to stand that day with confidence in your heart that you’ve run the race well and you’ve shown His righteousness in your life.

That the Lord was seen and not you. You became more like him, that “Marc” can no longer be seen.

So fix your hope on the return of Jesus. Desire to see him face to face with confidence. That is possible through abiding and remaining in fellowship with Him, but also understanding that He is righteous and you are to bear His image (His righteousness) in your life

And may all of these things be motivated out of love. That’s why John suddenly shifts his tone in Chapter 3 verse 1 and really focuses on your sonship.

3 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

 

See how great a love or behold what manner of love contains heavy emotions that John is saying: “what is this kind of love?”

  • This love is hard to comprehend
  • This love is out of this world
  • How can we be called a child of the creator of the universe
  • How can we be called a child of the God of everything
  • Such wonder is hard for me to comprehend

It’s really hard to grasp this love that the Lord has given you, when you understand your sinfulness but…but…such as we are.

That’s just it. You didn’t deserve this. You didn’t deserve to be called a child of God, but the Lord, in his great love, choose so.

And because you are a child of God. He will finish the work. Just like in Philippians 1:6 and in 1 John 3:2

  • Philippians 1:6 – And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
  • 1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.

This is part of your hope that when Christ returns for his Church. He shall conform every believer to His image. In view of His return; In view of the hope that we have, we should keep our lives pure, clean and righteous. Striving daily to become more like him and abide in Him

3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

 

But it starts first with the Hope that you need to anchor yourself into.

You may be enjoying life right now and everything looks great. Don’t lose what is ahead of you. Don’t hold on tightly to the things that you are enjoying right now in this world. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you in love not to desire sin in your life. Serve the Lord so you may stand in confidence upon his return that you used your time, talents and treasure for his kingdom

Or you may be suffering in life right now and everything is problematic. Don’t lose sight of what is ahead of you. Don’t focus on your problem – it will be but a blink in the eye. You have eternity to look forward to. Let the hope of seeing Him face to face, move you to respond well in this situation. Despite the pain and problems, trust God and wait on Him. And even in your darkest hour, serve the Lord – He deserves it. Let is all be motivated out of love

If I’ll leave you with one thing to remember this is it: More like Him through Hoping in Him.

I know it’s easy to lose our focus that there is eternity to look forward to. Maybe you can help give suggestions how we can keep our focus on the hope that we have? Let’s desire to Live in light of Jesus’ return.

Note from the author: This is an transcript of my message during one of the Mid-year Fasting and Prayer Night Service in CCF Alabang.

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