Sovereign

If this year the additional theme to my journal of daily reminders about God’s faithfulness is to be God’s sovereignty* then in personal matters I must trust. For though personal matters seem of little worldly importance, or at least less than public or professional matters, they are of cosmic importance precisely because they are close to my heart and soul, and we know that the most epic of spiritual battles are fought first on such sacred grounds. Hence in these matters especially, I should be diligent and purposeful to do the thing that seems to most clearly honour God and can bring Him undoubtable praise and glory for works that must obviously be attributed to him.

Trust, though a solid-sounding word, is not necessarily a comfortable state to be in. One can be spurred to fearless trust with habit and practice (you trust your legs now though you didn’t when you were 5 months old), but trust is a risk. Having beheld more than two years of daily records about how God is faithful, I have more than ample personal material to supplement biblical claims that God is faithful to be good, because He is sovereign despite disappointing timelines in our eyes.

I’m not sure what the worship band had in mind a few weeks ago when they chose this song to play while challenging us to choose an attribute of God to meditate on in 2013. Could anyone choose anything but “sovereign” after this song? Funny.

Sovereign in my greatest joy,
Sovereign in my deepest cry,
With me in the dark,
With me at the dawn.

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Self-talk: encouraging yourself to praise

David sets an example of the psychological principle of self-talk. Just like the psalmist asking himself why his soul is downcast in the famous depression psalm (Psalm 42), here David tells himself to praise God, and gives himself some solid indisputable reasons to believe it too.

Psalm 103

Bless the Lord, O My Soul

[OF DAVID.]

[103:1] Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
[2] Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
[3] who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
[4] who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
[5] who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
[6] The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed.
[7] He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
[8] The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
[9] He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
[10] He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
[11] For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
[12] as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
[13] As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
[14] For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
[15] As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
[16] for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
[17] But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
[18] to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
[19] The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
[20] Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
[21] Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
[22] Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

(ESV)

jeal·ous [jel-uhs]

Everything is God’s. Every tangible and intangible thing.

He is jealous in all the right ways if things are done without this consideration. Things like non-thankfulness, absence of praise, independence (from God not people), half-hearted trust, an uncaring spirit, self aggrandizement, trivial pursuits for the sake of ignoring significant pursuits, almost-significant pursuits that we throw ourselves into, downright terrible pursuits… and mopey boredom (a.k.a. not doing anything about anything because nothing is worth your effort).

First Edition: Praise and Worship

Although I haven’t blogged about my readings in a while, my Bible companions and I are now making our way through Chronicles. The two books of Chronicles are mostly lists of names and stories, but David has a psalm there that sounds like the one psalm that wrote them all. (modern songs included)

Note all the action words for us, and note also the character and actions of God.

1 Chronicles 16:7-36

David’s Psalm of Thanks

7 That day David first committed to Asaph and his associates this psalm of thanks to the LORD :

8 Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
9 Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.
11 Look to the LORD and his strength;
seek his face always.
12 Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
13 O descendants of Israel his servant,
O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.

14 He is the LORD our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
15 He remembers [b] his covenant forever,
the word he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
17 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
18 “To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you will inherit.”

19 When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
20 they [c] wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
21 He allowed no man to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
22 “Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”

23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
25 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy in his dwelling place.
28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.
Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his [d] holiness.
30 Tremble before him, all the earth!
The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.
31 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”
32 Let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them!
33 Then the trees of the forest will sing,
they will sing for joy before the LORD,
for he comes to judge the earth.

34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
35 Cry out, “Save us, O God our Saviour;
gather us and deliver us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name,
that we may glory in your praise.”
36 Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Then all the people said “Amen” and “Praise the LORD.”

Two that clearly came to mind just now were Chris Tomlin singing Forever (“his love endures forever”), and Joy to the World (“let heaven and nature sing”) haha.

And yes, I’m a little behind schedule.