Scripture

Psalm 103:1-2

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits -

Reflection

This past weekend, I invited you the think about the importance of remembering all the words to your “Amazing Grace” faith story. I shared my conviction that our life in Christ is crippled when the “now I’m found” loses sight of the “once was lost” part of our story.

As you consider that claim, listen to what author James Bryan Smith says in his book, The Good & Beautiful God. He writes,

“Everything we have is a gift. We were made without any effort on our part. We breathe undeserved air. The sun gratuitously rises and warms our planet and, along with the unmerited rain, nourishes the land, yielding delicious fruits and grains. It is all manna, the unearned provision of a lavish and loving God. We have never been and never will be in a place where we can turn to God and say, “You owe me. I deserve this.” We do not deserve anything we’ve been given. We have earned nothing. Yet God continues to give.”

For many years, I have described the book, The Good & Beautiful God, as my highest book recommendation outside of the Bible. The power of the book is in its ability to challenge our false understanding of God’s character and in the exercises he offers to help retrain our souls in truth.

Today, I want to invite you to begin the practice of one exercise in particular that I will be encouraging you to continue throughout this week. Here is how Smith describes this exercise.

Make a list of all of the things God has blessed you with, all of the things that make life wonderful. Pay attention to the details of your life. Look for the hidden things. Take notice of all of those wonderful things you easily overlook. Start small: try to come up with a list of ten things God has blessed you with.

With the encouragement we find in Psalm 103, begin today. I want you to begin naming one by one these blessings. I will encourage you to do that each day this week with the goal of writing down 50 of them by the end of this week.

Prayer

Alongside this practicing of naming our blessings, I want to encourage you to pray through Psalm 103 this week as your opening prayer each day. If you have never done this before, it is exactly as it’s described. This practice is simply reading through the Psalm as your prayer for the day. Try reading it through slowly out loud. Allow the meaning of the message to find its way into your heart and life as you repeat this Psalm each day this week.

Psalm 103

1 Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
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.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
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;
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.
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.