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Sunday grace

I awake this morning with a mind to read Psalm 139. It is a familiar, well-loved passage.

But this morning, I am moved to tears as the old words become like fresh bread, still warm from the oven. Their truth quenches the thirst of my heart like living water.

I have lived some years and walked some roads.  I’ve climbed high mountains of victory and been in deep valleys of despair. Sometimes I have felt alone and misunderstood, wondering where God was in my tribulation.

I’ve asked questions with much weeping, wanting answers that would somehow make sense of life. The answers I waited for did not always come in a way I could understand. Instead I saw Who was my answer, the I AM

I see once again this morning, that a loving God has been there in it all. Planning for me, creating me, watching over me, protecting me, going with me, holding me, shining light around me.

I am struck with amazement and awe at this kind of care, commitment, and love for such as I. It is knowledge too wonder-filled for me to understand.

Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways. . . . 
You have encircled me; You have placed Your hand on me.
This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.

I have experienced love in a myriad of ways, gifts from a kind and generous hand. I’ve been amazed by grace.

Grace walked along side me, surrounded me, and held on to me when I could not hold on any longer.

Grace has been there with me all the time, in every circumstance of my life.

And grace will lead me home.

Sunday grace.

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Not just today

In my groggy waking, I remember it’s Thanksgiving Day.  I think of how blessed I am.  With coffee in hand, and Bible open, I read a favorite Psalm, one that reminds me to “forget not all His benefits.”  It’s a favorite of mine.  It spoke truth to me with assurances and promises at a place when my life was crumbling before me, verses I am still holding on to.  The verses speak again today.  And I cling.

I write more entries on my Joy List pondering gifts of hearing someone’s laughter yesterday and the very breath I breathe this morning.  God is good.  All the time.

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I still have cooking to do but I stop long enough to remind myself that everyday should be Thanksgiving, not just the fourth Thursday in November each year.

Soon all thoughts will turn toward the best bargains and are there enough lights on the house and how can I fit one more event into an already full December calendar.  We will steam-roll toward Christmas Day.  But will we stop to give thanks for the best gift God gave?

I hope so.  I hope in my busy days and weeks coming, I will pause and still myself to recall the very reason we call it Christmas.  The Child who came was the Christ and He gives us reason to celebrate.

Let us give thanks to the God who rules over this universe, who has power to crush and raise up, who loves overwhelmingly and everlastingly, who does not deal with us as our sins deserve but instead removes them and casts them away when we turn to His Son for forgiveness.

He deserves praise, thanksgiving, worship.  Always.  Not just today.

PSALM 103

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
    his acts to the people of Israel.
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
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!