I have been challenged. Challenged by my pastor, Steven Furtick, who often begins his sermon each week with a passage from the Bible, that he is often saying from memory. Sometimes these are some pretty long passages! It is a true example of filling your heart and mind with God’s Words.
Several months ago, that passage was Psalm 103. After this particular sermon, I started reading David’s speech to himself each day, as a way to get my heart in the right place. After reading it so many times, I discovered, I knew a lot of it! I have now moved on to trying to memorize the whole thing. So far, I’m up to verse 10. I’d love to share this sermon to ourselves with you.
Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
(David is giving himself a command here – PRAISE THE LORD. He isn’t giving himself an out. Praise the Lord on the days when life is good. Praise the Lord when He does things the way that I want. No, it pretty much looks to me like we are to just flat out praise Him…regardless. To me, this is kind of like the fight for joy that John Piper talks about).
Praise the Lord, O my soul, (in case you didn’t get it the first time, heart, I’m going to instruct you to do it again) and forget not all his benefits-
(let’s go ahead and name a few – forgiveness, mercy, grace, patience, hope, unfailing love, healing, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, this could go on for a very long time if we were going to truly remember ALL of His benefits!)
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit (pretty much that is happening daily) and crowns you with love and compassion, (Let me degress here a second. One way that I help myself memorize this, is by having pictures in my head. On this verse, I picture myself being pulled out of a murky, muddy hole, like a deep well. Pulled out to the light above!)
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s (there is absolutely no comparison to the “good” things of the world we are living in and the good things of the King of the Universe. I’ll take His good any time, that is as long as I can keep my heart off of what the world keeps saying is good! I’ve seen it; I’ve experienced it. I just have to keep reminding myself that it is true; His way ALWAYS leads to life!)
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel. (Make them known to me, too, Lord!)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those for fear him.”
So, that is as far as I have gotten. Some mornings, I will preach this sermon to myself before I get out of bed. Some nights, I will say these powerful words to myself before I sleep. Either way, it is one more way that I am teaching myself the truth.
Do you try to replace your thoughts with His thoughts? If so, please share with us what works for you so we can try it to! Just click on comments below. We can’t wait to hear!