Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Thanksgiving for God’s Goodness
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 do not forget 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 as long as you live[a]
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works vindication
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 accuse,
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 the heavens are high 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 he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
I don’t know where some people get their pictures of God…certainly not from Jesus. I don’t understand Christians who see God as One just looking for some excuse to punish us, to exclude us from the divine love, one who keeps pouring over the past and dredging up old sins, old failures, old hurts and beating us over the head with them. That’s not God. God doesn’t want to hold our past over our head like some threatening guillotine. No, God wants to set us free from all that hurts us, discourages us, and makes us to think less of ourselves. Because God loves us, God wants only good for us.
The problem is not that God is reluctant to forgive us. The problem is that we are reluctant to forgive ourselves. The problem is that it seems too good to be true that there is no sin that God is not anxious to forgive. God wants to forgive us even more than we want to be forgiven. Because what God wants for us is to live today and tomorrow and all the tomorrows of our lives as His beloved sons and daughters, secure in the warmth of God’s love, and walking in the wonderful light of God’s Way.
Listen to the promises of scripture:
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
Jesus words from the cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
And today’s scripture: “As far as the east is from the west, so far God removes our transgressions from us.”
Do you hear the good news? God is not in the condemnation business. God is in the redemption business. No wonder the psalmist is so full of praise: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster