Transcript of Midweek Meditations podcast episode aired on Wednesday, 15th April 2020.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;Psalm 118:1-2 (NIV)
his love endures forever.
Let Israel say:
“His love endures forever.”
This past weekend we celebrated Easter and remembered the death and resurrection of Jesus. I don’t know about you but what a precious celebration, a precious reminder of the precious gift we have in Jesus.
Yet unlike many of life’s celebrations, it’s a celebration that doesn’t end. It’s not like a birthday. It’s not like a public holiday. If anything, it’s like a wedding anniversary, it should be a reflection of the every day. The precious gift of Easter is one that should fill us with joy through each and every day.
Our meditation in this psalm reminds us of a few things to keep us going through our day.
1. Give thanks to the LORD
Set your heart of thanksgiving. Focus your mind on gratitude. Position your body for praise and worship. Draw your spirit near to God and meditate on the promises of his Word.
What greater reason do we need but remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our life hangs on the reality of the love of our heavenly Father sending his one and only Son to die for our sins.
This should stop us in our tracks as we remember the eyes of the Father turned away from the Son towards us; the curse of sin broken as freedom and redemption was purchased by the blood of the Lamb, as the arms of the Saviour were stretched out on the Cross. Friend, let’s give thanks.
Right now, however, you find yourself struggling, wrestling to give thanks. The psalm provides us with the antidote to our struggling: “Give thanks to the LORD…” Why? Because “he is good [and] his love endures forever.”
2. Remember God’s goodness and his love
The goodness and love of God are not emotions or realities subject to change. They are eternal, they are permanent, they are rooted in the very essence of God—they will never change.
Whatever life throws at you today, remember that God is good, remember his love endures forever. Today might suck, tomorrow might suck…heck, while COVID-19 continues to spread, life is going to suck BUT God is still good, his love still endures, and nothing will change that.
Remember the times God demonstrated his goodness and love to you. Not only that, remember God’s goodness and love to brothers and sisters in Christ, remember God’s goodness and love throughout history, remember God’s goodness and love found through the pages of Scripture. Through time and space, God is always good and his love endures forever.
3. This is God’s will for you
Before you go thinking that this is all dependent on your ability to give thanks and remember. Remember what Paul writes to the Thessalonian church:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 (NIV; emphasis mine)
Now, let’s get this right. God’s will for you isn’t some minute-by-minute agenda you need fulfil. No, it’s God’s good and loving, overarching purpose for each and every person.
Paul’s boils it down to 3 things: joy, intimacy, and gratitude. God wants life to be marked by perpetual joy, dependent intimacy with him in prayer, and unworldly gratitude—this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. This joy, intimacy, and gratitude isn’t dependent on our circumstances but, as we think back on Easter, what God has done for us in Christ Jesus.
A joy steeped in the knowledge that a good God holds all of life in his hands. An intimacy fuelled by the enduring, eternal love of God. A gratitude in the demonstration of God’s love by sending his one and only Son as a sacrifice for our sins.
As we think back on the precious gift of Easter, the blessings of the Cross free us from the chains of sin, so that we might live this life: full of joy, marked by intimacy with our Heavenly Father, and eyes of gratitude and thanks. Yet, we can only truly do that when we know and remember that God is good and his love endures forever.
Take the time today to give thanks. Write them down; better yet, share them with a friend. Make it a habitual practice to give thanks.
If you’re struggling to do that, take some time to remember God’s goodness and his love. Take a look at Psalm 136. Read the gospel accounts and remember the events of Easter.
If you journal, read old journals and remember God’s goodness in your life. Reach out to a Christian brother or sister to hear God’s goodness and love in their lives. Go for a walk and take in God’s creation.
Lastly, pray God would enable and help you in this. After all, this is his will for you. That’s exactly what we’re going to do now.
Awesome God, all-loving Holy Spirit, blessed Jesus. Thank you for the Cross. Thank you for your sacrifice, your death and resurrection. As we remember what you have done for us, may it fill us with deepest gratitude for the life you call us to live—a life of joy, intimacy, and gratitude.
Help us now by reminding us through your Holy Spirit of your goodness and eternal love. Even as we struggle and wrestle with our present circumstances, remind us of what you have done in the past, give us hope for what you will do in the future. Above all, take us back to the Cross where the blood of Jesus was spilled to save us from the curse of sin.
As we live in the blessings of Jesus, may we be filled with joy, intimacy with you, and a heart of gratitude so that we may not only experience the life you desire for us, but that we might offer hope and life to the world around us.
So again we thank you for the events of this past Easter for you are good and your love endures forever and forever. Amen.