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Thought for the Day by Rich Arnold (Youth and Families Minister - Holy Cross)
A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
1 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2 Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
I love this little Psalm. What big joy is found is so few words! We may not be able to shout and sing as much as we like right now (at least when we gather together) yet the same attitude and emotion of joy can be ours.
I wonder how you are feeling on this Monday morning? Back to work. Back to school. Back to another week of routine. Maybe the feeling of Monday Blues is all too familiar, and yet we can know deep joy and thankfulness. We just need to keep telling ourselves why. There are so many reason to ‘shout for joy’ but the Psalmist gives us three.
Firstly, The Lord is God (v3). It might be obvious to say (indeed I hope it is!) but we are not God. We are not in charge of the universe or even our lives. We are not all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise or all-loving. But God is! We have a God who is always in control, who is working his good plan, who is 100% reliable and who is way bigger than we can imagine- and he is all those things precisely because he is God! There is real freedom and deep joy in knowing our place before Him and recognising that He is all we need Him to be.
Secondly, God has made us to be his people (v3). We were not only created by Him but in Christ we have been re-created. Like sheep in a lush meadow, we belong to a shepherd who loves and cares for his flock. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we are now His and no one can snatch us out of His grasp (John 10:28). As we reflect on the security and assurance that our new identity in Christ gives us it will drive us towards a place of joy and gladness. No matter how our Monday goes, we are His!
Thirdly, the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generation (v5). We know that’s true, because of all He has done for us in Christ to make us His people. When people are unkind and anything but good to us, we can be sure of God’s goodness because of Jesus. When life is hard and we are confused about what God is doing, we can be sure He is good because of Jesus. When we are hurt by those around us or feel unwelcome and unloved, we can be sure of God’s love because of Jesus. When we feel lonely or are struggling with grief we can be sure of God’s love because of Jesus. When we fall short of what God wants from us and feel like we have let Him down, we can be sure that he will still be faithful to us because of Jesus. When we doubt our salvation or don’t feel particularly close to God, we can still be sure of God’s faithfulness because of Jesus. All that is always true and so there is always reason to give him thanks and praise. There is always a reason for joy.
Ask God to help you to keep telling yourself these things. Life your eyes to your God, find joy in him, see afresh why he is worth praising.
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