UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, first posted on November 14, 2013, is provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Gratitude and Joy”
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.  He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field;  for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.  But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children,  to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments.  The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.  Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!  Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will  Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Think about a time in your life when you were filled with gratitude and joy. What brought about that emotion? For some, it was finally graduating or finding a dream or any job; for others, it was being forgiven or forgiving. Whatever the event, we recognize that certain moments in our lives can bring about overwhelming and uncontainable thanksgiving and elation.
As we look at Psalm 103, it is evident that David also experiences feelings of gratitude as he thinks about who God is and what He has done for him. He starts and ends the Psalm with the expression, “Bless the Lord,” no doubt to remind himself of God’s goodness in his life. Thus, he will continue to be grateful for all that God has done in the past, is doing in the present, and will do in the future. One commentator concerning this passage said, “He is cataloging the goodness of God; enumerating his blessings, lest in a moment of depression or backsliding, he should forget the source of his prosperity and take God’s grace for granted.” Look at all the reasons for which David praises the Lord:
- His forgiveness (v.3)
- Our redeemer who rescues us from the pit (v.4)
- Steadfast love and mercy (v.4)
- Merciful and Gracious (v. 8)
- Steadfast Love (v.11)
- Covenant keeper (v.18)
Have you ever taken God’s goodness and grace for granted? I am sure we all have. Take some time this morning, therefore, to bless and praise his Holy name. Think about everything that God has done for you. Mediate on his attributes as David does in this Psalm. May our worship arise from a heart of thanksgiving.
Prayer: Father, thank You for the access I have to You; for that, I am extremely grateful. Help me to believe the message of peace and thus to enter the joyful and peaceful life available in You. Also, help me to be more grateful and thankful. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 28
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 17:11-19: On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Questions to Consider
- Why do you think only one of the lepers returned Jesus?
- Why did Jesus ask where the other nine were? Do you think they were grateful?
- Do you resemble the nine lepers who didn’t return or the one who sought out Jesus to thank him? Why?
- He was full of gratitude. It seems that we don’t think much about the spiritual discipline of “gratitude”; it may be an afterthought for many. In the chaos and busyness of our lives, it can be hard to step back and thank God for what he has done for us. All too often, the void of gratitude is filled by complain and discontentment. That is all the more reason we ought to discipline ourselves to include expressions of gratitude in our daily conversations with others, and of course, in our prayers to the Lord.
- Granted it that they were elated to return home as soon as possible to be reunited with their loved ones whom they had not seen for a long time. Still, that is no excuse for not returning to Jesus to thank him for giving their life back. It is a classic case of loving the gifts more than the giver.
- Just like the Samaritan leper who returned, take an inventory of your life to specifically name those things in your life for which you feel grateful to Jesus. For example, it can be:
- Your salvation/faith in Jesus
- Local church
- School/Job that you are currently in
- Even hardship and trials
“We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because is works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.” -C.S. Lewis
Spend some time in prayer and continue to praise God and bless His name. My hope is that we can live every day (not just today) with a heart of thanksgiving and praise. Bless the Lord, Oh my soul!