Occupied With Jesus



 As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

~Psalm 103:13, NRSV


It is impossible to exaggerate God’s goodness.


The Psalms are divided into divisions or books. Psalm 90-106 is the fourth division and each of the Psalms in this section are related. Psalms 103 is about the LORD’s benefits to His people, Psalm 104–His care of His creation, Psalm 105–His wonderful acts on the part of Israel, Psalm 106–His longsuffering with rebellious Israel. All these Psalms remind us to give thanks for the LORD’s blessing which are conditioned on His merciful and gracious nature. In Psalm 103, David challenges himself to bless the LORD. He simply says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul.” His soul is his self. To bless is to praise Him, thank Him and serve Him.

When I came across verse 13…As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear Him…I thought about the Prodigal Son. Initially, the Prodigal sinned against his father by disrespecting him and distancing himself from him but after repenting [changing his mind] he comes home broken and contrite. He says, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” He intended to say more but his father interrupted him. The Prodigal was acknowledging his Father’s moral goodness. It is not stated in the story but I am sure he was thanking his father for being gracious and forgiving but the icing on the cake is the willingness of the son to serve his father, “Make me a hired hand.” Here we have the three elements of blessing God: we praise Him for His infinite goodness, we thank Him for all He has blessed us with and we surrender our wills to serve him. When Robert Kennedy, the Missionary went to the Amazon jungle, he meet a native who had already been converted. Kennedy was not aware of the man’s conversion and was trying to witness to him. Through and interpreter, he asked the native, “What do you most like to do?” The natives reply was, “Being occupied with God.” He was living every moment of everyday, adoring God and being captivated by the love of Christ. This is true worship.

In you need some help mustering up thanksgiving: David gives us a list of benefits-forgiveness of sin, healing, redemption, love, satisfaction or fulfillment and renewal. When David said, “He forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,” it is with the understanding that our greatest disease is sin itself. The big thing here is that God does not give us what we deserve which is what Jesus suffered on the cross, death and hell. Jesus was for a time separated from the Father which is hell. This does not mean that God is unholy or unjust: He does not sweep our sins under a rug, our sins were judged at Calvary. Legitimate payment has been made for our sins. One other verse and I close, For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him [v.11]. The Hebrews didn’t have four words for love but they had more than one. The word love here is hesed, one of the few words I remember from Dr. Slaughter Delaughter’s O.T. Theology class. It can be translated kindness, mercy, favor, or steadfast love.” The root of the word means to bend or bow oneself denoting the condescending nature of God’s love. Here condescending has a positive connotation.

In Max Lucado’s book Gentle Thunder, he tells the story of the man who observed two boys at Disney world. Cinderella’s Castle was surrounded by children including these two boys which he assumed were brothers. When Cinderella’ came out the kids flocked to her. She was a stunning beauty; apparently a profession model or actress hired to play the part by Disney. Her beauty was breath taking. The observer noticed something strange: the two brothers did not move toward Cinderella as did the others. When he took a second look, he saw that the younger of the two had a mangled, scarred and disfigured face. He had no clue as to the cause of the child’s disfigurement, perhaps a fire or maybe a birth defect. The child’s scarred face made him feel unattractive and unlovely so he kept his distance and his older brother stayed by his side. When the observer saw what was happening, his heart broke and he began to pray: “LORD, let Cinderella notice this child.” God heard his prayer: Cinderella did notice and she began moving methodically in his direction. When she got to the child, she bowed and kissed his disfigured face.” This is what Jesus did for us: He left Heaven’s Castle and sought us out, bowing to kiss our disfigured face.

There are two things you cannot do: [1] You cannot exaggerated God’s goodness and [2] you cannot fathom His love; it is to high and lofty. The finite mind cannot take it in. Hallelujah, what a Savior!

  • Proverbs 27:1 says: Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth. The truth of this verse came home to me yesterday as we got the call about Gary Fox passing. Gary called me Sunday evening. I talked with him briefly and he seemed fine. He was at worship Sunday morning. They think it was a heart attack. Gary is Tammy Jenkins’ father. It is Josh’s granddaddy. They moved to Danville in 2011 to be closer to Tammy and the kids. They are natives of Oneonta, Alabama.
  • Susan Hogan’s sister Pam Taylor also passed away. I think Joe David has already shared the arrangements.
  • Had another good visit with Rickey Garner. Rickey is always smiling. He does not seem to be in a lot of pain and I am thankful. He is surrounded by loving care givers which is priceless.
  • Sarah Hooper’s brother Sidney [96] fell and broke his hip a few weeks ago and he is not doing well. I went to see him yesterday. I tried to encourage him. I’m not sure he has the will to overcome this injury and I can’t say that I blame him. To live is Christ and it can be painful, to die is a promotion. I can’t blame a person for looking forward to the promotion.
  • I hope you don’t have to call a plummer: they charge more than doctors but PTL for the running water. Amen! I don’t want to live without a shower. I know, you don’t want to be around me without a shower.
  • I could use some prayer this week as I prepare mentally and spiritually for the REVIVAL at Mt. Zion which begins Sunday morning.

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