From the pul­pit

El Dorado News-Times - - Faith & Values - SCOTT JOHN­SON JA­SON PERDIEU Scott and Jane John­son min­is­ter with East Faulkner Church of Christ and BRG Bible. Bible ques­tions can be sent to brg­bible@gmail.com.

An­cient Words: Thanks­giv­ing in Cel­e­bra­tion

I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Be­cause he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as

I live. The cords of death en­tan­gled me, the an­guish of the grave came over me; I was over­come by dis­tress and sor­row. Then I called on the name of the

LORD: "LORD, save me!"

The LORD is gra­cious and righteous; our God is full of com­pas­sion. The LORD pro­tects the un­wary; when

I was brought low, he saved me. Re­turn to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. For you, LORD, have de­liv­ered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stum­bling, that I may walk be­fore the LORD in the land of the liv­ing. I trusted in the LORD when I said, "I am greatly af­flicted"; in my alarm I said, "Ev­ery­one is a liar." What shall I re­turn to the LORD for all his good­ness to me? I will lift up the cup of sal­va­tion and call on the name of the LORD. I will ful­fill my vows to the LORD in the pres­ence of all his peo­ple. Pre­cious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faith­ful ser­vants. Truly I am your ser­vant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. I will sac­ri­fice a thank of­fer­ing to you and call on the name of the LORD. I will ful­fill my vows to the LORD in the pres­ence of all his peo­ple, in the courts of the house of the LORD— in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the LORD. (Psalm 116)

A heart that is thank­ful cel­e­brates be­cause what has been gained has not been what was de­served. When God pro­tects, when God de­liv­ers, when God res­cues, then the un­seen hand of mercy in­ter­cedes on our be­half. Mercy---that amaz­ing at­tribute of God—has come through his son Je­sus and now the penalty of what man has earned is re­placed with God’s pre­cious gift of love and for­give­ness. May we cul­ti­vate a greater aware­ness of his mercy so we un­der­stand how grate­ful we should live be­fore the author of mercy, as the An­cient Words pro­claim:

To the chief Mu­si­cian on Neginoth, A Psalm of David. Hear me when I call, O God of my righ­teous­ness: thou hast en­larged me when I was in dis­tress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love van­ity, and seek af­ter leas­ing? Se­lah. But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for him­self: the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: com­mune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Se­lah. Of­fer the sac­ri­fices of righ­teous­ness, and put your trust in the LORD. There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy coun­te­nance upon us. Thou hast put glad­ness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine in­creased. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only mak­est me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4)

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