Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Message in the Margin: The Benefits Package

People have commented several times recently about my "worn and battered" Bible. The signs of twenty-plus years of continuous use have begun to show.

Some of the pages are tear-stained. 

Some of the pages have been read so many times that they're loose from the spine or worn through.

Some of the pages have notes all the way down the margins. 

Those notations are, generally speaking, Holy-Spirit inspired messages that address a specific need in my life. I've begun to call them "Messages in the Margins". 

I'm starting a new series, (probably a sporadic one) called "Messages in the Margins". It's drawn from the notations along the edges of the pages.

There's a note by Psalm 103 that reads, "The Benefits Package". This psalm of David is a song of praise to God for all the good gifts He gives us. 

"Bless the Lord, O my soul..." David wrote. My notation says, "Bless: adore God for His goodness and return thanks."

David didn't stop at saying God is good. He listed some of the ways in which He is good to His people. In a way, it's a "benefits package" for those who love and follow God.

1) He pardons our iniquities.
2) He heals all our diseases.
3) He redeems our lives from the pit.
4) He crowns us with lovingkindness and compassion.
4) He satisfies our years with good things
5) He renews our youth like the eagle.
6) He performs righteous deeds and judgments for those who are oppressed.
7) He lets us know about His righteous deeds.
8) He is compassionate and gracious.
9) He is slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
10) He is not always angry.
11) He does not always discipline us. 
12) He does not give us what we deserve.
13) He has removed our sins so far away from us that we can never find them again. 
14) He pours out lovingkindness on us.
15) He understands how frail and fragile we are.
16) His lovingkindness never ends.
17) He is sovereign over everything and yet He cares about us.

The word translated as "lovingkindness" implies the idea of "leaning toward" and is also translated as goodness, kindness, mercy, and faithfulness. 

Picture this in your mind's eye for a moment: God leans toward us with the intent of being good, kind, merciful, faithful to us. He deals with our sin, but not the way we deserve. 

Instead of unrelenting anger and discipline, He offers forgiveness, healing, compassion, defense, redemption, understanding, love, mercy. 

We trade sorrow for joy, pain for healing, turmoil for peace, despair for hope. It's a great deal, and far better than anything the world offers. All He asks in return is repentance followed by obedience. 

Today, we'll make the transition from one holiday to the next and begin to get ready for the new year. As we do, let's ponder the Benefits Package God has provided for us and embrace the relationship with Him that makes it possible. 

"Bless the Lord, O my soul; 
And all that is within me bless His holy name.
Psalm 103:1 nasb

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Searching for the Homeless and Finding the Hungry Instead

As you consider your year-end giving, please consider including support for this ministry, which is totally dependent upon the support of those who partner with us. We need your prayers, your hands to help, and your financial gifts to continue.

Here's the link to give: Global Outreach Acct 4841 If you'd rather use a check or money order, make it out to Global Outreach. Remember to put "Account 4841" on the "for" line. Mail it to: Global Outreach, PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802