HOW GOD'S GOODNESS CAN RESTORE YOU
Living in the Goodness of God — Part 4
February 18-19, 2017
"The Lord is MY Shepherd, I have everything I need. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul."
ACTION PLAN: As you memorize the 23rd Psalm, close your eyes and imagine yourself walking side-by-side with your shepherd, Jesus. See the green pasture. Hear a rippling stream flowing into a quiet pool. Feel the comfort of being with the Lord.
My soul is the part of me THAT THINKS, CHOOSES, AND FEELS.
WHAT DAMAGES MY SOUL?
1. UNADDRESSED GRUDGES
"To worry yourself to death with resentment would be a foolish, senseless thing to do." Job 5:2 (GNT)
"You are only hurting yourself with your anger." Job 18:4 (GNT)
2. UNCONFESSED GUILT
"My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear... I'm bowed down and brought low; all day long I go about mourning." Psalm 38:4,6
"The Lord gave us a mind and a conscience; we can't hide from ourselves." Proverbs 20:27
3. UNPROCESSED GRIEF
"Lord, have mercy, because I am in misery. My eyes are weak from so much crying, and my whole being is tired from grief." Psalm 31:9 (NCV)
ACTION PLAN: If you are burdened by UNADDRESSED GRUDGES, devote extra attention to point 1 in each of the three sections.
If you struggle with UNCONFESSED GUILT, concentrate on point 2 in each section.
If you have UNPROCESSED GRIEF, take comfort from thoughts in point 3 of each section.
HOW DOES JESUS RESTORE IT?
1. JESUS TURNS MY HURTS INTO HOLINESS
"God protects me like a strong, walled city, and he loves me. He is my defender and my savior, my shield and my protection." Psalm 144:2
"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)
2. JESUS TAKES MY SIN UPON HIMSELF (at the cross)
"He was wounded and crushed for OUR sins. He was beaten and took OUR punishment so that WE might have peace. And through his wounds, OUR wounds are healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God's paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the guilt and sins of us all." Isaiah 53:5-6
"He was beaten down and punished, but he didn't say a word. He was led out like a lamb to be slaughtered. He was condemned to death without fair judgment... Then he was put to death for the transgressions of everyone else. He died like a criminal then was buried with the rich, even though he had done nothing wrong and had never lied. Yet it was God's plan to cause him to suffer and make his life a guilt offering for our sin, a sacrifice to bring forgiveness... But after his soul suffers many things, he will life and joy again! But my Suffering Servant will make many people right with God and he will bear all their sins... He willingly gave his life and was treated like a criminal but he took the place of every one who has sinned and he interceded for their forgiveness." Isaiah 53:5-12
3. JESUS FEELS MY GIEF AND HE HEALS MY HEART
"He was despised and rejected by others. He was a man of sorrows, who endured much pain and suffering; He experienced deep grief but we ignored him and looked the other way. He was hated and we did not care. Yet it wasOUR weaknesses that he was carrying and it was OUR sorrows that weighed him down." Isaiah 53:3-4
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
"To all who mourn... he will give: beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness." Isaiah 61:3 (LB)
ACTION PLAN: Meditate on Isaiah 53. Appreciate how much God loves you and how he wants to restore your soul.
HOW SHOULD I RESPOND?
1. RELEASE MY OFFENDERS AND FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
"Get rid of all bitterness... forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32
"Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for He has said He will repay those who deserve it." Romans 12:19 (LB)
2. TRUST THE GOOD SHEPHERD TO FORGIVE MY SINS
"All of us have sinned... yet God declares us 'not guilty' IF we trust in Jesus Christ, who in mercy freely takes away our sins." Romans 3:23-24
3. JESUS TEAMS UP TO CARRY MY LOAD.
"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you! When you pass through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through
the fire, you will not be burned up; it will NOT consume you!" Isaiah 43:2
"The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul." Psalm 19:7 (NAS)
ACTION PLAN: When you struggle with grudges, guilt, or grief, imagine putting them in your cupped hands and offering them to God. As you pray, open your hands and see them all falling to the foot of the cross. Then thank God for hearing your prayer.