William Knelsen

Prayer

Remembrance and Gratitude, A Recipe for Joy

William

Each day I try to read five Psalms. I start with the day of the month. Today is the 17th, so I read the 17th Psalm. Then I skip thirty, and read the 47th Psalm, then another thirty, 77th, another thirty, 107, and one more time, 137. If I do this each day, I will read through the Psalms once per month. I do this because the Psalms are the prayerbook of the Bible, and I need to always be learning how to pray. I discover new things in the Psalms each time I read them.

This morning, I received an email from someone with questions about my last sermon. I was preaching about resurrection life, from John 11, where Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and life.” I said in the sermon that Jesus provides us with a new source of joy: himself. We are not satisfied with the things that our sinful nature craves. We are only satisfied with Jesus, or more precisely, God.

This is a hard thing to grasp. How do we actually experience this joy? How do we live in a way that makes Jesus our greatest treasure and source of joy? 
As I said, I was reading from Psalms 77 and 107 this morning. Out of these readings, I saw two things that help to produce joy. I think these two things are indispensable. They are remembrance and gratitude. 

Psalm 77:1-2 says, “I cry aloud to God, aloud to God, and he will hear me. In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord.” Asaph, the author of this Psalm, is in distress. There are things troubling him. He is lacking joy. 

What does he do? He seeks the Lord, and comes up with this solution, in verse 11: “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.” He goes back to the faithfulness of God in the past. He does this because his current situation seems hopeless. 

In Psalm 107, we are reminded that God has been faithful in the past, and his steadfast love will endure forever. Verse 22 says, “let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!”

Each Psalm is filled with a call to remember what God has done. When our days are filled with gratitude for the faithfulness of God, no trouble will rob our joy. In this world, there will be times of great darkness, pain, and grief. But when we remember the steadfast love and faithfulness of God, we can truly experience joy because the God who was faithful before will be faithful now.

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