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1 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

2 Let Israel now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the LORD now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

5 I called on the LORD in distress;
The LORD answered me and set me in a broad place.
6 The LORD is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
7 The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
8 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD
Than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the LORD helped me.
14 The LORD is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.[a]

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the LORD is exalted;
The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the LORD.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the LORD’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the LORD has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O LORD;
O LORD, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD!
We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.
27 God is the LORD,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

At a family reunion years ago, I ran into a distant relative and we chatted.  She was honest about her struggles with drugs and alcohol, and started to launch into her very personal, very painful story, but then stopped herself all at once.

“That was another time.  Today is a good day,” she concluded, and we went over to the buffet to browse.

Maybe that’s a key to life.  Editing your own story into a Reader’s Digest condensed version that ends on a grace note.

Psalms 118 contains the famous passage:  “This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (NKJV). But if you look at the whole Psalm, it’s amazing how many horrible things the writer had gone through.  And still, he ends up saying, ‘This is a good day.’

As for me, whenever I talk about troubles, I find that I fall into a bit of a funk.  So instead I cut to the chase.  Different eras would have unique taglines.

When I first found faith a few years ago:

Don’t know where I’m going.  God said, ‘just go.’

When I messed up royally and didn’t know if I’d find my way back:

Cast my pearls before swine.  God forgave me and cleaned me up.

When I went through more than I thought I could bear:

Been through a few things.  God’s grace brought me through.

There’s a reason that this verse is in the present tense – “This is the day the Lord has made” – because that way, we may remember to trust God right where we are.  Don’t know what tomorrow may hold.  But I know Who holds tomorrow.   

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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