GRAVY makes everything taste better!
“Chicken fried steak without the gravy is a slab of old beef going through a mid-life crisis” (by Michael Park).
I never really thought about why I started liking gravy so much. I think it began when I was a child during the holiday feasts at Thanksgiving and Christmas. One of the benefits of the unforgetful feasts, for me, was the GRAVY. I wasn’t much of a fan of turkey, so I needed plenty of gravy to make the meat palatable to my liking. But as long as the GRAVY bowl was in my hand…pouring it on the cornbread dressing, the mashed potatoes, was an added benefit.
So before my mother would seat herself at the dinner table, she would shout from the kitchen “Is there anything else we need?” And either my dad, my brother or myself would shout back to mom, “Don’t Forget The Gravy!”; as she entered the dinning room smiling…with the GRAVY bowl already in her hand.
The word “GRAVY” used in a slang manner refers to something extra–an extra bonus.
PSALM 103 “BLESS THE LORD, O MY SOUL”
 BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!  Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits.
In other words, VERSE 2 could say, “Praise God and don’t forget about His good gravy.”
The Bible tells us about ALL the EXTRAS that come along with following God.
Many people accept JESUS as their Savior because they’d rather not face the alternative to heaven. Some call it “fire insurance.”
Someone will get SAVED just because they don’t want to go to hell and, that’s not a bad thing. But in the process, they’ll continue living out their life without knowing about the added BENEFITS. Sure, they’ll go to heaven when they die, but their life may be a living hell!
God wants us to experience heaven when we die, but He also wants us to have an abundant life here on earth, to the full, till it overflows! (John 10:10 AMP)
And that is one of the reasons you get the GRAVY!
PSALM 103:2-6 (NIV bible)
 Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases;  He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with love and compassion.  He satisfies my desires with good things, so that my youth is renewed like the eagle’s.  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
HERE’S THE GRAVY. In addition to getting to go to HEAVEN when you die, God does a number of extra things for you.
He FORGIVES ALL your sins!
We’ve ALL sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). And when I have sinned, I feel GUILTY–I feel messed up.
Well, how do you feel when you’ve been FORGIVEN? You most likely feel much better. The passage here not only says that God will forgive our SINS, but later on in the Psalm, He blots out your transgressions (sins) as far as the east is from the west, meaning that He chooses not to remember your SINS.
Isaiah 43:25 reminds us, “I, even I, am He Who blots out and cancels your transgressions, for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”
You see, if you did me wrong, I’d most likely be able to forgive you, but it would be very hard for me to forget it ever happened. And every time you’d see me, it would have the potential to make you think about the very thing you did and you’d have all those feelings of GUILT all over again.
BUT God forgives AND forgets!
The enemy may try to remind you of your SIN, but rest assured, once you CONFESS, God has forgiven and He has forgotten.
He HEALS [each one] ALL your diseases.
I hate being sick and in pain. Well, God hates it when you’re sick and in pain, too!
He hates it so much, that He’ll take it away. He’d rather you be healthy and whole than suffering through some sickness.
One of the EXTRAS included in Salvation is healing. God wants you to feel good! He wants your body in good shape!
Isaiah 53:4-5:  Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needed to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.
Have you ever laid out of school (played ‘hooky’) of school because you were ‘too sick to go’? Yep, I have have too.
Have you ever faked being sick? You know, put the thermometer under the lamp next to the bed when mom walks out of the room; then she comes back in and your temperature is 105!! I tried that once and when mom read the thermometer…she knew: “You’re not sick, you’re dead!” She knew I’d been faking it.
Well, if you’ve been sick before, stayed home from school or work because of it, you didn’t know about this GRAVY. Because if you knew that God HEALS ALL (not “some”) of your diseases, you would pray for yourself and go! Now that’s stepping out in FAITH!
God is the God who HEALS ALL your diseases–don’t forget it!
VERSE 4: REDEEMS YOUR LIFE FROM THE PIT –
“What PIT?” “When did I fall and how deep is it?”
The “PIT”, referred to in verse 4, is symbolic of destruction or corruption; anything that’s going to bring you down.
So when you are SAVED, you don’t have to worry about the “PIT.” You’re REDEEMED from it, meaning that if you find yourself in a pit, you’ll quickly be ble to get right out.
“Why then, do I feel stuck sometimes?”
Well, maybe you don’t know about this BENEFIT, or you forgot about it. Because if you knew that God REDEEMS you from THE PIT…you’d find the way out of it.
VERSE 5: RENEW YOUR YOUTH LIKE THE EAGLE’S –
Have you ever been so tired that all you want to do is just collapse somewhere, anywhere and catch 40 winks? Boy, I sure have!
You’ve been up since 6 AM, getting kids out of bed in preparation for school, off to work yourself. Then, after coming home, a meal to get on the table for everyone, a 7 PM meeting at church, choir practices, youth group gatherings, etc., etc.. I’m worn out just thinking about those times.
You need some strength! God will hook you up!
Isaiah 40:31 (AMP):
 Those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] shall change and renew their strength and power; they shall lift their wings and mount up [close to God] as eagles [mount up to the sun]; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired.
Not only is this talking about physical strength, but strength in other areas too.
You may feel that you’re at a point in life where you just don’t feel like trying. Everything you’ve tried hasn’t worked out so far, so you think, “What’s the use?”
Well, you need some strength to press on until you overcome obstacles holding you back. And God will help you run the race of life without giving out, giving in or giving up!
He’s given you the VICTORY and the STRENGTH that makes victory come to pass.
Psalm 103:6 (MSG): “God makes everything come out right; he puts victims back on their feet.”
Has anyone ever done you wrong?
A PERSONAL STORY–
Many years ago, while living in Southern California–I’d been married six years, with three children–five and three year old daughters and three month old son. I had received an exciting offer for a new job, which I accepted, so my wife and I decided this was the time to make an offer on our first home. I informed my new employer of our decision, letting him know of the financial impact and the security of the job. While the house was in escrow, we moved what little furniture we had accumulated into our new home.
My new job was part of the same industry I had been a part of for some time, so all I needed was acclimate myself; get to know the people. In fact, the president of the company’s secretary I knew from previous employer.
One late afternoon, Sally (not her real name) pulled a chair next to my desk, asking if she could get my opinion on a dilemma she was facing on the job. Although surprised, it was almost time to go home, so I said sure.
Her story was the president of the company wanted her to attend a business related dinner and late evening with important customers that evening and she didn’t want to go.
“So, don’t go” I told her.
“I can’t tell him ‘no'” she replied. I was somewhat baffled by her answer and the sad expression on her face.
“So, why can’t you say no Sally?”
“Well,” there was a long pause, “because I’ve become the company prostitute”, her chin now lay shamefully on her chest.
“Sally, you need to learn to say NO! There’s no job on earth that’s worth you giving up your reputation and body for. NONE!”
“I’ve have already lost my reputation and I need this job. What can I do?” as she began to weep.
“Sally, you need to tell him the way you feel. Let him know that you love your job and you will always be a loyal employee, but not in the manner they’re using you. If your words fall on deaf ears…as hard as this might be… QUIT!”
As she slowly got up and went back to her desk, she thanked me for listening. But I had a gut feeling, my words went on deaf ears. She wasn’t going to say “NO.”
The next morning at 7 AM, the office manager walked up to me and said, “Clear out your desk.” I thought he was kidding. But he wasn’t. “Clear it out, NOW! After two months on the job, I was fired. And the new house? We lost the house, and what I thought was a great opportunity…had vanished.
I phoned the CEO of the company the next day, trying to get down to the reasons of why I was fired. His answer was short, but he promised that his son (the president), would call me and explain. That never happened. I was filled with every emotion–mad, sad, and…vengeful! This wasn’t fair to me or to my young family.
But it didn’t end here.
Two years later, I learned that Sally and our conversation had been heard by the company executives. They weren’t going to fire Sally, so the obvious was left. I had to go! How dare I mess up their exclusive customer benefits.
And a side note to the story, the president, the son of the CEO, the man who hired me and fired me, had been convicted of assault with a deadly weapon against his own father, and was spending the next 14 months in a jail cell
“God puts victims on their feet”
I learned from this experience that I don’t have to try and devise some sort of revengeful plan. I just know that God’s going to deal with it.
I’m not saying God’s going to strike somebody with lightning because they stabbed you in the back. But I am saying that God will work on your behalf and make sure you get double for your trouble and everything will work out for your good.
So, Come Get the Gravy!
Photos: Google Image Search.
Bible Translations: Amplified Bible (AMP), unless noted in the text.