Friday 10 April, 2015

James 1:1-8

1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings. 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.

In this passage God gives us a way of approaching life even when it gets hard. An opportunity for great joy!!! Not the way we normally think of such times. Joy! But when we see God help us through a difficult time, when God brings it altogether – that can remind us of how precious we are; how much God wants to help us through; and how much God wants to grow our characters. We don’t learn our limits or discover how much God can help us do way more than our perception of our limits would indicate unless we are stretched.

Wisdom is something we all need. For some of us we don’t think we know enough or understand enough to make decisions well; for others of us we think we do know all we need to make decisions well but for all of us we could do with more wisdom. Wisdom comes in many ways – His word, wise people in our lives, His peace, His Spirit. Asking for wisdom is fundamental to our character development. We need His wisdom to endure trials.

Help us Lord to remember to ask for Your wisdom. Help us to look to You when we have troubles or trials. Help us to engage with You so You can lead us through the pathway to our endurance being well developed so we can work towards being complete.

Written by Therese Manning

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    It is a hard lesson and one we have to keep reminding ourselves but God is more concerned about our ‘character’ than our ‘comfort’.

    Thanks Therese

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Thursday 9 April, 2015

Jude 17-25

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.[a] 24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Ridicule is great! It so much easier than rational argument. No need for any facts. No need for logic. No need to engage with the ideas you are rejecting – no risk you may actually find out they are right. Just the complete bucket of lukewarm spaghetti tipped on whatever idea piques your hatred. Perfect for dragging others down without the risk of exposing any positive idea to scrutiny. The perfect tool for the bigot.

It’s no wonder you see ridicule used so often on the internet, at the pub, in political “debate”, and especially in response to anything Christians say. But we have been warned this would happen.

How should I respond to scoffers?

I take ridicule as an admission of defeat. Its saying “I’m much too threatened by what you’re saying to let it go, but I have no rational argument against it”. I’m not sure they are ready to admit that, though.

What should I do?

Ridicule really annoys me (you may have guessed). I feel the urge to respond in kind. But that is exactly the wrong response.

I need to do the opposite. Build up not tear down. Love not hate. Show mercy not revenge. Be confident in the God who rescues me, not fearful that the scoffers may be right. Reach out and engage, not reject the scoffers – just rejecting the sin they espouse.

Father fill my response with faith and grace and mercy. Give me a response that will bring the scoffer closer to you.

(The last two verses are superb! There is so much in them a suitable response couldn’t possibly fit in this blog. You’ll be rewarded if you meditate on them.)

Written by David Cornell

2 replies
  1. Dimity Milne says:

    That’s very true David. I always love your responses. I wish I had more skill in answering scoffers. The right gracious words could help them to understand or at least lessen fear and opposition. But I think it also says that there are some people who are so sinful and way out that we should not engage with them at all – v 23.

  2. David Newton says:

    What I find interesting is that in the midst of a passage on how unGodly people behave and almost as a reaction Jude has told us what we are to do. v20 – We are to build up our own faith.
    .
    What I like about v20 is that our faith is our responsibility and we are the ones who have to strengthen it. (Not the church leaders, but us). Like a body builder lifting weights we are to exercise our spiritual faith muscles by praying in the Holy Spirit.

    Thank you both David & Dimity

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Wednesday 8 April, 2015

Jude 8-16

8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct—as irrational animals do—will destroy them. 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. 13 They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever. 14 Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: “See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones 15 to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”16 These people are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage.

This passage lists many characteristics or traits that don’t really correlate to the Christian life. For example; live immoral lives, defy authority, do whatever their instincts tell them, rebellion, complainers and braggers etc. Yet some “believers” amongst us display these things and live a falsehood. Their lives are not truly submitted to Christ and they continue to do their own thing.

The middle section of this passage uses a number of similes to help describe what these false believers are like. Words are not minced here, the most telling being that they do not bear fruit and they are pretty much useless and ineffective. It also says that these false believers will be judged.

So what do I take from this reading? Do I go about trying to spot the false teacher amongst us or worse still am I one! This letter from Jude serves as warning to believers that such folk do the Christian life with us and we are not to be naive to this fact. Let God be the judge and in the meantime live humbly before God. Ask yourself some tough questions; Am I teachable? Do I aim to live as the Bible says? Am I submitted to the leadership God has placed over me? Although these things are challenging they help keep us submitted to Jesus Christ and on track.

Dear God, I recommit my life to you. Help me to follow Jesus example in all I do. Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

2 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    In reading this passage, I am astounded at the length of the description that Jude takes to record how bad these particular unbelievers are! In quite poetic language, he goes on and on to bring home the very important point: These people are very bad news.

    I personally love to dialogue with people from a broad range of perspectives and belief systems. I have a level of certainty and security in my own faith that allows me to have a discussion with a person may have a very different understanding of Christ to me. Even so, I do find that I will occasionally talk to someone who is not interested in dialogue or discussion, but only interested in pushing their ideas and agenda. They often have cleverly constructed arguments that are difficult to refute and for me spending time with them is exhausting and discouraging.

    I need to be careful to be discerning in whether I do engage with people whose belief system is strongly opposed to that which the Bible teaches. I need to be careful that I am not “casting pearls before swine” as Jesus warns against in Matthew 7:6.

    All the same, I still need to ensure that I am reaching out to those who are lost and not condemning them by my fear of their beliefs!

    Lord, strengthen my faith and my understanding of you and give me discernment regarding who I engage in Faith discussions.

  2. Richard Botta says:

    On the strength of their dreams.

    This passage makes an interesting observation on the authority that some ungodly people appeal to. “On the strength of their dreams” is the authority upon which they make their determinations.

    Christians live under God’s Word as the authority not our latest and greatest dream, idea or opinion. I need to ensure that God’s Word dwells richly in my heart through faith and that it is to this that I set my heart and expectation. While the Lord will give me dreams and visions they are highly subjective and generally personal, open to interpretation. God’s Word is altogether different. While it is interpreted differently by different people it is not subjective like a dream. It was written at a time for a reason and so its meaning is not far from us if we ask.

    I have found that people who stake their life on dreams are generally unsubmitted, more prepared to follow their whim than the leading of the Lord. I need to ensure God’s Word is the foundation of my thinking and life.

    Father enable me to see clearly Your Word and enable me to live under its authority in all aspects of my world.

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Tuesday 7 April, 2015

Jude 5-7

5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

These days you don’t often hear hell fire and damnation preached in our churches.  Indeed there is not a lot of it in the New Testament compared to the positive teachings. But here Jude reminds them that almighty God delivered His people out of Egypt, (yes), but He also destroyed those who did not believe in the waters of the Red Sea. The rebellious angels are kept in darkness bound with chains until judgement day; and the immoral and perverted cities are to suffer in eternal fire.

Not nice.

Those who reject Jesus, and choose to live sinfully will not remain unpunished in the end. They are even now bound by chains and darkness. This is a very sobering concept. Not to be glossed over in our reading of the scriptures; but not to be dwelt upon in terror either. It reminds me that my choices in how I live my life matter. They matter to God and they affect my eternal destiny. I hope that in this world which is becoming more and more depraved, I can be like Lot, who remained holy. I hope the church continues to shine light into this darkness so people learn to fear our just and merciful God, and through Jesus, find life.

Gracious Lord thank you that you are a God who rescues us and gives us the right to belong to your own family through Jesus Christ. Thank you that we can walk through the sea and not be drowned because of your great love and faithful promises.

Written by Dimity Milne

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Monday 6 April, 2015

Jude 1-4

1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: 2 Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. 3 Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about[b] long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

V1 NLT I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.

What a way to be greeted!

A reminder of who I am – “called by God the Father” and a reminder of how God treats me – “He loves me and keeps me safe in the care of Jesus.”

When I think about the writer of this letter – and the importance of this letter to the believers, I know these words are meant to remind the readers of their identity.

When I know who I belong to (I am called by God the Father) and how much He cares for me – I am empowered to live for Him – to rise in faith-filled obedience to serve His cause – and reach out to those around me so that they would also find that in following Jesus they discover who they are and what they are called to!

Lord help me to remember who I am, what You have done for me and what You have called me to.

Fill me to overflow Holy Spirit to reach a lost and hurting world with Your good news – Jesus!

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Sunday 5 April, 2015

Psalm 106

1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. 2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord or fully declare his praise? 3 Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. 4 Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people, come to my aid when you save them, 5 that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones, that I may share in the joy of your nation and join your inheritance in giving praise. 6 We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly. 7 When our ancestors were in Egypt, they gave no thought to your miracles; they did not remember your many kindnesses, and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea. 8 Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, to make his mighty power known. 9 He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up; he led them through the depths as through a desert. 10 He saved them from the hand of the foe; from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them. 11 The waters covered their adversaries; not one of them survived. 12 Then they believed his promises and sang his praise. 13 But they soon forgot what he had done and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 14 In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the wilderness they put God to the test. 15 So he gave them what they asked for, but sent a wasting disease among them. 16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord. 17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan; it buried the company of Abiram. 18 Fire blazed among their followers; a flame consumed the wicked. 19 At Horeb they made a calf and worshiped an idol cast from metal. 20 They exchanged their glorious God for an image of a bull, which eats grass. 21 They forgot the God who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea. 23 So he said he would destroy them— had not Moses, his chosen one, stood in the breach before him to keep his wrath from destroying them. 24 Then they despised the pleasant land; they did not believe his promise. 25 They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord. 26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand that he would make them fall in the wilderness, 27 make their descendants fall among the nations and scatter them throughout the lands. 28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods; 29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them. 30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked. 31 This was credited to him as righteousness for endless generations to come. 32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord, and trouble came to Moses because of them; 33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips. 34 They did not destroy the peoples as the Lord had commanded them, 35 but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. 36 They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to false gods. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. 39 They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. 40 Therefore the Lord was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41 He gave them into the hands of the nations, and their foes ruled over them. 42 Their enemies oppressed them and subjected them to their power. 43 Many times he delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin. 44 Yet he took note of their distress when he heard their cry; 45 for their sake he remembered his covenant and out of his great love he relented. 46 He caused all who held them captive to show them mercy. 47 Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name and glory in your praise. 48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Let all the people say, “Amen!” Praise the Lord.

The Psalmist takes us through a concise history of Israel’s sins which he also identifies with.

As I read this I began to think how on earth could they forget all these amazing miracles and things that God has done in their midst so quickly!! Until the Holy Spirit convicted me that I do it all the time too. God has done some amazing things throughout my walk with Him and yet as the next big challenge/hurdle comes along I forget how God has lead me with His steadfast love and get overwhelmed all over again. God doesn’t change He is still walking with me, its just my eyes that focus on the problem instead of remembering “the One who had done great things” v21.

Father, thank you for this very timely reminder to keep my eyes on you, through the challenge that is before me. Lord, I ask your forgiveness for my sin of unbelief. I will praise You as your “faithful love continues forever” v1. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Saturday 4 April, 2015

Psalm 105

1 Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. 2 Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts. 3 Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. 4 Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. 5 Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced, 6 you his servants, the descendants of Abraham, his chosen ones, the children of Jacob. 7 He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. 8 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.” 12 When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, 13 they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. 14 He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: 15 “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” 16 He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19 till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true. 20 The king sent and released him, the ruler of peoples set him free. 21 He made him master of his household, ruler over all he possessed, 22 to instruct his princes as he pleased and teach his elders wisdom. 23 Then Israel entered Egypt; Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham. 24 The Lord made his people very fruitful; he made them too numerous for their foes, 25 whose hearts he turned to hate his people, to conspire against his servants. 26 He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron, whom he had chosen. 27 They performed his signs among them, his wonders in the land of Ham. 28 He sent darkness and made the land dark— for had they not rebelled against his words? 29 He turned their waters into blood, causing their fish to die. 30 Their land teemed with frogs, which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers. 31 He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country. 32 He turned their rain into hail, with lightning throughout their land; 33 he struck down their vines and fig trees and shattered the trees of their country. 34 He spoke, and the locusts came, grasshoppers without number; 35 they ate up every green thing in their land, ate up the produce of their soil. 36 Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their manhood. 37 He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold, and from among their tribes no one faltered. 38 Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. 39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night. 40 They asked, and he brought them quail; he fed them well with the bread of heaven. 41 He opened the rock, and water gushed out; it flowed like a river in the desert. 42 For he remembered his holy promise given to his servant Abraham. 43 He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy; 44 he gave them the lands of the nations, and they fell heir to what others had toiled for— 45 that they might keep his precepts and observe his laws. Praise the Lord.

What a call to Praise the Lord!!

Make His Name known, sing to Him sing about Him and His wonderful acts.  He has done great things – miraculous things, things that have caused nations to rise and fall.

The Psalmist then lists, and what a long list it is, things to call to mind and praise God about!

How much time do I devote on a regular basis for praise – not just corporate with others at church, but in my personal time with the Lord – reminding myself of all the good things He has done and is doing both for me and for others?  This is a clear key to a life of gratitude, thankfulness and joy.  How long is my list of recollections of the work of the Lord in my life – the Psalmists was a cracker!

Father help me to stay in the place of praise – often recalling your goodness to me and to others.

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Friday 3 April, 2015

Psalm 104

1 Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. 2 The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. 4 He makes winds his messengers,[a] flames of fire his servants. 5 He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. 6 You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; 8 they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them. 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth. 10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains. 11 They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst. 12 The birds of the sky nest by the waters; they sing among the branches. 13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work. 14 He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: 15 wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts. 16 The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted. 17 There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the junipers. 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the hyrax. 19 He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. 20 You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. 21 The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. 22 The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. 23 Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening. 24 How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. 26 There the ships go to and fro, and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there. 27 All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust. 30 When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground. 31 May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works— 32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke. 33 I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord. 35 But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the Lord, my soul. Praise the Lord.

What a beautiful declaration from the soul of the glory and majesty of God! It is true for me that the more that I learn about Him and the more that I practice thanking Him and praising Him, the better I get at having a greater sense of how immense, and how eternal and how… everything… God is. I love that His ways are so much higher than our ways so that I can continually get revelation of who He is and still have fresh awe in Him every day… as long as I don’t try to shrink Him down to fit into my own concept and understanding of how He works or who He is.

Lord, may I always marvel at your holiness and glory. Thank you that you are so amazing that it will take all of eternity to wonder at how incredible you are!!!

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Thursday 2 April, 2015

Psalm 103

1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 2 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, 5 who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel: 8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; 14 for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. 15 The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; 16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. 17 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— 18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. 19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all. 20 Praise the Lord, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22 Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion.

This is definitely one of my favourite psalms, such a swelling and melodious song of praise to our great God. What refreshment comes from meditating on just how good, how uniquely loving and how faithful our God is.

I find that I so quickly underestimate God’s goodness, I so quickly take a step back from Him because of my wrong, rather than taking a step towards Him and trusting completely in His forgiveness and faithfulness. How amazing that my God is compassionate towards me, gracious towards me, slow to get angry at me, abounding in faithful love towards me… Wow! I can relax into God’s goodness, not taking it for granted but celebrating the power of His forgiveness, the power of the cross, enabling me to have close friendship with God, free from fear.

Thank you God for this psalm that reminds me of your true nature and your incredible generosity and grace towards me. Please help me to walk with absolute confidence in your love and grace, and to share that with those around me. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

1 (reply)
  1. David Newton says:

    This Psalm is also one of my favorites Beth. In fact this is the scripture I used to sustain myself through a very long period of illness.
    The other thing I find interesting about this scripture is that it is a very good summation of all the elements for what we call ‘being saved’.
    Thanks Beth

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Wednesday 1 April, 2015

Psalm 102

Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. 3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. 4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. 5 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. 6 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. 7 I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. 8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. 9 For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears 10 because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. 11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. 14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. 15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. 18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: 19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” 21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem 22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord. 23 In the course of my life[b] he broke my strength; he cut short my days. 24 So I said: “Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days; your years go on through all generations. 25 In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 26 They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded. 27 But you remain the same, and your years will never end. 28 The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”

This guy is doing it tough. He can’t eat, he can’t sleep and he feels taunted by his enemies, so he’s calling out to God for help. Then we begin to see a shift in his focus. He starts to remember that God is eternal, powerful and has a plan to rebuild what was ruined. He lifts his eyes to an eternal perspective, though as far as we know, his circumstances haven’t changed yet.

For me, the highlight of this Psalm is verse 16: “For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in His glory. He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea”.

Most of us have had some sort of ruin in our lives – in relationship, finance, health, hopes and dreams… But God responds to the prayers of those who call out to Him and He is able to rebuild what was ruined. It may not always be as quick as we would like it or in the way we expect. But He is God and we are not, and so we trust Him to do things in His way and His time.

I love that my hope in this life is not that things will always go perfectly, but my hope is in the God who is eternal, powerful and has a plan to rebuild what is ruined on this earth. He is in the process of setting everything that is wrong to right. Today may not look like it, but His Kingdom is coming…

Written by Shelley Witt

3 replies
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I often find psalms love this a little difficult to relate to, perhaps because modern songs, particularly contemporary Christian songs, are so very different. Nonetheless, I do find such comfort that great authors of the Bible such as this one struggled with their suffering to a very large extent and yet were able to continue to find encouragement in the eternity and hope that is in God.

    Too often when I am feeling like my life is tough, I simply go to a place of “woe is me” despair and I look to worldly solutions or my own strength to try to solve the problem of my own discomfort Without first thinking about the bigger picture of why things are tough and whether there might be a reason for my situation.

    Lord, help me to seek you first in all that I do and to remain focused on the eternity that you share with all those who love you.

  2. Richard Botta says:

    This Psalm is so rich but one verse sticks out to me. 8 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord.

    The stories of victories won in Christ, the testimonies of hope through adversity, of joy breaking through in the morning after a dark night, of perseverance under trial, these are all do encouraging. When a saint, that’s you or I, tell the truth, face the reality, and write it down or tell the story there is incredible power for those who follow us. Like Abraham in Romans 4:19 where we read “without weakening in faith, he faced the fact” of his impotence and Sarah’s barrenness yet he believed God. Or Paul as he speaks about the difficulties he was facing in 2 Cor. 4:7-18 yet with the note of victory. Writing down, telling the story is so important for the generations yet to come for then they understand the faith victories, the battles won, the reality of the situations. Not to glory in our efforts or the difficulties but in the deliverance of the Lord.

    So I ask myself where am I telling my stories, where am I writing them down. For this is surely what I must do. I need to give more voice to what God is doing and has done in my life.

    Father help me to tell the stories you have given me, the testimonies of Your deliverance, for Your glory.

  3. Bethany says:

    What a great reminder that our God is the one who takes the ruins, the broken pieces that once formed part of a whole, and rebuilds. And Richard what a helpful reminder to take the time to tell stories. I can too quickly move from a victory to the next ‘task’ and forget to relish and share the amazing things that God has done. I want to learn the art of story telling.

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