Sunday 31 May, 2015

Psalm 136

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever. 2 Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. 3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. 4 to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. 5 who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. 6 who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever. 7 who made the great lights— His love endures forever. 8 the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. 9 the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever. 10 to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. 11 and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. 12 with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever. 13 to him who divided the Red Sea[a] asunder His love endures forever. 14 and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. 15 but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever. 16 to him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever. 17 to him who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. 18 and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever. 19 Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. 20 and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever. 21 and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever. 22 an inheritance to his servant Israel. His love endures forever. 23 He remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. 24 and freed us from our enemies. His love endures forever. 25 He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Two choirs sang this psalm.  One choir sang the first line of each verse, and the other choir answered, “For His love endures forever.”  It may seem repetitive, almost boring, but you can never say too much about the love of God!  God reveals His love by giving us a wonderful creation to use and to enjoy (vv. 4–9).  Just think, He had everything ready for our first parents when He made them!  It is too bad that many people are such poor stewards of God’s creation gifts.  We must never take for granted the wonderful world we live in.  He reveals His love in His care for us, helping us fight our battles and defeat our enemies (vv. 10–25).  Israel was not always faithful to God, but that is where His love comes in!  He was faithful to them.  The God of heaven is caring for us on earth!  His love endures forever!

Father – I know your love extends and exists in ever increasing measure.  May I live in this love day after day!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Saturday 30 May, 2015

Psalm 135

1 Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord, 2 you who minister in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant. 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob to be his own, Israel to be his treasured possession. 5 I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. 6 The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. 7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. 8 He struck down the firstborn of Egypt, the firstborn of people and animals. 9 He sent his signs and wonders into your midst, Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his servants. 10 He struck down many nations and killed mighty kings— 11 Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, and all the kings of Canaan— 12 and he gave their land as an inheritance, an inheritance to his people Israel. 13 Your name, Lord, endures forever, your renown, Lord, through all generations. 14 For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. 15 The idols of the nations are silver and gold, made by human hands. 16 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 17 They have ears, but cannot hear, nor is there breath in their mouths. 18 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. 19 All you Israelites, praise the Lord; house of Aaron, praise the Lord; 20 house of Levi, praise the Lord; you who fear him, praise the Lord. 21 Praise be to the Lord from Zion, to him who dwells in Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.

Such exuberance in this Psalm – reading it in the Message version it starts and ends with Hallelujah to God! And why should we praise Him the Psalmist asks – because God has chosen Israel (& ultimately us) as a prize possession, His special treasure. What a wonderful picture of our living God. The Psalmist goes on to remember & praise Him because of His greatness, He is creator, eternal, He stands up for, fights for & protects His people.

This Psalmist has encouraged me to take some time & look back on all the times God has been active in my life, all the times He has come through, made a way where there was none, held my hand through difficult times & ultimately treated me as His special treasure.

Father, I am so thankful of just how alive you have been in my life, that I am your special treasure. Hallelujah! You are truly amazing God!

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Friday 29 May, 2015

Psalm 134

1 Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the house of the Lord. 2 Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. 3 May the Lord bless you from Zion, he who is the Maker of heaven and earth.

This is a psalm to be sung by pilgrims as they approached the temple in Jerusalem.

Pilgrimages used to be a big thing: leaving the place they were comfortable; taking a difficult and costly journey, possibly a dangerous journey to God’s house. Here they are at the end of that journey. Coming up through the city gates, along the winding streets, they would have been able to see the temple up ahead, towering over the city. As their excitement builds, they would have sung this psalm as encouragement to the Levites who served day and night in the temple (perhaps more tired than excited).

Now the world wide church is God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16). He makes is home with us rather than us needing to go on a journey to His house.

But I am on a journey – from where I was separated from God into His presence; from what I was to what I’m becoming: a life long journey. I need to remember not to get too comfortable, but to push on, like Paul in Philippians 3:12-14.

Sometimes I can relate to the Levites. Sometimes living in God’s house (His church) can become routine, even hard work. Like them, I sometimes need encouragement. I need reminding of the excitement of arriving in the place where God is. (New Christians can be such a blessing!)

I need to remember that I am indeed blessed by the Lord who made heaven and earth. I need to lift my hands in praise of Him.

And I need to remember to encourage those wonderful people who serve the church.

A short psalm, but so much in it.

Written By David Cornell

2 replies
  1. Kerrie says:

    So great that we have a ‘sanctuary’ where we can go and praise and thank God, rely on friends in times of need and socialise with God’s family. So many don’t have this and are alone in the world.
    Thankyou God for your church!

  2. Andrew Mellor says:

    Thanks David, yes Lord bless those who serve you and refresh them with awe of you majesty and the wonder of the temple you are building.

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Thursday 28 May, 2015

Psalm133

1 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! 2 It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. 3 It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.

I do not like altercations with people. Just this week I had a misunderstanding with someone and it plagued me. It robbed me of peace and of my sleep. So when I read this passage today I shouted Amen! It is so true!

 

Unity between the brothers and sisters in Christ is a good and wonderful thing. This scripture describes unity poetically as a huge blessing! It is like oil dripping down, from the beard onto the clothing of Aaron, the high priest of Israel. There is an abundance of anointing or blessing oil, which is precious and expensive. We are also told that it is as the dew covering Mount Hermon and Mount Zion. That’s a lot of dew! And the dew is falling on Israel’s holy mountains. In both these similes there is a vast amount and they are connect with blessed and a holy person/places. To be living in unity and harmony with our brothers and sisters is a vast blessing!

So let’s work for it! Let’s be intentional about it.  We need to pray for one another, thank God for one another, encourage one another, and care for one another.

Jesus forgive me for when I have neglected unity. Thank you for my brothers and sisters in the church. Thank you that you created us for community. Truly being unified with each other is a precious and blessed thing. Help me to devote myself to pray for others, to encourage and lift one another up. And by your Spirit’s power may I live a life that overflows with kindness towards others.

 

Written by Zoe Stewart

 

2 replies
  1. Kerrie says:

    A lovely massage Zoe, and so true. Such a blessing when everyone is getting along with each other – at home, at work, in the church.

  2. Andrew Mellor says:

    Thanks Zoe, we are a family in Christ, united by an even stronger bond than our earthly family, the Spirit of God. May we be that sort of refreshing family, a Mountain Dew family!!

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Wednesday 27 May, 2015

Psalm 132

1 Lord, remember David and all his self-denial. 2 He swore an oath to the Lord, he made a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: 3 “I will not enter my house or go to my bed, 4 I will allow no sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids, 5 till I find a place for the Lord, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob.” 6 We heard it in Ephrathah, we came upon it in the fields of Jaar: 7 “Let us go to his dwelling place, let us worship at his footstool, saying, 8 ‘Arise, Lord, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. 9 May your priests be clothed with your righteousness; may your faithful people sing for joy.’” 10 For the sake of your servant David, do not reject your anointed one. 11 The Lord swore an oath to David, a sure oath he will not revoke: “One of your own descendants I will place on your throne. 12 If your sons keep my covenant and the statutes I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne for ever and ever.” 13 For the Lord has chosen Zion, he has desired it for his dwelling, saying, 14 “This is my resting place for ever and ever; here I will sit enthroned, for I have desired it. 15 I will bless her with abundant provisions; her poor I will satisfy with food. 16 I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful people will ever sing for joy. 17 “Here I will make a horn[b] grow for David and set up a lamp for my anointed one. 18 I will clothe his enemies with shame, but his head will be adorned with a radiant crown.”

This is described as a song of ‘ascents’, sung by pilgrims going up to Jerusalem; or an ‘ascent’, which begins humbly with reminding God of David’s desire to build a temple for the Lord and rises to the pinnacle of Gods glorious goodness resting among His chosen people in Jerusalem.

The pilgrims are asking for God’s blessings, the way they do this is to remind God of their forefather David, and the covenant He made with him because of his faithfulness. God promised David that one of his descendants would sit on his throne forever. They are essentially saying ‘do this for us Lord for David’s sake’
In parallel is the story of Jesus, the anointed son of David, God’s new covenant with His people. We pray in Jesus’ name, as they prayed in David’s. Just as Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God for the Jews, the ‘church’- the people of God, are now indwelled by the Holy Spirit.

I am reminded that as a believer in Jesus, I am chosen and desired v13, that God ‘rests’ or remains with me v14; I am blessed with all my physical needs, with joy, and with salvation vv15-16. Through Jesus, the ‘horn of David’, I have entered into the covenant of salvation through faith. And so I pray ‘in Jesus’ name’.

Dear Lord help me to live a life which honours you, as your spirit lives in me. Thank you for your closeness and your love and blessings. Thank you for being a God who keeps His promises. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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Tuesday 26 May, 2015

Psalm 131

1 My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. 3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.

The 3 verses in this short Psalm can be summarised simply as “Resting and trusting in The Lord”.

In humility, the Psalmist knows and acknowledges that there are many things and matters of God that will never be understood by our finite mind and wisdom.

When we are in such a situation, we can either behave like a baby or a weaned child. A newborn baby will cry and demand the moment he/she is hungry. Milk must be given NOW. But a weaned child has now learned to WAIT.

Heavenly Father, there are many things that happen to us where we do not understand the purposes.  Teach me to rest in the assurance that You are my loving Father who knows what is best for me. Your plans are always to bless and prosper me.  Remind me of your words in Isaiah daily:

As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Written by Shin Liu

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Monday 25 May, 2015

Psalm 130

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; 2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. 3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? 4 But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you. 5 I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. 6 I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. 7 Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. 8 He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

This is one of seven “penitential” psalms, where the writer humbly realizes his predicament —usually the result of sin.  Sin is like a big divide/gap separating mankind and God. That’s why God sent His only son Jesus to re-connect/recover the relationship between God and His people (created by Him).

Unfortunately, we keep failing and sin against the Lord. If the Lord keeps a record of sins, no one can stand before Him. Thanks be to God, He forgives us. When He forgives, He forgives completely and holds nothing against us. So, we can come to His throne and put our hope in Him.

I like this psalm, not just because it was written while the writer was in the depths of despair/sorrow (like me), but it also leads me to confession and crying to God. So, I can put my hope in Him and wait for the Lord, more than the watchmen wait for the morning, for His unfailing love.

Dear Lord, thank you for your unfailing love. You redeem my sins and forgive me completely. You are my shelter and my rock. I put all my trust in You. Amen.

Written by Allen Leu

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Sunday 24 May, 2015

Psalm 129

1 “They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,” let Israel say; 2 “they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me. 3 Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long. 4 But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” 5 May all who hate Zion be turned back in shame. 6 May they be like grass on the roof, which withers before it can grow; 7 a reaper cannot fill his hands with it, nor one who gathers fill his arms. 8 May those who pass by not say to them, “The blessing of the Lord be on you; we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

This Psalm speaks as a prayer against the persecution of Israel, and the enemies of Israel. The Psalmist uses metaphorical language to describe the “deep wounds” that were inflicted on Israel. However instead of being defeated, the Psalmist writes as if Israel is down but not out! The enemies of Israel may have inflicted injury upon the nation, but “they haven’t won the battle”. The Psalmist recognises that ultimately, regardless of how it may appear, The Lord who is righteous has set Israel free, and these wounds will not last.

When I feel that I have been injured by others, inflicted with wounds by those around me, or even just damaged by what life brings, it is so easy to fall in a heap and allow the battle to be lost. This Psalm reminds me that I serve a righteous God who is bigger than all of these things, and who has ultimately set me free from such troubles. While there is no promise of pain free relationships or an easy life, I can know that with Gods strength I can continue on, I may be down but I’m not out.

Lord, thank you that you are bigger than the pain that comes my way. Help me to draw upon you and your righteousness, so that even when I feel wounded I have the strength to continue onwards.

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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Saturday 23 May, 2015

Psalm 128

1 Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. 2 You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. 4 Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord. 5 May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life. 6 May you live to see your children’s children— peace be on Israel.

I see this passage as key to what should be the foundation our lives – living a God-fearing life. That means, living in reverence towards God and having an understanding of His power and majesty. Proverbs 1:7 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge”, which teaches us that fearing God and understanding who He is go hand in hand.

But what really strikes me in this Psalm is the repetition of the word ‘joyful’. The writer acknowledges that we will be joyful all the days of our lives when we fear our Creator. Having just got married, I want to build a home with Matt that is full of joy and prosperity. That comes from the blessings of God as we live lives that fear Him (vs 4); not from our own strength or efforts.

Lord God, I thank You for the gift of life that You have given me. I ask that You would reveal to me more about Who You are everyday, as I live a life that fears and honours You. Thank You for the joy that You give. In Jesus’ name.

Written by Laura Samperi

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Friday 22 May, 2015

Psalm 127

1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. 2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves. 3 Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. 5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

Isn’t it amazing that the king of the universe, creator God, is keenly interested in our work habits and sleep patterns. It’s because as well as being our Lord and Saviour, He’s our Dad.

When my earthly dad hears me mention a full or taxing week he has a protective habit of reminding me to look after myself and get enough sleep. When I am sick he encourages me to, “keep up my fluids!” I love that he says it, even though I am an adult. It speaks to me about his love for me and care for me, which is exhibited in such a practical way. It reminds me that although I am grown up, my Dad is still my Dad, and I am still his child. The kind of uncomplicated trust I had as a child and complete assurance that came from my Dad’s love resurfaces. In that love I find I relax, rest, and am assured that everything will work out for good in the end.

That’s the kind of rest from toil and worry God offers us. We tend toward striving independently, but He longs to grant us true rest as we trust in Him, our provider and our Dad. When we let Him assume His rightful position as Dad, and adopt our precious position as child, we can relax into His goodness and grace.

God, thank you that you are my heavenly Dad, and that you are never going to stop being my Dad. Help me to use your name, Dad, and to rest in being your child. Thank you that because you run the universe I don’t need to work relentlessly, you are my provider and you desire good for me. Help me to show others this truth. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

1 (reply)
  1. Dimity Milne says:

    Thanks Beth, chris and I were just talking about Gods leading and timing in the new business he is starting. We are so sure that it is Gods direction. This just confirms that He is in control.

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