Saturday 21 January, 2017

Psalm 32

1 Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2 Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit. 3 When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.[b] 5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6 Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. 7 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. 9 Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. 10 Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. 11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous; sing, all you who are upright in heart!

In this passage, we hear David overjoyed at the knowledge of his sin being forgiven. It is clear from his joy that this isn’t just head-knowledge for him, but something that he is experiencing. He knows it not just intellectually, but practically. One key thing he highlights is that at first he refused to confess his sin, and as a result God’s hand of discipline was heavy upon him. But once he confessed, he was forgiven, and the weight of his guilt was lifted! In confessing, he also realised the true character of God – that He is our hiding place, that He protects us from trouble and surrounds us with songs of victory.

The application here is simple in theory, though can be very difficult in practise. When sin nags at our conscience, we simply need to confess it for our guilt to be lifted. Sometimes it’s sin against God, sometimes it’s sin against others. Whatever it is, we are better off walking through the difficult moment of confession, than living with the ongoing weight that sin puts upon us. We must also remind ourselves throughout, that God is good, that He loves us, and He wants the best for us.

Lord, thank You that You are a God of forgiveness, of love and of mercy. Help me to confess my sin to you where it has gained a foothold in my life. Thank You that You take my sin away and wash me clean.

 

Written by Matt Samperi

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Friday 20 January, 2017

Psalm 31

1 In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. 2 Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. 3 Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. 4 Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. 5 Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God. 6 I hate those who cling to worthless idols; as for me, I trust in the Lord. 7 I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. 8 You have not given me into the hands of the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. 9 Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief. 10 My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning; my strength fails because of my affliction,[b] and my bones grow weak. 11 Because of all my enemies, I am the utter contempt of my neighbors and an object of dread to my closest friends— those who see me on the street flee from me. 12 I am forgotten as though I were dead; I have become like broken pottery. 13 For I hear many whispering, “Terror on every side!” They conspire against me and plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” 15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me. 16 Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your unfailing love. 17 Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I have cried out to you; but let the wicked be put to shame and be silent in the realm of the dead. 18 Let their lying lips be silenced, for with pride and contempt they speak arrogantly against the righteous. 19 How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. 20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues. 21 Praise be to the Lord, for he showed me the wonders of his love when I was in a city under siege. 22 In my alarm I said, “I am cut off from your sight!” Yet you heard my cry for mercy when I called to you for help. 23 Love the Lord, all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

This Psalm in my Bible is titled ‘A Prayer of Trust in God’.
I have been a Christian since I was a child. Yet I still find that trusting God everyday, in all situations, can be a challenge. Reading this Psalm is such an encouragement, I love the way David prays – he is raw and honest as he calls on God, and professes his trust in Him.
This psalm resonates so strongly with me; I can read it and be assured that I can fully trust God, as David did, because:

– God is my refuge and defender, always ready to care for and protect me (vs 2, 3, 15, 19)
– He is a faithful, righteous God (vs 1, 5)
– He is full of constant love (vs 7, 21)

There is so much in this prayer of David’s, yet even just these three points are such a great reminder that God is so worthy of my trust.

God, I thank you that you are always present to protect me, that your faithfulness knows no bounds, and that as your child I am covered by your constant love. Thank you for your Word that encourages and strengthens. Help me to place my complete trust in you at all times, because there is no one more worthy than you Lord. Amen.

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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Thursday 19 January, 2017

Psalm 30

1 I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. 3 You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. 4 Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

David has been saved from death and here he praises God. He looks at his past troubles and he declares that they are fleeting. That God has turned mourning to dancing, and sorrow to joy. That dancing and joy will be his everlasting experience.

I love verse 5, that reminds me what God is like;

God’ s anger last’s for a moment, his favour for a lifetime,

Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.

C.S Lewis says in his book Surprised by Joy

“The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of man and our liberation is his compulsion.”

God sent Jesus to liberate us. In Isaiah 61 the prophet uses very similar imagery to describe what Christ will do for his people. He will turn our ashes to beauty, our mourning to joy, and our despair to praise. We will become oaks of righteousness.

Thank you God that you have liberated me and set me free through Jesus. Thank you that I have your favour and your joy. Thank you that the troubles I face are fleeting in the light of your everlasting hope and joy. May I lift my eyes to you , and keep my eyes set on you, as you are my help, my liberator and the giver of joy. Amen

Written by Zoe Stewart

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Wednesday 18 January, 2017

Psalm 29

1 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his[a] holiness. 3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters. 4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is majestic. 5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon. 6 He makes Lebanon leap like a calf, Sirion[b] like a young wild ox. 7 The voice of the Lord strikes with flashes of lightning. 8 The voice of the Lord shakes the desert; the Lord shakes the Desert of Kadesh. 9 The voice of the Lord twists the oaks[c] and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” 10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. 11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

What a mighty Psalm.  You can hear the ‘roar’ of God.  When I was reading this a song came to mind…”oh how He loves us…”

His voice – echoes, is powerful, is majestic, splits the might cedars, strikes with bolts of lightning, rules…..  He is all powerful.

The one who spoke the world into being from nothing – can change every circumstance and situation that is before us.

The world would bring us a voice that would say we are out of control, there is no hope, there is wars and rumours of wars…..however we serve and we listen to HIM – our creator and Lord.

V 10  Above the floodwaters is God’s throne.  From which His power flows, From which He rules the world

V 11  God makes His people strong.   God gives His people peace

When my circumstances would tell me different to this Psalm….help me Lord to bathe myself in the knowledge and revelation that YOU ARE IN CONTROL.

Help me to hear your voice above all others.

You have promised to give me peace and make me strong in the midst of my circumstances.

Lord take hold of my heart and help me to see you afresh today.

Written by Sue Botta

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Tuesday 17 January, 2017

Psalm 28

1 To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. 2 Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. 3 Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. 4 Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve. 5 Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again. 6 Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. 7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. 8 The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. 9 Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever.

This is a prayer that calls on God for help, the foundation and hope of the prayer is completely based on God’s character. That God sees the truth and judges fairly, that God is faithful to his promises to his people, that God is interested in strengthening those who turn to him. These are the truths about God’s character that David is depending on, and it gives him great joy to cast all his hopes on his God.

Lord, I need to know who you are if I am to know the hope and joy that comes from trusting in you. Trust comes when I know the one I am trusting in. Lord, help me get to know you more, teach me who you are as I put my trust in you.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Monday 16 January, 2017

Psalm 27

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident. 4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. 5 For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. 6 Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord. 7 Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. 8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. 9 Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. 10 Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. 11 Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. 12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. 13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

This Psalm contains some serious encouragement in the face of opposition! David explains who God is and what he has done. He also expresses his utmost desire to remain in God’s house all his days and the reasons why and how best to respond to God in his house. The final verses encourage us to keep believing and stay with God.

David’s utmost desire is to remain in God’s house for all his days. He says this emphatically; David is promoting church! God’s house is David’s safe place, a place where he feels protected and away from the noisy storms of life. A place where order is restored and confidence returns so he can face his enemies. This is why David makes it a priority and we as believers are also encouraged to highly value God’s house. David goes on to explain why gathering in God’s house is important as it is an opportunity to:

Bring praise and worship to God

Bring an offering to God

To pray to God – to cry out to him

To find direction for my life – “Teach me how to live and lead me along the right path, Lord”

God’s house is so very special. Truly unique. There is no place like it!

Dear God, thank you for your house, the church. Please help me to value your house and prioritise it in my life like King David, Amen

Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods

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Sunday 15 January, 2017

Psalm 26

1 Vindicate me, Lord, for I have led a blameless life; I have trusted in the Lord and have not faltered. 2 Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind; 3 for I have always been mindful of your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on your faithfulness. 4 I do not sit with the deceitful, nor do I associate with hypocrites. 5 I abhor the assembly of evildoers and refuse to sit with the wicked. 6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, Lord, 7 proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. 8 Lord, I love the house where you live, the place where your glory dwells. 9 Do not take away my soul along with sinners, my life with those who are bloodthirsty, 10 in whose hands are wicked schemes, whose right hands are full of bribes. 11 I lead a blameless life; deliver me and be merciful to me. 12 My feet stand on level ground; in the great congregation I will praise the Lord.

In this psalm, David is humble before God and expresses his need and desire for Him. Although David is also assertive and confident in his requests. This shows that he is walking in faith and has no doubt in what God is able to do.

Whilst I am encouraged by this, I am also challenged to articulate my requests before God with renewed conviction. In verse 12 David says, ‘Now I stand on solid ground”. This declaration of standing on the solid ground of the Lord, follows David’s raw acknowledgement of his need for God. It’s after submission that we stand on firm. The question this brings me to is am I willing to ask God to “put me on trial and test my motives and my heart”? (vs 2).

Lord God, Thank You for redeeming me and giving me solid ground to stand on. Please help me today to be honest before You, and please reveal to me the areas You want me to be more like You in. In Jesus’ name.

Written by Laura Samperi

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Saturday 14 January, 2017

Psalm 25

1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. 2 I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. 3 No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. 4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. 7 Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. 8 Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. 9 He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. 10 All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. 11 For the sake of your name, Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. 12 Who, then, are those who fear the Lord? He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b] 13 They will spend their days in prosperity, and their descendants will inherit the land. 14 The Lord confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. 15 My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. 18 Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord,[c] is in you. 22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!

In verse 7 the psalmist asks God to ‘not remember’, or in other words, to ‘forget’, the sins of his youth and his rebellious ways. Instead of recalling to mind his past sins, the psalmist entreats God, ‘according to your love remember me.’ The NLT expresses it in these terms, ‘Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.’ The NASB says, ‘According to your loving kindness remember me.’ The psalmist is aware that he does not have a clean record. What is interesting to me is that he does not try to hide it, but acknowledges his sin before God, and then relies on God’s goodness. The psalmist puts his trust in God’s kindness, mercy and love.

Do I approach God in this way? Do I boldly entreat God to forget my past sins and remember me according to His love and kindness? Do I recall that the blood of Jesus washes me clean of my sin? Do I myself drag up memories of old sins, or do I bring to mind Jesus on the cross? What am I forgetting and what am I remembering?

God, please help me to meditate upon the sufficiency of the cross and the truth that because of Jesus you remember me according to your love. Amen!

Written by Beth Waugh

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Friday 13 January, 2017

Psalm 24

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. 3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.[a] 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.[b][c] 7 Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8 Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. 9 Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10 Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty— he is the King of glory.

This Psalm is a call for us to have the right picture of God. To understand His place in the world. It is good to be reminded of God’s power and His place. It is easy to get distracted.

He created this place and all of us. It is He we need to go to when things don’t make sense – they make sense to Him. Invite Him into your life. Don’t fall asleep at the wheel. Grow in your connection to the King of glory. Let Him into your life and the things you are facing. Join with Him as He fights the battles.

Thank You Lord – that You made the world; that You made us; that You are ready to enter in as King; that You are ready for battle; that You want us to be there beside You. Help us to have the right picture of You in our lives and to walk the path beside You each day. Amen

Written by Therese Manning

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Thursday 12 January, 2017

Psalm 23

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If there ever was a Psalm for our age, Psalm 23 is it. Our age which is time poor, non-stop productive, 24hr internet connected, 7-day-a-week worked and continuously busy. Psalm 23 is a baulk ward counter-point to these modern themes – a mantra for rest and nourishment in God’s presence. Stop and be reminded of the cosmic Shepherd. Be safe in the knowledge of God’s hedge around you.

The striking feature of this Psalm’s two large metaphors – the good shepherd and the banquet in God’s house – allows Jesus to rise easily through it, enlarging David’s song beyond simply nice spiritual poetry to the the largess of total Biblical significance. This picture of the Shepherd and the banquet needs to resonant in our bones, echo in every passage of scripture we read, instill us with quiet confidence in every circumstance – made real to us by Jesus.

Thank you good shepherd for your guidance and comfort, your rest and your provision. Thank you good Lord for a reserved place at your table. Thank you Jesus, amen.

Written by Sam Stewart

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