Monday 31 July, 2017

Psalm 63

A psalm of David when he was in the Desert of Judah. 1 God, you are my God. I seek you with all my heart. With all my strength I thirst for you in this dry desert where there isn’t any water. 2 I have seen you in the sacred tent. There I have seen your power and your glory. 3 Your love is better than life. So I will bring glory to you with my lips. 4 I will praise you as long as I live. I will call on your name when I lift up my hands in prayer. 5 I will be as satisfied as if I had eaten the best food there is. I will sing praise to you with my mouth. 6 As I lie on my bed I remember you. I think of you all night long. 7 Because you have helped me, I sing in the shadow of your wings. 8 I hold on to you tightly. Your powerful right hand takes good care of me. 9 Those who want to kill me will be destroyed. They will go down into the grave. 10 They will be killed by swords. They will become food for wild dogs. 11 But the king will be filled with joy because of what God has done. All those who make promises in God’s name will be able to brag. But the mouths of liars will be shut.

“…2I have seen you in the sanctuary

and beheld your power and your glory.

3Because your love is better than life,

my lips will glorify you.

4I will praise you as long as I live,

and in your name I will lift up my hands.

5I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;

with singing lips my mouth will praise you…”

The Psalmist here has seen God, in some way. I would guess by revelation, when in His temple. The impact of seeing God is deeply significant – God’s love is obviously shed abroad in his heart, and a deep satisfaction, like that of enjoying fine foods, fills the psalmists soul.

It is undeniable, the strength of the Psalmists satisfaction in knowing God, and the natural overflow of such knowing is deep and rich praise.

The Psalmist didn’t just go anywhere to be with God. The Psalmist went to the sanctuary.

I can sometimes be a bit flippant as to how I engage with God. Because I have the Spirit, I tell myself, I can engage with God anywhere, anyhow. To some extent this is indeed true, but God must always receive my deep respect and reverence, wherever I engage with Him. His is a power, a glory, a love, and a satisfaction that far surpass everything in this world, even the finest of foods (and I like my food).

And God must be sought out. God is indeed everywhere, but I know He is present with His church, our modern “sanctuary”, every weekend. I must be found there week in, week out, and I can be present when God reveals Himself in magnificent and fresh ways.

Lord, help me truly respect you, always, as is your due. And keep me faithful to be present to you, found in your sanctuary, week in, week out. And keep my eyes open to your glory, for I know you satisfy my heart wonderfully.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Sunday 30 July, 2017

Psalm 62

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. A psalm of David. 1 It is surely true that I find my rest in God. He is the God who saves me. 2 It is surely true that he is my rock. He is the God who saves me. He is like a fort to me. I will always be secure. 3 How long will you enemies attack me? Will all of you throw me down? I’m like a leaning wall. I’m like a fence about to fall. 4 Surely my enemies only want to pull me down from my place of honor. They take delight in telling lies. They bless me with what they say. But in their hearts they ask for bad things to happen to me. 5 Yes, I must find my rest in God. He is the God who gives me hope. 6 It is surely true that he is my rock and the God who saves me. He is like a fort to me, so I will always be secure. 7 I depend on God to save me and to honor me. He is my mighty rock and my place of safety. 8 Trust in him at all times, you people. Tell him all your troubles. God is our place of safety. 9 Surely ordinary people are only a breath. Important people are not what they seem to be. If they were weighed on a scale, they wouldn’t amount to anything. Together they are only a breath. 10 Don’t trust in money you have taken from others. Don’t put false hope in things you have stolen. Even if your riches grow, don’t put your trust in them. 11 God, I have heard you say two things. One is that power belongs to you, God. 12 The other is that your love, Lord, never ends. You will reward everyone in keeping with what they have done.

This psalm is about hope and trusting in God.

The psalm was written by King David, a man who experienced great highs and lows in his life. He was loved at times and he was hated at times. He lived in the king’s palace at times but he also lived in a cave for a time. He acted with great honour at times but he also acted dishonourably at times.

It was from these experiences David wrote with great confidence about Gods’ unfailing love.

What David discovered was in good times or bad (v8 NIV) pouring his heart out to God strengthened him in his walk with God.

This leaves me with the question ‘do I pour out my heart to God in times of personal need?’. ‘Do I put my trust in God or (v10) do I trust wealth for my security?

These are big questions and are not easy to answer, so how about taking just 5 minutes out of today and share with God the things that are troubling you today.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1Peter 5:7 NIV)

Thank you, God that I can come to you with all my troubles and in turn you strengthen my inner being. I ask that with the strength you give me I can in turn strength others in their time of need.


Written by David Newton

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Saturday 29 July, 2017

Psalm 61

For the director of music. A psalm of David to be played on stringed instruments. 1 God, hear my cry for help. Listen to my prayer. 2 From a place far away I call out to you. I call out as my heart gets weaker. Lead me to the safety of a rock that is high above me. 3 You have always kept me safe from my enemies. You are like a strong tower to me. 4 I long to live in your holy tent forever. There I find safety in the shadow of your wings. 5 God, you have heard my promises. You have given me what belongs to those who worship you. 6 Add many days to the king’s life. Let him live on and on for many years. 7 May he always enjoy your blessing as he rules. Let your love and truth keep him safe. 8 Then I will always sing praise to you. I will keep my promises day after day.

The first part of this psalm is a cry for rescue from that point of despair where his “heart is overwhelmed” (v2 NLT). I love the imagery he uses:

  • “A rock that is higher than me” that he needs right now (v2). It’s a place of safety high out of reach of his enemies. But it’s not a “safe cave”. It’s a place where he can rest in safety in plain sight of his enemies.
  • The “strong tower” (v3) that he has always known God to be. David’s faith is based on repeated experience of God’s deliverance.
  • Living in his “holy tent forever” that he looks to with faith. This is the place where God himself lives: a place not only of safety but of intimate relationship as a member of God’s family.
  • With that beautiful image of taking “refuge in the shelter of your wings” (v4 NIV). Like a chick running back to the protection and comfort of its mother.

In the second part he asks for the blessing of long life and safety for the king.

I don’t know, but I suspect David wrote this psalm when he was being pursued by Saul. This would mean the king he asks blessing for is the same Saul from whom he needs rescuing. And if the king who pursues David is kept safe and lives a long life, David will sing God’s praises for it.

Some lessons for me: Expecting God to intervene decisively in my life now and into the future to eternity; And not just praying blessings on those who cause me trouble, but looking to see that blessing materialise and praising God when it does.

Oh Father, give me David’s heart towards you and towards those who wish me harm.

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 28 July, 2017

Psalm‬ ‭60‬

1 God, you have turned away from us. You have attacked us. You have been angry. Now turn back to us! 2 You have shaken the land and torn it open. Fix its cracks, because it is falling apart. 3 You have shown your people hard times. You have made us drink the wine of your anger. Now we can’t even walk straight. 4 But you lead into battle those who have respect for you. You give them a flag to wave against the enemy’s weapons. 5 Save us and help us by your power. Do this so that those you love may be saved. 6 God has spoken from his temple. He has said, “I will win the battle. Then I will divide up the land around Shechem. I will divide up the Valley of Sukkoth. 7 Gilead belongs to me. So does the land of Manasseh. Ephraim is the strongest tribe. It is like a helmet for my head. Judah is the royal tribe. It is like a ruler’s scepter. 8 Moab serves me like one who washes my feet. I toss my sandal on Edom to show that I own it. I shout to Philistia that I have won the battle.” 9 Who will bring me to the city that has high walls around it? Who will lead me to the land of Edom? 10 God, isn’t it you, even though you have now turned away from us? Isn’t it you, even though you don’t lead our armies into battle anymore? 11 Help us against our enemies. The help people give doesn’t amount to anything. 12 With your help we will win the battle. You will walk all over our enemies.

Is this God’s battle? Is God involved? Is what’s at stake close to God’s heart? These are important questions to answer when I commit to a fight. If I am going to use the gifts and resources God has entrusted to me, I must use them for the right battles; God will hold me to account for the way I use that which he has entrusted to me. Time, energy, money, focus am I spending it the way my King wants me to spend it?

Even more fundamentally, am I fighting on the right side! The apostle Paul thought he was, and then met Jesus himself and had to switch sides. Is my heart ready to be wrong? Am I more interested in following the Spirit then being right?

Lord, this life is but a breath on the edge of eternity, I want to seek your Kingdom, fight for it alone. Show me where you are at work, and keep me from wasting your precious gifts. I never want to fight against you or fight a battle that doesn’t matter in eternity.

Written by Andrew Mellor

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Thursday 27 July, 2017

Psalm 59

For the director of music. A miktam of David when Saul had sent men to watch David’s house. Saul sent the men to kill David. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” 1 God, save me from my enemies. Keep me safe from people who are attacking me. 2 Save me from those who do evil. Save me from people who want to kill me. 3 See how they hide and wait for me! Lord, angry people plan to harm me, even though I haven’t hurt them in any way or sinned against them. 4 I haven’t done anything wrong to them. But they are ready to attack me. Rise up and help me! Look at what I’m up against! 5 Lord God who rules over all, rise up. God of Israel, punish all the nations. Don’t show any mercy to those sinful people who have turned against me. 6 My enemies are like a pack of barking dogs that come back to the city in the evening. They prowl around the city. 7 Listen to what pours out of their mouths. The words from their lips are like swords. They think, “Who can hear us?” 8 But you laugh at them, Lord. You make fun of all those nations. 9 You give me strength. I look to you. God, you are like a fort to me. 10 You are my God, and I can depend on you. God will march out in front of me. He will let me look down on those who tell lies about me. 11 Lord, you are like a shield that keeps us safe. Don’t kill my enemies all at once. If you do, my people will forget about it. Use your power to pull my enemies up by the roots like weeds. Destroy them. 12 They have sinned with their mouths. Their lips have spoken evil words. They have cursed me and lied. Let them be caught in their pride. 13 Burn them up in your anger. Burn them up until there isn’t anything left of them. Then everyone from one end of the earth to the other will know that God rules over the people of Jacob. 14 My enemies are like a pack of barking dogs that come back into the city in the evening. They prowl around the city. 15 They wander around looking for food. They groan if they don’t find something that will satisfy them. 16 But I will sing about your strength. In the morning I will sing about your love. You are like a fort to me. You keep me safe in times of trouble. 17 You give me strength. I sing praise to you. God, you are like a fort to me. You are my God, and I can depend on you.

Verses 9-10 and 16-17 are already well marked in my Bible for this psalm. Verses that in times past have encouraged me, declared God’s love for me, declared that He is my place of safety and protection. But I’ve never put them into the context of the psalm and thought about the feelings of the writer – David. Men are lying in wait outside his house ready to do gross harm, to kill him. But David, instead of seeming panicked or overwhelmed, takes the time and another perspective on his situation. He leaves his enemies for God to sort out. He chooses to praise, He chooses to focus on God’s strength, God who loves him and will deliver him.

My life’s situations have certainly never been anywhere near David’s situation and yet we both worship the same God. David’s faith and trust in God is so sure, so secure, is mine? Where am I placing my confidence? I feel David’s’ challenge to me to always seek the other perspective – and keep my eyes on God.

I want to make verse 17 my prayer today ..” O my strength, I will sing praises to you, for you, O God, are my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love.” (NRSV) Amen.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Wednesday 26 July, 2017

Psalm 58

For the director of music. A miktam of David to the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” 1 Are you rulers really fair when you speak? Do you judge people honestly? 2 No, in your hearts you plan to be unfair. With your hands you do terrible things on the earth. 3 Even from birth those who are evil go down the wrong path. From the day they are born they go the wrong way and spread lies. 4 Their words are like the poison of a snake. They are like the poison of a cobra that has covered up its ears. 5 It won’t listen to a snake charmer’s tune, even if the charmer plays very well. 6 God, break the teeth in the mouths of those sinners! Lord, tear out the sharp teeth of those lions! 7 Let those people disappear like water that flows away. When they draw their bows, let their arrows fall short of the target. 8 Let them be like a slug that melts away as it moves along. Let them be like a baby that is born dead and never sees the sun. 9 Evil people will be swept away before burning thorns can heat a pot. And it doesn’t matter if the thorns are green or dry. 10 Godly people will be glad when those who have hurt them are paid back. They will dip their feet in the blood of those who do evil. 11 Then people will say, “The godly will get their reward. There really is a God who judges the earth.”

This psalm recognizes that political affairs keep questions about power separate from questions about uprightness and faithfulness.  Many rulers do not rule in ways that gives priority to integrity and concern for their people.  There are supernatural forces working through human rulers, supernatural forces that are cynical about uprightness and faithfulness.  When we are concerned about our society we need to recognize that the forces working against human well-being are more than merely human.  This makes prayer vital to working for good in society, prayer that recognizes these realities.  The psalm begins by addressing the forces themselves.

This prayer is a prayer for desperate people, for powerless people threatened by powerful people who are as dangerous as deadly snakes that will not listen to anyone who tries to stop them from using their poisonous potential.  The victims know that God exacts justice, and they look forward to the relief that will come when God does so.

Father, help me to be patient, even as I observe injustice, knowing that vengeance is Yours not mine!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

1 (reply)
  1. Kim says:

    Such a good reminder that we really are at war with things we cannot see, a great reminder to look beyond what I am hearing & see where it is really coming from & continue to pray

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Tuesday 25 July, 2017

Psalm 57

For the director of music. A miktam of David when he had run away from Saul into the cave. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” 1 Have mercy on me, God. Have mercy on me. I go to you for safety. I will find safety in the shadow of your wings. There I will stay until the danger is gone. 2 I cry out to God Most High. I cry out to God, and he shows that I am right. 3 He answers from heaven and saves me. He puts to shame those who chase me. He shows his love and that he is faithful. 4 Men who are like lions are all around me. I am forced to lie down among people who are like hungry animals. Their teeth are like spears and arrows. Their tongues are like sharp swords. 5 God, may you be honored above the heavens. Let your glory be over the whole earth. 6 My enemies spread a net to catch me by the feet. I felt helpless. They dug a pit in my path. But they fell into it themselves. 7 God, my heart feels secure. My heart feels secure. I will sing and make music to you. 8 My spirit, wake up! Harp and lyre, wake up! I want to sing and make music before the sun rises. 9 Lord, I will praise you among the nations. I will sing about you among the people of the earth. 10 Great is your love. It reaches to the heavens. Your truth reaches to the skies. 11 God, may you be honored above the heavens. Let your glory be over the whole earth.

Whether things are going well in life, or badly, life has a habit of just getting crazy.

I don’t know if it has been part of our human nature since sin entered the world, or whether it is a more modern phenomenon, but it just seems that the default position of modern humanity is to just keep doing doing doing doing doing as much as we can, either out of fear and anxiety, fighting to stay alive, or out of joyful exuberance, energised by the last success and striving for the next one.

I just love though, that as I stop. And read this.

A quiet psalm. Beautiful in its poetic language.

Focussed on the one true God.

I am able to appreciate His presence.

I am able to hear his true voice.

I am able to be still and know that He is God.

And that presence and peace gives me all that I need to know that having stopped, I will be all the more effective than if I had just kept running.

Written by Ps Justin Ware

2 replies
  1. Andrew says:

    Great summary of profound reality.

    Just stop and appreciate His presence and relationship.

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Monday 24 July, 2017

Psalm 56

For the director of music. A miktam of David after the Philistines had captured him in Gath. To the tune of “A Dove on Distant Oak Trees.” 1 Help me, God. Men are chasing me. All day long they keep attacking me. 2 My enemies chase me all day long. Many proud people are attacking me. 3 When I’m afraid, I put my trust in you. 4 I trust in God. I praise his word. I trust in God. I am not afraid. What can mere people do to me? 5 All day long they twist my words. They are always making plans to destroy me. 6 They get together and hide. They watch my steps. They hope to kill me. 7 Because they are so evil, make sure you don’t let them escape. God, bring down the nations in your anger. 8 Make a record of my sadness. List my tears in your book. Aren’t you making a record of them? 9 My enemies will turn back when I call out to you for help. Then I will know that God is on my side. 10 I trust in God. I praise his word. I trust in the Lord. I praise his word. 11 I trust in God. I am not afraid. What can mere people do to me? 12 God, I have made promises to you. I will bring my thank offerings to you. 13 You have saved me from the darkness of death. You have kept me from tripping and falling. Now I can live with you in the light of life.

David faces fierce opposition from his enemies, who are out to destroy him. I notice that in the midst of describing his difficulties he takes positive action. David requests God’s help, chooses to trust God, chooses to praise God and chooses to thank God. David does not deny the seriousness of the opposition, he states it plainly.

What challenges me is the way he also plainly states God’s ability in his requests. David is aware of his problem but he is also aware of God’s power and that God is for him. It is this consciousness of God’s power that enables him to declare confidently, ‘what can man do to me?’

I am very good at describing my problems… but I am not so well-practiced in being conscious of God’s power and declaring it over my situation. God, please help me to be like David and to take positive action in the face of difficulty. Help me to request your help, praise you, trust you and thank you. Help me to see and believe that walking in victory really is that simple. Amen.

Written by Beth Waugh

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Sunday 23 July, 2017

Psalm 55

For the director of music. A maskil of David to be played on stringed instruments. 1 God, listen to my prayer. Pay attention to my cry for help. 2 Hear me and answer me. My thoughts upset me. I’m very troubled. 3 I’m troubled by what my enemies say about me. I’m upset because they say they will harm me. They cause me all kinds of suffering. When they are angry, they attack me with their words. 4 I feel great pain deep down inside me. The terrors of death have fallen on me. 5 Fear and trembling have taken hold of me. Panic has overpowered me. 6 I said, “I wish I had wings like a dove! Then I would fly away and be at rest. 7 I would escape to a place far away. I would stay out in the desert. 8 I would hurry to my place of safety. It would be far away from the winds and storms I’m facing.” 9 Lord, confuse the sinners and keep them from understanding one another. I see people destroying things and fighting in the city. 10 Day and night they prowl around on top of its walls. The city is full of crime and trouble. 11 Forces that destroy are at work inside it. Its streets are full of people who cheat others and take advantage of them. 12 If an enemy were making fun of me, I could stand it. If he were getting ready to oppose me, I could hide. 13 But it’s you, someone like myself. It’s my companion, my close friend. 14 We used to enjoy good friendship at the house of God. We used to walk together among those who came to worship. 15 Let death take my enemies by surprise. Let them be buried alive, because their hearts and homes are full of evil. 16 But I call out to God. And the Lord saves me. 17 Evening, morning and noon I groan and cry out. And he hears my voice. 18 Even though many enemies are fighting against me, he brings me safely back from the battle. 19 God has been on his throne since ancient times and does not change. He will hear my enemies and make them humble. That’s because they have no respect for God. 20 My companion attacks his friends. He breaks his promise. 21 His talk is as smooth as butter. But he has war in his heart. His words flow like olive oil. But they are like swords ready for battle. 22 Turn your worries over to the Lord. He will keep you going. He will never let godly people be shaken. 23 God, you will bring sinners down to the grave. Murderers and liars won’t live out even half of their lives. But I trust in you.

This Psalm is not the most encouraging, or uplifting passage to read in the morning, as one prepares for the day ahead. But it actually can turn our thinking, as we all journey through difficulties at times in our lives. The Psalmist is in a dark place at this time. He is suffering betrayal from a friend, who was obviously a close friend. Who this is, we do not know. But we have all been there.
This Psalm moves in three stages, from fear to fury and then finally to faith. Fear leads only to desire to flee. Fury only emphasizes the consciousness of the wrong. Faith alone creates courage.

V22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain You”. This is the verse which I believe is the emphasis for this passage for today. Note that the verse does not state that He will takes away our troubles, but that He will sustain us through the troubles. Our faith in God will give us the courage, knowing that the one who created the universe in its entirety, is journeying with us, before us, ahead and alongside, in times of turmoil.

Thank you Lord for you faithfulness to me, that despite my failings, and at times lack of trust in You, that you give me the faith to be courageous. I ask this again for this new day ahead. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

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Saturday 22 July, 2017

Psalm 54

For the director of music. To be played on stringed instruments. A maskil of David when the men from Ziph had gone to Saul. They had said, “Isn’t David hiding among us?” 1 God, save me by your power. Set me free by your might. 2 God, hear my prayer. Listen to what I’m saying. 3 Enemies who are proud are attacking me. Mean people are trying to kill me. They don’t care about God. 4 But I know that God helps me. The Lord is the one who keeps me going. 5 My enemies tell lies about me. Do to them the evil things they planned against me. God, be faithful and destroy them. 6 I will sacrifice an offering to you just because I choose to. Lord, I will praise your name because it is good. 7 You have saved me from all my troubles. With my own eyes I have seen you win the battle over my enemies.

Perspective always helps.

When I’m complaining to God, or simply telling him how I really feel, its easy to lose perspective.

Telling God to pay attention to my plea – I may not say that to God, but when there is no answer from God or any change in my circumstances, its how I feel.

But David pauses after v3 and says God is my helper, the one who keeps me alive.


Only God can help change circumstances, or change me in them. It is God who keeps me alive.

Over the past few years, I have wondered how we would make it. But we have, we are, we will, and it is only because of God. He has helped me, he helps us, he keeps me alive.

Instead of focusing on the problem, worship God. Remember what he has done, and what he will do, and worship him.

David shifts from saying what his problem is to saying what God will do as though it has happened.

We choose where our perspective comes from, either from the problem or from God who sustains us and keeps us alive.

Thank you Father, for sustaining me and keeping me alive. You have promised me to never leave me or forsake me, and my perspecitve is your promise to me.

Written by Andrew Martin

1 (reply)
  1. Linda Quinn says:

    Thanks Andrew – such a helpful reflection that I needed to hear today. Today I’m choosing to shift “from saying what my problem is to saying what God will do as though it has happened.” Like Abraham speaking that which is not yet as though it is! Lord keep my perspective You focussed!

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