Monday 31 December, 2018

Psalm 116

1 I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. 2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. 3 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. 4 Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!” 5 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. 6 The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. 7 Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. 8 For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, 9 that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. 10 I trusted in the Lord when I said, “I am greatly afflicted”; 11 in my alarm I said, “Everyone is a liar.” 12 What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me? 13 I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord. 14 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants. 16 Truly I am your servant, Lord; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. 17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord. 18 I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the Lord— in your midst, Jerusalem. Praise the Lord.

This psalm could be titled “The search for peace”. In trouble, paralysed (v3), the writer can only cry out of his desperation “Lord save me.”

I notice he doesn’t cry out “Lord how did you let this happen to me” or “Lord don’t you care about me”. His was a cry to our God who loves us and responds with love when we call on him.

There was nothing the writer could bring to earn God’s favour and help – simply a cry “Help”. Our loving God responded, because he loves it when we come to him. What did his response look like? Verses 5 and 6 show us that he responded with compassion not condemnation, with protection not punishment, with salvation not judgment.

The result is peace – verse 7.

God saved us when he sent Jesus, the rescue he had planned from the beginning. The answer to my search for peace is Jesus.

Dear Lord, I am so grateful that you respond to your people when they call for help. You are the God who turns his ear when I call on you. Thank you. Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Sunday 30 December, 2018

Psalm 115

1 Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. 2 Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?” 3 Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him. 4 But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. 5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. 6 They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. 7 They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. 8 Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them. 9 All you Israelites, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. 10 House of Aaron, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. 11 You who fear him, trust in the Lord— he is their help and shield. 12 The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless his people Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron, 13 he will bless those who fear the Lord— small and great alike. 14 May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. 16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. 17 It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; 18 it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord.

This psalm leads us into giving God all the glory and praise He solely deserves. Verse 1 says, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name goes all the glory,” which positions us in a place of humility before God. Unlike humanity’s idols, this passage reminds us that God is a God who can speak, see and hear, and He calls us to come to Him for help and protection.

Verses 12-15 go on to highlight the abundant blessings God pours out on His people. He does this from a heart of love for us, and because He delights in us. Because of His love and mercy, we can praise His Name both now and forever (vs 18) and bring glory to Him with our lives.

Lord, I thank You that You are close to me. You speak to, see and hear me, and I thank You for desiring to shield and pour out blessings upon me today. Please help me to glorify You and bring You praise in all that I do. May I reflect Your goodness and mercy today. In Jesus’ Name.

Written by Ps. Laura Samperi

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Saturday 29 December, 2018

Psalm 114

1 When Israel came out of Egypt, Jacob from a people of foreign tongue, 2 Judah became God’s sanctuary, Israel his dominion. 3 The sea looked and fled, the Jordan turned back; 4 the mountains leaped like rams, the hills like lambs. 5 Why was it, sea, that you fled? Why, Jordan, did you turn back? 6 Why, mountains, did you leap like rams, you hills, like lambs? 7 Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, 8 who turned the rock into a pool, the hard rock into springs of water.

What an extraordinary picture. It’s not just that even inanimate objects obey God’s voice. They’re positively enthusiastic: The hard rocks of the mountains don’t just produce water, the whole mountains skip like lambs; The Red Sea doesn’t just part, the NLT says it “hurries out of the way”. Why? Because the Lord has come. That’s enough to have the whole of creation rushing to obey him.

The God of Jacob comes to live amongst his people Judah, amongst Israel, and made them his holy place. It’s ironic to think how his chosen people (with ears to hear him, minds to understand him, and hearts to seek him) reacted to the presence of God: grumbling, questioning, wanting to leave his presence and go back to Egypt.

Now the God of Jacob chooses to live in us, and to make us (God’s people together and individually) his holy temple (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19). So how will I respond?

The challenge for me is to be even more enthusiastic than the mountains and seas and rivers in my obedience to him, to be part of everything he is doing; to be even more obvious than an earthquake that the presence of God is here, amongst his people, in me; to allow him to turn the hard rocks in me into springs of living water (John 7:38).

Written by David Cornell

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Friday 28 December, 2018

Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. 2 Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. 4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. 9 He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.
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Friday 28 December, 2018

Psalm 113

1 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, you his servants; praise the name of the Lord. 2 Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. 4 The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens. 5 Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high, 6 who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth? 7 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; 8 he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people. 9 He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

We have a custom in western culture of giving honour by name. We single people out to receive awards, whether it be for a Nobel Prize, or the Hall of Fame or Australian of the Year. We recognise someone’s contributions and attach it to their name.

The psalmist here exhorts us to praise the Lord and to praise the name of the Lord. He describes some of the deeds attached to the Lord’s name – He raises the poor person out of poverty and invisibility and elevates them to a place of significance, and He gives children to the woman who did not have any.

God’s intervention and all the individual stories of God bringing hope, joy, restoration, freedom, healing, love, peace, purpose and forgiveness are too many to count… but when we praise God and praise His name, may we begin to recall them to mind. May we remember what they reveal to us about His matchless character and unending grace.

Help me God to spread the stories of your goodness around, may your name receive praise from me everyday. Amen.

Written by Ps. Beth Waugh

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Thursday 27 December, 2018

Psalm 112

1 Praise the Lord. Blessed are those who fear the Lord, who find great delight in his commands. 2 Their children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed. 3 Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever. 4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous. 5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice. 6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. 7 They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes. 9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor, their righteousness endures forever; their horn will be lifted high in honor. 10 The wicked will see and be vexed, they will gnash their teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

I read a psalm like this one and can’t help but think of the exceptions. What about the righteous who are killed in war, what about the unknown children of the poor, ravaged by famine? The idea that righteousness will always lead to prosperity seems to make sense but not always work out practically. However, as I seek God about this psalm I believe two things are in view.

  1. The end game. God’s Kingdom will ensure that righteousness is rewarded, that in all things the good and the lovely will be exalted and evil will be vanquished.
  2. Even as we wait for the universal reign of Christ, we have Christ reigning in our own lives. He brings abundance, joy and hope internally and that certainly spills over into the externals as well.

So yes, there are times the righteous are trampled, surely the psalmist would acknowledge this as there are many psalms that cry out because God’s justice seems to be far off. Jesus himself, the Righteous One, cried out ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?!’


But just as Jesus was raised from the dead and will now reign forever as king, so righteousness will be exalted, and God will not fail to punish the wicked.


Lord, no matter what I see, I declare that the good will be exalted. Thank you that in Christ we have a goodness that comes from you.

Written by Andrew Mellor

1 (reply)
  1. Megan Cornell says:

    Great insights Andrew. Thank you for not being afraid to address the seemingly difficult statements in this Psalm.

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Wednesday 26 December, 2018

Psalm 111

1 Praise the Lord. I will extol the Lord with all my heart in the council of the upright and in the assembly. 2 Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. 3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds, and his righteousness endures forever. 4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. 6 He has shown his people the power of his works, giving them the lands of other nations. 7 The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy. 8 They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness. 9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever— holy and awesome is his name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.

This passage is so descriptive of God. It describes what He does (great are His works, glorious and majestic are His deeds) and who He is (He is righteous, gracious, compassionate, He provides, He remembers, He is powerful, faithful, just, generous and trustworthy).

As I focus on who He is and His goodness towards me, my heart overflows with thankfulness! Lord you are to be praised!

It is good for me to be reminded of who God is because there are moments when I feel that some of these attributes of God are not what I experience. I need to keep God as God and believe that He is exactly who He says He is. When I do this I am “fearing the Lord” (v10). This does not mean I am afraid of Him, but that I hold Him in awe and reverence, I hold Him in His rightful place. As I do this I am activating faith. For example, by choosing to believe that God is just when I feel that He is not, I am activating faith as I watch and wait with an expectant heart that I too will experience His justice. As I do, I will gain His wisdom (v10).

Father, I thank you that You are good and faithful to me. I thank you that You want me to know and experience You as You truly are. Thank you for loving me and transforming me as I continue to trust You and walk by faith with You. I bless your name.

Written by Gab Martin

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Tuesday 25 December, 2018

Isaiah 9:6-7

6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

The description of the Messiah is unambiguous – powerful and inspiring.

The names given suggest a number of things. Divine wisdom and power, ongoing and unceasing fatherly care, the bringing of peace with all of its blessings.

When I think of a Saviour these descriptions cover all my needs. I need a Saviour – one who doesn’t just deal with part of who I am but all that I am and hope to be.

Jesus – the child born is this Saviour.

But even more than this I take confidence from the fact that the kingdom God establishes through the Saviour, Jesus, is one of ever increasing peace and ever increasing dimension. Jesus rule and reign – His kingdom – is not geographical but in our hearts and God’s promise is that it will always increase.

That means His transforming work in me and through me is always at work by His Word and Spirit – wow what a life of joy, of peace, of fruitfulness!!

Father, this Christmas I come to you afresh, committing my life to your Lordship. May I follow you more dearly and nearly day-by-day!

Written by Ps. Richard Botta

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Monday 24 December, 2018

Luke 2:15-20

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

I don’t know much about these shepherds aside from the fact that they were up at night looking after their sheep. To a great extent for me, this helps me relate to them. Even though I am not that familiar with looking after animals, I can imagine myself in their position – up late with some work mates, sharing stories, probably with a campfire burning.

I imagine that these shepherds are Hebrews with some background understanding of God, but their shock and awe when the angel appears gives me the impression that they would not have expected God to show up in this way, at least not for them.

What I love about this story and I am really challenged by, is the way that they respond- the scale of their visit by the angels leads them to drop everything they were doing to travel into the “nearby” town of Bethlehem (probably still a long way by foot) to see the baby.

Once they saw Jesus, the shepherds continue their response: they tell everyone about what they had seen and heard and they praise God.

Thanks Lord that you show up in unexpected places. Help me to be better at expecting your unexpected intervention.  Thank you that I have met Jesus as the shepherds did. May I have a lasting response that mirrors theirs – telling others and worshipping you. Amen.

Written by Ps. Justin Ware

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Sunday 23 December, 2018

Luke 2:8-14

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is the first account of the celebration of the birth of Christ. And I love how God orchestrates it by first having the angel appear to some shepherds. When the sun went down that day, and they started to settle in for the evening watching their masters sheep, they had no idea what was about to unfold, and how their lives would be changed forever.

It was dark, a clear sky, probably a little cool and the grass, damp from the dew. And then enters the glory of God. No wonder they were frightened at first. I would have been too. Such a magnificent and blazing spectacle of the praise of angels then graces the sky. This I would have loved to witness.

What do I take from this personally? God is teaching me humility in how He brings his Son into the earth. We see this by the fact the Jesus was born in a smelly stable and laid in a cow’s food trough, and from this passage, that the angel announced to shepherds, not dignitaries or officials, or church leaders, but lowly shepherds, who were on the night shift, a low graded profession.

I wonder if this were to happen today, who would God send his angels to proclaim this message to?

If this is God’s way, which it is because there are so many similar accounts in the Word, then my attitude needs to be the same.

Father, forgive me when for when I am proud. Change me, create in me a clean heart, and may my view of others be one of humility and mercy, for this is the attitude that you desire of me. Amen

Written by Stephen Fell 

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