Thursday 31 January, 2019

Psalm 142

A maskil of David. When he was in the cave. A prayer. 1 I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. 2 I pour out before him my complaint; before him I tell my trouble. 3 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way. In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me. 4 Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. 5 I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” 6 Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. 7 Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

This Psalm highlights King David’s close relationship with God. Because of this relationship he acknowledges that in every difficult and/or dangerous situation he has faced during his life his LORD has always been there for him. Even when he is hiding out in a cave to escape his enemies he has no hesitation in crying out to God and expressing his despair openly.

For us the question is – Who is God in our daily life? Where is God when impossible situations arise? What do I expect from Him? Unless we have a similar intimacy with God our Father; unless we know what He is like, we are less likely to believe that He is deeply interested in our daily experiences.

If one aspect of prayer is conversation with God then it is extremely important that we should be honest with Him, holding nothing back. God is fully aware of our situation; He knows exactly how we are feeling. So, let it out!

No matter where you look sometimes it’s difficult to find one person who cares about what you are going through, but God cares, His love is unconditional, He wants to help.

It is so important to share what God has done in our lives. We never know who might be waiting on hearing our experience.

You, Lord are my only hiding place; You are all I have; my only hope in this life; my last chance for help. Lord help me to be sensitive to the needs of others, and reveal what You want to say in each and every circumstance.

Written by Keith Bennett

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Wednesday 30 January, 2019

Psalm 141

A psalm of David. 1 I call to you, Lord, come quickly to me; hear me when I call to you. 2 May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. 3 Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. 4 Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies. 5 Let a righteous man strike me—that is a kindness; let him rebuke me—that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it, for my prayer will still be against the deeds of evildoers. 6 Their rulers will be thrown down from the cliffs, and the wicked will learn that my words were well spoken. 7 They will say, “As one plows and breaks up the earth, so our bones have been scattered at the mouth of the grave.” 8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—do not give me over to death. 9 Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. 10 Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass by in safety.

So many good bits in this Psalm…

This Psalm of David is where he is calling to His God, His Lord. David says ‘his upraised arms” are an offering to the Lord. Have you ever considered that your upraised arms in worship, prayer and praise are an offering to the Lord? If you struggle to lift your arms…. consider this as an offering to the Lord when are you next in worship, praise and prayer.

It is so easy for us to have an opinion these days, particularly on social media.  Consider the thousands of daily posts, articles, videos, photos. Let’s be careful of what we say and how we say it. Whenever I post I consider if people know I am a Christian what can I say that brings Life, Love and the message of Hope (Jesus) to the world. How can I witness and glorify the name of Jesus using social media? Not my opinion, or the opinion of others – but what is God’s opinion. “God’s opinion is worth fighting for.”

The third thing in reflection is ‘let the godly strike me’.  I am so grateful when hard as it is; someone has the courage to say something to me as a rebuke. My husband, my children, my friends….. thank you.  It is a kindness to me… a soothing medicine. How wonderful to have people in our lives who have the courage to reprove us.  They are worthy friends indeed.

Lord thank you that I have arms that can be lifted to you. Lord thank you, may I always be careful and controlled in how I speak.  May the fear of God be on my mouth. Lord thank you for those around me who reprove me.  What a blessing they are to me.  Help me to take heed and become more like Jesus.

Written by Ps. Sue Botta

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Tuesday 29 January, 2019

Psalm 140

For the director of music. A psalm of David. 1 Rescue me, Lord, from evildoers; protect me from the violent, 2 who devise evil plans in their hearts and stir up war every day. 3 They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. 4 Keep me safe, Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent, who devise ways to trip my feet. 5 The arrogant have hidden a snare for me; they have spread out the cords of their net and have set traps for me along my path. 6 I say to the Lord, “You are my God.” Hear, Lord, my cry for mercy. 7 Sovereign Lord, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle. 8 Do not grant the wicked their desires, Lord; do not let their plans succeed. 9 Those who surround me proudly rear their heads; may the mischief of their lips engulf them. 10 May burning coals fall on them; may they be thrown into the fire, into miry pits, never to rise. 11 May slanderers not be established in the land; may disaster hunt down the violent. 12 I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. 13 Surely the righteous will praise your name, and the upright will live in your presence.

David wants to be rescued from evildoers. He feels this intensely and particularly dislikes the venomous words that come from evil people’s mouths. David then really speaks his mind in crying out to God for these evil people to be destroyed by their own wicked scheming.

David also talks about God’s character in that he secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. The Psalm finishes in stating that praise comes out of the mouths of the righteous and they live in the presence of God.

I take two things from this passage, firstly the importance of the words we speak and our destination. The plotting of evil and stirring up trouble continually may very well lead to being engulfed in one’s own wickedness. Yet out of the lips of the righteous comes praise and the promise of living in God’s presence. I know where I’d rather be!

The second thing I take from this passage is the reminder that the Lord himself secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. It’s intrinsic to God’s nature but I need prompting! What am I personally doing to help those who cannot help themselves?

Dear God keep me from becoming involved in things that are evil and displeasing to you. Please help me to actively look out for the needs of the poor Amen.

Written by Ainslie Woods

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Monday 28 January, 2019

Psalm 139

For the director of music. Of David. A psalm. 1 You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. 5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked! Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

One of the most amazing psalms there is! There is so much here to get our heads around. God is so interested in each of us. He didn’t make a mistake when He made us. He planned for each of us. He made us complex – it took thought, planning and effort to make each one of us. He didn’t just snap His fingers. He thinks about each one of us – a lot. He is with each one of us at every moment of every day.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

We need to believe God when He says these things. To really believe and to live as if it is true. How much do we miss these ideas in the middle of our days! It is so easy to forget all that He has done and is doing and is thinking about each of us.

Lord help us to remember and believe what You say – that you planned each one of us and have plans for each of us. Thank you that You are with us all through the day.

Written by Therese Manning

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Sunday 27 January, 2019

Psalm 138

1 I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise. 2 I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your unfailing love and your faithfulness, for you have so exalted your solemn decree that it surpasses your fame. 3 When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me. 4 May all the kings of the earth praise you, Lord, when they hear what you have decreed. 5 May they sing of the ways of the Lord, for the glory of the Lord is great. 6 Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. 7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. 8 The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever— do not abandon the works of your hands.

I love how in 8 succinct verses, so much can be packed in about the character and nature of God. God who has unfailing love and goodness. God who has all surpassing decrees. God who answers our prayer and so emboldens us. God whose glory is great. God who looks kindly on the lowly. God who keeps the proud far. God who preserves our lives in the midst of trouble. God who stretches his hand out against our foes. God whose right hand saves us. God who vindicates us. God, whose love endures forever.

One thing is clear – the psalmist spends most of his time knowing, remembering and declaring who His God is. Even in writing down a summary of these insights, I feel faith, confidence and strength rise within me.

There is such power in reminding myself of who my God is. It’s so easy to simply remind myself of all my problems, projects and needs. But David (author of the psalm), who surely would have had all of the above in truckloads, spends his time here on who God is. The powerful truth implied here is this – if you know who it is that is with you, you know who you’ve got with you for all the problems, projects and needs of life. And that changes everything. Your perceptions of the problems, the power with you for the projects, and the provision you can access for the needs. The bottom line for me is simply – don’t start with what you need to do or solve, start with who it is who is with you!

Lord, help me live the flip here. From starting my day, the way I pray and the way I think about life in what I need to do or solve…to starting the day with who you are. And then moving into the do and solve with you, strong in me!

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

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Saturday 26 January, 2019

Psalm 137

1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. 2 There on the poplars we hung our harps, 3 for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 4 How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill. 6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy. 7 Remember, Lord, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell. “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!” 8 Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. 9 Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

I know the book of Psalms as a place where writers express their deepest feelings – from grief to joy, from anger to humble repentance. That is what I am reading here in Ps 137. This is a Psalm of great grief at the loss of their home in Jerusalem and subsequent captivity. It records their anger and desire for vengeance against their captors – the Edomites.

Probably some of the most disturbing words in scripture are in the final verses where the writer cries out to God to bless anyone who would bring damage and heartbreak to their captors. It is like a mirror to what they have faced, what they have lost, who they have buried and how they have been oppressed.

It is not God who utters these words – it is broken humanity – begging for payback. It’s a reminder that on the journey from the bondage of grief and captivity – we can cry out to God to intervene. We can call out to a Him and express our deepest desires for what we think a righteous solution will look like. But at the end of the day – God who hears our prayers will still be God – and will work with us and through us to bring his Kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.

Lord – as I walk this life in all it’s pain and grief – as I cry out to You – remind me afresh that You are the God of reconciliation, redemption and restoration for all people. May your Kingdom come here on earth!

Written by Ps. Linda Quinn

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Friday 25 January, 2019

Psalm 136

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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Thursday 24 January, 2019

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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Wednesday 23 January, 2019

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

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Tuesday 22 January, 2019

Psalm 133

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.

The last few weeks I’ve had to manage 2 work colleagues who could not get on, personalities clashed. It was difficult for those trying to find resolution, though no middle ground could be found.

In the midst of this situation I’ve been reading this psalm, a stark contrast. Unity is precious, my Bible version describes it as very good and pleasant, unlike the work dilemma. Unity is definitely to be sort, worked at and held onto. I love the imagery of oil & dew running, refreshing dryness and soaking, both pictures of life, healing, restoration, refreshing.

Father, as far as it depends on me, help me to always pursue unity not only with my brothers and sisters in Christ, but all people around me. Help me to be like dew and oil, life giving not soul destroying. Amen

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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