Consequences – Psalm 20

Who remembers playing ‘Consequences’? You had to start a story, fold down the paper and pass it on so that the next person could continue…fold it down and continue… I used to get my kids at school to do something similar, where they each had to write something they liked about the person whose name was on the bottom of the paper. Sometimes we’d do it verbally too, where the person had to sit in the middle, and everyone else took it in turns to say something nice about them. Real confidence booster, and encourages people to think good things about each other.

Psalm 20 feels a bit like that, to me. That people have written a prayer for David, their king, folded down the papyrus, and passed it on for someone else to write another prayer…and so on. And between them, they have covered so many areas of need – protection, need, distress, support, help… There is real expectation here, too, that God would answer. And the consequence?  Great jubilation all round! He is, after all, the only real security we can ever have.

Lord help me to pray for my friends and my leaders with this level of passion and concern, to recognise their needs, to pray with assurance that you will answer, and to rejoice wholeheartedly with them as you bless them richly.

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Wonderful words – Psalm 19

It’s all change with our street lights. We’re getting new LED ones. As well as using less power, they are angled down so they give a bright white light directly below, but give off less light pollution. So when we get a good clear night, we should have a better view of the night sky. Which is great, because, as Psalm 19 says, “The heavens declare the glory of God”. Our city lights have been doing their best to dim that glory, but there is nowhere on earth where that glory cannot be seen! Don’t you find that a thrilling thought?

God spoke, and all this came into being; and since then, all this creation has continued to speak, and echo back his praise. God gave us his Living Word, hinted at in the middle section of the Psalm – the bridegroom rejoicing in his bride, the Church. And his written word – not a set of gloomy rules, but a self-help manual to living the most fulfilled, joyful life.

Lord, may my words, spoken and unspoken, come into line with yours, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Guide, my Rock.

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The way to success – Psalm 18 part 2

Who would’ve thought that a small shepherd boy, the youngest in his family, could ever have achieved the greatness of being king of Israel? And who would’ve thought, many centuries later, that a carpenter’s son could have become king of the whole universe?

God has no problem with people achieving great success. In fact he wants everyone to achieve their full potential. The key is recognising God’s part in it, and giving the glory back to him.

Some Christians are afraid of climbing too high, not wanting to get embroiled in the grabbing culture, but God needs good people in high office. People who will set high standards, and good examples. People who will stand against corruption. The people he will use are those who not only recognise their humble beginnings, but maintain a humble heart, and know who fights their battles. They give the glory back to God.

Two thoughts.

  • Has God called me to a higher office – paid or unpaid – than I have been thus far willing to aim for?
  • Do I pray enough for Christians in management, politics, church leadership, or any other high office?

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Never alone – Psalm 18 part 1

Do you remember that advert where the guy goes through every conceivable challenge, ‘all because the lady loves milk tray’? Psalm 18 reminds me of that. When God sees we are under threat, he is angry and will take action. There might be times when we feel he is taking too long, but he will come through for us. Just because he delights in us! He is ‘my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, my shield, my salvation,  and my stronghold’. If that doesn’t help you sleep at night, don’t count sheep, talk to the shepherd!

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A right to be heard – Psalm 17

Would you say you were a righteous person? If not, why not? Is it enough to make the claim that Jesus has died in my place, so I don’t need to do anything more? What sort of children do you want, and what do you want for them? What sort of children does God want, and what does he want for them? Psalm 17 sets the standard high. We don’t have any excuses just because we are ‘New Testament people’.

“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:48‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Challenging too, is the thought that getting my reward in this life puts me in the category of ‘men of this world’ (v14). Is that really what I want?

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All I need – Psalm 16

Another question. Could you currently say that you have absolutely everything you need? And if not, what do you need to make that happen?

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Mission impossible – Psalm 15

Here’s the question – do you think you could ever be good enough to set up home on God’s patch? Even if it were possible, would you have the gall to do it, knowing your next door neighbour knew everything about you: every wrong thought, word and action?

And look at the requirements – this isn’t about avoiding the obvious sins, like stealing or murdering, but about having right attitudes, all the time, to everyone. Any applicants?

And yet Jesus invites us. In his father’s house are many rooms, he said. So it’s not just to be a near neighbour, but to come and actually live with God, in his house.

How can that work? Knowing what I know about me? Only by grace, and because Jesus died on the cross to deal with all my bad attitudes. And gradually he’s changing my heart to be more like his. Thank you Jesus. My security is not in what I’ve done, but in what he has done. 😅

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