Psalm 103.

Today’s (Sun 04/02/2018) FDR is Psalm 103.

Writing for this blog is a joy, whether blogger or incidental commentator.  But more so the readings of Scripture and the growth in understanding that is opened to us all as we study in God’s name and under the Holy Spirit’s guidance.

Today, this psalm says all I want to say.  Enjoy.

Psalm 103

Of David.

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
    and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
    his deeds to the people of Israel:
the Lord is compassionate and gracious,
    slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
    nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
    or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
    he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
    they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
    and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
    the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
    and his righteousness with their children’s children –
18 with those who keep his covenant
    and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
    and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
    you mighty ones who do his bidding,
    who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
    you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
    everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

 

Singing as we live our lives before us.

Ten Thousand Reasons (Bless the Lord oh my soul.)

Thanks to biblegateway for this Psalm.
Thanks to youtube for this beautiful hymn written by Matt Redman.
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Zion, City of our God.

Today’s (Su 05/11/2017) FDR is Psalm 87

Although fairly short in only seven verses this psalm has strong links to our past, present and our future as God’s people.

The psalm begins with God establishing His city on the mountain and how much He loves it.   Zion (see  Ps. 2:6; 48:1) is identified as the favourite and how glorious it is. (v1-3).  This picks up on God’s Old Testament (OT) promises to His people Israel, that they would eventually join Him in the Holy City set aside for them and over which He would preside.  Also there is a future perspective that this verse encompasses the New Testament (NT) future, mostly written in Revelation.  Here in Revelation 21:1-5.  In both pictures God is seen as being close to his people (Ps. 121:1).

The purpose of v4 is to describe an end-times picture in which all peoples are together and part of God’s people and He will affirm people as belonging.  Here the use of first person voice, (I and me) suggests it is God that is affirming the city and His people.

Verses 5 and 6 reaffirm people who belong to Zion and God’s establishment of this city.  Particularly by His keeping of a register of His people who belong here.  However both are written in the third person voice and indicate a witness to God’s actions.  In other words, ‘Yes, this is happening.’

Verse 7 speaks of the source of God’s peoples safety, fountains or springs, of God’s people as seen in Deut 33:28.

Overall, this psalm is a picture of the special place of God in which His people (OT), now His Church (NT), will live in close proximity to God who both raises Zion and collects and records the people who belong here.  As Jesus is the Messiah who brought God’s message of salvation and redemption for all the people of the world.  Jesus’ first coming is to bring not the select nation, Israel, into Zion but all His select people, the Church, into Zion under the new covenant.  But to do so at Jesus’ next and second coming.

This is the time for us to live in God’s grace and live as Christians in this broken world seeking to be ambassadors for Christ so that God’s Spirit might work in people’s lives bringing them into a personal relationship with Jesus and that they might join us as part of His Church.

Glorious things of Thee are spoken.
John Newton (1725-1807) wrote this well loved hymn which reflects on these subjects.

God’s Blessings,

Glenn
(Thanks to Youtube.com for access to the music and lyrics.)

Finishing well

Today’s (Mo 05/06/2017) FDR readings are 1 Chronicles 27 and 1 Corinthians 16

The Chronicles reading today from chapter 27 is about finishing well. At this point David’s kingdom is in a fairly good state and here we see the numbers counted for the army, those in charge of agriculture and provisions, and those in charge of various responsibilities with the King’s Court. But you may recall that there was a problem when David decided to count the army. Verse 24 just gives us a hint of what that problem was.  This comment links through to 2 Samuel 24 where we read reports that David chose to ask for the census of the fighting men. This appears to have represented a glorying in human power and not the power of the Lord.

However as you’ll see with tomorrow’s reading this appears just before the Ark was moved into the rebuilt temple and so there is an opportunity here for David to have relied on himself and the nations that he ruled, rather than God. God’s judgement and the punishment meted out is also referred to in 2 Samuel 24.

 

In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul is trying to close off his fairly critical letter to the Corinthians. If you’ve been a teacher, coach, parent, or some other supervisor of people, after admonitions and criticisms and answers to difficult problems, it is difficult to round off and finish well. As we mentor people in our spheres of influence, including our brothers and sisters in Christ, we may have critical or direct things to say.  We want to balance our criticisms with some supportive or encouraging finish while still maintaining our stand on the correction that we’ve asked for. Not just to make it work but to make it work so that the outcomes glorifies our God.

Paul uses three things here that are not extremely important nor not particularly critical, but things that directs the attention onto other matters. (i) He writes about   finances and what needs to be done before he gets there, (ii) he mentions some personal arrangements and his visiting plans, and finally (iii) he finishes by acknowledging God working among Christians.

As we serve each other we too must remember that we have a responsibility to encourage others in the broader perspectives as well as the individual one that we might be concerned about.

A Prayer – Our Father God, as we exercise our responsibilities under You for our brothers and sisters we ask for wisdom to work with them fairly and honestly as we encourage them in a life following your son Jesus Christ. Help us to see each person as a cherished child of Yours. Help us to walk with them in the Christian life and to be frank, fair and understanding in our love and care for them. We ask these things in your son’s name, our Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Glenn

Be on your guard. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.

Today’s readings are Ezekiel 41 and 1 Peter 3.

While Ezekiel continues his detailed tour of the temple Peter closes his letter with a number of encouragements and behavioural standards refreshed or given to us by Jesus.

Yet it is not these that often perplex us.  We know of falling away, of scoffers and those who twist the word of the Bible to meet their own purposes.  We may not always see them for what they are.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

What?

When I am sensitive to my God and watching how God cares for me and those I love and those I don’t know but whom I have been told about, I am aware of the great love God showers on all of us including those who do not yet know him as Lord and Saviour.  I am particularly amazed at the efforts He goes to in providing opportunities for non-believers to become believers. Its not just for non-believers for He loves you and I so much that He not only wishes to provide us with mercy but to restore us to His chosen people.

To provide every opportunity for many to be saved and to grow in grace and knowledge of Jesus.  Yet at a time of God’s choosing to bring judgement on all when Jesus returns as Lord and the heavens and earth are cleaned and changed forever.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

May we continue patiently to seek to be ambassadors for Christ encouraging and witnessing to those who do not know Him to come into the Kingdom of God, walking with and supporting and challenging our Christian brothers and sisters, and growing in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Glenn

 

 

 

 

 

Spiritual Root Canal Therapy

Psalm 25

This is one of my favourite psalms. It speaks so completely to the most intimate and restorative works of God in our soul. Let’s just focus on one of them today: healing us from shame. Shame is an emotional experience that is both very normal and very under-recognised. It first resulted from the dislocation of perfect relationship that occurred in The Fall way back in Genesis. Genesis 2:25 – “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” 3:8 – “the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Shame can be the result of sin (yours or someone else’s), but it can also be a natural and beneficial signal that keeps us within the boundaries of human limitation and our inadequacy without God. In its natural form it “tells us our limits…we can and will make mistakes. Our shame tells us we are not God” (Bradshaw 1988, vii). Tragically shame can also become incorporated in our identity, what Bradshaw refers to as ‘toxic shame’. In its toxic form it tells us I AM shameful, an object to be scorned and discarded, unable to be loved. It seems to require that we live with a deep cover-up that damages our intimate relationships through in-authenticity and desperate attempts at control to avoid exposure, embarassment and desolation. Learned behaviour that disrespects other people will keep passing on shame through generations of abuse and barriers to intimacy. But there is hope for us afflicted! Psalm 25:3 “none of those who wait for You will be ashamed” v7-“according to your lovingkindness remember me” v20-“Do not let me be ashamed for I take refuge in you. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You.” I believe the antidote to shame is to gradually open the hidden side of you toward God and safe people in His community. By taking those courageous steps we can become fully known and securely held in love, in a way that melts all those critical messages that point to our unworthiness. After all, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The ultimate protection against shame is to become an integrated member of a forgiving and loving Christian community of grace – one that cocoons us in the warmth of unconditional loving relationships despite our honest failings and projected insecurities. Remember Jesus cleans his fish after he catches them (Mark Potter). Here are some further cross-references about the Christian hope that overcomes shame:

Psalms 103:12 – “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 1:18 – “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Hosea – the symbolic relationship between the prophet and his unfaithful wife.

John 10:28 – “I give eternal life to them and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Romans 8:1 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Hebrews 10:19 – “We have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus”

Hebrews 10:22 – “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

Hebrews 10:39 – “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

1 John 1:9 – “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to [keep on] cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.”

1 John 3:1 – “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”

REFERENCE: Bradshaw, John 1988 ‘Healing the Shame That Binds You’, Health Communications Inc., Deerfield Beach.

Matthew

Restored, Restoring, Restorers…

Today’ Life Journal reading(s) from Nehemiah 11-12, Psalm 1 and Acts 3.

Some years ago I saw an old photo in new life. It had been delicately restored, bringing back the original image with such clarity that it gave a fresh glimpse of something that had almost been lost.

Restoration does that!

The picture in Nehemiah 11-12 gives a fresh glimpse of what Nehemiah had longed for as he considered Jerusalem in chapter 1, longing for God to remember his words to Moses.

but if you return to me and keep my commandments and do them, though your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there I will gather them and bring them to the place that I have chosen, to make my name dwell there. (Neh 1:9).

The completion of the wall and the return of the people to Jerusalem isn’t just physical or political restoration, it’s a very real sign of the presence and covenant faithfulness of the Lord God! It is HE who has restored them to the place he has chosen, where his name will dwell.

And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away. (Nehemiah 12:43)

And the restoration resulted in great joy.

Restoration does that!

Yet we see this picture of restoration in even fresher ways. Thanks to the resurrection of Jesus, God now dwells by his Spirit in his people… we are his temple (1 Cor 3:16-17) and he is restoring us. By the Holy Spirit, he’s putting you and me back together.

And there will be a day when the whole thing is complete, when the

new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband… And a loud voice from the throne saying, Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people….(Rev 21:2-3 and following).

God is putting all things back together! And like the people in Nehemiah’s day, he calls us into his work.

May you have great joy at his renewing work in you today, and work with joy and hope toward the renewal of all things!

Restorers do that!

Ron Irving.