Saturday, 31 December 2016


God has spoken once,
Twice I have heard this:
That power belongs to God.
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work. – Psalm 62.1-2

How are we going to deal with 2017? The year is ending on kind of a scary note. Things seem terribly unsettled, especially here in Europe. Brexit, the uncertainties about a new direction in the White House in foreign affairs, and recent terror attack on our cities have us all a little anxious.

Will we have the strength to deal with and get through the new year? What do all theses changes mean? Our culture which as traditionally supported and accepted Christian morality has gone from that to complacency to maybe even opposition in some circles.

Where are we going to find the strength to carry on?

God has said it – several times. Power belongs to the Lord. We don’t need to depend on our own power. ‘If we in our own strength confide our striving would be losing.’ Victory is assured. We need not fear that we are not strong enough because the Lord God is our strength for whatever may come our way.

Power belongs to the Lord. May we enter the new year confident of that truth.

Friday, 30 December 2016


So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows. – Psalm 61.8

For about five years now I have tried to get in a daily walk. Before my surgery last year I had a 548 day walking streak. As of today I am on a 452 day streak. 2016 will be the first calendar year that I have not missed a single day of walking. Streaks by their very nature motivate me. I keep a devotional blog to motivate me to do my daily devotions.

Streaks require consistency. They require sticking to it. They require, shall we say, faithfulness.

Consistency was important to David. ‘I will sing praises to Your name forever, that I may daily keep my vows.’

‘Daily keep my vows.’ That is the key phrase here.

They key to our success is day to day consistency. The Christian life is not supposed to be about spurts and stop and go. It is meant to be our daily lives. We can’t just serve and worship and praise God on Sunday. We can’t just study His word on a whim. It has to be day by day and with each passing moment.

Let’s make 2017 year where we daily seek, by the grace of God and with His help, to keep Christ at the centre of our lives. Let's try for a 2017 streak of spending personal time with God every day.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Speaking in holiness

God has spoken in His holiness:
“I will rejoice;
I will divide Shechem
And measure out the Valley of Succoth. – Psalm 60.6

The idea of true holiness is one of those words that I think is beyond what we can ever really comprehend. We have an idea about it’s meaning that gets us close. It is pure and clean and having no speck of evil. That is probably enough to give us the main idea.

Holiness though goes beyond that. At the root of the word is the idea of separation. Sometimes the word is translated sanctification. It addresses the notion that God is totally set apart from the world. That means He is separated from sin and wickedness and bias and prejudice. That means that His words are not spoken in self interest or pride or sin or selfishness.

When God speaks it is always in His holiness. Because His holiness is perfect He is the only one Who can speak from a position where He Is not influenced by anything but His own love and mercy and grace and righteousness.

That’s why the judgements of the Lord are always right and we can always trust them.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

I will sing

But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy. – Psalm  59.16-17

Music is such a part of human culture. As far as I know it is not unique to my own culture. It seems to be universal. I have seen productions where musicians go to very rural spots and meet people who live their lives with none of what we consider modern conveniences. They seem to always find that these people have music and singing and then they try to find a way to perform music with these people. It always has fascinating results because people are musical.

God’s people are musical as well. Music has already been a part of worship. People sing for all kinds of reasons, but we have the best reason of all. Crowds sing in praise of their country. They sing is praise of their schools. They sing in praise of their teams. In just a couple of months in the 6 Nations competition we will hear ‘The Fields of Athenry’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ being sung in packed rugby stadiums.

These folks all sing out because they really believe in their causes.

But we believers have the greatest reason for song. We can sing of the mercies of God. We can sing of His defence and His protection and His strength. We can sing of His goodness and glory and grandeur.

I enjoy a good hearty patriotic song. I enjoy being a sporting event and joining in a good chorus of ‘Ireland’s Call’ or ‘Come on You Boys in Blue.’ This time of year I enjoy singing Christmas songs. I like country music and when I am alone in the car I wil sing along to ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’

But I also loving being in church, even with our few voices, and singing ‘O Church Arise’ and ‘The Power of the Cross’ and ‘How Can it Be’ and the like. Singing of the mercies and grace and love and power of God ought to be sung with the same vigour that we sing our national anthems or team songs or whatever.

‘I will sing aloud’ the psalmist says. Is that our testimony and our pattern.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

There is a reward

So that men will say, "Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth."  - Psalm 58.11

Sometimes we have to wonder if we are ever going to catch a break. Sometimes we have to wonder if we are ever going to see that breakthrough we have been looking forward to. We might even, if we are not careful, wonder if this whole idea of living for God is really worth it.

But when all of this is said and done there will be a reward for the righteous. A lot of is may not get many rewards here, even though we all like to be rewarded. There won’t be books written or movies made about our lives. There won’t be special days in recognition of us. We are not going to be interviewed on the telly about all the great things we do.

Most of us will plod along our whole lives in relative obscurity.

But the Bible tells us that the struggles of this present world are not worthy to be compared to the glories which will be revealed to us in eternity. It will be worth it all when we see Christ. Life’s trials will indeed seem so small on that wonderful day.

Just hold on – our reward is coming.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Dealing with the minefields

They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down; They have dug a pit before me; Into the midst of it they themselves have fallen. Selah My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and give praise. – Psalm 57.6-7

David speaks here about how the enemy sets up nets to entrap him. We don’t see that kind of thing as much any more, but I think we could get the image here by thinking about a minefield. Our minefield is mined with thoughts and temptations and diversions and trials and tests. It may be something to tempt us to turn from the things of God. It could be bad news about health or finances or politics.

How do we handle those minefields? How do we avoid the traps? How do we manoeuvre the perils of life?

David said that the way he dealt with his traps was to have a steadfast heart and sing and give praise to God.

God challenges us with this same kind of steadfastness in the New Testament. We are told to not let the mines get us down. Paul wrote that though we are buffeted about by trials we will not lose heart. He wrote that we are to be steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in doing God’s work. He encouraged us not to be weary in well doing.

The mines are always going to be in our minefields. All we can do is trust the Lord to be our guide, plug away, and go on singing with confidence in Him.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

A Saviour

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2.11

Incarnation Day – the day when we choose to celebrate God coming to Earth as a man in the form of a servant for us, to redeem His people from their sin – Immanuel, God with us.

God came to our world as Saviour. Christ the Lord came to save us from our sin. Without the incarnate Christ man would still be captive to his sin and without hope for eternity.

Christians all over the world will have a good time today with Santa and trees and gifts and decorations. Families will gather together to exchange gifts and have spend time together. There is nothing wrong with all that and I hope those of us who have the opportunity will be grateful for those opportunities.

But let us not forget that ‘unto us is born this day…a Saviour.’ We celebrate all the fun. We celebrate family. We celebrate friends. Let’s not forget to celebrate our Saviour.

Silent night, holy night
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven above
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia
Christ the Saviour is born
Christ the Saviour is born

Saturday, 24 December 2016

I will not fear

Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God (I will praise His word), In God I have put my trust; I will not fear. What can flesh do to me? – Psalm 56.3-4

‘Fear not, for I bring you good tidings of great joy’ goes nicely on this Christmas Eve.
It was a good time for it because the shepherds were surely startled as they watched their sheep and this vast heavenly multitude suddenly appeared. It was the kind of thing that happens to us that causes sudden fear. But the angels were bringing ‘good tidings of great joy.’

We need those same words all the time though. I sorts of things happen to startle us or make us afraid. Some of those midnight thoughts do the same – the cause fear to enter into our hearts and minds.

When that happens we have no more need to fear than the angels did. We can say, like the psalmist – ‘whenever I am afraid I will trust in You.’

Fear vs faith. Isn’t that the great dilemma for God’s people?

If we really trust God what is there to fear? Can we fear man if we trust God? Can we fear circumstances it we are trusting God? Can we fear the future if we are trusting God?

God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. God’s perfect love always casts out fear. How then can I fear what man, or flesh, or anything else can do to me?

Friday, 23 December 2016

I will pray

As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me. God will hear, and afflict them, Even He who abides from of old. Selah. Because they do not change, Therefore they do not fear God. – Psalm 55.16-19

‘I will call upon my God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon will I pray and cry aloud and He shall hear my voice.’

Amazing words of great confidence are here for us to claim as our own. Prayer is a powerful that a lot of us access far too seldom. God offers us the chance to prayer and the Bible is full of pray-ers.

Despite all the prayers and the pray-ers in the word of God far too many of us still struggle in the area of prayer. For some reason prayer gets relegated to emergencies special needs or prayer times at church or something like that.

How many of us have absolute confidence that says ‘I will call upon the Lord and my God will hear me?’ I’m not talking about just a mental acknowledgement, but real knowledge that when I call on Him He will hear me. I have to ask myself if my first response to every situation is to call on the Lord. Do I faithfully pray evening and morning and at noon? Do I seek to defeat fear in my prayers.

Instead of panicking during hard times and great opposition God’s people have historically prayed.

Dear Father, help me renew my commitment to pray – evening and morning and at noon.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Those who uphold my life

Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is with those who uphold my life. – Psalm 54.4

There is no way that we could do this alone – no way. Every one of us needs help in this dark world which opposed everything we try to do. We don’t only need help because the world is so dark, but we also face a very real devil who hates everything we try to do. And then there is the ever present enemy of self. How can I do it by myself when my flesh is in constant conflict with my spirit as it vies for my attention?

I am grateful for good friends and godly friends who are there when I need help spiritually. I am thankful for a new friend I spent some time with last week who listened to me open up and share some thoughts and feelings and just understand what I was talking about. God gave us family and friends and spiritual leaders to be human helpers during times of difficulty and I am so glad he does.

We see those folks in the second part of the verse – ‘The Lord is with those who uphold my life.’

These are the Aarons and the Hurs. These are those who William Carey called ropeholders. These are those who through their presence and prayers and words and exhortation and encouragement and even their challenges uphold our lives.

God is my Helper. I thank Him that He does directly help me over and over and over again.

But I am also glad that He is with my upholders and may He be with me as I try to uphold others. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Does anybody get it?

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah  Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call upon God?
– Psalm 53.1-4

Does anybody really get it? This is a mixed up world full of mixed up people. Things are happening that we really can’t believe are real. The news gets more and more shocking and amazing every day. I am not sure that anything could surprise me in tomorrow’s headlines.

Why does this world do what it does?

The problem is that the world doesn’t understand the importance of eternity. It doesn’t understand what really matters. The ‘workers of iniquity’ have no knowledge of what really matters for eternity. God’s goodness keeps on keeping on, but people are so blind that they still do not call on Him.

That is the great tragedy of the day. This crazy broken world full of crazy broken people has God’s goodness on offer but no one seems to get it or understand their need.

Christians need to remember that the world is blind because of sin. Because of that the world is going to act like the world. Of course we must stand for what it is right, but instead of attacking a world lost in darkness our job is to love others and show them the love of Christ and their need for a Saviour.

It is easy to attack and condemn, especially with all the various platforms open to us. It is harder to love in ‘deed and in truth’ but that is how we are going to make a difference. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

You have done it

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, Because You have done it; And in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name, for it is good. – Psalm 52.8-9

I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise You forever, because you have done it. With my brothers and sisters I will wait and depend on Your name because it is good.

The future can be a scary thing. The only thing we know about the future is that we don’t know about the future. What is going to happen next?

Sometimes we face uncertain futures and we can’t figure out what how things are going to play out. We may be looking down the road and not know how our future is going to work out. We may face what we see as situations that don’t have a solution.

But we have hope. Our hope is in God’s mercy and we can trust his mercy for the future because He has already done it for us in the past.

God is good, every day, all the time. He has done what we have needed over and over again in the past. That means I can wait on Him to sort out the great unknowns of my future. 

Monday, 19 December 2016


For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. – Psalm 51.16-17

David had fallen into deep, dark sin. He had committed adultery. He had lied. He had deceived. He had committed murder.

And the prophet Nathan had confronted him with his sin.

To which David had responded ‘I am the man.’

Psalm 51 is David’s response and his confession of his sin. There is a lot there, but this I was caught this time through by the whole aspect of sacrifice.

Sacrifices are a part of a many religions. They vary greatly. Almost anything can be sacrificed in an attempt to appease the various deities of various religions. Even the Law required various sacrifices to the true God.

But that is not what God is looking for from David. David knew that is not what God wanted. He says that if God desired a sacrifice he would do it.

What then does God want from David? David knew, and it is the same thing He wants from us when we sin. Go sacrifice is a broken and humble spirit and a broken and sorry heart.

When we sin today God doesn’t require penance or punishment or payment. He wants us to humble ourselves, be broken over our sin, repent, and ‘go and sin no more.’ Jesus has already taken our penalty. Our loving Father just wants us to be right in our walk with Him. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

God will come

The Mighty One, God the LORD, Has spoken and called the earth From the rising of the sun to its going down. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silent; A fire shall devour before Him, And it shall be very tempestuous all around Him. – Psalm 50.1-3

Our world certainly seems like it needs a God intervention. I was talking to a friend recently and sharing the gospel with him for the first time. When I told him I was a Christian his first response was one that I hear a lot. He asked me something like ‘are all of the bad things going on in the world a part of your God’s plan? Why doesn’t He do something about it?’ Even the world knows that it needs a God that they may not even really believe in.

We can find comfort in the words here – ‘God will shine forth. God will come. God will not keep silent. God is the perfection of beauty.’

This is not going to last forever. God is still on the throne and He still steps in and intervenes in the affairs of men today. But that is not all, one day Jesus, God in the flesh, will return to sort out this sordid mess. I don’t know when it will be, no one does.

But it is going to happen ‘in such an hour as you think not.’ We think in time and God thinks in eternity. Jesus will come in the ‘day of the Lord’ and not in the ‘day of man.’ When Paul wrote to the Thessalonians he did not write to tell them about the coming on Jesus, but that we should stay faithful and keep serving and living for Christ until he does come again.

Hold on. Have faith. Keep on keeping on. God will come.

Thanks Philip Bliss for your wonderful old gospel song:

Ho, my comrades, see the signal, waving in the sky!
Reinforcements now appearing, victory is nigh.

“Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still;
Wave the answer back to Heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”

See the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on;
Mighty ones around us falling, courage almost gone!

See the glorious banner waving! Hear the trumpet blow!
In our Leader’s Name we triumph over every foe.

Fierce and long the battle rages, but our help is near;

Onward comes our great Commander, cheer, my comrades, cheer!

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Man does not remain

Their inner thought is that their houses will last forever, Their dwelling places to all generations; They call their lands after their own names. Nevertheless man, though in honour, does not remain; He is like the beasts that perish. – Psalm 49.11-12

Man tends to think that he is going to last forever. He lives like his houses will last forever. That is where his faith is. Man thinks that his cities and countries and empires will never fall. He names his lands after himself.

But man, even though he honours himself and is honoured for a time, will not last forever. He will not remain on earth forever. In that regard he is no better than the animals.

No one, no matter how famous or powerful or strong or rich or popular, is going to last forever. Our life is like a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. We are like the flowers that bloom in the morning and then are burned off by the sun.

Our life is not forever. The worst part is that none of us have any idea how long we are going to be here. Any of us could be killed in a car crash tomorrow morning. We could be struck down with a heart attack. Innocent people die unexpectedly every single day.

Man does not remain. Men do not remain. We had better keep eternity in mind. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

My guide

For this is God, Our God forever and ever; He will be our guide Even to death. – Psalm 48.14

I love history and I love the history of exploration. I have read a couple of books about the American explorers Lewis and Clark who were commissioned by American President Thomas Jefferson to explore and map the Louisiana Purchase and to record their findings. They were also to try and open up trade with the indigenous tribal nations they encountered.

Their 2 ½ year expedition in the early 19th century stretched from St Louis, Missouri to where the Columbus River empties into the Pacific Ocean. The travelled just over 11,000 km (7,000 miles) and their mission was considered a great success.

But the mission would have been impossible apart from the help from several Native American guides, the best known of which is a woman named Sacagawea who was a member of the Lemhi Shoshone nation. Without her skills and knowledge to guide them it is doubtful at best if they would have survived their mission.

Sacagawea was an amazing guide. She knew where to go and she knew how to deal with the unknown and led the team through seemingly impossible situations. She is a true American hero.

But as great as she was, Sacagawea pales in comparison as a guide with the greatest Guide of all.

Our future is a much more fearsome thing than the blank spots on Lewis and Clark’s maps. At least they had some idea from hearing trapper’s tales and from the native people’s they talked to. The kind of knew what we expect.

But we know nothing. We don’t even know what tomorrow is going to bring.

And THAT can truly be scary.

But we have this promise – God will be our guide even unto death. Our Guide is the perfect God because He is already in tomorrow. Nothing is going to catch him off guard because it is all in His hands. In other places we read that not only is He our Guide, but that He is going to take us by the hand to lead us – if we let Him.

He leads me beside the still waters. Yeah though I walk through the valley of death for my Guide’s rod and staff comfort me. I will fear no evil – because my Guide knows the way through the wilderness and all I have to do is follow. 

Thursday, 15 December 2016


Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! For the LORD Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth. – Psalm 47.1-2

‘Awesome’ is an amazing word. It speaks of inspiring awe and wonder and amazement and of incomprehensibility. Things that are awesome cause to pause and catch our breath in, well, awe.

We have all seen awesome things. We have seen awesome scenes of nature. We’ve seen awesome photographs and awesome stories of great needs done. There are people who live awesome lives.

But I almost wish there was another word for those kinds of things because there is a whole nother kind of awesomeness.

Our God is awesome in His holiness. He is awesome in His power. He is awesome in His wisdom. He is awesome in His righteousness. He is awesome in His love. He is awesome in His knowledge. He is awesome in His presence. He is awesome in His eternality. He is awesome in His unchangeableness.

Because we serve an awesome God we too ought to clapping our hands and shouting in triumph because our awesome God is still the King of the whole earth and we can trust Him even in our darkest hours to carry us through.

Do we stand in awe of our truly awesome God? 

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Be still and know

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah – Psalm 46.10-11

What in the world is going on? How did the old world get where it is today? What is going on and what are we going to do? What is going to happen when the UK leaves the EU? What is going to happen in the US under the new president? What am I going to do when I get older? How am I going to pay the light bill? How am I am going to handle this illness? How will I get through the death of my loved one? How am I going to…?

Things like this confuse and confound us. We want to try and see what we can do to sort it out. We can even run ahead of God in our haste to try and get something done.

But God simply says ‘be still and know that I am God.’

The point comes when we must say ‘I don’t know what to do. I am going to take my hands off, be still, and trust that God is indeed God.’

Habakkuk had a time like that. When he asked God why so much evil was going on, God said he was right and that He would judge Israel with the Assyrians. They he could not understand how God would use them.

But then God worked on his heart and he said ‘I can’t figure this out, but I am going to sit down and watch to see what God is going to do.’

Sometimes that is all we can do. If we can’t figure it out and can’t see where it is going or how we are going to solve it sometimes we need to just be still and remember that God is who is says He is and will do what He says He will do. 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

In your majesty

And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things. – Psalm 45.4

This caught my eye simple because of the beautiful wording. Something clicked in my head about the majesty of our Saviour as our great Victor riding in on His chariot.

Spurgeon of course has all the right words for what I wanted to say.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously. The hero monarch armed and apparelled is now entreated to ascend his triumphal car. Would to God that our Immanuel would come forth in the chariot of love to conquer our spiritual foes and seize by power the souls whom he has bought with blood. Because of truth and meekness and righteousness. These words may be rendered, ride forth upon truth and meekness and righteousness.—Three noble chargers to draw the war chariot of the gospel.

When I read this I was reminded of the great parade of triumph that Paul wrote about to the Corinthian believers.

The victory is already accomplished. God will ride forth in majesty and Jesus will lead the victory parade. As a part of these parades flowers would be strewn in the streets and the horses and troops marching over them would produce a ‘sweet smelling savour. Paul says that we Christians carry that sweet smelling savour into the world.

So let God ride forth in majesty and may we carry that sweet smelling aroma to everyone around in truth, and meekness, and righteousness.  

Monday, 12 December 2016

Boasting in God

For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever. Selah – Psalm 44.6-8

David here is in trouble, again. He is facing his enemies and the situation once again looks hopeless. All around him all he could see was trouble.

But he didn’t choose to focus on the trouble. He didn’t choose to look at the enemies ahead. Instead he chose to look back at what God had done for him in the past.

When we consider people we can trust one of the key things we look at is their track record.

David looks back at God’s track record. Of course when he did he saw that God had delivered them from all their enemies. He saw that God put to shame all who hated him.

So he decided to boast in God and praise His name forever.

We are just as liable to fear and trepidation as David was. We are uncertain of the future and it can be a scary thing.

James picks up on the idea that David mentioned. James says that we should see our tests differently than we are accustomed to. We dread trials and testings. They scare us. We don’t know what we are going to do next.

But James says that we are to count it as all joy when trials come because trials comes because trials bring patience and patience brings maturity because we learn how God can carry us through trials. So, the next time trials come we can look back and see what God did before.

When out trials come we need to look back at how God has worked in the past over and over again. He has always taken care of things, so why doubt him now?

And when that happens we can ‘boast’ in God’s ability to sort it out for us. We don’t think we can get through it, instead we know what God can do it. 

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Your light and your truth

Oh, send out Your light and Your truth! Let them lead me; Let them bring me to Your holy hill And to Your tabernacle.  – Psalm 43.3

‘The whole world is lost in the darkness of sin.’ The old question ‘what is truth’ seems to be the world’s motto.

No light. No truth. How are we going to find our way?

Way, way back I was on an Order of the Arrow weekend in Scouts. The Order of the Arrow was a prestige award for Eagle Scouts. As part of the ordeal the leaders would take you an old dirt road and drop you with the most basic of supplies in the dark. You had no map, no compass, and no light. Your task was to make it back to camp by noon the next day. I have no idea how far it was, but I do remember the feeling of absolute lostness as I tried to make my way back.

When I think about crawling through the woods on my hands and knees feeling for the moss on the north side of the trees I think I get an image of where the world is today.

But the world need not be there. There is light and there is true guidance. We don’t need to crawl through the dirt feeling for the moss so can we can know which way is north.

We have the word of God as a light for our feet and a lamp for our path. We have Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life to guide us through these terribly confusing days.

With Facebook feeds and Twitter follows and newscasts and entertainments icons and sports heroes and peer pressure all vying for our attention and affection we need something to trust in order to make it through.

Stop crawling in darkness. Walk in the light. Stop walking in confusion. Walk in the truth. Walk in truth until we reach God’s ‘holy hill.’ 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

With the multitude

As the deer pants for the water brooks, So pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night, While they continually say to me, "Where is your God?" When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, With the voice of joy and praise, With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.  – Psalm 42.1-4

The Bible seems to address the importance of the multitude over and over again. The passage reminds me of going to church – though it addresses God’s people coming together for a worship feast.

The psalmist begins by talking about a deep desire for the word of God and about the great days of meeting with the multitude to proclaim the goodness of God with joy and praise.

Twice in this psalm he talks about going ‘with the multitude.’

The idea of worship and praise with the multitude is a constant theme. I have a friend who often talks about the importance of relationship and fellowship. For a lot of people who have been ‘burnt’ in the past by relationships it is hard to be with other people and there is a temptation to just go off and be alone.

We also find Christian just de-emphasising the importance of going to church today saying that they can ‘be the church’ on their own.

‘The multitudes’ don’t need to be massive numbers to be a blessing and an encouragement. Where two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name and two or three plus Jesus are the greatest multitude.

God loves our personal worship. He loves our time along with Him in our prayer closets.

But He also loves His people coming together to worship and praise him as a multitude.

Let’s not miss those chances. Join your family in church Sunday and join the multitude with a voice of joy and praise. 

Friday, 9 December 2016

Consider the poor

Blessed is he who considers the poor; The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. – Psalm 41.1-2

‘Blessed is he who considers the poor’ God says. That is a constant theme in the word of God. God’s people are always called on to consider the poor and historically that is something that has made God’s people stand out in the world.

God’s people are responsible for the poor. It is talked about in the Law, but it is clarified in the teachings of Christ. Virtually every letter to the churches talk about the poor. Christians are told to gather offerings to meet the needs of the poor. When Paul gave his marvellous farewell address to the Ephesian elders that last thing He says is ‘remember the poor.’

This concept of considering the poor has made all the difference in the world though history. In the earliest days of the church Christians made a mark. The fed their own poor, but they went beyond that to feed the Roman. The Roman authorities couldn’t handle that making comments like, ‘these Christians have the audacity not only to care for their own, but to care for us!’

At one point Jesus said that best test of how we would treat Him is how we treat the poor. If that is the test how are we doing?

A lot of us in the West don’t see a whole lot of poverty so for us it is a matter of ‘out of sight out of mind.’

But that doesn’t change the truth of ‘consider the poor.’ 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

I have proclaimed

I delight to do Your will, O my God,
And Your law is within my heart.”
I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness
In the great assembly;
Indeed, I do not restrain my lips,
O Lord, You Yourself know.
I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth
From the great assembly. – Psalm 40.8-10

The Christian life is great. We have relationship with God himself. Out future is secure. We can rest that our God will meet all our needs. We know that Jesus died on the cross for us and He loves us and we can call him ‘Abba.’

Isn’t that great? We have fellow Christians who we can fellowship with and enjoy our lives and go on till we go to heaven.

It is great, but what are we doing with all that good news? Do we tell anyone? Does anyone know the good news because of us?

I have no problem proclaiming my political views. I am happy to tell you what I think about the issues in the news. I thrill to tell you about the exploits of the Irish rugby team. When they beat New Zealand a few weeks ago I wanted to make sure that everyone knew.

But when it comes to proclaiming all the God does for me I can be a little bit, well, actually, a lot slower and more hesitant.

I want to have David’s testimony in my life. God has already given me the power to do and He has already instructed me to do it, so now it comes down to me. Will I be faithful in proclaiming the wonderful works of God in my life? 

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

My hope

Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them. "And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You. – Psalm 39.5-7

It is tempting to hope in all kinds of things around us. We have jobs and bank accounts and some have houses and lands. We have governments and nations. We have family and friends and churches. Those are all pretty secure things and it is easy to put our hope for the future in those things.

Here the psalmist writes about the same issues we face, but he had moved beyond hoping in vain things. He knew that man’s lifespan was nothing compared to God. He knew that man was nothing more than a vapour. He knew that we are bur fleeting shadows on this earth. He knew that we gather up stuff and don’t even know who is going to reap the benefits.

So then he asks the rhetorical question – what am I waiting for to take care of me and my needs?

‘My hope is in the Lord.’

And that is the only place for our hope today. As good as those things at the beginning sound they are all liable to fail. They can all let us down. But if our hope is in the Lord He can never let us down.

Where is our hope right now, right this moment?