google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html 2010 February

Archive for February 2010

Poem - Just One More

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Just One More

A poem written by  Christi Armstrong and recited by Jenny

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His words are dancing all around me.

Spirit moving deep inside me.

My heart reaching, touching His.

"Go and find one, bring them to me.

My broken vessels need my arms."

Turning focus, realign.

Priorities of my own design, bow to holy breath.

Mud and water, lick my knees.

Windy raining, battles peace.

Moving still, I seek His face.

Dropping, praying, eyes tight clenched.

Not my strength but His alone pulls me,

pushing, holding, reaching,

bringing to His mighty throne.

Breathing, grasping sacrifice.

Mercy's beauty, Pearl of price.

Giving one and then another,

just one more,

I turn to go.

Seeking, finding,

one more lamb to bring to Holy,

healing hands.

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Lamedh

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our foureenth podcast of our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the twelfth of its twenty-two letters, Lamedh and its verses 89 to 96.

89 Your word, O LORD, is eternal;

it stands firm in the heavens.

90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations;

you established the earth, and it endures.

91 Your laws endure to this day,

for all things serve you.

92 If your law had not been my delight,

I would have perished in my affliction.

93 I will never forget your precepts,

for by them you have preserved my life.

94 Save me, for I am yours;

I have sought out your precepts.

95 The wicked are waiting to destroy me,

but I will ponder your statutes.

96 To all perfection I see a limit;

but your commands are boundless.

Thank you for reading, Sandy!  From languishing in the pit of despair in the previous section, the Psalmist here starts with a bang - "Your word, O Lord, is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens" WOW!  While in the pit, he was being tossed and turned like a small boat on a stormy sea! Now he has focussed on a steady rock - God's word!  It is ordered, steadfast, secure and timeless!  In his times of trouble, he turns his attention from himself and his troubles to something much more certain - the Lord and his promises, judgements, orders, decrees, laws and statutes.  God's promises are so certain, assured, and secure that the Psalmist places his whole hope in them!  Secure in the Psalmist's mind and heart is the knowledge that God will rescue him as promised!

He goes on in the next verse to continue the WOW factor! The Psalmist knows that God's faithfulness is unchangeable, timeless and persevering!  Look here at the correlation between God's word and God's work! Just as He is faithful throughout time to all generations, so He created the whole world at a single command, and it too endures! Just as the earth endures having been established by God's powerful words, so too do God's laws endure with precision.  God's word sustains all of creation and all things made are to serve almighty God.  For the Psalmist this signifies that serving God means to obey God and live a life of service to God.  The Psalmist learns to obey, by studying what God has instructed and learning from the lessons of the past from his ancestors and ancient Israel.

This same word preserves the Psalmist.  It is his utter delight.  It is his succour, help and source of joy!  Cogitating upon and remembering God's law is his way of being sustained.  For without it, the Psalmist would be dust at the bottom of the pit - extinguished, lifeless, maligned and afflicted.  The Psalmist, David, lifts his mind to heaven and sees the consistency and constancy of God's dwelling place! There is his only hope, and that hope was found in God alone through God's word because unlike him, God is not perishable!  He reflects on how God's truths, precepts and instructions have been a source of comfort, joy and encouragement to him to keep going! Without them, he would have just given up and let his persecutors malign him further.

Because of this hope, the Psalmist reaches out to God to save him, because he knows that only God can rescue him!  He reaches out to God through God's own precepts, law and word! The Psalmist's salvation can only come from God and he acknowledges that God is his only hope as discovered through God's teachings and through the knowledge of how God handled the Psalmist's ancestors.

While his persecutors wait for him, laying traps to ensnare and take his life, the Psalmist is taking comfort through what he knows about God through the word.  He ponders them, recalls them, brings to mind the promised made by God and the righteous laws given so that he can live a right life for God.  David doesn't worry what mere humans can do to him! No! He gets stuck in to getting to know God better and strengthening his relationship with God! That is what matters to him - being close to God, studying God and becoming closer to God through pondering God's word and God's decrees.

Then finally, the Psalmist concludes that all is meaningless and limited apart from God and God's utterances.  God's commandments and laws bring freedom and hope!  While all things visible have a degree of perfection, they are also temporary, unstable and narrow.  Through the trials of life, the only hope that sustained him was God's ways and God's word. Its perfection is its glory!  By acknowledging that he falls far short of God's holiness and glory, does he continue in the knowledge that his salvation can only come from God.  Its not his own perfection he seeks as a means to being rescued, but to God's perfection! Not his own strength but God's strength to save!

How are you doing and what do you do when the trials of life hit you with a bang?  Do you go into your shell and take pity on yourself?  Do you think God doesn't care about you and your situation?  Its all very well saying you are on God's side when things are going well, but life here on earth just isn't like that! That is not reality!  Reality is that God wants to help you, He has promised to help you, promised to sustain you and promised to be in relationship with you! Are you worrying and burdened?  Then tell God about them, and cast your burdens upon Jesus and let him take the load!  Are you serving God and God's people and yet feeling weak?  Pray and ask God to empower you with the Holy Spirit, so that you do things using His inexhaustible energy and indefatigable power!  Where does your help come from?  It comes from God and from pondering what He has said in the Bible, helping to build your relationship with Him!

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Kaph

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our thirteenth podcast of our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the eleventh of its twenty-two letters, Kaph and its verses 81 to 88.

81 My soul faints with longing for your salvation,

but I have put my hope in your word.

82 My eyes fail, looking for your promise;

I say, "When will you comfort me?"

83 Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke,

I do not forget your decrees.

84 How long must your servant wait?

When will you punish my persecutors?

85 The arrogant dig pitfalls for me,

contrary to your law.

86 All your commands are trustworthy;

help me, for men persecute me without cause.

87 They almost wiped me from the earth,

but I have not forsaken your precepts.

88 Preserve my life according to your love,

and I will obey the statutes of your mouth.

Thank you for reading, Sandy! Well we are half way there! I hope you are enjoying going through the wonder that this Psalm 119 as the Psalmist meanders his way talking about his love of God, love of God's Word and about his own life in God and in relation to other people.

Here the Psalmist is fading.  He is languishing in desperation, worn out and expiring.  You can feel his weakness as he pitifully cries out that he is wilting under pressure and his eyes are failing due to darkness overpowering him.  You can sense the life draining out of him as he pitifully cries out to God.  But yet...  Yet the Psalmist, despite being in such desperate condition, continues to have a twin hope.  A yearning for salvation brings about a hope in God's word. The Psalmist knows that salvation will come to him, because God has promised it and God always keeps His promises.  David knows God will rescue him because God never disappoints!  When desire is exhausted and extinguished, then a certain and sure hope takes over to lift the Psalmist back up again.  With weakened eyes the Psalmist seeks comfort and ease.

The picture of wineskins being smoked is perhaps strange to us in the 21st century world.  But for David they were an explicit illustration of his condition.  Wineskins when empty were hung up in the tent and when smoke filled the tent as it often did, the wineskins grew haggard, wrinkled from the heat and blackened with soot.  It's a picture of David's face.  He is no longer the ruddy-faced shepherd of his youth.  He feels decrepit, wrinkled, haggard and gloomy.  His body was feeling listless and dilapidated. He had endured persecution, undergone the torment of slanderous lies being told about him and his character blackened as if with soot.  And yet... and yet he still had hope, a glimmer of anticipation - he does not forget God's decrees and statutes.  This is his way of reaching out to hold God's hand through this time.

He is waiting for his God to deliver & rescue him, to realise the hope he had placed in Jehovah God.  David was getting edgy and fed up!  He has placed his grievances against others into the court of the Lord and was waiting for justice to be done!   He wants his persecutors punished according to God's law!  His persecutors were digging him many pits to which to trap and bury him.  They were contravening God's law with jesting, arrogance and a haughty step. But David's enemies had forgotten that while they were his enemies, they were also enemies of God! God who had decreed and given commandments to be followed!  David had followed God's commands so would be rescued from his tormentors.  David had not forgotten about God and what God had promised him.  God will help him and David is stretching out his hands for help.

And isn't this last verse more than delightful.  It is not only the Psalmist saying spare or preserve my life.  We get a sense it is more a case of "Give me life!"  The Psalmist is not seeking merely survival but wanting a full life restored to him.  And he knows that this God he follows and serves will grant him new life! David will live again! God has promised it! WOW! Despite what he is going through, David knows he will have new life!  This new life will see David continue to exhibit a life worthy of God as he follows God's commands in a dynamic relationship.  What God has said, David will do.  David was assuredly a man after God's own heart.

How are you doing right now?  Are you feeling as David was? Confused, aged, drying up, wrinkled and lacking energy - physically and/or spiritually? Are people mocking you and jeering you because of the faith you have in Jesus Christ?  Take heart for God is watching, protecting and will rescue you.  Stay faithful to Him despite all the opposition you are enduring and the Great God whom you seek to serve will come to your aid.  Don't give into the doubters by compromising yourself but hold true to God and His word.  If you are the subject of abuse, injustice or any kind of wrongdoing, take your case to God in prayer! Let the God of justice help you, give you counsel through the Bible and minister to you.  Ask the Holy Spirit to give you comfort, for that is one of his names - the Comforter.  Whatever you are going through reach out and touch God's hand that is outstretched to you.  Reach out in gratitude to the great God and as an act of gratitude, seek to serve a holy life worthy of being called His servant. Thank you.

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Yodh

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73 Your hands made me and formed me;

give me understanding to learn your commands.

74 May those who fear you rejoice when they see me,

for I have put my hope in your word.

75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,

and in faithfulness you have afflicted me.

76 May your unfailing love be my comfort,

according to your promise to your servant.

77 Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight.

78 May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause;

but I will meditate on your precepts.

79 May those who fear you turn to me,

those who understand your statutes.

80 May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.

Hello! This is Jim Harris, a friend and colleague of Dave Roberts. Dave has asked me to provide some thoughts in the series he's running on Psalm 119. My brief is to talk about the tenth stanza, or set of verses, each line of which starts with the Hebrew letter ‘Yodh'. That's verses 73-80

When writing this psalm in honour of God's word and its effect upon the life of a believer, the author majored in 8 Hebrew words to describe ways in which the Lord communicates with his people. All 8 are to be found in this section. Now what does that say to us? Here's a quote that really sets us thinking, ‘The author had a theme that filled his soul - that ranged the length and breadth, the height and depth of a person's walk with God.' John Stek makes a great point with these words. This section is about the powerful effect the word of God has in shaping us, developing us, maturing us and equipping us to represent Him in this world. Four big ideas came out of it for me.

Verses 73 and 80 remind us that God made us. ‘Your hands made me and formed me.' That's the starting point for everyone who has a living relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not here by accident, nor by the will and activity of our parents alone. God was in the process of bringing us into the world. He is our Creator, so who knows better than Him how we work and what we need to know, so that we can live in His way? Every piece of equipment in our homes was designed and built for a specific purpose. To know how to use it properly you read the manufacturer's instructions. If it needs servicing or repair you find information in that maker's manual. It's ordinary common sense. And it's spiritual common sense to know that the best way to live in line with the Lord's purpose in making us, is to read his word and respond to its directions. In 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul wrote, ‘All Scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.' It's the Maker's Manual.

Verses 74 and 79 imply that the life of a true believer, especially someone active in the Lord's work, is bound to influence other people. You can't escape it! People around us will be affected, for better or worse, by the way we live (or don't live) in accordance with Scripture. Younger and less mature Christians look to those of us who are more experienced, for guidance and example. Others will be taking note of our words and actions and won't hesitate to charge us with any inconsistency they see in our behaviour. This is true within the fellowship of a church, as well as in the home and at work. Our actions speak louder than our words, so we must let the Holy Spirit teach us through Scripture and keep in step with him in our lives. The New Testament has a lot to say about the importance being a good witness before other people. ‘Let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.' Matthew 5:16.

Verses 75 and 78 show that the writer had to suffer for his faith.  The life and work he was called to were no easy ride. He speaks of ‘the arrogant' and the fact that he'd been wronged by these very people. Under the surface of the text, there is a suggestion that they'd misrepresented him; twisted his words and actions to suit their own ends. That's not easy to bear. Paul wrote, again in 2 Timothy, ‘Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.' It's not optional. But our psalmist recognises that God is at work in all this, using it to knock him into shape. He bravely goes so far as to state ‘In faithfulness you have afflicted me.' No-one volunteers for suffering but we must endure when it comes. ‘The testing of your faith develops perseverance.' James 1:3.

Finally, we notice 5 ‘wish prayers'; short prayers beginning with the word ‘May . . .' Pick them out and think about them. These are not weak prayers. They are valid and honest, reaching from the heart into other people's lives and needs. They may be expressed at any time, in any place, for anyone. Simple, but real. The apostle Paul used ‘wish prayers'. Look up Romans chapter 15:5-6 and then in verse 13, for two examples. Sometimes, when we find normal prayer difficult, these short prayers can prove valuable in helping us dispense some degree of blessing on other people in our lives. Also, why not try to find ways of using this kind of prayer as an add-on to your usual methods of praying?

‘May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.'

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Teth

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our eleventh podcast of our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the ninth of its twenty-two letters, Teth and its verses 65 to 72.

65 Do good to your servant

according to your word, O LORD.

66 Teach me knowledge and good judgment,

for I believe in your commands.

67 Before I was afflicted I went astray,

but now I obey your word.

68 You are good, and what you do is good;

teach me your decrees.

69 Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,

I keep your precepts with all my heart.

70 Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,

but I delight in your law.

71 It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I might learn your decrees.

72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me

than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

Just like the previous section, the Psalmist starts again with a great acclamation! "Oh my Lord God! You have done good to your servant, according to your word"! Here David acclaims God for his faithfulness and for the consistency of God's innate goodness!  God' has again kept his promises to His servant David and is faithful to him.  From God's promises, flow the benefits of serving the Living God!  Then the servant David, asks the Great God to teach him knowledge and judgment, for without either David could not live rightly in accordance with God's commandments and precepts.  This is a King willing to be a servant of the Lord, with a teachable mind and a malleable spirit.  So by the renewing of his mind and the gain of knowledge, David seeks to use this knowledge wisely and in good taste and judgement as he makes decisions - both private and public, personal and as king!

But from v67 we see that David had not always done so! He have gone astray from being obedient to God!  Whether it was one incident or if he is relating himself to the natural rebelliousness against God that all people have, David now seeks to be fully obedient to God, in mind, heart and in service.  His zealousness for God and God's law is palpable.  You can taste it as you read how David went from rebellion to obedience and submission to God's ways and laws.  Whatever David's affliction was, it certainly had a curative affect on him. As he looked back on his life, David saw what God had done and how God had brought him through, teaching him and loving him.  David could see that rebellion and insolence marked the historical Israel's relationship with God and how God had taught and moulded them.

Verse 68 sees the servant David yet again pleading, begging and beseeching God to teach him! Teach me your decrees O great God! O Great God you are good and goodness is you!  All that God does is good, the Psalmist cries, because goodness is part of the innate and essential character of God! He knows that God is good and good all the time!  But knowing God is good, David doesn't seek or pray for wealth, honours or privilege! By no means! David seeks and prays continually to be taught how to obey this great and awesome God who is worthy of being fully obeyed.

The Psalmist then compares his perjurers against God! The proud enemies of David have perjured against him, telling lies, spreading malicious talk and denigrating his character.  Does David now wish to take revenge upon them?  Nope! David desires once again with heartfelt yearning to learn from God and keeping his precepts and statutes in his heart.  These opponents of his have hearts of impenetrable and unmovable stone.  They have no feelings or sensitivity to the ways of God.  All this could well discourage David: leaving him depressed, feeling defeated, battered, bruised and beaten. But again, no! The Spirit of God pierces David's heart and he is shown to be malleable and teachable, willing to be obedient to this God he serves.  David's delight is not in seeking revenge, but in reading about God and his innate goodness and Law.

During his affliction, David may well have questioned God, and asked "Why me?" He may well have been feeling quite dissolute during the times.  But now, after the event, he says that it was good because God chastised him! That was part of God's method of teaching him, because God loved him.  David knew that he was naturally obstinate against God. David now knew that obedience is better than sacrifice and that what God wanted from him, was his utter and total obedience.  No amount of sacrifices could beat that!  In this last verse, David again states that his primary desire is not for honour, riches or a vast inheritance or kingdom, but rather to listen to God speaking to him through the Word.

WOW! That is awesome isn't it? God is good and good all the time! Good in who He is! Good in what He does! Good in what He does to teach us.  Our response, as it was for the Psalmist, is to be totally obedient to this God of goodness. Yet, if we are honest, we have to say at least to ourselves, that sometimes we don't feel or see this goodness of God. We all are naturally rebellious and disobedient against God.  God demands our obedience and conformity to Him.  Not as a means to salvation, because that could only ever be by His grace and mercy.  We show we are His people, by being obedient to Him - which consists of loving Him and loving others.  We are to love also getting to know Him, and have zealousness for the Bible and for prayer! Read about how God is good in your bible and pray to Him to teach you! He will! We are to be obedient by serving others and by doing so this reveals we are serving this Almighty God of goodness. Then we too, like the Psalmist, will be servant hearted, teachable, humble and obedient, shining as lights in darkness.

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Heth

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our tenth podcast of our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the eighth of its twenty-two letters, Heth and its verses 57 to 64.

57 You are my portion, O LORD;

I have promised to obey your words.

58 I have sought your face with all my heart;

be gracious to me according to your promise.

59 I have considered my ways

and have turned my steps to your statutes.

60 I will hasten and not delay

to obey your commands.

61 Though the wicked bind me with ropes,

I will not forget your law.

62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks

for your righteous laws.

63 I am a friend to all who fear you,

to all who follow your precepts.

64 The earth is filled with your love, O LORD;

teach me your decrees.

David starts off this segment with a bang! A great burst of exclamation of praise "You are my portion, O Lord!" Wow! Here David is lost in awe and wonder of the great God in whom he has put his trust and hope! This great God whom David desires to obey!  This God is part of his treasure and David is enraptured! David could easily have turned to his vast wealth and resources for comfort. He could have plundered the great treasures of the ancient world.  Yet that is not where his heart is - his heart is firmly set on the gift-giver, the Great God!  So much so that he reaffirms yet again his promise to obey God's every law, precept and command! Here is a man expressing total heartfelt devotion to the God who chose him and therefore seeks to serve Jehovah God!

God may have chosen David, but David still desires to develop the relationship with God! He seeks God's face fervently, wholeheartedly and with great devotion. By seeking God's face (verse 58), David is seeking to be in the very presence of the Living God, enfolded in the grace God.  At the very core of God's being is grace, love and mercy.  And the Psalmist knows that God will give him grace, love and mercy, because God has promised that He will! And God always keeps his promises, his side of the deal!

As a response, in verse 59 & 60, David considers how he has been living disobediently and turns back to following and obeying the great God who is his portion, his all!  That is repentance!  He was stepping out of synch with God but turned himself around to the God of grace and made a conscious choice to obey God's commands instead of going his own way. He chose the way of Life instead of the path that leads to destruction.  It is a lifelong commitment David is making, not a half-hearted gesture. No! David is taking all the steps he can in order to be found fully obedient to God and God's law!

David's enemies and persecutors may try to bind him with ropes and try to ensnare him, yet he will not forget God and God's words.  Nothing deflects him from following God.  Not being tied up by enemies who oppress and seek to restrict him, even kill him.  The Psalmist knows they cannot match the God of grace whom he seeks!  So when he had the opportunity, David arose at the midnight hour! Not in order to pray for deliverance but to give thanks! Giving thanks not that he may suffer for the sake of his God but more to thank the Lord for His righteous laws!  God's judgement will fall upon the wicked, the disobedient and unruly!

We know from the historical books of the Bible that David was a friend with all those who chose to obey God - those who feared the Lord.   These were the truly wise people, because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!  It didn't matter whether they were rich or poor - if they feared the Lord and obeyed Him, David would be with them and befriend them! This great King David befriending the obscure who feared the Lord they served together.

Whatever David had faced in his life, he knew that God had been there and loved him.  Through exile, betrayal, war, peace, famine and prosperity - God has always shown His love to David.  This assures David that the Lord truly is his portion! So enamoured is he with God he constantly seeks to be taught by this great God!  Lord you are my portion, he started this section and he finishes with another exclamation of how the earth is filled with the glorious love of the LORD!  Despite being a ruler, leader and King, David still acknowledges that he is also teachable in all areas of life!

How are you doing when faced with the daily problems?  Where is the great God's place for you?  He desires most earnestly to be your full portion for every day.  He calls you to seek His face.  The great God, the Holy Spirit indwells you, to empower you, transform you and teach you how to live!  You are to be constantly filled with the Spirit, not just as a one off experience.  The main way is through the Bible! Read it, pray it and be eager to learn from it! Don't be distracted by anything else but be found fully seeking God in all facets and aspects of life.  When times of trouble come, just as they did to David, you will find that the Bible and the Holy Spirit's inspiration will help you, give you succour and comfort, as the gracious God of mercy enfolds you in His loving arms of compassion. Seek Him! Desire to live rightly for Him! Show others you know Him, by doing good and showing this God of love to those around you who do not fear Him.  Build friendships with those you know who love the Lord as you do - regardless of their social status or rank.  May you also be found exclaiming that the Lord is your portion!  Thank you.

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Zayin

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G'day and welcome to Partake and our series "Scriptural Delights!"  Here is our ninth podcast of our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119!  Today we look at the seventh of its twenty-two letters, Zayin and its verses 49 to 56.

49 Remember your word to your servant,

for you have given me hope.

50 My comfort in my suffering is this:

Your promise preserves my life.

51 The arrogant mock me without restraint,

but I do not turn from your law.

52 I remember your ancient laws, O LORD,

and I find comfort in them.

53 Indignation grips me because of the wicked,

who have forsaken your law.

54 Your decrees are the theme of my song

wherever I lodge.

55 In the night I remember your name, O LORD,

and I will keep your law.

56 This has been my practice:

I obey your precepts.

Thank you Sandy! In the previous section, the Psalmist did a recap - a summary section of what has gone before!  Now he proceeds to the dual role of memory in the life of the servant of God - as both the one being reminded and the one who remembers!

The Psalmist is under pressure and is enduring great suffering! He is being mocked, scorned and ridiculed relentlessly by his opponents.  Where is his comfort and consolation coming from? What is his reaction to opposition?  He is full of hope even though he is going through all of this! The reason he is full of hope is because the Lord God is reminding the Psalmist of His promises! The Psalmist is still full of hope because he knows that God will fulfil his promises to him, and therefore has a confident hope in the God of his salvation.  So, because of this reminder, the Psalmist takes consolation and comfort as he brings to mind what God reminds him of in His word. The Psalmist knows God's promises preserve and sustain in him in times of trouble.   Therefore, despite the arrogance of his persecutors, the Psalmist continues to obey God and follow His Law and commands. The Psalmist values his integrity before God as being higher than giving into the demands of those who seek to destroy him.

Having been reminded and having reflected on the Lord, His Law and His Word, its time for action: and the act is that of remembering!  The first act of being able to remember is to have made some effort in the first place to get into the mind!  So as we have seen in this Psalm so far, in relation to God's word, the Psalmist has read it faithfully, systematically and methodically.  Repeating it to himself, so that when times of trouble come, it can be remembered easily!   When times of injustice such as v53 come, he became very zealous for God against the law-breakers! Not only that, but he was aggrieved by the boldness and impudence of such people! How dare they, the Psalmist seems to be saying!  By breaking God's Laws they are disavowing knowledge of God!  And why does he say that?  In verse 54 we read how God's Laws are his song. They are his delight and he holds them in his heart.  They go with him wherever he travels and nobody can take them away from him.  When David himself was banished from his country, he took God's laws with him, because they were inscribed inside his mind and his heart.

Continuing in the same vein, those who actively obey God, putting into practise His commands, remember God perpetually! God works when His people listen to Him and acknowledge Him for who He is!  The Psalmist sets himself up against those who mock him, and because they mock him are therefore despising God!  The Psalmist, David, invites all others to stand up to those who slander God. Whether that despising slander is actively and passive! The Psalmist seeks a life of total obedience to God alone - both in the day and in the night!  He immerses himself in God's word all day!  Now remember, for the Psalmist the only part of the bible he would have had would be the first 5 books and possibly the book of Job!  So he only has those stories of how God has encountered and interacted with people to reflect on and remember.

How are you doing when people mock and scorn you for our beliefs?  How do you react when you see God being mocked, scorned and insulted? Are you living only for what you deem to be Godly experiences or are you living only for God? Where the Psalmist probably only had 6 books talking about God encountering people, we have 66 books! Not only that, we also have 2000 years of church history to see how God has used His people for His glory!  That's the value of church history! Seeing how God has used people such as Martin Luther, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Augustine, John Calvin etc.  Nothing you are enduring or undergoing is new. Somebody at sometime will have undergone a very similar experience, particularly in the Bible.  Read and learn! Read and remember, so that God will be actively obeyed in your life.  Remember God and His word, so you can speak out against injustices in this world as you see them being reported in the media.

Are you getting to know your God personally as you read what it says? Do you pray with your Bible open? The role of memory is important to the Christian, even if you, like me, have memory problems!  Be ready for the Holy Spirit to bring back to your memory the verses you read, when you need to remember the most - either when counselling other people or as help for yourself!  The Psalmist remembered God's Word and saw its importance in the role of memorising Scripture.  We would do well, to do likewise!

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Vau

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G'day and welcome to Partake! Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our eighth podcast.  Today we look at the sixth of its twenty-two letters, Waw

41 May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,

your salvation according to your promise;

42 then I will answer the one who taunts me,

for I trust in your word.

43 Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth,

for I have put my hope in your laws.

44 I will always obey your law,

for ever and ever.

45 I will walk about in freedom,

for I have sought out your precepts.

46 I will speak of your statutes before kings

and will not be put to shame,

47 for I delight in your commands

because I love them.

48 I lift up my hands to  your commands, which I love,

and I meditate on your decrees.

Thank you, Sandy! Well we are a quarter of the way through this series and it may be good to have a recap of what the Psalmist has said so far.  It's also a natural place to have a recap, because it is as if the Psalmist is also doing one.  The reason I say that, is because each verse starts with ‘and'. That isn't seen in our modern translations, but if you get a copy of Young's Literal Translation you will see it!

In the previous sections, the Psalmist declares the amazing blessings of God, the faithful promises of God, the total obedience demanded by God, the reviving testimonies of God and then the glorious teachings of God!  God's Word is utterly amazing and shown to be a breath-taking adventure! And after all that adventure, its like this recap point is a love letter back to God!  And these 8 verses are a response to the love of God and His word.

The Psalmist starts out by praising God, because God has promised him salvation!  God's promises are true, kind and unfailing!  God is mighty to save and saves mightily!  If God has said it, He will do it!  But how does God promise salvation? Through His unfailing love, kindness and tender mercy, which is why the Psalmist puts the cause before the effect!  Salvation can be attained by no other means, but only through God's mercy and grace - God's twin actions working in unison.

Next, the Psalmist deals with those who disagree with God's plans and promises! What happens when scoffers come to taunt? Well, the Psalmist in verse 42 deals with them by replying that God's word is true, it is trustworthy and His word never disappoints or dismays!  Scoffers can come from within the Church as well as those outside! Doesn't matter a jot! God's word is still true! Not blindly trustworthy, but verifiably trustworthy! It can be verified evidentially and experientially!

So enamoured is the Psalmist with all the facets of God's Word, that he never wants its truth to depart from him and he wants always to speak God's truth! WOW! His heart is full of desire of God and for God that he cannot help but talk about God and God's mercy and grace!  Due to salvation, the Psalmist's hope is in God alone and because of that hope; he will be obedient to God in all ways forever!

From the obedience that is the outworking of his salvation, the Psalmist can walk through life safely and freely.  When troubles come to ensnare him, he will be able to deal with them effectively because his mind will be controlled and his demeanour, or manner, calm.  God will guide through the storms and harassment as the Psalmist studies and recalls God's words.

Being in possession of God's wisdom in dealing with troubles, the Psalmist is again free to speak about them to anybody, even kings!  Not only against the scoffers will he speak but even to leaders - all people!  It is from the heart that he speaks without shame or embarrassment, of God's mercy and grace as revealed in God's word. And why does he do this? He does this because again, he loves to read and hear of God and God's commands (v47)!  This delight is an intense desire and actively expressed love.

Verse 48 shows the Psalmist reaching out! He is holding his hands up and out in an act of reverence, prayer and worship!  This act springs forth from knowing that when he reads, studies, cogitates, meditates and thinks of all of God's word, he is getting to know His God and Saviour better, more intimately and deepening his relationship with Almighty God!  You can feel the exuding passion!  There is a deep yearning from the Psalmist to see how God reveals Himself through the Scriptures, the Law, through His dealings with people. All this as a result of ‘and', as he looks back on what he has written previously!

Now to us! How are you doing with your Bible reading?  How are you letting what you read permeate every facet of your life as you allow the Holy Spirit to reveal God's commands and guidance to you?  What are you basing your salvation on?  Scripture says salvation is to be found only through God's grace and mercy exhibited by God the Son on the cross.  Do not be fooled by scoffers or the enemy, Satan, into thinking otherwise! Delight yourself in reading your Bible and showing your salvation by obeying what God says in it! Speak freely of God and His dealings with you without embarrassment or shame.  Know He is in charge and that He will help you, no matter what you are going through or circumstances you find yourself in.  Ask for help, and He will help! He has promised and He will do it!

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Old Man of Prayer

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Old Man of Prayer

written by Mark Brown

(read by Richard Allen)

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Ignoring the cold constriction of knees long past their best

This old man of prayer persisted with long earned patience.

Painfully positioned, hand grasping each other in a determined embrace

The old man of prayer dropped his head,

eyes locking out the simple room.

He paused, to release his thoughts and invite a focus

on the one who made him

The old man of prayer knew his time was short,

but he thought slowly.

He prayed a life of friendships and family long travelled

The old man of prayer told the story as he had done many times before.

The story of love and joy that brings tears and pain

The old man of prayer found his cheeks moist with memories.

The story of failure and desire of hope that confuses and refines

The old man of prayer, with undaunted clarity pushed on.

Then pain splashed across his frail body, pushing him into the grey

And the old man of prayer knew that his time had come.

They found the old man of prayer resting peacefully against his bed,

still kneeling, hands loosely bound in prayer, a faint smile fixed on his face.

When they gently removed him they found

two knee sized worn patches in the carpet beneath him.

The ambulance attendant, quietly offered,

‘Amen.’

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He

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G'day and welcome to Partake! Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our seventh podcast.  Today we look at the fifth of its twenty-two letters, He

33 Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees;

then I will keep them to the end.

34 Give me understanding, and I will keep your law

and obey it with all my heart.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands,

for there I find delight.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes

and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;

preserve my life according to your word.

38 Fulfil your promise to your servant,

so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread,

for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts!

Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Having being revived in the previous section, the Psalmist now seeks to be taught!  He continues using words for the Law such as decrees, commands, statutes and precepts!  His responses are equally clear: Teachable, kept, obedient, directed, turned and yearned!  His initial outburst from verse 1 is a heartfelt cry "Teach me to follow your decrees O Great God so that I will discover my reward!"  He then goes from teaching to understanding, because understanding is the practical application of what has been taught to his life as a believer.  Through applying and understanding what God has taught him, then obedience is the result. This obedience then is the catalyst for the next part - direction!

If the Psalmist moves in obedience, then God Himself will direct him!  Something that is moving, and not standing still, can be easily steered!  When Almighty God using His decrees, directs the Psalmist, the Psalmist finds true ecstasy, joy and delight! True happiness comes from serving God and obeying Him by serving others!  The Psalmist does all this, not for a feel good factor or for his own pride and self-righteousness. No! The Psalmist does this so his life is preserved, abandoning all that is worthless, in pursuit of that which is eternally worthwhile!  WOW!

If his own work of selfishness is useless, what does the Psalmist say about the work of the Lord? The Lord's work is the fulfilment of His promise to the Psalmist - to preserve his life in the Lord's righteousness.  What is righteousness? Righteousness under the Mosaic covenant was active obedience to God and living according to God's ways.  How is the Psalmist declared righteous? By fearing the Lord (v38) and when the Lord is feared, then the utter disgrace is taken away! God fulfils His promises always!  There is a battle ensuing within him - the inner battle where the Psalmist can choose two ways to live. First is the choice to live in obedience to God, or secondly he can choose to disobey God and live life his own selfish way.  By choosing to obey God, the Psalmist is preserved.

What does this have to do with us as twenty-first century Christians?  The Christian life is to be an active one of dynamic contact with the Holy Spirit who lives with you.  Sometimes we like to think our own self-righteousness is what is going to save us. We all think that at some point even if we are not aware of it.  When we do that, we are no better than the Pharisees of Jesus' time.

The Pharisees were righteous people, but they were looking to their own righteousness for salvation.  They adapted the Laws of God for their own ends.   Jesus said that unless righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, then we can't be saved.  How is that possible?  It is possible, because true righteousness is not an external righteousness like that of the Pharisees, but an internal righteousness - a righteousness of the heart.  A righteousness which will see God the Holy Spirit living within those who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and He writes the laws of God on their hearts. The Pharisees had a distorted view of the Law and saw it has only an external obedience.  But as the Psalmist here reminds us, the "obedience of the heart" (v34) shows it also to be internal matter as well.  So righteousness now, under the New Covenant, is not just an active external obedience to God but an internal declaration before God!

How is this internal righteousness seen?   It is as the Apostle Paul would write a few years later in Philippians 2v12-13: "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose." When God the Father sees you, if you are a Christian, he sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ His Son.  When Jesus died on the cross, it was so that all who chose to follow Him could be declared righteous and wear the robe of righteousness.  As a Christian, you have the righteousness of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1v7; Acts 13v38-39) and  you have received the gift of righteousness (Romans 5v17) through faith in Jesus Christ (Philippians 3v9)

If you need help in any are of your life, then ask God the Holy Spirit, who lives inside you, to help you.  He will, because God the Holy Spirit is in the transformation business. What areas of your life do you need to hand control over to Him? We all have areas to work on, ceding control and handing them to God.  How are you doing at living as a Christian? Are you struggling in some area of life where that specific aspect of your life is in direct disobedience to God?  That is the pursuit of your own selfish gain, as the Psalmist would say.  Ask for help, and He will help!  Thank you.

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POD - Psalm 119v33-40

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Psalm 119v33-40 (h He)

(as read by Aubree)

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33 Teach me, LORD, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end.

34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart.

35 Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.

36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.

38 Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared.

39 Take away the disgrace I dread, for your laws are good.

40 How I long for your precepts! In your righteousness preserve my life.

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Daleth

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G’day and welcome to Partake! Welcome back to Scriptural Delights, our series going through the wonder that is Psalm 119! Here is our sixth podcast. Today we look at the fourth of its twenty-two letters, Daleth:

25 I am laid low in the dust; preserve my life according to your word.

26 I recounted my ways and you answered me; teach me your decrees.

27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders.

28 My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.

29 Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.

30 I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.

31 I hold fast to your statutes, O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.

32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

Thank you Tori! From verse 25, the Psalmist describes himself and the condition he is in. He is laid low, weary and tired. He is in desperate straights, heavily burdened and clinging onto life, both spiritually and physically. He is at the bottom of a pit and the only way out is up! So what does he do? He cries out a series of short prayers to God! Revive me! Preserve me! Make me live again! O God, my Lord, you promised that you would restore me again to yourself! He may be low, but he knows that God will answer him.

The Psalmist knows that God’s testimonies about Himself are true! The Psalmist knows that God’s decrees, precepts, commands and statutes are glorious, and that through them, he can be set free! The Psalmist piles up the metaphors about God’s Law and his own response to them! He is never negative about any aspect of God’s Law because he knows that through the Law is his only hope of knowing God and allowing God to rescue him from both physical and spiritual death. He knows that to life a life of obedience to God, he needs to read about God’s commands, precepts and interactions with those in the past! Remember, the Psalmist would have had at least the first 5 books at his disposal: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy!

The Psalmist has a choice to make. He could just wallow in self-pity and curl up and die. But he doesn’t. In verse 30, he makes a conscious decision to follow God, hold fast to God and run with God! That is not the actions of somebody who is wearied and burdened! God has answered his prayers and restored him, just as He promised to do! God is faithful! What was the catalyst for this? Verse 29 says that God’s graciousness is seen in the Law! The only time the Law and God’s commandments are a bad thing is when it is used as a means to salvation! God’s Law was never meant to be as a means to salvation, only to show how foolish it was to seek salvation that way and that salvation is only due to God’s mercy and God’s grace. Through God’s gracious Law, the Psalmist has renewed energy and is able to fly once more with God! God’s revealing of Himself and His rescue/restoration go together! As Isaiah, would write some years later:

“but those who hope in the LORD

will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles;

they will run and not grow weary,

they will walk and not be faint.(Isaiah 40v31)

Jesus in Matthew 11v28-30 also echoes this when He proclaims “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Why is Jesus saying this? Firstly to those undergoing the burden of religion as many of the Jewish people did at the time, under the regime of the Pharisees and the Jewish leaders – people were spiritually oppressed by the use of Laws as a means to salvation! The opposite of its purpose according to the Psalmist! This Jesus would offer them salvation via grace and not through keeping rules! Secondly to those who are searching for God, that if they do so wholeheartedly and expectantly, then they will find Him! The Greeks had long held an exhausted search for truth! Whether it was the search for divine truth or the unnecessary burden of religion, Jesus came to set people free – free from their burdens! In some ways living the life of a Christian is difficult, but not as a means to salvation! Following Jesus can be hard work if we try to do it in our own strength. But if we do it in the strength of the Holy Spirit who lives inside you, if you are a Christian, then the burden is light and the yoke is easy!

So if you are struggling under some burden of man-made religion or seeking truth, then look no further than Jesus, who claimed to be God and was God. Are you struggling to live the Christian life in your own strength and not the strength of God the Holy Spirit who lives inside you? How, this very day, can this God ease your burdens, lighten your load and restore you to Himself? Ask Jesus to take the burden you or others have placed upon yourself and restore you once more so that like the Psalmist you can follow, hold and run!

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