February 26, 2010

Poem - Just One More


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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February 25, 2010

Scriptural Delight 14



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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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February 22, 2010

Scriptural Delight 13



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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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