Tag Archive: devotion

as i read the first four lines of this psalm it felt like i was part of a liturgical choir speaking them out:

1 Praise awaits You, our God, in Zion;
    to You our vows will be fulfilled.
2 You who answer prayer,
    to You all people will come.

the psalm is subtitled as being a song of David and so maybe that is why it conveys that fullness of message and delivery. i can imagine a congregation speaking this out together.

the rest of the psalm is pretty much a ‘God you rock’ anthem, but some parts in particular stood out for me:

3 When we were overwhelmed by sins,
You forgave our transgressions.

i mean that bit is quite magic as well. the contrast between the idea of being ‘overwhelmed by sins’ and ‘you forgave’ – the first one seems to impossibly huge and the second comes across as this quite effortless motion.

4 Blessed are those you choose
and bring near to live in Your courts!
We are filled with the good things of Your house,
of Your holy temple.

not going to get caught up in the predestination trap in that verse – i think the bible is very clear that everyone is chosen but not everyone chooses to be chosen. but what is eye-catching is the whole notion of being ‘filled with the good things of Your house, of Your holy temple.’ 

i think we miss out on so much of that sometimes. talk as if we are a King’s kid but live like a pauper. i love [and don’t necessarily fully understand] these verses in 2 Peter 1 that say:

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

Galatians 5 starts with this verse:

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

before heading on to:

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 

and so many more places and times where God reveals to us the extent of our inheritance and birthright as His children but this last one from 2 Timothy says it clearly when it shows three resources that we should theoretically never be short of and yet…

7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

the rest of the psalm is David gushing about God and His awesomeness and the last verse i want to pull from there [but go read the whole thing and take time on it] is this one:

9 You care for the land and water it;
you enrich it abundantly.
The streams of God are filled with water
to provide the people with grain,
for so you have ordained it.

the principle that ‘we have enough’ or at least that ‘there is enough’ or should be… until you start taking notice of the fact that a very small percentage of the ‘we’ are holding on to or controlling most of the stuff and how that somehow leads to truckloads of oranges being dumped in the desert or young children dying in Africa because they can’t get access to clean water and more…

but never forget that ‘the streams of God are filled’ or as i like to say, ‘God is bigGER!’

 [To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

This one is like a little gem of a psalm. Short and sweet and [if you read the intro and see it mentions this one should be played on string instruments] a little haunting [in the good way]. So i would just actually post the whole psalm here:

1 Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.

2 From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

4 I long to dwell in your tent forever
    and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.
5 For you, God, have heard my vows;
    you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.

6 Increase the days of the king’s life,
    his years for many generations.
7 May he be enthroned in God’s presence forever;
    appoint your love and faithfulness to protect him.

8 Then I will ever sing in praise of your name
    and fulfill my vows day after day.

‘I call as my heart grows faint” – for me it feels like this is an older person writing this. i get the feeling of a contented tiredness. this is someone who has experienced God as his refuge and as his strong tower in times of need. this is someone who knows God as the One who has heard his vows.

i’m not sure why it is particularly but i really like this psalm. it feels so peaceful, even as there is a cry and a call and this sense of long journey to the ends of the earth. there is not the same panic that exists in a number of other psalms when enemies are chasing or foes are trying to take the psalmist in. this one feels like someone who has lived a long journey, punctuated by times of Godly intervention, and is ready just to sit in the courts of God and lift up His name forever.

when i am old and nearing my time to move on, i hope this will be the kind of piece i can compose to God…

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

In this passage Jesus warns the disciples about the yeast of the Pharisees prompting them to question why Jesus is so concerned about their baking techniques, and so he has to explain a little further. Join me as I read through Mark 8 from 14 to 21 and look at the influence we have on others and theirs on us:

[To watch the next passage which asks the question, ‘Did Jess get it wrong? click here]

So we are continuing through Mark and this is a bit of a dejavu passage as Jesus repeats a miracle He has done before [feeding the crowd] but this time with a slightly smaller crowd and the disciples are still struggling to get it. To add to his frustrations his good friends the Pharisees pitch up demanding a sign leading into a deep sigh of frustration and him actually climbing back into the boat and heading across the lake away from them [so even Jesus needed a break from stupid people?]

Join with me as we read Mark 8 verses 1 to 13

[For the next post on Jesus warning us about the yeast of these, click here]

well, i know i have your attention now, but really, if you read this story you may have that impression because he really gives this woman a bit of a hard time. but then if you know Jesus at all that doesn’t seem like Him, so what is the vibe?

take a look with me as i take a brief read through Mark chapter 7 verses 24-30

[for the next passage that deals with throwing away your mute and deaf box, click here]

this is not a completely happy psalm.

here we see David once again, who was the same guy who brought us this in Psalm 23:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

As well as this from Psalm 34:

17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

But now his mood has changed a lot and there is a lot more of this:


Listen to my prayer, O God,
    do not ignore my plea;
    hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught
    because of what my enemy is saying,
    because of the threats of the wicked;
for they bring down suffering on me
    and assail me in their anger.

My heart is in anguish within me;
    the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
    horror has overwhelmed me.

Same guy. Same God. Different context. Different feeling. And i imagine those of us who love God and try to follow Him completely get this. The echo of the new testament, ‘I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief.’ [Mark 9.24] Being able to totally believe in God and trust that He loves you and will look after you, but also facing a really difficult situation and the feeling of distance from God as if He is not there. These are often wrestling emotions or states of being which go on inside a follower of Jesus. And I think it’s normal. It’s certainly not good, healthy or real to pretend as if everything is together when it feels like it is falling down. Sp definitely facing up to the trouble or the feeling of desparation as David does here feels really healthy and helpful for deep and authentic relationship.

As long as some time in the future, you end up at this place again [which David incidentally does while he is still in the bad place… so struggling, but holding on to this Truth he strongly believes in]

16 As for me, I call to God,
    and the Lord saves me.
17 Evening, morning and noon
    I cry out in distress,
    and he hears my voice.
18 He rescues me unharmed
    from the battle waged against me,
    even though many oppose me.
19 God, who is enthroned from of old,
    who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
    because they have no fear of God.

22 Cast your cares on the Lord
    and he will sustain you;
he will never let
    the righteous be shaken.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

i am not a big fan of tradition when it is solely taking place for tradition’s sake [even if the original meaning and intention might have been good but has been lost or watered down along the way] but there are some traditions which are rich and full of life [baptism, communion, a family that eats together etc] that are incredible.

Join me as I look at Mark 7.1-13:

[to continue to the next passage and find out if Jesus was being a jerk, click here]

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