“Applying the ‘Satisfaction Principle”
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. NIV
The Psalms are beautiful, poetic and visually descriptive. The words paint the scene for us to clearly gain a picture of both the dangerous and desperate moments as well as the joyous and praise moments.
Here the words reflect a vision of banquet table filled with the finest and richest foods, a feast that satisfies. As a consequence the author is filled with joy and praise to the One who has provided.
In other words, it is a very picturesque way of putting the very plain truth, which we should be all the happier and better if we believed and lived by, that we can have as much of God as we desire, and that what we have of Him will be enough and we will be satisfied.
There is one search that is true and the seeker never fails to find. That is the search of the soul seeking after God. Our soul will be satisfied with God and His nearness to us, His infinite willingness to give Himself to us.
All it takes is for us to seek Him.
The result is pleasure and delight. Not only that it is nourishing like the fine foods.
Connection with a gracious God, gives our soul abundant satisfaction.
It is so wonderful our lips cannot help be overflowing with His praise. Not only to give God His due glory, but to share with others, how they too can have their soul satisfied.
Praising lips must be joyful lips. When we look at David, who was in continual danger, care and fear kept him awake at night; but he comforted himself with thoughts of God. The mercies of God, when called to mind, support the soul, making difficult and challenging circumstances cheerful.
May we all make that effort to commune with our God, to seek Him, to draw close to Him, so that our praise will be with joyful lips.
A picture of what is to come and more!
God of majesty and power,
Who spoke and this world was,
Who breathed and this world lived,
Who counts the hairs upon our head,
Who sees our thoughts and reads our hearts,
Who loves us more than we deserve,
How can we not bring today,
Our sacrifice of praise?
Loving gracious God, thank You for drawing near to us as we seek You. Thank You for Your amazing love and generous provisions. You meet our every need, as You know them before we do. Lord, thank You for Your Son Jesus that made the way to allow us to draw close to You. Creator, King, yet loving Father, we give you honour and praise. Help us to reflect that peace, joy and love that You fill us with, In Jesus name. Amen.
“Applying the ‘Still’ Principle”
“He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.” NKJV
Psalm 23 is probably one of the most well known. It paints a poetic picture of giving praise to God as the ‘Good Shepherd’. It is full of assurances, even in the face of trials.
This Psalm is so helpful to help us reflect on being still before God and quietening our soul.
The Passion Translation puts the first few verses this way….
1 Yahweh is my best friend and my shepherd.
I always have more than enough.
2 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love.
His tracks take me to an oasis of peace near the quiet brook of bliss.
3 That’s where he restores and revives my life.
He opens before me the right path
and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness
so that I can bring honour to his name.
When was the last time that you were still before God and simply allowed Him to minister to your soul, by being quiet and open to hear Him?
It is so easy, in our often fast paced life, to just keep going from one thing to the next like a bee buzzing to each flower.
God knowing us so well, as He created us, knows we need to take time and be still. It is not just a good thing to do, our souls require it and benefit from it.
Psalm 46:10 is a great one to read to help your mind to stop. It is a simple method but an effective one— break it down as below, taking a deep breath after each line and experience how it can allow God in to your soul to bless you...
Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know that I.
Be still and know.
Loving God, please grant me the peace of mind and calm my busy soul. Give me the strength and clarity of mind to be still and allow You to show me the path you have laid out for me. I trust Your love God, and know that You are everything that I need. I give You thanks and praise for being my God and personal Saviour,
“Applying the ‘Preserve’ Principle”
“The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.”
I hope you, like me, have been enjoying looking at Psalms over the past few months. There is just so much in the Psalms—when we take all the Psalms together, in the context of Scripture, we can begin to grasp the full truth of who God is and how He relates to us.
Today we are looking at the ‘preserve’ principle. When we read this verse as a stand alone—it can be taken out of perspective and misunderstood. To think that because I am a Christian God is going to save me from every problem is only going to lead to disappointment.
The tense of verb used here is to be applied to the present and future. It is right to understand that at every moment, God is watching over us. God is with us, caring for us, even in times of hardship and suffering. God is ’keeping’ us from going under during our times of difficulties. Furthermore, God will ultimately take away from us all suffering and sorrow. As Psalm 71:30 affirms “though You have made me see troubles, many and bitter, You will restore my life.” This restoration happens, however partially in this life, and fully in the next.
Consequently, when we hear the good news that God keeps (preserves) us from all harm, we can celebrate all the ways God does protect us right now. We are invited to rejoice in the fact that, no matter how difficult our lives might be today, God is with us now and forever. Our future is secure in God’s strong, gracious hands.
Loving God, thank You for Your Word, that shows us who You are and what our relationship with You can be. Will You please help me to not fear the future but to boldly trust that You are in control when my emotions plunge me down, and when I am in despair. And times when I can’t talk and don’t have the words to express, please help be to ‘be still and know that You are God. Be my Preserver, Comforter, Healer and bring me peace, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
““Applying the ‘Remember’ Principle”
Psalm 103: 1-6 I bless the holy name of God with all my heart. 2 Yes, I will bless the Lord and not forget the glorious things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins. He heals me. 4 He ransoms me from hell. He surrounds me with loving-kindness and tender mercies. 5 He fills my life with good things! My youth is renewed like the eagle’s! 6 He gives justice to all who are treated unfairly.
This week we are looking at the remember principle. Some of us are better at remembering than others, but we all have our moments, don’t we?!
We are going to be exploring Psalm 103:1-5 with Pastor Bill on Sunday. In looking at these words, written by David we see that David took the time to reflect and remember God. He writes his immediate response is to Bless God and His Holy name.
I wonder is that always our response?
David continues, to make a declaration that he wants to be intentional in remembering what God has done, that he describes as ‘glorious’.
I wonder is that our response also?
David doesn't stop there, he records the wonderful things that God has done for him, but also for all of us who accept Jesus as Lord and God as our loving Father.
I encourage you to read the whole Psalm it is a long list of what the Lord has done for each and everyone of us. Here are just a few things David lists, that we too can bless God for:
¨ Ransoms us
¨ Surrounds us with loving kindness and tender mercies
¨ He gives us good things
¨ Merciful, tender even when we don’t’ deserve it
¨ Slow to anger
¨ Full of kindness and love
¨ Not grudge bearing or continually angry
¨ Remover of our sins
¨ A tender and sympathetic Father
¨ Lord of angels
This list is not exhaustive, but gives us a glimpse into who God is. He is for us, He loves and cares for us. We were reminded of His comfort for us last week. He is all we can ever need. He is worthy of our thanks and praise.
Let us remember to bless our glorious God and never forget all He has done, does now and has promised to do for all eternity. Amen!
“Applying the ‘Comfort’ Principle”
If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.
When I thought, “My foot is slipping,”
your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.
When the cares of my heart are many,
your consolations cheer my soul.
Life can be really stressful sometimes. There are many daily issues we have to deal with that often have the potential to bring stress into your life. Then there are those times when we have to face difficult and challenging issues that can even be life changing. So how do you handle those situations where the stress of life can easily feel overwhelming?
One of the things to remember is that in the midst of trouble, you’re never alone. God is always there to walk with you through the situation. And while the trouble may not go away, God’s peace is there to comfort you. So even when things get really tough and really crazy, God’s comfort is still there to see you through any and every situation.
How does God do this? He may comfort you through a friend speaking an encouraging word to you. He might guide you as to how to help relieve some stress in your life.
He also provided someone to be our comforter. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:7: “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” KJV
The Amplified version of this verse describes Holy Spirit as our Helper, Advocate, Intercessor-Counsellor, Strengthener, Standby.
Whatever it is, God will help bring you comfort when things get tough.
So today be encouraged. As crazy as life seems at times, you’re not walking it alone. You’ve got God to walk through it with you, to comfort you and to help you find joy in the midst of trouble.
We simply have to be willing to receive. It is a conscious decision to be seeking with our heart, soul and mind the leading of the Lord, through Holy Spirit. We do this by prayer; reading and meditating on Scripture and inviting Holy Spirit to minister to us.
2 Cor 1:3 tells us that we are comforted so that we too may be a comfort to others. Let us not forget that and be ready with joy to give God praise for comforting us, and then equipping us to be God’s comfort to someone else.
God, thank You for creating a way for me to talk with You whenever I want. I am so grateful that You want to have a relationship with me. Please show me how to devote myself to prayer by drawing me closer to Your heart. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
As we enter into a time of prayer, let us allow our hearts to be fuelled. May we be open for a deeper encounter with God and renew our hope that greater things are yet to come.
We give thanks for all our volunteers in and around the church. We ask a blessing on them for God’s patience, and understanding as they love and care for people. May Your Spirit make them wise, guide, renew and strengthen them.
We give praise to our God for the rain and the change of seasons. We ask for protection for our church family and loved ones from the ills of the cooler weather as well as continued provision from COVID. We are so thankful that we have access to the vaccination and we pray that more and more people may also be able to access.
We continue to lift up the countries such as India, Papua New Guinea that are struggling with COVID. We pray for GMP’s Indian partners as the staff and family members have contracted COVID. We lift up all the workers there who are serving You.
We pray for the countries that are becoming more and more reliant upon humanitarian aid, and are being plunged into greater need as the pandemic and shortages exacerbate the problems.
We thank You Lord for the gift of laughter. We are sorry for the times that we allow the events to impede our joy. May we continue to look for ways to show the joy we have in Jesus and share that freely.
We pray for our country, our state and our community. We pray that people will open their hearts and minds to receive Jesus as Lord.
We pray for our church family and the global church. May we all seek to intentionally live our life with Jesus as our focus, and Him leading our ways, words and actions.
We lift up the many who have ill health at present. May they find rest, peace and healing in God’s presence. We ask for strength, patience and the equipping that is needed for each day. We thank our Lord for His provision and sustaining.
We pray for all those people and things in our life who guide and help us. Friends, teachers, doctors, nurses, emergency services, pastors, leaders and family.
We pray for those in power, both here and globally. May Your kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.
We lift up those who are lonely, bereaved, suffering with lack of funds and/or mental health. God help us to be Your hands and feet to those around us and show Your loving care for each one.
Creator God, You made us all in Your image: may we discern You in all that we see, and serve You in all that we do; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
“Applying the ‘Cling Principle”
Psalm 63:8 “I cling to you; your right hand upholds me.” NIV
This verse, has few words, but it brings so much comfort.
Let’s unpack CLING a little, by focussing, not so much on what we do, but who God is and how we can experience Him further.
C=Compassion—God is portrayed as a compassionate parent throughout Scripture and his compassion is embodied in the person of Jesus.
Isaiah 30:18 ‘Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him’
L=Loyal Love—“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good, His love endures forever.” Psalm 118:1 The Hebrew word translated as ‘love’ in Psalm 118 is ‘khesed’ The most famous use of ‘khesed is in Exodus 34:6, where God not only calls himself compassionate but abounding in ‘khesed’ and faithfulness. Whilst there isn’t an English word that sufficiently covers it, some translations use steadfast love; goodness; kindness; loving kindness; faithfulness; love; and my favourite: ‘loyal love’. It is an all encompassing, deep and never ending love.
I=Identity—It is in God that we have our identity. God is the great I AM and we are created in His image. (Gen 1:27). We are also part of his family and called His children.
‘Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.’ 1 Corinthians 12:27
‘See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are’. 1 John 3:1-3
N=Nurture– Our God is a caring, nurturing Father. Psalm 147: ‘He heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.’ Isaiah 25:8 ‘The Sovereign LORD will wipe away all tears’.
Philippians 4:19 ‘This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus’
G= Gracious. Without a doubt our God is gracious. Grace in Scripture shows us that there are different elements to it. It is generous; giving a gift of favour; not what is fair but rather favour. The ultimate act of grace from God is forgiveness and a promise to be with us. Over 40 times in the Psalms, people cry out for God’s grace.
In the New Testament we are told that Jesus is God’s glorious grace become human. Grace here is mercy and God is very generous with His mercy. When people admit their need for God, and ask Him, God generous give the gift of Himself.
Let us continue to cling to our Compassionate, Loving, and Gracious God, until Jesus comes again and we can be with Him for all eternity. Praise God!
Applying the ‘Rest Principle”
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. NIV
Today we are looking at Rest. This Psalm starts in verse 1 that the writer’s soul finds rest in God. By verse 5 the writer is affirming once again. Yes!, they write...my soul, find rest in God.
It seems to me that they are instructing their soul where to look for rest.
In other translations this verse shows us another way of looking at this rest. The King James and RSV records the verse as:
‘My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.’
This gives us a delightful picture of how our soul can rest in God. Waiting in silence.
Life is a journey and we are often busy doing, as Rick Warren often says we are human beings not human doings, we need to concentrate on being. This Psalm reminds us that our souls need to just be, to stop, wait and listen to our God, as He is our hope, whom we can look to expectantly.
‘There are times when God seems so close that we cannot speak aloud, but are just silent before Him and breathe out our thoughts and desires.’ (F.B Meyer)
What a beautiful description of being still and knowing that I am God. (Ps 46:10)
Let us too, remind our souls to rest. To stop and silently wait on God. Allow His Spirit to minister, to comfort, to strengthen, to direct, to correct. We can rest assured because God has already provided us with everything we need, He is our Salvation, our rock, our defence, our refuge.
Let’s rest in His Word, breathe in His Scripture and really take it to heart and receive that rest that He gives us now, until we receive our final rest with Him in glory.
Heavenly Father, please help me to accept your invitation to come empty and receive the rest I need. Help me to willingly release my fear, my worries, my agenda, and my to-do list. Ease the tension and replenish my body. Silence the voices of doubt and speak Your words of truth. Remove the heaviness of my day and pour out abundantly into my life. Fill me with Your peace, joy, and love. Fill me until the overwhelming is consumed by Your grace, and my life reflects the beauty of resting in You. Amen.
Applying the ‘Awaken Principle”
Do you find getting up in the mornings easy? There are some of us that bounce out of bed the same time every day, ready for the daily routine to begin. Then there are some of us that hit that snooze button one more time to defer that moment just a bit longer.
Romans 13:11 Reads “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
So guess what, as Christians we can no longer be pressing that snooze button, as we are being called to wake up!
During the times of Paul's ministry, he was encouraging the people of God to wake up from their spiritual slumber. Those in the early Church were urged to get ready for the return of the Lord Jesus. And two thousand years later this instruction still stands, but is increasingly urgent. Every day that passes is one day closer to the day when the trumpet will sound, the dead in Christ will be raised from their graves and we who are alive and remain will be caught up to meet JESUS. Then we get to spend eternity with Him, face to face.
What precious encouragement to us as believers. How wonderful to be reminded that Jesus is coming back SOON. We have been given the blessed hope of His imminent return, and we are to establish it anew in our hearts, every moment of every day. Throughout our Christian life, our focus should always be on Christ, but as the time for His return draws ever closer we are exhorted to WAKE UP, from our spiritual sleep, and remember that our salvation... i.e. when we are transported into Christ's presence, is closer than the day when we first trusted in Him as Saviour.
Let us joyfully embrace these revitalising words of Paul and rouse ourselves from any spiritual slumber, into which we may have drifted. And let us become alert and ready - watching and waiting for His soon return. And let us seek to use the time we have left on earth.. wisely.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promises on which I can rely. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Lord, as I wait for Jesus’ return, please help me to be ready to make the most of the time left to serve You by serving others. Help me to wisely use the moments You give me to speak about Your love and the need for salvation. Prompt me to pray as You have taught in Your Word. I wait with an expectant heart to see Your glory, In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Psalms of David which were penned many thousands of years ago, are still so relevant in todays world. As we look around we can clearly see that society is full of self oriented people who are only looking out for their own gain. In other words a sinful world.
This is the same predicament we were in, back in Jesus’ day. And David knew first hand what it was like to be betrayed and for his soul to suffer deep distress.
My guess is, either you can relate personally or certainly know of someone who is going through times of overwhelming heart break, grief, anguish and or deep emotional stress. It was what David was experiencing when this verse was recorded:
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken. NIV
David, like us, felt burdened and despondent, to the point of feeling overwhelmed by his difficulties. Yet despite this David was enabled to turn his eyes on the Lord, and to cast his burdens and cares upon Him. David knew that God would sustain him through every difficulty he faced, for God will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
We too, are increasingly subject to fears, threats, despair and many other trials. But, here is the thing...throughout the Word of God we are reminded not to fear, for the Lord our God is with us, whatever our circumstances, we are encouraged to cast all our cares upon Him, because He cares for us.
Wow, isn’t that such a comfort! Jesus not only suffered the consequences of our sin, so we could be saved to experience eternal life with God—He looks after us in the here and now as well. Why? Because He cares for us. That’s love, true love.
Heavenly Father, thank You that no matter what dangers and evils threaten me, I can cast my burdens upon You, knowing You will sustain and strengthen me. Thank You for the reassurance that through Christ I need never be shaken. I praise You God, that You are greater in me, than he that is in the world. Help me to leave all my cares with You,
In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
What do you value in life and what is it that we consider precious?
Most people would put money—gold and silver pretty high up on the list. We know particularly in the business world that money talks.
Even in our own daily lives we know that silver and gold are items that are highly valued by the rich and poor alike. But depending on the stock markets etc the value of gold and silver can fluctuate from moment to moment and drop un-expectantly and eventually they will perish.
In God’s economy though, He places value on you and I as higher even than gold or silver. Let’s read from
1 Peter 1:18-19 in The Passion Translation.
“For you know that your lives were ransomed once and for all from the empty and futile way of life handed down from generation to generation. It was not a ransom payment of silver and gold, which eventually perishes, 19 but the precious blood of Christ—who like a spotless, unblemished lamb was sacrificed for us.”
If value is determined by price, we are incredibly valuable! God took the most precious treasure of heaven to buy us out of sin and death and adopt us into His family. Silver and gold pale in comparison to that value. What’s more, the value of His love never diminishes, fluctuates or perishes.
In the previous verses of 1 Peter we are called to be holy. Verse 15 “But just as He who called you is Holy, so be Holy in all you do.”
We are to be Holy because Jesus is Holy. Not to think of ourselves more than we should, but just as Jesus values each one of us, we too need to value people. On our wall is the 6 words of our mission statement. With the centre 2 words ‘valuing people’. You will note it comes after Discovering Jesus. Once we discover for ourselves the immense and priceless cost that Jesus willingly paid for us, it is life changing.
If we are honest, we do sometimes forget that we need to value people just as Christ does. So let us take this opportunity to reflect on the value that God has put on us, put on you personally. As we allow this knowledge to fill with awe of His amazing grace and love, let us use that to fuel us as we share with others. Share this amazing value that God puts on each one of us and the length He went to, to show us His love and value for us.
Holy God, Thank You for your love in sending the most precious treasure to die in our place. May I live each day more aware of my inestimable value to You. May my words, thoughts and actions be permeated with Your sense of my worth — not so that I may seem important to others, but so that I may live in holiness and honor to Your precious gift to me. Through him I pray. Amen.
Applying the ‘’Refuge Principle”
Do you ever feel that God is too big? Or maybe you are just too small? Too small for a majestic and powerful God to notice that a small person, feeling insignificant, is hurting immensely?
Scripture tells us a different story. It deals in what God thinks and who He is and not our misgivings and anxious thoughts.
Psalm 56:1 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”
Last week Pastor Bill spoke to us about life being full of ups and downs, but that we always have hope in Jesus. Part of that hope is provision of refuge.
The Bible speaks of many affirmations of God as our refuge for our soul—here are just a few to meditate on and use as prayers to restore our confidence, and shift our focus on the One who is and will always be:
Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”
Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is a dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms”
Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock”.
Psalm 18:3 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Speak out this next verse as your declaration for your soul and make it your promise to yourself and God:
Psalm 91:2 “I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!”
Dear Lord, I am seeking You to be my refuge! Sometimes I feel so defeated I even forget to look to You. I am so sorry. I trust You Lord, and I love You so much. Thank You for always being there for me! Thank You for comforting me when I am downcast, for strengthening me when I am weak, and for filling me with wisdom when I lack understanding. You are my Rock and my Redeemer. May You continue to be my refuge forever and ever in Jesus name AMEN!
Applying the ‘Hope’ Principle
Psalm 43:5: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”
What is hope in God? It is the confident affirmation that God is faithful, that He will complete what He has begun. It is also a confident expectation that waits patiently and ardently for God’s purposes to be fulfilled.
In other words we can have hope in God because he has proved over and over again, He can be trusted.
God is faithful, He is reliable, trustworthy and ever true to His promises—He can be depended on, and through Him you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor 1:9)
We can have hope in God because He is all knowing. The bible describes God as being omniscient—All knowing. His understanding is infinite; His understanding is inscrutable; no creature is hidden from His sight; He knows the number of stars and has named them (Ps 147:5; Isa 40:28; Heb 4:13 Ps 147:4)
We can have hope in God because of Jesus. God gave His one and only Son so whosoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. Every Sunday we commemorate Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection during communion. Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we know we too will rise and be with our Lord for eternity. Here is our hope!
Today, let us focus on the hope we have in Jesus. We live in a fallen world, that is full of trials, temptations, difficulties and danger, but let us turn our attention to Jesus. We have a hope that is founded on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His perfect righteousness—praise His holy name!
Heavenly Father, we praise and thank You for the Word of God and the wonderful truths it contains. Thank You for not only unveiling Your gracious character and eternal goodness to us through Your Word.. but that it was written to instruct us on how to live and to teach us all that You would have us learn. Help me to live in this fallen world with hope and patience as I look to Jesus and thank You for the glorious hope I have in Christ Jesus my Lord. Praise His holy name.. for it is in Him alone that we have a blessed hope, AMEN.
The verse [Galatians 6:14](https://biblia.com/bible/esv/Gal%206.14): “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
Or to state it positively: only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ.
It is a single idea. A single goal. A single passion. Only boast in the cross. The word can be translated “exult in” or “rejoice in.” Only exult in the cross of Christ. Only rejoice in the cross of Christ.
Paul says, let this be your single passion, your single boast and joy and exultation. In this great moment called one day let the one thing that you love, the one thing that you cherish, the one thing that you rejoice in and exult over, be the cross of Jesus Christ!
Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore everything that you enjoy in Christ — as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ — is owing to the death of Christ. And all your rejoicing in all things should, therefore, be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centred and cross-saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything — everything good and everything bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children was purchased by the death of Christ for us.
We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But the fact is that it is not ours by right. We are doubly undeserving of it. The long and the short of it is, that we are sinners. We have all fallen short of His glory. We have ignored Him and disobeyed Him and failed to love Him and trust Him. The wrath of His justice is kindled against us. All we deserve from Him is judgment. Therefore every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment.
And who bought these gifts for us? Jesus Christ. And how did He purchase them? By His blood.
So let us rejoice in the wonder and awe of the cross and the cost that Jesus paid for each and every one of us. And let us boast in the fact that we are free from our deserving punishment—by way of telling anyone who will listen!
We have an amazing God, let us brag about Him and all He has done for us.
Prayer: Loving Father, thank You for Your abundant love, that You sent Jesus to die on the Cross for each one of us. We praise Jesus who lovingly and faithfully died in our place. We are so appreciative of the saving grace that Jesus’ death allows us to access. Help us in our limited understanding to grow each day in our comprehension of your love for us. We want to show our gratefulness by sharing the good news of Jesus, for Your honour and glory, help us we ask, In Jesus’
Applying the Thirst Principle
One of the Psalms we will look at today is Psalm 63:1
‘You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water. PSALM 63:1 NIV
David, the psalm writer, says that he is thirsty for God, just as he were in the desert. Take a few moments and place yourself in the middle of a dessert in your mind’s eye.
You are in that desert, it is extremely hot. The hot air is very still and envelops you. Your lips and mouth are dry. You are perspiring with the intensity of the heat. You need something to drink! All your thoughts are about water. You think about finding water. You wonder if you could dig for water. It is hard to think about anything else but water, water, water!
You feel that driving impulse? That overwhelming focus? Your thoughts about water have become all consuming.
Linger on those feelings and imagine now, that thirst, that intense focus on water, is replaced with Jesus!
Sometimes we forget just how blessed we are and we take a lot for granted. If we know Jesus, and have accepted Him as our Saviour—we are grateful, yes, but how often do we give Him our attention and focus?
The Bible tells us over and over how much He loves us:
· He calls us His children—1 John 3:1
· He chose us, “a people for his own possession” 1 Peter 2:9
· He made us a new creation—2 Cor 5:17
· He wants to help us— Is 41:10
· He gives us purpose, loves us forever— Ps 138:8
· He watches over us—Prov 15:3
The list goes on and on. How are we going to respond? How can we long after Him, the way He longs after us?
Let us consider Him as our first priority when we arise, as we prepare for the day; as we eat, as we work, as we interact. Let Jesus be in our thoughts, mind and our focus.
This week, consider how you might thirst after Jesus, the Living Water!
Praying is one of the best ways to do this:
We can pray:
to feel closer to God | for guidance and inspiration |
to affirm your faith | for your loved ones.|
for people around you who will support and encourage you to enhance your spiritual journey.
for distance away from people and places that pull you away from God | for Jesus’ example and character to influence your life as you strive to be more like Him.
Give God thanks for who He is, for what He has done, and for His faithfulness. Thank Jesus for dying in your place to be the sacrifice so that you could be in relationship with Him. Thank the Lord that although you are not perfect, you are deeply loved.
Applying the Refresh Principle
Psalm 19 is another remarkable psalm celebrating the revelation of God, first through creation (vs 1-6) and then in His Law (vs 7-14).
We are going to take a brief look at verse 7 today, but be encouraged to explore the whole Psalm, it is encouraging and convicting.
‘The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.’ Psalm 19:7 NIV
This is a declaration that tells us what the Bible is and does. It’s starts with its identity—The Bible is a law, or instruction, pointing us in the direction of what is right and away from what is wrong. It does this perfectly without the slightest defect, never lacking what is needed to address our circumstances.
It’s function is to revive our souls, to refresh and renew and to remind us that the pleasures of obedience to God’s law are delightfully superior to all rival claims that would lead us in another direction.
When we are blessed with the refreshment of our souls, the Bible also tells us what to do with.
Proverbs 11:25 NIV ‘A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed’
Here we can learn that we can be generous and not run out. We are called to not just pray for a blessing upon others, that wishes them well and gives them good words; but bestow blessings on them. We are to literally give good things liberally, cheerfully and generously. The promise for us as we give generously is, that we too will be blessed. We thrive and flourish both in body and soul when we share what we have with others. God’s blessings are inexhaustible. Try it this week and see how you too become refreshed as you bless others. God will draw us more and more into His character and more able to help others. Let’s be a part of this wonderful generosity!
Heavenly Father, quiet my heart I pray and help me to be still before You. In that quietness of my mind and stillness of my heart, I ask that you would refresh my spirit and soul. Please shower me with renewed strength, that only comes from You.
Thank You for Your promises to those who freely turn to You.
I ask that You would help and show me how to bless those around me with generosity and cheerfulness, so that through me, others will witness Your grace and mercy and give You praise.
In Your holy name, I pray. Amen
Restoration. What does that mean for us? What does it mean when Scripture talks about God ’restores my soul’? How can God restore my soul?
For God to do anything in our lives, we need to let Him. We need to let the focus be on God’s work in our lives, not on the problems and seemingly hopeless issues.
In the coming weeks and months we are all being encouraged to look at restoration and what that means for us as individuals and as a church. We can explore together the many aspects of restoration and reflect over it bit by bit and allow God’s presence to reveal to us what needs restoring in our lives, and how we allow that restoration to happen.
In the famous Psalm 23—David writes about three principles of ‘restoring my soul’. These include rest, reflection and replenishment.
This Psalm is composed in a way that aids in a time of enjoyment, to rest and relax in God’s presence. Have you done that lately?
Secondly, restoration involves reflection. David's soul was restored as he looked at life from God’s perspective. He felt protected, safe and secure under the leadership of God. Are you feeling that protection, safety and security under God today?
Thirdly, restoration included replenishment. Both rest and reflection led to a renewed vigour to live for God. This replenishment also included an anticipation to be with God forever in the future.
With this perspective on life, David could live with a restored soul, prepared for the problems of the day. He knew God was with him, cared for him, and would never leave his side. There was no battle too big for him to face with God in his life.
The same is true in our own lives. If we wish to see God restore our soul, we need to make time to rest, reflect and replenish. We cannot expect to live life with a fresh sense of God’s presence in our lives, if we constantly rush from one issue to the next. To be restored takes time, focused on God and His greatness, to renew us with hope and joy regarding this life and anticipation for eternity.
Connect here to read and reflect on this week’s devotional word.
Where is your resilience level at, what can you do to raise your resilience level?
Attached as a pdf.
Check out the PDF for this week’s devotion
Click on the YouTube link to hear the sermon that Pastor Sonya spoke on Sunday
Our desire and heart needs to reflect God.
What we treasure is where our heart will be.
Our Souls need Relationships
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” NIV
Even if you didn’t know where it came from you may have heard this saying before as it is used often. Not only is it true in a practical sense, it is also true in a spiritual sense.
Let’s look at this as an analogy for our life. When we look at more of Eccl 4, verses 10 to 12 we can see that there are three ‘strands’ mentioned. If we build a cord of these three strands we too will not be easily broken.
1—The strand of Accountability (V10) The reason why many of us fall or fall away is because we don’t have someone that we are accountable to. We need relationships. If we have people of faith surrounding us, if/when we trip up, we are held to account and it is great to know that there is someone ready to lift us up and help us to be restored.
2– The strand of Unity (V11). The key word here is together. Solomon records that one benefit of ‘together’, is to keep warm. One of the ways we keep God’s love burning in our hearts is by encouraging and inspiring each other. Let’s keep each other’s heart and soul warm by lifting one another up.
3– The strand of Resistance (V12). There is no doubt about it, we will face hardships and challenges. Sometimes we find we are simply ‘battle weary’. When we are tired to the point of being overwhelmed, and at risk of being overpowered, is the time when our brother or sister in Christ can help us stand strong.
Simply, we are not created to be on our own. The beauty of these three strands is that it makes us stronger. If you are not connected in, or maybe you have drifted since COVID and not yet returned. Now is the time to reconnect. Not only will you be made stronger, you will help others be strong.
Let’s be part of a positive relationship with Jesus by doing life with our Church Family. Remember the Holy Trinity? God, Holy Spirit & Jesus—they all work together as our example. The challenge is to join them, aim to be more and more like them. Are you in?
Father, we thank You for Your blessing over us and our Church Family. Help us to be unified. Help us to speak the same language and share the same vision that You have for us. Help us to stand in unity…preferring one another over ourselves and loving You above all else. Thank you that we are all in Your family and that you provide us each other to do life with. We pray a blessing over these relationships. Continue to connect us with like minded people that will sharpen us and bring us to a new level of faith in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen
A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
There is a healing effect when we are joyful, cheerful people. We read in the above proverb that a joyful heart is good medicine. The word used for "joyful" here is the Hebrew word "sameah" which means, 'to be glad, happy, or joyful.' The idea behind this word is that someone is choosing to rejoice - to consider the good that God has done, rather than the misery and the opportunity to be sad and depressed. That is why we are to seek to maintain a "joyful" heart.
University of Montreal's Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, discovered that when rats are subjected to cold, fatigue, frustration, noise, and other stressful conditions, they develop physical symptoms. Their blood pressure soars and they develop peptic ulcers just to name a few. Other research done by the American Medical Association by a Dr Seyle showed that hatred, frustration, and anxiety are the worst stresses. If you forcefully restrain a normally active rat, deadly frustration results. If you put a mouse and a cat in adjoining cages, the mouse will die of anxiety.
This kind of "broken spirit" will, according to the Lord, dry up the bones. This is a horrible condition because our bones are not only our main source of strength and stability, but they are also the place where our blood is produced. Without our bones we will surely die in short order. What is difficult though is that we cannot go up to someone who is dried up in their affections and tell them to be joyful. That does not help them. They know they are without joy - and can sense the drying up of their vitality. An admonition to stop this is like asking the sun to stop shining simply by requesting it. What they need is a supernatural infusion of joy - or even better an infusing of a joy producing principle that will not go away with the seasons or the up and down existence of being alive.
Where can we obtain joy? That is the million dollar question. Fortunately, we are instructed in where to find joy in the Gospels. We have just celebrated Christmas where the angels announced ‘Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for today there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2.
For those afflicted with sorrow, sighing, sadness, and a broken spirit there is wonderful news. Jesus came to bring great joy. He came to give us the oil of joy poured upon our heads rather than a spirit of fainting. The cause of the broken spirit is our separation from God - and its remedy is turning to God through Jesus Christ. That is how we can have our sorrow turned to laughter and our gloom to everlasting joy.