Where is my security? Psalm 15

The default settings on mobile phones and computers seem to have all sorts of ‘pop ups‘ enabled as standard. Almost any website seems to require ‘cookies’ to be enabled to ‘ensure the best browsing experience‘. As a result, I often have an advert that asks me ‘how much do I need when I retire?’ or ‘will £X be enough for my retirement?’

What has struck me is how completely Psalm 15 ‘reframes’ the picture of security.

The answer the psalmist gives, is ‘security comes from living in a way that does not lead to a broken relationship with God’. He begins by posing a

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He put his face between his knees and said ‘Go up now and look towards the sea’

Some many years ago our daughter, Hannah, came home from school and said to my wife and me “Xi asked me whether I would go to China with her in the summer, she is visiting her grandmother, but I said no!”

Hannah’s comment prompted some discussion between the three of us which included me asking her “Why did you say no?” She said, “Because I

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God does not care! Ps 14

Only a fool says there is no God

The concept of atheism, as we know it and talk about it in the Twenty First Century, is not what the Psalmist has in mind when he says “Only fools think there is no God.”1

The culture of the Ancient Near East (ANE) had nothing akin to today’s atheistic conception that there is no spiritual realm, that no God or god’s exist.2 The ANE was dominated by a beliefs, that involved a multitude of

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Don’t give up – Psalm 13

How long God?

I started writing this blog on 29th Nov. My previous blog on the Psalms was posted on 5th November. It’s now another 12 days and I am only just ‘picking up’ writing again! That’s a long time, especially as I had hoped to write about one psalm each week, or is it?

All sorts of things have got in the way; some of them have been trivial but, others more serious. Whatever has transpired, time has gone by!

The idea of ‘quick answers’ to prayer is not a common one in the bible.

Hearing God speak seems to take time even for established prophets!

Jeremiah prayed for 10 days before he received God’s word a group of Army officers who wanted to know whether or not they should flee to Egypt (Jer 42:7). Daniel prayed and fasted for three weeks before an angel visited

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Words set the culture – Psalm 12

Leaders always set the ‘tone’ whether they intend to or not!

Organisational culture or, what I want to describe as, the ‘atmosphere of a country’ is inevitably set by the way in which the leaders of an organisation or country behave and speak. There have been a number of things in the news recently that underline this observation. The ‘Google Walk Out’ is an example of what can happen when organisational culture goes wrong. The response from from Sundar Pichai has received a mixed reception and there is a suggested alternative response written and Continue reading “Words set the culture – Psalm 12”

Responding positively to ‘trick or treat’

The temptation on a day like Halloween is too go into ‘grumpy old man’ mode and mutter about ‘demanding with menaces’. But does that really demonstrate the love of God to the children and (hopefully the parents) who will come knocking at my door this evening? I think not!

So what might the answer be? For me at least it has been prompted today by ‘be a source of life because I am the source of life says the Lord’ (my interpretation of ‘be holy for I am holy says the Lord’).

Being grumpy is not going to communicate life!

My plan then is to go and buy a large tub of Heroes or similar sweets and give them out to children and families that call at my door and, also offer to pray blessing on them.

It is a very simple approach but every Christian is called to be a priest (bridge builder) and help the people around them find and experience God’s love.

So let’s take the opportunity to be a source of life and blessing to the people who knock on the door.

Psalm 11 – When the rug is pulled out from underneath you!

Just over 30 years ago I was working for a small publishing company and had poured my ‘heart and soul’ into the relaunch of a magazine. Not only was I an employee of the company, I was also one of three shareholders. Then, without notice, the two other shareholders decided that ‘my’ project should be taken over by another company with which they were associated.

I was devastated. I literally cried, the grief was overwhelming, what could I do?

I think that David must have felt something similar when Continue reading “Psalm 11 – When the rug is pulled out from underneath you!”

Psalms 9 and 10 – Confidence in God in the midst of grief and confusion. A Prayer for help!

Where is God in all this? Is an inescapable question for people with faith. It was posed in an article in the Guardian in early January 2005 following the Boxing Day Tsunami of 20041. The responses according to the tsunami, according to the article, included; Christians stressed God’s presence with the suffering, Hindus reconciled themselves to fate, the Chief Rabbi composed a prayer and the Archbishop of Canterbury wrote an article for the Sunday Telegraph.”2

But, whether the question, in our time, is asked about a natural disaster, a car crash, or a mass shooting, it’s not a new one. The writer of Psalm 10 posed the same question when Continue reading “Psalms 9 and 10 – Confidence in God in the midst of grief and confusion. A Prayer for help!”

Psalm 8 The Prayer of a ‘Stargazer’

Psalm 8 is the first psalm of ‘praise’ in the book of Psalms. We have had laments and two psalms of introduction but the prayer expressed in Psalm 8 is an awestruck ‘WOW’. God is great, just look at all he has made!

In the context of the Ancient Near East, the ‘wow God is creator’ is an important contrast with the attitude of people living around Israel. They Continue reading “Psalm 8 The Prayer of a ‘Stargazer’”

Psalm 7 The prayer of a hunted man

The vivid start of this psalm expresses the extreme vulnerability David felt and, his sense of ‘there is nowhere else to go!’

David knew what it was like to fight a lion. He tells Saul, in 1 Samuel 17:34-37, he has rescued lambs from both bears and lions while tending his father’s flocks. The ‘ripping and tearing apart’ (Ps7:2) are something that he can visualise very clearly.

Somehow David has escaped his pursuer and seems to be peering out from Continue reading “Psalm 7 The prayer of a hunted man”