Psalm 3 – Salvation

As much as this psalm is short and on appearance straight forward I found it very challenging, requiring much re-reading, thought and prayer. I do not regret taking my time over this psalm, I am glad I did so. I would encourage anyone to do the same, God will reward such study of His Word.

v.1-2 – This psalm was written by David during or after the time that he fled for his life from his son Absalom. His son sought to replace him as the King and made many promises to people to secure a growing support for his rebellion. There is a comparison that can drawn between David and our Lord Jesus, many were those who sought their demise. Indeed an armed multitude faced our Lord in Gethsemane to arrest Him. We the children of God are no different in that many may seek our downfall in this world, sometimes more violently so for our brethren in other countries where their faith may cost them their very life.

v.3 – This verse impresses me personally: the shield of God is not just a front facing shield! It is a “shield about me” protecting all sides, Amen! His protection is such that He lifts the head of David, giving him confidence. We should also remember that it is Almighty God that protects us, His children, what better reason can there be to stand with our heads held high?

v.4 – David prayed audibly voicing his anguish. It is a level of prayer that would serve us well to copy, as our Lord Jesus did in Gethsemane when He was troubled (Matt.26:39, Heb. 5:7). David has confidence that God hears such sincere prayer.

v.5 – Such is the faith of David in his God, he prays and leaves his burden with Him in complete confidence. Hence he is able to sleep soundly. God is also faithful, in that He sustains those who trust Him with their prayers. This is an important point, we should offer our worries to God in prayer, and leave them there!

v.6 – David had been a man of courage his whole life, who can forget his bravery before Goliath the giant of Gath. This courage is not from David himself but from his foundation in God’s Word and in trusting God. Our courage in the face of trials big and small comes from confidence in our Father God (Psalm 27:1-3).

v.7 – Here David calls for God to stand with him and for him against his enemies. Our Lord Christ didn’t have this luxury on the cross of Calvary, He was on His own with the burden of all humanities sins as God turned His back on Him, His Son. Stop and ponder the enormity of that awful moment, and thank Him for it! We like David have God by our side facing our trials. God strikes the ungodly with contempt who stand against His children. Striking someone on the cheek is particularly insulting in the Word of God (Job16:10). Often in scripture evil/satan is likened to roaring lions, whose power is in their jaws.Rejoice saints for the Lord God shatters the teeth of the ungodly, removing their power!

v.8 – In this last verse salvation is linked to the beginning where David’s enemies declare there is no deliverance (salvation) for him. But the psalmist declares here that it is not for any man to claim who has salvation, for it is God alone who delivers Salvation.
The parting phrase from David is a prayer for those persecuting him, for the people of Israel. it reminds me of Jesus prayer on the cross; “Father forgive them…”
It is a worthwhile lesson to follow that we should bless those who would hurt us by “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” 1Peter 3.9.
Psalm 3 is undoubtedly a psalm of Salvation, that is only found by prayer and faith in God alone. Through this we can find peace in our trials, by the Grace of God.

Dear Father God, thank You for the truth of Psalm 3, that You alone are the source of my Salvation. I surrender all my worries to You and trust You to provide and protect for my needs. Amen.


Dealing With Temptation

Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. MARK 14:38

This is a subject that I feel that there is not a lot said about in christian circles, we find temptation uncomfortable to discuss. We try to avoid it,yet it is something that we are all prone to. It can do real damage to a person’s walk with God.

When I decided to write about this I asked for God’s guidance, he answered me the next day in my Bible reading in 1 Kings 13. King Solomon had died and his son Rehoboam was now king but only of Judah, Jeroboam the returned exile was king of Israel. Jeroboam led Israel into worshipping false Gods. God sent a prophet from Judah to Israel with strict guidance on the message and then to return to Judah. Sadly the prophet was tempted by another who lied to him, and he disobeyed God’s original ordinance which cost him his life.

A point worth taking note of is that the temptation took the prophet away from God and His protection. When facing temptation we should stop and ask will it take us out of God’s will and therefore away from His protection?

We often ask what appears to be a good question; “why does God allow me to be tempted?” The reasoning for this is to build up character and spiritual strength in His people. Satan does the tempting, setting the lure for the unwary soul, God trusts us to manage our own response and spiritual life. God allowed Satan to tempt Job in the Old Testament by taking all he had and even afflicting his body, but Job held strong and did not blame God. After his trials of temptation his reward was great! The letter of James tells us that such trials of faith produce endurance and build character.

There is a limit to how much temptation a person can withstand, God knows our limit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that “God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

We are responsible for our own response to temptation. We need to “be on the alert. Your [our] adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1Peter5:8. It is important that we “keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark14:38. We are advised here to “watch” which is to take common sense precautions against areas of known weakness. But this goes in hand with seeking God’s protection by “praying” that He will guide us daily. By submitting to God we take a stand against Satan (James4:7) and he will flee from us.

Our Saviour Jesus Christ understands temptation all too well, yes He was the Son of God but He had a human body on earth. He was tempted in every way just as every man has been, but He withstood the temptation and ŕemained sinless (Hebrews4:15). He knows your pain from firsthand experience! In the garden of Gethsemane after the Passover Supper Jesus instructs the disciples to “pray that you may not enter into temptation(Luke 22:40b). He knew the sorrow and the weakness of their humanity made them vulnerable to temptation, hence when He returns to them and finds them asleep He further instructs them “why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”(Luke22:46). We are like them in that the weakness of our bodies make us vulnerable to temptation, but by staying alert and praying we can withstand temptation rather than “entering into temptation.”

So what guidelines can we take from this? We must be clear that Satan will lie to us, after all he lied in the Garden of Eden. He will tell you facing temptation is a sin and failure, that you might as well give in to what he offers…that is a lie! Our Lord Jesus was tempted, He stood firm and rebuked satan. In the face of temptation it is a useful weapon to know some good scripture verses by memory to quote for yourself and at satan, maybe verses quoted in this text. This takes us to the first of two steps of self defence; soak yourself in the Word of God. Filling your mind and heart with the Bible will leave little space for sin in your life! The second step is one of common sense action, be careful what company you keep, what books you read, what tv/movies you watch. It is important that we need to divert our attention from areas of weakness, where we are at most risk of surrendering to temptation.

Falling to temptation is not the end, despite what satan tells us. Our Father God is a compassionate God who forgives those who repent of sin. King David was a sinner when he committed adultery and murder, but he repented and returned to God. My prayer would be that this short guide to temptation has been helpful to any who are hurting.

Father God, thankyou for your Compassion to me that You redeemed me through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour. You know my weaknesses Father that I lay before You, I repent of any sin and ask that You lead me away from temptation. Build me up in Your Word and draw me closer to You, saving me from the evil one and sin. Amen.

God’s Provision

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?” MATTHEW 6:25-26.

On a particular cold winter morning when I was waiting on the kettle boiling for my coffee fix I looked out the kitchen window. A flock of birds were flitting back and forward through the bare shrubs in the frozen garden, various members of the Tit family, some finches and a robin. Despite the barrenness they always seem to find some food which amazes me.

This reminded me of the chosen bible text, how God provides for the birds and also for us every day. Jesus reassured his listeners there was no need to be anxious, that God provides. Scripture tells us here that if God provides for the birds around us, then surely He can and will provide for us too. There really is no need to worry, even when there seems to be no solution we need to believe God has it in hand.

Do something positive with your anxiety and turn to God in prayer: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” MATTHEW 7:7-8. Our God is a loving Father who loves to hear from us and cares for our every need.

Dear Father God, thank you for your neverending love and care for me. I am thankful for all that you provide for me each and every day. I surrender any worry I have today about my needs, and I put my trust in you. Thank you. Amen.

Nearer to God

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…” JAMES 4:8a

I used to do a lot of birdwatching when I was a lad, in the woods and fields around our village. One of my favourite places was a green field that looked down on the red roofs and chimneys of the village. In the summer I would often lie there and listen for skylarks, and watch them as they ascended high into the blue sky. Their song became louder and more complex the higher they hovered and, then it stopped as they plummeted back to the earth.

These happy memories remind me of my relationship with God. The more I look heavenward and call out to Him in prayer and praise, the closer I get to Him. This is the point of our small text from James 4:8a, God draws near to us if we choose to draw near to Him. Yes the skylark does fall back to the earth again, but it rises again to sing its’ melody several times a day, We can choose to be like the skylark when life knocks us down and far from God. In really dark times prayer and praise to God are the furthest away from our mind, and we are far from God. In our strife we need to call out to God, read His Word, and yes praise Him! In your pain as you draw near to God He will draw near to you.

Dear Father God, I am in pain right now and not feeling good. I choose to reach out to you and lay my problems before you, I give all my pain and distress to you and ask for your help. As I draw near to you please draw near to me, and give peace in these hard times. Thank you Father. Amen

Heavenly Protection

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life;
Whom shall I dread?
— Psalm 27:1

From my youth I have always found great comfort and reassurance in the book of Psalms, the above psalm is one of my favourites. Indeed it was a favourite of my grandmother who sowed the early seeds of faith by quoting scripture and singing gospel hymns, an example for us all to follow. It is no surprise then that psalm 27 became one of my favourites, but only after accepting Jesus as my Lord and Saviour did it have more meaning to me.

After my christian birth I became very aware of the salvation and protection I had in God’s family. The above psalm gave me courage to lean on God for my daily protection. I had been bullied much as a child, therefore I knew the value of protection in a very real way.

In 1984 I had joined the Salvation Army after accepting Jesus. My first Sunday service in my full uniform was an important day, but Satan intended to ruin it. On my way to the bus stop I was accosted by a well known village bully older and bigger than myself, I was in fear of what might happen. But somehow I stayed calm under the circumstances. Suddenly a tall stranger crossed the street and came to my rescue. He was a friend of my father who had respect for the Salvation Army. He restrained the bully and sent me on my way for my bus. I made it to the service on time, thanks I am sure to the intervention of God in my moment of need.

In such moments of fear we can be reassured by the psalmist; The Lord is the defense of my life…” Our Father God cares for us and provides our needs in every circumstance. We need to have faith that He will sustain us at all times.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

Dear Father God, in times of strife and stress I find it hard not to worry. Help me to take a breath, and remember that you care and provide for me in all circumstances. Imprint your scripture in my memory to encourage me in difficult times. Thank you Father. Amen