The Psalm A Day Challenge

There are 150 psalms with Psalm 119 having 22 sections. Why not read a Psalm A Day for the first 171 days of 2019?

On Sunday, 30 December 2018, I had the privilege of delivering the worship message to St Aidans Takanini, Auckland, New Zealand. The message ended with a challenge:

In preparation for the congregation celebrating their 30th anniversary, why not collectively read through the Psalms?

The challenge was received with excitement and reservation. Most have never committed themselves to systematically read through an entire book in the Bible.

Why the Book of Psalms? Because finding peace through forgiveness, perfection (that’s holding your tongue) and thanksgiving is encouraged by the Psalms. The Psalms will teach you, motivate you and enable you to find the right heart attitude that leads you to peace.

There are 150 psalms for the first 150 days in 2019. However, as many are aware, Psalm 119 is particularly lengthy. We agreed to take 22 days for that chapter.

The challenge is read one Psalm for each day in this new year. After 171 days, St Aidans will be commence celebrations of its anniversary.

Want to join in?

OPEN HERE FOR
PSALM A DAY CHALLENGE

Subscribe through the church’s website for your daily reminder. You will be sent a link to read each Psalm on-line along with 4 thoughts to consider.

Whatever your resolutions, remember routine is your greatest friend. I wish you peaceful blessings for 2019!

Related Posts:

Finding Peace On Earth

Part of the Christmas story are angels appearing to shepherds proclaiming, “Peace on earth”! Where is that peace in the midst of warfare, famine and community violence? The answer is found in a letter Paul wrote to a local church.

Part of the Christmas story is the angels appearing to shepherds in the field. As they announce the birth of creation’s Messiah, they proclaim (Luke 2:14):

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

This connection of peace with Christmas has been inseparable ever since. And rightly so. However, there are some misunderstandings. The foremost being there can be no peace on earth or good will toward men until glory is given to the highest God.

The Advent Season building up to Christmas reminds us that there must be a Second Coming of Jesus to earth. It is at his return that heaven’s government will be brought down to earth. Until that time, wars and rumours of wars will persist. Christmas is the first Advent. There can be no second Advent without a first. Therefore, Christmas is rightly the time to celebrate the coming peace to earth.

Still, peace has come down to earth with the first Coming of our Lord. Because of Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, peace can be found within the heart of every believer. The same Gospel writer who gave us the angelic proclamation to the shepherds also recorded these words:

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:20-22

When demanded for the time heaven’s government will descend to earth, Jesus responded God’s kingdom is already here – it is inside of your heart; it is within you.

The key to finding peace on earth is stop looking for it from others.

The government will not be able to supply lasting peace. No project or program, no matter how much it is funded, will be bring lasting peace. No promotion or career will bring you lasting peace. No education achievement will bring you lasting peace. No person will bring you lasting peace outside of Jesus Christ himself.

Stop looking outside of yourself for the answers. The answer lies within yourself. Jesus, in your heart, is the source of all eternal peace.

How does one find that peace while living on earth? How can one enjoy the contentment of peace in the midst of despair and negative news? How can one remain at peace during heart-breaking relationships? In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he gives three answers to our question in 3:12-17.

  1. You find peace on earth when you forgive one another as Christ forgave us.
  2. You find peace on earth when you withhold speaking evil of others and God.
  3. You find peace on earth when you determine to be thankful in all things.

PRACTICAL CHALLENGE – NEW YEAR RESOLUTION

The Psalms is a particularly helpful resource for cultivating the inner attitude for peace on earth. Why not resolve that in 2019, you will read 1 chapter from each of the book’s 150? You can take 22 days to read chapter 119 if you like. Meditate daily on each psalm and discover peace on earth before the end of June 2019!

Full Sermon Audio available under Videos.

Rain Walking

I love to walk! This can be challenging as I live in Auckland.

I’m not referring to the 50+ extinct volcanoes adding character to the city. Walking up and down the hills breaks monotony!

The awesome challenge is timing your walk within a climate that experiences summer and winter within any given hour.

man-drowning-in-heavy-rain-121970.jpg

Auckland has two seasons: warm rain and cool rain. The weather service records 2,066 hours of sunshine each year. That means half the day is cloudy on average and 131 of those days it rains.

Today I waited for the right moment: I was sure I had a 90 minute window for a rain-free walk. Living in a valley, I could not see what was behind the hills. So you know what happened—it started raining ‘all over me’ within 20 minutes.

Many people grow discouraged when it ‘rains over all them’. Perhaps you were enjoying sunshine and warm air when suddenly you lost your relationship or your business took a financial hit. Bad things happen; like rain, it is a fact of life.

The thing about rain-walking: you cannot control Nature but you can control your attitude. And so it is too with your relationships and business. You choose to enjoy and become a part of Forces more powerful than yourself. Or you choose to run and seek shelter.

I choose to enjoy what I cannot control: rain and all. It is the best way to experience life!

+++++++

Originally posted 2 August 2012

Walking with Snakes

Recently it was discovered the eight foot pet of Airplane Repo’s star, Mike Kennedy, escaped in Orlanda, Florida.

Creepy?

After living in New Zealand for 24 years I have to admit, yes. It’s not that I hate snakes! In fact I have a healthy respect for them. After all, Jesus Christ was likened to one! It’s just that in New Zealand you could walk through the Bush (the woods for my American readers) and never have to worry about coming across a snake. So now it does seem a bit creepy to think if I was living in Florida right now I wouldn’t be able to enjoy walking.

It did take some getting used to in the beginning when I first moved to New Zealand. The idea of walking through a jungle (rainforest to update my language) and NOT watch out for snakes was so foreign. When I first hiked in the wild (I don’t need to translate for my New Zealand readers who know I’m referring to “tramping”) I was so nervous. I constantly looked at my path and listened for snakes in the midst of the lush fauna. At first I hardly enjoyed its beauty.

Growing up in Michigan there were reported sightings of rattlesnakes but I never saw anything more than harmless garter snakes – even handled a few. When I walked through the American woods I was more concerned about bears and cougars than I was about rattlers. Nonetheless, I always carried a snake bite kit with me whenever I went out.

After a while living in New Zealand, I relaxed my instincts and never consciously looked for snakes on my hikes. About the only thing I was vigilant to watch for walking in New Zealand was its rain! And I already wrote about that (see Rain Walking).

So if I were living in Florida right now and had to look out for a cobra???

No thank you! LOL

cobra

I did live in Florida for three years. It is where my Divinity studies were conducted. I can easily imagine how a king cobra could thrive in that environment.

Now that I’ve returned to the States my snake seeking instincts were already working before the Florida cobra story broke out. Southern California is a desert after all. I may live and work along the coast but I sure do watch my feet when I walked down dirt trails that take me away from the ocean. Especially at night: rattlers love to slither out into the middle of the road and soak up the asphalt’s heat into their cold-blooded bodies.

The cobra is a mighty awesome creature that is for sure. That is why I’m not surprised many teach Moses fashioned his brazen serpent after that of a cobra. Egyptian mysticism is full of respect for its symbolism and Moses was schooled in all things Egyptian. The serpent is a power metaphor and understandably revered worldwide as a potent deity.

Which is why I’m glad I’m not living Orlando right now! And why I’m reminiscing of those beautiful bush walks throughout New Zealand!

++++++++

Post was originally published in 2015 during a 22 month stay in California.

King Cobra Still on the Run in Orlando, Florida, One Week After Escape by Polly Mosendz 9/9/15 5:00 PM https://www.google.co.nz/amp/www.newsweek.com/king-cobra-still-run-orlando-florida-one-week-after-escape-370474%3famp=

The Blessing of Poverty

The keys to happiness delivered by Jesus contain the paradox of a blessing in poverty.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:1-3

This beatitude encourages an inner quality of sacrificial humility.

The disciples literally gave up their source of income to follow Jesus Christ. Peter, James, John, Andrew all forsook their fishing business. Matthew forsook his tax collecting. They literally impoverished themselves for the sake of the Gospel. Although Christ does not require an oath of poverty, He has given us a promise of blessing when we suffer for His sake. Suffering yields spiritual reward in this life.

girls on green shirt holding a silver round bowl

This beatitude celebrates the inner quality of poverty.

Not poverty of possessions or finances, but the lack of pride in one’s spirit. God’s concern for the humble is their spirit, not their bank balance. Those with plenty often struggle with God’s existence. The poor usually do not. They are the ones who glean off God’s goodness.

God wants to help the down trodden of society by reviving their heart.

That is why the poor in spirit are the ones given this promise for blessing. This spirit is one of repentance, not greed. Money is not what God requires: He asks for a good spirit from your heart.

+++++++

revision of original published 17 March 2009

Related Posts:

 

Building Trustworthy Relationships

Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. Romans 14:19

Trust is a requirement in the world of relationships. It is a greater compliment to be told you are trusted than to be told you are loved.

Many a church leader assumes if he loves and receives love in return, the right atmosphere wherein God’s people can grow is created.

Love, however, is only part of the equation. Whether you are a leader in the church: pastor, trustee, treasurer, secretary, teacher; or a leader at home: husband, father, mother; or a leader on the job or at school; trust is the greater requirement.

The ideal atmosphere is when love results from trust.

woman carrying baby at beach during sunset

Trust is the foundation upon which a mature love can flourish. You usually have to stretch yourself beyond your current abilities when it comes to living and working with others. You have to develop skills to meet the challenges faced when dealing with others. You may be loved by your spouse or children, but that does not mean they trust you.

The ancient text instructs you to follow those things which make for peace and those things are connected with the edification of others. To edify is to build up that person. Every Christian duty includes the moral improvement of fellow believers. Building trust with a loved one or work colleague requires character and competence.

You have to become trustworthy in order to build trust. The challenging question:

Am I trustworthy?

+++

originally published 30 April 2007

Communion as Prayer

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Corinthians 13:14

Our text speaks of the communion of the Holy Ghost. Communion is a form of conversation between persons of like mind. When the Christian enters the prayer chamber, God’s Spirit unites the saint with his Saviour in communion. That is how supplication and praying yields peace. You make your requests known unto God and His peace is given in return. When you pray in peace, the Holy Spirit enables you to receive answers to your requests.

person hands woman girl

Communion as prayer is a form of true communication. When two persons truly communicate, there is first a desire to listen. You seek first to understand the person you are listening to before attempting to be understood. In praying, you have to be willing to listen to God’s word and understand God’s will for you before you can expect God to hear your request.

Praying is having a heart open to hear God’s word; pausing to consider its message; and then responding in such a way as to demonstrate an understanding of what you heard. Only then are you in a position to give your requests. You do not expect to be understood if you are not open to listen.

Most people communicate by either giving a speech or preparing one while the other is giving one (a collective monologue). Praying to God is not a monologue, but a dialogue made possible by the Holy Ghost. Such communion is an intimate dialogue.

+++++++

originally published 11 February 2007