If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,

O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
Psalm 130: 3-4 [ESV]

 

This Psalm of lament and trust in God’s mercy is often suggested to be a response from David to God after his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the slaughter of her husband. The writer is clear that God has the right to judge and that, if he chose to mark our inequities (sins) then nobody could stand as righteous in his presence.

 

If you have time read the whole psalm

 

David goes on to say that he waits for the Lord, ”more than watchmen for the morning.” The attitude of waiting for and waiting on God when we find ourselves in the depths of despair is a lesson that we all need to remember and relearn from time to time. Although David did receive a reconciliation with God after his outrageous actions, the consequences had an impact on the rest of his reign. So sadly some of our actions can have a lasting impact on our lives. However, the point is that it doesn’t matter how deep a pit we may find ourselves in, we can wait on God’s mercy. It will come. There will be a new day. David, like us, waited for God like a watchman on an ancient city wall. David, unlike us, didn’t know that however sin impacts on our lives, thanks to Jesus, its impact will have no eternal significance. Praise God that we are redeemed!

 

For prayer: thank God for Jesus’ cross. It has spoken eternal mercy over you and sin will not have an eternal impact on you.

 

If you want to pray to a modern setting of the Psalm, use the link below.

 

 

Out of the Depths: YouTube 4:40

 

 

If you prefer a choral version, then try this link.

 

 

Anglican Chant:YouTube 2:59

 

 

John Martin-Jones
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

In the last two years my relationship with God has changed dramatically, because I am now seeing The Father through a father’s eyes. But not only that, being a father, I am seeing myself as a son in a new way as well.

 

I absolutely adore my son, and now my new daughter. I love them in a way I never knew before I had kids - but my son has now reached the age where he adores others. I have been blessed that as a father he usually adores me back. When I walk in the door he is as excited to see me as I am to see him. When he wakes in the morning he smiles right back at me as I walk in the room. When he has a nightmare, there is as much relief in his eyes seeing me as he snaps out of it as there is in mine. While his love may be steadfast his adoration is not always as true. As is true of all children he is growing and maturing, and while it brings me so much joy watching him grow, it has not been an entirely pain-free experience.

 

Over the last few months, as he has grown in confidence and experiences, he sometimes takes to someone new, it may not be an incredibly deep connection, it may not even last very long but boy is he taken by them in the moment and I have felt the twang of one way affection. This is not a criticism of my son in any way, as a father I have to let him grow, to be his own person and have his own experiences for he is not simply created for me, however it caused me to think of myself as a son and the father God I was created for.

 

The reason I struggle to be left behind by my son is because I love him, sometimes jealously, and I want the best for him. I care for him, I love him as I was built to love him, as my Father loves me. Then it hit me, “Wait, is this how you feel about me?”. It was a dimension of God’s jealous love I had never grasped. I mean from my early Christian years I understood that God was hurt when I ran from him right into the arms of sin, he loves me and hates sin, and I know he loves relationship with me but until I became a father I never got how he loves me. In fact I didn’t get it to the point that I was able to disregard him without realising I was doing it.

 

Life is exciting and full of distractions, full of other relationships, full of experiences, but unlike my son I was created first and foremost for relationship with my Father, and yet I sometimes leave him on the shelf to feel the twang of one way affection. I am a father, but I am also a son to the most loving Father I could ever wish or ask for, who makes my love for my own son seem like a leaf in the wind, and through being a loving father I hope to learn to be a more loving son.

 

Tim Holt
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin. In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. Although I don’t do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them.

I know that my selfish desires won’t let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong. And so, if I don’t do what I know is right, I am no longer the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them. Romans 7: 14-20 [CEV]

 

Our identity is under scrutiny here. We are human, and because of what happened at the beginning of Genesis we are slaves to sin – the downside of freedom to choose between right and wrong. Although we are exiled from the Garden of Eden, we can imagine what it might be like to be perfect – we know about the perfection of Christ, but we have sin “living in us” Who are we really? Are we basically evil individuals with the Holy Spirit making us know and want to be better? Or are we basically temples of the Holy Spirit with some remaining human nature that can’t be totally evicted? Perhaps we are both?

 

Lord, I want to follow your commands and I know that your law is good. Help me to overcome the sin that lives in me and to know and feel the freedom that I have in Christ. Amen.

 

Dave MacLellan
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald.

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1: 10 -13 [NIV]

 

 

There are only two possible responses to the person of Jesus. You can either reject him or receive him. There is no middle way.

 

John tells us that even though the world was made through Jesus, it was not a place where he was accepted. Indeed, he came to his own people, the Jews, and they rejected him – the long-awaited Messiah!

 

But all who do believe in him have the right, the authority, to become children of God. Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, we have been reconciled to the Father and have been adopted as his children.

 

How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!1 John 3: 1 [NIV]

 

We become God’s children because of God’s sovereign will, not because of anything we or our parents have done. We are not born Christians; we do not become Christians because someone had us baptised as a baby; we do not happen to be Christians because we live in a Christian society.

 

God makes us his children if we repent and believe; but the initiative lies completely with him.

 

Chuck Colson was President Nixon’s henchman. He was imprisoned for his part in the Watergate Affair, and became a Christian. On his release from prison, The Boston Globe commented:

 

If Mr Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everyone.

 

And indeed there is.

 

Father, thank you for making me your child. Help me to serve you as one of your family. Amen.

 

David Long
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

The poem, ‘Rule, Britannia!’, (later set to music in 1740) was written by a Scot named James Thompson. He was passionate about creating a unified, British identity to replace the traditional English, Irish, Scots and Welsh identities. This is certainly interesting in light of the recent Scottish referendum. However, many of the lines of the poem are hard to understand and use language that is now archaic. This is not surprising as the poem is three hundred years old. The poem begins…

When Britain first, at Heaven's command

Arose from out the azure main;

 

Azure main? What’s that supposed to mean? Well, it translates into modern English as blue sea and this is a totally Biblical idea. Read Genesis 1: God gathers together the waters in one place and creates dry land. As the Old Testament continues the sea becomes poetically synonymous with destruction and death. It is no surprise that God plunges the world back into the water to destroy it in the time of Noah. Jonah is swallowed by a whale for three days and three nights and Jesus uses the story as a metaphor for his own coming death and resurrection (Matthew 12:40). But in all of the references to the ‘sea’ and ‘sea monsters’ in the Old Testament, one thing is very clear: only God is in charge of them. So I have no problem in agreeing with Thompson. Britain exists at Heaven’s command. Have you ever considered that before? Your country exists because God brought it into existence. We regularly talk about God making us as individuals (Psalm 139) but we rarely consider God as the sovereign of the nations (Psalms 47 and 67).

If you ever go into St Aldate’s church, Oxford, you will see an unusual sight as you approach the East end of the church. The flags of many nations line the sanctuary. The symbolism of the sight is clear: all the nations exist under God. That church now has a strong tradition of praying for the nations. Not just praying that individual wars may cease and that the world may be more peaceful, but of interceding for individual nations in prayer. This passion is born out of the belief that God is the creator of the nations and that they matter to him because he made them.

For prayer:

Find out about a different nation today and spend time praying for it.

John Martin-Jones
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

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