Dear Family

I am enjoying our “Journey through the Psalms” on a Sunday morning so much. Never before did I realize just how rich and complete the psalms actually are. It’s clearly no wonder that these were used by the ancient (and present) lovers of God to express their devotion, confidence in, inner feelings, fears, faith, hope and pure love for the God of Gods. They are filled with real life people, in real life situations, with real life questions and answers as they interact with a real life God.

One of the many questions which can be found in the Psalms is David’s human attempt to understand who is actually entitled to be found in God’s presence. In Psalm 15 he provides an answer to his question, “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary”, listing 11 things:- blameless walk, does what is right, speaks truth, no slander, no wrong to neighbour, no slur against fellow man, despises a vile man, honours those who fear the LORD, keeps his word, lends money without interest, does not accept a bribe. That’s quite a list! It would become a burden above burdens were we to attempt to follow that for the sake of following it by the letter, every day, all day. If you think otherwise, just start with always walking blamelessly and always doing the right thing or being righteous. It’s just not going to happen—if you think you are then you’ve already missed the plot!

I prefer to think that these things are the fruit of true God-lovers. These things will follow those who follow hard after God, who love him with fullness of heart, soul, mind and strength. God’s attributes flowing through his people. The new covenant teaches us in many different ways that “It does not depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” It’s really all about what he has achieved on our behalf—his righteousness become ours because of what he has done for us. What a relief! My end of the agreement to is keep loving him and allowing him to change what needs to be changed. Co-operation with his ways, led by his Spirit is what’s needed, not an exhausting attempt to keep a list of rules and regulations. When I look around at the practices of some “Christian” churches and see the cloaks of religious practice in order to please God, I am just so thankful that this is not what Jesus came for! I choose to enter His rest rather than my struggle.

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