Lest we forget.

A reflection on remembrance in Deuteronomy 1-6

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.” (4:9)… “When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you–a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant–then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (6:10-12)

Israel were reminded over and over again not to forget, but to remember the acts of God in their past. How He had rescued them from harsh and oppressive slavery in Egypt, how he had defeated the nations they came up against them, nations that were much stronger than them, because it was God who had fought for them.

We too are tempted with the same forgetfulness. There is a reason that we have annual ceremonies for significant events, one reason is that we hold them as significant (or we once did), another is because we are prone to forgetfulness and neglect. There is a reason in Australia we say, ‘lest we forget’, because we know that we are well able to do so. (Interestingly this very term comes from a 1897 poem written by Rudyard Kipling referring to God and appears to refer to this very passage in Deuteronomy).

Israel – by and large – did neglect the truth of God’s past faithfulness and goodness to them, and so they forgot it. They appear to do very poorly in telling of it to the next generation as they were instructed to do, and they did not delight in and value God in their lives. In the end, they were led astray from Him and gave themselves to that which was set against Him.

Paul said to his good friend: “Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained.” (2 Timothy 2:8-9).

I know that my very own temptation is to forget what God has done for me. Far more than rescue from Egypt, He has rescued me from my slavery to sin, and death, and eternal separation from Him. God did this for me when He sent His Son Jesus to take my place for my wrongdoing. I am forgiven, even now, Jesus is my King and He is in control over all things, so I can trust Him always.

It is so easy for us not to remember. LEST WE FORGET.


That God sees all, and knows all is utterly terrifying… unless…

A reflection on Proverbs 15:3; 11
“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere,
keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”

“Death and Destruction lie open before the Lord—
how much more do human hearts!”

These verses reveal at least two things to me, that God is in everything place – that is – He sees everything and secondly that God knows everything – the heart of every person lies open before Him. I am not sure how that truth grips your heart…

We live in a very disconnected world from reality – God’s reality. The message of our world is that people are basically good and unless you do something really horrible you are basically a good person, at least better than most.

The problem with that is: God sees our hearts, He knows our thoughts, our motivations, when they are good and when they are evil. It does not matter what our world says is good in the end, but it is what God says is good that counts.

If in the court room I am able to show such charm and charisma that everyone believes my defense except the Judge (or the Jury) it doesn’t matter, in the end its down to those who decide fate.

God is not tricked, He sees all. And I think that would be the worse and most terrible news in the world if not for one thing. He sees all, He knows all, He sees me in those times when my motivation is harm and hurt and wrong and evil.

What’s the one thing then?


In Jesus, the Offended Party, the Judge, the Victim, the Wronged One He comes to take the place of the criminal, of the rebel, of the sinner – just incredible!

While I was living against the Creator, living for myself, with a heart and mind on the gifts – not the giver… knowing this, He sent His Son to die for my crimes – this is the ‘GOOD’ of ‘Good Friday’. Jesus death in our place, for our wrongs, isn’t that just incredible!

My prayer for us this Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is that they would remind us in a new way that we were lost, and He found us, we were dead in sins and He made us alive in Christ.

If that is true in You, I pray that we will rejoice and thank and praise Him like never before! What a God who sees all and knows all and yet comes in mercy, love and grace to rescue us in Jesus!


The fear of the LORD.

A reflection on Proverbs 9:8-10
“Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”

The ‘righteous’ and the ‘wise’ are ways of talking about those who trust in and follow after the God who made the world and who sent His Son to rescue it. In fact, we see this in the summary of true wisdom and knowledge here. True wisdom and knowledge comes in the fear of the LORD.

That is, to realise that the Almighty God who made the world, who created humanity in His own image, the one who we have turned away from and do not naturally follow after – this Holy God who could wipe us out in a second, turns to us with love.

He can’t stand our turning away, and it must be punished. But He sent His Son to take the punishment for our wrong! Jesus came to lay down His life for us. So, to fear God, is to understand His power, His set apartness from sin and sinners, His right to rule and judge those who disobey, and yet His mercy toward us, His offer of forgiveness and eternal life to us through Jesus sacrifice.

To fear God is to Who He is, and to live in response to this. To turn from that which does not please Him, and seek to live a life following after Jesus, trusting in His death to cover our wrongs and His resurrection to justify us before the just and holy God.

So ‘God fearers’ are learners, someone who can be rebuked, open to the correction of others. Seeking instruction, teaching, not proud, and arrogant, but humble and contrite in spirit, trembling at God’s Word.

This is true and eternal wisdom: this is the fear of God, that right response to Who He is and what He has done.

My prayer for myself, and for you, is that we would be humble learners. Those who acknowledge our wrongs to God and to one another. Those who trust in and hope in only Jesus and His cross to forgive us and change us.

Those who realise God would be right to punish us, and condemn us, and who are overwhelmed because in Jesus He comes to us with mercy, and grace, forgiveness, and peace and so how can we not love Him for that? How can we not respond to Him with praise, thanks and worship?


Jesus our Ransom.

A reflection on Psalm 49

“Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.” Psalm 49:7-9

The truth here is that no human being (no matter who they are!) can make the payment to God for their life. We cannot barter with God for our lives. We cannot do anything or give him anything that will gain us more days of life – it is outside of our control.

Especially as we look at the Bible as a whole we see that our problem of sin, the debt we owe God is unpayable by us – none of us can pay it. We owe God what we cannot afford.

But I love what the Psalmist goes on to say in verse 15:

“But God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.”

In fact, God has done this… He sent His Son Jesus Christ to be our ransom. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mathew 20:28), “Christ Jesus… gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Do you realise you cannot add an hour to your life by trying to be a better person, or to do good… In fact both you and I have an unpayable debt that we can never work off… but Jesus paid our debt. Jesus is our ransom. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Oh, to know and enjoy this truth! To be set free by it and live in response to it… to live in the joy of the eternal life God has given us in His Son… lets enjoy Jesus – our Ransom.



Call out to the God who will never fail you.

A reflection on Psalm 25:16-18
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.”

Sometimes people have the picture of followers of Jesus as those who have it all together, or at least who pretend too. But here in the Psalm we see the picture of someone who is calling out for God’s help, someone who feels ‘lonely and afflicted’, do you ever feel that way?

To be human is to struggle. It is to have ‘troubles of heart’. For the follower of Jesus, there is Someone to turn to in this. Someone without limitation and weakness. In this same Psalm, the psalmist has called God ‘my God, in you I trust’.

It is this trust in God, that is based upon who He is and what He has done. And Jesus has perfectly revealed this God to us. He has revealed God’s heart of love, care and compassion for helpless sheep and those in need and distress.

There is a call here in this Psalm, a calling out to God: ‘Turn to me’, ‘bring me out of my distresses’, ‘consider my affliction and my trouble’. The Psalmist is convinced that God is there, that He cares, and that He acts for the good of His people. He brings them relief and peace in distress. He brings salvation and rescue, and complete forgiveness for ‘all my sins’.

Are you lonely? Are you afflicted? Do you have troubles in your heart? Are there things for which you want to be forgiven? Call out to God for help and hope. He will grant you relief, He will grant you rescue, He will grant you forgiveness.

It may not come in the way you thought, it may not come when and in what you wished. But He – the gracious One, the Almighty King will give you all you need to have peace, and joy in the midst of pain, and trouble and struggle.

Call out to the God who will never fail you.
He is always good and faithful and true.


…saturated in God and His goodness.

a reflection on Acts 27:
“…Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. (Act 27:22-25)

I was struck yesterday reading through Acts 27 with Paul’s identification of himself. Paul refers to God as the God to whom he belongs, and whom he worships, in whom he has faith (puts his trust in).

He will go on later in this story to lead the 272 people on board to eat some food after 2 weeks of abstaining because of the peril their ship had been in, being sure of God’s word to Him of rescue and safety, giving thanks to God in front of them all and encouraged them all.

And this escape from death and following rescue is exactly what happens.

Looking at this passage, Paul was a man saturated in God and His goodness. He belonged to God, he worshipped God. He had faith in his God and gave Him thanks – publicly.

I want to be a person saturated with God more and more. I belong to Him. I want to be defined more and more as a follower of Him, trusting in His word, and full of thanksgiving to Him. Join me in making this your prayer to God:

Father, I belong to you. I am a worshipper of you, a follower of Jesus your Son. Saturate me in you. Help me to trust you and fill me with thankfulness to You, that I might overflow it to all I meet. Thank you for your goodness to me, in Jesus Name. Amen.


Forgetfulness. Of the worst sort.

A reflection on Psalm 103:1-5
“Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits– who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”

Do we not have reasons to praise God? To bless Him forever?

He forgives all our sins… heals all our diseases (at least in the ultimate picture He does)… He redeems our lives from the pit… He crowns us with love and compassion… He satisfies our desires with good things… renewing our youth…

I don’t know about you but I’m much better at focusing on what is wrong, what I fail at, what I don’t have, what I perceive I need… I am much better at that, then at praising the Lord with all my soul, remembering His incredible goodness, mercy, and kindness to me.

But I suspect the Psalmist also struggled with this…

He says… “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits”

Why does he say this?

Because his danger was that he would easily forget (as I do) all God’s benefits – all God’s kind deeds towards us.

It really is amazing how forgetful we can be. Yesterday I was enthralled and captivated by God’s amazing and incredible love for me and yet today I can wake unaware of it and yet so aware of every other thing I am facing or struggling with.

This is why the Psalmist calls on his very own soul – ‘all my inmost being’ he says, Praise His Holy Name!’ Don’t forget His blessings, His mercy, His goodness, His love…

Oh, and we have seen (by faith) more than the Psalmist ever saw! We have seen God’s love and compassion displayed in the most incredible, unrivalled, and unbelievable way: God ‘loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.’ (1 John 4:10),

Amazing? Yes! Praiseworthy? What could be more! Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits!’


Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.

Reflection on Psalm 86:11-13
“Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.”

I was reflecting on this Psalm this week and praying it to God for myself and for others.

Teach me your way, O Lord, not my way. Teach me how you want me to live. Because it’s so easy to look to everything other than God for how we should live.

To others around us, to our parents, to the television. Truth be told there may be some good examples – there are – but no example will be perfect and many will be unhelpful.

We need the Lord to teach us how we are to live. We have no better teacher. One who is perfect and One who has given us His word so that we might know how it is that we are to live. Living lives that reflect His Son the Lord Jesus.

‘Unite my heart to fear your name’. To fear God is to take in the truth about God and respond in that light. To understand that God is holy and righteous and perfectly good and that we are not.

That He is mighty and that we deserve because of our sin to be cut off from Him forever – but that in His great and amazing love He sent His Son to save us from our sins and bring us back into relationship with Him.

So, this prayer is a prayer for a right response to Who God is and what He has done. It’s a response of awe, of wonder, of reverence.

Because when we understand how great His steadfast love is for us, undeserving as we are – that He has delivered our souls from death we can’t hold back from singing with the Psalmist: “O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.”


Words of encouragement and rebuke.

Reflection on Philippians 2:1-3
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

For me, these words are full of encouragement and rebuke.

Rebuke, because this idea of doing nothing from selfish ambition or conceit – nothing from the place of pride, self-interest and to promote myself – wow… this is full of rebuke for me.

I think also as human beings, we are all guilty of self-interest again and again. For those among us who follow Jesus, sadly this is something from our old nature that does not yet disappear. We still choose self-interest and self-promotion.

But here our model is Jesus. Paul goes on after these words to talk about the humility of Jesus who laid down His rights as the Eternal God and He humbled himself, and became a man.

Even more than that Jesus came and died as a man the death of a criminal the shame of the cross… but why?

Because it was the purpose of His Father to rescue sinners… It was the purpose of the Son to obey His father. He came and died for sinners… for me… and for you…

What humility… It is humility beyond belief. Would the monarch die for the slave? Or more accurately… would the monarch die for the prisoner – guilty of high treason?

And so, He did. The Monarch, King Jesus, died for the traitors.

The picture for the follower of Jesus here, is to think and so live this same way. In the interest of others. Putting others first. Laying our lives down to serve one another as Jesus did. Being united and filled with love for one another. Self-giving.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16).


Taste and See His Goodness!

Reflection on Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

I love the psalms. They are so raw and real. They bring out both the highest expressions of thanksgiving and praise and the lowest valleys of distress and despair. David who seems to have penned a lot of these psalms was a human being like us. He had struggles like us, temptations like us, and he failed like us.

In fact, he committed murder and adultery. He was a man who knew both the depths of his own failings but also the riches of God’s mercy and forgiveness.

He had tasted and he seen that God is good. He says earlier: “I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” And later he says: “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

If you are anything like me, and like David, then you are someone who has struggles, whether emotionally or physically or mentally. There are struggles. And more than that we are people who have failed to live lives that give God thanks and praise – in fact, left to ourselves we are much better at giving anything and everything else thanks and praise then to God.

But David had experienced God’s goodness. The God who had forgiven his sin, the God who had rescued him and helped him to trust in Him in the midst of his fears. Have you experienced the goodness and love of God?

God sent Jesus out of love. He died in love for you – to rescue you, to rescue me, from all our sin. How true are the words of David’s call, “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”

Those who choose to trust in Jesus for forgiveness and follow after Him as King – it is not that we won’t struggle (on the contrary!), but there will be such joy and praise that wells up in us and that is yet to come that will make anything experienced now somehow not even worth comparing with what is to come… (Romans 8:18).

Father in heaven, thank you, thank you, thank you for Jesus, help me to taste and see Your eternal goodness!