Trustful Prayer

Key Text: Psalm 23

As the shepherd boy David guarded his sheep in the fields outside Bethlehem, he put the worlds most famous psalm into action, and for about 3000 years, it’s still being sung. It is likely that in the same field David first made this psalm, the angels appeared 1000 years later to announce to shepherds ‘good tidings of great joy’ (Luke 2:8-15). The coming of Christ as a baby is the gift of life, which David sang about. Psalm 23 is NOT a Psalm about death, it’s about life which the Great & Good Shepherd (Jn. 10:11) provides. The life in baby Jesus grew to be the Good Shepherd David sang about. David must have loved the truth of our God being a Shepherd, he mentions it several times, Psa. 77:20, 78:52, 95:7, 100:3.

Sheep have always and will always need shepherding. They must trust a Shepherd, they are one of the most vulnerable of animals. Their vulnerability lay in the fact that they MUST graze for their diet and can’t live well being kept corralled in and grain fed, like cattle or chickens. While grazing they are open for attack by wild animals and have no defence whatsoever, they don’t run fast, they don’t have horns like goats and they don’t seem to realize that there is strength in numbers, they instead roam and stray away from each other singly. So they must innately trust a higher power (the shepherd) for the existence of their very life in survival!  Christians are compared to sheep, not as an insult, but as a lesson for us, reminding us that we must listen for our Shepherds voice for our survival, Jn. 10:3-5. Psalm 23 helps us praise Him for his constant supervision and provision maintaining our life, even when death seems imminent.David killed a lion and a bear to protect his sheep as a young man, he was not a coward and this experience later led him to kill Goliath, (1Samuel 17:12-58), and our Shepherd in Christ is much more powerful, he faced Satan himself and defeated every temptation. He also faced religious & political leaders with the truth and bravely underwent torture from them, to the extent of being killed in order to overcome death itself. There is no greater courage or love than this, Jn. 10:16-18 & 15:13.

We should continually praise him because we trust in his constant care & protection. The providential care of Jesus is real. Paul reminded Timothy of what we should be content with, 1Tim. 6:8, “food, clothing & shelter”, and the Psalmist sang that he, all through his many years on earth, had “not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging for bread”, Psa. 37:25.  But how many of us sheep beg for luxuries? If we catch ourselves desiring luxuries, we must listen to the voice of Jesus in Luke 16:15. If we are a faithful child of God, our necessities will be met, James 1:16-17 & 1:27-2:9. Do we believe this? Then pray so, Matthew 5:11, and then be willing to live like it, Eph. 4:28.

The protection Jesus gives, over our soul’s welfare and spirit’s strength is truly active. Matthew 18:10-14 records Jesus as a Shepherd rescuing 1 sheep lost, while temporarily leaving 99 safe ones. God always searches for lost sheep, and when we cooperate in the rescue effort He puts forth, God always rejoices when we are found. The shepherd did not punish or even berate the lost sheep, Lk 15:6. This should remind us of how different we are to sheep. Our shepherd Jesus expects us to cooperate with his rescue attempts, we are not completely helpless woolly back dumb animals. The voice of Jesus does more than just call, He instructs, and if we don’t cooperate, we fall into the peril of sin as lost sheep recorded in Hebrews 6:4-6 . The Israelites who complained about God’s leading Shepherd Moses, were killed, Hebrews 3:15-19 & Numbers 14:1-23. We now have a superior Shepherd in Jesus. Who is complaining? We must tell Him of our trust, this is good medicine to prevent us from complaining!

Reverence in Praise & Prayer

Key Text: Proverbs 8:1-9 

The only problem with churches using buildings, is not money, but windows. There are never enough of them. Why? Because the church has a constant need to stay in touch with His glory and holiness in the earth and heavens around us, (Isa. 6:3) it is healthy and generates praise! Keeping a congregation closed in a building to worship is good in preventing distractions and a harsh environment, but limiting our worship to an auditorium limits our whole view of how big and great God really is. Never lose sight of God as our Creator, Gen. 1:1, it keeps the dominion God gave us in check and maintains quality leadership, as well as a consistent environment for growing spiritual fruit.Keep in mind, that irreverent behavior and worship which reflects ‘self’ instead of God, is always perpetrated by people who live their life in the world, instead of on the earth. Our lifestyle is always full of materialism, instead of dependency on God for necessities on earth. This is why Jesus said that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because he is constantly following ‘rules’ instead of God Himself. Rich people are bombarded by our own dependency on ‘things’ instead of God. Therefore we are more easily attracted to making our worship to God more materialistic and attractive by the world’s expectations, instead of God’s expectations. Matthew 19:16-26. Rich people are good at making rules about our way of life for God, instead of making sacrifices as a way of life for God. If this is our emphasis and direction, we will experience the ‘awe’ in reverence towards God in worship. Our God is great & worthy of constant praise & prayer. 1Ths. 5:17-18. Tennyson the English poet wrote “Let knowledge grow from more to more, but more of reverence in us dwell, that mind and soul, according well, may make one music as before” (1850). He is observing the truth that when humans replace reverence for the Creator with knowledge of the creation we become uglier.

To help us express reverence in our praise & prayer, we should learn about three contrasts David puts in Psalm 8:1-9.

A.The glory of God and the frailty of our humanity, v1-2. Psalm 19:1-2. 

B.The vastness of the Universe and the tiny space mankind occupies, v3-4. 

          C.The dominion God gave us over His creation in our service, v5-6, Gen. 1:28.

Of course all of these things are magnified in Jesus (Son of Man), and in a smaller way, exemplified in the Christian (siblings of the Son of Man). Jesus proved in the transfiguration that He possessed the glory of God, yet suffered death at humanities horrors inflicted on himself. Jesus was small in this Universe he helped create, in that he was born in poverty, lived homeless and died a pauper, but was raised eternally victorious as God. Jesus also reflected dominion over creation in many miracles, yet had to work with his own hands with the servants in creation to eek out a physical existence while on earth.  It is amazing that scientist with all their knowledge can accept our universe as infinite, but reject an eternal God who created and controls it. Even sceptics and scoffers can not question “a superior power” when they truly consider the conception and birth of a single baby human being, Psa. 8:2, 14:1-2. Now that we have examined what helps and hinders reverence, let’s define it:

Leviticus 25:35-37 is a good example of what it means to reverence God in our lifestyle.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 expresses our deepest respect in our heart for God in daily life.

Hebrews 12:9, shows a good analogy of Christian reverence towards God in our heart.

In conclusion: reverence is the physical expression of submission to Jesus as Lord on Sunday and throughout the week, that is a humble act of love that physically expresses the gift of holiness God put in our heart.


In one sense, God is the Father of every human being, Hebrews 12:9, see where He is titled, “Father of spirits”. From the very beginning when He made Adam, He considered Himself a Father, see Luke 1:38.  God wanted Moses to know of His fatherhood over Israel as His firstborn son, Exodus 4:22. He also told King David that his son Solomon would know God as a Father, 2nd Samuel 7:14. David went on to write Psalm 103:13-14, describing God’s compassion as like a Father that understands the weaknesses of his children, and that all who do fear Him should know Him as a Father.  So we know God’s intention in creating humanity is that we will recognize His place as our Father in our life and enjoy His family-life. Most people in the world are ignorant of this fact, some people try to explore it, and even fewer investigate enough to experience it. God is the eternal and righteous ‘family-man’, and we can see it in Jesus who was prophesied to be called “Eternal father, Isaiah 9:6.  Why do some children grow detached and separated from their Dads and yet other siblings in the same family grow to love them dearer with each passing year? Every parent that ever had a large family, has recognized the reality of each child being unique and different, yet coming from the same parents.  Regardless of personal differences between our opinion of our earthly Dad, we all have the same Heavenly Father and we all grow closer to, or farther from, our eternal and perfect Father. Why? Jesus is the answer. The way we view Jesus does indeed affect our view of God as a Father. He told Philip, “He who has seen me has seen the Father, how can you say, show us the Father?” John 14:9.  Jesus was presenting Philip with a paradox. Since Jesus is God in the flesh, he in one sense is a father-figure for us as Isaiah prophesied, but he is also truly a bigger, older brother to every devoted disciple that ever followed him, read Hebrews 2:11-12. Jesus wants us to understand the difference between being a ‘church-family’ and ‘God’s family’, Eph. 3:14-15.         

Jesus calls people who want to follow him to trust him with their own family, and warns them that our physical families can change for the worse or better, depending on how they view Him, read Mt. 10:34‑39. Being worthy of Jesus is a task that affects our  physical family.  We must put Jesus before our family as more important because He will make our family strong to do what is right. Truly loving each other, is in fact loving God, Mt 25:34‑40.  How do we love our family?  The way we want to love them or the way God wants us to love them? How did Adam love his family? He didn’t love his wife very much when the serpent was talking to her, Gen. 3:6. He was ‘with her’, but yet he didn’t encourage her in what God wanted. Instead Adam sat silent and let Eve be duped, he failed his responsibility in pointing her to the truth. He may not have been able to force her to listen to the truth, but indeed he could have at least distracted her from the lie she was listening to. Why didn’t Adam remind Eve of the truth? How can husbands today do a better job than Adam? Jesus is the answer. Couples grow strong to do what is right and families grow tighter to enjoy unity when husbands and fathers learn the joy of sacrifice in serving their wives and children. Husbands can serve their wives by being a spiritual leader in their relationship and take the initiative in the ‘washing of water with the word’, Eph. 5:25-28. Jesus used the word of God to cleanse his disciples, John 15:1-4. Husbands and Fathers can help the Lord keep their wives and children clean by encouraging an appetite for the truth in the family. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled”, Mat. 5:6.  Does your family really want to do what is right? If not, then try to lead by example. Grow in wisdom and share with those you love most, the benefits of doing what is right. What are they? The difference between being in God’s family in Adam like the rest of the world, and being in God’s family in Christ like the church, is exactly this: The ability to do what is right. “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven”, Matthew 5:20. Where can we get that kind of righteousness? Only in Christ! Do not ignore God’s way of entering Christ and staying to grow in Him.. 

God’s Wisdom Can Govern

Key Text: Proverbs 8:15-16 & Romans 13:1-5.

If you read philosophical and historical literature of our day, you will realize that people who work from the most prestigious seats of academia, write that our society has abandoned rational or objective thought and is rapidly affirming personal opinion and relativism as the superior guide for life and setting  standards for a better future. Philosophers term this way of thinking as “postmodernism”, historians are calling it ‘revisionism’. It involves ignoring the reality of life and accepting only whatever we ‘believe’ are the facts. This new mindset abandons anything absolute and exalts what is relative. If we assume that everyone is supposedly right in their own experience then apparently no one is really wrong! Sin is paraded around as nothing more than sickness, drug consumption is spoken of as a recreation, the traditional family is considered an endangered species, immorality is heralded as sexual freedom, pornography is projected as freedom of speech, homosexuality is defined as an alternative lifestyle and abortion is sugar-coated by calling it ‘post-conception birth control’. The Christian can pray about it and preach against it, but our efforts are not efficient and as effective as we could be, if we do not influence our Government, WISELY and PRAYERFULLY. When Christianity first came into our world, it AFFECTED and CHANGED rulers in the highest places. Why? Because of Christians putting into practice the command of 1st Timothy 2:1-2. They did not just say a prayer for blessings on their government, they cried out fervently and prayed prayers for rulers to lead in forming and enforcing laws which help us live in a society that promotes…

PEACE          eeremon kai heesuchion

This is the opposite of arrogant belligerence, it requires society to pursue friendship and to make allies in balanced cooperation and negotiating compromise. A goal many Jewish leaders were not interested in, from the context of re-establishing the Kingdom of God (Israel) from David’s throne outward and into the world.

GODLINESS  eusebeia

Any attempt that is made by humanity to mimic Christ or be like Jesus. In what ways can a society exemplify Jesus? Whenever our society recognizes God in an honourable way, that is the godliness we must pray and work together to attain and maintain publicly. This entails the engagement of God & Government, not Church & State.

PROPER RESPECT     semnoteeti

This is a lifestyle that treats everyone with a degree of dignity. Actions that reflect the honest truth of being equal in God’s eyes, recognizing and being able to act upon the truth, that Jesus died for you, me, the President and the mentally ill homeless person. Does our society truly offer an equal footing for every citizen to live in dignity? We can learn a real truth about our Government by the way our leaders treat three areas of society…, The Mentally Ill,  The Homeless &  The Alien.  How does our understanding of Christianity affect the dignity of these people in our society?

God has used rulers in the world of all kinds to accomplish His will historically and He is using them now. King Ahasuerus & Mordecai (Esther 1-10), King Cyrus (Dan. 10:1 & Ezra 1:1-2) & King Agrippa (Acts 26) are good examples. In complete disregard for a political person’s party ethics, faith, ethnicity or personal behavior, God gave each of them some of His wisdom. Can we pray fervently that God gives each politician in this world, some of His wisdom? If Christians can do the work of God with only the faith of a mustard seed, how much of God’s work can a politician do with a fraction of God’s wisdom? Luke 17:6.  It is our godly duty to pray and work to influence them.

Penitent Prayer

Key Text: Psalm 51 

When we were children, we learnt how to say sorry to our friends and parents. We were quick to accept their forgiveness and immediately acted like nothing ever happened. All was forgiven and seldom did we see any consequence for our bad offensive behavior. Did we adopt this way of saying sorry when we learnt that our behavior was offensive to God? Can we possibly turn to The Omnipotent Creator of the Universe and simply say ‘sorry’ without any repercussions? If we ever heard our earthly parents shout, “who do you think you are?”, what would God’s reaction be? God The Father is far superior in patience and mercy than our earthly parents, but is His sense of justice duller than our parents? Psalm 51 is a great example of how to say sorry to God. The reason it is such a good example is because of two truths in David’s life. Firstly, he knew his origin and how the sin of Judah & Tamar held consequences on his heritage (comp. Gen. 38:12-19 & Dt. 23:2), his family roots were not forgotten, v5. David is the tenth generation from the illegitimate Perez, Mt. 1:3-7. Secondly, he was personally involved in accepting his own individual responsibility for his sin and the many consequences his offences would bring, 2Chron. 22:8. In this sense, David’s family knew that his mother was ceremonially unclean according to the law, Dt. 23:2, in his generation from conception, and that he was born with the anointed purpose of ruling as a ‘bloody’ king, 1Kings 5:3, Psa. 51:14. 

This brings us to look at our own heritage and standing with God. We must all firstly remember that without Jesus, our past heritage is alien and hateful towards God, whether or not we have been raised in a Christian family, we have all been guilty of falling in love with the world, it’s lusts and deceptions. God knows what background and heritage we are born into, and what we are going to CHOOSE to do with the life He has given us. Ephesians 2:11-14.  We have all been infected by sin’s disease of spiritual idolatry, deliberately choosing to worship ourselves instead of The Creator. Secondly we must accept that our sinful behavior is certainly due to our own personal choices, and not solely affected by our nature or how we were nurtured. Yes, our nature and the way we were nurtured does indeed affect they way we make choices, but regardless of all of these factors, it is only me that makes my chnoice to do right or wrong, Psalm 51:2-3. When our heart possesses  humility in accepting these truths, then  and only then are we able to approach God and say sorry, Psa. 51:10-12, Mt. 5:3-4 & James 4:6-10. We should pray that God will grant repentance, 2Tim. 2:25.Young David had a heart that searched for God, 1Sam. 13:14, but his heart often strayed and was fed with lusts and pride. Thankfully, David had the kind of erring heart that was able to trust in a God that was merciful and he believed would cut away the evil within his heart to heal it, Dt. 10:16, 30:6,  Jer. 4:4.  Although David paid dearly for his sins, his forgiveness was expressed in his lifestyle and psalms, to be publicized and praised for generations, Acts 13:22. May the Lord raise up many Nathans” (2Sam. 12:7) in our own personal life to point out what exactly we are fooling ourselves about, in order to wake us up to our own delusions and help us admit our need for God’s gracious gift of repentance.

Preserving Purity

Key Text: Proverbs 5:1-18, & 1st Cor. 6:9-20.

Honey turning to Wormwood? v1-4. The bitter oil of the wormwood plant is toxic and can kill, so Solomon uses it to describe the after-effect of sweet temptations from women. When a man’s curiosity is blended with time to contemplate his sexual desire, this sweetness can immediately be tasted & enjoyed, but it is always ultimately disastrous. Adultery can kill, v5. The law of Moses sentenced adulterers to death, Lev. 20:10. Today, the price of adultery is paid in many costly ways, if not sooner, than later, and no one can afford it, Prv. 6:29. Foolish but beautiful women know this allurement, and every Christian man must be equally aware of what they are really doing. This can preserve your purity. Purity grows in value if we… 

Maintain discretion, v2. If women do not try to dress and act discreetly, then men will find it difficult to maintain discretion. So don’t go ‘near her door’. Be aware of the opposite gender’s natural inclination to be pleasing and behave accordingly! 1Cor. 7:33-34.

Safeguard knowledge, v2. If we are talking about the truth, and keep focused on the facts, then the deceptions of the opposite sex will be exposed for what they truly are. Malachi 2:6-7

Keep Vitality, v9. The honourable beauty of a virgin (male & female) is to be persevered and counted precious. This lends towards longevity of life. Romans 1:24-27. 

Regret vs. Forgiveness. King David experienced paying the price for adultery, and yet lived to enjoy forgiveness. However, regret was a very real and lingering effect he took to the grave, Read 1Kings 2, and understand the enduring struggle between Solomon & Adonijah which disturbed David to his death. David’s adultery had consequences which forgiveness from God did not erase. Remember Galatians 6:7-8. God can forgive us and totally forget our sins for eternity. But the consequences can linger for a few generations to come. Compare Psalm 103:10-12 & Exodus 34:6-9.

Pleasure in Your Own Spouse, v18. God instituted monogamous marriage (Gen. 2:24 & Mt. 19:6-12) for several reasons, one of which is safe & enjoyable sex. Erotic love within marriage is the only place you can find sex which is truly safe and simultaneously pleasurably fulfilling. If we express eros outside marriage we become lost in our own stupidity, v23. The very nature of erotic love is too intimate for sharing with more than one.  This should be obvious, but these verses warn us all, because our own desires and temptations from outside are strong and plenty. Even ignorant atheists know that sex is potentially very dangerous, but who knows where safe sex can be found?

The Supremacy of Sound Sensibilities

Key Text: Proverbs 4:1-19 & 24:12 

Solomon is telling all his sons, what their grandfather first told him. This reminds us that God uses parents to instill wisdom by example in our hearts as a child. Listening seems to be a lost art today, in years past before television, we listened to stories and the radio, but today we are more visual in our learning than audible. This fact makes your living visual example more important in the eyes of your children and lost neighbors, friends and family.  We may learn a valuable lesson from the Proverbs, if we take the time to write down our own experiences and life-lessons for our children to read, instead of just relying on them listening to us. As important as hobbies, vacations, household chores and family leisure might be, there is nothing as important as parental advice and the sharing of experience with God’s wisdom. Instead of telling our children they MUST get a good college education, or they MUST keep trying to get a better job, or they MUST a good retirement account or investment, we SHOULD be telling them to GET WISDOM! There is no greater joy than to see your children walk in truth, 3rd John v4.  This is more than making sure your children get to Bible class on Sunday! The commandment with promise from Ephesians 6:2, is reiterated here in Proverbs 4:10. It is a true generalization that if we live our life practicing God’s wisdom, we will extend our days to accomplish more for God’s glory on earth, than if we live according to the world’s ‘wisdom’, see Luke 16:15.There are more rewards too! Loving and embracing wisdom is promised to bring us Protection (v6), Exaltation & Honor (v8), and Grace & Beauty (v9). Jesus taught that we will be rewarded for our deeds for eternity, Mt. 16:26-27. We often get confused about rewards and salvation. Our rewards are blessings here on earth and within heaven, but our salvation is based on God’s grace accepting our soul’s faith, not our works and a wise lifestyle in our body. Do not confuse the two. God’s acceptance of us is based on our genuine faith in His son’s blood, which leads to Him securing our salvation, then afterwards, there are even more rewards in heaven than what we have experienced on earth. He will repay each of us according to our works, Romans 2:6, 2nd Tim. 4:14-16, 1st Peter 1:17, Rev. 2:23, 20:12-13, 22:12. In all of these very critical passages warning those who have lived foolishly and hindered their brothers & sisters in Christ, it is ominous that their salvation is not spoken of, but yet their rewards seem to be obliterated and they rest under God’s chastisement with their salvation at risk, not necessarily revoked. See 1st Cor. 3:12-15, to help keep your view of salvation and rewards distinctly different.  Proverbs 24:12.

The Straight Paths, mentioned in verse 11 are exactly what Jesus was teaching on in Matthew 7:14, in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Mt. 7:21-23, therefore your salvation ultimately depend on whether or not you accept the right WAY or path. Jesus said He was the Way, John 14:6. Zacharias saw this prophetically when John the immersionist was an infant, Luke 1:78. Do you help people see the pathway to peace? They need your help, Prv. 4:18-19.

The Path of the Wicked, seen in verse 14, is the way which seems right to humanity in the world, Proverbs 16:25, it leads to our own destruction. That way is broad, wide and easy to walk, the people who desire it may say Jesus is Lord, but they do not live like Jesus is Lord, Mt. 7:21. The Lordship of Jesus in our life will characterize us with humility, repentance, wisdom and self-sacrificial love, Luke 9:23.

Which Path will you choose? We choose one everyday, whether we realize it or not, make yourself aware of which Path you really desire and walk upon.