1. What is God doing?

“Watching & Waiting” Meditations: 1. What is God doing?

Mt 4:19 “Come follow me,” Jesus said.     

There are high points in life, and low points. At Easter it was the other way round, there were low points and then a high point: He has risen! We live in a world full of high points and low points and for the unbeliever every day is a day of uncertainty, a day of potential worry. But there is another way. An academic-cum-poet, Minnie Louise Haskins’, in 1908 wrote a poem, “The Gate of the Year” that gained fame by being used in King George VI’s 1939 Christmas broadcast, facing the early days of the Second World War. They are still appropriate for today:

“And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”  So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.”

Writing in Spring 2021, I find myself gazing into the future, wondering. I gaze at the horizon and wonder. What is God doing? Is He coming soon? I wrote elsewhere recently that Spring is a time of peering at the earth with expectancy. I had sowed tomato seeds and each day peered at the seed tray looking for signs of life. Eventually each seed broke the surface and so then I watched their growth with the expectancy that one day, later in Summer, I would be harvesting sweet, small, orange tomatoes. I knew what they should be, I knew it when I sowed the seeds, but would life come forth?

In March this year, we ‘celebrated’ (well the media made a meal of it!) a year since the start of the first of three lockdowns in the UK. At this point in time, optimism is strong on one hand, while realism keeps rearing its ugly head in the form of Government scientists warning or more to come. But a combination of large percentages of the population receiving their vaccine shots, the lengthening of the days of Spring, and the hopes of Summer and of coming out of restrictions, mean that many are peering at the light at the end of the tunnel with hope and optimism.

But for me and you as believers, what is the reality? The bigger question that I find impinging on my consciousness day after day, is what is the Lord doing? For some time now voices have been raised around the globe suggesting that revival is just around the corner. The trouble is that optimism can take our emotions beyond where God is at the moment. Is He coming soon in revival in the world, or renewal in the church? We can but watch and wait. Note those two things, for they are what I sense need to be behind all I write for the remainder of this month. Watching speaks of anticipation; waiting speaks of holding a right attitude until He comes. For the sake of these studies, these meditations, these reflections, can we consider ourselves ‘visionaries of God’, those of His children who will watch the horizon with a realistic anticipation, who seek His heart and will, in order to perhaps hasten the day or, at the very least, prepare for the day.  

But, I wonder, can we think of this in a wider sense, not merely in respect of revival or renewal?  Will He come to my family, my unsaved loved ones, my prodigals, the needs I have been crying out for, for so long? Will He come to the church, to my locality, my nation? Is there really hope – of an end to the pandemic, of change in my family, church, and nation? Is there really a light at the end of the tunnel?

But then I have to come back to basics, to the beginning and ponder on my calling to be a disciple. The mentality of disciples is simply to obey the call – follow me. It was those simple words that made four fishermen leave their nets, a tax collector leave his booth, and others put down and walk away from their daily activities. Where were they going? What did the future hold? It’s been a picture that has grabbed me a number of times in recent years. We like a religion that is neat and orderly, where we know what is happening because we are the ones in control, where we know what is going to happen because it is us doing it – but that is not the calling of a disciple of Jesus who takes on the name ‘Christian’.

No, Jesus’ disciples had one calling, to follow him, without knowing what was coming, without being in control. When Jesus walked, they walked, when Jesus stood still, they stood still, when Jesus ate, they ate, when Jesus slept, they slept, when Jesus performed healings …. yes, they eventually performed healings, when Jesus cast out demons… yes, they eventually cast out demons.

So what is happening today that he calls me to enter into? Well, one thing I do know, and that is what is NOT happening. Thousands of people are not turning to God in revival around the world. The church is not dramatically coming alive with revelation and power. When I pray for healing it only happens occasionally. When I share the gospel it rarely produces an instant reception and life transformation. But does that mean God has packed His bags and gone off to some other universe? I don’t think so! Every now and then, I observe little signs of Holy Spirit activity and encouragement, just like I see the shoots and buds and seedlings coming into life all over the place in Spring. So what is His call today? I believe it is to watch and wait – and DO what He gives us to do when He gives it, to take the opportunities He gives, when He gives.  It’s a call to realism and a call of hope, a call to still involve us in the work of His calling. How can we do that, how can faith rise up in us for these days? Let’s kneel and listen and watch, let’s be available and obedient. Join me in this pilgrimage this month.

17. All Things

“Hound of Heaven” Meditations: 17. All things

Rom 8:28 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him

Perhaps no other verse encapsulates this idea of the Hound of Heaven so much as this one. We have considered some of those in the Bible that God pursued, we have considered in Psa 23 the goals to which he seek to drive or lead us. But then we come across this giant of a verse that puts it all together.

“We know” says Paul. He speaks with a confidence that comes from experience, from years of now walking with the one he once pursued, now realizing that in reality it was the other way round; this God he had once espoused and been so zealous for was in fact working for his good. He hadn’t struck him down for his ignorant unholy zeal, merely blinded him for a short while so he could contemplate the wonder of what happened to him on the Damascus road. And then a little, unknown believer came to him, sent by God, and laid hands on him and prayed for him so the Spirit came on him and filled him.

He who had been so zealous, so powerful, so full of his own certainties, had been brought to nothing, but as time went on and the revelation continued he realised that this God who he now saw in a new light, was there working for his good, had steered him off the wrong track and set him on a new life-filled, dynamically energizing life.

All the time God has been there, watching over him, never forcing him or curtailing him except at that one all-important moment when he had been stopped in his tracks and asked, “Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4) Persecute? I thought I was serving you! But then came the realization that the voice from heaven was the one who not long back had been crucified – and everything changed.

For years Saul had been taught. For years he lived off the privilege of his upbringing, never realizing there was One there in the background urging him forward, but for a goal that he himself never dreamed of. Nothing about Saul who became Paul was an accident. Eventually there came this well-educated man for God who, when his perspective was set the right way up, would work and travel and write in such a way that millions in future generations of believers would benefit from his insights and revelation. God had been working all things for good. But to see this, we have had to step back into the big picture and that is what we are going to do for the rest of this series – step back to try to catch the big picture as it is revealed through the pages of the Bible from end to end. We’re not going to look at individuals as such but at the big sweeps of Jewish history to observe the Hound of Heaven pursuing His plans and eternal purposes.

1. God who gives

Grace Short Meditations: 1. God who Gives

1 Cor 4:7b  “What do you have that you did not receive? 

I want to move on to consider a word that has many meanings but which, I suspect, is really very little understood by us Christians, let alone the world outside, a word that has the potential to transform believer and unbeliever alike. It arises mostly, it seems, in the context of salvation and while I do not in any way want to diminish that concept (and we will look at it in the context along the way) I want to suggest that it is much, much bigger. I am going to suggest that ‘grace’ is actually anything that comes from God as a free, undeserved gift to us human beings. Please note the word ‘anything’. Let’s consider that as our starting point.

We used to have children’s books titled “Don’t thank me”, I believe they were called. They went something like this: Be thankful for milk – thank the shops for providing milk – don’t thank us we only keep it, thank the farmer who provides it – thank you farmer for sending us the milk – don’t thank me, thank the cows who provide the milk – thank you cows for producing milk – don’t thank us, thank the …and so it goes on back to God.

The truth is that we exist because of God (Heb 1:3) and all good comes from God (Jas 1:17), everything we have has come from outside us, ultimately from God. 

Paul’s quote, as our starter verse, comes with great clarity in the Message version: For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing?”

So you are clever, you are bright, you are handsome or beautiful. How much of that did you contribute to? No, you might have used it or developed it but all the good of you, that was a gift. Some of us wear these things like beautiful clothes that show us off but we fail to realize what is the origin of them. In the Old Testament, Nebuchadnezzar felt he was all powerful: “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Dan 4:30) It was only after he had been through a bout of madness did he face the reality of the greatness and goodness of God. All that we have is the gift of God. We didn’t earn it, it was given to us freely. That’s what grace is. Have you ever seen it that big? Grace is EVERYTHING that is good that comes from God to us, freely given, not earned or deserved. Can we ask the Lord to help us see that as we’ve never seen it before?

24. Predestined

Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 24. Predestined  

Rom 8:29b “he also PREDESTINED.”

So He called you because He knew all about you long before you came on the scene. That’s what we’ve just been considering in the previous study, so now let’s see some more about that with these three words in our starter verse.

Now a simple synonym for ‘predestined’ is ‘predetermined’ which is made up of two parts: ‘pre’ meaning before, and ‘determined’ which means resolutely and definitely decided. Now don’t feel that God is a bully who is going to make you conform to His total perfection because if that was so, every one of us would be superman or superwoman by the time we died – but we aren’t. 

No, it just means that God knows everything there is to know about you and me and knows how He can weave His good and wonderful purposes into our lives without overriding our free will, so that together we can achieve more than we could on our own. Let that sink in – and then worship! Let’s think some more of that in the light of one particular famous person in Scripture.   

The person I have in mind is Abraham, the father of faith, God’s friend (Jas 2:23). That latter word is quite remarkable when you consider his history. Yes, he was called by God and arrived in Canaan but as soon as difficulty came (a famine) he quickly moved on to Egypt where he tells his wife to pretend to be his sister – and then lets her be taken to the kings palace (Gen 12:13,15). Fortunately the Lord intervened on her behalf (12:17). He goes back to Canaan and not long after he is complaining to God that he is still childless (15:2). The Lord reassures him and his belief is famously credited to him as righteousness. Excellent! But when the Lord speaks of the Promised Land, Abram is questioning again (15:8) so the Lord instigates a serious covenant to reassure him. A while later Sarai, his wife gets fed up waiting and presses him to have a child via her servant, which he does. Human endeavor with negative results. Sarai is upset that Hagar is pregnant, Abram washes his hands of it and she is driven out (16:6) and the Lord has to rescue and reassure her. When God again reassures Abraham that Sarai will have a child, he is doubting again (16:17,18), and so it goes on. What is so surprising when you work through Abraham’s story is, despite his initial belief (=righteousness) it is a story of bumbling faith that is full of doubts, questions and thoughtless acts. So what’s my point? This is still all about predestination, about God knowing us from before the foundation of the world and knowing what He can achieve through us. By the end of the story Abraham is a godly man fully sold on the plans and purposes of God for him and for his descendants – he got there! If you, in a moment of humbling honesty see your life as one of bumbling faith that so often finds itself questioning, resorting to self-effort and so on, just remember you are in good company but God KNOWS. He saw you before He started the world off and He knew that, with a little bit of help – you will get there!!!  Just declare that afresh today. Yes? Yes!   

17. Chosen

Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 17. Chosen

Eph 1:4 he chose us in him before the creation of the world.”

It is not uncommon for children to question their parents, “I wasn’t adopted was I?” It is a question that underlies our insecurity and need to feel we belong. It is also quite likely that it is the motivating force that energises some of us to ‘do’ things to earn God’s love. Perhaps it is the biggest challenge that the enemy whispers to us, “Oh he doesn’t really love you, you’re not worthy of his attention.” Or maybe it is, “See he’s paying no attention to you, you’re on your own, he doesn’t care about you.” Lies.

When God wants us to pay attention to something He says it a number of times. This verse above is just one of seven references in the New Testament to God’s plan involving Christ, that was conceived by the Godhead BEFORE Creation (Jn 17:24, 1 Pet 1:20, Rev 17:8, Rev 13:8, 2 Tim 1:9, Tit 1:2).

The life we are living out today was conceived by God before He made anything. He knew sin would come to Eden and His world, He knew the only way for justice to deal with it was through the Cross and, as He looked into the future, He knew that you would be a responder, and in that sense, even right back then He ‘chose’ you. Today you are walking a path that was planned before anything else came into being. Nothing about your life is an accident, it was known, it’s ‘in the Plan’. Live it secure in that knowledge and rejoice in it.

Now here’s something else about the plan which, as you personally are concerned, kicked into being when you were born again: not only did God conceive it and see you in it, He didn’t just start it off in you, He’s going to do all He can to ensure you finish it and ‘get the goods’ at the end as you enter heaven to a fanfare of angelic trumpets. he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)

But not only has He got the end in mind for you, He’s actively working day by day right through to that end: in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” (Rom 8:28) That’s all things EVERY day, He there watching over your life.

Check out Psa 121 again. Five times (v.3,4,5,7,8) it says He watches over you. He didn’t choose you to abandon you and leave you on your own. Being chosen means much more than that; it means He is there for you providing you with protection (v.5-7) and he will do it, “both now and forevermore.” (v.8) But back to Ephesians 1, He chose us, “to be holy and blameless in his sight.” (v.4b)  That’s how He sees you. Yes, He knows about your foibles (and will be working on them) but when He looks at you and feels for you, it is as a son or daughter who is spotless as far as the Book of Life is concerned, as brought about by Jesus. Not only that, in v.11 He says you were chosen “for the praise of his glory,” (v.12b) or as another version puts it, so that “we would bring praise to God.” That’s it, chosen to be His kids (yes adopted! v.5) who will reflect their Dad. Awesome! Amazing! Wonderful!  

16. Mystery

Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 16. Mystery

Rom 15:25 “the revelation of the MYSTERY hidden …. but now revealed and made known.” 

We spoke yesterday about wisdom and revelation imparted by the Holy Spirit, and it’s especially the word ‘revelation’ that seems to call so strongly now. Revelation as we said before is disclosed knowledge, knowledge that was previously hidden. The Revelation of John, for example, the last book in the Bible, is prophetic insight shared by Jesus to John (Rev 1:1) about how things will be in the last days. In 2 Sam 7 Nathan the prophet comes and gives David the big picture of the future of both the present and the future (v.4-16) and so we read, Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.” (v.17) In one sense the who Bible is God’s revelation to us.

Hindsight is both a blessing and a bane. Having the completed Bible as we do means we have the whole picture in our hands and that is a blessing, but that means we often miss the struggles that people in the Bible had. Paul spoke of the mystery of Christ (Eph 3:4, Col 4:3) or the mystery of the Gospel (Eph 6:19) or this mystery more generally, (e.g. Rom 16:25, Eph 1:9, 3:3,6,9, Col 1:26,27). Before Christ came there was this prophetic sense of a ‘coming one’, a messiah, but that was all it was, a shadow in history. The prophets longed to understand what they were sensing (1 Pet 1:10). We now know what it was. Let’s not miss out on the privilege we have of living in this time with this knowledge.

I wonder if that is how we see it – a privilege that we have of living in this present time with the complete Bible in our hands or on our bookshelves? But there we have it for so many, Bibles on bookshelves. They need to be in our hands for Paul wrote, that we are saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thes 2:13b) i.e. we experience God’s salvation as the Spirit works in us and our faith builds up daily our ‘belief in the truth’.   When Paul spoke of a ‘mystery’ he was referring to the prophetic scriptures of the Old Testament that hinted at a coming one and yet it had come with different hues – he might be an abused servant, he might a mighty king (and of course he turned out to be both) that it was confusing for scholars. It needed the events to be rolled out in history and then spoken into the spirit of this out-of-time apostle before what had been a mystery became clear. The truth is that the word of God is a mystery to many, very simply because they don’t approach it in prayer and with a submissive heart, and so because it does seem a mystery, people fail to read it daily, fail to be fed by it daily, fail to be built up daily by it, fail to be transformed by it as the Spirit applies it. And so the enemy whispers, “It’s hard, you don’t need it, you can get by without it.” A lie, in fact three lies! It is the foundation of our faith and it is food for our faith and so without it we feel unstable and worry, we feel ‘thin’ and weak. I recently ran across a simple quote by a well-known Christian leader: “Anxiety comes from unbelief,” and I believe he is right and is why so many people are living in anxiety. They have not let God impart faith, confidence, and assurance through His word because they have kept the mystery book closed. Away with these lies, away with this folly. At times in history we have been known as ‘the people of the book’. May that be true again today as we cast off the negatives spoken in the world about it, and let God come again in both His Spirit and His Word and unshackle the Church.

15. To Know

Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 15. To Know

Eph 1:17 “so that you may KNOW him better.”

This was at the heart of Paul’s praying for the Church. As we go into the second half of January I want us to focus on our faith, things that shouldn’t just be for theologians or Bible commentators but should be part of the library of knowledge of every Christian that can act as a resource to help them to stand strong, walk more purposefully, and run the race more dynamically to the end. They are all about knowing God, knowing His plans, knowing what He has for us, what He has done for us, and is doing in and through us and will do for us as we go with him into the unknowns of the year ahead. 

But let’s take in this verse more fully. This was the apostle Paul who was saying to the Ephesians that he had been praying for them that Jesus would give them the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Note the positive, the definite article – “THE Spirit of….” All of the main versions have it; it is no accident. The suggestion must be that the Holy Spirit imparts wisdom (the know-how) and revelation (disclosed knowledge) to us, “so that you may know him better”. In other words knowing how it all works and being given insight behind the spiritual scenes, so to speak, will mean that we come to know, not only Jesus himself but all that he has for us. 

That ‘what he has for us’ is then spelled out in the next verses: “(i) the hope to which he has called you, (ii) the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and (iii) his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (v.18,19)It is almost like Paul works backwards here as he spells it out: hope, which is about the future (tomorrow onwards) which is actually the inheritance, the birth-right of all children of God which is expressed as power to live and take us into eternity. ‘Knowing’ thus means experiencing him, knowing his life flowing in us that is being worked out in daily living.

So the life we live we live today is not about human endeavor, human effort, human activity, seen as rituals in church, rules to be followed and good things to be done, all motivated by the human mind, but our lives are Spirit-envisioned and Spirit-energized activity. But how does such thing work out in practice? I think it is what we have said so many times before, having hearts that are directed towards God, open and available to God, and obedient to God and which seek God in such ordinary things as praying and reading His word on a daily basis and asking the Spirit to fill us afresh daily. It is then that these things flow naturally in us.   

14. Faith & Love

Short Meds in ‘Living the Life’: 14. Faith & Love

Gal 5:6  “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

As we started this series we declared our intent was to seek to view afresh this Christian life we are called to live and they have turned out to be things that are quite contrary to the ways that the world thinks. Just recently we have been thinking how God’s provision for us is not limited by material limitations but now we go backwards, so to speak, by observing the most basic and most fundamental elements of the Christian faith.

One paraphrase version speaks of faith expressed in love” while another puts it, “faith which expresses itself in love,” but it seems to me that the emphasis they bring is on OUR action, our response, in our love for God we express faith, and I am sure that is partly right, but there is another deeper way, I believe of viewing this. The apostle John wrote, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19) Put it another way, we have love because we are loved, because we are the recipients of love. God made us to be people capable of giving and receiving love, knowing something of what love means and we are what we are today because we have been loved and we look into a future in which we anticipate more of this love. We live, with Him, in an environment of love; it is like the air we breathe, it’s all around us.

Much of the time Christians focus their thinking and their ‘spiritual actions’ on reaching out to God, of performing ‘worship’ or ‘prayer’ as vehicles not only expressing our love but as means of reaching Him. We ‘do’ to get near Him, we ‘do’ to achieve things and yet our verse above suggests a possibility of something else, of faith being an expression of living in this fish tank of love, of us swimming in it.

In context Paul was saying, put aside all your religiosity, your religious thinking, the only thing that matters is the way faith oozes out of your live saturated by God’s love. We don’t HAVE to have faith, because when we realize we are in this environment of love, faith will naturally flow through us, as we hear the whispers of God and respond the His advances of love, advances that were seen in the Cross, received as the Spirit was imparted and which will continue for ever: today, tomorrow and into eternity, His love. So yes, like the air we breathe, His love surrounds us and like the air around us we can take it for granted, but faith appreciates it and soars in it. Can you see this?  The possible life for this year, seen not as a series of actions, or of church performances, but as life in an existence that IS love because we are ‘in Him’  and He IS love (1 Jn 4:8,16). When we become aware of this, all we think, say and do is an expression of faith that naturally flows out of being loved, of being aware of this entire environment of love in which we now exist. Maybe we hadn’t been aware if it before, but now we bathe in it, swim in it, rejoice in it, grow in it, worship in it, speak naturally to God in it, read His word with fresh eyes in it, love others in it. Do it, enjoy it, wonder in it.  

1. Introduction

Short Meds in Getting Ready in Covid-Advent: 1. Introduction

Throughout Advent we are going to let the accounts leading up to the Nativity speak to us near the end of this year of Pandemic

Lk 1:5 In the time of Herod king of Judea…”

History! We are all caught up in history. In years to come we will look back on this present time and reflect on what it was like. This year has been the most restrictive and uncertain year of our lives. We didn’t plan it that way, it just came. But the outward events of this year are just one aspect of it. In it all, God is still here, working out his purposes, purposes He knew about and the Godhead planned before the world began.

Did He make it happen like this, as many ask? No, I believe God allows sinful humanity to get it wrong so such things as the present Pandemic are released, but He did know it was going to happen and He works into the midst of it. Jesus IS still ruling at the right hand of the Father (learn 1 Cor 15:24,25).

But this is history, the activities of mankind that roll out as each of us exercise our free will and consequences follow. That is what history is all about, people and events.  The same is true of the biblical events of what we call Advent (the time of waiting). Few of the ‘players’ had a clue of what was coming.

But it is history, it happened. It started in the land of Israel in the time when Herod the Great (so-called) was the king of Judea, appointed by Rome to be their local ‘Jewish’ representative, (although there were questions over his Jewishness,) and the Romans had their own governor in Jerusalem. It was not a happy time for Israel. But isn’t that history, ups and downs of individual and national lives. We don’t choose the big environment of human history but are born into it and then, as we live in the prevailing environment, it is full of the interactions of people as well as climatic interruptions – gales, hurricanes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions and so on.

The thing about history is that we live in it, we cope with it, or at least try to cope. Sometimes though, although it is a ‘fallen world’, we are people who do impact history, even if in only small ways, impact other lives, and that is what we find in this story. But the biggest interrupter in this history is God and we will see Him speaking into that period and bringing changes that changed the world for ever, although at the times they were not perceived as that. This month catch afresh the sense of destiny within each of our histories and rejoice in the midst of the darkness that although it may appear dark, the Light is working in the midst of it.

2. Sentient Life?

Short Meds in the Goodness of Life: 2. Sentient Life?

Gen 2:7 Then the Lord God formed a man.. and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

I started this series yesterday by suggesting that the things we take for granted are more than I could count on all my fingers and toes. No more true is this than in respect of ‘life’. We live, we breath, we think, we move – and we’ll consider all these in detail in the days to come – and we take all this for granted, and yet we are and we do because at some point in existence God decided this is how it would be. Life is not an accident; it is part of the plans and purposes of God.

We are sentient beings which means we are emotional, sensitive, responsive, have feeling – able to interact meaningfully and with understanding, with the world round us – and we take it for granted, until our lives are threatened or curtailed and then we start thinking about these things. We are self-aware and yet so often, not aware.

I have various regrets when I look back on my life but one of the greatest is that I took life for granted, I took my health and strength for granted. I used to go out into our garden on a Saturday morning in the Summer and start work, digging and planting and so on. I would take a lunch and tea break but would work from nine in the morning until nine at night.. I’m tired just thinking about it – but I did it and yet I was tired at the end of the day but today I do heavy work and sit for a rest every hour.  How I took it for granted.

But I suspect we’ve never thought about this when we open the Bible, this book which is filled with activity, human beings all doing their own things, some good, some not so good and some downright bad. And there’s another thing we take for granted – our conscience, that tells us, “This is not good.” Or there’s what we call common sense: ”That stove look hot. I must keep at a distance or I’ll burn myself.” We stay alive by awareness. Elephants, I am told, can hear the sound of approaching clouds.  I simply use my sight.

Self-awareness can be a bane and a blessing. David wrote at one point, “Why are you cast down, oh my soul?” (Psa 42:5) So many of the psalms are songs of awareness, awareness of the world, of God, of ourselves, and we take such things for granted. I need to pray: “Lord, please forgive me that I have taken my ‘life’ for granted, I took for granted my health, my energy, my activities. I took for granted my work and my play, my endeavours and my holidays, and most of all, your blessings in my life. Thank you for making me, me, the living being that I am, able to appreciate this world, interact with this world, impact this world and even change this world. I accept this is how YOU made me. Thank you so much. Amen”