Pastoral Letter January/February 2016

Dear Friends,

Our New Year Text is the well-known conclusion to Psalm 19. It is an expression of heartfelt desire from King David, expressed so elegantly in our translation.

But do we share David’s desire? Indeed, do we ever consider what the Lord sees in our hearts or hears from our lips? There’s no doubt of course, that He is witness to every thought and word that we produce. This can be a terrifying thing. The Poet–King has just extolled the wonders of God’s law and His testimony, His commandments and His judgements, calling them ‘sweeter than honey’. Again, do we really believe that this is so, or are the character of God, and His Holy standards, matters of little consequence to us? Is it all just ‘water off a duck’s back’?

NY Text 2016

Perhaps, as we embark on another year, we need to humble ourselves. What do we hope to achieve this year? What might we hope to see? We will see nothing apart from God’s power to bring it to pass — and yet, it we’re honest, how little of God we have any patience or tolerance for! How easy it is to make anything our priority except spiritual things. How readily we will lay aside meeting with God’s people or studying His word, or even private prayer, when a distraction arises. I speak to myself as strongly as I speak to you all. Let’s examine ourselves, and ask, simply, do we truly worship, and desire to know, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? The great I AM? Do we even care if our words and thoughts please Him? Do we ever stop to think that He is our ‘strength’ and without Him we are utter weaklings? Do we pause to reflect that He is our ‘Redeemer’ and without Him we are eternally lost?

As the New Year is come, may we turn with renewed desire to our God in the person of Jesus Christ, and seek His face, with true appreciation and deeper love, longing to be ‘acceptable’ not because we have to be, but because we long to be.

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