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At the start of this new month, take time out to appreciate God’s creation in a park, garden or the countryside. Use all your senses to appreciate God’s creativity: the sights, sounds, touch, taste and smell of our beautiful world.


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Bible passage Psalm 104


Psalm 104

 1 Praise the LORD, O my soul.
       O LORD my God, you are very great;
       you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

 2 He wraps himself in light as with a garment;
       he stretches out the heavens like a tent

 3 and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
       He makes the clouds his chariot
       and rides on the wings of the wind.

 4 He makes winds his messengers,
       flames of fire his servants.

 5 He set the earth on its foundations;
       it can never be moved.

 6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment;
       the waters stood above the mountains.

 7 But at your rebuke the waters fled,
       at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;

 8 they flowed over the mountains,
       they went down into the valleys,
       to the place you assigned for them.

 9 You set a boundary they cannot cross;
       never again will they cover the earth.

 10 He makes springs pour water into the ravines;
       it flows between the mountains.

 11 They give water to all the beasts of the field;
       the wild donkeys quench their thirst.

 12 The birds of the air nest by the waters;
       they sing among the branches.

 13 He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
       the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.

 14 He makes grass grow for the cattle,
       and plants for man to cultivate—
       bringing forth food from the earth:

 15 wine that gladdens the heart of man,
       oil to make his face shine,
       and bread that sustains his heart.

 16 The trees of the LORD are well watered,
       the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

 17 There the birds make their nests;
       the stork has its home in the pine trees.

 18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;
       the crags are a refuge for the coneys.

 19 The moon marks off the seasons,
       and the sun knows when to go down.

 20 You bring darkness, it becomes night,
       and all the beasts of the forest prowl.

 21 The lions roar for their prey
       and seek their food from God.

 22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
       they return and lie down in their dens.

 23 Then man goes out to his work,
       to his labor until evening.

 24 How many are your works, O LORD!
       In wisdom you made them all;
       the earth is full of your creatures.

 25 There is the sea, vast and spacious,
       teeming with creatures beyond number—
       living things both large and small.

 26 There the ships go to and fro,
       and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

 27 These all look to you
       to give them their food at the proper time.

 28 When you give it to them,
       they gather it up;
       when you open your hand,
       they are satisfied with good things.

 29 When you hide your face,
       they are terrified;
       when you take away their breath,
       they die and return to the dust.

 30 When you send your Spirit,
       they are created,
       and you renew the face of the earth.

 31 May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
       may the LORD rejoice in his works-

 32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,
       who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

 33 I will sing to the LORD all my life;
       I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.

 34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
       as I rejoice in the LORD.

 35 But may sinners vanish from the earth
       and the wicked be no more.
       Praise the LORD, O my soul.
       Praise the LORD.


New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Explore the Bible


Beautiful creation
This is a psalm to sing with eyes open, looking at the wonder of God’s creation.

The psalmist uses the Genesis 1 creation story to order our praises with vivid metaphors: light on day one; sea and sky – day two; plants and trees – day three; sun, moon and stars – day four; fish and birds – day five; animals and humans – day six. As The Message translates verse 24: ‘What a wildly wonderful world, God!’

Personal reaction
If you have ever lain looking up at the clouds, you might have your own words to describe them. You might have your own favourite mountains and valleys, places where heaven and earth seem to meet; where God seems very close.

A visit to a zoo, a swim with a snorkel or an evening watching a wildlife programme shows us that our planet is teeming with life. The Earth reflects the amazing creativity of our God. We destroy and exploit it at our peril.

Just as God sustained his people in the wilderness, he sustains all life by the breath of his Spirit. Praise him!


Respond


Can you use your creative gifts as you meditate on this psalm today: paint a picture, bake a cake, write a poem – or simply break bread, give thanks and savour the wonder of our creative Saviour?

Catherine Butcher


Deeper Bible study


Consider the almost infinite variety of life on planet earth, which stands in such contrast to its inhospitable neighbours.

As a keen birdwatcher I regularly feed the birds in my garden and record those which come. It’s fun to watch their different characteristics. Greenfinches sit guzzling on the seed feeder. Tits fly in and out again quickly. I have seen collared doves appearing to plead with me to put more food out. And yet all the birds fly off when I go out into the garden. They depend on me when the surrounding food supply is low, but they’re wary of me as well. Perhaps that’s a good illustration of how humans are with God. We depend on him for everything and yet there’s a right wariness too – which comes through clearly in this psalm.

In evocative poetry, the psalmist picks out the relationship of creation to its Creator, beginning with some wonderful metaphors which invite us to see creation as something he delights in, charged with his energy and alive with his presence (vs 1–4)1. It culminates in a note of trusting dependence and praise (vs 27–35). There are striking resemblances to Akhenaten’s fourteenth-century-BC ‘Hymn to the Sun’ in parts of the psalm, but there is a huge difference between worshipping the sun and worshipping its Maker – something that is brought out in our reading2. Sadly, some of the best wildlife experts on TV are unable to see God in his creation, yet Paul tells us there is no excuse for that (Romans 1:20).

The psalm looks back to Genesis 1, but also to the Exodus. The descriptions of springs in the valleys and hills, grain, wine, oil, grass for the cattle and so on, are very close in their wording to the preview Moses gives to Israel when they’re about to enter the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 8:7–9; 11:11–15). In our readings this week and next, the people of Israel are tested about their trust in God’s provision.

Vivien Whitfield

 

1 D Kidner, Psalms 73–150, IVP, 1975, p369
2 Kidner, p368


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Joshua 4,5

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Audio


Worthy is the lamb
Jamie Pearson and Kate Cooke
© 2010 Vineyard Records (UK/Eire)
www.vineyardrecords.co.uk

Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)
John Newton (1725-1807)
John P Rees (1828- 1900)
Edwin O Excell (1851-1921)
Arr. & add. chorus Chris Tomlin & Louie Giglio
Copyright © 2006 worshiptogether.com Songs/sixsteps Music/kingswaysongs.com
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.kingswayshop.com




Comments
  • Rachael Hampton | Saturday, 01 April 2017

    Science - the ultimate voice for many - keeps telling us things that God has always said. We need Nature. Green plants in our homes to clean the air; reed beds to purify water; plants for medicine; green spaces for healing in hospitals and aged care homes, clean natural foods for our health. The intricate balance, the teeming life, the abundant beauty, the rare orchid growing in hidden forests where no human sees; persistent life in barren places, provision for both food and fun (wine to gladden the heart!) all shout out that we have a God of incredible abundance, creativity, and power. And He didn't make all this for Himself, but for us. May we relish with profound thankfulness every part of this beautiful creation, and care for it in every way we can.

  • Rachael Hampton | Saturday, 01 April 2017

    Rejoicing with you JACKY to finally have your own place to live. I was much blessed by your comments yesterday. Thank you. It is a powerful thing ENYOBI to believe that God is cooking our blessings for us when spoken from a situation such as you, and many of our Word Live family, are in. Let us go forth in the Holy Spirit, knowing we are spreading that gold dust in all we do and say today! Blessings all.

  • Jane Cribb | Saturday, 01 April 2017

    I agree, Rachel, we should be caring for the earth and all of God's creation, as we are told in Genesis 1. A Christian organisation which aims to do that is A Rocha International, which carries out conservation work in many countries.

  • Angela Munday | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    We are to share with others the gifts we have.....'May the glory of the LORD endure forever; I will sing to the LORD all my life. Praise the LORD, O my soul......' Thank you Father God, from a joyful heart, that all creation is alive with Your presence; we celebrate our life in You and You in us. Amen.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    God created the heavens and the earth and everything that is in the earth by His words (Heb. 11:3). The whole creation was made by, and responds to, words. Our words, when spoken in faith, release either life or death (Prov. 18:21) and will affect people, things, and circumstances. As I reflect on the power of the spoken word Lord Jesus, I pray to remember to use them to bless people I meet today.

  • Anne Mcgowan | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    This is the perfect time of year to enjoy all that Father has given us. Although winter has its own beauty and qualities, I love spring for you watch as things which appeared dead suddenly are not! Science attempts to give us all the "answers" as to why, but it cannot explain LIFE. This very act of being, it has no answers for that. It borrows it for experiments to try and explain how the cherry tree in my garden produces flowers, but it cannot explain how the sight of the appearance of the tight buds of pink fills me with joy and as they open into this exquisite sight of bright clouds of cerise, I KNOW that my redeemer lives. The connection there is between my heart and that tree, and the hedgehog in my garden, and the red kite that soared over the trees this morning is something Paul said in Rom 8: Rom 8:19 " For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. Rom 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope " We are intimately connected to all that God has created for we are part of that great creation, we destroy it, we destroy ourselves. Adam and Eve severed that connection when they sinned but Jesus our great redeemer made the 2 one again with his death and resurrection. "O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendour and majesty"

  • Thelma Edwards | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    What a wonderful call to worship this Psalm is. This morning I was struck for the first time by the many conversations going on here. It reminds me of a prayer walk I did with three other Lydia ladies, all comfortable with each other, and able to walk on the hills overlooking my town and praying as the Spirit led, very conscious of the Lord's living presence, sometimes speaking direct to Him, sometimes to each other, sometimes declaring to the principalities and powers, and sometimes just meditation, thinking to oneself and occasionally verbalising thoughts. The Psalmist begins by speaking to himself: v 1 "Praise the Lord O my soul". How often do we need to start worship this way, almost a wake-up call, a command, or an encouragement to reset the compass to direct our thoughts towards God and away from ourselves. The rest of v1 is directed to the Lord Himself. Then verse 2 it is as if the Psalmist speaks to others about God "He wraps, He stretches, He makes etc.through to v6 when the Psalmist turns back to speak to God "You covered it.......". v10 - 19 the conversation turns back to the Psalmist speaking to his friends or maybe himself as he describes the works of our Creator. He slips back to talking to God in v20 and then back to his friends in v21 - 23. What a dynamic lively conversation this is! v24 I sense a deep breath, a pause, before the declaration to God "How many are your works O LORD....... to v30". Another pause to reflect on all that has gone before in v 31 and 32. And the the Psalmist responds with action:"I will sing...." and a heart-desire v34 "may my meditation be pleasing ...." finishing as he started with "Praise the LORD O my soul. Praise the LORD."

  • Thelma Edwards | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    Oh YES, ANNE, YES, YES. AMEN

  • Graham Fuller | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works thy hand has made.... Then sings my soul my saviour God to thee How great Thou art. AMEN

  • Thelma Edwards | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    BARBARA thank you for the link you posted at the end of yesterday. I have just followed it and been so blessed. I also feel I can identify with you a little more in your current church situation which is so different from your Salvation Army roots and style of worship. A little similar to my own experience 7 years ago moving to a new county, from seaside to countryside, from large lively Baptist church with creative worship ministry to a market town Anglican Church with liturgy and an emerging informal worship service. "He leadeth me". Yes He has gone before, ahead of me, He continues to lead me, He has called me here to serve Him in this place. And where He leads, I will follow.

  • Lynda Spencer | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    How Great Thou art!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHqgQjJrxI8

  • Margaret Barlow | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    #DeeperBiblestudyHow can anyone deny the existence of God. When the earth and we humans are so thoughtfully put together. Our every need supplied. We are given the ability to think, reason, to obey or disobey. The animals have been given instincts, birds the ability to fly, and seek shelter where it is warm,they too use their instincts. I am sure that if some other being or deity had formed the world, we would not be so well off, possibly be like robots. Praise God he formed it before anything else could try, and make a mess of it. Our God is perfect in every way his love is there for us all his, provisions sustain us, and his great wisdom is at our finger tips. Hallelujah.,

  • Derek Forster | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    All creatures of our God and King, Lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia! you burning sun with golden beam, you silver moon with softer gleam! You rushing winds that are so strong, You clouds that sail in heav’n along, O praise Him! Alleluia! You rising morn, in praise rejoice, You lights of evening find a voice! And all you men of tender heart, Forgiving others, take your part, O sing you! Alleluia! You who long pain and sorrow bear, Praise God and on Him cast your care! Let all things their Creator bless, And worship Him in humbleness, O praise Him! Alleluia! Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son, And praise the Spirit, Three in One!

  • Ruth Chisholm | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    So many blessings from this weeks comments, THELMA double blessing from you yesterday! I shall ponder the tree exercise, and beautiful imagery of shedding gold dust, i guess we all leave some dust behind whatever its nature, my prayer is that mine too is gold dust shed for Jesus glory. I shared part of my testimony in school on Friday as my leaving speech, left them 3 Christian books as a gift, please join me in praying for the impact into colleagues lives as I move on. ROGER no complacency with you, we are called to be available and willing to be the person God desires us to be, to introduce others to God, reveal his love by what we do and I say, but it's great to be encouraged that we're on track! I think that I would have to guard from becoming complacent if i thought it was my testimony that brought people to Christ, as it's only through God's power that I stand. " If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal." 1 Corinthians 13:1 NIV

  • Barbara Sabin | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    Thelma I am so grateful to you all on this site and also to OAKLEY who helped me to realise I was trying to make the Church of England into the Salvation Army which of course is not possible I have begun to appreciate the many facets of worship and have repented of my stubbornness to accept the changes God had brought into my every day life. I heard David Attenborough say he had no evidence of God and immediately felt compassion for him as he looks at some of the remotest parts of the earth and Gods creation and is blind. I pray that he will one day have the revelation of the truth. My favourite is Psalm 8 'When I gaze into the night sky and see the work of your fingers ,the moon and stars that you have made.' https://youtu.be/NfaQ8qoCUaA

  • Oakley Bookworm | Sunday, 02 April 2017

    BARBARA, if i helped in any way it was completely unintentional and unconscious. Funnily enough, a friend, who I meet up with once a year, often comments on how I helped her through a difficult situation. Yet, I have no remembrance of ever doing anything or even thinking that I should get involved. If Good has used me in any way, then I am delighted and pleased that you are finding things to appreciate in your new church. I'm sure that the resident congregation will benefit from some of what you bring, too.

  • Barbara Sabin | Monday, 03 April 2017

    Hello OAKLEY we had a funeral at the Church of a ninety year old gentleman in our village this week, there was a very small choir but the Holy Spirit's presence was tangible in the quietness and simplicity. I thought of you and remembered you in prayer. God brings people into our lives to cheer and to bless and sometimes to rebuke. Lovely Hymn this morning never sung before but the words were just right for me Inscribed upon the Cross we see In shining letters, God is love!

  • Ray Skinner | Tuesday, 04 April 2017

    Using Palm 104 in our Bile Study group today, one member noted that we leave out comment on v. 35 about sinners and the wicked. But we remembered that the New Testament perspective is that we are all sinners for whom Christ died.

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