Psalm 4: You alone, Lord

Sun, 03/10/2021 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Have you ever felt hemmed in? Your problems are so vast, there is no way out you can see, so that you just feel claustrophobic? Trapped. Squeezed.

If so, this Psalm is for you.

Under pressure. Pressure pushing down on me. Pressing down on you, no man ask for. Under pressure that burns a building down. Splits a family in two. Puts people on streets. It's the terror of knowing what the world is about. Watching some good friends screaming, "Let me out!" Pray tomorrow gets me higher. Pressure on people, people on streets.

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Psalm 3: Deliverance belongs to the Lord

Sun, 15/03/2020 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Have you ever felt as if everything is against you? As if everything you touch goes wrong? As if you’re experiencing difficulties from which there is no way out? Felt the pressure of people who are determined to stand in your way and make your life difficult, and you’re just powerless to clear your own path?

I know some of you have been there, because you’ve shared that with me. I’ve certainly been there.

It can be a black place to be, hemmed in, with others deliberately making things difficult.

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Psalm 2: The Path to Blessing

Sun, 08/03/2020 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Most people would appreciate some help when it comes to praying.

Many of us doubt whether God hears us if we pray. Many of us are unsure what we ought to pray for. Which means many of us don’t.

If you were here last week, we began a journey through the first few chapters in the book of Psalms. Psalms is part of the Bible, which means it’s God’s word to us. But unusually, it also contains our words to God. It’s a collection of hymns and prayers, for the people of God, all down the ages. It’s God giving us words to pray, and words to sing.

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Psalm 1: The Successful Man

Sun, 23/02/2020 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep; If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.”

At 13, I started at a new school. My parent were abroad, so it was a boarding school. And one of my new friends had been taught by his parents to pray that prayer every night.

It’s not a bad prayer as it happens. But it’s clearly a child’s prayer.

For an adult, life is messy and complicated. And we need a prayer life that is fit for the real world.

Many of us don’t pray. Or if we do, we’re unsure what we ought to pray for.

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Psalm 122 To Jerusalem

Sun, 18/12/2016 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Where in the world would you most like to visit? The Grand Canyon? South Africa? Everest base camp?

And where in the world do you most care about? Perhaps it’s Kemsing? Or the village where you were born? The place your parents live and brought you up? A country you used to work in as an expat?

Two questions about geography: Where would you most like to visit? About which place’s wellbeing do you most care?

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Psalm 121 Through the Mountains

Sun, 11/12/2016 - 10:30 -- James Oakley

Life can be extremely painful. You don’t need me to tell you that. Life is full of difficulty.

All of us face challenges and difficulties. Sometimes massive. Sometimes smaller. But we’ve all stood and looked into the week ahead, or the year ahead, and thought to ourselves: This is going to be a tough one. Who’s going to get me through?

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Psalm 1

Sun, 14/09/2008 - 10:45 -- James Oakley

I could have gone to a shelf in the newsagents and brought with me pretty much any half-dozen magazines, and the chances are that on their cover or inside they would have their own version of “Ten ways to be happy”. Whether it be “21 ways to have a celebrity-type romantic relationship”. Or, I think it was Men’s Health on the cover, “30 guaranteed ways to burn fat”. Or whatever it might be. “10 ways to find true and lasting happiness.”

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