Key of David

“Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the One who is holy and true, the One who has the key of David. What He opens, no one can close; and what He closes, no one can open.”
Revelation 3:7 NLT

In his revelation from Jesus, John moves on to the church at Philadelphia, addressing the angel there with his message. Philadelphia was a city in what is now Turkey, and in those days it was on a trade route of strategic importance. Not much remains of the First Century city because of earthquakes in the region, but when John wrote his revelation it was a thriving place extending Greek culture to surrounding nations.

In Revelation 3:7, Jesus once again establishes His credentials. He is the holy and true One. In Hebrews 7:26 we read, “He is the kind of high priest we need because He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin…“. He is true as we read in John 14:6, “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life..””. But what is this “key of David“? Jesus was repeating the prophecy made about Himself from Isaiah 22:22, “I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them“. Jesus was often referred to in Biblical literature as being the Son of David, indicating His royal ancestry.

So what is it that only Jesus can open and close? The Isaiah prophecy mentions doors, and that would seem an obvious target of Jesus’s keys. But doors to what? And what is so important that only the Son of God has access to them? In Matthew 16:19 the words of Jesus, in a conversation with Peter, were recorded: “And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven”. So perhaps this “key of David” unlocks the door into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Heaven is a special place, of complete holiness and purity. A place where God lives. A place that, although we only get a glimpse of it through the Bible, we still gain something about its wonder and ultimate desirability for our eternal home. There is a script used much in old cartoon films and pictures, of a person who has just died arriving at the gates of Heaven. Everything is white and shining, and Peter is sitting behind a desk looking down at the person, consulting books to see if he can be allowed in. But nothing can be further from reality, from the truth. The door into Heaven isn’t opened by a key when we die. There is no Peter, or even Jesus, waiting to let us in, in that respect. There is a process that has to be gone through first. A process that will unlock the door ready for us at some time in the future.

Jesus, while He walked the paths in Palestine, didn’t focus on the place called Heaven so much as He talked and taught about the Kingdom of Heaven. We have to understand that there is no sudden transition between life and the after-life, between our earthly kingdom and the Heavenly kingdom to come. There is a choice to be made, and Jesus was teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven is here right now and we can access it, and live in it, through the One who has the keys to open its door. We start our journey to enter Heaven at the Cross, where Jesus went through a horrible death so that we would gain entry into His Kingdom. By accepting in faith that He is the Son of God, believing in our hearts that He died for us and only salvation comes through Him, then Jesus will unlock and open the door for us, into His Kingdom.. 

There are only two kingdoms accessible to us in this life. The kingdom of darkness, or the Kingdom of Light. The devil’s kingdom or God’s Kingdom. The earthly kingdom or the Heavenly Kingdom. Whatever we call them, there are only two kingdoms. And there is a sobering and important fact about these kingdoms – the default kingdom is not God’s. If we want to spend eternity with God then we can only enter His kingdom by choosing to do so.

Going back to our Scripture in Matthew 16, Jesus very publicly gave Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. If we read a few verses before, we see that Peter had just made a statement declaring Jesus’ divinity. We read in verse 16, “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God””. On the back of that statement of faith, Peter went on to make very effective use of the keys to the Kingdom – after he preached his Acts 2 sermon, 3,000 people were added to God’s Kingdom that day. He unlocked the door into the Kingdom of heaven for them and they subsequently chose to enter.

But Peter is long dead. Did the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven die with him? Thankfully not, because when we become a child of God, we not only receive the free gift of salvation, we also receive the key that will enable us to unlock the door into God’s Kingdom for anyone we meet. We have a responsibility to fulfil our Kingdom commission by firstly telling others about the Kingdom of Heaven and secondly by telling them how to enter. That is unlocking the door. And for those who reject the free gift of salvation from God, the door remains locked. By default, they will continue to live in the earthly kingdom, and will find, when they cross the Great Divide, that the door into the Heavenly Kingdom is locked and they cannot enter. Instead they will join the devil in the other place. For eternity. 

One last thought today. We are living in a period of unmerited grace. A time when God has graciously made entry into His Kingdom possible for all. There is no monetary charge for entry – salvation is a free gift. In Romans 10:10 we read, “For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved”. That’s what God requires. A choice that will allow Jesus to unlock the door for us. So the question for everyone today is this. Which kingdom do you want to live in? please, folks, make the right choice before it is too late.

Dear Lord. How can we ever thank You enough for Your amazing grace and mercy. Please bring to us those who are open to the Gospel and who are looking for the Kingdom of God, so that we can show them the way. For Your sake. Amen.

Rewards

“Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.
Ephesians‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In this verse, Paul told his friends in Ephesus that, in the end, only two things matter – that one day they will be rewarded for the good they have done, and, by implication, it doesn’t really matter how they were spending their lives, in slavery or freedom, because it was their attitudes that mattered.

Taking the second point first, this is very applicable to pilgrims today. We won’t all have degrees, or be academic wizards. We won’t all be blessed with entrepreneurial prowess or political abilities. Or any other human attribute considered a great to have. All God is asking us is that we use what gifts we have, and set our hands to our work, no matter how lowly a job might be considered, with the right attitudes. We saw in a previous verse that we must do what we do “as to the Lord”, and when we live and work in that way, we are putting our lives into God’s reward zone.

Was Paul implying that there was some connection between our salvation and doing good? This is an error adopted by some Christians, who think they have to earn their salvation. But the reality is that no matter how hard we try, we will never have the abilities or resources to reimburse God for what He has done for us through Jesus. On a scale of one to a thousand, we won’t even move the pointer off zero. In Ephesians 2 we read, “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it”. Seems quite clear to me – we are saved by grace alone. We are saved because of God’s unmerited favour towards us. All we have to do is put our faith in Jesus, that He came to this world to save us. We read in Romans 10, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved”. No mention here of working for God, or doing good to others, to get into Heaven.

So what did Paul mean that we will be rewarded for doing good? I suppose, logically, doing good to others is part of our commission in sharing the Gospel. Doing good may be as little as sharing a kind word or putting away a neighbours trash bin. Or it may mean visiting a sick friend or neighbour in hospital. The possibilities for doing good are endless. Jesus said in Luke 6, “But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you”. Pilgrims spend their lives focused on their life-journey and its Heavenly goal, and in the process, we do good to and for others, whether we like them or not. In some inexplicable way, it’s part of the journey.

God’s Masterpiece

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One of the most difficult things for a new Christian, or even older Christians, come to that, to understand is that we are all saved by grace. But there is something within all of us that wants to respond to a gift, especially a big gift, with some act of reciprocation. So if someone buys me a present, I want to respond in the same way and do the same for them. We get a glimpse of how good God has been to us, accepting that Jesus gave Himself sacrificially, dying for our sins. And we want to respond by doing things for Him. So we commit to joining the church cleaning rota, or spend time giving out tracts in the market place. And before we know it we are trying to justify the gift by feeling we have earned it. Pride kicks in and translates us into legalism. No! God’s gift of salvation can never be earned. Yes! We have been saved to “do the good things he planned for us long ago.” But we have not been saved by them. Salvation is a free gift. And we receive it when we came to accept and believe that Jesus died for our sins. A free gift that cost us nothing, but cost Jesus everything, even His life. 

So in our pilgrimage, it is as though we transition through the doom and gloom of a dark and wet day (quite common in a Scottish winter – the word used here is “dreich“) into a glorious day of sunshine and light. The transition occurs when we believe in Jesus. Nothing for us to boast about here, except for how good God is. But in the sunshine and light we then suddenly come to realise that this pilgrim has become another person. The enormity of who we now have become bursts into our minds. God says we are now His masterpiece and have become a new person. We can look behind us at the wall of gloom, see an image of who we were standing in it, and then compare it with who we now have become. Standing in the sunshine. Made new. Assured that we are now how God wants us to be. And it’s all by His grace. Having that truth firmly planted and established in our hearts, we can now go out and do the good things He has planned for us. With a grateful heart. We do His work because we love Him.

In our life-journey there is a truth that the devil would want to take away from us. He would want us to be ordinary people. Nothing special. Nothing that would make us stand out in a crowd. What is this truth? It is that God “has created us anew in Christ Jesus“. And as a result, each one of us is His masterpiece. Not just “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139). We are new people. So we can continue in our pilgrimages, reminding the devil what God has said about us. In the natural, in the physical, we may not be anything special. But if we put on our spiritual glasses, we will see a lot of grey corpses, children of the devil, dead in their sins, indistinguishable from each other. But we will also see, every now and then, a shining figure. Unique. God’s glory reflecting from them with a light so intense it cannot be missed. And we can say – “there’s another of God’s masterpieces”. That’s you and me, folks! So, fellow masterpieces, let’s praise and thank Him together today. 

Payback

“What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? 
I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. 
I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people. 
O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; 
you have freed me from my chains.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭116:12-14, 16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

In our culture we hate being anyone’s debtor. “Neither a borrower or a lender be” is a saying from one of Shakespeare’s plays, and it underpins the proudful independence so respected in British society. But when it comes to God, we’re in a different league. There we were, bumbling along in our sinful worlds, heading like lemmings over the cliff of self-destruction into a lost eternity, “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. And all of a sudden, by a series of circumstances, Jesus found us, and we read in Romans, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” All of a sudden, as we embrace our salvation through the love and blood of Jesus, we find that we owe a debt to God that is unpayable. We can never earn enough to repay God for all he has done for us. In fact, even the whole world would be insufficient to pay the debt. Through God’s grace, our salvation cost Jesus everything but cost us nothing. But none of this stopped the Psalmist from saying, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?” It’s a trap we can fall into if we try and answer that question by our own efforts. The reality is that there is nothing I can do to earn God’s gift. I can only approach Him with a humble heart, overwhelmed in gratitude for “all His goodness to me“. 

I have heard people plead with God saying things like, “God, if you only heal my mother, then I promise I will go to church every Sunday for the whole of this year.” or, “God, if you help me give up smoking I’ll put the money saved in the offering every week.” I’m sure we have all walked that road at some time in our lives. But nothing we do to tug a concession from God’s heart will ever work. It’s because He knows what we need. He knows what our problems are. And through His grace and mercy, through His goodness and love, he will answer our prayers of faith, simply and effectively.

But that is not to say we should sit back waiting for our new life, basking in God’s grace. He has work for us to do. And we will be obedient, not to earn His salvation of course, but because we love Him. What does He want us to do? The Psalmist writes, “I will lift up the cup of salvation and praise the Lord’s name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.” And then in verse 16 he writes, “O Lord, I am your servant”. God has things for us to do. We are His servants and we delight in doing His will. We might ask, “What is God’s will for me?”. If we don’t know we only have to ask Him – He will soon answer.

“Truly”

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken. 
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. 
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. 
My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. 
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalms‬ ‭62:1-2, 5-8‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

Truly isn’t a word in everyday usage. You don’t hear someone say, “Truly, that car is a lovely colour”, or, “Truly, the weather was good this morning”. But there is something about the word that underpins some great sentiments in this Davidic Psalm. “Truly, my soul finds rest in God” builds a picture of a place of safety, a warm place of love and peace. Many would perhaps wonder if such a place exists, but that was the very point of David’s choice of the word “Truly”. What he was describing was completely and totally true. His experience of, and relationship with, God Himself was true. And he goes on to describe a dependable God. One who is his salvation. A God who provides safety and a solid foundation in an impregnable place. He uses words such as “Fortress” and “Refuge”. “Hope”, “Rest” and “Salvation”. 

The place David was talking about was, to him, very real and true. Of course he was not referring to a physical place. He was in a spiritual place, where his soul was safe from destruction. A place where enemies and circumstances could not reach him. It was a place where the presence of God was so real and strong to him that, truly, he was in a different world. And the amazing thing was that he was unshakeable – there was nothing in the physical world around him that would destroy his trust and hope in God.

How do we think God thought about David? After all, he had a spectacular moral meltdown over his adultery with Bathsheba, and the attempted cover up that followed. Surely that was enough to separate David from God forever. The truly amazing thing is that God considered David as being a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). You see, it is only unconfessed sins that block God’s love and grace. David put his heart right with God – we can read about the conversation he had with Him in Psalm 51.

Finally, in verse 8, David, from his position of unshakeable strength, appeals to those around him to join him in this place, the fortress and refuge, built on the Rock that is God Himself. He implores the people to “Trust in Him at all times“. That’s a problem for many of us because although we find it possible to trust God in the good times, we don’t find it so easy when times are hard. When a sick loved one is knocking on Heaven’s door. When an unexpected bill hits the doormat. But that is exactly the time when we need to be with God, in His presence. Is David’s invitation possible to accept? Jesus told the parable of the Marriage Feast – we can read it in Matthew 22 – and He finished up with the comment, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.” Let us be counted among the “few”, chosen to be part of the ultimate refuge.

Love

I love you, Lord, my strength.
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:1-2

When did you last tell someone you loved them? Hmmm. That’s a hard question. I must confess that expressing my emotions in that way is hard for me. Not that I don’t mean it. It’s not that I don’t do it, because the sentiments are there inside me, but somehow those early conditioning years discouraged me speaking out anything emotional. I’m sure I’m not alone. 

But what did the Psalmist, David, mean with the use of his word “love”? It implied not just a feeling, though that may be part of it, but mainly an attitude of heart, confirming and affirming that David was deeply interested in, and aware of, God, His Heavenly Father. That he was grateful for all His wonderful works and provisions, in fact all that he needed for life. And it involved the reciprocation for all the love God poured out on him, His son. Many years later, Jesus, in answer to a question from a Jewish religious lawyer, said that the first and most important commandment was, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” (Luke 10:27 NIV). It doesn’t get more complete than that! And that was the kind of love David was implying right at the start of this Psalm.

David associated the love of his Lord with His strength, using words such as “rock”, “fortress”, “deliverer”, “salvation” and “stronghold” to describe the way he felt about God. To David, God was utterly dependable. But how do we view God? In 21st Century Western society? Can we apply the same words David used in his day to our own relationships with God in our day? Or do we have God put in a box, with limits to what we think He can do. A box full of Sunday hymns and nice feelings but without any particular substance to help us, or a relationship to be lived out. It doesn’t matter where we live or what we do or think. Somewhere along the way, in our pilgrimage through life, we will come up against a problem. Will it overcome us, or will we rise up and declare, as David did, that God is our strength and our salvation? But one thing is for sure. God is always there for us. We may stumble and fall from time to time, but he will help us up and dust us off. And set our feet back on the Rock, ready and equipped for the next time something comes against us. Remember – God is the Lord of all.

Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. And Peter finally responded in a way that shaped the rest of his life. What would we say if Jesus asked us three times if we loved Him? Would we evade the question or embrace our wonderful Saviour with a resounding “Yes Lord, we love You!” A question to mull over in the day ahead.

Justice

“Do you rulers indeed speak justly? Do you judge people with equity? No, in your heart you devise injustice, and your hands mete out violence on the earth.
Then people will say, ‘Surely the righteous still are rewarded; surely there is a God who judges the earth.’”

Psalms‬ ‭58:1-2, 11‬ ‭NIVUK‬‬

“Do you judge people with equity?” Surely a good question. A question just as relevant today as it was in David’s time, but with a difference. In 21st Century UK society I would like to think that the laws set out by our parliamentarians are judged upon by our various courts with total and complete honesty. Justice is administered with almost total transparency, and avenues are available for appealing decisions that might be perhaps a bit dubious. However, in David’s day judges had a reputation of being corrupt, accepting bribes, with no right of redress. It didn’t stop there – hundreds of years later Jesus spoke a parable about the “Unjust Judge” – you will find it in Luke 18:1-8. And throughout history, justice has been a rather hit and miss affair.

So to me the issue of justice is not about corruption within the UK legal systems, but about the way secular and godless principles are creeping into law through unjust parliamentarians. Historically, UK law has been established on Godly principles over many years and these have established a society that is strong and stable, a society that is, for the main, implicitly comfortable with the fairness of its laws. But sadly, in recent years, UK governments seem to have lost their moral compass, and have weakly given in to godless minority groups and passed laws at odds with God’s principles. And the consequences of such legislation has had an unsettling effect on society, with unintended consequences coming to the fore. Verse 2 of our Psalm today talks about “violence on the earth”, surely another description for a society without peace, at war with itself.

David ends his Psalm with the comforting thought that God is still on His throne and will judge righteously, rewarding His people, those who abide by His principles. Though we would like God to judge now, He patiently allows everyone the opportunity to respond to Him, and we too need to be patient, trusting Him to bring about righteousness in all the earth. So we pray. And keep praying. For our governments, for our parliamentarians, for our judges, for our communities, for our families. For those who seem set on anarchy with their lobbying and disruption. And with faith, wait for God to bring about His will and purposes. Will we have to wait long? It may be a lifetime. We may never see justice served in the way we would like or expect. But we can be assured of this one thing – God is still on His throne and will one day judge those who devise injustice in their hearts.

Helicopters

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. John 3:8 NIV

Behind the trees this morning I heard the sound of a helicopter. First in the distance a popping noise and then, as it got closer, a swishing sound . It then appeared through a gap in the trees. So I looked it up on the “Flightradar24” App (if you are interested in flying then this is a great app to get and it’s free!) and was told that it was an “Airbus Helicopters AS355” but no information about where it had come from or where it was going was available. Of course, it must have started somewhere, and there will be a time when it has to land, if only to refuel. But the relevant data about its origin and destination was missing. 

The helicopter could be seen and heard but I couldn’t tell where it had come from or where it was going. In today’s Scripture, Jesus uses the analogy of wind. It can be heard but we don’t know where it came from or where it is going. It’s the same with our natural lives, we don’t plan either our origin or destination. That is, of course, unless we embrace the teaching of Jesus in John 3. But it is “sad but true” (to quote the title of the Metallica song) that most people seem unconcerned about their destination in life. They obviously cannot do much about their origins, but they can take steps to ensure the right destination.

In His discussion with Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who crept into Jesus’ presence after dark, Jesus explained the need for a spiritual birth. He said, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:5-7). So by being born again, we can determine our spiritual origins, and this starts us on the right journey through life. But how can we be sure that we are on our way to the right destination? We have a choice. We can either spend eternity with the devil and his demons in hell, or we can spend eternity with God and His angels in Heaven. A wrong choice and a right choice. A wrong destination and a right destination. And we can make the right choice by believing in Jesus, God’s only Son, to forgive us for our sins. On a cross at a place called Calvary He took upon Himself all our sins and gave us in exchange His righteousness. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21. And by being righteous in God’s sight we are assured of a future with Him in eternity.

So as Christians, we have an origin and a destination, and the spiritual App equivalent of Flightradar24 will record our journey between them. Not more “N/A” against the points of origin and destination. We have been born again through the Spirit of God, and assured a future in Heaven through our salvation. Our flight plan has been recorded in God’s Book of Life.

If you are unsure of where you are going and want to know more, please message me. It could be the most important decision you have ever made.

God’s Master Plan

“O Lord my God, you have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.” Psalms‬ ‭40:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Any attempt to unpick and drill down into this verse can only end up in becoming lost in the depths of our Creator God, full of grateful praise and worship. The bottom line is that God’s wonders, plans and deeds are uncountable because there are so many of them. For example, just take the environment in which we live. The number of conditions that combine to enable life as we know it on this planet are uncountable. And it was God’s plan to create a world where His plans could be developed. And look at the complexities of human life – how could two cells coming together in a mother’s womb ever develop into a human being capable of so much? It beggars belief that so many people believe the lie that our world and all its contents happened by chance. As the verse above points out, our Creator God has performed many wonders and deeds in implementing His plans.

But there is a wonder, a plan, a deed, that is far above anything else God has done for the human race. We find in the Genesis account that God created men and women in His image. And He wanted to have a relationship with them based on love and friendship. But things went horribly wrong with man’s response to God, as we can find in the early accounts of the Israelite nation. God wasn’t going to give up on His creation, though, and He devised a master plan to reconcile mankind back to Him. His love for us was so intense that he wasn’t going to let us continue in living a life less than how He designed it to be. A life without the ultimate richness of being a friend of God. We can read about God’s master plan through the words of Jesus in John 3. This is the Message version. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” That was God’s plan. To put the world back into the place He had designed it to be. He wasn’t going to give up on His creation and He never will. Through Jesus, God’s Master Plan, everyone person living on this planet can find out about God’s wonders, plans and deeds. If they want to. The choice is theirs. The choice is yours.

Don’t Give Up

“I pray to you, O Lord, My rock. Do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if You are silent, I might as well give up and die. Listen to my prayer for mercy as I cry out to You for help, as I lift my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.” Psalms‬ ‭28:1-2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To David, his relationship with God was so important, so profound, that if God was to ever withdraw from that relationship, David said he might as well stop living. We don’t know what David was praying about, though we get a few clues later in the Psalm, but at this critical moment in his life, he felt as though the heavens were made of brass and his petitions were falling on deaf ears. But as we read down this Psalm, we find that God did answer him. He writes in verses 6 and 7, “Praise the Lord! For He has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust Him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

So the question is, how important is my relationship with God? If the heavens were closed to my prayers and petitions, what would I think and do? Would I give up, spiritually speaking? It’s a sobering thought, but, like David, I can praise Him this morning because a theme of God’s love for me runs through the Bible, like letters through a stick of seaside rock. He says that I am His child (1 John 3:1). He says He cares for me (1 Peter 5:7). He reassures me that there is nothing I should be anxious about (Philippians 4:6-7). And so on. There are many such reassuring verses throughout the Bible. So this morning, I can praise and worship my Father, my Saviour God with a grateful heart. Can you?