BlogsThoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral
By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral
As a child my favourite book of the Bible was Proverbs.
I used to quote chapter 27 verse 14 all the time: You might as well curse your friends as wake them up early in the morning with a loud greeting. (Good News Bible). I never was a morning person.
Or chapter 28 verse 1: The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion. (Good News Bible). That was my excuse for not taking part in cross country running.
These verses still make me chuckle and I may still quote them on Sunday morning when one or other of Mick’s customers rings at 8:15 to check he has remembered to order the fence panels or when Ian reminds me I have to run 5k with him on Monday.
However, I would say that now my favourite book of the Bible is actually Psalms. Having some life experience behind me I find the amazing collection of prayers very helpful.
Mick used to use the youth Bible all the time. He liked the section in the front that said “Feeling sad? Read XYZ. Feeling lonely? Read ABC”.
Psalms is a bit like that. The morning devotional app that Mick and I use every day is called Lectio 365. It is from the 24/7 prayer people and it encourages us to P.R.A.Y:
‘P’: PAUSING to be still.
‘R’: REJOICING with a Psalm and REFLECTING on God’s Word.
‘A’: ASKING God to help us and others
‘Y’: YIELDING to His will in our lives, come what may.
As part of the “rejoice” section the phrase “I choose to rejoice in God’s goodness today, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 9…” was used on Saturday but the attribute of God changes every day.
On Friday, it was God’s rescue (Psalm 35), on Thursday it was God’s forgiveness (Psalm 103).
We may not always feel like rejoicing though and there are Psalms for that.
For example, Psalm 31:9-13
Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
my eyes are tired from so much crying; I am completely worn out.
I am exhausted by sorrow,
and weeping has shortened my life.
I am weak from all my troubles; even my bones are wasting away.
All my enemies, and especially my neighbours, treat me with contempt.
Those who know me are afraid of me; when they see me in the street, they run away.
Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead; I am like something thrown away.
I hear many enemies whispering; terror is all around me.
They are making plans against me, plotting to kill me.
I love the rawness of this Psalm. The honesty of its author. It is ok to be real with God.
The variety of emotions and observations, the beautiful words of worship and anguish mean so much to me, all the more so because Jesus himself will have known these Psalms and used them in worship. If it was good enough for Him, it’s good enough for me.
On our Christian holiday last year we started the day by praising God reading or listening to a Psalm. I enjoyed this version of Psalm 92 and I would therefore like to encourage you to explore Psalms if you aren’t familiar with them and include in the comments your favourite one.
Helen O’Brien with her husband Mick
Comments – let us know what you think
In the month of remembrance, Chris on remembering what Jesus sacrificed for us and how we need to act on it.
Helen on the importance of Friends and what God has to say about them in the Bible.
Andrew on evangelism, how we are all evangelists whether we like it or not, and how to evangelise easily.
Dawne on the parable of the lost sheep and the lessons we can take from it as followers of Jesus and members of His flock.
Yvonne on loss and how God has helped her deal with the loss of her mum and the impending departure of her eldest son to his first job
Nicki on serving at Newday and the impact it has had on all three Frodsham children and many, many others
Simon on the frustrations of not being able to get to sleep properly, and the Bible verses that help him stand firm against sleeplessness.
Gerry on how easy it is to be drawn into gossip. “If you can’t say anything positive, don’t say anything at all” isn’t just good advice, it’s Biblical wisdom.
Sylvia on being an encourager: “God knows our troubles. When we open up to Him, He’ll use other people to encourage us through His word.”
Lynne on doing what God wants us to do even when we really don’t want to do it – and why it’s important
Chris on the power of our words and how having a relationship with Jesus can give us the power of the right word at the right time.
Andrew Greenhalgh on being much better at giving advice than at taking it – and what happens as a result.
Chantal Robertson on how God and the gospel of Christ has never changed over time – even though the way we package it has.
Nicki on how she was planning to work in the marketing and advertising industry until God led her in a different direction.
Dawne challenges us to look at life with the enthusiasm, joy and exuberance of her Macedonian dog Floki and find joy in the everyday.
Jen on how taking the Alpha Course because she had nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternoon led to a life-changing wheelchair for her daughter Daisy and many others.
Gerry on how her ideas of what love truly is have changed over the years, and how love can be so much more than a feeling.
Matt Wilson on how God is weaving a tapestry – and knows what that looks like. He can see the big picture. Our part is to trust him with the threads he has given us.
Denise Griffiths on resolutions and why she has resolved not to make the usual New Year’s resolutions such as giving up chocolate, eating healthier or doing more exercise!
Vernon on the transience of life, and how, through all suffering, God’s steadfast love has the capacity to satisfy us every morning.
Andrew Greenhalgh on how he ended up going to church on Christmas morning for the first time at the age of 11 – and what it has taught him.
Helen on how preparations for Christmas vary from family to family and country to country. And what happened to Helen’s Lindt advent chocolates?
Nicki and Dave on how walking the streets and praying for our neighbours can lead to some unexpected opportunities to spread God’s word.