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Read the whole article on the Latimer Minster website.
Read the whole article on the Latimer Minster website.

Psalm 32 (vv. 1-6)

1. Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. 2. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.3. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.5. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. 6. Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.

Words have meaning and words have power. One of the great themes of the Psalms is the potency of the tongue. With the words from our mouths we can praise God or curse others. We can speak truth or we can spray poison.

Some times our tongues can get the better of us and before our brain has fully engaged, some half-baked sentence has left our lips and thrust itself upon the world.

And there are equally some things that are rather less forthcoming. “I love you” or “I’m sorry” typically don’t come as quickly or as frequently as they ought to. Because of pride, or fear, or stubbornness – basically sinfulness – we don’t say what we should say and furthermore what weknow we should say.

Read the whole article on the Latimer Minster website.

Walking with the Psalms

Psalm 28

1. To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me. For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. 2. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place.  3. Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. 4. Repay them for their deeds and for their evil work; repay them for what their hands have done and bring back on them what they deserve. 5. Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord and what his hands have done, he will tear them down and never build them up again.

6. Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. 7. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. 8. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

I was staying with my parents for the recent bank holiday weekend. They live in the same house I grew up in during my secondary school days. Memories live in that house too and speak loudly when I visit.

Looking back I remember my teenage years. I particularly remember my thought life. “Who am I?” “What’s the point of life anyway?” were just a couple of the questions I would think on then. I remember that I strongly felt that I didn’t want to be a mere statistic in this world, swept away in the tide of soon-to-be-forgotten faces that in the end amounted to nothing very much. I wanted to matter. I wanted my life to matter. I wanted to stand out.

Yeah, teenage years can be somewhat angsty.

David was concerned with being swept away in the crowd too. Hear his cry for recognition in the first three verses. He wanted to stand out, to be recognised. After all, as David muses in verses four and five, he should stand out from the rest. They, the ones David’s talking of, are “wicked” and “do evil”. I wonder if verse 6 was more of a mutter than a bold declaration, a sort of sigh, “Because they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord” (emphasis mine).

It’s classic “us and them” language. “I’m not like that.” “I’m better.” “They are terrible.” David is seeking for recognition and ultimately his righteousness because he’s not them.

If our faith stopped at that point we would be left with just another religion based on man’s best attempts to do well and please his God as best he can

But the story doesn’t end there and instead David paints of a foreshadow of the glorious measure of grace to come which sets faith in Jesus apart from all other religious systems of the world.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield” (v.7) It is God himself who is “a fortress of salvation”. It’s not our good works; it’s not how different we look to those who practice evil in this world. It’s only by God’s strength that we can be made right.

Additionally, it’s only by God’s shield that we can defend our righteousness. We are made righteous by God’s intervening act of Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. It’s not what we do but what He’s done. We don’t labour to defend our righteousness but rest under His shield. That is more than enough to cause our hearts to “leap with joy”.

This is part of a daily series on latimerminster.org

Walking with the Psalms

Sojourners In Our Own Land

1. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2. for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in to a place? As children of God our true home is not in this world. But just because our residency is now elsewhere does not mean that we don’t belong where we are right now. Our Father – who has set our eternal destiny – still owns this world. Everything belongs to Him and He retains command and authority over all things and all people. We may be fighting a battle, but we’re fighting on home soil.

Take heart that God is in control and over all. As Abraham Kuyper said:

There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, “Mine!”

Holiness: The whole of our being

3. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4. The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.5. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. 6. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.

Who is the holiest person that you know? Think about it for a moment. Now how did you come to that conclusion? What factors did you base your decision on? The Psalmist tells us of three areas that together must be pure and they are all found in verse 4 …

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As part of our daily devotional series at Latimer Minster we’re exploring a ‘Hymn of the Week’. This week I had the opportunity to reflect on one of my favourite hymns, The Advocate (Before The Throne of God Above) by Charitie Lees Smith.

I love declarative hymns. Hymns that sing of the wonderful attributes of God, which I can enthusiastically endorse in chorus with my brothers and sisters. They appeal to my soul because they take my eyes from where they’re all so easily stuck, me, and lift them towards Heaven. In the tired hustle and bustle of life which sounds like “me, me, me, me, me, me, meee …” it is a stream of ice-cold Evian in the desert to sing: “He.”

This Hymn is somewhat of an exception to my personal rule of taste. But it is one of my utmost favourites.

Read the hymn and entire reflection on the Latimer Minster website.

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Latimer Minster have recently launched a new devotional series on the books of Psalms. For the next 6 months we will be taking a Psalm a day and reflecting on it. My first reflection, on Psalm 5, is below.

Why not add this to your daily devotional? Sign up to the Latimer Minster mailing list to receive an email with the Psalm of the day.

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Psalm 5: Protection in the Midst of Danger

There are two things that strike me as I read the second half of this Psalm. Firstly, David isn’t afraid to ask God for protection for his own responsibility. The nation of Israel had many enemies. As king, it was David’s job to protect the nation. The presence of conflict was never far from David and he grew to know God as the provider of his own, and his family’s protection.

This is rooted in David’s unswerving confidence in God’s assured love. In verse 7 we see that it’s by God’s ‘great love’ that David petitions God. This love is a divinely protected, confident favour towards David and it is the same resolute love Jesus offers his hearers in each of the Beatitudes. It’s a blessed, steadfast assurance and it’s strong enough to stand on.

David knew both the reality and source of the danger that faced him, and even more importantly, the source of his strength he would need to take his charge and confront that danger. He was fighting the battle that needed to be fought and he was fighting it the way it needed to be fought.

Continue reading …

The Radcliffe Camera

In February last year, whilst visiting Oxford for the day, I paused for coffee at G&D’s with a friend. Over the light chit-chat my friend, Tom, found out that I was leaving my job to study full time. “Why not come and study in Oxford?” he asked.

And so, in October I found myself in Oxford starting the one-year programme at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics. Talk about your weak links coming into play.

Or talk about a God with purpose and destiny for your life.

I have found that opportunities for the next thing in life often pop up in a way one could hardly anticipate in advance. And so the next step in my life followed suit.

After a great week of mission in Sweden and another week in east-London earlier this year, one of my tutors came up to me and said, “We’re looking to launch an apologetics missional community in the heart Oxford. Will you come and lead it?”

And now, as I type, we are four days out from the launch of Latimers Oxford, a missional community in the heart of Oxford.

Dreams and prayers and planning have converged. A team has formed and is gelling together. A vision has blossomed and people want to be a part of it.

Latimers Oxford is a fresh shoot of the growing Latimer Minster church in Beaconsfield. We are a group of people gathering together to worship, pray, and get engaged in mission. The focus of the mission component is mission through apologetics – that is, dealing with people’s objections, intellectual and emotional, that they might see Jesus.

I fell in love with Oxford last year. This city of great heritage and history has played and continues to play such an important role in this nation. Great waves of revival and reformation have rippled out from this City of Dreaming Spires.

I long to see the vision of giants of the past sustained. Men like Wycliffe, Latimer, Ridley, Cranmer, Wesley, Wesley, and Whitfield.

The Hub
The Hub on Turl Street, where we meet every Sunday 3-5pm

Jesus’ hope is powerful to change lives, communities, and whole nations. We at Latimers Oxford seek to play our part in proclaiming the risen Christ as Lord and Saviour in our city.

We kick off the Sunday meetings with a look at the life and death of Hugh Latimer, the namesake of our little group. If you’re in Oxford why not join us? We’d love to have you.

Latimers Oxford meets every Sunday 3-5pm at The Hub, on Turl Street. Additionally, we meet to pray every Wednesday at 7am in Starbucks on Cornmarket Street.

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