Letter of Challenge Literature Fellowship (Aust.) Inc.
Psalm 34 — Happiness in Christ
You will remember friends that we have been looking
devotionally at Psalm 34 in our February Prayer Letter
and now we want to complete these thoughts in our March
Prayer Letter. The theme of our devotion in Psalm 34 is
‘Happiness in Christ’ and I guess you could use the subtitle
of ‘staying in tune with the Lord during the struggles
of life’. This is just one of those psalms that really gives
such clear guidance as to how to keep our focus on the
Lord especially when the going gets tough. We have to
recognise that in the Christian life part of the process of
growing and maturing in Christ are trials and temptations.
I think its been well summed up by someone who said
that where the sun shines always we get but a desert. So
it is fair to say that we need the rain and the wind and the
storms of life mixed in with the sunshine of life to help
us grow and mature into well-balanced Christians.
So in this month’s prayer letter I want to cover 2 more
points in Psalm 34 that I think can help us to do exactly
Then thirdly David develops this theme of fear in
encouraging us to fear the Lord in verses 9-16. He picks
up in verse 9 and says to all of us; “O fear the Lord you
His saints.” And then makes this wonderful statement
where he says; “There is no want to those who fear Him.”
Now let me say to you that if we as the Lord’s people do
not have this awful reverential fear of God then we might
find that Psalm 23 is not quite what we thought it was
when David says; “The Lord is my shepherd and I shall
not want.” You see friends that opening verse of Psalm 23
just bristles with the whole meaning of having a personal
relationship with the Lord. Notice how David says; “The
Lord is my shepherd.” Now we cannot say that unless we
are in a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus. But as
we fear the Lord notice the benefits that come. We see
first of all that He provides for His people. Look at verse
10. It says; “The young lions lack and suffer hunger but
those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.”
That really is just another way of saying Psalm 23 and
Then notice he says He will teach us in verse 11.
“Come you children, listen to me, I will teach you the
fear of the Lord.” One of the great challenges I come
across with young Christians is to find young Christians
who are willing to listen and be teachable. Not only is
that a means of listening and being teachable in regards
to say an older man teaching a younger man or an older
woman teaching a younger woman, it also refers to the
fact that we as the Lord’s people are to be listening to God
and coming before Him in humility and are teachable.
This is why David says; “Who is the man who desires
life and loves many days that he may see good?” So as
one is teachable notice the impact that flows from that;
the Lord keeps us from speaking evil, He keeps us from
being deceitful and lying, He keeps us away from evil and
enables us to do good. He also helps us to pursue peace in
all that we do. We also see that in all of these difficulties
He enables us to deal with our troubles. Look at verse
16 where David says; “The face of the Lord is against
those who do evil.”
Then lastly we see in verses 17-22 David’s final rally
call is to trust in the Lord. Look at verse 17 where he says;
“The righteous cry out and the Lord hears and delivers
them out of all their troubles.” This reminds me of Psalm
50 and verse 15 which says; “Call upon the Lord in the
day of trouble and I will deliver you and you will glorify
me.” As we trust the Lord not only do we experience
God’s deliverance but also the experience we go through
is glorifying the Lord. So it’s really important that when
we cry out to the Lord we cry out in faith, in trust and do
so with an expectancy that God will answer. We also must
be willing to walk in humbleness before God. Notice how
David says that; “The Lord is near to those who have a
broken heart and save such as have a contrite spirit.” So we
don’t come with a sense of arrogance or self importance
or with a superior attitude in that we have got it all nailed
down. Rather we come before God recognising that as
John 15 and verse 5 says; “Apart from Him we can do
So in all of this as we cry out in trust and expect God to
answer and as we walk in humility, then what happens is
that God is pleased to keep us in a right walk with Him.
What David is saying to us is that as we walk with God
there will be times that we experience afflictions and
suffering in trial but we can know God’s experience in
all of these situations and that’s why we read in verse 19;
“But the Lord delivers him out of them all,” that is the
struggles, afflictions and difficulties. But not only does
He do that, He protects His people. You’ll notice there in
verse 20 that He protects us physically, He protects us
emotionally and He protects us spiritually. And that’s why
it says in verse 22 that; “The Lord redeems the souls of
His servants and none of those who trust in Him shall be
condemned.” This brings me to that wonderful verse in
Romans 8 and verse 1 which says; “There is therefore
now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
That word condemnation has the idea of being free of
debt, being free of guilt because of the finished work of
Calvary. It’s no wonder David opens this Psalm with the
statement; “I will bless the Lord at all times and His praise
shall continually be in my mouth.”
May that be your testimony for 2008 and onwards.
Best wishes on behalf of the Challenge Team for
Carl Carmody, Editor of Challenge
Praise the Lord for a really great response for our Easter edition of Challenge. We generated almost 75,000 copies
for churches all over the country.
Praise the Lord for gifts from farmers who have put wheat or other crops in the silo on our behalf, we are enormously
grateful to these farmers.
Praise the Lord for new staff members coming on board in 2008. First of all we have Andrew and Karen Trezona and
their five daughters joining the Challenge team in May this year. Andrew will be taking on the role of the promotion
and development of the paper here in Australia and we are really trusting the Lord for great things. Secondly Don
Kennedy has commenced helping us out part-time in Victoria.
We want to really praise the Lord for our writers who are so faithful in supporting our work not only here in Australia
but for those who also write for us in Africa, North and South America.
We want to praise the Lord also for the new opportunities that are coming our way overseas for the further spread
of the good news of the gospel through Challenge; in India, Egypt and Malawi. Malawi edition starts this month.
We do praise the Lord for our faithful volunteers here in Australia who give of their time and effort and skills in
promoting the paper, in wrapping the paper and in helping to get the paper distributed effectively.
We need to pray for Australia this year as we endeavour to strategically bring on board new staff to grow the
distribution of the paper by the grace of God.
We do want to pray for New Zealand as we negotiate with Christian Literature Crusade for the possible printing
and distribution of the paper in New Zealand.
We want to pray for the paper in Africa. We are very keen to expand the Prison Edition into Botswana and Kenya
this year. We would value your prayer for the distribution in Botswana under the leadership of Andrew and Sandra
Zimbabwe is another country that is desperately in need but at the same time is wide open to the gospel. As seems to
always happen the churches are growing rapidly and we really want to be on board with putting out at least 30,000
papers into Zimbabwe.
Zambia we are working very closely with Pro Christo Global Outreach and we are asking for the Lord’s blessing
on the 20,000 papers we put in there per edition.
Kenya ? we have been going into Kenya for about the last two years and we are putting in about 15,000 papers
every 2 months into that country. We are looking to get into the prisons as well as getting into the broader area of
Kenya. With the most recent unrest, it just further highlights the need for the gospel in places like Kenya.
Future prospects: These are looking good. We are really praising the Lord for the fact that we are putting out our first
genuine bilingual edition of our paper into Malawi which is happening in March. Please pray for the organisation,
distribution and response to the paper.
Also new work this year is involving further investigation into Nigeria, India and also Egypt. We plan to visit Egypt
towards the end of the year to look at the prospects of an English/Arabic edition of the paper, and India in May and
South America. At present we are putting in a total of 25,000 papers into Argentina and Uruguay every 3 months
under the banner of Word of Life in South America. We are still very much in the fledgling stage and would value
your prayer for the growth of the support and effective distribution. Future prospects involve the possibilities for a
Portuguese edition for Brazil and also for the spread of our Spanish edition into Peru, Ecuador and Paraguay.
North America: At this stage we are getting the Challenge into North America/Canada every 3 months. We would
value prayer for the distribution of the paper on this Continent. We are seeing God do some interesting things
especially with the Southern Baptists and we are hopeful that God will continue to open special doors to enable
us to get not only the paper into churches but also generate a real flow of mission support for our work elsewhere
around the world.
We would value prayer for the ongoing work of Challenge. As you would be aware there is an increasing demand
for finances, and we would value your prayer for churches that would like to sponsor different countries that we
are going into. Please pray that these churches would see the vision and be keen to give to it.
Please pray for the Challenge staff who do an incredible job in staying on top of the ever pressing demands of
deadlines for different papers in different parts of the world.
Box 978, Cloverdale 6985
(08) 9453 3311 Fax (08) 9453 3006
www.challengenews.org — Email: firstname.lastname@example.org