Sunday, 5 January 2020

A Holy Temple

In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit   Eph. 2. 21, 22


I see two aspects, and two results/ happenings/achievements in these words. Firstly, it is in Jesus that mankind becomes the “holy temple of God.” Secondly, it is in Jesus that I become a dwelling place in which God lives by His Spirit.

I could possibly become a temple if I gave myself to create such a thing. But I could never become a holy temple by my own doing. My sin would mar the whole structure, making it tarnished and shoddy. But Jesus, by His perfect and divine sacrifice, makes possible for me what is impossible in myself. I have a conviction that, when God looks down on me from heaven, He sees Jesus. Hallelujah! Surely one of the greatest blessings.

When I join with others whom Jesus has cleansed and brought into the building of His holy temple, a God force is created, a force that is empowered to show the world the mighty, almost unbelievable love of the Father.

I open myself to God’s Holy Spirit, for it is by the Spirit that God lives in the dwelling He has made in me. I give myself to join together with other believers to become a living temple of our most holy God. May this temple be strong, united, loving, focused, and quipping to step out, to share the message of God with compassion, grace and blessing.  



Wonderful Saviour,
By the sacrifice of Your body You have made it possible for me to become part of Your holy temple of love. I give myself willingly into Your hands. I ask You to form me, release me, and do with me whatever You choose, I pray for   Your church, the Body of Christ. I ask You, humbly to bring revival. I pray and ask You to remove, any apathy. Strengthen us please. Bring forth Your power in the miracle of love. Let us show people the way to You. Grow the Body of Christ. I ask in the name of Your precious Son.         Amen.
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Friday, 3 January 2020

Obediencce


Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
                                                                                 Eph. 2.19, 20


God’s family is one! Paul declares this truth clearly in this letter. This places the truth for a long time. It has been declared for centuries past. Why, O why, then, do we not live in compliance with God’s truth? This is a question I would put to Jews and Christians alike, to the many proliferations and practices within the Christian world. 

We are in positive disobedience and blatant disregard of God’s will. And do we care? Seemingly not! We remain steadfast in our pathetic cliques and exclusivities, and the work of God is hindered and grossly abused. The Body of Christ has been weakened and the egos and ambitions of mankind elevated.                  

Ehen will we learn? The world desperately needs reformation. Society is fast disintegrating. People do just as they please. Authority is corrupt, and regularly ignored by many. Respect and courtesy are attributes that are disappearing, together with manners, responsibility and consequences.

Does the world need God? You bet it does! But it does not seem to know. The thought of changing and complying to decent standards is alien to much of today’s society. Yet, I believe God is still in charge. I know the moral fabric and behaviour do not attest to this, but God’s ways are not our ways. However sooner or later the change will come. I pray for a new world, a place of harmony, peace and Godly living.  



Lord God,
I see this world in an abysmal state in many places. I cry out to You for help. O Most Mighty One, I intercede for Your fallen people. We have ignored You; we have left Your ways for us, and we are have mostly lost what is tight. Help us I pray. Reach out to us and draw us back into Your will. Lead us in Your way, in Jesus’ name I ask.  Amen.
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Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Peace and joy

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through time we both have access to the Father by the Spirit.                                 Eph.  2. 17, 18


Jesus brings peace. Jesus is peace. The peace of Jesus is there for any who will receive it. He is there for those who come near and those who are far away. I note that the apstle refers first to those who were far away. 

Those who are furthest from the Father are surely the ones who are most in need of the saving grace of Jesus. The love of God reaches out to touch everyone with no exception (2 Peter 3.9). However far away people may seem from the love of the Father and peace of the Son, they are never out of God’s reach. His hands embrace the whole earth. His love can cover all.

The peace of Jesus is also poured gout on those who are near to Him. This might be a physical closeness, a spiritual closeness, or both. Wherever we stand in relation to Jesus, He is always close to us. He will draw us even closer to Himself if we will allow Him. I want to get as close to Jesus as I possibly can. I want to be able to look into the depths of His wonderful eyes. I look to know the breath of His Holy Spirit exuding from Him and touching me with His presence. I want to feel His embrace and the liberty and strength that comes with it. In short, I want to be filled to overflowing with Him. He is my all, my everything. 


Most Precious Jesus,
I come to You in the fullness of love, the love You have for me, and the sweet love You allow me to offer to You.
I thank You for the wonderful journey you have led me on. I look forward to more. May Your guiding hand lead me in paths of wonderment and joy. May I know your Your presence with me in sweetness of deep relationship and intimacy. You have drawn me to You. How blessed I am. You take me on the most wonderful adventures, and I know Your presence ever with me. You enjoy me, and I cannot understand it. But I accept it and give myself fully into it. I thank You, O I thank You.             Amen.
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Monday, 30 December 2019

No barrier

For he himself is our peace, he has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to one God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.                         Eph. 2. 14-16




Jesus is peace. He also brings peace to all who look to Him. The reference here to two becoming one, I take to refer to the Jew and the Christian. Christ was a Jew. He was also the Christ. He destroyed the barrier that was between the two groups of people. He removed the dividing wall. He also overcame the regulations that caused separation between the two peoples and God. He brought them together as one, the united body of Christ. Through Christ and the cross, the two separate entities were reconciled and united. In God there is no separation. How sad it is that separation still exists in reality.

I move now from the separate entities of the Jewish and Christian peoples to the divisions that exist within the community of Christian denominations. The differences and barriers are, surely, the most ungodly manifestations of religious practices. Where is the unity of which the psalmist spoke (psalm 133)? where is the peace that Jesus made available to all who would receive it? Paul reminds us of our true identity. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. ( 1 Cor. 12.27) There are many parts, but only one body. If only the church, in its various guises, would come together as the one, true body of Christ! Christ’s mission fails through the divisions of humanity. One day we will be called to account. I pray I can answer in the affirmative, and the positive, and with integrity and truth.


Most Loving God,
I feel for the ways in which Your body dishonours You. I repent on behalf of all who profess to be Christian believers, yet who do not follow Your ways and do not live and practice as You would have us do.
I pray that You will rise us up in a revived body. Let us know, and become, true Christians obedient to all Your ways, and giving ourselves fully into Your will. Amen.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Belonging

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” - (that done in the body by the hands of men) -  remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in your world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.                               Eph. 2.11-14



This is quite a lengthy quote but it so beautifully describes the entry of the Gentile into faith. Excluded by the Jews and separated by them through the human and “man practiced” rite of circumcision, the barrier is removed by Christ, and the way opened up for ALL to enter into relationship with the one, true, powerful and loving God.

Jesus Christ is the hope of all. By His sinless death He conquered sin, and this is for everyone; no one is excluded, except by their own decision. Circumcision separated the Gentiles from the Jews. No such separation exists in the Christian faith. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11.28)

Jesus stands ready to take our burdens and bring us to a place of peace. I know I can rest in Him. I will know the rest and the safety that only He can give. I am assured by Him; I am complete in Him. I was once lost, separated from Him by my own choosing. But He took hold of me and drew me into the sweetest of relationships. I will not let go. He is my Saviour, my friend, my all. And He is there for any who will come to Him. Hallelujah!



Wonderful Lord, 
I thank You for this reminder that ALL are welcome in You and by You. Salvation is a reality for all who desire it and turn to the One who is the way.
I pray Your blessing on those who know You and live in You. I cry out for the salvation of those who are not yet with You. May Your grace extend and Your love cover all.     Hallelujah!           Amen.
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Friday, 27 December 2019

All about Grace

For it is by grace we have been saved, through faith – and this is not from ourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.                Eph. 2. 8 -10


It’s all about grace, something we can do nothing about. Grace is purely, simply and totally a gift from God. We cannot fabricate or manufacture grace. We cannot earn it. All we can do is wait on God and be ready to receive the gift of grace from Him together with other gifts He may choose to bestow upon us.

Faith is also a gift from God. It is a free gift, like grace, which cannot be brought into reality by human endeavour. With these gifts emanating from God, there is no place for human boasting. We have nothing to do with the origin or distribution of them. It is all God’s work.

The gifts of grace and faith have many functions, a primary one of which is to do with good works. I believe that God will help us with these. He created us to live in relationship with Himself. Through the generosity and love of God we receive grace and faith. As we exercise these gifts, we will grow in God and prosper in the work He would have us do.

As God’s creation and children all the attributes and gifts of God are available to us, including grace and faith. We may think and feel that we do not have these gifts. Jesus very clearly says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find,” (Matt. 7.7) I believe these promises are conditioned by what we ask for, which I see as those things that are pleasing to God. The gifts of grace and faith will certainly please God, and it is good that we are able to ask for them.




Lord God,
We know the generosity You extend to Uour children. We know and are grateful. As Your child I come in humble petition that You grant faith and grace to those who believe and earnestly seek these and other gifts, from You. Lead us forward in Your way and Your will for is, in Jesus’ name we ask.              Amen

Saturday, 14 December 2019

The eyes of my heart

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, and the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.                                     Eph. 1.18, 19a


What are “the eyes of my heart”? My eyes are those amazing organs through which I see. I am most grateful for my eyes. If I were to reflect on my life without seeing, I think I would be troubled. I have much admiration and respect for those who live, and cope, and thrive without the facility of physical sight. I look, and I see, but I do not always understand. I think this is where my heart helps me. To a degree my mind and thinking also become involved but, I believe, to a minor degree. My thinking is often, hopefully, logical and orderly. This is extremely helpful in navigating through the challenges of a life of worldly thought and action.


However, when we align ourselves with God, worldly thinking and doing are not always helpful. God has told us host clearly, “My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18.36) Equally clearly, He said, “As it is, you do not belong to the world.” (John 15.19) The ways of the world have limited application in the thinking and the behaviour of the true believer. We are called to follow a different way of thinking, a way that is alien and often incomprehensible to “the world”: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Cor. 3.19)

God sees the foolishness of worldly wisdom. Does the world consider the mind to be more important that the heart? Maybe! But God sees the heart as the source of all life and living: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. (Prov. 4.23) There is an inbuilt stress in these words: Above all else. We are to put the heart before anything else. I also believe that we need to surrender our hearts to God, to let Him have His way in our heart-led doings and behaviour.  How I long to know God’s heart and to live in harmony with it. May the eyes of my heart be clear and focused on Him. I truly believe that what I focus on becomes a part of me. With the “eyes of my heart” focused on God, I come closer to Him, I experience more of His ways, and I grow into the being He created me to be.

Through all of this will grow in me the hope to which He has called me. My hope is on Him, and He will not let me down. It is a hope of riches in  Him. To them (the saints, the believers) God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1.27) Part of “God’s riches” is the great power, given to those who truly believe in Him. In God, all the might and power of heaven is made available to me. Hallelujah!



Most Mighty and Loving God,
I quote the words of a Christian chorus: Open the eyes of my heart, Lord. I pray for a full opening of the eyes of my heart to the glory and riches that are in You. Let me see You, if You will, in the splendour of Your being, Your might and power, Your grace, mercy and love. I love You Lord. I can’t get enough of You. Open my eyes and fill my heart, in Jesus’ wonderful name I ask.          Amen.         





Dear Friends, next week I undergo further surgery. I don't know if the blog will continue with regularity. I will endeavour to post when I can.
Meanwhile, I thank you for your company during this journey with Jesus, and I pray every blessing in your ongoing adventure with Him.