Wednesday, 28 March 2012
Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. 1 Thess. 3.11-13
In the middle of his letter, Paul breaks into prayer. I receive his prayer for today and for me, as much as it was prayed for the original recipients of Paul’s letter.
Paul calls upon our God and Father. He acknowledges the might of God in His sovereign and all-mighty being together with His ineffable love as Father of all creation. The Son is there in complete unity with the Father – and also with the Spirit. By His sacrifice and victory, Jesus is truly Lord for all those who will accept Him.
Jesus is the way, the only way, to the Father. Jesus connects us all to the Father and to His amazing love. He also connects us to each other.
Paul calls upon Jesus to increase love in us. He asks that our love, not only for those we know and are in relationship with but also for all people everywhere, may increase and overflow. The clearest example of overflowing that I can offer is of a container filled with liquid that reaches to the capacity of the holder but then continues to flow. The container is unable to hold back the excess liquid which flows freely over everything. It is unrestrained and unrestricted. This is the love that we receive from Jesus – a love of and for Him, for ourselves, and for others.
In the example of the liquid, the container is always full. I need to know that I am ever filled, to brimming over, with the love of Jesus. But His love does more than fill me. It rushes out of me in a seemingly reckless way, touching all who are near. Yes, the love of God, just like the liquid in the container, cannot be held back. It freely flows over and out. It flows without restraint. I cannot help but share the wonderful love which is His gift to us. It is unrestricted. There is no limit to its volume. There is no restriction to the places and persons it can reach. And there is no bound to the miracles it can work. I am marked by the love of God. In Him I am commissioned and enabled to share His love. As freely as I receive it, so I share it.
Jesus can strengthen my heart. In Him and through Him I can find strength and holiness in the presence of God. I am blameless in Jesus. What greater blessing might there be? When the Lord Jesus comes with His holy ones, He will receive me and draw me to His own. I pray there will be many others drawn to Him at that very time through the power of the love He has given me for them – a love that He has so willingly and freely given me, and that I have been willing to share freely without limit or charge.
I receive this prayer of Paul for myself. I pray for love and strength in Almighty, Loving God, and for His enabling of me to witness His love and grace to others.
Lord God, Holy Heavenly Father,
I thank You for this prayer that Paul uttered so long ago. I make it my own prayer today.
I ask for an increase in love. I pray for Your love to fill me to saturation and then to overflow. I ask that the love You give me will remove all obstacles to my reaching out to others in love. I pray Your love will flow, freely and unabated, through me, touching all in proximity with the grace and mercy, love, strength and blessing of their Holy Father and Wonderful Saviour.
Lord God, I am a sinner. I confess and repent of my wrong-doing. I ask You to strengthen me into holiness. Lead me forth in Your blamelessness. Protect me that I may always be a spokesman for You.
In strength and love – in, of and for You – I seek to go forward. Lead me on. Have Your way in my life. In Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Friday, 23 March 2012
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” Gen. 17.1
Abram and Sarai had used a surrogate mother in their attempt to fulfil God’s promise of offspring to them. It was not God’s way. There is a clear lesson for me here. If God makes a promise He will fulfil it without any help or interference from me.
There is, however, something for me to do. As with Abram, God’s faithful servant, I need to be obedient. Faith needs to be accompanied by the “obedience that comes from faith.”
Abraham later demonstrated his obedience to God when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac.
When in a waiting pattern, it is difficult to know just how to be obedient to God. The human, and worldly, side of me feels that it must be doing. Even as I write this I sense God’s reminder that He first wants me to be, and he will organise any doing. This is so alien to the ways of the world, and I struggle with it.
Still, it comes back to me, And with it comes reminders from God’s Word:
Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46.10).
...Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10.42).
I confess that again I am restless. I want to be doing – for You.
Today I am sensing a reminder for being rather than doing. Your Word requires obedience of me. I’m not exactly sure what that warrants at the present time. So I offer myself to You. I come to You and sit at Your feet. I wait upon You. If there is anything I am meant to do, I ask You to show me clearly. Meanwhile I will take each day as it comes, looking to You for all things, and resting in You at all times. Thank You for my life. Thank you for being with me. Amen.
Tuesday, 20 March 2012
They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne,
and to the Lamb!” Rev. 7.10
Hallelujah! Indeed salvation belongs to God and to Jesus. Jesus extinguished the debt of our sins to God.
What amazing grace we live under. God loves us so much that He came Himself in human form to pay the price required in order that we might be restored to Him.
We cannot decide who will get saved and when, but we can be ready to accept this wonderful free gift when our gracious God offer it to us.
I rejoice that God has already extended the gift of salvation to me. I also rejoice that I am able to come before Him with prayer and supplication, and I do that now, with a humble request that He prepare those I love and care for, to be ready when the gift of salvation is offered to them.
Again I come before You with rejoicing – rejoicing that I have a wonderful relationship with You, and rejoicing that I can come to You with earnest and sincere requests for the gift of salvation for my loved ones.
I pray for those who don’t presently walk with Jesus. I include family members, neighbours, friends and acquaintances. I am so wanting them all to know You, to savour and enjoy the wonderful love and intimacy that come from relationship with You.
Hear my cry, lord. This gift is just too much for me to keep to myself. Help me, Lord, to share it with all that I know!
I praise You. I worship You.
I rejoice in who I am in You.
I commit those I know to Your loving care, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Wednesday, 14 March 2012
He treated Abram well for her sake, and Abram acquired sheep and cattle, male and female donkeys, menservants and maidservants, and camels. Gen. 12.16
The story of Abram is amazing, yet it is just one of many remarkable stories in God’s dealings with His people.
Before even leaving Mesopotamia, God had spoken to Abram, telling him to leave all he was familiar with and comfortable in for an unknown destination. God’s promise was to make Abram into a great nation and to bless him.
Abram had left Mesopotamia with his father, Terah, and other members of the family. They had settled at Haran, a pagan place which doubtless suited Terah as he was on idolater. He died there, and then Abram and the rest of his family moved on. But we read that they had accumulated possessions and acquired people in Haran. There are indications of a significant measure of wealth for Abram and, undoubtedly, some if not all of this wealth had come to them while they sojourned in the pagan place of Haran.
After a time in Canaan, famine drove them to Egypt. Here, because of her beauty, and fearful of punishment as her husband, Abram passed Sarai off as his sister. She was taken into Pharaoh’s palace, and Abram was given many gifts. Pharaoh, however, discerned the truth when God inflicted serious disease on him and his family. Pharaoh released Sarai to Abram and sent him on his way with his wife and everything he had (v20).
God blessed Abram with material provision and the circumstances in which He worked are truly extraordinary. God used a stay in a pagan place and an action of deceit by Abram to bless him with provision and possessions that would set him up with a significant profile among men. It would surely have been more reasonable to expect God to punish, or at least caution or rebuke, Abram in both these instances. Instead God chose to bless him.
I can only say that the ways of the Lord are truly wonderful. I cannot guess what He will do. I would have got it wrong with Abram. I could quite possibly get it wrong for me.
Abram, who became Abraham, was a man of great faith. Indeed, he had to wait an extremely long time for the son God had promised him. Why should I get concerned for a quick answer and speedy action from God? Where is my faith? Abraham “believed” and it was credited to him as righteousness. Let me also believe. Let me believe and not be anxious for God’s move. I must trust Him to move when He will, not when I want it. This is so difficult. Yet, who said faith is easy? I choose the way of faith. I choose to believe God. I choose to release myself into His care, and into His plan and purpose for me. I choose not to get anxious, but to look to him – in everything and for everything. I choose to allow him to be everything to me.
I come to You in humble adoration. You are worthy. I exalt you. I worship and adore You. I ask You to receive my grateful praise, thanksgiving and worship.
I struggle, Lord, in faith. Each time I think I’m growing in faith it gets tested, and dented. But I ever have a choice that I can exercise, and I choose today to confirm my love and commitment to You.
I desire you more than anything else. I come to You and ask you to draw me closer. Let me hear you speak to me. Let me feel the beat of Your heart. Draw me in. I seek greater intimacy. I pray for a deeper, growing desire to know You. I seek revelation and sweet, holy encounters.
You are my everything. Nothing else matters. Hear my prayer. Search my heart. Change anything about me that needs changing. Only let me know You. Let me walk and talk with You. Let me experience the whole of my being in You. I’m desperate for You. I surrender. Take me, Lord, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Saturday, 10 March 2012
I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isa. 61.10
I am strongly reminded of the righteousness I receive from the Lord and the richness of salvation with which He has clothed me.
The image of the bride and groom is a rich image in joy and grace and love. It captures and encapsulates all that is good.
I have equally as wonderful, if not better, an image of who I am in the Lord. I am loved and valued. I am saved for all eternity.
Thank You for this precious reminder today. I do indeed delight greatly in You. My soul rejoices in who I am in You.
Thank You, O thank You for the garments of salvation. Thank You for the robe of righteousness. As beautiful as a bride and groom appear on their special day, so also do I appear in You.
And I have a special day! This, now, today – and tomorrow, and thereafter – these are all special days. For I have been found by You. You have chosen me. You draw me to Yourself in salvation and righteousness. How precious I am!
Lord God, I do thank You for this reminder. I have need to know this today. I’m sure You knew of my need and provided.
I know I don’t deserve my sweet relationship with You, but You bestow it on me through the love of Jesus.
Thank You, O thank You Lord. Amen.