Saturday, 28 April 2012
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way
and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon. Isa. 55.6,7
God is there for all who will seek Him. He is so near to those who will call on Him. However wicked or evil a person may be, change is possible. The Lord is merciful. He freely pardons those who come to Him seeking His mercy.
After these verses, chapter 55 continues with more precious insights from God. His ways are higher that our ways; His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Oh, to seek the ways of the Lord and to live His thoughts rather than my own.
As the rain and the snow fall and water the earth bringing forth, in time, a good harvest, so the word of the Lord will go forth and accomplish what He desires; His purposes will be achieved.
I see, then, a promise for those who seek the Lord:
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and the trees of the field
will clap their hands. (v12)
What a way to go!
I seek You. I press in to receive pardon and life from You. May Your ways be my ways, and Your thoughts my thoughts. May Your Word go forth from my lips and be fruitful.
Take me out in joy, Precious Saviour. Lead me forth in peace. Let all of Your creation rejoice with me, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Gal. 3.26
My faith in Jesus reconciles me to God and restores me in sonship to Him. My baptism joins me intimately with Jesus or, in Paul’s words, clothes me with Him.
Without clothes I am naked. Without clothes I am unprotected and at the mercy of others and the elements. Clothing is important to me. Indeed, clothing is vital.
I can choose how I clothe myself. I can choose my protection and the means by which I keep healthy and safe. By my baptism I have chosen Jesus. He is the one who clothes me, the one in whom I am clothed.
Being clothed with Him, I am in direct contact and deep communion with Him. I am blessed with the greatest opportunity to assimilate Him into my own being, to love Him and learn from Him, to grow more like Him. With Jesus I join the sons of God. He is my big brother, guide and constant companion.
Dear Lord Jesus,
I embrace You. I extend my arms wide in surrender to You and ask You to overwhelm me. Clothe me completely in You. Let me know the sweetness of the closeness of You, for I cannot experience the intimacy of clothing without knowing the reality of an up-close relationship with You.
Thank You for cleansing me of sin, for washing me clean. I can only remain clean in You, so I press in. I look to You for daily feeding, for constant refining. I have a long way to go, yet I know You will lead me. I look forward to the journey. I thank You for this present stage in my life. I know You are with me and I rejoice. I go forward with You, in thankfulness and grace. Hallelujah! Praise Your Name. Amen.
Friday, 20 April 2012
So we say with confidence,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?” Heb. 13.6
This is one of those verses that need to be taken into the depths of my being. I need to allow it to permeate the whole of me. I must live by it, for its truth is startling, immensely reassuring and incredibly powerful.
God, the Lord, the Almighty is my helper! He is here, right now, to help and assist me all through this earthly journey. I am yoked to Him as two oxen are in a team. We are team mates; we are fellow-workers. I have nothing whatsoever to fear from any source. No person or circumstance can affect me beyond what He and I can face together. Nothing, but nothing, is bigger than Him.
I am exhorted to own this reality with confidence. These words shout at me:
BE CONFIDENT, FOR I AM YOUR HELPER.
Where is my confidence? Is it in my own meagre ability to get through? Is it in the world? Do I think that the world or its people will never cause upset to me?
No! My confidence is in Him, in His sovereign and supreme Being, and in the reality and recognition that He is my helper. I will not be afraid. I will press in to Him. I may remind him, from time to time, that He is my helper. The reminder, in truth, is for me.
He is here, ever with me. Hallelujah!
Lord God, O Most Mighty One,
I come to You with grateful heart for this reminder of the truth of Your being with me, as helper, defender and provider in all things.
I press in, in faith and love. I thank You; I adore You; I love You. Amen.
Wednesday, 18 April 2012
Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.” Gen. 31.3
As I read this verse my first thought was to wonder if God indeed had spoken to Jacob as clearly and directly as the words indicate. There is no confusion whatsoever in this statement. God speaks to Jacob and He tells him exactly what to do. How could Jacob fail? Isn’t this always the way with God? Doesn’t He always tell us clearly and precisely what He wants us to do? No!!!
Reflecting upon those times in my own experience when I have struggled to hear God’s clear voice (and maybe there have been times when I’ve been unwilling to acknowledge that God just may not be speaking), I took this verse, at first glance, with a measure of (healthy?) suspicion. Then I glanced at the NIV Study Bible notes (p52), and all doubt was allayed:
31.3 – Every sign Jacob was getting – from his wives (see vv.14-16), from Laban (see v.2), from Laban’s sons (see v.1) and now from God himself – told him that it was time to return to Galilee.
Immediately on reading these notes I was reminded of my own experience when God so clearly moved me out of one church, and one denomination, and into another. It took several weeks for God to convince me, but the signs were so clear and God’s word was so audible. God was giving me clear direction and, of course, it contained those words which are imperative and absolutely essential – “and I will be with you.” Hallelujah!
But God does not always speak so clearly and definitely. And herein lies the dilemma and frustration – at least it does for me. I want to hear God declare the most brilliant and amazing plans for my future and ministry. But He seems to be silent. And if God is silent there is surely a reason for it. As I view what is before me in the natural, I have more than enough to get on with. It might be that God is speaking to me, and what He is saying is, “You have plenty to do for the present. Just get on with it and leave the rest to me.” I don’t hear Him say this loudly or too succinctly but, nevertheless, He might be talking. Why don’t I ask Him?
What I do hear Him say is “Come closer.” This I willingly commit to before all else, and with all of my heart. If I am to do anything at all for Him it must be birthed in my healthy, deep and intimate relationship with Him. Before I do anything else I must give myself to Him, spend time with Him, talk with Him and be ever ready to hear His voice and direction.
I delight to spend this time with You. I hear You call me, “Come closer.” Lord, I come. Receive me. Take me into Your arms if You will. Speak to me, commune with me. My deepest desire is to live with You, in You and for You – in the now. May I know You more and more? Please walk with me today, and may we go Your way? I surrender to You. Lead me forward in wonderful partnership with You. Amen.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Therefore, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably and with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
The reminder that “God is a consuming fire” brings great excitement into the very essence of me. I see this amazing and wonderful Being ready to take me in and to both comfort and love me but also imbue me with almost unbelievable supernatural strength. In myself I am weak. There is a certain amount I can achieve but it is limited. As well, I am open to the buffeting and battering of all sorts of forces that are neither good nor helpful to me. But when I allow myself to be touched, even consumed, by the consuming fire of the Almighty, then I can truly, and truthfully, say, “all things are possible.”
I am so thankful that this is the case. I worship God with all my being. I give myself fully to Him in adoration and service. I am most certainly in awe of Him yet, strangely, this allows me to receive Him as my loving guardian and provider. He is also my friend, with whom I can be my most natural self. Again, this does not diminish the reverence which I give Him freely and enthusiastically.
I have so much to be thankful for. I come before my great, and loving, God. I prostrate myself at his feet. I curl up comfortably in His embrace, and I am lost in the wonder and wonderment of my blessed relationship with Him.
Almighty and Most Loving God,
I thank You, truly, for all that is mine in You. I come to You in reverence and awe, but also in love and warmth. I revere You with honour and I press in with enthusiasm and expectation. Have Your way in me, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.