Sunday, 29 December 2013


Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.            Phil. 2.5

What a challenge I receive from these words of Paul!  The Bible has spoken this forth for many years, but I wonder how many have picked up on the breath-taking challenge and, indeed, how many – or how few – have accepted this challenge and sought to pursue in themselves a Christ-like attitude.

I have carefully chosen the word ‘pursue’ to describe what I mean here. I don’t think humans can fully ‘cultivate’ a Christ-like attitude for it takes more than our individual feeble effort.

If I am to aim for an attitude the same as that of Christ Jesus, I know beyond any doubt whatsoever that I need God’s input. I offer myself. I certainly don’t stand back and do nothing.

There are things I can do, like developing good character traits. But I also need His huge input. Hopefully we may work in partnership. I am willing. I cry out to God for His help.

Lord God,

I cry out to You. I am in hot pursuit. I want more of You. I seek the same attitude as that of my Lord Jesus. I know this is a big ask and I do not come to You out of egotistical vanity. I am totally undeserving. This is not about me but about You.

You are everything to me. I want to do only what is in Your plan for me. I want to be Your son, Your beloved child. I seek to please You in who I am and what I do.

Help me please. Show me what I should do to develop a Christ-like attitude. Lead me and mould me in Your ways and into the shape of Christ. He said, “Follow me.” I do, and I ask for Your help and enabling, in Jesus’ Name.                                                      Amen.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

will be filled

But the earth will be filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,                               
as the waters cover the sea.                                              Hab. 2.14

Evil, iniquity and bloodshed feature further in Habakkuk’s writing. But this time it is God who is speaking, and His phrases are prefaced with the word ‘Alas’. God is evidently sounding a caution against those who go their own way, who seek after their own selfish ends and who don’t consider others and the trauma and heartbreak they cause in satisfying their own egos.

Then God makes a great and somewhat startling pronouncement with these words. He is the all powerful one. He is the only force that is truly to be reckoned with. God is supreme.

He will have His way. And what a way it is! I cannot conceive of God’s glory filling the earth. Yet this is His promise. And God is faithful. What He has promised, He will do. I am excited by this declaration. Will I see it in my time? I believe I’m seeing signs of it already. Whether or not I live to see the earth filled with God’s glory is immaterial. It is sufficient for me to know that it is coming and to live in what is here right now.

Lord God,

I rejoice in the promise of Your glory filling the earth. You have given me this present knowledge and I thank You.

I thank You also for what I see of Your glory already in this place. I ask for me. I join with the chorus writer and sing out, ‘Show me Your glory.’

Dear Lord, may I live daily in the glory that is You. I join with You in holy communion. My prayer is that we may become one – I in You and You in me. Let Your light shine brightly in me and through me. I’m Yours, all Yours.

Journey this day with me, in the fullness of Your glory, in Jesus’ Name I ask.               Amen.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Each of you should look not to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.                                  Phil. 2.4

This verse reminds me of Jesus’ second command, to love your neighbour as yourself. It is first necessary ‘to love yourself’. This is not narcissism but rather a healthy self-respect, esteem and worth. When we have this attitude toward ourselves we are then able to reach out to others in good and Godly balance. We are fitted to be most effective in our witness and assistance to them.

I hear Paul say something similar here. He does not tell us to ignore our own interests. On the contrary, by the way in which he states his point, I sense he is saying “By all means look after your own interests. But also be available to others. Consider them. Help and advise them where you can. Do not ignore others by putting yourself first. Indeed, consider them before you think of yourself.”

This is God’s way. This is the way so ably demonstrated by Jesus. And He said, “Follow me.”

Lord Jesus I come.

Lord God,

I am reminded that Jesus looked on everyone with compassion. I want to follow Him in this. Fit me, please, to look on all with compassion. Further, let me see people as You see them. May I see the beauty that You see in people. May I also see their hurts and weaknesses as You do. And may I be empowered and strengthened by Your Holy Spirit to reach out, in  You, to those whom You send to me.

May I, humbly and respectfully, ask for Your heart to touch me, to connect with my heart.
O heavenly Father, would You share Your heart with me for the lost, the hurting and the wounded? Show me, and lead me in the way in which I can best be of service to them.

I love You and I love so many of Your people. I pray that You will bring me into contact with even more, and fit me, by Your grace, to be as Jesus to them. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my precious Lord and Saviour.                                                                                      Amen.

Friday, 20 December 2013

God, silent but present

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.
Why then do you tolerate the treacherous?
Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?
    Hab.  1.13

This verse presents an interesting contrast which could almost be seen as conflicting. Habakkuk rightly describes God. His righteousness simply does not allow Him to look on evil or tolerate wrong. Yet He allows the wicked, the unrighteous, to attack and prevail over those who are more righteous than them. I note some caution here in Habakkuk’s choice of words. He knows God’s people are not without fault or blemish, so he desists from labelling them as “righteous”, choosing instead to describe them as “more righteous” than the interlopers.

God nor only remains silent while the wicked prosper, we are told from verse 6 that God has Himself raised up these wicked people to express His wrath and judgment on the Israelites.

I receive great encouragement from this verse for it tells me that God is present in every situation. If I am tempted to consider any circumstance I find myself in as “too ungodly for God”, then I can remind myself of this verse, and even ponder whether God is the force behind the situation, having created it to effect a work or change in me.

Lord God,

I am so clearly reminded that You are in all things. Even though there is nothing evil about You, You can work for good in the most unpromising situation. I invite You into every aspect of my life. I acknowledge You fully. Lead me always in Your way. Open the path before me, and direct my steps. I love You, and seek to honour You in who I am and all that I do. Receive these my prayers, in Jesus’ Name I pray.                                                                       Amen.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

God of the backward moving sun

 ‘This is the LORD’s sign to you that the LORD will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’  So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.                                    Isaiah 38. 7, 8

Who could do such an unbelievable thing as to make the sun retrace its course? Surely only the greatest force and power of all! Here I see positive, practical and real proof of Jesus’ confession through the gospel writers that nothing is impossible with God (Matt. 19.26; Mark 10.27; Luke 18.27). I make two points here. Firstly, let’s break down the word ‘nothing’ into its constituent syllables: no thing. There is no thing whatsoever that is impossible to God. Secondly, I believe God well and truly wants us to receive, understand, believe and live in this truth, for He gets all three synoptic writers to bring it to us.

A further insight from Isaiah’s writing is the sign that God gave to Hezekiah through the prophet. He told Hezekiah clearly what He would do. Sometimes God has spoken to me of what He might do – and I have doubted. I have been unsure. I realise now that what I’ve really been saying is, “Did God really say...?” (c.f Gen. 3.1). Shame on me! I am echoing the very words of Satan to the woman in the Garden of Eden. I sense God is speaking to me as I write this. I think He’s saying:

“My Boy, when a word is given to you as mine, then I want you to receive it as from me. Take it in and believe it, but hold on to it lightly. Remember, if it is indeed true, it is my word and not yours. And if it is not a genuine word from me, then I will bring correction. I will not allow you to live or labour under a misconception. My word is truth. If you receive it, then believe it. And if it is not from me then I will cause it to wither and die. I remind you also that, whilst I may give you words of hope and encouragement, possibly of future direction and destiny, I do not give you the timetable. The timing is mine. I insist that you rest in this. It is imperative that you trust me, and that you go forward with the fullness of my peace in you. Only in this way can you be my instrument. Believe me, and believe in the words that I give you.”

Lord God,

Please forgive me for any doubt or questioning I may ever have held in respect of words I have been given. I thank You for the assurance that You will correct any word that is not genuine. I also hold on lightly to the words received for, as You say, they are Your words. Your ownership is in them and only You can bring them to pass. I feel great peace and security in this. I thank You.

Holy Lord, I am reminded yet again that nothing is impossible to You. I rejoice in this. You are capable of anything and, as I am willing and You ordain, so I can do anything through You. Lead me on, please. I give myself anew to You. May we travel the day together, sharing all manner of adventure. I love You and seek a closer place with You. May I also share and spread this love as I go. I ask these things in Jesus’ Name.                                              Amen.