Thursday, 28 February 2013
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20.8
Things are not holy within their own nature but are made so by the divine presence. God enters in, and holiness results.
The Sabbath is a day in which to celebrate God’s presence. It is a day to celebrate in God’s presence. It could follow that every day might be a Sabbath for, surely, the true believer would desire to live each day in and with God.
Does a day need to be “set aside” in order for it to be spent with God? Whilst it is a good action to devote whole days to focus on and devote to God, I believe it is possible to live every day in a state of holiness – to seek God, to receive Him and know Him and His presence throughout the progress of each day. As I remember God, He reveals himself to me. In him I live, and breathe, and have my being.
The psalmist said, “Better is one day in your courts that a thousand elsewhere” (Ps.84.10). I wish to spend every day in Your royal household.
I claim the promise offered in James: Come near to God and he will come near to you (4.8). I’m here, Lord. I press in and expect to journey through the day ahead in company with You all the way. My prayer is that nothing will obstruct or hinder. I confess my sins humbly before You and I ask Your forgiveness. If there is anything I need to repent of specifically, I ask You to show me.
Be with me, Lord. I am nothing without You. I so enjoy Your company. I wish for Your leading in everything. I pray the constant presence of Your Holy Spirit in my life. May I be strengthened, equipped, enabled and guided by You in all that I am and anything that I do.
I love You, Lord. Receive my love anew and fresh today. Lead me in Your ways. May I know the peace of Jesus as I Journey with You.
Hallelujah! Bless Your Name. Amen.
Monday, 25 February 2013
Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land. Exodus 23.30
God is unfolding His plan for the Israelites. He has promised them a land flowing with milk and honey where they are to live in total possession. All of the present inhabitants are to be driven out so that there is no obstruction and no sharing of what God has promised and reserved for His chosen people. But the whole task is a big one and will not be accomplished in one single activity. God says, “I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you.” (v.29)
God’s plan is progressive. It is clear, and here He clearly presents it to His people. What He requires of them is their obedience to what He asks of them. Sadly, a look at the continuing story of the Israelites will show that they were not always obedient and thus missed out on the fullness of God’s plan for them.
I am reminded of the immutability of God. He is never-changing, the same always.
His plan for me may quite well mirror the plan He had for the Israelites – certainly in its outworking. He will uncover His promises for me, little by little. He knows that if He were to declare it all in one revelation it would be too much for me to receive. Also, I would be in no way ready or prepared to receive it.
No, the timing is God’s. He reveals in His time, at His pace, and in full accord with His plan. And His expectation of me is just what He expected of Moses and His people – obedience.
This is sometimes so very hard. There are times when I feel that God has “lost the plot” in terms of His purposes for me. There are times of impatience. “Why are we waiting? Surely I’m ready right now!” There can’t possibly be more preparation necessary, more clearing and feeding of the soil. Or can there? Do I need to increase some more in Him? I am slowly recognising that God knows best. I hope I am growing in grace such that I can truly say, “Your will not mine be done”, and I can say it in humility and sincerity. May I also graciously wait upon God when He seems to be dragging the chain or to have forgotten the urgency of our quest.
My life in Him depends totally upon His grace. I pray for an outpouring of that grace to enable me to live every moment in a state of gracious rest in Him, truly saying, “Not what I want, but what You want.”
Holy Father, Dearest Lord,
I sense Your peace at this moment and I am able, for the present at least, to say that Your plan is clearly unfolding in my life and I am at ease with its timing and rate of progress.
I ask You to forgive me for the times, the many times, when I am impatient for the plan to unfold. At such times, I guess, I’m looking to my agenda and not Yours. Please forgive me. I truly want to go Your way, in all that I do. I want to be so lost in You that I would be totally at sea in any situation where I am not fully led by You.
You are my life. I rejoice that You have drawn me to You. I thank You for the sweet relationship I have in You. And I ask for more. I yearn to go deeper, to draw nearer, to come closer. Hear my prayer, Lord, and, if it moves Your heart, then draw me so close that I might hear Your heartbeat, and live in perfect harmony with it.
I am willing to go wherever You would have me go. I will do whatever You want me to do. But only if You go with me and You guide and support me. I am nothing without You. Oh, I praise You, Lord. I thank You for this wonderful revelation which moves me to seek You in everything. I seek, and I find. I rejoice, and I am greatly encouraged to seek more. May this never stop. Lead me through this day, and the whole of my life. Let me journey everywhere with You, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Friday, 22 February 2013
But wisdom is proved right by her actions. Matt. 11.19b
This short sentence is almost lost. It follows Jesus’ statement that the people labelled John the Baptist a demon because he neither ate nor drank. Then, when the Son of Man came eating and drinking they called Him a glutton and drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and “sinners”. He follows this by the statement on wisdom. What does He mean by this?
The NIV Study Bible notes (p.1458) suggest the apparent meaning that God (wisdom) had sent both John and Jesus in specific roles, and that this (God’s wisdom in sending?) would be vindicated by the miraculous works of Jesus.
Taking this as applicable, what might it mean for me? It reminds me that God has a specific role for me. Just as John the Baptist was commissioned for a purpose, and his purpose was different to that of Jesus – and, indeed, John and Jesus as we see were very different individuals, so also I have been commissioned for a specific purpose as the individual I am. My task is to be available and willing to fulfil the specific purpose I have been commissioned for – to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work (John 4.34). I do not have to contrive my mission. My role is to wait on God (yes, endless as it might seem) and to be ready and willing when He moves. I have an inkling, and desire, for what I’d like to do, but this will only show true as God opens the way.
Whilst wisdom is God, I also can partake of wisdom. James encourages me to ask for wisdom from God who, he asserts gives generously to all without finding fault (Jas. 1.5).
This is indeed an uplifting situation – to know that my purpose is ordained by God and will be revealed, pursued and fulfilled in His timing. And to know also that He is all wisdom, but I am able to seek wisdom of Him and He will give generously without fault finding.
I rejoice in a new day as Your child. I pray that I might stop striving to seek my purpose in life but rather relax, rest in You, allow You to unfold the plan in Your good time, but be ready and willing to go with You.
I acknowledge Your great, omniscient wisdom. I submit to Your wisdom and ask that it will always be present in my life. I ask You for wisdom, that I might know when to go and what to say and do, and when to stay, be still and rest in You.
My desire is to remain in You at all times – when active and busy as well as when quiet and still, This is my prayer. I offer it in Jesus’ Name. Receive it and answer it if You will. Amen.
Tuesday, 19 February 2013
Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them. Matt. 8.4
Jesus has just miraculously healed a man of leprosy and now tells him not to broadcast the fact. It seems there are times to tell, and times to remain silent.
A most significant example of “keeping mum” which impresses itself deeply on me occurs when Jesus takes Peter, James and John up onto the mount of Transfiguration. Here He is wonderfully changed before their eyes into His glorious divine being. He meets with Moses and Elijah, and a voice from heaven declares to the apostles that He is the Messiah. The voice then tells them to listen to the Son. Moses and Elijah disappear and the disciples are left alone with Jesus. The first thing He speaks forth to them is to “Tell no one.” I have a fanciful imagining of what their response might have been to Him. With looks of amazement on their faces, Peter takes the role of spokesman, saying something like. “You’ve got to be joking! You’ve just taken us to heaven, shown us Your divine glory, and now You calmly order us to tell no one. Surely this is too good not to be shared!”
But the time was not right just as presumably it was not right for the healed leper to announce his healing, and his healer, to the world. There is a lesson here for me. My experiences in God and with God undeniably form part of my testimony. And whilst there are times and occasions for me to freely share this testimony, there may also be times when God would have me remain silent. I have thought this on a couple of occasions when my human self could have felt an obligation to witness and evangelise. Yet I have sensed within me that it would not be appropriate. The circumstances at the time indicated to me that it would be rather like casting pearls among swine. Maybe this was a heavenly check for me. I took it as such. I felt that my sharing, at that particular time, might have resulted in God being mocked and ridiculed.
And so, whilst I need to be ever willing to share from my wonderful relationship with Him – and at times this might require much courage, even boldness – there may also be times for me to say nothing. As I look to Him and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus so, I believe, He will show me.
I glorify You and I delight in all that You have done for me. I pray that I may be willing, at all times, to share my testimony in You with confidence. I also ask for the wisdom to know when You would have me say nothing.
I attach myself to You in ongoing partnership. May my eyes be ever on You, my ears constantly attuned to what You might tell me, and my heart ready at all times to follow Your requests of me. Amen.
Saturday, 16 February 2013
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 2 John 6
Again we have the mix of love and command. If we love God we will obey His commands. And His commands are that we love – Him and each other. In this letter John states God’s command as to walk in love. This brings a beautiful picture to my mind, a picture of the believer walking everywhere in love – walking with God and walking with all of God’s creation in love. I see this applying to all things, all aspects of creation.
Yet it is not easy to walk in love. This is not a mushy, sentimental sloppiness. Rather it is a commitment, and one that requires diligence and perseverance. Walking lovingly with some-one does not mean agreeing with them in everything and tolerating all that they do. Rebuke may well be part of love. Often there are things we are called upon to do which we might choose not to do if we had a choice. I believe, notwithstanding we might be called to do something that is difficult, we can still explore the best way to implement what we must do. If anyone is to be confronted with a painful truth, the process of “walking in love” will yield the way to act that is least painful and most loving. This is not to suggest that the subject matter is to be diluted. It must be clearly presented, but without judgment or condemnation.
Indeed, loving God will involve us in necessary rebuke and correction from Him when this is needed. An interesting part of loving someone is that we don’t want them to find anything wrong or unacceptable in us. We want them to delight in us and strongly affirm us. Yet true love will willingly receive rebuke where it is warranted. True love will receive it and be willing to be changed.
And so, love is a give and take arrangement. God is love and He is the place for me to start as I desire to go forward “walking in love”.
I’m reading, learning and receiving much about love. I thank You for Your impartation. I love you and I rejoice in knowing and experiencing Your love for me.
I desire to walk in love. I yearn to please You in all that I do. I want also to live in the utmost loving relationships with all people. None of this is easy. I will not always please You, and there will be many times when I might struggle to love others and do the right thing by them.
I seek Your help, Lord. I ask You to lead me in a walk of love. My prayer is that it will last for the whole of my life. I invite You to daily show me the way, Your way, and to lead me in it. What a powerful force love is! Let me walk in it, always. In Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.