Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Little children

And he said, I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”               Matt. 18.3

Here, Jesus gives the key to eternity – entry as a little child. What might He mean by this? I think He gives the answer in the following two verses:

“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

“ And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” (Matt. 18.4,5)

The humility of a child is a wondrous thing. It is trusting and unpretentious, naive but not servile.

Jesus says two things clearly here. First, I am to be like a child – humble, trusting and innocent, but without a menial demeanour. Secondly, I am to welcome and embrace others who are like this for, in doing so, I welcome Jesus Himself. This is most telling. This is how Jesus is. The Gospels ring out with the humility and compassion of our wonderful Saviour, but there is a most gracious dignity in all He was and did. And He imbued dignity in others (consider the man of the Gerasenes who was healed of demon-possession, esp. Luke 8.35).

Jesus said, “Follow me.” I want to follow Him and be as He was.

Lord Jesus,

I thank You endlessly for the supreme sacrifice You made for me. I thank You also for the example You set when You walked on this earth.

I want to follow You, Lord. Please help me to be as the children You talk of in this passage.

Lead me into true humility without servility. Let me be naive yet wise, trusting You in all things, and unpretentious in my ways. Allow me to see, accept and appreciate others who walk like You, and may I witness to You in these things through the power of the Holy Spirit.                                                                                                                          Amen.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

The wedding banquet

Then he said to his servants, “The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.”   
                                                                                       Matt.22.8, 9

Jesus is talking about the Kingdom of Heaven and using the illustration of a wedding banquet prepared by a king. It’s easy to understand that the feast would be lavish and only the very best of people would have been invited. Yet they did not come. Instead the king sent his servants into the streets to invite anyone available and wishing to come.

This perspective truly questions our understanding of the invited guests. Were they really “the best”? The Kingdom of Heaven is open to all. All, that is, who will accept the invitation of the King. And how does His invitation read?

It is quite simple. He says, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. Come to me as little children.”

Lord God,

I thank You for Your love that invites everyone into the Kingdom of Heaven. I thank You for Jesus who opens the way. I thank You for that time when You stopped, turned to me, and extended a personal invitation into Your realm.

I pray for those who still stand on the street corners. Some are filled with their own schemes and priorities. Some wander aimlessly through the streets of life without direction or purpose. All need Jesus. Lord God, hear my cry for each one of them. Receive my prayer for their salvation. Move in Heaven and move upon earth using whatever resources and means are needed to reach these people with the good news of salvation.

I would be used by You. I am available to be a true witness to Jesus, but I need Your Spirit. It is neither by might nor power, but by Your Spirit that the work is done. Dear Lord, fill me to overflowing with Your Spirit. Lead me into kingdom work. Use me, as You will, I’m available.

Hear my plea and prayer, in Jesus’ Name I ask.                                                                Amen.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Power and protection

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.
My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.      Psalm 28.7

The power I need comes from the Lord God. He is my protection. Indeed, He is all I need and want.

I can agree with the psalmist that my heart trusts in Him. I truly believe there is no problem with this. But my head does not always align with the truth of my heart. My head will often, perhaps too often, look at the existing situation and the natural context and environment and be totally influenced by what it sees. My head will discard those two truths that God has been so wanting me to take hold of with all my being: Nothing is impossible for God, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

This is God’s reality. The workings of my mind in looking at, and being influenced by, the worldly view of what confronts me are to be shunned, ignored, and replaced by the greater spiritual reality that God is my all. He is my provider and protector, I need nothing else when I am truly in Him.

In this truth my heart leaps for joy. As I live in the glorious reality of who I am in Him, I cannot fail to give Him thanks, loud and long, with my heart and with my voice.

God is my way. He is everything – the morning light, the brightness of the day, and the restfulness of the night. He is peace, peace in all things. In him I am secure. In Him I am equipped for all that He asks of me, all that He would have me do for Him.

Right now my heart leaps within me. I rejoice with a song of praise and glory. I am filled with hope and expectation. I embrace my Lord God with all of my being, rejoicing in His wonderful Being, and in who I am in Him.

Lord God,

Glorious One, Mighty and Loving Father, Gracious Provider and Protector,

I love You, Lord, my King and my Dad. You truly are everything to me. My heart sings out today in outrageous praise and thanksgiving. Receive all I have to offer. Receive me please, gladly and joyfully. I commit myself wholly, and whole-heartedly, to You. Quite simply, I just want to serve You. And so, I will journey into this day believing for Your guidance, provision and protection. I will embrace what You send and rejoice in what befalls. Hopefully I will honour You and bring true worship in all that I do. Receive this, my humble and sincere prayer, in Jesus’ Name.                                                                                       Amen.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

I trust...

I trust in the LORD.
I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
For you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul.
You have not handed me over to the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.                           Psalm 31.6b-8

Oh, the truth of real relationship with God. How good it is to declare “I trust in the Lord”, and know it is not a wild declaration. For some time now God has been challenging me to place my full trust in Him. That’s right, my full trust.

I generally have no problem in trusting God but I do sense that, hitherto, it has been something of a general trust. The challenge in recent times has been for a full, total, complete surrender to Him, placing every particle of trust in him and believing – implicitly and explicitly, for His will.

As I look to Him, as I fix my eyes on Jesus, and continue to focus on Him, I need not be concerned at all about what I do. He is all I need and He will lead me into whatever I am to do. This conviction grows in me. With it comes an even stronger desire to look to Him and to keep focused on Him. I am able to spend every second in His company, and this assuredly keeps me well and truly anchored in His will.

I trust in the Lord. How joyfully I am able to express this sentiment today. I see Him. I receive his love. I am glad, and I rejoice in the wonder of my relationship with Him.

Lord God,

I thank You for Your eternal presence with me. I invite You into all that I am. I ask You to lead me in all that I do. I trust You. I marvel at Your power, Your glory and Your presence manifest to me and alive and real in me through Your Holy Spirit.

I rejoice in Your faithfulness. You know all there is to know about me. You know and yet You love me. I embrace the wonder of Your love. I marvel at the endless expressions of Your love that I see in this life. Yet there is room for more.

I open myself to You and ask that the fullness of Your will be outworked in my life. May I know even more of Your love, but may I be used by you to share and spread Your love in every place that I visit and every experience I encounter.

I trust You and surrender fully to Your love and Your will. Receive my love and adoration,                                                                          in Jesus’ Name I pray.                           Amen.                                  

Thursday, 18 April 2013

So great

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him.
Psalm 103.11

The space between heaven and earth is enormous. To the human eye it can appear infinite, such is its vastness. This verse tells me that God’s love is as great as (and likely greater than) this incredible space. I don’t think my finite mind can fully grasp the true import of this.

This – huge, boundless, all-embracing and all-filling – is the love that emanates from God to all those who fear Him.

Dear God, let this include me. Let me be filled with holy fear for You. Let me know the fullness of Your love. Yes, let divine love and holy fear co-exist within me, each one affirming the other. Lord, I receive Your love. Cast out all fear from me other than the deepest awe for Your Holy Person. I ask this in Jesus’ Name.                                                                             Amen.

The other verse that impacts me from this psalm occurs later:

But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children. (v.17)

Again, I find “everlasting” difficult to comprehend. My heart can readily receive it, but my head doesn’t understand it. For me, it’s one of the mysteries that attaches to my faith and the God-world that I choose to live in. God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting. This is fine by me. It’s telling me that God’s love is for all time – and then beyond! Wow!!

Not only is the Lord’s love with me (as I fear Him), but His righteousness is with my children’s children. This truly thrills me. I love my grandsons dearly and I would want nothing greater than that God’s righteousness should be with them. And in the mix I don’t want to overlook my children. I seek God’s love and righteousness for them as much as for their children.

Lord God,

The places I visit with You are fascinating almost beyond words. As I journey in Your Word, and with You  in this time, I just can’t help myself seeing the wonder and extent and power of Your love which quite leaves me breathless. I love You.

Though I can’t fully comprehend the fullness of Your love for me, my mind has a sort of image of the vastness of space filled to capacity with Your love. I pray this picture will become more and more real to me.

I desire a greater fear and awe of You than that which I presently feel, or sometimes feel. Your Word encourages me to ask. So I ask for more love, more fear, more awe and more humble respect and reverence for You. Hear my prayer, Lord. May this become a real part of who I am and my witness to You.

I pray also for my family, for my children (biological and legal) and their children. I ask for the fullness of salvation for them all. May they know You, really know You, each one of them. May they live the whole of their lives in true belief and relationship with You. May they witness powerfully to their faith in You. I ask Your protection and complete provision for them. They are precious to me and I know they are precious to You.

May You lavish Your love upon me and, through me, to all I meet and connect with. I ask these things in the name of Jesus, my Lord and Saviour.                                       Amen.