Sunday, 29 September 2013
You hem me in – behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me. Psalm 139.5
This verse paints the most wonderful, indeed delicious, picture for me. I see myself totally surrounded by God, literally hemmed in by His love. It’s not a suffocating picture but, indeed, the opposite. It’s like two people who are deeply in love. They can’t get enough of each other. They make silly excuses to meet ‘by chance’. This is how it is in my relationship with my wonderful God, Father, Master, Teacher, Lover and Friend.
The insights of Psalm 139 are powerful. I feel the psalmist say God knows all about me. Nothing is hidden from Him. Yet He surrounds me with his love. I can’t get away from it. But then I don’t want to!
God’s love is not repressive. Of course the psalmist hints at His protection, and this might well include rebuke. But the strongest image I get from God’s all pervading, and all pervasive love is one of liberty and freedom.
God’s love is enabling. And it is always available to me. I rejoice in the wonder and the miracle of living in His will, completely surrounded by His love, totally wrapped in Him.
My heart brims over with thankfulness for Your presence with me. You are here and I know it. There is nowhere I can go and get away from You, and I am so grateful.
I give myself to You and lay my life before You.
I join with the psalmist and say:
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Hallelujah! I praise you, Lord. I lift up Your great and wonderful name. Hallelujah! Amen.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Heb. 1.3
How succinctly this verse expresses the wonder of salvation, and Christ’s deity.
Jesus is God. He came to earth and lived a sinless life. God’s radiance shone forth from Him. He encapsulated the perfection of God’s human creation – a living, feeling being who lived in the fullness of truth and absence of sin.
He spoke the word of God boldly and lovingly. He was the Word of God. He provides purification from sin for all who will receive Him. Having done this by His sovereign and unique sacrifice, He entered the heavenly realm, taking His rightful place at the right hand of the Majesty. We are reminded that, in this exalted place, He constantly intercedes for us (Rom. 8.34; Heb. 7.25).
This is amazing! God’s love through Christ overwhelms. Jesus came to earth, lived a Godly, sin-free life, gave His perfect life in exchange for all of humanity’s sin-stained existence, and takes it further by heavenly intercession to ensure the salvation of the lost. How precious we must all be that He would do this for us!
Your love overwhelms me. Your Word is full of references such as this which constantly remind me of Your love and goodness. Yet I don’t think I fully comprehend the enormity of this love.
That Jesus is interceding for me right now is incredible. Let this knowledge soak deep into my being. May I know, truly know, this love You have for me. Let me live fully in it. I would want to please You with all of my being, yet I know I let You down. Help me, please, in this. As well as forgiveness, I ask that You lead me forward in Your ways. Draw me closer to You. Fill me with Your Spirit. Let me live more and more in You with each passing day.
I ask this in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Monday, 23 September 2013
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. Heb. 2.11
Jesus became human. He lived on this earth in fleshly form. He experienced all that men and women experience. He knew happiness and sorrow. He tasted success and temptation. But He differed from humanity in the latter, in that He did not succumb to temptation. He resisted and overcame and, in so doing, broke the bondage that kept humanity out of right and loving relationship with God.
Yes, sin holds us in bondage, but Jesus has broken the bonds and makes clear the way for our return to God.
Jesus is family. This is so exciting. Furthermore, we are clearly told that He is not ashamed to call us brothers. Can I truly get hold of this? Jesus is my brother! He delights to call me brother. I think also He delights when I call Him brother.
Family in unity brings great strength. I know the power I have in Him as administered and revealed by His Holy Spirit. He has also drawn me into a wide, earth-based family, the body of Christ. Here I join with brothers and sisters who strengthen me and who, with God’s help and blessing, I am able to help. Praise God!
Dear Brother. I rejoice that I am part of Your family. I ask You to draw me close to You today. Let me feel Your presence. Fill me with Your love, compassion and strength, and allow me to reach others as You would.
Unite me more and more in the wonderful family that is known as Your body here on earth. May I join with them in Your ways and God’s Word. May I love them with Your self-giving love.
I salute You as my beloved brother. Oh, that I can call You this. Consolidate me, brother, in You and in Your wonderful family, in Your precious name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 18 September 2013
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. Heb. 4.1
Salvation promises eternal rest in God, but salvation is received by faith. The writer stresses the believers need to exercise this faith, compared with ‘they’ who heard but did not combine it with faith. Faith requires obedience, a receiving and acting in God’s Word. The writer highlights the significance of God’s Word. It is living and active, sharper than a double-edged sword. It penetrates to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges thoughts and heart attitudes. I am called to live in obedience to God’s Word. I am thereby seeking salvation, eternal rest with my Maker.
But I believe God’s rest is available now. I can rest in Him as I live, eat, work and relax. Brother Lawrence encourages me to practice the presence of God. In this way, looking always for God in whatever I do and wherever I am, I can rest in Him.
I have long thought that resting in God is no passive, inactive state. Certainly the joy is greatest when I am able to give myself fully over to Him, freed of any activity. But I can also ‘rest’ in him as I go about daily business. And so I should! If God is not with me, I do not want to go.
As I write this prayer to You I believe that I am resting in You. I look to the ultimate, eternal rest in You, but I desire to rest in You, and with You, in this earthly life also.
I can only live in You. You are my source, my strength, my purpose. I ask You to draw me close. Lead me, please, into that place of joyous co-habitation with You. Show me Your ways in all that I do. Guide me in the paths and into the places that You have ordained for me. I surrender to You now for the journey through this day, with the humble plea that we might travel together every step of the way.
Lead me on, Lord! Show me Your way. I rest in You. Hallelujah! I praise Your Name. Amen.
Monday, 16 September 2013
Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. Heb. 6.7
This verse generates a series of images in my mind’s eye. First I see, in the natural, land receiving the benefit that comes from rain. The nutritional value of water to the land may come from the gentle, insistent penetration of constant fine rain, drizzling down on the earth. Goodness is transmitted into the land with every droplet of rain. The land receives, and life bursts forth in new growth. Even if the rain were to fall in a deluge, the land would take what it needs and allow the rest to drain away. Water is vital to the prosperity of the land and the continuation of abundant life.
The next image I have is a spiritual one. I see the human soul thirsty for God. I see God’s grace and mercy, His love and blessing raining down on the individual through the gentle mist of the Holy Spirit.
And now the image becomes personal. I see myself as the land, eagerly seeking and awaiting the rain of the Holy Spirit. It is a gentle, constant and continual soaking rather than a wash-out downpour. I am thirsty. I am open. I will receive all that God is willing to bestow, and I offer myself to return to Him a most useful crop.
I see myself right now as a thirsty land crying out for You. I am not arid and dry, I simply want more of You. I pray for continual soaking in Your Holy Spirit. I ask You to keep me infused with Your Holy Presence. Produce whatever crops You choose in me. I surrender myself to You with a prayer that I might become a most productive smallholding.
I crave those nutrients that only You can give me. I lay myself bare to Your tending of me. You are my husbandman. Saturate me, Lord, with all that You may possibly give me. I’m open to you. Keep me ever open. Continue to rain down upon me, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen