Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you – guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. 2 Tim. 1.14
When I received Jesus as my Saviour and declared Him to be my Lord, a deposit was given to me and placed within me. It was the good deposit of the Gospel. I know it because I responded to it. I believe this is the same for every true Christian. If we have genuinely received Jesus in salvation, we have the good deposit of the Gospel within us. And it is there to be shared. But it is also to be guarded zealously. I have received of the most wonderful gift in accepting Jesus. But the enemy is upset and will not be inactive in my life. My first responsibility, then, is to look to my ongoing walk of salvation. The gospel deposit is in me, but I must guard it and ensure its ongoing health and vitality.
I must guard it also to preserve the simple but powerful message that it is. I will be presented with opportunities to share my experience of the overwhelming love of God. Not only will I share it, I will be so placed as to invite others to participate, to receive for themselves the joyous and wonderful gift of life – a gift for all eternity, but one to be embraced and lived right now.
There is much guarding to do of what is already inside me and what I am able to share with others. I do not have to guard this alone. God’s Holy Spirit is there for me. He will aid me. He will strengthen me. He will even give me the very words to say. And this is where the “guarding” looks outward. I am to guard not only what is inside me, but I am also to be protective of the deposit as I share it and impart it to others. In all of this the Holy Spirit is with me to direct and enable. I feel myself to be in a strong and wonderful partnership. It is joyful, exciting and rewarding. I look forward into the day ahead and wonder what opportunities my loving Father will bring to allow me to share His love and the wonderful good news of a new life with Jesus, a life lived to the fullest in the enabling power of the Holy Spirit. Oh, praise God for His unending love and great faithfulness.
I thank You first for the wonderful gift of salvation and new life that You have given to me. I do not take this lightly. I offer You my deep expressions of gratitude.
I thank You also for the opportunities You give me for sharing this gift. I thank You for each and every one, but I ask for more. I further ask for Your Holy Spirit to be with me and work in me such that I will not miss any opening. Would You honour me by allowing me to convey Your love to people? I believe You have spoken clearly to me and commissioned me to tell Your people that You love them. Lord, I need You in order to be able to do this. Be with me. O, may Your Holy Spirit inhabit every part of my being and move powerfully within me. I love You and I want to share that love with so many. Make me Your hands and feet, Your breath and life wherever I go. Lead me on, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Sunday, 27 October 2013
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim. 2.1
What is the grace that Paul speaks of? In the previous chapter he reminds us that God has saved us and called us to a holy life, not through any act or deserving on our part but because of his own purposes and grace. God has a purpose for each soul He saves. He saves us in grace – His exquisite love for us that compels Him to reach out and draw us to Him. He also equips us through this same grace to do whatever it is that He desires us to do.
The grace of salvation is found in Jesus Christ who gave Himself for us. Without Christ we would still be estranged from God. Jesus brought us back. This is God’s grace in action. It is also in Jesus that we find the grace to follow the direction that God call us in. His direction for us may be to lead thousands into the kingdom, or it may be to be a sincere friend and a good neighbour. Whatever God calls us to be, whether it appears great or small in our own eyes, fulfilment and contentment will not come without obedience to His call. If His purpose for me is small in my thinking, it behoves me not to hanker after bigger things. May I be content to be the person God wants me to be.
The writer to the Hebrews rightly encourages me to fix my eyes on Jesus. I look to Him, and only to Him. He will fill me and sustain me. He will lead me and guide me. He will empower and strengthen me. Yes, the grace I find in Jesus will make me strong. He is my strength and my shield. In Him I can do anything.
I’m not sure whether Paul’s word – initially to Timothy, but also to me – is a statement of fact or a suggestion of encouragement. Perhaps it is both. Paul says, maybe, that I will be strong in the grace that I find in Jesus and he could well be urging me to seek that grace. It would be foolish of me not to receive what he says, to know where my strength lies and to actively pursue the source and envelop myself in Him.
I echo the words of the old chorus and say, “All to Jesus I surrender.” The grace of God is so powerfully manifest in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.
Lord Jesus, You are my reconciliation with the Father. You are the facilitator of my life in Him. I seek You in the fullness of surrender; I declare Your lordship in every part of my being and over every area of my living. May I know the full extent of Your grace? Take me, if You will, and make me wholly Yours. My desire is to live as You would have me live. May all that I am and anything that I do be founded in You. Intertwine me with you such that I might sense You in every fibre of my being.
May I live with You and for You. Guide me such that Your light shines forth from me. Touch others through me. Use me to draw them to You. As I receive and enjoy Your love let me willingly share it with others, in Your precious name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 23 October 2013
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3.16, 17
Scripture is much debated as to origin, content, veracity and meaning. I choose to receive these verses as a reminder that God is clearly and firmly behind all that is contained in His Word. Furthermore, He speaks clearly in and through what is written to hearts and ears that are open to hear Him and to receive what He has to say.
I believe God’s Spirit works throughout the whole of the Bible leading the believer, just as Jesus promised, into all truth. The Holy Spirit will teach me all that I need to know. I rejoice that He will remind me of everything Jesus has said. He will rebuke and correct me as I need it. I can receive from Him all the training that I need in righteousness. This is God ministering directly and personally to me. Yes, the Holy Spirit is my personal trainer. As I offer myself, and as I allow Him free rein to work in me, so He will mould me into a thoroughly-equipped man of God, fitted to do whatever my Father would have of me.
Further, the Holy Spirit will sustain me in constant readiness. God’s Word is alive. It is dynamic. So I am fed daily, according to my needs and in readiness for anything that God may want me to do.
There may be times when I am called on to debate His Word. I have read many human interpretations, some of which are deep, insightful and helpful to further understanding. Some, by comparison, appear quite fanciful. On balance, I shall stay with the Holy Spirit as my commentator and interpreter of God’s Word, and be guided by Him also in any travels I undertake through human versions of what God might be saying.
God’s interpreter and guide (aka the Holy Spirit) is always available to direct and steer me through His Word and His ways. Hallelujah! I rejoice in such a blessing.
I thank You for a new day, and for what I receive as a fresh word from You. I take from this reflection an assurance that Your Holy Spirit will ever show me the way through Your Word. As I am diligent and attentive He will clearly show me Your way. As I offer myself, He will be my true and constant guide. Dear Lord, I thank You for this reminder of Your faithfulness.
I offer myself to You without compromise or restriction. I pray for the enabling, and maybe sometimes a Godly reminder, to look always to You in complete innocence and utter dependence. You are my life. Yours is the way, the only way I want to go. Come, Holy Spirit. Lead me into this day. Take me through the day in obedient service to my Lord and Maker. My love for Him moves me to serve Him with all of my being. Lead me on, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Monday, 21 October 2013
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 2 Tim. 4.2
Paul’s exhortation is to be prepared at all times. The preparation is the Word. The Word is the basis of all that we say and do.
The Christian way is not one of total acceptance, albeit in love, of all and sundry. Certainly we are called to love without holding back. We are commissioned to reach out in the name of Jesus, and to look, just as He did, on people with compassion and mercy.
But we also have a responsibility to nurture and grow those we touch and who may respond, in the ways of God, ways that are good and righteous. Not all activity is acceptable to God.
We are called to follow the example of Jesus, to become more Christlike as we journey this life. Sometimes we need correction, sometimes maybe even rebuke. Yet my strong sense is that these things must be done in a most encouraging way. Correction, rebuke and encouragement may well stand as separate and distinct actions required at certain times but, as well, correction and rebuke when given separately need to be clothed in encouragement.
Paul mentions the need for patience and careful instruction. God’s Word is enduring and precious. It is not to be mishandled nor treated rashly or carelessly. How fortunate we are that this amazing aid is there to lead us through the journey.
I thank You for Your Word. It is truth and life, and it is eternal in its application. Grant me wisdom and patience. Give me a growing understanding of Your Word and guide me, please, in its application, both in my own life and in those lives You lead me to minister into. Let me never be tempted to give of myself but always be led by You.
I am Your servant. Draw me further into Your service, in Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 15 October 2013
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 6
As I ponder this verse I realise the truth and encouragement that it contains. Sharing my faith is active. It is an action in which, from my embrace in God, I reach out to others with His love and acceptance. Some that I share with will know Him. Others may not. Yet God loves them all, and I am encouraged to reach out to them in His love.
I may share God’s truth in deep ways with people, exploring His word and its meaning. Or I may join with them in simple celebration and enjoyment of His love. Whatever it may be, it hopefully helps those I share with whilst, at the same time, it leads me into deepening understanding of all that I have in Jesus.
It is true that God’s blessings are manifold. As I live in Him, and as I am willing to share Him, I may be used by Him to bring His blessing to others. I may also be mightily blessed myself. Praise God!
I love you and I want to share Your love freely and widely. But I do not want Your love to be scorned nor Your blessing demeaned. I know I can ask for Your Holy Spirit guidance, and I do this now.
Come Holy Spirit, lead me to those whom the Father would have me share with. Equip and enable me to teach where You would have me do so, to correct and rebuke if this is needed, and to share God’s wonderful love in boundless joy and encouragement with all who need it and are willing to receive it.
I thank You for a release into sharing. I ask for a greater release. As I share, I pray You will lead me into fuller understanding of every good thing I have in Christ.
Feed me. Release me. Use me, in Your love and power. In Jesus’ Name I ask. Amen.