Monday, 28 April 2014


Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.   Gal. 6.2

A true sense of community comes through in Paul’s words here. The Greek sentence emphasises “one another’s burdens”. We are not simply to bear our own loads, but to support and strengthen each other.

The Greek verb for “carry” can also mean to endure, to bear, to tolerate, to support or sustain, and even to pick up. There is true Christian fellowship and connection in this sentence.

I realise also that I might need to set aside any opinions I may have of others and the things with which they burden themselves. I need to see situations as Christ would see them and respond to them in the way that He would want me to. In doing this I might find the way to fulfilling the law of Christ.

Holy Lord,

I thank You for this reminder of the second commandment of Jesus: to love my neighbour as myself.

Help me to set aside any temptation to judge or form a prejudice against the actions of others, and the results that such actions might bring. Lead me, if You will, to be able to strengthen and support others in a way that is fully pleasing to You.

I pray for every heavenly equipping that I might need. I will not achieve in my own strength and ability but only as You lead, guide and endow me with those qualities that render me more Christ-like.

I yearn to follow my Saviour, to know Him, and to grow more like Him with each passing day.

Know my heart, Lord, and lead me on to fulfil these precious commands of loving You with every part of my being, and of loving my neighbour as myself. I ask these things in Jesus’ precious name.             Amen.

Friday, 25 April 2014

A new creation

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.                                                                        Gal. 6.15

Paul is a new creation in Christ and this is the most significant thing to him.

The Galatians have possibly been bombarded with exhortations, maybe even threats that they need to be circumcised. Paul rejects this forcefully. He accuses those of the “circumcision party” of using the fact of circumcision as a means of avoiding being persecuted for the cross of Christ. He says: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”. (v 14)

Paul had been separated from the world. He is a new creation in Christ. He does not need to hide behind the excuse of circumcision, though he could well do so if he chose. Rather, he chooses willingly to boast in the cross of Jesus and his story bears witness to the persecutions he endured (stoning, beatings, shipwrecks etc.).

What about me? Would I follow Paul and boldly stand up for the cross of Christ? Would I accept whatever persecution may arise as I stand in and for Him? I like to think so! To date I have not been seriously tested in this, Should I ever be tested, I pray God will strengthen, support and lead me through in His holy power.

Lord God,

I thank You for Paul and the lessons he continues to teach me. I can read of his sufferings for You, yet not fully comprehend what he went through. But his faith was unwavering.

I pray for such faith. If I am to experience testing, even persecution, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to strengthen me. Hold me up so that I may not disappoint You. Give me the very words to say and the loving gestures to enact. May I truly follow Jesus and stand strong and secure in the victory of the cross. I ask this in His precious name.              Amen.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Burned up?

To you, O LORD, I call,
for fire has devoured the open pastures
and flames have burned up all the tress of the field.
                  Joel 1.19

Joel is surrounded by desolation. Food has been cut off and there is no prospect of restitution. Seed is shrivelled and granaries broken down. Cattle moan and sheep suffer.

In this hopeless state Joel cries out to God. Many people have a similar experience. They turn to God only when everything else has been stripped from them. They are brought to a place of absolute, and desperate, need before they acknowledge the One who is needed before and above all else.

I am thankful that I was not brought to the depths of despair before God took hold of me. Certainly I have known relatively desperate times. But I have not lost everything as some have. God took hold of me at a most opportune time and, since that moment of reconciliation, He has drawn me closer to Him and led me further in Him. I thank God for His wonderful intervention in my life.

I pray for those who are to experience great loss before they turn to God.

Holy Father,

I remember with joy the time when You took hold of me and brought me into true and lasting relationship with You. I thank You for the journey that began all those years ago and that has proceeded – with its ups and downs – and has brought increasing revelation and release, love and contentment, passion and pleasure into my life. I give myself to the ongoing journey.

I pray also for those who haven’t had this same experience with You. I pray for the lost, the desolate and the desperate. I pray that You would show Yourself to them and make clear to them that they need You. So many of them think that they need nothing outside of the world they have chosen to live in. They are so removed from the truth.

I pray that You will touch them, gently but mightily, with Your truth and draw them into relationship. I pray for those who, right now, might be in the pit of despair. Their worlds might appear to be closing in on them. I pray for a supernatural revelation for them. May they see You, loving God, as the hope that stands against all hopelessness. May they be touched by Your eternal love. May they know that this gift costs nothing, save that they turn to You in full measure. I pray a mighty response from such people.

I thank You for the journey that I am on. I pray for similar experiences for many more people. I offer myself to be used by You to help others. May my path cross with those whom I can help. May I be used by You to spread the glorious news of the Kingdom of love wherever I go. I ask for these things in the mighty and loving name of Jesus.     Amen.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Still hope

Blow the trumpet in Zion,
sound the alarm on my holy hill.
Let all who live in the land tremble,
for the day of the LORD is coming.
It is close at hand –   
                                           Joel 2.1

Joel heralds the coming of the day of the Lord, but it is no cause for celebration. The coming day will be a day of darkness and gloom. Joel sees fire devouring all before it and leaving behind a desert waste. He says of the large and mighty army of God that nothing escapes them (v3).

This is hardly good news. It certainly doesn’t correspond with my idea of the coming of the Lord which I see as a time of joy and complete liberation. Certainly I will be judged, but I don’t expect to be cast into outer darkness. Rather, I look for the sweet embrace that will finally take me home.

But for many the coming day could well be one of terror and doom.

Yet there is still hope. There is much change needed but I know that God can do anything. And perhaps the most effective action I can take is to speak to Him on the plight of the lost, and urge Him to draw them to Himself in life-giving salvation.

Lord God, Holy Father,

I thank You for this alert to the coming day of the Lord and the possibility of distress and doom that could await masses of people.

I cry out for the lost. I petition You earnestly to intercede in the world and bring restoration of faith in You.

Draw people to you, I ask in all humility and deep sincerity. May those who walk with You walk closer still. May we see, and truly experience, world-wide revival. Lord, the future of all creation is at stake. Hear this prayer. May the heavens be stirred to reach out to the entire cosmos in lasting salvation, I ask this in Jesus’ name.                 Amen.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Not impressed

As for those who seemed to be important – whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance – those men added nothing to my message.              Gal. 2.6

Paul is not impressed by individuals who attach importance to themselves. He further suggests that such people don’t impress God either, for He doesn’t go by what the exterior proclaims.

Paul’s heart is sold out to Jesus. This is where he gets his strength and motivation. He has opened himself to Jesus and allows Jesus to fill him. This is interior, the inner core of the individual. This is what God looks at. And, surely, when the inside is totally given over to Jesus, isn’t it going to show unfailingly on the outside?

I’m with Paul. People’s outer pretensions don’t impress me. But what is inside shines forth. I pray that God will gift me to see Jesus in those I meet. I also pray that He will shine Jesus forth from me, in fullest measure.

Lord God,

I love You. My prayer is that I might delight You today. I give myself with a sincere plea that You would touch ne with Jesus and grow His fullness in me. Lord, oh that I might reflect the brightness of my Saviour’s love wherever I go, and that I may impart the utmost of Your presence in me. I ask unashamedly for this.

I pray also that I will not be deceived by any self-promoting or important ways that people adopt. Rather, I ask that I may see Jesus in them. Where this is not so, let me receive them as He would, compassionately and lovingly. And let me minister to them as He would have me do.

I’m asking, precious Lord, to be filled to overflowing with Your light and love, and to let these things spill out freely to all I meet.

I ask this, believing for it, in Jesus’ precious name.              Amen.