Thursday, 29 October 2015
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
What does it mean for a person to want to save his or her life? It suggests to me that the individual takes it upon himself or herself to make their way, to take control of life and do with it what they choose and decide.
Jesus warns against this. Such action, He says, will cause the person to lose life. In the extreme, this could mean that the person would forfeit their very existence. I also see something else, something that comes to me now as the joy of living. Life is not merely the force that takes one from birth to death. Life as also the quality we enjoy in the journey.
Rather than me being in charge, Jesus invites me to lose my life for Him – and I see this as something more than a passing, polite invitation! I hear Jesus beckoning, even urging me to live His way, to follow – with Him – the Father’s plan for my life. As I do this, and I certainly want to do it, I will experience the richness of living that can only come from Him.
This has been the way for me for quite some time now, yet I give myself for it to be even more so. I am not always fully tuned into God’s way. I seek His forgiveness in this, and I look for His leading of me, more and more, into the finding of my life in Him.
I know and You know that I am far from perfect in my surrender to You. Forgive me, please. Set me free, if You will, from the power and hold of sin. Lead me into those paths and ways that are God-ordained. Strengthen me daily in You. I know the journey will have challenges, yet with You I can overcome.
I do love You, and my heart’s desire is to please and delight You. Hear this, my urgent plea, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Monday, 26 October 2015
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” Matt. 16.17
We know what we know about God only by what He reveals to us. We will only ever know of God by His personal revelation. I can give myself to careful examination and clever thinking through His Word and the many millions of words about Him that have been written by others yet, at the end of the day, I will only know Him as He chooses to share with me.
I also see the vast, overwhelming importance of knowing Him, as well as knowing about Him. I can know a great deal about Him but this profits me very little until I actually know Him, and enter into a living relationship with Him. Again I think God is the initiator of this. He moves to draw me to Him in sweet encounter. I have the choice of response. This was my experience many years ago. I am ever grateful that I chose to accept His gracious invitation.
And now my choice is to remain alert, to be ever ready to receive what He would share with me. I make myself available. In my entreaties I unashamedly ask for more. I can’t get enough of my loving, gracious God.
I am so blessed, and the blessings continue to come.
Most Gracious God,
My heart cannot fully express the joy and thanks I feel that You have drawn me into relationship with Your Wonderful Self.
I look for more. I ask, humbly, that You draw me close. May I know more of the secrets of heaven? May I enter deeper into the mystery of divine love? You are everything to me. I am nothing without You.
I thank You for this realisation, and for the knowledge that You are always there. Fill me to overflowing in You. Lead me to share You wide and long. Amen.
Thursday, 22 October 2015
“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents that over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.” Luke 15.7
The first aspect of this story to attract my attention is the setting. Tax collectors and “sinners” were gathering around Jesus. They were eager to hear what He had to say. Against them stood the Pharisees and teachers of the law. They only had criticism of this man who welcomes sinners and eats with them.
The parable that Jesus proceeds to tell encapsulates the very situation. The irony is only too evident to those with eyes to see.
The sinners readily repent of their sins while the arrogance of the religious leaders gives the all-too-clear message that they see themselves as righteous persons who do not need to repent.
I see from the whole of this narrative how little time God has for hypocrites. And I realise how all-knowing God is. Whatever image I may choose to project, God knows the truth. And the truth is that I am a sinner. I cannot hide this, nor should I try to.
It is equally clear the rejoicing that takes place when I confess my sinfulness. I know I need Him. He knows I need Him. So, why pretend? Let’s get on with it.
In myself I am a miserable sinner. In You I am forgiven, and set free. Dear Lord, there is no contest. I come to You in my sinful state. I confess and repent of all my sins, and I include every sin, even those I may not be aware of, but You know.
I seek Your cleansing and Your way forward for me. I give myself to You for whatever You would do in me and with me.
I look to the day ahead and I rejoice that I can travel this day with You. Take me forward, and may we enjoy each other, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
My book “God Talk” is available through major Internet booksellers.
A taste of the book's content can be seen in the You Tube clip (Search: Peter Francis - "God Talk").
Monday, 19 October 2015
“In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”
Jesus’ message here is quite clear: the true disciple must put Christ before everything else. Jesus opens this passage by citing what are, likely, the most important things to the individual in human terms, namely family and the person’s very life. Will we give these up?
The believer is to seriously consider beforehand the cost of following Christ. It is no glib or flippant act. Jesus refers to the tower builder who carefully estimates cost before commencing construction. He cites the king who evaluates his military strength before pitting his forces against another.
Jesus demands complete surrender and absolute obedience. But those who give totally in this way find themselves mightily blessed for, and I truly believe this, God will honour those who honour Him.
Jesus is the way I want to go. I sometimes wonder how complete my surrender is, but I commit to press on, to respond as best I’m able to His holy call and direction. If I continue to give myself over to Him, then He is free to have His way with me.
I hear Your word. I come in renewed surrender. I place all that I am and everything I have before You. I say, again, take me and make me what You would have me be.
If following You costs everything, then let me be willing. For what is it to me if I have all that I might treasure in a worldly sense, yet be without You? This would be simply unacceptable to me.
I love You, I rejoice that You have chosen me to this privileged place. May Your love continue to lead me, ever closer to You and further into whatever You would have of me during this earthly sojourn. I am Yours.