Saturday, 30 January 2016

Things of God

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”                                                                                                                              Matt. 16.23

Abraham argued with God (Gen. 18.16-33) and was not rebuffed. Moses also argued with God, and with a measure of success (Exod. 32.9-14). But Peter had no such favour.

If I read about Peter without reference to the other two, I am likely to conclude that I should never question nor argue with God. Yet when I remember the challenges that Abraham and Moses presented to the Almighty I am led more to consider that I need to discern what I may, or may not, bring to God in question or debate.

I see a clear guide in Jesus’ words to Peter: “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”                                

When I think, even vaguely, of challenging God, I need to pay particular concern to what my intention is. Abraham was focussed on preserving any righteous persons that might have been in Sodom. This was certainly a Godly aim! Moses was concerned both for the protection of God’s chosen people and also for God’s “reputation”. Again, Godly concerns! Peter, however, seemed to respond in typical feisty but unthinking manner. He could even have been thinking of his own loss at the things Jesus was foretelling.

And herein lies the key – will my challenge be beneficial to God’s work or to human satisfaction? May I have the wisdom to discern!

Holy Lord,

I don’t know that I would have the courage to challenge You on any score. But, if I am ever tempted, may I have the wisdom to distinguish when my motivation is God-warranted as against when it might be human-biased! May I respond more in the mindset of Abraham and Moses rather than as Peter did in this present instance.

I pray for a curb on impetuousness, but a release of true Godly freedom.

I ask these things in Jesus’ name.                   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").

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


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

I believe Jesus gives a foundational truth in this statement about Peter. Man can tell about God, and even share individual and personal experiences of God. But only God can reveal Himself to anyone. I believe that true faith and belief come as a result of God’s own revelation. This accords with something else that Jesus spoke forth: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6.44).

The work of the cross was instigated by the Father. This ultimate sacrifice demonstrates His amazing love for all people. There is no discrimination in the cross. All are equally fitted to respond. Yet it seems that the Father chooses the time of revelation and conversion. And maybe not all who receive God’s revelation respond immediately to this invitation. I am glad that I did!

Furthermore, I seek ongoing revelation from God. There is much more, I’m sure, that God could reveal to me. I pray that He will. As He chooses to show me, and as I see more of Him and His ways, so our relationship grows and deepens.

I have received the revelation of Jesus as Son of God. But I seek further. I receive Him as my Saviour, my Lord, my Lover, Companion and Friend, Teacher and Confidant. He is all of these things. And I yearn for greater intimacy with Him. This will come as the Father reveals more and more to me!

Holy Father,

I thank You for the wonderful revelations You have given me so far. I receive them all, and I ask for more. My request comes from a longing of heart to be closer to You, to enjoy greater intimacy and depth of relationship.

I am hungry, so I turn to the source. You are my provision, in and of all things. Draw me to You, please. Feed me! Show me more of Yourself and of Your ways, and lead me surely in those ways, that I may enjoy You, and You me.

May I share this joy and be enabled to tell others, in realistic way, of Your wonderful love,             Amen.

Sunday, 24 January 2016


The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.                                                                         Matt. 16.1

Were the religious leaders truly ignorant of the real identity of this man they were testing?  Or were they merely being arrogantly disrespectful by taunting Him? They would surely have known the Law (Deut. 6.16) which Jesus Himself reminded Satan of when he sought to tempt Him in the wilderness: Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” (Matt. 4.7)

The leaders knew to not test God. They flaunted this knowledge by their request of Jesus. Jesus responds in truth: “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” (Matt. 16.4)
Jonah spent three days in the belly of a large fish.

The sign was made clearer for us when Jesus spent three days in the earth before His resurrection.

What, then, do these verses tell me? Clearly I am not to put God to the test. So where do I stand in respect to “putting out a fleece”? I see a fleece as more of a request for guidance rather than a testing. God cannot, and will not, be tested!

But I have been given a sign. The amazing death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the sign for all time. I need nothing more than this. I have asked God, it is true, for signs and wonders and miracles to manifest through my walk with Him. I see all these as part of God’s amazing ministry to His people. He is the God of the impossible, the miraculous. It is part of His relating to us that these things be seen and experienced.

I do not wish to put God to the test. I earnestly want to know His way for me, and so I may, from time to time, put out a fleece. I am totally assured by the sign of the cross and resurrection. I need no other sign from God. Yet I desire to see Him work the miraculous in me and through my ministry for Him.

I trust these are correct understandings! I pray to God that this is so.

Holy Father,

I offer to You the understanding I have written above. Please correct me in the clearest way if I am mistaken. Lead me further into enlightenment in You. Show me more of Your glorious Being and doing. Let me never put You to the test, but simply rest in Your love and receive Your comfort, strength and enabling.

More than anything, I seek You. May You be so real to me, inhabiting my being and all that I do. I love You. I ask You to accept my humble, frail, human love – in Jesus’ name.                                  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").