Thursday, 31 March 2016

No delusion

But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.                                                                      Matt. 26.35

There is an interesting flow of conversation when Jesus tells His disciples that He is to be taken from them. Peter responds by saying he will never leave Jesus. Jesus then tells Peter he will indeed disown Jesus three times. Peter further reacts with the above declaration that not even death will stop his loyalty to Jesus.

Whilst I could be impressed with Peter’s fervent declarations, what really impacts me – with the knowledge I have of Jesus as Lord and God – is Peter’s impertinence at challenging the Almighty! It’s as if he’s saying, “No, God, you’ve got it wrong! I know better than you do, and I know I won’t let you down.”

Of course, Peter is not saying this, but this Peter (me) is taking note, and I’m reminding myself that it is possible to self-delude and think one knows better than God.

With this present reminder, I need to go forward in renewed attentiveness to God’s will and the ways that He has for me.

Holy Lord,

I can see impertinence on Peter’s part in his challenge here to Jesus. I see this but so often I miss it when I am discounting Your ways and wishes for me. I ask You to forgive me.

Let me see more clearly what You might be saying to me. Let me see, and be willing to be obedient to You. I give You my allegiance. I expect to hear You speak to me in relationship and direction. You are my first, and greatest love. How I rejoice in this knowledge.

I pray for Your strengthening of me in any time of testing. I pray that I can say, like Peter, that I will never disown You. But, unlike Peter, I pray that I will not be proved wrong. I love You, and seek to show it always. Hallelujah! I bless You, Lord.     Amen.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The least

“The king will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ ”                                                      Matt. 25.40

Jesus is talking of the judgment that is to come. It seems that the basis of whether one will be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is whether love is shown to God’s people. And Jesus clearly points to the least of His ‘brothers’ – the hungry who need feeding, the thirsty in need of a drink, the stranger needing to be made welcome, any in need of clothing, the sick and their tending, and those in prison to be visited. Jesus identifies basic needs and sets these as the threshold to the eternal kingdom.

Those who tend the needs of others He refers to as sheep, whom He will welcome into the kingdom. Those who ignore others and their needs, labelled goats, will be banished to eternal punishment.

How simple is it to care for others? Simple it may be, but not always easy! There are times when I might be too busy, or even too tired. There may be times when I simply don’t see a need that is presenting itself. I pray for God’s help in such times. I would not wish to deny anyone the ministry that Jesus wants me to extend to them. I may not always have the strength or even the sense in myself to reach out to them. But if I am focused on Jesus, He may alert and guide me.

Lord God,

I want to be there for Your brothers and sisters. Forgive me for those times when I fail. I ask You for an awareness of those who need my help. Show me the ones I need to touch with Your love. Give me insight to be able to help them in positive and constructive ways.

I ask You to guide me into the fulfilment of specific tasks You have for me. May I not waste time, in any ministry, on items or issues You would not have me address. As always, I look to You and thank You for Your constant presence and leading. I praise You, Lord.                   Amen.

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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Be ready

“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”                                                                                      Matt. 24.36, 44

This is perhaps the greatest mystery this side of heaven – no one other than the Father knows when the Son will return. As well as this clear statement, I see an implication in these words that no one is going to know the timing of the return. It is pointless to speculate or wonder, because we’re simply not going to be told.

What we are urged to do, however, is to be ready. The arrival is assured us as unexpected. Therefore, we must be ready at all times. And what does it mean to be ready? What Jesus’ ensuing words tell me is that I must be living in a Christ-like, God-fearing and God-pleasing way. Jesus follows His encouragement to be ready with a clear example of a servant left in charge of his master’s household. He flaunts his position, and mistreats those he has responsibility for. He generally misbehaves. This man is not ready!

How might I ready myself, and keep myself ready? I see a way – in fixing my eyes on Jesus and living, as best I can, as He would have me live.

Lord Jesus,

I want to be ready for when You return. Help me, please, to keep my eyes fixed on You, to learn from You and live as You would have me live. Be my mentor. Show me the way. May I know Your presence with me, and in me, as I follow the narrow path. I will wander in my own strength. And so, I look to You. I pray that daily we may journey together. Let me see the things that You see. Let me do only those things that You would have me do.

I don’t want to stray. I want to be ready, and able to greet You with the biggest welcome. I so want to be with You. Thank You, dear Lord, for all You do for me.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Loving God

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”                                                                                          Matt. 22.37

Jesus is responding to the Pharisees’ question of which is the greatest commandment in the law. His answer tells me what my priority is – to love God with my whole being. How may I do this?

As I trace this commandment to its roots in Deuteronomy, I can understand the human response of love as built on the love that God has for His people, and His identification with them. John reminds is that we love because he first loved us
                                                                                                                    (1 John 4.19).

Yet, whilst my love for God is a response to His love for me, it is also a gift. God has gifted me with this love, not only for Him but for all people as well.

Further, I see the two aspects of decision and commitment as pertaining to the all-consuming love I have for God.

God has given me the gift of love. I may choose to accept it. I can love Him because He loved me first. I can decide to put God in the priority position in my life, and to love Him with every part of my being. And I can commit to following through daily with this commitment. I do!

O Holy God,

I open up every part of my being to receive Your love and to respond to You from the whole of who I am. I give You mind, body, heart, soul, and spirit. May no part of me be exempt from Your holy touch. May I respond to You in love, in my entirety.

I love You, Lord. I yearn to be consumed by Your love. Fill me to overflowing, please. Let me receive and let me share, in loving my neighbours. Give me of Your heart, and allow me to spread the love that You have for all of creation.

I love You, Lord. I want my whole life to be motivated by Your most wonderful love May I receive in full measure and may I give equally. You are my all. I lay before You in my nothingness, and embrace Your everything.

Hallelujah! Bless You. Thank You.                 Amen.