Sunday, 29 May 2016
Sing for joy to God our strength;
shout aloud to the God of Jacob!
Begin the music, strike the tambourine,
play the melodious harp and lyre. Psalm 81.1,2
I receive these verses and I take them just as they are. I feel a need to rejoice in God simply because He is God. Right now, I’m not asking Him to do anything for me. I want to worship and adore Him for who He is.
I have read through a number of the “lament” psalms where the psalmist, presumably as spokesman for the people, laments the present situation that they find themselves in, then asks God to act in defence of them and against all the surrounding nations that attack and overwhelm them, and THEN they will acknowledge Him and praise Him for His rescue of them.
I don’t wish to praise God only when He does something beneficial to me. I believe I am called to LIVE in worship of the Almighty. Certainly, I acclaim God for what He does, and what He does is always good. But I worship Him for who He is.
God is ever constant, He does not change. God is good; God is love. I love my God for who He is. I appreciate all that He does for me, but I desire to love Him irrespective of what He might do.
I do not know how successful I am in praising and worshipping God at all times and in every situation. What I do know is that I want to cry out to Him in praise and thanksgiving right now.
I am filled with desire to sing out to You in glorious praise and worship. Love for You bubbles up inside me and I release it in wonder and praise of who You are. I love you and I speak it out freely. I adore the “person” of You. I dare to reach out to touch the hem of Your garment. Receive me, Lord, and my love and adoration, In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
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Thursday, 26 May 2016
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” Mark 1.17
Jesus invites us to follow Him, but the choice is ours! The invitation is a most definite one and if we respond positively it will require total commitment on our behalf. We cannot half-follow, or partly follow, Jesus. I believe Christian commitment must be total, or not at all.
And what does this mean? I don’t believe it necessarily means giving up everything, though this may well be asked of some. To follow Jesus means, essentially, to embrace His commandments, to live as He would or, rather, to live my life in a way that is pleasing to Him, and to emulate Him in as much as His entire life on earth was lived in compliance and fulfilment of the Father’s will. This, surely, is a way of life. It need not prevent ‘normal’ living, but it certainly offers a challenging template with which to fashion everyday life.
Obeying Jesus’ commands to love God first and above all, with every part of me, and to love my neighbour with the sort of regard I want for myself may not be easy, yet it is not impossible.
Challenges will most certainly arise yet Jesus Himself assures us of His help.
There is something of a promise in this statement of Jesus that, if I follow Him, He will make me a fisher of men. This may happen noticeably, in an acknowledged and recognised public ministry, or it may occur unobtrusively, privately and without fanfare. It matters not which way it comes, just so long as God’s will is done. I look to follow Jesus, and be used by Him in whatever manner He should choose.
It is a privilege to be invited to follow Jesus. I accept the invitation wholeheartedly. I ask You to forgive me those times when my thoughts, words and actions do not demonstrate the desire of my heart to follow You. My desire remains to live in the fullness of Your will, to be true to You in all that I do.
I look to walk in Your ways today. Lead and guide me. Let me know Your will if You would. Otherwise, just have Your way with me.
Lead, Lord, and let me follow. In You precious Name I ask. Amen.
Monday, 23 May 2016
They do not know, nor do they comprehend; for their eyes are shut, so that they cannot see, and their minds as well, so that they cannot understand.” Isa. 44.18
Isaiah is talking of those who create idols and regard them as gods. They worship fabrications of stone and metal and pieces of wood.
This practice may not be so widespread today, but people still worship “other gods”. All sorts of materialistic and emotional attractions are sought after and embraced by people with an almost religious fervour.
But many eyes and minds are shut and closed off to the truth. Understanding does not come, and so a precious, indeed vital, relationship is denied.
I recently conducted the funeral of a “racing identity”. The church was packed, but it was also filled with a total lack of understanding. The life of the deceased was lauded, but I doubt that much thought was given to his after-life.
I am saddened that so many miss out on the good news. And that sadness is compounded by their lack of realisation of their loss.
I pray for the lost. I pray that eyes may be opened and ears unblocked to receive the message of Jesus and the promise of eternal life. I pray that hearts will be opened to respond in joyful acceptance.
I pray for all those people at the recent funeral. I ask that something of that service will stir hearts to question what might come when this present life ends. I pray that a remark or two that I made will cause people to think, question and maybe turn toward You in further search.
I ask that You equip and lead me to better present the message, and challenge people where they stand. Help me to reach out and actively demonstrate the love that so many people need. May I be a true servant of Your kingdom, and may You draw many to You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thursday, 19 May 2016
Do not fear, or be afraid;
have I not told you from of old and declared it?
You are my witnesses!
Is there any god besides me?
There is no other rock; I know not one. Isa. 44.8
I sometimes wonder about the strength and quality of my witness for Jesus. There are times when I sense that my testimony will not be received, indeed, it may well be ridiculed and scorned. I will not allow my God to be mocked, thus I am tempted to hold back in some cases.
But is this God’s way? He reassures me. He tells me neither to fear nor be afraid. He declares me to be His witness. I surely know Him as my one and only God. And I am devoted to Him. He has called me to be His witness. Let me therefore look to Him and seek His guidance in the matter, and the manner, of my witness.
I believe He will lead. I believe He will protect. And I know He is big enough and powerful enough to defend His own good name. Therefore I need not fear nor be afraid. As I travel, let me journey with Him. I have oft and long sought Him as my travelling companion. So, let me walk with Him, talk with Him, and speak of Him as naturally as I might of anyone who would be close to me. May I be a true witness to His love and presence in my life.
Dear Lord and Mighty God,
I lay before You my heart’s concern over the quality of my witness for You. I seek to cast aside all fear. I ask Your help.
Let me speak boldly, clearly and warmly about my relationship with You. Strengthen me to speak forth in the right way as circumstances require. Give me a gentle boldness that I might be authentic at all times.
Protect me, please, against mockers and knockers. Let me truly exhibit the love and grace that You have generously demonstrated in my life. I seek to be a good witness to Jesus. May You work with me in this, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.