Monday, 27 June 2016
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge. Psalm 19.1,2
I am mindful of the vastness of the firmament about the earth. Perhaps the single word that comes to me in description is: freedom.
Yes, the heavens facilitate my living on earth in wondrous freedom. When I am indoors, in the comfort of my cosy home, I am safe and secure. Yet, if I found myself confined totally to the dwelling, I'm sure I would feel, after time, the restricting nature of roof and walls.
Outdoors the heavens are vast, yet they are not threateningly so. There is no sense of danger due to the unlimited nature of the sky above. Perhaps this is because I am so familiar with this heavenly covering.
As I reflect, I think joyfully of the sky during the day. Today is overcast, dull and rainy. But this is not oppressive. The sky still opens up the firmament overhead. Yesterday was gloriously fine, sunny and hot. The sky was so different, but equally enjoyable and welcome.
I think, then, of the night sky. At times, stars twinkle in profusion. Maybe the moon gives off an amazing light, or a lack of moon and minimum starlight evoke peace and rest - a true stillness.
The firmament is dynamic. Constantly changing, it speaks continually. I find its messages to be reassuring and encouraging, sometimes even challenging. The sky is yet another way in which God speaks to me. I pray that I may ever be open to hear what He might be saying. May the skies continue to thrill me and captivate me with their wonder, their infinite variety, and His eternal presence.
I am brought to a fresh reflection on the wonder of the heavens above the earth. I am mindful of the dynamic nature of the skies above, indeed of the whole of creation. You are ever at work, and I constantly see and receive Your invitation to me to join You in delight and wonder.
I respond, most loving Lord. Even today when the sky is grey and, at present, rain is falling consistently, refreshing the earth in most welcome manner.
I rejoice in this most wonderful part of Your creation. I express my gratitude to You that I am a small part of the wonder of what You have made.
The welcome rain falls, yet I see the heavens smiling above me. I thank You most heartily. Amen.
Saturday, 25 June 2016
LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill? Psalm 15.1
The psalmist asks of God who may reside in God's holy house, in the temple. The remaining verses of the psalm identify the qualities necessary to allow of co-habitation with God.
The NIV Study Bible notes (p. 798) identify this psalm as: instruction to those who wish to have access to God in his temple. I am relieved to receive this as "instruction", for I simply don't fit the profile that the words occasion. Verses 2 to 5 describe a moral righteousness that, quite frankly, I don't rise to. My flaws and imperfections leave me less than meeting these criteria.
If, however, I take this psalm as instruction, then there is hope. I am a sinner. I do live and struggle in a fallen world, and I know beyond doubt that I cannot effect my own salvation.
I need God. I have experienced His reaching out to me. He has drawn me to Him and opened up relationship with me. In Jesus I am cleansed. But I do believe that I need to return to Jesus continually. I stumble and fall with a regularity that is a little disconcerting. I wonder if God has this problem with others of His children!
The course of action that I feel to take is to come to Him at the earliest possible time. I lay myself before Him in confession and repentance. I place myself at His mercy, for I have no other acceptable option.
I know His love and mercy yet I do not wish to mis-use this. My desire to be all that the psalmist presents as moral righteousness must be genuine. I want this to be so. I yearn to dwell in God's house in peace and blessing.
Almighty and Most Holy God,
Once again I am mindful of the miserable state of sin that ever seeks to assail me. I realise my own weakness, for I succumb, and I fail.
I do not excuse myself, yet I am aware that I cannot secure my salvation apart from You, Lord. I need the atoning sacrifice of my Lord Jesus Christ to release me, continually, from the effects of sin.
I come before You, humbly, and in sincere spirit. I confess my sins and I truly repent. I say again that I do not wish to perpetuate the practice of falling, and failing You. Help me, please.
I seek Your forgiveness and restoration into the sweetness of relationship with You. Lead me into and through this day. As we journey together, may I be drawn closer to You. Let me experience the touch of Your breath on me. Let me feel Your heartbeat, and live in step with it. Thank You. Amen.
Wednesday, 22 June 2016
I, I am he who comforts you;
why then are you afraid of a mere mortal who must die,
a human being who fades like grass?
You have forgotten the LORD, your Maker,
who stretched out the heavens
and laid the foundations of the earth. Isa. 51.12,13a
This is so amazing! I feel my spirit bubbling up within me at the joy that these words bring. Why, oh why, could I fear any mere mortal when the Almighty who made the heavens and the earth, declares Himself to be my comfort?
He is omnipotent, omnipresent and all-loving. I thrill, yet again, as I receive just a glint of realisation of this truth. This is the reality that I live in. God Almighty, the Absolute Everything, is my personal guardian, guide, comforter, friend, father, lover, confidant, enabler and strength. I keep reminding myself of this – and God sends me constant reminders. Yet I know I don’t realise the enormity and totality of what this means.
But I take what I understand and apply it to my living. I will fear no human or any difficulty of this world, for my living is in another place. I am His boy, and my life, yes even here on this earth, is with Him. Hallelujah, glory and thanks to my heavenly Dad!
Lord God and Loving Father,
Again I am assailed and swamped by the wonder of You. You are mighty, magnificent and totally for me. O, I am so grateful.
I desire to live in the fullness of liberty in Your mighty power and fearsome ways. Strengthen me, I beg of You, to resist sin and the evil one. I want to go Your way, and to please You with all of my life. I sense a growing awareness (though maybe not full understanding) of what it means to live in You. Show me more, please! Lead me on in company with You, Gracious Lord, Mighty King, Heavenly Dad. Amen.
Sunday, 19 June 2016
Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the LORD has comforted his people,
and will have compassion on his suffering ones. Isa. 49.13
There are times to simply sing out in praise of God, in exultation of Him, and in worship and adoration. If I need a reason for this, I can look at what He has done in my life and the journey on which He has brought me. I can take hold of the promise of what He will do: He will have compassion on His suffering ones and, in His compassion, He will bring reassurance and hope.
I can adopt these reasons for my joyful singing to the Lord, or I can break out in exultation from the deep love I feel for Him. Love requires no reason for expression other than its own reality. God loves me and He enables me to return love to Him. This is reason enough to rejoice.
There may be an imbalance in the measure and quality of my love for God and His love for me, but this does not dilute our relationship. I give to Him to the degree that I can. And I’m quite sure that this delights Him.
I have many reasons to be thankful to God, but today I want to rejoice, exult and sing for joy purely out of the love I share with Him.
Great God and Loving Father,
I am filled with rejoicing in my sweet relationship with You. My heart sings out in praise of the wonderful Being that You are and the amazing love that You have for me. I swell up with joy in Your holy presence. My whole being bows before You in adoration and worship. I settle into the gentle silence of awe, and unspoken homage to You. May the peace within me reach You in more powerful acclamation than any words or song. My very self is devoted to You in the wonder of love. Receive my adoration; receive me, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
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Thursday, 16 June 2016
My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I summon them, they stand at attention. Isa. 48.13
In simple statement these words proclaim the power, the majesty, and the glory of Almighty God. It’s as if He’s saying, “It’s all mine. I control everything.”
Again, I’m challenged to hear what God is saying and to take hold of His truth. I need to live in the reality of who He is.
When troubles come and when I am afflicted or confronted by a problem – which could be anything from something minor to a looming major catastrophe – do I take hold of the greatness of my God?
These are not mere words that came forth many years ago to appease some disturbance in the life of the day. No! These words are the eternal truth of the mighty God, and the Creator of all that is. God is saying something here that I am well advised to heed. He is reminding me of His absolute and awesome power. He is telling me that He is there for me. He is inviting me to trust Him. He is saying: “Whatever besets or assails you, know that I am with you, and I am greater than the problem or the trouble. Turn to me and lean on me. Let me guide you through any and all difficulty. Accept me as your Saviour and Lord, your Friend and Travelling Companion.”
I thank You for this reminder of Your great power. I readily see You as my loving heavenly Father, but I sometimes overlook the amazing power and authority that my Heavenly Dad exerts.
I embrace You in love, and in Your mighty power. I pray that I may always remember this. And in any and all testing and difficulty, let me know that You are with me. You are for me, and You are all powerful – supreme!
Hallelujah! Mighty God, my Lord. Amen.