Tuesday, 29 November 2016
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16.13
What an amazing gift we have in the Spirit. The Spirit has been freely given to us. We would indeed be foolish to refuse this offer.
I receive God’s Holy Spirit, and I open myself to whatever He may have for me.
Firstly, He will guide me. I certainly need this. So, how does it work? I see the action with Him. It’s the Spirit’s work to guide. I’d say my part is to allow Him to guide me, to be open and alert at all times to revelations and promptings. I think another requirement of me is not to be surprised. I know full well that God can do anything. Why, then, should I be surprised if He chooses to do so?
The Spirit will also guide me into all the truth. This phrase resonates with me today. I don’t think I’ve previously taken notice that it’s all of the truth. What do I make of this? Well, nothing will be hidden or withheld. As I wait upon God, His Spirit will show me everything. This may not all be in the one sitting, so I may need to be patient.
And the Spirit may speak of all things. He will declare things to come. This is exciting, but it could also be a bit scary. If any warning should come from the Spirit, appropriate action on my part could allay further suffering or distress.
Finally, let me remember that the Spirit is God, and all that He discloses comes from God. Hallelujah!
I delight in the completion that is in You. Father, Son and Spirit make an amazing and powerful unity. And I am complete in You. I open myself to the fullness of You, in every expression. May I receive all that You have for me. Guide me, show me, declare to me, equip me, go with me, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Saturday, 26 November 2016
Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” John 13.38
Peter had said he would lay down his life for Jesus. Jesus countered by telling Peter he would, rather, deny Him three times. Further events bore this out.
Did Peter want to deny Jesus? I don’t think so! But the human psyche is a tricky thing which often leads us places where we don’t really want to go. Paul readily confesses: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (Rom. 7.15)
I know this experience only too well. I may be resolved in a good thing, and then I stuff it up by doing something silly which I really didn’t want to do. I am reminded that I am, at best, a sinner. And I need God’s grace. I will not save myself. Indeed, I don’t need to! It has already been done by Jesus. So, what do I do? To the best of my meagre resolve, I reckon I give myself to Him. When I become aware that a wrong or silly act threatens, if I have the strength I call out to Him for help. If, however, I give in to the threat or temptation, then I need to turn to Him at the earliest opportunity, seek His forgiveness, and ask Him to lead me through.
Tradition tells us that Peter did indeed lay down his life for Christ. But this was after he was wonderfully filled with the Holy Spirit.
As I commit to live with Jesus, the Spirit and the Father, I must be willing to turn, instantly, to them when I falter. I cannot live without them.
I am so aware of my own un-holiness. I falter and fall when I don’t want to. My desire is to live fully, and holy, in You. But my own sinful nature denies me. Help me, please. Forgive my failings, strengthen me in Your Spirit and lead me in Your truth, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 23 November 2016
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13.34
Jesus has given a new commandment. It’s interesting that He refers to it as new. I would have thought His message of love permeates His whole ministry. What does impress upon me is His exhorting of us to love each other as He has loved us. Furthermore, He presents this as the benchmark and recognition of Christians, that everyone will know us by the love we have for one another.
I look at the church and its history in the light of this yardstick, and I am disappointed and greatly dismayed. How often have we failed to love each other as He has loved us? How many times do we hear of disagreements, rifts and feuds within the body of Christ? And, God forbid, what of those horrible dark days when the church has physically abused, persecuted and tortured its people? Is this loving as Jesus did? I think not, absolutely not!
We have often got ourselves hung up on doctrine and dogma, and totally forgotten our first love, and His encouragements (commandments) to us. How different would be the global Christian life, and its impact on the world, if only we embraced His commandments and lived, and loved, after the example He set for us.
You commanded us to love each other, and You showed us the way. Yet for centuries we have not been obedient to Your call and Your example.
I ask Your forgiveness. Forgive us as a body, that we get caught up and distracted by things that seem so important to us yet are totally irrelevant to Your call to love.
May we be freshly infused and inspired by Your Spirit to live out the love You bless us with. I ask for myself, that I would be more gracious and loving in all that I do. Help me, Lord.