Tuesday, 31 January 2017
“Be on your guard! If another disciple sins, you must rebuke the offender, and if there is repentance, you must forgive.” Luke 17.3
Why does Jesus caution us to be on guard? Are we to be alert to the sin of others? Maybe! We may also need to be ready to rebuke. We must certainly be prepared to forgive the repentant one.
I see the need for Jesus’ caution here, for I would find it difficult to rebuke another. I am only too mindful that I myself am a sinner. And here I see another reason to be on guard. I need to be alert to my own sin, to be ready to receive rebuke, and to be willing to repent. It would be pharasaical of me to jump on another’s transgressions but not be willing to recognise my own.
Indeed, there is much I need to be on guard for. And I must be constantly on guard. If sin and repentance occur many times in one day, I must forgive. What a wonderful lifestyle this passage invites me into. This is the way of the Lord. He is ever ready, and always willing, to forgive my sins when I come to Him in repentance. And, of course, He says, “Follow me.”
He shows me the way to go. I am to be ready at all times to forgive the repentant one, and willing to always confess and repent of my own sins. For this, I seek to maintain a constant guard.
I thank You for Your forgiving nature. I repent of all those things about me that grieve and disappoint You. Forgive me, please.
Lead me in the way of forgiveness. Let me not be critical of others. May I have the courage to rebuke with love and forgive with grace. I seek to follow You, to treat others as You treat me. Help me, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Sunday, 29 January 2017
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property.” Luke 16.1
Jesus shares another parable. This time He talks of the responsibility that attaches to a commission. The manager had been employed by the rich man to look after his property. It was not the manager’s place to decide whether or not his master is worthy of his good management. He had been commissioned simply to look after the other man’s property. And so he must!
I see myself commissioned by God to follow Christ and to obey His commandments. I see myself called to a lifestyle of love, forgiveness and grace. I see all believers called in similar way. I also see myself commissioned to share God’s ways with others, and I see this as requiring particular application by me. I am not at liberty to squander the things of God that He has commissioned me to share. When I give His Word, I must do so diligently, seeking His message and remaining ever alert to what He might say. My life in general is to reflect Jesus’ influence on me and not be consumed by my own ego. My encouragement of others is to look to Him.
The manager was called to give account of his doings. I believe that I will one day be called to give account. I pray I might hear those words, “Well done, my boy, I’m pleased with you.”
My desire is to be true to You and what You would have of me. I do not wish to squander anything that You entrust to me.
I pray for an openness in my being to receive all that You would grant me. I ask for wisdom to know Your ways for me, and courage to walk fully in those ways. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Friday, 27 January 2017
Then Jesus said, “There was a man who had two sons.” Luke 15.11
The parable of the Prodigal Son says it all. Both sons were disobedient to the father. They followed their own will and not his. In actions totally contrary to all Ancient Middle East practices, the father demonstrated his remarkable love for both his sons, by going out to meet them.
He met the younger son and welcomed him home in princely manner. He went out to meet the older son and pleaded with him to enter into the celebrations. Both sons dishonoured their father. Both received the father’s love and not his punishment.
By this wonderful story Jesus shows us the way of our Heavenly Father. He is there for us. As was the fictional father with his son, so our real Father is on constant lookout for our return to Him. He comes to meet us. Indeed, He rushes to us to welcome us back into our wonderful family. When we are disobedient, as the older son was, He comes to us to reason and restore. His way is as foreign to worldly ways as were the actions of the parable father against the customs and practices of the Middle East.
This is the way of love. It is often confounding to the world. It may be threatening to many who are enmeshed in worldliness. But it is the Father’s way. He calls us to love without limit, as He loves. He wants us to live in an atmosphere and environ of love. If we are genuine in our response, we will embrace His way of love, and live it to the full.
I want to live the way of love. I embrace it with my feebleness and limitedness. Take me and lead me on. May I know the prodigal nature of the Father’s love. May I share it, spread it, and enjoy it, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
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