Thursday, 29 November 2018
I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.” Psalm 41.4
This short and simple verse gives a complete prayer. I am a sinner, and however much effort I put into aiming for a sinless walk, I will fail.
So, what do I do? Do I give up and label myself “a hopeless sinner”? No, for my situation is not hopeless. I may be a sinner but I am also redeemed. My wonderful Lord Jesus paid the price for my sin and restored me into right relationship with the Father. This allows me to cry out in my sin for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
God freely forgives a repentant sinner. He brings healing from the sin and, often, healing from physical or emotional dis-ease that might well have been occasioned by the sin.
You are wonderful. I look to You and I marvel. Each time I come to You in my sinful state I want to hope that it will not happen again. But it does!
Yet Your great and gracious mercy forgives me and sets me free.
Lord God, I know that I will never be free of sin, yet my desire is to so please You that sin will not be any problem.
I dare to ask for healing. Lord, may I be healed and filled with the fullness of Christ in me. I get so excited, Lord, to know that You are in me.
Oh! Precious Jesus, take me and lead me forward into this day, in Your sweet name I ask. Amen.
Monday, 26 November 2018
Why, O LORD, do you stand off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10.1
I can hear the psalmist’s anxiety and desperate cry in these questions. He is afflicted and in desperate need of God’s presence and help. And God seems to be nowhere near.
I hear his cry and I taste his desperation, but I’m not sure that I agree with his sentiments. I like to think – indeed, I choose to think – that God is there with me in every time of trouble. I may not feel it, and this might be because I allow the threat, the danger or the adverse circumstances greater focus than my efforts to reach God and to rest in Him.
In such times my efforts to touch Him must surely be increased. He is there for me. My Lord Jesus paid the price of all suffering for me. I should not allow any present confusion (the subtle and effective work of Satan) to rob me of the assurance that my Lord and God is right there with me. I re-affirm His words to me that He will never leave me nor forsake me. I remind myself that God is with me (Immanuel) and I ask, “Who can be against me?”
Lord, Mighty Wonderful God,
I extol Your name. I sing high praise to You from every part of me. I thank You for Your faithfulness. I remind myself of Your constant presence and I rejoice. I pray that I might always know that You are with me. In times when it does not feel so, I ask for gentle reminders from You, and a strengthening of me that can only come from You.
O Wonderful Master, I feel You are with me right now. Lead me forward into this day. May Your name be hallowed, Your Kingdom come, and Your will be done, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
From the time I brought your forefathers up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again, saying, “Obey me.” But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts. So I brought on them all the curses of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep. Jer. 11.7,8
From this passage God might appear stern, unbending and even harsh. In fact, He is just. He continually reminded the Israelites of the behaviour He expected from them. This was no one-off warning. Time and again He spoke to them. And each time they chose to ignore Him and follow the stubbornness of their own hearts. The result was curse, as the natural consequence of disobedience to God. This is, truly, a sorry state.
But the converse is wonderfully encouraging. God’s blessing is upon those who fear Him and seek to do His will. He is a faithful and patient God who will help us and lead us through our weaknesses if we will only turn to Him and be guided by Him.
Today’s God time began at Psalm 103 where I noted the following verse:
The Lord works righteousness and justice
for all the oppressed.
I praise You with all of my soul for Your goodness and mercy. My desire is to follow You. I ask You to lead me in Your way, to forgive me and correct me when I falter.
I rejoice in You. I praise all the wonderful aspects about You – Your love and care, grace and mercy, faithfulness and truth. But my love is given to You because You are. You are the great I AM. I am both privileged and humbled to be Your child.
Lord God, I thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Friday, 23 November 2018
He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our forefathers
to teach their children,
so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children. Psalm 78.5,6
Passing the message to our children’s children brings my grandsons to the fore in my mind. I most strongly desire that they will know, and walk with God.
I feel limited, I feel limited in opportunities to share with them, and also limited in my own ability to share. Even so, my God is able to do all things. He can equip me as is necessary. He can bring opportunities to light. He can make a way.
I thank You for my grandsons. I release and commit them to You with my prayer that they will grow up, and grow strong, in You.
I pray that You will open ways for them to learn of You. If there should be opportunities for me to share with them, I ask You to give me all that I need to fulfil the task.
I commit their home to You. I ask You to infuse that home and that family with Your presence. Please minister to each member of the family with Your grace and Your love.
I rejoice in my biological and my spiritual families. I marvel in Your headship. My Dear Father, lead us forward further into Your family, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always. Psalm 105.4
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his counsel. Psalm 106.13
Psalms 105 and 106 are amazing summaries of Israel’s history in God presented from two different perspectives. Psalm 105 focuses on God’s good work, whilst psalm 106 speaks much about the Israelites recalcitrance and their hindrance to the good work of the Lord.
I think the two verses I have selected ably touch on this problem. Furthermore, these verses speak strongly to me today in reminder of the way in which I should conduct my own walk with the Lord. I shall review them in reverse order.
Firstly, do I tend to forget all that the Lord has done for me? He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-caring. His plans for me are plans that will prosper me and not harm me. I would do well to reflect on my history, and remember – and rejoice in – all that the Lord has already done for me.
And what has happened in those times when I have not waited for His counsel?
Of course, He has looked after me. But I have not made it easy, and I have endured several (and some quite long and most painful) unpleasant episodes in my life because I did it “my way” and not His way.
And the answer is so simple:
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
This answer provokes a question in me. Is God my Lord or isn’t He? If He is my Lord, then He is Lord (master and controller) of every part of me and of all that I am and all that I do. I say that God is my Lord. I must act in accordance with my spoken allegiance.
This God who is my Lord is greater than all else. He can do anything. As I recall that His plans for me will prosper and not harm me, I am reminded that, in Him, I can do anything. I have sensed, for some time now, a growing confidence. This is a confidence not in me, but in Him. As I bring God into any, and every, situation, I can be most confident of the right result.
I rejoice. I feel, in some new way, that I can today call You “Lord” with more meaning than has ever before occurred for me.
You are truly my Lord, and I lay the whole of my life before You. I heed Your Word to “stop and wait”. I wait upon You, Lord.
I am unclear how I should conduct this time of waiting but I know to place my confidence in You. If waiting is being still – and Your Word surely encourages this of me – then I shall do so. And I will know that You will lead and direct me as You will.
I am Yours, Lord. Take me and have Your way in me. Show me Your face, I seek it with all of my being. I come to You, Father, Son, and Spirit, in the name of my Lord Jesus. Amen.
Monday, 19 November 2018
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. Eph. 1.4
I can read these words and be tempted to say, “Yes, I know!” But do I really know? Do I really take in the truth of these words to the depth of my being, into the very core of who I am?
He chose me. The Lord, Almighty God, chose me before He made anything. I exist by divine election. He has adopted me as His own. I am a child, indeed a son, of the most mighty, most powerful, most loving and amazing being. He can do anything. And He has chosen me as His son. This truth needs to sink much deeper into my fibre than I think it presently sits.
Yes, He has chosen, adopted, predestined me. I am an incontrovertible part of His divine, cosmic plan. Wow! O, to find my true being in Him.
He chose me to be holy and blameless in His sight. He did not choose me because I am holy but, because He has chosen me, I become holy and blameless in His sight.
As I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour,I received an impartation of holiness from Him. As I offer myself fully and unashamedly to Him, I believe He will lead me in a process of personal sanctification. I so want this. I so need this! I am, at best, a miserable sinner. But my glorious Lord lifts me up out of sin and presents me holy and blameless in the sight of the Almighty.
I thank You for this wonderful word which I receive as a personal promise. I need cleansing and release. I ask You for this.
I pray also for further revelation of just who I am in You. I look to be filled up with all the fullness of Christ. I rejoice in You. I abandon myself to You this day.
I praise and glorify You. Hallelujah! Amen.
Saturday, 17 November 2018
Blessed is he
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the LORD does not count
and in whose spirit is no deceit. Psalm 32.1,2
Psalm 32 begins by proclaiming blessing on the miserable sinner. His transgressions are forgiven and his sins are covered. The Lord does not count his sin against him and there is no deceit in his spirit.
Yet, who is this man, this sinner? And how does he come to receive blessing from the Lord? Verses 3 and 4 tell of his agony and suffering, whilst containing his sin within. Then, in verse 5, he acknowledges his sin in confession to God, and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Confession of sin which leads to receipt of forgiveness from God is the most wonderful and releasing act. Yet it requires integrity on the part of the one confessing. Confessing sin is no mere recitation of mistakes but, rather, an acknowledgement of wrong or erroneous thoughts, words, or actions, made with a desire to not repeat the sin. This is the hard part for me because my repetitive sin seems to be such that I am unable to break its pattern. This, also, I believe I must surrender to God and ask His help to totally break its hold on me.
The psalmist urges me to pray to God while He may be found (v6). He is there, waiting to hear from me. He is the place wherein I can hide myself. He is my protection and my deliverance (v7).
Let me receive the words of the psalm as the very words of God to me:
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you.” (v8)
I heed these words. I need them, and I need to surrender myself to Him.
I come before You with earnest and sincere request for Your instruction and teaching. Please counsel me and watch over me. I believe You long to help me, to release me from the hold of sin, and to lead me forward in new life in You. This, of course, is my heart’s deepest desire and also my hope – my joyous, wonderful hope – in You.
Lord, mighty God, You can do ALL things. Help me, I humbly ask.
Instruct me and teach me the way I should go. Lead me in Your way, Your full and perfect way. Counsel me and watch over me.
My deep desire is to do Your will, to live in full harmony with You, and to be used mightily by You. Hear my cry! Examine my heart! And lead me in a fulfilment that will delight You. Remove the barriers of sin. Please release me from these present hindrances,
In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalm 6.8,9
Psalm 6 is a penitential psalm, and an appeal for mercy. The palmist appears to be ill (vv 2,3). Is the Lord chastening him for sin? He seeks deliverance. He does not want God to impose the full measure for sin, for then he would die. He pleads God’s mercy. He urges that praise of God is at stake. (Who praises you from the grave? v5). He groans in suffering and distress. Then a note of confidence returns. He sees a response to his pleas. God has heard his weeping and his cry for mercy. God has accepted his prayer. His enemies will be disgraced when the Lord responds.
I have much in common with the psalmist. I may suffer, and even despair! I can call out to God in penitence and faith. And I can be assured that God will hear. He will hear my weeping and my cries for mercy. He will accept my prayer. He will answer my prayer. Why do I know this? God accepts me. He loves me. He receives me. He is for me. Hallelujah! Praise my God.
I rejoice with the psalmist. I may suffer illness and depravation. I may struggle and experience difficulty. Bu You are always there. I can cry out to You. You will hear me. You will accept the prayers I offer You. You will respond. I am secure in you, for You are unchanging.
I thank you for Your guardianship of me. I acknowledge Your Lordship and I release myself totally into Your keeping. Lead me through this day. Let Your will be fulfilled in me,
in Jesus name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs. Jonah 2.8
This wonderful line is contained in Jonah’s prayer of remorse. He may have spoken it from a deeply personal perspective. I think there is a trace of this, for Jonah backed away from the task that God set for him. More than this, he made positive moves to head in the opposite direction. But God, of course, caught up with him. And Jonah’s response is contained in the words of his prayer.
Certainly Jonah acted in a way that would forfeit God’s grace to him. And the message is applicable to all, at all times in the history of mankind. Everyone has a god. For some it is the Lord God. For others it may be different things – material possessions, social standing, public acclaim, or political power.
In truth, all these things are worthless compared to seeking out, and living in true and deep relationship with God.
The grace of God can overwhelm. It can repair and restore. God’s grace will always build up, never tear down. God’s grace is the most real manifestation of His love. I am whole in God’s grace. I am secure and confident. I have purpose. I am loved, and I am truly able to love.
I thank You that Your grace is extended to me. I receive it humbly and without familiarity. I pray for those who need to know Your grace, who need to receive Your grace and abide in it.
As surely as You looked after Jonah, I know Your heart is for all people. Lord, I pray for my family. Touch them with Your grace. Bring a life-long response of acceptance from them. Join them to You and grow us into a wonderful, loving and strong Christian witness.
I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants. Deut. 32.2
Moses is speaking. He has called together the whole assembly of Israel. As he begins his address to them, he starts with a prayer that his teaching might be blessed.
He prays that his teaching will have the effect that water brings to growing plants. It feeds them, it nourishes them, it nurtures them. Likewise, Moses prays that his teaching will feed and nourish and nurture the Israelites.
What will his teaching be?
“I will proclaim the name of the LORD.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.” (vv3,4)
Moses’ teaching on God’s goodness contrasts greatly and dramatically with the behaviour of the Israelites. This “Song of Moses” shows the marked difference between God’s faithfulness and the gross unfaithfulness of the Israelites.
The way of the world today is much like the way of the Israelites. Each does his/her own thing and God is rejected, set-aside, ignored.
Jeshurun grew fat and kicked;
filled with food, he became heavy and sleek.
He abandoned the God who made him
and rejected the Rock his Saviour. (v15)
Too many of today’s population are like Jeshurun. O that I might speak to people as Moses spoke to the Israelites. And I think the prayer that Moses voiced would be the one I would echo, for I know that my words would not have the right effect unless they were presented, and received, in the appropriate way. This is where I identify the powerful allegory of rain. I pray that my words would fall on the ears of the hearers as the gentlest of rain falls on the thirsty ground and plants. A thunderstorm does not achieve the required result, but gentle, soaking rain feeds the ground, nourishes the plants, and yields a healthy harvest. This would be my earnest desire – to speak of the Lord and bring people into His presence to experience His amazing love, to connect with Him and commune with Him in the deepest, on-going relationship.
Right now, my heart is on my sleeve. I want to touch people with You. I want to reach them for You. My desire is to share You. The love that I have and experience in You I want to spread.
O Lord, this world is so in need of You. I want to be used by You. Please hear my prayer. Please give heed to my request. Please use me in faithful service to You. Amen.
Friday, 9 November 2018
The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him. Exod. 15.2
Moses leads the Israelites in a wonderful psalm (The Song of the Sea, Exod. 15.1-18) of praise and thanksgiving to God. He is their true God, the God of salvation, the God of deliverance, the God of provision and healing.
As the Israelites made a hurried escape from Egypt, the powerful Egyptians decided to follow and recapture, reclaim their servants of bondage.
The enemy boasted,
“I will pursue, I will overtake them.
I will divide the spoils;
I will gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword
and my hand will destroy them.” (v9)
But God was protecting Israel. With the mere blowing of His breath, the sea covered the forces – the great forces – of Egypt.
They sank like lead in the mighty waters. (v10)
Indeed this is worthy of the praise of the people.
Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you –
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
You stretched out your right hand and the earth swallowed them.
God had saved His people. But the story does not end there. He had rescued them so that He may lead them into a holy dwelling place, a place where they might live with Him in love and plenty.
In your unfailing love you will lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your strength you will guide them
to your holy dwelling. (v13)
God is unchanging. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is faithful and fully true to His Word. What He did for the Israelites He can do for me. He loves me, He is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He is for me. I pray He will lead me out of a painful worldly situation into sweet communion with Him in His holy dwelling.
I am mindful of You all around me. As I sit in this pleasant morning sun, warm and relaxed, I hear the sounds of birds and insects, and I feel You are reminding me that You are here. Your hand is in everything. I thank You. I praise You. I exalt You. You are the mighty God. You are my God and Lord.
Holy heavenly Father, I thank You for rescuing me. You have saved me from all manner of evil. You have protected me from myself. You are my deliverer. I pray You will keep me safe. Protect me from that which is not of You.
Lead me, precious Saviour, further and further into You. I ask You to guide me to Your holy dwelling. Bring me to the mountain of Your inheritance. Let me enter Your dwelling, and abide in Your sanctuary.
Gracious, loving Father, receive my love. Take me and consecrate me into Your service. Draw my will into oneness with Your will. May Your name be hallowed in the whole of my life. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done, in and through me
in Jesus name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Let them praise the name of the LORD,
for his name alone is exalted;
his splendour is above the earth
and the heavens. Psalm 148.13
The previous verses have covered the whole order of creation. This verse brings all together and places them in praise of the Lord God.
God alone is the exalted one. He created all things and all things bow before Him in praise and adoration.
God’s splendour, his glory is greater by far that anything that may be seen in creation yet, as I look at the wonders of His work, it is so easy to sing out to Him in praise. I can envisage the whole earth rejoicing in its maker, bringing a sweet harmony in the most natural and free way.
I add, sadly, that my views embrace the minimum penetration of man – mere suggestions of habitation through the glimpses of rooftops that intrude into the wonderful vistas. It seems that where man is less obvious the whole of nature applauds the wonder of the Creator. Man, the acme of God’s creation, sadly does not cry out in praise with the same freedom and jubilation as the rest of the universe.
I am so aware today of the salute of nature to Your glory, Your creative genius and Your headship. I am also aware that man trails – badly and sadly – in his acknowledgement and acclamation of You.
Hear my sad cry of regret at man’s foolish action. Receive my prayer for a re-awakening in mankind of awareness of You, of acknowledgement of Your headship and of submission to You in love and in the deepest desires to serve and please You.
Let this move start with me. I salute You, I marvel at You. I love You. Hallelujah! Amen.
Sunday, 4 November 2018
I will praise the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God
as long as I live. Psalm 146.2
Right now it is easy for me to sing praise to my God. I am looking out over an azure blue sea. The only sounds that are intruding into my reverie are the calls of some birds to my right and the sound of the sea breaking on the shore to my left. The scene is idyllic, absolutely perfect. I have enjoyed the most wonderful night’s rest and my whole body is relaxed and totally at peace. I am aware of God’s presence all around me. I raise my head to see the merest patch of white cloud in a blue sky. It’s as if God is saying,“Yes, I’m here.”
But my God is not confined to seemingly perfect days, nor occasional touches of heaven in a grey world. He is familiar with grey. As we allow Him, He inhabits the grey and changes it into a variety of colours for us. This is reality. This present scene of delight and perfection may pass, but my God will always be there ready to comfort, sustain, strengthen and love me. Will I be equally ready to receive, acknowledge and praise Him?
I thank You for this glorious morning and this wonderful setting. I sense we are going to enjoy a great day.
It is easy to praise You in such circumstances. I pray that I might also praise You at all times and in any and every situation.
If it is a choice, then I choose, Lord, to ever praise You. Should I need Your help, I ask for it. My desire is to live my life knowing You, to praise You in all things, to know You in all, to abide in You completely.
I love You, Lord. I praise You. O, I praise You. Amen.
Saturday, 3 November 2018
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145.18
The Hebrew for ‘near’ is qarob-kaw-robe (sorry for lack of accents, my computer won’t show them to me). It means ‘allied’. The American Heritage Dictionary describes allied as:
1. Joined or united in a close relationship.
2. Of a similar nature.
I am reminded that I am created in God’s image. Before sin, I was endowed with His nature. I am indeed related to Him.
And as I call on Him, He draws me into a close relationship with Him.
God is spirit and truth. In calling to Him I must call in truth. I need to exercise godly integrity. He hears me all times. I pray I may always call on Him with godly integrity.
I come before You with praise and thanksgiving. I open my heart and call out to You in integrity and faith.
You are my maker and guide. You are my master and friend, my father, my mentor, my inspiration and my lover.
I call on You, sweet Lord.
I seek Your closeness to me. I pray You will join me to You in the closest relationship. Let me know one-ness with You.
I dare to hope that I might become a friend of God. Not only do I hope this, I also dare to believe it.
Draw me near to You today, my Lord. Infuse me with Your Spirit. Impregnate me with Your very being. And let me not contain this to myself, but share it wonderfully abroad. In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.