Friday, 31 May 2019
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2.6,7
The ongoing relationship of the believer with Christ in intimate, spiritual, living union is something of a theme in this letter. And so it should be in the life of the believer.
We live in Christ. Living is a moment by moment experience. And we can live in Jesus and with Jesus for every moment of our lives.
Being rooted and built up in him we are totally covered. The base and the superstructure are connected and united in Him and with Him. The faith that brought me to Christ will strengthen me to grow in Him. I am being constantly taught, and shown His presence in everything. He is manifest in nature. He is throughout God’s Word. He inhabits conversations and, perhaps best of all, He speaks directly to me. He shows me His ways; He shares them with me.
I am to overflow with thankfulness. Right now, this is not difficult for me to do.
I rejoice in You. Today is a new day and I am a new creation. You are with me. Oh, glory! Hallelujah! Praise Your wonderful name!
I have received Jesus and I open up my day to Him. I surrender everything and ask You to lead me. Let me continue to live in my Lord and Saviour. Let me grow deep and sustaining roots in Him. May I be strengthened with the faith that I see as a gift from You. More faith! Please Lord, give me more faith.
Show me Your ways, through whatever means You choose. I want to live in Your will. Not what I want but what You want.
I ask for these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Wednesday, 29 May 2019
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col. 1.27
The mystery, once hidden, is now known. It has been made plain to as many as will heed and receive it. It comes by God’s divine revelation to the individual. It fills the individual who is fully open to receive it. It does not entirely lose all of its elements of mystery, but perhaps it becomes more a source wonder and amazement.
The wonder, for me, is that Christ is in me. The God of all the universe, Creator of all, source of all love, mercy, grace and power has taken up residence within me. This is truly amazing.
I have hope for glory. I know that, after this life, I am going to enter into glorious eternity with my Lord and Saviour. But that hope touches me already. I live today in the love and peace and provision of God. For me, eternity has begun. Certain of God’s riches are available to me right now. Others will not come in this earthly life but are awaiting me.
But here and now I live in the riches of God’s grace and pardon. I am freed from my sins and I can enjoy His gracious provision in my life. I know love, true love. He has touched me with His own perfect love and He enables me, as I allow Him, to love others as myself. I am blessed. I thank God for His revelation of this mystery to me.
I thank You for the glorious riches I enjoy in You. I rejoice in the hope of future glory and I gratefully receive the blessings You extend to me now.
I thank You for the release from sin that Your forgiveness ensures. I thank You for the everyday provision for my needs. I thank You for the blessings of love, the love You shower me with and the love that is offered to me by others. Let me return that love in the fullest measure I can, motivated and sustained by Christ in me, in whose name I ask this. Amen.
Tuesday, 28 May 2019
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Phil. 3.10
Paul is talking about intimate relationship with Jesus. There are two contrasting sides of Jesus that Paul refers to. To know Jesus we need to know the man who suffered. This was reality. Christ suffered deeply and cruelly. In contrast to this is the glorious and powerful resurrection. The act of resurrection may be viewed as sufficiently powerful in itself, but the impact of it is greatly increased in the light of the suffering. The man who had been considered by the authorities as a threat had been dealt with as a common criminal and a phoney. If we look at Christ’s sufferings through the eyes of His accusers we see, not the Son of God in unjust treatment and abject suffering, but we see a nuisance and a troublemaker being punished and made an example of.
But this wretched death was to be succeeded by the powerful, earth-changing resurrection of the all-mighty Son of God.
I need to know Jesus in both these faces in order to appreciate and enjoy ultimate relationship with Him.
I may experience suffering in my own life and, possibly, directly on account of my relationship with Jesus. If I should, the knowledge of His suffering, that is knowing Jesus as the suffering sacrifice, will strengthen me. It will draw me to Him and bring me, slowly, into conformity with Him.
I acknowledge Your suffering and Your powerful resurrection. Draw me closer to You through these contrasting aspects of You. Let me come to know You more in both respects. Be with me in any sufferings I may be called on to endure. I ask this in Your living name. Amen.
Saturday, 25 May 2019
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Phil. 2.5
I see this as a monumental statement. Paul is encouraging me to the highest demonstration of love, an almost unreachable position. Yet the simple fact of him saying these words brings a suggestion that it is not impossible to live them.
His following verses outline what is unique about Jesus. What Paul is saying is that Christians are to have this same attitude of self-sacrificing, humility, and love for others.
In earlier words, Paul speaks of union with Christ, the comfort of His love, and the fellowship of the Spirit. These blessings encourage us, growing tenderness and compassion in us and fostering a desire to be like-minded, to live in the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Unity is more than important for Christians – it is essential! Love is necessary both in the individual and in the body. Christians as true followers of Christ, need to truly follow Him – in Spirit and in love.
I thank You for Your great and wonderful sacrifice for me. I also thank You for the example You have set me.
You say, “Follow me”. I so want to do this. I want to be Your disciple; I want to learn about You; I want to know You and enjoy intimate relationship with You. I also want to follow You in being as much like You as it is possible for me. I want my attitude to be Christ-like. I want to demonstrate love, tenderness and compassion as You did. And, like You, I want to live for the Father’s will.
Lord Jesus, I am willing. I ask for your strengthening and enabling. I can do all things through You. I commit to these things. Let us go forward together. I ask this in Your precious name. Amen.
Friday, 24 May 2019
I thank my God… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1.3a, 6
The work that Paul is referring to here is God’s work of salvation in the believer. It begins with God drawing the individual to Jesus; the individual accepts Jesus and is “born again”. This is an act, an event, but the process of salvation continues. I believe God’s work in salvation continues in the believer until the day of leaving this world and entering eternity. In this time God is cleaning out and cleaning up the individual as He sanctifies, as He makes us, daily, more Christ-like.
Along the way there is work that God will undoubtedly do in the individual. Through Holy Spirit ministry, He may bring conviction of sin. The true sign of the Spirit will be that His conviction comes without condemnation. Deliverance may be necessary, and God will lead in this. He may bring healing, and might also secure the provision of satisfying certain wants and needs, inasmuch as such will fulfil His purpose.
All of this comprises the completion of God’s good work in a person which begins with the receiving of Christ as Saviour and Lord.
I thank You that I have been born again into Your saving and sanctifying grace.
I know that You are active in my life and I am most grateful for this. I invite and implore You to continue to completion the good work that You have begun in me. I want to be fully Your person. I give myself to You. I ask for Your leading and guidance. I want to follow You all the days of my life. May Your will be done in everything that I do, and in all that happens to me.
I love You. Receive my love. Grow me in You. In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Wednesday, 22 May 2019
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Eph. 3.12
Paul here declares the glorious truth of Jesus. He is the way, and the only way to the Father. Jesus has opened, for us all, the way to God. It is a personal way. I can now, through Jesus, enter directly into the presence of the Father. This is so powerful and meaningful to me. I see the centuries through which the Israelites could only approach God at a distance. There was always a go-between, the priest. And the priest was only permitted closeness with the presence of God on one day of each year.
How Jesus changed things! I can now enter sweet communion with my Holy Father at any time. I can speak with Him in the familiarity of my home surroundings. I do not need an intermediary. Jesus has opened the way for me. In Jesus I have freedom, and the greatest aspect of this freedom for me is that I can be myself. God knows me and He accepts me as I am. Certainly I might want to change things about me but any change is really up to God.
Through faith in Jesus – and, yes, even the faith I have comes from Him – I can approach God. I am free to be me. And I have confidence. This confidence is, firstly, not in me but in Him. I am confident of who God is. I am confident of His great and wonderful attributes. It is not about me but about Him. Further to my confidence in Him, I am then confident in who I am – in Him. I am a son of the High God, the greatest power of all. I am His son and He is my loving Dad.
I thank You for the mighty work of Jesus. He has truly opened the door for me to come into Your presence. I come, Lord. I come and, as I do, I ask for nothing other than to be Your son and to enjoy relationship with You. I ask this in Jesus. I have confidence, in Him, to receive. Hallelujah! Amen.
Monday, 20 May 2019
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. Eph. 1.17
There is much in this first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians that I could select for meditation. However, I have chosen this verse because it so clearly captures my deep desire and states it with simplicity: that I may know him better.
The Spirit, I believe, is God’s agent with us on earth today. Paul asks for the presence of the Spirit. I am open. I am ready. I know God is with me in His Spirit. I want more and I believe to receive more. Jesus has told me: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matt. 21.22)
Lord God, Father of Jesus,
I echo the prayer of Paul. I ask, and I keep asking, that You give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know You better.
I seek constant infilling – to overflowing – of Your Holy Spirit. I pray for all the fruit of the Spirit. I ask for spiritual gifts to empower me to minister for You.
I seek greater relationship, deeper intimacy with You – with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
I rejoice in You and want more. You are my life. Receive me, Lord. Enjoy me, I pray, as I look to enjoy the fullness of You in my life.
Paul was right to encourage the early believers to want to know You better. I receive his encouragement and add it to my own desire. I want to go further with You.
Hear my cry, my heart-cry. Receive my request in prayer and answer it please, in Jesus’ name I ask. May I know You better. Amen.
Saturday, 18 May 2019
So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Gal. 3.9
Paul is writing to the churches at Galatia where there was a measure of confusion and dissension because Judaizers believed that certain Old Testament ceremonial practices were still binding. These people saw Paul not as an authentic apostle, arguing that he had removed certain legal requirements from the gospel in order to make the message more appealing to Gentiles.
Paul’s response is ordered. He begins by declaring the Gospel to be true and unique. He affirms his status and acceptance as an apostle and, in chapter three, he contrasts faith with observance of the law.
The Spirit of God is received through faith and not by observing the law (v2). And once life is begun in the Spirit this is surely the way to continue (v3). God has justified the Gentiles through faith. The Christian lives by faith
Paul’s writing is not to encourage flagrant disregard of the law but to reinforce the reality that true Godly living comes from faith and not legal observance.
In turn, faith encourages righteous and Godly living such as does not transgress God’s laws. The gift of faith comes through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles. By faith we receive the promise of the Spirit (v14).
I thank You for the sacrifice of Jesus which released me into renewed relationship with You and the promise of eternal life. I thank You for the gift of faith which You have given me. I delight in You. I ask You to draw me closer and take me deeper into intimacy with You.
I pray that You will use me to draw others into a knowledge of, and relationship with, You.
You are my life and my life force. I rejoice that You have chosen me. Receive me now as I come to You. Let us travel together. Hallelujah!
I praise You, Lord. I raise Your wonderful and glorious name. I come before You in worship and adoration. Receive my song, receive my prayer, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Thursday, 16 May 2019
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
I quote this lengthy passage for I believe it needs little comment. It speaks for itself. Through Isaiah, God tells us who He is. In one word: He is everything.
He is strength. He comes in strength into my weakness. I will grow tired and weary, I will stumble and fall. But I most definitely have hope in Him. I am humbly aware of his mighty power, and my need of Him.
As I hope on Him, open myself up completely and give myself to Him, so my strength will be renewed. This will not be my doing, but His. I am the recipient of His power and strength, His mercy and forgiveness, his love and grace, His blessing, and the wonder of His company ever with me. He has promised never to leave me and never to forsake me. In Him and by my renewed strength in Him, I will soar high on wings as an eagle does. I will run without weariness and I will walk without becoming faint. My whole life stems from Him. He created my being. I am privileged to live in Him. I am humbled, and most grateful for His presence in my life, and the relationship I enjoy with Him.
Almighty and Most Loving God,
I say, with all humility and sincerity, “Thank You.” Amen.
Wednesday, 15 May 2019
Who has understood the mind of the LORD,
or instructed him as his counsellor?
Whom did the LORD consult to enlighten him,
and who taught him the right way?
Who was it that taught him knowledge
or showed him the path to understanding? Isa. 40.13,14
The answer to each one of these questions is a resounding “nobody”. God is God, and God is supreme. No one can teach Him anything. He looks to no one because He needs no one. He is self-contained and self-sufficient. He is also sole provider, sole protector, and the sole source of all love, grace, mercy and blessing.
God is all that we need. In the depths of our hearts, He is all that we want. We will find everything in Him. He is the source of all joy, happiness, contentment and fulfilment. God is ever dependable and always there. What a powerful blessing it is to start the day knowing this!
For centuries humans, mostly male, have put time and much effort into trying to work God out. I see this as somewhat dis-honouring to God, and something of a waste of time. I don’t believe we will ever work Him out, nor does He want us to do so.
I believe God wants us to receive Him when He comes to meet us. He desires us to know Him, not know about Him, and to live in sweet, deep and full relationship with Him. He wishes to live with us, and for us to live with Him. He asks me to trust Him. As I do so, He provides for me. I have not gone without since I’ve given to Him all the trust I am able to give. I have no cause to worry for I know that He is in charge despite what I might see in the world around me. I am so grateful to my mighty God, my precious Saviour, and my dear Friend.
Lord, Mighty God,
I thank You for the wonder of relationship with You. Thank You for drawing me to You when You did. Thank You for all that has been given to me through the time of our relationship. Thank You for the assurance that this will never end.
Thank You. Amen.
Saturday, 11 May 2019
I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. Gal. 1. 11
Paul is writing to the church in the region of Galatia. It is not clear how many churches he is addressing but there appears to be several (v2) It also seems that these churches are struggling with the truth even, perhaps, to the point of losing the truth.
He reminds them of his agenda and aim. He tells them that he is not about seeking man’s favour or approval, but God’s. He is truly a servant of Christ.
As Christ’s servant he looks to Christ for all his knowledge and learning (v12). He does not fabricate stories to please men or to say what they want to hear, but he shares what he has received by revelation form Jesus Christ.
I do not wish to make up anything that I share in ministering for You. I want the gospel that I preach to be the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have Your Word, Lord. I ask You to speak to me from Your Word and uncover the truth for me.
I pray for Your revelation. It is Your Word and I ask You to reveal it to me. I pray for direct revelation from Jesus Christ. I ask You also to work through Your Holy Spirit bringing to me enlightenment of the mysteries of God.
Lord, let me never resort to fabrication or even supposition. When I speak from my own experiences let me be sincere. If I borrow examples from others, lead me to give full acknowledgment. But, first and foremost, let me speak forth the truths that You reveal to me.
Let me be truly be sent, like Paul, by Jesus Christ and God the Father. Let me minister always in the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. Let me freely share the love of God with compassion and grace. I love You, Lord. Use me to minister for You, in Jesus' name I ask. Amen.
Thursday, 9 May 2019
A voice of one calling:
“In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God.” Isa. 40.3
I have just realised a misunderstanding I have carried for years. I have long taken this verse to begin with: A voice of one calling in the desert.Today I have seen that this is not so. The voice is calling, of course, but it is directing people to prepare a way for the Lord – in the desert of their lives.
What, then, might the desert be? My guess is that the desert represents the barren parts of life, those times of straying from the Lord, or even being downright disobedient to Him. This cannot be ignored, for such times are real. It is grievous that God’s children can act in such a disparaging way, but this is the truth.
Whilst these words are recorded in respect to Jerusalem, I hear them speaking to me. I do not think this is wrong. Indeed, I think what God may have to say to anyone could well be taken up by me.
So, I am required to prepare the way in the desert and make a straight highway there for my Lord and God. How do I do this? I immediately think of those precious words from the letter to the Hebrew believers: Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. (Heb. 12.2) Jesus allows me to prepare the way for God. Jesus has made it possible for me to make a straight highway for God in the wilderness of my life. As I focus on Jesus, and look first for the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6.33), so God will lead me on right paths (Ps.23) where He will be ever with me.
I cannot live without You. Forgive me for those times when I have strayed from the straight ways. Guide me along the path of Your highway. Strengthen me to live in You, to the fullness of my being. Thank You. Amen.
Tuesday, 7 May 2019
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Cor. 9.10
I wonder if these words from Paul are a reminder to me today. Is God sending me further encouragement? Paul’s words say that not only will the store be supplied, but it will also be increased. I receive these words. I trust God, and I know that He will provide all I need. His provision will be neither meagre nor mean, but He will provide in abundance.
Furthermore, God’s provision will result in a harvest of righteousness. Could this mean ministry? This is my wish I know but, again, the reality must be left with God – in His time, in His way.
He knows my heart. He knows my earnestness to be used by Him. He doesn’t need me. I am clear on this, but He just might choose me. How wonderful that would be. But I must leave it with Him.
I’m rambling a bit this morning and I ask You to forgive me. I receive these words of Paul very personally. Perhaps I am not meant to. Please correct this if it is so.
There is such encouragement in this verse and I thank You for this. You are indeed the provider – of all things. Your provision is always timely and most appropriate. Praise God!
I commit the day ahead to You. I pray for strength, wakefulness and alertness. I commit this whole day to You. Empower me, guide me, and use me as You will, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Monday, 6 May 2019
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Cor. 7.1
The promises that Paul refers to are very likely the words of God as contained in the final verses of the preceding chapter.
God says of believers: “I will live with them. I will walk among them. I will be their God and they will be my people. I will be a Father to them, and they will be my sons and daughters.
But there are also directions from God to His children: “Come out from them and be separate. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.”
Paul demonstrates his own heart by his encouragement to his “dear friends”. In starting with purifying ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, we may progress to a perfecting in holiness. Our motivation for this is reverence for God.
Of course I want to do this. But, without making excuses, I cannot do it on my own. So I shall take God at His word. He says, “Ask, and you will receive.”
I so want to follow this encouragement of Paul’s. I want to be purified of anything and everything that might contaminate my body and spirit. I want to embrace perfecting holiness. And I want to do these things out of holy reverence for You.
I cannot achieve these things in my own strength. Therefore I ask of You. I ask You, dear Lord, to lead me in purification of body, mind and spirit. I ask You to lead me in perfecting holiness. And I ask You to lead me in deeper reverence for Yourself.
I love You and want to demonstrate my love in pleasing You. I ask Your help in this, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Friday, 3 May 2019
I said, “I will not again see the LORD,
the LORD, in the land of the living;
no longer will I look on mankind,
or be with those who now dwell in this world.” Isa. 38.11
I note the first verse of this chapter:
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
God warned Hezekiah of his coming death. Hezekiah was distraught and cried out to God. God responded by granting him a further fifteen years of life.
The verse quoted (v11) is part of Hezekiah’s response to this interaction. It would seem that, notwithstanding the granting of an extra fifteen years, Hezekiah feels he will face death “in the prime of his life.” (v16)
The reality for us all is that we are not assured of any length of time on this earth. Verse 11 needs to be heeded by every believer. I know that it is certainly speaking to me. At any time I could find that I will not see God again as my earthly life comes to a close. This is not grievous to me, for I know, when I leave this place, I shall see Him face-to-face.
Hezekiah also mentions that he – and I, of course – will not look on my fellow humans or be with them. This is a present reminder to me of the work I wish to do before I die. I realise this is what I wish. God may have other plans, yet I can hold on to my desire, and hope that His wish is for me to continue in service to Him.
I love You deeply. Whilst I long to see You face to face, I also strongly desire to do more for You, and with You, whilst I remain on this earth.
Please hear this, my plea. Please hear me and allow me further ministry in You. I have a sensing that the present time will open up new work for me. I hope this is so. I pray that I might hear from You in confirmation of this. I ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Thursday, 2 May 2019
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 2 Cor. 5.9
Paul refers to our earthly body as a tent – a temporary and flimsy thing, frail, vulnerable and wasting away. After this tent, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven. There is nothing flimsy about our eternal abode. It is a solid and permanent structure.
Paul talks of our desire to be in the heavenly rather than the earthly abode: at home with the Lord. I know this to be my preferred option. There are days when I so long to go home. When you have an expectation of something good and wonderful to come it is understandable to want to experience it.
But then Paul brings us to what I see as a levelling verse for this earth-heaven seesaw. I take this verse and receive it for myself. My goal is not to leave this earthly dwelling because I feel ready for heaven. Rather, my goal is to please Him, to please Him in where I’m at and in what I do – to please Him in everything.
Right now, my place to please Him is here on earth. Until He elects to take me home. I dedicate myself to His service where I am.
Again I have opportunity to declare my love for You. I love You, Lord, and I’m delighted to come to You today in love.
This love brings forth a desire in me to please You. Whatever I do, and wherever I find myself doing it, my goal is to please You. Let Your will, not mine, be done.
The day stretches out before us. I ask You to lead me through this day. Show me the way. I want to go Your way.
May I please You, in everything I do, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.