Tuesday, 30 July 2019
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will never forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isa. 49.15,16a
This whole chapter is filled with promises from God. The present section refers to the restoration of Israel and God’s promises of what He will do.
However, I boldly claim His promises for all believers. And I do not think that God will deny this!
God is both Father and Mother. He is our true parent. He made us. Certainly our earthly parents played a part, but the whole was orchestrated by God.
God tells how it is just possible for an earthly mother to forget her child. Strange as it may seem, I know of happenings of this. God will not bring any sense of this into His mothering. He clearly says that He will never forget me. This is a most wonderful and lasting promise. God is my eternal parent – father and mother.
God has engraved me on the palms of His hands. He has taken me into Himself; I am part of Him. This surely fits with His creation of me in His own image. I am truly, truly with Him!
Jesus, God’s Son and my Brother, tells me that He has all authority in heaven and on earth. Thus, all authority – everywhere is available to me. I wonder how many Christians, even true believers, really take hold of this truth. As God once told me: He can do anything, and I can do all things in His strength. This is where I want to live, and I know God is more than willing to help me.
My Dear Heavenly Father,I thank You for making me Your child. I thank You for making me in Your image. I thank You for the reality of knowing that You can do anything. I thank You for the reminder that I can do all things in You. I read this as me doing all that I do in You, but also, in You, I can do anything. I thank You. Amen
Sunday, 28 July 2019
Shout for joy, O heavens;
rejoice, O earth;
burst into song, O mountains!
For the LORD comforts his people
and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isa.49.13
I am reminded of my first Camino walk in Spain (2011), and a day when I was walking the Meseta. Many people avoid the Meseta. It has something of a reputation for being an uninviting, rigorous and soul-destroying place. It has a high altitude and the weather can be atrocious.
People circumvent the Meseta by arranging alternate transport. I decided I would not be put off, so I took the route that crossed the Meseta. For the time I was up in this lofty terrain I experienced the most wonderful weather. It was sunny and fine, with clear air and an occasional light breeze. Around me was lush grassland and healthy crops. The altitude made me feel as if I was truly on top of the world. Because of its well-publicised notoriety, not many people were walking at the time Indeed, for much of the walk I was alone. Alone, that is, with the wonders of nature all around me, with much evidence of the Creator and the strongest sense of His presence with me.
At one point, high up in this glorious country, I burst into spontaneous worship. Out of my lips – and with real gusto – came: Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee…I don’t believe there were any others about to hear my outburst of loud adulation, but even if there had been, it would have made no difference to me.
This was, perhaps, the clearest, but not the only time, when I have suddenly burst forth in praise or worship to God. It connects me closely to Him, and I truly believe that He welcomes it, and enjoys me with it.
Most Glorious Lord,
I adore You. I praise and worship You with all of my being. I receive Your comfort and Your compassion, but most of all I receive You.
I pray for our ongoing relationship. May You draw me closer and take me deeper into intimacy and love.
Allow me, and lead me to share Your love. Thank You. Amen.
Friday, 26 July 2019
They will neither hunger nor thirst,
nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
and lead them besides springs of water. Isa.49.10
The first two lines of this verse speak to me of God’s provision and His protection. He will provide all I need! I think I’ve experienced a large measure of this. He will protect me from all ails and dangers. However, He will not prevent testings and trials coming upon me, but He will be there for me. He will lead me and guide me. and He will accompany me through all that assails.
He is compassionate. He enters into my life and all that befalls. He understands everything that occurs in my living. He guides me through. Again, He is there for me, He is with me.
He will lead me beside springs of water. This talks to me of refreshment, a sweet renewing and re-invigorating. I also see the presence and working of the Holy Spirit, for He will refresh me; He will remind me of the Lord Jesus, and He assures me of the Father’s love and leading.
I see something of the totality of God in this verse. He will look after me like nothing or no-one else will. I can depend on Him. I can know that He is there – even in the darkest times.
He loves me. how wonderful this is. His love is truly overwhelming, yet it is there for me in abundance. I am His child. He will nurture me and grow me. He is the very best Father I could hope for. He is wonderful. I am so blessed.
I am mindful of all that You do for me. I thank You. I pray that I will never take Your love and concern for granted. Let me live each day in the knowledge that You are with me. May I feel Your presence with me. I look for wonderful times and adventures in and with You. I thank You. Amen.
Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. Jas.3.5
The tongue is both a weapon and a tool. It can be used injudiciously to attack and maim or it can be applied, with godly wisdom, to encourage, to build up and edify.
Man cannot effectively control the tongue. Indeed, James says, no man can tame the tongue.Yet, with God, all things are possible. I think it’s only through God, in God, that I will use my tongue positively and appropriately.
How can I do this? One way is to seek wisdom in speech. James opens the way most clearly for the attaining of wisdom. He says: If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (1.5)
He also tells us what we might expect: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. (3.17)
If my tongue is to set a great forest on fire, I want it to be a fire of love and encouragement, of affirmation and hope. The way of wisdom seems a good way. If I can hope for purity, a peace-love, consideration, submission and sincerity, what a wonderful way I shall be travelling.
I submit myself wholly to You. I offer tongue and speech to You. I ask for heavenly wisdom. I pray for Your guidance and overshadowing in all that I think, speak and do.
Lead me, Dear Father. Let me be Your mouthpiece. May my mouth be a tool for good in all people’s lives. May it be a weapon of victory in the fight against all forces of evil. Order my voice and speech, Lord, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Tuesday, 23 July 2019
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. Jas.2.12,13
James is speaking to Christians about the judgment to come over their actions for Christ. God has set the example. Our merciful God sent His Son to die for us when we were in the very mire of sin. This is seen clearly in the historic setting of the passion among God’s chosen nation.
It is also seen in the testimony of so many who have come to Jesus since then. We were unworthy. We are unworthy. We will always be unworthy. But God is merciful. In His mercy He reaches down to us and breaks through our unworthiness. He could judge us as unworthy and do nothing to save us. Instead, He shows His great mercy in cleansing, release and return to Him in love.
This is how He wants us to act with one another. He wants us to be merciful, not judgmental. If I am merciful, God will be merciful on the Day of Judgment.
Again I thank You for Your word to me. I want to be merciful, Lord. And this is not in order to gain merit points on Judgment Day, but it is because I want to be as much like You as possible.
James continues in his letter to talk about our actions verifying our faith.
Dear Lord, I want to live out my faith. I want my actions to speak of the love I have for You and for my fellow beings. Help me, please. If I should mis-read a situation, I ask You to correct me. I ask You to lead me clearly into those places where You would have me act. I ask for enabling from You and a confidence in You knowing that, together, we can do all that needs to be done.
Walk with me, Lord. In Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.
Sunday, 21 July 2019
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12.2
Fixing your eyes on something or someone can mean different things. It can mean following a person in everything they do, not missing a thing. This done with a focused mind will result in learning and absorbing much about the person.
As a runner fixes his eyes on the finish line he brings his whole concentration to bear on crossing that line, and crossing it before anyone else. Fixing my eyes on Jesus in this way will lead me to follow Him, to be like Him, and to do with my life what He would have me do.
Also, fixing my eyes upon Him connotes a measure of admiration and adoration. As I look intently upon Him I see the love and grace and mercy and sweet emotion of God emanating forth in powerful measure. Jesus overwhelms me with the love of God.
Quite apart from other benefits, as I fix my eyes on Jesus I take in so much about Him. I follow Him in adopting His ways and His wishes for me. And I saturate myself in the Father’s love. Jesus did what He did for the joy set before him. As I fix my eyes on Him, I see something of that joy, and I share it.
Today, right now, I fix my eyes upon You. I come in wide-eyed wonder to gaze upon You, to learn of You and to receive from You. Lead me forward into this day. I pray that I will see You throughout the whole day. I ask for revelation and awareness of Your presence with me through the minutes and the hours.
I fix my eyes on You. I pray that I will see You – everywhere.
Hallelujah! Praise You, Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, 10 July 2019
“Even to your old age and grey hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isa.46.4
What wonderful affirmation is contained in these words. I need not fear nor concern myself with doubt about care, not in my old age nor at any other time.
There is a promise in these words, and it is a serious and most comforting promise. God will carry me, and He will sustain me. He will rescue me should I ever need rescuing. (I suggest this might be a fairly regular event.)
I claim this promise of my Lord and my God. I know the power, the peace and the love that He extend to me. I know His faithfulness and the sure knowledge that He will fulfil every promise that He makes to me. I am extremely thankful for my Lord and God.
I don’t see that I have yet reached old age (though many might contest this.) Even so, He will sustain me. The various aspects of “sustain” include: Keeping me in existence and maintaining me; nourishing me, providing for me, and supplying me with necessities. One I particularly like is: supporting me from below (God is not below, but His support is) and keeping me from falling or sinking. He aids me to bear up under any load, and He allows me to withstand whatever might seek to assail me. In short, God will simply look after me in any and every situation. He is my compass and my anchor. He is my strength and power, my resilience and resistance.
Life may have its challenges and tribulations, even severe trials. He may not spare me, though I know He could. I think, rather, He will journey with me through the problem to resolution. How blessed I am.
Lord, Mighty and Loving God,
I thank You for all that this verse tells me and promises me. I claim everything You have said here. I thank You profusely. I ask You to journey with me such that I know You are there. I thank You. I love You. Amen
Tuesday, 9 July 2019
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Heb.11.6
Faith is fundamental. Faith is non-negotiable. This verse is clear. To please God it is necessary to have faith.
The writer further identifies two requirements of faith. Firstly, the person coming to God must believe that He exists. God is the object of faith. He is real, but He cannot be seen. There could be situations where His presence might be doubted. Anyone coming to Him must seek Him earnestly.
But then the writer mentions a further aspect of faith. As well as believing that God exists, the seeker must know that God will reward him.
A point that is traditionally made in respect to this chapter is that those mentioned did not, in general, live to see the complete fulfilment of God’s promises to them. This, we are told, is where their faith is called for. Yet it seems to me that they most certainly saw the promise begin to unfold. Abraham experienced the miracle of Isaac’s birth. Jacob saw the twelve tribes of Israel in embryo. Moses saw the Israelites on the threshold of the Promised Land. They knew that God would reward them and they began to see the unfolding of that reward.
I thank You for the faith I have, for I know it comes from You. I know You exist and I believe – gloriously – in You. Hallelujah!
I come to You earnestly seeking more of You. The reward of knowing You is exquisite. I press in. I persist.
I lay today before You asking You to lead me. Let Your full and perfect will be done. I pray for Your touch, Your revelation and Your enabling.
May I know You and share You today. I go forward, with You.
Saturday, 6 July 2019
And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb.10.10
Jesus lived to do God’s will. Quoting Psalm 40 He says, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” Throughout His life He sought only to do the Father’s will.
The will of God is both awesome and amazing. Jesus lost His life through God’s will. And in that same will we all receive eternal life. We have been made holy because it is God’s will. He wants us in close relationship with Himself. I so want to get close to God, to enjoy intimacy with Him. I hold a secret wish to be His friend, to be a man after God’s own heart. This is my desire. It is almost incomprehensible for me to believe that God also yearns for intimacy with me. Yet this is the truth. This provides the only satisfactory explanation for the passion event.
My God – great, majestic and glorious – is also the epitome of love. He yearns for me to enjoy closeness with Him, to share with Him in the deep things, those aspects of life that are of ultimate importance. It seems that I share in amazing consensus with God. Hallelujah!
I rejoice that I am made holy in Jesus. I rejoice and I thank You. His holiness fits me to come to You. I come now.
Lord, You know the deepest desires of my heart, which are to know You and to live in Your love and in the richest closeness to You.
I am reminded today most clearly that this is also something that You desire, perhaps even more than I do.
I greet You, Lord, for I know You are here, You are with me. May we share a most wonderful day. And may this day never end but stretch into eternity. I Love You and I thank You for the amazing thing that Jesus did for me. Amen.
Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. Heb. 6.7
I am aware of much rain that falls on me by God’s providence. I am privileged to share with many Christians in different spheres and contexts. It feels as if I receive copious amounts of falling rain. Not every interaction may appear totally positive on the surface yet there is opportunity in each and every instance to touch God.
I hope I do not miss these various opportunities I am given to drink in the rain that God showers on me.
The rain sinks into the ground. It waters the seed and produces the most useful crop. This is my desire in God – to produce a healthy, God-knowing and loving harvest, blessed by God.
I thank You for the times You allow me to meet and mix with other Christians. In all of these times I am exposed to the rain of heaven, poured out by You as I commune with brothers and sisters in Christ. I seek the maximum soaking of Your holy rain into my being, into the very essence of my person.
I pray that You guide me and allow me to bring forth a crop for You that will be useful and dedicated and so healthy in Jesus.
There are many whom I would seek Your blessing for. Lead me to more, Lord. Take me where You will and have me minister how You would have me. I offer myself.
As I receive from You, let me share with others. Let me be instrumental in others being watered. Let them soak in all that You have for them.
And, please, give me more. Amen.
Tuesday, 2 July 2019
Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. Heb. 5.8
Jesus came to earth as a man, but He was still the boss’s son. He could have played on this, but such was not His manner. He entered fully into His humanity, yet He did so with an awareness of His divine origin. It’s my belief that the God in Him could have changed His path and His suffering at any time, yet the path and suffering that He chose is all the more meaningful because He chose it through being God. I further believe that His perfect life came from His human application and determined obedience to his Father.
Yes, He determined to obey. He chose, throughout His earthly life, to live only to do the Father’s wishes. This was His sole motivation. What a wonderful encouragement this is to me, giving me an excellent example to follow. He suffered and through suffering He learned obedience. This is interesting. He committed to the Father’s ways yet it seems He still had to learn obedience. And the way this came about was by suffering.
Is suffering mandatory? I don’t think so, yet I don’t know of any believers who have not suffered in some respect. Suffering, then, may be experienced to differing degrees in different people. But the point to take hold of is to be willing to learn from any suffering that comes.
Jesus said, “Follow me.” He lived His perfect life seeking always and only what the Father would have of Him. He bore his cross. He died on the cross thereby fulfilling the greatest plan of all time. He suffered greatly. In all His suffering, He was obedient. And He says: “Follow me.” Will I?
I don’t know that I could welcome suffering, but I do want to be obedient. I want to follow Jesus and live to the fullness of what You want of me. Lead me forward today. Let me live to Your agenda. Have Your way in my life, in Jesus’ name I ask. Amen.