Daily devotions

Even though services at the West Church have been resumed a series of short texts will still be provided to help with meditation and strengthen faith.

Friday 22 January 2021

Hos.3,5: “Afterwards the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last day.”

Phil.2,13: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.”

It is impossible, on the deep motivational level, to induce yourself to want what you don’t want. The greater and stronger your performance is by which you seek to prove that you can, the clearer you demonstrate that in terms of the wants of your heart nothing has changed (if it had you couldn’t rate your performance!).

For Israel to change its way and seek the LORD their God and David their king and come trembling (not performing!) to the LORD and to his blessings would take a miracle – a change from not wanting to wanting. But what’s in view here is faith, real faith. And so we must look to this promise, acknowledging that faith requires not my performance but a miracle, and to its fulfilment – God’s doing whereby alone the heart is changed: and that is Jesus Christ in his atoning sacrifice for our sins and his resurrection for our justification.

 

Lord, strengthen our faith and let us hold fast the one thing that is needed – to come to you and give you the burden of our sins and listen to you. Amen

 

Thursday 21 January 2021

Gen.2,7: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”

3Jn.2: John writes to Gaius: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, just as you are progressing spiritually.”

Here is not an answer to the scientific question of human origin, but the answer to the more fundamental and far-reaching question of how we become a living being. Do you know?
There is a past in which this question was answered – by God breathing into man the breath of life: in other words, by a spiritual principle in man living by and dependent on his/her God-connectedness.
This past did not become the future, however, as sin entered the world disrupting this connection and its life-giving quality.

How now does man become a living being as opposed to a dying, and indeed dead, one? Again, by divine breathing, Jn.20,21 (the risen Jesus appearing to the disciples and saying): “‘Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’” That is, by Word and Spirit.

 

Lord, breathe on us; send out those who preach your word faithfully and fearlessly and let the Spirit follow in our hearing.

 

Wednesday 20th January 2021

1 John 3:1

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (NIV Bible)

How wonderful that God has taken us to be one of his children, we are all as one in his family. how huge is this? The very person who made the world and all that is in it, and still after all that time that has passed and so much has happened good and bad, we are still his family. We have so many tasks everyday so many emails and phone calls and meetings to attend to, people to deal with it just goes on and on. Is it any wonder we sometimes forget to take time for ourselves, and our families and of course time for God? if we have a screen of any kind i.e. phone or lap top or computer we need to put on it a screen saver that reminds us that God is with us every day. And to take the time to pray even a short arrow prayer can be enough to let the Holy Spirit in to your head and heart, and to give the time to TAKE TIME   to remember Our Heavenly Father who reminds us to, be still and, know that I am God. 

When we allow time for God we find that he is always with us and that he dearly loves us and we are his children. Jesus was happy to be called the Son of God and did his will right to the cross so that our sins were forgiven.  What a gift for all that have received it through the years. We must treasure that gift and be prepared to be as the light of the world and to take the light out to all whom we meet in our daily lives. Take time in your busy lives to stop and listen for the Holy Spirit to guide your days. When we do this then our love for our Heavenly Father will be even deeper and we will feel him ever closer in our daily walk with our heavenly family around us supporting us and God by our side keeping us on an even keel.

PRAYER

Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you that you love us even with all our faults, and when we forget to love you right back. Please enter our hearts and remind us that you are with us always. Let your love burrow deep into our hearts, let it then shine through us wherever we are. Amen

 

Tuesday 19th January 2021

Psalm 139: 1-4 “O Lord, you have searched me

                                And you know me.

                                You know when I sit and when I rise;

                                You perceive my thoughts from afar.

                                You discern my going out and my lying down;

                                You are familiar with all my ways.

                                Before a word is on my tongue

                                You know it completely, O Lord.”

 

“My ‘Guardian angel’”. “My conscience pricked”. “He reads my mind”. “He’s got the devil in him”.

Are not these everyday sayings just part of the battle over our souls waged by Satan and God?  Do you ever get the feeling that someone knows what you are about to say?  Identical twins are said to ‘feel’ their sibs woes even though they maybe miles apart.

Whatever the explanation the Psalmist has it right.  God knows us; knows our strengths and weaknesses. He knows we can not hide. If we can accept Him into our hearts he will guide us, strengthen us in the dark times, and rejoice with us in the good. We must have faith and listen to Him.

 

Monday 18 January 2021

Neh.9,6: “Lord, you give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”

Rm.11,36: “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory for ever!”

All things bright and beautiful,
all creatures great and small,
all things wise and wonderful,
the Lord God made them all.

1. Each little flower that opens,
each little bird that sings,
he made their glowing colours,
he made their tiny wings:

2. The purple-headed mountain,
the river running by,
the sunset, and the morning
that brightens up the sky:

3. The cold wind in the winter,
the pleasant summer sun,
the ripe fruits in the garden,
he made them every one:

4. He gave us eyes to see them,
and lips that we might tell
how great is God Almighty,
who has made all things well.

                                            Cecil Frances Alexander (1875-1958)

 

Friday 15 January 2021

Gen.3,6: “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”

Lk.6,39: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit?

By giving her husband the fruit so that he too might eat it, the woman sought to legitimise what she had done. His eating signalled agreement and the agreement signalled “It is good so; it is right for us to do so”, even though it wasn’t.
But why did he eat it? Was he tempted by the thought of what it would mean for their being together if he didn’t? Did he eat because that was the way to keep the peace?  But if it was a peace-keeping mission, peace was not the result…

This short bit of Scripture gives opportunity to consider the fact that sin seeks our agreement so that in appearing to be legitimate it may appear no longer to be wrong;
to consider how tempting it is to go along with sin in the conviction that it will make for peace, which must be right.

But sin doesn’t become right by agreement, and peace is not established by what is not right.

Peace comes to be established, however, where sins are forgiven – in Christ who procured that forgiveness for us through his death on the cross “for the sins of the world”.

 

Thursday 14 January 2021

Ps.95,2-3 “Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods.”

1Tim.6,15-16 “God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might for ever. Amen.”

The heart inclined to follow this invitation to express and show joy before God in music and song, is the heart which knows the LORD, that He is God.

Such a heart is found but in them who are conscious of Christ, that He is Lord – not just in a general sense Lord but their Lord, as Thomas confessed before the risen Christ: ‘My Lord and my God’ (Jn.20,28).

The invitation rests on being conscious of Christ – who he is (the LORD) and what he has done for us (died for our sins, reconciled us to God and gave us a heavenly inheritance with him). There is so much given to us we can be conscious of. Let us remember to be conscious of Christ (and ever increasingly so, with help of the Spirit)!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil.4,4-7)

 

Wednesday 13th January 2021

“Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:9 (ESV)

Well I am just glad that I am not a redheaded person.  With all that is supposed to go with the red hair. Speedy temper quick to be angry or very excited about happy events. But I do know that the red heads I, myself, know tend not to be akin to what is the old adage about them. Maybe it’s because I have not made them angry of course. Or maybe it is because we have become older and wiser so as to be able to keep our tempers in check being more careful to what we say to others.

The wise king Solomon asked for a wise heart and it was granted. But like most of us when we are young forget to be wise just as Solomon did making unwise ways of dealing with the daily turmoil’s, yet in his writing of Ecclesiastes he wrote of good advice and how to apply it. Chapter 7 verse 9 above makes one very aware of the foolishness of quick tempers causing such upsets in the heart. Taking a few moments to think before one speaks is often enough for one to take some stock of what was making them angry and perhaps be able to reply a little kinder.

This next piece made me stop and think how true it is after I had read about it.

PAUSE. What can it mean.

Practise – Patience. Try to be more thoughtful and patient of others feelings

Adjust—Our Attitude.  Maybe it is our attitude that needs to be change.

Understand the situation. Do we know what is behind the problem causing the argument or upset? Take time to try and understand

Step—away. Take yourself out of the situation go for a walk give yourself time to think.

Explain—Calmly. Keep calm and put whatever is the problem into perspective to the other person.

We have the right to be angry but we must think why we are angry and deal with it in the correct manner. As the words in the hymn say. Take time to be holy speak oft with the Lord.

If we take time to practise this small but very powerful word many more arguments might not get blown out of proportion.  God loves us no matter what, and I am sure He must practise the Pause often. We have to listen to the Holy Spirit working through us and to listen to what God wants us to do and say. We do not want to just put our opinions on others we must listen to each other.   The world pays attention to the people of the church i.e. Christians which should make us aware of our behaviour in and daily lives. Let us like Our Heavenly Father practise what he preaches and to love one another as he loves us.

Heavenly Father, help us to “P.A.U.S.E.” before we react in anger help us to listen out for the Holy Spirit speaking in to us in our hearts.   Amen.

 

Tuesday 12th January 2021

Psalm 43; 5 “Why are you downcast, O my soul?

                        Why so disturb within me?

                        Put your hope in God,

                        for I will yet praise him,

                       my Saviour and my God.”

We are in dark times again. Dark because it is winter. Dark because we can’t get out. Dark because we are denied the spark and warmth of meeting loved ones. Dark because we can not lose ourselves in theatre, concerts or football matches. It is easy to get miserable, despondent and depressed.

This is the situation described by the psalmist in 43: 5.  We should berate ourselves and seek encouragement from God to fortify us in our adversity.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel and we must trust that this is not a train coming towards us. It is God’s light to guide us and as always we should put our trust in Him.