Daily devotions

Friday 30th July 20212

Ps.32,10: “The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him.”

Rom.5,5: “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

‘Faith is here placed as the opposite of wickedness, since it is the source of virtue. Faith in God is the great charmer of life’s cares, and he who possesses it, dwells in an atmosphere of grace, surrounded with the bodyguard of mercies. May it be given to us of the Lord at all times to believe in the mercy of God, even when we cannot see traces of its working, for to the believer, mercy is al all surrounding as omniscience, and every thought and act of God is perfumed with it. The wicked have a hive of wasps around them, many sorrows; but we have a swarm of bees storing honey for us.’
(Spurgeon, The Treasure of David, on v.10 of Ps.32)

Lord, help us to trust in your word and build our life on the truth of your unfailing love. Amen

 

Thursday 29th July 2021

Ez.36,8: “But you, mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favour; you will be ploughed and sown.”

Mt.20,11: “The kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard.”

How different it had all turned out from how it was meant to! Their plans, their confidence, their certainties, their hopes, their prospects – all lay in ruins. They had expected rich yields, but it came to nothing. Instead, their ways, for their sinfulness, had received judgment. And that was the mark of their failure.
But into this wound of the sin and failure of his people God pours the balm of grace, the promise of restoration.
Failure is not the end, but for God a means to the end – a people that shall truly be to the praise of his name, gracious and restorative in all their ways. Therefore, faith looks from failure (not: to, or for, failure!) to Christ, God’s means of grace.

 

Lord, with us is often failure and confusion, but with you is grace and fulfilment. Strengthen our faith. Your name be praised. Amen

 

Wednesday 28th July 2021

LOOK EVER TO JESUS HE WILL CARRY YOU THROUGH

Psalms 115:12 NIV

The LORD remembers us and will bless us:

Who is the first person we should turn to?  The Lord our God who is the one who knows us best he will be there for us first and foremost.

We use much of our days worrying about things, quite often over needless mundane things that are not really worth wasting time and such worry over. We lose so much sleep when stressing about our daily duties, yet when we stop, think and then take time to pray the worry is usually resolved. God knows us and therefore; knows all our troubles, and helps us to do what is necessary to resolve the problem. When you think back you find that worrying over and over never fixed the problem it just made you tired with the stress. Turning to the Lord in prayer is what Paul tells us to do in Philippians what an inspiration to persuade us to give God our trust and release us from the worries in our lives.

 

(Philippians 4:5–7) NIV

 

Paul writes: ‘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 your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Let us give you our thanks  in prayer.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore, my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him." Ps. 28:7

 

Tuesday 27th July 2021

2 Chronicles 1: 10 “Give me wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

Job 2: 11 “When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all his troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathise with him and comfort him”

John 20: 25 “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’”

The wisdom of Solomon. Job’s comforter. A doubting Thomas. The luck of the Devil. The fear of God. OMG. Many similar phrases are part of our everyday speech. How is it that so many of these phrases refer to biblical characters? Perhaps because when they entered our language the Bible was a standard book in the majority of households. The stories would have been familiar to many generations of children. With the decline of Bible knowledge the Lord’s name has come to be used in vain.

Solomon who followed his father David as king of Judah was keen to keep hold of God’s support in leading the Israelites. Job in his agonising about God sent disasters is offered help by well-meaning friends but who just make matters worse. Thomas refused to believe in the risen Lord until provided with irrefutable evidence.

Essentially all these individuals were God fearing but who were seeking reassurance and support for their belief. We should do the same even though we are separated by 2000 years from the momentous events of Jesus’s ministry.

 

Wednesday 21st July 2021

Psalms 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. NIV version.

Would you like to be a teacher in today’s world? I for one would find it extremely difficult to manage and teach a whole class of youngsters, and more so to ensure they were actually learning something that they would need in their everyday life after school. We see in the verse that King David was willing to learn from God and continually asked God, for the way forward on his path of life every day. Are you willing to let God into your heart every day?  David was asking God to be in his mind from the moment he woke up, trusting in God to be with him and with him bedside him he did not need to worry about daily things. He trusted in God to raise his spirits to see him through the day filling his soul with the love of God. David is a wonderful example of how we should start our day. Reminds me of the song, ‘Put your hand in the hand of the man who stills the water’.

David did not just sit back in his trust he wanted to learn so much more from God. He wanted God to lead and tutor him along the pathway. David again was putting all his trust in God to help him grow therefore allowing him to know the right ways to help lead his people. When you pray for God to lead you as he led David and put your trust in him just as David did then the worries and stresses of everyday life will fade into the background. Let the Holy Spirit lead you through God’s word and your heart and soul will be lifted up to get you through the day.

Loving God enter our hearts and minds as we rise every morning teach us to trust in you to lead us in our daily lives. Amen.

 

Tuesday 20th July 2021

Genesis 3: 1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden?’’ ”

Numbers 21: 6, 7 “Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.”

Most of us have played Snakes and Ladders as children and perhaps again as parents. The game originated in India and was called Moksha Patam which even then had a moral meaning to the game.  Snakes represented vices, ladders virtues.

The Israelites not for the first or last time had lost their way with God and patience with Moses. They had sinned against God and wanted Moses to put things right with God. God commanded Moses to make a bronze snake which was hung on a pole so that any Israelite who was bitten by a snake could look up and be healed. In reality this was to re-establish his or her recognition of the source of the forgiveness of sins by the Father.

Our lives are a never ending mixture of sliding snakes to Satan and redemptive rungs up ladders. As in the board game we should strive to avoid the snakes and seek to climb the ladders gracefully and humbly to God.   

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.

Wednesday 14th July 2021

John 10:27 New International Version (NIV)

27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

When starting out on a new venture and beginning to plan the way you  want it to go, what is the first thing  to do? Remembering the bands that were about a few years ago W.W.J.D. meaning What would Jesus do?  That is probably the first thing to do and ask God the way. It is a very exciting time with so many people giving advice, a lot of good advice. So much advice that it is driving the excitement way down, bringing in doubts as to whether it is worth starting out this new path of in life. That is the time to turn to God and take time to talk with him and to listen out for what he would want to do with me in this venture. Ask for his guidance.  Does he really mean what I am hearing, rest, but that is not what the answer is for me? I have to go on this venture I feel it is what I need to do.  Very much a quandary. Has God told you to stop and rest? Have you heard his voice?  We are his sheep, and we have to listen to what is the advice given in answer to our seeking help. He knows what is best for us. We must trust always in God’s plan and follow in his ways,

Prayer. Loving Lord, we trust you in your word always, quieten all other voices so that we may hear only the one true voice. May we have the courage to follow you where you lead us. Amen

 

Tuesday 13th July 2021

Haggai 2:4 “’But now be strong, O Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord. ‘Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the Lord, ’and work. For I am with you,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

Ephesians 4: 11, 12 “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.”

 

The prophet Haggai came to prominence after the return of the Israelites in 538 BC to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. They had been allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild Solomon’s great temple which had been destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.  Work on the temple started but tailed off as people were distracted into building their own houses. Haggai delivered the Word of God to the Israelites saying they had lost their sense of priorities. “’Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses, while this house (the temple) remains a ruin?’” Haggai 1: 4

We all have good points and skills and it is right we should use these attributes to benefit others and ourselves but always these acts should address first the need of promoting God’s Word and the furtherance of his Kingdom.

 

Tuesday 6th July 2021

Genesis 9:20, 21 “Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of the wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent”

Proverbs 23:31, 32 “Do not gaze at wine when it is red,

                                        when it sparkles in the cup,

                                        when it goes down smoothly!

                                        In the end it bites like a snake

                                        and poisons like a viper.”

Proverbs 31:4, 5 “It is not for kings, O Lemuel –

                                  not for kings to drink wine,

                                  not for rulers to crave beer,

                                  lest they drink and forget what the law decrees,

                                  and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.”

Noah had shown determination, fortitude and faith in the face of ridicule and opposition, in his building of the ark before the great flood. But he liked his wine and one of his first tasks on emerging from the ark was to plant a vineyard.  He got drunk on its produce which caused divisions among his sons.

There are plenty of warnings in Proverbs about the dangers of alcohol distorting judgement, lowering inhibitions and causing violence. In the days of unclean water wine was a staple drink which in moderation helped to allay anxiety, promote sociability and reduce conflict. The mother of King Lemuel however was aware of the dangers of intoxication particularly in those in authority.

Those warnings are just as relevant today as in biblical times. We need ourselves and our leaders to be clear headed to make wise and thoughtful decisions pleasing to God.

 

Friday 2 July 2021

Hos.13,4: “I have been the LORD your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Saviour except me.”

1Jn.4,13-14: “This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

 

God wants people who can praise, worship, laud and thank him.

                                                                                                                -S Kierkegaard

 

Thursday 1 July 2021

Is.53,1: “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?”

1Tim.6,12: “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.”

 

It’s important we realise not to cast God’s grace to the wind and let him knock at our door in vain. He stands at the door and knocks. Good for us if we open, and a blessing! Buy while the market is on! Gather in while the sun is shining and the weather good! Use God’s grace and word while they are with us!

                - after Martin Luther

 

Wednesday 30th June 2021

LUKE 12:42

42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?

 

This manager is a good steward and he has the trust of his own Master to look after the servants properly. What is the definition of a steward?  Well it’s someone who is trusted to look after other people’s money or their interests. The steward cannot do as he or she wants to do but is being trusted to manage the affairs of the person who has trusted them to carry out what they wish to be done in their name. Just like bank managers they head up working with money invested into the bank and they are also trusted with the investors’ money to be able to make it work to its best advantage for the investor, and stockholders. This person cannot in any shape or form use any of this money for personal use. If the “steward” of this money uses it to gain financial gain for himself the long arm of the law would bear down upon him and would end up in prison. Trust is massive when being the steward of others affairs.

There are other verses in the bible which illustrate that every Christian is an overseer of God’s grace. All the gifts and money and our skills that we own and the knowledge of God’s eternal love for us are to used wisely. We have been granted all that we have from God and we must be trusted by him and will be responsible to God if we treat what we have been given in a way that would bring down the wrath of God on our heads. If we remember at all times that it is central to achieving our commitment to God to be wise and faithful stewards of His abundant grace.

Loving God, we pray through the Holy Spirit that we will always be faithful stewards of all that we do in your holy name Amen.

 

Tuesday 29th June 2021

Judges 16:23 “Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, ‘Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands’.”

Judges 16:28 “Then Samson prayed to the Lord, ‘O Sovereign Lord, remember me, O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes’.”

Dagon was a god worshipped by the Philistines as a god of grain and the harvest. Temples were built to him and sacrifices made in them often associated with brutality to animals and humans. 

The story of Samson the strong man who had led the Israelites for twenty years and who came unstuck when he met Delilah is a powerful one. He was born as part of God’s plan to deliver the Israelites from the dominance of the Philistines. He was given enormous strength but wasted this gift on frivolous demonstrations of his power rather than leading his people against the oppressors and turning them back to the true God.

He spotted and married Delilah, a Philistine, against the advice of his parents. She deceived him so that eventually he was captured by Delilah’s clan and blinded. After he had prayed to God to be given a final chance for revenge the resulting destruction of the temple and many Philistines with it must have been the stuff of epic movies.

The message is clear. However much we stray from God’s word and ways He is always ready to give His grace to the truly repentant.