Daily devotions

Friday 26th November 2021

Ps.94,9: “Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?”

Mt.6,8: “You Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Going and acting on false assumptions takes one on collision course with reality (94,8). Guarding against it would seem a basic requirement of wisdom and any justification of knowledge (94,8). Therefore:

Guard against the assumption that God does not see nor that there is anything anywhere at any time that God does not see (94,9);
Guard against the assumption that God does not hear, indeed that anything is said that God does not know even before it is said (94,9);
Guard against the assumption that God does not see and weigh what the nations are doing and that he does not punish them (94,10);
Guard against the assumption that what God has revealed is not (necessarily) for knowing and that all things are not what God knows them to be (94,10);
Guard against the assumption that leaving God out consigns human plans to anything but futility (94,11).

But God sees all and hears all and knows all. And though He is Judge, He is also, in Christ Jesus, the Redeemer.

 

Thursday 25th November 2021

Hos.14,3: “In you the fatherless find compassion.”

Eph.2,19: “You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.”

What the prophet Hosea puts in the mouth of the people of God by way of a confession of sin, suggesting if they seek God in this way they will find him, Jesus perfectly illustrates with the parable of the prodigal son (Lk.15)
In the parable the son, coming to his senses over where his journey is away from the father, the journey of sin, took him, conceives of the only thing that will save his life: a return to his father. But having as much as declared himself dead to his father when he left, he confesses to be fatherless: “I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.” But what he finds on his return to the father is a father who longed for the return of his son!

“I will not leave you as orphans”, says Jesus to his disciples, referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit, “I will come to you” (Jn.14,18). His going to the Father through cross, resurrection and ascension leads to the gift of the Holy Spirit to all who believe in him, through him to return to the Father: washed and cleansed from all sin and unrighteousness and given full sonship!

Jesus to Mary M: “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. God instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” – Jn.20,17

The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”  - Rom.8,15-16

 

Wednesday 24th November 2021

Obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 
COLOSSIANS 3:22

Have you ever watched the television programme Claimed and Shamed? It shows how some people try to get money usually the insurance company by making false claims. They are normally caught and get nothing but shame, and possibly jail time. Not at all worth it. Are we always totally honest in our everyday lives, or do we do little things that can be seen by others as not quite as honest as it should be? It can be a slippery slope to more serious wrongdoings.   We have to be honest in all our doings. If a friend thinks you have been dishonest then that is a friendship marred by hurt.   And not just your friend but God is also hurt by your dishonesty in life.  God want a true relationship with you, not one that can do wrong when they think no one is looking.  Remember God knows our every word and deed there is no hiding place from him

Prayer.  Loving Lord forgive me when I am dishonest to you and myself, help me to be true to you and to myself at all times. Amen.

 

Friday 19th November 2021

Ps.68,20: “Our God is a God who saves; from the Sovereign LORD comes escape from death.”

1Thess4,14: “For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

‘Our greatest need today is for the Lord, in answer to our prayers, to arise and display His power, reviving His church, promoting His cause, and overcoming His many enemies. Lest we lose heart, we should remember in discouraging days that Christ rules on high over heaven and earth. As the God of salvation, He is able to do wonderful things for His church. There can be no room for pessimism. The victory of the Lord (over sin, death and devil!) belongs to His people.’
Do we take hold of the strength that Christ has for us? May He give grace to that effect.

 

Thursday 18th November 2021

Ps.42,1: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”

Rev.21,6: God says: “To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life.”

The thirst of the soul for God is a spiritual thirst, it is the longing for what is only satisfied by the presence, grace and comfort of God.
When we find ourselves in a state of spiritual depression and exhaustion, we need to recognise this thirst (for what it is) and seek its remedy – as Ps.42 proceeds to show, to ‘preach to ourselves, even argue with ourselves, to hope in the Lord and keep seeking Him.’ Verse 11: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will get praise him, my Saviour and my God.”

On the cross Christ experienced thirst for the departed presence of God, Mt.27,46. ‘He suffered the deprivation of good that is the doom of sinners (Is.65,13; Lk.16,24). Taking the curse for us, He won for us the blessing. As a result, Christ can not satisfy the deepest thirst of mankind through the Holy Spirit (Jn.4,14; Rev.21,6)

 

Wednesday 17th November 2021

Psalm 23 verse 3

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

How often do we get up in the morning and get started to work?  There has been so many people working from home in the last two years, therefore they have had to look after their computers by themselves. If you are lucky you might have been able to have problems fixed remotely, by the tech people. It is a horrible feeling when you switch on and nothing happens, you try all the usual things like checking the connections are all connected, and ensuring that your Wifi Is doing the necessary. And you know that it was all working when you finished yesterday. So how can it be wrong now? This is when you know you have to turn to your IT specialists, they are so clever they can work your computer remotely and fix the problem. Occasionally they have to physically come out to you but that depends on the problem.

In our reading today we can see that it is God who comes and reboots our connection to him when we have been lax in our daily walk with him. God through his Holy Spirit can work like the clever IT specialists and work remotely to bring us back on to the right path. When we have a broken connection to God, he knows and always bring about a renewed connection without losing any of his love. We just need to get back on line and speak again to our God daily. He is our network to a full sense of his love which in turn we can go out and love one another walking along the true paths with God and each other. Some people may think God is remote maybe so but he is working fully remotely in our lives. And as in the children’s hymn, God is always near me, Hearing what I say, Knowing all my thoughts and deeds, All my work and play. It is up to us to ensure he is not remote to us.

Father, help us to remain connected to you as we walk in your footsteps, keep each one of us close to you and to each other. Amen

 

Tuesday 16th November 2021

Ezekiel 3: 1 – 3 “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what is before you, eat this scroll; then go and speak to the house of Israel.’ So I opened my mouth, and he gave me the scroll to eat. Then he said to me, ‘Son of man eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.’ So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.”

Revelation 10: 9 “So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me ‘Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.’”

 

Life is a mixture of despair and joy, ups and downs, good and bad times. Nobody escapes these fluctuations. Why can’t life be constantly pleasant?

Ezekiel was called to be a prophet by God for the Jewish exiles in Babylonia where they had been taken as slaves after being conquered. Ezekiel’s people thought that their exile would be short and they were puzzled as to why God had allowed them to be defeated. Ezekiel put them right by relaying from his visions God’s wrath at their straying from His ways.

The analogy of a scroll, on which was written the people’s misdemeanours and sinfulness contrasted with the sweetness of redemption for those who repent, is taken up by John who refers to the sourness of sin and the sweetness of life with the Lord.

We, too need to attend to God to avoid “…lament, mourning and woe.” Ezekiel 2: 10(part)

 

Friday 12th November 2021

Is.2,12: “The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted and they will be humbled.”

1Pt.5,5: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but shows favour to the humble.’”

Sentence shall be passed and judgment be brought upon man’s striving to be godlike and his own maker, upon his refusal and trampling of his own humanity which consists in the loving acknowledgment and worship of God. The proud and lofty shall not remain that, nor be left for ever unaware that they are thinking too highly of themselves. The heart must perceive its perversion, there shall be no rectitude otherwise.

Sentence has been passed on the cross of Christ. What pride can remain in those who hear that the Son of God hung there for them, atoned for their sins and was punished for their iniquities?

Let us own as our due God’s judgment on the cross of Christ over all that is exalted, so that in Christ Jesus by faith in him we find the humility which alone disposes the heart to regard others higher than oneself and rejoice in God’s favour.

 

Thursday 11th November 2021

Gen.3,6: “The woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom.”

Rom.12,2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It is not within our powers of perception and reasoning to ensure that what we see as ‘good for food’ and ‘pleasing to the eye’ and ‘desirable for gaining wisdom’ is actually so and is not the result of following the seductive voice within which suggests we see what we want to see.
We have these powers of perception and reasoning not for autonomous use – that is how they are darkened – but for the discerning of God’s will. Only as we hold on to His Word shall we renew our mind so that we may perceive what is good and may reason in accordance with God’s will.

 

Wednesday 10th November 2021

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

When trusting God we may find many different things happening in our lives. We become closer to God and have a stronger bond. We do not carry the burdens of our lives alone. We know that God has a love for all his children, and we remember daily of his love for us. We may find that we are more peaceful and find a comfort knowing God is walking with us. We can feel we are fully rested and able to really feel God within us and fully trust in him. And in trusting God ourselves we can turn others to learn of the love he has for all.  When we trust we can pass the control on to God knowing he will lead us where we need to be.  When we answer the way to God we trust in him and not ourselves. We know that we can give God back the love he gives us so freely when we trust in him. And in trust we will live our lives in worship, love and praise, knowing he is there beside us all the way.

Father, thank You for loving us. Thank You for helping us when our trust is placed in other people. Thank You for bringing us back to you. Forgive us for going against the plan you have for each one of us. Help us to trust in you always with heart and mind and soul. Amen.

 

Tuesday 9th November 2021

Genesis 11: 3, 4 “They said to each other, ‘Come let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They used bricks instead of stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower which reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

‘Keeping up with the Jones’s.’ We live in a materialistic age where the acquiring of possessions becomes all consuming. We must have the latest tablet, car, yacht or mansion. It’s important to be seen as successful.

The descendants of Noah’s son’s speaking as they did the same language decided to advertise their wealth and influence by building a ziggurat, a sort of pyramid. But they decided to use man-made materials, bricks and bitumen not those God given such as stone. Thereby they confused the importance of themselves and forgot about God. God decided to thwart them by destroying their common language and the various tribes were scattered ‘over the face of the whole earth.’

We should be careful not to let our possessiveness override our devotion to God and his ways.

 

Friday 5th November 2021

Is.5,20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.

1Pt.2,21-22: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. ‘He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.’”

We can call good what is evil and light what is darkness and we can call evil what is good and darkness what is light, we have the moral freedom to do so. But what we cannot do is ensure that we do not reap as we sow. I can call something good (a certain behaviour, a desire, plan, a way of thinking, a judgment etc.), what I cannot do is make good come from what I call good when it is evil. Many are the experienced “woes” that could remind us of this: could remind us that good and evil, light and darkness, are neither the call of the autonomous self nor the dictat of a heteronomous authority (such as tyrannical governments/corporations, powerful individuals and ideas, community, society).
Rather, if we would call good what is good, such that our lives become a matter of “good calls” and not evil ones, we must use what God has revealed of these things – for his word alone can be and is the rightful answer to the question ‘WHO SAYS?!’

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Mi.6,8) The example is and remains Jesus Christ, and not just the example but also the gift if we would seek in him the goodness we lack in ourselves.

 

Thursday 4th November 2021

Is.61,10: “I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.”

Acts 8,39: “The eunuch .. went on his way rejoicing.”

A prayer by Romano Guardini (my translation):

“At all times I am a gift from our hand. This is my truth and my joy. At all times your eye beholds me and so you are the reason I live, my Creator and my salvation. Teach me to understand this mystery, that I exist through you, before you and for you.”

 

Tuesday 2nd November 2021,

Psalm 3: 1, 2 “O Lord, how many are my foes!

                                How many rise up against me!

                           Many are saying of me,

                                God will not deliver him.”

Psalm 3: 3, 4 “But you are a shield around me, O Lord;

                                you bestow glory on me and lift up my head.

                          To the Lord I cry aloud,

                                and he answers me from his holy hill.”

 

‘She’s scary.’ ‘I’m afraid of him.’               We fear the unknown and the unpredictable. We worry in the night. We abhor confrontation. We panic in the face of adversity.

David was on the run fleeing from his rebellious son, Absalon and others bent on mayhem and treachery. In his anguish and fear David cries out to God but suddenly realises that God is actually on his side.

We all face problems from time to time but like David we should speak to God. He may have answers for us.

 

Friday 29th October 2021

1Chr.29,11: “Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.”

Hebr.4,16: “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

When we know Jesus Christ as our Lord, to whom “is given all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt.28,18), we can live every day in the light of the truth that we belong to the One to whom the kingdom belongs and who is exalted above all.

God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Eph.1,22-23) This being so, will there not be another side to the praise of God, namely the desire to know our Lord better? “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) Let us ask, then, even as we seek in all our ways to acknowledge the headship of Christ.

‘The kingdom of God / is justice and joy,
for Jesus restores / what sin would destroy;
God’s power and glory / in Jesus we know,
and here and hereafter / the kingdom shall grow.’

                                                                      (B Rees, 1911-83)