DAILY DEVOTIONS

1 nov 2021

Image by Leo Wieling

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.  All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant.

Psalm 25:8-10

Extract from John B. Gardener’s Hymn, written for Methodist missions in South Africa.

Found in Desmond Tutu’s Book, “An African Prayer Book.”

1  Who will save our land and people?

Who can rescue us from wrong?

We are lost – faint, false and foolish –

We have slighted God for too long.

Save Thy people, Lord our Saviour,

Guide us home from country far;

Holy fire, consume our rancors:

Thy kingdom come – in Africa.

3  We believe God is our Saviour;

Christ enough to heal our land.

He will use the Church, His servants:

We on earth His stretched-out hand.

May His Church in loving service,

Shown to all whose path is rough,

Give a clear, united witness,

And proclaim : “Christ is enough.”

4  Christ enough to break all barriers;

Christ enough in peace, in strife;

Christ enough to build our nation;

Christ enough for death, for life;

Christ enough for old and lonely;

Christ enough for those who fall;

Christ enough to save the sin-sick;

Christ enough for one; for all.

Prayer:

Teach us Your way, O Lord, and we will walk in Your truth; give us an undivided heart, that we may fear Your Name.  We will praise You, O Lord our God, with all our hearts; we will glorify Your Name forever. 

For great is Your love for us. 

Amen

 

2 nov 2021

Image by Lina Loos

I will extol the Lord at all times;
   his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
   let us exalt his name together.

Psalm 34:1-4

This devotion is in celebration of All Saints Day. On this day we celebrate and rejoice in the saints we have known and loved and who now rest in light.

Who among us, in reading The Beatitudes, the list of blessings, do not feel a little inadequate? Each of us knows the thoughts of our hearts. We remember when we offered words of mercy, while not feeling forgiving.(vs7). We recall the times when we remained silent in the face of injustice and prejudice.(vs 6). Meekness is hardly prized in our day and age. When we ponder the lives of the saints we know, we do not think of them as weak. We marvel at their courage, their creativity, their humility, their frankness and their subtlety. We express gratitude for and hope in their rest and resurrection.

All Saints Day requires a great deal of faith, more than we can muster from within ourselves. Rather than beat ourselves up about how far we fall short of perfectionism, let us rather be grateful for how God’s love in Jesus brings us to perfection. Let us remember and cling to this grace: none of us is defined in the eyes of God by either the worst thing we have done or the best thing we have done. The eyes of Love do not view us as the sum of our virtues, minus our grievous errors. We are defined by the Living Word of love, which is Jesus Christ. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.”(1 John3: 1). This is the grace that carries us into love in this life and into perfect love in the next.

Prayer:

Finish then Thy new creation,

Pure and spotless let us be;

Let us see Thy great salvation,

Perfectly restored in Thee;

Changed from glory into glory,

Till in heaven we take our place,

Till we cast our crowns before Thee,

Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

( Methodist Hymn Book: 431 vs 3.)

 

Amen

 

 

3 nov 2021

Image by Thomas Bennie

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:3

In his letter to the Romans, Paul reminds his readers about the basics of the Christian faith.
His readers were people from all backgrounds, Jews, Greeks, Gentiles, who were already followers of Christ, yet Paul reminds them of the truth that they believed.
Paul writes, “But the righteousness based on faith says, do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”(Romans 10:6-7)
In our own, it is impossible for us to attain righteousness in the eyes of God.
Dictionaries define righteousness as “behavior that is morally justifiable or right.”
In other words to be perfect in every attribute, every attitude, every behavior, and every word
by God's Holy standards.
In comparison to God’s righteousness, our righteous deeds are “nothing but filthy rags”

(Isaiah 64:6).
Instead it is given to us as a gift of grace from God.
The same with the wonderful gift of salvation.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”

(2 Corinthians 5:21)
On the cross, Jesus exchanged our sin for His perfect righteousness so that we can one day stand before God and He will see not our sin, but the holy righteousness of the Lord Jesus.
And it is only because of this amazing precious gift from God through the terrible price that was paid that Paul can write:
"If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
We are Righteous in front of God on account of what the Lord Jesus has done.
When we realise the depth of this amazing gift, the love in His amazing Grace, it should be impossible for us to take the  Lord’s grace for granted by continuing with the same attitudes, desires and sinful actions that we had when we  first came to Him with.
Instead, let that grace transform us bit by bit every day.

Prayer:

On merit not my own I stand;
On doings which I have not done,
Merit beyond what I can claim,
Doings more perfect than my own.

Upon a life I have not lived,
Upon a death I did not die,
Another’s life, another’s death,
I stake my whole eternity.

Not on the tears which I have shed;
Not on the sorrows I have known,
Another’s tears, another’s griefs,
On them I rest, on them alone.

Jesus, O Son of God, I build
On what Thy cross has done for me;
There both my death and life I read,
My guilt, my pardon there I see.

Lord, I believe; oh deal with me
As one who has Thy word believed;
I take the gift, Lord look on me
As one who has Thy gift received.

O fulness of the eternal grace,
O wonders past all wondering!
Here in the hall of love and song,
We sing the praises of our King.

Horatius Bonar, 1808-1889
Christ For Us

 

Amen

 

 

4 nov 2021

Image by Rod Long

Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks.  For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 18

We find it hard to comprehend God’s faithfulness, to believe that God’s love for us is so strong and so unconditional.  We think of God from our human perspective, where we put conditions on our loving.

God’s generous love will not take away our human conditions or our free will, which is a gift from God, but He will be by our side through all situations.  There are many who think that God’s faithfulness will take away our problems and pain, that life will always be easy and perfect.  The one thing we can rely on always, is God’s loving presence with us in all situations, even the hard times.  He longs for our happiness.

As we grow in our understanding of Our Lord’s constant and ever-present love, so we will grow in our own faithfulness towards Him. We can gain strength as we realise God’s constant presence with us and His love for us.

Prayer:

 

Faithful Lord God, you have lavished us with love, especially as seen in the gift of Your Son, Jesus, our Saviour.  Help us to remember that You always keep Your promises, even when we do not.  Help us on our difficult days to remember that You are our refuge, our shelter, and our comfort in those times.  May we share Your gracious love with all with whom we come in contact.  May they recognize Your love shining through us and give You all the praise and glory.

  Amen.

 

5 nov 2021

Image by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen

The Lord reigns,
   let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
   let the earth shake.
Great is the Lord in Zion;
   he is exalted over all the nations.

Psalm 99:1,2

The nation of Israel and Judah has returned to Jerusalem from exile in Babylon. The prophet comes with a warning that it cannot be business as usual. No longer will there be corruption, playing around with lesser gods and injustice in society. God is deeply hurt by the wrong choices of God’s people which resulted in suffering  for the poor and the marginalized. Isaiah is saying that God will intervene and redirect the destiny of God’s people. There was war in which the enemies trampled farms and occupied houses. The prophet declares that God desires a place where people live securely in their homes and enjoy the fruits of their labour. A place where parents can live without fear and anticipate the blessings on their children and are confident about their future. A place where the poor will not get poorer while the rich get richer. If that was God’s longing for Israel and Judah then, it must still be God’s longing for this nation and this continent. Let us continue to pray that the recent elections signal a new beginning for us. I still have the faith to believe that in Jesus God continues to renew. I still have the faith to hold onto the words of Jesus:” When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”( Luke 21: 28).

Prayer:

 

O God, our Creator, we pray this day for those whose plight is  desperate.

We pray for children whose lives have been robbed of innocence

by war, violence , poverty and oppression.

We pray for those who are imprisoned because of their politics or faith.

Grant us the courage of our convictions, so that our faith might be in deeds

and not just words.

Empower us to be bold in our living and brave in our service.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  Amen.