DAILY DEVOTIONS

8 nov 2021

Image by John Peters

How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139: 17,18

"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth"
This man had lived with the disability of having no sight, and eked out his daily living by sitting at a busy spot and begging people for food or money.  
Sometimes people would give him something other times they would ignore him. His parents used to look after him until  "he came of age", and then he was on his own. Among the Jews this age was fixed at thirteen years.
Blind from birth, he was unable to see the people who helped or ignored him, but it also seemed that he was surrounded by a community of people who were seemingly blind to him as well.
To them, he was a blind beggar, a nuisance. To Jesus's disciples he was an opportunity to satisfy their curiosity on which sin committed by him or his parents has caused him to end up that way.
But to Jesus he was neither a beggar or a deserving sinner, but a human being.  Gods creation. Fearfully and wonderfully knitted together by God inside his mothers womb.
Jesus saw him. He intimately knew everything about the man, his family and his situation. He did not ignore him or pass him by. Unasked for Jesus went to the man and treated him with love and compassion. He asked the man to be obedient in faith by telling him to wash himself in the Pool of Siloam and rewarded his faith by restoring his sight.
Jesus did not only restore his physical sight, but he was also spiritually enlightened.
(John 9:38)
Like to this blind man, through His amazing love and grace, God came to us though we never asked for it and granted us faith through His Holy spirit and gave us Salvation through his Son.
Ephesians 5:8
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light"
As His children and the body of Christ we have to reflect His light in the the community we live in.
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

Prayer:

Lord Jesus we thank you for your love and mercy.
Thank you for being the light of this world.
Lord as your children, help us to reflect your light.
Open our eyes to those in need. Soften our hearts and help us to not be so quick to judge.
Strengthen our faith and guide us in your wisdom. Forgive our sins dear Lord and help us when we stumble.
We ask this in your Holy name
 

  Amen.

 

9 nov 2021

Image by Felipe Giacometti

Be my rock of refuge,
   to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
   for you are my rock and my fortress.

Psalm 71:3

For a number of generations, mine included, interpretation of this passage of Scripture, has equated being locked out of the wedding with missing out on heaven, and therefore, one had to have some urgency in deciding for Jesus before dying, or it will be too late.  N.T. Wright suggests that the Gospel story was told as a warning, to remind the people of Matthew’s day and us that there are consequences for our decisions in this world. This message coming after the conclusion of the World Environment Conference(COP 26), reminds us of our responsibility to care for creation. Jesus is talking not about punishment after we die, but rather about the real life consequences in the world of not following in His way of life, peace, grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. The parable reminds us that this our time to get on board with God’s agenda, God’s Kingdom and God’s will for humanity and the whole of creation, revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The problems we now face are also the opportunities to follow Jesus and be part of God’s victory over sin and death. This is our time to reclaim God’s dream for  creation and humanity that lives in harmony, peace and love.

Prayer:

Almighty God, Creator, Redeemer Sustainer,

by whose hand all that is came to be.

Through the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit

Women and men of every age have been

moved to seek the common good

by moving beyond the circumscribed

boundaries of their own lives,

to touch the lives of others and the whole of creation.

We thank You for the strength to love

in the midst of hostility and indifference.

Hear us, O Lord of the universe,

through Jesus Christ our Lord.

  Amen.

 

10 nov 2021

Image by KTMD ENTERTAINMENT

Jesus said, “I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask Me for anything in my name and I will do it.”

John 14:13

In our reading today Hannah is desperate to conceive a son for her husband, Elkanah, who has said she is worth more than 10 sons to him.  But this generosity can change in a moment if Elkanah dies when she will lose all support.  The other wife has had seven sons and mocks her because she has difficulty in conceiving.  Hannah knows that God is in control, so she turns in desperation to Him.  She prays earnestly in her heart, looking for hope and answers.  She literally pours out her soul to the Lord.  Eli, the priest, as he watched her anguished prayers, thought she was drunk.  After questioning her about her “drunkenness” Eli realizes the significance of Hannah’s earnest prayers and offers her his blessing : “Go in peace and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of Him.” vs 17.  Eventually God grants her request and she conceives and bears a son, who she dedicates to the Lord.

God wishes that when we see others in desperate situations, we do not condemn but look beyond each person’s condition and then act in loving kindness towards their needs.

Prayer requires perseverance.  It requires an active turning to the Lord and praising Him for His ability to deal with our requests.  It requires discipline and regular practice, even when we are not in the mood to pray.  It is particularly important to pray when we do not feel like praying and we should then persevere with our prayer.

Prayer:

Help us heavenly Father, to be persistent with our prayers.  Help us to sing Your praise even in difficult times.  Remind us of Hannah’s turning to You and her persistence in praying to You about her deepest desire to conceive a son.  May we always praise You and express our deepest gratitude for all You do for us.  We pray this in the glorious name of Your Son, Jesus, our Saviour.  Amen.

 

11 nov 2021

Image by Matt Houghton

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. 

Galatians 1 : 3 – 5

Sin is very prevalent in our world and has been since Adam and Eve.  There are little sins and big sins, ones we do not recognize or admit to.  Dealing with sin is a problem affecting all humanity.  There is a theme that threads its way through out the Old Testament.  The elaborate sacrificial system of the Hebrews showed that they were very aware of sin and were trying to reconcile with God.  Paul also had a deep sense of sin.  When he converted to Christianity, he trusted Jesus to save him.  He realized that Jesus had died on the cross and rose from the dead to take on the sins of the whole world.  This was one perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the forgiveness of all who had and continue to sin.

Paul was profoundly grateful for this saving act of Jesus on his behalf.  He knew that no amount of effort or good works on his part could atone for his sins.  But Christ could and continues to do so for us even today.  We should also be very grateful for the saving acts by Jesus Christ as a way to reconcile us with our Father God. 

The risen Christ continues to work in today’s world.  Allow Him to save you and to occupy a large place in your heart.  Only He is powerful enough to save you if only you will let Him.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father we praise and thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ to show us the way to be reconciled with You, through His life, death and resurrection.  Send Your Holy Spirit to direct our lives and to help us to honestly confess our sins to You and to give You all the glory. 

Amen

 

12 nov 2021

Image by Nikhil kumar

Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.

Psalm 86:4,5

Many of the stories in the Bible, particularly The Old Testament, are often stories of brokenness. Over and over we see damage done to families and communities who struggle with relationships.(David and his children). We see the hurt caused by favouritism. (Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers). The Bible tells the truth about the pain that comes when there is a lack of love, honesty and faithfulness in relationships in family and community. Since the beginning of creation, God has sought to let us see the love God has for us. The task Hosea has been given is to paint an object lesson for all to experience a sense of God’s passionate love. Hosea loves Gomer, but Gomer does not love Hosea. She uses him and betrays the sanctity of their marriage.  The result is that Gomer hurts herself, Hosea and their children. Through the experience of Hosea God wants us to feel and experience the power of divine love. It is God’s love that seeks to settle the chaos of our hearts and our relationships. In some way the story of Hosea reminds us of the parable Jesus told about a loving father and a prodigal son, but more than that, the story of Hosea reminds us of God’s love expressed through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The concluding picture of Hosea speaks directly to the  power of the Cross and resurrection of Jesus. God redeems and heals the broken. God reclaims the abandoned and make them God’s own. The Apostle John confirms that the foundation of our love is found in the reality of God’s love for us .”We love because he first loved us.”(1 John 4:19.) In Christ we are children of the living God.

Prayer:

O love divine, how sweet Thou art!

When shall I find my willing heart

All taken up by Thee?

I thirst, I faint, I die to prove

The greatness of redeeming love,

The love of Christ to me.

( Charles Wesley 1707-88 )

(Methodist Hymn Book 434 vs 1.)

Amen