DAILY DEVOTIONS

02 May 2022

Image by Jéan Béller

(Those who have come through great tribulation) – The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their Shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

Revelations 7 : 17

Reading:

 Acts 9:36-43 

This is a beautiful story of Tabitha who lived in Joppa, who did amazing works of love and good will for those in need.  She has built a community of love for the risen Lord Jesus.  But then she dies and there is great sorrow for her in Joppa, but her friends, who she has helped, go to Lydda to ask the disciple, Peter to come and heal her.  They believed that he could heal her as he had many others.  But Tabitha is beyond being sick, she has actually died!  Peter asks all the widows, who were mourning around her bed, to go out of the room.  He then knelt and prayed to God, because he knew he healed people only through the power of the Risen Jesus and not by his own power.  He then simply called her name and asked her to get up.  I find it interesting that The Greek word which he used was the same which described Jesus’ resurrection.

Central to this story is a community where deep personal friendships have developed.  This involves trust, concern, faith, caring and belong to each other, even in the midst of tragedy.  Faith gives them the power of action.  They seek out Peter to come to Joppa, sure of things not yet imagined, that will heal Tabitha.  He in turn calls on the healing power of Jesus to bring new life into Tabitha.

Communities of faithful people can be used as channels of resurrection power, which brings new life into people and situations.

Image by Markus Spiske

Prayer:

All power Lord Jesus, help us to imagine the impossible with the eyes of the resurrection faith.  Help us to nurture a community of faith and friendship in our Churches, which will help to build our faith.  Open our eyes that we may see how we can be Your instruments of love.  We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus of our Risen Lord, Jesus.

    

Amen!

03 May 2022

Image by Zoltan Tukacs

Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5: 16)

Reading:

 Matthew 5: 13-16 

I always add salt to my food, even before I taste it. I know this is socially impolite, but food is bland without salt! Jesus did not come to bring us insipid life. He came to add salt in our diet. And the salt of faith is the flavour that gives a real reason to live.I am afraid of the dark! Well, perhaps not afraid, but uncomfortable in it. My imagination goes wild and every scenario seen on mystery murders plays out in my living room. I can lie awake in the dark for hours wondering what horrors lie beyond the thick unknown. But if I switch on my light, I know what is there and I can immediately fall asleep. Light! Unspeakable, invisible illumination! It drives back the darkness. What are we missing out on if we live in a world of darkness?Many people start each day looking at the same boring routine. They head off to work knowing that it will bring nothing more than the day before. Their lives have no flavour. When Jesus becomes part of our lives, we are given a new diet flavoured with purpose. He salts our lives with meaning. Our boring routines are smashed, and our sense of emptiness becomes a sense of service.The light of Christ illuminates our paths; past, present and future. It shows us more clearly where we have gone wrong. Our lives become aglow with hope and meaning. And when Jesus shines His light through us, we become the radiance that guides others to Him

Image by ISAAC LEW

Prayer:

 Dear Lord, we thank You for shining Your light on us, guiding us toward Your purpose. May we never walk a bland and dark life again. Forever holding You in our hearts to be a beacon to those around us.

    

Amen!

04 May 2022

brown and green trees under clear blue s

I am the true vine, and my Father

is the gardener.

John 15: 1

Reading:

John 20: 11-18
 

The image of God as a gardener is found many times in the Bible, from Genesis through to Revelation. In the Psalms, the heart is often referred to as a pasture where the shepherd walks. God desires to tend to our hearts much like a gardener would their garden.

I love the image that this brings to mind. For me, it is of God wearing a large sun hat wandering around my heart; ploughing, planting, watering and pulling out weeds. He debates where to plant the wild flowers and where to plant the vegetables as He wanders the paths of my soul. But in order for God to become the gardener of my heart, I have to let Him into my garden. Only then can He do the work necessary for me to become His vessel giving beauty and nurture to those around me.

My fingers are not green. In fact, I have been known to look at a pot plant and the leaves begin to wither immediately! Sometimes there are elements to gardening which are outside of human control. Some trees, no matter how correctly they are watered, will not grow deep roots. While it is our responsibility to work on our faith, to engage in prayer, worship, to read our Bibles and share with others, God, the true gardener, is the One who ensures that our roots grow deep.

Image by niko photos

Prayer:

 

Lord, I open my heart to You and ask that You will tend to my life, trusting that through You my roots of faith will grow deep. Amen.

05 May 2022

Image by Nani Williams

"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:4).

Reading:

Luke 18:18-23

For the young man in the passage Jesus' words were very distressing. All that he heard was that Jesus wanted him to lose all his possessions. Possessions that he worked hard for, that he earned honestly by the sweat of his brow through  determination, skill and perseverance.
Now that he had taken care of his material needs, he wanted to focus on the spiritual side of things to ensure things go smoothly when he got to the other side. He wanted to ensure his soul was secured.
He mentally checked all the boxes as Jesus told him the commandments which dealt with how we treat other people,  and was happy that He had done so, but wanted to make double sure that he had not missed anything.

He did
He needed to become a believer in and a follower of Jesus, the only Savior and Lord. That is God’s requirement for anyone to be saved.
So when Jesus told him to sell all and give all to the poor and follow him, it was extremely upsetting.
"When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth." His trust and confidence was in his  wealth and his own abilities.

What do we value most?
Faith in Jesus is more than accepting him as Savior.
Trusting Jesus meanings seeing him as Treasure, Lord, Counselor, alternative to money. He is our treasure in heaven.
The greatest command is ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind'
If the young man couldn’t obey the greatest commandment, how could he claim to have obeyed the others?

We, too, are invited to come to Jesus, and then to follow him on a spiritual life journey. To enjoy his company, his presence. To be taught along the way by his Word and Spirit. To become part of his great extended family, the Body of Christ throughout the world. And to be filled with hope in the closing days of our journey as we know his promises and feel his comfort with us.

"Come, follow me," is the invitation Jesus extends to all of us

Image by Benoît Deschasaux

Prayer:

​Lord so often we profess our faith in you, but are afraid to completely surrender ourselves to you.

Lord you are our treasure. In You we have all we may ever need.

You gave up your life for us so that we may have life in you for all eternity

We thank you for your Love, your Grace and your patience with us

Help us to let go and to only hold on to you o Lord

We praise your holy name

 Amen!

06 May 2022

Image by Mikołaj

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.

1 Peter 4: 10

Reading:

Psalm 89:30-37

Unconditional Grace

There is a story of a family which lived in Johannesburg whose only son grew up to be a bit of a rascal and a scoundrel. He would go off on escapades and frequently the father would be contacted by the police to come and fetch his son. Each time, the father would go, the boy would come home and all would be well. Until the next time. One day the father met a friend who asked after the boy. “No, he’s off again I’m afraid”, said the father. “I’ve no idea where he is.” “You know what I’d do”, said the friend. “If that boy were my son, I’d tell him to get out and not come back again!” “Yes, you’re right”, said the father. “That’s what I’d do too if he were your son. But he isn’t. He’s my son.”

The grace of God is unconditional. In these verses the psalmist spells out what is understood to be God’s attitude to the monarchy of Israel at that time. Out of His covenant love He appoints it and promises to establish it forever.

This was a risk, given the fluctuations of human politics. The descendants of the dynasty might not be as great as David, they might not be the men of God their forefather was. God may have to “deal” with them. But He would not withdraw His love

He is not a unpredictable God; up one minute and down the next. His favour is not dependent on good behaviour by its recipients. It is strong, permanent, true and faithful! God’s love is ongoing. His children may obey or disobey, but He loves on. He betrothed himself to His people “for better or worse” and that commitment was binding and remains so even today.

We see the ultimate expression of God’s grace in Jesus Christ, for which the people of God are the recipients. We may fail. We may sin. But Jesus loves on. And on. And on. To the end of time.

Image by Jez Timms

Prayer:

Lord God, Your love is the foundation of the world. You never let us down and You never let us go. Help me to grasp a little part of that great love, and to love You in return. Help me to accept Your grace, and to be graciously faithful in return. I ask this in God’s graceful name. 

 Amen!