DAILY DEVOTIONS

30Aug 2021

Image by Dan Meyers

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.  
1 John 3 : 17 – 18

Faith becomes alive and meaningful when it is expressed in actions, through love, not just with words.  Without love, the height, depth, and eternal nature of God’s love cannot be experienced.  Actions combined with faith acknowledges the relationship we have with God, both individually and as a community.  Such a relationship requires us to allow God to work through us.

We often question how true and healthy our relationship with God really is.  James gives us the litmus test when he says that the way we interact with others in our daily lives, reflects how true our relationship with God is.  Do we realise how the responsibility of our relationship with God impacts on our relationships with one another?  The way we treat others tests the health of our relationship with God.  We need to acknowledge that everyone is created by God and allow Him to channel our actions to help others’ needs, not with mere words, but with a compassionate love to help and to heal others.  Remember, “Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.”  Proverbs 22 : 2

Do we judge others by their wealth or status?  This is not from God!  True faith shows no partiality or discrimination.  James says, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Verse 18 b.

Jesus’ life was continually expressed by loving actions, both healing and teaching and praying.

Prayer:

Heavenly Father may Your presence in our hearts, constantly move us and transform our lives, making us conduits of Your grace and mercy.  May we not only see and speak about the needs of our neighbours, but also work to ease their needs.  Create in us a new heart, O God and renew Your Spirit in us.  Remind us that our faith dies when not supported by loving actions.  We pray this in the glorious Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

31 Aug 2021

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Have faith in God, my heart

trust and be unafraid;

God will fulfill in every part

each promise he has made.

WOV 552 vs 1.

The writer of the Letter to the Hebrews understood a great deal about the life of faith. The writer sees the life of faith as a pilgrimage or a journey, rather than a sprint. Faith is about patient waiting and trusting. Trusting God to be at work in ways that are often not easily discerned. Faith is about laying aside the values of society and constantly seeking after the Kingdom of God. The writer make use of several biblical figures to illustrate that faith is about hope and perseverance. Abraham’s life is offered as an example for pilgrims who seek to encounter God, through their relationship with Jesus. Abraham models quiet trust in God, whose plans cannot be discerned or understood immediately. We are reminded that Abraham started his journey to the land of promise, without clear indication of where he was going. Even though the future was unclear, Abraham acted in obedience. Faith requires us to take risks and to act trusting in God’s love and faithfulness. As I move towards retirement, the story of Abraham reminds me that both the beginning of Abraham’s journey and the end was determined by God. As Christ-followers, we are often called to step into the unknown, to discover the blessings and surprises of the journey. The life of Abraham teaches that success lies in faithfulness throughout the journey. My hope and prayer for St. Johns and myself, is that we will be farsighted pilgrims, not anxious about tomorrow, or calculating possible outcomes, but simply trusting God and God’s promise of life and abundance in and through Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

Prayer:

Simply trusting every day,

Trusting through a stormy way;

Even when my faith is small,

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

             

Trusting as the moments fly,

Trusting as the days go by,

Trusting Him whate’er befall

Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Edgar Page Stites, b. 1837. MHB 517 vs 1 and refrain

1 Sept 2021
 

Image by TOMOKO UJI

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are attentive to their cry”

Psalm 34:15

"When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well." Exodus 2:15

This verse is a short summary of how Moses ended up in Midian, but does not describe the fear, anguish, loss and sadness that Moses must have experienced having had to flee for his life, leaving behind everything he knew, ending up 1100km alone in another country.
In Exodus 3, at the far side of the wilderness, the angel of the Lord appears to Moses  while tending to his father-in-law's flock. Moses meet with God at the burning bush after forty years of ‘walking through the darkest valley’.

Moses has been in the wilderness as a shepherd, But God ‘The LORD’ is shepherding Moses and he is unaware of it. 
When God reveals Himself to Moses, He tells him that His name is, “I am who I am”  (Yahweh) God is!  

God is eternal and unchanging.  The 'God of your fathers' The God whose name will be called upon forever by generation to generation. Moses is sustained and restored by Gods name in that moment.
Like Moses, David also had to flee for his life from Saul. Psalm 23  is his testimony of God as the Great Shepherd of his life.
We have the greatest revelation of the shepherding God in Jesus. 
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. 
John 10:14-15
Our Lord and redeemer tends to us wherever we find ourselves, in our times of sadness, despair when we feel lost and alone in our own wilderness. 
As our Shepherd, we have to depend on His name. He is ever faithful. He sees us and cares for us deeply. Our hearts and minds rest secure in Him. Listen to His voice.

Prayer:

Lord we thank you for your love and mercy.  

We thank you that you see us and that you love and care for us.
We bring to you all our worries, fear and anxieties. We confess our sins and our shortcomings o Lord, and we thank you
for the Grace of  your forgiveness.

We pray for all those who are in need of you o Lord.

Open our eyes to the needs of others.
Help us to listen to your voice.
To You be all honour glory and praise forever an ever . 
Amen.

2 Sept 2021
 

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Whatever you ask in My name, this will I do,  that the father may be glorified in the Son.  If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.   

John 14 : 13 – 14

To grow spiritually and to get to know our Lord better, it is important to develop

a regular time in prayer with Him.  This may be in private, in community or with two or three people, but spending time with the Lord.  Jesus Himself, set us a good example on how to pray when He spent many hours privately in prayer with His Father.  He prayed privately and individually when He laid His healing hands on someone.  He even prayed for those around Him while being crucified on the cross.  He reprimanded the Pharisees for the public show of praying in public to display their keeping of the many rules of the Israelites.

“When you pray go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”  Matthew 6 : 6

Jesus taught us the Lord’s Prayer, which shows us what our prayers should include.  It starts with praise and the acceptance that the prayer is answered according to our Lord’s will, confession, asking for our daily needs and the needs of others, and protection from evil.  Our faith and our following of God’s will for us, can only be effective if it is accompanied by regular prayer in our Lord’s presence giving Him thanks and praise for His creation.

Our prayer life should not just be a “shopping” list, but a bringing before God the needs of those around us, our community, our leaders, and our country.  At all times expecting God to answer our prayers according to His will.

Our prayer life requires strict discipline and regular practice.  There are times when it is difficult to pray and that is when one must rest in the prayers of others.  Sometimes we need to just send up “arrow prayers.”  I had a friend who said she needed to get onto the “telephone line straight to Jesus.” 

It is important that our prayer is constantly focused on the Lord, praising, and thanking Him for His ability to deal with the issues.

Charles Spurgeon says, “Only prayer which comes from our hearts can get to God’s heart.”

Prayer:

Heavenly Father we praise and thank You for Your great glory, love, and mercy and that we can approach You in prayer.  We are not worthy of Your presence in our lives, Lord forgive us.  We hold before You those in need and we pray that You will surround them with Your loving arms.  We pray for Your strength as we seek to follow Your will.  We pray this in the glorious name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour. 

Amen

3 Sept 2021
 

Image by Olivier Guillard

Restore us, O God;
   make your face shine on us,
   that we may be saved.

Psalm 80:3

Reading:
Luke 12:49-56

“ I’ve come to start a fire on this earth- how I wish it were blazing right now! I’ve come to change everything , turn everything right side up – how I long for it to be finished!” (Luke 12: 49-50: The Message.) Jesus’ statement comes as a reminder to every Christ-follower, that  everyday brings with it choices, what to leave/ let go of, and what to embrace. Our lives are constantly challenged by the values and standards of the world in which we live, but our relationship with Jesus calls us to different standards and values. When we are confronted by violence and abuse, we seek to bring peace and reconciliation. In a world, divided by different ideologies and beliefs, God seeks to unite us with a spirit that affirms life, a spirit of love, forgiveness and tolerance towards those who differ from us. This is the fire of the Spirit that God seeks to ignite in the heart of every Christ-follower. God calls us to friendship with the Spirit. Daily, we live our lives open to the transforming fire of God’s Spirit, to be instruments of and a sign of God’s love and grace and God’s desire to change the kingdoms of this world into the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ.

Prayer:

Everlasting and ever-giving Lord, we offer ourselves and our resources to Your Kingdom.

We cherish the opportunity to be of service in Your sovereign realm.

Bless us and the world, so in need of Your transforming love.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Amen