DAILY DEVOTIONS

27 sept 2021

Image by James Lee
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5 : 22 – 23

“Joy is the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved.” Henri Nouwen.  “The Lord will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”  Zephaniah 3 : 17b.

Let us enter each day with joy in our hearts because the God who created us, loves us as His own child.  Let us share the glory of this joy with everyone who crosses our paths.

Happiness and joy come from deep within our hearts and are gifts from God and fruit of His Spirit.  Can we imagine a God who sings a happy song over us, His creation, a God who dances with joy and laughter and enjoys life.  His Spirit calls us to appreciate and enjoy life sharing in the divine song that makes melody in the hearts of all creation.   There is passion and enthusiasm in this dimension of God, a sense of awe, wonder and delight.  We often lack this kind of excitement and laughter that we see in a young child who is discovering the world for the first time.  There is an inner child in each one of us, but we often suppress it, push it aside by our business and busyness.  We were all born with this inner child, who is a trusting, excited and wondering individual.  It is this inner being that first responds to our Lord’s invitation to become one of His children.

Jesus picked up a small child and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18 : 3.

During our times of worship and celebration with our Lord, individually and in communion with others, we often suppress the singing with joy, awe, passion and dancing with enthusiasm, believing that we should be serious and somber. 

Prayer:

Praise the Lord. Praise God on His sanctuary; praise Him in His mighty heavens.  Praise Him for His acts of power; praise Him for His surpassing greatness.  Praise Him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise Him with the harp and lyre, praise Him with tambourine and dancing.  

Praise the Lord.  

Amen.  

Psalm 150 : 1 – 4a + 6a

28 sept 2021

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Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”

Psalm 16:1-2

The prophet Jeremiah paints a picture of despair and desolation about the life of Israel. It’s an image that brings to mind the creation account in Genesis 1. It is a picture of the world that is “ waste and void.”( Jeremiah 4:23.)  The mountains and the hills are rocking back and forth as if they have no foundation. The people are all gone, there are no animals and everything looks like a desert.( Jeremiah 4: 23-26).  Everything looks desolate and hopeless. Just when the people are about to give up hope of salvation and restoration, the prophet offers a flicker of hope. It is hidden at the end of verse 27, “The whole land will be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.”  That hidden phrase reveals the good news of God’s love and compassion for creation and God’s people. God’s love and compassion towards a wayward and sinful people cannot be frustrated. Jesus reveals that love and compassion in the parables of the ‘lost sheep’ and the ‘lost coin’.( Luke 15: 1-10). In these stories the one who is lost is the one who gets the full attention. A careful reading of these parables assures us, that no matter how cut off or hopeless we may feel, God will never give up on us.

Prayer:

Gracious God, You who are more willing to listen than we are to pray,  

listen to the heartfelt cries of our lives before You.

In Your redemptive love hear us as we ask for forgiveness and claim Your grace

In Jesus Christ, Your Son.

Give us the wisdom and discernment to hear afresh Your word of grace:

“Your sins are forgiven.”

Amen

29 sept 2021

Image by Rachel Lees

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

Psalm 23:3

Reading:
Psalm 8

The writer of Psalm 8 marvels at the majesty and wonder of Gods creation, and our place in it.

As humans, we are incapable of anything as wondrous and complex and awe-inspiring as God’s created order. And yet incredibly, God has given us the responsibility of being care takers of  His creation.

It’s easy to wake up full of praise for the glory of God’s creation when we're on vacation. Or to whisper a prayer of thanksgiving when we witness a beautiful sunrise during a hiking trip. But it is much harder when we are faced with turbulent times,when we lie in bed at night unable to sleep because our minds are bombarded with worries and anxieties. Less radiant when we are bogged down in the mundane tasks of life. With the stress that life bring, we often lose focus of our brilliant and awe inspiring Creator. To see God’s creation is to see God. “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10

Creation is a testament to His control. The change of seasons in nature is to see God’s perfect timing. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

The same God that ordains the sun to rise and set is the same God that has our hearts in the palm of His hands.

And though we sometimes get lost in our worries and fears, God never forgets us.

The writer of Psalm 139 testified to this when he wrote:

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Therefor let us never forget the good gifts God. Let us give thanks for the glory of his creation and the good news of Jesus Christ. May His name be exalted on all the earth.

Let us find our joy in the glory of Jesus Christ and seek him out. His glory never fades, and his goodness never diminishes.

Prayer:

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Amen

Psalm 139:23,24

30 sept 2021

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We are the temple of the living God.  God said, “ I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.  ---  I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. 

2 Corinthians 6 : 16 + 18

It is awe-inspiring to consider that through our accepting Jesus Christ  as Lord and Saviour of our lives, we have become children of our Father God.  Some people have a “Damascus” revelation while most of us grow slowly in our faith over many years.  But we can all acclaim to the fact that He gradually becomes more and more of a reality to us.  We need to submit ourselves to Jesus, accepting His strength and ways to become obedient to Him.   John in his Epistle says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.”  1 John 3 : 1.

This says to me that it is God’s love and not our own endeavors that made us His children.  As we take on Christ’s characteristics our lives change and we become more centered on Christ and our fellow men.  There is no pride or showing off, rather a holiness which develops as a byproduct of our Master’s love.

“ For this reason, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth derives it’s name.”  Ephesians 3 : 14 – 15

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, we praise and worship You for making us Your temple for Your abode and adopting us as Your children.  What an honour Lord!  As we journey on our Christian way, may we sing our praises to You our Saviour Jesus Christ and may we glorify Your creation, works within us. 

Amen.

1 Oct 2021

Image by Stefano Zocca

We are the temple of the living God.  God said, “ I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.  ---  I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. 

2 Corinthians 6 : 16 + 18

Israel was experiencing a severe drought. Israel, relied on the weather for their crops to grow and for their animals to find pasture and water.  When it came time for the rains to water their crops, the rain did not come. The prophet Jeremiah complains that : “The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.”(Jeremiah 8:20). The drought is a symbol of Israel’s alienation, despair and distance from God.  Distance in Israel’s relation with God, has brought a dryness in the life of the nation. The prophet desires for the relationship to be renewed, for the people to be restored and brought to a place of hope and life. Jeremiah is the one who desires the cure and restoration of his people. Jeremiah wishes that his “ head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears.”( Jeremiah 9:1). Jeremiah’s care and compassion for Israel, is an expression of God’s care and compassion for God’s people. It is as if the voice of God resounds through the voice of the prophet.  It is the same God, who in Jesus, cries with Mary and Martha with the death of their brother, Lazarus. In Jesus, God has compassion for the widow of Nain, and restores her son to life.(Luke 7:11-17). The love and compassion that God has for the children of Israel, expressed through Jeremiah’s words of compassion, is the same love and compassion God expressed in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus.  The yearning in God’s heart remains for all God’s people to surrender to God’s embrace. Hear the words of Jesus as He approached Jerusalem, : “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” ( Matthew 23: 37; Luke 13: 34). This is the God present with Israel and Jeremiah, who is present with us even now.

Prayer:

Holy and gracious God, reconnect us to Your power, love, mercy and grace

that we might walk beside You.

At those times when the burden of our human journey is unbearable, carry us onward we pray

In the name of the One who is divine love,

Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.

Amen