21 June 2021
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40 : 31
Most of the people or their friends, in Jesus’ time, who sort out healing from Him, made a decision to leave their homes and to go to Jesus. The lady in today readings knew that as a woman she could not approach Jesus, so she approached him from behind and touched His robe. She had reached the end of her resources. She had many needs. She was considered an outcast because of her disease, the medical experts were unable to help her and physically she was at the end of her tether. Touch is a powerful tool of healing and Jesus used this many times during His ministry. Jesus somehow is aware that some spiritual power has left Him. He then seeks her out and says, “Daughter your faith has healed you.” Jesus’ healing is a holistic healing.
Then we have the amazing story of a member of the synagogue coming to Jesus saying his little daughter was dying. Before they get to his house, friends come and say that the little girl has died. Jesus says she is not dead, but asleep. Jesus knows that the situation is not closed. He goes to her bed and takes her hand, Jesus is touching again, and says to her, ”Little girl, get up!” She gets up and once again a miracle of faith has happened!
Father of great love we thank You for friends who come to our aid in times of need and take us to You. We thank you for the strength you give us to approach you in times of difficulty. You transform our lives and heal all aspects that need healing. We praise You that you hear our deepest prayers, often unuttered and expressed. You almighty Lord, are the way, the truth and the life. Lord Jesus teach us all how to pray, especially at this time when so many are suffering from the Covid virus. We pray this in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
22 June 2021
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
The Bible relates many stories about shepherds and sheep. The liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, begins with Moses tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro. (Exodus 3:1.). The prophet Nathan confronting David about his sin, used the image of shepherd and sheep.
( 2 Samuel 12:1-3). John the Baptist identifies Jesus as ‘The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world’. (John1: 29), and the Book of Revelation closes with the picture of the Lamb upon the throne.( Revelation 22:1). My little knowledge of sheep is that they are smelly. They have the tendency to separate themselves from the flock, not because of a desire to escape, but because they graze from grass clump to grass clump without looking up, and without knowing drift away from the flock. In a sense they eat themselves into a state of ‘lostness’. To think of ourselves as sheep is not a flattering picture, but the Good News is that Jesus came to shepherd the sheep, determined that not one should be lost.( Luke 15: 3-7). Jesus came to us as a shepherd to bind our wounds, to protect us, and to lead us to green pastures and still waters. The Good Shepherd forgives sins and restores souls. This is a shepherd we cannot do without.
O, God, who gave us the Good Shepherd,
gather us as the sheep of Your pasture.
Remind us a sense of what it means to be in a covenantal
relationship with You.
Rescue us from danger and guide us into Your sheepfold.
In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
23 June 2021
"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us."
Magnanimity (from Latin magnanimitās, from magna "big" + animus "soul, spirit") is the virtue of being great of mind and heart. It encompasses, usually, a refusal to be petty, a willingness to face danger, and actions for noble purposes.
God’s grace is phenomenal in its nature, magnanimous in its scope, and overwhelming in its effect.
As Christians we embrace Gods undeserved Grace as it is bigger than we can fathom and bigger than our sins!
Understanding Gods grace in our lives should lead to faithfulness. Faithfulness means faithful to Gods will, faithful to Gods way, more obedient to Him and less of my own way.
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all humans, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in this present age, Titus 2:11-12.
As Christians, when we sin we confess our sins to God and others who are affected by it, and pray for forgiveness, ( Acts 8:18-24.)
Through the reconciling blood of Jesus we receive Gods forgiveness of our sins
John 1: 7 - But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
But in our sinfulness we sometimes take Gods grace for granted or even abuse it.
We continue to sin, thinking we can just plead for pardon again as needed anyway. Paul warns against this in Romans 6:1-23.
When we use God's grace as a license to sin, it's not that we don't have too much of it, but really because we don't have enough of it. Why? Because if we truly grasped the grace of God, we wouldn't only see it as being the power to pardon us from sin, but also as a power to teach us to get rid of it.
But we cannot do it without Gods help.
Jesus promised in John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."
Jesus' finished work gave us access to the Spirit of God that would break sinful patterns in our life.
God's grace is the motivation, enablement and empowerment to be free from the yoke of sin, knowing how deeply offensive our sin is to God.
Galatians 5:1 says, "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery."
We have to think soberly about how we attempt to apply and use God’s wonderful grace. We all need it. We all must properly understand and apply it to receive its saving benefits.
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God;
have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
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.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
24 June 2021
Come to me, all you who are weary and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Matthew 11 : 28 – 30
This Psalm speaks to me at this time of the Covid pandemic when there is so much anxiety and stress. It calls to mind how great and loving is our Father God. Not only does He forgive us our sins and heal all our sicknesses, but He saves us from our difficulties and always walks alongside us. He renews us with His great love and presence in our lives. From this we can take to heart that God will bless us if we trust in Him. Jeremiah 17 : 7. He is our safe place where we can receive peace and strength. Knowing this we are led to Praise him, as the Psalmist says, “How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise Him.” Psalm 147 : 1
It is very difficult to lift your hands and hearts in praise, giving honour to our Lord and still feel gloomy. It might sound foolish to you, but you can start by thanking God that He is always present with you, even in these difficult times. Giving our Lord praise and thanksgiving should not depend on our feelings. It is at those very times that we need to praise Him. The very act of praise helps us to feel His comforting, healing and loving arms around us.
Lord Jesus, our shepherd is the one who repairs, comforts and heals us. He is the restorer of humanity, so that we can come into His presence. He is always with us, in every situation.
“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” Psalm 46 : 10 – 11.
“Be still and know that I am God, I am the Lord that health Thee. In Thee, O Lord do I put my trust.” (SOF 41)
We praise You, Lord Jesus Christ, that You give us peace and healing.
We thank you for your constant presence with us especially in times of trouble. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit that He may direct us as we travel along these difficult roads. We pray this through the glorious Name of Jesus Christ who also traveled along difficult roads.
25 June 2021
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
John 11: 17-27
I want to suggest that the story of the resurrection of Lazarus, has a double meaning. There is first, the reality of death and how God with love enters the place of our pain and loss. It is the presence of Jesus that brings comfort and hope for new life. Secondly, I think the Lazarus story is also one that seeks to remind us of life outside of relationship with Jesus, but calls our attention to the fact that no one is beyond the scope of God’s restoring grace, even if there is already ‘a stench’.
The Gospel of Luke introduces us to Mary and Martha only.(Luke 10:38). There is no mention of Lazarus. Lazarus is only mentioned in John, and we hear of him being sick and then dead. Jesus going to Bethany, to Martha and Mary, is the sign of God’s comforting love, but also the presence of grace that calls the dead to life. Jesus always offers a way out of the place of death; a way back into relationship. Grace always has the last word and love never gives up. The question to Martha is important even today: “ I am the resurrection and the life.....DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?” Love and grace bring new life and new beginnings.
O gracious God, when Your Son, Jesus, tells that He is the
Resurrection and the Life,
make our hearts leap within us as we celebrate the newness
Of resurrection life all about us.
By Your Spirit constantly renew us and help us to grow into
the people that You want us to be.
In the name of Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.