Holy God

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory”
(Isaiah 6:3)

Reflection:
God is Holy. The Holy One of Israel became Isaiah’s favourite expression for Him. In His revelation of Himself to Isaiah God showed that His holiness stood in the sharpest possible contrast to human sinfulness. We are reminded of this difference when we see the blazing and blinding light of the sun in comparison to the pale and reflected light of the moon. Such is this raging holiness, this blinding purity and this consuming glory that God would say to Moses,

  • “You cannot see My face, for no-one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)

To say that God is holy is to acknowledge that He is distinct and separate from all other beings and absolutely unique.  There is no one and nothing that can compare to Him. God points this out Himself.

  • “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25)

God is not merely a bigger and better version of humankind. He is ‘transcendently separate, in a class by Himself,’ subject to no one and to nothing else, and accountable only to Himself. David honoured Him in these words,

  • “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God”  (Psalm 86:8-10)

Habakkuk and Isaiah describe their experience of God like this,

  • “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16)
  • “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5)

And the writer to the Hebrews

  • “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)

In God there is no darkness at all (1 John1:5). But not only that. His light is a perfect and complete light – a light that would blind and paralyse us. His truth is a total and absolute truth – nothing missing, overlooked or incomplete. His will is an overwhelming and irresistible will that will not rest until it has completed what He wishes. And such is the total hatred that He has for sin that it causes a violent reaction within Him that desires to leap out and destroy all that is not of Him.

  • “The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.” (Exodus 19:20-24)

There is only one thing that stands between us and the consuming holiness of God – and that is the Cross of Christ, the great revelation of His perfect and holy love.

Prayer;

Open my eyes Lord to the glory of Your Being, and help me to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Amen.

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Almighty God

“For nothing is impossible with God”
(Luke 1:37)

 

Reflection:
God created everything from nothing. And whilst God is everywhere within His creation He is not bound by it. He is also around and beyond it. In fact His creation only continues to exist because He wills it and sustains it. He could extinguish it at any moment without damage to Himself – for He is God and He is Supreme.

He is the God who brought the plagues upon Egypt by His word. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, saved them by parting the waters of the sea and closing them again over their enemies. He  looked after them for the forty years in the desert – providing them with food and drink – and brought them safely to and into the Promised Land where He established them.

In and through Jesus Christ He continued to show His absolute power and authority by healing the sick, raising the dead, giving sight to the blind, cleansing the lepers, empowering the lame to walk, casting out demons, walking on water, calming the storms, feeding the crowds and raising Jesus from the dead into eternal life.

Again and again, from “Let there be light” to “Get up and walk” He has shown us that He has only to say the word for His will to be done.

  • “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11)
  • “The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8)

Truly, as the angel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God.”

Response:
Think on these things – is this your God?

Prayer:

“I do believe! Help my unbelief.”  (Mark 9:24)

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Creator God

“In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth”
(Genesis 1:1)

Reflection:
God is Creator. This is affirmed throughout Scripture.

  • “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3)
  • “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6)
  • “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:3)

What He has made He has also sustained and continues to sustain.

  • “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Hebrews 1:3)

Where Science seeks to discover how things were made the Scriptures very simply and clearly focus on Who made them. They do not delve into process but confine themselves to simple Truth. And yet, just as any work of art reveals something of the artist, there is within creation a revelation of the power and glory and majesty of the Creator.

  • “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse” (Romans 1:20)

One day I stood and looked in awed appreciation at the sun sparkling on the deep blue swell of the surging sea, and I said quietly, “0 God, but that’s beautiful!” And deep within me a voice responded, “I like it too.” And it was very good.

Response:
Look and Listen  – sense the life and beauty all around.

Prayer:

Lord God, how You must have enjoyed creating the seen and the unseen – everything in its vast array. Help me to pause and see, hear and feel, and marvel that I too am a precious part of it. Amen.

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Real God

“So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them”
(Genesis 1:27)

Reflection:
God is Real. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of it – for we can fall into the state of treating Him as a faceless and feelingless object out there somewhere. But He is the foundational and ultimate reality, for

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4)

At one level our own existence – and continued existence – is a testimony to the reality of God. For He created us in His own image. He is personal and He relates to us and with us, as persons – and we in turn relate to Him as persons and on a very personal level.

This is most wonderfully underlined for us in the history of God’s dealings with His people. From His seeking out Adam and Eve, calling Abraham, Moses and David, His use of the prophets and His sending His Son to us, everything has emphasised the personal nature of our relationship with Him. Jesus Himself continued with this revelation in all His dealings with those whom He called and those who came to Him for help.

God is a Real Person. You are a real person. And Jesus call to us is issued at that level – so that the real you may come to and find the Real God and know His real reassurance and help.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”  (Matthew 11:28)

Response:
Let your prayers be very natural and personal, and with Paul “keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Ephesians 1:17)

Prayer:

Father I come to You in prayer – help me to know that You bend toward me to listen and to hear what I say. Amen.

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Open up

“Remember this:
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
(2 Corinthians 9:6)

 

Reflection:
We are sowing all the time. At every moment and in every situation we are distributing something into our contexts and into the lives of others. It flows from our expressions, our words, our attitudes, our actions and our reactions. There is not one of us, whether introvert or extrovert, of whom this is not true.

As we realise this we come to see also that we have a choice with regard to what is sown. It can be positive or negative, helpful or unhelpful, encouraging or discouraging, up building or degrading. We also have a choice as to how much we sow – minute quantities, sparingly or lavishly – and whether we so do willingly or unwillingly.

Years ago as I walked past the public Library gardens on my way to work I often met a man walking across my path. He was a fairly large man with a round and generally smiling face and, as he walked, he sang out loud in a resonating bass voice. I did not understand the words which were not in English but the song, and the beaming joy with which it was sung, was a wonderful blessing bringing smiles to the faces of almost everyone who met him. What a gift it was!

We all have within us the ability and the wherewithal to sow some blessing and encouragement into the lives of those around us. In a world in which the focus is turning increasingly inwards all it takes is the decision to be aware of others and – even for a day – to decide to seek ways of giving a blessing rather than looking for one ourselves. The wonderful thing is that so often sowing kindness brings it back again in some way – even in an immediate smile on the face of the recipient.

Cultivate the habit of sowing love, light and life in your situation. It can change lives – including your own.

Response:
Look – listen to the expressions of others – do something.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You blessed the lives of so many people. Help me to do the same and to be excited about it. Amen.

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“I am the Lord,
and there is no other”
(Isaiah 45:6)

Reflection:
In the uncertainties and pains of this world remind yourself of three things

God is still God, He is still in control and He always will be.

  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:6)
  • “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please” (Isaiah 46:10)

Jesus Christ His Son is, and always will be, the Answer to all life’s challenges and needs – in each and every situation.

  • “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
  • “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND Lord OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16)
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)

We are called to live in faith and obedience to God. Faith is an active response and it is revealed through our obedience – whilst to disobey is a rejection. So we start by putting our faith and trust in Him, and continue by expressing it in our obedience.

  • “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)
  • “If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2:16-17)
  • “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him”  (John 14:23)

Whatever the state of our lives at this moment we need not be alone. The Lord God, the Almighty Father, is with us, the Crucified, Resurrected and Ascended Saviour is with us, and the Life-giving, Fruit-growing and Transforming Holy Spirit is within us.

Response:
Acknowledge Him, Speak to Him, Listen to Him, Trust and Obey Him

Prayer:

You are God and there is no other. You are the God of my life and my situations. Bless me Lord for I need You so much. Guide me, strengthen me and grow me in faith and obedience and the knowledge of Your love. I entrust You with me in my today and tomorrows. Amen.

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Take Heart

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father,
who loved us and by his grace gave us
eternal encouragement and good hope,
encourage your hearts and strengthen you
in every good deed and word.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

 

Reflection:
Paul never thought that God was a disinterested spectator in the affairs of the world, of His Church and of His people individually. His learning and his experience taught him otherwise. His encounter with the living Jesus, his experience of the Holy Spirit and the way God opened his eyes to the Scriptures convinced him of God’s presence, purpose and commitment. He lived his life accordingly.

Christian life and ministry can, at times, be very lonely and insecure. We may wonder where God is and if what we are about has any significance or value in the greater scale of things. We need to remember that Jesus gave His life, and His ongoing commitment, to the people who would believe in Him and continue His work and ministry. Every aspect of it, whether thought, word or deed is of importance and, if of God, contributes towards the building and extension of His Kingdom. Each one of us does indeed have a Circle of Influence, far wider in today’s world than we would at first imagine. God encourages us to use that influence to bless others and bring glory to Him.

If God desires something to happen, whether on an international or personal front, then He will support and empower it. If God wishes you or me to lead a particular type of life – a holy life – then He will support, empower and encourage it. Because He wants us to reflect Him in our world He will inspire and strengthen us. He will also stand with us when the enemy attacks us and attempts to scare us into inactivity or lead us astray. He will be both our strength and our refuge.

Jesus great promise is to be with us always. He undertook also that the Holy Spirit would be within us and be the one to  bring God’s love into our hearts. We are not alone – God is at work within and around us even when we are blind to His presence.

Response:
Remind yourself of Jesus’ presence. Involve Him in everything.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus do help me to remember that  You are with me always. Please help me to acknowledge You and  to think, speak and act in ways that honour You – and strengthen and encourage me every step of the Way. Amen

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