Softly, Spoke the River

The Light of Christ

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Safe in God’s Power

Tree peach“I am the resurrection
and the life.”

(John 11:25)

This is one of the key statements made by our Lord Jesus. Our hope of any resurrection and of eternal life with God is in Jesus and comes from Him. It rests in no one and in nothing else.

He revealed His authority over death in His resurrection of Lazerus and others. Their gift of life was, at that stage, only temporary for Jesus had not yet completed His mission. His great and life-giving expression of His power for the resurrection to eternal life came in His own resurrection from the dead. Here the power of death was defeated as He rose never to die again.

“I lay down my life–only to take it up again.” (John 10:17)

Those who are united with Him by faith in His death and resurrection have nothing to fear from the death that lies in front of everyone. It is merely a door through which we pass with Him into the new life that He has promised us. So Paul could say,

“I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23)

The love and power of God – the eternal Father, the glorious Son and the wonderful Spirit – is such that nothing and no one can stand in the way of its expression. God is so Almighty that it is both unthinkable and impossible for His commitment and promises to fail. His will has been expressed and it will be done. He has committed Himself to it and to us. And He has founded it upon the great sacrifice and resurrection of His Son. Paul expresses it this way.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

My life is safe in the hands and heart of God


Lord God, You are my strength and my song, and You have become my salvation. Thank You so much. Amen.


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God with us


“The people brought to Jesus
all who had various kinds of sickness,

and laying his hands on each one,
he healed them.”

(Luke 4:40)

The first three chapters of the Bible reflect clearly the power, majesty and intimacy of God. If that same creator God was to take flesh and move amongst us we would expect to see the same qualities revealed. And they were.

Jesus teaching was unlike anything the crowds had heard before. He spoke with complete authority, even challenging and correcting the religious leaders and experts in the law. Jesus exercised His power as God and Creator as He calmed the storm at a word, fed the five thousand, forgave sins, healed the sick and raised the dead. And in His dealings with the fallen and wretched who came to Him he displayed a gentleness and intimacy that shocked the religious authorities.

Although in truth God is far too holy for us He has clearly revealed that no one is too fallen and wretched for Him. He has come to seek and too find the lost and to provide a way for them to be forgiven, cleansed, healed and re-united with Him. He has come to be involved in our lives with His love and power and to invite us to become a part of His Life – both now and throughout eternity

The Lord is here; His Spirit is with us.


Lord God, nothing is impossible with You. Help me to believe in You and to live that belief. Amen.


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Freedom to Choose

fork in road

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt,
and how I carried you on eagles’ wings
and brought you to myself.”

(Exodus 19:4)

God, through the exercise of His almighty power, broke the hold that Pharaoh had over the Israelites. He brought them in triumph out of Egypt and opened the waters of the sea to enable them to escape from the pursuing army. He then closed it again with devastating effect. It gave rise to Moses glorious victory song,

“The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him”
(Exodus 15:2)

Through His great power God fed and looked after the nation through the forty years of their desert wanderings. He brought them back to the Promised Land and enabled them to enter and take possession of it. In the years that followed He was always involved with them, even when He sent them off into exile. True to His promises He always brought them back again. Eventually He fulfilled His greatest commitment to them in the coming of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
This history of God’s relationship with His people is one of total commitment and faithfulness, supported by unequalled power and majesty. No situation is beyond His love and His ability to bring relief.

Nothing has changed as far as God is concerned. He is still able to lead us out of any bondage, whether individual or corporate. However, as with the Israelites, we are the ones who are weak in faith and commitment. When set free from something we often wish to return to it. When confronted with a need or passion of the moment we are liable, like Esau, to thoughtlessly surrender everything for ‘a mess of potage.’ And a mess is what we get.

When God does set us free from anything His great purpose and desire is to ‘bring you to Myself.’ However, as with the Israelites as Sinai, He always gives us a choice. We can go our own way or we can unite ourselves with Him. History is full of nations and people who chose the first option.

Lift your needs to the God who listens. He cares for you.


Lord You are indeed my strength and my song, and you are my salvation. Help me to draw always closer to You so that You might draw closer to me. Amen.


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God of Glory


“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

(Genesis 1:1)

The Bible opens with a statement glorious in its simplicity and immense in its implication. It is renewed by John in the beginning of his gospel.

“Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.”
(John 1:3)

It is not a revelation of process or procedure but an acknowledgement of power and majesty. The power to create and sustain and the majesty to rule and reign. Throughout the countless ages from ‘the beginning’ God’s great power has been at work. And the most stunning discovery made by man is that His creation is far more immense and more intricate, more majestic and more beautiful, more extensive and more abundant, than could have been imagined.

God is not some servile janitor rushing around to repair, patch and clean up after human actions and activities. He is, and always will be, the Lord God Almighty. He may appear to have been relegated to the side-lines by the arrogance and blindness of men and women but the dark hole that has been left in their lives cannot be filled and healed by anyone else.

He is not diminished by human rejection nor is He enslaved by human doctrines. If it is true that “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9) then an even greater truth is that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God is truly like in power, majesty, holiness and love.

Think and pray on these things


Lord God Almighty please heal and enrich my life by healing and enriching my vision of You. Amen.



God’s Power

tomb and cross

“For the message of the cross is foolishness
to those who are perishing,
but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

(1 Corinthians 1:18)

There are many kinds of power visible in the world today. Some of it is used for good and some for evil purposes, some to build up and some to break down, some to heal and some to hurt. None of it can compare with the power of the Lord either to create or to re-create.

The greatest expression of God’s power is not in the wonder of creation, as awe-inspiring as it is. It is in the salvation that He has worked for us. Only He is able to transform a broken, sinful and sin ravaged life into one that is rich and full, made to be like that of Christ himself. Only He can take the pale shadow of our lives and bring us into the wonderful completeness that was His original vision for us. Only the power of God can promise and guarantee eternal life that death cannot harm. Only the power of God flows from a heart so filled with love that there is no power in existence that can stand against it or diffuse it. This is the power, about which Paul rejoices when he says,

• “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Ephesians 1:18-21)

• “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:16-21)

That power is present in our lives even now, working to transform us and build us towards the fullness of that wonderful new creation that is ours in Christ. It is there to help us up again when we fall, to sustain us for the journey ahead, to enable us to cope with the pressures of life, and to do the work to which He guides us. Indeed the gospel

“is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16)

Fit your prayers to the power of God not the inadequacy of man.


Father when I am weak then You are strong. May Your strength be the blessing in my life. Please help me to know and receive it. Amen.

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Tell out my soul

Rain 5

For the LORD takes delight in his people;
he crowns the humble with salvation.
Let the saints rejoice in this honour
and sing for joy on their beds.
May the praise of God be in their mouths
and a double-edged sword in their hands.”

(Psalm 149:4-6)

Christ is Risen – and with Him our forgiveness and salvation as believers is assured.

“to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

This glorious new birth as the sons and daughters of the living God Almighty is not something that we deserved or earned. It came to us wholly through the love, grace and power of God Himself, freely and completely.

It is the culmination of the wonder of God revealed both in the glory and beauty of His creation and in the mighty and astonishing acts of love that have marked His relationship with the people whom He has called to Himself and treasured. His provision and His promises are beyond anything that we could expect or imagine.

We have only to look around us, and to recall the astonishing events celebrated by the Christian Church throughout the year, to realise how incredibly privileged we are. Notwithstanding all that is happening on the world stage God is still Almighty and His will is going to be seen to be fulfilled on earth as it is in heaven. And, even if in our times it might seem as if everything is falling apart, our future as His sons and daughters is absolutely secure and there is nothing that can separate us either from God or from His love.

As we take time to thank Him, bless Him and praise Him a number of things happen. Firstly, we recall His great love and majesty – which honours Him in our lives. Then we put worldly things in their proper perspective. Thirdly, our spoken praise of God becomes, in ways beyond our knowing, a mighty weapon against the darkness and dishonour of the world.

We have truly been ‘crowned…with salvation.’ As we reflect on this before we sleep there is much for which we should be joyful and for which we should honour God. Let these thoughts turn us aside from worldly concerns and contemplations to look into the smiling face of God and bless Him.

Think of ten things that have been a joy and a blessing in your life. Tell God about them and bless Him for them.


For the beauty of Your creation, the wonder of our salvation and the intimacy of Your relationship with us we do thank You our Father. May Your Name be blessed and honoured in and through us in all the days ahead. Amen.


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“My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

(Psalm 130:6)

Those who have watched and waited through the night will know the dark and forlorn hours between 02h00 and 04h00. The world can quieten to such an extent that even the sound of a car in the distance is sad and lonely. The moonlight is colder, the night becomes darker and a deeper chill seems to settle on everything – including one’s thoughts and emotions. Those who watch or guard, and those willing the night to end, will scan the eastern horizon for the first signs of the new day’s sun.

The lonely psalmist cries out to the Lord for forgiveness and help. With more hope and intent even than the watchman who looks for the coming dawn he looks for signs of the Lord’s coming to him. Such is his certainty in the Lord’s love and forgiveness that he watches and waits with more assurance than the one who looks to the sunrise. In fact, more certain for him is the response and coming of the Lord than the dawn of a new day.

For the Christian this also is true. In terms of Jesus prophecy of His coming like a thief in the night, there will be a day when there is no dawn except for  that of the Light of the world, the One who as ‘the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings.’ (Malachi 4:2)

In the dark and lonely times of life we need to remember the coming of the Lord as Saviour, His promise to come again as King, and His commitment, in between, to be with us always. Whatever the darkness may be that may flow into our life from time to time the Lord is near. He is our Light and our Life. He comes to us and He keeps on coming – as the Shepherd looking for His sheep, as the Lord walking through the wind and waves into the very heart of our storm, and as the Father running to welcome us home again.

Because He is God – Our Father, our Saviour and our Lord – and because of His great and eternal love for us, He will respond to our cries for help. He always hears us, He always responds and He always helps us through the darkness and into His light.

Bring any darkness to the Lord. Ask for His light, love and life to help you through. Watch for Him and trust Him.


Lord Jesus, Light of the world, be the Light in my life now and always. Amen.


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Owning thoughts


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

(Psalm 19:14)

Every day our mouths utter innumerable words, and our minds express countless thoughts in word or imagery. Some of them are carefully conceived, others spring up from the state of our hearts. If we could listen objectively to them all we would probably be surprised, and concerned, at what they reveal about us. They may be positive or negative, critical or affirming, covetous or generous, lustful or loving, murderous or accepting, vengeful or forgiving. These are the words and thoughts that God hears and sees, even if others do not and we are barely conscious of them.

Jesus made it clear in His teaching that He was concerned not only with our actions but with our thoughts as well. He particularly stressed that both adultery and murder could take place in the imagination as well as in the deed, and that both would be judged. In fact, the tenth commandment deals exclusively with what goes on inside us. In enlarging our understanding of the law He is making us aware of the fact that our deeds come from what we are like within. To transform the inner person, which was His focus and is the focus of the Holy Spirit, will have the natural consequence of changing the way we live and act. This is an act of grace on the part of God, but one which takes place over time and which requires our conscious participation and co-operation. We are not automatons but individuals with the freedom to choose. Habits have to be broken and changed, and new choices made.

To pray the prayer above is to acknowledge that what comes out of ‘my mouth’ and what goes on in ‘my heart’ is my responsibility and for my account. It is also an admission that, in our own strength, we have neither the will nor the power to change. But change is important both for us and for those around us. It is also important that we more clearly reflect the glory and grace of God, our Father, Saviour and Redeemer. Finally, the prayer aims to make our words and thoughts an offering, a love gift, to our Father – something that we hope will delight Him.

Whenever you pick up a thought or deed that does not honour God pause, and ask for forgiveness and healing. Where it is critical of others ask God to bless them.


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”


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Focus for Living

I Love You

“I love you, O LORD, my strength.”

(Psalm 18:1)

Reading the Bible does not necessarily feed us unless the words and truths become a part of our lives and faith. This verse can be very helpful as a daily reminder and focus.

“I Love You” – becomes a constant reminder of our decision and need to place God first at every moment and in every situation that we face. Our choice is to have Him as the first priority in our lives. It also reminds us that we love Him because ‘He first loved us!’ We are His priority – and there is no clearer indication of it than this great statement of our Lord’s – and note that little word ‘so!’

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“O Lord” – is the focus for our love and service. He is God Almighty – the Trinity of God the Eternal Father Almighty, God the Son our Saviour and Lord, and God the Holy Spirit who is with us and within us always. He is the God who had no beginning and has no end, the glorious and supreme Majesty who has desired us and sacrificed Himself for us so that we might receive, enjoy and respond to His Love. Our lives and work become an offering to Him.

“My strength” – is our acknowledgement that without God we have nothing and cannot achieve anything of any great value. It is God in us who equips, empowers and enables us to live the life to which He has called us, and to do so in a fallen and unbelieving world. He gives us the love, the faith, the strength and the perseverance that we need – and from Him too comes the peace that passes understanding and the joy that is beyond any momentary happiness of the world.

Pray it through the day – particularly as you start something new or face a challenge.


Lord God, please help me to love You more and to have you as my first priority, to do everything as an offering to You, and to look to You for all that I will need every day this week. Thank You so much for Your great love for, me. Amen.


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Listen to Creation

stars 8

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.”

(Psalm 19:1-2)

I walked out into our backyard one night and looked up. It was a cloudless night and, even in our suburb, enough of the sky was visible to make me pause in awe and wonder. The stars shone out from the dark depths of space like diamonds on the deep blue cloak of God. I stood in stillness and let His glory touch me for those precious moments. How great is our God indeed,

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth.” (Psalm 33:6)

It is a mighty and marvellous act of creation – by an almighty, beautiful and loving God. They sing His praises in sounds and words that we cannot hear and reduce us at last to the silence of true worship and adoration. I found myself longing for less of me in my life and more of God – more than I knew I could handle but not more than I could desire. I have a longing sometime to just disappear into His love and glory – like a wave on the beach slips back into the vast and all-embracing ocean.

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.” (Psalm 42:1-2)

How much more precious were those moments and the thoughts and feelings that they prompted, than everything that the world has to offer in terms of pleasure, wisdom and achievement. How much more to hold onto in the times of pain, sin and sorrow.

God speaks to us in so many ways, not least in and through our everyday exposure to His creation. It is a message worth perceiving, believing and receiving. It is worth our deepest response.

“O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.”

Look, Listen, Worship


“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)