His eye on me

“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
“You are the God who sees me,”
(Genesis 16:13)

Reflection:
Hagar was Sarai’s Egyptian servant. When Sarah could not fall pregnant she told her husband Abram to “sleep with my maidservant, perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram did so and Hagar became pregnant. She then began to despise Sarai who treated her so badly that “she fled from her.”

The ‘angel of the Lord’ found her and came to her as she sat near a spring in the desert. He asked her where she had come from and where she was going. When she replied that she had run away he told her to go back to Sarai and then shared with her something of what the Lord would do for her son whom she was to call Ishmael.

Hagar called the Lord “You are the God who sees me.”

It is a wonderfully encouraging episode for us all – and in particular for anyone who feels that like Hagar they are in a lonely and desert period in their life with no one who cares and understands them and their pain.  The truth is that God does care and that He has a plan and purpose for our lives – even when we feel that we are outside of His main plans and purpose.

Hagar could tell Him where she had come from but not where she was going. God then gave her the directions she needed and, to her credit, she heard and obeyed Him. God always has a plan, purpose and direction for our lives.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you”
(Psalm 32:8)

Wherever we are physically, emotionally and spiritually the Lord sees us. He sees us in our completeness, in our yesterdays, our todays and our tomorrows. He sees and knows the lonely outcast in us for whom He cares.  And, He has a word for us – a word of direction and of encouragement – even if it is, like with Hagar – to remain where we have been for the time being.

We will know that He is with us and that our lives and times are within His hands.

Response:
Give the Lord some moments during your day. Tell Him where you are and how you feel. Ask Him for His help, strength and direction. Then spend some moments in a quiet stillness trusting His presence.

Prayer:

Lord God You see me and everything about me. Help me please Lord for I need Your love, Your direction and Your healing in my life. Amen.

——————–

 

Advertisements

Slim Down

“Let us throw off everything that hinders”
 (Hebrews 12:1)

Reflection:
Everyone who has ever been on a long hike will understand the handicap of trying to carry too much baggage – as will any athlete. So it is with our Christian walk – our journey with Christ.

There will be things that we have accumulated over the years – attitudes, habits, associations and indulgences – that weigh us down and distract us.  They will even prevent us from experiencing to the full the love and intimacy of the Lord, and fulfilling His desire for us.

Some things are easy to lay aside when we recognise them. Others may be more difficult. Some we may not wish to lose. Yet Jesus made it clear that He is offering us a choice that does not involve ‘both – and.’ He taught that we cannot have two Masters – we need to choose one. He affirmed in the Great Commandment that we cannot have two Lovers. And He did not come to offer us two lives, but one eternal life starting here and now. Until we make the choice, and invest our lives in the One great Love, we will be our own worst enemy, juggling our way through two lives – the one focussed on us and the other on the Lord. Neither will prove to be satisfying.

As we fill our lives with more of the Lord in all that we think and say and do we will have less space and time for other things and can begin to let them go. We will also recognise what is hindering us and dragging us off course and can look at pruning them away. There is One Lord who is the One Way, the One Truth and the One Life – and that is all there needs to be.

Response:
Make/Affirm your choice. Tackle your excess baggage one piece at a time. Pray for guidance and help. Keep at it.

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to recognise and lay aside the things that weigh me down and distract me in my journey with You. May You increasingly become my all in all and my great eternal Love. Amen.

————————

Get it right

“Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.”
(Proverbs 3:7)

Reflection:
The only one with complete knowledge and total understanding is God. He is also the only one who has total and absolute power and authority.

As Christians therefore our starting point must always be with God and in our having a very healthy respect for Him. As the Psalmist says,

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10)

It follows then that whatever the Lord says needs to be taken seriously. What He calls evil is, therefore, evil and should be shunned. What He calls good is good, and should be embraced. God does not adjust His opinions and values on the basis of our debates, desires and decrees. The Gospels and Epistles have some very clear teaching on Christian living to which we need to adapt our living. They are there for our guidance and to prevent us from falling into the trap of our own reasoning and desires.

The Message puts it very helpfully his way.

“Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!”

Response:
Do a faith check this weekend to see where you might be casual, ignorant or worldly in your attitude to life and to the Lord.

Prayer:

Holy Spirit please lead me deeper into the truth – and draw me closer to the Lord in thought, word and deed. Amen.

———————-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always Two Choices

“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice,
and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life”
 (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Reflection:
Very clearly were the two options set out before the Israelites. They could choose to go their own way or that of the Lord. God’s way came with His promise of His presence and blessing – whilst the other way would inevitably lead to death and destruction.

Every day we are faced again with the same choice. Do I walk God’s way or the way of the world – for it is very clear that much of the world had chosen another path.

God calls us to love and honour Him, to listen to what He says and to obey Him, to hold on to Him and never let go – in fact to walk in intimacy and trust with the majestic God of all creation. In doing so the nation was promised that His blessings would flow to both them and their children – a most wonderful bequest.

Depending upon where we are in life it can sometimes be a lonely decision – but individually we need to decide and to trust the Lord for His strength and protection. For indeed He is our life and there is no life without Him.

Response:
Choose God at every step of the way – it is much easier than trying to recover lost ground.

Prayer:

Lord God I do choose You, and I  Know that you have chosen me. Please help me to remain true to You as You will always be true to me. Amen.

———————–

 

Get Wise

“Asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will
through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”
 (Colossians 1:9)

Reflections:
We are told by Paul that in everything we should present our requests to God. (Philippians 4:6) However prayer should also include our praying for the things that God wants. Some of these are set out for us in the Lord’s Prayer where we can join our desires to those of God.

Now Paul turns his attentions to our individual and corporate growth and maturity – praying that God will fill is with the knowledge of His will – obviously in all things – through our growth in spiritual wisdom and understanding. This comes through the work and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit within us as well as through our growth in knowledge and understanding as we walk with God along the path that He has set for us. The more we know of God and His ways, and the more we get to know Him personally, the deeper will be our understanding of His will and ways in our life situation.

Because we can trust that He is the God of Love we can trust His will and His ways for us. They are designed to draw us closer to Him and into a deeper and more fulfilling relationship.

  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:18)

The purpose of this prayer of Pauls is not only to bless us but to enable us to more readily and purposefully fulfil the will of God both for us and through us.

  • “And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” (Colossians 1:10-12)

Response:
We are called to make Paul’s prayer for the Colossians our own prayer for ourselves and our Christian community.

Prayer:

Lord fill me with the knowledge of Your will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that I may live a life worthy of You in every way. Amen.

————————- 

 

Faith in Prayer

2017-02-27

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you”
(Psalm 32:8)

Reflection:
Years ago when I was praying one morning the Lord suddenly interrupted me with the words,

“Do not come to me as a beggar, come as a son!”

Apart from startling me His words gave me a lot to think about. A beggar pleads – hoping to persuade. A son asks – confident in a positive response. A beggar does not know what he may or may not request. A son does because He knows his Father.

God has given us a number of promises. One of these is,

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go”

When we are in need of direction we can ask the Lord for guidance because of His promise. As His children we can keep on praying until we receive the answer – but not as one begging and trying to stir the Lord into action. After our initial request our prayer can change from asking to believing, for now it is not a question of ‘If’ but ‘When’. Something like this,

Father, you have promised to instruct and teach me in the way that I should go (or act or respond in these circumstances). Help me to recognise and receive Your guidance as it comes.

It keeps the prayer alive – which is good for a number of reasons. It is also a statement of faith to the Lord and a reminder to ourselves. Then we watch and wait for the answer – through Scripture, in a word, through a new understanding, a word of advice etc.

Another promise of God’s is that,

“in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”
(Romans 8:28)

Here again we need to ask God to do so in some of the situations that worry us. Then we should look to change our request to a positive affirmation. For example,

Lord You have promised to work for our good in all things. As You work a blessing through this situation open my/our eyes to see Your hand at work.

Finally, try praying the other side of the Lord’s Prayer as well, such as,

  • Lord I believe that somehow Your will is being done in me and in my times – please help me to be a part of it.
  • Lord Jesus I believe that behind all this Your Kingdom is being established in a glorious way – help me to be a part of it
  • Lord God Almighty I believe that Your name will be universally honoured above all other names – help me to be one who does so now.

Prayer:

Lord help me to look for You in all the areas that cause me to fret and, holding them and myself before You, trust that You are with me. Amen.

——————–

God working

2016-12-21

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree
 that a census should be taken
of the entire Roman world”
(Luke 2:1)

Reflection:
Caesar Augustus reigned over the Roman empire from 30 BC to AD 14. He decided that a census should be taken throughout his empire. This was not a regular occurrence but the first of its kind – and taxation was probably the reason behind it. The consequence was that people travelled to their own town to register, and this involved Joseph going to Bethlehem, ‘because he was of the house and line of David.’

Joseph did not need to take Mary with him but he obviously decided or agreed to do so. We know that she was in the advanced stages of her pregnancy and he may not have wanted to leave her behind in view of the Lord’s commission to him.

These two men were both involved in Mary’s being in Bethlehem when Jesus was born there – just as the prophet had foretold.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2)

Caesar, who would not have known of the prophecy or of Mary and Joseph, issued a decree that had to be obeyed. Joseph, as a husband, took the decision that Mary should accompany him. In this way the prophecy was fulfilled and God’s will achieved.

In just such seemingly unrelated and small details is the hand of God at times to be revealed. He is indeed able to direct the thoughts and decisions of people in order to achieve His will, and He is able to work in all things to the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Question:
Can I discern the Lord’s working in my life?

Response:
Trust God to guide and lead you in the way that you should go (Psalm 32:8)

Prayer:

Lord please have Your hand on my life so that whether I am aware of it or not I will live and act as You wish, Amen.

————————-