The God who sees

“You are the God who sees me,”
(Genesis 16:13)

Reflection:
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 Sarah 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 Sarah – and then shared with her something of what the Lord would do for the son 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 or understands them and their pain.  Although Hagar could tell God where she had come from she could not describe 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,  as with Hagar, to remain where we are for the time being.

He is with us and our lives and times are in 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.

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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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Who God loves

“The LORD would speak to Moses face to face,
as one speaks to a friend”
(Exodus 33:11)

Reflection:
C. S. Lewis in his book ‘Till we have faces’  makes the comment,

‘How can (the gods) meet us face to face till we have faces?’

He goes on to say that ‘a human must be speaking with its own voice (not one of its borrowed voices) expressing its actual desires (not what it imagines it desires), being for good or ill itself, not any mask.’

In other words the real God desires and looks to meet with the real person – not the actor or actress, hiding behind the mask of a false image. It is only the real person to whom God can extend His love – and only the real person who can partake of His salvation.

It is informative that Jacob’s meeting with God was on his way back from the years spent away from his family – and when he was facing the real possibility of being confronted by a very angry elder brother whose birth-right he had taken.

It is also telling that God’s meetings with Moses – not only in the burning bush but also face-to-face in the tabernacle – were when he was no longer a prince of Egypt but firstly a shepherd in the back of beyond, and then one who had learned to obey the Lord completely.

It can be that the hardest part of our journey to salvation is to allow ourselves to identify and meet the real ‘me’ – to allow ‘me’ into the light – and to bring ‘me’ to the Lord who is waiting and watching for ‘me’.

Response:
Not who you think you are – nor who you fear you are – allow yourself to reveal the beloved of God.

Prayer:

Find me Lord – “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10)

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Love of God 2

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
(Genesis 3:8-9)

Reflection:
God is a God of Love.

We see this vividly portrayed in the account of the Fall. Having realised that they had sinned Adam and Eve hid from God amongst the trees. However God – obviously aware of their sin – did not go away but looked for them, calling out at the same time, “Where are you?”  And the story of salvation began.

We see this attitude of God’s described again by Jesus in the parable of the Lost Sheep – where the Shepherd goes looking for the one that is lost and does not return until He has found it. In fact Jesus described His ministry in these terms,

“The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” 
(Luke 19:10)

Our Lord still searches for those who are lost – knocking at the doors of their lives and asking to be allowed in. And, when He has entered, He knocks on the inner doors that are closed to Him. His desire is to enter into every area of our lives with His Light, Love and Life – to bring healing and wholeness and to set us free from any bondage and crippling fear.

Response:
God’s is calling your name – to get your attention in a new way so that He can  enter into your life at a deeper level. If you can identify a closed or barren area in your life ask Him to enter into it.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I long to be more fully found by You, and to rest in Your presence and love. Help me to open all of my doors to You so that I may begin to receive the fullness of Your love. Amen.

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God is Here

 

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

Reflection:
Scripture is very clear on this point. It does not delve into the details of ‘How” but constantly keeps its focus on “Who’. God is the creator of everything.

  • Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (John 1:3)
  • “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)
  • “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17)

This tells us some things about God. Firstly, everything that was made had its intentional beginnings in God. He created by His will and power. The details, the process and the time involved are not the concern. What is being stated and emphasised is that God, and God alone, is the Creator.

Secondly, it reveals to us that God is not a part of His creation. He is separate from it and is not dependent upon it in any form or way. He is in a sense above and beyond it – what we mean when we say He is transcendent.  He is not bound by the laws of nature that He put into place – and may, for His own good purposes, override all or any of them.

However, although He is separate from His creation He has not set it in motion and left it. He is also ‘immanent’ – that is, His presence and power not only surround it but are present in every part and aspect of it. David recognised this and expressed it beautifully.

“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. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”  (Psalm 139:7-12)

The Mighty God of Creation is not on the outside looking in. He inhabits every part of His creation to such an extent that we are never away from His presence. Wherever and however we are He is there and aware in all His power and glory and love.

Tennyson had it right when he said, “Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet”

Response:
Receive and lay your second foundation stone for the year – God is here!

Prayer:

Father thank You for being so close to me at all times. Please help me to walk in the continuous awareness of Your presence and love and to trust You in all things. Amen.

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But God

“In the beginning God”
(Genesis 1:1)

Reflection:
There was a beginning for life as we know it. When that happened God was there. In fact He existed quite independently before this beginning. He Himself had no beginning in terms of our understanding for time itself is His creation – and so the Psalmist exclaims,

“Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God”
(Psalm 90:2)

For us He is the beginning and the end. Our beginnings are in Him and our end is with Him for there is no existence without Him.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End”
(Revelation 21:6)

His eternal Being is revealed throughout Scripture.

  • “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
  • “For this is what the high and lofty One says– he who lives forever” (Isaiah 57:15)
  • “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. “(Exodus 3:14)
  • “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!“(John 8:58)

And finally these glorious words of mystery and revelation.

  • “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning” (John 1:1-2)

At the beginning of this new year our first foundation stone and great security is God Himself. He who was the beginning is also in the beginning of 2018. He who is also the end will be too at the end of the year. And, no matter what course the year might take, His great promise in and through Jesus Christ is this,

“And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:20)

We hold on to these great truths even when the clouds are dark and all is confusion – for God is working His purpose out and His kingdom will truly come in all its fullness and glory. Tennyson had this to say,

Act first, this Earth, a stage so gloom’d with woe
You all but sicken at the shifting scenes.
And yet be patient. Our Playwright may show
In some fifth Act what this wild Drama means.

Response:
Receive and lay your first foundation stone for the year – God is!

Prayer:

Almighty God, I acknowledge you as the eternal One – supreme and in control at all times. Thank You that I may call You Father and entrust myself to You completely. Amen.

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