Love of God 1

“For this is what the LORD says–
he who created the heavens, he is God;
he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it;
he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited–
he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other”
(Isaiah 45:18)

God is a God of Love. When He created He made a world which was beautiful, abundant, full of variety and wonder, and ‘good’ in every detail. He made it in a way that pleased Him. Then He created us to be like Him so that we could appreciate and enjoy it as well as live within it. And He gave it to us to care for, develop and fill with our descendants – also to be like Him.

Because of His love and the relationship that He wished to have with us He gave us the gift of free will. We were not to be puppets or slaves but free to acknowledge Him, love Him and live within His love in the way that He showed us – or not. His way or our own way. Life or death.

Even although the world has proved unfaithful God has remained true – and we still have the freedom to choose our personal and corporate response – God and His way or me and mine.

Which road do I really walk?


Lord Jesus You called us to come to You, follow You and stay with You – forgive me if I have turned it around, and please help me to get it right. Amen.



Beauty of Holiness


“Bless the LORD, O my soul:
and all that is within me,
[bless] his holy name”
(Psalm 103:1)

Worship is a response to God that needs to be practiced to be set free within us. To begin with it may seem awkward and artificial. However as we become used to it, and allow it to rise spontaneously within us, it becomes perfectly natural and as it should be.

David was great at expressing himself to God and some of his psalms are eloquent in their praise and worship. We can use them ourselves as a starting point – relying on his words or changing them to make them more personal, or even homing in on a particular phrase and allowing it to touch our own hearts as we offer it to God. (e.g. Psalms 19 and 103)

I have always been deeply moved by the words “worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” (Psalm 96:9) As I have said them over and over I have allowed my mind to imagine the awesome holiness of God and the flood of beauty and light that flows from Him in brilliant streams of sparkling life. At other times I have allowed Him to draw me into that holiness – and as I have begun to experience the ‘beauty of holiness’ within me to lift my spiritual voice in unending torrents of praise and worship until at the last I am bowed before Him in a living silence.

Paul tells us that,

“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” (Romans 1:20)

Creation is therefore both a revelation of the glory, majesty and beauty of the Almighty Father and a platform from which we can turn to Him in praise and worship.

Most people are exposed to this creation in some form or another every day. The quiet beauty of a sunrise; the glorious colours of a sunset where the artist’s brush has swept across the sky and reached out to touch the clouds with splashes of brilliance; the majestic stateliness of trees with their softly rippling leaves – or bending humbly before the mighty waves of wind; the gentle grasses and the cheeky daisies; the velvet roses and the dancing fuchsias; the blue skies hung with tumbling masses of immaculate clouds; the rumbling thunder rolling across the heavens and the flashes of lightening shocking the darkness; the star-studded night; a single flower or fern in a small jar; shadows on the wall; the song of a bird; the haunting cry of a fish eagle, the darting flash of a dragonfly; valleys and hills and towering peaks; delicious fruit; spouting whales and surfing dolphins; and so much more.

If we will pause to look and to see we may sense the Lord’s delight as we say involuntarily “O God, that’s wonderful.” And “Thank you for showing it to me and making me able to see it and appreciate it.” “You made it Lord and it is ‘very good!’” And simply, “You are so wonderful Lord!”

When it comes from our heart it touches His heart and for those moments our hearts are joined in love. And then at a deeper level our faith in this God of Love begins to grow. However your life is at this moment let God direct your attention to something near you that He has made. Contemplate it fully – let Him speak to you through it – and then respond to Him.


“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands”
(Psalm 19:1)


Living Worship

“Glorify your Son,
that your Son may glorify you”

(John 17:1)

In one of His final and most significant prayers Jesus makes it clear that His overriding purpose was to glorify God – to honour Him and bring glory to His Name.

What was a priority for Jesus must therefore also be a priority in our own lives and relationship with God. This is why worship is so important. In it we remember before God His glory, majesty, grace and love and the awe-inspiring deeds that He has performed – from creation to salvation. We remind ourselves of who He is and what He has done, and honour Him as the One who has revealed Himself in these ways.

However, as Jesus Himself showed so clearly, worship is not merely the words that we speak but the lives that we live as well. For us the worship that proceeds from our mouths needs to both come from lives that have begun to be lived in honour of God as well as inspiring us to carry on and live such lives in the future.

It is so easy for our prayers to resemble a shopping list of needs and wants rather than an intimate conversation with a Father who loves us and wants to be loved by us. When this is the case it can happen that fear is often our motivation rather than faith. When we make worship a part of our daily conversation with God it reminds us of who and what He is and is like. This then lays a foundation of faith which makes all the difference.

When worship becomes a natural part of our lives it can seem to open us to the very presence of God both within and around us – a holy of holies in which we become very still and quiet, full of the knowledge of the presence of the Almighty.


Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty – who was and is and is to come.


Come to Me

“If anyone is thirsty,
 let him come to me and drink”
(John 7:37)

This invitation occurs at different times in Scripture.

  • “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1)
  • “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink” (John 7:37)
  • “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life” (Revelation 22:17)

When Jesus met the woman at the well in Samaria He recognised in her a great and unquenched thirst – something that all her different relationships had not been able to satisfy.  He did not then add His judgement to her own and that of her society – He offered instead a lasting solution in the living water of new life in the Spirit.

  • “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14)

 Each one of us has carried within us a deep thirst for something – something that will give meaning, significance, purpose and beauty to our lives. And we are surrounded by people who have within them this thirst – which is really a thirst for love – that has never been satisfied.

People try to quench it in many different ways as they seek to give expression and meaning to this great craving. They can strive for power, wealth and status but it is not enough. They crave satisfaction for their lusts but nothing lasts. Others withdraw into an inner darkness and weep out the pain of their terrible loneliness and failure from which they cannot seem to escape. Some flee the pain for short periods in substance abuse which makes them feel even worse. Others exist from day to day.

Everywhere there are people consciously and unconsciously seeking a solution and a satisfaction. And no matter what level of society they inhabit there is nothing that lasts – it all turns to ashes.

Yet still this voice echoes down through the ages, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”  There is one and only one true and lasting solution capable of meeting every one of our deep longings and needs – and it is found in the saving love and grace of God expressed in the life, death and resurrection of His Son and in the intimate and free gift of the Holy Spirit.

“Come to Me” – not once but in every moment of our lives, in every situation, with every need and longing. “Come to Me” – not for what He can do but for who He is.  “Come to Me” – not to visit but to stay. “Come to Me” – not to beg but to ask. “Come to Me” – not to hope but to trust. “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

He is not a truth but a Person. He is not a concept but a reality. He is a beginning, and the end and every part of the journey. He is always and everywhere and everything. He is Love and Strength, Healing and Truth. And He is the most beautiful Life that it is possible to know.

The journey starts (again) now – reach out to Him.


Lord Jesus – I need You and I want You so much. Please pour Your Spirit into me and never stop. Please pour Your Love through Him without ceasing. Please help me to receive and to go on receiving forever. Amen.


Come Closer

“You diligently study the Scriptures
because you think that by them you possess eternal life.
These are the Scriptures that testify about me,
yet you refuse to come to me to have life”
(John 5:39-40)

There is a huge difference between knowing a lot about someone and knowing them personally. The first is a question of information whilst the second is a matter of relationship. Likewise there is an enormous difference between knowing of a truth and living it. These two come together in Jesus Christ who referred to Himself as ‘the Truth.’ To know of Him is not necessarily life-changing. To know Him is.

To have real value our knowledge of Jesus must develop through our relationship with Him. Likewise, the truth that He taught and revealed has no lasting effect in our lives unless it is received and lived. Jesus is not merely a subject for intellectual exercise and philosophical debate. He is God – to be worshipped, loved, trusted and obeyed.

No one can enter into a relationship with the Lord on our behalf – it is very personal both for us and for Him. It commences with His reaching out to us. We either acknowledge, accept and obey Him or we don’t.  He has entrusted us with His life, He asks us to entrust Him with ours.

Love is a Person – “God is Love.”

Truth is a Person – “I am the Truth.”

Life is a Person – “I am the Life.”

All of these are of the one, true and living God whose desire for us is that we should be His eternal sons and daughters. There needs to be a personal acceptance of the invitation – an acceptance not merely in words but in the way we relate to Him and live our lives.

To live the Love, the Truth and the Life that God gives us is to move into a deepening relationship with Him so that something of who He is becomes revealed in and through us. This is the unity to which Jesus was referring in the picture of the Vine (John 15) and for which He prayed (John 17).

Jesus spoke of knocking at the door of our lives and waiting to be invited in (Rev 3:20). Paul exhorted his readers to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph 5:18). Both of these refer to the living reality of the Living God in both our personal and corporate lives – and not just information and a legalistic obedience.

May this be a year where we seek and find, ask for and receive, a deeper and more vibrant relationship with our wonderful Lord and God.  It is something that He desires.

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
(Luke 11:13)

Ask God every day to deepen and bless your relationship with Him, to help you live His way and to say no to sin.


Lord Jesus help me please to seek, know and live out a deeper and more living relationship with You. Amen.





His will or mine?

“Some of them said, “Could not he
who opened the eyes of the blind man
have kept this man from dying?”
(John 11:37)

Jesus was standing outside the tomb of Lazarus. Deeply moved by the situation and the tears of Mary and the others “Jesus wept.” Some of those present said “See how He loved him!” However others were more critical and remarked “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

This criticism reveals something that was common at the time and is still with us today. Some people acknowledge and submit to the Lord, trusting Him in all situations. Others, whilst seeming to follow Him, are in fact observers rather than disciples and believers. As observers they judge Him from their own situations and standpoints instead of surrendering everything to His. We might find something of this in ourselves from time to time when we wonder and even complain that He does not intervene or act the way we would like to see.

Peter revealed something of this when almost immediately after saying “”You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) he went on to rebuke Him for talking about His suffering and death. He was in turn strongly rebuked by the Lord.

“Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:22-23)

Jesus then went on to talk about the need for each disciple to “deny himself.’ One of the ways in which we do this is to surrender our own judgements and viewpoints and to entrust ourselves to His.

In this particular case Jesus had not hurried back to prevent Lazarus from dying. He knew that instead there was a greater work for Him to do – that of raising Lazarus from the dead and in doing so revealing more of the power and glory of God.

When we pray in the Lord’s Prayer “Your will be done on earth as in heaven” we are acknowledging again that it is God’s will and way that is important and not the way we feel at the time. We exercise our faith in trusting His love and will – believing that it will turn out to be greater, better and more love-inspired than ours. That is why in some situations it is important for us to ask the Lord what it is that He wishes us to pray for.

God’s will is better and more love-filled than mine


Lord help me to pray for what is on my heart – and allow You to lead me into what is on Yours. Amen.


Personal Pruning and Planting


“Since we have these promises, dear friends,
 let us purify ourselves from everything
that contaminates body and spirit,
perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”
(2 Corinthians 7:1)

After watching Roger Federer win his sixth Australian Open and twentieth Grand Slam titles I listened to some of the post-match comments. One of them struck me as very pertinent. It went something like this.

We enjoy watching Roger in action but we don’t see him during the off-peak times. It is then that the hard work takes place. He is busy preparing himself for the challenges to come – working on his fitness and his game, ironing out the kinks and practicing new skills. Away from the crowds it can be a lonely but a critical time, and without it he would not be the champion that he is. He depends upon himself, more than his small team, to maintain his commitment and dedication. We then enjoy the fruit of that time and effort.

It is very much the same for us as Christians. It is in the personal times, away from our everyday activities, that we prepare ourselves to be the people of God and the expression of His love. It is here that we allow Him to examine us and show us the things that are not good in our lives, the ones that need to be worked on and strengthened and the new areas that should be identified and developed. It is rather like the time that Jesus spent in the desert after His baptism – recognising the main challenges that He would face and identifying a proper and Scriptural response.

Paul writing to the church in Corinth is challenging them and us to look to our own characters and lives, to cleanse them of what should not be there and add in what should. It can take commitment and time to break away from old habits and weaknesses and to establish new skills and strengths. It can be done though because we have the Holy Spirit with us to guide and strengthen us – even when humanly speaking our spirits are weak and lazy.

As we work to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit and to perfect holiness it is not merely for our own sakes but for the honour and glory of God who has called us, as His children, to ‘be holy for I am holy.’

“As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

As we focus more on what we do to prepare ourselves we will find that we are better able to meet the challenges of our public lives and to bear the fruit that the Lord has begun to develop in us.

The Holy Spirit is your coach – ask Him for guidance and listen to His prompts


Lord help me to train with You for the challenges that I will face and for the opportunities that You will prepare for me, and cleanse and equip me for Your work and glory. Amen.