Drink Deeply

“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)

Reflection:
Food does no good whilst it remains on the plate. If anything it increases our hunger. It must be taken into our systems and absorbed there before we receive the benefit.

So it is with the word of God. Jesus told us that

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)

The word of God needs to travel from our eyes and ears into our minds and from there to our hearts and spirits. Intellectual knowledge and assent does not of itself change lives. As James reminds us,

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder”  (James 2:19)

To put our belief and trust in something is to make it an essential and central part of our lives. It is to change direction with the expressed intent that ‘I am going this way now.’ Such decisions are not taken lightly but because something has resonated at a deep level within us. For the word of God to excite and stimulate us and cause us to change the way we live it must have sparked at our very core – otherwise it may just become another legalism.

I find that I need to keep chewing on the Word – examining it again, personalising it, extracting its meaning and implications and praying over it. I begin to understand how and why David was so passionate about it. It brings not only a deeper understanding but flowers into new life inside me, causing me to pause in wonder, praise and gratitude.

Response:
Read the Bible as a banquet of revelation – not a dead history

Prayer:

Lord God help me like David to become increasingly excited and passionate about Your revelation of Yourself and Your love revealed in Your word – and to drink deeply from its truth and message. Amen.

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The One Truth

“I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me”
(John 14:6)

 

Reflection:
The truth to which Jesus refers is not merely a concept or peripheral reality. It is central to, and an essential element of, life itself – and in particular the new life that He offers us.

In fact it is so much a part of that life that its true reality and expression is found only in a Living Person – the Lord Jesus Himself. He does not say that He is just the clearest expression of life but that He is that Life – the Source, the Reality and the ongoing Supply of it. We only receive and enter into that Life as we become a part of Him, and of His Life – rather like a branch being grafted into a Vine.

He is the Way to that life and the Way in which it is lived. He is the Truth about the reality and fullness of that Life – of the height, and depth, and breadth and width of that Life with all the love and fruit and joy and peace and fulfilment that it encompasses.  He is the Life that is forever new and unending, forever complete and developing, forever God and forever us.

He is Life – and He reaches out to embrace us within His Life and to fill us with that Life – for He is God with us.

Response:
In Jesus my new life starts now

Prayer:

Lord God, please open my eyes to the Truth who is Jesus – and help me to soak in and take in the New Life that He brings even in this world. Amen.

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Holy Belts

“Stand firm then
with the belt of truth
buckled around your waist”
(Ephesians 6:14)

 

Reflection:
Paul is describing the armour of God to be worn by all God’s people. The first piece of equipment to be put on is the belt of truth. Buckled around our waists it is central to our life and living –and so much else will depend upon it.

There are two complementary strands to this belt of truth. The first is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ and in Scripture. Day and night we need to be clothed with the Word of God to keep us safe from the lies of the enemy, to feed and strengthen our faith and to guide us in the way we live.

The second strand is that of our own sincerity and integrity. As people of the Truth we are called to be those who live truthfully and honestly at all times and in all areas.

There may be times in life when we need to ‘tighten our belts’ as we face some particular challenge. This would mean holding on to a central truth – rather like Paul when he said that,

“I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

This belt of truth worn at the centre of our being reminds us that we are to

“Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11)

Response:
Is my belt secure and strong – or are there holes in it?

Prayer:

Lord God, as Your redeemed and beloved child, help me to embrace the truth with delight, and seek to make it a part of my everyday life to You honour and glory. Amen.

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True Me True God

“Love does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth”
(1 Corinthians 13:6)

 

Reflection:
Love cannot rejoice over what is not true – or over what is plainly evil and destructive. It would be a total contradiction of what love is all about.

Love plainly desires what is the best – what is positive, healing, constructive, encouraging and a blessing. All of that has to be based upon truth, for if any of those were found to be merely lies the end result would be counter-productive and very destructive.

If we are prepared to face and admit the truth about ourselves we also discover the real person whom God loves. It is that person to whom He holds out His hand and says ‘Come to Me’ and ‘Come with Me.’

It was his real person that David kept bringing before the Lord and who received the blessing. It was the people who knew the reality of their fallenness who came so sincerely to the Lord and who received His blessing. It was the ‘white-washed tombs’ who missed out by keeping their truth hidden even from themselves.

  • “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me” (Psalm 139:1)
  • “As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38)
  • “On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness” (Matthew 23:28)

Jesus is the truth about God – telling us that having seen Him we have seen the Father. When His truth meets our truth there is forgiveness, healing and salvation.

Prayer:

Lord, hidden away inside me is a lonely little person thirsting for love and security. I offer that person to You. Please love them into life. Amen.

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Try this face mask

“You will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free”
(John 8:32)

 

Reflection:
Lies mislead us and confuse us. If they are a part of our own lives they envelop us in a web of deceit and fear. Many people attempt to hide their true selves behind a mask or false front which becomes its own bondage. Freedom comes only from living a life of truth and openness. The wonder of the Lord God is that He does not take us merely at face value but He knows and understands the testimony of our hearts – that is, the truth about us. We do not have to pretend with Him.

 “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7)

But whilst that is true, Jesus is talking also about another level of truth – the truth about us as sinners and about God as both Holy and Forgiving, Loving and Merciful, Righteous and Sacrificial. This truth about God is the truth that carries with it the power to set us free from our bondage to sin and death – and enable us to enter into the inheritance that God has provided and prepared for His adopted daughters and sons.

For all (y)our sins and failings, and the lies we both utter and try to live, God’s love is that much greater. Knowing our potential if He can live within us, loving us enough to want us with Him and willing enough to shoulder the blame and penalty that is ours – He holds out His hand to us through His Son and says simply, “Come.”

Come from darkness into the Light, from death to Life, from the lies of a blind world into the Truth of the God of Love. Come home.

Response:
The false me is limited by my fears – the real me is limited only by the vision of God

Prayer:

Father God, please help me to walk with You – simply and trustingly – believing that even although You know me more intimately than even I know myself, You have and always will love me with Your everlasting love. Amen.

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Truth or Lies

“I the LORD
speak the truth,
I declare what is right”
(Isaiah 45:19)

 

Reflection:
“What is truth?” was Pilate’s question to Jesus shortly before he sentenced Him to death. He knew that he was being manipulated by the crowds and religious leaders but allowed it to happen. And today some are saying that we have moved into a ‘Post-Truth’ society.

However we need the truth – for without it there is nothing certain, nothing dependable, only a misty uncertainty. God speaking through the prophet seeks to assure us that what He says is the truth and what is right. If it were not then, in truth, He could not be the Lord God Almighty but a charlatan.

Satan on the other hand is referred to as ‘the father of lies’ and his whole aim is to deceive us and to take us in the wrong direction – away from God and His will for us. So he will tell us lies about God, others, our situations and ourselves. We can see his influence in the world as others follow his example.

When God in the Ten Commandments instructed us not to give false evidence He was underlining the fact that relationships and society need and have to be founded upon the truth. If they are not they will disintegrate.

As the people of God our calling is to believe and trust Him – and then to live as those whose integrity cannot be called into question. It does matter to God and to those around us – even if they are marching to a different tune.

Response:
I believe and trust in God

Prayer:

Lord God, our Father Almighty, help me to receive and to live Your truth in the world – for the sake of Your Name and the blessing of Your people. Amen.

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Loving the Word

“Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night”
(Psalm 1:1-2)

Reflection:
Following on from Jesus statement yesterday that,

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God”  (Matthew 4:4)

We find the same truth expressed in the first of the Psalms.

“Blessed is the man (whose) … delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”  (Psalm 1:1-2)

Importantly the Psalmist is not talking of a wilful obedience but of a delight of the heart – a joy and an inspiration. These are strong and influential words related more to love than to gritted determination. He tells us that we find this in the revelation contained in ‘the law of the Lord.’

The law referred to in this instance is not the merely the commandments and other laws given to the Israelites but the entire revelation of God, including very importantly the fact that He has provided for our forgiveness and salvation. He has also revealed truths and directions to help us in our life and living. All of it tells of the great love, commitment and faithfulness of God to His people – those who put their trust in Him. For example,

  • “Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered”  (Psalm 32:1)
  • “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17)

If we soak ourselves in the Scriptures and allow God to use them to speak to us we will begin to discover the reason behind some of David’s great exclamations.

  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105)
  • “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counsellors”  (Psalm 119:24)
  • “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long”  (Psalm 119:97)

There is no doubt that David was passionate about the word of God.  It is all summed up for us as follows

  • “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward” (Psalm 19:7-11)

Response:
Read the Word expecting to discover some new truth, direction or assurance

Prayer:

Lord open Your Word to me, and me to Your Word, that I may delight in Your revelation of Yourself. Amen.

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