Daily Devotional 1st Jan to 27th May 2018

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  No Houses

Chapter 4 (v.1) - 22nd to 27th January

Submitted: January 22, 2018

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Submitted: January 22, 2018

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Monday 22nd January

 I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.(Psa 130:5–6)

These verses are taken from a psalm which reflects in wonder of the forgiveness of God. Here we look at the key hope, that is to wait on the Lord.  The psalmist does not set his hope in any abstract notion but in the word of God. For him that would have been the teachings likely oral, we have the luxury of the same words and many others in our bible. The bible teaches us of God who refuses to abandon his creation and instead through Jesus has brought it back to him.  The hope we have is that of a God who loves us and desires to walk with us.  Have we set our hope in the promises of scripture? As we do so we learn increasingly of the love of God and his faithfulness towards us. We can be secure in the forgiveness the psalmist rejoices over and we can learn to turn to God in the midst of the challenges that life brings. Scripture brings us such hope because it reminds us over and over of the love of God for each of us and the reconciliation we have in Christ Jesus. I encourage us to build our hope on the promises of scripture and take joy in what it reveals about God and the amazing grace, mercy and love he intends to reveal to us.

Daily Readings: January 21 - Matthew 13:47-14:13; Psalm 18:16-34; Proverbs 4:7-10.

 

Tuesday 22nd January

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.(2 Cor 12:8–9)

We don’t know what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, lots of theories but we can never say for sure. Yet, it was clearly something he was very keen to be rid of, something that played a significant role in his life and he pleaded with God to take it away. God’s response however was to tell Paul his grace is sufficient and his power is made perfect in weakness. This is an interesting statement. It is perfectly reasonable for Paul to ask for his thorn to be taken away, yet God saw things differently.  Weakness is something we all are not keen to admit to, we like to hide any weakness and avoid talking about them quite often. Yet Paul learnt how God sees things differently.  Weakness doesn’t have to mean vulnerability, it can mean opportunity for God. It is when we begin to move past our own strength and resources and seek God’s instead.  This is when God’s strength can work through us at its most obvious and perhaps most unrestricted because we don’t have that view that we know what we are doing or that we can handle the situation. Paul learnt weakness can mean opportunity, it can mean blessing, I wonder if we can adopt that too? There will come times in our lives where we will feel weak, exposed, vulnerable, these moments are ones that we can sometimes think God has abandoned us or is punishing us. It can instead be the very moments that God can most powerfully work through us instead. The key question then is this – are we seeking after God’s strength when those moments come? Perhaps we are in one just now, seek after God and draw close to him and allow God to guide you through.

Daily Reading - January 22: Matthew 14:14-36; Psalm 18:35-50; Proverbs 4:11-14.

 

Wednesday 23rd  January

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psa 34:18)

This verse gives us a precious promise, that at the worst moments we are likely to experience God is near to us in a special way. It is a verse that reveals to us afresh the tender mercy and compassion that God has for his creation. In a world so affected by sin and it’s consequences we can become desensitised to trials and pain, we can take the perspective that the harsh moments are not unique, we will all experience them sadly at some point in our lives. That is not the case for God however, he has not been desensitised to the pain of humanity and draws near in that special way to those enduring pain. He is the hope in the harshest of situations, when hearts are broken and spirits are crushed there is the promise of a God that draws near not merely to watch but to restore. This verse gives us precious context in life. For sadly it is true that we will all experience moments that will bring us pain and trials that we suffer terribly with, yet, we have here the promise that when these things happen God does not need to be called or pleaded with to draw near, he draws near for he sees our suffering and cares deeply. Life needn’t intimidate us for there is a God of hope who remains at work in this world and in our lives.

Daily reading: January 23 - Matthew 15:1-28; Psalm 19:1-14; Proverbs 4:14-19.

 

Thursday 24th January

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16)

In life there can be some ways uncertainty about the types of welcome we may receive from others. There will be people we naturally get on with,  who just can’t seem to connect with us, people who will reject us, relationships can be variable and at times unpredictable. We can unintentionally apply some of this experience to God as well. A perception of uncertainty about how he welcomes us. Here we are told in scripture that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence. That is quite astounding, even the thrones of kings and queens of nations we would not, nor would we be welcome to ‘approach confidently‘ yet this is the invitation that God gives us. We can approach God with confidence, we can pray with confidence, knowing God welcomes our presence. We are given this amazing promise too that as we seek to draw near to God, as we approach that throne of grace we are given this assurance of mercy, grace and help in times of need. The amazing grace of God that we have in Jesus places us in a position where we can approach the throne of the king of kings in prayer, where we can draw near to the sovereign God and we can do so not with uncertainty but with confidence. We can do so not wondering what the welcome will be but drawing near and receiving the mercy, grace and help of God.

Daily Reading: January 24 - Matthew 15:29-16:12; Psalm 20; Proverbs 4:20-27.

 

Friday 25th January

Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace. (Rom 6:14)

What does it mean to have the kind of freedom that Paul writes of here? Does it mean we are free to do whatever we like and sin in any way that takes our fancy? No as he tells us in verse 15.  What is the freedom of God’s grace then? It is a freedom where we are not defined by a capacity to follow a law, regardless of how good it may have been. It is a freedom where we are not defined by a set of rules or regulations, where our worth is not primarily drawn from our own goodness or greatness. It is a freedom where Christ’s righteousness is applied to us, where what is ultimately required of us is that we trust in Jesus and place our hope in him. This does not mean we don’t aim to follow the teachings of scripture, it doesn’t mean sin does not exist or we cannot act in ways that are against Gods will or expectations. What it means is that which defines us first is Christ, that which gives us merit and hope is Christ, the freedom is that we are not defined by these things any longer, we are defined by Christ. So I encourage us to take joy in that freedom, not to create righteous checklists, not to be comparing ourselves to others and running ourselves down, but to enjoy God by trusting in what he has achieved through Jesus Christ. This is a great freedom for it means we can rest in a place where our salvation is based not on a law or ourselves but based on Christ’s work and in that we can rest.

Daily Reading: January 25 -  Matthew 16:13-17:9; Psalm 21:1-13; Proverbs 5:1-6.

 

Saturday 26th January

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

Pride is an interesting emotion. It is said to be the emotion that caused the devil to fall. It is one which causes all sorts of problems in humanity and one we are all vulnerable to some degree or another. Yet we don’t see it in the life of Jesus.  We see in the life of Jesus one who seeks to serve others, we see one who would embrace scandal and perceived humiliation in order to be a blessing. He had that humble mentality even through he is God, he came to a world that was his own and yet chose to serve it. This is the way of God, his nature revealed in Jesus.  That call to humility is placed on our lives too, to seek to serve, to seek to be a blessing, to be willing to embrace scandal or humiliation to do what we know to be the right thing. It comes not from some wonderful aspect of us, but our connection to and our adoration of God. This verse brings a warning, if we choose the way of pride then we may well meet God’s opposition, if we chose the way of humility we will discover anew the grace of God. Beware of the habit of pride, it’s oh so easy to start but difficult to get rid of once we have taken it on board.

Daily Reading: January 26 - Matthew 17:10-27; Psalm 22:1-18; Proverbs 5: 7-14.

 

Sunday 27th January

Let the wicked change their ways and banish the very thought of doing wrong. Let them turn to the LORD that he may have mercy on them. Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously. (Is 55:7)

Our final verse of the week as we gather today to worship God in our church community is one of that reminds us of God’s grace. This verse reminds us that even if we have failed, even if we have had a terrible week that we hope and pray no one ever know about, God and his offer of forgiveness is always there. What God asks of us is that we turn, repent of any sins and mistakes and seek to walk in God’s ways. He is not asking that we are prefect and that we never fail again, he asks that we turn to him once more, that we seek his mercy. We are told here that God will have mercy he will forgive generously. So let us try to banish the thoughts of doing wrong, above all if we believe we have not lived as God would like us to let’s no hide from God and carry the guilt, let us turn to him knowing the forgiveness he offers because he is a generous and merciful God. Today let’s worship God with joy because he is merciful and loving not with guilt because we have not released our struggled and embraced the forgiveness he offers us.

Daily Reading: January 27 - Matthew 18:1-22; Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 5:15-21.

 


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