"Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent" (E.S.V., 2001, Revelation 2:5). I remember my enthusiasm for the Lord Jesus when I first got saved. I was plunged into a river and afterwards, wept like a baby, knowing that my sins were 'washed away'. Now complacency has set in. It is easy to do when you live in this world. That's not an excuse, it's the reality and I have to fight every day to redeem myself to my creator, to align myself with his Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name. If it were not for the love of a father, a heavenly father, I would have been dashed away with long ago!
Thank goodness that "the steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'" (E.S.V., 2001, Lamentations 3:22-24). God made me, he made you, he made every being on this planet. He loves me and is patient with me. He is also faithful even when I am not! Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me for my sin, for my indulgence in worldly passion and desire. This is idolatrous and it disgusts me. Jesus, you are good, you are good. I thank you for your mercy. If it were not for faith, if it were not for belief in the works of Jesus, and the great work of the cross, I would be dead in my sin.
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (E.S.V., 2001, Acts 16:31) Yes, I will believe in the Lord Jesus, and I, my wife, my children, and their children, and their children's children will be saved. Amen. What more can I ask or pray for than to be obedient and in alignment with God's purposes and plans? Dear Lord, I want to be your "chosen instrument", to carry your name "before the Gentiles and kings", and bring hope to those who don't know you (E.S.V., 2001, Acts 9:15).
There are so many who don't know you. Thank God for saints such as Paul of Tarsus. He endured such persecution and challenge, yet his strength was from you Lord Jesus. He trusted "in the LORD" with all of his heart, and he did not "lean" on his "own understanding" (E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 3:5). Lord Jesus, please help me not to be proud, and rely purely on myself and my ways, but to acknowledge your work in and through my life. In Jesus' name.
Dear God I want to contemplate, counting your "patience" as salvation (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Peter 3:15). Yet I don't want to take your mercy for granted. I desire to be "grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken", and wish to "offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe", knowing that you are a "consuming fire" (E.S.V., 2001, Hebrews 12:28). "Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 33:8). If the "fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge" (E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 1:7), then I too will fear the Lord with a repentant heart, seeking his mercy, love and guidance daily.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind...You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 22:37-38). Dear God, desire to fulfil and obey your commandment today! Help me to obey and fulfil this commandment every day of my life. What is the point of being less like me and more like you if I do not use the transforming power of our God, the creator of the Heavens and the Earth, to do his will?
I will "take care", and steward my "soul diligently", knowing that God has given me this great opportunity to be in a relationship with him in his will and purpose (E.S.V., 2001, Deuteronomy 4:9). I will be obedient to him as I do not want to "forget the things" that my "eyes have seen", and return to complacency, with a hardening of my heart (ibid.). Dear God, I desire that I make this known to my children and my children's children (ibid.). Yes, Jesus, I will love you with all my heart, soul, and mind.
"Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it'—when you have it with you" (E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 3:28). Why would I not be there for someone in need? Lord Jesus, help me to have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to feel. I desire this because righteousness, through the work of your Holy Spirit, "is a guide" to my "neighbor"(E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 12:26). Help me Jesus to seek the 'good' of others (E.S.V., 2001, 1 Corinthians 10:24).
"The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalms 23:1-3). Jesus is my good shepherd who has my best intentions and purposes at hand, leading and guiding me if I am willing to stop and listen! Unfortunately, there are times when I am a goat and not a lamb! When I am listening and paying attention, being obedient: I stop to smell the roses and drink fresh water, enjoying God's creation. The restoration of my soul can only be complete and accomplished through my obedience, by stopping and paying attention to the call of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
For I "cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth" For I am "glad" that when I am "weak...you are strong. Your "restoration" is what I pray for (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Corinthians 13:8-9). As a human being, with free will and choice, possibly think that my actions could not have any consequence on what is considered 'truth'. For Jesus said “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (E.S.V., 2001, John 8:31). Dear Lord, I pray for your truth to transform my heart and restore my soul, that I may be set free, in Jesus' name.
"How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed over him,' lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 13:2-6).
When I am lost I am found. I seek God in times of trouble and pain. He finds me when I am hurt and listens. The enemy shall not win or prevail over my life, over my wife and children. Over my family or God's chosen people. I will trust in Jesus this day, this hour, this minute, this second. I will stand up again on my two feet and walk with my saviour and my Lord because he loves me and cares for me. My saviour has plucked me out of dangerous waters. My Lord leads me in "paths of righteousness" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 23:3). I will "Trust in the LORD" with all my heart, and I will not lean on my "own understanding". In all my ways I will "acknowledge him, and "he will make straight" my paths (E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 3:5-6).
Revelation is an interesting word. In the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (Hornby, 1995), 'revelation' is the "making known of something that was secret or hidden" (p. 1006). One example of this mystery is revealed through Jesus to the calling of Paul the apostle when he says: "He (God the Father) set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles" when It is true that our God is mysterious and wonderful. He is also good in all that he does" (E.S.V., 2001, Galatians 1: 15). This is 'good news'. God set St. Paul apart and called him to a greater purpose, and because of this, the Gospel was delivered to the Gentile world! For it says in scripture "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (E.S.V., 2001, Romans 10:15)
"Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 31:19). Jesus, your goodness is abundant and I thank thee for your “grace is sufficient", for your "power is made perfect in weakness" (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Corinthians 12:9). For when I am "weak" you are "strong" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 Corinthians 4:10) . Yes, God is good, and "whoever does good is from God" (E.S.V., 2001, 3 John 1:11).
"I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy" (E.S.V., 2001, Exodus 33:19). Thank you Lord Jesus for your sacrifice and for your love for me. You have demonstrated to me a "perfect love" which "casts out fear" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 John 4:18). I do not need to fear for you are good, now and always. Amen.
Who will "deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (E.S.V., 2001, Romans 7:24-25). My God, please forgive me for not seeking your face, especially in the lure and enticement of the world with its desires. "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins" (E.S.V., 2001, Ecclesiastes 7:20)? If it wasn't for your love and mercy I would die in my sin but you are good. "If we are faithless", God "remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself" (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Timothy 2:13).
Dearest Jesus, I choose to remain faithful and to see your goodness. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 23:6). Yes Lord, you are good and I declare this day forever more because "I shall dwell in the house of the Lord" our God, forever. "I say to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you'" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 16:2). Knowing this, that my God has a purpose, a plan, and an outcome for the restoration of my life and those of many; it is my declaration for me, my wife, our children, their children, and the following generations to come, that we will serve the Lord God, in Jesus' name (E.S.V., 2001, Joshua 24:15).
"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (E.S.V., 2001, Philippians 2:5-8). Dear Lord Jesus, please forgive me for my sins, for not emptying myself of worldly desire. I pray for my mind in Jesus name, that I can humble myself before you, serving you, obedient to your calling. Amen.
What is it like to have the mind of Christ? I do not know and I am in awe and wonder that God can still love us, even now: "what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 8:4). You have not abandoned me Lord. Your mind is on your creation and you wait with patience like a loving father. "I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 9:1-2). I can begin by filling my mind and heart with thanks giving and praise for my God is my rescuer. He is my saviour and he is my Lord.
For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep. But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly. They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them; all who see them will wag their heads. Then all mankind fears; they tell what God has brought about and ponder what he has done. Let the righteous one rejoice in the LORD and take refuge in him! Let all the upright in heart exult! (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 64:6-10).
Yes, my God will shoot and arrow deep into my heart, he holds a mirror up to my face and I am reminded that I cannot hide from him. I am also reminded that I am created in his image and I am asked to 'follow him' with obedience, to take 'refuge' in him and to not trust in myself or mankind: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses", but my trust is "in the name of the LORD", Jesus Christ" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 20:7). I will seek his face, I will seek to know his mind and rest.
Dear God, illuminate my mind with your thoughts. Please fill my mind with what is pure, good and noble. Please fill my mind with light. Let your "light shine out of darkness", into my heart today, revealing to me "the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Corinthians 4:6). Amen.
Lord Jesus, I cannot imagine your mind, your strength, your self-control, and the ability to overcome evil, once and for all. Lord Jesus, you are my inspiration, my Lord, my God. Please forgive me, please help me to fight the "good fight", to finish "the race" well, keeping "the faith", knowing that "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all" who have continued to run to the end, declaring Jesus as Lord of the Heavens and the Earth, of all that is seen and unseen (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Timothy 4:7-8). Amen.
"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (E.S.V., 2001, Hebrews 12:1-2). My hope is an enduring race and belief that the crown set before me is of far greater value and beauty than anything I could imagine here on Earth! My hope is a powerful encouragement of the work of Jesus Christ, the immense power of the Holy Spirit, and the unfathomable mystery of God as the creator of the universe. Is there any other motivation required other than to look to the "author of life" (E.S.V., 2001, Acts 3:15)?
"Can reeds flourish where there is no water? While yet in flower and not cut down, they wither before any other plant. Such are the paths of all who forget God; the hope of the godless shall perish" (E.S.V., 2001, Job 8:11-13). Lord Jesus I desire to flourish in your will. Through your guidance, wisdom, and discernment of your Holy Spirit, I wish to serve you, to be blessed, and to be a blessing. I do not wish to perish into the darkness but to rise and meet the light that is God, my creator and redeemer:
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs. You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy. (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 65:5-8)
Our joy is in a mighty God who sent the Lord Jesus to die for us so that we may live with great hope. Our hope is our faith and I pray it will not wane but grow knowing that Jesus can rebuke "the wind and said to the sea" and order the storm to, “be still!”, commanding "peace" (E.S.V., 2001, Mark 4:39-40). There is no need to be afraid for we have faith, we have a "steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf" (E.S.V., 2001, Hebrews 6:19).
There is nothing that we have gone through that Jesus has not faced head-on for us. Why should I be fearful or full of doubt? When I think of the uncertainty of my future, the choices that I make, and whether they are in alignment with his purpose; why should I fear wrong if I have hope and trust that I am in the will of my creator? I pray that I have "faith like a grain of mustard seed", and say to my mountains, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible” (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 17:20). My hope is in Jesus Christ, he is the seed of hope that is sown in my heart, and I thankful beyond any words that can be expressed that he has called me to himself.
"As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 Peter 1:15). To be holy in the sight of God is to love Jesus, to obey Jesus, to live like Jesus, to know Jesus, to pray like Jesus, to glorify Jesus! Holiness is a mystery: beautiful, profound, untouchable, unfathomable in all its greatness and humility, this is God the Father, the creator of the Heavens and the Earth.
Dear God, help me to be more like you and less like me. Please forgive me for my sins and change me. I submit myself to your loving arms and ask for your protection, your strength, your perseverance, your love, your patience, and your self-control. I am but a man who is fallible and your "grace is sufficient", and it is your holiness and your "power...made perfect" in and through my "weakness” (E.S.V., 2001, 2 Corinthians 12:9). Thank you Jesus.
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 29:2). The 'splendor ' and 'holiness' of the Lord God is much like the first encounter and experience Moses and with his creator: "God called to him out of the bush, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' Then he said, 'Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.' And he said, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God" (E.S.V. , 2001, Exodus 29:2-6). Why did Moses turn his face away in awe of the Lord God? Moses turned his face away in awe and humility because he realised that we, the workmanship of the creator of the Heavens and the Earth, has required of us an "acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire" (E.S.V. , 2001, Hebrews 12:28-29).
The very idea of coming face to face with God the Father is awe-inspiring! His holiness is untouchable but as believers and faithful servants, we who love "purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king" as our friend (E.S.V., 2001, Proverbs 22:11). Our king is gracious and kind, "slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" (E.S.V., 2001, Numbers 14:18). Yes, our God the Father of the universe, our creator is holy: "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed" (E.S.V., 2001, Revelation 15:4).
The meaning of the cross is a profound and strange definition that starts with the question: why would the creator of the heavens and the earth use an instrument of execution to demonstrate and redeem us back into His purpose and plans for humanity? It is about atonement, that is, the cross is about sacrifice, the sacrificial lamb: Jesus Christ: "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (E.S.V. , 2001, John 1:29). But why a lamb and why a sacrifice?
I recall Abraham's words to Isaac, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son" (E.S.V. , 2001, Genesis 22:8). It was almost like Abraham was speaking to us, the Gentiles, to all the nations of the earth, the for-telling of the ultimate sacrifice and burnt offering for our sins, once and for all in Jesus name! The ultimate sacrificial lamb came to earth, God's only son desiring "mercy, and not sacrifice...not to call the righteous, but sinners” (E.S.V. , 2001, Matthew 9:13). And why are we sinners? Is it not because of free will that we have the freedom to choose? To choose good or to choose evil. To die to self and live for Christ because there is no greater friend: "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (E.S.V. , 2001, John 10:11). We are his sheep if we hear his voice and respond.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (E.S.V. , 2001, Romans 12:1). This is an amazing example set before us: Jesus Christ performed the greatest act of worship by giving up his life for ours, to see the glory of God's plan fulfilled through the most decisive sacrificial act one could deliver for humanity to God the creator. This is why the cross is the most conclusive moment that will ever be throughout all eternity, summarised in Jesus' last words: “'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (E.S.V. , 2001, John 19:30). At that moment our Lord died, and fought for our souls, overcoming the devil, and lives "forevermore" because he has the "keys of Death and Hades" (E.S.V. , 2001, Revelation 1:18); and "the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (E.S.V. , 2001, John 1:5).
So let our light shine knowing that Jesus has overcome death, that he has overcome sin, that he has fought "the good fight of the faith"(E.S.V. , 2001, 1 Timothy 6:12). , and has taken "hold of the eternal life" (ibid.), opening a door to heaven for me, for you, for all. That is why the cross is so significant. Without the cross, we would continue in death, but the cross of Jesus Christ brings everlasting life because of his resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit. The two angels of God spoke to the disciplines at the empty tomb of Jesus and asked them: “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise” (E.S.V. , 2001, Luke 24:5-7).
As I sit here and begin to contemplate my day and how I go about it I wonder how one can continue throughout this life without 'walking with the spirit'? In my years on planet Earth, I have searched for a reason, truth and for purpose. Philosophical convictions and existential understandings or conclusions are not enough for me anymore. Reading is a wonderful pastime where one can gain ideas and build on knowledge, however, "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (E.S.V., 2001, 1 Corinthians 8:1).
There was a time when I felt motivated, almost compelled to study and excel in music, in anything to justify myself to others that I was 'more than capable'. How wrong I was! I was not pleasing God but pleasing man. The sheer selfishness of it makes me laugh at the childish behaviour and need for acceptance from man. And now, a hunger burns to study God's word. There is a motivation but this time it is different.
If there is to be any meaning in what we call life then I must seek God on it. The only possible solution is to study and devote myself to Jesus, his teachings and his purpose on earth: the redemption of mankind back to the creator. The creation is in full submission and recognition of its creator. It is through study and meditation that I can allow God's Holy Spirit and the teachings of his son, Jesus Christ to transform me, heal me, to make me a better man.
A better man! I can't be a better man without God's grace, through the love, forgiveness, and transforming power of Jesus Christ. As I learn more about the bible and God's word I realise that Jesus is the full revelation and representation of God's purpose and plan for our lives. Our creator has a purpose and plan for humanity: to magnify and glorify the immense beauty and the mystery of God that is revealed through his son, Jesus.
This revelation of Jesus has been shared with me through God's Holy Spirit so that I may then share this with others. How? I can start by being a living example of the work that God does through me. I do this by praying and seeking wisdom and discernment as to who, and praying for the Holy Spirit to speak through me and in God's timing. God will reveal the moment. I am his instrument: "Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" (E.S.V., 2001, Psalm 27:14).
"If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you” (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 17:20). This type of faith can only come by truly devoting myself to being a disciple of Jesus, of his teachings, and allowing God to transform my life for the sake of greater things, things in heaven and not on earth: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 6:8-10).
If my task is to live as God intended me to live 'on earth as it is in heaven' then I need to be authentic and honest to myself, to God, and to others. My relationship with God through Jesus Christ needs to be reflected in my relationships with others. Who am I when alone with myself? What are my thoughts, words, actions, and feelings? I must be honest with myself and with God, working with my creator through his purposes and plans if I am to be transformed "in his own image" (E.S.V., 2001, Genesis 1:27).
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (E.S.V., 2001, John 1:1-5).
Every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. We all have a story and our lives are written. We have free will, to make choices, however, there are Godly choices, choices which align with God's purposes and plans for our lives. And so, our beginning is full of potential, God's potential as his precious creation. We can walk in the light and walk with God through his son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
"But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (E.S.V., 2001, John 1:12-13). Heavenly Father, forgive me for rejecting your son. I spent so many years in the wilderness. I did it all in my strength for the sake of philosophy! "Let me work it out," I said to myself. The human ego can sing the song of self-praise "You can go your own way". I can no longer do that! I will choose the light, not because I must out of obligation but out of love for God's merciful act and shape in our lives, knowing and submitting to his ultimate purpose for humanity. I wonder what the world would be like if we all submitted?
“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said" (E.S.V., 2001, John 1:23). How do I 'make straight the way of the Lord'? I let my light shine. For too long I have hidden my "lamp and put it under a basket" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 5:15). I don't want to hide any longer. Life is too short and I have been called by name. The Lord Jesus has called me. The Lord Jesus has saved me. The Lord Jesus has transformed me "according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers"(E.S.V., 2001, Romans 8:28-29).
Conforming to the image of Jesus requires me to 'follow', as when Jesus called Nathaniel and said, "Follow me" (E.S.V., 2001, John 1:43). To follow means to submit. I am finally learning! My stub burnous has worked for me in some ways when it comes to overcoming challenges in this world. The problem with this approach is that I have done it all in my own strength! This is not the way of the spirit and certainly not the way of God: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" (E.S.V., 2001, Matthew 11: 28-30).
This scripture reveals so much of the Father's heart. He asks us to follow him, to lay down our lives for him; and it reminds us that we are not alone, that he is there with us, every step of the journey being affirmed and strengthened 'through him'. My strength comes from above, it comes through Jesus and recall that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (E.S.V., 2001, John 3:3). Lord Jesus help me not take for granted my relationship with you! I want to be born of the spirit every day, now and always! I want to follow you.
Why would I follow Jesus? Is it out of obligation or because I am saved? No, but because "he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved" (E.S.V., Ephesians 1:5-6). 'Predestination' is an interesting word. This implies that we are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (E.S.V., 1 Peter 2:9)
As a follower of Jesus, I am blessed to know that "they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint" (E.S.V., 1 Isaiah 40:31). I maybe tired in the physical but in the spiritual, the darkness is overcome: "the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation" (E.S.V., 1 Isaiah 12:2). My salvation is fulfilled in my full submission to our Lord, Jesus Christ. I go to the cross for there is no other way but through Jesus and what he has done for me so I can overcome the flesh by the spirit through his resurrection power and fulfilment of God's purpose and plan for humanity.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (E.S.V. , Mark 8:34-37). I cannot give anything for my soul nor can I build up riches on earth. It is worthless as I came into this world naked and I will die naked.
"We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (E.S.V., Romans 5:3-5). I am awoken from my slumber. I am awoken from my shame and guilt of sin. I am like Adam in the garden: "Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths" (E.S.V., Genesis 3:6-7). By indulging in my desire, much like Adam and Eve indulging in the forbidden fruit, I find myself hiding from God, I recognise my nakedness. Praise God in Jesus' name that I can go to him and ask for forgiveness, redemption, and new life.
This world is but a moment, a speck and a passing thought. Why waste my life on what is finite? Rather, spend my thoughts and time on what is infinite and eternal: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness" (E.S.V., Matthew 6:33). My treasure is in heaven. As a sinner It is my desire to work with the Holy Spirit, storing "treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (E.S.V., Matthew 6:20–21).
I can't imagine what my life would be without such a treasure as Jesus Christ, living in my life, working through me even when I am stubborn: for he is faithful to the end, even when I am selfish. My Jesus is a treasure that cannot be taken away from me. He is precious to me and I need to recognise that the pleasures of this world "do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death" (E.S.V., Proverbs 10:2). Why do I throw my "pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack" (E.S.V., Matthew 7:6) knowing how precious my Jesus is? This is the life of someone who is naïve, selfish, and ambivalent about the treasure that is Christ. Dear God, please forgive me for my complacency!
"I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (E.S.V., Psalm 16:8–11).
The Lord's right hand, in Jesus' name, will guide me and hold me as I move forward, learning to crawl, then walk, then run in the Holy Spirit. I have confidence that Jesus is my saviour, my Lord, my redeemer, and the restorer of my faith, transforming me every day to be more like him and less like me. My heart is glad because there is hope, hope that I will find peace in the midst of my challenges, knowing that God is at my 'right hand', standing firm and declaring me a 'new creation'. I must die to myself and be 'born again' every day, choosing to live for Christ every minute of my life. I can trust that my physical body is being used for the glory of God in Jesus' name. Anything else is but a lie! The enemy wants to hold it over me but I declare the goodness of God and his purposes and plans to use me for his kingdom, in Jesus' name. Jesus is and will make known my path. I will seek Him all day long, resting in His presence and responding to His purpose, plans, and will 'on Earth as it is in Heaven'.
"If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me" (E.S.V., Psalm 139:8–10). I cannot escape nor would I want to. Why run from your creator? I am not a mistake and God, in Jesus' name, has a purpose and plan, by bringing about the perfect, coherent set of circumstances, he has redeemed me and snatched me out from the clutches of death. "To live is Christ, and to die is gain" (E.S.V., Philippians 1:21). My life is Christ's as he died for me, he saved me from myself, and he set me free from the 'corruption of this world'.
"You make known to me the path of life; in your presence, there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (E.S.V., Psalm 16:11). To live for Christ is and should be a 'pleasure'. It is a pleasure because I am living a life of eternal joy and purpose through Christ. It should be a pleasure because indulging in the things of this world is temporary, leading to an unending thirst which cannot be satisfied other than through Christ: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water'” (E.S.V., John 7:38). The living water is an eternal spring and the source is Jesus. It corresponds not only to my purpose as a human being on planet Earth but to God's eternal sense of order and plans for all of humanity. Living water brings with it life eternal!
Eternity is to live in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ: "But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer" (E.S.V., Psalm 66:19). My voice is to reflect back to the world His voice, to reflect and shine for Jesus. Dear God, I pray I may always be used as your chosen vessel. You have placed me in my current environment to be used for your purposes. I pray that I may hear and heed your voice and commands, and may I always seek your face: "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him" (E.S.V., Psalm 37:7).