Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (in the midst)

Do I live in the consciousness of God being present at all times: wherever I am, whatever I do that He is all seeing, all knowing, all hearing.
[Ps46.5, Heb4.13]]

Does the reality of this truth shape my life? Does it not only impact me positively; giving a confidence and peace in every circumstance, but does it have a restraining effect on my life, guarding me from leaving the paths of righteousness?

The awesome Creator has promised that He will never leave us, nor forsake us. No matter the valleys we pass through, nor the storms we encounter, or whether we have mountian top experiences of great blessing, He is with us and His rod and staff comfort us. Because He is in the midst of His people we need fear no evil, nor bad reports nor any of life's varied and challenging times. Setting the Lord always before us in all our ways, and having Him at our right hand will make sure that our feet are planted upon a rock which will never be moved. We can stand protected, safe and secure in Him.
[Heb13.5, Ps23.4, Ps112.7, Ps16.8, Ps40.2 ]

This same God is also glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. Enveloped in light unapproachable, a consuming fire, full of righteousness and justice. Such should be our revelation and understanding of the living God being in our midst that our life is influenced continually by such truths. Keeping us on the straight and narrow path, creating within us a hatred of sin and a love of righteousness and godliness.
[Ex15.11, 1Tim6.16, Heb12.29, Ps48.10, Ps89.14]

May my appreciation and sense of God's abiding presence grow stronger every day as I contiue to draw near to Him in all my ways.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Thorns)

Our lives are like a garden, our hearts being the soil. Am I keeping my heart clear of weeds and thorns?

The Lord indicated that the fruitfulness of my life will be determined by the presence of God's Word and the quality of the soil of my heart in which that Word is planted. For me to grow spiritually, God's Word needs unchoked access to my life, and the correct conditions to be effective in me.
[Matt13.23, Mark4.20, Luke8.15]

The Lord describes the choking thorns in our heart as 'cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches', 'pleasures of this life' and the 'lusts of other things entering in'. All these things have a common effect of distracting our focus, consuming our thoughts and absorbing our time.
[Matt13.22, Mark4.18-19, Luke8.14]

What does the landscape of the garden of my heart and life look like? Am I cultivating an environment where God can have unhindered influence in my life and His Word can bring forth the fruit for which it was sent? Or is my life more taken with the 'natural' daily issues of living to the expense of knowing God and growing closer to Him?

As a natural garden must be constantly maintained to keep it free from weeds and thorns, so our own hearts must be diligently cultivated, inspected and kept in such a condition that will bring forth fruit with patience. A lack of action and passivity leaves us vulnerable to the seeds of this world settling in our lives so that we will bring no fruit to perfection.
[Luke8.14-15, Prov4.23]

May I be diligent in keeping the garden of my life in a condition that is free from all that would choke and hinder my advance in fruitfulness and Christlikeness.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Response)

Much of our lives consists of a series of actions and reactions. Situations arising that bring about a response in us or to which we will be tempted to respond.

Learning how to respond in the right way in every situation is part of growing in Christlikeness and will determine the level of victory I experience in my life, where I see God's promises working effectively in me.

Ps106.33 provides a lesson in responses. Here we see Moses provoked by very trying circumstances and responding in a wrong way which brought severe consequences. Our responses will be in word, thought or action. The nature of the response will be according to how we let the situation affect our spirit (heart, inner man). The Scriptures declare in Proverbs that 'He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.' Also, 'He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.'
[Num20.7-12, Prov16.32, 25.28]

One of the ways to rule our spirit is to maintain the correct perspective at all times. The moment we lose the perspective God wants us to have, we become vulnerable to attack, like a city without walls and can be affected and influenced in our thoughts and emotions in a way that can bring about wrong responses and reactions with damaging consequences to our lives.

May my perspective always be one that is spiritual not just physical, eternal and not just temporal, and with consideration of how the Lord would walk through those times and circumstances. Then through a total dependancy upon God, when the sponge of my life is squeezed by the pressures around me what will pour forth in reaction is God's grace and the fruit that the Holy Spirit is developing in my life.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Open Book)

Our lives are like pages of a book. Yet it is not a book hidden from view, but known and read of all that we come into contact with. What do others read from the pages they see of my life?

Does my life story display a life that is submitted to God? A life where the grace of God is in operation? When the world reads the pages, do they see that although I may experience the same 'sun and rain' as them that there is a divine difference in how I pass through? Is the fruit of a character that is being moulded by the Lord evident to others?

We are always being watched and read by those around us, even when it is not apparent. Let us remember that to some we may be the only pages they read that will speak of Christ the Saviour.

May the book of my life that is being written day by day be a consistent reflection of Christ, a story of God's working in a life that is consecrated to Him. May the message written in those pages be clear and easily understood by others, that through me God may reach out and save those that are reading.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Because)

The pages of our lives can be full of many questions. Circumstances that we pass through may raise many "why's?". Yet we should not be living our lives in the shadows of these questions, legitimate as they may be, but turn our focus to the many 'because's' that we find in Scripture. Living in the 'because' will raise faith and hope, whereas living in the 'why?' can just result in doubt and unbelief.

In the words of the old song, 'because He lives I can face tomorrow'. As we search the treasure of the Scriptures we will find many a 'because' that can be the bedrock of our daily living and give us a persistence to move forward positively.

Because God will never leave us nor forsake us, we can have assurance; because He is for us, we can have confidence; because He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world, we can overcome; because all His promises are 'Yes' and 'Amen' in Christ, we can have expectation.
[Heb13.5, Rom8.31, 1John4.4, 2Cor1.20]

Because He that leads us is Faithful and True, let us follow faithfully and closely; because the days are evil, let us be redeeming the time; because we want to see the Lord, let us be pursuing holiness; because we are looking forward to new heavens and a new earth, may we have a diligence in being at peace, without spot and blameless before God.
[Rev19.11, Eph5.16, Heb12.14, 2Pet3.13-14]

May I always be mindful of all that I have because of Christ Jesus, and live each day from that perspective.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Desire)

Amidst the clamour of the world and activities of living, what is my true heart's desire in life?

The psalmist declares, 'whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.' Can I in truth make that same statement? Is God totally the focus of the desire of my life? Are all my ways filtered by my love for Him? Am I consumed with a desire to know God?
[Ps73.25, Phil3.7-11]

A singleness of desire toward God will be seen in my seeking to bring Him glory and honour in all I do. It will be seen in the shunning of all sin and evil, that in all my ways I may bring pleasure to the Lord. It will be known by the purity and nature of my speech, conscious of the ever abiding presence of God and out of a desire to not grieve the Spirit of God.
[1Cor10.31, 1Thess5.22, Eph4.29-32]

The Psalmist again says, 'One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord . . .'

Such a desire will find it's root in a revelation of who God is and all that He has done for us. None can compare to our God, to His awesomeness, His majesty, power, wisdom and love. The essence of eternal life is knowing God. What we will spend eternity discovering of the wonders of God should start now and should be the magnet that guides the compass of our life.
[Is40.18,25-26, 1Tim1.17, John17.3]

Though my desire today may fall short of where it could be, may my heart cry be that my desire for Him may burn stronger. May I make that decision to turn the focus of my life away from the temporal things of this world that are all passing away. Instead to steer the rudder of the vessel of my life in the direction of deeper devotion and loyalty to the Living God, the only One Who deserves nothing less than my all.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Follow)

How closely am I following the Lord? How much of my life conforms to the pattern that the Lord provided in His earthly life? Or how much of my life is still following the pattern of the world and it's ways?

As the Lord walked upon this earth, the call He made to His disciples was a simple 'follow Me'. The calling of the believer today remains the same, we are to be followers of Christ.
[Matt4.19, Matt16.24, Mark10.21, Luke9.59, John1.43, John12.26, John21.22, 1Cor11.1, 1John2.6]

Am I blazing my own trail through life and the circumstances and trials that confront me? Am I tackling life in my own way and wisdom? Do people see in me traits that are earthly in their origin, or do they see in me those qualities that can only be seen from a life that is closely abiding with the Lord and heavenly in nature?

The Lord Jesus lived a life in close communion with God the Father. He lived out the purpose He came for and fulfilled all of God's will. In the process He trod a road that included temptation, suffering and rejection. In all these situations He provided us an example to follow.
[John4.34, John8.28-29, John15.10, John17.4, Heb4.15, John1.10-11, Is53.3-8, 1Peter2.21-23]

Am I taking my example from Him? Is the Lord the Plumbline against which I measure my life? Do I study the Scriptures from the perspective of what I see in the Lord's ways is how God has empowered me to live by providing me the gift of the Holy Spirit?
[Acts1.8, Rom8.1-11]

May I always keep the Lord in front of me, fixing my eyes on Him. May I not be pulling in my own direction but submit to His yoke that is easy and lead a life that is lead.
[Ps16.8, Heb12.2, Matt11.28-30]

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Diet and Exercise - Part 2)

Just as the correct 'diet' is needed for us to remain spiritually healthy, so is there a need for exercise and training that we may be equipped and prepared for all that we pass through in our lives in our walk with God.

Exercise spiritually speaking can be seen as putting to use that which we receive from God; living out in obedience what we feed on in God's Word; practically applying the truths of Scripture into every avenue of life.

The apostle Paul speaks of exercising himself to always have a conscience void of offence toward God and man, of exercising unto godliness, and the writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil. All these statements imply proactivity on the part of the believer, action rather than passivity, a progression rather than stagnation.
[KJV: Acts24.16, 1Tim4.7, Heb5.14]

Am I applying God's Word in my daily living? Is the daily bread I receive having a transforming effect in my being the person God has called me to be, and also in my doing of His will in my life? Is my faith being exercised, showing that it is alive and well?

We should see our lives as a training ground and the experiences we face as opportunities for God's Word to be active in us and for us to know God in an ever greater way in all we do.

May I not become lethargic as a follower of Christ, but may my life be energised by the working of the Holy Spirit in me: that my life may not be in words only but in the practical living out of the truth through the power of God..

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Diet and Exercise Part 1)

What am I feeding on?

Just as our natural diet affects our physical frame and strength, so spiritually the diet I feed my life on with what I see, hear and do, will directly impact the health and strength of my spirit and soul before God.

God's Word is spoken of in terms of milk and food, and consequently our nourishment and health spiritually necessitates the appropriate use and application of God's Word in our lives.
[Matt4.4, Heb5.12-13, 1Pet2.2, 1Cor3.2, 1John2.14]]

But the presence of God's Word in my life alone does not guarantee a healthy spiritual condition. The world and age within which we live furnishes a table before us which we can easily become partakers of, but which is laced with deadly poison. To be healthy requires taking sufficient quantities of good food but also excluding and avoiding that which would poison and damage our health.

Am I aware of the world's contaminants that may be part of my daily life? Those things which I listen to or watch which promote the ways and thinking of the world as opposed to God's ways. Those things which will deaden my senses and conscience to sin and weaken my pursuit of holiness. Those activities which will blunt the edge of my spiritual alertness and usefulness to God. That which would draw my affection toward this world instead of the devotion and affection that God alone deserves.

May I be alert to the impact of the world's menu on my spiritual life and determine to feed only on that which will quicken me in my walk with God, provide strength to accomplish all He has prepared for me to do by His grace and ready me for the Lord's return.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Thoughts for reflection . . . (Serving)

Through faith in Christ Jesus we are adopted into God's family and become His children. As well as being God's children we must be ever mindful that we are also His servants; servants of the Lord Jesus. Our lives should be lived to see His will and purposes accomplished in this world from that perspective. We are no longer our own, we were purchased with an extremely great cost and owe all to the One who redeemed us.
[Rom1.1, Phil1.1, Titus1.1, Luke12.35-37, Luke17.10, 1Pet1.18-19, 1Cor6.19-20]

How we serve God is of utmost importance. We can be living in obedience to God, yet have an attitude of reluctance as we travel the pathway of following the Lord. We can be walking on the road to the promised land but have our hearts looking back with desire to the lifestyle of Egypt.

In Deut28.47-48 God warns the Israelites that if they do not serve the Lord God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, they will serve their enemies. This gives us a perspective of how God looks upon the heart attitude when we are serving Him.

In Christ we have such abundance of blessings. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places. All the promises of God are 'yes' and 'Amen' in Christ. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.
[Eph1.3, 2Cor1.20, Rom8.17]

We have such reason to serve God in a joyful way and with great thanksgiving and gladness in our hearts. What it requires is for us to have a full 'heart understanding' of all that God has done for us. A deficiency in our understanding and lack of the reality of the truths of Scripture will leave us vulnerable to serving the Lord with the wrong motivation and attitude.

May I set my focus on the abundant goodness of God and the greatness of His mercy daily to me, that my serving Him in holiness and godliness all the days of my life will be a pleasure and out of deep love for Him.