1 Timothy Ch 1 Verse 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
Whatever we may think was the reason that Jesus came into this world, this verse makes it crystal clear, he came to ‘save sinners’. All other aspects are related to this primary reason for the coming of God into this world but are secondary.
Healing the sick in mind and body, freeing the captive, bringing relief to the poor and challenging the unjust structures of this world, are all signs of the coming of God, but are secondary to the mission of saving sinners.
Whilst the Church is involved in many different areas of life across the world from food banks, toddler groups, challenging unjust structures which maintain poverty, speaking out for minorities and supporting climate change activists, etc etc, that is not why we exist.
We exist to make Christ known as the focus of God’s plan of salvation for this world, not one of many plans but the only plan. In Acts Ch 16 verse 31 the answer to the question put to Paul & Barnabus was simple, ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved’.
Dear Lord Jesus, amid all the work your Church is involved in, may we never forget that we exist to make known in every generation that you came to save sinners.
2 Kings Ch 5 verses 11 – 12 ‘But Naaman went away angry…he turned and went off in a rage.’
This is the account of an army commander with leprosy who had come to Elisha the prophet of God to be healed. The reason he burned with anger was because he expected Elisha to come out in person to see him and perform some great spectacle to invoke the power of God to heal him. Instead, Elisha gave a remote, but simple instruction via his messenger of what he had to do to be healed.
We are now living in the period after the coming, death and resurrection of God’s supreme messenger and Saviour – Jesus of Nazareth. His call to all who will listen and obey, is to repent, believe and be baptised for the forgiveness of our sins. This requires us to come with a humble, penitent heart – something that Naaman had to learn before he could be cleansed and healed. His stubbornness nearly stopped him from receiving the healing that only God could bring him.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your work of salvation on the cross. In these days, we pray for our community and wider society: for a turning back to you and a seeking after your ways.
1 Peter Ch 2 verse 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession,
How are you feeling today? Upbeat, a bit fed up with this whole lock down scenario, or maybe a bit lonely? Well the good news is that as part of the Church of God you are part of his chosen people, and more than that you are part of his royal priesthood, set apart as God’s special possession!
Wow, you are not just someone who fills a pew in a service but are part of a group that has eternal significance, part of those chosen by God, royalty in fact. This is what it means to be a believer in and a follower of Jesus, to be someone whose life is shaped by the teachings of Jesus and holy scripture.
Each of us is special in God’s sight, not judged on our intellect or our looks, not disadvantaged by our upbringing, accent or colour of our skin.
Hopefully, you are feeling more upbeat about yourself as you recognise that in the eyes of God you equal to everyone else who forms part of the Church, past, present, and future.
Dear Lord Jesus, today, at this moment help me to bask in the knowledge that I am part of your chosen people, that I am royalty!
Ephesians Ch 5 verses 13-14 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:
“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
From my childhood years, I wanted to be just like my dad, and also other ‘grown-ups’, to be able to ‘do things’ that I could not do. Most of my childhood was spent wishing I was not a child, but ‘grown up’. And that stayed with me to some extent, along with an underlying feeling that I was not good enough because I couldn’t be like other people. I suppose I felt a failure.
Sometime later, I began to see that nobody was perfect and so why bother trying to fit in at all? I really was, just like everyone else – quite unique. I guess this is when I began to wake up.
I now asked ‘who am I?’ and ‘where am I going?’ The answer came slowly but surely, and I began to see the way………
Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for shining on me, so that I sense an identity that is purely my own, given by you. As it is written in John 1:4: ‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.’
For your light illuminates my soul so I know not to try to be like others, but to be who I am.
Let us glorify the Lord!
In the name of Christ.
Mark Ch 4 verse 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!
Even today many people ask ‘who is this’ when we talk about Jesus, in fact it seems to me that more people knew who he was 30 years ago than they do today. Even as Christians we talk about Church, our services, the hymns, the Vicar, the heating, and everything rather than Jesus. No wonder people still ask, ‘who is this’.
As the poster says that I have seen on numerous Church notice boards, ‘you cannot take Christ out of Christmas’.
The disciples had spent some considerable time with Jesus, but when exposed to the grandeur and majesty of his power they were awestruck. Who is this that even the winds obey him, who is this that down the centuries has worked miraculously to establish his Church, and who is this to whom we offer our prayers and petitions? It is none other than the second person of the trinity, God, who clothed himself in humanity and came to earth to draw us to heaven.
It is time my friends that we began to talk him up, that we don’t just tell others we are going to Church, but rather that we are meeting with God. Its time we asked what is God doing in your life, rather than can you help at the Christmas fete, and rather than leaving our faith at the Church door that we take our faith with us everywhere we go.
Only then will people stop asking ‘who is this’.
Dear Lord Jesus, may we so experience your presence that we too are terrified at the grandeur and majesty of your power, and tell all those around us.
Psalm 73 verse 23 ‘Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.’
Through the years since becoming a Christian, I can honestly say that despite my own wanderings and backslidings, God has always been faithful and not turned His back on me. He has always drawn me back to His ways and His heart of love, and time and again when I have needed to say sorry for my foolish ways, He has forgiven me and given me a fresh start.
I think back to a time and place when for a moment, which seemed like hours, we had lost one of our children. I’m sure you can relate similar feelings and experiences. That magnified must only begin to touch on how God’s love for us reaches out and longs for us to remain in Him and not be tempted to wander away from a secure, loving relationship with Him. By His side, holding His hand, being led by Him is where I would rather be.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you are our Shepherd, who has gone out to find us – the lost sheep. We pray today for all who are feeling low, unloved or alone. May your love transform them from within.
Proverbs 4 verses 5 – 7 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have get understanding
The book of Proverbs constantly refers to the getting of wisdom, knowledge & understanding. The imagery of the wise as those who are following the way of life, and the foolish as those heading down the way of death, is repeated in different ways.
I love the sheer simplicity of verse 7, ‘the beginning of wisdom is this; get wisdom. Like telling a smoker to stop buying cigarettes, or a gambler to stop going in betting shops, or an alcoholic to stop buying alcohol. If you really want something then stop just talking about it, just get out there and make getting it your main aim.
But what does this wisdom, knowledge & understanding look like? Proverbs gives us the answer repeatedly, it is the wisdom that comes from God, and it is the knowledge and understanding of God. Therefore, it is not a haughty wisdom that is rooted in intellect or human aggrandisement. It is in fact the opposite of this, it is rooted in humility, in the knowledge that ultimately Godly wisdom, knowledge and understanding are given to us to make this journey of life richer. As we seek not our own gain, but the benefit of others and ‘walk in the light as he is in the light’.
Dear Lord Jesus, may our pursuit of wisdom, knowledge and understanding be enriched by knowing you, the one from whom all knowledge flows.