John Ch 8 verse 12 Jesus spoke to them saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life”
Have you ever woken up in a dark place and not been able to see anything? Maybe after a few minutes of adjusting you may be able to make some things out. It is rare these days to be in a totally dark place. Light is amazing. A little night light on the landing showing the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. A torch when you are camping. Light in the house during the winter. The sunshine at whatever time of year.
Jesus is our light. He has promised we will never walk in darkness. We may at times only see 1 or 2 steps ahead when all around seems dark on our journey of life. As long, though, as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus that is all we need.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, that you are our light and our guide.
Ephesians Ch 1 verse 16 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”
Wherever Paul went and established Christian Communities he always seemed to try and maintain links with them. We see this through his journeys in the book of Acts and through his letters to those communities. One recurring theme is his thankfulness to God for them, even those who he writes to with strong words. To the Corinthians he says, ‘I always give thanks to God for you’, this to a group of people he wrote to with some words of rebuke.
Over the past 10 years, I have personally become more thankful for things. Whether it be my family, personal circumstances, Church, creation or just life, there is never a day goes by without me expressing thanks of some sort. I am also immensely thankful for the Church communities I have been part of, places where I have been moulded and grown, encouraged and chastised, and also allowed to develop my ministry. Places where individuals have shared their lives with me [us], their homes and on occasions, we have been recipients of their generosity.
The Christian community is a fabulous place, where each of us can flourish as gifts are shared and needs are met. I hope you with me can daily give thanks for the Christian community that you are part of.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you that you have drawn us into your family, your body the Christian community. We give thanks for all it has been, all it is, and by your grace, all it will be in the future.
Matthew Ch 5 verse 17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.”
In verse 17 of this chapter, Jesus states he has not come to abolish the laws given to Moses or the prophets but to accomplish their purpose. While we are no longer bound by ceremonial law which was to do with worship and which pointed the way forward to Jesus, his death and resurrection. His death and resurrection was to bring people back to the original purpose for man to love God with all their hearts and minds and how to address God with the right attitude and respect he was due. Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of violating these ceremonial laws.
Throughout Israel’s history, however, these laws had often been misquoted and misapplied. The religious leaders had turned the laws into a confusing mass of rules and Jesus upset them when he confronted the abuses and excesses to which the laws had been subjected to.
The main principle Jesus wants us to follow is to worship and love a Holy God. The civil law was applied daily for people living in Israel and although society and cultures have changed radically the principles behind the commands are timeless and should be a guide for our conduct.
The moral laws are a direct command of God, and these require strict obedience. The moral law reveals the nature and will of God and it still applies today. Jesus obeyed the moral law completely.
In verse 18 it says, I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.
Dear Lord Jesus help us to be obedient to you and respect and revere you as we should.
Mark chapter 9 – The Transfiguration of Jesus. “Jesus took Peter, James and John with Him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone.” (verse 2)
As we read on, the three disciples see Jesus ‘dazzling white’ and see Elijah and Moses with Him. This was clearly too much especially for Peter who starts blurting out meaningless sentences as he scrambles to come to terms with the glory of God seen in Jesus before him.
I can think of many times I’ve said things on the spur of the moment, perhaps intimidated meeting someone (important) for the first time, and regretting the stumbling words. The great thing with Jesus, however, is that it doesn’t matter if we feel we’ve messed up and said the wrong things to Him. He knows our thoughts even before we voice them. The most important thing though is that we still come to Him and receive His welcome to approach His glory as we are touched and cleansed by His redeeming love. Let us come to Him afresh today.
Lord Jesus, glorious ascended risen Lord, please bring your light, hope and love to the dark places in our neighbourhood which so need your transforming touch. Come, Lord Jesus.
Exodus Ch 4 verse 12 “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say”
These were God’s words to Moses after his encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses was convinced he was not the right person to confront Pharaoh and take the Israelites out of Egypt. He took a lot of convincing from God and was a very reluctant envoy. As we know though Moses gradually became a powerful leader of the Israelites and had a close walk with God.
I don’t know about you but I do not have the gift of the gab and often have to plan what I am going to say very carefully. I am not good at talking off the cuff or in a general conversation so I empathise with Moses.
Moses had to learn what to say. It did not come naturally. Maybe that should give us hope. If God wants to use you he will teach you what to do and what to say. We just have to be willing and available.
Thank you, Father, for letting us work with you in this world. Thank you that you will help us and teach us in whatever way is necessary.
Exodus Ch 20 verses 1 – 17 The ten commandments
When you look at the 10 commandments, I mean really look at them and consider what it is that they say it is easy to just see them as a set of rules, dictating wrong and right actions. But they are much more than that, they are there to mark out a clear distinction between the chosen people of God and the other nations, those whose way of life was lived outside of the parameters set out by the commandments.
We could go into each commandment and unpick it, to look at how it is that living in obedience to that rule would enhance their lives and honour God, but space precludes this. Suffice to say that without constraints, both the scriptures and history teach us, that we are all likely to do what is pleasing in our own eyes to the detriment of our neighbour.
God’s guidelines that are there in the Bible are not about him imposing his will upon us, but about providing us with clarity that allows us to live life to the full, in a way that provides the opportunity to flourish for us and our neighbour.
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to love our neighbour and those we share our lives with by living in the light as you are in the light, and by following where you lead.
Luke Ch 22 verse 27 “But I am among you as one who serves.”
These words of Jesus come as His disciples argued over who they thought was the greatest among them. How His words must have quickly silenced their jostling for position as He – the Son of Almighty God – the Creator of the World – One with the Father and the Spirit – reminds them and us that He came into the world to serve. We know how ultimately He came to give His life up to deal with man’s problem of sin exemplified in the disciples’ pride and selfish desire to be the first and laud it over the others.
Jesus was secure in the sure and certain knowledge of who He was, and in the love of His heavenly Father. As we grow to know Him more, as we grasp the enormity of His love and acceptance of us, we also can let go of our posturing for position and simply aim to serve as He calls us to go and offer His same love to others.
Lord Jesus, lover of my soul. We pray today for the unlovely; those who others find it hard to love and who so need your love and our service.