Revelation Ch 1 verse 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
‘In the beginning’, are the first three words in the opening book of the Bible, Genesis, and here in the last book, Jesus proclaims that he is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.
These words encompass the whole of time as we know it, and more, they do not just act as divine bookends keeping everything in order, but they express something of the eternity that God dwells in. As humans, we have great difficulty thinking in terms of eternity, probably because our whole lives are lived in the context of time.
Our lives are ruled by the clock, by the seasons, by our ages, by the new and by the old and fading. We feel it in our bodies and see it in the world around us, but God dwells outside of time, he was present when time began and he will be there when time ends and we revert back to eternity [yes I know it is difficult to imagine what this means]. Well imagine time as a circle with the same start and end point, and that the space outside the circle is where God dwells, eternity, and that once we die we leave the circle at some point and enter the presence of God, eternity!
If ever there was a single reason to put our faith and trust in God it is this, that the one ‘which is, and which was, and which is to come’, has come to this earth to live as we lived, that we might be drawn into eternity to be with him. Wow, just wow!
Dear Lord Jesus, as we look at our clocks and watches this day, may we give thanks that the ‘three score years and ten’ of this life are nothing but the hors d’oeuvres and that eternity with you is our inheritance as the Saints of God.
Psalm Ch 48 verse 13 ‘… that you may tell of them to the next generation’
This Psalm speaks of God’s glory and the place of His habitation. God’s presence and beauty is where all God’s children will be welcomed into when He calls us homeward. The verse above caught my eye as it reminds us that our constant encouragement is to pass on this hope we have to the ‘next generation’. So thank you for all who pray, help, teach, support, and love families and children in helping them hear and receive God’s Good News. We are all sensing as the current restrictions go on, an urgent need to listen and seek God’s face as to how we carry and pass on this same hope and love which we know and live for the sake of the ‘next generation’. So let’s all be seeking and praying together to wait on God’s leading. As the last verse says: ‘For this God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our guide even to the end.’
Lord Jesus, thank you that you welcome the children to come to you. We pray today for families, young people and students. May your loving arms enfold and embrace them.
Ecclesiastes Ch 3….. a time to be born and a time to die……..
Having in a previous ‘thought’ reflected on how our lives are driven by the clock, I was also moved to think about this verse from Ecclesiastes, probably the best-known verse from the whole book. It bookends life, but then in subsequent verses, it goes on to mention the many other elements of life.
It recognises that there is a time for everything, and towards the end of the chapter it talks of God testing and judging humans. Yes, ultimately there will be a time for judgement when God weighs up our lives, our actions, our words, and what we have done with the gifts and talents he has given to us. Your initial thought might be, ‘what gifts and talents do I have’? Well I cannot answer that, but all I do know is that we all have them, some peoples are clear to all, whilst others are less apparent
I wonder have you ever taken the time to ask God what your gift is or what talents you might have? Even starting to get an idea of what they might be will not only enrich you, but the whole of the Christian community you are part of.
Dear Lord Jesus, make me aware of the gifts and talents that you have given to me and help me to use them for your glory and the blessing of your Church.
Mark Ch 2 verse 17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners. “
Jesus upset the Pharisees in this passage because he mixed with people that the religious community classed as undesirables. Tax collectors, women that had been caught in adultery, thieves, murderers, lepers; all the Pharisees would call untouchables. Jesus gave his life for people like these mentioned above and for many others who were grieving because they’d lost a loved one or they were sick physically.
What Jesus knew was these people were sick in spirit, as well as some who were physically ill. But these people realised that Jesus could help them and he accepted them warts and all. He wasn’t going to judge them for what they had done, but he was willing to die for them so that they could be saved and enter his Kingdom. If they were willing to repent for what they’d done and accept him into their lives as Lord and Saviour, his blood that was shed before the Passover celebration and our Easter celebration would cleanse them of all their sins. He healed them then, and he can heal us today if we believe and trust in him.
Jesus became the Passover lamb. He replaced, and made a way, instead of sacrificing animals for sin offerings.
Lord, I ask if any of us are sick spiritually or physically that you would make us whole once again.
Psalm 4 verse 4 In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.
This was in the psalm for Evening Prayer on the 27th July. It’s quite a sobering verse. If I get angry about something I can seethe silently and if I’m with other people, at work for example, it is really hard to bite my tongue and not share and gossip about the situation.
In this Covid time I get really angry when other people do not acknowledge that I’ve stepped aside for them or if they are blatantly breaking the guidelines.
Some of these things it is right to get angry about but I have to try and be constructive and direct my anger in a right way. It is certainly not right to gossip about people who’ve made me angry.
This psalm encourages us to search our hearts and realise there are so many things that we fall short on that we are in no position to judge others. Next time we’re angry let’s pray for the person and the situation that has made us angry and leave it in God’s hands before we take any further action.
Thank you, Father, that you are slow to anger. Thank you for your love and mercy towards us. Help us show that same love and mercy to others.
Esther Ch 4 verse 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?
The book of Esther is a gem of a book, it is only ten chapters long and it is nestled between the books of Nehemiah and Job, in the Old Testament. It is a self-contained story in itself of God’s salvation plan for the children of Israel, at a time when whilst in captivity a plot was hatched to destroy them. It is a story of immense bravery from a young woman, who under her uncle’s guidance chose to lay her very life on the line and trust in the providence of God.
In this verse, her uncle tells her that she can stay silent, but that God’s salvation will come, albeit via a different source. But then he says these telling words, ‘And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this’? In other words, maybe God has placed you here for this specific moment in time to save your own people, this is why you are where you are; it is not by chance.
Mordecai, her uncle hits the nail on the head, she was not in her prominent position by chance, no, God had placed her there to protect his people at this moment in history.
You are not where you are by chance, when we give our lives over to God he uses situations and circumstances to place us where he wants us so that we can be his person at that specific moment in time to speak his words and to be his representative, so that light might shine in the darkness.
Dear Lord Jesus, help us to be aware of the situations around us so that we can be your ears, eyes, hands and feet, and bring your light into dark places.
Proverbs Ch 15 verse 8 ‘…the prayer of the upright pleases Him.’
Verse 29 ‘…He hears the prayer of the righteous.’
We have thought a few times about the gift of prayer and what a blessing it is to be able to listen and lift our hearts and voices up to the Living God. Although many may well agree that God hears the prayer of all who cry out to Him, I do feel especially as we read these verses above, that the Lord God gives special attention to the prayers of His children. Just like close friendships or loving relationships, you would expect more intimate or personal conversation to go on within them. What can we take home from this: Yes we are never alone – our heavenly Father delights to hear and speak to us who follow Him. Yes, He hears us, and like an earthly Father, wants to answer and give us good things. Yes, He longs to draw near to those we pray for, that they too may experience a love like no other.
Lord Jesus, thank you for teaching us to pray, and for praying for us your disciples. Keep us faithful to you, as you are faithful. We pray today that those who call out to you may encounter you the risen Lord.