Lord, what You have done for us – we could never have done for ourselves!
It’s so amazing what You have done for us.
We were making plans for ourselves – but our plans didn’t include You!
You came to us. You said to us, “I have a wonderful plan for your life.”
We look at the plans we had for ourselves, we look at the plan You have for us – and we say, ‘Your way is so much better than our own way.’
Your way is the way of blessing. It’s the way of giving glory to You.
Lord, where would be – if You had not come to us, if You had not led us into Your way, if You had not brought us into Your blessing?
You did not wait for us to start looking for You – You came looking for us.
You did not wait for us to start saying, ‘Bless us, Lord’ – You came to us with Your blessing.
You did not wait for us to lift ourselves up – You lifted us up.
Thank You, Lord.
Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us.
We think about what’s going on in our life – and we get it all wrong!
We look at what’s happening – and we think that You’ve gone away and left us.
When will we learn? – It’s us who’ve gone away and left you!
We start thinking, ‘You need to come back to me, Lord.’
You’re saying to us, ‘No! You’ve got it all wrong. It’s you that needs to come back to Me.’
Even in our darkest days, You’ve never gone away and left us.
You’ve always been there – all the time.
You’ve always been there – for us.
Thank You, Lord.
Lord, help us to remember that You are the everlasting God.
We are so changeable. Your love for us is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.
Our feelings take us here, there and everywhere. Your love brings us back to the place where our love for You grows strong.
How does our love for You grow strong? Is this something that we do for ourselves? – No! It’s something that You do for us.
You show us how much You love us. You take us to the Cross of Christ.
You show us that Your love for us remains strong even when our love for You has become very weak.
This is the way in which our love for You grows strong. We are strengthened by a stronger love, a love that never becomes weak, a love that is always strong – everlasting love.
These are things we must never forget – Lord, help us to remember that You are the everlasting God. Help us to remember that Your love is everlasting love.
Keep looking up – or keep looking down? …
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
Here’s a wonderful message for sinners – God’s love is greater than our sin.
In Ephesians 2:1-3, we read about our sin. In Ephesians 2:4-7, we read about God’s great love.
We know about our sin. It’s the story of our life. Here, we learn that the story of our life is more than the story of our sin. It’s, also, the story of God’s great love for us.
In love, God has done great things for us. In love, God will do great things for us.
Let us think together about “God’s great love for us” (Ephesians 2:4).
What has God done for us? What will God do for us?
In Ephesians 2:6, we read about what God has done for us – “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”
In Ephesians 2:7, we read about what God will do for us – “in the coming ages he will show us the incomparable riches of his grace.”
Do we read about heaven and think to ourselves, “This is all so far away from our life here on earth”?
If we feel like this, we need to be reminded that God has raised us up. He has seated us in the heavenly places.
Sometimes, when we’re feeling down, we’re told that we must keep looking up. Does this help us? or Do we feel that we can hardly take our eyes off what’s happening to us here on earth?
We feel that we’re that we’re so far deep down in the dark valley that we can hardly catch a glimpse of the mountaintops that surround us.
What does God’s Word say to us? – We are “seated in the heavenly realms.”
From this high vantage-point, we look down on the deep valleys. When we look down from here – “seated in the heavenly realms”, everything looks very different.
What is it that changes everything? – It’s the Lord who changes everything. He changes us. Bad things may be happening in today’s world – but that’s not the whole story. God has done something wonderful for us: he has seated us in the heavenly realms.
Keep looking up – this puts all the emphasis on us. This is what we must do.
Keep looking down – this follows on from what the Lord has done for us. The Lord has seated us in the heavenly realms – and now, we see things very differently. A situation, that seemed to us to be hopeless, is filled with hope. When the darkness threatens to overwhelm us, we see light. The light of God’s love is shining brightly.
Where does this hope come from? Does it come from ourselves – just hoping for the best?
No! It comes from the Lord. He has put this hope into our hearts. He has done something wonderful for us – and, now, we look at the future with new eyes, with the eye of faith.
Seated in the heavenly realms, we look down on our suffering. We see that it is real – but there is, also, something else that we see: “in the coming ages, God will show us the incomparable riches of his grace” (Ephesians 2:7).
Lord, make us clean. In ourselves, we are not clean. In ourselves, we will never be clean. We are never any more than sinners. We need to be cleansed – and You alone can do this for us. May the precious blood of Jesus cleanse us from all sin.
Lord, help us to follow Jesus. How are we to follow Jesus – when we face so many temptations to wander away from You, to wander off into a life of sin and shame? Lord, You alone can keep us from falling away from You. You alone can keep us walking with You. Help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Help us to keep on following Him.
Lord, help us to become more like Jesus – “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me … ” (Luke 4:18-19). Without Your Spirit, we can do nothing for You. We try and try and try … but we achieve nothing. It’s not by our trying that Your work is done. It’s by Your power that Your work moves forward. Lead us forward with You and for You. Lead us forward in Your power.
Lord, give us Your Word. May it be the Word of Your Spirit, speaking through us. Fill us with Your Word. Fill us with Your Spirit. Lead us out of the emptiness of life without You. Lead us into the fullness of life which comes to us when we receive the love of Jesus, when we rejoice in His victory, when we are renewed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Lord, teach us Your way. Walking in Your way is never easy. There are so many obstacles. They stop us in our tracks. They make us feel like giving up – until Jesus comes alongside us. He comes to us and He says to us, “You’re not alone. I am with you – now and always.” Lord, help us to look beyond our many problems and difficulties. Help us to look to Jesus. Help us to hear His Word of encouragement. Help us to exchange our weakness for His strength (Isaiah 40:31).
Words of unbelief – and words of faith
Isn’t it enough that you (Moses) have brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey to kill us in the wilderness?” (Numbers 16:13).
These are words of unbelief. The people couldn’t see past Moses – and that’s why they couldn’t see past the wilderness. When we can’t see past the preacher, we’ll end up being stuck in the wilderness.
“If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us” (Numbers 14:8).
These are words of faith. Joshua and Caleb were looking beyond the wilderness – because they were looking to the Lord.
Unbelief is all around us. Unbelief threatens to engulf us – and take over our whole way of thinking.
When unbelief seems to us to be so all-powerful, the voice of faith calls out to us.
The voice of faith is more than the voice of the preacher. Words of faith arise in us, when the Holy Spirit is working in our hearts,
We see this, when we read about the preaching of Peter on the Day of Pentecost.
There is the voice of the preacher – “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd” (Acts 2:14).
There is more than the voice of the preacher – “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”” (Acts 2:37).
The words of the preacher take us so far – but we need more the the words of the preacher. If the hearers are to be brought out of unbelief and into faith, we need the work of the Holy Spirit.
As we think about our faith, may we know, in our hearts, that true faith is always more than “I will believe.” May we know, in our hearts, that true faith comes from the Lord.
In Acts 16:14, we see this supernatural dimension – “The Lord opened Lydia’s heart to respond to Paul’s message.”
Paul was the preacher – but the power didn’t come from Paul’s personality. The power came from the Lord.
This is what brought Lydia to Christ. This is what has brought us to Christ. This is what still brings people to Christ.
Keep on praying for our troubled world – and don’t forget to thank God for answers to prayer.
Uphill struggle – or downward slope?
Am I on the way up – or the way down?
This question can be asked in terms of our social standing – upwardly mobile or downwardly mobile?
Let’s think about this question in a different way: Are we moving up – towards the Lord? or Are we moving down – away from the Lord?
Keeping on moving in the Godward direction is a constant struggle. We need to keep on encouraging one another.
Here’s a song that will encourage you to keep on travelling in the Godward direction:
As you listen to this song and sing along with it, be encouraged in the Lord and strengthened in your commitment to keep on walking with him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Lord, we thank you that You have given to us “a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:12). Christ is the Gospel. He is our testimony. He is our message. Help us to keep Him at the very centre of our life. In our ever-changing world, help us to keep on saying, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
Lord, we thank You that Jesus died for us. We thank You that He lives in us. In Him, there is love – “He loved me.” In Him, there is life – “He lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus, for the love that He has shown to us and the life that He has given to us.
Lord, we do not come to You with our religion in one hand and our morality in the other. We do not come, insisting that we deserve to be blessed by You. Help us to bring our pride to the Cross of Christ. Help us to pray, “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me. Break me. Melt me. Mould me. Fill me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.”
What, Lord, are we praying for when we ask You to fill us with Your Spirit? We’re asking for more love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more faithfulness, more gentleness, more self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). We’re asking for more of Jesus – Jesus, reigning in our hearts; Jesus, taking control of our lives.
God bless you all.