Daily Devotions

monday 25th may – MARK 10:17-23

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” 18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honour your father and your mother.’” 20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” 21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” 22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.23 Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”

I have really been exercised in my thinking this week as I have been preparing these devotions for you, about the way we see and think about ourselves and how that impacts on our effectiveness to be used by the Lord. How you label yourself really matters! In this account from Mark chapter 10, this successful young man walks away, having decided against following Jesus. It almost seems as if Jesus failed him, in the sense that he failed to convince him. Should we label Jesus, a failure, in this instance? Of course not! And so here is my challenge for you, and me, today…Perhaps we should rethink how we interpret our failures too. Jesus and the Father are one. That did not change while he was on this earth. Therefore, Jesus connectedness to God meant he saw Himself rightly. As He was continuously connected to the Father, so we are continuously, through Him, connected to the Father…therefore our connectedness to God can do the same for us! “Christ in us the hope of glory!” Colossians 1:27.

Friday 22nd may – MATTHEW 25:14-30

““For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.28 Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.29 ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Following the thoughts I shared with you yesterday…you and I have a God-given responsibility to use our talents, gifts and ministries. If we want to hear the Father say, “Well done,” we need to get rid of the fear which paralyses us! When you take that leap of faith and do what He’s called and gifted you to do, you will discover that dimension, whereby He says, “It’s not by might nor by power but by My Spirit, says the Lord!” Zechariah 4:6. So come on…make that choice, today, no more hiding your talents, no more fear and intimidation, no more excuses…step out and use what He’s given you!

Thursday 21st may – LUKE 18:9-14

“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Faith is not escapism or denying the realities of life. The Bible doesn’t say we should try and pretend to be what we’re not  and neither does it overlook our inadequacies. The fact is, we are inadequate. Whatever is right about us…all of it, it provided by Jesus. Our responsibility is not to try and raise ourselves or elevate ourselves, but rather to humble ourselves. God does the raising. So remember today, as you meditate on these verses, that no matter how inadequate and unqualified you may feel…you do have a new and exalted position in Christ…and it’s founded on what He has done, not you, and on His righteousness, not yours.

WEDNESDAY 20th MAy – 2 CORINTHIANS 9:6-15

“But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written: “He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor;
His righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now may He who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your righteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

I really felt, after writing yesterday’s devotion, that there was more to share…so here it is…and again, this is a word for me, as much as for you. “For God loves a cheerful giver!”  The question is: Do you give God what is left after all your other commitments have been met, or do you put aside your offering and then trust Him to meet all your other needs? You see, God’s standards have not changed, regardless of what we have to give! God still judges our generosity, not by what we give, but by what we keep for ourselves, whether it’s tome, talents or money. Let the Holy Spirit help you examine your heart today, as I have asked him to examine mine, and help us to surrender all to Him.

TUESDAY 19th MAy – MARK 12:41-44

“Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. 42 Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites,  which make a quadrans. 43 So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; 44 for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”

As I read this passage again, for today’s devotion, I was again struck by the fact that “God sees everything!” Here Jesus was watching people as they gave in the temple. He watched the rich throw large amounts of money into the treasury. It was, however, the widow who slipped in and slid her two tiny coins into the heap, hoping not to be noticed, that caught the attention of Jesus, so much so, that He called the disciples to use her as an example to teach them a powerful spiritual principle. It wasn’t what she had given, but what she had kept for herself, that Jesus cared about. What have you given, what things have you surrendered to him…not just physical things…but your dreams, your desires, your ambitions…and what are you keeping for yourself? Now that’s a tough challenge, I know, even as I pen these words for you, I’m dealing with my own heart.

MONDAY 18th may – 1 SAMUEL 16:1-3

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.” And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.” But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.” So Samuel did what the Lord said, and went to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons, and invited them to the sacrifice. So it was, when they came, that he looked at Eliab and said, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him!” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees;  for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

So many times we disqualify ourselves or others from being part of God’s plan because we judge by externals. With Jesse age seems to have been an issue. David certainly had the right image to be a king, but because of his youth, he wasn’t even considered until all of his other brothers had been called and appeared before Samuel. God, however, chose David regardless of his age, appearance or obvious aptitudes, because he knew his heart. God looks at your heart today, and what he most looks for, is not capability, but availability. So say, “Today, Lord, I’m available, use me in any way You chose.”

FRIDAY 15th MAy – 2 Kings 8:8-18

“And the king said to Hazael, “Take a present in your hand, and go to meet the man of God, and inquire of the Lord by him, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’” So Hazael went to meet him and took a present with him, of every good thing of Damascus, forty camel-loads; and he came and stood before him, and said, “Your son Ben-Hadad king of Syria has sent me to you, saying, ‘Shall I recover from this disease?’” 10 And Elisha said to him, “Go, say to him, ‘You shall certainly recover.’ However the Lord has shown me that he will really die.” 11 Then he set his countenance in a stare until he was ashamed; and the man of God wept. 12 And Hazael said, “Why is my lord weeping?” He answered, “Because I know the evil that you will do to the children of Israel: Their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword; and you will dash their children, and rip open their women with child.” 13 So Hazael said, “But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” And Elisha answered, “The Lord has shown me that you will become king over Syria.”14 Then he departed from Elisha, and came to his master, who said to him, “What did Elisha say to you?” And he answered, “He told me you would surely recover.” 15 But it happened on the next day that he took a thick cloth and dipped it in water, and spread it over his face so that he died; and Hazael reigned in his place.16 Now in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab, king of Israel, Jehoshaphat having been king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat began to reign as king of Judah. 17 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 18 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife; and he did evil in the sight of the Lord.”

Elisha and his servant were facing imminent danger. They were surrounded on every side by the enemy. Elisha didn’t try to deny the situation or argue his servant out of his panic…he merely prayed for his eyes to be opened. The Lord answered and the servant saw the armies of the Lord protecting them. In all of the stresses of life and the risks and threats we face each day, if we look and listen, we will find abundant evidence that God is at work in this world, no matter how dark things may appear.

THURSDAY 14th MAY – 1 TIMOTHY 5:1-25

“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. Honour widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God.Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and not unless she has been the wife of one man, 10 well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. 11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, 12 having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. 13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially those who labour in the word and doctrine. 18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,”[c] and, “The labourer is worthy of his wages.” 19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 21 I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality. 22 Do not lay hands on anyone hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities. 24 Some men’s sins are clearly evident, preceding them to judgment, but those of some men follow later. 25 Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden.”

I want to challenge us, today, on the subject of our communication…how we speak to others. To communicate well, we need to rid ourselves of anything that prejudges another person or expects people to think and feel exactly as we do. In our passage today, we are given some practical guidance and advice on how we should address people and how different people should be treated. We have to understand that if we are going to love people, unconditionally, we have to let them be themselves and not allow our culture, upbringing and personal experiences to influence our interpretation.

WEDNESDAY 13th MAy – 1 SAMUEL 3:1-18

“Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no widespread revelation. And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see, and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel. And he answered, “Here I am!” So he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” And he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” And he went and lay down. Then the Lord called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” (Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.) And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you did call me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”11 Then the Lord said to Samuel: “Behold, I will do something in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them. 14 And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”15 So Samuel lay down until morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel was afraid to tell Eli the vision. 16 Then Eli called Samuel and said, “Samuel, my son!” He answered, “Here I am.”17 And he said, “What is the word that the Lord spoke to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that He said to you.” 18 Then Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. And he said, “It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him.”

I’m sure you’ve also had the experience I’ve had…where you’re just going about your usual business and when you least expect it, the Lord just “drops” something into your spirit and speaks to you about something really important. In this instance, Samuel wasn’t expecting to hear from God and he didn’t even immediately recognise His voice, but he was alert to the voice of the one was serving, in this case Eli. When the old priest, having discerned that it was the Lord, told him how to respond. He immediately did…he listened and obeyed. So today, in the midst of all of the hustle and bustle and noise…just be open to receive unexpected directions and instructions from the Father. Learn to trust His voice. The more you listen, the more you will be able to recognise Him!

TUESDAY 12th MAY – LUKE 1:46-55

“And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. 54 He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.”

God has a way of speaking to us about different things and in different ways. When the Lord spoke this word to Mary, her response was to praise Him. What is your response to His shaping, moulding and challenging you? Mary was fearful and uncertain at first, but her fear soon turned into praise of the goodness of God. Make sure, that as you listen and submit to Him this week, that you remember His goodness and faithfulness. Make sure you turn to Him and allow Him to work in you to bring change.

MONDAY 11th MAY – SONG OF SOLOMON 5:2-6

“I sleep, but my heart is awake;
It is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, my dove, my perfect one; for my head is covered with dew, my locks with the drops of the night.” I have taken off my robe; how can I put it on again? I have washed my feet; how can I defile them? My beloved put his hand by the latch of the door, and my heart yearned for him. I arose to open for my beloved, and my hands dripped with myrrh, my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the handles of the lock. I opened for my beloved, but my beloved had turned away and was gone. My heart leaped up when he spoke. I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.”

We have to distinguish between waiting and procrastinating. There can be no that there are occasions when God uses delays to teach us valuable lessons, but we should never put off for another day what we can and should do today. Yes we need routines and structure in our lives in order to properly manage our resources and schedules. We so easily get locked into these structures and can develop our comfort zones – our familiar ways of doing things. However, if these comfort zones prevent us from responding to God’s voice, they need to be dealt with. That’s a principle we all need to pponder as we begin to face the business and demands of this coming week.

wednesday 29th April – ROMANS 8:22-28

18  For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

 

Be reminded today, of the incredible promise of God’s providence towards you as His child. The truth is, that god orders even small events to serve the good of His people. Things that may even seem accidental to you are directed by God’s providence – His design. So look for His hand, throughout your day…and you will see Him at work in a fresh way, even in your so-called coincidences. Enter into the “rest” of knowing that he is ultimately in control.

Tuesday 28th april – COLOSSIANS 3:1-10

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

 

The challenge, today, is to realize that as a believer, you are set apart to God! The question is, “Can others tell?” Verse 2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. “ Does your life look like you’re set apart to God in what you say and do? What about your attitudes? How about the way you handle other people? We have to resist that pressure to adopt a phony façade. If you and I are truly His, the difference will emerge naturally, through our faith priorities. So today, my encouragement is simple…Set  your heart on things above!

Monday 27th April– PSALM 110:97-105

“Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Your precepts.
101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep Your word. 102 I have not departed from Your judgments,
For You Yourself have taught me. 103 How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
104 Through Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

 

What power there is in the Word of God! His Word not only keeps you from sin, but it also leads you in the right direction. Get the Word in you…store it up in your heart…meditate on it and renew your mind to it…it is your ultimate treasure! So determine as you begin today, that you are going to be like the wise builder who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27), and make His Word your ultimate authority in all things. This is truly the key to success (Joshua 1:8)!

friday 24th DECEMBER – JOHN 21:9-19

“Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have just caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.” Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?”—knowing that it was the Lord.13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.

14 This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”

17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. 18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” 19 This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”

At the beginning of this chapter Peter says, “I’m going fishing.” He was really saying, “What is there left for me but to go back to my old job. I’ve got to do something. I have totally failed the Lord. I feel guilty about it, but I can’t forgive myself.” He goes off with the weight of guilt hanging heavy on his shoulders, back to his old job. He struggles with where do I go from here? What do I do now? I blame myself over and over for what I did. I can’t do anything about it. He probably replayed the tape over and over from the time he denied Christ, but it didn’t do any good. He could not forgive himself and maybe he wasn’t sure if the Lord could even forgive him. It seemed just too difficult.  Does this sound familiar to you when trying to forgive yourself for something? At times there are certain things you look back on in your life that you punish yourself over and over for just like Peter did. It seems impossible to overcome. What can this scripture say to us today that will help us to get past the things that are keeping us chained to the past? I want to encourage you…don’t beat yourself up over the past. Jesus says to us, “I have forgiven you totally!” His forgiveness is all inclusive. That forgiveness includes forgiving yourself.  As we move away from our past, we also find in it the healing for ourselves. You CAN forgive yourself. Decide to do it today.

THURSday 23rd APRIL – PSALM 139:1-14

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”

The beauty industry sells us an image of perfection. One company’s slogan is, “Because I’m worth it!” God, however, has been saying that about you all along! We need to be reminded today that we are worth God’s time and effort, His Son’s life and His forgiveness, His patience and His disciplining care, His fathering and His love. So we can say with confidence and assurance, “This is who I am…God says so!” Do that right now…as you start the day…and it will bring you security and unshakeable certainty!

WEDNESDAY 22nd APRIL – ROMANS 8:28-38

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come”

The expectation of a smooth trouble free journey through life, planned by a God who won’t let us experience any pain or experience any trouble, can lead us to a spiritual crisis point when life doesn’t work out the way we expect it to. The fact is, that the Christian life is not a constant series of miracles. That is not to say that God does not intervene and fulfil His promises to us. What it does mean is that he is working it all out according to His master plan.

TUESDAY 21st APRIL – LUKE 15:3-10

“So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.“Or what woman, having ten silver coins  if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Often pictures of heaven focus on our joy at finding Jesus, but He also celebrates because he has found us. He so desperately wanted to find us that He left the comfort of heaven and died to rescue us, the angels cheering Him on every step of the way. Jesus had plans for you. He pursues you because He wants you to be part of eternity with Him

MONDAY 20th APRIL – EZEKIEL 1:4-28

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And thiswas their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels.

22 The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures[c] was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread outstraight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “heaven”? Ezekiel only caught a glimpse of a shadow of God’s presence, but that was enough to knock him flat. In this life, we only catch fleeting glimpses of God’s heavenly glory, often in the most unexpected people and places. These are treasures to spur us on in our journey of faith.

FRIDAY 17th APRIL – PSALM 91:1-16

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

In this psalm God tells us that He is our shelter, our rest, our refuge, cover, dwelling-place, shield and fortress. He will protect, guard and save. It could hardly be more comprehensive. What a mighty God we serve! All you have to do is creep into your Heavenly Father’s arms, in child-like faith, and you can have absolute security in whatever situation you find yourself in!

THURSDAY 16th April – (GENESIS 41:14-16)

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

How encouraged I am, every time I read the story of Joseph’s life. There are so many powerful things that we learn about the timing and faithfulness of God to fulfil His plans for us…no matter what! So today, do you feel trapped in a situation which seems to form unyielding bars around you? In these circumstances you can trust God to swing open the doors – in His perfect timing. In the meantime, it is important to ask the right question. Not “Why am I here?”, but “What does God want to teach me or in what way does He want to use me, right here in this situation?”

WEDNESDAY 15th April – ( MATTHEW 7:1-5)

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgement you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

They say that love is blind – at the beginning of a relationship we rarely even notice flaws in the other person. This uncritical spirit lasts only for a short while! Some of us are more critical than others, but we all tend to see the faults in others before we notice them in ourselves. So my challenge to you…and of course myself, today, is before we are tempted to criticise others, let’s first take a good look at ourselves, and always view others through the lens of love!

TUESDAY 14h April – (1 SAMUEL 16:1-3)

“Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons.”And Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.”But the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; you shall anoint for Me the one I name to you.”

We often disqualify others or ourselves from being part of God’s plan because we judge by externals. With Jesse age seems to have been an issue. David certainly had the right image for a king, but because of his age, he wasn’t even called until all of his brothers had appeared before Samuel. But God chose David regardless of his age, appearance or obvious aptitudes, because He knew his heart. Make yourself available today, for any way or opportunity God wants to use you. If you do…get ready for an adventure today!

MONDAY 13th april – (COLOSSIANS 1:9-14)

 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

Paul prayed often and fervently for the Colossians. We, on the other hand, are often too exhausted to pray once we’ve coped with the babies, dropping the kids off at school, catching the train to work, deadlines, clients and employers. We hardly have any energy, at times, to pray with real passion and fervency. We can make prayer so complicated! If we can talk, we can pray….it’s as simple as that. We don’t get qualified, we already are. Prayer can be a tremendous place, to recharge your energy and focus. Try it…it works every time, for me, no matter how busy I am!

FRIDAY 10th April – HEBREWS 13:1-5

“Let brotherly love continue. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.Marriage is honourable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have been a pastor for now more than thirty years. In that time I have had to meet and deal with people from all walks of life. From the wealthy to the poor, from the influential, down to those on the very fringes of society who would be considered outcasts. And through it all, one thing is clear…that all the money, prestige and recognition in the world, cannot buy the happiness found in heaven. The obvious question, then, is what makes heaven a happy place? Heaven is not a happy place because of the gates of pearl and streets of gold. Heaven is a happy place, because God is there! And he is not only “there” but He dwells in you 24/7! Therefore, whatever situation you are facing today…remember…Contentment says, “Even if my circumstances are difficult right now, I’m okay, because God is here!”

THURSDAY 9th April – PSALM 25:4-9

“Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your loving kindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.”

We live in a world today where people are so hungry for wisdom and knowledge. The question I want to ponder with you, today, is…How do you obtain wisdom? What is the formula? It isn’t education or aptitude or IQ. It isn’t “knowing” the right people or having the right connections. According to the Bible, the key is humility. It all starts when we humbly admit to Him that we need His guidance. When we do, I can tell you from personal experience, God will open your eyes to see things you wouldn’t normally see. He will connect you to a wisdom that James says comes from above (James 3:17).

WEDNESDAY 8th April – JAMES 4:7-10

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

How counter this is to the ways of the world. In God’s Kingdom the principle is…The way up is down! You don’t get God’s empowerment and attention by asserting your own independence but by acknowledging your need for Him. By giving God His rightful place in your life…on the throne of your heart as Lord and King, you put yourself in a position to receive all he has purposed for you, including greater influence and recognition. Spend a little time today, ensuring you have given up control to Him.

TUESDAY 7th April – 1 PETER 5:1-5

“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly,[a] not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

My thought for you today, is this…When you put others first, you attract God’s enabling power in your life! Often in a group some people are easily overlooked, but when you make these “forgotten” people the centre of attention, and when you look for those who have no reputation and let them know that they matter to you…something significant takes place. You are doing God’s work and it will cause a divine exchange to happen in your life. It will literally release the favour of God in you and towards you. Try it…you will be amazed!

MONDAY 6th April – PROVERBS 14:15-18; 26-27

“The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps. 16A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. 17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
to turn one away from the snares of death.”

As believers we have to be aware that traps are everywhere, but the bible says that a wise person looks where his foot is going to land before he takes a step. We need to pray for Godly discernment at all times. The enemy will often try to mislead us through people, so we need to learn to recognise his distractions. Ask the Lord, today, to keep you from being gullible. Let your prayer be, “Lord, let me be wise without becoming needlessly suspicious…Amen”

FRIDAY 3RD APRIL – 1 CORITHIANS 13:1-8; 13

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.  13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

How do we define or describe love? Well (1 Corinthians 13) is a great place to start. We know that God is love (1 John 4:8) and love comes from God (1 John 4:7) and for that reason we should love one another. But how do we know that we have the real deal? Well, let me give you a few things to think about! Look at how you behave…If others don’t easily annoy you, if you can rejoice when others are winning and you aren’t, if you don’t feel the need to “toot your own horn”, and if it’s easy to show others that you care…you have the real thing! If not, then ask the Father to let the Holy Spirit shed abroad His love anew and afresh in your heart today (Romans 5:5). Let Him embrace you with a fresh revelation of how much He loves you…it will make all the difference! KKC FEB 15

THURSDAY 2ND APRIL – PROVERBS 11:12-13

 12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbour, but a man of understanding holds his peace. 13 A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.”The Book of James warns us of the damage our words can do. (James 3:2-10) “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

Tale-baring or gossiping is such a destructive thing and we are so easily drawn into it, often when we didn’t intend to. Almost every office, school classroom or neighbourhood will have its gossiper….pinch yourself and ask yourself…”I hope it’s not you?”

Our words can so damage people and even ruin someone’s reputation. Use your words today to build people up and not break them down. When and if you are confronted by gossip today, refuse to participate in it…in fact be bold and daring enough to stop it right there! Make a choice…my words are going to bless others and not curse them.

WEDNESDAY 1ST APRIL – PROVERBS 16:22-32

22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly. 23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips. 24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. 25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 26 The person who labours labours for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on. 27 An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire. 28 A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbour, and leads him in a way that is not good. 30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He pursues his lips and brings about evil. 31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Our challenge today, is (verse 32) and it deals with a subject we all face, and that is anger. On a daily basis we are confronted with issues that anger us…sometimes for the right reasons and sometimes for the wrong reasons. Being angry is not, in itself, wrong. The Bible says that we are to be angry but not to sin (Ephesians 4:26), and we are not to let our anger continue unresolved. Sometimes anger, at injustice, for example, can motivate you to action. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about anger in your life: Is my anger motivating constructive action? Is it appropriate to the situation? Does my angry reaction reveal that I’m holding onto past hurts and wounds that I need to surrender to the Lord? One of the things I am working through right now is to never allow anger to be my first response! Often when I just take a moment to breathe and gain perspective, my reactions are very different, and the outcome so much more positive.

TUESDAY 31ST MARCH – PROVERBS 1:26

“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” (The Message Bible)God is omniscient, meaning He is all-knowing; we know and accept that as a fact. The challenge today, is how do we access that wisdom. We know that our first source is to ask God (James 1:5). Prayer is a tremendous way to open your heart and mind to listen for God’s still small voice. The Word of God is another source of wisdom (Psalm 119). But today, let’s be reminded that God’s wisdom arrives in all kinds of different packages, so be open, as our reading encourages us, to learn from the wisdom of others. When I am faced with challenging and difficult choices, I always try to consult with people with different kinds of strengths sometimes even those, I know, will have a different perspective to me!

MONDAY 30TH MARCH – PROVERBS 3:13-19

13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, And her gain than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. 16 Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honour. 17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her. 19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens.”

The intricate wisdom of our God is seen everywhere, especially in His work of creation. The forces of nature are in perfect balance. Every living cell is a marvel of design. Scientists may try to disprove that there is a Creator God, behind all things…but for the believer, science actually documents the beauty and genius of God’s design. Be encouraged, today, to know, that that same God, is not only your Creator, but your Father. The same wisdom that he used, to sculpt the universe, guided Him, when He planned your life. So trust Him, even when you don’t know the details…He does!

FRIDAY 27TH MARCH – PSALM 139:1-14

“O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up;
You understand my thought afar off.
You comprehend my path and my lying down,
And are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue,
But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.
You have hedged me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is high, I cannot attain it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.”

The beauty industry sells us an image of perfection. One company’s slogan is, “Because I’m worth it!” God, however, has been saying that about you all along! We need to be reminded today that we are worth God’s time and effort, His Son’s life and His forgiveness, His patience and His disciplining care, His fathering and His love. So we can say with confidence and assurance, “This is who I am…God says so!” Do that right now…as you start the day…and it will bring you security and unshakeable certainty!

THURSDAY 26TH MARCH – ROMANS 8:28-38

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come”

The expectation of a smooth trouble free journey through life, planned by a God who won’t let us experience any pain or experience any trouble, can lead us to a spiritual crisis point when life doesn’t work out the way we expect it to. The fact is, that the Christian life is not a constant series of miracles. That is not to say that God does not intervene and fulfil His promises to us. What it does mean is that he is working it all out according to His master plan.

WEDNESDAY 25TH MARCH – LUKE 15:3-10

“So He spoke this parable to them, saying: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.“Or what woman, having ten silver coins  if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ 10 Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Often pictures of heaven focus on our joy at finding Jesus, but He also celebrates because he has found us. He so desperately wanted to find us that He left the comfort of heaven and died to rescue us, the angels cheering Him on every step of the way. Jesus had plans for you. He pursues you because He wants you to be part of eternity with Him.

TUESDAY 24TH MARCH – EZEKIEL 1:4-28

Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And thiswas their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves’ feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze. The hands of a man were under their wings on their four sides; and each of the four had faces and wings. Their wings touched one another. The creatures did not turn when they went, but each one went straight forward.

10 As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces. Their wings stretched upward; two wings of each one touched one another, and two covered their bodies. 12 And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went.

13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches going back and forth among the living creatures. The fire was bright, and out of the fire went lightning. 14 And the living creatures ran back and forth, in appearance like a flash of lightning.

15 Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel. 17 When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures  was in the wheels.

22 The likeness of the firmament above the heads of the living creatures[c] was like the color of an awesome crystal, stretched out over their heads. 23 And under the firmament their wings spread outstraight, one toward another. Each one had two which covered one side, and each one had two which covered the other side of the body. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army; and when they stood still, they let down their wings. 25 A voice came from above the firmament that was over their heads; whenever they stood, they let down their wings.

26 And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. 27 Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of One speaking.”

What do you think of when you hear the word “heaven”? Ezekiel only caught a glimpse of a shadow of God’s presence, but that was enough to knock him flat. In this life, we only catch fleeting glimpses of God’s heavenly glory, often in the most unexpected people and places. These are treasures to spur us on in our journey of faith.

MONDAY 23RD MARCH – PSALM 91:1-16

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

In this psalm God tells us that He is our shelter, our rest, our refuge, cover, dwelling-place, shield and fortress. He will protect, guard and save. It could hardly be more comprehensive. What a mighty God we serve! All you have to do is creep into your Heavenly Father’s arms, in child-like faith, and you can have absolute security in whatever situation you find yourself in!

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