Slow To Anger, Rich In Love

30th April

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; He does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve.”

Psalm 103:8-10

So often in my own life, I have fallen into sin and felt like I was in a whole of condemnation that I couldn’t get of. The sin was not only influencing my intimacy with Jesus, but also acted as a chain bound around my hands and feet stopping me from being who I was created to be and making me feel like a worthless spec in the eyes of God. Maybe you can relate to this when you have sinned or in habitual sin. It is like an overwhelming sense of un-worthiness. However this is complete lies! According to David’s words in these verses, God’s attitude and actions towards us are completely the opposite to what we deserve.

God’s character is full of love. He is compassionate and merciful. He knows we will make mistakes yet He still loves us. He is slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love (commitment love) towards us. When we slip up or make mistakes, He doesn’t come with a pointed finger condemning us of our sins and making us feel worthless. He doesn’t stay angry with us even though we might keep falling down. He even doesn’t deal with us as we deserve to be dealt with. He is love. He won’t stop loving us because of our behaviour. He loves us all the time irrespective of our behaviour.

However, when the Holy Spirit does convict us, (a Godly prompt that what we are doing or how we are living isn’t God’s best for us or in accordance with His ways), our role is to accept His prompting, ask forgiveness and get back up. God doesn’t want us to accept the lies that we are doomed to eternal damnation if we fall down. He doesn’t want us to stay down but get back up. He wants us to live in the truth that after you have asked for forgiveness He has forgotten about your sin and wants to shower you with more of His love. Reject the lies and accept the truth.

God Loves Justice

29th April

The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.”

Psalm 103:6

Throughout the world we see so much injustice that it must anger God so much. The very people He created are fighting, persecuting and even killing each other. Yet God fights for justice and righteousness. Jesus Himself said that He did not come for the well but for the sick, the outcasts and the marginalised in society.

So what is our role in bringing justice to the oppressed and hope to those treated unfairly? We must stand up and fight for those people, standing with them to oppose what is wrong and do what we can to bring God’s justice and righteousness in their situations. We must intercede for them in prayer and supplication, for the power of prayer is our greatest weapon. The great news is that God is actively answering those prayers because His desire is to see the prisoners and captives set free, the naked clothed and the hungry fed. His desire as David writes is to see “righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly”.

In Matthew 25:35-45, Jesus strongly presents a case for helping and serving those in need as if they are actually serving God Himself through their actions. Jesus’ tone in these verses has such a strong conviction as if He is trying to emphasize His point to His audience, I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me!” (verse 45).

God desires perfect harmony, peace and justice throughout humanity. His heart is to see His righteousness restored in mankind. As His children and His hands and feet on this earth, we have a great responsibility to participate with God in making that happen. We are not saved to become great disciples locked in our rooms but to make disciples out of the nations, showing Jesus’ love to all in the world, bringing His righteousness and glory to a dark and needy land. Will you accept the challenge?

Love Is The Root… Obedience Is The Fruit*

28th April

He forgives all my sins and heal all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.”

Psalm 103:3-4

What is our response to a God that does so many good things for us?

David continues this wonderful psalm and tell his readers of the attributes of a good God. He forgives our sins. He heals ALL our diseases. He redeems us from a life condemned to death and instead gives us life in fullness, crowning us with His own love and tender mercies. These words written here are not just empty words but eternal promises. They are truth when we are told lies. They build our faith when we are empty. They bring us back to the throne of the Father when we feel condemned by our sinful actions. They build us up when we feel alone and unloved. They bring life to our sickness and hopeless situation.

Our response to these wonderful statements of God’s goodness, is to accept and believe that God is for us and not against us. We cant just hear or even read these words and not put them into practice. We have to believe with our whole hearts that God is who He says He is and that His promises are as true when David wrote them as they are today in our very present situations. If we are to truly accept God’s promises over our lives then we have to obey His words as well by implementing them in our daily lives, situations and circumstances.

Being loved by a good God is such a radical way has to be the root of all we do and are. Obeying Him is the fruit of a life that accepts and put into practice His love, His truth and His promises. Speak His truth over your life and see the goodness of God in action.

* Matthew Henry, David Jeremiah: Daily Devotions

Let All That I Am Praise The Lord

27th April

Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart I will praise His Holy Name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things things He does for me.”

Psalm 103:1-2

So often we get caught up in our own lives, forgetting about anyone else but ourselves. Today’s verse is a strong reminder to us to remember us first love, to praise Him with everything and to remember all that God has done for us.

Have you ever had those moments, when you meet a friend you haven’t met for a long time and you start to reminisce about the ‘good old days’, thinking about the good times you had together, the memories you created and the trials and tribulations you faced together. It is such a great feeling. It is in moments like that, that you remember how much you liked this ‘friend’ and how much you enjoyed their company. Although it is not entirely the same, it still, in principle has a likeness to and with our relationship with God.

Remembering the good times and good things God has done for us, helps us in our attitude to worshiping Him with our whole heart. When we come before God with thanksgiving for all that He has done, our attitude towards God becomes much less about US and so much more about Him. God desires that we worship Him with our whole heart. Not just part of it and not just when we remember He is there like that distant old friend. He wants to be part of our every moment, creating new memories and giving us more things to be thankful for on a daily basis.

Don’t forget God’s goodness today. Instead remember all that He has already done and give thanks for all that He will continue to do. Praise Him from the depths of your soul.

The Generational Faithfulness Of God

25th – 26th April

Weekend Edition

For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.”

Psalm 100:5

Throughout the Bible, there are so many verses about God’s faithfulness and goodness. Why is it that so? Is it because we need reminding on a regular basis of the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord? Or is it because God doesn’t want us to forget that His faithfulness ‘continues to each generation’? Or is it simply because the authors that wrote about God’s faithfulness experienced it on a regular basis and wanted to share their experience with us, the readers?

Well you could answer yes to all the above questions. The underlying truth is, that God is faithful and His love continues forever! This verse is almost like a summary of the whole Bible. It is not about our doings or works, it is about who God is. A life spent getting to know God’s character and learning more about the attributes of God, as stated in this verse, is a life well spent. The simple truth of God’s goodness, faithfulness and love, is a wonderful message for us today, but also for the generations to come.

Let us join the writer of this wonderful psalm and pass on the news to our children, friends and foes. God is faithful. God is love. God is good. His character does not change when ours does. His mood does not change when ours does. His love for us is not dependent on our love for Him. He is faithful even when we are not.

Surely that is reason enough to enter His courts with joy and thanksgiving!! Shake off your worries and woes and rejoice in the goodness of God!

We Are His First Fruits…The Best Of The Best

24th April

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all He created.”

James 1:17-18

Yesterday we learned about how and why God gives us His good and perfect gifts and blessings. It is because of His GOOD character and not ours! It is because He is a loving and kind God.

Here in verse 18, it’s almost like the icing on the cake, with the prime words being “He chose”. Every gift from God is free, unconditional and an extension and example of His good character. None more so than the gift of salvation. He chose to save us and set us free from the bondage of sin, shame and guilt. That was and is the best GOOD gift of all time. He chose to save us while we were still sinners.

Yet there is more. The end of verse 18 says that we are like His “first fruits” of all He created. In other words “out of all creation”…”we became His prized possession” (NLT version of this verse). When farmers paid tithes, they were encouraged to give the first-fruits of their harvests. This was always the best of the crops, cattle and wheat. This showed that God would always be priority and get the best before anyone else. James tells us here that we are God’s best from all created things, on earth and above.

It is this reason that God sent Jesus to reconcile us back to Him. It is because He loved us so much, that He also sent His best, His Only Begotten SON…JESUS. He chose to restore our relationship with Him. That is the best and greatest gift of all time.

Remember as you go about your day today, that there is a God, choosing to bless you, choosing to pour out His love over you and choosing to give you His best. Will you give Him yours?

Every Good Gift Is From Above

23rd April

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of all He created.””

James 1:17-18

I often wonder how or why I deserve God’s gift to me. I am so blessed and thankful. I have so much in terms of God’s blessings. A family that loves me, food on my table, clothes on my back, good health and most importantly, salvation. Yet I often think, what have I done to deserve all this. The interesting answer is nothing.

James tells us in his eloquent words that actually God’s goodness towards us is not a result of anything we have done but a fruit of God’s good character. His love for mankind is not dependant on their deeds. It is simply who God is.God gives to us on the basis of His character and not on the basis of our character. God never gives us anything on the basis of who and what we are. God does not bless us because we tithe, witness or pray. We never earn or deserve anything from God.”*

God gives to us because He is good. It is His nature to be kind, loving and generous. In fact, James tells us that the God who created all of the heavens above (the Father of lights), doesn’t change His character ever! That is good news. God doesn’t stop being a generous and loving and giving God, if we have an “off” day or say something we shouldn’t have. He is who is He is because that is who He is, ‘a generous and loving and giving God’!

So today, if you feel like you are not worthy to accept God’s goodness, think again! We may not deserve His goodness, but that won’t stop Him lavishing it over us! Open your hands and heart and accept and receive what He wants to pour out over you!

*http://versebyversecommentary.com/james/james-117/

Honouring God Through The Authority He Gives Us

22nd April

You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority- the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea and everything that swims the ocean currents.”

Psalm 8:6-8

In Genesis chapter 1 God creates all living life and commissions mankind to care for and look after it. In verse 28, He exclaims that everything that fills the earth, man is to reign over and govern it. From the trees of the fields, to fish in the sea and even the birds in the sky. That responsibility holds true today as well.

Nature is God’s gift to mankind. It is not only necessary for us to survive but is also a beauty to behold. God has the earth in a perfect balance. The tress are there to provide oxygen for our breath, wood for our fires and shelter from the rain. The fruit, vegetables, wheat and grain provide the sustenance for our daily diets. The rain is God’s natural way of watering all of His creation. The natural springs of mountainous waters provide our daily liquid. The cows of the fields provide us with milk to produce cheeses, creams, butters and yoghurts. It is no wonder that God Himself took pleasure in His creation.

Yet if God delighted so much in creation before mankind was made, think about how much more He delights with us in it, His prime creation. However because He loved us so much, He gave us charge over all of creation, to tend the grounds, look after the animals and respect the fruit it harvests. Our response should be to care about it as much as He does. After all this is also part of our worship to Him.

Mere Mortals Loved By An Omnipotent God

21st April

When I look at the night sky and see the works of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them?”

Psalm 8:3-4

The earth and all that is in it, is enough to convince the doubter that there is higher being who has supreme powers and is much much bigger than humanity. Yet the wonder of the earth, is that it holds all human life and intelligence as we know it, yet is just a pea shaped sized ball in comparison to the vast known and unknown universe. The stars that light up our evening skies are mere punctuation marks in God’s autobiography of the universe. There is no doubt that God is so much bigger than we could ever imagine, if by His very hands He created the universe we live in and sustains it in a perfect balance.

Yet what astounds the reader of this wonderful psalm, is the reality that the God and Creator of the universe thinks about us, mere mortals. Human life is but a passing breath in God’s understanding of time and space, yet that very breath is why He made the universe to begin with. David is right to try to understand how such a big God, loves something so small and fickle as the mortal human life.

However, the reality is, that God does love us and wants to know and have a personal relationship with us individually, even though He is a supreme and omnipotent God. We may be only mortals, yet He does care for us. He cares when we cry, laugh or shout for joy. He cares when our children get into our first choice schools, or when parents celebrate the joys of being grandparents for the first time. He cares about us getting the job we have been searching for for so long. He even cares when things don’t go according to the way we wanted them to. Why? Because He does. He created us. In fact, He created us to show us His love.

Praise God, that the creator and sustainer of humanity, who cares about us so deeply and intimately.

Life Is So Frail

20th April

“How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”

James 4:14 NLT

Today, enroute to Tokyo, we witnessed a very traumatic situation. A man on our bus, passed out and fell un-conscious. We stopped the bus and carried the man out onto the street and waited for the ambulance service to arrive. They tried to resuscitate him and even applied the defibrillator to no avail. Although he was not pronounced deceased it didn’t look very hopeful as he lay there lifeless.

It was such a sad thing to see and so many questions wondered through my mind. What is his story? Does he have family? Did he have a health condition already? Yet above all, what stood out most to me was, was he ready to meet his maker?

Life is so frail and so temporary. No one can know when our time is up? No one can predict what life has in store for us. It is for this reason that we should make the most of every moment we have on this earth. We should keep short accounts with both God and man. And most importantly share the good news of Jesus’ love with people you meet. Don’t hold on to the great news of salvation, because you never know. You might be the last person that someone meets.

Everyday is a gift from God. Count your blessings for the air you breath, the legs that enable you to walk and for the friends and family around you.

If you read this and have not met Jesus yet, then don’t delay. Reach out and invite Him into your life. I promise that you won’t be disappointed… His love is just an acceptance prayer away.