Intercession

30th September

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.”

1 Timothy 2:1

Intercession is at the core of God’s heart. Jesus did it for us when He was physically alive on the earth and continues to interceded for us at the right hand of the Father as our Great Intercessor, making petition’s on our behalf, because of His sacrifice. Paul did it for the churches he planted. And we as believers are also challenged here in today’s verse to do the same. So what is intercession?

The historical and political meaning of intercession, according to the Cambridge dictionary, is to make a plead, on someone else’s behalf, to someone of higher authority, so that the person you are interceding for, may be forgiven or saved from punishment. Sound familiar? That is exactly what intercession is. It is pleading to God on behalf of someone, for their healing, spiritually or physically. It is coming to God with whatever burden you feel that the Holy Spirit is revealing to you, to pray for that person. It is standing in the gap for someone when you know they have no strength to pray. It standing alongside someone for their dreams and aspirations, standing in agreement with them. It is asking God for people’s salvation, so that His Kingdom may come on this earth. It is inviting God’s grace and mercy into people’s hearts and situations. It is thanking God for people’s lives.

Prayer is a powerful tool in the armoury of a believer. Intercession is part of that and is strategic in implementing God’s will and His Kingdom here on this earth.

Love Is Not Just An Emotion BUT An Action

29th September

Love is patient and kind. Love is not Jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The entire ‘theory’ of love can be summed up in one word: Jesus. His life, His death and everything before and after, was and is the perfect example of who and what love is. He cared for the broken, looked out for the persecuted, fought against injustice and died a sacrificial life. Jesus never gave up, He endured through the most painful and excruciating death because of His love for us. He never keeps a record of wrong for those who ask for forgiveness. He washes us clean and after that it’s forgotten. He was never proud or rude in a sinful way because everything He did was out of love for His Father and for us. He was kind to all He met, patient with His disciples and always full of faith. He was and is the complete summary of what love is.

That is our role model, that is how we should live love in our lives. Love isn’t just a nice feeling in your body. Love is action. It is interesting that Paul writes more about what love is ‘not like’ as if to say, ‘here is what love is not like, go and live what it should be like’! Love is the essence of our faith. Go and action love.

The Message Of Christ: Revisited

28th September

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.”

Colossians 3:16

‘Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives’…. Well what is the message of Christ? What is the message of the cross? Simply put, it is about love. It is about a loving, Almighty God, sacrificing His own Son so that He can restore the severed relationship between God and mankind. It is about grace. It is about acceptance. It is about identity and purpose. The fullness and richness of the Gospel is not just Good News, it is the Good News that changes lives.

You have been accepted to stand before the Holy throne of God because of what Jesus did for you on the cross. You have been filled with the grace of God who saw it fit to empty Himself for you and lay down His life in your place. His grace now accepts you no matter what you have done or what you will do. Our confession and His forgiveness is integral in that acceptance. Your identity is now not as a ‘sinner’ (although we still sin that is not who we are), our identity is now as a son or daughter of God, a royal priesthood, a chosen people and a loved bride waiting for our King to return.

Friends, the richness and fullness of the message of Christ is ‘life transforming’. That is why we sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in our hearts. Let us continue to encourage each other with the fullness of His message and teach and counsel others too.

Believe. . . ! Doubt Your Doubts!

27th September

““Peace be with you,” He said. Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!””

John 20:26c-27

Thomas was one of the only disciples that didn’t believe Jesus had physically risen from the dead, even though he had been told that Jesus had revealed Himself to the other disciples, on the same day of His resurrection. John tells us that 8 days later, as the disciples where gathered together, Jesus showed up in their midst. Guess who was there this time?! Yes, Thomas.

One of the most amazing points of this story, if not the pinnacle of this story, is the way that Jesus revealed Himself to Thomas. Earlier Thomas had said to the other disciples that he wouldn’t believe Jesus had resurrected unless he saw the ‘nail wounds in His (Jesus’) hands’, put his ‘fingers into them’ and put his hands into ‘the wound in His (Jesus’) side’. When Jesus saw Thomas, guess what He did to prove His bodily resurrection to Thomas. He graciously let Thomas see His hands, put his fingers into them and touch the wound in His side. It was exactly the kind of evidence Thomas needed. As a result Thomas did believe. So much so, that according to some Christian historical records, Thomas was the first man to take the Good News to India.

What does this mean for us? If Jesus saw it fit to calm Thomas’ doubts by showing Him exactly what he wanted to see, then shouldn’t that be of significance to us too. When we pray for people to come to know Christ, why not pray that Jesus would reveal Himself to them in exactly the way that they need, to no longer doubt but believe! Jesus could have performed a miracle, could have spoke a prophetic word or done so much more to prove Himself to Thomas. Yet He didn’t because He chose to reveal Himself to Thomas in exactly the way he needed.

Lord, I pray that You would reveal Yourself to . . . . . . ., and show them exactly what they need to be rid of their doubts and believe in You. Just as you did with Thomas, meet them where they are at, with what they need to believe in You.. IN JESUS’ NAME. Amen

Do With All Thy Might

26th September

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”

1 Corinthians 15:58

Thank God that because of Jesus, we don’t have to ‘work hard’ to get or gain our salvation. It is a free gift, freely available for those who believe and receive it. It is a belief and acceptance that Jesus died, paid for your sins and rose again to make you whole again. Yet believing, accepting and receiving your salvation is just the beginning of your ‘born again’ life. There is so much more to discover about who God made you to be, about who God is and His plans for your life and for the world you live in.

Paul, in today’s key verse was priming the Corinthian church for life after his departure and giving them spiritual guidelines to live a full life in Christ. His last words in chapter 15, are words of encouragement, not just to the Corinthian church but also to us, to give God your all in all you do. Why do we this? Is it to make God love us more? No way!! There is nothing we can do that changes God’s unconditional love towards us. Working enthusiastically for the Lord means that you work to implement God’s will, firstly in your own life, but then in the spheres of influence God has put you in. It means sowing the seeds of the gospel enthusiastically, living Godly lives enthusiastically to bring glory to Him, encouraging enthusiastically, loving enthusiastically, and being Jesus enthusiastically! As Paul says, know this, nothing you ever do ‘for the Lord is’ useless!! When we serve Him enthusiastically, He gets the glory and in turn we are blessed; both in this life and in eternity…!

God’s Workmanship Is Marvellous

24th & 25th September

Weekend Edition

 

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous – how well I know it.”

Psalm 139:13-14

David had such a wonderful way of putting things. He had a deep yet simple comprehension of who his God was and who he was in God. What if David had been alive in today’s age, where we have MRI scans, CT scans, Ultrasounds and X-Rays. It’s guaranteed that he will be even more thankful and filled with praise when he could truly see the amazing way God has created us through the eyes of modern technology.

It is good to praise God for how He has made us; The care He has taken in designing us and the blessings our lives are in Him. If God cared so much to individually design you, create you and knit you together in your mother’s womb, then your life is super precious right?! Yet more than us, it is God’s workmanship that should get the praise. If God cared so much about designing us, and we wholeheartedly believe that, then surely that means that we can trust Him; Trust Him with healing the body He made for us. Trust Him with our lives and future. Trust Him in our work situations, financial situations and family situations.

God is our Creator, Sustainer and Provider. We can trust Him with our bodies and our lives. He is worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.

A Blessing From The Book Of Psalms: Re-Visited

23rd September

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them sing joyful praises forever. Spread Your protection over them, that all who love Your Name may be filled with joy. For You bless the Godly, O Lord; You surround them with Your shield.”

Psalm 5:11-12

David knew the benefits of God’s gracious love. He knew that he could call upon the Lord in both his time of need and in peace. He had full security in who he was in the Lord. Moreover he had full assurance that because of God’s unfailing love towards him, he could enter into God’s presence and rejoice in the fullness of God’s love.

We too can have that same assurance, security and peace knowing that we are loved by the Creator of the universe. We are protected by the Saviour of the world. In addition, we can find rest for our weary souls, in the refuge of our Father’s loving arms.

May David’s blessing, in today’s verse, be relevant for your life. May God truly bless you. May you find refuge in God’s presence. May joy fill your heart. And may you find protection from the enemy as you are surrounded with the Lord’s shield. The Lord is for you and not against you. Be blessed!

May “all who love Your Name may be filled with joy.”

The God Who Lives Among Us

22nd September

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

Zephaniah 3:17

God is in the business of renewal. He wants you to succeed and wants to renew you, forgive you, redeem you and make you whole. Today’s verse is taken from the book of Zephaniah, an Old Testament prophet, who was delivering God’s words of judgement to the nation of Judah for their rebellious and evil actions towards the One True God. Yet God always promises a way out. He always leaves His hand open to reconciliation and forgiveness. And He always promises a new life for those who turn back to Him. Today’s verse is one of those promises, and also a clear pointer to the coming of Jesus Christ.

Who is the God who lived among us? Emmanuel, Jesus Christ. Even Jesus’ own name means Saviour (or the Lord saves). His perfect love does casts our all fears of judgement (1 John 4:18) because He renews us with His love and took our punishment for us. He sings joyful songs over us and delights in us with gladness. What an amazing picture of a God who wants to set us free from judgement and liberate us with His love. That love came in the form of Jesus Christ, who freely and purposefully laid down His life for us and gave us freedom from judgement. Now He rejoices over us, His children. He literally sings joyful songs over us. That is how much He delights in us.

Today’s verse is not only a promise of new life for the nation of Judah but a promise for all eternity for those who out their trust in Him. Be encouraged, God lives among us and He is our Saviour!!

Victory Over Death

21st September

Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap and let him go!””

John 11:43-44

Death is a horrible thing. It deprives us of loved ones and it takes away future memories together. Yet, as believers, death is not the end. It is the beginning of a new and painless life with Christ for eternity; an eternal life promised as an inheritance of our salvation by Jesus Himself. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus demonstrated time and time again, His authority over the enemy, over evil, over sin and ultimately over death, including His own death. Paul alludes to this in 1 Corinthians 15:55 and says, “O death, where is your sting.” He then continues and exclaims that God “gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ,” implying that death’s sting, the pain of loosing someone, although it is hard, is not the end.

It is through Jesus’ victory over His death and in His resurrection, that we too find victory over our deaths. Furthermore, not only do we have victory over our physical death’s, but also we find new life in Christ spiritually too. Jesus came not only to raise the physically dead, like Lazarus in today’s story, but also to raise the spiritually dead and give new life to us all. He came so we would have life and life in all of it’s fullness. He came to breath life into our dry bones.

Friends, if you have lost someone recently, then we mourn with you for your loss. But we want you to know, that it is not the end but the beginning of a new life in Heaven with Christ. A life that is freely available to all who ‘believe in Him’ so that none ‘perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

Every Knee Will Bow

20th September

When Jesus was still some distance away, the man saw Him, ran to meet Him, and bowed low before Him. With a shriek, he screamed, “Why are You interfering with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In the Name of God, I beg you, don’t torture me!””

Mark 5:6-7

As Jesus arrived in Gerasenes, a demon possessed man came out from ‘a cemetery to meet Him.’ This man had so many demons in him, that not even chains or shackles could keep him down. Yet there was one thing that could. Jesus’ presence. Jesus came and the man possessed by the demon fell at His feet. He acknowledged who Jesus was and fell in submission to Him. Isn’t that a great picture who our God is? This is the God we serve friends. Even demons can’t help but fall to the feet of Jesus in submission. There was no fighting. There was no arguing. There was no physical contact. It was just Jesus’ presence that caused ‘legion’ to submit to Jesus’ authority. In the previous chapter, in Mark 4, Jesus demonstrated that even the wind and waves submitted to His voice when He calmed the storm with just His word ‘Silence’!

When we understand the God we serve, every circumstance we face, every opposition we meet, both physically and spiritually, that seems to tower over us, falls into submission to our powerful God. This powerful God, this King Jesus, is our God and our King. He is on our side. There is nothing or no-one, no circumstance or opposition that can even stand against the power of Jesus. Submit all to Him, invite Jesus’ presence into your situation and watch the victory you have in Him.