Reflections

Come, let us return to the LORD… Let us press on to know Him.

Reflection on Hosea 6:1-4
“Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.” 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes early away.”

As another Christmas draws near there can be mixed emotions that draw near along with it. We may feel all that needs to be done and the stress with that. We may see all the constant Christmas stuff everywhere and be a bit… well annoyed! We may feel those we miss, those we wish we could be with at Christmas, those we love.

As we read the book of Hosea in the Bible we see a picture of the people of Israel who were unfaithful. They left behind the God who had made them, the One who had rescued them. They worshiped the things they made. They worshiped things. And they forgot God, they left Him behind. They valued the gifts and not the Giver.

Here is an invitation for us this Christmas: “Come, let us return to the LORD… “let us press on to know the Him.” He is the One we have be made for. We will not find lasting satisfaction in this world. Even the best Christmas day with all those we love and cherish, even the best food and the greatest gifts will not satisfy us because we were made for so much more.

We were made to know the One who made us. The real tragedy this Christmas would be to let another year go by without pursing knowing God Almighty, without enjoying Him above all things. The One who has made us, the One who has drawn near to us in Jesus. The baby boy who was born 2000 years ago, was the Eternal Son sent to save us. Sent to bring us back into relationship with God.

My prayer for you this Christmas is that you would be surprised with the joy that only knowing God can bring – that only having forgiveness and friendship with God through Jesus can bring – lasting joy. Joy that no sadness can fully remove because it is a joy that is not based on our health, it is a joy that is not based on our circumstances, or even on how our Christmas goes – who might be there or who might be missing…

But it is joy that is based on God Himself – who not only calls us to come back to Him, to know Him, but who also makes the way back to Him possible through Jesus. This is a joy my friends that you can know today that will last into eternity. A joy inexpressible and full of glory.

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9

 

 

Reflections

Living with Jesus as our King is not a chore but the path to true joy and eternal pleasure in God’s kingdom.

A reflection on Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

There is a lot of junk out there! You don’t have to do much to be exposed to a lot junk. You only have to turn on the television, or put on the radio or even just walk through the streets to hear and to see a lot of junk.

The world Paul lived in 2000 years ago was in many ways no different. Different junk, but junk none the less. There are so many things in our world, in our lives that are false, immoral, impure, and just plain wrong in the sight of God – and it is easy to get caught up in these things that are not helpful for us to think about or give our time too.

Paul here in this passage gives the followers of Jesus not a list of do’s and don’ts as much as an encouragement to focus on what is best and worth our time – what will be of benefit. The psalmist writes: ‘Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.’ (Psalm 119:37).

God’s people are encouraged here to think about, to meditate on, that which is excellent and praiseworthy. God’s word teaches us what that is. A problem sometimes is that we can think about God like an overprotective parent who doesn’t want his children to do anything ‘fun’.

God is in reality though, a loving Father who can see the cliff edges and calls out to his children ‘watch out!’ The pitfalls of sin and trouble are still out there for those who follow Jesus, calling out daily for our attention and energy. But here we have a picture of God who cares about us so much that He encourages us to focus on things that in fact will bless us, will bless others and will glorify Him.

Living with Jesus as our King is not a chore but the path to true joy and eternal pleasure in God’s kingdom. 

Reflections

It is only in God’s perfect love that we see how we are to live a life of love.

A reflection on James 1:19-20
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

God’s word is constantly wise and true. I am sure if you are anything like me there are many times in your life (maybe often) when you have wished that you hadn’t said what you did say, that you have regretted speaking or when you have not taken the time to listen and so you have failed to show love or misunderstood what someone was saying.

It is the same with anger; we are so easily not slow to become angry but quick to do so. People say something that sets us off and we are not slow but move towards anger. James here tells us that this kind of anger ‘does not bring about the righteous life that God desires’.

The truth is that God wants His people to live differently. When someone places their trust in Jesus’ death for their sins and follows after Him as their King they are empowered by God’s Holy Spirit to live differently, to say ‘no’ to how they used to live and to say ‘yes’ to Jesus.

For God’s children we are called to reflect our Father in heaven, with calmness, with patience and deep love that listens and seeks to understand others. We seek to listen well and to speak ‘only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.’

Of course we fail in this every day, but we continue to look to Jesus for forgiveness and to seek it out from others and to pursue more and more by God’s power to reflect Jesus to those around us.

It is only in God’s perfect love that we see how we are to live a life of love.