Reflections

“I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

Reflection on Psalm 25:5-9

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

David knew the sins of his youth were something that left to himself he could not cover up or deal with. The truth is that God sees all and knows all. This leaves us in a terrible predicament left to ourselves because we cannot do anything to erase our past, we cannot do anything to cover up those times we have hurt others and hurt God.

But David did not rely on what he could do to cover it up – in fact he did the very opposite, he confessed his sins (see also Psalm 51), he asked God to show him mercy, to pour out His steadfast love.

David turned the God who ‘instructs sinners in the way’, the God who ‘leads the humble’ and teaches ‘the humble his way’ – David turned to the God who does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.’… but instead …’as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.’ (Psalm 103:10-12).

Here’s the bottom line then. God is not looking for the pretender. He is not looking for the one who can put on the best show outwardly that they are good – but rather the one who admits they are not. And the one who in that turns to Him, to His mercy and His love – who turns to God alone to rescue them, to forgive them, to guide them, to save them.

John Newton the hymn writer who wrote the famous hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ put it beautifully when he said: “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

For the person who puts their trust in Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for their sin – their remains no more payment for sin, but total forgiveness and everlasting life with God as their Father – there is no other truth worth living for, and no other joy that arms us to face all our days. Oh, what a God! Oh, what a Saviour!

Reflections

Teach us to sit at our Lord’s feet, listening to His teaching.

A reflection on Luke 10:38-42

38 Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Wouldn’t it be a shame if we were distracted by things that were lest than what life is all about? Wouldn’t it be a shame to gain the whole world, or even some of it and lose our eternal soul?

Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). True life, eternal life and joy comes through a relationship with the Eternal God through Jesus Christ. Don’t miss that in your life!

But here’s probably the heart of the passage from Luke and where it strikes me time and time again: Martha was ‘distracted’ with ‘much serving’. In fact, she was serving the Lord Jesus Christ. You can only imagine if Jesus was in your house and you were the host that you would want to put on a pretty good spread!

Here’s the thing: In all her serving Him, she was distracted from the most necessary thing, the most joyous thing, the most important daily need of the disciple: to sit at our Lord’s feet and listen to His teaching.

Here’s where I am challenged: Do I go into my day to get done all those things that are even good things and even help others and neglect the relationship that should drive all I do?

Do I miss out on sitting with my Lord daily in His word where my anxieties and troubles seem so small in the light of His glory and grace? Is sitting at His feet my priority, my joy, my delight – is it my daily need, the one thing necessary, that ‘good portion’?

Because I am reminded often that it is when I neglect this daily need – even by being very busy and distracted with much serving that in fact I find myself anxious and troubled by many things.

Oh Father, teach us to sit at our Lord’s feet, listening to His teaching. Thank you for your Word where our anxieties and troubles are lifted in the peace that only comes from You – from knowing You.

You are the God we were made for – to know You.

Help us not to miss that, but rather to sit in peace at Your feet.

Reflections

How are you responding to Jesus?

A reflection on Matthew 21-23
The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
… “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, `Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Matthew 21:9; 23:37-39)

There were so many different responses to Jesus. Amazement, praise, glory, anger, hatred and disbelief. I wonder how have you responded? And more importantly, how are you responding to Jesus today?

He claimed to be the Son of God. He claimed to be the One who could forgive sins, and free those enslaved, and bring eternal life to the dead.

It is not enough to answer that we like Jesus, or that we are fond of Him – if that is all – we may as well be indifferent or opposed. As C. S. Lewis so helpfully put it:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.

That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.

He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

How have you responded to Jesus? And more importantly, how are you responding to Jesus today? If He is King and God then He has earned your all, the whole shebang, your everything. How are you responding to Him…

Reflections

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.

A reflection on Psalm 62

1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. 2 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall never be shaken.
5
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. 6 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken. 7 My salvation and my honour depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:1-2; 5-8)

You can probably recall times of great tiredness… maybe a new born baby, maybe night shift work or a time of sleeplessness that left you… well.. very tired…

But there is a restlessness of soul also. It was St Augustine who said: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.”

Here the Psalmist says that he finds rest in God alone, his salvation comes from Him. Later he says ‘find rest, o my soul, in God alone’ – I love the interaction he has with his own soul. Find rest my soul! Find your rest in God!

The problem is that we look for rest and satisfaction in all the wrong places… in work, in money, in possessions, even in people but they can never give us what only God can – rest for our souls.

He gives us this rest in Jesus – who is our Eternal Rest. Those who put their souls hope in Him will find a Rock, a Fortress, a Refuge that will never fail them. A God who we can as the Psalmist says “pour out our hearts to”.

This God is One Whom His people can trust, and never be shaken. Suffering will come, hardships… yes… but even  death itself will only bring God’s people entry into His everlasting joy and rest.

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.

 

Reflections

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is in Him.

A reflection on Psalm 62
“For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2)

We do not live in a world or a culture of silence, of waiting, of dependence on God. We live in a world and culture of the have it now and today, of busyness and panic that can leave us frazzled, hurried, hasty and anxious…

There are times when there is so much going on, so much happening (or maybe even so little), times when our circumstances seem to control our emotional and mental reality and we are left overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated or resigned to the situation and we can give up hope…

I love this Psalm. It is our remedy. Verses 5-8 say: “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”

How often I need to hear these words, how often we each need to hear them. The psalmist here (as at other times), speaks to himself. ‘O my soul, wait in silence!’ He reminds himself of the truth: ‘my hope is from God. He only is my rock and my salvation!’

You may be facing something difficult. It may be that you don’t know how you can go on, or what will happen next.

Or it might be just a sense of anxiousness and feeling overwhelmed by circumstances… Whatever it is I pray this Psalm will remind you that God is a Rock to his people, a Fortress who you can pour out your heart to.

Take some time to stop, to rest, to meditate on who this God is. Mighty to save, the God who loves you so much that He sent Jesus to rescue you from your sin and brokenness, and bring you and me into relationship with Him, as our Father in heaven. Stop, and wait in silence on God.

He never fails those who trust in Him. Never.

Reflections

Come now, come often, come always to God.

A reflection on Philippians 4:4-7

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

If you are human, then you have felt anxious. There so is much to make us anxious. The world around us – with wars, starvation, abuses and neglect. In the lives of those around us – with relationship breakdowns, the people we love struggling, and diseases and death that don’t end. And there is much within ourselves – uncertainly, physical and mental pain or distress, or even the guilt or shame of past mistakes.

The word anxious is derived from the word having the idea ‘to strangle’. Recently I was at a wedding, and my suit was tighter than it is has been in the past 🙂 and I remember thinking that anxiousness feels like this, a squeezing, a choking, an uncomfortable feeling. What is the remedy to anxiousness? How do we escape it? How do we deal with it?

Paul tells us here, the remedy is the peace of God. As we come to God ‘in everything’ – every struggle and temptation, every anxious thought and worry. We come to God by prayer and we plead to Him. We come always with thanksgiving – we remember all His goodness – even when our struggles seem countless. We thank God for life, for friends (even if they be few), and for Christ Jesus – the gift of His Son to forgive all our sins and bring us to God.

We come to God with all our worries, all our fears, all that which is strangling us. We lay it before Him. It is God who gives us His peace – the peace of God – which surpasses all understanding, which guards our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.

So come now, come often, come always to God – the God of peace – and in the midst of all of your anxiousness, find in Him, through Jesus, joy and peace immeasurable.