Thursday, April 30, 2020

30 Apr 2020 - Psalm 53 and Luke 24:50-53.

Daily Devotion 30th April

Psalm 53 and Luke 24:50-53. 

Psalm 53 describes man’s evil, corrupt and foolish nature. This psalm is almost identical to Psalm 14. Both were written by David, probably at different times in his life. The apostle Paul quotes Psalm 53 in Romans 3:10-12. The theme is clearly important and God wants us to pay attention to what he is telling us through these scriptures. 

Psalm 53:1-3 tell us about our original sinful nature. David warns us in verse 1 not to disregard God. Without God and left to our own foolish desires and impulses, we are all sinful and corrupt. In verse 2, God watches us closely to see if any of us understands our sinful state without God and if we will seek Him. Unfortunately, in verse 3 He finds that everyone has turned away and become corrupt; no one does good. 

Psalm 53:4-5 describe the actions and state of mind of people who disregard God. They destroy and “devour” people carelessly and easily without a thought, “as men eat bread”, as if there is no consequence. They never call on God for guidance. However, their minds are “overwhelmed with dread” when there is no immediate danger, “where there was nothing to dread”. This indicates a mental state of anxiety and paranoia which can sometimes lead to aggression and destructiveness. Charles Spurgeon called this a “causeless panic”. How many of us realise that when we do not follow God’s guidance but instead do what we please, we end up harming ourselves and causing all sorts of hurt and harm to others? 

Psalm 53: 5-6 tells us that God scatters the bones of those evil doers who attack us, for God despises them. This indicates that they die in disgrace because they do not have a proper resting place as the Jewish custom required for an honourable burial. This is the fate of people who refuse to turn to God.

Finally, in Psalm 53:6 David prophesies about a Saviour who will bring salvation and restoration for people and with this, restoration to God and a time of rejoicing.

In Luke 24:50-53, we are brought to the point in time after Jesus’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Jesus has appeared in His resurrected body to His disciples and followers. He blesses them and is then taken up into heaven. They worshipped Him continually after that because they realised that He is the Messiah and the Son of God. They finally understood what had happened and they experienced great joy. Jesus is our Saviour who brings salvation and restoration with God! The prophecy in Psalm 53:6 had been fulfilled. When we turn to Jesus and acknowledge that we need Him as our Saviour, we can come to a realisation of our sinful nature. We can choose to turn to him for our salvation and restoration with God. This comes with great joy and peaceful respite from the anxiety and dread we experience when we do not let Him guide our lives. 

Personal Reflection
Can we recall times when we have acted out of our own desires and impulses instead of being guided by God’s wisdom? What were the consequences of our disobedience? Did we cause trouble or hurt to anyone in the process? How can we use these experiences to learn and grow in God?

Suggested prayer
Almighty God, forgive us for the times we have been foolish and made mistakes. We want to fully repent of our sin. We are sorry for any hurt or harm we have done to others. Help us to seek your guidance continuously in all we say or do. We acknowledge that we need you and that you are our God and Saviour. Thank you that we can experience joy and restoration through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

29 Apr 2020 - Half Obedience is disobedience

Half Obedience is disobedience

1 Samuel 15

It has been a thought-provoking reading journey as we have sketched Saul’s rise to leadership. Today we read of his eventual falling away from the Lord.

 The final rejection of Saul from being king, for his disobedience to God’s command in not utterly destroying the Amalekites, is here. His integrity is laid to dust because of his mismanagement, disobedience and false hope to augment his own name and honor.

Suffice it to say, God is always just in his actions; this was a unique personality in Old Testament history; that God chose to bring his just judgment for sin upon the Amalekites at this time; and he was using the nation of Israel to do it, through Saul. He thought a little disobedience is acceptable and ignored God’s command “attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them” (Vs 3) Saul did his work by halves, (Vs 9). He spared Agag, because he was a king like himself, and perhaps in hope to get a great ransom for him. He spared the best of the cattle, and destroyed only the refuse, that was good for little.

Do we sometimes fall into the same trap as Saul, thinking that somehow partial obedience is just as good as complete obedience? To spare the best of Amalek is surely equivalent to sparing some plausible indulgence, some favorite sin of ours; and to spare Agag is to be merciful to ourselves, and linger in those sinful pleasures/ habits that we don’t wish to give up. God’s commands are not always easy to obey, but God’s commands are to be fully obeyed.

Because Saul was disobedient, God tells Samuel “I regret that I have made Saul king (Vs 11)”, Whenever we choose to sin, we are choosing our way over God’s and it hurts Him. Ephesians 4:30 says: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God...” If we remembered how much it grieves God when we sin, perhaps we would be motivated to greater obedience to Him.

Verses 10-23 here, Saul is called to account by Samuel concerning the execution of his commission against the Amalekites. The deceitfulness of Saul’s heart, is made obvious. First, he builds a monument for himself, probably to brag about his accomplishment, forgetting who chose him to be a King. He then plays a blame game and even justifies, his action, saying “But I did obey the Lord, … the soldiers took the sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God”

Saul clearly thought that going through the motions of religious observance (to sacrifice) would somehow make up for the fact that he had not completely obeyed the Lord. That’s exactly why Samuel asked, “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as much as in obeying the Lord?,” Samuel was asking Saul whether he really thought that going through the religious motions of worship could make up for the fact that he had disobeyed what God had commanded him to do.

Perhaps we could ask ourselves a similar question, do we sometimes think that because we follow a tidy religious system in going to church, tithing or doing good, we can somehow make up for the fact that we do not really live according to the Word as we should? Religious observance without obedience is empty before God. The best sacrifice we can bring to God is a repentant heart (Psalm 51:16-17) and our bodies surrendered to His service for obedience (Romans 12:1).

Samuel miserably, tries to justify one sin with another, he says, “I sinned…because I feared the people and obeyed their voice”. In that last act of desperation he reached out and tore the corner of Samuel’s robe, and pleaded “honor me now, please, before the elders of my people and before Israel” Saul could never get it right. Had he feared GOD more, he need have feared the PEOPLE less. Had he loved GOD more, he would have pleased the PEOPLE less.

Are we concerned far more of our image in front of people or are we willing to obey God in doings that pleases His heart? Let us serve God as Colossians 3:22 says, “not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord”

Finally, Saul wondered if he could do something to “regain his position”. Samuel let him know there was nothing he could do. Vs 29 He who is the Glory (STRENGTH) of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind. Saul probably thought of himself as the strength of Israel. But the LORD God was The Strength of Israel and Saul needed to hear it, just as much as we need to, today.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me today, that you delight in my obedience to your word and will. Help me to be careful to overcome my selfish desires and give you the full control of my life. I acknowledge that you are my STRENGTH and an ever-present unchanging God. Let me see Lord, that you do not change your mind, for you are God! I trust in your plans for me and my family. With you in my life, help me to make a difference to someone today.
I stand in awe and bless Your great name.  Amen!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

28 Apr 2020 - Tuesday Prayer Points

Good Afternoon,

Here is the prayer points for today. Please intercede and pray with on your own or with your family from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.

Thank you, practice good hygiene and remember to stay connected! God Bless

28 April 2020 – The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

28 April 2020
The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35)

In today’s bible passage, we read of 2 disciples walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, talking with each other about everything that had happened. When Jesus came along and walked with them, asking about their conversation topic, they thought he was a stranger because they were kept from recognizing Him. Thus, they proceeded to tell Him the recent event of Christ’s death and the empty tomb.
Why do you think Jesus wants to conceal His identity? With the conversation they had, the disciples were struggling to understand the recent events they witnessed and were still not able to see how Jesus’ death could save mankind. Jesus prevented them from recognizing Him so they could have the opportunity to see and understand with real clarity. In that journey, Jesus taught them from the Old Testament to show who He was, why He had come, and why it was necessary. Jesus wanted them to recognize that all that had happened was in accordance with the Scriptures and God’s eternal plan (Luke 24:25-27).
Upon arrival in Emmaus, Jesus joined them for a meal. Their eyes were opened and they recognized Him at the breaking of the bread (Luke 24:30 & 31). Their physical eyes were blinded to the identity of Jesus, but their eyes of faith were being opened as Jesus opened the Scriptures to them. Their reaction to Jesus’ teaching was one of deep conviction of the Truth of what He was teaching as they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked?”
Upon reflection of the above, are you like the 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus? When reasoning amongst ourselves concerning spiritual matters we do not understand, there is always a high risk for heresy, so where or who do we turn to? The best way is to dig into the Scriptures because the Word explains it all. If you seek Him throughout His Word, He will be found by you.

Lord Jesus, I thank You for all that You have done for me. I thank You that I do not have to walk alone as You are always with me. Let my heart continuously burn with love for Your Word. I want to soak myself in Your Word and allow Your Word to penetrate my mind and heart.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.