Got A Doubting Thomas In Your Life?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Happy Easter! He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Readings for April 11, 2021; Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35; Psalm 148; 1 John 1:1-2:2; John 20:19-31

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came.  So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. John 20:24-26a

Has it ever struck you that although Thomas did not believe what his buddies were saying about Jesus, he still hung around them? Despite his unbelief in their confession and proclamation that Jesus is alive, that he rose from the dead, and he is all that he said he is, Thomas continued to stay in their midst, to eat meals with them. They continued to consider Thomas their friend and brother, and they his.

Over that week, I would expect the disciples reminisced of their past experiences together with Jesus, and Thomas would have chimed in. I also expect the disciples continued to talk about Jesus’ recent appearance and that Thomas would have plied them with questions: “You said the doors were locked. Tell me again how he got into the room?” or  “What does it mean, ‘Peace be with you’? We are hiding from the Jewish leaders and afraid for our lives because we followed him. What peace can we have now?” or “Where did he go? Where is he now?” Yes, throughout that particular week, I can imagine Thomas said over and over again, “But it defies all logic. It just doesn’t make sense. I just can’t believe it!” and the disciples replied, “Yes, but Thomas…”.

The disciples who saw Jesus were not going to be persuaded to Thomas’ way of thinking. They had just spent time with their friend and teacher, whom they saw brutally killed before their very own eyes. He was alive! Jesus had rose from the dead and conquered death, just as he had said. Yes, Jesus was their Lord and Saviour, and nothing or nobody was going to tell them otherwise. And in this assurance, they continued to proclaim Jesus to Thomas while still welcoming him into their fold.  They did not turn their friend away who continued to struggle with unbelief, and he did not try to leave. No, they continued to love him, be friends with him, and proclaim their love for Jesus, despite Thomas’ doubt. And then Jesus took care of the rest.

In the same way, do you have loved ones- friends and family- that speak as Thomas did, “I do not believe,” and yet continue to desire your love and friendship? If so, continue to love them and befriend them, but be as confident and forthright about your love and faith in Jesus, your Lord and Saviour. Do not shy away from living your life as his beloved child and proclaiming him to those whom are in your midst. Yes, continue to confidently live your faith and God will do the rest. By his grace and in his time, they too will proclaim of Jesus as Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20: 28:b)

Prayer: Dear Jesus, I love you! You are my Saviour! Please forgive me when I shy away or do not proclaim your love to others. By your Holy Spirit, help me to confidently proclaim you to those whom you put in my life. Today, I especially pray for ____________________, that I may be your light as they continue to struggle with trusting you as their Lord and Saviour. In Your name I pray. AMEN!

The Passover Lamb Prepared, Once And For All!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for April 1, 2021; Holy (Maundy) Thursday

Exodus 24:3-11; Psalm 116:12-19; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Mark 14:12-26

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” Mark 14:12  

I wonder what Jesus was feeling and thinking when his disciples asked him the question: Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover? At face value, it’s a simple question. However, the disciples had no idea what was going to transpire within the next twenty-four hours. I can only imagine that Jesus’ interpretation of the question was more like, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to be the Passover lamb?” Yes, Jesus knew full well that this Passover would be different. This Passover would be the last because the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29) was about to be slain.  He was about to be slain.

I am sure, in his humanness, he was burdened with the thought of what was lying just around the corner. Yet, despite how he felt, he guided the disciples to prepare a perfectly executed Passover meal. There was nothing about Jesus’ behaviour that would keep them from expecting that this festival meal would be any different than those in the past. Yes, Jesus entered that festival in preparation to willingly become our Passover Lamb. He knew that in a few short hours he would endure denial and hatred, violence and execution by those he came to redeem. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and [yet] as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)

Despite his internal struggle throughout that final Passover meal, he continued to think of and comfort his beloved disciples, including you and me, by instituting the holy meal of himself- his own body and blood. For while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. “This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many,” he said to them. (Mark 14:22-24) No longer did the people need to sprinkle the Passover lamb’s blood externally to be considered holy.  Now we internally receive the Lamb of God, whose body and blood cleanses us fully from the inside out.  

So, as we enter Holy Week and walk with our Saviour to the Cross and then the open tomb, may you give thanks for his willingness to endure all that he did because of his love for you, and then receive the comfort and assurance of the forgiveness of your sins, through his shed body and blood. For we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10) Hallelujah! Thanks be to God!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, please forgive me my sins of thought, word, and deed. Thank you for denying yourself and willingly taking the judgement and penalty of my sins upon yourself. Thank-you for your presence and cleansing through your precious meal of Communion. Thank you for being my Saviour! To you alone be the glory! AMEN!

What Are You Saying?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 28, 2021; Palm Sunday

Zechariah 9:9-12; Psalm 118:19-29; Philippians 2:5-11; John 12:20-42

At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

What’s on your tongue these days? What words are coming out of your mouth?

I bet it’s safe to say that there isn’t one person in this world that hasn’t uttered the word Covid. It’s on our minds. It’s in our words. It affects our actions. It has changed our lives. Yes, everyone in the world, from the least to the greatest, has Covid on their lips.

Just imagine if every time the word Covid was spoken, it was replaced with the name of Jesus. If that could be done, we would literally have every tongue proclaiming the name of Jesus. How wonderful that would be!

Although I know such an event will not be taking place any time soon, may I challenge you? Over the next couple weeks as we come to the end of Lent and lead up to Easter, every time you think or speak about Covid or put on a mask,  may you speak with your lips and give praise in your heart the name of Jesus. No, not every tongue will be confessing and every knee bowing, but all around the world we could literally have Jesus’ name acknowledged above any other name. Yes, may we believe in our hearts and confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord, now and always. To Him alone be the glory!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, Glory to you, O Lord! Praise to you, O Christ! To you alone be all the glory and honour and praise. AMEN!

The Power Struggle

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 21, 2021; Fifth Sunday in Lent

Jeremiah 31:31-34; Psalm 119:9-16; Hebrews 5:1-10; Mark 10:(32-34) 35-45

Jesus…said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45

Have you ever met a powerful or prestigious person: perhaps an employer or boss or famous person? If so, how did they treat you? What qualities did they exhibit? Did they lord their power over you? Did they build themselves up by making you feel inferior? Did they believe their time was more precious than yours, and that anything you had to say was irrelevant and an inconvenience? I hope this was not the case for you. But perhaps you have met someone who displayed these traits even though they did not hold a prestigious or powerful position. Maybe they were simply a regular person, like you and I, who thought they were powerful and prestigious and wished to hold such power over others.  It is these types of behaviour that Jesus is warning the disciples, and us, against in today’s passage.

Although it is our human nature to enjoy power and, for so many, to let that power go to our heads, as if it qualifies us to treat others as lesser people than ourselves, it is not how God desires us to use the power he blesses us with. In fact, the more ‘power’ we are given over others, the more God-given responsibility we have to care for those people. Power is no longer viewed as an opportunity to display the almighty, powerful ‘Me’. But it is the holy responsibility of nurturing, encouraging, and building up all those who are under your care, in order that they too may fulfill in themselves their own stewardship and abilities.

Therefore, no matter what duties and responsibilities you have and the level of power you have while fulfilling those responsibilities, consider yourself a servant  to all those whom God has given you. Then be aware that God may entrust even more to your care, as he sees fit. “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:29) Therefore, let go of the power struggle and be a servant leader in the name of Jesus, the ultimate Servant Leader.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to be a servant leader to those for whom I am responsible. Help me to love, nurture, teach, and guide them to be the best they can be for your purpose. Remind me always that Jesus, my Lord and King, did not come to be served, but displayed his ultimate servitude when he gave up his life on my behalf, and then conquered sin, death, and the power of the devil, so that I too may walk in the same victory to life eternal.  Thank you!  In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

Are You Hiding?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 14, 2021; Fourth Sunday in Lent

Numbers 21:4-9; Psalm 107:1-9; Ephesians 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21

Ever since my grand-daughter could walk, she has loved to hide. The first time she hid on me, I truly thought I had lost her. I ran around the house frantic and screaming her name, thinking the worst. How could a one year old disappear? Where could a one year old go? I was a basket case.

On another occasion, I remember myself, her Mom, her Aunt, and her older brother all running around the house looking for her. Of course the worst case scenarios ran through our heads: Did she get out onto the balcony? Did she get outside and head towards the road, or worse, towards the lake? Oh the fears and terrors we experienced at the thought of losing her.

Well, I have come to learn, now that she is two and a half years old, that this little habit of hiding has got to do with a little desire to be alone, in the dark, while she does her business – numero dos. I have also learned where her favourite hiding spots are: under the steps or inside bedroom closets with the door closed and behind the hanging clothes. The quietest and darkest places in the house, where no one can see her and she can have her utmost privacy. She is a stinker! …Literally!

Photo by Luke Jones on Unsplash

Although we can snicker at my grand-daughter’s actions, it really shines a light on the truth of today’s scripture. Yes, when left to our own nature, we would prefer to do our deeds in the dark where no one can see us, and where we feel that we don’t need to be accountable. Perhaps you know people who act like my grand-daughter; always sneaking around in the dark and behind people’s backs, doing things they know they shouldn’t do; doing things that ultimately hurt themselves and their loved ones. But to do them in the light would show their weakness, their sinfulness, their filth. So they continue to hide; to be alone in the dark… or so they think.

But, may I encourage you to come out of the dark and into the light. For you are not hidden. Nothing you do is hidden from the Lord, just as David proclaimed:

Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139:7-12

Yes, come out of the dark and into his light. Go to Jesus, repent of your ways, and come out of the dark.  Leave your sins at the cross and let Christ’s light not only eliminate the darkness around you but let him cleanse your whole being. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17) In Jesus’ light, you are shiny and new; you are cleansed from all the filth that was yours while in the dark. Then go and share the light of Christ with those that are stuck in the darkness and do not know of a way out.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, help me to live in your light. When I am tempted to go into the dark, please come and shine your light on me. You are the light of the world! You are the light of my life! In your name alone I pray. AMEN!

How are you feeling?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for March 7, 2021; Third Sunday in Lent

Exodus 20:1-17; Psalm 19; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 2:13-22 (23-25)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
 giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
 giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is pure,
 enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins;
 may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
 innocent of great transgression.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19

How are you doing in these Covid days? How are you feeling right now?

Do you feel lonely, bored, sad, angry, stressed, anxious or any number of variations of such feelings? You are not alone! People all around the world are feeling exactly the same way; the young, the elderly, and every age in between. In one day, I had a ten year old, a seventy-three year old, and a gaggle of fifty year olds share their feelings of boredom and loneliness due to our current circumstances – yes all in one day!

Although it may be some time before we will be safely hugging all our family members and friends, enjoying the thrill of social events or safely singing mask-free the praises of our Lord with our brothers and sisters in Christ in a full sanctuary, let us not let Satan, this world, nor our sinful, weak selves pull us down into the depths of sadness that we feel due to the loss of all these temporal things. Instead, let us turn our eyes and hearts away from these temporal things and look inwards. Let us look with the eyes of our heart and soul into the spiritual realm, and see all those things from our God, that nothing in this world can take away. Today, do not look at what you cannot have, but look to Him and all you do have through him, and spend today rejoicing.

Re-read Psalm 19 .

Now rejoice! (After each rejoice, say ‘Thanks be to God!’). Rejoice in God’s beautiful creation all around you. Rejoice in his guidance. Rejoice in his forgiveness. Rejoice in his faithfulness. Rejoice in his mercy. Rejoice in his constant presence. Rejoice in his love for you. Rejoice in the assurance of your eternal home that is yours now because of all that Jesus accomplished on your behalf. Rejoice!

Yes, make today, tomorrow, and the days-of-Covid to follow, days of rejoicing with eyes and hearts of faith, and let us do it together. Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”(Hebrews 1b-3) Thanks be to God that Jesus has got this, and so can we!

Prayer: Dear Lord, thanks be to you for all your blessings today. Help me to rejoice in all things, and especially your spiritual blessings. These blessings are worth much more than gold and sweeter than honey. By the power of your Spirit, help me remain focussed on such glorious things from you, and not let Satan, the world, or my sinful- self suck the joy and rejoicing from these precious days of mine. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!

What Does Peace Mean To You?

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for February 28, 2021; Second Sunday in Lent

Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16; Psalm 22:23-31; Romans 5:1-11; Mark 8: 27-38

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

What does peace mean to you?

Several decades ago, I asked a friend that question. After taking some time to consider the question, he responded that he pictured peace with himself in his cozy chair, sipping on tea in the quiet of the day.

Yes, for many people, this could be a brief summary of when they might experience peace in their lives. Can’t you just envision yourself in such a scenario: nestled in your coziest of chairs, gently sipping on the most comforting of beverages and warming your insides, listing to the quiet and peacefulness of life around you: birds chirping, leaves rustling or perhaps the fire is crackling and the still of the night has enveloped you. Oh yes, such a picture of peace it is.

But what about when you don’t have that comfy chair or a beverage or quiet all around you. What if your world around you is chaos? What if the comfy chair is replaced with a hospital bed? What if the things threatening to fill your insides are fear and guilt and regret? What then? Where is peace then? Yes, for many the picture of peace is dependent upon the situation in which we are placed. It is based upon our temporal affairs. The only problem with that is when life around us is less than pleasant and peaceful, so is this peace.

However, the peace that God desires for us is so much more than a temporal peace. It is so much more than a quiet night, a cozy chair, or a warming beverage. It is more than feeling or experiencing a calmness with our senses. The peace he desires us to know and live with is an internal peace, a peace within our souls, and it is a peace that we can only fully know through faith in trusting in all that Jesus has accomplished on our behalf and has promised to us.

There is no greater coziness than being able to lay your burdens upon Jesus and to nestle in his love and rest. There is nothing more comforting than ingesting that never ending trickling warmth of his promise to never leave you nor forsake you. And finally, the absolute calm of forgiveness and eternity through all he endured for you because of his love for you, whispers within you through the gentle breezes of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, this is the peace your most gracious God desires for you. And it is a peace that he gives you even in the midst of any chaos that this world can create. Jesus says to you, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) So, no matter what is going on in your life right now, rest in Christ’s peace which envelopes you, body and soul. No matter what lies ahead this day, “do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Yes, Go in Peace!

Prayer: Dear Jesus, only you can fill me with complete peace, even in the midst of all the stressful, painful, chaotic things of this world. Please fill me with your peace and help me let go of all the snares that would keep me from resting in you. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Got Trials? Don’t Persevere Alone

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for February 21, 2021; First Sunday in Lent

Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 25:1-10; James 1:12-18; Mark 1: 9-15

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

When I was a young adult and beginning my life as an independent woman, I remember the first time when adult life smacked me across the face and independent living came with very unpleasant consequences. Although seemingly silly now, I remember the first time I had the stomach flu after leaving my parents’ home. I remember being crouched down with what seemed the weight of the world on me, while my strength permitted me to lift my heavily burdened torso off the floor to a maximum height of about 18 inches, and thankfully that was all I needed. There was no one to hold my head. I had to do it myself. There was no one to tell me sweet encouraging words, nor was there any Jello or gingerale miraculously at my bedside. I had to do it all by myself. I missed my Mom! I never realized the simple strength she gave me when I felt my worst. I learned then and there, that adulthood required self-perseverance, especially through its trials.

No, no one could do it for me anymore. I was responsible for holding my own head up, for picking myself up off the floor, and for taking care of myself. Yet, at that moment, I also knew I was weak. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Oh it may have only been the stomach flu, but the feelings I felt at that time, paved the way for the many trials that I have had to endure in my adult life as I walk this earth.

It was then that everything I learned and heard in Sunday School and Sunday Worship service about Jesus was all I could cling to. It was especially then that I thanked God for my faith in him, my Saviour and Lord. Yes, I had learned about and believed that Jesus, the Saviour of the World, loved me so much that he died for me, and that he would never leave me nor forsake me, and that I could go to him in my weariness and I would find rest in him. It was then that I called upon the Lord, not to help me do well on a test or to let a certain boy like me, etc, but to simply collapse into him. It was then I called upon Him in utter weakness and unworthiness. And it was then that he taught me that in Him I am never alone. That he was there not only holding my head, but carrying me when I could go on no longer.

Well over the years and decades, I have endured more serious trials. And in all trials, my perseverence was by the grace of God at my side, as I clung to his Word of love and mercy, and trusted that my Lord and Saviour, through his Spirit, would never leave me nor forsake me. Even as trials enter my life now, I can only trust in the redeeming arms of Jesus to catch me and get me through. Yes, even if death is at the end of the next trial, then there too Christ will be with me, closer than he’s ever been before, for then I would see him face to face, and enter that life eternal in his presence forever.

Therefore, may I encourage you as you endure your trials- and you will endure trials- that you do not give up and turn from your Saviour, but depend on him even more than you ever have. No matter what your mind or the world says, deny the temptations to turn from his truth or to question your faith in Him and his ways, and collapse into Him. Do not try to do it on your own. For only in Jesus can we deny our own desires and temptations, lay down our burdens and guilt, persevere through this life’s trials and tribulations, and finally, receive the crown of life with Him forever.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, life is full of trials. Please be my source of comfort and strength as I endure mine. Forgive me when I am tempted to turn from trusting you to get me through and take things into my own hands. Finally, when the trial that brings me to my eternal home is upon me, be with me, as you promised. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Motivation Behind Serving

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!

Readings for February 14, 2021; Transfiguration of our Lord

2 Kings2:1-12 or Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 50:1-6; 2 Corinthians 3:12-13, (14-18), 4:1-6; Mark 9: 2-9

For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 2 Corinthians 4:5

Don’t you love being acknowledged for a job well done? I know I certainly do. Whether it’s at home or at work, by family or by friends, it feels good when someone congratulates you on a job well done.

In itself, there is nothing wrong with receiving praise from another person. In fact, we are to use our gifts and abilities that God has given us, and we are to give it our best, as if giving to the Lord himself. It is natural for people to see and acknowledge a job well done. The problem lies in our motive behind our doing, our creating. If we are doing what we do simply to receive praise from others, or we are greatly disappointed when we don’t receive praise from others, then our motive behind the ‘doing’ is misplaced.

Everything we do should be viewed as if doing it for the Lord himself, and to know that if we have given our best, then that is all we can do and God is glorified by our actions. The way we feel towards our outcome should not depend on the glory and praise we receive from others afterwards. Ultimately, our actions are all in service to the Lord, and in him we will find our contentment and worthiness.

The idea that what we do is not to promote ourselves, but draw others to Christ- that we are just servants trying to proclaim Christ to the world- is especially relevant when we serve in our churches, when we take leadership positions within the church and especially in Worship Service itself. This idea is a tough one to learn. I know it firsthand. As a vocalist, I have always enjoyed singing in the church choir, singing solos, and simply singing the hymns throughout the service. In my youth, I enjoyed receiving the accolades of others and to some extent I felt my ‘performance’ was rated based on the number of compliments I received. I hate to admit it but at times I remember even feeling threatened if someone out sang me. Oh how sad!

This whole way of thinking is contrary to who we are in Christ and our service to him. It is contrary to who I am as a child of God and my service to him. Although I had always loved proclaiming his praises for my own worship, I didn’t fully see myself as being the instrument God was using to edify others; to humbly enter their life’s situations and draw them gently, gracefully back to himself, back to Jesus. When I realized this purpose behind my service, it was no longer about me, but 100% about serving God’s people. Oh what a humbling task! No more were there ‘performances’, only a desire to be his instrument to serve his children and draw them closer to him!

So may you too see all that you do, especially in Worship service, as God’s tasks given to you inorder to draw each soul back to their Saviour, and to be his balm of grace and forgiveness to all who see and hear. And by doing so, may you rest in the assurance of his pleasure, and the whisper of his inaudible words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” To God alone be the glory!

Prayer: Dear Lord, please forgive me when my motive behind serving is self-centred. Help me to do those good works that you have prepared for me to do by using my gifts and abilities for your sake alone. May those who see me, see you and your love for them. Let it not be about me but all about you. To you alone be all glory and praise, my Lord and Saviour, Jesus. In your name I pray. AMEN!

Enough Already!

Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well! May this weekly message, as is with all my messages, find you and your family safe and healthy.

I haven’t spoke specifically on the situations that Covid 19 has made us endure nor our nation’s/world’s current state. To be honest, whether it’s covid or any other burden in our life, God will get us through according to his will, as we continue to trust in him. However, there are human actions that have been sitting heavy on my heart. Therefore, I ask that you oblige me as I share my heart in light of the Gospel.

Readings for February 7, 2021; Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany

Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-11; 1 Corinthians 9:16-27; Mark 1: 29-39

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:28-31

Enough already! We’ve had enough!

How many times have we heard or even said ourselves these exact words over these past many months?

I hear you! I don’t think there is anyone over all the earth that hasn’t at least thought these words. It has been trying times, to say the least. When we thought things were on the mends towards the end of the summer 2020, things got even worse in the second wave. Yes, for whatever reasons, the second wave has required even more discipline and self-restrictions.

And we’re complaining because we are tired of not being able to live the life we ‘want’ to live. The life that allows us to go where we want, to vacation where we want, to work and make the money we want so that we can spend it on whatever we want, and the list of our ‘wants’ can go on and on.

But stop! Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord’s got this. He has your life in his hands. Just be patient and humble and obedient. Don’t give up. The Lord can renew your strength to endure. And not only endure, but endure in love and in peace.

Think about it… set aside your wants and desires. Persevere the trials you have been faced with in the strength of the Lord. Look to our health care professionals as your example. While we have been complaining about our restricted lives, our health care professionals haven’t been able to do ANYTHING they want for ten or more months. They’re beyond busy trying to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And they’re doing all of this, even while others are retaliating and making the situation worse because they feel they are being suppressed and void of their freedoms.

The fact is that people are sick, many deathly sick, and the health care professionals are exhausted and drowning. PERIOD. Many of those who are sick, didn’t ask to get sick; they didn’t go out of their way to become ill. It came to them through others. And for those who did defy their social responsibilities and ended up getting sick, they are still among the tens – if not hundreds- of thousands of Covid patients being cared for by the selfless health care professionals who have been pleading with society to stay home.

Yes, the fact is that currently – right now- people are sick and health care professionals are exhausted and drowning. So, we need to do all we can to help. It has nothing to do with conspiracy theories or assaults on our rights and freedom. It has everything to do with loving thy neighbour! So, when our health care workers can go home after a normal day of work because covid cases are nil, when they can hug and kiss their children, when they can sleep in their own beds with their spouses, when they can enjoy their days off, when they can go to their elderly parents’ homes and enjoy meals and snuggles with them without fear of infecting anyone, then we may have the right to complain about any discomforts and inconveniences,  missed vacations and less than perfect class-time.

Photo by Mulyadi on Unsplash

No, no one likes what we’re going through, but we are all in it together. We all have a choice. We can be obedient to ourselves and our self-centred ways and continue the spiral of sickness and exhaustion, or we can be obedient to the Lord and his command to “‘love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39b); we can seek his strength and renewal and entrust our days into his hands. So please, seek his strength and love. Deny yourself, love others, and put your hope in him, and he will renew your strength to get through the remainder of these days.

Prayer: Dear Lord, you commanded us to wash one another’s feet. We are to be humble and obedient, loving and gracious. For you gave up your rights to your heavenly throne to live among us and our sinful ways and the impurities of this world. You gave yourself for our good, to redeem us and draw us back to you because you love us. Please forgive us our self-centredness. Please help us to live for the good of our neighbour. Please be with those who are currently sick and with our health care professionals. Give them strength. Give us all strength. For only in you can we be fully renewed in these demanding days, so that “they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Help us to live by the fruit of your Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. By doing so, may your healing of all of humanity take place and your glory be evident to all. May the prayers of your faithful people cover over all the earth for the good of all people. In Jesus’ name. AMEN!

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