Archive for Devotion

Devotion – Thank him

On the 7th of March our devotion was  about the Lord healing the 10 lepers

Luke 17:11-19

Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. 12 Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. 13 And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God,16 and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.”

Notice how only one (a Samaritan) returned to thank him?!

David compared this with my his experience of failing to realise when prayer has been answered, and therefore failing to offer thanks – instead, simply moving onto the next list of requests.

He encouraged the choir to pray regularly for the people we know by name who have heard the message of salvation, and to be aware of answers to our prayer.

Devotion – Going Through the Motions

On the October 25th, 2013 our devotion was on Going Through the Motions

Zachariah 7
In the fourth year of King Darius, the word of the Lord came to Zechariah on the fourth day of the ninth month, the month of Kislev. 2 The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek, together with their men, to entreat the Lord 3 by asking the priests of the house of the Lord Almighty and the prophets, “Should I mourn and fast in the fifth month, as I have done for so many years?”

(NB: People of Bethel were asking not for a real question but to get out of it! v5 gives the LORD’s insight to their real motives. How we do this so many times ourselves! Our questions may seem to be honest perse but the truth of the matter is otherwise.)

Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 5 “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? 6 And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? 7 Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?’”

Thoughts

God was challenging the people and the priests of that day. In essence, He was asking, “Are you really serving Me or are you just going through the motions?” There are lots of religious things we do: tithing our money, attending church, caring for the poor, praying for the sick, celebrating holy days. Therefore, the same question hangs in the air for us.
Are we doing these things for God or just to make ourselves feel better? Are our activities merely religious duty or have our hearts been changed? Are we just going through the motions? Let us search our hearts and ask God’s Holy Spirit to reveal our attitudes and motivations. Then we can humbly seek His will and His ways.
When we are truly seeking God, instead of simply participating in activities that look good, He will enable us to love unconditionally, to forgive those who have hurt us, to be unselfish and show compassion.

Where in your life have you been going through the motions?

Action Step:
Identify one thing you do at church that has begun to feel like a chore. Thank God for the opportunity to worship Him Through that activity. Then set out to do it as an act of worship to your King and as a way to humbly serve others.

Prayer:
Lord, we don’t want our prayer or church life to become passionless or ritualistic. Please keep us focused on offering everything to You as an act of worship as You’ve written for us in Romans 12:1 to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. Help us to treat prayer, Bible reading, church attendance, and singing tonight an opportunity to live this verse out in Your honour. Amen.

Devotion – 6th September 2013

On the 6th of September our devotion was on the topic that God is working out His purposes. He is building His Church. Opposition is great but that won’t stop God.

The Two key verses referred to were

1. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2. Matthew 16:18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

To illustrate the opposition we were told a story called A Modern Day Noah’s Ark …

And the Lord spoke to Noah and said: “In six months I’m going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people are destroyed. But I want to save a few good people, and two of every kind of living thing on the planet.

I am ordering you to build Me an Ark,” said the Lord.

And in a flash of lightning He delivered the specifications for an Ark.

“OK,” said Noah, trembling in fear and fumbling with the blueprints.

“Six months, and it starts to rain” thundered the Lord. And six months passed.

The skies began to cloud up and rain began to fall. The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard, weeping. And there was no Ark.

“Noah,” shouted the Lord, “where is my Ark?” A lightning bolt crashed into the ground next to Noah, for emphasis.

“Lord, please forgive me,” begged Noah. “I did my best. But there were big problems. First I had to get a building permit for the Ark construction project, and your plans didn’t meet Code. So I had to hire an engineer to redraw the plans. Then I got into a big fight over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system. My neighbours objected claiming I was violating zoning by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city council.”

“Then I had a big problem getting enough wood for the Ark because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the Koala. I had to convince Australian RSPCA that I needed the wood to save the Koala. But they wouldn’t let me relocate any. So no koala. Guess the Koala will end up like the unicorn. Then the carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the Unions before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer. Now we got 16 carpenters going on the boat, and still no koala’s.

“Then I started gathering up the animals, and got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me taking only two of each kind. Just when I got the suit dismissed, EPA notified me that I couldn’t complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed Flood. They didn’t take kindly to the idea that they had no jurisdiction over the conduct of a Supreme Being.The the Army Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe.

“Right now I’m still trying to resolve a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over how many ethnic’s I’m supposed to hire, the tax department has seized all my assets claiming I’m trying to avoid paying taxes by leaving the country, and I just got a notice from the state about owing some kind of use tax. “I really don’t think I can finish your Ark for at least another five years,” Noah wailed.

The sky began to clear. The sun began to shine. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. “You mean you’re not going to destroy the earth?” Noah asked, hopefully.

“Wrong!” thundered the Lord. “But being Lord of the Universe has its advantages. I fully intend to smite the Earth, but with something far worse than a Flood. Something Man invented himself.”

“What’s that?” asked Noah.

There was a long pause, and then the Lord spaketh his Last Word, “Government.”

In tying the devotion together we were reminded that we don’t have to worry about what’s happening the world, that’s God’s business. What we need to do is proclaim Jesus.

Devotion – Feeding the 5000

Below is a devotion shared from the heart of one of our men.

John places the account of the “feeding of the 5,000” shortly before the Passover (6:4) … this explains the large crowd that was getting ready to make the journey to the Temple in Jerusalem. We know, though, that whole families made the journey (Luke 2:41ff); assuming conservatively that a family consisted of two adults and two children, there’d have been more than 20,000 in the crowd (because the 5,000 refers to the men, the heads of the families). In those days, though, families were much larger: we know that the Lord had four half-brothers and at least two half-sisters (Matt. 13:55-56). So there could well have been 40,000 or more mouths to feed. This helps us to appreciate the scale of the miracle.

The Twelve assessed the situation, worked out a solution and recommended this course of action (“disperse the crowd”) to the Lord. How extraordinary that they should be telling the Lord of the universe what to do! I wonder if they ever looked back on this and realised what they had done.

Jesus flatly rejected their solution, and proposed his: “You feed them”. Can you hear their gasp as they tried to understand what the Lord had said? John mentions Philip and Andrew specifically: the former calculated that 8 months’ wages wouldn’t be able to give the crowd one mouthful each, and the latter was wholly pessimistic about the extremely limited resources. (Quite likely they were stating the collective view.) One lesson that Philip and Andrew (and the rest) learnt from this is that the Lord is not restrained by our inability to comprehend his power … but he didn’t just have them standing by watching as he worked, he used them even as he demonstrated his power! Nor did they go home empty-handed: there was one full basket of food for each. I’d have loved to be a fly on the wall of their houses as they related what had happened!

What about the little boy with five loaves and two small fish? That was his, and he could well have kept it for himself; if the others hadn’t made provision, that was their problem, not his! However, by making the little that he had available to the Lord, many thousands were blessed — and he didn’t miss out, because “they all ate and were satisfied” (Matt. 15:37). When we make available to our heavenly Father what we have, however small, he is able to use it to bring blessing to many.

The tragedy was that the crowd that had been fed missed completely the miracle that had happened: the following day they found the Lord only because they wanted another free feed (John 6:26). All around us are those who are blind to the great things God has done for them; we have the great privilege of setting before them the greatness of our God, especially the great salvation that he offers through Christ Jesus.

Devotion – Listen, Obey, Trust

Devotion based on  

James 1:22-25 “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

and

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths..”

We found GPS units really useful in the U.K and USA. You see if you want your GPS to get you where you want to go you have to listen to it, obey it, and then trust it to get you there. We (my wife and I) didn’t do this on one occasion. We were travelling from Lexington VA to Bedford VA where the National D-Day Memorial is. It’s a huge place which we’ve visited before. Our plan was to go from Lexington via the Blue Ridge Parkway which is a lovely scenic drive. (You might need to use Google Maps for this!) We set the GPS and then set off. Because we know the Blue Ridge Parkway well we really didn’t listen to our GPS until on the Parkway our friendly lady, we call Suzy (a nice Aussie accent) kept telling us to perform a U-turn, which, of course, we ignored because we knew what we were doing. Suzy then tried to get us to take turns off the Parkway which to us was plain stupid! After 2 1/2 hours we arrived at the Pay Station onto the Skyline Drive, near Waynesboro. This was not part of the plan! I knew immediately what we’d done; we’d travelled North instead of South!! We waited for Suzy to say, “I told you so!” but we’d turned her off! The answer is to Listen, Obey, Trust. She always gets us there when we do. So does the Lord when we  Listen, Obey, Trust!!

Devotion – I am with you always

Based on Matthew 28:16-20 with the emphasis on the last sentence “And  surely I am with you always. to the very end of the age”.

As a young boy I use to be amused by certain statements  in the Bible. Eg. The father of the prodigal son when he saw him as he returned  to his home, ran out and fell on his neck and kissed him. The saying ‘fell on his neck’ meant to me, he fell  over. I had visions of the father just about to reach his son, fell over the got  up and kissed his son.

As I grew into a teenager our Sunday School teacher  taught us many things from God’s word. He spoke about Abraham, Joseph, Moses,  Samson, Gideon, David and many others. These were mighty men who did wonderful  things for God. I put them on a pedestal and considered them far above, we plebs.  They did mighty things, they were Super  Heroes to me.

I slowly realised that they were men just like  ourselves, flesh and blood and as they trusted God, God used them to accomplish  His works. Not only did God give them a job to do but he provided for them eg.  Moses leading the Children of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.

Not only did God provide for them He had a plan for  their lives and He has a plan for our lives also.

When I was 17 I joined the Royal Australian Navy and was  sent to The communications School south of Frankston. I qualified as a radio  operator and was posted to my first ship, HMASD Wagga Wagga, a minesweeper  corvette. My secondary job on board was assistant to the navigator. This was in  the days when the highest piece of technical equipment was a radio. To obtain  our speed we use to trail a log, which is shaped like a torpedo and about  50 centimetres long from the stern of  the ship. The log was attached to the ship via a long length of rope and the  blades on the log made it spin which gave us our speed through the water. My job  was to read the speed each hour and report it back to the navigator who used it,  along with other bits of information, to deduce our position.

One night while crossing Bass Strait heading to Hobart I  had to read the log and as I approached the stern a huge wave crashed over it,  knocked my off my feet and I slid along the deck and the only thing that saved  me was that my legs straddled a vertical post as a metre of water washed over  me.

God looked after me that night because I could have been  washed overboard never to be seen again.

God has a plan for each of our lives, even though we may  not think we are very useful or don’t measure up to the Old Testament men. God  can use each one of us and as we look back on our lives and reflect on them we  can see God’s hand gently guiding us along the way.

We may not think we are important but can you name the  man who witnessed to Billy Graham and as a result of his witness, Billy Graham  accepted the Lord as his Saviour?

We in our small way, singing in the choir, maybe the  means of the Lord using us for the conversion of some soul.