Ask God for this

2016.06.30“You do not have,
because you do not ask God”
(James 4:2)

James is challenging the people who ask for the wrong things and with the wrong motives. However, this statement of his is very telling. We do need to ask God for what we need both individually and as a community.

Lifting our eyes from our own desires and looking at our communities and the world around us some of the needs are obvious and urgent. They are highlighted too at the beginning of the Lord’s Prayer – as if He knew that in each and every age these would be the greatest needs and should be therefore our most urgent requests. Without them anything else that we might long for would be self-centred and greedy.

  • Hallowed be Your Name. One great Name – One Person – should be at the centre of our life and living, both individually and as communities. Without Him we will tend towards the worship and honouring of other people and other things. This will lead us into greed, bondage and the destruction of ‘civilized’ communities as the ways of the world take over.
  • Your Kingdom Come. We need God’s Kingdom of love, blessing and freedom – not the world’s ways of division and degradation, violence and corruption and spiritual and physical slavery.
  • Your Will Be Done. God’s will and His perfect and precious plan and purpose for each person and each community, working together in love, harmony and co-operation – where the weakest and the strongest, the independent and the dependent, the wealthy and the poor are accepted, included and cared for. Where the children can play in the streets and sing and enjoy the wonder of life with everyone else.

Yes, perhaps the problem is that we are not asking God for our real needs and with the right motives. For as long as the world pretends He is not needed the  pain will continue.

Pray the Prayer faithfully for yourself, your family, your church, your community, your nation and our world – and seek to live it.


Hallowed be Your Name Father, Your Kingdom come Father, Your will be done Father in me, in my family and in my church today and every day, Amen.



I’m not least


“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”
(Galatians 3:28)


In God’s eyes His Church is a community of His people in which every individual stands as equal in His love. The distinctions of the world which separate and segregate people are of no account. Racial, social and sexual differences become of no significance. All His children have equal access to Him through Jesus Christ.

Although in this life some of these differences are visible – men are men and women are women – they are not to be considered as conferring on the one more value or significance than the other. That immediately becomes a challenge to us in terms of our attitudes towards others – particularly those of different social standing and nationalities.

This equality is conferred upon us by God at our conversion when He adopts us as His sons and daughters – giving us a new identity. If this is the way in which He sees us then two consequences become clear. The first is that I must not look upon myself as having less value and standing in God’s eyes than anyone else. The second is that if God sees all His adopted children in this way then I have no right or reason to look down on, or reject, any one of them. He loves them as much as He loves me.

God loves … (them) …  as much as He loves me


Father, thank You that I am not the outsider in Your family. Please help me not to treat anyone else as if they are. Amen.



Always Weeds


“The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one”
(Matthew 13:38)

Jesus was explaining the parable of the weeds to His disciples. He revealed that our society will include those who belong to Him – the sons of the kingdom – and those who do not – the sons of the evil one. The final separation will only take place at ‘the end of the age.’

Clearly then there will always be people around us by whom we are challenged, annoyed and threatened. It is no use our complaining to each other about them because they are not going to go away – either as individuals or as groups. On the contrary we will have to relate to them because we will encounter them at every level of our lives and living.

Jesus directions in these situations are clear.

  • “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44)
  • “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.” (Proverbs 25:21)

Our love for the Lord and our commitment to Him should guard us and keep us from descending to their levels. We need to ensure that we do not allow ourselves to be led astray and find that we are becoming involved in their lifestyles. Instead we should seek to display something of the love and purity of the Lord which will become a blessing to them – even if they do not perceive it at the time.

Keep praying for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and protection – and for those who offend.


Lord God please protect me from those who are not of You. Help me not to go astray but to share Your light, life and love wherever I am. Amen.


Salt please


“You are the salt of the earth”
(Matthew 5:13)

So many foods taste that much better after the application of some salt. Tomato wedges, hard-boiled eggs and soups – to name only three – are just not the same without salt. Very often in the home or eating out we will hear the request, “Please pass the salt.”

One of the meanings that Jesus wishes us to understand in His teaching is that Christians are to be like salt in the lives of those around them – adding flavour to their lives, helping release and bring out the flavour in their lives and helping people to find purpose and quality in their lives. So many lives could do with more salt!

The world seems to embrace the attitude ‘take as much as you can, wherever you can, for as long as you can’ without being too concerned about the effect that this has on others. Jesus approach was patently different – He came to serve, not to be served by the world. Wherever we find Him in the Gospels someone is normally being helped in some way – even on the cross.

Wherever we are we can add flavour to somebody’s life – by being more friendly, more considerate, more helpful, more interested, more understanding and less hasty, critical and judgemental. It does make a difference, even if we do not see it at the time. And in a strange way, as we become saltier, more people will be attracted to us and want some of our salt in their lives.

Be intentional – Pass the salt around


Lord as I have received Your Salt in my life help me to spread some of it in the lives of those around me. Amen.


(Image: preachersinstitute)



Real Food


“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”
(Deuteronomy 8:3)

God fed the Israelites throughout the forty years of their wanderings through the desert. He did this notwithstanding their faithlessness, disobedience and grumblings. Not once did He withhold the food from them.

Some action was required on their part. They were expected to notice that the food was there, go out and collect it, and eat it. If they had missed out on any one of these steps they would have remained hungry and grown weaker.

It is the same with God’s words to us, which we have recorded in Scripture. Just as we feed our bodies regularly every day so we are expected to feed our minds, hearts and spirits. God has provided the Word. We are expected to take note of it, collect its message and absorb it into our lives and livings. If we fail to do so we will become spiritually weaker and the ache within us will remain unsatisfied.

Food has to be chewed before it is swallowed. So we need to chew over the Word of God in order to get the taste of it, extract its meaning and then swallow its message and importance. We are not merely receiving bits and pieces of information but life-changing direction, focus, understanding and transformation. It is no coincidence that the Great Sacrament calls us to “eat this bread and drink this cup” (1 Corinthians 11:26)

  • “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.”(Psalm 119:97)
  • “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)

Feed yourself daily on the wonderful Scriptures. Think them, pray them, live them.


Lord help me please to feed on Your Word and words every day – and through them to draw closer to You. Amen





“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
(Colossians 3:17)

Thinking and praying about my sermon for a funeral service I was again reminded of the awesome privilege of being allowed into people lives, and to minister, on such occasions. I was also very aware that what everyone needed was not my ministry but that of the Lord – both through and around me.

For the Christian, every moment, every deed and every relationship – no matter how casual – is a ministry opportunity. It is an opportunity for us to show how intentionally we live for the Lord and, therefore, do our best as if it were an offering to Him. It is also an opportunity for Him to reach from us into the lives and needs, very often hidden, of those around us. To do something in Jesus name is to do it on His behalf and in His way, and in the belief that the Holy Spirit will guide, empower and bless it and the people involved.

Paul highlights this when he says, “whatever you do…do it all in the name of the Lord ..” He does not use words lightly, so his “whatever” means whatever and his “all” means all – not just funerals. It is very challenging to think through and yet, if our love for the Lord is real, then it should be a far more natural approach. It is also one way of showing our understanding of what He has done for us, and our appreciation of the tremendous sacrifice that was involved.

So, from washing dishes to leading the affairs of state,

“whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Examine today and plan tomorrow with this in mind.


Lord Jesus, You have done so much to glorify God and to bless me. Please help me to live a blessing to You and to others, Amen. 




“Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!”
(Philippians 4:4)

It is so easy to look upon God as the God of ‘church-times’ and ‘prayer-times’ – leaning forward to listen to us from ‘up there.’ In truth however He is the God of ‘all-our-times’.

From within us He listens to our minds and our hearts and our emotions. From within us He speaks and inspires and strengthens us. Within us He loves us as He carries out His transforming and maturing work in our lives. He does not pay us occasional visits but is there with us every moment of every day and night.

It is not necessary for us to make an appointment to see Him – nor do we find that the line is engaged when we need to speak to Him. There is no answering service or secretary between Him and us. He is open and available to us all the time, giving us His undivided attention.

It is also so easy to take all of this for granted without pausing to realise the sheer wonder, grace and awesome privilege of it all. The Lord God Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them, the Giver of life and its Saviour, Redeemer and Sustainer, having sacrificed Himself for us on the cross, has committed Himself to being with us, and within us, always.

Whatever our situation or condition this alone, according to Paul, is a source of continual rejoicing.

Take time to recognise, own and appreciate this wonderful truth


Lord God, help me please to recognise and rejoice over the wonder of Your presence in my life at all times – including the best and the worst of times as I see them. Amen.




He is near


“The Lord is near”
(Philippians 4:5)

It is vitally and wonderfully true that the Lord is near in two important ways.

Firstly He is very close to each and every one of us. Jesus promised that He would always be with us and that, as His disciples and daughters and sons of God, the Holy Spirit would live within us.  No matter how we might feel at the time He is right there with us. And as Tennyson wrote with such insight,

“Closer is He than breathing, and nearer than hands and feet”

In truth the Lord is closer to us than our next thought of Him – which He often inspires.

Secondly the Lord is near in that His second coming is closer than it has ever been before. Although its date and time is unknown He did warn that it would come ‘like a thief in the night’- unexpected and unwanted by the world whilst longed for by His followers. He called on us to be always ready for Him.

So whilst we wait for Him we might yet know Him and enjoy Him spiritually every moment of every day. He is with us in our waking and sleeping, working and resting, loneliness and pain, relationships and joy, suffering and rejoicing, praying and thinking. And while He may not be intent on making our lives full of ease and comfort He is there to comfort us, strengthen and sustain us, guide and lead us, equip and empower us and enjoy our company.

We are the poorer if we treat Him as a distant deity and the richer when we relate to Him as an ever-present reality.

Invite the Lord to enter more fully into you as You take some deep breaths. Then acknowledge Him, thank Him and share your thoughts and feelings with Him.


Fill my body, mind and spirit please  Lord with the life-giving reality of Your presence and help me to know and enjoy Your closeness and Your love. Amen.



Don’t Complain


“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe”
(Philippians 2:14-15)

 Jesus disciples led an interesting life whilst they were with Him. He called them to leave their ways of life and livelihoods and to follow Him. He sent the 12 out on a ministry expedition during which they drove out demons and cured diseases as they preached the kingdom of God. They were followed, later, by the 72. He had them handing out five rolls and two sardines to 5000 people, and then going round and collecting the bits and pieces left over. They had to fetch a donkey for Him to ride on, prepare a Passover Meal, sail a boat through a destructive storm, be caught out debating who was the greatest, be instructed to wash feet, have Him overturn their decision to keep children away from Him, bask in the triumphal entry, sleep through His agony, flee from those who arrested Him, leave Him alone during His persecution and watch Him die. In between there would have been the teaching, the miracles, the confrontations with the religious leaders, and the marvellous moments at the end of the day when they were alone with Him, if He wasn’t praying all night!

Then, after it was all over, the resurrection, the fear of reprisals, the Holy Spirit – and a new beginning. How many times might they have complained as they travelled onwards – little knowing where it was all leading, both for them and for humankind.

It is the same for us. It is so easy to complain about the annoyances of life and the things that we might have to do. We might feel that others have the glory roles and we are the unacknowledged ones in the background. We may feel taken for granted at church and at home, and even feel down about our impression of ourselves. But, it is not about us, it is about the Lord. Whatever we can do for Him, or in His name, should be an honour, no matter how big or how small. And, like us, those around us are on their own journeys from darkness into light, from death to life, from imperfection to completeness. It is not all going to seem fair and lovely and peaceful.

But again, it is Jesus and His Kingdom. He is in control. He does know and understand. He does love us. And we can never tell what might be around the corner for us today, tomorrow, next year or whenever – and how our faithfulness in small and irritating things might be the foundation for something greater one day.

So, let’s be grateful for what we do have, for what we can do, and for the God who has called us His own. He is our peace – no one and nothing else.

Tale a decision – and list some of your blessings


Father, You have blessed me in many ways – thank You. Please help me to walk every day with You attending to what You lay before me in a way that honours You. Amen.




Yes you can!


“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength”
(Philippians 4:13)

Paul was writing from a Roman prison. In the course of his journey with Christ he had been flogged, stoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, imprisoned, abused and vilified, and he was now in prison again. He had known the loneliness of his missionary journeys, the rejection of his message and the imperfections of his companions – as well as his own.

And yet at this stage he could say with confidence that, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) This had come about because of his faith and trust in Christ, and the knowledge of the God who was with him at all times. He was certain that God would never abandon him or lose control of his situations. This was the peace that passes understanding. He was in God’s hands and nothing could snatch him away from God’s great hold on him – whatever the world might do.

Now he could affirm that he had been, and was still, able to do everything that God wanted of him – whatever that might be and whatever challenges that might lead him into. God was with him and would give him whatever was needed in a particular situation – wisdom, words, faith, courage, perseverance.

These words come to us, both to inspire us and to build our faith. Whatever the trials and challenges are that we might face, we can meet them, live through them and come through them in the strength and with the help that God will give us. In anything and everything, from the traffic, to work, health, family and relationship issues, to failures and financial difficulties, to insecurities, rejection and abuse, God is with us. Whatever else He might do, He will strengthen and guide us as we look to and trust in Him.

Give God your situation. Pray particularly for the difficulties that you foresee and the people involved. Ask God for guidance, strength and an awareness of His presence. Keep praying and listening. Memorise and keep saying today’s scripture.


Heavenly Father, please help me to face the future in the confidence that, with Your help, I can face and do all the things that You want me to. Please help me to commit everything to You and to seek Your guidance and strength. Thank You for always being with me. Amen.