Just say the word

“They were terrified and asked each other,
“Who is this?
Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
(Mark 4:41)

Jesus had been asleep in the stern of the boat when a storm threatened it. Awoken by His disciples

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still.” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (Mark 4:39)

If Jesus, although fully human, was also the divine Son of God, then we would expect Him to reveal some of the same power and authority. The account of creation in the first chapter of Genesis reveals the majesty and power of God as He speaks creation into existence. (Note here that the focus of the Bible is always more upon ‘Who’ than on ‘How’ – which is the focus of science. God was setting out what He wanted and God then got what He wanted and was pleased with the result. Whether the process took six days as we know them or thirteen billion years as we know them is not the point.)

Jesus exercises this same majestic authority over creation when He commands the wind and the waves to be quiet and still. The result was such that the disciples were terrified and asked each other who this could be – for they realised the implications of what they had just seen.

There was no attempt to question how He had controlled the elements – no discussion on things like high or low pressure areas. They knew what they had seen and experienced, and that they were in the presence of someone terrifyingly like God!

The centurion was aware of a similar supreme authority when He amazed Jesus by saying

“Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8)

All the words of Jesus Christ are majestic and true – do I receive them as such?


Lord Jesus You speak words for a purpose – help me to give honour and attention to Your words and allow them into my life and living. Amen.





“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up,
the seed sprouts and grows,
though he does not know how”
(Mark 4:27)

Something is happening within you.

Day and night, whether you are aware of it or not, the seed of new life planted by God is growing. There may be times when it appears to grow quite quickly for the ground within you is open and clear. At other times it may hardly seem to move at all. This may be because it has encountered a spot that is hard-packed and tight, or else a seemingly solid stone is in the way, or because it is waiting for something.

However the growth will not be stopped but will continue. For the Kingdom of God, represented by this seed, is irresistible. We may facilitate the growth through the openness and intimacy of our relationship with the Lord, and our willing submission to His will. But the power that enables the seed to grow against all odds, and the water that feeds it on its way, come not from us but from the Spirit of God Himself.

The Good News of the Gospel that is the power for the salvation of everyone who believes (Roman 1:16) is this small seed that grows into the fullness of salvation. It is the Living Word of Jesus Christ spoken by God into the world and which will accomplish everything that He wills and determines – in each of us as well.

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it”
(Isaiah 55:11)

As a believer in Christ, no matter how small your faith might seem,  you are a child of God – and He is at work within you in a very personal way.

Continue to open the doors of your life to the Lord – you can trust Him with what is inside.


Dear Lord God, as best as I am able, I invite You into every area of my life – to cleanse and heal, transform and develop me. May the seed You have planted grow freely and bear much fruit in a way that will delight You. Amen.




Checking me out

“The kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away”
(Matthew 13:47-48)

Jesus is referring in this parable to the present and future aspects of the kingdom  and to the time when the true character of the people will be revealed and judged. It is similar in meaning to that of the sheep and the goats which also refers to a judgement and a separation.

However it is also pertinent to our present day situations. As we have journeyed through life our nets have scooped up many associations, influences, beliefs and activities. Some will jostle for position and recognition with those things that are of God and the fruit that the Holy Spirit is seeking to produce. We may, or may not, be aware of them. However they will have an effect upon us and will take up the space and time that could better be used by other thoughts, words and activities.

If we are taking both God and our Christian life seriously then now is the time to begin to take an audit of our lives and living, asking God quite simply to show us the associations, habits and other things that are not of Him, that do not honour Him and that get in the way of the good stuff!

What we prune out with His help He will replace with good and wholesome fruit that will become a blessing to Him, to others and to us.  And we will feel much better about ourselves too!

Set aside some time now – when you will be able to meet quietly with the Lord and have a look at you.


My Father I want to be holy just as You are holy, and to bring honour and pleasure to You. Please draw my attention to those areas and things in my life that are not good or helpful – and strengthen me to deal with them as I surrender them to You. Amen.


Sin Forgiven

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to Me for I have redeemed you”
(Isaiah 44:22)

The wonder of the love and the grace and the glory of God is revealed in many small Scripture verses like this one – and can be so easily missed in our reading.

Here He tells us that His forgiveness – and therefore the complete and absolute forgiveness of our sins – is so certain a reality that He can present it to His people prior to their repentance. Indeed He is presenting it as an inducement for us to repent.

The truth is that God has been seeking after us long before we have sought after Him or even thought of doing so. And whereas our sins hang over us and separate us from Him, His love and power are such that they are no more challenging to Him than a cloud or a morning mist. And like the rising sun He is able to quickly and quietly sweep them away.  We can imagine Him doing so with a wave of His hand or the breath of His mouth.

God had already provided for –and in reality therefore accomplished – the work of redemption before creation. He can now call all His people – including each one of us – to appropriate that redemption for our own lives, and to keep on doing so as the need arises. We do so initially in our turning to the Lord and accepting His offer of salvation as we commit ourselves to Him. We continue to do so as sin arises and troubles us.

  • “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” (Ephesians 1:7)
  • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9)

Note John’s use of the word ‘will.’ Confession is our agreeing with God that we have sinned and, at the same time, agreeing that our forgiveness and salvation lie only in Jesus Christ and what He has already accomplished on our behalf. True confession is therefore a statement of faith.

The truth is that God loves us – and wants us – and wants therefore to forgive us. The cost to Him was terrible but the reality of its effectiveness is unlimited and unending. So when we fall and fail God’s invitation to us rings out . And where sin has distracted us from Him He calls us back, and keeps calling us, until we never leave again.

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to Me for I have redeemed you”

Humanly speaking it makes no sense. Spiritually it can be the best news in the world


Thank You my Father – thank You so very much – that indeed nothing can now separate me from You. Help me to believe and to keep on believing. Amen



Ascended Lord


“He was taken up before their very eyes,
and a cloud hid him from their sight”
(Acts 1:9)

The ascension of Christ, celebrated by the Church yesterday, is the wonderful fulfilment of God’s promise that,

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11)

Jesus as the Living Word had now returned to the Father who had spoken, or sent, Him on this mission. It had now been accomplished.

The fact that His ascension took place in this way and in front of His disciples is significant. He wanted them to realise and accept that this time He was leaving permanently. He would not suddenly visit them again in another resurrection appearance. This was the testimony also of the angel who spoke to them – confirming that the Lord would not return again until the end.

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11)

There is also a hint of a rebuke in his words as if to say that they should not be gazing hopefully into the sky but preparing themselves for the work that the Lord had committed to them. They needed to lower their eyes and begin to focus on ministry to a needy world. As do we all.

Where can I  make a difference –and be a blessing – today?


Lord God help me to walk in Your footsteps, to notice the needs that You bring to my attention and to reach out and bless in Your name. Amen.



Joy in the Lord

“May your saints sing for joy….
her saints will ever sing for joy”
(Psalm 132:9-16)

The psalmist prays that the saints of God will ‘sing for joy’ – and records the Lord’s commitment that this will be so.

This then takes us to the teaching of the Lord Jesus who said that

“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and that your joy may be complete”
(John 15:11)

The joy to which the Lord refers is that which He has in His relationship with the Father and now that we also may have, may know and may enjoy.

We do not see much true joy around us at the moment. Our lives become coloured by the state of the world at large and of our own personal world which may be very challenging and difficult.

The true riches that have been given to us, and the one unceasing source of joy, are to be found in our relationship with God. He is the Almighty Father of ‘unfailing love’ and ‘invincible strength’ who has committed Himself to us in this world and the next. Our journey is secure because He is with us and our destination guaranteed because He is taking us there.

To find and know His joy in the midst of the challenges of our present journey is not the result of more learning but comes from seeking to develop our own personal relationship with Him. It comes from opening our hearts to Him in prayer and giving Him time and opportunity to speak to us through His Word and His Spirit. It comes from consciously putting our faith and trust in Him and keeping it there. It comes from trusting His love and His grace at all times. In other words – we walk closely and intimately with Him and in doing so discover the joy that He brings to our lives. It is lovely and informative to see how David did this and recorded it in his Psalms.

Talk – Read – Listen – Trust


Lord I long to relax into the peace and security of Your love for me. Please help me to seek a closer relationship with You. Amen.


Your God

“I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”
(Isaiah 41:9-10)

What God was saying to the nation that He had called to Himself, He says to each and every one who is a part of His new creation in Jesus Christ.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will”  ( Ephesians 1:4-5)

No matter what happens – or does not happen – in our lives we both can and need to hang onto this great and glorious truth –

  • I have chosen you
  • I have not rejected you
  • I am your God
  • I will strengthen and help you
  • I will uphold you with My righteous right hand

As Christians we have a relationship with Him that is unbreakable – and we have a commitment from Him that is indestructible,

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Whatever challenges we face at the moment we do not face alone. God is with us and will see us through to the end that is good in His sight and purpose.

Acknowledge to the Lord any challenge that concerns you – and pray Him into it with His promises


Lord God  You have chosen me and promised to be with me always. You will not reject me and leave me vulnerable and alone but will be the God of my life and my life’s challenges; You will strengthen and help me and uphold me with Your splendid and invincible right hand. Thank You so much Lord – please help me to walk forward in this truth. Amen.


Stop the Poison

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you”
(Matthew 6:14)

Jesus made it quite clear here and in other places that we are to forgive the sins of others. He taught also that if we do not forgive others then the forgiveness of God will not reach us. The reasoning is quite clear – If God has forgiven us everything there is absolutely no justification for us refusing to forgive others – for withholding from them the grace that we have received. To withhold forgiveness is to place a barrier between the Lord and us.

There is also a another very practical reason involved, and that is the consequence of an unforgiving attitude in our own lives. Marianne Williamson has expressed it very clearly,

Unforgiveness is like drinking poison yourself
and waiting for the other person to die.

Unforgiveness is a poison that seeps into our lives and brings with it bitterness, unhealthiness and anger that can end up destroying both us and our lives – and which may have no effect whatsoever upon the person whose actions have given rise to our feelings. To change the picture, a spirit of unforgiveness is like a hook within us which jerks every time we are reminded of the person concerned. Healing will only take place when the hook is removed – and we need to remove it.
To forgive another is not to say that their actions do not matter – sometimes they matter very much indeed. It states instead that we refuse to be their victims as well and to live in suffering. Instead we hand them over to the Lord to Whom they will in due course need to give an account.

It is not always easy, and it may involve prayer, practice and even the counsel of a wise person. It is however a journey to freedom and worth taking.

Choose to forgive – say it aloud – ask God to make it real within you. If necessary keep doing so until it is complete.


Lord God, You have forgiven me for everything in my life – please help me to forgive those who have offended me, and enable me to live in Your freedom of spirit. Amen.


Found It!

“Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Does she not light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says,
`Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin”
(Luke 15:8-9)

What constitutes one of your most precious possessions?

For the woman in Jesus story it was a coin that was probably a part of her wedding headdress. For others it might be something like her family charm bracelet, with small objects commemorating important members and events. To lose one is to leave a gap of association that cannot be filled. These icons open windows into bigger pictures and memories and have a significance far exceeding their monetary value. Whatever these important items may be, to lose one will probably result in some committed and ongoing searching until, hopefully, it is found and restored happily to its proper place.  And although we may not throw a celebratory party we will certainly want to share this good news with others.

The point of the story is to show us how significant and important we are, individually as well as collectively, to our God and Father and our Lord and Saviour. If any one of us is missing or even distant the gap is noticed and He looks for us. Notice that we do not have to search for the way back but only to turn around and find that He is there. Most of the time our sense of lostness comes from looking away from God towards something else.

 If you are feeling distant or disconnected from God know that He is aware of it and wants the relationship to be restored and deepened. Ask Him to show you where your focus has been and to help you bring it home to Him again. He is not sitting there in a huff but watching and waiting to celebrate your return as He draws you back again.

Only God can satisfy your thirst and need  – not the world


Lord God I look to You for my life and meaning – please help me to draw closer to You so that You can draw closer to me. Amen.


Eat well

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life”
(John 3:16)

Food does no good whilst it remains on the plate. If anything it increases our hunger. It must be taken into our systems and absorbed there before we receive the benefit.

So it is with the word of God. Jesus told us that

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4)

The word of God needs to travel from our eyes and ears into our minds and from there to our hearts and spirits. Intellectual knowledge and assent does not of itself change lives. As James reminds us,

“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder”  (James 2:19)

To put our belief and trust in something is to make it an essential and central part of our lives. It is to change direction with the expressed intent that ‘I am going this way now.’ Such decisions are not taken lightly but because something has resonated at a deep level within us. For the word of God to excite and stimulate us and cause us to change the way we live it must have sparked at our very core – otherwise it may just become another legalism.

I find that I need to keep chewing on the Word – examining it again, personalising it, extracting its meaning and implications and praying over it. I begin to understand how and why David was so passionate about it. It brings not only a deeper understanding but flowers into new life inside me, causing me to pause in wonder, praise and gratitude.

Read the Bible as a banquet of revelation – not a dead history


Lord God help me like David to become increasingly excited and passionate about Your revelation of Yourself and Your love revealed in Your word – and to drink deeply from its truth and message. Amen.