Get rid of it

“Let us throw off ..
the sin that so easily entangles
 (Hebrews 12:1)

The deadly effect of sin is that it disengages us from our relationship with God and engages us in relationships with other things and other people, mostly centred on ourselves. The result is that we effectively submit ourselves to other lords which can very easily and quickly establish an authority in and over us. Satisfying them can become our priority before we are aware of it. It is small wonder that God so often equated such sin to adultery – that is being unfaithful to Him.

To try and live out the Christian life and to continue in some sinful behaviour is to guarantee that at best we will fall short of our potential in Christ and at worst to fall away from Him completely. The strange thing is that so often we are blind to the reality of our situations and try to justify it in some way or another – rather like Adam and Eve.  In the end it could destroy us.

David had it right. Instead of trying to rationalise and justify his sin over Bathsheba he went to the Lord with the great admission and acknowledgment of sin and asked for forgiveness. He went further then and prayed for God’s help in the future, for what he really needed –

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10)

Just as we cannot run with shackles on our legs so we cannot live fully and effectively whilst hauling our sins along with us. We need to let them go and seek instead to enter into the fullness of the life that Christ holds out to us. That does not imply that life will be easy, but it does mean that we can face up to it with the fullness of God within us and not held off at arm’s length because of things that, effectively, are closer to our hearts.

God has given us all of His heart. He asks the same from us so that we can more fully appreciate and share in the wonderful things that He has provided for us in and through Jesus Christ.

Take time to examine your life. Ask God to help you to recognise anything that has become a competitor for your attention.


Lord God help me please to want more of You all the time and not to seek to satisfy myself with the passing things of this world. Amen.



You see me

“You are the God who sees me,”
(Genesis 16:13)

When Sarah could not fall pregnant she told her husband Abram to “sleep with my maidservant, perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram did so and Hagar became pregnant. She then began to despise Sarah who treated her so badly that “she fled from her.”

The ‘angel of the Lord’ found her and came to her as she sat near a spring in the desert. He asked her where she had come from and where she was going. When she replied that she had run away he told her to go back to Sarah – and then shared with her something of what the Lord would do for the son she was to call Ishmael.

Hagar called the Lord “You are the God who sees me.”

It is a wonderfully encouraging episode for us all – and in particular for anyone who feels that like Hagar they are in a lonely and desert period in their life – with no one who cares or understands them and their pain.  Although Hagar could tell God where she had come from she could not describe where she was going. God then gave her the directions she needed and, to her credit, she heard and obeyed Him. God always has a plan, purpose and direction for our lives.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you and watch over you”
(Psalm 32:8)

Wherever we are physically, emotionally and spiritually the Lord sees us. He sees us in our completeness, in our yesterdays, our todays and our tomorrows. He sees and knows the lonely outcast in us for whom He cares.  And, He has a word for us – a word of direction and of encouragement – even if it is,  as with Hagar, to remain where we are for the time being.

He is with us and our lives and times are in His hands.

Give the Lord some moments during your day. Tell Him where you are and how you feel. Ask Him for His help, strength and direction. Then spend some moments in a quiet stillness trusting His presence.


Lord God You see me and everything about me. Help me please Lord for I need Your love, Your direction and Your healing in my life. Amen.




Never means Never

“God has said, “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
(Hebrews 13:5)


Some years ago I hurled my mobile phone across the room. Why it had developed the frustrating habit of switching off in the middle of calls and of message retrieval I failed to understand. It made me feel angry, frustrated and got at – by whom I’m not sure – but definitely persecuted. I didn’t lose control totally, but hurled it purposefully into an armchair at full force. From there it bounced out and lay on the floor …  silent. I thought that it should at least have whimpered! I felt relieved, justified … and a little bit childish. That last emotion I chose to ignore.

Some days later I remembered the incident. As I did God spoke clearly into my mind. He said to me,

“I will never do that to you! I will never discard you in disgust.”

I was suddenly very quiet inside. Those words stayed in my thoughts as I explored them. He would never discard me in disgust – even though at times I would do it to myself; even though I continually fail to function as I should.  That is His commitment to me. That is the level of His relationship with me. That is His love for me. I am still awed by those words. And what’s more …… that’s how He commits to each of His children!

Savor and treasure it as I do!


Father, in a world in which relationships can seem cheap and disposable, help me to believe and trust in Your eternal and unquenchable love and presence. In Jesus name. Amen,



Anchor for the soul

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,
where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf.”
(Hebrews 6:19-20)


In the ancient world the anchor was the symbol of hope. Wisdom, great-heartedness and courage were seen as anchors that few storms could shake. However the writer to the Hebrews insists that the Christian possesses the strongest anchor as the greatest hope in the world.

Our hope is in Jesus Christ. In Him it is now anchored in the very presence of God Himself.

In the Temple the Holy of Holies was the most sacred place of all. It was here that God was believed to dwell. Separated from the remainder of the Temple by a heavy curtain, only the High Priest was allowed to enter. This was once a year on the Day of Atonement. Now, the writer tells us, Jesus has entered into that Holy Presence on our behalf. In doing so He has opened the way to God for every person at any time. No barrier now separates us from the Almighty Father. It was torn apart as Jesus died on the Cross.

Jesus is our immovable anchor in the presence of God Himself. We are bound to Him by the unbreakable chain of faith. Jesus is also the anchor in our spirits. Here the love and acceptance of God is eternally secured within us through the Holy Spirit.

Although we are called to a new way of life and living we no longer have to strive for acceptance. As Christians we belong. We may enter into the presence of God, into His heart of love, into His arms of acceptance, whenever we wish. Which is why He can say to us,

“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

Put your faith and trust in our great Lord. Imagine the unbreakable bond that secures you to Him, and Him to you.


O Yes Lord Jesus! I believe – help my unbelief. Thank You so much that nothing “in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39) Amen.


Look Here

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus”
(Hebrews 12:2)

It is vital that we keep our focus firmly on the Lord.

When things are going well it is easy to forget this – and when huge challenges arrive they can shout so loudly at us that we look at them instead.

In each and every stage of our lives Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the Good Shepherd and the Saviour. He is the One who has promised to be with us always and to never let us go. And, as Paul tells us, our God works in all things for the good of those who love Him.

His call to you today and every day, wherever and however you are, is always the same.

  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
  • “Come, follow me,” Jesus said” (Matthew 4:19)
  • “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4)

There is no safer and more blessed place to be – whatever the road ahead may have in store. We may walk with Him in praise and worship, in pain and petition, in love and joy, in shame and suffering and in whatever other state we may experience. In each situation He knows and is the Way forward. All day and everyday He is also our rest and our strength, our hope and  our joy, our peace and our love.

He is always there.

Look to the Lord now – acknowledge His presence – talk to Him.


Blessed Jesus, Your eyes of Love are always on me and You never look away. Your hand reaches for mine and never drops away. Your lips smile as You say to me, simply, “Come.”  Thank You so much. Amen.


You Know Me

“O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me”
(Psalm 139:1)

There are three verses in Psalm 139 that stood out for me recently.

“You have searched me and You know me.” It is the most wonderful blessing to be fully known by someone and still to be fully accepted by them – especially when that person is God. I do not have to tell Him anything about me, explain anything or try to excuse anything. He knows all there is to know about me – who I am and why I am, what I have done and will do and why. I am an open book to Him at all times – and still He loves me.

“You are there.”  Whether in the heavens or in the depths or on the far side of the sea God is with us to guide us and to hold us fast in His right hand. Jesus would later say that no one is able to pluck us out from the hand of God. We cannot escape from or be lost to His presence, for He is closer to us that our next thought or prayer.

“When I awake, I am still with You.” Whenever I wake after a sleep or a nap I find that God is still present, and has not left me for a moment. The same will be true when I close my eyes for the last time on this earth. When I open them again He will still be there and I will still be with Him – but even closer.

Hold on to and dwell on these truths


Father help me to grasp more of Your great love and Your absolute commitment to me – and to rejoice in awe. Amen,



Come Aside

“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”
(Luke 5:16)

It is possible to pray at all times and at any time. However, as with people too, deep and meaningful communication with God is very difficult when we are distracted by other things and other people.

Jesus often withdrew from such distractions into lonely places where He could give God His undivided attention in worship, petition and in listening for and to God’s response. This is vividly portrayed in His prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane where He again withdrew into the night by Himself to agonise before God. The blessing that He received strengthened Him to face the trials that lay ahead.

Whilst God may well answer our ‘prayers on the run’ there is nothing as meaningful as time spent quietly with Him. It is there that we learn to value and enjoy Him for who and what He is  – not merely for what He can do for us. When David exhorts us to ‘worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness’ he is urging us to turn aside into the Lord’s presence. There we can become aware of His unique and awesome difference to everything about our world.  And as His holiness washes over us it draws us into itself, cleansing and renewing us. In that moment of holiness we celebrate and enjoy our oneness with Him, often in silent awe and wonder.

Establish your own ‘lonely place’ – within easy reach – and visit it often. You will find Him waiting for you there.


Lord God sometimes all I want is to sit and look at You and know You, and for You to look at me and know me. Help me to not miss out because of my busyness and agitation. Amen.

(Photo: (c) Catherine Bondonno)

You’re Here

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

Loneliness is a terrible affliction. It is possible to be lonely and abandoned even in the midst of a crowd of cheerful people. Not only do we feel cut off from others but even from ourselves.

Jesus promise to be with us always is not merely words – it is both an undertaking and a statement of fact. He is with us in the sense of being alongside us. He is also with us in a far more personal and intimate way.  In the Holy Spirit He is within us, where He can minister and witness to our spirits, hearts and minds at any time.

This commitment of His is not dependent upon the way that we feel. It is a reality despite the way we may feel. Our feelings of isolation mean that we are focussed on ourselves. When He calls us to “Come to Me” He is also calling us to shift our attention from ourselves to Him – to cease looking at our own spiritual, emotional and material poverty and to transfer our gaze to Him, with His beauty, open-heartedness and the wealth of love and life that He wishes to share with us.

David recognised something of this when he sang out,

“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” (Psalm 139:7-10)

‘You are there;’ ‘You are there;’ ‘Your hand will guide me;’ Your right hand will hold me fast.’ Wonderful words of reassurance, and a reminder of the ever-present love of God. We are never alone.

Pause to take a few deep breaths as you acknowledge that God is with you. Do so frequently.


Lord Jesus You are with me always. Help me to remember this, particularly when I feel down and alone, and to take comfort in You. Amen.


God is Judge


“For he has set a day when he will judge the world
with justice by the man he has appointed.
He has given proof of this to all men
by raising him from the dead”
(Acts 17:31)

God is Real; He is the Creator; He is Almighty and He is Holy. He is also Judge.

God – as Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the One and only Judge. There is no other. Our future lies in His hands, and in His hands alone. His decision will be complete and final, and totally just and righteous.

  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” ( Matthew 25:31-32)
  • “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy” (James 4:12)

In one respect judgement has already taken place, for

  • “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
  • “the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men” (Romans 5:18)

For some therefore this will be confirmed – for nothing will have changed

  • “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10)

However the good news is that for believers in Jesus Christ there is no danger of condemnation but the assurance of eternal salvation.

  • Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2)
  • “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2)
  • “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)
  • “Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29)

The Cross of Christ is both the barrier to eternal darkness and the open door to eternal life.

Believers Response:
I am a new creation – no more in condemnation – here in the grace of God I stand.


Father I believe – please confirm and strengthen this faith in me, all the days of my life,  for Jesus sake. Amen.



God is Holy

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory”
(Isaiah 6:3)

God is Holy. The Holy One of Israel became Isaiah’s favourite expression for Him. In His revelation of Himself to Isaiah God showed that His holiness stood in the sharpest possible contrast to human sinfulness. We are reminded of this difference when we see the blazing and blinding light of the sun in comparison to the pale and reflected light of the moon. Such is this raging holiness, this blinding purity and this consuming glory that God would say to Moses,

  • “You cannot see My face, for no-one may see Me and live.” (Exodus 33:20)

To say that God is holy is to acknowledge that He is distinct and separate from all other beings and absolutely unique.  There is no one and nothing that can compare to Him. God points this out Himself.

  • “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25)

God is not merely a bigger and better version of humankind. He is ‘transcendently separate, in a class by Himself,’ subject to no one and to nothing else, and accountable only to Himself. David honoured Him in these words,

  • “Among the gods there is none like you, O Lord; no deeds can compare with yours. All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, O Lord; they will bring glory to your name. For you are great and do marvellous deeds; you alone are God”  (Psalm 86:8-10)

Habakkuk and Isaiah describe their experience of God like this,

  • “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled” (Habakkuk 3:16)
  • “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5)

And the writer to the Hebrews

  • “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29)

In God there is no darkness at all (1 John1:5). But not only that. His light is a perfect and complete light – a light that would blind and paralyse us. His truth is a total and absolute truth – nothing missing, overlooked or incomplete. His will is an overwhelming and irresistible will that will not rest until it has completed what He wishes. And such is the total hatred that He has for sin that it causes a violent reaction within Him that desires to leap out and destroy all that is not of Him.

  • “The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the Lord and many of them perish. Even the priests, who approach the Lord, must consecrate themselves, or the Lord will break out against them.” (Exodus 19:20-24)

There is only one thing that stands between us and the consuming holiness of God – and that is the Cross of Christ, the great revelation of His perfect and holy love.


Open my eyes Lord to the glory of Your Being, and help me to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Amen.