None Like You

————————-

Advertisement

Who are you? 1

hands2a

“Yet to all who received him,
to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God”

(John 1:12)

Reflection:
If Jesus is your Saviour then who are you?
(This question-based series came through a middle-of-the-night word from the Lord.)

The first response is this – we become a child of God, His son or daughter. As we know from our human experience once a child has been born that child is a son or daughter of those parents forever. Even if the child or the parents should seek to disown or abandon the relationship the fact nevertheless remains and cannot be altered. Once God has adopted us as His child it becomes an eternal relationship which ‘nothing in all creation’ can alter.

The process by which we become a child of God is in His hands. ‘We are born of God.’ (John 1:13) The way in which it is worded seems to give it a significance similar to the birth of the Lord, both being due to the sole activity of God.

In one sense God could be said to have fathered everyone because He created us. But the writers of the New Testament very significantly do not refer to all people as His children. That expression is reserved for those who, by God’s grace, have entered into a new relationship with Him through what has been called re-birth (John 3:3). This comes about through our believing in and receiving Jesus as Saviour and Lord – ‘believing in’ and ‘receiving’ describe the same thing. Once this has sincerely taken place, however superficially or imperfectly at the time, nothing further is required. Quite remarkably Jesus refers to what then takes place, our adoption by God, as a right! It is an indication of the wonderful and sovereign love and grace of God – and how very much He wants us.

Response:
This is important. Own your relationship with God. If Jesus is your Saviour and Lord humbly accept and live your new identity as a son or daughter of God. If not then prayerfully face the decision.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus You are my Saviour and my Lord. I am a son/daughter of Almighty God our Father. Please help me to always own and live my new identity in You. Amen.

—————————-

Help me God!

2014.05.06a

“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”

(Psalm 4:1)

Reflection:
David was no stranger to trouble and danger. Some was of his own making, some because of his calling and position as king, and some because of the actions and activities of those around him – including members of his family.

His psalms are wonderful expressions of his relationship with God in all his different moods and conditions. They can be of great help to us too as he comes to God and calls out to Him for help, comfort and forgiveness.

We all go through times of hardship, pain, sickness and distress. His words – as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) – can become our own when we need them. They may also be a springboard from which to speak to God from our own hearts.

Look through the Psalms and find a few that speak to you. Tuck them away in your minds, diaries or mobile phones for when you need them. You can keep them going as a continual prayer.

Response:
Start with the verse above!

Prayer:

Father sometimes it is too sore, lonely or desperate for me to pray. Help me then to use the words of David that You inspired and have preserved for us. Amen.

——————-

Come Home!

“But the father said to his servants, `Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”

(Luke 15:22-24)

 Reflection:

The parables reveal wonderful truths about God. The central figure in this story of the Lost Son, or the Prodigal Son as it is more commonly known, is the Father. He represents God, just as the younger, and prodigal son, represents humankind.

Having given us the gift of free choice in Creation, the Father will allow us to go off and squander our health, wealth and future if that is our firm intention – as it is in the story. He does not stop us, but longs for the time when we realise what we have done and return home to Him again. He seems to search the distant horizons for any trace of us and, when we are seen a long way off, throws dignity to the winds and runs to meet and embrace us, and to restore us to our place in His life. No wonder that He then calls for a celebration! He is so excited and overjoyed to have us back again. It is as if this is the greatest gift that anyone could ever give to Him – to bring a lost child back home.

Jesus appears critical of the elder brother –and with good reason! The elder brother in the story has to be Him – and the religious leaders of the time have painted Him, through their representative lives and interpretation of God, as mean, grasping and unattractive. The true Jesus now stands before them in glorious contrast and reality – filled with love, openness and grace – and they will have nothing to do with Him! Far from complaining about His ‘younger brother’ He has come to find him and take Him home again to delight their Father. Far from criticising the celebration He instigates it. Far from implying that the younger son should not now live on His, the elder brother’s inheritance, He shares it with him, and us.

“Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17)

 Jesus is revealing God, and Himself, as warm, open, love-filled, generous, forgiving and passionately life-giving to those who will accept Him. The religious leaders preferred the cold certainty of the laws that were subject to their own interpretation, and not only turned their backs on Him, but plotted to destroy Him.

It was no easy option, but

“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)

 Response:

Read the whole story.  Picture yourself as the ‘child’ returning home.  How does your reception surprise and delight you? Is it time you went home to this Father?

 Prayer:

Father God, please open my eyes to the truth of Your love for me and help me to live within it. Amen.

—————–

Praying the Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

Amen

Reflection:

The Lord’s Prayer, taught by Jesus to His disciples, is not the only prayer that we can pray to God. Jesus Himself prayed in different ways and with different words on occasion. We can see this in His great prayer recorded in John 17, as well as in His heartfelt prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest, trial and crucifixion.

 However, in its pattern and content it is the most complete prayer possible, and helps us to keep our focus and balance. It prevents us from becoming totally self –centred and crisis pray-ers. If Christians, and the Christian Church, prayed and lived this prayer with meaning and understanding every day the world and its people might be a totally different place.

 Being the prayer that Jesus gave us it is therefore, unquestionably, a prayer that God would want to hear and to answer. It is also a prayer to use when in doubt about what to ask of God, and it can be adapted to any situation and circumstance. For example, when praying for a person (including yourself) it can be used as follows:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name  – in Joe
Your Kingdom come,  – in Joe
your will be done,  – in Joe
on earth as in heaven
Give (Joe) today (his) daily bread.
Forgive (Joe his) sins,
as (Joe) forgives those who sin against (him).
Lead (Joe) not into temptation,
but deliver (Joe) from evil.
For the kingdom,
the power and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.

Amen

It is a wonderful prayer for parents to use for their children, and god-parents for their god-children. It can be used for people, churches, institutions, cities and countries. In its unadapted form it should be the prayer of every church and every Christian believer both morning and evening –at least.

 Response:

Pray it meaningfully – focussing intentionally on a different request every day, to deepen your awareness and understanding.

 Prayer:

Lord, please help me to live Your prayer. Amen.

 ————-