“Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine….” (John 21:12)
We praise Thee for Thou truly art a God who cares for us Thy children. Thou “knoweth our frame,” Thou “remembereth that we are dust” (Ps 103:14), yet Thou condescendingly loveth and careth for us, providing for our every need.Nov 2011
“Come and dine”! What a loving, gentle invitation from our Master Himself. Though we are undeserving, yet come we must, for Thou art an understanding and compassionate Lord, who knows all our weariness and our need for refreshment both in body and in spirit. Only in Thee, and no one or no where else, can we ever be adequately refreshed, have our strength sufficiently renewed, and all our resources replenished. Only then can we improve in our service for Thee, growing to do Thy work in Thy way to Thy pleasure; and our earthly lives be properly lived more and more for Thy glory.
Nothing and no one must prevent or stop us from coming to Thee. Why do some not heed Thy call? Are the eyes of some looking back to the corrupt things of this world, and they love these more than to come and dine with Thee? Have they decided in their hearts, “We can’t dine with God. We have more important and better things to do”? O, Lord, forgive us and banish all other masters from our hearts. Thee and Thee only must be our one and only Master.
“Come” Thou calleth. It is enough, to Thee we must come. May we not be forfeited of the blessings of being in Thy presence and of all that Thou hast prepared for us. Surely Thou hast prepared for us what it is that we need, and what is the best for us. May we humbly and gratefully come with great expectations of everything good from Thee. “Come and dine” is Thy call. How can we “dine” with Thee if we do not “come” into Thy presence? And how can we receive Thy prepared blessings if we do not “dine” with Thee?
Just as Thou prepared “fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread” (John 21:9) on the Galilean shore for Thy spent disciples two thousand years ago, today Thou still knowest our every need and Thou still provideth for us. Thank You, Lord. May we be obedient and come to Thee and be blessed by all that Thou hast prepared for us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“That the God of our Lord… may give unto you the spirit of wisdom…:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know…”
Even as Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians, we pray for ourselves, that Thou, “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory” (Eph 1:17) may give us “the spirit of wisdom” that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened.
Teach us, Father, how, even as we work hard to study Thy Word, we so greatly need Thy Spirit of wisdom to open up our understanding. How can we fully understand the wondrous teachings of Thy perfect, holy Word given to us if we do not humbly look to Thy Spirit of wisdom to help us? Is this why though we have been reading, even studying, Thy Word for the past so many years, that we are still unable to “speak the truth in love” (Eph 4:15a) and still unable to “grow up into Him in all things” (Eph 4:15b)?
Without Thy Spirit of wisdom, we at best have heads filled with the Word of God. We would be no better than an unbeliever reading the Word of God, unable to understand, and unable to wisely apply Thy Word in our lives. Or worse, the diligent unbeliever may even know God’s Word more than us! O, how sad, no, how shameful a situation! How ironical that we Thy children, children of the most high God, can fail to humbly acknowledge our dependence on Thee and Thy Spirit for wisdom, for understanding. And what about those of us who do not even pay attention or study Thy Word, what wisdom can we talk about? What understanding? None!
We thank Thee, Father, for the example of our Lord Jesus. Isaiah 11:2-3, referring to Him, tells us that “the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD.”
O, heavenly Father, forgive us for thinking that we can do without Thy Spirit of wisdom. Forgive us for our proud thoughts. We come in humility acknowledging our need for Thy Spirit of wisdom to help us understand Thy Word that we may be stunted no more but truly grow and mature spiritually. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4)
We thank Thee for Thy great admonishment for us in Hebrews 12:4. May we be wise to take heed of, and to pay full attention to, what Thou art saying to us through Thy precious Word. How have our efforts in “striving against sin” been?
“Striving against sin” must be an ongoing, daily affair; our guard must never be down. Is any so strong as to be above and beyond the clutches of sin? None! So help us, Father, every moment of every day, to be careful that we do not sin against Thee with any part of our lives: our thoughts, our words, our actions, etc.
To stave off sin requires much hard work to be exercised: much alertness to the subtlety of sin, much watchfulness over our sinful self, much denial of our self will, much yielding to the control of Thy Spirit. Help us, Lord, to be prepared and willing to put in this hard work to keep sin at bay.
Do any amongst us think we have tried hard enough “striving against sin” and therefore when we fail and sin against Thee it is alright? So much so that we have actually lost the battle against sin even before we began? God forbid that any should think he is justified to sin against Thee! Forgive us, Lord, when we give not a thought to the sins we commit daily, routinely, as-a-matter-of-factedly. How repulsive this must be to Thee, the thrice-holy God!
Lord, impress Hebrews 12:4 upon our hearts. May Thy Word bring fresh insight into our battle against sin in our own lives: that truly we “have not yet resisted unto blood”! O how foolish we have been, and how true and accurate Thy Word is! Has any one of us ever been required to shed our blood in our effort not to sin? None! Yet we sin against Thee nonetheless. Help us, Father, to remember the many in days gone by who had to shed their blood in order not to sin against Thee: how they were willing to stay true and obedient to Thee, even when it meant being burnt at the stake!
Forgive us, Lord, for we have not done enough in our “striving against sin.” Help us to be willing to work harder against sin, that our lives may be pleasing to Thee, for Thou art the rightful Owner of our lives. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“…how long will it be ere they believe me…” (Numbers 14:11)
Indeed, how long have we been “unbelieving” believers! What a misnomer! We have claimed our belief in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour. There may even be a great semblance of belief in the one true, living God in the way we live our daily public lives. Yet, how we must confess the many times when we have been unbelieving of Thee.
We have been unbelieving of Thy great wisdom. When Thou instruct us as to how we are to conduct ourselves in our daily lives, we filter Thy instructions through our own finite wisdom. We pick and choose what we want to obey. And when we cannot understand Thy wisdom, we choose to follow the “reasonings” of our own thinking, and discard Thy wise guidance. Or when Thy instruction conflicts with what we want to do or have decided to do, we rationalize Thy Word away and proceed with our plans. We choose unbelief to our own detriment.
We have been unbelieving of Thy power. When we are confronted by difficulties and we feel completely helpless, the wonderful help that Thou offer through Thy Word seems unworkable, maybe even impossible, to our finite strength. In our unbelief of Thy power, we sink into a state of despair, helplessness and hopelessness, maybe even depression for some. O, how if only we will believe that Thou art the all-powerful God, we would be lifted out of our miry pit and be able to rejoice standing on the Rock of Ages! Yet we choose unbelief and remain in the valley of our distresses.
Be merciful to forgive us of our unbelieving spirit, Lord. Turn our unbelief into full confidence and trust in Thee that we may always do according to Thy instruction. Grant us Thy grace and help to believe and submit to Thy Word even when our willful, sinful hearts beckon us towards unbelief.
Is any believer, any child of God, so steep in unbelief that he does not even read or hear Thy Word anymore? O, how unbelieving can we get! Forgive such an one, Father, and be merciful to restore, that every one who calls on the Name of Jesus may truly be a believing believer. Help us, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
We praise Thee for Thou art the great Creator of heaven and earth! The almighty God who so loved the world, that Thou giveth Thine only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Thank You, Lord, for this everlasting life that Thou hast given to us. Truly, our lives do not belong to us but to Thee. Rightly, Thou must increase in our lives! All that we say and do must be what Thou would have us say and do. Every thought of our minds and hearts must come under Thy lordship. Every success we experience, every blessing we receive, must be credited to Thee. Thy will, not ours, must be done in our lives. In everything, we must give thanks to Thee.
O, but how far we have fallen short! In so many ways, we have followed the dictates of our own will, not Thine. Common it is for us to magnify our self above Thee. Even in the name of service, we desire to have the spotlight beam on us in order that as many as possible may see us and praise us. O, how repulsive this must be to Thee, our Saviour and our Master. And how much we have grieved Thee! Be merciful to forgive, Father, for Jesus’ sake. Forgive us for our failure to see who we really are. Make us to see that Thou art the One “the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose” (Luke 3:16). Grant us that correct perspective of who we are and who Thou art. Help us to sincerely humble ourselves and attribute any and all glory to Thee. Rightly, we must decrease: less of self, less of what we want, our desires are to be subdued, self-glorification eradicated, the deeds of the flesh mortified.
O Father, fill us with Thy Spirit that by Thy strength and Thy grace, we may decrease and Christ increase. Thy will may we always seek to do; Thy Word always to obey. Ever grateful to Thee, ever glorifying Thee, ever pointing others to Thee. That others may see less of us and more of Thee. For we owe our lives to Thee, the One who gave His life to give us everlasting life. Thou must therefore increase, and we decrease. So help us, Lord. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves:
be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
How the days have flown by so quickly! Three weeks have gone by since we had our Church Bible Camp, with the camp theme taken from Matthew 10:16. We had given Thee thanks and praise for Thy goodness to us during the Camp, having been so blessed by the faithful preaching of Thy Word and with the many lessons learnt and blessings experienced. But how are we now three weeks later?
Thank You, Lord, for giving us Thy Word to be a powerful guide for our lives on earth. May we love Thy Word, read it and, most importantly, allow ourselves to be guided by it in our various situations in life. For it is only when we submit our lives to the instructions of Thy Word that we can be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Thank You, Father, for Thou who put us in this world of “wolves,” art also faithful to provide the guide to enable us to be “wise as serpents, harmless as doves.”
Forgive us, Lord, for the many times when we have foolishly looked to our own wisdom, thinking that we know better than Thee. Forgive us for the numerous occasions when we were far from being harmless in our dealings with others, even our own brethren. How we have messed up our own lives and the lives of those around us by our harmful ways because we failed to heed Thy instructions. How true it is (whether before our conversion or after) that “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way…” (Isa 53:6). Turn us from our own way to Thy way, Father, the way of truth, of peace, of blessing.
Keep us obedient to Thy Word, for our lives are a constant spiritual battle, whether it be with our own sinful flesh or with the “wolves” around us. May we never be in a state of self-sufficiency and assume that our lives have been fine, and will continue to be fine. May we not be discouraged by the attacks of ”wolves” but keep us ever going to Thy Word for guidance that we may be “harmless as doves” in all our responses. Thank You, Father, for Thy Word that can help us to prevail in this world of “wolves” and that can guide us to live lives that will honour and glorify Thee. So, help us, Father. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…
But his delight is in the law of the LORD…” (Psalm 1:1-2)
How we so desire to receive blessings, especially Thy blessings! Thank You for Thy Word in Psalm 1:1-2 which instructs us as to how we can be in a blessed state.
We are to delight in Thy Law. O, how foolish we are, for we so often delight in the words of men and of the world. We love words of flattery that make us feel good. We listen to unedifying words and repeat them. For promotion of self and selfish gains, we speak lies. We speak words which at the same time promote division and disharmony, without any regard that such will hurt the innocent. O, forgive us, Lord, and cleanse us.
May we turn away from all that are filthy and false, and never delight in them, not even a wee bit. Instead, may Thy Spirit constrain us to daily delight in the reading of Thy Word, even at the dawning of each new day. May we love to meditate on Thy Word and hide it in our hearts. May we use Thy Word to comfort, exhort and provoke friend or foe unto love and to good works that Thy children may be built up, that together we may please Thee and glorify Thee.
We are not to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Many there be are the ungodly around us, seeking to lead us away from any and every thing that is godly. O, how foolish we are, for we so often are led astray by the ungodly, how we follow their counsel without regard for Thy Word. O Father, keep us from heeding the advice and words of the ungodly. May Thy Spirit grant us the discernment to know that which is ungodly, and help us not to walk in its counsel.
And what a precious promise of blessedness Thou hast given to everyone who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly and who delights in Thy law. May we qualify for such a state of joy and happiness, a state that is not tied to any possession of material things, worldly status or positions of power or authority, a state that is promised to every one who obeys Thy instructions. O, may we qualify, O Lord! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order,
and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.” (Colossians 2:5)
Paul, although not present with the Colossian local church, wrote Colossians 2:5 to commend the church members for their “order” and their “stedfastness” of faith in Christ. A disciplined church and no doubt a sound church, they were stedfast, unwavering, in following after Christ.
O Lord, we pray for our local church too that “stedfastness” of faith in Thee may also be one of our hallmarks.
But just as Paul in his epistle had to warn the stedfast Colossian Church members, today we too need to be alert to the condition of our faith in Thee. Have we taken the “stedfastness” of our faith in Thee for granted and have become complacent and think that all is well with our spiritual life? O, Thou knowest Lord, if we are truly, stedfastly following after Thee.
Help every church member, O Lord, to persevere in his following after Thee: to follow Thee even more and more with each passing day. It may be very difficult to follow Thee in Thy strait and narrow path, for it is a path of servanthood, sacrifices, humility and denial of self. The broad way of the world is increasing in attractiveness day by day, and we may be tempted to slowly veer away from the narrow into the broad, from the way of the cross to the path of ease, self-gratification and earthly accolades. It is so easy, Father, for us to waver and to stray into worldly waters, and just flow with the tide of the world. O, alert us, Father! Help us to see our wayward tendency and grant us the determination to flee from all the magnetic attractions of the world that we may have that “stedfastness” of faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. May Thy Spirit prick our conscience, convict our hearts, and impress on us our duty as children of God, followers of Christ, who have been saved by the precious blood of Jesus.
Daily remind us, Lord, of what it means to have “stedfastness” of faith in Thee, till we see Thee face to face.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, … and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” (Luke 21:11)
Thou hast taught us that the signs of the Lord Jesus’ return include “great earthquakes” in “divers places,” and now we are seeing these coming alive before our very eyes. Within a short space of thirty days, we watched the havoc that earthquakes (ranging from magnitude of 6.3 to 8.9) wrecked in New Zealand (22 Feb 2011), Japan (11 March 2011) and Myanmar (24 March 2011), not to mention the global effects of tsunamis, radiation, etc. Where next and what greater sufferings and hardships will the earth have to experience? Surely, more (and worse) is to come for Thy Word must be fulfilled: “fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:11).
O Father, how we must wake up from our stupor and see these unparalleled devastations in close succession pointing to the nearness of Thy return, as it were right at our door-step. Jolt us, Lord, from our pursuit of material, earthly gains that we may realize that our time on earth is ending soon and that Thy Word in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 will become reality: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” How it must thrill Thy children’s souls to know that we shall be meeting with Thee, our beloved glorious Lord, “in the air” real soon.
How then are we to live these remaining days knowing that we shall be meeting with Thee so very soon? Do we still lay up “treasures upon earth” (Matt 6:19) and then have our efforts wiped out, perhaps by the next quake, tsunami, or ……? God forbid! Give us, Lord, that wise resolution to lay up “treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:20) which will last for eternity. Grant us that determination to “seek … first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness…” (Matt 6:33). And help us to “walk worthy of the vocation wherewith …(we) are called” (Eph 4:1).
Truly, time is not on our side so help us, Lord, to live for Thee daily that we may be ready to meet with Thee in mid-air with great joy, and not regrets. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”
(1 Corinthians 10:31)
We thank Thee for the valuable guidance this verse affords us for our everyday life as Thy children. How well Thou knowest our propensity to be irresponsible and shoddy in our work, and to seek selfish glory, even in the name of serving Thee. O, Father, may Thy Word convict us today, and every day.
In daily seemingly routine and mundane activities (whether we “eat, or drink”), Thou want us to perform them in such a manner that Thou wilt be glorified. Nothing is too small an activity for us to fail to see that Thy Name can be at stake. And nothing, no matter how inconsequential, is to be done to glorify self or man. Even the tiniest piece of work, duty, responsibility (whether at home, at work, in school, in church, whether we are paid for it or not, whether others know about it or not) requires our due attention and diligence that we may be careful not to shame Thee with our manner of service. Is it possible that we have dishonoured Thee in many little ways? Indeed, we have and we always do, otherwise Thou would not have need to give us 1 Corinthians 10:31. Open our eyes to the many times when we have dishonoured Thee or robbed Thee of Thy glory. Speak to every heart that we may be convicted of this sin in our lives, and be merciful to forgive us, Lord.
And should Thou be gracious to grant us a special duty to perform that may not be so routine or mundane or inconsequential, remind us, Father, that “whatsoever” we do, we are to do it to Thy glory, not ours. Have Thou put some of us in certain positions of influence or leadership (whether in our secular work or our service in church), may we never use these to glorify our selves, but help us to do Thy bidding in these positions humbly, responsibly, sacrificially, ever leaning on Thy grace, strength and wisdom, that Thy Name (not ours) may be magnified by our diligent labour and manner of service. And forgive us, Lord, if we have used these God-assigned positions to promote self above Thee.
May Thou be pleased to continue to use us, whether in big or small ways, in or outside the church, in whatever positions, and help us to remember that “whatsoever” we do are to be done in such a way that will glorify Thee, for all glory rightly is due unto Thy Name, never ours. Help us, Father. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,
how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
We thank Thee that through Christ we are Thy children having “received the Spirit of adoption” (Rom 8:15) and we can address Thee as our Heavenly Father. And as our Father, Thou knoweth what things we have need of and Thou delighteth to give good things to them that ask Thee.
Yet, how many of us and how often we go about our lives as if Thou, our Heavenly Father, dost not know nor care and we have to fend for ourselves! We thank Thee, Father, for reminding us in Matthew 7:11 that even as earthly sinful parents know the needs of their children and will provide the best for them, Thou even more so know and provide for us.
As the new lunar year 2011 begins and we witness parents busying themselves to provide all the necessary (and more!) for their children during this festive period, may we pause and reflect a while how much more Thou careth and provideth for us. As the hearts of earthly parents are pained to see their children in want, Thou too does not desire to see us lacking in any good thing and wilt surely give us the best. May we not live as though we are orphans, instead may we thank Thee and humble ourselves before Thee to ask of Thee, our Heavenly Father, and to trust that Thou giveth us the best.
Have we been blessed abundantly? We must thank Thee, Father, for Thy good provisions. Are we in some kind of need? We must trust Thee, Father, that Thou art aware of our need and Thou wilt provide in Thy own good timing. Hast Thou taken something we treasure and love extremely? We must thank Thee for taking these away for Thou knowest best and wilt not keep any good things from us. And we must continue to trust in Thee.
O, Father, help us to understand fully what it means to call Thee Father and what it means to be the children of the Heavenly Father. And may we live our lives accordingly, as children of the Heavenly Father. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
2010 is now history, 2011 is ahead of us, and we have a race to run. How will we run our race in 2011?
“…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Father, help us not to cling on to the “weight” and “sin” that beset our lives in the old year, but by Thy grace may we be willing to lay aside and to let go of every and any “weight” and “sin.” What are these “weight” and “sin”? Thou knowest, Father, how many these are. Help us to come to Thee and acknowledge and confess all of them, one by one. And then help us to lay them all aside that we may start afresh and aright with Thee, that we be not bogged down or hindered by them as we enter the new year.
Is there any among us who is unwilling to lay aside but still embracing and cherishing a “weight” or a “sin”? O Father, convict us of our willfulness and forgive us for loving self more than Thee.
Remind us even in this new year of Thy unnumbered blessings and immense goodness, grace and mercies to us in the year that has just slipped away. How we must be so grateful to Thee for Thy love and care! How can we still love self more than Thee? Help us, Father, to obey Thee and be willing to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.”
Thou hast set the race of 2011 before us, and already the race has started. May each and every one of us be found running, and none considered a bystander. Has any become discouraged by the toughness of the race in 2010 and is about to stumble and collapse from exhaustion? Father, Thou knowest the weakness of our frames. Grant us the patience that we need to run this race. A patience that will enable us to endure (even cheerfully) and to run with constancy no matter how tough the race is or how great a suffering we have to experience.
And may it please Thee, Father, to see us through to the finishing line that we may glorify Thee. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.