Reflection on John 6:51-58

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Scripture

“Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.”

Observation

Jesus is the living bread from heaven and He gives eternal life to all who eat of Him. To have eternal life, we must eat His flesh and drink His blood.

Anyone who eats His flesh and drinks His blood remains in Christ and Christ remains in them.

Application

The language in this passage can be hard for us to decode because it is so foreign to us.

Jesus is saying that He is the bread from heaven which gives eternal life. This is a reference to the manna which came to the children of Israel in the wilderness and fed them for forty years.

This manna was a shadow of the real thing- Jesus who gives us eternal life.

Jesus says we must eat His flesh and drink His blood to receive eternal life.

One application of this is that we must enter into an intimate relationship with Him so that we remain or abide in Him and He abides or remains in us.

This is a process of discipleship that leads to our lives being totally identified with the life of Christ. We must live in daily prayer, that is open sharing with Him with no hiding or pretending. We must meditate on the Word so that the Scriptures change us. Our focus must become God’s will not our own will.

Bread and wine also remind us of Holy Communion. We need to live in a worshipping community of faith. The sacrament is a physical sign of our desire to experience Christ more closely. As a body we can encourage and exhort each other to be more faithful in our walk together.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are the true bread of heaven. Teach me how to feast on you and to let your life fill me in every way. Amen.

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Reflection on Ephesians 5:15-20

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Scripture

Don’t be drunk with wine because that will ruin your life. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

Observation

We are to be careful how we live, asking what God wants from us rather than pleasing ourselves.

Instead of over-indulging in drink, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing songs of worship and praise to the Lord.

Application

The people of the world think that getting drunk on the weekend is a great way to unwind from the stresses of life. Depending on alcohol or other drugs will ultimately wreck a life.

As christians we have a far better way of dealing with problems, and that is seeking the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t be filled with drink; be filled with the Holy Spirit instead.

Unlike alcohol and drugs, which merely desensitise us to life, the Holy Spirit is life in its fullest. We were made for fellowship with God, so fullness of Holy Spirit is fullness of life.

As we seek the deeper life with God, worship and praise will be the path we take. Whether we sing the Scriptures or hymns and worship songs, or even “spiritual songs”- that is allowing the Holy Spirit to create a new song in us- singing has many benefits in the Spirit-filled life.

  • Music bypasses our logical thinking and opens our soul to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

  • The words keep our minds focused on God’s glory.

  • Songs can keep ministering in us long after we stop singing, as the words and music amplify each other in our thoughts.

  • Songs can provide us with new words and phrases to express our love for Jesus

Prayer

Holy Spirit, fill me and re-fill me. May me whole life become a symphony of worship to you. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Kings 3:1-14

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Scripture

“Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself can govern this great people of yours?”

Observation

Solomon goes up to Gibeon to worship God and offer 1000 burnt offerings. The Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and asks him to name what he wants and the Lord will give it to him.

Solomon asks the Lord for wisdom to rule His people and to know the difference between right and wrong. The Lord promises that He will give him the wisdom he asked for and the wealth and fame he did not ask for.

Application

We all need God’s wisdom, an understanding heart as Solomon describes it. Whether it is leading people, relationships or work, we need wisdom to navigate through life.

This passage shows clearly that God will give wisdom to all who ask Him for it. The problem is that our prayers are often for God to fix what might have been prevented through wisdom.

Ask for wisdom and God will give it to you.

We need wisdom at home to order our households well- wisdom to deal lovingly with spouse and children, wisdom to budget and spend our income wisely, wisdom to know what activities are good and which are bad.

At work we need wisdom to know how best to serve our employer, wisdom to administer our responsibilities well.

At church we need wisdom to know what to volunteer for and what to pass by.

Much wisdom comes from handing our cares to the Lord and listening for the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Father I thank you that you give wisdom to all who seek it from you. Help me Lord to listen to your Spirit in every situation so that I will learn your wisdom. Amen.

Reflection on John 6:41-51

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Scripture

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me has eternal life.”

Observation

People start to grumble because Jesus said that He is the Bread of Heaven. They know His father and mother. How could He have come from heaven?

Jesus responds by saying that nobody can come to the Him unless the Father draws them. Anyone who believes has eternal life. He is the Bread of Heaven, just like the manna their ancestors ate in the desert.

Application

Salvation is a person, not a religion. If we really want to be sure of eternal life, we must attach ourselves to Jesus and follow His way.

There is nothing that we can do to make us right with God. If I decide to live a perfect life from today, that is only what God expects of me, and it does nothing to pay for my previous sins.

Good deeds and religious virtues can never make us right with God. Only Jesus can do that.

Anyone who believes (a better translation would be “trusts”) in Jesus has eternal life.

Jesus has paid the price for my sin. All I have to do is trust in Him.

Many years ago, there was a man in my town who lived on the streets with his dog. Each week he would go to the bank and withdraw $20 for his drink and some food for his dog. He was actually quite a wealthy man and could afford to live in any house and eat the best food. He chose to be homeless.

God has given His promise to every person in the world, the promise of eternal life. Those who refuse to receive the promise make the choice for hell.

The choice is clear. Trust in Jesus for eternal life. Trust anything else for eternal torment.

Prayer

Thank you Jesus for opening the doors to heaven for me. I receive your promise of salvation and I choose to follow you. Amen.

Reflection on John 6:24-35

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Scripture
Jesus answered “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Observation
After the feeding of the 5000, Jesus and the disciples cross the lake in a boat. Some people follow them. Jesus confronts them with the fact that they are only following Him for the food He produced.

They ask Him what God requires of them. Jesus replies that the work of God is to believe in Jesus. Jesus is the bread of life and anyone who comes to Him will not hunger or thirst.

Application
A religious person will want to know what they have to do to placate God, whom they perceive to be angry at their guilt. Whether it is sacrifices, good deeds or pilgrimages to holy places, we want to know what pleases God and gets us out of trouble.

Jesus tells us here that the work God gives us is simply to trust in Jesus.

When I trust in the One sent by the Father, I can know my sins are forgiven. What bliss!

A religious person will pray a prayer of repentance, the “sinner’s prayer.” They may start to attend a church.

But Jesus is looking for more than a prayer. To trust Him means that we hand everything about us into His hands. It is about a relationship. He directs our paths and we follow, trusting that He has our lives under control.

It’s all about believing Jesus.

Believing that He is in control.

Believing that our sin is forgiven and that we have abundant life in Jesus.

Believing that the One who fed 5000 people has enough to meet my needs.

Prayer
As one person in the Bible said, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief.” Jesus, I trust you to direct my paths. Help me to follow you today. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:14

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Scripture

Then David confessed to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

Observation

Following Uriah’s death, Bathsheba mourns for her husband, but then goes and lives in the palace. She gives birth to a boy.

Nathan the prophet comes to David with a story about a rich man who steals a lamb from a poor man. David is outraged and says that whoever does such a thing deserves to die. Nathan tells him, “You are the man.”

David realises that the story is about him and repents of his sin. Nathan says that although the Lord has forgiven David, the baby will die because of his sin.

Application

Sometimes our temptations can blind us to the reality and enormity of our sin. David could have had any possession he desired, any woman he wanted. He was walking in God’s favour, but his list for one woman changed everything.

When we are battling temptation our one thought is, “I want that now.” We cannot see the wider picture. We neglect to pray about the issue and to find out God’s will. When we sin, the ramifications spread like ripples in a pond.

David’s temptation led him to a multitude of sins- adultery, lies and murder, to name a few. But the consequences of his sin were generational- the baby would die, his other sons would oppose him and each other, and so on.

We might think that there are no consequences for our sin. We might think that we got away with it. But God sees all. Of course, the first and most grievous result of sin is that it separates us from God and interrupts our relationship with Him.

The good news in all of the gloom of sin is that God forgives us when we repent and turn away from our sins. “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Father, I confess my sins to you right now. I ask for your forgiveness and the grace to walk in obedience to you. Amen.

Reflection on 2 Samuel 11:1-15

davidandbathsheba

Scripture

Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.

Observation

Instead of going to war, as kings were supposed to do, David stays at home. After a siesta, he goes out to the palace roof from where he sees a beautiful woman taking a bath.

David sleeps with Bathsheba who becomes pregnant. To cover up his adultery, David arranges to have her husband killed in battle.

Application

A powerful man who misuses his power for sexual reasons and then tries to cover it up. The story continues to run to this day.

This story starts with a dereliction of duty. David should have been leading his army in battle, not idly looking for women to seduce.

Many sins start with a moment of idleness and maybe a sense of entitlement. “I’ll take a sickie today; I deserve it,” we tell ourselves. Maybe it’s a holiday overseas where the normal constraints of being found out don’t seem to apply.

There used to be a saying that “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, meaning that in times of inactivity we can be open to temptation.

The solution is not to fill our lives with endless activity so we won’t have opportunity to sin. No, the solution is to find out God’s purpose for our lives and dedicate ourselves to that.

When we discover what we here for, the distractions and seductions of this present age will have less attraction for us.

Prayer

Lord, there are many things in this world that are appealing to the fleshly nature. Help me to pursue you and you alone so that the attractions of this age lose their appeal in the light of your glory and grace. Amen.