Reflection on Luke 5:1-11

Scripture

As soon as they landed, they left everything and followed Jesus.

Observation

Jesus is preaching on the shore of Galilee. The crowd presses in around Him, so He gets into an empty boat and tells Simon to go out a little way.

After Jesus has finished preaching, He tells Simon to go deeper and let down his nets. When Simon does this, there is such a large catch, he has to call for help to bring it in. There is enough fish to fill two boats.

Jesus tells Simon, James and John to come with Him to catch people instead of fish. So they immediately leave everything to follow Jesus.

Application

It was the right place, the right time, the right thing to do. So they left everything to follow Jesus.

When Jesus calls, it is always right to go with Him. He is never late, always on time- the kairos time, the time of opportunity, the crossroads moment.

A decision “Yes” or “No” in that moment of calling changes the direction of our whole lives.

Not all of us are called to abandon our business and family on a spur of the moment decision. But when the call to take a new direction comes, you know because God has been talking to you for months, maybe years.

The opportune moment comes, or perhaps a crisis, and Jesus says, “Come and follow me.”

I have found in my life that God plants an idea or dream in my heart. I think “Yes. Some day that will happen.” Suddenly “some day” is “this day” and always too soon in my human thinking. But in God’s timing the opportunity, the resources and support from others, all come together and I am persuaded to say “Yes” again to Jesus.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for your invitation to work for you in your Kingdom. Help me to always say “Yes” to your call. Amen.

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Reflection on Isaiah 6:1-13

Scripture

It was the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple.

Observation

The heavens open for Isaiah, and he sees the Lord sitting on a high and lofty throne. Mighty six- winged seraphim fly around the throne calling out praise to God. Their noises shake the Temple, and it is filled with smoke.

Isaiah is afraid because of his sin, but one of the seraphim comes down and touches his lips with a burning coal for forgiveness.

Isaiah is given a message to take to the people to hear but not understand. They will fail to repent until the nation is devastated by God’s judgement.

Application

Oh to see the Lord high and lifted up!

When we truly enter into worship, whether at home or in church, we can go beyond ourselves and lift up our eyes to our Redeemer.

To see the Lord high and lifted up, we must lift up our eyes.

The problem is that too often our eyes are firmly pointed down, our focus remains on earth and not in heaven, even when we pray or sing praise. Too many people keep their focus on their circumstances.

For other people, the focus is on themselves. “I can’t pray out loud or sing aloud because other people might think I’m doing it wrong.” We are not to be self-conscious but God conscious.

The open vision that Isaiah experienced is not a common event. That does not mean that we should not expect to see the Lord in dreams and visions or hear His voice through the Holy Spirit.

To do these things we must seek Him. We must look to Him. We must pursue His glory.

It doesn’t have to be spectacular. It is the still, small voice or the tough of the hem of His garment that will change our hearts and our lives.

Prayer

Lord, let me see our glory. Teach me how to pursue you and to seek your face. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Scripture

Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last for ever.

Observation

We can have all the spiritual gifts in the world, but without love it is nothing- a noisy gong or a clashing cymbal.

Love is patient and kind. It is not jealous, boastful, proud, rude, demanding or irritable.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy will pass away because in heaven they will no longer be needed. Love lasts for ever.

We see things imperfectly now, but in eternity we will see clearly.

Application

This chapter is famously called the “Love Chapter.” It is sandwiched between two sections of Paul’s most extensive teaching on the spiritual gifts.

Some people try to contrast love and gifts. They claim that Paul is saying that love is better than prophecy or speaking in tongues. But he is not giving us a choice of one or the other. He is saying that anything we do in the name of Christ has to be done with love. If we don’t love the people around us, the actions we produce clash with the motives of our heart, rendering them useless.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit will not be needed in eternity. They are needed in this life because our relationships with God and with each other are marred by sin. People are hurting because of sin. The gifts will not be needed in heaven where everything is made perfect. This does not mean we should ignore them in this life.

Some people argue that now we have the complete New Testament, the perfect revelation of God’s will, then the partial things are now useless. There is no place in Scripture that says the gifts will cease.

We must pursue the fullness of the Holy Spirit- love and prophecy, the fruit and the gifts. In this way Christ is glorified in us and through us.

Prayer

Fill me Holy Spirit. Let every gift and all love be expressed in me. Amen.

Reflection on Psalm 1

Scripture

They delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

Observation & Application

Those who refuse to walk with the wicked or with sinners are blessed. They meditate on God’s word day and night and prosper like a tree that bears fruit in every season. They are the tree of life for the nations and prosper in all they do.

God’s word is life-giving. It brings us to salvation and shows us how to live in God’s ways. The Scriptures correct us when we are wrong and equip us to shine the light of God’s glory in every situation,

We should meditate on God’s word day and night, delighting in His ways.

So many christians give scant attention to God’s word, and wonder why they can’t hear God or find His direction.

Studying the Bible is the foundation of every christian discipline. We pray because God tells us to and we find out how to do it through the examples of people in the Bible. We fast because God tells us to do so in His word.

To love God is to seek His ways.. To love God means that we want to know more about Him. We do this primarily through reading and meditating on the Scripture.

People often think to meditate we need to empty our minds of all thought. Biblical meditation means filling our mind with Him. We savour the word of God, letting key thoughts, words and phrases go around in our head until they become a part of who we are.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for your holy word. Help me to be faithful and diligent in reading it day and night. Amen.

Reflection on Jeremiah 1:1-10

Scripture

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Observation

Jeremiah was a prophet called by God in the end period of the kingdom of Judah. He carried the Lord’s message during the reigns of Josiah, Jehoiakim and Zedekiah right through to the exile in Babylon.

The Lord called him to this prophetic ministry. The Lord knew him before he was born and appointed him to be a messenger to the nations.

Jeremiah says he is too young. But the Lord replies by saying that He has put His words in Jeremiah’s mouth.

Application

The Lord’s words to Jeremiah are true of all of us. He formed us and knew us before He made us. He sets each person apart for a task or an assignment.

We don’t think of ourselves in these terms. We think calling and appointment are only for the spiritual elites, the top people like pastors, evangelists and apostles.

The fact is that each person was hand- made by God for a specific purpose or a particular task.

Maybe it is leading a cell group, perhaps leading just one person to the Lord, or raising our children to love the Lord.

Whether we are called to pull down and raise nations, to raise children or visit people in a nursing home, this is God’s mission and He appoints people to the right place.

Steve Stewart, leader of Impact Nations, a short term missions group, has a favourite saying. “You were made for this!” It doesn’t matter what the “this” is. You were made for a task that nobody else can do.

Prayer

Lord God, you made the heavens and the earth. You fashioned me to be your instrument. Help me to fulfil your mission. Amen.

Reflection on Isaiah 62:1-5

Scripture

The nations will see your righteousness;

world leaders will be blinded by your glory.

And you will be given a new name

by the Lord’s own mouth.

Observation/ Application

Isaiah says he loves Jerusalem and will not stop praying for her. Her hard times will give way to glory and righteousness. Then the nations will see Jerusalem and be blinded by her glory.

This speaks of the church. This is the “new name” for Jerusalem. The covenant isn’t just with Israel any more but to all who love Jesus.

So, like Isaiah, we should continue to pray for the church- the assembly of christians, the people who love God. We should pray for the local church, persecuted christians around the world, the mission of the church locally and globally.

As we learn to more fully worship and obey the Lord, nations will come streaming to the church. When we live in the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, the radiance of God shines from us to those who are thirsty for the Lord.

World leaders and local politicians will see the way that christians live and what they achieve. They will ask “How do you do that?” The ways of the Holy Spirit are perplexing and attractive to those who do not know the Lord.

Of course, those who see what the church is and what it does and don’t like it, will rise against it. There are many people who do not like the light but prefer the darkness. Persecution will always be a fact of life for christians, but what glory awaits for those who remain faithful to the Lord.

Prayer

Help me Lord to see the glory of your church. May the nations come to taste of your mercy, and leaders see your glory. Amen.

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 12:1-11

Scripture

I want you to know that no one speaking by the Spirit of God will curse Jesus, and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.

Observation

In this passage, Paul explores the area of spiritual gifts. He says that nobody can curse Jesus if they are speaking by God’s Spirit.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit gives them all. God works in each person in different ways, but He is still the same God.

God gives His gifts to help us serve one another. These gifts include words of wisdom and knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, discernment of spirits, tongues and interpretation of tongues.

The gifts all come from one God and are given as He determines.

Application

Back in the 1970’s during the charismatic revival, spiritual gifts were controversial. Not so much today, in most parts of the church.

Back then there were people who claimed to be “tongue testers”. They could tell whether a person was speaking in tongues by the Holy Spirit or some other spirit. So they were using the gift of discernment of spirits to prove their point that the gifts of the Spirit are fake.

Here is the good news about spiritual gifts, and tongues in particular. Nobody curses Jesus while speaking in tongues. If you love the Lord you will want to please Him. These gifts, even the ones we cannot rationally understand, will glorify Jesus.

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available to all who love the Lord. They are there to help us minister to one another and to glorify God.

Prayer

Father, I thank you for the Holy Spirit. Please help me to understand how to flow in the gifts of the Spirit so that the Name of Jesus is lifted up through me. Amen.