More like good king Jesus!

“Endow the king with your justice, O God, with your righteousness. (Psalm 72:1)
Imagine the perfect government, led by the perfect leader.
Always striking the right balance between justice and mercy.
Leading with integrity, honesty, morality and fairness for all.
David is praying that he will be this kind of leader.
I believe that this kingdom is real, and possible, and coming.
As Jesus followers, we believe that Jesus is this good king!
Jesus has beaten Satan, and reclaimed the throne for Adam.
Now we must choose, like David, to be a Jesus kind of leader.
To lead with integrity in our homes, workplaces, schools, communities.
To be kind, fair, patient, peaceful, moral, honourable.
Jesus is in charge, His Spirit is with us, He will help us.
But we must desire it, pray for it and pursue it, like David did.
Today as I go about my business, I can work torwards this kingdom vision.
Will I choose to be fair, kind, honourable, etc. in my part of God’s kingdom?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done, in my life as it is in heaven. Bless me, that Your blessing may flow through me!

The pride of orthodoxy (right doctrine)

“I will never admit you are in the right.” (Job 27:5)
As I read these speeches, I struggle to know what is right.
Both Job and his friends speak confidently, as if they are right.
In the end, God humbles both Job and His friends.
In a sense, none of them are right… and neither am I.
Humility does not mean we cannot believe anything.
But it should keep us from thinking that we are totally right.
If we hold to our doctrines with the certainy of Job (v.5), watch out.
Who can dare say “I will never” to God, only God is totally right.
Unlike Job, all I can say is, ‘I will never admit I AM in the right.’
We need to hold truth by faith, gently and humbly, open to God’s correction.
My church tradition has doctrines that I hold lightly.
There’s something in them that seems right to me… and yet not totally.
Jesus does not save me because I am right, in fact the opposite.
I am saved by grace, not by orthodoxy – and thank God for that!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I will never declare that I am totally right. Because of this, no one else can be totally wrong. Only You are right. Humble and open my heart and mind to learn from You truth, wherever it comes from.

Religious vs real

“If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.” (Job 22:23)
These words from Eliphaz sound so right: repent, and God will restore you.
We use similar words, assuming that it is because we sinned that we suffer.
Meanwhile, Job doesn’t think he has anything to repent of.
“The upright can establish their innocence before him.” (Job 23:7)
If someone said that today, Christians would rebuke them too.
This book challenges our religious thinking and honours Job’s real struggle.
Not that Job is right, but his heart is sincere.
Job is being honest, and his friends are being religious.
God prefers honesty and humility over religion and piety.
It is not by trying to stop sinning that we get right with God.
It is by coming as we are – in all our flaws and weaknesses.
Jesus honoured sinful tax collectors over righteous Pharisees.
Does the church do the same, or does it favor the ‘religious’?
As a Jesus follower, Jesus wants me to be real, not religious.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, forgive me for being like Eliphaz and his friends, judging ‘sinners’ with my religious views. Humble me and remind me to be honest and real with You too.

Rebuking negative voices!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 4:38-41
“Jesus rebuked them and would not allow them to speak…” (Luke 4:41)
In my experience, demons are bodyless voices that taunt, torment and tempt.
Whatever their spiritual substance is, it’s their spiritual intent that matters.
They want to discourage, defeat, distract, or deceive us from God.
These dark voices were trying to use Jesus’ identity against Him.
Like Satan did in the wilderness: “if you are the Son of God…”
But when they try with Jesus, He silences them, refuses them.
He renounces their lies, reaffirms the truth, and refuses to listen.
Jesus did not have some kind of extra power over demons that we don’t have.
He had God’s backing (see yesterday), and His own determination.
We can rebuke the negative voices that assault our minds and hearts too.
When they whisper, we can refuse to let them speak.
‘No, that is not true, this is true; I stand by the truth!’
‘No, that is not good, this is good; I choose the good!’
With God’s Spirit helping me, will I rebuke and refuse demons today?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You have beaten Satan. I belong to You. Satan can still lie, but I can resist him so that he will flee from me!

God will back us up too!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 4:31-37
“Amazed at his teaching because his words had authority.” (Luke 4:32)
Words are very powerful for shaping or world, for good or for evil.
God used words to create, Satan used words to deceive.
As a Teacher, Jesus spoke with authority because God stood behind His words.
“Be quiet! Come out of him!” (Luke 4:35)
Nothing impressive about these words, yet they had power – God’s power.
What gave Adam and Eve authority in creation was God standing with them.
As long as they remained in/with God, they had world shaping power.
This can be true for us today too, because of Jesus.
Jesus has broken Satan’s hold on us, and restored us God, and God to us.
Our words can have authority too, even over demons.
But they can also wound and destroy, if we are not careful.
Jesus gives us God’s Spirit to work and speak through us.
If by faith we speak words of hope, encouragement, grace, blessing…
God will back us up, and will shape the world for good through us!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, use my fumbling, imperfect words to bless others with love, joy, peace. May others sense Your glory and goodness through me!

Will I still believe?

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 4:22-30
“Do here… what we have heard that you did (there)!” (Luke 4:23)
Have you ever asked Jesus to do for you what He did for others?
‘Lord, heal or help me like you healed or helped them!’
Have you ever doubted Jesus because a miracle didn’t happen?
If Jesus cannot heal now, is He really the Great Physician?
Jesus does not seem to operate according to our demands or requests.
He does not heal or help us because we are His favorites.
As Jesus points out, God loves to help Sidonians and Syrians too (vv.25-27).
God has not promised to heal everyone right away.
Nor has God promised a safe, easy life here on earth.
Jesus is our Saviour, not our butler.
Jesus is concerned for Syrians and Sidonians too, not just us.
Everything He does, and does not do, is for the greater purpose of all.
If Jesus doesn’t do for us what He did for others, will we still follow?
If He doesn’t reveal His power the way we want Him to, will we still believe?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You are not standing at my beck and call, waiting to do whatever I ask. It should be the other way around. I believe, what ever You do or don’t do.

The Spirit of the Lord is on me too!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Luke 4:14-21
“The Spirit of the Lord… has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.” (Luke 4:18)
Jesus is God’s promised messiah (‘anointed one’), anointed to do God’s work.
And this is God’s work… to help the poor, weak, suffering and oppressed.
Human history is a litany of misery and injustice, and we are the cause of it.
God’s anointed humans failed in their mission, so God raises up a new missionary.
In Jesus the world finally sees someone living like God created us to live.
He initiates God’s restored kingdom, the beginning of the time of God’s favour!
Wherever the poor or needy or oppressed are helped, God’s Spirit is at work.
We are now anointed by the same Spirit, and are urged to join in the kingdom work.
THIS is what it means to be anointed (‘christian’, literally ‘little christs’).
The Spirit of the Lord was on Jesus, and He willingly followed His leading.
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, am I willingly following his leading?
Do I feel energized by God’s Spirit, on fire for God’s purpose?
Is my life good news to the poor, the oppressed, the sick, the abused?
Jesus is here restoring God’s kingdom; am I working with Him for the same goal?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, Your Spirit is prompting me to be good news too. May I follow your lead, join with your Spirit, and may Your kingdom come through me as well.

Sharing Jesus as a senior!

“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God…” (Psalm 71:18)
As we reach retirement, we can lose our sense of value and purpose.
The old may begin to feel displaced by the young.
Some older people may feel lonely, unappreciated, forsaken.
Do we ever lose or purpose in life?
Do we ever retire from being useful or valuable to God?
David is pleading to God for continued value and purpose.
“…till I declare your power to the next generation.” (Psalm 71:18)
He may be old, but he can still witness to God’s goodness and glory.
As long as I am alive, I am a witness for Jesus.
How I live, how I speak, how I respond to life’s challenges?
How do my grandchildren experience God through me?
Am I a grumpy complainer, or a gracious encourager?
Jesus can use even the most frail elderly person…
Even in the old age home, I can show others how great Jesus is!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, help me to sense how important it is for me to keep making You look good, by how I represent You in my old age.

How my heart yearns within me!

“I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25)
These are powerful words, especially coming from Job.
They are also made famous through Handel’s Messiah.
When you think of the desperation and misery Job was going through.
This expresses the deep cry and yearning His heart.
What does your heart yearn for, deeply?
I spoke with a man this week who yearns deeply for Jesus.
He is a widower, he is retired and lonely without his wife.
He speaks with emotion about when he will see Jesus.
I wonder if this happens more when you are suffering?
One day I will see Jesus, alive, on earth, with my own eyes.
Then everything will be clear, made new, put right.
The mess and the misery will be gone, forever!
No more suffering, no more tears, no more injustice or despair.
“How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:27)
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, may this day come quickly, especially for those who are in deep despair.

My security to the end!

“Give me the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?” (Job 17:3 NIV)
Job does not know what is going on, why he is suffering.
He feels that this is not punishment, but that God is behind it.
God wants something from him, but he doesn’t know what.
He feels helpless to know what to do, and begs God for help.
No one can help me but God.
This ultimately is the point we all need to reach.
Like the alcoholic who finally realizes they cannot save themselves.
Life can gret pretty messed up, where nothing makes sense.
Like Job we may feel at a total loss to find our way.
God steps in through Jesus to help us.
He provides whay we need to make it to the other side.
He puts up the necessary pledge and security for us.
I don’t know how life will work itself out…
But I know Who will work it all out in the end!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, without You I can’t see my way forward. Even with You I can’t see it yet, but I know You are my security to the very end.