Today’s devotion for today is based on Isaiah 57:19, “Peace, peace, to the far and near, says the Lord; and I will heal them.”
God reassures us that although he lives in a high and holy place, he also lives with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit. God lives with us. He walks beside us every day of our lives, and he holds us in His loving care. He will lead us by the hand through death into eternal life. What amazing peace this gives us.
How does God give us this peace and healing? He will ‘revive the spirit of the lowly, and revive the heart of the contrite. As we read God’s word, praise him in our worship, confess our sins, and pray to Him, He comes to us and revives us. He renews, refreshes, restores us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit. And the peace of God which passes all understanding be with us now and always. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Philippians 2:3-7, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”
How can I ever hope to imitate his servanthood, his obedience, and his willingness to suffer the ultimate horror, separation, from his loving Father, all for my sake and yours? Yet this is what Paul is urging us to do, to change our mindset from love of self to love and service of others. We receive encouragement, comfort, tenderness, compassion, and love from our gracious God. All of these qualities are ours through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we practice them, then we are a blessing to the world around us.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for all the gracious blessings you heap on us. May you, Holy Spirit, guide us as we battle the spirit of our age and strive to be more like Christ in all we say and do. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Matthew 21:23, “By what authority are you doing these things?”
The religious authorities came to Jesus one day and directly confronted him with the question recorded for us. The question was meant to trick him into declaring that his authority came from God, so they could call him a blasphemer.
Rather than answering them, Jesus challenged them with a question, ‘John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?’ One can almost picture the scene as they go back and forward trying to decide the answer, thinking of how it would look in the eyes of men, rather than looking for the truth. In the end, they opted for, ‘We don’t know’. The subsequent parable points to the sad truth that those sitting on the fence would miss out, but thankfully many who did not yet know the truth would be led by the Holy Spirit through repentance and faith into the kingdom.
Let us be bold to confess the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, revealed to us through Scripture, and that he has the authority to make us his children through baptism, forgive our sins, and bring us to be with him in heaven.
Please pray with me the prayer for today: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, forgive me for the times when I sat on the fence and was afraid to declare your truth boldly. Strengthen me through the Holy Spirit to acknowledge your authority, power, love, and mercy. In Jesus’ blessed name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Psalm 51:1-7 “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin, did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Forgiveness acknowledges the wrong, yet, offers something more substantial than a “That’s okay.” When we pray, “Lord, I’m sorry I’ve sinned,” God would never respond, “That’s okay.” Sin is never okay. Instead, God responds with something better for those who trust in his Son, Jesus. God says, “I forgive you because of Jesus.” That’s why, with faith in Jesus and anticipation of God’s forgiveness, we too can confidently pray: Heavenly Father, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love. . . . Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. ” Amen.
Mustard seed faith
Today’s devotion for today is based on Luke 17:6, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted, and planted in the sea’, and it will obey you.”
I cannot imagine telling them a Mulberry tree to get up and plant itself in the sea. I guess my faith is much smaller than a mustard seed. And a mustard seed is tiny!
Fortunately, Jesus’ words are not actually about how big or small our faith is. Yes, it’s important that we have faith. But much more important is the Lord who provides faith, who cultivates it, and allows it, even when smaller than a mustard seed, to achieve mighty things.
The wonderful thing is that God can use my faith, even when it might be even smaller than a mustard seed, to restore hope where there is no hope, justice where justice does not seem to exist, grace where grace does not seem to be present, and faith where faith cannot be seen.
Please pray the prayer for today with me: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, God, that it is not the size of my faith that counts, but your nurture, presence, and grace that brings blessings through me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Saint Paul’s words to the congregations at Cornith as they are recorded for us in 1 Corinthians 1:25, “Even the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.”
As I thought about the verse for today it came to me that God’s foolishness is only foolish because we believe it is. We believe our wisdom is better, our ways are higher, and our thoughts are smarter. I know I wouldn’t do things the way God does, and God certainly doesn’t act in ways that always make sense to me.
That’s why this verse is comforting to me. No matter how much wisdom I might have, God’s foolishness is so much more. God is stronger than my weakness. Who else but Christ Jesus, God in the flesh, would promote the way of the cross, sacrifice, turning your cheek, and laying down your life? Fortunately, the wisdom of God, Christ Jesus, does just that. And he not only promotes these things but puts them into practice so that we can share in God’s wisdom.
Please pray the prayer for today with me: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, God, for your wisdom and your foolishness. Thank you for the gift of Christ and for life itself. May we live in your wisdom and strength In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Saint Paul’s words to the Roman congregations as they are recorded for us in Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”
This phrase describes something unique. This is not a debt in the sense that I need to pay something off to God before I get something good in return. Jesus has already paid the debt of my sin in full. I stand forgiven. I am at peace. Heaven awaits.
In light of all this, something extraordinary happens. The more this good news sinks in, the greater the gratitude grows. Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness empowers you and me to obligate ourselves in love to others. That, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, is the debt Saint Paul is speaking of in this verse.
Please pray the prayer for today with me: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you for all you have done for me. Give me opportunities to show your love through my love toward others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
God pays attention
Today’s devotion for today is based on Daniel 9:18, “My God, pay attention and hear me. Open your eyes and see all the terrible things that have happened to us.”
God knows, without a doubt, that many of us could pray this prayer. Some of you will have prayed very similarly at some stage this year. With disastrous fires, then floods in some areas, then COVID-19 with its resulting lockdowns, church closures, death of loved ones, border closures, job losses, and so on. How many of us have possibly said or thought about the terrible things that have happened in our lives, and in the lives of our fellow citizens? We want God to pay attention, and sometimes it appears that he isn’t!
And God has not because God is God. We can’t always see it, and his mercy can sometimes seem a long way off. But God’s mercy is present. In our lives, our prayers, and the answers to our prayers. And, of course, the answers are not always what we want. But they are sufficient. So we are to continue to pray our prayers, knowing God hears and answers because of the wonderful gift of mercy and grace.
Please pray the prayer for today with me: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, God, for the freedom to ask for your attention. Remind us that you always attend to us. Thank you for your mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord (Isaiah 55:8).Read Isaiah 55:5–9
Thank goodness for that!
My brother and I are known rather (in)famously for our shortcuts – the ones where you don’t need a map, which saves time and distance, and where you don’t listen to your wife – and regularly finish up at a dead-end … thus necessitating retracing the route and taking up extra time, distance, and patience! (Possibly, we’re not the only males in history with that story.) For us, it was ‘my way or the byway’. And, invariably, the byway won!
Now, before you laugh at us too much, consider if that’s not a parable about what Isaiah is saying here. How many times in life do all of us determine to take a shortcut? We think we’ve got a handle on things, or we’ll fix that situation our way, only to end up at a dead-end, or in a mess of our own making?
It’s pretty easy to want to go our own way, to think our thoughts are pretty clever, to discard advice, to reject conversation, to neglect prayer. And to end up in a mess.
That’s why I began this devotion with ‘Thank goodness for that’. Or more correctly, ‘Thank God for that’. Thank God that his ways and thoughts are so different and so much higher than mine and yours. Because the simple fact is that not only does God have a better way, a clearer thought, God also does not beat up on us when we mess up. When I end up at a dead-end or when I mess up, I’m not too impressed with my thinking and my way, and sometimes, even often, I berate myself.
I reckon God simply looks down, has a laugh, and says: ‘Yep, Peter, you messed up. But I [God] haven’t. I made you in my image. I love you despite what you do, how you think, the various ways you try to go. Try again. My ways are higher than yours’. There’s that amazing mercy again!
Thank you, God, for your thoughts and your ways – they are so much higher than mine. Let my thoughts and ways constantly be permeated by yours. Amen.
Today’s devotion for today is based on Jonah 4:11. “Shouldn’t I show concern for the great city Nineveh, which has more than one hundred twenty thousand people who do not know right from wrong?”
I love these words. They were spoken to Jonah after He complained to God when the people of Nineveh, Israel’s enemy, repented and turned to God. God does not have favorites, and his generosity has no bounds. Whether we are obedient or not, God offers mercy to us. Plus, lest we forget, he has mercy on those we often think don’t deserve it.
Yes, God’s mercy never ceases to amaze. May we live in that mercy, that grace, and in turn live merciful and gracious lives, looking for God’s presence in the lives of others, particularly those who in our judgment don’t meet our standards
Please pray the prayer for today with me: Heavenly Father, creator, and sustainer of all things, seen and unseen, thank you, merciful God, for your mercy and grace. Help us to live, ever aware of it in our lives and in the world around In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.