I shook my head in disbelief at the weeds that had managed to come up in our flowerbeds. They were green and disgustingly healthy looking, more so than the flowers we had planted in the spring. I knew these weeds would have to be taken out by the root if we were to be rid of them.
This is not unlike our spiritual life. No matter how God-like we want to be, a little neglect is all it takes for weeds to take root in our life. Less than Christ-like characteristics can creep in slowly with no warning. We don’t wake up one morning and decide to be bitter or angry or unforgiving. It happens from neglect of letting God lead our lives.
In today’s fast paced world, it is easy to lose patience, get angry, forego forgiveness or be extremely judgmental of people. These attitudes flourish when we don’t use God’s powerful Word as poison control to get at the root of the problem. Supernatural? You bet it is. There are no “self-help” books that can do for us what our Creator can. He made us, He understands our lean to selfish ways. He also knows how to lead us to peace and contentment.
A gentle breeze blew as if the Holy Spirit was saying, “I’m here. Don’t neglect our relationship. I am your peace and contentment. I will keep the weeds out.”
Isaiah says of God in 26:6 (NKJV), “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trust in You.” God knows all about peace. It’s paid for and He is willing to take us there and keep us there, on a daily basis.
Meditation by Antje Hill
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped.” Philippians 2:5-6 NIV
In the next verse we are told that Jesus took the nature of a servant. Servants meet the needs of others, they don’t expect someone else to meet their needs. Ruth is a beautiful example of someone with a servant’s heart. Ruth came with Naomi, her mother-in-law to Judah as a widow, but she did not expect Naomi or her relatives to meet her needs. God had told his people not to reap to the very edges of their fields but leave them for the poor (Leviticus 23:22). Ruth decided to collect this left-behind grain. God was able to bless Ruth because she had a good attitude. The extra food she received from Boaz was a blessing, not something she expected.
In the same way we don’t have the right to expect others to meet our needs. Our spiritual growth is our responsibility and we can’t expect others to read the Bible for us or pray in our place. Neither can we expect others to make good life style choices for us. It is our responsibility to collect our own spiritual food and be willing to share as necessary.
When Jesus came to earth he didn’t claim his rights. Jesus could have commanded obedience and submission but Mark 10:45 tells us Jesus didn’t come to be served, but to serve. Our attitude is to be the same.
Meditation by Susan Barnes
…..So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. (I Corinthians 12:24 NLT)
God has designed the Body of Christ so that the people we might regard as less honorable to receive extra care and honor. The parts of the body that appear to be weakest and less important are the most necessary.
The Church is not a social organization with all sorts of clichés and a pecking order mentality. As a matter of fact it is just the opposite, where the first shall be last and the last first. The problem is that we value people according to their function, not their intrinsic value. People are not valuable according to what they can do, but because they are made in the image of God and bought with a price. The price was the death of God’s only Son. Why must we honor these people among us? It is because they are the most necessary. Though sometimes unnoticed or unrecognized, they are most needed to keep the body functioning as designed. Furthermore, it is the way God promotes unity. When all members care for each other equally, this fosters harmony in God’s family (v. 25). Affirming all God’s people speaks to the fact that there are no big or little people in the Body of Christ, just sinners in need of grace. The land is level at the foot of the Cross.
In any church, ministry, or Christian organization, to the extent that we love the least among us, is the extent we love Christ. It is as simple as that. Are you honoring the least among you?
Meditation by Ken Barnes
“O Lord thou knowest, remember me, and visit me” (Jer. 15.15).
We need to pray continually that our loving God may give us that spiritual desire which the Psalmist breathes in these words: ‘Remember me, O Lord’. It does not require a very long prayer to express our desire to know God. It requires only simple faith.
Once, a small child was learning English in school. He was learning the letters: abc. Then one day he began to pray. He said: ‘Lord, a b c d.’ After a moment’s silence he prayed again: e f g h I j k l m n o p q…’ ‘My child, what are you doing?’ interrupted his mother. ‘I am praying,’ said the child. ‘What are you praying?’ ‘Mother, I don’t know how to spell, but God can spell. You say b a t is bat, c a t is cat, f a t is fat. I do not know how to spell even simple words, so I am giving the letters to God and He can do the spelling.’ That child had the right attitude. He was praying with faith. Whether or not you know how to use proper words in prayer does not matter. The question is, do you pray in faith? Can you truthfully say: ‘Yes, Lord, I believe you will remember me. Remember me, O Lord, remember!’ These are only simple words, but let them come from the heart. Do not look at yourself, or your condition, or even at your sins and failures. Look away to Him, your loving and living Saviour who loves you more than anybody else, whether father, mother, wife, brother, sister, child or friend.
Meditation by Bakht Singh
My wife and I had barely settled into our new home. We were just starting our family and there was little room in the budget for extras – let alone disaster. So we were not prepared when the neighbors sprawling 100 year old oak tree decided it had had enough, uprooted itself late one night and found a resting place on our roof – or should I say through our roof! Repairing the damage was about a four month ordeal and, believe me, seeing our roof draped in blue tarp for that long without knowing how it was going to get fixed or who was going to pay for it was an anxiety causing event.
When things go unexpectedly; when a big wrench is thrown into your life, how do you react? If you find yourself quickly mired in anger, frustration, fear or anxiety you are proving that you drink from your own shallow well of self-sufficiency. On the other hand, genuine trust in God means believing that he has allowed this to come into your life for a reason; that He is pruning you for greater fruitfulness (John 15:2); that every bump in the road brings you a little closer to who you were meant to be. Trust in God! The Spirit of God is all powerful so give the Spirit more authority than you give to your fears. This abiding faith gives God room to move and leaves the believer more pliable and useful in His hands. It is manifested in a submissive heart that leads to an all-encompassing peace of mind no matter the circumstance – proof you drink from the everlasting well that will never run dry (John 4:14).
When the Red Sea saw You, O God, its waters looked and trembled! The sea quaked to its very depths…Your road led through the sea, Your pathway through the mighty waters–a pathway no one knew was there! Psalms 77:16.19 NLT
What is standing in your way? The children of Israel believed that the Red Sea was the obstacle keeping them from the promise of God. What do you believe is standing in your way?
God describes the Red Sea in a different way than the children of Israel may have. He said it was the pathway to the promise. The very thing that seemed overwhelming and impossible to deal with, God describes as a pathway. Are we seeing things the way God does? Are we looking at what is standing before us as a problem or a pathway?
What is your Red Sea? As we look at these verses in Psalms we find that what made them fearful was actually no problem at all for God. We must understand that our problems and obstacles are no match for our amazing God, either. The Red Sea saw God and trembled! Your obstacle has to do the same!
No one knew there was a pathway in the middle of a raging sea, but there was. It couldn’t be seen at first, but that is why we must see with eyes of faith. There is a pathway that you cannot see right now, but don’t let that stop you. Move forward! Boldly proclaim God’s promises for you even when things look impossible. What is impossible for man is possible with God – we can know that our God is greater than anything that tries to stand in our way.
Meditation by Stephanie White
Pathanamthitta: GLS launched four new scholarly titles in Malayalam. The new four books will help both laymen and Bible teachers to get more insight into Angelology, Eschatology, Science and Bible and Biblical Archeology. The four books are fruition of long time scholarly endeavor of well-known Bible Scholar KV George. The books Biblum Puravasthushashtraum, Daivaddothashastram, Kristuvinte Punaragamanvum Bhavikala Sambhavangalum and Shastrayugathil Bible Viswasaniyamo will equip the Malayalam Churches with much knowledge in the specialized subjects. The books are available with GLS Book Stores in Pathanamthitta and Mumbai, also with leading Christian Book stalls. Can buy online at glsindia.com
He committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth” (I Peter 2 : 22)
As the hymn writer wrote ‘There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.’ Jesus was perfect and had to perform the role He undertook.
“God made Him who had no sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5 : 21). “ We have One who has been tempted in ’ every way, just as we are yet was without sin. ” (Hebrews 4 : 15). Peter, writing of our redemption, “…but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (I Peter l : 19).
The Lord is perfect. “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. ” (Psalm 18 : 30). “His works are perfect and all His ways are just. A faithful God, who does no wrong, upright and just is He. ” (Deuteronomy 32 : 4).
Of necessity, human perfection can only be relative to Divine perfection, rather than a `carbon copy. We are doubtless amused at the story of the man who said, ‘I used to be conceited but now I’m perfect’.
On the human level, James writes in his epistle, “We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep the whole body in check. ” (James 3 : 2).
Jesus set the target when He said, “Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. ” (Matthew 5 : 48).
Paul spoke for us all when he said “Aim for perfection. ” (2 Corinthians l3 : 11).
Jesus Christ our Lord was perfect
The only one without defect.
Lamb of God without a blemish,
He His Father’s work did finish.
We with all our faults and failings,
Want to see the good prevailing.
We seek His help in Jesus’ name.
That better things shall be our aim.
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakuk 3: 18
When I was a young girl my grandmother lived just a few miles away from me. I spent as much time at her house as I did at mine. I cannot count the times I watched her bake a cake or cook a meal. I have still use many of her recipes. But the most important recipe she gave me was how to live a life full of joy.
The following was her recipe: J stands for Jesus He deserves and must always be put first in your life. My grandmother always started her day by reading her bible and praying. When she had a decision to make, she prayed seeking His will first. Jesus always came first with her.
When you have to make a decision pray asking what He would have you do or say. If you are still undecided, for example, if your friends want you to go with them somewhere, ask yourself if Jesus would go there, if not you should not go either. Remember Jesus lives in your heart so everywhere you go He goes also.
O stands for others. Place the needs of others before your own wishes. If you have to make a choice between visiting a sick friend and going to the movies with another friend, you should make time for the sick friend first. My grandmother was not one to sit around doing nothing. She was always sending someone a card, calling to check on a friend, or busy in the kitchen cooking something for someone in need. She cared about other people and the love of Jesus shown through her and drew others to Christ.
Y stands for you, notice that it is the last letter in the word, “joy”. We need to take care of ourselves by eating healthy, exercising, and getting plenty of rest. However, our wants and needs should not be the number one priority in our life.
As Christians, we have not been promised a life of permanent happiness but we can be joyful all the time knowing that Christ has saved us from our sins, He is in control of our lives, and nothing can separate us from Him. Do you want a life of joy? Give my grandmother’s “joy” recipe a try it tastes heavenly!
Dear Lord, thank You for my grandmother who taught me about You and how to live a joyful life. I pray that her “recipe” may be used to give others a joyful life, as well. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Meditation by Karen B. White