“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek; That I may dwell in the house of the LORD, all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in His temple.”
(Psalm 27v4 NIV)
From the age of 5 years old when I was in primary school, and the years growing up to college, I can remember walking along the main road to school and home again. I was always so glad to arrive home and be able to change my sweaty, dirty clothes, collapse onto the couch, and most of the time have mother welcome me with her wonderful smile and cheerful hello! On the odd occasion also arriving home to the pleasant smell of mother’s baking.
Years later I found myself in a job that required me to travel extensively around the world, and I would often go to countries far away from home like Pakistan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, USA and others. But as interesting and wonderful as those places were, whenever I was flying home and flew over Auckland City, I would always look out the window and know I’d soon be home to the warmth and joy of my wife and children and I’d say to myself “There’s no place like home!”
In our scripture today, David the Psalmist knew how wonderful it was to be in the presence of the LORD and he made it his supreme desire. Home to the Psalmist was in the presence of the LORD! it was his ‘go to place’!
This is what I believe GOD wants us all to enjoy, the warmth and knowledge of His presence! He has promised us His presence would always be with us. “Lo I am with you always!” (Matt 28v20) GOD’s presence was faithfully with the children of Israel every day! Not just for Easter and Christmas and when we feel we’re good enough to have His smile, no He was with them every day and every night! “By day in a pillar of Cloud, and by night in a pillar of Fire” (Exodus 13v21).
When a Christian person dies we often hear it said that “they’re at home now with the LORD”. David the Psalmist didn’t wait until he died, he said ‘I’m asking GOD for this one thing, to live with Him in His home my whole life long! That’s in the presence of the LORD!
Wherever you may be, remember He is with you and like David, there’s no place like home!
“God is patient,…He wants everyone to turn from sin and no one to be lost!” (2 Peter 3v9 CEV)
Growing up in the neighbourhood of Kingsland, some of the kids in our street would play in the gully and bushes nearby. We’d on occasion find a caterpillar hanging from a leaf waiting to become a chrysalis, and being the naughty, impatient children we were, we’d sometimes try and ‘help’ things along!
Of course this would only make things worse and the caterpillar would be lost and die. We did not have the patience to allow the hand of God to bring about what is His perfect plan in changing the caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly!
Our verse today reminds us how patient God is with His creation in desiring we all come to be saved! I want to share with you a story I read some years ago, so I’ve dug it out of my archives, and I know it will be an encouragement to you!
A London bus driver was assigned to shuttle passengers to special crusade services with Billy Graham at Wembley Stadium. When one of the passengers invited him into the crusade to listen he declined. The following year he moved to New York, and when Billy Graham was speaking at Madison Square Garden the man’s job again was shuttling people to the meetings.
One day as he arrived and parked his bus to allow passengers to disembark, a lady asked him if he’d like to join them inside. Once again he politely declined. He later married an Australian woman and eventually ended up working in Sydney where, surprisingly, he was again assigned to drive people to the stadium where Billy Graham was preaching. This time when he was invited he figured there was no escape, so he gave in and went inside.
Looking back he says, “No matter where I went I was confronted with Billy Graham, so I went to hear him and committed my life to Christ! It was the best decision I ever made.”
Jesus said “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost!” (Luke 19v10). No matter where this bus driver went he was never out of range for GOD’S GPS. The Psalmist also said “You hem me in….You have laid Your hand upon me…where can I go from Your Spirit?” (Psalm 139v5,7).
Do you have someone like that bus driver who is dear to your heart? Keep praying for them, He knows all about them and where they’re at! As you pray, His amazing grace comes into play!
“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live!” Deuteronomy 4v9 (NLT)
Over the last few days I’ve thought a bit about the time 20 years ago on 9/11 how the attack on America that day impacted my life, as I with millions of people all over the world watched in horror at the scenes on television of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers! It changed our world forever!
There were many thousands of individuals, organisations, and churches that came together helping with whatever was needed in the hours following the terrorist attacks. In particular the scenes I saw of different churches providing prayer, medical help, counselling, food and water, are still very real to me today.
The memories live on!
In our scripture today God instructs Moses to tell His people “Be careful, never forget what you yourself have seen, and don’t let the memories escape your mind!”
My mind is full of memories of the things God has done for me in my walk with Him. I have memories of what I’ve seen God do for others as well but because our scripture encourages us to never forget “you yourself”, it’s personal!
I have many memories of church services I attended where I saw how God’s people were so blessed by His presence that I didn’t want to go home! The many trials and testings where I saw God make a way for me and for my family when there seemed to be no way! Other times where Pastors preached the precepts and commandments of the Lord that brought conviction and encouragement to my heart bringing about change in my life to the glory of God! A time where I was baptized in the fulness of the Holy Ghost! These are but a few of the memories of what I have seen God do for me.
I’m sure you yourself have many memories of your own that bring to your heart joy unspeakable and a thankfulness as today we appreciate afresh God’s hand upon our lives!
“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147v3)
How amazing is God’s love for us as shown on the cross! There Jesus took all our sin, shame, our horribleness of nature and died in our place, and gave us a new nature! The words to a song sung by Andre Crouch put it this way: “Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise, He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.”
‘He heals the broken-hearted, and binds up their wounds’ Christ made a way for us to be forgiven, healed and clean!…But for many of us there are scars to remind us of what He’s brought us through! Out of the mud and the mire and the brokenness of our lives, He has healed and bound up our wounds, and we praise Him!
Many years ago, when I was a teenager, I saw this sheath knife in the shop and dreamed of having it. ‘I saw that it was good for me, it was pleasant to the eyes’ and so I saved up my wages from delivering newspapers, and when I had saved enough it became mine! Well of course I didn’t tell my parents before I bought it because had they known it wouldn’t be mine! (this was my forbidden fruit!) Well I was showing off with it one day and showed my older brother who of course wanted to take it off me so we ended up fighting over it and he (I hope) accidently stabbed me in the hand! I was cut fairly deeply but as you can see I didn’t die from the wound, but nearly died from the “disciplining” I got from my dad as a result of him finding out about the knife! The wound healed, but left a scar for many years, and over the years I’ve looked at the scar and remembered how I got it. It brings wonderful memories of my brother and me and the times we shared good and bad, but mostly it reminds me of the pain and injury disobedience and deceit bring to our lives.
Scars can be a good thing in our lives as we remember how we came about them, and mostly how God has healed them and bound up the wounds! I pray that like me the scars of your life will remind you of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!
“There met Him ten men who were lepers” (Luke 17v12)
Years ago when I was a young boy playing Rugby League, I remember during one of our prize giving events at the end of the season our coach was handing out some “free” gifts to whoever wanted them! I remember being pushy and desperate to grab what I thought was a good gift so muscled my way to the front and grabbed one of the first gifts he held up which was a flag pendant to pin on my bedroom wall! I got a good little gift!
However, once I had my gift I couldn’t get another one so watched as the next boy got for his gift a pair of nice team shorts which was a better gift! A bit green with envy, I now watched as the third boy received the next gift which was a nice new team jersey! By far the best gift!
In our bible passage this morning we see that 10 lepers who met Jesus with an impossible need and they said “ Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” And Jesus said to them “Go, show yourself to the priests”….and they went, and they were healed. They all received the good & better gift of healing.
“But one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at Jesus feet, giving Him thanks!..and he was a Samaritan. (v13-16). This leper received the best gift of healing, for not only was he healed but he entered into a relationship with the Healer!
We need Him not just for today but in the future, so let us cultivate that relationship through falling at His feet and giving thanks.
Well, that’s my Moments with the Master for today. I trust you all enjoy the rest of your week!
“In all matters of wisdom and understanding, he found them ten times better!” (Dan 1v20 NKJV)
Have you ever wanted to be the best at something? The best mother, father, wife, husband, worker, student, sportswoman, sportsman, or even the best Christian? (not that any of us can become the “best” Christian, because we are all equal in the sight of God and only JESUS is our example!)
Maybe you’ve wished you were just better at something? …. I have, many times in my life I’ve wanted to be a better man, Christian, husband, father. And that’s just a few examples.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the best or better in something. In fact, Paul the Apostle tells us to, in this race of life, “run in such a way that you may obtain the prize!” (1 Cor 9v24) or paraphrased “try your very best to be the best!”
In our scripture verse today, we see that in the matter of wisdom and understanding, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were found to be not just better, but ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in the realm at that time!
Beloved this will be the case in your life and in mine as we seek to know Christ more each day, as we invest our time and energy in Him! As we set our hearts and minds to be filled with Him alone! God sees our hearts and thoughts and hears our prayers, and He will work in our lives just as He did for these four Hebrew men!
How we need God’s wisdom and understanding in our homes, with our spouses and children. In our service for Him as we teach Sunday School, Youth, and all other ministries in the church! Our Schools and places of employment as the people of the world watch us! Will they say of your life and mine what was said of these Hebrew men, “He found them ten times better!”
The lack of wisdom and understanding that we need desperately in our lives will be given to us by God (see chapter 1v17) and we will glorify Him! That’s what I want! Do you?
Well, that’s my moments with the Master for today! Until next time!
God be with you today and always!
And Jesus answered and said unto her, “Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Many years ago I was in China on business and on one particular day during that trip, (It was a Thursday as I remember it very well as if it were only last week!).. I was busy in meetings with a number of business people when my phone rang. It was a message saying that our youngest daughter had been involved in a car accident and was in hospital and that they were trying to reach my wife!
Immediately panic, panic and more panic set into my heart! My mind began to race at 120 miles an hour thinking of all the things that I was in no position to do anything about as I was thousands of miles away in China! How badly was my daughter hurt? What if she’s seriously injured? Could she die? Someone should be with her and I’m not there! Where’s my wife? (actually she was in church)
I walked out of the building and found a quiet spot outside and weeping I cried out to Jesus to be with my little girl (actually she was in her late teens) and to please touch her in the hope she wouldn’t have suffered any injuries, and that everything would be alright. At that time the peace of God flooded my heart and a quiet assurance so overwhelmed me that it was okay, she was fine and Jesus was taking care of everything. My tears turned from panic to tears of joy and I began to praise and thank Him for His faithfulness, love and mercy.
Jesus said He would send us the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, and at that time so long ago, and many times since, I have truly experienced the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
Let me leave you today with the lyrics to one verse of the wonderful song we sang at Thursday evening prayer service:
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, Where can mortal be more blest?
There I lay my sins and sorrows, And when weary, find sweet rest…
Sitting at the feet of Jesus, There I love to weep and pray..
While I from His fullness gather..
Grace and comfort every day.
Remember beloved, every day in our Christian living He is in You and with you!
God be with you today and always.
Philip answered Him, “Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little!”
John 6v7 (KJV)
Have you ever asked anyone a question about doing something really difficult, and you already knew the answer? That’s exactly what Jesus did to Philip one of His disciples. In John 6v5 there was a huge crowd of people who followed Jesus to watch Him heal and teach. It was getting late in the day and Jesus wanted to feed them. It’s estimated that the crowd would have been in the vicinity of 10,000 – 12,000 or more, and Jesus asked Philip “Where shall we buy bread that these may eat?” (v5) Philip’s answer of “two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient” was about a year’s salary’s worth of bread and then only enough for each to have a “little”.
When I read this I see that I would be just like Philip thinking naturally of a way of solving things and even saying within myself “it’s too hard! I can’t do anything! It’s way beyond me!” when JESUS the Bread of Life is right next to me! You see, Jesus is always wanting us to have our faith in Him increased and so He tests us. And that’s exactly what He was doing with Philip in this scripture. Philip should have said…”Master You’re the Miracle Worker! You are able! I know You can do all things!”
Beloved, we must be careful with the doubt we may have in ourselves and the thoughts that we have, “Am I a strong enough Christian?” “Do I have the Holy Spirit’s power in me?”
Christ has called us to great victories and great works as we believe in Him! (John 14v12) No matter what we face in life let’s remember that our sufficiency is of God and not of ourselves!
Go in the strength of the LORD this week and rejoice in Him always!
Love in Christ.
“Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things in Thy Word” Psalm 119v18
Yesterday, I was making a delivery to one of our daughters in Mission Bay who was sick and I had to make a stop at her local supermarket to pick up a couple of things she needed. I parked the car and quickly ran into the New World supermarket. As I was focused and thinking about what I had to get I rushed through the entrance past two shop assistants covered with COVID-19 masks and gloves, one who called to me and said “HEY! were you in the line?”…I was inside the store now so stopped, turned to her and said “what line?” she pointed to a line of waiting customers with their trollies that must have been at least 50-60 people and I had pushed in front of them all and entered the store without even seeing them!!
Shocked at what I had done I apologised and said “I’m so sorry I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t even see the queue!”…”well, she said, at least you’re honest about it! You may as well get what you want now!”
We can read God’s Word a bit like that sometimes, hurrying through it without really noticing what it’s saying to us! Seeing the words but not really thinking and meditating on them.
In our scripture today David the Psalmist is asking God to ‘open his eyes’, slow him down, so that he wouldn’t miss the wondrous things God wants us to see and learn.
Remember we have the Holy Spirit who reveals the Truth to us as we read the Bible. He makes alive the Word and shows us JESUS beyond the sacred page! He gives us the desire to spend time reading it, and quickens our understanding of it as it enters our hearts! “the entrance of Thy Words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” (Ps 119v130)
I don’t want to just read the Bible as a book, but as a love letter from God to help me and guide me throughout my daily walk with Him! He is speaking to us through it and we never want to miss His voice!
So every time you read the Bible ask JESUS to give you the Holy Spirit to ‘open your eyes’ and help your understanding.
Well that’s my moment with the Master today and I trust you’ve been encouraged!
God be with you all! Love in Christ!
“O Come let us sing unto the LORD, let us make a joyful noise to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms.” Psalm 95:1-2
What a wonderful reminder from David as he urges us to come sing and make a joyful noise to God!
In case we miss the importance of being joyful in our noise and not just making noise from an empty kerosene tin, David mentions it twice in the first two verses.
I know for many of us we find it hard to make noise let alone noise that’s joyful! But here David the Psalmist turns his attention away from himself and centres his heart on his God! And so must we! That’s why he can be joyful!
Look at verses 3-5; he gives us reason to shout and sing and ‘come before His presence with thanksgiving’.
David knew the faithfulness of his GOD and that He is a great GOD and great King above all gods who not only had preserved him, provided for him, and protected him from all his enemies, but also encouraged strengthened and deepened him in his daily walk with God so he expresses his thanksgiving with a joyful noise! It’s like David knew the song we sing with our children ‘My God is so big so strong and so mighty there’s nothing my God cannot do! The mountains are His the rivers are His the whole world is under His smile!’
Make sure we are not like these who are mentioned in (v10) ‘Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, it is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’
When we think about the LORD and all He’s done for us how can we not but shout the joyful noise of thanksgiving! Do it today!
Enjoy your day! Blessings to you all!