Thursday, September 29, 2011

Greater Things

'You will see greater things than that.’ And then he added ‘I tell you most solemnly, you will see heaven laid open and, above the Son of Man, the angels of God ascending and descending.’

Jesus has just prophesied over Phillip, who is amazed.  Jesus then goes on to tell Phillip there are far greater things to look forward to, things to come that are not of this world, things that are supernatural and eternal.

I need to be reminded of the supernatural and eternal goal of my religion.  I get so absorbed by the here and now.  There is going to be an end to time as I understand it.  There will be an opening of the book of my life.  I will see heaven laid open and angels ascending and descending.  There are greater things...

Lord Jesus, You show me the way to the greater things than this life has to offer.  I keep my focus on You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tell Your Face

Now I had never been downcast before. So the king said, ‘Why is your face so sad? You are not sick, surely? This must be a sadness of the heart.’

Nehemiah is a captive in a strange land and servant to the king of that land.  Word has reached him of the dilapidated state of Jerusalem and it causes him a deep sadness.  The king quickly perceives that Nehemiah's sadness is not physical but spiritual.  It is a sadness of the heart.

The book of Nehemiah is a great story of courageous leadership that eventually ends with the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem.  It is interesting that such a great event starts with one man perceiving from another man's face a "sadness of the heart". The baring of a person says much about the state of his spirit.   I remember a saying that goes, "If you have the joy of the Lord, please tell your face about it". A gloomy Christian is an oxymoron.  Today I remind myself that I do have the joy of the Lord which is my strength.  The next step is to tell my face about it.

Dear Jesus, You are the source of great joy for me, no matter what else is happening in my life.  Fill me with Your spirit of Joy that I may let it shine in a world hungry for the joy You bring.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Strength in Weakness

At a time when everyone was full of admiration for all he did, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘For your part, you must have these words constantly in your mind: The Son of Man is going to be handed over into the power of men.’

To the disciples consternation Jesus, while at the height of His popularity, starts talking about being handed over to those seeking to destroy Him.  His disciples are expecting Jesus to fulfill the role of a Jewish Messiah, one who will restore power back to the Jewish people as King David did.   The power of Jesus works in a very different way, through meekness, humility and weakness.

I'm still tempted by the world's version of power.  The way of Jesus is far more difficult. Meekness and humility do not come naturally to me. Yet, that is the way Jesus calls me to live.  Why?  I suspect because that is the way to the fullness of life Jesus promises.  It is a narrow path and few take it.  My challenge is to take the path,  today...

Lord Jesus, You know my struggles with power and control.  Help me trust in the way of meekness and surrender that you have shown.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Raised Up

‘The Son of Man’ he said ‘is destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and to be put to death, and to be raised up on the third day.’

Jesus has been praying privately with His disciples.  Peter, under divine inspiration, has just revealed who Jesus is; "The Christ of God".  Jesus takes it a step further.  He reveals the whole game plan.  It involves suffering, death and finally, resurrection.

I sometimes lose sight of the fact that behind the cross is the resurrection.  Actually, it is the resurrection that makes sense of the cross.   It is the resurrection that makes sense of the crosses I have to bare in my day to day living.  It is the resurrection makes sense of my eventual dieing.

Today I remind myself that I am an Easter person.   Behind every crucifix I see I will also notice the empty tomb with the stone rolled away.  Alleluia, He is risen indeed!

Thank you Lord Jesus that You suffered, died and rose again. to show me the way home.  My suffering and death will lead to my resurrection to be with You.  Alleluia.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who is This?

But Herod said, ‘John? I beheaded him. So who is this I hear such reports about?’ And he was anxious to see Jesus.

Jesus' popularity has gained enough noise to be heard in the palace of Herod the tetrarch.  Many theories are are put forward as to who Jesus is; from a returned ancient prophet to a resurrected John the Baptist.  However, Herod knows none of these are true.  He knows that Jesus is someone exceptional.

It took a corrupt despot to recognise the uniqueness of who Jesus is.  Sometimes revelation can come from the strangest of places. Jesus said "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." Mt.10:6.  Everything about who Jesus is and what He has come to do is made known within the Church and sometimes even proclaimed outside the Church.  I just need to hear it.

Holy Spirit, please give me eyes to see and ears to hear and recognise Jesus in my day today.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hear and Do

He was told, ‘Your mother and brothers are standing outside and want to see you’ But he said in answer, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice.’

A great crowd is following Jesus, so great that Mary His mother and his family can't get near Him. Jesus uses the opportunity to explain what it takes to be a close follower.  It takes more than just standing close to Him.

Here Jesus outlines how to be part of the family of God.  I must not only hear the world of God but do the word of God.   Hearing takes practice.  Doing takes conviction. 

Lord Jesus, help me have the discipline to be still enough to hear You. Convict my heart for me to then put Your words into practice.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Noble and Generous Heart

And some seed fell into rich soil and grew and produced its crop a hundredfold.

Jesus is telling the parable of the sower of seeds.  He explains the meaning of the parable to His disciples.  The seed is the Word of God.  The rich soil is "people with a noble and generous heart" Lk.8:15.

On reading this familiar verse I am reminded of my responsibility as a father to make sure my children are "rich soil".  First, I have to make sure my children hear the Word of God in the first place.  The seed needs to be sown.  Bible reading needs to be a natural part of my family's life.  Secondly, I need to form my children to be people with a "noble and generous heart" so the they will take the Word to themselves and yield a harvest. 

What a high and difficult calling, to have a noble and generous heart.  It speaks of a mature character and can take a life-time to form.  It's a calling not only for my children but for myself.  Perhaps that is the best place to start...

Lord Jesus.  Thank you for the seed You sow into my life.  Help me develop a noble and generous heart that I may yield a worthy harvest.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Be Real

She waited behind him at his feet, weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

Jesus is a guest at a Pharisee's house.  A woman of bad name follows Jesus there and lavishly ministers to Him in unashamed repentance. The Pharisee judges both Jesus and the woman secretly in his thoughts while maintaining a facade of hospitality.

It seems the nakedly broken are the ones who always get close to Jesus. Two sinners where in the room with Jesus.  Only one left with sins forgiven and salvation assured.  The woman had no pretension about her sins.  She acknowledged them publicly with her tears on Jesus' feet.  The Pharisee's pride distanced himself from Jesus.  Jesus would have had just as much compassion for the Pharisee but the Pharisee didn't let himself be touched by it.

There is a lesson for me here.  Be real with Jesus.  Acknowledge my sinfulness.  Remove false pride which only distances me from the very one with whom my heart desires to be close.

Lord Jesus.  You know my brokenness, yet You wait for me to come to You with tears of repentance.  Help me remove my pride which stops me getting close to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross  
The Son of Man must be lifted up as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.

Jesus is talking to Nicodemus who has come secretly in the night to ask Jesus questions.  Jesus must have recognised a genuine soul seeking honest answers because He gives Nicodemus the full game-plan, a revelation of God's plan of salvation for man through Jesus.

The bronze standard holding a serpent as fashioned by Moses has become a symbol of life and is used by the medical profession to represent its purpose.  It seems strange that something that caused so much death among the Israelites in the desert became a source of life when they looked at it.  The same can be said of Jesus crucified on the cross.  A more horrible way to die is difficult to imagine and yet there it is, a crucifix on my lounge wall in my home giving so much hope for eternal life when I look at it.

The blood Jesus shed on the cross has won a mighty victory over sin and death.  This victory is even greater than that offered by the bronze serpent of Moses.  Jesus' death is for all people of all times.  I claim that victory again today for myself and my loved ones.  Such is the power of the Cross.

Lord Jesus, thank you that you died so that I might live.  I place my trust in the victory of Your Cross.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The president must have an impeccable character... He must be a man who manages his own family well and brings his children up to obey him and be well-behaved: how can any man who does not understand how to manage his own family have responsibility for the church of God?

Saint Paul is instructing Timothy on what moral qualities leaders should have in the fledgling church.  For both presidents and deacons, how a man managed of his family said a lot about his character.

It appears that for God, a man's management of his family is an important and exacting role.  I am reminded of Eli, one of the last Judges of Israel.  He exercised no control over his two wicked sons and as a result brought a curse down on his family (1 Samuel 2:12).  Four of my five children are now adult and yet I still exert an influence in their lives and have responsibilities.

I need wisdom to be a Godly father.  My wife is a huge aid to me in this role and I need to listen to her more attentively.

Father in heaven.  Thank you for the children you have given me to father.  Send me the spirit of wisdom to help me fulfill this role.  Help me listen to my wife and be humble enough to take her advice.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

God is With Us

The Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Now all this took place to fulfill the words spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and they will call him Emmanuel", a name which means ‘God-is-with-us’.

Today is the feast day of the birthday of Our Lady.  The Gospel of Saint Matthew outlines the genealogy of Jesus through Mary, proving that Jesus is one of us.  His background includes saints and sinners, the famous and infamous, even nobodies of whom nothing more is known.  Jesus is very much one of us. And yet, He is God!

Saint Paul writes "...His Son might be the eldest of many brothers" Rms. 8:29.  I like the idea that Jesus is my older brother.  My God is not a cold and distant God, He is as close as family.  He is Emmanuel, "God with Us".  Today I relish the knowledge that Jesus is walking beside me as my elder brother.  That sort of knowledge puts a spring in my step.

Jesus, You are my brother.  Thank you for being close to me today.  Help me recognise You in my walk today that I may fellowship with You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kill It

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshiping a false god; all this is the sort of behaviour that makes God angry.

Saint Paul continues his teaching to the church of the Colossians.  He outlines the change that happens from the old life ruled by the flesh to the new life ruled by Christ.

This teaching is ageless.  Nothing has changed in two thousand years. Fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed continue to be the major battle grounds for the modern believer, the major battle grounds for me.  The antidote?  " you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life" Col.3:5

This seems an extreme measure but it is a desperate problem that can only be delt with by crucifixion. It's the part of me that I nail on the cross to die so the new life in Christ can flourish. The way of killing can be as varied as the fleshly behaviour is varied.  Get rid of the television if it is a source of idle curiosity and lust. Get rid of the computer if it is used as a channel for pornography.  Desperate measures, yes.  But this is a fight for my very life.

Holy Spirit.  Help me in my battle to renew my mind and keep my thoughts on heavenly things.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Free Indeed

He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession.

Saint Paul writes to the Colossians while imprisoned in Rome.  He writes to counter the Colossian's growing belief in celestial and cosmic powers.  Saint Paul reminds them, and me, that Jesus is above every sovereignty and power and that He alone has won the victory for me by His death on the Cross.

Saint Paul has a great way of cutting through the fuzz.  It's all about Jesus and what He has done for me.  Being reminded that I am freed from the debt of my sins is such a glorious way to start his day.  I truly am a free man and that can never be taken away from me.  Thank you Lord Jesus!

Jesus, You are Lord of all.  I can never stop praising You for the freedom You have won for me.  Jesus I trust in You.
Saint Paul, please pray for me.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Law of Love

And he said to them, ‘The Son of Man is master of the sabbath.’

Jesus has just answered the pharisee's complaint that His disciples are doing "work" on the sabbath by eating corn while walking through a cornfield.  He reminds them of the precedent set by King David when he and his followers ate consecrated bread.  Jesus doesn't dismiss the law, He shows a higher law that over-arches all others and which they must meet.

For many years it has been an understanding in our family that we don't work on Sundays.  My children have stuck to this, even loosing jobs because of it.  My wife turns away work because of it.  However, when I get a Sunday call out to locate an emergency distress beacon (part of my work responsibilities), I go.  There is a higher law at play here.  Lives could be in danger if I don't respond.  There is an order to this that in noway contradicts our family "law" of no work on Sundays.  It is a higher law of love.

Jesus shows the "right order" in His answer to the Pharisees.  His law of love supports and transcends all other laws.  If His love is not in sympathy with a law then it is a bad law.  May I always recognise His love in the laws I follow.

Lord Jesus, Your law of love is supreme.  Help me always follow Your love rather than the laws of power, manipulation and control that I tend towards.
Little Flower, please pray for me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A New Start

When Simon Peter saw this he fell at the knees of Jesus saying, ‘Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man.’ For he and all his companions were completely overcome by the catch they had made;

Jesus has just caused a sensation by directing Peter, James and John to a bumper haul of fish after they had spent all night catching nothing.  Peter, overwhelmed by what has happened, falls to his knees before Jesus and makes his confession of sinfulness.

To a degree, Jesus set this scene up.  What's the best way to get the attention of fishermen?  Give them a haul so big it almost sinks their boats.  There must have been something in Peter that Jesus recognised as the making of a saint.  Underneath all the rough, loudmouthed fisherman's exterior Jesus saw a man who would fall to his knees and acknowledge his brokenness.  What a great  way to start a new relationship with God! 

Actually it's the only way to start a new relationship with God.  This can start today.  As saint Paul writes, "now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation." 2Cor.6:2.  When was the last time I went to confession...?

Lord Jesus, I am a sinful man.  Heal me Lord so I may draw closer to You.
Little Flower, please pray for me.