Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.(Psalms 103:2)

Thought:

I am generally grateful most of the time that I have come to know God through hearing the gospel message. Each day my faith and gratitude deepen a little bit more as I spend time studying scripture for myself. However, it is still quite easy to suddenly just forget. I might find anger welling up inside me for no apparent reason, if I’m unexpectedly late, for example. Or, quite often, I worry and fret because I don’t know if there will be enough money to cover everything this month or that. These examples are not extreme I’m happy to say, but I do, nevertheless forget about God sometimes. I forget the good things The Lord has done and I forget that he will continue to provide for me.

Word:

Psalms 103:1-6 NLT

1 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
2 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
may I never forget the good things he does for me.
3 He forgives all my sins
and heals all my diseases.
4 He redeems me from death
and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
5 He fills my life with good things.
My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The Lord gives righteousness
and justice to all who are treated unfairly.

Goal:

This song of praise is so simple and heartfelt. It is the song of a person for whom God has made a fundamental and truly life changing difference. I feel like such a person as I write this particular TWG devotional. Today’s TWG is my 365th consecutive daily devotional. That I have been motivated and inspired enough to write everyday about the things that speak to me as I have read through the whole Bible, can only be explained with reference to the power of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, when I forget about God in times of stress, it is easy to think that nothing much has changed in me since my conversion. But as I write this, I want to praise God with my whole heart for the good things, for his forgiveness, for the healing, for the redemption and above all, for my new life with him in me, and me in him. Amen and amen!

Today’s readings:

Lamentations 4:1-5:22, Hebrews 2:1-18, Psalms 103:1-22, Proverb 26:23

Advertisements

Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! (Lamentations 3:21-22)

Thought:

Today’s passage perfectly captures how my new faith in God’s faithfulness and mercy has positively affected my whole state of mind over the past year. This year has been a tough one, to be sure, but I have known bad times before and they have hurt much more and been harder to bear. Some might say that experience is a great help in times of adversity, and there is undoubtedly truth in that. But more than that, I have never had a sense of joy during times of sadness and loss in the past. The only source of such joy in the midst of sorrow, is knowing the hope offered by Jesus. I can’t say why my life has turned out the way it has, but since I came to faith in Jesus, I no longer see the bad or remember the hurt. I see the wisdom in God’s Word and feel the healing that God has brought into my life now that I acknowledge him.

Word:

Lamentations 3:19-31 NLT

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age to the yoke of his discipline: Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands. Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last. Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies. For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.

Goal:

In this passage we are told: “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.” and “The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.” (Lamentations 3:23&25). In writing these daily devotionals I have been able to experience the truth of these two verses everyday. In spending time in the Word each morning, I have felt the great comfort of his faithfulness, and the a daily sense of renewal in my salvation. I find I now depend on The Lord as I continue to search for him. The Lord has been, and continues to be good to me, as I try to follow him in faith. He has given me the confidence to withstand attack and loss whilst also giving me the grace not to retaliate. I pray that he will give me the strength to keep on doing so, as I continue to put all my hope and trust in his faithful love.

Today’s readings:

Lamentations 3:1-66, Hebrews 1:1-14, Psalms 102:1-28, Proverbs 26:21-22

Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine…(Lamentations 1:12)

Thought:

It still comes as a shock to many of us when we realise how little anyone else really cares about us as individuals. Our pain and sorrow feel so terrible that it is genuinely hard to believe when others are not moved by our trials and our suffering. When we are so defeated and beaten down that we weep, it is often very true that we find no one there to comfort us or give us the courage to keep going. I am reminded of a kind lady I once knew, who was very fond of the saying, “When you laugh, the whole world laughs with you, but when you cry, you cry alone.” My experience of life up until my conversion had confirmed this saying many times over, but things are different now. in Lamentations, Jeremiah expresses his sorrow at the fate that Jerusalem and her people are enduring as a result of having rejected God’s instructions. But despite the Lord’s wrath, he will always care about our suffering. In fact, God’s righteous anger shows us how much he cares. The Lord wants us to realise our need for him but often we only notice how alone we are and how far from God we have strayed when we are reduced to tears of loneliness and pain.

Word:

Lamentations 1:12-16 NLT

“Does it mean nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see if there is any suffering like mine, which the Lord brought on me when he erupted in fierce anger. “He has sent fire from heaven that burns in my bones. He has placed a trap in my path and turned me back. He has left me devastated, racked with sickness all day long. “He wove my sins into ropes to hitch me to a yoke of captivity. The Lord sapped my strength and turned me over to my enemies; I am helpless in their hands. “The Lord has treated my mighty men with contempt. At his command a great army has come to crush my young warriors. The Lord has trampled his beloved city like grapes are trampled in a winepress. “For all these things I weep; tears flow down my cheeks. No one is here to comfort me; any who might encourage me are far away. My children have no future, for the enemy has conquered us.”

Goal:

Jeremiah speaks of realising that this yoke of captivity is hitched by the “ropes of sin”. Also, there is no strength left because The Lord has undermined it and left the people helpless before their enemies. Have you ever forgotten what The Lord says about sin and then found yourself all tied up in knots – bound by ropes of sin? Have you ever forgotten that all your strength comes from God and ended up feeling helpless and vulnerable? My goal today is to consciously turn back to God and repent of the sins that are tying me up, and then turn to God’s Word to hear from him that I might have my strength restored.

Today’s readings:

Lamentations 1:1-2:22, Philemon 1:1-25, Psalms 101:1-8, Proverbs 26:20

…be gentle and show true humility to everyone. (Titus 3:2)

Thought:

So this the difficult bit about being a Christian. Once we have accepted that we will repent of our sins and submit to the laws and commands of The Lord according to his Holy Word, we must also submit ourselves to the government of the land and also to anyone who would argue and quarrel with us. The behaviour of the committed disciple needs to be gentle and humble, like a servant to the world on behalf of Jesus himself. (See Philippians 2:8). I have found that the more time I have spent studying scripture, the easier it has been to drop old sinful habits. I say it has become easier, but please note, I do not say that it is easy. These things are all relative. New, more loving ways of living grow slowly, but the more you can immerse yourself in the Bible and in church life, the more natural they begin to feel.

Word:

Titus 3:1-8 NLT

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarrelling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone. Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Saviour revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone. (Titus 3:1-8 NLT)

Goal:

I remember only too well living a life that was far from holy, and full of envy and hatred. I have been extremely foolish in my past and have made some terribly bad choices. For me, the worst thing is that I was not entirely ignorant of the Gospel message, but for what ever reasons, I didn’t think I could live like that. I thought I was too far gone, too much of a sinner. Clearly, although I had heard the message, I hadn’t really understood it. It is by the grace of God that we are saved, not by how good an example we set with our lives. My goal is therefore, to try and help others understand that these teachings really are good and beneficial for everyone. I hope, perhaps, some might then find their own salvation sooner.

Today’s readings:

Jeremiah 51:54-52:34, Titus 3:1-15, Psalms 100:1-5, Proverbs 26:18-19

We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God…(Titus 2:12)

Thought:

This is an interesting passage of scripture in that there seems to be a contradiction. It seems to say, on the one hand that the grace of God has been revealed and yet, on the other hand, we are in fact, still waiting for the wonderful day when Jesus Christ will be revealed. However, it is that very act of Jesus giving his life that is, itself, the act of God revealing his grace. That God’s son, Jesus, would suffer death in order to pay the debt of all our sins, is God’s great act of grace. That he should take the punishment upon himself is astonishing enough, but that he should do it before we ourselves turned from our sins is mind blowing! So, seeing that we have received the gift of ultimate freedom and close communion with God, it seems the very least we can do, is pay attention to the wisdom and truth he has given us in the scriptures, and apply it to our lives.

Word:

Titus 2:11-15 NLT

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

Goal:

Repentance, I have observed, is often perceived by non believers as a miserable thing to do. Many of them are of the opinion that to turn from a godless living and sinful pleasure must mean that they will no longer enjoy any pleasure anymore. This is a view point held mostly by those who have not yet realised that they are actually completely enslaved by sin. I think it could be said therefore, that salvation is a bit like having a “eureka” moment, or a “light bulb” realisation. As soon as you understand that you are a slave to sin and that by following The Lord’s commands you can be free of sin completely and you claim that freedom through Jesus, you are saved. I have been trying hard to make this repentance a daily goal and will continue to do so.

Today’s readings:

Jeremiah 51:1-53, Titus 2:1-15, Psalms 99:1-9, Proverbs 26:17

They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. (Titus 1:14)]

Thought:

Today’s passage is extremely challenging. This is because the message seems to be so uncompromising. People must be silenced and others must be strongly reprimanded. But, nevertheless, I find myself identifying hugely with the un-named prophet from Crete who accuses his own people of falling way short of the mark. Now, I’m not calling myself a prophet, but I am saying that, having read the bible a few times, I can see that my fellow men and women have strayed away from the instructions and commands of The Lord. I can also see that many people are searching for the truth but they are believing myths and legends and all manner of things, all of which have been fashioned by those who have already rejected the truth of God as written in Holy Scripture. We will see by the way that they live, whether they have chosen the right path. I firmly believe that the only way we will see the power of God’s love released in the world is if we believers, can demonstrate our experience of God’s love to those we know.

Word:

Titus 1:10-16 NLT

For there are many rebellious people who engage in useless talk and deceive others. This is especially true of those who insist on circumcision for salvation. They must be silenced, because they are turning whole families away from the truth by their false teaching. And they do it only for money. Even one of their own men, a prophet from Crete, has said about them, “The people of Crete are all liars, cruel animals, and lazy gluttons.” This is true. So reprimand them sternly to make them strong in the faith. They must stop listening to Jewish myths and the commands of people who have turned away from the truth. Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

Goal:

When this scripture was written down, the non circumcised Gentiles were the primary audience. These Gentiles were having to become familiar with Jewish scriptures but there was confusion about the issue of circumcision. The point is, that there were many, many people who were confused about the exact issues at hand regarding Jesus, his significance, and their salvation. The same is still true today. That is the whole point of these daily devotionals. We really need to explain it to the many who have not yet fully understood. Therefore, my goal is simply to do what I can to dispel the myths and try to offer an explanation of why it is good news that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Saviour.

Today’s readings:

Jeremiah 49:23-50:46, Titus 1:1-16, Psalms 97:1-98:9, Proverbs 26:13-16

O nations of the world, recognise the Lord (Psalm 96:7)

Thought:

I am living an interesting life these days. By that I mean, I feel as if I am caught between two worlds: the world of faith and the kingdom of Heaven on the one hand, and the actual world in which we live on the other, the world where science reigns and God is all but irrelevant. And yet, having said that, the more confidently I wear my faith, the more I find people are interested. My colleagues at work seem to respect my interest in the Bible and, whether they read it or not, they see me writing these devotionals and often ask me what I’m writing about. I like to think that they just need to see others taking God seriously in order to have the courage to do the same themselves. If we who believe, could just find the courage to tell those we know about the amazing things God has done in our own experience, imagine how many of them might just recognise The Lord working in their own lives and find their own faith.

Word:

Psalms 96:1-7 NLT

1 Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
2 Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
3 Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.
4 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
He is to be feared above all gods.
5 The gods of other nations are mere idols,
but the Lord made the heavens!
6 Honour and majesty surround him;
strength and beauty fill his sanctuary.
7 O nations of the world, recognise the Lord;
recognise that the Lord is glorious and strong.

Goal:

I often ask myself, what amazing things has The Lord really done for me and often, I can’t think of anything in particular. But as soon as I open my Bible, I find such astonishing truth and such amazing wisdom. Of course I can, if I think about it, remember things that God has done in my life that have changed everything and helped me in times of real crisis. But these testimonies are for other believers, not sceptics. The Bible however, holds the keys to salvation and life itself. The truths in the Bible can change your life and release you from whatever chains are binding you. When you see the truth written in the scriptures, when you recognise The Lord, all there is to do is give thanks, and sing your heart out in praise and gratitude. My goal has been to publish the Lord’s glorious deeds. Perhaps you could help me by telling a friend or two about TWG.

Today’s readings:

Jeremiah 48:1-49:22, 2 Timothy 4:1-22, Psalms 95:1-96:13, Proverbs 26:9-12