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Thread: In step

  1. #1501
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    Default Re: In step

    A blank cheque

    For reading & meditation: Luke 22:39-48

    "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." (v. 42)

    We have seen over the past two days how Jesus, when faced with the news that some Greeks wanted to interview Him, appeared to be precipitated into a spiritual crisis. Whatever we make of this incident in the life of our Lord, it is fairly obvious that some deep struggle is going on inside Him.

    And the terms of that struggle are also clear: "What shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour" (John 12:27).

    This passage in John 12 underlines most powerfully the humanity of Jesus. We see Him recoiling for a moment and only for a moment - from the grim ordeal that He was about to face on Calvary, but He comes through to reaffirm His unswerving commitment to His Father's eternal will and purpose. Note once again the truth that seemed to sustain Him in this dark and crucial hour: "I must fall and die like a grain of wheat that falls between the furrows of the earth.

    Unless I die I will be alone - a single seed. But my death will produce many new wheat grains - a plentiful harvest of new lives" (John 12:23-24, TLB). He gave a blank cheque to God signed in His own blood. He would fall into the ground and die and bear a rich and bountiful harvest.

    He aligned Himself with self-giving and not self-saving. The momentous issue with which our Lord struggled in that hour is similar to the one which you and I are being called to face in these meditations - to die or not to die. The way we respond to it will determine our life-direction.

    Prayer:
    Father, I sense that quietly things are heading toward a moment of crisis in my life - a crisis of commitment. Help me to see these things, not merely as a matter for discussion, but a matter for decision. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

  2. #1502
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    Default Re: In step

    The deepest law

    For reading & meditation: Matthew 10:24-39

    "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."(v.39)

    Out of this incident of the Greeks seeking an interview with Jesus came these great truths that Jesus uttered. We have already looked at some of our Lord's famous statements in John chapter 12 - here is another: "The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25). What does it mean - "The man who loves his life will lose it"?

    It means that when you focus on your interests alone, your life will disintegrate. Those who have no one to centre on other than themselves and live only to have their own way finish up bankrupt, beggared and defeated. Dorothy Sayers put the same truth most effectively when she said: "Hell is the enjoyment of having one's own way for ever." But the rest of the verse is just as true: "The man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life."

    In other words, lose your life in the plans and purposes of God and you will find the true meaning of your existence. It is a paradox, but nevertheless true, that you are never so much your own as when you are most His.

    Bound to Him, you walk the earth free. Low at His feet, you stand straight before anything or anyone else. You suddenly realise that you have aligned yourself with the creative forces of the universe, so you are free - free to create, free to love, free to be at your best, free to be all that He desires you to be.

    And this is not just mere acquiescence. It is co-operation with the power that raised Jesus from the dead. No wonder someone called this principle, "the deepest law in the universe".

    Prayer:
    O God, once again You are boring deep - but You have my permission to keep going. When Your drill strikes hard resistances in me, don't hold back. I want the deep living waters of Your presence and power. Amen.

  3. #1503
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    Default Re: In step

    What is the "Father's Glory"?

    For reading & meditation: John 15:1-11

    "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." (v.8)

    Over these last few days, we have been seeing that just as Christ came face to face with the issue - To die or not to die - so also must we, His disciples, face a similar challenge. It is one of the axioms of the Christian life that in order to realise God's purposes in our lives, we must be prepared to die to all self-interest.

    Why is this so necessary? What possible purpose can our Lord have in making such a demand? Our text for today gives us the answer: "This is my Father's glory, that you may bear fruit in plenty and so be my disciples" (NEB).

    The Father's "glory" is what? Rainbows? Waterfalls? Chanting angels? No, the Father's "glory" is men and women who bring forth fruit in plenty. Is your life fruitful? Does it yield a rich harvest from which your Lord will derive eternal pleasure?

    If not, then perhaps the reason is that your are "a corn of wheat afraid to die". You draw back from experiences which are designed, not to demean you, but to develop you. And if you are afraid to die, then, as Jesus put it, you "remain only a single seed".

    A women once came up to me after I had preached a sermon on this theme, and said: "Why is God so cruel in demanding so much of us?" She meant: Why does God demand the one and only thing I own - me, myself? It seemed to her that she would be consenting to her own extinction.

    She saw only what she had to give up - not what she had to gain. If we are to win this battle, then we must do as Jesus did and continually focus our gaze on the fact that beyond the chosen way of the cross lies ultimate power and victory.

    Prayer:
    My Father and my God, I do not want to shirk, to dodge, or to put things off. Help me, and help me now, to face this issue of the death of my self-interests so that it is settled once and for all. Amen

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