Bring some Spirit-filled peace into your hectic schedule every weekday morning with this new Daily Devotional.
- Start your day with God
- Renew your spirit
- Refocus your faith
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'I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called – his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.'
Jayne often speaks of how she sees life as a glass half-full. In contrast I have been more a glass half-empty person. This expresses itself in thoughts that can imagine the worst possible outcomes and so switch on my defensive mechanisms far too soon. I tend to approach life living in the shadows for fear of the risks associated with living. The problem with this way of thinking is that over time it becomes increasingly difficult to shift. It has established authority over every sphere of life – how I see, think, and dream.
As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them.'
I can remember one of the hardest aspects of being Katey’s carer was the experience of isolation and loneliness. I was facing something completely new and something for which I felt both ill-prepared and ill at ease with. That left a lot of time to think, and thoughts were often tinged with an edge of anger, feeling hard done by, and incompetence.
'Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.'
A large part of my ministry life has been on the road as an evangelist and then as international director with the Evangelical Alliance (EA) UK. It has now proved very satisfying to settle down. I was anxious initially from a sense of loss of identity. Homemaker and hermit are little understood today, or so I felt. Yet, on a retreat I discovered the Benedictine vow of stability. Slowly I reflected and unravelled the wonderful truth encased within this vow and so settled with my own commitment to stability.
'Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.'
My preference is to start the day early. The alarm breaks into my sleep and I quietly slide from the bed in an attempt to leave Jayne sleeping. I emerge downstairs to set everything in motion for the day, from checking heating, tidying away from the night before, creating Jayne’s packed lunch and setting the table for breakfast. However, before all of that I choose to take a moment with God.
'Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed!'
It takes humility to pray. It’s difficult to imagine that by making space and time with God somehow I shall influence a world that seems overwhelmed with problems at both a global and personal level. Yet, this is the invitation from God, to pray. Indeed, Paul reminds us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV).
'Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.'
If prayer is about both being present with God and experiencing God’s love, it runs the risk of being a rather self-absorbed activity. However, it also demands that I express God’s love through compassionate service. Once I discover how much I am loved by God, and experience the quality of that love, then I am envisioned and inspired to carry that love into every corner of the world I inhabit.
'Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.'
I once read, “Prayer is not primarily a move towards God but the abandonment of love of self”. It is a challenging statement. As a young Christian I can recall pursuing God in search of the next adrenalin rush. It was as if I entered into worship or attended a meeting as I might queue up for the latest fairground ride. In Oxford I attended a concert in the Town Hall called Come Together. As a new Christian I was chasing down everything Christian I could.
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
Accompanying Katey on her experience of MS taught us both that we could no longer take life for granted. The disease was so much more than the medical prognosis or the textbook descriptions we read online. Slowly and surely it established a hold upon Katey’s life and intruded into our marriage. Katey learned that she had to fight to hold onto her personhood before this slow incoming tide that threatened to take her very essence long before it took her life.
'Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.''
We live in a world of instant answers. Wisdom, once located among the aged, is now found online instantaneously. When we want something, that want is often framed as a need and demands immediate attention. It’s like an irritating mosquito bite demanding a scratch.
'Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble; soon they disappear, and we fly away.'
Speaking about death is never an easy subject. We also live in a culture that celebrates youth and a media-led caricature of beauty. We assume that disability of any sort is somehow a liability to living life fully, and indeed can patronise disability by assuming it is a lesser form of life. Medically we seek to remove all possibility of disability, arguing it’s to remove pain and stress from the parents, although it may have more to do with budgetary considerations, given that disability does not always need to limit lifespan as once it was assumed to do.