Pray without ceasing

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Romans 8:18-27  (NIVUK): “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

The key to prayer is to be honest with God and ourselves.

Walking the glory road

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful,  ‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Psalm 30:1-12 (NIVUK):
“I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favour lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

When I felt secure, I said, ‘I shall never be shaken.’ Lord, when you favoured me, you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.

To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: ‘What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.’

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you for ever.”

Main point: “Joy s always present in the hearts of those who know God.”

God’s love gives rise to joy and as His love is an expression of His grace we can be assured of His joy – it is a gift and does not depend on circumstances.

The blinding revelation

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Luke 23:32-46 (NIVUK):”Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals – one on his right, the other on his left.

Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.

The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.’

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’

There was a written notice above him, which read: this is the king of the jews.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”

Main point: “We experience God’s love at the foot of the cross. Here and only here is the heart of God fully unveiled.”

Summary: I like Selwyn’s question: ‘Has there been a moment in your life when you have been ‘blinded’ by the love of God?’

All God’s children have had at least one experience of God’s agape love. There are no exceptions – because we can only follow Him if our hearts have been transformed by His love through the power of His Spirit.

Unconditional love

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

2 Corinthians 5:11-21 (NIVUK):”Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.

We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. If we are ‘out of our mind,’ as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!

All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Main point: Sacrificial love (agape) is God’s love as seen in His indwelling Spirit and Jesus.

Summary: The different forms of love (as described in the Greek language): philia (affection between friends), storge (love between family members), and eros (love between the sexes) are all modified by God’s love.

The love between sexes which is getting a lot of coverage in a number of discussions on some current issues must be viewed through the lens of God’s love. Sacrificial love as demonstrated by God’s very nature, means that all other forms of love, must be compatible with His holy love – and must never take priority over His holiness and justice.

Sadly sacrifice is not acceptable to those who see this life as our main purpose for existence.

Your thoughts?

Mature – only in love

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Ephesians 4:7-16 (NIVUK):”But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.’

(What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Main point: “Love is the ultimate gift of God and is the very first evidence of the work of the Spirit within. If love is lacking then everything is lacking. We are to love as we are loved.”

Summary: God’s love in us is the only way to grow in spiritual maturity.

The primacy of love

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful,  ‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NIVUK):”If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

Selwyn’s main point is: “Once we have love we have all the fruit of the Spirit. Without it we are nothing. If you have the Spirit you will have love; if you do not have love you do not have the Spirit.’

Notice that the main outcome of the indwelling of God’s Spirit is God’s love. And it is a special type of love – a sacrificial ‘agape’ type of love. This is only possible if we first love God (the first and greatest commandment). We demonstrate God’s love by obeying His commandments and following Jesus’ teaching.

Any comments?

(This study covers an important point concerning faith and love; I’m not sure many will agree with the full implications?)

[I’m looking at developing a shortened form of these notes taking into account my limited time due to illness.]

As fruit in an orchard

To Follow Jesus

My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.

September/October 2016 Issue –  Fruitful‘But the fruit of the Spirit  is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.’ Galatians 5;22-23

The text set for today’s reading and meditation (the key verse is highlighted):

Galatians 5:13-26 (NIVUK):”You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Selwyn makes this interesting observation; “when Paul speaks about the things that originate from our sinful nature in Galatians 5 – he calls them acts; but when talking about the quantities that develop from the Spirit – he calls them ‘fruit’.

‘Acts’ points to something manufactured – whereas ‘fruit’ suggests something that grows without effort – an outcome of the Spirit abiding within.”

Do you see the Holy Spirit at work in your life producing fruit that will last?