My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes, Revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
November/December 2013 Issue – ‘Love Came to Bring us Home’
Today’s text for reading and meditation:
Acts 7:54-60 (NIV): ‘When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’
At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul.
While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.’
Selwyn has this to say: ‘On this last day of considering the theme ‘east of Eden’ what is our conclusion? It is this: there is no way we can get back into the garden of Eden, and there is no perfect happiness to be found on this sin-stained planet either. Our only sure hope is the promise of heaven. That hope is meant to give our lives stability and substance. … Only those whose hearts are filled with thoughts of heaven can relate to earth in a way that does not indulge either Utopian dreams (including prosperity gospels) or despotic solutions.’
It seems to be the ideal day to reflect on the last twelve months and consider our walk with Jesus – have we kept in step with Him?
In this last issue, we have looked at the types of difficulties we face every day in a fallen, sinful world. Early on, Selwyn looked at the pain of disconnected and disrupted relationships, he then addressed the negative emotions of fear, anxiety, and inner unrest. Next, he looked at the effects of depravity and pride that comes from our fallen human nature.
Other important aspects, which Selwyn talked about, were unmerited suffering, death and feelings of being abandoned by God – perhaps, the hardest topics to deal with. Selwyn then wrote about the reality of the devil and the methods he uses to deceive and tempt people. Another bitter consequence of living in a fallen world, addressed by Selwyn, was the pain of shattered hopes and broken plans.
Over the last week, we have studied together the challenge of serious doubts; and finally the need for us to be focused on our destination – to be ‘at home’ with Jesus.
This leave us to meditate on the title of this issue: ‘Love came to bring us home.‘ It’s a good subject to think about, a few days after Christmas and just as we start a new year.
In 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV), we find these great words: ‘You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the (people of this world) that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’
Knowing that we are God’s special possession, we are then able to bravely walk in HIs footsteps – into the future – and to see His glory!