To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
January/February 2016 Issue – Alive, ‘… because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ’ Ephesians 2:4-5
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Hosea 14:1-9 (NIVUK): “Return, Israel, to the Lord your God. Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips. Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say “Our gods” to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.’
‘I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them. I will be like the dew to Israel; he will blossom like a lily. Like a cedar of Lebanon he will send down his roots; his young shoots will grow. His splendour will be like an olive tree, his fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.
People will dwell again in his shade; they will flourish like the corn, they will blossom like the vine – Israel’s fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? I will answer him and care for him. I am like a flourishing juniper; your fruitfulness comes from me.’
Who is wise? Let them realise these things. Who is discerning? Let them understand. The ways of the Lord are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.“
In today’s study Selwyn talks about how we can change when we realise some changes are needed in our life. Personally, I find it hard to change my ways if I try to rely on my own strength – I need to pray a lot and to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in bringing about any change.
Selwyn has this to say on the subject: “My view is that the greatest change in the personality takes place when we move into a deeper relationship with God. And before we can move deeper we must understand the dynamic of repentance, for if there has been movement away from God there can be no return without repentance.
The word repentance means a change of mind. What do we change our mind about? Where our life is found. … Repentance is returning to God, admitting we have depended more on ourselves than on Him, asking His forgiveness for that fact and accepting that ‘we cannot save ourselves’.”
As Selwyn says, in order to bring our personalities into line with the divine design, we first must admit that there are areas in our lives that need to be changed, then we seek God’s forgiveness and demonstrate our desire for change through repentance, that is, to actively change whatever it is, which is in conflict with Jesus’ teaching. To do this successfully, I believe, we need the Holy Spirit’s help – through persistent prayer.
[My wife’s birthday today, she is so pleased that I’m still alive to celebrate it with her. My cancer is still active yet my overall condition is reasonably stable. Praise God!]