God’s blessing is in our daily lives. As the pilgrims get up early to leave the city of Jerusalem after much celebration and joy, they are encouraged to praise God all the way. Nobody likes to leave the party, but God’s presence is with us. God is in our coming and going. God is in our dawns and dusks. God is in the sunshine and in the darkest valley. Praise Him all the way. This living and breathing God are how we should live. We tend to leave worship for Sundays or when we need a soothing background in prayer times, but worship, praise is all the way, all the day, forever.
Together with Fanny Crosby we can say
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood Chorus: This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long; This is my story, this is my song, Praising my Savior all the day long.
Unity is rare and precious. Unity is difficult. Unity, brotherly and sisterly love is like the dew, makes life spring, refreshes, revives, strengthens and helps us grow.
We might come from different cultures, countries and costumes but God unites us. There He pronounces His blessing.
The opposite to unity is division. Many of us are deeply divided. So we are tired, we are not growing, we are depressed, dull, discouraged and bored. We pray for unity, but we live division. How? We don’t land a helping hand to a brother who is different from us in doctrine, we don’t give the opportunity to share with a sister that looks strange to us. We don’t extend our hand and prayers to a suffering pastor and his family. We are not willing to let the ‘oil drip’ to the end of the garment, we are stingy, we are proud. The love of God compiles us to ‘love one another’ but do we? In words and deeds? How can we love our enemies if we are not willing to cross the road to see our friends?
Dear Lord, help me to see what you see in people and love them in Spirit and truth.
God is here right now and He has blessed you with Jesus. Most of us think that God is distant and only present for some special religious people, but the truth is different.
God has chosen you and wants to be with you.
(see verse 13). Now, when we speak of ‘God’s chosen’ we tend to think of arrogant people who think they are privileged and can use this position for their gain, but God has chosen us in grace. What that means is that we were not deserving of His choice, we were not special so to speak, but we are made special by Him choosing us. We were not more wise, good-looking or hugely different than others, but God has offered us grace and that makes all the difference. Understanding this will only lead to humility and not superiority. We are chosen to be holy, meaning distinct and different. If the world communities are built in self-promotion, God’s chosen people build communities on self-sacrifice. All aspects of life, self, marriage, work, friendships, sex, money power, the poor, justice, operate completely different in a society that believes and lives like people chosen by God’s grace.
Dear Lord, let us remember who you are and who we are because of you and live humble and bold lives.
Fostering an attitude of trusting hope is our life as believers. This idea of ‘trust’ before ‘have’ can be unusual to many, but it’s not for the kingdom of God. Jesus is the pioneer when it comes to calling his followers to do the opposite of what the world would do.
His well-known sayings include –
Give to get joy Forgive to be forgiven Rejoice in persecution Die to live
The psalmist David voiced the same idea when he uttered ‘I have calmed and quieted myself like a weaned child …’ We are to become like a child, humble, sincere, needy, trustworthy , but not childish- proud, folly, impatient, interest seekers. We enjoy and fully rest in God when we come with a content heart, rather than a contempt one.
Dear Lord let my cravings and desires be satisfied in you so that I can enjoy your love and presence.
There are depths of anguish and sorrows that touch our hearts that self-help or man-help can not bring comfort. Prayer helps, but what helps, even more, is the prayer that waits and watches for God to aid. Only like that revelation like ‘forgiveness is with you’ (see verse 4) will give wings to our sinking hearts.
Our God is a forgiving God.
We may withhold forgiveness, our friends, spouse, children, co-workers and family members may do the same, but not our God. When we belong to Him, nothing can revoke his forgiveness. There is nothing like God’s forgiveness, for it’s the only true agent of change. Forgiveness softens the heart and strengthens the mind. Yes, we can go astray, yes we can be haunted by the devil for sins committed, we can be sad and downcast, but there is forgiveness with Him.
The word rendered ‘forgiveness’ is a late form, being found only in two other late passages. [Nehemiah 9:17; Daniel 9:9] It literally means cutting off, and so suggests the merciful surgery by which the cancerous tumour is taken out of the soul.” (Maclaren)