Tag Archives: love

“…..The effectial, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 KJV

“And they stoned Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 KJVIn reading above I came across this line by Augustine in a commentary, quoted by Barclay:

“The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen.”

Suddenly, just like that, I was overwhelmed. And I cried. And then Lord, I marvelled.

I cried because Paul witnessed and consented to the death of a righteous man, in violence and hatred. “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.” Acts 22:20 KJV

I cried because in this hatred Jesus showed His great mercy, so precious to a sinner like me, in revealing Himself to Paul, convicting him.

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all re he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” 1 Timothy 1:16 KJV

I cried because this same Paul became the Church’s greatest missionary bringing the gospel of our salvation through Jesus to the Gentiles, to what would be all nations, peoples and tongues—-to you and me. “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16

I cried because our Saviour Jesus is indeed the one Foundation, the chief cornerstone—“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11—and all of us, from the apostles, to Stephen, to Paul and all those that followed and yes, to you and me–are all bricks in Gods impenetrable church.

And then I marvelled because I had a sudden glimpse of the wonder and sovereignty of our Great Father God. I marvelled at His Providence, of how “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Even the death of Stephen, the first martyr of His church. I praise the God who stands and views the whole perspective of time at once and speaks a masterpiece, His word accomplishing His purposes— you, and me, being “one of those purposes.”

In tears and wonder, I echo Paul through the Holy Spirit, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 KJV

In Christ!

K

In praise of the great God of Today….

Job 8:9 …for we are but of yesterday and know nothing, because our days upon the earth are but a shadow….

Oh Father, how cruel of yesterday to remind me of the darkness of my heart; holding the mirror of Your Spirit up to it, showing me how pitted and pockmarked it has become, scarred by sin and demanding.
Yesterday, heartfelt secrets so small, like pebbles first skipping have become like great stones, whose waves have caused a grievous flood, so that “every island fled away and the mountains could not be found” (Revelation 16:20).
Yesterday I ran and hid, like the Amorite kings in terror of Your judgement at the arm of Joshua’s armies, sure I had used my full portion of your grace, like your mercy is meted out with a spoon and not a shovel.
Yesterday, surely, surely, my heart cried, my sin has vexed your loving kindness so that your back has turned to me; my name crossed from Your great book of Life.
How deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) is this heart of my mine. I am afraid of it. The more I cry like David for its cleansing, for the renewal of a right spirit within me, the more I seem trapped by its longings and cross aims.

How will I ever see you without a heart that is pure? How will I be filled if it does not hunger for your righteousness? How can Your heavenly kingdom be mine if my spirit is not poor and humble?
Why do I choose the curse and abhor the blessing? Why do I crave reprobation not redemption? Yesterday I was Peter before the rooster crows, I was Paul railing against the sordid wanting of my fallen will in Romans 7:24, “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
How many yesterdays Father can you forgive?
Your answer this morning, Oh beloved Father, came in the rush of gratitude to my broken heart that “my thoughts are not your thoughts and your ways are not my ways” (Isaiah 55:8).
I know not the infinite but use up my pile of days wastefully; I cannot see the world at once; I have but memory upon memory of my failings.
And yet today, I praise your Holy Name that You have removed my transgressions from me, “as far as the east is to the west” (Psalm 103 v.12)! Oh precious Lord how can you have put them any farther from me? You do not hoard my sins to parade them out again and again, a testament to my continued failings. Today, I see them as a testament to YOUR forgiveness, to YOUR great mercy that is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 103 v.17).
Today I know You “have not rewarded me according to my iniquity” (Psalm 103 v. 10)
Today I will Praise Your name “with all my inmost being” (Psalm 103 v 1).
Today, at your morning’s touch, I sing, “draw me after you and let us run together”, “rejoicing in thee” and “extolling your love more than wine” (Song of Solomon, 1:4).
Today, though I know my heart is fickle, I say “Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)
I hear the forgiveness of Jesus even from the cross, pronouncing to the thief that “Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
Father, thank you for Today.

In Christ!

I am convinced Psalm 103 was written for those of us with too many yesterdays. My prayer for you this morning is that you wake up firmly in Today, knowing Yesterday is not just forgiven, but gone. Today may you stand strong on the Rock and turn your back to the waves, praising Him from whom all blessings flow, our great God of today.