Then rejoice and rejoice in all the good that the LORD your God has given you and your family.
5 Moses, Deuteroromium 26, 11
God wants a cheerful faith! Not this discontented, hypocritical, stiff faith with a face like ice. He wants to see movement!
That is why God has arranged many feasts where people can be happy about all the good that the Lord does for us. These feasts were certainly very different from our stiff, holy ceremonies and ritual worship services.
He wants us to give free rein to our feelings and forget iron self-control. Of course we should not harm others and let out our feelings at their expense. (A woman always prayed so loudly and quickly and directly into my ear ….. it already hurt me. Another one raised his arms while praying, but it was a dense crowd and his arm only 5 cm away from my nose …. that was too “dangerous” for me). Emotions are good! – He created us with feelings.
It is always difficult for me to get out of myself and to show my feelings. But HE is worth raising my hands in worship. He is worth it that I sometimes lie on my knees. He is worth singing my praises to Him loudly. He is worth it that sometimes my tears come or I have to laugh out loud. He is worth dancing before Him because I am so happy about my Lord. Anyway, I don’t have to sit still and keep an attitude. He is worth it to show him my feeling!
He is worth to be worshipped loudly in the prayer community. I want to open my mouth and not always leave it to others to praise Him, to thank Him and to intercede.
He is there! Wherever people praise Him, HE is the head that stands above things. There the angels stand and form a protective roof over us. And HE Himself feels well with us.
Thank You, Jesus! You are not a distant God, but close to me. How good that You are there! How good that I may throw all my worries on You! How good that I am allowed to be cheerful! You are wonderful!
And a voice from heaven said:
This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.
After John had baptised Jesus, Jesus saw Heaven open and the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove. And God said to Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Have you ever heard that from your father or mother? “My beloved child! You please me well!”
God says it of you and me. Yet we have great difficulty in really accepting it. We see our faults and failures and cannot believe it. God says the same of our neighbour, our spouse, our colleague at work, the washed-up alcoholic, the drug addict, the prostitute: “My beloved child!” – and we can sooner believe that than for ourselves.
It helps me to see the other person as a child. Actually, an adult is like a child, only bigger and with many good and bad experiences. But he still feels the same way. What he needed as a child, dear words, he still needs today.
It is not hard for us to think of a child: a beloved child of God! – and so we imagine others and ourselves as a child, and we realise that God loves them, even me when I was a child. Sin has deformed us, but Jesus wants to take that away, so that we can become child-like again, naive, pure, happy.
God is pleased with children, and also with us. He likes the way we speak, sing, dance and are happy. He even likes us to be puffed up: I am the greatest! He smiles at us. (There is still time for education).
Yes, imagine how you were as a little child, and then see that God loves you and is still faithful and pursues you, seeks you, until you find your way back to His heart.
“The love of God has been poured out into our hearts,” says Romans 5:5, and so, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we will be able to accept the forgiveness of our sin, and feel and believe the love of God, and then become joyful, grateful and full of action again. HE is so loving, concerned and caring for us!!! Wonderful!
Thank You Jesus, You have cleared the way. You came to us as a human being and showed us how much God loves us! Thank You! Help me to see other people as You see them and to love them too.
A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
Prepare the way for the Lord!
Make straight paths for Him!
Matthew 3, 3
This is a prophecy from Isaiah. John the Baptist fulfilled it. He was in the wilderness, he was the voice of the Lord. His message was without compromise and without modern concessions: Repent! Confess your sin and forsake it! Walk in the ways of the Lord! – And all the people came to him and were baptised and cleansed of their sins. Even the Pharisees and the other pious people came, but John knew them and challenged them to show fruits of repentance, not just to talk piously.
It was John who prepared the people for Jesus. And Jesus thought highly of him.
It could be that we also wish for such “success” in preaching or witnessing. But this success was dearly bought. John did not get it for free, simply given to him or put in his cradle. He walked a hard path. He lived in the desert on locusts and wild honey, had a camel skin for clothes, tied together with a rope, unshaven, never a visit to the barber …… he looked really wild. But in the desert he got to know the Lord and learned to hear His voice. Without silence there is no spiritual power! All our activity cannot replace this silence, this listening to the Lord.
John was the voice of God in the desert; – and we? In fellowship with Jesus we get to know Him and He equips us with power and authority. Our human gifts are not enough to do spiritual work. That is why our churches are often so weak.
The goal of our preaching and conversations is always to pave a way for the Lord into the hearts of others. That which disturbs must be removed. And HE must be made great to the people, so that they also understand. And the Lord must give life to these words, no matter whether you stand on the pulpit or talk to a person in confidence. His power must work, otherwise your words will remain mere sound without effect.
O Lord, help me to listen to You! Oh, fill me with Your glory and power! Give me Your love for the lost! And give my words power, the power of life!
The Word of the Lord:
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you,
before you were born, I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.
I find this to be one of the most beautiful facts – that God knew and wanted not only Jeremiah, but also me and you before creation. And He has great plans for us! HE knew what He was making us to be, where our place would be. We don’t just live along, and if we are lucky, we find our place. No, God directs and steers, although we are not puppets without will either. It is hard to understand this interplay of God’s will, predestination and our own will. But be sure: God takes everything into account in such a way that He never uses coercion, and we never have to obey unconditionally and slavishly.
Before Jesus came into the world to die on the cross, He knew me. And that is why He came! Because He loves me so much, to pay the ransom that freed me from the darkness.
Be sure, your life also has a goal, a plan with God and you are very, very much wanted by Him. He is so happy to have you and wishes you all the best with all his heart. Like a real human father, He sometimes weeps over His children when they go their own way and then fall flat on their faces. He knew it at creation already, before birth. And yet He said yes to this child. He wanted it absolutely. How great the love of this Heavenly Father must be!
And be sure, He will put you in the place where you are right. Happy is the one who has found that place! Unfortunately, some people take many detours before they listen to God. But even that is part of His plan and He uses it to shape man, i.e. to bring him into the form that pleases Him and is necessary for the place he is to be.
Don’t be sad if you haven’t found that place yet. He is still working with you. But make yourself consciously available to Him again and again and sacrifice all egoistic wishes and ideas to Him. He is God, we should listen to Him! Because He loves us so much!
Thank You, Father in Heaven, for loving me so much!!! Thank You, You created me because You wanted me! You have good intentions for me, and together You and I will make it! You are wonderful!!!
So then, as often as we have the chance, we should do good to everyone, and especially to those who belong to our family in the faith.
We are children of God, we have “His inheritance” and therefore we are able to reflect God’s character. His inheritance, that is the Holy Spirit He has filled in our hearts. He shall reign in us! Then we live in a way that is pleasing to him, and act like Jesus would act. God is a generous god, not a petty “sin counter” or a small-minded judge who does not forget the smallest mistake, the smallest offense. No, He likes giving and He loves to overwhelm us with good things. He is willing to forget our sins, because He loves his children. He is not resentful, but has always hope for His children. Yes, such a heavenly father is good! I hope we reflect His characteristics in dealing with our children. Because God is so good to us, we can be good to others. Because God always forgives our offenses, mistakes and ingratitude, we can be tolerant to others. Because He constantly gifts us, devotes a lot of time, and always has an open mind for us, we can do the same with our fellow men. Because He always has new hope for us, we can share this hope with others. The same way my family, my children and siblings are particularly close to me and I participate in their life, our siblings in faith became very dear to our heart. Of course there are some tough and challenging siblings, but we want to support and forgive them. What do we know why they have become how they are. God has great hope for them too!
I thank You Father for this great gift! Thank you for your Holy Spirit which enables me to listen to Your voice and to become like You more and more. You are such a great, generous and good God! How should I continue being resentful, bitter, self-opinionated, proud and selfish. Please give me more of Your good Spirit!
The LORD will guide you always,
even in the barren land He makes you full
and strengthen your limbs.
You are like a watered garden,
a spring whose water never runs dry.
Isaiah 58, 11
There is a “death zone” in the middle of the Sahara where no one dares to enter. And yet people live there, and they live well! In the middle of this dead zone is an oasis surrounded by a fence. All the juicy fruits and flowers that you can only imagine grow there. The inhabitants are full and satisfied. The fence has gates through which you can enter and leave.
This is how it is with the framework that God has given us for our sexuality. Near the source, near God, there is life in abundance. There is a protective fence, God’s Word and His strong hand. And there are gates through which, if you want to, you can get out. But outside there is desolation and death. Outside is the enemy. He’s out to get us, and he’s tempting us with the finest offerings.
Those who take the liberty of falling for the offers have a hard time getting back to the oasis. Some, even Christians, are plagued by porn addiction. Others are so free to take a lover or find the man of their dreams. We Christians are not immune to sin, we fall for it just like others! Only the strongest principles and the decision not to play with sinful thoughts can help. And of course the presence of God, the silent time, prayer, reading the Bible.
At first it is always dissatisfaction or false self-confidence. Then comes the playing with sinful thoughts and maybe a little alcohol. And then the thoughts settle down and you only see this one way out.
Only Jesus can liberate and preserve. The way back to God is open if someone repents and wants to break with sin. But the way back to the partner is unfortunately often closed. And yet God can still make something good out of such a situation. HE has hope, even for a King David. HE can still make enough good out of a botched life.
Lord, watch out for me! I want to stick close to You and not play with sin. I want to be grateful to You for my life, my situation and my possibilities. Thank You, You are the source of living water for me!
But Jesus said to them,
“There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.”
Matthew 14, 16
The King Herod had birthday and celebrated a big party. His mistress, Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, had a daughter who danced before the king. The king was so enraptured that he wanted to give her everything she wanted. The daughter consulted with the mother and they wanted the head of John the Baptist. Then the king was very sad, but he had made a vow! So John, the friend of Jesus died.
When Jesus heard about John, he withdrew in a boat to a deserted place by himself. When the crowds in the cities heard this, they followed him on foot. When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick. That evening his disciples came and said to him, “This is an isolated place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said to them, “There’s no need to send them away. You give them something to eat.” They replied, “We have nothing here except five loaves of bread and two fish.”
I love to read this text! It always gives me a deeper insight into the nature of Jesus. How much did He love the humans! He watched how they desired for living water and no longer wanted the dry sermons of the scribes. They wanted grace and love of God! He healed all the sick and comforted all who mourn. He himself had great sorrow, and yet He immediately turned to the people and forgot himself. He wanted to heal the people, save, love, celebrate and rejoice with them. He liked being with them. Therefore He did not want to send them away. Because for these people He wanted to go to the cross and buy them with His precious blood. He saw the pearls in them, not the dirt and sin.
He wanted to pamper them with manna, like the time when Israel wandered the desert and God gave bread from heaven. But he also wanted His disciples to learn: He’s the giver, they are only distributors of His grace! We are often faced with problems we can not solve, because we have too little. Our words are too weak, our money to little, our time planned. Often our hands are tied when help would be needed. That is why Jesus says, You give them! And when we begin to do the works he tells us, then He multiplies our opportunities, energy, time, money … For He is the giver, we only distributors. Let’s trust Him again and let His heart matters become our work. And we never lose contact with our “bread giver”!
Thank You, Jesus, that I am worth so much to You! You see that I actuall have nothing, but you give, so that I can give and distribute! You really are a kind, compassionate, great, friendly and loving God! I want to trust in You and serve You!
Happy Easter! Jesus is risen, HE has conquered death and the devil, sin and fear! Hallelujah!!
Only you can know the secret truths about God’s kingdom.
Matthew 13, 11
God has many secrets! How He rules the earth, how He created everything, how He works in us, how it once will be in heaven… But the biggest secret is He himself. What does He look like? How is He thinking? How is it in His presence, before His throne?
Jesus wants to share His secrets with us, if we want to. The Bible tells us many things about God, that we only learn when we read His book. He himself would like to meet us when we take time for prayer and silence. He is present in our praise and wants to act. He is experienceable, and we can see a lot about Him. And in the knowledge of Jesus and God, we can grow a lifetime and are still not at the end. It is a beautiful and exciting journey!
Some people somehow are immune to God. They can not see or understand Him. For them, everything that has to do with God, is ridiculous. The visible world is enough for them and if really miracles are happening, they explain it with any accidents. These people have a hard heart against God. This is for Jesus, who gave His life for them, very hard. But His Spirit can also soften these hard hearts and our prayers can do wonders with them.
Let us go deeper into the mysteries of God! Then God’s presence in our lives is always visible. The more we understand and see how God’s world penetrates our world, the more we can see everything from God’s perspective. And our lives will be more targeted, focused on Him. We will be more relaxed, because we see the Lord of all things see working. We will have more hope and courage; we will have His consolation; His joy and His peace will rule us.
Yes, Jesus, I want more of You! You are not a God who is hiding somewhere, but who can be discovered. Thank you that You have revealed Yourself to me. I want to see more and more of You and be more and more influenced by Your secrets. You are a wonderful God!
See how much the Father has loved us! His love is so great that we are called God’s children—and so, in fact, we are.
1 John 3,1
At this end there is a point or an exclamation mark. That means point, finish, end of discussion. There is no question mark!
If you also have an exclamation mark, then it is good. But if you have a question mark, then you have problems. Some people think that they are God’s children as long as they are good. But if they’re not good enough, then there is a question mark or a no. But do you know, we don’t constantly change our parents and parents don’t change their kids. My children are my children and remain it, no matter how they behave. Some humans don’t have a father who always cares for them, but just a biological father who made them. And some only have a Creator-God and no heavenly father. But God wants to be your father and indeed a heavenly, wonderful, loving, patient, kind father! Let yourself be pampered by the love of God, make up your mind to be His child. He wants, and how is it with you? Today there are two prayers. One for the children of God, and one for those who want to be one.
Thank You, my Father in heaven! You really are my father, who never leaves me, depresses me or makes me feel bad. You love me! I can bring You all, even with my failure. Because You forgive me, help me back up and give me new courage. You have so much hope for me! How nice that I can be Your happy child! Thank you, Father, that You take care about everything! You’re truly a kind, merciful, loving and patient Father.
Thank You, Father in heaven, that You want me! Yes, for You I want to open my heart’s door, please come in and be my father! Clean me from all unholy, unclean and from all sin. Jesus has paid my sins on the cross! From now on I want to be Your child and want to live to Your honor. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit, who leads me and blesses me with Your gifts. Let me remain faithful to You, because You are loyal to me.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your heart.
Moses had given the people of Israel the laws of God. They were to keep these words so that it would go well with them and God could bless them without restrictions. But the most important thing was love. God loved His people, everyone knew that. HE took them out of Egypt, freed them from slavery and led them through the Red Sea. He fed them with water and bread from Heaven in the desert. But God also wanted this people to love and honour Him, to be there for Him and to have His Word in their hearts.
For us Christians, this desire of God applies in exactly the same way: we are to love Him with all our strength and His Word is to be written in our hearts. There shall be no more compromises, because out of fear of God we can no longer live the way the world lives: incurring debts and not paying, cheating and lying in business, all for the sake money. Then our goals will be different to wanting a new couch, expensive travels, luxuries and prosperity, as if our life here will last forever. Then God’s acceptance of us and our actions will be the most important thing. Then we won’t need to hide from Him like Adam and Eve after they committed the first sin. Then we will have free access to our Heavenly Father, and HE to our heart. Then He will pamper us and make miracles happen so that we will be well. He wants to dwell with His people and bless them beyond measure.
But we as Christians are often not doing so well. This is often because we do not love the Lord with all our heart, do His will with all our soul and strength. We live our own lives and pray that God will bless them. But that is simply too little.
I think of Mary who sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him. I think of John leaning on Jesus’ shoulder at the Last Supper, and I think of Mary pouring the precious oil over Jesus’ feet, wetting them with tears and drying them with her hair. Where are our small and great deeds of love for Jesus? I fear we count too much.
Take your time today, about 10 – 15 minutes. And then start telling Him how much you love Him. How much you enjoy being with Him. How you appreciate the fellowship. Sing Him a love song. Or read Him a psalm. But tell Him that you love Him. And repeat that 365 times. Then you will be a different person.
Thank You, Father in Heaven, for loving me so much! And I want to love You because You are so wonderful, because You are faithful to me, because You make me righteous, because You don’t count my guilt against me, because You provide for me ….. because I am Your beloved child!!!! Thank You!!!