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Category: thoughts by Rod Marshall

Finding the Time

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Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9 (ESV)

Sometimes it is difficult to make the time. Sometimes I cannot be bothered to make the time. Sometimes I cannot face making the time. So, I will do anything to allow time to consume me – in doing anything other than making the time, for the task I know I should be doing. I call it displacement theory: I displace the essential task with the secondary or ordinary.

Until this October, I have been able to attend our mid-week communion service that is presently held here at the university campus where I work. However, with the latest tabled changes in personnel I am not available to attend. I have to endure instead, the imposition of being placed on an inquiry desk until past the communion finish time.

Today, because of temporary staffing arrangements I have managed, for once, to get my lunch earlier, in time for the communion service. It was great to be able to attend and enjoy being in the presence of God and those few from my fellow believers who have made the effort and are based here.

It made me rather rueful for the times in the past when I occasionally did not go because something had come up and I had not made the time to attend. It has made me more appreciative of the opportunity I have had today to attend the service that I previously have taken for granted!

As we sit down today in safety, read our Bibles, and take the time to pray I ask the question: What have I taken for granted as a given today, such as my health, breath, faith and sanity that may not be so obvious a given tomorrow!

PRAYER: LORD, I thank you that you came into the world to spend time with us, to set us free from sin and from dissipation into the world. We rejoice that no matter what our circumstances are, You are always with us, even when we apparently cannot find the time, You do. Thanks LORD. Amen.

by Rod Marshall
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Faithfulness

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One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” Luke 16:10 (ESV)

Recently I was faced with an obstruction, a short queue of cars, and a set of traffic lights. The lights were changing to red, so I slowed down to wait for them to go green again. Apparently, this was all too much for the driver behind to bear, and he raced through the traffic lights, now red.

As I sat there waiting for the lights to turn green a chorus of car horns was heard coming from the queue behind. Then another car zoomed out from further down and then pulled in front of me, narrowly missing the startled cars coming around the corner, which was currently their entitlement!

There have been a number of people breaking the law around me on the roads in the last few days, which is not the norm. I guess this was just God’s spur to encourage me to put into words that which has been in the back of my mind.

I have been pondering these words above from Jesus. How faithful am I in being His disciple: in all things? Faithfulness appears to be systemic. We cannot pick and choose what parts to obey!

As we work out our faith, day by day, obedience influences who we are in Christ, and also our calling. Being in the world but not of it, encouraging godly perspectives and being distinctive, increases our capacity to serve and follow. Whose footsteps are we following in?

How good is our faith?

Through being faithful, in words and actions we become closer to the will of God for our lives. Well that is the theory and I long for it. Sadly my efforts are not often good enough. Instead I find myself on my knees time and again in need of His Grace to stand me up, wash me down and speak words of encouragement to be faithful, to persevere, every day!

PRAYER: LORD, You alone are faithful when we are faithless. We ask for You to come and abide in us again, forgiving our sins in Jesus’ name and delivering us from evil. May Your light shine in us in all things, to increase our our faithfulness to You, in Jesus name, amen.

by Rod Marshall
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The Plan

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Rod Marshall - Jesus has a perfect plan for each, to lift us up and out from the waves!

Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “ O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Matthew 14:31 (ESV)

I regularly find myself distracted, detained or sidetracked by the World, often because I am materialistic. It is a hard thing to be like me – in the world but not of it. Who wants to be a millionaire? I do – until I remember I cannot take it with me and that I have been distracted from God’s purposes. He calls out to me not to take my eyes off Him and to recall His capacity for the outrageous and miraculous and not always the ordinary!

I have, through my life known the joy of being treated with acceptance and companionship, and I have also known times and situations to the contrary. When the World, and its menu of self-centeredness, squeezes my spirit, I cry out to Jesus to deliver me before I am swamped.

As I move in the will of the Kingdom, my spirit rejoices in my Sustainer and Deliverer. However, experience has shown me that I am still two persons in one body. Whilst I rejoice in one part of my being, yet with another, I am filled with dismay. I guess it is all a part of being human, spirit and flesh, having faith, yet still living with some doubt that must be given to God’s care. I gain encouragement from the accounts of Peter, Jacob and Joseph, because I see in their life struggles encouragement for my own.

Some people have great moments of clarity that change their life, whilst for others these are but a moment’s fancy that soon pass. Such are life’s choices: to see or not; to have faith or to doubt; to believe or not.

For those who are able to see and believe, Jesus has a perfect plan for each, to lift us up and out from the waves!

Isaiah 40:31 (ESV):- “but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

PRAYER: LORD, thank You that You miss nothing and are ready to greet us once more at the beginning of the day. Thank You that You watch over us and protect us whilst we are vulnerable or incapable. Thank You that no one slips through Your Omniscience. Thank You that You do not pass by on the other side. Grant us, once more, Your Grace to lift us up today and lead us on. Let us hear Your call to us once more and not be distracted by the waves of life today. Amen.

by Roderick Marshall
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Children and Parents

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And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.” Malachi 4:6(ESV).

A friend of mine was preaching yesterday. His text was on John the Baptist. He made the connection between the verse in Luke 1:17 and the corresponding verse reference in Malachi given above. What struck me was something quite simple within this verse in Malachi.

I had never noticed before this aspect of Fatherhood. Something within said that there is a danger, where parents are too busy for their children, that it can have effects on the family and on the society both present and future. The sins of the parents will be visited on the children, a self-fulfilling prophecy for the people, with a curse as consequence for the land.

I talked to my wife about this thought and in reply, she mentioned an article in her magazine entitled something akin to: “How to be a mother in 60 minutes a day“. It raised the question in my heart “Why are we so keen to have families and yet not give them the priorities given in scripture?” Yes, we need money to live but at what a cost?

Jesus was keen to receive the small children, wants us to come to Him with the uncluttered and wholehearted faith of children. They are important to Him because they are just the same in spirit as those of us who are older, in a more capacious container. Why then is the bus-I-ness (ie. being too busy for too long) of work creating an acceptability of absenteeism that is in danger of consuming the society we hoped to grow and be a part of, where there is no space for more.

I think about my own parenthood. How has this been influenced by my history? How, in turn, am I influencing, have influenced, my children? How will this influence my children’s children?

Matthew 18:3 (ESV):- and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

PRAYER: LORD, I thank You that You do not treat us as our sins deserve because we come to You in the name of Jesus the Christ. Hallelujah!
LORD today, deliver us from this evil: being too busy for our loved ones. Thank You that You are never too busy for us. Grant that we may live a good example of what may be a right balance between worship, work and play in our lives.
LORD, You love the childlike simplicity of the Young. Heal those of us who have hurts and burdens that we carry with us which make us too busy to be able to care. Amen.

by Rod Marshall
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Refuse

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PRAYER: LORD, we ask that You cleanse and forgive us all that is past. As we worship You today, grant us Your presence to perceive Your Kingdom heart of love, wisdom and insight to this world. Let us know the call of Your Holy Spirit on our lives, so that we do not turn away from what You are calling us to do today in the authority of Jesus. Amen.

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine… Luke 10:30-34 (ESV)

I used to be a teacher and a caretaker so I find myself mildly obsessive about order, litter and untidiness in my place of work: home is another matter! One man confided in me that when he saw me for the first time in church, he checked to see if his mobile phone was off, just in case I told him to switch it off!

I progressed through the room at the end of my late night recently and switched off all one hundred of the machines as they became vacant. I also cleared up the discarded packaging resultant from the students’ eating, hidden from the view of my office window: bless them. As I let go of my collection into the bin, a plastic foil wrapper wafted down, a fugitive from the bin’s lip, and rested by the base. It looked up at me reproachfully. I told it to mind its own business, and to leave me alone. I told my mind not to be so obsessive about a piece of litter on the floor and hesitated for a moment.

It was no good, it drew me like a magnet, I had to pick it up.

As I did so the words of the good Samaritan came to mind. Do not ignore what God has placed at hand for you to do in the service of the Kingdom.

I believe God has put His desire into our hearts to be co-workers as Jesus’ hands and voice to the world. He has placed a burden on our hearts to bind up the broken-hearted that acts like a magnet, to do the right thing and be drawn into action: to be prepared to cross the road, to be involved.

All this from a piece of dropped litter!

PRAYER: LORD, we ask that You cleanse and forgive us all that is past. As we worship You today, grant us Your presence to perceive Your Kingdom heart of love, wisdom and insight to this world. Let us know the call of Your Holy Spirit on our lives, so that we do not turn away from what You are calling us to do today in the authority of Jesus. Amen.

by Rod Marshall
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Reign in Me

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What is the Kingdom of GOD Like?  Devotional

He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.Luke 13:18-19 (ESV)

I sat in the car listening to the sound on the roof. It was raining and eventually my patience was rewarded as the clouds wearied of their charge.

I walked and after a while, a cold sensation touched my legs. I stopped to look down to see the rainwater’s tidemark on my trousers. My eye alighted onto a piece of rotting tree-trunk nearby. It was covered in grey-green lichen in bloom, its hues in beautiful contrast to the browns of the wood and the wet earth below. Unlike the raindrops, I gladly soaked this beauty in.

From this place of stillness, I looked up into the field of corn. As my eyes focused in on their target, I realized that what had caught my eye were the twitching ears of a doe hidden amongst the ears of cereal. Close by was another young doe, and as I moved towards them, they bounded off.

Recently I saw a Bullfinch with its vibrant red breast and black cap.

I perceive God’s presence in nature as I walk because, in the peace within this postage stamp of creation, I become attuned to the stillness of His indwelling.

I believe that as we are still long enough in His Word, Jesus is found indwelling by the revelatory presence of the Holy Spirit. Just like my experiences in nature that have soaked into my being during my walks in the countryside, He too is willing to show me new insights that soak and indwell.

As the mustard seed small in the palm of the Sowers hand that once planted and watered became a tree, so my relationship with Him has grown and brought security for me and others I pass this on to: those who come my way. They too, once planted, grow and experience Him on their own account.

PRAYER: LORD, Thank You Lord, for always being there when we reach out to touch Your presence by Your Grace. You have set us free to soak up life with You. Shine the light of Your Presence through all our doing and indwell our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

by Rod Marshall

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Double Minded, Me?

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wind blown tree in the snow

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.James 4:7-10 (ESV)

The LORD has prompted me in the past not to be double-minded. At the time I was a bit hurt and said “Surely not I?” As far as I was concerned, I was not, in any way double-minded. I was, so I thought, sold out for God, and He should have known it. Sadly, He did know exactly where I was.

As I have become more familiar with The Way so I have come to realize, where there are areas of my life that are not, in reality, whatever I have said or however I have acted up, totally given over to Him. My self-centeredness gets in the way. I want so many things. When we are squeezed by life, it is an education to see what peeps out from underneath the facade.

I had an example recently. I wanted to interact with someone from a self- centered point-of-view. I am glad to say that for once I saw it coming so I was able to submit this thought into Jesus’ care and know His safety. I believe, consequently, what the person saw as we talked was, Jesus in me, not the child within jumping about like a four year old saying, “look at me, me, me” getting in the way of the message! As a result, when a question was asked of me I was able to point the person in the right direction, just because I was in the right place. In myself, I find it hard to be humble. The world tells me, with all its self-seeking, that this is not something to be acquired.

I do desire to come near to God because this is His place of safety, love and peace. His promise is that as I reach out to Him I will find Him.

PRAYER:  LORD, today as we come before You, forgive us our failures, strengthen us at our point of need and send us back out into the world as Your disciples with the courage to take You with us wherever we are sent. Moreover, LORD, humble us so that we do not get in the way of Your Kingdom work through our lives. Amen.

By Rod Marshall

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Where are You?

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Autumn scenery

Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’? Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What are you begetting?’ or to a woman, ‘With what are you in labor?‘”  Isaiah 45:9-10 (ESV)

I went into town the other day and was attracted by the sound of a woman’s voice reverberating off the surrounding buildings. As I came closer to the point of origin, I found a very smart woman speaking on her mobile phone. By her tone of voice, I could tell she was not happy with the other person. She walked this way and then that: back and forth looking. Not wishing to get a firm rebuke, I passed by and continued on my errand.

On my way back from this chore, I was surprised to find the same person still talking on the telephone. This time her voice was almost into the supersonic sound range as her frustration discharged into the street. To me she sounded reminiscent of a gaggle of tropical fruit bats chattering away as they fight over their food. Reflecting on personal experience, I thought it best to leave well alone because she seemed not to be dismayed, just emotionally aggressive. I presume someone was in for trouble when they finally met up. I hoped for his sake, it was not a first date!

Anyway, as I wandered off and I realized that this had to be written down.

No amount of remonstrating was going to make any difference. I believe she needed to be still, listen to an understanding voice and clear directions.

Lately, I have allowed the inner little boy to get the better of me, in my talk with God. I have remonstrated with God about my personal circumstances. I have been presumptuous and proud, like the clay telling the potter how it wants to be formed. Now I have confessed my error and so I have been forgiven. What a joy it is to find my way into His presence! Jesus said: “follow me“.

Luke 9:23:- And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (ESV)

PRAYER: LORD, please quieten our hearts and minds, enable us to let you have your way in our lives, and guide our path today, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

By Rod Marshall

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Recognizing the Truth

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Prayer, Lord set us Free

Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight.” Acts 9:17-18 (ESV)

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ”  Galatians 1:10 (ESV)

During the move to our new house the bathroom scales were broken inside. Now those scales tell me that I am a little over eleven stones (150 lbs.). This is so untrue that I cannot swallow their declaration. My body has not seen eleven stones (150 lbs.) for thirty years. Of course, I might like to let myself be deceived by the odd stone or two but not by a third of my weight!

The inner-self declared the scale’s error as I hesitated near the full-length mirror in the bedroom! I could not get away with believing the untruth unless I set out to deliberately avoid my reflection, shadow etc.

There are plethora criteria with which we all attempt to measure up: our parents; fellow workers; people in our church – or the one down the road; our neighbors; those older; those younger; those with features and assets different to ours in any and every way. For each of us the list is personal and potentially unlimited. We can be deceived, deluded or obsessed by our comparison and judgment with values from this world once we let our minds stray from the truth.

I remember the story of Belshazzar who was weighed in the balance and found wanting by God (Daniel 5:27), and in the same night slaughtered. If we believe the world alone, how will their values stand up against God’s rule when we come to our day of judgment?

Jesus – who sees us for who we really are – will one day take us into a new perfected eternal bodily form, free from comparison, sin and sorrow, with all our imperfections dealt with and cleansed.

In the interim, I believe Jesus died to set us free from enslavement to this world, its false declarations, deceptions and judgments. Today, by Grace, we can hear the truth in Him.

PRAYER: LORD, we thank You that You have given us an inner voice for You to speak into our lives today, words of guidance, life and encouragement. Set us free from delusion, doubt and sin so that, by Your Holy Spirit, we can live and move in Your will for our lives again. Amen.

By Rod Marshall

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Catching

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by Roderick Marshall

sceneryAnd Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.”  Matthew 14:28-29 (ESV)

My wife Caroline says sometimes I am too soft with Zoe, our 18 month old, which in truth – I am. However, it has been demonstrated, when Caroline has gently said: ‘no‘,  Zoe stops straight away – almost, once she has realized there is not going to be a change in the final outcome! Zoe is growing in trusting our judgment. OK, so there may be the occasional episode of a head-bang on the floor to show frustration “and Zoe does the same sometimes too!”

She can now shuffle down the stairs, with the aid of a helping parent to keep her safe. However, I am not averse to offering a “carry” every now and then, despite her weight, just for the joy of having a bundle of love and friendship up close for a moment before she runs away again.

I beckoned to her the other day that I would carry her, so she ran out of the bathroom, straight across the landing, and out into the fresh air above the second step of the stairs, and straight into my arms. She was so fast that I had to use all my strength; I guess she dropped three or four inches, trusting in my embrace, as I reached out for the fulcrum of her out-stretched arms. I was a little taken aback, but she knew nothing of my alarm! She only knew with certainty: dad would catch her, and he did.

I believe Jesus delights in us today, especially those who come to Him with the same childlike faith rushing forward with determination. Whatever our situation, He will always receive us as we run towards Him.

If He commands it today, are we confident enough in our relationship with Jesus to step out – in body, mind, and spirit – to take that all important first step?

PRAYER: LORD, Your love for us is more than we comprehend: despite worldly appearances and lies from the Devil, because bad things happen to us here on earth. Your Love for us is eternal. Forgive us when we doubt Your love for us, or the capacity that You have to catch us when we fall, hold us close when we are down, or lift us up when no one else will, in Jesus’ name, amen.

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Forever the Same

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by Rod Marshall

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22 (ESV)

As I walked around the block recently it occurred to me, as someone who is closer to the end than the beginning of life, how I have changed my horizons.

I prepare, plan ahead, and I look to the future, but, I find that now I appreciate the constant and the good in the present far more than I did in the earlier years of my life. Then I seemed “indestructible” and now I find that I am more prone to breaking. Now I know that the future can be changed by what happens today, then I was always looking to tomorrow. What I feel is impossible today, I have found that by rest and prayer tomorrow, or soon after, God will show me how to overcome, or provide a change of heart within to go through it.

My understanding of Jesus has changed since I was sixteen but I know He is still the Creator Spirit of God that moved across the water in the beginning. I believe He will still be there to roll up the heavens and earth at the end of time itself. A constant, like gravity, a rule that I take for granted by which I live out my daily existence. Without the influence of God in me, I would no longer be the Me that I am used to being!

So in all things I attempt, because sometimes I fail for a time, to see Jesus with me in what life brings me day by day. However, more importantly I look to see His influence within me because even when I cannot see it I know He is with me.

Hebrews 13:8:- “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.Matthew 10:28 (ESV):- “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

All things are relative!

PRAYER: LORD, we rejoice that You have always been the same. You are always there as we come to You in the Name of Jesus. Have mercy on us and forgive us the past so that we can know Your presence with us today and on into our future. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
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Book of Life

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by Rod Marshall

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28(ESV)

I hoped that being a Christian might save me from living in a marred world. Now I can say, in as far as I have the direction, peace and protection of God: it is true. In as far as, I still see, know and have bad things happen: it is false. This can seem a bit of an insult at times, as when a friend of mine was murdered or a work colleague committed suicide.

Unsuspecting, I soak up the world on my way to glory; I become captivated by its unwanted attentions and temptations and fail. Yet, I am called not to withdraw from life, to pass by on the other side of the road and avert my gaze. I am to be whom God has made me: fragile, fallible and dependent on Him in the mess and muck of life but not sucked in by it.

Jesus incarnate lived, ate and breathed in the midst of the mire of this world (Eg. Jesus eats with sinners Mark 2:15-16). He experienced the full range of emotional pain and suffering including his betrayal by Judas (Eg. last supper: Matthew 26:21-31). So failure comes as no surprise to Jesus because He has seen it all before.

However, this is not the whole story because I also succeed. Like Zacchaeus (cf. Luke 19:6) I rejoice in being accepted as a follower of Christ.

Jesus commissioned his disciples to go into the surrounding countryside and heal the sick, deliver people from evil and most of all to proclaim the coming Kingdom of God. How excited they were about the events they had experienced. On their return, Jesus reminded them of a more important issue:

Luke 10:20: “rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (ESV)

Without our names written in the Book of Life, all the rest counts for nothing both then and now!

PRAYER:
LORD, before we go out into the world once more today, grant us Your focus on what is important to You and Your vision for us to see how we can bring Your Kingdom’s Light to bear in our hearts and where we are. Amen.

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Listening

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by Roderick Marshall

For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness.”  Psalm 95:7-8 (ESV)

I hope to reach the terminus of my Bible journey as I read from the book of Genesis towards Revelation. It has been a familiar task in the past, though, if I am honest, perhaps not so familiar to me now as it once was. Sporadically, I have shed some of the enthusiasm I once had when I first discovered that the prayerful reading of the pages of scripture revealed glimpses of God’s nature.

Last night was one of those occasions. My problem was that I was not truly focused on the task: reading the Bible. My lack of prayerful preparation had prevented me from going deeper into the Word.

I can imagine the order ringing out from below: “Christian without prayer or preparation reading the Bible – send out the befuddlers!” They were to build on my folly by speaking a disparaging word or two to tell me that it was all a waste of my time.

In a reaction, a word from God rose up to the surface of my being. Found in Revelation 3:15, it was originally spoken to the Church of Laodicea, stored in my mind from an earlier reading. I was like them in danger, too cool in my attitude towards my God. Like them possibly no longer worthy of his Loving embrace. They had tolerated compromise and indifference in their relationship with God. Quickly, I went back into God’s presence to offer a more focused heart and mind. There I found Him waiting.

I would like to think that He smiled approvingly, as a father, who sees in the action of his child, evidence they have heard and understood His call to Wisdom.

Psalm 95:7-8 (ESV) – Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts..

If unwittingly, like me, you find yourself with some apathy, hear the call to wisdom.

PRAYER: Lord, we rejoice that You are not the distant and indifferent God some would tempt us to believe in. Guide us, as we travel through today, encourage us to be whole-hearted for Your Kingdom trusting in Your Love. May Your Fragrance fill our being. Please promote in us a pleasing desire for Your Word today. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/10/31/rm_listening/
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The Fragrance

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by Rod Marshall

For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.”
2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (ESV)

The other day I walked into a room in our new home and was struck by the delicate scent of my wife’s perfume that lingered in the atmosphere. It made a pleasant change from the smell of electric motor and the carpet that I had just been vacuuming.

Usually you have to get up quite close to a loved one before you become aware of their fragrance because your senses have been accustomed to their aroma, so much so, it has to be quite strong before you perceive it. This is because our sensory system can be desensitized by a cognitive filter process known as Deletion.

Another example might be a sensory input, such as sitting on a chair long enough to be aware that the nerve sensation feedback of the act of sitting has itself disappeared, and there is no longer any sensation from that region – until we move!

For someone like me, who has been in the Kingdom of God for a long time, I too fall victim to a similar phenomenon of taking the presence of Jesus in my life so much for granted that occasionally I no longer recognize its distinctiveness. It is not that Jesus is not there with me; it is that His presence has become a familiar part of my life just long enough for me to think it might be a part of me, even after He has gone!

In my case this does not last very long because I am easily sidetracked by the world. Then, as I make a move, I am aware that there is someone missing!

Oh the joy of the refreshing presence of Jesus, clear and distinct to us once more as we come into His presence and ask forgiveness by His Grace.

PRAYER: LORD, do not treat us as our sins deserve but forgive us when we move on without You, taking it for granted that You might be bent according to our will. We rejoice to know the sweetness of Immanuel. May we once more come into a new day with You and Your presence pervade us. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/07/18/rm_the-fragrance/

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Living

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by Rod Marshall

online devotionalsHe was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.Matthew 17:5 (ESV)

In 2011, life gave me a little squeeze, to find out what is really inside, where and what my priorities are, when push comes to shove.

I have been busy both at home and at work. At home, with the addition of two toddlers, whilst being a great joy and pleasure for a maturing father, they are nevertheless all-consuming for Caroline and I, so we find it hard to find the time for us. At work, with the closure of one of the university’s campuses, and the arrival of a large proportion of students to my site, I find myself under a new review, the third in twelve months!

With all this continued uncertainty hanging over me, I have been getting depressed. Apparently, it became obvious, because once, Caroline even suggested that I go to the doctor for help. However, I praise God that when I called on Him as I found myself on the threshold of being sucked down the plughole of despond again, He answered my prayers and plugged the drain. I am aware, too, that others must have been praying, for which I am thankful, because intercession really does matter.

There were no shining lights or angels, no instant change. He simply reminded me of what He has done for me in the past in seemingly impossible situations that were outside of my control. I remembered a time when I was unemployed with a small child and I was down to my last ten pounds in the bank, with a mortgage, and then I “found” the right job for me. It was exactly what was needed for what happened next. I am clear that it was this insight and grace given to me over the course of a day, and not my will, which delivered me back into my right heart and mind, putting my faith in my God above how others plan. All praise be to God who inhabits our praises and our beings: at least the parts we are willing to give into His care!

So as God reminded me that He has a plan for each of us, it encouraged me that I do not have to be in control all the time, because we cannot plan for the unforeseen. As Christians, we must do what we can and then submit it to God. As I returned my trust to His will for me, He drew me back from the precipice, and I found His inner peace waiting for me.

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV):– “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Prayer: Lord, forgive us because we have erred again. Whenever You come to us, You clear away the fog and bring inner peace. Please direct our paths and instill in us today Your God-with-us by the Holy Spirit, so that no matter how things appear, we may know that when the living gets tough, You are with us always, willing to make a difference. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
http://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2012/04/29/rm_living/
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