Christian Reflection and Prayer

Meditations and Prayers

2015/3/1

THE HIDDEN DARKNESS

@ 07:38 AM (5 hours, 37 minutes ago)
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 6:66-71.
\"Jesus answered them, \'Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet
one of you is a devil\'\" (John 6:70).  

Lenten Devotion- In sadness Jesus watched the crowds turn and
walk away. Now He turns to His twelve chosen disciples and asks
if they want to leave too. The Lord won\'t force them to stay at His
side; He won\'t force you and me to stay either.

Peter answers, \"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of
eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that You
are the Holy One of God.\" The Holy Spirit led Peter to this great
confession.

But Jesus knew Peter wasn\'t speaking for every one of the disciples.
He knew all too well that one of them had turned away, even though
he was still standing by Jesus\' side. None of the other disciples was
aware, but Judas had secretly rejected Jesus\' Kingdom of light and
allied himself with the prince of darkness. The darkness had so
deceived Judas he thought Jesus would never know what was in his
heart.

Judas\' darkness is in each of us too and can deceive us as
thoroughly as it deceived him. On the outside we can be active in
our churches. Yet deep in our hearts we may have grown cold to
Jesus. It\'s so easy to go through the motions of faith, while our
hearts turn away to the darkness like Judas.

Jesus calls us to stop and examine the depths of our soul. Are we
sincere in our faith, or are we servants of darkness going through
the motions? It\'s a matter of life and death and heaven and hell for
us just as it was for Judas.

THE PRAYER:

Holy Spirit, remove all that is false and impure from my heart, and fill
me with the fire of faith in Jesus Christ my Savior. In Jesus\' Name.
Amen.

2015/2/28

THE TERMS

@ 09:45 AM (1 day, 3 hours ago)
"His Terms or Ours?"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 6:35-44, 51-66.
"After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked
with Him" (John 6:66).  

Lenten Devotion- The crowds want Jesus to be their King so He can
provide for their daily lives. Jesus has so much more He wants to
give them. He shows this by talking about the manna God gave the
Israelites in the wilderness. Sure, the manna sustained them day by
day. However, it eventually failed them, and every one of them finally
died. Jesus wants to give something far greater than manna. He
wants to give us Himself -- the true Bread from heaven that allows a
person to eat and live forever.

That was more than the crowds were willing to accept. They were
offended when He said His flesh was that bread. Jesus knew they
were upset. Yet rather than backing off, He turned up the heat and
pushed even harder, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the
flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.
" Many in the crowds rejected His terms, turned away and stopped
following Him.

What do you think Jesus did? Do you picture Him running after them,
calling them back? Not the King of Israel, He stands firm as the
multitudes walk away into the darkness. In time even more will
abandon Him. Soon He will hang alone on the cross in the darkness,
but He will stand firm to the end to save us.

Every human who encounters the King of kings through the Gospel
reaches this fork in the road. Repent and believe in Jesus and you
will live with Him in heaven forever. Turn away in unbelief and you will
die forever.

THE PRAYER:

 Holy Lord, empower me to set aside my hesitation and follow You
in faith. Amen.

2015/2/27

REALLY SHORT SIGHTED

@ 06:42 PM (1 day, 18 hours ago)
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 6:22-27.
"Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking
Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of
the loaves'" (John 6:26).   

Lenten Devotion- After the festival Jesus returned north to Galilee.
He spent a whole day preaching and then fed the huge crowd with
five loaves and two fish. That night after He sent them away, He
walked across the Sea of Galilee. Gathering again the next day,
the crowds walked around the lake to find Him.

At first those people sound like genuine followers of Jesus. But
our Lord knows better. They aren't really there for Him; they are
there for themselves. They want Jesus to be their king -- but only
on their terms. They aren't concerned with their deep eternal needs
like He is; they only want what Jesus can give them in the present.

We can be just as near-sighted as they. We are consumed with
today's needs and desires, but we don't see the more significant
eternal gifts Christ comes to bring. So we ask Him to help us
through our needs and problems, but we don't give a single thought
to His Kingdom and the part He would have us play in that Kingdom.

That is why coming to Christ in worship is so vital. Each week in
church He shows us the bigger picture -- the unending punishment
we deserve for our selfish, disobedient lives, as well as the
forgiveness and eternal future He gives us through His life, death and
resurrection. Yes, He knows and cares about all our earthly needs
and will provide for each of them just as He has provided for our
eternal needs.

THE PRAYER:

 Lord Jesus, when I get too wrapped up in this life and my daily needs,
lift my eyes to see the glorious future You have won for all of us by
Your life, death and resurrection. Amen.

2015/2/26

FIGHT

@ 07:38 AM (3 days, 5 hours ago)
"Just Asking for a Fight"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 5:1-24.
"This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him,
because not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was
even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with
God" (John 5:18).  

Lenten Devotion- Jesus left Jerusalem when things got pretty
tense, but now with a Jewish festival at hand, He heads right
back down toward the temple again. And He turns the heat
back up by healing an invalid on the Sabbath.

Jesus' enemies protest to this breaking of their Sabbath rules.
His perfectly natural answer totally enrages them. He says,
"My Father is working until now, and I am working." Instead
of seeing the Light, they stand in the darkness protesting that
Jesus is making Himself equal to God. But protest as loud as
they will, Jesus knows who He is and refuses to back down.

The darkness of their thinking is amazing. They would have
kept a man trapped in his paralyzed body to keep their
Sabbath rules. Thankfully, Jesus saw it differently. And He
sees it differently for you and me too. He sees us trapped and
helpless in our sins. And just as Jesus stood up for a paralyzed
man and set him free on the Sabbath, so will He stand up to
any and all opposition to set us free -- even though it cost Him
His life on the cross.

In the coming days we will see Jesus turn up the noise even
louder and see His enemies respond with more hatred. But we
will also see Him sacrifice Himself for them. Hanging from the
cross He will answer their taunts with a plea: "Father, forgive
them, for they do not know what they are doing. ..."
(Luke 23:34a).

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, You suffered and died to set me free. Fill me and
all Your children with joy and courage to share Your great story
of sacrifice and dedication to everyone. Amen.

2015/2/25

PROVE IT

@ 11:35 AM (4 days, 1 hour ago)
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read John 4:46-54.
(Jesus said) "Unless you see signs and wonders you will not
believe" (John 4:48).  

Lenten Devotion- When Jesus' enemies in Jerusalem learned
He was becoming more popular than John the Baptist, He left
and returned to Galilee in the north. Huge crowds gather, but
Jesus knows their faith is shallow and superficial. When an
important official comes to ask the Lord to heal his dying son,
Jesus challenges the entire crowd: "Unless you see signs and
wonders you will not believe."

How deep is your faith? Can you take Him at His word, or do
you insist on more? If you listen closely you almost pick up a
tone of defiance in Jesus' voice ... or is it sorrow? He wants
them to believe, but they must believe on His terms, not theirs.

The official knew only one thing really mattered: his son was
dying and only Jesus could save him. So he begged Jesus to
come down and heal him. But Jesus didn't go. Instead, He
sent the father away with a promise: "Go; your son will live.
" Would you be able to trust Jesus and go?

The official did. He accepted Jesus' words and on the way
home he learned his faith had been well founded: his son was
healed.

We don't need to see miraculous signs to believe in Jesus
as our Savior. God uses old familiar words to give us faith;
He uses water and His Word to wash away our sins, and
He joins His body and blood to simple bread and wine to
forgive us all our sins.

Don't stay on the outside waiting to see some miracle in
your life before you'll follow Jesus. Learn a lesson from the
official above: the stakes are life and death, heaven and hell.

THE PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, give me faith to trust Your words and promises
through every circumstance in my life. Amen.

2015/2/24

DARKNESS OR LIGHT

@ 09:04 AM (5 days, 4 hours ago)
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read  John 3:19-21.
TEXT: "This is the judgment: the light has come into
the world, and people loved the darkness rather than
the light because their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).  

Lenten Devotion- Before Jesus sends Nicodemus on
his way, He leaves him one last warning. "This is the
judgment: the light has come into the world, and
people loved the darkness rather than the light
because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does
wicked things hates the light and does not come to
the light, lest his works should be exposed."

Will Nicodemus admit he is drowning in his sins and
only Jesus can set him free? He came to Jesus at
night under the cover of darkness so no one could see.
Is he willing and ready to step out into the light and
receive the forgiveness Jesus came to bring?

Coming to Christ isn't easy for us either. We want to
impress each other. Why would any of us want to open
up and let our brothers and sisters in faith see the dark
secrets we keep hidden away inside? Like Nicodemus
there is a Pharisee hidden deep inside every one of us
too.

We take pride in going to church regularly, putting our
money in the offering plate and holding offices in our
local congregation. But Christ knows us inside and out.
He knows our pride, our stubbornness and our
judgmental heart. Jesus' call to Nicodemus goes out to
each of us -- no matter who we are. Are you willing to
come to Christ Jesus in His Church? Are you willing to
look to the crucified and risen Savior, to confess your
need and follow Him?

THE PRAYER:

"Just as I am, without one plea, but that Thy blood was
shed for me, And that Thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!" Amen.

2015/2/23

LIFTED

@ 06:58 AM (6 days, 6 hours ago)
"Lifted to Save"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer
February 23, 2015

Read the rest of this entry ... (305 words left)

2015/2/22

IN THE DARK

@ 08:22 AM (7 days, 4 hours ago)
"A Visit in the Dark"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer


Read John 3:1-8. TEXT: "Nicodemus said to Him,
'How can these things be?'" (John 3:9).   

Lenten Devotion- Jesus made powerful enemies when He
cleansed the temple. But He also impressed some leaders
with His boldness and His miracles. In chapter three a
prominent leader comes to the Light, but fear of his
colleagues leads him to come to Jesus under the cover of
darkness.

Being a Pharisee, Nicodemus thinks his good life will win
him heaven. Jesus immediately challenges this false hope.
"Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot
see the Kingdom of God." Answering Nicodemus' confused
reply Jesus explains He is talking about baptism. But
Nicodemus still finds it difficult to accept these words.

You and I might find it difficult also. Like Nicodemus we have
so many good qualities going for us, especially when
compared to others we can point out. We work hard to provide
for our families. We try to be good citizens. We try to treat our
neighbors well.

But Jesus is clear and unbending, "That which is born of the
flesh is flesh." It can never be anything but flesh. You and I
can try as hard as we want, but we are and always will be
sinners. And saying, "I'm only human" is no excuse either.
Jesus was truly human, yet He was without sin.

That is why our Lord commanded His Church to baptize sinners.
Through the power of God's Word in that water Jesus takes our
sins and guilt upon Himself and suffers and dies in our place. He
fills us with His Holy Spirit and makes us children of God. Just
as Jesus rose again on the third day, He will raise us to live with
Him in paradise forever.

THE PRAYER:

Jesus, bring me out of the darkness of my self-righteousness to
the light of Your forgiveness and peace. Amen.

2015/2/21

THE LIGHT BLAZES

@ 07:26 AM (8 days, 5 hours ago)
"The Light Blazes in Fury"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read the rest of this entry ... (311 words left)

2015/2/20

RASH JUDGEMENT

@ 07:46 AM (9 days, 5 hours ago)
"The Darkness of Rash Judgment"
By Rev. Wayne Palmer

Read the rest of this entry ... (313 words left)