Saturday, November 17, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 17 November 2018

The Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night?' 
Luke 18. 6,7

Be persistent in your prayers; God will heed you. Pray most of all to know what it is that is his will for you ... and that you will show your love for him by listening to his word and obeying.

Friday, November 16, 2018

prayer diary Friday 16 November 2018

'The day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them — it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.' 
Luke 17.29,30

When Jesus returns it will be without warning and swift will be his judgement. Therefore we must live as if it might be within the next moment; for thus we may keep alert and avoid falling prey to the temptations that will bring his judgement upon us.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 15 November 2018

'But first the Son of Man must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.' 
 Luke 17. 25

The generation of which Christ speaks was not only those of his day but all people until he comes again. Therefore do not be amazed by the lack of faith you see in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

prayer diary Wednesday 14 November 2018

Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? ' 
Luke 17. 17

All receive blessings from God, but not all give thanks in return. Do not behave thus; for your humble gratitude is pleasing to the Almighty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 13 November 2018

'So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, “We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!” ’ 
Luke 17.10

Many expect the praise of men for their obedience to God. There is but one reward to be hoped for: eternal life on the last day.

Monday, November 12, 2018

prayer diary Monday 12 November 2018

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to anyone by whom they come!' 
Luke 17.1

We will be held accountable if we lead others astray. Therefore the example of your life must be good and the doctrine you share must be sound, because you will not be found guiltless if you cause another to stumble.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 10 November 2018

‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.' 
Luke 16. 10

It is easy to excuse what we see as our small failings, thinking they do not matter much. But it is the small that hardens our heart to ever greater evils, until the time comes when we have fallen into grave sin and, sadly, do not even know it.

Friday, November 9, 2018

prayer diary Friday 9 November 2018

His master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. 
Luke 16.8

While he still had time the manager used the resources at his command to secure his future. So also must we use our temporal goods wisely, showing charity to those in need and using them to advance the Kingdom, so as ensure our Eternal destiny.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 8 November 2018

And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’ 
Luke 15.2

How foolish were the Pharisees and how silly the scribes in their grumbling for did the Scriptures not teach them that all men are sinners? So too must we never forget that we are sinners in need of God's mercy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

prayer diary Wednesday 7 November 2018

'Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.' 
Luke 14.27

The Lord makes it clear that to be his follower is to take up the cross. Therefore if you will not take it up you can not be his follower.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

prayer diary Tuesday 6 November 2018

'He sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come; for everything is ready now.” But they all alike began to make excuses.' 
Luke 14. 17,18

All are invited by the Lord to his table each Sunday for a foretaste of his heavenly banquet. And yet many do not come, making excuse after excuse for their absence.

Monday, November 5, 2018

prayer diary Monday 5 November 2018

'Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.’ 
Luke 14, 13,14

Do your good deeds without expectation of reward, whether in kind or by the praise of men. By doing so you lay up treasure for yourself in heaven.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

the death of Lazarus and the faith of Martha

Almighty, eternal, and merciful God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: we pray that as we meditate upon your Word you will lead us deeper into all truth that we may better know and do your will and grow in holiness day by day. Amen.

I wonder if any of you have ever noticed how much space St John the Evangelist devotes to the story of Lazarus? The entirety of chapter 11 of his Gospel is spent outlining not only the raising of this man from the dead by Jesus, but also the build-up to the miracle and the aftermath of the event. That's fifty-seven verses of Sacred Scripture; by contrast, the other evangelists spend only a handful of verses in the accounts they give us of our Lord raising someone from dead. This means that St John believes that these details are of immense importance; and more, that the Holy Spirit, as he inspired the Beloved Disciple in his writing, knew that the details were essential for us to know for the sake of our own salvation. So it would well behove us to ponder these details very deeply indeed.

Therefore this morning I would like to consider not so much the raising from the dead itself, but the behaviour of his sister Martha in the lead-up to that miracle. For I think that her reaction to the death of her brother has much to teach us as to how we should act ourselves when faced with adversity and when God, seemingly, has not answered our prayers – or, to put it more accurately, has answered them, but not in the way that we would have preferred.

Now, we have met Martha before in the Gospels. St Luke introduces us to her in Chapter 10 of his account. Let us remind ourselves of what he says:

'Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.’ But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.’

It is not very flattering to Martha, is it? Her busy-ness is rejected in favour of her sister Mary's more contemplative approach, echoing in a way God's rejection in Genesis of the sacrifice of Cain in favour of that of Abel. But Martha is no Cain, as we discover as St John tells us more about the woman who at another time worried about many things. And look at the reaction of this practical woman when Jesus arrives on this occasion.

She asked Jesus to come and heal Lazarus, but he did not come.
Indeed, perhaps she even knew his decision not to come was deliberate, for most likely those she had sent to ask him to come had returned to her and said that Jesus had refused to come with them. And so her brother is dead and four days in the grave when the Lord arrives. Indeed, not only did he not come in time, the one that can cure at a distance as we learn from the healing of the Centurion’s Slave, did not do so for a man whom the evangelist said he loved.

But despite all this, Martha has not lost faith in Christ. Consider how absolute her faith is from her words to Jesus only moments after he arrives ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ And remember that she says this after her brother has died but before he raises him to life again or even says that he will; she says this while her brother lies in the grave where he will, for all she knows, remain until the end of days.

This is what it is to have faith; and why it is that I believe that Martha's faith is an example to us all. For real faith accepts God's will whatever it happens to be. Real faith accepts that sometimes God's answer to our prayers is 'no' or 'not yet' or even that his answer may be something completely different to what we expected or hoped for. Real faith accepts that God in his wisdom knows best, even if we cannot understand what that better thing is, and that lack of understanding causes us pain in the here and now.

This is what happened in the case of Martha's prayers. God said no to the healing of her brother; but only for the sake of the greater miracle that would help bring many to faith in Christ. But Martha did not know that when Jesus arrived. And yet her faith in Jesus, her faith in God was not shaken. I pray that we will all learn from Martha's example. Was it not for that reason that the evangelist told us of her faith, that we could learn from it? And was this not also the reason that the Holy Spirit inspired him to write of it? So that we might learn, like Martha not to doubt or lose hope, even when things seem at their worst.

To the Almighty and Eternal God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to him be all honour and glory, now and unto the ages of ages: Amen.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

prayer diary Saturday 3 Nov 2018

'For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’ 
Luke 14.11

The proud of heart will be humbled, for their false pride is a rejection of God. Yet the humble will be exalted, for in their humility they seek God's mercy and he is faithful to all who call upon him sincerely.

Friday, November 2, 2018

prayer diary Friday 2 Nov 2018

'And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, ‘Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?’ But they were silent.' 
Luke 14. 3

They were silent because they sought a reason to accuse Jesus. Wicked indeed is the one who hates another so much that he will use any means to attack another, even his good deeds.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

prayer diary Thursday 1 Nov 2018 (All Saints')

'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God'. 
Matthew 5. 8

A saint is not some plaster figure, divorced from reality and untouched by the troubles and temptations of the world. A saint is one who has struggled with the messy reality of human life and managed to remain faithful to the end.