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Every Day with Jesus

Every Day with Jesus

By Waverley Abbey Trust
Find revelation and encouragement through Every Day with Jesus, a world-renowned Bible reading notes publication from Waverley Abbey Trust. With readings, thoughts, prayers and actions to take, you as a reader will be enriched in your faith and see its impact in all areas of life.
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20th May 2022 - If
Prayer is always about putting God first. We live in an age obsessed with itself. Fascinated with self-realisation and psychometrics, delving ever deeper into our assumed personality, it’s easy to think that the world’s future benefit has something to do with me. Whilst it may, it’s not perhaps as much as we’d like to think. John the Baptist had the right understanding: our ‘I’ must decrease to make room for a growing awareness of God’s presence and reality (John 3:30). The steps that lead us into prayer are simple; to know the life and lordship of Jesus and to submit to His rule. This is the heart attitude we must adopt if we are to approach God.
May 20, 2022
19th May 2022 - Legacy
We are constrained by mortal limitations but can ensure we lay a solid foundation for the next generation who choose to serve God. This is not legacy as a monument to ourselves but a commitment to commissioning others for future kingdom-building. It’s a missional provision for the ongoing work of God. Our contribution is made within our lifetime alone; our legacy is the extent to which we equip others for success, a success for which God alone gets the glory.
May 19, 2022
18th May 2022 - Timing
Our prayer is limited by our mortality. We see in part only (1 Cor. 12:9—10), whilst God is the beginning and end of all (Rev. 22:13). So our prayer is constrained by the limitations of our earthbound vision and understanding. Here King David is restrained in his ambition to build God’s house. Whilst the ambition is indeed godly, the timing for its execution lies in the future. This is not something for David, but for his successor. Our instincts can be right, yet without the seasoning of God’s Spirit we may act outside of God’s eternal purpose. 
May 18, 2022
17th May 2022 - Active Listening
Prayer offers us a sacred space in which God can work. Sacred means a place and time we set aside to be alone with God. In other words, it’s a ‘Godspace’ – where we deliberately step aside from the normal distractions of life. Prayer, self-evidently, is continuous when we choose to practise it as Paul encourages (1 Thess. 5:17), but there can be set times of more focused prayer.
May 17, 2022
16th May 2022 - Crumbs of Comfort
I’ve frequently been asked by those who are not disciples if they can pray to God. Here we have a wonderful story for all our encouragement. A godly Gentile is commended by God’s messenger for his prayer and his generosity. God’s intention is that all should have the opportunity to receive the good news message of salvation (John 3:16). Often the journey starts with a prayer. I certainly prayed years before I was a Christian. Part as an insurance policy, and in part through superstition – just in case.
May 16, 2022
15th May 2022 - Trouble
Jesus tells His disciples that life presents problems (John 16:33), and then immediately turns to prayer. Our response to life’s disappointments and troubles is to start praying. Our heart rate may be pumping with anxiety, and our mind filled with catastrophic thoughts, but we are best to pray at such times. This means looking towards heaven as the source of our hope and true future.
May 15, 2022
14th May 2022 - Transformation
Hannah returns to place her son, the fruit of her prayer, into Eli’s care for training in God’s service. Her painful petitions gave rise to his birth. It is amazing how the process of prayer can alter our whole perspective of ourselves, our world and our circumstances. This is a measure of God’s engagement with us as we pray.
May 14, 2022
13th May 2022 - Focused Prayer
I like to mouth my prayers silently and so prevent my mind from wandering and pursuing its own many thought trails. I don’t focus on each phrase’s content, but remain focused on the purpose of my prayer. The mind is a challenge for each of us when praying, and we can emerge from our personal time with God with no remembrance of our actual prayers.
May 13, 2022
12th May 2022 - An Offering
Prayer is an offering we bring in demonstration of our confidence in God. It’s like a present, and we want the gift to reflect our perception of the recipient as well as to be valued by them. So our prayer is to originate from a pure heart. Whilst Old Testament (OT) offerings may seem antiquated and no longer relevant, the basis on which they were established remains true today. God calls on us to bring the very best of ourselves before Him and to ensure that our prayer is pure and true.
May 12, 2022
11th May 2022 - Spirit of Truth
We can find ourselves praying because of circumstance. I well remember when Katey (my first wife) and I were told we couldn’t have children; we turned to God in urgent prayer. We had a need and we figured God would fix it. Our new-found fervency in prayer, driven by our own selfish need, was surprised to find that God fondly welcomed us. Thrilled to have us praying so regularly, and taking us at our word that we wanted to surrender to Him, He invited us to address a host of issues, yet not one was our need for children.
May 11, 2022
10th May 2022 - Faithful Prayer
Prayer is never to force God’s hand. God established free will at the creation. Adam and Eve enjoyed choice in exercising obedience to God’s word. This free will has accompanied humanity from that point forward. However, Abraham had himself been guided by the intervention of an angel at the moment he was about to sacrifice his son, Isaac (Gen. 22:10–12). That angel is the Word of God, and now Abraham instructs his servant, placing complete confidence in God’s word as the means by which his prayer can be fulfilled.
May 10, 2022
9th May 2022 - Intercessions
We have identified intercession as distinct from petition as it seeks to speak on behalf of some external need. Here Abraham intercedes for the righteous, those who serve God with integrity, in Sodom. Witness God’s patience as Abraham politely, but persistently, negotiates on behalf of the lives of the righteous. Our learning is that God is indeed gracious and patient with our intercessions, and we are always learners.
May 09, 2022
8th May 2022 - Our Rhythm
A framework for prayer is always useful, but only of value if we find a way to use it. God teaches Moses a rhythm; the sacrifice of prayer twice a day, morning and at twilight. It’s a very useful, and simple, twice-daily routine to bring our petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving to God. It demands discipline, best served by setting aside specific times. These will occasionally be missed due to life’s demands, but this is not to distress us. 
May 08, 2022
7th May 2022 - Our Intercessor
In Scripture we learn that God chose the tribe of Levi to act as priests for the Israelites. They ministered before the Lord (1 Chron. 16:4) and were sustained by the offerings brought to fulfil the sacrificial system at the heart of Israelite worship (Leviticus 1–10). Jesus Himself came to earth and ministered as directed by God. He became the ultimate sacrifice, a declaration of love from God for His creation. Consequently, the blood sacrifice system ended on Calvary. Now, with the relationship between God and humanity restored through Jesus’ sacrifice, we are invited to bring daily offerings of prayer to God directly.
May 07, 2022
6th May 2022 - Our Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer is in the first person plural (Our Father, forgive us, lead us, etc). Whilst we know God personally, we always pray as members of God’s global community, the Church. Our personal church preference is itself just one small expression of the invisible Church, known to God alone and in contrast to the visible, or institutional constructs of human invention, both large and small. The whole Church prays; my voice is just one amongst Christ’s choir, hymning His name, and prayerfully encircling the globe continuously.
May 06, 2022
5th May 2022 - Our Audacity
It’s important to note in Luke’s account that the Lord’s Prayer emerges from the disciples’ observation of how Jesus chose to live. Whilst it can be challenging to make time to pray once our day has gathered momentum, it remains important that we do pray. It is why my preference is to pray before my day begins. This means setting my alarm to allow for a good time for prayer and contemplation before my routine kicks in. I have my place of solitude where I sit away from distractions. This is a place that I use consistently for prayer and for nothing else but reading. 
May 05, 2022
4th May 2022 - Our Father
Jesus taught His disciples one prayer, the foundation and framework for all prayer. Matthew encourages us to separate ourselves and, in solitude, use this prayer. Today, whilst included in most mainstream liturgies, it’s less frequently used in independent congregations. Perhaps there’s room to rethink its use if absent, since these are the words Jesus actually spoke. It covers both our worship as well as expressing our needs. Short and to the point, it effectively provides all that we need to include in prayer; encouraging when circumstances rob us of the energy to pray more extensively.
May 04, 2022
3rd May 2022 - Prayer Time
Today we’re fascinated by output. We’ve learnt to measure outcomes, but not to value content and process. Prayer is the process of seeking God with a twofold objective; to deepen our appreciation and understanding of God primarily, and consequently to begin to think and live by God’s desire and not our instinctive preferences. Prayer, whilst generally affirmed by all Christians, often finds little place in our Christian activities. We are better seeing it as a lifestyle than an action we execute. Scripture suggests it forms part of every waking and sleeping hour.
May 03, 2022
2nd May 2022 - Prayer Space
Living every day with Jesus is to discover how to grow as a disciple by considering all Jesus said and did. Here, at the start of Mark’s Gospel, we see Jesus getting up ‘very early’ to pray. There is nothing sacred about first light, but I, like many, find this the best time for personal prayer. There are very few distractions, and the symbolism of the dawn is a stimulus for prayer.
May 02, 2022
1st May 2022 - Promise
Prayer is foundational in learning to live every day with Jesus successfully. Many of us find that prayer is elusive; simple to grasp the principles involved, yet difficult to execute satisfactorily. Many express concern that they do not pray enough, where a precise measure for ‘enough’ is impossible to quantify. Scripture presents countless examples of calls to prayer.
May 01, 2022
30th April 2022 - Promise
Who doesn’t love a happy ending? Here reconciliation begins between Joseph and his brothers. Now able to rescue his family, Joseph does so and lets go of any resentment against them. They were, after all, the source for his awful experiences, yet he had grown in his formation and spiritual understanding and was able to discern God’s hand in all his life’s horrendous events.
April 30, 2022
29th April 2022 - Promotion
Joseph’s world turns right side up as his dream comes into view. After years with his life and opportunities placed in the hands of strangers, he is now promoted to the top of Egyptian society. A successful immigrant, he holds the highest official title, only exceeded by Pharaoh himself (Gen. 41:40). Now 30, he has spent most of his teenage and adult life in servitude, but God sets him free.
April 29, 2022
28th April 2022 - Providence
Providence means being subject to God’s influence. Historically, people have used providence to explain what others see as mere chance. Recognising God as the source of life, I am a great believer in providence; it’s one reason we can live with hope despite many contrary experiences. By God’s providence, the cupbearer remembers Joseph’s kindness on hearing Pharaoh’s troubling dreams.
April 28, 2022
27th April 2022 - Dreamer
Joseph was a dreamer – he carried a vision of his future despite the unkindness of his brothers (Gen. 37:19). A dreamer sees what does not yet exist, making it the focus for their life. In prison, apparently abandoned to a life of servitude bearing no relationship to his dreams (Gen. 37:5–9), Joseph offers his ability as a dream interpreter, with no returns guaranteed.
April 27, 2022
26th April 2022 - Betrayal
Adjusting to a slave’s life, Joseph made himself useful to Potiphar, who entrusted everything he owned to his care. Things were looking up; was God with him? Then tragedy when, honourably avoiding Potiphar’s wife’s advances, he was entrapped in a lie and paid the price. Offering no voice in his defence (compare Isa. 53:7), he’s discredited and imprisoned.
April 26, 2022
25th April 2022 - Deception
Lying, it turns out, is quite difficult to define. One accepted definition is, “A lie is a statement made by one who does not believe it with the intention that someone else shall be led to believe it”.* Once a lie is created, it will usually require further lies. Lying lays a trap, the consequences of which we cannot see at the point of our first lie. It’s why God calls us to speak truth at all times (Eph. 4:15).
April 25, 2022
24th April 2022 - Jealousy
Joseph’s life story is one of spiritual formation, and we will look at it this week. It starts with his brothers’ jealousy. They are fed up that Joseph is their dad’s favourite (a challenge for all parents). His dreams suggesting he has greater authority than them only deepens their resentment. Jealousy is a complicated emotional state breeding suspicion, anger and insecurity.
April 24, 2022
23rd April 2022 - Blinded by The Light
Who we were, is not who we have to remain. We have a past, yet God’s promise is that whilst we are a product of our past, we need not remain a prisoner to it. Paul, the church’s persecutor, was found by God and surrendered to Him. Then through obedience he became a significant evangelist. 
April 23, 2022
22nd April 2022 - Eye Witnesses
Paul’s first letter to those in Corinth (a city about fifty miles west of Athens) was written around AD 55, and many of those who had seen the resurrected Jesus were still alive to share their testimony. The Christian faith was born in the time–space world that we occupy through a real person, Jesus Christ, and confirmed by eyewitnesses. This is one reason why the disciples were bold in their proclamation and, filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:31), were ready to die for Jesus.
April 22, 2022
21st April 2022 - Peace Be With You
A United Nations report found 23,000 distinct denominations world-wide, when Jesus’ prayer was that we might be one (John 17:20–23)The disciples hid away behind closed doors, fearing punishment from fellow Jews with whom they disagreed about the nature of Jesus, something of an open debate since this was only the evening of resurrection day.
April 21, 2022
20th April 2022 - Lord & God
We all have doubts facing life decisions, when the results are unknown. Doubt helps to prevent rash decisions. Thomas doubts, because a decision for Jesus has the power to turn him into an enemy of the state who’d crucified Jesus. Doubt encourages us to think things through. It refines our understanding by inviting us to ask useful questions, consider a variety of answers before making our decision.
April 20, 2022
19th April 2022 - Making Up
Peter, who denied Jesus despite earlier protestations of undying friendship (Matt. 26:33), meets his risen Lord for breakfast and experiences God’s overwhelming blessing (John 21:6). What were Peter’s emotions ahead of this reconciliation? Jesus presses Peter once again on the depth of his love.
April 19, 2022
18th April 2022 - I Am With You
God’s Easter promise is that He’s always with us. We so often struggle to find Him, just like these two downcast disciples. Leaving Jerusalem, they carry deep disappointment, and unknowingly begin to walk away from God. Yet, Jesus doesn’t let them slip away that easily. Accompanying them, He shares from God’s Word, even though they struggle to understand what He says. Like us, these truths can prove senseless whilst caught up in life’s demands, especially when it battles to pass through the filters of our confused emotions.
April 18, 2022
17th April 2022 - Christ is Risen
Christ is risen! Happy Easter, as we celebrate together the remarkable story of a man who died and rose again. Whilst there are stories of resuscitation in Scripture, such as that of Lazarus (John 11:43), this is the only resurrection. Jesus will never die again and offers us the confidence to believe His promise of eternal life. We live both for today and an unseen future.
April 17, 2022
16th April 2022 - Dying Daily
Mortality is a daily reminder that death awaits us, a reminder that whoever we are will disappear when we die. What is it that we consider the greatest prize in life? Jesus chose to obey His Father regardless of the consequences. This gave meaning to His life and ministry. Indeed, He taught that we, like Him, are to lay up treasure in heaven, and not false deposits of hope on earth (Matt. 6:19–21).
April 16, 2022
15th April 2022 - Crucify Him
Whilst familiar, the crucifixion never loses its power. Even Jesus’ critics recognise His teachings as good, and there’s no evidence that He was a subversive seeking to overthrow authority. He pointed to a kingdom not of this world (John 18:36) and refused violence, leaving no firebrand speeches on record criticising His accusers. Indeed, His final words included forgiveness for all the perpetrators of His death (Luke 23:34).
April 15, 2022
14th April 2022 - Servant of All
Today is Maundy Thursday. ‘Maundy’ is a Latin word for ‘command’ that reminds us of the commands Jesus gave His disciples; most especially, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’ (John 13:34). During His Last Supper with His disciples, Jesus acknowledged His betrayal by a dinner guest (Judas) and also introduced the tradition of communion. This is the way in which we are to celebrate both the gift of salvation and also remind ourselves of our commitment to love each other. Perhaps the critical point is to recognise both the authority of Jesus and His leadership style.
April 14, 2022
13th April 2022 - Love Wins
Some view Christianity as complex. As a new Christian I was intimidated when I first got hold of a Bible. This was one thick book! However, Jesus boiled it down to its critical essence; love God, love neighbour, and love self. This remains the greatest commandment to this day. Love is best demonstrated through the actions of Jesus in Holy Week, culminating in His death and resurrection. Love knows no limits in serving the object of its commitment. Love demands expression through action.
April 13, 2022
12th April 2022 - Chalk & Cheese
The extremes God went to in recovering His friendship with humanity suggests a significant disconnect between this world’s kingdom and God’s. Finding Him is no guarantee we’ll live in His kingdom. Discerning His kingdom’s partial reality within our time–space world demands our full attention, and our deliberate choice. I can enter into an enriching relationship with a partner, yet deliberately disregard learning anything about their family.
April 12, 2022
11th April 2022 - Repentance
Our faith is born as a consequence of changing our mind. We choose to invest our confidence in God’s promises. Jerusalem’s townsfolk quickly changed their minds about Jesus, sealing His fate. The consequences of our decisions are often far greater than we originally anticipate. Therefore, we must reflect before making any decision. Too often, we are prisoners to our surrounding culture.
April 11, 2022
10th April 2022 - Dramatic Entry
Gustav Mahler, the composer, said, ‘The point is not to take the world’s opinion as a guiding star but to go one’s way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause’.* Here Jesus, entering Jerusalem, is greeted with the applause of a rapturous crowd. Applause suggests acceptance and success, yet is only ever momentary.
April 10, 2022
9th April 2022 - Testimony
Committed to walking in Jesus’ footsteps as a disciple, we enjoy a quiet confidence in our faith. We don’t expect simple answers to life’s challenging questions but benefit from a friendship with our creator, plus a clear framework in which to locate our life experience and find its meaning. I’m asked many questions from neighbours and friends, and although I haven’t satisfactory answers for every issue, I do have a compelling context to present the claims of an eternal God, however provisional my responses might appear.
April 09, 2022
8th April 2022 - Transparency
God’s intention is that we live transparent lives. This is not that everybody enjoys access to our personal life. What it means is that we live in obedience to God’s will and purpose, with the result that the light of God’s reality shines through us. The Latin word is transparens and the idea is that God comes into sight through us. What a privilege and responsibility; God seeks to make Himself known today through you and me.
April 08, 2022
7th April 2022 - Kindness
There is a prayer I say on waking, even before I get out of bed. One line runs, ‘a spirit of chastity, humble mindedness, patience and love bestow upon me Your servant’. Chastity may seem an odd word, but it is used in the traditional Christian sense of honesty, truthfulness, purity of heart, good intent; in fact, all the Christian virtues as described in Scripture. A challenge we are all invited to accept.
April 07, 2022
6th April 2022 - Make Amends
There’s a challenge in Zacchaeus’ story. Vertically challenged, he climbs a tree to see Jesus. By climbing a tree he finds the courage and clarity he needs. Indeed, he finds redemption clinging to the tree’s branches, rescued from his past life of corruption, and freedom to live as Jesus’ disciple. Whatever attracts us to Jesus, once our eyes are opened we must review our life to date and, where prompted, make amends for all that contradicts the way of life God invites us to adopt.
April 06, 2022
5th April 2022 - Love Without Limits
We easily grow discouraged because of the ways we stumble and fall along our Christian path. Fortunately, God knows we consistently falter and we can take comfort knowing He never tests us beyond our limit. However, it can feel we’re out of control momentarily and beyond God’s embrace (1 Cor. 10:13). It’s hard to accept the nature of true love, which can only ever work in our best interest (1 Cor. 13:7).
April 05, 2022
4th April 2022 - Root & Branch
The Bible describes the process of conversion as being born again. This confused the wise Nicodemus, who asked how an adult might return to their mother’s womb for a second birth (John 3:4). Paul describes the same process, that of being created anew as God gives us the possibility of taking different decisions. Refusing to be driven by external temptations and inner compulsions, we learn how to pause and choose our course of action.
April 04, 2022
3rd April 2022 - Honest Appraisal
Life is built around devising avoidance strategies, for our human nature recoils from accepting responsibility (Gen. 3:12). A simple study of Jesus reveals He accepted unjust accusations, all based on lies (Matt. 27:12–14). His silence, prophesied by Isaiah seven hundred years earlier, invites us to consider letting go of our anxiety about our reputation (Isa. 53:1–9). Personal responsibility starts with an honest appraisal of oneself. 
April 03, 2022
2nd April 2022 - A Fixer Upper
A decision to follow Jesus is like lifting a stone and exposing what lies underneath. We find many creepy crawlies in the dank darkness in a life previously hidden from God’s light. It takes courage to make an inventory of the work to be done, an ongoing task because we are responsible for ensuring that we keep up the maintenance on our temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19–20).
April 02, 2022
1st April 2022 - Make a Decision
The journey of building a friendship with God starts with a definite decision, rather than absorbing information. Once our choice is made, we can demonstrate our commitment by both aiming to refuse opportunities to sin, and positively following Jesus. Baptism becomes our public statement that we have made our decision to follow God (Matt. 28:19).
March 31, 2022
31st March 2022 - Trust God
Our church runs Cultural Fridays every month. Recently we enjoyed Southampton University’s professor of astrophysics speaking on the mystery of the universe. Listening to how our multiple galaxies are so finely balanced, and indeed how much remains beyond human understanding, it seemed less unreasonable to believe in God, the designer of all that is.
March 31, 2022
30th March 2022 - Admission
Henri Nouwen writes, ‘The spiritual life is not a life before, after, or beyond our everyday existence. No, the spiritual life can be real only as it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys of life’.* But when to start? The very idea of an invisible, reliable God can prove difficult to accept, but in reality it isn’t. The good news is that this God is alongside each one of us, whether we acknowledge Him or not, in the everyday realities of our life experience.
March 30, 2022
29th March 2022 - Surrender
Sin, simply put, is to act outside of God’s intention. It is a condition which affects all humanity, and Paul describes our human dilemma, ‘For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do’ (Rom. 7:15b). This problem is escalated as temptation, something akin to a craving, focusing our attention on the short-term benefit rather than the long-term impact. The Christian is invited to acknowledge this dilemma.
March 29, 2022
28th March 2022 - Don't Judge
Finding fault in others is easy. Our instinct is to point the finger. Why do we run from personal responsibility? Authority makes it easy to blame another, and we want to avoid experiencing vulnerability. Issues of personal self-esteem must be faced if we consistently refuse to accept the blame when things go wrong; it’s a lack of resilience in owning outcomes.
March 28, 2022
27th March 2022 - Keep Going
Spiritual formation is our lifetime’s work. We are easily distracted by what we view in the rear-view mirror. Am I disappointed with my younger self? Yes, in so many ways I might have learnt more of God’s ways sooner and had the courage and desire to apply them earlier. My misjudgments have wounded people, and of course damaged me.
March 27, 2022
26th March 2022 - Chosen
In all of the complexity of seeking to understand the nature, character and purpose of God, it’s good to pause and recognise that God invites us to rest in the promise He has made us. So much of life is framed in terms of personal achievement measured against common success criteria, which we had no hand in deciding.
March 26, 2022
25th March 2022 - Radical Honesty
We quickly realise that no one is immune to thinking and doing the wrong thing – what Christians call sin. Many studies by anthropologists and psychologists have sought to establish if there is a violent gene within our human make-up.* Paul confesses that even when we intend good, we are likely to produce its opposite – one reason why a new relationship with God through Jesus frees us from an enforced righteousness policed by moral laws.
March 25, 2022
24th March 2022 - The Promise
Christians face the challenge of consistency. Newsweek reports that ‘the average person will typically have more than 6,000 thoughts in a single day’.* Our minds skip from one idea to the next, each stimulated by an external influence. Christian faith is a deep commitment that aims to influence our life choices.
March 24, 2022
23rd March 2022 - Opportunity
Countless words describe the nature of our encounter with God. But everyone is created unique, so it’s unsurprising there are countless ways to encounter God. The popular idiom, ‘what’s good for the goose is good for the gander’ flies in the face of our God’s creativity.
March 23, 2022
22nd March 2022 - Decisions
Jesus’ ministry was not about Himself, but about us, those He came to redeem. It was for our salvation that God came seeking the lost, namely us (Luke 19:10). Having been found by God, we are then invited to make a choice as to whether we want to engage with, and then subsequently grow in, God. All relationships are subject to the determination of the parties to the relationship. God is unwavering in His commitment to remain friends with us.
March 22, 2022
21st March 2022 - Freedom
We shoulder a responsibility to express the truth of the gospel through our lives. What better evidence is there for God’s presence as promised by Jesus than lives guided by the Holy Spirit? Christianity is not a personal and superhuman effort to be good, but we make the surprising discovery that in Christ we can find the authority to bring change to our lives.
March 21, 2022
20th March 2022 - God Encounter
The miracle of the Christian proposal is that we can encounter God every day; the mortal meets the immortal, we abide in the Lord’s presence. Christianity is not simply a philosophical concept, but a friendship with our divine creator. If we understand Jesus’ teachings as no more than a moral code, we will quickly find that its demands lie beyond our natural ability. Relationships are built on trust, moral codes on obedience enforced through punishment. The first gives rise to love, the latter only to fear.
March 20, 2022
19th March 2022 - Run the Race
All athletes know the importance of diet.* As Christian athletes our diet is to feed from God’s Word, the bread of life, consistently and appropriately (John 6:35). Paul describes our life as participating in a race, with a prize for the winner. It’s easy to lose focus once life’s many responsibilities demand our adult attention.
March 19, 2022
18th March 2022 - Solid Food
Spiritual formation aims to equip us to grow up. We can stubbornly refuse Christian adulthood and keep chasing childish distractions, whilst refusing to accept personal spiritual responsibility. There’s a distinction between childlike behaviour to enter the kingdom (Matt. 18:2–5) and being childish. Jesus invites us to live with the confident trust a child can invest in a parent.
March 18, 2022
17th March 2022 - Mind of Christ
We associate the mind with thought. Having been trained to think, I easily live in my head, a place I’m comfortable in. Conceptually I interpret and comprehend many things; my challenge is doing something useful with my thoughts. The mind is, ‘the part of a person that makes it possible to think, feel emotions, and understand things’.
March 17, 2022
16th March 2022 - These Foolish Things
In 2020, the Guardian newspaper reported that the proportion of students awarded first-class degrees in England increased by 90% in eight years.* Grade inflation or increased consumption of brain food, who knows? The same year saw 23% of undergraduate entry coming from ‘low participation neighbourhoods’, up from 14% nine years earlier.
March 16, 2022
15th March 2022 - Heartfelt
The word ‘heart’ occurs over one thousand times throughout Scripture. It describes the core of our being, providing the engine room for our intellectual, physical and emotional life (Prov. 27:19). We are invited to hide God’s Word in our heart (Psa. 119:11) and it is by exploring our heart that we grow familiar and learn to understand the complexities of the inner life of the Spirit within us.
March 15, 2022
14th March 2022 - Fear God
The basis of Christian maturity is clear: ‘fear God and keep his commandments’. It’s why we maintain a discipline of reading Scripture daily, and is the reason for Every Day with Jesus. Scripture informs our decision-making. So, to learn more of God and His ways helps us to make good, God-centred choices.
March 14, 2022
13th March 2022 - Decisions
When we make a decision we settle something. It offers us the opportunity to choose between two or more opportunities, and then to live on the basis of our decision. Our human nature often prefers to postpone decisions for they appear so final. We wonder what might have happened had we made an alternative choice.
March 13, 2022
12th March 2022 - Restored
The Christian proposal turns on the fact that mortal life is not the same as our existence. Rather, an eternal creator God establishes the basis for a route of recovery from sin, which obstructs human access to God. What we experience on earth is just a brief sojourn outside paradise, which is presented in Scripture as the original state of God’s creation.
March 12, 2022
11th March 2022 - Where are You?
Early in Scripture, God asks the critical question we face every day, ‘Where are you?’ Like Adam we may feel we can hide from God’s scrutiny, but there is nowhere we can go to escape God’s gaze (Psa. 139:7–12). Indeed, the question requires an answer on two levels: one where we describe our physical position; the second, far more challenging, our metaphysical condition, or what is the real meaning and purpose of our life?
March 11, 2022
10th March 2022 - Fallen
Obedience is the foundation on which spiritual formation is built. It’s a word with a mixed history given that we prize personal freedom. Increasingly, in an age driven by relentless messages communicated across innumerable social media platforms, it’s challenging to distinguish truth from untruth.
March 10, 2022
9th March 2022 - Jesus' Supremacy
The basis on which we can place our complete trust in God is the fact that not only is He the creator of all things (Rev. 4:11), but in Christ He has restored relationship with humanity. The ministry of Jesus through the cross secures rescue, healing and restoration. When we accept God’s invitation for friendship we become a new creation within a new world order.
March 09, 2022
8th March 2022 - Trinity
Each one of us is a unique individual. We experience life’s wilderness seasons when we feel alone, even abandoned. Yet, God invites us to find and enter into a community, and in fact models the nature of that community in the Trinity. Here, three distinct persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – co-conspire and co-create in the highest interests of life.
March 08, 2022
7th March 2022 - Loneliness and Solitude
'Good’ means suitable – and any ethical sense we associate with the word, such as to do a good deed, is really quite a modern concept.* This fits our text admirably, for God sees that it is unsuitable for Adam to be alone. There is recognition that just as God is Trinity, three persons in one essence, humanity is in need of community to flourish. Hence, God creates a partner for Adam. We can conclude that God consistently looks for the good, and cannot live comfortably within its opposite – with ‘bad’ meaning unsatisfactory.
March 07, 2022
6th March 2022 - Images
God creates all of life and finally creates humanity. There’s no distinction between God’s created elements. Each is good and together they are ‘very good’ (Gen. 1:31). Remarkably, humanity is also made in God’s image, which means that both male and female reflect God.
March 06, 2022
5th March 2022 - Creator God
God takes nothing and creates something. Outside of God there is no thing, which is why God provides the framework within which all that we can know is contained. The universe was crafted from nothing into everything we can touch, feel, sense, measure or detect, including living things, planets, stars, galaxies, dust clouds, light, and even time.
March 05, 2022
4th March 2022 - Position
As life whistles past and our world is in perpetual movement, God remains the only unchangeable reality. Celebrating or weeping, Jesus is our constant (Heb. 13:8). At times all we can do is cling to little more than a shadow of the one we knew so intimately previously. Our mistake is to let go in the hope of finding a more satisfying source of help and hope.
March 04, 2022
3rd March 2022 - Self Control
I am by nature an enthusiast. Problem is that I willingly and sincerely commit without pausing to calculate if I have the capacity to follow through on that commitment. So many speak of their enthusiasm for God, yet know the disappointment that accompanies moments of slippage. Those times when something interrupts our intended devotion. At its worst it leads us to sin; in every case it distracts our pursuit of God’s person and presence. It appears as though life is little more than a see-saw as we undulate between conviction and confession.
March 03, 2022
2nd March 2022 - Ash Wednesday
Today is Ash Wednesday, when some Christian traditions mark the foreheads of congregants with an ash cross. It is an outward witness to their inner conviction to live and serve God fully and faithfully. Indeed Lent, which starts today, is a season that offers itself for personal reflection, change, and growth in Christian faith. 
March 02, 2022
1st March 2022 - Pancakes
Today in Britain it is Shrove Tuesday. The word ‘shrove’ comes from ‘shrive’, meaning to confess one’s sins. It is the day before Lent starts, a season of preparation for Easter and the celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. It is popularly called Pancake Day, since in many households, batters will be created and pancakes consumed.
March 01, 2022
28th February 2022 - Seed
Concluding this issue of EDWJ, we are on the threshold of Lent. Our readings in March and April will explore spiritual formation. Very simply, this teaches us how we mature as disciples. Many things that engaged us as children we leave behind as we turn our attention to more adult matters. The same process takes place within our spiritual life (1 Cor. 13:11) when we pay active attention to the Holy Spirit (John 16:13).
February 28, 2022
27th February 2022 - Resurrection
Looking at life through the lens of God’s Spirit only makes sense once we are assured of eternal life. Jesus promised we will enjoy resurrection and enter into glory with a life that can never die. Scripture, as here with the story of Lazarus, includes a number of illustrations of people who were resuscitated; that is, brought back to mortal life always knowing they would die again.
February 27, 2022
26th February 2022 - Things Above
There are two ways of looking at life. One is through the lens of our mood and the practicalities that make up our day. Rooted in our immediate reality, this approach will keep our minds focused on our earthly existence. However, we can choose to view life through the lens of God’s Spirit. Here we follow Paul’s instruction, setting our
February 26, 2022
25th February 2022 - God is Faithful
Following yesterday’s study, it’s important to state clearly that obedience does not equate to servitude. Whilst it is true that we are completely subject to God, He insists that we retain our free will. So we each retain control over the degree to which we choose to pursue God. God is no enforcer, and Adam and Eve were given free rein over the fruit they chose to eat (Gen. 2:16–17).
February 25, 2022
24th February 2022 - Duty
For some, duty sounds like a controlling and restrictive measure. In the UK, we live in a democratic society where freedom and individuality are championed, duty often rejected as freedom’s restraint. Yet, whilst everything in life is available to us, the question is, as always, does everything benefit us (1 Cor. 10:23)? Duty is what is proper and what is obligated.
February 24, 2022
23rd February 2022 - Borderland
It’s interesting to note that this story takes place on the border between Samaria and Galilee. The Samaritans were an ethno-religious group living in an area of Israel following the Assyrian conquest in 721 BC. They existed in the time of Jesus and, in limited numbers, still do today.
February 23, 2022
22nd February 2022 - Idleness
'The devil makes work for idle hands’ is first recorded in the fourth century by Jerome, and in English in Chaucer’s ‘Tale of Melibeus’, in the Canterbury Tales, around 1400.* Idleness always creates space for wayward behaviour. Today this idleness is measured by failure to take action. How long Lazarus sat in poverty and pain at the rich man’s gate we don’t know, but for quite some time I imagine – as if he was invisible to all who stepped over him entering the house.
February 22, 2022
21st February 2022 - Ambition
Ambition was historically seen as striving for favour. It’s Latin root means to go around, such as soliciting votes, and to curry favour. From the seventeenth century it came to mean someone’s strongest desire. What’s your strongest desire, or ambition? We tend to think of career and financial success, but Jesus directs our gaze elsewhere. Jesus indicates that discipleship will always prove demanding. Following Christ involves self-denial and embracing the cross (v24), an uncomfortable place to go.
February 21, 2022
20th February 2022 - Zion
The Israelites received the Law on Mount Sinai (Exod. 19:20), yet our freedom was won on a hill outside Jerusalem, where Jesus was impaled on the cross. Jerusalem is also called Zion, the city of David, and serves forever as a metaphor for the Saviour, Jesus Christ. We’re invited to approach Mount Zion, Jesus Himself, in our prayers. Here we encounter the reality who is Jesus, who mediates God’s forgiveness.
February 20, 2022
19th February 2022 - Living Stones
Many of us feel that we found God. We have a conversion story of when the light went on and we turned to Jesus, or a journey which led us to the conclusion that only He made sense of our life. But, God found us before anyone looked for a saviour (Rom. 5:8). Salvation is God’s initiative and, as beneficiaries, we each have a story to tell about how God found us and why we love and serve Him.
February 19, 2022
18th February 2022 - A Multitude
It’s remarkable that, at seventy-five years old, Abram started on a new adventure. This was not part of some long-held retirement plan he and Sarai had imagined, but the ongoing maturing purpose of God shaping their lives. 
February 18, 2022
17th February 2022 - The Potter
Patience is described as the ability to wait, tolerate delay, face problems or suffering, to continue living despite difficulties, without complaining, becoming annoyed or anxious. As we read the story of the Israelites, we see that in exile they experience slavery and suffer from a high degree of impatience.
February 17, 2022
16th February 2022 - Gratification
As Christians we are always invited to take the long view. I recall that when so-called credit cards were first introduced, one marketing strapline read, ‘It takes the waiting out of wanting’. The focus was on immediate gratification, a virtue in our materialistic society. Yet, the very name credit was an attempt to place a positive spin on what is accumulating debt.
February 16, 2022
15th February 2022 - Eternal Word
When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, we need to note the authority of God’s Word. God’s Word was the sole source for Moses’ work of faith. It’s easy to make valid excuses when our lives fail to reflect the qualities revealed throughout the Bible. In life’s busyness we become distracted and absorbed simply in getting by each day.
February 15, 2022
14th February 2022 - Food for Life
Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ (John 10:10). We desire to own things because we think they protect or improve our lives. We all too easily treat God as our lucky charm. Five thousand hungry folk saw Jesus as a fast food outlet, and He saw right through their selfish desire (v26).
February 14, 2022
13th February 2022 - Morality
Morality, or right behaviour, was subject in 2019 to a BBC survey of 3,655 adults (aged 16+) looking at issues from relationships to the environment.* Whilst 70% agreed that a moral framework is important, belief about right or wrong differs greatly.
February 13, 2022
12th February 2022 - Safety
Google reveals that mustard trees reach an average height of between 6 to 20 feet (2–7m), with a 20foot (7m) spread; they can reach up to 30 feet (9m). Quite remarkable, given the size of their seed: 1–2 mm! So what constitutes the ideal conditions for faith to grow? It is always God’s gift (Eph. 2:8).
February 12, 2022
11th February 2022 - Faith and Forgiveness
Having considered God’s Word and will, we now turn to God’s work, both in us and through us. These verses present the essence of living every day with Jesus. We must constantly explore how to grow the mustard seed of faith that God’s Spirit deposits in our heart, and refuse to hold grudges against others.
February 11, 2022
10th February 2022 - Budding Joy
Following a global pandemic, fuel shortages and pressure on the ‘just in time’ supply system, we are more conscious of the possibility of a calamity, a great misfortune, a cause of misery. Many live in calamity daily, from refugees to addicts. God’s promise is that even in the face of calamity we can retain confidence in His purpose. One of the most challenging truths from Scripture is that we are never
February 10, 2022
9th February 2022 - Please God
The wonderful thing about God’s will is that whilst obedience pleases Him, it equally refreshes us. Obedience is like enjoying a fresh shower in God’s Spirit, continuously. The experience of a shower, the warmth of the pressurised water literally cleansing the skin and physically rebooting us, restores every aspect of our being; physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.
February 09, 2022
8th February 2022 - Nail the Truth
We are used to the word ‘goad’ being used to describe unhelpfully provoking someone. It actually means spearhead, something sharp, and came to describe the pointed stick used to herd cattle. In time, it came to mean to incite or stimulate, and this is the meaning used here. God’s Word is to instigate the revelation of God’s will through the practicalities of the lives we lead.
February 08, 2022
7th February 2022 - Unfailing Love
Every evening before turning to sleep, it is constructive to take some time to lay before God aspects of the day just passed. Every day raises issues, disturbs past memories and stirs unexpected anxieties. These are all to be brought to God (1 Pet. 5:7), who alone sustains our total wellbeing.
February 07, 2022
6th February 2022 - Identity
Living with our mind on God alone is challenging. Life offers a continuous struggle to make our voice heard, to establish our identity, and to win the respect of others. Yet Jesus had little time for reputation (Isa. 53:2–3). Today, with personality pursued as an end in itself, there’s a chance we might place our hope in human icons rather than life’s source – Jesus.
February 06, 2022
5th February 2022 - Wisdom
God’s overarching will is for the wellbeing of humanity. This is lost the moment we break the very simple rules established by God for the enrichment of society; and society includes everyone, without exception.
February 05, 2022
4th February 2022 - Purpose Not Plans
I'm no planner. I’ve always lived in the immediate, finding difficulty in laying medium- to long-term plans. Whilst reducing my sources for anxiety, reality can surprise me with its intense demands. We are all created differently, so my approach is just one amongst many. However, one thing uniting us all is that God has a purpose for our lives, from prayer to the fundamental ‘why’ of our existence.
February 04, 2022
3rd February 2022 - Declaration
The vast traffic on eBay, and similar online platforms, reveals how eager people are to obtain things. We live in a society that can sustain a substantial leisure industry. Generally we acquire something because it suits us and we want to display it, from furniture to fine clothes.
February 03, 2022
2nd February 2022 - Vigilance
God’s will is completely expressed in Jesus. Jesus could only do what His Father showed Him (John 5:19). He was vigilant to observe His Father’s movement, avoiding all distractions, so demonstrating perfect obedience. I have a short attention span, so keeping my focus on the movement of God’s Spirit every day isn’t easy.
February 02, 2022
1st February 2022 - Doing Good
How can it be possible for suffering to be a part of God’s will? In a liberal society, where human rights are respected, it is difficult to engage with the concept of imposed suffering. Yet, many Christians live in fear because of their faith. 
February 01, 2022
31st January 2022 - Together
Everything that exists does so because God holds everything together. Science indicates the way all of the world interconnects, and fresh discoveries provide greater insight into our wonderful creation that God spoke into existence. Not only is all of life sustained by God, but we only realise our full potential when we find God’s way of shining in our context.
January 31, 2022
30th January 2022 - Many Plans
Aspiration is encouraged. It differs from ambition in asking that we develop the best of ourselves rather than acting as an all-consuming goal. Aspirations change throughout life and require both self-discipline and external advice for greatest fulfilment. There is a danger in a society that associates aspiration primarily with educational, financial and overarching societal achievements, that personal ambition emerges disguised as aspiration.
January 30, 2022
29th January 2022 - Humble me Lord
Job’s story is tragic but influential. Ezekiel names him with Noah and Daniel to help illustrate how bad Jerusalem’s situation is, and James references him alongside the prophets to encourage perseverance. Job teaches us about God’s will. In a moment, Job lost his family, went bankrupt and suffered a painful health condition. On his own admission he could not make sense of his life but recognised that he was incapable of comprehending God’s ways.
January 29, 2022
28th January 2022 - God's Plan
We are born with a seed of purpose sown in our heart. Life experiences cause us to consider laying hold of that seed, yet there’s no guarantee it will germinate and grow. I was 19 before hearing Jesus’ story and accepting His invitation.
January 28, 2022
27th January 2022 - Future Hope
It can seem discouraging to recall that from the moment we’re born we are approaching the grave! We can brood on this or live making the most of our time. The pandemic reminded me that worry couldn’t help me since the psalmist says that my life on earth is set by God (Psa. 139:16). Worry can’t add one hour to my mortal vacation (Matt. 6:27). So, I just got on with life. My wife caught Covid, which turned into the long variety. It has had a big impact on her, and our life choices, yet it hasn’t interrupted our service of God.
January 27, 2022
26th January 2022 - Living Stones
God’s purpose is to reveal His goodness through His disciples. Each has a story of hope for a world consumed by conspiracy theories and negative headlines. We may instinctively expect bad news, or look at life through rose-tinted spectacles, and are shocked with our experience.
January 26, 2022
25th January 2022 - God's Spirit
God’s kingdom is elusive. Nicodemus’ reasonable request for clear answers to heartfelt questions is met with mystery. The will of God often appears more of a riddle than a solution. We eagerly look to God, yet as easily as the wind passes us by we can miss the moment of His presence. Our whole journey with God is to grow in sensitivity to His Spirit’s movement. We read God’s Word to become familiar with the sign of God’s passing presence.
January 25, 2022
24th January 2022 - Kingdom Come
We now turn from God’s Word to God’s will, starting with the Lord’s Prayer. This was Jesus’ response to His disciples’ request (Luke 11:1), the only prayer Jesus gave His followers. It is at the heart of my daily devotions and I pray these words of Jesus several times a day.
January 24, 2022
23rd January 2022 - Read and Pray
Our Farnham offices lie in the shadow of Waverley Abbey, the first Cistercian monastery in Britain. Following the Rule of St Benedict, the monks meditated on Scripture and prayed seven times a day, beginning with Vigils before dawn and concluding with Compline around 8pm. There is a growing interest in monastic communities today as Christians explore ways of living, learning and serving together built on Scripture and prayer.
January 23, 2022
22nd January 2022 - Sins Seduction
In critical situations, we call out in an attempt to summon help. God invites us to request His support when challenged. One way to prepare for such situations is to decide where we take our stand; God’s Word or our understanding? We are invited to shelter in God’s shadow (Psa. 91:4) to successfully extinguish temptation the moment it captures our attention. Its fires ignite quickly and rapidly consume our will to resist.
January 22, 2022
21st January 2022 - Fit for Purpose
The verses quoted address the hardest aspect of walking God’s way. Jesus says that it’s the character of our heart that determines the quality of our Christian walk (Matt. 15:16–20). So we daily engage with God’s Word to align our heart with Jesus’ instructions. These qualities are also regularly picked up in the epistles, which act as practical instruction manuals for Jesus’ disciples, the first Christians.
January 21, 2022
20th January 2022 - Affliction
One of the great challenges that confronts the Christian is the fact of suffering in the world. Whilst we may question why an all-powerful God allows such adversity, we can see that it is common to all humanity. It’s a mistake to assume that Christian faith itself is sufficient to ward off disappointment and apparent disaster.
January 20, 2022
19th January 2022 - Speak Out
In emphasising reading God’s Word daily (EDWJ’s purpose), there’s a danger that we assume we’re critical to the understanding and communication of God’s Word. Whilst it’s true that the Word needs proclaiming (Rom. 10:14), God’s creation itself always remains as a clear revelation to His reality (Rom. 1:20). Our challenge is never to lose sight of God’s Word but to order all of life so.
January 19, 2022
18th January 2022 - Faith Muscle
'Goodness’ entered the English language as ‘godnes’, indicating confidence in God’s divine goodness. We always want God to be good to us. Our difficulties arise when what we encounter doesn’t match our imagined path in life: a divorce, loss of a job, an unwelcome health condition.
January 18, 2022
17th January 2022 - Sandwich
This week we will conclude our reflections on God’s Word by looking at Psalm 119. It declares that God is all-sufficient and revives our spirit. It begins by inviting us to do three things: to walk in God’s ways (vv1–3), to write Scripture on our heart (vv11–12) and to daily profess it with our lips (vv13–15). In every sandwich, the essential part is the filling; in feeding our heart, Scripture is the essential element.
January 17, 2022
16th January 2022 - Eyes Front
Imagine if you were to drive your car with your eyes fixed on the rear-view mirror. It would be very dangerous for you and others. Yet, many of us live our lives looking backwards, not forwards. We feel safe with what we know and have no real desire to discover the freedom of the unknown. The familiar is comforting; the future uncertain.
January 16, 2022
15th January 2022 - Confidence
We need confidence to navigate life effectively, a confidence in God (Jer. 17:7). It is both the assurance we place in the truth and reliability of someone or something, combined with an ability to rely on it, come what may. It means our glass is always half full! Jesus invites us to live as ‘glass half full’ people, finding God’s goodness in all eventualities of life.
January 15, 2022
14th January 2022 - Apologetics
The word ‘apologetic’ suggests an expression of regret for something to someone offended by words or deeds. Add an ‘s’ and we have ‘apologetics’, ‘a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity’.* – not apologising, but offering a clear, reasoned case for Christianity.
January 14, 2022
13th January 2022 - Sabbath Rest
One of Jesus’ promises is that in turning to Him we receive rest (Matt. 11:28). A quick Google search reveals the rapid rise in anxiety. Many who experience Long Covid report a degree of personal anxiety that they hadn’t previously known. The media reports an increasing antidepressant use.
January 13, 2022
12th January 2022 - Example
We recently had friends around with their five children, the youngest just one year old. As we sat around the room, we had fun adopting the same pose and watching how the baby would pause, look at us and then seek to copy our action; for example, all sitting with our arms in the air.
January 12, 2022
11th January 2022 - Kingdom Come
A Christian disciple is someone who’s been turned around by God’s grace. No longer tossed and blown about by what others think, their deceitful scheming (Eph. 4:14), but rooted in God’s Word from which we draw our daily nourishment (Ps. 1:3). Filled with God’s Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16), we become points of presence so that wherever we find ourselves we can give birth to God’s purpose.
January 11, 2022
10th January 2022 - Harvest
Once we make God’s Word part of our daily diet, we can expect our lives to bear good fruit. Paul lists the fruit as, ‘love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’, where forbearance is an old-fashioned word for patience (Gal. 5:22–23).
January 10, 2022
9th January 2022 - The Message
Yesterday revealed we must build on God’s Word, the foundation for our life. Today we learn that it is also the diet we need for the spiritual stamina to survive our mortal life. Jesus reminded Satan that, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ (Matt. 4:4). So we are to feed from, as well as to build upon, God’s Word. Failure to feed on Scripture leads to our slow starvation. Unnoticed, we shall lose spiritual weight and the ability to love and serve God.