30 for 30

Day Sixteen

Stop

Stop what you’re doing. Quiet your heart today. Whatever distracting thoughts are flowing through your mind, try and quiet them for a few moments. Be still in God’s presence and allow His perfect love to meet you exactly where you are.

You don’t need to do anything, or even say anything. Jesus is with you, right now, in the room.

Invite Him to meet with you.

Take 5 minutes in quiet pondering Jesus, thinking about Jesus and quietly inviting Him into your day.

Look

Take a few moments to read Matthew Chapter 15.

Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you. You may want to make notes, underline in your bible or journal all that God is saying.

Thought of the day

Matthew 15:8 “ ‘This people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;’

In Matthew 15 we peer in upon an encounter Jesus has with the Pharisees and the Scribes – the religious elite of the day. They picked up upon the fact that Jesus’ disciples didn’t wash their hands before eating. How could they?!

Notice they were not breaking a God-given command, but rather the religious tradition of the elders – or as Mark puts it ‘the traditions of men.’

Jesus gives a sharp rebuke to those pedalling man-made religion at the cost of life with God, and reminds us afresh that Jesus and religion do not mix.

Here is what the Lord wants of us – our hearts.

It’s easy to say the right things, to pay lip service to God, to have an outward appearance of being religious, but in fact our hearts can be far from the Lord.

There’s no amount of box-ticking, striving or rule-following that draw us to a place of intimacy with God. We don’t earn our salvation; we don’t deserve all that God has done for us. It’s grace! Undeserved, unmerited favour.

Church, may we be a people who give God our whole hearts, who draw close to Him every day, who seek first His Kingdom.

So Jesus throws the argument right back at the Pharisees and Scribes – they follow man-made rules at the cost of God’s actual commands.

Of course, we’re called to obedience and holiness. It’s so important. But being like Jesus flows from a place of being with Jesus. It begins with knowing Him, allowing our hearts to be filled with His love. It’s walking with Him daily, and allowing the Holy Spirit to mould, shape and transform us – as Jesus puts it: from the inside out, not the outside in.

Pray

Today we’re going to pray for the nations – England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Pray for the challenges being faced in our nations. Pray for hope to be restored for the people across our nations. Pray for the people of our nations to discover God’s love. Pray for an increase in people coming to faith across our nations. Pray for the leaders in our nations.

Live

If we’re honest, are our hearts as close to Jesus as they could be? So often we get distracted and allow our minds to be consumed with anything other than God. So today we’re going to put in place moments of prayer. Set an alarm on your phone – you may want to do morning, noon and evening – as holy moments to call your heart back to God. It may be whenever you enter a certain place – the kitchen or even the toilet. Whatever works for you – remember, this is not about religion, but rather about facilitating a heart-closeness to Jesus.