In the year of The Salvation Army’s 150th anniversary and in preparation for the International Congress Boundless – The Whole World Redeeming, Stephanie Chagas from the Centre for Spiritual Life Development at International Headquarters in London has written daily Lent meditations based on the words of the song “O Boundless Salvation”, written by William Booth.
This resource is available for download in English: LENT – Daily Meditations (pdf file- 544kb)
Disponible es español (pdf file – 530kb)
Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent. In my home country of Brazil, it is also ‘the day after’ the five day national carnival, a time where the beauty and creativity of the costumes and parades are also an outlet for partying, drunkenness and promiscuity. On Ash Wednesday, many people flock to the churches as a sign of repentance for what has passed (especially for all that was done during carnival!). May this be for us not only the commencement of a personal time of turning away from things that hinder our relationship with Christ but also a preparation and sense of expectancy for what is to come.
Meditate on Hebrews 12:1-13 and reflect on what you would need to ‘let go of’ or engage in during this period to help focus on Christ’s sacrifice.
O boundless salvation! Deep ocean of love,
O fullness of mercy, Christ brought from above,
The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free,
Now flowing for all men, now flowing for all men,
Now flowing for all men, come, roll over me!
As The Salvation Army’s international Congress Boundless: the Whole World Redeeming approaches, during these next seven weeks of Lent we will be exploring the verses of the song O Boundless Salvation written by William Booth. (Throughout some of the Sundays we will focus on readings of events that led up to Jesus’ death and resurrection). Even though the Founder wrote these words in 1893, the meaning is still relevant today as it describes aspects of our spiritual journey from repentance through to freedom from sin, salvation, surrender, commitment and holiness to boundless life in Christ!
Consider what the word ‘boundless’ means to you. Ask God in which areas of your life he would want you to be boundless.
Friday 20th “O boundless salvation! Deep ocean of love”
No boundaries, limitless and infinite are some definitions of the word boundless. In Ephesians 3:14-19 Paul tries to help us understand the vastness, length, depth and height of Christ’s boundless love although he too mentions that it can never be fully known. How can you explain something that has no end? Yet this is the reality of the love God has for each one of us, this boundless saving love.
“Amazing love, oh what sacrifice. The Son of God given for me…that I might live” (Graham Kendrick). Spend some moments in silence, concentrating on the second hand of a clock. Imagine every tick, every movement of it representing an incessant flow of God’s love for you; for humanity. Delight in the fact that God’s love knows no limits.
Saturday 21st “O fullness of mercy, Christ brought from above”
A simple act of mercy shown to the embittered parolee, Jean Valjean, in the book Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, comes to influence the rest of his life. When he steals valuable silverware from Bishop Myriel, who has sheltered him for the night, the kind man of God tells the police that he gave his guest the treasure as a present. Amazed by the mercy shown towards him, Valjean becomes a repentant man, seeking to demonstrate to others the same compassion he had received.
Lord, thank you for dying for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). Help us to live in the abundance of this mercy and show the same compassion towards others. Amen.
Sunday 22nd “The whole world redeeming, so rich and so free, now flowing for all men!”
General John Gowans put into words the beautiful imagery of people from every race, gender and social status being part of the kingdom of God in the song, “They shall come from the east, they shall come from the west.” May we be reminded on this day that Christ’s boundless salvation and fullness of mercy are available to every man, woman and child on the face of this earth.
Pray for family members, friends or colleagues who today are in need of the salvation, freedom and riches found in Christ. Perhaps you could use the words from Ephesians 3:14-19 as you pray.
My sins they are many, their stains are so deep,
And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep;
But useless is weeping; thou great crimson sea,
Thy waters can cleanse me, thy waters can cleanse me,
Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!
Monday 23rd “My sins they are many, their stains are so deep”
The acronym Selfish Independent Nature is quite an accurate definition of the word sin which can be summed up as failing to believe and trust in God, desiring to be independent of him and consequently disobeying his commands. In his book The Prodigal God, based on the story of the prodigal son, Timothy Keller, in reflecting on the older brother writes “though the eldest son stayed at home, he was actually more distant and alienated from the father than his brother, because he was blind to his true condition”. He wanted to control the father with his conduct but when his moral obedience wasn’t recognized and things didn’t go his way, his true motives became fully known. He was not there to please his father, refusing his invitation to be part of the welcome banquet. He just wanted to please himself.
Spend time in silence. Ask God the question ‘Where is there sin in my life?’ or even ‘In what circumstances have I wanted to be my own Saviour?’ Be attentive to what he says and how he reveals this to you. What is your response?
Tuesday 24th “My sins they are many, their stains are so deep”
The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), like other Bible passages, also represents a clear moment of personal awareness of sin and the consequent recognition of the need for God’s forgiveness and mercy. ‘When he came to his senses, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!”’ (v 17). “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son”’ (v 21). This defining moment is like a light that is switched on inside us, taking away the darkness, giving us spiritual clarity to see our errors and the desire to repent, consequently fixing our eyes on the one true God so that we can be embraced by him.
Lord, forgive me for the times when I have run away from you. Thank you for helping me to realise that I can always return back to you. Open my eyes to see that I too am in deep need of your forgiveness. Keep me humble. Keep me near to your cross I pray. Amen.
Wednesday 25th “And bitter the tears of remorse that I weep”
Have you ever done anything you have deeply regretted? Peter vehemently denied not only once, but three times all the accusations from those around him of knowing Jesus, his friend and Master (Luke 22:54-62). This disciple’s fall was his public rejecting of Christ; disowning him because of distress and danger. Faced with the reality of his own lie, he went away “and wept bitterly” (v.62). Peter’s attitude can often be frowned upon, but perhaps this sense of remorse, of a sin too hard to bear, for whatever reason, may still be a reality for you today?
Lord, I bring my sins to thee, the sins I cannot count. That I may cleansed be in thy once opened fount. I bring them Saviour, all to thee; the burden is too great for me. (Frances Havergal)
Thursday 26th “But useless is weeping…”
We cannot go back in time to change what we should or should not have done or said, we are responsible for our actions and every action has a consequence. Sometimes we may feel like the lyrics of the Irish rock band U2’s song; “You’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it”. After his resurrection, Jesus gave Peter another chance to reaffirm his love for him, ‘do you love me more than these?’ he asked (John 21:15). Independent of what we’ve done, however difficult things may be, we should be encouraged to continue our walk of faith, for like Peter, we too can be redeemed from what we’ve done wrong.
Rejoice in faith with the Psalmist today: I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God (Psalm 40)
Friday 27th “…thou great crimson sea”
In Exodus 12:13 the blood shed by the Passover animal was the divine cure for saving the lives of every firstborn of Israelite families. Jesus is, as described in 1 Corinthians 5:7 the Passover lamb which has been sacrificed. He is the Saviour, the ultimate sacrifice for salvation and forgiveness of the sins of humanity through the shedding of his crimson blood. Even though the price has been paid, unfortunately all too often one of the challenges we face in our walk with Christ is that of forgiving and being forgiven. We feel the need to hold on to the past making it so difficult to let go of what we have done or what has been done against us. Salvation in Jesus Christ brings freedom to the believer from the power of sin.
What sin are you holding on to? While perhaps you may not feel worthy to be called God’s son or daughter, let the vast deep red blood of Jesus restore you today. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain He washed it white as snow.” (“Jesus paid it all” – Hall and Grape)
Saturday 28th “Thy waters can cleanse me, come, roll over me!”
The beauty of Jesus’ ministry is that sinners – those considered to be living in contradiction to the Law and guilty of publicly known sin – were his daily companions (Mark 2:15). Who would have expected them to be drawn to him? Who would have expected Jesus to draw near to them? Yet he did. He identified with them; he knew that they were in need of a Saviour and those who were convicted by his teaching experienced new life in him.
Wash your hands with soap and as you do so, ask Jesus to purify you. Rinse off the soap with water, thanking him for his presence in your life. As you meet with Jesus today, in all that you do, let the cleansing waters of his love and forgiveness roll over you.
Sunday, March 1st Mary anoints Jesus (John 12:1-5)
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.”
Are we like the shameless Mary, worshiping Jesus with everything we have, and in doing so, risking the comments of those around us?
My tempers are fitful, my passions are strong,
They bind my poor soul and they force me to wrong;
Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see,
O come, mighty ocean, O come, mighty ocean,
O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!
Monday 2nd “My tempers are fitful”
Supermarkets seem to be one of the ideal places where toddlers often enjoy throwing tantrums, much to the embarrassment of their parents! Thankfully, making a scene when we don’t get our own way is something most of us grow out of as we mature…isn’t it? A person with a fitful temper is easily offended and causes tension in situations around them. Proverbs 15:18 warns that “A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention”. Getting angry is not necessarily wrong, but it is important to learn how to become angry, how to speak, focusing on the correct motives and desired outcomes and maintaining all sense of control.
Lord, help us to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). Amen.
Tuesday 3rd “My passions are strong”
What are you passionate about? The word passion can often have a positive or negative meaning. It is so important to desire the things that are inspired by faith, that God has placed within us and feel a strong zeal and eagerness to live them out. This may be an area of ministry, a calling, a group of people, his word. King David would often express his passion for God through song. “God is my rock…my stronghold, my refuge, and my saviour” (2 Samuel 22:3). But we know that there are passions which can rob us of any sense of self control and lead us to sin. While David was a great military conqueror, there were times in which he could not conquer himself. He allowed lustful passion for Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:2-4) to take hold of him, which had disastrous consequences.
“Take every passion, every skill Take all my dreams and bend them to your will. My all I give, Lord, for you I’ll live, Lord, come what may.” (“All That I Am”, William Himes)
Wednesday 4th “They bind my poor soul”
God did not create us to be in bondage or enslaved. On the contrary, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 Paul wrote that he is faithful to supply strength in proportion to our temptations and a way out. So what are the things that are at work to try and bind our soul and which we need to be constantly aware of? Firstly, the devil brings opposition so we must resist him, continually submitting ourselves to God (James 4:7). We ourselves are broken people and can sometimes be our own worst enemy and the structures, rulers and powers of the world in which we live can also oppose to God’s redeeming plan for humanity.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one for yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday 5th “They force me to wrong”
In Romans 7:14-25 Paul clearly describes humanity’s wrestle with sin. Why do we do the things we so desperately want to steer away from? Why do lies, corruption, poverty, bondage and sickness seem to prevail in the world around us? Who will rescue us from our sinfulness and the situations that subject us to death? ‘Thanks be to God, who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord!’ (v.25).
Lord, sometimes I feel caught up in this cycle of sinfulness, failure, hopelessness. Please help me to break free so that I can live in the freedom you have to offer. Amen.
Friday 6th “Beneath thy blest billows deliverance I see”
Deliverance is defined as being rescued from moral corruption or evil, but how can we be delivered, with the help of the Holy Spirit? There are three “R’s” that can be useful. The first thing is to recognise the sin, what we’ve done wrong and Repent, confessing our sins to God (1 John 1:9). The next important thing is to Renounce the things that we have given a foothold to (Ephesians 4:27) and finally Reject them, turning away so that we do not have any more association with them. As we get rid of these things, there’s more room for God’s presence in us.
Spend time with the Lord. Declare out loud to him the things you need to Repent, Renounce and Reject. Do this daily. His grace is sufficient.
Saturday 7th “O come, mighty ocean, and roll over me!”
I was born in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which perhaps explains my love for beaches! One day, when watching the force of the waves crashing on the shore and trying to comprehend the vastness of the ocean, which extended so much farther than I could see, the intensity of the nature I was contemplating reminded me of the paradox of my own (in) significance. The words of truth from Psalm 103 about the reality of God’s love captured my heart once again “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (v.13).
Lord, we thank you for the beauty of your love and for the freedom and life found in you. Help us understand them more and more each day. May we be open to receive, letting them wash over, comfort and guide us, we pray. Amen.
Sunday 8th – Clearing the temple (Mark 11:15-17)
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Jesus, I declare you as Lord of my body, mind and soul. May my life be a place where your presence dwells. Purify me I pray. Amen.
Now tossed with temptation, then haunted with fears,
My life has been joyless and useless for years;
I feel something better most surely would be
If once thy pure waters, if once thy pure waters,
If once thy pure waters would roll over me.
Monday 9th “Now tossed with temptation”
Just when we think we are getting the hang of things in our journey of faith, another time of testing comes that can knock us down if we are not on our guard. Being tempted is part of our human condition and by the power of the Holy Spirit we can successfully resist it and not sin, “…God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). He knows where he is leading and greater still – the victory has already been won (Colossians 2:15) and the authority over temptation is also ours based on our union with Jesus (Ephesians 1:17-23). The question is, will we make use of the God given way out or will we let ourselves be knocked about time and time again?
Why should I be a slave to sin, to foes without or foes within Sometimes I mount, sometimes cast down, sometimes all smile, sometimes all frown, There’s victory for me! Through the blood of the Lamb there is victory for me; He came to set his people free and give them perfect victory. (William Baugh)
Tuesday 10th “then haunted with fears”
A recent article in The Independent addressing the issue of fear questioned if there has ever been a time in modern history when so many people have been afraid of so much. Illnesses, terrorism, environmental changes, financial instability and the increase of loneliness are some of the suggested reasons. The problem with fear is that it can reach unprecedented proportions, controlling us and leading us to a place of stagnation and that is what the enemy wants. Amidst such uncertainties, the ever comforting words “Do not be afraid”, found throughout the whole Bible contain the truth that fear does not need to prevail against us.
Surrender unto God today your fear of ‘getting it wrong’, of not having enough money, of not getting a job, of the illnesses that take over the body. Trust that he is with you, that you need not be afraid or dismayed, for he is your God and he is strengthening you and helping you with his righteous hand. (Isaiah 41:10)
Wednesday 11th “My life has been joyless”
Sometimes the things we cling to or put all our efforts into can be the very things that keep us from experiencing the boundless freedom and joy found in Christ. In Matthew 19:16-26, Jesus knew that for the rich young man money was the thing that stood in the way of him finding a life of service and meaning in the Kingdom of God. “He went away sad, because he had great wealth” (v.22).
Ask God what things in your life need to be surrendered so that you can experience life and life to the full (John 10:10).
Thursday 12th “and useless for years”
“It is useless, useless…life is useless, all useless” is the opening verse of Ecclesiastes 1:2 (Good News Translation). The passing things of this world, mentioned in the rest of the chapter, reveal all the more clearly the enduring work of God, to which nothing can be added. His absolute sovereignty and purposes bring us to a sense of humble reverence and awe of him. We may very well be in a relationship with Jesus, go to church, read our Bibles and pray, but are we simply adding Him to the things we do or are we living our lives completely centred around Him allowing the Holy Spirit to fill the void of routine and frustration and letting God set the agenda?
Holy Spirit, come and fill my whole being. Fill me with the fruits of your Spirit and transform my talents into powerful gifts to be used for your glory. All there is of me, Lord, on your altar here I lay.
Friday 13th “I feel something better most surely would be”
It was Freddie Mercury who wrote the words to the song, “There must be more to life than this” and he was right. As Christians, we live in the tension between what we have already attained in Christ and that which we still seek and long for. In Romans 8:22-25, Paul talks about this inward groan of all creation, eagerly waiting for the redemption of our bodies. While we have already been adopted by God and the Spirit reassures us that we are his children, in The Message of Romans, John Stott writes that “the very presence of the Spirit (this foretaste of the harvest which is to come) is a constant reminder of the incompleteness of our salvation, as we share with the creation in the frustration, the bondage to decay and the pain. We groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling and free from our fallen nature”. (2 Corinthians 5:4)
“There must be more than this O breath of God, come breath within There must be more than this Spirit of God we wait for You Fill us anew we pray” (Consuming Fire, Tim Hughes)
Saturday 14th “If once thy pure waters would roll over me”
In this fourth verse of the song there is, in some ways, a plea, a cry, an ultimate surrender “tell me what to do to be pure! I’ve had enough of the conflict, of the tears shed because of my internal evils!”. Purity of heart is also what the Lord most desires for us and requires of us. In Ezekiel 36:22-27 God said to the Israelites that the outer rituals would be of no use without the inner desire to live rightly before him, “…I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean…I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh….” (v.25-26).
Lord, I surrender my life to you today. I pray for a heart that has been cleansed by the Holy Spirit from sin, enabled to please you in all I do, to love you with all I am and my neighbours as myself. Amen.
Sunday 15th Judas’ betrayal (Luke 22:3-6)
Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
“When the powers of evil do their worst, accuse, betray and crucify the One who brings God’s salvation, God uses that very event to defeat those powers.” (Tom Wright)
O ocean of mercy, oft longing I’ve stood
On the brink of thy wonderful, life giving flood!
Once more I have reached this soul cleansing sea,
I will not go back, I will not go back,
I will not go back till it rolls over me.
Monday 16th “O ocean of mercy”
The concept of mercy is sometimes defined as ‘not getting what we deserve’. In Matthew 18:23-35, Jesus describes the kingdom of heaven like a king who, in finding out that his servant owed him ten thousand talents, ordered that his family be sold to pay off the amount. Coming before his master, pleading for the lives of his loved ones, the servant’s debt was cancelled, for the king took pity on him. He walked away free. Because of his great love, God has joy in forgiving us when we turn to him, granting us not a drop but an ocean of mercy.
Lord, thank you because even in my sinfulness I do not get what I deserve. Thank you for redeeming my soul from the pit and allowing me to live to enjoy the light of life. Thank you because you do this once, twice, even three times. (Job 33:27-30)
Tuesday 17th “oft longing I’ve stood”
It is beautiful to long for God. The Psalmist declared “My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:2), but God also invites us to respond to him and serve others out of this love that we have for him. Who would see someone they loved on the other side of the street and just stand still only desiring to be with them? Surely no one! They would walk towards them, perhaps even run, give them a hug, talk, listen and plan where to go and what to do together. Do we need to take these steps towards God today?
“How wonderful it is to walk with God. Along the road that holy men have trod; How wonderful it is to hear him say: Fear not, have faith, tis I who lead the way!” (Theodore Kitching)
Wednesday 18th “On the brink of thy wonderful, life giving flood!”
Sometimes in our walk of faith we reach a junction point where we have to decide whether to go ahead or turn to the left or to the right. As we discover God’s plans for our
lives through his Word and through prayer and fellowship with others we gain wisdom and understanding that will equip us with the tools required to move forward in faith and confidence with his presence guiding us: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8).
Lord, I don’t want to paddle in the shallow end. I’m going to take the plunge into Your boundless love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and joy. Amen.
Thursday 19th “Once more I have reached…”
“Mum, dad, are we there yet?” is the common question parents often hear from their children when travelling. We can imagine Moses having dealt with similar interrogations when leading the Israelites to the Promised Land! If only they had trusted more in the One who was leading them they would have reached Canaan so much sooner. What about us, where are we going? Are we stuck in our own place of wilderness looking for a way out or have we come to the point where our decisions, actions, choices and attitudes reflect the desire to submit to God’s plans and embrace all he has in store for us?
Read Deuteronomy 2:1-3, 7. Write down a prayer of personal dedication and commitment for guidance and courage to take the next steps in your journey with the Lord.
Friday 20th “this soul cleansing sea”
I once took part in a relay competition in the woods, which at a certain point involved swimming through a muddy swamp. I had never longed for a shower so badly! In John 13 1-17 Jesus started washing the disciples’ feet but Peter was quick to try and stop him, to which his Master replied “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (v.8). The ‘washing’ Jesus was talking about was much deeper than the cleansing of the body. He was saying that He is the only way to be clean on the inside. His blood shed on the cross would be the means of us having our sins washed away bringing reconciliation with God the Father.
“Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb? In the soul-cleansing blood of the Lamb?” (Elisha Hoffmann)
Saturday 21st “I will not go back till it rolls over me”
When things seemed to get hard in their journey to the Promised Land the Israelites would often complain about having left Egypt. There were moments in the lives of Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-9) and Jonah (Jonah 4:8) when they requested to die rather than carry on. Looking back cost Lot’s wife her life as she was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). In all these circumstances people wanted to return to what they already knew, to what seemed more comfortable, but to situations that weren’t necessarily good for them. The past was history; God had something better for them. Are there any things that we have already closed the door on, but sometimes feel like opening again to take a peek?
Lord, I declare that I will not go back to . Help me to close the door on that come(s) in the way of my relationship with you. Equip me with your armour so that I may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6: 10-18). Amen!
Sunday 22nd Passover (Matthew 26:26-29)
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
“This is my body broken for you. Bringing you wholeness, making you free. This is my blood poured out for you. bringing forgiveness, making you free.” (“In love for me”, Jimmy Owens)
The tide is now flowing, I’m touching the wave,
I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save;
My faith’s growing bolder, delivered I’ll be;
I plunge ’neath the waters, I plunge ’neath the waters,
I plunge ’neath the waters they roll over me.
Monday 23rd “The tide is now flowing”
In John 7:37-39 Jesus declared “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” This was the promise that God’s personal presence would live within and flow out of the believer. This Spirit is not likened to a static pond, but to a flowing river, moving freely in its course. As Christians, we have the choice to move with the Spirit or against Him. We need to be aware of where He’s flowing, how He’s flowing and what is happening in the process of His flow. For this, we need to be in a very close relationship with Him so that we can take part in what He is doing.
Tuesday 24th “I’m touching the wave”
To be able to touch a wave means that you have got to be in the water! It means that you have left the safety of the shore and have decided to throw yourself into the unknown. To have reached this point requires an abandonment of the things that you want, a clearer vision of where you are going and a deeper trust in the One that you are following. And the Lord will make you to increase and excel and overflow in love (1 Thessalonians 3:12) as you surf the waves and take hold of all the opportunities he has in store for you in his vast ocean of love.
Pray for a wave of holiness to sweep through The Salvation Army. Pray that we will “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, running with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:1,2)
Wednesday 25th “I hear the loud call of the Mighty to Save”
Hebrews 11 is a distinctive passage about faith in action, with a list of ordinary, imperfect people who God called, equipped and used. Commonly known as heroes of the faith, they heard the Father’s voice, obeyed and ‘took the plunge’. Things were often far from easy, they sacrificed much, but their faith in God spurred them on. They lived lives of obedience and holiness.
Thank God for the people who have been heroes of faith in your life.
Thursday 26th “My faith’s growing bolder”
In Acts 27, the ship in which Paul was travelling to Rome was caught up in a storm for several days “…we finally gave up all hope of being saved” (v.20). Paul however, shared with all aboard that an angel of God told him that no one would be harmed (v.24) and encouraged them, “…so keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen, just as he told me” (v.25). He trusted in what was revealed to him and had faith and boldness to believe, despite the raging waters around him.
What situations are happening in our lives and around us that we need to raise up our shield of faith today? (Ephesians 6:16)
Friday 27th “delivered I’ll be”
The word ‘delivered’ has quite a different meaning in this part of the song compared to verse three, where there was a notion of deliverance but which still seemed out of reach. Now, there is an affirmation, “I will be delivered!”, which signals a deeper confidence that through faith in Jesus, “we can be led into a free, open and growing relationship with God. We are freed by the Spirit from all those life denying and limitless outcomes of our sin. We are free to become a new person” (Global Call to 24-7 Prayer November Prayer Focus 2014).
Lord, we know that where your Spirit is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). May we walk in this freedom daily. May we help others who are still living in bondage to discover this same freedom. Amen.
Saturday 28th “I plunge ’neath the waters they roll over me”
Every New Year’s Eve, many people in Brazil follow the superstition of washing themselves in the ocean with the hope that the salty seawater will purify them from the bad things that have happened in the year and cleanse them for the New Year that is to commence. When we finally glimpse God’s love and beauty, we are washed internally as we plunge into his boundless ocean of love. The waters awaken us inside, they bring “life where there has been deadness, healing where there has been pain, freedom where there has been slavery” (Boundless, Court and Strickland). Once you experience that kind of life, you never want to go back.
“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free. Rolling as a mighty ocean In its fullness over me!” (Samuel Francis)
Sunday 29th Palm Sunday (John 12:12-15)
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”. Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.”
“Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die; O Christ, thy triumphs now begin. Over captive death and conquered sin.” (Henry Milman)
And now, hallelujah! the rest of my days
Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise
Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea
Of boundless salvation, of boundless salvation,
Of boundless salvation for you and for me
Monday 30th “And now, hallelujah!”
This final verse is a testimony to God’s boundless work of grace, love and salvation in us and its availability to the world. We can experience not only redemption from our sins, but victory over them and the power of the Holy Spirit over temptation along with the freedom that only comes from Him. Hallelujah! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Write down on a piece of paper or draw key moments related to your story of boundless salvation as a prayer of thanksgiving to God.
Tuesday 31st “the rest of my days”
Psalm 90 mentions the aspect of time and how it can quickly pass by throughout its days and years. That is why in verse 12 the psalmist writes “Teach us to number our days…” – to consider the shortness of life and the certainty and speediness of death – and continues “…that we may apply our hearts to wisdom” – that we would devote ourselves to wisely seeking out faith, humility and holy living. We have one life to live, how are we living it, how will we live it?
All my days and all my hours…not a fragment but the whole, shall be thine, dear Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, April 1st “Shall gladly be spent in promoting His praise”
God’s name is glorified to the world through the testimony of our lives. Once we have been saved and have surrendered ourselves to him, we begin a journey of holiness, seeking to reflect, with the Holy Spirit’s help, Christ in us. The presence of Jesus changes us as we live in and through him. We promote His praise when we live lives of integrity. We promote his praise when the fruits of the Spirit mature within us. We promote His praise when our love for Him is focused on others.
Lord, empower us to live by your Spirit so that when people look at us, they see you. Amen.
Thursday 2nd “Who opened His bosom to pour out this sea”
Isaiah 40 describes God’s protection for his people with verses 9-31 exalting His greatness. While the glorious Lord comes as a conquering King and a generous helper, He also comes as a gentle shepherd, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; He gently leads those that have young” (v.11). God’s shepherd heart is open to accept, to nurture and to care for His flock.
Lord, thank you for the love that you poured out for us so selflessly on that cross so many years ago. We pray for a renewed knowledge of that same love today. Amen.
Friday 3rd (Good Friday) – “O boundless salvation”
As a child I remember feeling frustrated with the fact that Judas betrayed Jesus, the disciples deserted him and he died alone. I wondered why he didn’t avoid all of the suffering and save himself. I was certain he could have done it! Perhaps the difficulty in understanding the reason why was because his death was the demonstration of a love which is out of this world and because his experience of death was key to the salvation of humanity (John 3:16). If he had not died, our sins would not have been paid for, which was not part of God’s plan for his creation.
“So finally upon a rugged cross. They killed the man who would not suffer loss. And when at last they took what willingly he gave. He died, but could they keep Him in the grave? They could not!” (“They could not”, Sandi Patty)
Saturday 4th “For you…”
In the gospels we read of wonderful encounters Jesus had with all kinds of different people, each one revealing qualities of His nature. He often gave attention to those who seemed to be looking in from the outside. He called a despised tax collector to come down from a tree and ate at his house and spoke to an adulterous woman at a well. Even in his final moments, Jesus’ interaction with the thief on the cross next to his showed his uttermost love and attention.
Who are the ‘outsiders’ of our day? How often are we aware that God’s boundless salvation is available for them to?
Sunday 5th (Easter Sunday) – “…and for me.”
Jesus had been with the disciples for some time when he asked them the question “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Perhaps if he had been more explicit about who he was, they would not have believed, and because his message was not about himself, but it was focused on the kingdom of God. Peter responded “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (v.16) to which Jesus called him blessed acknowledging that his personal revelation about Jesus came from the living God himself (v.17). On that resurrection morning in Matthew 28:1-10, when the female disciples ran to tell the others about the empty tomb, Jesus met them there and came close to them all. They “took hold of his feet and worshipped him” (v.9). They all recognized who He was. Jesus initially asked the disciples to decide for themselves who he was. He asks the same to us today.
“You’re my Lord, my Christ to You my life is sacrificed. You’re my focus and direction the meaning of my life. My Lord and Christ!” (Yvonne Field)