The Daily Verse – Matthew 22:37

Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ – The Message

Matthew‬ ‭22:37

Do you love God with all of your passion?

Do you love God with all your intelligence?

As well as teaching those with ‘ears to hear’ in both the Synagogues and in open air gatherings, Jesus was subjected to testing by different groups of the Jewish authorities.

A Rabi being questioned was a natural part of religious teaching and discourse in Judaism.

Jesus was being subjected to something much more rigorous and insidious. They were trying to find ways to catch him out and denounce him as a heretic.

They ignored the effect of his teaching and the miracles taking place.

In this verse, the Sadducees had first tried to catch him out and failed. Now the Pharisees stepped up and sent in an expert in Jewish religious law..

Jesus is asked which of the Commandments is the greatest. This is a fairly simple trick question. All Law and Commandments are from God, so they are, therefore, all equally important.

But remember this was the same Jesus who was in the Temple at the age of twelve debating with the teachers there.

Jesus reminds them of the Shema – Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. This was a kind of creed or statement of faith for the Jewish people.

God commanded the people to always have this passage on their minds, to talk about it, to contemplate it, to recite it when they rose in the morning and before they lay down in the evening.

The next verse in the Shema is the one Jesus quotes here, Jesus said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’

I love this Message version of the the verse.

If we were asked if we loved God then we would nod our heads and speak out in the affirmative.

Jesus emphasises something which was lacking in those questioning him, but was integral to their lives, temporal and spiritual.

They would all have nodded in agreement that they loved God with all of their passion – indeed, they would claim that trying to proclaim Jesus as a fake was part of their passion for God.

(We see this Passion in Paul before Jesus appears to him on the Damascus road in Acts, and then we read of his passion for God and the ‘Way’ all through his letters in the New Testament.)

They would agree with prayer – the Shema itself was a prayer – but Many of their prayers were formulaic and rooted in their Phariseetic traditions.

The last instruction may be surprising – with intelligence.

Loving God with passion and prayer fit very easily into our spiritual lives. We know we should pray and our faith in God easily brings passion – I’m not suggesting that we don’t need to check the passion-meter every now and again though!

But to love God with our intelligence?

God never intended for us to be blind in our faith in Him.

Certainly to the Jewish nation he gave them many miracles testifying to his love and devotion to them.

Jesus presented many miracles before the people but many of the religious leaders recognised them and then dismissed the person behind them.

They used their intelligence but for their own selfish needs and gains.

We are to use our intelligence to affirm and strengthen our faith and love for God.

We are to read God’s Word, look for Him in our everyday lives, and express our passion through prayer and our interactions with others.

Passion. Prayer. Intelligence.

The Daily Verse – Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

Do you feel like you walk with God?

Do you act justly and love mercy?

The Prophet Micah was declaring the Word of the Lord, sometime between 750 and 686BC, and amongst his prophecies he predicted the fall of Samaria, which was Israel’s capital.

In this verse, the He is God and the O mortal is just another way of referring to men/women. The latter phrase emphasises the limited life span of humans compared to God who is eternal.

The question is then set what does the Lord require of you?

Over the years many individuals and religious leaders have answered this question.

One of Jesus’ primary conflicts with the Pharisees was by holding them to account for the rules they set upon the people but didn’t hold to themselves.

Jesus phrased his answer to this question out of the first two Commandments of Moses – You shall love the Lord your God above all others and your neighbour as yourself.

This was the sum of the Law.

Micah in verse 8 phrases his answer in a very similar way – act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

The Hebrew word mercy is ‘hesed’, which can also be translated as loving-kindness or grace.

God emphasises action and reminds the people what one of our privileges, maybe even one of mankind’s purposes was, as God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

If you deal with others justly, prize mercy or forgiveness, then you will walk. . .with God but in a manner which doesn’t prize that fact over the heads of others.

I’m not sure any of us would openly admit to being ‘good’. We would probably hedge our bets and say we try to be.

This verse in Micah tells us that God has shown us what is ‘good’ and we certainly have the perfect example of that in Jesus.

This might not be what you might think, however.

Jesus argued with people. He turned people away. He told some that they were condemned by their own words and actions.

Now I’m not necessarily suggesting that we go out and argue with people and point out their faults, but we shouldn’t either be trapped into thinking being a Christian means being passive and lacking strength.

Micah also tells us that God wants something from us – and it is quite simple, rather than a lot of the trappings of religion we maybe used to.

We are to act honestly and with integrity in our speech and actions, within our families and with the others we come into contact with.

We are to have a heart for loving-kindness to those around us.

We are to walk humbly, to not think of ourselves in any great way, or that we are better than others, because we walk with God.

Like Adam and Eve, like Noah, like Abraham, like Moses, and like Jesus, we walk with God. In His company and in His care, all the time we walk.

Walk with God – it is an action. We need to move forward. Take steps. Journey with Grace, Justness, and in Humbleness.

The Daily Verse – Joshua 1:9

‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’ – NIVUK

Joshua 1:9

When did you last feel afraid or discouraged?

Do you feel that God is with you wherever you go?

Moses has died and the people of Israel stand on the edge of the Promised Land.

For forty years they followed a leader whose face literally shone with light from the presence of God.

Now Joshua was chosen to bring the forty years of wandering in the desert due to the people’s indiscretions.

In these first nine verses, Joshua is told by God, three times to be strong and courageous.

He also tells Joshua twice that He will be with him wherever he goes and always.

Notice how God places words in opposition in this verse:

  • strong and not afraid
  • courageous and not discouraged

The opposite of afraid is not to be unafraid, but to be strong.

The opposite of discouraged in to have courage but to be courageous.

Both of the opposites God provides Joshua with are active words – be strong and active against your feelings of being afraid. To be courageous is an act where being discouraged prevents you from action.

In the face of uncertainty and unfavourable conditions God reminds Joshua to take action because God will be with him wherever he goes – another active word.

I am sure that all of us can call to mind examples of when we have been afraid or discouraged, and some of these occasions maybe very recent.

We face many challenges in life and many situations where it is easy to worry and lack the confidence to move forward.

Some of us may also feel that we have been wandering for many years and we have not been able to settle.

We probably also compare ourselves to others who have gained many accomplishments in life.

In this verse in Joshua God reminds him that as He was with Moses, he will also be with him.

It is easy when reading the Old Testament to see interactions like this between God and His chosen people and view them as being then and not now.

It is the same God interacting with us, however.

Through Jesus we are now part of God’s chosen people, but rather than communicating with us through chosen leaders, God communicates with us individually through the Holy Spirit.

Just as God told Joshua to be active – be strong and courageous – in the face of his fear and belief that he couldn’t succeed, He tells us the same.

Our belief in God doesn’t always mean that we won’t face challenges but it should alter the way we react to them.

Take confidence in yourself just as God has confidence in you.

Step forward in Faith and meet the challenges through prayer and fellowship, and remember that wherever we go – an action – God will be with you!

The Daily Verse – Luke 19:10

‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.’ – NIVUK

Luke 19:10

Have you ever sought something which you thought was lost?

Have you ever felt lost yourself?

Jesus had spotted a man in a tree as he passed through the streets of Jericho and called him by name. The Rabbi invited himself to Zacchaeus’ house for supper and to stay the night.

Many of the people in the crowd which thronged alongside the teacher knew who Zacchaeus was. He was a chief tax collector and a sinner.

Like so many times and in so many places before those same people, who didn’t consider themselves to be sinners, grumbled about Jesus spending time in the company of people who clearly were sinners.

Maybe this teacher and prophet wasn’t the Messiah after all.

During the supper, Zacchaeus announces to Jesus that right there and then he was going to give away half of his goods – possessions and money – to the poor. On top of this, if he had cheated anyone in business then he would repay them four times the amount he took from them.

Jesus’ reaction to this declaration is to proclaim, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.’ Luke 19:9

Jesus is declaring that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham not just in heritage, but also in faith.

This chief tax collecting sinner had seen Jesus, and responded to his call for food and lodging for the night, but also as the Messiah calling him to repent and enter the coming Kingdom.

To those guests around him, who may or may not have been whispering unkindly at his declaration, Jesus tells them that his purpose was seek and save the lost.

This is an image which we encounter a number of times in the Gospels.

Seeking out the lost and restoring them.

I am sure we have all lost something – I mean ‘misplaced’ something – precious or not so precious. We are sure we know where we left it or where we saw it last, however, it isn’t there now.

Jesus was doing the same. Seeking out the lost and providing a beacon for them to return by.

Zacchaeus climbs a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. He realises he is missing something and this teacher/prophet passing through the city might just be it.

He started looking and Jesus notice as he passed by.

Just like Nathaniel when Jesus calls the disciples, he calls the little man by his name and invites himself – and his disciples – to stay for the night.

Sometimes the thing(s) we misplace, or lose, are more important than an object.

Sometimes the things we have lost is happiness, courage, love, hope, strength.

When Zacchaeus encounters Jesus he has the hope restored in himself that he can become a changed person and live a different life – in this case an honest life.

He makes his declaration of his intention to change and – importantly – how he will change to Jesus.

Jesus’ response is to give him the affirmation he needs to make this change and declares it to those around them.

Jesus acknowledges Zacchaeus’ faith.

When we have ‘lost’ something and we are struggling to ‘find’ it, follow Zacchaeus’ example.

Respond to Jesus’ call to stay with you.

Make your declaration to Jesus on how you intend to change – you don’t necessarily need to give away half of your possessions!

Then hear Jesus remind you that you are a child of Abraham – by faith we are Abraham’s heirs!

Then use that faith for Jesus is waiting to stay with you.

The Daily Verse – John 15:18

“You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.” – AMP

‭‭John‬ ‭15:16‬ ‭‬‬

What does it feel like to know that you have been chosen?

Do you think it is possible to ‘bear fruit’ even in difficult circumstances?

In this verse, Jesus is talking to his disciples.

He tells them that he has chosen them.

Elsewhere Jesus prays for these same disciples, declaring to God that he hasn’t lost one of them.

Just as the disciples were chosen, so are we.

Jesus’ final sacrifice of himself gave everyone in the world access to the God of the Jewish people.

Remember when God spoke to Moses he said He was, ‘I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ – Exodus‬ ‭3:6

‬But to Abraham, God had promised ‘through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’ Genesis‬ ‭22:18‬ ‭

Jesus continues reminding the disciples that as well as choosing them he had appointed them as Apostles.

They had parables explained to them and saw miracles at first hand.

He tells them that they were placed and purposefully planted.

A gardener plants with with the combination of the right soil and right mix of sunlight and shade for each plant.

Why?

So they might be fruitful. Not just fruitful, but to continually bear fruit.

To this end Jesus leaves them with yet another gift, which will out do all of the others they had received so far – they could approach God in prayer and ask Him for their needs in the name of Jesus.

God would respond as if it was Jesus himself asking.

It is powerful to think that we have been chosen – especially when so many of us probably don’t fell that way most of the time.

God – Jesus – must have got the wrong ‘John or Jane Smith’ when the letter came through the door.

Surely he can’t mean us?

As the disciples were chosen, so were we.

As they had a purpose, so do we.

We have been planted purposefully.

This will again also surprise many of us, as perhaps the current place and position of our lives may seem anything but purposeful.

If we start to view our current circumstances as part of our ‘planting’ we can meaningfully pray for our purpose at this time.

As gardeners know, a plant may get moved around the garden, so don’t despair if the thought of being where you are fills you with dread.

Jesus tells us that we will bear fruit and to continue to bear fruit.

This fruit will be a blessing to ourselves as well as others.

Galatians 5 tells us, “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”

If we can exhibit these fruit, God can work through us in our circumstances.

By blessing others we also bless ourselves.

On top of this we have an extra gift.

Jesus tells us that if we ask (pray) for anything we need to God, it will be as if Jesus himself had asked for it.

Remember a ‘need’ probably isn’t a BMW or a holiday in Monaco.

An immediate need will be for ourselves or for others to do the work of God.

You are chosen.

You are planted.

God listens and responds to you.

The Daily Verse – Luke 13:19

‘It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’ – NIVUK

Luke 13:19

What do you plant in your life?

Can you see your life as a tree?

Jesus has just had an argument with a Synagogue leader because he was criticised for healing a woman on the Sabbath.

The only things you were permitted to do on the Sabbath were to go and pray publicly or at home. Food had to be prepared the previous day. It was to be a complete day of rest.

Jesus took pity on a woman who had had a debilitating illness for eighteen years. He saw this as God’s work.

The Synagogue leader was wrapped up in the man-made laws surrounding this day of rest. He was completely unconcerned about the plight or the healing of the woman.

In response to this Jesus teaches him about the Kingdom of God.

Israel’s expectation was that the Messiah would come in triumph and over throw their oppressors. They expected a military leader who would restore the nation to power and might.

Jesus tells them the the coming Kingdom was starting with the mustard seed – the tiniest of seeds – but would eventually grow into a great tree, whose branches would become home to many types of birds.

He was teaching that the Kingdom would not just consist of the nation of Israel.

Jesus’ continual references to going plants and seeds in his parables was a common ‘language’ for the majority of his listeners. The majority of people lived rurally and would grow some food to eat and also keep a few animals.

For many of us growing is a separation of commercial growing for food, and personal plants for visual aesthetic, if you are lucky enough to have a garden.

We can use this growing metaphor and apply it to ourselves as well.

If we plant the smallest of seeds – if we begin with a positive intention – and tend the soil and care for its growth – attend daily to develop that first positive action – over a period of time the seed will become a tree – the habit will become a strength and be clearly seen by others – eventually providing a home for the birds amongst the branches – and will prove a blessing to many others as well as ourselves.

What seed could you plant in your lives?

Do you want to be more creative or organised? Do you want to learn a musical instrument? Do you want to learn a foreign language? Do you want to learn to cook better?

Do you want to develop the courage to talk to more people? Do you want to find ways to do small positive actions for those in your lives? Do you want to be fitter and healthier?

All of these things will enable you to develop those branches and bless the people who come within their reach.

If you ever get the chance to watch the documentary-movie Skid Row Marathon then I would highly recommend it.

A Los Angeles Judge is a keen runner. He is then asked by a man who he convicted and sent to jail to go down and see the Midnight Mission which was helping him get back on his feet after his release from prison.

The Judge is encouraged to help out with the Mission, so he starts a running club.

Watch the film – it is uplifting and will leave you teary eyed at the same time.

The Judge’s seed was his love of running. The tree grew as the running club developed. In the branches miracles happened.

What is the first seed you will plant?

The Daily Verse – Luke 13:8

“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it.” – NIVUK

Luke 13:8

Are there areas of your life that appear to not be bearing fruit?

Have you decided to cut those areas out of your life or attend to them more carefully?

Today’s verse is taken from the Gospel of Luke and is part of a parable which Jesus is teaching from.

We are told that a man has a fig tree growing in his vineyard but for three years it has not produced fruit. He decides it is time to cut the tree down and do something else with the soil.

He calls to his gardener and gives him the order but the gardener asks for another chance – one more year – for the tree.

He will tend it – dig around it loosening the soil so the roots are watered more effectively – and he will fertilise it – adding in manure to nourish it.

The gardener will put in extra time and effort to that one tree, out of the whole vineyard, to try and get it to bear fruit.

He tells the owner, if this doesn’t work then cut the tree down.

Many commentators state that Jesus is alluding to the nation of Israel here. They have one more year to ‘repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand’.

There are many other verses in the Gospels which lend strength to his view, but often in parables Jesus has several threads in his teaching.

The owner has waited patiently. Three years is more than generous.

The gardener sees his job as caring and nurturing, not cutting down; although judicious pruning is often needed for a plant or tree to grow more healthily.

The gardener commits himself to put in the extra time and effort to aid the tree.

When the owner thinks it is worthless the gardener sees possibility.

We see this attitude in Jesus throughout the Gospels.

He takes time with people the leaders of society think are worthless. He nourishes them. They produce fruit.

In more recent times the habit of structuring our lives and getting the maximum potential out of them, we are generally encouraged to be like the vineyard owner.

If something isn’t bearing worthwhile fruit then cut it out.

Habits, possessions, use or users of time – if they aren’t productive then get rid of them.

The logic makes perfect sense and can be the right way to act.

This parable contrasts the owner’s attitude with that of the gardener. The former has put very little effort in to the vineyard and the gardener has; and he is willing to put in more time and effort on this one tree.

Is it his superior knowledge that commits him to this course of action? Or is it faith in his ability to effect a change?

If we view the tree as the sinners and the tax collectors and the sick and those who counted for nothing in Jesus’ society, then we see the difference between the owner – the religious leaders – and the gardener – Jesus.

The tree can be us, our lives – habits and actions – or perhaps the people in our lives.

The gardener doesn’t just leave the tree, he commits to the time and attention it needs.

This is how we need to look at our lives on many occasions.

Some areas may not be working that well, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t, given sufficient effort from ourselves.

It needs to be the right effort though.

We need to look at the deficient areas we all have and assess what will improve the growing conditions for our ‘trees’.

If we aren’t sure we can ask another gardener – they love to share little tips and tricks, generally from their own experiences.

So, identify a few fruit-less trees in your life and look at them with a gardener’s eye – what can you do to improve the nourishment to the tree and improve the soil it is in?

The Daily Verse – Psalm 31:5

‘Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.’ – NIVUK

Psalms 31:5

Do you feel at times you need to be delivered from your thoughts or the situation you are in?

Do you see God as being faithful to you as you try to be to him?

In this Psalm King David declares that God is his refuge and asks that He comes quickly to his rescue.

He continues throughout the Psalm to state that he trusts in God, despite the terrible people around him trying to trap him.

David tells us how his strength fails and his bones are like broken pottery.

Now let us jump ahead to Luke 23:46:

‘Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.’

Jesus has been hanging on the cross and finally calls out these words and passes away.

Remember that Jesus had called out earlier,

‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

The first words of Psalm 22.

So also here in Luke, Jesus deliberately speaks the words of Psalm 31 as a declaration and a teaching to those nearby who could understand.

The Psalms teach us many things about the Messiah, and Jesus was still, even on the cross and near death, teaching that God was faithful to His people.

The end of Psalm 31 reads,

‘Love the Lord , all his faithful people! The Lord preserves those who are true to him . . . Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.’

We often say, ‘would you like a hand’ or ‘can I lend a hand’, but how many times have we actually asked for God’s hand?

How often do we reach spiritually for the hands of God, like a small child would when the need support or comfort when afraid?

The imagery here in Psalm 31 is of a very present and personable presence.

For David, God is there in physical presence and he places himself into his hands. He asks God to deliver him and fully expects the end result as he declares God faithful.

When we have troubled or dark thoughts, when we are in difficult circumstances, do we respond with the same confidence as David?

Sometimes yes and sometimes no, possibly?

David was confident, just as Jesus was, all those years later. He could confidently declare into your hands Father I commit my spirit.

Likewise we can confidently declare, as we reach out to God’s hands, that he will deliver us from our circumstances.

God is faithful towards us, even knowing that sometimes we stumble and fall. He reaches out to us to ‘lend a hand’.

The Daily Verse – Romans 8:14

‘For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.’ – NIVUK

Romans 8:14

Do you think about being a child of God?

Are you open to being led by the Spirit?

The Apostle Paul is making an important distinction here to the followers of Christ in Rome.

We have mentioned previously that these believers were a mixture of Jewish and Gentile backgrounds.

The Jews recognised themselves as God’s chosen people.

The Gentiles were everyone else who weren’t God’s people.

Paul corrects this attitude.

He tells all of the believers in Rome that they are the children of God.

To the Jewish community, their relationship with God was symbolised – even proven – by their adherence to the Torah and the Law, along with their various celebrations and circumcision.

Paul now explains that through Jesus’ ministry and atonement for the world’s sins, now everyone can be a child of the most high God, and the proof is being led by the Spirit – the returning spiritual connection between God and Mankind which was cut off by the sin of Adam and Eve.

Through this Spirit, God walks once more with us, just as he did in the Garden of Eden.

Through this returning Spirit connection, God’s presence is with us and in us. He listens and answers us.

Before the Jews had the tick list of the Torah and the Law.

Now ‘Christians’ have the example of Jesus’ life and the guidance of the Spirit to direct our paths.

Paul makes it clear that this ‘leading’ will be evident by the nature of our conduct and our speech. We will prove our connection to God by the way we live our lives.

The Jewish community in Rome had their indicators of their separation and faith in God. They had their rules and their festivals.

The Gentile community would have a similar set of rules but a wide array of ‘gods’ to follow.

In our own communities and countries we also have a set of observances which will indicate we are a particular faith, ethnicity, or nationality.

The church has a clear list of services which mark out the year.

Paul tells those identifying themselves as Christians in Rome that there is one specific way which proves their faithfulness – being led by the Spirit of God.

In this they are all counted as children of God, in the same way and on the same footing as each other.

Being led by the Spirit of God is about reading about the life of Jesus in the Gospels, meditating upon the Words and letting them change our behaviour, and spending time conversing with God in prayer.

When we do these things, God will lead us.

Our thinking will change. Our words will change. Our actions will change.

Later in Chapter 12 of Romans, Paul talks about us being transformed by the renewing of your mind.

As we walk with God through the Spirit, we will be transformed to become more like Him.

I love the way The Message puts verse 14 – ‘God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!’

So, as Children of God, let go and do!

The Daily Verse – Psalm 22:1

‘ My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? ‘ – Amplified Bible

Psalms 22:1

Do you ever have one of those days where you wonder if God is still with you?

Do you ever feeling like your words are simply groans?

This Psalm of David is one of the most well known alongside Psalm 23.

It is familiar through its occurrence each year in the Easter Story.

Christ’s crucifixion and words from the cross.

Psalms were to the Jewish people like popular songs of today. You sing or say one line and those around you key straight in and join you in the following verses.

As soon as Jesus speaks those words, the Jewish people around the cross would immediately intone the rest of the psalm out loud or in their heads.

How many of you have read the whole psalm?

Why not read it now.

Did you notice the familiar words of verse 8? “He trusted and committed himself to the Lord , let Him save him. Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

What about verse 16? ‘For [a pack of] dogs have surrounded me; A gang of evildoers has encircled me, They pierced my hands and my feet. ‘

Or verse 18? ‘They divide my clothing among them And cast lots for my garment. ‘

Psalm 22 tells us details of the crucifixion. In saying these words aloud, Jesus is telling those about him, that could understand, that God was most definitely with him.

Look at verse 27, ‘All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord , And all the families of the nations will bow down and worship before You,’

Even on the cross, Jesus was leading the people back to God.

It is very easy in the maelstrom of life to feel that we, at times, have been deserted by God.

We do not feel His presence and help appears to be nowhere near us.

We pray, or groan out, our difficulties and situations.

The feeling of abandonment is quick to be felt. After all it is probably our fault. We must have done something to deserve our current situation.

Did Jesus deserve to be crucified?

No!

Jesus had committed no crime but yet he was given the worst criminal punishment it was possible to receive.

Is it easy to see why people read those words from the cross and get no further.

It makes sense. After such terrible torture and finally being nailed to a piece of wood, even Jesus must have despaired?

What gets missed in the traditional understanding of these words is that Jesus never doubted for a moment.

Look at verse 24: ‘For He has not despised nor detested the suffering of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He listened.’

Jesus knew God was there with him, because he had called upon him.

Three days later, Jesus had risen from the grave!

Whatever your current situation, the feeling of separation, or feeling of abandonment is very real.

However, know that God is right there with you. He has heard your call. He listened.

God hears your prayers and he will be there to help you, even when the situation seems only to be getting worse.

If you don’t believe me then read Psalm 23: ‘The Lord is my Shepherd [to feed, to guide and to shield me], I shall not want. ‘