January 12, 2016

Added bonus

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 10:01 pm

Proverbs 3:9 Honor the lord with your wealth; and with the best part of everything you produce.  10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

It’s possible to do the right thing with the wrong motivation.  I can see how these verses could prompt someone to give to You so that they get more back in return.  Giving to You is the right thing, doing it to get rich is the wrong aim.

The biggest reason I can think of to give You the best part of what I produce is that it’s a small fraction of what You’ve given me.  You deserve it.  You gave me the means to earn it.  Being generous is good for me.  And if that wasn’t enough, it’s all Yours anyway and You are gracious enough to let me use it.  To receive more back in return?  That’s an added bonus and yet another example of undeserved favour.  It’s certainly not the reason to give.

Thank You Lord that I can never outgive You.  Thank You for entrusting me with some of Your wealth.  I always want to use it in the right way for the right reasons.


January 11, 2016

Not that smart

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 10:37 pm

Proverbs 3:7 Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the lord and turn away from evil.

I’m not sure whether I’m impressed with my own wisdom, but I do like to know things.  I’m certainly guilty of being impressed with my own knowledge sometimes.  Most of the time it’s knowing things that are of no real importance.  Such knowledge doesn’t serve any great purpose other than to interest me at best, or to make me feel cleverer than others at worst.

It certainly doesn’t impress You.  I can’t know anything that You haven’t always known.  Even if take that knowledge and apply it in a way that could be seen as wise, it’s nothing compared to You.  There’s nothing I could do that impresses You – Jesus has already done it.  I’m really not that smart.  So how should I live?  “Fear the lord and turn away from evil”.  Just like all true wisdom, it’s simple enough to understand immediately and deep enough to take a lifetime to truly work it out and live it out.

Lord, keep my eyes on You, the one who knows everything and is the very definition of wisdom.  Help me to live humbly before You and follow Your ways.  That is greater than any wisdom of my own.

January 8, 2016

Keep it short

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 11:08 pm

Matthew 6:7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8 Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!

I find prayer a struggle most of the time.  I find my mind wandering after a few minutes.  I have an expectation of how long a prayer time should be and then can’t quite keep my focus for the whole time.  Maybe it’s just that I’m doing it wrong.  Jesus takes the pressure off with his instructions here – don’t babble, keep it short.  You’re not impressed by duration.  The model prayer that Jesus went on to demonstrate covers so much in so few words.

Perhaps I need to be less concerned with the length of time spent praying as with the frequency and content.

Thank You Lord that You know what I need already.  I’m glad I don’t need a lengthy monologue to get through to You.  Keep me quick to talk to You and quick to finish!

January 7, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 10:18 pm

Genesis 16:13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”

Hagar is one of those bit-part characters in the Bible that it’s easy to skim past or miss altogether.  From what’s written about her it seems she was a woman of no position and no rights, given by her mistress (or could I even say slave owner?) to be used for sex, specifically to bear a son.  She could be done away with and no-one would miss her, no-one would come looking for her.  She was unimportant, unseen.

Except to You.  Despite her lack of status You spoke to her, a runaway slave in the desert.  You promised significance for her child.  That’s what You do.  You reach out to the poor, the desparate, the lonely.  You see those who aren’t looking for You and You make Yourself seen.

Thank You Lord that You see me, small and insignifcant as I am, and You have made Yourself known to me.  I don’t think I’ll ever fully understand why but it’s who You are.  Thank You.

January 6, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 8:06 pm

Genesis 15:6 And Abram believed the lord, and the lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.

The first definition I found of righteous was “Morally upright; without guilt or sin”.  I know that doesn’t sound like me even on my best day.  It’s not really a great description of Abram either.  For all his good points there were plenty of moral failings: lying (particularly passing off his wife as his sister to save himself), doubting, sleeping with his wife’s servant, to name but three.  But You counted him as righteous.  You set the standard, which no-one other than Jesus could reach, and You decide who makes the grade despite their failure.

The only way for me to be righteous in Your eyes is if You see something that covers my guilt and sin.  I can’t do it by trying to be as ‘morally upright’ as possible because I know that will fall far short.  The only thing that can make me right before You is Jesus’ death and my faith that it is enough to wipe out every wrong I’ve ever done and ever will do.

Thank You Lord that You count me as righteous becasue of my faith, not because of my actions.  Let this be the truth that guides my actions and helps me to live right.


January 5, 2016

Never too late

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 10:27 pm

Genesis 12:4 So Abram departed as the lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

However precisely years were counted in Abram’s time, I think it’s fair to say he was old.  Certainly a good way through his life at this point.  The sort of stage of life where a person would be thinking more of settling and comfort than leaving everything behind and moving to a new country.  I’m impressed at Abram’s bravery and obedience to the call on his life.

I’m even more encouraged that You would choose an old man for a new start.  As so often with Your choices, it goes against human logic.  But it gives me hope that there is more to come in my life.  Sometimes I feel like I’ve barely got started, other times like my life has flown by and I’ve done nothing of significance.  With You, it’s never too late.  You don’t apply ‘best before’ dates to people.  You can, and do, use anyone at any time.

Lord, however many years I have, use me for Your glory.

January 4, 2016

Same old

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 10:42 pm

Genesis 8:8 He also released a dove to see if the water had receded and it could find dry ground… 10 After waiting another seven days, Noah released the dove again…  12 He waited another seven days and then released the dove again. This time it did not come back.

This is the time of year when, if they’re not taking the cynical resolutions-are-a-waste-of-time line, people start thinking about change.  I know I always feel like I should start doing something different at the start of the year.  This comes from the assumption that doing a new thing will give new results.  It’s an attractive premise.  Einstein may or may not have said (but someone did) that ‘the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results’.

But… that assumes I was doing the wrong thing in the first place.  Noah here did the same thing three times and got a different result each time.  He kept doing the same thing but his circumstances had changed, so he got different results.

Sometimes the right thing to do is keep on doing the same old thing, even if conventional wisdom (or old clichés) suggest otherwise. Just like Simon Peter:

Luke 5:5 “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.”

I guess the challenge is knowing when I’m stubbornly and uncreatively banging my head against a brick wall, and when I should persist in doing the right thing until the right time comes.

Lord give me the good sense to know the difference.

January 2, 2016

I Don’t Believe You

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 7:11 pm

Genesis 3:4“You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman.

The first human sin was believing that You’d lied to them and that they could act against to Your commands with no ill effects.  At heart, all sin is first believing a lie then acting on it.  It’s believing that contrary voice, whether it comes from inside me or from outside.  It doesn’t really matter, You won’t notice, You didn’t really mean it, it doesn’t apply to me, it’s only a small thing, I know better.  And then I act on it.

All sin, any sin, is serious business.  Deadly serious.  It took the death of Jesus to cancel it.

I can choose how I react to that sacrifice.  I take it lightly and drift through life thinking that I can do what I like because it’s already been paid for.  Or I can take sin seriously, knowing how much it cost You and how much it pains You.  When (not if) I act against You, my only right response is to stop, truly apologise, turn the other way and thank You that You didn’t punish me as I deserved.

Lord, I want to believe – help my unbelief.  Help me to kill those thoughts that point me away from You.  Show me how serious sin really is to You.  I want to live a life that pleases You.

January 1, 2016

Bloodshot Eyes

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 7:43 pm

Genesis 1:31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!

It’s obvious really that if You’re going to make something, it’s going to be good. That’s just who You are.  Genesis 1 gives a list of the things You made that were good but it was only when You made man that You saw it as ‘very good’.  There’s something about people that You value above everything else in existence.  I’ll be honest, I don’t always see what You see in us.  I know me and I don’t think I’m ‘very good’.  I see enough of other people to evaluate them as not ‘very good’ either.

But You see with very different eyes.  You see potential where I see failure.  You see righteousness where I see dirt.  You see me through the blood of Jesus.

Lord, give me bloodshot eyes.

Let me see myself as You see me: holy, righteous and spotless through Jesus’ sacrifice.  And let me see others as You see them, as people so worthy of Your love that You sent Your son to die for them.  Let that be the filter I view the world through, not my own blurred vision.

December 14, 2015

Fragrant words

Filed under: Uncategorized — andykiff @ 6:39 pm

Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.

I find prayer tough, on balance.  For every time I feel uplifted or like I’ve really done something worthwhile, there are probably ten more times where I feel like I’m mumbling random thoughts while trying to keep my mind on track.  This verse is an encouragement to me.  The time and the words that I may dismiss as worthless are a sweet-smelling incense to You, offered up in Your presence.

Lord, thank You that You receive my small gifts, no matter how unworthy they seem to me.  Forgive me for the times I neglect prayer and spending time with You.  It is precious to You, please make it precious to me.

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