James Nicolson

An ordained minister in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Currently based in Johannesburg, Gauteng. My focus is on the local church and experiencing the word of God and Wesley's 'means of grace' into Sunday worship that transforms our daily lives into the fullness Jesus speaks of.

I called you…

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 19 – 25 August  2019

25th   August is the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost.

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org 

 Use these readings in “The Word” step below.

Jeremiah 1:4-10.  Jeremiah’s calling: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you . . . you shall go to all to whom I send you . . . . to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Psalm Response: Psalm 71:1-6. This psalm picks up on the fortress and youth motifs of the reading from Jeremiah.

Hebrews 12:18-29.  Worship in the “unshakable” kingdom we have inherited is not “hands off” or “back away,” but come in and join the fellowship of angels, martyrs, prophets, God the judge of all, and Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. And it is not just a symbolic material representation of spiritual realities, but an invitation to encounter those very realities directly, ourselves. How can we but express thanksgiving, with reverence and awe, when we worship?

Luke 13:10-17. Jesus heals a woman on the sabbath who had been crippled for eighteen years and confronts an outraged leader of the synagogue.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: This week: Focus on Psalm 145. Today verse1: “I will exalt you, my God and King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: Pride

The Word: See readings above and read a section each day.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that our salvation lies in God. Today we pray for our own lives.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:  Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today.

Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:2 “Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: Self-sufficiency.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that we are loved deeply by God. Today we pray for those we are close to.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:3 “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: Falling short.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that God is for us and not against us. Today we pray for someone who is angry towards God.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:4 “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: God’s forgiveness.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that God unites us. Today we pray for the different peoples of our land.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today

Friday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:5 “They will speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: God’s mighty power.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that God always finds us.  Today we pray for those who are lost in destructive ways: crime, drugs etc.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:6 “They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on  your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: The transforming Spirit of God.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that we are sent out in God’s love.  Today we pray for those who have never heard of Christ’s love.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others toda

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: Psalm 145:7 “They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”

Confession: This week: “Unless the Lord builds the house the builders labour in vain.” (Psalm 127:1). Each day focus on a way in which you try to build the house (your life) on your own and then how you can trust the Lord for his work in your life. Today’s key word: New birth.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: This week we pray for our realisation of the fact that we can only worship in the Spirit of God.  God both enables us to worship and is the One worshipped.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Lord, you have chosen to love us, may we choose to love others today

A love song for you!

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 12 – 18 August  2019

18th August is the tenth Sunday after Pentecost.

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org 

Use these readings in “The Word” step below.

Isaiah 5:1-7A “love-song” concerning God’s vineyard. Judah: God “expected justice, but saw bloodshed; righteousness, but heard a cry.”

Psalm 80:1-2, 8-19. The Psalm is an excellent response to the first reading.

Hebrews 11:29-12:2. The mighty deeds and martyrdom of people who acted on faith. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also … run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus …”

Luke 12:49-56. Last week: “Do not be afraid, little flock.” This week: “I came to bring fire to the earth … I have come . . . to bring division.”

Our Adoration focus comes from David’s song of praise in 2 Samuel 22.  This song was sung when the Lord delivered him from all his enemies.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer…”

Confession: Seeking transformation: This week examine your life and seek God’s gift of transformation by praying this prayer each day: “Teach us, good Lord, to serve Thee as Thou deservest; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that we do Thy will.”  (Ignatius of Loyola) Today’s focus: listening for God’s call.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord we pray that your church may be led by your Spirit into enthusiastic witness to your glory.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:  Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:3 “The Lord is my rock in whom I take refuge…”

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Procrastination.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord. Help us, your church, to see how big the Gospel is and to let its good news enthuse us.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:4 “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Lack of self-worth.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord give us, your church, boldness for declaring the good news of Christ.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22: 17 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep water.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Reluctance to risk.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord, lead us, your church, in sacrificial service for the sake of the mission of the church.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Friday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:29 You are my lamp, O Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Seeing the vision.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Lord help us, your church, to grasp the length, depth and height of your call upon us.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:33 It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Set free to serve.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Lord, give us, your church, a vision for the Kingdom of God in all its fullness as it transforms every facet of life.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: 2 Samuel 22:47 The Lord lives!  Praise be to my rock!  Exalted be God, the rock, my Saviour!

Confession: See Monday’s confession. Today’s focus: Following Jesus’s example.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Lord, help us your church to worship you in Spirit and in Truth.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: Then He called to his disciples and the people around Him, and said to them, “If anyone wants to follow in my footsteps, he must give up all right to himself, take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 (Philips)

Where are your real values?

Daily Rhythm

Devotional Diary 5 – 11 August  2019

11th August is the Nineth Sunday after Pentecost.

Readings for this week with thanks to www.umcdiscipleship.org 

 Use these readings in “The Word” step below.

Isaiah 1:1, 10-20 (first of two weeks in Isaiah). Isaiah addresses the Southern Kingdom, Judah, as “Sodom and Gomorrah” offering a word of judgment and a call to genuine repentance instead of just more religious ceremonies.

Psalm Response: Psalm 50:1-8, 22-23The sacrifice God desires is thanksgiving and upright living.

Hebrews 11:1-3, 8-16 (first of four weeks in Hebrews 11-13). “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Here the writer remembers the faith of Abraham as sign of the faith of all who seek a homeland.

Luke 12:32-40Jesus teaches: Your real values are where you put your money. Be ready always to receive the bridegroom from the wedding banquet.

Monday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 31:21) Praise be to the Lord, for he showed his wonderful love to me…

Confession:  “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 6. Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation?  How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word: See readings above or use your own devotional aid.

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area. Today: Your local neighbourhood.

Personal prayers: (Use this section to list people you need to pray for or situations of personal concern that you need to bring before God in prayer)

Dedication:  As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

 Tuesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 30:1) I will exalt you, O Lord…

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation?  How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Your land.

Personal Prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

Wednesday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 29:2) Ascribe to the Lord the glory due to his name; worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation? How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Your continent.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

Thursday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 28:7)  The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation?  How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Families.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

Friday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 27:1)  The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation? How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Schools and educational institutions.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

Saturday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 26:8)  I love the house where you live, O Lord, the place where your glory dwells.

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation? How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus: Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: Our Police force and emergency services.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.

Sunday:

Adoration Focus: (Psalm 25:10)  All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful.

Confession: “A survey of Discipleship Journal readers ranked the areas of greatest spiritual challenge to them. This is the result of that survey:  1. Materialism. 2. Pride. 3. Self-centeredness. 4. Laziness. 5. (Tie) Anger/Bitterness. 5. (Tie) Sexual lust. 7. Envy. 8. Gluttony. 9. Lying.  (Discipleship Journal, 11-12/92.)  In your confession this week you are asked to examine your life using this list.   Where do you need to come to God in confession seeking His gift of transformation?  How can you die to self and be raised in Christ?  You may choose one of the above to focus on each day.

The Word:

Seeking the Kingdom:

Shared Focus:  Each day we look at an area of concern. Lift up prayer needs that relate to this area each day. Today: The Churches that surround us.

Personal prayers:

Dedication: As I face the day ahead I know it’s your strength I need.  I have struggled for too long and fallen short too many times.  Your hand is stretching towards me. It’s your hand that I take hold of now.