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Showing posts from January, 2015

Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour.

Numbers 7:1-47 Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour. Help us to give ourselves to You - to be Your servants. Jesus died for us. Help us to live for Him. Help us never to forget His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine." May we be challenged by His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." Help us to respond to His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, shall have my soul, my life, my all."

We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself.

Numbers 5:1-31 We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself. We thank You that He brings Your salvation to us. With Jesus as our Saviour, we cannot remain the same as we were before we met Him. Jesus changes us. He makes us new. Help us, Lord, to live in the power of this new life which Jesus gives to us. Help us to live in His power - the power of His love.

Lord, You're calling us to grow in Christ.

Numbers 4:1-49 Lord, You're calling us to grow in Christ. You're calling us to be changed - changed in our way of thinking, changed in our way of living. You're calling us to be less self-centred - and more centred on You. May there be less doing our own thing - and more following Jesus, less living in the weakness of the flesh - and more living in the power of the Spirit.

Before we began to serve You, Lord, You were calling us to be Your servants.

Numbers 3:1-51
Before we began to serve You, Lord, You were calling us to be Your servants. Before we can serve You, we must be saved by You. We're saved to serve. Help us, Lord, to receive Your salvation and to give ourselves in Your service. Your salvation always comes first - never our service! Your salvation never stands on its own - it leads to our service! 

Lord, we thank You for Your Word.

Numbers 2:1-34 Lord, we thank You for Your Word. You have spoken to us. You are still speaking to us. It's Your Word that leads us on into Your future. Help us to listen to what You are saying to us, to build our lives on Your Word, to let Your Word flow out from us, to bring blessing to many.

Living for You, Lord, is not easy.

Numbers 1:1-54 Living for You, Lord, is not easy. We face determined opposition from Satan. He keeps coming back at us, again and again. We thank You, Lord, that we do not stand against him in our own strength. We stand in Your strength, in the victory of our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You.

Leviticus 25:25-55 Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You. You gave Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. Your Holy Spirit has come to live in our hearts. He's changing us. He's making us more like Jesus. You give us the privilege of serving You - sharing, with others, the wonderful love of Jesus. You've done so much for us. You've given so much to us. What have we done to deserve all of this? - Nothing! It's Your gift. We can only say, "Thank You, Lord."

Lord, we hear the questions ...

Leviticus 24:1-25:24 Lord, we hear the questions, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?" and "Who shall stand in His holy place?" - and we say, 'This is too much for us." We thank You, Lord, that there is Good News for us. There is One who has ascended the hill of the Lord. There is One who stand in Your holy place. Jesus has ascended the hill of the Lord. Jesus stands in Your holy place. He has ascended Your holy hill - for us. He stands in Your holy place - for us. He has "received blessing from You" - for us (Psalm 24:3-5). When , Lord, we come to worship You, help us to come in the Name of Jesus: Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me ... "

Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth."

Leviticus 22:17-23:44 Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Where does true worship come from? - It comes from You. It comes from Your Spirit. It comes from Your Truth. We read the Holy Scriptures - and we begin to worship You. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit - and the spirit of praise grows stronger in us. We listen to the voice of our Holy Saviour - and He leads in the pathway of true worship. True worship comes from You: "Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise."

Lord, we give all the glory to You.

Genesis 47:1-26 Lord, we give all the glory to You. We think of Jesus, crucified for us - and we say, "Thank You, Lord - You have done for us what we could never have done for ourselves." You have brought us out of the darkness of of our sin and into the light of Your salvation - out of sadness and into gladness. Help us never to forget that You have saved us. Help us to live, each day, as Your faithful servants.

The Word Of The Lord In Your Mouth

"Now I'm convinced that you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord from your mouth is true" (1 Kings 17:24).
"the Word of the Lord in your mouth": What a  privilege this is! - God gives us His Word to speak for Him. What a responsibility it is! - May God help us to be His faithful witnesses.

Some Thoughts for Remembrance Sunday

In our remembering, let us not forget the Lord our God, the God of our salvation, the God whose “steadfast love endures for ever” (2 Chronicles 20:21). --Before we can understand what it means to be a peacemaker, we must understand what peace is and what it is not. There is a ‘peace’ that is ‘no peace. We speak of keeping the peace and not disturbing the peace. There is, however, a ‘peace’ which needs to be disturbed if we are to find true peace.--“What do these stones mean?” (Joshua 4:21). The people of Israel were called to remember what God had done for them. They were called to give glory to God. The stones were to serve as a reminder to future generations. There are many things that we might wish to forget. There are some things that we must make sure that we keep on remembering.--The Book of Deuteronomy teaches us much about remembering. “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you”…

Lord, we thank You for Your great love.

Genesis 6:9-22 Lord, we thank You for Your great love. There is no love like Your love. We think of Your Son giving Himself, in death, for us. We think of His suffering for us and we say, “Saviour of the world, what have You done to deserve this?” We look at the Cross, and we see more than suffering. We see love, and we say, “Saviour of the world … what have we done to deserve You?” Beyond “the mystery of undeserved suffering”, we catch a glimpse of something else – something very, very wonderful: “the deeper mystery of unmerited love” (Common Order, Prayer for Good Friday).

Being With Jesus And Learning From Him

Mark 3:1-19
Jesus' ministry of preaching, teaching and healing was a remarkable ministry - but He did not go it alone. He called disciples to be with Him and learn from Him. How much do we know about these men? We know quite a lot about some of them. There are others about whom we know nothing at all. Do we need to know a lot about all of the apostles? No! We need to know about Jesus. The Saviour is more important than the servants. The message is more important than the messengers. This is a very important lesson. This is a lesson that we all need to learn. This is a lesson that we must never forget. Before we can work for the Lord, we are to "be with Him." We are to speak for Him (Mark 3:14). We are to pray that people will be changed (Mark 3:15).

God is calling us to praise Him.

Psalm 118:19-29 
God is calling us to praise Him.
 * “I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 118:20).
 * “I will praise You” (Psalm 118:21).
 * “You are my God, and I will praise You” (Psalm 118:28).
Praise is more than words that we sing in church. Our whole life is to be full of praise to God.
We come to the Lord’s Table to receive forgiveness from Him. We go from the Lord’s Table to share His forgiveness with others.
 * “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12),
 * “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
 * How many times should I forgive my brother? - “As many as seven?” “Seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). If we’re still counting, we’ve missed the point!
 * “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34).
Thank God that Jesus prayed this prayer for every one of us. Let it shape our attitudes and actions towards one another.
May God help us to be less like the Pharisee, and more like the…

God’s everlasting love

Jeremiah 31:1-6

God’s everlasting love: His love for us comes before our love for Him. We’re living in a wilderness - spiritual and moral. We’re always searching, but never finding. We’re never sure which way to turn. 
Into this situation, comes God - from “far away” (heaven). He speaks of His love, and putting our life together again (Jeremiah 31:3-4).
We can’t do this for ourselves. He must do this for us. It’s not a self-improvement programme. It’s a new birth into a life of praise (Jeremiah 31:40, service (Jeremiah 31:5) and calling others to come and worship the Lord (Jeremiah 31:6).

Blessing - From The Lord

Psalm 24:1-10
“The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3) - That’s Jesus. “He will receive a blessing from the Lord” (Psalm 24:5).
How do we receive this blessing? We must receive it through Jesus. We must open our hearts to “the King of glory” (Psalm 24:7,9). He will lead us on to “the mountain of the Lord”, to “His holy place” (Psalm 24:3).

From Revelation To Revival

Ezekiel 37:1-14God calls us to speak His Word. First, we must receive His Gospel. We must see ourselves as sinners. We must see Jesus as our Saviour. The Word of the Lord is to be encouraging, challenging and life-changing. We will not always be on the mountain-top. Often, we will be down in the valley. We will need to be lifted up by the Lord.
As we move from the world of the Bible to the world of today, we must ask the question, “Can these bones live?” (Ezekiel 37:3), and we must listen to God’s answer to this question. Humanly speaking, the answer is “No.” God gives us a different answer. He says, “Yes.” God’s answer is given by grace. It is to be spoken in faith. It is the answer that comes to us when the Spirit of the Lord is at work in us (Ezekiel 37:1). It is the answer that comes from revelation. It is the answer that leads to revival.

Holy, Holy, Holy ...

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3); “Your sins are forgiven” (Isaiah 6:7). “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them” (1 Timothy 1:15). — Awesome holiness: It was my sin which sent Christ to the Cross. Amazing love: Christ has taken my sin to the Cross. I receive His forgiveness.

A New Song - A Song Of Salvation

The world sings its songs. They do not sing the song of the Lord. There is a song which can only be sung by those who have been saved by the Lord. It is "a new song." It is the song of "salvation." Saved by the Lord, we sing to Him our song of "thanksgiving." We think of what the Lord has done for us and we say, "Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 149:1).

Serving the Lord arises out of worshipping Him.

Isaiah 6:1-13 
Serving the Lord arises out of worshipping Him.  * We proclaim His holiness: "Holy, holy, holy... " (Isaiah 6:3).    * We confess our sin: "Woe is me" (Isaiah 6:5) - a personal confession. Before we can speak the words, "Here am I. Send me" (Isaiah 6:8), we must hear the words, "Your sin has been forgiven" (Isaiah 6:7). We are to be faithful in speaking God's Word. This involves our lips (Isaiah 6:7). It also involves our lives. Serving the Lord means more than paying lip-service to Him. We are to serve Him with our lives. Is there any guarantee that we will bear much fruit? The parable of the sower says that our fruit may be 100, 60 or 30 times what was sown (Matthew 13:23). The parable of the talents says that one talent could become two; two could become four; five could become ten (Matthew 21:14-30). What does Isaiah 6 say to us about bearing fruit for the Lord? There is a word of realism. Many people will pay no attention to…

Great Is The Lord ...

"I will sing a new song to You, O God ... the One who gives salvation ... Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Sing praises ... to our God" (Psalm 144:9-10; Psalm 147:7). "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised" (Psalm 145:1-3).
The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him.

God's Love - Reaching Out To Us

"God's love endures for ever" (Psalm 136:1).
God loves us. He’s always reaching out to us. He’s calling us to return to Him. He’s inviting us to come and be blessed by Him. When we resist His call and rebel against Him, we miss out on His blessings – the forgiveness of our sins and new life in Christ. We receive these blessings through faith in Christ. Our rebellion against God doesn’t mean that God stops loving us – He keeps on reaching out to us. He keeps on calling us to return to Him – but it does mean that we miss out on the enjoyment of the blessings He’s calling us to receive through faith in Christ.

Do not trust in deceptive words ...

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11).
Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

Wonderful Grace Of Jesus

We are, because of our sin, under the judgment of God. Christ has taken our judgment that we might receive His salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we have a great reminder of this. Christ drank from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation. This is amazing grace, reaching out to us. What we do with this grace, which is so freely offered to us in Christ, is a matter of eternal significance. May God, in this generation where there is so much unbelief, bring many people to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” These great words of grace are followed by some words which tell us how amazing this grace is: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are…

Conversion

" ... Will you ... come and stand before Me in this house, which bears My Name, and say, We are safe" - safe to do all these detestable things? Has this house, which bears My Name become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:8-11). “God demands a conversion of the mind and heart as the basis of peace and security (cf. Is 26:3), not the superstitious veneration of a stone building or a traditionally sacred site” (R K Harrison, Jeremiah).

Praying Through God’s Word: Luke’s Gospel

Luke 1:1-38 Lord, we need Your Word and Your Spirit. Your Word shows us how we are to live. Your Spirit gives us strength – for living Your way. May “the Word of Christ dwell in us richly” (Colossians 3:16) – prompting us to walk with You in the way of faith. May we “be filled with Your Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18) – empowering us to walk with You in the way of obedience.
Luke 1:39-80
When, Lord, You touch our lives with Your love, everything changes. Nothing remains the same. Every part of life is changed by Your love. We have been saved by Your love. May our life be shaped by Your love.
Luke 2:1-20
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus has “come to us.” He has been born as “one of us.” We thank You that He was “led out to die on Calvary.” He has “cleansed our souls from sin.” We thank You that He has “risen from death to set us free.” He has “poured Your love and goodness in.” May “Your power break through into our lives.” Help us, Lord to “live for You” (Patrick Appleford).
Sometimes, …

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22-23).

* The love in us comes from the love of God.  * The joy in us comes from the joy of God.  * The peace in us comes from the peace of God.  ... The God of love, the God of joy, the God of peace ...   Without God, there can be no love in us, no joy in us , no peace in us ...  ... Love, Joy peace ... That's what we find in Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we are learning to love Jesus, learning to rejoice in our Saviour, learning to rest in the peace of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we learn to walk with Jesus in the way of patience, kindness and goodness. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we travel to the Cross of Christ where we learn the way of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

God’s Servant, God’s Son, our Saviour

Isaiah 42:1-9
Through Jesus Christ, God’s Servant, God’s Son, our Saviour, God calls us to be saved by Him and to become His servants. We’re to be “a light to the nations” (Isaiah 42:60. All the glory belongs to Him (Isaiah 42:8). He will lead us forward into great blessing: “new events” (Isaiah 42:9). This directs our attention to Jesus. We now look back to Jesus - but we also look forward from Him to the glorious future He is preparing for us. Here, on earth, we have “a foretaste of glory divine.” In heaven, it will be the real thing.

The greatness of God

Isaiah 40:12-31
The greatness of God  * He is great in Himself. Before the world was created, God is great: “In the beginning, God....” (Genesis 1:1).
 * He is great for us. This is the great message that comes to us from Isaiah 40:28-31.
God is great in love. God is great in power. God is great in holiness. God is great in faithfulness. God is great in glory.
 * Love - “God is love” (1 John 4:16); “God so loved the world...” (John 3:16); “God showed His love for us...” (Romans 5:8).
 * Power - the power of God’s love - “kept by the power of God” (1 Peter 1:5); “He is able to keep us from falling” (Jude 24).
 * Holiness - God is holy. Through his love and His power, He is working to make us holy. As well as the command - “Be holy”, there is the promise - “You shall be holy.”
 * Faithfulness - “Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22). God is faithful. He will accomplish His purpose in us (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
 * Glory - Jude 24-25 and Revelation 1:5-6. God shares His glory with u…

Comforted By God's Faithfulness

Isaiah 40:1-11


Comfort (Isaiah 40:1) – This comes from God’s great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23).
In our past, present and future, we see the faithfulness of God- “His mercies never end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23).
Think of God’s faithfulness, and “count your blessings.” Think of this, that and the other blessing (good things in your life) – and don’t forget to thank Him for the greatest blessing of all: Jesus.
– The faithfulness if God is summed up in this: “The Word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
– There’s a New Testament way of saying this: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
As we move from one year to another year, let’s think about the old and the new.
On His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks about the old and the new.
– He tells us that He didn’t come to destroy the Law and Prophets. He came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17-20). He wasn’t setting aside the Old Testament. He was building on it.
– …

What does the Lord require of us?

Micah 6:8

In Micah 6:8, the question is asked, “What does the Lord require of us?”
As well as Micah’s answer, there is a New Testament answer to this question.
 * “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22).
God calls us to come to the Cross. That’s where the life of faith and obedience begins.
 * “Without faith, it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).
God calls us to put our faith in Christ. It’s personal faith. Each one of us must come to Jesus - “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.” Faith is God’s gift. Each one of us must receive His gift.
 * “Without holiness, no-one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
God is calling us to become more like Jesus. Our life is to be less of self and more of Christ - and we’re to give all the glory to God.
Micah 6:8 gives us an Old Testament answer to the question, “What is holiness?”

Forgiveness And New Life

Mark 2:1-17

"He was speaking the message to them" (Mark 2:3) - and there were "signs following" (Mark 16:17). Preaching and miracles: we see this pattern in Mark 1 - preaching (Mark 1:14-20), miracles (Mark 1:21-34,40-45). In Mark 1:39, we see both - preaching and miracles. Along with preaching and miracles, there is prayer (Mark 1:35). In Mark 2, there is forgiveness of sins (Mark 2:5) and healing for the paralyzed man (Mark 2:11-12). Notice which comes first - forgiveness. Jesus is saying, 'This is about more than the legs.' What is He saying to us? We need more than physical health. "So long as you have your health" - This isn't the full story. We need to have our sins forgiven. Only Jesus can do this for us. When we read about the call of Matthew, known before his conversion as Levi (Mark 2:13-14), we learn about how life can be turned around by Jesus. Levi, Evil, Live The story of Levi is to become our story. Like Levi, we are ev…

In the Lord, we have true and lasting joy.

“Whoever despises God’s words will pay the penalty, but the one who fears God’s commands will be rewarded” (Proverbs13:13). This principle applies to the nations – “Righteousness lifts up a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any society” (Proverbs 14:34). “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face” (Proverbs 15:13) – True happiness comes from within. It is more than an outward thing. It does not depend on the things that we have. It comes from the Lord. In Him, we have true and lasting joy.

God Speaks To Us. We Speak For Him.

“Speak only the Word that I tell you” (Numbers 22:35). If we are to bring the Word of God to others, we must pray that He will speak to us. We must pray that He will give to us His Word – “the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth” (Numbers 23:5). At the heart of our ministry of God’s Word, there must be this firm conviction: “God is not a man, that He should lie or change His mind” (Numbers 23:19). Who are we to call in question the Word of the Lord? When God speaks to us, He calls us to believe His Word. We are to trust Him. If we question the Word of the Lord, and, then, attempt to speak His Word to others, we’re asking for big trouble – “If the trumpet doesn’t sound a clear call, who will get ready for battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8). We do not help the people of God to triumph over Satan, if we do not speak to them the Word of the Lord.

Stop Speaking Against God - And Start Listening To Him.

“We have spoken against the Lord” (Numbers 21:7). Before we can hear the Lord speaking to us, we must stop speaking against Him. How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us if we keep on speaking against Him? If we are to speak for God, we must begin with listening to Him.

Be Strong And Courageous! ...

This is the story of what God was doing with His people. He was giving them the land he had promised to them. Joshua was to be the leader of God's people. Joshua’s strength came from the Lord: “Be strong and courageous! ...The Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). The report of the spies - “The Lord has given us the whole country” (Joshua 2:24) - emphasizes that God is in control. God is working out His purpose, His perfect purpose, His purpose of love. It is important to remember this. Without this understanding of the events recorded in the book of Joshua, we will lose our way and fail to see what relevance these events have for us. From these events, we learn that our strength comes from the Lord, who does great things for us because he loves us with a perfect love. The crossing of the River Jordan was a significant event. It was an event to be remembered. It wasn’t just a geographical event. It was more than a movement from one place to another. I…

Tell The Good News.

"Tell the good news! ... Here is your God" (Isaiah 40:9). "I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will support you with My victorious right hand"  (Isaiah 41:10)."I am the Lord, that is My Name. I will not give glory to anyone else or the praise I deserve to idols" (Isaiah 42:8). The preacher of the Good News is called to proclaim salvation, bringing glory to God alone - zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of sinners.

There's only one Saviour.

"I alone am the Lord, and there is no saviour except Me" (Isaiah 43:11). "I alone am the One who is going to wipe away your rebellious actions for My own sake, I will not remember your sins any more" (Isaiah 43:25)."Come back to Me, because I have reclaimed you. Sing with joy... Rejoice..." (Isaiah 44:22-23). "I am the Lord, and there is no other, I haven't spoken privately or in some dark corner of the world, I didn't say to Jacob's descendants, 'Search for Me in vain.' I, the Lord, speak what is fair and say what is right" (Isaiah 45:19). "There is no other God except Me. There is no other righteous God and Saviour besides Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all who live at the ends of the earth, because I am God, and there is no other" (Isaiah 45:21-22). In these verses, we learn of the unique, incomparable greatness of God in His gracious and mighty work of salvation.

Wisdom and foolishness, righteousness and wickedness

The contrast between wisdom and foolishness corresponds to the contrast between righteousness and wickedness (Proverbs 10:1,7). God calls us to be “the wise in heart.” He calls us to show forth “the fruit of a righteous person.” He calls us to be “a winner of souls” (Proverbs 11:19-30). If there are to be the fruits of righteousness, there needs to be the roots of righteousness. In words of warning and promise, we hear of the contrast between a life based on wickedness and a life based on righteousness: “A person cannot stand firm on a foundation of wickedness, and the roots of righteous people cannot be moved” (Proverbs 12:3). The connection between righteous roots and righteous fruits is emphasized in Proverbs 12:12 – “The roots of righteous people produce fruit.” The final outcome of righteousness is stated in Proverbs 12:28 – “Everlasting life is on the way of righteousness.” The Gospel brings hope for the future as well as guidance for the present. We look beyond ou…

Divine Grace And Human Sin

Divine grace - “But He is compassionate. He forgave their sin. He did not destroy them. He restrained His anger many times. He did not display all of His fury” (Psalm 78:38) - and human sin - “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness! How often they caused Him grief in the desert! Again and again, they tested God and they pushed the Holy One of Israel to the limit. They did not remember His power ... “ (Psalm 78:40-43): This is the story of human history. When God’s love is thrown back at Him by persistently rebellious sinners, there will be divine judgment - “They tested God Most High and rebelled against Him ... When God heard, He became furious ... “ (Psalm 78:56-64). Where God is angry, it can lead to restoration - “ ... He struck His enemies from behind He built His holy place to be like the high heavens ... He chose His servant David ... ” (Psalm 78:65-72).

Overwhelmed By Problems?

In Psalms 41-43, we see the Psalmist encountering great difficulties. He is not, however, overwhelmed by his problems. Each of these Psalms ends on the triumphant note of praise: “Thank the Lord God of Israel through all eternity!” (Psalm 41:13); “Put your hope in God, because I will still praise Him. He is my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:5).

"The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (Galatians 3:24).

The Law of God, the Spirit of God and the Son of God
Some schoolmasters may be viewed as disciplinarians. I think, however, we should see the work of the Holy Spirit here. He convicts us of sin and leads us to Christ. This is not the impersonal law. It's the personal approach of the Holy Spirit. In grace and mercy, He shows us how far we have fallen short of God's perfect standard so that He might gently lead us to the Cross of Christ, the place where we receive the forgiveness of all our sins.
In Galatians 4:6, we learn that ‘God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts.’ The Spirit is not a reward which we earn by being good people. We are bad people who have broken God's law. The Spirit is God’s gift (Titus 3:5). The Spirit is not a reward which we earn because of our good works. Paul connects the gift of the Spirit with Christ’s death for us and our faith in Christ (Galatians 3:13-14).
When the Spirit brings us to Christ our Saviour, He takes us throu…

"Now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).

In our thinking about the Lord’s Return, it is very important that we do not forget that the decision between salvation and judgment is one which must be made here and now. The Bible speaks of the Day of the Lord’s Return as a Day of salvation for the Lord’s believing people. The Lord’s Return will also bring a Day of judgment for all who turn their backs on the Saviour. The Bible also speaks of another day of salvation, another day of judgment. That day is today. This is precisely what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 - “Now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time for making your decision for Christ. Now is the time for faith in the Saviour. Jesus underlines the importance of our present response to Him. He does this, in John 3:18, when He speaks of those who are already under judgment because of their unbelief: “he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.” The Lord awaits for our response now. May God he…

Tremendous Words Of Faith ...

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). 
These are tremendous words of faith. They lift our eyes above “our light and momentary troubles.” They set our eyes on the “eternal glory.” When we see our times of suffering in this eternal perspective, our hearts are encouraged in the Lord. Our suffering isn’t the last word. God’s eternal glory is – and we will share in His eternal glory – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! … Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him…

The Mercy Of God And The Ministry Of His Word

In the work of ministry, we are often discouraged by the lack of response. May God help us to remember that “we have received this ministry by the mercy of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1). May He give us the wonderful privilege of seeing more people responding to the Word of God which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Praise doesn't begin with us!

"Praise God in His sanctuary" (Psalm 150:1). "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Where does praise come from? How do we learn to glorify God"? We learn that we "have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). At the Cross of Christ, we learn to praise God. We see Jesus, crucified for us - and our hearts are filled with praise to God. This is where praise begins. It doesn't begin with us. It begins with God. It begins with Jesus. It begins with the Holy Spirit.

God's Temple ...

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).
God has given us a great privilege - "you yourselves are God's temple... God's Spirit dwells in your midst."  He's given us a great responsibility - we must take care of "God's temple." When God's Spirit comes into our hearts, what does He do? Does He give us a feeling of superiority - we're better than they are? No! He calls upon us to search our hearts more deeply: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

God's Glorious Future

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
How does the Lord keep us walking in His way? – He keeps on bringing to our attention the glorious future which He is preparing for us. He keeps on reminding us that we are being prepared for His eternal glory. How is He preparing us for ”praise,  glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed”? – He is teaching us to “love Him. ” The more we are learning to love Him, the more we will look forward, “with an inexpressible and glorious joy” to  ”the end result of our faith, the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:7-9).

Strong words ...

“… watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned … By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people” (Romans 16:17-18).
These are very strong words. They are words which have a great deal to say to the Church at a time when it seems that the voice of permissive society is threatening to drown out completely the voice of Holy Scripture. When Paul addresses the problem of divisions among God’s people, He calls us to be faithful “to the teaching you have learned.” Behind Paul’s words concerning “the teaching you have learned”, there is something else: “according to the Scriptures.” We see this in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. Paul begins by speaking about “the gospel which I preached to you” (1 Corinthians 15:1). As we look on to 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, it becomes clear that he is not concerned with drawing attention to himself. What he is concerned about is this: “according to the Scriptures…

Good News for sinners

God's way of righteousness begins with this - He is "just" - and leads to this - He "justifies those who have faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26)."For our salvation Christ came down from heaven" (Nicene Creed) - This is Good News for sinners.  As we rejoice in the "for our salvation" message of the Gospel, let us never forget the "for His glory" message!  "To God be the glory, great things He has done! So loved He the world that He gave us His Son, who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the life-gate that all may go in. Praise the Lord! ... Give Him the glory!"

Christ-centred Ministry

In his message to the elders at Ephesus, Paul describes his ministry in this way - "I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying to both Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:20-21). As he speaks of this Christ-centred ministry, Paul makes it clear that he does not carry out this ministry in his own strength. He speaks of the next step in his missionary journey - "now ... I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit" (Acts 20:22). We learn from Paul that the Holy Spirit is leading us on to greater things - in the service of Christ. Paul was not content with what he had achieved in the service of Christ. led by the Holy Spirit, Paul was moving on to greater things. This is the way the Holy Spirit is leading us today. We must not rest content. We must go on.

Guidance

"During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them" (Acts 16:9-10).
Paul's guidance came through " a man of Macedonia." His guidance came from "God." We look at the human situation. We ask the Lord, "What do You want me to do?"

Decisions - And Disiciples

“Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.’” (Acts 15:36). 
We begin with making decisions – but we don’t end there. We must go on from there to making disciples. Making a decision for Christ is just the beginning. Growing into a disciple of Christ – this is God’s calling for the whole of our life’s journey.

A Problem - And A Response

"Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls ... Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words ... Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord" (Acts 15:24,32,35).
There was a problem. There needed to be a response. Whenever God's people are being "troubled" and "unsettled" by those who speak their own "words" rather than the Word of the Lord, what are we to do? We must pray that God will raise up "prophets" who will preach the Gospel and teach the Word of God, strengthening the faith of God's people and leading them into a closer walk with God.

Great things can happen ...

Great things can happen when ‘earnest prayer’ is ‘made to God by the church’ - God ‘is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think’ (Acts 12:5-7; Ephesians 3:20). Give all the glory to God.
Herod ‘did not give God the glory’. He accepted the praise of the people - ‘This is the voice of a god, not of a man’. Herod’s sudden death - ‘an angel of the Lord struck him down’ - is a warning (Acts 12:22-23; Proverbs 29:1). ‘Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows that he will also reap’. ‘Walk humbly with your God’ (Galatians 6:7; Micah 6:8).

The Cornerstone

"From him will come the cornerstone... they shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies... because the Lord is with them" (Zechariah 10:4-5). * Jesus Christ is "the cornerstone" upon which our faith is built  - "The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord" (Samuel John Stone). * In Christ, we are "more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37) - "From victory unto victory His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed" (George Duffield). * Jesus is with us. He is our Saviour. He has forgiven our sins. He is our Lord. He leads us in triumph over Satan.

To The Ends Of The Earth

"His dominion shall be ... to the ends of the earth" (Zechariah 9:10). God's purpose was moving on. He had begun with Israel. Their deliverance from bondage in Egypt was a mighty demonstration of His saving power. This was only the beginning. God was moving on to Jesus - "the Saviour of the world" (John 4:42). In Jesus Christ, crucified for us, God was reaching out, in love, to "the whole world" (1 John 2:2). The Gospel is not only for the Jews: "It is it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16). Jesus is calling us, His redeemed people - empowered by the Holy Spirit - to take His message of salvation to the ends of the earth: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Enthroned

“You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).
God is not enthroned because we enthrone Him. We enthrone Him because He is enthroned.

Eternal Blessings

* “The Lord gives victory to His anointed” (Psalm 20:6).
Jesus is the Christ (the anointed). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has won the victory over Satan. He won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us.
  * “Surely You have granted him eternal blessings” (Psalm 21:6).  Through the mighty victory of Jesus Christ (God’s Anointed), there are “eternal blessings” – for us. 
  * “My God, God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1). How do eternal blessings come to us through Christ? When we see Christ, suffering on the Cross, we must give thanks to God that His suffering was for us. For Him, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation. “‘Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies … Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me! … No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!” * “Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and  I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23:6). For us, God’s salvatio…

The Word of God - Spoken In The Power Of The Spirit Of God

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7).
God’s Word does not return to Him empty. It accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11). Often, we feel like God’s Word returns to us empty. It never returns to Him empty. Wherever God’s Word is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work. He is doing more than we realize. Some may refuse to listen to the voice of the Spirit – but the Spirit keeps on speaking to them, calling them to return to the Lord and receive His free gift of salvation: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). Let us pray that the Word of God will be spoken in the power of the Spirit of God: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).
Psalm 19:14
Pray that ‘the meditation of …

God's Way Is The Best Way.

“As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30).
The Lord knows what He has planned for each one of us. There are no surprises for Him. The Lord doesn’t leave us to travel on our own. He’s with us every step of the way. When we wonder about what’s happening in our lives, He is there, teaching us to say from the heart, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31). He’s leading us to His Son, Jesus. He’s showing us our suffering Saviour. He’s showing us our risen Lord. He’s showing us that there is a way of peace, joy and love. It’s the way of Jesus. It’s the way of trusting Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you in His way. God’s blessing will surround you each day.

The Light Of God's Love, Truth And Holiness

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28).
Without You, Lord, we’re stumbling around in the dark. With You, we’re walking in the light – the light of Your love, the light of Your truth, the light of Your holiness.

Loved By The Lord - And Saved By Him

“Show Your marvellous lovingkindness …  O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 17:7; Psalm 19:14).
The lessons that we discover in the Word of God are lessons that are given to us by revelation. God shows us His “marvellous lovingkindness.” He shows us His salvation. Learning about God’s love and His salvation – There is nothing more wonderful than this. To know that we are loved by the Lord and have been saved by Him – This is what gives us strength to keep on loving and praising Him as we travel with Him towards His glorious Kingdom.

Wholehearted Devotion

“And give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep Your commands, statutes and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided” (1 Chronicles 29:19). We don’t begin with what’s on the outside – building the temple. We begin with what’s on the inside – “wholehearted devotion.” The first thing isn’t doing things for God. It’s loving the Lord. In the work of the Lord, there’s something we must never forget: The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Everything good in the work of the Lord flows from this: “wholehearted devotion” to Him.

What God Has Done, What God Will Do

We look back, and we ‘give thanks to the Lord’, remembering ‘the wonderful works that He has done’ (1 Chronicles 16:8,12). We look forward, committing our future to the Lord in prayer, looking to Him to fulfil the promise He gives to those who call upon Him in heartfelt prayer: ‘If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14).

The dedication of our lives to the Lord

David called God’s people to worship. They were ‘to raise sounds of joy’, praising the Lord with ‘loud music’. David did not leave it to others. He gave the lead. Along with all the others, he was there, ‘dancing and making merry’. He was a true spiritual leader. He ‘blessed the people in the Name of the Lord’. He called upon the people to ‘praise the Lord’ (1 Chronicles 15:16,28-29; 16:2,4). God calls us to worship Him continually’ (1 Chronicles 16:6). May God help us to be the kind of people who take ‘delight in the Word of the Lord, meditating on His Word day and night’ (Psalm 1:2). Our meditation on God’s Word is to be accompanied by obedience to His Word – ‘be careful to do according to all that is written in it’ (Joshua 1:8). This is the true ‘spiritual worship’ God is looking for – the dedication of our lives to Him (Romans 12:1).

The Great Love Of God - Hallelujah! What A Saviour!

"Even outside the borders of Israel, the Lord is great (Malachi 1:5). The Lord is not great because we call Him great. We call Him great because He is great. When we worship God, we are not creating His greatness. We worship God because He is so much greater than we can put into words or even imagine. His greatness does not come from our understanding of Him or our faith in Him. our understanding is limited. Our faith is weak. Our God is great. We must never forget this. It's not about our great faith or our great understanding. It's about our great God. He is great in holiness and power. more than that, He is great in love. We see the greatness of His love in Christ, His Son, our Saviour. We see His love in the death of our Saviour - "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" "His Name will be great among the nations" (Malachi 1:11). To say that God's greatness extends beyond Israel is not an excuse for complacency. We have a God-given responsibil…

Prophecy - Preparing The Way For The Saviour

"Rejoice with all your heart... Shout in triumph... Your King is coming to you... " (Zechariah 9:9). Here, we have the prophecy that was fulfilled by Jesus when He entered the city of Jerusalem, on His way to the Cross. This is followed, in Zechariah 9:10, by the words, "He will rule from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth." This speaks to us of the coming King and His coming Kingdom. While we are here on earth, we catch glimpses of the coming Kingdom. The full revelation is still to come. It will come - in God's time. "From them (the people of Judah) will come a cornerstone" (Zechariah 10:4). Here, we have a prophecy concerning our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Cornerstone of our faith, the Cornerstone upon which the Church is built. He is our solid Rock. Those who build on Him are wise. "I will bring them (the people of Judah, Joseph's people) back because I have compassion for them" (Zechariah…

Our God? or Ourselves?

Who is most important to us? Our God or ourselves (Zechariah 7:5-6)? This is the challenge that is placed before us by the prophets of God. Our way of thinking and our way of living must be laid bare by the Word of the Lord. God wants us to see ourselves as we really are. He wants us to see Him as He really is. By ourselves, we cannot move from a self-centred life to a God-centred life, but we can look to the Lord to change us. When we ask for the Lord's help, we don't suddenly become perfect, but we do receive help from the Lord - help to become more what He wants us to be. We need both truth and holiness (Zechariah 8:3). Truth is not just something to be believed. Truth changes us. Truth leads us into the pathways of holiness. We need both "truth and peace" (Zechariah 8:19). When truth changes us, it leads us into the paths of peace. The holy life is not to be a life of pride. That is Pharisaism. We think that holiness is all our own doing. The way of t…

The Lord Is Building His Church. Let Us Build For Him.

"A house in Shinar (Babylonia)" (Zechariah 5:11). Babylon is symbolic of the world that opposes God and His purpose. Even in 'Babylon', an unbelieving and disobedient world, God is building His House. "They are going to build a House" - There are human builders, but, ultimately, this is the work of the Lord. All the glory belongs to Him. We must not sit back, and say, "You do it, Lord." We acknowledge that, without God, no real work of lasting value will be done - but we also say, "We commit ourselves to You, Lord. We will not leave your work undone." "Here  is the man whose name is Branch ... He will rebuild the Lord's Temple" (Zechariah 6:12), We read these words. We think of Jesus and His promise, "I will build My Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18). The servants of the Lord are sent out to different places (Zechariah 6:1-7). The "Spirit" of the Lord g…

The Power Of The Spirit

The work of God is not done in our own strength. We need the superior power of God's Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). The power of the Spirit comes to us as the power of love, the power of Christ, the power of the Gospel. This is the power that reaches us and changes us. There  is no power like the power  of God's Spirit. The power of God's Spirit does not come in an entirely supernatural way. It comes to us through people:. "Zerubbabel's hands have laid the foundation of this House, and his hands will finish it" (Zechariah 4:9). It is the Lord who uses us in His service. We must never forget that the real power comes from Him: "Then you will know that the Lord of Armies has sent me to you" (Zechariah 4:9). This supernatural dimension is at the heart of every real work of God. When we emphasize this supernatural dimension. This something that we must never forget - if we are to honour the Lord, truly and fully. God works through ordinary people,…