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Showing posts from February, 2015

Don't say, ‘I’ll read God’s Word tomorrow.’ Read His Word today.

Proverbs 22:1-29
‘So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you’ (Proverbs 22:19). Lord, there are many people who say, ‘It’s not for me’. They know that others have been greatly blessed through reading God’s Word. Still, they do not take the trouble to read Your Word for themselves. They can’t be bothered. Receiving God’s blessing doesn’t really matter that much to them. Help us, Lord, not to miss out on Your blessing. Your Word is for every one of us. It’s not just for somebody else. To each one of us, You say, ‘It’s for you – ‘even you’. Some people say, ‘I’ll read God’s Word tomorrow’. When ‘tomorrow’ comes around, they’re still saying the same thing – ‘I’ll read God’s Word tomorrow’! Sadly, their ‘tomorrow’ never comes. They never get round to reading God’s Word. They’re missing out on so much. Help us not to say, ‘I’ll leave it till tomorrow’. Help us to read Your Word ‘today’.

Help us, Lord, to turn from ‘the works of the flesh’ and seek ‘the fruit of the Spirit.’

Proverbs 20:1-30
‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; whoever is led astray by it is not wise’ (Proverbs 20:1). Lord, teach us the truth of these words – before it’s too late! Teach us that there is a better way than the way of drunkenness. It is the way of being filled with the Holy Spirit: ‘Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). Help us not to ‘live according to the flesh.’ You’re calling us to ‘live according to the Spirit.’ You warn us against making the wrong choice: ‘To set the mind on the flesh is death.’ You show us the way of blessing: ‘To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.’ You say to us, ‘Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.’ Help us, Lord, to turn from ‘the works of the flesh’ and seek ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5-6; Colossians 3:2; Galatians 5:19-23).

The Friendship Of The Lord, The Fear Of The Lord

Proverbs 19:1-29
‘The fear of the Lord leads to life’ (Proverbs 19:23). ‘The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him’ (Psalm 25:14). Lord, we read these words, and we think, ‘What a strange combination – friendship and fear!’ We ask, ‘How can there be friendship where there is fear?’ Here, we have a special kind of friendship – ‘the friendship of the Lord’ – and a special kind of fear – ‘the fear of the Lord’. Why is this friendship and fear so special? It’s because You, Lord, are special! You are the God of perfect holiness – ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty.’ Help us to come before You in ‘the fear of the Lord’ – ‘Woe is me! I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips…’. You are the God of perfect love. You He call us into friendship with Yourself – ‘Your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven’ (Isaiah 6:3,5,7). We rejoice in ‘the friendship of the Lord’. Help us to respect You with ‘the fear of the Lord’.

Help us, Lord, to invite Jesus, Your Son, to be our Saviour and our Friend.

Proverbs 18:1-24
Lord, we thank You that ‘the fountain of wisdom is an overflowing stream’ (Proverbs 18:4). We read the joyful testimony of Paul: ‘The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 1:14), and we say, in our hearts,  ‘This is the “wisdom” we must seek – the wisdom which receives “salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). True wisdom finds its overflowing joy in the Saviour: ‘The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe’ (Proverbs 18:10). We rejoice in Jesus. He is Your Son – ‘You shall call His Name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:31-32). He is our Saviour – ‘You shall call His Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins’ (Matthew 1:21). He is ‘the Friend who sticks closer than a brother’ (Proverbs 18:24). Help us, Lord, to be wise. Help us to invite Jesus, Your Son, to be our Saviour and our Frien…

Jesus Is Our Forever Friend.

Proverbs 17:13-28
“A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). Help us, Lord, to look beyond human love and human friendship. Help us to see Jesus. His love is the greatest love. He is our greatest Friend. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus. Thank You for His love. He’s our Forever Friend. May we know, in our hearts, that His love is ‘always and forever’ love.

Help us, Lord, to throw away our bad fruit and enjoy Your good fruit.

Proverbs 14:1-19
“A perverse man will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man with the fruit of his deeds” (Psalm 14:14). Lord, You speak to us about two kinds of fruit – good fruit and bad fruit. How are we to have good fruit in our lives? Help us, Lord, to throw away our bad fruit – “strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness … ” – and enjoy Your good fruit. We need Your Word (Psalm 1:1-3). We need Your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). – “love, joy, peace … ” (Galatians 5:19-24).

Help us, Lord, to see the light at the end of the tunnel – “the salvation of our souls.”

Proverbs 13:1-11
“The light of the righteous rejoices” (Proverbs 13:9). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus is our Light. He’s “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). In Him, we rejoice (Romans 5:11 – “the blood Of Jesus, Your Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We thank You that, through Jesus, You have “called us out of darkness into Your marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9). When, Lord, we’re going through hard times, help us to see the light at the end of the tunnel – “the salvation of our souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life – a life of love.

Proverbs 17:1-12 What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You’re calling us to live a life of “love” (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? – We learn from You. You show us what love is – “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son … ” (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love – “The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love – “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life – a life of love.

Help us, Lord, to choose Your way, the way that leads to eternal life

Proverbs 16:18-33
Help us, Lord, to think about the way we’re living. Is it a self-centred life? – “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Is it a God-centred life? – “He who gives heed to the Word will prosper, and happy is he who trusts in the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). Help us, Lord, to turn from the world’s way of living – “the wages of sin is death.” Help us to choose Your way, the way that leads to eternal life – “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Help us, Lord, to look for Jesus – and to find that He was already looking for us before we started looking for Him.

Proverbs 16:1-17
“Wisdom is better than gold” (Proverbs 16:16). Where, Lord, will we find wisdom? Your Word tells us that Jesus Christ is “our Wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). When we find Him, we find wisdom. Jesus says to us, “Seek, and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Set us free from the idea that we already know what wisdom is before we start looking for it. Help us to look for Jesus – and to find that He was already looking for us before we started looking for Him. We thank You, Lord, that, when Jesus finds us, we find the “wisdom” which “is better than gold.”

We thank You, Lord, that Jesus teaches us the way to live wisely.

Proverbs 15:1-33
“The path of life leads upward for the wise” (Proverbs 15:24). Where, Lord, does wisdom come from? It comes from Jesus. We look to Him, and we are led in the way that leads to the “Father’s House” (John 14:2-3,6). “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it” (Proverbs 15:17). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus teaches us the way to live wisely: “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matthew 6:20). “The lips of the wise spread knowledge” (Proverbs 15:7). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus is our Wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Help us to “confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9).

Lord, we pray for a revival – a revival of looking to You, listening to you, learning from You and living for You.

Proverbs 14:20-35
“Righteousness lifts up a nation, but sin is a disgrace in any society” (Proverbs 14:34). Lord, we wonder about the future. Can times of blessing come again to our nation? Yes! They can – but there needs to be a big change in our way of thinking and our way of living. There needs to be less “This is what we think”, and more, “What is the Lord saying to us?” There needs to be less, “Look at what I’ve done”, and more “This is what the Lord has done for us.” Lord, we pray for a revival – a revival of looking to You, listening to you, learning from You and living for You.

Lord, teach us to take care how we speak. Help us to remember that we are Your witnesses.

Proverbs 12:15-28
What harm can be done by “reckless words” (Proverbs 12:18)! Lord, teach us to take care how we speak. Help us to remember that we are Your witnesses. We have a testimony to maintain. Teach us that there is a better way than the way of “lying lips” (Proverbs 12:22). Help us, Lord, to bring “glory” to You, as we keep on confessing our faith: “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11).

Does it make any sense to follow “worthless pursuits” when we can be “filled with all the fullness of God”?

Proverbs 12:1-14
Lord, show us the way we are to go: “The root of the righteous stands firm” (Proverbs 12:12). – and the way we are not to go: “He who follows worthless pursuits has no sense” (Proverbs 12:11). Does it make any sense to follow “worthless pursuits” when we can be “filled with all the fullness of God”? You show us the most sensible way to live “Let Christ dwell on your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17-21).

Help us, Lord, not to keep Your Good News to ourselves.

Proverbs 11:12-31 Lord, You’re calling us to win others for You. You’re calling us to share Your love with them. You’re calling us to bring Jesus to them. Help us, Lord, not to keep Your Good News to ourselves. Help us to pray, “Here I am, wholly available – as for me, I will serve the Lord” (Chris Bowater).

There is a wise way of living – and there is a foolish way.

Proverbs 10:1-22 There is a wise way of living – and there is a foolish way. We’re always being pulled away from the wise way. We’re always being dragged into the way of foolishness. Sometimes, Lord, we don’t need much persuasion to turn away from following You. Our hearts are already drifting away from You – before Satan comes with his subtle – yet strong – temptations. Help us, Lord, to choose the “way that leads to life” – and not the “way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). Help us to choose Jesus, our Saviour. Help us to know that, in Him, we have the forgiveness of sins, given to us as Your gift of grace; the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to live for You; and eternal life, being prepared for us in Your heavenly glory.

Lord, Your Word shows us the ways we are to avoid – and it shows us the way we are to follow.

Proverbs 6:16-35 Lord, Your Word is our “lamp” and “light” (Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105). Your Word shows us the ways we are to avoid – and it shows us the way we are to follow: Your way, the way of obedience and blessing. Help us, Lord, to watch how we live, to take care that we do not drift away from You, to keep on choosing Your way, the way that brings glory to You.

When we feel like giving up ...

Proverbs 4:20-27 When we feel like giving up, Lord, help us to keep our eyes fixed on Your Son, Jesus. He is our Saviour. He’ll give us the strength that we need to keep on walking with You in the way of faith. He’ll give us the strength that we need to keep on living in obedience to Your Word. We are often weak. He is always strong. When we feel like we can’t go on, when all of our love has gone, help us to remember the love of Jesus: “Jesus loves me! He will stay, close beside me all the way; He will always be my Friend, and His love will never end.”

There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out ...

Proverbs 4:10-19 There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out, and we can see nothing – nothing but darkness. When this happens to us, help us to catch a glimpse of the brightest light of all – the light of Your love. This is the light which will never go out. It is not our faith that lifts us out of the darkness. It’s Your love – the love that we see in Jesus, in His dying for us, His rising for us and His returning for us.

Lord, our faith is often put to the test.

Proverbs 3:19-35 Lord, our faith is often put to the test. Soon, we become aware that our faith is very weak. When we start to feel that our faith is so weak, help us to remember something – Our God is always strong. With You, as our God, we go from strength to strength. It’s not our own strength. It’s Your strength.

Promises Of Love - And Words Of Warning

Proverbs 2:16-34 Lord, we love to hear Your promises of love. Sometimes, we need to hear Your words of warning. In Your warnings, we hear the voice of Your love. In Your love, You’re calling us back from a way that will do us great harm. You call us into a better way – the way of Your great salvation. Lord, when we are being pulled away from You, bring us back to Yourself. Speak to us with Your Word of warning, the Word that calls us back so that we can move forward with You and for You. When we don’t want to hear it – That’s when we most need to hear it. Speak to us, O Lord, and help us to listen. “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Lord, help us to grow in Christ.

Proverbs 2:1-15 Lord, help us to grow in Christ. Help us to go often to Your Word. There, we will find strong warnings and precious promises. Help us to heed the warnings and trust the promises - to grow in Christ.

Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word.

Proverbs 1:1-7
Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word. Hearing Your Word is easier than doing Your Word. We hear what You’re saying to us – but do we do what You’re telling us to do? This is the great question we must always ask ourselves. It’s the great question that You’re always putting to us. It’s a question that calls for an answer – ‘Not my will but Yours be done’ (Matthew 26:39).

You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're bringing us into fellowship with Your people.

Psalm 147:1-20 ‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:2-3). Help us, Lord, to look beyond the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. May we see clearly that this is You blessing Your people as they gather together to worship You. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're  bringing us into fellowship with Your people. You're calling us to worship You: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. You ‘bless’ us through ‘Your Word’. You ‘bless’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘You  send Your Word... and the waters flow’ (Psalm 147:7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

A Lifelong Commitment

Psalm 146:1-10 ‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalm 145:2). Praising You, the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We need Your help. Help us never to forget this: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ (Psalm 127:1). We thank You, Lord, that we are not expected to maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We have Your help. May we always remember this: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (Psalm 124:8). ‘Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, the Lord who remains faithful for ever’ (Psalm 145:5-6).

Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us.

Psalms 130:1-131:3 Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a real cry from the heart: ‘Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord’ (Psalm 130:1). We are to ‘cry for mercy’ with a deep awareness of how sinful we really are: ‘If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Psalm 130:3). Help us to come to You with deep humility – ‘My heart is not proud, O Lord’ (Psalm 131:1). When we truly confess our sin, we receive Your ‘unfailing love’ and ‘forgiveness’ Psalm 130:(4). ‘In You, Lord’ we have ‘full redemption’ (Psalm 130:7). It is for ‘now’ – ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. It is ‘for evermore’ – ‘But purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!’. ‘Praise the Lord!… Give Him the glory!’ (Psalm 131:3). 

Help us, Lord, to keep on praying that our love for You will grow.

Psalms 128:1-129:8 ‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways’ (Psalm 128:1). If, Lord, we are to enjoy Your blessing, we must fear You and walk in Your ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They ‘pass by’. They have no desire to know ‘the blessing of the Lord’. Lord, You’re warning us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: ‘May all who hate Zion be put to shame’. We must take care that our love for You doesn’t ‘wither’ away. Help us to keep on praying that our love for You will ‘grow’. If we place no value on Your blessing, our lives will be empty. May we come to You, our Lord, with this prayer: ‘The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more’.  He will ‘fill’ your life with His blessing (Psalm 129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).

Those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved.

Psalms 125:1-127:5 ‘Those who trust in the Lord… cannot be moved…’. When, Lord, we put our trust in You, we are like the ‘wise man who built his house on the rock’. His house ‘did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock’. When we don’t put our trust in You, we are like the’ foolish man who built his house on sand’. His house ‘fell with a great crash’. Help us never to forget that ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain’ (Psalm 125:1; Psalm 127:1; Matthew 7:24-27). Help us to remember that ‘Jesus Christ’ is the ‘sure Foundation’ upon which our faith is built. He is ‘the solid Rock’, our ‘mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment’ (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4). We thank You, Lord,  that ‘Christ died for our sins… He was raised on the third day’. Help us to keep on rejoicing in Him: ‘The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’(Psalm  126:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).����������������������������������������������������������������…

Why, Lord, do we go to Your House?

Psalms 122:1-124:8 ‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the Lord”’ (Psalm 122:2). Why, Lord, do we go to Your House? We go ‘to give thanks to the Name of the Lord’ (Psalm 122:4). We seek Your mercy for our past sins: ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!’ (Psalm 123:3). We  seek Your help for our future temptations: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord…’ (Psalm 124:8). We receive mercy and help from You, Lord. Help us to worship You: ‘Blessed be the Lord’ (Psalm 124:6). In our worship, we ‘look to You, the Lord our God. We draw encouragement from Your Word: ‘The Lord is on our side’ – In Him we have the victory  (Psalm 123:2; Psalm 124:1-5). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your blessing and to pray for others: ‘May they prosper who love You’ (Psalm 122:6).

Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Psalms 120:1-121:8 ‘Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips’ (Psalm 120:2). Lord, You’re calling us to ‘believe the truth’, ‘love the truth’ and ‘follow the truth’. We are to be people who ‘do what is true’ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; 3 John 3-4; John 3:21). How can we be such people? Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is ‘the Truth’ (Hebrews 12:2; John 14:6). When we’re tempted to turn away from the pathway of truth, help us to remember this: ‘My help comes from the Lord’. Help us to remember Your promise: ‘The Lord is your Keeper…The Lord will keep you from all evil’. Your promise is not only for ‘this time’. It’s ‘for evermore’ (Psalm 121:2,5,7-8). Give to us the glorious hope that fills our hearts as we keep on looking to Christ,‘eagerly awaiting’ His Return ( Hebrews 9:28).

Jesus is able to deliver us from the evil one.

Psalm 91:1-16 ‘Surely He will save you from the traps of the hunter’(Psalm 91:3). Lord, You have given us Your warning. We must ‘be alert’- ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. You have also given us Your promise – ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. How are we to resist the devil? – We are to ‘resist him, standing firm in the faith’(1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). Help us not to try to resist the devil in our own strength. We will be defeated. He is much more powerful than we are. Help us to resist him in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, we have the victory – ‘Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’(1 Corinthians 15:57). Help us never to forget that Satan is out to get us. He’s trying to trap us. Help us never to forget this: Jesus is able to ‘deliver us from the evil one’(Matthew 6:13).

May God's Blessing Surround You Each Day ...

God's Word is "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path." He has "wondrous things" to teach us as we pray "Open my eyes that I may see" (Psalm 119:105, 18, 11). "May God's blessing surround you each day, as you trust Him and walk in His way. May His presence within guard and keep you from sin, go in peace, go in joy, go in love." "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory, because of Your mercy and Your truth" (Psalm 115:1).

The Great Love Of God

Psalms 113:1-114:8 ‘The Lord is high above all nations... Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?... Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water’(Psalm 113:4-5; Psalm 114:7-8). Lord, You are greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like Your greatness. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with Your greatness. Your greatness is not only the greatness of Your power. It is also the greatness of Your love. When we sing, ‘How great Thou art’, we sing not only of Your power - ‘Thy power throughout the universe displayed’. We sing also of Your love - ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin...’

Psalm 11: God's way of salvation

This Psalm begins with a tremendous statement of faith - “In the Lord I take refuge.” The whole Psalm should be understood in the light of this tremendous statement of faith. From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist is able to overcome the temptation to doubt God (vs. 1-3). His enemies say to him, “”Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The Psalmist replies, “In the Lord I take refuge.” The “wicked” are out to get him. The Psalmist looks at them, and says, “In the Lord do I take refuge.” It seems that “the foundations are being destroyed.” The Psalmist looks to the Lord, and says, “In the Lord I take refuge.” From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist views the whole of life in the light of God. “In the Lord I take refuge.” There is only one refuge. The Lord is our refuge. He is our salvation. There is only one place of safety – “in Christ." “It is by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). By grace, we are in Christ. Through faith, we are in Christ…

Lord ... From Everlasting to Everlasting, You are God.

Psalms 89:38-90:17 ‘Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’(Psalm 90:1-2). Lord, we read the words, ‘In the beginning, God…’, and we know, in our hearts, that You are ‘the eternal God’. You are ‘the high and exalted One’. You are the God ‘who inhabits eternity’. You are the God ‘who lives for ever’. You have no beginning. You have no end. You are ‘the beginning and the end’. Our life on earth has a beginning. It has an end. We trust in You, ‘the eternal God.’ We rejoice in Your precious promises – ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’; ‘The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’(Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 21:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23).

Whatever Happens - Don't Stop Praying.

Psalm 88:1-18 Lord, we see the Psalmist ‘down in the dumps.’ He feels like he is ‘in the depths of the Pit.” He feels like he is ‘in the darkest depths’(Psalm 88:6). This is the way he feels, but he has not stopped praying – ‘O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before You… I call to You, O Lord, every day… I cry to You for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You’(Psalm 88:1,9,13). Lord, we read his prayer – and it doesn’t make pleasant reading: ‘My soul is full of trouble… I am like a man without strength… Your wrath lies heavily upon me… the darkness is my closest friend’(Psalm 88:3-4,7,18). How can we be helped when we feel like this? We thank You, Lord, that we can be helped by Jesus. He knows what it feels like. For us, He has entered the ‘darkness’- ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?’. For us, He has triumphed – ‘risen from the dead’(Matthew 27:45-46; 28:5-7). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus, our great Saviour.

Lord, You’re calling us to love You with our whole heart.

Psalm 119:145-176 ‘With my whole heart I cry; answer me, O Lord!’ (Psalm 119:145). Lord, You’re calling us to pray. There is nothing more important than this. If other things have become more important in our lives, we need to think about the way we are living. You want to send Your blessing into our lives: ‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). Your blessing will come to those who seek him with their whole heart: ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:13). If we do not ask, we will not receive: ‘You do not have, because you do not ask’ (James 4:2). Your blessing is not given to those who are half-hearted. You’re calling us to love You with our whole heart: ‘I long for Your salvation, O Lord, and Your law is my delight’ (Psalm 119:174).

Lord, have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Help us to walk with You in the light of Your Word.

Psalm 119:121-144 ‘The entrance of Your words gives light’ (Psalm 119:130). Lord, Your Word brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people ‘love darkness rather than light’. They  refuse to ‘come to the light’. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what You are saying to them through Your Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame You. They say, ‘It’s all Your fault’! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with You. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in Your Word. They could have learned to cope with life’s difficulties. They could have been filled with Your strength. They would not be complaining against You. They would be rejoicing in You. What about us, Lord? How much are we moulded by the world’s way of thinking? Have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Lord. Lord, You have “called us out of darkness into Your marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:10). Help …

Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn.

Psalm 119:97-120 Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn. How do we learn from You? – You open up Your Word to us. You speak to us words of life. You shine Your light upon us. You show us how much You love us. Every day You have something to say to us. Every day, You have something to share with us. Every day, You show us more of Your love for us. Help us, each and every day, to take time to learn from You. Throughout life, Lord, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don’t affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. Help us, Lord, to make the one choice which is more important than any other – Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are ‘double-minded’(Psalm 119:113). They can’t make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ – but they are still ‘in love …

You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Psalm 119:73-96 Lord, we rejoice in Your ‘constant love’. This is our ‘comfort’ - You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - ‘Men persecute me with lies... They have almost succeeded in killing me’. There’s one thing that never changes - Your ‘constant love’. You love us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. Your love inspires us to keep on loving You when we feel like giving up in despair (Psalm 11976,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, ‘Where are You, Lord, in all of this? Have You abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting You and rejoicing in Your Word?’. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, help us, Lord, to remember Your Word - ‘Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever... Your faithfulness endures through all the ages’ (Psalm 119:89-90).

Those who fear You, Lord, have no need to live in fear of man.

Psalms 111:1-112:10 'Praise the Lord... To Him belong eternal praise... Blessed is the man who fears the Lord... His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes...'(Psalm 111:1,10; Psalm 112:1,8). Those who 'fear' You, Lord, have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that ‘eternal praise’ belongs to You, Lord, can face their enemies with confidence. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is You. We know how good You have been to us - ‘He provided redemption for His people’. We thank You that we have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not ‘fear’ any ‘bad news’ which the devil sends our way. We 'trust' in You, Lord, confident that the ‘light ‘will triumph over the ‘darkness’. We thank You that the Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil’s bad news (Psalm 111:9; Psalm 112:4,7).

What, Lord, are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us?

Psalm 109:1-31 Lord, we come to You, recognizing that, without You, our situation is hopeless - ‘I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow’(Psalm 109:22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to You, Lord, praying for Your help, asking You to save us - ‘Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love’(Psalm 109:26). Help us, Lord, to look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Help us to put our trust in You and Your strength. You will not fail us. You ‘stand beside’ us in our time of testing. You ‘save’ us from our enemies. Help us to keep on praising You: ‘I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people...’(Psalm 109:30-31).

Lord, our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory?

Psalm 108:1-13 ‘With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies’(Psalm 108:13). In ourselves, Lord, there is only defeat. We are no match for ‘our enemies’- the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world - ‘The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear’. We live with the constant problem of the flesh - ‘the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will.’ Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy - the devil: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against... the spiritual forces of evil...’(Ephesians 6:12). Lord, our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: You, Lord, are with us - and ‘with God we shall win the victory’!

Some things are worth repeating!

Psalm 107:1-43 Lord, there are some things that are worth repeating! The story of Your amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again - ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6,13,19,28). The call to praise You is also something we need to hear again and again - ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8,15,21,31). Help us, Lord, 'consider Your great love.' Help us to ‘give thanks to You’(Psalm 107:43,1).

A History Of Sin - And A History Of Salvation

Psalm106:1-48 Lord, we read about Israel’s sin - ‘They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel... They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise... They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord... They rebelled against the Spirit of God’(Psalm 106:13,24-25,33). This is not only ancient history. It’s the story of our life! We read this, and we must join in Israel’s confession of sin: ‘We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly’(Psalm 106:6). We thank You, Lord, that the history of Israel is not only a history of sin. It's also a history of salvation: ‘He saved them...’(Psalm 106:8,10). When, Lord, we read of Your salvation, may we echo the prayer of Your people - ‘Save us, O Lord our God...’ May we join with them in praising You - ‘Praise be to the Lord...’(Psalm 106:47-48).

When things are going badly and we feel like giving up ...

Psalm 105:23-45 ‘He brought His people out with joy’(Psalm 105:43). When things are going badly and we feel like giving up, help us, Lord, to remember Your Word: ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’(Nehemiah 8:10). You're calling us to ‘rejoice in You always’. You do not leave us on our own when our time of testing comes. You are there for us in our time of need: ‘My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’(Philippians 4:4,19). When we are deeply conscious of our own weakness, You come to us with Your Word of strength: ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness’(2 Corinthians 12:9). Through Your Word, we receive strength. Your Word brings joy to us. May we sing ‘glad songs of victory’: ‘The Lord is my Strength, my Song, my Saviour’(Psalm 118:14-15).

How, Lord, do we receive Your strength?

Psalm 105:1-22
‘Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works that He has done...’(Psalm 105:4-5). Lord, You give strength to those who put their trust in You. Trusting in Christ, we have this great testimony: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(Philippians 4:13). How, Lord, do we receive Your strength? We must '‘seek Your face always'. We must not think we can face difficult circumstances in our strength. Without Your strength, we will be defeated. You have helped us in the past. Help us never to forget this. Help us to give thanks to You for every victory won. As we face temptation, help us to remember Your promise of victory: ‘God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. With the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape...’(1 Corinthians 10:13).

Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’?

Psalm 103:1-22 ‘Praise the Lord’(Psalm 103:1-2,20-22). Lord, You're calling us to praise You for His ‘steadfast love’. You are ‘abounding in steadfast love’(Psalm 103:8). How are we to respond to Your ‘steadfast love’? Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’? No! We must not think like this. We’re not to say, ‘I’ll keep on sinning. God will keep on forgiving’(Romans 6:1-2). Your Word tells us something very different. You love us. Teach us to love You. When Your ‘steadfast love’ has really touched our hearts, it changes our lives: ‘As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him... The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him’(Psalm 103:11,17). We thank You, Lord, for Your love. Help us to live to please You!

Are Things Really So Different?

Psalms 101:1-102:28 ‘I will sing of Your love... I will walk with integrity of heart...’(Psalm 101:1-2). Lord, we read these words, from many centuries ago, and, too quickly, we say, ‘Things are very different now.’ Are they really so different? Are worshipping You and walking with You out-of-date now? Are they to be forgotten? So many people have no time for You, Lord. They feel that they can do without You. They refuse to worship You. They do not walk with You. In our ever-changing world, You keep on speaking to us about something we must never forget: You, Lord, are ‘enthroned for ever’. Your ‘Name endures to all generations’. In all the changes of life, You, Lord, ‘remain the same’. Your ‘years go on through all generations’. Your ‘years will never end’(Psalm 102:12,24,27). Lord, we read Your Word, and we say, "These words were ‘written for a future generation’". They were written for us. Help us never to forget to ‘praise You’(Psalm 102:18)!

Holy Fear And Heartfelt Love

Psalms 98:1-100:5 ‘Exalt the Lord our God... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’(Psalm 99:5,9; Psalm 98:4,6; Psalm 100:1). Lord, You're calling us to worship You with joy. You're calling us to glorify You. You want us to enjoy You. In our worship, may we never forget Your holiness: ‘He is holy!... The Lord our God is holy!’(99:5,9). In our worship, may we rejoice in Your love: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever... He has done marvellous things!’(Psalm 100:5; Psalm 98:1). You are the God of ‘awesome purity’ - and You love us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee...’. Help us to worship You with holy fear and heartfelt love.

Lord, You are the King - ‘the King all-glorious above’, ‘the King of love.’

Psalms 96:1-97:12 ‘The Lord reigns’(Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1). Lord, You are the King. You are not only ‘the King all-glorious above’. You are ‘the King of love’. You are ‘our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!’ You are not only ‘the King of heaven’. You are ‘the God of grace’. You are ‘the King of mercy.’ Your reign is not to be restricted to some faraway heaven. It is not to be a reign that is far removed from the practicalities of our everyday life. You want to reign in our hearts. You want to reign in every part of our life. May Your reign of love begin. May Your grace and mercy control all that we do.

Lord, You’re calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:1-11 ‘Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord… Let us come before Him with thanksgiving… Come, let us bow down in worship…’(Psalm 95:1-2,6). Lord, You’re calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving. We rejoice in You. We give thanks for Your love. You are ‘the great God’. You are ‘our God’. You are the God of creation – ‘In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land’. You are the God of salvation – ‘We are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care’(Psalm 95:3-5,7). When, Lord, we hear You calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving, help us to open our hearts to You: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’(7-8). When we hear Your call to worship, may we open our hearts to the Spirit of worship.

You, Lord, Are Able To Keep Us From Falling.

Psalm 94:1-23 ‘When I said, “My foot is slipping”, Your love, O Lord, supported me’(Psalm 94:18). You, Lord, are ‘able to keep us from falling’. We are ‘kept by Your power’. Help us to put our trust in You. May we be confident of this: ‘God, who began His good work in us, will carry it through to completion on the Day of Christ Jesus’. Help us to ‘press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus’. As we ‘press on’, may we never forget this: ‘It is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good purpose’. Help us to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus’, trusting in His promise: ‘My sheep listen to My voice… I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of My hand…’(Jude 24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Philippians 1:6; 3:14; 2:13; Hebrews 12:2; John 10:27-30).

God Is Not Exalted Because We Exalt Him. We Exalt Him Because He Is Exalted.

Psalms 92:1-93:5 ‘You, O Lord, are exalted for ever… The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty…’(Psalm 92:8; Psalm 93:1-2). You, Lord, are ‘exalted’. Help us to exalt You in our worship. You are not exalted because we exalt You. We exalt You because You are exalted. You are ‘exalted far above all gods’. That is why we sing, ‘I exalt Thee, O Lord’. ‘He is exalted, the King is exalted on high’- This is the truth concerning You, Lord. ‘I will praise Him’- This is our response to Your truth. We sing, ‘Jesus, we enthrone You, we proclaim You our King’. This is our response to the eternal truth concerning our Saviour: ‘The Lord is enthroned as King for ever’. ‘From all eternity’ the Lord is ‘robed in majesty’. Help us, Lord, to respond to His majesty. Help us to ‘magnify’ You, Lord – ‘O Lord our God, how majestic is Thy Name’(Psalm 97:9; Psalm 29:10; Mission Praise, 158,217,388,507).

The God Whom We Worship Is So Much Greater Than The Worship We Bring To Him.

Psalm 145:1-21
‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding’. Let us worship our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’(1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’. We celebrate His great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We rejoice in His great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His ‘everlasting Kingdom’. There, we will ‘praise His Name for ever and ever’(7-8, 13,21).

Psalm 146:1-10
‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(2). Praising the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own s…

God ‘Blesses’ Us Through ‘His Word.’ He ‘Blesses’ Us In ‘The Spirit.’

Psalm 147:1-20
‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’(2-3). This is much more than the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. This is God building up His people in their ‘most holy faith’(Jude 20). This is God blessing His people as they gather together to worship Him. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’(Ephesians 2:22). The Lord draws us to Himself. He brings us into fellowship with His people. He calls us to worship Him: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. He ‘blesses’ us through ‘His Word’. He ‘blesses’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘He sends His Word... and the waters flow’(7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

Psalms 148:1-150:6
‘Praise the Lord’. Psalms 146 and 147 began and ended with these words. Now, we find the same beginning and ending in each of these three Psalms - ‘Praise the Lord’. Our personal song of praise to God - ‘Pra…

The Saviour Is More Important Than The Preacher.

1 Corinthians 2:6-3:23
We come to know God when ‘the Spirit’ leads us to 'Jesus Christ' (2:10-13; 3:11; John 16:14).
We must not attach too much importance to the preachers - ‘What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants ...’. When we make too much of the servant, we draw attention away from the Saviour.
There is a very important lesson here - ‘Neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth’ (3:5-7).
We are not members of a ‘mutual appreciation society’ - ‘You pat my back, and I’ll pat yours’!
We must learn to point to Jesus, saying, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’ (John 3:30).
Let ‘Jesus take the highest honour’. Let His Name be ‘the Name high over all’. ‘’Tis all my business... to cry Behold the Lamb!’ (Mission Praise, 378,385) - Let’s say it and mean it!

Keeping Our Focus On Christ

1 Corinthians 1:1-2:5
Paul preached the Gospel, ‘not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (17; 2:4). He preached 'Christ crucified' with a determination ‘to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified’(23; 2:2). This is the message of our salvation - ‘Christ crucified... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (23-24). All the glory belongs to God. We have no right to steal away any of the glory for ourselves: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’ (26-31). Our faith is ‘not based on human wisdom but on God’s power’ (2:5). ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ (Mission Praise, 712). Christ is our full salvation. ‘Let us rejoice and be glad’ in Him’ (30; Psalm 118:24).

More Of Christ And Less Of Self!

1 Corinthians 5:1-6:11
‘Your boasting is not good’ - May we never become so taken up with ourselves that we forget Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us: ‘Christ, ou r Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us’, ‘you were washed... sanctified... justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (5:6-7; 6:11).
There were problems among God’s people - ‘sexual immorality’, ‘lawsuits’ (5:1; 6:7). In all of this, Christ was being forgotten.
* There are no depths to which we cannot sink when we take our eyes off Christ.
* There are no heights to which we will not be raised as we look away from ourselves to Him. Christ is able to lift from the guttermost and ‘save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25).
Let it be more of Christ and less of self!

Celebrating The Lord's Supper In Joyful Obedience

1 Corinthians 11:1-34
We celebrate the Lord’s Supper (23-26).
We take note of what Paul says about the way we are to come to the Lord’s Table (27-29).
What’s this all about? Is it about the whole thing looking good - impressive?
Paul gives us something to think about in verse 22 - ‘Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the Church of God and humiliate those who have nothing?’
In Paul’s questions, we hear an echo of the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 1:12-20; Amos 5:21-24).
We rejoice in John 3:16 - ‘God so loved the world…’.
Let’s not forget 1 John 3:16-18 - ‘let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.’
Jesus says, ‘…first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift’ (Matthew 5:23-24).
Don’t just think about it. Act on it (James1:22-25; 2:14-17)!

Trusting, Loving And Serving Christ, Our Victorious Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:46-16:24
In Christ, there is ‘victory’ - glorious, eternal, heavenly victory (54-57).
Every day, we face a battle. It is a battle for faith, love and service.
(a) We are called to trust the Lord: ‘Stand firm in your faith’ (13). We are to have faith. It is to be a growing faith, a faith which is growing stronger.
(b) We are called to love the Lord. This is to be the most important thing in our life: ‘love for the Lord’ (21). Christ’s question comes to us: ‘Do you love Me?’ (John 21:15-17). Is our love for Him growing stronger or getting weaker?
(c) We are called to serve the Lord: ‘Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (58). Let’s get rid of the lazy, ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude. We shall be victorious through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus’ (23).

Let's Live As Resurrection People!

1 Corinthians 15:1-45
Here, we learn of Christ’s resurrection: the fact - ‘Christ has been raised from the dead’ - and the meaning - ‘the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (20).
* We look back to His resurrection. We ‘remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead’ (2 Timothy 2:8).
* We look forward to our own resurrection. We will be ‘raised’ - ‘imperishable… in glory… in power… a spiritual body’ (42-44).
Looking back to His resurrection and looking forward to our own resurrection, we are to live, here and now, in ‘the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10).
* We believe the fact of the resurrection.
* We live in the power of the resurrection.
* We rejoice in the hope of the resurrection.
With ‘resurrection’ faith in the ‘resurrection’ God, let us live the ‘resurrection’ life as a ‘resurrection’ people!

Times Of Trouble Can Turn Out To Be Times Of Great...

2 Corinthians 1:1-2:11
Times of trouble can turn out to be times of great blessing - ‘God… comforts us in all our affliction’(1:3-4). Whether good things or bad things are happening to you, don’t forget this: God loves you. His Word is ‘not Yes and No’- ‘Yes, I love you. No, I don’t love you’. In Christ, His Word is ‘always Yes’(1:19). How do we know that God loves us? - ‘God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’(Romans 5:8). Whatever may happen to us, nothing can change this great fact: Christ died for us. This is the great fact of God’s love. Life is not easy. There is ‘Satan’, always seeking ‘to gain the advantage over us’(2:11). We do not stand alone in our battle against Satan. God ‘has given us His Spirit in our hearts’. He is the ‘guarantee’ of our final victory (1:22).

2 Corinthians 2:12-3:18
How do we react when things don’t seem to be going very well? We all need the encouragement of God’s Word: ‘Thanks be to God, who in Chr…

God Is Always Greater Than Our Inadequate Worship.

2 Samuel 22:8-51
David’s ‘song’ of praise is also found in Psalm 18. Some things are worth repeating! David is praising the Lord. He is giving glory to Him. We must never tire of praising God. We can never praise Him enough. He is always greater than our inadequate worship. He is ‘worthy to be praised’(4). Again and again, we must lift our hearts and voices to Him in praise. Think of the Lord. Think of how great He is. Think of how much He loves you. Think of how much He has done for you. Let your song of praise rise to Him: ‘The Lord lives; and blessed be my Rock, and exalted be my God, the Rock of my salvation’(47; Mission Praise, 306). Some things are worth repeating - when we’re giving all the praise and glory to the Lord! Praising the Lord- We were created for this. We have been redeemed for this.

Keep On Praying. Keep On Believing.

2 Samuel 21:1-22:7
There’s no two ways about it. God’s people were getting it rough. There seemed to be so many problems. Were they to give up hope? - Not a bit of it! Read verse 14 - ‘After that God heeded supplications for the land’. What happened when God heard and answered the prayers of His people? - ‘the plague was averted from Israel’(24:25). Things would have been an awful lot worse, if it was not for the Lord hearing and answering prayer! Keep on praying. Keep on believing that God hears and answers prayer. He is not a tragic victim of circumstances - ‘Poor God. He can do nothing about it all’. Don’t believe that. That’s the lie of the devil. He is still the living God. Things are not out of His control. He is still on the throne. God can, if we will - ‘If my people…’(2 Corinthians 7:14). Pray ‘for the land’!

The Blessing Comes Down As The Worship Goes Up.

Ezra 1:1-2:35
To ‘all’ of us, God gives His call. We are to ‘rebuild the House of the Lord’. To ‘all’ of us, He gives His strength: ‘Then... all those whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the House of the Lord’(1:3,5). If the work of God is to be done, every one must play their part. No one must opt out. No one must say, ‘There’s nothing for me to do’. There’s always something to do. There’s something for every one. God has so much work for us to do. We must not fail Him. He is calling you to serve Him. He will give you the strength that you need. Open your heart to Him. Surrender your life to Him. ‘Every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation, has the right to hear the news that Christ can save... Father, I am willing to dedicate to Thee, life and talent, time and money. Here am I, send me’.

Ezra 2:36-3:13
At the heart of God’s work, there is worship - ‘praising and giving thanks to the Lord’. This is our first priority. We must not forget t…

God Wants To Bless Us. How Much Do We Want To Be Blessed By Him?

Ezra 8:1-36
The return of God’s people to Jerusalem was not simply a geographical return - moving from one place to another. It was a spiritual return. They were returning to the Lord. They were seeking His blessing (21). Without God’s blessing, we are nothing. We may have happy memories of better days, recalling ‘the good old days’. We may look back to times of blessing, remembering how the hand of the Lord was upon us. If this is all we have, we have nothing. We are no longer in the place of blessing. We need to return to the Lord. The times of blessing can come again. God gives us His promise: ‘The hand of our God is for good upon all that seek Him’(22). God wants to bless us. How much do we want to be blessed by Him? If the times of blessing are to return to us, we must ‘return to the Lord’(Isaiah 55:6-13).

Ezra 9:1-10:44
The return of God’s blessing begins with a real confession of sin - ‘our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens’(9:6…

When Your Head Goes Down, The Lord Will Lift You Up.

Ezra 4:1-5:17
God’s work does not always move forward smoothly. We face determined opposition. Where there is opportunity, there will be opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9). The servants of Satan rise up to oppose the servants of the Lord. This is what happens here. The Lord’s enemies had some success: ‘the work on the House of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill’. This was, however, only a temporary setback. God gave new strength to His servants. He sent His ‘prophets, Haggai and Zechariah’. They brought His Word to the people. Strengthened by their ministry of God’s Word, ‘Zerubbabel... arose and began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem’ (4:24-5:2). God’s work was back on track. His people were moving forward - again. When your head goes down, let the Lord come to you. He will lift you up!

Ezra 6:1-7:28
God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word. Haggai and Zechariah were faithful in preaching God’s Word to the people. Their pre…

Waiting Patiently For God's Answer

Habakkuk 1:1-2:14
‘How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?’(1:2). There are times when it seems that God is not listening to us. What are we to do when we feel like this? Are we to give up on God? Are we to stop praying? No! We must wait patiently for the Lord’s answer - ‘I will look to see what He will say to me’. We must not forget His promise: ‘The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord’(2:1; Lamentations 3:25-26). ‘The vision awaits its time... If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay’. Let us ‘live by faith’, awaiting the Day when ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’(2:3-4,14).

Wait On The Lord And Renew Your Strength.

Habakkuk 2:15-3:19
We are to ‘be silent before God. We are to ‘stand in awe’ of Him. In His holy presence, we become deeply conscious of our sin which separates us from Him: ‘Your eyes are too pure to look on evil’. Confessing our sin to God, we pray that ‘in wrath’ He will ‘remember mercy’. We pray that He will ‘renew’ us with His blessing. God answers our prayer. He sends His ‘glory’ into our lives. He fills our hearts with His ‘praise’: ‘I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Lord God is my Strength. He makes my feet like the feet of the deer. He enables me to go on the heights’. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles...’(2:20; 3:2; 1:13; 3:18-19; Isaiah 40:31).

Kept By The Power Of God

Philippians 1:1-2:11
Do you feel like you can`t go on? Do you feel like giving up? Here`s God`s Word of encouragement for you: ‘He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ’(1:6). God finishes what He starts - ‘He didn`t bring us this far to leave us. He didn`t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn`t build His home in us to move away. He didn`t lift us up to let us down’. In all the changes of life, we must remember this: God is faithful. His love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. We don`t keep going because we are strong. We are ‘kept by the power of God’(1 Peter 1:5). In ‘humility’ let us live ‘to the glory and praise of God’(2:3; 1:11). ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’(2:11) - He will give you the strength to keep going when you feel like giving up.

God Is Calling Us To Be Faithful To Him.

Nahum 1:1-2:9
‘Fulfil your vows’ (1:15). God is calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading His Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. That kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love’. We are to live ‘for the glory of God’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise... Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).
Nahum 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to Him, God speaks His Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (2:13; 3:5). Those who refuse to listen to God’s Word of salvation - ‘…