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Showing posts from December, 2015

A New Direction In Life

Amos begins with a humble description of himself - "one of the sheep farmers" (Amos 1:1). Being a prophet of God has nothing to do with  what we are in ourselves. It's all about God. It's all about His grace and His call. Looking after sheep - This is such an apt description of the ministry of a pastor. "The Lord roars from Zion" (Amos 1:2). These words make us think of a lion. This could be terrifying for sheep. Think of the lion - Aslan - from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (C S Lewis). It's a picture of Christ. His voice is more than a roar. It's the voice of love. The "roar" speaks of authority. The greatest authority is the authority of love. How does the Lord command our respect? He loves us. As we learn to appreciate His love, we learn to love Him. Our love for Him is inspired by His love for us. As we learn to love Him, our obedience to Him increases in strength. "The Lord has said this" (A…

Visions Of God's Eternal Kingdom

The visions, given to Daniel, concerned God’s eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:27). This eternal dimension must never be lost. If we have nothing to which we can look forward, with confidence in the eternal God, we are, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “of all men most miserable.” When we look, through faith in Jesus Christ, beyond the earthly horizon, we catch a glimpse of the eternal glory, and our faith is increased. We come to believe, most firmly, that what happens, here on earth, is not the last word on our life. God is preparing us for His Kingdom. He is preparing His Kingdom for us. “Daniel saw a vision” (Daniel 8:1). With this vision, there was the explanation. Daniel falls down. He hears these words, “Son of man, understand that the vision is about the end times” (Daniel 8:17). Daniel does not remain facedown. He is lifted up: “Then he touched me and raised me to my feet” (Daniel 8:18). Daniel 8 ends with these words - “The vision horrified me, because I couldn’t un…

A Faithful Follower Of The Lord

Daniel was a faithful follower of the Lord. He refused to follow a worldly way of living (Daniel 1:8). He loved the Lord. He refused to follow a way of life which would harm his walk with God. He is a great example for those who take seriously the call to live in obedience to God. As we read about Daniel’s single-minded devotion to the Lord, we are challenged to live in obedience to God’s holy Word rather than following the ways of the sinful world which is always threatening to pull us away from the Lord. In Daniel 2, we read about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation. God is speaking to Nebuchadnezzar. God is speaking through Daniel. The heart of the message, given in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation, is summed up in Daniel 2:44 - “At the time of those kings, the God of heaven will establish a Kingdom that will never be destroyed ... It will be established forever.” These are prophetic words. They look far beyond Daniel’s time. They loo…

Can Things Be Turned Around?

In Ezekiel 26, we find an awesome Word of judgment, spoken against the city of Tyre. The Word, spoken by God through His prophet, is uncompromising - “Tyre, you famous city, you have been destroyed” (Ezekiel 26:17). The effect of Tyre’s fall is described: “Your defeat will make the people, who live by the coast, tremble. Your end will terrify the islands in the sea” (Ezekiel 26:18). This is the fear of the Lord. We become aware that it’s a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The Gospel tells us about the hands that were nailed to the Cross for us, so that we might pass from judgment to salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a continuation of the Word of judgment, which began in Ezekiel 26. How final are the words at the end of Ezekiel 27: “You have come to a terrible end, and you will never exist again” (Ezekiel 27:36). This is the bad news concerning all of us. We are sinners. We are under God’s judgment. Our only hope is the God of grac…

Search The Scriptures: Genesis

Genesis 1:1-2:3 There is, here, a real sense of the majesty of God. He is "beyond description." We cannot comprehend Him. We can hardly put into words this sense of God's greatness. We are transported into an eternal dimension, which is so different from our earthly existence. We read, "In the beginning, God ... " (1:1). Many live as if God was absent, as if humanity was the only reality. Here, it is we who are absent from view. Here, we see God only. Humanity only comes into view when God chooses (1:26-27). Everything about this is God-centred rather than man-centred. The light comes when God says, "Let there be light" (1:3). Prior to God's Word of command, in 1:3, we see "the Spirit of God hovering" (1:2). The Spirit is on the alert, ready to move into action, ready for the Word of God to be spoken, ready to empower the Word so that it becomes mightily effective. All that follows - described as "very good" - com…

Called into the service of the eternal God

Jeremiah was called into the service of the eternal God - “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for My holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah called the people back to the Lord, “the fountain of living (life-giving) water” (Jeremiah 2:13). He called them to be converted - to turn around. They were turning their backs on the Lord. They were replacing Him with something else, something useless, something that would never bring them real satisfaction (Jeremiah 2:13). Now, they were to turn their faces to Him (Jeremiah 2:27). To a returning people, God promises his mercy - “Come back, unfaithful Israel. It is the Lord speaking. I will no longer frown on you because I’m merciful, declares the Lord, I will no longer be angry with you.” returning to the Lord means confessing our sins - “Admit that you’ve done wrong! You have rebelled against the Lord your God ...” The message of Jerem…

God speaks His Word of love - His Word of forgiveness, peace and hope.

Samaria and Jerusalem behaved like prostitutes. In graphic language, the sin of turning from the Lord is compared to sexual immorality. Why does God expose their sin with such plainness of speech? He wants to show them the full extent of their rebellion, so that they may see the folly of continuing in sin and may be moved to return to the Lord - “Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 23:49). In Ezekiel 24, we learn about God’s holiness and His love. If we are to appreciate the wonderful love God has for sinners, we need to become more deeply aware of the awesome holiness of God’s hatred of sin. We look at our sin. We look at God’s holiness. We learn about ourselves. We see how far we have fallen short of God’s glory. We learn about God. We come to know that He is the Lord. Deeply aware of God’s holiness and our own sin, we are led, by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, to see Jesus, crucified for us. We hear about God’s holiness. This is the Word of His…

"The Lord’s Spirit came to me and told me to say ... Listen to the Word of the Lord.”

“The Lord’s glory rose from the angels” (Ezekiel 10:4); “The Spirit lifted me” (Ezekiel 11:1) - These prophecies of Ezekiel bring us into the presence of God. “the sound of the Almighty God when He speaks” (Ezekiel 10:5); “The Lord’s Spirit came to me and told me to say” (Ezekiel 11:5) - When we are in the Lord’s presence, He speaks His Word to us. He speaks to us, so that we might speak for Him. “The Spirit lifted me up” (Ezekiel 11:24); “The Lord spoke His Word to me” (Ezekiel 12:1) - The Word and the Spirit belong together. The Spirit inspires the Word. The Word expresses the mind of the Spirit. “This is the divine revelation” (Ezekiel 12:10); “This is what the Almighty Lord says, Everything that I say will no longer be delayed. Whatever I say will happen, declares the Almighty Lord” (Ezekiel 12:28). Through His Word and His Spirit, the Almighty Lord is leading us on to His future. He is lifting us up to glory - His heavenly and eternal glory. “Listen to the Word of t…

Give Me Wisdom ...

“Give me wisdom and knowledge so that I may lead these people ... This great people of Yours” (2 Chronicles 1:10). Wisdom is not given to us for our own benefit, It is given to us for the benefit of others - so that we might lead them to the Lord. We are to follow in the footsteps of our Lord. He “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). “I want to build the Temple for the Lord my God. I want to dedicate it to Him” (2 Chronicles 2:4). Everything that we do is to be done for God. Everything that we do is to be dedicated to Him. This is the lesson that we learn from Solomon and the building of the Temple. We are to do all things for the glory of God. He alone is worthy of our praise. We are not only to worship Him in the place of worship and at the time set aside for worship. We are to worship Him all of the time, wherever we are. We are to praise Him in His House. We are to continue to praise Him, as we go out from His House to the world. The building of the Tem…

God's Power - And God's Mercy

"Listen to my cry for help, O Lord" (Psalm 61:1). God is the God of power and mercy: "Power belongs to God. Mercy belongs to You, O Lord" (Psalm 62:11-12), "I look to You in the holy place to see Your power and Your glory. My lips will praise You because Your mercy is better than life itself" (Psalm 63:3). When we consider how great God is - great in power, great in mercy, we are filled with thanksgiving, praise and joy - "I will thank You as long as I live ... My mouth will sing Your praise with joyful lips" (Psalm 63:4-5).

The joy of the Lord and the fear of the Lord

As well as the joy of the Lord, there is also to be the fear of the Lord in our worship. Psalms 97, 98 and 100 speak of the joy of the Lord: “Find joy in the Lord, you righteous people” (Psalm 97:12). “Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth. Break into joyful singing” (Psalm 98:4). “Shout happily to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord cheerfully. Come into His presence with a joyful song” (Psalm 100:1-2). Psalm 99 emphasizes the importance of the fear of the Lord: “The Lord rules as King. Let the people tremble. He is enthroned over the angels. Let the earth quake” (Psalm 99:1).

Personal worship - and public worship

Psalm 129 speaks of God's judgment upon "wicked people who attack" the Lord's people. Psalm 130 is a prayer for forgiveness. In Psalm 131, the Psalmist comes to the Lord with humility - "My heart is not conceited" (Psalm 130:1). In Psalm, he worships the Lord with joy - "Let your godly ones sing with joy" (Psalm 132:9); "Then Zion's godly ones will sing joyfully" (Psalm 132:16). Our worship is not only personal worship. It is also public worship - worshipping in fellowship with the Lord's people: "See how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters live together in harmony" (Psalm 133:1).

Our Refuge And Our Rock

God is our “Refuge” (Psalm 142:5). In His “mercy”, He leads us in His way. He protects us and rescues us from our enemies (Psalm 143:8-9). The Lord, “the One in whom we take refuge”, is described by the Psalmist as “my Rock... My merciful One, my Fortress, my Stronghold, my Saviour, my Shield” (Psalm 144:1-2). The Lord is “great.” He is to be praised “every day.” He is to be praised “forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1-3).

Perfect love and perfect holiness

The Word of God speaks to us of God, who is both holy and loving. This God calls for our response to His Word. In love, He calls us to come to Him and receive His forgiveness. In holiness, He warns us that rebellion leads to judgment (Isaiah 1:18-20). His Word gives us a glimpse of His love and His holiness. The God of perfect love and perfect holiness invites us to say, from the heart, “Let’s go to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob” (Isaiah 2:3). God’s blessing is promised to those who will honour Him as their God – “Tell the righteous that blessings will come to them” (Isaiah 3:10). Alongside this promise, there is also the warning: “How horrible it will be for the wicked! Disaster will strike them” (Isaiah 3:11).

The coming Saviour and the coming Kingdom

Isaiah 10 speaks of a divine judgment, in which the only “survivors” will be those who “depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 10:20). Isaiah 11 contains a Messianic prophecy. These are words, which point forward to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. They are words of the coming Kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-10). Isaiah 12 contains a hymn of praise to God: “I will praise You, O Lord” (Isaiah 12:1), which is followed by a call to praise God – “Praise the Lord …” (Isaiah 12:4-6). This is a short chapter. It only has six verses. Its words are very precious. We can come to these words, again and again, and experience the fulfilment of the Lord’s precious promise: “With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). This is the “living water”, which is Christ Himself.

The “Hallelujah” arises from the hearts of God’s people.

The Lord “turns a rock into a pool, filled with water, and turns flint into a spring flowing with water” (Psalm 114:8). The “Hallelujah” arises from the hearts of God’s people (Psalm 115:18; Psalm 116:19; Psalm 117:2), “The Lord is responsible for this, and it is amazing for us to see” (Psalm 118:23).

The Beginning Of Conflict And The Promise Of Victory

“Created in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26-27) - “God saw everything that He had created … it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). At the end of Genesis 1, things couldn’t get any better. It looked so promising. The future looked bright with hope. It was bright with the light of God’s love. Everything looked so good. Could things get any better than this? Sometimes when we feel like this, there can be trouble just around the next corner! That’s what we have in Genesis 3. It begins with the question, “Did God say?” (Genesis 3:1). This is asking for trouble – big trouble! Before long, questioning becomes contradiction – “the serpent said to the woman, ‘You shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4). God says one thing. The serpent (Satan – see Revelation 12:9) says something else. He says the exact opposite! From that moment, there was conflict – but there was also the promise of victory. In Genesis 3:15, there’s a great prophecy. It points forward to the death of Jesus Christ, our Sav…

Couldn't care less! Can't be bothered! ...

Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered! Many people have this attitude toward Jesus Christ and His Church. Perhaps, it’s your attitude right now as you begin to read this invitation. God’s attitude to you is exactly the opposite. He cares for you! He is bothered with you! God’s care! God’s “being bothered”! Doesn’t that make you think, “What right have I to say to God, “Couldn’t care less! Can’t be bothered! Take time to read this invitation carefully. It may change your life.  * Perhaps, you’re thinking, 'Why should God care about me?' There is no answer to this question apart from the love of God. Look at yourself honestly. God should really have given up on all of us a long time ago – but He hasn’t! God sent His Son – Jesus Christ – to seek and to save the lost. God patiently waits for those who have lost their way in life (that’s all of us!) to come back to Him through trusting Jesus Christ as Saviour.  * Perhaps, you’re wondering, 'How do I know that God cares about me…

Praying for preachers

Lord, we pray for those who have been called to bring Your Word to Your people. May their words help us to be “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).May their words be a living echo of the words of Jesus our Saviour: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel” (Luke 4:18). May their words help us to “hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). May their words help us to “worship You in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). May their words help us to “pray in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18). May their words help us to say, “The Lord has blessed us. Praise His holy Name.”

From the Spirit, we receive new strength – God’s strength ...

In ourselves, we are weak. From the Spirit, we receive new strength – God’s strength, the strength that we need to live for the Lord, the strength that we need to be His “witnesses” (Acts 1:8). This is the lesson that we’re learning from Acts. Remember what Peter was like at the time of the crucifixion. He denied the Lord three times (Matthew 26:69-75). Look at what he was like on the Day of Pentecost. Peter preached – and “three thousand” people received new life in Christ. Peter had changed – and lots of other people were changed with him. What was it that changed Peter? – It was the Spirit: “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:4). In the Old Testament, God had given His promise: “I will pour out My Spirit” (Joel 2:28).  On the Day of Pentecost, He fulfilled His promise (Acts 2:14-17).
  Can we be changed? Yes. The Holy Spirit can do great things in us and through us – when we pray, “Holy Spirit, we welcome You. Please accomplish in us today some new work of loving gra…

"Jurassic Park" - a modern "Tower of Babel"

Genesis 11
* "Scientists can become so fascinated by what they could do that they do not even stop to think about whether they should." (Dr Ian Malcolm). * "God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs" (Dr Ian Malcolm).
* "I was overwhelmed by the power of this place, but I did not have enough respect for that power" (Dr Ellie Sattler). Monsters are created and morality is forgotten (see Robin Cook's book, Mutation). "Can we do this?" is not the only question that needs to be asked. "Should we do this?" must also be asked. When is morality forgotten? - We forget morality when we forget God. We forget morality when we forget to ask. "What does God want us to do?" What happens when God is forgotten, when we forget about what God wants us to do? "Come, let us build ourselves a city (a 'Jurassic Park') and a tower with its top …

Less About The Preacher And More About The Lord!

1 Corinthians 14:13-40
‘Be eager to prophesy’ (39).
Preaching God’s Word to the people is important. It is not everything. It is to be accompanied by prayer and praise.
Many come to hear ‘the preacher.’ Few gather to pray that the whole service of worship will be filled with the presence of the Lord.
Some come to hear a ‘sermon.’ They show little real enthusiasm for worshipping the Lord. They want ‘the Word.’ There is no real heart for worship, witness, and work.
The preacher’s public performance becomes more important than the prayerful praise of God’s people.
‘All things’ are ‘done decently and in order’ yet the atmosphere is forbidding. The Spirit of God is not moving freely among the people of God (39-40).
Let there be less talking about the preacher and more concern with giving all the praise and glory to the Lord.

Worshipping the Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only ‘when there’s nothing better to do’!

Psalm 104:1-35
‘I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(Psalm 104:33). Sometimes, Lord, we feel like giving up. Other things become more important to us. Worshipping You gets pushed out to the edge of your life. Wrong attitudes creep in. It starts with the idea, ‘Worship’s just an hour on a Sunday’. Then, it becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I feel like it’. It soon becomes, ‘I’ll worship the Lord when I’ve nothing better to do’. Before long, all desire for worshipping You Lord has gone! Little-by-little, we drift away from the Lord. It’s time, for us, to start thinking about what’s happening. It’s time for a new beginning. It’s time for an ‘all my life’ commitment to worshipping You, Lord - not just on a Sunday, not only when I feel like it, not only ‘when there’s nothing better to do’!

The “Rock of our salvation”

Isaiah speaks words of prophecy concerning Jesus Christ, the “Rock of our salvation”, the “precious Cornerstone”, the “solid Foundation” (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus Christ gives us the blessings of God’s salvation – “the deaf will hear the words, written in the book. The blind will see out of their gloom and darkness. Humble people again will find joy in the Lord” (Isaiah 29:18-19). With the Gospel proclamation – in Christ, there is full salvation – comes an appeal to come to Him and receive the blessings, promised to us by the God of love: “This is what the Almighty Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says, You can be saved by returning to Me. You can have rest. You can be strong by being quiet and by trusting Me” (Isaiah 30:15). The Lord is looking for our response. He longs to pour out His blessing on those who put their trust in Him: “The Lord is waiting to be kind to you. He rises to have compassion on you. The Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all those who wai…

What are we to do when our love for God grows weak?

Psalms 116:1-117:2 ‘I love the Lord... I will call on Him as long as I live’(Psalm 116:1-2). Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life. What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - ‘Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever’(117:2). When we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us. When we feel like giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us. He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak. In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us out of our weakness and into His strength. Let His strong love reach you in your weakness and give you His strength: ‘Loving Him who first loved me.’

We come to You, Lord, in our weakness, and You ‘renew our strength.’

Psalm 110:1-7 ‘The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand...’(Psalm 110:1). Lord, we read these words, and we think of our Lord Jesus Christ: When ‘He was taken up into heaven, He sat at the right hand of God’(Mark 16:19). When Jesus ascended to Your Father’s right hand, the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to fill our lives with Your blessing (John 7:37-39). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed: ‘In the Day of Your power, Your people will come to You willingly...’. We come to You, Lord, in our weakness, and You ‘renew our strength’. We come to You in our weariness, and we are ‘refreshed’ by Your ‘streams of living water’(Psalm 110,7). ‘Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace. Streams of mercy never ceasing call for songs of loudest praise.’

Lord, Your Word makes such a difference!

Psalm 119:49-72 Lord, Your Word makes such a difference! When everything seems so hopeless, we turn to Your Word,  and we find that there is ‘hope’ (Psalm 119:49). When we are going through a time of  terrible ‘suffering’, we turn to Your Word, and we find ‘comfort’ (Psalm 119:50,52). When everything seems to be going so badly, help us, Lord, to keep on reading Your Word: ‘The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget Your law’ (Psalm 119:61). Through Your Word, You are teaching us to see Your purpose in our sufferings: ‘The punishment You gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws’ (Psalm 119:71). You, Lord, are showing us what is really important: ‘The law that You gave means more to me than all the money in the world’ (Psalm 119:72). Teach us to see Your ‘love’ in every part of our life (Psalm 119:64).

The Lord's Great Love

Psalm 89:1-37 ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations’(Psalm 89:1). Lord, we read these words from so long ago. Many generations have come and gone since these words were written. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time. We thank You, Lord, that there is something that has never changed – Your great love for us. As we think of Your great love, may we say, in our hearts – The Lord is to be praised ‘for ever.’ He is to be praised ‘through all generations.’ Help us to look back and remember that Jesus Christ was crucified for us, that  He has risen for us. We thank You, Lord, for the Good News which inspires our praise: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever…’

Sent To Bring Life

“God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5).
We are to bring life. That’s why God has sent us. We are to bring the Saviour. We are to bring the Scriptures. We are to bring the Spirit. People coming to the Saviour, people learning from the Scriptures, people walking in the Spirit – this is what we’re praying for and working for.

Lord, You are the strength of Your people.

Psalms 28:1-29:11 Lord, You are “the strength of Your people.” May each of us say, “You are my strength” (Psalm 28:7-8). Your strength comes to us through fellowship. We receive strength from others, and we give strength to them. Your strength is more than human strength – the strength that comes to us through fellowship. It is the strength which comes to us through faith – faith in You, our Lord and our God.

We come to You, Lord, with our sin. You come to us with Your forgiveness.

Psalm 32:1-11 We come to You, Lord, with our sin. You come to us with Your forgiveness. What a tremendous blessing this is – the forgiveness of our sins (Psalm 32:1-2). You give Your promise to us: “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). We bring our prayer to You: “I make my sins known to You, and I did not cover up my guilt. I decided to confess them to You, O Lord. Then You forgave all my sins” (Psalm 32:5).

When, Lord, we’re feeling defeated, Your Word gives us great encouragement.

Psalms 60:1-61:8 “With God we shall gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12). When, Lord, we’re feeling defeated, Your Word gives us great encouragement. The battle isn’t ours. It’s Yours. The victory isn’t ours. It’s Yours. In the heat of the battle, You are our “strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:3). When we’re feeling the ferocity of Satan’s hostility towards the truth of Your Word and the Gospel of Your grace, help us to remember that You, Lord, are “enthroned for ever” (Psalm 61:7).

Salvation, security, singing and sharing

Psalm 40:1-17 Lord, we thank You for Your gifts – salvation, security, singing and sharing. You have saved us – “He drew me up from the desolate pit … ” (Psalm 40:1). You give us security – You “set my feet on a rock, making my feet secure” (Psalm 40:1). You give to us “a new song … a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3). You give us something wonderful to share with other people – “I have not hidden Thy saving help within my heart, I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation … ” (Psalm 40:10). Thank You, Lord.

Steadfast Love And Abundant Mercy

Psalm 69:1-36 When, Lord, we are going through “the deep waters” of suffering, help us to pray to You for deliverance (Psalm 69:16). We have sinned against You. We do not try to hide this – "the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from You, my guilt is not hidden from You” (Psalm 69:5). You are the God of “steadfast love” and “abundant mercy” (Psalm 69:16). We remember that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” You don’t send the judgment we deserve – This is Your mercy. You send the blessing we don't deserve – This is Your grace. Help us to come to You and receive Your “mercy” and Your “grace” (1 Timothy 1:13-16; Hebrews 4:14-16).

Victory comes from You, Lord.

Psalm 44:1-26 Victory comes from You, Lord. In ourselves, we are defeated. In You, there is victory. It’s so easy to forget this. We take our eyes off You, and we get despondent – “You have rejected and humbled us …You have made us retreat before the enemy … You gave us up to be devoured like sheep … My disgrace is before me all day long … ” (Psalm 44:9-16). What are we to do when such negative thoughts fill our minds? Lord, help us to pray, “Awake, O Lord! … Rise up and help us; redeem us because of Your unfailing love” (Psalm 44:23,26).

Words For Singing, Words For Living

Psalms 75:1-76:12 “Wegive thanks to You, O God … I will rejoice for ever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. Make your vows to the Lord your God, and perform them” (Psalm 785:1,9; Psalm 76:11). Teach us, Lord, that true rejoicing in You is more than singing praise to You. Teach us to live what we sing. “Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise.” “Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.” Such words are not to be forgotten as soon as we leave the place of worship. They’re more than words for singing. They’re words for living. How, Lord, can we live a life of praise and consecration? – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Lord, Your Word brings peace to our hearts - but Your blessing is not to be kept to ourselves.

Psalms 46:1-47:9 You call us, Lord, to “be still and know that You are God” (Psalm 46:10). You call us to “shout to You with songs of joy” (Psalm 47:2). Your Word brings peace to our hearts – “In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15). Your blessing is not to be kept to ourselves – “Sing to the Lord … Let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare His praise in the coastlands” (Isaiah 42:10-12). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your love for us, and to share Your love with others.

Lord, we worship You in the place of worship ...

Psalm 48:1-14 Lord, we worship You in the place of worship – “Within Your Temple, we meditate on Your unfailing love.” Help us to go out from there, and play our part in seeing that Your praise “reaches to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 48:: 9-11). How will other people know of Your love, if we don’t tell them? How will they find their way to Your House, if we don’t invite them? When we share Your Word with others, help us to remember Your promise: “My Word … will not return to Me empty, but will … achieve the purpose for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).