Charles’s quotes


"It is surely ours to combine these elements of mourning for sin and joy in our salvation in one complex and composite experience which keeps us perpetually humble and yet perpetually joyful too."— Rev William Still

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Our Rock And Our Salvation

You, Lord, are "our rock and our salvation" (Psalm 62:2,6).  We think of Your Son, Jesus Christ - the "Rock of our salvation" (1 Corinthians 10:1-4,16), and we say, "Your steadfast love is better than life ... I will praise You as long as I live" (Psalm 63:3-4). We look at Jesus, our great Saviour, and we say, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Friday, 23 December 2016

With God we shall gain the victory ...

"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).

Thursday, 22 December 2016

God's faithful love

“God sends His love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3).
Whatever may be happening in our lives, let’s remember God’s faithful love. Let's will look beyond everything that's happening to us. Let's catch a glimpse of God’s presence and purpose. : God is there, and He is fulfilling His purpose of “love and faithfulness.” In Jesus Christ, the love and faithfulness of God are seen more clearly than anywhere else. Rejoicing in God’s faithful love, let us say, from our hearts, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).


Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Create in me a clean heart ...

"Create in me a clean heart, O God... Cast me not away from Thy presence... Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation" (Psalm 51:10-12). These words come to us from the ancient past. They were first spoken many centuries ago. They can be the words which change your future. Make them your words. Make a new beginning with God.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

"Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love" (Psalm 48:9).

What do we do when human love fails? We look beyond human love. We look to divine love.  God's love never fails. It's an "unfailing love." We should think, often, of the love of God. We should think of Jesus - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16). We should think of the supreme demonstration of God's love - "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Think of Jesus. Thank God for Jesus.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

"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).

Saturday, 17 December 2016

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

Our strength comes from the Lord. In ourselves, we are weak. In Him, we are strong.

My heart is overflowing with Good News ...

"My heart is overflowing with Good News ... Grace is poured on your lips ... O warrior, strap your sword to your side ... Ride on victoriously in your majesty for the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness" (Psalm 45:1-4).
As we read this Psalm, we catch a glimpse of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ - "You are the most handsome of Adam's descendants" (Psalm 45:2). The Good News comes to us from Jesus. Grace comes to us from Jesus. We hear the Gospel. we believe in Jesus. He forgives our sins. He leads us in the way of victory. He teaches us truth, humility and righteousness. His truth sets us free - to become less self-centred and more Christ-centred. He teaches us the truth about ourselves. This keeps us humble. We're never any more than sinners who've been saved by His grace. He teaches us the truth about Himself. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord. As we learn of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, He creates in us a desire to become more like Him - to be "led in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Friday, 16 December 2016

My Saviour and my God

"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God ... He is my Saviour and my God ... my Rock" (Psalm 42:2,5,8).
The living God is our Saviour and our Rock. When we come to Him, our life can never the same again. We were lost. Now, we've been found. We were falling apart. Now, we're standing on the solid Rock.
"Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise Him. He is my Saviour and my God" (Psalm 42:11; 43:5).
These two verses are the same as each other. Some things are worth repeating. We need to hear them over and over again. We get discouraged. Our heads go down. We get restless. We're being pulled in different directions. The pull of the world seems so strong. Does this kind of thing happen now and again? No! It's happening all the time. There's never a time when we don't need to hear the words, "Put your hope in God." There's never a time when we no longer need to hear the call to return to the Lord and start praising Him again. What do we find when we return to the Lord? This is what we find - "He is my Saviour and my God."

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Social Concern and Spiritual Worship

"Blessed is the one who has concern for helpless people ... Thank the Lord God of Israel through all eternity" (Psalm 41:1,3).
Social concern and spiritual worship - Both are important. There's an earthly situation which we cannot turn our back on. There's an eternal dimension we dare not lose sight of.

"He pulled me out of a horrible pit" (Psalm 40:2).

There are two things that we need to hear about - our own situation and God's salvation.. * Our own situation is hopeless. We need to be saved by the Lord. * The Lord is able to lift us up. He is able to lift from the guttermost - and save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25).

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

"My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:7).

Hope - what does this mean? We speak about hoping for the best' when we fear the words. We say, 'I hope so', when we're not too sure about saying, 'I think so.' What kind of hope is this. It's human optimism. It's wishful thinking. There is another hope, a better hope. This hope begins when we see that our human situation is hopeless. It begins when we look away from ourselves to the Lord, when we look to Him, and say, "My hope is in You."

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Is God a faraway God?

"O my God, do not be so distant from me. Come quickly to help me, O Lord, my Saviour" (Psalm 38:22).
Is God a faraway God? If we think of God in this way, we've missed the point. We don't just ask Him to come to us. We thank Him that He has come to us. Jesus is our Saviour (Matthew 1:21). Emmanuel - God with us (Matthew 1:23).  
"I wait with hope for you, O Lord. You will answer, O Lord, my God" (Psalm 38:15).
We look at Jesus, and we are filled with hope. We bring our problem to God. He gives His answer - Jesus, our Saviour.

Monday, 12 December 2016

"O Lord ... Say to my soul, I am your Saviour" (Psalm 35:1,3).

Assurance of our salvation comes to us from the Lord Himself. He speaks to us. His Word is a deep Word. It reaches the heart.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

"Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

Here, on earth, we're still at the 'starter.' When we're in heaven, we'll move on to the 'main course.' We won't be disappointed!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

The Lord has reached out to us and claimed us for himself.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lordthe people whom he has chosen as his heritage!" (Psalm 33:12).
Chosen by God, chosen to be blessed by him - the Lord has reached out to us and claimed us for himself. The Lord is our God. We are his people. The Lord has done great things for us. Let us give all the glory to him. 
God is "holy" (Psalm 33:21). God is "love" (Psalm 33:22).
When you're thinking about God's love, don't forget that he is holy. When you're thinking about God's holiness, remember that He loves you.

Forgiveness, Instruction and Joy

"Blessed is the person whose disobedience is forgiven and whose sin is pardoned. ...
The Lord says,  “I will instruct you. I will teach you the way that you should go. I will advise you as my eyes watch over you. ... Be glad and find joy in the Lord, you righteous people.
Sing with joy, all whose motives are decent." (Psalm 32:1,8,11).

Forgiveness, Instruction and Joy
Our joy comes from the forgiveness of our sins. Our joy grows as we feed upon the Word of the Lord and discover more of the riches of God's salvation.

Friday, 9 December 2016

How do we keep on walking in the way of the Lord?

"His feet do not slip ... They will be kept safe forever" (Psalm 37:31,28).
Our  feet are slipping. Things are getting out of control. Out of whose control? - Out of our control. Not out of God's control. He keeps us safe. He keeps our feet from slipping.

"Wait on the Lord, and keep His way" (Psalm 37:34).
How do we keep on walking in the way of the Lord? It is the Lord who keeps us walking in His way. Before we can "keep His way", we must "wait on Him." If we are to keep on walking with the Lord, we must keep on waiting on Him. "Wait on the Lord" - This is faith. It is looking away from ourselves to the Lord. Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the way of the Lord. We are not left to our own devices. We can "wait on the Lord and renew our strength" (Isaiah 40:31). As we keep our eyes on Him, looking beyond our present situation to His eternal salvation, He will keep us walking in His way -"kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5).

What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong and determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Saved by God's amazing grace

"I will honour You highly, O Lord ... O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever" (Psalm 30:1,12). At the heart of true worship, which gives much glory to God, there is thanksgiving. We must never forget that we are sinners, who have been saved by His amazing grace. We receive His grace at the Cross of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us give thanks to God for our Saviour. "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11). What the Lord does for us - This is truly amazing. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. He does for us what no-one else could ever do for us. We look at what we are. We look at what the Lord has done for us. We say, This is 'amazing grace.' We say, 'To God be the glory. Great things He has done.'  "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).

"My future is in Your hands" (Psalm 31:15).

We wonder what the future holds. God knows - and our future's in His hands. This is all that we need to know.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

God's Power, God's Love

"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace" (Psalm 29:10-11).
The Lord is "enthroned" - This is the God of power.
The Lord "gives", the Lord "blesses" - This is the God of love.
When we think of the God of power, we must always remember that He is also the God of love.
When we think of the God of love, we must never forget that He is also the God of power.
The Lord is the King of love.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

At the heart of true worship, there is thanksgiving.

"I will honour You highly, O Lord ... O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever" (Psalm 30:1,12).
At the heart of true worship, which gives much glory to God, there is thanksgiving. We must never forget that we are sinners, who have been saved by His amazing grace. We receive His grace at the Cross of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us give thanks to God for our Saviour.
"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11).
What the Lord does for us - This is truly amazing. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. He does for us what no-one else could ever do for us. We look at what we are. We look at what the Lord has done for us. We say, This is 'amazing grace.' We say, 'To God be the glory. Great things He has done.'  "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).

Monday, 5 December 2016

Anchored in Jesus

"To You, Lord, I call; You are my Rock" (Psalm 28:1).
"I’ve anchored in Jesus, the storms of life I’ll brave,
I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave.
I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath power to save,
I’ve anchored to the Rock of Ages" (Lewi­s E. Jones).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Why do we come to the House of the Lord?

"One thing have I asked of the Lord…that I may dwell in the House of the Lord…"(Psalm 27:4).
Why do we come to the House of the Lord? - We come to offer to Him our heartfelt worship.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

"The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).

“They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light” (Revelation 22:5).
No fear of a power cut! This is brighter than the Eurovision Song Contest! "The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).
The "light" that brightens up our life is the light of God's "salvation." It's the Saviour who brings us out of darkness. He brings us into His light. This light gives us strength. God's salvation is more than forgiveness for the past. It is strength for every day.

Friday, 2 December 2016

God's unfailing love

"I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth" (Psalm 26:3).
In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living - a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light.
 
"I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness" (Psalm 26:3).
Have we always been mindful of God's unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord - but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down - but He has never let us down. It's His love for us that's unfailing - not our love for Him.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

"Guide Me In Your Truth ... "

"Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour, and my hope is in You all day long. Remember, Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they have existed from eternity" (Psalm 25:5-6).
What does God's "truth" teach us? He is our "Saviour." He is our "hope." He is the God of "great mercy." He is the God of "love." He is the eternal God. "All day long", He is our God, our Saviour and our hope.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

“Show me your ways, Lord; Teach me Your paths … Guide me in your truth … for you are God my Saviour … ” (Psalm 25:4-5).

When we pray, “Show me your ways, Lord”, we must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). God says to us, “Let the wicked forsake his way.” There is a better way – “Let him return to the Lord.” When we return to the Lord, we are led into His better way – “He will have mercy on him … our God … will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7). "The one who has clean hands and a pure heart ... the King of glory" (Psalm 24:4,7-10).
We look at Jesus' life on earth. What do we see? We see the Man "who has clean hands and a pure heart" - "There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin."

We look at Jesus, in heaven. What do we see? We see "the King of glory." We see Him, in heaven, and we rejoice in this: "He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in."

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Jesus Christ - the great King (Psalm 24:8–10 )

“Who is this great King?” (Psalm 24:8, 10) The Psalmist tells us – “He is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, victorious in battle … The triumphant Lord – He is the great King!” (vs. 8, 10).
When we turn to the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is the great King. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is strong and mighty. Jesus is victorious in battle. Jesus is the triumphant Lord. Jesus Christ is the Name which jumps out at us from the first chapter of Ephesians. Everything is centred upon Christ.

Monday, 28 November 2016

A lady who lived in three different centuries!

When I was living in Glasgow, at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, I met a lady who lived in three different centuries! She was a born a few months before the end of the nineteenth century. She died a few months into the twenty-first century. When someone achieves their century of years, it is a time for giving thanks to God. We look back over our life and we say, 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life'. It is not only a time for looking back. It is also a time for looking forward – 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever' (Psalm 23:6). We look back, giving thanks to God for many precious and treasured memories. We look forward to something even better – 'we will be with the Lord for ever' (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Sunday, 27 November 2016

In the presence of my enemies ... my cup overflows.

In ‘the Shepherd Psalm’ (Psalm 23), we read, in verse 5,: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’. We are to feast on God’s Word. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit. The ‘table’ is the place of feasting. ‘Oil’ is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As we feast on God’s Word, we will have good cause to say, again and again, ‘God is good’: ‘His goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life’ (6). The Lord never fails us. He always comes with His life-giving Word, the Word of life, through which our life on earth becomes the beginning of life eternal, the pathway to a life in which the fullness of God’s love will be revealed in a way that we can hardly begin to imagine: ‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’(6). This is what Christ is preparing for us (John 14:2)! We sing our song of praise and thanksgiving. Our enemies are never far away! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5). The presence of our enemies – this is never removed. It’s always there. There is, however, another Presence – the Presence of the Lord. “Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here” – This is what we must remember when the presence of our enemies threatens to overwhelm us. -- “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4). Here on earth, we are always “in a foreign land”. We haven’t yet arrived safely at our heavenly home. In this “foreign” land, we are called to keep on singing the songs of the Lord. We live in an atmosphere of rebellion. Let us keep on praying that God will send revival. Can depressing situations be turned around? – Our hope is not in ourselves. It is in the Lord. He is “mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:2).

Saturday, 26 November 2016

"The Lord is my Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).

Psalm 23:1
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd; * The Lord is my Shepherd; * The Lord is my Shepherd. 
_____

"The Lord is my Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).  
In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep and the loving Shepherd. We read about a lost sheep. We know that we are lost sinners. We are lost because we are sinners. Lost sheep need a loving shepherd. Lost sinners need a loving Saviour. That's what Jesus is. He's our Saviour. His Name means "Saviour" -  "You are to give Him the Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Why did Jesus come to this world? -  "The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). -  "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17). Jesus came to find the lost. He came to save sinners.
God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep... ’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’ - died for us - ‘the unrighteous’ - ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).
"He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3b).
We enter the Kingdom of God through the new birth. Jesus Christ is "the Door" to God's Kingdom (John 10:9). To those who have come, in faith, to Him, the Lord Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27). * Where does the Good Shepherd lead those who follow Him?  - He leads us "in the paths of righteousness." * Why does the Good Shepherd lead His people in the paths of righteousness?  - It is "for His Name's sake." The real goal of Christ-like living is not our pleasure. It is God's glory. we find our true pleasure as we give glory to the Lord. Are you following the Lord Jesus? He will lead you in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Speaking about God and Speaking to God

Speaking about God
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 
Speaking to God
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

God's blessing overflows.

Psalm 23 "The Lord is my Shepherd ... "
The words are so familiar. When we start to think that we understand all that this great Psalm is saying to us, the Lord comes to with something new, something fresh, something that speaks to our hearts, something that brings blessing into our lives. What are to say about this? ~ From God to us, comes blessing, much blessing. How much blessing? Who can say? All we can say is this - It's His blessing, and His blessing "overflows" (v. 5).

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

God's eternal blessings come from His eternal love.

"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 salvation begins while we are here on earth. They continue for "all the days of our life." His  blessings do not come to an end when we leave this world. His blessings are eternal - "I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever." "Your love, Lord reaches to the heavens ... How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!" (Psalm 36:5,7). Where do God's eternal blessings come from? They come from His love, His eternal love, His love which endures forever (Psalm 136).
"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered" (Psalm 32:1). God's eternal blessings begin with the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus was forsaken by God so that we might be forgiven by God.  
"We wait in hope for the Lord" (Psalm 33:20). The forgiveness of our sins is just the beginning of God's eternal blessings. There is more to come. We look forward to being with the Lord forevermore.

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.

Monday, 21 November 2016

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!"

Sunday, 20 November 2016

God Is Revealed In His World And His Word.

"The heavens declare the glory of God ... " (Psalm 19:1). Look around you. Lift up your eyes. Look to the Lord. Catch a glimpse of His glory, and say, "Thank You, Lord."  
"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 your heart’ and ‘the words of your mouth’ will be filled with the Spirit of love.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Beloved and precious

"Keep me as the apple of the eye" (Psalm 17:8). Jesus is God's "beloved Son" (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). In Jesus, God's "beloved" Son, we are "accepted" (Ephesians 1:6).  In the eyes of God the Father, Jesus is "precious" (1 Peter 2:4,6-7; 1 Peter 1:19) - and our faith is "precious" (1 Peter 1:7: 2 Peter 1:1).

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Learning about God's love and His salvation - There is nothing more wonderful than this.

“Show Your marvelous 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.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Our faith is often shaken. Our Saviour is never shaken.

"I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8).  An unshakeable faith - What does this mean? Is my faith ever an unshakeable faith? No! It's not. Is my Saviour an unshakeable Saviour? Yes! He is. Our faith is often shaken. Our Saviour is never shaken.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Building on Christ means believing in Him and living for Him.

"Whoever does these things will never be shaken" (Psalm 15:5). Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which our faith is built. Building on Christ means more than believing the right things about Him. It also means living for Him. This is the message taught by Jesus in his parable of the wise man and the foolish man - "everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock... But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand" (Matthew 7:24,26). What  are we to believe? - This is not the only question we must ask. If our faith is real, we must move on from there to another very important question: How are we to live?

Monday, 14 November 2016

God is much stronger than Satan.

The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” (Psalm 3:1). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalm 2:2).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong and determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Two ways of living

Psalm 1
The first Psalm speaks to us about two ways of living - the Lord's way and the world's way. Each of us must choose. When we choose God's way, His blessing fills our lives. We must not turn away from Him, and lose out on His blessing. May God help us to keep on walking with Him, and to enjoy His blessing on our lives.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Can we ever get to the bottom of human suffering, if we fail to see Satan - trying to draw us away from the Lord?

"We have examined this, and it is true" (Job 5:27).
It's one thing to say, "It is true." It's another thing to speak the truth of God. Where did Eliphaz and the other 'comforters' get their ideas from? - "We have investigated this." What about revelation? Were their thoughts given to them by God? or Did they come from their own minds? When we compare the words of the 'comforters' with the Word, spoken by God, in Job 1-2, we find that the two are very different. The 'comforters' think in terms of sin and punishment - the more you sin, the more you'll get punished. Is life really as simple as that? God's Word says, 'No.' In Job 1:7, we read about something else - "Satan is roaming through the earth and walking around on it." What is he doing? - "the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour" (1 Peter 5:8).  Can we ever get to the bottom of human suffering, if we fail to see Satan - trying to draw us away from the Lord? As a full and final explanation of all human suffering, 'more sin, more punishment' doesn't cut it. While we are here on earth, we will be attacked by Satan - "the devil has come down to you with great fury" (Revelation 12:12). The devil wants us to blame God, to say, 'God's punishing me.' We must never forget that Satan is our "accuser" (Revelation 12:10). When Satan comes to accuse us and attack us, let's remind him of his final outcome - he will be "thrown into the lake of fire ... " (Revelation 20:10).

Friday, 11 November 2016

Job was a godly man. Job suffered. ...

Job 1-2
Job was a godly man. Job suffered. Did these things just happen to him - by chance? No! There was much more to it than that. There was a spiritual dimension. There was the attack from Satan. There was the control of God. Satan had plenty of power - but he could only do what God allowed him to do. We should not underestimate Satan. He has great power. He has evil intent. He can do us a great deal of harm. We should not overestimate Satan. He is not greater than God. He shall not triumph over God. Be aware of Satan, be on your guard against him - and remind him of this: Jesus Christ is Lord!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

A plan and a price

"And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ ... I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’" (Esther 4:14,16).
God has a plan for us. Are we willing to pay the price?

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

King Jesus

"For a full 180 days, King Xerxes displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty" (Esther 1:4). As I was reading these words about King Xerxes, I thought about another king, a very different king, a much better king - King Jesus. What did Jesus say about His Kingdom?  This is what He said - "My Kingdom is not of this world... My Kingdom is from another place" (John 18:36). We read about Xerxes. We read about Jesus. We must make our choice. What is most important to us - this world or the world towards which God is calling us, the world of His glory?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

The brightness of the Lord's glory ...

"The brightness of the Lord's glory ... the sound of the Almighty God when he speaks" (Ezra 10:4-5)
The glory of the Lord shines upon us when we open the Word of the Lord. We pray, "Speak to us, Lord. Show us your glory." This is a prayer that the Lord loves to hear. this is a prayer that he loves to answer. 

Monday, 7 November 2016

What will the future hold for us?

What will the future hold for us? One thing we can say is this: there is work to be done – God’s work. God is calling us to do His work and He will give us the strength that we need (Ezra 1:2,5). ‘At such a time is this’, a time when many are turning away from the Lord, showing little or no interest in worshipping and serving Him, a time when many are living according to the world’s standards with no real desire to please God and do His will, God is looking for people who will make a whole-hearted commitment to a life of serving Him. He is looking for people who will say, ‘Serving the Lord – this must be the great priority of my life, the most important thing’ (Esther 4:14,16).

Serving the Lord will not be easy. There will be many times when we will feel like giving up. We will be tempted to follow the crowd rather than following our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. When it seems that we are in danger of being overwhelmed by such temptations, we must say, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus’. We must remember that Jesus went to the Cross for us and we must say, ‘There will be “no turning back”’. We must not by put off by those who have no real love for the Lord: ‘Though none go with me, I still will follow’. We must make our choice: ‘The world behind me, the Cross before me. No turning back’ (Mission Praise, 272).

Sometimes, as we serve the Lord, we may wonder, ‘What’s this all about? Where is the Lord in all of this?’ When such thoughts fill our minds, we must take encouragement from God’s Word: ‘He knows the way that I take’ (Job 23:10). We must remember God’s great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). In the Lord our God, we find ‘strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow’ (Songs Of God’s People, 37). As we look to the Lord, we will catch a glimpse of His eternal purpose for us (Ecclesiastes 3:11) – He is ‘fitting us for heaven to live with Him there’ (Church Hymnary. 195).
My prayer for each of you is that you will learn to ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus’. I pray that you will ‘look full in His wonderful face’ and find that He is ‘altogether lovely’. As you learn to love Jesus more, you will discover that ‘the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ (Mission Praise, 712; Song of Solomon 5:16). Through the great love of Jesus Christ our Saviour, may we all grow stronger in our commitment to worshipping and serving the Lord our God.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

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.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

We look back. We look forward.

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).

Thursday, 3 November 2016

God’s judgment on Jezebel was awesome (2 Kings 9:30-37).

Why does God’s Word speak to us so strongly of judgment? He is warning us. He is calling us to repent, to return to Him before it is too late, before our opportunity for repentance has gone. Make sure that you don’t reach the point of no return. ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near’ (Isaiah 55:6). For you, this may be God’s time. The Lord may never be so ‘near’ again. You are in ‘the valley of decision’: ‘Today, when you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’ (Joel 3:14; Hebrews 4:7). There is still time - to open your heart to Christ, to trust Him as your Saviour, to become a new creation in Him. Here is a prayer you can pray: ‘Restore us, O God; let Thy face shine, that we may be saved!’ (Psalm 80:3,7,19).

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

‘Go to meet the man of God and inquire of the Lord through him’ (2 Kings 8:8).

God’s servants, appointed by Him to serve the people in His Name, play a significant part in leading the people to a deeper knowledge of God. They bring the Word of God to the people. That is what they have been called to do. It is good to have faithful teaching from God’s Word. There needs also to be faithful hearing, reading and doing of God’s Word. God’s servants can take us so far - and no further. You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink! God’s servants say, ‘Here are ‘the wells of salvation’’. It is up to the people themselves to take the next step: ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3). God’s Word is provided for you. It is delivered to you. What are you doing with it?

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

History tells the story of our sin as well as the story of God's salvation.

"Now the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouths of all these prophets" (1 Kings 22:23). While we believe that God is working out His good purpose - "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28), we must remember that history tells the story of our sin as well as the story of God's salvation. Where there is sin, there is also judgment. We see this in John 3:17-18 where the great words of salvation - "God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through Christ" (verse 17) - are followed by these very serious words of warning - "Whoever believes in Christ is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's only Son " (verse 18). "Because he has not believed ... ", there will be condemnation. Scripture says that "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). This is the fulfilment of God's wonderful promise: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Acts 2:21). If we miss out the words, "who calls on the name of the Lord", we would be left with the statement, "Everyone will be saved." This might be what we would like to hear, but it's not what God's Word says. It says that the way of receiving God's salvation is the way of calling on the name of the Lord. If we are to receive God's salvation, we must call on the name of the Lord. How does this help us to understand the words of 1 Kings 22:23 - "now the Lord has put a lying spirit into the mouths of all these prophets"? The NIV Study Bible offers this comment: "The Lord had given 400 prophets over to the power of the lie because they did not love the truth and had chosen to speak out of their own hearts." We may say that the Lord's action was an act of judgment. He says to those who follow the way of disobedience, "If that's the way you have chosen to go, I will not stop you." He doesn't stop them in their tracks and turn them around. He allows them to continue on in the way they have chosen. Here, we see the great conflict between God and Satan. We must remember that Satan is "the father of lies" (John 8:44). In its comment on 1 Kings 22:23, the NIV Study Bible says, "see also note on 2 Samuel 24:1). Commenting on 2 Samuel 24:1, it points out two things - (1) "God does not cause anyone to sin" - "When tempted to sin, no-one should say,'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed, Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin ... " (James 1:13-15). (2) "Satan's evil acts are under God's sovereign control" - "The Lord said to Satan, 'Very well, then, everything he has in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.'" (Job 1:12). When we consider the ongoing conflict between God and Satan, we must never forget that the final outcome is certain: "the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur" (Revelation 20:10). Along with God's judgment on "the devil", there is also His judgment on "the false prophet" (Revelation 20:10). It is this judgment of God that we must see in the words of Proverbs 16:1 - "To man belongs the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue." While we are still on this earth, God speaks to us His Word of warning - "See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from Him who warns us from heaven?" (Hebrews 12:25). God is calling us to stop turning away from Him and start turning to Him. If, however, we persist in turning away from Him, the word of warning will become the word of judgment: "I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:23). There is a better way than the word of warning becoming the word of judgment. When there is "a violent earthquake" in our life - the shaking of our whole life (which makes us think about the direction in which our life is heading), we can turn to the Lord with the question, "What must I do to be saved?" When we ask this question, God will speak to us with His wonderful answer: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:26-31).

Monday, 31 October 2016

Problems Among God's People

Numbers 11:1-35
There were problems among God’s people. The spirit of complaint had spread among them. This brought the “fire” of judgment (Numbers 11:1). The spirit spirit of complaint comes when people don’t like what God is doing among His people.We see this in Numbers 11:26-28. The words of prophecy are described as the result of the working of “the Spirit” (Numbers 11:26), yet Joshua said, “Stop them, sir!” (Numbers 11:28). Note Moses’ response – “I wish all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put His Spirit on them” (Numbers 11:29).What we need is not the quenching of the Spirit, but the release of God’s Spirit among God’s people.

"whatever the Lord tells me" (1 Kings 22:14)

This is the way of the true prophet of God.  Our words and our life are to be an echo of the voice of the Lord. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

"a still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12)

When God is speaking to us, we need to "be still and know that He is God" (Psalm 46:10). Hearing God's voice depends on how much we're really listening for His voice. Don't let His still, small voice" be drowned out by all the other noises that are constantly competing for our attention.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

When you’re down, look to the Lord. He loves You. He will lift you up.

1 Kings 18:37–39, 19:4  
When you’re down, look to the Lord. He loves You. He will lift you up. Life is full of ups and downs. For Elijah, there was a very high point. He prayed. ‘The fire of the Lord fell’. ‘All the people said, ‘The Lord, He is God’’(1 Kings 18:37-39). This was followed by a very low point: ‘O Lord, take away my life’(1 Kings 19:4). We are so changeable. Often, we feel like we are being torn apart. Our emotions pull us in different directions. Sometimes, we are full of joy. At other times, we are at the point of despair. We find ourselves in a turmoil of confused emotions. What are we to do? Are we to ‘pull ourselves together’? This seems to be the very thing we can’t manage to do. Are we to ‘hope for the best’- ‘Some day, some way, things will get better’? We think about this, and we wonder, ‘What happens if things get worse?’! Look to the Lord. His love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. "Answer me, Lord! Answer me! Then these people will know that you, Lord, are God and that you are winning back their hearts” (1 Kings 18:37). Winning the hearts of the people - This is the work of God. we cannot do it. He must do it.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Turn away from the false gods and turn to the true God.

"When he saw Elijah, Ahab said, “Is that you, you troublemaker of Israel?”
Elijah answered, “I haven’t troubled Israel. You and your father’s family have done it by disobeying the Lord’s commands and following the various Baal gods" (1 Kings 18:17-18).
Was Elijah a troublemaker? Ahab thought so. Ahab didn't like what Elijah had to say to him.He would be glad to see the back of Elijah. He wished Elijah would go away and leave him alone. Ahab was missing the point of Elijah's forthright preaching. Ahab needed the 'trouble' that Elijah was causing. If Ahab and the people of Israel were going to be delivered from the real 'trouble', they needed to start listening to Elijah and start doing what Elijah was telling them to do - turn away from the false gods and turn to the true God.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

From the raising of the widow's son ... to the resurrection of Jesus

"The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived" (1 Kings 17:22).
The raising of the widow's son confirmed Elijah's authority as God's prophet. Here, we look beyond God's prophet, Elijah, to God's Son, Jesus. We look beyond the raising of the widow's son to the resurrection of Jesus, God's Son. In the resurrection of Jesus, God is confirming the authority of Jesus as His Son - "Jesus Christ our Lord, ... declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3-4).
"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.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Do we give the Lord lip-service? or Do we serve Him with our lives?

"The Lord also called to the man of God. He said, “This is what the Lord says: You rebelled against the words from the Lord’s mouth and didn’t obey the command that the Lord your God gave you ... A lion found him as he travelled on the road and killed him" (1 Kings 13:21, 24).
What we have here is so different from the story of Daniel in the lion's den (Daniel 6). Daniel was so different from this "man of God." This "man of God" didn't  do what God told him to do. Daniel did do what God told him to do. What about us? Do we give the Lord lip-service? or Do we serve Him with our lives?

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

"A man of God" (1 Kings 13:1) 

There are many things that we can be - a son, a brother, a father, a grandfather, a neighbour, a worker ... Surely, this is the greatest - "a man of God"! To be known, first and foremost, as a man of God is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. Does anyone deserve to be called a man of God? No! We are sinners - but this isn't the full story of our life. We have been saved by the grace of God. He has made us His children - His men, His women. All the glory goes to him - never to us! "A man of God" - What a great responsibility this is. We are to be good witnesses for our Lord. May God help us to do this - with His help and for His glory.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

What's so special about the Lord?

“Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like You in heaven above or on earth below—You who keep Your covenant of love with Your servants who continue wholeheartedly in Your way. You have kept Your promise to Your servant David my father; with Your mouth You have promised and with Your hand You have fulfilled it—as it is today" (1 Kings 8:23-24).
There is no God like the Lord. What's so special about Him? It's His love. It's His faithfulness. He loves us with a faithful love. His love is great. His faithfulness is great. Where else could we find such love? Where else could we find such faithfulness? - Nowhere else! It's only the Lord who loves us with a perfect love. It's only the Lord who will remain completely faithful, when others let down and leave us feeling discouraged. There is no God like the Lord. There is no love like His love. There is no faithfulness like His faithfulness.  In love, He gives us His precious promises. In love, He fulfils His precious promises.
"When Solomon had finished all these prayers and supplications to the Lord, he rose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. He stood and blessed the whole assembly of Israel in a loud voice, saying, Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses." (1 Kings 8:54-56).
Prayer leads to blessing. When we receive the Lord's blessing, we are to pass it on to others. We do not pray to the Lord so that we can say, "The Lord has blessed me" - and leave it at that. We must move on from there. We are to share His blessing. We are to bring His blessing to others. His blessing inspires our praise. We think of all that He has done for us, and we say, "Praise be to the Lord." He is our God. He has not failed us - and He will not fail us. He will fulfil His promises of blessing. May His blessing give us the strength that we need to keep on saying, with all our heart, "Praise be to the Lord."
“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us nor forsake us.  May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands, decrees and laws He gave our ancestors" (1 Kings 8:56-58).
God's faithfulness isn't just something that belongs in the past. It's for us. It's for today.  We're not just to say, 'God was good to "His people Israel", a long time. We're to say, 'God is good to us today.' When we realize how God our God is, we will give ourselves gladly to Him - "to walk in obedience to Him."

Friday, 21 October 2016

The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

“The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:11).
The house of the Lord is never to be the chief focus of our attention. The Lord of the house is to be the focus of all that we do when we gather together for worship.
When we look, with admiration, at the grand cathedrals, we may wonder, “Who were they trying to impress when they built this?” When we see two hugely impressive examples of Church architecture located very close to each other, we may wonder, “Is there more than a bit of the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ thing going on here?”
We may wonder, “What goes on in these places?” Are they places of which it can be said, “The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord”? or Have they become places that are not really much more than tourist attractions?”
When Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, He found that life in the Jerusalem Temple was busy with activity, but it was empty – God was not there.
At the end of the book of Ezekiel, there are these simple yet very wonderful words: “The Lord is there” (Ezekiel 48:35).
When we hear these words, we know that this is what really matters: “The Lord is there.”
“The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” – What does this mean?
- We are to be “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).
- We are to “worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
- We are to “pray in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18).
- We are to pray that we will “hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches” (Revelation 2:7).
- We are to pray that our preachers will speak with the authority and power of God: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the gospel … ” (Luke 4:18).

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Building the 'temple' of a godly life

"Concerning this temple which you are building, if you walk in My statutes, execute My judgments, keep all My commandments, and walk in them, then I will perform My Word with you, which I spoke to your father David" (1 Kings 6:12).
Building a temple for God means nothing if it isn't accompanied by building the 'temple' of a godly life.  We must remember that "our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19). If the place of worship looks great and our lives are a mess, we need to hear what God is saying to us here. He's speaking to us about godly living. How are we to live a godly life? - We must build our life on Jesus Christ - "whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock ... it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock" (Matthew 7:24-25). Whenever we start to attach too much importance to the place where we worship, let us remember the words of Jesus: "In three days I will raise up the temple of my body" and let us build our faith on Jesus Christ, "risen from the dead" (John 2:19-22). He is the Person whom we worship. May He always be more important to us than the place where we worship Him.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

You Can Be A Giantkiller - For God.

1 Samuel 17
David faced a giant. We face giants. His giant was called Goliath. Our “Goliaths” are the giants of unbelief and disobedience. We’re told that it doesn’t matter what you believe. We’re told that it doesn’t matter how you live. Like David, we must rise up with faith in the Lord. Like David, we must move forward in obedience to the Lord. Let us challenge today’s “Goliaths” – “I come to you in the Name of the Lord … whom you have defied.”We do not face these “Goliaths” in our own weakness. We face them in the strength of the Lord. Knowing that “the battle is the Lord’s”, we take our stand upon the Word of God: “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment, you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me, says the Lord” (1 Samuel 17:45-47; Isaiah 54:17).

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

A New Man

Two men with the same name – Saul, the first king of Israel, and Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christ and His servants.
In both stories, we read of a new man.
* In the case of Saul, the first king of Israel, David was the new man. Saul was rejected. He was replaced.
The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king … So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed David in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. Samuel then went to Ramah” (1 Samuel 16:1, 13).
* In the case of Saul of Tarsus, it was very different. Saul became the new man. He became Paul the apostle. He was saved by the Lord. His life was transformed by the power of Christ’s love. He became a new creation in Christ Jesus. He had this great testimony: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20).
- We don’t need to be like Saul, the first king of Israel – castaway, laid aside as of no further use (1 Corinthians 9:27).
- Each of us can be like Paul the apostle. In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we have more than Paul’s own testimony. we have a call to each one of us. God is calling us to be transformed by the power of Christ’s love. He is calling us to become “a new creation in Christ” – “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come!”
The Power - "the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power" (1 Samuel 16:13).

The Victory - "I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty ... the battle is the Lord's, and he will give all of you into our hands" (1 Samuel 17:45, 47).
The Thanksgiving - "I will exalt you, O Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me" (Psalm 30:1).

Monday, 17 October 2016

After The Famine ...

In Ruth 2, there’s a beautiful picture of harvest. Look back to Ruth 1:1 – “There was a famine in the land.” The Christian life’s like that. It’s not always harvest. Sometimes, it’s famine. Sometimes, we feel like we’re on the mountain-top. At other times, we’re in the wilderness. Whatever your circumstances, remember this – God knows what’s best for you. In the happy times and the testing times, be sure of this – God is not far from you, He’s with you, He loves you and He wants to bless you. When it seems like nothing’s going right for you, take time to think about what the Lord has done for you and give thanks to Him.
When things are going well, don’t take God’s blessing for granted. He can withdraw His blessing from us if we don’t give thanks to Him – that’s the warning Jesus gives us in the parable of the rich fool (Luke 12:13-21).
When things are going badly, don’t let your head go down. Don’t start thinking that God’s blessing will never return
In the happy times and the testing times, let’s count our blessings. Sometimes, we think that we can decide when we’re going to rejoice and when we’re going to complain. God says, “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). This is joy in the Lord. It doesn’t depend on us. It comes from the Lord. Good things may happen to us. Bad things may happen to us. In the good times and the bad times, let us “rejoice in the Lord.”
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” What we’re saying is this. We depend on the Lord. Every good gift comes from Him. Without His blessing, our life is empty. Our life may seem to be full of good things. If Christ isn’t living in us, our life is empty. Don’t be like the rich fool. He lost everything that mattered to him. Life is more than things. We can’t take them with us. Real life is Jesus living in us. It’s the beginning of eternal life.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

"There was a famine in the land" (Ruth 1:1).

The situation seemed hopeless. We wonder, "Where will hope come from?" In Amos 8:11, we read about a different kind of famine: "not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord." How do we find hope when there is a famine of hearing the words of the Lord"? We must learn to pray to the Lord: "Speak; your servant is listening" (1 Samuel 3:10).

Saturday, 15 October 2016

“Every man did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

This sad situation is with us still. May God give us grace to pray, "Not my will, but Thine be done" (Matthew 26:42).

Friday, 14 October 2016

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13).

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13). God has spoken words of encouragement: “the Lord is with you, brave man” (Judges 6:12). Things were not going well. Gideon was having doubts about God: “now the Lord has abandoned us” (Judges 6:13). God was quick to reassure Gideon: “You will rescue Israel … I am sending you” (Judges 6:14). Gideon moved from the ‘why’ question to the ‘how’ question: “How can I rescue Israel?” (Judges 6:15). God’s answer is still the same: “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).

Thursday, 13 October 2016

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness” (Joshua 24:14).

What a difference there is between being paralyzed by fear and being set free by the fear of the Lord – to live our lives as His faithful servants!We speak about being paralyzed by fear. This is the exact opposite. This is the fear of the Lord sending us out into the service of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is very different from what we mean when we speak about fear. Our fears disable us. The fear of the Lord enables us. Our fears highlight our weakness. They drive us down into our despair. The fear of the Lord focuses on  God's strength. As we think of the Lord, we think not about how little we can do for Him. we think about how much He can do for us. Everything changes  - when we look away from ourselves to the Lord. Why must we be paralyzed by our fears - when we can be empowered by the fear of the Lord? "Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness" (Joshua 24:14).

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

We don't earn God's blessing as a reward for our obedience.

"You have ... obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you. But take careful heed to do the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to keep His commandments, to hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul. So Joshua blessed them ... " (Joshua 22:2,5,6). We don't earn God's blessing as a reward for our obedience. His blessing is always His gift - but we must never forget this: He gives His blessing to those who are walking with Him in obedience.
Remembering that God's blessing is given by Him and not earned by us, we must not forget to give thanks to Him when we are blessed by Him. We must also remember that we dare not take His blessing for granted. We dare not presume that He will continue to bless us if we do not continue to walk with Him on the pathway of obedience.

Monday, 10 October 2016

God has done great things for His people ...

God has done great things for His people - ‘in the land of Egypt... in the wilderness’(Deuteronomy 29:2,5). Acknowledging Him to be the Lord their God, they were to live in obedience to Him (Deuteronomy 29:6,9). The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of obedience (Deuteronomy 29:16-28). Turning away from the Lord leads to judgment - ‘anger and fury and great wrath’(Deuteronomy 29:24-28). There are ‘secret things’. There are ‘things that are revealed’. Some ‘things’ we will never understand. These ‘things belong to the Lord our God’. There are many ‘things’ we have learned and have firmly believed. ‘The things that are revealed’ are found in ‘the Holy Scriptures.’ Through God’s written Word, we are brought to ‘salvation’ and we are ‘thoroughly equipped’ for Christian living (Deuteronomy 29:29; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Sunday, 9 October 2016

If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God...

Deuteronomy 28:25-68

There is nothing inevitable about the chain of events described in these verses. These are the consequences of disobedience. God is warning His people: ‘If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God...’(Deuteronomy 28:15). Why does God warn His people of the consequences of disobedience? He wants them to draw back from the way of disobedience and follow the pathway of obedience and blessing. These ‘curses’ were avoidable. They would only happen if Israel persisted in rebelling against the Lord. We can bring ‘curses’ upon ourselves. Don’t imagine that God doesn’t care how you live. He does. That is why He calls us back from the pathway of disobedience. That is why He exhorts us to choose holiness. Read Hebrews 10:26-31; 12:25-29. Pray for God’s mercy (Luke 18:13). Ask Him to make you more holy (Hebrews 12:14).

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Obedience is grounded in salvation.

Obedience is grounded in salvation. The Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’ who brought you... out of the house of bondage’(Deuteronomy 5:6). He has redeemed us. We are to live for Him. The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (Deuteronomy 5:27). We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him. The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation. Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us. His love for us is always prior to our love for Him. Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger. Forget, and you love will grow weaker. Loved by God, let us love Him - more!

Friday, 7 October 2016

The Work Of The Lord

The people of Israel were involved in the work of the Lord. The work was based on God - not Moses. Moses would not be in the promised land. God would be there. Moses would ‘not go over the Jordan’. As God’s man. he was to prepare the people for their task: ‘you shall go over and take possession of that good land’(Deuteronomy 4:22). Privilege involves responsibility. Israel was a privileged people, redeemed by the Lord, delivered from bondage ‘by a mighty hand and outstretched arm’(Deuteronomy 4:34). Israel was a responsible people, called to obey the Lord: ‘Obey His laws and commands’(Deuteronomy 4:40). The Lord our God is ‘a merciful God’(Deuteronomy 4:31). He has saved us. We are to serve Him. Let Him reign in your heart. Let there be ‘no other besides Him’(Deuteronomy 4:35). Flee to Christ for refuge (Deuteronomy 4:42-43), and live each day with ‘the attitude of gratitude’.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

The promised land was near ...

The promised land was near. For Moses, it was ‘so near and yet so far’. He was excluded. Together with the sadness of Moses’ exclusion, there was the joy of the people’s entrance (Deuteronomy 3:27-28). When we consider Moses’ sadness and the people’s joy, we must remember this: Nobody deserved to go into the land! The land was God’s gift. Without His strength, the people of Israel would fail. With Him, they would be victorious: ‘You shall not fear them; for it is the Lord your God who fights for you’(Deuteronomy 3:22). There is here a basic principle of Christian living: ‘not by might , nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts’(Zechariah 4:6). ‘In heavenly armour we’ll enter the land. The battle belongs to the Lord. No weapon that’s fashioned against us will stand. The battle belongs to the Lord’(Mission Praise, 639).

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Thank God for encouragers!

Miriam and Aaron complained (Numbers 12:1-2). Caleb and Joshua encouraged (Numbers 13:30; 14:6-9). Thank God for encouragers!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

God's blessing

Numbers 6:22-27

There’s nothing better than God’s blessing. It’s nice to have friends. People like you. It feels good. God’s blessing – That’s so much better. Friends come and go. God’s blessing remains. You can be surrounded by friends – and still feel very lonely. Sometimes, they’re great friends. Sometimes, they disappoint us. When you’re surrounded by God’s blessing, everything’s very different. God will never disappoint us. He’s our “always and forever” Friend. His blessing is an “every day” blessing. It’s not just a “now and again” thing. It’s an “all the days of our life” thing. Everywhere we look, we see God. We look to the hills. We see our Creator. We look to the cross. We see our Saviour. We are blessed by our Creator. We are blessed by our Saviour.

How do we enjoy God’s blessing?
Trust Him. Walk in His way. Wherever life’s journey takes us, He’s there. He’s our faithful Friend. He’s the Friend who’ll never let us down. In our happy times, He gives us His joy. In our hard times, He gives us His peace. Is there anything better than this? No! There isn’t. This is not about good things happening to us. It’s about the good God being with us, even when bad things are happening to us. Being blessed by the Lord doesn’t mean that we’ll never have hard times. What it does mean is this – God loves us in the hard times as well as the happy times. Put your trust in the Lord. Trust in His love. Walk in His way. Be changed by His love.
How are we to walk in the Lord’s way?
We must never imagine that walking with the Lord will be easy. It wasn’t easy for Jesus. It won’t be easy for us. Sin is always near. The devil sets many traps for us. He’s always trying to draw us away from Jesus. Sin may be very near – but the Lord comes even closer to us. Jesus is “God with us.” The devil is a powerful enemy. He’s also a defeated enemy. Christ has won the victory over Him. Christ has won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us. Why don’t we enjoy constant victory over sin? – We take our eyes off Jesus. We forget that He’s living in us. We forget that it’s from Him that we receive His peace and His joy. His peace is great. It passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). His joy is great. It’s “a great and glorious joy which words cannot express” (1 Peter 1:8). His peace and His joy give us strength for walking in His way.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Praise the Lord.

Psalms 148:1-150:6
‘Praise the Lord.’ We bring to You, Lord, our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalms 144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2). Our personal worship is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6). As we read these great Psalms of praise, may we be inspired to praise You more truly and more fully.

Holiness

The life of holiness is not an expression of our own moral virtue. It is an expression of the holy character of God being reproduced in us: 'I am the Lord who sanctify you' (Leviticus 20:8). God wants us for Himself - This is why we must not live the world's way: 'I the Lord am ... holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine' (Leviticus 20:26). God has a great purpose for us: 'You shall inherit their land... I will give it to you, a land flowing with milk and honey' (Leviticus 20:24).  'The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly... in Christ Jesus' (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the pathway to holiness: 'By grace you have been saved through faith... for good works' (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Glory Of God

The revelation of God's glory (Exodus 33:22-23)  
God's glory is too much for us. Step by step, as we walk with him, he reveals his glory to us. "Ever-increasing glory" (2 Corinthians 3:18) - This is the way in which the Lord leads us on towards the full revelation of his heavenly and eternal glory.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Victory in the wilderness

The book of Numbers tells the story of God's people, travelling through the wilderness. They had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They were going to be brought to the Promised Land. For a long while they were in the wilderness. For forty years, the wilderness was their “now moment”. We look back. we remember what the Lord has done for us. He died on the cross for us. We look forward to His Return. What a great day that will be! In our many “now moments”, we are in the wilderness. It’s a place of danger. It’s a place of promise. We are involved in a constant battle for faith and obedience – “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). Often, we fail our Lord. We need to hear the challenging words of Paul: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?” (Galatians 3:3). Thank God, we also hear Paul’s triumphant words: “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Even in the wilderness, we catch a glimpse of the glory of the promised land!

Friday, 30 September 2016

Before we come to “the Ten Commandments” ...

Before we come to “the Ten Commandments”, we have these great words, “ I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Exodus 20:2).  Grace comes first. Holiness follows on from grace. We see the same pattern in the New Testament – in the teaching of Jesus, in the letters of Paul. From the ministry of Jesus, we have the words, “Neither do I condemn you … Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). “Neither do I condemn you” – This is grace. “Go and sin no more” – This is holiness. It’s not grace without holiness. It’s not holiness without grace. It’s grace and holiness together. It’s grace leading on to holiness. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins with grace – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Paul emphasizes that we have been saved by grace and we are called to holiness -  “By grace you have been saved, through faith … to do good works … ” (Ephesians 2:8-10). To those who have been saved by God’s grace, the Apostle Paul writes, “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received” (Ephesians 4:1). In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives us a great description of ”the Gospel.” He says that “it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). To those who have saved by the grace of God, Paul says this: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). We cannot save ourselves. We cannot make ourselves holy. From beginning to end, salvation is the work of God’s grace. He brings us to Himself. He forgives our sins. He comes to live in our hearts. He gives us the strength to live for Him. He will bring us to His glorious and eternal Kingdom. All glory to His great Name!

What are we to do, Lord, when we think that You're against us?

Job 9:20-10:22 What are we to do, Lord, when, like Job, we think that You are “against” us (Job 10:2)? Where do such negative thoughts ...