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"You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You" (Psalm 86:5).

Sometimes, we contrast 'the God of the Old Testament' and 'the God of the New Testament.'  We speak about 'the God of law' and 'the God of love.' If we think that 'love' only began with the start of the New Testament, we need to read God's Word more carefully. Here, we are in the Old Testament. What do we find? We find love - the love of God, the God of love.

Jesus is the Vine. We are the branches.

"You transplanted a vine from Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land” (Psalm 80:8-9).
When we read here about a “vine”, we should remember that Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We read here that the vine “filled the land.” Let us pray for our land – “Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father’s glory.”

Beyond our salvation, there is God's glory.

" ... O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name ... provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!" (Psalm 79:9). Beyond our salvation, there is God's glory. When we think about Christ's atoning sacrifice for sin, we must not think only of the "for us" blessing - the forgiveness of our sins. We must also think of the "for God" character of the atonement which has been provided for us by God. We rejoice in the forgiveness of our sins.  We also rejoice in this: God's holiness is proclaimed in the death of Christ for sinners. We may think first of the blessing that has come to us through the the shedding of Christ's precious blood. Scripture speaks first of the "for God" character of the atonement - God is "just" - before speaking of the "for us" blessing - God is "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).

The Lord saves us - and we praise Him.

"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help;   my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3).Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens.  "Let heaven and earth praise Him… For God will save" (Psalm 69:34-35).
God does not save us because we praise Him. We praise God because He saves us.

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).

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).

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).

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.

"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.

"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).

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…

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…

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).

"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."

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.

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

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the 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.

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 -"k…

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 faithfuln…

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.

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 faithfuln…

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).

"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.

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.

"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.

“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."

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.

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).

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 enemi…

"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…

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.

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).

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 th…

Enthroned

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

Eternal Blessings

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

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…

Walking in the Light of God's Love, Truth and Holiness

"You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light" (Psalm 18:28).
Without You, Lord, we're stumbling around in the dark. With You, we're walking in the light - the light of Your love, the light of Your truth, the light of Your holiness."As for God, His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30).
The Lord knows what He has planned for each one of us. There are no surprises for Him. The Lord doesn’t leave us to travel on our own. He’s with us every step of the way. When we wonder about what’s happening in our lives, He is there, teaching us to say from the heart, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31). He’s leading us to His Son, Jesus. He’s showing us our suffering Saviour. He’s showing us our risen Lord. He’s showing us that there is a way of peace, joy and love. It’s the way of Jesus. It’s the way of trusting Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you in His way. God’s blessing will surround you each day.

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).

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.

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.

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?

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).

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.

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…

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!

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?

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?

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.

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 …

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.

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).

Let us praise the Lord together.

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

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).

‘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?

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 Chr…

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.

"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.

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 …

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.

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.

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?

"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.

The Servant King

"My servant David" (1 Kings 11:34,38)
David became a king. He remained a servant. He points us forward to Jesus - "the Servant King" (Graham Kendrick)." ... Jerusalem, the city where I chose to place My Name" (1 Kings 11:36).
Jerusalem is called the Holy City. It's not so much Jerusalem that's holy. It's the Name of the Lord that's holy - and He has placed His holy Name in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Jesus died for us and rose again for us. Again, it's not Jerusalem that's holy. It's our Saviour who's holy. Jerusalem's a special place because Jesus is special. There's no one like Him. He's our Lord. He's our Saviour.

"I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold ... "

"King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift – articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules." (1 Kings 10:23-25).
" Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness." (1 Kings 10:9).

We read about King Solomon. We read about His great riches. We read about  his great wisdom. We learn that he had been greatly blessed by God. What are  we to say about Solomon?
We could focus on the spiritual side - "the wisdom God had put in his heart", "the Lord your God ... has delighted in you."
We should also note the temptation that comes to those who have great riches. Things can become …

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 fulf…

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 si…

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 …

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).

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 longe…

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…

"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).

“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).

“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).

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.

Be Strong ...

"Be strong and of good courage ... the Lord your God ... goes with you ..." (Deuteronomy 31:6).As well as providing atonement for our sins, the Lord provides us with strength to live to His glory.  We give thanks for God's gift of forgiveness - "In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins" (Ephesians 1:7). We also give thanks that God has given the strength that we need to live for Him - "strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being" (Ephesians 3:16).

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).

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

Deuteronomy 28:25-68There 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).

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!