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Showing posts from April, 2016

Daily Devotional Readings: Year One - May

1st May: Genesis 37:1-36 Here, we have human sin and divine grace. We see jealousy (11) and its effects: 'where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice' (James 3:16). There is God working out His purpose: 'you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good' (50:20). In his dreams, Joseph was given a glimpse of the 'new thing' (Isaiah 43:19) God was about to do. Joseph's situation seemed hopeless: 'cast...into a pit', 'sold' into slavery (24,28). God was in this situation. Each of us is in a 'pit', but we are not alone. Jesus has gone into the 'pit' for us, and He has come out of it victorious: 'Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave where is your victory?'. Slaves of Satan, we have been set free by Christ (Romans 6:17-18; Hebrews 2:14-15). God was with Joseph. He is with us. 2nd May: Genesis 38:1-30 'Judah went down from his brothers, a…

A Word That Reaches The Heart

“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.

The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.

* "O Lord, I cry to You for help!" (Joel 1:19). We look to some people for help - and they're no help to us, God is never like that. He is our Helper. He's always there for us. We call upon Him - and He helps us. He's "the help of the helpless" (from the hymn, "Abide with me"). We may not always feel 'helped' - but we have been helped, much more than we'll ever realize! Praise God! Thank Him for His help - even when you're only very vaguely aware of just how much He has helped you.  * "Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart" (Joel 2:12).
"Now" - returning to the Lord is not to be left until later on. With all your heart" - a real return to the Lord must never be a half-hearted thing. * "The Lord will be a refuge for His people" (Joel 3:1).
People let us down. The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.

Kept!

* “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…

Better Than Just Hoping For The Best!

"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."

Praying Through God’s Word: Joel

JOEL 
1:1-2:17
‘Joel’ means ‘the Lord is God.’ We thank You, Lord, that You are our God. You are ‘gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…’. Teach us to ‘return to You, the Lord our God.’ Help us to ‘return to You with all our heart.’ May we always look to You for Your ‘blessing’ (Joel 2:12-14). Alongside Your promise of blessing for those who return to You, there is Your Word of warning for those who take no notice of You and pay no attention to Your Word: ‘The Day of the Lord is near. It will come like destruction from the Almighty… Let all who live in the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand – a Day of darkness and gloom…’ (Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2). We thank You, Lord, that You want to bless us. Help us to ‘cry out’ to You for Your blessing: ‘To You, O Lord, I call’ (Joel 1:14,19). 2:19-3:21
Show us, Lord, that each of us is ‘in the valley of decision.’ Help us to make sure that we are prepared for ‘the coming of t…

Some things are worth repeating!

There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again – ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again – ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord.’ Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 107:43, 1). ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free… It’s yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!’ (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles).

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).

Thanksgiving And Hope

"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
When we think of all that the Lord has done for us, let us think also of what He will do for us. Let us look back with thanksgiving. Let us look forward with hope.

My Strength, My Song, My Saviour

Psalm 118:1-29 ‘The Lord is my Strength and my Song. He is my Saviour’(Psalm 118:14). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus Christ is our Saviour. We thank You that He gives us a song to sing: ‘Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine... This is my story, this is my song, praising my Saviour all the day long’. Help us, Lord, to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. May we sing His song with strength, committing ourselves to His service, earnestly seeking to win others for Him.

The Holy One of Israel, ’ The God of the whole earth

Isaiah 54:1-17‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ (Isaiah 54:5). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ (Luke 24:46-47; Acts 1:8). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ (Isaiah 54:17). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ (Isaiah 54:8).

Lord, Your power is greater than the power of Satan.

Job 1:1-2:13 Lord, Your power is greater than the power of Satan. Help us never to forget this. Satan is “roaming through the earth”, “prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking for someone to devour” (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8) – but he can only do what You allow him to do (Job 1:12; Job 2:6). When Satan seems to be getting the upper hand, remind us that You’re the One who’s in control – not him!

Begin ... Build ... Be Blessed ...

* Begin with God. The first verse of the Bible gives us the best starting-place for our life: "In the beginning, God" (Genesis 1:1). Let us "seek first God's Kingdom and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). "In the beginning, God" - This is what gives our life its true meaning, purpose and direction. * Build on God's Word. We don't speak God's Word to ourselves. God's Word is spoken to us. In His written Word, He has given us a firm foundation for living to His glory (2 Timothy 3:14-17). Learning from the Scriptures, let us build our life on our Saviour. * Be Blessed in God's Spirit. Being "in the Spirit" is not just having a "happy" feeling. It's learning to "walk with the Lord in the light of His Word." How are we to "be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18)? God's Word tells us - "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly" (Colossians 3:16).

Before the creation, there is the Creator.

Genesis 1:1-2:3 Before the creation, there is the Creator.  * He is the chief focus of attention in the Bible’s first chapter. Wherever we look in Genesis 1, we see the word, God. This is about Him. Genesis 1 speaks about us. It tells us where we have come from. We have come from God. He is our Creator. Take away God, and our life has no meaning, no purpose, no direction.  * Move on from the Bible’s first chapter. Read the rest of Genesis, the rest of the Old Testament,the rest of the Bible. What do you find? The Bible is a Book about God. It’s not only a Book about God. It’s a Book that has been given to us by God. It’s His Word.  * What about our faith and our life? Our faith comes to us from God. Our life has been given to us by God. We are to put our faith in God. We are to live our life for God.  * “God said, Let there be light, and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). The light of God’s love and holiness. “He created us in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created by God - …

Where, Lord, does true comfort come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit – the Comforter.

Job 15:1-16:5 Lord, we feel the pain of Job. He’s been listening to Eliphaz. Now, Job says, “how often have I heard all this before! What sorry comforters you are!” (Job 16:1). Job needed “words of encouragement” (Job 16:5) – but he didn’t get them from Eliphaz. Where, Lord, does true comfort come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit – “the comforter” (John 14:26). Help us, Lord, to listen to the voice of the Spirit – and to speak with His voice, the voice of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Do what God tells us to do ...

Genesis 2:4-25 Do what God tells us to do. This leads to blessing. Do what God tells us not to do. This leads to trouble. It’s been trouble ever since.
Here, on earth, things can be turned around. We can be set in the right direction. We are not yet at our final destination, but we’re travelling towards it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they “died” spiritually. Immediately, we see conflict. The devil has won a battle. He has won many more battles. He will win many more battles. He will not win the war.
In Genesis 3:15, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal Kingdom, in which “there will no longer be any curse” (Revelation 22:3).

Lead us, Lord, in holiness and victory.

Without You, Lord, we are weak. With You, we are strong. Lead us, Lord, out of our failure and into Your victory, out of our sin and into Your holiness. How are we to walk with You in holiness and victory? - We must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, our Saviour (Hebrews 12:1-2; Acts 4:120. When we fail You, Lord, help us to learn from the testimony of Peter - he failed (Matthew 29:69-75), and he was filled (Acts 4:8). Help us to join, with Peter, in saying, "Lord, You know that we love You" (John 21:15-17).

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

Here are some great words from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who died at the hands of Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950s – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
 * "To gain what he cannot lose" - Eternal life has lasting value.  * "what he cannot keep" - The things of this world don’t have lasting value. After Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries were killed, there was great blessing among the Aucas.
 * Think of these faithful martyrs. Think of the blessing which followed.  In 2 Corinthians 4:15, we have a great comment on the wonderful blessing which followed the killing of the American missionaries by the Aucas - “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The American missionaries laid down their lives. The Aucas found eternal life. It was for their benefit. Grace reached more and more people. There was an …

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

We look back to the past. We say, “That was then. That’s old.” We live in the present. We say, “This is now. This is new.” We shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss the past. Jesus Christ belongs to the past. He also speaks to us in the present. He is preparing us for God’s eternal future. We read the Story of Jesus. We rejoice in His love. We say, “The old, old story – It is ever new. The old, old story – Praise the Lord! It’s true!” It’s true! That’s why it’s still God’s “new song.” There will always be people who refuse to trust in Jesus Christ as Saviour. Will they silence us? Will we fail our Lord because we’re afraid of what people will say about us? Let’s be like Paul. Let’s defy our critics. Let’s keep on saying, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).  Jesus is calling us on to His future. He's not merely a figure from the past. He is “Jesus Christ, risen from the dead” (Hebrews 13:8).…

Tragedy ... And Triumph

Genesis 3:1-7 The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan. What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God. Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil. Jesus took His stand on the Word of God. What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God? We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice. Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred? God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.

Our love for God - a response to His love for us

Song of Solomon can be read at two different levels. At the human level, it’s a celebration of the love between a man and a woman. At the spiritual level, it inspires us to appreciate, more truly and more fully, the great love which Christ has for us. As we grow in our awareness of Christ’s amazing love for us, we are called to love Him more. His love comes first. We must never forget this. His love is an everlasting love. Our love for Him can never be any more than a response to His love for us.

“The days are coming.”

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

What will heaven be like? and How do I get to heaven?

In Scripture, we catch glimpses of what heaven will be like. When we attempt to say too much about exactly what heaven will be like, we can very quickly get the feeling that we are out of our depth and that we are attempting to describe things that are are far beyond our present understanding.
As well as the question, “What will heaven be like?”, the Bible also addresses another question – “How do I get to heaven?”
What are we to say about these two questions?
Both questions are very important. We don’t, however, need to give a precise description of heaven, anticipating every question which could possibly be asked about it. We do need to know the way to heaven.
I suspect that, sometimes, people, who ask all sorts of imaginative questions about what heaven will be like, are not always so interested in making a personal commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ.
In Deuteronomy 29:29, we read, “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to ou…

More Than A Departure ...

Exodus 2:23-25
Exodus: It's more than a departure. It's a deliverance. It's more than a protest against Egypt. It's an answer to prayer. It's more than a social revolution. It's a spiritual revelation of God's love.

Search The Scriptures: Psalms

PSALMS
God calls us to follow “the way of righteous people” (Psalm 1:6). He directs our attention to His “Son”, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:7). He promises blessing to those who “take refuge ... In Him” (Psalm 2:12). There is much opposition: “O Lord, look how my enemies have increased! Many are attacking me. Many are saying about me, ‘Even with God on his side, he won’t be victorious’” (Psalm 3:1-2). We need not be afraid of these enemies - “Victory belongs to the Lord! ... You, O Lord, are a shield that surrounds me” (Psalm 3:8,3).
The Psalmist is experiencing great pain. His honour is being insulted; his enemies are spying on him; he is being harassed by troublemakers (Psalm 4:2; Psalm 5:8; Psalm 6:8). As well as pain, there is prayer, protection and peace. He prays with confidence in God - “The Lord has heard my plea for mercy. The Lord accepts my prayer” (Psalm 6:9). He stands upon God’s promise - “The Lord protects those who take refuge in Him” (Psa…

"Preaching and Teaching" by James Philip

Inspiration, authority, infallibility and inerrancy are the necessary prerequisites for preaching and teaching. If a true ministry is to be exercised, these theological foundations are indispensable. This is implied by Paul’s employment of the word ‘ambassador’ to describe the work of the ministry. The word ‘ambassador’ is used twice in the New Testament by Paul. In 2 Corinthians 5:19, he says, ‘Now, then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God”. His second comment is found in Ephesians 6:20 - ‘That I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak..” The Greek word for ‘ambassador’ is presbutes. This word is derived from the verb presbeuo. The literal meaning of this verb is ‘to be older or oldest’, ‘to take precedence by right of seniority’. This idea of seniority; which includes authority a…