Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 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 d…

The Beginning Of Sin ...

Genesis 3
From the majestic perfection of God and the privileged responsibility of humanity, we now move to the evil subtlety of Satan. An intruder has sneaked into the privileged place between God, the Creator, and mankind, His creation.
Chapter 2 ends with the absence of shame. Chapter 3 begins with the presence of Satan. The work of Satan, successfully executed, ensures that chapter ends rather differently from chapter 2 - “the Lord God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden” (v. 23).This was “Paradise Lost”. Was there a way to “Paradise Regained”? There are two answers to this question: “No” and “Yes”. Taking ourselves as the starting-point, the answer is “No”. God will not permit us to take salvation into our own hands (v. 24). Starting with God, the answer is “Yes”. This is the answer of verse 15: Christ (the woman’s descendant will be crucified (the bruising of His heel), but the outcome of this will be the defeat of Satan (the crushing of his head).

Sin, Judgment .…

Back To The Beginning

Genesis 1:1
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."This is our only starting-point. We begin with the eternal God. Before there was creation, there is God. There is nothing beyond God. He is the Beginning.
Genesis 1:2
"darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of face of the waters."Before the Spirit of God has done his powerful work in our hearts, we remain in darkness. We can do nothing about this. The light does not come from ourselves. It comes from the Lord.
Genesis 1:3
"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light."This is the mighty work of God. Through His amazing grace, He brings us out of His darkness and into His light.
Genesis 1:4
"the light was good"- What a wonderful blessing it is when the light of the Lord shines in our hearts.
Genesis 1:5
"Day and Night" - It's like the difference between Day and Night. What a great change there is in us when the Lord…

Beyond the darkness of sin, there's the light of salvation.

Beyond the darkness of sin, there's the light of salvation (Genesis 1-3).This is not only about creation. It's also about sin. There's also the promise of salvation (Genesis 3:15).Even in the darkness of sin, there's a glimpse of the light that will come. God created us. He has not forgotten us. He has sent His Son for us. He has not left us in our sin. He has delivered us. We have just a hint of this here - "The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent" (Genesis 3:15). There is enough of a hint to persuade us that there are better things still to come. We do not get bogged down in sin. God is calling us beyond that. He is calling us on to salvation. He is calling us to come to the Saviour - our Lord Jesus Christ.

Begin with God ...

* 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).

The Holy Spirit in the Life of Faith

The Holy Spirit is the Breath of God. All Scripture is God-breathed. We experience the Breath of God upon our life when we listen attentively to the God-breathed Scriptures. Paul speaks, in 2 Timothy 3:15-17, of therelationship between the Breath of God (the Holy Spirit) and the God-breathed Word (the Holy Scriptures) - 'the Holy Scriptures ... are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work'.
1) The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to make us wise.
The wisdom which comes from the Spirit and the Word is a special kind of wisdom. It is not the wisdom of this world. It is the wisdom which is bound up with Christ, salvation and faith. Worldly wisdom places great value on intellectual attainment. It emphasizes the importance of getting on in the world. True spiritual wisdom has quit…

God's Word - Unchanged, Unchanging, Unchangeable

Some people say, “Surely, you don’t believe the Bible.” They say that the Bible belongs to the past. It’s not for us today. This kind of talk takes us right back to the Garden of Eden – “Did God really say?” (Genesis 3:1).The Bible says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God?” (2 Timothy 3:16).Who are we to say that the Bible needs to be rewritten – so that it only says what we want it to say to us? God hasn’t stopped speaking to us through His Word – but have we stopped listening to Him?   * In our cynical world, we hear that “It doesn’t matter what you believe because what you believe doesn’t matter.” When we find ourselves starting to think like this, let’s remember this: God’s Word is unchanged.  * Sometimes, we look back over our life, and we think, “I used to love reading the Bible – but somewhere along the line, something’s changed.” What’s changed? Has God’s Word changed? No! It hasn’t changed. When our feelings change, let’s not forget this: God’s Word…

Lord, we thank You for Your amazing grace ... Your love reaches us. It lifts us up ...

2 Samuel 23:1-39 Lord, we thank You for Your amazing grace. What we are, in ourselves, is nothing compared with what we can become through the power of Your love. Your love reaches us. It lifts us up - out of our sin, which drags us down, and into Your salvation, which renews our strength and makes us new men and women.

Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You have left us.

2 Samuel 13:1-39 Sometimes, Lord, it seems like You have left us. We feel like we're looking for You, but we're not finding You. We ask, "Where have You gone?" - then we start thinking, "Have you really left us?" or "Are we the ones who have wandered away from You?" Call us back to Yourself, Lord. Show us where we've gone wrong. Lift us above our changeable feelings into Your unchangeable love. Show us that You're beside us every step of the way - especially when we find it difficult to feel that You're really with us.

So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong.

2 Samuel 1:1-27 So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong. Our heads go down. We lose our way. We fall away from You. Where does this spirit of defeat, this spirit of giving up, come from? - It comes from Satan. He sweeps in. He sweeps us off our feet. He sweeps us away from You. When Satan attacks us, help us, Lord, to remember Your promise: You are "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24-25). Help us to hear Your Word: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

"May the Lord do what seems good to Him."

2 Samuel 10:1-11:27  "May the Lord do what seems good to Him" (2 Samuel 10:12). Lord, this is the way it should be. We should be saying, "Not my will but Yours be done" (Matthew 26:39). It's the way things should be - but it's not the way things are. Often, we make wrong choices. we choose our own way rather than Your way. Help us, Lord, to stop trying to get our own way. Help us to start walking in Your way. Help us to say, "As for God, His way is perfect" (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30).

“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).

Seeking to grow in our understanding of God’s Word is important. We need to move from there to ask the question: Why are we seeking to increase our understanding of God’s Word? We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). An increase in knowledge is to be accompanied by growth in grace.  We can easily get ourselves confused when we’re reading the most difficult parts of God’s Word. That’s when we need the reminder: God calls us to obey His Word –– “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).
When we start thinking that we’ve made some progress in mastering the Bible’s difficult passages, we need to be reminded that God calls us to love Him and to love our neighbour – “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). We must never forget the words which follow the call to grow in Christ – “To Him be g…

Praying Through God's Word: Old Testament

GENESIS

Genesis 1:1-3 Lord, help us to get our priorities right - Your priorities. May our lives be more centred on You - less centred on ourselves. Help us to listen for Your Word - not to jump straight in with our own words. Help us to open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. May He move among us - in power, in love, in holiness, in victory. Transform our life, O Lord - May we live as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). May we know the great blessing of knowing that Jesus, our Saviour, is always "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).
Genesis 1:4-13
Lord, when You speak to us, help us to say, ‘Your will be done’ (Matthew 6:10).
‘Let it be to me according to Your Word’ (Luke 1:38) - This was Mary’s prayer. May it also be our prayer. By ourselves, we are helpless and hopeless - Without Your help, we have no hope of doing Your will and pleasing You. We need Your Holy Spirit - May the Spirit’s ‘living water’ flow in us (John 7:37-39).Thank You, Lord, for the gift of Your Holy Sp…