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Showing posts from 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."

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…