Charles’s quotes


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

Sunday, 31 December 2017

"A voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”" (Luke 3:22).

What wonderful words about Jesus, our Saviour! He is God's beloved Son. He reveals God's love to us. What a great Saviour Jesus! - This is the great message that comes to us from Jesus' baptism. Jesus is more than a great man. His greatness is more than human greatness. His greatness comes from heaven. Jesus comes from heaven - "He came down wo earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all" (from the hymn, "Once in royal David's city").

Wisdom and power - from God to us

"To God belong wisdom and power" (Job 12:13).
We need God. We need His wisdom. We need His power. How does God help us. How does He make our life better? He gives us His wisdom - to understand how He wants us to live. He gives us His power - to live the way He wants us to live. Before we can learn how God wants us to live, we must turn our eyes on Jesus. He is the Way - the true and living Way - to God (John 14:6). Once we have come to God through faith in Christ, we begin to live with wisdom and power - the wisdom of Christ and the power of Christ. Often, we will let our Lord down. We will not always live according to His wisdom. Often, our lives will speak more of our weakness rather than His power. This is when we must come before the Lord, confessing our sin, seeking receiving His forgiveness, and rejoicing in His great salvation. 

"Help me, Lord my God; save me according to Your unfailing love" (Psalm 109:26).


We need to be helped. We need to be saved. Salvation is the help that we need. Salvation comes to us from the Lord. It's His gift to us. It's the gift of His "unfailing love." It's the revelation of His "unfailing love." There's nothing like the love of God. It's the only "unfailing love." When all other loves fail, the Lord's love does not  fail. When human love comes to an end, the Lord's love continues. When human love lets us down, the Lord's love lifts us up. We pray to the Lord for salvation. He answers our prayers - because He loves us.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

"To Him who is able to keep you ... be glory ... forevermore!"

"My heart, O God, is steadfast" (Psalm 108:1).
Can any of us really say this about ourselves? The answer is "No! We can't" - but there's something we can say about God, something wonderful: "Great is Your love, higher than the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the skies" (Psalm 108:4). It's God's love and faithfulness that gives us the strength that we need to become more and more steadfast as we travel through life with with the Lord. In Jude 21, we read, "Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life."We read the words, "Keep yourselves" - and we are filled with anxiety - This is exactly what we can't do for ourselves. This is when we need to hear about "God's love" and "the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ." When we look away from our own weakness to the great love God has for us, our hearts rejoice and we praise the Lord, thanking Him that He is able to keep us on the pathway that leads to eternal life - "To Him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore!" (Jude 24-25).

Jesus, Paul ... and you (What will your future be?)

"I am Jesus, whom you (Saul of Tarsus) are persecuting ... I am sending you to the Gentiles to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me" (Acts 26:15,17-18).
Jesus revealed Himself to Saul of Tarsus (see Acts 9). His life was never the same again.He was completely transformed. He became a man in love - with Jesus, a man on fire - for Jesus, a man on a mission - for Jesus. He became Paul the Apostle. He had such a high calling - "to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Me." He was given the strength that he needed to fulfil this high calling to the glory of God and the salvation of many people in so many different places. What great things Jesus did for Paul, in Paul and through Paul - and what great blessing came to so many people and places. It began on the day when the persecutor met the Saviour, the day when the persecutor was set on a new pathway, when the persecutor became the preacher. Whatever your past may have been, Jesus may have a wonderful future planned for you. Will you say "Yes" to Jesus and the future He has planned for you? I don't know what He has planned for you, but there's one thing I do know - it will be a much better future than the one you're planning for yourself. Life with Jesus is always better than life without Him.  
  

A holy man of God ...

"I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God" (2 Kings 4:9).
What a wonderful reputation Elisha had. He was known as "a holy man of God" - What a reputation to be lived up to! How can any sinner become a holy man of God? This is the work of God's grace. No-one can make himself a holy man of God. God must do this, working in us by His power and His love. Holiness comes to us from the love of God and the power of God. The desire for holiness comes from the love of God. It begins when we see ourselves as sinners - and we is begin to long for something more of God in our lives. In His love, He assures us that it can be done - we can be changed. We can be made new. We cannot do this for ourseves, but God can do this for us. By His power - the power of his love - He changes us. We will never be without sin. We're sinners. We can't change that. This side of heaven, we can't get away from our sin - but we do have God's promise: "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). God doesn't forgive our sins - and then leave us exactly the way we were before we received His forgiveness. He leads us on His "highway of holiness" (Isaiah 35:8). Often, we will fall from this high way, but, each time we fall, He will lift us up again. He will set us on our feet again - and lead us forward on His highway of holiness. Often, we will fail him, but He will not fail to fulfil His great purpose of love. By the way of true holiness - holiness which never loses sight of His love, He will lead us on to His heavenly and eternal glory. As we travel on this road, deeply conscious of our own weakness,we can only say this: To God be the glory! - "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).

Lovely, beautiful - what do these words mean?

"How lovely is Your dwelling-place, Lord Almighty!" (Psalm 84:1); "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news" (Isaiah 52:7).
Lovely, beautiful - what do these words mean? Where God is, there is love. When He comes into our hearts, He comes in His love - and we, sinners, become His dwelling-place. His love is not for keeping to ourselves. It's to be shared. We're to bring the "good news" of His love to other people. We're to let them that God loves them. This is a beautiful thing - sharing the Good News of God's love.

The joy of the Lord and the strength of the Lord

"Sing for joy to God our strength" (Psalm 81:4); "The joy of the Lord your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).
Where does our joy come from? Where does our strength come from? Our joy comes from the Lord. Our strength comes from the Lord.  It's not really our joy and our strength. It's the joy of the Lord. It's the strength of the Lord. Everything good in us comes from Him. He puts it into our hearts. We come to Him with our sadness. He gives us His joy. We come to Him in our weakness. He gives us His strength.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christ is always greater than our thoughts about Him.

"Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).

Paul was deeply conscious of his own inadequacy. He was profoundly grateful for the great privilege of being called to preach "the boundless riches of Christ." We can learn so much from Paul - so much about ourselves, so much about Christ. There is nothing great about ourselves. Everything about Christ is great. We must never think too highly of ourselves. We can never think too highly of Christ. He is always greater than our thoughts about Him.  

God has a question for us ...

"Can you fathom the mysteries of God?" (Job 11:7).

As we think about God, we are brought to the limits of our human understanding. We are reminded of this in Deuteronomy 29:29 - "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may follow all the words of this law." Note that this verse ends with a call to live in obedience to God's Word. We don't have to understand everything about God to start living for Him. There will be many questions that we can't answer. There is one question that we must answer. It is God's question to us. He asks us, "Will you live for Me?"

Friday, 22 December 2017

No Condemnation

"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
What a wonderful Word from the Lord this is! Wherever we look in our life, we feel that we are condemned - but, here, God says something else about us. he says something very wonderful. Jesus was not condemned. He is "God's beloved Son." God is "well pleased" with Him (Matthew 3:17). We say, "But that's Jesus - not us." True - but note what Paul tells us here. He says that we are "in Christ Jesus". When God looks on us, He does not see our sin. He sees His Son. He sees Jesus, our Saviour - and He says, " For you, in Christ Jesus, there is now no condemnation."

Blessing From The Lord

"They will receive blessing from the Lord ... " (Psalm 24:5).
Sometimes, it seems to us that it is impossible for us to be blessed by the Lord. We have sinned so much and so often. How can we possibly be blessed by the Lord? Are we overstating our sinfulness? The more we think about it, the more we realize that it is true - "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Then our thoughts move away from ourselves to Jesus - and we realize that God loves sinners - "God showed His love for us in this - while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).That's when we begin to see the wonderful truth of the Gospel of God's love - "the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

God's Love Endures Forever.

"God's love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1).
This is Good News! Often, we feel unloved. We've let the Lord down. We feel like He's given up on us - then we read this great Word from Him.To know that God loves us is the greatest thing we can ever know. His love makes the difference between our life falling apart in guilt and despair and our life going from strength to strength in joy and victory.

Was this the end of the road?

In Mark 14:66-72, we read about Peter denying his Lord three times. Was this the end of the road for Peter? No! In John 21:15-17, we read of Peter declaring his love for Jesus - three times, once for each denial! In Acts 2:41, we read of three thousand people being brought to faith in Christ through Peter's preaching - three thousand people, one thousand for each denial!! There was a great future for Peter - and there's a great future for us. Peter was changed by the love of Jesus - and we can be changed by His love, the greatest love of all.

Is there a way back to God?

In Ezekiel 14, we read about people turning away from the Lord, people turning to idols. Does God turn His back on them? When we read on to verse 11, we find these wonderful words: "Then the people of Israel will no longer stray from me, nor will they defile themselves anymore with all their sins. They will be my people, and I will be their God, declares the Sovereign Lord." This Word from the Lord is very special. He is the God of mercy. He is the God of grace. He loves us. His love is stronger than our sin. When we hear about his love, we are drawn by His love - drawn back to Him, drawn to return to Him and to rejoice in Him again.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me ...

"The Spirit of the Almighty Lord is with me
    because the Lord has anointed me
        to deliver good news to humble people.
    He has sent me
        to heal those who are brokenhearted,
        to announce that captives will be set free
            and prisoners will be released" (Isaiah 61:1).

These words were spoken by Isaiah. They were spoken by Jesus. May they also be our words.  

Arise, shine ...

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you" (Isaiah 60:1).
* Let the light of Christ shine.

* Let the words of Scripture lead to thoughts of the Saviour.
* In Christ, we are called to salvation, sanctification and service.
* Be wise – worship the Saviour.

Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-7,10-14; Eph 3:1-12; Mt 2:1-12

Wonderful Grace of Jesus


We are, because of our sin, under the judgment of God. Christ has taken our judgment that we might receive His salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we have a great reminder of this. Christ drank from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation. This is amazing grace, reaching out to us.

What we do with this grace, which is so freely offered to us in Christ, is a matter of eternal significance. May God, in this generation where there is so much unbelief, bring many people to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” These great words of grace are followed by some words which tell us how amazing this grace is: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:6-9).

In ourselves, convicted of our sin, we feel that there is no hope. As the Spirit works in our hearts, we are able to look to Christ in faith. As we come to Him, we see how wonderful the love of God is. We think, “The Lord could never accept me after what I have done.” Jesus says, “Those who come to Me, I will never turn away” (John 6:37). “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin; How shall my tongue describe it? Where shall my praise begin?”

God’s Word does not return to Him empty. It accomplishes the purpose for which He sent it (Isaiah 55:11).
Often, we feel like God’s Word returns to us empty. It never returns to Him empty. Wherever God’s Word is preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work. He is doing more than we realize. Some may refuse to listen to the voice of the Spirit – but the Spirit keeps on speaking to them, calling them to return to the Lord and receive His free gift of salvation: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7). Let us pray that the Word of God will be spoken in the power of the Spirit of God: The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).

There's one thing that doesn't change. It's the love of God.

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). 
"The mountains may move, and the hills may shake, but my kindness will never depart from you. My promise of peace will never change,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you" (Isaiah 54:10).
This may change. That may change. The next thing may change. It may seem like everything's changing. We wonder if there' anything that remains the same. There's one thing that doesn't change. It's the love of God. He loved us then. He loves us now. He will love us forever.

"I will strengthen you" (Isaiah 45:5).

We come to the Lord in our weakness. He gives us his strength. His strength is more than enough for us.

God’s Word for hard times

“Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

"The Highway of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8)

It's  the highway of the heart. It's the highway of hope. It's the highway to heaven. 
 * Holiness is more than external conformity to a set of moral teachings. Holiness begins to grow in us when our hearts belong to Jesus, when Jesus lives in us.
* Holiness doesn't take away from our life. Holiness gives us hope for the future. We begin to see ourselves in terms of God's purpose of love. He hasn't given up on us. He's working in us to make us more like Jesus. 
 * Holiness leads us beyond our earthly journey. It leads us on to our heavenly destination. We're not saved by our own holiness. We're saved by God's grace. By His grace, our Heavenly Father leads us in the pathway of holiness. He's leading us on to His eternal glory. 
When we're walking om the highway of holiness, may we always say, "To God be the glory!" There can be no place for self-congratulation. All we can say is "Thank You, Lord."

"Say to the faint-hearted: 'Be strong; do not fear! Here is your God" (Isaiah 35:4).


What encouragement there is for us in the Word of the Lord. Our encouragement comes from the Lord. It is He who speaks to us His words of encouragement.

Awesome holiness, awesome love

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty" (Isaiah 6:3); "Your sins are forgiven" (Isaiah 6:7).
"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them" (1 Timothy 1:15).
---
Awesome holiness: It was my sin which sent Christ to the Cross.
Amazing love: Christ has taken my sin to the Cross. I receive His forgiveness.

“I will sing for the one I love” (Isaiah 5:1).

Isaiah speaks here of our love for God. When we speak of our love for God, we must always remember this: God’s love for us comes before our love for Him. We sing to the One who has loved us. The song we sing to Him is the song of love: “Loving Him who first loved me.”
Lord, we sing a song of love. We sing about the best love of all - Your love for us. There is no love like Your love. It's the greatest love of all. It's Your love for us that inspires our love for You. Our love for You grows strong when we think less about our love for You - and more about Your love for us.

Salvation

"I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
God's salvation

- It's a permanent salvation: it "will endure forever";
- It's a complete salvation: "nothing can be added to it";
- It's a secure salvation: "nothing" can be "taken from it";
- It's a salvation which leads to worship: "so that men will revere Him."

" ... a faithful messenger ... refreshes the soul ..." (Proverbs 25:13).

God is calling us to be faithful and fruitful. Let us bring His Word to others. Let us bring his blessing to them. 

What kind of people are we to be?

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

What great love, Lord, You have for us.

Leviticus 27:1-34
What great love, Lord, You have for us. There is no love like Your love for us. It's the best love! What joy You give to us - the joy that comes from knowing that we are loved with "everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your love, to be changed by Your love, to share Your love. Your love: It's the best thing we could ever receive from You - and it's the best thing we can pass on to other people!

Lord, help us never to think, "We are blessed because we are obedient."

Leviticus 26:1-46
Lord, help us never to think, "We are blessed because we are obedient." Help us always to say, "We are blessed because You love us and Jesus died for us." Your love for us, Jesus' death for us:  This is where the blessing comes from - and it's where our obedience comes from! We think of Your great love for us. We think of Jesus, crucified for us.  We say, "Lord, You love me. Help me to love You." We say, "Jesus, You died for me. Help me to live for You." This is how Your blessing comes to us - You show us how much You love us, You put Your love into our hearts, the obedience grows stronger - and so does the blessing!

Lord, when hard times come our way ...

Lord, when hard times come our way, help us to remember that "Your steadfast love never ceases" (Lamentations 3:22). When bad things are happening to us, help us to keep on remembering that You are still the good God. Who are we to say that You are no longer with us – just because we’re going through a hard time? You’re with us in our bad days as well as our good days. You’ve promised to be with us every step of the way. Who are we to suggest that You’ve gone away and left us to go it alone? Help us to trust Your promises – and not to get dragged away from You by our feelings which can go up and down like a yoyo. Sometimes, we’re up. Sometimes, we’re down. With You, there are no ups and down – You’re always the faithful God. You’re always near to us – even when we feel that You’re far away from us. We’ve wandered far away from You – but You’re always near to us. Thank You, Lord, that You are always with us.

Lord, You are the God of holiness. You are the God of love.

Exodus 32:15-33:23
Lord, You are the God of holiness. You are the God of love. Your holiness is loving holiness. Your love is holy love. Help us to see that Your holiness and Your love belong together. It's not one without the other. It's not holiness without love. It's not love without holiness. We need both - Your holiness and Your love. Your holiness shows us our sin. Your love forgives our sin. You love us. Help us to love You - and be changed by Your holy love.

We thank You, Lord, that "we have peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ"

Leviticus 3:1-4:35
We thank You, Lord, that "we have peace with You through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). We thank You that "Jesus is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14). This peace is not something that comes from within ourselves. It comes to us from outside of ourselves. It comes from above. It comes to us from You. It's given to us. It's Your gift. We cannot give this gift to ourselves. We can only receive it by faith - faith in Jesus, our Saviour.

Lord, You are the God of perfect holiness. You are the God of perfect love.

Leviticus 18:24-19:37
Lord, You are the God of perfect holiness. You are the God of perfect love. You call us to a life of holiness. You call us to a life of love. How are to live this life of holiness and love? We need the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of love. Without Him, we cannot even begin to live this new life - the life of holiness and love. We thank You, Lord, that You have not left us to live this life in our own strength - "the Holy Spirit ... lives in us" (2 Timothy 1:14).

Lord, what are we to do about our sin?

Leviticus 14:33-15:33
Lord, what are we to do about our sin? What can we do about it? It keeps on spreading. We can't do anything about this. It just gets worse and worse. What can be done about this? We can do nothing - but Jesus can do something about it. He's our Saviour. He comes to us in love. He comes to us in power. He forgives our sin. He gives us a new beginning. The past is put behind us. Jesus leads us on to Your eternal glory. Hallelujah! - "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).

We thank You, Lord, that "the vilest offender, who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives."

Leviticus 13:47-14:32
We thank You, Lord, that "the vilest offender , who truly believes, that moment, from Jesus, a pardon receives." By faith, we receive Your forgiveness - but we never earn Your forgiveness. Forgiveness is always Your gift. It's never a reward. By faith, we look away from ourselves. We look to Jesus, our Saviour. We do not say, "How great is my faith." We say, "How great is my Saviour."

Lord, we thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin.

Leviticus 12:1-13:46
Lord, we thank You that the blood of Your Son, Jesus, cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7). We come to the Cross of Christ in our failure. At the Cross of Christ, we receive Your forgiveness. We bring our sin to the Saviour. He gives to us His salvation. Bring us, Lord, out of the darkness of our sin and into the light of Your salvation.

Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation.

Leviticus 11:1-47
Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation. We're not left to go it alone. You come to us. You come as our Saviour. You take us as we are - but You don't leave us the way You found us. You start changing us. You have great plans for us. You're making us more like Your Son, Jesus. We trust Jesus. We receive His salvation. Help us to follow Him, to be changed by Him, to become more like Him.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Lord, You are holy. We are sinners.You see our sin - and You keep on loving us.

Leviticus 9:1-10:20
Lord, You are holy. We are sinners. You see our sin - and You keep on loving us. We see Jesus - and we know that You will never stop loving us. Help us, Lord, to confess our sin and to receive Your forgiveness. Lead us out of our sin and into Your holiness - and help us to give all the glory to You.

Lord, You love us. You call us to love You.

Leviticus 8:1-36
Lord, You love us. You call us to love You. Help us, Lord, to grow in our love for You - to obey Your Word, to do Your will, to walk in Your way.

Salvation - permanent, complete and secure ...

"I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).
God's salvation

- It's a permanent salvation: it "will endure forever";
- It's a complete salvation: "nothing can be added to it";
- It's a secure salvation: "nothing" can be "taken from it";
- It's a salvation which leads to worship: "so that men will revere Him."

Sunday, 3 December 2017

" ... a faithful messenger ... refreshes the soul ..." (Proverbs 25:13).

God is calling us to be faithful and fruitful. Let us bring His Word to others. Let us bring his blessing to them. 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

What kind of people are we to be?

What kind of people are we to be? What kind of life are we to live? Lord, You're calling us to live a life of "love" (Proverbs 17:9). How, Lord, do we learn what love is? - We learn from You. You show us what love is - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... " (John 3:16). In Jesus, we see perfect love - "The Son of God loved me and gave Himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). The Holy Spirit fills our lives with Your love - "The fruit of the Spirit is love" (Galatians 5:22). Help us, Lord, to live a Godly, Christlike, Spirit-filled life - a life of love.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You.

Exodus 7:25-8:32
Lord, show us our pride - and teach us to humble ourselves before You. Show us Your power and teach us to trust You to do great things in and through us.

We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."

Leviticus 1:1-2:16
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). In His death for us, we see Your love for us. Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to worship You in the beauty of holiness. Help us to celebrate Your love in the spirit of thanksgiving.

Lord, help us to listen to Your Word ...

Exodus 40:1-38
Lord, help us to listen to Your Word, walk in Your way and "worship You in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). These are the things that matter most. Are they our priorities? We know, Lord, that they should be our priorities - but we are often distracted. We lose our focus. Other things become more important to us. "Restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

Lord, we want blessing - but we're not so keen on obedience.

Exodus 39:1-43
Lord, we want blessing - but we're not so keen on obedience. Help us to learn from Jesus. For Him, obedience was everything. He was fully obedient. For Him, it meant the Cross (Philippians 2:8). Lord, help us not to be thinking, "What are we going to get out of this?" Help us to be praying, "How can we do Your will? How can we bring glory to You?"

We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "pure gold."

Exodus 37:1-29
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is "pure gold." There's nothing better than Jesus. there's no-one better than Him. He's the very best. What Jesus has done for us - this is "pure gold." He died for us. He was raised to life for us. This is Good News. It's the best news we could ever hear. Lord, help us not to get bogged down in the bad news of our sin. Lord, lift us up with the Good News of our Saviour.

Teach us, Lord, that it's not all about us.

Exodus 36:8-38
Teach us, Lord, that it's not all about us. It's not about getting ourselves noticed. It's all about You. It's about giving all the glory to You.

Help us, Lord, never to think that we have nothing to offer to You.

Exodus 35:1-36:7
Help us, Lord, never to think that we have nothing to offer to You. We can never save ourselves. That is something that You must do for us. We have been saved by Your grace. Now, we must serve You in Your strength. You gave Your Son for us. Help us to give ourselves to You. May we never be half-hearted in our devotion to You. Help us to be whole-hearted in all that we do for You.

Lord, You are the faithful God.

Exodus 34:1-35
Lord, You are the faithful God. You give us Your promises. You keep Your promises. You never go back on Your Word. You always stand by the Word that You have spoken. Your promises come to us from the past. They lead us on into Your future. What a wonderful future You are planning for us. We thank You for Jesus' great promise: "I go to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). Help us to receive His Word, to rejoice in His promise, to be renewed by His love.

Lord, You call us to speak Your Word - but, first, You call us to listen to Your Word.

Exodus 24:1-18
Lord, You call us to speak Your Word - but, first, You call us to listen to Your Word. How can we speak for You if we're not listening to You? Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to hear the voice of Your love. Send us from the that holy place - the place of His crucifixion, the place of our salvation - back into the world. May we return to the world as people who've been changed - changed by the love of Christ. 

So often, Lord, we get preoccupied with ourselves.

Exodus 30:1-38
So often, Lord, we get preoccupied with ourselves. Our words say that You are more important than anyone else. Often, our lives tell a very different story - 'It's all about us. It's all about what pleases us.' How can we be changed? Lead us to the Cross of Your Son, Jesus. Show us Jesus - dying for us. Teach us to live for Him. Lift us out of our weakness and failure into Your strength and victory - and help us to praise You with hearts that are becoming more God-centred and less self-centred.

Sometimes, Lord, our lights are switched off.

Exodus 27:20-29:9 
Sometimes, Lord, our lights are switched off. Sometimes, they're switched on. The light of Your love is never switched off. It's always switched on. Your love is 'all the time' love. There is no love like Your love for us. It's the only 'always and forever' love. Thank You, Lord, for the light that never stops shining - the light of Your undying love. This is the only light that is always shining.

"He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30).

Be wise. Win souls.
"Those are the best educated ministers, who win the most souls" (Charles Finney) - It is estimated that over 250,000 souls were converted as the result of Finney's preaching!
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

Brighter and brighter ...

"But the path of righteous people is like the light of dawn that becomes brighter and brighter until it reaches midday. 19 The way of wicked people is like deep darkness. They do not know what makes them stumble" (Proverbs 4:18-19).
What a contrast there is between the "light" of the "righteous" and the "darkness" of the "wicked." The light that shines upon us is the light of the Lord. It is the light of his love, the best love, the greatest love of all, the love that never lets us go, the love that never comes to an end, everlasting love. It's God's love that brings us out of our darkness and into his light. Praise the Lord! 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Trust the Lord with all your heart ...

"Trust the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding ... Blessed is the one who finds wisdom  and the one who obtains understanding" (Proverbs 3:5, 13).
Real understanding of what our life really means - this isn't something that comes from within ourselves. It is given to us by the Lord. The first thing we must learn to do is this: Trust the Lord. He knows what our life is all about. When we don't understand what's going on, may we learn to trust Him.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Search For Wisdom

The search for wisdom may begin for us with the question, “What does the book of Proverbs teach us about wisdom?”, but it must not end there. While it is important to learn what the Old Testament has to say to us, we should not allow ourselves to get trapped in the Old Testament so that we fail to look beyond the first stage of God’s revelation and see the fullness of God’s revelation – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).
The book of Proverbs encourages us to search for wisdom. In our search for wisdom, we find that we are led beyond the book of Proverbs. We read what the New Testament says to us – “you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). We are to led to “Christ” who is “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). Christ leads us beyond “man’s wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Whatever else may be said about wisdom, there is one thing that we must always say, “Christ Jesus … has become for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30).
We do learn about wisdom as we read the book of Proverbs – but there is more to learn than the book of Proverbs, on its own, is able to teach us. In the book of Proverbs, we read of “Wisdom” calling out to us (Proverbs 1:20-21). In the Gospels, Jesus speaks to us. He tells us that He is “the Truth” (John 14:6). He tells us that He is “the Light” (John 8:12). We seek understanding. We seek enlightenment. We find these things in Jesus. We are truly wise when we build our life on Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).
When, in the book of Proverbs, we read the words, “Get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7), we must follow where our search for wisdom leads us. For us, “Get wisdom” means more than it meant for the writer of the book of Proverbs. It means, “Come to Christ and receive salvation.”
Whatever we may learn about wisdom from the book of Proverbs, this is only the beginning of our search. From there, we look to Jesus and we see that in Him are “‘all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Colossians 2:3) – all that we need for salvation, sanctification and service.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Lord, we come to You in our weakness.

Exodus 6:14-7:24
Lord, we come to You in our weakness. We receive Your strength. In our weakness, we fail. Through Your strength, we shall triumph. When we're stumbling along in weakness, help us to say, with ever-increasing faith, "Our God is marching on to glorious victory."

Often, Lord, we fail You - and we wonder why You bother with us.

Exodus 4:1-31
Often, Lord, we fail You - and we wonder why You bother with us. We thank You, Lord,that You never fail us. When we let You down, You lift us up. Help us, Lord, not to be shaped by our failure. Help us to be transformed by Your love and power. Help us to respond to Your call to "attempt great things for You and expect great things from You" (William Carey).

Lord, there is work to be done.

Exodus 38:1-31
Lord, there is work to be done. It's Your work. Help us all to play our part. We leave it to someone else - and it never gets done. Change us, Lord. Spectators can become workers. Help us not to hang back - on the sidelines. You're calling us to come into the centre of Your will and Your work. When we're tempted to stand back and watch, help us to come forward and work. Help us to remember this: "There's a work of Jesus none but we can do."

Lord, what are we to do when we're going through a hard time?

Exodus 1:1-2:10
Lord, what are we to do when we're going through a hard time? Hard times can be the breaking of us - or the making of us. We can blame You - or we can trust You. Help us to trust You - to know that You are near, even when it feels like You are far away.

Saved By The Lord - And Obedient To Him

Exodus 18:1-20:26
The Word of God tells us what God has done for His people: “the Lord saved them” (Exodus 18:8). The Word of God teaches us that being saved by the Lord places us under responsibility to be obedient to Him (Exodus 19:4-5). the vital connection between salvation and obedience is brought out clearly in the giving of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). Before speaking to His people about what they must do if they are to live as His obedient people, God reminds them of what He has done for them: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of slavery in Egypt” (Exodus 20:2). We must never forget how much the Lord has done for us. If we lose sight of His love, His grace and His mercy, so wonderfully revealed to us in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, our ‘obedience’ will be nothing but legalism. Real obedience comes from real salvation. It comes to us from the God of our salvation.

We thank You, Lord, that You have blessed us.

Exodus 2:11-3:22
We thank You, Lord, that You have blessed us. We have come to You with our sin - and You have forgiven us. We thank You, Lord, that You call us to bring Your blessing to others. We have received Your blessing. Help us to share it with others.

Lord, when You speak to us ...

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 Spirit - He gives us the power to ‘walk in the light’ (1 John 1:7) with You. Lead us in the way of fruitfulness - the way of “love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22-23).

Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” ...

Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” – “I once was lost but now am found” (John Newton). We think about our life. Did we find our way back to You?  - No! You found us! You came looking for us – and You found us. We think about this – and we say, “Hallelujah!” We say, “Praise the Lord!” Do we say, “Hallelujah! We have found Him”? We do say this – but there is something more than this: “Hallelujah! He has saved me.” Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace.

No-one else can ever be more important and more wonderful than Jesus.

Knowing the Lord Jesus Christ is more important and more wonderful than everything else (Philippians 3:8).

Paul's testimony lifts us above the shallow superficiality of the worldly way of thinking. Too often, we attach too much importance to the things that aren't really that important. We need to be reminded that Jesus is the most important Person of all. No-one else can ever be more important and more wonderful than Jesus.

To You, Lord, be all the glory ...

To You, Lord, be all the glory – You have done so many great things for us.
So many blessings – and they all come from You, Lord.
Our sins have been forgiven. You’ve come to live in us.
Such great blessing – but this is just the beginning!
You’re leading us on to eternal life.
Lord, when our heads go down, help us to lift up our eyes.
Help us to “come and see the shining hope.” Help us to look through heaven’s “open door.” Help us to catch a glimpse of “the mighty multitudes of heaven … singing, ‘Alleluia!’ … Love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

Called To Be A Prophet Of God

Jeremiah 1:4-10
How old was Jeremiah when he was called to be a prophet of God? We don't know. We do know that this was the great turning-point of his life. This was the day that he discovered the meaning, purpose and direction of his life. This was revealed to him by God. This call gave him strength to face many difficult times.

Facts, Faith, Feelings

Psalm 46:1-11
"God is our refuge and our strength ..." (Psalm 46;1). "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). First, the truth about God; Then, our feelings are brought into line with the truth about God,
Facts; Faith; Feelings
 * Facts - Christ's death and resurrection for us 
 * Faith - I believe the facts. My faith is built on the sure foundation - Christ, the rock of my salvation.
 * Feelings - Never start with feelings. They will lead you astray.
Safety; Certainty; Enjoyment
 * Safety - We have been saved by the Lord. It's His doing - not ours.
 * Certainty - We believe His Word. We stand upon His promises.
 * Enjoyment - We enjoy His blessing.

Lord, Your Word challenges us ...

Genesis 40:1-23
Lord, Your Word challenges us, "What do you want to get out of life?" Help us to look carefully at what is important to us. Are we 'looking after No. 1'? Lord, give us ambitions that do not centre on ourselves. Give us a deep persistent desire to glorify You in all that we do - and to find that this is the way of true and lasting joy!

Lord, our situation seems hopeless - but it's not!

Genesis 37:1-36
Lord, our situation seems hopeless - but it's not! You are there with us, every step of the way. This is what gives us hope: knowing that You're always there - even when the going gets tough!

A new song of salvation and thanksgiving

The world sings its songs. They do not sing the song of the Lord. There is a song which can only be sung by those who have been saved by the Lord. It is "a new song." It is the song of "salvation." Saved by the Lord, we sing to Him our song of "thanksgiving." We think of what the Lord has done for us and we say, "Praise the Lord!" (Psalm 149:1).
"Let Israel find joy in her Creator" (Psalm 149:2).
We do not create our own joy. Joy is given to us by the Lord. 

Monday, 27 November 2017

Lord, there are two ways of looking at every situation.

Genesis 35:16-36:43
Lord, there are two ways of looking at every situation. There's the way of faith - and there's the way of unbelief. We can look up to You - and be lifted up by You. We can look at our circumstances and fail to see that You are there, waiting to lift us up, to raise us above our circumstances and make us "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" (Romans 8:37).


Again and again, Lord, Your blessing comes to us.

Genesis 35:1-15
Again and again, Lord, Your blessing comes to us. In Your blessing, we see Your love. Time and time again, we have failed You. When did You ever fail us? - Never! You are completely faithful, entirely trustworthy and absolutely reliable. You keep on loving us. Help us to keep on loving You.

Lord, You call us to love You - and to love our neighbour.

Lord, You call us to love You - and to love our neighbour. Help us never to think that we can grow in our love for You if we are not also learning to love our neighbour with the love that You give to us. Help us never to forget You. Help us always to rejoice in the love that You have for us - and to let Your love shine out through us to others. May our love for our neighbour never become a substitute for loving You.

"Hallelujah! ... Hallelujah!" (Psalm 147:1,20).

God has given us plenty of reasons to praise Him - reasons to "sing to the Lord with thanksgiving" (Psalm 147:7).

Sunday, 26 November 2017

"I will praise the Lord all my life. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live" (Psalm 146:2).


Praising the Lord is not a passing phase - something that grabs our interest and then, later on, we lose interest and stop praising Him. Praising the Lord - this is for the whole of our life. As we travel on our journey through life, the Lord is teaching us to praise Him.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Going Back To The Beginning

“In the beginning, God”  – The first four words of the Bible take us back to the point where we can go no further, back to the eternity of God.
What do we find when we are taken back – into the heart of the eternal God?
We find love. We discover that “God is love.”
Creation is love because God is love. Before God made us, He loved us.
The love which we find in the opening chapters of Genesis is the love that is proclaimed throughout God’s Word – from Genesis to Revelation.
It’s the great love of God for us. It’s the love that never ends. It’s the love that goes on and on.
* How do we get to know God the Creator? How do we come to know that His heart is full of love for us?
In Genesis 1, three words are repeated over and over again: “And God said”.
These words emphasize the creative power of the Word of God.
God created through His Word. He proclaims His love to us through Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. He declares His love for us in the Scriptures, the written Word of God. We come to a true knowledge of god as our loving Creator when we come, in faith, to Jesus Christ, our Saviour.  As the Scriptures proclaim the Saviour to us, we learn that we need to be re-created in Christ, if we are to discover the  purpose of God’s love when He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27). In Jesus Christ, we learn that “God so loved the world” (John 3:16). Through Christ, we read Genesis with new eyes, the renewed eyes of “a new creation in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Through this new creation in Christ, we come to a real understanding of what it means to say, “Lord God, You created me. You are my Creator.”
* When we see creation from the standpoint of Jesus Christ, it is no longer merely a matter of ‘long, long ago.’ When we see God, our Creator, through the eyes of Jesus, our Saviour, we no longer have the feeling of something ‘far, far away’, something which is so distant and remote from our lives that it does not really concern us very much at all. In Jesus Christ, God, our Creator, has come to us. In Jesus Christ, God, our Creator, has declared his love to us.  When you read the story of the Garden of Eden, let your thoughts move beyond that garden to another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed to His Father, “Not My will, but Yours be done (Luke 22:42). As you come, in faith, to the Christ of Calvary, you will see creation from the vantage-point of the cross. You will read what God’s Word says about creation with the eyes of one who has become a new creation in Christ. You will read of God, breathing the breath of life into man (Genesis 2:7), and you will rejoice in the gift of God – the Holy Spirit: God’s gift to every believer in the lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:14). When you read of God’s command to man to do His will, you will, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, make it your delight to do the will of God. This is what it means to be re-created in the image of God. It is a life of learning to pray, with Jesus, “Not my will but yours be done.” To believe in God as our Creator is to obey Him as our Lord. Faith in God, the creator, is a living faith, when we know that Jesus is “God with us” and acknowledge Him as Lord.
We make our confession of faith  – “Jesus is Lord”, and we give thanks that “creation’s voice proclaims” that He is Lord.

The God Of Abraham

Genesis 12:1-3
Our concern is not so much with Abraham. Our chief focus of attention is on “the God of Abraham.” The story of Abraham is both the story of Abraham and the story of God’s grace and power. We see the grace of God, revealed in the promises of God. We see the power of God, revealed in the fulfilment of His promises: “God can do anything; God can do anything; god can do anything but fail; He can save. He can keep. He can cleanse, and He will. God can do anything but fail.”
God’s promise to Abraham has three parts: (a) personal – “I will bless you; (b) national – “I will make of you a great nation”; (c) universal – “by you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” As the fulfilment of God’s promise moves forward from Abraham to Israel to Christ, we hear God’s Word speaking to us: “I will bless you” – saved, kept, cleansed.
As we receive the blessing of God’s salvation, we discover how faithful God is, in His love towards us. “God can do anything but fail” – God cannot fail, because He is the everlasting God. He is Lord. He is carrying out His purpose, the purpose of His unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable love. This purpose of love is expressed in His promises. His promises have been fulfilled in Christ. His promises are offered to us today. These promises are summed up in the simple yet rich words, “I will bless you.” His promises express “the unchangeable character of His purpose” (Hebrews 6:17). We know that God will not fail us. He will not let us down. He will not forsake us. He will not leave us. We know this not only because of the promise given to Abraham. We know that God is faithful, in His love, because of the Cross of Christ – “the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19).
As we learn about the faithfulness of God, we discover that the God of Abraham is our  God, and the God of Jesus Christ is our God. We find ourselves drawn to Him. This isn’t a superficial and shallow attraction. It’s a deep devotion. It’s a heartfelt, loving loyalty. As we think about God’s faithfulness, our hearts are filled with hope for the future. This hope is summed up for us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. we think of Him, and we say, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”

In The Wilderness ...

"In the wilderness (or the wild country)" (Numbers 1:1).
"Stage by stage" (Numbers 33:2) - Moses kept a record of Israel's journey.
"In the wilderness", "stage by stage" - When we read these two phrases, and think about our own journey through life, we are invited to think about where we've been, where we are, and where we're going.   
Have we been in the wild country for far too long? Will we leave the wild country in the past?
There's more to life than being in the wild county. This is the message of Numbers for us today.
When we're in the wilderness, what we must remember is this - There's a way out of the wilderness.
Where will we find the way out of the wilderness? The book of Numbers gives us God's answer.
When we read about life "in the wilderness", we must remember this - We are not alone in the wilderness.
God is there with us. He's with us all of the time - not just some of the time.
This is what we need to hear and know, when we feel like God's gone away and left us.
Numbers isn't just about wilderness wanderings. It's about the guiding, delivering, sustaining and protecting hand of God.
God brought His people out of Egypt, and He was leading them to the Promised Land.
We must not forget this, when we're reading the book of Numbers.
When we're reading Numbers, it's easy to get bogged down. It's a tragic record of sad failure. That's what we see when we only see the human side of this story.
When we look beyond the human situation, we see something more. We see God - and we begin to see something else. We see another story - a story of glorious victory.
Numbers invites us to think about past, our present and our future. We read about the old generation, the transition era, and the new generation - and we wonder, 'Where do we fit in?'
This isn't just about old age and youth. It's about the old life and the new life - the life without Christ and the life that's being transformed by Him. It's about the struggle to put the old life behind us. It's about the call of God. He's calling us to to walk with Him in new life.
In Numbers, there's a strong emphasis on divine revelation (Numbers 1:1; Numbers 2:1). More than eighty times, in Numbers, we read the words, "The Lord spoke to Moses."
What does God say to us about our life? 
 - Without Him, our life is in ruins.That's the message of our fall into sin (Genesis 3).
 - With Him, we are redeemed. This is the message of the Exodus.
 - Once we've been redeemed by the Lord, we're to worship Him. That's our calling. We learn much about worship in Leviticus.
 - Worshipping the Lord involves more than what happens when we're in the Lord's House. We're to serve the Lord while we're travelling through life's wilderness. This is the challenge of Numbers. Find God in the wilderness. Follow Him as He leads you out of the wilderness and on to the Promised Land.
How are we to serve the Lord? We must begin with this - We have been saved by the Lord. Salvation comes before service. We've been saved by grace. Now, we must grow in grace. "Stage by stage", we must put the wilderness behind us, and press on to a life of faithful and fruitful service. 
 - Serving the Lord is a privilege that is given to us by the God of grace (Numbers 3-4).
 - We are to serve the Lord - according to His will (Numbers 7).
How are we to become God's faithful and fruitful servants? What we must learn is this - The way of service is the way of consecration (Numbers 6:1-8) and blessing (Numbers 6:24-26). Blessing comes from the Lord. It comes to us when we are consecrated to Him.
What does it mean to be consecrated to the Lord? It means this - We are to follow Him in the way that He leads us. When we take our eyes off Him, we will drift away from Him, and we will be pulled more deeply into the wilderness. When we keep our eyes on Him, He will lead us towards the Promised Land. 
Numbers challenges us - What will we be? Will be faithful? Will we be failures? In Numbers 13, we read about the unbelieving ten and the faithful two. God is saying to us, 'Let there be less unbelief, and more faith.' Numbers 13:30 is particularly challenging - "Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’"
In these words of Caleb, we learn about faith.
 - Our faith is based on facts - the promise of God.
 - Standing on the facts - God's promise, we believe that God is faithful. We believe that He will fulfil His promise. This is faith.
 - This brings us on to feelings. We don't start with feelings. We begin with facts. We build on facts. God's promise gives the firm foundation for our faith. When our faith is securely based on God's facts, our feelings will follow the lead given to them by God's facts and our faith. 
Without the God-given foundation for our faith, our feelings will take us all over the place. That's what happened to the people of Israel. The majority of the people lost sight of God's saving purpose - and they wandered around in the wilderness for forty years - “Because they have not followed me wholeheartedly, not one of those who were twenty years old or more when they came up out of Egypt will see the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – not one except Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite and Joshua son of Nun, for they followed the Lord wholeheartedly” (Numbers 32:11-12). When we read about failure of the majority, we must not forget faithful Caleb and Joshua. What a great example and wonderful inspiration they are to all of us.
In Numbers 27:18-23, we learn that Joshua had been chosen by God to succeed Moses as the leader of His people.
"So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit of leadership,and lay your hand on him. Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him in their presence ... At his command the Israelites will go out, and at his command they will come in.’ Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and made him stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole assembly. Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, as the Lord instructed through Moses."
Reading about those who failed the Lord and those who were faithful - This challenges us: What will we  do? What will we be? Will we fail the Lord? Will we be faithful to Him?
To those who are unfaithful, the Lord says, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23).
To those who are faithful, He gives His promise - "Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess" (Numbers 33:53).
Looking beyond the promised land, we see the promised Saviour.
In Numbers 19:9, we read about "cleansing ... purification from sin." This is what Jesus came to do for us. He's "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29).
In Numbers 28, we read about the feasts of Israel. they're full of prophetic significance. They point forward to our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the promised Saviour. Let us learn to look beyond all the details - to catch a glimpse of Jesus, our great Saviour.     

When Satan Comes, Sowing Seeds Of Doubt ...

“Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought many devices” (Ecclesiastes 7:29).
* Following the glory and majesty of the Creator and His creation in Genesis 1 & 2, the third chapter of Genesis begins with the enemy of God, the enemy of our souls, the devil, Satan (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). He is “subtle” – sly, cunning, crafty. He is evil.He sows seeds of doubt: “Did God say?” (Genesis 3:1). From his very first words, it is clear that he is the enemy of God. “Did God say? Did God really say?” One can almost hear the wicked, unbelieving tone of voice with which Satan spoke.
* When the woman heard the voice of Satan, she ought to have turned away from him. She ought to have said, “Get behind me, Satan. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” She ought to have said this, but she didn’t. She discussed the matter with the enemy. She had no right to do this. There was one answer she ought to have given to the devil: God has spoken, God has stated His will, God has given His Word.  This is what she ought to have said to Satan, but she didn’t.
* As Satan spoke to Eve and she listened to him, he made her doubt God’s Word and question His command. Eve started to talk things over with Satan. This is where she made her big mistake. She should have told Satan that God’s command is for our good. She should have told him that God’s law is good and pure and holy. She should have said this to the devil, but she didn’t. The more Eve spoke with Satan and listened to him, the less she delighted in God’s holy Word; She was seduced by the devil’s subtlety. She was led astray by the deceiver. By this time, Satan had moved beyond questioning God’s Word. He was contradicting it. He was saying the exact opposite of what God had said. He was saying “You will not die” (Genesis 3:4). By this time, Eve was taken in by the tempter. When she looked at the tree, she saw only what Satan wanted her to see (Genesis 3:6). She had cast aside the Word of God and listened, instead, to the voice of the devil. She no longer allowed God’s Word to be the last word on the matter. Now, she thought that she had the right to decide whether or not God’s way was the best way. She made herself the judge of what was good and evil, right and wrong. She had stopped listening to the Word of God. She was no longer committed to obeying the Word of God. The story of Genesis 3:6  continues down to the present day – Adam’s sons are still “rushing helter skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears” (Don Francisco).
* The immediate effect of sin was shame. Note the contrast between Genesis 2:25 and Genesis 3:7. Sin and shame go together. Sin is not something of which should be proud. Sin is something of which we should be ashamed. Refusing to listen to god’s word is a matter of great shame. Refusing to do god’s will is a shameful thing. The shamefulness of sin is bound up with the undeniable fact that sin makes us guilty – utterly and completely guilty before God. The innocence of Genesis 1 & 2 was lost. Like, Adam and Eve, we are guilty – unquestionably guilty before the God of perfect holiness. The judgment of God is upon us. Like Adam and Eve, we may resort to finger-pointing. Adam blamed the woman (Genesis 3:12). Eve blamed the serpent (Genesis 3:13). There can be no passing the buck. We must acknowledge our sin before God. We must confess our sin to Him. as we come to God, seeking His forgiveness, we will discover the wonder of His love for us.
When we come, acknowledging the holiness of God and our own sin and guilt – “God made man upright, but they have sought many devices”, we discover that the God of great holiness is also the God of great love. The God, who pronounces His judgment upon sin, is also the God who demonstrates His love for sinners.
When God says, “What is this that you have done?” (Genesis 3:13), this is not only a Word of judgment on sin. It’s also the Word that speaks of God’s love for sinners. God is declaring His love for sinners. He is saying, ‘I have loved you so much. There is absolutely no reason why you should have done this.’ God is declaring His love for us. In love, He’s appealing to us not to turn our backs on Him and lose out on the blessing that He wants so much to give to us. He’s saying to us, ‘I love you. Why are you turning away from Me? Will you not return to Me, and discover how much I love you?’
When God says, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9), this is not only a Word of God’s holiness, from which we have been separated by our sin. It’s also a Word of His love, This is God’s seeking love. This is the God of love, seeking the lost sinner. He is saying, ‘I love you, and I am seeking to save you.’
The God of love, the God who seeks to save sinners, gives the first promise of a Saviour, as early as Genesis 3:15. These words, spoken to the enemy. promise that there will be One who will triumph over the enemy: “I will put enmity between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Jesus, our Saviour, fulfils this promise of love. He was “bruised” for our sins, and, through His death, He has triumphed over Satan for us. So, even here in Genesis 3, with its message of sin and guilt, there is, for us, a message of hope – triumphant hope, glorious hope, eternal hope.

Arise, Shine ...

"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you" (Isaiah 60:1).
* Let the light of Christ shine.

* Let the words of Scripture lead to thoughts of the Saviour.
* In Christ, we are called to salvation, sanctification and service.
* Be wise – worship the Saviour.

Is 60:1-6; Ps 72:1-7,10-14; Eph 3:1-12; Mt 2:1-12

Ordinary Stories - With An Extraordinary Message

In Matthew 13, we see Jesus, the Storyteller. His stories are ordinary stories - with an extarordinary message. The stories are human. The message is divine. They are stories about people. They are stories about God. Following on from Jesus' parables, we have His return to "His hometown" (Matthew 13:54). The people were "amazed" at His teaching (Matthew 13:54), They did not, however, look for a divine explanation. They looked at Jesus in a human way. They said that He shouldn't be able to speak like this. They denied Him the right to speak with divine authority. They did not hear and receive what He said to them. What did Jesus say about them? "The only place a prophet isn't honoured is in his hometown and in his own house" (Matthew 13:57). What was the result of their refusal to recognize Jesus' authority? His power was not released among them: "He didn't work many miracles there because of their lack of faith" (Matthew 13:58).

The Authority Of Jesus - The Word and The Spirit

"It is right to do good on the day of worship" (Matthew 12:12). Why did Jesus have authority over the day of worship? It was because of who He is. He is worshipped. Jesus fulfils prophecy (Mathew 12:17-21). He has authority over Satan (Matthew 12:28). The victory of Jesus over Satan becomes ours when we receive God's Word, with humble faith, as "the sword of the Spirit." This speaks of the work of the Spirit in and through the Word. The Spirit leads us to Jesus. He leads us out for Jesus. Jesus is risen from the dead (Matthew 12:40), Let us serve Him and be His true family (Matthew 12:50).

Lord, help us to stand upon Your Word.

Genesis 31:43-32:21
Lord, help us to stand upon Your Word. You have given us a firm foundation for our faith. You have given us Your salvation. When everything around is shaking, we can stand firm because we know that You are our God. You are the God who has saved us through the death of Your Son. You are the God who gives us new power for living - the power of the Holy Spirit. You are the God who will lead us into the glory of Your eternal Kingdom - Your Kingdom of everlasting love, everlasting life and everlasting light.

Lord, so often we forget the things that matter most.

Genesis 31:22-42
Lord, so often we forget the things that matter most. So often, we forget You. The more we forget You, the more we miss out on the blessing which comes from knowing that You are the Lord our God. You are the God who is with us - even when we feel that You are far away.

Lord, Your way is the best way.

Genesis 29:1-30
Lord, Your way is the best way. We, often, wander off on our own. We forget that we are called to follow You, to walk in Your footsteps. Again and again, we need to be reminded that Your way is the best way. Help us to see that Your way is a wonderful way - even when it turns out to be very different from what we had expected.

Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone.

Genesis 27:41-28:9
Lord, we thank You that we're not left to go it alone. You've given us Your Spirit - the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of truth, the Spirit who leads us to Jesus, the Spirit who makes us more like Jesus. Thank You, Lord - with Your Spirit, we can go from strength to strength. Help us to walk in Your Spirit.

Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us ...

Genesis 27:1-40
Lord, we thank You that You want to bless us - more than we want to be blessed by You. We don't deserve to be blessed - but You keep on blessing us. Help us never to forget to say, "Thank You, Lord." Help us always to treasure Your blessing - and to keep on praying that it will grow and grow and ...

Lord, help us to prepare for the future – Your future.

Lord, help us to prepare for the future – Your future.
Life without a future is no life at all. Often, we feel like we are stuck in the prison of the present.
You lift up our eyes. You show us Your future. You fill our pathway with Your light.
It is Your light that makes our future very bright – brighter than we can put into words, brighter than we can even imagine.
Lead us, Lord, into Your future. Help us to walk with You on Your pathway to glory – Your eternal glory.

Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.

Genesis 24:50-67
Teach us, Lord, to count our blessings.
We try to think of all the good things You have done for us, all the great gifts You have given to us.
We cannot keep up with You, Lord. There is so much to count, so much for which we can only say, ‘Thank You, Lord.’

Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us.

Lord, You are with us – even when we feel that You are far away from us.
We think about what’s going on in our life – and we get it all wrong!
We look at what’s happening – and we think that You’ve gone away and left us.
When will we learn? – It’s us who’ve gone away and left you!
We start thinking, ‘You need to come back to me, Lord.’
You’re saying to us, ‘No! You’ve got it all wrong. It’s you that needs to come back to Me.’
Even in our darkest days, You’ve never gone away and left us.
You’ve always been there – all the time.
You’ve always been there – for us.
Thank You, Lord.

Lord, what You have done for us – we could never have done for ourselves!

Lord, what You have done for us – we could never have done for ourselves!
It’s so amazing what You have done for us.
We were making plans for ourselves - but our plans didn’t include You!
You came to us. You said to us, “I have a wonderful plan for your life.”
We look at the plans we had for ourselves, we look at the plan You have for us – and we say, ‘Your way is so much better than our own way.’
Your way is the way of blessing. It’s the way of giving glory to You.
Lord, where would be – if You had not come to us, if You had not led us into Your way, if You had not brought us into Your blessing?
You did not wait for us to start looking for You – You came looking for us.
You did not wait for us to start saying, ‘Bless us, Lord’ – You came to us with Your blessing.
You did not wait for us to lift ourselves up – You lifted us up.
Thank You, Lord.

Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger!

Lord, the world seems so strong – but You are stronger!
“The world is ever near … my foes are ever near me … but, Jesus, draw still nearer, and shield my soul from sin” (CH4, 644).
Sometimes, the battle seems to be too much for us. Sometimes, we feel like giving up.
Come to us, Lord. Show us Your love. Without Your love, we are helpless. Our situation is hopeless. Your love brings us help. Your love gives us hope. It’s Your love that makes us “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37).

Praise The Lord - At All Times!

Psalm 34:1-22
"I will praise the Lord at all times" (Psalm 34:1) - in the bad times as well as the good times. "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Philippians 4:4). "His praise will always be on my lips" (and in my heart) (Psalm 34:1). This Psalm begins with "I" (see also Psalm 34:2 - "I will boast in the Lord"), but it move on, from there, to "Proclaim with me the Lord, let us exalt His Name together" (Psalm 34:3). Note also "I" (Psalm 34:4) and "Taste and see" (Psalm 34:8).
The way to happiness - true and lasting joy (Psalm 34:5,8): True joy goes hand in hand with the fear of the Lord (Psalm 34:11-12).
The Lord sees us in our need, and He has compassion on us. He is near to us - "Emmanuel." He saves us - "Jesus" (Psalm 34:18; Matthew 1:23,21).
What the Lord does for us is summed up in Psalm 34:22 - He redeems us. This is more than changing our life here-and-now. This is eternal life. This comes to us through the death of Christ (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33,36). He died that we might live.    

"Your Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom" (Psalm 145:13).

We read about kings. Some were good kings. Some were bad kings. None could even begin to compare with Jesus, the King of our salvation, the King who brings us into His Kingdom, the King who brings salvation to us.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Lord, Your love is greater than our sin.

Lord, Your love is greater than our sin.
You have a great purpose for every one of us – but our sin gets in the way!
You want to make us more like Jesus – but there’s so much of self in us!
You want to lead us in the pathway of victory – but Satan’s always trying to trip us up!
What are we to make of all this? Are we to give up in despair?
No! We must not give up – because You, Lord, never give up on us.
Your love is greater than our sin. You will fulfil Your great purpose in us. You will make us more like Jesus. You will lead us in the pathway of victory.
Our sin shall not triumph over Your love. Satan will be defeated. Your “love has the victory for ever!” (Mission Praise, 86).

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

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