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Showing posts from 2017

Lord, help us to get our priorities right.

Genesis 1:1-3
Lord, help us to get our priorities right - Your priorities. May our lives be more centred on You - less centred on ourselves. Help us to listen for Your Word - not to jump straight in with our own words. Help us to open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. May He move among us - in power, in love, in holiness, in victory. Transform our life, O Lord - May we live as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). May we know the great blessing of knowing that Jesus, our Saviour, is always "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

The Holy City ...

"The Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God - It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel" (Revelation 21:10-11).
At the heart of "the Holy City", there is Jesus Christ. In Him, we see the bright shining light of God's love. He is the precious cornerstone upon which our eternal salvation is built (1 Peter 2:4-7). As we read about "the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God" (Revelation 21:10), our thoughts turn to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. It's only because of what He has done for us that we will be welcomed into the glory of God's saving and eternal presence of love. Jesus is "the cornerstone" of our faith (1 Peter 2:6). He is the foundation upon which our salvation is built. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, there is full salvation. What light there is shining into our hearts - from the wonderful love of our Saviour. It's …

On To Victory

In Christ, we have the victory: “they have conquered Satan by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:7-12).
God is calling us beyond the conflict. He is calling us on to victory.
We don’t live in a perfect world. We’re not perfect people. We wish things could be different – but they’re not! Not yet! We pray, “Your Kingdom come” – but we’re still waiting for God’s complete answer to this prayer. The Book of Revelation provides us with a vision of God’s coming Kingdom. As we await His Kingdom, the words of Habakkuk 2:3 are very helpful to us: “the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” * There is conflict with the world.
We commit ourselves to living for Jesus Christ. There are plenty of other people who don’t want to have anything to do with Him. This is something we must live with. “We do not lose heart” when we face opposition. We give thanks that “God’s merc…

What, Lord, is most important to us – the person who leads us in worship, the place where we worship, or the God whom we worship?

1 Kings 8:14-53 What, Lord, is most important to us – the person who leads us in worship, the place where we worship, or the God whom we worship? We know what our answer should be – but, often, our lives tell a very different story. Help us, when we worship, to learn that nothing and no-one can ever be more important than You. May our lives start catching up with the lessons that we learn when we are reading Your Word.

Lord, You want to “establish Your Word” among us.

1 Kings 5:1-6:13 Lord, You want to “establish Your Word” among us (1 Kings 6:120. Do we “rejoice greatly” when we hear Your Word (1 Kings 5:7)? Help us to welcome Jesus Christ, “the Word made flesh”, the living Word who “dwells among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Help us to welcome Him as “Emmanuel – God with us” (Matthew 1:23). May we rejoice greatly when Jesus stands among us as our loving Saviour, when He comes to us as the risen Lord, when He speaks to us as Your living Word.

Lord, You have made us - to praise You.

Genesis 1:14-25 Lord, You have made us - to praise You. You call us to live for Your glory. Praise to God, glory to God - Where does this come from? We look into our hearts - and it is not there. We look at our lives - and we say, "Where is this praise to God?, Where is this glory to God?" Lord, we can only praise You when You give to us the song of praise. You alone can fill our hearts with praise to You. You alone can fill our lives with Your glory. Without You, Lord, our life is a spiritual wasteland. Come, O Lord, to this spiritual wasteland. Come - and make our life a song of praise to You. Come - and make our life a hymn that says, "Glory to God."

God was manifested in the flesh ...

"I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God ... the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh ..." (1 Timothy 3:15-16).
We read, in 1 Timothy 3:16, of our deeply-held convictions concerning our Saviour, Jesus Christ: "God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory." Paul is not only speaking about beliefs that we hold with our minds - 'I believe this about Christ. I believe that about Him.' He's speaking about beliefs that change the way we live - "how you conduct yourselves in the house of God" (1 Timothy 3:15).   When Paul speaks about "the mystery of godliness", he's speaking about "God was manifested in the flesh". He's also speaking about "how we conduct ourselves in the house of God." This is the practical mystery - How can sinners live…

"Awake, O sleeper" (Ephesians 5:14).

God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’(Ephesians 4:15). We are to ‘walk in love’(Ephesians 5:2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’(Ephesians 5:10). It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency. What does God have to say about this? – ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’(Ephesians 4:30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’(Ephesians 5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’(Isaiah 52:1-2). Have you become ‘lukewarm’? – ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’(Revelation 3:16, 19-20). What will you say to Him? – ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay’.

A Prayer For Forgiveness

"Do not hold against us the sins of past generations;
may your mercy come quickly to meet us,
for we are in desperate need.
9 Help us, God our Savior,
for the glory of Your Name;
deliver us and forgive our sins
for Your Name’s sake" (Psalm 79:8-9).

We come to God with our sin. He gives to us His forgiveness. We come in our desperate need. He comes to us in His wonderful love, His amazing grace and His boundless mercy. It's all about His giving and our receiving. When we ask the question, "What can I give to the Lord?", the answer is given to us, "Give all the glory to Him." 

Praying Through God’s Word: Nahum

‘Fulfil your vows’ (1:15). Lord, You’re calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading Your Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. Show us , Lord, that this kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love.’ You’re calling us to live ‘for Your glory’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise… Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457). 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to You, Lord, You speak Your Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (Nahum 2:13; Nahum 3:5). To those …

God Is Calling Us To Be Faithful To Him.

Nahum 1:1-2:9
‘Fulfil your vows’ (1:15). God is calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading His Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. That kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love’. We are to live ‘for the glory of God’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise... Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).
Nahum 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to Him, God speaks His Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (2:13; 3:5). Those who refuse to listen to God’s Word of salvation - ‘…

Lord, You're Speaking To Us. Help Us To Listen To You.

"This is a revelation from the Lord ..." (Nahum 1:1). What a wonderful start to this prophecy! "The Lord is patient and has great strength" (Nahum 1:3). Where does such knowledge of God come from? It comes from the revelation of God. It is revealed to us. It is the Word that comes to us from the Lord. It is the Word that is given to us by the Lord. "The Lord is good. He is a fortress in the day of trouble" (Nahum 1:7). Do we come to this faith by way of our unaided reason? or Is such faith given to us by the Lord? The way to faith is the way of revelation. "What do you think about the Lord?" (Nahum 1:9). This is a challenging question. True thoughts about the Lord are given to us by the Lord Himself. Fake thoughts come from our own minds. We think that we know God, until God comes to us and shows us that we are far from Him, and we need to be saved by Him. We need to have our minds renewed by Him. "This is what the Lord says&q…

Fulfil Your Vows

Faith “Fulfil your vows” (Nahum 1:15). We’re going to think together about our Church membership vows. These vows can be summarized in five words: Faith, Worship, Devotions, Giving, Witness. The first vow is the foundation upon which the others are built. The other four vows are the practical implications of the first vow: our confession of faith. The first vow emphasizes that there is a faith to be believed, a faith to be confessed: “I believe in one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and I confess Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord.” We are called to have faith. The Bible calls us to have a personal faith. It is not only the faith of the Church. It is to be my faith. It is to be your faith. Each one of us is to say, “I believe.” What does it mean to have faith? It means believing something. There is something to be believed. Faith also means trust. When you and I say, “I believe in one God,” we are saying, “I am trusting God, putting my trust in Him.” The question is asked,…

Don't give up too soon!

"Then He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”" (Luke 13:6-9).

Looking for fruit on a fig tree - one man was ready to give up after "three years", the other said, "leave it alone for one more year": Don't give up too soon!

Exactly What The Lord Commanded

Numbers 17:1-18:30
Moses, the priests, the people – All of them were to honour the Lord in everything. (i) “Moses did exactly what the Lord commanded him to do” (Numbers 17:11). (ii) The priests were “a gift, given by the Lord, to do whatever work is necessary at the tent of meeting” (Numbers 18:6). (iii) The people were to “contribute the best and holiest parts to the Lord” (“out of all the gifts they had received” (Numbers 18:29). Whoever we are, whatever our place in God’s work, we are to be dedicated to the Lord, committed to doing His will and being faithful in the work He has given to us to do for Him.

A Welcome And A Challenge

Numbers 16:1-50
In this chapter, we read about the judgment of God upon those who sinned against Him. God is perfectly holy. He calls us to be holy. This is not to be a pretence. It is to be real. Those who came under God’s judgment claimed to be holy (Numbers 16:3). God saw what they were really like. This very challenging. It’s a reminder that we must not take God lightly: “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Alongside this, we should also remember that Christ’s hands were pierced for us. He waits to welcome all who return to Him, fleeing from “the wrath to come.”

Past Redemption, Present Obedience, Future Hope

Numbers 15:1-41
God’s work among His people was directed toward the future – “Once you’re settled in the land I’m giving you” – and it was grounded in the past – “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God” (Numbers 15:2,41). Our present obedience draws strength from our past redemption – “It is finished” – and our future hope – It is still to come.

Not An Easy Pathway

Numbers 12:1-13:33 
In his leadership of God’s people, Moses faced problems. It was not an easy pathway towards the promised land. There was opposition from Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:1). There was an unbelieving report, brought back from the land of Canaan by most of the spies (Numbers 13:31). Alongside these problems, there was the encouragement, which came from Caleb’s words of faith: “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it” (Numbers 13:30). By faith, we shall overcome the problems.

Travelling And Celebrating

Numbers 9:1-10:36
The Israelites were travelling towards the promised land. As they travelled, they were to celebrate the Passover (Numbers 9:1-14). In their journey, they were being led by the Lord (Numbers 9:15-23). In the course of their journey, they faced opposition from their enemies, the enemies of the Lord. In this situation, they looked to the Lord for victory: “the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies”, “Arise, O Lord! Scatter Your enemies! Make those who hate You, run away from You!” (Numbers 10:9,35). Our journey is from the past (for which we give thanks to God), through the present (in which we look to the Lord for victory), to the future (towards which we are being led by the Lord.) In every part of our journey, we are journeying with God.

Listen To God. Learn From Him. Live For Him.

Numbers 1:1-4:49
God spoke, Israel obeyed (Numbers 1:1,54). This is the constant pattern of the life of faith – hearing and obeying the Word of God. The names of God’s people differ from place to place. The pattern of their life remains the same. This pattern is also emphasized in Numbers 2, which begins with God speaking (Numbers 2:1) and ends with the people obeying (Numbers 2:34). This pattern is repeated in Numbers 3-4, which begin with God’s Word (Numbers 3:1; Numbers 4:1) and end with our obedience (Numbers 3:51; Numbers 4:49). In Numbers, we read so much that is unfamiliar to us. We must learn to look for the Word that comes to us, in our time, as a Word from the Lord who is “the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Hear and obey. Listen to what God is saying. Do what He has said.

Travelling Towards God's Future

“a sin offering … an atonement … clean” (Leviticus 12:8). We read the words of the book of Leviticus. We feel like we’re out of our depth. We don’t really know what to make all of this. We read about ” a sin offering.” We read about “an atonement.”We read about being made “clean.” We read all of this, and the light begins to shine. It’s the light of Jesus, our Saviour. We think of Him. We think of His death upon the Cross. We know that He died for us. We know that He loves us – and we rejoice in His love. Do we need to understand all that there is in the book of Leviticus? No! We catch a glimpse of Jesus – and His “sin offering.” Our hearts are filled with joy, as we think of His “atonement.” This a new beginning for us – “the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).     It’s a new beginning. We’re set free from our past. We’re set free for God’s future. What is God’s future? What great plan does He have for us? – This is what He says to us…

Holiness - In Every Part Of Our Life

Leviticus 27:1-34 The underlying theme of this final chapter is giving ourselves to the Lord to belong to Him, to be dedicated to Him, to be set apart for Him, to be holy. Such dedication to the Lord is to affect the whole of our life. We learn this from the variety of details in this chapter. There must be no turning back from following the Lord. Those who turn back do so at great cost. They become spiritually dead through their disobedience to the Lord. Let us keep up our dedication to the Lord.


Leviticus 26:1-46 There is blessing for those who learn to obey the Lord (Leviticus 26:3-13). There is judgment for those who persist in sinning against the Lord (Leviticus 26:14-33). The opportunity of blessing remains even for those who are in despair and are wasting away because of sin (Leviticus 26:36,39) – God says, “I will remember My promise” (Leviticus 26:42). Those who have sinned against the Lord “must accept their guilt.” This is the way of coming to know the blessing of the Lord who says, “I will not reject them of look at them with disgust” (Leviticus 26:43).

Redeemed By The Lord, Let Us Serve Him.

Leviticus 25:1-55

This chapter is full of the Lord’s instructions concerning the Jubilee to be celebrated by Israel. Why was it so important for Israel to hear and obey the Word of the Lord? – “The Israelites belong to Me as servants. They are My servants. I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 25:55). This is still the foundation of our call to obedience. The Lord, who calls us to obedience, has first called us to belong to Him through redemption. He has redeemed us. We belong to Him. We will serve Him.

Redemption And Holiness

Leviticus 22:1-23:44 Our careful obedience to God’s Word is not to be a purely legalistic thing. We must never forget that God is the God of redemption. Our holiness is grounded in Him: He is holy, and He sets us apart as holy (Leviticus 22:31-33). Holy living involves both worship and service. We are to worship God (Leviticus 23:1-4), but we must not forget the “poor people” (Leviticus 23:22).

New Life!

Leviticus 17:1-18:30 Through the shed blood of Christ, we have peace with God and eternal life (Leviticus 17:11; Romans 5:1-2,8-10). We have received new life in Christ. Now, we are to leave our sinful past behind us. We are to live a new life as those who belong to Christ (Leviticus 18:1-5; Romans 6:12-14; Romans 12:1-2).


Leviticus 12:1-13:59 Again and again, we read the word, “clean.” Looking beyond the teaching “regarding health”, we may recall that “the blood of Jesus Christ – God’s Son – cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This is the cleansing which everyone needs. No matter how healthy we may be in our bodies, we are spiritually diseased because of sin, and we need Christ’s cleansing.

Look Beyond The Old Testament Sacrifices - To Jesus Christ, Our Saviour.

Leviticus 5:1-7:38 In the descriptions of different offerings, we catch a glimpse of our need and Christ’s salvation. There is the “offering for sin” (Leviticus 5:6), the “fellowship offering of thanksgiving” (Leviticus 7:15), the “guilt offering” (Leviticus 7:34), the “ordination offering” (Leviticus 7:37). There is teaching here which we must build on in our understanding of our Christian experience. Christ died for our sins to remove our guilt and bring us into fellowship with God. Grateful to Him, we give ourselves to Him, confident that He has ordained that we should bear fruit for Him (1 Peter 3:18; John 15:16). All of this arises from the Old Testament details: – “the burnt offering, the grain offering” (Leviticus 7:37). We must always look beyond the Old Testament sacrifices to our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

A major step for Abraham - and for God

Genesis 12:1-9 This was a major step for Abraham - and for God. Abraham would never be the same again. For him, this was the beginning of a journey. It was more than a journey into a new land. It was a journey into God's blessing. Notice that Abraham was "75 years old" (Genesis 12:4) when he set out on this great journey of faith and blessing. 75 years old - we don't normally expect big changes at this age. Big change - this was what God expected of Abraham. Can we ever say, "It's too late to make a new beginning with God?" No! We must never say this. Whatever age we are, we must be ready to say "Yes" to God, to move forward with Him. Pray that God will give you a new hunger for Himself, for His Word, for prayer. As we get older, are we getting colder or bolder? Do we say, "My best days are behind me? or Do we rise to new challenges?

Lord, we thank You that You don't give up on us - even when we don't pay much attention to You.

Genesis 34:1-31
Lord, we thank You that You don't give up on us - even when we don't pay much attention to You. We can become so self-centred. Everything revolves around ourselves. You keep on coming to us. You come to us in love.  You're calling us back to Yourself. You're calling us to bring You back into the centre of our lives. Lord, may it be less of self and more of You.

"Let it be to me according to Your Word" (Luke 1:38).

These words were spoken by Mary, the mother of Jesus. She had been told that she was to become the mother of Jesus. She didn't really understand what was happening - but she said 'Yes' to God. That's the important thing - saying 'Yes' to God. We may not understand all that He is doing in our lives, but we can have the same attitude that Mary had - Have your own way, Lord; Lead me in Your way, Lord.

The Gospel Changes Us.

"Repent and believe in the Gospel" (Mark 1:15).

We hear the Gospel and we are changed by it. That's where repentance and faith come from. The come from the Gospel. They are what the Gospel does to us. The Gospel brings us out of unbelief and into faith. The Gospel makes us new men and women.

When we are honest about ourselves …

If we to think big thoughts about the love of God for us, we must learn to be honest about ourselves. When we are honest about ourselves, we will learn to appreciate how wonderful the Lord’s love really is.
In Ephesians 2:1, Paul gives us a devastating description of ourselves – “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins.”Don’t you think that sounds a bit pessimistic? There is optimism in Paul’s teaching, but it doesn’t come until Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” What is it that changes Paul’s view of us? It’s God. It’s His love. It’s His grace. It’s His mercy. Without His love, our situation is hopeless. without Him, we’re in a dark alone – and we can’t lift ourselves out of it. By ourselves, it just can’t be done. We need to be lifted out of this dark hole. This needs to be done for us by the Lord. …

A Human Problem That Needs - And Has - A Divine Solution

"The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure" (Jeremiah 17:9). What did Jeremiah mean when he said this? The words of the Rev Eric Alexander sum up Jeremiah's point very well: "The heart of the human problem is the problem of the human heart."
When we read Jeremiah's words on their own, we may find, in them, a counsel of despair - "Give up hope. Everything is hopeless." When, however, we move forward to Jeremiah 31:3, we read these wonderful words, “I have loved you with an everlasting love." These words are followed, in Jeremiah 31:17, by the positive declaration, "there is hope."
Where does this hope come from? It comes from God's everlasting love. Humanly speaking, there is no cure, and there is no hope. There needs to be something more than "Humanly speaking ... " All that "humanly speaking" tells us is this: you are sinners. The Gospel tells us that sinners are loved by God and c…

Bad News About Ourselves … Good News From God

Can … a leopard change its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil” (Jeremiah 13:23).
A leopard can’t become a lion or a tiger. A sinner can’t stop being a sinner. Sinners – that’s what we are. Sinners – that’s we always will be. Looking at ourselves, looking at what we are – there’s no good news in that. We look at ourselves, and we can feel quite pleased with ourselves – if we don’t look too closely. The closer we look, the more we become aware that we’re very far from being the kind of people we should be.
Is it all bad news about ourselves? Yes! If we keep on looking at ourselves and fail to look away from ourselves to the Lord. If, however, we look at the Lord, we start to see ourselves differently. We see ourselves in the light of His grace. A bright light shines on us. It’s the light of His love. It’s the light of His salvation.
When we’re learning to look away from ourselves to the Lord, we begin to realize that there is Good News. This Go…

You Raise Me Up …

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil” (Habakkuk 1:13).
The contrast between our sinfulness and God’s holiness is an absolute contrast – never the two shall meet.
Can we raise ourselves up from our sinfulness to God’s holiness? – No! We cannot. We need to be raised up from above, by the Lord. We cannot do it for ourselves. He must do it for us. Salvation doesn’t come from ourselves. It comes from Him. He gives it to us.
The gift of forgiveness comes to us through Jesus Christ who took our sin upon Himself so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Travelling With Humility And Courage

God sees us as we are – and He loves us. This is the great message that comes to us from the hymn, “Just as I am.” Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, didn’t wait for us to come to Him before He came to us. He didn’t wait for us to live for Him before He died for us.
When we come  to Jesus, in response to His coming to us, He doesn’t leave us the way we were before we came to Him. He begins to change us. Our coming to Jesus is the beginning of a journey. We’re travelling from what we were without Christ to what we are becoming in Him.
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12). These words of Paul can be understood as a description of our journey of faith. We’ve only just begun to get to know the Lord. We still have a long way to go. 
In Philippians 3:12-14, Paul describes his own spiritual journey:
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that fo…

We did not find Jesus. He found us.

In the Christian life, we will get nowhere if we start with ourselves. We cannot even begin the journey of faith if we do not begin by looking away from ourselves to Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Before our journey even begins, there is Jesus’ journey towards us. He “came “to seek and to save the lost” (Luke  19:10). Before He came to us, we were lost. We did not find Him. He found us.

Out Of This World!

“Out of this world!” – Sometimes, we use this phrase to describe something we like a lot. We exaggerate. We make something out to be better than it really is. When we speak about Jesus, our Saviour, we really mean it – He’s out of this world: “Who came down from heaven to earth? Jesus Christ our Saviour.” When we speak about God’s great salvation, we really mean it – It’s out of this world: ““What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The flesh and the Spirit

"Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you" (Romans 8:8-9).

The flesh and the Spirit are very different. This is what Paul says here. It's what Jesus said in John 3:6. In John 3:7, Jesus was saying, "You must be born again." Here, Paul is saying, "You have been born again." 

Lifted by the Lord

"Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
He is the King of glory" (Psalm 24:7-10)..

We may read the words, "Lift up your heads", and feel that  this is a very difficult thing to do. The more we try to do this, the more we fail. This is when we need the encouragement of knowing that it's the Lord who lifts our head (Psalm 3:3). What we can't do for ourselves, He does for us.

For All Nations ...

"For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32).
God was doing a new thing. This was not only for the nation of Israel. It was for all nations. We need to be forward-looking. We need to be outward-looking. We will be forward-looking and outward-looking when we are upward-looking - looking away from ourselves to the Lord.

From the dark place to the place of abundant blessing

"I loathe my very life" (Job 10:1). "Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, 22 to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” (Job 10:20-22). 

From its first verse to its final verses, Job 10 takes us into a very dark place. 
Is there a way out of this dark place? When we're in a dark place, it seems like there's no way out of it. When we're going through a really hard time, our emotions may be telling that this is the way it's always going to be.  
We should read what the final chapter of Job tells us - "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part" (Job 42:12).

God's Love Endures Forever.

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever" (Psalm 106:1).
There is no love like the love of God. Human love is sometimes strong, and sometimes it's weak. God's love is always strong. People can stop loving each other. God never stops loving us. His love goes on and on. 

That's enough for now! ...

"That's enough for now!" (Acts 24:25) - This is what Felix said to Paul when Paul's words were getting too close for comfort. Felix didn't like what he was hearing, but he kept on talking to Paul - "At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him" (Acts 24:26). Felix was still hearing what Paul was saying to him, but he had stopped listening to what God was saying to him. His real attitude to God and His Word was summed up in his words. "That's enough for now!" We need more than hearing what the preacher says. We hear what he says, and we say, "That's just his opinion. I can take it or leave it." We need more real listening to what God is saying to us - more saying, "This is the Word of the Lord."

The ongoing work of God's Spirit

"Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah? ... The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha" (2 Kings 2:14-15). The work of the Lord goes on. His servants don't last forever. They do their work for God, and then their work is done. They must hand it over to someone else. This is more than a human passing on of the work from one servant of the Lord to another. Here, we have the ongoing work of God's Spirit.

The Light That Shines In The Darkness

In Psalm 69, we find the Psalmist in a dark place. It seems like there's no way out of his darkness. He cannot lift himself out of the darkness. This is not, however, the whole story. There is a way out of the darkness. The way of deliverance comes from the Lord - "But I pray to You, Lord, in the time of Your favour; in Your great love, O God, answer me with Your sure salvation" (Psalm 69:13).

One Year Bible: Days 158-164

These notes are also being posted, day-by-day, at One Year Bible.

Day 158
2 Samuel 11:1-12:31; Acts 4:1-22; Psalm 71:1-8
“David pleaded with God for the child”, born of his adultery with Bathsheba, but “the child died” (2 Samuel 12:18). David prayed that “the Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live” (2 Samuel 12:22). The child died, but the love of God did not cease (2 Samuel 2:24). In Acts 4, the apostles are “called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed” (Acts 4:9). They do not speak only of the healing. They speak also of salvation (Acts 4:10-12). The Name of Jesus Christ is the Name of our salvation. The Name of Jesus is the Name which declares that the love of God never ceases. Whatever our outward circumstances may be, God’s salvation remains constant. In His salvation, we rejoice. As we read of God’s salvation, we may come to Him and pray, with the Psalmist: “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can…