Saturday, 31 March 2018

Lord, You send Your blessing when Your people gather together for worship.

Psalms 133:1-134:3 
Lord, You send ‘Your blessing’ when Your people gather together for worship: ‘How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!’ (Psalm 133:1,3). Many people like to think of themselves as ‘believers’, yet they show no interest in worshipping together with Your people. What does Your Word say about this? - ‘Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another...’ (Hebrews 10:25). ‘Praise the Lord, all you servants of the Lord who minister by night in the House of the Lord’ (Psalm 133:1; Psalm134:1). Lord, there are some people never miss a Sunday morning service - but they always miss the Sunday evening services! They are missing out on so much of Your blessing. Lord, help us to seek Your blessing on Sunday evenings as well as Sunday mornings (Psalm 134:2)!

Lord, You come to us with bread and wine. You come to us in Jesus, our Saviour.

Proverbs 9:1-18
Lord, You come to us with bread and wine. You come to us in Jesus, our Saviour. You come to us in love. You show us how much You love us. There is no love like Your love for us. It’s the best love. It’s the greatest love. It’s love “so amazing.” It’s love “so divine.” Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful love.

Lord, we are so easily entangled in the ways of the world.

Proverbs 5:1-14
Lord, we are so easily entangled in the ways of the world. We try to disentangle ourselves – but we can’t do this by ourselves. we need Your power. We need Your love. It’s Your love that changes everything. It’s Your power that makes us new. Show us Your love. Show us Your power. May Your love lift us out of our sin. May Your power lead us in the way of Your salvation.

We seek, Lord, for the way of wisdom – and we find that it is also the way of happiness.

Proverbs 8:1-36
We seek, Lord, for the way of wisdom – and we find that it is also the way of happiness (Proverbs 8:32-34). The world seeks happiness in wealth. Your Word teaches us that wisdom is better than “silver, gold and jewels” (Proverbs 8:10-11). How are we to find wisdom? We find wisdom when we find Jesus. He is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is also our Joy. When this world is getting us down, He says to us, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

What is our opinion of ourselves?

Proverbs 6:1-15
What is our opinion of ourselves? Is it the same, Lord, as Your opinion of us? You see as we really are – sinners. That’s not all that You see. You see something else, something that fills us with hope for the future. You don’t write us off as hopeless cases. You see us as sinners, saved by grace. It’s Your grace that makes the difference. It’s Your grace that changes us.

Friday, 30 March 2018

"“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”" (Mark 14:36).

Doing the will of God wasn't easy for Jesus. It won't be easy for us. It's always better to do God's will rather than insisting on getting our own way. For Jesus, there was more than crucifixion. There was resurrection. Whatever may lie ahead of us, may we never forget this - God is our loving, heavenly Father, and he has great things planned for us: "the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus" (2 Corinthians 4:14).

The Question And The Answer

 * Our Question: “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job)
 * God's Answer: "He (Jesus) is risen."

Some Ideas For Preaching On Christ's Crucifixion

Were we there when they crucified our Lord? – Yes. He died for our sins.
In this remarkable prophecy, we see Jesus Christ, crucified for us – ‘the Lord has laid all our sins on Him’ – and risen from the dead – ‘After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life’ (Isaiah 53:6, 11).
‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ (Mission Praise, 745). We might put this question to Isaiah. In one sense, he wasn’t there. He lived long before the time of Christ. In another sense, he was there. God opened his eyes. God gave him a glimpse of what was going to happen in the future.
‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ In one sense, we weren’t there. These things happened long before we were even born. In another sense, we were there. It was our sins which Christ took with Him to the Cross. It was our sins which He left behind Him when He rose from the dead (Romans 4:25).
Jesus Christ – forsaken by God and pierced for our transgressions
Read of the Psalmist’s sufferings. Think of the Saviour, suffering for you (Psalm 22:7-8, 18; Matthew 27:39 ,43, 35).
We highlight two statements: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’, ‘They have pierced my hands and my feet’ (Psalm 22:1, 16).
Jesus Christ was ‘crucified and killed by the hands of the lawless men’ (Acts 2:23). There is, however, more to His story than this: ‘The Lord has laid all our sins on Him’ (Isaiah 53:6).
When we read of Jesus Christ, ‘pierced for our transgressions’, we see Him ‘pierced’ by men and forsaken by God (Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34; Matthew 27:46).
Looking on to Jesus Christ, risen, exalted and returning, we see Him still bearing the marks of His suffering – ‘the mark of the nails’, ‘a Lamb standing as though it had been slain’, ‘pierced’ (John 20:25; Revelation 5:6; 1:7).
Jesus Christ has ‘tasted death for everyone’ (Hebrews 2:9). Now, through Him, salvation is proclaimed to ‘the congregation’, to ‘the ends of the earth’ to ‘future generations’ (Psalm 22:22, 27, 30). Jesus Christ, ‘the same yesterday, today and for ever’, proclaims salvation to the great ‘congregation’, drawn from ‘every tribe and language and people and nation’ (Hebrews 13:8; 2:12; Revelation 5:9).
Looking back to Christ’s crucifixion, looking forward to His return
We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:19). We are to live as those who are awaiting the Day of the Lord’s return (Hebrews 10:25).
We look back to what Christ has done for us. We look forward to what He will do for us.
Looking back and looking forward: These are both found in Hebrews 9:28 – ‘Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for Him’.
We remember our Saviour. We remember what He has done for us: ‘the Son of God loved us and gave Himself for us’(Galatians 2:20).
We eat bread and drink wine, giving thanks that our Saviour went to the Cross for us – His body broken for us and His blood shed for us.
We are not only looking back. We are also looking forward: ‘As often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes’ (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Remember – and pray, ‘Come, Lord Jesus!’(Revelation 22:20).
As we remember our Lord Jesus Christ, we see how sinful we really are and we pray for ‘mercy’ and ‘grace’ (Hebrews 4:15-16). It is through His grace and mercy that we are able to look forward to ‘eternal salvation’ (Hebrews 5:9).
“It is finished”. The work of redemption is completed. Jesus is the risen Lord.
The story continues. Jesus is betrayed. Jesus is arrested (John 18:1-11). He stands before the Jewish authorities (John 18:12-14, 19-24).
Jesus is ‘drinking from the cup which the Father has given Him’- He drinks from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation (John 18:11; Matthew 26:38-39; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Jesus’ death was not only ‘expedient’. It was ‘necessary’- for our salvation (John 18:14; Luke 24:26).
Alongside the story of Jesus there is the story of Peter (John 18:15-18, 25-27). Jesus’ death was not the end of His story – He rose from the dead (Luke 24:5-6; Acts 2:23-24). Peter denied the Lord three times. This was not the end of his story. For each denial, there was a new commitment (John 21:15-17). For each denial, there were, on the Day of Pentecost, 1,000 people brought to Christ (Acts 2:38, 41).
‘Barabbas was a robber’. He was released (John 18:39-40). There was ‘no crime’ in Jesus. He was ‘crucified’ (John 18:38; 19:4, 6, 16).
Was Jesus no more than the innocent victim of a shameful and tragic miscarriage of justice? No! Jesus, the King of kings, chose to die.
Looking ahead to the Cross, He said, ‘For this I was born…’ (John 18:36-37). In love, He chose death on the Cross.
As truly as Barabbas, each of us can say, ‘He took my place and died for me’. In His death, Jesus did not only take the place of one sinner, Barabbas – ‘He took the place of many sinners’. He did not simply bear the punishment deserved by one sinner, Barabbas – ‘The Lord made the punishment fall on Him, the punishment all of us deserved’ (Isaiah 53:12, 6).
‘It is finished’ (John 19:30). These are not words of despair. They are words of triumph.
At an early stage in His public ministry, Jesus said, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me to finish His work’ (John 4:34). Even then, He was looking ahead to the Cross, to the completion of the work of redemption.
In one sense, ‘it is finished’- on the Cross. In another sense, there is more to be done – by the Father. The Cross is followed by the resurrection – ‘God raised Him from the dead’(Acts 2:24; Romans 10:9).
To come to the words, ‘It is finished’ is not to reach the end of the story.
Jesus was laid in the tomb (John 19:42). This was not the end of His story.
He was raised on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4)!

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).

Thursday, 29 March 2018

"The Son of Man is going to die as the Scriptures say He will" (Mark 14:21).

We look at Jesus. In everything, he lived his life "as the Scriptures say." What about us? Are we becoming more like him? Are we learning to live the way he lived - "as the Scriptures say"?


The Power Of God And The Blessing Of God

“It is not in me. God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace” (Genesis 41:16).
Can any of us speak the Word of God – and bring blessing to others? – “It is not in me.” Our words will never bring blessing to anyone, unless God is in our words. The real power comes from God. The real blessing comes from Him.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Wherever the Good News is spoken ...

"Wherever the Good News is spoken in the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her" (Mark 14:9).
The Good News tells us about Christ's love for us. It tells us about what Christ has done for us. It also calls for our response to His love, our response to what he has done for us.

Lord, You are always with us ...

Lord, You are always with us - but we are not always with You. There is never a time when You are not there at our side – but there are many times when we don’t realize that You are right there, beside us at every stage in our journey through life. Life isn’t easy! Bad things happen to us – and we take our eyes off You. Before we know it, we’re going round in circles – getting nowhere quickly. What are we to make of all this? Are we to say, “Why have You left me, Lord?” Our difficult circumstances are shouting at us, “God has left you. You’re on your own. Make the most of it – without Him.” Lord, help us, when we feel like this, to keep on listening for Your “still, small voice.” Help us to hear the “gentle whisper” of Your love (1 Kings 19:11-12). When our emotions are pulling us this way, pulling us that way, pulling us all over the place, help us to hear and believe Your precious promise: “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

A Mighty Work Of God

Exodus 1:1-2:25
The stage is set for a mighty work of God. The Lord’s people face a crisis situation. they are being oppressed by the Egyptians. God sees what is happening. He is making His plans – to give His people a better future. It may have seemed like God was doing nothing about Israel’s problems – “a  long time passed ” (Exodus 2:23). God was not standing back, paying no attention to what was going on. He was busy – preparing Moses to be the leader of His people. He was taking steps towards the great event of the deliverance from the oppressors. God was looking ahead to the Exodus and the movement from the land of bondage to the land of promise – “He remembered His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Exodus 2:24), and He was about to fulfil this promise with a mighty demonstration of His saving power.

"When you hear of wars and rumours of wars ... " (Mark 13)

Mark 13:7-8
“When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, don’t be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don’t mean that the end has come. Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes and famines in various places. These are only the beginning pains of the end.
Wars, earthquakes, famines - What are we to make of such things? Jesus says, "Don't be alarmed." Many people look at the terrible things that happen in our world - and they lose their faith. They find it hard to rediscover their faith. Everything seems to come back to this - 'Terrible things are happening. I don't know what to make of it all.' How can Jesus say to us, "Don't be alarmed"? He looks beyond what's happening now. He looks on to "the end." We see the mess that our world's in. He sees God's eternal Kingdom. He's calling us to lift up our eyes. He's calling us to see things with his eyes. We're not to close our eyes to what's happening on earth. When we look at our troubled world, we must learn to see that this is not all that there is. There is something better. Jesus invites us to look beyond "the end" of our world. He invites us to catch a glimpse of our new beginning in God's  everlasting Kingdom. When will "the end" come? We don't know. We can only trust the Lord, believing that beyond our "end", there will be his new beginning. This is what gives us hope. This is more than human optimism - hoping for the best. It's trust in Jesus, our Saviour. It's believing that He will lead us on into His eternal salvation.
"Be on your guard! I have told you everything before it happens" (Mark 13:23).
Why does Jesus speak to us about the future? He's calling us to live for Him in the present. Will we be ready for Jesus when He returns? It all depends on our response to him here-and-now. 
"Then people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory" (Mark 13:26).
When will this happen? We have no answer to this question. It is one of "the secret things" that are known only to God" (Deuteronomy 29:29) - "No one knows when that day or hour will come. Even the angels in heaven and the Son don’t know. Only the Father knows... You don't know the exact time" (Mark 13:32-33). What has been "revealed to us" (Deuteronomy 29:29) is this: Jesus "will" come (Mark 13:26) - and we must get ready for Him. This is what He's saying to us in Mark 13:33-37   - " 33Be careful! Watch! You don’t know the exact time. 34 It is like a man who went on a trip. As he left home, he put his servants in charge. He assigned work to each one and ordered the guard to be alert. 35 Therefore, be alert, because you don’t know when the owner of the house will return. It could be in the evening or at midnight or at dawn or in the morning. 36 Make sure he doesn’t come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 I’m telling everyone what I’m telling you: ‘Be alert!’"

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Lord, we make everything so complicated.

Genesis 39:1-23
Lord, we make everything so complicated. We go our own way - and everything gets very messy. Everything would be so much simpler - if we kept our eyes on You. When we are tempted to turn away from You, help us, Lord, to keep on looking to You - and to know that we are "loved with everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3).

A Servant Of God's People

Exodus 3:1-22
Moses was called to be a servant of God’s people. He was to be the leader who would play an important part in bringing the blessing of God to the people of Israel. He was not to be a ‘lone ranger.’ He was to “assemble the leaders of Israel” (Exodus 3:16). He was to share with them the Lord’s vision for His people’s future. God was taking them away from “misery.” He was leading them on to blessing – ” a land flowing with milk and honey.” Moses was not to go to the Pharaoh as a ‘lone ranger’ – “you and the leaders must go to the King of Egypt” (Exodus 3:18). There are important lessons here for God’s servants today. We move forward together – as “one body in Christ.”

Monday, 26 March 2018

Love God, love your neighbour (Mark 12:29-31)/

Love God. Love your neighbour. Love for God comes first - but it never stands alone. It's never just "Love God" - and leave it at that. It's always "Love God" - and "Love your neighbour."
"The large crowd enjoyed listening to Jesus.  As He taught, He said, “Watch out for the experts in Moses’ Teachings! They like to walk around in long robes, to be greeted in the marketplaces,  and to have the front seats in synagogues and the places of honor at dinners. They rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make themselves look good. The experts in Moses’ Teachings will receive the most severe punishment. As Jesus sat facing the temple offering box, He watched how much money people put into it. Many rich people put in large amounts. A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a penny. He called His disciples and said to them, “I can guarantee this truth: This poor widow has given more than all the others. All of them have given what they could spare. But she, in her poverty, has given everything she had to live on” (Mark 12:37-44).
What's going on in your heart? This is what Jesus is saying to us here. Who are you trying to impress? Other people are watching - and God is watching! Are we so busy looking around us to see who's watching - that we forget about God.  "They rob widows by taking their houses and then say long prayers to make themselves look good" - What does God think about this? To ask the question is to give the answer! This is hypocrisy! It has nothing to do with opening our hearts to the Lord and giving our lives to Him. It's all about power and prestige. There's no love for ordinary people. The power of God is conspicuous by its absence. "A poor widow dropped in two small coins, worth less than a penny" - This doesn't sound too impressive. Jesus disagrees! He says, "This poor widow has given more than all the others." What about us? Are we learning to see things Jesus' way?    

Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith.

"Have you never read the Scripture passage: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The Lord has done this, and it is amazing for us to see’?" (Mark 12:10-11).
Jesus is the Cornerstone of our faith. We build on Him, the solid Rock. He's the sure Foundation. He died for us. He was raised again for us. What great things the Lord has done for us. To Him alone be all the glory!

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Lord, we thank You that Your love is "an everlasting love."

Lord, we thank You that Your love is "an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3). Human love can be strong. It can be weak. Human love can come to an end. Your love is always strong. Your love never comes to an end. Your love is "everlasting love" - the only "everlasting love"!

It Gets Worse Before It Gets Better!

Exodus 5:1-8:31
It gets worse before it gets better. Things seemed to be going from bad to worse for God’s people. They become “discouraged” (Exodus 6:9). They were unable to look beyond their present difficulties. They needed the Lord’s Word of encouragement – “The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I use My power against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of there” (Exodus 7:5). Before there was salvation for Israel, there needed to be judgment for Egypt. The judgments on Egypt (the “plagues”) were a call to repentance. If there had been a willingness to listen to God’s Word at the beginning, these “plagues” would not have happened. Each “plague” was a call to repentance as well as a judgment on disobedience. Each “plague” could have been the last – if Pharaoh had said ‘Yes’ to the Lord. Pharaoh said ‘No’, and the “plagues” continued.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

“Many warned him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more … ” (Mark 10:48).

There were many people who tried to silence blind Bartimaeus. Here was the voice of prayer – and they were saying, “Shut up’! Thank God – he didn’t shut up. He shouted out. They more they said, “Shut up”, the more he shouted out.
Because our praise is loud, that doesn’t mean that it’s real – but what kind of worship if we can hardly burst a paper bag! Let’s lift up our voices to the Lord. Why? Because we want to be loud? – No! There’s something much more important than how loud we’re singing. It’s this – how much we are lifting up our hearts to the Lord.
We read the story of blind Bartimaeus, and we ask the question: Who was really blind – Bartimaeus or the people who were trying to shut him up?
They could see Bartimaeus, but they couldn’t see that he was doing the one thing that really mattered. He was calling upon the Lord. They were busy criticizing him. He kept on calling on the Lord. They were so busy trying to put Bartimaeus right that they hardly even noticed Jesus.
Who was really blind – Bartimaeus or his critics? What did Jesus say? – Jesus spoke by His actions.
Here, we learn from what Jesus didn’t do before we learn from what He did do.
If Jesus had been on the side of the silencers, He would have joined them in telling Bartimaeus to shut up. Did Jesus do that? No! He didn’t. He did something much better than that.
Jesus’ miracle was about more than giving Bartimaeus his sight. It was about faith – “Your faith has made you well.” It was about following Jesus – “he followed Jesus” (Mark 10:52).
Bartimaeus had faith. He followed Jesus. What was the problem with his critics? Their problem was quite simple. They were not men of faith. They were not following Jesus. May God help us to be like Bartimaeus – men and women of faith and followers of Jesus.

Lord, You're leading us on to glory.

Lord, You're leading us on to glory. You're taking us to a better place - a place where there will be no more weakness, a place where we will be surrounded by the strength of Your love.

“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant … For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43,45).

Do you want to be the Lord’s servant? Remember that He is your Saviour. Do you want to serve the Lord? – You must be saved by Him before you can even begin to serve Him. When we think of Jesus as God’s servant and say, “I will serve God the way Jesus served Him”, we have missed the point of Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man” came ”to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ service is defined by the giving of His life as a ransom for many. We can never give our life as a ransom for many. Only Jesus can do that for us. Where does our life of service begin? – It begins at the Cross of Christ. It begins when we say, “I cannot serve You. I can only be saved by You.” That’s where the life of service begins. It begins with being saved by the Lord. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Get things right at this point – and then your life of service is ready to begin.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Lord, we thank You that we do not need to live in fear.

Lord, we thank You that we do not need to live in fear. Your love is greater than our fear. Where does fear come from? It comes from the devil. Who is he? He's our enemy. He's a determined enemy. He's also a defeated enemy. Lord, we rejoice in Your word of victory: "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57).

"How hard it will be for rich people to enter God's Kingdom!" (Mark 10:23).

Christ turns the world's values upside down. He asks us, 'The things that are so important to you - are they really so important? or Have you made them more important than they really are?

Thursday, 22 March 2018

More Opportunities For Repentance

Exodus 9:1-11:10
More plagues, more opportunities for repentance – God was appealing to Pharaoh to change his mind about God and the people of God. The call to repentance was ignored. Pharaoh put on a show of repentance (Exodus 9:27-28; Exodus 10:16-17). – but he didn’t mean it: “Pharaoh was stubborn”, “the Lord made him stubborn” (Exodus 9:35; Exodus 10:20). He was a man of unbelief. God confirmed him in his unbelief. the final plague – the death of the firstborn – represented the end of the road for Pharaoh – “the Lord made Pharaoh stubborn” (Exodus 11:10). God was saying, ‘Enough is enough.’ God was going to bring His people out of Egypt – with or without Pharaoh’s permission. there were good things happening – “the Lord made the Egyptians kind to the people. And Moses was highly respected by Pharaoh’s officials and all the Egyptians” (Exodus 11:3) – but this didn’t change the fact that Pharaoh was resistant to God. This resistance did not hinder God in the outworking of His great purpose of salvation.

" ... the seed shall sprout and grow, he himself does not know how ... " (Mark 4:27).

God has given us a great promise - "my word that goes out from my mouth ... will not return to me empty" (Isaiah 55:11). When we feel that God's Word is returning to us empty, we have this Word of encouragement: God's Word will not return to Him empty. God gives us His great promise "my word ... will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." We do not see all that God's Word is doing as the Spirit of God brings Christ to the people. God sees the full impact of His Word. That is why He says that His Word will not return to Him empty. When we have preached the Word, we must say, with the hymnwriter, "I know not how the Spirit moves, convincing men of sin; revealing Jesus through the word, creating faith in Him." We don't understand all that God is doing as His Word is preached. We do know that He is at work. How do we know this? - We know Him - "I know whom I have believed." We know that we can trust His promise - His Word will achieve the purpose for which He sends it. When the "seed" of God's Word is sown in the hearts of men and women, it will "sprout and grow" - even if we are barely aware of all that is happening. The salvation of sinners - it may be beyond our understanding, but it's not beyond God's power: "the gospel ... is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).

Monday, 19 March 2018

The Lord Provides.

Exodus 16:1-17:16 
The Lord provides. Through the provision of manna and water, the Lord sustains His people. Strong in Him, they press on to victory. This is a picture of the Christian life. Before we can be soldiers of Christ, we must receive our strength from the Lord. We come to Him, looking to Him for strength – His strength. Jesus is the Bread of Life. He is the Living Water (John 6:51: John 4:14). Strengthened by Him, we will not be defeated. We will be victorious – “more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” His love will give us the victory. “Nothing will be able to separate us from His love” (Romans 8:37-39). In the provision of manna and water, we see love. In the victory over the Amalekites, we see the victory of love: “Love has the victory forever.” The God who loved His people – revealing His love in the Exodus, maintaining His love in the wilderness – gave them the victory.

We thank You, Lord, that we have the victory in Christ.

Genesis 32:22-32
We thank You, Lord, that we have the victory in Christ. This is not our own victory. It's His victory. On the Cross, He won the victory over Satan. How do we know that He has won the victory? - You raised Him from the dead. We thank You, Lord, that Jesus didn't win the victory for Himself. He won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us. Help us, Lord, to walk with You in victory. When we stumble and fall - as we so often do, pick us up and set us on our feet again. Help us to take our stand against Satan. help us to take our stand in Christ. Lead us on, Lord, from victory to victory.

Famines ... and "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord"

"There will be famines" (Matthew 24:7).
What are we to do when there's "a famine of hearing the words of the Lord" (Amos 8:11)?
Pray that God will give you the grace to keep on following Jesus, even when so many show no interest in following Him:
"He who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Matthew 24:13).
* This is a Word for ourselves - "Be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10).
* It is also a Word for others - "Let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Lord, we need Your Word of encouragement.

Numbers 12:1-13:33
Lord, we need Your Word of encouragement. Sometimes, our problems seem to be so big. Help us to see that Your power is always greater than our problems. When everything in us seems to be saying, "I can't", help us to hear - and speak - the Word of faith, " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

Lord, we have begun to follow Jesus.

Numbers 11:1-35
Lord, we have begun to follow Jesus. Help us to keep on following Him. Again and again, we are tempted to turn back, to return to the ways of this world. Help us to keep on saying, "I have decided to follow Jesus - No turning back. The world behind me, the Cross before me - No turning back. If no-one joins me, still I will follow - No turning back."

We thank You, Lord, for Your Holy Spirit.

Numbers 10:1-36
We thank You, Lord, for Your Holy Spirit. He works in us to bring blessing to us. He works through us to bring blessing to others. Without the working of Your Spirit, there can be no blessing. May the "living waters" of Your Spirit flow in our hearts and out from our hearts to others to bring blessing to many (John 7:37-39).

We thank You, Lord, for Your Word. It's " a lamp to our feet and a light to our path,"

Numbers 8:1-26
We thank You, Lord, for Your Word. It's " a lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105). As we read Your written Word, we hear the voice of Jesus, Your living Word. Jesus speaks to us. He calls us out of our darkness. He calls us into Your light. It's the light of Your salvation. It's the light that changes everything. It's the light of Your love.

Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour.

Numbers 7:1-47
Lord, You gave Your Son, Jesus - to be our Saviour. Help us to give ourselves to You - to be Your servants. Jesus died for us. Help us to live for Him. Help us never to forget His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine." May we be challenged by His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." Help us to respond to His sacrifice - "Love so amazing, so divine, shall have my soul, my life, my all."

We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself.

Numbers 5:1-31
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus, Your Son, has taken our sin upon Himself. We thank You that He brings Your salvation to us. With Jesus as our Saviour, we cannot remain the same as we were before we met Him. Jesus changes us. He makes us new. Help us, Lord, to live in the power of this new life which Jesus gives to us. Help us to live in His power - the power of His love.

Lord, You're calling us to grow in Christ.

Numbers 4:1-49
Lord, You're calling us to grow in Christ. You're calling us to be changed - changed in our way of thinking, changed in our way of living. You're calling us to be less self-centred - and more centred on You. May there be less doing our own thing - and more following Jesus, less living in the weakness of the flesh - and more living in the power of the Spirit.

Lord, we thank You for Your Word.

Numbers 2:1-34
Lord, we thank You for Your Word. You have spoken to us. You are still speaking to us. It's Your Word that leads us on into Your future. Help us to listen to what You are saying to us, to build our lives on Your Word, to let Your Word flow out from us, to bring blessing to many.

Living for You, Lord, is not easy.

Numbers 1:1-54
Living for You, Lord, is not easy. We face determined opposition from Satan. He keeps coming back at us, again and again. We thank You, Lord, that we do not stand against him in our own strength. We stand in Your strength, in the victory of our risen Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You.

Leviticus 25:25-55
Teach us, Lord, that what You have done for us is always so much greater than anything we could ever do for You. You gave Your Son, Jesus, to be our Saviour. Your Holy Spirit has come to live in our hearts. He's changing us. He's making us more like Jesus. You give us the privilege of serving You - sharing, with others, the wonderful love of Jesus. You've done so much for us. You've given so much to us. What have we done to deserve all of this? - Nothing! It's Your gift. We can only say, "Thank You, Lord."

Lord, we hear the questions ...

Leviticus 24:1-25:24
Lord, we hear the questions, "Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?" and "Who shall stand in His holy place?" - and we say, 'This is too much for us." We thank You, Lord, that there is Good News for us. There is One who has ascended the hill of the Lord. There is One who stand in Your holy place. Jesus has ascended the hill of the Lord. Jesus stands in Your holy place. He has ascended Your holy hill - for us. He stands in Your holy place - for us. He has "received blessing from You" - for us (Psalm 24:3-5). When , Lord, we come to worship You, help us to come in the Name of Jesus: Just as I am, without one plea but that Thy blood was shed for me ... "

Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth."

Leviticus 22:17-23:44
Lord, You call us to "worship You in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). Where does true worship come from? - It comes from You. It comes from Your Spirit. It comes from Your Truth. We read the Holy Scriptures - and we begin to worship You. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit - and the spirit of praise grows stronger in us. We listen to the voice of our Holy Saviour - and He leads in the pathway of true worship. True worship comes from You: "Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise."

Lord, we thank You for Jesus, our Saviour.

Lord, we thank You for Jesus, our Saviour. In Him, You have given us "every spiritual blessing" (Ephesians 1:3). What blessings You have given to us - the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit living in us, eternal life with You (Ephesians 1:7,13-14). Help us to praise You today. Help us to praise You every day.

Lord, we give all the glory to You.

Lord, we give all the glory to You. We think of Jesus, crucified for us - and we say, "Thank You, Lord - You have done for us what we could never have done for ourselves." You have brought us out of the darkness of of our sin and into the light of Your salvation - out of sadness and into gladness. Help us never to forget that You have saved us. Help us to live, each day, as Your faithful servants.

Sometimes, Lord, we wonder what it's all about!

Sometimes, Lord, we wonder what it's all about! When we feel like this, help us to know that You love us. Help us to see that You are working in us - to teach us to love You.

Lord, we thank You that You are in control ...

Lord, we thank You that You are in control of the things that are happening to us. We do not always understand what's going on - but you do!

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Word Of The Lord In Your Mouth

"Now I'm convinced that you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord from your mouth is true" (1 Kings 17:24).

"the Word of the Lord in your mouth": What a  privilege this is! - God gives us His Word to speak for Him. What a responsibility it is! - May God help us to be His faithful witnesses. 

Lord, we thank You for Your great love.

Lord, we thank You for Your great love. There is no love like Your love. We think of Your Son giving Himself, in death, for us. We think of His suffering for us and we say, “Saviour of the world, what have You done to deserve this?” We look at the Cross, and we see more than suffering. We see love, and we say, “Saviour of the world … what have we done to deserve You?” Beyond “the mystery of undeserved suffering”, we catch a glimpse of something else – something very, very wonderful: “the deeper mystery of unmerited love” (Common Order, Prayer for Good Friday).

God is calling us to praise Him.

Psalm 118:19-29 

God is calling us to praise Him.
 * “I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 118:20).
 * “I will praise You” (Psalm 118:21).
 * “You are my God, and I will praise You” (Psalm 118:28).
Praise is more than words that we sing in church. Our whole life is to be full of praise to God.
We come to the Lord’s Table to receive forgiveness from Him. We go from the Lord’s Table to share His forgiveness with others.
 * “Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us” (Matthew 6:12),
 * “Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so also you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).
 * How many times should I forgive my brother? - “As many as seven?” “Seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). If we’re still counting, we’ve missed the point!
 * “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34).
Thank God that Jesus prayed this prayer for every one of us. Let it shape our attitudes and actions towards one another.
May God help us to be less like the Pharisee, and more like the tax collector (Luke 18:9-14). This is true praise. It pleases God.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

From God's First Word To Us - Our Sin - To His Final Word To Us - His Salvation

"How can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?
Though they wished to dispute with Him,
they could not answer Him one time out of a thousand." (Job 9:2-3)

"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God." (Romans 3:19)

Why does God speak to us about our sin? This is just the beginning of His work in us. He shows us our sin - "through the law we become conscious of our sin." (Romans 3:19) - so that we might see our need of the Saviour and come to Him, and receive, from Him, the forgiveness of our sins - "But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:21-22)

The world doesn't like having the Lord's people among them.

"Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them." (Psalm 105:38)

The world doesn't like having the Lord's people among them. It reminds them that they need to be saved by the Lord - and they look being reminded of this. May God help us to be faithful to Him. May our lives call upon sinners to return to the Lord.

O for a closer walk with God ...

"Peter followed Him at a distance" (Mark 14:54).

Following Jesus at a distance - this is always a dangerous thing to do. Before long, Peter was denying that he even knew Jesus (Mark 14:66-72).
"O for a closer walk with God ...  ", walking on "the road that leads me to the Lamb" (William Cowper).

Prayer is about what we're becoming as well as what we're saying.

"Lord, teach us to pray ... Ask, seek, knock ... " (Luke 11:1,9).
Prayer is more than a form of words. It's about what we're becoming as well as what we're saying. Are we becoming people who are learning to say, "What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer"? "Take it to the Lord in prayer" - Teach us, Lord, to do this.

Faith and Holiness

Let us never forget the importance of faith and holiness – 'without faith it is impossible to please God ... without holiness no-one will see the Lord' (Hebrews 11:6; 12:14). We are to 'live holy and godly lives' – 'make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love ... if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ'. In all of this, let us never forget to give all the glory to our Saviour – 'To Him be glory both now and for ever!' (2 Peter 3:11; 1:5-11; 3:18).

Tychicus and Epaphras ...

"I’m sending Tychicus to you. He is our dear brother, trustworthy deacon, and partner in the Lord’s work. He will tell you everything that is happening to me. I’m sending him to you so that you may know how we are doing and so that he may encourage you ... Epaphras, a servant of Christ Jesus from your city, greets you. He always prays intensely for you. He prays that you will continue to be mature and completely convinced of everything that God wants. 13 I assure you that he works hard for you and the people in Laodicea and Hierapolis" (Colossians 4:7-8,12-13).
In Colossians 4:7-18, we have 'greetings from Paul and his co-workers.' Two of these co-workers were Tychicus and Epaphras. What a great example they have set for us. Tychicus was "trustworthy." He brought encouragement to others. Epaphras was a man of prayer and a hard worker. We need more people like them. We need to become more like them.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Paralyzed By Fear? or Set Free By The Fear Of The Lord?

“Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness” (Joshua 24:14).
What a difference there is between being paralyzed by fear and being set free by the fear of the Lord – to live our lives as His faithful servants!We speak about being paralyzed by fear. This is the exact opposite. This is the fear of the Lord sending us out into the service of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is very different from what we mean when we speak about fear. Our fears disable us. The fear of the Lord enables us. Our fears highlight our weakness. They drive us down into our despair. The fear of the Lord focuses on  God’s strength. As we think of the Lord, we think not about how little we can do for Him. we think about how much He can do for us. Everything changes  – when we look away from ourselves to the Lord. Why must we be paralyzed by our fears – when we can be empowered by the fear of the Lord? “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness” (Joshua 24:14).

God’s Word is preached publicly. It must also be applied personally – by you!

Joshua 11:16-12:24

What is the spiritual value of this list of victories? Don’t be sidetracked by the military aspect. This is not about Israel blowing its own trumpet. It is about giving glory to God. In Genesis 12:1-3, we have God’s promise to bring blessing to all nations. Before Christ came as ‘the Saviour of the world’ (John 4:42), Israel was to become ‘a great nation’ - ‘a holy nation’, ‘a light to the nations’ (Exodus 19:6; Isaiah 49:6). This involved the ‘curse’ on the rebellious peoples who presented a sinful obstacle to God’s saving purpose. The Lord is King! The united people of God won a decisive victory in ‘the whole land’ (Joshua 11:23). There was, however, still ‘very much land to be possessed’ by the individual tribes (Joshua 13:1). God’s Word is preached publicly. It must also be applied personally - by you!

Think of God's faithfulness, and "count your blessings."

Comfort (Isaiah 40:1) - This comes from God's great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). 
In our past, present and future, we see the faithfulness of God - "His mercies never end. They are new every morning" (Lamentations 3:22-23). 
Think of God's faithfulness, and "count your blessings." Think of this, that and the other blessing (good things in your life) - and don't forget to thank Him for the greatest blessing of all: Jesus.
 - The faithfulness if God is summed up in this: "The Word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).    
 - There's a New Testament way of saying this: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).
As we move from one year to another year, let's think about the old and the new.
On His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus speaks about the old and the new.
 - He tells us that He didn't come to destroy the Law and Prophets. He came to fulfil them (Matthew 5:17-20). He wasn't setting aside the Old Testament. He was building on it. 
 - He doesn't just repeat what others have said. He brings something new, something fresh. He said, "You have heard that it was said, but I say to you" (Matthew 5:21,27,31,33,38,43).
Build on the past. Move on into the future.

Loved By God, Let Us Love Him - More!

Deuteronomy 4:44-5:33
Obedience is grounded in salvation. The Ten Commandments (7-21) are preceded by the divine declaration: ‘I am the Lord your God’ who brought you… out of the house of bondage’(6). He has redeemed us. We are to live for Him. The Word of God was spoken to Moses before it was spoken by him (27). We cannot begin to live for the Lord until we begin to listen to Him. The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Our obedience is to be offered in a spirit of gratitude to God for His gracious salvation. Never imagine it is because of our obedience that God loves us. His love for us is always prior to our love for Him. Remember what the Lord has done for you, and your love for Him will grow stronger. Forget, and you love will grow weaker. Loved by God, let us love Him – more!

Pray For God's Mercy. Ask Him To Make You More Holy.

Deuteronomy 28:25-68 

There is nothing inevitable about the chain of events described in these verses. These are the consequences of disobedience. God is warning His people: ‘If you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God…’(28:15). Why does God warn His people of the consequences of disobedience? He wants them to draw back from the way of disobedience and follow the pathway of obedience and blessing. These ‘curses’ were avoidable. They would only happen if Israel persisted in rebelling against the Lord. We can bring ‘curses’ upon ourselves. Don’t imagine that God doesn’t care how you live. He does. That is why He calls us back from the pathway of disobedience. That is why He exhorts us to choose holiness. Read Hebrews 10:26-31; 12:25-29. Pray for God’s mercy (Luke 18:13). Ask Him to make you more holy (Hebrews 12:14).

Meditating On the Psalms

PSALMS

Psalm 1

The first Psalm speaks to us about two ways of living - the Lord's way and the world's way. Each of us must choose. When we choose God's way, His blessing fills our lives. We must not turn away from Him, and lose out on His blessing. May God help us to keep on walking with Him, and to enjoy His blessing on our lives.
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The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” (Psalm 3:1). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalm 2:2).

What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
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"Whoever does these things will never be shaken" (Psalm 15:5).
Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which our faith is built. Building on Christ means more than believing the right things about Him. It also means living for Him. This is the message taught by Jesus in his parable of the wise man and the foolish man - "everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock... But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand" (Matthew 7:24,26). What  are we to believe? - This is not the only question we must ask. If our faith is real, we must move on from there to another very important question: How are we to live?
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"I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken" (Psalm 16:8). 

An unshakeable faith - What does this mean? Is my faith ever an unshakeble faith? No! It's not. Is my Saviour an unshakeable Saviour? Yes! He is. Our faith is often shaken. Our Saviour is never shaken.
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“Show Your marvelous lovingkindness …  O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 17:7; Psalm 19:14).

The lessons that we discover in the Word of God are lessons that are given to us by revelation. God shows us His “marvellous lovingkindness.” He shows us His salvation. Learning about God’s love and His salvation – There is nothing more wonderful than this. To know that we are loved by the Lord and have been saved by Him – This is what gives us strength to keep on loving and praising Him as we travel with Him towards His glorious Kingdom.
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"Keep me as the apple of the eye" (Psalm 17:8).
 
Jesus is God's "beloved Son" (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). In Jesus, God's "beloved" Son, we are "accepted" (Ephesians 1:6).  In the eyes of God the Father, Jesus is "precious" (1 Peter 2:4,6-7; 1 Peter 1:19) - and our faith is "precious" (1 Peter 1:7: 2 Peter 1:1).
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"You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light" (Psalm 18:28).

Without You, Lord, we're stumbling around in the dark. With You, we're walking in the light - the light of Your love, the light of Your truth, the light of Your holiness. 

"As for God, His way is perfect" (Psalm 18:30).

The Lord knows what He has planned for each one of us. There are no surprises for Him. The Lord doesn’t leave us to travel on our own. He’s with us every step of the way. When we wonder about what’s happening in our lives, He is there, teaching us to say from the heart, “As for God, His way is perfect” (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31). He’s leading us to His Son, Jesus. He’s showing us our suffering Saviour. He’s showing us our risen Lord. He’s showing us that there is a way of peace, joy and love. It’s the way of Jesus. It’s the way of trusting Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus. He will lead you in His way. God’s blessing will surround you each day.
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"The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul" (Psalm 19:7).

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

Psalm 19:14

Pray that ‘the meditation of your heart’ and ‘the words of your mouth’ will be filled with the Spirit of love.
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Eternal Blessings

"The Lord gives victory to His anointed" (Psalm 20:6).

Jesus is the Christ (the anointed). Through His death and resurrection, Jesus has won the victory over Satan. He won the victory for us. He gives His victory to us. 

"Surely You have granted him eternal blessings" (Psalm 21:6). 
Through the mighty victory of Jesus Christ (God's Anointed), there are "eternal blessings" - for us. 


"My God, God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Psalm 22:1).
How do eternal blessings come to us through Christ? When we see Christ, suffering on the Cross, we must give thanks to God that His suffering was for us. For Him, there was suffering. For us, there is salvation.
"'Tis mystery all! The Immortal dies ... Amazing love! how can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me! ... No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in Him, is mine!"
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"Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and  I will dwell in the House of the Lord for ever" (Psalm 23:6).
For us, God's salvation begins while we are here on earth. They continue for "all the days of our life." His  blessings do not come to an end when we leave this world. His blessings are eternal - "I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever."

"Your love, Lord reaches to the heavens ... How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God!" (Psalm 36:5,7).
Where do God's eternal blessings come from? They come from His love, His eternal love, His love which endures forever (Psalm 136).

"Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered" (Psalm 32:1).
God's eternal blessings begin with the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus was forsaken by God so that we might be forgiven by God.

"We wait in hope for the Lord" (Psalm 33:20).
The forgiveness of our sins is just the beginning of God's eternal blessings. There is more to come. We look forward to being with the Lord forevermore.
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“You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel” (Psalm 22:3).

God is not enthroned because we enthrone Him. We enthrone Him because He is enthroned.
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Psalm 23

"The Lord is my Shepherd ... "

The words are so familiar. When we start to think that we understand all that this great Psalm is saying to us, the Lord comes to with something new, something fresh, something that speaks to our hearts, something that brings blessing into our lives. What are to say about this? ~ From God to us, comes blessing, much blessing. How much blessing? Who can say? All we can say is this - It's His blessing, and His blessing "overflows" (v. 5).
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Speaking about God - The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness      for His name's sake.

Speaking to God - Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 23:1

* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd;
* The Lord is my Shepherd.

"The Lord is my Shepherd" (Psalm 23:1).

In Luke 15:3-7, Jesus tells the story of the lost sheep and the loving Shepherd.
We read about a lost sheep. We know that we are lost sinners. We are lost because we are sinners. Lost sheep need a loving shepherd. Lost sinners need a loving Saviour. That's what Jesus is. He's our Saviour. His Name means "Saviour" -  "You are to give Him the Name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
Why did Jesus come to this world?
 -  "The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
 -  "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mark 2:17).
Jesus came to find the lost. He came to save sinners.

God speaks to us in love. He says, ‘I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep... ’ (Ezekiel 34:15). We rejoice in His love. We say, ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ (Psalm 23:1). Jesus is our Shepherd. He is ‘the good Shepherd’. He laid down His life for us that we might receive the forgiveness of our sins. ‘Christ died for our sins’. He - ‘the Righteous’ - died for us - ‘the unrighteous’ - ‘to bring us to God’ (John 10:11; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18). He is ‘the great Shepherd’. He was ‘raised’ from the dead’. Through His resurrection, we receive eternal life. He says to us, ‘Because I live you will live also’ (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 14:19). He is ‘the chief Shepherd’. He will come again with ‘the unfading crown of glory’ for His ‘good and faithful servants’ (1 Peter 5:4; Matthew 25:21).

"He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3b).

We enter the Kingdom of God through the new birth. Jesus Christ is "the Door" to God's Kingdom (John 10:9). To those who have come, in faith, to Him, the Lord Jesus says, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me" (John 10:27).
 * Where does the Good Shepherd lead those who follow Him?  - He leads us "in the paths of righteousness."
 * Why does the Good Shepherd lead His people in the paths of righteousness?  - It is "for His Name's sake."
The real goal of Christ-like living is not our pleasure. It is God's glory. we find our true pleasure as we give glory to the Lord.
Are you following the Lord Jesus? He will lead you in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake.
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In ‘the Shepherd Psalm’ (Psalm 23), we read, in verse 5,: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’. We are to feast on God’s Word. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit. The ‘table’ is the place of feasting. ‘Oil’ is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As we feast on God’s Word, we will have good cause to say, again and again, ‘God is good’: ‘His goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life’ (6). The Lord never fails us. He always comes with His life-giving Word, the Word of life, through which our life on earth becomes the beginning of life eternal, the pathway to a life in which the fullness of God’s love will be revealed in a way that we can hardly begin to imagine: ‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’(6). This is what Christ is preparing for us (John 14:2)!

We sing our song of praise and thanksgiving. Our enemies are never far away!

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:5).
The presence of our enemies – this is never removed. It’s always there. There is, however, another Presence – the Presence of the Lord.
“Be still for the presence of the Lord, the Holy One is here” – This is what we must remember when the presence of our enemies threatens to overwhelm us.
--
“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4).
Here on earth, we are always “in a foreign land”. We haven’t yet arrived safely at our heavenly home. In this “foreign” land, we are called to keep on singing the songs of the Lord. We live in an atmosphere of rebellion. Let us keep on praying that God will send revival.
Can depressing situations be turned out? – Our hope is not in ourselves. It is in the Lord. He is “mighty to save” (Isaiah 63:2).
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When I was living in Glasgow, at the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, I met a lady who lived in three different centuries! She was a born a few months before the end of the nineteenth century. She died a few months into the twenty-first century. When someone achieves their century of years, it is a time for giving thanks to God. We look back over our life and we say, 'Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life'. It is not only a time for looking back. It is also a time for looking forward – 'I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever' (Psalm 23:6). We look back, giving thanks to God for many precious and treasured memories. We look forward to something even better – 'we will be with the Lord for ever' (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
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Jesus Christ - the great King (Psalm 24:8–10 )


“Who is this great King?” (Psalm 24:8, 10) The Psalmist tells us – “He is the Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, victorious in battle … The triumphant Lord – He is the great King!” (vs. 8, 10).

When we turn to the New Testament, we learn that Jesus is the great King. Jesus is the Lord. Jesus is strong and mighty. Jesus is victorious in battle. Jesus is the triumphant Lord. Jesus Christ is the Name which jumps out at us from the first chapter of Ephesians. Everything is centred upon Christ.
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“Show me your ways, Lord; Teach me Your paths … Guide me in your truth … for you are God my Saviour … ” (Psalm 25:4-5).

When we pray, “Show me your ways, Lord”, we must always remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9). God says to us, “Let the wicked forsake his way.” There is a better way – “Let him return to the Lord.” When we return to the Lord, we are led into His better way – “He will have mercy on him … our God … will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

"The one who has clean hands and a pure heart ... the King of glory" (Psalm 24:4,7-10).

We look at Jesus' life on earth. What do we see? We see the Man "who has clean hands and a pure heart" - "There was no othe good enough to pay the price of sin."
We look at Jesus, in heaven. What do we see? We see "the King of glory." We see Him, in heaven, and we rejoice in this: "He only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in."
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"Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Saviour, and my hope is in You all day long. Remember, Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they have existed from eternity" (Psalm 25:5-6).

What does God's "truth" teach us? He is our "Saviour." He is our "hope." He is the God of "great mercy." He is the God of "love." He is the eternal God. "All day long", He is our God, our Saviour and our hope.
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"I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth" (Psalm 26:3).

In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living - a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light.

"I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness" (Psalm 26:3).

Have we always been mindful of God's unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord - but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down - but He has never let us down. It's His love for us that's unfailing - not our love for Him.
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"The Lord is my light and my salvation" (Psalm 27:1).
“They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light” (Revelation 22:5).
No fear of a power cut! This is brighter than the Eurovision Song Contest!

"The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — of whom shall I be afraid?" (Psalm 27:1).

The "light" that brightens up our life is the light of God's "salvation." It's the Saviour who brings us out of darkness. He brings us into His light. This light gives us strength. God's salvation is more than forgiveness for the past. It is strength for every day.
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"One thing have I asked of the Lord…that I may dwell in the House of the Lord…"(Psalm 27:4).

Why do we come to the House of the Lord? - We come to offer to Him our heartfelt worship.
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"To You, Lord, I call; You are my Rock" (Psalm 28:1).

"I’ve anchored in Jesus, the storms of life I’ll brave,
I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave.
I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath power to save,
I’ve anchored to the Rock of Ages" (Lewi­s E. Jones).
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"The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace" (Psalm 29:10-11).

The Lord is "enthroned" - This is the God of power.
The Lord "gives", the Lord "blesses" - This is the God of love.
When we think of the God of power, we must always remember that He is also the God of love.
When we think of the God of love, we must never forget that He is also the God of power. 
The Lord is the King of love.
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"I will honour You highly, O Lord ... O Lord my God, I willgive thanks to You forever" (Psalm 30:1,12).

At the heart of true worship, which gives much glory to God, there is thanksgiving. We must never forget that we are sinners, who have been saved by His amazing grace. We receive His grace at the Cross of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us give thanks to God for our Saviour.

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing" (Psalm 30:11).

What the Lord does for us - This is truly amazing. He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. He does for us what no-one else could ever do for us. We look at what we are. We look at what the Lord has done for us. We say, This is 'amazing grace.' We say, 'To God be the glory. Great things He has done.'  "This is the Lord's doing; it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23). "Not to us, Lord, not to us but to Your Name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness" (Psalm 115:1).
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"My future is in Your hands" (Psalm 31:15).

We wonder what the future holds. God knows - and our future's in His hands. This is all that we need to know. 
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"Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).

Here, on earth, we're still at the 'starter.' When we're in heaven, we'll move on to the 'main course.' We won't be disappointed!
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"O Lord ... Say to my soul, I am your Saviour"  (Psalm 35:1,3).

Assurance of our salvation comes to us from the Lord Himself. He speaks to us. His Word is a deep Word. It reaches the heart.
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"His feet do not slip ... They will be kept safe forever" (Psalm 37:31,28).

Our  feet are slipping. Things are getting out of control. Out of whose control? - Out of our control. Not out of God's control. He keeps us safe. He keeps our feet from slipping.

"Wait on the Lord, and keep His way" (Psalm 37:34).

How do we keep on walking in the way of the Lord? It is the Lord who keeps us walking in His way. Before we can "keep His way", we must "wait on Him." If we are to keep on walking with the Lord, we must keep on waiting on Him. "Wait on the Lord" - This is faith. It is looking away from ourselves to the Lord. Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the way of the Lord. We are not left to our own devices. We can "wait on the Lord and renew our strength" (Isaiah 40:31). As we keep our eyes on Him, looking beyond our present situation to His eternal salvation, He will keep us walking in His way -"kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:5).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
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"O my God, do not be so distant from me. Come quickly to help me, O Lord, my Saviour" (Psalm 38:22).

Is God a faraway God? If we think of God in this way, we've missed the point. We don't just ask Him to come to us. We thank Him that He has come to us. Jesus is our Saviour (Matthew 1:21). HEmmanuel - God with us (Matthew 1:23).
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"My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:7).

Hope - what does this mean? We speak about hoping for the best' when we fear the words. We say, 'I hope so', when we're not too sure about saying, 'I think so.' What kind of hope is this. It's human optimism. It's wishful thinking. There is another hope, a better hope. This hope begins when we see that our human situation is hopeless. It begins when we look away from ourselves to the Lord, when we look to Him, and say, "My hope is in You."
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"He pulled me out of a horrible pit" (Psalm 40:2).

There are two things that we need to hear about - our own situation and God's salvation..
 * Our own situation is hopeless. We need to be saved by the Lord.
 * The Lord is able to lift us up. He is able to lift from the guttermost - and save to the uttermost" (Hebrews 7:25).
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"Blessed is the one who has concern for helpless people ... Thank the Lord God of Israel through all eternity" (Psalm 41:1,3).

Social concern and spiritual worship - Both are important. There's an earthly situation which we cannot turn our back on. There's an eternal dimension we dare not lose sight of
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"My soul thirsts for God, for the living God ... He is my Saviour and my God ... my Rock" (Psalm 42:2,5,8).

The living God is our Saviour and our Rock. When we come to Him, our life can never the same again. We were lost. Now, we've been found. We were falling apart. Now, we're standing on the solid Rock. 

"Why are you discouraged, my soul? Why are you so restless? Put your hope in God, because I will still praise Him. He is my Saviour and my God" (Psalm 42:11; 43:5).

These two verses are the same as each other. Some things are worth repeating. We need to hear them over and over again. We get discouraged. Our heads go down. We get restless. We're being pulled in different directions. The pull of the world seems so strong. Does this kind of thing happen now and again? No! It's happening all the time. There's never a time when we don't need to hear the words, "Put your hope in God." There's never a time when we no longer need to hear the call to return to the Lord and start praising Him again. What do we find when we return to the Lord? This is what we find - "He is my Saviour and my God."  
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"My heart is overflowing with Good News ... Grace is poured on your lips ... O warrior, strap your sword to your side ... Ride on victoriously in your majesty for the cause of truth, humility, and righteousness" (Psalm 45:1-4).

As we read this Psalm, we catch a glimpse of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ - "You are the most handsome of Adam's descendants" (Psalm 45:2). The Good News comes to us from Jesus. Grace comes to us from Jesus. We hear the Gospel. we believe in Jesus. He forgives our sins. He leads us in the way of victory. He teaches us truth, humility and righteousness. His truth sets us free - to become less self-centred and more Christ-centred. He teaches us the truth about ourselves. This keeps us humble. We're never any more than sinners who've been saved by His grace. He teaches us the truth about Himself. He is our Saviour. He is our Lord. As we learn of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord, He creates in us a desire to become more like Him - to be "led in paths of righteousness for His Name's sake" (Psalm 23:3).

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"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).

Our strength comes from the Lord. In ourselves, we are weak. In Him, we are strong.
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‘Be still, and know that I am God… Shout to God with loud songs of joy’(Psalm 46:10; Psalm 47:2).

In our worship, there is to be both quiet trust and loud praise.
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"Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love" (Psalm 48:9).
What do we do when human love fails? We look beyond human love. We look to divine love.  God's love never fails. It's an "unfailing love." We should think, often, of the love of God. We should think of Jesus - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16). We should think of the supreme demonstration of God's love - "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Think of Jesus. Thank God for Jesus.
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"Create in me a clean heart, O God... Cast me not away from Thy presence... Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation" (Psalm 51:10-12).

These words come to us from the ancient past. They were first spoken many centuries ago. They can be the words which change your future. Make them your words. Make a new beginning with God.
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“God sends His love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3).

Whatever may be happening in our lives, let’s remember God’s faithful love. Let's will look beyond everything that's happening to us. Let's catch a glimpse of God’s presenceand purpose. : God is there, and He is fulfilling His purpose of “love and faithfulness.” In Jesus Christ, the love and faithfulness of God are seen more clearly than anywhere else. Rejoicing in God’s faithful love, let us say, from our hearts, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).
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"With God we shall gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies" (Psalm 60:12). 

When, Lord, we're feeling defeated, Your Word gives us great encouragement. The battle isn't ours. It's Yours. The victory isn't ours. It's Yours. In the heat of the battle, You are our "strong tower against the enemy" (Psalm 61:3). When we're feeling the ferocity of Satan's hostility towards the truth of Your Word and the Gospel of Your grace, help us to remember that You, Lord, are "enthroned for ever" (Psalm 61:7).
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You, Lord, are "our rock and our salvation" (Psalm 62:2,6). 

We think of Your Son, Jesus Christ - the "Rock of our salvation" (1 Corinthians 10:1-4,16), and we say, "Your steadfast love is better than life ... I will praise You as long as I live" (Psalm 63:3-4). We look at Jesus, our great Saviour, and we say, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).
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“O God, my whole being desires you” (Psalm 63:1). 

May God help us to worship Him like that!
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"Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord" (Psalm 64:10). 

Lord, You give us joy - true joy, lasting joy. This is Your joy. It's not just a passing emotion. It's more than a feeling that doesn't last very long. Your joy changes us. It gives us the strength to live as "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17).
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"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help;   my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3).

Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens. 

"Let heaven and earth praise Him… For God will save" (Psalm 69:34-35). 

God does not save us because we praise Him. We praise God because He saves us. 

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" ... O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name ... provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!" (Psalm 79:9).

Beyond our salvation, there is God's glory. When we think about Christ's atoning sacrifice for sin, we must not think only of the "for us" blessing - the forgiveness of our sins. We must also think of the "for God" character of the atonment which has been provided for us by God. We rejoice in the forgiveness of our sins.  We also rejoice in this: God's holiness is proclaimed in the death of Christ for sinners. We may think first of the blessing that has come to us through the the shedding of Christ's precious blood. Scripture speaks first of the "for God" character of the atonement - God is "just" - before speaking of the "for us" blessing - God is "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26).
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“You transplanted a vine from Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land” (Psalm 80:8-9).

When we read here about a “vine”, we should remember that Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We read here that the vine “filled the land.” Let us pray for our land – “Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father’s glory.”
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Real Listening, A Real Turning To The Lord And A Real Sense Of His Blessing (Psalm 85:8)

We are to pray for real listening - ‘I will listen to what God the Lord will say’- , a real turning to the Lord - ‘turning to Him in our hearts’- , and a real sense of His blessing - ‘He will speak peace to His people’(Psalm 85:8).
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"You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to You" (Psalm 86:5).
Sometimes, we contrast 'the God of the Old Testament' and 'the God of the New Testament.'  We speak about 'the God of law' and 'the God of love.' If we think that 'love' only began with the start of the New Testament, we need to read God's Word more carefully. Here, we are in the Old Testament. What do we find? We find love - the love of God, the God of love.
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The older generation will be familiar with the opening question and answer of the Shorter Catechism. It is a question about the purpose of our life. We are 'to glorify God'. We are 'to enjoy Him for ever'. We live our life in the light of eternity. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we look forward to the wonderful future God has in store for us: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him' (1 Corinthians 2:9). How are we to prepare ourselves for this glorious future? We are to pray, 'Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom' (Psalm 90:12). We must not think only about how long we live. We must think also about how well we live. We are to be men and women of faith, men and women who have asked the question of salvation, 'What must I do to be saved?', men and women who have obeyed the Gospel command, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved' (Acts 16:31). We must not think only of ourselves. There is more to life than achieving a comfortable standard of living. We are to be 'rich toward God' (Luke 12:21). There is more to life than 'storing up for ourselves treasures on earth'. We must not forget the challenge put to us by our Lord Jesus Christ: 'store up for yourselves treasures in heaven' (Matthew 6:19-21). As we grow older, we must not forget another type of growth – spiritual growth: 'grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ' (2 Peter 3:18).
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"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love ..." (Psalm 90:14).

Out of the darkness of the night, into the light of the morning - "Very early on the first day of the week ... He has risen!" (Mark 16:4,6). Our new morning comes from Christ's resurrection morning.
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“proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night” (Psalm 92:2).

What blessing there is in these few words! Our God is with us in the morning. He is with us at night. He is with us always. He loves us in the morning. He is faithful at nignt. He says to us, “I will always love you.”
What a God – a God of perfect love, a God of absolute faithfulness!


"You, O Lord, are exalted for ever" (Psalm 92:8).

God is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted.
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"When I said, “My foot is slipping”, Your love, O Lord, supported me" (Psalm 94:18).

The Lord is 'able to keep us from falling' (Jude 24-25). We are 'kept by the power of God' (1 Peter 1:3-5). Putting our trust in the Lord, we may be confident of this: 'God, who began His good work in us, will carry it through to completion on the Day of Jesus Christ' (Philippians 1:6). As we 'press on', we must never forget this: 'It is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good purpose' (Philippians 3:14; 2:13). 'Let us fix our eyes on Jesus', trusting in His promise: 'My sheep listen to My voice ... I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one shall snatch them out of My hand' (Hebrews 12:2; John 10:27-30).
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"Zion hears about this and rejoices" (Psalm 97:8).

God's Word brings joy. True joy is not something that we can give to ourselves. It must be given to us by the Lord. This joy - the joy of the Lord - gets stronger and stronger as we listen to the Word  of the Lord and receive its message with faith and obedience.
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"Exalt the Lord our God, And worship at His holy hill; For the Lord our God is holy" (Psalm 99:9).

We read about the people who worship God, the place where we worship Him, and the God whom we worship.

"Exalt the Lord our God" - We are called to worship God. We are the worshippers. He is the Lord our God. There is nothing special about our worship. Even when we worship, we must never forget that we are never any more than sinners who have been saved by God's grace. When we hear the call: "Exalt the Lord our God", we must always remember this: God is not exalted because we exalt Him. We exalt Him because He is exalted.

"Worship at His holy hill" - Why do we think of the place where we worship as a holy place? Is it because we, the worshippers, are holy. No! Let's never imagine that we are more holy than we really are. Any holiness we may have has been given to us by God through Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). We are never perfectly holy. When are called to "pursue ... holiness, without which no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14), we must begin by looking away from ourselves to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He alone can "ascend the hill of the Lord." He alone "has clean hands and a pure heart." He alone can "ascend the hill of the Lord." He alone can stand in God's holy place. He alone will "receive blessing from the Lord" (Psalm 24:3-5). There is, however, something else which Scripture teaches us about Christ. It is something very wonderful: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He comes to us in love. He forgives our sin. He renews our strength. He leads us in His paths of righteousness. The holiness of the place where we worship comes from the God whom we worship, the God who loves, the God who has saved us, the God who has forgiven our sins, the God who has sent His Holy Spirit to live in our hearts.

"For the Lord our God is holy" - Holiness: if this was all we had to say about God, we would have to say, "We dare not even attempt to set foot on "His holy hill." Thank God - There is another "holy hill" where we see His love as well as His holiness: "On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross ... where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain ... 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me." God is holy - and, in love, He calls us to come to Him, to receive His forgiveness, to walk with Him on "the Highway of Holiness" (Isaiah 35:8).
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Times change - but our God doesn't change. He's unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable - in His great love for us. His love doesn't come and go - sometimes up, sometimes down. His love remains forever. This is Good News for sinners. We have wandered far from HIm - but He hasn't stopped loving us. He keeps on loving us. He's calling us to return to Him. He's calling us to make a new beginning with Him. This is love - and it gives us great hope for the future. Without His love, a New Year is just another year - more wandering around in the wilderness without really knowing where we're going. With His love, everything changes. His love changes everything. We move forward into the future with confidence in this: the Lord remains forever - and His love remains forever. Thank You, Lord, for Your great love. We don't deserve to be loved by You - but You keep on loving us. This fills our hearts with gladness - and with much hope for the future into which You are leading us.
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May God help each of us to “sing to the Lord.” May we “sing praise to Him.” May we “glory in His holy Name.” May we “rejoice” in Him. May we come to Him in our weakness and find our new “strength” in Him (Psalm 105:2-4).
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"Who can speak about all the mighty things the Lord has done? Who can announce all the things for which He is worthy of praise?" (Psalm 106:2).

There is always more to be said about the Lord than we can ever say. When we have said all that we can say, we have not said enough. The Lord is always greater than all our words about Him. How great is our God! How great is His mighty work of salvation! Praise be to His Name - the Name of our salvation.
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There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again – ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again – ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord.’ Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 107:43, 1). ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free… It’s yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!’ (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles).
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"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).

When we think of all that the Lord has done for us, let us think also of what He will do for us.
Let us look back with thanksgiving. Let us look forward with hope.
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"Let Your blessings reach me, O Lord. Save me as You promised" (Psalm 119:41).

We count our blessings. we name them on by one - and it surprises us what the Lord has done for us. None of our many blessings can even begin to compare with the greatest blessing of all - salvation.
When we thank God for His many blessings, may we never forget to thank Him for His greatest blessing - our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
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God's Word is "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path" (Psalm 119:105).

He has "wondrous things" to teach us as we pray "Open my eyes that I may see" (Psalm 119:18,11). "May God's blessing surround you each day, as you trust Him and walk in His way. May His presence within guard and keep you from sin, go in peace, go in joy, go in love." "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Your Name give glory, because of Your mercy and Your truth" (Psalm 115:1).
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Why? Why? Why? - Even when we don’t understand, we can still say, ‘My help comes from the Lord’ (Psalm 121:2).
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“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the House of the Lord.’ Our feet are standing in your gates, Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:2).

* Standing – in the House of the Lord! In life’s many trying times, we are put to the test – Will we stand? Will we fall?
* Standing – in the house of the Lord! Let’s never imagine that we can stand in our own strength – “If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Corinthians 10:12).
* Standing – in the House of the Lord: We stand when we put our trust in the Lord. We stand when we build our life on Him.
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"May Your priests be clothed with Your righteousness; may Your faithful people sing for joy" (Psalm 132:9).
We need "righteousness" and "joy" - not righteousness without joy, not joy without righteousness. What is "righteousness", if there's no "joy"? It's Pharisaism. What is "joy" without "righteousness"? Is it really "the joy of the Lord"? No! "The joy of the Lord" gives us "strength" to live for the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). "The joy of the Lord" is always more than a nice feeling. The joy of the Lord changes us.    
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"God's love endures for ever" (Psalm 136:1).

 God loves us. He’s always reaching out to us. He’s calling us to return to Him. He’s inviting us to come and be blessed by Him. When we resist His call and rebel against Him, we miss out on His blessings – the forgiveness of our sins and new life in Christ. We receive these blessings through faith in Christ. Our rebellion against God doesn’t mean that God stops loving us – He keeps on reaching out to us. He keeps on calling us to return to Him – but it does mean that we miss out on the enjoyment of the blessings He’s calling us to receive through faith in Christ.
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"I will sing a new song to You, O God ... the One who gives salvation ... Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Sing praises ... to our God" (Psalm 144:9-10; Psalm 147:7).
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"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised" (Psalm 145:1-3).

The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him.
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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).
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Keep On Worshipping The Lord.

" And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good works, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the ...