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Showing posts from 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.

"“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 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.

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.

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
7 “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. 8 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. …

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.”

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.…

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!

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.

“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 Jesu…

“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.

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

Genesis 46:1-34 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).

" ... 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 …

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).

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).

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. 8 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.

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 11:16-12:24What 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 …

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!

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 rem…