Friday, 22 June 2018

Life is full of ups and downs.

1 Kings 18:17-19:21
Life is full of ups and downs. There are high-points – “The fire of the Lord fell” and “all the people said, ‘The Lord, He is God’” ( 1 Kings 18:37-39), and there are low-points – ”O Lord, take away my life” (1 Kings 19:4). Lord, we are so changeable. Sometimes, we’re full of joy. At other times, we’re at the point of despair. We find ourselves in a turmoil of confused and confusing emotions. What are we to do? What can we do? Can we pull ourselves together? We try – but we fail. Lord, help us to look beyond our own efforts. Help us to look to You, to believe that You can change us, You can come to us in our weakness, You can give us Your strength – the strength that we need to love You more and bring more glory to Your Name, the Name of our salvation.

Lord, help us to rise to the challenge: to live as Your people, people who know You, love You and serve You.

1 Kings 16:29-18:16
We read about Elijah: “The Word of the Lord came to Elijah”; “You are a man of God and the Word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth” (1 Kings 18:1; 1 Kings 17:24). You’re challenging us to be all that You’re calling us to be – people who love You, people who are listening to You and speaking for You, people who are living for You. Lord, help us to rise to the challenge: to live as Your people, people who know You, love You and serve You.

Lord, help us to put You first in our lives.

1 Kings 15:9-16:28
“Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord … The heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days” (1 Kings 15:11,14). Lord, help us to be more like Asa – to put You first in our lives. You want to take control of our attitudes and our actions. Change us, Lord. Change the way we think. Change the way we live. May pleasing You be our top priority – the thing that matters most to us.

Where, Lord, does our hope for the future come from?

1 Kings 12:25-13:34
“A son shall be born” (1 Kings 13:2). There would be a new king and a better future. Where, Lord, does our hope for the future come from? Does it come from earthly kings? No! It comes from Jesus, our Saviour. He’s the “King of kings.” He’s the “Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16). We read the words of prophecy: “to us a child is born … a son.” We read what Your Word says about Him. He is “Wonderful.” From Him, we receive wonderful blessings (Isaiah 9:6-7). Thank You, Lord, for Your Son, Jesus.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Lord, Your Word seems so simple – but we don’t always listen to what You’re saying to us!

1 Kings 11:14-12:24
“Do not go up to fight against your brothers” (1 Kings 12:24). Lord, Your Word seems so simple – but we don’t always listen to what You’re saying to us! Less ‘This is what I think’ and more ‘What is the Lord saying to me?” – that’s what we need. Help us, Lord, to listen to You – and to be changed by Your Word.

Lord, give us wisdom. Help us to share this wisdom with others.

1 Kings 4:1-34
Lord, give us wisdom (1 Kings 4:29). Help us to share this wisdom with others (1 Kings 4:32-34). What, Lord, is wisdom? Is it knowing a lot about history, geography and science? No, Lord, true wisdom is knowing Jesus, knowing that He is our Saviour, knowing that He shows us what life is all about, knowing that His love is the greatest love of all, the love that changes everything, the love that changes us. Help us to share His love with others. This is wisdom – knowing Jesus, knowing that He loves us, being changed by His love. Christ is “our Wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Help us to rejoice in Him – and to share His love with the people that we meet.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Learning From God's Word: Ruth

Ruth 1:1-22
Following the triple tragedy of the deaths of Elimelech, Mahlon and Chilion (Ruth 1:3-5) and the departure of Orpah (Ruth 1:14), there was a new beginning for Naomi and Ruth. This new beginning came to them when "they came to Bethlehem" (Ruth 1:19). The town of Bethlehem marked a new beginning for them. It marks a new beginning for us. This was the place where our Saviour was born. "They happened to to enter Bethlehem just when the barley harvest began." The timing of their arrival turns our thoughts towards fruitfulness. We come to our Saviour - born at Bethlehem, and He makes us fruitful in His service. Without His help, we cannot even begin to see a harvest gathered in for Him. If we are to see the Lord's blessing on the work we do for Him, we must look to Him, putting our trust in Him.

Ruth 2:1-4:22
This is the story of Ruth and Boaz. It is a story which leads on to David (Ruth 4:22) - and, beyond him, to Christ. In this story of love, we have the fulfilment of Naomi's words: "May the Lord bless him" (Ruth 2:20). It is a story which prompts the response: "Praise the Lord" (Ruth 4:14). It is a  story which points beyond itself to the story of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: the story of the greatest blessing of all - salvation; the story which inspires our worship, causing us to say, with heart and voice, "Praise the Lord." In this short story, we learn an important lesson: As we read the many stories told in Scripture, we must learn to see, in each of them, the story of our Saviour. 

First Things First

"Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

First things first - This is what Jesus says to us. 
What He means is this - The Lord is King.
 * The Lord is King. Let this be real in your life.
 * The Lord is King. Let this change you.
 * The Lord is King. Let this make a difference - in the way that you think and the way that you live.

Being Justified By God Begins When We Stop Trying To Justify Ourselves.

"he wanted to justify himself" (Luke 10:29).

Justifying ourselves is the exact opposite of being justified by God. Justifying ourselves - This is about saying, 'I'm right. I haven't done anything wrong.' Being justified by God - This is about saying, 'I have sinned. I need to be forgiven.' How can we receive forgiveness if we don't think we've done anything wrong? Receiving God's forgiveness begins with our confession: ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Luke 18:13). What does Jesus say about the man who prayed this prayer? - "This man ... went home justified before God" (Luke 18:14).

A House Of Prayer, A Life Of Prayer

"a house of prayer" (Matthew 21:13)

Our whole life is to be "a house of prayer" - centred  on God, shaped by prayer. This means more than going to a place that is called "a house of prayer." God is calling us to a life of prayer. He's calling us to be prayerful people, people who love to be in His presence. Where are we to begin? - We must begin with the prayer - "God, be merciful to me, a sinner" (Luke 18: 13). We must begin with this - "The blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7). Everything good comes from this staring-point: "in me, there is no good thing" (Romans 7:18). The "good thing" - salvation - has to come to us from outside of ourselves. It has to be given to us by Jesus, our Saviour. When we begin here - how great is our sin, how great is our Saviour, we begin in the right place, the place where spiritual growth begins.

Friday, 1 June 2018

We thank You, Lord, that You are the God of new beginnings.

1 Kings 2:1-46
We thank You, Lord, that You are the God of new beginnings. Your purpose doesn’t stand still. It moves forward. Will we move forward with You? – That, Lord, is the question that each of us must ask answer. We cannot stand still. There are two ways we can go. We can move forward with You. We can go back to the past, back to what we were before Christ saved us, before He took hold of our lives, before He began to make us new people. Dare we even think of going back to the old life? That life can’t even begin to compare with our new life in Christ. Help us, Lord, to press on into the future, Your future, the new life in Christ, eternal life.

A positive faith is much more helpful than a purely negative reaction!

The Pharisees were subtle - just like the ‘ancient serpent who is the devil’ (Genesis 3:1; Revelation 20:2). They tried ‘to entangle Jesus in His talk’ (Matthew 22:15). They wanted to trap Him and bring a charge against Him. They asked Jesus about payment of taxes to Caesar (Matthew 22:17). Jesus moved beyond this question to our greatest responsibility: ‘Render ... to God the things that are God’s’ (Matthew 22:21). If we must speak words of political significance - ‘Render.. to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’ (Matthew 22:21) - , let them arise out of this: Giving God His rightful place in His Church, the nation and the wider world. Jesus’ words to the Sadducees, in Matthew 22:29, were not simply a protest against the religion of the Sadducees. They were a protest for the Scriptures and the power of God. A positive faith is much more helpful than a purely negative reaction!

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ

Revelation 1:1-20

This is ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ’ (1). It comes from Him and it speaks of Him.
Christ ‘loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood’ (5). We rejoice in Him.
Christ is ‘coming with the clouds’ (7). We must get ready for Him.
‘The revelation of Jesus Christ’ calls for our response. It is not ‘for information only’. We are to ‘pay attention to what is written in it’. We are to ‘take it to heart’. We are to ‘do what it says’ (3).
Christ reveals Himself to us. Is it for our benefit only? Is it just to make us ‘feel good’? No! We are to share with others what the Lord is teaching us.
Christ said to John, ‘Write what you see’ (19). Don’t keep it to yourself. Share Christ. Tell others about Him. Tell them what the Lord has done for you.
Speak His words of love: ‘Come...and learn from Me’ (Matthew 11:28-30).

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 ...