Sunday, 22 July 2018

Lord, it’s so easy for us to lose our way ...

Psalm 73:1-28 
Lord, it’s so easy for us to lose our way – “my feet had almost stumbled.” We look at “the prosperity of the wicked”, and we become “envious of the arrogant” (Psalm 73:2-3). When others are forgetting about You, help us to keep on saying, “For me, it is good to be near God! – in “the sanctuary of God” (Psalm 73:28). When we leave the place of worship, help us to tell others what You “have done” for us. Help us to say to others, “O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His Name together” (Psalm 34:3).

Lord, You give us joy – true joy, lasting joy.

Psalms 64:1-65:13
“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).

Lord, we have so many reasons for rejoicing in You.

Psalm 33:1-22
“Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous” (Psalm 33:1). Lord, we have so many reasons for rejoicing in You. You have opened Your heart to us (Psalm 33:11). You have shown Your love to us (Psalm 33:5). Help us to trust in Your Word, and rest in Your faithfulness (Psalm 33:4). We rejoice in “Your unfailing love” (Psalm 33:20,22).

Lord, it’s Your love for us that inspires our loyalty to You.

Psalm 26:1-27:12
“Your love is ever before me, and I will walk continually in Your truth” (Psalm 26:3). Lord, it’s Your love for us that inspires our loyalty to You. You love us. This is what makes us want to walk with You. In Your love, You lead us in the way of Your salvation. We don’t begin with walking with You. We begin with worshipping You. We celebrate Your love for us, and we receive Your strength – strength for living the new life, the life that brings glory to You.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

When, Lord, we sin, help us to come to Jesus.

Job 34:21-35:16 
“If you have sinned” (Job 35:6). Help us, Lord, to think about Job, about Jesus, and about ourselves. “Job feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). Job wasn’t being singled out for special punishment, because he was much more sinful than anyone else – but this doesn’t mean that he had never sinned (Job 7:21; Job 13:26). Help us, Lord, to look beyond Job to Jesus. He did not sin (Hebrews 4:14-16) – but He did suffer: “He suffered for us … He bore our sins … He died for us … He died for our sins” (1 Peter 2:21-24; Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus, our Saviour. When we sin, help us to come to Jesus. He is our “Redeemer” (Job 19:25). He gives us “quietness” and “songs in the night” (Job 34:29; Job 35:10). Help us, Lord, to “be still and know that You are our God.” Help us to “shout for joy to You” (Psalm 46:10; Psalm 98:4).

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Lord, help us to listen for the voice of Your love – and not to be deceived, discouraged, and distressed by words that come to us from Satan.

Job 25:1-27:6
Lord, we hear biting sarcasm in Job’s response to his ‘comforters’: “How you have helped him who has no power! How you have saved the arm that has no strength!” (Job 26:2). We hear Job’s searching question: “With whose help have you uttered words, and whose spirit has me forth from you?” (Job 26:4), and we pray, “Lord, help us to listen for the voice of Your love – and not to be deceived, discouraged, and distressed by words that come to us from Satan.”

We thank You that You are not only the God of great power. You are also the God of great love.

Job 22:1-23:7
Lord, we read Job’s question: “Would He contend with me in the greatness of His power?” We also read his answer: “No; He would give heed to me” (Job 23:6). We thank You that You are not only the God of great power. You are also the God of great love. If You, Lord, were nothing but power, we would have good reason to be terrified of You. At the Cross of Jesus, we see how much You love us. In Jesus’ resurrection, we see Your power. It’s not just the power to do strange and mysterious miracles. It’s the power of Your love – the love that lifts us when we’re down, the love that leads us on to a life, in which there will be “no more death or  mourning or crying or pain” (Revelation 21:4).

When, Lord, life is hard, and it’s difficult to understand what’s going on, help us to hold on to Your promise: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength."

Job 21:1-34
Lord, we sense Job’s deep disappointment, as he says to his ‘comforters’, “How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” (Job 21:34). We thank You, Lord, that Job was looking beyond his ‘comforters’. He was looking to You: “He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). When life is hard, and it’s difficult to understand what’s going on, help us to hold on to Your promise: “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles … ” (Isaiah 40:31).

Help us, Lord, to listen to what You’re saying to us before we start telling other people what we think You should be saying to them.

Job 20:1-29
Lord, we read Zophar’s detailed description of “the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God” (Job 20:29). We wonder if Zophar has ever thought of asking the question:’ Help us, Lord, to learn from Zophar ‘Does all of this apply to Job? Is Job a wicked man? Is Job being punished by God? Help us, Lord, to learn from Zophar’s mistakes. Help us to listen to what You’re saying to us before we start telling other people what we think You should be saying to them. May our words be Gospel words – words of love, words of encouragement, words of hope. May our words bring glory to Your Name, the Name of love, the Name of Your salvation.

Lead us, Lord, out of the bitter way and into the better way.

Job 16:6-17:16
“There is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure” (Job 16:17). We wonder, Lord, ‘Is this no more than Job’s own opinion of himself?” Your Word tells us that it’s also Your view of Job: “My witness is in heaven, and He that vouches for me is on high” (Job 16:19). As we read about Job and his suffering, Help us to think about ourselves. How do we react when suffering comes our way? Do we become bitter – blaming You and turning away from You? Or, do we become better – “the righteous holds to his way, and he that has clean hands grows stronger and stronger” (Job 17:9)? How, Lord, can we become better – and not bitter? It’s Your  love that changes us (Romans 5:3-5). It’s Your love that lifts us when we feel like we’re falling down. Lead us, Lord, out of the bitter way and into the better way.

Sometimes, Lord, we need to say, “The less said, the better.”

Job 13:1-14:22
Sometimes, Lord, we need to say, “The less said, the better.” We read what Job said about his ‘friends’ – “Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!” (Job 13:5). We feel for Job. From his ‘friends’, there was nothing but one accusation after another. What was he to do? What are we to do? We turn to You, Lord. Can we look beyond our suffering? Is there something better? – “If a man dies, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14). We thank You, Lord, for the answer of faith: “I know that my Redeemer loves … Even after my skin has been stripped off my body, I will see God … ” (Job 19:25). Help us, Lord, to look to Jesus, the risen Lord, to hear His Word of triumph: “Death is swallowed up in victory”, and to offer to You our joyful praise – “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:20,54,57).

When Satan is hurling his accusations at us, help us, Lord, to keep on listening to what You’re saying to us. May the voice of Your love lift us out of the pit of our despair.

Job 11:1-12:25 
We read, Lord, about Job – “a righteous and blameless man! (Job 12:4). He was suffering, and he was confused. Was He being punished by You? That’s what Zophar was telling him - Job must have done  something pretty awful to deserve this. You, Lord, were saying something very different – “My servant Job” (Job 1:8). When Satan is hurling his accusations at us, help us, Lord, to keep on listening to what You’re saying to us. May the voice of Your love lift us out of the pit of our despair.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

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

Job 9:20-10:22
What are we to do, Lord, when, like Job, we think that You are “against” us (Job 10:2)? Where do such negative thoughts come from? Do they come from You? No! They come from Satan, the “accuser ” of Your people (Revelation 12:10). When Satan attacks us, help us to remember that You love us, that Jesus died for us, that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, and that “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 5:8; Romans 8:1; Romans 8:37).

Help us, Lord, to see that bad things can and do happen to people who love You as well as people who don’t love You.

Job 8:1-9:19
We read the words of Bildad. He speaks as a ‘know-it-all’. He sees what has happened to Job, and he thinks, ‘Job must have forgotten God’. He fails to see that Job has not forgotten God. Help us, Lord, to see that bad things can and do happen to people who love You as well as people who don’t love You. When things are going badly, help us, Lord, to remember Your long-term purpose. You’re preparing us for ‘eternal life’ (Matthew 19:29). Help us to look beyond our sufferings. They are ‘slight and short-lived’. Help us to look ahead to the ‘eternal glory that is greater than anything we can imagine’ (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Help us not to listen to Satan. He’s trying to put us down and keep us down. Help us to listen to listen to the voice of Your love. Your Word lifts us up.

Job 4:12-6:7
Lord, we read about Eliphaz. We see so much pride. We don’t see much love. Satan is speaking through Eliphaz. Help us not to listen  to Satan. He’s trying to put us down. He’s trying to keep us down. Help us to listen to the voice of Your love. Your Word lifts us up. Help us to look to You, to be lifted by You, and to give all the glory to You.

What, Lord, are we to do when we find ourselves sinking into a state of deep depression?

Job 3:1-4:11
What are we to do when, like Job, we find ourselves sinking into a state of deep depression? Help us, Lord, to remember Jesus. Help us to remember His suffering. He suffered for us. He suffers with us. We thank You that Jesus knows how we feel. He’s been there. He went to the Cross – for us. Behind His suffering, we see His love. In our suffering, we need Jesus. We need His love. Without His love, things will only get worse. Thank You for Jesus – for His love and His help.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Lord, You turn our sorrow into joy and our mourning into celebration.

Esther 9:1-10:3
Lord, You turn our sorrow into joy and our mourning into celebration (Esther 9:22). Our joy comes from Jesus. Our celebration is centred on Him. What joy we have in Jesus! It's a joy while the world can neither give to us nor take away from us. What a celebration there is when we gather together at the Lord's Table! We celebrate the greatest love of all the love of Christ, our Saviour. We have been "redeemed with the blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:18-19).

We thank You, Lord, for the defeat of Satan - and the victory of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.

Esther 7:1-8:17
We read about "a foe and enemy! The wicked Haman!" (Esther 7:6). There's a more powerful enemy than Haman - Satan! "Haman was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai" (Esther 7:10). Satan tried to get rid of Jesus - but Jesus turned the tables on him. We thank You, Lord, for the defeat of Satan - and the victory of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.

We thank You, our Father, for Jesus, Your Son. He is our Saviour. He is "both Lord and Christ."

Esther 5:1-6:14 
We read about Mordecai. He nearly lost his life (Esther 5:14). Then, he was honoured by the king (Esther 6:10-11). We look beyond Mordecai to Jesus. We see Jesus, crucified for us. We see Him, risen from the dead (Acts 2:23-24). We thank You, our Father, for Jesus, Your Son. He is our Saviour. He is "both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

What kind of people are we? Are we “faithful and God-fearing” people?

Nehemiah 7:1-73
What kind of people are we? Are we “faithful and God-fearing” people? Lord, it is so easy to lose our way. We forget You – and we wander away from You. Draw us back to Yourself. Speak to us in love. Assure us that You haven’t given up on us. Let us know that “There’s a way back to God from the dark paths of sin.” Bring us to “Calvary’s Cross” – and let us begin again with You.

When Satan, our great enemy, tries to pick an argument with us, help us, Lord, to keep on working for You ...

Nehemiah 5:14:6:19
What are we to do when we face those who are “scheming to harm” Your servants and Your work? We are to devote ourselves to Your work – and we are to pray for your strength (Nehemiah 6:2; Nehemiah 5:16; Nehemiah 6:9). When Satan, our great enemy, tries to pick an argument with us, help us to give him this answer: “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you” (Nehemiah 6:3). Help us, Lord, to keep on working for You – and to pray that “many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).

What, Lord, are we to do when we encounter opposition?

Nehemiah 2:19-4:9
What are we to do when we encounter opposition? We’re seeking to serve You – and the enemies of Christ and His Gospel are making life difficult for us. Help us, Lord, to look to You. May we know, in our hearts and lives, the truth of Your Word: “The people who know their God will be strong” (Daniel 11:32).

Help us, Lord, to open our hearts to You, to lay our lives before You, and to do the work that You give us to do for You.

Ezra 1:1-2:35
"Rebuild the House of the Lord" (Ezra 1:3). This, Lord, is what You're calling us to do. Who are You calling? Is it just a few 'special' people? - No! It's "all those whose spirits God had moved" (Ezra 1:5). Help us, Lord, never to say, "There's nothing for me to do." There's always something we can do. Help us to open our hearts to You, to lay our lives before You, and to do the work that You give us to do for You.

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 ...