Friday, 31 August 2018

Jesus Is Greater Than ...

Jesus is "greater than Jonah" (Luke 11:32).
Think of the great servants of God in the Old Testament. Jesus is greater than all of them! He's more than than a servant of God. He's the Son of God. He's more than a messenger, sent by God. He's the Saviour, sent from God. How great is our Saviour? He's greater than we can we put into words. He's greater than we can imagine. He's the greatest! His love is the greatest love of all!

This Is All About Jesus!

I was reading Romans 1:1-7. I was asking the question, "What's this about?" There's one simple answer to this question: "This is all about Jesus!"

Human Love And Divine Love

"Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Ephesians 5:25).
Human love is grounded in divine love. "I love you" is grounded in "God loves you." We look to Jesus Christ. We see the love of God. His love for us inspires our love for one another.

Where have we come from? Where are we going to?

We wonder, "Where have we come from? Where are we going to?" Jesus says, "I know where I came from, and where I'm going" (John 8:14). Show us, Lord Jesus, Your eternal love - the love that calls out to us from the beginning, the love that calls us on to the end, the love that calls out to us from Your eternal glory, the love that calls us on to Your eternal glory.

Help us, Lord, to pray for revival.

Psalm 85:1-13
Help us, Lord, to pray for revival – ‘Restore us again, O God our Saviour… Will You not revive us again that Your people may rejoice in You?’(Psalm 85:4,6). Help us to pray that You will ‘grant us Your salvation.’ Help us to pray that ‘Your saving presence will remain in our land’, that ‘Your glory may dwell in our land’(Psalm 85:7,9). Help us to pray for real listening – ‘I will listen to what God the Lord will say’- , a real turning to You – ‘turning to You in our hearts’- , and a real sense of Your blessing – ‘You will speak peace to Your people’(Psalm 85:8). Teach us, Lord, that prayer for revival does not begin as a prayer for others. It begins with ourselves: ‘O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee; send a revival – start the work in me’. It begins with this prayer: “Lord, take my life, and make it wholly Thine; fill my poor heart with Thy great love divine.’

An Always And Forever Love

Psalms 82:1-83:18
“A friend loves at all times” (Proverbs 17:17). Help us, Lord, to look beyond human love and human friendship. Help us to see Jesus. His love is the greatest love. He is our greatest Friend. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus. Thank You for His love. He’s our Forever Friend. May we know, in our hearts, that His love is ‘always and forever’ love.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Overlowing Blessing

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).

We have been saved by the Lord.

“Rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20). We must never forget Jesus Christ, He is our Saviour. Remembering Him will keep us from thinking too highly of ourselves. We are only servants. Jesus is the Saviour.

Monday, 20 August 2018

There is a wise way of living – and there is a foolish way.

Proverbs 10:1-22
There is a wise way of living – and there is a foolish way. We’re always being pulled away from the wise way. We’re always being dragged into the way of foolishness. Sometimes, Lord, we don’t need much persuasion to turn away from following You. Our hearts are already drifting away from You – before Satan comes with his subtle – yet strong – temptations. Help us, Lord, to choose the “way that leads to life” – and not the “way that leads to destruction” (Matthew 7:13-14). Help us to choose Jesus, our Saviour. Help us to know that, in Him, we have the forgiveness of sins, given to us as Your gift of grace; the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to live for You; and eternal life, being prepared for us in Your heavenly glory.

Lord, Your Word shows us the ways we are to avoid – and it shows us the way we are to follow.

Proverbs 6:16-35
Lord, Your Word is our “lamp” and “light” (Proverbs 6:23; Psalm 119:105). Your Word shows us the ways we are to avoid – and it shows us the way we are to follow: Your way, the way of obedience and blessing. Help us, Lord, to watch how we live, to take care that we do not drift away from You, to keep on choosing Your way, the way that brings glory to You.

When we feel like giving up ...

Proverbs 4:20-27
When we feel like giving up, Lord, help us to keep our eyes fixed on Your Son, Jesus. He is our Saviour. He’ll give us the strength that we need to keep on walking with You in the way of faith. He’ll give us the strength that we need to keep on living in obedience to Your Word. We are often weak. He is always strong. When we feel like we can’t go on, when all of our love has gone, help us to remember the love of Jesus: “Jesus loves me! He will stay, close beside me all the way; He will always be my Friend, and His love will never end.”

There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out ...

Proverbs 4:10-19
There are times, Lord, when it seems like the light has gone out, and we can see nothing – nothing but darkness. When this happens to us, help us to catch a glimpse of the brightest light of all – the light of Your love. This is the light which will never go out. It is not our faith that lifts us out of the darkness. It’s Your love – the love that we see in Jesus, in His dying for us, His rising for us and His returning for us.

Lord, we want everything to go smoothly – but that’s not what You’ve promised us!

Proverbs 3:1-18

Lord, we want everything to go smoothly – but that’s not what You’ve promised us! Your way can seem like a long and winding road – but it’s better to be facing problems, as we walk with You on the pathway of holiness, than to be having an easy time of it because we’ve stopped standing up for You.

Lord, we want everything to go smoothly – but that’s not what You’ve promised us!

Proverbs 3:1-18
Lord, we want everything to go smoothly – but that’s not what You’ve promised us! Your way can seem like a long and winding road – but it’s better to be facing problems, as we walk with You on the pathway of holiness, than to be having an easy time of it because we’ve stopped standing up for You.

Promises Of Love - And Words Of Warning

Proverbs 2:16-34
Lord, we love to hear Your promises of love. Sometimes, we need to hear Your words of warning. In Your warnings, we hear the voice of Your love. In Your love, You’re calling us back from a way that will do us great harm. You call us into a better way – the way of Your great salvation. Lord, when we are being pulled away from You, bring us back to Yourself. Speak to us with Your Word of warning, the Word that calls us back so that we can move forward with You and for You. When we don’t want to hear it – That’s when we most need to hear it. Speak to us, O Lord, and help us to listen. “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3).

Lord, help us to grow in Christ.

Proverbs 2:1-15
Lord, help us to grow in Christ. Help us to go often to Your Word. There, we will find strong warnings and precious promises. Help us to heed the warnings and trust the promises - to grow in Christ.

Lord, help us to take our stand against Satan. Help us to stand in Your strength.

Proverbs 1:8-19
Lord, when Satan comes, we are very weak. We need a strength which is not our own. We need Your strength. Your strength – this is the strength against which Satan cannot stand. Lord, help us to take our stand against Satan. Help us to stand in Your strength.

Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word.

Proverbs 1:1-7
Lord, help us to be doers of Your Word. Hearing Your Word is easier than doing Your Word. We hear what You’re saying to us – but do we do what You’re telling us to do? This is the great question we must always ask ourselves. It’s the great question that You’re always putting to us. It’s a question that calls for an answer – ‘Not my will but Yours be done’ (Matthew 26:39).

You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're bringing us into fellowship with Your people.

Psalm 147:1-20 
‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’ (Psalm 147:2-3). Help us, Lord, to look beyond the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. May we see clearly that this is You blessing Your people as they gather together to worship You. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’ (Ephesians 2:22). You, Lord, are drawing us to Yourself. You're  bringing us into fellowship with Your people. You're calling us to worship You: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. You ‘bless’ us through ‘Your Word’. You ‘bless’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘You  send Your Word... and the waters flow’ (Psalm 147:7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

A Lifelong Commitment

Psalm 146:1-10 
‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalm 145:2). Praising You, the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We need Your help. Help us never to forget this: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’ (Psalm 127:1). We thank You, Lord, that we are not expected to maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We have Your help. May we always remember this: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’ (Psalm 124:8). ‘Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, the Lord who remains faithful for ever’ (Psalm 145:5-6).

Jesus is able to deliver us from the evil one.

Psalm 91:1-16
‘Surely He will save you from the traps of the hunter’(Psalm 91:3). Lord, You have given us Your warning. We must ‘be alert’- ‘Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour’. You have also given us Your promise – ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. How are we to resist the devil? – We are to ‘resist him, standing firm in the faith’(1 Peter 5:8-9; James 4:7). Help us not to try to resist the devil in our own strength. We will be defeated. He is much more powerful than we are. Help us to resist him in the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, we have the victory – ‘Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ’(1 Corinthians 15:57). Help us never to forget that Satan is out to get us. He’s trying to trap us. Help us never to forget this: Jesus is able to ‘deliver us from the evil one’(Matthew 6:13).

May God's Blessing Surround You Each Day ...

God's Word is "a lamp to our feet and a light to our path." He has "wondrous things" to teach us as we pray "Open my eyes that I may see" (Psalm 119:105, 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).

The Great Love Of God

Psalms 113:1-114:8 
‘The Lord is high above all nations... Who is like the Lord our God, who is seated on high?... Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, who turns the hard rock into springs of water’(Psalm 113:4-5; Psalm 114:7-8). Lord, You are greater than we could ever imagine. There is no greatness like Your greatness. All human greatness cannot even begin to compare with Your greatness. Your greatness is not only the greatness of Your power. It is also the greatness of Your love. When we sing, ‘How great Thou art’, we sing not only of Your power - ‘Thy power throughout the universe displayed’. We sing also of Your love - ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin...’

Psalm 11: God's way of salvation

This Psalm begins with a tremendous statement of faith - “In the Lord I take refuge.” The whole Psalm should be understood in the light of this tremendous statement of faith. From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist is able to overcome the temptation to doubt God (vs. 1-3). His enemies say to him, “”Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The Psalmist replies, “In the Lord I take refuge.” The “wicked” are out to get him. The Psalmist looks at them, and says, “In the Lord do I take refuge.” It seems that “the foundations are being destroyed.” The Psalmist looks to the Lord, and says, “In the Lord I take refuge.” From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist views the whole of life in the light of God. “In the Lord I take refuge.” There is only one refuge. The Lord is our refuge. He is our salvation. There is only one place of safety – “in Christ." “It is by grace you have been saved through faith” (Ephesians 2:8). By grace, we are in Christ. Through faith, we are in Christ. “He hideth my soul in the cleft of the rock” – This is grace. “Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in Thee” – This is faith. Grace and faith belong together. We are not saved by grace apart from faith. We are saved by grace through faith. The grace of God reaches us as we receive Jesus Christ in faith. We are not saved by faith apart from grace. We are saved by grace through faith.
Faith has no meaning in itself. Faith finds its meaning only in relation to the grace of God. Faith is God’s way for us to come to Him through our Lord Jesus Christ. “By grace you have been saved through faith” – This is the Christian’s unshakeable foundation. With this unshakeable foundation, the Christian can face the attacks of the enemy with confidence. 

' … How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain.  For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do ?” (vs. 1-3).
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The devil is at work. He seeks to sow seeds of doubt into the heart of God’s people. He suggests to us that God’s gracious foundation for our faith can be destroyed. This is nothing new. It’s as old as Genesis 3:1 – “Did God say … ? The devil says to us, “Has God really forgiven your sins?” He says, “Has God really saved you?” The devil wants to get us on the run. He wants us to run away from him. We must not let him get the upper hand. We are to resist him in the strength of Christ’s victory over him. When we “resist the devil” in the strength of Christ’s victory, “he will flee from us” (James 4:7). To believe the devil is to believe the lie. The truth is that, when take our stand in Christ, the devil has no alternative but to ruin from us. Christ’s victory over the devil becomes our victory over Christ has won the victory over the devil. Through faith in Christ, His victory becomes our our victory over the devil. 

' … How then can you say to me: “Flee like a bird to your mountain."  For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.  When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do ?' (vs. 1-3).
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Here are three important lessons concerning Christ's victory over the devil.
* Through His death on the Cross, Christ has won the victory over the devil. He has won this victory for us (Hebrews 2:14-15 - "Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death."
* On the basis of the victory that Christ has won for us, we can stand our ground against the devil (Isaiah 28:16 - "So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed."
* When we take our stand in Christ, the devil can do nothing else but flee from us. He is strong when we try to stand against him in our own strength. When, however we remind him of Christ’s victory over him, he can do nothing but bow before Christ’s superior power. Rejoicing in the victory that Christ has won for us, let’s remind the devil that he’s a defeated enemy (James 4:7 - “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”)


Our faith is built on a secure foundation. How do we know this? – “The LORD is on His heavenly throne” (v. 4). Knowing that the Lord is King, we are assured that God’s way of salvation is the one way of salvation. Salvation is by grace through faith. This salvation is centred on Jesus Christ. It is in Jesus Christ that we find the grace of God. It is Jesus Christ in whom we put our trust. Jesus Christ is God’s way of salvation. Through Jesus Christ, we have received salvation. There is no other way of salvation. God’s Kingship is revealed in His way of salvation. There is only way of salvation. It is God’s way of salvation. By grace through faith – This is God’s way of salvation. When we refuse to accept God’s way of salvation, we refuse to acknowledge His Kingship. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). We dare not attempt to dispute this point with God. Who are we to argue with God? We may attempt to save ourselves. We will not succeed. When we attempt to save ourselves, God looks upon us and He sees our sin. In ourselves, we are not “the righteous.” We may think that we are “righteous.” In God’s eyes, we are “the wicked.” This is the truth concerning every one of us: “There is no one righteous, not even one … all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). There is only one way in which “the wicked” can become “the righteous.” We must come to the God of perfect holiness through faith in Jesus Christ. We must remember that “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). This is God’s way of salvation. We don’t tell God that He has to save us because we think that we have earned the right to be saved. He tells us that we are sinners. He tells us that we need to be saved. He tells us that “Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost completely those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25).
We have the great promise of the Gospel. In Christ, there is full salvation for all who come to God through Him. Alongside this great promise, there is also the warning of the Gospel. We read the solemn words of verse 6 – “On the wicked he will rain fire and brimstone; a scorching wind will be their lot” “Fire and brimstone” – What are we to say about this? We must note that the Psalm doesn’t end with “fire and brimstone.” It ends with the words: “upright men will see His face” (v. 7). God doesn’t want to leave us where He finds us. He doesn’t want to leave us trembling in fear of “fire and brimstone.” He speaks to us of these things so that we might see our need of the Saviour. He speaks to us of these things so that we might”flee from the wrath to come” (Luke 3:7). He speaks to us of these things so that we might find our way to the Cross of Christ. He speaks to us of these things so that we might learn to confess our sins and receive God’s forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Unbelievers have ridiculed “fire and brimstone” preaching. We cannot, however, allow their scornful attitude to lead us to dismiss “fire and brimstone” preaching. We dare not say that such preaching belongs to the past.
We must note that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone.” We must ask, “How does the Bible preach “fire and brimstone”?” The fact that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone” means that this emphasis on divine judgment must not be excluded from our preaching in today’s world. The way that the Bible preaches “fire and brimstone” teaches us that we must always preach with a view to leading men and women to know Jesus Christ as their Saviour. Jesus Christ is the only way out of judgment. Jesus Christ is the only way into salvation.We hear the Gospel. we hear its promise. We hear its warning. The Gospel places us at a cross-roads. Each of us must decide. We must come to Christ. We must trust Him as our Saviour. We must come to Him, believing that He died on the Cross for us. We must come to Him and receive His free gift of the forgiveness of our sins. It is only through faith in Him that we will come to know, for ourselves, the truth of the final words of this Psalm: “upright men will see His face” (v. 7).

Lord ... From Everlasting to Everlasting, You are God.

Psalms 89:38-90:17
‘Lord, You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… From everlasting to everlasting, You are God’(Psalm 90:1-2). Lord, we read the words, ‘In the beginning, God…’, and we know, in our hearts, that You are ‘the eternal God’. You are ‘the high and exalted One’. You are the God ‘who inhabits eternity’. You are the God ‘who lives for ever’. You have no beginning. You have no end. You are ‘the beginning and the end’. Our life on earth has a beginning. It has an end. We trust in You, ‘the eternal God.’ We rejoice in Your precious promises – ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’; ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love’; ‘The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’(Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 57:15; Revelation 21:6; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 6:23).

Whatever Happens - Don't Stop Praying.

Psalm 88:1-18
Lord, we see the Psalmist ‘down in the dumps.’ He feels like he is ‘in the depths of the Pit.” He feels like he is ‘in the darkest depths’(Psalm 88:6). This is the way he feels, but he has not stopped praying – ‘O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before You… I call to You, O Lord, every day… I cry to You for help, O Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before You’(Psalm 88:1,9,13). Lord, we read his prayer – and it doesn’t make pleasant reading: ‘My soul is full of trouble… I am like a man without strength… Your wrath lies heavily upon me… the darkness is my closest friend’(Psalm 88:3-4,7,18). How can we be helped when we feel like this? We thank You, Lord, that we can be helped by Jesus. He knows what it feels like. For us, He has entered the ‘darkness’- ‘My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?’. For us, He has triumphed – ‘risen from the dead’(Matthew 27:45-46; 28:5-7). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus, our great Saviour.

You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives.

Psalm 119:73-96
Lord, we rejoice in Your ‘constant love’. This is our ‘comfort’ - You keep on loving us, no matter what’s going on in our lives. We may be going through really hard times - ‘Men persecute me with lies... They have almost succeeded in killing me’. There’s one thing that never changes - Your ‘constant love’. You love us in the hard times as well as in the happy times. Your love inspires us to keep on loving You when we feel like giving up in despair (Psalm 11976,86-88). We see many changes taking place in our world. Sometimes, we wonder, ‘Where are You, Lord, in all of this? Have You abandoned us? Can we keep on trusting You and rejoicing in Your Word?’. When our minds are full of negative thoughts, help us, Lord, to remember Your Word - ‘Your Word, O Lord, will last for ever... Your faithfulness endures through all the ages’ (Psalm 119:89-90).

Lord, have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Help us to walk with You in the light of Your Word.

Psalm 119:121-144
‘The entrance of Your words gives light’ (Psalm 119:130). Lord, Your Word brings light into our lives. Sadly, many people ‘love darkness rather than light’. They  refuse to ‘come to the light’. They prefer to remain in the darkness. They refuse to listen to what You are saying to them through Your Word. Then, when things are not going so well for them, they blame You. They say, ‘It’s all Your fault’! Things could have been so different. They could have learned to spend time with You. They could have learned the lessons of faith which are found in Your Word. They could have learned to cope with life’s difficulties. They could have been filled with Your strength. They would not be complaining against You. They would be rejoicing in You. What about us, Lord? How much are we moulded by the world’s way of thinking? Have we pushed You out to the edges of our life? Lord. Lord, You have “called us out of darkness into Your marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:10). Help us to walk with You in the light of Your Word.

Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn.

Lord, You have so much to teach us – and we have so much to learn. How do we learn from You? – You open up Your Word to us. You speak to us words of life. You shine Your light upon us. You show us how much You love us. Every day You have something to say to us. Every day, You have something to share with us. Every day, You show us more of Your love for us. Help us, each and every day, to take time to learn from You.
Throughout life, Lord, we have to make choices. Some choices are relatively straightforward. Others are very much more difficult. Some choices don’t affect the rest of our life very much. There are, however, choices which affect the whole of our life. Help us, Lord, to make the one choice which is more important than any other – Choosing the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Those who refuse to choose are ‘double-minded’(Psalm 119:113). They can’t make up their mind. They know that they should be following Christ – but they are still ‘in love with the world’. They are ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’ (I John 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:4). Lord, give us the strength to keep on choosing Christ. Help us to say to the world, ‘Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God’. Help us to say to You, ‘I have decided to obey Your laws until the day I die’ (Psalm 119:115,112).

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us.

Psalms 130:1-131:3
Lord, we’re not to pray to You with superficial words that don’t mean very much to us. Our prayer is to be a real cry from the heart: ‘Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord’ (Psalm 130:1). We are to ‘cry for mercy’ with a deep awareness of how sinful we really are: ‘If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?’ (Psalm 130:3). Help us to come to You with deep humility – ‘My heart is not proud, O Lord’ (Psalm 131:1). When we truly confess our sin, we receive Your ‘unfailing love’ and ‘forgiveness’ Psalm 130:(4). ‘In You, Lord’ we have ‘full redemption’ (Psalm 130:7). It is for ‘now’ – ‘The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives’. It is ‘for evermore’ – ‘But purer and higher and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see!’. ‘Praise the Lord!… Give Him the glory!’ (Psalm 131:3). 

Help us, Lord, to keep on praying that our love for You will grow.

Psalms 128:1-129:8
‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in His ways’ (Psalm 128:1). If, Lord, we are to enjoy Your blessing, we must fear You and walk in Your ways. Many people despise the place of worship. They ‘pass by’. They have no desire to know ‘the blessing of the Lord’. Lord, You’re warning us that we must not allow this attitude to grow in us: ‘May all who hate Zion be put to shame’. We must take care that our love for You doesn’t ‘wither’ away. Help us to keep on praying that our love for You will ‘grow’. If we place no value on Your blessing, our lives will be empty. May we come to You, our Lord, with this prayer: ‘The greatest thing in all my life is knowing You, loving You, serving You. I want to know You more, love You more, serve You more’.  He will ‘fill’ your life with His blessing (Psalm 129:5-8; Mission Praise, 646).       

Those who trust in the Lord cannot be moved.

Psalms 125:1-127:5
‘Those who trust in the Lord… cannot be moved…’. When, Lord, we put our trust in You, we are like the ‘wise man who built his house on the rock’. His house ‘did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock’. When we don’t put our trust in You, we are like the’ foolish man who built his house on sand’. His house ‘fell with a great crash’. Help us never to forget that ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain’ (Psalm 125:1; Psalm 127:1; Matthew 7:24-27). Help us to remember that ‘Jesus Christ’ is the ‘sure Foundation’ upon which our faith is built. He is ‘the solid Rock’, our ‘mighty Rock of spiritual refreshment’ (1 Corinthians 3:11; 10:3-4). We thank You, Lord,  that ‘Christ died for our sins… He was raised on the third day’. Help us to keep on rejoicing in Him: ‘The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy’(Psalm  126:3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4).                                                                                                    

Why, Lord, do we go to Your House?

Psalms 122:1-124:8 
‘I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the House of the Lord”’ (Psalm 122:2). Why, Lord, do we go to Your House? We go ‘to give thanks to the Name of the Lord’ (Psalm 122:4). We seek Your mercy for our past sins: ‘Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!’ (Psalm 123:3). We  seek Your help for our future temptations: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord…’ (Psalm 124:8). We receive mercy and help from You, Lord. Help us to worship You: ‘Blessed be the Lord’ (Psalm 124:6). In our worship, we ‘look to You, the Lord our God. We draw encouragement from Your Word: ‘The Lord is on our side’ – In Him we have the victory  (Psalm 123:2; Psalm 124:1-5). Help us, Lord, to rejoice in Your blessing and to pray for others: ‘May they prosper who love You’ (Psalm 122:6).


Saturday, 18 August 2018

"The words of the Lord are pure words" (Psalm 12).

Reading the words of the Psalmist, “The words of the Lord are pure words” (Psalm 12:6), brought to mind the words of the Apostle Paul – “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). God’s Word is pure. God’s Word is trustworthy. Take these two thoughts together. We think of the perfection of God’s Word. Let’s also give thanks for His perfect love. There is no love like the love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. He loves us with the greatest love of all. There can be nothing more perfect than this – the love of Jesus. Where do we learn of His love? We learn of His love as we read God’s Word – “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so”, I am so glad that my Father in heaven tells of His love in the Book He has given. Wonderful things in the Bible I see. This is the greatest that Jesus loves me.” In reading the words of Paul, I note that he describes himself as “the worst.” What a wonderful contrast there is between what Paul was before he was saved by the Lord Jesus and what he became after the Lord had saved him. What a great testimony Paul had – “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14). In responding to the wonderful grace which reached him through Christ, Paul echoes the Psalmist’s emphasis on the purity of the holy God who speaks to us through His holy Word – “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:16-17). As we receive mercy from the Lord, we rejoice in His trustworthiness. Deeply conscious of our sin, which He so graciously forgives, we become deeply conscious of His holiness, and we bow before Him in worship. The greatness of His holiness and the greatness of His mercy – the two belong together. They remind us that we, who have been saved by grace, are called to holiness. In our journey along “the High Way of Holiness” (Isaiah 35:8), we have the Word of God as our pure and trustworthy guide.

Personal Salvation (Psalm 7)

The Psalmist was being pursued by enemies who were intent on his full and final destruction. He puts his trust in the Lord. He looks to the Lord for salvation – “O Lord my God, I take refuge in You; save and deliver me from all who pursue me, or they will tear me like a lion and rip me to pieces with no one to rescue me” (vs. 1-2). Following his opening words, we read about human sin – “O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me or without cause have robbed my foe -then let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust” (vs. 3-5) – and divine judgment – “Arise, O Lord, in Your anger; rise up against the rage of my enemies. Awake, my God; decree justice. Let the assembled peoples gather around You. Rule over them from on high; let the Lord judge the peoples. Judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, according to my integrity, O Most High. O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked” (vs. 6-9a). In thinking about what God is saying to us through this Psalm, we do not not limit ourselves to looking at David and his pursuers. We look at human sin and divine judgment. This is the bad news concerning ourselves. We look also at personal salvation. This is the Good News concerning our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. Human Sin * “O Lord my God, if I have done this and there is guilt on my hands – if I have done evil to him who is at peace with me” (vs. 3-4). Looking beyond the immediate situation of David and his pursuers, we ask, “What are these words saying to us?” Here, we must be honest with ourselves, and we must be honest with God. There is no “if” about it! We are sinners. we are guilty. * “Let my enemy pursue and overtake me; let him trample my life to the ground and make me sleep in the dust” (v.5). We do not look only at David and his pursuers. We look into our own hearts. We have a pursuer. His name is Satan. He is the devil. He is our “accuser” – he “accuses us before our God day and night” (Revelation 12:10). When we are honest with ourselves, and honest with God, we must confess that Satan has every right to accuse us. “Every one of us has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory” (Romans 3:23). Satan has won the victory over every one of us. This is the bad news concerning every single one us – without any exceptions. Divine Judgment The bad news continues. Sin brings judgment. We cannot escape God’s judgment. We must confess our sins. We are “the wicked” (v. 9). “God is the righteous Judge.” God’s wrath “rests upon us (v. 11). We hear the bad news about human sin and divine judgment. We wonder, “Can ‘the wicked’ become ‘the righteous’?” (v.9). Is there a way in which guilty sinners can escape the righteous judgment of God? Is there a way in which we can be victorious over our pursuer? Personal Salvation We come to God with our questions. We ask about salvation – “Can my sin be forgiven?” We ask about victory – “Can I triumph over Satan?” God gives to us His answer. Yes! There is a way of salvation. Yes! There is a way of victory. Here, in this Psalm, we have God’s answer to two very important questions - “What must I do to be saved?“ - “What must I do to be lost?“ * In verses 9-10, we learn that it is the “righteous God” who “makes the righteous secure” – “My shield is God Most High, who saves the upright in heart.” What must I do to be saved?” – “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31); “God is righteous and He declares righteous those who have faith in Jesus” (Romans 3:26). Trusting in Jesus Christ, who died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), we receive the forgiveness of our sins – “the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin” (1 John 1:7). We also enter into Christ’s victory over Satan – “They overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb … ” (Revelation 12:11). Personal salvation is not about ourselves. It’s about our Saviour. We don’t save ourselves. Jesus saves us.
In verses 11-16, we have God’s answer to the very important question – “What must I do to be lost?” “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day. If He does not relent, He will sharpen His sword; He will bend and string His bow. He has prepared His deadly weapons; He makes ready His flaming arrows. He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head.” We don’t enjoy reading this kind of thing. It doesn’t make us feel good about ourselves. It makes us realize that we have no right to feel good about ourselves. Before we can begin to appreciate the Good News of our Saviour’s love for us, we must give up on trying to feel good about ourselves and start listening to the honest truth about ourselves. What must I do to be lost? Do nothing. Just keep on trying to feel good about yourself. Just keep on turning a deaf ear to what God is saying to you about your sin. Just keep on refusing to take seriously God’s call to repentance. Just keep on living the way you have been living. God speaks to us with many warnings. He speaks of His righteous judgment. God speaks to us of His undeserved love. He calls us to return to Him. What happens when we keep on refusing to listen to what God is saying to us? We dig a hole for ourselves – ” He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made” (v. 15). We bring judgment upon ourselves – “The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head” (v. 16). The way of sin is a hopeless way – “He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment” (v. 14).
Is there a better way? Is there a way of salvation? Is there a way of victory? Jesus is the Way. He is the true and living Way (John 14:6). Thank God that this Psalm doesn’t end with the dark words of verse 16 – “his violence comes down on his own head.” Beyond the bad news concerning human sin and divine judgment, there is the Good News concerning personal salvation – “I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (v. 17). The Psalmist moves from the inevitability of divine judgment (v. 16) to the assurance of personal salvation (v. 17). This is the work of divine grace. What are we to say about this? Is there a smooth passage way from divine judgment to personal salvation? No! Between divine judgment and personal salvation, there is the Cross of Jesus Christ. This is costly grace – Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. It is also free grace. We come in the emptiness of our sin and we receive the fullness of God’s salvation. At the Cross of Christ, we see both the judgment of God upon sin and the love of God for sinners. From the Cross of Christ, we hear the call to turn from sin and receive salvation. We look at ourselves. We see human sin. We look at the outcome of our sin. We see divine judgment. We look at the Cross of Christ – “We see Jesus … He suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). This is love. This is the greatest love of all. This is divine love. It’s sacrificial love. It’s victorious love. It’s eternal love. “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is God’s answer to human sin. We look at our sin and our hearts are sad. We look at our Saviour and He makes us glad. How does our Saviour turn bring us our sadness and into His gladness? Is it an easy passage way – from sadness to gladness? No! For Jesus, it meant going to the Cross. It meant going to the place where He cried out, in deep spiritual agony, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). When we hear the words, “God so loved the world … “, let us never forget what it meant for our Saviour who “loved us and gave Himself for us” (Galatians 2:20) – “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). When we consider our personal salvation, let us never forget our Saviour’s costly sacrifice, and let us say, from our hearts, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”

The Glory of the Lord in His Creation (Psalm 8)

This Psalm is a hymn of praise. It proclaims the glory of the Lord in His creation. The focus is not so much on the glories of nature. The great theme is the glory of Him who created nature. The Psalm begins and ends with the praise of God – “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens” (v. 1); “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” (v. 9). The whole Psalm is filled with the fear of God and joy in God. The words of verse 2 – “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger” – are quoted in the story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem – “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, ” ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” (Matthew 21:16). The reference to “children and infants” refers also to those who are without spiritual learning since they have not received spiritual instruction. How are we to receive real spiritual understanding? Each of us must become a babe in Christ by being humble before God, our Creator and Redeemer. The way of humility is the way in which we come to a proper understanding of God and ourselves – “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (vs. 3-4). In verse 3, the emphasis is upon God rather than nature. This leads us on, in verse 4, to the question, “What is man?” This question is grounded in the question, “Who is God?” – ” Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18-19). How are we to come to a right understanding of ourselves? We must not come to God as know-it- alls. We are to come to Him as worshippers. We learn, from this Psalm, that God’s revelation and our self-understanding are intimately related. The revelation of God enlightens our self-understanding. A true understanding of ourselves cannot be achieved if God is disregarded. By faith, we see ourselves from God’s perspective. He is our Creator. We are His creatures. We learn, from this Psalm, that God is mindful of us. He cares for us. He is gracious towards us. He loves us. How are we to respond to God, our Creator? – We come, with awe, before His majesty. We come, with joy, because of His love. From verses 5-8, we learn that human dignity is a gift of God. This isn’t a song of praise to man. It’s a song of praise to God – “Let him who boasts, boast of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:31). May God help us to worship Him with both awe and joy. As we rejoice in the Lord, let us not forget that He is the awesome God. As we bow before His majesty, let us not forget His love. Remembering how much He loves us, our hearts will be filled with true and lasting joy.

Praise God for His Deliverance (Psalm 9).

 * The Psalmist worships the Lord (Psalm 9:1-2).
 * He does not speak proud words. He sees all things in the light of the holy God (Psalm 9:3-8).
 * At the heart of this Psalm, there is a declaration of the character of God (Psalm 9:7-8).
 * The majesty, righteousness and judgment of God - Have we lost these important aspects of God's character? Have we turned God into a sentimentalized 'god' of our own making? Let's not take God for granted. Let God be God. This is very different from insisting that God must be what we think He should be.
 * We read about God's trustworthiness (Psalm 9:9-10).
 * We praise God. We make it known that He is to be praised (Psalm 9:11-12).
 * In our worship, we speak of God's judgment as well as His salvation. (Psalm 9:12).
 * In our worship, we look to the Lord for mercy and, with joy, we praise Him for His salvation (Psalm 9:13-14).
 * As well as emphasizing that God is trustworthy, we must also emphasize that He is not to be taken for granted by proud unbelief (Psalm 9:15-16).
 * We must take seriously the radical contrast between the "wicked" and the "needy" (Psalm 9:17-18). Who are the "needy"? - Here, God's Word is speaking to us of the godly who recognize their spiritual need of the Lord's saving grace. By contrasting the "wicked" and the "needy", God is calling us to come to Him, in our need, and receive, from Him, his salvation.
 * There are two prayers which we must pray. - We must ask that God will make it known that He is Lord (Psalm 9:19).  We must ask that we will recognize that we are "but men" (Psalm 9:20).  When we recognize that God is God and we are but men, we are ready to be led to the Cross where we learn of both God's hatred of sin and God's love for the sinner. Thus, we come to the point where we are able to share, with the Psalmist, in worshipping the Lord (Psalm 9:1-2). We worship God as those who have come to trust in Him as the God of our salvation (Psalm 9:9-10).
 * Trusting in the Lord, the God of our salvation, our worship is heartfelt worship (Psalm 9:1). Trusting in the Lord, the God of our salvation, our worship is joyful worship (Psalm 9:2).

A Harvest Sermon (Psalm 8)

There is a physical harvest. There is a spiritual harvest. Can we expect a spiritual harvest in this generation? Or Must we give up hope and turn our backs to the wall? Ours is a time when nothing can be taken for granted. Many people are entirely dismissive of the whole idea that there is a God to whom we ought to offer our praise and thanksgiving. If ever there was a time for Christians to stand up and be counted as those who belong to Christ, this is it. If Christians remain silent, if Christians are ashamed of their Lord and Saviour, there will be a harvest, but it won’t be a godly harvest. It will be a harvest of unrighteousness. What is happening in our time? – It’s the same thing that’s happened so many times before. It’s the same old story, a story which can be read in the pages of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. There is a great turning away from the truth. People only listen to what they want to hear. Everyone does what is right in his own eyes. Can this situation be turned around? It will not be easy, but we must not be discouraged. Our God is the living God. He is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable in His love for us. He is mindful of us. We matter to Him. He is the God who forgives sin. He is the God who delights to show mercy. He is the God who longs to reveal His compassion to a generation that needs Him so much, but doesn’t know it. To understand the character of God, we need to go back to Genesis 1. God is our Creator. He created us because He loves us. To understand the state of the world today, we need to go back to Genesis 3. There, the choice is made – my will rather than God’s will, “I did it my way” rather than “Let go and let God have His wonderful way.” This what produces a harvest of unrighteousness. Reversing this trend will not be easy, but we must not lose hope. We must learn to say, with the Psalmist, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy Name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:1, 9). Unless God’s people are deeply committed to praising Him, we cannot even begin to hope for a real spiritual harvest in this generation. Our attitude towards God should be a combination of two qualities which are often set against each other. They are fear and joy. There is to be the fear of the Lord. There is to be the joy of the Lord. We must never forget that God is our Creator, and we are His creatures. We must never forget that He is holy, and we have fallen far short of His holiness. We are “less than God” (Psalm 8:5). We must never forget this. We dare not take things into our own hands and try to “play God.” There needs to be the fear of the Lord. Without this, there will never be a harvest of righteousness.We must never forget that God loves us. He is the God of love, grace and mercy. The Psalmist tells us that this God, the God of love, grace and mercy, “crowns us with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5). We must learn to rejoice in the Lord our God, the God of our salvation. There will only be a harvest of salvation where God’s people are learning to rejoice in Him and give thanks for His salvation. The Psalmist speaks about nature – the “heavens … the moon and the stars” (Psalm 8:3). He speaks also about dominion – “God has put all things under our feet.” In our generation, understanding of nature has increased enormously. Read scientific books. They are so much more sophisticated than books which were written even one generation ago. Our power to control our world has never been greater. We can do so much more than was even thought possible a generation ago. What has been going on in recent years? Some would say, “Progress, progress, progress, almost unlimited progress.” We must, however, be awkward and ask, “Is this the whole story? Has it been nothing but progress?” The honest answer must be, “Yes. There has been progress, but all is not well.” The world has become a very man-centred place. Many people have forgotten God. He has been left behind. So many have no time for Him. What must we do to stop our society going down the drain? What must we do to stop our society going to the dogs? We must give to God the place of highest honour. The world has its idea of what it means to be wise. The Bible says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 1:7). If we are to use the fruits of our physical harvest, the results of our scientific and technological progress, in a way that leads to a truly spiritual harvest, we must not forget God. We forget God at our peril. We lose sight of God, and we lose sight of all that is really important in life. We lose sight of God, and we lose sight of all that is truly wholesome. Putting God at the centre of our life – personal life, life in the family, life in the Church, life in society – , this is the way to a spiritual harvest which brings glory and praise to God. If, in today’s world, we are to enjoy a spiritual harvest which will be both satisfying to ourselves and glorifying to God, there are two things we must do. We must confess our sins. We must trust Christ for salvation. We look at our human situation – personally, locally, nationally and internationally – , and we say, “Apart from God, our situation is hopeless. Without Him, it will be nothing else but the downward slope.” We look then to the Cross of Christ, and we see that there is hope. If the Cross of Christ teaches us anything, it teaches us this, “No situation is too hopeless for the grace of God. However hopeless our situation may seem, it can be changed by the power and love of God.” There can still be a spiritual harvest, even in our difficult and distressing times, but it will not come unless we put Christ at the centre of our lives.

Guidance From "A Man Of Macedonia", Guidance From God

“During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the Gospel to them” (Acts 16:9-10).
Paul’s guidance came through ” a man of Macedonia.” His guidance came from “God.” We look at the human situation. We ask the Lord, “What do You want me to do?”

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Holy Fear And Heartfelt Love

Psalms 98:1-100:5
‘Exalt the Lord our God... Make a joyful noise to the Lord’(Psalm 99:5,9; Psalm 98:4,6; Psalm 100:1). Lord, You're calling us to worship You with joy. You're calling us to glorify You. You want us to enjoy You. In our worship, may we never forget Your holiness: ‘He is holy!... The Lord our God is holy!’(99:5,9). In our worship, may we rejoice in Your love: ‘His steadfast love endures for ever... He has done marvellous things!’(Psalm 100:5; Psalm 98:1). You are the God of ‘awesome purity’ - and You love us with the most perfect love of all: ‘No earthly father loves like Thee...’. Help us to worship You with holy fear and heartfelt love.

Lord, You’re calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving.

Psalm 95:1-11
‘Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord… Let us come before Him with thanksgiving… Come, let us bow down in worship…’(Psalm 95:1-2,6). Lord, You’re calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving. We rejoice in You. We give thanks for Your love. You are ‘the great God’. You are ‘our God’. You are the God of creation – ‘In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land’. You are the God of salvation – ‘We are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care’(Psalm 95:3-5,7). When, Lord, we hear You calling us to worship You with joyful thanksgiving, help us to open our hearts to You: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts’(7-8). When we hear Your call to worship, may we open our hearts to the Spirit of worship.

You, Lord, Are Able To Keep Us From Falling.

Psalm 94:1-23
‘When I said, “My foot is slipping”, Your love, O Lord, supported me’(Psalm 94:18). You, Lord, are ‘able to keep us from falling’. We are ‘kept by Your power’. Help us to put our trust in You. May we be confident of this: ‘God, who began His good work in us, will carry it through to completion on the Day of Christ Jesus’. Help us to ‘press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenwards in Christ Jesus’. As we ‘press on’, may we never forget this: ‘It is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good purpose’. Help us to ‘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 can snatch them out of My hand…’(Jude 24-25; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Philippians 1:6; 3:14; 2:13; Hebrews 12:2; John 10:27-30).

God Is Not Exalted Because We Exalt Him. We Exalt Him Because He Is Exalted.

Psalms 92:1-93:5
‘You, O Lord, are exalted for ever… The Lord reigns, He is robed in majesty…’(Psalm 92:8; Psalm 93:1-2). You, Lord, are ‘exalted’. Help us to exalt You in our worship. You are not exalted because we exalt You. We exalt You because You are exalted. You are ‘exalted far above all gods’. That is why we sing, ‘I exalt Thee, O Lord’. ‘He is exalted, the King is exalted on high’- This is the truth concerning You, Lord. ‘I will praise Him’- This is our response to Your truth. We sing, ‘Jesus, we enthrone You, we proclaim You our King’. This is our response to the eternal truth concerning our Saviour: ‘The Lord is enthroned as King for ever’. ‘From all eternity’ the Lord is ‘robed in majesty’. Help us, Lord, to respond to His majesty. Help us to ‘magnify’ You, Lord – ‘O Lord our God, how majestic is Thy Name’(Psalm 97:9; Psalm 29:10; Mission Praise, 158,217,388,507).

The God Whom We Worship Is So Much Greater Than The Worship We Bring To Him.

Psalm 145:1-21
‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding’. Let us worship our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’(1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’. We celebrate His great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We rejoice in His great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His ‘everlasting Kingdom’. There, we will ‘praise His Name for ever and ever’(7-8, 13,21).

Psalm 146:1-10
‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(2). Praising the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We need the Lord’s help. We must never forget this: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain’(127:1). We are not expected to maintain this lifelong commitment in our own strength. We have the Lord’s help. We must always remember this: ‘Our help is in the Name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth’(124:8). ‘Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, the Lord who remains faithful for ever’(5-6).

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

More Of Christ And Less Of Self!

1 Corinthians 5:1-6:11
‘Your boasting is not good’ - May we never become so taken up with ourselves that we forget Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us: ‘Christ, ou r Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us’, ‘you were washed... sanctified... justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God’ (5:6-7; 6:11).
There were problems among God’s people - ‘sexual immorality’, ‘lawsuits’ (5:1; 6:7). In all of this, Christ was being forgotten.
* There are no depths to which we cannot sink when we take our eyes off Christ.
* There are no heights to which we will not be raised as we look away from ourselves to Him. Christ is able to lift from the guttermost and ‘save to the uttermost all those who come to God through Him’ (Hebrews 7:25).
Let it be more of Christ and less of self!

Trusting, Loving And Serving Christ, Our Victorious Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:46-16:24
In Christ, there is ‘victory’ - glorious, eternal, heavenly victory (54-57).
Every day, we face a battle. It is a battle for faith, love and service.
(a) We are called to trust the Lord: ‘Stand firm in your faith’ (13). We are to have faith. It is to be a growing faith, a faith which is growing stronger.
(b) We are called to love the Lord. This is to be the most important thing in our life: ‘love for the Lord’ (21). Christ’s question comes to us: ‘Do you love Me?’ (John 21:15-17). Is our love for Him growing stronger or getting weaker?
(c) We are called to serve the Lord: ‘Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord’ (58). Let’s get rid of the lazy, ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude. We shall be victorious through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus’ (23).

Let's Live As Resurrection People!

1 Corinthians 15:1-45
Here, we learn of Christ’s resurrection: the fact - ‘Christ has been raised from the dead’ - and the meaning - ‘the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’ (20).
* We look back to His resurrection. We ‘remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead’ (2 Timothy 2:8).
* We look forward to our own resurrection. We will be ‘raised’ - ‘imperishable… in glory… in power… a spiritual body’ (42-44).
Looking back to His resurrection and looking forward to our own resurrection, we are to live, here and now, in ‘the power of His resurrection’ (Philippians 3:10).
* We believe the fact of the resurrection.
* We live in the power of the resurrection.
* We rejoice in the hope of the resurrection.
With ‘resurrection’ faith in the ‘resurrection’ God, let us live the ‘resurrection’ life as a ‘resurrection’ people!

Stop Walking Away ...

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades” (Luke 10:13-15).
What is Christ saying to us as we read His strong words of judgment? He’s calling us to change direction. Stop walking on “the broad road that leads to destruction.” Start walking on “the narrow road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:13-14). Stop walking away from Christ. Start walking with Him.

Strange Things?

“We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:26).
In his commentery on Luke’s Gospel, Leon Morris says that “strange” means “beyond expectation.” He adds the comment, “Human achievement could not explain what had happened.”
Humanly speaking, there’s nothing stranger than Christ’s resurrection. Humanly speaking, we say, “We didn’t expect this to happen.”
Humanly speaking, the story of Jesus ends like this – “you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the Cross” (Acts 2:23).
Humanly speaking, we may miss the point of -it all when we fail to hear these strange – “beyond expectation” – words: “But God raised Him from the dead … ” (Acts 2:24).
“Human achievement could not explain what had happened.” There is, however, another explanation – a “strange” explanation: “But God … ”
“Beyond expectation”? Yes! It is beyond our human expectation – but it’s not beyond the Lord our God!
Moving beyond Balaam’s donkey, here are some great promises for us today: (i) “‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
When God is at work, great and mighty things happen. How do they happen? Why do they happen? – God is the great and mighty God.
(ii) “The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11:32).
We are forgiven sinners. We’re nothing more than that. We have a great and mighty God. Let’s beleve that God can and will do great and mighty things through His faithful people when we commit ourselves to doing His will.

Jesus - The Son Of God And The Saviour Of The World

Some people think of Jesus as a great teacher of morality. Is that all that we can say about Him? Those who “believe” in Him say something else about Him – He’s “the Son of God” and “the Saviour of the world” (Luke 1:35; John 4:42). The critics say, “You can’t say that!” We give this answer: Jesus said it! He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He said it then. He’s still saying it now. Thank God – He’s given us more than a great teacher. He’s given us His Son – our Saviour.  
* God’s Son is unchanged – He’s still our Saviour: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25).
We sing of God’s “amazing grace” – “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Sometimes, we lose our way, and we wonder, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” Sometimes, Jesus doesn’t seem to be so precious. Sometimes, we don’t feel so blessed. What’s the problem? We’re the problem. We’ve taken our eyes off Jesus. We’ve forgotten how great our Saviour is.
* God’s Son, our Saviour, is unchanging – When you’re going through a hard time, remember this: “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us. He didn’t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn’t build His home in us to move away. He didn’t lift us up to let us down.”
Sometimes, we find it difficult to rejoice in the Lord. Let’s remember that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8) – and we will find it so much easier to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4).
* God’s Son is unchangeable – This is where true and lasting joy comes from: “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone but for eternity. Joy floods my soul for Jesus has saved me.”

The Solid Rock

“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!

Monday, 13 August 2018

The Blessing Comes Down As The Worship Goes Up.

Ezra 1:1-2:35
To ‘all’ of us, God gives His call. We are to ‘rebuild the House of the Lord’. To ‘all’ of us, He gives His strength: ‘Then... all those whose spirits God had moved, arose to go up and build the House of the Lord’(1:3,5). If the work of God is to be done, every one must play their part. No one must opt out. No one must say, ‘There’s nothing for me to do’. There’s always something to do. There’s something for every one. God has so much work for us to do. We must not fail Him. He is calling you to serve Him. He will give you the strength that you need. Open your heart to Him. Surrender your life to Him. ‘Every person in every nation, in each succeeding generation, has the right to hear the news that Christ can save... Father, I am willing to dedicate to Thee, life and talent, time and money. Here am I, send me’.

Ezra 2:36-3:13
At the heart of God’s work, there is worship - ‘praising and giving thanks to the Lord’. This is our first priority. We must not forget the Lord. We must remember that ‘He is good’. We must remember that ‘His steadfast love endures for ever’(3:11). Nothing can take the place of worship. This is where serving the Lord begins. It begins with worship. Without worship, we cannot serve the Lord. He must be at the centre of everything we do. This is what serving the Lord means - keeping Him at the centre of everything you do. We look for ‘more love’, ‘more power’, more of God’s blessing in our lives. We must give ourselves - more fully and more truly - to Him: ‘I will worship You with all of my heart... with all of my mind... with all of my strength’(Songs of Fellowship, 392). The blessing will come down as the worship goes up!

Waiting Patiently For God's Answer

Habakkuk 1:1-2:14
‘How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen?’(1:2). There are times when it seems that God is not listening to us. What are we to do when we feel like this? Are we to give up on God? Are we to stop praying? No! We must wait patiently for the Lord’s answer - ‘I will look to see what He will say to me’. We must not forget His promise: ‘The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord’(2:1; Lamentations 3:25-26). ‘The vision awaits its time... If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay’. Let us ‘live by faith’, awaiting the Day when ‘the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea’(2:3-4,14).

Kept By The Power Of God

Philippians 1:1-2:11
Do you feel like you can`t go on? Do you feel like giving up? Here`s God`s Word of encouragement for you: ‘He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the Day of Jesus Christ’(1:6). God finishes what He starts - ‘He didn`t bring us this far to leave us. He didn`t teach us to swim to let us drown. He didn`t build His home in us to move away. He didn`t lift us up to let us down’. In all the changes of life, we must remember this: God is faithful. His love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. We don`t keep going because we are strong. We are ‘kept by the power of God’(1 Peter 1:5). In ‘humility’ let us live ‘to the glory and praise of God’(2:3; 1:11). ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’(2:11) - He will give you the strength to keep going when you feel like giving up.

The Gospel Of God's Amazing Grace

Genesis 6
As we read the story of Noah, we learn of the place of Noah within the divine revelation of the Gospel of grace. "Noah found grace" might be turned around to read "Grace found Noah." "Amazing grace ... I once was lost but now am found." The significance of Noah, highlighted in 5:29 - "this one (Noah) shall bring relief from our work and from the toil of our hands" - is expressed in the words, "Not the labour of my hands can fulfil Thy law's demands. All for sin could not atone. Thou must save, and Thou alone. Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to Thy Cross I cling." To see the flood exclusively in terms of judgment is to see only one side of what God was doing. As well as judging He was also saving: "In this ship a few people - eight in all - were saved by water" (1 Peter 3:20). The ark points forward to Christ "who came back from death to life", Christ who "saves" us (1 Peter 3:21). God was working out His purpose of salvation. In these two statements, 'Noah found grace' and 'this one will bring ... ', we see both salvation and service. we are saved to serve. Once we ourselves have been found by grace, we are to seek to bring others to Christ that they also may be saved by Him and become His servants. In Noah's day, the remnant of faith was very small, yet the promise of God's love was given to them - 'I will establish my covenant with you' (18). Even when wickedness threatens to overwhelm us, we still have God's promise of love, 'the new covenant in Christ's blood' (1 Corinthians 11:25). 'The blood of Jesus, God's Son, cleanses us from all sin' (1 John 1:7). Knowing that Christ loved us and died for us, we are able to be like Noah (22). We are to walk with the Lord and serve Him.

Created In The Image Of God

Genesis 2
Here, we see the privilege and responsibility of being human. As well as the privilege - created in the image of God (1:26-27) - there is also the responsibility in relation to (a) the creation - 'farm the land and ... take care of it' (v. 15); (b) the Creator - 'you must never eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil' (v. 17).
Human life is lived within two horizons - (i) the temporal or earthly horizon: we have relationships with one another - 'It is not good for the man to be alone' (v. 18); (ii) the eternal or heavenly horizon: we are related to God. Human relationships do not satisfy us fully. There is a longing for God our Creator - 'He has put a sense of eternity in people's minds' (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
He has given good things to be enjoyed (1 Timothy 4:4). He has also created us to be 'inwardly renewed' by feeding on the 'things that last forever' (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

God Is Still At Work, Calling Sinners To Worship Him.

Genesis 4
This chapter tells the story of the progression of mankind, the increase of sin and - in its final sentence - the development of worship. There are interesting snippets of cultural information (vs. 20-22). There may be progress in the horizontal dimension - agriculture, music, industry, but history reveals again and again that all is not well in our relationship with God. Sin was on the increase (vs. 1-16). Things were getting out of control. Could they be turned around again? A strongly positive answer is not spelled out in detail in this chapter. There is, however, a hint of God at the end of the chapter. He is still at work, calling sinners to worship Him. People are beginning to respond. This is the note on which the chapter ends. "At that time, people began to worship the Lord" (v. 26). This is the ray of hope. This is the word of inspiration at the end of a chapter which is, at best informative - the progression of culture, and, at worst, depressing - the increase of sin.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Everything seems to be falling round about us ...

2 Kings 20:1-21:18
“Carried off to Babylon” (2 Kings 20:17); “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” (Revelation 14:18 & 18:2). Everything seems to be falling round about us. We hear so much bad news. We wonder, “What, Lord, do You think of all this?” Even “in Babylon” there were “the chosen” – people who belonged to You (1 Peter 5:13). Help us to be Your people – “in the world” but “not of the world” (John 17:11,16).

Looking forward to the future

Isaiah 35:1-10

Isaiah looks forward to the future. He says that there will be blessing from the Lord. He looks forward to a time of "joy and singing." He says that it will be a night of "the glory of the Lord" (Isaiah 35:2). Isaiah brings Good News to the people - "He will save you" (Isaiah 35:4). This is the Good News: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"  (1 Timothy 1:15). Those who have been saved by the Lord are described by Isaiah as "the redeemed." Once we have been "redeemed" or saved by the Lord, we are called to "walk in the Holy Way" (Isaiah 35:8-9). Isaiah's prophecy speaks to us of being saved by the Lord. It speaks of walking with the Lord. It also speaks of being with the Lord forevermore. This is the great message of Isaiah 35:10. This is "unending joy." There will be no more "sorrow." This is the completion of our salvation.

We Are "In Christ". He Is The Source Of Our Salvation.

Genesis 8
At the end of the flood, God said to Noah, "Come out of the ship" (v. 15). We are "in Christ". He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He does not bring us into Christ for our own benefit only. He sends us out into the world to bring others to Christ. Noah and the remnant of faith had been preserved so that they might be fruitful (v. 17). This is still God's way. In love, He lays claim to our lives so that we can be fruitful for Him (John 15:16). This fruit comes as we abide in Christ (John 15:4-5). Even when we are sent out into the world, we are not sent out alone. We are sent out as those who are in Christ. From a position of strength, we go forth, resting on our Shield and our Defender, to bring strength to others. Strengthened in "the ship", we step out with Christ and for Him. Following the flood, we have this simple yet striking declaration: 'the ground was dry' (13). Safe from judgment! This is the message which comes to us from the Cross: 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:29). The judgment has fallen upon Christ. We are no longer swept away in the judgment. We can stand on solid ground: 'On Christ the solid Rock I stand'. He is our Support in 'the whelming flood' (Church Hymnary, 411). God said to Noah, 'Come out of the ship' (15). We are in Christ. He is the Source of our salvation. God has brought us into Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). He does not bring us into Christ solely for our own benefit. We are sent out to be fruitful (17; John 15:16). We are not sent out alone. Strengthened in 'the ship' (in Christ), we step out with Christ and for Him.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Praying Through God’s Word: Job

Job 1:1-2:13
Lord, Your power is greater than the power of Satan. Help us never to forget this. Satan is “roaming through the earth”, “prowling around like a roaring lion, seeking for someone to devour” (Job 1:7; 1 Peter 5:8) – but he can only do what You allow him to do (Job 1:12; Job 2:6). When Satan seems to be getting the upper hand, remind us that You’re the One who’s in control – not him!
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.
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.
Job 6:8-7:21
We read about Job, going through hard times. We remember Jesus, suffering for us – ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? At the Cross, there is no Voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’ (Mark 15:34; Matthew 3:17). Job is suffering. Jesus is suffering.  What are we to make of this? Where are You, Lord, while all this is happening? What are You doing about it? We remember the words, spoken by Jesus to His enemies, shortly before His crucifixion: ‘This is your hour, and the power of darkness’ (Luke 22:53). You allow Satan to have his ‘hour’. ‘The power of darkness’ appears to have the upper hand. This is not the end of the story. There is ‘a happy ending’. Job is raised from his depression (42:10,12). Jesus is ‘raised’ from the dead (Acts 2:23-24). Help us, Lord, to look beyond what’s happening to us right now. Help us to catch a glimpse of the glorious future for which You are preparing us.
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 not forgotten God You. 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).
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).
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.
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).
Job 15:1-16:5
Lord, we feel the pain of Job. He’s been listening to Eliphaz. Now, Job says, “how often have I heard all this before! What sorry comforters you are!” (Job 16:1). Job needed “words of encouragement” (Job 16:5) – but he didn’t get them from Eliphaz. Where, Lord, does true comfort come from? It comes from the Holy Spirit – “the comforter” (john 14:26). Help us, Lord, to listen to the voice of the Spirit – and to speak with His voice, the voice of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
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.
Job 18:1-19:7
“How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words?” (Job 19:2). Lord, we read Job’s reply to the harsh words, spoken by Bildad, and we ask, “What about us? What effect do our words have on other people? Lord, You speak to us about our use of words “The tongue is a fire … set on fire by hell …With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not happen!” (James 3:6,9-10). As we think about what You are saying to us, help us to pray that “our conversation will be always full of grace” (Colossians 4:6). Lord, may our words “bring a blessing to those who hear” them (Ephesians 4:29).
Job 19:8-29
“I know that my Redeemer lives … In the end He will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25-26). Lord, we read these great words of faith, spoken by Job, and our thoughts turn to Jesus. We think of His resurrection – He “has risen” from the dead” (Matthew 28:6). We think of His return – He will return “with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). We think of “our redemption” – “When  He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is”; “We shall always be with the Lord” (Luke 21:27-28); 1 John 3:2; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). We think of all of these things – Christ’s resurrection, His return, our redemption, and we give to You, Lord, our thanks, our praise, our hearts and our lives. To You, Lord, be all the glory!
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.
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 uo with wings like eagles … ” (Isaiah 40:31).
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).
Job 23:8-24:5
Lord, life can be so confusing. We see Job, trusting in You – “he knows the way that I take … ” (Job 23:10). we also hear him saying, ” … the Almighty has terrified me … ” (Job 23:16-17). where, Lord, do these negative thoughts come from? Do they come from You? No! They come from Satan! This is not “the fear of the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom” (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7). This is the fear that comes from Satan What are we to do when fear threatens to overwhelm us? What are we to do when fear threatens to destroy our trust in You? We look to You, Lord. You “have not given us a spirit of fear.” You’ve given us Your “Spirit of power and love.” You give us “a sound mind.” Help us, Lord, to keep on looking to You. May Your “perfect love cast out our fear” (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 John 4:18).
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.”
Job 27:7-28:28
“The fear of the Lord – that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding” (Job 28:28). Give to us, Lord, the wisdom that is centred on Christ, the wisdom that receives “salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”, the wisdom that leads us to become “mature in Christ”, the wisdom that is Christlike, the wisdom that gives glory to Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30-31; 2 Timothy 3:15; Colossians 1:28; James 3:17).
Job 29:1-30:31
When, Lord, we start wondering, ‘Why are these bad things happening to us?’, help us to start thin king something else: “Why have You blessed us with so many good things?” (Job 30:27,31; Job 29:4-5). Help us, Lord, to thank You for Your good days, and to trust You in our bad days.
Job 31:1-40
“Job … was blameless and upright, one who feared God, and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). Again and again, Lord, we fall far short of this ideal (Romans 3:23). How can our sins be forgiven? How can our guilt be removed? We thank You that “the blood of Jesus, Your Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). This is more than having our sins forgiven. You, Lord, are leading us n the paths of righteousness. Create in us a deeper longing to become more like Jesus, our Saviour – and help us to give all the glory to You (Psalm 23:3; Psalm 51:10).
Job 32:1-33:18
“Understanding” comes from “the breath of the Almighty” (Job 32:8). “God does speak – now, one way, now another – though man may not perceive it” (Job 33:14). We thank You, Lord, that You have spoken to us through Your Word. You still speak to us through Your Word. It’s Your Spirit who brings Your Word to us. We do not always understand what You are saying to us. There is always more than we can take in. When, Lord, we feel that we’re out of our depth, help us to keep on listening, to keep on believing – and to pray for “understanding” that will lead to new life; q life that is grounded in the Scriptures, a life that is centred on the Saviour, a life that is filled with the Spirit, a life that brings glory to You.
Job 33:19-34:20
When things are going well, help us to remember to say, “Thank You, Lord.” When things start going badly, help us to remember that You are still with us – and You haven’t stopped loving us. You haven’t left us on our own. You’re there beside us, every step of the way. In all of life – our times of suffering as well as our times of blessing, draw us, Lord, closer to Yourself and give us this powerful testimony; “He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I shall love to enjoy the light” (Job 33:28-30).
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).
Job 36:1-33 
“God is mighty, and does not despise any” (Job 36:5). Lord, You are great in power. You are great in love. How sad it would be if You had great love for us, but did not have the power to save us. How terrifying it would be if You had great power, but had no love, in Your hear, for us. What a joy it is to know that You are both the God of great power and the God of great love. You are “abundant in power.” You “heal the broken-hearted and … lift up the downtrodden.” We think, Lord, about Your great power and Your great love, and we say, “Praise the Lord!” We “sing to You with thanksgiving.” We “make melody to You.” We “sing praises to You” (Psalm 147:1-7).
Job 37:1-24
“The Almighty is great in power and … He does not oppress” (Job 37:23). Lord, Your power is loving power. Your love is powerful love. We see Your power in Jesus – “He is able to save to the uttermost all who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). We see Your love in Jesus – “I will never turn away any one who comes to Me” (John 6:37). In the world, we see the love of power. It’s a very destructive thing. In Jesus, we see the power of love. Hew uses His power to show us His love. He shows us His love when, through His mighty power, He saves us. Thank You, Lord, for Jesus. What a great Saviour He is!
Job 38:1-38
Lord, we do an awful lot of talking about ourselves, and not very much listening to You. When it seems to us that our problems are bigger than Your power, help us to start listening to what Your Word is saying to us. There are many questions for which we have no answers – Why has this happened to us? Why did it turn out this way? Why this? Why that? When, Lord, it seems to be all questions and no answers, help us to remember this: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:1-2).
Job 38:39-40:14
“I am unworthy – how can I reply to You? I put my hand over my mouth … I have no answer … I will say no more” (Job 40:3-5). When, Lord, You speak to us about sin – “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, we have nothing to say in our own defence: “every mouth is silenced” (Romans 3:23,19). We thank You, Lord, that, when You speak to us about our sin, You also speak to us of Your love, the death of Christ for our sins, the forgiveness of our sins and the cleansing of our hearts and lives (Romans 5:8; 1 John 1:7-10).
Job 40:15-41:34
“Who can stand before Me?” (Job 41:10). Lord, You put this question to every one of us. There are two answers to this question. The first speaks to us of our sin. The second speaks to us of our Saviour. When, Lord, You speak to us of our sin, it’s bad news: “There is no-one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10). When You speak to us of our Saviour, it’s Good News. Jesus is “without sin.” He is “Your beloved Son with whom You are well pleased.” He has “died for our sins” (Hebrews 4:14-16; Matthew 3:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:3). Thank You, Lord, for Jesus – Your beloved Son, our wonderful Saviour.
Job 42:1-17
We read, Lord, about Job being brought close to You, his ‘friends’ being forgiven by You and everyone being happy about the way things turned out for Job (Job 42:5-11). We wonder, “Is there always a happy ending?” In this earthly life, we will never reach a stage where there will be no more problems, and everything will be just fine. Help us, Lord, to look beyond this earthly life. Help us to catch a glimpse of the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Our suffering will be for “a little while.” We thank You, Lord, that Your salvation will be forever (1 Peter 1:5-7).

Lord, we do an awful lot of talking about ourselves, and not very much listening to You.

Job 38:1-38 Lord, we do an awful lot of talking about ourselves, and not very much listening to You. When it seems to us that our probl...