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New Treasures

“Jesus said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matthew 13:52).
We are travelling towards “the kingdom of heaven.” As we journey towards God’s Kingdom, He is teaching us many lessons. We are to treasure the lessons which come to us from the Word of God in the power of the Spirit of God. There is nothing more precious than this: “We have received … the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12).

First Things First

“Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).
First things first! We worry about many things. We get anxious about this, that and the other thing. Jesus is saying to us, “Seek first God’s Kingdom.” Whenever our many anxieties threaten to overwhelm us, let us remember this: The Lord is King!

From religion to revival

Standing upon divine revelation – “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4), Jesus received God-given strength for challenging the “bread alone” of human religion – the religion of “the hypocrites” (Matthew 6:2,5,16). Their religion was centred upon themselves. Jesus had this to say about their religion – “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them” (Matthew 6:1). The “hypocrites” added their own ideas to the Word of God – and the power of God’s Word was lost. Jesus shows us the better way – looking to the Lord, listening to the Lord and learning from the Lord. He calls to live a God-centred life: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). He calls us to put God first: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). The difference between Jesus and “the hypocrites” was clear for all to see: “When Jesus had finished saying th…

Don't Build On Shifting Sand. Build on Christ.

As well as Peter’s three denials, we have three wonderful statements which point us away from Peter, in his failure, to Christ, who is the Rock of our salvation. (a) “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
(b) “This Jesus, God has raised up and “made both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:32, 36).
(c) “Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone. To you who believe, He is precious” (1 Peter 2:4-7).
Praise God – Our faith is not built on shifting sand. It is built on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the risen Lord, the wonderful Saviour.

God forgives and forgets.

Jeremiah 31:31-40

God forgives and forgets (Jeremiah 31:34). It’s not “God cannot remember.” It’s “God chooses not to remember.” The rebuilding of our life - we are to be “holy to the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:38-40).

The human situation, the divine solution ...

Jeremiah 31:15-20
The human situation, the divine solution  * “She refuses to be comforted” (Jeremiah 31:15). Often, we dig a hole for ourselves.  * “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears” - This is what “the Lord” says to us (Jeremiah 31:16). If anyone else says this to us, we might well say, “It’s all right for you to say that. You’re not suffering like I am.” God gave His only Son - to die for us. He knows what we’re going through. He’s been there, and He hasn’t forgotten it, He came out the other side for us - the resurrection.  * “They shall come back from the land of the enemy; there is hope for your future” (Jeremiah 31:16-17) - “more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). How are we to understand our times of suffering?  * “You disciplined me” (Jeremiah 31:18) - There is a purpose of God in our suffering. “Bring me back, let me come back, for You are the Lord my God” (Jeremiah 31:18) - the story of the prodigal son, your story, my s…

They Killed Jesus - But He Didn't Stay Dead!

“Come, let’s kill him” (Matthew 21:38). From Jesus’ parable, we look to His death. The crucifixion of Jesus has a human explanation: “wicked men put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross” – but that’s not the whole story! In the death of Jesus, we see God’s “plan” of salvation – His eternal plan (Acts 2:23). When Jesus’ enemies thought that they had succeeded, they couldn’t have been more wrong! Jesus’ death was followed by His resurrection: “God raised Him from the dead.” In Jesus’ resurrection, we see His mighty triumph over death: “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him” (Acts 2:24).

Before You Can Be The Lord's Servant, He Must Be Your Saviour.

“Whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant … For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43,45).
Do you want to be the Lord’s servant? Remember that He is your Saviour. Do you want to serve the Lord? – You must be saved by Him before you can even begin to serve Him. When we think of Jesus as God’s servant and say, “I will serve God the way Jesus served Him”, we have missed the point of Jesus’ words: “the Son of Man” came ”to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Jesus’ service is defined by the giving of His life as a ransom for many. We can never give our life as a ransom for many. Only Jesus can do that for us. Where does our life of service begin? – It begins at the Cross of Christ. It begins when we say, “I cannot serve You. I can only be saved by You.” That’s where the life of service begins. It begins with being saved by the Lord. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you…

God Has Revealed Himself ... In Christ.

“Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it” (Luke 10:23-24). There is a progression, in Scripture, beyond the revelation given to Israel through the Old Testament prophets to the great revelation given in the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. He is greater than all the prophets. He is greater than all the kings. He is the Son of God. He is our Saviour. There is no-one else like Him. There were many prophets. There were many kings. There is only one Saviour – Jesus Christ, the Son of God: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

We thank You, Lord, that You are "the eternal God."

Deuteronomy 33:18-34:12 We thank You, Lord, that You are "the eternal God." You are "our Refuge." You hold us in Your "everlasting arms" (Deuteronomy 33:27). This doesn't mean that life will be easy for us - but it does mean that You will be with us -whatever happens, and You'll never let us down. You'll always be there for us. You are "for us" - whatever problems we may have to face, may we learn to say, with triumphant faith, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31).

Lord, You speak to us Your Word of warning - and Your promise of blessing.

Deuteronomy 27:11-28:24 Lord, You speak to us Your Word of warning - and Your promise of blessing. You call us back from the way of disobedience - and on to the pathway of obedience and blessing. Where does the blessing come from? Does it come from our obedience? No! It comes from Your love. It comes from Your promise. Your love reaches us in our sin. Your blessing increases in us as we learn to turn from our sin and give You first place in our lives.

Lead us, Lord, in the way of true wisdom.

1 Samuel 26:1-25 Lead us, Lord, in the way of true wisdom - "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalm 111:10). How foolish we are when we choose to go our own way rather than walking in Your way. Help us, Lord, to choose Christ every day - "O happy day, that fixed my choice on Thee, my Saviour and my God ... That vow renewed shall daily hear."

Lord, You have done great things for us. You are still doing great things for us.

Joshua 23:1-16 Lord, You have done great things for us. You are still doing great things for us. You will continue to do great things for us. When we say, "Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings", help us never to take Your blessing for granted. Help us to keep on living in obedience to Your Word. Help us to see, more clearly, the vital connection between obedience and blessing: Keep the obedience going, and the blessing will keep on coming.

What is to be our attitude to the Sabbath?

What is to be our attitude to the Sabbath? The best way to develop a proper attitude, a Christian attitude, to the Sabbath is to look, first of all, at Jesus' attitude to the Sabbath. In a very real sense, the specific question, "What is to be my attitude to the Sabbath?" is included in the broader question, "What is to be my attitude to Jesus?" As we look Jesus' attitude to the Sabbath, with a view to answering the question, "What is to be my attitude to the Sabbath?", we notice two key features. There is Someone greater than the Sabbath - Jesus (John 5:18). this is the dividing line between a disciple and a Pharisee. A disciple comes to the Saviour. A Pharisee, with all his Sabbath-keeping, does not acknowledge his need of the Saviour.Jesus viewed His whole life as holy to God and wholly to God (John 5:17) for service. From these two observations about Jesus, we note five further principles concerning the place of the Sabbath in the life of Chri…

What a joy it is to know that You, Lord, are both the God of great power and the God of great love. You are “ab

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).

Lord, Your power is loving power. Your love is powerful love.

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!

In this earthly life, we will never reach a stage where there will be no more problems, and everything will be just fine.

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).

Thank You, Lord, for Jesus - Your beloved Son, our wonderful Saviour.

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.

The Way Of Obedience Is The Way Of Blessing.

Deuteronomy 29:1-29 God has done great things for His people – ‘in the land of Egypt… in the wilderness’(2,5). Acknowledging Him to be the Lord their God, they were to live in obedience to Him (6,9). The way of obedience is the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of blessing. Moses warns the people that they must not depart from the way of obedience (16-28). Turning away from the Lord leads to judgment – ‘anger and fury and great wrath’(24-28). There are ‘secret things’. There are ‘things that are revealed’. Some ‘things’ we will never understand. These ‘things belong to the Lord our God’. There are many ‘things’ we have learned and have firmly believed. ‘The things that are revealed’ are found in ‘the Holy Scriptures.’ Through God’s written Word, we are brought to ‘salvation’ and we are ‘thoroughly equipped’ for Christian living (29; 2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Whatever you may think of Christmas ...

Whatever you may think of Christmas - in our modern world, you will not be disappointed with Jesus. He comes to us from the past - and He leads us on into the future. We're no sooner past Christmas, and we start thinking about the New Year. We wonder what the New Year will bring. Will you go into 2017 on your own - or with Jesus as your Saviour?

Christmas Message

Let’s think about the meaning of Christmas. What does it mean in the countdown to Christmas Day? What will it mean for us when we’re in the middle of January? What will it mean six months from now? Christmas is coming. Jesus is coming. Christmas comes. Christmas goes. Jesus comes. Jesus stays. When Christmas comes to an end, Jesus doesn’t leave us. When Boxing Day begins, Jesus is still with us.
Christmas is about Jesus. Jesus is more than Christmas. If Christmas was all that we had, would we really be saying, “I wish it could be Christmas every day”? Wouldn’t we be asking, “When does everything get back to normal”? Normal? What is normal? Normal seems so unexciting. Normal is this – Jesus is with us. He’s with us every day. Our ordinary days are very different from Christmas Day. Can we ever say, “This is just an ordinary day” – when Jesus is with us every day?
Soon, Christmas 2018 will be behind us. The old year will come to an end. We’ll be into the New Year. The years come. The …

Christmas is a time for celebrating.

Christmas is a time for celebrating - giving thanks for the love of Jesus, but it's not the only time for celebrating. Any day, we can thank Him for His love. Every day, we can come to Him, and say, "Thank You, Jesus, for loving me." Before Christmas, begin to thank Him. After Christmas, keep on thanking Him.

What's Christmas all about?

What's Christmas all about? Is it about coming to church, coming to a service? No. There's more to it than that. It's about coming to Christ, coming to the Saviour. What a welcome you will get when you come to Jesus. Whatever this year's been like, you can end the year on a high note by coming to Jesus - opening your heart to Him, giving your life to Him.

Joy to the world ...

If we are to come to a true understanding of the story of Jesus Christ, we must not begin by opening our Bibles at the beginning of the New Testament – Matthew 1:1. We must go back into the Old Testament. We must seek to understand what the prophets said, as they looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, the Saviour. A true understanding of the story of Jesus Christ will not leave us in the first two chapters of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. We need to move beyond the story of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem, led on to a deeper understanding of all that Jesus came to do for us. From Bethlehem, then, we look back to learn from the prophets and we look forward to learn from the rest of the New Testament story. With great prophetic insight, Isaiah spoke of the coming Christ. He speaks of Christ’s birth, ministry, death and resurrection. From Isaiah, we learn of who Jesus was, what He did and what was done to Him. When we come to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the birth of Christ (Isaiah…

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 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).

We thank You, Lord, for the Scriptures.

Deuteronomy 4:44-5:33 We thank You, Lord, for the Scriptures. They lead us to our Saviour - Jesus. The Scriptures speak to us of His suffering and our salvation. When we think of all that Jesus has done for us, may we receive, from You, the spirit of thanksgiving - joyful thanksgiving, heartfelt thanksgiving.

Learning From The Past

Numbers 22:1-41
Learn from the past. In 2 Peter 2:15-16, Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14, we are encouraged to learn from the events of this chapter. Each passage contains a warning. (a) 2 Peter 2:15-16 - Don’t leave ‘the straight way’ and follow the crooked way! (b) Jude 11 - Don’t let making a profit become more important than being a prophet! (c) Revelation 2:14 - Make sure you don’t get drawn away from God into sin! What is God saying to us here? - ‘these things happened... as a warning... they were written down for our instruction... let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall’. With the warning, there is also the promise: ‘...God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape...’(1 Corinthians 10:11-13).

The Shepherd Of Love

"The Son of Man came to save the lost" (Matthew 18:11). In Matthew 18:12-1, Jesus speaks about sheep. He's really speaking about us. He is the Shepherd. We are His sheep. Sheep wander away from the shepherd. We wander away from the Lord. The shepherd looks for the lost sheep. Jesus has come to seek for us and find us. He brings  us home to God, our Father. Through His saving grace, we receive new life - a life  in which we rejoice in our great Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. He delivers us from the condemnation, which our sin has brought upon us. He brings us into the knowledge of His forgiveness. This Gospel of salvation changes us. It teaches us to live in the power of God's love.

Help us, Lord, to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

Psalms 120:1-121:8 ‘Deliver me, O Lord, from lying lips’ (Psalm 120:2). Lord, You’re calling us to ‘believe the truth’, ‘love the truth’ and ‘follow the truth’. We are to be people who ‘do what is true’ (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11; 3 John 3-4; John 3:21). How can we be such people? Help us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is ‘the Truth’ (Hebrews 12:2; John 14:6). When we’re tempted to turn away from the pathway of truth, help us to remember this: ‘My help comes from the Lord’. Help us to remember Your promise: ‘The Lord is your Keeper…The Lord will keep you from all evil’. Your promise is not only for ‘this time’. It’s ‘for evermore’ (Psalm 121:2,5,7-8). Give to us the glorious hope that fills our hearts as we keep on looking to Christ,‘eagerly awaiting’ His Return ( Hebrews 9:28).

Lord, we are called to fear You - and to love You.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 Lord, we are called to fear You - and to love You. We tend to think that fear and love are opposites. You teach us something else, something very different. Fear and love belong together. You are the holy God, the God who cannot look upon our sin (Habakkuk 1:13). We fear You. You show us our sin so that we might be brought to Jesus, our Saviour. We come to Jesus. We learn how much You love us - and we begin to love You.

Lord, You call us with Your challenge.

Deuteronomy 1:1-46
Lord, You call us with Your challenge. You call us to make our choice. We are to put the past behind us. We are to press on into the future - with You and for You. We hesitate - and we end up doing nothing. Help us, Lord, to turn from our self-centred ways. Help us to walk with You in Your way - the way of faith, the way of obedience.

Sing with joy ...

Jeremiah 31:7-14

“Sing with joy” (Jeremiah 31:7,12-13).
This is to be our response to the Gospel. It’s more than a singalong. It’s “praise.” This praise continues after we leave the place of worship.
“Shout” - “I am not ashamed” (Romans 1:16).
“Proclaim” - Make the message known: “for the Good News” (Romans 1:1,5-6).
This for everyone (Jeremiah 31:8,10).
We come as we are - “blind” and “lame” (Jeremiah 31:8). We come to our “Shepherd” (Jeremiah 31:10). He has “ransomed” us. He has “redeemed” us from the “power” of Satan, Our enemy is stronger than we are, but he is not stronger than Jesus - “the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:40.
With Christ in our life, everything changes - “new wine, fresh oil... Their life will be... They will be no longer...” (Jeremiah 31:12). It is “abundant” life, a “satisfied” life (Jeremiah 31:14). We have received new life in Christ - “This is the Lord’s declaration concerning us (Jeremiah 31:14).

Where does worship begin?

Isaiah 55:1-13

“Without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1) - “The best things in life are free. Money can’t buy me love” (The Beatles). We read, in Matthew 26:7, about a woman who anointed Jesus with “very expensive fragrant oil.” What are we to say about all of this? - It’s not about repaying the Lord for His love for us. It’s about expressing our love for Him. It’s about worship. Where does worship begin? - “Seek the Lord... He will freely forgive” (Isaiah 55:7). How does the love of Christ reach us and change us? You feel like you’re lost. The love of Christ says, “You can be found,” This is the message of Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15) - three parables, one message. It’s not so much about us - our seeking the Lord and finding Him. It’s about the Lord. He seeks us and finds us. In Matthew 26, we read about a woman who worshipped the Lord, and a man who betrayed Him. Worship or betrayal? Which will it be?  * How do we worship th…

‘Christ Died For Sins, Once For All, The Righteous For The Unrighteous, To Bring You To God.’

2 Samuel 18:1-33
Some die young. Others live to a ripe old age. None of us can predict what lies ahead of us. There are some things that are beyond our control. We look at what is happening and we say, ‘I wish things could be different’. Absalom had been killed. David wished he could have died instead of him. It was not to be. Each of us must die our own death: ‘No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him - the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough - that he should live on for ever and not see decay’(Psalm 49:7-9). There is, however, a ‘Man’ who has died for us - Jesus Christ, ‘our Lord and our God’. He ‘gave Himself as a ransom for all’. ‘Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’(John 20 28; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 3:18).

Be Filled With The Spirit, Addressing One Another In Psalms, Hymns And Spiritual Songs, Singing And Making Melody To The Lord With All Your Heart…’

2 Samuel 4:1-5:25
‘…They came into the house… and slew him…’(4:7). What are we to make of this kind of thing? - ‘What’s the world coming to?’. Where’s it all going to end?’. It is difficult to maintain real faith in the Lord when this kind of thing is going on. What are we to do? Don’t bury your head in the sand. Don’t pretend that such things are not happening. Don’t imagine that that they will just go away. ‘Inquire of the Lord’. ‘Do as the Lord commands’. Keep on believing that there will be a breakthrough - from the Lord(19,23,25,20). Can you ‘hear the sound of rustling in the leaves of the trees’? - ‘The Spirit of the Lord has come down on the earth’. Let us ‘rise, a mighty array, at the bidding of the Lord - The Spirit won’t be hindered by division in the perfect work that Jesus has begun’(24; John 3:8; Mission Praise, 274).

2 Samuel 6:1-23
‘When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart’(16). Michal was a very angry young w…

What do we do when everything seems to go wrong?

2 Samuel 17:1-29 What do we do when everything seems to go wrong? Do we start complaining, blaming You for everything that's happening to us? or Do we start asking the question, 'Where is the Lord in all of this?' Help us to challenge our negative thinking - "Why are you discouraged, my soul?" (Psalm 43:5). Help us to rise above our negative thinking. Raise us up, Lord, for You alone can lift us out of our defeatism and into that special place with You where we know that we are truly blessed - because You love us, and will never stop loving us, even when our love for You is very weak.

'He's a great guy.' We like it when people say this kind of thing about us ...

2 Samuel 16:1-23 'He's a great guy.' We like it when people say this kind of thing about us. It makes us feel good about ourselves. What do You think of us, Lord? Yours is the one opinion that really matters. What does it mean to be truly 'great'? Do we want to be called 'great'? or Do we want to give all the glory to You? We know, Lord, that we'll never love You with a perfect love. Your love is the only perfect love. Help us, Lord, not to get discouraged, when we let You down. Lift us up, Lord. Make our love for You more real and more true, more life-changing and more pleasing to You.

Who are we trying to please?

2 Samuel 15:1-37 Who are we trying to please? Are we trying to please You, Lord? or Are we trying to please other people? Are we more interested in getting what we want or doing what You want? These, Lord, are searching questions. They call us to be honest with ourselves, to be honest with You. Help us, Lord, to see ourselves the way we really are. Help us to pray for change, real change, change in our hearts, change in our lives, change that brings blessing to us, change that brings glory to You.

"May the Lord do what seems good to Him."

2 Samuel 10:1-11:27  "May the Lord do what seems good to Him" (2 Samuel 10:12). Lord, this is the way it should be. We should be saying, "Not my will but Yours be done" (Matthew 26:39). It's the way things should be - but it's not the way things are. Often, we make wrong choices. we choose our own way rather than Your way. Help us, Lord, to stop trying to get our own way. Help us to start walking in Your way. Help us to say, "As for God, His way is perfect" (2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 18:30).

So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong.

2 Samuel 1:1-27 So often, Lord, we start out well - and then something goes wrong. Our heads go down. We lose our way. We fall away from You. Where does this spirit of defeat, this spirit of giving up, come from? - It comes from Satan. He sweeps in. He sweeps us off our feet. He sweeps us away from You. When Satan attacks us, help us, Lord, to remember Your promise: You are "able to keep us from falling" (Jude 24-25). Help us to hear Your Word: "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Spiritual Growth

Seeking to grow in our understanding of God’s Word is important. We need to move from there to ask the question: Why are we seeking to increase our understanding of God’s Word? We are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). An increase in knowledge is to be accompanied by growth in grace.
We can easily get ourselves confused when we’re reading the most difficult parts of God’s Word. That’s when we need the reminder: God calls us to obey His Word –– “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near” (Revelation 1:3).
When we start thinking that we’ve made some progress in mastering the Bible’s difficult passages, we need to be reminded that God calls us to love Him and to love our neighbour – “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
We must never forget the words which follow the call to grow in Christ – “To Him be…

Be Faithful - In Hearing, Reading And Doing God's Word.

‘Go to meet the man of God and inquire of the Lord through him’ (2 Kings 8:8). God’s servants, appointed by Him to serve the people in His Name, play a significant part in leading the people to a deeper knowledge of God. They bring the Word of God to the people. That is what they have been called to do. It is good to have faithful teaching from God’s Word. There needs also to be faithful hearing, reading and doing of God’s Word. God’s servants can take us so far – and no further. You can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink! God’s servants say, ‘Here are ‘the wells of salvation’’. It is up to the people themselves to take the next step: ‘With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation’ (Isaiah 12:3). God’s Word is provided for you. It is delivered to you. What are you doing with it?

What are we to do when our situation seems hopeless?

2 Kings 4:1-44 What are we to do when our situation seems hopeless? Help us, Lord, to do what Elisha did – He “prayed to the Lord” (2 Kings 4:33). Our prayer may not be eloquent – but it must come from the heart. Lord, look beyond our inadequate words. Look into our hearts. Hear the cry of our heart – and bring us out of hopelessness and into a new beginning with You, a new beginning filled with Your blessing.

Man Of God

"Then he sent to Elijah a captain with his company of fifty men. The captain went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “Man of God, the king says, ‘Come down!’”" (2 Kings 1:9)
Man of God - This is what the king called Elijah. What a great description of Elijah! He was known as a man of God. He was a man who belonged to God. He was a man who served God. He didn't keep his faith to himself. He lived for the Lord. With boldness, he spoke the Word of the Lord. Man of God - We need more people like Elijah!

Before We Ever Think Of Giving Ourselves To God, We Must Look At All He Has Given To Us.

2 Corinthians 7:2-8:7
We may face difficult circumstances. We may experience much suffering. In all of this there is one thing we must never forget: ‘God… comforts the downcast’(7:6). He lifts us up when we are down. He enables us to ‘excel in everything - in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness, in love, in giving’(8:7). How are we to excel in everything? We must ‘give ourselves to the Lord’(8:5). Everything else flows from this. We are to ‘give ourselves in devoted service to others’(12; 8:4-5). Where does this spirit of ‘rich generosity’ come from? It comes from God, from ‘the grace that God has given’ to us (8:1-2). It comes to us as we give ourselves to Him. Before we can ‘excel in this grace of giving’, we must receive ‘from His fullness, grace upon grace’(8:7; John 1:16).

2 Corinthians 8:8-9:15
How are we to be ‘cheerful’ in giving ourselves to the Lord (9:7)? How are we to be confident that ‘God is able to provide us with every blessing in abunda…

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

Here are some great words from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who died at the hands of Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950s – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” * "To gain what he cannot lose" - Eternal life has lasting value. * "what he cannot keep" - The things of this world don’t have lasting value. After Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries were killed, there was great blessing among the Aucas. * Think of these faithful martyrs. Think of the blessing which followed. In 2 Corinthians 4:15, we have a great comment on the wonderful blessing which followed the killing of the American missionaries by the Aucas - “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The American missionaries laid down their lives. The Aucas found eternal life. It was for their benefit. Grace reached more and more people. There was a…

The Mercy Of God And The Ministry Of His Word

In the work of ministry, we are often discouraged by the lack of response. May God help us to remember that “we have received this ministry by the mercy of God” (2 Corinthians 4:1). May He give us the wonderful privilege of seeing more people responding to the Word of God which, by the power of the Holy Spirit, “gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Lord, we're living in difficult times ...

2 Chronicles 21:1-23:21 Lord, we're living in difficult times. Many are choosing to do what is “evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 21:6). Help us to make another choice, a better choice. Help us to choose to “be the Lord’s people” (2 Chronicles 23:16) – “O happy day! that fixed my choice on Thee, my Saviour and my God … ‘Tis done, the great transaction’s done! I am my Lord’s, and He is mine! … High heaven that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear… “

Without Your blessing, Lord, our worship is empty.

2 Chronicles 5:2-6:42 Without Your blessing, Lord, our worship is empty. We need Your blessing. We pray for Your blessing. May “the glory of the Lord fill the House of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14). This is our prayer. We pray for the preachers. We pray for the people. May each and every one of us be blessed by You. May we be “clothed with Your salvation.” May we “rejoice in Your goodness” (2 Chronicles 6:41).

Prophecy - From Isaiah To Jesus

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Jesus spoke about His death and resurrection (Matthew 16:210. This is prophecy. What we have here is even more remarkable. We read this, and we think that this must have been written after Jesus’ death. This is the work of the Spirit of God. He sees what lies ahead. He describes these events, as if they had already happened. This is more than a description of what was going to happen. It’s an explanation of the meaning of the death of Christ. Is there a look beyond His death to His resurrection? Yes! “He will see His seed, He will prolong His days, and the will of the Lord will succeed by His hand” (Isaiah 53:10). When these words were first spoken, people must have wondered, “What does all this mean?” They must have wondered about Jesus, when He started talking about His resurrection - “What is He talking about?” When Jesus died for us, and then rose from the dead, everything fell into place. This was what Isaiah and Jesus had been speaking about.

"Be Still ..."

Mark 4:33-5:20
Parables and miracles: In Jesus' miracles, there's a message for us. We must ask, 'What does this mean for us?' In the miracles - calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41) and driving out demons (Mark 5:1-20), there is the message: "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46;10). We look beyond the storm of wind and waves. We see the storms of life - and we hear Jesus, saying to us, "Be still" (Mark 4:39). He challenges our fears, and He calls us to have faith in Him (Mark 4:40). Where do the storms come from? - Satan. He's a determined enemy: "No one was strong enough to subdue him" (Mark 5:4). We need more than positive thinking. We need Jesus - the Saviour. He is strong enough to subdue Satan. Satan is a defeated enemy. We don't put ourselves together again. Jesus does this for us. Don't keep the Good News to yourself. Tell people "what the Lord has done for you and how He has had mercy on you"…

Building On Christ - And Living For Him

“Whoever does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15:5). Jesus Christ is the Rock upon which our faith is built. Building on Christ means more than believing the right things about Him. It also means living for Him. This is the message, taught by Jesus in His parable of the wise man and the foolish man – “everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (Matthew 7:24,26). What  are we to believe? – This is not the only question we must ask. If our faith is real, we must move on from there to another very important question: How are we to live?

Beyond Our Suffering - His Glory

* "Throughout the land two-thirds will be cut off and die.  Yet, one-third will be left in it. I will bring this third of the people through the fire. I will refine them as silver is refined. I will test them as gold is tested. They will call on me, and I will answer them. I will say, They are my people. They will reply, The Lord is our God" (Zechariah 13:8-9). In today's world, our faith is under constant attack. God says to us, 'You are My people, and I am your God.' In today's world, we need God's Word. Without His Word, we'll lose our way.   * "The Lord will be King over all the earth. On that day, the Lord will be the only Lord, and His Name the only Name" (Zechariah 14:9).
We read these words, and we think of Jesus Christ. His Name is above name. Every knee shall bow to Him (Philippians 2:9-11).

Exalted

In Philippians 2:8, we read of Jesus going into “the far country” (Luke 15:13) – “He humbled Himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” – so that we might have an even greatest Homecoming of all – Christ has been “exalted … to the highest place.” He has been given “the Name that is above every name.” What a day it will be when “at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).

The coming Saviour and the coming Kingdom

Isaiah 10 speaks of a divine judgment, in which the only “survivors” will be those who “depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel” (Isaiah 10:20). Isaiah 11 contains a Messianic prophecy. These are words, which point forward to our Saviour, Jesus Christ. They are words of the coming Kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-10). Isaiah 12 contains a hymn of praise to God: “I will praise You, O Lord” (Isaiah 12:1), which is followed by a call to praise God – “Praise the Lord …” (Isaiah 12:4-6). This is a short chapter. It only has six verses. Its words are very precious. We can come to these words, again and again, and experience the fulfilment of the Lord’s precious promise: “With joy you will draw water from the springs of salvation” (Isaiah 12:3). This is the “living water”, which is Christ Himself.

Our Refuge And Our Rock

God is our “Refuge” (Psalm 142:5). In His “mercy”, He leads us in His way. He protects us and rescues us from our enemies (Psalm 143:8-9). The Lord, “the One in whom we take refuge”, is described by the Psalmist as “my Rock... My merciful One, my Fortress, my Stronghold, my Saviour, my Shield” (Psalm 144:1-2). The Lord is “great.” He is to be praised “every day.” He is to be praised “forever and ever” (Psalm 145:1-3).

Words From God? or Words From Satan?

In Job 20, we hear, again, the voice of Zophar - the ‘so far, so good’ man. His principles concerning the judgment of God on the wicked are all right as far as they go. The problem is that they are general. They are floating over the specific case of Job, without really coming to terms with the real man to whom his harsh words are addressed. Zophar begins his speech with the claim that he has been inspired by God - “a spirit beyond my understanding gives me answer” (Job 20:3). He assumes that this spirit is God. He is, in fact, speaking in the power and service of another spirit - Satan. Zophar is serving Satan, whose purpose is to do down God’s servant, Job. Zophar speaks with arrogance, a ‘know it all’ attitude. He displays the kind of spiritual pride which is characteristic of Satan, the enemy of God and the people of God. Zophar’s speech ends with summarizing words: “This is the reward God gives to the wicked person, the inheritance God appointed for him” (Job 20:29…

Our love for the Lord comes from His love for us.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God" (Philippians 1:9-11).
Our love for the Lord comes from His love for us. His love reaches us. His love changes us. With Jesus as our Saviour, our life changes direction. It's less of self - and more of Him. We're moving towards "the day of Christ." We're not there yet. We've got a long way to go. We find it so difficult to look beyond where we are right now. Jesus is very different from us. He looks right on to the end. He sees as we will be at the time of His Return. Now, we catch only a glimpse of the glory of Christ. Then, we will see Him in the fullness of His glory. What we shall be is still to be fully revealed to us. Saved by grace, promote…

We Need The Power Of The Holy Spirit.

“The Spirit of God came upon him” (Numbers 24:2). There needs to be empowering by the Spirit of God. Without His power, our words will never speak to people as the Word of the living God. With His power, everything changes. It is His power that carries home His Word to the hearts of our hearers.

"Let Your blessings reach me, O Lord. Save me as You promised" (Psalm 119:41).

We count our blessings. we name them on by one - and it surprises us what the Lord has done for us. None of our many blessings can even begin to compare with the greatest blessing of all - salvation. When we thank God for His many blessings, may we never forget to thank Him for His greatest blessing - our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again.

There are some things that are worth repeating! The story of God’s amazing grace is worth repeating over and over again – ‘Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress’(Psalm 107:6, 13, 19, 28). The call to praise the Lord is also something we need to hear again and again – ‘Let them give thanks to the Lord for His unfailing love and His wonderful deeds for men’(Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31). Let us ‘consider the great love of the Lord.’ Let us ‘give thanks to the Lord’ (Psalm 107:43, 1). ‘The great love of God is revealed in the Son, who came to this earth to redeem every one. That love, like a stream flowing clear to the sea, makes clean every heart that from sin would be free… It’s yours, it is ours, O how lavishly given! The pearl of great price, and the treasure of heaven!’ (Daniel Thambyrajah Niles).

The Lord is always greater than all our words about Him.

"Who can speak about all the mighty things the Lord has done? Who can announce all the things for which He is worthy of praise?" (Psalm 106:2).
There is always more to be said about the Lord than we can ever say. When we have said all that we can say, we have not said enough. The Lord is always greater than all our words about Him. How great is our God! How great is His mighty work of salvation! Praise be to His Name - the Name of our salvation.

"But with You there is forgiveness so that You can be feared" (Psalm 130:4).

There is a sense in which forgiveness means the end of fear -  "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). When we are rejoicing in God's salvation, we rejoice in this - "perfectlovecasts out fear" (1 John 4:18). There is another sense in which "the fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 1:7) continues after we've been forgiven. Filled with with thanksgiving to God for His free gift of salvation, we seek to glorify the Lord in our lives. Loving the Lord, who first loved us (1 John 4:19), we pray that He will keep us close to Himself. There will be times when we're looking to the Lord to lead us in His way - "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:21). There will be times when we need to hear the word of warning - This is not the way. Do not walk in it. "The fear of the Lord" keeps us from thinking that we're closer to the Lord than we really are. It reminds us that we must keep o…

Lip-Service? or Life-Service?

The choices that we make while we are here on earth will decide whether we we will spend eternity with him or apart from Him. This is the message of Matthew 7:13-14. "False prophets ... vicious wolves" will seek to lead us away from the Lord (Matthew 7:15-16). We must pray that the Lord will deliver us from paying lip-service to Him without living our whole life for Him (Matthew 7:21-23). How are we to live for the Lord? - We must hear His Word and obey it (Matthew 7:24). Obedience to God's Word begins with hearing His Word. Hearing God's Word leads to obeying His Word. May God help us to build on Christ, always receiving His Word as the Word that speaks to us with His authority.

Live In The Will Of God - Within The Boundaries Set By His Word.

‘Drive out all the inhabitants of the land’(Numbers 33:52): We must drive out the enemy (Satan) if we are to enter more fully into our salvation in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:3-14). Idolatry is to be banished (Numbers 33:52). It has no place among God’s people. God wants us to ‘possess the land’(Numbers 33:53) - a fuller enjoyment of Him. Idolatry is settling for ‘second best’ - letting something or someone else become more important to you than the Lord. Don’t let it happen! The setting of the boundaries of the land of Canaan (Numbers 34:1-29) is a reminder that there are boundaries in the Christian life, boundaries set by God Himself, the boundaries of Holy Scripture. When we move beyond the boundaries of God’s holy Word, we move outside the sphere of God’s blessing. Live in the will of God - within the boundaries set by His Word.

Lord, where have all the years gone?

Genesis 5:1-17 Lord, where have all the years gone? Five years becomes ten years. Ten years becomes twenty years. Twenty years becomes forty years …. Is there something more than this? - We thank You that You are the eternal God. In all the changing circumstances of our life, help us to remember this: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27). You are the eternal God. Your love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable. This is our encouragement – when everything around us is changing. We are encouraged. Lord, may we also be challenged: How much of our life is bringing glory to You?

Lord, we thank You that You have a place in Your heart for us.

Genesis 2:18-25 Lord, we thank You that You have a place in Your heart for us. Why? What have we done that You should keep on loving us? Is there something good about us - something that makes us worthy of Your love? Whatever way we look at it - the answer’s always “No.” No! No! No!
There’s no way back to You, Lord, that begins with ourselves. We cannot begin with ourselves - but “Is there another starting-point?”
Lord, there is only one place. We begin with Your love - “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son ... “ (John 3:16). We hear these words, and we ask, “Why, Lord, have You loved us like this?”
From our side, there’s no answer to this question. We can only say, “We’re sinners.” There’s nothing else we can say about ourselves.
What do You, Lord, say to sinners? “God shows His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).


Resources

The Lord is my Shepherd ...

Psalm 23:1-6

“The Lord is my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). He speaks to us. He calls us to Himself. He leads us on with Himself (John 10:3). He is all that we need for walking the walk as well as talking the talk. He works in us through the “oil” of the Holy Spirit and the “table” and “cup” of Christ (Psalm 23:5). The completion of God’s work in us is beyond this life. It’s more than “as long as I live.” It’s “forever” (Psalm 23:6).

Cain, Abel - And Christ

Genesis 4:1-16 We read about Cain and Abel. We look beyond them to Christ. He offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. He is "the Passover Lamb." He "has been sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). We read here about the parting of the ways. Cain went one way - away from God. Abel went the other way - towards God. When we come to the Cross of Jesus Christ, we must make our choice. Our  life can never be the same again. Will we be like Cain? - "He went out from the Lord's presence and lived in the land of wandering" (Genesis 4:16). What does God say to those who are wandering away from Him? He says, "Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you" (Ephesians 5:14). We read about Abel, and we look beyond him to Christ. Let us walk with Christ on the way of faith and obedience, the way of His salvation, the way of…

The sinner becomes the singer ...

Psalm 40:1-3
The sinner becomes the singer, the servant and the soul winner.  * “a desolate pit”, “the muddy clay” - This is our sin. We bring our sin to the Saviour.  * “a new song” - This is our song of salvation. This is the song that our Saviour has given to us.  * “Many will see...” We do not sing for ourselves. We do not live for ourselves. We live for the Lord. We are to win people for Him. Before a song can be a song of praise, it must be a song of salvation. We praise God because He has saved us.

Righteousness And Joy

"May Your priests be clothed with Your righteousness; may Your faithful people sing for joy" (Psalm 132:9). We need "righteousness" and "joy" - not righteousness without joy, not joy without righteousness. What is "righteousness", if there's no "joy"? It's Pharisaism. What is "joy" without "righteousness"? Is it really "the joy of the Lord"? No! "The joy of the Lord" gives us "strength" to live for the Lord (Nehemiah 8:10). "The joy of the Lord" is always more than a nice feeling. The joy of the Lord changes us.

He Has Risen!

"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love ..." (Psalm 90:14).Out of the darkness of the night, into the light of the morning - "Very early on the first day of the week ... He has risen!" (Mark 16:4,6). Our new morning comes from Christ's resurrection morning.

Lord, Give Us Your Joy.

"Zion hears about this and rejoices" (Psalm 97:8).
God's Word brings joy. True joy is not something that we can give to ourselves. It must be given to us by the Lord. This joy - the joy of the Lord - gets stronger and stronger as we listen to the Word  of the Lord and receive its message with faith and obedience.

Two ways of living

Psalm 1 The first Psalm speaks to us about two ways of living – the Lord’s way and the world’s way. Each of us must choose. When we choose God’s way, His blessing fills our lives. We must not turn away from Him, and lose out on His blessing. May God help us to keep on walking with Him, and to enjoy His blessing on our lives.

Lord, we need Your strength.

Genesis 9:20-29 Lord, we need Your strength. Without Your strength, we fall. Without Your strength, we fail. With Your strength, everything changes. You lead us from our defeat into Your victory. Help us, Lord, to trust You. In ourselves, we are weak. In You, we are strong. Where does this strength come from? – It comes from this: Jesus has risen – and He lives in us! “Resurrect in our lives faith, hope, and love, as surely as You raised Jesus Christ from the grave” (Common Order, Prayer for Easter).

Lord, help us to get our priorities right.

Genesis 1:1-3
Lord, help us to get our priorities right - Your priorities. May our lives be more centred on You - less centred on ourselves. Help us to listen for Your Word - not to jump straight in with our own words. Help us to open our hearts to Your Holy Spirit. May He move among us - in power, in love, in holiness, in victory. Transform our life, O Lord - May we live as a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). May we know the great blessing of knowing that Jesus, our Saviour, is always "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Times change - but our God doesn't change.

"But You, O Lord, remain forever" (Psalm 102:12). Times change - but our God doesn't change. He's unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable - in His great love for us. His love doesn't come and go - sometimes up, sometimes down. His love remains forever. This is Good News for sinners. We have wandered far from Him - but He hasn't stopped loving us. He keeps on loving us. He's calling us to return to Him. He's calling us to make a new beginning with Him. This is love - and it gives us great hope for the future. Without His love, a New Year is just another year - more wandering around in the wilderness without really knowing where we're going. With His love, everything changes. His love changes everything. We move forward into the future with confidence in this: the Lord remains forever - and His love remains forever. Thank You, Lord, for Your great love. We don't deserve to be loved by You - but You keep on loving us. This fills our he…