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Showing posts from June, 2019

Out Of This World!

“Out of this world!” – Sometimes, we use this phrase to describe something we like a lot. We exaggerate. We make something out to be better than it really is. When we speak about Jesus, our Saviour, we really mean it – He’s out of this world: “Who came down from heaven to earth? Jesus Christ our Saviour.” When we speak about God’s great salvation, we really mean it – It’s out of this world: ““What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

A History Of Sin - And A History Of Salvation

Psalm106:1-48 Lord, we read about Israel’s sin - ‘They soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel... They despised the pleasant land; they did not believe His promise... They grumbled in their tents and did not obey the Lord... They rebelled against the Spirit of God’(Psalm 106:13,24-25,33). This is not only ancient history. It’s the story of our life! We read this, and we must join in Israel’s confession of sin: ‘We have sinned, even as our fathers did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly’(Psalm 106:6). We thank You, Lord, that the history of Israel is not only a history of sin. It's also a history of salvation: ‘He saved them...’(Psalm 106:8,10). When, Lord, we read of Your salvation, may we echo the prayer of Your people - ‘Save us, O Lord our God...’ May we join with them in praising You - ‘Praise be to the Lord...’(Psalm 106:47-48).

What, Lord, are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us?

Psalm 109:1-31 Lord, we come to You, recognizing that, without You, our situation is hopeless - ‘I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I fade away like an evening shadow’(Psalm 109:22). When our enemies are on the attack, we are no match for them. What are we to do when the world, the flesh and the devil are threatening to overwhelm us? We must come to You, Lord, praying for Your help, asking You to save us - ‘Help me, O Lord my God; save me in accordance with Your love’(Psalm 109:26). Help us, Lord, to look away from ourselves and our own weakness. Help us to put our trust in You and Your strength. You will not fail us. You ‘stand beside’ us in our time of testing. You ‘save’ us from our enemies. Help us to keep on praising You: ‘I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth. I will praise Him among many people...’(Psalm 109:30-31).

Lord, our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory?

Psalm 108:1-13 ‘With God we shall gain the victory. He will trample down our enemies’(Psalm 108:13). In ourselves, Lord, there is only defeat. We are no match for ‘our enemies’- the world, the flesh and the devil. We are surrounded by the world - ‘The world is ever near. I see the sights that dazzle. The tempting sounds I hear’. We live with the constant problem of the flesh - ‘the storms of passion, the murmurs of self-will.’ Behind the world and the flesh, there is an even stronger enemy - the devil: ‘Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against... the spiritual forces of evil...’(Ephesians 6:12). Lord, our situation seems to be utterly hopeless. How can we possibly win the victory? The simple truth is: We cannot. There is, however, a deeper truth: You, Lord, are with us - and ‘with God we shall win the victory’!

The Holy City or The Holy Saviour?

"… Jerusalem, the city where I chose to place My Name” (1 Kings 11:36). Jerusalem is called the Holy City. It’s not so much Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s the Name of the Lord that’s holy – and He has placed His holy Name in Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, Jesus died for us and rose again for us. Again, it’s not Jerusalem that’s holy. It’s our Saviour who’s holy. Jerusalem’s a special place because Jesus is special. There’s no one like Him. He’s our Lord. He’s our Saviour.

Help us, Lord, to throw away our bad fruit and enjoy Your good fruit.

Proverbs 14:1-19
“A perverse man will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man with the fruit of his deeds” (Psalm 14:14). Lord, You speak to us about two kinds of fruit – good fruit and bad fruit. How are we to have good fruit in our lives? Help us, Lord, to throw away our bad fruit – “strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness … ” – and enjoy Your good fruit. We need Your Word (Psalm 1:1-3). We need Your Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). – “love, joy, peace … ” (Galatians 5:19-24).

Strengthened By The Lord

We thank You, Lord, for Your gift of the Holy Spirit. We are not called to serve You in our own strength. We come to You in our weakness. You give to us Your strength. This is the strength that we need - the strength that comes from You.

When things are going badly and we feel like giving up ...

Psalm 105:23-45 ‘He brought His people out with joy’(Psalm 105:43). When things are going badly and we feel like giving up, help us, Lord, to remember Your Word: ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’(Nehemiah 8:10). You're calling us to ‘rejoice in You always’. You do not leave us on our own when our time of testing comes. You are there for us in our time of need: ‘My God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus’(Philippians 4:4,19). When we are deeply conscious of our own weakness, You come to us with Your Word of strength: ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness’(2 Corinthians 12:9). Through Your Word, we receive strength. Your Word brings joy to us. May we sing ‘glad songs of victory’: ‘The Lord is my Strength, my Song, my Saviour’(Psalm 118:14-15).

How, Lord, do we receive Your strength?

Psalm 105:1-22
‘Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonderful works that He has done...’(Psalm 105:4-5). Lord, You give strength to those who put their trust in You. Trusting in Christ, we have this great testimony: ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me’(Philippians 4:13). How, Lord, do we receive Your strength? We must '‘seek Your face always'. We must not think we can face difficult circumstances in our strength. Without Your strength, we will be defeated. You have helped us in the past. Help us never to forget this. Help us to give thanks to You for every victory won. As we face temptation, help us to remember Your promise of victory: ‘God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength. With the temptation, He will also provide the way of escape...’(1 Corinthians 10:13).

Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’?

Psalm 103:1-22 ‘Praise the Lord’(Psalm 103:1-2,20-22). Lord, You're calling us to praise You for His ‘steadfast love’. You are ‘abounding in steadfast love’(Psalm 103:8). How are we to respond to Your ‘steadfast love’? Are we to say, ‘God loves me. I can do what I like’? No! We must not think like this. We’re not to say, ‘I’ll keep on sinning. God will keep on forgiving’(Romans 6:1-2). Your Word tells us something very different. You love us. Teach us to love You. When Your ‘steadfast love’ has really touched our hearts, it changes our lives: ‘As the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His steadfast love toward those who fear Him... The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon those who fear Him’(Psalm 103:11,17). We thank You, Lord, for Your love. Help us to live to please You!

Are Things Really So Different?

Psalms 101:1-102:28 ‘I will sing of Your love... I will walk with integrity of heart...’(Psalm 101:1-2). Lord, we read these words, from many centuries ago, and, too quickly, we say, ‘Things are very different now.’ Are they really so different? Are worshipping You and walking with You out-of-date now? Are they to be forgotten? So many people have no time for You, Lord. They feel that they can do without You. They refuse to worship You. They do not walk with You. In our ever-changing world, You keep on speaking to us about something we must never forget: You, Lord, are ‘enthroned for ever’. Your ‘Name endures to all generations’. In all the changes of life, You, Lord, ‘remain the same’. Your ‘years go on through all generations’. Your ‘years will never end’(Psalm 102:12,24,27). Lord, we read Your Word, and we say, "These words were ‘written for a future generation’". They were written for us. Help us never to forget to ‘praise You’(Psalm 102:18)!

Lord, You are the King - ‘the King all-glorious above’, ‘the King of love.’

Psalms 96:1-97:12 ‘The Lord reigns’(Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1). Lord, You are the King. You are not only ‘the King all-glorious above’. You are ‘the King of love’. You are ‘our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend!’ You are not only ‘the King of heaven’. You are ‘the God of grace’. You are ‘the King of mercy.’ Your reign is not to be restricted to some faraway heaven. It is not to be a reign that is far removed from the practicalities of our everyday life. You want to reign in our hearts. You want to reign in every part of our life. May Your reign of love begin. May Your grace and mercy control all that we do.

God Is Good To Us Today.

“Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to His people Israel just as He promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises He gave through His servant Moses. May the Lord our God be with us as He was with our ancestors; may He never leave us nor forsake us.  May He turn our hearts to Him, to walk in obedience to Him and keep the commands, decrees and laws He gave our ancestors” (1 Kings 8:56-58). God’s faithfulness isn’t just something that belongs in the past. It’s for us. It’s for today.  We’re not just to say, ‘God was good to “His people Israel” a long time ago.' We’re to say, ‘God is good to us today.’ When we realize how God our God is, we will give ourselves gladly to Him – “to walk in obedience to Him.”

Lifted by the Lord

"Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
He is the King of glory" (Psalm 24:7-10)..

We may read the words, "Lift up your heads", and feel that  this is a very difficult thing to do. The more we try to do this, the more we fail. This is when we need the encouragement of knowing that it's the Lord who lifts our head (Psalm 3:3). What we can't do for ourselves, He does for us.

Looking Beyond Our Suffering

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). These are tremendous words of faith. They lift our eyes above “our light and momentary troubles.” They set our eyes on the “eternal glory.” When we see our times of suffering in this eternal perspective, our hearts are encouraged in the Lord. Our suffering isn’t the last word. God’s eternal glory is – and we will share in His eternal glory – “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! … Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him…

For All Nations ...

"For my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32).
God was doing a new thing. This was not only for the nation of Israel. It was for all nations. We need to be forward-looking. We need to be outward-looking. We will be forward-looking and outward-looking when we are upward-looking - looking away from ourselves to the Lord.

Lord, You’re calling us to stop turning away from You. You’re calling us to start turning to You.

2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28 Lord, we read the words – “He turned away from the Lord” (2 Chronicles 25:27), and our hearts are sad. Is this only the story of other people? Is it not also our own story? You’re calling us to stop turning away from You. You’re calling us to start turning to You. Help us to walk with You in the light of Your Word – “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13).

From the dark place to the place of abundant blessing

"I loathe my very life" (Job 10:1). "Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy 21 before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness, 22 to the land of deepest night, of utter darkness and disorder, where even the light is like darkness.” (Job 10:20-22). 

From its first verse to its final verses, Job 10 takes us into a very dark place. 
Is there a way out of this dark place? When we're in a dark place, it seems like there's no way out of it. When we're going through a really hard time, our emotions may be telling that this is the way it's always going to be.  
We should read what the final chapter of Job tells us - "The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part" (Job 42:12).