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Showing posts from January, 2020

A human explanation... but that’s not the whole story!

“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).

It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us.

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (Habakkuk 2:1).

Habakkuk doesn’t say to God, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I’ll go away and think about it and see if I agree with what you have said.” No! He says something very different. He says, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I will be corrected by Your Word to me.” It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us. The moment we speak about our thinking being corrected by God’s Word, we hear voices being raised – “The Bible was written such a long time ago. The world is very different now.” Yes! The world is very different now – but we must ask the awkward question, “How many of the changes have come from the fact that we have stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to us?” Have we stopped listening to what the Bible ha…

Let's Give God Our Very Best.

Ephesians 4:7-5:14
God wants us to ‘grow up in every way into Christ’ (15). We are to ‘walk in love’ (2), a life which is ‘pleasing to the Lord’ (5:10).
It is so easy for us to settle for something less than God’s very best. We settle down into a state of spiritual complacency.
What does God have to say about this? - ‘Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’ (30). He gives us His wake-up call: ‘Awake, O sleeper…’ (5:14). God says to us, ‘Awake, awake, put on your strength… Shake yourself from the dust, arise’ (Isaiah 52:1-2).
Have you become ‘lukewarm’? - ‘Be zealous and repent’. Christ says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him’ (Revelation 3:16,19-20).

The Word Of The Lord And The Spirit Of The Lord

“Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Genesis 40:8).
It’s a great blessing to have the Word of the Lord. There’s another great blessing. God has given to us the Holy Spirit. Through the working of the Holy Spirit in us, the Word of God comes alive. It is more than just a book. It is the Word of God to me. It is the Word of God to you. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes. He shows us Jesus. he leads us to Jesus. He gives us love for Jesus. Thank God for His written Word. Thank Him for the Holy Spirit. We read the Word, and the Holy Spirit says to us, “This is for you.”

Wonderful Grace Of Jesus ...

"You are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." (Ephesians 2:19-22)


Amazing grace - God has done great things for us! We were not His people. Now, we are His people. This is His doing. It's the work of His grace - "Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin ..."

The Reviving Power of God's Word

"Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, ‘Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.’ The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth" (Jonah 3:3-5). What a revival! What power there is in the Word of God!

What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord?

"Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,  the temple of the Lord!”... Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord" (Jeremiah 7:4,11). Jeremiah spoke to the people of his own day. He speaks to us as well. Don't let the place where you worship become more important than it really is. This is what he says to us. These are not only the words of Jeremiah. This is the Word of the Lord. What's happening in our hearts when we are gathered together in the House of the Lord? Are we thinking to ourselves, "I never miss a church service - not like those who've stopped coming to church"? What kind of "worship" is this? Lord, take us to the heart of worship. Give us a worshipping heart.

The Lord is our Helper.

"O Lord, I cry to You for help!" (Joel 1:19). We look to some people for help - and they're no help to us, God is never like that. He is our Helper. He's always there for us. We call upon Him - and He helps us. He's "the help of the helpless" (from the hymn, "Abide with me"). We may not always feel 'helped' - but we have been helped, much more than we'll ever realize! Praise God! Thank Him for His help - even when you're only very vaguely aware of just how much He has helped you.
"Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart" (Joel 2:12).
"Now" - returning to the Lord is not to be left until later on. With all your heart" -a real return to the Lord must never be a half-hearted thing.

"The Lord will be a refuge for His people" (Joel 3:1). 
People let us down. The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.

Amazing grace - reaching out to us.

We are, because of our sin, under the judgment of God. Christ has taken our judgment that we might receive His salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we have a great reminder of this. Christ drank from the cup of our condemnation that we might drink from the cup of His salvation. This is amazing grace, reaching out to us.
What we do with this grace, which is so freely offered to us in Christ, is a matter of eternal significance. May God, in this generation where there is so much unbelief, bring many people to heed the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.” These great words of grace are followed by some words which tell us how amazing this grace is: “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways’, declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are …

Mercy To Thousands ...

“showing mercy to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments” (Exodus 20:6). In there, among the Ten Commandments, there’s the word, “mercy” – what a wonderful word! What a wonderful thought – God is merciful. He does not look upon us in our sin. He looks upon us in His Son, our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.  He looks at Jesus – dying on the Cross. He sees Jesus, bearing our sin – and He sees us, receiving Jesus’ salvation. “In my place, condemned He stood. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!” – This is mercy, and it’s right here in the Ten Commandments. How wonderful is this! God’s Word speaks here of our love for the Lord and our obedience to His commandments. Where does this come from? It comes from the Lord – from the God of love, grace and mercy. Before we come to the Ten Commandments, we have the great declaration of God’s salvation: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2). Real love for the …

""Great is Your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22).

Day by day, we learn more about our own human failure. Day by day, we learn also of God's divine faithfulness. "We are faithless. He remains faithful" (2 Timothy 2:13). Day by day, let's praise God for His wonderful love, His amazing grace and His superabundant marvellous mercy. "The grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant ... Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners ... I obtained mercy ... Now to the King eternal ... be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen" (1 Timothy 1:14-17).

God Doesn't Give Up On Us!

Jonah tried to run away from the Lord. The Lord protected Jonah (Jonah 1:17). The Lord hadn’t given up on Jonah. God had a purpose for Jonah. What a great purpose it was! The call of God (Jonah 1:1-2) wasn’t obeyed by Jonah – but the call of God remained. God was still planning to use Jonah to bring great blessing to the people of Nineveh. Jonah’s attempt to go to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3) was a detour – but God had not forgotten His plan for Jonah. The “big fish” was the beginning of God’s way of getting Jonah to the place where He wanted him to be. The “three days and three nights” were God’s way of getting Jonah ready for being His faithful and fruitful servant. In this time of preparation for service, there is prayer (Jonah 2:1-10). Jonah’s prayer was preparing the way for revival in Nineveh. “From inside the fish…” – Not a great place to be; Jonah prayed to the Lord our God” – Can prayer change things? – Yes! “I called to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me” (Jo…

Raised From The Dead!

“God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (Acts 2:24).
Did this become true only because a lot of people said that it was true? Has it become false because many people refuse to believe that it’s true? No! It’s God’s great miracle. Death has been defeated. There is hope. Death will not triumph over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.

A Hopeless Situation?

For Jerusalem, the situation seemed to be hopeless. Humanly speaking, everything looked very gloomy. This was the situation into which the word of the Lord came. Often, our feelings may tell us, “My enemies have triumphed” (Lamentations 1:9). These are the times when we must learn to look beyond our feelings, believing that God has His Word for us, and it is a Word of victory. There is so much, in Lamentations 2, about God’s judgment. It is, however, encouraging to read the words of Lamentations 2:13 – God’s people are described as the “beloved people of Zion.” Beloved – This is a great word. God used this word to describe Jesus – His Beloved Son. We are in Christ. We are in the Beloved. We are God’s Beloved. We are loved with an everlasting love. At the heart of this book, in which there is much lamentation, we find words of great encouragement – “Great is Thy faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:23). The Lord is assuring us that, whatever may happen to us, here is something …

The Tower of Babel

Genesis 10-11
Following on from the reference to Babylon in 10:10, we have, in chapter 11, the story of "the Tower of Babel". "This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible to them" (11:6). What can we say about the world today, as men 'play God', taking the issues of life and death into their own hands? We need to remember that God is the Creator and we are His creatures. We dare not assume an authority which does not belong to us. God is left out by man who sees himself as the be-all and end-all, man who does things his way, man who seeks his own glory rather than God's glory. We must ask, "Does this glorify God or man? Does this show the love of God or the 'couldn't care less' attitude of godless man?" We must ask concerning ourselves: "Am I getting caught up in a secular, materialistic, godless way of thinking? Am I seeking to bring Christian value…

Be Real!

“The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau” (Genesis 27:22). Be real! What we are and what we appear to be can be two very different things. God is calling us out of hypocrisy and into holiness. There can be no real holiness if we’re only trying to keep up appearances. God is looking for holiness of heart. This is so different from the “holiness” of the Pharisees. That wasn’t holiness. It was hypocrisy. Lord, deliver us from hypocrisy, and lead us into holiness.

Better Than Just Hoping For The Best!

"My hope is in You" (Psalm 39:7). Hope - what does this mean? We speak about hoping for the best' when we fear the words. We say, 'I hope so', when we're not too sure about saying, 'I think so.' What kind of hope is this. It's human optimism. It's wishful thinking. There is another hope, a better hope. This hope begins when we see that our human situation is hopeless. It begins when we look away from ourselves to the Lord, when we look to Him, and say, "My hope is in You."

The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.

* "O Lord, I cry to You for help!" (Joel 1:19). We look to some people for help - and they're no help to us, God is never like that. He is our Helper. He's always there for us. We call upon Him - and He helps us. He's "the help of the helpless" (from the hymn, "Abide with me"). We may not always feel 'helped' - but we have been helped, much more than we'll ever realize! Praise God! Thank Him for His help - even when you're only very vaguely aware of just how much He has helped you.  * "Even now, declares the Lord, return to Me with all your heart" (Joel 2:12).
"Now" - returning to the Lord is not to be left until later on. With all your heart" - a real return to the Lord must never be a half-hearted thing. * "The Lord will be a refuge for His people" (Joel 3:1).
People let us down. The Lord never lets us down. He lifts us up.

A Future which is Heavenly, Eternal and Glorious

‘The Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God … shone with the glory of God’ (Revelation 21:10). We thank You, Lord, that You have given us a glimpse of a future which is heavenly, eternal and glorious. We thank You that You have shown us the way to eternal life. Jesus is the Way. He is the true and living Way. When our future seems bleak, help us to look to You and Your future. Help us to look to Jesus. Sometimes, we wonder, “What’s the world coming to?” Help us to turn this question around and say, with confident faith, “Jesus Christ is coming to the world.” We long for a place in Your heavenly and eternal Kingdom. Help us, here-and-now, to find a place in our hearts for Jesus. May others see Jesus in us – and catch a glimpse of Your glorious Kingdom.

Touch our hearts, Lord, with Your love.

Exodus 10:1-29 Touch our hearts, Lord, with Your love. So often, our hearts are hard. How can this hardness be broken down? You must do it. We can't do this for ourselves. We can't do this by ourselves. It's Your love that changes us. It's Your love that makes us new. Open our hearts to Your love. Fill our hearts with Your love.

Kept!

* “His feet do not slip … They will be kept safe forever” (Psalm 37:31,28). Our  feet are slipping. Things are getting out of control. Out of whose control? – Out of our control. Not out of God’s control. He keeps us safe. He keeps our feet from slipping.
 * “Wait on the Lord, and keep His way” (Psalm 37:34).
How do we keep on walking in the way of the Lord? It is the Lord who keeps us walking in His way. Before we can “keep His way”, we must “wait on Him.” If we are to keep on walking with the Lord, we must keep on waiting on Him. “Wait on the Lord” – This is faith. It is looking away from ourselves to the Lord. Left to our own devices, we will wander away from the way of the Lord. We are not left to our own devices. We can “wait on the Lord and renew our strength” (Isaiah 40:31). As we keep our eyes on Him, looking beyond our present situation to His eternal salvation, He will keep us walking in His way -“kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be…

Jesus Is Risen. Jesus Is Lord.

“God raised Jesus Christ from the dead” (Acts 2:24). Did this become true only because a lot of people said that it was true? Has it become false because many people refuse to believe that it’s true? No! It’s God’s great miracle. Death has been defeated. There is hope. Death will not triumph over us. Jesus Christ is Lord.

A Change Of Direction

Christ brings a change of direction into our life.
This change of direction is described for us in Acts 2:42 -“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Christ is preached. We believe the Gospel. We receive salvation. Life is no longer centred upon ourselves. It is centred upon Christ.

Great Boldness And Great Blessing - From Our Great Saviour

Peter preached Christ with great boldness: ‘There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved’(Acts 4:12). This boldness came from the Holy Spirit. Peter was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’(Acts 4:8). Don’t say, ‘I‘m no Peter’. Peter failed his Lord and had to be restored (Matthew 26:69-75; John 21:15-17). Peter drew great strength from ‘the company of those who believed’. They ‘gathered together’ for prayer. They ‘were of one heart and soul’…’(Acts 4:31-33). Why did God deal so severely with Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11)? This was the start of something great. God refused to let His work be spoiled! There is a warning for us: Don’t pretend to be more holy than you really are. God sees what you’re really like. ‘Search me, O God…’(Psalm 139:23-24). There was great blessing: ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord’(Acts 5:14). There was persecution (Acts 5:17-18). This did not hinder the advance…

Often, Lord, we feel trapped - trapped by our sin.

Exodus 12:29-13:16 Often, Lord, we feel trapped - trapped by our sin. We try to break free - but we can't make it happen. Our sin has such a strong hold on us. We wonder, "Is there a way to freedom?" Jesus says, "Yes. There is." He says to us, "I am the Way to freedom." Set us free, Lord, from our self-centredness. May there be less of self and more of You in our lives.

Truth - And Faith

John 17 - This is such a great prayer. At the heart of it, we have these great words, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). True prayer is always grounded in truth. There is a conversation between ourselves and God. God initiates this conversation. From Him, there is revelation. From us, there is response. Revelation comes first. He speaks to us. Then, we speak to Him. In our world, there are many voices. There is one voice which must not be drowned out: the voice of God. “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).Where does our faith come from? It comes from the Lord. He has spoken to us in His Word. He is still speaking to us. Are we listening to Him? We’re not to come to the Word of God with the attitude that says, “This is true. That’s not true.” On what basis do we say, “This is true. That’s not true”? We may come to some parts of the Bible and say, “That speaks to me.” We may come to other parts of the Bible and say, “That doesn’t speak to me.” What are we saying when we say th…

We stand in the strength of the Lord.

The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” (Psalm 3:1). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies (Psalm 2:2).
What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” (2 Timothy 2:13). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Living In The Light Of God's Unfailing Love

“I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth” (Psalm 26:3).
In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living – a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light.
“I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3).
Have we always been mindful of God’s unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord – but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down – but He has never let us down. It’s His love for us that’s unfailing – not our love for Him.

New Life

New life for Levi (Mark 3:1-4)
* His name was LEVI.
* He was EVIL.
He was a tax collector, making a fortune for himself at the expense of other people.
* He began to LIVE when he followed Jesus.
What a wonderful message there is in the conversion of Levi.
Our Saviour still calls sinners to make a new beginning with Him (Mark 3:17).
Let’s be like the new Levi – “He arose and followed Jesus” (Mark 3:15).

The Lord - My Rock

“To You, Lord, I call; You are my Rock” (Psalm 28:1). “I’ve anchored in Jesus, the storms of life I’ll brave, I’ve anchored in Jesus, I fear no wind or wave. I’ve anchored in Jesus, for He hath power to save, I’ve anchored to the Rock of Ages” (Lewi­s E. Jones).

God's Purpose, God's Spirit, God's Glory, God's People, God's Blessing

In Ezekiel 38:23, we read about God's purpose in history - "I will show My greatness and My holiness. I will reveal Myself to many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord." It is important that we see the divine dimension in the events which take place here on earth. There are political events, but politics isn't everything. There's more than politics. There's the work of God. He is working out His plan, "I will pour out My Spirit on the nation of Israel" (Ezekiel 39:29). True blessing comes when God pours out His Spirit. This is something for which we must always - the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In Ezekiel 40-43, we have a description of the temple. We can measure the physical dimensions of the temple, but there is something that we cannot measure: "I saw the glory of the Lord fill the temple" (Ezekiel 43:5). This is the spiritual dimension. This is the presence of the Spirit of the  Lord. We look beyond the temp…

The Watchman, The Shepherd, New Birth And Revival

In Ezekiel 33, we read about the ministry of "the watchman." He listens to God's Word and speaks the Word of warning  to the people (Ezekiel 33:7). He declares the love of God - "I don't want wicked people to die ... I want them to turn from their ways and live" (Ezekiel 33:10). The warning is spoken as the voice of love, calling sinners to draw back from the way that leads to death, to turn to the Lord and live. In Ezekiel 34, there is the promise of a new Shepherd for the lost sheep. This is Good News. We are more than lost sheep. We are the Lord's sheep. Without the Lord, we are  lost. In Him, we are found. God says, "I will search for My sheep Myself and I will look after them" (Ezekiel 34:11). We read this, and our thoughts turn to Jesus, who came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, who laid down His life for us. He is the Great Shepherd, who rose from the dead for us. He is the Chief Shepherd, who is c…

God's Eternal Purpose, Our Earthly Journey

"You, Bethlehem ..." (Micah 5:2-4) - a great prophecy of the birth of Christ. As we read the Old Testament, and come across passages like this, we see the hand of the Lord at work in human history. We see God, fulfilling His plan, carrying out His eternal purpose - salvation. "Remember your journey ... so that you may know the victories of the Lord" (Micah 6:5). It is a good thing to recall what the Lord has done for us. This gives us strength to face the future with confidence in the Lord. "The voice of the Lord calls out to the city" (Micah 6:9). God is calling us to be His voice, speaking His Word to the people of our community.

King Jesus

“For a full 180 days, King Xerxes displayed the vast wealth of his kingdom and the splendour and glory of his majesty” (Esther 1:4). As I was reading these words about King Xerxes, I thought about another king, a very different king, a much better king – King Jesus. What did Jesus say about His Kingdom?  This is what He said – “My Kingdom is not of this world… My Kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). We read about Xerxes. We read about Jesus. We must make our choice. What is most important to us – this world or the world towards which God is calling us, the world of His glory?

If I Perish ...

“And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?’ … I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.’” (Esther 4:14,16).
God has a plan for us. Are we willing to pay the price?

What happens, Lord.,when Your people “gather together”?

Nehemiah 8:1-9:5
What happens when Your people “gather together” (Nehemiah 8:1)? We hear Your Word (Nehemiah 8:2-3,8). We thank You for Your Son (Nehemiah 8:13-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). We dedicate our lives to You (Nehemiah 9:2). We worship You (Nehemiah 9:5). Lord, help us to enter in, with all our hearts, to all that You promise to bring into our lives when we respond to Your gracious call: “Let us worship God.”

Help us, Lord, to listen to Your Word.

2 Kings 19:1-37 “Do not be afraid because of the words you have heard” (2 Kings 19:6). Help us, Lord, to listen to Your Word. When the world’s voice seems to be so loud, help us to hear Your voice. Help us to hear Your Word of encouragement: "The zeal of the Lord will do this” (2 Kings 19:31). When fear threatens to overwhelm us, help us to remember that You are “able” (Daniel 3:17) – “able to help those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18), “able to provide us with every blessing in abundance” (2 Corinthians 9:8), “able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Our lives lay in ruins until You, Lord, put us together again.

Nehemiah 11:1-12:30 Our lives lay in ruins until You put us together again. You call us to build our lives on Christ (Matthew 7:24-27). Help us, Lord, to come to You, again and again – confessing our sin, receiving Your forgiveness, building on Christ, our Saviour. When we feel ourselves being pulled away from You, help us to choose Christ. May we choose to be holy. May we choose the way of blessing, the way that brings glory to You.

Leading sinners to the Saviour of sinners

"My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins" (James 5:19-20).

It is a great thing to rejoice in God's salvation. We give thanks for the truth upon which our salvation rests. As well as rejoicing in God's salvation and standing upon His truth, we must also speak directly to those who have wandered from the truth, calling upon them to turn from the error of their ways. Turning "a sinner from the error of his way" - we don't hear much of this kind of talk nowadays. People like to hear the Good News of salvation. They like to be assured of the truth of God's Word. If, however, our teaching regarding the Good News of salvation and the truth of God's Word are to have real depth, we must speak forthrightly about turning "a sinner from the error of his way."
 * …

What happens to us, Lord, when we turn away from You?

2 Kings 17:1-41 What happens to us, Lord, when we turn away from You? Everything starts falling apart. It may seem like we’re getting on well – but there’s an “emptiness” (2 Kings 17:14) at the heart of everything that we do. Having Jesus as our Saviour – this is all that really matters. there’s nothing more important than this. Help us to keep on coming to Jesus, to keep on enjoying “the fullness of life” that He gives to us (John 10:10),

What are we to do when everything seems to be hopeless?

1 Kings 14:1-15:8 What are we to do when everything seems to be hopeless? – We turn to You, Lord. You are the God of hope. Our hope is in You. You can turn things around. Your love changes everything. Your love changes us. Thank You, Lord, for Your love. It’s Your love that gives us hope for the future. We look to the future – and we look to You. We say, “I know not what the future holds, but I know who holds the future.”

Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service.

1 Kings 7:13-8:13 Lord, You’re calling us to choose the life of fruitful service – “gold, silver, precious stones”. You’re calling us to leave behind the unfruitful life – “wood, hay, straw” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). Help us to hear and answer Your call: “Rise up, O Church of God. Have done with lesser things. Give heart and soul and mind and strength to serve the King of kings.”

God speaks His Word of love - His Word of forgiveness, peace and hope.

Samaria and Jerusalem behaved like prostitutes. In graphic language, the sin of turning from the Lord is compared to sexual immorality. Why does God expose their sin with such plainness of speech? He wants to show them the full extent of their rebellion, so that they may see the folly of continuing in sin and may be moved to return to the Lord - “Then they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 23:49). In Ezekiel 24, we learn about God’s holiness and His love. If we are to appreciate the wonderful love God has for sinners, we need to become more deeply aware of the awesome holiness of God’s hatred of sin. We look at our sin. We look at God’s holiness. We learn about ourselves. We see how far we have fallen short of God’s glory. We learn about God. We come to know that He is the Lord. Deeply aware of God’s holiness and our own sin, we are led, by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Scriptures, to see Jesus, crucified for us. We hear about God’s holiness. This is the Word of His…

Called into the service of the eternal God

Jeremiah was called into the service of the eternal God - “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for My holy purpose. I appointed you to be a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah called the people back to the Lord, “the fountain of living (life-giving) water” (Jeremiah 2:13). He called them to be converted - to turn around. They were turning their backs on the Lord. They were replacing Him with something else, something useless, something that would never bring them real satisfaction (Jeremiah 2:13). Now, they were to turn their faces to Him (Jeremiah 2:27). To a returning people, God promises his mercy - “Come back, unfaithful Israel. It is the Lord speaking. I will no longer frown on you because I’m merciful, declares the Lord, I will no longer be angry with you.” returning to the Lord means confessing our sins - “Admit that you’ve done wrong! You have rebelled against the Lord your God ...” The message of Jerem…

Can Things Be Turned Around?

In Ezekiel 26, we find an awesome Word of judgment, spoken against the city of Tyre. The Word, spoken by God through His prophet, is uncompromising - “Tyre, you famous city, you have been destroyed” (Ezekiel 26:17). The effect of Tyre’s fall is described: “Your defeat will make the people, who live by the coast, tremble. Your end will terrify the islands in the sea” (Ezekiel 26:18). This is the fear of the Lord. We become aware that it’s a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God. The Gospel tells us about the hands that were nailed to the Cross for us, so that we might pass from judgment to salvation, through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a continuation of the Word of judgment, which began in Ezekiel 26. How final are the words at the end of Ezekiel 27: “You have come to a terrible end, and you will never exist again” (Ezekiel 27:36). This is the bad news concerning all of us. We are sinners. We are under God’s judgment. Our only hope is the God of grac…

God's Word Of Love - For The Preacher And The People

"The Lord spoke the Word to Micah" (Micah 1:1).  The Word is given to the prophet. This is where true prophecy begins. It begins with God. It does not come from the mind of the prophet. It is given to him by the Lord. In this revelation, given by God to the prophet, there is "the Word" and "the vision." God speaks to us. He draws near to us. Jesus is God's "Word" to us. He is more than the words spoken to us. He is "the Word made flesh" (John 1:1,14). To "all" people, God says, "Listen ... Pay attention" (Micah 1:2). What does God say to us? He speaks "against" us (Micah 1:2). Do we need to hear this? Yes! We do. The Word that is spoken against us prepares us for the Good News of God's love. The more seriously we take the Word that is spoken against us, the more we will give thanks to God for His love. We will rejoice in this - His love reaches us in our sin and triumphs over our sin. …

Our love for God - a response to His love for us

Song of Solomon can be read at two different levels. At the human level, it’s a celebration of the love between a man and a woman. At the spiritual level, it inspires us to appreciate, more truly and more fully, the great love which Christ has for us. As we grow in our awareness of Christ’s amazing love for us, we are called to love Him more. His love comes first. We must never forget this. His love is an everlasting love. Our love for Him can never be any more than a response to His love for us.

“The days are coming.”

“The days are coming”: These words introduce a prophecy concerning the land (Jeremiah 30:3). The greatest blessing is not being in the land. It is belonging to the Lord. This is the blessing, spoken of by Jeremiah. When, speaking God’s Word, he writes, “You will be My people, and I will be your God” (Jeremiah 30:22).

Gathered To His People

“Gathered to his people” (Genesis 25:8,17) This phrase caught my attention. It brought to mind the words of Jesus – ” … they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect … from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31). What a great and glorious future the Lord is preparing for His people! We thank the Lord for what He done. We look forward, and we say, “The best is yet to be” – “if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more surely, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10).

The Fruitless Life? or The Fruitful Life?

"The Lord spoke His Word through the prophet Haggai" (Haggai 1:1). The prophet is only the messenger. It is the Lord who speaks His Word. God's Word challenges our way of thinking and our way of living. We say, "Everything is okay." God says, "Everything is not okay." There is a problem. God says to us, "Carefully consider your ways" (Haggai 1:5). Our way of thinking and living is self-centred. It should be God-centred (Haggai 1:4). When we respond to God's Word, He says to us, "I am with you" (Haggai 1:13). We are not left to do the work in our own strength. He gives us the strength that we need.
First, the Lord speaks to Haggai (Haggai 2:1). Then, Haggai speaks for God (Haggai 2:2). "The faithful few who returned from Babylon" (Haggai 2:2) - Even if we are few, let us remain faithful. God calls us to "be strong" (Haggai 2:4). He says to us, "Work, because I am with you" (Haggai 2:4).…

Filled With Glory

"I will fill this temple with glory" (Haggai 2:7). We read about the glory of the temple at Jerusalem.  There is, however, a greater glory - the glory of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2) - "I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple" (Revelation 21:22). Where do we find the real glory? Is it in the place where we worship? No! It's in the Person whom we worship. It's in the Lord. The real glory comes from Him. It's the Lord who fills the temple with His glory.

The Kingdom Of God In The Teaching Of Jesus

* The Kingdom of God does not belong to this world (John 18:36). The Kingdom of God has come into this world (Mark 1:15). God's Kingdom cannot be identified with anything that belongs to this world. The church is not the Kingdom. The church is a signpost. It points us to the Kingdom. It is a sign that the Kingdom has broken into earthly existence.     * Jesus has come. The Kingdom has come. When Jesus says that the Kingdom is in the midst of us, He is speaking of His presence in our midst. Where Jesus is, there is the Kingdom. Jesus is the Kingdom.  * In Christ's first coming, the Kingdom has come. In His Second Coming, the Kingdom will come. Jesus teaches us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come." He is directing our attention to the coming Kingdom. In Jesus' first coming, there is a real coming of the Kingdom. There is also this message, "There is more to come." When we pray, "Thy Kingdom come", we are praying, "Lord, lead us on, from the promis…

Making Choices

Isaiah 1:16-20 Each of us must make choices - not just, What suit, shirt and tie will I put on? Will I worship the Lord? or Will I stay at home? What attitude will I bring with me to church? - ‘This is just a religious habit” or “This a meeting with God. It will change my way of thinking and living.” In Isaiah 1:18-20, we read about two very different responses to God - returning to Him or rebelling against Him. When we return to the Lord, this will change the way we relate to other people (Isaiah 1:16-17). We’re not to be like Judas Iscariot - making money for himself, but paying the ultimate price: “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? (Matthew 16:26).

When we read God’s Word ...

Isaiah 11:1-9 When we read God’s Word, we ask, What can I learn about Jesus, about believing in him and living for Him?“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him... ” (Isaiah 11:2) - This is about Jesus. It’s about Peter on the Day of Pentecost. It’s about us. “Wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge” - All of these suggest something we know with our minds. Strength speaks to us about acting on what we know. Where do all these blessings come from? - They come from “the Spirit of the Lord.” Everything that God gives to us is summed up in this: “the Spirit of the Lord.” Life in the spirit includes both “the fear of the Lord” and trust in the Lord. Life in the Spirit includes both divine revelation and human response.There’s a vital connection between what we say and what we do and what we are. There will be powerful and effective preaching when what we say is backed up by what we do and what we are.

God is with us.

Isaiah speaks, prophetically, of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who is also known as “Immanuel” (“God is with us”) (Isaiah 7:14).  “God is with us” – These words are spoken to God’s people in every situation of our life (Isaiah 8:10). Isaiah’s prophetic message concerns the transformation which brings “glory”, where there is “gloom”: “But there will be no more gloom … But in the future He will bring glory” (Isaiah 9:1). This “glory” comes through our “Wonderful” Saviour, who is the “Mighty God” (Isaiah 9:6). In Him, we have “peace”, “wise counsel” and “everlasting” life. Praise God! To Him be the glory! He has brought us to know Himself, as our Father, through Christ, His Beloved Son. What will it mean, for us , to know God? It will mean being changed by Him. He is teaching us to walk with Him. He is teaching us to follow Jesus. He is teaching us “to refuse the evil, and choose the good” (Isaiah 7:15). Standing upon the promise – “God is with us” – does not mea…

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us.

Let’s sing of God’s great love for us. ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever; with my mouth I will make known Your faithfulness through all generations’(Psalm 89:1). Many years have passed since these words were written by the Psalmist. Many generations have come and gone since Jesus Christ came to our world. The years come and go. The centuries run their course. One generation gives way to another generation. Time moves on relentlessly. None of us can halt the march of time. Many changes have taken place over the course of time. There is something which must never change. The Lord is to be praised ‘for ever’. He is to be praised ‘through all generations’. We must look back and remember. Jesus Christ was crucified for us. Jesus Christ has risen for us. This is the Good News which inspires our praise: ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love for ever…’

Let’s receive strength from the God of our salvation. By the grace of God we are called to salvation – ‘saved throug…

I will praise the Lord ...

Psalm 111:1-10  "Hallelujah! Jesus Christ is risen today" - a celebration for Easter, and every Lord’s Day.
 * At the start of the Psalm - “I will praise the Lord” (Psalm 111:1).
 * At the end of the Psalm - “His praise endures forever” (Psalm 111:10).
In our worship, there is to be both “the fear of the Lord” (Psalm 111:10) and trust in the Lord - “the Lord is gracious and compassionate... He has sent redemption to His people” (Psalm 111:4,9).
We give thanks to the Lord for His love, but we must never forget that “His Name is holy and awe-inspiring” (Psalm 111:9).
 * The character of God: He is holy, He is love.
 * The message of the Gospel: In love for us, the holy God has provided a way for our sins to be forgiven.
These are the truths of God’s Word which are to shape our lives, making us more holy and more loving.

Grace, Gratitude, Glory

Grace, Gratitude, Glory – These three words summarize the meaning of the Lord’s Supper, the preaching of the Gospel, the message of the Bible. We live in an age where there is a great call for originality and novelty. Often, people lose their bearings. They don’t know what to believe. In such a time as this, we need teaching which is both simple and profound – simple enough to state clearly the message of the Lord’s Supper, the Gospel and the Bible; profound in a way that makes us conscious that, in the Lord’s Supper, the Gospel and the Bible, we are in contact with Someone greater than ourselves – the God of grace, the God of glory. As we consider this God – the God of grace, the God of glory, we must allow our hearts, and not only our minds, to be deeply affected, so that, from our hearts, there arises a song of thanksgiving. We have God’s call to thanksgiving.“Give thanks with a grateful heart, Give thanks to the Holy One, Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son” (Power …

The Rock and the River

The Rock and the River are still there – even when I can’t see them! We look out towards Dumbarton Rock and the River Clyde. There is, however, a problem! Straight ahead of us, there are some large trees. When the leaves are on the trees, we can’t see anything that’s behind the trees. We can’t see the Rock and the River – but they’re still there! There is another Rock – Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation. There is another River – the Holy Spirit, the River of God’s blessing. When our faith is weak, we must remember this: Jesus is still the Rock of our salvation. When we don’t feel very blessed, we must remember this: the Holy Spirit is still the River of God’s blessing. Jesus told a story about two builders. One was wise. He built his house on a rock. The other was foolish. He built his house on sand. How are we to build our lives on Jesus Christ, the Rock of our salvation? We must hear His Word. We must obey His Word (Matthew 7:24). Hearing and obeying – this is the way of ble…

Great Sin And Even Greater Grace

"The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth" (Genesis 6: 5) - This is great sin. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord" (Genesis 6:8) - This is even greater grace. God could have looked on the whole human race , and said, "Enough is enough. That's us finished." He didn't do this. He didn't give up on us. He kept on going - with His purpose of grace, His plan of salvation. Beyond the flood, there was the new beginning. God was doing a new thing. This was the work of His grace. It had nothing to do with human righteousness. It had everything to do with divine mercy - the saving grace of God. When you read about the flood, look beyond the destruction - and see the salvation of God.

Walking in the Light with God

God is calling us to walk in the light with Him. * He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His love. Go back to Genesis 1:3 – “Let there be light, and there was light.” Go back beyond the created light. Go back to the eternal God – “In the beginning, God” (Genesis 1:1). What do we find when we go back to the eternal God. We find love, eternal love:  “He has loved us with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). This is light of God’s love. * He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His Word. What is it that brings us out of darkness and into light? It’s the light of God’s Word – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). * He’s calling us to walk with Him in the light of His Son. What a great Saviour we have! Jesus is His Name. He is “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). Let us walk with Jesus – in the light of God’s love, in the light of God’s Word. * He’s calling us to walk with God in the light of His Kingdom. What do we see whe…

Mixed Messages

Ireland has long been known as the ‘Land of Saints and Scholars’ with a reputation for sending God’s messengers around the world to proclaim the ‘Good News’. In 563, St. Columba travelled from Ireland. His journey was a missionary journey. It has been beautifully and vividly described by T. Radcliffe Barnett (1868-1946) – ‘that navy of heaven which brought more wealth of Christ than ... all the greatest ships of war’. In recent times it has become known for the ‘Bad News’ of violence, sectarianism and bigotry.

What message is coming out from Ireland to the rest of today's world?

There are conflicting messages coming out from Ireland. There is good news. The wealth of Christ is being carried out to the nations of the world. There is bad news. The world hears about the troubles in Northern Ireland and wonders, ‘Will it ever end?’ The Church enjoys a glorious privilege. God has shown us His kindness by allowing us to spread the Good News of the immeasurable wealth of Christ (Ephesian…