Tuesday, 24 February 2015

We seek, Lord, for the way of wisdom – and we find that it is also the way of happiness.

Proverbs 8:1-36
We seek, Lord, for the way of wisdom – and we find that it is also the way of happiness (Proverbs 8:32-34). The world seeks happiness in wealth. Your Word teaches us that wisdom is better than “silver, gold and jewels” (Proverbs 8:10-11). How are we to find wisdom? We find wisdom when we find Jesus. He is our Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). He is also our Joy. When this world is getting us down, He says to us, “Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

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

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

What is our opinion of ourselves?

Proverbs 6:1-15
What is our opinion of ourselves? Is it the same, Lord, as Your opinion of us? You see as we really are – sinners. That’s not all that You see. You see something else, something that fills us with hope for the future. You don’t write us off as hopeless cases. You see us as sinners, saved by grace. It’s Your grace that makes the difference. It’s Your grace that changes us.

The Love Of Jesus: What a wonderful love! It’s the greatest love of all.

Proverbs 5:15-23
We thank You, Lord, for the love of Jesus. There is no love like the love He has for each and every one of us. Before we ever thought of loving Him, He loved us. Before we were even born, He gave Himself, in death, for us. What a wonderful love! It’s the greatest love of all.

Lord, we are so easily entangled in the ways of the world.

Proverbs 5:1-14
Lord, we are so easily entangled in the ways of the world. We try to disentangle ourselves – but we can’t do this by ourselves. we need Your power. We need Your love. It’s Your love that changes everything. It’s Your power that makes us new. Show us Your love. Show us Your power. May Your love lift us out of our sin. May Your power lead us in the way of Your salvation.

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

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

Lord, help us to grow in Christ.

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

Praise the Lord.

Psalms 148:1-150:6
‘Praise the Lord.’ We bring to You, Lord, our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’ (Psalms 144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2). Our personal worship is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’ (Psalm 150:6). As we read these great Psalms of praise, may we be inspired to praise You more truly and more fully.

A Lifelong Commitment

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

The Teaching Of God's Word, The Strength Of His Spirit

Psalm 143:1-12 
‘Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord’ (Psalm 143:9). When we pray this kind of prayer, may we be concerned about more than our own welfare. May we be concerned about Your glory: ‘For Your Name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life’ (Psalm 143:11). How, Lord, do You lead us in victory? How are You glorified in our lives? You bring to us the teaching of His Word - ‘Let the morning bring me Word of Your unfailing love’ (Psalm 143:8). You give to us the strength of Your Spirit - ‘May Your good Spirit lead me in good paths’ (Psalm 143:10). Through Your Word and Your Spirit, You show us Your ‘unfailing love’. You enable us to say, ‘You are my God’, ‘I have put my trust in You’ and ‘I am Your servant’. You ‘show us the way we should go’. You ‘teach us to do Yours will’. You give us victory over our ‘enemies’ (Psalm 143:8,10,12). Thank You, Lord.

Praise the Lord - He is good. He is great.

Psalm 135:1-21 
‘Praise the Lord’ (Psalm 1-3,19-21). ‘The Lord is good... The Lord is great’ (Psalm 135:3,5). In our worship, Lord, we focus on both Your greatness and Your goodness. You are great in power: ‘Great is our Lord and mighty in power’ (Psalm 147:5). You are also great in love: ‘How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ (1 John 3:1). When we praise You, Lord, may we sing of Your greatness and Your goodness. May we think of the greatness of Your power - ‘I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed’ - and the greatness of His love - ‘And when I think that God His Son not sparing, sent Him to die - I scarce can take it in, that on the Cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin’ (Mission Praise, 506).

Monday, 23 February 2015

Lord, when the service of worship comes to an end, may our service of living begin - and never end!

Psalm 132:1-18 
‘Let us go to the Lord’s House; let us worship before His throne’ (Psalm 132:7). Lord, You're calling us to worship You. We are to gather together as Your worshipping people. As we gather for worship, may we remember that You, Lord, are ‘King’. May we give You more than the praise of our lips. May we give You the praise of our lives. We do not only sing to You. We live for You. We come ‘before Your throne’ with this prayer, ‘Take my heart - it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne’. You hear and answer our prayer. You give us Your strength. We rise to Your challenge: ‘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.’ Lord, when the service of worship comes to an end, may our service of living begin - and never end!

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

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

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Lord, Your Word makes such a difference!

Psalm 119:49-72 
Lord, Your Word makes such a difference! When everything seems so hopeless, we turn to Your Word,  and we find that there is ‘hope’ (Psalm 119:49). When we are going through a time of  terrible ‘suffering’, we turn to Your Word, and we find ‘comfort’ (Psalm 119:50,52). When everything seems to be going so badly, help us, Lord, to keep on reading Your Word: ‘The wicked have laid a trap for me, but I do not forget Your law’ (Psalm 119:61). Through Your Word, You are teaching us to see Your purpose in our sufferings: ‘The punishment You gave me was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to Your laws’ (Psalm 119:71). You, Lord, are showing us what is really important: ‘The law that You gave means more to me than all the money in the world’ (Psalm 119:72). Teach us to see Your ‘love’ in every part of our life (Psalm 119:64).

What are we to do when our love for God grows weak?

Psalms 116:1-117:2
‘I love the Lord... I will call on Him as long as I live’(Psam 116:1-2). Our love for God is to be a lifelong life. It is to be the love of our life. What are we to do when our love for God grows weak? We must remember His love for us - ‘Great is His love towards us. The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever’(117:2). When we find it difficult to keep on loving God, we must remember how much He loves us. When we feel like giving up on loving God, we must remember that He never gives up on loving us. He loves us when our love for Him is strong. He loves us when our love for Him is weak. In love, He reaches out to us. He brings us out of our weakness and into His strength. Let His strong love reach you in your weakness and give you His strength: ‘Loving Him who first loved me.’

Those who fear You, Lord, have no need to live in fear of man.

Psalms 111:1-112:10 
'Praise the Lord... To Him belong eternal praise... Blessed is the man who fears the Lord... His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes...'(Psalm 111:1,10; Psalm 112:1,8). Those who 'fear' You, Lord, have no need to live in fear of man. Those who know that ‘eternal praise’ belongs to You, Lord, can face their enemies with confidence. Our confidence is not in ourselves. Our confidence is You. We know how good You have been to us - ‘He provided redemption for His people’. We thank You that we have heard and believed the Good News of Christ. We need not ‘fear’ any ‘bad news’ which the devil sends our way. We 'trust' in You, Lord, confident that the ‘light ‘will triumph over the ‘darkness’. We thank You that the Good News of Christ will triumph over the devil’s bad news (Psalm 111:9; Psalm 112:4,7).

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’!

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).

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.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

God ‘Blesses’ Us Through ‘His Word.’ He ‘Blesses’ Us In ‘The Spirit.’

Psalm 147:1-20
‘The Lord builds up Jerusalem. He gathers the exiles of Israel. he heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds’(2-3). This is much more than the building of the city of Jerusalem with bricks and mortar. This is God building up His people in their ‘most holy faith’(Jude 20). This is God blessing His people as they gather together to worship Him. In Christ, we are ‘being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit’(Ephesians 2:22). The Lord draws us to Himself. He brings us into fellowship with His people. He calls us to worship Him: ‘Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving’. He ‘blesses’ us through ‘His Word’. He ‘blesses’ us in ‘the Spirit’: ‘He sends His Word... and the waters flow’(7,12-13,18; John 7:37-39).

Psalms 148:1-150:6
‘Praise the Lord’. Psalms 146 and 147 began and ended with these words. Now, we find the same beginning and ending in each of these three Psalms - ‘Praise the Lord’. Our personal song of praise to God - ‘Praise be to the Lord my Rock... I will sing a new song to You, O God... I will exalt You, my God the King; I will praise Your Name for ever and ever; Every day I will praise You... My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord... I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(144:1,9; 145:1-2,21; 146:2) - is just a small part of something so much richer and fuller - ‘Let everything that has breath praise the Lord’(150:6). May these great Psalms of praise inspire us to praise the Lord more truly and more fully.

Serving Our Lord Jesus Christ

1 Corinthians 4:1-21
As ‘servants of Christ’, we must concern ourselves with one thing - being ‘found faithful’.
This is not a matter of pleasing people - ‘it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you...'
Pleasing God - this is the most important thing (1-4).
Serving Christ is not easy.
There are always those who are quick to pass judgment on the Lord’s servants. What does God say about this? - ‘Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes’ (9-13,5).
Being ‘found faithful’ is not just a matter of ‘saying the right words’. We must be the right people. This is what Paul means when he says, ‘The kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power’ (20). ‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses’ (Acts 1:8; Romans 12:11).

Our Love For The Lord Must Be Stronger Than Any Other Love.

1 Corinthians 6:12-7:24
The Lord has placed the highest value on us: ‘you were bought with a price’ (6:20; 7:23).
Our love for Him must be stronger than any other love.
Some are under pressure, at home, from an unbelieving husband or wife. You wonder whether your Christian witness is doing any good (7:16). You feel you are getting nowhere. You feel like giving up. You feel yourself being dragged away from the Lord.
What does the Word of God say? - ‘Lead the life which the Lord has assigned’; ‘Remain with God’ (7:17,24).
A difficult situation at home is just one example of ‘the world’ trying to ‘squeeze us into its own mould’ (Romans 12:2).
The world will keep chipping away at our faith - until there’s nothing left. ‘Do not love the world or the things in the world... He who does the will of God abides for ever’ (1 John 2:17).

Out Of Our Old Life, Into Christ's New Life

1 Corinthians 10:1-33
‘Participation in the blood of Christ… participation in the body of Christ’ (16): There is nothing more important than this.
We are not to be spectators, standing on the side lines, watching what’s going on without ever getting involved. We are to be participants, getting to know the Lord Jesus Christ, growing in our love for Him, strengthening our faith in Him, bringing more glory to Him. We eat bread. We drink wine.
We remember Jesus Christ, ‘the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us’. We do not only remember this great event from the past. We participate in Christ here and now. He has brought us out of our old life - ‘I have been crucified with Christ’ - and into His new life - ‘It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20).
Participate ‘in Christ’ - not only in ‘the Church’!

Trusting, Loving And Serving Christ, Our Victorious Lord.

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

Let's Live As Resurrection People!

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

The Holy Spirit Is Our ‘Guarantee Of Heavenly And Eternal Glory.’

2 Corinthians 4:1-5:10
God has called us to salvation- ‘God has shone in our hearts…’(4:6). He has called us to service- ‘having this ministry by the mercy of God’(4:1). We receive salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’(Acts 16:31). We are not to keep our faith to ourselves. We ‘believe’. We are to ‘speak’. This is God’s way of reaching ‘more and more people’ with His ‘grace’(13-15). Our experience of salvation and our empowering for service are both grounded in one great gift from God: ‘God… has given us the Spirit’(5:5). We fail our Lord often. Our faith is weak. Our witness seems so ineffective. When you feel such a failure, remember the Spirit. He will not fail you. He is our ‘guarantee of heavenly and eternal glory’(4:16-5:5).

2 Corinthians 5:11-7:1
‘Reconciled’ to God through Christ, we have received ‘the ministry of reconciliation’. Saved by Him, we are to ‘work with Him’. We are ‘not to accept the grace of God in vain’ by living for ourselves. We are to be ‘ambassadors for Christ’. We must proclaim the urgent message of salvation - ‘now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation’. We must call men and women to respond to God’s message of salvation: ‘Be reconciled to God’(5:18-6:2). If we are to be effective ‘ambassadors for Christ’, we must dedicate our lives to Him: ‘Let us cleanse ourselves… and make holiness perfect in the fear of God’(7:1). Without this heartfelt commitment to godly living, we cannot really serve the Lord at all. Our wrong lives will drown out our ‘right’ words. We need true lives as well as ‘true’ words.

Times Of Trouble Can Turn Out To Be Times Of Great...

2 Corinthians 1:1-2:11
Times of trouble can turn out to be times of great blessing - ‘God… comforts us in all our affliction’(1:3-4). Whether good things or bad things are happening to you, don’t forget this: God loves you. His Word is ‘not Yes and No’- ‘Yes, I love you. No, I don’t love you’. In Christ, His Word is ‘always Yes’(1:19). How do we know that God loves us? - ‘God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us’(Romans 5:8). Whatever may happen to us, nothing can change this great fact: Christ died for us. This is the great fact of God’s love. Life is not easy. There is ‘Satan’, always seeking ‘to gain the advantage over us’(2:11). We do not stand alone in our battle against Satan. God ‘has given us His Spirit in our hearts’. He is the ‘guarantee’ of our final victory (1:22).

2 Corinthians 2:12-3:18
How do we react when things don’t seem to be going very well? We all need the encouragement of God’s Word: ‘Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph’(2:14). When everything seems to be going wrong, we need to be reminded of God’s Word: ‘In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us’(Romans 8:37). When we feel so weak, we receive strength ‘from God’. We are strengthened by ‘the Spirit of the living God’(3:5,3). We must learn to look beyond our circumstances to our Saviour. In Him, we see ‘the surpassing glory’. As we look upon ‘the glory of the Lord’, we are ‘changed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory’(3:18). In life’s many hard times, may God help us to see what He is doing in our lives and not only what we think is happening to us.

"My Grace Is Sufficient For You.’

2 Corinthians 10:1-11:15
We are engaged in warfare. Is it ‘worldly war’? Do we use ‘worldly weapons’? No! It is spiritual warfare. God has given us His weapons (10:3-4). Our enemy is ‘Satan’- ‘the god of this world’(11:13-15; 4:4). We face him with ‘the whole armour of God’, with ‘the Gospel of peace’(Ephesians 6:11,13,15). We are not fighting for ourselves. We are not fighting in our own strength. The battle is the Lord’s. He is our Strength. Without Him, we fail. With Him, there is victory. Everything is centred upon the Lord. We are to have, ‘a sincere and pure devotion to Christ’(11:13). We are to ‘boast of the Lord’(10:17). We are to seek the Lord’s commendation (10:18). Be devoted to the Lord. Give glory to Him. Seek His approval. These are the things that really matter, the things we must never forget.

2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10
‘My grace is sufficient for you’(9). These are tremendous words! Believe them. Apply them to yourself. Let the strength of the Lord come to you as you reflect on these great words. God is speaking His Word to you. Whatever is going on in your life, whatever difficulties you are facing, God’s Word is still the same: ‘My grace is sufficient for you’. Do you think God will let you down? Don’t believe it - not even for a moment! It is a lie of the devil. It’s ‘as old as the hills’. Way back in Genesis 3:1, Satan was spreading doubt: ‘Did God say?’. God says, ‘My grace is sufficient for you’. Satan comes along and says ‘Surely you don’t believe that!’. ‘When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, By the living Word of God I shall prevail’(Redemption Hymnal, 261). Did God say? - Yes! He did say!
 
2 Corinthians 12:11-13:14
‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all’(13:14). We have often heard these words spoken. Here, we are reading them in the Word of God. How often do we think about these words? What do they mean? These are life-changing words. Through ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’, we become ‘rich’- ‘blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing’(8:9, Ephesians 1:3). ‘In love God has destined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ’(Ephesians 1:5). How do these blessings become ours? How do we become God’s children? We hear the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation. We believe in Christ. We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Such great blessing - ‘the Spirit is poured upon us from on high (Isaiah 32:15)! 

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 abundance’(9:8)? Before we ever think of giving ourselves to God, we must look at all He has given to us. We look away from ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘You know the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…’(8:9). We look at Him and we say, in our hearts, ‘Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!’(9:15). Can our giving to Him even begin to compare with His giving to us? We give to Him as those who have first received from Him. In his giving, we see His love. Our giving expresses our love, our response to His love: ‘We love because He first loved us’(1 John 4:19). Rejoice in His love. Thank Him- for ‘every blessing in abundance’!

'My Power Is Made Perfect In Weakness.’

2 Samuel 1:1-27
‘How are the mighty fallen!’(19,25,27). The tragedy of Saul was there for all to see. He had made a right mess of things! What are we to think when we read of this tragic figure? He started out so well. He ended so badly. There were high hopes - but it all came to nothing. Do we not see ourselves in Saul? - This could happen to me, if I’m not careful. The danger signs are there. Satan is at hand. He is ready to sweep in. He will sweep the feet away from us, if we don’t watch out. We are very weak, but the Lord is ‘able to keep us from falling’(Jude 24-25). These are things we must never forget - our own weakness and the strength of the Lord. Disaster threatens. Tragedy looms. Jesus draws near. He speaks His Word - ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness’(2 Corinthians 12:9). By grace, we shall stand!

2 Samuel 2:1-32
It was a new beginning. There was a new king. Saul was gone. He had been replaced by David. One thing had not changed. The Lord is King. To know His blessing - His ‘steadfast love and faithfulness’- is more important than anything else. We look beyond the servants of the Lord. We look to the Lord Himself (4-7). The names and the faces change - Saul, David, - but the Lord never changes’. Some liked one king - ‘If only we had Saul back again’. Some preferred the other - ‘Things can only get better, now that David’s here’. Some people would never be happy. There was no pleasing them. What is the most important thing of all? - Keep your eyes on the Lord. God’s servants are not in competition with one another. They are not trying to outdo each other. Let God be glorified!

2 Samuel 3:1-39
‘There was a long war between the house of Saul and the house of David’(1) - What a sad situation! It was shameful. It was sinful- a scandalous situation, which brought no glory to the Lord. The conflict seemed to go on and on - it was ‘a long war’. Perhaps, there were times when things didn’t seem too bad. Still, the problem showed no sign of going away. They were at ‘war’ with one another. Is there any hope in a situation like this? We may wonder. Humanly speaking, things seem to go round in circles. There appears to be some progress, then there is another outbreak of violence. There is hope. Our hope is in the Lord. He continues to speak His Word - ‘…I will save My people… from the hand of all their enemies’(18). Whatever happens, don’t forget the Word of the Lord.

How Are We To Live? - We Live By The Grace Of God....

Titus 1:1-2:10 
How are we to live? We are not to be ‘empty talkers’, people who ‘profess to know God’ and ‘deny Him by their deeds’(1:10,16). We must give no one the opportunity to ‘speak evil of God’s Word’. We must be ‘a model of good deeds’, showing ‘the beauty of the teachings about God our Saviour in everything we do’(2:5,7,10). When we live in a Christlike way, ‘those who oppose’ Christ and His Gospel will be ‘put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us’(2:8). This is how we are to live. How do we live? This is a question for all of us. It is a question which will make us feel uncomfortable. We don’t find it easy to look closely at the way we live our lives. We won’t get away with glossing over things. God calls us to pray, ‘Search me, O God... Cleanse me from every sin...’(Psalm 139:23-24; Mission Praise, 587). 

Titus 2:11-3:15 
We read in 2:11,13 of Christ’s coming in grace- ‘the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all people’- and His coming in glory- ‘we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ’. From grace to glory - This is the journey from Christ’s first coming to His Second Coming. It is also the journey of our life of faith. We begin with the forgiveness of our sins. our final destination is glory, heavenly and eternal glory, the glory of God. We live by the grace of God. We look forward to the glory of God. God wants us to live as ‘a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds’(2:14). If we are to be ‘zealous for good deeds’, we must first be zealous for Jesus Christ. Do good - but never forget, ‘He saved us - not because of deeds done by us...’(3:8,4-6).

God Is Calling Us To Be Faithful To Him.

Nahum 1:1-2:9
‘Fulfil your vows’ (1:15). God is calling us to be faithful to Him. We are to be faithful in worship. We are to be faithful in reading His Word. We are to be faithful in prayer. We are to be faithful in giving. We are to be faithful in witness. Our faith is to be real. Our faith is to make a difference. It’s to change the way we live. It’s not to be a case of ‘faith without works’. That kind of ‘faith’ is ‘dead’ (James 2:17). Our whole life is to be a life of faith. It is to be a life of ‘love’. We are to live ‘for the glory of God’ (Romans 14:23; 1 Corinthians 16:14; 10:31). ‘Fill Thou our life, O Lord our God, in every part with praise... Not for the lip of praise alone, nor even the praising heart we ask, but for a life made up of praise in every part’ (Church Hymnary, 457).

Nahum 2:10-3:19
To those who refuse to live in obedience to Him, God speaks His Word of judgment: ‘I am against you’ (2:13; 3:5). Those who refuse to listen to God’s Word of salvation - ‘The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him’ - will hear a very different Word from the Lord. It will be a Word of judgment. God’s Word will come like ‘an overwhelming flood’: ‘He will pursue His foes into darkness’ (1:7-8). None of us needs to face this ‘overwhelming flood’ and hear the words, ‘I am against you’. Each of us can come to Christ and hear His Word of ‘overwhelming victory’: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?... Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 8:31,37-39).

Friday, 20 February 2015

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 woman. Her husband had embarrassed her and she didn’t like it! What had David done to deserve this? - ‘I will celebrate before the Lord’(21). This is really quite pathetic. God’s children are learning to ‘worship Him in Spirit and in truth’(John 4:23-24). In comes ‘the stiff upper lip brigade’. They have no real heart for worship. They put a dampener on it - ‘This has to stop’. This is not only pathetic. It is sinful. ‘Do not quench the Spirit… Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God… 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…’(1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18-20).

When You’re Feeling Down, Let God's Love Lift You Up!

2 Samuel 10:1-11:27
‘May the Lord do what seems good to Him’(10:12). This is the attitude we ought to have. This is the ideal: ‘Your will be done in earth as it is in heaven’; ‘Not as I will, but as You will’(Matthew 6:10; 26:39). Often, we do not live up to the ideal - ‘the thing that David had done displeased the Lord’(11:27). Throughout life, there are choices between our own will and the will of the Lord. Sometimes, we make wrong choices. We choose our own way rather than the Lord’s way. Throughout life, God is speaking to us. He is trying to get our attention. He wants it to be less of self and more of Him. He is leading us to say from the heart, ‘As for God, His way is perfect’(22:31; Psalm 18:30). May we have this testimony: ‘I have kept the ways of the Lord; I have not done evil by turning from my God’(Psalm 18:21).

2 Samuel 12:1-31
Here, we learn much about God’s dealings with sinners. In verse 7, there is conviction of sin - ‘You are the man’. In verse 13, we have confession of sin - ‘I have sinned against the Lord’- and forgiveness of sin - ‘The Lord has taken away your sin’. In verse 20, there is the restoration of the sinner - ‘washed... anointed… changed… he went into the house of the Lord, and worshipped’. These were not easy times for David - ‘the child died’(18). Later on, ‘a son’ was born (24). Sometimes, good things are happening to us. Sometimes, bad things are happening. ‘The Lord loved him’(24): ‘Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy', never forget ‘His love’(Mission Praise, 702). Our circumstances change. His love never changes. When you’re feeling down, let His love lift you up!

2 Samuel 13:1-39
Lust is very different from love. What appeared to be ‘love’ turned into ‘very great hatred’- ‘The heart is deceitful… and desperately wicked’(14-15; Jeremiah 17:9). Things went from bad to worse. The ‘one-off’ event became a consistent and continuing rejection (16). Things continued to get worse. ‘Absalom hated Amnon’. He refused to speak to him (22). Could things get any worse? - Yes. Absalom and Amnon were murdered (28-29). Where is God in all this? His Name does not appear in this whole chapter. Is He absent? - No. He is there. He is warning us. This is what can happen if you forget about God! He is the God of holiness: ‘the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men…’(Romans 1:18). He is the God of love. He call us to confess our sins and be forgiven (1 John 1:9).

What Is More Important To You - Your Own Reputation Or The Glory Of God?

2 Samuel 16:1-23
What is more important to you - your own reputation or the glory of God? ‘Curse David’- This was the last thing David wanted to hear. It may, however, have been what he needed to hear. Here, we see David’s true spiritual stature. This was not a ‘feel good’ message. David recognized that this might be what the Lord was saying to him (10). He speaks against us so that we might learn to stop speaking against Him. He speaks of His righteousness that we might see our own unrighteousness. He speaks of His judgment that we might see how hopeless our situation is without Christ. He speaks of our sin that we might be brought to Christ for salvation (John 16:8-11; Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23; 1 John 1:8-2:2). Let there be no more talk of your righteousness. Confess your sins and trust the Saviour.

“The Peace Of God, Which Passes All Understanding, Will Keep Your Hearts And Minds In Christ Jesus.”

2 Samuel 17:1-29
Here, we have a tragic train of events. Ahithophel’s advice was ‘not good’. His advice ‘was not followed’. He ‘hanged’ himself (7,23). Without going into detail about this particular suicide, we may make some general comments about coping with life’s difficulties. Things don’t go according to plan. Our hopes are dashed. Nothing seems to work out. Everything seems to go wrong. We allow things to get on top of us. Very quickly and very easily, things can get completely out of control. Everything is out of proportion. It seems like there is nothing worth living for. Suicide becomes a strangely attractive way out. What are we to do when such thoughts fill our minds? - Remember God’s promise: “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus”(Philippians 4:7).

Keep On Praying. Keep On Believing.

2 Samuel 21:1-22:7
There’s no two ways about it. God’s people were getting it rough. There seemed to be so many problems. Were they to give up hope? - Not a bit of it! Read verse 14 - ‘After that God heeded supplications for the land’. What happened when God heard and answered the prayers of His people? - ‘the plague was averted from Israel’(24:25). Things would have been an awful lot worse, if it was not for the Lord hearing and answering prayer! Keep on praying. Keep on believing that God hears and answers prayer. He is not a tragic victim of circumstances - ‘Poor God. He can do nothing about it all’. Don’t believe that. That’s the lie of the devil. He is still the living God. Things are not out of His control. He is still on the throne. God can, if we will - ‘If my people…’(2 Corinthians 7:14). Pray ‘for the land’! 

‘By Grace You Have Been Saved…’

2 Samuel 23:1-39
By birth, David was ‘the son of Jesse’. By grace, he was ‘the man who was raised on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the sweet psalmist of Israel’(1). What we are in ourselves is nothing compared with what we can become through the grace of God! Look at David. Listen to what he says, ‘The Spirit of the Lord speaks by me, His Word is upon my tongue’(2). What had David done to deserve this? What was so special about him? Nothing - This was the work of God, the work of divine grace. In ourselves, we are ‘godless’, good for nothing, ‘like thorns that are thrown away’(6). In ourselves, we are not ‘mighty men’(8-9). How can we be changed? - ‘The Lord wrought a great victory’(10,12). Which of us can be described as ‘a valiant man… a doer of great deeds’(20) - apart from the grace of God? ‘By grace you have been saved…’(Ephesians 2:8-10).

From Pride To Praise

2 Samuel 24:1-25
Here, we see the spirit of pride. David wanted to ‘know the number of the people’ (2). Why? He wanted to feel important - ‘the big man’. He was not giving the glory to the Lord. He was taking it for himself. Did God give up on David - ‘a hopeless case, too full of himself and his own importance’? Of course not! The Lord, whose ‘mercy is great’, drew David back to Himself. David confessed his sin - ‘I have sinned greatly… I have done very foolishly… I have sinned and I have done wickedly’(10,17). David was accepted by the Lord - ‘The Lord your God accepts you’. He was brought from pride to praise (23,25). This is what God has done for us. We are ‘accepted in the Beloved’- ‘to the praise of His glorious grace’ (Ephesians 1:6).

Jesus Asks Us, ‘Do You Love Me?’ He Waits For Our Reply: ‘I Love You.’

Daniel 3:1-30
‘We want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up’(18). We have no other king but the Lord. He alone is King. He alone is to be worshipped. We are to ‘have no other gods before Him’. We are ‘not to make for ourselves an idol’ which takes the place of the Lord (Exodus 20:3-4). The Lord must come first in our lives. He is to be our ‘first love’- ‘the love of our heart: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart...’(Revelation 2:4; Mark 12:30). Jesus asks us, ‘Do you love me?’. He waits for our reply: ‘I love You’(John 21:15-17). ‘I love the Name of Jesus. King of my heart, He is everything to me’. ‘I love You, O Lord, You alone... my God who shall have all my praise’. (Mission Praise, 285,286).

Daniel 4:1-37
‘His Kingdom is an eternal Kingdom; His dominion endures from generation to generation’(3). The generations rise and fall - ‘You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning... by evening it is dry and withered’; ‘As for man, his days are like grass... the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more’(Psalms 90:5-6; 103-15-16). The Lord is ‘the everlasting God’: ‘From everlasting to everlasting You are God’. His love is an ‘everlasting’ love: ‘From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him’. The Lord ‘has established His throne in heaven, and His Kingdom rules over all’. He is ‘our dwelling-place throughout all generations’(Isaiah 40:28; Psalms 90:1-2; 103:17,19).

I’d Rather Have Jesus Than Silver Or Gold.

Daniel 5:1-31
We are not to ‘praise the gods of gold and silver...’(4). Material possessions must never take the place of God. Seeking material prosperity is not to be the most important thing in our lives. We are to ‘seek first His Kingdom...’. We are to ‘grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’(Matthew 6:33; 2 Peter 3:18). ‘I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I’d rather be His than have riches untold...I’d rather have Jesus... than to be the king of a vast domain and be held in sin’s dread sway. I’d rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today. I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause, I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause; I’d rather have Jesus than world-wide fame, I’d rather be true to His holy Name’(Mission Praise, 319).

Daniel 6:1-28
‘He is the living God and He endures for ever; His Kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end’(26). He is the living God. He is also the loving God - ‘His love endures forever’(Psalm 136). He is the King. He is a very special kind of king. He is ‘the King of Love’. The coming of God’s Kingdom will be the victory of His love: ‘Kingdoms of the world become the kingdoms of the Lord: Love has the victory for ever!’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we lift our hearts to Him in worship: ‘Who can see Your greatest Gift and fail to worship You?’. We enjoy the victory of His love as we give our lives to Him in service: ‘Let us labour for the Master... Let us talk of all His wondrous love...’(Church Hymnary, 388; Mission Praise, 86,759).

Salvation Always Begins With God's Great Love For Us.

Daniel 9:1-27
'O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act!’(19). How do we know God will hear and answer our prayer as we look to Him for salvation? - ‘The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him’(9). We come to God with our sin- We are ‘dead in our sins and wickedness’. He comes to us with His grace- ‘By grace you have been saved through faith’. We come to God, deeply conscious of our sin. We know in our hearts that we can do nothing to save ourselves. The way of salvation can never begin with the word, ‘I’. It always begins with God. It begins with His love - ‘His great love for us’: ‘God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our sins’(Ephesians 2:1,4-5,8).

Daniel 10:1-11:13
Daniel came to God in great weakness- ‘I am helpless... My strength is gone...’(16-17). From the Lord, Daniel received great strength- ‘The One who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength... When He spoke to me, I was strengthened...’. Daniel’s strength came from the love of God and the peace of God. God assured Daniel of His love for him. He called Daniel a ‘man greatly beloved’. God spoke His Word of peace to Daniel: ‘Peace be with you’. As God revealed His love and peace to him, Daniel came to realize that there was no need to be afraid. He could ‘be strong’ in the Lord (18-19). When we are weak, let us come to God and receive His strength - ‘His grace is sufficient for us. His strength is made perfect in weakness’(2 Corinthians 12:9).

When Your Head Goes Down, The Lord Will Lift You Up.

Ezra 4:1-5:17
God’s work does not always move forward smoothly. We face determined opposition. Where there is opportunity, there will be opposition (1 Corinthians 16:9). The servants of Satan rise up to oppose the servants of the Lord. This is what happens here. The Lord’s enemies had some success: ‘the work on the House of God in Jerusalem came to a standstill’. This was, however, only a temporary setback. God gave new strength to His servants. He sent His ‘prophets, Haggai and Zechariah’. They brought His Word to the people. Strengthened by their ministry of God’s Word, ‘Zerubbabel... arose and began to rebuild the House of God in Jerusalem’ (4:24-5:2). God’s work was back on track. His people were moving forward - again. When your head goes down, let the Lord come to you. He will lift you up!

Ezra 6:1-7:28
God’s work makes good progress when God’s people receive strength from God’s Word. Haggai and Zechariah were faithful in preaching God’s Word to the people. Their preaching ministry was very important. It was just what the builders needed. It inspired them to keep working. God’s House was rebuilt and God’s people rejoiced (6:14-16). The rebuilding of God’s House was followed by the ministry of God’s servant, Ezra. ‘The hand of the Lord was upon Ezra’(7:6,28). His ministry was blessed by the Lord. In Ezra’s ministry of the Word, there are three vital elements - studying, doing and teaching (7:10). Ezra did not only study and teach God’s Word. He did God’s Word. Obedience lies at the heart of true ministry. This is the kind of ministry that God blesses - an obedient ministry.

Waiting Patiently For God's Answer

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

Wait On The Lord And Renew Your Strength.

Habakkuk 2:15-3:19
We are to ‘be silent before God. We are to ‘stand in awe’ of Him. In His holy presence, we become deeply conscious of our sin which separates us from Him: ‘Your eyes are too pure to look on evil’. Confessing our sin to God, we pray that ‘in wrath’ He will ‘remember mercy’. We pray that He will ‘renew’ us with His blessing. God answers our prayer. He sends His ‘glory’ into our lives. He fills our hearts with His ‘praise’: ‘I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Lord God is my Strength. He makes my feet like the feet of the deer. He enables me to go on the heights’. ‘Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles...’(2:20; 3:2; 1:13; 3:18-19; Isaiah 40:31).

We Have Forgotten God. He Never Forgets Us.

Hosea 5:15-7:16
We are to leave the old way of sinful disobedience and follow the new way of faith and obedience: ‘Come, let us return to the Lord... Let us press on to know the Lord’. As we return to the Lord, pressing on to know Him, His blessing returns to us. He leads us in the way of fruitfulness: ‘He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth’(6:1,3). We must not be like those who react to God’s Word with ‘pride’: ‘They do not return to the Lord their God’. God longs to ‘redeem’ them, yet they ‘rebel against’ Him: ‘They do not turn to the Most High God’(7:10,13,16). Our ‘love’ for God is not to be ‘like the early dew that disappears’. Let us ‘acknowledge our guilt and seek His face’. Let us love Him with a ‘steadfast love’(5:15; 6:4,6).

Hosea 8:1-9:17
‘Israel’ had ‘forgotten’ and ‘forsaken’ the Lord (8:14). We have not remembered the Lord. We have turned away from Him. We have forgotten Him. We have been ‘unfaithful’ to Him. This is the sad story of our life - a story of forgetting and forsaking the Lord. God is very different from us. He has not forgotten us. He has not forsaken us. He has ‘remembered’ us. He has been ‘faithful’ to us. He has shown us His ‘salvation’(Psalm 98:3). How do we know that God remembers us? How do we know that God is faithful to us? - ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’; ‘While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’(1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 5:8). ‘If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot be false to Himself’(2 Timothy 2:13).

What Kind Of People Are We Becoming?

Hosea 1:1-3:5
‘Hosea’ means ‘salvation’. Married to ‘an adulterous wife’, Hosea spoke with great compassion to ‘the land’ which was ‘guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord’(1:2). He brought God’s Word of love to the people: ‘I will show My love to the one I called, “Not My loved one”’. He spoke to them of the life-changing power of God’s love: ‘I will say to those called, “Not My people”, and they will say, “You are My God”’(2:23). He brought a Word of hope to God’s people: ‘The Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God... They will come trembling to the Lord and to His blessings in the last days’(3:5). His words of hope point us to our Saviour, Jesus Christ - ‘In these last days, God has spoken to us by His Son’(Hebrews 1:2).

Hosea 4:1-5:14
We read here of Israel’s rebellion against God: ‘A spirit of prostitution leads them astray. They are unfaithful to their God... A spirit of prostitution is in their heart. They do not acknowledge the Lord’(4:12; 5:4). God is not pleased with them. He speaks His Word of ‘judgment against’ them (5:1). We must look closely at our lives. What kind of people are we becoming? Are we becoming ‘slaves of sin’? God is calling us to be changed by His love and power: ‘Now that you have been set free from sin, and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap is holiness, and the result is eternal life’(Romans 6:16,22). Let His love show you that He has not abandoned you because of your sin. Let His power assure you that He can make you ‘a new person’(2 Corinthians 5:17).

Kept By The Power Of God

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

God's Love For Us Is Much Greater Than Our Love For Him.

Hosea 10:1-12:9
God’s love for us is much greater than our love for Him. So often, we are like ‘Israel’- ‘they did not fear the Lord’. Our love for God grows weak. His love for us remains strong. He refuses to give up on us. We wander away from the Lord. He calls us back to Himself - ‘It is time to seek the Lord’; ‘You must return to your God’(10:3,12; 11:1,8; 12:6). When we return to the Lord, He leads us in the way of His ‘love’. He teaches us to ‘walk in the Spirit’. He produces in us ‘the fruit of the Spirit’(10:1; 11:3-4; Galatians 5:16-18,22-25). God will help us to grow strong in our love for Him - ‘the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We must ‘not quench the Spirit’. We must ‘not grieve the Holy Spirit of God’(Romans 8:26; 1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30).

Hosea 12:10-14:9
The Lord loves us. He invites us to come to ‘know’ Him as our ‘Saviour’. We are to ‘return’ to Him and receive the blessings of His salvation. He ‘forgives all our sins’. He leads us in the way of ‘fruitfulness’. He gives us eternal life - ‘I will ransom them from the power of the grave. I will redeem them from death ...’(13:4,14; 14:1-2,4,8). The call to receive salvation from the Lord is a call to choose which way we will live. We must choose to be ‘righteous’ rather than ‘rebellious’. We are to acknowledge that ‘the ways of the Lord are right’. We are to choose the way of ‘the righteous’ who ‘walk in the Lord’s ways’. We are to reject the way of ‘the rebellious’ who ‘stumble over the Lord’s ways’. Let us walk in the light of the Lord’(14:9; Isaiah 2:5).

Created In The Image Of God

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

The Lord Our God, The Maker Of Heaven And Earth

Genesis 1:1-3
There is here a real sense of the majesty of God. He is 'beyond description'. We cannot comprehend Him. We can hardly put into words this sense of God's greatness. We are transported into an eternal dimension, which is so different from our earthly existence. We read, 'In the beginning, God ... ' (v. 1). Many live as if humanity was the only reality. Here, it is we who are absent from view. Here, we see God only. Humanity only comes into view when God chooses (vs. 26-27). Everything about this is God-centred rather than man-centred. The light comes when God says, 'Let there be light' (v. 3). Prior to God's Word of command in verse 3, we see the Spirit of God 'hovering' (v. 2). The Spirit is on the alert, ready to move into action, ready for the Word of God to be spoken, ready to empower the Word so that it becomes mightily effective. All that follows - described as 'very good' - comes from God, from His Word and His Spirit. Only good can come from God. The reality of evil has not yet come into view. When it does, everything changes except one thing - the love of God for His creation.

Come To Christ And Find Salvation In Him Alone.

Genesis 7
What was going on outside of the ark is contrasted with the haven of salvation inside the ark. We read that, once all were in the ark, "the Lord closed the door behind them" (v. 16). What was it that made the ark a place of salvation? - The Lord. What is it that makes Jesus Christ the Source of our salvation? - "God has given Him the Name that is above every name, the Name of our salvation" (Philippians 2:9-11; Acts 4:12). This is the spiritual significance of what we read in Genesis concerning the flood: "Salvation is of the Lord"(Jonah 2;9). Christ is the Door. Those who enter through Him will be saved (John 10:9). We must listen to what God says concerning salvation. If we listen to what the world says, we will conclude that all will be saved. If we listen to the Lord, we will come to Christ and find salvation in Him alone. From the ark, we learn of (a) the one way of salvation - The ark had only one door. Jesus is 'the Door' which leads to salvation (John 10:9). (b) the eternal security of salvation - All were safe inside the ark. In Christ, there is eternal security (John 10:28). (c) the absolute necessity of salvation - Outside of the ark, there was certain death. Refusal to come to Christ for salvation leads to judgment: 'How shall we escape ... ?' (Hebrews2:3).

God Loves Us, Even Though We Don't Deserve To Be Loved By Him.

Genesis 9

This is not only a story about Noah. It's a story about God. Noah was a man of faith. We can learn much from his faith. There is, however, something more than Noah's faith. We concentrate our attention on God's love. God loves us, even though we don't deserve to be loved by Him. We have failed Him many times. He has never failed us. He never stops loving us. He loves us, even when we don't love Him. Whatever you've done, God loves you. There is no sin too great for God's love. God's love is for everyone. Whoever you are - even if you don't feel very important, God loves you. There is no-one who has wandered too far away. God continues to love those who are far from Him. He waits for us to return to Him. God's love is forever. It is an everlasting love. God has made us to live with Him in heaven forever. By sinning against God, we have closed the door of heaven. God, in His love, has opened the door for us. Jesus is the Door to heaven. Human love can come to an end. God's love never comes to an end.

"Jurassic Park" - a modern 'Tower of Babel'

Genesis 11
* "Scientists can become so fascinated by what they could do that they do not even stop to think about whether they should." (Dr Ian Malcolm). * "God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs" (Dr Ian Malcolm).
* "I was overwhelmed by the power of this place, but I did not have enough respect for that power" (Dr Ellie Sattler). Monsters are created and morality is forgotten (see Robin Cook's book, Mutation). "Can we do this?" is not the only question that needs to be asked. "Should we do this?" must also be asked. When is morality forgotten? - We forget morality when we forget God. We forget morality when we forget to ask. "What does God want us to do?" What happens when God is forgotten, when we forget about what God wants us to do? "Come, let us build ourselves a city (a 'Jurassic Park') and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves" (4). Man is exalted. God is dismissed (see Robin Cook's book, The God-Player). That's what happens when people forget that they have been created by God, when they become preoccupied with creating a reputation for themselves. What does God think of all this ? - Read verses 5-8. "This is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing will now be impossible for them" (6). When man starts to 'play God', things go horribly wrong. 'Jurassic Park' is a timely reminder to us that power must not be abused. We need to distinguish between the use and the abuse of power (see Irving Wallace's book, The Pigeon Project). We are not to abuse the power given to us by God. We are to use it responsibly. More than that - we are to be used by the power of God, used to establish His Kingdom.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Jesus Is Greater Than ...

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

This Is All About Jesus!

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

Human Love And Divine Love

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

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

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

Lord, our whole life is to be a celebration of Your love.

Psalm 86:1-17
‘You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you… Teach me Your way, O Lord, and I will walk in Your truth… I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart… For great is Your love towards me’(Psalm 86:5,11-13). Lord, You love us. You forgive our sins. We receive Your love. We want to love You more. Your love inspires our praise – ‘I will praise You…’. Your love inspires our prayer – ‘Teach me Your way…’. Our whole life is to be a celebration of Your love – ‘Great is Your love towards me’. We are to celebrate His love with ‘joy’(Psalm 86:4). We rejoice in You because of who You are- ‘You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness’- and what You have done for us – ‘You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me’(Psalm 86:15,17).

Help us, Lord, to pray for revival.

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

Help us, Lord, to thank You for Your past blessings, and to trust You for Your future blessings.

Psalm 81:1-16
“Sing aloud to God; shout for joy to the God of Jacob” (Psalm 81:1). Teach us, Lord, to worship You with joy. You have blessed us in the past: “I am the Lord your God, who brings you out of the land of Egypt.” You will bless us in the future: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). Help us, Lord, to thank You for Your past blessings, and to trust You for Your future blessings.

Sometimes, Lord, we have more questions than answers.

Psalm 77:1-20
Sometimes, Lord, we have more questions than answers (Psalm 77:7-9). The questions keep flooding into our minds. We wonder where the answers are going to come from. What, Lord, are we to do when this happens? We remember what You have done for us (Psalm 77:11-12). Help us, Lord, to look back over the “years” – and remember that Your “hand” has been upon us (Psalm 77:5,10). May the memories of Your many blessings fill us with strength – to face the future with confidence in You. Help us, Lord. to trust in You – and be truly happy.

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.

Learning from children and caring for children

Learning from children and caring for children: This is what Jesus speaks about in Matthew 18:1-10. We should never act like we know it all, and have nothing more to learn. We should never act like we're a law unto ourselves. We must do all that we can to protect little children in a world that has so many dangers. We need little children. They have something to teach us. Little children need us. they need the protection that we, adults, can give to them.

If We Are To Be True Followers Of Jesus ...

"Be careful! Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees!" (Matthew 17:6),. even after there us divine revelation (Matthew 16:17), the influence of evil can be felt (Matthew 16:23), The warning - "Be careful! Watch out ... !" must never be forgotten. Satan is looking for an opportunity to leads us away from the Lord. We must hear what Jesus is saying to us about discipleship (Matthew 16:24), and we must commit  ourselves to Him (Matthew 16:25). There is nothing more important than this (Matthew 16:26). If we are to be true followers of Jesus, we must learn to live our lives in the light of eternity (Matthew 16:27). We are to seek revelations of God's eternal Kingdom, revelations which will send us back, from the mountain-top, to live each day for Jesus.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Lord, You have redeemed us. You have brought salvation to us.

Psalm 74:1-23
Lord, You have “redeemed” us. You have brought “salvation” to us (Psalm 74:2,12). We rejoice in the Old Testament story of redemption (Deuteronomy 7:8). We have much greater joy when we think of Jesus: “In Him we have redemption through His blood.” This is “the Gospel of our salvation.” It is “good news of a great joy.” Through faith in Him, we “rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy.” We look forward to “the salvation of our souls.” We say “Hallelujah! Salvation ans glory and power belong to our God” (Ephesians 1:7,13; Luke 2:10; 1 Peter 1:5,8-9; Revelation 19:1).

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

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

Lord, help us to look beyond our problems. Help us to look to You.

Psalms 70:1-71:24
“May all, who seek You, rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love your salvation continually say, ‘God is great!’” (Psalm 70:4). When, Lord, we’re going through “many terrible troubles”, help us to look beyond our problems, to look to You, to know that You are our “rock of refuge” and our “strong fortress” (Psalm 71:3, and to say, from our hearts, “You have done great things, O God … You will revive us again” (Psalm 71:19-20).

Steadfast Love And Abundant Mercy

Psalm 69:1-36
When, Lord, we are going through “the deep waters” of suffering, help us to pray to You for deliverance (Psalm 69:16). We have sinned against You. We do not try to hide this – "the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from You, my guilt is not hidden from You” (Psalm 69:5). You are the God of “steadfast love” and “abundant mercy” (Psalm 69:16). We remember that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” You don’t send the judgment we deserve – This is Your mercy. You send the blessing we don't deserve – This is Your grace. Help us to come to You and receive Your “mercy” and Your “grace” (1 Timothy 1:13-16; Hebrews 4:14-16).

Lord, You are the God of salvation.

Psalm 68:1-35
Lord, You are “the God of salvation.” You are “our salvation” (Psalm 68:19-20). Your salvation covers our past, present and future.   You have saved us – You have forgiven our sins (Romans 5:1). You are saving us – You are making us the kind of people that You want us to be (Romans 5:3-5). You will save us – You’re leading us on to Your eternal glory (Romans 5:9-10). From beginning to end, salvation is Your work. It is such a great salvation. Help us to rejoice in You – and to give all the glory to You (Psalm 68:13,35).

Come And See ... Come And Hear ...

Psalm 66:1-67:7
“Come and see what God has done …Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what He has done for me” (Psalm 66:5,16). Lord, You invite us to read the story of all that You have done for us. You invite us to let the story of Your salvation become real in our lives. Help us, Lord, to come to You with this prayer – “May God be gracious to us and bless us … ” Help us to receive Your answer – “God has blessed us”, to “be glad and sing for joy,” and to call “all the ends of the earth” to “worship You” (Psalm 67:1,4,6-7).

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

Psalms 64:1-65:13
“Let the righteous rejoice in the Lord” (Psalm 64:10). Lord, You give us joy – true joy, lasting joy. This is Your joy. It’s not just a passing emotion. It’s more than a feeling that doesn’t last very long. Your joy changes us. It gives us the strength to live as “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

You, Lord, are our rock and our salvation.

Psalms 62:1-63:11
You, Lord, are “our rock and our salvation” (Psalm 62:2,6). We think of Your Son, Jesus Christ – the “Rock of our salvation” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4,16), and we say, “Your steadfast love is better than life … I will praise You as long as I live” (Psalm 63:3-4). We look at Jesus, our great Saviour, and we say, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).

When, Lord, we’re feeling defeated, Your Word gives us great encouragement.

Psalms 60:1-61:8
“With God we shall gain the victory, and He will trample down our enemies” (Psalm 60:12). When, Lord, we’re feeling defeated, Your Word gives us great encouragement. The battle isn’t ours. It’s Yours. The victory isn’t ours. It’s Yours. In the heat of the battle, You are our “strong tower against the enemy” (Psalm 61:3). When we’re feeling the ferocity of Satan’s hostility towards the truth of Your Word and the Gospel of Your grace, help us to remember that You, Lord, are “enthroned for ever” (Psalm 61:7).

What a great Saviour we have!

Psalms 58:1-59:17 
“Surely there is a God who judges the earth … Deliver me from my enemies, O my God” (Psalm 58:11; Psalm 59:1). May these words send us to the Cross of Christ. We come in our need. Lord, we need Your forgiveness and Your victory. What do we find at the Cross of our Saviour? – “My God in His steadfast love will meet me … My God will let me look in triumph over my enemies” (Psalm 59:10). What a great Saviour we have! We think of His love and His power, and our hearts are filled with praise to You – “I will sing of Your strength … I will sing of Your love … O my Strength, I sing praises to You; You, O God, are my Fortress, my loving God” (Psalm 59:16-17).

We thank You, Lord, that Your love is eternal love.

Psalms 56:1-57:11
“Be gracious to me, O God … Be merciful to us, O God” (Psalm 56:1; Psalm 57:1). In mercy, Lord, You don’t send to us the judgment we deserve. In grace, You give to us the salvation we don’t deserve.
How do You do this for us? You make Your grace and mercy available to us through Your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. How do we receive Your grace and mercy? We look to the Cross of Christ. There, we see Your “steadfast love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3,10). Your love is eternal love. It’s love unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable – “I will give thanks to You, O Lord … I will sing praises to You … Be exalted, O God” (Psalm 57:9-11).

Sometimes, Lord, we face opposition ...

Psalms 54:1-55:23 
Sometimes, Lord, we face opposition from people who are outside of Your Church: “Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life – men with no regard for God” (Psalm 54:3). Sometimes, the opposition comes from people we know very well: “my close friend, with whom I enjoyed sweet fellowship, as we worshipped together at the House of God” (Psalm 55:13-14). What are we to do? Are we to run away from it all – “I would flee far away … far from the tempest and storm” (Psalm 55:6-8)? Would it not be better to remember this: “God is my Helper” (Psalm 54:4). Help us, Lord, to remember Your promise: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.” Help us to say, “I will call upon God, and the Lord will save me” (Psalm 55:16,22).

When, Lord, we pray for Your blessing, help us not to think only of ourselves.

Psalms 52:1-53:6
“I am like a green olive tree in the House of God” (Psalm 52:9). Here, Lord, we have a picture of growth and fruitfulness. In Your House, we can grow spiritually. In Your House, we can become spiritually fruitful. When, Lord, we pray for Your blessing, help us not to think only of ourselves. Help us to pray for all of Your people – “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come from Zion.” “Restore the fortunes of Your people.” May all of Your people “rejoice and be glad” (Psalm 53:6).

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Jesus - the most excellent of men.

Psalm 45:1-17
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus is “the most excellent of men” (Psalm 45:2). He is much more than that. We look at Jesus Christ, the risen Lord (Acts 2:24, 36), and we say, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever” (Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:8). Help us to approach our Lord Jesus Christ with “reverence”, “honouring” Him, “bowing down” before Him, “worshipping” Him, and “obeying” Him (Psalm 45:11).

Lord, help us to move beyond the shallow waters ...

Lord, help us to move beyond the shallow waters – to move, with You, into the deeper waters of Your love and Your blessing. We think of deep water – and we think of danger. Yes! There is danger – but there is also something else. You are with us – and You assure us that, though the dangers are great, You are greater than they are! Lord, lead us into the deeper waters – not with fear of the dangers, but with expectation of Your blessing! We ask the question – “Why are you downcast, O my soul?” You give us Your answer: “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5,11; Psalm 43:5). Often, Lord, our minds are so full of our questions that we fail to hear Your answers. Help us to stop talking and start listening – “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:8-10). It’s Your Word that brings us out of our darkness, and into Your light. – “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me … ” (Psalm 43:5).

Salvation, security, singing and sharing

Psalm 40:1-17
Lord, we thank You for Your gifts – salvation, security, singing and sharing. You have saved us – “He drew me up from the desolate pit … ” (Psalm 40:1). You give us security – You “set my feet on a rock, making my feet secure” (Psalm 40:1). You give to us “a new song … a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3). You give us something wonderful to share with other people – “I have not hidden Thy saving help within my heart, I have spoken of Thy faithfulness and Thy salvation … ” (Psalm 40:10). Thank You, Lord.

Lord, You are the strength of Your people.

Psalms 28:1-29:11
Lord, You are “the strength of Your people.” May each of us say, “You are my strength” (Psalm 28:7-8). Your strength comes to us through fellowship. We receive strength from others, and we give strength to them. Your strength is more than human strength – the strength that comes to us through fellowship. It is the strength which comes to us through faith – faith in You, our Lord and our God.

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

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

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Praying Through God’s Word: Exodus

Exodus 1:1-2:10
Lord, what are we to do when we’re going through a hard time? Hard times can be the breaking of us – or the making of us. We can blame You – or we can trust You. Help us to trust You – to know that You are near, even when it feels like You are far away.
Exodus 2:11-3:22
We thank You, Lord, that You have blessed us. We have come to You with our sin – and You have forgiven us. We thank You, Lord, that You call us to bring Your blessing to others. We have received Your blessing. Help us to share it with others.
Exodus 4:1-31
Often, Lord, we fail You – and we wonder why You bother with us. We thank You, Lord,that You never fail us. When we let You down, You lift us up. Help us, Lord, not to be shaped by our failure. Help us to be transformed by Your love and power. Help us to respond to Your call to “attempt great things for You and expect great things from You” (William Carey).
Exodus 5:1-6:13
Lord, what are we to do when we face determined opposition from people who refuse to listen to what Your Word is saying to them? Lord, teach us to pray. Teach us to take our problems to You – and help us to leave them with You. When troubles come our way, help us to “wait upon You and renew our strength” (Isaiah 40:31).
Exodus 6:14-7:24
Lord, we come to You in our weakness. We receive Your strength. In our weakness, we fail. Through Your strength, we shall triumph. When we’re stumbling along in weakness, help us to say, with ever-increasing faith, “Our God is marching on to glorious victory.”
Exodus 7:25-8:32
Lord, show us our pride – and teach us to humble ourselves before You. Show us Your power and teach us to trust You to do great things in and through us.
Exodus 9:1-32
Lord, help us not to rest content with going through the motions of religion. Beyond religion, there is redemption. Beyond ritual, there is reality. May our faith in Jesus, our Saviour, be a real faith, a living faith, a faith that changes us, a faith that brings glory to You.
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.
Exodus 11:1-12:28
Help us, Lord, to receive Your forgiveness – and to respond to Your call to holy living. You give to us Your peace. It comes to us with Your gift of forgiveness. You give to us Your power – the power to live for Your glory. May Your peace and Your power equip us for living as Your people.
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.
Exodus 13:17-14:31
Lord, we are surrounded by so many temptations. We cannot avoid this. There’s no getting away from it. It’s part-and-parcel of our life in this world. What are we to do when temptation comes our way? What are we to do when we feel the powerful pull of the world, drawing us away from You? Lord, help us to turn to You. Help us to renew our strength – in You.
Exodus 15:1-21
We think, Lord, of Your redemption, and our hearts are filled with thanksgiving – and hope. We think – and we thank. we look back on all that You have done for us, and we say, “Thank You, Lord.” Give us the spirit of thanksgiving, the attitude of gratitude – and, with it, give us the confidence to face the future, knowing that it is more than our future. It is Your future for us.
Exodus 15:22-16:36
Lord, You love us so much. Help us never to forget this. Help us to remember Jesus – to remember that His body was broken for us, and His blood was shed for us. Help us to feed on Jesus, and to be strong in Him. Lord, when the going gets tough, help us to remember that Your love keeps going and going and going  …It is a love that never comes to an end. It’s everlasting love – the only everlasting love.
Exodus 17:1-18:27
Lord, we come to You with questions. You give us victory. Sometimes, our questions are not answered. Always, You give us the strength that we need to keep on walking with You. Lord, when our life gets busy, help us to take time to pray. When we have so many things to do, help us to find time for listening to what Your Word has to say to us. If we’re too busy to pray, we’re too busy! Help us, Lord, not to be “worried and upset about many things.” Help us not to forget this: “only one thing is needed” – “listening to what Jesus is saying” to us (Luke 10:38-42).
Exodus 19:1-25
Lord, You have done so much for us. What are we doing for You? You tell us about Your redemption. You call for our response. Our response is inspired by Your redemption. Thank You for the grace of Your redemption – “By grace you have been saved.” Give us the grace to make our response – “Saved through faith for good works” (Ephesians 2:8-10). Lord, help us to have less self-confidence and more confidence in You. Self-confidence is all about us. It has nothing to do with You. Confidence in You is so different. It comes from faith – not from pride. Help us to find our true strength. It’s not our strength. It’s Your strength.
Exodus 20:1-20
Less of our sin, more of Your love – Lord, this is our prayer. Our sin does us nothing but harm. Your love always does us good – nothing but good. We’re sinners, Lord. Why do You keep on loving us? We don’t know why – but we’re glad that You do! We rejoice in this: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Exodus 20:21-21:32
Your redemption, Lord, is more than rules and regulations. It’s not about the things that we do for You. It’s about all that You have done for us. Jesus died for us – This is what inspires us to live for Him. What a great thing Jesus has done for us! Help us, Lord, to do great things for Him. Help us, Lord, to receive Your great salvation – and to give all the glory to You.
Exodus 21:33-22:31
Lord, we’re on a journey. We’re travelling from grace. We’re travelling to glory. Everything comes to us from Your grace. Everything is leading us to Your glory. You have given us all that we need – all that we need to bring us into Your salvation, all that we need to take us on into Your glory. This is not our journey. It’s Your journey. You’re our Travel Guide. You’re with us every step of the way. Thank You, Lord.
Exodus 23:1-33
We rejoice in Your love. Help us, Lord, not to forget Your holiness. You fill us with Your love. You call us to be holy. Lead us, O Lord, in Your way of love. Lead us in Your way of holiness. It won’t be easy – walking with You on Your pathway of holiness. When the going gets tough, help us to remember that we’re not on our own. You are with us every day. You are with us – all the way.
Exodus 24:1-18
Lord, You call us to speak Your Word – but, first, You call us to listen to Your Word. How can we speak for You if we’re not listening to You? Help us to come to the Cross of Christ. Help us to hear the voice of Your love. Send us from the that holy place – the place of His crucifixion, the place of our salvation – back into the world. May we return to the world as people who’ve been changed – changed by the love of Christ.
Exodus 25:1-40
Lord, we thank You for Your Son, Jesus. What a wonderful Saviour He is. There is no-one like Him. None can compare with Jesus. He is greater than all the prophets. He is greater than all the apostles. The prophets cannot save us. The apostles cannot save us. They can only point away from themselves. They point us to Jesus. They are only servants. Jesus is the Saviour. We thank You that He was able to do what the prophets and apostles could never do for us – He “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
Exodus 26:1-37
Open our eyes, Lord. Help us to see Jesus – to see Him in His holiness and confess our sin, to see Him in His love and receive His forgiveness, to see Him in His power and be changed by Him, to see Him in His glory and worship Him.
Exodus 27:1-19
Sometimes, Lord, we don’t feel like the sun is shining upon us. When we feel like this, help us to know that the light and love of Your Son is always shining upon us. When we’re feeling down, help us to remember that You raised Jesus up – “Up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o’er His foes.” This is what we need to hear. This is what lifts us up: up – into Your presence, up – out of our sin, up – into Your salvation’ upwards and onwards – to Your eternal glory.
Exodus 27:20-29:9
Sometimes, Lord, our lights are switched off. Sometimes, they’re switched on. The light of Your love is never switched off. It’s always switched on. Your love is ‘all the time’ love. There is no love like Your love for us. It’s the only ‘always and forever’ love. Thank You, Lord, for the light that never stops shining – the light of Your undying love. This is the only light that is always shining.
Exodus 29:10-46
Often, Lord, we come to Your House with so little expectation of Your blessing. Where does this attitude come from? – It doesn’t come from You. You are the great God. You fill our hearts with ‘great expectations.’ When Satan comes to us, filling our hearts with apathy – the ‘couldn’t-care-less’ attitude, help us to tell him that You are the great God (Psalm 135:5) – great in holiness, power and love, the faithful God who comes to us with great promises of blessing. When, Lord, we are blessed by You, help us to give all the glory to You.
Exodus 30:1-38
So often, Lord, we get preoccupied with ourselves. Our words say that You are more important than anyone else. Often, our lives tell a very different story – ‘It’s all about us. It’s all about what pleases us.’ How can we be changed? Lead us to the Cross of Your Son, Jesus. Show us Jesus – dying for us. Teach us to live for Him. Lift us out of our weakness and failure into Your strength and victory – and help us to praise You with hearts that are becoming more God-centred and less self-centred.
Exodus 31:1-32:14
Lord, You call us to serve You. How are we to serve You? How can we serve You? – Our sin keeps on getting in the way. We start off well – and then, we take our eyes off Jesus, and things start to go badly. Lord, we need Your Spirit. He is the Holy Spirit. How can we possibly serve You – if we are not learning to walk with You in the way of holiness. Before we pray, “Help us to serve You better”, help us to pray, “Lead us in the way of holiness.”
Exodus 32:15-33:23
Lord, You are the God of holiness. You are the God of love. Your holiness is loving holiness. Your love is holy love. Help us to see that Your holiness and Your love belong together. It’s not one without the other. It’s not holiness without love. It’s not love without holiness. We need both – Your holiness and Your love. Your holiness shows us our sin. Your love forgives our sin. You love us. Help us to love You – and be changed by Your holy love.
Exodus 34:1-35
Lord, You are the faithful God. You give us Your promises. You keep Your promises. You never go back on Your Word. You always stand by the Word that You have spoken. Your promises come to us from the past. They lead us on into Your future. What a wonderful future You are planning for us. We thank You for Jesus’ great promise: “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Help us to receive His Word, to rejoice in His promise, yo be renewed by His love.
Exodus 35:1-36:7
Help us, Lord, never to think that we have nothing to offer to You. We can never save ourselves. That is something that You must do for us. We have been saved by Your grace. Now, we must serve You in Your strength. You gave Your Son for us. Help us to give ourselves to You. May we never be half-hearted in our devotion to You. Help us to be whole-hearted in all that we do for You.
Exodus 36:8-38
Teach us, Lord, that it’s not all about us. It’s not about getting ourselves noticed. It’s all about You. It’s about giving all the glory to You.
Exodus 37:1-29
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus, is “pure gold.” There’s nothing better than Jesus. there’s no-one better than Him. He’s the very best. What Jesus has done for us – this is “pure gold.” He died for us. He was raised to life for us. This is Good News. It’s the best news we could ever hear. Lord, help us not to get bogged down in the bad news of our sin. Lord, lift us up with the Good News of our Saviour.
Exodus 38:1-31
Lord, there is work to be done. It’s Your work. Help us all to play our part. We leave it to someone else – and it never gets done. Change us, Lord. Spectators can become workers. Help us not to hang back – on the sidelines. You’re calling us to come into the centre of Your will and Your work. When we’re tempted to stand back and watch, help us to come forward and work. Help us to remember this: “There’s a work of Jesus none but we can do.”
Exodus 39:1-43
Lord, we want blessing – but we’re not so keen on obedience. Help us to learn from Jesus. For Him, obedience was everything. He was fully obedient. For Him, it meant the Cross (Philippians 2:8). Lord, help us not to be thinking, “What are we going to get out of this?” Help us to be praying, “How can we do Your will? How can we bring glory to You?”
Exodus 40:1-38
Lord, help us to listen to Your Word, walk in Your way and “worship You in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). These are the things that matter most. Are they our priorities? We know, Lord, that they should be our priorities – but we are often distracted. We lose our focus. Other things become more important to us. “Restore our souls and lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake” (Psalm 23:3).

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 t...