Thursday, 31 March 2016

One Year Bible: Days 91-120

Day 91
In Moses’ time, the people of God were to “arm themselves before the Lord for battle” (Numbers 32:20). In Jesus’ time, His disciples were given “power and authority to drive out all demons ...” (Luke 9:1). In every generation, the Lord’s people are to sing “a new song ... a hymn of praise to our God” so that “many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord” (Psalm 40:3).
Day 92
The sheer dimensions of what God was doing with His people, Israel, are most impressive. This was no small thing. This was a mighty work of God. The feeding of the 5,000 was a mighty miracle. It was impressive because of the sheer numbers involved in it. When we think of such mighty miracles, we know that their origin lies in God the Creator. He created the world out of nothing, His mighty work of creation is described in Proverbs 8:27-29.
Day 93
To come to the end of the book of Numbers is to sense the great significance of the man, Moses. To read the transfiguration of Jesus is to realize that the glory of “Moses and Elijah … in glorious splendour” is nothing compared with the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Of Christ alone, the Father says, “This is My Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him” (Luke 9:35). We give thanks for men of faith who have played an important part in carrying forward God’s purpose of salvation. It is concerning the Lord alone that Scripture says, “may those who love Your salvation always say, ‘The Lord be exalted’” (Psalm 40:16). 
Day 94
We are to make progress in the life of faith. There can be no looking back. In Deuteronomy 1:6-8, the Lord calls His people to press on. In Luke 9:62, the Lord Jesus emphasizes that we must keep going forward. It will not be easy. There will be opposition. Nevertheless, the Lord gives His promise of blessing (Psalm 41:2).
Day 95
When the people of Israel were brought to the promised land, this was a great fulfilment of God’s purpose. When Jesus teaches us to pray, “Father ... Your Kingdom come”, He is teaching us to pray for an even greater fulfilment of God’s purpose. The Lord sets us in His presence for ever (Psalm 41:12). The song of the redeemed will be “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen and Amen” (Psalm 41:13).
Day 96
In Deuteronomy 5, we have the Ten Commandments. In Luke 11:28, we have Jesus’ words: “Blessed ... are those who have the Word of God and obey it.” “Blessed are those who keep My ways” (Proverbs 8:32). There is no blessing apart from obedience, and there is no obedience apart from Christ. He says to us, “Whoever finds Me finds life” (Proverbs 8:35).
Day 97
God’s people were called to enter the promised land. They were called to live in obedience to the Lord who had brought them into the promised land. To those who refuse to enter into God’s land of blessing, God says, “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering” (Luke 11:52). There is a better way - “My soul thirsts for God, the living God” (Psalm 42:2).
Day 98
As they entered the promised land, the people of God received this reminder of the undeserved grace of God - “It is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this land to possess” (Deuteronomy 9:6). In His free grace, God gave the land to Israel. To us, He has graciously given the Kingdom - “Your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom” (Luke 12:32). To Israel, the Psalmist says, “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:11). To us also, this comes as a Word from the Lord and, with the Psalmist, we make our declaration, “I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 42:11).
Day 99
The people of God lived in a situation where there was much idolatry. For them, there could be no compromise. We are to be watchful as the Lord’s Return draws near. We dare not live as the world does. We are to live in the Lord’s way. In the midst of “an ungodly nation”, we are to pray, “Send forth Your light and Your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to the place where You dwell” (Psalm 43:3). As we look at this “ungodly nation”, it is easy to become “downcast.” We must learn to say to ourselves, “Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Saviour and my God” (Psalm 43:5). 
Day 100
In our day, there are many who say, “Let us follow other gods.” God says, “You must not listen” to such people (Deuteronomy 13:2-3). To follow the Lord’s instruction is not popular. Nevertheless, this is what we must do: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). Whatever the world may say, we must stand by the truth of God’s Word: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). 
Day 101
The people of God had been blessed by God. They had much to celebrate. The Lord had brought them out of the land of bondage. He was about to bring them into the land of promise. As we celebrate the love of God, we give the place of highest honour to Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Why did God give Israel the promised land? It was because He “loved them” (Psalm 44:3). We know the love of God in Christ. Concerning Christ, we say, with thanksgiving, “You give us victory over our enemies” (Psalm 44:7). In Him, we rejoice - “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise Your Name for ever” (Psalm 44:8). 
Day 102
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet ...” (Deuteronomy 18:15). This prophecy has its greatest fulfilment in Christ. Jesus is more than a prophet. He is the substance of the prophecy concerning God’s Kingdom. The coming of God’s Kingdom is the coming of Christ - both His first coming (our foretaste of heavenly glory) and His second coming (the fullness of heavenly glory). In Christ, there is redemption - a redemption we have begun to know, a redemption which we will enjoy in its fullness when Christ returns. Then, we will know the full answer to the prayer of Psalm 44:26 - “redeem us because of Your unfailing love.”
Day 103
Above all men, it can be said of Christ: “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever” (Psalm 45:2). When we read the parable of the prodigal son, we are reading the words spoken by the perfect Son. His lips were “anointed with grace.” In this parable, He points us to the heavenly welcome which is ours through returning to the Father. With the perfect Son of God, we will share the blessing: “God has blessed you for ever.” Blessed by Him, we are to fight for Him without fear and with the assurance of His victorious presence (Deuteronomy 20:1).
Day 104
Holiness and honesty are two qualities which are to characterize the life of the Christian. The ‘laws’ in Deuteronomy stress the importance of holiness. Jesus, in His parable of the shrewd manager, emphasizes the importance of honesty - “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). We are not to put on a facade of holiness. We are to be honest in our seeking holiness. If we despise the way of honesty and holiness, we will go the way of folly against which we are warned in Proverbs 9:13-18.
Day 105
Scripture speaks of both salvation and judgment. The Israelites were given “the land ... as an inheritance.” The Amalekites were to be “blotted out” (Deuteronomy 25:19). Lazarus received salvation - “carried ... to Abraham’s side.” The rich man received judgment “in hell” (Luke 16:22-23). We must seek to honour Jesus Christ our Lord (Psalm 45:11). This is salvation - confessing Christ as Lord with the mouth and trusting Him with the heart (Romans 10:9).
Day 106
The Lord blesses an obedient people (Deuteronomy 28:2). Our obedience to God arises from our thankfulness to Him (Luke 17:16). With grateful hearts, we make confession of our faith: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). To His people, God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations” (Psalm 46:10). God is exalted among the nations when His people are obedient people (Deuteronomy 28:9-10).
Day 107
Sadly, it is possible to be living in the promised land yet living in disobedience and thus losing out on the promised blessing. The Pharisee, in Jesus’ parable, lived and worshipped within the tradition which remembered God’s mighty act of redemption. Nevertheless, his heart was far from God. He considered himself superior, He was not justified, and he would not be exalted (glorified). Those who are justified, who will be glorified, rejoice in the Lord with much gladness: “Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:6).
Day 108
The Lord is looking for His people to stand up and be counted as His faithful servants. There is a commitment to be made, a commitment to be maintained. It is not only beginning with Christ. It is going on with Him. This is illustrated in the story of Zacchaeus. We are to walk securely as men of integrity (Proverbs 10:9).
Day 109
A comparison may be made between Israel’s entry into the promised land and Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Ahead of both, there lay conflict, but beyond the conflict, there was triumph. Their triumph is the triumph of God - “As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure for ever” (Psalm 48:8).
Day 110
Moses was God’s servant. Joshua was God’s servant. The prophets were God’s servants. Jesus is God’s Son. He is the Cornerstone of our salvation. Without Him, there is no salvation. With Him, there is full salvation. Concerning Him, the Word of God says, “This God is our God for ever and ever” (Psalm 48:14). He loves us with an “unfailing love” and His “praise reaches to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 48:9-10). 
Day 111
The contrast between Moses and Jesus continues. Moses died. Jesus is the Lord: “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet” (Luke 20:42-43). In Him, we have the promise of eternal life: “God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself” (Psalm 49:15).
Day 112
Israel’s entry into the promised land was a highly significant event in the history of God’s redemption. ‘The momentous event’ is the Return of our Lord Jesus Christ: “The Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). We must be ready for His Return, for there is a great difference between the righteous and the wicked (Proverbs 10:16).
Day 113
“Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you” (Joshua 3:5). Jesus shared the Passover with His disciples, while teaching them that something greater than the Passover was about to take place - redemption through the shedding of His precious blood. God says, “Gather to Me My consecrated ones, who made a covenant with Me by sacrifice ... Sacrifice thank offerings to God ... “ (Psalm 50:5,14-15). 
Day 114
Achan suffered death because of his own sinful disobedience. Achan died, and the judgment of God did not come on the whole people of God. Jesus suffered death as the sinless Son of God, who bore the sins of many that we might be saved through faith in Him. Achan died because he disobeyed the will of God. Jesus died in obedience to God’s will: “not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). As we look on what Jesus has done for us, we are to “sacrifice thank-offerings” to God that He might “show us the salvation of God” (Psalm 50:23).
Day 115
In their opposition to Christ, “Herod and Pilate became friends - before they had been enemies” (Luke 23:12). The people of Israel had to battle against many nations - different from each other, yet having one thing in common: their opposition to the Lord. Everything which is displeasing to the Lord must be resisted, as we pray, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2).
Day 116 
Joshua 9:16-10:43; Luke 23:26-56; Proverbs 10:21-30
The Lord gave victory to His people, and the defeated enemies were hung upon trees (Joshua 10:25-26). When Jesus was hung upon a tree, this was not defeat. It was victory. Concerning Jesus, it was said, “Surely, this was a righteous man” (Luke 23:47). Proverbs 10:25 tells us that “the righteous stand firm for ever.” This truth was mightily declared in Jesus’ resurrection, which demonstrated Him to be more than a righteous man. He is the Son of God.
Day 117
Israel’s victory over the heathen nations was given to them by the Lord. The spiritual dimension in this military situation must not be overlooked, if we are to learn the lessons God is teaching us from His Word. God has much to teach us from His Word. Those who listen to Him will always have this testimony: “Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us” (Luke 24:32). Why does the Lord’s Word burn in our hearts? - so that we might pray to the Lord, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Day 118
Although many victories had been won, there was still “the land that remains” (Joshua 13:2). The land which had been taken was shared among God’s people. There is strength in sharing. Some are called to leadership, e.g. Caleb (Joshua 14), but their leadership is not for their own satisfaction and benefit. It is for the blessing of the whole people of God. Those who had witnessed the appearance of the risen Lord were sent out to preach the Gospel (Luke 24:46-49). The testimony of the Lord’s people is to be: “I will praise You for ever for what You have done” (Psalm 52:9).  
Day 119
Each tribe had its limited allotment of land. Jesus Christ, “the Word” who “was God”, “became flesh” (John 1:1,14). He accepted the limitations of being human. He was human, yet without sin. “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 53:1,3).  This is true of every human being except Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God. In Him alone, there is “salvation” (Psalm 53:6).
Day 120
Each of the tribes had their part in the promised land. Each of Jesus’ disciples, whom He called to Himself at the outset of His ministry, had his part in the work of the Lord. What God did with Israel and with Jesus’ first disciples will be surpassed when Christ comes in glory: “You shall see greater things ... You shall see the heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man” (John 1:50-51). On that Day, there will be both salvation and judgment: “The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead” (Proverbs 11:8). 


Quiet trust and loud praise

‘Be still, and know that I am God… Shout to God with loud songs of joy’(Psalm 46:10; Psalm 47:2).
In our worship, there is to be both quiet trust and loud praise.


Lord, we need Your Word of encouragement.

Numbers 12:1-13:33
Lord, we need Your Word of encouragement. Sometimes, our problems seem to be so big. Help us to see that Your power is always greater than our problems. When everything in us seems to be saying, "I can't", help us to hear - and speak - the Word of faith, " I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

God's Unfailing Love

"Within Your temple, O God, we meditate on Your unfailing love" (Psalm 48:9).
What do we do when human love fails? We look beyond human love. We look to divine love.  God's love never fails. It's an "unfailing love." We should think, often, of the love of God. We should think of Jesus - "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son" (John 3:16). We should think of the supreme demonstration of God's love - "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Think of Jesus. Thank God for Jesus.

Sometimes, Lord, we wonder, "Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?"

Numbers 14:1-45 
Sometimes, Lord, we wonder, "Is there any light at the end of the tunnel?" Help us to hear Your answer - Yes. There is: "I will be with you. I will never leave you" (Joshua 1:5). Strengthened by Your wonderful promises, help us to rise up and face the future with the confidence that comes from knowing that You are leading us on into Your glorious future: "eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

The Vine

“You transplanted a vine from Egypt. You drove out the nations and planted it. You cleared the ground for it, and it took root and filled the land” (Psalm 80:8-9).
When we read here about a “vine”, we should remember that Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). We read here that the vine “filled the land.” Let us pray for our land – “Shine, Jesus, shine. Fill this land with the Father’s glory.”

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

God’s faithful love

“God sends His love and faithfulness” (Psalm 57:3).
Whatever may be happening in our lives, let’s remember God’s faithful love. Let's will look beyond everything that's happening to us. Let's catch a glimpse of God’s presence and purpose. : God is there, and He is fulfilling His purpose of “love and faithfulness.” In Jesus Christ, the love and faithfulness of God are seen more clearly than anywhere else. Rejoicing in God’s faithful love, let us say, from our hearts, “Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).

Monday, 28 March 2016

Lord, Give Us Your Joy.

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

Saturday, 26 March 2016

We look at ourselves, Lord - and our heads go down.

Numbers 17:1-18:32
We look at ourselves, Lord - and our heads go down. Again and again, Lord, we let You down - but You, Lord, never let us down. You lift us up. When we fail You, help us to remember Your faithful love - and to be lifted up into a life that is more faithful to You and more fruitful for You.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Lord, we are, so often, dragged down to the world's way of living.

Numbers 16:1-50
Lord, we are, so often, dragged down to the world's way of living. Again and again, we fail to respond to "the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). We fail to rise to the challenge of walking with You on "the high way of holiness" (Isaiah 35:8). When we rejoice in Your gift of forgiveness, help us, also, to choose the way of holiness.
Far too often, Lord, we keep our distance from You. You're calling us into a closer walk with You - but we draw back from You. You're seeking to change us - but we're quite content to stay the way we are. Forgive us, Lord, and deliver us from our self-centredness. Make us the kind of people that You want us to become.

We thank You, Lord, for Jesus - Your perfect Son, our perfect Saviour.

Numbers 19:1-22
We thank You, Lord, for Jesus - Your perfect Son, our perfect Saviour. In ourselves, there is sin. In Jesus, there is salvation: forgiveness for our guilty past, power for the challenges of our present - and glory, with You, forevermore.e hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him ... "(Revelation 3:20). He calls us to receive us the new life which begins, for each one of us, when we say, "Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus."

The sinner becomes the singer ...

Psalm 40:1-3

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

Thursday, 24 March 2016

We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus is "the same yesterday and today and forever"

Numbers 20:1-29
We thank You, Lord, that Your Son, Jesus is "the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). When everything around us seems to be changing, help us to remember that Jesus, our Saviour, is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable in the great love that He has for us and the amazing grace that He shows to us.

Feasting on God's Word

In ‘the Shepherd Psalm’ (Psalm 23), we read, in verse 5,: ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows’. We are to feast on God’s Word. We are to be filled with God’s Spirit. The ‘table’ is the place of feasting. ‘Oil’ is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. As we feast on God’s Word, we will have good cause to say, again and again, ‘God is good’: ‘His goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life’ (6). The Lord never fails us. He always comes with His life-giving Word, the Word of life, through which our life on earth becomes the beginning of life eternal, the pathway to a life in which the fullness of God’s love will be revealed in a way that we can hardly begin to imagine: ‘I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’(6). This is what Christ is preparing for us (John 14:2)!

Cain, Abel - And Christ

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

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Lord is my Shepherd ...

Psalm 23:1-6

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

Monday, 21 March 2016

Lord, Your Word gives us a much-needed warning: "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mould."

Numbers 25:1-26:22
Lord, Your Word gives us a much-needed warning: "Don't let the world squeeze you into its mould" (Romans 12:2). You're challenging us. You're asking us a very disturbing question - "Are you becoming more like the world or more like the Lord?" This is not only a disturbing question. It's a life-changing question. Answering this question honestly - This is the beginning of a better life, a life that brings more glory to You and more blessing to us, a life more fully in line with the "good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).

Lord, help us to make good choices.

Lord, help us to make good choices.
When we’re at the crossroads of life, we can so easily head off in the wrong direction.
At the crossroads of life, we need Jesus. He is the Way – the true and living Way (John 14:6).
“Without the Way, there is no going. Without the truth, there is no knowing. Without the life, there is no living.”
Help us to choose well. Help us to choose Jesus.
Lord, give us this great testimony: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Lord, help us to keep on praying this prayer: “May there be less of self and more of Christ in me” (John 3:30).

Where does worship begin?

Isaiah 55:1-13

“Without money and without cost” (Isaiah 55:1)
We read, in Matthew 26:7, about a woman who anointed Jesus with “very expensive fragrant oil.”
What are we to say about all of this? - It’s not about repaying the Lord for His love for us. It’s about expressing our love for Him. It’s about worship.
Where does worship begin? - “Seek the Lord... He will freely forgive” (Isaiah 55:7).
How does the love of Christ reach us and change us? You feel like you’re lost. The love of Christ says, “You can be found,” This is the message of Jesus’ parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son (Luke 15) - three parables, one message.
It’s not so much about us - our seeking the Lord and finding Him. It’s about the Lord. He seeks us and finds us.
In Matthew 26, we read about a woman who worshipped the Lord, and a man who betrayed Him.
Worship or betrayal? Which will it be?
 * How do we worship the Lord? - We worship Him, when we make Him the top priority in our lives.
 * How do we betray the Lord? - We betray him when we fill our lives with other things, and leave no place for Him.
The woman is to be remembered for the right reason. She worshipped the Lord. Judas Iscariot is remembered for the wrong reason. He betrayed the Lord.
We remember them. We remember Jesus, the Passover Lamb, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Prophecy - From Isaiah To Jesus

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

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

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Lord, You call us to embrace good change - change that comes from You.

Numbers 26:23-65
Lord, You call us to embrace good change - change that comes from You. You're teaching us to say, with the Apostle Paul, "It's no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). Help us to say, with John the Baptist, "I must decrease. Christ in me must increase" (John 3:30).

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

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

Lord, help us to put first things first.

Numbers 27:1-23
Lord, help us to put first things first. Giving glory to You is more important than anything else. You must come first in our life. Help us to "seek first Your Kingdom and Your righteousness" (Matthew 6:33).

Thursday, 17 March 2016

We thank You, Lord, that Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, "died for our sins" and was "raised" from death for us.

Numbers 28:1-31
We thank You, Lord, that Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, "died for our sins" and was "raised" from death for us (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Help us to rejoice in "the Good News" (1 Corinthians 15:1) of our Saviour. Help us to hear Your great declaration concerning Jesus - "This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). Help each of us to say of Jesus - "This is my beloved Saviour with whom I am well pleased."

Grounded In The Scriptures

How do we come to faith in Christ? How do we grow in Christ? How do we receive the Holy Spirit? How does the Holy Spirit work through us to bring other people to Christ? Do these blessings come to us from out of the blue? No. They come to us from the Word of God. We hear God’s Word. We read God’s Word. We learn about Jesus. The Spirit points us to Jesus. He leads us to Jesus. He creates faith in Jesus.
Don’t just listen to God’s Word when you’re at church. Read God’s Word day-by-day – and pray that the Spirit will work in you, “revealing Jesus through the Word, creating faith in Him” (Mission Praise, 279).

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Tragedy ... And Triumph

Genesis 3:1-7
The tragedy of Adam and Eve: their fall into sin. We compare this with the triumph of Jesus - His victory over Satan.
What made the difference?- standing on the Word of God.
Adam and Eve believed the lie of the devil.
Jesus took His stand on the Word of God.
What about us? Do we stand? or Do we fall? Will we listen to Satan? or Will we listen to God?
We cannot be facing in two directions at the same time. We must make our choice.
Will our life be self-centred? or Will it be God-centred?
God is calling us out of the old life (the Adam life). He’s calling us into the new life (the Jesus life). When we choose to walk with Jesus, He walks with us.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What blessing comes to us when the Holy Spirit comes to us!

Numbers 29:1-40 
What blessing comes to us when the Holy Spirit comes to us! We thank You, Lord, for the gift of the Holy Spirit. Before the Holy Spirit can work through - to bring others to Christ, He must work in us - yo make us more like Christ. When, Lord, we pray for blessing, help us to pray for "the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).

Like A Roaring Lion!

Daniel 6:1-28

The deliverance of Daniel from the mouths of the lions - What a great miracle this is! It points forward to an even greater miracle - the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why is the resurrection a greater miracle? - It seemed almost inevitable that Daniel would be killed, but he didn’t actually die. Jesus did die. The shadow of death hung over Daniel, but death did not take him. Jesus was raised from death. He was “crucified, dead and buried” - and, after all that, He was raised to life.
The message of Daniel’s deliverance from the mouths of the lions - “For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His Kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end” (Daniel 6:26). This is the message of Jesus’ resurrection.
Daniel’s deliverance gives us a glimpse of God’s glory. Jesus’ resurrection is a marvellous and mighty revelation of the eternal God and eternal life (see 1 John 5:20 - “Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.”) Daniel was a great man. Jesus is our great Saviour.
Like Daniel, we will face “lions” - Satan goes about “like a roaring lion” (1 Peter 5:8). Like Daniel, we must “resist” the devil, firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:9). Christ delivers us - and He will raise us.

Monday, 14 March 2016

If, Lord, we are to live for You, we must learn to die to self:

Numbers 30:1-31:20
If, Lord, we are to live for You, we must learn to die to self: "Put to death what is earthly in you ... put off the old nature .... put on the new nature" (Colossians 3:5-11). When there is less of self in us and more of Christ in us, there will be more blessing for others: "death is at work in us, but life in you" (2 Corinthians 4:12).

A Great Future!

Daniel 7:13-14

What a future God has planned for His people. What a great future He is planning for His people. Coronation - What a day of celebration.This is better than any human coronation. It’s better than any human celebration.
When Christ comes, this will go beyond our ability to describe or even imagine: the great Kingdom - full of the glory of God; the great Saviour - full of the grace of God. Christ takes us from grace to glory.
In Matthew 26:75, we see what Peter was. In Acts 2, we see what He became. This is grace, calling us on to glory.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Lord, You call us to be "soldiers of Christ."

Numbers 31:21-54 
Lord, You call us to be "soldiers of Christ" - to "fight the good fight of faith" (2 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Timothy 6:12). When "the battle is fierce", help us to remember that "the victory is secure. The victory is secure - What a great encouragement this is to us! It encourages us us to keep on going when we feel like giving up. When we feel like we're falling down in the weakness of the flesh, Your victory encourages us to keep on standing in Your strength (Ephesians 6:10-11).

A New Beginning - Based On What Had Gone Before

Mark 1:1-20
This was a new beginning (Mark 1:1), but it was based on what had gone before (Mark 1:2-3).
Those who speak of Jesus Christ, their Saviour, are "voices crying in the wilderness", but their ministry is blessed by the Lord (Mark 1:3,5).  
We must  never forget this, and we must pray that we will be like John - pointing away from ourselves to Jesus (Mark 1:7-8).
Whatever the world may say, we need more of Jesus, not less of Him. If we're going to have more of Jesus, we need more of the Word of God.
How can we get to know, love and serve Jesus better, if we're content with keeping everything shallow? 
The Spirit of the Lord descends whenever our chief focus of attention is on God's "beloved Son" (Mark 1:9-11).
It will not be easy to keep our attention on Jesus.
It wasn't easy for Jesus. It won't be easy for us (Mark 1:12-13).
John had been "arrested" (Mark 1:14). Would it be any easier for Jesus? Will it be any easier for us?
Will the call to "repent" be heard as "good news" (Mark 1:14-15)?
Many will say "No", but some will say "Yes" (Mark 1:16-20).
May God help us to follow Jesus, and call upon others to follow Him. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

We say, "We want to be happy." You, Lord, say to us, "What about being holy?"

Numbers 32:1-42
We say, "We want to be happy." You, Lord, say to us, "What about being holy?" Happiness is like 'the elusive butterfly." We try to catch it - and it keeps on evading our grasp." Lord, how can we find true happiness? Happiness comes to us when we are blessed by You, when we're learning to take delight in Your Word: "Blessed is the person who ... delights in the teachings of the Lord" How are we to enjoy the blessing of true happiness?  We find true happiness when we're learning to rejoice in You, the God of our salvation, the God who leads us on the Highway of Holiness" (Psalm 1:1-2; Isaiah 35:8). Help us, Lord, to keep on taking the High Road - God-centred holiness. Help us never to be content with the low road - self-centred happiness.

Fire!

Daniel 3:1-30

Fire - danger, heat
There is, in God’s Word, a word of warning and a word of promise.
This is the way we are not to go. This is the way we are to go.
 * “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).
 * “The bush was not consumed” (Exodus 3:2).
 * “Our God is an awesome God” (Rich Mullins) - we must never forget this.
Fire is to be respected. Our God is a holy fire. He burns away our dross.
 * “Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for You, Lord; I choose to be holy, set apart for You, my Master, ready to do Your will” (Brian Doerksen).
 * “O God of burning, cleansing flame, send the fire! Your blood-bought gift today we claim: send the fire today!... We need another Pentecost! Send the fire today!” (William Booth).
This is the inspiring and empowering fire: the Holy Spirit. “Give me oil in my lamp. Keep me burning” - burning for God.
 * Isaiah 43:2 - “You will not be scorched when you walk through the fire, and the flame will not burn you.”
There were four men in the furnace of blazing fire - Jesus was there: “the fourth was like a son of the gods” (Daniel 3:25),
We go through many testing times, but we are not alone. Jesus is with us. He’s there with His grace: “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He calls us to put our faith in Him.
 * In the fiery furnace, the men were burning for God. They weren’t being consumed by the fire. They were shining for God. Their light was calling out to others.
Come to the light. Come to the Lord.
When we look at these men, we must look beyond them to the Son of God. Jesus passed through the “fire” for us. He was forsaken by God so that we might be welcomed by God.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Thanksgiving And Hope

"This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes" (Psalm 118:23).
When we think of all that the Lord has done for us, let us think also of what He will do for us.
Let us look back with thanksgiving. Let us look forward with hope.

Praying Through God’s Word: Mark’s Gospel

Mark 1:1-20
Lord, we thank You that Your Son, Jesus, has triumphed over Your enemy, Satan. To us, Satan can seem so strong. Help us to remember that Jesus is stronger than Satan. With Jesus as our Saviour, we shall triumph over Satan, our enemy.
Mark 1:21-2:12
Lord, help us never to think that prayer time is wasted time. Jesus prayed. Jesus received Your blessing. Jesus brought Your blessing to others. Help us to be like Jesus – praying, receiving Your blessing, bringing Your blessing to others.
Mark 2:13-3:12
Lord, there are some changes that are good changes – but not all change is good change. We live in an ever-changing world. We look at some of the changes. We wonder, “Where are these changes coming from?” Is it because so many people have stopped listening to what Your Word is saying to them? What about good change, Lord? Where does good change come from? It comes from You, Lord. Real change, true and lasting change, comes to us when we put our trust in You, when we say, “Not my will, but Your will be done, Lord.”
Mark 3:13-35
Sometimes, Lord, when we think about our many sins, we wonder, “How can we possibly be forgiven?” – and, then, we remember Jesus. We remember that He died for our sins. We look at ourselves, and everything seems to be so hopeless. We look at Jesus, and we say, “Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful love. Your love is greater than all of our sin. Thank You, Lord.
Mark 4:1-34
Lord, what does Your Spirit have to say to us? He speaks to us of our sin. He shows us our Saviour. It’s a good thing to be aware of our sin. It’s an even better thing to know that Jesus “receives sinners” (Luke 15:2). We come to Him – and He welcomes us. He is our Savour. He forgives our sins. Our sin gets us down. Our Saviour lifts us up. No wonder we sing, “Hallelujah! What a Saviour!”
Mark 4:35-5:20
“No-one ever cared for me like Jesus”: Lord, help us to remember this – when our heads start to go down, and everything seems to be getting on top of us. Help us to remember this: “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:38-39).
Mark 5:21-6:13
Lord, when we feel like there’s no hope, show us that You are “the God of hope” (Romans 15:130. This is why we believe that “there is hope” (Jeremiah 31:17). Our hope is in You – the God of great faithfulness (Lamentations 3:23). With You as our God, how can we ever feel that we’re hopeless? – To ask this question is to answer it! You are our God. You are our hope. Thank You, Lord.
Mark 6:14-44
Lord, we look for happiness. Where will we find it? “Happiness is to know the Saviour, living a life within His favour.” How does happiness come our way? It comes when we’re learning to see that pleasing You is more important than pleasing ourselves: Trust and obey, for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Mark 6:45-7:23
Where, Lord, will we find peace – when our emotions are tearing us apart? We feel like we’re being pulled this way and that way. Sometimes, we feel like we’re all over the place. We don’t know whether we’re coming or going. Lord, give us Your peace. Give us Your Son, Jesus. He is our Saviour. He is our Peace.
Mark 7:24-8:26
How much, Lord, do we want to be blessed by You? Is this something that we can take or leave? Do we say, “It would be nice to have more of the Lord’s blessing – but we’re doing OK, as things are? Are we doing OK? or Are we too easily satisfied? Create in us, Lord, a greater hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. Give us a greater desire that You will be glorified in us and through us. Help us not to settle for less than You want to give to us.
Mark 8:27-9:13
Where does our faith come from? – It comes from You, Lord. You put it into our hearts. You brought us to Jesus, Your Son – Jesus, our Saviour. You brought us out of unbelief and into faith. We came to You in our sin. You gave to us Your salvation. Thank You, Lord.
Mark 9:14-50
Lord, we come to You in weakness. You come to us in power. Our faith is weak. your power is great. What is our faith? It is faith in Your power – the power of Your love. It’s not faith in ourselves. It’s faith in You. You are our God. We put our trust in You. May we know, in our hearts, that You are absolutely trustworthy – the God who will never fail us.
Mark 10:1-31
When problems come our way, help us, Lord, to see that You have given us the answer – Your Answer: Jesus. What are we to do when we have problems? – We take them to Jesus. We see nothing but our problems – He sees something else: His opportunities. Our big problems can be turned into His great opportunities! Our problems bring us down. Your grace lifts us up. When our faith is put to the test, help us to remember Your precious promise: “My grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Mark 10:32-52
Lord, You gave Your Son for us. We give all the glory to You. Our salvation does not begin with ourselves. It begins with You – Your gift to us, the gift of Your love: “God so loved the world that he gave His only Son” (John 3:16). Thank You, Lord, for Your love. Thank You for Your gift. Thank You for Your Son.
Mark 11:1-33
Lord, You call us to be fruitful for You. You call us to pray to You. Lead us in the way of fruitfulness. Lead us in the way of prayer. Help us to see that real fruitfulness comes from You. It comes to us – when we seek blessing from You and give glory to You.
Mark 12:1-44
Lord, give us wisdom. Give us Jesus. Give us faith – faith that is grounded in Your Holy Word, faith that is empowered by Your Holy Spirit. This is wisdom – living in the light of Your Word, living in the power of Your Spirit, living for Jesus. Lord, give us wisdom.
Mark 13:1-27
Lead us on, Lord – from our past to Your future. Whatever our past has been, show us Your future. Show us that You haven’t given up on us. Show us that You have a great future planned for us.
Mark 14:1-25
We thank You, Lord, for Your love. It’s the greatest love of all. Your love for us is so much greater than our love for You. Help us, Lord, to think less about our love for You, and more about Your love for us.
Mark 14:26-52
Lord, we praise You. We pray to You. We preach Your Word. Help us, Lord, as we praise, pray and preach, to remember that this is only part of our life. You call us to belong to You – and to serve You in the whole of life. This is not only about the things that we do – even the ‘holy’ things! It’s about being the kind of people You’ve called us to be. We’re called by Your holiness – called to be holy. We’re called by Your love – called to be loving. We’re called by Jesus – called to become more like Him. Help us, Lord, to hear Your call. Help us to say, ‘Yes’ to Your call – the call to live in holiness and love, the call to follow Jesus.
Mark 14:53-15:5
We thank You, Lord, that Jesus went to the Cross for us. He didn’t stop halfway. He didn’t opt out at ‘the eleventh hour.’ He didn’t give up. He kept on going. What was it that kept Him going? – It was His love for us. Thank You, Lord, for His love – real love, wonderful love, perfect love, complete love, eternal love.
Mark 15:6-41
Thank You, Lord, that Jesus gave Himself for us. He took our place. He died for us. We are the sinners. He is the Saviour. He made the complete sacrifice. We receive the full salvation.This is Good News. It’s the best news we could ever hear.
Mark 15:42-16:20
We thank You that Jesus has risen from the dead. He died. He was buried. Was that the end of Him? No! There was a wonderful new beginning – for Jesus, for us. He has been raised to life – a glorious resurrection. We will be raised to life – a glorious future. Here-and-now, Lord, may our life be shaped by Your future – filled with the glory of the risen Lord.

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...