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Showing posts from January, 2019

The Holy One of Israel, ’ The God of the whole earth

Isaiah 54:1-17 ‘The Lord’ is not only ‘the Holy One of Israel’. He is ‘the God of the whole earth’ ( Isaiah 54:5 ). The Gospel is for ‘all nations’. The ministry of Christ’s apostles began in ‘Jerusalem’, but it did not end there. The Gospel was to be taken ‘to the ends of the earth’ ( Luke 24:46-47 ; Acts 1:8 ). Taking the Gospel out from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth was not easy. The apostles faced much opposition. They stood upon God’s promise: ‘No weapon formed against you shall prosper’ ( Isaiah 54:17 ). When we face opposition, we must take our stand on the Word of God: ‘If God is for us, who can be against us?’ ( Romans 8:31 ). Even when our words seem to fall on stony ground, we must keep on speaking the Word of God’s love: ‘With everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer’ ( Isaiah 54:8 ).

He Has Risen!

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

God's Way of Salvation (Psalm 11)

This Psalm begins with a tremendous statement of faith - “In the Lord I take refuge.” The whole Psalm should be understood in the light of this tremendous statement of faith. * From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist is able to overcome the temptation to doubt God (vs. 1-3). - His enemies say to him, “”Flee like a bird to your mountain.” The Psalmist replies, “In the Lord I take refuge.” - The “wicked” are out to get him. The Psalmist looks at them, and says, “In the Lord do I take refuge.” - It seems that “the foundations are being destroyed.” The Psalmist looks to the Lord, and says, “In the Lord I take refuge.” * From the vantage-point of faith, the Psalmist views the whole of life in the light of God: "The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord is on His heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence His soul hates. On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and bur

Lord, we come to You in our weakness.

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."

Lord, we give all the glory to You.

Genesis 47:1-26 Lord, we give all the glory to You. We think of Jesus, crucified for us - and we say, "Thank You, Lord - You have done for us what we could never have done for ourselves." You have brought us out of the darkness of of our sin and into the light of Your salvation - out of sadness and into gladness. Help us never to forget that You have saved us. Help us to live, each day, as Your faithful servants.

Bring Your Questions To The Lord.

In Psalms 73 - 75, there is inner turmoil, as the Psalmist wonders what to make of the success of the wicked who oppose the Lord and His people. There are times of great confusion - “But when I tried to understand this, it was too difficult for me” (Psalm 73:16). There are times when the Psalmist is on the edge of despair - “Why, O God, have You rejected us forever? Why does Your anger smoulder against the sheep in Your care? ... How long, O God, will the enemy insult us? Will the enemy despise You forever?” (Psalm 74:1,10). Despite all that runs counter to God, the Psalmist remains strong in faith. He triumphs over all that opposes the purpose of God in his life - “God remains the foundation of my life and my inheritance forever ... From long ago, God has been my King, the One who has been victorious throughout the earth ... We give thanks to You, O God; we give thanks. You are present, and Your miracles confirm that ... I will speak about Your miracles forever. I will

When Satan Comes, Sowing Seeds Of Doubt ...

“Behold, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought many devices” (Ecclesiastes 7:29). * Following the glory and majesty of the Creator and His creation in Genesis 1 & 2, the third chapter of Genesis begins with the enemy of God, the enemy of our souls, the devil, Satan (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). He is “subtle” – sly, cunning, crafty. He is evil.He sows seeds of doubt: “Did God say?” (Genesis 3:1). From his very first words, it is clear that he is the enemy of God. “Did God say? Did God really say?” One can almost hear the wicked, unbelieving tone of voice with which Satan spoke. * When the woman heard the voice of Satan, she ought to have turned away from him. She ought to have said, “Get behind me, Satan. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.” She ought to have said this, but she didn’t. She discussed the matter with the enemy. She had no right to do this. There was one answer she ought to have given to the devil: God has s

The human situation, the divine solution ...

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

Corrected By God's Word - Not Correcting God's Word!

“I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (Habakkuk 2:1). Habakkuk doesn’t say to God, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I’ll go away and think about it and see if I agree with what you have said.” No! He says something very different. He says, “Let me hear what you have to say to me – and I will be corrected by Your Word to me.” It’s our thinking that needs to be corrected by God’s Word – not God’s Word that needs to be corrected by us. The moment we speak about our thinking being corrected by God’s Word, we hear voices being raised – “The Bible was written such a long time ago. The world is very different now.” Yes! The world is very different now – but we must ask the awkward question, “How many of the changes have come from the fact that we have stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to us?” Have we stopped listening to what the Bible has to say to u

Not An Easy Pathway

Numbers 12:1-13:33  In his leadership of God’s people, Moses faced problems. It was not an easy pathway towards the promised land. There was opposition from Miriam and Aaron (Numbers 12:1). There was an unbelieving report, brought back from the land of Canaan by most of the spies (Numbers 13:31). Alongside these problems, there was the encouragement, which came from Caleb’s words of faith: “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it” (Numbers 13:30). By faith, we shall overcome the problems.

Exactly What The Lord Commanded

Numbers 17:1-18:30 Moses, the priests, the people – All of them were to honour the Lord in everything. (i) “Moses did exactly what the Lord commanded him to do” (Numbers 17:11). (ii) The priests were “a gift, given by the Lord, to do whatever work is necessary at the tent of meeting” (Numbers 18:6). (iii) The people were to “contribute the best and holiest parts to the Lord” (“out of all the gifts they had received” (Numbers 18:29). Whoever we are, whatever our place in God’s work, we are to be dedicated to the Lord, committed to doing His will and being faithful in the work He has given to us to do for Him.

The Lord is 'able to keep us from falling.'

"When I said, “My foot is slipping”, Your love, O Lord, supported me" (Psalm 94:18). The Lord is 'able to keep us from falling' (Jude 24-25). We are 'kept by the power of God' (1 Peter 1:3-5). Putting our trust in the Lord, we may be confident of this: 'God, who began His good work in us, will carry it through to completion on the Day of Jesus Christ' (Philippians 1:6). As we 'press on', we must never forget this: 'It is God who works in us to will and to work according to His good purpose' (Philippians 3:14; 2:13). 'Let us fix our eyes on Jesus', trusting in His promise: 'My sheep listen to My voice ... I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one shall snatch them out of My hand' (Hebrews 12:2; John 10:27-30).

God's Love - Reaching Out To Us

"God's love endures for ever" (Psalm 136:1). God loves us. He’s always reaching out to us. He’s calling us to return to Him. He’s inviting us to come and be blessed by Him. When we resist His call and rebel against Him, we miss out on His blessings – the forgiveness of our sins and new life in Christ. We receive these blessings through faith in Christ. Our rebellion against God doesn’t mean that God stops loving us – He keeps on reaching out to us. He keeps on calling us to return to Him – but it does mean that we miss out on the enjoyment of the blessings He’s calling us to receive through faith in Christ.

Great Is The Lord ...

"I will sing a new song to You, O God ... the One who gives salvation ... Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving. Sing praises ... to our God" ( Psalm 144:9-10 ; Psalm 147:7 ). "Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised" (Psalm 145:1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him.

God’s everlasting love

Jeremiah 31:1-6 God’s everlasting love: His love for us comes before our love for Him. We’re living in a wilderness - spiritual and moral. We’re always searching, but never finding. We’re never sure which way to turn.  Into this situation, comes God - from “far away” (heaven). He speaks of His love, and putting our life together again (Jeremiah 31:3-4). We can’t do this for ourselves. He must do this for us. It’s not a self-improvement programme. It’s a new birth into a life of praise (Jeremiah 31:40, service (Jeremiah 31:5) and calling others to come and worship the Lord (Jeremiah 31:6).

Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” ...

Genesis 6:1-8 Lord, we thank You for Your “amazing grace” – “I once was lost but now am found” (John Newton). We think about our life. Did we find our way back to You?   - No! You found us! You came looking for us – and You found us. We think about this – and we say, “Hallelujah!” We say, “Praise the Lord!” Do we say, “Hallelujah! We have found Him”? We do say this – but there is something more than this: “Hallelujah! He has saved me.” Thank You, Lord, for Your amazing grace.

We thank You, Lord, that the devil flees from us when we flee to Jesus.

Numbers 35:1-36:13 We thank You, Lord, that the devil flees from us when we flee to Jesus. What a precious promise is given to us in Your Word: "The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe" (Proverbs 18:10). Who are "the righteous" - Surely, not us? We've failed You so often. How can we be "the righteous"? Jesus Christ is "righteous" - and He has died for our sins (1 John 2:1-2). This changes everything - "There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). What a Saviour! What a victory over Satan! Thank You, Jesus.

Putting God First

God calls us to follow “the way of righteous people” (Psalm 1:6). He directs our attention to His “Son”, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Psalm 2:7). He promises blessing to those who “take refuge ... In Him” (Psalm 2:12). There is much opposition: “O Lord, look how my enemies have increased! Many are attacking me. Many are saying about me, ‘Even with God on his side, he won’t be victorious’” (Psalm 3:1-2). We need not be afraid of these enemies - “Victory belongs to the Lord! ... You, O Lord, are a shield that surrounds me” (Psalm 3:8,3).

“Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.”

There is to be prayer from “every one who lives in the land” (Joel 1:14). It is to be personal prayer - “O Lord, I cry to You for help!” (Joel 1:19). These two belong together - prayer for the nation and personal prayer. This is expressed so well in the words: “O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee. Send a revival. Start the work in me.” We hear the words, “Return to the Lord, your God” (Joel 2:13). They are followed by some wonderful words about the character of God - “He is merciful and compassionate, patient and always ready to forgive and to change His plans about disaster” (Joel 2:13). How do we know that God is like this? We look at what He has done for us - “Be glad and rejoice. The Lord has done great things!” (Joel 2:21). Looking at all that the Lord has done for us, we trust His promise: “Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32). This salvation is more than forgiveness for past sins. It’s more than the future glory of being in God’s ev

God's Eternal Purpose, Our Earthly Journey

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

Lord, we rejoice in Your Word of forgiveness and eternal life.

1 Kings 21:1-22:14 Lord, we rejoice in Your Word of forgiveness and eternal life (1 John 1:9; 1 John 5:11-12). When our hearts grow cold and we start taking Your love and Your blessing for granted, help us to pay careful attention to the Gospel warning: “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3). Help us, Lord, when we hear Your Word, not to keep it to ourselves: “What the Lord says to me, that I will speak” (1 Kings 22:14).

Atonement For Us - And For God

" ... O God of our salvation, For the glory of Your name ... provide atonement for our sins, For Your name’s sake!" ( Psalm 79:9 ). Beyond our salvation, there is God's glory. When we think about Christ's atoning sacrifice for sin, we must not think only of the "for us" blessing - the forgiveness of our sins. We must also think of the "for God" character of the atonement which has been provided for us by God. We rejoice in the forgiveness of our sins.  We also rejoice in this: God's holiness is proclaimed in the death of Christ for sinners. We may think first of the blessing that has come to us through the the shedding of Christ's precious blood. Scripture speaks first of the "for God" character of the atonement - God is "just" - before speaking of the "for us" blessing - God is "the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" ( Romans 3:26 ).

Lord, we thank You for Jesus, our Saviour.

Genesis 49:1-27 Lord, we thank You for Jesus, our Saviour. In Him, You have given us "every spiritual blessing" ( Ephesians 1:3 ). What blessings You have given to us - the forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit living in us, eternal life with You ( Ephesians 1:7 , 13-14 ). Help us to praise You today. Help us to praise You every day.

The God Whom We Worship Is So Much Greater Than The Worship We Bring To Him.

Psalm 145:1-21 ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised. His greatness is beyond understanding’. Let us worship our great God: ‘I will exalt You, my God the King. I will praise Your Name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise You and extol Your Name for ever and ever’(1-3). The God whom we worship is so much greater than the worship we bring to Him. Our worship is to be a ‘joyful celebration’. We celebrate His great love: ‘The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love’. We rejoice in His great faithfulness: ‘The Lord is faithful to all His promises’. Here on earth, we have only begun to worship our great God. Our worship will continue in His ‘everlasting Kingdom’. There, we will ‘praise His Name for ever and ever’(7-8, 13,21). Psalm 146:1-10 ‘I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live’(2). Praising the Lord our God: This is a lifelong commitment. We cannot maintain this lifelong commitment in our ow

Lord, we thank You that we do not need to live in fear.

Genesis 46:1-34 Lord, we thank You that we do not need to live in fear. Your love is greater than our fear. Where does fear come from? It comes from the devil. Who is he? He's our enemy. He's a determined enemy. He's also a defeated enemy. Lord, we rejoice in Your word of victory: "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" ( 1 Corinthians 15:57 ).

The Lord has saved us. Let's live for Him.

Deuteronomy 14:1-15:23 “The Lord has chosen you to be His own special possession” (Deuteronomy 14:2). This is a great blessing – We have been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5,8). “You are people who are holy to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 14:21). Those who have been saved by the Lord are to live for Him (Ephesians 2:10). “Be generous to the poor and needy” (Deuteronomy 15:11) – Living for the Lord involves showing kindness to others. We have been loved by the Lord. We are to love others.