Deuteronomy 1:1-3:29 This is the continuing story of God’s mighty working on behalf of His chosen people. He is leading them on to the land He had promised to them. Entering this land will not be easy. There will be plenty of opposition. The enemy will be defeated. The Lord will triumph over all who stand against Him.
Genesis 9:20-29 Lord, we need Your strength. Without Your strength, we fall. Without Your strength, we fail. With Your strength, everything changes. You lead us from our defeat into Your victory. Help us, Lord, to trust You. In ourselves, we are weak. In You, we are strong. Where does this strength come from? – It comes from this: Jesus has risen – and He lives in us! “Resurrect in our lives faith, hope, and love, as surely as You raised Jesus Christ from the grave” ( Common Order , Prayer for Easter).
Psalm 46:1-11 "God is our refuge and our strength ..." (Psalm 46;1). "Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10). First, the truth about God; Then, our feelings are brought into line with the truth about God, Facts; Faith; Feelings * Facts - Christ's death and resurrection for us * Faith - I believe the facts. My faith is built on the sure foundation - Christ, the rock of my salvation. * Feelings - Never start with feelings. They will lead you astray. Safety; Certainty; Enjoyment * Safety - We have been saved by the Lord. It's His doing - not ours. * Certainty - We believe His Word. We stand upon His promises. * Enjoyment - We enjoy His blessing.
“The bigger the truth we try to speak the smaller the words we should use, and the shorter the sentences” (Ian Pitt-Watson). Good preaching does its hearers good. Our concern is not to impress people with our eloquence. Our goal is to direct attention away from ourselves to the Saviour. We should aim to be simple, sincere and spiritual.
The search for wisdom may begin for us with the question, “What does the book of Proverbs teach us about wisdom?”, but it must not end there. While it is important to learn what the Old Testament has to say to us, we should not allow ourselves to get trapped in the Old Testament so that we fail to look beyond the first stage of God’s revelation and see the fullness of God’s revelation – our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son” (Hebrews 1:1-2). The book of Proverbs encourages us to search for wisdom. In our search for wisdom, we find that we are led beyond the book of Proverbs. We read what the New Testament says to us – “you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). We are to led to “Christ” who is “the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:24). C
The call to “acquire wisdom” (Proverbs 4:5) is a call to”walk away from evil” (Proverbs 4:27). The importance of walking away from evil is grounded in the fact that “Each person’s ways are clearly seen by the Lord” (Proverbs 5:21). We are not to give the appearance of living a godly life while remaining far from God in our hearts. There is to be a true commitment to living to please God in all things – in the places which are seen only by Him as well as the places that are seen by other people. Living to please will involve clearly identifying the ways that do not please God, so that we can avoid such ways and seek the better way of doing the Lord’s will.
In Proverbs 7, we are warned against the foolishness of going the way of the world. In Proverbs 8, we hear the voice of wisdom, calling to us; “Now, sons, listen to Me. Blessed are those who follow My ways” (Proverbs 8:32). The call of wisdom continues in Proverbs 9. The call of wisdom comes to us as the call of the Lord, who, from His Table, calls us to His Supper: “Come, eat My bread, and drink the wine I have mixed” (Proverbs 9:5).
Jeremiah 1:4-10 How old was Jeremiah when he was called to be a prophet of God? We don't know. We do know that this was the great turning-point of his life. This was the day that he discovered the meaning, purpose and direction of his life. This was revealed to him by God. This call gave him strength to face many difficult times.
John 3:16 ; John 10:10 What does it mean to have eternal life? There are two important dimensions in eternal life. There is life after death and there is life before death. There are a great many people who never give any thought to an after-life. The question, “Is there life after death?” rarely crosses their mind. they are content to live from day to day, taking each day as it comes. These people are, however, interested in another question: Is there life before death? When they hear of Jesus Christ, they ask, “Can He change my life here and now? Can He make a difference in my life right now? The Gospel answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes”. Jesus Christ does not only give us heaven. He give us new life here and now. The two sides of the life which Christ gives to us must be emphasized. There is life before death. Jesus calls this: “abundant life” ( John 10:10 ). There is life after death. Here, Jesus speaks of “everlasting life” ( John 3:16 , Authorized Version)
"This is the Word that the Lord spoke to Zephaniah" (Zephaniah 1:1). Straightaway, our attention is drawn away from the prophet to the Lord - "The Lord spoke His Word" (Zephaniah 1:1). How are we to hear the Word of the Lord? - "Be silent in the presence of the Almighty Lord" (Zephaniah 1:7). How can we hear what the Lord is saying to us, if we're too busy speaking? We must listen to God, if we are to hear what He is saying to us. What we hear from the Lord may not be what we want to hear. It will be what we need to hear. He speaks to us His Word of judgment so that we might see ourselves as sinners and come to Him for salvation. "Search for the Lord, all you humble people in the land... " (Zephaniah 2:2). Even when the people have wandered away, far from God, and the land has become deeply affected by ungodly and unrighteous ways of thinking and living, God continues to call the people to return to Him and enter into His bles
“The divine revelation that the prophet Habakkuk saw” (Habakkuk 1:1) – This is a Word from the Lord. It is given to Habakkuk. It is given to God’s people, Israel. It is given to His Church in every nation and every generation. God’s Word is to be received by God’s people. God’s Word is to be passed on to God’s people. “Didn’t You exist before time began, O Lord my God, my Holy One?” (Habakkuk 1:12). God does not speak to us from the standpoint of a human observer. He’s more than someone who belongs to time alone. He is the eternal God. When we listen to the voice of God, we are listening to the voice of the One who is eternal, the One who is calling us on to eternal life. “I will stand at my guard post. I will station myself on the wall. I will watch to see what He will say to me…” (Habakkuk 2:1). When we speak about God’s revelation, we’re emphasizing that God speaks to us. Here, we’re emphasizing our response to God’s revelation. God’s Word is heard by us when we li
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! … it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades” ( Luke 10:13-15 ). What is Christ saying to us as we read His strong words of judgment? He’s calling us to change direction. Stop walking on “the broad road that leads to destruction.” Start walking on “the narrow road that leads to life” ( Matthew 7:13-14 ). Stop walking away from Christ. Start walking with Him.
"This is a revelation from the Lord ..." (Nahum 1:1). What a wonderful start to this prophecy! "The Lord is patient and has great strength" (Nahum 1:3). Where does such knowledge of God come from? It comes from the revelation of God. It is revealed to us. It is the Word that comes to us from the Lord. It is the Word that is given to us by the Lord. "The Lord is good. He is a fortress in the day of trouble" (Nahum 1:7). Do we come to this faith by way of our unaided reason? or Is such faith given to us by the Lord? The way to faith is the way of revelation. "What do you think about the Lord?" (Nahum 1:9). This is a challenging question. True thoughts about the Lord are given to us by the Lord Himself. Fake thoughts come from our own minds. We think that we know God, until God comes to us and shows us that we are far from Him, and we need to be saved by Him. We need to have our minds renewed by Him. "This is what the Lord says&qu
“Be strong and of good courage … the Lord your God … goes with you …” (Deuteronomy 31:6). As well as providing atonement for our sins, the Lord provides us with strength to live to His glory. We give thanks for God’s gift of forgiveness – “In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” ( Ephesians 1:7 ). We also give thanks that God has given the strength that we need to live for Him – “strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being” ( Ephesians 3:16 ).
Deuteronomy 7:1-8:20 The contrast between God’s people and those who worship false gods is so strong. It would be easy for God’s people to feel superior. God’s Word gives us no encouragement to have a superiority complex (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). How are God’s people to remain true to Him when there are so many pressures to conform to the world? – We must remember that we need the Word of the Lord (Deuteronomy 8:3). Without His Word, we will be easy victims for Satan. The Lord warns His people – We must remember to obey Him, or we will, by our disobedience, bring ourselves under His judgment (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).
Amos 1:1-2:16 ‘The Lord roars’. ‘The Lord thunders’(1:2). God’s Word comes to us from above - ‘The Lord will roar from on high’. He speaks to us from heaven - ‘He will thunder from His holy dwelling’. We dare not ignore the Word of the Lord. His Word comes to us as a Word of warning - ‘He will shout against all who live on the earth’- and a Word of judgment - ‘He will bring judgment on all mankind’. God is calling for our attention: ‘Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth’. God speaks to us about His ‘fierce anger’. He calls us to turn from our sin. Let us return to the Lord and hear His Word of salvation: ‘I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 25:30-32,37; 31:34). Amos 3:1-5:5 ‘You only have I chosen... therefore I will punish you for all your sins’(3:2). Along with the privilege of being ‘chosen’ to belong to the Lord comes the responsibility of living as the
Sinners become singers. We never cease to be sinners. We are not superior to those who do not sing the song of the Lord. We have been saved by His grace. All the glory belongs to Him. May our whole life be a song of praise to Him (Ephesians 2:8-10). In our battle against Satan, we must never forget that our victory is grounded in His salvation: “At the Name of Jesus, Satan’s legions flee; on then, Christian soldiers, on to victory.” “The Church of God ” is called to move forward as “a mighty army.” The Lord has loved us so much. He has saved us. May we always give to others a friendly invitation and a warm welcome: “Onward then, you people, join our happy throng, blend with ours your voices in the triumph song.” Sinners will become singers – when we, who have begun to sing the Lord’s song, always remember that we are never any more than this: sinners who have been saved by God’s grace.
"Praise God in His sanctuary" (Psalm 150:1). "Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit... glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Where does praise come from? How do we learn to glorify God"? We learn that we "have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). At the Cross of Christ, we learn to praise God. We see Jesus, crucified for us - and our hearts are filled with praise to God. This is where praise begins. It doesn't begin with us. It begins with God. It begins with Jesus. It begins with the Holy Spirit.
Exodus 5:1-8:31 It gets worse before it gets better. Things seemed to be going from bad to worse for God’s people. They become “discouraged” (Exodus 6:9). They were unable to look beyond their present difficulties. They needed the Lord’s Word of encouragement – “The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I use My power against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of there” (Exodus 7:5). Before there was salvation for Israel, there needed to be judgment for Egypt. The judgments on Egypt (the “plagues”) were a call to repentance. If there had been a willingness to listen to God’s Word at the beginning, these “plagues” would not have happened. Each “plague” was a call to repentance as well as a judgment on disobedience. Each “plague” could have been the last – if Pharaoh had said ‘Yes’ to the Lord. Pharaoh said ‘No’, and the “plagues” continued.
The Psalmist speaks of his enemies – “my foes” ( Psalm 3:1 ). They are not only his enemies. They are the Lord’s enemies ( Psalm 2:2 ). What an encouragement it is to know that we do not stand against our enemies on our own. The Lord is standing with us. We do not stand in our own weakness. We stand in the strength of the Lord. He is with us. Many times, we will fail Him. He will never fail us. Often, we will let Him down. He will never let us down. What does God say to us, in our weakness? – He assures us that He holds on to us with a love which is much stronger than our weak love for Him – “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful” ( 2 Timothy 2:13 ). When, in our battle against strong a nd determined enemies, we like giving up, let’s remember this: God is faithful – and He is much stronger than Satan. “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world” ( 1 John 4:4 ).
“Show Your marvellous lovingkindness … O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” ( Psalm 17:7 ; Psalm 19:14 ). The lessons that we discover in the Word of God are lessons that are given to us by revelation. God shows us His “marvellous lovingkindness.” He shows us His salvation. Learning about God’s love and His salvation – There is nothing more wonderful than this. To know that we are loved by the Lord and have been saved by Him – This is what gives us strength to keep on loving and praising Him as we travel with Him towards His glorious Kingdom.
2 Samuel 15:1-37 There is a great difference between human popularity and divine approval. Here, we have human popularity - ‘The conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing’(12). In Acts 5:14, we have divine approval - ‘More than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women’. Conspiracy involves man seeking to get his own way. Revival comes when we ‘let go and let God have His wonderful way’. ‘Carry the ark of God back into the city’(25). In the ark of God, we have the Word of God among the people of God. If the people of God are to enjoy the blessing of God, they must live according to the Word of God. We organize things to suit ourselves. This is conspiracy. God is not in it. Look to God. Listen for His Word. Live in the light of His Word. This is God’s way to revival.
Joshua 24:1-33 Help us, Lord, to mean what we say, and say what we mean. May our words of faith by backed up by a life of faith. In our life of faith, may we be unashamed to say, "I'm living this way because I love Jesus. It's not about me. It's about Jesus. He's changing me - "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20).
Sin, Judgment … And Salvation (Genesis 3:1-24) Genesis 3:1 – “The serpent” (Satan) raises doubts – “Has God said? Genesis 3:2-3 – The woman tells Satan what “God has said.” Genesis 3:4 – Satan contradicts God’s Word. Note the progression from questioning God’s Word to contradicting His Word. Genesis 3:5 – “Your eyes will be opened.” You will see everything in a different way. You will know “good” as something you’ve lost. All you’ll have left is “evil.” That’s not exactly how Satan said it would turn out. What can you expect from someone who contradicts God’s Word? – Nothing but lies! Genesis 3:6 – This is the beginning of sin. We listen to Satan. We do what he says – instead of listening to God and doing what He says. Genesis 3:7 – “Their eyes were opened.” They saw what they had become through their disobedience to God’s Word. Genesis 3:8 – Sin leads to hiding from God. Genesis 3:9 – “Where are you?” Why is God looking for them? Is this no
We have to speak to today's world - but we must make sure that it's God's Word that we speak. What are we to say to the world? We must begin with another question: What is God saying to us? If we are to hear what God is saying to us, we must make time for studying His Word. We can only speak the Word of God to others if we have heard Him speaking to ourselves. If our words are to bring something real and relevant to today's word, they must be an echo of "the living and enduring word of God" (1 Peter 1:23). In themselves, our words have no power to change the lives of those who hear them. There is, however, a greater Power at work when the Lord's servants proclaim His Word. In Ephesians 6:17, Paul describes "the Word of God" as "the sword of the Spirit." Whenever we are bringing the Word of God to men and women, we must pray for the presence and power of the Spirit . We must remember this: "The weapons we fight with
2 Samuel 18:1-33 Often, we wish we could look into the future, and see what's going to happen to us. We can't. the future belongs to You, Lord - not to us. Help us to wait on You, Lord - to wait patiently for the time when Your future becomes our present. Our 'tomorrow' can never become our 'today' - until our 'today' becomes our 'yesterday.' Help us, Lord, to forget about gazing into some kind of 'crystal ball.' Give us the grace to walk with You in faith - one day at a time.
The book of Numbers tells us the story of Israel's journey through the wilderness. What can we learn from their journey? The people of Israel had been delivered from their bondage in Egypt. They were going to be brought to the Promised Land. For a long while, they were in the wilderness. For forty years, the wilderness was their “now moment”. We look back. We remember what the Lord has done for us. He died on the Cross for us. We look forward to His Return. What a great day that will be! In our many “now moments”, we are in the wilderness. It’s a place of danger. It’s a place of promise. We are involved in a constant battle for faith and obedience – “The sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want” (Galatians 5:17). Often, we fail our Lord. We need to hear the challenging words of Paul: “After beginning with the Spirit, are you now
Deuteronomy 31:1-32:52 Moses’ time of leadership was coming to an end. Joshua would replace him as the leader of God’s people. With God’s command – “Be strong and courageous” – and promise – “you will bring the Israelites into the land that I swore to give them, and I will be with you” (Deuteronomy 31:23), Joshua set out into the work of the Lord. Moses still had a Word to bring to the people from the Lord – a Word which proclaimed the Lord as “a faithful God” (Deuteronomy 32:4) and called the people to be faithful to Him (Deuteronomy 32:5-6).
Jesus the Saviour is greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12). Jesus does more than proving physical food. He is the Bread of Life (Matthew 14:13-21). Jesus has power over nature (Matthew 14:22-36) - because He is "the Son of God, Look, the Lamb" (Matthew 14:33). We look beyond John to Jesus. John pointed away from himself to Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Jesus is our Saviour. Let us praise Him for all that He is, all that He has done for us and all that He has given to us.
Joshua 23:1-16 Lord, You have done great things for us. You are still doing great things for us. You will continue to do great things for us. When we say, "Thank You, Lord, for Your many blessings", help us never to take Your blessing for granted. Help us to keep on living in obedience to Your Word. Help us to see, more clearly, the vital connection between obedience and blessing: Keep the obedience going, and the blessing will keep on coming.
Leviticus 11:1-47 Lord, we thank You that Your call to holiness begins with Your call to salvation. We're not left to go it alone. You come to us. You come as our Saviour. You take us as we are - but You don't leave us the way You found us. You start changing us. You have great plans for us. You're making us more like Your Son, Jesus. We trust Jesus. We receive His salvation. Help us to follow Him, to be changed by Him, to become more like Him.
Jesus was speaking to men who practised a a very high-brow kind of religion. As far as they were concerned, they did all the right things. They regarded themselves as the people of God. From this high vantage-point of religious observance, these men became proud and arrogant. They looked down on others. Rather than looking deeply into their own sinful hearts and confessing their own sin to God, these men were preoccupied with outward appearances and insisted on passing judgment on the lives of others. Although these men had plenty of religion, Jesus hit the nail on the head when He said to them: "But I know that you have not the love of God within you" ( John 5:42 ). Jesus' words, in John 5:42 , begin with the word, "But." Jesus is saying to these proud, religious men, "I know all about your religion, all about your religious traditions, all about the power and the glory of your religion, all about your knowledge of the Scriptures, but there is somethin
“I see Your mercy in front of me. I walk in the light of Your truth” (Psalm 26:3). In Your mercy, Lord, open up for us a new way of living – a way of living that is shaped by Your truth, a way of living that is filled with Your light. “I have always been mindful of Your unfailing love and have lived in reliance on Your faithfulness” (Psalm 26:3). Have we always been mindful of God’s unfailing love? Have we always trusted in His faithfulness? We know the answer as soon as we ask the question. Often, we have failed the Lord – but He has never failed us. Many times, we have let Him down – but He has never let us down. It’s His love for us that’s unfailing – not our love for Him.
2 Samuel 19:40-20:26 ‘The words of the men of Judah were fiercer than the words of the men of Israel’(43). At the heart of all this conflict was Sheba. He was a real trouble-maker. ‘A worthless fellow’, he was up to no good. A complainer, he wreaked havoc among God’s people. He was out to make an impression - and he succeeded. Sadly, it was all negative. He did a great deal of ‘harm’(1-2,6). How sad it is when there is strife among God’s people! God’s Word speaks out strongly against this kind of thing: ‘While there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh…?’. Strife can arise when we attach too much importance to certain individuals and pay too little attention to the Lord: ‘“I belong to Paul”… “I belong to Apollos”’. Remember - ‘Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth’(1 Corinthians 3:3-7).
2 Samuel 19:1-39 ‘My lord the king is like an angel of God in discerning good and evil’(27;14:17). Setting God’s servants on a pedestal is a dangerous thing. Don’t imagine that they will always get it right. They won’t. They have their faults and failings as well as everyone else. They need forgiveness just as much as anyone else. They look great - from a distance. The closer you get to them, the more you see that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. From a distance, they seem like spiritual giants. Close up, they’re not so impressive. Build up God’s servants with unrealistically high expectations, and you’re setting them up for a very great fall. The closer you get to them, the smaller they become. There’s one Man who’s different: our Lord Jesus Christ - The closer you get to Him, the bigger He becomes!
“Many warned him to be quiet, but he cried out all the more … ” ( Mark 10:48 ). There were many people who tried to silence blind Bartimaeus. Here was the voice of prayer – and they were saying, “Shut up’! Thank God – he didn’t shut up. He shouted out. They more they said, “Shut up”, the more he shouted out. Because our praise is loud, that doesn’t mean that it’s real – but what kind of worship if we can hardly burst a paper bag! Let’s lift up our voices to the Lord. Why? Because we want to be loud? – No! There’s something much more important than how loud we’re singing. It’s this – how much we are lifiting up our hearts to the Lord. We read the story of blind Bartimaeus, and we ask the question: Who was really blind – Bartimaeus or the people who were trying to shut him up? They could see Bartimaeus, but they couldn’t see that he was doing the one thing that really mattered. He was calling upon the Lord. They were busy criticizing him. He kept on calling on the Lord
“You shall give to the Lord your God, as the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:10). Our giving to the Lord can never be any more than a response to His giving to us. His giving to us is always greater than our giving to Him. There can be no comparison between His giving to us and our giving to Him. When we focus our attention on His giving to us, our giving to him will be transformed. It will not be legalism. It will be thanksgiving. No longer grudge-giving – “I have to”, or duty-giving – “I ought to”, it will be thanksgiving – “I want to.
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).
Deuteronomy 33:1-34:12 The Lord’s work is moving on. the Lord’s servant – Moses – is looking towards the future. He is pronouncing God’s blessing on the people of Israel. He pays special attention to each tribe. There is a Word from the Lord for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The people of Israel had been “blessed” – “a nation saved by the Lord” (Deuteronomy 33:29). The future lay with the whole people of God, as they moved forward together. There was, however, to be one man who was called to special leadership among the people – Joshua. For this work, Joshua was “filled with the Spirit” (Deuteronomy 34:9). The people of God were moving forward, but they would not forget where they had come from – how the Lord had led them. They remembered Moses (Deuteronomy 34:10-12) – and they gave thanks to God.
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.
In our thinking about the Lord’s Return, it is very important that we do not forget that the decision between salvation and judgment is one which must be made here and now. The Bible speaks of the Day of the Lord’s Return as a Day of salvation for the Lord’s believing people. The Lord’s Return will also bring a Day of judgment for all who turn their backs on the Saviour. The Bible also speaks of another day of salvation, another day of judgment. That day is today. This is precisely what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:2 - “Now is the day of salvation.” Now is the time for making your decision for Christ. Now is the time for faith in the Saviour. Jesus underlines the importance of our present response to Him. He does this, in John 3:18, when He speaks of those who are already under judgment because of their unbelief: “he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only Son of God.” The Lord awaits for our response now. May God hel
Here are some great words from Jim Elliot, an American missionary who died at the hands of Auca Indians in Ecuador in the 1950s – “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” * "To gain what he cannot lose" - Eternal life has lasting value. * "what he cannot keep" - The things of this world don’t have lasting value. After Jim Elliot and four other American missionaries were killed, there was great blessing among the Aucas. * Think of these faithful martyrs. Think of the blessing which followed. In 2 Corinthians 4:15, we have a great comment on the wonderful blessing which followed the killing of the American missionaries by the Aucas - “All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.” The American missionaries laid down their lives. The Aucas found eternal life. It was for their benefit. Grace reached more and more people.
" And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good works, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25). It's great that we are able to encourage one another in the Lord. Hebrews 10:25 speaks about "the assembling of ourselves together" and "exhorting one another." Each of us has a particular ministry of encouragement to those with whom we are gathered together to worship the Lord. It is a privilege to be able to share something of this ministry of encouragement with other people. We encourage one another in the Lord when we gather together for worship (Hebrews 10:25). The preaching of Christ strengthens our faith (Romans 10:17). What a great encouragement it is to know that "God is pleased through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21). What happen
Genesis 2:1 - “finished” We read about the finished work of creation, and we think of Jesus’ words from the Cross, “It is finished.” This is the finished work of Christ. He has completed the work that was required by the holy God for sinners to receive forgiveness. Genesis 2:2 - “He rested” After creation, there was rest. After crucifixion, there was resurrection. We rest in the risen Lord. We rest in His perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins. We rejoice in His triumph over death. We remind Satan that he has been defeated by our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Ruth 4:18-22 “A genealogy is a striking way of bringing before us the continuity of God’s purpose through the ages. The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God.” ( Leon Morris , Ruth ).
Some people think of Jesus as a great teacher of morality. Is that all that we can say about Him? Those who “believe” in Him say something else about Him – He’s “the Son of God” and “the Saviour of the world” (Luke 1:35; John 4:42). The critics say, “You can’t say that!” We give this answer: Jesus said it! He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). He said it then. He’s still saying it now. Thank God – He’s given us more than a great teacher. He’s given us His Son – our Saviour. * God’s Son is unchanged – He’s still our Saviour: “He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25). We sing of God’s “amazing grace” – “How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.” Sometimes, we lose our way, and we wonder, “Where is the blessedness I knew when first I saw the Lord?” Sometimes, Jesus doesn’t seem to be so precious. Sometimes, we don’t feel so blessed. What’s t
"Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God" (Psalm 69:1-3). Sometimes, we get ourselves into deep water. We're sinking. We're looking to You, Lord. The world is pulling us down, pulling us away from You. We're looking to You, Lord. It's not easy. Life is difficult. There are many problems. We're looking to You, Lord. Help us to keep on looking to You - when we feel like giving up and giving in. Help us to keep on believing that there is the light at the end of our tunnel. We're looking to You, Lord - and we will keep on looking to You, whatever happens. "Let heaven and earth praise Him… For God will save" (Psalm 69:34-35). God does not save us because we praise Him. We praise God because He saves us.
Genesis 2:9 “Out of the ground the Lord God made every tree to grow” If we are to make progress in spiritual growth, we must be grounded in Christ – “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). It was the Lord God who made every tree to grow. It is the Lord God who gives us the strength that we need to grow in Christ. Spiritual growth is not our achievement. It is the work of God’s grace. “To him be glory both now and forever” (2 Peter 3;18).
Things were going from bad to worse! The people of Israel had forgotten ‘the Lord their God’ ( Judges 8:34 ). ‘The enemy’ was ready to ‘come in like a flood’ ( Isaiah 59:19 ). Abimelech - Gideon’s son by ‘his concubine who was in Shechem’ ( Judges 8:31 ) - was very unlike his father. Gideon had pointed away from himself to the Lord ( Judges 8:23 ). Abimelech was eager to draw attention to himself. He murdered his seventy brothers, paving the way for himself to become king ( Judges 9:1-6 ). Abimelech spelt trouble! Things were only going to get worse with Abimelech. There was ‘an evil spirit’ at work among God’s people ( Judges 9:23 ). Where was God in all this? - ‘Since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct’ ( Romans 1:28 ). What kind of person are you becoming? Each of us must choose!
Genesis 2:3 - “holy” When God blesses us, He makes us holy. He has not given to us the forgiveness of our sins and left us just the way we were before we came in faith to Christ. We come to the Saviour – “Just as I am” – but do not remain the same. God has given us new life – the life of the Holy Spirit. From the moment we receive God’s forgiveness, we begin our new journey on the High Way of holiness (Isaiah 35:8). We will often wander away from this High Way, but the Lord keeps on bringing us back. He brings us back to the Cross where we find forgiveness. He brings us back to the risen Lord, who empowers us for walking with God in holy living. When we see that our forgiveness and holiness comes from Jesus Christ, crucified for us and risen for us, we give all the glory to God. This is not our own doing. It is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes (Psalm 118:23).
Genesis 2:4 - “This is the history” This is His Story. This is God’s Story. In this great Story of creation, which leads on to the great Story of salvation, we read about the God who has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. we could not create ourselves. We could not save ourselves. We have been created by God. We have been saved by God. Apart from the work of God, we would have no life. Our life has come from Him. Apart from the work of God, we would have no new life. It is through His mighty power that we have become “a new creation in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Apart from the work of God, we would have no hope of eternal life – “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). In ourselves, there is no hope. In the great God of our salvation, we have this glorious hope – “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Numbers 22:1-41 Learn from the past. In 2 Peter 2:15-16, Jude 11 and Revelation 2:14, we are encouraged to learn from the events of this chapter. Each passage contains a warning. (a) 2 Peter 2:15-16 - Don’t leave ‘the straight way’ and follow the crooked way! (b) Jude 11 - Don’t let making a profit become more important than being a prophet! (c) Revelation 2:14 - Make sure you don’t get drawn away from God into sin! What is God saying to us here? - ‘these things happened... as a warning... they were written down for our instruction... let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall’. With the warning, there is also the promise: ‘...God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide a way of escape...’(1 Corinthians 10:11-13).
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). The Lord calls to us as the voice of wisdom, ‘Turn to Me when I warn you. I will generously pour out My Spirit for you. I will make My words known to you” (Proverbs 1:23). “The Lord gives wisdom … Wisdom will come into your heart … Wisdom will save you from the way of evil … So walk in the way of good people and stay on the paths of righteous people” (Proverbs 2:6,10,12,20). Trusting the Lord and fearing the Lord belong together: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart … Fear the Lord, and turn away from evil” (Proverbs 3;5,7). Wisdom brings great blessing into our lives: “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom and the one who obtains understanding. The profit gained from wisdom is greater than the profit gained from silver. Its yield is better than fine gold. Wisdom is more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 3:13-14).
There is a call from God - "Return to Me" - and a promise from God - "I will return to you" (Zechariah 1:3). God's Word contains both challenge and comfort. It is not challenge without comfort. It is not comfort without challenge. We need both - challenge and comfort.
“Whoever gives attention to the Lord’s Word prospers, and blessed is the person who trusts the Lord” (Proverbs 16:20). Here, we are reminded of the most important thing in life - keeping the Lord at the very centre of our life. "T he eyes of a fool are looking around all over the world": The fool is looking around all over the place - here, there and everywhere. " Wisdom is directly in front of an understanding person": The way of wisdom is the way of keeping our eyes focused on the Lord. (Proverbs 17:24). “The Name of the Lord is a strong tower. A righteous person runs to it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10). God’s Word teaches us that the Lord is faithful. He will never fail us. We can entrust ourselves into His loving care, confident that He will fulfil His promises to us.
“Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see; for I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see, and have not seen it, and to hear what you hear, and have not heard it” ( Luke 10:23-24 ). There is a progression, in Scripture, beyond the revelation given to Israel through the Old Testament prophets to the great revelation given in the coming of Jesus Christ to the world. He is greater than all the prophets. He is greater than all the kings. He is the Son of God. He is our Saviour. There is no-one else like Him. There were many prophets. There were many kings. There is only one Saviour – Jesus Christ, the Son of God: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” ( Hebrews 1:1-2 ).
"Even outside the borders of Israel, the Lord is great (Malachi 1:5). The Lord is not great because we call Him great. We call Him great because He is great. When we worship God, we are not creating His greatness. We worship God because He is so much greater than we can put into words or even imagine. His greatness does not come from our understanding of Him or our faith in Him. our understanding is limited. Our faith is weak. Our God is great. We must never forget this. It's not about our great faith or our great understanding. It's about our great God. He is great in holiness and power. more than that, He is great in love. We see the greatness of His love in Christ, His Son, our Saviour. We see His love in the death of our Saviour - "Hallelujah! What a Saviour!" "His Name will be great among the nations" (Malachi 1:11). To say that God's greatness extends beyond Israel is not an excuse for complacency. We have a God-given responsibil
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” ( 2 Chronicles 7:14 ). In 2 Chronicles 7:14 , there is a call to prayer and promise of blessing: ‘If My people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their hand’. Why is there so little blessing? – ‘You do not have, because you do not ask’. God will bless mightily – when His people pray earnestly. Why does the devil have so many victories among us? – ‘Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’. God will lead us in His way of victory – when we stop tolerating the devil, and start resisting him. Why does God seem so far away? – ‘Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you’ ( James 4:2 , 7-8 ). God will come near to us – if we will le
We call upon the Lord, and He answers us - “When I was in trouble, I cried out to the Lord, and He answered me” (Psalm 120:1). The Lord is our Helper - “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). We worship the Lord - “I was glad when they said to me, Let’s go to the House of the Lord” (Psalm 122:1). We put our trust in the Lord - “we depend on the Lord our God” (Psalm 123:2).
Day 1 Genesis 1:1-2:17; Matthew 1:1-25; Psalm 1:1-6 Genesis speaks of the beginning. Matthew speaks of a new beginning. The God who created us is the God who has provided for our salvation. If we are to enjoy God's salvation, we must learn to follow the wisdom of Psalm 1:1-2 - "Blessed is the one ... whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night." Day 2 Genesis 2:18-4:16; Matthew 2:1-18; Psalm 2:1-12 If there is to be delight in God's Word, we must overcome doubt. Satan is always saying, "Did God really say ...?" (Genesis 3:1). We must learn to say, "God did say" (Genesis 3:3). We must stand by this confession of faith in God and His Word. Satan will not give in easily. He will try to talk us out of believing God's Word. Satan will try to confuse us by speaking in a "spiritual" way. We must, however, be clear about Satan's purpose. He is seeking to undermine God's purpose. If h