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Showing posts from January, 2020

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace ..." (Galatians 5:22-23).

 * The love in us comes from the love of God.  * The joy in us comes from the joy of God.  * The peace in us comes from the peace of God.  ... The God of love, the God of joy, the God of peace ...   Without God, there can be no love in us, no joy in us , no peace in us ...  ... Love, Joy peace ... That's what we find in Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we are learning to love Jesus, learning to rejoice in our Saviour, learning to rest in the peace of Christ. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we learn to walk with Jesus in the way of patience, kindness and goodness. The fruit of the Spirit grows in us as we travel to the Cross of Christ where we learn the way of faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Where, Lord, would we be without worship? Could we even begin to serve You?

Ezra 2:36-3:13 At the heart of Your work, Lord, there is worship - "praising and giving thanks to the Lord" (Ezra 3:11). Help us to see the importance of worship. Nothing can take the place of worship. Where would we be without worship? Could we even begin to serve You? Help us, Lord, to come to You, with this heartfelt prayer: "I will worship You with all of my heart ... with all of my mind ... with all of my strength" (Jude Del Hierro).

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

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

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

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

A very special child!

No ordinary child! Jesus would be special - very special! This was the message the angel brought to Mary - 'He will be great...the Son of the Most High...the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God' (Luke 1:32,35). We celebrate the birth of a child. How much more should we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ! 'Come on and celebrate! His gift of love we will celebrate - the Son of God who loved us and gave us life' ( Mission Praise , 99). God is calling us to worship His Son, our Saviour. Let Jesus be the centre of your attention. No one else must compete with Him. 'O come let us adore Him...For He alone is worthy...We'll give Him all the glory...Christ the Lord' ( Mission Praise , 490). He is more than 'a lovely baby - much more than that! He is our wonderful Saviour!

O little town of Bethlehem

Bethlehem was a 'little town'. Humanly speaking, it did not have any great importance. Its importance is derived from the fact that it was the birth place of our Saviour. when we think of Bethlehem, we do not think so much of the place as the Saviour who was born there. Herod says that he wants to go to Bethlehem to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). Satan was speaking through Herod. Satan 'comes only to steal and kill and destroy'. Christ comes to give 'life...to the full' (John 10:10). As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Herod was not a worshipper of Christ but a servant of Satan. The wise men worship Jesus, then they return to their own country. Their whole purpose was to point away from themselves to Jesus.

Emmanuel - God with us / Jesus - Saviour

Jesus was also called Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23). Emmanuel means ‘God with us.’ This is the great message that comes to us from the first chapter of the New Testament. God has not remained in heaven. He has come to earth. Along with the Name, Emmanuel, there is the better - known Name - Jesus. The Name of Jesus means “He saves” (Matthew 1:21,25). In the two Names - Emmanuel and Jesus, we have the Good News of our salvation. God has come to earth - that’s the meaning of the Name, Emmanuel. He has come to save us - that’s the meaning of the Name, Jesus.

What's Christmas all about?

What's Christmas all about? Is it about coming to church, coming to a service? No. There's more to it than that. It's about coming to Christ, coming to the Saviour. What a welcome you will get when you come to Jesus. Whatever this year's been like, you can end the year on a high note by coming to Jesus - opening your heart to Him, giving your life to Him.

God is with us.

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

A New Year Sermon: 2 Chronicles 30:6-12; Mark 1:1-13

2 Chronicles 30:6-12 ; Mark 1:1-13 "Then the runners went throughout all Israel and Judah with the letters from the king" ( 2 Chronicles 30:6 ). A message had been given to them. They passed the message on. They "spoke according to the command of the king" ( 2 Chronicles 30:6 ). What we see here, in 2 Chronicles 30, is similar to what we read about in Mark 1 - John the Baptist is the messenger sent from God. He brings God's Word to the people. In the time of King Hezekiah, in the time of John the Baptist, in today's world, God speaks His Word: "Return to the Lord God" ( 2 Chronicles 30:6 ). With the call to return to the Lord, there is the promise: "He will return to you" ( 2 Chronicles 30:6 ). "Return to Me and I will return to you" - This is the message that God is speaking to us all of the time. We look back to the past, and we ask, "Where have we been? How have we lived in 2016?" We look on to th

God's Word For New Year's Day

The Naming of Jesus – Numbers 6:22-27; Psalm 8; Galatians 4:4-7 (or Philippians 2:5-11); Luke 2:15-21 His Name was called JESUS (Luke 2:21). Christmas is over – but let’s not forget Jesus. He is still here. He is still with us. He is for New Year’s Day as well as Christmas Day. He is for every day. The New Year has begun. Let there be more than a new year. Let there be new life – the new life that Jesus brings. We have celebrated His birth. It is similar to the birth of any other child. It is a time for joyful thanksgiving. It is different from the celebration of any other child. This is the special Child. This is God’s Son. He is Jesus. He is the Saviour. He brings new life to the world. On the first Christmas Day, the announcement was made: There is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). We move on from the first Christmas. We move on to today. We do not leave Jesus behind. He is with us still. On this day,

Let’s begin the year with worship: “O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is Your Name …” (Psalm 8:1).

Bible readings for New Year's Day - Ecclesiastes 3:1-13; Psalm 8; Revelation 21:1-6a; Matthew 25: 31-46 How excellent is our Saviour – He takes away the emptiness of life without Him. ‘God has put eternity into man’s mind’ (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In every human heart, there is a God-shaped blank. It can only be filled by Jesus Christ. Many people try to find true happiness without opening their heart to Jesus Christ. That’s like ‘trying to catch the wind’ (Ecclesiastes 4:16). True happiness keeps slipping through your fingers. There’s always something missing - ‘an aching void the world can never fill’ (Church Hymnary, 663). Jesus Christ stands at the door of every human heart. He knocks. He waits for your answer. He says, ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...’ (Revelation 3:20). Will you invite Him into your heart? He is waiting for you to pray, ‘Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. C

Past Redemption, Present Obedience, Future Hope

Numbers 15:1-41 God’s work among His people was directed toward the future – “Once you’re settled in the land I’m giving you” – and it was grounded in the past – “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God” (Numbers 15:2,41). Our present obedience draws strength from our past redemption – “It is finished” – and our future hope – It is still to come.

Lord, we find ourselves somewhere between tragedy and triumph.

Judges 16:4-31 Lord, we find ourselves somewhere between tragedy and triumph. We look at ourselves - and we see our potential for tragedy. When we forget about You, we're like a runaway train - out of control and heading for a big crash. When, Lord, You take control, everything changes. You turn things around. You set us on the road to triumph: "Thanks be to God who always leads us to triumph in Christ" (2 Corinthians 2:14).

Which is most important to us – “building our own house” or “building the House of the Lord”?

1 Kings 3:1-28 Which is most important to us – “building our own house” or “building the House of the Lord” (1 Kings 3:1-3)? How often, Lord, do we think about the things that matter most to You? Are we too busy thinking about the things that matter most to ourselves? These are not questions to be ‘brushed under the carpet’. They are questions that demand our attention. They are questions that You, Lord, are asking us. You’re calling us to “consider our ways” (Haggai 1:5,7). Are we walking in Your way? or Are we going our own way? Call us back to Yourself, Lord. Call us back from a way ill lead us far from You. Call us into a way that will bring us close to You. Lead us to Jesus – He is “the way, the true and living way” (John 14:6).

We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness.

1 Samuel 1:1-28 We come to You, Lord, with sadness. You give us gladness. How does this gladness come to us? It comes to us when we stand upon Your Word, when we believe Your promises. Our life is not controlled by our feelings - the feelings that drag us down, the feelings that pull us away from You. Your promises lift us out of these feelings. They lift us into Your presence. They assure us of Your love. They lead us into Your blessing. Thank You, Lord, for Your promises and Your presence, Your love and Your blessing.

Which is most important to us – pleasing ourselves or serving You?

1 Kings 6:14-7:12 We read about Solomon – he built “his own house”, and he built “the House of the Lord” (1 Kings 6:37-7:1). Which was the most important to him? Which is most important to us – pleasing ourselves or serving You? Help us, Lord, not to be “lovers of self, lovers of money, lovers of pleasure”. “Lovers of God” – this is what You call us to be (2 Timothy 3:1-5). Help us, Lord, to keep on making our choice – to become the kind of people that You want us to be.

Lord, we read, in Your Word that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" ...

Judges 20:29-21:25 Lord, we read in Your Word that "every man did what was right in his own eyes" (Judges 21:25) - and it seems like we are reading a description of today's world. We look around us, and we see so little love for You. Your Son is "despised and rejected by men" (Isaiah 53:3). Our Saviour is "ignored" (Hebrews 2:3). We seem to hear nothing but bad news. Is there any good news? Do You have something to say to us - something to lift us out of our darkness and into Your light? we thank You, Lord, that there is Good News - Jesus is "the Light of the world" (John 8:12). Help us, Lord, to pray that the light of Jesus will shine more brightly in our world. Help us to pray for revival - and help us to begin with ourselves: "O Holy Ghost, revival comes from Thee. Send a revival. Start the work in me" (J. Edwin Orr, "Search me, O God").

Lord, give us wisdom. Help us to share this wisdom with others.

1 Kings 4:1-34 Lord, give us wisdom (1 Kings 4:29). Help us to share this wisdom with others (1 Kings 4:32-34). What, Lord, is wisdom? Is it knowing a lot about history, geography and science? No, Lord, true wisdom is knowing Jesus, knowing that He is our Saviour, knowing that He shows us what life is all about, knowing that His love is the greatest love of all, the love that changes everything, the love that changes us. Help us to share His love with others. This is wisdom – knowing Jesus, knowing that He loves us, being changed by His love. Christ is “our Wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Help us to rejoice in Him – and to share His love with the people that we meet.

Obedience, Blessing And Prayer

Deuteronomy 24:1-26:19 Doing “the right thing in the presence of the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 24:13), living “a long time in the land that the Lord your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 25:15) – the two are vitally connected: obedience and blessing. Together with obedience and blessing, there is prayer. The blessing is not earned by our obedience. It is God at work, answering prayer (Deuteronomy 26:7). Together with the prayer which asks God for blessing, there is to be the prayer which thanks God for His blessing (Deuteronomy 26:8-10). We show our thanksgiving to the Lord by “faithfully obeying His Word with all our heart and with all our soul” (Deuteronomy 26:16). As we keep on obeying the Lord, He will keep on blessing us (Deuteronomy 26:18-19).

Lord, You want to “establish Your Word” among us.

1 Kings 5:1-6:13 Lord, You want to “establish Your Word” among us (1 Kings 6:120. Do we “rejoice greatly” when we hear Your Word (1 Kings 5:7)? Help us to welcome Jesus Christ, “the Word made flesh”, the living Word who “dwells among us, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Help us to welcome Him as “Emmanuel – God with us” (Matthew 1:23). May we rejoice greatly when Jesus stands among us as our loving Saviour, when He comes to us as the risen Lord, when He speaks to us as Your living Word.

Sometimes, Lord, it seems to us that some things just happen by chance.

Ruth 1:1-2:23 Sometimes, Lord, it seems to us that some things just happen by chance. You're saying to us, "No. It's more than that." You are working in us. You are showing us Your love. Day-by-day, You are showing us that You are the faithful God. You are the God of "amazing grace." Help us to say more than "These things just happened." Help us to say, "God has blessed us. Thank You, Lord."

Where does true love come from?

1 Samuel 20:1-42 Where does true love come from? It comes from You, Lord. It comes from Your love. Give us real love. Give us Your love. When we know that we are loved by You, our love will grow strong - our love for You, our love for one another, our love for people who need You.

No-one goes on forever.

1 Kings 1:1-53 No-one goes on forever. We read about David’s reign coming to an end, about David being replaced by Solomon (1 Kings 1:30). Help us, Lord, to pray that the future will be “greater” than the past (1 Kings 1:37,47). In all of life’s changes, help us to remember this: You are the living God (1 Kings 1:29) – the God who remains constant when everything else is changing, the God whose love is unchanged, unchanging and unchangeable.

The true God and the false gods

Deuteronomy 20:1-21:23 The conflict between the Israelites and the other nations was really a conflict between the true God and the false gods (Deuteronomy 20:17-18). Everything in life must be seen in connection with our relationship to God: Are we being true to Him? Or, are we being false? We must seek to do what “the Lord considers right”, what is “clean” in His eyes (Deuteronomy 21:9,23).

Blessed In The Past - What About The Future?

Numbers 20:1-29  Neither Moses nor Aaron were to enter the land, promised by God to His people (Numbers 20:12,24). This is a reminder to us that we dare not presume on God’s continued blessing. The fact that He has blessed us in the past does not mean that He will always bless us. We can lose out on His blessing. The blessing of God is to be treasured. It is not be taken lightly. It must never be taken for granted.

With God we shall gain the victory ...

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

In the Lord, we have true and lasting joy.

“Whoever despises God’s words will pay the penalty, but the one who fears God’s commands will be rewarded” (Proverbs13:13). This principle applies to the nations – “Righteousness lifts up a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any society” (Proverbs 14:34). “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face” (Proverbs 15:13) – True happiness comes from within. It is more than an outward thing. It does not depend on the things that we have. It comes from the Lord. In Him, we have true and lasting joy.

Read The Old Testament - And Look On, From There, To Jesus.

Numbers 19:1-22 When we read about being made clean, we must look beyond what we read in the Old Testament. From the sprinkling of the blood of “a red cow that is perfect, with no defects”, we must look on to the New Testament, where we read of “the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Jesus Christ is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

A New Name

God has given us ‘a new Name’. It is ‘the Name which is above every name’, the Name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ ( Isaiah 62:2 ; Philippians 2:9-11 ).

If we are wise - we will come and worship Jesus.

We think of Matthew 2 as 'the story of the wise men'. It is not so much about the wise men. It is about Jesus. He is the central Character. We are not told how many wise men there were. The word, 'three', does not appear (Matthew 2:1). We are not told their names. We are not told exactly where they came from - just, they came 'from the East' (Matthew 2:1). The important thing is that they made their journey. They came, seeking Jesus: 'Where is He...?' They came 'to worship Him' (Matthew 2:2). The wise men were led to Jesus by 'His star' (Matthew2:2). They were also led by the Scriptures. When asked where the Child was to be born, they answered by quoting from the Scriptures. Reading the Scriptures, we become wise for salvation as we find Christ who is 'our Wisdom' (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30).

Immanuel - God with us

'Immanuel...God with us' (Matthew 1:23). Think of what this means! Here are some words to help you. 'He walked where I walked, He stood where I stand, He felt what I feel, He understands. He know my frailty, shared my humanity, tempted in every way, yet without sin. God with us, so close to us. God with us, 'Immanuel!'. Let your thoughts move on to the Cross - 'He died in my place that I might live'. Let your heart be filled with worship: 'Immanuel, O Immanuel, Bowed in awe I worship at your feet, and sing Immanuel, God is with us; Sharing my humanness, my shame, feeling my weakness, my pain, taking my punishment, my blame, Immanuel. And now my words cannot explain, all that my heart cannot contain, how great are the glories of Your Name, Immanuel' ( Mission Praise , 221,326).

God is in control!

God is in control! Jesus was born at Bethlehem - Long before it happened, God had it planned (Luke 2:1-7; Micah 5:2-3). As we approach Christ's Return, God still has His plan. He is still in control. The birth of Christ is not merely an event from the past. It is also a message for the future. We look back so that we can move forward. We are fearful about many things. 'What's the world coming to?', we ask. God turns our question on its head: 'Christ is coming to the world'. From His first coming, we look on to His Second Coming - He 'will come to all the people' (Luke 2:10): 'Every eye will see Him' (Revelation 1:7). His Return invites us to ask another question: 'When the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?' (18:8). For you, is it still 'before Christ'? Let the 'new age' begin: Let Christ be 'born this day' (Luke 2:11) - in your heart!

The Saviour will come. The Saviour has come.

The birth of Christ is a fulfilment of prophecy: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call Him Immanuel' (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14). Christ is 'God with us'. He was born through the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18,20). He is still 'God with us', when we are 'born of the Spirit' (John 3:5). Some people do not believe what the Bible says here. They do not like the idea of a 'virgin birth'. The Bible gives no encouragement to such unbelief. Matthew simply says, 'This is the way it happened' (Matthew 1:18). In view of the amazing thing God was doing - sending His Son to be the Saviour of the world - why should we doubt that God took things out of man's hands and worked in His own miraculous way? We rejoice not only in the miracle but also in its saving purpose: 'He will save His people from their sins' (Matthew 1:21).

Jesus Christ - the Son of God, the Word of God, the Lamb of God

Jesus Christ is the Word of God. He is the Beginning. He is also the End (John 1:1-3; Revelation 21:6). He is 'the Word...made flesh. 'We have seen His glory' (John 1:14). This is only the beginning. When He returns, we shall see His glory - 'we shall see Him as He is' (1 John 3:2). From Him, there is creation (John 1:1-3). From Him, there is salvation (John 1:12-13). In Him, we receive the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 1:29,32-34). He is the Word of God, the Lamb of God and the Son of God (John 1:1,29,34). When we look at Jesus Christ, we see God - 'the Word was God' (John 1:1), 'No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known' (John 1:18). Do you want to know what God is like? - Look at Jesus (John 14:9). What do we see when we look at Him? - 'the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world' (John 1:29).

Learning from the shepherds and the wise men

The shepherds and the wise men seem so different from us! Everything seems so long ago and so far away! Are they really any different from us? Can we dare to forget the lessons we learn from the shepherds and the wise men? Some may say, 'It was different back then. Life was so simple. Now, there are so many distractions. There are so many other things for us to do'. Listen to this kind of talk, and you are listening to the voice of Satan! The devil will fill our lives with all kinds of things. He will keep us so busy that we forget all about worshipping Jesus! More than ever before - in our world of so many distractions - we need to learn from the wise men and the worshipping shepherds. Make time to 'worship Jesus' (Matthew 2:2). There is nothing more important than this - 'glorifying and praising God' (Luke 2:20).

Who are we trying to please?

2 Samuel 15:1-37 Who are we trying to please? Are we trying to please You, Lord? or Are we trying to please other people? Are we more interested in getting what we want or doing what You want? These, Lord, are searching questions. They call us to be honest with ourselves, to be honest with You. Help us, Lord, to see ourselves the way we really are. Help us to pray for change, real change, change in our hearts, change in our lives, change that brings blessing to us, change that brings glory to You.

In Christ - God's Love And Forgiveness

2 Samuel 14:1-33 David loved Absalom - ‘the king’s heart went out to Absalom’(1). David could not bring himself to forgive Absalom: ‘Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence’(24). God loves us. God forgives us. We dare not come to Him in pride - ‘I’m really not that bad. I’m really quite good’. We must come to Him with a real confession of sin: ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son’. In ourselves, we are ‘lost’. In Christ, we are ‘found’. In ourselves, we are ‘dead’. In Christ, we are ‘made alive’(Luke 15:21,24; Ephesians 2:1,5). In Christ, we see God’s love. Through Christ, we receive God’s forgiveness. Christ does not leave us ‘out on a limb’. He is preparing a place for us - in His Father’s House (John 14:1-3). This is love - without limits!

How, Lord, are we to receive Your blessing?

2 Kings 5:1-27 How, Lord, are we to receive Your blessing? Are we to “do some great thing”? Are we to prove ourselves worthy of Your blessing? No! Your Word says this: “Wash and be clean” (2 Kings 5:130. Our salvation isn’t something that we’ve paid for. It isn’t something that we’ve earned. We don’t come to You, saying, “Look at me. Look at my religion. Look at my morality.” We look away from ourselves to Jesus – and we hear Your Word of salvation: “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Everything seems to be falling round about us ...

2 Kings 20:1-21:18 “Carried off to Babylon” (2 Kings 20:17); “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” (Revelation 14:18 & 18:2). Everything seems to be falling round about us. We hear so much bad news. We wonder, “What, Lord, do You think of all this?” Even “in Babylon” there were “the chosen” – people who belonged to You (1 Peter 5:13). Help us to be Your people – “in the world” but “not of the world” (John 17:11,16).

Lord, You're calling us to make our choice - What kind of life will we live?

2 Chronicles 12:1-13:22  Lord, You're calling us to make our choice - What kind of life will we live? Will it be "He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord" (2 Chronicles 12:14)? or Will it be "As for us, the Lord is our God and we have not forsaken Him" (2 Chronicles 13:10)? When, Lord, unbelief and disobedience are threatening to take over our lives, help us to hear Your Word of warning: "Do not fight against the Lord ... you will not succeed" - and help us to speak the words of faith: "God is with us; He is our Leader" (2 Chronicles 13:12).

Help us, Lord, to "go on" with You and for You.

2 Chronicles 14:1-16:14   Lord, we see so much of ourselves in Asa. He started well - "Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God" (2 Chronicles 14:2). He ended badly - "He did not rely on the Lord his God ... even in his disease he did not seek the Lord" (2 Chronicles 16:7-9,12). Help us, Lord, to hear and heed the words of Jesus: "No-one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62); "He who endures to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13). Help us to "go on" with You and for You (Hebrews 6:1).

Lord, we see division among Your people ... You are not pleased.

2 Chronicles 10:1-11:23 Lord, we see division among Your people: "Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day" (2 Chronicles 10:19). You are not pleased. You say, "Do not go up to fight against your brothers" (2 Chronicles 11:4). This is not just ancient history. It's our problem. It's a big problem. We still need to hear the words of Jesus - "a house ... divided against itself cannot stand" (Mark 3:25). There are to be "no divisions" among us (1 Corinthians 1:10). We are "all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Lord, help us, in our praying and our living, to echo the prayer of Jesus: "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me" (John 17:21,23).

Holy, Holy, Holy ...

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:3); “Your sins are forgiven” (Isaiah 6:7). “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I am the worst of them” (1 Timothy 1:15). — Awesome holiness: It was my sin which sent Christ to the Cross. Amazing love: Christ has taken my sin to the Cross. I receive His forgiveness.

Life is full of surprises.

1 Samuel 25:1-44 Life is full of surprises. Sometimes, Lord, these surprises come from You - blessings that fill our hearts with your joy. Sometimes, the surprises come from Satan. He's trying to catch us off guard. He's trying to trip us up. He's trying to lead us away from You. Help us to turn Satan's surprises into Your surprises. When Satan comes to tempt us, to draw us away from You, help us to face him in Your strength. Help us to tell him that You were there before he arrived on the scene. - You are the eternal God. Help us to tell Satan that You are still here - the God who is with us to bless us, the God who is living in us to give us Your victory over Satan.

What are the most important things in our lives?

1 Samuel 19:1-24 What are the most important things in our lives? Why are they so important to us? Everything revolves around ourselves, Lord. We forget about You. Call us back, Lord - back from the brink, back from "the broad way that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). Call us into "safety, certainty and enjoyment" (George Cutting) - saved by You, assured of Your salvation, enjoying Your salvation.

More Than The Story Of Kings ...

The throne is handed on to Solomon by David. This is seen as part of the ongoing purpose of God: “Praise the Lord God of Israel who has let me see the heir to my throne” (1 Kings 1:48). The kingship was given to Solomon by “the Lord” (1 Kings 2:15) - “The Lord set me on my father David’s throne ... As He promised” (1 Kings 2:24). When we read the history of the kings of Israel, it is important that we do not lose sight of this spiritual dimension. This is more than the story of men. It’s the story of God’s dealings with His people. Solomon was a wise man. His wisdom came from God: “He possessed wisdom from God”, “God gave Solomon wisdom” (1 Kings 3:28; 1 Kings 4:29). The work done by the king required wisdom. The gift of wisdom is to be received with praise to God: “May the Lord be praised today: He has given David a wise son to rule this great nation” (1 Kings 5:7). God gave wisdom for spiritual leadership - building the Lord’s Temple (1 Kings 6:1,37-38). God gives wi

Lord, help us to rise to the challenge: to live as Your people, people who know You, love You and serve You.

1 Kings 16:29-18:16 We read about Elijah: “The Word of the Lord came to Elijah”; “You are a man of God and the Word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth” (1 Kings 18:1; 1 Kings 17:24). You’re challenging us to be all that You’re calling us to be – people who love You, people who are listening to You and speaking for You, people who are living for You. Lord, help us to rise to the challenge: to live as Your people, people who know You, love You and serve You.

Known By Name ...

In 1 Chronicles 1 - 9, there are lots of names. Each one of us is known, by name, to the Lord. This is a very precious truth. It is summed up, for us, in the wonderful words of love, spoken by the Good Shepherd, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. “So Saul died because of his unfaithfulness to the Lord. He did not obey the Word of the Lord” (1 Chronicles 10:13). Here, we read of Saul’s sin, shame and sadness. This was more than a personal thing. It had a profound effect on the whole nation. God looked at the effect Saul was having on His people. The Lord decided that it was time for a change, a new beginning:“So the Lord killed him, and turned the kingship over to David, Jesse’s son” (1 Chronicles 10:14). David becomes king (1 Chronicles 11:3). David is helped by his supporters. He has more than the help of other people. His help comes from the Lord (1 Chronicles 12:18). The work, done by David, was, first and foremost, the work of God - the restoration of God to His

Reached By The Love Of God, Changed By The Love Of God

Jesus calls us to be both holy and loving. What will it mean to live a life that is becoming both more holy and more loving? It begins with being reached by the love of God and changed by the love of God. We cannot make ourselves more holy. We cannot make ourselves more loving. When we catch a glimpse of the great God, who is both holy loving, we see ourselves as we really are - sinners, and we also see the Saviour who is reaching out to us, the Saviour who can and will change us. How does he change us? He shows us our sin. He forgives our sin. Seeing our sin as it really is, we cannot be, like the Pharisee who looked down his nose at the tax collector (Luke 18:11). Seeing our Saviour as He really is, we know that there is hope for every one who comes to the Saviour. We have His precious promise - " I will never turn away anyone who comes to  Me" (John 6:37). When the love of Christ reaches us, we rejoice in this: "Every offender who truly believes, that

Paradise Lost! Paradise Regained?

Genesis 3 - From the majestic perfection of God and the privileged responsibility of humanity, we now move to the evil subtlety of Satan. An intruder has sneaked into the privileged place between God, the Creator, and mankind, His creation. Chapter 2 ends with the absence of shame. Chapter 3 begins with the presence of Satan. The work of Satan, successfully executed, ensures that chapter ends rather differently from chapter 2 – “the Lord God sent the man out of the Garden of Eden” (v. 23). This was “Paradise Lost”. Was there a way to “Paradise Regained”? There are two answers to this question: “No” and “Yes”. Taking ourselves as the starting-point, the answer is “No”. God will not permit us to take salvation into our own hands (v. 24). Starting with God, the answer is “Yes”. This is the answer of verse 15: Christ (the woman’s descendant will be crucified (the bruising of His heel), but the outcome of this will be the defeat of Satan (the crushing of his head).

A Word Of Hope And A Word Of Warning From Psalm 2

The book of Psalms has been a precious possession of the Christian Church and the Christian believer. More than any other book in the Bible, the book of Psalms has influenced the life of the worshipping congregation and the life of the individual believer. The Psalms have become an integral part of Christian worship. The Psalms have provided numerous patterns for the believer’s personal prayer life. Again and again, the Psalms point beyond themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is especially true of Psalm 2, which is one of the Messianic Psalms, one of the Psalms which point clearly to the Christ. This Psalm has been called the “Messiah’s Psalm.” It is the Psalm of “God and His Anointed” (or God and His Christ). This twelve-verse Psalm can be broken down into four three-verse sections. The first section introduces us to “the kings of the earth.” The second section introduces us to “the heavenly King.” The third section introduces us to God’s Anointed (or Christ). The

Lord, help us not to get too big for our boots.

Genesis 11:1-9 Lord, help us not to get too big for our boots. Sometimes, we get down in the dumps. When this happens, we need to get lifted up - by You! Sometimes, we have a very different problem. We get too big for our boots – and we need to be brought back down to earth! Brought down with a bump: How often this has happened to us – and it was just what we needed! Bringing us down – We thank You, Lord, that this is only the beginning of Your work in us. You never bring us down – to leave us there. You bring us down to build us up again! Building us up – That’s what You do for us. We’re broken down – and You put us together again! Lord, this is so encouraging. When we forget You, You never forget us. When we feel like giving up, You say to us, “I haven’t finished with you yet. I’ll never be finished with You: What I have planned for you is nothing less than this - eternal life.”

An Invitation

Hello! This is a personal letter addressed to YOU! You’ve never been a Church person? You’ve never been to Church since your wedding day? You forgot the way to Church years ago? You only go to Church on Christmas Eve? This is YOUR invitation! This is YOUR welcome! We invite you to come to Church because Christ invites you to come to HIM. When you come to Church, come to CHRIST. When you return to Church, return to GOD. We welcome you because CHRIST welcomes those who come to Him. Jesus says, “The person who comes to Me, I will, under NO circumstances, cast out” (John 6:37). We welcome you because GOD welcomes those who return to Him. God’s Word says, “Return to the Lord … He will have mercy … He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).  * Perhaps, you’re saying, “I’ve no time for the Church.” GOD HAS TIME FOR YOU! God has so much time for you that He sent His Son – Jesus Christ – to die on the cross so that you might receive eternal life by receiving Jesus Chri

The Kingdom Of God: The Prison Letters - Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon

Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon - These letters are known, collectively, as the prison letters. They were written by Paul during his time of imprisonment in Rome. In Philippians, we see God's kingdom as a kingdom as a kingdom of joy: "Rejoice in the Lord always, and, again, I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). When the Lord reigns as king in our  lives, he gives us his joy. this joy doesn't depend on our circumstances. It comes to us from the Lord. In Philemon, we see the kingdom of God as the kingdom of fellowship: "that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother" (15-16). In Colossians 1:13-14, we have a marvellous statement of what God has done for us in Christ: "He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." Through Christ's redemption, we are     now in the  kingdom of God

Atonement

Leviticus 15:1-16:34  Each of us is unclean before God. Each of us needs Christ, who has given Himself as “a sin offering” to “make atonement” for us (Leviticus 16:16). Christ is the perfect Saviour, who “bears all our iniquities” (Leviticus 16:22). Concerning His great sacrifice for us, the Word of God says, “On this day shall atonement be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord” (Leviticus 16:30).

Holiness - By Grace

The life of holiness is not an expression of our own moral virtue. It is an expression of the holy character of God being reproduced in us: ‘I am the Lord who sanctify you’ (Leviticus 20:8). God wants us for Himself – This is why we must not live the world’s way: ‘I the Lord am … holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine’ (Leviticus 20:26). God has a great purpose for us: ‘You shall inherit their land… I will give it to you, a land flowing with milk and honey’ (Leviticus 20:24).  ‘The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly… in Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 1:14). This is the pathway to holiness: ‘By grace you have been saved through faith… for good works’ (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Worship The Lord ... (Psalm 18)

Psalm 18:1-24 The first three verses set the tone: Worship. What a great start to this Psalm. Our attention is directed away from ourselves to the Lord: ‘my strength...my rock, my fortress and my deliverer...my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold’ (1-2). The great testimony of verse 3 - ‘I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies’ - did not come easily (4-5). The enemies of the Lord will be brought to judgment (13-14). ‘The cord of death encompassed me...He delivered me from my strong enemy...’ (4-5,17-19) - Rejoice in the risen Christ through whom we have the ‘victory’ over ‘the last enemy...death’ (1 Corinthians 15:20,26,54). God is leading us into ‘a broad place’ (19). Step into the future with Him. Don’t hold back! ‘Let go and let God have His wonderful way’. Psalm 18:25-50 ‘This God’ is ‘our God’. He is ‘the Rock’. He is ‘my Rock’. No one can compare with the Lord our God. He is the living God, the God

Good News - Reaching Out To Us And Reaching Out Through Us

“Good News” - “the forgiveness of sins” and “baptism with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:1,4,8). This Good News is centred on Jesus Christ, God’s beloved Son (Mark 1:11). Jesus was empowered by “the Spirit” (Mark 1:12). He comes to us with “the Good news of God” (Mark 1:(14). He calls for our response - “Change the way you think and act, and believe the Good News” (Mark 1:15). Where does this change come from? It comes from the Good News. This is what changes us. By becoming Christ-centred (following Jesus), we become less self-centred and more other-centred. Jesus teaches us “how to catch people instead of fish” (Mark 1:17).

The Name Of Jesus

“May His Name endure forever. May His Name continue as long as the sun shines” (Psalm 72:17); “May He rule from sea to sea” (Psalm 72:8) - These words inspired the hymn, “Jesus shall reign ... “ The words of this Psalm find a glorious echo in the triumphant words of Philippians 2:9-11 - “At the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.”

Praise God for His Deliverance (Psalm 9).

 * The Psalmist worships the Lord (Psalm 9:1-2).  * He does not speak proud words. He sees all things in the light of the holy God (Psalm 9:3-8).  * At the heart of this Psalm, there is a declaration of the character of God (Psalm 9:7-8).  * The majesty, righteousness and judgment of God - Have we lost these important aspects of God's character? Have we turned God into a sentimentalized 'god' of our own making? Let's not take God for granted. Let God be God. This is very different from insisting that God must be what we think He should be.  * We read about God's trustworthiness (Psalm 9:9-10).  * We praise God. We make it known that He is to be praised (Psalm 9:11-12).  * In our worship, we speak of God's judgment as well as His salvation. (Psalm 9:12).  * In our worship, we look to the Lord for mercy and, with joy, we praise Him for His salvation (Psalm 9:13-14).  * As well as emphasizing that God is trustworthy, we must also emphasize

Learning From Psalm 23

Turning to 'the Shepherd Psalm' (Psalm 23), we focus our attention on 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 )!

They Killed Him. God Raised Him!

"Come, let us kill him" (Matthew 21:38). This is the human story of Christ's crucifixion. He was "put to death by wicked men." There is also the divine story - "the deliberate plan and foreknowledge of God"(Acts 2:23). The wicked men thought that this was the end of Jesus. They were wrong! - "God raised Him from the dead." Could it have been any other way? Could the evil scheming of men have prevailed over God's plan of salvation? - No! "I t was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him" (Acts 2:24).

God Is Great.

“God is known in Judah. His name is great in Israel ... What god is as great as our God” (Psalm 76:1; Psalm 77:13). God is great. He’s greater than we can put into words, or even imagine. As we think of the greatness of God, we worship Him, singing, “How great Thou art”, “Great is Thy faithfulness.” To the Lord be all glory for all that He is, all that He has done for us, and all that He says to us.

Praise and thanksgiving - to God

The Psalmist calls upon all of us to offer our praise and thanksgiving to God - "Shout happily to God, all the earth! Make music to praise the glory of His Name. Make His praise glorious" (Psalm 66:1-2). "Let everyone give thanks to You. Let the nations be glad and sing joyfully ... Let the people give thanks to You, O God. Let all the people give thanks to You" (Psalm 67:3,5).

Great Distress, Great Mercy

Out of a situation of great distress, the Psalmist prays to the Lord: “O God, out of the greatness of Your mercy, answer me with the truth of Your salvation” (Psalm 69:13). “Answer me, O Lord, because Your mercy is good. Out of your unlimited compassion, turn to me” (Psalm 69:16). “Let Your saving power protect me, O God” (Psalm 69:29). When God answers our  prayer for salvation, this is cause for much praise and thanksgiving: “I want to praise the Name of God with a song. I want to praise its greatness with a song of thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30). “Let heaven and earth, the seas and everything that moves in them, praise Him” (Psalm 69:34).

The Day Of Salvation Will Come!

In Job 8, we have the first speech of Bildad. Its theme is very straightforward. Sin leads to suffering (Job 8:4). Obedience leads to prosperity (Job 8:5-7). This teaching is presented in a heavy-handed way. In Job 8:20, we have an attack on Job’s character: “Certainly, God does not reject a person of integrity or give a helping hand to wicked people.” When this statement is applied to Job, it has the effect of saying to him, “You’re not a person of integrity. You’re a wicked person.” There’s a problem with Bildad’s words. He doesn’t recognize that there is an eternal perspective within which the divine judgment is set. Here, on earth, the wicked may be prospering, but the time of judgment will come. It may not be in this world, but it will come, in God’s final judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). Here, on earth, the righteous may suffer much, but their suffering will not be forever. The day of salvation will come. There will be “a great reward in heaven!” (Matthew 5:10-12).